Sunday, December 30, 2007

Merry Christmas! (Again)

Yesterday we drove up to Seattle for Christmas with our family up there. It is nice to see everyone because we don't get to see them very often. Chris' mom had a very nice supper and there were lots of yummy goodies.

the boys immediately hunkered down in Ben's room to play PS2

When it came time for gifts, a couple of us took turns being Santa and handing out gifts. There was so much going on, I didn't even know most of what the boys got until we put things away after church today! For the past several years, Chris' Aunt Margaret has given the boys a gift of a donation to help a needy family somewhere in the world. It is such a neat gift and is a wonderful way to share the blessings of what God has given us. This year, Chris' mom also gave our "gift" to a needy family right in White Center where she lives.

We also got to see pictures of Aunt Cindi and Uncle Dennis' gorgeous new home by Lake Chelan. It is a beautiful part of the state and I am hoping to be able to take them up on their invitation to visit someday soon. :o)

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Bowling Is Fun

Yesterday, a friend of ours came up to visit and we all decided to go bowling. We have this really cute bowling alley in town and we have gone a couple of times before. While we like bowling and it is lots of fun, most of us aren't really any good at bowling. In fact, I STINK at bowling. Chris grew up bowling. He was in a league while we were dating and I would go and watch him bowl sometimes. We really like Wii bowling, and the boys are REALLY good at that. But Wii bowling isn't like real bowling at all.
It probably wouldn't have seemed so bad if everyone in the lanes next to us hadn't been so good. There was a group of five teenagers that all had their own balls (2 each) and shoes and were REALLY good. One of the boys bowled like 8 or 9 strikes in a row! It was kind of intimitading. They never had an open frame.

Don't we look like we're having fun? :o)

Despite how it sounds, we all had a FUN time and enjoyed getting to spend time with Mark while he was in town! Maybe we just need more practice? :o)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Prayer Cards

After Christmas we pray through the Christmas cards we receive. Every night we chose one card and we pray for whoever that card is from. It is one of our favorite traditions and it helps remind us of how thankful we are for our family and friends and to be praying for them throughout the year.

I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.
Ephesians 1:16

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Day

Christmas was a very fun and relaxing day at the Leingang house. We got up, opened presents, ate,played with our presents, ate, watched home videos of Christmases when the boys were little, ate again, played a game, had dessert, and went to bed. It was a great day! We didn't pick up or put anything away, we just relaxed and had fun.

And to top it all off, it SNOWED!!! There wasn't much of it, but I am not sure we have EVER had it snow on Christmas day while living in the NW. It made it even more special!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve

While we're waiting for the boys to go to sleep so we can put out gifts, I thought I might as well blog...

We had a wonderful Christmas Eve. Chris and the boys did a little more work on the fort this morning while I worked on food for today.

All of my family came up here for Christmas Eve this year because we can't go south and do our Christmas Eve service at church. It was so much fun! We had a great time having everyone at our place.

Our niece Maggie was sick this past week and had to miss her preschool Christmas program. So she did a private show for us at the party. It was so cute that I had to share...

After our get-together my parents, grandma and sister came to our Christmas Eve service at church. We had 61 people there! We were hoping for 30. It was a beautiful simple service and it was a blessing to us as a family to have so many there to celebrate the birth of our Savior. And after church we came home and had crab cocktails with the crab my parents got on the coast earlier this month. It was really yummy, too!

We did our devotions, said our prayers, wrote our letter to Santa, put out the cocoa and cookies and sent everyone off to bed. Now we just wait for everyone to fall asleep and hope they don't get up too early in the morning. :0)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas Sleep Over

Every year the boys have brought out the sleeping bags and slept in the living room under the Christmas tree. The past couple of years we have let them invite a friend over to "sleep under the lights". This year they invited their friend Nathan and his Donkey Konga game. The boys (actually all of us) had fun playing this game! We also played Whoonu (a really fun family game), watched "Shrek the Halls", and ate Campfire brownies (brownies put under the broiler with marshmallows on top, they are REALLY YUMMY) with milk.

The All-Stars (the name of their "band") playing the game

Getting ready for bed

They had lots of fun, even if they didn't get to sleep right next to the tree! Thanks for coming Nathan!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas Lights

Tonight we went on our annual tour of Christmas lights around our town. There is a really great house up the hill from us and a whole street not too far from here that has lots of beautiful displays. When we are all done, we stop in a parking lot for cookies and cocoa. Except this year we had Tom and Jerry mix with milk. A friend made it for a party and I just had to get the recipe. It is so yummy! (I posted in on the sidebar)

It was a cool, not rainy evening so it was just perfect for our trip around town. Here is a slideshow of some of the best...

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Seeking Single Male Bearded Dragon

SFBD seeks a long-term permanent relationship with the possibility to produce offspring in the future. I enjoy climbing on shoulders, basking, and eating crickets. Looking for a male who likes people and won't eat eggs. I am about 18" long and am a prolific egg-layer. See attached photo. Sephira finally laid her eggs. After a week-long fast and LOTS of digging she did it. It took a couple of days to lay them all, but we are glad she is done. We tried to count them when we cleaned out her tank. We stopped counting at 17, but there could have been more! We are toying with the idea of getting her a man, but we'll have to see about that. I'm not sure we're ready for that many babies yet!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Party Season

This is the season for parties and we have been to our fair share this year. Friday was our homeschool co-op Christmas party. It was fun to see friends we hadn't seen in a while. (that was our favorite part) It was also fun eating treats, decorating gingerbread houses, playing games and exchanging gifts!

Andy's house

Zack's house

Will's house (or at least it was before the accident)

Then today Chris and Will and I headed south to my sister's Christmas open house. As usual her place looked so cute and she has the greatest vintage and retro decorations to go with her apartment. Thanks Theresa we had a great time!

