A Trip to the Grandparents

I don’t know any child that doesn’t love going to visit the grandparents. I sure remember going to visit my grandparents when I was a child. My kids are no exception to the rule. They love, and I mean love it when they get to visit grandparents. Unfortunately, one set of grandparents lives half the country away. But that makes it all the more anticipated and special when we do get to visit them.

My kids are quite fortunate in that they got to make two trips to the Nebraska grandparents this last summer. Well the baby didn’t go on the second trip. I only have pictures however from the trip that I went on. They also made a driving trip out with their Nana and stopped by several National Parks and earned their Junior Ranger Badges and then spent two weeks with Nana and Papa without any parents to intervene. That was super special, but since I wasn’t there, I don’t have any pictures of it.

I do have tons of pictures from the trip I made with them though to show what a blast the trip was. So here they go.

Swimming was probably the most favorite activity there. It was hot. Nana and Papa have the coolest pool, you ever saw. Papa is a farmer and he took the bottom rung of a grain bin and sealed off the inside and turned it into a swimming pool. I hear that when my husband was a kid they put a little water in it in the winter and used it for a ice skating rink too, but I’ve never got to experience that use of it.

Zippy practicing her snorkeling skills

Zippy honed her skills at swimming under water with snorkel gear.

JD Boy Swimming

JD Boy got comfortable with swimming on the surface with snorkel gear, so he’s now rarin’ to go back to Mexico or somewhere tropical.

G'tums Swimming

G’tums just had a blast paddling’ around with the floaties.

Nana and Baby in the Pool

Everybody loved swimming except Baby…


She’d rather play in the grass outside the pool…

Baby and the Kitty

Or with the kitty…but be careful Baby, not all kitties trust you.

Besides swimming, the kids went for rides on the four-wheeler and in the tractor. We went for walks. We went birding. In fact, here is my daughter’s bird list (along with a couple of mammals) for the trip.

  1. Eastern kingbird
  2. Morning Doves
  3. Killdeer
  4. Orchard oriole
  5. Indigo bunting
  6. Cardinal
  7. Horned Lark
  8. Red winged blackbird
  9. Red headed woodpecker
  10. Upland sandpiper
  11. Cormorant
  12. Pheasant
  13. Bittern
  14. Wilson’s snipe
  15. Yellow-headed blackbird
  16. Blue-winged teals
  17. Blue heron
  18. Meadowlark
  19. Pied grebe
  20. Yellow shafted flicker
  21. Lark sparrow
  1. Jack Rabbit
  2. Woodchuck

We also made green salve, my mother-in-laws magic potion that we love for all scrapes, burns, bites, you-name-it. That is a bit of project we learned. We went here and there and gathered buckets of green things, otherwise known as weeds. Some were plants that she cultivated, and some leaves came from trees. That took quite awhile and then we started cooking it down. Which takes quite a long time. It has to simmer…and simmer…and simmer…for a couple of days. But it really is wonderful stuff. It will cure a recluse bite and that proves it’s a magic potion. They have recluses in Nebraska, so having that stuff on hand is quite nice. We don’t have those kinds of spiders where we live, but we have found that it is quite soothing on mosquito bites as well as all the scrapes that my children are regularly coming to show me. They love green salve. I love green salve. And we all love Nana, because now we know how hard she works on it. Well, we loved her before too, but now we know how much to appreciate the green salve that she makes for us.

Now, you’ll have to admit, that any child would like going to the grandparents’ house, if it involved that much fun. No wonder my kids want to move there.

Last Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is tomorrow. I have been dreading Thanksgiving for weeks. You see Thanksgiving last year was such a special day at our house. It holds such special memories now. Normally Thanksgiving has been somewhere else. But last year my family joined us at our house. It was very special to have my brother Ben at our house because by Thanksgiving he was on bed rest. But he made the trip and we made many happy memories that day.

One of the happy memories that we made, was that my cousin and family drove up from three hours south to surprise my brother. Was he ever surprised.

Here is a picture just before we started to devour the food. My brother is the only one seated, because he was in his wheelchair.

The feast (vegetarian style)

I’m definitely going to spend part of tomorrow trying to recreate last Thanksgiving. I’m so glad that I got to spend it with Ben. I’m going to miss him so much tomorrow. But I still am thankful that he has been delivered from the pain that he was suffering. And I’m so thankful that I got to have him for my brother.

I have many things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, but the empty spot in my heart is still quite vacant.

Baby Pictures

Baby pictures are so special. These are some that are several months old that I didn’t get around to sharing before. They are just so special, I’m just going to share them now. These first ones were taken at seven months.

Cute Baby -- 7 months

Cute Baby -- 7 months

Cute Baby -- 7 months

Aren’t I cute in sister’s headbands?

