Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Fly the Dragon

 We had a glorious Saturday.  Once we finally left the house around 11 (we never can seem to get an early start), we headed for the Washington coast.  I commented to Dean about how we should take the kids to a pumpkin patch now that we are back in the states.  I don't think we had been to one since Hunter was in preschool in Albuquerque.  Then lo and behold, there were signs for one along our way, so we detoured just a bit to the farm where they had lots of produce to purchase, a hay bale maze (Tristan was the first to find his way through it), and tractor rides to the pumpkin patch.  Tristan picked out a misshapen green job, Kyler opted for one that Dean had to carry for him, and Hunter was wise enough to listen to his mother and choose a sensible one that will be great for carving.

Next we headed into the rain forest.  It brought back fond memories of hiking in the rain forests of Astoria, OR.  We saw the world's largest sitka spruce, pictured above and left.

And then we finally made it to the beach.  It was Cambria's first time to get out in it.  At one point the tide came in up to her bottom.  The water is awfully cold on the northwest coast, and she didn't care for it at all.  Kyler was nearest to her and plucked her out.  I had a change of clothes for her.  Dean brought the dragon kite and let each of the big boys have a turn flying it.  The wind was perfect.  Last, we had dinner at the lodge where this beach is.  Yeesh!  There really weren't any other options (unless you count a gas station), so we paid a whole lot for tiny portions - and waited for ages!  Just ask Cambria who screamed for 40 minutes until our simple orders came.  330 miles round trip and we were home after 10pm.  I'm amazed that the weather is still sunny and beautiful this late into the season.  It has only rained a time or two since we've been home from our summer travels (two months!).  

Monday, September 24, 2012

On the Road Again

Cambria and Tristan were both pretty good at Disneyland, all things considered.
I began this in early August, but never did finish.

It was nice and overcast one day -  bright and sunny the other two.
We left Gig Harbor for our big trip that we had been planning for many months on Monday July 9th, first picking up Bro (Dean's brother) in Portland, then heading south to Disneyland!  Bro graciously did most of the driving, and helped out enormously with the children while at the Magic Kingdom.  We had three day park hopper passes ($99 each - since we are (for the moment) military folks.  It was a load of fun, and the weather wasn't bad, and three days was quite enough.  It would be so much easier if the younger kids were five years older, but I don't know that we'll be going back that soon!

Hunter was selected for intensive Jedi training, and performed well.  
Tristan's suitcase was never to be found the whole trip, until Dean got back to Gig Harbor and discovered it in the back yard???  Tristan must have wheeled it back there as we were loading up.  Frankly we didn't have room for it anyway, with seven people and all their luggage.  While in the LA area, we visited Bro's in laws, who treated us all to a fabulous dinner in Korea Town.  The boys were (shockingly) on their best behavior, impressing even Dr. Jo.  They graciously had us stay at their home in Malibu for a few days before we left to Korea back in 2010.

Thanks for all the kid wrangling, Bro!
I like the nice 'n easy rides.  The guys like the herky jerky ones that feel like you're in one long car accident.
Next, we headed further south to Sea World San Diego, with our free and discounted military passes, and spent a lovely Saturday afternoon and evening with the sea creatures and seemingly millions of other guests.  Before leaving Gig Harbor, we spent $1200 in maintenance on the van.  We really hadn't done much more than oil changes on it since we bought it 2.5 years ago, but at 80,000 miles it was due for a number of things.  Immediately after getting it from the shop, it was gulping occasionally... and finally seemed to get worse as we got to Phoenix.
Sea World was nice enough.  The adults in our party made the executive decision to do no rides -  I at least was  rode out from Disneyland.  The animals were cool.  The lame dancing and circus-like acrobatics by the trainers was odd.
We stayed with Aunt Carol and Uncle Pat on Sunday, also visiting Uncle Jimmy's family and my dear grandmother Rose Burnham (Cambria's middle-name sake),who is 97 and still uses her computer, quilts, sews, makes rugs, etc. and lives independently.  The boys loved swimming in Carol's pool.  Tristan preferred to play around the pool and not get in much.  At one point when trying to grab a pool toy, he fell in, and I had to run like the devil to pull him out.  After that he started asking for a towel, but I calmly said, "don't you want to play some more?", which he decided he did - though still not much in the water, even with Uncle Dusty.  We lounged around Carol's until after another $600 and most of Monday later, the van was in good shape and we pulled in to Albuquerque and Dean's mother's at 2am Tuesday.

