Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Trick or Treat!

Today was a really wonderful day. After watching the annual dress-up "Today Show" - and totally smiling - and then working out while watching "Regis and Kelly" dress up as Troy and Sharpay from High School Musical - it was a very fun morning. I then dinked around a bit, taking advantage of two great coupons in two different bookstores, while having Michele periodically call me to have me listen to the Christmas music being played on the FISH radio station for the day in her neck of the woods. So cozy. Just as I'd hoped, I was able to take it all in.

I will admit, the blood pressure did a little peaking around 5pm, that time right before any event that I end up hosting where, no matter how much preparation and pre-planning, I'm still not quite ready enough, and neither are the kids. Throw in a few phone calls and early arrivals, and I find myself thinking, "how could I avoid this next year?". But, it still all worked out. And, I don't think any amount of pre-preparation is going to solve the problem of keeping the kids still to take a picture when all their friends are gathered around and they are itching to collect the candy from every neighbor within a mile's radius!

I love our little block of streets because it is often ignored on Halloween. There are a few upscale neighborhoods nearby that are the "automatic choices" for kids/parents so people generally avoid this area. That makes for a wonderful time for our little party to cruise the streets at our own pace and not worry about cars or crowds.

This year, I think we all agreed that Adam stole the show. He definitely embraced his cowboy costume and was loving the trick-or-treating experience - so fun to watch. Brayden and Jackson as boxer and mini-boxer were pretty cute as well.

Back at the house, we engaged the kids in a little Halloween Twister (you'd think they'd be exhausted for as much as they'd walked, but apparently that sugar rush brought on a second wind......). The last picture shows Amy in a mask ready to freak Adam and the girls out. She decided it might not end well and took off the mask before he saw her, but I thought it was a cool picture, nonetheless..........

Hope you all had an evening of fun memories and more treats than tricks!!!!


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Am I Happy Enough?

I just read Jodi's blog, so it's funny that this would end up being the title of mine.

It used to be that my all time favorite day/time of the year was either Christmas Day or my birthday. Those days were the pinacles of all happiness - promising festivities and merriment of utmost delight. However, as time has gone on, my favorite days to anticipate have shifted backward in the calendar year. This is, of course, because I now realize that my happiest times are in expectation of those "peak" days. Perhaps Thanksgiving - with the Macy's Day parade, family time, "great shopping day" and a month of excitement in celebration of Christmas.

However, now, one of the days I most look forward to is Halloween. It is the "kick-off" holiday, at the height of my favorite season of the year. Autumn in all of its brilliance, crystal blue skies, my grass covered in crimson leaves - and kids - SO excited, to dress up, greet the neighbors, and "just be giddy". I love to bake at this time of year, to make the big pot of chili, and cornbread, and have excuses to make lots of pies and goodies.

So, as Halloween is tomorrow, I'm asking myself, am I now aware that TOMORROW is one of the days I anticipate more than any other for the rest of the year? Am I soaking in this time of year, am I happy? Happy like I always think I should be when I think about this time of year in May or July, etc?

I feel like I have to ask myself these questions because too often, I think, the "Martha" side of me scurries around just crossing things off lists, making advanced plans on the calendar, and robotically going through the motions of each day. Yesterday, the day wasn't too busy, so I decided to make a new recipe of sugar cookies (I think a new favorite), and as a result of quite a silly jack-o-lantern story, ended up carving two pumpkins. It was a happy day - I was savoring the experiences (and too many of the cookies!).

So, as I embark upon these very fun days ahead, I hope I have the foresight enough to check myself as to whether I'm soaking it all in just as I hope I would when thinking about this time of year when it's not this time of year (boy, that's a mouth-full!) I feel like I have been blessed with a very abundant life, the least I can do is fully appreciate it.............

Monday, October 29, 2007

Our Annual Lone Pine Adventure

On Sunday, an absolutely brilliant autumn day, we ventured out again for our "now-annual" Lone Pine Corn Maze Adventure with the Whites. With the help of John's i-phone, which we used to take a picture of the map at the front of the maze, we cruised through the massive attraction in about a half hour. This time the kids did their own walking as well - they are growing up, that's for sure.

Along the way, we met some folks who apparently never made their way out - the kids were sweet enough to pose with them. We also stopped at the cow train to let the kids take a wild ride.

