Sunday, December 19, 2010

July in Christmas!

No, you didn't read it wrong. I said "July in Christmas." I know, the phrase is supposed to be "Christmas in July," but it's not July. It's Christmas. And I'm going to talk about July. When everybody else is talking Christmas, I'm talking July, baby. Wrap your mind around that one.

Down to business. And by business I mean the Happiest Place on Earth. It's Disneyland story time, folks. Only 5 months overdue. I actually wrote most of this post about 2 weeks after returning from Disneyland, but then there was Jake's birthday and then there was Dan's birthday and then there was soccer and school and Halloween. And I recall promising you this post sometime before 2011. Since it's against Blogger law to not post about Christmas and it's also against my own personal law to post a blog any earlier than 1 week after the event, I knew that I'd break my promise to tell you about our Disneyland trip before January 1...if I didn't do it tonight. There's no time like the present, right? That's my motto. Oh wait.

Just crank up the heat and put on some flip flops and sunblock and pretend I'm not the worst procrastinator you've ever known.

July in Christmas:
On July 11th we packed up my parents' swagger wagon (not the official Toyota Sienna, but still a wagon with some swagger to be certain) and picked up Dan's parents and headed south. And by the way if you haven't seen the "swagger wagon" video, you're seriously missing out and need click this link immediately. So...official start time was 8:24pm and Dan's goal had been set to drive through the night as the kids slept and reach Anaheim in 16 hours. I, being the encouraging wife that I am, laughed in his face when he told me that goal. Two small children with two small bladders, and two small attention spans that were going to be stuck in two small carseats did not equal 16 hours in my humble opinion.

Who knew that after picking up Dan's sister Jane, Curtis and little Bekah in northern CA, we were actually on pace. And then we decided to stop for lunch at In&Out (my mouth just started to water as I typed those words) before crossing the Grapevine. Ah, the Grapevine. You know, that windy stretch of I-5 in SoCal with no exits that takes you up into the mountains, and then out into the valley. We were pumped to pass this milestone and not stop til we high-fived Mickey himself. And then we went around a corner. And abruptly stopped.  For the next 3 hours. Seriously, we drove 4 miles in 3 hours. It sorta makes me exhausted all over again just thinking about it. God bless the Swagger Wagon and its DVD player. The kids did awesome. I, on the other hand, probably lost a few years off my life due to my blood pressure reaching limits it had not seen before. I'm not exactly the most patient of drivers. Although it was great to get to catch up with Jane sitting next to me in the front seat. In fact, she probably lowered my stress meter down to non-lethal levels. Here's to you, Jane.

We found out 3 hours later as we passed a charred semi-truck what the problem had been. Well, like I said, we had been on pace to completely miss LA traffic, but of course now we were stuck right in the middle of it as we exited the Grapevine. Our 16 hour trip turned into a 22 hour trip. But long story (not even remotely) short, we made it!

Oh, Disneyland. The Happiest Place on Earth. My boys were in awe. We had 5 day hopper passes between Disneyland and California Adventure. The first ride we went on was Thunder Mountain Railroad. We assumed that Ty would be the daredevil (this in keeping with his typical fearless behavior) and that Jake might be a little more cautious. So we decided not to tell the boys how fast Thunder Mountain would be. Jake rode next to me and Ty next to Dan. Jake was whooping it up, screaming for it to go faster and grinning from ear to ear. And evidently Ty was clinging to Dan for dear life and asking him "are there any more fast parts?" after the first turn. Who'da thought?

After that Jake was giddy about the thought of more fast rides and Ty was a little unsure about what we'd gotten into. Dumbo was his highlight because he was able to control how high and low the flying elephant went. When he's in control there's no stopping his fearlessness. When he's not...well let's just say he had a death grip on Dan's arm during Pirates of the Carribean and there was no reasoning with him after Star Tours. Dumbo and Peter Pan and the carousel were better options. He still had a complete blast.

Jake, on the other hand, insisted on getting in line for California Screamin' when we went over to California Adventure. You had to be 48 inches to ride, and low and behold he was exactly 48 inches. 0-60mph in 5 seconds, upside down loop, crazy drops. And Jake couldn't get enough. He had the need...the need for speed. Wow, thanks writers of Top Gun for coming up with that catchy phrase to cleverly end this paragraph.

We had a great hotel that was super close so we were able to walk to the park each day. The only downside to the trip was that tiny detail of it being the hottest week in the history of mankind. It was close to 750 degrees (give or take) every day we were there. The kids were champions and barely complained. But that's probably partly because I made them drink 4 times their body weight in water. Dan and I are bigger so we only drank 3 times our body weight, and probably lost approximately that much fluid through our pores as we stood in line after line.

But in all honesty, looking back I don't remember the heat as much as I remember the sheer joy on my kids' faces when they met each character, or the shrieks of delight while riding their favorite rides. What awesome memories! So glad we got to share it with my incredible in-laws. Thanks Gram and Pops for making it even more special.

The trip home was much less eventful. I don't recall at this moment if we did make Dan's goal of 16 hours but it sure didn't feel like it when we pulled into our driveway.
We felt like we could have and should have slept for days, but alas, life goes on.

Aaaand, 5 months later...Disneyland blog done. Promise kept. You can turn the heat down now. I'm done with July. That's right, it's December. Put your Snuggie back on and go back to the fireplace and turn on some Christmas carols.

