Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Hey, I just thought of something!

In reference to how I find time to read, I failed to mention what probably amounts to a really BIG reason I find time to read - I rarely watch TV! I have a couple of shows I watch (Desperate Housewives and sometimes Brothers and Sisters on Sundays and Grey's Anatomy and ER on Thursdays) and that's it - I never turn the TV on for "background" noise or just to idly watch something. Beyond my own shows, I sometimes watch the kids' shows off and on while I putter or cook or something during the after school hours (I've seen more of iCarly and Drake and Josh than any 41 year old should have!), but I just am not a TV watcher so I believe that frees up tons of time for me to read. It's not that I don't like TV or have anything against it........I just have other things that are more compelling to me. TV is such a time suck if you really pay attention you'll see that you can easily watch two or three hours of TV without even realizing it! I just think it's a really bad habit. One of my goals for 2009 is to "cure" Harrison of his Spongebob habit. I swear the kid will walk into the family room to get something, and just out of habit, turn on the TV (always, always, always to Spongebob which seems to be on 24 hours a day), and then walk out of the room. If he actually stays in the room, he will bounce on our big exercise ball (literally the ONLY exercise that boy gets some days) while watching episode after episode of Spongebob, all of which he has seen before. It's really awful. I can't tell you how overjoyed I was the other day when the family room was quiet, the TV was off and I couldn't find Harrison! I was wondering where he was for a good half hour before I actually looked into the room and saw him READING A BOOK! On his own, without any threatening or prompting - he was just actually so into a book he started reading at school he couldn't wait to finish it! Now, that was a happy moment. So, if you want more time to read, turn off American Idol. Why watch sucky amateur singers when you could get lost in a classic?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My Reading List for 2009

Here are the books I have on my bookshelf waiting to be read in 2009. Some of these are new from Christmas, but most are either loaners or purchased at the thrift store. A few are new, bought on a whim. Anyway, here they are:
Ordinary People - Judith Guest
On Chesil Beach - Ian McEwan
Here Today - Ann M. Martin
Atonement - Ian McEwan
Three Cups of Tea - Gret Mortensen
Split: A Memoir of Divorce - Suzanne Finnemore
The Longest Trip Home - John Grogan
Certain Girls - Jennifer Weiner
Barrel Fever - David Sedaris
The Friday Night Knitting Club - Kate Jacobs
Good in Bed - Jennifer Weiner
The Road - Cormac McCarthy
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim - David Sedaris
When You Are Engulfed in Flames - David Sedaris
The Other Bolyn Girl - Phillipa Gregory
Ya-Ya's in Bloom - Rebecca Wells
The Lady of the Forest - David Guterson
True Believer - Nicholas Sparks
The Most Wanted - Jacquelyn Mitchard
The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing - Melissa Banks
Back When We Were Grownups - Anne Tyler
Fortune's Rocks - Anita Shreve
Theory of Relativity - Jacquelyn Mitchard
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee (this is a re-read for book club)

As you can see, it's an eclectic mix! What are YOU reading? Send me suggestions - I'm sure I can squeeze in a few more books this year!

I did it!!!

I just finished my 30th book for 2008! I wasn't sure I'd be able to finish another book, having just started it two days ago, but I managed to finish "The Wednesday Letters" just moments ago. It was a sweet book with a surprising twist and an interesting epilogue, in the form of a letter in an envelope. The premise of the book is a couple dies and after their deaths, their children discover thousands of letters - their dad wrote to their mom every Wednesday - and in those letters they make a shocking discovery. I enjoyed it! I'd give it ***. Next post - my reading list for 2009!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

What we do for boys.........

