Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Quiet Day...

...unless you live in SoCal! Chino Hills to be exact. So what are the odds that while Tyler and Kevin are up in Washington visiting us, a whopper of an earthquake hits SoCal with the epicenter being approximately UNDER THEIR HOUSE??? Dan and I were on a quick Home Depot run (but are Home Depot runs really ever quick?) and we started getting text messages from SoCal relatives informing us of the 5.4 magnitude quake that shook their world. We had the boys call Tommy and En to make sure they were okay (and they were.) I read the news reports this morning and all I can say is, "Please God, let yesterday's quake be it...and not just a foreshock. Thank you for your assistance in this matter."

So, moving on to other events of the day. How about a description in four words: Pajamas, Games, Pizza, Sundaes. See, what Dan and I didn't know when we snuggled into bed Monday night was that the teen population of the house decided to pull an all-nighter. Successfully, too! When Dan got up at 5:00'ish, he heard them upstairs, still rockin'. I believe it got quiet from around 6:30 am to noon and then they perked up again. Oh to be young! While the kids played Guitar Hero and other games, we putzed around admiring our pretty new fence (unveiling photos very soon!) and before anyone knew it, dinner time had rolled around. We headed to one of our favorite Italian restaurants: Jimmy's. How much do we love Kevin's hair? Hayley calls him the Statue of Liberty. He wears it well!

Anyway, Jimmy's has the yummiest salad and the pizza is to-die-for. God smiled on our was THAT good!

We decided to skip Coldstone and Dairy Queen and instead, we made banana splits and hot fudge sundaes at home. Basically ice cream, bananas, hot fudge, caramel, chocolate syrup, whipped cream and cherries = happy kids. And then I wonder why they don't go to sleep at night!! Heh. (Yes, I was standing on the island to get this angle, but clearly the lighting was off a tad...)

So, I just had a piece of cold pizza for breakfast (yum) and I think I hear the kids moving upstairs. Today, Hayley has a volleyball camp at UW and the boys are going to show off their mad bowling skillz! Should be some hilarious fun!

Have a great day! =)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Picking up where they left off...and a Field Trip!

So, how can you tell that you have two additional boys in your house???

A.) The shoe population increases


B.) The laughter volume GREATLY increases!

I love that our kids can go months without seeing their cousins and the minute they are reunited, it's like no time has passed at all! Dan and Brian picked Tyler and Kevin up at the airport yesterday and they've been talking and laughing and catching up and carrying on since.

So, can you guess where we went Monday? Since we heard an ugly rumor that it is supposed to rain more this week, we decided to use Monday's beautiful, clear weather to head down to Seattle and check out the Space Needle.

Last time we went on a Tuesday and walked right in. On Monday, we had to wait about half an hour. To join the masses. Oh, did I mention it was like taking a Liebel Field Trip with the matching purple shirts? I never had to look far to know exactly where a Liebel boy was.

First, I had to get a shot of the boys for Tom and Enalyn. The problem is, there is no good angle up top to get a good shot. You're either dark in the shadow or squinting in full sun. This was my best, with downtown in the background.

Since the observation deck was so crowded, the boys found other things to do to keep occupied while waiting for a spot on the making people think they were choking each other. Good times!

We pause here for the gratuitous "Make-a-Face-Shot...." Hmmmm, what's that on the horizon above Kevin and Tyler's heads??? Can you see it...?

No? Okay, zoom in a little (okay, a lot!) and we have Mt. Rainier, which Kevin informed me is the highest peak in Washington! (He did a school report on Washington state this year.) Pretty, huh?

At the base of the Space Needle is a little amusement park that was just calling to the kids. First they rode the Ferris Wheel. I kind of like this angle!

Then the Tornado, which they spin themselves with that wheel in the center. Their little pod was spinning like crazy while all the others were just hanging there.

That's why they felt like this afterwards! Just kidding...their stomachs are strong!

Finally, they rode the very frightening kiddie roller coaster. Good times!

I didn't get pictures, but a frequent stop for us with our visitors has become the Army Surplus store to get custom dogtags. The guy that stamps them out is really cool and always seems quite entertained by the Liebel clan. We do what we can!

Next stop: Pike Place Market. Yes, it really was that crowded. We strolled to the Fish Market and waited around until the fish started flying. The kids positioned themselves just right and Brian and Kev caught the stuffed fish. More good times!

