Thursday, April 28, 2011

Harry Potter Happiness


I know what Vicki, Lexi, and I will be doing at midnight on July 15!

Random Thoughts Thursday

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I love it when my kids belt out Newsies songs at the top of their lungs.  It's so much better than if they were singing Justin Beiber songs.

This morning I'm going in to talk with a college advisor, something I have not done in over a decade.  I'm scared to death about this whole going back to school business.  It makes me feel so old.

I have the best picture of Ellie and Uncle Blaine, but I think I want to save it for another post.

Living in my house is like living on the roller coaster of emotions 24/7.  And they're not even teenagers yet.  Oy, vey.

The other day Chris and Ellie were naming Lego guys, and Ellie picked one up and said, "He doesn't have a name.  He's anonymous."

I wish I could remember all the funny things I planned on posting here all week long.  These posts would be so much better if I could.

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!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Moments Like This...

Two Random Thoughts Thursday posts ago, I alluded to a phone call that chased away any lingering doubts about starting Vicki in school when we did.  Today I get to talk about why.

Vicki has always been bright.  She has always been eager to learn, and determined to succeed at whatever she put her mind to.  Crawling wasn't getting her to where she wanted to go quickly enough, so she started walking at 9 months old.  Speaking one word at a time didn't communicate her thoughts clearly enough, so she started speaking in complete sentences long before anyone expected her to.  She learned the basics of reading pretty quickly, but once she really figured out that if she put it all together the doors to new worlds would open, she started really reading in the space of almost literally a weekend.  One night we were reading chapter books to her, and the next, it seemed, she was reading them to us.

At this point we had just moved to Oregon, and suddenly we found ourselves faced with the fact that we had a four-and-a-half year old who was, as far as we could tell, ready for kindergarten.  We talked it over with the school, took her in for the kindergarten assessments, and spent some time on a conference call with the wonderful principal, who took us through the pros and cons of starting kindergarten early, made his recommendation based on her assessments (which was to go ahead and start her), and left the final decision up to us.

And we've never truly regretted sending this little baby:

with the backpack that's almost bigger than her

off to kindergarten.

She was pretty much the tiniest kid in the school, but boy did she love it.  From day one, school was very clearly her thing.

Over the years since then, Chris and I have talked about that decision we made for her, and whether or not we still thought it was the right decision.  And we've always felt good about it, and pretty sure it truly was the right decision.

Fast forward to a week and a half ago.  I got a phone call from the principal, the same one who helped us make the decision to start her early nearly six years ago.  He said Vicki had been chosen by the 4/5th grade teachers as the outstanding student of the year, an award that is presented annually by the local Masonic Lodge for one boy and one girl from each of the elementary schools in our district.

the sign in front of the school (the boy's name is on the other side)

In that moment, I knew, without a doubt, that we were absolutely 100% right in sending her to school when we did.  Not only did she hold up in all academic areas, but socially as well.  She may be the youngest 5th grader in the school (she's actually younger than a few 4th graders), but she carries herself with a maturity that more than makes up for the age difference.

with her teacher Mrs. T and our amazing principal Mr. L

It's moments like this that make parenting feel so worth the effort.  I don't believe that Chris or I did anything out of the ordinary to help Vicki achieve this award - it was all her hard work and dedication, but our award was getting to listen to her teacher's speech about why she was chosen for it.

And that, my friends, is a beautiful reward.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

He Lives!

I know that my Redeemer lives.
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, He lives who once was dead.
He lives, my ever living Head.

He lives to silence all my fears.
He lives to wipe away my tears.
He lives to calm my troubled heart.
He lives, all blessings to impart.

He lives!  All glory to His name!
He lives, my Savior, still the same.
Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives:
I know that my Redeemer lives!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Random Thoughts Thursday

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I love it when people come visit us!  So do my kids - especially when it means they get to skip a day of school.

On the other hand, there's nothing like having houseguests to remind you of all the things in your house that are falling apart.

At least we have a house.

I should be more grateful for what I have, even if it's not perfect.

