Friday, December 4, 2009

Family Fishing With Papa Mike

Back in November we were treated to a great family getaway with some good friends and Greg's dad in the most beautiful setting, thirty miles outside of Maupin, Oregon on the Deschutes River. We enjoyed our stay with the McGinley's (Danny, Michelle, Jackson and Lily) and most of the Royer's (Garrin, Bella and Cal--though, we missed Cortney who stayed home with a sick Olivia).

We couldn't believe how lucky we got with the weather.
T-shirts and softball on the lawn;
Pant-less and playful on the patio.

Bella and Lily were so gracious to include Geneva in all their "big girl" activities. There were a lot of beautiful pictures drawn.

Michelle and Piper had some fun playing this game (?) in the sunshine:

Mornings were spent cuddled up and cozy.

Evenings were spent visiting,

devouring some amazing meals at this fantastic table,

and gambling (my favorite)!

Piper was undecided on who her "Best Friend" was...

or Cal:

What a great predicament!
Cheers to friends!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Things I Love Thursday

  • Living in a place where sometimes it's faster (and always it's more fun) to take the ferry to your destination:
(When you come visit us in the stunning Pacific Northwest, we will have to do this!)
  • When Greg can take the day off work to join us on the field-trip to the pumpkin patch.
  • Gymnastics kisses. When the girls pass each other's class, rotating through the apparatus in the gym, they often stop to give the other a kiss. It's a very nice moment for a Momma.
  • How every time I hear, Every Rose Has Its Thorn {I hope you enjoy the eyebrows of the woman in the music video as much as I did!} it takes me right back to freshman year and I have to fight the urge to call Tasha--just to blast it on her voicemail.
  • This picture I took:
  • Modern Family. Seriously (I mean, sUriously [sic]) if you're not watching this show--you're missing out!
  • How affectionate Geneva is becoming.
  • Piper's new phrase using the term "very" (pronounced "wary") to indicate she can do something well. Here are some examples: a) "I can wary go under this table." b) "I can wary, wary run fast like NeeNee." c) "I can wary show Katie all my big muscles."
  • Piper becoming so much her own person and a full-fledged member of our family, exerting her opinion and "spice" to every interaction. She is "wary" two-and-a-half!
  • Jeff Lewis of Flipping Out. There is really no excuse and certainly no explanation for my appreciation of this very gay man. I'm so sad the season is over.
  • Cupcakes
  • How Oregon (or maybe just West Linn) doesn't have "red tape" when it comes to dealing with government issues. I was summoned to jury duty after we moved here. At the bottom of my summons was a local phone number, a street address, and an e-mail address. I sent an email explaining that I was a "stay at home Mom" with two little ones so childcare, if I was selected, would be a problem. I received a response 20 MINUTES later excusing me from jury duty. Also, if you've been reading the blog lately, you might remember I recently was cited for speeding. I went to pay the fine and the clerk asked about my driving record (which in Oregon--technically, was PERFECT prior to this infraction). She reduced my fine by $40 on the spot. I thought I was on Candid Camera! I'm sorry, I do miss y'all in California... but I'm not coming back!
  • Piper's love of her first pony ride. You know, she rode that pony "wary" good!
  • Julian Casablanca's new song, Out of the Blue, which reminds me of Johnny Cash while still inspiring me to dance like Molly Ringwald - Breakfast Club-balcony-style. I can't get enough!
  • Baby "moozers." I've always had a strong reaction to these big fuzzy babies--and I always will... Maybe it has something to do with the fact that my older brother sometimes called me "cow eyes" when he wanted to be wary mean?
  • Re-reading Twilight and New Moon with my girlfriends in anticipation of our midnight screening on November 20. We are literally reading it together: in three-chapter installments that we discuss every morning via email. I know, externally you think we're crazy; however, internally, you wish you had girlfriends like I do--or at least something you could feel this excited about.
  • Little girls in bowling shoes... Actually, I kind of love anybody wearing bowling shoes.
  • Having a grown-up night out with the Hubby to dress up and celebrate Halloween!
  • My fabulous neighborhood (so sorry {not} if you're tired of hearing how much I love my neighbors). On Halloween, we had a bbq. All the little girls on the street dressed as witches (except the tiniest one--who was appropriately, a black cat) and all the moms donned witch hats. We were "The Witches of Short Street." The daddies took the littles out trick-o-treating and the moms congregated in one driveway with space heaters, several bottles of wine, a treat bowl from each house, and plenty to talk about. It was perfect--no rain!
  • How, when I told Piper she couldn't take her blankie to the gym childcare center because "it might get sick from the other kids' germs," Geneva suggested putting vegetables on the blanket in the event that it did get sick--"because vegetables help keep us very healthy."
  • Piper's insistence that she can do anything her big sister does--even HUGE slides she can barely climb UP!
  • Any of you who are still checking my blog and reading my posts--even though they are so few and far between these days!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What Can I Say? She Appreciates Poetry.