In typical Riley fashion, we cruised through the experience in total efficiency. It cracks me up how fast we can get through something - once again, why Disneyland with the Rileys can truly be an adventure as we just don't lag around much. It was a great morning with the Whites - part of why I love this season so much!

Saturday, October 27, 2007


I've had a pit in my stomach all week long.
I've been unsettled- knowing that it was inevitable.
I knew it wasn't going to be easy, pehaps the hardest battle we've had to face.
So, there John and I sat, forced to be closer together than we would have chosen.
Occasionally one of us would stand up and yell - or scream.
It was almost impossible to try to listen to each other.
My hands shook, my heart raced - I actually fought tears.
You could cut the tension with a knife.
I knew he was struggling in the same way.
And yet, we still slapped at each other.
Yes, it did turn out to be just as hard as we thought it would be,
but, in the end the victory was ours
- to share -
with the other 59,000 people surrounding us.

Alright, I know the above sounds overly dramatic, and I almost feel like I should apologize for the intensity of it all. The whole thing is a bit of a mystery to me, this love for a game - a passion that can affect my emotions in such a powerful way. It's unlike anything else that I can compare it to. It is just a game, just a sport - nothing that I believe God takes an active interest in (outside of His interest in each individual player/coach) - so it's not a matter of faith or praying or anything eternal. It is not a relationship that I can talk it though, or just communicate, in fact it is completely out of my control (outside of contributing to a decibel level equaling that of a jet take-off). It is an extremely temporary activity, in the grand scheme of things. But, somehow, to John and I, it has become something of high significance to us - at least as far as the entertainment facet of our life. Our comments, feelings, and actions almost identically mirrored each other today - as they have pertaining to this game all week.

I believe it will be the best and most memorable game we will have ever watched. Never have we witnessed a match-up of such high rankings, and the ramifications are huge. It is a conflicting thing for me to want something so bad and know that I could be let down, and try to deal with how to sort through that. Do I believe we can make this thing happen, only to be so let down, do I be a pessimist (which is just not me right now), or, as it was today, do I simply hold my breath for 3 and a half hours, hoping beyond hope? Today, the hope was realized, final score: 24-17, UO over the Mighty USC Trojans......

The Whites and us crunched the leaves loudly as we returned to our vehicle, and I commented that I wanted to absorb every possible sense - it was a perfect football day made even sweeter by the joy our kids experienced carving pumpkins and playing backyard touch football with Grandpa and Grandma back at home. I will remember today for a very long time -

Friday, October 26, 2007

How Brayden Greeted Daddy this Morning-

Usually John leaves for work before the kids get to see him. However, this morning, John got to peek in on Brayden while he was in the shower and say "good-bye". This was Brayden's response to him:

"Roses are red,
Violets are blue
I can't wait
to hang out with you"

Ahhhhhhh........What a way to start a Friday!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Couple of Questions 88

Halloween is less than a week away. I find myself thankful for our school district that has had the foresight to give the days following Halloween off for the kids (parent conferences). Good thinking. We will do another chili feed this year, following an early set-off for trick or treating. I think I will plan a kids' Halloween party next year when Halloween actually lands on a Friday and the Schillings can join us. This year, I won't try to be Martha Stewart to any grand degree...... So, on to the Halloween related questions-

1. What are your plans for Halloween and if you have kids, what are they dressing up as if they are dressing up?

2. What was your favorite Halloween costume?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Trip with Grandpa to Enchanted Forest

Aren't Grandpas the greatest? Way back when, when I hosted a party for the Michigan game, Dad had agreed to take the kids. Mom was out of town, so it was all up to him. They had originally planned to do some fishing, but when Dad offered to take the kids to Enchanted Forest there was no question what their preference was....... Clearly, by the pictures, they had a fantastic time. Thank you again, Dad!

Brayden was the solo rider on the Log Ride, and had a blast!
No kids, the structure isn't actually edible - Brayden, stop licking that!
See, I'm telling you, there is some interest growing towards theatrical arts with these kiddos....

