Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Taste of Tuesday

Did anybody else have a hard time figuring out what day of the week yesterday was?  It seems I was either stuck on Monday or already pushing to Wednesday.  Not complaining, though....having a three day weekend is always a wonderful thing!

My morning began with a visit to my mom.  I felt bad as she called earlier in the morning asking how I was doing.  She'd been recovering from a cold and wondered if I really wanted to go out for a "Bodywork Session".  Um, sorry Mom, but based on the pain I've been in lately....yeah?!!   Hopefully the Dutch Bros latte and form Dad had me print out on their behalf (their internet is down) helped the fact that I was pushing her energy level.

So, every time I go out there, Mackie (Mom and Dad's wired haired fox terrier), is HAPPY to either see me or embrace his beloved Sydney.  However, lately, even Sydney hasn't been enough of a distraction to keep him out of the therapy room.  Because I've "allowed it" in the past, Mackie now feels like it is his right to lay atop my stomach when Mom works on me.  So, as soon as the door is open, he is leaping to the top of the massage table ensuring he gets his spot.  (At times, his momentum has pushed the table away from him and he's ended up on his butt on the floor...that's kind of funny too.).  Yesterday, though, Sydney, decided she was NOT going to be left out, leapt on to the table too.  Um, for you - even if you lost the weight you need to, you are still too big to lay across my stomach!  They were pretty proud of themselves if you can't tell:

Mom did help tremendously - and I sure hope she's feeling better too.  Next stop, off to purchase a badminton set.  Kind of by accident did it dawn on me that that is yet another activity we could easily pull off on our backyard court.  Target had a sweet deal going on with a badminton/volleyball/net set for $16....didn't need the net stuff but everything else would come in handy.  (And, it was in Duck colors!).  Unfortunately, after giving the kids the lecture that the rackets were ONLY to be used to hit the birdies and not any other ball (or any other person...hmmmm JOHN!), I was the first one to snap my racket - just trying to pick the birdie up from the ground.  No kidding, no pressure applied, it just snapped.  Yup, Target's going to be getting a return visit from me this morning and I'll be on the lookout for more "Riley-proof" sports equipment somewhere else.  Fortunately, a tennis racket worked for the rest of our family play was a hoot and felt so right to be outside as a family unit all playing together.  (Even Syd felt the need to participate....we kept her busy with a tennis ball, otherwise we would have lost our birdies to her mouth as she was determined to be a part of the action!). 

A phone call with Julie and a visit/hang out with Kaela also made for a wonderful Tuesday afternoon.

Now, a few pics of the weekend...

A cute one of precious that puggle, and oh how he loves his Schilling family.  He also loves me and any animal that loves me earns that same affection right back....

A couple shots of our front yard (now our only yard....don't need that "front" adjective anymore!).  John put in so many hours power washing, edging, pruning, putting in pavers, and laying bark made Michele and I feel super guilty as we vegged indoors with our Kindles!

And, something super special....I got to feel Whitley kick! (Or at least roll around...she kind of has performance anxiety for anyone besides Stephie and Travis).  The pic taken of both Michele and I's hands on Steph's belly turned out a little odd no matter how I cropped it, but trust me, it was a special moment!

Sunday, May 27, 2012


Yesterday, quite by accident, the Oregon Ducks softball game in the sub-regionals against Texas came up on the tv.  When I noticed it, the family all got interested, well at least the adults present - John, Michele and I.  John had worked his rear-end off (and is back at it right now) polishing up our front area with new pavers, new bark dust, trimming shrubs and trees, and edging.  Ending the day watching some very competitive and entertaining softball was just what he had in mind. 

It turned out that the Ducks beat Texas in the second game pushing to a third game play-off last night.  (Texas won the first one).  The Ducks dominated in the third game and are now headed to the Womens' NCAA World Series for the first time since 1989...very cool.

Watching it all, however, brought back memories of my all of my own softball experiences.  Memories that span a myriad of years, emotions, and physical pain. 

Michele and I began playing summer softball in fifth grade.  She found her "home" (figuratively and literally as in "home plate") as a catcher.  I, on the other hand, wandered a bit in my placement.  When I was at my softball-playing "peak", however, second base or shortstop were my favorites.  I loved moving with every play, covering two different bases at with any given hit.

