Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Happy Birthday, Taylor!

Taylor had a great birthday party with 7 other little boys in attendance! It was a wild couple of hours and we all had so much fun. He loved his "Rescue Vehicle Birthday." (He had chosen a fire engine theme, but then decided that was too confining, so he "re-themed" it. :-) Now, although it's nearly impossible to believe, our little Tay-Tay is the BIG FOUR. In January, he's going to have his first forray into organized sports with a little class on soccer, basketball, and baseball (half an hour, once a week, lots of fun). Then it'll be preschool, and then (so I'm told), he'll be 18 and headed off to college. :-)

Monday, November 13, 2006

Today, I'm thankful for our boys' animated sayings. They see the world in such a unique way.

1. Tonight, the boys listened to my heart beating. Taylor was excited that he could "hear it." I asked him what it sounded like, and he told me it sounded like jelly squishing around. Aric listened and, in an effort to match big brother, squealed, "It sound like PEANUT BUTTER!!"

2. This morning, Taylor went and picked out his "day clothes" to get dressed. He came rushing back out to the living room and told us "I got my SUPERHERO day clothes, so I can SAVE THE DAY!" Who knew backwards sweat pants held secret powers?

Friday, November 10, 2006

Montana Highlights

As you can see from the pictures below, we did get to go fishing and we had a blast. It was very cold, but a lot of fun. Jeremy didn't end up getting a mule deer. He saw a number of good-sized ones, but no "trophy-level" bucks. I don't mind that we "only" have an elk, because that's MORE than enough meat to fill our freezer to overflowing. :-) Our Montana vacation was wonderful and the boys did great. In the past, they've been ready to come home after about a week, but as they grow older, they're getting over that. They also did great on the way home, and now we're all settled back in to our Oregon routines (except that they're still waking up a little too early. It was difficult to have the hour time change and then daylight savings on top of that. Our first morning home, Aric was up for the day at 4:52 - NOT FUN! Now we're working on stretching it to about 6:30.). Now our "event calendar" is empty. We've done so many fun things already this year, but this was the last big trip we were looking forward to. We'll have lots of fun times in December, I'm sure, but it's nice to not be mentally gearing up for any more big trips.

1) Howdy from the Halloween Cowboys!
2) Aric went electric at the playground
3) Aric helped Daddy display his elk antlers
4) Taylor and Grumpy fishing - Grumpy made sure the boys did the work of reeling in the fish, so it "reely" was their catch!
5) Taylor's slimy prize! (He loved touching it and stuck around for the WHOLE biology dissection before we enjoyed it for dinner. He was so excited to see all of the different parts and learn about it's systems and muscles and bones. Once it was nearly filleted, he said, "Oh, is this salmon?" because it was finally recognizable as fish that you eat rather than fish that swim. :-)
6) Grammy, Grumpy, and Aric with his big fish
7) Taylor and Grumpy with the day's catch - a 5-pounder for Taylor and a 3.5-pounder for Aric

*NOTE* Please be sure to notice the next post down. I kinda buried it by writing it first, but I wanted to make sure it got done. Watch for more of these types of posts in the future.

NEW IDEA--JSTA Blog of Things That Make Me Smile

I'll try to cover the rest of our Montana trip and add pics later today if I get a chance, but while the boys are still sleeping, I want to start my new "routine." I've been wanting to do this for quite a while, so we'll see how well I can do at keeping it up. I want to record at least one wonderful thing about each of my boys each day (or each couple of days while I'm working into this new habit).

*So, yesterday, Aric cracked me up with his use of the phrase "whobody." "Mom, whobody locked this door?" I suppose it makes perfect sense - if there's "anybody," "somebody," "everybody," and "nobody," why can't there be "whobody"? :-)

*After Jeremy got home from his very long day of work, Taylor came up to him, dinosaur-shaped flashlight in hand, and said, "Dad, guess what I found? Some dinosaurs left their skeletons in MY ROOM!!!" He had to show off his find, of course, so he led the way down the darkened hallway into his dark bedroom with the flashlight. He shined its beam on pieces of a Barney puzzle...skeletons, indeed!!! :-)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Howdy from Montana...

...and Happy Halloween from Cowboy Taylor and Cowboy Aric. We enjoyed our excuse to get dressed up and go visit our aunts, uncles, and grandparents around the dairy farm. Mom just wanted to send an update and post a picture of our costumes, but for some reason she can't post pictures right now, so that'll have to wait until next time. We also wanted to pass along the news that Dad successfully bagged an elk. He wasn't a big bull (just a "rag horn," or a 5 point-by-5 point), but he should give us excellent meat, which Mom is excited about. After a weekend off, Dad and Grandpa Lyn went back out and are hunting over in Eastern Montana for a number of days. I (Taylor) miss Daddy, but we're hoping he comes back with a big buck (his goal is to get a mule deer that's bigger than his elk! :-).
We will stay with Grammy and Grumpy until Sunday, when we'll make the big trek back to Oregon. Our time here is going fast, but we're having lots of fun. We have fed baby calves, played with Grammy's Kitty every day, gathered and pressed leaves, collected pine cones, sampled crab apples, carved a pumpkin, gone to Rainbows, learned how to play pool (thanks, Uncle Amos), visited all of our aunts and uncles (except Uncle Shane), had an early thanksgiving meal, gone on a carousel ride, played at great new parks with big slides...we've been having LOTS of fun. It's been really cold, but that means we've also been enjoying warm crackling fires. :-) We had a storm the other day and enjoyed a little bit of snow, but it wasn't enough to play in. We sure do appreciate the wintery weather here - it's cold, it storms, the bright sun comes out and makes for a strikingly beautiful blue and white world full of incredible mountains you can see forever. It's definitely different than foggy gray unending drizzle. :-) In one last piece of news, I (Taylor) am doing first grade math and enjoying it thoroughly. Mom and Dad are amazed that I understand the concept of "greater than" and "less than," and that I'm doing addition and subtraction up to 18 with the help of counting beans.
We hope we will get to do more fun things before we leave, like ride a horse and go fishing, but it might just be too cold. We'll let you know.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Happy Fall!