A quick (if you call waiting a good 15 minutes for your order "quick") stop into the original Starbucks for Frappuccinos...

...and then we had to trek up a seriously steep hill. The photo doesn't really convey the incline. Trust me. I stopped not only to take the photo, but to try to stop the burning in my thighs and wheezing in my lungs! This was about 2/3 up the hill and no, those are not ants behind the boys. They are people near the bottom of the hill. See what I mean? Purple Field Trip.

We finished up the day with some dinner and then S'mores out in the backyard. Our neighbors came over and joined us and we ended up out there by the fire until 11:30! Lousy photo....great company!

Tomorrow: Sleeping in a little and then we'll see!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Extra Liebels in the Hizzy!

Our nephews Kevin and Tyler arrive today from beautiful Southern California!

We plan to give these two rad dudes an awesome week of life in Seattle.

So, after at least a month of glorious, sunny weather...


Yep, raining. The day they arrive. Sorry guys! But it isn't expected to last and then we'll be back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Tommy and En, thank you so much for sending your boys up here to hang with us! We'll take good care of them, feed and water them daily, and I'll try to give you daily updates right here on ye olde Liebel Life blog!


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

One year ago today...

We arrived here. Our new home. After a long preparation and journey.


You must click on the above photo! Our dear friends the Watts, the only people we knew up here in Washington, made this awesome banner and had it waiting to greet us when we pulled up to our new home. Yes, I got weepy. It was the sweetest welcome, along with two pots full of flowers on the porch and some UW goodies for Danny and the kids. It was a little bit overcast and actually started misting after we all got out of the car. And strangely enough, after stunningly beautiful, sunny weather lately, today is the exact same as it was a year ago (though it hasn't misted yet today!)

So, how did we get here? Well, first off all, a few days earlier we waved "goodbye" to all of our belongings as the moving truck drove away down Quigley Ave. in SoCal. That was a really strange feeling. I remember saying a little prayer that Jim and Winona, our movers, would have a safe trip up to Washington.

Here is Dano in front of our little Quigley house. This house has so many memories for us. Danny's first home purchase (and the only house he'd ever lived in besides his parents house.) Our first home as married folks. We brought our new babies home to this house and this is where they grew up. A lot of renovation, expansion, work and love went into making this little house a home. But anyone that knows our story also knows that it was time for us to take a deep breath, spread our wings and move on.

We left early the morning of the 22nd of July, 2007, towing our trailer behind us. For long trips, we usually fold down the middle seat of the car so all four kids (two human, two furry) can be comfy. The final Harry Potter hit the shelves the day before we left, so Hayley took full advantage of the time to read. Brian also read, along with keeping occupied with the Gameboy, plus we had the DVD player going. We made it to Redding, California early the first evening. We stopped at a nice little motel and stretched our legs, swam a little and got a good night's sleep.

The furry kids, Molly and Abby, were absolute troopers and did so well on the trip.

Sorry...we now pause for the gratuitous "Dog's-Head-Out-the-Window" shot.

Uhhhh...hold on a minute! Are we going in the right direction? Didn't we just leave Long Beach? Heh.

I really can't remember what time on the 23rd we arrived in Marysville. It was just so nice to know that we were HOME!

We had to wait a few days for Jim to deliver our belongings, so THIS was a really beautiful sight! For the record, our "stuff" took up 3/4 of that van. And I say "stuff" because there was not room for one more item inside the van. Ask Mover Jim...he'll tell ya!

And in the blink of an eye, it has been a full year. By the way, I'm off to pick berries now...they're calling to me!


Monday, July 21, 2008


I admit it. I have developed an obsession with berries. I can't help it. The dang things grow wild in my backyard, so what's a girl to do? I'll tell you what...harvest them! And then you can make things like this:

Behold ~ Berry Crisp. (I'll go ahead and give you a moment to yourselves.....)

Okay then, lets start with the haul. First, I collected wild blackberries. From the yard. I point that out, well.....because I CAN!

After rinsing them and leaving them to dry, I headed back out and collected raspberries. Jewel raspberries...they're deep, deep purple ~almost black.

Can you stand it? Pretty, huh? This was about 4 1/2 cups of berries total. It took about an hour to collect all these babies. Did I mention berry vines are covered in sharp, nasty thorns. I am brave though. The reward is well worth it! And my scratches heal quickly.