Nina -- 7 months

Chiquita con el sombrero

Baby Hands

I just love those chubby baby hands.

These next ones were taken at eight months.

Baby 8 months

Baby and Uncle (8 months)

This last one is extra special, because that is a picture of my brother that passed away this summer holding our little baby. She won’t ever remember him, but at least there are pictures she can study someday when she is older to see that he loved her. I lost an uncle when I was fifteen, my younger sister hadn’t been born yet. She told me when she saw this picture how much she wished that she had pictures with our uncle. I’m sure more nieces and nephews will come along to our family that won’t have pictures with Uncle Ben and that just brings a few tears to my eyes to think about.

Three Seattle Museums

This is an old post, that I never got finished, until now.

You know I’m a homeschool mom, because I turn everything into a school project. I wonder sometimes if my kids get weary of my turning everything into learning opportunities, but they’re stuck with me and my ways. (Sorry guys!)
We’ve had company off and on over the last few months and we wanted to do some fun things with them, so we headed out to some local museums. The first adventure was to visit the Future of Flight museum. I didn’t get to go, because they don’t allow preschool aged children, (not that I’m a preschooler, but I have one…) so I stayed home and cooked up a big meal for everybody. Which, I thorougly enjoyed, and so did they, by the way. My older two kids along with their cousins, uncles, grandparents and dad went there though for a tour. They came back all talking at once. They had seen a 787. They had seen the largest building in the world by volume. They had seen the assembly line for the 747. They had all kinds of things to tell me. Unfortunately, they were not allowed to take pictures, but they did their best to describe everything they had seen. Then I did my homeschool mom act and made an assignment to each of my kids to write a report on their trip. They enjoyed the project enough, that they not only decided to write, but to design a page for their report. I gave them some help. They spent quite a bit of time searching online for pictures for their reports.

Future of Flight Notebook Page Notebook Page Future of Flight

The next trip we went on was to the Museum of Flight. Sound like we have a theme going? It’s not because we have been studying about airplanes or anything it’s just that these are what struck our fancy, but being that I’m a homeschool mom, I’m wondering if it’s time to do a lapbook on airplanes or the Wright Brothers or something! I don’t know though. Sometimes, I realize that I can’t make a full blown unit out of everything we do. There’s just not enough time. However, since my previous writing assignment turned out so well, I definitely have a theme going on that, and assigned another writing assignment. We were allowed to take pictures on this trip, and being that JD Boy has a new camera, he had his along, so he took lots of pictures and was able to use that for his page.

Museum of Flight Notebook Page NB Page Museum of Flight

The notebook pages.

Museum of Flight Mosaic

Some fun pictures of the day. 1. Moon Rover replica, 2. Blue Angels, 3. WWII plane, 4. Future Astronaught

Our third museum visit was to the Pacific Science Center. We actually have made several trips to the Science Center and I have to confess that I haven’t required writing assignments every single time. I should have, because there is so much to see there, that each time, they could write about something different. But you know, even homeschool moms, slack up once in awhile. This time even my preschooler decided that he wanted to make a report. Our pass still hasn’t expired, so I’m hoping to still get in one more set of reports out of them on the Science Center in the next few weeks. They each chose their own pictures again. JD Boy took all of his pictures. The other two, hunted down pictures on Flickr that were Creative Commons license.

Pacific Science Center Notebook Page Pacific Science Center Notebook Page NB Page Pacific Science Center

The notebook pages.

Pacific Science Center Butterfly House Mosaic

Some shots from the Butterfly House at the science center. Links to the full size pictures. 1. Butterfly, 2. Butterfly, 3. Butterfly, 4. Butterfly

Space Needle from the Pacific Science Center

A very important shot–one of the Space Needle from the Pacific Science Center. All photos from both museums were taken by my 8 yo son, JD Boy.

So there you have it — three museums and three reports and I was able to count three days, that would have otherwise been discounted, as school days! After all, I have written reports to prove it now.

If you are visiting the Seattle area and are planning visits to any of these museums and would like copies of these notebook pages, feel free to email and ask.

Job’s Friends

I’ve decided to share one of the lessons that I have learned this summer.

I don’t want to be like Job’s friends.

A few months ago our pastor preached a sermon about Job, which included thoughts on his friends. I have been contemplating it ever since. I have come to the conclusion that Job’s friends are still around and that I don’t want to be like one of Job’s friends.

Job and his friends Have you ever been talked to by one of Job’s friends? Maybe it went something like this, “I’m so sorry you’re having to go through this. God must be trying to teach you a really important lesson.” Now we all know that difficult times and trials that come our way definitely do something to our character, either for better or for worse, but when you are in the midst of a trial, to be told that “God must be trying to teach you something” is like vinegar to the wound. That makes the trial worse not better.

