Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Rest in Peace...still

Today as we get ready to celebrate a New Year, I want to remember a friend, a brother, a son, and an uncle, who rang in his last new year with 2008. Please remember to count all of the blessings you had in 2008, and to remember each and every day that we only know we have today with the ones we love.




I knew I wanted to write this blog for a while now, and every time I thought of writing, I felt a little sick about what I would say. I knew that I couldn't celebrate my New Year without taking the time to think of the Parsons family and to remember Bronson. I feel sick the way I felt sick a year ago when I got a tragic call from Robin last New Year's Day and I didn't know what to say. I still don't know what to say, but I'm going to give it a try.

Today has been one year since our friend Bronson Parsons was hit by a drunk driver, while walking home, late on New Years Eve and killed. He was 25.

In one year, not a day has gone by that I don't hurt for his mom, Carol. She is almost all I can think about sometimes. Most of you know that he was the brother of my good friend, Robin. Robin was my roommate in college, and she was the matron of honor in my wedding, her parents, Carol and Paul, attended our wedding and celebrate their wedding anniversary with us each year. I have been close to their family since college, Lawrence loved them as soon as he met them a few years later. But Carol, Bronson's mother, is who I always think about. My heart hurts for her. It has been heart wrenching to hear about each member of their family dealing with the grief differently, and at times causing each other more grief. I think about how as a mother, you just want to take away everyone's pain, and keep everyone happy and together. Trying to do this while the tragic reality sets in, must, at times be too much to bear. But as a mother, you would have to choice to but keep on keepin' on.

Though I know that one year does not take away the hurt or the memories or the past. I hope and pray that somehow as time heals wounds it will help ease the sharpness of the pain. Carol, Paul, Robin, Erin...all really wonderful people. All dealing as best they can, trying to allow each other do what they need to do, even though it can sometimes be hard to understand or relate or not worry about what will help and what makes more hurt. Grief is sickening and it doesn't go away. It's affects areas further reaching than we can ever know.

I hope they found some comfort in him helping 6 others an an organ donor. Recently they heard through the grapevine of the man who received one of Bronson's lungs. He was a father near their hometown who was out hunting with his son for the first time in years. Bronson loved to hunt and it is just what he would have wanted his lung to be out doing.

My friend Robin is such a rock for her parents, her sister, her kids... Her old friends, her new friends, her neighbors, her husband, her community...I could go on. I worry about her because it's a lot of work being such a rock. But I know that she finds comfort and purpose in being that strength to her loved ones and I admire her ability to put her foot down when someone crosses the line. She is firm, honest, and frank, in a loving and warm way. She is kind and strong. Her family could not, would not, have survived this without her. I'm so sad for my friend, that she lost her only brother, and the uncle to her children. But it's different than the sadness I feel for her mom. I think that this must be what happens to you when you become a mother. You relate to other mothers worries in a way you didn't know possible, and often wish you couldn't. Carol is wonderful and positive, looking for glimpses of what good could come of this, and trying her hardest to help her surviving children and husband get through it. But I often lay awake at night, thinking of the pit I feel in my own stomach, and imagining her pit being a million times more painful.

After several paragraphs, I still don't feel like I've done justice to remembering Bronson, on this, the one year anniversary of his death. A date meant for partying and celebrating, not mourning. Though I guess those that knew Bronson might feel that he would want them to party on in his honor. Even so, I'd guess his family will have a hard time doing that this year. I hope I've said that I love and adore his family, I pray for them often. I'm proud of them, especially Robin and Carol, for finding the "good" in the bad. I hurt for them, I miss Bronson with them, I mourn still with them. For now, I can tell a few of my favorite memories of Bronson, and keep praying for healing for all.

I want them to remember that memories of Bronson many people smile.

~~

When Robin got married in 1998 Bronson must have been 14 or 15. Will and I thought he was so funny, he was tall and lanky and sort of at that awkward stage of have a body too big and long for himself. I think he was sneaking drinks from the bar and was dancing like crazy. Will said that he was 'loose like a long neck goose'. It was so fitting and true and FUNNY!

