Thursday, January 29, 2009

25 Random Things About Me

Let's see. . .

1. I really like angels. I'm not quite sure why. . . I'm not particularly religious but I really love angels and have collected them for years. I can fill a seven-foot tall Christmas tree with them! But I don't put an angel at the top of the tree - that might make the other angels jealous- we put a star on top of ours.

2. In fourth grade, I was one of the three French hens in the Christmas program at Lakeview Elementary and I was scared to death. I was not born to perform. It still makes me pretty nervous to present at faculty meetings and things like that.

3. In restaurants, I like to sit in booths with my family. It's cozier or something. And I hate sitting with my back to the restaurant, facing the wall. I just won't do it. I make my children sit there.

4. Sometimes as I walk up to my front door with my keys in my hand, I press the unluck button on my car key like I think it's going to magically open my front door.

5. I'd really really like to have more children even though I can think of a million reasons why I should stop at two.

6. My first date with my husband ended with a kiss in Riverfront Park in Spokane overlooking the falls on Friday the 13th. So now I consider Friday the 13th a lucky day. We even thought of getting married on a Friday the 13th but there wasn't one that worked for us.

7. I got married on a Sunday. I think that is very unusual. But it was great! It was easy to find a photographer, florist, even a minister for a June wedding on a Sunday (Saturday? fuggedaboutit!)

8. I have lived in four time zones. My oldest daughter had lived in four time zones before she entered 2nd grade, so I feel sympatico with military wives.

9. Men with British accents make me heart melt and my knees quiver. No idea why. . . Well, maybe because of Colin Firth in Pride and Prejudice, but that's just a guess.

10. I really really don't like dogs. In fact I am allergic to them. But I have a dog. That's the true test of how much I really really love my husband.

11. I worry way too much about what other people think about me. I try not to care, but I do. I'm a pleaser at heart and I bend over backwards to keep everybody happy.

12. I really like to sing. And I really can't. But my husband really likes to hear me sing, because I only do it when I'm really happy.

13. I really use the word really too much. I've just realized that. I also say "All right, class" about a hundred times a day, but I like it better than "Attention." It just sounds friendlier.

14. I have had five miscarriages. Sad, huh? But it makes me feel truly blessed to have the two amazing children that God gifted to me.

15. I have felt a calling to motherhood from the time I was a very little girl. Before I got pregnant with Kenzie I felt her spirit trying to escape from me. So even though we weren't planning on having children so soon, we went for it. If you ever meet my oldest you will understand; she has a huge forceful spirit (in a good way!).

16. When I got pregnant with Becca, I really didn't want to be pregnant. I had just lost a baby at 14 weeks and was still grieving and wanted more time, but God must know best. Becca is the best thing that ever happened to me.

17. I could live on bread and butter and Pepsi with steak once a week. Making myself eat heathy food is a daily struggle.

18. I really want to live in the Northwest again. I miss my family and my friends. I still consider it home. I feel like I am on an extended break from my "real life" living here in Florida.

19. I really don't like snakes. I ended up in a Port-a-potty at a campground in Montana with a snake once and that was all she wrote, folks.

20. I wish I was taller.

21. I have perfect eyesight and do not need glasses. I see better than anyone in my family by far.

22. I am an amazing speller. And seeing spelling mistakes, especially from teachers or my administrators (!) drives me insane. When I was 8, I went up to the manager of Excel (Dale Lowry, I think) to tell him that the sign over the Pepsi was spelled wrong. So I don't think the spell check gene in me is going away anytime soon.

23. When I was five, I got caught shoplifting crayons from K-Mart by my mom. yeah. . . bad. . . spanking, grounding, you name it. And she made me take them back to the store and apologize to the manager! Thanks mom! That mortification was a lesson learned well.

24. I breastfed McKenzie for 15 months and I loved it. Becca for 8. I really don't understand why some people have such a thing against breastfeeding in public. Why the big deal? That's what they're there for, right?? But women who breastfeed past 2 or 3 kind of creep me out. I try not to judge, but I think it's a little weird to breastfeed your kindergartner.