See you in 2011.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Happy Halloween

Oh, Halloween. What a love/hate relationship we have. The love part started, of course, when I was little. Wearing makeup and getting buckets of candy pretty much sums up my life's goals as young girl. I mean seriously...when a 7-year-old sporting a homemade Mary the mother of Jesus frock with a baby Jesus doll (wrapped in swaddling clothes) under one arm gets to slather on some red lipstick and blue eyeshadow, go to a "harvest party" and get a pillowcase full of cinnamon bears and tootsie rolls...how could it not be love?
The hate came when I realized that I was no longer young enough to pull out one of my mom's old prom dresses again and be willing to walk around the neighborhood in the rain. I guess driving myself around the neighborhood would have been an option. But I was also not young enough to appreciate smarties and sweet tarts anymore. Seriously folks, is the chocolate that much more expensive? Yes, (the adult in me has to interject at this point) it is that much more expensive. But oh so worth it.   

The love came back when I had tiny kids and got to dress them up in a-stinking-dorable little costumes and walk them around town nodding at the exclamations of just how cute they were. It also didn't hurt that I got to eat all their candy because they couldn't chew on a Cheerio yet without risk of imminent death.

And that hate part came in again when, for really the first time, the kids wouldn't let me talk them into (or out of) certain costumes. Of course I drew the line at a certain point, like no devil-children or Scream masks. Thankfully Jake picked out a Darth Vader mask at Goodwill that I was able to work with and thanks to my seamstress mother-in-law and her cape making abilities, he actually turned out to have one of the best costumes yet.

Oh, and then there's Ty. He changed his mind about every 2.3 seconds and I ended up insisting he wear the Ninja costume I bought for him, again at Goodwill. I'm pretty passionate about second hand Halloween costumes, especially for boys who will inevitably rip them to pieces minutes after consuming ungodly amounts of Halloween candy. I was fully happy with the Ninja costume. Wow was he awesome in his full get-up. 

Except for the fact that after he got in his full get-up, he decided it wasn't to be. The knight's helmet and breastplate we'd gotten at the dollar store 8 months ago was just too much to ignore. Except he didn't have an outfit to go underneath it. He became so passionate about the knight idea that I was certain he'd agree when I told him he'd have to just wear underwear beneath it because we didn't have time to go get another outfit. So...long story long, he decided to be a ninja knight. That child. At least I'm not worried about him ever giving in to peer pressure. When he's made up his mind, there will be no stopping him thank you very much.  
We went to downtown Gresham, as is our tradition, and trick-or-treated with the six billion other children, and even got to meet up with the cousins.

Another tradition we have is not getting a good picture of the 4 of them together. Or even one where they're all even remotely looking at the camera.


We also tricked and treated around our neighborhood and had a few "brave" moments at scary houses, and filled those pumpkin baskets to the brim with candy. Love/hate that candy.

That about wraps it up. No rambling paragraphs from me tonight. Jake's been asking me to play the game Aggravation with him and I told him I'd be done 15 minutes ago. So if you'll excuse me, I've got a date with a 6-year-old Darth Vader and some marbles.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

These are the alliterations of our lives...

Goodbye summer and sunshine. Hello school and soccer! Goodbye trips and time. Hello teachers and teammates! Goodbye California and chillaxin' (I know I'm not cool enough to use that word, but I'm trying to alliterate here.) Hello cold and classrooms! Goodbye organized chaos and once-a-month-blogging. Hello order and o...o...ONLY-going-to-ignore blogger-every-once in-a-while! Dang, alliteration is harder than I thought. Shoulda left the O's alone.

Okee dokee. So just a few things have happened since Dan turned 30 on September 1. The most monumental and shockingly absent on the blog (til now!) was the fact that Jake had his first day of kindergarten and Ty had his first day of school EVER. They're both loving school, and I'm loving the fact that on Thursday and Friday mornings from 8:25-10:55 I'm childless. Well, I guess Jake and Ty are still my children, I just don't have to watch them like a hawk in the grocery store so they don't stealthfully slip 300 fruit rollups in the cracks of the cart, or throw in 9 packages of Danimals Crush Cups that inevitably end up directly on top of the fluffy bread.

Here's some first day of school pictures:




And I'll give a shout out to my friend Faith who was a better mom than I and actually brought her camera to the first day of kindergarten. Faith's daughter Peyton is in Jake's class. And will hopefully go on at least one date with him someday.
 
Speaking of children dating, I have a funny story. Actually it's not at all funny to me now, but will hopefully someday be funny. Maybe. The first week of school I asked Jake (aka Most Social Kid of All Time) if he had made any friends. "Yep." Shocker. What are their names? "Well, there's Emma, she sits by me." Ooooh. Emma. Okay. So who did you play with at recess today? "Emma." Um, who else did you play with at recess? "Wellllll, Emma doesn't really like me to play with other people." Oh my good gracious. Does it really start this early? Needless to say, I was quite insistent about the fact that he needed to tell Emma to find some other friends, hopefully some GIRL friends to possess, I mean to play with. Case closed. He's now playing with the boys at recess and has made a great friend in our neighborhood by riding the bus (which by the way, comes at 7:12 to get him to school by 8am). So he spends 45 minutes on the bus when it would take me approximately 45 seconds to drive him down the street to the school's front door. But he insists on riding that bus and has a grand old time every morning. His teacher is wonderful and I get to go volunteer in his class once a month.

And Ty is loving preschool on Thursday and Friday mornings. His teacher is also wonderful, and he just skips right into that classroom. This from the kid who screamed when I tried to leave him in the nursery until he got old enough to go in the same class as Jake. My baby's growing up. He's no longer little brother following big brother around. He's a true blue bonafide school goer who has his own friends and his own homework that he works diligently on. Such a little man, I just am so happy he's grown out of a lot of his craziness. Not that he doesn't still get into mischief now and then. I posted this on my facebook wall the other day, "Ty cleaned the bathtub for me last night. Don't be too impressed. "Mom, I used Jake's Spiderman washcloth to clean the bathtub. I just put it in the toilet to get it wet..." Oh man, that kid. How boring would my life be without him?

