Sunday, November 23, 2008

Two weeks ago the weather was in the upper 50' to low 60's degrees in the sun. We could not have asked for a nicer day. Jeff and I decided to take the children to one of our favorite places, Ballard Locks and Dam. It is getting darker earlier and earlier. The sun is now sets around 4:30 pm. We planned it perfect and had a picnic dinner at sunset. It was so beautiful. There were still a lot of trees with their beautiful leaves shimmering in the sunlight. We found thousands of dahlia's, roses, pansies, Japanese lanterns and a host of other flowers blooming in the gardens surrounding the locks. The fall weather has been great. We have had few nights below 45 and the days stay around 50-55. Sometimes even warmer.

The only thing that could have made the day a 10 out of 10 was to have a train need to cross, which would have made the bridge you will see in the pictures go down and that would have made Joseph's day! i would have loved for the kids to have seen the salmon on the fish ladders or the observation windows because it is really cool. but hey you cannot have everything. :0)

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Hope that your fall has been spectacular where you live.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Happy 15th Birthday Sarah Elizabeth

September 30Th Sarah Elizabeth turned 15. How do they grow up so darn fast I ask you? We have been blessed four times with these beautiful creatures. I am so in awe with our children and the people that they are becoming. Birthday love and wishes Sarah Elizabeth!

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Day 4

Day 4
Nebraska is a beautiful state, but it takes forever to cross! We saw so much corn that Sarah Elizabeth decided to order corn with her dinner. She was most disappointed it was frozen!
We did not get as far as we had hoped today. That’s ok, we will make it up in the coming days. We stopped in the town of Gothenburg. It was settled with Swedish immigrants. It was also one of the stops for the pony express. This was so cool to visit! The girls learned that a ride would ride 10 miles and change his horse multiple times to make the ride. Emily could not get over that the riders only had 2 minutes to change horse at each stop so he arrive on time! Her comment was I cannot even go to the rest stop in 2 minutes! I could never have been a pony express rider! ;0)
They had postcards stamped with the pony express seal and the stamp is canceled with the pony express seal. So we sent one to our selves and should be waiting on us when we arrive in Mountlake Terrace, Washington!
The kids continue to do great. They are really enjoying the trip. Emily loves the fact that we eat out every evening. Sarah Elizabeth has loved watching the sky and the surrounds. She has taken some beautiful pictures! Will upload those as soon as I find the cable!
Off to cowboy country, Wyoming!

Days 2 and 3

Day 2
Day two found us standing beside the mighty Mississippi River bank gazing at the Freedom Arch in St. Louis, Mo. We found out the hard way traveling with a trailer makes for parking VERY difficult. We had to park miles away and walk. Poor Joseph did not fair very well with all the walking and had to sit quite frequently. This made our journey walking to the Arch from the van to take about an hour. After getting stuck in the elevator on the waterfront in Seattle, Emily is now terrified of elevators. She has never really liked heights so thoughts of the elevators ride to the top made her ready to throw up. By the time we parked, walked, sat and admired the Arch the last trip up the Arch for the day was sold out, much to Emily’s relief. I on the other hand was quite disappointed. Jeff and I were going to take turns taking the kids up the arch so that Emily would not feel left out. There is a movie about the Arch as well as Lewis and Clark but that too was sold out.
So, we went outside and talked about how Hurricane Ike had made a huge impact on the Midwest. At breakfast we met a very nice gentleman who worked for Allstate. He shared with us that he had been working in Houston but was called to work in the Evansville, Indiana area due to flooding and wind damage. All of which were results of the aftermath of Hurricane Ike. When we arrived in St. Louis we found the riverfront road to be covered in icky slimy green mud. Part of the street was still covered in water and the statue at the riverfront was partly submerged. In the couple of hours we were there, we could actually see that the water had dropped several feet. The casino’s were using water cannon’s to clean off the sidewalks and entrances in hopes of being ready to open for business the next day.
We spoke with one of the guys working who told us that the area had been closed for more than a week and a half due to the high river~ thanks to Ike and that since spring the water had been at flood stage more 90 days. Emily was so taken aback how instead of the river being a good thing that it could also bring such destruction.
We were going to surprise the kids and take them on a helicopter ride around the city but because of the Cardinals baseball game the airspace around the city was restricted. Grrrrrr!
We almost made it to our goal driving but called it quits about 2 hours shy.
Our motel was a hoot! The room was big enough for two beds and 13 inch TV! Hey, the beds were clean and the room was quiet.

