Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween

Connor was Timmy Turner.

Diana was Wanda.

Trevor was Cosmo.

Together, they were the cast of "The Fairly Oddparents!"

The girl next to Trevor is Christy. She was a sorceress or something. Connor referred to her as "Vicky" because that's the name of Timmy's babysitter. :)

Monday, October 30, 2006

Bathroom coming along

It's not quite done, but it's usable! We still need to put in the trim, and there's supposed to be a cupboard over the toilet coming in too. And I haven't done any kind of decorating at all yet.

But we now have two full bathrooms in the house, vs. one and a toilet with a cupboard :)

Diana should be getting contact lenses soon, since Lee & I moved our stuff out of the other bathroom, and she now will have room for lenses, cleaner, solution, etc.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Cleaning Day

Saturday is cleaning day. We all clean the house & do laundry. You wouldn't think this would be cause for joy, but in Connor's case, it's just too fun.

Normally, I forget about the laundry part way through the day. Once it's started, I have to remind myself to keep moving loads. Recently, Connor decided he wanted to help with the wash. It's probably stimming a bit, but he likes to watch the washer fill with water & then do the wash cycle. He has to close the top to make it continue, so at that point, he usually leaves. He comes back again once the rinse water starts, because he wants to put in the "milk" (fabric softener looks kind of like milk). As soon as the dryer stops, he calls for me to get the load out, so we can move the wet clothes in and start a new load in the washer.

This is really helping me to keep the laundry moving. Thanks Connor!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Auf Wiedersehen Leonie!

On Sunday, we got up early and drove Leonie to the airport. Lots of the students on both sides (German & US) were tearfully saying their good-byes.

I think most of the kids had a good time visiting Oregon. A lot of them had U of O or OSU hoodies or other Oregon gear on. They had a big group hug, and lots of promises to email, etc.

Diana really liked having a "sister" around. She actually was happy to do more girly things than she usually does - like trying on clothes at the mall.

Leonie made a pretty good dent in Diana's manga collection, but I think she could have spent another couple of weeks just cozy in her bed, reading manga. Any spare moment, that's where she was. Diana was glad to have someone around who appreciated what she likes too.

Just before she left to go through the security check and off to her gate to wait to board, we did a last group hug with Diana, Leonie, Connor & me (Lee was at work and Trevor stayed home). We were all kind of sniffling, and then Connor pipes up with, "I'm Alive!" So we all had to laugh, of course. (that's a quote from Calvin & Hobbes again - the next line would be "I kiss the sweet ground!" after a nasty spill off the Radio Flyer wagon). I'm not sure if it's Calvin & Hobbes hugging each other that prompts Connor to say that, but he's done that before when hugging us.

Anyway - we watched & waved as Leonie got in the security line, and then she was out of sight. Diana & I held Connor's hands as we left the airport and got back to the van. Then we drove back toward I-5, and went in search of Sweet Tomatoes, a salad buffet restaurant we like to visit when we're near Portland.

Then we drove home again.

I just wish I'd remembered the ibuprofen & that heat pad thing I was going to stick onto my back. Ouch.

Leonie emailed already. She is home safe & sound. I think both she & Diana are already looking forward to June, when Diana goes to visit Leonie!

Homecoming Dance

Ooooh! Aaaah! Aren't they pretty?

Seriously, Diana never would have gone if not for Leonie. She hasn't attended any formal dances, and didn't have plans to go to any - but it was part of the activities for the German students, so she went!

The dress she's wearing is actually a dress she'd tried on at Ross two years ago. She really liked the dress at that time, but she was a freshman in High School, and I didn't see any reason to buy her the dress. Again, she's not into the formal dance stuff anyway.

So here we are years later, and Mary IS into the formal dance thing. She has scads of dresses, so she brings a few over for Diana & Leonie to try. And viola! There's the black and white dress Diana liked so well. She also loaned the peachy-pink dress to Leonie. If you click on the photos, you'll see more detail with the girls' hair. Mary worked a long time on both of them.

So that was Saturday night!

The Safari

I get a free pass through my parent support group, otherwise this would have cost about $60 for those of us in the car! Well, we probably would have left Mary home, but as she was going to do the girls' hair for the Homecoming Dance, I treated her too (for free).

