Friday, December 28, 2007


Today Trevor asked me if I had more time this year than last. I responded that I had the exact same amount of time as I had the previous year. He then amended his question to be "free" time.

Then I had to prune that down to find out whether he meant time when I was was not being paid (at work), cleaning or cooking, volunteering, attending club meetings?

He wanted to know how much time I had to do absolutely whatever I wanted. And whether I had more of that time this year than last.

What he's looking for is some kind of assurance that once he completes his education, he'll have plenty of time to pursue his interests. But he also knows he will be working full-time once he's out of school (or should be!!!). He knows he'll have to pay for his education, for instance.

I actually have a good amount of time for myself, I think. I consider my TOPS club time for me, for example. I have time to play WoW while I ride my bike. I have time to blog, and read other blogs.

I don't have big chunks of time to just lay around, typically. I have a family & home & career, and that lifestyle doesn't lend itself well to laying around.

Today - however - I spent most of the day reading a book. I don't get to do that very often. So there. I did manage to go to three different stores & exchange Christmas stuff that wasn't right, and do the shopping - but other than that - I enjoyed my heated blanket and learned about Jack the Ripper (Diana had an English paper and that was one of her source books).

I don't even have dishes tonight, and Diana is making leek soup for dinner - whee!
I think I have at least the same amount of free time as I had last year. I think...

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Family Christmas

We all met at Myrna's this year. Instead of the regular gift exchange, we did Bunco this time. Everyone brought a Bunco prize, and the winners picked first, and those of us who didn't win so big, picked toward the end. It was a lot of fun & everyone got something ;)

Jeff & Amber with Pop & Mom.

Diana, Jon, Myrna, Karen & Lee.

Connor had a great time running around with cousin Rita & her little brother James. Connor really liked the nerf gun stuff, which is why he got one for Christmas at home a couple of days later!

And Crystal was home from Rome - she got to pick the food for dinner since she came from furthest away.

We had Mexican food :)

More Christmas Eve

Connor really likes Star Wars. He specifically requested "Attack of the Clones" and "Revenge of the Sith." He was literally close to tears when he saw that he'd gotten them.

I had tried to find Episodes 1,2,3 in a boxed set, but no one (including Amazon) had it. I had sent Lee out to get the "first three" and he came home with the Original three. Dang you George Lucas!

I found Revenge of the Sith - one copy left - at our regular store. I had to hunt all around town to find Attack of the Clones. I finally found it on Christmas Eve at the used movie & video games store. Whew! But it was worth all the running around. Connor was SO happy.
Diana is wearing the little fox hat she got from Trevor. She's been making her own fleece hats, and not only is this one pretty close, but now she can figure out a pattern for round ears to make more if she wants :)

They are spendy because they are sold in Comic Shops & Hot Topic-type stores. She sells hers for $15-20, which is a good $5-10 less than the "professional" hats.

Diana is working very hard on her long-term art project. She's making a flash animation for a song. It's gonna be really cute & either Lee or I will post it so everyone can see.

I have to return the cream colored blouse there, it's a little too snug. I also have to return a hat I got for Lee. And I need to exchange the hoodie I got him. I'll post that after we get the right size. He really liked it, but the arms were too short...

Here I am with my College boy. He mostly got stuff that will be cool for his dorm room, books, etc. He registered for his next term yesterday, and he's going to be working on his scholarship applications this week & next as well. He goes back to OIT on the 4th or 5th, depending on how long Daniel stays, I think.

I like to hang our Christmas cards up when we get them. The photo cards are on a different wall (by the front door), so these are all the regular cards. I love hearing from people & getting the letters & all. Whee!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas 2007

From our home to yours:



Lee & Tina, Trevor, Diana & Connor

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Travel Bug in Switzerland!

Earlier in the year, we helped a Brownie Girl Scout Travel Bug (trackable geocaching item) get from Oregon over the ocean to England. She's trying to make her way from the East Coast of the USA to Switzerland before the troop that created her gets there in 2008.

I think she's gonna make it! I got a notification via email today that she was placed in a geocache in Switzerland now, so it's not too far for her to get to the GS World Center in Adelboden! Our Chalet

Anyway - I'm excited she's getting so close now. She was stuck in Germany a good 4 months. :)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Monday, December 17, 2007

40 Guests! Whee!

That was a fun Open House. We blocked our street with all the cars & people had to slow down to drive between them. Hee.

I think everyone who came had a good time visiting. I am pretty sure either Lee or I spoke to everyone that came for at least as long as the dip didn't need refilling (and it's a good thing Lee made a double batch of the spinach dip cause it was awesome!).

A big highlight was Mel & Libby (almost 2 years old now!) running all around. We introduced them to potato chips (sorry!!) and they would find any soft touch to get another one. Very cute.

Connor shut the door to his room about 2 hours into the guests being there. That was enough of that. He would come out to visit here & there and grab another rice krispie treat (which is why I make those at all).

Diana had a gaggle of girls in her room all day. Trevor & Christy got to play some WoW once the crowd died down a bit.

