Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Globetrotters for the Boys

John forgot his camera when he went into the Rose Garden so a kind lady took their picture and then sent him a lot of pictures. Bless her soul, now I'll have something to make a scrapbook page out of (in the year 2017 when I finally get around to it!).

Needless to say, the guys had a GREAT time. The Globetrotters ran their classic stunts and pranks - including "getting pantsed", which, of course, Brayden thought was a riot. They were one row higher than those picked to participate on the court, but John felt like he definitley got his money worth in their seating assignments.

John has been told often that he is the kind of person where things happen to him all the time because he just happens to be at the right place at the right time. Through in his very charismatic personality and power of influence, and I would tend to agree that that can often be the case. After the Globetrotters game, just such a thing happened.

Brayden chose to have lunch at the Applebees right across the street from our hotel - right off the freeway at the 217 exit. Prior to the game, John had purchased a Blazers jersey at the Addidas outlet to wear at the Rose Garden. We are not huge Blazers fans, but it seemed to be fitting attire and something Brayden could wear frequently when he plays basketball. While they were eating, the manager came over to John's table and asked if Brayden would like an autograph. John was a bit confused, "why would he want the manager of Lake Oswego's Applebee's autograph?" - However, the confusion was quickly clarified as he pointed over to a nearby table and explained that seated there was Zach Randolph - the very name of the Blazer player Brayden had on the back of his jersey. No way! So, Brayden got his jersey autographed right then and there-

Overall, the boys had a blast - major male bonding!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Has This Ever Happened to You?

As I am writing this - it is the most MISERABLE weather outside - the temperature is around 40 degrees but the rain is coming down mixed with snow at a harsh windy angle. In about 20 minutes I'm going to have to go outside, get into my car and pick Brayden up from Karate (meaning I have to walk across the parking lot twice). I am not looking forward to that AT ALL!

So, today, I went to WinCo - nothing earth-shattering about that.... But, as I walked in, two guys about my age kept taking a look at me. I do not consider myself having the "look" that makes heads turn by any means, so I was a little taken aback as to what had them so curious. As I proceeded through the store, more people kept looking at me - a couple, two women with their children. I really wondered if I had blood running down my face or something, because it did not feel normal the sort of looks I was getting.

Now, a really good post would have me finding out some hillarious discovery, like realizing I had toilet paper trailing from my shoe or something - but I never did figure it out. The best I've come up with is that I was wearing a "champagne" colored tank top that looks a bit close to my skin tone, so maybe those guys were doing a double take to figure out if there was anything underneath my low-cut V-neck sweater - and then, I was just paranoid for the rest of the shopping experience.... Got me....

Anything like that ever happened to you? And, does your story have a funnier ending than mine?

BTW - John is still working on his Globetrotter post - he might be getting a little help tonite so I can just have it down - there's the choleric side of me taking over!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

"Annie" with Mikayla

I think I'll just use the pictures to narrate this - suffice it to say, we had a magnificent time.....

One of my biggest concerns about the whole thing was navigating downtown Portland by myself (with no other adult, I mean). We had reservations about 12 blocks away from Keller Auditorium at Jake's Grill - so I was nervous about where to park there, and then making the timing right to find Keller Auditorium and find parking there. We arrived about 10 minutes before our reservation, so this is a picture taken by a kind person while we were waiting.

This is Mikayla talking to Brayden and Daddy about their experiences while we were waiting. We weren't able to overlap, so I'm thankful we had the foresight to take two vehicles (not to mention the horrifying idea of trying to drive John's brand new vehicle and park it in downtown Portland..... ahhh!)

We got the most amazing deal on our tickets - and to top it off, she threw in a coupon for deals of local restaurants the night of the performance. Here we are in this super nice restaurant and our bill came to $12.85! Talk about a cheap date.... The highlight for me of Jake's Grill were these amazing onion rings - seriously the best I've ever had. We were obviously in "awe" when the plate was brought to us- and despite eating at them for quite a while, we barely made a dent!

It was such a huge relief to finally get into Keller Auditorium and find our seats. I'll admit, I was a bit disappointed as it was further back than I'd hoped, but I knew I still had to count my blessings that we had tickets at all and they definitely could have been much worse.

Mikayla couldn't wait for it to begin - the point in which the orchestra did a medley of the songs prior to the curtain raising was just killing here - "when are we going to see Annie?". I found myself clutching her hand and tearing up right off the bat (my favorite scenes all happen right at the start). Mikayla asked quietly if I thought "Annie" should be on American Idol..... when she started singing. Hee-hee! Her favorite part was the smallest orphan imitating Miss Hannigan during, "It's a Hard Knock Life". Absolutely, the entire program was first class, absolutely captivating!

