Monday, August 31, 2009

First day of school 2009

Here's Connor all ready for the first day of 6th grade.
He sat at the window waiting for his bus...

He's at a completely different school - a Junior High - in a new classroom with all new staff. He did get to attend this class last year for the week his regular class was on their 5th grade trip, so it was somewhat familiar.

He was very happy & excited to be going to this class. The teacher emailed me already & let me know he came in asking about going shopping to make cheese sandwiches - which I guess they did when he went that week. So he remembered pretty well.
When I got home today, I asked him, "How was your first day at school?" His answer was, "I love Mrs. Willingham!" That's his new teacher. :) Good start :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I made this today

I built this today at work. It's my new desk. It actually took me a bit of time, because I'm not really accustomed to reading figures & having 8 different sizes of nails & screws.

The keyboard drawer, plus the two side drawers all had different-sized rails - some with or without numbers. The pictures were tiny, so I was squinting to see which way around the rails went (turns out they were all printed so the writing was always facing the right way up).

The door for the computer stack had hinges - I'd never put any of those on anything either.

This thing is all pressboard, so I tried to be really careful with the automatic screwdriver, because the board just turns to powder if you strip the screws. I didn't strip any.

I got all the rails put on correctly, the door works great with its hinge, and I managed to get the nails & screws all flush so nothing is scraping or catching on anything when you move it.

I put the handles on the drawers perpendicular - not horizontal. Whoops. My bad.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Diana's birthday

I think she had fun. She rolled sushi (I helped roll some after the guests started coming), and there was a lot of Rock Band on the Wii.
Diana's friend, Katelyn, made this cool Chococat box with neat sayings in it. Diana did that day-camp for Girl Scouts to help Katelyn out - I think she appreciated it :)

These are the fox notebooks that Corinne (to the left) made for Diana. Foxes are Diana's favorite animal.

Lee & Trevor stayed out of the way (read played WoW), and Connor would come in, check things out, and then run off again. Later when he was more comfortable, he got everyone to come out to the trampoline to jump & fun was had.

Here's the layered 'cake' Diana requested for her birthday. It's cream cheese & whipping cream layered with pound cake & blackberries & blueberries. Yumminess!!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Connor's registration

I had a two-day course for Oregon Intervention System, which is for using personal protective measures for me & my clients (students). My new job requires this since our students are often biters, scratchers, hitters, etc. All the techniques I learned are designed to evade and escape without any harm coming to your attacker (who would be the student). It was pretty intense, especially coming off a summer that was pretty light work-wise.

Yesterday, I came home from the training & had to immediately grab Connor to take him to his registration at Jr. High. His actual appointment had been at 10:30, but both Lee & I were working, so they said if you couldn't make your appointment, you could come in the evening.

I think I'm going to do that next year whether or not I can make the assigned time. We had only one family ahead of us for the whole thing, and we were pretty much done in 15 minutes. The photographer for the school photos didn't have anyone in line ahead of us, and she was able to try at least eight different times for a good photo without holding anyone else up. Apparently the wait had been at least 50 minutes during the assigned times.

I also got to take him to say hi to his teacher. She checked his schedule & found a discrepancy, so I was able to go back to the cashier to remove a fee for choir (which won't work this time) in exchange for art class. He will also have Alternative Ed PE.

So - Connor's got his stuff for the first day of school. I still need to work out the details for the bus. His hours are 8:30 to 3:00. I will be working 7:30 to 3:00, Lee works 8:00 to 5:00 or 6:00. Hopefully the bus will pick him up around 7:45, and Lee could still walk or bike to work. If the bus comes for him later, we might be able to drop him off just before 8:00. Either way, both Trevor & Diana are home through most of September since college doesn't start until the 28th of September.

