Monday, October 27, 2008

Salem Jr. High Youth Confirmation Retreat

Mikayla spent this last weekend doing a service project with her Jr. High Youth Confirmation group in Leavenworth at the Grunewald Guild.

Here are a few photos from the weekend:

Mikayla enjoying the scenery:

Mikayla working in the garden at Grunewald Guild:

Break Time:

More garden work (but still no complaints):

The whole group in Leavenworth after the Scavenger Hunt:

This particular scavenger hunt involved having to find four of the adult chaperones that were disguised so they couldn't be easily located. The kids really enjoyed it.

Mikayla waiting for a Confirmation Session to start, with some buddies:

Do you ever get the feeling that your kids are embarrassed when their parents are 'hanging around'?

We don't keep score.

Alexia had her final soccer game of the season this last weekend.

It was a great season for all the girls on the team.

We don't keep score, but if we did, our team was almost undefeated and averaged more than 8 goals per game.

Tonight was our end-of-season pizza party where Alexia received a trophy and was recognized for her ability to out maneuver the other team. Way to go Alexia!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Lady Buggin'

Had to get this off the camera to make room for the upcoming weekend in Leavenworth with Mikayla and the rest of the Confirmation class.

Here is Josie, modeling her Halloween costume:

Other than that... it's the same old story around here, but there's a lot on the horizon that's sure to make blog headlines one way or another.


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Halloween History

We carved pumpkins... like we do almost every year. Three of the four of us really enjoy it.
Here is our collection of pumpkins from 1997 onward. For the years 1997 to 2003 I had to scan/crop scrapbook pages since we don't have digital photos from that era.

Every year I try to take pictures of the illuminated pumpkins, but it seems my illumination photos don't always qualify as scrapbook material.

2008 - the first year that both kids wanted to do their own carving. I still ended up getting to help them out a bit.







2001 If you can't tell, this pumpkin is Ariel, from the Disney Little Mermaid movie. We used a coloring book page as a template. Too bad the picture didn't turn out a little better because it was pretty neat.





Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fun & Games

It's been all fun and games around here lately. Especially if you're not a grown up.

Here's a quick recap of this weeks memorable events:

Headline #1: Tanya Declares Herself Supreme Rule Maker of Blog Posts
Obviously concerned about her public image, Tanya issued an unprecedented ruling after last weeks Magnetic Bed post, hereby banning any future pictures of her sleeping from the Blog.

Therefore, if any photos of Tanya sleeping get posted in the future you can be assured that they must have been photos taken by paparazzi.

Stay tuned for more Blog Posting rules that may follow.

Headline #2: Dog Training Takes A New Twist
After her success at the Skagit County and the Washington State Fair in Puyallup this summer, Mikayla has started expanding her horizons and added an exciting new twist to her dog training program. It turns out that Showmanship, Obedience and Agility just isn't enough to keep Mikayla busy so she's now training Josie to take the place of other animals... and fairy tale characters.

Our cameras were invited to witness this exclusive training program and are glad to provide these never before seen images of Little Red Riding Hood and Mr. Ed:

Headline #3: GOOOOOAAAAALLLLL!!!!!!!
Once again the DQ Team put on a fantastic show at their Saturday morning game.

Alexia managed to score her second goal of the season. Unfortunately, the excitement was temporarily abated as she suffered a show-stopping injury a short while later. She managed to walk off the field for a short recovery period with two teammates, and Nurse Josie. This photo was preceded by a brief pep talk: "Stop crying until after I take this picture of you recovering".

After the game we hustled off to Krispy Kreme doughnuts to celebrate Alexia's goal... and her speedy recovery.

Headline #4: Family Fun at Frazier Farm's Pumpkin Patch
After our exciting morning of soccer we made our second annual visit to the pumpkin patch at Frazier Farms. Really, we've been doing this for years, but our 'regular' pumpkin patch is now underneath a Home Depot.

It just wasn't quite the same this year. No one cried. No one got muddy. It was just plain, simple, easy, enjoyable fun.

Hopefully we'll get around to carving our pumpkins some day soon.

Headline #5: Eric's a Lug Head
Tanya called me on Sunday as I was returning from my hike to Mount Baker's Railroad Grade Trail to let me know my car had a flat tire. No big deal - at least it went flat at home instead of 30 miles out in the wilderness.

Once I arrived at home, I was able to quickly switch out the flat tire with the full size spare in the trunk and planned to swing by the tire store during my lunch break on Monday. I've never changed a tire with so little hassle... such a piece of cake.

Unfortunately, the reason it didn't take long to change the tire is because I skipped a step. The step where you tighten the lug nuts. DOH! It's OK though... all is well and I have new tires on the car.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Magnetic Bed

Apparently, MY side of the bed is the preferred spot in the entire house as it seems to attract ... everything.

Every night when I finally get around to turning in for the evening it's a given that something will need to be moved out of the way.

The only thing that I've never seen on my side of the bed is the TV Remote control.

