Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A Tale of Two Perspectives

What follows are pictures taken Saturday night at my house when it was just "us girls" (minus the presence of 4 year old's Adam and Jackson). Amy, Lisa, Michele and I all slumber partied at my house with our kids while the guys were at Boys' Round-Up. On Saturday, prior to taking a field trip to the pool, we played drill sargeants (Michele and I are especially good at this) and mandated that the kids pick up their messes so that the house looked pretty darn clean before we left. These pictures were taken about 3 hours after we returned..... how quickly things can change-

I was thinking about these pictures while laying in bed Saturday night and I thought about how two different people could come to two totally different conclusions about what the mess represented. Here's what I came up with:

-"How fantastic, look at the beauty and creativity of those pictures"
-"Think how much imagination was expended in pretending and make-believe"
-"What a special opportuniy for five little girls to play together, not argue or fight, and simply be children - Marvelous!"


-"Do these kids have an ounce of respect? Did we not just clean this all up three hours ago?"
-"Nobody (addressed to adults) touch this mess, this will be a great learning experience for the kids when they get to clean this all up first thing in the morning"
-"I guess they'll be learning a lesson when all of their wonderful works of art will be "recycled", because they decided to leave them all out"

Any guesses as to which "Mom" I relate to most? If you said the first mom, you clearly haven't been reading my blog that long. Now, that is not to say I can't "appreciate" the first mom's perspective. Maybe, perhaps, even wish I was her. However, that is not me - and while I won't go as far as to say I'm as extreme as the second mom - thoughts such as those certainly roam my mind when exposed to messes of such a grand scale (particularly after just cleaning).

Lisa and my friend Nancy were chatting and Nancy admitting to being physically and emotionally uneasy when her house is out of order. I found myself nodding vehemently and wanting to shout, "Amen". Ranging from slightly, "off kilter" to "on the edge" my emotions are truly affected by the order of my home. If it is clean - and we're leaving for the day, there is a majestic sense of peace and happiness I have that it is remaining that way and will greet me in that state when I return. When it is dirty, I simply try to compartmentalize (and sometimes avoid coming home for a while).......

Any insights from the rest of you?

Monday, July 30, 2007

High School Musical on Stage

For obvious (already described) reasons, when I saw that the Hult Center had a showing of "High School Musical on Stage" we purchased tickets. After the fact, I kind of wished I'd thought through the whole thing as I then would have realized that it was a cast of relatively young actors and a bit of a disappointment compared to the real Disney show. However, the kids didn't seem to mind and it was a great way to support the local arts and expose Brayden in particular to the idea of something he could do in the future......
Outside of the Hult Center
Future Performers....

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Boys' Round-Up 2007

Location: Camp Tadmor, outside of Lebanon, Oregon
Attendees: Michael & Traig, Mark & Andrew, John & Brayden and hundreds of other father/son combinations
End of Experience Evaluation: The best camp ever, "I can't wait for next year!"

Indeed, many changes were made from the two previous years that shifted the focus from speaking time to experience time. Apparently, four college age students got together and brainstormed for a weekend to determine what would best minister to a bunch of boys and their dads. God blessed their efforts because it was an incredible weekend indeed....... Here's pictures that John took while he was there with some descriptions of what was happening:

Free time in the game room - I love this game....

Fishing with his brand new pole - John has unbelievable fortune in scoring free things or the "best experiences" - this is another one of those scenarios. My boys had forgotten their fishing poles so the first night, it was announced, "first two boys without a fishing pole to get to the stage get a free one" - Brayden raced down and scored the #2 pole. That's my boy!

This is a pic taken on the flatbed of a truck on the way out to the wilderness Saturday morning - it was a long ride, but the kids LOVED it

Once they reached their destination, the boys were blindfolded and led by their fathers on a "faith walk". This is a picture of Michael and Traig.

This is the view that they were met with when they reached the top- looking out over Green Peter Reservoir - awe-inspiring

My boys.....After the boys were blindfolded, it was the dads' turn to be blindfolded, they were guided down quite a narrow path to reach the highest point at Tadmor. John realized that communication was absolutely essential, and Brayden trusted John more than John trusted Brayden.......

This is the guys teaming together at a ropes course, you can see Mark at the left having helped Brayden and Michael and Traig to the far right

Getting ready to go home - the boys wished they could ride that way the whole way........

