Friday, August 29, 2008

Very, Very Proud

First of all, I do apologize for the absence of posts. We had a busy week of volleyball tryouts, work, laundry, cooking, sewing, and getting ready for school. I think once school starts and we get back on a schedule in the Liebel casa, I'll blog more frequently.

So, I warned you back when I started this blog that I would indeed gloat about my flowers...if I actually grew anything. I am very proud to present the following photos for your enjoyment!

Behold (a few days ago...)

And that turned into this! People, I GREW THIS FROM A BULB! And there are more blossoms getting ready to burst open and color our world around here. This is big. I'm a Dahlia freak and to actually grow this beauty...well, I'm a little excited! It's not even done opening up...

I put Gladiolus bulbs all over the flowerbeds...

Can you stand it?

I bought four skinny little fuschia plants from the high school greenhouse around the middle of June...

...and they completely filled up my wall planter and are blooming like crazy. Sigh.

These are Lupines that I grew from seed...

They weren't expected to bloom this first year, but lookie here! It is the only bloom, but that makes it that much more charming.

Dano boiled some eggs early this week and after a few days of soaking in the very yellow tumeric-infused concoction, we now have Joe Josts Pickled Eggs. Hayley has already taste-tested and deemed them a success. Another batch is already soaking.

And finally, we could not be more proud of our little Bobo (and yes, she will kill me for printing that!) Hayley had volleyball tryouts all this week and after coming home every day with sore muscles... ...she made her high school Varsity Volleyball team! She is beyond excited for the upcoming season and dude, SO ARE WE! Her coach affectionately calls her "The Beast" and we are ready to see her in action! Go Middle!

Finally, healing thoughts go out to my Mama, who is dealing with a compression fracture in her back and also to our buddy Blake, who suffered a nasty break of his collarbone last night at football. Mend those bones people!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Monday, August 25, 2008

It's in the Hole!

No folks, sadly, we are not talking golf.

We have ourselves a varmint. Maybe more than one. I'm holding out hopes that it is just one nasty little mole. A very busy mole. I watered all the flowerbeds on Saturday morning. I couldn't sleep Saturday night. Kept going to the front window for some reason. And then Dano woke me up Sunday morning with the news that a mole had invaded our front (and back) flowerbeds during the night. He left his tell-tale cracked ridges everywhere he went. And dude likes to travel! We went and bought some mole snacks at Home Depot (because apparently Diazanon is off the market...sheesh) and Dano engineered some clever tunnels to bury so the pathways don't collapse and cover the snacks with dirt. He is channeling Bill Murray in "Caddyshack" and believe me, he will come out the victor in all this madness! "My enemy, my foe, is an animal. In order to conquer the animal, I have to learn to think like an animal. And, whenever possible, to look like one. I've gotta get inside this guy's pelt and crawl around for a few days." ~Dan "Carl Spackler" Liebel

So, wish us luck in ridding our flowerbeds of the critter. My parents are due here in a few days and trust me, the critter would be wise to run for the hills instead of dealing with Grampa Dick "The BB Gun Exterminator" Rydin!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

We Left the Knee-Socks and Camera Straps at Home...

...but man, did we have a good time being tourist-y around Seattle yesterday. We saw some cool parts of Seattle that we'd never seen before. Let's begin our tour, shall we?

First stop: Archie McPhee. It's a gift and novelty shop. That is the girls imitating the mannequins in the window in front of the store. Do you need bacon scented air freshener for your car? You can get it here. And pretty much anything else oddball flavored or scented, obsolete, useless, kitchy and hysterically funny. This place was an absolute kick in the pants. This particular carousel had a ton of figurines, including GI Joe heads. We were naughty and got admonished for putting GI Joe heads on the display people. When the guy turned around, I put the monster head on the bride. Teehee. Get it? Bridezilla...yeahhh. Next stop ~ The Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (aka The Ballard Locks) This beautiful metal sculpture was so impressive! It depicts waves and apparently two of them have flashing lights inside that, at night, make it look like the tiny smelts darting in the waves.

