Saturday, March 29, 2014

Spring Break, 2014

I am a wealthy woman. Nine children, 25 grandchildren, my mother living in my home…so many rich blessings! Tomorrow wraps up this year's spring break. So grateful for the sweet time with family!!

We spent four days in Columbus, Ohio, meeting our newest little grandbaby, Felix. He and big sis Olivia were so much fun. Bryan had just finished the first round of his optometry boards, and it was great to relax with him. Katie is starting up a business venture, Snapbibs, and it was amazing to see her "factory" first hand!

Is it just me, or does Felix have some serious dance moves that he's working on?? He's a cool customer.

Then this weekend we've had a dear visit from Kendra and Abbi, Charlie, and Lilly. Today we marked the one-year anniversary of my dad's death with an outing to Camassia. It was sweet to hear my mom promising her sweetheart that she would be sealed to him in the temple in August.

 Finished off today with the amazing and powerful General Women's Conference! Wow! So many wonderful things to contemplate and ponder. I am grateful to be a woman in the 21st century. I treasured the time to sit with Kendra and Mom. Sarah and Kat were there, too! I thought about all my dear daughters, step-daughters, and daughters-in-law…and two more granddaughters Katie C and Audrey…tears flowed as I knew that most of them were watching it along with us in other meeting houses or online. A grand worldwide sisterhood, and my family and I are part of it.

I loved the way the meeting was rich and deeply spiritual and at the same time, accessible to the girls 8 years old and older, who were invited to this meeting for the first time. Some of my favorite quotes…

"We are covenant-making women of all ages" [eight-year-old women - love it!] "As we strive to keep our covenants, our feelings of inadequacy fade." - Sister Wixom, Gen. Primary President

"There is nothing that is worth losing our divine compassion and sisterhood over." "There is no age barrier when it comes to Christlike service." "Reach out to help one another through transitions and milestones." "We need deep, satisfying, and loyal friendships with each other." [quoted from Marjorie Hinckley] "Not only love each other more, but love each other better" - Sister Oscarson, Gen. YW President

We make it through life with "the Atonement of Christ, the guidance of the Holy Ghost, and the helping hands of others." - Sister Burton, Gen. RS President

"Listening to the sacrament prayers each week renews the feelings that I felt at baptism." "What we think divides us falls away…we are more alike as daughters of God than we are different." - President Eyring

The time went by so quickly! So much fun, laughter…a few tears and frustrations, too, but that's part of life, right?
     Spring break…ahhh…summer is around the corner!

Monday, March 24, 2014

More fun with fabric balls

Looking for a perfect baby shower gift?

Tussy Norman from Texas shared a photo of her fabric ball.

She made it for a baby shower…and her beautiful gift was the only handmade gift at the shower!

Needless to say, it was a big hit and the talk of the gals at the shower.

These sweet balls are so perfect for little fingers. They've been bringing joy all over the globe since I first posted the pattern in 2010.

Tussy, thanks for sharing your beautiful photo. What a lucky little baby!

You can find the tutorial and pattern here.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Silver Beaver

Last night the local Boy Scouts of America council had their annual Court of Honor for the adult volunteers. I was awarded a Silver Beaver recognition! This is the highest honor a local council may award to the adult volunteers. This year 24 adults received this recognition. The Cascade Pacific Council, based in Portland, currently has almost 11,000 adult volunteers, so it is quite an amazing distinction.

I was especially amazed to receive this award because I'm currently "just" a merit badge counselor. However, I have been an adult scouting volunteer for over 35 years - since I was about 23 years old!! I have served as a Cub Scout Den Leader (3x), Cub Scout Committee Chair and member, Boy Scout Advancement Chair and committee member, Assistant Scoutmaster (for 5 years - working with the 11-year-old Scouts), District Committee Membership Chair, District Training Team (5 years), and Merit Badge Counselor for too many years to count. I have been Wood Badge trained, and I have been on the Wood Badge Staff 2x. I was Den Leader for my son (David) and grandson (Joshua).

