Tuesday, January 31, 2006

A Couple of Questions III

Here you go....

1. In light of the post two entries ago, what do you think you would purchase if given $70 to spend at Meier and Frank?

2. As a "home manager" what three things do you think you do particularly well?

Enjoy your Tuesday, let's hope for a few rays of sunshine.....

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Rain, Rain Go Away....

So, it rained again on Saturday - and boy, did it rain. We had some unexpected thunder and lightening too. That got us by surprise. Here's some pictures of the girls having a good time with a recommended "birthday party" set of new playdough (they made cakes with candles for us all afternoon.)

Later that evening, Nati and Mikayla had the special opportunity to go on a big girls date with Grandpa and Grandma. They went to see a play of Pinnochio and on the way back Mikayla wanted to know when their next date opportunity would be. She so cherishes her special-attention-dress-up opportunities. What a great family we have.

Friday, January 27, 2006

What an Awful Chore

Last night, John went to Meier and Frank to try to exchange a coat that he had exchanged two other coats to get. (Have I lost you yet?) Anyway, they didn't have the size he wanted, and because he had lost the receipt, they offered him store credit. Not really a problem since there's always something you can find somewhere in Meier and Frank.

However..... if you haven't heard, Meier and Frank is closing its doors soon, and Macy's is taking over. In fact, according to the salesclerk John spoke to, this is set to take place this weekend, which will set off 3 months of clearance sales of Meier and Frank merchandise. In light of this, the salesclerk could not guarantee that the store credit would be "usable" after this weekend. So, John requested that I take some time today and try to spend the $70 that he had in store credit. Can you believe the audacity of that man? To think, I have nothing better to do with my time than to have to go shopping for myself and spend $70? Unbelievable.

So, I decided to get this detestable chore out of the way as soon as possible. I had Michele watch the kids for a bit while I took off to the mall. I had to meet John at the bank at 12:30 which gave me exactly an hour to complete my shopping spree. Hard work, but I took my job seriously.

The shoe section caught my eye (and I will pat myself on the back, that the first place I looked was the boys section for a Seahawks Jersey for Brayden.... no luck, so the money then officially became all mine...). I almost purchased some great flats - or cute Sketchers, but the money would be gone too quick - let's see how far I could stretch it. I purused through the junior section, found some wonderful tank top staples, and some jeans and capris that would work if nothing else could be found. In Active Wear, I found another sweatsuit - at $17, couldn't pass it up. I then wandered some more and found a jacket and another blouse. The jeans and capris ended up getting left at the register, and only $8.14 was spent out of pocket.

I arrived at the bank with a minute to spare. Some jobs you just have to suffer through.... and you know, if you ever end up in a similar predicament, feel free to call me. I suppose I could find another hour in my life to devote to such a cause....

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

If I Appear Stuck Up....

Did you know that your head weighs between ten and thirteen pounds? That is roughly the weight of a bowling ball (at least the size I use..). Now, consider, if your head is constantly leaned forward, the muscles in your neck are having to hold it there, straining to carry a bowling ball off balance. Sound uncomfortable? It can be, especially when you've been doing it for a while.

All of this has been lectured to me by my recent visits with the physical therapist. They've taught me how I should be carrying my head - hence the title of this entry- and the damage that occurs when you've been doing otherwise. It's been very enlightening and actually, quite healing - especially when it comes to the frequent headaches I've been experiencing since the accident. Along with the information I've gained, I've been privileged with all sorts of fun exercises to get to do at home. In fact, Brayden, who has vision therapy exercises, and myself - share a star chart. How cool...

Beyond the posture adjustments, new pillow (my sleep has not been very happy lately in trying to get used to it...), and exercises- the hardest thing I've found in this experience has been pain assessment. Multiple times throughout each session I'll be asked to indicate if I have real "pain" - or is it just a stretch or pulling. And, if it is pain, on a scale of 1-10 - where am I at? Does anyone else struggle trying to determine how bad they hurt? Certainly labor with Brayden and the "ring of fire" with Mikayla would be a "10", but how about the 5 hours I laid in bed, ready to throw up with a migraine, just waiting for sleep? Or, when you are used to taking Advil every day for the headache that's inevitable, but it's a way of life.... what is that pain number?

