Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Very Merry Christmas

We spent the first part of Christmas Eve across the street at Rick's sister's house. Once Paige was ready to collapse we went home to play some Mexican Train and watch It's a Wonderful Life with more family.

Paige and Daddy checked out NORAD to see where Santa was.

Trace was shocked that Santa brought him the skis he had dreamed of but never in a million years thought he'd actully get!

Caden loved his little remote control helicopter! He brought it when we went to my parent's house for Christmas dinner and had a blast flying it up into their vaulted ceilings.

We had a wonderful Christmas and were so very blessed in so many ways. Not only was there food on the table and gifts galore, but we were all together as a family and everyone was healthy. Our kids are happy, we have jobs to support them. Life is good. And I am thankful.

Friday, December 23, 2011

December Days

It has been a busy month for us - as I'm sure it has been for everyone! With work, shopping, school activities and meetings, kids parties, shopping, tree hunting, did I mention shopping? This year we were able to resume our tradition of hunting for the perfect tree up in the Gifford Pinchot near Mt. Adams. Because of the weather we haven't been able to go the last couple of years and the kids were thrilled that we could go this year! It turned out to be a real Currier and Ives kind of day. Uncle Woody built us a small fire and we roasted hot dogs, hiked through the snow in search of our tree and the kids did a little sledding with their cousins before calling it a day. The best memories!

Trace doing his imitation of a polar bear after loosing his sled!

Caden's reaction after one of his first runs down a really fast and long hill!

Hiking through the woods. The snow was almost up to my knees in some areas!

On the last day of school before Christmas Vacation Trace's school hosts the Red and Green Games. They divide the grades into boys and girls teams then assign them red or green. They each play a ten minute game of basketball. It is a loud and roudy tradition that everyone loves. The teacher in the picture is Trace's P.E. teacher, a great example of how the teachers get into the spirit.
This last week we made our gingerbread houses with the Biundos. It was really fun to watch Paige, who just last year didn't get it, take the longest time to carefully work on her creation. We've taken the kids to a $3 movie and spent an afternoon at an indoor trampoline "park" and now we are getting geared up for the big day. We will spend Christmas celebrating with family and trying to enjoy some peace. I wish the same for all of you!


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Having a daughter …

Sometimes brings the simplest of joys. Tonight as I was cleaning up the kitchen Paige appeared asking for ice cream. I told her when I was done cleaning up I would get her some. Do you know what that girl said? “Can I help you, Mommy?” Usually I am too hurried, too tired, to whatever and tell her no (I know, I know I should always let her), but tonight I decided to let her help. So I got out the stainless steel cleaner and told her I had a big job and I could only let her do it if she was really responsible. Of course her little eyes lit up as she assured me she could handle it! So I got down on the floor and showed her what the “grain” is in the stainless on the dishwasher. Then she got to work. She did a fabulous job! What was most amazing to me though was that when she moved to the fridge she noticed on her own that the grain went the opposite direction! Rick was impressed when she demonstrated what the grain was on the stove (and that it went the same way as the dishwasher!).


When she had finished and had her ice cream she went to watch a show while I mopped. When a commercial came on I asked her if she wanted me to fast forward it for her. Well, little Miss. Big says, “No, I’ll do it.” And she did. The things she knows just never cease to amaze me!


There are many, MANY days that I wonder what on Earth we were thinking to want a daughter so much! But it only takes a one tiny moment for that huge wave of love to wash over me and remind me how blessed I am. My little girl is beautiful, smart, loving, and carefree. People tell me all the time that they wish they could just squeeze her because she is so cute. You know what? I GET TO! Every. Single. Day. And not because she is cute, but because I love her so much!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Caden and Paige got out all of our Playdough yesterday. I asked them to sort through it and toss out whatever they didn't use anymore - which is actually all of it but they would disagree with me on that. Once they had it sorted they decided it needed to be played with - of course.

So, while they were busy with that, I was a tad busy doing a few other things.
Uh, ahem, cough, cough... yes this was my house.
I posted these for all the world to see for two reasons. 1. To make you all feel better about the way your own house may look. You're welcome. 2. Because I'm quite proud of the end result. Which I'll get a picture of tomorrow.

