Tuesday, November 21, 2006

My Stick Person

I saw this little guy on someone else's blog and I liked him, so I kidnapped him. :) Life is good right now!! I made some headway on the pile of stuff on my desk today and am rewarding myself with the evening off!! WAHOO!!! I hope that wherever you are, you are enjoying a day/evening with family and loved ones!!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

My "Gremlin"

Grant is now 11 and doesn't really like it when I call him "Gremlin" anymore, which has been my nickname for him since he was about a year old. He says he doesn't mind "Grant-ster", another one of his nicknames, but really prefers that we avoid "Gremlin". I'm having a hard time breaking the habit, but I'm working on it as I'm trying to respect his wishes and the fact that he's growing up.

Since he IS growing up and I've been blogging about the funny things that the girls do and say, I've come to realize that with the passage of time, I have forgotten some of the funny things that the boys did and said when they were in toddler and preschool stages. The boys like to read my blog and have asked me if they did/said funny things at the same age. So I've decided that I'm occasionally going to blog things about the boys from their early childhood to journal those events for them. Today, this one is all about Grant. The photo I will attach of him was taken at about the time this conversation happened. Check out those dimples!!!

When Grant was about 4, he was attending Preschool/Day Care while I was at work. He had a habit of coming into the bathroom in the morning, perching on the bathroom counter, and chatting with me while I got ready for work. One November morning, I was asking him what he was learning at Preschool and he started chatting about pilgrims. The conversation went like this:

Me: "What have you been talking about at Preschool?"
Grant: "Indians and pilgrims. Pilgrims rode on a boat."
Me: "Did the indians help the pilgrims?"
Grant: "Yep. The indians helped the pilgrims build houses."
Me: "That's cool. Did they live in houses like us?"
Grant: "No. The Indians lived in tee-pees." (I don't really think the indians of the Atlantic coastline lived in tee-pees, but he was four, so I didn't argue.)
Me: "Wow. Did you know that indians here lived in big houses made of wood?"
Grant: "They did?"
Me: "Yep. What other kinds of houses do people live in?"
Grant: Blank look here.
Me: "How about igloos? Who lives in igloos?"
Grant: "IGLOOS??"
Me: "Yes....igloos? Who lives in igloos?" (I thought this was a word he was familiar with.)
Grant: Big pause. Thinking. And then, "Oh. Oh. I know!!! DOGS!!!"

It took me a minute. Is it taking you a minute, too? Hint here: My Mom and Dad had a Golden Retriever at the time with a Dog-loo from Walmart. I was laughing too hard to explain that the answer I had been looking for was eskimo. And, after all, he was right!! The retriever DID live in an igloo. :))))

Yes, Grant, you also said/did funny things at a young age. I love you, Grant-ster!!! You were a wonderful 4-year-old and you're an even better 11-year-old. I'm proud of you!!!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The wind blew and the trees fell

This past week, we had a doozy of a windstorm. It started blowing here about noon and went to full force at about 1:30. I grew up here in the Pacific Northwest, am accustomed to life beneath the trees with the coastal winds that blow several times each year, but this was UNREAL. I'm not sure that I've ever felt it blow this hard. And oddly enough, at about 4:30 pm, it was like God turned the switch off and the wind stopped. Very strange.

In any case, during the course of the storm, we ended up with at least four trees down on our property. A year ago, we hired a faller to come in and take out 13 hemlocks close to the house, several of which were rotten, and we are so thankful that we spent the money and had it done. The four trees that fell in this storm were out along the driveway, made a huge mess with limbs and debris, but our home was not threatened. One of them was a BIG one, which took out a couple others on its way down. I got the adventure of driving the van across our yard to get out the driveway that day, but other then a minor four-wheeling event in a minivan, no major thrills. I have to admit that it was fun to see Grant's face when he got off the school bus and had to climb over a fallen tree to get to the house. He came in the door and said, "Uh, Mom?? Did you know we have a tree in the driveway??" No kidding. :)

In any case, Mike is out playing lumberjack this morning. His chainsaw will cut up all the limbs and the smaller-midsize trees, but we're probably going to have to hire someone to come in and do something with the big one. Its going to require a serious tree-eating piece of machinery. Since we don't have any sort of wood-burning heat, I guess Dad & Mom will get first crack at a bunch of free firewood.

