Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day


I am honored and grateful to be an American. Thanks, Dad, Grandpa Dietrich, Grandpa Mardis, Grandpa McCann and the late Grandpa Carlsen for serving our country in the military in the worst of conditions, in lands far away from home and family to protect our liberty at home.

The following story humbles me and bring tears to my eyes. It inspires me yet chastises me at the same time. I'm grateful for the example of true American heroes (not athletes or even most politicians - I'm talking real heroes). I want to instill this kind of love of country that you'll read below in my children and grandchildren.

From a speech made by Capt. John S. McCain, USN, (Ret) who represents Arizona in the U.S. Senate:

"As you may know, I spent five and one half years as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War. In the early years of our imprisonment, the NVA kept us in solitary confinement or two or three to a cell. In 1971 the NVA moved us from these conditions of isolation into large rooms with as many as 30 to 40 men to a room. This was, as you can imagine, a wonderful change and was a direct result of the efforts of millions of Americans on behalf of a few hundred POWs 10,000 miles from home.

One of the men who moved into my room was a young man named Mike Christian.

Mike came from a small town near Selma, Alabama. He didn't wear a pair of shoes until he was 13 years old. At 17, he enlisted in the US Navy. He later earned a commission by going to Officer Training School. Then he became a Naval Flight Officer and was shot down and captured in 1967.

Mike had a keen and deep appreciation of the opportunities this country-and our military-provide for people who want to work and want to succeed. As part of the change in treatment, the Vietnamese allowed some prisoners to receive packages from home. In some of these packages were handkerchiefs, scarves and other items of clothing. Mike got himself a bamboo needle. Over a period of a couple of months, he created an American flag and sewed on the inside of his shirt.

Every afternoon, before we had a bowl of soup, we would hang Mike's shirt on the wall of the cell and say the Pledge of Allegiance. I know the Pledge of Allegiance may not seem the most important part of our day now, but I can assure you that in that stark cell it was indeed the most important and meaningful event.

One day the Vietnamese searched our cell, as they did periodically, and discovered Mike's shirt with the flag sewn inside, and removed it. That evening they returned, opened the door of the cell, and for the benefit of all us, beat Mike Christian severely for the next couple of hours. Then, they opened the door of the cell and threw him in. We cleaned him up as well as we could.

The cell in which we lived had a concrete slab in the middle on which we slept. Four naked light bulbs hung in each corner of the room. As I said, we tried to clean up Mike as well as we could. After the excitement died down, I looked in the corner of the room, and sitting there beneath that dim light bulb with a piece of red cloth, another shirt and his bamboo needle, was my friend, Mike Christian. He was sitting there with his eyes almost shut from the beating he had received, making another American flag.

He was not making the flag because it made Mike Christian feel better. He was making that flag because he knew how important it was to us to be able to pledge allegiance to our flag and our country.

So the next time you say the Pledge of Allegiance, you must never forget the sacrifice and courage that thousands of Americans have made to build our nation and promote freedom around the world. You must remember our duty, our honor, and our country.

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

So, this is Jeff...I just wanted to post one of my favorite photos of Julie from our trip the other day to the Mill Creek Nature Preserve...Julie, you're a beautiful woman, and I'm so happy you're mine!

Baby Bubble Bath!

What could be better that a giggly little baby in a bubble bath? Okay, maybe a sleeping baby, but bath time comes pretty close. 054



Nature Preserve

One Saturday night (4.25.09) we visited the Mill Creek Nature Preserve and walked along a trail that follows a river with the kids in hopes of wearing them out before bedtime. Playing on a jungle gym and walking on the mile long trail did wear them out, but this happened earlier than we had anticipated. Jeff and I finished the outing carrying two very tired bugs back up the trail to our car - which left us more exhausted than than the kids. Isn't that how parenting always seems to work?





This is Ethan's new favorite shirt. He had another shirt with writing on it which read, "My Dad is the Man." Since this shirt has writing as well, Ethan concluded that this shirt also read the same thing. He was so proud of it it hurt me to break it to him what the shirt really read. He got over it quickly and now proudly announces, "Dees letters say, 'I Dig Dirt!"726

Monday, May 4, 2009

Gas Works Park

On 4.18.09 we visited Gas Works Park a the north tip of Lake Union. The park was originally a plant that converted coal into gas. Once natural gas was imported, the plant became obsolete so the city acquired it and converted it into a park. There is a beautiful hill which is perfect for kite flying and wearing out toddlers who have a tad too much energy.



Exploring the machinery.



View of Seattle at dusk



We saw a beaver up close.


This is Sienna's "camera smile."


On the top if the hill with the sundial.

641 Snuggling with a warm daddy


The Bug Jar

So when my mom was visiting, she brought a a little bug jar for Ethan.  It's a plastic jar small holes for ventilation and and magnifying glass on the top. Ethan loves studying bugs; what little boy doesn't?  This was a perfect gift for my budding entomologist.  However...I soon realized that I had to keep a better eye on Ethan than I had previously when I saw this frightful seen:


Bug on the loose and Ethan having even more fun than before when he saw my reaction. Ahh, the wonderful world of little boys.

Racquetball with a 3-yr-old

So way back on 3.7.09 (sorry, I have some catching up to do) Jeff took Ethan on a daddy-son outing. Jeff took the opportunity to introduce Ethan to the fine sport of racquetball. Upon first entering the court, Ethan was pretty concerned about being in a confined space, so Jeff and Ethan went in and out of the court several times until Ethan felt a bit more comfortable. As you can probably tell, Ethan warmed up to the idea and had a great time. Jeff had a great time too - I'm so blessed to have a husband who loves being a dad.