The locks connect the saltwater Puget Sound to the freshwater Salmon Bay, Lake Union and Lake Washington so that all sorts of sea-going vessels can travel between the bodies of water. Picture the Panama Canal...only smaller!

Along the side of the locks is the Fish Ladder. Right now, the salmon are returning to their spawning grounds and they travel up a series of "ladders" to get back home. These salmon were enormous! This shot was taken through one of the viewing windows. Under the fish, you can see the current pulling the sea grass almost horizontal, yet the salmon seem suspended in the water. Tough cookies, they are. As we were approaching the ladders, we saw a salmon jumping in the water and I could have sworn it was a seal...he was quite the fattie!

After a quick bite at Dick's for burgers and fries, we headed down to the Pike Market. Did I mention yet that it was un-Godly hot in Seattle yesterday? And I believe half the population of Seattle was downtown with us. No matter. I've learned if you want the picture, you have to speak up and "excuse me!" your way to the front! So, the fishmonger threw the stuffed fish at the wrong girls, (though we got them with the monkfish trick) but he did let our girls hold some salmon. Then they washed their icky hands off back behind the counter. Trust me, they were icky.

We walked a little bit through the throngs of people, checking out the fruits and veggies and flowers. The produce is nothing short of impressive. These onions were the size of softballs.


We strolled up the street for Piroshky's. We are not done at Pike Market until Hayley gets a Marzipan piroshky. Sadly, they were all out of them, so she had to settle for a different flavor and the resulting dissatisfaction of not having the MARZIPAN! People, the anguish! We then stood and listened to these awesome guys (click on that was recorded in 2004 but they sound the same) singing again. Pure joy. Last time, there were only three guys. This time, there were five of them singing and it was amazing. Dude in the red shimmies back and forth. Tall dude in the middle starts each song. He strolled up to the girls and sang directly to them. Awwwww. Dude with his hand on his ear is the bass. They just wouldn't sound the same without him. So, we stood there, baking in the hot sun and took in their awesome talent.

Next ~ The monorail over to the Space Needle (or as some people refer to it: The Needle Point.) Beautiful. I tried to get each of the girls gazing off into the distance without them knowing it... Hayley... Jane...

...and Audrey. This one caught me, but my goodness...what a shot. Ray, its a good thing you only have one gorgeous daughter!

Then, a ride on the monorail back to Westlake Mall to windowshop. This makes me think of Charlie's Angels.

Finally ~ The Cheesecake Factory for dinner! Dude, I'd never been there. I will return though! We all had something different and it was ALL GOOD! As soon as our food arrived, we all took in the amazing aromas! Heavenly!

With doggie bags in hand, we strolled our way back to the car and headed back home, iPod blaring on the car stereo, everyone singing along! I snapped this out the car window at a stoplight. Not bad, eh?!

And there you have it. We were gone for a good 12 hours. It was so much fun to show the girls around Seattle and we got to see new some new sights, too!

Now, I have to go soak my aching feet! =)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Michael Phelps, Sun, Tapioca, Shopping and Changs

First of all ~ the girls are having a great time! These three just click. They giggle, laugh, gush over Michael Phelps, sing, eat, sleep, gush over Michael Phelps, fix each others hair, do each others make-up and gush over Michael Phelps. It is truly a joy to have these three together again!

Thursday, after staying up uber-late to watch the Olympics the night before, we slept in a little bit. Danny, Brian and Shawn left to pick up J.D. at the airport before heading to the Gorge for their much anticipated concert. I dropped the girls off at Wenberg State Park, which includes a beautiful beach on Lake Goodwin. The best part is that it is only 15 minutes from the house! So, they had a nice afternoon of sunning and swimming. And not taking photos! (tsk tsk)