And I say "boys" loosely, this also includes "men" but "men" are technically just bigger "boys" so let's just say "boys" shall we? I pondered this question this morning after I said to Jeff "take me somewhere, I've been in this house for three solid days and I want to go OUT now!" (I think this could technically be considered holding me hostage, but since I am able to drive, I guess I could have escaped at any moment, provided I could slip and slide my way out of the driveway in the thick, mucky snow). So, after I literally PUSHED him out of bed, while stripping the sheets off the bed at the same time (something about lying about in them for the last two days doing nothing but eating and reading books made me think they needed to be washed...ok, and there were some crumbs....), we began the process of "getting ready". Now, as we all know this is a vastly different chore for women than for men. And this morning it was complicated by the fact that I needed to "do" my roots (because this f*&king snow caused my hair appointment to be canceled last week). But thanks to modern technology, "doing" your roots now takes only about ten minutes. So, during that ten minutes I felt the need to apply a "clarifying" face mask (apparently a dozen or so sugar cookies a day is bad for the complexion). So, I also decided I should take off my shirt, lest I have to pull it over my head whilst my roots were darkening. And there I stood, in all my glory, hair splayed out from my head much like Medusa, roots darkening to a somewhat believable brown, face all shiny and plastic-looking just like a mannequin and my "girls" hanging out in the breeze (and let's just say, I'm over 40 so the girls ALWAYS should be contained in some sort of supportive device - bra, supportive camisole, wooden shelf on which to plop them). Very sexy. While I was waiting I got out the tweezers and proceeded to pluck hairs from places hair should never grow on a woman (Barbisol anyone?), and then decided my roots were darkening faster than my face mask was drying so I proceeded to blow-dry my FACE! Once the face mask had achieved that plasticine tightness preventing me from smiling, wrinkling my brow or otherwise moving my facial muscles (Botox in a bottle!), I began the process of peeling off my mask. And that's when it hit me. I am peeling my FACE OFF! Technically a microscopic layer of "face" was coming off as I peeled and all for what? Beauty? Vanity? The desire to have my face be all one color (as opposed to very pale with red splotches that resemble countries?). I should take this opportunity to point out that Jeff was completely ready to go BEFORE I even applied my hair color. Not one to "waste" a perfecly good shower on a vacation day, he picked himself up off the floor (where I had thrown him earlier) and pulled on jeans, a t-shirt and plunked a hat on his head (why brush your hair when you've got a hat?), then smiled at me and said "I'm ready!" To which I replied "give me a few (insert expletive) minutes!" Now a full twenty minutes after that exchange, I was ready to shower and rinse out my roots. Then, of course, drying off, wrapping the hair in a towel to absorb excess water, applying leave-in conditioner and gel to curls (for that "natural" look), painting my face with a smattering of makeup and choosing an outfit and I was ready to go! Whew. All that for a trip to Starbucks and the grocery store and then home in under two hours. My cabin fever was NOT cured in this short amount of time, to which my husband replied "that's ok, we'll go out again tomorrow". TOMORROW? I think I'll go wash off my makeup, put on some ugly sweats, and my glasses. Apparently the glossing over of my housebound, lazy, sluggish self did nothing to awaken my husband's senses. Maybe I'll just shave half my head and pierce my nose and see if he notices!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

How I Find Time to Read!

After telling Jeff about my last post, he said "wow, 28 books? That makes you sound like all you do is lie around and read!" So, to qualify that (absolutely ridiculous) assumption, I thought I'd pass on my tips on how to find time to read! Most of my reading gets done before bed - I climb into bed (usually at some ridiculously late hour) and read anywhere from a few chapters to a few pages depending on how tired I am (reading makes me sleepy!). After that, I find the best time to sneak in a few pages is in the bathroom! Take your book with you, do your business and stay put while you read a few pages (usually no one will bug you while you're in the bathroom and you can get a few minutes' peace while you read a bit!). Then, of course, is remembering to take your book with you (which I almost never do!) and read during those tiny "found" times like waiting to pick up a kid, or in a doctor's office waiting room. Jeff swears that if you bring a book for a doctor's wait, you will get seen faster! Murphy's Law or something. By far, the best marathon reading I get done is when I have a long period of time where I am not needed or demanded upon for something - as you can imagine, this is a rare occurrance, but it DOES happen occasionally, like during a camping trip, road trip or in 2006 when I spent two days in the hospital with Hannah while she had her appendix out. Like I said, it's a rare event. I'm not saying you should hospitalize your children just to get your book read, but still, you must find those opportunities. Now, that's not to say that every, woman and child, shouldn't have at least a half-hour of uninterrupted time during each day to read. That, in my opinion, should be a law. In fact, we tried to do this with our family once. We stopped everything we were doing, met in the family room and sat down to read our own individual books (or magazines, or comic books) for a half hour. It was so nice. But as in all things, busy-ness took over and we stopped doing it. Still, it should be a mandate. Everyone should find time to read! Now stop reading my blog and go pick up a good book!