And, that's just physical... Can you imagine trying to assess emotional pain? What is the emotional pain number for a person who has just received a diagnosis for their child that they may have a lifetime disability? What is the emotional pain number for a person who is coming to terms with having a chronic illness - and never getting better? How about the person who longs for their spouse to make a change, and has no power to make it happen on their own?

Pain; trying to define it requires such a huge equation. Is there hope that it will change? Is it constant in your life? Is there a way to make it lessen? Can you even determine why it's there? All of those questions make a difference for me. And, also, for me, knowing that there is One that has went through it before, who hears my prayers, and has a bigger plan than I can see makes it endurable.

Currently, my physical pain level is quite low. I have a stiff neck and turn my head kind of funny, but the headaches are getting so much better. My emotional status could be better (man, I'd really be excited for more than 24 hours of sunshine), but in comparison to other folks in my life, it's pretty darn low too. I think there's a certain absorbing of pain that we do for those that we love, though. It wouldn't be love if we didn't, I suppose. To my friends and family who are in pain, know that I'm praying, and I hope those assessment numbers keep going down....

And, remember, don't slouch.....

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

A Couple of Questions II

Here you go:

1. What's you favorite comfort food (if there's ever a time for one, it would be now with this weather)? How about listing both a main dish and dessert....
2. What's your least favorite household chore and why?

Happy Tuesday everyone....

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Family Celebration

Today we got together with John's side of the family to finally exchange Christmas presents and conveniently celebrate Jeff and John's birthday. Grandma Leona, Aunt Mary Beth, Cousin Alex, Cousin Andie, Uncle Tom, Uncle Jeff and Aunt Laura all came over to eat enchiladas, open presents, play some Shot Bloc basketball, and eat some wonderful chocolate cake. It was a great day - and here are some pictures that captured that.
The birthday boys
Brayden, Daddy, Uncle Jeff and Uncle Tom playing Brayden's new PS2 football game
Andie and Mikayla playing with Mikayla's new Disney make-up set
Cousin Andie and her adorable teddy bear
Aunt Laura and Cousin Alex

Happy Birthday Jeff and John!

I've done a lot of gushing over the love of my life, so I thought I'd keep his birthday post a little more light-hearted. Plus, he shares his day with his twin brother, so it wouldn't be fair if I spent too much time just focussing on John. As you'll notice from the photos, Jeff and John didn't exactly look like twins - nor did they necessarily act like twins. You could count on John to be the one getting into trouble and causing mischief... and Jeff was the more responsible of the two and more disciplined - as evidenced by his accolades in academics and sports. If you've ever heard John's testimony, that shouldn't surprise you. Look carefully and you might just see a little bit of Brayden passed on from his daddy....

Sorry for the picture quality - believe it or not, they were snapped from my camera from the tv - based on the DVD John made for us of our wedding and growing up years. (I'm watching it right now as I type - man, do I love this guy!!!!)

Happy Birthday, Jeff and John - Laura and I are so proud of you - as is everyone you know. We love you!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Thirty-Nine Years

"Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success." - Henry Ford

"Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward in the same direction."
-Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Paul and Sherry's friendship began in the hallways of Thurston High School. They were good, casual friends- nothing more, nothing less.

Then, one August evening following their graduation, Paul was supposed to take Sherry's roommate out for a date. However, Sherry's roommate was busy with someone else (oops!), so Sherry got to fill in. They took a drive to Oakridge - and halfway through, Sherry threw up. One heck of a first date.

Somehow, the sparks ignited anyway, and they proceeded to date until November when Paul felt the sudden urge to return to his former love. Gena had called and lured Paul away from Sherry for an evening, ready to remind him of the future they were destined to share together. Before the evening came to a close, Paul realized what a terrible mistake he had made. He left Gena behind and drove all over town to find Sherry and beg her to take him back. Fortunately, she's a forgiving person.

(This is a picture of Paul and Gena at their senior prom. In a "twilight zone" of foreshadowing - Sherry is seen in the background looking on. Paul and Sherry were only casual friends at this point in time.)

Paul, being the incredibly patient man he is, waited a whole month before asking her to her marry him, and then, never to rush, they gave it another month before actually getting married (and, no, she was not pregnant!). He was 19, she was 18 - and that was 39 years ago; January 20, 1967.