Mikayla barely kept her eyes open during the final scenes, but thankfully managed to stay awake until getting to the vehicle. Despite her desire for getting ice cream for dessert, sleep won out - and I carried her in to the hotel room and plopped her on the bed - and then snapped this shot. What a wonderful evening!


I've been looking forward to this weekend for a long time. So has John, Brayden, and Mikayla - but for two very different reasons. About 6 months ago, John discovered that the Globetrotters would be coming to Portland. It was at a time when Brayden was showing a lot of interest in basketball so John made a special effort to get good tickets for them both to attend. At the time, I figured, Mikayla and I would have some special, "stay at the hotel" bonding time while they were out - perhaps catch a movie.

However, over New Years I discovered that the "Broadway Across America" version of "Annie" just happened to be occuring on this very same weekend as the "Globetrotters". I was kicking myself at the time for not puting two and two together, and most especially for not calling in for tickets on the first day they were released to the public (as I had wanted to go all along anyway). I had to put my faith in "Craigslist" and pray for the best.

During the snow days of January, I did happen to see a post on Craigslist - and yes, I scored those tickets. Mikayla and I would be attending the evening performance of "Annie" on the same day John and Brayden would be watching the 2:00 pm "Globetrotters" game - what an awesome day for us and our kids...... There's actually been a countdown going on at the house, "3 more days 'til 'Annie/Globetrotters'"...... it's been very special.

I have to say, my anticipation has been in the rafters. I love "Annie" - particularly the music..... The idea of gussying myself up with Mikayla, having a special dinner out with her, and watching her eyes as she takes in the perfromance has had me near tears just thinking about it. In fact, as we curled our hair, I downloaded 3 of my favorite songs from the musical and yes, cried, while Annie sang, "Maybe"....

And, of course, the enthusiasm level of John and Brayden has been way up there too.... I think it is so awesome that the whole family is so excited about two totally different events and not jealous of each's others in the slightest. I'm going to close this particular post now, and then have John type up his experience and I'll type up ours.....

Friday, February 23, 2007

Wonder Pets "Pet" Peeve!

I'm a fan of the Nickelodeon "Wonder Pets" program - it's cute, catchy, and offers some good messages. However, a little pet peeve. Today they rescued an owl, in guess where, the forests of Oregon. But, what do you know, they pronounced Oregon as "Oregone" - and used fireflies to light their way. Have you ever seen fireflies here in Oregone, er I mean Orygun......? Didn't think so - somebody needs to go back to school in their writing department......

Thursday, February 22, 2007

A Couple of Questions LVII

Have you ever determined your personality profile? The Sanquine vs. Phlegmatic sort of stuff? That was addressed at the Womens' Retreat a couple of weeks ago so I thought I'd bring it up now. I'm attaching some basic info about the four personality types as well as a website where you can take a quiz to determine yours - if you are interested. (FYI- You don't need to "sign up" or anything on the website, just supply your email so they can send the results). So, here are the questions, with this concept in mind.......

1. What is your dominant personality match - or are you a pretty even mix?

2. Any surprises or thoughts on this revelation, or any thoughts about how it explains other people in your life?

Here's the web address if you are interested in taking a quiz, I'm sure there are lots of other sites as well:

Here's some basic info I dredged up:

The four personality types

A person who is sanguine is generally optimistic, cheerful, even-tempered, confident, rational, popular, and fun-loving. They can be daydreamy to the point of not accomplishing anything and impulsive, acting on whims in an unpredictable fashion. Sanguines usually have a lot of energy, but have a problem finding a way to direct the energy.

A person who is choleric is a doer and a leader. They have a lot of ambition, energy and drive, and try to instill it in others, but can dominate people of other temperaments, especially phlegmatic types. Many great charismatic, military and political figures were cholerics. On the negative side, they are easily angered or bad tempered.

Often very kind and considerate, melancholics can be highly creative - as in poets and artists - but also can become overly obsessed on the tragedy and cruelty in the world, thus becoming depressed. A melancholy is also often a perfectionist, being very particular about what they want and how they want it in some cases. This often results in being unsatisfied with one's own artistic or creative works, always pointing out to themselves what could and should be improved.