25. I can't wear flip-flops. The whole thing between my toes thing just doesn't work for me.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Oxbow Eco-Center Hike

So we were looking for a place to hike where we could take Sophie (because, really, who would want to take her for a walk after we just got back from a hike?) and we didn't want to go too far . . . so we ended up at the Oxbow Eco-Center, a place McKenzie has gone to on field trips. We checked online and they let you bring your dog and there were about 3 miles or so of groomed trails on the 224-acre preserve. Perfect!
So we started off, except Mike and I really didn't know how to get there. I had a vague idea and he had an even vaguer idea, so we doubled back to go print directions at home. While Mike was mapquesting, I looked for my sunglasses and realized that Mike had left our bag of water bottles on the kitchen floor. Oops. Can you tell we haven't done this whole hiking thing in a while?? No sunglasses, no directions, no WATER!!
We arrived at the Oxbow Center about 25 minutes later and I used their facilities before we started on our trek (that part I haven't forgotten. . . I'm just not a pee-in-the-woods kind of gal). We had a little trail map and decided to make a big loop, about 3 miles in all. The day wasn't hot and the terrain is flat (we have to drive 300 miles to find a hill. Seriously.) so we thought 3 miles would be just about right. Sophie was all set to go!! She was having a total smell-fest! We hadn't gone down the trail too far when we ran into Officer Byrnes, the School Resource Officer at SLWK8 and his wife, Lily! Small world! Our county has 300,000 people, and we were 20 miles from home, so it was kind of funny to run into someone from our school.

We continued on and heard something in the bushes. Hey it's an armadillo! In the wild. . . not dead, in the middle of the road. Cool!
Sophie was convinced that her job was to protect us from the evil armadillo, so she lunged at it but being Sophie, didn't bark, so I had time to take a picture before going on our way.

After a while we came to this bridge where we took I took a photo op. Hiking for me is really all about taking pictures, don't you know?

So this bridge was over a small trickle of a creek. I'm not trying to insult it. . . it's probably a big roaring creek during big rainstorms. . . but today it was just a little bitty creek. To the north (I'm just making that up, I have no idea if it was north or not, but let's just say north) it looked like this: clear, crystal water, green vines hanging down, and a sandy creek bottom. . .

And to the south (again, no idea, do you think I carry a compass around??) it looked like this: crystal clear water, but no green vines and no white sand in evidence at all. Hmmm. . . Kenzie and I thought it was odd. Well, it was Kenzie who pointed it out. I don't have time to ponder these kinds of things. I'm too busy taking pictures.

These spiky palm fronds (I'm sure Kenzie could tell you the name and the genus) lined the path. They make a cool sound when you brush past them. And they were spiky enough to keep Sophie (and Mike) on the trail.

Hey, take a look at this weird vegetation. . . it is weird, don't you think? Mike thinks I walk slow. Nope. Just lookin' at stuff, weird stuff like this.. After all, this is a nature hike, right?

See? Here's a tree attacking another tree, or hugging it I guess. Depends on your perspective and your state of mind. The things a tree will do to get more light and water. Really selfish if you think about it. Which I don't, usually.

Ah. . . The mighty North Fork of the St Lucie River. Rivers in Florida really don't look like rivers in the northwest. I can't imagine whitewater rafting down this. Kayaking maybe. . . the whole alligator thing though keeps my feet on dry land. We were, however, looking for manatee. We've never seen one in the wild but that doesn't keep us from looking.

Here's McKenzie pondering the great questions of life. Or thinking, Mom, when are you going to put the damn camera away and leave me alone? Nah. . . she's had a camera in her face since she was born. She's used to it. She's probably one of the more photographed kids ever. Cute, no? But I think her eyes are closed. Ugh.
So we continued around a bend in the river, also known as an Oxbow (I remember that from Oxbow Bend in the Grand Tetons and hence the name Oxbow Center), and the terrain was actually hilly. Not like, really hilly, but Florida hilly. So like 6-8 feet hills, but outside of the county garbage dump, that's as hilly as I've ever seen it around here.