After the beach, we drove thru Country Burger for assorted burgers, fries, onion rings and shakes and headed back to the house to eat and change clothes. Then they went to the movies and saw "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2." The best line I heard while driving them home was, "It was okay, but OUR sisterhood is BETTER!!" Awwwww. While they were gone, I made their favorite dessert to eat together: Tapioca with milk and berries. Good stuff. (Though I'm guessing Josie Grandma is trying not to gag at this photo!) So, we were all up late again Thursday night, watching the American lady gymnasts RULE! (Side note: The Olympics are SO messing with our sleep around here. Anyone else having this problem?) We slept in again and had waffles and sausage for what I like to call "brunch." Then we headed down to Lynnwood to the lovely Alderwood Mall. There was shopping to be done! And shop is what they did! They ate a killer dinner at PF Changs and then followed it up with Jamba Juice. Where do they put it? I ask, only because as I type this, they are snarfing (yes, I said SNARFING!) down another batch of the above-mentioned favorite dessert!

And gushing over Michael Phelps.

Tomorrow: Total Tourist Day!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Busy Wednesday!

What a day! While Danny headed down to pick up Shawnie-Boy at the airport, Brian and I dropped the girls off at the park so they could take part in a service project by serving lunch to the elderly at the community center. This was coordinated by Coach Kryger and Coach Rooney from the high school volleyball team. These teachers/coaches are two of the most amazing ladies I've ever had the good fortune to get to know. They are completely selfless and utterly commited to the kids they work with. That is Coach Rooney on the far left, making her first official photo appearance on the blog (Hey Coach!) and Coach Kryger on the far right (Hey Coach!) The weather couldn't have been more beautiful for a lunch outside at the park.

After dropping the girls off, Brian and I headed over to the bowling alley to brush up on our mad bowling skillz. Now, most of you know that I bowled on a league for 12 years. I love and miss my Lees Fencing team more than you can imagine. Since we moved, I've waited to join another league because frankly, I was too busy setting up house, but moreso because I know I'll never find another team like the one I left. {{sniffle sniffle}} Anyway, I threw my first ball verrrry gingerly and immediately realized I'd have to alter my approach because even though my ankle is healed, it still can't take my normal final step without discomfort. And thus, a new upright approach was born...with pretty good results! I stopped league bowling with a 150 average and yesterday, I bowled a 137, 167 and 152...for a 152 average! Baby, I'm back! I signed up at the desk as a single to join a team in the upcoming Fall league on Tuesday mornings. Woohoo! Meanwhile, Brian is improving greatly! He had a 119 for his first game, not so good the second and then a 126 his third game. Good stuff!

On the docket for the evening was a tour of the Red Hook brewery in Woodinville. So, we plugged in the address into the trusty (?) GPS and off we went. There are two fairly direct routes to get there. Why then did the dang thing take us off the highway and re-route us past every dairy farm in Snohomish County??? We'll always wonder... Once there (only 1/2 an hour late for our tour) we had a quick refreshment while waiting for our own private tour! It's all who you know and Shawn knew the right people. So the tour is pretty simple: Go to the tasting room and taste a variety of beers in these jumbo shot glasses. The kids, needless to say, didn't much enjoy this part of the tour. Our guide Patrick would have served them if they could produce valid ID, so they drank water! The girls did try a nibble of hops which didn't go so well. Then, you walk down a long hallway and look out over the bottling line. There might have been more to the tour, but after the beer, you aren't so interested. No, you're hungry!

We pause now for the gratuitous "See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil shot..."

Okay, dinner. Pretty good foodies! Flat iron steaks with garlic mashed taters, bratwurst, BBQ pork quesadilla, killer burgers and this creation: (Missy Laura, this is to taunt you...) Southwest Chicken Nachos. Poor was her order, but it quickly became nibbles for everyone! Anyway, thank you Red Hook! We enjoyed our tour and our dinner immensely!

After arriving home, we lit a campfire in the backyard and had dessert. S'mores and stick biscuits with all the fixin's. Stick biscuits, you ask? We learned this one at Bow Lake: you wrap a refrigerator biscuit around the end of a soaked wooden dowel and "toast" it like a marshmallow. When it is done, it pops right off and you fill the hole with butter, jam, honey, cinnamon sugar or whatever you feel like. It is an art that obviously takes practice (and longer dowels than we had!) to get it just right, but they were pretty tasty!

