Thursday, December 29, 2011

Random Thoughts Thursday

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I love being on vacation.

I love it even more when we're on vacation at Grandma's house, and she's perfectly happy to let us sleep in while she hangs out with the kids in the morning.

I will love it EVEN MORE next week when the kids are at Grandma's house without us, and we're on a cruise ship without them.

It's pretty awesome to see old friends.

I just realized that 2012 is a leap year.  That means that my Project 365 will actually be a Project 366.  Hmmmm...I guess if I managed 364 days this year (assuming I take pictures the next three days) then I should be able to manage 366 next year, right?

I like being lazy.

Apparently, you are never too old for the Curious George movie.

I find it hysterical that it took three days to occur to Vicki that she and her friend in Oregon (who also got a cell phone for Christmas) could actually TALK on their phones, rather than text back and forth for hours on end.

I cannot wait to be on a warm beach.  Best January ever.

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Random Thoughts Thursday

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This morning Vicki told me that now she knows what she wants for Christmas.  I told her to tell me next year.  This year's shopping is DONE.

I should probably be cleaning or packing.  But it wouldn't be vacation without the last-minute crazy runaround, would it?

12 hours in a car with three kids used to seem like the biggest torture ever.  Now I kind of look forward to it.

I may be a total nerd, but I can't wait to see this movie!


Now I just need to get Vicki and Lexi to finish the book so we can take them to see it.

Last night we delivered Christmas goodies to neighbors.  At the last minute, I made a plate for the little old couple that lives around the corner, and seeing how happy they were to receive it totally made my day.

I hate wrapping presents.  I guess I should get on that, though.  They won't wrap themselves.

Don't hate me, but in two weeks I'll be thinking randomly from somewhere in the Caribbean.  I so cannot wait for this vacation!

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Your turn!

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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Lovin' the Local Life

I know I've said this before, but Portland is an awesome place to live.  There's a little bit of everything here, and just enough weirdness to make people like us really happy.

One of our favorite things about Portland is the Saturday Market.  We only make it down there a few times a year (it's much safer on the wallet that way), but yesterday we had some Christmas shopping to do, and finally a Saturday with only one thing on the calendar, so we headed downtown to explore.

I didn't take nearly as many pictures as I would have liked, but it was too cold to take my gloves off.  I did snap a few, though.

The artists at the market are all really friendly, and most of them are comfortable with kids.  Lexi was really interested in this lady's work, so she brought out a piece she was working on and showed how she put it together.  It was pretty amazing, by the way.  I wish I remembered her name so I could recommend her.  Just look for the intricately beaded jewelry.

No visit to the Market is complete without a stop at the Spoonman's booth.  These shots aren't that great, but as you can see, the girls had some run-ins with the kitchen utensils there.


This booth had some really amazing wire art.  There were several pieces I'd love to have in my home, but, alas, I wasn't shopping for myself.

I took a picture of this sign while waiting for Ellie outside the porta-potties.  You may have to click on the picture to enlarge so you can read it, but I promise it's worth it.

And this, my friends, is why we love Portland.  Nothing is too weird to print on a sign.

If you're in town between the last weekend in March and Christmas Eve, be sure to check out the Portland Saturday Market.  And feel secure knowing that you'll be able to pick up a pair of bonus pants, just in case.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Random Thoughts Thursday (late evening edition)

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It's still Thursday!  I bet you all thought I forgot.

There is a boy in Lexi's class with the most awesome hair ever.  It makes me happy.

I'm done with school.  Well, done for the next three weeks.  But tomorrow, I can do whatever I want to need to do without worrying about not getting a lecture watched or homework done.

I took my final tonight.  I didn't have much of a chance to study, so the fact that I wasn't crying when it was over says a lot.  I may even have passed.  I figured out that as long as I get a C on the final, I'll still get an A in the class, so I decided to just let it be what it is.

Vicki and Lexi had checkups today (remind me to never again schedule those on the same day as a final).  Vicki is now, apparently, officially an adolescent.

Adolescent is a scary word.

Ellie has lost almost all her baby ways of saying things.  I will probably never hear "hippobapotamus" again, and it makes me so sad.  But she still says "ableble", as in "I won't be ableble to reach that high", and I will freely admit to making up questions that will require her to use that word in the answer, just so I can hear it.

I'm tired.  Just really, really tired.  I need a vacation.

Good thing I get one soon!

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Your turn!

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Friday, December 9, 2011

Project 365, Take 3!

Two years ago I took on a challenge: to take at least one picture every day, and post it to a blog.  And I did just that (minus four days).

I enjoyed it so much that I decided to do it again for 2011.  But this time around I invited friends to join me.

As of today, Day 343, I have only missed one.  Poor Day 58.

Anyway, I've enjoyed doing this so much that I'm going to continue on for another year.  And I've enjoyed sharing this project so much that I'm inviting you all to join me again!  Anyone who reads this post, whether you know me or not, please feel welcome to click on over to Project 365 Central and join in!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Random Thoughts Thursday

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I hardly ever get really sick.  But, thanks, I think, to my new-found opportunity to volunteer in the kindergarten classroom, I have been laid flat.  I have not felt this horrible in a long, long time.