Time sure has been flying by for us (as usual!). I've tried a few times to upload more pictures of what we've been up to, but for some reason, they're all coming up as red x's, so this one will have to do for now. The boys and I had a lot of fun the other day raking leaves into piles then jumping in them and throwing them around. When that got old, they decided to pretend they were turtles. :-)

A few quick highlights on our recent events: I forgot to mention that we went mini-golfing and Tay and Jeremy went go-karting a few weeks ago. It was pretty comical to see these boys trying to learn how to golf, but by the end of the course, Taylor had improved immensely. Aric swings pretty wildly, so it's alright that he doesn't often connect. :-) Maybe he'll have mustered a little more control by the next time we go. Next, a couple of weeks ago we saw some good friends who were visiting from Idaho and went to the zoo with them. Five kids made for a busy but fun day. Later that week, we went to the beach and stayed two nights with another set of good friends. The plan was to go paragliding, but bad weather and overscheduled instructors foiled it. However, we still had a lot of fun hanging out, having a campfire and roasting s'mores on the beach after dark, playing games late into the night, letting the kids watch cartoons in the mornings so we could sleep in :-), tip-toeing in the waves, and playing at the beach (Taylor, David, and Abbie excavated and constructed quite a bit, but Aric was more interested in his kite. He only let go of it about 3 times during the course of the hour or so that he held it...not bad for a two-year-old. :-) As soon as we got home, Jeremy left again for another long tug trip. He's been working pretty much "week-on, week-off" the past few months. It is always a bit of adjustment when he leaves - every morning when Aric comes in to pull my covers off and beg for breakfast (saying "I firsty, I firsty for food"), he cranes his neck to see over me and asks, "Where my dad?" We're all looking forward to him coming home soon! Then we'll hopefully have another eventful but restful (is that possible?) week as a family before Jeremy catches another trip. If he can time the next trip right, we might be able to go to Montana for two weeks' worth of visiting/hunting rather than just one. We're really looking forward to the time with our extended family. :-)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Inaugural Fire

We picked up a fire bowl at a garage sale earlier this summer, but we hadn't used it yet. Now, with the nights getting cooler, it's seeming more appealing. The night before Jeremy left for his upriver tug trip, he and Tay chopped wood and set up a fire. Then we all sat around and Jeremy roasted marshmallows for the boys. It was a lot of fun. When he gets back in town next week, we're gonna do actual s'mores. Can't imagine how messy that's gonna be, but it'll be fun and delicious, so who cares? :-)

P.S. Sorry Taylor's crooked. I've tried a couple different things to make him stand up straight, but he's being stubborn. :-)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Aric's 2nd Birthday

After much clamoring from certain grandmothers, I've finally gotten around to updating the blog (and thankfully, today, the picture function is working right!). Aric's bday was a blast. Here are the details. We had 3 families over and we opened gifts first because all the kids were nicely gathered in the living room. That decision lacked foresight, because we gave Aric a 6-piece musical instrument set (primarily percussion). So for the rest of the party, we grownups really couldn't chat as easily as I would have liked, but the kids sure had fun. We did the cake next, which was fun. Some of the kids (Aric included) didn't really know what to do with the coconut-covered ball placed in front of them. It certainly didn't look like the cupcake we parents kept telling them it was. There was a lot of stalling (read "gummy-worm eating"), but we finally got Aric to take a bite. After filling up with energy from lots of cake and candy, we tried to sit all the kids down to make a caterpillar craft to take home. It was fun, but a little scattered. However, I think all in all, the kids had a great time and Aric loved his "bug birthday." Now, we just need to convince him that he really is TWO. :-)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Our Trip to Canada

We had a great time in Canada last week with Jeremy's mom, Janet, and sister, Maria. It was fun to see all the family up there and enjoy "Beautiful British Columbia." It truly is a beautiful place...if you ever get the chance, visit the Fraser River and enjoy the numerous breathtaking landscapes she offers.

On the way up, the 12-hour drive was almost fun! Each boy was in his own row with his own personal play partner, so there weren't many opportunities to fight. On the way back, though, we got stuck in Seattle traffic for over 3 hours, so the trip was longer, and the exciting "newness" had worn off, so the boys weren't as happy to be confined all day. They still did very well, though, considering how long we were in the car.

While in Canada, the boys bottle-fed calves, fed horses, explored old buildings and cars, made new friends (especially cousin Kolby, whom Taylor kept calling "Kolbsy" :-), and built sweet relationships with their Great-Grandparents. It was a pretty special time.

