Friday, December 25, 2009

The Big "3"

So unfortunately, between mass birthdays, holidays craziness, and frustrating sickness (likely H1N1), I have neglected this blog during the past couple of months. At the top of the list of things I have not blogged about is our adorable three-year-old's birthday that occurred almost two months ago now. Seeing as today is in fact the 25th of Dec (and it has indeed been an exciting day)., I will likely follow this up with a quick Christmas post.

Our little Brooks (Brookers for "short", which is often mistaken for boogers ... I can tell by the strange looks) is our three-going-on-ten-year-old. Even in a house full of gamers I never thought I would have to monitor my barely three-year-old's video game time--he is completely addicted to the DS (almost as much as juice). I also never imagined (although I probably should have considering my hubby) having a child that could very skillfully imitate Darth Vader, even before being able to respond accurately to "what sound does a cow make?"

He is an absolutely priceless gem (a handsome one of course) and we are privileged to have him!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A couple of things worth supporting

I've been sick for over a week and am just barely returning to the land of the living, but I had to publish a quick post about a couple of things that seem very worth sharing.

First of all, for those of you in Western, WA, on Tues Dec. 8 and Wed Dec. 9 Kitsap, Pierce and King Co. Papa John's will donate 100% of their profits to the families of the four slain Lakewood police officers. Pizza anyone?

Also, I was just informed by my mother-in-law that a blog,, is holding an auction now through the 7th for the family of John Jones, the young man who died in the Nutty Putty Caves.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Halloween 2009

Halloween is a favorite around our house. Kevin loves watching "scary" movies, I'm a fan of the pumpkin carving and pumpkin cookies, and the kids of course love the candy (big surprise, huh?). It's a tradition for us to attend our church's Halloween carnival and trunk or treat on Halloween night. This year we also had a school carnival and an amusement park Fright Night the week before, an early party on the day of, and then a very brief session of neighborhood trick or treating just after. The fun never stops. Of course, I'm not a great costume planner and we always seem to be jumping into whatever we can scrounge up thirty minutes before we go running out the door.

I suppose I should explain what we are just in case it's not obvious. Kevin and I are pirates (either that or extremely attractive biker people), Brooks is the most adorable Batman ever, James is a hairy pirate, Mae is a cross between a ballerina, princess, and wingless fairy, and Porter is a ripped Spider-Man (doesn't he wish). Oh and my mom is what she is every year, a pumpkin fairy, Heidi is a U-dub fan (can't imagine why), James and Porter's friend that came with us--along with his brother--(see first pic below) is a ninja, and the Harry Potter next to them just happens to be a innocent bystander (and cute boy from James' church class) of my blurry and obnoxious photo taking obsession. I'm pretty sure I just made everything even less obvious.

Here's some pics ...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Little Bella's Birthday

I was not the kind of girl that grew up dreaming about getting married and having babies. I didn't visualize my wedding ring, wedding dress, or wedding cake, and it never crossed my mind to think up baby names or imagine the house I'd live in. I hear that some people do this. How fun. I seriously missed out! When I left for college, I thought I would graduate after a few years, start a career, spend some time out of the country and then marry when I was 28 (seemed like a good age). All I can say is that I am so glad someone had a very different plan for me.

I was putting on a movie for Brooks and Mae today and noticed my boys' school pictures on top of the DVD shelf and my heart just melted. The feeling was probably amplified by the precious fact that in the pictures they hold really still and smile no matter what I ask them to do. I'm so lucky to be a mom!

The child that I have the privilege of blogging about today is Mae. It was her birthday about two weeks ago. So, what can I say about our little Mae? The better question is seriously what can I not say? Mae is a vibrant and expressive and so full of life that it often appears as though she's on the verge of bursting into a million sparkly pieces. She loves to sing, loves to dance, loves to draw and color, loves to narrate everything she does, loves pink, loves friends, loves making messes, and just ADORES life. Life in the Dueck home would not be the same without her.

If it was up to her, for her birthday each year she would fill our house with as many friends as possible and just laugh and giggle all day long. Unfortunately, her mother is much more practical than she is, so friend parties only happen every other year. This year we got together and had a party with the family. Here are some of the pics ....

Monday, October 26, 2009

Porter's Baptism

Porter turned eight a few weeks ago. For some reason, though, when I recently published the posting about his big day the system placed it below Kevin's birthday. No matter what I do, it will not let me re-arrange it (interestingly, the way it currently comes up is the actual order of their birthdays just not the order I posted them in, confused yet?). Weird. Anyway, if you're interested it is there, you just have to scroll down a bit.

So, now for the baptism.

