Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cars and, no fish........

Hannah was not happy she had to come along......

Pretty Hayley!

Arlie and Jeff fishing the Snohomish on a beautiful day!

Harrison smiling in a rare moment.....

Me, self-portrait as usual since I'm the photographer!

It was a beautiful day!

Arlie couldn't leave the skates at home!

Loved this truck!

Surf's up, dude!

Fuzzy dice and all.......
We spent probably the last "real" summery day in Snohomish fishing, browsing and looking at the car show. The salmon were jumping all around us, but not a one would bite! Stupid fish! Hayley and her friend Hannah N. shopped the stores and found vintage dresses for Homecoming for cheap, cheap! So cute! It was a beautiful sunny day and fun to spend it relaxing and enjoying the waning days of summer.

Light the Night

Last Saturday we participated in Light the Night, a walk to support leukemia and lymphoma. Jeff's company, Seattle Genetics, is working on a drug, SGN-35 to treat Hodgkin's lymphoma, so they support this fundraiser. The walk was around Green Lake (2.8 miles) and everyone held a lighted balloon - red for supporters, white for survivors and gold in memory of someone. It was pretty cool to watch all the lighted balloons circling the lake. What wasn't cool was the rat that scurried right in front of us on the walkway at dusk - ewww! And it wasn't cool to hear Harrison's incessant complaining the entire time! You would have though someone stuck a hot poker in his eye the way he was carrying on. Geesh. 2.8 miles is nothing. Of course, my injured foot didn't agree and I was hobbling by the time it was over. But still. Hayley brought her friends Hannah and Micheal along, so those are the kids in the photos you probably don't recognize. It was a beautiful night!

Smooth Jazz!

Harrison is going to start band next week and he's chosen to play his dad's old trumpet! Doug already taught him to play a scale so he's been blowing that horn all day since. Hopefully he likes it (this involves getting to the jr. high school early three days a week for the lessons). Arlie is also joining band and will play the flute. Thanks Aunt Marcia for sending her old flute to Arlie to use. This saved us a TON of money in instrument rental. Can't wait to see what they learn!

Thursday, September 24, 2009


I am so glad I don't have a job that requires me to commute. Honestly, I think I'd rather make less money and work closer to home than get stuck in Seattle traffic day after day. Today I had to drive to the U district, not even downtown, and it took almost an hour to get there - at 2:30 in the afternoon! Then, to drive on the SAME road a few miles took me another 40 minutes. Then, I agreed to drive downtown to pick up a package for Jeff. Well, apparently at night in downtown Seattle, they think it's fun to close off random streets for various construction projects. So, I got lost and turned around and drove around and around until the meeting where I was supposed to pick up the package was over! In the meantime, I tried to call Jeff about a hundred times, but he refuses to keep his cell phone on him (and even when it's on him, he rarely answers it), so I was not able to get in touch with him. I ended up WAY far away from the freeway and had to go a roundabout way to get back to the freeway and didn't get home until almost 9. I hate traffic! Thank God I rarely have to drive in it.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Interminable Tuesdays..........

Tuesdays are way too long. For one thing, I go to work 15 minutes earlier on Tuesdays, not that it's a big deal, but it makes me have to get ready earlier........bleh. Then, I sometimes work later on today I worked an hour later, and then had to race home, get all the kids ready quickly (changed into exercise clothes, get water bottles filled, yoga mats found, snacks eaten, etc.), then leave the house again in 15 minutes so I could pick Hayley up at school (drama practice). Turns out, though, that Doug picked Hayley up from school (because I told him to, but then plans got changed and I forgot to tell him). So, I had to turn around, meet him so I could get Hayley and then FINALLY head off to the gymnastics studio. Except I remembered that I needed to pick up the dog's medication at the vet. So, I made a quick stop and, lo and behold, made it to the gym with ten minutes to spare (no small miracle given my track record!). I dropped the kids off, raced to the grocery store, and made it back to the gym in time for my yoga class with the girls. In the meantime, Arlie was spending two hours practicing for her gymnastics team, Harrison was taking a trampoline class and Hayley and Hannah were doing their homework in the waiting area. An hour and fifteen minutes of hot, sweaty yoga and we headed home. But, oops, what about dinner? I decided to swing by KFC. Now, we don't eat out much and especially not fast food, so the collective gasp of disbelief followed by cheers from the kids was amusing. You'd think I was taking them to Disney World! Nope, just KFC for some greasy, overpriced and overcaloried chicken. Ah well, simple pleasures. We ate a fat-laden dinner at nearly 8 p.m. and then there was the usual finishing up homework, showers, etc. Finally, at 9:45, I thought most of the kids were heading to bed (we have a 9 p.m. bedtime, except for, apparently, Tuesdays). Turns out Harrison and Arlie were still picking out school picture day outfits, Hannah was helping Arlie (and making elaborate promises to curl her hair in the morning) and Hayley still had a couple hours of homework left...........GAH!!! I'm tired, sweaty, in need of a shower, still haven't made lunches for tomorrow and I have a headache the size of Texas. I'm not such a fan of Tuesdays.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Old School