In a fit of excitement, brought about by the purchase of a new-to-me sewing machine, I decided to make the girls' Easter dresses.  I have the fabric; it's sitting in a nicely folded pile in my closet.  Easter is this Sunday.  Guess what I'll be doing all day long on Friday and Saturday?

I can't believe there's only two months of school left.  And then I'll have a middle-schooler, a 4th grader, and a kindergartner.  And I'll be a college student once again.  Scary, all of it.

Lexi just told Ellie that having a rip in your jeans makes you look cuter.  Great.  It's beginning.

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, April 17, 2011

End the Stigma

Four years ago a close member of my extended family* was diagnosed with mental illness.

I love this person dearly, and since that time I have wondered what, exactly, I can do to provide support.  I suppose I could have been more proactive about seeking out opportunities, but, well, life's busy.  Not a great excuse, but it's the only one I have.

The time for excuses has come to an end, though.

Just recently I learned about NAMIWalks.  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.  NAMIWalks is an opportunity to raise money for the various chapters of NAMI nationwide.

The Walk here in Portland is taking place this year on Sunday, May 22.  As a Mormon, I generally shy away from doing things on Sundays that aren't church-related, but I feel pretty strongly that God doesn't mind me missing church when I'm spending the time instead doing something to support someone I love.

If you feel inclined or inspired to support me in this event, you can go to my walker website, where you will find a safe, easy, and secure way to donate to the cause.  Every little bit helps.

And If you are in or around Portland and are interested in joining me in walking for this cause, I'd love to have some company!  You can find all the information you need on my website, too.  If you are too far from Portland to join me for this event, consider walking in an event that's local to you.  You can find information about all nationwide NAMIWalks events here.

It's time to get rid of the stigma and realize that people with mental illness deserve to be treated just like anyone with any kind of physical illness.  They deserve the respect and support of their communities, and they deserve access to quality and affordable healthcare.

And I'm doing what I can to help out.

Will you help, too?

*If you happen to know this family member, please be respectful of their privacy and do not mention them by name here on the blog.  Thank you!  (And darn that stigma.)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Random Thoughts Thursday

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Why must the sun tease me so?  And why must it never, EVER stop raining?

Ellie just informed me that she named the squirrel outside the window Aviva.  It has a kind of chipmunky design on its tail, apparently.

And she named another one Cokey.  If she sees any more, she's naming them Jimmy, Martin, and Chris.

I have no idea.

Yesterday I got a phone call that erased any lingering doubt (if there was any) about enrolling Vicki in kindergarten when we did.  Phone calls like that are nice.

Lexi informed me the other day that she's planning on being the tidiest kid.  I like it.  I hope it lasts.

This morning I made banana chocolate chip muffins for breakfast.  The recipe makes 24 and there are currently only 13 left.  I predict that by tomorrow morning they will be a distant memory.

You should watch this now.  But only if you want to laugh.

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!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Pure Awesome

I have the two cutest nieces on the planet.  They just "published" a story, which made me laugh until I cried, and which I absolutely have to share with a larger audience.  It is the best thing I have read in a long, long time.

So, without further ado, please redirect yourselves to my sister-in-law Emily's blog, where you can read what she very appropriately described as "a Salvador Dali painting with princesses".  Enjoy.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Sweet, Sweet Irony

Oregon has a special election coming up in just over a month.  This morning a concerned citizen left a flier on my windshield while I was shopping in Fred Meyer.

I wish I had a scanner, but since I don't, I'll just copy it here for you, with the formatting exactly as it was in print:

What The local media
doesn't really want you to

Ballot majors 26-121 and 26-122 will
cost the average property owner
$500.00 more a year in taxes on an
average $250,000.00 house, plus an
extra three percent on top of your
homes value at the end of the year.

Vote yes or no

Also watch for a possible 85 percent increase
on your water bill for the next five years

This affects you, if you are a homeowner or a
renter in Multnomah County.

Be concerned, be very concerned!!!

Oh, trust me, I'm very concerned.

See, ballot "majors" 26-121 and 26-122 are bonds to benefit Portland Public Schools.

And if the author of this flier is a product of Portland Public Schools, then he or she has made a very convincing case.  Although I have a feeling it's not the case he or she was trying to make.

