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.

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.

Go Team!!

Last week Melissa spent four days trying out for her upcoming high school’s cheerleading team (she’ll be a freshman next year). There were three days of three hour practices with one day off for her to stay home and practice on her own. She worked hard all four days and made the team! She’s very very excited. As am I. She’s so cute. She told me tonight that this was a moment she’s been waiting for all her life. Ah to be young and 14… 🙂

Her soon-to-be high school has the best cheerleading program in our portion of the state and for more than half the years the school has been in existence (11 years) they’ve been state champions. They’ve won several national championships as well. Currently there is no other school in our state that has as many big wins. So this is very very exciting for her and a huge opportunity.

Here’s a little blast from the past video (to make up for the yucky bathroom pictures yesterday) of Melissa cheering after a one day camp her older sister’s high school did for the young girls (2008):

Congratulations, Sissa!

Kevin in tights

Last night Kevin’s high school choir held a benefit concert to help raise money. It was hilariously fun. Kevin emceed the entire thing along with his friend, Dany.

Here’s a sample of some of the hilarity: Men in Tights I did not record this video. I did get pictures, though!

Like this one:
Choir Benefit Concert 056

Yes, that’s my 18 year old son in tights.

Here’s a sample of him and Dany emceeing the concert. (I did shoot this video.) One of the mics was having unexpected issues (it was cutting out, likely due to a short) so instead of allowing it to throw them or annoy them, they found as much humor in it as they could and it only added to their performances as emcees. I was proud!

They also did a Star Wars parody that cracked us up. A little factoid: all the props used in this performance came from our family. From the storm trooper helmet to the blasters, all ours. Even the Chewbacca on the one boy’s back… came from Kayla. 🙂

It was a great night!

Now, Jack and I are off to celebrate my birthday at the coast. A weekend away, just the two of us. We only get to do this twice a year. And it’s always a much needed break!

If I Were a Rich Man

Last night we watched Kevin in his high school’s performance of Fiddler on the Roof. I was so impressed with how much work these kids put into this. They worked hard and it paid off. Poor Kevin even lost his voice Thursday night during their first performance. He’s had to nurse it the rest of the weekend so he could sing without issue.

We’re going to see it again next weekend and we’ll record the whole thing. For now, here he is singing “If I Were a Rich Man:

Kevin singing, this time with honors

Friday night Kevin got to be a part of something really special. After “participated in a rigorous audition process” Kevin was chosen by the school district to be part of the ‘best of the best’ from all four high schools to perform at the First Annual
All-District High School Honor Band, Choir and Orchestra Concert
. Their performance was last Friday night and it was SOLD OUT within minutes! It was an amazing concert. I was completely blown away by the talent these kids had. And it was really an awesome idea because part of the reasoning behind this program was to create more awareness of just how important it is to have the arts in our schools. Especially music! And to show off our kids, of course. 🙂

The sold out part was scary though. Due to prior commitments, my mother barely made it to this special show. She had been driving for hours so by the time she got there, she just wanted to get her ticket and sit. Well, tickets went on sale at 6:30. We arrived at 6:40 and they were already sold out. They put her name on a list to see if there were any more seats after ticket holders were seated. Jack and I got our tickets for free (each kid received two free tickets to give away) and we were about to flip coins to see which one would sit out to allow my mom to see her grandson perform. Fortunately she got a seat!

I’m in the process of uploading videos of Kevin singing during the choir portion of the performance now. I was going to wait to post this until after they were done uploading, but they were shot in HD and are huge and I’m not savvy enough to figure out how to compress/optimize them before uploading and I have six thousand more loads of laundry to fold.

(I know. It’s always about the laundry.)

One is done now though. See it below, then check my YouTube channel for the other four. Oh and sorry about the jittery hands in a couple sections. I kept getting bumped!

Now excuse me while I go get some tissues. I can’t seem to watch my child sing without sniffling.

Pumpkin Patch

Guess what we did yesterday?

Here’s a hint:
Pumpkin Patch 2009 076

And another:
Pumpkin Patch 2009 045

Last hint:
Pumpkin Patch 2009 049

If you guessed that we went to the pumpkin patch, you’re goooood! Or maybe the orange things and all the mud gave it away. Or you just read the title of this post. 😉

Guess what we did last week?

Here’s a hint:
Melissa's Fall Choir Concert 2009 011

Yes I know the picture isn’t that great. I’m still trying to learn how to take long distance shots of people with my camera. I’m failing miserably. Since it’s not the best picture quality (even if the subject is gorgeous) I’ll just tell you: It was Melissa’s first choir concert this year. They were nervous. You can watch a video one of of their performances here. Turn your speakers up. They were a little quiet. And please ignore the white fuzzy thing in the video. The lady with the big white fuzzy hair in front of me wouldn’t hold still!

Guess what our whole family may or may not have been exposed to? If you guessed H1N1, you’re right! We’re sitting… and waiting…. Meanwhile, here’s more pumpkin patch photos.