When we arrived home, we had one day to rest and recuperate, then Jeremy was off to work again on a 6-day tug trip. He made it home this morning, so we'll finally get to have a few "normal" family days for the first time in nearly a month. We're all looking forward to just being at home and spending quality time together...except for maybe Taylor. He's always asking if we can go somewhere or buy something for a special treat - he's really into "special treats" right now. He is quite the negotiator when we ask him to do something or when he's done something well. "Can I have a special treat?" is a common refrain around our house, followed by the requisite discussions about family responsibility and the reward of a job well done (and, quite often, a special treat! :-).

I think I've succeeded in writing a whole post without saying "busy." As I was looking back over my previous posts, I discovered that I start or end (or both) almost every post by stating how busy we are. Well, folks, we're just plain busy and we're gonna be busy for at least the next 20 years or so, so I'll make a concerted effort to stop saying it over and over and boring my audience. If I don't say things are slow, just assume we are busy. :-) (Notice how, even as I decry the "we're busy" refrain, I've still craftily managed to end the post with it!)

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Tractor Work and Canada

Well, we've been busy as usual. We've been driving around dreaming about being "real" property owners and looking at small acreages in Washington. I don't think anything will come of that dream for a few more years, but it's fun to look every once in a while.

The "guys" have also been doing a bit of tractor work. Jeremy's had the tractor up and running (except the 4-wheel drive part) for a while, and the boys got a chance to help Dad out the other day. Taylor was grinning from ear to ear the whole time he was riding (except when he was concentrating hard as Dad taught him how to move the loader). Aric, on the other hand, was full of trepidation and had a hard time not crying through his very short tractor ride. It was pretty cute. Aric is at a stage where fear is becoming more and more a part of life. We've been looking forward to this day, thinking it would mean he'd be more cautious with his body and less prone to injure himself. Unfortunately, he's not afraid of the hazardous things he does to himself; he's just afraid of big scary things like tractors and life-sized mascot-people (the Red Robin restaurant bird is terrifying) . Oh, well. Maybe that whole self-preservation thing will kick in one of these days. :-) But back to the tractor, unfortunately, it doesn't have nearly the power Jeremy thought it would when dealing with our rock-hard clay soil. He's gonna get the 4-wheel drive going, and hopefully that will make a big difference, but he's not holding out much hope of it being "tractor enough" to do the landscaping jobs we had intended. It'll probably end up on our list of things to sell, and we'll have to figure out some other way to make our landscaping dreams a reality. Whichever way that goes, the boys sure are having fun with it in the mean time.

In other news, Taylor is attending Rainbows on Wednesday nights and loving it. It is a church program that is kind of taking the place of preschool for us this year. He's getting his socialization there and at church on Sundays, and he's doing his learning at home. I think next year we'll all be a little more ready for him to go to preschool. Speaking of his learning, he is learning to read and can read a number of words all by himself (i.e., me, sam I am, ram, rat, mat, sat, etc.). It's lots of fun and he is enjoying his accomplishments. It's a little tricky to teach him because he's such an independent "know-it-all" boy (which is a compliment in my book). I'll have him do an exercise with sounding out, and he'll immediately give me an exercise of my own - "OK, Mom, now you say uh-uh-uh-uh-ee-ee-ee." He likes to put glottal stops in between random sounds and act like he's making words or reading. It's pretty cute. We're very proud of his number and letter recognition, and of the fact that he's learning to read because HE WANTS TO. I think it's best to start them young while they think it's a fun game and don't realize that some people think learning is work. :-)

Another point of interest: We are headed to Canada! Jeremy's mom and sister are coming to our house from MT tonight, and early tomorrow morning, we're gonna set out for Dog Creek, BC to see Jeremy's maternal grandparents and assorted other relatives. It's gonna be a lot of fun, and it will be the first time Jeremy's grandfather gets to meet Aric (and really, the first time he gets to KNOW Taylor - the last time they saw each other was when Tay was a baby). Jeremy hasn't been up to their ranch since he was a young boy, so it should be a neat experience for him, too. Because of the trip, I've got to go do things like clean and pack, so I guess I'll sign off now. Enjoy your labor-free weekend, everyone! :-)

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Toddler Times

This has been a busy week with two birthday parties for two different friends! We've had a blast at each party. I was gonna post a few pics of the boys at one of the parties and of them on their bunks, but I could only get one picture to upload, so I guess that's all I can send. We still don't have rails or a ladder figured out for the bunk bed, so the top is just for playing on at this point. We got a new, more comfortable matress this morning, so the bed is getting closer to being outfitted. Hopefully next week we'll be able to transition away from the crib. :-) Jeremy's been busy trying to get his tractor up and running. It's been more of a project than he anticipated, but he's almost done, and we're all excited to be seeing another project completed. He's also getting close to finishing his VW bus, and we got to say goodbye to an old VW bus shell this week because Jeremy had finished harvesting parts from it. It's exciting to go from three bus bodies around our house to just one in the garage! :-)

Last week, the whole family made an outing to Target for some reason, and when we were walking through the automatic doors, Aric said, "Thank you, door." That's the kind of kids we're raising! :-) :-) Jeremy and I chuckled quite a bit over that one. We've also noticed he'll say "'Scuse me" or "Sorry" to inanimate objects if he runs into them. It's a pretty fun stage. He often has the typical two-year-old attitude, even though he's not quite two, but I think it helps him survive better around big brother.

We've all been enjoying Jeremy being mostly home this week. It sounds like there's a good chance he'll be headed out again on the tugs later this weekend, but we'll just have to wait and see. You all missed out on an "insider's view" of what his job entails. The other day, he sat down and typed out a long explanatory post regarding his life as a tugboat deckhand, but when he went to attach pictures, the blog closed down. He repeated the entire process again, but had the same results, so he gave up for the day. Hopefully he'll be able to sit down and try again soon.

