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Sunday, January 31, 2010

2010 Week #4

Not much to report this week.

Dynomite had dance and again loved it. Its all she talks about. And she is learning to talk much faster these days! The kids have enjoyed their last two swim lessons. I didn't feel well on Tuesday, so Travis took them. Trouble's instructor informed us that Trouble was confident enough in the water to take the real swim lessons. So Monday I will be signing him up for the Learn To Swim course. Monday night it snowed, so I thought MOPS would been cancelled. Thanks goodness it wasn't. While we were getting ready in the morning the kids were bouncing off the walls. It was then that I realized how much we all needed to go. Thankfully a friend called and asked for a ride. I like having someone with me when the road aren't so good. It takes my mind off of it. At MOPS we had an interesting discussion about parenting.

Wednesday my visiting teachers came over. The lesson this month was on the importance of being self-reliant. This is the quote that I liked:

"‘Self-reliance means using all of our blessings from Heavenly Father to care for ourselves and our families and to find solutions for our own problems.’ Each of us has a responsibility to try to avoid problems before they happen and to learn to overcome challenges when they occur. …
“How do we become self-reliant? We become self-reliant through obtaining sufficient knowledge, education, and literacy; by managing money and resources wisely, being spiritually strong, preparing for emergencies and eventualities; and by having physical health and social and emotional well-being.” ~ Julie B. Beck, Relief Society general president.

I would like to say that the world would be much better off if we were all striving to be self-reliant. I'm not saying we're prefect, but at least working toward it! Its a process that has to be constantly monitored and balanced every step of the way.

Thursday I babysat again. The kids are always up for visitors and playmates. It was 3 for 3, so everyone had someone to play with. I got very far in my book, so that was an added bonus. I also came down with a head cold, so I've been miserable for a few days. I've had a headache for 3 days now. It is bothersome, but as a parent you just keep going because there is more to life then a hurting head! Although, you wish it wasn't so!!

Friday morning I felt a little better. After Trouble went to preschool the rest of us went visiting teaching. It was a good experience. But after I picked up Trouble we cleaned the house and I crashed. I felt terrible. I slept on the couch while Backpack slept and Travis came home and played with the kids so I could keep on sleeping. At one point I heard, "Hey kids lets run to the store and pick something up for dinner." I popped awake! No way, kids are getting leftovers, you're taking me to dinner! We went to TGI Fridays. There is a $12.99 special for an appetizer, entree, and dessert. We each had steak, with 2 sides and shared the appetizer and dessert. I was spoiled and had the strawberry lemonade slush. We were stuffed. We headed home to watch Smallville in peace and then picked up the kids. We watched Angels & Demons because I just finished the book. Word to the wise: Do not take Tylenol PM BEFORE watching a movie!!

Saturday we went to a birthday party for several hours. There were crafts, lunch, cake, toys, kids, and adults. It was great! Plus, Travis got in some great study time. We came home and some took naps, some cleaned their ultra messy bedrooms, some sorted laundry, some studied. Can you guess who goes with which chore?? How the do the kids' rooms get so crazy? They don't even have toys in there! Just books, they love books, and the books get everywhere. We have more books than shelf space. That is the problem! After the kids went down that night I went to the dreaded grocery store. Travis offered to do it, but I knew I shouldn't push my luck! We watched "All About Steve". Cute, but definitely a rental movie.

Sunday morning Backpack woke up screaming. It's rare that any of our kids get up at night (Dynomite will use the potty, but she does it all herself). I changed his diaper, it was poopy, and Travis laid him back down. After church Travis went to lay Backpack down and found throw-up in his bed! Poor guy threw up this morning and we didn't even know. No wonder he was so fussy at Church! He did better after his nap. The kids Skyped with Yaya, then she called me later to give me all the good gossip! Sundays are that fun! I'm also ecstatic that next Sunday I can start taking Backpack in to nursery! Hurray!!!

Here is to February and a new week!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

2010 Week #3: Family Fun

Might as well start the week off with tower building :-)

Monday was Martin Luther King Jr. day. Yeah for two things...the day off and sales! Cynthia and I hit the Prime Outlets in Jefferson early in the morning. We found some great deals at Carter (they had the best), Osh Kosh, The Children's Place ($5 cords, can't beat that!!), and Gymboree. The only times I've actually gone on shopping sprees for my kids, without my mom, is with Cynthia. She's a good influence :-)
When she dropped me off at home, the house was empty. Travis took the kids to the AF museum. I packed lunch and met him there. And this is what the kids were doing:

Rolling around on the floor! Thanks goodness that place is free! Trouble loves museums, so this is a great place for us to hang out. We didn't each lunch there. I thought the cafeteria was just a room of tables, where you could have the option to buy food. But its more like a cafe. We ate in the car. Trouble has been dying to go bowling. So we called it an early FHE activity and drove to base. Luckily we got there and stated a game before 3pm, so it was cheap. The kids had fun pushing the balls down the dragon kid ramp. We made it through one game, then the kids were done!
Backpack was so excited to push the ball. This is his first time bowling. He couldn't walk the other times!
Watching the ball...
Preparing for his happy dance...
And then he'd do a happy dance. We tried to film it, but he got stage fright!
Trouble's turn:
Dynomite's next:
You can do it!!
And there is his strike!
One happy boy!
Dad going in for his spare:
The final scores were: Dad - 112, Dynomite - 67 Trouble and Backpack - 58
Tuesday the kids and I packed a lunch and went out to Stillwater Methodist church for a playgroup for MOPS. Inside the church is a play area just like the ones you see at McDonalds, minus the grime. We stayed for several hours. Later that night the kids had swim lessons. Trouble has really taken to the water. The depth of the pool starts out over 3 feet, so the instructor put a table in the water, so the kids could stand and not be in over their heads. He teacher has to often remind Trouble to stay on the table. Dynomite is still cold. The wetsuit is a huge help, though.

Wednesday is the babysitting swap. This week we were a little confused about who was going where, so they didn't get in as much time to play. If it was up to the girls, they'd play all day everyday together! After Trouble came home from school we got to watch a friend of his. He was so excited to have his friend over. He's a good kid to watch, so I didn't mind at all. They had a blast playing cars and games. Later that night I held my meeting for our next RS meeting in March. I was having a hard time coming up with a theme. That is what a committee is for, so now we're all squared away!
Thursday we went to a potluck lunch at a friends house. She had a ton of ladies from the ward, and friends she knew from other bases. It was nice to have some 'lady time'. Her house was perfect to fit all of us and with a big playroom downstairs. We ate well and had good company. Thursdays are our down days, so its nice to have somewhere to go. And swim lessons again that night.
Friday was a little blah! School, playing, cleaning, eating, nose wiping, blah, blah, blah. Since I spent the day deep cleaning I wasn't up for cooking so we took the kids to Cassano's pizza. A few months ago the kids joined the Cassano's kids club by eating part of an anchovy. They have coupons to for a free personal pizza whenever we visit. Friday nights are our other swap. Travis and I got to see Sherlock Holmes and LOVED IT!! We made a point to read a book from or based on every country we've visited. Since we lived in England we read The Complete Works of Sherlock Holmes. Media has quite a few misconceptions of Holmes and Watson. But this movies the closest representation we've seen. Watson is not the bumbling idiot you often seen. He was a medic in the army and keeps up with Holmes just fine. Watson actually journals his adventures with Holmes. He is usually the one carrying a weapon. Holmes is a bit eccentric, and is not orderly or all that proper. He does a bit of cocaine to take the edge off. The books are fascinating because Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was describing forensic techniques even before the police were using them (ie fingerprinting, handwriting analysis, analytical chemistry, toxicology, etc...)

Saturday we bummed around. Travis was waiting for us to leave so he could study. I decided to take the kids the Huffman Prairie Flying Field Interpretive Center. The field nearby is where "Wilbur and Orville Wright developed the world's first practical plane and spent countless hours flight-testing various models of the their aircraft, and at their aviation school training others to take the controls." I started to get the kids ready and Travis came down and said if we weren't out too long that he'd go with us. I knew he'd cave in! Unfortunately, the address I had was bad and we went on a wild goose chase to find the museum. We finally called and had to use...gasp...a map to find our way there. Thank goodess the internet on phones!

A few key things we learned:
The evolution of the Air Force base. Mr. Patterson donated the land for the government to develop into an airfield to help the development of flight. That land combined with the fields the Wright brothers used made Wright-Patterson AFB. Patterson, interestingly enough, is the founder of NCR (National Cash Register...now they make ATMs). The Fortune 500 company that recently left Dayton.
This is a photo of a replication of the controls that the Wright brothers used to fly their plane. Basically it is a string to let them know the wind and if they were flying straight.
Here are the more modern controls we see today. The top is of planes 20 years ago, the bottom is a screen found in planes today. That is an example of the how complex flying has become.This is the field the Wright brothers used to test their flying ability. The owner told them they could practice freely as long as they moved the horses and cattle from the field before using it.

