Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Found this on Monica's blog and thought it was fun.

In 1974 (the year you were born)
Gerald Ford becomes president of the US

Hank Aaron hits his 715th home run to beat Babe Ruth's record

Impeachment hearings are opened against President Nixon by the House Judiciary Committee

President Nixon resigns

President Gerald Ford issues an unconditional pardon to ex-President Nixon for all federal crimes

Muhammad Ali knocks out George Foreman in the eighth round to regain the heavyweight crown in Zaire

Heiress Patty Hearst is kidnapped by and eventually joins the Symbionese Liberation Army

Dungeons & Dragons officially released

People magazine is published for the first time

Kate Moss, Alyson Hannigan, Penelope Cruz, Alanis Morissette, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Ryan Seacrest are born

Oakland Athletics win the World Series

Miami Dolphins win Superbowl VIII

Philadelphia Flyers win the Stanley Cup

Blazing Saddles is the top grossing film

All the President's Men by Bernstein and Woodward is published

"Killing Me Softly With His Song" wins Grammy for song of the year

Monday, January 29, 2007

Happy Birthday Rissa!

Today was Carissa's birthday ... my baby has turned 6! It's hard to believe how time has flied.

There was quite a schedule of celebration for her this year. Saturday was her family party and she had fun with all the grandparents, great-grandma and friends who came. We had dinner, cake, ice cream and lots of conversation for us adults. It was a great time.

Then she took cupcakes to share with her class today. She loved being the center of attention there ... go figure! LOL

Today Carissa also had her friends birthday party. There were 9 little girls here in my house. They loved playing games and eating ice cream, but their favorite part was the treasure hunt. If you can picture it, the 9 little girls were all running around the house after the clues, bringing them back to me to read, then running off again to find the next clue. And each time they ran they let out those adorable little girl squeals. It was adorable! And yes, they did find the treasure - fingernail polish, lip gloss and suckers for them all.

After the friends left I made Carissa's favorite dinner - english muffin pizza's. Then we let her open the presents from us. Finally we shared the remainder of her cupcakes from last night and sang her one last "Happy Birthday" song.
This girl was piled with presents. She has been scooting around the house on her new Barbie scooter and playing on her pink Nintendo DS. She and her friends enjoyed her new Polly Pockets and she got her first Bratz dolls. She got some adorable clothes that she has already been wearing (skirts and dresses only ... no pants wanted for this girly girl). Overall, I think she had a great time and will be playing with her new gifts for quite some time.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Long gone ...

Well, the snow is gone. The storms have passed and the only snow still left is hidden in little patches where the sun hasn't hit. But it was fun while it lasted.

The kids sure enjoyed themselves. They had 2 extra days off school and late start the 2 days after that. (Poor Carissa didn't have school all week, since she's in AM kindergarten.) They spent tons of time outside on the first day, not as much the 2nd day and by the 3rd the only one still interested in the snow was Tristan.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Down with Debt

I'm in a grumbly sort of mood tonight. Something about the fact that I paid the bills today has put me in a bad mood. I know what it is - it's debt.

Now, 6 years ago we had nothing. Brian was in a government retraining program going to school, I had a baby, a toddler and a preschooler. We lived in a little duplex and lived a rather modest life. And we also had no debt.

Fast forward to today, when I got to seriously looking at things. I was looking at where we are in our life, where we want to be and what we need to do to get there. And the first thing that popped out at me was this - we are in debt. Serious debt.

I'm not talking about the housepayments or the car payments, I'm not talking about anything that I think is reasonable like that. I'm talking about plain old credit card debt. How did we get in this deep? Seriously! It's like a vacuum sucking our money each month and there seems to be no way out.

Now, in the scheme of things debt isn't that bad. Everyone is healthy, we have a happy family and we really do love our life. But nagging in the back of my head is this debt thing.

So I realize that I need to do something. And since working right now is really out of the question, at least until Brian comes back from Academy, I've decided to do whatever I can to work on that debt.

So the first order of business - I removed all the credit cards from my wallet. Poof, gone. They are now sitting somewhere waiting for me to do something with them. Someone mentioned freezing them, which I may do. I may just cut them up, except for one to use in emergencies. But from here on out I am not going to USE them.

Secondly - pay them off. Now this part is going to be trickier, especially considering Brian just took a big pay cut. But what I can do is dedicate all our "extra" money to paying them down. Now, this isn't exactly going to be easy. I doubt if there will be an "extra" money from paychecks any time soon. But we will be getting a decent tax return that will be dedicated solely to paying debt.

Thirdly - I will get a job. I know this won't be anytime in the near future, but it is coming. The plan is for me to start working after Carissa starts full-time school in September. And while I know we will want to spend some of that money, I also know that I can dedicate at least half of what I make to paying off debt.