The boys and I are headed out for a picnic with some old friends - the people I babysat in the summers for a few years while I was going to college. It's always amazing to see how HUGE these teen boys are, because when I started watching them, they were 6 and 9 years old! We'll be attending soccer practice and observing one of the boys, so maybe my boys will learn a few skills! I need to start packing a picnic dinner, though, so I'm gonna sign off now.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Quick Updates

1) We went to the zoo yesterday

Jeremy was out of town for a few days, so the boys and I went to the zoo yesterday with our good buddy Xander and his family. We had a blast. Of course, I never got around to taking any pictures of everyone together, but here are a few cool ones of the boys and an alligator.

2) Haircuts

Last week, all the boys went to a barber and got haircuts. It was Aric's first REAL haircut! I forgot my camera, so I don't have any pictures of him in "THE chair," but here's a picture of his curls - now they are gone. He looks pretty much the same from the front, but very different from the back. His side profile looks quite a bit more grown up now.

3) Bunk Beds!

The boys finally got a bunkbed. It's set up in their room, but doesn't have the top matress in until we get a side rail built, since it didn't come with one and Taylor is a VERY active sleeper who occasionally rolls off his bed. We'll get some pics up soon. Aric was unhappy to hear he was getting a new bed. When I told him it was coming, he said, "No want to." I asked why, and he said, "Need my crib!" Then he started to cry. We felt sorry for him until evening came, when he cried again because he WANTED to sleep on the bunkbed and we wouldn't let him (Taylor's on the bottom until we get the top matress set up).

4) Our camping trip

All four of us went camping last weekend at a great little campground near the Oregon coast. We spent the night in our TINY tent, and everyone managed to least a little. Jeremy had a harder time than the rest of us, but the boys did excellent! We had fun "fishing" and throwing rocks in the lake, and in the morning we took a walk around the lake. We tried to catch some salamanders or newts (not sure what they were), but didn't succeed. After breaking camp, we drove to the top of Mt. Hebo to catch the view, but got caught between two layers of fog. On the way down the mountain road, the boys both nodded off, so we pulled off and we all took a nap. That helped the rest of the day to go very smoothly. We drove down to Lincoln City and went to Siletz Bay Wayside. We flew kites, found seashells and rocks, threw rocks in the surf, and built sandcastles. It was a great day! When it was nap time, we loaded up and headed home. It was a perfect mini-vacation.

We had a fun week last week with Jeremy being home on comp time. He got another upriver trip, but thankfully it was a short one, and he got home last night! He should have the rest of the week off because of comp time, so hopefully we'll be able to get some projects / chores done around our home.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

LOTS OF NEWS - warning! this will be very long!
(to make it easier to get through, I'll put headings throughout)

1. Update on Sarah's Dad
We'll keep the best news front and center! My dad has recovered very well from his surgery. He has a full work release (no restrictions) and even went waterskiing last Friday (he'd originally been told he couldn't do that until August)! On Monday, he got the results of his post-surgery scans and tests. They have not detected any cancer! Praise God! We are so thankful! Thank you for all your prayers! It sounds like he will just have to be monitored periodically to make sure it doesn't come back, but his prognosis is very good with no detectable metastases remaining!

2. Trip to Montana
We had a great trip to Montana! Jeremy was there for the weekend, then flew back to Portland to be available for work. On Friday, we spent the day with Jeremy's family, and it was nice to see his sister Maria and her husband, David. (Photo of boys with Grandma Janet). Then, during the weekend, we drove to Bozeman to attend my cousin Connie's wedding. It was an incredibly beautiful outdoor wedding, and we think she picked the perfect mate in Chris. The make a great couple. Aric spent his first night ALONE (i.e., without Taylor), staying with Jeremy's parents. With a 12 hour drive each way to and from Portland, we didn't figure he really wanted another 8 hours strapped in his carseat while we made the roundtrip to and from Bozeman in one day. He had lots of fun with Grandma Janet and Grandpa Lyn, and it was so nice to only have one kid to wrangle at the wedding. Taylor had a blast playing with his cousin Connor. The two are only 1 month apart in age, so they always have fun together. After sending Jeremy back to Oregon, the boys and I hung out with Grammy and Grumpy the rest of the week (Grandma Janet and Grandpa Lyn were gone to North Dakota for most of our time, but they got back in time for us to hang out one more time on our way back to Oregon). We had lots of fun adventures, from looking at the cows to playing at the lake. We went to Great-Grandma and Great-Papa Mills' house and played on the swing set one evening. We spent an afternoon playing, reading, and playing the piano with Grandma Jen. When Dad had to go to his post-operative visit in Missoula, we all went to the carousel first. We saw quite a bit of our uncles, which is always a blast. Shane stayed with us at Grammy and Grumpy's for the first half week, and it was nice to connect with him. The other two uncles were around here and there during our whole trip. Taylor and Spencer (both first-borns) seem to have quite an understanding. They tease each other and just "click" well. I thought that was pretty funny, but what struck me as even funnier is how well Aric and Amos (the "middle-child," 3rd-born in our family but 2nd-born boy) click. I've always thought Aric has a lot of Amos' personality traits, and seeing them together confirmed this. They really understand each other! I think we'll have to have one more so Shane can have a "mini-me," too. :-) I don't really like to box people in according to birth-order theory; I really think there are just a lot of familial similarities. Anyway, back to what we did. When we went to see the baby calves, Aric (our boy of few words) just stuck his index finger out and said, "Finger In?" I told him he could, and he was thrilled to have the calf nose him and slobber on his hand. When we went to the lake, I waterskied four times (I've met my quota for the year now!), and Taylor got to drive the boat. He was happily steering and apparently thought that was "old hat," because without any instruction or permission, he reached down and pushed the throttle all the way forward! He was very happy to go full speed. :-) Back on land, he was happy to "fish" with a little yellow rubber fish on the end of his line. The minnows thought he might be tossing them food, because when he'd cast, they'd all swarm around his yellow fish and nose it. He loved that and thought it was pretty cool. He also did a lot of "swimming" with his life jacket and/or his floaty ring.