The ubiquitous palm tree. I had to take this gratuitous shot. It is Florida, after all. I think it's a rule.

See the hill? I am at the top and Mike, Becca and Sophie, the super hunter, are at the bottom.

The trail turned away from the river at this point and we headed inland. Becca was holding Sophie on the leash through this part. Well, more accurately, Sophie was pulling Becca down the trail, but why get picky? Until Sophie got wind of another critter and then Becca was on the ground, but she didn't let go of the leash! I've got to give her credit for that. She has her wimpy moments (I'll get to that in a moment), but she can be tenacious when she chooses to be. It turned out that we had run across another armadillo. He's kind of cute, in a homely sort of way.
By this time we were about a half mile from trail's end and we were all thirsty because we had left the water bottles in the car (I know, we're rusty at this hiking thing), so we were moving along pretty quickly. Mike had been holding Sophie's leash since the whole armadillo incident, but figured Becca could hold it during the home stretch. So Mike calls up to Becca to call for Sophie and Becca wouldn't answer him. It turned out she had been crying the whole time! Not because she got hurt falling to her knees, but because Mike had laughed! Oh Becca, Becca, Becca. . . what are we going to do with you and your fragile little feelings? I explained that Daddy is a big stupid man and that the silent treatment never works, because he would never notice. Well, maybe by next Wednesday or Thursday he would figure it out, maybe. Maybe not. If she was mad, she needed to say she was mad and why. Sweetie, men are really very clueless. You have to just say it. So hopefully it is a lesson she takes to heart because it is one all women must learn eventually.
Think my dog had a good time? She had a continuous grin on her face the whole time, except when she put on her fierce "scare-the-armadillo-must-protect-family" look.

And here is one last shot of our beautiful, 72 degree weather in January, hike. (I just put that last part in so all my northwest friends would be jealous and come down and visit me).

Saturday, January 24, 2009






1. What is your name? Kendra

2. A 4 Letter Word : kiss

3. A Boys Name : Kevin

4. A Girls name : Krystal

5. An Occupation: Kindergarten teacher

6. A Color: Khaki

7. Something you wear: Keds

8 A Beverage : Kool-aid

9. A Food: Key Lime Pie

10. Something found in the bathroom : Kleenex

11. A place: Kansas City

12. A Reason for being late: Kids

13 . Something you shout! Kiss my ass!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

If You Can't Change the Problem, Change Your Thinking

Okay, well, I'm on a more even keel today. Had time to process a little bit and realize a few things. The things that were there, but not really making sense the other day. I still have "issues" to work through, but I don't feel quite so overwhelmed!

Two things have helped me and brought me some comfort. The first was the necessary step of counting my blessings, something I probably don't do often enough. I have a wonderful, supportive husband, two fabulous, bright, amazing children and everything else is gravy. It never hurts to take the time to look at everything in your life and remember the blessings. My life will never be perfect, but it's time I started to appreciate all that I have.

The second was the realization that no matter what everything will be okay. God hasn't steered me wrong yet and I'm obviously on the path that I am am for a reason, even if it's not apparent to me. An old friend helped me remember that our lives are most at peace when we accept the will of God. That's a hard lesson for me. . . but one that I am working on.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Is Discombobulated a Real Word?

If it is. . . then that is how I feel. Just really mixed up in my head. I am a very level-headed practical person, usually, so this is quite a change for me. I've just been re-examining my life, as we are all wont to do at the beginning of a new year. And I'm not at all sure about where I am. I feel like I've been sleepwalking for months, even years, and now suddenly I am rethinking everything. Why now? Not quite sure. Its disconcerting to say the least.

When we moved to Florida and I went back to work I feel like I got on a treadmill that keeps picking up speed and I haven't been off of it since. No time to stop and analyze, just quick, get over each hurdle as it comes. And the strange thing is I don't want to think about it. I'm happier being ignorant. Ignorance is bliss right? I don't want to think about whether I love my job, or where I live or if I'm living a passionate life. Because what if I decide I don't or I'm not? That would mean some big decisions and upheaval and I'm not someone who is happy rocking the boat. So I am trying to hang on to the treadmill, at least for now.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Tour of Our House Part II

Alright, continuing on the tour of our little house, well not so little, I guess. It's the biggest house I have ever lived in at 1860 square feet. It's just about the right size for us. If i could tweak it a little I would add a guest room with separate bath so maybe someone would come visit us! A studio to hold all of McKenzie and my craft stuff. And a walk-in pantry. And maybe a basement for storage (not gonna happen in Florida). Okay, so our house is too small for us, but it's ours and it will have to do for now!