Pearl Jam

Over fifteen years ago I met the man who would become my my husband and the father of children to come. As I was becoming friends, then close friends, and eventually falling in love with this man, a certain relatively new band was all over the radio and charts singing songs that seemed to be pulled straight out of my soul. That time wasn’t an easy time for Jack and I and there were many nights where music was the only thing that got us through those difficult moments. Pearl Jam played a pretty big role in that. For me specifically: Black.

When a friend gave me Eddie Vedder’s “Into the Wild” it only renewed my love for Eddie’s voice, and Pearl Jam in general. In all these years, I’ve never once gotten tired of Pearl Jam. I can’t say that about many bands. They just seem timeless to me.

Music has always had been a big deal for Jack and I. In our early years we attended concerts such as Lollapalooza ’96 in George, WA where we got to see Devo, Ramones, Soundgarden, and Metallica. That same year we went to Rockfest in Estacada, OR where I got knocked out cold in the mosh pit and carried off by security, thankfully to recover in time to enjoy Candlebox from our blanket far far away from the mosh pit… (Jack’s not let me within 50 feet of a mosh pit since…..). I stood in line when I was pregnant out to ———–> here to get us Metallica tickets for their 1998 concert at Portland Meadows. The last concert was Rockfest 2005 where we took the oldest kids and one of their friends to see Mudvayne and Disturbed. This was Kevin’s first concert and watching through his eyes and seeing the unadulterated joy in them was an awesome moment. All of these concerts were amazing moments for Jack and I. Yet somehow we’d never got around to seeing Pearl Jam.

In mid August I read in our local paper that Pearl Jam added a tour stop in Ridgefield, WA. This was their “Portland, OR” stop (which is silly since Portland is 15 miles south in a different state, but I guess no one’s heard of Ridgefield, or Vancouver, WA…) at the Clark County Amphitheater. This wasn’t on their original tour list so I was completely stoked that we might have the chance to see them. I checked it out the price on the ticketmaster website and it said $25.00. We could totally do that!

I marked the date tickets went on sale on my calendar and at the very moment they opened the site up to buy tickets, I was there, poised and ready. I got decent seats and on the last page the price was listed… I was about to complete the sale… and lets just say that it was nowhere NEAR the $25.00 per ticket I thought it was going to be. I was instantly devastated. The number staring back at me was NOT something we could afford. I showed it to Jack and he was like, “oh well”. I wasn’t “oh well” about it at all. I was crushed.

The page I was on said I had 3 minutes to complete the sale. I abandoned it and started over thinking I might have done something wrong. I know I had gone to the ticketmaster site 5-6 times before that day and checked for updated information and the only price ever up until that day was $25.00. (It turns out that’s how much the parking pass was…) I tried to start the purchase over but then the site wouldn’t load. I was stuck “waiting in line”. Ten minutes passed and I still couldn’t get it. Before I knew it tears were falling down my face. I don’t know why I got so upset. I wasn’t sobbing or even bawling, but I couldn’t fight back tears. I really had my heart set on seeing them.

Jack saw my tears and asked me how bad I wanted to see them. Uh.. I’m crying here.. so.. HELLO? I actually don’t remember what my answer was. I felt kinda stupid for crying over a silly concert. Then he said he had the ticketmaster site up on his computer and only had a minute or so to complete HIS purchase of two Pearl Jam tickets. Since the concert was only a couple weeks after his birthday, he said he’d like the tickets for his birthday and I better hurry up and answer. Naturally I said HELL YEAH!

Jack still got a small celebration and a few small items for his birthday, but in reality, he donated whatever he might have gotten for his birthday because *I* wanted to see Pearl Jam so bad. Sure he did too but he wasn’t the one shedding tears over it. See why I married him? 🙂

Pearl Jam September 26, 1009 Ridgefield, WA

Pearl Jam September 26, 2009 Ridgefield, WA

Pearl Jam did not disappoint. Neither did their opening act, Ben Harper & Relentless 7. The concert was Saturday night and the weather was perfect, the crowd was awesome, the singing, the music, all of it was everything I thought it would be. When they played Black I got misty-eyed.

Pearl Jam, September 26, 2009 Ridgefield, WA

Pearl Jam, September 26, 2009 Ridgefield, WA

Eddie’s voice is amazing even live. A lot of bands have a hard time sounding as good as their studio albums when they play live. Few bands make the songs sound BETTER, but Pearl Jam can do the latter. I knew this already as I’ve wasted spent countless hours on YouTube in my lifetime watching live Pearl Jam performances. This is one of the reasons I wanted to see them so bad. I also had heard that Eddie Vedder was awesome at engaging and connecting with the crowd. The rumors were NOT unfounded. As an added bonus, Pearl Jam just released Backspacer a week ago and it’s amazing too.

Here’s one of my favorite YouTube videos, Pearl Jam Black:

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!