The nickname stuck for him, until the next time we saw him, he'd grown from awkward and lanky into a tall solid man.

In 2002, shortly after our wedding, Paul and his friend came from Troy, MT to a PSU vs UofMt game. Robin and Trevor came to visit too. Bronson had just moved to Portland, following his girlfriend who was attending PSU. We had a GREAT time watching college football all day with the whole Parsons/Cummings clan first at our little apartment, then to the game. It was so fun to start our Portland State rivalry tradition with them, with years of crazy adventures that still make us laugh. This year we went to the game, and while we had fun, it just wasn't the same without Paul, Robin, and Bronson.

In 2003, Lawrence and I and Bronson flew to Spokane, rented a car and drove to Missoula for Homecoming. We all had to work so we didn't leave Portland until 5pm Friday, got to Spokane and 6pm, got out of the airport at 7pm (8pm Missoula time) and raced our way across the state line. Lawrence drove, I had shotgun, Bronson had middle back. He had his seat belt on but it felt like his face was right between Lawrence's and mine the whole ride. We passed signs that said how far it was to Missoula. Missoula 170, Missoula 165, Missoula 162, Missoula 161. You have got to be kidding me? Seriously, we are on I-90, not much between Spokane and Missoula that we need an update EVERY mile almost. So we started a little game, guessing what the next sign would be. Whoever guessed the closest (without going over of course), was owed a beer by the loser. More rules to the game progressed as far as who got to chose their number in what order. The funniest part of this game was that we ended the game when we were around Frenchtown and it was Missoula 9 miles. NINE MILES. We played this game from 170-9 miles, everyone was owed 20 or so beers due to the 60 or so signs showing distance to Missoula. None of us once said "Isn't it weird that we are STILL playing this game" or "Hey guys, look how long we have been playing it" No no. We were all EAGERLY playing it, waiting for the next sign in anticipation, and couldn't wait for the next guess.

That same same trip we saw Bronson out at the Bodega and he made some close minded remark about something, Robin and I tried our hardest to open his 20ish year old mind, with no luck. He was a stubborn know it all with a very strong will. Robby and I rolled our eyes at him, and how he had so much to learn about the world. (We knew, we too grew up in small town, and thought we knew it all when we got to the city). The next day we had a flight out of Spokane at 7pm and had the whole day at Lake Coeur d'Alene , it was very enjoyable...ate ice cream, read the paper by the lake. We were glad that we had Bronson with us that trip, he was so fun and funny. Now, looking back, we are even gladder.

There were a few other times we saw Bronson, when his family came to Portland to see us, we also saw him, had our numbers in each other's cell phones, and said we should get together some time but never did. Bronson had a big goofy smile and usually brought a fun crazy time with him. He was still figuring out things in the world, and hadn't gotten it all right yet (who of us has). But he was so young, and there is the shame. There were lots and lots of times Robby and I discussed our younger clueless brothers, wondering when they'd pull their heads out. Wishing we could impart our unending wisdom on them, mothering them and smothering them with our 'my way is right'-ness. Now I feel a little strange complaining about it alone to her. She still gets it though. And so do I, and I remember to be grateful for my family. For my brother and for my mom.

Mr. Bronson Parsons, I'm glad I knew you as you became a man. I'm glad you lived in Portland and we got the chance to see you often. I'm sad that you are gone. A lot of people are. I'm glad it was through no fault of your own. I miss you and so do many, many others.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Zoo Lights

We went to the zoo lights at the Oregon Zoo with our friends the Roses on Sunday night. It was beautiful and cold and nice to get out of the house. Lawrence and I were not enjoying each others company after a silly disagreement earlier in the day. How it all melted away once we were breathing fresh air doing something fun with our friends. When we returned home, on the same page we realized that it was not the issue at hand that was eating us, it was being inside, together for so many straight days. (and for me, even longer...too long = too much thinking time).

Anyway, here are the zoo light pictures. It was incredible.