Also, I may never eat tacos again.

I'm planning on another year of Project 365!  Anyone else want to join me?

I'm in love with my Folk Christmas Pandora Station! I've never thought of this song as a Christmas song before, but why not? I heard it this morning while lying in bed trying not to die, and it made me so happy (I know there's nothing to watch, but just listen):



Ellie told Chris the other day, "If you were President, we could all have our own maids and ninjas."  I would love maids, but ninjas?  Must. Have.

I'm glad I cleaned the downstairs last night before bed, even though I was feeling lousy.  It makes it much easier to just lay on the couch all day long.

Sometimes a forced vacation is nice.

Have I mentioned before how much I love my Village?  Because I do.

Do you think I put enough links in this post?

I'm sleepy.  The kids are due home from school in about two hours.  Think I could get in a nap before then?

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Friday, December 2, 2011

Ask a Stupid Question...

Me: Who keeps tooting?

Ellie: It's me. I have tooteria.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Random Thoughts Thursday

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Wow.  Life is crazy busy.  Is it really just over three weeks 'til Christmas?

I think we need to have a family meeting about fire safety, and what to do if the house ever does catch on fire.  Because it's great to know about Stop, Drop, and Roll, but knowing when to actually use it would be even better.

Also, we need to talk about how it's not actually a good idea to run around the bedroom screaming "Grab your favorite things!"

You want to know how I know you're faking the tummy ache?  One word: CAKE.

I have a test tonight.  I'm not ready.  Anyone know how to write the balanced equation for the complete combustion of methanol?  Anyone?  Bueller?

I love being part of a book club.  I just wish my classes weren't always at the same time as the meetings.

Online shopping is so easy.  A little too easy, perhaps.

In two weeks I will have made it through my first term of school!

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tuesday Morning at My House

Lately my children have been going to sleep later and later.  It seems that no amount of threatening or removal of privileges serves to encourage them to stop talking to each other and go to sleep already.

I guess I should be thankful that they're all getting along, but why does it only seem to happen between 9:00 and 10:00 at night, when at least two of them should already be asleep?

Last night, at about 9:45, I informed them that I didn't care anymore what time they went to sleep.  I was simply going to expect them to get up right when I woke them in the morning, no complaining.  Since I did this in my "Mom's disappointed in you" voice, I think they realized I meant business.

As a general rule, waking them up consists of me shaking them vigorously by whatever body part I can reach at the time (the setup of their beds - all three in one small room - is such that, if they're creative, at times they're not actually accessible to anyone less than a contortionist) and singing really obnoxious wake-up songs in a very chirpy voice, until they get out of bed just to make me stop.

This morning, I smoked them out instead.

 Oh, sourdough toast, how tasty you would have been.
Also, a new toaster is now at the top of my Christmas list.

It was the fastest I've seen them move before 9:00 in the morning.  Ever.  But they were all consequently ready to go on time today.  Possibly emotionally scarred for life, but ready to go on time.

In related news, I can take comfort in the fact that Ellie knows what to do if she ever catches on fire.  The first thing she did when the smoke alarms went off, before any smoke was even visible upstairs, was drop to the floor and start rolling around.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Random Thoughts Thursday - Thanksgiving Edition

Not so random today, but that's okay.

Today I'm thankful for:

My Family.  I'm blessed with an amazing and supportive husband, who has yet to complain about the shambles the house has fallen into since I went back to school.  I'm blessed with three daughters who remind me every day what is truly important in life.  I'm blessed with parents who loved me enough to let me go and a sister and two brothers who have clearly forgiven me for being the bossy big sister I was.  I'm blessed with in-laws who welcomed me warmly to their family years ago and continue to love me like one of their own daughters.  And I'm especially blessed that so many of our family could be with us today.

My Savior.  I may have doubts and questions at times, but the one thing I will always know is true is that I am a daughter of God and He loves me and knows me and is always there for me.

My Village.  Time and again, my wonderful friends and neighbors have been there for me when I've needed them.  I only hope I can give back what's been given to me.

Technology.  Because of modern technology, my children can talk face-to-face with their grandparents even though 800 miles separates them.

Music.  Nothing lifts a weary soul like good music.  And nothing makes a mother smile like her children singing.

Food.  What can I say?  I appreciate good food.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!  My your turkey be juicy, your potatoes fluffy, and your pie every bit as good as you imagined.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Things to be Thankful For

While going through my file of old emails to our Utah family, I found an account of our first Thanksgiving here in Oregon, back in 2005.  In previous years, we had always had Thanksgiving with one or the other extended family, so this was the first year I'd had the experience of cooking a turkey.  It was definitely an educational process:

The girls watched me get the turkey ready. They were fascinated by the whole thing, until I got the wrapping off. Then I pulled it out of the bag and the "juices" came dripping out and Vicki started screaming, "It's bleeding! It's bleeding!" (She refused to eat any of it at dinner, so I think if I do a turkey again next year I won't let her watch the prep part so she doesn't get scarred for life.)

She asked where its head was, and I explained to her that they cut off its head and neck, and they put the neck inside, and that when I pulled it out she could see.