Aric, on the other hand, was very wary of the water and anyone who looked like they might drag him into it. He spent most of his water-time up to his ankles in water, poised to run away if anyone came near enough to "encourage" him to get wet. Uncle Spencer and Aunt Katie came up and spent the day with us, and before we left, Aric had fallen asleep in Katie's arms. It was sweet. Most of the trip we spent just hanging out with Grammy and Grumpy, helping Grumpy not to go stir-crazy during his week of at-home recuperation. We had lots of fun as always. On the way back to Oregon, we stopped overnight in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho and saw some great friends. It was fun, as always, to play with Jack, Emma, and Levi. We finally said goodbye and hit the road back to Portland. When we got to Tri-Cities, Washington, our requisite car trouble began. In parking lots or anywhere a tight turn was required, the whole van would shake violently because the outside and inside wheels were working against each other. After wasting a few hours at Les Schwab and Aamco, we decided I should just try to drive home. It turns out the problem was a fluke caused by driving so many hours on a hot day, and isn't anything to worry about. Jeremy ended up driving all the way out to Biggs, Oregon, while he was waiting for news about the van and about whether or not he would have to come pick us up. It was a long hot afternoon for all of us, but we made it home!

The next few weeks
After we arrived home from MT, Jeremy had to go upriver for 3 days. He got back on our anniversary at 11 p.m., so we at least got to see each other on our special day. (Side note - can anyone believe that we've been married seven years already?? We're getting old! :-) The next morning, he left at 11 a.m. and was gone upriver for a week. It was a tough time for everyone because we really didn't see much of each other for 3 weeks. Last week, Jeremy was home ALL week (he got 7 days of comp time) and we were all glad to get back to normal family life. We mostly hung out and took it easy, doing lots of playing and lots of trying to keep cool in the midst of a heatwave (our house doesn't have AC yet - we keep saying "next year will be the year we install it," but we haven't gotten there yet). On Thursday, Jeremy and I celebrated all three of our big summer holidays (his birthday, which occured when the boys and I were still in MT; our anniversary, which you've already read about; and my birthday, which was Thursday) with a trip to Todai, an all-you-can-eat sushi and seafood buffet in Portland. It was a fun experience, and I ate way too much! :-) Jeremy's always wanted me to eat sushi with him but I'm usually pregnant or nursing when the opportunity arises, so I haven't had much. On Thursday, I went all out and tried as much as I could. In my opinion, most of it is kinda bland. It's not disgusting, but I don't love it - it's kinda blah. I did like the mackerel because it actually had its own flavor. I didn't expect to like caviar, but I liked the little tiny ones (they were accenting a california roll, which is about my favorite type of sushi). I didn't go so crazy as to try the really big ones (Jeremy says they pop in your mouth). They look way too much like fishing bait to me. Anyway, it was a fun and relaxing night. Then, on Monday, Jeremy and Taylor headed out for their long-awaited big-boys' camping trip.

The Big Boys' Camping Trip
They headed to Olallie Lake, which is between Mt. Hood and Bend. It sounds like they had a lot of fun. They set up camp, then swam and fished and fished and fished (with the little yellow rubber fish again :-). The next morning, the played baseball for a while and then rented a canoe for an hour. Jeremy did a good job at taking lots of pictures for me, so I'll post a few below. The boys got back yesterday (Tuesday), then Jeremy got the call to go upriver again and left at midnight. He will be out of town until Saturday or Sunday, and I think when he comes back in, the whole family will go on a camping trip so Aric and I can get in on the fun. :-) That's the beauty of these long trips - they redeem themselves by giving us lots of time for fun when Jeremy is home.

While the boys were gone, Aric and I had a day of intense potty-training, or at least that was the plan. He did go in the toilet more than he ever has before, but by the evening, he was refusing to go near the bathroom. Today, that trend has continued - he is adamantly opposed to sitting on his potty chair right now. So much for "toilet-training in a day." Oh, well. I do think we made some progress. It will be more difficult to keep it going with Taylor home and Jeremy away, but I'll try to keep it up, because the fewer diapers in my future, the better. :-) That's all about us at the moment. Hope all is well with all of you! Sorry it took so long to do this, but I'll try to be more on top of it again now that life is going to be a bit more scheduled. Take care and feel free to email us updates anytime.