The Safari had a lot of babies this time! Zebras, buffalo, yaks, and various ungulates in the African & Asian regions. Fun!

The lions were active (the bears were not) and the giraffe was close enough for us to see his blue tongue - so cool!

Even the hippos were out of their pond this time - highly unusual. I guess it's because it's gotten cooler, and maybe since we went in the afternoon, it was getting closer to their feeding time or something. I'm not sure. We didn't get to go through the village for long, because it was closing, so Connor missed the little train (no big loss).

After this, we got Taco Bell and the girls started getting ready for the dance. That only took 3 hours...

Monday, October 23, 2006

German Evening

Sorry for the poor image, but I was too far from the stage to use my regular auto-setting on the camera - the photos were too dark.

The german students treated us to a variety show on Thursday. Afterward, they'd all made desserts for us to try. Leonie made a chocolate whipped cream & cherry cake, and it all got eaten. She was very happy about that!

In the photo, Leonie is playing the "boyfriend" in the couple in the middle. The skit showed an older lady (red scarf) on a bench. The young couple comes and scootch her over, and then the tramp shows up and scootches over until the others are all forced off the bench. At the end, he said, "I don't have lice, but a bench to myself is nice!" and takes a nap.

Leonie did a good job of playing a boy. It reminded me of my Girl Scouts, since their favorite camp routine is "Boy scout inventions" where they all play (rather dumb) boy scouts. It's pretty funny too.

It was a fun night!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Another Hike

This is Fall Creek Falls. It's about a half-mile hike over medium terrain. Connor really liked it and this time we brought Liberty along as well. She did great as long as she was in front.

Renee is one of my Girl Scouts (we did this for our meeting - but the other two girls couldn't make it). Since she enjoys horror movies, Renee came up with a story about a mom, 3 teen girls and a little boy and a dog that get attacked by a bear AND a serial killer.

The story Renee made up is as follows. She used us as the characters - but it is just her made-up story!:

The sister & brother survive by getting back to the van and locking themselves up, althought the dog doesn't make it when it attacks the bear to give the siblings time. The exchange student tries to be a hero and gets her foot bitten off, and so she has to endure a long, painful death. The bimbo gets killed when she goes to get help alone, and the mom finally makes it to the road and gets a ride out of the horror trail, only to find out the car is being driven by the serial killer. The end.

Renee freaked herself out for the whole rest of the hike. All you had to do was say, "Gosh, that looks like a good place for a serial killer to camp" and she was running down the path.

Heh. We made it back to the car safely, obviously, and no one had a foot chewed off or anything. Renee is fun.

Happy Birthday Catherine!

She took the first two pictures herself. I was letting her play with my camera at the beach That's her foot & her towel.

Hopefully, you had a fun day today. There's a present coming in the mail - We've been kind of busy, sorry it's late!

Love from Tante Tina, Uncle Lee, Trev, Diana & Connor :)

Friday, October 20, 2006

I tweaked my back :(

On Thursday we were trained on lifting techniques at work (we have to move the kids around to different positions & changes from & to their wheelchairs).

I did fine with the lifting under the supervision of the Physical Therapist. We did lift more than usual tho. However, I felt fine, and had used the correct technique.

So after we're all trained, I go to use the restroom. While I'm laying down the little strips of TP on the seat to protect myself, I feel a twinge in my back. Suddenly I have to hold on to the rails on the wall and stuff to lift myself up & down. Dang it.

I had to file an incidence report, and fill out worker's comp stuff and go see a chiropractor. This particular chiropractor has massage therapists work on you before he does the adjustments. They use a heat pad, then massage, then the adjustment. My back feels a lot better already. The ibuprofen is good too.

Today the custodian at the school installed a holder for toilet seat covers, and filled it.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Girls like horses

Before you can ride, you need to help muck out stalls tho...

Thanks Nancy & Kraig for letting us come play with the horses!


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Cowboy Connor

This was great. Connor really liked the horses. Lee's brother Kraig & his wife Nancy have about 18 horses at their ranch. We wanted to take Leonie to visit some of our family and this is part of what we did while we were there.

Besides practically force-feeding them hay, Connor just really loved the riding part.

When I asked him later to tell me what he did, he must have strung 50+ words together in 8-10 sentence fragments about feeding and riding the horses. That's more than I've ever heard him say at once.

