Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 - The Year in Review

Darla's birthday lunch . . .Inside Sales Meeting (Seattle) . . .Super User Meeting (Seattle) . . .Matt's birthday . . .School Board Retreat . . .Valentine's Day . . .Matt Training (Wash. DC) . . .Hockey Skate-a-Thon . . .State B Basketball . . .Mom's Birthday . . .MLCA Crab Feed . . .Lots of hockey . . . Board Meeting . . . GCSO Association Dinner . . . Spring Break . . . WSU Mom's Weekend . . . Lots of Baseball . . . School Pics . . . Dad's Birthday . . . SAT Testing . . . Board Meeting . . . Apple Blossom . . . Third Day Concert . . . Spokane Garden Festival . . . Mother's Day . . . My Birthday . . . Colton's Birthday . . . Boys' Fishing Trip . . . East meets West . . . Board/Staff Retreat . . . Sun Lakes Camping . . . Matt Training (Wenatchee) . . . Kindergarten Graduation . . . Matt Training . . . Baseball ends . . . Erinne Surgery . . . Sorticulture . . . Matt Training . . . Edmonds Art Festival . . . Vacation Bible School . . . Basketball Camp . . . Matt Spotting . . . Swim Lessons . . . 4th of July Campout . . . Mariners game for Chance . . . Maggie's Baby Shower . . . Lake Wallowa Vacation . . . Matt ERAD . . . Richland Allied Arts . . . Summer Blast Camp . . . Hull BBQ . . . Chance's Birthday . . . Football Starts . . . Board Meeting . . . Hunter Ed . . . First Day of School . . . ERAD Ends . . . Camping at Cabin . . . Board Meeting . . . Lighthouse Festival . . . Soccer Begins . . . Food Drive . . . School Pictures . . . Salmon Days . . . Boys Hunting . . . MLCA Auction . . . Board Meeting . . . WSU Fall . . . Camping at Cabin . . . Matt Training (Seattle) . . . Seattle Weekend; Huskies & Hawks . . . Basketball Begins . . . Scrap Retreat . . . Board Meeting . . . Thanksgiving . . . Matt Training (Vancouver) . . . GCSO Christmas . . . Happy Anniversary! . . . Board Meeting . . . Wilbur Christmas . . . Basketball Awards . . . Christmas Program . . . Winter Break . . . Messer Christmas . . . Mires/Jones Christmas Eve . . . Christmas Day . . . Hull Christmas . . . DISNEYLAND!!!!!

By the numbers

3 - Theme Parks Visited
2 - Visits to Disneyland
2 - Visits to California Adventure
1 - Visit to Legoland
45.5 - Theme park hours logged
1 - Theme Park to go
1 - Dinner Experience at Medieval Times
1 - Fun dinner and games at ESPN Zone
9 - Meals at the hotel or brown-bagged
4 - Fast food or on-the-road meals
2 - Trips to the grocery store
9 - Times we rode California Screamin' roller coaster
3 - Times we Soared over California and smelled the orange groves
5 - Shooting galleries at various Toy Story attractions
4 - Wins by Matt
1 - Win by Heather
1 - Trick to get Matt in the front of the car in Splash Mountain
4 - Battles won by the Green Knight (our Knight) at Medieval times before his ultimate demise
4 - Meals of dragon soup, baby dragons (tastes like chicken), ribs, and potatoes eaten at the Knight Tournament by . . .
4 - Very hungry vacationers tired of brown bags
6 - Bottled Starbucks for breakfast at the hotel
2 - Times we splurged and got the real thing
40 - Sweepers working at any one time in Disney's California Adventure
1234 - Riders per hour on California Screamin'
1000+ - Shooters per hour in the Toy Story Midway Shooting Gallery
9600 - Cars in the Mickey & Friends Parking lot
14 - Dollars to park there
40 - Wasted minutes on Autopia
1 - Rainy day
1 - Official graduate (Padawan) of the Jedi Training Academy
3 - Minutes before closing to squeeze in the 6th ride on California Screamin' for the day
17 - Fast Pass opportunities used
3 - Times we were late to the Fast Pass return line
4 - Amateur cartoons of Piglet and Daisy Duck
1 - Near heart attack during a bug invasion in the "Tough to be a Bug" multi-sensory movie experience
2 - Times Disney shut the gates because the park was too full
2 - Times we were already in
1 - Camera forgotten at Verna's
405 - iPhone photos taken
27 - Disney Photopass photos taken
5 - Character autographs
74 - Degrees in Anaheim
1 - Fake snowstorm during the Holiday Firework Show
13 - Facebook mobile status updates or photo uploads
4 - Jumps from the seat during the great mice outbreak in "Honey I Shrunk the Audience"
1 - Boy named Colton who would not put his feet on the floor at any show after that one
0 - Trips to Alice in Wonderland, the Disney Princesses, Princess and the Frog, Ariel's Grotto, or Ladybug Boogie
1 - Mama very much out-numbered by boys
10 - Free tortillas from the Mission Tortilla Factory
1 - SanFrancisco sourdough round purchased for the morning snack
4 - Free New Year's Eve hats
2 - Free New Year's Eve horns
0 - Horns that made it all the way back to the hotel
9 - Various headache remedies consumed
5 - $10 lockers rented
15 - Minutes to Disneyland's front door on the shuttle from the hotel 2 miles away
30 - Minutes into the Disneyland parking garage when driving yourself
30 - More minutes waiting for the shuttle from the parking garage to take you the last 400 (ish) yards
5 - Levels of intensity on the Bionicle ride in Legoland
2 - Levels available to guests shorter than 56"
1 - Very glad mama that it was her turn to ride with Colton