I have a few friends whose children are suffering from severe health issues. One of these moms commented awhile ago that she had become keenly aware of judgmental people since they had started battling with the health issues. And that it hurt to drop some friendships, but she has to put her energy into her child, not into high-maintenance relationships. Another said that she doesn’t ever want to hear that “God never gives anyone more than they can handle.” Her point being that, many are given more than they can handle, but with God all things are possible. One mom was told that her child had a disability because she (the mom) didn’t have enough faith in God. When my brother was still alive, somebody told him that if he had more faith, he would be healed. My brother told me, “That man just doesn’t know. It takes more faith to keep believing, even when you’re not cured. Being healed would be the easy route.” One man at my brother’s memorial service kept saying to my sister-in-law, a new widow that “It was God’s will. Right? Right?”

align box

Well, there may be an ounce or even a pound of truth in some of these comments, but they are just not comforting. Maybe Job’s friends had truth in what they were saying, but they were not helping Job at all. Too often as Christians, we make comments that sound like they came straight out of the mouths of Job’s friends.

So have you met Job’s friends? If, so be strong and of a good courage. Job was rewarded for being faithful even when his friends tempted him. Or have you been one of Job’s friends? I know I have acted the part of Job’s friends a few times. I want to be changed. I find this commendation to be very fitting. “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.  For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.” Galatians 6:2, 3.

Lord, help us to be filled with Your love and to lift the burdens of those who are being especially tried, and please forgive us for when we have made others burdens even heavier.

Camping on Orcas Island, part. 2

Just a bunch of people shots (well mostly people shots) from our camping trip, that I thought were fun.

First camping trip

Baby is happy about her first camping trip!

Learning to walk at the campground

Baby still learning to walk! Dirt is forgiving!

This is better than home

“This is great! I can throw food on the floor, without Mom freaking out!”

Our next nature buff

Our next nature buff discovering fir cones.


Can’t camp without a campfire, and they’re especially appreciated when the mornings are chilly!

Dirty But Happy

Dirty but happy!

Campout Hair

Camping bed head!


JD Boy’s picture of one of the many seals hanging out by Shaw Island.


A poppy. Another picture by JD Boy. He’s taking after his father’s photography skills.

The nature photographer

A picture of the real photographer among us.

Camera war

I have no clue what he was taking a picture of. I think I was the one that had the view in my viewfinder, all that was behind me was a stone wall. Oh, well, camera wars are fun, especially with my hubby.

Camping on Orcas Island

We had a very fun camping trip to Orcas Island this summer. One of the most fun camping trips ever. Well, I always say that unless it rains on us. I really enjoy camping with my kiddoes. It’s so fun to go exploring in the wilderness with them. We saw so many things. Here are a few.

Of course, we had our binoculars and kept our eyes open for new and loved birds. Here are a couple that afforded us their picture.

Wren singing his heart out

A wren singing his heart out. Something that just always fills me with delight to see and hear.


A Rufous Hummingbird sipping from Great Hedge Nettle. (I hope I got my flower identification right.) Talk about jewels. This kind of beauty just makes me get goosebumps. I love God’s artwork!

Moran State Park, Orcas Island

God’s artwork is just as beautiful in wide shots as in those close shots.

We took a nice hike to this beautiful waterfall in Moran State Park. It was stunning, no doubt about it. I decided to add the view to my nature journal, since I tend to add close pictures to my nature journal of birds and flowers and things like that and I’d like to learn how to draw nature scenes like this. Unfortunately, one of my boys decided that mother nature was calling loudly, just as soon as I had seated myself and started my sketch, so it is still unfinished. The good thing was that my husband had the camera, so maybe I’ll finish someday, looking at these pictures for reference. My son and I ended up hiking back out much faster than we had hiked in. We freaked out my husband and the other kids, because we couldn’t get their attention as they were ahead of us and my son didn’t want to lose time chasing them down. Anyway, we obviously met back up, but it added a few laughs for our camping trip!

IMG_2632 - Version 2

This one was taken after I left, but I love it.

Enjoying our new kayak

This is the newest toy at our house. (Thanks to Craig’s List.) We took it with us. And enjoyed lots of paddling in the lakes. Now we need another one.

Mt. Constitution, Orcas Island

This is the view from the fire lookout tower on Mt. Constitution. Actually, this is only part of the view. We could see a long ways and see lots of islands. Other than the fact that being a fire lookout might have been boring most of the time, this one sure had awesome views.

On our way to Orcas, we visited a couple of other islands, here a couple of shots from Shaw Island.

