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I suppose there are many forms of humiliation really, some more humiliating than others, but this week has been full of it. (well last week really, but this post wouldn't cooperate, so I am re-posting.) Unintentionally wrecking your friend's car when you agreed to switch cars with her for the weekend so that she could take her visiting family to Portland for the weekend would be one. Yikes. Yes, it happened. That is what I get for wanting to go to Portland. Now Shelly has no car for the next month or so. Oops. Bad idea. No, this is not the humiliation of mine, but I'll get to that. Again, there are many forms.

Perhaps humiliation is having to be carried out, upside down, from the library, by your mother because you are screaming and yelling so loud at the Big Bird on the library computer monitor that the behavior begins to draw stares and shushes by librarians and other elderly patrons. Again, not my own humiliation, but I do believe Wynne would agree he was humiliated by the event.

Now on to my own...its Wednesday night. Shelly and I have already treated the boys to a morning at the skatepark and tons of fun besides, but because we are loving, adoring parents, we decide to take all 5 boys swimming at the YMCA for the evening, followed by supper out at the Puerto Vallarta mexican restaurant. The swimming part went just fine. It was the pool removal process that proved somewhat difficult.
Wynne had to go to the potty, which, as anyone with a 3 year old knows, is not an individual sport. Yes, this requires a mom for escort, so I took him to the locker room, while Shelly extracted the other 4 from their chlorine enrichment. Shell finally got them all out of the pool and in line waiting for an open "family locker room" (of which, there are only 4 of these, what the ?$@#*?? Hello, families are the ones using the Y, make more of these people, or make the women's locker room more family friendly for those of us with male children people!!!) It should be noted here that Shelly was holding all the clothes, shoes, towels, goggles, purses, etc. necessary to make a trip to the Y, since I was assisting W at the time. Finally, we procure a locker room, get the boys showered, match up the appropriate clothes to child, and eventually ourselves begin to get dressed. Oh yes, we swam too. I begin to put on my clothes only to realize that they were the closest thing to Shelly's swimwear when waiting for the locker room, which is to say, they are soaked. The boys are starving at this point, we've promised them mexican and home is a distance from here. What to do?
I push my skirted swim bottom down as low as I can as not to offend anyone, and make it out of the Y and into the car dripping wet and a bit embarrassed. No big deal, people understand I was swimming, right?
No what? I consider going for nachos in this get up but realize I will make a huge puddle in the restaurant and never be invited back, so the only thing left to do is find another acceptable get up. What is near? Target, of course.
Shelly drops me off ALL ALONE to run into Target, IN MY SWIM BOTTOMS,in the middle of January mind you, to grab a new pair of pants and get out. Easy right? Okay, I walk quickly to the athletic section, grab pants, get to the check out (enduring many eyebrow raising stares) only to be DENIED at the checkout for my $17 purchase. C'mon! Seriously Target, I have been shopping with you for long enough, I am good for it.
I walk back out to the car, borrow $ from Shelly and go back in, only to endure more humiliation, grab another pair of pants and finally make it out with new bottoms, hooray!!! Sure, we all have to go through a bit of humility to be human, or at least decent people, but I feel I've been sent a message lately. Hmmm.. Okay, I'm out. Until next time....

sun at sunrise beach, gig harbor, wa

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surprise location

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We rang in the New Year with the Oates family on the west side of the state, only to get in the car the next day to drive to east, spend another week, only to hop on an airplane to go west again. Ridiculous, we know, but, here we are again, much sooner than expected, back in Washington state. Thanks to Bryce's extreme generosity and ever changing work schedule, we flew out to Seattle on Wednesday of this week to stay a few with Shelly, Chris and the boys we love so well. Shelly and Chris managed to keep the secret from the boys which made the trip up that much more exciting.

We surprised Drew by walking into his classroom to take him home early from school. His eyes focused on Henry and Wynne with confusion and amazement that quickly spread to pure joy as he hugged us all tightly, afraid we would disappear as quickly as we had appeared. Christian was in art class when he spied us in the hall. We waved his way only to have him smile, look at us strangely and then remark, "I'm painting right now." We got the boys out of school, into the Parrish tram and headed back to the Parrish fortress. The boys quickly picked up where they left off until another surprise batch of visitors arrived. Heather, Jack and Jessica Brown joined us and made it a party. Shell's special margaritas didn't hurt any either.

It has been nonstop fun around here with a forecast for lots more as we continue on our journey this weekend with a special trip planned for the whole crew...possibly even crossing state lines.

Before I forget, the above collage is one of the whole family baking pretzels together today. The recipe must be included, as its simple, well sort of, okay, not so much, but the fun factor makes it worth it.

1 pkg. active dry yeast
1 tsp. salt
1 c. flour

mix together in large bowl or bowl of stand mixer.

In a small bowl mix:

1 c. warm/hottish water (110 degrees)
1 Tbsp. honey or sorghum or agave (whatever sweetner you want)
1 Tbsp. melted butter

Add this mix to the dry mix. Mix on medium speed 3 minutes. Let rest a few minutes. Then mix in 1-1 1/2 C. whole wheat flour to make a dough. Use dough hook or turn out on board to knead 8 minutes or so.

Let dough rest long enough to have little boys go outside to ride bikes and dig in mud, while Shelly does laundry and Jenny takes Drew to the knit shop to buy yarn for new knitting project - approx 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Divide dough evenly among family members. Roll out long ropes. Twist into pretzels. Let pretzels rest while you boil:

7c. water &
1/4 baking soda

Drop pretzels into boiling soda water for 20 seconds each, then salt, then bake on greased cookie sheet for 8 minutes or so in a hot oven ( 425 degrees) on top rack in oven. Take pictures. Enjoy. Do it all again tomorrow.


Oates Family Holiday Fun


It was difficult to find just a few pictures to post in a collage of all the fun we had when we visited Adrian, MO for some holiday time with the Oates family at large. We arrived on the 27th to lots of snow and a new (9 days new) cousin, Raquel Lynn Oates....Raquel is as cute as she can be and tiny as a little bean. She didn't have too much to say about us, but we all agree, we are delighted to have her in the family. Eric and Rachel seemed to be adjusting to life with a little one (again) quite well, and suspiciously, looked no worse for wear. Big brother Liam really seemed to enjoy having someone almost his size join the family, calling Raquel "my baby" and periodically patting her on the head to let her know he was there for her. "Miam" as he calls himself, is just now two, but enjoys it most when running with the oldest batch of cousins, Aubrie and Henry.
All the cousins (and aunts and uncles) enjoyed sledding near Heath and Allison's where there were plenty of near misses on sleds flying every which way, as well as snowball fighting and snow fort building started by Oliver and Allison. Although Liam did his best to eat the snowfort as fast as they could build it, he is after all only one small boy. The snow fort still stands. As for standing, Wynne took the opportunity to stand on the sled nearly all the way down the hill, causing his uncles to try the same, with different, more painful (but really funny) results. Its hard to be outdone by a 3-year old sometimes.
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