Monday, January 31, 2011

Employment Woes

Being the Type A planner that I am....substitute teaching can be a bit of a challenge for me. There is a perverse sense of accomplishment and satisfaction I feel in blocking out the week ahead in my Daytimer and knowing what I can expect for any given day. But, now that I've made an attempt to pick up a day or two a week of substitute teaching, all bets are off.

I find myself having to search for the districts' days off to schedule any sort of appointments. And as for those meetings with the college gals I aim to have approximately once a week (not to mention the hang-out times with friends my own age) - I'm constantly letting everyone know, "let's just pencil it in" - so that I'm not feeling guilty when a job comes up and cancels out the plans.

So, with all this in mind, I am excited to recognize that this week and next are already kind of roughly planned out. Yippee! I have a third grade assignment tomorrow (brand new school, teacher, and class - but after my stint in the middle school next week, third grade sounds PERFECT!!!) - and next week I have a pre-scheduled job on Wednesday with that precious fifth grade class I had right before Christmas. That will be a day I'll actually be excited about, vs. semi-nervous and apprehensive. Given all of this, it means I can actually block out (mark as "Unavailable") the two days this week that already have tentative plans, and not feel too guilty about it. Thursday can still go either way - if a position opens, I'll snag it, but if not - I'll be happy at that point, I'm sure, to just get plenty of stuff done.

All's to say, as that I begin this "short week" (we're still at Michele's - we'll head home around 3pm) - I'm finding myself quite happy. The forecast shows chilliesh (how's that for a new word?) temps - low 50's - but LOTS of sunshine. I get to go bowling with my Tuesday night ladies tomorrow night, Wednesday is wide open until after the kids get home - and then a fun walk is scheduled with my "Katy" - and Friday has me slated to hang out with someone I haven't connected with yet in 2011....which is a total crying shame - but, about to be remedied.

Ahhh, a week ahead with plans penciled in....I'm finding a little too much euphoria in that - but nonetheless, a great way to start February.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

How Far We've Come

When I was a kid, and technology was just starting to emerge, I used to dream about what life would be like when I was an adult and things got that much more advanced.

While we have yet to have a vehicle that floats on air like the one Luke Skywalker used in "Star Wars", we do now have the capacity to, quite easily, communicate with each other in such a way that we are actually seeing each other as well as hearing each other. While I wouldn't have used the name "Video Chat" back then, what we have now is what I used to dream of then - and, when I step back and look at the big picture, it really is quite astounding.

This is all coming up in my mind because, yesterday, Michele and I began watching the "Bionic Woman" DVD set I got her for Christmas. The series first started airing in 1976 - when I was about four years old. TV-wise, it doesn't seem that long ago. However, when you see the technology (or lack of) that they had, OH MY GOODNESS! For one, it makes me feel decrepit, and two, I realize just how far we've come. From the land line rotary phones, to even the bedside clocks that "flipped" the digits....And, don't even get me started as to what a hospital room looked like, or an FBI computer was able to do... in fact, we called Brayden in to see what "Jaime Sommers" had to use to get oxygen into her while laying comatose in the hospital. Brayden couldn't stop laughing at the ugly green tubes with its long nostril ends, and all of a sudden the "very subtle" clear tubing he had to wear didn't seem so bad.

So, for all of the ways we've improved, how amazing and exciting. But, I have to admit, it's come with its negative pitfalls too - which are obvious. I'm realizing that the very thing I thought would be so cool as a kid is actually kind of something I don't really like. This whole "video chat" thing...(i.e. Skype) - um, not such a big fan in general. Yes, the idea is phenomenal, but I'm just gonna throw it out there that I'm too vain to enjoy it. I'm guessing I'll get over myself eventually and get used to it, but I find I spend far too much time analyzing how many chins I appear to have in the image of myself being projected than I am the conversation! (Not to mention my hair, my zits, etc, etc.....). I wonder if, when the first telephones were being used (for the record....WAY before my time....) - people had to adjust (uncomfortably) to hearing their own voice? I suppose if they can adapt, so can I......because I don't think this new-fangled technology is going to go away.....

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Close Encounters

While the east coast was being hit with 19 inches (or more) of snow (I'm not jealous or anything.....grrr!) This last week in my neck of the woods has actually been pretty dazzling. At least once the fog burns off. On Friday, it was such a day - reaching 62 degrees with gorgeous sunshine.