I love the smell of irony in the morning.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Random Thoughts Thursday

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To get a copy of the above image, click here!

I accidentally bought 1-ply toilet paper.  I don't know why that disturbs me so much, but it does.

I'm so ready for Spring.

In the nearly six years we've lived here, our street has been closed three times.  Once three years ago as the result of a train wreck and now twice in the last three weeks.  Crazy.

We're halfway through the fourth season of LOST, and it just keeps getting weirder.  And Ben Linus keeps getting creepier.

Why does the clasp on every necklace I've ever worn always migrate to the front?  And why does it always migrate to the front on the same side?

I'm not usually a sucker for the plethora of "funny" animal videos posted on YouTube, but this one really cracked me up.

This made me laugh, too.  It also made me very disappointed that I missed the audition.  I already know all the words to "If I Were a Bell".

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!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Woes of an Almost-Middle-Schooler's Mother

Vicki will be starting middle school in ohmyword five short months.

I'm not ready for this.

She is, though.  Ready and bouncing up and down with excitement.  The girl who has never cared about clothes in her life is planning her wardrobe for the time when she no longer has to wear a uniform (darn it.)

Last week, all the 5th graders at her school got to go over to the middle school for a tour.  And I wanted desperately to go along, but I managed to convince myself that it would be better for all of us if I just stayed home.  Moving into the world of middle-schoolers is not something that needs to be done with Mom holding your hand.  And, quite possibly, sobbing uncontrollably.  Yes, better for everyone.

That evening at dinner she gave us all the scoop.  The middle school is BIG, but awesome.  Lockers are so cool.  If you don't play in the band as a 6th grader, you can't do it as a 7th or 8th grader, so please, please, please can she get a flute?  She learned an exciting new word: electives.  And she threw it around like she'd been saying it forever.  She was suddenly a world ahead of her former lowly elementary-school self.

I miss my baby.

Heaven help us all when she actually starts middle school in the fall.
Oh, and the school supply she's convinced she needs more than anything else?

A cell phone.

Of course.

Can't I just freeze time right now?  Please?

I'm not ready for this.  Not one little bit.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Blast from the Past

Thanks to our tax return, we reorganized our "office" over the weekend.  We bought a new desk, added some shelves, and basically turned the room into an ad for IKEA.  Seriously, we're turning into the IKEA poster family.  It's slightly pathetic, but also easy on the pocketbook.

Part of the job involved going through unlabeled CDs, trying to figure out whether there was anything on them worth keeping.  Most of them were either blank but really scratched, or copies of music we already had stored on the computer.  But I came across two discs of random pictures from several years ago that made me really grateful I hadn't just trashed everything without checking them first.

And now, to the future humiliation of my children, I'm going to share some of these priceless gems with you.

First, some of my favorites of Ellie:

Diva child

I like to call this one "trailer trash Ellie"

This was when I learned that naptime
wasn't going to be so easy anymore

And now, Lexi:

In true dad fashion, Chris thought it
would be hilarious to dress her up like
Dobby from Harry Potter.

She said, "Take a picture of me with an
angry face."  This was the angry face.

Self-inflicted mullett

Vicki's aren't quite as embarrassing, but I work with what I have:

Not sure what the face was about.
Also, I'd forgotten our kitchen floor used
to look like that!

Back when she couldn't smile normally
to save her life, and she had a gap-tooth
grin for a year and a half.

Do you think Vicki looks like me?


Then there was one of me before I got my hair cut. Wow.

I like it better short.

Also, Chris and I used to look really young.


It's scary to think that by the time this picture was taken, we'd been together for 10 years, married for 6, and had two children with one on the way. And we look like such babies.

Among the pictures was also a fabulous shot of my already-big belly at 13 weeks pregnant with Ellie (which I will NOT be sharing with you, thankyouverymuch), pictures of the water damage to our house when we returned home to find a pipe had been dripping steadily for the entire 11 days we were in Utah, pictures of my entire family at the Oregon coast (watch out guys, I'll use those one day!), and a whole bunch of others I'm glad we didn't lose.

So, the moral of the story is: always label your discs.

And also, it's never too early to provide future humiliation for your children.
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