So, after adding sugar to the berries (which isn't even necessary, but I followed the recipe...) you combine flour, brown sugar, oats, cinnamon and butter. Lots of butter. I never said this was low fat, did I? No, I did not. Work with me, people.

You layer half the dry mixture, the berries and sugar, and the other half of the dry mixture.
You pat each dry layer nice and even.

Bake 40 minutes. Cool. Send the hubs to the store to get vanilla ice cream because this CANNOT be eaten without vanilla ice cream. And whipped cream.

We're pretty much in heaven about now. Berry Crisp with Vanilla Bean Ice's a good thing! Heh Martha.

Finally, in the interest of truth in journalism, I have to fill you in on my blunder. I forgot to take the final photo of the Berry Crisp, bathing in ice cream and whipped topping. So, I sacrificed in a big way this morning (for my're welcome!) and had what you see in the top photo for breakfast! The way I see it, I covered my fruit, grain and dairy food groups....I'm going to go with that theory! You would, too, if you just had that plate of yumminess for breakfast! I look at that top photo, I realize the clear plate just doesn't do it justice. The island appears to blend in with the Crisp...sorry! Click on the photo to see up-close torture...

If you'd like the recipe (and you know you do!) leave me a comment and I'll email it to you!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

520 Feet in 41 Seconds...

to the top of this! Yep, Tuesday was total tourist day for us. We took Ryan to the Space Needle. Once at the top, the boys headed straight for the telescopes. Unless you've been to the top, you just cannot imagine how cool it is to take in the 360 degree view of Seattle.

Hayley and I had to get a shot together.

Ahhhh, Lake Union, with the Cascades off on the horizon.

That is Quest Field and Safeco Field where the Seahawks and Mariners play!

Downtown Seattle...beautiful.

After spending quite a bit of time 520 feet up, we headed over to the famous Pike Place Market. It is a public market full of vendors selling amazing fresh flowers, fruits and veggies, jewelry, soaps, handmade goods.....and fish! Lots of fresh fish right off the boats that dock just below the market. This is the most famous of the fish vendors, the Pike Place Fish Market. These guys are so entertaining. There are usually four or five behind the upper counter cutting and wrapping fish orders and two or three down on the floor helping unsuspecting customers. It usually begins with someone requesting salmon...and then the fish start flying! They holler out "SOCKEYE SALMON!!!" and the guy on the floor hurls a huge fish up to the guys behind the counter, often a good 15 feet away. Then, they throw it back. And back it goes again. And they don't miss. Then, a really big fish comes flying past the guy that is supposed to catch it and often smacks right into the unsuspecting customer. They scream and hop around. Then they realize it is a big stuffed fish...

...and the crowd goes wild!!! It never gets old. One time, we saw a lady posing all pretty for a picture and the stuffed fish hit her square in the back of the head. Classic!

This gal actually got to hold an enormous Chinook salmon while the fishmonger held a really little fish. What a guy...he had no issues!

After strolling all through the market, we went across the street to the original Starbucks store! How could we not? That is a giant brass post at the entry to the store, commemorating that it is the very first Starbucks store. We practically had to wait in line to take a picture with it. We all had Frappuccinos because it was wicked hot outside and slurped them while listening to an amazing trio of gentlemen singing a capella Gospel and R&B. I could have listened to them all day!

Finally, we headed home for dinner, firecrackers in the street...and Wipeout! Sadly, today we have to take Ryan to the airport and say goodbye. It's been a great week filled with fun stuff and we're going to miss our California buddy!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Good Times at Bow Lake