So, my friend, Becky, and I decided to take advantage of this rare January treasure and take a walk along the river. She'd never walked along this part of the path, so I enjoyed pointing out all the wildlife that I usually see along the way - the mallard ducks, the Canadian geese, and the logs where the turtles sun themselves later in the season. Sydney was a very happy camper and she opted to direct our attention to another species of wildlife.....the nutria.

In case you don't know what a nutria is (because I didn't know until about 5 years ago), it looks like a cross between a beaver and a rat. It's really kind of a disgusting creature, so trust me, as soon as I snapped this picture I yanked Syd away so that she wouldn't get bit by it. It's funny what a difference a tail on an animal makes - if this guy had a flat, wide tail - and was a beaver, I'd admire it for its industriousness. If it had a fluffy tail like a squirrel, I'd probably think it was cute. But, that rat-like tail....ewwwwwww - it just kind of screams, "gross".

Becky and I had a splendid time - so I had to mark the occasion with a picture. I'm not super great at taking pics of myself without setting up a timer. I think it's funny that in this image, you see the shadow of my hand and the camera. Incidentally (and sadly), these pics will probably be the last from my little red "point and click". I dropped it while the telephoto was extended and this time, it's not coming back to life. Given this camera - on two different occasions - has mysteriously erased a set of photos (once in Disneyworld, the other time while we were camping), it's not super reliable to begin with. But, it also goes to show just how dangerous I am to electronic devices.....

The kids have both Friday and Monday off (grading day and budget furlough day), so we chose to head straight to the Schillings after school. This was the scene from their driveway:

There will be very little to report this weekend - pretty much just me reading, napping, and eating - not much more than that going on. Just the way I like it!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Status Updates

I gotta admit, folks, I'm not feeling very inspired. So feel free to quickly bypass this post if you are looking for inspiration. Instead, I think I'll just go with some bullet point updates.....

  • I got called to teach on Monday at 6:30. The time is significant because it means I only had about 45 minutes to change gears, get presentable, and set everything up for the kids. It meant that I felt like I was behind the "Eight Ball" all day long, which is unfortunate because it is a new school for me to be in (at least for this go-around of subbing, I used to be there quite a bit) - and obviously, brand new kids. The teacher I was subbing for was also running behind, so I only got the plans a few minutes before kids entered. It was 6th graders - and boy did they "push". I think I could have "nailed" the assignment if not for the "hurried" pace and a headache that just got worse and worse throughout the day. As it is, hopefully, I did ok enough to be asked back to the school...but it was taxing. By the time I got home, I detoured through the kitchen to snag two ice packs (one for my neck, another for my sinuses), a bowl to potentially throw up in, and sweet Mikayla took off my boots and cozied me up in a blanket. I stayed still in that position virtually all night.

  • It's no surprise that Tuesday had me waking up grumpy. Still a headache...but thankfully, no assignment - instead I headed out to see Mom. Not only did she remedy the headache but she worked on my tailbone and I think I'm good to go there too. (I was getting pretty whiny about my back end). THANK YOU MOM!

  • It's been gloriously sunny lately - which, when you are in a good mood makes you happy, but when you are hurting makes you feel that much sadder as "When will I ever feel good enough to enjoy this?". I swung from both ends of that spectrum yesterday.

  • I very nearly took a job to teach kindergarten today. Actually, I did take it, but it turned out that childcare for Mikayla was going to be an issue, so I ended up canceling it. Let me just say, "Thank you, Lord, for making that childcare an issue".....kindergarten might have been very gratifying, but I'm guessing it would have been quite the challenge. I desperately need a day to catch up and clean up....

  • Another night with our "Tuesday Night Ladies". I LOVE those ladies. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them... So much so, that I have to catch myself from being sad that by the end of this school year, half of them could end up in Portland and away from me. Take each day and be thankful, Steph.....

  • Which leads me to the final bullet point - if you haven't had a chance to click over to "Joanne's" blog lately- well, you might find yourself quite inspired if you do.... Today, they "re-posted" something she'd written a while ago, that was so great for me to read. But, even more inspiring (and miraculous) is some of the improvements Joanne is showing. Be prepared for goosebumps, it's pretty awesome.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Feelin' the Love

It occurred to me that yesterday, on John's b-day, we never did sing happy birthday to him or have him blow out candles. It's a good thing that our Tuesday night group of lovely ladies took care of that for him. Heather had volunteered to prepare dinner for us - (it was super yummy rice bowls with all sorts of things to add in) and along with dinner, she brought an adorable (and delicious) carrot cake for John.

