Monday, October 25, 2010

All For One...

...And One for All!!!
This past week has been a doozy. My Dad flew in on Tuesday. Konie followed him on Wednesday.
Then my Aunt Jan, Uncle Michael, (cousin) Kimberly, and (her husband) Kevin followed on Thursday. AND Saturday, I was throwing a double birthday party with a Three Musketeers theme. Would you like a peek at my To-Do List for the week:
I wrote it out because on Sunday I was having panic attacks about when and how I was going to get it all done. A list helps me like that. Even though I stayed approximately a day behind all week, I at least took comfort in knowing everything had an allotted time.

Konie's arrival on Thursday was an absolute gift from God himself. She cleaned and entertained and never said "No" to any request the girls made. I think she went into a comma each night from how ragged Pace and Mary Aplin ran her. On Saturday morning before the big party, we both stepped out of our bedrooms bright and early to start to work...And we matched :)

I've always been a sucker for a party theme, and Pace and Mary Aplin's request for a Barbie and The Three Musketeers birthday, was a party planning dream for me.

(I hope you can read the poem, because I am super proud of it :))
The invitations were from this seller on etsy. She was great, GREAT to work with and I love her stuff. The only complaint I have is that the actual invitations were smaller than I expected. She had the dimensions written in plain view, but I envisioned them as being larger. I bet she could make them bigger for you if you ask, though.

No I did not make their capes. They also came from etsy, but this seller.

Ok, so after all that set up and all that planning, we began the wait to see if anybody would show up. I had this horrible fear that nobody was going to come and the girls would be scarred for life. Why would they come? They don't know us. And most of the people out here don't strike me as the types to throw a themed kids' birthday party. They probably think I'm nuts. I just had to write a rhyme on the invitation didn't I?

Jeremiah got into the spirit and helped the girls work off some nervous energy as we waited...

And, since we were all dressed, we got a little family picture.

And slowly but surely (thank you Lord), they did come...

And they decorated Musketeer masks,

And played "Disarm the Musketeer" (Our version of pin the tail on the donkey, which Konie manned like a champion)

And ate birthday cake

And danced along with Barbie at the Musketeer Ball

And got scared of that weird Southern woman who is way over-animated

And everyone was so kind and we had such a good time, that I wondered what in the world I'd been so worried about all week.

By the end of the day, we were all feeling a little sugar-loaded, dazed, and confused...
But oh-so-very thankful and happy.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Come Away With Me

I haven't figured out how to only post once a week and not give you extremely long posts with a smattering of unlinked topics and pictures :). I may have to rethink this once-a-week thing, but for now---

One of Jeremiah's attendings mentioned that he had a log cabin built on 1200 acres (!!!!!) in eastern Washington, where he had just finished building (as in, with his own hands) a two-story cedar barn. Don't you wish you'd been there to see Jeremiah try to not squeal with excitement? He told me he played it really cool and didn't invite himself, but we managed to end up there two days later. :) You can't start talking about vast amounts of land and cabins and expect us not to show up.

Jeremiah asked me early in the trip, if I was ready to call it "The Most Beautiful Drive" we'd ever taken, and I told him to hold his horses. We've taken a lot of beautiful drives lately. However, after driving by this aqua colored river for about 15 miles, rushing over boulders, through evergreens and scattered deciduous trees--I told him to pull over for some pictures, because he was right.



Even in cloud cover, without being able to see the tallest mountains, it was still the most beautiful drive I've ever experienced.

Now don't think we weren't feeling a little anxious about the potential awkwardness of staying overnight with Jeremiah's boss, who he just met. What if the girls were unruly? What if we didn't have anything to talk about? What if Dr. Wagner didn't think we would actually take him up on his offer and now he was dreading us coming? How much food do you show up with so as not to be a mooch but also not look like you're making yourself too at home? I was a little short of breath when we arrived.... ...

All for nought. Dr. Wagner immediately engaged the girls and crawled up into the loft to show them their special beds in the air. He's one of those people who has done a little bit of everything--riding a motorcycle across the Middle East, a fellowship in China, a honeymoon on his '67 BMW motorcycle... And then he's a dreamer and an idealist--always thinking of ways to improve spines and third world countries and energy consumption...

What I'm saying is, it was sort of my ideal evening :)

We drove a different way home, to see what lay on the other side of the mountains. And we found lots of apple orchards.

We stopped for some hot apple cider and pumpkin doughnuts, and the girls found their friend Mater

Random insert--Mary Aplin turned three on the 13th!!!
And she hated every minute of it. I made pink and green cupcakes for her class (at her request). When we walked into school and all her friends cried, "Happy Birthday Mary Aplin!!!" she lifted her dress above her head and hid between my legs. The rest of the day she refused to talk to all the well-wishers on the phone and just grunted at everyone who wished her a happy day. She is a funny little bean, but we still can't get enough her. She adds a lot of spice to our life :)

This weekend we went with some friends to a pumpkin farm a little south of Olympia.