We were invited to the Davis Schueller Company Picnic this past weekend by our friends Ken and Danette Schueller. They are THE most gracious hosts (i.e. ~ They throw an awesome party!) This is an aerial shot of Bow Lake. It is a privately owned ski lake about 45 minutes north of our house. We used to have to drive hours and hours to get to anyplace like this back home. After getting the trailer all set up for the weekend, the kids took off exploring. There was absolutely no shortage of activities to occupy their time this weekend! First stop was the trampoline. There was a ski rope attached to the adjacent building for practicing wicked tricks to try out on the lake. Abby was reunited with strapping hottie Jake. There must have been 15 dogs roaming around the picnic. Just picture about 5 labradors, shi tzu princess Maisie, a dachshund, two unbelievably gorgeous greyhounds, a pug, a malamute, a German shepherd pup, a curly poodle-y pup....and Bob. Bob is a Jack Russell terrier who lives at Bow Lake. Bob has some...uhhh...interesting and funny "behaviors" that kept us all cracking up and shaking our heads. But since Bob lives there, he can do anything he darn well's his turf! So, what did we do all weekend: After arriving Friday afternoon, we putzed around getting set up and chatting. We brought fish taco fixin's for dinner and ended up with people lined up for a taste of Dano's famous Mexican grub. Too much fun...we love to feed people! I don't have any good photos to share of Friday because I had a margarita in my hand instead of a camera pretty much the entire time! Sorry 'bout that! The truth hurts...and so did my head on Saturday morning. Oooh...tequila/amaretto hangover. Sigh. First up Saturday: the Golf Shoes tournament. How much fun is this game? It is basically two golf balls connected with a thin rope. You toss them at the pole set-up and get points based on where they stay. Danny and I got a tough first round draw against Ken and Danette. Needless to say, we were way outmatched! Brian and Ryan had a great match against Greg and his wife. They ended up coming back with some clutch throws to tie the match. The tie-breaker did not go their way though. Hayley and Kortney also lost their first round match. It doesn't matter though...this game is fun and addictive! Next up: Helicopter Rides. So, how lucky are we? This little beauty took people on ride after ride all day long. None of our family had ever done this before so it was pretty exciting. Dan and I were together and I must admit, I got a wee bit scared, especially when the pilot banked to the right. People, THERE IS NO DOOR!!! Brian and Ryan went up together and Hayley went up with her friend Kortney (who I hear is afraid of heights, so, enormous props to her because below is a little peek at the experience.) Warning: Josie Grandma ~ LOOK AWAY! SKIP THIS PHOTO! YOU WILL THANK ME! Unnerving, yes. But would I do it again? In a heartbeat! We could see all the way over the Sound and the San Juan Islands and beyond. Breathtaking. Next up: Wakeboarding! Hayley and Brian had never wakeboarded before, so the awesome Bow Lake instructors worked their magic and both kids were whizzing around the lake! They even navigated the island turns at both ends of the lake. That is Brian above.

And this is Hayley. I think she changed her birthday wish list from a car (ha!) to a boat! (haha!) And a pink and white wakeboard! The girl is hooked!

Then there was a BBQ dinner. Smoked chicken, sausage and ribs with all the sides you can imagine (including Danette's incomparable noodle salad!) Again, no pictures...we were too busy eating! After dinner, Ken raffled off an incredible amount of door prizes. Generosity is his middle name. Every kid walked away with a goodie satchel full of fun stuff. Our number was drawn for the margarita machine and assorted goodies to go with! Party at our house...who's in??

Then, there was a dessert competition. I made the one thing in my arsenal that never fails. This yummy has been a staple at the Rydin family holiday table as long as I can remember: Double Cream Cheesecake with Oreo Crust. We found the most sublime fresh berries and then God smiled on my cheesecake: for the first time ever, it didn't crack on top! Maybe it was a sign, because the cheesecake took First Place in the competition. And I almost didn't get a picture...while I was cutting it, another gal asked if I'd taken a picture. Ooops. Second place went to the amazing fresh strawberry pie right behind the cheesecake. The crust combined with the berries: Lawsie mercy...that was yummy!

Later that evening, while Dan took the boys to the Speedway for the races, I was off to the nearby casino in a tricked out Limo-Bus! I did make a donation at the slots (why do I even bother with them?) and then spent the next few hours parked at my favorite table: Roulette! The first three numbers after I sat down were all direct hits for me! I had so much fun, got ahead, never got behind, but ended up walking away with my initial buy-in, so it was all good! Sunday morning, breakfast! This is our host, Ken. He is amazing. I say this because we were all on the same limo ride back home at around 2:00 am and yet, here he was, up bright and early making a huge feast for everyone.

After packing up the rigs to head home, the kids ended up back in the water behind the boat. I worked on my sunburn a little more. After a wild boat ride around the lake, all the kids jumped in the water and pretty soon, everyone ended up sliding around on the ski jump ramp. A perfect end to an amazing weekend. Ken and Danette, thank you again for inviting us to the picnic! We are truly blessed to have you in our lives!