It was an especially poignant evening for us ladies as more "stories" were shared and we were all challenged to say "Yes" to the Lord and watch expectantly for Him to move through our lives. To end the evening with my hubby being honored in such a way...well, let's just say the Rileys have definitely been feelin' the love lately!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Happy Birthday, My Love!!!!

Today my most amazing husband turns 42. Woohoo!!!! I know I've tried to put into words before just how thankful I am for this extraordinary man to have chosen me to be his bride, but let me just re-emphasize today that I feel like the most blessed woman in the world.

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned this before, but frequently, I'll have dreams of being in a position of ending up with someone else. In those dreams, my heart feels like I should no longer go on living, that the rest of my life will no longer hold meaning - as John is the only person I'm supposed to be with...the man that completes me (sorry for that cheesy reference - but it applies!).

So, today we celebrate John - we'll make a trip up north to his favorite place for ribs with the Whites - and pretty much just enjoy the day, thankful everyone is healthy enough to embrace it.

Happy Birthday, my love - you are my dream come true!!!!!


As hoped for, John had a very enjoyable birthday. Brayden purchased a racing game for them to play together on the PS3 (with his own money!) - and Mikayla gave daddy a "Cuddle Coupon" as John just loves having her cuddle next to him on the couch. After a lazy morning, we met up with the Whites, loaded in the vehicle and ventured north.

We watched the new "Karate Kid" en route - and made some wise transactions (returns and purchases) at the the outlets, picked up John's favorite cologne at the mall - and finally, made it to "Famous Dave's" to show Travis and Steph just what the fuss is all about. The meal was fantastic - made even better with a pitstop at Coldstone Creamery before heading home.

It was one of my favorite "John's Birthday" day too - with the sun shining, Brayden back to his absolute silly self (throwing Prednisone into the mix with a boy who is already a little wacky....yeah, we had to keep "toning him down" the entire trip), and friends who are our family- it's the recipe for a very fun day.

Friday, January 21, 2011

What Love Really Means

I haven't done this in a while, but Michele told me about this song and how powerful the lyrics were, so I thought I'd put a link to the video on Youtube and post the lyrics.

The song is "What Love Really Means" and it's written/performed by JJ Heller. It's one of those songs that kind of "sums it all up" in terms of why I believe what I believe. I encourage you to watch the video as it is beautiful in its own way watching JJ sing the song - but if not, here's the lyrics as well.

What Love Really Means

Artist: JJ Heller
Album: When I'm With You

He cries in the corner where nobody sees
He’s the kid with the story no one would believe
He prays every night, “Dear God won’t you please...
Could you send someone here who will love me?”

Who will love me for me
Not for what I have done or what I will become
Who will love me for me
‘Cause nobody has shown me what love
What love really means, what love really means

Her office is shrinking a little each day
She’s the woman whose husband has run away
She’ll go to the gym after working today
Maybe if she was thinner then he would’ve stayed
And she says…

Who’ll love me for me?
Not for what I have done or what I will become
Who will love me for me?
‘Cause nobody has shown me what love
What love really means, what love really means

He’s waiting to die as he sits all alone
He’s a man in a cell who regrets what he’s done
He utters a cry from the depths of his soul
“Oh Lord, forgive me, I want to go home”

Then he heard a voice somewhere deep inside
And it said, “I know you’ve murdered
And I know you’ve lied
And I have watched you suffer all of your life
And now that you’ll listen, I’ll tell you that I...”

I will love you for you
Not for what you have done or what you will become
I will love you for you

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The View from Our Room

Lucky us - we've got the deluxe "river view" room. In fact, there's even a nest where a bald eagle lives across the river. The hospital we are in is virtually brand new, so when it comes to deluxe accommodations - we couldn't ask for better.

Last night went okay. Brayden and I had a great time bonding over cats and dogs barking at themselves in mirrors and babies making expressions on "AFHV". As the evening proceeded, his oxygen level was doing so great, they turned off the oxygen just to see how he'd do - and he did great. He was able to keep it up 93% - especially as he was aware of the levels - merely coughing/taking deep breaths when it got low to bump it back up to 100%. However, as he began to get drowsy and fall asleep, the oxygen percentage would plummet - and the alarm when it dropped below 93% would wake us both up repeatedly. Eventually, they cranked it back up to 3, and even then, the alarm went off enough times to make the night's sleep a little "rocky".