The kids enjoyed an interactive video. Trouble lounging while watching:
He is watching the top screen while Dynomite chooses what to watch on the bottom screen.
A quote I thought was neat, "More than anyone I have ever known or read about, the Wright brothers gave me the sense that nothing is impossible. I like to think...that the Air Force has rooted its traditions in that spirit" - General
The Wright brothers did all their did research and building from their own money. So before they real eased their finding to the world they got a patent. That was smart! Before we left we watched a video of the development of flight and the Wright brothers influence on WPAFB.
An outside memorial to the Wright brothers. The kids got another stamp in their passport to get the "Wright" bear.
Sunday was a lazy day! Here a picture to end the week:

Monday, January 25, 2010

Summer Visit Home Part 10 - Last Day in Portland

This morning we got up, got ready for church and packed up the hotel room. Unfortunately we were food less, so we stopped by the grocery store to get enough food to last us lunch, dinner and airplane snacks. We went to a nearby 'park'. It is actually a grassy center of a traffic circle. We lounged and ate until church started.

A beautiful example of why Portland is called the "City of Roses".

We attend my original family ward. It has since combined with another ward and moved to the building I was baptised in and had our wedding reception in. It is a beautiful building. It was nice to see some familiar faces and catch up with a few people. Unfortunately we left halfway through the last hour because an older family friend tripped and had to be taken to the hospital. Yaya went with her, and we had to pick Yaya up before her plane left Portland. With all that sorted out we took the kids to a playground and let them play for a while. We had a long flight home, so we need all the energy out! The flight home went well, except some trouble with Delta...but that seems expected these days!! We finally got home exhausted, but happy with oodles of great memories!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Summer Visit Home Part 9 - 10 Year HS Reunion

After Backpack's party we met up with Papa. My parents sold their house in Portland. Before that Dad did some work inside that I hadn't seen. Papa was waiting for us at the neighbors house. When we arrived, him and Uncle Al took us over to the house and knocked on the door. The new owner was real nice and let us look around. I wanted to cry. I had spent the majority of my childhood here and now I'll never go back! It seemed so empty! In the backyard is an apple tree. The first owner' son went to the same elementary school I attended. One day he brought home an apple tree and planted in the backyard. It's the same tree! Unfortunately, its dying so the new owner is having it taken out :-( The house was built by a barge builder. His wife loved to bake. The kitchen was huge with a breakfast nook. It has large bins that held the flour and sugar. It even had a 'cold cupboard' that was open to the outside, with a screen barrier, to put food in. Since she was a baker some of the door openings were a big larger than usual. She also babysat kids. One of our neighbors would come over and tell us stories about the family that lived there. At one point Mom wanted to strip the wall paper to paint. There were way too many layers to strip through, so that project was axed. Apparently she also like to decorate. The house also had built in mahogany shelves and drawers. It was a neat house, with hardwood floors. Because it was so old, there is a lot of upkeep. We were only the third owners. Alas, the sale was meant to be. The owners, hopefully, will enjoy the house and love it as much as we did.

Anyway, with Papa we went to a nearby park and let the kids play for some time. Again, no pictures!! After playing we took Papa back to the neighbors and headed to our hotel room. Travis and I got ready to go to my 10 year high school reunion. Yaya and Linda took care of the kids for us. They had quite an adventure trying to get them to Red Robin for dinner!

We got dressed up. I had a cute little black dress from Dress Barn and Travis wore his black slacks and white shirt. The reunion was at Grand Central Bowl. I was a little bummed that I couldn't convince Anne to go and most of the people I hung with were either not interested in going or lived away. The reunion committee rented half of the upstairs were the bar was. They paid, I thought, way to much for what was there. Apparently what we really paid for was the open bar! We don't even drink! There was promises of dinner, but no tables to sit at. Dinner was pizza, chicken wings, chips and dip, and vegetables. Um....we could've eaten at Pizza Hut for less! And who puts finger foods on the menu when you're trying to look nice...Hello, its not a Superbowl party!! We didn't even get a game of bowling out of it!! Our school wasn't huge. The graduating class was almost 300. (I remember sitting though graduation and wondering who some of the people were that walking across the stage). So out of that number, there may have been maybe 50 people there, including significant others. So we chatted with the people I knew and watch some of a slideshow (full of pictures of the people that put this together and their friends...go figure!) and ate. After that we decided to leave. Of course all the juicy gossip I got from that night doesn't belong on the blog...sorry! That is between Anne and I :-) My friend Sharon did tell us that her husband is in a band called Pristine Blue and that they were playing at The Ponderosa that night. (If you get a chance, check out their website found here.) Well, we were already dress up and the kids were with the best babysitter ever so why not. We went over there and had a great time dancing the night away.