A phlegmatic person is calm and unemotional. While phlegmatics are generally self-content and kind, their shy personality can often inhibit enthusiasm in others and make themselves lazy and resistant to change. They are very consistent, relaxed, and observant, making them good administrators and diplomats. Like the sanguine personality, the phlegmatic has many friends. But the phlegmatic is more reliable and compassionate; these characteristics typically make the phlegmatic a more dependable friend.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Vying for Attention

Bogey was especially cuddly last night at Steph's - much to Mikayla's dismay. When she was ready to fall asleep on my lap, Bogey wouldn't budge. She'd try to coax him away, he'd show an iota of interest and then return to his "post" to prevent her from taking his spot on my lap. Eventually, he moved a bit, she layed down and then he literally crawled over to her to sleep on top of me. It was a funny sight to behold. Clearly, they worked it out, and before we knew it, there was a chorus of snoring from them both.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


I have 7 blogs that I regularly check into in my Bookmarks column. Among those 7 blogs, 4 made it clear in one way or another last week that life wasn't going super easy. The word "sad" was used a number of times. It is the middle of winter, therefore, the frequency of that happening is going to be higher, but it certainly had me thinking.

In addition, our regular format of Bible Study was scrapped today as we decided to focus on prayer requests - one in particular. The story itself sounds like some sort of creepy Lifetime movie, or something Oprah would choose to send reporters into investigate - small town community, man posing to be a something he's not, evil reeking havoc - and the ties to a member in our group being very PERSONAL. Scary stuff. Add that to the other, very concerning prayer requests among the group, and yes, sirree - I have no doubt that there is a lot of need for prayer out there, and a lot of need for encouragment.

I memorized this passage when I was in college - I was always weary in college - always tired, never enough sleep and always too much to do (I often bit off more than I could chew). This passage inspired me tremendously. Also during college, I remember hearing a message about eagles - what majestic creatures they are and why God chose to use them as the examples. Did you know that female eagles pick their "mate" (they mate for life), by dropping sticks for them to retrieve from higher and higher elevations? They are testing their future husbands, seeing if they are worthy - because, when eaglets are learning how to fly, they'll often be coaxed unwillingly from their nest to see if they can fly. Most of the time, it works, but in the event they aren't ready, the male eagle will be called to swoop down to rescue them, just as they practiced with the sticks. Pretty amazing, huh? Sometimes, the testing we go through can seem so hard, sometimes, we're not ready to fly, but I truly believe, God is ready to catch us - and fully able. I hope this week is full of encouragement for you all......

Isaiah 40:26-31
26 Look up into the heavens.
Who created all the stars?
He brings them out like an army, one after another,
calling each by its name.
Because of his great power and incomparable strength,
not a single one is missing.
27 O Jacob, how can you say the Lord does not see your troubles?
O Israel, how can you say God ignores your rights?
28 Have you never heard?
Have you never understood?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of all the earth.
He never grows weak or weary.
No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
29 He gives power to the weak
and strength to the powerless.
30 Even youths will become weak and tired,
and young men will fall in exhaustion.
31 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Amazing Race

I know, I know - a lot of tv references lately - the new shows in the dead of winter definitely help me get through the long nights, particularly when the shows are just plain fun. Among that category of good shows to watch is "Amazing Race". We watched it way back when it first began, and really enjoyed it. Since then, my viewing of it has been hit and miss. I might have good intentions, but miss a few episodes and therefore give up on it. So, this year, I'm dedicated. It's ALL-STARS and I have a certain guilty pleasure in rooting for the infamous Rob and Amber. Yes, they are a bit ruthless, not always nice, I know - but, they are endearing in their own little ways. There are a lot of fun characters to root for this season - it's good viewing this year. Also, I definitley enjoy this show for the exposure to all sorts of different places around the globe - they beauties of places so remote and the revelations of cultures so different from our own. I feel like it's an enjoyable geography lesson each week.

So, any "contest/reality" shows you are tuning into this season? Any early favorites that you are rooting for?

Saturday, February 17, 2007

I Needed This.....

It's a weekend away - we're spoiled for the next two weekends, opportunities that happened to coincide week after week on the big calendar. This week, we're cashing in on a trip to Sunriver that we bid on with Travis and Steph at Camp Harlow's Auction. It was a rough end of the week trying to prepare to leave (waking up at 4:30 on Friday, headache booming and sinuses screaming from a cold) - it made me just want to bag the trip. But, of course, we wouldn't, and the day has been full of blessings - these being a few:

- listening to the birds chirp and watching them flit around a magnificent blue sky
- sitting in a hot tub while frost blanketed the ground
- getting really absorbed into a good book, enough that I'm not really interested in cruising the internet for entertainment
- a day void of rain - a day that reached the mid-sixties, in which I was absolutely temperature comfortable in a tank top and cardigan......a day that promised spring will make it
- planning a birthday present for my Stephie that will end up being a day of indulgence in March and will also include me =)
- going bowling, the six of us, making a strike the first frame and the following 8 having only one number for each frame, either because I fouled (never dealt with that penalty before) or guttered the first or second ball - I did, however, finish strong in the 10th frame with a spare, giving me the chance for one more throw - resulting in a strike. I'm such a silly bowler. We all left agreeing we all need to do this more often!
- having the last minute thought to pack the red "playground ball" which has allowed for wall-ball touraments in the garage perfectly made for wall-ball - and a bonding time with my son learning to play the game with him
- going for a brisk 30-minute walk with Steph, breathing in the pine air, relishing the beauty of this place