I love turtles!  The Rio Grande Nature Center

Hunter and Isaac getting reacquainted

Kyler and Mo-Nikki
The Ramah pageant was well done
We had a lovely time visiting Grandma Dee and David, as well as my sister Nikki and her family, and various friends (the Salgados, Adams, Danika, Darsha).  We made the rounds at a few of our favorite restaurants, visited the Rio Grand Nature Center, and the boys went up into the foothills where Dean and Dustin grew up to hike and watch for horned toads.

The locals often dress up for Pioneer Day 
Then it was off to Ramah on Friday for the beginning of Pioneer Weekend, the biggest event of the year there. They held a lovely pageant that highlighted the history of Ramah, which was settled by members of the Church in order to bring the gospel to the Native Americans in the area.  Saturday's festivities included the annual parade and community dinner provided by the church.  My brother Curtis and family arrived Friday as well, and Nikki and Pepe came on Saturday.  Talk about a full house!  We got there first, so staked out the basement at my folks' for ourselves.

More fun from the parade
Best part of the parade
Hunter, Kyler, and their cousins Isaac and Jaelan slept in a tent in the back yard.  I told them to beware of deer and such, and apparently Isaac (the oldest of the bunch) took that to heart and was indeed concerned.  Grandma instructed them to "mark" the garden if they needed to "go" during the night, as deer really are a problem and eat her best crops.

Here's hoping Cambria survives childhood with three older brothers.  She was not quite walking at 13 months when they would put her on this skateboard on a stick and send her down the sloping sidewalk at Grandma Merrills.
Curtis and Karalee's Nathan is ten days older than Tristan, and their Kaylee is about 5 months older than Cambria, so it was delightful to see them all together, sizing each other up and being silly.  Bro came through from Albuquerque Sunday around noon to pick up Dean so they could get back on the road to the Northwest.  Dean can't have fun and games all summer when there is a business to run and work to do.  Nikki and Pepe had to leave Sunday evening for Pepe to get back to work, but we were able to talk them into leaving Isaac and Jaelan to hang with Hunter and Kyler for the week. We did manage to have a family picture taken while we were all there.  All the boys had a blast all week as Grandpa Merrill kept them supplied with bb's and bb guns, caps and cap guns, toy holsters, straw hats, slingshots, etc.  Kyler was given a bb/pellet gun at one point (not by me!!!), with no supervision and shot the windshield of Grandpa's pickup.  Oops.  Grandma says I'm not responsible for it... so Grandpa will be paying $150 for the repairs.  Grandpa gave them all lessons in geometry, using a compass, history, and much more, and Grandma paid them to weed and work in the yard.

All the surviving children of my grandparents, Bob and Lois Merrill: Gene, Perry,  Sharon and Ed
Ronelle and I went shopping in Gallup with Tristan and Cambria in tow one day, while my mom took the four older boys to El Morro National Monument.  It sure is nice to have American shopping again, and American driving, and so many other things that I have a greater appreciation for.  Ronelle also presented Cambria with a baby blanket she had made; she has made one for each of the children!  I spent a few days trying to help my mom declutter the house, but 35+ years of accumulation, accelerated by 10 years of retirement), meant it was a noble effort (I hope), but only a few drops in the bucket.  If you ever see my mom shopping, don't let her buy any videos or books!

Beth and Perry, Elaine and Ed, Ryan, Sharon, Chris, LaVerne and Gene, the Nortons 

The boys worked cooperatively on a puzzle, and Grandma was  proud of me for making those shorts of Hunter's

Sunday, September 9, 2012


I'm so far behind I hardly know where to begin... I guess I'll go backwards.
We are sure excited to be reunited with Pancho again after he spent two years with his "Grandmother". He loves to go into our closet (aka his "lover hole") and nest for Dean (biting holes in my clothes).
On Labor Day the clinic was closed, so we spent a relaxing day at home in the morning, then went to the home of my second cousin that I discovered here, Monica A.  Her dad is Lonnie L., my dad's first cousin.  It's such a small world, especially in the church. They have a wonderful family and it was fun to look through family/Ramah books with our common ancestors. She looks a lot like her dad, and she thinks I look like some of the pioneerish women in the books (hmmm - makeup helps me a lot).