Why even go to a 10 year HS reunion? We went to Travis' and had a great time! It was also a great excuse to go to Portland! The committee just did what they consider fun...chatting and drinking! Sounds like a great party for...high school kids...not 28 year olds with careers and kids....oh wait, that would just be us. I easily would've got the award for 'The Most Domesticated Life'. It wasn't a huge let down. There were some people that I able to catch up with and I got to show off my gorgeous husband, so all was not lost! (Maybe you're reading this thinking that I didn't completely enjoy myself because I was complete nerd in HS....well that's not ENTIRELY true... *wink wink*)

We got back to the room and the kids were all sleeping soundly! One last post and our trip is complete.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Summer Visit Home Part 8 - Backpack's 1st Birthday

The morning of Backpack's 1st birthday we went to visit the Aeders. My family has known them for almost 25 years. They lived kitty corner to our first home in Portland when I was in Kindergarten. Rick is always working on something! He is now laying a brick foundation to put in a fence. We stole a look around their garden:
Pondering the sunflower:
After a brief visit we, picked up a cake at Costco and headed over to Chuck E. Cheese. If you know my family, you know that we love a good party and try to find any excuse to have one and invite as many people as possible. We try to incorporate the friends we have from all aspects of our lives: neighborhood, school, church, scouts, work, past and present. And there is no better way to celebrate than Chuck E. Cheese style! We got the birthday package with extra pizza's and tokens.
Here are the kids enjoying lunch: Daddy wearing Backpack's 'Birthday Crown'. Give that back, that is mine!
Here is a group shot of the Chuck E. Cheese band. The group members consist of:
Chuck E. Cheese (mouse) – vocals, entertainer
Helen Henny (hen) – vocals
Mr. Munch (purple monster) – keyboards, band leader, songwriter, vocals
Jasper T. Jowls (hound dog) – guitar, vocals
Pasqually E. Pieplate (Italian pizza chef) – drums, percussion, accordion, vocals
(Please don't be freaked out...I had to look that up!)
Part of the package was to have the band sing "Happy Birthday" to Backpack. It was actually quite the show with lots of singing and shouting and parading around the room.
Backpack is eyeing that cake. Um, what to do, what to do!
With the Big Cheese!

Yaya did a good job getting pictures of all the people who attended. I hope we have everyone! If there isn't a picture of you and you were pretty sure you were there, then e-mail me a picture of you and Travis can photoshop you in :-) I will use only adult first names on the blog for security reasons.
These are our good friends, Steve and Jenny, from college. They actually came to visit us when we lived in England. They now have a beautiful son.
Good ol' Uncle John, from Papa's side of the family.
My best friend from high school (who I still like to razz on facebook), Anne and her husband Brandon.
Nasa and Courtney. Yaya and I use to work with Nasa and Courtney is her grand-daughter. They're a package deal, and we like it that way :-)
Yaya's bestest friend Linda (we met her husband earlier in the post) with TJ. Linda takes very good care of me and my mom. She's always been there for us. Someday I will write an 'Ode to Linda'. Stefanie is sporting her husband, Nathan, and one cute little lady. I cannot believe she has a kid! Stefanie is practically my little sister! I about fainted when I saw her driving for the first time! Time flies when you're having fun!
And here is the little lady. Aww, isn't she cute! She lucky to have such great parents.
Here is my best friend, Karen, from, gasp, Kindergarten and her mom Vivian (who probably knows me a little too well)! Yes, we have stayed in touch THAT long. Her daughter is a little older than Dynomite. My dad must have thought that I only had one friend in the whole world because he called them ALL Karen.
Rachel is another friend from high school. We have, gratefully, reconnected through those devious *wink wink* social networking sites. Rachel is a great friend and I'm very glad to be reintroduced into her adult life. She was accompanied by her hubby Jason and their wonderful kiddos.
Here is a picture of my awesome church family. Bill (the goofy, gray headed, glasses wearing guy) that is always up for a laugh...at either of our expenses. He has the largest family I know. Thank goodness he didn't bring all of them because we would've gone bankrupt feeding them. Haha, although it would've been nice see some of them. He knew there would be cake, and he didn't want to share. Just teasing you! You know I love ALL of you guys!
Also here is another huge part of my life, JoLene with her daughters Nicole (with her kiddos) and Stephanie (who is practically my big sister). Steph's husband Scott and kiddos were there too.
I don't have a picture of Mandy or Emily, both from my Senior Girl Scout Troop. Them and others from our troop have been able to stay in contact though the years.
I don't also have a picture of Shirley. A wonderful family friend that has taken me under her wing to show me some finer points in life.
Robin and Erin were also here to celebrate with us. We also know them from church, and its always great to see them.
It was so amazing to have so many people from so many aspects of my life gathered together to share my baby's birthday. These are the people that I love coming home to see (plus others that weren't able to make it). They are the reason that I will always consider Portland my home.

Enough sappy, more cake!
Did I make that mess??
Yes I did and I'll do it again!
Happy Birthday to me!
Having fun at Chuck E. Cheese:

Yaya, what are you doing up there? Yeesh!

This is how you know it was a good party!

Thank for celebrating Backpack's 1st Birthday with us! We love you guys!!
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