With all this said, there's a very good chance of snow tonite, so I may very well be thrown back to winter before I know it. But, God knows, my soul needed today - Thank you!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

"Grey's" on the Rise

I just finished watching Grey's Anatomy. Don't worry, if you are getting online right now and haven't watched it yet, I'm not giving anything away. I just want to publicly say, "I'm impressed". Generally, with a show, as the seasons go on, the quality tends to digress. The reasons why you originally watched it seem to be lost in the "tricks" the show starts using just to keep its viewership. In this show, I find myself, a person who's never even seen the first season, tuning in now more than ever. Last year, there was a lot more focus on things that reminded me of "Desperate Housewives". Now, this season, the focus seems to be dealing with the ramifications.... and deep thoughts about life, and, shall I say, drama done right.

If you aren't a fan of the show, I'm not trying to promote it. I'm just really impressed with it, and how I find myself glued to the storyline with each passing week. Good stuff. This is perhaps the best tv season for my tastes that I've seen in a long time. I find myself quite thankful for east coast viewing privileges and the good ol' DVR.

Family Updates

This post is for those keeping track of the Riley kiddos and family and will serve as an update to past posts I've written.....

1. Mikayla's Night Terrors - We had another one Tuesday night. It was after I brought her home from Steph's, and she woke up disoriented in her bed. So, we know that there's a correlation with Steph's house (ha-ha - just kidding Steph), actually, that it often happens within the first hour of falling asleep. This one didn't last as long. John told me yesterday that there is actually, according to one psychologist, a high rate of improvement if you provide rewards to children for not having the night terrors. Seems a bit unfair, but it seemed to work for the gal John was talking to about it. Apparently, sub-consciously, kids will seek the reward vs. slipping into the night terror..... hmmm, I'll have to see it to believe it, but I guess it couldn't hurt.

2. Brayden's "girlfriend" - Yes, he and Ally are still an "item" - made official by the "contraband candy" that Ally went out of her way to give to him on Tuesday. Sadly, Brayden dropped the ball yesterday in his attempts to give her his gift (also contraband candy). This prompted a "forced by mom and dad" evening phone call to Ally last night by Brayden to assure her that, yes, he did have something for her, but missed giving it to her afterschool. We've got to get it through to that boy that you can't leave a girl wondering......

3. John's vehicle - Yes, it did get sold. Vehicles are such a practical thing for me. I like the color red, so if it is that, has the minimal bells and whistles and fits my family, I'm good to go. It's a much more personal thing for John so driving the right vehicle is like wearing clothes that make him feel good about himself. Don't quite get that, but I definitely understand the clothes analogy, so I choose to go with it and support him. He's the bread-winner of the family and has done an excellent job, and I also understand the vehicle choice is a bit important in his line of work in dealing with dentists who very much value status. So, as he pursues his purchase of another vehicle, sigh..... help me with my patience. I basically told him he's going to have to consult with his "other spouse" (aka, best friend, Travis - Steph's hubby), because I just can't deal with it all.

4. To both sets of Grandparents and Uncle Jeff and Aunt Laura - a big thank you for the very special Valentines Day cards and money/candy that was given. The kids felt very loved by all of your attention!

5. Trampoline and back yard woes - All of the equipment has arrived, we're just awaiting the next free and non-rainy day to commence installation and repair. Those happy dog days of destruction are very limited!!!!!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A Couple of Questions LVI

Happy Valentine's Day!

In light of this holiday in honor of Cupid, I thought I'd make the questions a little thematic....

1. What is your all-time favorite romance book?

2. How about your favorite romantic comedy or romance movie?

Michele, these questions shouldn't stump you too much, so I'm hoping for some comments from you......

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Date with Grandma

When my parents returned from Maui, we all went out to Red Robin and had a nice time catching up. However, somehow, over the course of the evening, Brayden and my mom got into a conversation and Brayden, being the witty little man he is sometimes, insisted that Grandma owed him a date. I'll need to get the fine details of this (it might mean re-editing this post), but it was something funny nonetheless. Grandma doesn't take lightly to challenges, so she worked at coming up with something that would be extra-special to Brayden.