We played summer ball until middle school and then began double duty with play during the school year as well.  As freshman, we both made the freshman team, then as sophomores and juniors, it was JV.  Whether it's a good thing or bad thing, our particular high school class excelled in sports.  That made the competition very tough to get very far on teams, but it didn't stop us from trying.  So, I have to say, when I was a junior and one of the oldest and most experienced players on the team - it felt GREAT!  That was the season where I felt like I really contributed - and not just as the "most inspirational".  Being a small kid (I didn't reach my full height of 5'6" until I was a senior in high school), I wasn't much of a power slugger, but I knew how to bunt - which was my specialty.  Not only was I almost always able to guarantee that the player on first base was able to advance to at least second base, but more often than not, due to my proper placement of the ball - I was able to get to first base myself (an accomplishment as I'm not fast either).  I was team captain (Michele was often called up to play catcher for varsity at that time) and I loved the leadership as well.  We also had the most incredible combination of coaches...two gals, Sherrie and Shari that were so sweet and supportive.  The only negative to that year was that my throwing form started to tweak.  I don't know know why, but it involved my elbow and resulted in excruciating pain.  I would hold my elbow in my mitt at times, just trying to suck in the pain...

After that wonderful school year playing experience, it was a huge let-down to play summer ball for a team that was thrown together and much less powerful than our opponents.  It was also coached by the duo of coaches that were the varsity coaches during the school year.  Our health teacher, Genny Revell, and an older guy, Dwight, that knew his stuff but was not exactly warm-fuzzy.  It was early in the summer game season, maybe the third game we played that I miraculously made it on first base (I think I was walked).  This team was beating us up bad.  Dwight gave me the signal to steal second base - so off I went.  I slid - and was SAFE...but, my left foot that kicked up and behind my right leg ended up implanting into the dirt...while the rest of my body kept up with the momentum.  Uh huh...that's not a good thing.  I broke my fibula in two places and I think, cracked my tibia.  It was all down next to the ankle - so essentially, for all intents and purposes, that's what I broke. 

I remember writhing in the dirt, PROUDLY not crying or screaming.  I did call for some help and Dwight came running out.  He began scolding me for not sliding the way he taught me and in a show of rare brashness, I informed him I didn't need his lecture, I need help off the field.  He did pick me up but not before wrenching off my helmet to give to the runner that took my place on second!  Once we got to the bench, my head coach (health teacher) took over.  You'd think that would be the ideal person to offer assistance, but, on the contrary, I'd taken her class already and knew all of her first aid actions myself.  I questioned why she was taking off my shoe when it could allow more swelling - and in another display of of sassy-ness let her know that I disapproved of her efforts to ask me all sorts of unrelated questions just to keep me distracted from the pain.  My parents went ahead and drove me to the hospital, a very inept x-ray technician who caused tremendous pain gasped as he looked at my results, and a doctor verified the bad news that I'd messed myself up good.  After having me swallow some pain meds, I bravely sent my parents away to sleep soundly and told them I'd see them in the morning.  Being the proud idiot I was back then, I refused the offer to take more pain meds when the first ones wore off.  Consequently, I was calling my parents at 5am begging them through tears to return before I went off to surgery.  I was told that if I woke up with a cast coming all the way up to my thigh, that meant that they were able to manipulate the bones externally to set it correctly.  However, if I woke up with a cast just up to my knee, that means I'd be setting off future metal detectors - as they'd have had to cut me open and set the bones with a rod inserted.  I vividly remember being wheeled happy.  Because the pain was so intense, I knew that I'd only have to endure for just minutes longer before blessedly being put to sleep.  When I woke up, the cast went all the way up to my mid thigh. 

On another post, I'll elaborate more on my experiences with that and the horrible summer that went with it - but as this is supposed to be a softball-centered post - I'll return to topic. 

Despite a bit of sliding phobia, I did end up playing varsity softball as a senior.  I was a bench warmer for sure, but will admit to one glorious left field catch that helped seal the deal for us to make it on to state play-offs.  I'm not sure if Thurston High School's softball team had ever gone to state, but I was on the team that had done it.  Unfortunately, we lost in the first round, so ended up 7th...but wow, it was a thrill to be a part of.  That's the only positive I can say for it.  It was a miserable season for me.  I was ending my experience on dance team simultaneously which was much more of a passion for me that softball had eroded into.  I couldn't throw to save my life.  I still can't.  Psychologically, I've completely erased the correct form to throw a sad.  I can overhand serve a volleyball, but can't throw a softball.  At least a few times a year, I dream about the pre-season open gyms we were urged to attend and being given "the talk" by Mrs. Revell about whether I'd play or not.  In my dreams, I give myself the liberty to quit.  To say "no".  To free myself from having to ALWAYS finish what I began - and to live without the misery that every practice was.  In reality, though, I earned the "Varsity Letter", gained a lot of memories of being on a very special team, ruined the pleasure the game would ever bring to me in terms of participation, and opened my mind to the idea that any activity my children pursue should be encouraged but never become bondage for them.  It was self-imposed for me - my parents would have never pushed me to do something I didn't love....but, obviously (especially evidenced with the dismissal of pain meds), pride had a lot to do with how I functioned back then.  