Alright moving on to soccer. It's so awesome that both our boys can be on the same team this year! Jake has improved approximately 900% since last year, and is one of the best on the team, and Ty is one of the youngest kids out there, but has got himself some serious skills as well. I'll give most of the credit to Jurgi who played more hours of soccer with my boys when he lived here than he probably slept. We miss you, Jurgi! We think of you every time Jake scores a goal. Which is quite often, as you'll see (oh, and we got a new digital video recorder that is Dan's favorite toy at the moment, so kudos to him for creating this masterpiece): **OKAY, I've tried for 2 hours now to get this video to upload and can't do it. Stay tuned, I'll figure it out. No, Dan will figure it out and post it. Until now, just enjoy the pictures, courtesy of Auntie Jen who braved the rain last Saturday.**




Okay, enough of the updating? Thank you and goodnight.

Yep, I'm still not forgetting the fact that I have yet to post about our Disneyland trip. You've all probably forgotten, but that was really my plan. Now I can creep it up on you and you'll be shocked and amazed. So don't be checking every day. Just chillax. Spontaneous...that's the way I roll.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

The big 3-0

30? Didn't we just discuss how 6 seemed old? Oh yes, that was a month ago, but still...those were the words I left you with, no?

Thirty years old. Let me just clarify that it's not me who's turning 30 today. No siree. My cradle was the one that was robbed...we'll discuss my thirtieth birthday in the muuuuch distant future. Today my household is celebrating the birth of our patriarch. Daniel John. Dan. Dad. Daddy-o. Dude.

It's true. As of today I'm married to a 30-year-old. And it's not even freaking me out. You know why? Because I made a list. Yep. A list of all the things about Dan that keep him young at heart. Yes I realize that I'm talking like he's turning 80. I really don't think 30 is old, but the list is funnier if you picture him on the verge of needing a cane and denture cream.

He's a fine wine, my husband...better with age...get it? Except for the fact that he hates wine. Cheese maybe? Doesn't some cheese taste better after it ages? Ahh, I've got it. How about aged beef? Dan will appreciate that one. Except eventually even the greatest of steaks gets rotten if you don't eat it. Oh forget it. Back to the list.

Things about Dan that make him seem young (even though he's not anymore):
* He teaches my boys WWF moves as they wrestle on the living room floor
* His favorite cereals are Reeses Puffs and Fruity Pebbles
* He just got a Seahawks jersey and has been wearing it around the house multiple days in row
* He gets a high pitched giggle when someone really makes him laugh
* He still prays for snow days that will cancel school
* He ate pizza for 3 days straight when the boys and I were gone last weekend
* He tried to get me to tell him what his birthday presents are
* He couldn't sleep the night before his fantasy football draft because he was so excited
* Speaking of the draft, he wrote a trash-talking poem to read to the guys in his league before any picks were made
   
There are tons more. But the greatest part is that there are also tons of things that he does that prove he's a mature responsible adult. Like working a good job, taking care of his family, taking out the trash, making wise decisions, and being an all around great example to our boys of what a godly man looks like. It's true. He's pretty much the best combination of young and old. But he's mine and you can't have him.

Happy birthday, dude! I am proud to be your wife and I am so excited to grow old with you.

And I'm also excited about the fact that you're the one who will grow older first.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Jacob Gary

Unbelievable. Seriously unreal to me that I have a six-year-old. Six years ago today, well not today, but on August 3rd (I know, bad blogging mother, get over it) Jacob Gary was placed in my arms and I knew life would never be the same. Six years ago. 6? Six. Five is a milestone, six is just plain old. It's like turning 21...cool milestone. 22...old. And not only is he old, he's also ginormous. Not one ounce of fat on his body (he and Ty have the same size waist), but he is as tall and skinny as a...shoot what's tall and skinny? My 19 inch baby has turned into the six-year-old equivalent of Yao Ming. And I can't for the life of me find a full-body picture of Jake in all his tall glory, so that one will have to do. For those of you who haven't seen Jake in the last 24 hours, he's already grown another 4 inches. He's 6 years old and approximately 6 feet tall. Ok, obviously I'm kidding. But I swear that when I stare at him for a few minutes I can actually see him growing.

Alright already. Besides the fact that I can not get over his height, I also can not get over him losing teeth. He's lost his bottom front 2 teeth, and now he's got one upper tooth that is hanging on for dear life and makes him look like he's got a snaggletooth. Wonder if spellcheck knows what a snaggletooth is. Nope.

Enough about Jake's physical characteristics. Except I'll just throw in real quick that he's got me terrified about how many girls are going to be calling my house giggling in a few years time. Lord help me.

My happy, laid-back little baby boy has turned in to such a sweet and tough and funny young man. There's moments where my heart actually hurts I love him so much. He was getting out of the car to go to a backyard Bible club the other day, and he jumped out, started running, then abruptly stopped all by himself and said, "OH, I forgot," and came running back to the car to kiss and hug me. "Love you, Mom." Yep. Heart squeezing.

He's also quite a little missionary. There's been multiple times lately where he'll strike up a conversation with someone at the store and ask them if they know Jesus, or tell them about our church, and that he's learned the names of the books of the Old Testament by singing a song in his Sunday school class. We were on our way to the dollar store a few days ago and he announced from the back seat, "The dollar store is the best thing EVER. Oh, no wait, Jesus is the best thing ever, and THEN the dollar store." He prayed for Jurgi every night that he was here, and he also rarely forgets to include in his prayers, "and thank you for my brother and my mom and dad."