That took them to Glow Golf at a local mall on Sunday afternoon - just him and her. Glow Golf is aptly titled as everything is lit up with that sort of blacklight that makes white look like its, well, glowing. I've never been before, but I'm taking their word for it. Apparently, Mom and Brayden had a blast and came home with two free passes (a great thing as that place isn't exactly cheap), because Brayden made a "hole-in-one" on the final hole twice.....way to make the shot when it counts, buddy! Grandma would like me to report that she also made a hole in on, just not on the last hole.

Thanks Grandma for taking Brayden out on his very special date - it's a memory he will cherish!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Organization Update #5

I'm telling you, this accountability thing is totally working for me. It's been a bit since I've addressed the organization thing, and there's definitely a reason - I haven't done anything! So, knowing I needed to post about it again - I had a "Sunday surge" - I weeded through my closet, Brayden's closet, and our fridge. The general rule of thumb for me was, if it hasn't been used in over a year - it's time to go (and yes, that included certain contents of my fridge!!!! - ahhhh!) I'm well aware that I do not need to buy anymore garlic paste, worcesestire (sp!) sauce, and coconut, those are all ingredients I've bought at the store for certain meal items and didn't bother to check if I already had plenty......

I read through February's Woman's Day magazine today, and they also have some great tips on organization...... Here's a sample pertaining to kitchen organization-

REDUCE DUPLICATION: You need just one or two muffin tins, not five. Do you have four spatulas - and always use the same one? More isn't better.

GET SERIOUS UNDER THE SINK: Toss cleaning products you don't use. Keep one all-purpose cleaner, not 4 different brands.

PITCH THE LOSERS: Get rid of damaged pots, chipped dishes, stained or warped plastic containers and orphan lids, plus dishes and pans that don't fit into your oven or fridge.

ASK, WILL I REALLY USE THIS? Admit it: You won't be using a cotton candy machine or electric knife in this lifetime. (Unless you are Hollie - I know she really did use a cotton candy machine!) Ditto for the Spiderman cake pan you used for your son's seventh birthday (four years ago).

KEEP WHAT YOU LOVE: If you enjoy using Grandma's battered old red mixing boal, keep it and give away the modern, matching set.

CLEAR OUT: Finished? Take your junk pile straight to the trash and move everything you're donating out of the kitchen to deal with at another time.

Good luck everyone on all of your efforts!!!!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Pushy Sarah or Pouty Ahab?

If it weren't for committing several months ago to being a table discussion leader, I would have just bagged it. But, I did make that commitment, and along with it, made my friends promise to accompany me, so last night, we all showed up at Camp Harlow for our church's annual Womens' Retreat.

Right now is "free time" - so Michele and I are hanging with Stephie at her house - chilling, reading, and watching the Duck game. I'm enjoying free time!

Our speaker, Poppy Smith, is primarily addressing our views and attitudes about ourselves, others, and God - and how to transform them into allignment. Today, she shared about specific characters of the Bible and I thought it was pretty good, so I thought I'd list the info here and see if you could relate to any of them.

A character that takes matters into her own hands, impatient, controlling
- filled with frustration at God
- focussed on what SHE wanted
- failed to consider negative consequences (the results of her actions have become the reason for the war and tension we currently see in the Middle East)

A pathetic person filled with self pity and self centered
- focussed and filled with self-pity
- focussed on "life is unfair"
- failed to consider others

He had it all, but still wasn't content
- filled with pride and self-importance
- focussed on what irritated him
- failed to consider all he had

During our discussion time, we were asked: "What Bible character do you relate to most?" I see most of my negative ways most coinciding with Sarah - I love to plan and am guilty of trying to take care of things my own way versus waiting to see what God has in mind. However, if there was a label for MARTHA (Luke 10: 38-42), that is definitely who I would most relate to.

Certainly no pressure, but if you have any opinion or insight on all of this, feel free to share!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Facing the Giants

Gotta give two big thumbs up to this movie. Let me, however, give a disclaimer that we are not talking Oscar-winning acting perfromances here. But, give yourself 15 minutes, and I think you'll find yourself as sucked into the stories of trials, tough decisions, and faith just like we were. We had our kids join us for the last 20 minutes, and that was just about perfect for them to catch on to what was going on and really enjoy it. Lots of tears moments in this movie - so be prepared!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Night Terror

Last night, Mikayla and I headed over to Stephie's house for our weekly viewing of American Idol and Veronica Mars. As is always the case, Mikayla falls asleep before Veronica Mars even starts, so don't worry about the adult content of such a show influencing my daughter..... =) She just thinks it's great to have the special girl time.