So, that's where we stand. If things were based entirely on how Brayden feels while awake, I'd bet for sure we'd have him out of here today. But, last night was a setback, so we'll just have to see. Thanks for all your prayers and encouragement - it means the world to us.

Thursday Postscript:

In case you didn't see my comment - we are "Home Free". At about 9:00, Brayden's doctor came in and was so impressed with Brayden's rate of recovery that he had no hesitation to send him home. Woohoooooo!

Since we've been home (we left around 10:00), Brayden's personality has just been emerging rapidly - so much so that if I hadn't already promised his absence from school tomorrow, I'd be tempted to send him on his way! Maybe instead, Brayden and I will get some serious video game bonding going on.

We're all feeling better - just getting a shower (and a toothbrush!) was a big deal to me - not to mention a little nap to offset some of the deprivation from last night. On the way to go pick up some of Brayden's prescriptions, there was the most gorgeous sunset. Mikayla was in the car with me and said, "I think Jesus did that [the sunset] just for Brayden" - ahhhh, one of the sweetest sibling comments I've heard from them in a while. Here's what my camera caught:

So, there you go. I think our illness excitement is coming to a close - now on to celebrating a certain husband of mine's birthday coming up this Saturday. =)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Party Hearty in Room 8228

Currently, it's just me and Brayden sitting in a very luxurious room watching "America's Funniest Home Videos". He put down his DS and has started watching - the laughing is turning into coughing, which is apparently what he needs to be doing to break up the crackling in his lungs. Way to go, Brayden - and thank you Tom Bergeron for the extra therapy!

He is doing a ton better - THANK GOD! He still is hooked up to oxygen, but they've taken him down from 4 to 2, and his levels are still up there, so hopefully, by the morning we can go from 2 to zero and get him to the point he no longer needs oxygen to keep his levels where they need to be. The lung x-ray showed "nothing remarkable" and his other tests came back negative....all words you wouldn't want to hear at a parent-teacher conference, but are words of encouragement here.

And speaking of encouragement - oh my goodness, the outpouring of love for our family and Brayden has been so unbelievable. Stephanie was here within the hour that we checked in (with Brayden's favorite Powerade, candy for all of us, and a football purchased on Travis' behalf), Amy brought all of the kids over after school (Andrew can make Brayden smile like no other!), Mark stopped by while on call, Elaina came over after she finished her shift as a nurse in the oncology department, and Brayden's mid-school pastor, Matt even stopped by to say "Hi" and pray for Brayden. And, just before John, Mikayla and the Whites all left, Dennis and Lisa popped in as well. We are so loved, and so feeling it - as simply the amount of Facebook comments would have been enough to be overwhelming without even any visits. =)

So, I think it's looking good that we'll be able to get out of here tomorrow. Brayden just needs to start drinking and eating more (oh, to have that problem!) - and get that oxygen level consistent on its own.... I've already emailed all his teachers to let him know he won't be back this week. So, by the time he returns on Monday the 24th (Lord willing), he will have only been in attendance 6 days for this entire month! He's taken this winter vacation a little far....


While laying next to Mikayla listening to her sleep/breathe the other night, I felt like things were off. So, even though Tuesday was busier than the entire days of January combined, I called to get her lungs listened to and checked out. I figured in my mind that it would be a waste of the $25 copay, but as a mom, sometimes you just have to go with your gut.

The doctor started nodding her head as she was listening to Mikayla - and sure enough, her left lung had fluid in it - verdict: walking pnuemonia. She was given a prescription for a strong antibiotic and sent on her way (to go rollerskating for her birthday party....the doc said that was okay as long as she took it easy).

Given the fact that Brayden has still been coughing, I went ahead and called the doc for him to get checked out today too. Brayden actually begged to stay home the rest of the day from school, but I assured him he'd be headed back to class as soon as we were done with the doc (and I got him on his first dose of antibiotics if necessary).

HOWEVER....following the doctor's appointment, instead of heading back to school - we were headed to the hospital!!!!! Not only does Brayden also have pneumonia, but his oxygen levels are so low that he needs to be admitted. I guess the standard of admission is anything lower than 93% - even after two doses of nebulizer in the doctor's office, Brayden's levels were barely at 90%.

