Friday, June 30, 2006

Signs of Summer

What follows is a scrapbook page that I would title, "Signs of Summer". I've been running around with my camera over the last couple of weeks trying to get snapshots of things that only happen in summer for us - or are only the best done in summer. It's been fun thinking about it, and seeing ideas around town and knowing I need to return with my camera.

Here's the list:
1. The Fourth of July fireworks tents. This didn't mean much to us until last year when the kids realized that if you buy fireworks, you get to slide down the inflatable "gimmick". It worked, and last year, setting off fireworks in our lawn chairs in front of our house was a sweet, sweet, memory indeed.
2. Playtime at the pool - kind of self-explanatory.
3. Indulging in shaved ice. I succumbed to the Sunday ads and purchased one at Target this week..... pulling it out next year will certainly be a reminder of the fun times of summer
4. Dining outside - this taken at a pizza parlor that I've eaten at since I was a baby.
5. Roasting hot dogs. We didn't use this outdoor fire pit but once since we've purchased it nearly two years ago - now, it's a familly evening favorite.
6. The wildflowers that sprought up at the intersection by Harlow Rd. They are gorgeous, and make me happy whenever I drive by them.
7. Picking blueberries. My mom and dad have the most amazing bushes that never disappoint. Quarter size berries are not uncommon. Right before my mom left town a week ago she asked if I wanted to pick the berries before the birds got them. We left with ten cups of berries.
8. Summertime exhaustion - the picture says it all!

What would be "signs of summer" snapshots for you?

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Tagged Again

10 Favorites
Favorite Season: Fall
Favorite Color: Brick red
Favorite Time: 9 am - preferably if that's occuring right after waking up
Favorite Food: KFC bbq chicken wings
Favorite Drink: Russian tea, Diet Coke
Favorite Ice Cream: Cold Stone Cake Batter wih rapsberries, toasted coconut, and graham cracker crumbs
Favorite Place: my home, and Sunriver (preferably in a hot tub, gazing at the stars or an early morning blue sky)
Favorite Sport: to watch - Oregon Football
Favorite Actor: Will Ferrell (he makes me laugh)
Favorite Actress: Jennifer Garner

9 Currents
Current Feeling: Full, quite happy to have had a week with my sister and the kids very busy but very happy
Current Drink: half Mug root beer from Dairy Queen and half Diet Coke
Current Time: 6:39 pm
Current Show on TV: "So You Think You Can Dance"
Current Mobile used: T-Mobile
Current Windows Open: weather, mail, Literary Girl
Current Underwear: a pair with dangly ribbons I got at Ross, that I recently cut the ribbons off since they would appear through zippers (TMI)
Current Clothes: blue and brown rugby shirt, brown capris
Current Thought: The music on tv is very annoying

8 Firsts
First Nickname: Chickadee
First Kiss: kid kiss - 7, real kiss - (DISGUSTING), 17
First Crush: Robbie Hallet, Jason Kingrey
First Best Friend: Carrie Bowen
First Vehicle I Drove: 1982 Datsun B210
First Job: Bright Beginnings Day Care
First Date: 6th Grade Middle School social.... I don't know.....
First Pet: Scotty, our dog

7 Lasts
Last Drink: Mudslide from Applebees
Last Kiss: John, when he came home
Last Meal: Kids' chicken meal from DQ
Last Web Site Visited: Literary Girl
Last Movie Watched: In theater - "Cars", on DVD, "Nanny McPhee"
Last Phone Call: Amy
Last TV show Watched: Master of Champions (you gotta love summer tv) John and Michele are trying to find alternatives for me, like Beevis and Butthead, Pimp My Ride.... ha-ha guys!

