Sunday, June 29, 2008

Where they are

This is a shot that was in the newspaper in Canada. My mom's house is the one near the top, and Connie and her kids live in the house on the bottom left.
As you can see, it's easy walking distance through a really nice housing development. This is where my mom & I walked almost every morning while Lee & I were visiting over the last couple of weeks.
Nice, huh?

Happy 19th Birthday, Trevor!

Looks like Christy wants the ice cream...

Here's hoping the coming year is a little easier than the last. It was a rough year at college, but this year he won't have all the added new experiences of having to take care of himself, do laundry, budget his time & food, etc. He should have figured all that stuff out now.

Over the summer he's taking an English class to catch up a bit from last year. He ended the year in good standing, and that's something we weren't sure he'd be able to accomplish! Yay!

It was a nice day, if not a little on the warm side, but we went to see Wall-E during the hottest part of the day, and we had dinner at Red Robin & people sang to him.

We are waiting to feel a little less full before we break into the cake.

I hope Daniel's baptism went well today. It should have been a good day for getting dunked in a river, much better than last month, anyway! Congrats to Dan!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Back from Canada

Lee, Connor & I went to Canada to visit with my mom & Connie & her gang. We left on the 17th, spent the night in Olympia (the brewery is gone now), and then headed up the next day for the rest of the trip. I have photos from Olympia, but I forgot to upload them back into the camera after I downloaded them!

Lee was able to get a few things done around the house for my mom, and I just figure whenever we go up there, he can help out that way as much as possible. I expect Carolyn's husband to do the same. I think Carl gets to work on the sprinkler system this time :) Lee fixed the weathervane, shingles & lights on the gazebo, for instance.

I got to attend the 7th grade band concert of my nephew, Mikael. He graduated from elementary school the following Tuesday, which Connie & my mom attended.

We found a scenic spot and scattered some of my dad's ashes on a mountainside. That was one of his requests. Interestingly, the sky had a nice vapor trail from two planes which made a big cross in the sky. I have never noticed intersecting vapor trails any other time we'd be there before, only parallel ones :)

My dad's long-time friend, Al, had not made it up for the memorial last month, so he visited for a weekend while we were there too. I hadn't had the opportunity to get to know Al before, and this was a nice chance to do that. He is now retired and has passed his successful business in LA to his sons, who have made it even more successful!

Aaron celebrated his 8th birthday while we were there too, and Connor had a lot of fun chasing the other kids around, and following along with the treasure hunt we did. It was raining so the kids wore "treasure hunting outfits" of trash bags :)
My mom & I went to the Okanagan Lavendar & Herb Farm. This is pretty much it. It looked a lot bigger in their brochure! The plant in front there is Oregon Grape, which is Oregon's state plant. I had never seen it (or noticed that was it) in Oregon :)

We checked out a park we hadn't been to in the past, with a bunch of water play stuff. Connor spent the entire time on the little water slide. What a surprise.

The "Best of Kelowna" dining guide had just come out while we were there, so we tried a few restaurants. Connor liked Jaxs because you can take an elevator (and the food was really good), but Hector's Casa wasn't all that. It got the best rating for mexican food, but Taco Time was listed as #3, so the competition wasn't all that stiff :P

I did walk with my mom almost every morning, and enjoyed the view all around the Kettle Valley development. It's a really beautiful place to live, and I'm really glad Connie & her family get to live there too. I only gained one pound for the 2 weeks we were there :)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Friday, June 13, 2008

Enjoying it

So, Connor is enjoying Summer Vacation.

Today, he walked out the back door through the patio room and out to the grass. He said, "It's my summer vacation. I like summer vacation!" He spent most of the day outside, running around the yard, swinging on his rope chair swing, and just really enjoying the day.

It got even better when we put up the tent from a couple of weekends ago. I never put it away at the campsite. It's typically damp, and hard to sweep out at the site, so I just bring it home, and we set it up on the grass and let it air out that way. I think that's Connor's definite summer signal.

I had also set out the sleeping bags to get rid of the smoky smell. Connor grabbed one, as well as a pillow that I'd washed, and set it up in the tent.

Then he just layed in there, looking up at the sky through the vents, saying, "I love summer vacation!"