First of all, since this was in fact our first child's baptism, I feel the need to do a little comparison of what I expected baptism day to be vs. what it actually was.

What I expected on baptism day (sort of):
  • The kids would use phrases like "why, yes please," "no, but many thanks," and "I love you dearly my affectionate siblings"
  • Kevin and I would quote scriptures and express nothing but smiles, nods, and words of adoration
  • We would all hear chirping birds and the quiet shuffle of chipmunks in the trees
  • Twenty minutes before the baptism, we would be done taking pictures, saying our hellos, and quietly seated in our chairs--listening to the uplifting prelude music
  • It would be a wonderful day that we would never forget, full of infectious joy at the privilege of having such an amazing family, and giddiness over our adorable little man dressed in white
What actually occurred on baptism day (sort of):

  • The kids were kids, complete with teasing and furniture surfing
  • Kevin and I stopped to laugh when, just before leaving the house, we instructed the kids to stop fighting, because they would have enough time for that after the baptism
  • The beloved phrase, "do I have to?" echoed off the walls in our home
  • A minute after the baptism was to begin we started shushing each other and trying to focus our attention on the purpose of the meeting
  • It was a wonderful day that we will never forget, full of infectious joy at the privilege of having such an amazing family and giddiness over our adorable little man dressed in white (and also our very handsome grown man in white)
Despite all of our little quirks as a family (that don't seem to take baptismal vacations), it really was a choice day. Kevin and I are both so grateful for healthy, happy children who really have a sincere desire to know God and to do the things that will help them find lasting happiness throughout the craziness of their lives.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Happy Birthday Kevin!

There are a dozen or so things that I've been meaning to blog about, but it's Kevin's birthday so I decided it would be fun to do a little tribute to him instead.

What We Love About Kevin

My Contribution:
  • He plucks my eyebrows better than I do
  • He is not blind to my imperfections
  • He loves me more now than he did pre-spider veins
  • He is passionate and compassionate
  • He makes me laugh, even when I want to scream
  • He's got pretty teeth
  • He is constant
  • He has a cool Rambo knife
  • He is fiercely loyal
  • He could survive with nothing but a toothpick and a hankie (although his Rambo knife couldn't hurt)
  • He can do anything with fishing line
  • He's hot!
here's what some of Kevin's family members had to say ...

K's Mom:

  • He is loving, responsible, and active at church
  • He bears his testimony by words and actions
  • He is a close friend
  • He is an amazing son
K's Sister:

  • He's an awesome big brother and a great role model
  • I have a blast with him all the time
  • I can go to him for advice and talk to him about pretty much anything
  • He likes my boyfriend (i.e., future husband)
K's Dad:

  • He "walks in truth" (I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth, 3 John 1:4)

My Mom:

  • He comes up with cool bowling names (the first time we went bowling he named me Loo, him Harry, and Nanci hotty ... my grandkids still call me Grandma Loo)

here's what our kids had to say ...

  • He's here when I'm sad (M)
  • He tickles me (M)
  • He takes care of us (M)
  • He cares about us (J)
  • He goes to work and gets us money (J)
  • He likes to play video games (J)
  • He'll always play Rock Band 2 (P)
  • He's nice to us (P)
  • He takes us hiking and camping (P)

and, here's what Brooks had to say when asked what he loves about Daddy ....

  • I love Jesus Christ:)

Happy Birthday, Kevin. You're an inspiring husband, father, son, and brother!

Porter's B-day

Our first little baby turned eight a couple of weeks ago. It is hard to believe!

This is the miracle child that took me by my stubborn 21-year-old finger and began my lifelong course in motherhood. He taught me patience by instructing me in the delicate art of nursing. He taught me selflessness by implementing a very strict nighttime regiment that involved sleeping in only one-hour increments. He even taught me not to cry over my lost hours of sleep (although that took some time) by looking into my eyes and always being so happy to see me. He taught me flexibility by randomly changing his sleeping and eating routines at least once a week. He taught me humility by sending me off to Spanish class with projectile vomit on my nice leather jacket and welcoming me back home with large wet circles leaking through my shirt. He taught me forgiveness, by not looking at me with scorn when I left a lot to be desired as his mother. He taught me inter-dependence by being completely vulnerable, and looking to me (and his amazing father, of course) for even the most basic human needs. What an amazing little boy. We are so happy that he is ours.

I really didn't mean to get swept away like that. I was actually planning to blog more about his baptism, than his actual birthday. I guess that will have to follow. You know, though, how old (I mean "older") people always tell you to enjoy your children while they're young, because they'll be grown before you know it? Well, it's true and I think I've just finally started to understand that unalterable fact.

