Anniversary Weekend

Anniversary Weekend

August 21st must be a good day to get married. Jack and I saw three wedding parties at the places we visited this weekend.

Jack and I just celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary and 16th year together this past weekend. We started off by seeing Inception (which we enjoyed) at our favorite movie theater, Cinetopia. Then Friday night we stayed at The Heathman Lodge for free thanks to buying the winning raffle ticket at Sissa’s school fundraiser last year (for only $5.00!). We had a blast! The hotel was beautiful and the beds were actually comfortable! The accompanying $50 gift certificate to Hudson’s Bar and Grill was just another treat as the staff and food were great. We stayed there Friday night then Saturday we spent a good portion of our day at Portland’s Saturday Market.

We haven’t been to Portland’s Saturday Market in years. We forgot how fun and adventurous it can be. From the unique entertainment,

Anniversary Weekend 2010

video: Some guys playing buckets at Portland Saturday Market

to the strange people you come across,

PotHead at Saturday Market in Portland

to the amazing items you can purchase!

Toothbrush Holder and Matching Cup

Toothbrush Holder and Matching Cup

It’s not very often I get excited about a mundane purchase, but I have to rave about these toothbrush holders Jack and I found at the Saturday Market this weekend. I’ve seen many handmade pottery toothbrush holders but it’s always the same: holes are too small, holes too close together (my kids can’t stand it when the brushes touch), they are hard to clean, etc. These totally caught my eye. They are unique, pretty, and functional in more ways than one: nice wide holes, matching cup, the brushes don’t touch, easy to clean, and there’s even a holder on the back for the toothpaste. It’s perfect!

I found these at FarPoint Stoneware and Porcelain at the Saturday Market. And we’ll be going back to buy another set for mine and Jack’s bathroom considering I found MOLD that I can’t get out at the bottom of our traditional cheap holder. EWWW.

After soaking in all we could at the market, we had a couple hours to kill so I decided to show Jack where I used to have lunch every chance I could when I worked in downtown Portland many moons ago: The Ira Keller Fountain.

Anniversary Weekend 2010

This is a short walk from from the “Black Box” where I worked, and I loved eating lunch there any day it wasn’t raining. Jack was really taken by the uniqueness of this fountain and explored it for a long time. 🙂

Saturday night we took a dinner cruise on the Portland Spirit. This is the third time we’ve spent an anniversary on the Portland Spirit and they’ve never disappointed us.

Anniversary Weekend 2010

Sunday we slept in, had breakfast, then decided to go for a drive and quite by accident ended up on the The North Clark County Scenic Drive. This took us through Battle Ground, Yacolt, by Lucia Falls and Moulton Falls. We stopped at Moulton falls to explore a bit.

Anniversary Weekend 2010

Anniversary Weekend - Moulton Falls

It was an amazing, perfect, romantic weekend and I’m so very happy to have spent it with my soul mate.

P.S. There’s a few more photos here.

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Starting over

It’s a scary time for us right now. But it’s also an adventurous time. At least that’s what we’re telling ourselves and our kids. 🙂

We’re selling our house… or rather, we’re short-selling it. At least that’s what we’re hoping for.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ve likely read how nervous I’ve been about the housing market crashing so soon after we purchased this house. It was clear in 2008, just one year after purchasing it, we were upside down (aka underwater). Heck, I started panicking August 2007, only six months after purchasing this house! By then I’d unexpectedly lost my job so it was natural to panic, but I had no idea how bad things would get.

Needless to say, we’ve never been able to enjoy this house. We’ve never been able to get comfortable. Watching the value of your home plummet so soon after purchasing it just plain sucks. There’s no other way to describe it. But to make matters worse, we got screwed on our loan. We knew going in that it was bad but we were promised we could refinance in three years. Who knew the market would crash so badly and make that impossible?

There’s a whole list of reasons for our decision to sell the house that I can’t really go into on a public blog, but the bottom line is we face having to start all over. That certainly wasn’t in our plan. But then a lot of things didn’t go “as planned” after purchasing this house.

  • I didn’t plan to lose my job.
  • I didn’t plan to only find part-time work at first.
  • I didn’t plan that when I did find a full-time job, it would be making much less than I did previously.
  • We weren’t expecting our family to grow … and yet it did.
  • We weren’t planning on having car payments. But it’s kinda necessary when your family unexpectedly grows.

The list goes on and on.

So here we are, looking to sell, to move, become renters, and hopefully someday soon become homeowners again.

We were really concerned about the effect this would have on the kids. But it will be a life-lesson for them: sometimes like knocks ya down and you just  have to pick yourself back up and move on. Cliché as that is, it’s true. We hope to make this as positive as can be for all of us. Get excited about living in a new place, even if it’s not OUR place, learn to make new friends at new schools if it comes to that. There’s lots to look forward to.