Addie stayed in the stroller most of the time, while Lily ran around. There was still a lot of dirty snow all around, and we wished we'd had them both wear their snow pants. Addie loved looking around, but felt left behind if Lily and I walked in front of the stroller pushed by dad rather than behind or next to it. They had monkeys swinging (in lights) on the tree and when Addie spotted them, she said "Mon-mon". It is her favorite animal so far, thanks to some jammies from Ian Kolmer and a mask that Lawrence picked up as a freebee somewhere (that just sadly got purged in the preHoliday clean up). And of course the 5 little monkeys jumping on the bed, you can't forget them.

Sometimes I can not believe these blue eyes! Oh and she has her first 2 pigtails under this hat, tho they looked more like antennas or horns! While I was french braiding Lily's hair she wanted her's done, she brings me the brush and her bald head and sits on the stool in front of me...it is too sweet!

I've been compiling a list of Addie's words for 18 months. She does have a lot, I'll post them when I do an 18 month update for her. She was just cute and happy, and so was Lily. We really had a great time.



Lily's favorite was a giraffe that picked up a heart in it's mouth and put it on top of a tree. Though Lily has grown and matured so much, she still has a tendency to dart off through a crowd (and I worry) never to be seen again. As I keep a tight hold on Lily's wrist when necessary, I feel a bit jealous of other moms holding gently to their childrens hands (and the kids HOLDING hand back...or when Robin's FOUR children all stay right next to her without reminding). The wrist holding is a move that Lily is used to, that's how we "hold hands" usually, but we hadn't done it in a while as I realize that I haven't been out with her in a crowd in a long long time. She's also gotten a lot tamer and less curious. She didn't do anything crazy at the zoo, but she still has that never look back attitude when she sees something that facinates her. She goes for it. Or she does look back and keeps running, always slamming into whatever is in her path (usually with the ear or back of her head). I can't tell you how many times I hear Lawrence say "Look forward when you run/ride a bike/anything else you can imaging! You'll go the direction you look honey".

With all that said, no major incidence...just a lot of fun and great breath of fresh air in a very clausterphobic family!

You know what they say about too much of a good thing...

Tinker Toy Bowling




I saw my dad do this...








Lawrence and Matt had a full blown building war with the tinker toys. Unfortunately the Little people, Jews and Gentiles alike, on planes, trains, and automobiles...took the brunt of these two Tinkertoyaticians at work. The game ended with "PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE play with me again Uncle Matt" after about 3 hrs of this. The girls liked setting up the "pins" for the boys to knock down...sometimes the also stole the pins and ate them.

Notice Addie's great ponytail, and my French braiding skills... I know, you are amazed at my beautician skills, I don't want to quit my day job though. :)


Alone.

Today was my first day out of the house by myself since December 11. Ah, it felt good. It was raining when I left and I contemplated not taking the bus, but decided I needed to save us the $12 so headed to the mall transit center. The 9:10 bus was pulling out at 9:08 as I was pulling in...I didn't even mind, I just headed to Sunset Transit Center to check for parking (there usually is none at 9am), I figured if there wasn't a spot, I'd come back to the mall and get the next bus in 30 minutes. I wasn't the slightest bit annoyed or pressured about time. I was out. And driving. And was going to get to work interruption free. There was a spot, and no one on the road, I guess everyone out there but me must be on vacation this week. But look at me, Laissez-faire, I don't care. I have a book, I have a max train, I have silence, and no one is talking to me or asking me to meet their needs.

Ahhhh.

It is now almost 1pm, and I was so efficient this morning, I have almost everything done for the day. I'm in my newly painted and rearranged yellow office, with the Willamette River at my back. I have boxes to unpack from my temporary move 2+ weeks ago. I have entries to prepare for the closing, for which I have made a meticulous time line to present to my staff today at the meeting I scheduled.

Ahhhh. Deep breath, do it with me. Ahhhh.