The pumpkins were a bit picked over, but the apple fritters, OHHHHH the apple fritters!! We stood in an hour-long line to get them, wondering what all the fuss could possibly be about. Boy, did we find out! This is as close as I could get for a picture without someone eating my camera.

There was also a petting zoo.


Pace's gentle nature and tender heart was right at home.
Tenderness does not come quite as naturally to the Dapples...

"Why is this horse attached to a stick? This is not nearly as fun as Popon's farm. I can make those horses run wild. Get me down. I need more action."
I'm always glad to act as her interpreter.

Happy week! Sorry for the randomness. My Dad is coming in town today, and we have quite the little double birthday party planned this weekend. See you next week!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Honey For A Child's Heart

We've been having two types of honey round here lately. The first type, was grandparent honey.
I'm not sure if Jeremiah was taking a picture of the waterfall or their heads, but there they are :)

We had such a great time with these two. They are ever eager to try anything we suggest, and I heard Dr. Maddox tell Retha (his office manager) over the phone, "There are 400 parks in Seattle you know. We've been to three, but I think we may get to see the rest of them this afternoon." He winked at me, but he really would have gone to every one and acted like he had never seen a park before each time, if we'd wanted to.

Now, I'd been waiting for just the right visitor to give me an excuse to RIDE THE DUCKS!!!!
I've been watching them pass me all over Seattle, doing things like this with music like "YMCA" blaring over the loud speakers.
I can't explain why that would call to me, but it did. And when Mrs. Linda asked me what I thought the girls would most want to do to celebrate their birthdays, I felt my opportunity had arrived.


We blew our quackers to ad nauseum,
sang songs aloud with complete strangers, learned fascinating facts about the city to share with all our friends, took a dip in Lake Union,


saw the "Sleepless in Seattle" house,

And had an all-around grand 'ol time.

I would recommend it, in all seriousness. Just be prepared to cheese it out with relish. It's better to go all in. You look much more stupid if you're already ON the Ducks, and then you act too cool for them.

We also managed to visit the biggest waterfall I've ever seen:

And get another lovely family photo in front of it. Why do children forget how to smile when they turn 4?? We are about to be 5. Is there any end in sight?
On second thought, perhaps I need some smiling lessons as well :)

We ate good food, had some long talks on the porch, Mrs. Linda taught me how to make granola and took me shopping (without the little girls!!), and we saw a few parks :). It was honey to our hearts.

The second kind of honey we've been experiencing comes from here (also the place where I borrowed the name for this post):
My friend Lindsey sent these books to us as a "here's some comfort out of your comfort zone" happy, but I had no idea what was in store for me.

I feel like Gladys (the author) and me go waaayyyyy back. Like maybe she was whispering in God's ear while He was creating me :) As I read her words, I suddenly felt like so many of my feelings made sense. Like all the hours I'd wasted trying to figure out why reading fiction was important to me, or why I had such an intense desire to share it with my children, or why I wanted to read aloud to my husband, or why some books are good and others are just not...all those wasted wondering hours could have been saved if I'd just read Gladys' book a few years back. She'd already figured it out!!

I cried at least once every time I sat down to read. You know that thankfulness you feel from being understood? From feeling validated?

I read it once (the first half is her thoughts and the second half is a book list, so it isn't really all that much reading) and then went back to re-read/highlight all the parts I wanted to read to Jeremiah. Most of the book is now yellow :) I'll try to limit myself to a couple of quotes here:

What kind of books are proper fare for a child's mind?... 'Stories that make for wonder. Stories that make for laughter. Stories that stir one within with an understanding of the true nature of courage, of love, of beauty. Stories that make one tingle with high adventure, with daring, with grim determination, with the capacity of seeing danger through to the end. Stories that bring our minds to kneel in reverence; stories that show the tenderness of true mercy, the strength of loyalty, the unmawkish respect for what is good.'

Good literature teaches more than we know. Example always speaks louder than precept, and books can do more to inspire honor and tenacity of purpose than all the chiding and exhortations in the world.

Reading aloud as a family has bound us together, as sharing an adventure always does. We know the same people. We have gone through emotional crises together as we felt anger, sadness, fear, gladness, and tenderness in the world of the book we were reading. Something happens to us that is better experienced than described--a kind of enlarging of heart--when we encounter passages full of grand language and noble thoughts.

Later, when we said good-night and prayed together by a moonlit shore, a seventeen-year-old [Gladys' son] thanked God not just for "beautiful things we can see, but for beautiful words which remind us of realities we cannot see."

I am going to make myself stop now, but I hope you get the point.

Jeremiah and I discussed, very early in our marriage, how we wanted to have a time set aside each night for reading real, good books aloud as a family. We've talked about the comfortable space we'd create to encourage these readings and have added many a finished title to the must-read family list. I'd never heard of anybody doing this before and reading Gladys' testimony of how it shaped their lives was moving for me.

It also inspired me to stop waiting for "one day" and start now. And so we have. Each night for the past week Jeremiah, Pace, Mary Aplin, and I have piled into the girls' bed and read a chapter of Winnie the Pooh. What honey this beginning has already been!

(I just had to share this picture of this morning's sunrise...)