I was, and I realize now that this was probably not the best idea, referring to the turkey as "he", and just as I said, "they cut off his head and put it inside him", Lexi walked into the kitchen and asked in an extremely concerned voice, "Whose head? Dad's?"

There's probably a really good reason that I don't ever remember watching my mom get the turkey ready on Thanksgiving morning.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Mother of the Year

It was Vicki's 11th birthday a few weeks ago, and her grandparents sent her clothes.

The problem with buying clothes for a kid who lives 800 miles away is that they aren't always the same size they were the last time you saw them.

Thankfully, Grandma included a gift receipt, so Vicki and I headed off to the nearest JC Penney (which, unfortunately, is still about 20 mins. away from our house.)  We immediately found the same clothes in a bigger size, and made the exchange.  Vicki stopped off in the bathroom while I waited on a bench outside, and then we stopped in Claire's to look at jewelry before heading home.

It took a good 15 minutes to get out of the parking lot and back on the freeway (FYI, local people, 6pm on a Saturday is not a good time to leave Clackamas Town Center.)  About halfway home, a thought occurred to me, and I turned to Vicki and said, "Do you have the JC Penney bag?"

And she said, "No, you had it."

And she was right.

I had had it.  But I didn't anymore.

So we turned around, drove back to the mall, went back to the bathroom bench where I'd set the bag next to me while I waited, and where I'm 100% sure I left it when we went to Claire's.  It had been nearly an hour and it wasn't there anymore.

We checked with the nearest cashier, who called the lost & found.  Nothing.

We retraced our steps through the mall, on the off chance that I'd set it down in Claire's.  Nothing.

We check the lost & found ourselves.  Yep, nothing.

Long story short: two days and a 45-minute drive from Clackamas to Vancouver (because the missing shirt was the last one in her size) later, I replaced the missing birthday present.

Definitely not one of my finer moments.  The upside is that my daughter is an eternal optimist and not yet a teenager, so she didn't hate me, even though it was my fault.  But, you know, disappointing someone like that is almost worse.

Tell me I'm not the only one who's ever done anything like this.  Please?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Random Thoughts Thursday

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Somewhere along the line I must have done something on the library website to indicate that I'm really, REALLY interested in Star Wars.  Because every time any new Star Wars material becomes available (and you'd be really surprised at how often that happens), I get an email about it.

Of all the things about housework I hate, laundry is definitely at the top of the list.  So guess which housework item Chris tackles first now that I'm busy with school?  I love my man.

Now, if those toilets would just clean themselves...

It's pretty awesome to get to go Christmas shopping by myself, without having to make special arrangements.

Why do I have such a hard time figuring out what to eat for lunch?

My house is soooooo cold.  Two shirts, a hoodie, socks, and slippers, and I'm still freezing.

When your 6th grader is asked in class to list her 5 favorite musicians/music groups, and she includes The Beatles and Bob Dylan, you know you've done something right.

Today's Groupon is for 63% off Turducken.  And it's surprisingly tempting.

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Random Thoughts Thursday

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I would like to have time to blog again.  Actually, I would like to have time to do anything again, besides study chemistry and do the bare minimum cleaning required to keep random visitors from thinking I'm a slacker (please don't drop by unannounced and ask to go upstairs.  That's all I ask.)

I lost Vicki's birthday present from her grandparents.  In the mall.  Maybe if I find time, I can write a post about this event.  It was not one of my better moments.

Lexi, bless her heart, is trying out her conflict resolution skills downstairs right now with her sister and two of our babysitting friends.  Based on the screaming, I'd say it's not going so well.

Do you ever have a moment when your entire life suddenly seems very surreal?  As in, how on earth am I the mother of three children?

Oh, me neither.

Sometimes a non-school day is a good thing.  And sometimes, not so much.

Apparently Vicki's school is having a dance today, during school.  She didn't say anything to me about it.  I wonder why...

There is too much drama in this house.  Way, way too much.  Somebody save me.  Send some boys over; that should help.

Did I seriously just say that?  In about two years I will probably be saying exactly the opposite.  There is no escape, is there.

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Random Thoughts Thursday

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Having school uniforms was supposed to eliminate the drama of getting dressed in the mornings.  And up until this morning, it did.

There is way, waaaaaay too much chocolate in my house.  This is not good for me and my hips.  So not good.

Kit Kats for breakfast may not be the healthiest option, but it's the one that goes over with the least resistance.  Don't judge me.

I decided to let Vicki read The Hunger Games.  But I told her we have to read it at the same time.  The only trouble is, she's a faster reader than me (which, if you know me, you'll know is saying something), so by the time I started on my copy, she was halfway finished with hers.  She read the whole thing in one day, and I'm still on page 30.

It's nice, for a change, to hear a private school parent defend their decision to send their kid to private school, rather than feel like they're questioning my decision to send my kid to public school.

I get to register for my next term in a few weeks.  And one of the classes I need to take is available online in two different sessions, both of which include an on-campus lab that conflicts with something else.  Neither one is out of the question, but I sure wish it was offered on one other day as well.

It was probably not the smartest move for me to bake cookies the day after Halloween.

