Wednesday, September 27, 2006

"Daisy 'hebby' "

That phrase was one of the first things I heard today from Jennica--"Daisy 'hebby'." (Translation: Daisy is heavy.)

Daisy, our cat had the misfortune to have all of her food eaten by raccoons during the night, and was loitering on the front porch bright and early this morning, hoping for a generous serving of breakfast. Now, I use the term "misfortune" in two ways: 1) She was hungry due to the thieving masked bandits who swiped her food, and 2) it left her in a prime position to be an early morning victim of "toddler cat torture".

For Jennica, "cat torture" started at a young age. She was about 15 months old when we got two kittens and, from day one, she decided they were hers to do with as she pleased. Only one of the original two remains (No...We didn't let Jennica kill the kitten!), and that would be today's victim. For your viewing pleasure, I have included two photos of Jen with Daisy--one when Jen was about 17 months old, and one from this morning. Notice that all four of the cat's feet are off the ground in both photos and the comfort and safety of the cat do not appear to be a primary concern to Jen.

I have to admit that I also regularly participated in cat torture as a child. I made them ride in my doll strollers and buggies, dropped them from trees (lower branches, People...GEEZ...) to see if they truly did ALWAYS land on their feet, and on one particularly memorable occasion, my dear friend Melanie and I were determined to teach a cat to swim in the creek behind her house and proceeded to spend the better part of a day giving a cat swimming lessons. (You may be asking where the parents were during said swimming lessons, but think about it...We were probably 10, old enough not to drown ourselves or each other in the creek, and we were BUSY and leaving them alone. We were also probably old enough to know that a cat is not going to learn to swim, but we'll ignore that part.)

In any case, Daisy got away repeatedly this morning, only to be recaptured and drug around some more. While Jennica was occupied with the cat, I was actually able to get a few extra things done this morning before I hauled the kids off to school. I can justify turning a blind eye to these activities by pointing out that said cat has all claws intact and is perfectly capable of defending herself. And, second, its kind of touching to know that my daughter has inherited my love for cat torture at such an early age. With any luck, it will continue into adulthood. Oh... come on now.......don't tell me that you've never tickled a sleeping cats' ears or whiskers to see how long it takes before they get up and move......

Sunday, September 24, 2006

My New Job--Keeper of the Pictures

Over the weekend, I started to transition into my new job--Keeper of Nana's Pictures. When my mother mentioned bringing them to the Celebration of Life and letting family members go through them and take what they wanted, I protested loudly. My fear is that some of the pictures would disappear into Never Never Land, or worse. I'm also quite sure that there are some family photos that more than one of us are going to want. big plan is to scan them all in, save them to CD, and distribute copies of the CD to as many family members as want them. Sounds like a good plan, right?

My Mom gathered a number of photos and put them on a poster for everyone to view at the Celebration of Life. The photo included on this blog post is one of the photos from the poster, and one that particularly intrigues me. It is undated, but I'm estimating that Nana was in her teenage years when this was taken, which would place it circa 1925-1930. She looks SO different from the Nana I knew.

Eyes in the back of my head

I pulled a good trick on Tiersten not long ago. One that I hope has more than a "tad" of lasting influence over the coming years. It went like this...

One weekend at home, Dane and I were standing in the kitchen chatting. I was performing some myriad of chores, and he was talking to me about some upcoming plans he had. Tiersten was playing in the living room just a short distance away.

As I was cleaning, I stepped to the kitchen sink for a moment and happened to glance out the window. (Now...You have to understand that, from the kitchen window, I have a clear view of the sliding glass door that leads from our living room onto our deck.) Much to my surprise, I spotted Tiersten LICKING the sliding glass door with her tongue. I immediately spoke up, "Tiersten, please stop licking the glass!!"

In her three-year-old's dimension of the world, it never even crossed her mind that I had "busted" her by looking through the kitchen window. She instantly stopped licking the window with this shocked look on her face and came walking over to the kitchen, where I managed to keep a straight face and informed her, "All Moms have eyes in the back of their heads and I could see you." I could tell from the look on her face that she totally believed me and I haven't seen her licking any windows or glass doors since then.

Of course, Dane at 13, no longer believes I have eyes in the back of my head and was trying desperately not to laugh through the whole thing. He knew exactly how I had caught her!! As Tiersten walked back to the living room, he whispered to me, "You are SO mean!!"