So, way to go Oregon Softball - but, gotta say, I'm so glad it isn't me out there playing!!!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Surprise Lunch Date

See those big ol' smiles on our faces?  That's the two of us getting a lunch date on a weekday.  That NEVER happens.  But, this year, Tyson and Gjusta (the owners of Tyson Steele Marketing where John works) decided that the team should start Memorial Day weekend early.  Bless them!  So, a little after noon, John arrived home and shortly after we headed off to Johnny Oceans for lunch together.  The sun was shining, our three day (plus!) weekend had begun and we were dining in a great restaurant owned by a fantastic family from our church.  In fact, Shawn, the owner, has a daughter who was not only one of Brayden and Mikayla's favorite counselor out at Camp Harlow, but she also helped us coach our girls' volleyball team this last fall.  Her name is Micaela - and I'm super excited she will be out at Harlow again this year, working alongside Brayden and hopefully being the counselor in charge of Mikayla, Nati, Ellie, Christina, and Erica's cabin.  =)

The restaurant serves outstanding sandwiches with a Hawaiian theme - delicious food, with an outstanding outdoor view, and uplifting conversation with Shawn.

It all seems like such a simple thing to blog about, but the unexpected fun of it all turned into something that will really imprint into both of our memories. 

Bad, Bad Blogger!

Honestly, I have no good excuses for my poor blogging behavior.  I have material I need to write about, I've had the time...just haven't had the motivation.  I'm gonna blame it on the rain that returned this week...

So, Memorial Day Weekend...we're here!!  That's often considered the unofficial start to summer, and my heart is soaring that I've gotten through that ugly portion of the year that I'm not a fan of.  Yesterday, I took down our UO Ducks flag outside the house and put up an American flag....and it will flap proudly in the wind until September.  Yeah Summer!!!

This week has had its ups and downs.  Recovering from headaches over the weekend on Monday was definitely a downer, but the second half of the week has been pain free - Hallelujah!

Last night we had a very poignant gathering of our "Thursday Night Ladies" group.   Many of the gals were struggling mightily with issues on their hearts and I feel like it's been a long time since we've been able to dive that deep and really be there for each other in prayer and support.  Of course, I wish they (we) didn't have to struggle, but I'm oh so thankful that our group (that's been less structured and dedicated in the last couple of months) are as tight as ever and faithful to bear one another's burdens.

Big three day weekend coming up and our plans are absolutely lackluster.  Any blockbuster agendas for y'all to report?  I'm just thankful that the sun is supposed to re-emerge and there won't be a garage sale taking place outside my door!!!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

GRRRRRRage Sale Day

It's been a long day.  But, it's ending well. 

This is what our garage looked like on Thursday.  Can you say overwhelming?  I sure could, and I did - again, and again, and again.  We all have our weaknesses, and while there might be things I can do when it comes to planning or organizing - this is NOT one of them.  I get paralyzed when it comes to garage sale prep - (much less moving....we don't ever intend to leave this house!).  

Because of the installation of the new HVAC system, we had to clean out our attic and that led to a whole lot of possessions being allocated for a future garage sale.  So much so, that we actually had to get a PODS unit and fill up our boat with the no longer wanted junk stuff.   As we would really like to NOT pay for additional storage each month and it is almost time to get that boat on the lake, it is now time to eradicate!

 So, at 4:45am, we awoke to have this area ready for 7am visitors.  Yes, that is the sun rising...

Brayden manned the entertainment table (at least for a while).  In the background, there's John's mom, giving us the prices on some of the antique items we no longer have use for - making sure we don't give a priceless possession away for a quarter!!!

Mikayla manned the refreshment stand.  Shockingly, she went through four 9x13 pans of them - selling them for $ .50 - $.75 depending on who asked the price.  =)  I'm glad we suggested doing this - it blessed some folks' day and made us some extra money!

The hours of operation for the garage sale were from 7am until 1pm - and beginning at 6:45, it was steady traffic until we cleared out the driveway to haul anything left to Goodwill at about 2:00.  Thank You Lord, there was very little left.  It was a very successful sales day and towards the end, because we knew we'd just be donating it anyway, hopefully we were able to bless some folks with arms laden with goods for practically nothing.  Despite that success, though - it will be many years before I ever desire to go through this again!

We had some incentive to get a nap in, and get the interior of the house looking as good as the garage now looks as our evening held some fun plans....much more fun than putting together a garage sale!

At our last bbq, Michael requested our "crew" set up another date bowling.  Tonight was the night.  Unfortunately, Kenjon couldn't make it, but we brought another friend named Drew in to fill his spot.  We also decided, upon gathering, that none of us were really in the mood to bowl, so we opted for some time playing basketball, Papa's Pizza, sports on tv, and homemade chocolate chip cookies instead.  Definitely much more fitting to my energy level!