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Obligatory Halloween Post

(Mom, this is for you!)


Vicki is studying ancient civilizations this year, and has been really into the Percy Jackson books, so she decided to dress as Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom (hence the owl on her shoulder).  She made her costume by herself - how cool is that?  Ellie has been planning on being Rapunzel pretty much since she saw Tangled for the first time.  And it was extremely important to her that she have a wig.  She determined that her own hair, despite being the longest in this household, is nowhere near long enough, and anything I might have attempted to create with yarn would only have been met with all the scorn a 6-year-old could muster, so I caved and bought something that is now sitting in a tangled (ha!) mess on my stairs.  Lexi...well, I don't really know why she wanted to be a zombie, but she made an awesome one.  We had a blast designing her costume and doing her makeup, and her hair was a riot.  Yes, that's her real hair.  It was lots of fun to comb that out afterward, let me tell you.

Our church has a Halloween party every year, and they always find someone to take pictures, which I love.

This is the one I took with my cell phone camera
behind the photographer's back


I'm seriously considering making this our Christmas card this year

This is the only picture I have of Chris's and my costumes.  Chris made his own steampunk attire.  He wanted to go all out, but budget constraints made that a challenge, so he just went with an awesome eyepiece and a wrist-mounted rocket launcher.  And I just recycled my punk costume from years past, but with better tattoos and a different hair color (I tried purple this year, but I think I like last year's blue the best...what do you think?)

After the church party, we humiliated our children by taking them to the pumpkin patch in full costume.

Contemplating the choosing of the pumpkin

She went with a "zombie pumpkin"

Isn't she cute?


And then, of course, we carved the pumpkins.


Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Random Thoughts Thursday

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I finally got my copy of the book my book club is reading this month.  And read it in three days.  I really wish I was able to actually go to the meeting, because I know it's going to be an interesting discussion!

My house is a disaster.  Di. Sas. Ter.

I have a test tonight.  If I do well, then I think that will justify the disaster.

Ellie and her friend wrote a song.  It's not all that great, musically speaking, but it has a beautiful message.  Maybe I'll have to record them singing it.  Assuming they don't forget the whole thing before I have a chance.

There is no school today or tomorrow (or yesterday, for the younger two.)  Fortunately, everyone is getting along right now.  This could change in a heartbeat, and I probably just jinxed it by posting it on the internet, but for now, I'm just rejoicing in the peace.

I would really like for it not to be so cold.  I don't want to turn my heat on, but I'm FREEZING!!!

It's been three weeks since Ellie's birthday, I haven't planned a party yet.  Bad mommy.

For the first time in, well, ever, I'm not sewing Halloween costumes.  Of course, I'm not buying them, either, so I guess it all works out.  Luckily the girls all wanted to be something that could be put together fairly easily from stuff we already had.  I'll post pictures, of course!

Ellie wants an American Girl doll for Christmas.  Her sisters have had theirs for a few years now, so it's probably time, but have you seen the prices of those things???  Santa better have had a good year this year...

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Meet Howard

This is Howard the ladybug.

He lives in our car.

I have no idea how he got there, but he's been there for at least two weeks.

Don't ask me why his name his Howard, or how we know he should be "Howard", and not "Howardina".

It's just how we do things around here.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Random Thoughts Thursday

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In addition to being random, Thursday has become crock pot day around here.  I'm trying a new recipe, and right now my house smells soooooo good!

I've been watching The Wonder Years on Netflix.  I'd forgotten how much I loved that show.

The weather was so beautiful on Monday.  I just wish it would have stuck around.  I really don't want to turn my heat on yet, but that means I'm back to hoodies and slippers in the house at all times.

Next week is Parent/Teacher Conferences at the girls' schools.  I always get so excited for that.

I'm helping with the book fair at the elementary school again, but, sadly, no giant Clifford costume this time.  Maybe in the spring.  People probably think I'm crazy for being willing to wear that, but it was fun.

The past several years we've done Thanksgiving dinner by ourselves, and finally this year we have family joining us!  Very exciting.

I'm hungry.

I aced my chemistry test last week.  The only bad thing about this is that now I have nowhere to go but down.

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Strange Conversations with Strangers

This morning Lexi woke up with a fever.

On an ordinary Sunday, this wouldn't throw too big a wrench in the works, but today happened to not be an ordinary Sunday.  Chris and I were both scheduled to teach, and since he was going to be teaching adults and I was going to be teaching 4 & 5 year olds, it was pretty obvious which lesson was going to be easier for a last-minute substitute to put together.  (The ease of convincing a last-minute substitute to teach 4 & 5 year olds is something entirely different, by the way.)

So I started down the list of willing substitutes and promptly discovered that there aren't a lot of people who answer their phone at 8:00 on a Sunday morning.  After hanging up on several voicemails and answering machines, I finally got through to someone who didn't already have a class to teach.

Just as I was breathing a sigh of relief and putting away the phone list, the phone rang.

Me: "Hello?"

Caller: "Did someone just call my house?"

Me: "Who is this?"

Caller: "Who is this?"

Me: "This is Allison Ebert."

Caller: "Did you call my house?"

Me: "I've been making a lot of phone calls this morning, so I may have.  Who is this?"

