For Kevin

I can’t believe you’re going off to college already! It seems just yesterday you were born. …But we are so proud of you!

Here’s our wish for you..

I hope the days come easy and the moments pass slow,
and each road leads you where you want to go,
and if you’re faced with a choice, and you have to choose,
I hope you choose the one that means the most to you.
And if one door opens to another door closed,
I hope you keep on walkin’ till you find the window,
if it’s cold outside, show the world the warmth of your smile,

More than anything, more than anything,
My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
your dreams stay big, and your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more than you can hold,
and while you’re out there getting where you’re getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,
Yeah, this, is my wish.

I hope you never look back, but ya never forget,
all the ones who love you, in the place you left,
I hope you always forgive, and you never regret,
and you help somebody every chance you get,
Oh, you find God’s grace, in every mistake,
and you always give more than you take.

Oh More than anything, Yeah, and more than anything,
My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
your dreams stay big, and your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more than you can hold,
and while you’re out there getting where you’re getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,
Yeah, this, is my wish.

My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
your dreams stay big, and your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more than you can hold,
and while you’re out there getting where you’re getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,
Yeah, this, is my wish.

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.

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. ClichĂ© 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.

Life

We’ve moved! Please update your bookmarks to: https://jackntracie.wordpress.com

Why did we move? Well, our current host wouldn’t budge on their pricing even though they were quite a bit more expensive than their competitors. And I didn’t feel like moving hosts. Going from a self-hosted wordpress blog to wordpress.com took me about 3 seconds. And it’s FREE to host here. Can’t beat that! (That and the site wasn’t paying for itself anymore, thus us not being able to justify spending $120 a year to host it..) 🙂

Rest in Peace Grandma…

From Jack:
The Greatest Woman that ever lived, my Grandma T, died yesterday at the age of 86… if she died at 186 it would have been too soon….

Rest in Peace Grandma T. You were the sweetest and most wonderful Great Grandma, Grandma, Mom and Lady that ever lived. You were the cornerstone of our great family, and while we will all carry on, the world will never be the same without you. We love you with all our hearts.

From Tracie:
Being part of something special, makes you special.” That’s exactly how I feel about Grandma T. She was so special, so amazing, and I’m very thankful I got the chance to know such an incredible person. She was the closest to a real Grandma I ever had… She accepted me faults and all. I will miss her so, so much.

Grandma T.

Grandma T. and Kevin

Grandma T

Grandma and Sissa

thanksgiving, 2009

Our last Thanksgiving with Grandma T - November, 2009

(There’s more photos on Facebook)

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! 🙂