The Year in Review - Books

I was going to wait and write this post after the first because I am determined to read one more book before the end of the year (I have four days, after all!) and I just finished a book minutes ago. But instead, I will write my year in review of the books I've read this year and give them ratings. Some of these are the same as the last book post I did, but this time I will rate them and add comments. I'll give the books stars, four being the best rating. So, one star would mean the book was readable, but didn't capture my interest (i.e. not a book I "couldn't put down"), two stars means it was interesting and I wanted to know what happened, but could also set it aside and not think about it for a day or two. Three stars means I really enjoyed the book and wanted to read it at every opportunity. Four stars means the book was REALLY good and I'd want everyone to read it, because the story and the writing were so amazing. So, here goes:
1. Good Grief by Lolly Winston - This book follows a woman after she loses her husband at a young age. Pretty good read and a good first novel for this author. This was chosen by my book club. **
2. The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella. A book from the author of the "Shopaholic" fame, this book was funny and easy to read and had a good story line (also some funny "British" humor). **
3. Absolutely Organized: A Mom's Guide to a Clutter-Free, Stress-Free Home by ??. I can't even remember the author of this one and it was such a lame book. I'm not even sure why I picked it up in the first place and paid full price for it at Barnes and Noble. Suffice it to say, it had NOTHING I haven't heard before about organizing your life and home which is almost always a bunch of BS that never holds up in real life. Ick. *
4. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Now, a lot of people loved this book and it was all Oprah-ish and "spiritual" but I found it boring and irritating to read about this selfish woman's quest to "find herself" and then spew her new-found wisdom to the rest of us lesser beings. Not all of us have the funds or time to travel to three countries in a year and live and spend our time eating, or meditating or riding a goat or what have you. I enjoyed reading about the food in Italy for sure, the part about India bored me to tears (meditating for HOURS a day? HUH?) and the part about Indonesia intrigued me enough to think it might be a nice place to visit. But as for her writing and whatever message she was trying to get across? Guess it wasn't received. This was a book club pick (and I think it was actually MY pick, I'm sorry to say). *
5. Patty Jane's House of Curl by Lorna Landvik. I love this author. I don't know what it is about her but her writing style is so readable to me and her characters so interesting. I first read "Angry Housewives Eating Bon-Bons" a few years back and it was a book club pick. Several people found it hard to follow, but I found it easy to follow and interesting. So, I picked up a few more of her books and I've been totally satisfied with them. This book is about a young woman who's husband goes missing the night she goes into labor with her first child. She has to carry on without him and she opens her own hair salon. Adventures ensue. ***
6. The Space Between Us by Thrity Umriar. This was another book club pick. It's about India and the caste system and how even today there is a separation between the wealthy and the not to wealthy. Very interesting characters and a surprising twist in the story, leading to a bittersweet ending. ***
7. Whistling in the Dark by Leslie Kagan. Another book club pick. This story follows two little girls as they fend for themselves one summer while their mom is hospitalized, their stepdad is uninterested in caring for them, and a child molester in on the loose. Good writing and very readable. ***
8. Freedom Writers Diaries by Erin Gruwell and the Freedom Writers. This is a true story of a young teacher who goes into an inner-city school in Long Beach, CA and turns around groups of kids who are separated by race and gang affiliation by encouraging them to write and keep journals. Some amazing stuff happens and many of these kids go on to be successful in life. An inspirational read. ***
9. Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. This is the first in a three-book series by this awesome writing duo. It's basically the story of Peter Pan before he became Peter Pan as we know him now. Tons of adventure and suspense, along with some really good writing and some comic relief (thanks for Barry). Ages 10 and up, but Harrison and I started reading these when he was 8. ***
10. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. Truly one of the best books I've ever read! I loved the writing - this book is written from the perspective of a young man and an old man (same man, going back and forth between the decades) and his adventures with the old circus trains of the 30's. Really amazing details based on real-life stories, although this is a work of fiction. I couldn't put it down and immediately handed it off to my husband who also couldn't put it down! ****
11. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne. A book club pick. A wonderful, sad story about the Holocaust written in a different way - from the perspective of a boy who's father is the commander of Auschwitz. Very sad but poignant. It's being made into a movie! ***
12. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. Another book club pick. This book was very interesting - complex and detailed and mysterious at the same time. It follows a biographer as she tells the story of an eccentric author as she nears death. **
13. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. While the whole Twlight series was all the rage this year, I found this first book to be a good story, but with very mediocre writing. Meyer is a novice and it shows in her writing. The story is good, albeit a bit fantastical, but the writing could have been punched up a lot. It was also made into a movie, to lukewarm reviews, but I can't comment on it because I haven't seen it. Needless to say, I have not been inspired to read the rest of the series! **
14. Peter and the Shadow Thieves by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. The second in the trilogy. Also full of adventure and fun, this story has a new twist and old characters return. Harrison and I read this over several months as a bedtime story (a chapter or two a night). ***
15. The Ten Year Nap by Meg Wolitzer. This book was just plain boring. It's about women who take time off work to have kids and then return to the work-force (the ten year "nap"). I would harldy call raising kids "napping". I found the book tedious to read because nothing ever really happens. Again, I'm sorry I paid full price for this one, after reading several great reviews on it. Guess you can't always trust the reviews!! *
16. The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters by Elizabeth Robinson. This one was on my bookshelf for a long time before I finally decided to read it. It's a story about a woman who is dying of cancer and her family's quest to take care of her in her final months. Written entirely in the form of letters, it's easy to read. **
17. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. While this was a trendy "to read" book this year, I really did enjoy it. It's a touching look at a man with terminal cancer and his sage words of wisdom on how to live your life. It gets a little preachy in parts and of course, won't apply to everyone in all areas, but it's very touching and sweet and sad. ***
18. I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron. This book was a funny look at middle age and everything that goes along with it. I didn't thoroughly enjoy it, there were parts that bored me, but mostly I found it a quick, funny read. A good "filler" book when you're between books. **
19. Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos. A sweet story about a waitress, her wealthy suitor, his "surprise" child and her wayward mother. Mostly this was a nice, easy to read story about a relationship with surprises and how it all evolves. I picked this up at the thrift store after reading a review about it in a magazine once. **
20. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. An amazing read, with both excellent writing and tragic but compelling stories. Hosseini is a great writer and the story pulls you in and makes you want to race to the end to see how it all turns out. I would rank this one as one of my top books as well. ****
21. Marley & Me by John Grogan. A very sweet and funny book about the "world's worst dog" this book made me appreciate our bad dog, Shade, more. It reminded me of some of Shade's shenanigans and gave me a new appreciation for dogs in general and how they love us even when we're terribly flawed! It's a movie now, which I'm planning to see before the holiday break is up. ***
22. Oh, My Stars by Lorna Landvik. Again, another good one by Landvik. Interesting characters (she really fleshes them out with quirky details) and a great story. This was hard to put down, because so much was happening and I wanted to know how things turned out. ***
23. The Light of Evening by Edna O'Brien. A book club pick. I actually had to just do a search on this book to remember what it was about! That should tell you something! A writer is chased from her homeland by her "shockingly sensual" novels and goes back to visit her dying mother in her final days, accidentally leaving behind her journals, in which her mother makes a shocking discovery. I can't even remember what the discovery was. I just filched that description from the review I just read. I had rated this a two star, but since I can't even remember it, I'm downgrading it to just one. *
24. Burnt Toast by Teri Hatcher. I picked this book up at the thrift store. It sat on my bookshelf for several months before I read it. But it was actually funny and a quick read. Also full of some really good advice. I liked Hatcher's disarming way to writing as though she was just talking to a friend. She's very self-depreciating in this book which made her more appealing as a person. I enjoyed it but it was certainly just a "filler" read. **
25. Life of Pi by Yam Martel. I kept hearing good things about this book but honestly, it was tedious and kind of boring. It's about a young boy who survives a shipwreck and is stranded on a lifeboat with a bengal tiger. Yeah, right, I know. I mean, the details are pretty good to make it ALMOST believable, but with a flesh-eating island and a crazy blind man thrown into the mix, the story just got weirder and weirder. I was glad when I was done! *
26. Peter and the Secret of Rundoon by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. The third and final book in the series, this one wraps up the whole Peter Pan story with a wild adventure involving a flying ship. Harrison and I really loved these books and I'm sad we've read them all now! ***
27. Free Food For Millionaires by Min Jin Lee. Our latest book club pick. It's a story about a Korean's immigrant's daughter and her life as a law assistant on Wall Street. The story is mostly about the clash between culture and progress, but I found it boring and not really going anywhere. And the end was a disappointment - nothing really happens. Blah. *
28. Happiness Sold Separately by Lolly Winston. Ironically, the last book on my list is by the same author as the first book on this list. This is Winston's second novel and it was interesting but not developed enough to make it really interesting. It seemed a bit contrived and had "TV movie" written all over it. **

