Saturday, August 22, 2009

This, that and the other

Oops, I did it again. Please suppress the urge to sing the Brittany Spears song, that was not my intention. What did I do again? Neglect the blog. Sorry, blog. Instead of making excuses, I'll just post a few random pictures and call it good. Is that okay? Anyone care? Anyone still actually check this blog for updates? Well, this is for both of you, then.

Here's what happens when Ty sits in the front of the shopping cart next to my purse. Well, first of all he found the camera which I'm pretty sure was still in there from my reunion a few weeks ago. No photos of that, sorry to say. Or happy to say...whatever. Anyway, I turned around after picking out some broccoli and this is what I see:

And this is what happens after I snap a picture of Ty. No child left behind (left out?), that's my motto.

And no mother left out, that's Ty's motto. Yes, Ty did take this photo and I didn't crop it. Not bad for a 3 year old, huh? Then again he clearly has an experienced model in front of the lens.

And this is what happens when fall approaches: I hand our house over to 10 well-prepared men and their laptops and football season can officially begin. Fantasy Football Draft Day. Yes, it is capitalized in this house. If it were up to Dan, this would be a national holiday. You have to know that Dan was downright giddy from sunrise to sunset (and well into the night.) I've never seen him more excited about any given day, and that includes his own birthday, Christmas, and possibly even snow days when school is cancelled. If you're a teacher (or a student for that matter) you can appreciate the magnitude of this statement. Yes, that piece of paper is the entire length of my dining room. And yes, it is still there and will remain so until I can convince Dan that the pictures of our children should go back in its place.

I sincerely hope this update leaves you satisfied. And I sincerely wouldn't blame you if you've given up on me completely. Until next month, er, next time.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Jake-amus Prime

WHEW. Deep breath. Party's over. Even though Jake turned 5 on Monday (August 3rd), his official Transformers birthday party was last night, and I woke up this morning with the reality that my first born is 5. FIVE. Five years ago I was home with a tiny 6 lb 7 ounce baby feeling overly emotional but knowing that this little boy was going to change my life forever. And indeed he has. Jacob Gary has been my delight. He slept through the night at 2 months old and never looked back. He is just an easy-going kid. He has always been a people person, and yet loves to play independently (and now with his brother of course.) He is the funniest little dude. The other day he was telling my mom a story and was using his fingers to show where everyone was at the time. "So here's Ty, (pointer finger) and here's Mom..." but then he looked up after a minute and said, "but Gram, these are actually just my fingers." OH. Good clarification, thanks.

He has always had a love for cars, and still does, but recently he's gotten into "good guys vs. bad guys" or more specifically Autobots vs. Decepticons. He will stand in front of the TV with anything he can make into a weapon (like the remote control) and fight the bad guys, jumping and turning and shooting. The animated Transformers TV shows are his favorite, but he also loves to watch Prince Caspian and will fast forward through the whole thing until the end battle scene. Is he all boy or what?

I'm so looking forward to watching him play soccer this year, and having him in preschool for one more year before he rides away on the school bus. I'm also looking forward to finding out if he'll broaden his horizons at lunch time past a PB&J or mac'n'cheese. I love how expressive he is, and how the sheer joy on his face can brighten any mood I'm in. I also don't think anyone loves his brother more than Jake, and that he will share even the most treasured toys with Ty more often than not.

I love that he will still come and sit on my lap and tell me he loves me at random times. I love that he says please and thank you and gives out compliments freely. I got my hair cut the other day and I walked in to the house and he came running down the stairs yelling, "MAMA!" and when he saw my new cut he said, "Oooo, Mama, you're hair looks studly!" I've never had a better compliment than studly hair, thanks baby.

Happy 5th birthday. I will love you forever, Jake-amus Prime. Thanks for changing my life in the best of ways.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Cali part 2

