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.

Halloween photos from the past

I know Halloween was over a few weeks ago, but I was going through old photos and came across some from the past 5 years. Every parent says this, but damn time flies! Just a few short years ago Sissa and I couldn’t wait to coordinate our costumes… And now she’s all about spending it with her friends (as was I when I was almost 14…) Just a few short years ago my boys were babies with chubby, pinch-able cheeks. Not so much anymore. Holy moley earlier this month the oldest graduated from being a teen to being in her 20’s. Yikes. And today Jackie turns 15! Where’s the pause button??

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.

Cathys House, Labor Day, 2009 030

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!