Caller: "Did you call me?"

Me: "I'm sorry, I really have no idea.  I don't have Caller ID, so unless you tell me who you are, I can't tell you if I called you or not."

Caller: "Well, I'll give you a phone number.  555-5555.  Did you call me?"

Me: "Okay, that doesn't help.  I didn't memorize all the numbers I called.  If you could tell me who you are, I'll be happy to tell you if I tried calling you or not."

Caller: "I'm not telling you my name."
Somehow we finally got off the phone.

Without her ever telling me her name.

As much as I'd like to apologize for giving this anonymous paranoid phone police lady a complex on what might have otherwise been a very pleasant Sunday morning, I'm too entertained by the bloggability of our conversation.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Random Thoughts Thursday

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I so want to see this movie:


Awesome.

I honestly thought life would be a little less crazy, or at least that I'd have a lot more time to myself, once all three girls were in school. Not so.

I hate the annual back-to-school cold. How come the kids don't get it, but I do?

This evening I have my first test in a very, very long time. I'm a little nervous.

We have nothing going on on Saturday. I'm so happy about this it's not even funny.

I find it a little irritating that people keep posting those "Mormons are Christians!" videos on Facebook. Honestly, I think it's even a little counterproductive. I'd like to write a full blog post about this one day, but I don't know if I'll ever get to it.

Ellie keeps asking when we're going to have her birthday party. And I keep stalling. Maybe we just won't do friends parties this year. I wouldn't have a problem with that, but my kids would. Lexi's birthday was in August and she's still asking.

I haven't missed a day on my Project 365 since February! Last year by this time I had missed two, and by the end of the year I missed four, so I'd say this year I'm on track for 364 out of 365!

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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Random Thoughts Thursday

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I wish I had time to blog.  Yesterday would have been a good blog day, but, alas, there's this thing called homework.

I can post a picture from yesterday now, though:
Senator Jackie Dingfelder encouraging kids to get exercise by
walking & biking to school

It was International Walk & Bike to School Day (did you know that?), and our school had a major party.  Major.  There were big-time political people waiting on the corner to form a walking school bus, free goodies upon arrival at the school, and an assembly with the afore-mentioned big-time political people.  Pretty cool.

It's amazing how much chaos my going back to school created around here.  The only reason the house isn't any more of a wreck is that the girls are all in school all day.  And the only reason the laundry got done this week is that Chris did most of it.  Love that man.

The timer on my phone just scared me to death.  Gotta go check on some cupcakes.

Today is this goofball's 6th birthday:
She makes me smile every day, even without
the nerd glasses.

I forgot to mention that there was also a Portland Timbers player at the festivities yesterday.  My middle daughter, who has never played a game of soccer in her life, had him autograph two pieces of paper, her arm, her school bag, her bicycle helmet, and her new white school shirt.  Nice.  Poor man.

It's picture day at the elementary school tomorrow.  I think I'll have Lexi and Ellie read these handy instructions first.

I should probably get back to those cupcakes.  Yum.

********
Your turn!

If you do a Random Thoughts post on your own blog, I'd love to know about it!  Leave me a comment and I'll come read!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Random Thoughts Thursday

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I just realized I have two posts sitting in my drafts box that I wrote a long time ago, and if I post them now, they're not really relevant, but it seems like a waste to just trash them.  So at some point soon you'll probably see posts here with a disclaimer stating just how long ago I wrote them.  Heads up.

I was supposed to start school on Monday.  But my classes this term (all two of them) are online, and the system was down.  It was also down all day Tuesday.  But yesterday I finally got to start my Chemistry class!  I think I'm going to like it.

I didn't get to start my computer class, because I need Microsoft Office 2010, and we only had 2003.  I'm installing it now.  Wish I'd known about that before yesterday.

I'm pretty sure there's someone walking around on my roof.

Ellie was describing a boy in her class to me.  She told me "he's the one who looks like [another boy in the class], only taller."  It reminded me of Ramona Quimby and "Bruce who doesn't wee-wee in the sandbox."  At least she's not going all Junie B. on us and calling them things like Meanie Jim or Crybaby William.

I have had Lady Gaga's "Born this Way" in my head for the last three days.  Help.

Tomorrow night, Chris and I will finally watch the finale of LOST.  Then what will I obsess over?  Probably getting a 4.0.  No time for TV - gotta study!

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Your turn!

If you do a Random Thoughts post on your own blog, I'd love to know about it!  Leave me a comment and I'll come read!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sage Advice

Tomorrow is my first day of school. I haven't been a student for over 10 years.

Needless to say, I'm a little nervous.

When I reminded the girls tonight that I'll be starting school tomorrow, Ellie said, "Mom, let me give you some advice about the first day of school."

(Let me remind you here that her school experience totals a week and a half. Still, in her lifetime that's more than me.)

"My advice for you, Mom, is: Have fun!"

I think I will.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Random Thoughts Thursday

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I have found a new love: Starbucks' Salted Caramel Chocolate Crème Frappuccino.  Yum.

This week I discovered that it's fun to be a crossing guard.

This post made me laugh out loud.