Oh boooooooo! This was not what I expected, at all. In fact, it's really quite scary - and it breaks my heart to see my courageous young man after to face the reality of hospitalization - the lack of dignity of a back opening thin gown, the sting of an IV put in his forearm, and the nuisance of two little spokes pushed into his nostrils to administer oxygen.

Above all, though, we are thankful that he'll get better - and that we have access to this medicine and this fine hospital, and wise doctors who will work to get him to where he needs to be. And, given the tragedy that Joanne and her family is dealing with, I can't overstate enough just how blessed we are that this sickness is only what it is - and his prognosis is nothing but positive.

So, please be praying for my boy. Pray that his oxygen levels get up to where they need to be and that this hospital stay would only last for the minimum 24 hours vs. any longer. And, pray for his courageous spirit - that he would feel better enough so that his silly personality re-emerges and before long, I'll be asking him "just what were you thinking?" when he does something obnoxious again like trying to photocopy his face on our printer...... =)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Oh My Tailbone!!!!!

Ah hasn't changed in over 30 years....still the perfect place for a kid's party. No, not ideal - because it is a little grimey (just look at that orange carpet - on the floors and along the sides...yeah, that's why I mandated to the kids that before coming into the party room to grab snacks, a wet wipe has to be used!).

There were 11 girls that showed up for Mikayla's party, and it was super easy to coordinate as the girls were all decent enough skaters to be able to handle themselves, and our group consisted of nearly half the crowd in attendance.

Jonna decided to pay for Annika and Luke (Kenady's siblings) to stick around, and I had a blast catching Annika's antics with my camera....

In honor of her birthday, they descend this inflated cake down to the floor and let Mikayla stand next to it alone in the rink while everyone sings "Happy Birthday".

Back in the party room, Mikayla requested her favorite pumpkin cupcakes. She chooses them every year, and it's becoming clear that not everyone is in love with these as she is - next year, I might make some chocolate back-ups!

Back out on the rink, the kids played a Monkey Race - Kenady came in first place while Mikayla cruised into second....

I did end up putting rollerskates on, and after taking pics, I grabbed Mikayla's hand and we went around and around. Before we knew it, there were about five girls connected to us - and we were all dancing and having fun to the song "Dynamite". It was a precious, memorable moment indeed until I did something.....and boom, fell flat on my tailbone. My first response was "Who did I take down with me and are they hurt?" And, after realizing they were all okay, next on the concern was John's camera. Luckily, no injury there either. But my tailbone..... owwwwwweeeeee! I'm very aware of that injury - every time I sit down, rolled over through the night, get up to walk....yeah. I don't fall very often on these excursions, I'm way too careful (to offset my lack of coordination), so this hasn't happened in a while. Oh well, at least it didn't hit my neck.....

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Regarding the New Picture on the Left Side

If you scroll down beneath the "About Me" on the left side, you'll see a picture box that says "Praying for Joanne". I decided to put that "button" on my blog so that those of you who check my site out would consider joining in prayer for this woman.

Last week, "Joanne" - a mom of two girls, an author of three books, and based on her blog posts - a wonderful, transparent, extremely enjoyable woman - suffered a massive stroke. She's the same age as me and the idea of this happening is just unimaginable. As soon as I found her blog (three different sources who have no connection to each other led me there via Facebook or their blogs), I felt drawn in compassion to this woman, her heartbroken husband, and her terrified children. Her husband "Toben" is doing a phenomenal job keeping everyone updated on her condition. It's quite the rollercoaster as she has suffered a lot of brain damage and everything possible is being done to stop the swelling that has been at critical levels in her brain. Joanne's recovery will undoubtedly be a long road with no guarantees, but I know that it's circumstances like this that make this huge world of ours so much smaller, when we find ourselves connected in prayer over someone we've never even met.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Still Alive.....and Hacking

No, not as in computer in coughing hacking!

We're definitely on the road to recovery, but given the fact that up until a day or two ago, John was still coughing...this cough thing lingers. (He first got sick two days before Christmas).

I'm singing praises though - we're getting through this. I sent both of the kids to school on Thursday (knowing they had Friday and Monday off) - Mikayla lasted until about 10:30 - but it was enough time for me to [finally!] get back to the gym and get to the store. (That one time I made it to the gym on the Tuesday prior to getting sick hardly qualified as a good start to better habits!).