Highlighted today will be the master bath, just off of the master bedroom. There is a door off the master bedroom that leads to a hallway. On each side of the short hallway (maybe 6 feet long) are two walk-in closets. That may be one of the reasons that we bought this house. A walk-in closet for each of us??? Unheard of. And very, very, very nice. It would be hard to go back to sharing a closet after this. On to the bathroom itself. . .

Going clockwise around the room we have a small linen closet, with no linens in it, just hair stuff, meds, girl stuff, TP, etc. That kind of stuff takes up a whole lot of room! Then there is the toilet. Mike kind of likes it when the commode has it's own separate space for privacy. I like that idea, too, but it's kind of nice not to be shut up in a little room to do your thing; that can be kind of claustrophobic if you're in there for any length of time, in my opinion. Total run-on sentence. Sorry. Next to the toilet in a large walk-in shower (Mike's favorite part of the house), then there is a large corner tub (girl's favorite part of house) and then on to double sinks. There's a window over the tub, bad for privacy, good for natural light. Two other pet peeves: No drawers in the bathroom and there is no light in the hallway. You have to walk all the way down the hallway to reach the bathroom light. You can stop and turn on the lights in the closets if you really need to see, but those doors are usually shut. So if I was going to build this house again I would add a lightswitch right inside the door.

We have made a few changes since we moved in: we painted it blue (I'm still not entirely sure it's the right shade of blue. . . I think I would like it to be a little lighter, grayer, and slightly greener); I replaced the light fixture over the sinks and the sink faucets; I added a cabinet over the toilet; I changed the towel bar and Toilet paper roll holder and changed the hardware on the cabinets. Small changes, but it feels a lot more spa-like now. You may, of course, have your own opinion!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Getting to Know You 2009

1. What is your occupation right now ?

2. What color are your socks right now?
I'm not wearing socks. I live in Florida. Who needs socks?

3. What are you listening to right now?
Kenzie is being obnoxiously loud while playing with the dog.

4.What was the last thing you ate?
Fuji Chicken Salad from Panera

5.Can you drive a stick shift?
Of course. My first car (Smurfmobile) was a stick shift.

6. Last person you spoke to on the phone?
Mike. He asked if he should pick up dinner on the way home, hence the Panera salad.

7. Do you like the person who sent this to you?
Very much so.

8.How old are you today? 35

9. What is your favorite sport to watch on TV?
College basketball, but I prefer to watch sports in person

10. What is your favorite drink?
Pepsi, on ice or fresh-squeezed lemonade

11. Have you ever dyed your hair
Noooooooo. Never (Okay. that's a lie)

12. Favorite food?
I don't have time to list all my favorites.

13. What is the last movie you watched?
Sex in the City, I think.

14. Favorite day of the year?
I have 52 (Saturday)

15. How do you vent anger?
I tend to lecture and when I'm really mad I clean.

16. What was your favorite toy as a child?
Baby Beans

17. What is your favorite season?
Fall, love crunching around in the fallen leaves

18. Cherries or Blueberries?
Cherries, no question.

19. Do you want your friends to e-mail you back?
If they find the time, but it won't hurt my feelings if nobody responds.

20.Who is the most likely to respond?
Hmmm... Maybe Carolee?

21. Who is least likely to respond?
Anyone who doesn't waste as much time as I do online. : )

22. Living arrangements?
Three bedroom, two-bath, two car garage house with a fenced yard.

23. When was the last time you cried?
Last Wednesday (1/7) at the doctor's office. My neck was killing me and I was so frustrated that I had to wait so long.