As has become our new tradition, we celebrated Thanksgiving on a different day. Rick has had to work every year so we just pick another day and it works out great. Except when you have a job, a husband out of town, three bickering kids and a house that looks like, um well that! Somehow or other I managed to get it all done though! By last night the laundry was washed, folded and put away, dishes done, counters cleared, and the floors were picked up and vacuumed. Then this happened...

Yeah, 2am, 4:23am, 7am, and I lost count of how many time after that. I was up washing sheets bathing her (no one tells you about vomit getting in little girl's hair!), and generally cleaning up the aftermath for about 20 minutes each time. Then, because I knew how much I had going on the next morning (Thanksgiving was at our house) I couldn't get back to sleep for a while. So essentially I got very little sleep!

Thanksgiving turned out beautiful though! Everyone made it, the food was fabulous - as always, and Paige even manage to rally for the afternoon!


Monday, October 31, 2011

I told you!

Sometimes in life is stinks when you have to act like an adult. Especially when you really, really want to act like a child! The kindergarten teacher said today that Paige's reading is, "out of my league!" She is a very experienced teacher who is retiring this year. Apparently when the reading specialist first had Paige read to her the other person in the room emailed Paige's teacher saying, "Oh-my-goodness! Have you heard this kid read?" Um, yeah! She is well into first grade level math also. Sooooo they are arranging for testing asap to determine if she would be better off in first grade. Criminy people - I TOLD YOU!!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

I have followed the stories of many of these children from birth and all of them for many years now. I sat and sobbed over the deaths of each of the "angels" shown in this video. Though we've never met, this connection through the internet has brought us together. I follow Tripp and Jonah's blogs especially close and encourage you to check them out. (The links are on the right).

This week is EB awareness week:

Be Part of the Cure

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Happy, Happy Birthday, Trace!!!

Trace requested a football cake and I was quite impressed with the way it turned out. I ran out of brown food coloring so it's a bit more tan than I wanted but close enough! This was also the first time I ever added whipped cream to homemade frosting and boy did that make it wonderful!
Opening his gift from the grandparents - a LEGO set. Aunt Chris gave him $25 on a Target card. Rick and I decided a long time ago to get him his own laptop for his 13th birthday. So in early September we went shopping for the one we had decided we wanted only to find it had been discontinued. A week later we were able to buy the floor model - but the keyboard was broken. So off we went to another store that had the only other floor model. THAT one had blown speakers apparently. It was sent in for repair and came back a week later UNrepaired! So back it went and after three weeks we still didn't have it back. After spending all weekend on the phone with managers we were finally informed on Monday that the computer was being junked and our money refunded. Trace's birthday was on Wednesday! Talk about a stressful couple of days! In the end we found a new computer, wrapped it up and set up a scavenger hunt for him to find it. After a lot of laughs over the clues he finally found it. It was a great surprise and he loved it!
For his birthday dinner I made him steak (which he'd been begging for for weeks) and baked beans (which he loves) with salad and parmasean noodles. It tasted great!

So another year has passed and technically we have a teenager in the house now. I'm glad that Trace isn't in a hurry to grow up. No girlfriends, no loud music and no gangs of kids hanging around all the time! It will come - Caden will be 13 in only 3 more years! Until then, I'm going to just enjoy the kid that he is and take each day as it comes!

Football is our life right now!

Trace is really doing great in football this year! His team is one point (literally) from being undefeated! Trace was asked to fill in for center when the regular one broke his hand - when the regular guy returned they had a contest and Trace beat him out to keep the position! Apparently the other boy has played for three years too! I wouldn't say that Trace is an all-American football star, but he is eager to learn, asks lots of questions and works really hard to follow instructions - his coaches love him! The picture above is pretty typical of most games where the other team doubles up on him and he holds his own!
Practice in the mud! Somehow this night it rained at Caden's practice but not at Trace's 5 miles away!
Carson was excited to try on his big cousin Caden's football gear! A little future CCYF player I think!

