Thursday, March 30, 2017

Of Travels, Traditions, and Sleepovers ;)

Wednesday afternoon, the Spafford home became complete once again when we went to the Portland airport to pick up Jonathon. His two-week trip to Malaysia had been extended a few days, and we were all very eager to see him again and catch him up on all of the latest news that he had missed. He had an equally long dialogue of funny stories, amazing sites, exotic foods, and new friends to share with us. Some of the necessary catching up was done over a warm meal of eggs-n-grits and sourdough toast, made especially for his return home. 

There was also a fresh loaf of bacon bread waiting for Jonathon made from one of the three cookbooks that he had purchased for me a couple months back ;)

Dad's birthday on March 15th, though acknowledged on the official date, had also been postponed until a time when we could all celebrate as a family. What can you give to such an amazing dad to thank him for all that he has done for you! ...we thought that a full turkey dinner with german chocolate cake would be a feeble start :)

...complete with our best dishes.

Long awaited for, spring is now officially here!...though that never means the end of rain for the season. There is something so welcoming on that first sunny day; everything smells fresh; there's a hint of smoke in the air from the neighbor's burn pile; the air smells of a freshly cut hay field; you hear that first biplane overhead; take that first truck ride with the windows rolled down; the tree frogs have just begun to serenade us outside our window every night. These first signs of spring greeted me as I sat on the porch on a particularly lovely Sunday afternoon! Somehow the girls had convinced me that sitting with them, sipping tea on the porch, was a much more worthwhile pastime then taking my normal Sunday afternoon nap (it was of course very true!). There's nothing like those special times spent with sisters, laughing and making memories that will stay with you forever!

Mom and dad started a new tradition for the three littles officially titled "Monday Memories". Sometimes it can be difficult figuring out how to evenly distribute your attentions amongst nine children...but mom and dad are aces at it ;) This special evening is one that they are totally devoting to the little children to make some treasured memories with them :)

They say that spontaneity is the best ingredient for a good time. This is a true fact in the Spafford family. The plan began when someone asked a couple of us girls to house sit for their cat, and it turned into a six person sleepover...babysitting for one cat :)

We packed up three extra sleeping bags and pillows, some enchiladas for dinner along with the main dish, Chocolate brownies ;)

Cozying up with warm blankets and tea, we settled down to watch a couple episodes of the TV show "Merlin". Jonathon's jet lag prevented our little party from going on into the early hours of the morning. 

The late-sleepers the next morning were awoken to the smell of eggs cooking on the stove and country music playing in the kitchen. It was a rather quiet breakfast, sitting around a table with only six people to eat it. 
That first morning, we enjoyed a cozy breakfast of eggs, guacamole, and freshly baked English muffins.

With the day ahead of us, we decided to drive to downtown Troutdale and hang out for the afternoon. It's a fun little spot that looks like an old-fashioned town, complete with a couple of antique shops. 

In the middle is an adorable general store (with a lot of over-priced merchandise ;)

Our little outing together ended at an out-of-the-way coffee shop called "Silk and Espresso".
The plan had been for everybody to just stay Friday night. But come Saturday, we had convinced Jonathon to stay for one more night and enjoy a little more one-on-one with his sisters :)
The last night of house sitting, our party had dwindled down to a lonesome three...but we still managed to have a fun time together staying up till two in the morning ;)

It's in these special times that I can't help but stop and thank my heavenly Father for the wonderful people that He has surrounded me with! These moments are made even dearer when I realize that it won't be like this forever! we take every moment we get to make memories in the time that we have been given!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Little Project For Our Traveling Brother

Before Jonathon left, he made one request of me: that I keep him updated with words from home. I had an idea in mind of what I would do, but needed another brain to help it come about. Cosette and I got together and wrote the plans for a music video. This was the result :)

(the video is best when viewed in full screen :)

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Spafford Update

The room smelled of sweat and echoed with the sounds of the men's "Keais". In that room on the night of February the 21st, nine individuals filed in to witness the test that would earn Jonathon and Austin their purple belts. Having achieved all 30 of the required moves, they knelt down to tie on their new belts. Jonathon was using the purple belt that mom and dad had purchased for him 13 years ago...he'd now officially earned it :)

Austin fell asleep on his bed while reading John MacArthur's Book on systematic theology...(a preacher in the making perhaps ;)
Jonathon and Dad had long been anticipating the Shepherd's Conference on the week of February the 27th. A few of us went to go see them and a small group from our church off on their flight to LA. Although Austin was not able to make it this year with the guys, he arose extra early each morning so as not to miss a single session, live streaming the messages from the computer in our living room. He sometimes even skipped out on a karate class to listen to one of the messages going on at that time.

The guys came back wonderfully refreshed (and a wee bit exhausted) from the five days of solid teaching, worshipful singing, and Christian fellowship! Knowing that Paul Washer is one of my favorite speakers, Jonathon purchased three of his books and had them signed by none other then Paul Washer himself (It took four days of trying before Jonathon finally tagged Paul Washer down amongst the crowd of 5,000 men). These three books were my birthday present from my amazing brother!

I am afraid that I got way too spoiled on my birthday this year leaving me wondering at how a person can be so blessed by so many dear people. Grandma and Grandpa were visiting a few days before my actual birthday, and I had the wonderful privilege of going out with Grandpa for lunch! The very next day, Kayleen took me to a tasty little Thai restaurant. Wednesday was the date of my actual birthday upon which mom took me to a little breakfast cafe called "The Kitchen Table". 

Our dear little Annie had quite the experience one sunny Saturday afternoon as she was riding her bike around in our cul-de-sac. She slipped on some moist moss and her last memory before fully gaining consciousness was of Jonathon holding her in the car as they made their way to the ER. 
The diagnosis was a split chin and a slight concussion. The doctor's remedy: very little TV, reading, homework or activity. But good luck to anybody trying to keep Annalise on the couch, unoccupied for any longer then a single day. Her energy seemed to quickly revive and the doctor's orders were a little harder to follow that second day on the couch :) She has now completely bounced back and you could hardly tell her face had received any more then a small scratch!

We set aside a day in late February to help some friends prune their apple orchard. The day before had been bright and sunny leaving a glimmer of hope that the following day would be the same. Saturday came and we worked from ten to five in the evening in the pouring rain!

The inviting scent of smoke from the burning stove inside wafted through the chimney. The smell of cider cooking on the stove hurried our job along with the anticipation of soon cupping steaming mugs of cider in our hands. 
A bowl of soup and a loaf of sourdough bread were the perfect finishing touches to an already perfect day, made even sweeter by the company of friends and the sweet conversations had around the dinner table :)

Perhaps I have developed the webbed feet Washingtonians are characterized as having, or maybe I just have Washington in my DNA, but that day, as the fresh spring rain came down from the sky in heavy downpours, it just seemed that we were having the perfect weather for the kind of job we were doing. 

The snowfall on March 6, 2017 :)

As for the weather here of late, it has been full of surprises for us this year. Who would have thought that there would be a time in early March when Leisel would have another day of canceled work at the Hockinson school district :) Mom reminds me that she hasn't seen a year like this since 1995 when the snowfall in March made her wonder how she would possibly make it to the hospital in time to deliver me :)

Sunday morning, we all said our goodbyes to Jonathon as he got on his first ever international flight. His work at HP has brought him to Malaysia for the duration of two weeks...we're all eager to get him back but excited for the opportunity that he has to visit there :)