Smart kid. We should all do that.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Random Stuff

School is out! W00t! I'm hoping with a little break from job, kids, etc., I can feel a little renewal and relaxation.

Diana graduated on Sunday, of course, but she had a couple of assignments to turn in on Monday, since she'd been gone a couple of days in New York the week before school was out for her. Lee & I had discussed the impact the "thing" might have on her grades before we signed the contracts, and we figured even if she dropped to B's in the second quarter, she'd probably still be okay with the grades from the first quarter of this last term. The B's she has are high, so hopefully those will wind up less B and more A in her semester grades... She doesn't have a huge amount of plans for the summer other than working four days a week, and updating her comic online ;)

Connor had his last day of school on Tuesday. It was a pretty cold and windy day, and didn't feel at all like the beginning of summer. He enjoyed the Field Day anyway, and is looking forward to our Canada trip coming up.

I had my last work day yesterday. It wasn't much of a work day though. We just cleaned up and such, and eventually checked out for the summer. I am the only regular staff member working with our students over the summer. It's only a 4-hour day, 4 days a week, but at this point, any income is good! Even if Lee was working, I'd still work summer school, because Connor will be there too.

Tomorrow we'll be driving out to K. Falls to get Trevor and all his gear. Whether or not he goes back in the Fall, he still needs to empty out his dorm room completely to check out. We'll bring the truck to get him, and all of us fit, so Diana will get to see the OIT campus for the first time tomorrow. Connor has already been there once with Lee.

Lee continues to hunt for something to do that pays money. In the meantime, our lawn looks great, he's keeping up with the weeds pretty nicely, and the dishes all get done completely every day. He's looking as far south as Medford, and as far north as Corvallis. If he gets something north, it would have to be really good to offset the gas/living/whatever expenses. We have family in Medford, and he could probably figure something out with their help if he had to stay a while. Even if it's parking a trailer (which we'd have to get still). In any case, our town really isn't offering up anything right now.

We're still plugging along. I am working hard on not stressing, and trying to "let it be." I keep hearing that song all over, and I think it's a message to me. I'm not going to change anything by worrying.

I'm extremely grateful that Diana seems to have all her Ducks in a Row (that's a pun - Oregon Ducks). The scholarship she earned will pay 90% through undergrad, and 80% graduate studies. She's going for the Master's right off the bat. Plus with the "thing," she's got contacts already in the business world :) Everyone involved in that was genuinely interested in seeing what Diana could do. I think she won't disappoint.

So welcome to Summer, enjoy it!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Our Family Grad pics

The cord & extra tassle are for National Honor Society. Diana got all her service time in at the Halloween Haunted House. She was the only one who went every night they were open.
She was also the Treasurer for the ASTRA club, the Junior version of ALTRUSA.
And, of course, she was the President of the Japanese Club for the last three years at the high school.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Diana's Friends

Fellow graduate & girl scout, Mary.
Fellow graduate & J-club VP, Corrine, aka Curry Sauce.
Fellow graduate and German 4 buddy, Amanda, aka "Eva."
Can-maybe-read as-fast-as-Diana, close friend, Cherinee (she graduated last year in Trevor's class).
Amazing great friend, Navy Nae, who drove all the way up from San Diego just to be here for her sisters in girl scout's graduation (nod to Justin for coming with).
Renee graduated early last year to be able to join the Navy - but these graduates were her classmates through her education.
Many thanks for wearing your dress whites. I was also incredibly proud of you, along with Amanda & Mary, and of course, my fabulous daughter!

Diana's Graduation Ceremony

I dropped Lee off at the school at 12:15, and he was able to get us these great seats in the first row behind the handicapped seating area.

Renee wore her white Sailor uniform & looked great!

At the ceremony, we had Lee & I, Myrna, Doug & Daniel, Donna & Jim, Cherinee, and Renee & Justin. Great show of support for Diana!

Diana was sitting in the first row, with the top 10% of her class.

She's in the middle of the photo, about the 2nd to the last row of blue chairs.
Here the names of the top 10% are called, and Diana is a little short, so she's kind of hard to find. If you click on the picture, she's looking at the camera :)
Here's my girl scout, Amanda, in line for her diploma. The kids were seated alphabetically from the back to the front, ending with the students in the front row.
Diana is in line for her diploma here. If anyone thought the "thing" would change her -- not enough. She's one of the very few girls who graduated wearing slacks. :P

The traditional mortarboard throw (after you remove your 2008 and National Honor Society tassles!). Don't bother looking for Diana in this one - she's in the crowd somewhere.

