Friday, October 31, 2008

Friday's Foto Finish Fiesta

Happy Halloween!! Just for fun, I thought I'd show you some very old pics of some of my first Halloween costumes. The first time I ever got to dress up was when I was about 9. My parent's didn't do Halloween before then. I know, feel very bad for me.

My first costume was homemade. I was a hobo. I searched high and low for that pic, but it was not to be found, so you have to use your imagination.

The next year, I was a Genie. This was by far my favorite costume (though anything next to a hobo is probably better). It was a real life costume. The next year, I was a flapper. I was so excited, cuz I was in 7th grade and we were going to have a parade at school. Everyone got to walk around the gym in a gigantic circle, parading their costume. I don't really remember much about it, except the high heels. I was wearing high heels at 12! The rest, I think I blocked out, as I did for just about everything from 7th grade. It just occurred to me, that that parade might be the very reason I avoid high heels like the plague. Hmph. I think that was the last year I dressed up as a kid too. Sad.

Last year, I managed to convince my family that we had to dress up in a Grease theme. The girlie-o's we're pink ladies and hubbs and I were of course, Danny and Sandy. We didn't have a Halloween party to go to or anything. It was just for fun. We were seriously the only grown ups dressed up, trick-o-treating with the kiddos. We.were.nerds. We already understood that, but now, our neighbors knew.

This year, I was just going to let the girls do their thing and I would stay home and pass out candy. Be the boring mom, at home. I was not going to dress up. Then we got invited to a Halloween party. A real life Halloween party! So yeah, we are SO dressing up. Stay tuned for that picture.

Sorry, I don't know how to work my scanner. I should really work on that.

To participate in Friday's Foto Finish Fiesta (and you must, you must), go to:

Thursday, October 30, 2008

We're Gonna Be On The News

And the story continues...You really might want to read this--Over The River And Through The Woods --first, unless you want to be confused. That's okay too. Sometimes that's fun. But that is where the story begins.

As you recall, we have gotten off of the beaten path. We are now following a deer trail (hopefully) back to the main trail. It is an adventure. But first, let me give you an inside picture of what our day looked like. The woollies. The cast of characters.

Our tour (a threeeee hour touuuuur...) guide, also known as, "Dad."

Tree hugger...

Sister hugger...

That would be correct...

Check out my dad's outline at the top of the trail...awesome...

Jurassic Park--little did we know, about an hour later, we'd be climbing back up through the ferns...

Mom smiling, but she's starting to get fussy...

A horse...

So, we made it to the top. We're all starting to delayer, cuz we're hot and sweaty now. We're actually hiking now. True that. We're a little scratched up (well, mom and I are) due to the briers we have just maneuvered through. Mom's looking a little P to the O'ed. Yeah...she did not like that. She let it be known.

Now we're making our way down a path created by deer, or other wild animals that live in the woollies that I'm trying not to think about, trying to find our way back to the main trail. It goes a little something like this--

Dad's confident. That's reassuring, though all these alarms are going off in my head, but no one's listening to me (that'd be dad). We keep trekking. Hubby and I joke that if it were just us and the kiddos we'd be in the car driving home, an hour ago, saying, "Well, that was fun, let's go home and brew beer and blog!" But we're on an adventure. This is fun, and really it still is. We still have five hours of daylight left. It's like Dora the Explorer, except we left our backpack (backpack) in the car.

My dad goes ahead and scouts out a way. He finds a horse trail. We are now more confident that we are on the right track back to civilization. We follow these--
Or what I like to refer to as, "ribbons of hope". So after a very long time, we follow the horse trail, down to the creek.

Mom and I stop to take a breather and document our "adventure". Mom is really doing her best to smile.

However, dad informs us that the horse trail is going west. We need to go east. There is no trail, no sign of trail, going east. Now let me just say, my dad is very good at this. Very good at the whole direction bit--the creek is to the left of us, the sun is behind us, sort of thing. He does this all the time. He goes out into the woollies, gets lost, finds his way out. No biggie. Well now...he's got his whole family trailing behind him. This is a whole other animal. Mom and I suggest to go back from whence we came (again), but that is a loooong way to go now, and dad assures us (and what I mean by this is, ignores us and keeps trekking along). We follow. No path. We could really use a machete. Or a horse. It's thick in there. Thick, I tell you. I'm feeling pretty good. Making jokes. I'm sure we're going to be on the news that night...ha ha...funny stuff, guys...laugh with me...Mom's not laughing.