Sometimes in the morning, on the way to drop the girls off at preschool, we listen to NPR. We can usually catch The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor. Not only do I love this man's voice, but the facts and the selected poem are typically thought-provoking--at a minimum, interesting.

Last week the selected poem was "i like my body" by E. E. Cummings:

i like my body when it is with your
body. It is so quite a new thing.
Muscles better and nerves more.
i like your body. i like what it does,
i like its hows. i like to feel the spine
of your body and its bones, and the trembling
-firm-smooth ness and which I will
again and again and again
kiss, i like kissing this and that of you,
i like, slowly stroking the, shocking fuzz
of your electric fur, and what-is-it comes
over parting flesh...And eyes big love-crumbs,

and possibly i like the thrill
of under me you quite so new

As I was listening, I thought, "Well this is a bit provocative... I wonder if the girls are even paying attention..." Then, when Mr. Keillor finished the poem and closed out the segment, Geneva reported (loudly) from the backseat: "That was a GREAT story Mom!" I just smiled and agreed.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Four Year-Old Theater

Geneva is learning the script; however, the plot may be lost on her.

She just solemnly declared, after making a big mess, "I'm so sorry Mom. I forgive you."

Hmm. Thanks?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Things I Love Thursday

  • Finally getting my "Etsy Shop" up and running! Yea for me for figuring it out. Lookie -------->
  • Volume. As soon as I drop the girls off at school I TURN UP my music! I know all you people out there who regularly have the car all to yourself (Been takin' it for granted, haven't you?) are probably wondering: Huh?... But yea, ask a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom) in your life how often she gets to really rock out... I'm guessing: not often. However, for me now... 3 mornings a week! Yippy!
  • The CW's new show The Vampire Diaries. I should probably be embarrassed about this, but I'm not. Really, now that my "Cougar-ness" has been established, there's no denying that these boys are pretty easy to look at for an hour once-a-week. Also, the show is legitimately scary and so far very entertaining.
  • The reaction I got from my husband when I regrettably had to inform him of my second speeding ticket in 6 weeks: "Dude. I'm sorry. That must have made for a terrible way to start your day." (Admittedly, this is only a small snippet of a larger discussion... However, what a guy!) {Negative comments regarding my driving will be deleted.}
  • The wine tasting trip we had on Sunday with our neighborhood friends. The weather was perfection, the company was fun, and the wine was really good. Honest. While typically, I don't like the horse-blankety taste of Pinot Noir, I thought several of the wines we tried were way better than "drinkable" (not horsey at all). Those of you who know me, know that I will drink just about anything that was once crushed by feet--but in this case, I very much enjoyed my gulps--I mean, sips. {hiccup}
(Amy, Michele, Me, Gretchen)
  • Fall. It's finally arriving here in Oregon and I love it. I love sweaters, boots, that electrical/ozone smell that fills the house after I turn the heater on for the first time (well, I don't really love that so much... but I do love the thought of using the heater... that is, until the bill arrives) chilly mornings, rain boots on little people (my kids--not dwarfs) red wine by the fire after the kids have gone to bed {bow chicka bow wow}... Anyhoo, I very much love having seasons here in Oregon!