Never fall asleep before the rest of the crowd!

Not sure why he pulled up his shirt so his belly was exposed, but it really adds to the look dontcha think?

Jeff in his "man cave".......

Marie chomping on the bread!



Jeff pretending to play the guitar while singing karaoke......

Marie Parker, me, Kerri Williams

Well, through the wonders of Facebook, I reconnected with many friends from high school. The funny thing is, I barely remember most of these people, since I only attended that school my senior year and of course, as I've gotten older, I can barely remember what I had for breakfast anyway. But I have added them all as friends, because, why not? We all graduated together. Well, it's been fun to catch up and just see how nice many of them turned out. I found out one friend, Marie, has been living in Kirkland, just 15 minutes from my house! And another friend, Kerri, lives in Coeur d' Alene, not far from my sister, Monica. So, we decided to meet up and what better reason for Jeff to make a beer? We decided on a weekend and this was it. Kerri and her boyfriend Larry arrived in Seattle on Saturday (while Jeff and I slept away the early morning triathlon wake up call) and saw the sights. They arrived for dinner around 5:30 and Marie arrived around 6. Jeff made an awesome dinner of this delicious pasta dish he created, bread and salad. We sat around the table all evening, reminiscing, talking and just having a good time getting to know one another (in HS, as it turns out, we didn't really know each other - in fact, Kerri left the school halfway through jr. year, so she and I never actually went to school together!). Jeff invited over his friend from work, Jeffrey, and the two of them pretty much had their own drunken party in the family room, drinking untold amounts of beer and singing karaoke! The rest of us sat in the dining room and drank untold amounts of beer (except me, I had my two "sex on the beach" drinks and that was it! Didn't even taste "my" beer!). Anyway, Jeff ended up crashing on the black recliner that resides in our redneck garage right next to the beer fridge (oh wow, writing that makes it sound even more redneck!) and Kerri and Larry headed up to bed. I, being somewhat disgusted with Jeff and his lack of socializing with us, couple with his excessive beer intake, stayed behind to take some embarrassing photos of him, and then, in a flash of mean streak, decided to graffiti his face with a lipstick. Which is why you should never, never pass out before the rest of the party guests! Anyway, it was a good time.

Friday, September 18, 2009


It's been two days and I haven't posted so I better because I might get in trouble with Monica! So, now I have to think up something to say.........hmmm............ok, so this weekend I am having two friends from high school over for a visit. I found them on Facebook. We graduated from Judge Memorial Catholic High School in 1985. I only went there my senior year! And barely knew these two, but after reconnecting on Facebook we've been writing back and forth for months. Jeff made a beer special for the occasion and called it "Bulldog Ale" (our mascot was Bulldogs). He tapped it last night. And then he said he didn't really like it that much! So, I'm thinking, great, I totally over-promoted my amazing husband and his fabulous beer and now they're going to be disappointed! Crap. Hopefully they like the beer. I haven't even tasted it. Then, I bragged about his cooking so now he has to cook for the crowd. At first, I was promising rib-eyes and prawns but then it turned into Italian. He made up this delicious pasta dish for our anniversary so he's going to make that again. And THEN, he invited a bunch of other people over, who I wasn't expecting. So, we're having a kegger. A middle-aged kegger. Nice. The worst part is I have to now clean my house from top to bottom and I only have a few hours tonight to do it, because tomorrow morning he's doing a triathlon and I have to go take pictures. Now, I would not have planned visitors on a tri weekend had I known but he wasn't supposed to be doing this one. It was a sort of last minute decision. He actually already did this one earlier when he did his double tri this summer. But this time he will just do the super sprint distance (shorter) and hopefully we'll be done and back home, showered and ready to receive visitors by 1 p.m. Yeah. And only my husband would drive to Vantage and back tonight to drop Arlie off (five hours on the road), wake up early to compete in a tri, and still go sightseeing and make dinner for five, plus have a bunch of buddies over to drink beer all in the same weekend. And then turn around on Sunday and drive those same five hours back to get Arlie! Better him than me I say.