24. What is on the floor of your closet?
On the left, drawers of craft supplies; at the back, extra pillows and blankets and my wedding dress (boxed up); to the right shoe cubbies.

25 . Who is the friend you have had the longest that you are sending to?
N/A I 'm not sending this, so I'm not sure that applies to me.

26. What did you do last night ?
Took a nap after work, then meant to grade papers but ended up watching Grey's Anatomy instead.

27.What are you most afraid about?
I don't really worry about that kind of thing.

28. Plain, cheese, or spicy hamburgers?
Cheese burgers -real cheese, not American- and Bacon, of course!

29. Favorite dog breed?
short-haired, goofy dogs, but I'm partial to black and white dogs

30. Favorite day of the week?
Saturday, I guess.

31. How many states have you lived in?
Four (Washington, Utah, then Washington, then Utah, then Washington, then Texas and now Florida)

32. Diamonds or pearls?
Why choose? Both.

33.Favorite flower?
If somebody gives me flowers I'm not gonna be picky about what type!
But I love the way Lilacs smell and I'm partial to lilies and wildflowers.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Trip to Epcot

Well we are back from our mini-vacation from Orlando, safe and sound! The girls and I had a great time at Epcot and we had beautiful weather. Mike spent the day cooped up inside, reviewing science questions for the FCAT. Oh well . . . fitting punishment.

So we left for Orlando around 6:30 or so, stopped for dinner at Arby's on the way and hit the Turnpike. I promptly fell asleep. I've been on a lot of meds for my neck pain, so I was out like a light. Next thing I know, Mike wakes me up and asks, "So should I get off at Osceola?" and I reply, "Well that depends on where the hotel is." Orlando is a big and confusing place for us small town folks, so having directions is a must. There must be 50 different freeways and highways and they all have 5 different names. It's insane. So Mike says, "I think it's by the airport." What do you mean you THINK it's by the airport? "Well, it's at the same place it was last year." This is an annual thing for Mike and the girls and I went along (with my dad, too) last year. "Um. . . honey, it wasn't at the airport last year. We stayed at the Radisson right outside Universal. Remember?" No, apparently not. The gist of it was that Mike did not know where our hotel was. He wasn't even sure which hotel it was at. Great. It's 8:30 at night. We're all tired and we have no f***ing idea where we are staying that night. So we drove around for an hour, yes an hour, while Mike got us all kinds of lost, before he finally called a co-worker to look up the email that showed where the reservations were. Ugh. Not pleased. The girls and I were seriously grouchy. and cranky. and tired. and did I mention grouchy? The hotel room was nice with a sitting room and a separate bedroom, but there was only one bed, so the girls and I took the big comfy king bed and made Mike sleep on the couch. Did I mention that we were grouchy?
In the morning Mike went down to the conference room to do his thing and the girls and I drove off to Epcot, which is waaaaaay across town from the airport where we were staying. Long drive, but we didn't get lost. Because we knew where we were going. and we had a map. And we see well enough to read signs. All good things.
Epcot was great. The weather was around 70, with super sunny skies. The only line was for Soarin', everything else was under 5 minutes. We saw pretty much everything we wanted to see (except the fireworks... we didn't want to stay that late.) and went back to the hotel to pick up Mike around 7 o'clock and drove home. The end.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Long Week!

The first week back after the holidays is always hard on us teachers. The kids don't want to come back to school any more than we do! It's tough getting back on schedule. No more sleeping in! This week seemed harder than ever!

One of the problems was that I have had a stick neck since New Year's Eve. I turned my head to cough and tweaked something in my neck. Yes, I had a coughing accident. Normally these types of things clear themselves up, but I'm still dealing with it 9 days later. At any rate, I have discovered that teaching when you can't turn your head is really hard! Plus it's painful. At home I can rest with my head on the back of the couch or lay down in bed, but at school? Yeah, I think the principal would not be too happy if she came in the find me with my head down on my desk.

I made it through Monday okay but I found out the assistant principal wanted a copy of my semester exam on her desk like yesterday. Only one problem. . . I hadn't written mine yet. Oops. The end of the semester isn't until Jan 22 and I had planned on doing it over the holidays, but it didn't happen. So I was up until 11:30 Monday night writing the final. fun. not.