It is now Thursday morning and the menfolk are packing up the trailer to head to see Tom Petty at the Gorge. To say they are excited is quite the understatement. This is Brian's first concert and they have awesome seats in Row 27 so I imagine they will return on Saturday in a Tom Petty induced euphoria! For now though, the waaaiting is the hardest part.... (See what I did there? heh heh!)

Have a great Thursday!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Bootyheads Unite!

Jane and Audrey, Hayley's besties from SoCal arrived here this morning! Just look at those smiles. We've got some happy girls here.

After stopping for some lunch at Ray's, we came home to get them all settled in. First of all, the girls had to say hi to Molly. Usually, when Molly hears unfamiliar voices in the house, she hides under our bed, but she must've remembered Audrey and Jane because she just waited for them to come give her some love! Then they headed upstairs to check out their guest room, which we girlied up with some hot pink accents for them. They seemed pleased! After unpacking, there was lots of catching up to do...and then naps all around! For dinner we headed down to Romio's (one of our favorite Italian restaurants) for salad, spaghetti, eggplant parmagiana and pizza. A little Dairy Queen for dessert and we were all set to come home and watch the Olympics.

Tomorrow, the girls are serving lunch to the elderly at the Community Center (part of a service project with the school volleyball team) and later in the afternoon we're heading to the Red Hook Brewery in Woodinville for a tour and then dinner.

Have a great day everyone!

(By the way, the Bow Lake update is still in the works. There are just so many fun photos, I can't decide which ones to share!)

Blame it on the Olympics!

I promised an update and one is on the way! And it will be worth the wait, I promise. Yesterday, we got busy getting ready for the girls arrival today but then when I sat down at the computer to post a rundown on the weekend activities, I heard the Olympic coverage calling to me. So I joined the kids on the couch and we cheered (rather loudly) for the Mens Gymnastics team (clutch players, those boys!) and of course for Michael Phelps and all the other amazing swimmers. We are loving watching not just the Americans, but all the awesome athletes. So, hang tight. You must check back here later...we have proof that we rode the mechanical bull!

Friday, August 8, 2008

We'll Be Right Back...

We're off to Bow Lake for the weekend! Our friends, the Stanton's, invited us to their company picnic (Northsound Physical Therapy...woot woot!) So, we're throwing a few things into the trailer and heading up there this afternoon. On the agenda for the weekend: a mechanical bull, a dunk tank, a dessert contest (I don't have high hopes for my entry this time!), the casino, amazing food and drink, and lots of wakeboarding. But best of all, a whole weekend to hang out with good friends! Look for a recap on Monday.

And on Tuesday, we're going to see a whole lot more of this! (Photo circa 2006) Yep, Jane and Audrey are coming to visit!!! I can't even begin to tell you how excited Hayley is to have her two besties in the whole world here for a week. It's going to be a fun week filled with giggling, shopping, eating and beauty! And you know I'll be throwing in some touristy stuff, too!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

We're Babysitting...

These are our next-door neighbors, Tom and Tami, and their two lovely daughters. Tami is the one in red, rockin' the baby bump... ...well, say "Hello" to that bump! Happy Birthday Ashlynn! She was born just this morning. {Sighhhhh.} Isn't she precious? Yes, she is.

So, we get to babysit their furry baby, Sasha. Isn't she precious? Yes, she is. Abby might beg to differ, but only because Abby is a grumpy old woman compared to Sasha and she can only handle so much sniffing and playing before she has to have a chat with Sasha. But Sasha is a quick study, (not to mention the sweetest dog around) so she listens to what Abby has to say and acts accordingly.

We haven't decided yet if we're going to give her back to Tom and Tami. (Haha...just kidding Tom!)

Anyway, Hayley and I went to the Outlet and goo goo'd and gaa gaa'd over itty bitty baby girl clothes today. {Sighhhhh} I'm on such a baby high after looking at the clothes, I'm just gonna melt when I meet Ashlynn!

