Snoqualmie Train Ride

On Thursday, of last week, we went up to Snoqualmie to the Northwest Railway Museum. We joined several other families from our homeschooling co-op. It was a long drive out to Snoqualmie/North Bend. We passed Tim’s office on the highway—we all waved and waved. Tim was on the cell phone and could see us driving past. Nice to see where he works, even if we only got a glimpse from the road. I was amazed, once again, that Tim is willing to drive all the way up towards Seattle every day. I am very thankful for this good job and a cheerful, hard working husband.

Snoqualmie is beautiful. The downtown area was very picturesque. The kids were excited to see the trains along the side the road. We joined up with our group and had a picnic lunch before it was time to begin our program. David was very dismayed to discover there were several activities scheduled before the actual train ride. We had a session on the signs and signals of railroad communication—there were all sorts of different types of devices on hand for the children to see. Next we had a locomotive cab tour.

Rachel climbs on the train

Groups of 10 people climbed into an old train cab and looked over the controls and switches. Finally we had a history lesson on the importance of railroads in small town life and Northwest history.

Joshua listening hard
Joshua listens intently

The older children did beautifully in all the teaching sessions—they listened quietly and attentively. David and Sarah, on the other hand, posed for some great pictures. They weren’t exactly captivated by the history lessons. The school train experience is geared toward fourth graders, not preschoolers (no matter how precocious).


At long last we were ready to board the train. The train rides about 2 ½ miles and then returns to the depot. The trip takes about 30 or 35 minutes. The scenery was beautiful and we were able to see the new conservation and renovation center that is almost completed.

After our train adventure we drove a little further up the road to see the Snoqualmie Falls. There is a nice parking lot with a bridge across to the visitor center at the falls. The children were stunned and amazed at the breathtaking beauty of the falls. It was clearly one of the highlights of the field trip.

Snoqualmie Falls

Washington is such a beautiful state. I was once again struck by the wonder of God’s creation and delighted to be able to share in some of it.

Our group in front of the falls

Here we are standing by the falls–which you, unfortunately, can’t see at all.

Here are comments from the children:

Joshua—the Snoqualmie Falls was the best part of the trip. The history teaching on the railway was interesting. It was fun being with friends from our homeschooling co-op.

Rachel—I liked seeing the horses while we were on the train. I especially loved seeing the river. It was fun going up into the conductor’s engine room. The Snoqualmie Falls were gorgeous.

A view of the river from the train

Daniel—I liked going to see the falls. It was great going with friends! Riding on the train was fun. I liked going into the engine room of an old train—got to flip some switches. I even got to pull the horn/whistle.

Daniel and buddy
Daniel and a friend

David—I liked going over the bridge on the train. I got to sit in my own seat and look out the window as the train moved.

David on the train

Sarah—The water fall was pretty. I sat by David on the train and looked out the window.

Sarah on the train


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Where do the pictures go??

Tim and I are having the strangest time keeping our pictures up on the blog. For some reason, every few days the pictures seem to disappear. How odd is that!?! Thankfully Tim can always seem to restore them. I suspect he is going to need to put in some time this weekend, digging around, to figure out the problem (and solve it).

Sweet Sarah
Sarah in her pretty butterfly dress

Silly Sarah
Nice close up of Sarah’s teeth!

We went on a fun field trip today and I took a TON of pictures. Of course, these silly ones of Sarah are from earlier this week but I couldn’t resist including them–she’s a character!

I am a bit reluctant to blog about our train field trip if the photos aren’t going to stay in their designated spot. I’ll toss one out there just to keep things interesting. The rest will have to come this weekend.

KathyTrain Kiddos

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AWANA Award Night

Last week was the final session of AWANA at church. The program culminated in an award celebration complete with songs, ribbons, prizes, and more. This was Sarah’s first year in AWANA (she and David were both in Cubbies). She spent a good portion of the summer months reminding anyone who would listen that she was “going to be in Cubbies this year with David.” Very exciting! Joshua’s 5th and 6th grade ROCK program (Real Outstanding Christian Kids) also meets on Wednesday nights. All of these wonderful church activities meant that Tim and I often had an hour and a half to ourselves on Wednesday nights.