I'm so glad they were able to report an amazing time. They also made walking sticks, did carving and branding on them, as well as swam, the shooting range and other fun, outdoorsy things. The experiences spoke so much louder than words-

Saturday, July 28, 2007

A Sample of Our Last Week

As previously posted, last week was a very busy one. Michele and I were commenting today that we can't believe it's just been a week since the party we attended last Saturday, we've done so much it feels like it's been several weeks. I guess that's a good sign of having a very memorable time together. Lots of pictures in this post - I'll begin with the Fairy Tale Dance Camp Recital:

Princess Ellison
Princess Erica
Princess Natalia
Princess Christina (looking like she's just been crowned)
Proud Grandpa and Grandma!

Next up, a shot of the boys after Sports O Rama Camp - they had a blast playing kickball, water polo, Dodgeball, Capture the Flag, Hockey - Brayden right away requested that he could do it again next year-

After we picked up the boys (after watching the recital), we celebrated the week's end at Dairy Queen:

And, finally, a few pics of adventures at the swimming pool - too cute.....

Despite the craziness, it really has been a great week. I think the next post will include lots of fun pics of John/Brayden, Michael/Traig and Mark/Andrew at Boys' Round-Up. John's sent me a few pics via his cell phone and they are having a blast.....

Friday, July 27, 2007

Belloti's Babes Year #2

The guy that took this pic is a professional photographer.... it really shows, huh!!! Thanks a lot dude!

Tonite, we attended another UO Womens' Football Clinic. This time there were a dozen of us, we've grown in numbers. It did the trick in attracting attention, as our very own ringleader, Christy, just appeared on KVAL news having been interviewed tonite. To further brag on her, she, along with Amy, also earned free admission to next year's clinic by kicking "ideal" field goals in one of the rotation stations. Very impressive.

Here's the group picture of us, minus Belotti

Now, you might notice that the above picture includes Stephie, but the pic with Belotti taken at the end of the evening does not have her in it. There is a reason for that. You see, Stephie was given a special mission by Belotti to conduct a test to see how ready and capable the trainers are. You have to make sure they are football ready, you know.... So, Mike [Belloti] pulled Steph aside when she arrived and asked her to trip on the very first drill and hit her shoulder. She actually did it a little too convincing, though, and ended up really injured. Poor thing. I think she deserves free season tickets...... So, the following are pics of Steph getting special treatment from two trainers and Mike Belotti for a shoulder injury that ended up having her go home early. Hope you feel better Stephie!

He's privately saying, "Mission accomplished, Steph, the trainers did a great job with you!"

Thursday, July 26, 2007

A Couple of Questions 77

I'm pleased to report that the week has gotten MUCH better- Michele and I have kind of smoothed into an efficient pattern of herding all 5 kids- driving to camps and backs, hauling them to the pool, trays of semi-nutritious food for dinner, sending them out to the trampoline/sand to play, and corraling them into showers, toothbrushing and bedtime. Today, we're going to mix it up a bit and take them to see "Meet the Robinsons" at the $1 Theater. We'll be out on the boat tonite, so we thought we could all afford a little "down time". I honestly don't know where the kids get all of the energy to play as hard as they do, but on the other hand, this morning I definitely see it taking its toll from some cranky-risers......

If you could "magically transport" to anywhere in the world.......(be specific)

1. Where would you go to experience "happiness" (could be with other people)?

2. Where would you go to have a time of solitude/reflection?

Have a great rest of the week!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Mom My Ride

I just watched this on Solace Girl's blog. It will crack you up so much! Check it out- http://solacegirl.blogspot.com/

Monday, July 23, 2007

Jam, Drama, and Birthday Cake

I just added a little post-script to that party post a few days ago. I was waiting for the pic to be emailed from Michael. There was a little color to my cheeks, we'll just say that.

Today was a tough day for me. Things didn't go like I had planned, and when I am in the height of PMS, I'm not a fan of things not going right (not that I'm a fan of it normally).

The day began by shipping all of the kids to camp - that went very smooth, until I got a call from Amy (who had the drop off shift with our boys) that they were quite disturbed by the lack of boys in their "Grease Academy" and disturbed by the mandatory jazz shoes that had to be worn. Oh, and Brayden lost a contact.....
The girls - HAPPY, at their camp

Alright, whatever, the boys could stick it out, it would be fine - on to my friend Kristin's house to make some jam. I had thoroughly reached a point of irriation on Sunday afternoon trying to acquire the necessary ingredients for 5 people to make jam, so I had an attitude about the whole thing going into it. However, the company was wonderful, so there was a certain guarantee for a good time - despite the moldy raspberries, lids not sealing, and jam not firming - (by tonite, the jam seemed like it had actually worked out). Things were slowly unraveling for the day, and my blood pressure was escalating in proportion.Doesn't Kristin have the most amazing kitchen?