So there you go, that's my personal debt pay-off plan. I'm going to do my best to follow it and hopefully, not too far in the future, we will once again be debt free.
I'm typing this with tears in my eyes, barely able to read the screen through the haze. For I've just finished reading "Forever in Blue", the final book in the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. And, as with the other books in this series, I find myself crying.

These books touch me each time I read them. For they are about enduring, lifelong friendship.

I had it once. It wasn't always perfect, it wasn't always great, but it was enduring lifelong friendship.

Kim has been gone for almost exactly five years now, yet when I read these books the feeling of grief hits me anew.

I cry for the lost friend, for the memories we shared together, for the empty space that's left behind.

I cry because she knew it all. She knew who I was, good and bad. She knew the nuances of my childhood life. She knew every boy I'd ever kissed, knew every pet I'd ever had, knew the lies I'd told and the people I'd hurt. She knew the little tidbits that only we knew - the songs we used to sing together, our personal version of Barbies, the little abbreviations at the bottom of our notes that meant nothing to anyone but each other.

And while I truly love the Sisterhood series, there is a sad fact to face at the end of each book - my Sisterhood consisted of one person. And she's gone.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Law is killing me!

Seriously! (Yes, Greys Anatomy did inspire that.)

I'm taking Business Law this term and it is killing me. It's so tedious and not enjoyable at all. Now I'm looking back and going saying "ooooo ... so this is why I flunked Political Science in college." (OK, that and the fact that I was 18 and didn't really go to class ... but I digress.) It's a lot of the same monotonous stuff ... the makeup of courts and laws and rulings and jurisprudential thought. Ugh! Enough already! I am not meant to be a lawyer!

And speaking of things I'm not meant to do, here's another story for you. Chase had a large and wierd colored freckle on his forehead, so when we went to the Dr. last week she suggested that she cut it off and make sure it wasn't anything out of the ordinary. So she injected him with numbing stuff (I had to look away here... I can't stand needles), then took a scalpel and, slowly and carefully, sliced the top layer off. I watched while she did it, not thinking that I would have a problem with it. After all, I dealt with Tristan's broken, dislocated and frankly scary looking elbow without pause. But after just a few seconds of her cutting I started feeling hot and then my stomach started rebelling. I looked immediately away. The doctor looked at me and asked if I was all right, to which I replied that I was. I stopped looking and just held Chase's hand and breathed. The doctor again looked at me and asked if I was going to be fine, to which I replied that I was okay. She asked if I was sure, because "I didn't look very good." But she went on and I didn't look again. After a while the feeling of nausea went away and I was fine, but this was just another reason why I am not meant to be in health care. I can deal with most things but needles and scalpels are not among them. So scratch nurse off of my list of possible future jobs. I guess it's a good thing I'm pursuing business and accounting! LOL

OK, I'm so supposed to be doing my homework for it, but if I feared that if I didn't take a break I would turn to stone from the boredom of it all. *sigh* I guess my break is over. Back to the books ...

Friday, January 19, 2007

Disney Dreaming

I've been in a Disney mood again lately. It could be because I've been scrapping in my Disneyland album again. See (I have more to share but they're from a March kit so I can't sneak them yet) ...

It could be because I keep seeing all these commercials for Disney vacations that get me dreaming. But whatever the reason, Disney is haunting me.

I know there is no reasonable way we can go this year. It hasn't even been a year since we visited Disneyland, so I shouldn't feel the need to go back so soon, should I? (In case you were wondering, I wanted to go back about 2 days after we got home!). Besides, we don't have the money and with Brian's new job it may be a while before we do. And, since he just started a job he can't possibly take any vacation time, even if he did have some accrued. And we can't possibly do Disney in the 3 days a week he has off work.

But whatever rational reasons are running through my head, the moment those Disney commercials come on I forget it all. I stop and watch and wish that we could visit the Disney magic again.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Checking in

I'm running on here real quick just to check in with everyone. Things have been busy and it seems like the kids have me moving every moment.

It snowed again and we're just covered in the white stuff. We're on day 2 of no school this week and I'm not sure if they'll return tomorrow, as the snow isn't melting much and the roads are icy. So I've spent most of the last few days outside with the kids or inside making another round of hot cocoa.

Then there's the endless pile of laundry that I just can't seem to catch up on.

But the kids are having fun and enjoying the snow. I have some adorable pictures that I need to upload, but the kids are calling me so I'll go for now. Take care all.