  • The fact that the iPhone application thing has not lost it's luster around here:
  • When Geneva recently told me, "You're a really good chef mom." The girl is a big fan of The Food Network too--so she knows what she's talking about! Pay no mind to the fact that I feed her only corndogs and frozen waffles.
  • Rolling off the previous point, I do love the new way I've been putting our home-grown tomatoes to use: Caprese salad. So simple; so delicious.
  • Mary Doria Russell's Children of God, the sequel to The Sparrow, which I mentioned last time (do read it!). I'm about halfway through and it's taking real discipline to get anything else done around here {You're welcome-very-much for this blog post!}.
  • To hear Piper say, "m'lady." As in, "Here's your tea, m'lady" while gesturing that she is handing me an (invisible) cup of hot steeped beverage. I have no idea where she picked this up, but I think it's kind of awesome.
  • Playing "Hairdo" with the girls. (Now that I can get them to just brush straight down.) I've always loved having my hair brushed; now I'm thinking of having a few more kids so that I can run them in "brushing loops" around the clock without worry of carpal tunnel.
  • Kickboxing--Japanese style! As some of you know, kickboxing has become my new fitness addiction (I am aware how truly NOT TAMMY that last phrase might sound to many of you). Anyhoo, the kickboxing that I do is by "Body Training Systems." My gym purchases these workouts and they're fantastic {really}. BTS has recently brought both Kick and Power (a group weightlifting class) to Japan. Well, Japan has embraced group kick. There are groups of people who take the class in the traditional format and then do it "club style" in nightclubs for fun. I think it's hysterical... but maybe it's one of those "had to be there" situations? You decide. I especially love the girl wearing the French Maid's outfit in the front row! Click here.
  • Spontaneous visits from Uncle Rusty. Always a party!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

National Geographic (through the eyes of a 4 year-old)

Geneva has a book:
It's a really sweet story about a lonely spider who tries to invite some other insects to tea.
Yesterday, she discovered these spiders through the window.
"Mom! Come see; these spiders are going to have a tea party."
She had no idea they were battling for a coveted web-building spot. I had no idea how it might all end. We watched for a while and then it was time for lunch. During lunch, while the kids ate, I kept my eye on the arachnids. They were definitely attacking each other.
After lunch, Geneva checked her tea party friends.
"Look Momma! They are hugging. They're married."
There was definitely an "embrace" happening. I wasn't sure which one was going to survive. I wasn't sure how I was going to get out of this...
Me: "Ok Hon. Time to get ready for your nap."
After she went to the bathroom she wanted to check on her "married spiders" once more.
"Where's the orange one?"
Me: "Shhh... sleeping. See? The Daddy spider tucked her in for nap time. It's your nap time too. Let's go."
Sweet dreams!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Things I Love Thursday (Yes, I realize that today is Friday)

