Friday, November 28, 2008

The annual Christmas tree hunt!

Each year we head out to Orting to get our Christmas tree at the Bowman Hilton Farm. You can get any size Douglas fir for $30. Last year, our tree was so large it looked like we stole it out of a department store. So this year we thought we'd downsize a bit. Hahahaha... see, the funny thing about picking a tree out in an open field is that it never looks as big out there as it does once you get it inside the house. So try as we did, we failed at downsizing. In fact, our tree ended up being a bit bigger than it was last year. AJ came with us. Mike and AJ tried getting it into the stand and couldn't. Mike's dad came over later and helped him get it rigged upright. It's gorgeous! As always we had a fun time picking it out. Typically, Mike has to get down on the ground and saw it by hand. But we got lucky this year. The guys who own the farm had chainsaws! Yay!

Here are some pictures from the day's events! The last picture is blurry but I put it there for comparison. Mike is 6'3". That tree is easily 12'. We had to trim it and it still almost reaches the beam in the ceiling!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Twilight Premiere!!

The night we had been waiting for forever had finally arrived... the premiere of Twilight on the big screen! Mary came over to go to the midnight premiere. My friend Jodi Worrells also came over that night. The three of us left around 9pm for a midnight premiere. The place was PACKED and the movie was showing on three screens! I have to admit, it was a sea of mostly teenage girls! Hahahaha... but we didn't care because even if we didn't LOOK like teenagers, we certainly felt like teens! We sat in the hall (in line) and played games for a bit and then went in and got our seats. We wound up sitting right behind Daucie Wilson and two of her kids, so we had a lot to chat about for another hour.

Then the movie started... there was lots of cheering in audience!! It was a magical experience! We were so excited to be there and we had a LOT of fun!! I'm so glad I got to experience that magic with some special people!

EDITED 12/30/08: I've seen the movie THREE times on the big screen! Jodi came with me again one of those times! And as soon as it hits the $2 theater, I'll be right back there to see it again! (And Jodi says she'll go with me again! Yay!) The DVD is supposed to be out around mid-February. Once I have the DVD and the movie on my iPod, life will be divine. Hahahaha... the next movie in the series, New Moon, begins production this spring. The release date has tentatively been set for November 20, 2009. Will we be back for another midnight premiere? Heck yeah!!! I'm going to try to hit the midnight premiere of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince in July as well. While Mike steadfastly avoids anything Twilight related, he has said he will be willing to go see Harry Potter at midnight with me! We shall see!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

School today

One of the things I love about homeschooling is the variety of things I can teach Ethan. We are following the Virtual Academy curriculum, but it's SO rich and full! We have an art class we are doing together and the things that he is being exposed to are amazing! Today, we learned about different shapes in art. The painting we studied was American Gothic by Grant Wood, which was painted in 1930. He was able to find different shapes in the painting and then differentiate which shape was more in the foreground and which in the background. Then he created his own piece of artwork using shapes!

Our teacher's name this year is Laura Corkern. I am in contact with her by email at least once a week and by phone at least every couple of weeks. This is her second year teaching through the Virtual Academy and she is absolutely amazed as well. She said she was very skeptical of teaching through this program and it took her a long time to come to the decision to do so. Now she says she can't imagine teaching anywhere else and she loves it. She is a foster parent and has also adopted several children. She said she is thinking about pulling a couple of her kids out of traditional elementary because she is tired of them coming home and whining, saying, "How come WE don't get to study art and history in school?" Her daughter who in school has spent the past several weeks learning about different places in the city of Des Moines, where they go to school. Her daughter that is in Virtual Academy is learning about the Rennaisance. Which would YOU find more interesting? So she waits to do art until her other daughter gets home from school so that they can learn as a family.

Ethan is now expressing interest in doing a unit study on (of all things) the platypus. That should be interesting...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Historic Day

It is an historic day in this country. The people have voted in the first black president, Barack Obama. He will lead this country for the next four years. Frankly, I'm terrified. The democrats now own the presidency, the House, and the Senate (at least as far as the numbers are reporting currently). There is no balance of power. We are fast becoming a socialist society. We are giving up our freedoms. In all fairness, I'm not a huge fan of John McCain either. But I think we are headed for disaster.

I feel prompted to pray for our political leaders. I also feel prompted to reread the Book of Mormon. The last time I read it cover-to-cover, I did not see it as a story or a collection of stories... I saw it as a political manual. I feel prompted to read it again with that in mind. It was written for US, in THIS day. I also feel prompted to read the constitution and become much more familiar with it. It has been prophesied that in the latter days it will hang by a thread. If it isn't there already, it is headed in that direction.