Back at home, Dean gave the boys blessings to start off the school year on Tuesday, Kyler in first grade, and Hunter in fifth.  The schools here are supposed to be excellent, and this one is down the block from the clinic. They get on the bus at 8:39 and return home at 3:50, which suits me great! It's not such a draining disaster trying to get them out the door in the morning on time. Tristan and Cambria enjoy walking them to the bus stop. I decided to let them eat school lunches, which saves Dean a lot of work, since he had taken on the role of preparing them. The lunches are supposed to be pretty healthy at the school, albeit costly. We may rethink it when all the kids are in school.

On Sunday we had the Hildebrands over for games - and they brought dinner, which was especially nice on a Fast Sunday.  It was also Kyler's birthday - he is now 7!  The boys don't have reason to keep up with the date unless perhaps they are in school, so he had no idea it was coming up.  As usual we are not such good birthday party planners, but at least Bro and Patti were coming up, so we got a pinata (which they've always wanted) and said "surprise" - which Hunter has indicated he would love a surprise party.  His birthday is this coming Sunday.  Bro and Patti brought an ice cream cake, and we made more use of our new grill - which is compliments of Josh (Dean's business partner)...

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Since we never did do a one-year party for Cambria, we gave her a piece of cake and stripped her down so she could have at it.  She didn't like sticking her fingers in cold ice cream, and actually made pretty good use of a fork.  Then we went kayaking with Josh and Jessica.  I had been once before in North Carolina.  That time, with the ladies from church, it felt like we were going against the stream the whole time, and it was very difficult.  This time wasn't nearly so challenging, and it was sure beautiful to be out in Gig Harbor on a beautiful day.  Hunter and Kyler did well paddling.  Patti graciously took care of Tristan and Cambria so that I could go.  We had intended to take Tristan as he is forever demanding to ride in a boat.  Instead, he did a freak out and wanted nothing to do with the kayaks.  He pointed to a yacht and said he wanted to ride in that boat.

On Friday I met up with Joanna Hildebrand and Kara Olmos at the blueberry park in Tacoma, where the berries are free for the picking.  They were very picked over, and with not-so-diligent helpers, I only came away with about one pound six ounces.  When we've been near blueberry u-pick farms before, I've made a point of stock piling 40 pounds in the freezer to use throughout the year.  I may have to break down and buy some already picked, since time is quite running out for the season.  On the drive back here from NM we stopped at a farm near Yakima, WA, and in a couple of hours (with my mom's help, and the boys were better that day) we picked 9.5 pounds.  It is still blackberry season here, and the boys have picked some for us, and Dean often stops to enjoy as many as he can reach.  They are too tart for me, though!
It's good to have a camera handy around here, as you never know what you may find.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Update on the Hunter Front

Hello, Hunter here. Yesterday Kyler did one of his infamous temper tantrums. (Highly entertaining but very distracting if you are trying to do something). Since mom is too busy to do any blogging so I'm doing it until were done unpacking. I like it here because it is dim enough for me to wear my glasses without getting blinded by brightness when I'm outside. Plus the air is much cleaner than Seoul's air. Kyler is very good at making friends. So it wasn't a surprise that Kyler had made friends with every kid on the street in the first ten minutes. We stayed here for an uneventful month. Then we went on a road trip that included my uncle on the 1st half and my grandma on the 2nd half. (my dad and uncle rode back to Washington in a car that my other grandma had been keeping safe). We had also gone to Disneyland and Sea World during the trip. Two days after we arrived back in Washington the main stuff from Korea arrived. (The stuff in storage had already arrived).

