Monday, June 29, 2009

Happy 20th Birthday, Trevor!

Trevor is 20 today. I told him to enjoy his gifts this year, because next year it will all be booze. He said, "Oh, yay!"

I am baking a cake for him this morning, and we'll celebrate with a nice dinner - he needs to tell me what he wants :)

He passed all his classes at the college last term, and he's currently involved in the production of "The Producers" at the college, just for fun. We recently gave him a pay-as-you-go phone, and I think he's made some friends in the course of the rehearsals. The shows will start at the end of July to the beginning of August.

I'll get the dates if anyone wants to come up. Trevor doesn't have a speaking role - he's in the chorus. But it should be fun! I think there will be Sunday Matinee shows as well, if people don't want to have to drive home in the dark - Tickets should be around $10.00 or so.

Trevor is still working toward a job. There just isn't much available right now. We're all keeping our eyes open for any possibilities. :)

Happy Birthday, Trevor!

Home Again

Yesterday we left my mom's house about 7:15 (I was aiming for 7:00...) and took our normal route home again - the 97c over the mountains to the Coquilhalla highway (which used to be a $10.00 toll, but it has been paid for now, so the toll booths are gone), then down to the Trans-Canada Highway, crossing the border at Abbottsford/Sumas, then thru the countryside to Bellingham, and Interstate 5 all the way home to Roseburg.

I always get a little nervous about crossing the border. If Lee is with me, we will switch drivers so he's the one talking to the guard. I get that from my dad - he would get befuddled at the border, too. It's like you want to be super-careful to answer everything correctly, and then you can't hear the question properly. So when he asked if we had any fresh fruits or vegetables, I said "no, sir." I had 4 store-bought apples in the cooler - whoops!

We didn't see any burning trucks or flipped-over cars on the way home either. Yay. As it was, we got to use the express lane thru Seattle (which rarely happens). I still don't get that whole thing. You'd think it would be used to relieve traffic, but southbound was wide open before & after Seattle, and when we came out on the other side, northbound was a parking lot. Huh?

Connor surprised me yet again. On the way up, we'd stayed at a Comfort Inn in Kelso, WA. Around 4:30 we were going back through Kelso, and Connor says, "Mommy, turn right! Go right!" He was pointing to the exit for the hotel. From the opposite direction from the way we'd gone the last time! Dang, that kid has an awesome sense of direction & recall of landmarks!

I had to explain we were not stopping this time. Maybe next time.

We did take the offramp right off the bridge over the Columbia river at Portland to go to the Jantzen Beach Mall. They have a massive carousel left over from when Jantzen Beach was an amusement park. It burned down many years ago. I thought Connor & Diana could ride the carousel, but Connor got scared, so only Diana rode. We ate dinner then, and finished off the last leg of the trip.

I did put a hot pack on my shoulders and Lee gave me a little massage before I went to bed since a 14-hour drive tends to tighten those muscles :/

Still, I slept really well in my own bed, and I was home to greet Trevor this morning on his 20th birthday :)

Photos will be uploaded later today :)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Sushi Fun

Yesterday Connie was off work, so we got to hang out.

We went for a walk in the neighborhood first, then down into town to do some banking & shopping. We got to go to a little cafe & have some lunch - mine was bread pudding & coffee - yum!

We bought groceries for the sushi stuff that evening, and went home to drop everything off. Diana had spent the night with Catherine, and she and Mikael were going to make the sushi. Connie & I took our youngest boys to the City Park, which has an outdoor water play place. We got to sit & relax on a blanket while the boys played on the slide & other equipment.

Then we headed home again, and Connie's friend showed up with her son. Diana & Mikael worked a long time, and made some really nice pseudo California rolls. Diana made them with smoked salmon, carrot, cucumber and cream cheese. They were awesome!

I only had one vodka cooler (all alcohol is only available in liquor stores, so what would be a wine cooler at home is often a vodka or other hard liquor cooler in Canada). It was called a Black Fly of all things :P We sat on Connie's balcony and I got cold after a bit so I had tea the rest of the evening. :)

Diana wound up fixing sushi for 4 hours! But it was really good!!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Stupid Bugs

The other day when I took Mikael (my nephew) geocaching, we were at the Mission Creek park to find caches. There's a bigger river, and then some small channels for the salmon to spawn.

We were standing in the shade, checking the GPS, and Connor was tossing leaves on one side of the bridge to watch them go under & down the channel. I noticed there were some bugs around, but I just kind of swatted at them.

