Thursday, January 22, 2009

Gingerbread...eaten but not forgotten.

In a rush to get all the Christmas pictures up, I forgot a very important event...the annual Gingerbread Decorating Contest! In the scope of life, I know, it seems trivial, but to the Parker children and children at heart, this is a big deal! :) And it seemed like it became an even bigger deal this year, because it kept getting postponed! It's usually done on Christmas, but this year, it didn't happen till New Year's Day (much to the Micah's dismay!). Part of the reason for this delay was that we had to have a few hours to spare (some of the Parkers are just a bit meticulous) and be ready to clean up a huge mess! (16 people all trying to make the best gingerbread person, all trying to get the icing, all grabbing the sprinkles...) We had quite a few masterpieces, and I must admit, I think the Parker-Pichura-Johnson clan has something special here. America's Got Talent could be on the horizon. :)

This would be the sprinkle grabbing, frosting flinging part ;)

Taste-testing was also a very important part of this event for Titus.

After a little coaxing from Kristin, Dad got in on the action.

James, hard at :)

Kristin's piece of art.
I thought the ball and chain was a nice touch, don't you?

Andrew's creation...anyone who knows Andrew can probably guess this one.

"702 Ridge Road", by Mr. Paulie Parker

The kids did a great job!! Micah made Yoda, Grace and Faith both made really detailed gingerbread houses, and Titus made a bunch of colorful creations!

And now, drumroll, please,....the winners of the Gingerbread competion:

First Place: The "McMasterpiece" by, you guessed it, David Parker.
This was the real deal--drive through and everything! It was only missing the burgers! :)

Maybe he missed his calling? ;)

Second Place was a tie, even after two attempts at a tie breaker!
The 3-way tie: Kimberly, Aaron, and Michelle

The ever-stylish Minnie Mouse.
(This may be the first time in my life I almost won an art contest! Trivial, I know, but I'll take it! :)

Kim and Aaron teamed up to make a really sweet, and very detailed, Raggedy Ann and Andy.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Right about when Seattle's snowstorm was coming to a close, we decided to enter another one in Hood River, Oregon!! :) On the day we left for Oregon, David's parents already had well over 2.5 feet of snow! The interstate that goes to their house had already been closed for 3 days due to the snow, so we made a break for it on Christmas Eve, hoping to get there before it might close down again. Although we did have a "minor encounter" with a snow bank ;), we are thankful we made it down with only "bumps and bruises" on the truck. We're also so very thankful for the Parker Family-- everyone in our immediate family was able to make it for Christmas, so it was a very special time...and a slight bit crazy. :) We had 17 people living in a 3 bedroom house, for a week!! We are so thankful and blessed to have such a wonderful family that loves each other and Jesus (how else could we all survive a week together ?! ;)

This is our newest niece, Hannah Grace Parker.
(Daughter of James & Kimiko).

David brought along the turkey fryer for a special Christmas dinner...
we had a few skeptics, but I think all have now recanted.

Christmas Dinner (only half the family fit at the table)

Our nieces and nephews having their own special moment.

Fun in the Snow

As you can see, this was a pretty big snowman...9 feet tall!

So, you may be wondering,
"what do 17 people do for a week in 1 house?"
Answer: Games. Lots and lots of games. :)

This was by far the most entertaining "game" of the week. We had Wii games going all the time, and even had a Parker bowling tournament. I think the Wii holds the distinct honor of being the only game that all 4 Parker brothers have played together. How sweet. :)

The proud winner of our bowling tournament: Micah! He even bowled a perfect game!

Titus got a policeman outfit from his sisters, and dutifully wore it every day I think. :)

This was part of the "Hobo Hilton" living room sleeping quarters :)
With 6 of us sleeping in there, it did get a little interesting.

Faith and Hannah
(the girls LOVED doing anything with Baby Hannah, or anything with babies in evidenced by the picture below)

The Pichura girls found other ways to "play baby" when Hannah was napping...their unbelievably mild mannered dog Tessie puts up with just about anything!

The snow just kept coming and coming!

David's mom Sandy, and a very happy Hannah.

Our nieces and nephews--some of our greatest Christmas gifts!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

"Snowmare" - December '08

(Photo by local photographer David Hutchinson)

Don't let the picturesque photo above fool you...that's not sand! We've been having some crazy snowy weather over here in the Northwest! They keep assuring us that it's not always like this, but I'm beginning to wonder...and I'm certainly glad we decided to pack the snow shovel into the moving van! :) We have had quite the snowstorm here in Seattle--I think it's the biggest one they've had in about 50 years! I had one nun at work tell me the last time she saw snow like this was in the 30's!! We had 12+ inches by the time it was "mostly" over, which for Seattle, is HUGE...then add a few layers of ice, barely any plows, lots of steep hills, no salt (!), and lots of drivers who have no clue what to do in snow, and you have "snowmare '08"...or "snowmageddon"as some where calling it. It was beautiful and fun as long as you didn't have to drive anywhere (and if you did, get ready for a scary ride!). Since Seattle has no decent method for clearing all the snow, we just had to "wait it out"...until warmer air melted all the snow. This usually happens in a day or two, but this time it was about 2 weeks later! It was frustrating at times, but we are very blessed to work close to home, so it didn't completely halt things. Eventually, the snow began to melt, and life slowly got back to normal. (Just in time for the torrential rains! ;)

A view from our back deck on Day 1.
(By Day 7 it was at least 3 times higher)

This was one of the more infamous moments of "snowmare '08"--I think it even made national news...2 buses coming off a steep hill could not stop and almost landed on the interstate below!

Since driving was out of the picture, many used "alternate methods of transportation." :)

With only 27 snow plows for the entire city, we saw lots of bulldozers, graters...anything people could think of to get snow off the road!