This program for Connor should be a really good fit for him. They do a lot of lifeskills like figuring out a recipe, creating a shopping list, a field trip to the store to buy the ingredients, making the food at school & eating it. That's over 3 days. He will do some kind of trip into the community every Friday - a movie, a park, shopping mall, bowling, whatever. All these experiences will give him more to talk about. The more he talks & comprehends, the better.

I'm excited :)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Happy 19th Birthday, Diana!

Diana is 19 today! She's looking forward to less trepidation at school this year - it was a big scary thing last year moving to her own place :) Now she's more used to it and we'll have to see how it goes with the roommies this year - she's the only one staying at the quad from last year's group.

Lee & I are also married 21 years today :) According to Lee, our marriage can drink now...

Also, happy birthday to our nephew, Jon. Those of you who attended our wedding reception will remember we all sang him Happy Birthday there when he turned six :)

Lee & I are both working all day - we have our TOPS meeting tonight, and then we'll go out to dinner as a family. On Saturday, Diana will have friends over for a sushi party. Lee & I kind of celebrated our anniversary already at Jenni & Rocky's wedding, and then we're going to Portland over Labor Day (with Connor) while Diana attends her Anime convention.

So happy celebrating!


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Spooky Trees!

These are for Trevor's model landscape.

Well, Carolyn? What do you think? Do they qualify as 'spooky'?

River Fun

It got to 106 here today (or so they say). Around 3:00, Diana, Connor & I got in the van & headed over to the store for a few snacks. We headed out to the river & cooooooooooooled off!

He's got my feet!!!

Diana earned this little chair in Girl Scouts about - oh - 10 years ago!

Connor's favorite food: SmartFoods white cheddar popcorn.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Family Portrait

Our church likes to create a parish directory with family portraits every now & then. Well, I guess it's every 10 years, because the last one was about 10 years ago :)

We are going to our appointment tonight. We will get a free portrait, probably similar to last time - an oval thing with no frame that fits unless you go to a specific framing store & pay who knows what for a frame. So... we didn't do that last time. We just hung up the oval :P I always meant to get a frame - heck, I could MAKE a frame. I just never got that far.

In any case, we'll sit through the spiel again tonight. I'm sure the photography people have this pretty well figured out. Who can resist a decent family portrait & tons of copies? (well, actually, Lee can - which is why no one got our family portrait the last time - too dang expensive!!).

But here's a scan of the last one. I figure I'm safe scanning it since it's been 10 years!! And look how cute the kids are! Funny thing, I think Lee & I are looking better now than 10 years ago! Ha!

Sunday, August 16, 2009


I like to sew. I think it's fun to create something new in a way I get to decide. It's different from when you buy something at the store.

That being said, I can get extremely frustrated with myself, the fabric, the machine, the noise, etc. when I do pull out the old sewing machine. In fact, I tend to ask Lee to take everyone else out of the house so I can focus completely on what I'm trying to sew.

Diana is learning this. She is sewing herself a costume for her convention over Labor Day weekend. The pattern is simple enough, but the fabric is getting her frustrated. It looks the same on the front & back side, so she's managed to sew a few things on backwards, and then have to rip them out and do them over. I hate that part :p

The most difficult thing I've ever sewn was Diana's First Communion dress. I had let her choose the pattern, and while it may have been 'Easy' for an experienced seamstress, for me, it was pretty complicated. I wound up having to assign myself chunks of the directions so I could complete it in time for the photos, which were 2 weeks before the actual event ;)

Most of the time, I'm just throwing together Halloween costumes, or fixing things. I have made actual clothes to wear, and most have turned out okay. I have the least luck with things for myself - lol.

I am proud of Diana for sticking with her project. She's got her idea in mind, and she's working hard to get it done. I'll post a photo once she has it ready.

Her cos-play character is Link (from the Zelda games).

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I got the job :)

Today I called the operations manager, because I knew the job posting had closed on Monday, and I hadn't heard about interviewing yet. I left a message and a short while later, she called me back.

We set up an interview time for tomorrow, and that was that.