Shark Reef Bay, Shaw Island

This is Shark Reef at Shaw Island. I want to take my dad here. He’s a very good artist. I want him to paint what he sees. It’s on my list of things for him to do!! Doesn’t that look like it should be made into a painting to you?

Fisherman's Bay, Shaw Island

Two stragglers we found there.

Bad hair is one of the fun parts of camping. I have a few of those kinds of shots too, but I’ll save those for my next post. I just get this devilish little thrill of taking pictures of people around the campground, you never can get pictures quite like that anywhere else. So next time. Thanks for enjoying the beauty of our trip with us!

Happy First Birthday, Baby!

This is actually old news, but I still want to post it on my blog, because it was a fun day!

Time flies. That is one thing that parents all agree on. Children just keep growing and growing. (And parents keep aging, but that’s a different story.)

The past year has been a whirlwind. And I can’t believe that our baby is now one. I love those newborn days and smells. And I did my best to cherish every moment, because I have, by now, learned from experience that newborn is a fleeting stage of life. But one year-olds are no less enjoyable. They are so fun. Personality starts popping out. They learn to toddle around. They learn to say “mama”, which thrills my heart every time I hear it. They learn to say “no”, which, well, isn’t quite as much of a blessing. They enjoy eating real food and make a glorious mess of it too. We are having so much fun with our little miss. She is definitely my most serious baby. If you come and introduce yourself to her, she will scowl back at you, very skeptically. So don’t feel offended, she does it to everybody. On the other hand, she’s quite the clown and can have us doubled over with laughter on a regular basis. You’d love to meet her. Well, everybody loves to meet babies, so I knew that was safe to say.

We had the privilege of taking our family, along with some of our closest friends, on an all day excursion for her first birthday.

Two Babies

Here she is enjoying the beach with her little friend. Both our families love the outdoors and are introducing even our youngest ones to that love as quickly as possible.

1 year old

She didn’t get to blow out her candle. In fact we couldn’t even get it to light. The breeze was too strong. But, oh well, most one year olds are pretty baffled by having to blow out candles.

A metal water bottle for baby

Now she’s ready to hike in style. Her big sis got her, her very own sippy-cup water bottle.

Learning to slide

Up the slide…

Learning to slide

And down.

Happy birthday, Baby!


We had a lovely garden this summer. This was the first garden that we have had at this house and it produced well. Unfortunately, the only pictures I got were of us planting.

We put in grow boxes in the spring and grew our whole garden in the grow boxes. It was a fun experiment and I think that we are going to add more grow boxes before next summer.

Our growbeds

I believe that a lot of lessons can be taught to children in the garden. Every family that possibly can should have a garden, if for no other reason, because it provides a wonderful lesson book for the children. That is why Jesus used seed sowing and plants and trees in so many parables.

G'tums plants lettuce

Here is a quote about how valuable the garden is in teaching children spiritual lessons: “The parable of the sower and the seed conveys a deep spiritual lesson. The seed represents the principles sown in the heart, and its growth the development of character. Make the teaching on this point practical. The children can prepare the soil and sow the seed; and as they work, the parent or teacher can explain to them the garden of the heart, with the good or bad seed sown there; and that as the garden must be prepared for the natural seed, so the heart must be prepared for the seed of truth. As the plant grows, the correspondence between the natural and the spiritual sowing can be continued.

“The little children may be Christians, having an experience in accordance with their years. This is all that God expects of them. They need to be educated in spiritual things; and parents should give them every advantage, that they may form characters after the similitude of the character of Christ.” Ellen White, Counsels to Parents, Teachers and Students, p. 142.

Baby eats dirt

The baby mostly enjoyed eating the dirt. Yikes!

Life Goes on

Well, if you have given up following my blog, I can completely understand. I haven’t posted for months, since the death of my younger brother. The whole experience was quite a blow to me and has made keeping up with life and homeschool in particular, a bit more difficult, but life goes on. No matter how meaningless some activities seem, life must go on. Laundry must continue to be done. Dishes washed. Diapers changed. Math done. Reading done. Bible study done, especially Bible study. I will have to admit, that I still have not managed to get back into the full swing of life, especially homeschool. Our homeschool has suffered a blow. But we are making progress. I can’t say we ever had a “first day of school” this year. We’ve squeezed school activities in, wherever we can fit them actually. Obviously I haven’t squeezed in time for my blog however. So some of the things I share over the next little while will be things that happened awhile ago and I’m doing them in no specific order.

In spite, of the fact, that life has had some solemn and sad time for us, it has also been brightened by happy times and beautiful days. I hope to share some of our happy times over the next few days and weeks.

Thanks to so many who said they were praying for me and for my family. Your prayers were felt.

All pink in Olympic Nationa Park

A picture of me and the baby enjoying beautiful wild flowers and each other.