Later on, I realized I had some blood on my fingers. I couldn't figure out what I had touched with blood (or what looked like blood). We didn't find the geocaches, and eventually went back to my mom's.

As we're driving back, I touch something hard on my neck & pull it off. It was like a new scab or something. More blood on my fingers.

At this point I figure out I've been bitten, but it doesn't itch or anything. There's a good-sized bump though (bigger than a mosquito bite).

When we get home, I show my mom & she claims its from a black fly. I looked them up on wikipedia, and apparently they are ATTRACTED to things with DEET. Sheesh. I wasn't wearing any Off! because I hadn't noticed mosquitoes yet. I still don't know if it was a black fly, but that wasn't the only bite.

The next day, I discovered more bites on my temple, behind my ears on both sides in addition to the one on my neck. And now they started itching.

So I've been going everywhere with a tube of Hydrocortisone cream to control the itching.

Yes, I carry hydrocortisone cream when I go anywhere, because I'm completely aware of the fact that bugs like to bite me.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

To Do List

Thursday: Bank & shopping with my mom. We might have to go check out the library/skating rink/tennis court building by the H20 centre. Mikael just told me today all the stuff in there! If the weather is good, go to the beach with the kids. Maybe pizza for dinner?

Friday: Connie is off so we'll spend time together. We might try for the City Park if the weather is nice. Diana & Mikael will make sushi for dinner - so we'll have a pseudo-party at Connie's house.

Saturday: Take my mom to brunch and get bunch of pretzels for the trip & to bring home. Hang out more with Connie & kids. Pack to go home. Indian restaurant for dinner.

Sunday: Leave at o'dark thirty and drive all day. If I get too tired, we'll spend the night somewhere, but I'll be trying for home.

Am I missing anything?

Cousin Time

We've been spending time with Connie's kids while we're here. Catherine is a couple of years younger than Diana, and Mikael is a couple of years younger than Cat. Aaron just turned 9.

Catherine & Diana have a lot in common, and love to spend time together. Today the girls are going to use the public bus system to get around town & do fun stuff. Catherine is still not really comfortable doing that, so Diana is hoping to help her a bit. Diana has used the bus system in Eugene, and it's just one of those things you have to physically do to get used to it. They are going to the Comic Book shop, the Lazer Tag place & the mall. :)

Mikael is also out of school, so I will grab him and Connor and we'll try to find some geocaches. We'll have to be careful, since the bomb squad was recently called when a Muggle (non-geocacher) observed someone replacing a cache (*sigh*). Mikael has my older GPS, and he's been anxious to do this, but Connie hasn't had a lot of time to go out with him. I will encourage him to look for sites near places he goes with his mom. But today, we'll go to more out-of-the-way spots, since Connor isn't the best at being secretive :P

Aaron celebrated his 9th birthday last weekend, and our gift was Connor's old cowboy boots. He's been wearing them pretty much every day since he got them. :) This afternoon I'll bring him with his friend, Spencer, to Tae Kwon Do (my mom usually does it).

I don't know what we're doing tonight yet...

I'll try to post photos soon :)

That was dumb!

So the other night, Connie & I went to visit her friend, Cindy. We had wine & brie, and laughed and generally had a good time.

I knew I was drinking more than typical for me, since I only do one drink, when I DO have a a drink, and I'm thinking during the course of the evening, it was more like four.

The next day, I had a headache that wouldn't go away, and I felt queasy.

I felt yucky all morning, and it wasn't until after I took a 2-hour nap that I felt okay again.

While it doesn't seem like it was bad enough to call it a "hangover" - it was certainly bad enough that in the future, I'll stop whoever wants to refill my glass after the first drink!

I can only recall one other time that I ever drank more than I should have, and that was in my early 20's, when we had company from Germany - the summer before I met Lee. That ended with the room spinning & me crawling to the bathroom. The next day I felt fine, though - I had gotten rid of all the alcohol.

I guess I kind of expected the same thing or something - that I wouldn't have been able to go to sleep if I'd had more than my body could handle.

Ah well, lesson learned!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

It's a little odd being here in Canada with my mom & sister and no men around at all for Father's Day. I'm glad I'm here to kind of help my mom get past this holiday without my dad here with her. For Connie it's been a while longer since her kids lost their dad.