I'm also quite pleased that through all of this extra time hanging low at home, my kids are getting along surprisingly well. They seem to realize they are "in this together" and have enjoyed being goofy together. What's super funny is when one of them says or does something funny and then they both end up laughing, invariably they both break into hacking, coughing fits.... It seems to be a little bit like yawning, once one of them starts everyone around kicks in.

Brayden finally got the chance to get out of the house and do something fun today. He was asked by his buddy, Jack to go to the UCLA-Oregon basketball game with some other buddies for Jack's birthday. What made it a truly special event was the fact that its the second time a basketball game has played in the brand new Matthew Knight Arena (aka Matt Court). It's an amazing facility, another major investment to the UO. Hopefully, it will help draw future recruits to our basketball program, as currently our team doesn't have a lot to offer....

And, folks, that's about it. John helped his mom move into a new home for herself nearby today...(John tells me its very cozy) - and Mikayla and I worked on a few party favors for her Tuesday afternoon birthday party at the local rollerskating rink (its been around forever, I think I even had a party there!). Maybe by Tuesday I'll actually get some new fun pictures up on this blog.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Infirmary

It's the third day that the kids are home sick. I was told that what we have is a highly contagious respiratory viral infection that runs its course in about 7-10 days. So, even though, during the hours from about 10am until 1pm, you'd really not guess that my kids are all that "under the weather" (outside of the nasty cough), by the afternoon they are couch-bound again and even running slight temps. Nobody is going through major suffering here, but it's actually me feeling like I need to be a responsible parent in not sending them back to school to infect everyone around them.

Yesterday, we visited both schools to see what we've been missing. Of course, Mikayla will be able to catch up with no issues, but I was starting to feel my own panic issues as we talked to Brayden's teachers. As has been the case throughout this year, he doesn't seem to be too phased, but we will be implementing a little homeschool this mid-morning. Ironically, both schools have Friday and Monday off, so I'm determined to get them back tomorrow.....and then, by God's grace - by Tuesday's next day of school....we'll all be "back to normal".

Whatever "normal" is these days....I can't believe the contrast as I'm putting our activities on my dry-erase whiteboard how wide-open and empty we are in January and February. September, October, November, December - they are all jam-packed, with practically every afternoon and weekend booked. SO not the case now. It's good, but different.

So, the goal will be to use the time wisely. To practice wise habits, keep a "joyful always" outlook, and conquer some projects that have been on the to-do list way too long. All of that requires some discipline, but honestly, after being forced to have so much cooped-up bed rest, I'm kind of looking forward to the new challenge.

One thing to be proclaimed for sure - "I get by with a little help from my friends". Yesterday, I was pretty down. The Duck's loss, still not getting past this bug, other just had me discouraged. While my human nature wanted to curl up in a ball and sulk for the night by myself, I didn't have that option as it was Bible Study night. And, what do you know, but those girls just "flipped the switch" for me in terms of changing my outlook. Now, if I can just keep the switch turned on, that will be the trick.....

Monday, January 10, 2011

Tough Way to Go Down, But SO Proud of Our Ducks

Oh man, what a game. Tied up at the very end, and then a fluke "no down" call allows the Tigers to make it to the half yard line. The win was wrapped up with a field goal.

It was a fierce battle. There was one call that I believe should have been given to us us - we should have had the pass interception early in the game. But, besides that, it was a shoot-out, and the [physically] bigger, stronger guys ended up on top.

I'm super proud of our team, though - they absolutely showed up and gave it their all.

And I couldn't have asked for a better group of people to come watch the game with us. The Schillings made the trip down, despite the fact that everyone has school and work tomorrow. Michael even brought some posters with him that he'd put together regarding the match-up. I think he deserves a Duck jersey next Christmas, because somewhere in that heart of his, there bleeds a little yellow and green.... =)

The Quigleys and Whites were among our crowd as well - just the perfect balance of intensity and semi-inappropriateness that we can all appreciate. By the end of the game if we heard one more mention of how AWESOME Cam Newton is or how it's the "SEC" playing the game vs. merely Auburn.....blehhhhhhh!

Tough loss, but what a ride. Proud to be a DUCK!

A final parting quote that demonstrates one more reason why we're so proud:
"You know who I thought was the star [of the BCS Championship Game]? The coach at Oregon, because he didn't leave anything in the bag. He had fake punts, he had fake extra points - he was trying to win, and win by having a lot of fun." -Tony Kornheiser on PTI today

It's. Never. Been. Bigger.