Day 3

A very long day is now behind us. We drove across Mo. And then up to Iowa and over to Nebraska. The weather was beautiful. The children could not get over all the corn they saw and how flat was the land.
Sarah Elizabeth got really excited a couple of times because she saw wind turbines. The were beautiful and massively HUGE!
Sarah Elizabeth had the foresight to pack Joseph’s kick ball. It certain has come in handy. At rest stops we pull it out and have the kids play to stretch their muscles and get rid of some of their energy. I must brag on how wonderfully behaved they have been and such troopers with the long hours of driving.
At one of our stops we ran into a family driving from Washington. They used a different route but gave us hope that we too could make it in three more days! :o)

Tomorrow we finish Nebraska and hope to make it across most of Wyoming

Monday, September 22, 2008

Day one and counting!

I can hardly believe it! We are really driving cross country. The U Haul is way over packed. How in the heck did I pack so much extra things? The kids did great today.
We left later than planned, as per usual but this time with a purpose. We got to meet Heather and Sam for lunch in Hgtn on our way out. It was so good to get just one more hug and kiss before we left!
Our first day we only traveled about 300 miles. At this rate we will pull into Seattle say mid-October! I never realized how much slower we would be traveling with the trailer. We stopped in Evansville, Indiana. Next it is onto St. Louis and hoepfully we will make it to Kansas City...fingers, eyes, toes are all crossed. Joseph had a few moments in the car this afternoon but Sarah Elizabeth wsa able to distract him. She is such the saint.
Will sign off for now. Oh and don't you know that I forgot my camera charge back at the house. :0(

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Go west young man, go west!

For the last three weeks we have been blessed with opportunity to go back to West Virginia. Our stay was longer thatn planned. Our new transmission had to be repaired and jeff's Mom took ill following major surgery. As Pastor Bill said in church this morning, God has a reason for where you were yesterday, were you are today and where life may lead you tommorrow.
We have loved spending time with all our friends while we were here. To be honest I think it helped recharge our spirits to face the future, what ever that may be whike we are in Seattle.
So tomorrow with a very stuffed U Haul we are driving west.
Destination: Washington State

I hope you will join us on this amazing journey. One does not get the opportunity to drive cross country and see this great country we call home. I will upload pictures as oftern as I can. sarah Elizabeth has been given a digital camera to also document our journey. I hope you enjoy following us as we head back to our pacific northwest home.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

recovery from surgery days 2 &3

A few pictures of the last todays. Joseph ahs been moved to isolation due to the wonderful bug I shared with the family.
Plan is that Joseph will go home tomorrow if he can increase his fluid intake!

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Joseph's surgery, July 15th

Surgery went great! I am so proud of Joseph and how well he is doing with recovery. I am guessing he will be discharged on Saturday at the latest. Dr. Elllenbogen said that he would image Joseph in 6 weeks to see if he will need decompression (brain) surgery. Finally we have a timeline!

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Monday, June 16, 2008

Father's Day

Hope everyone had a terrific Father's Day. After breakfast in bed with a yummy meal prepared by Sarah Beth, Jeff and the girls made a homemade kite to take with us on our trip to Gas Works Park. Jeff and Emily also made the most awesome lemonade. It was good we drank it all before we left on our picinic!

The weather was picture perfect. It actually was very toasty and Sarah Beth and I were sunburned on our faces. The view was spectactular. The Seattle skyline, Lake Union and all the boats criss crossing, and the dozen or so kites that were flying high in the sky. We tried very hard to get our kit up in the air to no avail. To heavy, so back to the drawing board the girls go.

I cooked Jeff's favorite dinner with a twist. Orange Beef Stroganoff. Through out the day the kids gave Jeff several gifts; a Mariner's hat, a big jug to drink from, navy blue crocks, a Greatest Dad t-shirt, and a mini ice tea maker. Jeff loved his gifts including a low key day and nap.

Hope your day was great too!

Click to play Happy Father's Day 08
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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Quack, Quack!

Ahoy there me mates!
What a grand day we had on Saturday, June 14Th. The RMH celebrated Father's Day, a day early by arranging for the DUCK vehicles to come to the house, pick up families and take us on a ride to Lake Union and IN Lake Union!

What a great time we had. The weather was picture perfect. It actually felt like summer for a change. Everyone has been calling this month Junuary because it has been so very unseasonably cold.