6 Have You Evers
Have You Ever Broken the Law: yes, lied about letting my friend drive who didn't have a license, I knew she didn't but told the officer otherwise
Have You Ever Been Drunk: No, but a little less inhibited....
Have You Ever Kissed Someone You Didn't Know: No
Have You Ever Been in the Middle/Close to Gunfire: No
Have You Ever Skinny Dipped: Yes, but just among friends at my parents' house
Have You Ever Broken Anyone's Heart: Yes, but I'm sure they are well over it

5 Things
Things You Can Hear Right Now: Michele telling a story
Things On Your Bed: bedding that is unmade
Things You Ate Today: Blueberry muffin, cream of wheat, birthday cake cupcake, above described dinner
Things You Can't Live Without: If I'm being serious: Jesus, my husband and my kids - otherwise, cell phone, computer, Diet Coke, Russian Tea, sugar
Things You Do When You Are Bored: read, cruise the internet

4 Places You Have Been Today
Tennis lessons, Golf Course, Amy's house, DQ

3 Things On Your Desk Right Now
kids' summer "school work", bills, pens/markers/crayons

2 Choices
Black or White: black to wear, white in general
Hot or Cold: I can tolerate being overly warm much better than being overly cold

1 Place You Want To Visit
Discovery Cove, Florida

I am tagging: Colie, Heather

Monday, June 26, 2006

A Couple of Questions XXIII

I'm sitting here with a "double medicine" headache (the heat didn't help me out today) and my left ankle is hard to find due to some insect that got a hold of it on Saturday. I looked up spider bites on Google and am convinced that nothing that could lead to death got a hold of me, but the swelling and itching sure seem a step up from a mosquito. As it is, I can't stand mosquito bites, I'm certainly more fearful of them than I am of the side effects of 100% DEET. (I remember wearing it while in Yellowstone, it was very effective, but it also stripped the plastic sheen off of my colored bead salvation bracelet, a little scary...). I think there's a life comparison that can be applied to the very short term bliss found in scratching a bite area, and the ramifications of indulging in that bliss. But, darn, it itches!

1. Any horrifying mosquito, bee, or other insect stories - or, any advice on repelling the little beasts, or relieving the itch......

2. What are your Fourth of July plans? Any annual traditions?

Sunday, June 25, 2006


I'm trying to gather pictures for a post I'm working on in my head - with all the things to do outside in the summer, I'm not finding myself sitting down at the computer as often.

I thought I'd give a little review of a book I started and finished this weekend called UNCHARTED by Angela Hunt. It has plenty of reviews and comments from other authors all over its book jacket and every one is accurate. It's described as a cross between "The Big Chill" and "Lost" - but it was so much more. Haunting, chilling - it's the sort of book with a message and characters that will linger in your mind for years to come. If you are looking for something to stir you - give it a try.

Enjoy the amazing blue skies - and try to stay cool as we reach triple digits!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A Couple of Questions XXII

In honor of Mikayla:

1. What was the worst (non ER visit) injury that you remember having as a kid?

Simply random:

2. What national park would you most like to visit if money and distance were no object?

The blue skies outside have been so brilliant - they've lifted my spirits tremendously. Hope you've had an opportunity to enjoy them......

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Colorful Comments

We've had a wonderful family time here in Portland this weekend. There's this one place that we stay, and it's as if it's the Riley's home away from home - just for the 4 of us. We just discovered that there's a new Cold Stone Creamery literally two blocks away - now we are officially in trouble!

Here's a couple of comments from the kids-

Mikayla, upon seeing Applebees (right across the street from us) - "Look, there's Applebeast!"

Brayden, upon sitting down in the booth for dinner - Singing, "Food, glorious food" -mimicking the guy in Ice Age 2

Mikayla, requesting a napkin, "Can you hand me a mapkin?"

Brayden, after being told to save room for ice cream, "This shelf, (holding the left side of his stomach), is full of pizza - but this shelf (on the right side) is ready for ice cream" - I relate, kiddo.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

A Product No Home Should Be Without

Friday was the infamous "Daddy Daughter Dance". If you read our Christmas letter from last year, you'd know that this is a highlight in Mikayla's life, in which she's been counting down days for, for well over a month.

In preparation for her wonderful date with Daddy, we set to making her extra beautiful. The Easter dress and sweater were ironed, the hat and gloves we found at Target on clearance were set out, and the curling iron was armed and ready to turn Mikayla into Goldilocks. She sat so patiently watching Mary Kate and Ashley on video, and truly, her hair was gorgeous.