It still hurts, though. And I keep finding myself teary about all this saying over and over, “this wasn’t how this was supposed to go!”. But then I remind myself that we have an amazing family full of love and that’s all that really matters in the long run. No matter where we live.

Fireworks!!!

Jack and I will be working at the fireworks stand tonight in Washougal at The Crossing Shopping Center (291 C Street). Please buy fireworks from us! You’ll be supporting Sissa and her cheer team! Plus we have cool fireworks and a HUGE assortment. We aren’t one of those small stands. We have giant tents so you’ll be in out of the sun, or rain… depending on the time of day. 🙂

We’ve been working that fireworks stand or our other one at QFC Shopping Center (3505 SE 192nd) for the past week. It’s hard work but it’s worth it to support our cheerleaders! Melissa has worked hard too so if you’re buying fireworks this year, it’d be so awesome if you could make the trek out to one of these stands!

Here’s a picture (sorry for the bad quality, it was dusk and I only had my iPhone) of Melissa holding a sign out on the street to direct people to our stand. (They usually use their homemade ones with the school colors). It’s harder than you’d think doing that for HOURS at a time! 🙂

I know I'm slackin'…

We’ve just been crazy busy!

School is ending… and with that many milestones are being accomplished. I promise a real update later detailing all that’s happened, but here’s a hint: Kevin has graduated from high school! (I can still barely type those words … much less think about it, without welling up in tears..)

Here’s another tidbit: a clip from Kevin’s farewell choir concert… the last time he’ll ever get to perform with his high school choir.

I kinda hate the month of April

It’s been one of the busiest beginnings of spring for us ever. Every weekend something major has been going on. We’ve had tons of people (adults, teens, babies) coming and going for various reasons. There’s been so much going on I’ve lost track of some of it, but I’ll try to summarize:

  1. We spring cleaned our house top to bottom (you can’t tell now though..) 😦 and caught up on most of the laundry.
  2. We drove to Cascade Locks for Sarah’s baby shower/meet ‘n greet (she makes adorable babies!).
  3. Kevin and a bunch of his friends tried to go camping at the beginning of spring break, for the first time on their own. They got rained out and we had to rescue them.
  4. The weather has sucked. Rain, wind, hail, wind, rain, more rain, more wind, hail… and more wind. With a few brief sun breaks thrown into the mix. It’s just sucked. I just wanted to rant about that. 😀
  5. Jason visited from Japan and brought along his wife and new baby. They stayed at our house for a few days before flying back to Japan.
    Jason and Mayumi
  6. Cody celebrated his 9th birthday.
    Cody's Birthday 011
  7. We celebrated Easter.
    Easter
  8. Melissa’s cheerleading practices have started. We’ve also enrolled her in a separate cheer tumbling class once a week to hone her skills. By the 18th, she’ll be practicing 3 days a week, plus the tumbling class. (Lil Miss H. will start gymnastics tomorrow, fortunately at the same place and time Sissa has cheer tumbling.)
  9. Casey has been busy too! He made the honor roll again. His first year of junior high and he’s made the honor roll every semester so far. We couldn’t be prouder.
  10. Kevin’s about to graduate high school!!! His senior prom is coming up, his choir tour is coming up, and his choir state competition is coming up.
  11. Jack and I have been chauffeur to most of these events, including whatever store trips, rental shops, etc. was needed to prepare for these events.

There’s a few more photos here.

This is the FIRST weekend in many weeks that we have nothing on our plate. Nada. I’m going to sit home and do nothing and enjoy the heck out of it. Because it’s going to get busy again soon.

Next on the plate is figuring out to do with another THING. This time it’s not in my boobs though. This one is on my ovary. I didn’t post here (because it was on Facebook) but one morning in mid-January I woke up in some of the worst pain ever. Jack forced me to go to the hospital and I talked him into taking me to the clinic instead. They refused to see me though because I was too distressed. They offered to take me by ambulance across the street to the ER (haha — no.. we drove).

Long story short, after a bunch of tests were done (and wonderful pain killers were administered) they found a 3.5 cm cyst on my ovary and determined this to be the cause of the pain. I was sent home that afternoon on bed rest until I wasn’t feeling pain anymore, and instructions to come back for an ultrasound six weeks later to see if the cyst dissolved. Well, it didn’t. And it’s not a “simple cyst” or “functional cyst” either. They don’t know what it is. It hasn’t gotten any bigger, but it’s not smaller either. Why it caused pain that one day and not much since? Who knows. I know it’s there. I do have pain from it from time to time but it’s mild.. not like the OMG I’M DYING pain that day in January. So it’s probably going to have to come out. I’m really not looking forward to it.