Thursday, June 28, 2012

God Bless America

Kyler graduated from Kindergarten in a nice little ceremony in his classroom, and got to bring home a lot of his classwork that his teacher put together in a nice bundle.  More pictures to come of that.
It's nice to be home!  We've been here in Gig Harbor, WA for a week now.  I haven't needed any naps today, so maybe I'm getting over the jet lag.  The kids have been great with the move and the time difference and everything.  Kara, a friend who moved here recently from Korea, met us at the airport and hauled me and the kids to her place in Lacy, WA while Dean, Bro and Patti, and Josh (Dean's business partner) ran around getting our van which was waiting for us, and loading up the luggage - 24 checked items, and a number of carry ons.  We maxed out on that, trying to bring as many necessities as we could such as towels, sheets, a few kitchen things, etc.We are most grateful for Bro and Patti coming all the way from Portland to help us out, then treating us to dinner. 
Our luggage train at the Seoul airport.
We were fortunately able to get into a rental house that same evening.  It has been pretty empty with no furnishings, and we felt awfully pathetic with our air mattress that would deflate by the middle of the night.  I finally bought a tall one at TARGET - woohoo for shopping besides the PX!  But we had to borrow a pump (air compressor, actually) from a neighbor to blow it up.

Cambria did great on the flight - with ears full of fluid.  Tristan was a handful, but luckily for me Dean took charge of him.
The neighborhood is great so far, in a culdesac with plenty of friends for the kids to play with.  Kyler has been in hog heaven playing with them much of the day.  The back yard is most welcome, and has blackberry vines (a thorny weed here, but they're blooming and will bear fruit later in the summer), lots of grass (that we'll have to mow), and plenty of trees.  I've planted some herbs in a window planter, and some good sized tomato and pepper plants.  I may try some cucumbers and squash from seed.  Hunter was anxious to start composting again, so we've been doing that.
Where's Kyler?  Look closely.  Now we needn't worry about the hand-wringing tattlers in Hannam Village who can't stand the thought of a boy climbing anything.
I happened upon a Goodwill that was having half off all the toys.  Cambria loves walking with this.
We went to the library last night and got Hunter set up with books to read.  I've been shopping a lot, trying to stock the pantry and get rugs and things.  I took the kids yard sale-ing on Saturday.  It rained much of the morning, but that didn't stop the buyers or the sellers, including us.  It is sticker shock to not shop at the commissary for groceries, except for some things like milk and eggs, which are half as much stateside here. We are still eligible until Aug 5, as Dean's terminal leave runs out then.  We have gone to the base, but it is kinda far from here.  The pint of coconut oil I've been buying at the commissary for $6 is $11-15 at Albertsons and such places, and the Jimmy Dean sausage I buy for $2.49 is $6 at Albertsons.  Yeesh!  I didn't buy those at Albertsons, just things that are on sale.  I can't bring myself to pay over a dollar a pound for plain rice there, nor three dollars a pound for dry beans, so I'm having trouble thinking of things to cook while I am still learning my way around here to go to other stores.  I bought a new GPS today, so that should help.  There are tall trees everywhere, so it's hard to make out directions and find my way around.  The weather is cool - enough so that I have been turning the heat on in the morning, and am cold at night - finally had to swipe one of the kids' blankets (they didn't need it).   

The boys have played "pine cone war" and "big stick" so far in the back yard.  Knowing that they wouldn't listen to me about the likely issues with those games, I let experience teach them that it's not much fun to get nailed in the face with pine cones, nor to be whacked with a big stick.
And, here's the house.  We don't care for the steep incline of the driveway, or having to climb stairs to get inside, nor to get to the garage from inside, but otherwise it is a good fit for now until we can build or buy.  The schools are supposed to be excellent right here; their elementary school is in the same block as the clinic - which is where I've been doing our laundry (after hours) since our facilities are still in storage in North Carolina (you can always count on anything to do with the government taking a ridiculous amount of time). There is a church building a mile from us, but we are in the boundaries for one more like 15 miles away.  Church was nice on Sunday; Tristan had no problem going to the nursery.  One family is just three houses down from us.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Organize the Chaos

I'm like a headless chicken, running about in a frenzy accomplishing nothing.  So a little update is warranted, even though there are novels worth to blog about.

