Saturday, July 28, 2007

Harry Potter

I spent over three hours at McDonald's today. Ally, Nicole and Ashley ate their way through burgers and fries and then played for the rest of the time on the enormous play-thing they had there while I read Harry Potter.

I finished the book.

You see, I had to leave the house in order to do so, because my son kept stealing the book from me. Now it's in his hands and he's reading, reading, reading. I'm grateful he's reading and thankful to Ms. Rowling for creating this series that ignited a reading frenzy in my son, as well as many other children.

I only wish the series wasn't finished….and I also wish I hadn't succumbed and eaten a meal while I was there at McDonalds. Ugh.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Me, three girls and the open road.....

More fun with the girls today. Lance stayed home because we were going to be gone so long. (Didn't get home till after 7:30 this evening) We drove south towards the rivers and lakes and forests as far as the eye could see.

We ended up first at a park on the Cowlitz River, where we had lunch.

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There was a play area there and Ashley had some fun with that....

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Ally found a tree to climb. She loves climbing trees.

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Nicole decided to join her.

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The river was a muddy brown and didn't look too enticing for swimming. Here's Ally in front of the river.

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The girls thought the boat launch area might be better.....nope. The water was still quite murky.

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Further down, there was a lake and we decided that the girls could swim in it. There was a road that went down to the lake...right into the lake. It used to be a road, with a white line down the middle, but I'm not sure just where it used to go. Now it goes straight out into the water..and just keeps on going.

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They said the water was warm. I took their word for it.

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We finally found my brother's house down there in Randle. After a visit there, we turned around and headed home. The girls talked me into Subway for dinner in Eastonville and then we finished driving home.

Lance wants to know what we have planned for tomorrow. I'm too tired to even think about that right now.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Soggy but fun Monday...

Rain, rain and more rain. Not that I'm complaining. Ok, I'm complaining. It's not the rain per se, it's the humidity. I feel like I'm breathing in water. The air has weight and it sits on you. Surfaces in my house are actually damp with it. Me no like.

This morning we found out that they do a free lunch program thing in town, so we took the girls there for the lunch. Here's Lance with Allison, Nicole and Ashley holding the umbrella.

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Then we went to a beautiful park and took a long walk. When I say long, I mean long. Lengthy. Long in length. Unbearably long in the humidity. It wasn't raining but it sure felt like I'd walked through a warm wet drizzle. The girls had a great time running ahead and laughing. I know where all my energy went. They sucked it out of me. Ok, that and the cheetos, but that's a story for another time. We walked a couple of miles. Here are the girls in front of tree that toppled in our last great windstorm.

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More walking in the forest, more greenery and some animals. Ponds with water lilies dot the park and there is a large play and picnic area on one end. We might have reached it had we turned left instead of right. Turning right led us further on. MUCH further on. Sweat, pant, sweat some more.

Here are the girls by some greenery.

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Then we took the girls for an ice cream cone to make up for all the healthy walking they did. It all evens out, right? Now Lance is getting ready to go to work and the girls are pretending they run a hotel. So far they've brought me a plate of cut up fruit and some nachos. I took the fruit and declined the nachos.

I almost forgot something. This morning when we got up, Allison had gotten up before us. She'd made pancakes and blueberry muffins. She set the table beautifully and then we feasted. Allison is a absolute treasure. We are so blessed.

And now I have some writers to edit and some writing to do. Happy Monday!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Grass Is Always Greener…

I had an empty nest for a while. Stephanie moved in with my father, Chris has been on a fifty mile hike with the young men from the church, Allison and Ashley were staying at my father's house for a few days.

The house was eerily quiet. I only had to run the dishwasher every couple of days instead of twice a day. When I put something down, it was there when I went back to retrieve it. The girl's bedroom remained clean and their beds beautifully made. There was no one tugging on me to take them to McDonalds or to the store for something they just had to have. I can't recall anyone opening the fridge and grousing about there being no food in the house.

The first day was sort of nice. By the end of the second day I wanted them all home. It was too quiet. It was too clean. It wasn't right. The silence was ringing in my ears and I didn't like it.

Today we went up to Seattle and brought Ashley, Allison and their cousin Nicole home with us. My ears were ringing with the noise those three made on the drive home by the time we were only a quarter of the way here.

"I'm hungry!"

"We told you to eat something before we left"

"I have to go to the bathroom!"

"Me too!"

"I'm hungry too!"

"You'll eat when we get home"

"But I'm hungry NOW!"

