Sunday, December 31, 2006

Last Post of 2006

This has been a year..... Well, what year hasn't eh? An entire year, 365 days and I'm too tired to figure out the hours and minutes.

I started blogging in January and it's been a good way to keep a record of the year with pictures and journaling.

I've made some wonderful friends via this medium, and I wish you all the very best in the coming year.

I'm sending off the old year by having made a turkey dinner for my sister's family and ours. It was a wonderful meal and I'm glad they came to share it. We've played games, drank sparkling cider and the children have been shooting off fireworks for hours.

Upward and onward....

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Blew A Gasket

See the pretty truck in this picture? With the pretty blond inside of said truck?



The blond is fine, but the truck is DOA. It appears that the head gasket has blown. We are not in a position to do anything about it. Yay us!

Now there's the problem of how to get The Teenagers To Seminary, School, College, Work, etc. School starts next Tuesday.

....Happy New Year to meeeeeeeeee.....Happy New Year to meeeeeeeeeee......

Ah yes. 2007 is looking like fun already!

Edit: After much consideration I've realized that there is a higher purpose to this whole thing. The demise of the truck is God's way of keeping my daughter from driving over to her boyfriend's house. He does work in mysterious ways, doncha think?

Friday, December 29, 2006

Hot Hubby's Day Out

Hot Hubby took three girls out on the town today. I was not included in the romp. Two blondes, and a brunette were on his arm. He took them to lunch at Ivar's downtown on the Seattle waterfront. He was honest about his activities today, and even took pictures to document his day.

Here is one of the blondes and the brunette, feasting upon fish and chips.

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Here's the second blond, sitting with Ivar himself.

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Ok, Ivar is dead, but that's another story. As you can see, Hot Hubby has excellent taste in lunch partners. He also took them for a ride on the carousel at Westlake Center.

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Then things went to the pigs. At the Pike Place Market. Here's one of the cute blondes with the Pike Place Pig.

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Here's the brunette with the same piggy.

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Yes, I was home, slaving away, while they were out having fun. ...slaps back of hand to forehead in dramatic fashion....

And yes, we still have snow out here in the boonies.

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A white post-Christmas...

Last night we were hot, so we opened our bedroom window. Our window stayed wide open all night long and we woke up to snow this morning. And a wee bit of frostbite.

Our doggie Cassie loved it this morning when I took her out for a romp.

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We offered to drive Stephanie to work this morning, but she declined. I think there is some sort of Teenage stigma attached to having mummy and daddy drive you to work. Here she is carefully walking in her high heels.

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And look! We didn't catch Bigfoot on camera, but something nearly as hard to find. The elusive Teenage Smile! Yes, it is real and not just an urban legend.

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And now I think I'll crawl back under the covers.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Ho, ho, ho, cough, sputter, choke, gag....

It's over. And according to a commercial on televsion tonight, there are only 364 days until the next one. Remind me to write a letter to the person who wrote that ad, and then hunt him/her down and hurt him/her. It's like someone asking a woman who has just given birth, when's the next baby coming?


Ok, here's the low-down, the 411, the truth the whole truth and the whole enchilada. For the record, there were no enchiladas involved in the sumptuous meals during the past two days. Christmas Eve there were two dinners. First at my sister's house, and we had pigs in a blanket, potato salad, ham, lots of cookies and goodies.

Here's my Ashley, my father and my Allison that night.

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My sister gave our father one of the best and funniest presents that night. It's the biggest remote I've ever seen. We're not saying that his sight is going....but um...his sight is going.

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When my older sister Cheri was brought in, she was in her extreme happy mode. She lives for Christmas every year We sang carols to her and she bounced up and down in her wheelchair and waved her arm in the air. It was a beautiful thing.

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Allison wore the santa hat for fun.

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After that dinner, we had to dash (it was more like swim due to the incredible rain hitting our windshields) to Hubby's sister's house for the annual Christmas Eve dinner there.

Here's the pretty table.