Hey Marj--If you guys have some sort of wood heat in your house, I'll give you a free load of firewood for Christmas to take back to Spokane in your trunk with you!!!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Feeling humbled this morning...

Jennica was up during the night and not in a pleasant mood. We finally determined that it was a stomach ache (won't go into the details of how we figured that out). I'm tired this morning, and I got, by far, the better end of the deal as Mike sent me back to bed and stayed up with her. He stumbled out the door at 6:30 this morning to head to work and I know he's exhausted today.

I'm not really a morning person to begin with, and with a lack of sleep, I'm even worse. Of course, Jen managed to wake up bright and sunny today, which thoroughly annoyed me. Until suddenly I remembered...

This is the little girl that is supposed to have severe, inherited disabilities. This is the little girl that we almost "lost" to her birth family on the East Coast. This is the little girl that we were not sure would walk or talk. This is the little girl that we hauled to a neuro-developmentalist at 8 months so we could begin the process of identifying her disabilities and start early therapies.

Instead what we have is Jennica. Rambunctious, stubborn, demanding, delightfully funny, lover-of-books and any lap that is still long enough for her to climb into it, brown-eyed Jennica. She actually doesn't ever really walk.....she runs!!! And sings. And when she laughs, she laughs with her whole body.

So, I am again humbled by our youngest daughter, reminded of what a miracle she truly is, and what a miracle God has worked right in front of us in watching her grow from the tiny 7-week-old infant she was, to the rowdy 2 1/2-year-old she is today. We took custody of her fully knowing that she was the biological child of two developmentally disabled adults, and that she had two autistic siblings. NEVER did we question our decision to adopt her, and I feel so strongly that God blessed us with a MIRACLE.

Now, if I can only remember all of this the next time that she is wide awake at 5 a.m. and singing, "....winkle tar......winkle tar.....ding dong ding.....ding dong ding....." (Her own delightful rendition of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and "Frere Jacques" combined together.)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Benefit of getting to preschool a few minutes late...

Tiersten's three-year-old preschool class in our elementary school starts at 8 a.m. The rest of the elementary school, and the Jr High/Sr High School across the street, don't start class until 8:25, so when I walk her into her classroom, I get to see all the elementary kids in the hallways, shout a "hello" to any high schoolers I know standing around on that side of the street, and chat with staff members and other parents that may be loitering before school starts. Our boys prefer to ride the bus to school in the morning rather than ride with the girls and I, so sometimes I get to see them, on their own respective sides of the street, chatting with their friends and doing the typical before-school activities.

I have discovered that if I'm running a little late, I get an added bonus that I really enjoy. Every morning, a high school student reads the bulletin over the loudspeaker, which is broadcast indoors and outdoors over the campus. It doesn't broadcast inside the elementary school, but if I'm outside the building, it is loud enough that I can hear it from across the street. It is truly GREAT fun!! As Dane is only a 7th grader, he doesn't seem to know how the reading student is chosen, but I'm guessing it is probably a member of the ASB?? In any case, it is great to listen to. They always recite the "Pledge of Allegiance" and then go through the day's announcements--which teams won or lost a game the previous evening, the lunch menu, all those types of things. Sometimes, I can tell that the reader is a little uncomfortable with the microphone because they will read it all pretty quickly in a monotone. Other days, you get someone who can "ham it up" a bit better and they'll throw in a "woo-hoo" behind the team announcements if a game has been won, and add some fun adjectives to the lunch menu. It makes the days announcements so much more interesting to hear them from the teenage perspective and I really enjoy listening!