Heather's not scared of dogs (much less Sydney) - nor was she really punching Michael in the face in the earlier pic.  We just happened to catch her in some peculiar poses.  Sydney was being very "moochy" for both attention and any food someone was eating tonight, so Heather was shying away from her.

Travis, on the other hand, will give Syd attention at any given moment.  (He's the reason she's on the couch in the first place). 

This is Drew.  We all know him best through his friendship with Kaela, so the rest of us were giving him the third degree in an effort to indoctrinate him into our "extended family" that love to hang out together.  (He passed the test...GREAT guy!).  In these next two pictures, Heather is confronting Drew.  She's been holding a grudge that at the Superbowl Party, where they hung out last, he was a fellow Patriot fan, but didn't offer his support to Heather when it felt like she was the only one rooting for them.  Of course, it was all in jest, but this second picture cracks me up as Heather is getting this burden off of her chest. 

While I'll admit, my normal nature after a day of forced people-interaction would be to retreat to the couch with my Kindle and just our family, but I'm SO GLAD we made this evening happen with everyone else.  LOVE these guys, and it's been too long since we've all hung out together.  Unlike the garage sale, hopefully, it won't take that long for THIS to happen again! 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Marvelous Mother's Day

I've been way too absent here on my blog.  It's been a bad headache week...I dealt with them over the weekend and due to some extra exertion exercising (try saying that five times fast!) - it turned into a major issue yesterday.  Fortunately, Mom was able to help me out - along with some Flexeril - a muscle relaxant which has me already desiring to go back to bed this morning.  It's unfortunate timing as I was supposed to be subbing at Yolanda today....hopefully getting a chance to say good-bye to some of those 5th graders I adore.  Sigh....getting tired of the headaches winning.

So, back to Sunday-

Here's how our day started: Special cards/gifts from our husbands and kids, Russian Tea at our sides, sunlight streaming in, and watching "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol" at Michael and Michele's.  Yes, not a bad way at all to start the morning.

Then, it was off to a local park where the flowers were blooming in such a way to create a beautiful backdrop for a photo shoot.  No one was really in the mood, though - particularly Mikayla who acted like visiting the dentist would be more fun than this:

Next stop:  Woodburn Outlets.  We didn't spend a ton of time shopping, but enough to satisfy with some good enough deals....

Finally, our adventures ended at "Famous Daves" about 45 minutes further north.  That restaurant has so many different foods I enjoy - anything from their onion strings, to honey cornbread muffins, drunkin' apples - and of course bbq'd meat.  You walk away so stuffed, because you just can't stand to leave anything behind.  We were able to move outside to sit and enjoy the 80+ degree temps.  PERFECT!

Upon returning to the Schillings, we watched "Thor" (after seeing the "Avengers" the previous weekend, we were determined to catch up on a little bit of backstories of the key characters....Friday night we watched "Iron Man 2").  Then, our Riley family packed up and headed home.  It was a MARVELOUS MOTHER'S DAY!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mr. and Mrs. Kau

Remember that bridal shower I hosted a few weeks back?  Well, the time has finally come for Miss Bobbi George to become Mrs. Bobbi Kau!  Hoo ray!!!!

The wedding was set at 2:00 pm up in Portland, so after arriving at the Schillings the night before, we left the kids with their cousins and set off north.  John and I were both in really good moods (the weather was spectacular) and it was so nice to just be able to chat with my best friend the way up and back - not to mention sit together in the chapel as we waited for it to start - recognizing by our body posture we were snuggling only taking up one and a half seats vs. the two we were supposed to. 

Becky was one of the bridesmaids - she looked STUNNING!

I love the expressions on these kids' faces...

Bobbi, with her mom and dad - so priceless!

Do you like Justin's shoes?  Courtesy of the UO Cheerleading dept.!

Justin is hugging Bobbi's mom, but he's only got eyes for this pic!

The reception was downstairs in the church's basement.  Instead of toasting with champagne or sparkling cider, they passed out "real sugar" Coca Cola bottles - the bride and groom's beverage of choice.

The cupcake (in lieu of wedding cake) table:

This happened when the maid of honor, Bethany, Bobbi's 16 year old sister, was supposed to give her toast.  She had written it out, however, when she went up to give the speech, she lost it crying so she ended up having her brother read it.  Given it was written from a girl's point of view (i.e. lamenting not sharing clothes anymore) it was quite a bittersweet funny moment hearing her words come out of her brother's mouth!

First dance (last three pics courtesy of Kaela - we left right before this began). 

Our date ended up at Willamette Valley Fruit Company east of Salem.  We had a Groupon for pies from there that was about to expire.  Given that they were giving out free pie slices to mothers on that Saturday, we figured it was a win-win stop.  John was very impressed with the business and I eagerly anticipate the day we'll cook up those freezer-bound marionberry and raspberry-rhubarb pies for celebratory consumption!!