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


For whatever reason, I carry a tremendous amount of tension in my shoulders. The way they are constantly locked up is really quite pathetic. If I were a good girl, I would be religous in my efforts to do all of the physical therapy exercises I was assigned two years ago, but as is often the case, when I stopped seeing my therapist, the accountability was over, and so was the regiment of extra work I had to do. Of course, Mom does an amazing job of putting things where they are supposed to be, but my muscles are constantly fighting her. Unfortunately, even using the elliptical machine at the gym works my shoulders which then gives them even more reason to tighten up.

Invariably, this tension leads to knots and the knots lead to headaches - and sometimes the headaches lead to worse. I have become quite a pro in assessing how to address each symptom, whether or not Icy Hot will do the trick, when a Therma Care neck heat patch would be a good idea (can't tell you how wonderful those things are at cold soccer or football games!), when over the counter pain reliever will work, when a migraine medication is necessary, or something even stronger. When I am considering an ice pack or the second "something stronger", it is a good bet that that the only thing that will alleviate/cure the problem is what I call "rebooting".

Such was the case nearly two weeks ago, the Thursday prior to the Women of Faith conference. I will admit, the whole week had me quite wound up. Between organizing babysitting, hotel arrangements, driving arrangements, tickets, and a family reunion I had built it up in my mind that I would be stressed- and self-fulfilled that prophecy. (And, no, I wasn't the sole person responsible for all those things, I just stressed like I was). At around 1:00, I realized I was in familiar headache territory (where I'm at at about that time 75% of my days), but by 2:00, was recognizing this headache wasn't responding. So, I turned to my attempts to "reboot".

For me, if I can get my body to fully fall asleep, even for just a short amount of time, for whatever reason, 99% of the time, I will wake up with the headache gone. Hence, the term, "rebooting". Sounds easy enough, but when you know you have to fall asleep, and you are dealing with pain - sometimes, not so easy. Knowing the state I was in, I tried to make arrangements to have Brayden's transport to his game delegated, and John able to take Mikayla to a birthday party. Then, I turned to the couch. And rolled over on the couch, and tried to snuggle up with blankets, and warm packs - and, and, and - for 4 hours. No sleep, no luck. The really, really sad thing was that Michele and the kids were supposed to arrive at 7:30 and I desperately wanted to be "okay" when I saw them. Instead, at 6:30, I was feeling absolutely miserable and my house was trashed as the kids were given free reign while mommy tried to fall asleep.

So, I got up. I tried to straighten the house (it had been a record three weeks since we'd seen Michele and the cousins), and tried to straighten myself up enough to not scare the kids. Eventually, they came, I embraced them, and ten minutes later, nearly in tears, had to resign myself to retreating to the dark cave of our room, where there was little noise, light, and movement. This is when I describe the headaches as migraines - though they are rooted in tension headaches, when they bloom into nauseousness, flushes of heat mixed with chills and the intense survival instinct to lay perfectly still....... I think I can give them that title.

I think by about 9pm, I was asleep. By 6 am, I was absolutely normal again - full of energy, no pain, ready to take on the day (albeit with a little trepidation of overdoing it) and certainly ready to make up lost ground with Michele and the kids. (We had been so excited about just having time to ourselves Thursday night and taking it easy together). Amazing how that whole rebooting thing works.

It does have me thinking about the potential application this might have for other areas of our lives. How many nights have I stayed up dwelling on something, only to see it in a new light as dawn emerges? Or, in a broader application, how many times has God desired that we just give up, surrender all control to something, and release unto Him? Something that we have fought with all of our arsenal of power, but is clearly beyond us - and something only God has control over.

Hmmm, pretty deep thoughts for a morning in which Michele's cell accidentally dialed our number at 4:30 am, startling both John and I fully awake - worried about what such a phone call would mean..... (The answer to the mystery became obvious some five minutes later when my phone signalled a message had been left and it revealed sound effects of Michele getting ready to go work out - yes, she really does wake up to work out at 4:30 am.......!). I never did get back to sleep, but have accomplished quite a bit since then! As for now- time to turn the computer over to Mikayla, and -sigh- apply some Icy Hot......

Sunday, October 21, 2007

#5 in the Rankings!

I had to put that little tribute to the Ducks in my title. I want to believe we can take USC this next weekend and continue moving up, but for here and now, for this week, we are #5 in the nation - and that is pretty cool!