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And here's the delicious spread. Ummmm....asparagus. I brought two spinach quiches and there was roast beef, fruit platters, and other yummy stuff.

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Here's Ashley snuggling up to Grandpa Roger.

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Dinner was delicious, then there was the frenzied present opening and the more than frightening drive home. It felt like there was a hose aimed at my windshield.

We put the children to bed so Santa could come the following morning and then we stayed up far later than we should have in order to make certain the big fat jolly guy arrived. The next morning the children found their presents and all were pleased.

Santa left one hundred dollars in $1 bills for Christoper in order to help him start his savings account for a dirt bike. He was so happy.

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Allison and Ashley were given bears from Stephanie. She got them from Build A Bear and you can see how thrilled Ally was here...

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Ally got a cool outfit from her Auntie Tara, who also spent the week with us here.

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Since our Suburban was out of commision (more on that another time) Lance's father drove an hour and a half to our house to drive me to the next party on our list of parties. It was at his uncle's home over in Indianola on the water. Sooooo beautiful.

Here's Ashley and Ally on the long dock there.

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Ashley loved the dock, but suggested that I pay her five dollars for taking her picture here. I declined to acquiese to her request.
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Here's the wonderful father in law who drove so far to bring me to the party. I'd intended to send the family off in our small car to the party, as there wasn't room for everyone. I'm very glad that Doug came to get me. It was a wonderful family party, and I learned some family stories that I'd never known before. Some would be useful for blackmail purposes at a later date.

Here's my chauffeur.

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I promise, only two more pictures. If you've read this thus far, I'm a little concerned about your lack of a life.

Here's Ashley sitting on her cousin Nick's lap with his wife Andrea at Bobby's house in Indianola.

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And my last photo, my son Christopher with his....um...second cousin? Ross. Isn't he a cutie? Thirteen years old and as fearless as my son which should frighten his parents a great deal. They were both 'road surfing' in the dark. This means they were both on skateboards, hurtling down the hills of Indianola in the dark. Yeah, that's a smart thing to do. Here's the two dare devils..

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Twas a wonderful two days and I'm grateful they are now over. Just another 364 days until the next one. Grrrrrrrrr!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Yeah, I did it to make my sister mad....

And apparently it may have worked. What might that be, you ask? Well, I'll tell you.

I killed our Suburban. You know, the one we should never have bought in the first place? The shiny expensive bauble that was going to take us all over Washington state tomorrow in a wild frenzy of familial visits, over indulgences in artery-clogging items full of trans-fats and sugar, and of course the no-holds-barred present unwrapping. In three different places between now and Monday evening. This was the plan.

The plan is not to be. While you're pondering this, here's the picture I surreptitiously snapped with my cell phone camera when the kids visited Santa tonight.

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The male in the photo without the white facial hair, was not pleased at the prospect of being seen at the mall, in a tie and with his parents At one point I forgot my place in the whole grand Teenage Code of Conduct While Out In Public, and I tried to touch his hand, thereby breaking a MAJOR rule and perhaps even causing a temporal shift in the time/space continuum For all I know, I've set something in motion that will bring about the end of life in our universe as we know it.

But enough about the end of the world.

My Suburban will not be taking us anywhere in the next couple of days. There is something terribly, terribly wrong with it and we were lucky to make it home from Steilacoom tonight.

God rest ye merry gentleman, let nothing you dismay......

I will admit to a bit of dismay right now. Just a smidge.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Tis the Season....

I don't care what vicus anyone says, Christmas is a time for us to revel in the warmth of family, of friends near and far, and to overindulge in goodies. After all, The New Year's Resolution Revelry will soon begin and you can start to take off that extra baggage that you put on during the holidays. It's a vicious cycle, but one most Homo Sapiens adhere to year after year.