As sweet and tender-hearted as he is, he's definitely all boy. He got a rapid-fire Nerf gun for his birthday and he and Dan and Ty have been running around the house for days yelling and shooting and laughing like crazy. And that's when he's not outside playing basketball or making soccer goals out of 2 shoes. His favorite show on TV (besides cartoons like Handy Manny or Arthur) is Wipe-Out, which is pretty much just laughing at people who hurt themselves. All boy. And the birthday theme this year? Batman. It's been Hot Wheels (4th birthday), Transformers (5th) and Batman. No lace doilies in the decor at one of Jake's parties. Or any party I throw...but you get the point.

Living with Jake is constant comedy. I got him some shoes a while back that were 2 sizes bigger than the ones he was wearing that I bought (too big for him) 9 months ago. I laced them up and he proceeded to go strutting around, and my heart stopped for a second. Then I said, "Dude, you look like a man." To which he quickly replied, "YOU look like a man," and we both burst into laughter. Then just tonight he was wearing a new hat that Auntie Becca gave him (Stud, with a capital S) and he had it twisted sideways. He looked in the mirror and stated, "I look like a DJ." Dan and I laughed and said, "A DJ?" And he said, "Yeah, you know those guys who go...pssshpssshpsssh" and he was moving his hand like he was spinning a record. Who needs TV with this kid around? Hysterical.

Here comes a Disneyland preview. I'm not forgetting. Avoiding...yes. Forgetting, no.
Jake, you are my delight. I love you more than you could ever understand, and I am so excited to watch and cheer you on as you grow into a little man. Happy birthday, baby!

Monday, August 02, 2010

Summer...part 1 of 36

And now the moment you've all been waiting for...the summer update. Now I know what you're thinking. How could she possibly write a blog explaining the 4+ weeks of silence we've just experienced, when it typically takes us 4+ weeks to finish reading even one of her ridiculously long stories? Or, sentences, in this case. What would that blog post even look like? Well, it could look something like this:

Token apology for not updating readers. Assurance the author will not ever again wait so long between posts. Confusion about where to begin the update. An aha! moment and clever segue into the first of many stories. Picture. Attempt at brief explanation under picture. Repeat until author runs out of time and or energy. Concluding remarks. Second promise of timely next post. Witty final sentence.

Sweet. I guess I'm done. No? Allllright. But seriously, you may want to grab a drink, put a movie or 2 on for the kids, be sure you've emptied your bladder recently, do a little stretching...cause you're gonna be sitting here for a while.

Okay, June 28th was the last day I updated you. Jurgi had only been with us for 3 days, but we knew that he was a perfect fit for our family. For the next 2 weeks, our days were full of activity. I couldn't help but throw another baby shower in the middle of it. Cause that's what I do. (We miss you already Matt and Sharon!) We had barbecues with friends, Jurgi and the boys shot approximately 8 million baskets and made 3 million goals with a soccer ball, and Jurgi toured downtown Portland where he became passionate about someday eating a bacon topped donut while looking at the line winding around the block at VooDoo Donuts (the bacon donut dream was realized before he left). Jurgi inspired us to have a new appreciation for soccer while faithfully watching the World Cup even in the early morning hours, so we took him to a Portland Timbers Soccer game with the boys. We played tennis after I dusted off my racket and my old bones. I'm definitely not going to wait another 8 years to do that again. Jurgi went with us to a 4th of July barbecue with Dan's family and then witnessed Jake's near death fireworks experience. Dang, I guess I have to explain that one. Oh, here I'll just put a picture instead and attempt a brief explanation under it. Sparkler + wind = shirt bursting into flames and 5 year old grabbing the chunk of flaming sparkler and obtaining 2nd degree burns on his fingers. Oh and on his chest of course. Right underneath that charred hole in the shirt in case you were wondering.

And then we went to Disneyland. Next post. Oh crimeny, Jake's birthday is tomorrow. Next to next post. I cannot ask you to sit through the stories of my kids' first trip to Disneyland on top of all the other things I'm jabbering on about...mainly because I'm just plain refusing to write them right now because I'm getting carpal tunnel just thinking about it.

Okay, so when we were in Disneyland getting heatstroke (but still having an insanely good time), Jurgi got to go to the Washington Family Ranch for a week at camp. He said it was an incredible time, which makes me excited because I get to take the kids there the last weekend in August. I get to be the camp nurse. For a group of First Responders. Because I'm sure they'll need me to tell them what to do in an emergency.

Back from Disneyland and back to our last week with Jurgi. We went up to Mt. Hood to the Alpine Slides and the other adventures they have there. Mountain sliding, go-cart riding, bungee trampoline-ing, putt-putt golfing. Oh yes, and then there was the bungee jumping. Jurgi got talked into strapping himself onto a bungee cord and launching himself off a 100 foot platform. I prayed the whole time that he'd survive so his mother wouldn't have to come to the USA and kill me for letting him do it. He said it was awesome, and that he's got to do something terrifying again if he comes back next summer, so we agreed that I would go skydiving with him if he comes back. So save up your money, Jurgi! Not to pay for the skydiving. To pay me to get on that plane with you. Me and my big mouth.

We had a final dinner with all the Basque students, where they cooked us a traditional Basque meal. I would definitely not lose weight over there.

The week flew by and soon it was time for Jurgi to go home. We shared our last bacon donuts, watched our last American movies together, the boys played their last games of Wii (Bowser Castle, Jurgi!!) and I packed up a tupperware of chocolate chip cookies to cram into his suitcase, gave him a photo album of his time here in the US, and we shared some hugs and said our goodbyes. Jake and Ty couldn't have loved a big brother more. Just the other day Ty said, "I wonder what Jurgi is doing right now." We miss you, Jurgi!
And now for the witty final sentence. Yep, I know I'm skipping the concluding remarks. I like to switch things up now and then. Until next time. Yikes, that should be tomorrow, because tomorrow is Jake's 6th birthday. But I really can't write about it until he has his parties. I have to have pictures after all. That gives me a good 3 days to avoid Blogger.