  • Glee. I love it. I love it's quirkiness; I love that the actors can really sing; I love the characters; I love that there are several great "one-liners" that come out of every episode: "I'm going to ask you to smell your armpits. That's the smell of failure and it's stinking up my office." Genius.
  • Piper, while she does have occasional accidents, can legitimately be filed under the column "Potty-Trained."
  • Relating to the previous item: My garage no longer reeks of diaper pail--and I think EVERYBODY would mention that in their "Things They Love" list if they had one!
  • Kids who insist they know how to use chopsticks. And better yet, eat sushi with them too:
  • The bruschetta recipe we've adopted {stolen} from our favorite, local, Italian eatery, Salute. (diced tomatoes, fresh basil, crushed garlic, evoo {damn that Rachel Ray--how annoying!}, balsamic vinegar, cannellini beans served atop toasted, garlic-rubbed sour baguette, spread with goat cheese) D'lish!
  • The girls' new preschool, Amiguitos (for the gringos, it means "Little Friends"). I could wax poetic about how the immersion model is so beneficial and how the girls are really blossoming in the Spanish culture that is so lovingly fostered in the school. Mostly though, I just love having 4 hours to myself every MWF morning.
  • The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. We read this in one of my bookclubs this month and I haven't stopped thinking about it. SciFi is usually not my genre of choice. I enjoy character development in my novels {Oh, Edward!}. This book has that in spades--but it is definitely a philosophical (heavy) journey. I'm looking forward to the sequel and will keep you posted.
  • iPhone applications for kids! Who knew? I'll tell ya who knew: my neighbor Gretchen and I love her for it! Spelling, coloring, matching, Spanish, math... it's all there for the low, low price of $.99-$1.99/each! Do you realize how much quiet time this provides at restaurants, in line, stuck in traffic, when I'm trying to blog... It's priceless. {BTW Honey, we need more iTunes credit.}
  • The jeans I bought recently {on sale!!!}. They call it "relaxed fit." I call it "heaven." They feel like I'm wearing sweat pants. The only problem is that I want to wear them EVERY day and y'all know about my laundry habits! {Ew... what's that smell?!?}
  • Anticipating New Moon to hit theaters on 11.20.2009 I'll be there with my totally hot-for-Edward girlfriends at the midnight showing {you're jealous}. Yes, it's a Thursday night. No, I haven't seen midnight mid-week since college. {I think I might now qualify as an official Cougar?... Even though I'm happily married... Hmm...} BTW, the 30 second advertising intro to the movie trailer is annoying but necessary. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Look What Mommy Can Do!

My inspiration:
... a beautiful head of ratty sunshine hair!
Step 1. Strip her down and get her wet.
Step 2. Comb it out.
Step 3-7. Snip, snip, snip, snip.
Step 8. Enjoy!
Then I evened-out the big girl's curls too. The sides of Geneva's hair grow so much faster than the back.
So a few more snips and ...
Here's how it looks dry:
And here's how it looks with some peanut butter and jelly accessories:
Happy snipping and saving a few bucks!
Let me know how it turns out for you.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Oh Where, Oh Where Have I Been?

Wow. It's been too long since my last update. My apologies.
Here's what we've been up to (in no particular order):
starting preschool
gymnastics (without Momma)
exerting independence
over-reacting to hurt feelings
developing a terrific sense of humor
sleeping in (Momma wakes her up every morning)
making up songs (that go on and on and on)
boycotting naps
surviving a first bee sting
learning how to be a "good sport"
simple writing and reading
speaking Spanish
anticipating the new fall shows
cooking (a little)
crafting (a lot)
enjoying a few hours MWF to herself
experiencing a first "muscle spasm" (ouch)
getting back into the gym
working on his golf handicap
making the most of weekends
enjoying some good news at work
anticipating a golf weekend with Rusty
getting back into the gym
surviving his wife's poor laundry habits
As a family:
gearing up for the rain
enjoying the last of the sunshine
listening to music and dancing
visiting the library
socializing with the neighborhood
having GREAT friends visit from Texas!

Angela and Jamie Bollinger (who both work for the same company as Greg) came to visit us over Labor Day weekend. It was so nice to have a few days to spend together. We typically get to see them just once a year in Cancun. Several months ago, Jamie planned the trip out west to see us here in Oregon. They left their three adorable (!) children at home with Grandma--so next time will be a family get-together.
Angela managed to get her "kid fix" by entertaining my Monkeygirls to the fullest extent. Here they are in the girls' new fort reading Goldilicious (other great gifts included the game, "Tea Party," lipstick, and art supplies).