I. needed. this.

I'm a bit of loner, and sometimes, I just need a minute to myself. It is the first day in 18 days that I did not listen to Lily talk for the ENTIRE day. Now this can be exhausting for a mama whose main job is to be a mama, keep the house running, kids fed, hubby happy...but wearing those hats plus providing my own full time child care and a full time job, it's been too much and I haven't been a great mama to her. That's what I'm working on. Being a better mom to the two kids I've got. All moms say that we want to be "better moms", I've said it lots of times, but what does that really entail. Kinder words, more patience, more time, more selfless, and genuine joy and presence with my children. The other day Lily told me, "Mama, me and Addie don't talk to you because we want to interrupt you, we talk to you because we want you to play with us". Oh my broken heart. We made a plan, Lily and I, that day. How would I get my work done for the next day. When would I work and when would I play. Because we figured it out together, she honored her end of the bargain, and I honored mine. When I said, "Please be quiet, I only need one more minute, remember this is my working time", she listened, and then I only took one more minute, and then I played like I said I would. And she didn't know the difference if while playing store, I was the store keeper constantly cleaning...ahem...stocking the shelves for more people to shop. I do feel like I've had a breakthrough of being a better mom. Actually breaking down what that means, and doing it. One day, one hour at a time.

But today....ahhh...it feels nice to be alone. And tomorrow, I will make a plan with Lily. That worked, so I'll keep trying that.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Day Fun

Merry Christmas to all - lots of photos to share today!




Christmas Day was an extremely wonderful day. Matt was here, and having a bit of extension (2/3s) of my family here made it feel really wonderful.

Santa DID put his plate on the counter as requested, and he left a note that said "Thanks, Lil, Love Santa" which was recited to us all day. As you know, everybody got what they wanted and couldn't have been more excited. Lily woke at 6:20 and waited in her room until 6:40 before feeling like the clock would NEVER say 7am and coming out. Addie didn't fall asleep for good until 1:30, so Lawr and I were both up with her a lot until then, and she slept in until 7:30. Lily tried her hardest to wait for stockings but she just COULDN'T! So she was all OVER Addie while Addie was opening her stuff, slowly and unconcerned with any rush.

I tried to help stall Lily by telling her she had a surprise in the guest room. She thought it was a gift and ran in, flipping on the light just to find Uncle Matt and give him the biggest hug, jumping in to bed with him acting not surprised at all, but completely thrilled. This only held her off for a moment as she begged him to go down with her to open her stocking. She already raced down there and came back to report that he HAD come and he HAD left the plate on the counter the way she'd asked. I thought she was starting to get croup again, but she was simply out of breath.

Addie loved the bag of Teddy Grahams in her stocking and the bag of Caramel Popcorn that dad wrapped up for her from Trader Joe's. I got some photo snow globes, a mat for the kitchen, and some organizers for the back of the door I'd been wanting.

Lily got a bunch of games, and we were right about the sticker maker, she blew through the entire cartridge in one nap time, tho being very frugal. She loves it and thanked God for it in her bed time prayers 2 nights in a row.

This age is so amazing for them both. And it felt so good to just sit together all in one room and play and talk and open gifts for the whole morning without another care in the world.













It was so much fun to unwrap gifts and was also nice to know that we didn't go overboard on the presents, so didn't feel the normal guilt of overspending. Matt got us the game Blokus 3-D. Blokus is our favorite game, so this is that game with a whole new twist. We've been taking turns getting good at it and beating each other one game and totally getting owned the next game. Lily pretty much stuck to Matt's side the whole day and I really can't imagine how her Christmas would have been without him by her side. We decided not to go to Joseph. Too much time and money. Mostly that we loved being together with nothing to do but be together and we realized that out of the next 3 days we had together, 2 of them could be spent like this and 1 together or 3 just spent like this. We decided to take this.

