Summer Hiking

Summer Hiking
Mt. Constitution

Monday, December 31, 2012

Disneyland Trip #1

I tried a little blogging from my IPAD:  It is 6:30 AM on Friday, December 28th and I'm saying my morning prayers, feeling the anticipation of our trip to Disneyland. The trip is my gift to my family, a way to spend time with all of them at the "happiest place in the world." I've been praying for days to love my family and accept all their quirky behaviors and hope they accept mine as well. My advent reflection helped. Katharine Deeley writes, "peace and love are the watchwords of Christmas. Our love and care for others seems a little more generous and available in the season leading up to Christmas.  Paul's letter to the Colossians outlines the characteristics of God's people: heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another...and over all of these put on love.... What if we did our best to be all we can be--that is to be the face of Christ to all we meet. I'm thinking that will be my only job for the next week to remember that love came down to give me peace, which enables me to love my children and grands with no other expectations.... Be with us Lord as we grow in appreciation for each other. Your love and your grace is enough for me.

The most fun of being with the kids on the airplane is their excitement in being above the clouds. Jake wants to have a window seat on every flight. After we left the fog of Pasco we had great view of the mountains covered with snow. We were on the wrong side to see Mt. Rainier, but the right side to see the Space Needle. A glorious sight greeted us when we got off the plane in Seattle--an Alaska Airlines plane that indicated it was going to Disneyland!!

The magic of the GPS helped us get to the Hampton Inn with no trouble.  Jake and Colin hit the outdoor pool even though it was freezing outside. 55 degrees felt warm to us.  Bradleigh and I had our own room and were in bed by 10.

The morning is cloudy. John and I shared breakfast, he's miserable, needs decongestant. Paula D'Arcy writes, can I move toward deeper love? I don't think love is trying to change us. It's evoking something already within us and reaching through our precise experiences to bring it alive. Love came down and it is enough for me as we figure out what to do today.....I feel grateful for this special time. Like after Christmas bargains...I find bargains in time we spend together sharing stories in a restaurant, enjoying what the kids see, and the sunrise reflecting on the pool outside this breakfast room. Thank you, Jesus for all these bargains today.

The O'Shaughnessy's took off to meet up with former neighbors Chris and Megan Kennedy and the Wessels decided to drive to LegoLand.

It was the beginning of our waiting in line experiences for the next five days!  Little did we know that the wait times never got any better the longer we wandered around.....

We waited for almost an hour in the rain to ride the Coastasaurus and then just as we were approaching the gate they closed the ride due to rain!!!

We did manage to do a little shopping for legos and take a tour of the "factory" and see how the legos are made.  

We were just delighted to be dry, in the rental car, and arriving at The Thompson House, in Huntington Beach, which would be our home away from home for the next six days.   A gas fireplace warmed us quickly, the smell of candles burning, and a welcome basket filled with goodies made us feel right at home.

We ended the first evening playing Apples to Apples and Phase 10!!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, 2012

We didn't have to dream about a White Christmas - it was one at Anne and Duane's after  having snowed about six inches during the day.  

Colin and Jordyn spent the afternoon sledding down the back hill and sled jumping off a big rock in the back yard.   Anne spent the afternoon cooking two pork loin roasts, one in the oven, and the other on the Traeger!  We enjoyed a great dinner before opening gifts with the O'Shaughnessys.

 Anne's Underwarmers!
 John's In-Out Burger T-Shirt
Bradleigh's T-Shirt from Jake says I (greater than) U

Colin and Jake both got Minecraft T-Shirts!

My gift to this sweet family were gift bags with ornaments and Disneyland Passes and this message that I found in one of my Advent reflection books:

"After the last present is wrapped, the last prayer said, and the last child tucked away, a blessed and holy silence rains down and the world holds its collective breath.  It is the coming our Lord Jesus.  His birth was long ago, but still there is something special about this silent night that makes us torn in love to family and friends.  Many Christmas carols sing about love from heaven.  I know that at Christmas, more than any other time, I turn to God and to you with deep feelings of love and gratitude." 
Sometimes it’s hard for me to express in words what I’m feeling in my heart for each of you.  You all bless me with your presence and gifts of time.  I want to bless you with this little gift of time and travel to Disneyland and to tell you I love you."

After presents, we enjoyed a peppermint ice cream dessert that Duane made.  It was even more special this year because he couldn't find the ice cream at Safeway and had to buy it from Baskin-Robbins.  He also made Grandma Wessels Shrimp Cocktail....yummy!!!  