David and his Cubbies certificate

The children all worked very hard on their Bible studies and memory verses (some of which I hope they will actually remember). Toward the end of the year I began scheduling in some specific AWANA study time in their school work. Rachel, in particular, was very diligent in her AWANA lessons. She enjoyed some healthy competition with another girl in her class (she gets the desire to WIN from Tim–ha) and made excellent progression through her books.

The final part of the award ceremony recognized the children who had completed the most sections of their AWANA book (involving memory verses, doctrine/theology lessons, and other activities and work) during a six week contest period and also for the entire year. To everyone’s surprise and delight, Rachel won first place for both events!! She received a huge kite and a cd player! She was so tickled and thrilled and excited. We all cheered and clapped.

Award Winning!
Hooray for Rachel!

We were very proud of Rachel and all her hard work over the year. She is becoming an amazing godly young woman. She loves the Lord, she studies her Bible every day, she seeks to really understand difficult spiritual concepts, and she is striving to live her life in the light. She is a most excellent daughter and I am proud to be her mother. I was pleased that she received some recognition for her achievements.

My prayer is that she would enjoy these special rewards but understand that they are fleeting and the true value is found in the richness of God’s Word.

Psalm 119:30-32; 35-37

I have chosen the way of truth;
I have set my heart on your laws.

I hold fast to your statutes, O LORD;
do not let me be put to shame.

I run in the path of your commands,
for you have set my heart free.

Direct me in the path of your commands,
for there I find delight.

Turn my heart toward your statutes
and not toward selfish gain.

Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
preserve my life according to your word.


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My stomach is not my god (I hope)

A few weeks ago, I made a critical error. It is the kind of mistake made by a person who suffers from occasional and inexplicable bouts of optimism. Sadly, I am afflicted with this condition, and the various disappointments of life have not yet taught me caution.

Me and my Sweetie
Me and my Sweetie on Easter

On April 9th, Kathy celebrated her one-year anniversary of adherence to the KMEP (Kathy’s Maniacal Eating Plan) which involves measured portions, no sugar consumption, and avoidance of processed grains and their derivatives (like bread, tortillas, hamburger buns, bisquits, pancakes, stuffing, cinnamon buns, waffles, muffins, bagels, crepes, donuts, eclairs, rolls, pie crusts, cakes, cupcakes, cookies, brownies, and pretty much anything else that makes life worth living). The basis of the plan seems to be that one’s digestive system should be forced to work for a living like everyone else, hence the avoidance of nutrients that can easily be converted into sugar (and thence to fat). Coupled with increased vegetable consumption and diminishing sugar cravings, the KMEP seems to be a very effective weight-loss and general health plan.

Since Kathy stuck to the KMEP so faithfully and lost more than 60 pounds, I felt that I should honor her in some way on her one-year anniversary. My instinctive response was to make her an ice cream pie, but for some reason that didn’t seem appropriate. In a moment of weakness, I decided to try the KMEP myself for a month, to show her how much I wanted to support her and honor her.

In one sense my decision was a resounding success. Kathy seemed very pleased (almost too pleased, for my liking) that I was joining her on the KMEP, “fellow workers in the vineyard” and all that. But in another sense (the part where I don’t get to eat what I want) the choice was a disaster.

I am now most of the way through the month and have become intimately acquainted with grains and vegetables that I never knew before. Unsure that I am richer for the knowledge, I can now assert that I’m not fond of red quinoa (pronounced Keen-Wah) or oats in nearly any form (although Kathy still uses oat bran on me when she thinks I’m not paying attention). I can take or leave millet, and I prefer brown rice to almost any of the ‘alternative grains’ that find their way into my meals. It turns out that (although I thought I liked it) I have a very limited capacity for broccoli, and so I eat a lot of salads and my mainstay is cherry tomatoes. Now I begin to understand why Kathy always makes these weird vegetable stews … it is hard to get enough to eat if you have to look your vegetables in the eye (or stalk). Better to slice ‘em and dice ‘em and serve them up as soup, however questionable its origins.

It really isn’t that bad, for some values of ‘bad’. Kathy takes good care of me and prepares each of my meals, carefully varying the proteins and casting wildly about for vegetables that I will eat. I doubt I would have the fortitude to stay on the KMEP if I also had to do the work of preparing the food — it is a non-trivial task to make some of this stuff edible at all.