About 15 minutes before the end of the show, she started crying. This isn't unusual, she'll often wake up crying- she's had a bit of a sore throat that she's been overly dramatic about, she might need to go potty, bad dream - whatever. However, as I went to hold her and soothe her, trying to wake her up - it got worse and not better. She seemed genuinely paniced and couldn't communicate what was going on. Nothing was calming her either, I had her in a vice grip in my embrace and she just kept wailing, cupping her mouth as one might do if they saw something absolutely startling. I thought maybe she was ready to throw up, no, that didn't seem to be the case. The hardest thing - is that her eyes appeared fixated on something that was absoultely causing her terror - at one point her face took on this expression rival to any horror film's actress and she screamed in horror twice. I had to tell myself at this point, this is what a "night terror" is - and my daughter is experiencing her first.

My nephew, Traig, deals with these quite a bit. I think they've slowed down within the last year, but it was not an unusual thing for him to be found at our house (or me to witness at their's) him walking around the house, completely disoriented, anxious about something that made no sense at all. I don't remember witnessing the horror expressions like I saw in Mikayla, but then again, it's always worse when it's your own child. I do remember the one and only thing that has helped Traig combat this - and helps him "click back into reality" and that is prayer. So, that's what we did with Mikayla.

Actually, we started first with a few Sunday school songs and that helped for a bit, and then the horror seemed to return. Finally, I asked if she wanted to sit between Stephie and I, she agreed, we prayed - and all was well. She woke up and was normal.

If you've ever read any of Peretti's earliest books, THIS PRESENT DARKNESS or PIERCING THE DARKNESS, you gain a perspective of the spiritual war occurring all around us in a whole new light. Of course, this is fiction, so I'm not using this as a manual or anything, but I am so incredibly thankful that as Believers I know that there is a realm of angels ready to protect us. I don't know what causes night terrors, but it was almost as if Mikayla was transfixed and horrified by evil itself. (I'm not exaggerating in that it was AWFUL to behold - I was afraid she was going to have a heart attack her little blood vessels bulging as she's screaming.....) The one thing she did seem to acknowledge in the midst of it was that she had had a bad dream, but seemed to be still experiencing it. When I mentioned monsters right before praying - she agreed to that as well. Scary stuff.

Unfortunately, she had a mini-recurrence last night upon waking up to go to the bathroom. Much shorter, but I caught that look and hand at the mouth again that told me she was "fighting something else". When I tucked her back in bed, she kept talking about, "not picking the pink ones because those are her favorite" (I think we are referring to underwear here, because she stripped them off at the toilet). I held her tight, and she fell back asleep.

I admit, this whole thing has me very shook up. I find myself seeing that distant look in her eyes and comparing it to Brayden during his stroke. I worry that I'll lose her completely, or this will happen constantly. I was informed, yesterday, that fear is mentioned 365 times in the Bible, and I think there's a reason God is constantly telling us, "do not fear". I'm clinging to that today-

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

A Couple of Questions LV

1. If you were told you would receive $100 a month for a year to spend on just one of the following opportunities each month (no switching) - and if you didn't use the money, it would be gone - which option would you choose?
- housekeeping service
- clothes/shoes/accessories shopping for just you
- spa or salon services

2. Is there a song that has been especially instrumental in helping you through a time of trial?

I've got exactly one week to get my weight to the same place or lower than it was at this time last year (annual physical next Tuesday) so wish me (and consequently the rest of my family!) luck over the next 7 days!

Monday, February 05, 2007

I've Just Got to Address This

I wasn't going to talk about this on the blog, but I just can't let it go. Especially when it was front page news today in our local paper. I might end up suprising some of you on my viewpoint, but I'm really hoping my views don't offend anyone.

Lately, the HPV Vaccine has been making the news. For those of you who don't know what it is, a vaccine has been created to prevent one of the most common STD's, HPV or Human Papillomavirus. Otherwise knows as (ick!) genital warts. The vaccine is not effective against all strains, however it is said to prevent 70% of cervical cancer cases, as cervical cancer is almost always caused by HPV. Recently, Texas has signed a bill to make the vaccine mandatory (you may opt out for religous or philosiphical reasons) for middle school girls. The idea there is that in order for the vaccine to be most effective, it must be administered prior to sexual activity. I'm not going to address this mandatory issue - personally, I do believe the whole thing should be a parent's choice. What I am going to address is the conservative (Christian) groups have "group-opposed" the whole idea of the vaccine. According to today's paper, some of them suggest that by giving your daughter this vaccine, you are opposing abstinence and promoting promiscuity.