And what is it about cleaning the house that I hate so much? Oh yeah, having to clean my kids' rooms because they are at their dad's. Having to touch their nasty bathroom that they never clean properly and leave bits of toilet paper and laundry and other disgusting detritus on the floor. Getting distracted while cleaning and saying to myself "hey, I should sort out this bookshelf". I really need a quick system for getting the house clean and presentable in under three hours. Think I can do that? I doubt it. I'm sure I'll be embarassed by something. And I can't start now because I have to leave in a few minutes to..........drumroll, please......get my annual exam at the dr.!! Oh joy! Nothing like getting naked under a paper gown in the middle of the afternoon and having the dr. look at your nether regions to cheer a girl right up. So yeah.....naked, come home, clean. Fun, fun evening. I don't know if I can stand all the excitement.

Well I guess I could at least throw in a load of laundry. And maybe peek at the challenge I'm facing in the kids' rooms and bathroom. Ugh. I need a maid.

Oh, and one other thing. I have developed this truly "spare tire" fat around my middle esp. when I put on my now-too-tight jeans (which are the biggest size I've ever worn and I refuse to buy a bigger size!). I put on my jeans today to, you know, do the whole stretch out thing so they will be more comfortable tomorrow? And so of course it takes "muffin top" to a whole new level. I tried to put on a loose shirt, but those can only perform so many miracles, and so this fat roll was pathetically disguised under my loose shirt. I went to work, and I have this new little boy I'm watching on Tues. and Fri. He gives me a hug and says "why does your tummy stick out like that?" Ok, I know, kids are brutally honest, so I just said "because my jeans are too tight" while his skinny as a stick mom apologized for his rudeness. So, all day I've been spilling out over the top of my jeans and feeling SO fat and now I have to go to the dr. who will undoubtedly TELL me I'm too fat and then reprimand me and give me a lecture about getting skinny. The dr. who runs marathons. Yeah. Why can't I have a fat doctor? So, now these people from HS are going to see me all fatness. I mean, yeah, lots of people get fatter as they get older but I think I've taken that little slippage to a whole new extreme. Time to hit the treadmill. Or tape the mouth shut. Or both.

Oh, and I have to do my roots tonight. Because being fat AND gray is just too much for me. How did this happen? This getting old and gray and fat part? Man, if I'd known what I know now, I would never have bitched so much about my thighs in high school..................

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A record?

Well, 11 days into school and we have our first casualty. Hannah was sent home sick today. Now, "sick" is a relative term, and she just has a cold, but apparently she felt miserable enough to go to the nurse, who of course sent her home - who wants a germy, possibly swine-flu infected, jr. high school student around? But really? She doesn't have a fever, just some cold symptoms and is really tired.

So, Jeff asked me, what is it about jr. high and high school that seems to make kids sicker? Well, duh! They are going through hormone changes, they get up earlier and get less sleep, they eat junk from the vending machines and cafeteria, they share drinks and food with friends, they are crammed together at lunch, in assemblies and in classes. No wonder they pick up whatever comes along.

When my kids were smaller they never got sick. Hardly an ear infection among them as babies, rarely picked up the cold of the week as preschoolers, and spent most of elementary school well and in attendance (few exceptions, Hannah's appendix for example, were flukes). But now it seems that Hayley and Hannah "don't feel good" more than they do. And there's nothing worse than not feeling good when you are sleep-deprived.