So in honor of the season, I baked some custard tonight. In the oven. Yes, me. I did it. Stop looking at me like I'm off my nut. I can bake custard if I want to and I wanted to so I did. I haven't had any like this since I was a little girl and watched my mother wrestle the water filled pan in and out of the oven. It turned out well, even if my younger daughters didn't like it. What do they know about hardening their arteries? Nothing, that's what.


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I've also made a double batch of Spritz cookies, the kind you make with a cookie gun, a single batch of Russian Teacakes and a double batch of sugar cookie dough that is now waiting for me to roll it out and cut out tree shapes, angels, snowmen and the odd cactus. My in-laws live in Las Vegas, so I make them cactus shaped ones every year.

And now, off to the flour mines. Oh, and Vicus dear? I did get what you were refering to earlier. Honest. My brain isn't entirely gone to mush. Close, but it's not a total loss. Not yet.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Fa la la la la la la

Picture this......forty gazillion people in a small room, listening to children (and one adult) play in a Christmas Piano Recital. You'd think it would be uncomfortable, right?

Well, ok. My bottom was hurting by the end of the program, but it was well worth the pain to see the joy on the children's faces and the pride on their parent's mugs. Unbeknownst to me, my SIL Tara took a short video of Allison doing her rendition of The Twelve Days of Christmas for the crowd. We heard various renditions of Jingle Bells and Silent Night, but Ally was the only one to play what she played. Here's the video. If you don't have cable Internet, it might not work for you, so feel free to skip it. I'm not sure why she played this song, as it wasn't quite ready for prime time. You should hear her play a song from Pirates of the Carribean. She rocks on that one.



If you can't or won't view the video, then a pox upon you. Ok, not really. I've given up wishing a pox on anyone. I believe that wishing a teenager upon them is a much worse fate and has longer lasting consequences. So a teenager upon you.

And while you're awaiting the arrival of the Terrible Teenager, here are some pictures to amuse and amaze you.


Here is Allison with her piano teacher, a wonderfully sweet hearted woman.

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Not to be outdone musically, Cute Hubby posed with Adorable Son, aka Surly Teenager at times, in their Pink Floyd shirts while jamming on their guitars.

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The girls insisted upon wearing their Christmas outfits to the recital.

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And now, for the big attack of cute. Our kitten, Buttercup.

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And just in case any of you were wondering about Surly Teenager. He's also Quite Cute Teenager at times. I love my boy and I was on the recieving end of one of the best hugs ever from him this morning. It almost makes it all worth it.

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Monday, December 18, 2006

Christmas Cards and Weather Pictures

First of all, it's nearly Christmas. I just thought I'd put that out there for any of you that may have missed the bell ringers with their red cauldrons standing outside of most stores, the houses blazing away in a technicolor race to see who can waste the most wattage in your subdivision, and the arrival of red and green envelopes in your mail box with Christmas cards tucked away inside.

Don't expect to get one from me before Santa squeezes down your chimmeny to drop off your exhorbitant credit card balance sheets gifts.

It's not that I'm not going to send them out. I will. I think that perhaps I will be calling then New Year's Cards instead this year. So, and here's the biggie, if any of you would like to receive a New Year's Card from moi, would you kindly send me an email with your snail mail addy?

Also, one of my pictures of The Great Truck Crushing Tree has landed on the news here, where there are still thousands and thousands without power. The picture is here if you wish to see the beastie.

I may be scarce for a few days. No, it's not because I'll be out shopping. I haven't even begun that tedious chore. It's because my sis-in-law has flown in from Dallas to spend the week with us. Ho Ho Ho! Let the chocolate consumption begin! Wheeeeeeee!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Worst Windstorm Ever

This has not been fun.

First the flooding. Then the wind. Oh my, the wind. I can honestly say I've not heard wind the likes of that in quite a few years. We were without power since Thursday and it finally came back on today, Saturday. Of course after the power went out, Mother Nature decided to send us Frosty the Snowman. There was no actual snow, just freezing temperatures. You could see your breath in our home. Brrrrr.

Since we had no big trees near our home, we were lucky in that no trees fell on us. My father was not so lucky.