Jim Bean, my first Oregon City Stake President and a huge supporter of Scouting (he serves at the National level) nominated me. He told me that he wants to see more long-term volunteers recognized, and he thinks it's important that not only have I served very actively in the past, but that I am still involved with youth by teaching high school and by serving as Young Women's President. He was impressed to hear that I have taken the Young Women out on high adventure backpacking outings for the last 2 summers - so I'm taking the outdoor skills I learned through scouting and I am continuing to share them with youth. I also served at Young Women's Camp as a cabin mom, camp director, and certification leader for a ten-year span.

Last night we enjoyed a dinner with the other Silver Beavers and their families. Mark presented me with my award. Mom cheered us on. It was an evening to remember.

And yet, nothing much changes, right? I'm still me. I'll sew another little "knot" patch on my uniform to signify the Silver Beaver award, and then I plan to continue serving as I have always done. Being affiliated with an LDS Pack and Troop means that I'm always around, always a potential leader (again). Which is awesome. I'm proud and happy to be a member of the Boy Scouts of America.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Freezing Rain

Last night we had freezing rain on top of our 8" of snow.

 The view out the kitchen window.

 Icicles on the south side of the house

 Yesterday the neighbors made a 7-foot tall igloo!
They made the blocks by packing snow in the recycling bin.
It worked before the freezing rain fell last night.

 Somebody made a snow angel in the powder yesterday...

 And somebody went snowshoeing this afternoon
in the crunchy icy snow!
 We "hiked" over to the frozen wasteland that is Gardiner Middle School.
The little creek along the pathway to Gardiner
 Birch tree with snow
The frog pond (for storm water drainage) at the end of the street

We'll have "home church" later this afternoon. Then we'll see what the weather brings, and whether we have a normal schedule tomorrow, a 2-hour late start, or another snow day. I predict a 2-hour late start.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Legit Snow

Here in the Portland area, we are snow wimps. Give us an inch or so and we call it a snow day.

Mind you, we do have our reasons:
1. We have lots of hills
2. We get wet, slushy snow because we live in a marine climate
3. It often freezes at night, which results in sheets of black ice
4. We are prone to freezing rain….i.e., more black ice.

But still.

Friends and relative in colder, snowier regions often mock us.
And I don't mind a bit, as long as I get my snow day.

Sometimes we get a little snow in February. I can remember 1 or 2 years that we had a snow day this late in the winter.

But 8-10 inches of snow in 2 1/2 days? Never above freezing?
We are talking legit snow here, my friends.

The snow started falling Thursday afternoon.
Friday we had a snow day.
It was still snowing this morning when we woke up.
And we're supposed to get more snow this afternoon.
And some freezing rain tonight and tomorrow.
Church is cancelled tomorrow.

I know you're anxious to see this winter wonderland, so I'm posting a few pics for you below.

 Our front yard on Thursday afternoon.
Our front yard this morning.
…and watch the snow collect on that little cone-shaped evergreen in the back of the top photo.
Friday…lots more snow...
...Saturday morning - still more snow!

 …the hummingbird feeder is frozen completely solid.
(Luckily our neighbor changes his several times a day)
 Meanwhile, we're feeding the chickadees, junkos, and other little birds.
 And we have clear evidence that the birds were looking for bugs hiding in the siding of our house.
Hooray for protein!

 Before Mark shoveled the front walk the first time.
 After shoveling Saturday morning.
Then we went and shoveled some of the neighbor's sidewalks.
Good exercise!

 A walk in the snow with Sarah, Kat, and Nana.
Kat, Nana, Sarah
 Mark, Mom, me
(this was Friday morning)

 A few more pics from today - 3rd day of snow
 View of the back yard maple
Same view from a lower angle.
Yikes! The snow is trying to come in!

SO THANKFUL for indoor plumbing…snow days…electricity…sweet people in my life.

Stay warm! I'm heading off to make some hot chocolate.