Next came the phone call from Michele, who had the pick-up shift for the boys and was 15 minutes west of where she should have been because she'd gone the wrong way. It was a fun little blame game between the two of us for a few minutes - real nice.

Amy ended up picking up Andrew and Brayden, while Michele picked up Traig - and came back reporting that Andrew had been in tears when she picked them up - both boys were very disappointed and unhappy with the camp. This is further complicated by the fact that we had already purchased tickets for all three of our families to watch them do their performance on Thursday, adding up to a considerable chunk of change that would have all been lost were they not to continue. Throw in some mixed messages from Andrew stemming from not wanting to disappoint his parents by bagging out of the camp. HEADACHE. Long story short, we were able to get a refund for the "Grease" tickets and for the rest of the week Brayden and Andrew will be in the same camp as Traig. The transfer was not easy, and nearly pushed me over the edge.

Funny how it's the little things that take you down when you are dealing with "that time of the month". On an errand that I felt the need to just get away and do myself I recognized that pretty much the only thing I could control today was my attitude and responses to circumstances and people - and if I wanted to win the battle for the day, I needed to conquer at least that. It wasn't easy.

Fortunately, by the time we arrived at Adam's birthday party at Roaring Rapids Pizza, my attitude had turned around considerably. It wasn't my event to take care of, so that helped a lot. Plus, canadian bacon/pineapple pizza and cake can really help. It was sweet watching Adam so enamored by everything CARS related - a truly great turnaround for an otherwise irritating day.
This picture is really special to us - taken at the pizza parlor in the chair we got for him - Adam is "reading" to the rest of the kids from his CARS Search Book......

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Not Exactly What We Had in Mind....

....But we made the best of it-

The intention for today was to celebrate our birthday on the lake with Mom and Dad, Travis and Stephie - and our family as well as the Schillings. But, at about 9 am, the weather wasn't looking so promising and Mom was dealing with some sort of nasty flu-bug, so for her, the boat trip was definitely a no-go.

So, we came up with a Plan B. We all went to see "Transformers". I know, doesn't sound quite like the chick-flick you'd expect "the twins" to pick out, but don't knock it 'til you watch it - it's actually a VERY FUN movie (outside of a little language and "references" that we pray flew right over the heads of our boys). The positive side of a movie - it's always a fun diversion for a couple of hours, a no-brainer in terms of entertaining the kids, and one of my favorite eating venues. (Popcorn and candy from a movie theater - ahhhhh, the bliss of it!)

KFC also had to be on the docket for our birthday, so that's what we just finished, all lounging in the living room (except for my dad who went home after the movie) while "Pimp My Ride" is on the television (a special request from Traig - clearly, NOT my choice, but that's really okay - the rest of the group can only tolerate "High School Musical" so many times).

Overall, not a bad way to spend our birthday. As the weather cleared and temps inched toward 90 this afternoon it was hard not to wonder if we shouldn't have been on the boat, but I gotta say, right now, while lounging, it's nice to not deal with all of the extra work that would have entailed.

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend - We're looking forward to a crazy week with 4 extra people in the house as Michele's girls are in a "Fairy Tale Dance Camp" with Mikayla and Traig is at UO Sports Camp while Brayden (and his buddy, Andrew) head off to "Grease Academy" where they'll learn some songs and moves to perform in the Entre'Act at the "Grease" Musical being performed this weekend. Then, this weekend, both boys and dads will take off for "Boys Round-Up". You know what all this means? Get set for a lot of "kids' scrapbook style" posts. =)

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Providing a Reason to Celebrate

Last summer, our friends, Randy and Nancy had a party at their beautiful home to thank everyone for helping them move. It was such a great summer evening party that both Michele and I tried to figure out how we could get Nancy and Randy to repeat it. Since they weren't planning on moving, we used our birthday as an excuse, hence this evening a bunch of well-clad beautiful people got together and had a terrific evening celebrating summer, and just a little bit, Michele and I's birthday (we turn 35 tomorrow).

Pete and Hollie were surprise special guests which made the evening that much more festive and fun. They both look great- what smiles and laughter they share with everyone they are around!

The evening was just as memorable and special as we had hoped, thanks Mom, for having us at the time of year that you did so we could use our birthday as an excuse to celebrate and party.