Not for the University of Oregon Duck Football team - that is. And not for the die-hard fans.

Tonight, we play for the National Championship. The biggest game a collegiate team can play in. The winner of this game will be the UNDISPUTED NATIONAL CHAMPIONS.

It is all very surreal, made even more so by this foggy mindset resulting from being sick, but it's big, and it's happening.

We're nervous. We hope our Ducks get out there and "find their rhythm" from the moment the game starts. We hope that they can stop the infamous Cam Newton (all ESPN announcers ever talk about) - and his big, strong and powerful team. We hope that the speed of our offense continues to dominate, despite the fact that Auburn has had over a month to try to "catch up" in terms of tempo.

But, even if it all falls apart, we are proud of our team. We are proud that they are "livin' the dream" and taking all of us with them. Way to go Ducks!

But, please, just one more time.....WIN THE DAY!!!!!!

Friday, January 07, 2011

A Hearty Helping of Humble Pie

Have I ever admitted on this blog that I'm not an individual overflowing with compassion? If I haven't before, I am now. For sure, if I know a person's backstory, I can engage empathy and it kicks in, but in general I'm kind of a "suck it up and get it done" sort of person.

As a child, I didn't cry much, particularly when I was hurt. It's not that Mom and Dad modeled that, it's just the way Michele and I both were. We took pride in not revealing just how bad something hurt or crying in front of people. (Mom and Dad, on the other hand, could both be found shedding tears to "101 Dalmations" - they were a little puzzled as to what our problem was, especially when even one of our dog's dying didn't even kick on the waterworks. I think it must have been a hormone thing, because I don't think I've ever cried more than I did when, prior to my senior year, our other beloved dog died.....apparently, as children, we just kind of lacked that crying element).

Anyway, perhaps due to that, perhaps due to the headaches that I get as often as I do, when someone (like my husband), comes home and tells me he's not feeling well - but, when pressed the only symptom he can come up with besides lethargy is "chills", I'm afraid I'm just not overwhelmed with sympathy. Especially when it's two days before Christmas and three days before a major family vacation. However, I know I did my best to provide the nurturing support my husband seemed to long for, but I admit, it was not easy.

Fast forward two weeks and what do you know? That same little "bug" that took out John, has attacked me. It has completely destroyed my body's internal thermostat. One minute I'm freezing despite 6 layers of clothing and blankets, the next I'm burning up, sweating through all of them. I am not exaggerating when I say that I soaked through 7 sets of clothes yesterday (I know, TMI...) - and ended up taking 4 baths. (And, can I just whine that "energy efficient" water heaters suck! Wouldn't it be glorious to run a bath at full force and not run out of hot water half way up? I keep it at a slow trickle to last as long as possible....).

Today has been slightly better. I've had less of the temperature fluctuations, a little more energy, but unfortunately, the spiky cough has come on with a vengeance (all stuff John dealt with). It feels very deep, very rattly, and has me reaching for the Mucinex every 4 hours in hopes of not contracting pneumonia (not that I ever have, but this is one unique little bug!).

I have had lots of "thinking time" through all this, as it's put my agendas and plans to a screeching halt. In an effort to see the glass "half full", here's my list of praises regarding coming down with this illness:

1.) My attitude of compassion, and how I really need to adjust it - particularly with my family members who I tend to expect to "buck up" more than others.

2.) The concern over the house. At this point, it's just NOT GETTIN' DONE. Period. I don't have the energy and have actually come close to not really caring. I can barely walk through my bedroom for all of the Sunriver bins, Christmas presents, and laundry....but, it's just not a priority.

3.) Hunger. My caloric intake prior to the new year was consistently quite high for a good chunk of time. Adjusting to an intake that would help me lose weight was not proving to be fun (it NEVER is!) - however, this bug has me not so hungry. Granted, it'd still be great to feed it with a bunch of junk food, but we're past the time for that.

4.) That this thing doesn't involve a headache or nausea....HUGE! I think everyone would agree. And, that includes sinus pain too. I'm super thankful I'm not feeling that.

5.) It's encouraging the kids to "step up" in terms of taking care of themselves - lunches, clothing choices, etc.

Ummmm, that's about it. I hope the rest of you all are staying healthy and happy in this new start to 2011 - and haven't been handed any helpings of humble pie yet!

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Just Keep Moving...