The Pumpkin Patch

For the second year our (totally awesome) friend gave us each a ticket to get into the local pumpkin patch. At $8/person x 5 we really couldn't justify it on our budget so we were extremely grateful! We went early this year and managed to avoid both the mobs and the rain. Rick's parents as well as his sister and her family all met us there for a fun morning.
The great pumpkin launch! No one got it in the bucket, maybe next year.
The whole crew!

Kindergarten days

Paige is loving school this year! I suspect that most kindergartners do though. Her teacher has been great and makes a real effort to keep her challenged. Just today the teacher told me that they are still in the process of testing her reading level. At this point she has cleared first grade and still going strong! I’m anxious to see how close she is to my guess of 3rd grade. Yesterday I gave the teacher her homeschool math book to work with at school (now that’s a pretty receptive teacher!). We’ll find out on Halloween at our conference what the recommendation is as far as testing her to be moved to first grade. The teacher told me the other day that a lot of parents talk about how smart their kids are, “but this one… this one should definitely…” I believe she meant Paige should be tested for first grade, or maybe moved, I’m not sure. Fun, fun, fun!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011

This girl won’t be ignored!


I love this picture!  It just seemed to fit the mood of this post too.

So, we’ve known for a VERY long time now that Little Miss was smart as well as a wise old soul.  At two she would sit in a chair during a busy party and contentedly watch the goings-on.  At three, Caden’s first grade teacher asked repeatedly what we were going to do with her.  By four I was asking teachers and school administrators what we should do with her. 

I’m so frustrated!  I’ve researched and talked and asked and asked and asked again.  I’m getting no where!  The teacher smiles and says she’ll keep an eye on things, the principal smiles and says I’m just like a lot of other parents who think their kid is smart (in other words I’m one of “those” parents) and everyone who knows Paige says, “what the heck is going on?!”  The answer is, I don’t know!  I’m trying.  At this point I’m balancing too many balls and trying to make too many people happy at once without upsetting anyone.  And what usually happens when we do that?  We end up miserable!  I wish I was better at expressing myself.  I do great in my head but not so well in person!

To be cont…

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Some big days!

Caden turned 10!  Double digits?  How did that happen?  He wanted a LEGO cake so this was my rendition.  It’s the best I could do without fondant (which my family hates).


Paige started kindergarten!  Seriously – how does this happen?  It just feels like yesterday she was placed in my arms with her little lower lip quivering.  She is making friends and getting used to school and every day she goes skipping in.


Caden started 4th grade. He was excited to get the same teacher Trace had in fourth grade.  I’ve been amazed by how much he has liked being in a very uncluttered, calm and controlled room – he thrives in it!


And Trace started 7th grade!  I can’t wrap my head around it.  For some reason I keep telling people he is in 6th grade.  He doesn’t have any of his old friends with him in class but it seems to be working well for him.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Life is what happens…

While you’re busy, busy, busy!


Paige is constantly keeping us on our toes!  One minute she is easy going and loving, the next she is disrespectful, stubborn and rude.  Oh, who am I kidding – she pretty much sticks with the latter!  We’re working on it though and there are the occasional moments where I see the sweet girl she can be!


Then we had Caden with his black eye right before school started!  Cousin Katy chased him down to throw him in the pool.  When she caught him he flipped upside down in her arms and hit his eye on her knee – what are the odds?!  She tossed him in the pool and by the time his head popped back up it was already swollen to about the size of a marble!

P1100409-2The kids and I “celebrated” Chinese Moon Festival too!  Over the years we have come to decide that we don’t particularly care for moon pies but Oreos make a great substitute.  So we sat out on the driveway and ate our Oreos while looking at the yellow Harvest moon.  We talked a little about what the mid-Autumn moon festival is about in China and about Paige’s first families who might be looking at the same moon with us.  Then, since no celebration is complete with out friends, the kids took Oreos down the street to their friend Aly and across the street to Mr. Jim.  After that we all ran, in bare feet, up around the corner to the Clary/Walker’s and surprised them with a chorus of “Happy Chinese Moon Fest!”  We shared more Oreos before heading back home to get ready for bed.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Our Girl



What a girl she is!  Small enough to fit comfortably in a laundry basket and big enough to be reading a chapter book while in that basket! 