Lots of family, friends & neighbors. Good stuff.

And the house is clean! Whee!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Clean the House!

Tomorrow is our Holiday Open House (if you're anywhere near us & can get here, you're invited!!)

We do this every year because #1. We get to relax & visit with family & friends at our own house, and #2. It forces me to get my butt in gear & get the house all decked out for Christmas (before Christmas Eve).

So the Saturday before, we do a lot of cleaning & stuff to get ready. In the afternoon, we do the food prep & baking. It's a busy day, but we blast the Christmas Carols & have fun with it.

Yesterday Lee took Connor shopping with him. I asked if we had enough 409 or Fantastik to get the cleaning done, and Diana said "Fantastik? What's that?"

I just never realized I've been so faithful to 409 that my kids didn't know the names of other cleaners! We're all out of Simple Green too.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

For Kaleigh

Kaleigh just celebrated a birthday. I thought it would be fun to dedicate a post to her.

Here's something fun....

This is your mom with long hair.

She's a little younger than Diana right now in this photo.

:) Tante Tina

Friday, December 07, 2007

the Girls (together again!)

Note how I can't get one serious photo from these people...

So we had a "meeting" yesterday which meant when Lee & I got back home from our club thing, the girls were all at the house and ready to go - they had very considerately left me my usual parking spot (since everyone but Diana drives now).

We piled into the van to go to Taco Bell, because that's what they wanted to do. We heard non-classified stories from Renee and how she's government property so we're not allowed to make marks on her.

Interestingly, Taco Bell wasn't as crowded as we thought it would be. Probably due to the fact that they had run out of Chicken, Steak, Nacho Cheese sauce and sour cream. Diana asks the guy behind the counter, "How do you run out of sour cream?!?" He said, "Well, you pump the thing, and no more sour cream comes out!"

We managed to get food anyway and Renee gave hugs to the guys behind the counter because she knows everyone. After we ate, we had to go to the grocery store to get Umpqua Ice Cream, because poor Renee hadn't had decent ice cream since she left. Altho the girls insisted the ice cream counter at the store was open until 9:00 (it wasn't), at least the 1/2 gallons were on sale, so we got two & took them home. Renee got to pick.

We got back home and did a lot of ice cream-eating & laughing. Then everyone went home!


My niece had a birthday today. For fun, I had Connor help me make a Monk-email. Monk-e-mail from

If you haven't done it before, it's a lot of fun with the typing choice. Get your email addys together & go for it! Kids think it's especially fun.

If the monkeys don't say the words you want quite right, try using more phonetic spellings. And don't forget to copy your work before you leave the composing page - the box will be blank when you go back to fix the mispronounced words so you need to paste your former text back in there to fix it.


Thursday, December 06, 2007

St. Nicklaus

This year St. Nicklaus came & brought Diana & Connor some little gifts & goodies.

Diana liked the pens & fuzzy socks, and Connor got some magnets that "whizz" together and a ToothTunes toothbrush that plays the Star Wars theme ;)

The thing is, Connor learns a lot by visual input. Everything you see about Christmas in the USA involves Santa pretty much.

The German tradition celebrates the feast day of Saint Nicklaus (aka Santa Claus) on Dec 6th. That's why you put out your boot or stocking on December 5th.

On Christmas Eve, it's the Christ Child that brings the gifts & goodies - not Santa.

This is a little confusing to a kid with autism, so Connor created his own answer to the Santa issue.

It must have been Santa's elves that brought last night's stuff, since Santa won't be flying around until Christmas Eve.

All morning he was saying, "The elves came in Connor's house! Good elves! Elves in Connor's house in the night!"

Works for me!

Navy Nae

Wow! Doesn't she look great?!

Diana & I got to go welcome Renee when she arrived home on her first leave since joining the Navy in the summer.
Everyone was so excited to see her. All the adults were teary with pride.
She gamely put up with us all taking photos when what she really wanted to do was get out of uniform & relax after the long flight & drive home.
We're looking forward to visiting with her today when she comes to a GS meeting :)
Welcome Home Renee!!!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Happy First Advent ;)

Yesterday we got the tree in the house & trimmed off all the extra branches. I had gone to various stores around town yesterday and couldn't find a big enough frame for the wreath I wanted to make. Finally at Michael's Village Crafts, my friend Sue who was shopping with me, suggested using a grapevine wreath - they had nice big ones, but I knew the 40% off coupon would come out in the paper today, so I waited to get it today. There were some little decorative sprays out in front, and I got some ribbon too, but I didn't use that this time.

I took a few photos once it was hanging outside, but you couldn't tell how big it was, so I had Diana take a shot with me too. I think it came out pretty nice :)

My friend, Kathe, gave me the nice poinsettias last Friday. I hope I have a good spot for them. Last year the one I had in the kitchen didn't survive. I think it was too cold. These are in the living room where the heater is, and hopefully they'll manage better.

Tonight we'll light the first candle of Advent.
I'm just going to stuff the remaining fir branches in my planters out front. They won't be growing much until Spring anyway.