He sat on the white horse and said, "I'm cowboy! Let's go! Giddy-up! I'm Connor cowboy!" It was great.

The brown horse, Tia, was more skittish, so she needed to be led. The white horse, Trinity, was much more calm, so Connor could steer and ride more on his own.

We'll have to do this again soon.

Monday, October 16, 2006

A bunch of posts

After a bit of a break from blogging, I updated today (yay!).

Click on the photos to enlarge them. You don't always see the best detail in the photo as it is on the blog page.

There's another couple of day's worth of stuff I still need to add, but I'm tired now.


Saturday, Part 1

So on Saturday, we did a bit of a round-trip tour.

We started by going out to Reedsport, then up past Florence to the Sea Lion Caves.

Then back down to Florence to play around on the sand dunes, and then have some lunch.

We went back to Reedsport and stopped at the lighthouse, but by then, kids were tired, so we didn't do the tour of that after going thru the Coast Guard Museum (or maybe I was tired & didn't want to chase Connor up & down the lighthouse?).

Then down to Coos Bay, and back over inland to get home.

It was about 250 miles.

Saturday, Part 2

Leonie rolling

Connor sandy-face (click & view close up).
Diana rolling.

Trevor takes a leap.
This is just way too much fun. Ever.

Do this next time you're up our way.

Saturday, Part 3

We stopped here for lunch. You can eat in a car. It was cool.

They also had little dime or quarter rides, so we had to spend a little change on that too.

Good burgers - regular & veggie!

At Crater Lake

Here they are! The 2006-07 GAPP kids! Well, a couple of them are missing - mostly on the American side.

We had Friday off from school, and I was one of the drivers. Besides Diana & Leonie, I had the German kids' teacher, and one of the American kids' teachers. So the adults talked in front, and the girls in the back.

On the way up, we hiked at Watson Falls, which the german students really enjoyed. They live in a very flat part of Germany, and hilly hikes with waterfalls are just way cool to them. Then we got to Crater Lake and ate lunch, took a bunch of pictures & then headed back toward home.

We also did part of the "Dread & Terror" trail on the way back. If you're up our way, you gotta do that one. The "dread & terror" part isn't the trail so much as it used to be very difficult to get the mail thru that section via horseback - too many blackberry bushes and other pokey plants. The trail itself is all full of water features. It's a good idea to wear shoes that can get wet, since a lot of the trail is partly in water. Water emerges from the walls, above & under the trail (where is it all coming from?). It's not a tough hike at all, but be prepared to get wet.

We had a spectacular day, weather-wise, and all the kids enjoyed it (as did the adults!).

Gotta get ready

So Diana's going to the Homecoming Dance this weekend because all the German & American partners are going. This is not something she would choose to do, normally. It's just not her thing. This is the girl who shops in the boy's department because she prefers cargo pants over skinny jeans (you can hold a lot more pencils & erasers for art!).

However, a couple of years ago, we went to Eugene to visit a mom & daughter that were living there. We all went shoppign together, and while we were in Ross, both girls decided they wanted to try on formal dresses. Diana found a very nice strapless gown in black & white, with contrasting embroidery. She actually liked the dress well enough to ask me to buy it. At the time, she was a freshman in High School, and I didn't think it would be a great idea to buy a $50 dress to hang in the closet for years. And you know what? She didn't need it anyway - she didn't want to go to the big dances, and she didn't want a boyfriend.

Fast forward to September. We found out ALL the German & American partners are supposed to attend this Homecoming. And really, if you're going to go to a big dance like that, it's certainly a lot more fun with a bunch of friends than going with a guy you barely know anyway. If you're already in a couple, it's a bit different, but she's not, so this is cool. She now regrets that she didn't get that black & white dress at Ross, though.

Moving on, we had a sleepover with our girl scout friends. Mary, who is IN to all the big dances, has scads of dresses. She brings some along for Diana & Leonie to try out. In the bunch is the black & white dress Diana wanted 2 years ago. It found her. Guess what she's wearing to the Homecoming? Leonie also found a nice dress.

Today, a guy came up to Leonie and handed her a note from his friend. The friend asks Leonie in the note if she'll go with him to Homecoming. He writes she is "varry pritty" in his penciled note.