It is a somber night for me. But I will wake up tomorrow, smile, and pray for my leaders. I am thankful and grateful that eternal laws are not subject to the shredding that our constitutional laws are. The gospel is the same, yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Of that we can be sure. And while I may worry about the leadership of our government, I don't need to worry about the heavenly-inspired leadership of the church. I am so grateful for the anchor that is the gospel.

Ezra Taft Benson - Stand Up For Freedom

In the wake of elections today, I wanted to post this absolutely amazing and stunning talk given by Ezra Taft Benson back in 1966. The quality is very good. It is one hour of your time... one hour that will enrich and enlighten your lives!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Portland getaway!

Mike and I actually went on a little overnight getaway to Portland. Shocking but true, it was our first overnight trip away from the kids!! We just haven't heretofore felt comfortable leaving them (well, I won't speak for Mike... I haven't felt comfortable until now!) But we had an opportunity to go to Portland and hear our favorite financial guru speak and we knew we couldn't pass it up. BLESS MARY AND JAY for taking our children for two days so that we could do this. It was a much, much needed getaway and I think it brought us closer together. Certainly, it solidified to me the need for us to do that once or twice a year.

I had to work Friday night but as soon as I got off, we jumped in the car and headed down to Portland. I slept, on and off, all the way down, but I have to admit that I was still REALLY tired. We grabbed a bite to eat in a little Mexican dive that had great food. After eating, we checked into our hotel and dropped off our bags there. We had a really nice hotel suite!

Then we headed over to the Coliseum, found parking, and walked over. The event was long... 5 hours! I nodded off during parts of it but still really enjoyed it. I'm so glad we went and I know Mike is too.

The guy we went to see is Dave Ramsey. I was introduced to this guy a few years ago and then talked Mike's ear off about him. Mike got intrigued and began listening to him as well. I LOVE Dave! He gives sound, solid advice about getting out of debt and staying there. We have followed his plan before and did really well but then we got lazy and now find ourselves buried again. What I love about Dave is that there are no gimmicks. You don't even have to buy anything to get his plan. It's all on his website for free. There is no "get rich quick" scheme. In fact, he gives advice from a Christian perspective that I really appreciate. He is the only financial guy outside the church that actually endorses and encourages the payment of tithes while you are trying to get out of debt! I love it!

After seeing Dave, we left feeling really good about putting a more solid debt reduction plan into action in our lives. We ate dinner downtown at The Rock Bottom and enjoyed a really nice meal. Then we perused the downtown Portland Borders, where I used my 40% coupon to purchase the 7th and final Harry Potter installment. I'm currently reading book 4, The Goblet of Fire. Then we headed back to the hotel and enjoyed dessert. After that I simply collapsed. My head was pounding and I'd been awake for two days and just couldn't take it anymore. I slept solidly. It helped that we turned back the clocks so we got an extra hour of sleep as well!

The next morning, we had breakfast in the hotel. Then we packed up and checked out. Before heading home, we stopped at Salty's On the Columbia River and enjoyed afternoon brunch. The food was incredible and we had a spectacular time! In my personal, oh so humble opinion, the brunch was worth the chocolate fondue fountain alone! Hahahaha... well, the prime rib and other things were wonderful too!

We took some pictures and then headed out of town.

We stopped in Vancouver for gas and then made a straight shot home to Federal Way. It took us less than 3 hours. It's amazing the kind of time you can make when you aren't having to stop frequently for children! I got home just in time to go to work and work a 12 hour shift. I finished that shift this morning and have been pretty dead all day! Yet here I am, updating the blog instead of going to sleep!!

Happy Halloween!

(There are several pictures in this blog entry. Some were taken by me and some by Jay! All the kids looked so cute!)

We survived Halloween! Yay! We actually (gasp!) took the time to put costumes together for the kids this year instead of just forking over cash the night before Halloween. I sat the kids down last week and made them come to a final decision! Ethan decided to be a spider and Evan decided on Indiana Jones. They looked so cute!

We spent the holiday out in Port Orchard with Mary and Jay and their family. Rebekah and Emily came along as well. We met up at their house and put the finishing touches on the costumes and then we headed over to their ward for a Halloween party and Trunk-or-Treat festivities. That was a lot of fun! The kids had fun playing games and winning prizes. Later we all went back to the house and enjoyed snacks and Halloween shows while Jay took a slew of pictures of everyone! Here are a bunch of pictures from the night! Besides a spider and Indiana Jones, we also had Samantha the Jedi, Jayson as Superman, Savana the bumblebee, Sierra as Hermione Granger, and Emily as Tinkerbell!

I took off at 9:30 to head back to Federal Way for work. Mike left a couple of hours after that. We left the kids there for the night and took off the next morning for a trip down to Portland. More on that in the next entry!