Sunday, December 30, 2007

Christmas 2007

This was the first Christmas we have ever hosted! What a great time it was. My mom and dad arrived on the day that school let out. Over the next few days our activities included: sledding at Spout Springs, lunch at Hamley's, dinner at The Plateau, lighting of the advent wreath at church, oh yeah, and presents! It seems that these girls still haven't experienced a slim Christmas as the packages were piled high everywhere. Santa filled the stockings with all sorts of surprises too. For me, dinner was a highlight. (Big surprise.) Marc was in charge of the meat! We had beef tenderloins, Alaskan King Crab, and Jumbo Shrimp. Mom and I made salad and artisan bread. Our pumpkin cheesecake offered a mere 800 calories per slice. UGH. Luckily our slices we ate were much smaller than the serving size they suggested.

Grandpa Mike and Grandma Vera delighted the girls with a Karaoke Machine. Once I finally convinced Marc that "Mony, mony" and "Like a Virgin" weren't the best songs for the girls, they cut loose singing their favorite Disney Channel songs. Watch for videos someday. I'm pretty sure none of us are going to make big bucks in the music industry.

Now all that remains are full tummies, happy memories, 2/3rds of a cheesecake and a HUGE mess in our house.

A penny thought: Christmas memories of family & friends last a lot longer than memories of things. I had a hard time telling my girls what my favorite Christmas present was, but instead easily recalled many special times spent with loved ones.


To kick off a faboulous Christmas vacation, we pulled out the sleds, wrapped grandma and grandpa up in their snow gear and headed for Spout Springs. A usual sledding day takes organization, this day was not any different. Marc got the gear ready: sleds, boots, gloves, handwarmers, etc. Anne got the snacks and the kids ready. As on a typical day, we both become so focused on our tasks that we sometimes don't communicated enough. See photo with the arrow above. Those are my tennis shoes on Grace's feet. Inside those shoes are two pair of socks, two hand warmers, plastic bags and ten very cold toes.

Grandma and grandpa had fun and slept as well as the kids did that night. We were joined by Michelle and Katie Bradt...they know how to have fun too.
A penny thought: Always make sure you pack snowboots for any children who want to wear Croc's in the car on the way up to the mountain!

2007 Christmas Letter

Made & cleaned up messes doing remodeling
Accomplished a bathroom and a half so far
Re-unioned with Sokoloski Families in Montana
Coached Football at Pendleton High School

Always hauling the girls to and from activities
Neck surgery in July, partial thyroid removed
Needs more hours in the day to catch up on projects
Exciting camp adventures pulling new tent-trailer

Track star in making, ran fast, won ribbons
Acted in a children's theater production in July
Read and cried, Where the Red Fern Grows
Young entrepreneur earned profits at her lemon-aid stand
Now learning back handsrpings in gymnastics

Great time at Disneyland with mom in September
Ready to take on any adventure in the great outdoors
Always throws the ball for Jake the dog
Continues to be our pre-dawn alarm clock
Enthusiastic swimmer

Ready to take over control of her kindergarten
Emerging hip-hop dancer
Another social butterfy
Growing two new bottom teeth
Always needs her clothes to 'match'
Not afraid to speak her mind

A penny thought: Many people do not like Christmas letters. I do. From the first Christmas card in early december, until the last one received - sometimes in February- I cherish: the pictures and the funny, the corny, the too-long or too-short, once-a-year Christmas letter!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Dancing Elves...