I may be mean, but at this stage, I really WANT Tiersten to believe I have eyes in the back of my head. Call it an extra boost to her conscience. It's fine with me if she thinks I can see her from anywhere. :)

Friday, September 22, 2006

Epilogue of Husky Stadium

Just a few days before heading to Husky Stadium with Grant's football team, we found out that we would only be allowed one digital camera in the stadium for the entire team. I was quickly appointed to be team photographer, and I have to admit that I had a blast. It has taken me a full week to edit the 286 photos! I hope you'll click on the montage at the lower right-hand side of the screen to view some of those photos set to music.

All in all, it was a great experience! The boys were fantastic and I was proud to be a part of the group. And other than a near-miss of being almost run over by the Husky's All-American Punter during our scrimmage, I'm so glad I had the opportunity to be down on the field with the kids. (He had the nerve to look annoyed at the "Football Mom" crouched in the middle of the field with the camera. LOL.)

I hope that our Willapa Loggers continue to have great success in the future--both on and off the football field.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

It takes a secure teenager...

For weeks, I have been harassing Dane about trying on my 25-year-old Junior High Cheerleading skirt with his Junior High Game Jersey. He has resisted.....until tonight. I caught him in a weak moment and made sure I had the camera ready. It takes a secure teenager to let his mother do this to him!! LOLOL

Family converging from far and wide...

This weekend will be my Nana's "Celebration of Life." I rather like that phrase, as it represents her passing in a more positive light, as it should. She had a long and glorious life, and we SHOULD celebrate it.

For this momentous occasion, my very large extended family is all converging upon my small hometown. Since I live here, I am fortunate that this event will not require lengthy travel of my immediate family. My boys will still be able to participate in their normal football games at the end of this week. I'm glad that we're not going to have to make any big decisions about which commitment takes precedence, as we have stressed to the boys for years that being part of a team means that you are THERE for your team, and that could have been difficult.

In any case, my sisters will both be in town this weekend. One is driving a good distance, and the other flying a great distance with husband and sons. My many cousins are coming from far and wide--many of whom I don't see much--and I'm looking forward to having them here. We are quite a large crowd, in one place at one time, and it's always great fun. It brings back memories of big holiday celebrations from years' past with all the noise and ruckus we could muster. Nana's passing is turning into a great family reunion, and despite the fact that I feel a little conflicted that her death will be a party of sorts, I think she would have liked it this way. There will be laughter, children running everywhere, and lots of food. Yes.......Nana would have wanted it this way.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Tribute to Nana

February 19, 1912 - September 13, 2006
My grandmother passed away last night. She was a wonderful, delightful little Swedish lady and we will all miss her dearly.
When I was about 8, my Nana moved into a little house just down the road from my parents home. My parents live at the end of a dead-end road and Nana's house was located between their house and the closest arterial, where I caught the school bus. Therefore, every time we went anywhere growing up, we had to go past Nana's house. When I walked to and from the school bus, I had to pass her house, which made it convenient to stop in and grab a cookie, a can of 7up, or whatever other treat she might be offering that day. She was a part of my daily life during my growing up years, only if it was a wave from her porch or yard. That means a lot to me looking back.
The things I will remember most about Nana were her love for drives to the beach, hamburgers, and lottery tickets. She made the best ripple-stitch crocheted afghans in the world. And the newest baby in the family was always the cutest and the smartest baby she'd ever seen. She sang a funky little "doot-le-doot" song when we bounced on her lap that I always recognize when I hear, but can never remember exactly how it goes. For years, I spent every Wednesday evening with her while my parents went to choir practice and she always let me watch whatever I wanted on TV.
A few months ago when she moved out of her home and into assisted living, I was fortunate to inherit a real prize--her piano. It needs tuning and some other work, but I wouldn't have passed it up for anything and I'm honored to have it in my home.
Nana's journey here has ended, but she will live on forever through her children(3), grandchildren(11), great grandchildren(18), and great-great grandchildren(1). My life is richer for every minute I spent with her. She will be missed, but never forgotten. Although I'm a little sad and nostalgic today, I can't help but smile as I think of her being reunited in heaven with her parents, brothers, son, and husband--all of whom she lost too soon. And in her heaven, she will be swimming in the Willapa with her brother George, playing hide-and-go seek amongst the logs on the docks, gardening up a storm, and brewing a good Swedish cup of coffee. We love you, Nana!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Tiersten goes to school

Tiersten had her first day of 3-year-old preschool today! She was pretty excited...I will be taking her to school every morning and then she will ride the bus to her Day Care. She threw a big fit when they got to the Day Care today because she didn't want to get off the bus. Sigh...Oh well, it will take her a few days to get used to the new routine. In any case, she had a GREAT time and was very excited tonight because she gets to go back tomorrow.