We're following dad. He's a good distance in front of us, scouting out a way. When I see him coming back to us, my stomach basically takes a leap into my throat. Especially when he says, "It's getting too thick and steep now, we need to go up." Yipes. This is feeling serious now. I start to plan our evening. We'll build a hut out of fern branches, I'll give A-girl my hoodie and we'll take turns sipping my dad's leftover latte. I'm pretty sure it's going to be a good time.

We start climbing. And by climbing, I really do mean climbing. We're pulling ourselves up on roots and branches and digging our fingers in soil, to get a grip. Do not look down. Mom looks down and starts crying. I'm seriously like body blocking my girls as I push them up the side of the mountain. They have no idea how much we could have used Dora's backpack at this point. I'm still joking though, that we are actually very close to the main trail and that there are probably people observing us and wondering why we just don't get back on the trail, which is probably like 10 feet away or something. Cuz you really can't tell. It's that thick in there.

We are really trying to keep it light. To keep our sense of humor. It's a form of defense, survival skills that my family is very good at. But at some point, as we're pushing our way through, I start praying. Please don't let us be on the news. A-girl echoes the prayers going on in my head saying, "We need to get out of here!" In all this, the girls have been excellent. No complaining. No one has had to go to the bathroom. No one has asked for food or water. That just never happens. We could be in Walmart for 0.17 seconds and someone has already made one of those requests. So, I silently thank the Lord for that too. My girls are awesome.

We go on. We just keep going and going. And just as I'm starting to feel the crazy well up inside me. Just as the words are about to come out of my dad brings us out. Out of the thick. Onto a path. A real life path. I see actual trail markers. Real life signs that we are back in civilization. I actually, Hallelujah! right then and there. All echo-ey and loud. As you should when you feel like your gonna live again. We all are high five-ing and hugging, no doubt putting on quite the show for those observers I was talking about a couple paragraphs back. My dad is awesome. I look up at him like I'm five years old again, all admiring and such. He would never, never admit that we were lost though. He would get all philosophical and spiritual about it, before he would admit it. But let me tell you...we were lost. I don't even know how we didn't see one snake, a bear, or that monster from LOST. I was really making an effort not to look for any of that too. I could not let myself admit that those things were actually within the vicinity.

On a quick side note--Yesterday I caught the end of one of those real-life survival shows. Well, this couple had been hiking and one of them got attacked by a cougar. I immediately had hubby Google and see if there were cougars in the area where we were hiking. And that would be a big Ol'--YEP. So yeah...Add cougars to that list.

This is what we looked like after--

Still smiling. Can't wait to do it again. Really.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Over The River And Through The Woods

It feels like it's been way too long since I've been here. I feel like I'm late. And again, I don't know really what's keeping me from here, except something about the life that I lead. And I feel like since I'm here, I'm going to be late to something else, if that makes any sense. Like for three days, I've been trying to sit down and pay the bills. Yeah, I should probably get to that.

For now, I write. I have been dying to share our weekend with you. It was an absolutely beautiful weekend. It felt like autumn. And it wasn't raining, so out, out, out we went.

I convinced my family that we needed to go for a fall hike. I called my dad to get ideas of places to go that were nearby and family-friendly. I convinced my mom and dad that they should go with us. My dad loves to hike. It used to be his favorite thing ever. It used to be that if dad wasn't home, he was out, taking a hike somewhere. He's quite the outdoors man/nature guy. (that was a little foreshadowing for you).

So we pack a lunch and water and of course the camera, and were off. When we get there, it is exactly what I want. Forest, nature bridge, creek, and a path...a well worn path. There is a sign that shows us the loop...there is an upper loop and a lower loop. It doesn't look like it is going to take all day or anything, so somehow we all decide, without discussion or anything, not to bring our water or our lunch. I think we all imagined we'd be back in about 45 minutes or so and have a little picnic by the creek. My dad did bring his thermos of coffee though.

Oh, and we all were wearing hoodies. It was beautiful out, but like ten degrees cooler in the trees. In Oregon, you layer. We're all wearing our hoodies, all except A-girl. It was a battle I caved into. She started to throw the fit and instead of battling her, I just let it be a lesson to her when she got in there and was "chilly". Great parenting, isn't it? Do not take notes.