Okay, after we kissed and hugged and refrained from beating the living daylights out of Ty, (you must read the last blog if you haven't yet) we went to Curtis and Jane's church, then off to San Francisco to see the sights. What a fabulous city! We had such a great time (after I got carsick on the way and threw up in Jane's Taco Bell cup and chewed on some of Ty's Dramamine). We saw the sea lions at Pier 39 and took pictures of Alcatraz and I got some new sunglasses that didn't have a scratch down the middle of the left eye. You can tell that didn't bother me for 11+ hours the day before. Then we had some ridiculous chocolate sundae's in Ghirardelli Square, holy delicious.After San Francisco we went back to Jane and Curtis' place where they had a surprise waiting. They found a Power Wheels truck at a garage sale for $5 (for real) and after getting a new battery for it, it became Jake's favorite part of the trip. He drove that thing around the parking lot, up on the sidewalks surrounding their condo, he drove it to the pool when they got to go swimming, and wanted to drive it home to Oregon. Jane's "big pool" aka not our kiddie pool that fills to about the boys shins, was pretty awesome with the new water wings I bought them. Talk about the highlight of Ty's existence. Jake loves the water too, but Ty is part marine wildlife, I'm quite sure of it. The next day started out with me being sure Ty was officially in our room, in the flesh, and then packing up to leave for the beach. Just outside Monterey is an adorable little community called Pajero Dunes, and it was simply the greatest. This house was RIGHT on the ocean, and had the most luxuriously comfy bed I've ever slept in. I'm thinking the sheets may have cost more than our mortgage payment. We got to put the kids to bed and stay up late playing games with Jane and Curtis, and it was really the best. Have I mentioned the fact that I love my in-laws? Sisters, brother, mother, father. Every last one of them is just wonderful. It was only about every other sentence that we tried to get Jane and Curtis to move to Gresham. One more picture of my cuter than cute niece. She'd just gotten her two little ponytails taken out before she fell asleep. Don't you just want to squeeze her? This vacation within our vacation was really wonderful. We even saw a sea lion on the beach, just feet away from us. And roasted marshmallows in the fire pit right outside their beach house. And the kids and Dan and "Uncle Curti" jumped the frigid waves and came back with teeth chattering. It is still the West Coast, people, let's be honest.
Another little Ty special happened when I found him out on the front porch of the house, peeing through the very narrow slats on the deck, the spray dangerously close to the walking path between houses. Shorts pulled down to his ankles, the contrast between his tan lower back and stark white nakedness was pretty doggone amusing. Just how many times have I scolded that child while trying to hold back a smile?
When we came home from the beach, Dan's other sisters Becca and Jenny and Becca's boyfriend Jared were waiting for us, and soon Gram and Pops Stump arrived. The whole Stump family together. I could just feel the love bursting out of my mother-in-law Ann. We had an early birthday celebration for Jake and baby Bec (don't you worry, I'm not forgetting about Jake's bday blog, his party is on the 6th so I'm waiting for pictures). And then we went to check into another hotel to get some good sleep before going to Great America the next day.

Too bad good sleep was not going to happen at this hotel. First of all, we were checking in at around 9pm, an hour past the kids bedtime. They were running on fumes, as were we. Of course they didn't actually have the room with 2 queen beds that we had reserved (have you ever seen that Seinfeld..."I know why we have reservations." "I don't think you do. See, you know how to take the reservation, you just don't know how to HOLD the reservation and that's really the most important part of the reservation, the holding. Anybody can just take them.") Anyway, very long story we ended up with a king bed and a couch that had a pull-out bed which was about the size of one of my legs, but both kids ended up sleeping on it after waiting for them to bring us some sheets and blankets. Again, very long story of us hearing our next door neighbors yelling at their crying child and having the crying child bang against the walls and their door. It was not terribly soothing, but ended eventually.

What you're really waiting for is this: GREAT AMERICA. Ann and John watched the kids while us adult kids got to go to the park. Do you know when the last time was that I went on a roller coaster? Long long ago. I realized that as we were hanging upside down on the Invertigo. Listen to the blurb they write about it:

Invertigo: Face fear - and your friends, as you race through loops and boomerangs, and then back again! First you're pulled up 138 feet above the ground. Then, speed down the lift, and shoot up into a "boomerang," a 180-degree turn with double inverted side-winders. Exploding out of the boomerang, head into a 72-foot-high vertical loop before rocketing to the top of the second 138-foot lift. You'll have just enough time to catch your breath before you do the whole thing again in the opposite direction.

They also didn't mention that if you face your brother in-law-Curtis, you just may get spit on as he's dangling above you. Did I mention he's a youth pastor? The always-gonna-think-spitting-in-people's-faces-is-funny type of guy. You just have to love him.

Great America was awesome. The longest wait we had was about 10 minutes and it was to ride Psycho Mouse which was...well look at the title folks. Because we went on so many coasters in so little time, we decided to cut out early and head back to San Fran for dinner at the Cheesecake Factory on the top of Macy's in Union Square. Good decision. Mmmmmm. And they were even celebrating national cheesecake eating day or something like that, so the slices of cheesecake were half off. Mmmmmm. Snickers Cheesecake. I'm actually starting to salivate thinking about how delicious it was.

The next morning it was time for us to head home. So I'll wrap it up. We made it home. Utterly exhausted. But completely happy. There, was that to the point or what?
Thank you Curtis and Jane! Crazy stories included, we really could not have had a better vacation. In fact, if it didn't have crazy stories, it wouldn't truly have been a Stump Family Adventure. We'll do it again soon, I promise!

Saturday, August 01, 2009


I'm just sitting her pondering how to even begin capturing all the fun we had this last week on our road trip. So I'm just going to break it down by the minute. Ready?

Saturday July 25th
6am: my alarm clock goes off and I wonder why it was that we said we'd be leaving this early?

6:00 and 5 seconds: OH because Google Maps said it would take us 10 hours and 28 minutes to get to Curtis and Jane's house, and because we have 2 children (specifically one named Ty) we were anticipating more like 28 hours and 10 minutes.