One Vietnam war that kept them apart, two children that drew them together, three parents that have passed away, four combined careers, five grandchildren that have kept them young - 39 years of joy, sorrow, triumph, and pain - and a love for each other deeper than any obstacle they have ever, and will ever, face.

We're so proud of you, Mom and Dad - CONGRATULATIONS & HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

P.S. Michele wanted you to know she helped with this!

You Are My Sunshine

Today Mikayla, Sydney and I took a walk. Actually, Mikayla rode in the jeep, and Sydney wanted to push it up to a jog. We recently discovered this method, which allows me to take Syd on the leash and the speed of the jeep is a perfect pace. What a deal. I'm thankful for the break in rain which allowed us to do this, and no matter what the weather for the ray of sunlight that is my daughter!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


J - just the beginning of the winter season
A - always raining
N - not my favorite month
U - unnecessarily wet
A - a little sunshine would be appreciated
R - ready yourself for 4+ more months of this
Y - yes, this rain has put me in a sour mood

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Recent Thoughts About What's on TV

The one good thing about January (with this deluge of rain - I'm trying to be postive about something...) is that familiar shows return with new episodes and new programs begin that you've waited all year for. This leads me to list what we've been enjoying on tv lately-

Sunday nights - can't help but enjoy every episode I've watched of Extreme Home Makeover. I could pass up Desperate Housewives - I personally don't think it's as trashy as its reputation, but it's also not something we need on either. I have gotten hooked to Gray's Anatomy, however. The characters are so lovable - I just wish they'd give us a happy ending every now and then.

Monday nights - The Bachelor has started again. I think this is the classiest bachelor they've picked (from what I've seen so far) - I think he's learned from the past guys on how to not look like a womanizing fool. I'm rooting for Sarah from Tennessee.

Tuesday nights - American Idol starts up again tonight! Always a nice show to not hesitate to have your kids in the room with you. It's a cozy one for John and I to laugh with.

Wednesday nights - Lost. Those writers are amazing. This is definitely a show that the kids shouldn't be around for, though, because you want to be able to catch every single syllable as to not miss anything. I admit, John and I also enjoy Invasion - it got us hooked, and with satellite tv in which we watch everything from 5pm-8pm (instead of 8-11), we have time to watch it.

Thursday nights - nothing now - still waiting for Survivor to start up.

Friday nights - nothing now - but, I would love to catch a certain show starring Amy Grant if they were to visit a certain family I know in Dallas......

Saturday nights - nothing

Supernanny is also a show I'd love to catch, but I'm not even sure when that is aired these days. Also, I'll enjoy the return of Amazing Race. The family version didn't catch me, so I hope they go back to couples.

A few additional thoughts on last night's Golden Globes- Reese Witherspoon is a class act - so glad she won and her acceptance speech was beautiful in regards to her family. Jessica Alba is beautiful - The guy from The Office who won cracked me up with his speech that supposedly his wife wrote.

So, this whole post is very superficial - and full of personal opinions. You gotta be a little creative when the weather is this bad and there's so little to do but stay home and clean house. Stay dry everyone!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Black Butte

Just got back from a wonderful 32 hour escape with some fun girlfriends. A friend I've only known for about a year and a half recently purchased a cabin in Black Butte and invited seven of us to come hang out for the weekend. Thank you, Lisa S.!

It was a great time hanging out with girls I rarely get extended time with - talking about US magazines, travel plans, kids, marriages, recipes and our relationships with God. We got a chance to visit an amazing interior decorating store in Sisters (boy, that place could be dangerous for John and I!), ate a dinner in the lodge lounge that didn't include a children's menu, watched snow fall Saturday night and took a walk through it all donned in our winter garb for an hour today.

While I was gone, Brayden made his first basket in a basketball game - and then made another - wish I could have seen that, and Mikayla - well, Steph painted her nails.... nothing super exciting missed there.... Amazing what a great mom you can come back and be with just a 24 hour escape every now and then.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

A Couple of Questions

I'm off for a girls' weekend - when is the last time I packed a bag just for me? It's been really loud around this house lately, lots of kids, lots of puppies - I'm ready for a little tranquility.

inspired by Jodi - here are a couple of questions that came to mind that I thought I'd throw out there for folks to respond to-

1. What is something that you value, and are willing to spend money on, that others might not consider that important?
2. If you could be a fly on the wall (let's keep it clean and eliminate the bedrooms...) in any famous person's house - who would that be?