Funny story from church this morning, when we sat down I became uncomfortably aware of John's cologne smell. I don't know how it was possible, but the smell just intensified the longer I sat there. I really didn't want to hurt John's feelings (I've never dealt with this problem with him before), but I kept thinking, "I can't believe I helped picked this cologne out, it smells really cheap and nothing like I would expect John to wear". Finally, 10 minutes into service, I suggested to John that he went a little heavy on the cologne. He said it was just one squirt like always, and that basically, "it wasn't him". He darted his eyes to the elderly gentleman sitting a seat away from him and then I realized, nope, it wasn't my honey. As precious as this old guy and his wife seated next to him were - (three seats away from me), I was nearly nauseous by the time service ended. I am a pretty scent-sensitive person. The only relief I had was that it wasn't my husband causing the congregation this misery......

At noon, our family, including Syd, headed over to Skinner's Butte Park to meet up with our buddy, Steve, who bless his heart, works with the 5 of us crazies to come up with a family portrait that we can send out to everyone that makes us look like we love each other. (That was the family talk on the way, "Kids, smile to show everyone how much we love being together!"). Steve seemed pretty impressed with what he was looking at, we can't wait to see them. If they turn with fun smiles, we can thank Sydney, we were having a good crack-up laughing at her being held by me in a strangle hold and Steve trying hard to get her to look at him.

So, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, Steve! Your talents are such a gift to this family!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Kinders at the Pumpkin Patch

As you can tell by the sudden appearance of pictures, I have my computer back. On Friday afternoon, I felt the sudden compulsion to call the Mac Store to check to see if it was done. The lady looked it up, told me she had good news, and that my timing was impressive. Only two minutes prior had the technicians logged in to say my computer was done. Oh yeah...... A cozy day at home with my precious computer, a fire, several magazines to catch up on, and an afternoon Duck game. However, currently all this is happening without couches in my living room. We are taking our blue ones on over to Leona (it's only fair, more than half of the furniture pieces in our houses are antiques acquired from her!) and waiting for the delivery of our new couches. Thank goodness for the bean bags!

So, last Thursday, I was supposed to be a parent helper to Mikayla's kindergarten class on their trip to the pumpkin patch. The reality that the field trip would actually happen was very touch and go as the weather this last week has been anything but peaceful. The plan was: As long as it's not pouring at 9am, the trip would happen. It wasn't pouring, so off we went.

Mikayla surrounded by pumpkins.....
Here is Mikayla with her two favorite friends from kindergarten: Katherine and Amelia
Though it wasn't raining, it was very cold and windy. Note how ominous the clouds look overhead!
The kids were told they could take any pumpkin they felt they could carry. Clearly, Mikayla felt that this one was too heavy!
I have to admit, I was kind of hoping the trip would be cancelled, but as with almost any special event regarding the kids, once I was there, I was very happy it had happened. Made especially sweet was the fact that I got to ride there and back with the kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Graham. We hit it off immediately and had great conversations...... Thank you Lord, for keeping the raindrops at bay!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Couple of Questions 87

My camera is getting really full of fun pictures to post, but alas, until it is my computer I am posting from, they will just have to wait, along with most of the stories that go with them. Hopefully, soon......

1. What are your thoughts and feelings about the weather around here lately?

2. What is something funny that a family member has done or said lately?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Under Construction!

Now that I have my computer back, I am going back in time to upload some of the pictures I had taken. Here is the current progress of Michael and Michele's home:
This is the view from the cul-de-sac below where they are building - It looks pretty majestic from this angle, huh?!
From this angle, the house doesn't look quite so intimidating. I love the "craftsman style" that they are creating- (Notice Traig standing in the upstairs window....)
Finally, all of the framework inside (this picture is being taken from where the kitchen would be - looking through the family room and up onto the skybridge)

The house is looking just beautiful - however, I would expect nothing less from my brother-in-law. Can't wait for move-in day!

Ode to My Laptop

I am at Michele's right now. I drove all the way up here just to use her computer..... No, not really. The kids have early release on Wednesday, so it seemed like a fun afternoon activity to drive up and see the progress they have made on their home. When I have my laptop back, I will upload pictures that I took today. In the meantime, here is my ODE TO MY LAPTOP - something I am going to write straight from the cuff, so I apologize in advance..........











Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Conversations with My Son

Last week, Brayden was invited by his "friend", Ally to be her special guest at her sister's birthday party. (Mikayla was invited as the guest of her kindergarten sister). We knew Brayden would be late as he had two football games, but he promised to show up, nonetheless. When he arrived, Ally was ecstatic, she had been waiting for him.

When the kids were off playing, John and Ally's mom had a chance to talk. Ally's mom confessed that Ally had been worrying that she is no longer "Brayden's girl". Ally's mom had made it clear that she had talked to Ally to tell her that that was okay, but since we still believed Brayden "liked" Ally, John made that clear and said he would talk to Brayden about it.

In the car, John had a little chat with Brayden that went something like this:

John: Brayden, honey, do you still like Ally?

Brayden: Yes

John: Have you told her that recently?

Brayden: Yes

John: Really? OK, when did you tell her?

Brayden: In second grade.

OK, so, that clears that up. That silly, little sensitive girl - shouldn't she know that of COURSE Brayden still likes her - I mean it has ONLY been a year since he has clarified that ---

Clearly, Brayden is getting an early education on relationships. This morning, we chatted about the girl that Ally thought Brayden liked instead-

Me: Well, Brayden, Ally thinks you like "Suzy" instead.

Brayden: Suzy?!!! No way! She likes ME! And, she's always getting me in trouble.

Me: Oh, well, maybe you should tell Ally that.

Brayden: I already talked to her yesterday.

Me: Really? Cool. What did you say?

Brayden: I waited until we were alone at recess and said, 'Ally, just so you know, I still like you'

Me: Good job, Brayden

Brayden: Mom... It was REALLY hard.

Too cute - Brayden, I hate to say it, but buddy, it doesn't get any easier! Good that he is learning that now!

Monday, October 15, 2007

I'm Back!

Okay, maybe just for a little bit. But, one more reason I love, love, love my friend, Stephie, is that she is letting me use her laptop today while she is at work (and Travis gets a little credit for letting me too!). And, look at this - ????????"""""""";;;;;;'''''''' - I've almost forgotten what those symbols mean. In fact, I find myself ignoring those keys since they have been of no use to me for the last couple of months - creating such bad habits that are now a bit hard to overcome.

It has been a VERY long weekend, full of emotional highs and emotional lows. Women of Faith had some excellent messages - Nichole Nordeman is just AMAZING and the comedian speaker they had new this year had me laughing uncontollably. (Her tribute to the underwire bra sung to Josh Grobin's "You Raise Me Up" will never be forgotten!) It was an experience, however, not without some "growing time" - things people had to work through, and I think, because of that, it was especially hard on me. I don't think it is appropriate to expand further, but perhaps, one of these days I will dedicate a post to some reasons why I've seen things unfold lately. "Our Ladies" at Applebees after Friday night's conference.
This is what happens when a bunch of women have to attend an early conference and then find out that they can't bring their drinks inside......

On Saturday and Sunday, we entertained the Riley Family and celebrated Leona's birthday (HAPPY BIRTHDAY LEONA!!!!!!). It is always such a joy to see the cousins playing together and loving every minute of it. For about 4 hours on Saturday, Brayden and Mikayla had both cousins together (thanks again, Leona for watching them all!) and I think it was very close to Heaven for my kiddos. I will post more pics when I have my computer back (the pic above was emailed to me so I could download it). I am very pleased that we already have a date set for a future post-Christmas gathering so the time apart from the family all-together won't feel so long. The cousins playing at Papa's Pizza on Saturday night-
What a beautiful couple - Uncle Jeff and Aunt Laura
John, and sister-in-law, Mary Beth
Leona's 3 sons.....that's a couch-full of trouble, for sure!
Happy Birthday Grandma!

Mikayla is begging for computer time, but I am not ready to give it up. Emails to check, send, bank accounts to look it (and frown at!), perhaps Christmas presents to research, weather to look up - ahhh, I am so computer-addicted! So, with all of that to do, I will cut it at this point and get to work--

Thursday, October 11, 2007

See You Later

I am actually typing from within my car right now. I had set out to run errands with my dear buddy, Adam, and then forgot that I was planning on turning in this keyboard today. SO, here is my final post from this laptop for a week or so - I might be able to get on Johns in between now and then, but we will just have to see.