Tuesday I would have loved to stay home but I was scheduled to go around the middle school reading classrooms with the principal, asst principal and the reading coach on a fidelity check. It's one of those little things I do as chair of Literacy council. I didn't want to bail out on the principal and I was really curious to see what everyone was doing in their classrooms, so I took a bunch of Advil and gritted my teeth and got through it. After school the girls went for a check-up at the doctor. We arrived at 3:40 for a 3:45 appointment. We waited until 5:10 to see the doctor. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! (me screaming) Part of it was they were busy, part was that our insurance changed Jan. 1. An hour and a half in a pediatrician's waiting room during flu season after a long day at work was the last thing I needed. My head and my neck and my shoulders and my back were killing me. The checkup itself was okay. Becca's ears, sinuses and chest sounded fine. She got the plantar's wart frozen off her toe and we found out that she is in the 90th percentile for height and the 75th for weight. (54 inches, 62 pounds). McKenzie is blind and needs to have her eyes checked and was seriously behind on shots. She got a Chicken Pox booster (Becca got out of that one since she had the Chicken Pox), hepatitis booster, tetanis, meningitis, and gardisil. Poor poor Kenzie, but I'd rather just get it all done and out of the way. we stopped at Wendy's for grub and ice cream for two very well behaved little girls. Except McKenzie is not so little anymore: 5'2" and 93 lbs. Yikes. That's the same size I was when I went to college. Double Yikes. She is in the 95th percentile for height and the 75th percentile for weight. I'm still a little stunned. I'm not ready for her to be all grown up. Soon I will have to look UP at her.

Wednesday morning I decided enough is enough. I need to go the doctor. so I drove into school, called for a sub, left lesson plans, came back home to get the girls, drove to Claudia's to get her girls and dropped everyone off at school at 8:30. Went home, ate breakfast and called my doctor. No appointments. WHHHHHAAT?? I took the day off. . . please?? Pretty please?? Okay. We'll squeeze you in at two (Sometimes it pays to whine!). I spent the day doing laundry and light cleaning and playing on Facebook. I got to the doctor who had no issues with the new insurance, thank God, and saw the doctor at 2:40. Ugh. I REALLY hate waiting around doctor's offices. Like so much that I wanted to cry. Seriously, there were tears in my eyes. I should have brought a book. So Dr Hunter tells me that I will need pain pills and an anti-inflammatory. At this point she hadn't done a physical exam. Um. . . couldn't she have just prescribed that over the phone? She did feel around a little after that and said that it might help to see a chiropractor if the meds didn't help. Couldn't she have just told me that on the phone?? She then gave me a shot in the butt of an anti-inflammatory (that wouldn't have worked on the phone) and sent me home. Sorry no photos of that. The shot helped a bit because I had more movement in my neck a couple of hours later. Claudia dropped the girls off at 5:00, Mike got home at 6:30 and went to get my Rx for me. I took one of each and then stayed up to watch the Gonzaga game. The GU game went into overtime so I was up until 11:30. Yeah! Gonzaga won!! at Tennessee! Hip, hip Hooray! I would have been pissed to stay up that late and have them lose.

Thursday. . .I took all my meds and felt pretty good, a little dizzy maybe in first period, really dizzy and nauseous in second period and just plain loopy in 3rd and 4th. But I was feeling very little pain! The afternoon was better, feeling more lucid and still pain-free. Unfortunately Becca was having a bad time. She was coughing in the morning so I gave her some cough/expectorant stuff, but her teacher called around 11 to ask if she could give her some cough drops. Uh. oh. Mrs. Z called back around 2 to say Becca was still coughing, couldn't stop and was turning red in the face. Poor baby. So Becca came to my room and took some dayQuil (all I had in my purse) drank some water and rested on the beanbags in my room until the end of the day. I have a really fabulous 6th period and planning during 7th period so it didn't really disrupt my schedule at all. We went home right after school taking Claudia's girls with us. Becca was still cough, cough, cough when Claudia came to get her girls so I sent Becca with them so she could use their nebulizer to see if that would calm the cough. It helped a little bit, but it was still bad. Mike gave her some codeine to see if that would help. Kind of worked. But then Becca's temp started to climb and around 10 (not sure because I fell asleep at 9) she threw up.