Mom said that knowing Matt and I were together made it all okay for her. Somehow know we were together made it less lonely. I don't know how to describe it, but her saying that made me cry and I knew just what she meant. When you grow up with a family as small as ours, it just feels wrong when all 3 units are alone for the holidays. As long as 2 of us are together, it feels better. I think my mom also knows that she will be okay no matter what, and I won't be alone no matter what, and although Matt really doesn't care about such things, it is obvious that he is really enjoying his time with the girls and us. As usual, they are exhausting him and Lily runs him ragged with her shananagins. But it is all fun, and he likes the family, the love, the game playing, and the competition of beating the pants off me and Lawrence at every game we own. We welcome the family, the help with the kids, and the new blood GLADLY and with open arms!

Addie tried her first lemon today. She wouldn't give it up, she'd hate it, shake her head 'no', carry it around for a while, then keep eating it. Very funny. I tried to get a video, but by then, all the sour must have been out, because she happily ate it without the 'no'. I'll try to upload a few sledding, and Addie crazy dancing in her getting ready to go outside clothes. (It's sideways, I forget that you can't turn that! Still too funny, not to post!)

We went outside to make a snowman, sled, and got a decent family picture before the snow melted away. I can't believe I'm actually getting tired of seeing pictures of my kids in the same old snow clothes day in and day out! :) We are ready for this stuff to go, but it'll be slow going, and we are going to have fun while is lasts.

A very very Merry Christmas was had by all. As we celebrate God's unending love to us today, it is abundant and is noticeably all around us! You can see it in the smiles, the snow, and the gift giving amongst us!


If you stopped by to see what we were up to on Christmas, pleas e leave us a comment to tell us you were here! We love hearing that you are checking on us! Much Much Much Christmas Love!
video video video

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve 2008

I'm waiting for Santa...

I'm sitting here on my laptop, feeling blessed and excited, getting ready to go fill stockings. Lawrence's went out to pick up my brother from the Amtrak station (his "train" which ended up being a bus is almost 3 hrs late, for ride that is supposed to be under 2 hrs). Lily was in her room at 6:55 and asleep by 7:15. I've never seen her help clean up faster (we can't have Santa coming in to a messy house OR a messy room), get her jammies on, brush her teeth or be generally as quick as she was tonight. She told me "Ha, Daddy came in to help me with my jammies but (pause and arms out to the side) I was already in my jammies, no dilly dally tonight". She actually said NO DILLY DALLY. HA.

For some reason Addie had a rougher time falling asleep and I've heard her unsettled a few more times, so I think I may go give her a bit of tylenol for her last 2 poor eye teeth that should be in in the next day or two.

The uncertainty of whether we made the right decision not going to Joseph has been eating at me. Lawrence got a call at 5am to say that he didn't have to come to work today and that his office would be closed. Then the roads did not look terrible, and it rained much of the afternoon. On facebook, friend after friend updates their status with how the trip to Joseph was. Bad, but everyone keeps MAKING IT. And now they are there, and so is my mom, and I'm not. The good thing is that today was a relaxing stress free day. The house is clean, Lily and I decorated a Safeway lot tree we bought, presents are wrapped and under it, and I have no uneasy feeling about where things are to get ready for bed time, stockings filled, or stressful family long distance bad roads driving. Getting to be home with the girls today without working was lovely. I've been feeling lately that I would just be a terrible stay at home mom, and have even been feeling that I'm kind of a terrible mom in general. I realized today just how much of that is due to the stress that work puts on me. How I'm not really present for them like I want to be and the internal struggle that is going on. You know between trying to make a home, and keep a home! ;)

We are *considering* going to Joseph on Friday morning since the temperature is supposed to get up to 50 and a major break in the weather. We'll see. It would be fun to see my mom and friends. And we might just hijack my brother to come too, though I don't know if he'll go for that. My mom got a stunning new haircut today and had it colored FOR THE FIRST TIME! In her life! It's reddish and beautiful and she has an appt for 6 weeks already. Her co worker and friend Sheryl raved and raved about it today when I called the office.