I left the room for only a moment and then heard a horrific scream come from the living room. I now feel assured that, as her mom, I have a very good gauge on what is a serious injury vs. "need attention" injury. This was very serious. Mikayla had tripped over the curling iron cord and it literally bounced down her arm. I think the pictures sum it up well.

I immediately went to our cabinet and pulled out the Water-jel stuff I had bought at Walmart several years ago. It's been used on numerous occassions for all of us, with amazing results, but never on an injury this large. I was confident we wouldn't be hitting the ER, but could tell that we'd hit 2nd degree with a few blisters beginning to emerge. As soon as I applied the product, she immediately started to relax. Throw in some Childrens' Advil and the portable "self-fan" that Daddy brought home from Boys' Round-Up - and she was virtually pain-free. Unbelievable. Of course, it wasn't until about 8:30 that we could remove the source of blowing air for her to be comfortable, but the fact that she slept through the night and has been good to go all day today is pretty amazing to me.

Needless to say, Mikayla and Daddy never made it to the "Daddy Daughter Dance". She got a lot of attention at home, though, and loved the boquet Daddy brought home for her. There's always next year - and perhaps we'll leave her hair straight!

(By the way, the Water-Jel I bought at Walmart is no longer available there - at least not that I've found. I checked out their website and there are a ton of testimonials similar to mine, primarily they distribute their products directly to health-care locations, especially fire-fighting. It is available to purchase at - about $7. Well worth the money to have on hand.....)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Amazing Mouse Circus

Today I showed up 15 minutes late to a "Mouse Circus" presentation that Brayden's class was doing. It broke my heart to be late and I just messed up the times. God, blessedly, intervened, reserving two front row seats for Mikayla and I and scheduling Bradyen's presentation towards the end.

I have a bit of a bias against people who go on and on about how perfect their teacher, school, activity, coach etc is - everybody's different, nothing and no one is perfect, and we all have our own opinions. That being said, though - I am so impressed with Mr. Deese and the a'mousing' job he did in setting up and teaching such an incredible project that Brayden will remember forever. The kids have been working with mice for the last month or so - and even got to witness the brand new babies of a mouse that was unknowingly pregnant. They've been making charts, mazes, conducting experiments, doing probability - all sorts of learning that they don't even know that they are doing because it is so much fun.

Today, was the culmination of all this work. We watched as these brave mice performers walked a tightrope, swam, ran races, climbed a rope, and navigated mazes. Special presenters (based on the day (out of 3) that your parent would be in attendance) were even able to dress up as clowns. I am especially grateful that I will forever have a photograph of Brayden truly being the "Class Clown" that we know he is.

Kudos to Mr. Deese and his whole first grade class - and of course, to all of the mice too!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

End of Year Field Trip

Today, Mikayla and I accompanied Brayden's first grade class to a nearby arboretium for an end of year field trip. Despite the fact that I was in a particularly squirrely group, it was a good time - mostly because I wasn't responsible for the teaching and entertaining - we had a guide named John who was the pro at that.

We saw our share of Oregon wildlife - the banana slugs, nutria, and even a mommy wild turkey with her baby birds spooked to the tree tops..... I was pleased with Mikayla for keeping up the same pace as the rest of the kids, and it made me realize how much I miss the hikes I used to take when I was single. Perhaps we'll take a family hike to Multnomah Falls when we visit Portland this weekend........

By the way, the last picture is Brayden and his teacher, Mr. Deese - an amazing guy, I couldn't ask for better for our son.

Monday, June 12, 2006

A Couple of Questions XXI

In honor of Father's Day (and with the help of the Woman's Day magazine I read):

1. What is something that you have learned from your father?

2. What is a story or something funny that your father is determined to never let you live down?

Happy Father's Day, Dad - I love you so much - you are the best!!!!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Random Thoughts

- John and I are very much "stuck in ruts" people. We find meals we like and eat them until we are sick of it - usually it takes a couple of months. Same with treats. Right now, I could easily live with these foods: Rainer cherries (oh, I love them, but they are so expensive - I splurged at Costco and after trying one, didn't regret it a bit....), Jordan almonds (almonds are very good at reducing cholesterol.....hence, my justification), and Lisa's baked beans. Really healthy, huh?