Why do these things always happen to me in the spring?? Gall bladder surgery? April of 2003. Boob issues? April of last year. Even my mom’s horrible car accident was in the spring (April). I’m beginning to hate the month of April. Or maybe the month of April hates me?

2009 Recap

I really can’t believe what a blur 2009 was. Every year I think, ‘this is the year things will slow down’ and all it does is speed up. I guess the older you get the faster time flies. I wish I had known this when I was younger and quit being in such a dang hurry to get older! 😉

Here’s a 2009 recap with some Christmas, Birthday, and Mia (who’s doing great, btw and did NOT come down with Parvo!!!) pictures thrown in for fun.

Way too cute!

January: We purchased a new camera and I’ve bombarded this site with photos since. I’d like to think I’m getting better at taking good photos at least. 🙂 This was the month I also revealed how obsessed my kids have become with nerf dart guns. Kayla finished and came home from her internship at Disneyland.

FebruaryMarch: I (Tracie) turned 29 AGAIN. For the 11th time. Imagine that? We spent a beautiful weekend at Lincoln City, OR for my birthday. Cody turned 8 in March. I didn’t report much else in February or March and now it seems to be a blur. I really must post more often! If for nothing else, so I can remember what the heck happened throughout the blur of each passing year.

Um.. is it REALLY for ME?

April: I remember April without even having to look at the archives. April was the month that I discovered Thing #1. While having Thing #1 investigated, the docs found Thing #2. April was the month my poor poked, prodded, dyed, cut open, accessorized, and even burned boobies will never forget! April was pretty much all about my boobs. How fun! Except, not. April was also intense for other reasons (court hearings related to Lil Miss H’s adoption) that was supposed to but didn’t happen and a crap load of phone calls and drama related to that.

May: This was the month we bought our Suburban and spent the first of THREE weekends at Cathy’s house. How cool is it that we got to go to Trout Lake three times this year? And technically we went for a few hours one other time and to BZ on Christmas Eve too. That’s five trips east of Hood River this year to see Cathy and family. Maybe we can shoot for even more in 2010?? My mom also took me to see the American Idols live in concert which was pretty fun. I also remember complaining a lot about medical bills this month.

Ooooh. Aaaaah.

June: Ahhh June. How could I forget E. Coli June? June was the month I gorged myself on ate a little too much cookie dough and will never forget it. (Remember the whole cookie dough recall thing?) Technically I don’t know for sure that I got E. Coli but I know I got damn sick and that’s just too much coincidence. I rarely even eat cookie dough. Kat turned 18 and got her GED. I went with Lil Miss’ kindergarten class to the Oregon Zoo and I got a lot of laundry done.

July: was memorable for the record breaking heat. 108 degrees was just way too freakin’ hot! It was the month we camped downstairs by air conditioners, and spent money we didn’t have to buy more air conditioners. Oi. We had our annual Fourth of July party and had a blast! Casey turned 11. I also did a lot of laundry.

It was like a snuggie party!

August: Jack and I celebrated our 15th year together and our 10th wedding anniversary in gorgeous Seaside, Oregon; the same place we honeymooned. Someone ran over our mailbox kiosk, we spend insane amounts of money we didn’t have on school supplies and clothes for the kids, and I did a lot of laundry. I’m sensing a theme here.

September: was all about Pearl Jam! Well, not JUST about Pearl Jam but it was definitely one of the highlights of our year (along with our anniversary). Jack turned almost 40 (muhahahaha) and we spent Labor Day weekend at Cathy’s in Trout Lake and had a blast. The kids started back to school.

Thumbs up!

October: Miss H’s adoption was finally finalized! Jack’s Godzilla got an upgrade, and of course there was Halloween.

November: Kayla turned 20 (*gulp*), Jackie turned 15, and Kevin performed a solo in choir. We spent Thanksgiving weekend with almost all the family at Jack’s grandmother’s.

Another thumbs up!

December: Much holiday and birthday madness ensued. Kevin turned 18, Melissa turned 14, and Lil Miss turned 7. We adopted Mia, our little Rat Terrier from the Oregon Humane society who rescued her from an overwhelmed breeder in Tillamook, Oregon. She was quite sick and the first week with her was a blur of sickness, vets, and crap loads of money we did not have flying out our window to get her better (in addition to all the Christmas and Birthday shopping…) Hopefully the insurance she came with will come through and cover most of it! We spent Christmas eve at Jack’s Grandma’s and paid Sarah and her family a visit. The day after Christmas we drove up to Cathy’s and spent the night so we could visit and fix her door. New Year’s eve was spent quietly at home with family. It was a good end to a great year.

What IS it?

2009 had its ups and downs for certain. I look back on the year and feel lucky and very thankful that mostly there were ups. We are certainly blessed.

Happy New Year!