After the open house my grandma took us to dinner at this great Balkan resturant that Theresa recommended. We had the greatest food! If you are ever in Portland I highly recommend Two Brothers on 39th and ? (I just blanked!).

Zack and Andy couldn't come down with us because they were up in Olympia at a youth group Christmas party. They had a great time, too!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Ladies' Christmas Party

Last night was our church's WMF Christmas party. We chose to have a Scandinavian theme and had lots of treats. Although I don't a Norwegian bone in my body, I lived in Minnesota, so I really like most of that stuff. There were lots of good things last night and the boys were so excited that I brought home a big plate of goodies that were left over.
Other than the treats, we also enjoyed singing carols, choosing our Secret Sisters for 2008, making origami boxes, and a gift exchange. There were lots of really nice gifts to "steal" this year and it made the choice really difficult. But I finally decided that I would swipe this one...

I just love it! I can't wait to have a tea party so I can use it! Thanks to my friend Renee for so graciously giving it up. I promise to invite you to my first tea party. :o)

Monday, December 10, 2007

A Visit From Kari

We didn't think she could make it with I-5 being closed and all, but it opened up Friday afternoon and she came!

Our good friend Kari has been living up near Tacoma for the past few months and came to see us before she heads back to Minnesota and her next job in Wisconsin. Kari is a traveling nurse and goes to work temporarily in hospitals around the country. I think that is a great opportunity and wish they had a similar program for "traveling pastors". :o)

We had a great time visiting, going to church, attending our church Christmas party (she got some books for her nephew at the white elephant gift exchange), looking at Christmas lights, talking crafts, walking around the Oriental garden at the lake, going to Oregon, and seeing Mt. St. Helens. We were so blessed because as we drove up to the mountain the clouds were very low and thick. I was beginning to think we wouldn't see a thing. Then as we got closer, we climbed above the clouds into a beautiful sunny blue sky and a perfect view of the volcano covered in snow. It was a gorgeous view for her first time seeing it! (see link to Kari's blog on right side)

We had a great time, but didn't get a lot of sleep! Talking with a good friend is much better than sleep. Thanks again for coming, Kari! We had a fantastic time and hope to see you again soon! God's richest blessings on you as you travel home.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Going To Bethlehem, Twice

A large church in our community puts on a live nativity every year called "Journey to Bethlehem". It has been going on for 11 years now and attracts thousands of people each year. It is more than just nativity scene with real people and animals. It is a reinactment of the entire town of Bethlehem. You travel as a family going to Bethlehem to register with Rome to pay your taxes.

Along the road you stop at the home of a scribe and hear him talk about what he is reading in the scroll by the prophet Isaiah and have some bread.

As you near the "city" you can hear all the noises coming from inside the walls. Roman guards stop your family at the gate and tell you (rather roughly) that you cannot enter the city. So your "cousin" gives him a bribe so that you can go in to find lodging for the night.

When you enter the crowded city you are surrounded by the sights, sounds and smells of Bethlehem. Beggars ask for alms, merchants are peddling their wares everywhere along the streets, animals walk by, fires are burning, music is playing and people are dancing. But unfortunately there is no room for your family in the inn and you are turned out to pay your taxes.

a beggar in the street

Then your family is ordered to the publican's tent where you are told the many values of paying taxes to your "brother" Rome. Again you are treated very gruffly by the armed guards and sent out quickly.

As your family leaves Bethlehem you pause by a shepherds' fire and are greeted by an angel telling you of the Messiah's birth. You hurry to the stable and find Mary and Joseph and the Baby.

This year we got to go twice with friends. The first night we went with friends from church and saw friends from our homeschool group while we were there. Chatting with them made the over two hour wait much more fun!

The second night I (Carrie) took our friend Kari who had come to visit. Again, the wait was much more fun when there is a friend to visit with.

Needless to say, we are looking forward to our Journey to Bethlehem again next year.

Thursday, December 6, 2007


This past weekend, this part of the country got to get a taste of God's power and realize that we are NOT in control. There were 120+ mph winds on the coast and torrential rains for much of Sunday and Monday.

While the damage in our immediate area was minimal, surrounding areas were VERY hard hit. The worst flood damage is about 30 miles north of us on I-5 (the main freeway from Canada to Mexico). A 20-mile stretch of I-5 closed Monday afternoon and will probably remain closed until next week. The detour is about 7 hours long and is causing quite the disturbance around here. That being said, our friend Kari will not be coming down from the Seattle/Tacoma area to visit us this weekend before she leaves Washington for Wisconsin. We will miss not seeing you, Kari.

These are pictures from the flooded areas. They are something to see.

The jersey barriers got quite the juggle from all the water
We saw pictures of salmon swimming on the streets in this area on the news last night!

Amtrack is not running trains from Eugene, OR to Vancouver BC
More of I-5

The Super Wal-Mart parking lot
The Highway 6 exit off I-5. A guy from our church was working at this K-mart (just right of the picture) that night. The employees "sandbagged" the doors with bags of dog food which ended up about 3 feet under water. They had to spend the night in the loft until they could be rescued and taken to the shelter!
The clearance here is over 14' normally
The orange building is a little Mexican resturant

The same place from a distance

notice the white car in the parking lot

Be praying for the people who have been greatly affected by this flood.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Open House

Last night we had a Third Annual Christmas Open House for our church. It is nice to have people to our house and get a chance to visit with them. The boys helped Chris and I a lot with getting things ready, which was so nice. Thanks, guys!

We had a great time and are looking forward to doing it again next year.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

It's Really Beginning To Look Like Christmas

It snowed today! It's gone already but it was fun while it lasted. The boys got to play with their friend Dane and got really wet.