Friday, June 06, 2008

More Diana

She had her last day of school yesterday.

Today was Grad practise. Afterward, she went to lunch with friends, other seniors enjoying their freedom. She had to go to work for a bit, and then came home.

Diana is graduating in the top 10% of her class. She received an engraved plaque and she'll be sitting in the front row of graduates to acknowledge her achievement.

She also received a medal for passing her Certificate of Initial Mastery (CIM). I think she's one of the last classes to get it. In case you never heard of this (because your kids aren't old enough or whatever), when Clinton was in office, the all-knowing government decided to create an award to show you'd mastered High School. I know what you're thinking -- isn't that called a diploma? The CIM standards are higher, though. They're like a diploma that goes to 11. So Diana is one of 53 students in her class that are getting the CIM.

What does that mean? What does that help her with? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. No educational institution acknowledges the CIM. It's pretty much worthless. But hey! She got it!
She has been accepted at U of O, and she's working on getting the housing. I thought we'd be trying all summer to find her a room to rent because the dorms are all full this year. Then I got a call from Froggy's daughter. Chiarra is also starting at U of O, and she's trying to get Diana into her quad unit housing right next to the university - it's a 4-bedroom unit and one bedroom was still open! Jen & Krista are both sending her stuff for her room (we don't know what yet..).

We are pretty damn proud of our little girl. Honor Student, Girl Scout, Leader, TV star (okay, that's a stretch), and all-around great person. I'm soooo happy that things are falling into place for her. She really deserves it!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

New York City!

Diana & Lee are en route to NYC. They will arrive 3:00ish NY-time, and Diana will do the final bit of stuff for her thing. Lee gets to either hang out, or sight-see, I think.

Tomorrow Diana will finish up, and then they head home again around 6:00ish NY-time, arriving back in Eugene around midnight.

I told Diana to try to sleep on the planes as much as possible. It's a kind of whirlwind trip! I hope they get to see some fun stuff between the thing getting finished!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Our Last Camporee

Our girls had decided to host the Camporee this year, way back in February. It was good that Diana did the "thing," because it meant the girls were sure to come to each meeting, and so we had some very good planning sessions. Then everything else happened, and I had a hard time getting everything together and organizing in the last week, but hey - it was fun, and everyone who came had a great time.

I had to have Lee go to the group site by 2:00 to meet the BLM camp host and open up the camp. Diana & I got there around 5:00, with some other troops already coming in. I handed Connor over to Lee, and they left. Diana & I had to rush around a bit, find which site we wanted, help other troops get their sites, and then figure out the best places for the later troops which would come in the dark.

Amanda had to do closing at her new job, so she couldn't be there on Friday night, and Mary was en route from Seattle on a choir trip and arrived at 3:00am that night. So Saturday morning, they both showed up.

This has to have been the worst-prepared I've ever been for my troop. The Camporee part was fine - we had all the stuff for that (except evaluations, but we figured that out later). I totally forgot items we needed for our own troop for food - including the lasagne noodles for Diana's Dutch Oven cook-off entry! This was the first time I'd had to leave the camp and do more shopping - Oh well!

My second adult is Molly, Amanda's mom. She arrived Friday night as well, and since we didn't have the other girls, Diana ditched us old folks and spent Friday night with Debbie's troop - they are all at the same high school, but a year behind my girls.

Amanda & Mary came in around 9:15 on Saturday morning. They didn't have a lot of time to chit chat, because being the troop putting on the camp, they had work to do. At least they brought us Bagel Tree bagels (yummy!) Both girls were pretty tired & had brought along some AMP energy drinks. They probably shouldn't have given one to Diana - she goes a little whacko with a lot of caffeine. At least she was good to lead the games & activities for the younger girls at 10:00! Molly & I worked on our afternoon event and got that all mapped out.

Lunch was pretty quick. Amanda tried making mary-cakes, but they tasted weird, altho the method to cook them was pretty cool. We inverted the dutch oven, put coals on the bottom, and then put the inverted lid on that. Way cool griddle and it worked great!