- It has been a long time since I have heard John laugh as much as he did this morning. We threw together an impromptu garage sale - and for John, if he gets to conduct it with his best friend, Travis - it's an opportunity to do have a lot of fun. No one leaves our garage without having engaged in a major conversation - For John, the chance to get to know strangers and try to sell things ----- oh, what a treat! Travis even wrote a sign and posted it out front that said, "WIFE SAYS I CAN'T COME IN UNTIL ITS ALL GONE, SLEEPING IN THE GARAGE FOR TWO WEEKS, PLEASE HELP!". The sale only lasted from 7am to 10:30 - because of their generosity and desire to take nothing to the dump or Goodwill, there was basically nothing left at the end. I woke up early and made them a "Man's" breakfast, but then retired back to the bedroom to sleep again - although it was hard as the window did not effectively shut out all of the hearty laughter coming from outside.....

- This week we spent our date night going to the Dollar Theater (we had made arrangements to try a new babysitter, and when the night came, we really didn't know what to do....) We watched "Benchwarmers" - definitely, don't waste the full price money in a theater..... That being said - we did laugh, quite a bit. But, that's not necessarily a recommendation.....

Thursday, June 08, 2006

A Couple of Questions XX

We just said good-bye to a very dear babysitter that has watched our Couples' Bible Study group of 10 kids on numerous occassions. Her name is Mary, and she first babysat for us nine months ago, sight unseen, when we had a scheduled spa day. She was a godsend on that day and has been ever since - She just completed her Masters in Education and is headed to teach kindergarten in inner-city Phoenix. First year teacher, English as a second language, inner city - whew, I don't envy her a bit...... but, if anyone is capable it's Mary - she will be extrememly successful and start those kids off in such an amazing way. We will miss her very much.......

So, in honor of her, here are this week's questions:

1. Did you have a favorite babysitter and if so, what made that person special - or what was the best memory?

2. I'm assuming most of the people that read this are women and have probably babysat on a few occassions in their lifetime - how about the most difficult job you ever took on.....

Monday, June 05, 2006

Copying from Hollie

This came from Hollie's blog - and I loved it! Interesting words from the Ben Stein that is an actor/comedian, speaks in monotone, but not someone we would expect such depth.....

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary, Sunday, 12/18/05.

Herewith at this happy time of year, a few confessions from my beating heart: I have no freaking clue who Nick and Jessica are. I see them on the cover of People and Us constantly when I am buying my dog biscuits and kitty litter. I often ask the checkers at the grocery stores. They never know who Nick and Jessica are either. Who are they? Will it change my life if I know who they are and why they have broken up? Why are they so important?

I don't know who Lindsay Lohan is either, and I do not care at all about Tom Cruise's wife.

Am I going to be called before a Senate committee and asked if I am a subversive? Maybe, but I just have no clue who Nick and Jessica are.

If this is what it means to be no longer young , i t's not so bad.

Next confession:
I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are: Christmas trees.

It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, "Merry Christmas" to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a creche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution, and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship Nick and Jessica and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him?

I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too.

But there are a lot of us who are wondering where Nick and Jessica came from and where the America we knew went to.

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.

Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her "How could God let something like this Happen?" (regarding Katrina)

Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, "I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives.

And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?"

In light of recent events...terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found recently) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK.

Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school . the Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said OK.

Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with "WE REAP WHAT WE SOW."

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell.

Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Boys' Round-Up

Camp Tadmor was teeming with testosterone this weekend as boys and their fathers gathered for the annual Boys' Round-Up weekend. Michael and Traig, Mark and Andrew, and John and Brayden all shared a cabin and many memories of a wonderfully bonding time. Some of the highlights for Brayden: receiving a baseball cap for catching one of the longest fish, catching a salamander at the expense of falling headfirst into the lake, and nearly splattering his daddy with paintball. Good times!!!!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

A Typical Weekend

These pics were taken two weeks ago on the same Sunday morning. This mess is a pretty typical sight to what we wake up to, after not making an effort at all to clean up Saturday night. Fortunately, we elect to go to church 11:25 service on Sunday, so frequently you'll find our family each assigned to a designated post to clean before we leave the house. This way, Mommy has a good attitude for the rest of the day.......