From left to right: Michele, Stephie, Lisa, Christy, Hollie, me, and Amy

More beautiful ladies: Nancy (the hostess with the mostest), Christy, Denise, Teresa, and Kris

Dear friends, Hollie and Lisa

Michele, looking very hot tonight, with her hubby, Michael

The guys, in an attempt to thoroughly embarass us, brought out identical presents for the "ideal date night" - gift certificates to Olive Garden, Regal Cinemas, and a little "something special" from Victoria's Secret. Certainly, it brought a blush to our faces, and money to my wallet when it all got returned today! (just the last gift....)

The "twins"

Friday, July 20, 2007

Working for Grandpa

Last night my dad called me and asked if he could take either of his two grandsons to work for him. Unfortunately, Brayden's soccer team has been at a soccer camp with the UO Women Soccer team and Traig was camping with his parents. Sorry, Dad, we don't have any boys for you - but, hey, Mikayla will be around.......and hey, she might stay on task longer than Brayden. (That's no slam on my son, just a certain personality contrast between the two of them). Dad replied that that might just work. I then talked to Mikayla and she was giddy at the idea- so it was set. Grandpa would be picking up his little helper at 7:30 am, have a lunch packed for her and he'd have her home by 2.

The job he had in mind was simply holding the tape measure so he could do distance calculations on the property where he's been asked to build his next house. If he didn't have a helper, he'd have had to nail the tape measure down to do it himself. So, clearly, he wasn't needing a rocket scientist, just someone willing to go the distance (or measure the distance, hee-hee!).

Fast forward to tonight - when Stephie arrived Mikayla proudly proclaimed, "Stephie, do you care that Grandpa and I are building a house?" Clearly, she feels a little more important than a tape measure holder!

Earlier this afternoon, after Dad dropped her off, they were both smiling, so I figured it went well. He handed her ten bucks and she literally snatched it out of his hands. Then he had a little talk with her about why she got the money - it was very cute.

A few minutes later he called me to tell me a few more details. He said that after about a half hour of work she was asking when lunch was and proceeded to ask at least every half hour after that. (That's no surprise - Mikayla is a huge grazer, can't imagine where she gets that). He also said that towards the end as she was starting to get bored, she began to pull all of the tape measures off of his belt. When she got to the biggest one, she said, "Grandpa, it's my turn to be the boss, you hold the tape measure now!" What a hoot. She also made it clear that the reason she was bored was because "Grandpa kept making mistakes". (Apparently, Dad had told Mom when she came by for lunch that he had made some mistakes and she latched on to that).

Of course, Brayden had a bit to say that she got to go to work and he didn't, so I assured him that there are two very big house projects coming up and I'm sure there will be opportunities a plenty for him to do some odd jobs (as well as the other grandkids). But, secretly, I gotta say I'm kind of tickled he got his granddaughter this time - just like the old days with his daughters doing work with him. Very cool.......

Two Cups of Coffee

I just got this email today. I've heard much of the "illustration" before, but never the last part. Hope you enjoy it, friends!!!

When things in your lives seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours
in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 cups of

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in
front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large
and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He
then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.
The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the
jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas
between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was
full. They agreed it was.

Next the professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar.
Of course, the sand trickled down and filled up everything else. He
asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a
unanimous 'yes'.

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and
poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty
spaces between the sand. The students laughed.
'Now', said the professor as the laughter subsided, 'I want you to
recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the
important things --- your family, your children, your health, your
friends, and your favorite passions -- and if everything else was lost
and only they remained, your life would still be full.
The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house
and your car.

The sand is everything else -- the small stuff. If you put the sand into
the jar first, he continued, 'there is no room for the pebbles or the
golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and
energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that
are important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play
with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse
out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the
garage and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first -- the
things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.'

One student raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented.
The professor smiled. 'I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that
no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple
of cups of coffee with a friend.'

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A Couple of Questions 76

Wow, guys - thanks for the support on HSM - Heather and Colie - definitely rent it or catch it this weekend on the Disney Channel (they're repalying it for the upteenth time). We'll certainly have a forum on the 18th of what we thought of the sequel.....

Not so sure I'm liking the rain. When did I turn into such a blue skies person? I used to like the change of pace of rain - hopefully I'll be better about it come Sept./Oct. I'm feeling kind of cheated right now, but glad at least I'm not having to water my plants......

OK, on to questions-

1. What is the strangest thing someone would find in your car right now?

2. What song best epitomizes your life right now?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

"I've Got a Confession, It's My Secret Obsession......"


And, if you recognize the lyrics listed above, perhaps you can't either.

Yes, I'll admit it - I LOVE HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL!!!

I love the message, the songs, the characters, the actors, the cozy feel to the whole movie.