So, there you have it! My 2008 reading list (if I am lucky enough to finish another book, I will add that in a few days!). Next "to read" list for 2009! Happy Reading!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Our House at Christmas!

We go all out when it comes to decorating our house for Christmas. Every year we put up a bunch of lights, lawn ornaments, etc. For many years, our neighborhood association had a contest for the best holiday lights and we won four years in a row! The only reason we didn't win this year was because they decided not to hold the contest (they're just jealous!). While our house may not be Clark Griswold -worthy, it's pretty darn close and we are affectionately known as "The Griswold's" at Christmastime because of our decorations. Of course, all the credit goes to Jeff (for the outside of the house, anyway!). He spends many hours putting up all the lights and decorations, risking life and limb (unlike our wimpy neighbors - haha!). So, I had to show off the house, which the kids say STILL needs more lights. We usually add some feature every year to our increasing inventory of Christmas decor. Who cares if it takes up half our garage to store it all?

Bad Dog, Shade (and Charlie and Georgette!)

Last night we made a very long trek to the airport and back and while we were there, we realized that we'd left chocolate out on the coffee table at home. While Shade was hooked up to his lead (we have to keep him "chained" to the couch leg when we can't be watching him like a hawk or he will eat everything in sight), the other two dogs were "loose" and sure enough, when we returned home, there was a lot of wrapper litter and no chocolate! Now, Shade was definitely NOT the main culprit in this fiasco, but he managed to "convince" the other dogs to bring chocolate his way, as many of the wrappers were within his reach. This morning I discovered a small spot of "evidence" complete with Hershey Kisses wrappers (courtesy of Georgette, as the other two dogs spent the night in the kennel). The part that really makes me mad is that it was MY chocolate, from my stocking and it was GOOD chocolate (not your typical Hershey bar stuff). I really hope those dogs enjoyed getting their daily dose of antioxidants in that dark chocolate. And I hope they have the stomach aches to go with it! Stupid dogs.

Things you never want to hear your kids say.......

In the past several days I've noticed that there are some things you just do not want to hear your kids say. Like "look what just fell out of the dog's toy" or (while brandishing a finger with an unidentifiable object on it), "does this look edible?" There's the occasional inexplicable crashing sound followed by "I'm ok!" The sudden and horrified "GROSS!" (which usually means a dog is involved). There's the bickering: "you're stupid", "well, you're ugly", "well, you're a freak of nature", "well, you should go die in a hole" (I am not making this up!). There are the questions, such as "what is testosterone?" and the blanket statements like "you KNOW I don't eat green beans!" Or when you are greeted at the door by "don't be mad, but...." or "Guess what?" Both of which usually mean you don't want to know......

Fat and Lazy Days!

