Mother's Day, Zoo Trip

Mother’s Day 2010 was awesome. It was awesome because I have a beautiful, kind, loving, wonderful, and amazing family.

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We started the day by going to get blood drawn. I was due (way over due actually) for blood work to be done and since I have to be fasting it’s tough to find the time to get it done. I figured early morning on Mother’s Day would be the best time because there’d be no one there. I was right. We were in an out in 15 minutes. (A first!)

We were supposed to go to the beach for the day but the forecast on the coast called for clouds and a chance of rain. Here in town it was sunny and high of 70. I’m pretty darn sick of clouds and rain and chose to stay where the sun was.

We went out to breakfast, then to the zoo.

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Giraffes are my favorite. So peaceful and serene.

Going to the zoo is always bittersweet for me. On the one hand, I never grow tired of the beautiful creatures. On the other, I feel bad that they’re caged and not free. I know the Oregon Zoo does wonderful things and I fully support all that they do, and I’m sure the animals are there for a reason. But I can’t help but feel a bit sad anyway.

Like this guy…
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He just seemed like he’d rather be somewhere else. He wouldn’t look at the crowd.

This mama duck and her baby seemed happy, though:
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These ducks were hanging out with the giraffes and gazelles…
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…who seemed happy enough.
But this guy looked so sad:
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This one seemed to be enjoying the sun as much as we were:
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And this guy? Well, he loved Jack. A LOT!

A train ride at the zoo is always fun, too.
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After the zoo we drove out to Kayla’s work and had some ice cream. Some of us were pretty tired.

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It was a wonderful mother’s day and I’m so very thankful for my incredibly awesome family.

There’s a few more pictures here.

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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!

Dull moments? What are those?

Last week we drove down to The Dalles to celebrate Thanksgiving with a LOT of Jack’s family. Try… 40 of us. In one house. It was a little bit loud, a little bit chaotic, and a whole lot of AMAZING.

Thanksgiving 2009

We left Grandma’s house around noon on Friday to head to Cathy’s house. Everyone kept asking me if there would be snow at Cathy’s house and foolishly I told them all no. But as we got closer and closer to Cathy’s it became apparent I was wrong.

The road to Cathy's house

Not only was there a couple inches of snow but a fresh blanket had fallen on Cathy’s mountain (AKA Mt Adams) and treated us to this:

Cathy's Mountain (aka Mt. Adams)

And this:

Cathy's Mountain (aka Mt. Adams)

For Troutlake, there really wasn’t that much snow, but it was enough to make the kids squeal with delight and disappear into it for an hour or so despite not really being dressed for it.

Snow - Nov 27 - Cathy's House

We got home late Friday night then spent the weekend pretending we were the Griswold’s as we cut down our tree then put lights on the house.

Here’s a tip for you: Never EVER say “lets not go all out this year“. What undoubtedly happens is you put even MORE lights on the house and go more “all out” than the year before. Trust me on this one.

Christmas Lights and Tree

Christmas Lights and Tree

See?

And see the tree to the right there? That took Jack two hours. He actually climbed the tree, trimmed it, climbed it some more, had a ladder IN the tree and came out sweaty and covered in spiders and pine needles. If I weren’t fearing for his life I would have found it comical.

This tree was much easier to decorate:

Christmas Lights and Tree

This past week was a whirlwind of work … and stress from work … for both of us. This weekend we’re taking it easy and the only thing planned is Kevin’s school’s musical production of Fiddler on the Roof. Kevin is playing the part of Tevye and if you’ve seen Fiddler on the Roof you’d know what a huge part that is. It’s so huge that all the rehearsing (plus the choir rehearsals) caused him to lose his voice last night. It’s better today, but he wasn’t too happy.

This may be the last weekend we relax until next year … considering THREE of our kids celebrate birthdays this month, plus all the Christmas festivities.

At least there’s never a dull moment around here.

End of Summer

Today is the official first day of fall, and it’s going to be 90 degrees. *melt* But the end of summer for us was the first day of school:

Sissa and Mo, first day of school, September 2, 2009.