Oh, I've also been meaning to show a little bit of the landscaping work we're FINALLY doing. Here are a few shots.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Off to Montana

Jeremy got back today from a week-long trip on the tugboat. We thought since he's been on the 12-6 shift (including midnight to 6 a.m.) and his body clock is all messed up, he'd need a day or two to get adjusted before we undertook the drive to MT. However, he thinks he'll be good to go tomorrow, so we'll be off to Montana for my cousin Connie's wedding and to see my Dad after his surgery. We will probably stay the night at a friend's house in Couer d'Alene. That would break things up nicely and make the drive a lot more doable for all of us. Regarding my dad, everything went well as far as the operation is concerned, but they did find more cancer in a lymph node...not the "all clear" we were hoping for. However, there's still a lot of hope. We would appreciate your ongoing prayers for him and Mom especially, and for the entire family. Thanks!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Busy Times and Health Updates

Sorry for procrastinating - I know it's been a while since I updated. I've been busy with regular life and also with non-every day situations. A very dear friend of mine will be moving away soon so I've been spending quite a bit of time with her. She's Jack and Emma's mommy (from the zoo pictures), so the kids will be missing each other, too. Thankfully, they will be moving to
Coeur d'Alene, ID, which is right on the way to the grandparents' houses in Montana, so we will be able to visit them fairly frequently as we visit our own families in MT. Jeremy has been on a tugboat trip since last Tuesday, so it's just been me and the boys, which makes life seem busier. I've also been doing a bit of researching on carcinoid tumors, because my father found out last week that he has this type of cancer. He is having major surgery to remove the tumor and the piece of intestine where it is located this morning, so PLEASE PRAY for him today and as he recovers over the next few days (or weeks). Jeremy, the boys, and I are planning on going back to Montana to visit the family towards the end of this week, so you could pray for safe travel, as well. :-) We were planning on at least the boys and I going back to MT for my cousin Connie's wedding this Saturday, and when we found out my dad was going to be having major surgery we really wanted Jeremy to come, too. Thankfully, he was able to get a week-long trip with just the right timing so that he can come back, too. We are going to leave on Wednesday or Thursday, and Jeremy will come back to Oregon on Sunday. The boys and I are going to stay in Montana a bit longer and come back when we feel ready (it would be too much driving for the boys to endure if we went on Thursday and came back Monday). So we've been busy thinking about and preparing for all of those things.

I have one other interesting incident to tell you about. Yesterday the boys picked out bright yellow fabric with John Deere tractors on it to make a special pillow for Grumpy. The plan is for him to keep it on his lap so that the boys have an easier time remembering that his tummy is owie and they can't jump on him or rough-house with him (which will be very different than any experience they've had with their very active Grumpy - he's usually their horse and their wild bucking bull and their wrestling partner). I decided to make each of the boys a matching pillowcase out of this same special fabric. I hung out at my friend Christina's house last night and borrowed her sewing machine to make the pillow cases. As I was making the very last stitch of the very last pillowcase, I was chatting away and not paying very close attention to what I was doing. I don't really know what I was attempting to do, but somehow my thumb got in the way and I ended up putting a big fat sewing machine needle all the way through it. You readers are fortunate that we didn't have a camera on hand - it was quite a sight! More of the needle was protruding through the bottom of my thumb than was sticking out the top. The needle seemed to be stuck in the fabric, so we had to cut into my finished pillowcase to separate my thumb from the machine. Aric's pillowcase will always have a memorable notch in it. :-) Then we had to remove the needle and the foot from the machine because they were all stuck together. It was pretty humorous to see this human sandwich: top of needle, thumb, sewing machine foot, yellow fabric, bottom of needle. I was surprised that it didn't hurt worse than it did. We put our heads together and formulated our plan of action. We discussed going to the ER, but we needed someone to stay with the kids and I couldn't very well drive myself, because I was a little bit in shock. We called Rebekah, a good friend from church who is a mother of 5 and who's got a strong stomach, and when she came, she offered to pull it out. I had been wanting to do that, anyway, rather than go spend hours waiting around at the ER (by this time, it was nearly midnight). Now that we had enough hands to get it out (I don't like puncture wounds; I'd much rather have blood and gore than punctures to deal with, so I didn't trust myself to be part of the "operation"), we assembled a motley assortment of garage tools. In the meantime, we allowed a few Tylenol, a lot of ibuprofen, and an ice-pack to take effect. As Christina held my thumbnail in place with a wrench, Rebekah used needle-nose pliers to swiftly extract the needle. Then I soaked my thumb in a succession of cocktails - first rubbing alcohol, then hydrogen peroxide. Then we hung out for another hour having uninterrupted girl time for the first time in a long time! :-) This morning, I will go get a tetanus shot since it's been about 12 years, but other than that, I'm doing quite well. My thumb's a bit tender and throbbing, but does not hurt nearly as bad as I would've expected. I spent the night at Christina's and she will watch the boys while I go get vaccinated. Thank goodness I was at her house and not my own when all this happened! I thank God for my good friends! I'll try to keep you posted on whatever exciting occurrences come next during this grand never-ending adventure I call my life. Hope you all have a great week!

Friday, June 02, 2006

Injuries, Eyebrows, and Etymologies

It's been a while since I wrote, so I guess I'd better start by updating Aric's "condition." His nose has been healing better than I expected it to, and actually looks pretty good. However, his black eye, which had been gone for quite a while, has reappeared. No, it's not some frightening bruise disorder; it's just that Aric is a "bruiser" of a kid. Last night, we heard a thud followed quickly by Aric's screams. I thought maybe he'd fallen out of bed, but we discovered him in his crib with a bright purple spot swelling under his eye. From what we can gather, he was holding onto his sippy cup and the crib rail while jumping up and down. Somehow, he managed to land with his eye socket on top of the cup. Voila! Black eye number 2. Here's a picture of his old and new facial injuries.