I better go get to these stockings. I love Christmas Eve. I might love it more than Christmas. I love the anticipation and the preparation. I love the excitement. I loved it as a kid and I LOVE it as an parent. Looking over at a beautiful tree that I decorated with my daughter, filled with lovely presents under. We did not over do it this year. And due to the weather (and a few other issues) 2 of the smaller things I'd gotten for Lawrence from each girl isn't there. Oh, well. Santa will come through with the sticker maker, 3D sidewalk chalk, cabbage patch doll, and matching purses. Stockings will be full. No sled. Full life.

Lily left a note for Santa that said (written by me, dictated by her), "Dear Santa, can you please put your plate on the counter when you're done and can you please not break my special special plate. Love Lily"

As we were headed up to her room, she also told Lawrence, 'Daddy, DO NOT eat the cookie for Santa, if you want a cookie, get it from over there, do NOT eat Santa's cookie and I'm really not kidding".
HA! Who knows her daddy too well?

She has no idea that Uncle Matt is coming so what delightful news that will be for her in the morning. My heart leaps for the excitement that tomorrow brings for her.

Last Year's Christmas Eve Blog (2007)


I just finished filling my daughters' stockings. I smiled several times remembering the anticipation of waiting for Santa as a child. Wondering what he would bring and the moment that my stomach flipped as a filled stocking was first spotted in the morning.

Along with the rest of the kids out there, Lily was so excited today she could not calm down. We way over did it on presents for her this year. It is the first year that she really gets it and cheerfully sat on Santa's lap giving him her list. It was:
A monkey mouth (playdough like toy where you play dentist on a monkey)
Mr Potato Head
Orange Paper (no clue why Orange, but it has stayed on her list for a month!)

Santa also brought her a sled and all of the presents are arranged in it under her bulging stocking. I turned off the lights downstairs and looked back one more time at our fire place and smiled thinking of how excited she will be when she sees her stocking, sled, and the last half eaten cookie and empty glass of milk. How fun Christmas is to see it with the delighted eyes of a 3 year old.

It took her FOREVER to fall asleep tonight (a pretty common theme at our house on a normal night anyway), but she didn't get up even once to go potty because she was working so hard to get to sleep so Santa would come. Very sweet. She kept asking me all evening if Santa was on his way yet.

Obviously Addie doesn't care, she just loves watching her sister dance around and go crazy. She smiles and laughs at her non stop. She is so happy and good natured, nothing upsets her. She giggles and beside herself with glee everytime anyone even looks at her.

This year it is just our family of 4 here for Christmas. It is so nice & quiet (with the exception of Lily CRAZINESS), Lawrence cooked a ham today and tomorrow will be laid back. We are all wearing out matching Mickey/ Disney PJs tonight that Lily bought us and we got to open this morning.

So that's the update. Merry Christmas to you and your family. I'm certainly feeling very grateful for the "plenty" that we have at our house this year, I also look around my life and see that I have so many amazing people in it. What would I do without my wonderful friends and family, helping me to survive the ups and down of motherhood, career, & being a wife. The last few weeks I've been running on empty, so overwhelmed with all there is to do and the difficulty of juggling it all, but the last few days I'm running very full, finding the energy and patience where I thought there was none!

Best wishes and so much love to you all!



Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Comments

Dear visitors,
Since 12/15/08 I have had 108 visits to my blog, more to my page, but I have no idea what the difference is. In that time I have written 9 blogs. Snowed in, cabin fever, crazy lady. This is how I would describe myself currently. I just had to cancel my vacation plans and break my daughters heart. I need some positive feedback people! I see you are coming, but I'm not good with the awkward silence. Never have been. So please. Say something. Negative feedback would be appreciated too. I'm humble enough to beg for what I need.
Yours Truly,
Blogoholic mountain mama living in PJs

