Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Little bits of everything

Liam had a circus at school. He was a trick pony rider (or cowboy). He was able to borrow the chaps and horse from his friend Mathoe. He was so cute and I had to take pictures. He says he was also a farmer and so do the girls. It was truly funny and he had such a good time. The circus had a parade around the school and ate popcorn while they watched the other kids perform. It was a good experience for him. I loved it too.

So Adele was at my mom's house while Clif was mowing this past weekend. I had run out of things to keep her occupied with, so I bribed her with chocolate. Have I ever told you that she doesn't eat food but will consume her weight in chocolate. I wonder where she gets that from....
Cute picture of Evelyn. She is pretty funny and just a smile to be around.
Couple of pictures of the type of produce we are getting out of our garden this year. It has been really rainy and not very conducive so I am pleased we are getting what we have gotten. I didn't think we would get anything but the carrots did well, the Brussels sprouts are doing fine, and my squash and cucumbers did OK. Really can't say it was horrible but not great either.

Liams new bed- I am not cheap but an opportunist

We have been needing a new bed for a while now. The cute house that we live in is not big enough for all six of us without some serious storage capabilities. So I have wanted bunk beds for all the kids with the built in shelving. You know the ones I mean, the drawers and cubbies, maybe some places to put books. Those kind of bunk beds. They never seem to get cheap enough for us to afford so when the twins bunk beds came up I jumped on it. They love their new bed and I loved having them in beds where they don't kick each other. But Liam wanted a new bed too, and I kept telling him that I would look for him. And guess what?.....

It has happened again, I found a loft bed. It has enormous storage capabilities and it is in pretty good condition. Since it isn't solid wood, there are some scratches and dings. But I paid way too little to care about the scratches. Liam loves his new bed and I am very pleased, really really pleased. It makes the room so much easier for me since there is more space for me too move Adele around in and it has a place for almost all of his toys that are in his room.
These are the drawers on the left side. Clif has to replace one drawer bottom and I need to replace all the handles. It was missing quite a few, but other than that, not a lot of stuff to do to the bed.
This is the desk. You can see the places for his leap frog computer, his puzzles and games, and his books.

These are the cubbies for all of his toys. It really looks neat and tidy and I feel much better about toys in his room. Lets just say, my kids will probably be the most organized due to genetic disposition.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Who kidnapped Liam?

Liam started school today. Half day Kindergarten, that is. I am so not ready for this. We have been working for this day for so long and it came way too soon. So we have been explaining what was going to happen at school. But I have been so worried, especially since we decided that he should ride the bus. I was so expecting for him to bawl and cry and to at least make a little scene. He was so good about getting on the bus, just waved and smiled at me. Then I met him at the school and we walked to his class room together. He didn't even cry, he was a little nervous but that was all. I was the one that was getting all choked up (even now). When did he get so big? Who kidnapped my little boy and gave me this beautiful brave kid setting out to conqueror the world?

Here he is after riding the bus all by himself to school. So far he looks happy? Crazy!
Here he is all ready to go with his jacket and backpack.

Don't focus on me, just on Liam and his cute smile!

Here he is with Clif, I don't know who was more goofy! Here he is after school. Take a guess on how it went? He hasn't stopped talking about it since he got off the bus. He was tickled with school. He ate ginger bread cookies for a snack (he even brought me a bit home), drew a couple of pictures, and made some new friends. The best part is he (according to him) is bringing show and tell on Friday and he has already started to stuff his paper bag with items. I am just amazed on how much he has grown.

Clif's 31st Bday

Yes, it is true! Clif is finally an adult and has the "gray hair experiences" to testify to it. They may not be truly gray yet but this last year has had some character defining moments that would turn any one's hair gray.

This past year Clif has lost 40 lbs, ran in the Hood to coast relay, retained his job in a horrible economy, laughed and played with his 4 wild kids, and cared for his crazy wife. He tackled the unknown and took us all camping at the SFOM camp out. He survived a very wet and weirdly dreary summer, and most of all... triumphed in Liam's first day of school. If those crazy events don't create gray hair, I don't know what would!

The kids and Clif wouldn't sit still long enough to get a good picture. So this is what I could come up with. This is a fancy schmancy shirt with cuff links. He loves these shirts so I guess it is a good thing that he looks so good in them.

Getting help from everyone to open his presents.

New cuff links. Clif is giving me the evil eye because he didn't want me to take any more pictures. I also don't have the picture of the beautiful tie my Mom also got him. She has such impeccable taste in clothes.

Here is the new ensemble. How hot is he?

He wanted carrot cake, so that is what he got. He loved it. In case you are wondering he got 3 candles to represent 30 and then 1 candle to represent the 1. I am not wasting 31 candles when symbolically 4 can represent 31. Nice logic, huh!

Silly grin and still breathing

The "Hood to Coast" relay is lauded as "The Mother of all Relays". Though there are others as long, like the "Ragnar" relay series, the Hood to Coast relay is said to be the largest in the world.
The entire course is a distance of 197 miles. This is not a race for the faint-hearted. The race starts at the Timberline Lodge on the slopes of Mount Hood in Oregon through the city of Portland and along the Oregon coast to the beach town of Seaside. It consists of 1000 teams of 12 people, plus 3000 volunteers and additional official staff. It sounds like a lot to fill, but when you consider that all slots are filled within the opening day of registration, and that our team applied three years in a row before we got in, it could be much, much, larger. It really is an amazing race and is put on primarily as an American Cancer Society fundraiser.

Anyway, we had an amazing time. Each team splits up between two vans and take turns running. We would drop one runner off, race ahead to the next exchange point and pick up the previous runner and drop off the new. Of course we would spend time at each exchange point for a bit and had fun on the way to each. Our rental van, the one I was in, gave us a bit of problems during the race. The transmition started going out. We traveled most of the 197 miles in second gear. Good thing we weren't traveling much faster than the runners. Also, it gave us an excellent opportunity to "steal" a car. We borrowed the PB Portland (most of us work for Parsons Brinkerhoff) company Ford Escape, after hours and without letting anyone know, at first. So here is how it went:

First van exchange. I don't believe there was a single space for regular customers at this Fred Meyer.

Our team at the Fred Meyer (minus Kevin Sakai, a friend who consults with PB but not a PB employee taking the picture, and Eric Forsyth from the Portland Oregon office) John McMillan, Melissa Stowe (friend from Microsoft), Laura Wojcicki, me, Kelly Kozdras, Mike Colyn, Mari Dougherty (Murry, Utah office) Eric Kelley, and Sunny Rose.

A few of us before the runner before my first run. My first run was at about 9:00 at night and dark, so no pics.

Just after my second run at 6:30 in the morning. It was about 40 degrees. Not my first choice in running temperature.
A simply decorated van at the race. There really were some extravagantly decorated vans, one team put wings, missiles, and jet engines on theirs, as their name was Top Gun.

The exchange points were often a little small, so the lines to get in were a bit long. I think we waited for 2 miles here, the runners were a lot faster than the vans.
We got a little bored.
This is the end of my last run. My legs were as follows, #1, 4.39 miles, #2, 4.18 miles, #3, 7.28 miles uphill. Aside from the distance and being uphill, the last leg was by far the hardest. We had been going since the previous morning without any sleep. We tried once while the other van was running, but with all the excitment and runners coming in and out, it was just impossible. This was the second to last leg of the race.
The finish line and finish line party. It was an amazing time.