This morning I've been working around the house with my headphones on, listening to podcasts, and I keep thinking I hear Ellie talking to me.  It's really disconcerting.

In a fit of Facebook-induced frustration (if you're on Facebook, you know exactly what I'm talking about), I joined Google+ yesterday.  I have 14 friends, the majority of whom I'm related to.  I don't know whether I'll actually do anything with it, but if you're on Google+ (and you're not creepy), find me!

One day, very soon, we will finish watching LOST, and we won't have anything to obsess over.  Sad.

Ellie is still frustrated that they're not learning anything at school.  I guess she was expecting to sit down and have lectures about how to add and subtract.  Or, who knows, quantum physics.  Anything but "choice time" and "writer's workshop".  Apparently those things aren't learning.  Don't get me wrong, she absolutely loves school, but there's always the caveat "...even though we didn't learn anything.  Again."

I forged Chris's signature (it's not really forgery if he gives his permission, right?) on some paperwork I had to turn in, and I mentioned it in front of the kids, and then Vicki spent the evening trying to forge mine.

I think the A/C in my car might actually have gotten fixed for real this time.  And I probably just jinxed it by announcing that on the internet.  Dang.

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Your turn!

If you do a Random Thoughts post on your own blog, I'd love to know about it!  Leave me a comment and I'll come read!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Honest Reporting

Lexi's homework assignment tonight was this:

Observation (noticing details with out eyes) is very importand in science!  Look around your house carefully.  Write 10 observations that you think most people wouldn't notice about your house if they came over.
Her response?

1. Our walls are messy
2. No fish in the fish bowls
3. Our stairs are dirty
4. Our computer screen is dirty
5. My bed is boring
6. Our room is boring
7. We have 40 light bulbs
8. We have 8 blinds
9. We have 11 doors
10. Our bathroom is messy
Well, then.  Okay.  Thanks for the observations, Lexi.

I take comfort in the fact that she thinks most people wouldn't notice these things about our house if they came over.

*Edited 15 minutes later to add: I am now absolutely horrified that I put this on the internet for all to see.  In my defense: I don't know what she thinks is wrong with the walls; the fish bowls are decorative and hang on the wall and still look cool without fish, the carpet on the stairs is the cheapest variety possible, and I swear it stains if you look at it; yes, the computer screen is dirty; I don't see anything wrong with her bed or their room; I've never counted our light bulbs, blinds, or doors, bus she's probably right and at least these things aren't embarassing (although...40 light bulbs?  Really?); if they picked up their clothes and towels and didn't persist in smearing toothpaste all over the counter and sink their bathroom wouldn't be so messy!  There.  I feel better now.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Random Thoughts Thursday

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I bought a new kind of deodorant yesterday, and today I keep catching a whiff of it and wondering what that smell is.  I don't smell like me anymore.

Ellie was exhausted by happy last night.  Right before she got into bed she said, "Mom, this was the best day EVER!"

I hope today lives up to yesterday.

Yesterday evening Vicki was on the Wii, making Miis of Jamie, Adam, Kari, Grant, and Tory from Mythbusters.  Yes, we're raising nerds.

I spent five hours helping with picture day at the middle school (my feet hurt.)  And I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at the middle schoolers - they were very polite and respectful.

This house is too quiet without any kids here.

We're still watching LOST.  I find more frequently now that the only thing running through my head is, Wait, what???  Only seven more episodes to go.  Then we have to find a new show to obsess over.

I watched Lexi and Ellie in their first Tap/Jazz combo class yesterday.  Ellie's lack of coordination and rhythm is more than made up for by Lexi.  That girl can move!

********
Your turn!

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Time to Fly

Today I left my baby girl at school.


Actually, the more accurate description would be that today my baby girl kicked me out of her classroom.

I didn't cry at the school.  I may have cried a little on the way to school, and I may also have sobbed like a baby for a few minutes when I got home.  (And now, while I'm writing this post.)  But I didn't cry at the school.

Ellie was up at 7am, knocking on my door and announcing, "I'm a kindergartner!"  She was dressed before breakfast, and before anyone else in the house, including me.


We walked to school.  Well, Lexi and I walked.  Ellie ran and skipped the whole way.

As parents, we want our kids to grow up and try new things.  I've been excited to have the house to myself for a few hours each day for a very long time.  But now I'm feeling lonely.  I don't know what to do with myself.

Except, that is, for eating this bucket o' brownies that a friend gave me this morning.  She said she knew I'd need them.  It's good to have friends.


I miss my baby.  I miss all my girls, really.  It's awfully quiet here without them.

But I can't deny that Ellie is growing up.  She still needs me, but she's ready to be a little more independent, to experience the world for herself.

She's ready to spread her wings and fly.


Far be it from me to get in her way.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tomorrow...

Tomorrow my baby starts school.  All-day school.

We've both been looking forward to this day for a very, very long time.

But now, suddenly, it's upon us and I'm not as excited as I thought I would be.

In fact, I'm a little bit weepy.

Ellie and I have been buddies all day, every day, just the two of us for the last four years, since Lexi started kindergarten.  I thought about taking her out for ice cream, or some other special treat, but then I realized I was the one who needed to be taken out for ice cream, and she doesn't have the funds for that.