I remember once a co-worker saying to me "I'm Christmas cookied out" and I thought, WHAT? How can you ever be tired of cookies? But I think I might be nearing the end of my rope with the Christmas sweets. What once tasted divine now gives me a slightly nauseated feeling when I even smell it. Ick. Now, if I had some more Stampede Brownies, made by my wonderful friend Janet, and which I hide every year and don't share with ANYONE, I might be inclined to indulge. Because I never get sick of those. But I'm kind of sick of sugar cookies. And petit fours. And homemade almond roca. It was all delicious a few days ago, but now I'm just FULL. It doesn't help that today Jeff and I did absolutely nothing except lay in bed, read, and eat (oh and watch a movie). I took a shower at least. And we walked the dogs in the snow which is a workout in itself. But this afternoon after a particularly harrowing session of reading and napping, I decided it was now lunchtime (after having Christmas cookies and hot cocoa with Bailey's in it for breakfast!), and prepared a huge tray of leftover food which included chips and homemade salsa, cheese and crackers, grapes, carrots, and shrimp cocktail! And an assortment of dessert items including cheesecake, pecan bars, petit fours and homemade almond roca. And we feasted in bed and watched a movie and grew fatter. After this gluttony, I felt compelled to roll out of bed (not a metaphor) and walk the dogs in the snow. After huffing and puffing the dogs to their off-leash play area and back, I was ready to sit down at the computer and let my butt grow wider. I feel like my stomach is sticking out at a very unflattering angle as I type. And if a human COULD spontaneously combust, I'm sure I would. Diet starts tomorrow? Nah.....I'll wait till vacation is over. But then I'm getting serious. No more junk. Except for Starbucks. And Jeff's chocolate chip cookies. And the occasional cocktail........

Thursday, December 25, 2008

More Christmas!

Here are the kids showing off what Santa brought them!

Merry Christmas!

We woke to a white Christmas and the biggest, fluffiest snowflakes we've ever seen! Santa visited in the night and left some pretty cool gifts for all the kids. After a whilrwind of gift opening, stocking surprises and a big, home-cooked breakfast (thanks, Jeff!), the three H's went off to spend a week with their dad and Arlie will be flying to Spokane tonight (despite weather woes and airport troubles!). Jeff and I will spend the week kid-free at home (hopefully diving into some of our new books). Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!

Snowy Day!

Here are some photos of the snowy day yesterday. We have a lot of snow - for our area, especially - with about a foot of accumulation so far. It's been snowing off and on since Dec. 18. Today it snowed harder than ever, but it's tapered off into what looks like light rain, so our snow days may be coming to a close!

Good Dog, Shade!

Finally, Shade is useful for something! Here he is in his new position as sled dog, giving Arlie a ride up and down the street. From the looks of it, they are both having fun!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


So, every Christmas season we get another opportunity to teach our children how horrible some of mankind is through having to explain the theft of yet another lawn ornament! We go all out for Christmas when we decorate, so we have a lot of "things" on the lawn, etc. Well, a couple of years ago, someone stole an animated baby deer figurine we had. The kids were devastated and couldn't believe anyone would do such a thing. Tonight a group of teenage girls stole our "Please Stop Santa" sign (see the sidebar for a photo). My neighbor actually witnessed this but couldn't get out of the house fast enough (good thing for them, too, because he's sort of a Rambo-wannabe and would have popped a cap in their asses for sure!). Anyway, how sad that people are so bored, or so stupid, or just so evil that they would take something from someone's lawn and not think there might be children who would be disappointed. Guess the Christmas spirit doesn't reach everyone! May their stockings be filled with coal, may they get a bad rash in a spot they can't itch and may they get "It's a Small World" stuck in their heads till the end of time! Bah humbug!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Cute Girls!

Hey it's Harrison. My mom is the nanny for these two girls and here are some cute photos of them!

Dances with Dogs

A funny picture of Arlie throwing a snowball to Georgette - it looks like they are dancing together!


Check out how high Georgette will jump for a snowball!

Snowball Fight!

Here are some photos of Arlie, Anna, Isak and Harrison having a snowball fight last night! Harrison decided it would be funny to throw a shovel of snow on Arlie (and it was, he says!). Two days earlier Harrison and our friend Trevor built the snow fort the girls are hiding behind. It was a blast!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Monday morning!

It was still snowing at 3 a.m.! This morning the snow lays heavy and thick on all surfaces - even the snowman's hat (see photo of neighbor's windsock!). Included here are some views of our backyard. The big question of the day is, are we going to work?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Cabin Fever!