A few minutes ago, I got another call from her. The only other person (the one who had seniority over me) had decided to withdraw her interest. That leaves the job for me.

Now all the hoops have been jumped through, and there shouldn't be any more surprises - right??

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Calorie watching

As most readers of this blog know, I've been very active in a TOPS club to help me maintain the 35-ish lb. weight loss I acheived 7 years ago. Recently (March) Lee also got very involved with his weight loss and has now lost over 70 lbs. Because he's also a member of the TOPS club, we are hoping he will be able to maintain his loss as well.

Now that I've been doing the calorie counting & calculating my resting metabolic rate, I have managed to lose all the way down to the very bottom of my 10-lb leeway. In fact, the weigh-in before we went to the wedding, I was AT the bottom (I almost wore shoes on the scale!).

This was the first time I've ever managed to lose weight in anticipation of an event where I knew I'd have difficulty controlling what I was served. I didn't have to worry at all about how much I'd gain (it wasn't going to be seven pounds to my goal) and I really enjoyed myself and ate what I wanted during the weekend. I also hiked to the top of the Falls & danced at the wedding for a few hours, but even so...

So last Thursday at TOPS, I had a 3.5 pound gain. That's the biggest gain I've had since I joined. But it was okay, because it's still only halfway back up to my goal weight. It will go down again, I'm sure, since now that I'm home, I'm back on track with the calorie-counting. Part of that was those garlic fries the night before at the Huey concert too :P And ice cream for dinner :P I'm sure I'll drop that again pretty soon too :)

Here's what's neat though. Diana is very excited about the Anime convention coming up on Labor Day. She's sewing a costume to be "Link" from the Zelda games. Link does not have a muffin-top, Diana does. She asked me the other day to help her figure out her calories & RMR, so she could drop about 10 pounds before the convention. She's reading labels & joining Connor on the trampoline - her comment was, "I figured no one knows more about how to loose weight than you guys." LOL

FYI - Connor eats over 1000 calories in pancakes at one sitting. That's 2/3rds of my caloric intake. But he also spends half the day on the trampoline :)

Friday, August 07, 2009

Job Junk

I have one more week of Extended School Year to work in the classroom where I've worked the last four years. After that, I'm not sure where I'll be.

We had eight students last year - five full-day, and three half-day (Kindergarten). This coming year there will only be four full-day students, due to kids moving, transferring & graduating.

Last year there was one teacher, and four full-time staff, plus one part-time gal in the classroom. The reason for the high ratio is we are working one-on-one with the kids a lot of the time (it takes 45 minutes, two times a day, to just feed one of the kids). And almost all the kids are a two-person lift to get out of their wheelchairs, into their physical therapy equipment, to the bathroom, to the floor mat, etc.

I was #3 on the totem pole for seniority. The teacher & the other two gals ahead of me will stay in the classroom. They will also keep the part-time gal to cover lunch breaks & such. So my 'permanent' position is no longer necessary. The seniority thing is huge. It didn't matter that I was the only staff member that was there all year - one of the other gals was out 90 of the 170 days we had school with various family issues & illness. It didn't matter that I can work with all the kids without problems - some don't have 'the touch' needed to feed specific kids...

The other staff member & I were told we'd be moving to the Early Intervention program. It wouldn't be a big deal except they are not full-time, so they don't get insurance (I'd have Fridays off...). Then I got a call that there was an opening in the Long Term Care & Treatment program for kids with severe behavior issues. I immediately expressed interest, and went in and talked to the supervisor for that job. He had me sign a transfer form and I was told to be at the meeting on the 11th for the staff of this program. Yay! A full-time position!

Last week, I got a call from the HR department. Apparently they missed a step and are out of compliance with the union. They were supposed to offer the position to other assistants first, and then do their interviews & make a selection. So they retracted their offer to me (but I have a signed paper with the supervisor, HR person, and superintendent???).