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

You Asked for It, Jodi

My friend, Jodi, challenged us in her blog to answer one of her questions. This is the question that I chose to answer:

2. Tell about a time in your life that you remember thinking that everything in your life felt perfect...where were you, what were you doing, why do you think you felt that way.

Two thoughts come to mind. One was probably around the middle of December in 1993. I was at Timberline Lodge with my sister, her husband, and my then boyfriend, Lance. We had spent the previous evening talking by the lodge's fireplace, eating dinner by candlelight and even hitting the outdoor hottub amidst falling snow. That day, while on the chairlift to ski, I remember watching this perfect snowflake fall onto my glove and truly thought, "I could never ask for more".

The second time was 12 years later, perhaps even the very same day of the year. While at our recent trip to Sunriver, I sat with cocoa in hand, a good Christmas novel, my sister next to me - in a hot tub, with snow coming down. The temperature was so cold, the snow just settled on our hair without melting. We watched the "perfectly unique" snowflakes settle on the edge in amazement. Once again, I couldn't get past the feeling that I could never ask for more. But, this time, I had a HUSBAND, (not just a boyfriend based on infatuation), two incredible children and amazing friends within my life. Oh, there was definitely more I could have hoped for a dozen years ago....

Hope I did a fair job answering your question, Jodi!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Haven't We Done This Already?

This would be the fourth time this year we've sang HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Mikayla. Last year, we opted to save her party for the summer, so around the fourth of July we all sang to celebrate her three year old birthday. Then, in early December, we had her "friends party" to celebrate turning 4, of course, we sang again on the actual date of her birth - and then, finally, we have the classroom opportunity to celebrate at pre-school. I think I can safely say we're done for at least 11 months.

Here's a few cute things out of the mouth of Mikayla lately:

Very proud that she's now four, she's felt the need to share this with anyone she sees. So, at Safeway, the clerk engaged her in conversation about it. When she asked when she turned four, Mikayla smartly replied, "on my birthday".

Daddy promised Mikayla that if she went to Sunday School class without crying he would take her on a Starbucks date. That did the trick and she was happy as a lark. On the date with Daddy this is what she said, "Do you know why I like to go on dates with you Daddy? Because we both have blue eyes..." (Brayden shares my brown eyes, and she and daddy share the blue...)

Finally, she's been very affectionate lately. She tells me CONSTANTLY that she loves me. "You know what Mommy, I love you." "Do you know what I'm thinking Mommy, I love you..." "I just love you Mommy" It is so sweet - it reminds me of doing the very same thing with my mom, just not ever feeling like I could tell her that enough. I hope she loved it as much as I do. Last night, I told her I didn't ever want her to get any older, because I just love this age. She said she didn't want to either because, "it's no fun being a grown-up". I sighed and said, we ought to let her grow up so she can get to be a mommy. She agreed because she wants me to be a grandma. Finally, we both agreed to try to always have fun together, no matter how old we are. All of a sudden, I feel the need to go tell Mikayla how much I love her........

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Duck Basketball Game

Over a month ago, John took Brayden to a Duck basketball game and I just now discovered they had taken pictures of their special outing. I just asked John for a few details of the evening and here's what he came up with:

- Brayden was much more attentive to the pretty girl sitting next to him than the game - and of course, the pretty girls cheering for the team....
- At halftime the audience participates in a BINGO game. At the end of the game, the Bingo cards are thrown down and the security guard gave Brayden permission to crumple them up and throw them down to the rows below, as is tradition. Unfortunately, Brayden's aim was very consistent and continuously hit the head of a gentleman who wasn't very pleased with the distraction. At the point that he stood up ready to take on the punk that was aiming at him, the security guard quickly intervened and told the guy to chill out as it was just a 5 year old (off by a year) who had no intention of making the guy his target.... If only Brayden could be that accurate when playing in his own basketball games!