Remember my post about my baby girl learning to ride a bike? And she sort of fell into my father's pride and joy truck? Well, guess what happened to his baby? Ayup.

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The neighbor's tree, and not even the entire tree, fell on another neighbor's garage, his truck, my father's truck, my father's Lincoln (which used to be my mother's car) and also crushed a camper behind my father's garage.

Here's a view from the back of the house.Thankfully it missed my father's lawn ornament boat.


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The front of my father's house did not escape the storm. A rather large tree blew down there, thankfully away from the house.


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We left our two youngest girls with my sister up in Seattle. She had power and warmth, so they were well taken care of. Thanks Julie! You may view more windstorm pictures here from around the region.

I'm quite certain this was God's way of getting me to clean my refrigerator out. I'm just sorry that the rest of you here in the Pacific NW had to suffer because of me. My refrigerator is now clean and quite nearly empty. You're all safe.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Wednesday

Today the wind was blowing so hard the rain was coming down sideways. Very weird. Very blustery. The power flickered a lot, but never went out here. People in other places lost their power, and some are still without lights.

Another storm is coming in tomorrow and it promises worse wind. Yay! If I put little parachutes on the kittens and toss them up into the jet stream, do you think I can send them off to find new homes? Yeah, me neither.

I spent more time out of bed than in bed today, so that's a good thing, right? I managed to get the kitchen cleaned up, found out that all the good pizza had been eaten (grrrr) and even made chicken fajitas and a vanilla chocolate chip cake for dinner. Go me!

Tomorrow, if the wind isn't too scary, I plan on going out and doing the majority of my shopping. Thank the Lord for plastic, or it wouldn't be happening. Sigh.

jingle bells...jingle bells...jingle all the way into bankruptcy.....

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Tell me what is going on in their heads???

Why oh why is the teenage brain so incredibly self-centered?

She is told to pick up dinner, pizzas, at five. She agrees to this. At ten after, there is no sign of her. I call her cell phone. Repeatedly. And then some more. I am getting upset. Then I am getting concerned.

I call the pizza place. It's half an hour since she was supposed to pick up dinner. It hasn't been picked up. She's still not answering her phone.

Cue Mommy Worry Alarm: ...is she ok? Did someone kidnap her? Where is she? Why isn't she answering her phone? She has that thing attached to her body like another appendage....Please....let her be all right..

Husband goes to get the dinner, as he is near death. Still no answer from the girl. I send a text message. I leave a voice mail. I call again. She answers.

"Um....Hello?"
"Where ARE you?"
"I'm at Jesse's"

Aha. A boy. A boy.

"What about our dinner? You were supposed to pick it up over half an hour ago!"
"ooooh...I didn't know you wanted it right away..I...um...."

She is talking quite slowly and I can hear chewing...and .....and I'm not happy.

"I am not happy with you right now"
"I left my phone in the car, I'm sorry..."

Right. In the car. I'm not believing that. She's practically had it surgically implanted in her head. No, not happy at all. Then she tells me she can't come home right now because they are feeding her dinner.

I am really not happy now.

So not happy.

Lost Day, The Sequel

Nothing to report. Nothing to see.

Lost except for my wonderful mother-in-law who sent a box of advent calendars. The children raced to get theirs and to start eating their way through the chocolate shaped trees, trains, santas and other assorted Christmas things to get to the correct date for today.

My children have the most thoughtful grandparents. They're always doing sweet things for them.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Lost Day...

Today was Monday, generally my most favorite day of the week, but alas, today fell quite short of my lofty ideal.

I have family coming from out of state for the holidays one of whom will be staying with us and I should have spent the day cleaning some part of our house. Apparently the house won't clean itself.

I've done not one lick of Christmas shopping for the children. I could have been out there pounding the pavement and contributing more to our debt. (I'm not sure that it's possible to make it worse than it is....but then again....) I certainly hope Santa can pick up the slack for me.