Our driver was insane and played great music and it was choreographed to some serious staging of costumes and gags on his part. The kids had a great time, Jeff did not get motion sickness and Joseph was completely worn out by the time we got back.

The RMH foundation threw a huge BBQ when we arrived back at the house. Oh did I mention the woods behind our house caught on fire just before we left on the DUCK? We thought they were giving new meaning to the word huge BBQ! Joseph and all the kids were so excited. There were firetrucks, police cars, ambulances, EMT trucks and just about every other emergency vehicle here when the DUCK vehicles rolled up. And here we though the we not scheduled to visit to RMH until Wednesday!

Hope you enjoy the pictures. Don't forget to stop over at for more details of Joseph and the girls!

Click to play Sprouses riding the DUCK!
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Friday, June 13, 2008

Mariners Game

Our first week was so jam packed with activities, the Seattle Mariners Game was one of them. The night was miserable. It was cold, major down pour and we were so thankful that the stadium roof was retractable and we were in covered seats! Thankfully Janet brought a blanket so we could snuggle together and keep warm. Jeff sat with Barbara, Janet sat with friends from work and the kids and I sat together.
Before the game we went to this great spot over in Ballard called Scooter's Grill for dinner. They had the BEST milkshakes in the world. Every flavor imagined and were hand made. The burgers were grilled with any kind of fixings and hand cut french fries. Can you say yum! I wish that all the pictures I took at the stadium turned out but this is when my new camera malfunctioned and delted more than 50 pictures.
We had a great time. None of use had ever been to a major league game before so that made this even more fun. Enjoy the pictures.

Click to play Sprouses @Mariners 08
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Seattle Aquarium pictures

Click to play Sprouses at Seattle Aquarium 6/08
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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Woodland Park Zoo

What a great was had by all! We were dog tired by the time the day ended. It was down right cold when the day started, about 45 degrees. It never really went above 50degress all day and it was cloudy. Kept the crowd down.

The highlight of the day came when the children got to feed the giraffes. We love the giraffes and to get to feed them, WOW! Joseph has never shown and interest before, but this time after watching the girls, he ran up to the feed stand and did it too! I loved it. He lost intrest when he finished and found out that he could not pet them. :0)

My camera malfunctioned and I lost the pictures of the baby gorilla that was born about a month ago. She was cuddling with her Momma right beside the viewing window. Joseph very gently and quietly got right up against the glass and said, "Aw, look at the sleeping baby". The penguins are gone because they are getting new digs. The new attraction is the flamingo's. It is so funny to see these birds in such a cool climate. You know they are wondering what the heck they did to get an assignment here!

Hope you enjoy the pictures. It was hard to select which pictures to use since between Sarah and I we took nearly 200! I think 100 of them were the giraffes.

Click to play Sprouses at zoo June 2008
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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Welcome to Seattle!

After flying by grandma's farm, flight delays, and being totally exhausted, WE MADE IT! Our room has a beautiful view, we have seen a few friendly faces of families that were here back in late March. I love how the children feel totally at "home" here. They know all the nooks and crannies of the house. We are on the third floor which we like best. There is a extra den and the library is just a few doors down. We are in the first of two kitchens which we like best as well.

I cannot not get over just how exhausted I am. I feel like I could sleep for a couple of days. Joseph is caught between the two time zones. He is not going to sleep until around 8-9pm but he is getting up at 6am, arrrrrrrrrrrrrrgggggggg!

Today we went to the aquarium with Neil, his new wife Lilly (who we had not yet met and she is darling!)and Smelly! I do not know what the kids were more excited about seeing Smelly and Neil or going to the Aquarium!

The afternoon was wonderful! Since Neil is a volunteer at the aquarium he was able to get some things out of the touch tanks for Joseph to feel. HE was not too crazy about it but he did touch them! He did not seem to mind the sea star so much. We went through fish tanks and it was great to have our own personal guide! Joseph and Neil were inseperable! They are crazy for each other and Neil is just a big kid. Lilly and Emily bonded very well as did Sarah but Emily and Lilly hung out more together which was wonderful. Barbara and Sarah hung out together and Jeff and I were able to find a minute or to for us. As per usual Joseph flipped out with the seals!