Monday, September 11, 2006

PROOF of a miracle

The attached photos are living proof of miracles!! Jennica actually held still long enough for me to put two little braids in her hair this morning. The first one was easy. The second one was a lot more difficult but, with one done, I had the courage to hang in there and prevailed in the end. She wasn't real happy about the camera. I snapped the first photo before she realized what I was doing, and then buried her face in her bed. But its progress.......Usually at the first sign of a hair brush, she clasps her arms over the top of her head and says, "NO, Momma!"

Monday, September 04, 2006

Grant's first football game

September 16th is Grant's first football game. Ever. He just turned 11, is heading into the fifth grade, and is playing for the Willapa Loggers this year.

On September 16th, they were scheduled to play Montesano in Shelton. The first big game of the season. However, that is not going to happen. You see, Grant's team has been invited to play at Husky Stadium instead. As in...University of Washington--Seattle--where the Seahawks played while Qwest Field was being built. They will be playing before the Husky game starts. They get to run through the tunnel and the whole works. WOW!!!

Mike, as you all know, is Grant's head coach. Knowing that Dane would be horribly jealous of his little brother's good fortune, he has assigned Dane to the "chain gang" for the afternoon to measure for yardage as needed. So Dane will also get to feel the roar of the crowd and the turf beneath his feet and be right on the sidelines, which is far better than viewing it from the stands. ('re the best.)

His VERY first football game ever in Husky Stadium? How do you go "up" from there? WOW!

The light at the end of the tunnel...I hope!

The last few weeks have not been my greatest and brightest. In early August, we took a week-long family vacation to Eastern Oregon and Idaho, knowing full well that we had many things to accomplish when we returned. Knowing it and living through it have turned out to be two different things.

First of all, since I am self-employed, I expected to take on a little extra work through late August to make up for the week's income that I had missed while on vacation. No big deal, right?

Second of all, Mike and boys all started football practice when we got back. A few hours in late afternoon/evening several days per week. Manageable, right?

Third, we needed to paint the exterior of our house. Yes.........its large, but not a three-story monstrosity hanging off the side of a cliff, so shouldn't be a problem, right? atttitude about all these pending activities during pre-vacation was that we would just "buck up and do it." Make a list of things to do, check them off as we go, and we'd make it through. Onward and upward and all that jazz. It has not gone that smoothly and I'm really wishing we could rewind the past several weeks, but in reality, I'm not sure what we would have done differently.

Yes.....I accepted some extra work. And yes, we started on painting the house and all the boys started football. What we didn't count on was that Jennica was going to deal with massive ear infections through August that refused to respond to antibiotics, and that we would end up with two trips to Mary Bridge, two trips to two different Emergency Rooms, ear surgery for tubes and removal of a blood clot. She is doing very well with recovery, and we are grateful for having the resources that we can provide that level of medical care for our children without financial worries, but its been stressful and time-consuming with so many other half-started things going on.

In the meantime, the extra work that I had accepted has rather built up and I'm desperately now trying to catch up. I already have a ton of work lined up for September and am still trying to dig myself out of August.

And lastly, my personality is such that I can NOT live in this house all winter with half of it painted. Can't do it. A rational person could sit down and admit that they've taken on too much and figure out what needs to be done and prioritize. I'm not rational with some things and this definitely qualifies. I explained to Mike that I knew of a family years ago that people referred to as the Tyveks. They were not Willapa Harbor natives, nobody knew their last name, and they had started a home re-siding project and never finished it. After a lengthy time of having exposed Tyvek with no siding on the exterior of their home, they became known in the neighborhood as "The Tyveks". I have an intense fear of being that family--the ones that people refer to as " know, that house down the road that has been half gray and half green for a while??"

So........point being...........I could use a REALLY good prescription. We busted our fannies this weekend and the house is now all green. Decks still need stained, gutters still need put up, and some other things. I still have several appraisal reports to complete today, as tomorrow is a LONG day in the field with my first big string of September jobs due in the coming days. My appraisal license expires shortly and I still have an on-line class to complete before my license can be renewed, so I've already booked two days for this month to take care of that. Jennica is due back for a re-check on the ears at Mary Bridge in a few weeks, so that will be another day away from home and office. School starts tomorrow. Football speeds up now and will hit full gear with Dane's first game on September 14th and Grant's first game on the 16th (more on Grant's first game in a later post).

So.......I need to get back to work and quit typing this. And I owe Mike a big thank you for not making me sleep in the shed with the dogs this weekend when I got *itchy. Had the situation been reversed, I'm not sure I would have been as understanding. I'm going to try to buck up and do better. And hopefully, that little bright spot in the distance is the light at the end of the tunnel and not just a glare ricocheting around in my brain.