Tomorrow, I will be setting off with 10 other women to go to the Women of Faith Conference in Portland. It should be a very uplifting experience. When I return Saturday afternoon, we will dive into FAMILY TIME with Johns side of the family - a night for the kids at Papas and then I will be hosting a brunch at our house on Sunday. There will probably be lots of stories and pictures, so you might expect an overload of posts when I get my laptop back...... =)

In the meantime, have yourself a wonderful weekend, and perhaps a couple of questions to ponder - What has been inspiring you lately, and what do you see yourself able to do to inspire others....... Nothing you need to answer unless you want to, just something to think about.........

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Witness to a Blessing

Tonight we had the unbelievable opportunity to witness somebody be blessed by something that will be used as a tool for them to pursue a long-held dream. I dont really feel like it is appropriate to go into too much detail, but suffice it to say - to be a part of this evening was incredible. Of course, not to the degree of EXTREME HOME MAKEOVER, but it felt something like that, especially since this person was tricked into coming over and did not see it coming at all.

The recipient is a person John and I have both respected, admired, and considered a friend since before we were even married - and the talent that this person has to share with the world has touched us and moved us on so many occassions. It is downright exciting and well, the potential is awesome......

Before this person left, we were all able to lay hands on him\her - and pray for their future. It was a very humorous situation as there were kids in the other room that chose to run in at that time - and then run back to the other kids, exclaiming, OH GOSH, LOOK WHAT THEY ARE DOING TO _______ NOW!!!! Lets just say it was hard to concentrate at that moment - the joy in the room was so immense, and not to mention the temptation to break into laughter.

Tonite was a night filled with hope, promise, and humility - truly a night I will never forget.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Zucchini Bread Anyone?

Like enough for the whole UO Football team....... Stephie was given this zucchini on her doorstep from her neighbor and she oh-so-kindly offered to give it to me. (I guess because we do like zucchini bread). I think it is headed for the yard waste bin- from what I remember hearing, if they are that big, they arent any good. Any truth to that, anyone? (I am cut and pasting these question marks..... I so need to get this keyboard fixed!)

On to other seasonal produce - these two pumpkins came out of OUR very own pumpkin patch. Truth be told, this grand adventure was something I had dreams of dazzling you all with, showing pictures of the monster pumpkins, baby pumpkins, luminary pumpkins all emerging from our rookie garden area - but, alas, these two are the only true prizes to show off - outside of two cute tiny pumpkins I have had decorating the house since September. Once again, if anyone has any great pumpkin growing tips, I am all ears, because, from the ten plants we put in the ground last May, this is a bit of a disappointment. However, being able to etch our name in the pumpkin right in our back yard was VERY COOL.......

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Extreme Home Makeover

Thanks to Michele, we are currently tuned into ABC watching Ty and the gang visit Corvallis. Despite seeing the previews last week, I had forgotten about it coming on, so thanks, Michele - for reminding me.

This story, this little girl - so precious. I hope you have been watching it too, like I said, I totally forgot (been doing a lot of that lately - sorry again Steph!) to bring it up in advance in the blog so youd know to watch it.

Since the show is back on, I am going to go ahead and post this and watch, amidst my tears, what unfolds for their house and lives. And, perhaps, I will catch a glimpse of Heather as well =)!

Over the Mountains and Through the Woods Jodi and Aarons house we go!

Saturday was a family road trip, a gorgeous road trip- complete with vine maples rivaling in color anything the Northeast has to offer, and yes, snow at the top of the pass.

We arrived at Jodis around 2 and had a very cozy and relaxing time sipping apple cider, chatting away, watching the kids play game after game of Hide and Seek, and getting a few kisses from Jodis favorite baby, Ran. (I think that is her nickname). I can definitely see why Jodi has a love affair with that little 18 month old!

Jodi and Aarons house is beautiful - and the location is just fantastic. I am so happy for them. It is neat to see them in a place to call home for a long time to come, and to be settled. As we drove through the mist of the valley, and rain at the top of the mountains only to find it clearing up in Bend, yes, I will admit some jealousy!

Thanks for the invite, Jodes, it was awesome seeing you and hanging out together..........