It snowed all day today. We have probably close to ten inches now and it's still snowing! Wow. It's kind of a big deal around here, although the news coverage of it borders on hysterical. Reports of how much snow, what kind of snow (light, packable, "snowball" snow), how fast it's snowing, etc. make the rounds as well as amusing coverage of cars sliding down city streets.

Sledding apparently has a two-day appeal. After that, not so much. The kids barely made it outside yesterday and today only after Jeff had built a fire in the fire pit in the driveway and lured them outdoors with promise of a fire to warm up to (and hot cocoa). Then they did play outside, building a fort and a snow slide and doing a little sledding. And we got to break up the monotony by having a potluck - if you can call it that with only two families! Janet and Dan and family braved the elements but everyone else bailed (I can't really blame them, I wouldn't want to drive in this crap, but then Janet mentioned that they chained up their van and I thought, well, DUH, we all should have done that! HA!). But it was nice to have them over and we had a ton of food anyway. The kids all had a good time and Hayley ended up at their house while Natalie stayed here. So, tomorrow we'll all have to venture out in the crazy snow (who knows how much more we'll get?) to trade kids.

I'll post more photos tomorrow! But suffice it to say we're all getting a little cabin fever around here!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Friday Snow Day!

Well, the kids have three days of school to make up now, but Friday was another fun snow day - even better, it was sunny and beautiful all day (but not above 20 degrees!). The kids spent almost the entire day sledding outside, even until after 10 p.m. when it was only 15 degrees outside! Enjoy the photos.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow day!

We had a legitimate snow day yesterday (actual snow!) and it snowed pretty much all day long. We only got 2-3 inches total, but it made enough snow to turn our street into a nice sledding hill! It's still below freezing so the snow should stick around for a while and we're expected to get more this weekend! Today is another snow day, so there should be more photos to come! Enjoy!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Bad Dog Shade - Part ??

Right after we cut the cake tonight and gave everyone a piece, we were all laughing at something and Shade took that opportunity of distraction to slurp down a piece of cake, whole! Unfortunately for him, he left behind the evidence - a paper plate, a fork, and a suspicious shadow in my peripheral vision that alerted me to his naughtiness! Stupid dog! Hayley was quick enough to capture the criminal on camera. If you should spot this hideous criminal be aware that he is armed with no wits and may have tell-tale smudges of chocolate frosting on his lips.

Mysteriously large snowball......

Jeff spotted this very large snowball on our street. It's origins are unknown and there were no tell-tale marks showing where it came from.........hmmm........methinks it's a mystery!

Birthday bloopers!

These were too funny to pass up. Hayley was taking "candid" photos of my birthday. Love the faces!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Once your kid hits about 10 years old, you don't get much snuggling time in so this photo was a very rare moment with my kids! Awww.......

My Birthday!

Today was my 41st birthday! And it was a very nice birthday. Even though I had a bad cold and felt icky, I enjoyed many of my favorite things, including:

  • Snow day - there was no school, and no work for me today!

  • Coffee - I got to visit with Tonya at coffee this morning

  • Nap - I took a two hour nap (mostly because of the cold, but still!)

  • Dinner - Jeff made a wonderful dinner of: appetizers - edamame and tempura shrimp, dinner - teriyaki cedar planked salmon with rice, potatoes and fresh green beans, and Hayley made me a delicious cake for dessert!

  • Movies and hanging out with the kids - we watched A Christmas Story and The Polar Express tonight and just chilled with the kids and it was SO nice.

  • Taking pictures - we captured everything in photos!

So, I would say it was a great birthday indeed!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Freaking cold and doctor's appointments

It is freaking cold here. Right now it's 22 degrees and not expected to get much warmer as the week goes on. In fact, we are expecting more snow this week. Which is cool for the kids, I guess, as they are practically on bended knee praying for a snow day (why? They are about to get something like 12 days off school for the holiday break). All I know is we are not prepared for this kind of cold here. The kids have barely passable winter coats and thin knit gloves! Unless we break out the ski gear, which might just have to happen pretty soon.