Goo goo. Gaa gaa.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

So Long, Farewell, Auf wiedersehen...

We already miss you! Sadly, this afternoon we headed down to the airport so Tyler and Kevin could catch their flight home. First, we had to take the customary visitor photos out in the front yard. These are the four youngest cousins in the Liebel family. It seems like just yesterday they were wearing water wings and splashing around in the pool in Palm Springs! Fast forward a month and three of these kids will be in high school. Time does fly.

So, a week with these three inseparable dudes made me think of the famous "See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil." But, when I took the photo, I couldn't remember the order.

Nothing a little Photoshop can't fix......heh.

Anyway, on the way to the airport we stopped at a favorite spot of ours, Ivar's. It is a really cool seafood restaurant that literally hangs over the water right next to the Mukilteo/South Whidbey Ferry. We sat out on the deck to eat some yummy appetizers for a light dinner and watched the ferry activity, as well as some fishermen doing their thing on the nearby pier. Kind of a nice end to a neat week with the boys.

I can't lie...there were some not-so-dry eyes at the airport. (I won't name all know who you were!)

{sniffle sniffle}

Tyler and Kevin, your mama is so.....COOL for sending you up here! We love you guys and are so glad you came and stayed with us! Tommy and Enalyn, thank you so much for letting your boys visit!

Later dudes!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Bowling, Mariners and My Peggy

Sorry for the lack of updates! We had a few busy days, then a few slower days. The boys have been having a ball hanging out together. On Wednesday, Hayley attended a volleyball camp at UW, so I took the boys to go bowling. You know, bowling is one of those activities where you can have fun, no matter what your skill level.

Case in point: The dude on the right is Eddy, a friend of Brian's from school. Eddy may look a little goofy in that shot (and he would totally agree...he knows what he did!) but what you don't know about Eddy is that he has a whopping 210 average. People, 210! The other three dudes might have averaged 210 all together. So you see, good or bad, there is fun to be had at the bowling alley!

Thursday was a lay-around day. There is a whole lot of Halo going on in the bonus room (aka: The Teenage Lair.)

Friday, Dan and the boys took a little jaunt down to take in the Mariners vs. Orioles. They hoped for a good game, but alas, what IS IT with our M's? Our boys gave up and headed home while the score held at 9-0 Orioles. The M's managed 5 in the 9th, but the final score was 10-5. They did have a good time but my camera was left on the kitchen counter, so I have no photos!!! Heavy sigh.

Today, we're heading over to the Schueller's for the annual Ironman and BBQ. This isn't your ordinary Ironman competition. No sir. About 40 men divide into two-man teams and start bright and early playing 18 holes of golf, they bowl, they swim, they play volleyball, they throw horseshoes and finish up with a free-throw contest. Points are awarded in each event and the winner is crowned. An awesome event. All the men and their families meet up after the first three events for a BBQ with burgies and dogs and assorted appetizers, salads, sides and desserts. The eating, playing and fun will go on well into the night!

So, this morning, I whipped up a batch of appetizers using these ingredients:

We call these "Peggy's Cucumber Thingies." Peggy is one of my best friends down in SoCal and I tend to call her My Peggy. She's the only Peggy I know and we used to have coffee and therapy chats every Wednesday morning, rain or shine! I love and miss My Peggy dearly. Anyway, Peggy is pretty much known for making these tasty little treats, so I never would have made them back in SoCal. These belong to Peggy. But nobody up here knows Peggy, so I begged the recipe off of her and she obliged. Thank you my dear friend!

Behold, Peggy's Cucumber Thingies: Please stop drooling on your keyboard.

So, I'm armed with 3 trays of these yummies as well as a huge container of Pioneer Woman's cookie/candy treats. Dano is going to help out on the grill since two back surgeries in the last year don't bode well for scoring a lot of points in the Ironman. The kids will roam and hang out and make new friends. It should be a great day!

And finally, speaking of a great day, our niece Mindy is getting married today to the man of her dreams, Sandro! Congratulations and much love to both of them on this wonderful day!