Friday, October 05, 2007

An Interesting Discovery

Recently, our Valley River Center mall added a toddler play area - you know, the kind with the shiny animal play structures, carpeting, and fence disguised as seating area for moms and dads. Despite the fact that my daughter just meets the height limit and my son definitely exceeds it, they both love this sort of place to play. It is about time, Valley River Center has lately struck me as being incredibly SNOBBISH in their store choice and way too teen oriented.

So, I have to admit, I was surprised when I walked in the mall at 9 45 am to discover that the installation of a toddler zone has indeed increased the attraction of moms to the mall. In fact, the way that the strollers were parked within and around the play area I had to make sure I wasnt in Anaheim waiting to ride DUMBO.

Apparently, this is the place to be if you have very small kiddos. From what I gather, there is an excercise program that happens before the mall shops open for moms with strollers. Wow - where was this program when I was lonely, suffering from cabin fever, and in terrible need of companionship besides my adorable little baby boy......... I honestly remember at the check-out line at WinCo looking at moms with small babies thinking...... I wonder if that lady would want to be my friend.......

So, if you are reading out there, and you have small kiddos, and you want some new friends - check out VRC on weekday mornings and you might find some brand new BFF`s....................

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Congratulations Aunt Stephie!

Introducing Abigail Bree - Stephies brand new neice. Gotta say - what a BEAUTIFUL picture of you both! I am thrilled for everyone and can speak from LOTS AND LOTS of experience that Abigail is one LUCKY girl to have Stephie in her life........

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

A Couple of Questions 86

1. What is something that someone else has done to or for you that has made you smile in thankfulness this week.........

2. What is a situation that you look back on recently and wish you had handled differently..........

Snow level is supposed to go down to 3500 feet. It will be pretty wild, if, on our field trip to see Jodis new house on Saturday, we encounter remnants of snow on the pass........

The Best French Toast You Will Ever Have.....

OK, maybe that is a bit of an exaggerated claim - but I think it might apply for me. Fall brings out the baker, chef, and cook in me. We have had a record number of homemade dinners that I have been downright giddy about, and I am just looking for people that are willing to be guinea pigs for any sort of homemade goodie I can test a recipe to create.

That is what happened with this french toast recipe - I saw it in our Register Guard and could hardly wait until Saturday morning to try it out - and even bated Lisa to drop off Erica so she could try it too. If you are not a coconut fan, skip it. Otherwise, I think it is worth trying out.

Also, here is a link to a list of the most amazing sounding quick bread recipes that Jodi IM`d me tonite. I think I printed out 7or 8 of them - now, I just need some good guinea pigs........


1 cup canned coconut milk (you can find this is the foreign foods section - either Chinese or Mexican)
2 TB sugar
4 eggs
2 cups shredded coconut
6 thick slices bread (we used Old Fashioned Buttermilk)

In a shallow bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, sugar and eggs.

Spread the coconut out on a place. Dip the pieces of bread in the egg mixture and then dip in the coconut, amply coating the bread.

Melt ample butter on a griddle or in a large skillet over medium heat. Place the slices of bread on the griddle and cook until the coconut is golden brown (a few minutes, watch carefully). Flip and cook until the other side is golden as well.

I topped this with a raspberry sauce I made from frozen raspberries, sugar, and cornstarch over the stove while preparing the french toast. I then dusted with powdered sugar - just to make it look pretty!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Good Morning!

Happy October everyone. I am having a hard time believing that last Thursday I was laying in the sun at the park in a tank top. I am so glad I took the kids that afternoon - it will be a while, I think. Now, the polar vests, sweaters, and even long johns (for the Saturday game) have been pulled out. It is cozy, but it came very fast. Welcome to the weather of Oregon......

I have also pulled out the GoLite again and am currently having it radiate its blue waves upon my face. Trying to get this body believing it is okay and expected to wake up before the sun. (Not to mention, pre-chasing away SADD).

Not much new to talk about, hence the lack of posts. I discovered a website that turns blogs into books that has me very thrilled. (Cant remember the name, but I think it has BLURB in it - you could google that) I am currently working on my 2005 posts and will publish and have it returned to me before I work on the other two years. It has you download a program called BOOKSMART which has you go through the process step by step. It can be as time consuming as you want depending on how specific you want your text or pictures laid out. However, I am very excited at the idea of the end project - my version of scrapbooking.

Another fun find, via an email, was this video. It is called the MOMS OVERTURE and I think it will definitely get you smiling.