Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Anything for You, Andrew

Today is Brayden's BFF, Andrew's birthday. I knew that Amy hadn't worked it out completely what they were doing to celebrate, but I suspected Brayden would probably do a little hanging with his buddy.

So, when the phone rang and caller ID said MEYERS I was ready to rearrange the day for Brayden to accommodate. However, when Amy said she wanted to take them fishing, and would I want to come to....I gotta admit my enthusiasm was less than stellar.

You know, sometimes in life we're faced with decisions that aren't so pleasant but that little voice inside of us says, "Make the right choice". That was today. Reluctantly, I followed Amy on over to the canals near the popular city park in Eugene, where SUPPOSEDLY, fish had just been stocked. And, then, we began the process of getting the poles ready. And then repeated that process, again and again and again. Because this picture pretty much sums up the gist of the experience:

Yes, all those tangled lines of mine that gave my dad such headaches when we went fishing growing up... I'm getting my just rewards. =)

Here's a pic of the boys that attended. They really were great kids, but given there wasn't one bite, they ended up wading in the water, skipping rocks, and climbing trees. (On a side note, I believe Brayden has conquered his fear of heights as he climbed way up a tree....Harlow Rock Wall - watch out!)

The girls were ever-so-patient. Christina and Mikayla make such great company for each other.

Yes, that girl is just like her mommy. It takes more than a slimy worm to gross us out!
Amy was so sweet in her repetitive expressions of thankfulness for me being there, no need, as I'm glad I went. All in all, it was a hoot - and yet another special memory of the summer.


I was just going to post about our not-so-exciting adventures yesterday, complete with pictures - and what do you know, but I've officially exceeded my photo storage capacity on Blogger! I ordered more storage (I know have to pay a minimal fee per year), but it might take a couple of days to kick in.....Until then, HAPPY WEEK OF INDEPENDENCE DAY!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Just Hangin' Around

After a very successful visit to my Mom to get "worked on" - (issues with my neck and headaches are getting a bit better thanks to a new prescription for a muscle relaxant to be taken at night, just don't take two at once....practically a zombie the next day....but, one at a time- oh yeah, that's helping a lot) the kids decided they hadn't had enough bike riding when in Sunriver. Works for me!

We took the long route to get to the "safe" bike path and I was so impressed with Mikayla's improvements. She's "official now" - the sky's the limit as far as the potential for our new adventure family biking adventures.

Our "destination" ended up being a small park on the other side of the river. The kids demonstrated their skills in "just hanging around" :

And, this pic shows just how small Mikayla is compared to her very-big-girl bike. But, hey, it works for us.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

My Favorite Weekend of the Summer

It's a tough life, huh?

What does it say when you already think you've had your favorite weekend of the summer and you haven't even hit July yet? We're starting strong, that's for sure.

A couple of bike rides, wonderful company that enjoy relaxing in just the same ways we do, delicious food, and the scenery, and scents, and wildlife.....oh, it's just fantastic.

These pics were taken last night - the first one being the Quigs family that invited us, then the kids having fun......

Okay, a couple of shout outs.....
- WAY TO GO BROTHER JEFF!!!!! He finished the Western States 100 mile Ultra-Marathon early this morning - that's right - 100 consecutive miles in 100+ temperatures, through the rugged terrain of the mountains near Tahoe (and in a very impressive time and placement). We are SO PROUD of him!

-Mikayla proved her skills as a bike rider today in our super long ride. The wheels on her new bike are nearly as tall (or taller) than her legs, but John was able to lower the seat so she can just barely touch. It was courageous of her to take it on, and she totally kept up, and made it up the same hills the rest of us were huffing and puffing on. Good-bye "Tag-a-long" (the contraption that attaches at the back of a bike to accommodate a smaller rider) for this family..... Hello "real family bike rides"!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

On the "Receiving End"

Sometimes, it's harder to receive than it is to give. There's that whole "Am I really deserving?" issue, or perhaps, "Am I showing them enough how much I appreciate this?". Finally, there's the, "When will I ever be able to pay back this kindness?"