So we just ran errands instead, like any other normal day around here.

And I took pictures.

You know, to remember.

Rushing off to save the day.  At Walmart (I know.)

"Look how else I can ride on it!"

"And also like this!"

Eating yogurt treats in the parking lot.

The last time we'll walk to school together to pick up
big sisters.  Tomorrow I'll be picking her up.

I'm really going to miss my goofball constant companion.


But I can't wait to hear all about her day tomorrow.

And I may have to indulge in some chocolate when I have the house to myself.

Shhh...don't tell Ellie.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 Healing

Ten years later, I still remember how utterly surreal it was to go from watching Sesame Street to watching the world I knew change forever.

But while the world around me changed, I was not personally affected by the September 11 attacks.  No one I knew was flying that day.  I didn't know anyone working at the Pentagon, or a single person in New York City, let alone anyone in the World Trade towers.  While life for Americans in general changed, my own personal life was not altered in the horrific way it was for others.  I can't imagine the pain and horror those who were affected had to deal with.

Phyllis Rodriguez's son was in one of the Twin Towers that day.  It took 36 hours of anxiety before his family found out that he had been killed.  Aicha el-Wafi's son is Zacarias Moussaoui, who was sentenced as a conspirator in the attacks.  The two women have formed a beautiful, inspiring friendship that speaks volumes about the power of forgiveness, healing, and mutual understanding and respect.



It is my prayer today, and every day, that we as a human race can strive to, as Aicha el-Wafi says, "...all live together in peace, and respecting each other."

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Small and Simple Things

Back in April I posted this, about the NAMIWalk I was participating in here in Portland.

I was stunned at the outpouring of support I received for this event.  Stunned and so grateful.

Clearly, there are more people concerned about fighting the stigma of mental illness than I first realized.  After I posted, I had friends come to me and tell me about someone they knew who was living with mental illness, or about their own personal struggles with it.

Just like many physical illnesses, it isn't immediately apparent when someone is mentally ill.  Your neighbor, co-worker, fellow parent on the playground, or acquaintance from church could be waging a silent war every single day, and you might never know it.  It's easy to feel helpless, to wonder what you can possibly do to help.  I know this; I spent four years trying to figure it out.

And then I learned more about NAMI.

NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) is the largest education, support, and advocacy organization that serves the needs of all those whose lives are touched by mental illness. This includes persons with mental illness, their families, friends, employers, the law enforcement community and policy makers.  And NAMIWalks is an opportunity to raise money for the various chapters of NAMI nationwide.

I know many of my readers live in Utah.  The Utah NAMIWalk is taking place in two weeks, on Sat. Sept. 24.  Several members of my family are participating in this event, and I encourage any of you who feel so inclined to consider joining them.  You don't have to join their team (although they'd probably welcome you with open arms); you can walk as an individual - it's what I did.  But it's a great way to spend a morning and help fight the stigma of mental illness.  (If you're not in Utah, you can always check here to find the date of the Walk in your area.)

It's not really a big deal.  It doesn't take that much time.  But there's a verse in the Book of Mormon that I've always loved: "...by small and simple things are great things brought to pass." (Alma 37:6)  Walking 5K on a Saturday morning may not seem like much, but it's a step in the right direction, and together we can make a difference.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Random Thoughts Thursday

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Ellie is currently planning out all the details for her birthday party.  Her birthday isn't for another month, but since this has been going on in some form or another for the last 10 months, I guess it's finally about time to take her seriously.

I got robocalls from the "credit card services department" at 10:30 last night and 6:30 this morning.  Nice.

Vicki's new shoes are only two sizes smaller than mine.  And she is, quite proudly, only 7 inches shorter than me.  I am not ready for this.

Turtle haiku!

I've been walking down to the school each afternoon, even though I don't technically have to go this week, since Ellie hasn't started yet and Lexi's old enough to walk home alone.  Talking to the other parents on the playground after school is my social outlet each day.

My sister-in-law sent me this link.  Some of them are really crude (Mom, you're probably going to be offended), but I was laughing so hard I was crying.

I've wondered sometimes if my memories of just how hilarious Lexi was when she was little are a little exaggerated.  After last night's discovery, it's clear they're not.  She has a one-of-a-kind personality, and she is awesome.

For the last three days, Ellie has started begging for lunch at 9:00 in the morning, approximately half an hour after she's finished breakfast.  Methinks this girl needs to be in school.

I've read a lot of blogs lately where parents talk about how sad they are sending their children off to school.  I don't feel that way.  Should I feel that way?  I love my kids, and I love spending time with them, but I also love the fact that they're stretching their wings by going off to school each day, learning new things and being with friends (and learning how to be with people who aren't friends.)

I'm hosting Book Club tonight, so I should probably get back to making my house presentable.  Well, at least the downstairs part.  What they can't see won't hurt me.

********
Your turn!

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Blast From the Past

I was looking through some old files on my computer this afternoon and came across a priceless gem called "emails from Oregon".  When we first moved here, in my pre-blog days, I wrote a long email each Sunday night keeping the grandparents and aunts & uncles up to date on all our goings-on.  Once I started the blog the emails became redundant, so I stopped, but I'm so glad I saved everything.  I have had the most entertaining (and non-productive) evening reading back over it.