Friday, January 12, 2007


In all the excitement of snow I forgot to post about Chase's basketball. He's playing basketball this year through the local league. He has a wonderful coach, Brian Tucker, and assistant coach to help him learn and grow. He has been practicing since before Christmas and last Saturday was his first game. I think the picture says it all ... His first game was a bit of a blur. The ball would change hands and the game would progress so quickly that he couldn't quite keep up. He wasn't quite sure where to go sometimes or what his role in the game should be. But he tried his little heart out and by the end it started making sense to him.
Of course, this is only his first game and his first chance to really experience all the facets of youth basketball. By the end of the season I expect that he'll understand it all much better.
I must say, he is great at staying on his man. The kid he was guarding was getting so annoyed with Chase because he just didn't let up. He would find him man and just keep in front of him, pushing with his body to keep the boy out of the way.
Chase's team did well overall and, if they were keeping score, they would have won. Chase was just thrilled to be out there on the floor, thrilled to be part of a team and thrilled when his team made a basket. See him celebrating here?
I'm sure there'll be more pictures yet to come, as we still have another 2 months of practices and games. But I'm just thrilled that he's enjoying himself and learning a little bit along the way.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

It snowed!!!

It snowed these huge, fast falling flakes. And it kept snowing quickly for about an hour, leaving us with about 1/2 an inch of the white stuff. As soon as Carissa came home she changed into her rubber boots and ran out to play in it. Since I was the only one home, I was the only target. She succeeded in plummeting me with snowballs as quickly as she could make them. It was such fun! Short-lived, but fun.


The forecast is showing a huge cold front coming through the northwest this week and with it the possibility of snow. It was supposed to start early this morning but so far we've had nothing but rain. It's a bit of a disappointment, actually. I was looking forward to going out to play in the snow (and getting some pictures of it!). I was looking forward to coming back in the house and enjoying a nice warm cup of hot cocoa. I was looking forward to late or no school for a day or two. I was just looking forward to the snow. Yet this morning there is nothing but rain. *sigh* I hope we get snow sometime this winter.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Finish the Sentence (Jan. 8 Blog Challenge)

So, the challenge this week is to finish the sentence. Everything after the ... is what I wrote.

1. I've come to realize that my life is... not always easy.
2. I am listening to... "How Long" by Hinder
3. I talk... very carefully. I'm always afraid of saying something stupid.
4. I love... Brian.
5. My best friends... are Jenn and Bek. Come to think of it, they're my only really close friends. But even if I had a huge group of friends these two would be my best.
6. Love is... strong.
7. Somewhere, someone is thinking... "Why am I reading this?"
8. I'll always ... love horses and the magic of Disney.
9. The last time I cried was because... of money issues.
10. My cell phone... is charging.
11. Before I go to bed... I brush my teeth.
12. Right now I am thinking about... sports and scouts and everthing else I have to do tomorrow.
13. Today I... didn't do hardly anything except play this Cyber Swiper (White Elephant) game at ScrapAddict.
14. Tonight I will... scrap. Really I will -- if I can get off the computer!
15. Tomorrow I will be... helping out in Carissa's classroom.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Looking Back/Looking Forward

At this point last year the ball had just dropped on the year 2006. I was looking forward to continuing our wonderful, calm life and, instead of resolutions, opted to look forward to "better days" in 2006. And that's just what we had. Looking back now I am thankful for the things 2006 brought us. A magical trip to Disneyland tops the list, as does a summer filled with camping and beach trips (though Tristan's broken elbow can stay on the "not-a-better-day" list). But the best thing that 2006 brought us was Brian's new job as a Scappoose Police Officer.

Now 2007 is here and I'm not sure where life will lead us. Looking ahead to the coming year I hope that things keep looking up. That this new job brings more happiness and fulfillment into Brian's life and, in turn, into ours. That Brian's time away at the academy will help him learn the skills necessary to keep him safe. That this same time will help the kids accept more responsibility at home as well as an understanding and appreciation of their father's role in our family. That I will become stronger myself by holding the load of the family responsibilities while he's gone and that this strength will carry over to a job outside of the home. But most of all I hope that we will meet 2008 as a family who is still happy and healthy and strong but who understand that sacrifices and changes make us all better people.

2007 is here!

Just 15 minutes ago the ball dropped and ushered in a new year. Chase and Tristan saw it with me and yelled "Happy New Year" loud enough to wake the neighbors but not their sister, who had fallen asleep just a few minutes before midnight.

So, 2007 is here and I'm not sure what to expect from it. It will, most assuredly, be filled with many changes. We're still getting used to the changes Brian's new job has brought. He will be heading to Academy in 2007 for 16 weeks. We'll spend our time adjusting to his absence and anticipating his weekly visits. I'll continue my schooling and, hopefully, find the perfect part-time job once school starts next fall. The kids lives will continue much the same - school, friends, activities. But for the world around them much will be changed.

My hope is that we get through 2007 smoothly- that we face the good times and the hard ones together and that we come out on the other side with the same sense of love and appreciation we have for one another.