I really wish school didn't start so early for the older kids. They need their sleep and little kids get up earlier naturally. We've even started a 9 p.m. bedtime (as opposed to 10 for the older kids last year). My thinking is that they need to be IN bed earlier so they fall asleep earlier. Even if they lay in bed reading or listening to music, at least their bodies are resting.

So, tonight I made homemade chicken noodle soup with all its healing properties to hopefully ward off any more cold symptoms in the rest of the family. It seems like last year at least once a week, SOMEONE was sick and staying home. And even one missed day in jr. high and high school is a biggie. It's so hard to catch up.

As of this writing, Hayley has been away from home for 12 hours. Leaving at 6:30 p.m., school for six hours, drama rehearsal for two hours after school and now she's into the second hour of an ASB meeting, and STILL hasn't been home to do homework or eat dinner. By the time she gets home, she will just have enough time to complete any homework she has, eat something and be off to bed, only to start it all over tomorrow.

I miss summer!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Lake Easton

The lake was so clear and serene.......
The Iron Horse trail bridge - runs parallel to I-90 bridges. We paddled under all of them to the Yakima River!

Julius Prosper Westwood, age 5. Cutest kid! This was his third camping trip.

Arlie wading in her jammies!

Hayley eating a s'more.......must be scary!

A log at the edge of the lake......

Arlie and Charlie kicking back!

Arlie and Harrison hanging out by the fire.....

Hannah spent the whole day watching movies on the laptop and playing her Nintendo DSi! Nothing like getting back to nature!

While Hayley exerted as little energy as possible by sleeping the entire day away on Saturday!

Hannah did enjoy the sun, though!

And Hayley also got some Vitamin D....

Georgie loved swimming!!!!

Arlie paddled the canoe all by herself!

Harrison, Amy and Julius having a noodle water fight!

Harrison and Arlie paddling around the lake.......

Hayley and Julius playing in the lake........

Iron Horse Trail railroad bridge........

The beach at Lake Easton

Jeff paddling around the lake......
We spent this past weekend camping at Lake Easton. It was a nice state park, although close to I-90 so there was traffic noise. But our site was nice. At the last minute, our friends Amy and Julius came with us so it was a fun weekend for them as well. Julius is 5 and about the funniest, cutest little kid you ever saw! He always says "excuse me" before he talks to you and says the funniest things. For example, we hit a huge traffic jam going there. The cars were barely moving. Julius said "excuse me, Jeff, the sign says 60 miles per hour!" He was such a cutie pie and it was fun to camp with a little one again.
Hayley and Hannah, in true teenage fashion, spent a lot of their time inside the camper, watching movies on the laptop, sleeping, texting, and just hanging out. But they did make it down to the lake for a while at least. Harrison and Arlie did a lot of swimming and canoeing - they are getting good at their canoeing skills. Arlie went out by herself and was totally comfortable. We also took the bikes, so those two biked all over the campground. Harrison entertained himself by taking this toy "Dr. Fart" into the bathroom with him and pushing the buttons to make fart sounds. Adding his own grunts and sighs, he listened for any reaction in the stalls next to him! We cracked up at his prank. Jeff took us on a wild goose chase of a geocache. We found the first one, and then tried for the second one, but as we were strolling down a forest service road, we flushed a grouse which scared the crap out of everyone! Then, we drove down that same road, in my van (a far cry from a 4 wheel drive!) and the road narrowed and narrowed until Jeff looked as though he was going to drive us off a cliff! I wish I had taken a picture - the road just ended at the top of a cliff and on three sides there was nothing but sheer rock walls. Nice. Needless to say we decided he was a little TOO into this geocache and called it a day. But, no, Jeff was not to be deterred. He immediately got Harrison and Arlie into the canoe and paddled to an island on the lake to find another geocache at the top of a 400 foot "mountain". That guy is insane!
Sunday Jeff took me on a nice long canoe ride under the bridges of I-90 to where the Yakima river feeds into Lake Easton. He paddled against the current and was exhausted by the end of the weekend after many trips around the lake and river. I got some nice photos and it was very peaceful - hardly anyone on the lake. You could see the bottom everywhere, it was so clear. We saw some big fish and trolled for them but no luck. All in all, it was a nice weekend trip and fun to just hang around the fire and chat with Amy and Julius and the kids. Bonus - the weather was beautiful, 85 degrees and sunny all weekend! A nice "end" to summer.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Driving While Stupid