Actually, going as a couple is discouraged. The German & American students are supposed to hang out together - not pair off with dates. So Leonie already didn't think she was supposed to go with anyone. But Lee & I also told her it was not a big loss. First off, the guy doesn't have the guts to ask her face to face. She doesn't even know who he is! And the creative spelling isn't helping either.

But doesn't Diana look cute in make up?

Remodel update

So here's the new shower, sans doors. As you can see, it sits in the corner of the bathroom. It's actually 3 pieces, and you caulk in between all the seams first. Once the doors are on, you do a lot more caulking.

I'm not sure I'm happy with the showerhead so far. It's more like rain than a massage-type shower, and I like a little more pressure... That might get switched out. But I like the handle to turn the water on, and that came with this showerhead. Easy enough to fix.

The far left is the color of the bedroom, and in the bathroom it's a bit lighter blue.

More later....

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Getting there...

Okay - we have the vanity in, the mirror up (with lights!) and the toilet is in. The base of the shower is down, and tonight when Lee gets home, we'll put up the rest of it. It has to be glued and set, and I guess there's a 10-minute window of time to get it in the right place once you start sticking the glue on the wall, so we'll have to move fast. And apparently this glue doesn't wash off once it's on something, so we'll also have to be careful! Then it sets for 48 hours. During that time we can use the caulk and seal everything though, and once the shower walls are up, we can put up the towel racks & stuff like that.

I think we're going to put a few more shelves up still - like above the toilet. And some kind of cupboard for the appliances to stay plugged in. That will be on the wall to the right of the vanity. But we're not going to get into that part yet. We're just concentrating on a working 2nd bathroom at this point!

More pictures to follow...

Thursday, October 05, 2006


Last Friday, Lee & Diana picked up our exchange student from Germany. Her name is Leonie, and she's very nice. Her English is very good, and she has been a pretty easy guest so far.

Diana is experiencing more High School stuff than she normally would. The first night the students arrived, there was a home football game. Leonie wanted to check it out, so off they went. I dropped them off and they got a ride home with another host & german student. Diana hadn't ever been to a game before.

The next day was Saturday, and we went to a Harvest Festival (kind of dull, but it gave Leonie a chance to see a little of the town & try our great ice cream). That night there was a pool party at another host family's house, so I dropped them off there. There were 40+ high school kids there (yikes!) and that was Diana's first big boy/girl party.

On Sunday, a local pilot flew groups of 3 german students at a time for an hour-long flight. We were actually scheduled for 9:00, but it was too cloudy, and she eventually got to do her flight from noon to 1:00. After that, we had to get stuff together for a pot luck dinner, held at our big park on the river. Connor enjoyed throwing rocks in the river a lot.

Then on Monday, school started. Leonie followed Diana through her schedule the first couple of days. I had to go to a Girl Scout leader meeting, but Lee took Leonie with him to get some groceries.

Tuesday we had our regular Girl Scout meeting. I'm not sure what Leonie actually thought of that. I have some wild & crazy teen girls and there's a lot of giggling and silliness and eating. I actually had the scouts figure out a craft to do as a kind of get-to-know-you thing. So they all had canvas bags, sequins, puff paint, felt, googly eyes, etc. to stick on with sewing, tacky glue or hot glue. Everyone made a unique bag. Some of the girls got it all done, others are still working on them. After that, we had spaghetti. Mary was impressed with Leonie's use of a tablespoon to wind her spaghetti on her fork. "I love how Leonie does it right, and we're all just slopping spaghetti on our faces!"

Wednesday all the german students took a tour of our mill and museum. Leonie thought it was a little long. Leonie's best friend (also an exchange student) came to visit. I dropped Diana off with them at our outdoor mall for a couple of hours. They had to go to Claire's, Dollar Tree, and the Spirit store. That's a temporary Halloween store. Since they don't do Halloween in Germany, it was a lot of fun for the german girls to see it.

Today Leonie got her own schedule of classes. She's checking out Beginning Acting, Foods, and other elective classes. She said she enjoyed that today. Then after school, she went along to the Japanese club meeting with Diana. Speaking of, in her downtime, Leonie loves reading Diana's manga. She's currently going through Full Metal Alchemist, one of Diana's favorites. They aren't familiar with that one in Germany.

Tomorrow we'll go to the big mall in Eugene so Leonie can check out Hot Topic (so she can get her own FMA stuff. Whoo Hoo!