I wanted to post today with some new pics, so I spent much of the morning trying to OBTAIN said pictures. Aric was not cooperative at all. He did not want his picture taken, so of 65 or so pictures, probably 20 were of his ear or his hair as he turned away and/or ran away from my camera. As you can see, we finally did manage to get a few keepers that were actually cute. :-) Along the way, though, I managed to capture Aric's "look of the month." He's been looking up at us from furrowed eyebrows a lot lately. He uses them when he's mad at us, when he's in trouble, when he's sad, when he wants something, and when he is trying to make us laugh. It's an all-purpose sort of a look, I guess. Anyway, here's a picture of the "eyebrow look."

Speaking of eyebrows, Taylor woke up at 5 a.m. today and announced that his eyebrows hurt. I laughed and sent him back to bed. When he woke up for the day a few hours later, he had a fever and insisted that his eyebrows still hurt. I don't know what is ailing him, but I suspect he's experiencing some sinus pressure with his sickness. I have never heard of a medical complaint originating in someone's eyebrows before. I guess there's a first time for everything (at least there is when MY kids are involved! :-)

When we began the "photo session" this morning, I posed the boys with "Mr. Bob the 'Tato Head." All three "guys" wore funny glasses for one pose before Aric discarded his glasses and began fighting off the camera. The picture turned out pretty funny, so here they are, my "usual suspects."

You may be wondering why I used "etymology" in my title. I was inspired by watching the National Spelling Bee Finals last night on TV. Watching those junior high kids battle it out (and seeing a pale blonde girl win it all) really stirred my old "spelling bee" memories. Jeremy was surprised how into it I got, but the spelling bee was a really big deal to me in junior high. Those of you who knew me then aren't surprised by this revelation, but the truth is that I'm a big nerd at heart (in the best sense of the word). I still remember what words put me out of each spelling bee and I still have fond memories of the "hope" that I, the county runner-up, might take some ill finalist's place at the MT State Bee. I could ramble on for quite some time about my "glory days" (just ask Jeremy - he had to listen to it all evening! ;-), but I'll wrap it up now and get back to my "glorious present" - cleaning up the lunch mess and doing a few more loads of laundry. :-) Before I go, though, one final tie-in to etymology. This fancy word, used quite a bit in spelling bees, simply means "word origin." While it should reveal where a word came from and how it moved from it's original language through any intermediate languages and into the language in which it is commonly found today, my favorite "etymology" isn't quite that complex. However, it is still the explanation of the origin of a phrase, so I figure I can still call it an etymology -- the etymology of "Mr. Bob the 'Tato Head." It's not just that Taylor named his Mr. Potato Head "Bob." The origins of two separate characters actually came together in my toddler's mind to form this new title. Taylor was familiar with "Bob the Tomato" of VeggieTales fame before he met Mr. Potato Head. When he got the spud last December, he immediately combined the old and the new and dubbed his new friend "Mr. Bob, the 'Tato Head." Now that's etymology for you!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Here are the pics I promised a few days ago. As you can see, Aric's stitches are out and his black eye is much better. Taylor wanted me to take his picture, too, so here's a fun one.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Aric Gets His Stitches Out

This morning, all four of us went to the doctor for Aric's stitch removal. I was not looking forward to holding Aric down while he got his stitches removed, so I brought Jeremy along to do my dirty work. Amazingly enough, though, Aric didn't fuss or even try to move. He seemed to think it was all very interesting, and the stitches came out without incident. We'll see if he can make it a few days without splitting the tender new skin open again...We certainly hope so! After we get past the "splitting open" period, we'll start exploring scar minimizing treatments because his wound is in such a prominent place. Hopefully we can make it disappear.

Jeremy's working on the VW bus today. He's getting very close to completing it. He's got a few days worth of body work left to finish out the doors, and then he'll just have a little nose work and the body will be done!

We've been working a little on our landscaping (we've got SO much room for improvement) and it's nice to see things looking a little better.

Our only other noteworthy adventure of late is the ongoing battle with the ants. Anyone who lives near us will understand what we mean. We have tiny little black ants that try to invade about once a week. They're always sending out scouts to find suitable locations, so we stop one colony, only to have another colony moving into a different room. It's an ongoing war, and we always win (thanks to TERRO), but it's annoying. However, the boys really like the excitement of new bugs to look at. Aric will lay on the floor and watch one crawl around and say, "Hi! Hi, Att! Hi!" over and over until I come over and "make the ant go away."

I have a few pics to post but for some reason I can't right now, so I'll try again later.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Aric's first ER Adventure

Aric went to the ER last night for a big cut on the bridge of his nose. He fell onto the corner of Taylor's bedframe, which is not sharp, but is very hard. He got to have four stitches and we are in for a tricky couple of days trying to convince him to leave them alone. He does really good, and then he kinda forgets that it hurts and reaches up to grab at the owie or scratch it. Then he cries. It's pretty sad. Hopefully he won't scar too badly. Here's a picture of him with his stitches, his bruised cheek, his semi-black eye, and the fun sticker he got from the ER. :-) While he was there, he kept trying to pull off his bracelet, but I convinced him it was really cool and Daddy and Taylor would want to see it on his wrist, so he left it on. He was exhausted when we got home at about 10 p.m. (it was late and he'd done lots and lots of crying), but he managed to stay awake just so he could show Daddy his bracelet and his special sticker.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