One of our big events for this camp was a Obstacle Course/Relay Race. We divided all the girls into three teams, trying to mix them up as much as possible. We took them through the course and showed them the events, and then they had to split themselves up to those various stations for the relay.

First was the Ooblek - this is cornstarch & water, and we'd hidden colored tags at the bottom. They had to find their team color, pull it out, and then pass the baton. The ooblek gets hard if you try to force it, so you have to move slowly - hard to do when you're 'racing' someone.

Next was the Three-legged race, they turned the baton over to the apple bobbers (which a lot of these girls didn't know), then over to a math problem. Then you passed the baton over to the joust. The girls had to stand facing opposite directions on a log (our rolled-up mat), and try to whack each other off with pillows. We got the cute helms & sheilds at Dollar Tree.

Then next was eating a donut off a string, then blowing bubbles at a target (which was hard because the wind shifted), then over to the soda explosion. They used a makeshift funnel to drop Mentos into a bottle of soda to make a fountain.

Finally, the last relay station was to tell us all 8 varieties of Girl Scout cookies we'd sold this last year. The tricky ones are always the temporary cookies. No one ever remembers what they are called. This year they were Lemon Chalet Cremes, and Sugar-Free Chocolate Chip.

The team that won the relay race got the items used to make the race (the bubble-wand batons, jousting gear, sidewalk chalk, etc.). It only took about 15 minutes for the race to be won, but girls went back to play with the ooblek, jousting and apple-bobbing for a good 30 minutes afterward.

Amanda & Whitney (her sister) had a band concert to attend, so Molly took her daughters, and Diana, Mary & I cleaned up the race area. It was pretty easy washing away cornstarch & chalk. Then we hung out at the campsite a while, and then it was time to make the dutch oven recipes. Mary made our dessert, which was a cake with chocolate cake & Dr. Pepper on the bottom, a layer of cherry pie filling, and then vanilla cake dotted with butter on top.

Diana discovered we'd forgotten the lasagne noodles for her lasagne, so I had to drive into town and get more noodles. Diana got the coals going in the meantime. Once I got back, she threw together the lasagne, and got it to the firepit for baking.

We had 6 main courses, and 6 desserts. After we ate, we voted on our favorites, and the bronze, silver and gold ladles were awarded (we got the silver ladle for the lasagne). Everything was really well done this year and all the food was great.

Then we handed out a roll of duct tape and a painter's sheet to each troop, and sent them on their way to clean up after dinner. The plastic sheet & duct tape were to make an outfit to present at campfire, which was happening about 45 minutes later.

Our troop made a nice, big camp fire at the community ring, and Amanda, Diana & Mary taught songs and told jokes, etc. Most troops had a skit to perform, and it was all a lot of fun. My girls shared that this was their last Camporee, because they were graduating, and after the big camp fire was over and we all left to go back to our sites, some younger girls came over and hugged my girls. One was even crying on Amanda! I was really proud of my girls -they were exactly the kind of older girls that they used to look up to themselves. Full of confidence, knowledge, and flexible with anything that happened. It was great!

Once we got back to our site, we hung out around our firepit a while, and then we played Apples to Apples at our picnic table until later than we'd said for everyone to have lights out (whoops!). Saturday night everyone always sleeps better anyway, so it wasn't an issue with anyone (that we heard :P).

Sunday morning I did some rounds and visited the sites again. Other troops traded SWAPS and then later we had our closing circle. I think every girl shared something she really liked about the camp, which was cool because we'd given the option to just squeeze if they didn't want to say anything.

No one had anything negative to say about the Camporee, which was really nice - in fact, some other older girls said this was the best Camporee they'd ever attended :) Granted, it didn't rain, and we didn't do any real "work" for badges, etc (altho some worked on their Outdoor Camping badge), so it was definitely an easy-going camp for everyone. Troops were able to enjoy time with each other, and on their own, which was our plan.

Amanda & Mary left a little early since they'd not gotten a lot of sleep, and Molly & Whitney left once Whitney was able to go. Diana & I stayed to check everyone out, so we left the camp around 12:30. There weren't any hiccups in getting people out, which was nice as well. Low drama is always good :)

So, as far as I can tell, we went out with a nice, successful bang! Wheee!