Friday, November 27, 2009

Give Thanks

This year was my dad's 60th birthday. My mom wanted 60 people to come to Thanksgiving dinner at our house. Well, the house was full at 34 (36 people came but some left before others arrived). All 4 of my dad's siblings were here as well as 2 nephews, 2 neices, and 2 great-neices. Nate and Cheyney came for awhile as did her folks, Liz and John, and Ryan's mom Carol and her friend, Ricardo. My brother Matthew and his girlfriend Arra also came for pie and puzzles. It was too busy and loud to get too many photos (besides I never could quite get to wherever I had left my camera). There was lots of food and pie (deep dish apple, lemon meringue, 2 pumpkin pies, and 3 cherries pies that I made). I made some Cranberry-Apple-Cherry Chutney that was pronounced "good" by those who eat the stuff. Tovah's had a blast playing with the girl cousins- Keisha and Akela. Ryan and I got to play Apples to Apples with adults for the first time (we usually play it with the kids). To top it all off, Aunt Mary brought a pogo stick for the kids. Arin's been out practicing on it all morning. Tonight we're expecting more friends to celebrate Dad's birthday with some more pie.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

October Gave a Party

Aren't these beautiful? This is the view out my bedroom window looking into our front yard. The colors are absolutely gorgeous this year. A neighbor came over to take pictures and I grabbed my camera and took some as well, the gray day really set off the vibrant colors of the yard.

That's a viburnum in the foreground with an oak to the left and a vine maple peeking in from the right.

The red is barberry planted to keep the neighborhood dogs from trailing across our yard through the flower bed. It's got wicked spikes when you have to weed or mow around it but the autumn color almost makes up for that.

The yew hedge around the "orchard" and garden.

Another view of the vine maples and oaks, looking back towards the house.

We have a huge broad leaf maple in the backyard that quickly covers the lawn with leaves. At first it was fun to rake them up into big piles....

October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came -
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Vote for your favorite Christmas Card!

Vote for your favorite Christmas Card! The top one was taken when we went to the Military Museum at Ft. Lewis, the second one was taken at the Locks in Ballard. Leave your vote in the comments box, Thanks!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Every year our Boy Scout Troop goes to the annual Warren Miller film at the Washington Center for Performing Arts. This year was his 60th annual film, it is about sixty annual films. It explores people talking about there roots,one clip showed that Norway was the brithplace of skiing,and in another clip they showed China and they said, 'This is the brithplace of skiing.' They have skis six feet long and instead of 2 poles, they have one big stick. My favorite scene was the crocodile on the snowboard. It really surprised me becasue I saw the croc sitting really still and it moved so quickly to bite someone trying to push him! The crowd in the theater gasped!

We went to Dairy Queen for blizzards afterwards. I had a really great time.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Think about Veterans Day

Everyone's got a story to tell- I know this, as a Creative Memories Consultant it's my business. Today on Veteran's Day I have been thinking about our family's stories and how incomplete they are.

This is my Grandpa Moe, my mother's father, Thermon Ross Motsinger. He enlisted in the Army in 1944 and I believe he was in the Air Corps. I don't think he went overseas or if he did he didn't stay long because my aunt was born in June of 1946. He was an engineer for General Dynamics until he died when I was 12 (he was a real Rocket Scientist). He was a quiet man who believed deeply in God, the Bible, and freedom. He gave a lot of money for Creation research and also to the Republicans. When I was a kid I thought it was totally cool that he went to church at Knott's Berry Farm, really.

This is my dad, C. Tracy O'Brien. This photo was taken the day they brought me home from the hospital in Grand Forks. He was in the Air Force and was a Minuteman Missile Mechanic. He finished his 4 years and got out and went to school on the G.I. Bill. He graduated from San Diego State when I was 4. His brother, my uncle Donovan O'Brien enlisted in the Navy and retired in 1989. He was on board the Iowa when the gun exploded. Another uncle, Dwayne Johnson, was in the Army and was a tunnel rat in Vietnam. He struggled with that the rest of his life. Only as an adult can I begin to imagine the horrors he saw and lived through as a child I just thought he had the perfect garden- it was in the attic with neat lights.