I'll write about Disneyland sometime before 2011. That you can take to the bank.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Stay tuned

Three weeks with Jurgi, a week at Disneyland (the boys' first time) with Dan's parents...it's a teensy bit overwhelming how much stuff I have to blog about. Jurgi leaves tomorrow, so maybe I'll have time on Monday to update you. Before we leave for Sun River with my family on Tuesday. And then for sure I'll have pix and stories from Sun River before we leave for the Oregon coast with Dan's extended family. Oh good golly I'm stressing myself out. Pictures at least are coming soon...I think. I hope.

Monday, June 28, 2010

My boys

There they are, my three boys. They've been outside playing soccer and basketball every waking moment that they're not watching World Cup. Pretty stinking cute, aren't they? And...anybody notice that Dan already has Jurgi converted to Huskies purple?

Foreign family

He's here! Our son-for-a-month made it to the US of A!

First of all, I'll apologize for not keeping the blog up to date. Before Jurgi (pronounced Yurgi) arrived we exchanged multiple emails with him and got to know him a little bit. Part of me wanted to just copy and paste those emails here on the blog, but if I were Jurgi's mom, I probably wouldn't want a complete stranger posting details and pictures of my son's life all over the internet! So I'll be careful about how much information I share about him so no one can steal his identity or do whatever it is that the crazies of the internet do with people's personal details.

So Jurgi (if that's his real name) arrived on Friday night at a little after 9pm. Jake and Ty helped me decorate a welcome sign for him. Actually, we had to go over to my creative and artistic sisters 'crack' house (see old blog for explanation if you're ready to call the cops on Karina) in order for her to draw some bubble letters. It took her 1 minute to do what would have taken me approximately 1 day to do on my own. I painted her bubble letters (with her paint) and that was my entire contribution to the sign making process.

Anyway, Jurgi loved the sign, and gave us all hugs when he got off the plane, and gave me a kiss on each cheek and I felt very European. Or like I live in the Hamptons and say "fabulous" all the time. Whatever.

We got home after 10pm and we were all exhausted, but Jurgi pulled out some presents for us. During our emails back and forth, I had told him all about Jake and Ty and what they liked to do. Jurgi told us that he loves sports and plays soccer, so I told him that Jake had played on a soccer team last fall and loved it, and that Ty loved all sports but especially basketball. Well, sweeter than sweet teenage boy brought my boys presents that absolutely could not have been more perfect. For Jake: a soccer uniform, right down to the socks, from the official Basque team (in the perfect size), and for Ty: a full sized basketball (and a shirt with cartoon sheep and Basque writing on it, also the perfect size.) So in other words, my children will now pretty much lay down their lives for Jurgi. He's the best surrogate big brother! Ty actually slept with the basketball that night, and Jake wore the soccer outfit the entire next day.

There's tons more intimate details that internet stalkers would LOVE to get their hands on, but honestly, I'm tired and I'm also about to leave to get a one hour massage from Dan's cousin (a birthday present from my fabulous in-laws. I'm definitely kissing them on the cheeks next time I see them.)

That's it for now, but things really couldn't be better here around the Stump house. I'll get a good picture of him and the boys and post it soon. I promise.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Summer time...

(Disclaimer--I sent the first part of this blog out as an email to some family and close friends. If you think we're close friends and you didn't get it #1 I'm sure I thought I sent it to you, or #2 I tried to send it to you and I don't have your current email address, or #3 maybe I don't like you. Regardless, here it is. I'll let you know when I'm done plagiarizing myself and I begin writing new material.)

Seriously? Summer is almost here? We’ve had a few sightings of the sun here in Gresham lately, usually immediately preceded (and followed) by torrential rain. But sun or no sun, life is good here around the Stump house, and it’s about to get a whole lot better! This summer we’re anticipating lots of things, including: Dan being off work, kids frolicking in the sun, Ang sipping caramel frappucinos, Disneyland in mid-July, Alcorn family Sun River trip, Stump (Milliken) family trip to the Oregon coast, meeting our third child, a possible trip up to Seattle for a Mariners baseball game, and a lot of smokin’ good BBQ. Did I lose you for a second?

Don’t worry, you didn’t miss any news about another pregnancy. That was just my clever intro to an amazing opportunity we have this summer! We are inviting a 17 year-old high school boy into our home for a month. He is from the Basque country (a region that sits between Spain and France on the Bay of Biscay.) His name is Jurgi and looking at his application, he’s going to fit in perfectly with our family! He will stay with us for 1 month, from June 25-July 25, and learn about American culture, practice his English, eat our food, be followed around by our kids, become fluent in fantasy football, and be loved by our family, our church, and our God.

So we’re writing this letter because we absolutely need your prayers. Inviting a high school boy to live in our home where he will get to see all of the good, bad, and ugly is a little intimidating. But we hope that as Jurgi becomes a part of our imperfect and ordinary lives, he might be able to see a perfect and extraordinary God!

Okay, sorry to bore all of you who read this previously. Read on for all of my exciting, original never-before-seen blog thoughts.

Sooo...yeah. We're excited about summer. And I promise to post pictures and embarrassing stories about Jurgi just as if he were my own. Just kidding, Jurgi. If you're reading this. If not, then I'm 100% serious.

Um, what else? Jake graduates from preschool tomorrow. Whoa nelly I'm going to have a kindergartner. Yep, then pretty soon he'll graduate from high school, get married, give me lots of grandkids and have to put me in a nursing home where my dinners will consist of pureed steak and potatoes through a straw. It's right around the corner. And that's pretty much how I'm feeling about that.

