Friday, December 22, 2006

Our Christmas Tree (Part I)

The Freshly Cut Tree

The fewer branches there are, the fewer ornaments you need, the fewer ornaments to break, the less lights required, and the quicker the decorating job! ;) No, actually, it is quite a nice tree. And so fresh that after being up for 5 days it has hardly lost a single needle, despite the number of times it has been brushed up against by kids, scooters, rocking chairs, flying objects and the like.

Chopping Down the Tree

O.K. So John isn't so sure this tree-hunting business is as fun as everyone says!

Theresa Enjoying the Snow

The snow was much more plentiful in the mountains than on the prairie, so the kids enjoyed the adventure of tromping through the snowy forest. Well, they mostly enjoyed it. A few tears (o.k., maybe more than a few!) were shed when they would suddenly find themselves waist deep in the snow and feeling a bit cold and helpless. Amazingly enough, though, the hardships were quickly forgotten and by the time we returned home their hearts were filled with wonderful memories of our trip to the mountains to find a Christmas tree.

Eleven Years and Counting!

A Date Night in Loretto, PA.

In celebration of the 11th anniversary of when Greg first invited me out on a date! :) Who would have believed....

Thursday, September 28, 2006

A Real Idaho Potato

We had our first garden this year (thanks to Grandpa!) and did we have a whopper of a crop... green tomatoes (the growing season is a bit short here), delicious corn, pumpkins, zucchini, cantaloupe, and of course potatoes. And did the potatoes do well! Here is a photo of the biggest one of the bunch ... as big as my hand and an easy two and a half pounds. This one will easily provide a whole meal for our family! (Please feel free to send us potato recipes!!) The rest were good sized, too. All in all, not too bad for our first go round.

The monster spud

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

August Summer Fun

August started off with a bang and we are now well into September and things just haven't slowed down yet. One of my highschool classmates got married on Fri, Aug 1. It was a very beautiful wedding. Dave and Kerry, we wish you the best!

Dave and Kerry get married!

Then it was off to the beaches ... again! This time to Skookumchuck on the Salmon River with Matthew, Magdalene, and Raphael over from Seattle.

Mags and Raphael

The Great White Explorers ... watch out Lewis & Clark!

Are those goosebumps?

Snorkelin' buddies.

Then we had Paul and Kristin and Patrick, Claudia, and Declan come for a couple weeks. Did we have fun!

Back together again!

Declan and Raphael

The ladies of the family ... just missing Mimi!

And yes, there was a birthday in there!

In the midst of it all we had the newlyweds over for dinner

Together at the Idaho County Fair!

A cool treat on a hot August day.

That smile is as contagious as ever!

You mean I can have sand for lunch and dinner?

I don't think I'd want to mess with this bunch.

Starting a campfire in front of the church???!!! Just practicing for the Easter Vigil, I guess.

Dinner on the deck.

The Biggest Cousin and the one of the littlest cousins.

Paul and Kristin

The mentos experiment continues, this time with a 25 foot high jet of diet coke!

The joys of sleeping outside!

Getting cozy before the cousins and aunts and uncles leave.

Grandpa is getting his workout!

Then, after everyone left and I was visting California, some friends from Seattle came and Maura and the kids got to spend some time with the Hatches and Gary.

Sameniego and Johnny Pops

Laura and Johnny

Horse rides for all! (Thanks, Lauren!)

Maura, Colleen, and John

After I got back, Emily, also from Seattle, came for a few days.

Emily and the crew

Now, as the summer winds down and the fall rains begin, we look forward to next summer when we can do it all over again!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Good Times in Beautiful Santa Monica

I just got back from a most excellent trip to Santa Monica where a good friend and co-worker from my Tier2/Open Text days, Mr. Thomas Milan, was married to a beautiful Eritrean, Rahel Woldegaber (see these links: link1, link2, link3). Another good friend and co-worker Pat Bucy was also at the wedding. It was a great experience getting to know some of Rahel's family, seeing a totally new culture, learning about Eritrea, and especially hearing Rahel's story and how both of their stories united. I am kicking myself for not getting a "Green Boy" reunion picture, but here are a few shots that I did take:

Thomas and Rahel during the Sunday morning brunch

I didn't get many other good shots. (The fact that these are my best will help you realize how bad the others are!) After the wedding and dinner, the dancing commenced. And did I menton that it wasn't your typical wedding dancing??!! Thre was an Eritrean band and Eritrean music and Eritrean dancing and was it fun! I still find myself jiggiling to the rythmn. The photos below show the last dance (which has a special Eritrean name which I have since forgotten) where we all dance around the bride and the groom with roses (a blessing for children) and money (which you place either in the colorful baskets or on the forehead of the bride or groom).

Being on the beautiful coast, I couldn't leave without checking out the beautiful beaches! Thanks to Pat, who brought a couple boards, I was introduced to the art and pleasures of boogie boarding. And what a better place than in wonderfully refreshing warm water with a beautiful breeze on your face. My only dissapointment was that Maura and the kiddos weren't there, too!

Another amazing blessing was seeing a good friend and college classmate of both Maura and myself, Sr. Catherine Marie of the Trinity, previously known as Catherine Adams. Sr. Catherine joined the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles in Alhambra, California, and now lives her live praying for and serving those both near and far. Sr. Catherine is currently teaching 4th grade at one of their schools in La Puente. I was able to stop in on them early Sunday morning, visit with Sr. Catherine, meet her fellow sisters, and attend Mass with them at the local parish, St. Joseph. It was such a treat to an already wonderful visit.

Sr. Faustina, Sr. Madeleine (the Mother Superior and Principal), Sr. Catherine Marie, and Sr. Mary John

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Uncle Matt visits Idaho

What a treat! Maura's brother Matthew came to Idaho to visit for a long weekend. We all had a great time showing him our home and a little bit of the area where we live.

Uncle Matt "warming up" for the Clearwater Tubing Adventure.

Trying to recover from hypothermia and frostbite after the now renamed Clearwater and Icicles Tubing Adventure.

A little background to the above pictures. We had gone down to the river a week previously when the temps were over 100 degrees and the water was wonderful. The day we decide to take our Texas visitor tubing, the temp dipped into the low 80s. The water, thus, was a bit chilly, even for the hardened Idahoans. Then to top it off, it got pretty windy half way down the river ... with a wind chill temp probably in the 60s. Needless to say, we were all happy to have a warm fire when we got back!!

Dinner on the deck

Going crazy with Uncle Matt

Catherine and her Godfather

Joseph teaching Uncle Matt a few tricks

John enjoying a book with Uncle Matt

The Mentos Experiment

The Mentos Experiment in Action

After some attempts by the fire after our river adventure, we fine tuned the experiment by putting the Mentos on straightened paper clips and dropping the whole string into the Diet Coke. As you can see, it worked pretty well. I wonder what form the next brainstorm will take??!!! (Check out this video that sparked our own experiments:

Thanks, Matt, we really had a great time and hope you can come back soon!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006