Hard Decision

We decided to cancel our much anticipated trip to Joseph for Christmas. The Columbia River Gorge did open today for the first time in three days to let a mile long+ line of truckers and travelers through but they anticipate another 4-8 inches tonight and reclosing tomorrow. Lily was so disappointed when I told her. She started to cry, she LOVES going to Joseph. I was hoping to get my brother an Amtrak ticket yesterday to ease the pain for her, but last night all Amtrak between Eugene and Vancouver B.C. was down. Today they opened up the tracks and I have a ticket all set ready to hit 'purchase' when I get the go ahead from him. The fact that he hasn't answered my 67 calls this morning leads me to believe he has either a)misplaced his cell phone or b)doesn't really want to come and is avoiding me like the plaque. At 9am, I though he was probably sleeping in, now at 1pm, I'm thinking he probably doesn't want to come. He isn't the biggest fan of Christmas. I even laid on the guilt hard last night, "Don't you want to come to help pick up the peices of your neices broken heart?". He got on Amtrak.com, and the tracks were down, ahh, saved by the bell. Now tracks are back up and WHY won't he answer his phone. My mom said that I should just by the ticket, but I think that is the type of controlling behavior that he hates about me and mom. I THINK, I'm not sure tho, no confirmation.

So I keep waivering between buying the ticket (mom said she'd pay half) and saying screw it all together. Hmm. Let me make call number 68 first.

Today Lawrence is going to stop at Safeway, pick up a sled from Santa, a tree from the parking lot tree lot, a boat load of groceries, and ice cream...lots and lots of ice cream, so we can hunker down for the weekend. It is all supposed to turn to rain by the weekend. I guess we'll have to make a Christmas in February in Joseph.

I hope he gets another snow day, but regardless, I have the day off so at least I will be able to concentrate on the kids and can spread myself a tad thicker than the norm as of late.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Light the Lights

This morning we woke and thought that maybe the ice storm didn't come. Big time wrong. I put my finger out of the back door and pushed it into the fluffy powder, but it was stopped dead in it's tracks by the half inch of ice blocking access to the snow.

Even so, we all got bundled up and headed out into the ice fest. Everyone in the neighborhood was out in the street sledding. Yesterday, one neighbor basically build a half pike in the street using all the snow from everyone's driveway. Now it was iced over and FAST with a big "bump" at the end (according to Lily). Dads up and down the street who have had a few days of sledding and shoveling (and who shared a few beverages yesterday) gathered to compare stories of their soreness, tiredness, and old age, ( cliche-we aren't as young as we used to be-type talk) in general. Kids were sledding when we woke up and they are still sledding now at 8pm. Lily fell on some ice (glass like - see below a broken up chunk from our yard) and cut her lip open. Lawrence thinks she looks tough. I brought the girls back inside for lunch and nap, and Lawrence finished shoveling our driveway and uncovering our cars. By the time he got in, showered, and back to look out a window, it was sleeting and the windshields were already covered in a thick sheet of new ice. Then it snowed another 4 inches of powder.

Portland is shut down completely. No driving in our county, Washington County, without chains. Most flights are canceled and I-84 (i.e the road to Joseph) is closed between Troutdale and Hood River.

Tonight was the first night of Hanukkah.

The girls opened gifts, what was left unopened from Grandma and Grandpa (with a snow week, they've already opened a few bigger things) as well as from Uncle Mark, Aunt Laureen, Jayme, Cass, & Ty. Addie was really into opening the gifts today, she was really excited and we wrapped her stuff pretty loose so she was able to open all on her own. Unfortunately the battery on my camera was kaput and I didn't get any pictures of today's present opening from them. Little Einstein Bingo from her cousins was todays highlight for Lily and we played it exactly one zillion times. It is a good learning game, she grasps it, and it is fun to play games with her now. Though she still needs encouraging to recognize that she has a bingo.

We have an electronic Menorah, Lawrence 'lit' the first light and described it to Lily, then he said the Hebrew prayer from the couch pointing to it and told her what it meant in English. I've been doing quite a bit of research myself, figuring how we can keep the Jewish traditions going, while still celebrating the birth of our Savior. It actually isn't going to be as hard as I anticipated. As I was describing some Jewish stories and beliefs, and the significance of God in them, Lawrence learned a few things too. I read a really great book recently called "Betrayed", recommended by a friend to Lawrence, written by a Jewish man, and it was really good. Anyway, Lily liked hearing about the oil and the eight nights, and wanted to know what else God did for the Jews. "Um, lots of things" was Lawrence's big answer! After that he sat and read a book we have that is written with teaching children Jewish Traditions in mind for about an hour. I was glad to see he wanted to have a more educated answer later. I think Lily was excited by the idea that she could learn Hebrew, she had fun reciting the prayer. This is the most at peace I've felt for the Holidays, that we can celebrate both, and they don't necessarily have to be a contradiction of each other. God is good, and that doesn't and won't change.