I should clarify that right now it's 12:55am and I'm writing this from the triage desk at work. Therefore if any of the "original" sentences above make any sense whatsoever, I probably don't deserve my paycheck tonight. Typically nights in the ER don't lend themselves to frivolous things like emptying your bladder or blogging. Tonight on the other hand...I actually considered praying for a major city-wide catastrophe so time will go by more quickly. But instead of wishing harm upon the citizens of Portland, I'm choosing to blog. Maybe not very well, but blogging I shall continue. It just took me 10 minutes to write and re-write that sentence. I'm getting paid for this, folks.

Ha, just when it was about to get boring: a little amusement in my night. I have a screen at my desk that shows me various views of security cameras in our waiting room and outside the front entrance. A wildly intoxicated woman just walked by the automatic glass doors and jumped about 3 feet when they opened for her. I laughed out loud. And I'm considering asking one of our security officers how I can play the tape back so I may laugh once again.

Alright, I'm done. Please don't stop believing that someday I'll write an entire rational post. Summer is coming. Sunshine is coming. Sleeeeeep is coming...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Pictures and thoughts

It is getting ridiculous how many weeks go by before I actually post some of the pictures that I take. Why must I always be compelled to write seven thousand words to explain them all? Not today, friends. I refuse to give in to my compulsions. Here's some great pictures with very brief explanations. And some with just a little briefer than usual explanations. Ok, some will be semi-brief to normal. Maybe normal to not-quite-long-winded. Dang it, somebody stop me.

Jake is still pretty passionate about cars. I should have taken a video of him touching each of these Hot Wheels individually and quoting their make and model (the year isn't usually specified on the box, which is frustrating for him.) But I guess a video of him naming 97 cars might have destroyed my attempt at brevity right from the start. How'm I doing so far? Right, sorry.

We took Ty to a Blazer game for his birthday. Ha! You see, I CAN do brief! Ok, more pictures, more explanations. Yes I realize Ty's birthday (and therefore the Blazer game) was a month and a half ago. It's still interesting, isn't it? Oh my goodness gracious sakes alive, did he absolutely L-O-V-E being at that game. Probably one of the highlights of his life. He was a bit overwhelmed at first, and sat on my lap for most of the game. But towards the end he started screaming like crazy when the Blazers made a shot. Every home game if the Blazers score over 100 points the whole crowd gets a ticket for a free chalupa from Taco Bell. After they hit a shot to make it 101, Ty yelled out at the top of his lungs, "CHALUPA TIME!!!" Oh, great memories.

A few weeks ago Dan's sister Jane and our niece Rebekah were up here. I've said it before and I'll say it again. There is not a cuter little girl on the planet. Seriously, look at this cuteness:
The boys and I went to the zoo with Jane and Bekah, and mother-in-law Ann and other sis-in-law Becca and the kids she nannies for, Claudia and Charlie (2 of the cutest kids who are not related to me) and friend Stacy and girlies Piper and Chloe. There had to have been an easier way to say all that. BUT, I'm too tired to edit it, so there you go. Here's the kiddos minus Charlie and Chloe who were sleeping in their strollers:Piper, Ty, Jake, Bekah, and little miss Claudia.

Ty pretending to be a monkey. At least I think/hope that's what he's doing.

This lioness charged us and actually jumped up with it's huge front paws on the glass. It actually made my heart skip a beat. But mostly made me wish my camera wasn't buried in my pocket at the time.

Enough zoo. Actually, enough blog. For now. The sun is starting to come out, and I've got places to go, people to see...laundry to move from the washer to the dryer. I know, you're jealous. I'll leave you with one more picture of precious Bek:
We left her alone for 1 minute and she found Ty's shorts and Jake's shoes and put them on all by herself.

C'mon, who doesn't want to be like those Stump boys? Speaking of those Stump boys, it is WAY too quiet in this house right now...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Two things

I'll give you two guesses...who decided the couch was a blank canvas on which to display his artistic abilities:



And now this muliple choice question: Is this price tag A. a typo, or B. evidence that I am the best bargain shopper in the history of the world?Yep, I wore this $1200 shirt to church on Sunday. And I'm pretty sure everybody thought I was a celebrity.

Do you like that I'm ignoring the fact that it's been over a month since I've blogged? I promise I'll give you more of an update (and tons more pictures) soon. Or relatively soon. I swear.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tyler Daniel

I guess I should have known. Hindsight is 20/20, isn't that what they say? 4 years ago today, I should have known that my life was about to drastically change. Oh, I knew I was in for some change. Going from one child to 2. Changing 2 sets of diapers instead of 1. Needing to ask one child to wait as I dealt with the other. But I was about to have another boy. I knew how to have a boy. Things would go just about the same, right?

And then the monitor on my huge belly started to alarm. The nurse moved it around, then moved me around, then put an oxygen mask on my face. My heart started to pound. Tears welled up in my eyes. This baby was scaring me. Then things seemingly went back to normal, and because my epidural was working quite nicely, I sighed with relief. Soon it was time to do the "practice" push before they called my doctor in the room. I literally had barely started pushing when the nurse held her hands out and yelled, "STOP, stop, stop!" I looked up at Dan, who started laughing and made some comment about how he was going to just squirt right out across the room, and then I started laughing. The nurse quickly said, "Oh, DON'T make her laugh, seriously, he is coming out."

And thus began the flurry of activity, 800 nurses flying around the room, one standing at the foot of my bed, ready to catch a child should I dare laugh again. Then my doctor arrived, asked me to push, and 1/2 a push later I heard, "STOP." And then I heard, "okay, the cord is wrapped around his neck, I need some help here." And my heart stopped again. Don't scare me like this, child! Seconds later I heard him cry, and I saw his blue tinged little body (see his hands?) start to pink up while screaming on my chest, and I knew I was in love.