I stop everything and shush the kids when another interview, music video, or "behind the scenes clip" comes on the Disney Channel to describe the upcoming High School Musical 2. I, gulp, can't believe I am admitting this, have even looked up "Zanessa" on Google to see if the two main characters are indeed dating in real life (they are just so cute!).

So, come the evening of August 17th - don't call me. I'll be glued to the tv - with my kiddos who are just as obsessed as me - to the sequel of truly one of my favorite all-time movies (am I shallow, or what). It will be a grand evening, indeed!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The 5 "T's" of Boating

We just returned from our first boat outing of the year. We made plans in the spring to spend the night at a cottage at Loon Lake (near Reedsport) with the Whites. Loon Lake is one of the few sandy-shore fresh water lakes in Oregon, so we set off with high hopes of glassy water and sunny skies. Instead, we were greeted with choppy water and overcast skies within an hour of getting on the lake. Oh well, we still had Brayden and Mikayla both "laying" on the knee board, Stephie out on the intertube with the kids, and myself trying the wakeboard (for the second time in my life) and being so out of control that I was actually doing a few tricks without trying.....obviously, that didn't last long. It is one slippery thing to try to master.

We petered out quick on the lake and were eager to get into the cute little cottage across the street. We went on to the lodge and got our key, as well as some snacks - and headed back, only to open the door and find "somebody's been sleeping in my bed". It wasn't Goldilocks either - apparently, they had given another family our cottage that was supposed to have a smaller cabin. Not a big deal if other places were available, but they only had 3 cottages and with two families, a two bedroom location was a necessity. So, we got to hang out at the lodge parking lot for an hour (watching a Wonder Woman DVD - let's just say that special effects and acting in general have come a long way......). If we were irritated, you can only imagine how that family that got "evicted" felt. How awful!

Can't say we were super impressed with the place once we finally moved in - it was TINY, but clean, a little awkward in that we had to walk through the room that had the Whites to use the bathroom or even get to the living room or kitchen from our bedroom. (Apparently, there was no space for a hallway).

This morning we awoke to more overcast skies, and by the time we turned our key in - drizzle. Well, ok, then - time to find another lake- we ended up at Cottage Grove Lake - in the sunshine (for the most part) and had a delightful day. Pictures to come, when I am not too lazy to get up and unload the camera.

good times with Mikayla

Mikayla using the "knee board" - don't think she's quite caught the concept, but, hey, whatever works

Brayden, oh so close, to getting up.....

Note the amount of water that came into Brayden's side of the intertube - they "caught a wave" literally......

Driving with Daddy.....

As for the title of this post - I've devised our 5 "T's" for choosing a place to take our boat. (This is for you, Pete and Hollie, if you ever get that boat). With so many lakes in our area, here's how we've been able to evaluate where our favorite places are:

TIME - The amount of time it takes to get to a place. This will be at least 30 minutes and up to an hour and 15 minutes. This is one of Hills Creek Reservoirs striking points.

TEMPERATURE - I am a huge woose about being cold - even with a wetsuit. Both lakes today had awesome water temperature, but the closest lake to us, Dexter is freezing........

TURBULANCE - The general "quality of water" - (glass or not) that a lake has. Suttle Lake will always be axed for this reason, way too windy.

TERRAIN - I'm also very picky about how pretty a lake is (or not). I think Fall Creek Lake is beautiful, but can't stand Fern Ridge - I need a pretty forest-like setting.

TRAFFIC - How many people are using the lake. This is the main reason Fall Creek Lake gets axed, it's got the other four T's, and everyone else thinks so too. This is also based on how big the lake is, as to how many people it can handle. Triangle Lake is so small you can all only go one direction.

Hasn't this been informative? All the stuff you never needed to know, but I spent way too much time trying to find synonyms that begin with a "T", not to write it down!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Jordan Kent and the Boys

First of all, thank you everyone for your awesome comments and interaction on that last post. Very fun! I feel like I got to know each of you a little bit better, and some of you in ways I didn't even need to know about!

On Thursday, Brayden got another opportunity to hang with Jordan Kent (see similar post last August). One of Brayden's best buddies, Andrew, got to have Jordan Kent as his special guest of honor for his putt-putt birthday party (his parents won the opportunity at the Young Life Auction).

I can't praise Jordan Kent enough - what a fine young man! He's now officially an NFL player, #82 for the Seattle Seahawks, so it was quite a feat to get him to set aside some time for a bunch of rambuxious boys. But, he did, with a constant smile on his face, and a willingness to sign everything the kids put before him, including the back of their shirts.

It was sweet to watch, and perhaps these pictures will be worth money if he ever makes it super big! Go Jordan Kent!