So into the woollies we go. It is absolutely beautiful in there. Hubby is teasing me that every ten feet we stop to take a picture. Yeah, it's nature. I have to stop and look. I don't know what's going on in hubby's head, but I'm pretty sure it's not the admiration of banana slugs and very old trees that tower to the heavens above. I'm pretty sure in his head, he's brewing beer, or planning his next move in some XBox game. Anyway, I'm all there. And so are my kiddos. A-girl is leading the pack with grandpa and O is bringing in the caboose. She is my explorer, stopping for clovers and acorns and caterpillars. My dad's all there too, taking it in. I obviously get my love of green things from him. My mom is sort of there. She's trying to be, but it's really not her thing. She's there for the kiddos.

I think our goal in this hike, or where we thought the loop was taking us, was to get to the top of the mountain. Above the trees, we could seen bright sun. I'm pretty sure that's how we got where we did, but somehow we ended up off the main trail. We were still on a trail, but looking back, I think it was decided that it was a deer trail. But what took us off the main trail was the fact that the top didn't seem very far. So we did it. We clawed through briers and tripped over branches, but somehow made it to the top (mom bringing up the rear with curse words and threats). The top was like a clearing. There was even a dirt road. I asked my dad if this was where the UFO's landed. He said it was likely.

I don't know why we just didn't turn around and go back from whence we came. The suggestion was made several times. Several. But we just kept going. Following that deer path. My dad reassured us that it would loop back down to the main path. I totally trusted my dad. He's good at this. And I didn't want to go home yet. The girls were doing awesome. I have decided that my girls are for sure outdoor kids. They are at their best. It's an adventure. No complaining. No asking for water/snacks/bathroom/hoodie/a break...nothing. They were all in. Besides, the path was close. "Just over here."

I can tell you need a break. I have to pay a bill or take my kids to school or something. I'll be back. Please stay tuned.

Friday, October 24, 2008

And Then We Nap

Yesterday, I got to go on a field trip with A-girl's kindergarten class to (where else?) the pumpkin patch. Minus the hayride and minus the pumpkin donuts. But add 92 kindergartners and you've got quite the party going.

Good times were had. Oh yes they were. We went to Punkin Pond and fed the fish. We went to Punkin Patch and found a, not really...we just found a pumpkin.

Next was Punkin Barn to see the animals. A-girl, didn't want to go near them though...petrified of ((dirty hands)), no doubt from the briefing they had from the pumpkin patch tour guide of how important it is to not put your hands in your mouth after petting the goats/donkey/sheep/pigs/bunnies/chickens/ducks/horsie (you could get sick and diiiiie--no, they didn't really say that exactly, but pretty close) was quite informative and scared the you-know-what out of A-girl. She was ready to go sit back in the bus after that one.

But after A-girl saw the excitement (and the jumping up and down) and hearty exclamations of her Momma, after I decided right then and there that I needed one of these--

for Christmas, she joined us back at the piggies. Momma doesn't really want a piggy. They are just filthy and they don't really "OINK," as we've been told, but rather, SCREAM like something out of The Exorcist (Just typing that out makes me want to say prayers). And they look like this when you pick them up. Can you see the eyes? Please, lady, put the pig down.

Then we took a couple of these--

A-girl was getting pretty pumpkin patched out at this point. Which allowed for nice snuggling with my girl in the bus all the way back to the school.

Kindergarten field trips are pretty awesome. Being five is pretty awesome. I know my kiddos don't really realize how awesome being little is, right now, and that it takes another thirty years, or so, for that to get good and set in. I mean, everything is so new and shiny for them right now. Primary colors galore. Every time I go into her class, I just want to criss-cross applesauce on my spot at circle time and learn my ABC's all over again. I want to debate with my mom over the pros and cons of zipping my hoodie up. I want to forget my lunch box. I want to sing songs about the American flag all loud and full of elementary school vigor. I want second grade subtraction to be the hardest part of my day. It all looks so fun looking down from the grown up world. From mortgages. And budgets. And litter boxes. And figuring out what's for dinner. And not just folding the laundry, but actually putting it away. And working 60-hour work weeks (thanks hubbs). Sometimes I just want to color.