Today after yoga I was having coffee with my friends Carla and Janet, and we got to talking about stupid things we've done in the car. Janet had us cracking up when she told us of the night she drove straight into the garage with her daughter's bike on the bike rack! The bike just bounced right off the rack and landed in the driveway with nary a scratch. I told of the time I drove into the parking garage at Evergreen Hospital........WITH the car top carrier on! I heard a scrape, a crunch and then "Oh Shit!" Thankfully the nice lady behind me (and the three cars behind her) backed up so I could scoot out, and hurry off to find more appropriate parking while trying to hide my head in embarrassment. The damage? Just a dent that popped right back out when Jeff pushed on it. Another time, when I was married to Doug, we drove right into the garage with the Christmas tree on top of the car! As soon as we parked we looked at each other and said "Oh Shit!" (common phrase of the chronically stupid) and then brainstormed a way to fix it (his idea? Drive back out - Noooooo!! Duh, the tree would have been stripped bare!). The solution? Roll the tree off the side - and quick before any neighbors see how stupid we were! One day I had Hannah (and all the other kids) at Children's hospital for an appointment. We left after dark and were driving in the parking garage, trying to find a way out of the damn thing! I drove around and around and finally came to a section that was REALLY dark - I could hardly see! I said (all indignant-like) "they should really get some lights in here, this is ridiculous how dark it is, I can't even see!" There was a brief silence followed by Hannah saying "DUH, Mom! We are OUTSIDE!" We had some good what's YOUR stupid driving story?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Two Little Girls...........

Good news: Tonaiya, our friend who is recovering from encephalitis, is doing well. She is learning to walk, talk, eat and function again. She was moved to the rehab floor of Seattle Children's and is improving each day. They are hopeful she might be out of the hospital by the end of the month. If you want to read the story, her webpage is:

Sad news: A high school friend of mine I reconnected with through Facebook sent me a message a couple of weeks back asking for more information about Tonaiya because one of her family members was going through something similar. A healthy little girl, Robyn became ill the week of Aug. 3 and ended up suffering a month of seizures from what they think was viral encephalitis. Unfortunately, they were unable to stop the seizures with medications and she was in a drug induced coma for days. An MRI showed her brain has been damaged beyond life compatibility and now her parents must remove support. Such a tragedy! Two very similar stories, with two very different outcomes. You can read about Robyn's story here:

Which makes one ask - why? Why would this horrible thing happen to two healthy, strong, beautiful little girls? Why can't they figure out what caused this? Why can one of them recover while the other is going to die?

As a parent, I've worried about my kids being safe, healthy and sound. I've worried about all the common childhood illnesses. I've worried about them being in a car accident. I've worried about them contracting swine flu from school. But never did I think to worry that some mysterious illness would crop up without warning and forever change their lives. It's so scary to think that something like this can happen to healthy kids. I just hope and pray for Tonaiya's complete recovery and my heart pains for Robyn's family. I don't know them at all, but reading her page, you can see how scary this has been for them, and how painful it is going to be for them to put their daughter to rest.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Another Hannah video!

River Meadows - video Hannah made!

Jeff's 1st 1/2!

Jeff, Amy, Theresa
Jeff at the finish!

Still enough energy to wave!
Jeff completed his first 1/2 marathon today, coming in at 2 hrs. 46 min. He was hoping to come in under three hours and he did it! Afterward I asked him if he was going to do another one and he said "why would I?" Guess he checked that off his bucket list! Later, as he was drifting off for a nap, he said "I can't imagine being at the finish line and knowing you had to go 13 more miles for a full marathon!" Apparently 13.1 was enough for him! Which is beyond me. I can't even run more than a mile. Running a half marathon is unbelievable to me, but hey, whatever kicks up your heels! Anyway, congrats to Jeff! Once again, he amazes me with his athletic abilities!

First Day of School!

Our neighborhood bus stop - it's grown a LOT in the past nine years......
Harrison - 5th grade

Arlie - 6th grade

Hannah - 9th grade

Hayley - 11th grade