I can't help but wonder, when my children take their turn at the microphone, will they be the shy ones, or the extroverted "woo-hoo" and "DEE-licious Macaroni and Cheese" kids??? :)

Monday, November 13, 2006

A weekend in the BIG CITY

I've had a long day, but I've been anxiously trying to sneak a few minutes in for the past few days, so I'm finally doing that, despite the fact that completing a sentence is a tad tough tonight. Not sure where all these appraisal orders are coming from, but I'm scheduling late November now and I'm still buried. In the "World of the Self-Employed", we all try to remind ourselves that it is better to be too busy, than to be twiddling our thumbs waiting for the phone to ring, but some days when the phone won't stop ringing, its hard to remember that. Am I rambling? I think I'm rambling. I have a tendency to do that when I'm tired and over-stimulated and a half hour ago the fax was still ringing with new incoming orders. I'm still doing it, aren't I?

Before I forget, I've posted a few new "Tiersten-isms" on that blog post from August, so for those of you that like to hang out and wait for my daughter to come up with her latest phrase, check it out!! And she has the "T-I-E-R" down in writing her name so I figure that in about a year, she can have her own blog. I'm still rambling, aren't I?

ANYHOW, Mike and I ran away this weekend to Seattle. (If there are any of you out there that think that its strange that people go to the CITY on the weekend instead of the other way around, you need to realize that if you live in Smalltown, USA it is NOT a treat to spend the weekend in Smalltown, USA. We can sit around and debate about which of three restaurants to eat at any old time we want. We want CHOICES when we run away...The rest of you can enjoy coming to the country when you want to escape the city. Not us.)

We stayed downtown in a high-rise hotel with a view of Elliott Bay, ate at a restaurant with authentic Cajun food and live jazz music, and....drumroll here.......a very first for me.....we rode in a TAXI....TWICE!!!! And for me, there is nothing quite like the helpless feeling of being from a small town, pulling up in front of a nice hotel, and having your car and luggage both removed from your possession in the first 60 seconds by a valet and a bellhop. It leaves you standing on the sidewalk feeling a little lost and out of control, but I think I could get used to the spoiling with a little bit of practice!!! Its just a very odd feeling when you are used to being self-serving in a rural area that doesn't have a single valet parking place in the ENTIRE COUNTY.

In any case, we laughed a lot while we were gone. Mostly at ourselves, but it sure felt good. It was nice to not have a restless toddler and preschooler tugging on our arms, and know that they were both in excellent care at home and enjoying some one-on-one time. (We split them up and sent them different places, so that they could have some "special" time, and they are such a handful together that you feel like you're burdening someone to hand them both off at once.) The boys were happily hanging out with their Dad and stepmom for a couple of extra days. We slept late, we enjoyed a variety of art, we ate, we strolled, and we enjoyed. (The Pottery Barn in downtown Seattle is to die for. I ended up not buying anything there because I couldn't narrow it down. I wanted the whole store!! Ohhhh.....the shopping!!!) It was so nice to have a concrete reminder that life DOES exist beyond our usual activities that absorb our daily lives. Ahhh.......culture.

Today, life was back to chaos as usual, but I feel a bit more rested than last week. Maybe not so much rested in a physical way, but definitely rested in a mental way. In the larger world, I'm just one little ant putting one foot in front of the other. Going to the city where there are so many ants put it in perspective.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

A good day for Dane

Today was a good day for Dane. Which means that it was a good day for his Mom, too. :)

His progress report came in the mail today and he is doing VERY well in all of his subjects. Great to know!!

But more importantly, to me at least, is that he was awarded the "Coach's Award" this evening at the Jr. High Sports Banquet for football. Way to go, Dane!!!

Academic achievement is a good thing, but I am even more proud of his accomplishments that earned him the Coach's Award. He was chosen for his upbeat attitude and work ethic. In the bigger picture of life, I think those are the characteristics that carry us the farthest.