A Day at the Zoo - Delving into Politics
We had a fun morning at the zoo. The kids love the zoo and we enjoy seeing the animals. However, for the past 8 years (since I first visited the Oregon Zoo), a certain sign has been irking me. I finally remembered my camera today, so now you can see some "false beliefs" in action. If you can't read the sign in the picture, the text says: "FALSE BELIEF Many people thought that wolves threatened humans, livestock and the availability of wild game." This sign is propagating the false belief that wolves DON'T threaten people and domestic and wild animals. If you want proof to the contrary, it's easy to search the internet and find countless examples of the havoc wolves are wreaking on wild herd populations and on domestic herd populations. As far as wolves "threatening" humans, that's easy to document, as well. In Nov. 2005, a healthy young man was killed by wolves in northern Saskatchewan. I'll try to get off my soapbox soon, but if you want more info (and have a strong stomach), check out I guess you could say I am opposed to wolf reintroductions. :-)

Monday, May 08, 2006


We're very proud of Taylor. He's been writing his name for a couple of weeks now, so it's time to announce the news. HOORAY FOR TAYLOR (I think he's saying hooray for himself in the second picture!). He really likes to use a grid and put each letter in a box -- tells you a little about how his very Type-A brain works. It's very cute and we love the way his personality comes out.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Easter, the Oregon Coast, San Francisco, and the Flu

Sorry it's been a while since we posted. We've been rather busy. Our Easter was quite fun, except that Aric had pink eye. We'd been treating it for a few days, so it wasn't an issue except he looked a little sad. We went to church in the morning, then had friends over and had a nice afternoon and evening of play and fellowship and celebration. After our great Easter, we all geared up for Jeremy's final Naval Reserve trip. He has gone to the Bay area for two weeks of service pretty much every year since he got out of college, and this was his last required year. Thankfully, this year I talked my parents into coming out to stay with me and the boys for part of the time Jeremy was gone (it didn't take much convincing :-). My mom actually flew in to Portland a few hours after we sent Jeremy off, so we didn't have much time to feel sad about Daddy leaving. We were all excited to see Grammy, and we had a wonderful week full of adventures. We went to parks, we went on walks, we played and played and played. One highlight was the day spent at the coast. The boys finally got to fly the kite they had gotten as a Christmas present, and Mommy got to go shopping at her favorite Children's Place outlet. It was a good day! On Thursday, my dad drove out from MT for the weekend, and Friday evening, I flew down to San Francisco for a whirlwind of a romantic getaway with Jeremy (more about that in a future post). I flew home on Sunday morning, and spent a nice day with my parents and the boys.The boys had quite a fun time "riding" the Grumpy horse and the Grumpy bull and learning the fine art of balancing on Grumpy's hands while he bench-pressed them! He looked like he had a weekend full of exercise! Grammy and Grumpy left Monday morning, and the boys and I were left with an easy 4 days until Jeremy returned home on Friday...or so we thought. Aric got the stomach flu starting Monday night, and had it pretty much the rest of the week. I got it on Wednesday (I think. It's all a little blurry cuz we were miserable) and didn't have it super bad; by Friday I was achy and tired, but done with the other symptoms. Jeremy returned home on Friday, and boy, was I glad to see him! Now we're just laying low trying to get all the way better, so I'm finally catching up a bit on computer stuff. I will post more details about our San Francisco trip after I get the pictures back and can post them.

5 look at those handsome Easter outfits

6 Grammy with her boys at the coast

6Taylor loved flying the kite and being king of the driftwood

6 Aric liked the kite, too!

Monday, April 17, 2006


Taylor helped pick the spring colors for our title today. Yesterday was Easter and we had a very fun day. We had some friends over and the kids played and played. Taylor's been thanking Jesus for being risen every time he prays, which is really nice. He is also very happy to have gotten a new Thomas train in his basket (since he lost his Thomas in Montana a few months ago). Aric got a cool doctor play set and has been loving that. I will try to post more later, but here is a picture. :-)

Monday, April 10, 2006


The boys and I spent most of the day outside today soaking up the sun (amidst the clouds) and weeding / playing in the dirt. I wanted to get a picture of Aric smelling a flower, because it's such a cute ritual. He shouts "f'ower, f'ower," marches over in a business-like manner, grabs a stem, shoves it to his nose, blows on it by breathing out through his nose (so it makes a sound, which is what he thinks "smelling" is), then moves on seriously to the next bud. Of course, Taylor loves to smell the flowers, too, because he's a very olfactory person. He always notices smells and seems to be affected by them more than most people (or at least a whole lot more than me!). Today, he decided I needed to take a picture of him "smelling the tree," which is our giant arborvitae. I obliged, but the picture didn't turn out great. He also had fun on his "hand-me-down" tractor which used to be Daddy's. His feet finally reach the pedals!

In other news, Jeremy left this morning to go upriver on a 4 or 5 day trip (hopefully, he'll be home for Easter!!). We are grateful for the work - it's the first hours he'll post for the month of April. With Jeremy gone, my big assignment for the week is to go to bed at a decent hour. I think 11:30 is pretty decent, but I've only got 2 minutes until that deadline, so I'd better sign off for the evening.

I posted some pictures below of the fun trip Taylor and Aric took to the Oregon Zoo with their friends Jack, Emma, and Baby Levi (not pictured) a few weeks ago. Enjoy!