1 - Priceless vacation, full of Holiday Magic

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Goin' back to Cali
















Oh my, what a vacation it's been so far! I'll have much more detailed posts and exploits in later posts, but thought I'd let y'all know what's been going on!










First of all, this blogger and scrapbooker extraordinaire has forgotten her camera. Ahhhhhh! You should see the 3-ring binder I've got for organizing this trip, and I forget the camera. But, Disney, has a fantastic Photo Pass option, and our iPhones have done the rest, so all is not lost. I am not stressing about it, and just letting Disney take the good pictures.










Consequently, the few "teaser" photos above are only iPhone quality, but will let you know how much fun we're having!










Here are the first few highlights:










We had an emergency pit stop just 55 miles into the drive. Thankfully, it was the result of a long day full of Christmas cookies and not the flu.










We had another mishap - no bright lights (we started out at 10 pm) about 120 miles into the journey. We had the dims, though, and trudged through.










We blew right past our first planned stayover (Sacramento) and came straight down to Anaheim. Whew! 23 hours in the car - with several stops along the way. The boys were troopers, for sure. Mama, too :)










We have spent two days at Disney so far. Plus ESPN Zone.










Today is Legoland.










Tomorrow some more Disney.










Friday remains to be seen. Matt votes Six Flags. The kids don't know yet. I just wanna lay on the 70* beach.










Saturday we head back. Bright eyed and bushy tailed for work/school on Monday.










What a whirlwind!!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

It was on my list

At one point, it was on my list. I think it actually made two lists.

But, as is normal this time of year, the lists are falling apart. They get transferred to new lists. They get misplaced with one or two things yet unchecked. They get spilled on, stepped on, and thrown away.

So, it is with great dismay that I report I am a week late to wish Miss Jennifer a

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!

I am 8 days late, so I will list 8 things I LOVE about you!

  1. You are the most generous gal - you clipped coupons and put them in the mail to me - I think you know my love language :)
  2. You are as cheap (ahem, THRIFTY) as I am.
  3. I love camping with you and visiting with you.
  4. You support my kids whenever you can. (PS - the Butterbraids that we promised on Thanksgiving will be coming on Christmas!!!)
  5. You are all about your family. They are so very blessed to have you.
  6. You love Jesus.
  7. You step in and help with whatever I need, whether at camping, at our house, or shopping on Black Friday, I can always count on your help if I need anything.
  8. You drive the coolest Rockstar bus I've ever seen. I'm jealous.

Happy Birthday, girl! Can't wait to see you this weekend. Sorry I'm lame and late. This also means that you won't be getting the Hilary Clinton card back. There's always a silver lining, isn't there??

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A letter to Murphy


Dear Mr. Murphy-


#1. I hate your law.


#2. I had lots better things to do today than clean up after the washing machine went T.U. and flooded the laundry room and the bathroom.


#3. I knew you'd get us as soon as we got a new t.v.


#4. The corner behind the washing machine hasn't been cleaned in a REALLY long time - I guess I can thank you for that. Maybe.


#5. Please visit someone else's house for the remainder of the holiday season - we've got other plans.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I'm going to Berlin. With Tanya.

All right. We're gonna start with some back story here, so this will be more easily understood.