Allow me to share with you a little bit of what our life was like in 2005:

July 17
  • Vicki appeared upstairs, announcing that Lexi was making a mess. I went downstairs to find that Lexi had apparently decided that she was in need of lotion, and finding none nearby, had decided that her yogurt, which, after all, was a pretty pink color, would work just as well.

July 31
  • The other day the girls were singing a song from one of them [Veggie Tales videos] called "Stand Up for What You Believe In". There's a part in the song that goes, "God! He's the one who backs you up! He'll stand with you!" Well, they were disagreeing because Vicki thought the lyrics were, "God! He's the one who packs you up! He'll stand on you!" And Lexi, bless her heart, thought it was, "God! He's the one who vacuums up! He'll stand in you!"

August 14
  • Lexi is still changing her identity on a regular basis, as frequently as she changes her clothes. This morning before church she threw a genuine teenager-worthy hissy fit while standing in her closet because, and I quote, “I hate these clothes!” (keep in mind that this was just three days after her 3rd birthday)

Sept. 4
  • Lexi said our family prayer at bedtime a few nights ago, and asked Heavenly Father to "please bless Violet and Dash, and Mr. Incredible and Elastagirl, and Jack Jack in Elastagirl's belly." while nodding at each of us in turn...Lately she has been talking to me about when she was a grown up. She'll say things like, "When you were a little kid and I was a grown up, I made the bed and you messed it up!" (while, might I add, she's in the process of gleefully messing up the bed I just made), or "When you were a little kid and I was a grown up, I made cookies and you cried because I said no cookies until after dinner." And because I know you all need a good laugh, today in Sacrament meeting, she turned to me and announced, in a very non-reverent voice, "You know, my underwear is on backwards!”

Sept. 11
  • Vicki said, “I know something that’s not appropriate for dates with boys.” We asked her what, and she said, in all seriousness, “Showing your underwear.”

Nov. 7
  • [Ellie] is so calm, which is really really nice given the level of chaos that we generally have around here. She just observes. I only hope she's not saving up ideas for later that she'll unleash on us all at once. (clearly, she was)

Dec. 4
  • Yesterday morning Vicki woke Chris and me up by announcing outside our bedroom door that she was "freakin' hungry".

also Dec. 4
  • Lexi's new clothing issue arises each morning when I try to make her wear pants while we take Vicki to school. It's been pretty cold lately, and since we don't park the car in the garage, it's cold in the car. Lexi insists on wearing a dress every morning, only to get in the car and cry because her knees or her "little leggies" are "fweezing". However, when I try to make her wear pants instead of a dress, she cries because the pants "make me look weird".

I'll stop now.  There's plenty more where this came from, though.

Maybe you don't think my kids are as hilarious as I do, but I can't stop laughing.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Back to School!

It's back-to-school week around these parts!  Vicki and Lexi started today, but kindergarten doesn't start until next Wednesday, so poor Ellie, who has been waiting forever for her turn to go to school, still has another week to go.

Vicki was so excited to be able to choose her own
clothes.  I, on the other hand, wish the uniforms
continued through high school.

Vicki and her friends have made plans to meet up and walk to school together each day, but a few of us uncool parents insisted on joining them the first day.  You know, to humiliate them with cameras.  Nothing like starting middle school off on the right foot.  At least I didn't kiss her goodbye in the classroom - even Lexi would have balked at that this year.

Middle School, here we come!

Lexi insisted on getting a messenger bag instead of a backpack.  They must not be "the thing" anymore, because we had to search everywhere before we found one that her sense of style and my wallet could agree on.  The strap is so long it bangs her in the knees, but she loves it.  I did not tell her to pose like this for her picture - this is pure Lexi.  Also, note the fluorescent socks.  With a uniform, there are only so many ways to express yourself.  And for Lexi, day-glo socks are clearly the best.

Mighty 4th Grader!

First day down for two of them, one more to go.

It's going to be mighty quiet around here after next week.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Random Thoughts Thursday

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All week I have been traveling with my Girl Scouts.

I'm happy to say that they've been incredibly well-behaved. It's truly been a lot of fun.

I'm tired of driving, though.

Tillamook ice cream is the best.

My thoughts aren't that random today. They all seem to have to do with this trip.

It's a pain to blog from my phone.

********
Your turn!

If you do a Random Thoughts post on your own blog, I'd love to know about it!  Leave me a comment and I'll come read!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Today

Today I woke up at 5:00am.

Today I drove to my friend's house early in the morning to drop off my van so it could be loaded up. I drove home in another friend's car.

Today I got three children ready for church.

Today I stopped at the store on the way to church because a certain child didn't tell us until last night that she's out of a particular bedtime necessity.

Today I was still early for church.

Today I drove for two hours with a car full of gear and Girl Scouts.

Today I sang camp songs, ate pizza by the pool, and helped pack tomorrow's lunches.

Today I began a week-long adventure with the ten most awesome almost-6th graders I know.

We're gonna have a blast.
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