I had the opportunity to teach health education when I was a middle school teacher, with about a month or so dedicated to sex education. One of the most profound things I think I ever had the opportunity to impart upon students was the story that I was able to share with those students about a friend of mine who went through an awful experience with this very STD. She had made the choice to stay "pure" until marriage, but when the time came for God to reveal the man she wanted to spend the rest of her life with, it was revealed, that, much to his regret, he hadn't made that same choice. Of course, that didn't prevent them from getting married, and life was good. However, a year into their marriage, she discovered an abnormal growth and went to her doctor about it. Sure enough, HPV was the diagnosis. You see, with this disease, it can lie dormant for years - and is rarely ever detectable on a man. She, sadly, had to pay the price for his choices - and, according to her, the treatment was gory and disgusting. While she's never, to this day, had an abnormal pap smear, she lives with the knowledge that it could again rear its ugly head at any time, it's never cured. The kids that I shared this story with were hit hard - I think the girls were disgusted with the revelation of what's needed to treat this thing, and the boys were effected with the idea that they could give such an awful "gift" to their precious brides without even knowing it.

Some numbers for thought - of the 26 most common STD's, women deal with the consequences of all 26 of them. Men deal with the consequences of only 3 of them - but obviously they are carriers to all of them. Here's another thought, based on a sampling of 7 friends of mine within a certain social group - all what I would consider "conservative Christians". Of those 7 women, I believe all but one waited for sex until marriage. Of their 7 husbands, all but perhaps 1 of them DID have sex before marriage. I don't think these statistics are that off base. So, here's my point - even if a girl does everything within her control to remain "pure", what will she be walking into when she gets married? And, let's face it, the hopeful idea of saving for equally pure mates - while I think that's admirable, I'm just not so sure in this day and age it's that reasonable to consider -especially in light of the rise of "oral encounters" (that girls often partake in with the assumption that they won't get pregnant and this still ensures their virginity) that spread this STD just as much as the "conventional methods" - I think it's time to be honest with ourselves.

For anyone who's ever had an abnormal pap smear - I think that's the last thing you'd ever want to have your daughter go through. And, I'm sure the same can be said for this nasty virus itself.

So, am I saying that we should all take our daughters in at the age of 12 and get these shots? Not necessarily. Honestly, it creeps me out to consider doing that with Mikayla. Way too much reality to think about right now. Also, there are a lot of people out there who have very legitimate concerns with vaccines in general. I totally get that.

What I am saying, is that I don't think it's right that a certain group of people have the right to make me as a Christian, moral, conservative parent feel guilty if I were to choose this option for my daughter. I hope the man she marries is the man of her dreams and brings nothing into their marriage that could ever harm her. I hope that she never gets caught up in the heat of the moment to sacrifice serious decisions and commitments she's made for her own life. I hope the man that she marries is the only husband she'll ever have, and won't ever have to have worries again if she were to lose her first husband and be "on the market agian". I hope she'll never be assaulted or forced to do something against her will. Yes, I hope and PRAY for all of these things. But, we're any of these to actually occur, I hope that the reason that she would NOT be protected would not be a result of MY pride, or my lack of belief in her that if if she were to have this vaccine she would automatically be promiscuous.

HEAVY thoughts, huh? I'm glad I got them off of my chest, though. Hopefully all of my references to these "intimate acts" didn't make you squeemish - and hopefully won't get me red-flagged for illicit comments!

MRI Update

It occurred to me that I've never shared the follow-up news from Mikayla's MRI. That demostrates the results were off of my worry-radar.... I didn't expect them to be negative, and I was right.

The doctor called last week and said that her cheeks are more symetrical in shape and size and that the mass appears to be proportionately smaller. The radiologist's findings are due for further review by the folks up at OHSU, but we're not expecting any bad news there either. The doctor ended the conversation by saying that he considered the results to be very reassuring - Amen!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Caught in the Act

A couple of months ago, these pictures could have brought tears to my eyes. Depending on my mood at the time, the sight of the destruction of something we've enjoyed so much could have easily put me over the edge.....but, now I have hope..... more on that in a bit-

Following the insurance settlement from the automobile accident I was in, John and I agreed that I could use a bit of the money to buy myself a present I've wanted ever since I was a small child. We researched and studied up - and by the end of June put together a trampoline we felt was safe for our whole family to play on. We even put together a contract for Brayden and Mikayla's friends to sign and agree to so that we could ensure safe play by all. The thing was a hit - for everyone. I loved it so much that I was willing to demonstrate just how much incontinence has taken over after two children, and risk the consequences of more pain in my neck from jarring myself unnecessarily.