First and foremost, the deal is sealed and done!  Dean and his business partner are the harried new owners of Purdy Veterinary Hospital.  We are still here in limbo for ten more days in the beautiful Republic of Korea, while the partner is manning the clinic on his own and consulting for hours a day with Dean via phone and internet.  Once we get there, Dean will take over for a while so that the partner can attend his brother's wedding and then get himself moved up there from New Mexico.  We will (hopefully) take a road trip through California and on to New Mexico, visit the family there, and then Dean will head right back to work, while I hope to stay a bit longer with the kiddos visiting with the grandparents and cousins.

This is still surreal to me.  I pushed Dean to join the army four years ago because he's always wanted to serve our great country, the army would pay off his student loans and would MOVE us, since we hadn't managed to settle down ourselves.  It has worked out beautifully.  They will be moving us to our last area.  I believe it is meant to be, and all roads have led to this.  Indeed we are blessed, in so many ways.

 In other news, this little angel keeps us on our toes!  She has scaled the stairs to the top more than once, though fortunately not every day.  She makes her rounds daily, trying to eat out of the trash can, pulling all the shoes off the shelf, finding all the batteries Tristan flings around, sucking on computer cords and camera cards (rendering them useless), etc.  I can hardly believe that I was due to have her one year ago.  She held on a few more days, though.  Such a delight, she is.  I love having a baby around. 
 Monday morning Kyler began to feel crummy.  His neck was painful in the evening, and with some other symptoms Dean feared he may have had meningitis and rushed him to the ER.  Fortunately it wasn't that, but Dr. Mom (yours truly) figured out the next day that it must be hand, foot and mouth disease, as Cambria began to have it as well.  Their symptoms were different, but both were confirmed non-invasively at the hospital.  Kyler stayed home the rest of the week, even though he felt fine by Wednesday.

In other Kyler news - I think the pictures may be lost (that camera card sucking is no good), but Kyler tested for his Dragon Belt (black belt) at the Kukkiwon International Taekwondo Headquarters here in Seoul.  He passed, and is certified.  It was quite a production.
Trist-man has been spared the hand foot and mouth thus far, and resists bedtime and naps as much as possible, but sometimes they get the better of him.  He was in this position for a good hour before relocating to the bottom stair - and yes that is a potty seat. 
  I procrastinate everything, including things I enjoy, such as sewing.  I've been slowly learning about quilting, and took part in helping to make a quilt of valor.  These are my first real quilt blocks, and my sole contribution to the quilt of valor.  I learned a tip that could save me much frustration in the future: you know how when starting to stitch with a machine, and the thread and fabric get pulled down into the feed dogs and you have to take it all apart and use the seam ripper, and then get so frustrated and lose interest in sewing... well, the tip is to hold on to the thread from the bobbin and the spool of thread.  Hold it from behind as you start to stitch, and that wretched scenario won't happen.  It worked almost every time as I made these six blocks.  There may yet be hope for me.

Stay tuned for much more

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Don't Eat the Turtles

 Ugh - I'm so behind!  I am finally getting with the program and am trying to organize the pictures on the computer.  That could take years, it would seem, with interruptions every couple of minutes from the demanding ones.  This is our harvest from last year :)  We are growing peas now, and hoping to eat them before the big move.
 We went to an airshow at K-16 last fall.  Cambria seems so little here.  She is such a hungry girl these days!  We are astonished at how much people food she will pack away, in addition to nursing, and supplemental bottles when I'm weary of nursing.
 During the festivities at the air show, Hunter basically stood in front of the broadcaster/judge making himself known.  Everyone had raffle tickets.  The dude kept calling numbers that no one claimed, and Hunter was so enthusiastic that he finally asked Hunter what number he had, and repeated that back, so Hunter won a 50,000 won gift card (about $45) to a Nike store in Itaewon.  I took him there later and he got a backpack, to replace the one stolen/lost at school.  Hunter's charms worked!
 A phenomenon here in Korea is how effeminate the men can be, at least by straight American standards.  This guy is carrying a purse.  It is likely his own.  They also wear capri style pants in the summer, glasses with no lenses (for fashion), very styled hair, lots of pastels and sparkles (neck ties especially), etc.  Kyler tried to wear some pants to school the other day that are a couple of years to small, hence they came up about mid calf on him.  He tried to justify it by all the Korean men, and American women who wear cropped pants (such as myself).  Uh, no.  He had to change his pants.