I would have liked to have had Lee here with us - I have two of the kids with me, and we called & posted stuff online, but it's different from being with their dad. We did go to breakfast last Sunday before we left to kind of celebrate Father's Day early with Lee, and Trevor & he are planning on catching a movie today. So he's with his firstborn kiddo, at least.

Happy Father's Day to Lee - a wonderful dad & husband.

Happy Father's Day to all our friends & family guys who are all great dads too.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Windy weather

Diana brought her Optimus Prime kite along. It has been extremely windy off & on while we've been here - yesterday was really, really windy.

We went to the park after dinner & ran around on the field and playground area flying the kite. Everyone got to try for a bit.

Connor just wanted it to land on his head :) Isn't that funny? Every time Diana brought it in, he would stand right under it so it would land on him. lol.

Diana's Skates

Since Diana's bike got stolen recently, we went ahead & ordered her some good skates so she could use them to get around college & town.

She is very cautious & needs a lot of practice.

We left later for Canada to get the skates so she'd have a couple of weeks to practice on the nice, straight streets here.

They are K2 skates, so they have a long history for the boot part, at least :)

Typical Diana, she has been watching "How to Skate" videos online to get pointers while she's learning.

Her dad will be able to help her a lot too once we get home. Hopefully she'll feel pretty comfortable & more ready to try more stuff then :)

Happy 9th Birthday, Aaron!

He's a happy kid. Especially after a school play day & getting a mustache & nail polish painted on himself.

Connor outgrew his cowboy boots and has since gotten a new pair from Aunt Donna. Connor ONLY wore his boots for actual horse riding or for Halloween.

Something tells me the boots will get a second shot at REALLY being worn with Aaron - he was SO excited to get real cowboy boots (these are Dingos).

Happy Birthday, Aaron!

Beach Fun

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Myrna's on board with blogging :)

My sister-in-law, Myrna, is going on an educational trip to Mexico to improve her Spanish-speaking skills. She is doing a blog so we can follow along with her.

Way to go, Myrna! I hope its a fantastic trip!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

In Canada...

We had a good trip up. Saw some nasty accidents tho (I don't like seeing people loaded on stretchers..), and one burned-out hulk of a truck. The Coquilhalla no longer has a toll on it, which I didn't notice until I realized I hadn't had to take out my Canadian wallet yet.

The weather turned Thunderstormy. It's been sprinkling on & off since we got here, with occasional thunder rolls. I walked with Connor to the park and 10 minutes later we came back so we wouldn't get drenched by the massive black cloud that suddenly appeared!

We did go to the new YMCA pool. Yes - this is their YMCA - check the website:
H20 Swim Centre

It's $19.00 for a family pass for the day, but while we were there this morning the slides weren't open yet - then a school showed up and attendence went from 70 people to 532 (it holds over 1,000), so we headed out.

The slides are open from 3:00 to 10:00pm, so we're going back after dinner. We got our hands stamped.

Connor WILL slide!!!

The photos are of the new bridge - or as Connor likes to say "the bridge to the future!" I wanted Trevor & Lee to see the old pontoon bridge is completely gone now :)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Epic Cleaning FAIL

Today I went up to Diana's apartment to get her for the summer break.

I told her what time I was going to be there.

I had reminded her numerous times over the last week to get her room cleaned & her stuff together.

Alas, to no avail!

Not only was the room not clean, she hadn't even begun to pack up for moving out! Granted, she'll be living there again next year, and she's paid rent through the summer, so it's still her apartment, but STILL!!

She hadn't even pulled the power cord on her computer! Ack!!!

Add to this the question: "Mom, did I give you my passport?" She had needed it to get a new Oregon ID card because the old one had expired. I didn't think she'd given the passport back, after all, she *is* an adult now. Still, we couldn't find it after three searches through the "important papers" box, so I called home & asked Trevor to check the file cabinet. He found the envelope with the other passports - only four. He even checked all the pages to see if one might be Diana's - nope!

So, during all the packing & cleaning, we also had to check every inch of the room for her passport!! She had put it in a "safe place." That would have been the 'important papers' box for me - for her, it was a diary in her jewelry drawer - but at least she found it!!

What I expected to take 15 minutes of loading up & 15 minutes of cleaning turned into 3 hours total. We still have to go back after we get home from Canada & give the room a thorough cleaning. This was just sweeping up all the crap on the floor. Why were there even snack package bags on the floor in the first place??? I honestly feel I failed as a mom, trying to teach my kid to keep a neat room!!! And Trevor is just as bad!!!