I just didn't realize then that this child would continue, sometimes daily, to scare the life out of me and then make me laugh within a minute.

My baby turns 4 today. Tyler Daniel. Ty. Beebs. Beebee. Beebs McTeebs. The one person I know who can bring out the most emotion in me. For better or worse; I've discovered that phrase applies to more than just a marriage.

Ty can move from the most defiant child in the universe to the most loving in 2.5 seconds flat. This kid doesn't do anything halfway. He is passionate about whatever it is that he's doing. He'll go from cheering wildly while watching a basketball game on TV, to focusing intently on his latest puzzle. Precisely coloring a picture, to giving a serious beating to his competitor on Wii boxing. He's either yelling at the top of his lungs, or whispering a secret in someone's ear. He softly pets the dog, then tries to push poor Felix down the stairs.

I mentioned Wii. Right now, Wii is Ty's reason for getting up in the morning. His reason for breathing. His little competitive spirit both excites me and terrifies me. Team sports are just around the corner for him. Hopefully we can channel that drive to win in a positive way. It's a little ridiculous to say that I think Wii has really helped him with that. Or, used to. See, I used to be able to beat him. I would let him win sometimes, and then frequently I'd win so that he would learn that even when you don't win you can still have fun playing. Unfortunately I can't always win anymore. Yes, a 4 year old is consistently beating me. And I'm not half bad. Just saying.

There is no way I could love my baby more. The times I've wanted to pull my hair out may just about equal the times I've laughed, but when he sits on my lap, kisses me, hugs me, or grins at me with that dimpled left cheek, I can't imagine living life without him. And not just the good parts. The whole Ty package. The high highs and the low lows. Ty wouldn't be Ty without the indescribable messes he creates, the mismatched shorts and tank tops on 30 degree days, the Dramamine dependence, the flashes of rage when I tell him the fruit snacks are gone, the manipulative "I'm too tired to go to bed," statements, the insistence on the red car cart behind all the blue ones at Fred Meyer, the fists of fury. He wouldn't be him if I didn't want to ring his neck on a daily basis. And he wouldn't be him if my heart didn't squeeze when he cuddles up next to me and tells me he loves me.

I'm so excited to see what God has in store for this kid. Whatever Ty does, he will do it well. I just pray that whatever he does won't involve the risk of bodily harm on a daily basis. At least it's already been confirmed multiple times (like here and here and many other times I've been too traumatized to blog about) that he's got a guardian angel who's quick on his toes.
Happy, happy birthday Tyler Daniel! You make my heart full.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

We have a loser

...and no, it's not me, though I realize it's been almost 2 months since I've updated the blog. Think of me what you will, but I'm NOT a loser. Jake is. A tooth-loser that is. Sweet mother of mercy when did I get old enough to have a child who loses teeth?
Let's see, what else? January and February were good, thanks for asking. We've had plenty of busy days and lots on our plates and on our minds, thus the lack of blogging activity. Dan hasn't been coaching since mid-January, so he's home at 3:30 most days. The boys and I are loving it! But we've, mostly I'VE, been filling up our copious amounts of "free time" with all sorts of activities. Side-note: when I use words like copious, does it: a)make you think I'm superbly intelligent, b)irritate you, or c)cause you to think I'm ridiculous for being proud of the fact that I threw out the word copious in the midst of a totally normal sentence? Personally I go for option d): think about freshman honors English and how when I actually use those vocab words I learned so long ago, I feel like a real adult. You'll be excited to know that I've just decided to use more vocab words in the paragraphs to follow. Isn't this going to be fun?

Alright, sorry. I'll move on to more germane subjects. Though you know how when I get going I tend to be quite loquacious. No one can accuse me of being taciturn. I may be too garrulous in my posts, but at least they're not phlegmatic.

Okay, seriously now. Jake lost a tooth. He is officially, "the man" at preschool. His teacher told me that 2 of the girls follow him around everywhere, and that half the class wants to marry him. Lord help me on the day that girls start calling my house to talk to my boys.

Ty is as passionate about life as ever. He's currently obsessed with Wii Sports. My facebook status the other day was, "my 3 1/2 year old is getting seriously good at Wii. And trash talking. While he was legitimately beating me at baseball today, he shouted, 'You're going DOWN, baby!'" Cracks me up, that kid. And my Mr. Beebs is not going to be 3 1/2 much longer. His birthday is rapidly approaching. So are my gray hairs.

And us? Well, Dan and I have had approximately 65 people over for dinner in the past month. I've been working here and there. Last weekend I had a girls slumber party for our church youth group, which was AWESOME! We did all sorts of girly things like homemade facials and make-overs. I'm not used to so much girl related business in this house full of testosterone. Thanks, ladies, I hope you had half as much fun as I did!
We're still hosting a small group Bible study at our house every Tuesday night, which has been amazing. Super fun, but super challenging too. Love those people. Have I told you that our church is the best? Cause it is. Gresham Bible Church. Sunday's at 10:30. Go check out the website. And stop by sometime. We have free snacks and coffee every week. Jesus did say to "feed my sheep," right? Seriously though, church is a huge part of our lives, and we've been so blessed by the relationships we've made at GBC. And by the encouragement and conviction we get from our pastor Vergil, who can really preach it.

Oh, what else? We've got a lot more things scheduled in the next few weeks. A baby shower (shocker, I know), Ty's birthday parties (3 of them. For real.), hostessing more dinners and people. Being a good wife and a good parent and a good friend. You know. The busy and boring, the marvelous and mundane, but the always very rewarding same ole, same ole.