"Then you should have had some crackers and blueberries with us before we left Auntie Julie's house"

You never really know how good you've got it until you don't have it….or until you do. Either way, I need to learn to be more content with what I have at the moment and not always yearn for something more. Or less. Or both. Sigh.

On the plus side of things, I finished all my writing deadlines clear through till next Thursday, so I can spend more time with the girls and less on my work while my niece is here.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


I waited until my house cooled down to a balmy 80 degrees before I left my ice cave (only room in the house with an ac unit) in order to clean my kitchen this evening. As I rinsed soggy fruit loops off of cereal bowls, scrubbed oatmeal detritus from spoons and emptied out a plastic container of tomato soup that had reached the stage of a science experiment, I pondered the past twenty years. How many mushy fruit loops have I scraped into the garbage over the years? What amount of desiccated oatmeal have I tried to sandblast off of utensils used by my children?

When I lived away from home for the first time at college, I had five roommates. One of them would get physically ill every time someone had filled a sink with dirty dishes and hot soapy water and then left it to congeal. Sometimes for days. Hey, we were there to get an education, not to be Martha's –in-training, ok? So what little tidbit from my past does my aging brain regurgitate up for me each and every time I come across my sink of congealed, cold, greasy dishwater? Wendy. Yes, Wendy was the roommate who had hissy fits over the slimy sink. As I plumb the depths of orange goo in an attempt to reach the sink stopper and remove it so the nasty liquid can glurp down the drain, I am reminded of Wendy. Wendy also comes to mind when I do laundry. You see Wendy would do her laundry and then sleep under it on her bed. I don't think I saw her fold and put away a single item of clothing in four years, it was all on top of her bed and used to keep her warm at night. Most times we couldn't tell if Wendy was in the room at all, because the mounds of clean clothes disguised her shape and hid her from view.

Wendy didn't like going to the university, so she decided to attend beauty school there in the college town center. We became instant guinea pigs for her and our follicles were soon held hostage to every hair style imaginable. This was during the 80's so you can imagine the horrors. Our hair was permed, blown out with a brush, and then curled into rollers the size of sewer drainage pipes. Our hair spray use in that house is singlehandedly responsible for the reason Al Gore now lectures on Global Warming. When my hair wasn't adding three feet to my height and five to my width, it was French braided so tightly in a circle around my head that my eyes wound up on either side of my head, enabling me to have the vision capabilities of a lizard. This was useful when I wanted to read two books at once. There was this one hair style that she called fish scales. When she finished it, your hair was woven so tightly to your skull that they looked like fish scales. This hair style was one of the most painful experiences I'd ever had up until childbirth.

Wendy was the most popular girl in our house. Every male that came within sight of Wendy, was smitten. She used to have three dates with three different guys in the space of one day. The rest of us would sit around eating fudge, drinking Tab and wondering how she did it. It's true, Wendy was gorgeous. She was thin and dark and beautiful. Oh sure, the rest of us dated, but Wendy was a serial dater. We envied her. She had big hair and all the guys. Who didn't want to be her? I did, in that I'm-not-sure-who-I-am-yet kind of way that some eighteen year olds have. Her life seemed so much better than my own. Beautiful, talented with hair and fighting off the gorgeous guys.

Her only issue was with greasy cold kitchen sink water, which brings me back to my evening. As long as there is cold greasy sink water around, Wendy will always be a part of my life. We haven't seen each other in years, but I'm tied to her whether I want to be or not.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Happy Birthday Allison

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Our third angel turned 11 years old today. It's the hottest day of the year, with the temperatures into 3 digits and we had to have a party. Not inside, nooooooo. This had to be outside in the heat and sunshine. Yes sir, a good time was had by all. She had a pinata filled with candy and an enormous chocolate cake.

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Getting ready to bash the pinata!
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My father and my sister (with her two daughters) joined us up on Mud Mountain for the party. Here Allison is getting ready to blow out her candles, with her daddy and her papa watching over the excitment.

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On our way home I caught a picture of Mt. Rainier in my rear view mirror.

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Friday, July 06, 2007

More Fourth of July Fun!

My girls had great fun swimming in the frigid waters of the Puget Sound. When I was younger, I also enjoyed doing that polar bear stuff. Now that I’m older (but not much wiser) I no longer place my entire body in such peril. They loved it though!

Fourth of July Fun

We had a wonderful time over the Fourth of July. Our family drove over to the beach cabin and spent the day there in the sunshine. My sister and her family came along with us, which was fun as well. I created two slideshows with some of the pictures I took there that day. The first one is of my adorable and handsome husband. By the time I finished snapping pictures of him all day, he’d about had enough of it. He just looked so gorgeous