I have a great deal of Christmas baking to do. Did I do any? Nope. The kitchen is free from the enticing smells of cinnamon and sugar and savory goodness. Ingredients don't put themselves together all on their own.

The Christmas cards won't take it upon themselves to write themselves, and today proved just that.

My day was spent mostly in bed. I'm feeling a bit less awful this evening, but that's just the drugs talking.

Tick Tock Tick Tock.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Christmas Ship for Special People

Today was the annual Christmas ship ride around Elliott Bay, off the Seattle waterfront. It's for special people of all ages and their families. We go every year with my sister Cheri.

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It's filled with Marines, Army, Coast Guard, Fire fighters and EMTs. (This is usually why my seventeen year old agrees to go). There's a band on each end of the large ferry boat, the Seafair Pirates, who hand out stickers, chains, necklaces and other pirate booty. My niece Nicole, Ashley and Allison managed to get quite a bit of plunder from them. Before the pirates would give them the booty, they made them shake their booties in dance.

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One of my sister Cheri's favorite special friends, is Wayne. Wayne is never seen without one of his trademark ties except during the Christmas season when he dresses up as Santa. Wayne has some pretty wild moves with his dentures and I was afraid at times that they were going to fly out of his mouth and smack me in the head. Thankfully they stayed put in his mouth.

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My husband and I were there with our four children, as were my father and my sister with her four children. We lined them up from oldest to youngest. Here they are. From left to right it's Stephanie, Cameron, Cody, Christopher, Jessica, Nicole, Allison and Ashley Rose.

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Here's Ashley on her daddy's lap, checking out a magazine the pirates gave her. I was afraid to ask her what they made her do to get it.

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Peek-a-boo, I see you! My father wouldn't let me take his picture.
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There was a particularly touching moment when a young couple came up to me. The woman was holding out her hand, as any blushing newly-engaged woman would, and she had an enormous smile on her face. "I'm engaged! I'm getting married!" I looked at her pretty gold band and told her how beautiful it was. Her finace' stood silently beside her, resplendent in his army uniform. When I asked if they'd allow me to take their picture, she said yes. As I snapped it, the man saluted. They both have Down's Syndrome.

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After a sack lunch, more music and fun, the cruise around the bay was over. On the way out, all the children and special people were given stuffed animals by the military as they disembarked. Ashley was handed a pig and Ally a bear. Poor Ash, her little face turned to me and looked like she was about to cry.
"M-m-mom, I didn't want a p-pig" I told her I knew she'd wanted a teddy bear so as we passed the next man in uniform I asked him if we could exchange the pig for a bear and he was more than happy to allow Ashley to find a beautiful white bear and all was right with the world.

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It was a beautiful day, spent with beautiful people.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

What we did.....

It's Saturday, the momma cat and her two remaining kittens are lazily lounging around.

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Chris is so bored that he's playing guitar in his bed.

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Of course he wasn't happy that I took a picture of him. It took me four tries just to get that picture. We decided to take a drive south to near Mt. Rainier where my brother lives. I had to retrieve my cat carrier, which he had, and we just wanted to get out of dodge anyway. So a road trip it was.

Along the way we saw a number of these.
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Hubby snapped that photo from our vehicle.

We stopped at the Alder Lake Dam. The water was quite brown.
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While we were there, a loud warning sound blared and a male voice said, "This is Dam Security, please move your vehicle off the dam immediatly" We hadn't even known we were under surveilance and there were no signs telling us we couldn't be there, but we did as we were told. We took that dam security guard seriously.

We stopped at my brother's neighbor's house, and played with their two Himalayan cats, Jack and Jill. They are so adorable!

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We went to see the Cowlitz River Dam while we were down there.
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Here's Chris at the dam. It was a dam day, that's for sure.

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My brother prevaied upon us to go with him to his ward Christmas dinner, so we did. Then we took off for home, traveling through some fairly dense fog in places through the mountains.

All in all, a nice day on the road.