Maybe we should work on that. Maybe we could try to make it a requirement once you reach the very old and grown up age of 30, to go to the pumpkin patch at lease twice every fall. Run through the house and knock stuff over. Not make our bed, but to pull all the blankets and covers down and to make a spooky fort in the living room. I'm talking about eating Butterfingers for dinner. Or really trying to. Walking in the mud once in a while. Actually letting our fingers stay sticky. Skip and twirl through the grocery aisles. Really trying to find something, every day to be amazed in. To discover. And then...and then, we nap.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Little Much, But In A Good Way

How was your weekend? I hope it feels like fall where you are, and you're enjoying it (even if you're in Texas or Florida).

We had a very busy weekend. This weekend, we had a life. Ha ha...almost too much. But it was all good stuff. Good busy. There were a few minutes where I turned into a werewolf, but I'll get to that.

I think this weekend was a good end to the busy week we had. Consistent. This week was filled with volunteering at the girlie-o's school, dance class, Dave Ramsey class, Pumpkin Spice Latte w/favorite sister-in-law, field trip and play date. Whew. I'm exhausted.

Friday night hubbs and I watched, Into the Wild. I had read the book a while back, but, wow, I cannot stop thinking about this movie. It was very good. It was really long, but hubbs and I managed to stay awake the entire time, so that's a good sign. I know it's good, when it's days later and I'm still thinking about it. You know how you can watch a movie and never think about it again? Like it never happened? This was not one of those. It's a true story. You should watch it.

Saturday we did this...

It was an absolutely beautiful day and one you have to take advantage of if you live in Oregon. It's in the rule book. We had such a nice time with family. There were pony rides, and hay rides, and baby chicks and puuuuuuuuppies!!! Momma love the puppies. But the part that my family totally looks forward to for going to the pumpkin patch is...

Hot and fresh out of the fryer, pumpkin doughnuts! The hot, apple cider ones are delightful too, but there is really something special about the pumpkin ones...a little fried piece of Heaven. We don't eat this stuff all the time, so it is a treat on many levels. Lord, we thank you for the donuts.

So right after the pumpkin patch, we flew home (yes, we flew...we have wings) and hurriedly ate leftover spaghetti and got ready for a birthday party that we had to leave for in 0.5 seconds. We were late. It was a costume party at a roller skate rink, so we were digging in the dress up bin looking for something to wear. I should have just been Cool Mom and let them wear their Halloween costumes, but I am adamant about them "saving them for Halloween". I paid Walmart good money, for them to not rip, spill grape Kool-Aid on, or smear birthday cake on. So dig in the dress up bin they did. This is the part where I turned into the werewolf.

O, found something quickly. A-girl, not so much. And I think it was probably me more than it was her (taking forever and ever and a ding dong day to figure out what the fruit loop she was going to wear). I've noticed that when I don't get my down time, or we have days where we really push it...I get cranky pants. If I don't get my break (or latte), it's like my blood sugar gets low or something, kind of like my mom used to get with her diabetic episodes. I know it's not that for me (I get tested for diabetes all the time), but we used to always have Lifesavers handy in case she had an episode. I don't dare blame the pumpkin donut (sugar hiiiigh, sugar loooow).So, my werewolf came out. All scary and baring teeth. Not a good mommy moment. Somebody give Momma a lifesaver...or a nap...QUICK!!! Yeah. I'm am three years old, sometimes.

So that was good. And after apologizing about 150 times to my family, and explaining my werewolf self (I'm gonna have to pray about this...), once we finally got out the door and on the road to the birthday party, we started to have a good time again. So we got to the party and did this for the next two hours...

Then we went home and (Thank you, Lord) went to bed.

Sunday we did church, went home, let the dog out to pee, and got right smack back in the car to go support the team...

Hubb's school, the University of Portland Pilot's! Women's team. They were awesome. They won. It was fun. O commented, "This is kind of exciting." Ha ha.

We stayed to watch the Men's team for a little while. The girls and I were standing at the railing watching the boys warm up before the game and I got to talking to this guy standing next to me. Just making nice conversation about the beautiful weather and such. Then he asks me, "Which one's your boy?" pointing to the players warming up. I explained that none of them exactly...we were just there supporting the team, etc...

Later, it hit me what he asked me..."Which one's your boy?" Like my boy. Like my son. What the? Oh no you didn't just ask me if I had an 18-21 year old son. No you didn't.

And on that note, I shall end this novel of a weekend commentary. Thanks for playing.