At the risk of spending much more time on this than will hold the reader’s interest, here is a brief outline of what I am permitted to consume in a given day:

Breakfast: six muffins made of egg, apple, and a cup of oat bran

Lunch: a salad (maybe two cups of lettuce with some tomatoes)
a cup (cooked) of some weird grain
six ounces (cooked) of ground turkey
a cup of cherry tomatoes

Supper: a cup of vegetable soup
a cup of cooked vegetables
a cup of some kind of starch (like a potato)
six ounces of meat (usually some kind of beef)

After supper:
a cup of milk
six ounces of frozen blueberries
about 20 drops of a saccharin-based sweetener

As you can see, it is quite a bit of food, really — four cups of vegetables, two servings of fruit, around eighteen ounces of meat (including the three eggs in the muffins), and three cups of some kind of carbohydrate each day. I’m not sure where the milk gets counted. You may also notice the Dairy Queen Blizzard and the large serving of brownies, conspicuous by their absence.

Civil Creme Puffs
How could I refuse a creme puff when offered by my eldest son?

All in all, it seems to be about 1000 calories less than someone of my mass and sedentary nature burns each day, so I should hope to lose in the neighborhood of 2 pounds each week, on average. So far my loss has been considerably more than that (11.5 pounds in three weeks), so it may be that my metabolism burns a bit hotter than average (something I have often suspected). Ironically, if my metabolism is higher than average, this gives me less of an excuse for being overweight in the first place, although it is predictable when I consider how much (in ‘normal’ life) I actually am in the practice of eating.

Sometimes it is hard. One night I was serving ice cream to some guests and I had to tell myself ‘NO!’ seven or eight times while I was dishing the dessert … I kept wanting to lick my fingers or ‘finish off that last little amount in the carton’. I quickly broke out the blueberries and had my after-supper snack before the beads of sweat on my forehead were too noticeable.

Kathy at the tea party
This sad girl clearly suffers from chocolate deprivation.

I’m not sure the KMEP is sustainable for me over the long term, in spite of Kathy’s example. The other night I found myself standing in the kitchen with my eyes closed, fantasizing about a starch-heavy meal with Cinnabons and ice cream for dessert. I went on and on describing each component of the feast (“biscuits slathered with butter … and more butter”) much to the amusement of my family.

As the one-month mark approaches, I notice Kathy becoming more and more unhappy with the prospect of my abandonment of the KMEP. I can certainly understand her viewpoint – just because I’ve lost a few pounds doesn’t conceal the fact that I am still substantially overweight. I’m just not sure I am willing to face a future with no hope of anything sweet …

And yet, I am reminded of Philippians 3:19, in which Paul describes the enemies of the cross of Christ:

“Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.”

To what extent has my stomach been my god? Does my self-indulgent nature put me at odds with the will of God? Do I really want to risk numbering myself with the enemies of Christ?

There is nothing wrong with enjoying God-given food, but I’m not sure I currently have the capability of properly enjoying food without making it an idol. Certainly the accumulated weight from my habitual over-indulgence in this area makes it more difficult for me to serve God in areas that require physical stamina, not to mention the way it limits the things I can do with my kids.

I think the part that worries Kathy the most is the bad example of self indulgence that I am perpetrating upon my children. These are serious matters to consider, and I feel rather vulnerable in speaking out this openly, but would welcome any comments.

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Nisqually Glimpse


In April the historical society of Dupont (not sure if that is the correct organization) produced a drama about the first missionary settlers in Washington. Tim’s parents have been very involved in the research and study of this subject. Their hope (along with others involved in Washington historical research) is that the land will become available to recognize the original missionary site.

The chapel Sunday School class helped to put on a play retelling the story. It was performed at a beautiful old church in Dupont. All five of my children were involved as well as two of the Edgren cousins. Tim sang in the choir. It was a family affair! Sarah and Rachel are pictured here in their pioneer costumes. The day was beautiful and sunny. The kids did a great job in their different roles on stage. Rachel about stole the show as the Scene Girl. She was responsible for announcing the beginning of each scene and would walk around the room (up front) and onto the stage with a sign. People smiled and whispered about how cute she looked. David and Sarah played missionary children.

Cousins and Indians

Daniel was an Indian (as was cousin Samuel). Joshua played the role of one of the main characters as a child. Rebecca (cousin) was part of the missionary children with David and Sarah. There was delicious tea party afterwards with an abundant amount of cookies and treats of all sorts–including a Nisqually Mission cake decorated and frosted with Mount Rainier on it. A memorable afternoon.

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