Two years ago, at our school auction, one of my friends donated a plate of Christmas goodies, to be made and delivered during the holidays. Oh boy. I was all over that! Homemade Christmas goodies that I didn't have to bake? Yes, please!

They were fantastic. There were about 7 or 8 different things on this platter, but we all fell in love with a little half-pretzel almondy kind of cookie.

I asked for the recipe.

Wouldn't you know, it's a family secret. I can completely understand this. Matt has lots of those. Correction - other than the ones I've posted on the blog, Matt still has a few of those :) Anyway, much like all the times we've had discipline problems with our boys (I know more than once Verna has wished upon Matt a boy just like him), Matt's non-recipe-sharing chickens were coming home to roost.

I can find it, I thought. And that year, I made several attempts (some pretty good ones) at a copy-cat. Almond pretzels. Almond shortbread. Twisted sugar cookies. None of them were the same.

Well, the very next year, my friend again donated goodies to the auction - a WHOLE plate of the good ones - no messing around with variety :)

But, I lost. In a last-minute snipe that I couldn't out-maneuver, I was outbid. Oh, the tragedy. But, my friend Tanya comes to my rescue. She says - if you will match her bid, I'll double the donation and make two plates. Wow. I couldn't refuse.

And so, come the middle of December, we had a whole plate of the heavenly little cookies all to ourselves.

Imagine my chagrin when, this year, the auction booklet held no such donation. I had imagined, after the double-duty of the year before, that Tanya was less than enthusiastic about the project for this year. I will admit now that I seriously underestimated her. More on that later.

But, I had a plan. Whether intentional or not, Tanya had listed the precious cookies BY NAME in last year's catalog. Google, you are my friend. I searched and searched. Everything I came up with had hard-boiled egg yolks in it. No way.

So, I break down and ask Tanya. Hard boiled egg yolks? Really? She nods the affirmative, all the while telling me that she was already making me a plate of them (because she is so nice) and would I just hold my horses and stop ruining all the surprises. See, told ya I underestimated her,.

So, Sunday after church we are invited to Tanya's house on the way home. Matt, suspecting what was coming, had to stop at Safeway for some batteries first. He came out of Safeway with a candy surprise for each boy, and told them they could have the candy if they didn't ask for ANYTHING else on the way home. Colton readily agrees. Chance is skeptical. But, after being assured we were headed straight home after a quick swing-by of Tanya's house, Chance agreed too. Silly kids.

We leave Tanya's house with the cutest snowman plate filled to the brim with melt-in-your-mouth fantastic little twists. This is what we've waited all year for. The boys immediately staged a protest. And I almost just as immediately gave in. By the time everyone had one or two (ish), the plate had a significant dent.

With my internet research at my back, I am determined to begin my quest again. Tanya's cookies are dwindling quickly, and I know I'll have precious little time to make sure we can still support our cookie habit in the manner to which we've become accustomed.

I hard boiled the eggs. I mixed the butter. Added flour. Brushed with egg white. Etc. Etc. Etc.

To no avail.


I made glorified sugar cookies that fell apart when I took them off the pan. At least, the ones I didn't burn fell apart.

But, I learned something. Or thing(s) as it were.

These European bakers must really like their people. Cause these cookies are no easy task. The hard-boiling. The mixing. The chilling. The measuring. The rolling. The shaping. For a gal that's used to breaking out the scissors to cut the seal on a tub of Otis Spunkmeyers, this is serious stuff!

As I was making them, I could think of very few people I liked well enough to give these away to.

It's like when I'm at card class with Deb. And my little brain is calculating the actual cost (and time investment) of each hand-made card by the time I get all the embellishments and stuff on them. It's HARD to give them away!

So, I'm figuring Tanya must really like me a whole bunch. I can't imagine why, but she must. Either that or I'm completely underestimating her again and she's just a MUCH nicer person than I am. Yeah, you're right - probably the latter. Because I would NOT make these silly cookies for just anyone. I am so appreciative of her effort - admittedly much more today than I was a week ago. Phew!

Which brings me full circle. I'm headed to Berlin. Because the lady who posted on All Recipes.com falsely advertised these as an "easy Norwegian holiday treat". Me and this gal are gonna talk about what constitutes as "easy". Maybe she's never tried Otis.

