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.

Mother's Day, Zoo Trip 001

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.

Mother's Day, Zoo Trip 025
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…
Mother's Day, Zoo Trip 031

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:
Mother's Day, Zoo Trip 042

These ducks were hanging out with the giraffes and gazelles…
Mother's Day, Zoo Trip 022
…who seemed happy enough.
But this guy looked so sad:
Mother's Day, Zoo Trip 063

This one seemed to be enjoying the sun as much as we were:
Mother's Day, Zoo Trip 052

And this guy? Well, he loved Jack. A LOT!

A train ride at the zoo is always fun, too.
Mother's Day, Zoo Trip 102

After the zoo we drove out to Kayla’s work and had some ice cream. Some of us were pretty tired.

Mother's Day, Zoo Trip 129

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.

Take your kid to work day

I started this post on April 22nd, 2010, and never got around to posting it. Ack! So pretend it’s almost two weeks ago…

Today was take your kid to work day. Unfortunately the kids can no longer go to work with their dad due to company policy. This is a huge disappointment to Cody this year because THIS year was finally HIS year to go. So the next obvious choice was to “go to work with mom”.

My kids thought they should all “go to work with mom”. Their reasoning was that school was wasted anyway since hardly anyone was there and all they do is sit around and read. They could do that “at mom’s work”.

So, here it is. My kids “at work” with me:

Take your kid to work
Miss H and Cody, not even out of their jammies yet, but hard at “work”.

Take your kid to work
Casey, “working” hard.

Take your kid to work
Look how hard my girl, Sissa, is “working”.

That’s what I posted two weeks ago and never completed. We’ve been busy as usual and that’s my only excuse. More on that later.

You don’t see a picture of Kevin “at work” with me because he chose to go to school that day. He has a lot going on, what with graduation coming up and all. Speaking of, here he is with his “date” for Senior Prom:

Jess & Kevin

I’m fully aware of the over-usage of quotes in this post. It had to be done, though. 😉

P.S. May the 4th be with you!

How to entertain your puppy for hours

When the kids fed the dogs this morning, Lil Miss accidentally dropped one of the bowls and dog food went flying everywhere. She got all she could picked up before she had to get on the bus for school.

Mia discovered some under the stove.

How to Entertain your Puppy

She discovered if she works hard enough, her efforts will be rewarded.

How to Entertain your Puppy

She’s been doing this on and off for HOURS today.

How to Entertain your Puppy

I’ve never seen her more focused, more determined. 😀

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?

Seaside Beach Trip, Feb 2010

Just like last year, Jack and I took off for the Oregon coast to get away and celebrate my birthday. This year it was Seaside, Oregon. This time it wasn’t just the two of us. We brought one the four-legged babies; Mia.

Pretty Mia

The weather couldn’t have been better. It was warm and near 60 degrees during the day and each night we were treated to beautiful sunsets.

Jack and Mia, Seaside

Like this one:
Sunset February 20, 2010 - Seaside, OR

And this one:
Tracie's 41st Birthday, Seaside Or, 2010 145

As always when the weather is nice on the Oregon Coast, the scenery was breathtaking.

Somewhere between Tillamook and Seaside

What was different was having a puppy tagging along. She required a bit of work, but she was mostly a ton of fun to have with us.

Mia taking a short break from all the digging and running around

We spent our first night relaxing in the hotel and getting rested up because the next day was spent walking around and shopping. Mia was with us the whole time and attracted a LOT of attention from the many people enjoying the coastal shopping opportunities that day. Seaside is pretty dog-friendly. Many shops allow the dogs inside and even put out bowls of water for the pups outside their doors. Many people stopped to pet her and she enjoyed every second of it.

For Mia’s first time out on the beach we kept her leashed and close to us. The second day we got brave and let her go off-leash to see what she’d do. To our delight she stayed close to us most of the time and came running every time we called her if she wandered too far.

I called her too me

She discovered the joys of digging.

Lots of digging to be done at the beach

Jack did too. 🙂 We’ll probably pay for that this summer when we have no yard left.

We were thoroughly impressed with how well-behaved she was the entire weekend, especially being only 5.5 months old! She sure is a smart one!

Cute too!
Snuggly Mia

You can view the rest of the photos I uploaded here.

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.

Kevin singing

Kevin’s choir performed a few weeks ago and in one of the songs Kevin had a solo part. There’s two solos in this song. Kevin’s is the second solo.

Kevin's Fall Concert 2009

If the above doesn’t work, here’s a direct link to the audio file: Kevin’s Solo

Kevin has always loved to sing. In fact, when he was little he never went to the bathroom without all of us knowing it because while he was in there doing his thing, he’d belt out song after song (some he made up on the spot). When he got older and we’d tease him about it (lovingly of course), he would just shrug and explain the bathroom had good acoustics. 😀

By the way, this was recorded on an iPhone. iPhones ROCK!