They arrived on Wednesday and we had a delicious happy hour at Tucci in Lake Oswego with the girls in-tow. Thankfully, the weather was fantastic and we all sat out on the patio. Thursday, we had a babysitter in the morning and the guys played golf and Angela and I went to Northwest 23rd for some light shopping and lunch at Papa Haydn's. Thursday afternoon was all about the girls with a trip to the park and "cheerleading boing-boing's" with Angela (I'm kicking myself for not getting this in video-format!). Thursday night we had a second babysitter (yep!) and I headed to a quick meeting at the girls' new preschool (more on that later) while Greg took our guests to happy hour. They picked me up afterward and we went downtown to the Pearl District for dinner at Andina (just as amazing as ever!). Friday morning we packed the car and played with the girls. The sitter (!) arrived at 10:30 am. We (Jamie, Angela, Greg and I) were on the road by 11; headed to George, Washington (isn't that funny?) to see the Dave Matthews Band perform at the famous Gorge Amphitheater. The 5 hour drive was worth every mile (though I'm sure watching Twilight in the backseat with Angela made the drive a lot more fun for us than for our husbands). We had "premier" camping passes which basically gave us hot running water and soap outside the porta-potties. The venue and the experience were amazing. Here is where we camped:

With our first successful family camping trip under our belts, we investing in a family-sized tent and pitched it for the first time. It's a beauty and I look forward to many trips with the girls in the future. If we were able to fit two queen-sized blow-up mattresses in it, I'm sure we will be comfortable with the Monkeygirls along next time.

Once we set up "camp" it was time to snack, relax, drink, and enjoy an unbelievable sunset before we took on the "hike" to get to the amphitheater.

We had such a fantastic time! We partied and played like we were in college again... until the next morning! Then I felt every moment of my 35.5 years. Ouch.

Saturday was a day of recovery (see comments above), a trip to the Nike Employee Store for Jamie and Angela, Thai takeout at my favorite restaurant these days, and a movie from the couch (Taken--not bad!). The Bollinger's were on their way back to Texas on Sunday morning. We can't wait for our next adventure together!

Sunday was a party in the neighborhood for our friend Scott's 40th birthday: tasty mexican food, delicious margaritas, children entertaining each other, beautiful weather (surprise), good friends... a total success and super great time!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Things I Love Thursday

  • Playing Scrabble on my iPhone against the computer. I don't have to wait more than 3 seconds for it to be MY turn again. Awesome.
  • Listening to Piper "read" a book to herself. Hilarious.
  • Bed-head:
  • Catching up with an "old" friend. Mr. Mater, I miss you!
  • The prospect of having a "Girls' Night" tonight with my neighborhood bookclub. (This month's book does NOT make this list!)
  • My new goldfish stamp:
  • Big Brother's Jeff and Jordan. Yes, I watch the show. Yes, it's embarrassing to admit.
  • This clip from my favorite comedy troupe "Man Stroke Woman."
  • Our first family camping trip to Indian Henry Campground with 3 other families. It was only one night be we had a great time and the girls did great!
  • Eating like this while camping in the woods: grilled New York's, baked potatoes with all the toppings, braised brussel sprouts, creamy horseradish, fire-grilled corn-on-the-cob (not pictured--it was on my second plate), my mom's famous (yep--famous) salad, and a nice plastic wine glass with excellent Cabernet. Yummy!
  • The children's book we just checked out from the library, I Love My Pirate Papa by Laura Leuck. Great illustrations and an entertaining story to boot (Haha... get it? Boot... Nevermind!).
  • This acoustic version of the song I'm currently obsessed with: CLICK THIS. Glasvegas, "Geraldine."
  • Spending a morning at Central Park in Santa Clara with Tasha and Talon. Seriously, having our kids play together is so freakin' fantastic. Miss you Tashie--come visit us!
  • My new phrase: "sUriously" [sic]. Say it in a funny voice with a heavy emphasis on the "ur" sound. It's fun. Really. It's fun.
  • This blog: She's my kinda funny!
And here is something I absolutely ADORE:
  • Meeting the Pearson twins, Taylor and Jakob who came into the world early and have been lighting it up with sunshine and sweetness ever since!