Funny thing, though, seldom when I've been on the other side of the equation have I pondered those thoughts. Whether or not a person is worthy, if they are acting thankful enough, or what they have to give back - often, the joy is simply knowing that I've met a need, created a smile, or on some very blessed occasions, made a person's day.

This week, I can definitely say, the Rileys have been on the receiving end of being gifted. A very dear friend was able to do something professionally for us that saved us a lot of money and worry. Childcare was provided on an afternoon that was especially helpful. And, finally, I'm able to be writing this blog from Sunriver due to the kindness of Dennis and Lisa - and in turn, the kindness of Lisa's longtime (best) friend who owns the house that they are staying at for the week.

Earlier this week, I recognized that this weekend was one of the last "wide-open" weekends of the summer, and "What should we do with it?". I really wanted to spend just one evening somewhere in Central Oregon, but nobody rents for just one night in the resort-ish areas around here. We got Mikayla a new bike this week (that should last her all the way through - like Brayden's) - and I wanted to be able to take off and enjoy the trails of either Black Butte or Sunriver. However, John and I kind of gave up on the idea as it just seemed like too much money for staying a place we really didn't want to (i.e. - hotel in Bend).

Fast forward to Wednesday night when Dennis comes over and -long story short-, we end up getting a phone call from them that night begging us to consider staying with them for a night. Ummmmmmm, oh, twist-my-arm, OKAY! And here we are. This house is incredible, the weather is gorgeous, all of our bikes were able to fit in the vehicle, the packing was super minimal - we are feeling mighty blessed!

So, while I could lament over all the reasons why we don't deserve all this, I think I'll spend my time enjoying it instead. Because, I know, if the roles were reversed, that's what would bring me, as the giver, the most joy. THANK YOU EVERYONE!!!

P.S. - A shout out thank you to Stephietoo for also blessing us with taking care of our Syd... we love you!

The view from the deck, the upstairs living room, and the kitchen:

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Double Date Night for the Record Books....

Because John had to miss the annual "Daddy-Daughter" dance this year as he was out of town on a business trip, he made a deal with Mikayla that they'd go out on another special night - and even told her to pick out a beautiful dress to wear for the occasion. When deciding what we'd do this weekend, John and I agreed that tonight would be our individual date nights with our kiddos.

It just so happens that Brayden loved the first Transformers movie - as did I....but, it wasn't as big of a deal to John or Mikayla. So.......the ideal date scenario with Brayden was in the bag. We got our tickets with a ton of time to spare, cruised the mall a bit - and then were first in line to enter the theater. But, wouldn't you know it, "Mom" misplaced the tickets and we had a minor panic attack trying to find them. Brayden even ran willingly back to the other side of the mall to try to search for them (where we thought we might have left them when we purchased something), only for me to chase him down and call him back that I'd found them. Fortunately, the wonderful folks in the "waiting line" gave us back our spots - crisis averted. (And, Brayden earned a free-pass for the next time he misplaces something).

We both LOVED the movie. It was so fun to have him next to me, ready to hug and clutch during the intense parts of the movie (which was pretty much 80% of it). If you enjoyed the first one, I can't see why you wouldn't like this one. Brayden gave it a "50,000" as a rating between 1 and 10. =)

We finished the evening off with pie from Marie Calendars. It was good, but I was already stuffed and Brayden thought his marionberry pie didn't even compare to my cobbler.....Man, I love that kid. Tonight was probably one of my favorite nights ever with that guy........
Never to be outdone, John claimed just now that his date with Mikayla was one of his favorite nights ever with her as well....

The two of them started out at an outdoor table at Red Robin for dinner and followed that up with cozy S'mores inside Johnny Oceans. Finally, they found there way to the park to take these amazing pictures. They beat us home by about an hour - and Mikayla is already asleep..... I think you can tell by the pics that we have one VERY PROUD Daddy in our midst.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hello Summer!

A trip to Harlow pool, temps in the low 80's, Michele and the gang here - and a bbq complete with s'more construction. Hello summer!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Junie B. Jones

Forgive the terrible picture quality. Michele snapped that with my cell phone last night as I was reading the second of the JUNIE B. JONES books to Ellie and Mikayla.