A fun free site to check out is

Check out the girls and Jake:

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving at Home

We made a trip 'home' to Klamath Falls for Thanksgiving. We over indulged in pie, stuffing, turkey, gravy, etc... I think it is my favorite meal of the year. While home we found a few geocaches, took rides on the tractor and visited the Winter Lights show at Moore Park. The weather was clear and cold. I had forgotten how it feels when your nose hairs freeze when you step outside in this dry climate. Not my favorite feeling in the world...but much better than swatting at a million mosquitoes in the summer months. Jake the dog and I took walks down to the river. He sniffed at frozen mud puddles, rolled in manure and met his first electric fence. Priceless.
My girls got their first taste of random acts of kindness. We stopped to eat at Arby's in Redmond...there were not many people there...but we had to wait a few minutes. My girls were happy to be out of the car, so they were being pretty patient. About half way through dinner the manager approached us, thanked us for being patient, and said that dinner was on them that night. We felt it unnecessary, but thanked her and then took the opportunity to explain RAK to the girls. We have had lots of moments this trip where the girls have tried to decide where to 'pass it on'. I do believe it will be on our way home. Our plan is to pay for someone elses meal before they get their check, but after we have left. It will be fun. Giving feels so good.

I set out to take our annual Christmas card picture. Marc and I decided not to get gussied up, so we will rely on the girls to spread cheer this season.
Hmmm...I'm about ready to give out my blog address. Maybe in the annual Christmas card letter. That will give me a month to figure this all out. Only the real addicts (you know who you are) will be desperate enough to go back and read these old posts...(I hope.)
Penny thought/question for the day: Where is home?
It is wonderful pulling into Klamath, home again. It is even more wonderful pulling into Pendleton. Home! I can't imagine one without the other.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Family matters...

Hmm... I knew that there was a chance I wouldn't be a 'regular' blogger. But as I looked back at my last post that is now a month old, I am happy to read it. I had forgotten about most of those ideas already.

So here are my reflections and my new thoughts. I love my life. I am happy. I am working on recognizing all my blessings in my life and not focusing on the crosses that I have been given to carry. This past week my extra dad-Ken Gray-ended up in the hospital with a life-threatening surgery. Nothing like that to help you focus. As much as I love Ken, it made me reflect on losses in of my real family. I don't try to spend time imagining my life without my parents...but this week I did.

My dad is my silent rock. He is who I seek constant approval from. He is the person I worry most about pleasing. I think that I am most like my dad. He is who I most try to emulate. I respect his no-nonsense approach, I respect his work ethic, I respect his honesty in situations. Dad isn't going to try to sell me something through rose-colored glasses. Dad believes in me.

My mom and I have a different relationship. She is my provider. Yeah, dad brought home the (beef) bacon, but what I needed was time, support, understanding, and a safe haven. My mom has always 'been there'. Mom is the one who picked me up when I was hit by a car when I was six, she was the one who picked me up when my heart was broken at sixteen. My mom was on speed dial when I was 26 and my one-year-old was keeping me on my toes.. Little did I know at that time how much I had ahead of me in this wonderful world of motherhood. My mom gave me advice from the heart. I knew when I needed to head for dad to get my focus back, but when I needed sympathy, mom was there.

Penny thought(advice):
"Don't burn your candle at both end of the wick." -Dad
"Little kids, little problems, big kids, big problems." - Mom

Some of my favorites!
  • (It's all small stuff)

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A new idea...

While trying to develop my technology skills for the classroom I have come across so many neat 'techie' things I had only overheard high school babysitters talk about. I now know a few friends who have their own blogs and I thought I should give it a try. Though I am not a shy person by nature...I can say I won't be sharing my address with friends and loved ones for a while. My idea regarding this blog is...if I write it...maybe it will come. IT may change from day to day. IT may be a dream I have...IT may be a goal I have set, and once I've 'published' it I will feel it is more important to attain. Mostly, I have enjoyed watching my daughter develop as a writer. She has terrible spelling skills-she gets that from me-but she has a wonderful imagination. I'd like to think she gets that from me as well, though I know I have let go of parts of my creative brain. I wonder if I have sacrificed my creative nature to try and achieve goals. My guess is though, if I spent more time nurturing those creative juices...that I would find more pleasure in my day-to-day life. I realized a short time ago that when asked by almost anybody, "How are you today?" That my response wasn't -Fabulous, Great or even usually was "Tired, Sick or Grouchy." Those are words that don't 'suit' the real I am going in search of a brighter outlook!