It was a great day had by all. The sun came out around 5:30 after a day of hit and miss light rain. We all headed over to the Lockspot Cafe for awesome clam chowder, fish and fries. Poor Jeff was about to pass out after he got a full tummy. One last fun stop on the way home was to Joseph's favorite spot the Seattle Troll. HE loves it!

Tomorrow it is off to the zoo!

Will post pictures as soon as I can. I killed our laptop before we moved. I was lucky enough to be able to borrow one for the RMH but it is not allowing me to upload pictures and make posts to Joseph's caringbridge

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Six days and counting till moving to Seattle

First I must apologize for not posting in awhile. As you can imagine, things are quite crazy around here. We are now down to 6 days and counting till we move to Seattle!

Several things have changed since I last posted.

** The kids and I were driving cross country. I developed an infection in my leg and had to have surgery to help it heal. Because I am diabetic it has not been healing as it should so the surgeon does not want me to drive cross country. So now thanks to Miracle Flight, we are flying to Seattle Thursday, May 29Th.

I do better updating Joseph's caring page than I am here. Make sure you stop over there for better details.

**Jeff is now coming with us! I know, several of you said to be patient that he would come, and you were right! Praise God! I just could not imagine making this move cross country without him.

** Miracle Flight was able to make flight arrangements for us. We are going by the way of Grandma's barn. We fly from Charleston to Cleveland, Cleveland to Newark. and Newark to Seattle. Joseph is not going to be the only one exhausted!

**We will not know if there will be space for us at the Ronald Mc Donald House until Wednesday afternoon. They have been turning families away right and left we have been told. please keep your fingers crossed!

Well. it is back packing and tackling Mt. Washmore. The hard I try to get to the top, I find another load of laundry lurking in the corners, and hiding around the house! :0)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Mother's Day

Dear Friends

Mother’s Day was absolutely wonderful!!!! Sarah Elizabeth planned my entire day. I was pampered with breakfast in bed, attend church, followed by brunch at one of my favorite spots, First Watch. Later Sarah and I went to Lowe’s where I was asked to choose a favorite plant to be used in a gift I would receive later in the day. I chose a beautiful pink cone flower. Later Sarah Elizabeth surprised me with a flower pot that she decorated with each of the children’s hand prints painted on. I was treated to a nap and awoke with baby pink roses on the nightstand. Heather surprised me by squeezing in a visit. She just started summer school this week and is swamped. The girls and I spent several hours snuggling and watching movies in bed our bed, what a treat! For dinner I was surprised with dinner ordered in from yummy Main Tin. Sarah Elizabeth and I both love Willow Tree Angels. She gave me a beautiful memory box with a Mom and daughter on the front. Joseph gave me a sweet gift he made at school. He actually let his teaching team paint his hands and feet and surround a tear jerking poem plus he made me a card! ;0). Heather gave me a beautiful card and my favorite chocolates. Does it get any better than that, spending time with those that you love and adore?

I cannot explain the emotions that hit me at church on Sunday. I was watching Joseph’s choir, the darling Cherubs sing and it hit me like a ton of bricks that this was our last service before move to Seattle. Suddenly I could not control the flow of tears through out the service. I looked around at the people I love and how much I was going to miss them. How they have embraced our family in love and support in so many ways.

I do have to share I am bummed we will not to be able to experience the blessings of the new leadership in our church. In the past few years our church has under gone a huge transformation and become an amazing place. Sarah Elizabeth will miss confirmation next which makes me sad. I know that God will send us to a new church where we will be welcomed with open arms. I look forward to meeting these new friends and growing in faith with them.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

We are moving to Seattle!

In the later part of May, the kids and I are packing up the van and driving west. This has been a dream of mine for a long time. I never thought we would be splitting up our family to do so though. Jeff just started a new job and will stay behind to take care of the house and our pets. At least he will still be nearby for Heather. I did not like the thoughts of her being on one side of the coast and us on the other. Jeff will fly out when Joseph has surgery but then will return home.

The reason behind the madness for moving is due to Joseph's health. He will be having spinal surgery on July 15Th followed by brain surgery a few months later. His caring page has more details.