Yesterday was another big ole Gordon/Moore cluster f**k! I know, I should not swear in my blogs, even in "code", but I find it wonderfully stress-relieving. So, I enjoyed the first part of the day having lunch with my wonderful friends and neighbors Amy and Carla. These two are such great friends to me and our family and it was really nice to get to spend our "girl time" together. They showered me with gifts and we had a nice, long chat. I got home just in time for Hayley to arrive, then shortly thereafter, Hannah. At which point I got a call from the school nurse saying Arlie had a migraine. It was almost the end of her school day, but I decided to go pick her up, knowing how absolutely miserable that poor child is when she gets these migraines. So, I took the girls and went to pick up Harrison and Arlie. Then, I headed to another spot to pick up Bradee, a friend who was coming over for a "playdate" (keep reading, it was the suckiest playdate of the century).

We had previously scheduled doctor appointments for the girls - Hayley for her follow up x-ray to check that her pneumonia was cleared up, and Hannah because she hurt her wrist last week and it wasn't getting better. Well, since I had Arlie with me as well, and since she was so sick, I managed to get her an appointment as well. So, off the kids go to see three different doctors in the same practice. I had to send the girls on their appointments alone since I needed to accompany Arlie to hers. (Follow up - Hayley is better, Hannah had a sprained wrist). Arlie, on the other hand, was getting sicker and actually got sick while waiting for the doctor. In the end, he sent us to the hospital to have a CT scan of her head, since it was the worst headache of her life. The scan was normal. Poor kid got sick again at the hospital so now we don't know if it was migraine related or some other sickness. But she came home and went promptly to sleep. I'm guessing no school for her today!

In the meantime, Jeff had arrived at the doctor towards the end of our visit, for his own previously scheduled appointment. And Doug arrived to pick up Harrison. So, it was a big ole family affair. And Bradee? Her playdate consisted of doing homework in the waiting room. Bet she can't wait to repeat a playdate with our family!

Also, we totally forgot that we were supposed to babysit a neighbor kid. This 9 year old arrived at our house after school and no one was there! Luckily he went to another neighbor's house, but how bad is that? We forgot a child? Bet his mom can't wait to have us babysit again! (Sorry, Isak!).

What a day. But really, no different than our usual chaos. Just different locations.

Monday, December 15, 2008


Here is how we found Charlie last night after returning home from a Christmas party. All the kids (9 total) were gathered at our house for a cookie decorating party while the adults were across the street for a cocktail party. Charlie clearly took advantage of the kids' distractions and made himself a nice nest in the blankets and pillows of the couch. When Jeff took a photo of him he looked like "what? this is how I roll!" Funny dog!

Ok, a few more!

I have to add a few more photos because I took so many yesterday! Everyone was decked out for the run and so it was a good photo op for me (not that I need any excuse to take more photos!). Harrison and Arlie with a "real" Santa (he was actually on the news that same night), Hayley and Arlie, and Hayley doing her "Singin' in the Rain" impression on the streets of Seattle!

Random photos!

We took a lot of photos yesterday during and after the Jingle Bell Run so here are some of my favorites! Hannah and her best friend Jessica, Harrison and Arlie after the race, as Rudolph and Santa, and Arlie, Hayley, Hannah and Jessica goofing around while waiting for our ride!

Jingle Bell Run!

Yesterday was Jingle Bell Run 2008! We formed Team Hannah again this year and had 15 members on our team, officially. 13 of us showed up to participate in the race (the icy roads must have waylaid a few), and it was a chilly but fun time. The temperature was just about 33 degrees but a lot of the run/walk is under the viaduct, so we were out of the worst of the cold. Here are some photos of the event!

It did snow!

Well, Arlie got her wish. With a few false starts, it finally did snow on Saturday evening and we woke up Sunday to a nice little covering of snow (and very icy roads!). The temperature around here is not expected to rise above the 20's for the whole week. This is kind of an unusual occurrance here, so people are taking overprecautions! HAHA! I made that word up. I think. Anyway, in typical Seattle fashion, the weather is all over the news and school is delayed today. So, the kids are naturally thrilled, but I'm kind of pissed that it screwed up my yoga plans today. Ah well........can't have a snow day every day! Here are some photos of the snow yesterday!