Okay, so on a much less sentimental note, we had a very fun time celebrating his b-day. We went to Chuck E. Cheese's on the actual big day (with Grandma and cousins).

And had a family party the following day with my mom, and Kevin's family.

We sure love our little (I mean big) boy!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

General Conference Weekend

We just had General Conference weekend which around our house is a little bit like a holiday, complete with traditions, good food, and a lot of family time. The most important part though, and the reason it is holiday-ish is because we are celebrating the opportunity to hear from the person who we believe to be the prophet of God on the earth today, as well as his apostles. For two days we turn on the tv or the computer, or head down to one of our church buildings and listen to amazing, inspiring, and uplifting talks about things that are very applicable to our lives right now. I am so grateful for the knowledge that there is a purpose and a plan for our lives here on Earth, and that God still cares enough about us to speak to us and give us revelation through his mouthpiece (as well as to us personally for our individual needs) ... and that he always will because he is unchanging and loving. While I loved all the talks and had several favorites, I especially liked Elder Bednar's talk about families (included below).

Needless to say, we had a wonderful weekend! On Saturday, we all crowded into the office and watched conference on the computer. The kids kept themselves busy with special activities and games focused around conference themes, and Kevin and I attempted to listen as best we could:). On Sunday, everyone (except for me and Brooks--due to what seemed like a very brief bout of the flu) headed over to Kevin's parent's house to watch the remaining two sessions on their big screen (thanks to BYU TV), packaged nicely with wonderful meals (I'm still sad that I missed the crepes) and goodies, and most importantly, unforgettable family interaction. We're already looking forward to April's conference.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Summer Re-cap

Okay, so we're finally blogging. I don't know whether to rejoice or cringe. No, really though, I'm excited about this new adventure in blogging. I've just come to a realization that this could possibly take the place of scrap booking, which is life changing for me since not one of my four children have scrapbooks (please don't hate me).

For my first posting, I figured I'd better do a little catch up of our fun summer. Admittedly, summer ended a few weeks ago, but hey, I'm obviously a little slow. Summertime around here was amazing. The kids and I all loved the whole not getting up and going thing. We were perfectly content "sleeping in," hanging around in pajamas, not making school lunches, and just taking things a little easier. Our whole family also enjoyed a variety of fun vacations and day trips.

So here's the rundown ...

One week after school ended I headed out as a camp assistant with the young women from church to their yearly summer Girls Camp. It was a lot of fun. The fact that I was only scheduled to stay for two days and ended up staying five attests to that. Unfortunately, no pics (crazy, I know).

A week after returning home we headed out again as a family to the LDS church-owned Ensign Ranch in Cle Elum, WA. We stayed for the week and had a wonderful time. We fished, had a mini hand-cart "trek," swam in the lake, played in the river (my poor phone took a swim), did a LOT of slip-n-sliding, and the kids had led horse rides. The last night we were there was the 4th of July and it turned out that the Ranch had an incredible fireworks show. So much fun! We even had a few visitors during the week (the awesome Hegstead family and Kevin's parents and sister).

We got back on a Saturday and the following Friday Kevin and I left again for our 10-year-anniversary, first to Leavenworth, WA and then to an amazing lodge resort (Sun Mountain Lodge) in Winthrop, WA. It was a beautiful place with amazing views. I have to stop and say, though, how grateful I am for the amazing ten years we've spent together. Kevin is such an outstanding husband and father and has truly been a ongoing, living-breathing miracle in my life! I could not imagine life without him. Okay, and one last detail, I did end up with the flu for part of our trip which really stunk, except that I was able to lounge at the pool and veg in a beautiful hotel room so I really can't complain that much.

Once we returned from this trip, the kids and I pretty much just stayed home the remainder of the summer; the highlight of our days (refreshing to say) was morning swim lessons. Kevin on the other hand continued on to an intense 3-day backpacking trip at Mildred Lakes with a great family friend, where they fished, fished, and fished some more. I would go into more detail, but I know I wouldn't do the experience justice.

After Mildred, Kevin finished off with an outstanding ward (that's with our church) youth conference. He, along with a dozen or so adults and some forty youth (ages 12-18) returned to Ensign Ranch for a rafting trip and an incredible, life-changing sixteen-mile pioneer "trek" (again, no pictures).

The rest of the summer consisted of weekend hiking and fishing trips and just a lot of fun together as a family. It was a great summer! Actually, we did end with one last overnight ward campout. My mom and nephew were able to come along with us, and despite a squirrel in our rustic little cabin and more than one bee bite we had a great time!