Friday: Becca and Mike stay home. Kenzie and I go to school. I had to go in to run the Design team meeting, and it was Mike's turn to stay home anyway. This time I took the anti-inflammatory but not the pain killers (valium, vicodin). Not loopy today but OWWWW. Very sore. My students have been very understanding. Good group of kids this year (mostly!). Mike came after school to get Kenzie to take to her art class and I went straight home to watch Becca. Becca doesn't seem too bad. She is not coughing much, hasn't thrown up again and her fever is like 99.5. Hopefully it was just a quick bug and she will be all better tomorrow. I came home, took my pain pills and promptly fell asleep for an hour. Good nurse, aren't I? Becca was busy watching Hannah Montana. I'm not sure she even noticed.

So now you are all caught up on our very dreary, very dull, first week back at school. That is, if you made it all the way to the end of my post, which you probably didn't, cause you are probably asleep. Hey Wake up! We'll try to do something fun this weekend so that I can write about something more exciting than I'm sick. Becca is sick. we went to school. we came home. the end. Tomorrow we plan on cleaning!! That should be much more fun and exciting. Perhaps I will include photos of my vacuum and my mop. Plus I am planning a trip to the grocery store! Woohoo!

Monday, January 5, 2009

My Sanctuary

For our friends and family, near and far (mostly far), who haven't gotten a chance to visit us here in sunny Florida, here is a photo tour of our bedroom (not quite as pretty as a designer showroom, is it?).

We bought the furniture about a year and a half ago. Prior to that we had an old dresser of Mike's, an old TV cart for a nightstand, a bed from DI, and two bookcases from Wal-Mart. Big improvement, huh? The paintings we bought to commemorate our 13th Wedding Anniversary. And the chair? I got it at an antique store in Snohomish for $50 and slipcovered it myself. Not a bad job, if I do say so myself. The lamps are a mishmash and I am considering replacing them. The paint color was here when we moved in and we haven't bothered to change it. I think it's a good neutral color, but a little bland, maybe? I'm not particularly good at the whole decorating thing, so any advice would be appreciated!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Visit with the Mau Family

We just got back from a quick trip to Orlando to visit some friends. Laura Mau and I were Girl Scout leaders together back when I lived in Austin and we just recently hooked back up on Facebook. When I found out her family was going to be in Orlando, I decided it was time for a little road trip!

Much to the angst of my children we didn't hit a single amusement park while we were there! We got into town around 2 or so on Friday and stopped to do lunch (Pei Wei - YUM!!) and a little shopping before checking into our hotel which was right across the street from The Marketplace at Downtown Disney. The Maus were staying at Wilderness Lodge, a Disney property. Their resort was so beautiful. It looked like it had been transplanted right out of the Canadian Rockies! It was all decorated for Christmas and it was just so charming.

The Mau's room was on the bottom floor, just a few yards from the swimming pool and the beach. Very convenient with four kids. So after we got there, the kids all played on the beach in the sand until it got dark. This was the view from their room:

Instead of going off-site to eat, we stayed at the Wilderness Lodge. They have several restaurants there; we decided on the fastest option which was a cafeteria type place with indoor and outdoor seating. The food was really quite good. I had a Roast Beef and bleu cheese sandwich with a grilled chicken salad, Kenzie had a turkey and brie sandwich, Mike had pizza and Becca had a burger (I think). Not as expensive as I remember Disney being and the quality was much better than I thought it would be! We ate outside (temps in the high 60s) and were visited by two little bunnies. The kids got a real kick out of that. After dinner we visited some more, took some pictures and tried to see the fireworks from Magic Kingdom (alas! Too many trees in the way).