Off the top of my head, here are some of the things I've encountered at bedtime:
  • A sleeping Mikayla
  • A sleeping Alexia
  • A sleeping Daisy the cat
  • Books (Tanya's)
  • Magazines (Tanya's)
  • Dog Treats
  • Dog Bones
  • Leashes
  • Popcorn bowls (full and half full, but usually with only unpopped kernels remaining)
  • the Newspaper
  • Clean Laundry (oops - that's usually my own fault)
  • Tanya's Ice Pack (yes, cold!)
  • Bucky (Tanya's 40 pound buckwheat pillow - speaking of which, it's no wonder her arm hurts as she's always lugging that thing around!)
  • Kleenex, Kleenex and more Kleenex
  • Homework
  • Lesson Plans
  • and finally, more often than not, Josie.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Bee Story - Part 2

This is a status report on the Bee Story situation.
For the last few days I've had my arsenal of bee fighting equipment lined up on the banister and today I finally had the time to really focus my attention on this risky task.

Tackling the less risky job first, the attic remained temporarilly sealed behind a plastic barrier while I skipped to:

Phase Three: Outdoor Hives under the Eaves

A tour of the roofline revealed about 10 to 15 individual, fist sized hives that needed to be removed.

The weather was windy and 'almost' rainy. The wind ultimately became the deal breaker after only two or three close calls, but the rain was actually helpful as it led to me wearing more protective clothing which ultimatly spared me from excessive contact with the bee spray.

Hive by hive the extension ladder went up, hive was sprayed, hive was knocked down by either a ski pole or the pool skimmer (since it extends to a long length) and disposed of.

On the east side of the house (right where 'the incident' would occur in about an hour) the extension ladder (fully extended) was blown over by the wind just as my foot was about to mount the first step. The ladder crashed loudly (but not uncontrollably) onto the rear deck, resulting in a slice to the deck railing and also a nice slice to my lower left leg that wouldn't be noticed until the entire ordeal was over.

Luckily, the family heard the ruckus and rushed out to my rescue.

Is it normal for rescuers to yell at the person being rescued? Hmmm.

Despite her sickly condition, Tanya braved the elements to brace the bottom of the ladder to keep me safe as the hives were removed.

There are a few remaining hives on the north side of the house, but the wind ultimately prevented the safe placement of the ladder and probably would have prevented the spray from reaching its target at such a high elevation. Since there does not appear to be any attic ventilation in that area we'll leave those for another day.

Phase Two: The Attic (part two)
Every morning and every evening I would monitor the plastic barrier I put up in lieu of the attic access door and every morning and every evening I would find between two and five deceased (or nearly deceased) insects. Usually it was a combination of bees and flies.

Since I had already removed two fist sized hives/nests that were located near the attic access it was my expectation that either the bees would disappear (problem solved) or they'd keep showing up (job not done). You've probably already figured out that the bees kept showing up.

The family was otherwise occupied (Tanya was napping and the girls were scrapbooking - that sounds backwards but it's not) so I loaded up a garbage can with my Weapons of Mass Destruction (now including the extendable pool skimmer and safety glasses), donned my headlamp, said a quick prayer and carefully entered the attic.

I felt like a stealth cougar on the hunt. Sly, quiet, invisible... until I smacked my head on a rafter and reality kicked in. Yeah - I'm a bull in a china closet.

Slowly and methodically my headlight scoured almost every inch of the attic ceiling for any additional nests/hives or other unwanted insect evidence. The attic was completely clean - except for the last five feet on the west side and the last five feet on the east side of the attic.

Located in those last few feet of attic at the end of the house, where the roof slopes down to the ventilation holes on each side of the house were between 3 and 5 fist-sized hives.


Pulled out the 'shoots 25 feet' can of bee spray and doused the west side hives without incident, while balancing carefully on rafters, of course. Piece of cake.

After maneuvering to the east side of the roof and trying to jockey for position in order to get a good aim on the hives, my back suddenly pierced with pain. Panic kicks in as I'm about to be severly mauled by insane, poisoned bees.

Oh, wait a minute - that's not quite right. That happens later.

Aparrently my jockeying around resulted in me getting poked by one of the millions of nails holding the shingles on the roof. It wasn't a bee at all. I utter a nervous little laugh. Very funny God.

Regaining my composure, my headlight focuses on the remaining bee hives. They are a bit further away than the first group, but surely they are within the 25 foot shooting distance needed per the always truthful Marketing burst on the can. Ready, aim, fire.

Poison douses one of the five hives and as the stream spreads toward the others there is a brief sputter, stream, sputter... sputter... hisssssss. Done... because the can is empty.

Unlike the west side bees, who offered zero resistance, the east side bees were not ready to call it quits. As the empty can is lowered to my side, a swarm quickly approaches. It could have been only one or two bees but my focus suddenly turned to finding my backup can of bee spray.

As the first bee bumps into me, my hand finds the backup can and quickly unleashes a cloud of insecticide in a 360 degree sphere. Up, down, left, right... everywhere. It turns out that this can was the 'indoor' spray so instead of a stream, it lets loose a cloud or mist of spray which was just what was needed in this situation.

More bumps as more insects run into me and my attention quickly turned to getting the heck out of dodge. No longer a stealth couger on the hunt, I'm now the rabbit being chased by the cougar. Extracting ones self from a cramped attic is not an easy task when one is coated in insecticide, dodging shingle nails and hopping from insulation covered rafter to rafter.

As quickly as possible, this rabbit exited the attic and slammed the attic access panel back into it's old accustomed place.

For now, let's just pretend that the dousing to those east side hives was good enough and call this job done.