 More matching his and her underwear.
 A typical Korean barbecue type meal, also known as a beef and leaf (or pork and leaf) because you wrap the meat you cook (or sometimes that the server cooks on the burner) in a variety of lettuce or leaves, with various sauces and garlic and onions that you can grill.  There are generally side dishes (kimchi, etc.) that come with the meals.  It is fairly labor intensive, at least when you're trying to feed several hungry children who don't do any of the work (wouldn't want them near the fire anyway).  And it's not terribly filling.  No wonder most Koreans are so skinny!

Dean took the boys to a subway station that was having a display of many animals, bugs, reptiles, big snakes, etc.  They thought it was great.  There were many dead animals amongst the living, likely from over handling by children and such.  This sort of thing definitely wouldn't pass muster in the U.S.  Have I mentioned how excited we are to get back to the U.S.?

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Picture a Family

 Hunter has been hounding me for a new blog post.  I have too much to do to spare the time to blog, but alas, now it's 10pm on Saturday, and since Criselda (our weekly angel) was here today, the house is in order and I might as well!

We had family pictures taken while the cherry blossoms were in bloom in April.  They were beautiful, of course.

Some pictures were silly.

Some were super cute!
And I managed to go another year without buying "school pictures".  I refuse.  I love these ever so much more! 

When we met the photographer at the Korean National Museum, she said "You've done this before!" - since we weren't all matchy matchy.  She said it makes for better pictures. 

Daddy-O left the next day on a free space available military flight to the U.S. to visit the clinic in Washington State that he and his partner-to-be are buying.  I am thrilled to witness him go through all this process and I finally feel like we are becoming grown ups.  Weird, huh?  With our gray hairs and crows feet. 

The prospect of settling down for real is enough to make me salivate.  We will be moving next month for the sixth time since he finished school 8 years ago.  I had hoped that it would only be once.

 But, we look back and see the Lord's hand in each of the moves, and how they have been purposeful and have prepared us for what is next.  The timing of Dean deciding to leave the military, Josh coming back into the picture and wanting to be in business together, the two of them exhausting literally every other possibility for starting or buying a suitable practice in a place we would actually like to live, then this particular practice coming up for sale when it did, are far too much to be coincidence.  Indeed, we are blessed. 

The children have been resilient with all these moves.  I've come to realize that Hunter is an introvert.  He likes to play with other kids and be around other people, but he doesn't need that, and is just as content to enjoy a good book.  He told us the other day about a new series he has discovered at the library.  He has been reading one a day.  He's usually the last kid to get on the bus after school, as he's got to stop by the library.   He likes to have multiple books going at once in case he finishes over the weekend and can't replenish right away.

Kyler, on the other hand, thrives on social interaction and knows everyone here in our village, and everyone knows him.  We have to admonish him to come inside and eat breakfast in the morning before school, or he would spend all that time greeting everyone outside our balcony doors as they get on the buses.

Tristan no longer has the cold weather to deter him from trotting outside, so we have to be vigilant with the chain on the door.  This morning in the six o'clock hour we heard (from upstairs and down the hall) the front door open and close.  I always lock the chain at night, and it is high above what he could reach, so maybe Hunter had gone out to get the newspaper and left it unchained?  He likes to read the comics.  Anyway, Dean grabbed a robe and ran down to find Tristan out on the sidewalk.  That's my boy!  I had to pull him out from behind a truck at the commissary the other day as it started to back right into him.  He is obstinate and wouldn't come along with me, as usual.  He is our love bug, and great for laughs.  

Cambria went through a second round of antibiotics to kill a nasty double ear infection (first augmentin, then cefdinir).  She was weighed during each of the appointments, and I was not surprised to learn that she had gained a whole pound in two weeks.  She has been eating as much people food as she can get her hands on, in addition to nursing.  She has 16 teeth, at ten months, and weighs over 20 pounds.  She can take bites out of pears and apples, chew meat, and so on.