We worried a bit about the dogs getting to it - I remember making some serious (albeit idle) threats in the events of "what if" - but there was little I could really do other than hope that Sydney and her various doggy playmates that frequently visit wouldn't destroy. But, destroy they did. It started small, little bits of foam from the enclosure poles, then a bit of the enclosure net itself. All the dogs shared blame. Koda taught Sydney that she was capable of jumping onto the trampoline (once that window got torn down to let them in), and if a piece of netting got low enough to the ground - Bogey loved to play tug of war with it. The ultimate destruction was a team effort. Little by little they took care of most of the foam surrounding the poles, the entire circular pad that protects a jumper from the springs (and holes in between them) and half of the enclosure netting. In addition, I've had to pay the kids several times to clean up the debris all over the yard from where the dogs have strewn it - I just haven't had the heart to clean it up myself. It just reminds me of the total ugliness my once beautiful backyard has become, full of dug up holes and yellow or dead patches from Sydney's toxic urine. Woes me....

The biggest struggle to this whole thing is thinking: if we replace this stuff, what's to prevent them from doing it all over again? Sydney loves to sun herself on the trampoline, why not, it's black, warm, comfy.....I don't see that being a willing thing for her to suddenly decide to change her behavior on. Furthermore, when we try to get her off, she thinks it's a fun game of chase. There's always the shock collar, but that would require me watching her all day to train her - and then having to start over with each new dog that visits - some of which don't even have those kind of collars.

Then, Dad came over, and as he was looking outside at the mess, suggested another option. What if we put one of those in-ground "fences" in, but instead of keeping dogs in, it would keep them out - or away - not only from the trampoline, but the grass and swingset/fort as well. We could put pea gravel underneath the trampoline (another problem, the grass is totally dead underneath, so it's one giant mudbath for the dogs to play in), reseed and re-border the reduced size yard, and ensure the kids could play in the sand pile or on the swings without the dogs messing with them. WOW!!!! Not only that, but according to Dad, once a dog is trained with one of the collars that goes with this, they won't revert, so on days Syd has company, we just put the collars on those dogs. It will still leave the area under the evergreens and the side of the house to run and play in, but will keep the rest of the yard "dog-free" and "kid-friendly". I can't tell you how happy this thought has made me, really there was a part of me mourning over the state of our outdoor space and what to do with it. This could really work! And, as an added bonus, because Mom and Dad have the same kind of system, anytime Sydney goes to their house, she's enclosed in their yard too - a big problem solved as her and Mackie do love to play together, and Mom and Dad's house is where she'd go most when we end up out of town. (Plus, we could run the "shock wire" all the way up to the corner of the fence and protect future break-outs from Mackie next time he comes for a visit)

So, after all of this rambling, I can now tell you that at the time I took these pictures, I was actually smiling - even laughing (ask Lisa, I was on the phone with her at the time). For, I knew the time for these dogs wreaking havoc on MY TOY was limited. The new trampoline parts have been ordered, the system is set to be installed next weekend - and then..... hee-hee.... these dogs will be in for a SHOCK if they think they can destroy my stuff anymore, a shock indeed, quite literally!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Up Close and Personal

Dad came over yesterday and downloaded his pictures on my computer - so I thought I'd share a few of the really cool shots of the whales. He was disappointed in his camera quality as the pictures didn't snap fast enough to capture the shot he wanted, but I think we get the idea nonetheless. Pretty awesome.....
Dad said he thought the fin was about 12 feet across
This one shows part of the boat, so it gives a little more perspective
These folks aren't my parents - they are their friends- the folks at the far right owned the boat - I thought it made for a good picture to capture the feel of the day
This is what Mom and Dad left behind (and Chele and I's home growing up) when they went to Maui - Michele, they apparently weren't exagerating! I guess they still have a few spots of snow that still hasn't melted.....

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Organization Update #4

First of all, kudos to Stephietoo who took her organization talents to her sister and has been organization crazy in her home. you're an inspiration.....

Second of all, I'm supposed to ask, Lisa, how are you doing with Adam's room?

Hollie, how's the year's goal going in general?

OK, on to the update. It was a slow start to the week - I managed to clean up Miikayla's hair stuff (there's a lot of it...) a bit, and took care of Brayden's video games. Then, I got motivated yesterday and really went through Mikayla's closet and cupboard - Mikayla has the benefit of being the smallest among her friends, so she is the recipient of multiple hand me downs. Combine that with the fact that Mikayla has been a slow grower and I tend to buy big - and her closet was, shall we say....embarassing. So, I took out at least a third (perhaps half) of the stuff that never gets worn or has finally been outgrown - and, whew, much more managable. A big achievement for me.

While waiting 40 MINUTES in a practically empty office for Brayden's "quick follow-up" eye appt. (5 minutes longer and I was prepared to make a scene.....) I read throug February's BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS - They had some fantastic organization ideas - particularly linen closests and such. It might be worth picking up.