Brayden came home with a big poster he quickly tacked into his room and a new-found love for the sport. Glad it was such a good time for the two of them.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Three Puppy Playdate

Here are some pics of our 3 puppy playdate - Koda, the 12 week old lab came to visit while her "dad", Brayden's basketball coach, took Brayden to practice. We've also had Bogey the beagle for a few days too. There was a lot of sniffing, barking, and doggy wrestling going on, that's for sure. They'll all sleep well tonite.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Things That Have Made My Kids Cry in the Last Two Days

Just like any siblings, my children are either on or off when it comes to each other. Currently, they are off - as they are now both adding to my last yelling at each other and crying because "Mikayla made me bonk my nose and I know, because I know better"... It can be maddening. My mom used to tell my sister and I that if she had ever had a sister (she was an only child) she would have been so appreciative, she would have never argued. Hah! At least I can rest assured that my sister and I are best friends despite the three decades of arguements that we've had.

Here's some other things that have caused an abundance of tears around here:

Having her shirt sleeves hang over her wrists. She is obsessive about this and freaks out until they are rolled up.

Not having her dress shoes tight enough (see above referring to obsessive behaviors).

Having her hair combed through.

Fighting with Brayden over who's "Book of Mazes" it was - this time Brayden won, but quickly lost credit upon yelling at Mikayla for having previously colored in it.

The last thing Mikayla cried about in her list.

Having to sit in the left carseat instead of the right this morning on the way to school.

Not being able to successfully get past a section in the new "Chicken Little" PS2 game he got for Christmas. (Hysteria for about ten minutes...)

Not being able to have his buddy Andrew come to our house after having hung out with him at his house for 2 hours. He declared he "would never ever stop crying".... I'm proud of myself for just ignoring him and, go figure, he stopped within five minutes of being home.

If I were still under the age of 7, the fact that I gained a pound after two days of seriously being "good" with what I ate and seeing the front page of the newspaper about the miners having actually been dead instead of miraculously alive as was reported last night would have me crying. Perhaps the latter will have me going in that direction if I think enough about it at a weak emotional moment.... that is just so tragic. In the meantime, with two kiddos and two puppies (we're puppysitting Bogey for three days) I think I'll have to suck it up for all of us. And, Jodi - you are in my thoughts and prayers an awful lot, we're praying for some serious miraculous improvement for Jacie......

Monday, January 02, 2006

Unexpected Surprises

This year, I had great expectations of buying beautiful bulbs and planting them all over so that this time of year, when I'm ready for a token emergence of spring (albeit way too early), I'd begin to see it. But, the excitement over Disneyland, Halloween, Thanksgiving and preparing for Christmas took over and I never got around to it.

That's a bummer, because on days like today when I tackled the bittersweet chore of packing up all of the Christmas decor, I thought about that "never gotten around to" chore - and really wished I had. This is NOT my favorite time of year, but I embrace it because 1.) I have no choice and 2.) it represents fresh starts and new beginnings. I always start my "resolutions" which are almost always the generic "get healthier spiritually and physically" on the first Monday after New Years, so today was fitting that all the Christmas and Harvest decor got packed and the "springier - until Harvest" decor got displayed. It feels good, the trees were tired and we always appreciate the "airiness" and extra room it feels like we have when all goes down. But, abstaining from the treats that have made me happy for so long hasn't been that much fun.

Fast forward a few hours - as I was taking a bag of garbage outside, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted something "sprouting" from the ground. I kept walking to the garbage bin, but inside my mind was whirling and I was really beginning to smile. The bulbs that I had planted two years ago, and begged the landscapers to save last year, were making their presence known again. After dumping the garbage, I ran over to the corner by our front entry and did a more careful inspection. My theory was accurate - 6 or 7 bulbs were emerging.

What a sweet surprise. God knew that was something I wanted, but didn't expect, but he blessed me nonetheless. So, it is with grace.

However, next year, any readers I have are welcome to challenge me to get to work in October planting bulbs...... it means a whole lot to see "fresh beginnings" happening elsewhere in a time that feels especially overwhelming. (It's a long way until June.....)

I wish you all the very best success in your self-set challenges and new endeavors for 2006.......and lots of very special unexpected surprises too.