Thank you, Tanya. With all my heart. I cannot imagine the work that went into two BIG plates of these last year, all because I wasn't quick enough to win the auction. I would've sent me packing down the road - and never made them again. You are a sweetheart!
.
PS - I'm gonna keep trying. I'll let you know when I get close :)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Our week in review

We gingered
We froze

We went on a date


We gingered

We decorated

We lunched
Colt & Baby Angus

We spelled
Chance got 5th in the grade school spelling bee


We finished
Chance - Most Improved trophy



Friday, December 11, 2009

Noticing

Have you ever noticed how you don't see any red Mustangs, until you (or maybe a close friend) buy a red Mustang, and suddenly they are EVERYWHERE?! I recently purchased a Toyota Camry. I have never noticed so many Camry's on the road.


It works with other things, too.


Like, ever since I read THIS POST of Jane's, I noticed I have physically stomped on my pant leg in a restroom no less than SEVEN times. 7. VII.


Yuck.


Thanks for noticing, Jane. My washing machine has never worked harder :)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I love my kids

From Colton yesterday:

Of course we didn't play outside at recess! With the "wind shield", the temperature was, like, 5 or something!!


From Chance this morning on my computer screen:

Buy chance CS-35 for Christmas...Buy Colton a bag of barbies.

Monday, December 7, 2009

How do I love thee?


Let me count the ways.


13 ways, to be exact . . .


  1. I love that you don't need "Pearl Harbor Day" to remember our anniversary. I underestimated you. I thought you would.

  2. I love that you give me roses. Lots of them. And that you buy them at Safeway, because it would kill me (and our pocketbook) if you bought the same darn thing at a much more expensive florist shop.

  3. I love the ways you are my polar opposite - you both challenge me and complete me.

  4. I love the ways we are exactly the same. It's the most comforting thing.

  5. I love that you can make "Wranglers and a collar" work at every function we ever need to attend. Although I admit, it's really no help at all when I'm deciding what I should wear :)

  6. I love that you go to church with me. I see lots of "church widows" on Sunday, and I can't imagine not sharing my faith with my best friend.

  7. Even more, I love that you pray with me. You know the deepest desires of my heart, and they are safe with you.

  8. I love that you are such a hard worker.

  9. Almost as much as I love the fact that you seem to be learning how to relax again. Phew :)

  10. I love that we are both turning back to simpler times in a lot of ways - we had to work through sooooo many complicated, materialistic times to get here. It feels great to be in the same place.

  11. I love the rose-colored distortion glasses you must have on when you look at me - I don't know what I ever did to deserve that look in your eye, but I'm glad it's still there.

  12. I love that you are serious about your responsibilities leading our family. From work ethic to "guy talks", you are a fabulous role-model to our boys.

  13. And, finally, to borrow from Colin Raye - I love the way you love me. So completely . . .

Happy 13th Anniversary, honey. I can't imagine what the next 13 will be. We are taking the road less travelled (these days, anyway) - and it will make all the difference.


I love you!

Friday, December 4, 2009

I drew the "Blog" Popsicle Stick


So, I was going to try and post, but my creativity has flown out the window.


I just got totally slammed, and with the wind out of my sails, a brilliant blog post just isn't in the works.


But, I drew the "Blog Post" popsicle stick. Which means I have to blog, right Darla?


So, now what?


How about I direct you to Darla's blog? Where you can read the slam, understand the popsicle stick, and have a great laugh at my expense.


Ahhhhhh, freedom. I can draw a new stick now . . .

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

But three lefts do . . .

About once a week, one of the boys comes up with something so funny it has me either choking on my soda or driving off the road.


Since it's usually while driving, I rarely write them down. Most of the time, I forget them by the time I get in front of the computer. Somehow, I've gotta get better at that.


Today's treasure was just too good to forget.


Colton and Chance are in the back seat of the car trying (unsuccessfully) not to argue.


I am on the phone with my dad.


Pretty soon, there is wailing and gnashing of teeth.


I ask what happened. Here's the play-by-play:


Colton - Chance was being gross!


Colton - And he hit me!


Mom - Chance, did you hit your brother?


Chance - I hit him back. He hit me first.


Mom - Colton, did you hit him first?


Colton - Yes, but two wrongs don't make a right!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

It's what you leave behind


The killer of 4 police officers in Lakewood, WA has been found and brought to justice. Amen.


On the other hand, this morning, four families continue to struggle with what Christmas will be without their mom, dad, or loved one. This Christmas and many more to come. At this moment, I cannot even imagine. T-ball games. Ballet recitals. Graduation. College. They have a long, long road ahead of them.


If it is on your heart, click here to help.