Out of all our kids, Connor is definitely the most neat. But that probably has more to do with the fact that he re-wears most of his clothes for days on end (except underwear - he changes that daily) unless I tell him to change, and he really only likes playing with video games or the computer - neither of which makes much of a mess.

I am not sure how to get an 18-year old who lives on her own to clean her room more regularly. She does know I was very disappointed that she really wasn't ready to move at all. I am now taking a small break to blog, but still have to do the chores I had set for myself for the remainder of the day.

Maybe I should send her to Lindau in Germany & have the nuns teach her. That's what my mom did with me (and Carolyn)!

Leaving for Vacation

I am excited about going to visit my mom for a couple of weeks. I'll be bringing Diana (she isn't working or taking classes over the summer) and Connor with me. Lee doesn't have the vacation time yet, and Trevor is trying to get a job, plus he's in the chorus of "The Producers" and has rehearsals. We will leave on Monday, after UPS drops off Diana's new inline skates.

We're waiting on the skates because my mom's neighborhood is pretty flat, and then Diana can get used to them before she goes back to school in the Fall. Her bike just got stolen, and she has been wanting the skates to get around campus - plus it's good exercise ;) I don't know how well they'll work in the rain, but she can figure that out later.

I got done with work on Wednesday, and Thursday I got Connor in to the dentist for a preliminary evaluation - he has to be sedated via IV to have work done, and it had been a couple of years since the last time, so I needed to do that. I also got the car serviced for the trip. I had them restore the headlights - the plastic cover had gotten kind of beaten up with time (it's a 2000 Caravan), and made the headlights more dim - so they are nice and clear now, with a protective coat to help that last longer - yay! I had to do some prep for TOPS because I'll be gone for 2 meetings, and I had to set things up for the co-leader.

Because of the change in my hours (most likely) in the Fall, I'm also trying to get us all doctor/dentist/vision appointments through the summer so we can be all up-to-date. After September, we'll be paying out of pocket with only catastrophic coverage. Ugh. Luckily, we're all pretty healthy, and maybe Lee will even be able to get off his meds soon due to the weight loss :) Trevor will still need his prescription, and we'll have to see what we can do with that.

Friday I moved more strawberries! And a little tree. And did the weeding in the front yard. That took most of the day. I started on the piles of papers that have accumulated in the house. I need to go thru, sort the stuff that can be filed, needs attention, can be trashed, etc. It's all over the kitchen table & I'll get to that when it gets hot outside.

Our TOPS club is having a garage sale next Saturday, so I'm also going through the house and trying to sort things that we can sell that way. Lee will bring it to the sale. The old dryer is going there too :) While I'm doing that, I'm also creating a list of what I'll bring to Canada. I am going to save packing until Sunday though, after the laundry is done. I am bringing along one of Connor's mini trampolines, I think.

I still have some strawberries to move. I'm hoping Lee will be able to then get our veggie garden set for new stuff. I need to create a schedule for Trevor to water the plants so all my transplanting isn't for nothing! We have flowers on the tomatoes, strawberries ripening, and my little blueberry bush went bonkers this year :) The cherries will be coming up soon, and once I'm back, the apple tree should be loaded. I hope to go to the farmer's market once the veggie patch is ready and get that going too.

I planted flower seeds in the front planters this morning. I wonder if Trevor will keep them alive :P I'll leave to get Diana soon, and then we'll be jumping into the laundry.

See? I really need a vacation!!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Daniel's Graduation

Congrats first to Daniel, youngest of Lee's sister, Myrna & hubby, Doug.
Daniel is a great guy, loads of fun, and has a great sense of humor. He is also very bright, well-mannered & just has a sweet personality. He's going to George Fox University in the Fall. And he's an honor student as well.

I think our kids have a pretty close relationship with Daniel. He's 1/2 year younger than Diana & the three of them have always gotten along very well. My kids are the oldest on the Vetter side, and the youngest on the Kiester side, and having Daniel to hang around with at all the family stuff has always been very cool.