Lawrence just put Lily to bed and before he got to our room she was already up and at the door. "Daaaaaaddy, can you do rock a bye baby with me?" He said, "Okay Lily, but that's it, I thought we didn't do it because we danced the Hora instead." I did not ask, but it keeps making me laugh.

Addie did not sleep well at all last night. She woke up so many times, it is a blur. I brought her to our bed for a while, that didn't work. We took turns going in there, not going in there, getting up looking out the window for the big storm...Once when Lawrence was in with her, he was rocking her and said in a sternish voice, "It is time to go to sleep". She wailed and wailed and wailed. He felt terrible. So is so sensitive. This morning she woke up with eye tooth #2 on her top right. Okay, well that explains that! Tonight with some Tylenol, not a peep so far. Above, she was showing 'preference' to wanting to eat at a "big guy seat" (as Lily calls it) or walk around on my freshly vacuumed carpet, to eating her snack at the table in her seat. Notice the new cool space place mats from Washington D.C. we got for Hanukkah. P.S. Pluto hasn't been a planet since 06 and I just found out...I used to be so much more up on things before I was a mother...sigh...

Lily had a very long nap today which means she'll be up in her room until we are ready for bed probably. (I should say until I am ready for bed since Mr. Herman is snoring beside me at 8:15...ah like mother like son) Lily was so tired, and when I put her in for her quiet time, I knew she was going to be asleep in 30 seconds. Before she split her lip, she was sledding with the big kids, climbing back up the hill and bringing her own sled, choosing which sled she'd use the next time, and whether to go on her bottom or belly. Once when she dropped a sled and it went sliding down the hill, a neighbor boy offered to get it for her and she thanked him when he got it back up to her. I just thought it was funny what a grown kid she was. It felt so strange to not watch her like a hawk. There wasn't a car on our road, it was hard to remember this was even a street (especially with the half pike). She was doing her own thing and having her own interactions with kids, keeping her manners with out my prompting. This is a strange thing for me. Something I longed for, dreamed of, but couldn't possibly imagine a day that I wouldn't have to be caring for her every move. It happens gradually, but every once in a while I stop to take notice and am really amazed.

Oh-and the big news is that Lawrence FINALLY has his first snow day tomorrow. Meaning I get to work from home day 6, and he has daddy daycare. His boss called at 5:30 to give him the news, and he was elated.

To whom it may concern: 'Bitchy-ignoring- while- trying -to -work' mommy day"care" is closed for tomorrow due to inclement weather, as an alternate care solution, daddy will be in the back yard carefully lifting a half inch of ice off fresh powder, tossing it over the fence, so he can build a snow fort for and make snow angels with his precious girls.

No wonder they like him better!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

10 inches and counting


We had a dumping of snow today. We went and saw Santa and played in the snow this morning, got some ornaments made, had the Ornealas's over for sledding. It is still snowing out at 10pm.

What an incredible day, I hope the forecast is wrong about an ice storm tomorrow. This light powdery snow is so enjoyable.
Lily, Lucy, & Addie being pulled up the hill



Addie didn't cry but she just kept shaking her head no the entire time on Santa's lap. She did lover her candy cane though, but what a mess!





Eating snow!





Addie got up at 5am this morning and was pretty tuckered out by the time we arrived at Sleigh Bells in Sherwood. This is where we got our Christmas tree last year. We did consider getting one, because there is a chance we will cancel our trip to Joseph, but we've decided not to make a decision (or Lawrence has decided) until Monday night or Tuesday morning...
We'll be back to get a tree if we are staying!