Ryan enlisted in 1986 and left for the Navy in 1987. He spent 2 years in Millington, TN training to be an Aviation Electronics Technician. In 1988 we went to Guam for 3 and a half years. During Desert Storm VQ-1's P-3's flew reconnaissance. Every plane came back every 4-6 weeks and had to be completely stripped and rebuilt from all the sand damage. For 6 months they worked 12 on 12 off 7 days a week. One of those planes was the one that was forced down in China. Ryan also spent 6 months of that time in Atsugi, Japan. He loved Japan and wants to go back some day (they say if you don't climb Mt. Fuji you are destined to return until you climb the mountain). Ryan's brother, Rick was in the Air Force and spent 15 months on Guam, but he was on an unaccompanied tour so doesn't have the good memories we
have of the island.

4th Generation- Nathan enlisted in the Army in 2008. He is now stationed at Ft. Lewis and married to Cheyney. He will be going to Afghanistan in the spring. His story is just starting...

I'm thankful for our friends from high school who spent some time in the military and the few that have stuck it out and are now retiring- Tom T, Eric F, and Brian B. I'm thankful for the men and women (just can't call them kids if they are willing to put their life down for me and mine) who are now serving: in the Navy- Thomas M and Brandon V; and in the Marines- Beth & Walter H and Alex D. We love you guys!

I'm thankful that The Veteran's Museum is working hard to collect and preserve the stories of so many Veterans so that they are not forgotten.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Baking Naan

On Tuesday we made a Indian bread called Naan. Grandma Carol helped me with the mixing and kneading.
It had to rise for two hours. At first we put it next to the heater, than we moved it to the table, finally we finished rising it on the dryer while a load of clothes were drying.

When it started it was flat than it puffed up to about a half a inch.

We tried cooking it on the grill like the recipe said to, but it got too hot when the melted butter flamed so we ended up cooking it inside on the griddle (it puffed up more on the grill).

They were really good plain and even better with cinnamon and sugar like an elephant ear.
Note: Isaac had to do a Pathways assignment on bread around the world and in the Bible. This was the yummiest looking bread in the wikipedia article. The other one we want to try is Mantou- a Chinese steamed or fried bread.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, Seattle

On Thursday we went to the fish ladder at the locks in Seattle. This is the flood gate (from above), it allows the water from Lake Washington and Lake Union to drain into the sound. The locks are on the boating channel that links the lakes to the sound. The lakes are 6-26' higher than the level of the sound. The locks raise and lower the boats so they can move along the waterway. We got to see a boat go through the locks.

It is a brand new boat that was just unloaded off a freighter from China and being taken up to one of the lakes for outfitting and delivery.

There was a smashed penny machine at the fish ladder so we added two more to our collection.

Look closely- you'll see a fish in the viewing area of the fish ladder.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

All about my favorite action figure.

I like to collect a lot of action figures because they're awesome. I guess you could say it's a hobby of mine. My favorite one is Darth Varder, a Sith Lord of the Force. He used to be known as Anakin Skywalker, a Jedi of the Force. Now the difference between a Jedi and a Sith is that a Jedi is a protector of the peace and a Sith is a corrupter of the peace. But enough of this conversation, I'm going to close now. ~Arin

Monday, November 2, 2009

Jonah and his Koalas

My name is Jonah, I am 10 years old.

I have 7 koalas: Koaly (in brown shirt), Fluffy (has a big nose), Tiny, Aussie, Hyme (the big one), Eentsy (on Hyme's head), and Lowyou (hiding behind Hyme). Koaly is three years old,I got him when we went to Silverwood and he started my collection. I don't remember when I got all the others. Someday I would like to go to San Diego or even to Australia to see live Koalas. My grandma brought me home a mug from the San Diego Zoo last month. My Great-Grandma Hendrickson gave me Hyme, Lowyou, and Tiny. Koaly's shirt I got from my mom and dad