Sissa and Mo, first day of school, September 2, 2009.

Lil Miss & Cody on the first day of school, September 2, 2009.

Lil Miss & Cody on the first day of school, September 2, 2009.

For Kevin, you’ll have to use your imagination. I had to drive him to school the first day at the butt-crack of dawn and in my sleepy stupor I totally forgot to snap a picture. I suggested to him in the car on the way there that we could take one when he got home and he said “nah, that’s OK”. Then didn’t come home till 8:30 PM. Stinker.

The weekend after school started was Labor Day weekend. We had plans to go camping. Unfortunately we didn’t make those plans till about two weeks prior and every campground in the known world was booked solid. Then the weather forecast was looking pretty grim, so we decided to go Camping at Cathy’s. She lives in the wilderness and we could totally ignore her house and camp in her yard and it’s be like real camping. If the weather turned bad, we could camp on her living room floor. It was win-win.

Then Jack’s work decided to mess with us and declared everyone had to work through the holiday weekend and any scheduled paid time off between then and October 1st was canceled. I was spazzin’. (You may have noticed if you follow me on twitter or facebook.) There were tears, angry words, and disappointed children. Then… they said “oops, we lied, that’s next weekend”. Well, DUH. We all knew they’d be working the weekend AFTER Labor Day. That’s been planned for a long time. So the tears were for nothing…

Unfortunately the weather forecast just kept getting worse and by the day before we were to leave, the weather gurus said there would be lots of rain, high winds, and thunderstorms at Cathy’s house. We left the tents at home.

We drove up there in a rain storm, but even in the rain, the Columbia Gorge is beautiful. By the time we got to Cathy’s the rain had dissipated and the kids got to play with the cows.

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Cathy's House, Labor Day, 2009 030

They had more fun feeding those cows. The cows weren’t complaining either. Every time they saw the kids come outside they’d saunter on over to the fence.

The weather was nowhere near as bad as the weather gurus said it’d be. There was no wind, no thunderstorms, and only occasional rain showers with sun breaks in between.

Rainbow at Cathys

Rainbow at Cathy's

We had a blast! We were lazy, watched movies, hung out on Cathy’s back deck looking at the incredible landscape, and visited my best friend in the world. A perfect ending to our summer. View the rest of the pictures here.

2009 Fourth of July Fireworks

We had an awesome time yesterday celebrating Independence Day with family and friends. This has become and annual event with us and I look forward to it all year. This year was our seventh year in a row hosting a party and fireworks show!

Today we’re dealing with the aftermath: lots of cleanup. 🙂 We’ll be finding firework debris in our yard for another year or so. (Thanks to those who helped last night!) I uploaded a photo and video sampling of our two-hour show. Here’s a slideshow:

To those that weren’t able to make it this year: You were missed and we hope you had a wonderful holiday!

New Graduates

Here’s a quick update on the new happenings in our crazy household. This week flew by in a whirlwind of activity:

Jack had surgery on Tuesday to correct the issue with the gland in his neck. That went very smoothly and fairly quickly despite the surgery taking a bit longer than anticipated due to scar tissue build up from his surgery 11 years ago. Basically it was the polar opposite of my recent surgery experience.

Thursday was the last day of school for my kiddos. Their first day of summer was stormy and a bit wild weather-wise. There were even warnings of cold core funnels. (I’d never heard of those before) but fortunately we didn’t see anything like that and our patio furniture survived the weather this time.

And to top if off Kat turned 18 and we went to two graduation ceremonies. Casey graduated elementary school and will be in Junior High School next year. Katherine graduated high school. Here’s our new graduates:

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Congratulations to Mo, and Kat!

Kindergarten Zoo Trip 2009

I chaperoned today at Lil Miss H’s Kindergarten class Zoo trip today. Jack and I have always traded off going on these trips with our Kindergartners and thought we were done getting to go to these. But along came Lil Miss H and I got to go one more time! (Not that we can’t go anytime we want but it’s fun to go with the school too.)

We had a blast!

Here’s some photos:

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The rest are here: Kindergarten Zoo Trip