Just bustin' my buttons a bit tonight!!! For those of you who knew him as the holy terror of a toddler he was.......I guess this is our reward!!

Congratulations, Dane!!!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I don't "get it"!

The following are things I don't "get" in life...about other people, about human behavior, about how we think, and just in general. Please keep in mind that this is MY blog and you are here voluntarily. If you don't like what I have to say, uh........too bad!!! Feel free to post comments and tell me I've totally lost my mind. :)

1) Why did two boys this morning totally miss the point of, "Can you guys watch your sisters while I take a shower?" The phrase "watch your sisters" was not intended to mean "watch them make a mess of the house", or "watch them fight over toys", or "watch them slam each others fingers in doors". In the future, I guess I will need to be more specific. I will try to use the phrase, "Watch your sisters AND INTERVENE as necessary...."

2) Why do people care whether Britney Spears and Kevin Federline are fighting or not this week? Why do people care if Madonna is adopting a child from Malawi? And why do people care if Angelina Jolie took her children with her to the grocery store today to buy lettuce? Let me make it clear here...I DON'T CARE!!!! I can, to a point, understand people's desire to know that the lives of the rich and famous have some of the same problems and issues that we ordinary folk do. I can, to a point, also understand that we all like to think that somewhere/somehow/some way there are people out there that do NOT have the same problems and issues that we ordinary folk do. But all it takes is one trip to the newstand these days to realize that we are WAY beyond that point. America is obsessed with the personal lives of famous people. I think its weird!!!

3) Someone explain hunting season to me. Keep in mind that I live in a rural community where, every fall, a large percentage of the male population dons orange and camouflage clothing, climbs into pickup trucks, and drives around the countryside with the intention of killing animals with firearms. I can relate to the desire to drive around "off the beaten track" and enjoy the country. I can relate to the desire to have an excuse to experience some time away from the house and go off and enjoy a hobby. For those who choose to enjoy this hobby only with other men and/or large quantities of beer, I can understand that, too. The part that I don't "get" is that it involves killing something. What is the point? DO NOT insult my intelligence by telling me that it is about feeding your family. If this was 1890, I'd accept that, but this is 2006 and we all get the vast majority of our meat from the grocery store. If you want to tell me that it is about celebrating your heritage, give me the gun and the truck, and start hiking with your bow and arrow. Maybe I'm the one thats weird here, but I'd rather be weird than view every deer and elk and try to imagine how he's going to look dead in the back of my truck. I like them better alive. Are there hunters that agree with me, but want to be a part of "the club" so they drive around all month and hope they never see anything that their buddy wants to shoot?

Just some things I think about...

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Art of Procrastination

I should be working, but I don't want to, so I'm blogging instead. sssshhhhhh....

Halloween was a little bizarre and anti-climactic this year. I think our Halloween highpoint was carving our six pumpkins on Saturday evening and then watching "The Blair Witch Project" with the boys. Halloween itself consisted of the girls having parties at Day Care and Preschool in the morning, trick-or-treating after school around the downtown businesses, and then trick-or-treating at my parents' home and the home of Mike's boss. Dane had his first wrestling practice on Halloween, we had to pick him up at the school at 5:30, and it just didn't work out right schedule-wise to do what we normally do. We might have tried to extend the trick-or-treating a bit more, but Dane injured his foot at practice pretty good and we needed to get him home to evaluate the damage. (No permanent damage, but a fair amount of blood and a really nasty bruise. His entire big toe is about the color of grape juice right now. Really special!! I can post pictures if you want? Nah.....didn't think so. You wimps!!)

In any case, Halloween is over for another year. Next year, the girls will be 3 & 4 and will be a little easier. This year, we were still really on the edge of that nagging question in the back of your head that says, "Why are we stuffing our children in costumes that they don't want to wear and dragging them out to gather candy that they will never eat?"

Well.......While I've been blogging I haven't seen anyone show up and start working on my appraisal reports. Hmmmmmm. I guess I'm going to have to do them myself. Back to work.