Give it to me, Baby!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Will Work for Donuts

. . . will poop for chocolate.  Tristan is virtually 100% for peeping in the potty and not having "accidents" in bed.  But for some reason he chooses to do the dirty deed in his pants occasionally.  We've been offering chocolate chips for choosing to do it in the potty, and that helps.  On a different note, he loves to go modeling, because that means he will get donuts.  He will devour three or four per session.  I let him, as that is the only time he gets donuts, and it is his incentive for "working".  The kids, mostly Tristan, have earned half the cost of a mission at this point.

Dean finally said the other day that at this point, there isn't anything in particular holding us back from buying the practice outside Seattle and moving there, and he even feels peaceful, if somewhat apprehensive, about it.  I am still cautiously optimistic.  It is a dreamy place to live for us - with warm but not hot summers, cool but not excessively cold winters, a smaller town (several thousand) near a big happening city, water everywhere, little to no humidity and only half the rain of Astoria, OR.  70 inches was a bit much in Oregon's rain forest, but half that would be great!  My dream is to build a house, using Ubuildit.  I spend way too much time looking at house plans online.  I'm attracted to the ones with real laundry rooms (big enough to double as a sewing room), walk in pantries, adequate closets, bedrooms bigger than a closet, jack and jill bathrooms - all on the main floor (especially the master bedroom), apparently a tall order as such is hard to find.  We would love to have enough land to have a cow - or maybe goats again, and all the fruit and nut trees we could handle, not to mention chickens and a garden, and room for the kids to roam and forage.  All I've ever wanted since Dean finished vet school was to settle down somewhere and raise a family.  We are looking at our sixth move since he finished school.  But if he is buying this practice - it will be the last for a loooooong time, if you don't count moving into a rental or whatever until we can build or buy (at least that would be the same area).  

Now that it is April, Kyler is eligible to go to the park again and has been spending hours there.  He happily goes to bed when he plays there, as he is worn out!   Early in March he was calling other kids names and picked a fight with a 12 year old kid from church.  So he lost his park privileges for the duration of March.  I think he is minding his Ps and Qs now.

Today was busy, with a district primary activity for the kids at the chapel on the temple grounds, as well as our district temple day.  Notice the Korean shingles on the back side of the temple.  Kyler attended his friend Cade's birthday party - while the rest of us went out for some Korean food.  I got my dolsot bibimbap fix, which I've been craving.

 The school had a fourth grade sock hop which Hunter attended recently.  He got an award for being such a wild dancer.  That's him in the green shirt.
 Dean and I had a lovely date recently - dinner and a show.  It was at the Korea House, having a dinner that would have been served to the royal court, which consisted of tiny tastes of many different foods.  They were all good.
 Then we went to the show.  It was every bit as beautiful as ballet or any other music or dance form.
 They were all highly skilled and practiced.
 We loved every minute of it.

 I was stunned to be pulled up on stage to have a brief lesson with these beautiful ladies.
 I'm the out-of-place one above on the right; the lady in the green top was also selected.
 We bowed (Dean took over the camera while I was up there)
 and I got this fan that I'm holding for doing it.  I love dates!
 I sort of hosted a little Easter activity for the ladies/kiddos from church, or the pre-school aged ones at least.  Sadly, Tristan came down with pinkeye the day before, so I got a neighbor/friend to open up her home to it that morning (whew - what a lifesaver!), but brought Tristan out to hunt for eggs at least; he has the green bucket in the center.
On Friday I was burning a scented candle to mask the smell of a ceiling repair, and happened to look over at Tristan just as he was holding this car over the flame.  It caught fire.  Not much later Hunter (9) came along and lit a napkin up.  Hello!?  What are you thinking, Boy?!  Then Kyler decided to take a turn and got a tissue from a box nearby and wafted it over the flame, also lighting it.  He freaked out and let the burning tissue fall to the floor.  I told him to stomp it.  He's really good at stomping from all that bug stomping as a toddler.  It singed the rug and left a black mark.  I swear these boys will be the death of us.  Tristan some time ago nuked a motorized car in the microwave.  The car was never the same after that, but the microwave was unhurt.  It's never dull around here!  

Happy Easter!