That may be it, friends. At least you know I'm going to post again on Ty's birthday. Shoot, I'd better start writing that pretty soon. Like maybe now.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Back to life, back to reality

Dang you, Maui, Hawaii. Dang your lack of responsibilities. Dang your carefree laziness. Dang your insistence on leisure. Dang your redefinition of productivity. Dang your blissful do-as-you-wish-when-you-wish-it-...ness. You've made me relax into a puddle of unconstrained slackericity. Slackerocity? Even now you're forcing me to make up words for my lack of motivation to do anything that doesn't involve laying in the sun. Well, my tan has faded, so I can no longer pretend I'm still in Maui when I look in the mirror. It's officially time to get back into real life. The daily grind. Same ol' same ol'.

I knew once I blogged about it, the bubble would burst. So I apologize to the 2 people who might have actually believed I'd be typing furiously right after we stepped off the plane a week and a half ago. For the rest of you who are just now checking this in the month of February, you know me too well.

I am, of course, exaggerating how little I did in Hawaii, and how devastated I was to come home. Actually, I'll be honest. I'm not really exaggerating how little I did, but the part about dreading being home is completely false. As much as I loved soaking in the vitamin D, I really did miss home and was happy to come back to it. But you didn't blog surf over here to read about Oregon. And I didn't sit down 26 interrupted times to type about Gresham. So here's a brief (laugh...out loud please) synopsis of our Christmas vacation:

Really and truly, I did nothing. And I brought home proof. #1 is my tan that has since washed away in the rain. #2 is some extra body fat. My dad, who is very fit and healthy, said he gained 8 pounds in Hawaii. I may have gained a few (dozen) more than that. Give or take. I'm pretty sure I drank 8 pounds of passion-orange-guava juice alone. Oh how I miss thee, POG. You and your 10% fruit juice, 90% high fructose corn syrup/deliciousness. I also had a few pounds of macadamia nut pancakes. Mmmmmm. I'm salivating. Course that's maybe because I've only eaten a hot dog today that I bought while shopping at Target because I forgot to have lunch and was on the verge of passing out. Sorry, little Gresham interjection. Where was I? Maui. Oh yes, food. Cheeseburger in Paradise. Teryaki steak, carrot cake muffins, Hula pie, cashew chicken stir fry, BBQ steak and twice baked potatoes, pecan monkey bread, tropical smoothies. Oh and did I mention POG and mac pancakes?

Those delicious delights - the calories burned from jumping into the pool when I got too hot from laying out = enough of a fat layer to keep me warm for the rest of an Oregon winter...or 5. Now while I was winning grand prize in the eating and lounging around competition, my boys were burning calories like it was going out of style. They swam for hours. Not even a joke. Water wings are probably the best invention since POG. And you know how I feel about POG. Ty was leaping head first into the deep end of the pool. The kid couldn't love the water more. Unless maybe he had gills.
Jake got used to a mask and snorkel in the pool and then he went out into the ocean with Dan and my dad and a pair of kid flippers, and made his mama proud. He snorkeled like a pro, out for an hour with the fishies and even a pack of turtles. A pod of turtles? A herd? Doesn't matter, Dan says they were surrounded by 10 turtles and Jake was loving every second of it. Good gracious, that little man in his Hawaiian print swim trunks, his Quicksilver rashguard shirt and a snorkel coming out of his mouth. Dude with a capital D.
And how amazing is this picture. Face to face with a sea turtle. I bet most 5 year olds don't have a pic like this one.
I just realized I'm going to have to do a gazillion picture collages just to show you the tip of the iceberg. Dang you again, Maui. So much time and effort into your blog. I'm just going to insert a video here because I've already drug this out too long. Oh no, I have so much more to go. This was the boys first time flying, and I knew they'd love it. For the first 5 minutes or so. It was long, but they both did so well. Only one mishap when Ty dumped out my bag to look for a toy, and ended up dumping out the goldfish crackers all over the floor as well. Here's Ty and his first take-off. You can also hear Jake, who was sitting right in front of us with my dad, in the background.


video

And here's some pictures. Make up your own captions, would'ya? I'm really worded out all of a sudden.

Did I say I was worded out? I'm a disgrace to the Alcorn blood. Looking through the pictures, including some I've borrowed from my photographically gifted father, I realized I forgot to tell you one major thing. We went whale watching. And ooooooh did we watch some whales. One came just a few feet from our boat and Dan caught the end of it on a bumpy video, but this ginormous beast poked his head out of the water and proceeded to show us his entire back and slap his tail at the end of his production. Quite the show off. It was pretty impressive. The boys loved the whole experience. And I loved the fact that I remembered Ty's Dramamine. I even slipped some to Jake. And Dan. The whole morning was vomit free and fabulous. It was an experience we will surely never forget.



video

I have to admit that it felt very weird on Christmas day. I've never been away from home on Christmas, and of course never in a place that was 80+ degrees. But the kids sure didn't miss cuddling up by the fire and sipping hot chocolate. They had a blast jumping into the pool and dodging waves on the beach.


video

And here are just some more pictures. It's past ridiculous how much time I've spent on this blog. I should have broken it up. YIKES.

This is Ty, looking through a plastic cut out on a floaty toy. It was taken by my dad with an underwater camera when he was...under the water. Love it.

And here's more random goodness. Including a few of me, just so you know I was really there. I knew you were wondering. One of these pics includes Jake's new BFF, Dillon. An 11 year old who was a real sweetheart to Jake and his undying devotion. There was hardly a minute that went by without a mention of the famous Dillon and his cool goggles and awesome skateboard. Dillon, you will be missed.



And Maui, you too will be missed. But life goes on here in Gresham. I'm not going to tell you about it for quite a long time, of course. If you read through this whole thing (and watched the videos) all in one sitting...you're probably either really trying to avoid doing something important, or you're my mother-in-law. Love you, Ann!

My word count on this blog alone should satisfy the rest of you readers for a few weeks. More like months. I'm going to bed.