6:00 and 10 seconds: let's get this show on the road

7:04 am: we pull out of our driveway, Jake eating a granola bar and Ty eating Dramamine

7:05 am: Jake asks us how much farther we have to go

7:06 am: Ty repeats the same question

7:06 and 1 second: I turn on the Cars DVD for them to watch in the back seat

Are you getting the idea? Actually the kids were really really great for being 4 1/2 and 3. They did watch more than one (but less than 28) DVD's on the way to and from, but we actually made better time than I'd prepared myself for.

After a little over 11 hours we pulled into our hotel and called Jane and Curtis, asking them if they wouldn't mind bringing us some In&Out for dinner. Mmmmmmmmmmm. And how much fun it was to squeeze our niece Bekah in all her cuteness. I'm not kidding, I couldn't think she was cuter if she were my own. Am I wrong?
And now....drum roll please...what you've all been waiting for: THE story. Here it is, in it's rightful chronological order. After Jane and Curtis and Bek left our hotel room that first night, we got ready for bed and hit the hay. It had been quite a long day so I was praying for the kids to sleep well...and sleep IN. Well, Jake wakes up at 7:30, not too bad, but Ty and Dan were still asleep. Jake's whisper is more like an ear piercing battle cry, so I decided to put some clothes on and take him down to the lobby for a while so Dan and Ty could get more sleep. We were down there for a half hour or so, and then came back up but Dan and Ty were still asleep. I set Jake in front of the TV, and turned on some PBS and got ready to take a shower, thinking Ty would wake up and Dan would soon follow.

As I'm getting into the shower, Dan opens the door and says..."Where's Ty?" Uhhhhhhh, excuse me? "He's in his bed sleeping." "NO he's not, Ang. There's just a pile of blankets where he was." "WHAT??" "What is going on, where is he, what should we do?" And so the freak out began. I can probably thank my job for this, because although inside my heart was pounding and my body was shaking, I told myself not to worry until we had done everything possible. It had been probably 40 minutes since Jake and I left, and I know for a fact that he'd been there at that time. We had been back in the room for 10 minutes or so and I knew he hadn't walked out during that time. So Ty had been gone between 10 and 40 minutes. I knew exactly what had happened. Ty woke up, saw that Jake and I weren't there, and went to go look for us. Who cares that I know why he left, though, where the heck is he now?! I tried calling the front desk and somehow it wasn't working, so I grabbed Jake's hand and left the room a few moments after Dan. Jake, always one for honesty however brutal, looks up at me and says, "Mom, I think he probably went out into the street and got hit by a car." Thanks, Jake, that helps a lot. My exact words were "Jacob, DO NOT TALK. Hold my hand, and do not talk."

I asked some housekeepers coming out of the elevator if they had seen a three year old wandering around by himself. They didn't speak English, so then I played a rousing game of charades with them before realizing it was hopeless. We took the stairs to the lobby and I looked around that floor, including the restaurant that smelled of bacon (that's where he would have been if he could have found the lobby) waited as the man at the desk got off the phone. I told him our three year old wandered off, and he told me that he'd told Dan already that Ty was on the 4th floor. "The 4th floor?" "Yes, ma'am, he's in room 414." Ooooookay. Dan called me seconds later and said he had him. I went back to our room to hear this story: Dan told me he ran up to the 4th floor and sure enough the door to room 414 was open, and a guy asked Dan if he was looking for Ty. Dan rushes in and Ty is watching a cartoon show with another kid, looks up at him and says, "Hey Dad." Dan didn't get any story from that family because he was too busy wanting to simultaneously hug and punch Ty in the face, but the front desk had just told Dan they'd called down and said there was a kid named Ty walking around with no shirt, shoes, or PARENTS.

Good golly that kid is going to give me a stroke someday. We've tried to get more of the story from him, but he's not terribly reliable. Is THAT the understatement of the year. He told us he was looking for Jake and Mom and he pushed the button to the elevator but it wasn't working (probably didn't open after 0.05 seconds of waiting) so he took the stairs. We had taken the stairs up from the lobby, but never down to the lobby so he just started going up. Then he told us he knocked on the door to room 414 and told him he was looking for his mom and brother. Perfectly rational. Never scared. Dan told him, "Honey, you can never walk around by yourself like that, somebody could take you." And his reply was, "Oh no, Dad. Nobody taked me." And I'll thank Jesus a few more thousand times for that. Whoa nelly, thank you Jesus.
I'll wrap things up quickly. HA! That was only day 1 and morning of day 2. I'm realizing I'm gonna need to blog a part 2, or possibly 3 or 4 to this vacation. Otherwise I'm going to lose my reader with all this verbose-ness (verbosity?). Maybe not, but my hands are cramping up, so that's all for now. I promise I'll finish the Stump Family Road Trip Adventures very soon!