I am scared to death to drive solo across the country. I am one of those that falls asleep 10 minutes in the car no matter where we are going! We are planning a few stops along the way; The Arch of St. Louis, and the Oregon Trail to name a few. We are excited at the prospects of seeing parts of the country we might never have had a the opportunity to otherwise see. I have to keep reminding Sarah to stop hoping to see a tornado (long distance of course) through Tornado Alley-she wants to go storm chasing someday. I told her this IS NOT that time! :0)

Say a lot of prayers that the trip for us is safe, our van makes the journey with out breaking down and the finances we need to get there are revealed.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

First day of soccer season

Saturday was Emily's first soccer game of the season. She had to miss the opener because she had picked up a nasty gastric bug that kept her out of even the second game. :0( She played hard and did not utter a complaint once about the rain or mud. Emily is the one in the hot pink shorts! This is a new team for Emily. The league makes the girls go to a all girls team when they turn 10. She has a great coach, who coached Sarah Elizabeth when she was younger!

Joseph is a great cheerleader! He cheers for Emily and he cheers for the team. everybody gets a kick out him. After the game he ran up to Emily and gave her a huge hug. ;0)

Atta girl Emily, Go Eagles!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Happy 19th Birthday Heather!

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I cannot believe that my baby girl will turn 19 on April 25Th. We celebrated her birthday a week early because Trevor (her beau) is taking her to North Carolina. We had a fun evening. Jennifer ( a dear friend) and her beau Orion as well as our neighbors from across the street David and Barbara came for dinner and carrot cake. We put 19 candles on the cake and let me tell you...there was some serious heat being put out. I was worried we would need a fire extinguisher to help her blow them out! ;0)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Funny with Stinky and Smelly!

On one of our last evenings in Seattle we met Janet and Barbara at the waterfront. The most delicious dinner was had at Steamers. Does it get any better than this.....clam chowder, a sour dough roll, fish and chips and hot tea? I do not think so. Only one other thing would have made the evening complete...Heather.
Golly I missed Heather so much when we were in Seattle. Seattle was always "our special place". This is the second time I have been here without her this year and it looks like I will be here several more times without her.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Freemont Troll

This a must tourist spot! The girls love to climb all over the Troll. Joseph loves the Troll (he refers to it as the monster) but he still is not sure about it. The Freemont Troll is made from concret. Several artist created the Troll. In one hand he holds a old VW. His eye is made from a hubcap. The other hand makes him look like he is crawling out from under the Aura Bridge.

Easter gather with the Swisher Family

1) Sarah is pouting because she got the least amount of candy, good gravy! El's bag was twice as big~glad I do not have to take her to the dentist.
2) Grand Dame, Lorraine Swisher
3) found Sarah Swisher's cookie monster and mail box. He was set for the day. He was having so much fun he did not want to hunt for eggs. When Guitar Hero was brought out boy did that catch his attention. Janet did a great job for a beginner! (Did I sound sincere enough?!) LOL
Yea, Yea, whatever! Janet's favorite bi-line~

Easter Morning

The Easter Bunny came to visit at the Ronald McDonald House! Emily was so excited to see her basket from home. She could not believe that I had kept it hidden from her for a week! :0) She asked if I had anything else hidden she should know about! LOL
They got way too much candy, loved their movies (Sarah received Enchanted, Emily received Mr. Mongorium's Emporium and Joseph received Blues Biggest Stories).

OMGolly a two story Target!

I asked Janet to take me to Target to do a little shopping. She took me to the most awesome Target ever! It had two stories and when you went up the escalator your buggy had a special conveyor that rode beside you. WAY COOL!

OK, OK, I know I sound like country that came to town but man it was fun!

OH, about the shirt that Janet is wearing. The SLUT stands for the South Lake Union Transit. It is a big joke in Seattle. The city officials have had to change this trolley's name several times because of the acronyms people have come up with! Jeff loves his shirt and wears it with pride. Some people! Janet actually had someone come up to her in Target and flip out when they saw her shirt wanting to know where they to could get one. The little coffee shop is called KaPOW! A little hole in the wall coffee shop. The owners said they have had people from all over the world order or stop by and purchase shirts. :0)

Old friends

Gathering with old high school friends and with the great water fighter, Ben. Left to right Ron, (Russ's partner)Russ, Woody (in the back), Dennis, Barbara, Janet, Hunter the dog and me. It was so nice to see everyone and catch up. It is amazing how you can be a part from someone for years and then meet up again and act like time never separated you.
Ben and I once teamed up against Janet in a great water fight~guess who won! :-)

My all time FAVORITE PLACE in the whole wide world!

The view from Kerry Park is stunning. It is one of the best places to view the beautiful emerald city. If it is a very clear day and Mt. Rainer can be seen, bonus!