Here are all of the kids: Clockwise from the left: Rebecca, McKenzie, Andie, Phoebe, Meredith, and Jonathan.
Here is just Laura and me. Laura just celebrated her birthday. Happy Birthday Laura!
What cute girls we have! Becca, Meredith in McKenzie's lap and Andie.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The many blessings of the New Year

The new year gives us the opportunity to look forward in our lives, to make better choices, to re-examine and reset our priorities. For me, I'd like to look back at 2008 and remember how blessed I am.

Blessings of 2008:

A fabulously comfy bed

We actually bought the new bed in 2007, but it is still a blessing to Mike and I. It is fabulous! Our first King and so glorious that I look forward to crawling in each and every night! Truly the best money we have ever spent and a nightly blessing .

A new fridge
For the past 2 years or so, the fan had been out on our fridge. Mike replaced it once and it died again, so as a stopgap, I placed an $8 Walmart fan behind the fridge to cool the compressor. Ugly, a little awkward, with the fridge sticking out some, but effective. Well, in June, we broke down and bought a new fridge. It has French doors on the top with a freezer drawer below. It's an amazing appliance. The water purifier makes it so that we don't have to purchase nearly as much bottled water and there is a special compartment for the milk that keeps it 5 degrees colder. YUM! Ice cold milk! A simple pleasure. . .

The opportunity to travel
This year we saw some new places and visited some old favorites. We got the opportunity to drive up the East Coast and briefly visited the cities of Savannah, GA, Williamsburg, VA, Washington, DC and Solomon, MD. Just a taste and we are planning to go back, if possible, soon. We also visited the west coast of Florida and saw Weekiwachi Springs and Homosassas State Park, both amazing. We also had a brief visit to Honeymoon Island before McKenzie fell off some rocks and we cut our trip short!

We revisited the Olympic Peninsula in Washington with some good friends and had one of our most pleasant vacations ever! Good friends, good food and the best views ever! Between the girls and I we took over 1000 photographs in 5 days.

The opportunity to say good-bye
My grandfather passed away early this year, and although I did not get a chance to see him, I feel blessed to have had such a wonderful person in my life and I am thankful that he has passed to a better place.
We did, however, get the opportunity to see Mike's dad just before he passed away in June. I consider it a great blessing that my husband and my children were able to say goodbye and to bring some comfort to Ron and his lovely wife, JoAnn, in Ron's last days. Ron has left behind a wonderful legacy, the three people who bring me my greatest Joy.

A reliable car
My Chrysler Pacifica is now three years old but it continues to be a great family car. It has never let me down and suits our needs well. It's very comfortable on long car rides and short jaunts to the store. I haven't always been so lucky and got stranded repeatedly as a teenager so I don't take this blessing for granted. Mike's car is starting to show his age, and I think a new vehicle may be in the near future for him.

A great dog
Sophie entered our lives last December and she has been a great addition to the family. She keeps us active and makes us laugh. She gives Becca somebody to boss around. And I am really, really close to training her to bring in the newspaper for me in the morning.

Fabulous friends
I am blessed to work with my very best friend and I get to eat lunch with her every day. She looks after my children, gives me advice, and makes me laugh. She plans vacations for me, translate Spanish when I need it, volunteers her time with me. She is the big sister I always wanted (and needed!). Claudia, what would I do without you?

A laptop
I love my laptop! It has changed my life. Truly! I love having all my music, photographs, and the wealth of knowledge and information available on the internet, sitting in my lap. I also like that I can sit on my big, comfy, leather couch, with my feet us on my big, comfy leather ottoman and watch TV or talk to my kids or visit with my husband and still have my computer right there. From my favorite seat in the house I can see outside through the French doors, I can see the front door, I can see into the office right where Mike sits most fo the time and I can see the loveseat where my children like to sit. Plus the kitchen is behind me so I can't see any of the dirty dishes. Sweet, huh?

My family
I spend a lot of time on my blog telling everyone about my great family, but it never hurts to say it again, right? My husband is patient, tolerant, kind, honest, brilliant, helpful, and the greatest dad ever. McKenzie is bright, creative, artistic, and a problem-solver. Becca is empathetic, thoughtful, smart, and patient. Together we make a pretty good team.