I love to wake up early at their house in Moscow and sit by the windows, with coffee in hand, just waiting for the sunrise.  It was a beautiful Christmas morning because of the snow and I felt grateful for the gift of family and God's gift of His Son.  Colin woke up early enough to enjoy a few more gifts and we all went to Mass at St. Mary's at 9 AM.  It's the first time in many years I've been to Mass on Christmas Day.  For years we went to the Children's Mass at St. Stan's.  

We watched Polar Express and then got bundled up for a little hike at Idler's Rest near Moscow Mountain.  The snow clung to the trees and gave Colin reason to shout for joy!  

 Photo shoot in the snow!!


Anne found her snowshoes so I put those on and walked around their yard so now I'm ready to try it with the Hiking Group. 

It was a Holy Night when Love came down and filled our hearts with peace!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas at the Essers

Connie and Garry hosted an open house for the Kopczynski's on Sunday.  We were all grateful for the good weather that enabled the Spokane relatives to travel to Moscow.  Connie and Garry recently remodeled their living space and it proved a perfect place to sit, visit, and eat!
The hardwood floors are new, but the couch is old - it came from our family home after Mom died.  Connie and Garry buy a live tree every year from the St. Mary's School Fundraiser and decorate it with hand-made ornaments and gifts from students and extended family.   I loved visiting with Karlee.   She told me about her dream to have her own classroom by this time next year.  She also fell in love with her boyfriend, John's, family in Missouri, riding horses of all things. 

John and Garry catching up on fishing stories!

Julia is happy to be home and warm!

Colin loved playing Grandma's old player piano
Sitting in front of the new bay window and gas fireplace = Cozy and priceless!

This is our group picture - all 19 of us!  Thank you, Connie & Garry

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Happy Birthday Connie

I think Connie's birthday often got buried in the busy preparations for Christmas.  I'm usually busy, barely able to get a Christmas letter sent, much less remembering to send her a card.  It's no different this year - EMail had to do.

Jimmy Boyd's song, "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" was popular when Connie was born.

I doubt there was much time for kissing Santa Clause when Mom came home from the hospital to four children under six years old.  I don't remember much about Connie's birth except Dad telling us our new baby sister could be named Constance Susan.  I thought it was a terrible name for a baby until he explained we could call her Connie Sue.

January, 1957

Christmas 1953

January, 1959

There are very few early pictures of Connie alone - I think pictures were precious in those days and everyone available had to be in them!
Except this lovely one!

I love this picture of the six sisters.  The picture was taken by Uncle Ben at my bridal shower in 1965.

We sisters have had a lot of fun over the years and our weekends together continue to mean a lot to us.  We've worked on projects, shared stories, laughed and cried.  Connie's husband, Garry, insists that a Sister's weekend for Connie's 60th year is the best gift ever!  We can't wait to plan it, fuss about it, and then relax and enjoy it.  Since Connie's a part of the planning, I'm sure there'll be no projects planned!




Connie, you bless me with your smile, your joy, and your genuine care and concern for others!
Can't wait to celebrate with you soon and I pray that the six of us can make a decision about our destination quickly!  And, thank you Garry, for the great idea.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Cookie Decorating

My grandchildren came yesterday and decorated all my Christmas Cookies.  This pre-Christmas event continues what my Mom and Grandma Kopczynski started over 50 years ago.  It usually took them all day to bake and decorate both white and ginger cookies.  I still use Grandma's sugar cookie recipe which includes sour cream that seems to keep them soft.  These three kids got creative with the colors and took a lot of time to sprinkle the colored sugars on.

 When we finished decorating we made plates to take to the shut-ins whose names were on a tree at St. Stan's.  Karen's shut-in lives in a local Memory Care Unit.  She used to live in our neighborhood in the Clarkston Heights.  She asked us to come back and visit, "because I'm all alone now."  It would be nice if we visited more than once a year to these sweet people who feel so isolated and alone now.

I like to get an annual picture with each one of my grandkids as a way to see how much they change from year to year.  I appreciate the time it takes to get the camera set up and then sit with grandma while Duane and Karen take the pictures.  

Anne, Bradleigh and I tried to decorate some cake pops and pretzel rods, but we didn't have much luck with the melted chocolate.  I tried it again today and melted the chocolate in a water glass, which made it a lot easier for dipping.  I learned it just takes a lot of patience!  But, success at last!

Standing ready to take to the Esser's on Sunday!