Thursday, September 08, 2011

This kid…


Is my baby boy.  He makes me laugh, makes me cry but mostly he makes me proud!  Ten years.  And what a ten years they have been!  This last year has been possibly the hardest and yet most rewarding as we have navigated the murky waters of what makes him who he is.  It has been frustrating and enlightening and my eyes have been opened so much.  What a wonderful summer we have had!  And what a wonderful kid he is!  Caden, I love  you to pieces and I am so proud of the young man you are becoming.  I hope the next ten years bring you more peace and joy than you’ve ever known!

Saturday, August 27, 2011


A sweet, easy going kid.  Always wants to please(unless it’s his brother or sister) and goofy as can be at times!  He is such a joy to be around and I’m so proud of him!

Hanging out with little cousin Cruz.


Football gear pickup day – he didn’t want to take it off!  What a nut!


Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Disneyland 2011!

We hit the road early Saturday morning, July 23.  First stop was the Rice Hill drive in where they serve the best ice cream in the world!  It’s one of those places you’d normally drive right past unless you know it is there.  Mmmmmm – good! 


Our next stop was the Oregon Vortex.  A fun little place that – again, very few people know of.  It is a natural phenomena where people appear to change sizes, bottles roll up hill and people appear to be standing at an angle when actually they are perfectly straight.  The kids got a real kick out of it!


After a night of rest we hit the road again for LA.  Shortly after we arrived my parents pulled in and Ed and Rick went to the airport to pick up my sister, Chris.  With the gang all there we were ready to hit Universal Studios the next day!  Boy has that place changed since I was there last!  The boys loved it but there wasn’t much for Paige (which we knew).  She did great though.


On Tuesday morning we headed to Disneyland bright and early.  Over the next three days we hit just about every ride, a few of them multiple times!  Space Mountain and Star Tours were the boys favorites and Paige loved Dumbo and Winnie the Pooh.  Paige got a princess makeover at the Bibbidy Bobbidy Boutique and got to meet her favorite princess – Ariel.  An absolutely exhausting few days but so much fun too!


On our last day at Disney the boys went to Downtown Disney to Ridemakerz where they got to design and build their own RC cars.  They had worked hard for months to earn the money and said it was well worth it!  They blew the rest of their money at the Lego store!


On Friday morning we got up early and loaded the cars.  After dropping Chris at the airport we drove down to San Diego for a tour of the USS Midway.  Rick was stationed on board the ship for a couple of months early on during his time in the Navy.  That made it extra special for the boys to get to see it.


A stop at In-N-Out was a necessity before getting on the road again!  Paige kept saying, “mmmmm this is a good cheeseburger!”  Yes it was!


We wanted to get as far north on Friday as possible to make Saturday as short of a day as possible.  By 10:00 we were in beautiful  dumpy um, functional, Lost Hills California.  I was The kids were loosing it so we pulled into a nice little functional motel.  Despite telling them there were five of us they only saw fit to provide beds for four of us!  So after piling up the comforters and putting clean sheets over them I begrudgingly put Paige on the floor while praying there were no bed bugs or anything else that might crawl all over her!  The rest of us collapsed in our clothes.  I’d like to say we slept, but well, that would be an overstatement.  The ice machine was right outside our door and, of course, people felt the irresistible urge to get ice at all hours of the night!  The air conditioner rattled, hummed, stopped and started again until I came up with this ingenious idea to make it stop.


I considered putting an ‘out of order’ sign on the ice maker but didn’t have the necessary supplies to do it.  We finally pulled in to our driveway at 9pm on Saturday.  Everyone was exhausted but SO glad to be home.  It was a great trip and one the kids will remember for many years to come – especially the “steeewpiid deeesk.”  (you’ll have to ask them about that!