I give all credit for the discovery of these books to the Meyers - Apparently, Mark has been reading them with Christina and Amy claims he often has tears in his eyes from laughing so hard. Something that funny....we thought we'd give it a try.

So far, what a treat! I really love reading aloud and playing with the voices (though I don't do it with Mikayla nearly enough), so I'm thankful we've found something that she'll keep asking for so I take the time to read with her.

We might just have to check out the author's books for older readers because even Brayden has expressed wanting to read these hilarious books..... =)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Fathers' Day!

How about that? A planned family gathering that went off without a hitch! No appendectomies, sickness, or spouse's out of town.

After a delicious breakfast of amazing Dutch Babies:

and honoring John with a few things -

We headed to church and then met up with Mom and Dad as well as the Schillings for pizza. This place has such a nice atmosphere - the irony is that it used to be "Pietro's" - where many a family gatherings occurred since the time Michele and I were born.

Next stop, across the parking lot to Camp Putt. (The above picture was actually taken from the back 18 of the miniature golf course).

This might have been one of Ellie's first miniature golf course experiences and she loved it. I can guess a couple of reasons for this - 1) She was in a team with just her mom and dad, so she got lots of two on one attention....

And 2) Her first shot resulted in this.......


Next up was Michele - shown her after her first shot, yes, that would be off the putting course and in the grass where her ball ended up.

However, I can't say Mom and I did much better - this shot had wayyyyyyy to much power.

But, we had a lot of fun pal-ling together with Mikayla and Nati in a team.

Meanwhile, Grandpa was joined with Brayden and Traig - who were actually taking the game seriously and keeping score.

If you can't tell by this picture - Nati did NOT take the game too seriously.

And, Ellie - well, she had interesting strategies in how she lined up her shots......

I think Brayden's strategy was to distract Grandpa with conversation while he tried to concentrate on his shot.

Ultimately, Traig emerged as the victor of their trio.

We liked how this photo turned out - it almost looks like it could be an album cover or something.....if they ever started a band.........

And, as for this picture - its purpose was to prove just how well my dad follows directions....(Note the sign in the lower left hand corner).

And, yes, the "Father of the Day" (from our house anyway) was there - he was just busy using his favorite present - a new lens for his camera, by taking all the pics.

No event would be complete without the obligatory "group shot". Unfortunately, Michele stepped on Nati's hand just prior to the picture being taken (by they kind cashier of Camp Putt). Hence the tears.... Ellie also had a bit of a wardrobe malfunction with her hat completely covering her face..... Oh well, that's part of the fun of these pics.

All in all - a WONDERFUL Father's Day. I'm so blessed to have such an amazing dad that I grew up with, and such an extraordinary husband that exceeds all my hopes as a father...... Wow.......

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Party Central!

It's been party central here at the Schillings' house. All three of Michele's kids were born within 6 weeks of each other - so she can get hit really hard with all of the parties. This year, she opted to have the oldest two back to back as it involved kiddos from Eugene taking part. On Monday, Michele will head down to Eugene and Ellie will be celebrated with a little "Build-a-Bear" and Cold Stone Creamery.

Friday night was the girls' night. We took the crew to see "Up". It was a very sweet movie - I especially liked the talking dog. The girls were all very nice and a lot of fun.

Then, today, was Traig's "Amazing Race".

My job was to monitor the "Roadblock" in which they had the choice to guzzle a can of root beer and then belch, or squeeze a quarter cup of juice from a lemon and then drink it. All 4 of the groups chose the root beer. No surprise.

I like the one pic of the boys - as you can see Michele's house directly behind them (right across the street from the sports park and Aquatic Center).

Lisa is in another one of the pictures. She liked to welcome the groups with a special greeting - she took her role seriously. Her Roadblock involved having groups try to find 45 cents worth of coins hidden in a bowl of spaghetti - while blindfolded.....

Some of the other activities included steering your buddy who is blindfolded through a scooter course, putting together a Micky Mouse puzzle (with a secret clue on the back), id'ing baby food, tossing "Splat balls" into a net, and getting Baxter to perform 3 tricks. Michele came up with awesome tasks -