I should download that as my "Theme Song" on my phone. That little soundbite of Ellen Degeneres as "Dori" in "Finding Nemo". That's definitely "my theme" right now!

Yesterday was one of the most dreaded "annual" days for me, the taking down of the Christmas decor. I know a lot of people love it, that whole "fresh start", "declutter" feeling, but not me. Yes, I appreciate having more room, and yes, it does look "cleaner", but nothing compares to the cozy atmosphere of having my home decorated for Christmas. As I was trying to take down two large trees without help and the floor was filled with decor, fir needles, bins, and boxes, and I just wanted to eat junkfood to make myself feel better (but, alas, that also is put away!) - I had to keep telling myself "Just Keep Moving".

Which is what I repeated again this morning, when 6:30 felt way too early. It was odd, as I had been waking up at that time to have the morning hot tub experience in Sunriver - it didn't seem like my body should resist so much. Only after waking up Mikayla did I realize why. In the effort to set my alarm clock, I pushed the regular time forward one hour - so yeah, that was 5:30am that I arose, not 6:30. No wonder!

And, I repeated "Just Keep Moving" again as I returned to the elliptical machine for the first time in a month. It's so cold outside and going down that long outdoor hallway at the gym to get to that machine of torture...."just keep moving, just keep moving, just keep moving".

Fundamentally, that's my mantra for this entire post holiday portion of the winter season. Keep moving, stay focused on the eternal vs. the overwhelming details that will drown me, and pretty soon the middle of March will be here. In Oregon, that doesn't necessarily equate to sunshine and 70 degrees, but it's much preferred than now. We'll get there.....

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Theme Song

Time for 2011. We are already 2 days into it, so I ought to start accepting that fact. Sometimes I feel a little intimidation in this first post of a brand new year knowing that it will be the kick-off of the future book that I compile these posts into. Generally, this is the less interesting, less fun and exciting time of year, with less posts and pretty pictures, so when I go back and re-read our books, it's kind of interesting to see that represented in the beginning.

Oh well, as I said in the previous post, it is more than time to start buckling down around here. The house is a mess, my body is a mess, there's still Christmas decor up (which makes sense as we were gone all week), and lots and lots of duffel bags and bins to unload. However, that will all begin tomorrow. Today, we will celebrate one more day of family time by driving up to the outlets and back over to the mall to do a lot of returns. I'm not so sure the kids will see this as the "time of their lives", but we'll have fun nonetheless.

Yesterday, upon everyone safely making the journey back over the snowy pass, we all met up at our house for pizza and bowl games. Upon realizing that my phone ringtones were still "Holly Jolly Christmas" (for Michele), and another Christmas melody for everyone else, I used my time to set forth on the task of determining a new ringtone for the year. I wanted to pick something that could last indefinitely, as perhaps I might feel the need to put on Rascal Flatt's "Summer Nights" on come mid-May, but beyond that, (and the holidays) I don't really want to mess with it. My pursuit of my perfect "theme song" soon became the point of laughter within the group. Travis was determined to "nail it" with something he found - and then kind of gave up and just went for super funny soundbites.

What I ended up realizing is that I wanted my ringtone to somehow "represent" ME - because clearly, when it goes off in public with folks glancing my way, my choice will say something about me. Long story short, I didn't figure it out. I looked at Disney's "Fantasmic" - as that represents such a sweet moment of happiness. I considered the Duck's "Fight Song", but after January 10th, that will get old in a hurry (and besides that, it is John's unique caller id sound, so I didn't want to mess with that). I found the "Hamster Song" and Brayden determined that HAD to be his caller ID song (no brainer, yes!). Of course, the obvious would be a Christian favorite song, but even that was hard, as I prefer a ringtone without words. I looked at old Rich Mullins songs, and Mark Schultz - songs with a happy beat, that would pep me up and encourage (and remind) whenever I heard them. I think that might be where the phone is set right now, but I don't think I'm done. I'm still searching. Eventually, Michael and Travis were pulling up 80's tv show theme songs - "Chips" and "Charlies' Angels" - they cracked me up, but definitely not it either. A movie song that represents me? Maybe, but I haven't thought of it yet.

So, what about you? Do you have the phone doing the old style telephone ring to alert you? Do you have a favorite song? How did you pick it? Do you change it often?

For many of us, this is the last day of the weekend of a break of some sorts (at least for kids). I hope however you spend it, it is memorable and sweet.