We always enjoy when he comes to visit a few days here & there, and we hope to see more of him since he'll be driving through town whenever he goes up or back from college :)

His commencement was great. They had a comedian as the main speaker, and he was hilarious! (So much better than the evil teacher Diana had at her graduation, who talked about herself for an hour!). All Lee's sibs were at the actual ceremony, except for Karen who missed to be able to watch Connor for us (thanks again, Karen!!). We all attended the big graduation party on Sunday.
Congrats again, Daniel. I'm looking forward to watching you grow even more in college! (not in height - you're good there...)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Fifth Grade Graduation

There was a kinda-sorta graduation for the Fifth Graders last week at Connor's school. EVERY fifth grader attended with family. They had to go and get 40 more chairs from classrooms!
The photo is from the Repeat-After-Me song (which is the best kind of song for Connor) that all the kids learned at Camp Hancock. Even though he didn't go, he could do the song with them anyway :)
This really was a great group of kids, which is why we fought to get Connor as much time with them as possible. When we are out & about town, we often hear kids call out to him, give him hugs or high-fives, or whatever.
He brought home a scrapbook from fifth grade the other day. The teacher had collected comments from the other students in his class. This is what they wrote:
Connor is: a good friend; really funny and smart; a very good reader; helpful; a very talented person; very cool and nice; smart, kind, talented, and super sweet; cool; very smart and a great friend; funny; really good at following instructions; a very nice kid and is very smart; very funny and is fun to play with and talk to; smart; funny, never mean to people and nice; very good when it comes to manners; good at reading; very nice to lots of kids.
He will be going to a whole different situation next year for 6th grade. It's a different Jr. High than most of his peers from Eastwood, and he'll be mostly in the Resource room, vs. class with his peers. He will probably do choir with the regular kids, maybe some PE and Art with an assistant.
Lee met with the principal and the director of Student Services for the district on Monday, and he made sure the new classroom will have an assistant for Connor at the beginning of the year. That person may be scaled back if they find it's not necessary (budget cuts & all), but we're thinking they'll see the need for the assistance and keep that person in the room.
Anyway - We're on vacation now!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

School's out for me!

I worked a partial day today, since I still had furlough time to use up. heh.

Got all checked out and came home. Lee stayed home today with Connor since he was already out yesterday, and someone had to watch him while I had to work.

So then I fixed myself some lunch, and went to catch up on some MADEs that are filling up the DVR. I think I got through 3. I fast forward through the whiny kids :P We are still taping them to try to catch Diana's episode again. I only have the one VCR tape, and it's not even at the beginning of the tape. The person who made it taped after an old episode of "Magnum, P.I." so I always have to tell people to fast forward through that first. We have the actual DVD we got from MTV, of course, but I don't loan that out to anyone. If people want to see that one, they'll have to sit on my couch to watch it :P

Then this evening I went to the potluck party dinner thing our teacher put on for us. Only one other staff member from the class made it to the party besides me. Our supervisor and a couple of therapists came too, but they all had to leave for another staff party with a different group. The other three people from our room had various other things going - one dropped a tent trailer hitch on her foot, one is dealing with an unknown mass on an MRI, and the last one got in trouble so I think he just decided not to come (new guy!). Anyway - the food was good - I made a nice Mexican Corn Salad. Super easy, very bright and pretty, and also very tasty & healthy. Home run! I had nice, sweet watermelon for dessert :)

I will update the blog over the next few days. I have time now to download pictures, etc.

Monday, Diana, Connor & I leave for Canada after UPS delivers Diana's new online skates :)

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Job Stuff

Wednesday is my last day at my current position. I'll have 3 weeks off, then work there for summer school, but that's considered above & beyond my regular job. In the Fall, I'll start at the Early Intervention classroom in the south part of the town, called the Green District.

I'm being moved because we have kids exiting our program - One graduated yesterday, one is transferring to a different placement, and two have moved away. We had 8 students this year, and there's only one new student starting up in the Fall at this point. There are two other staff in our class who have seniority over me, which is why I have to go.

The new job is with the 3-5 year-olds who are identified with some disability. Everything from physical to emotional to mental. This is where Connor went when we found out he was Autistic. The teacher I'll be working with had him for summer sessions. On the plus side, they all weigh a lot less than the kids I've been helping, so if & when I lift them, it will be easier on my back :)

There will probably be a lot more running after these kiddos, and I expect a good amount of working on not hitting, punching, biting kinds of behaviors. Whee.

I have already worked with one of the staff at that location, and I got a nice, glowing review from my current teacher to the new teacher. I don't typically have problems working with anyone. In fact, people thought I was very good friends with a person from my current room who was removed (can't talk about that) - and I was just being a decent work acquaintance. Heh.

Oh - did I mention my hours are being cut by 5 per week so I won't qualify for full-time insurance anymore?

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Pretty Cool.

Diana made this for her Japanese presentation today.

I just think it's awesome!