So I get this letter that went out to all the assistants. I call the gal that sent it out & express my interest in the job I thought I had. Yesterday, I get a call from the Operations Manager, and she asks me to write a letter of interest & send it to her. I guess the OM didn't know the first gal asked people to contact her? Now I need to wait for my interview.

Here's how it's going to go: I have a Bachelor's Degree in Child Development. I have a LOT of experience with behavioral issues due to having two sons with autism - I think I can count Girl Scouts in there too - there have been MANY girls that needed extra care through the seven years I was a leader. I have the right temperament for the job & I feel very confident I could make a big difference in the lives of these kids that need this help.

The job will go to the person who has seniority over me, who found out I'd gotten this job that she was not offered. I will move to her part-time position with no insurance & less money. She doesn't have a degree, but she was hired before me. And that's how that goes.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009


It's Fair week - where they serve fries as big as your head. Trevor joined me for the Huey Lewis concert tonight. We set down our blanket about 4:00 pm, wandered around the fair & then came back to our spot around 5:30.

No one takes your blanket - although all the little green spaces of grass between the blankets do get filled up with people just sitting on the grass.

The previous photo was 5:30. This was at 7:00 just before the concert started.

Singing "I Want A New Drug" which is my favorite Huey Lewis & the News song.

Singing "It's Alright (to have a good time)" acapella.
The concert went 1 1/2 hours. Good, good concert. I like it when the singer talks to the crowd. Huey said half his band wants to move to Roseburg - and "you folks don't know how lucky you are to live in a gorgeous place like this." (Actually, we do!)

Weekend Escape (part 3)

The Mcmenamin's Edgefield used to be a poor house. Donna & Jim obliged me when I asked them to stand in front of the plaque and "look poor." This photo makes me laugh every time I look at it.

There were these nice, big verandas on three sides of the hotel. They all had the adoirondack chairs and big rockers, and people gathered here for coffee in the morning, reading the paper in the afternoon, or visiting with friends in the evening. We were all just checking out.
Here's Doug on the little balcony he & Myrna had which overlooked the veranda from the previous photo.

Myrna took this shot of Lee & I. Doesn't Lee look good? I just rolled out of bed & went to breakfast, so that's my first-thing-in-the-morning look. Don't worry, I've been camping enough that I don't stress over it. I just wanted a LONG shower when I got home, vs. a quick one in the dorm showers :)

It was a really good weekend & we shouldn't wait 11 years to do this again :)

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

At the Wedding

The wedding of Jenni Paeth & Rocky Manning.

Click on the photos for a larger view!

Jenni is the daughter of Doreitha (Radenbaugh) Paeth. Doreitha is a cousin to Lee.

Kraig & Nancy.

Dee & Rita. Roger Davis.
Karen & me.

Myrna, Doug & Crystal.

Lee & his cousin, Mary Kay.

Rita, Dee, Donna, Jim, Crystal, Myrna, Doug, Nancy, Kraig, me, Lee, Karen, Mary Kay, Phyllis & Roger.

They had these cute mints boxes on the table. We had to 'wear' them.

All the cousins in attendence: Myrna, Lee, Donna, Kraig, Karen, Ralph, Mary Kay, (one of the twins...), Phil, Doreitha, Dee, Roger, Phyllis.

Phyllis, Phil, Mary Kay & Doreitha.

Weekend Escape (part 2)

On Saturday morning, I woke up when Lee got back from jogging to Wal-mart to get some water & stuff.

We went and had breakfast with Kraig & Nancy at the Black Rabbit Restaurant. Lee had said something about going in to Portland to visit Chinatown and some other things, but we wound up visiting with people instead (which was cool - we can do Portland on our own a different time).

The hotel was so interesting all on its own. Many of the rooms are kind of dedicated to the people who used to live there when it was a nursing home, after having been a poor farm. Nancy & I wandered around just looking at all the art & old photos for quite a long time. Lee spent a lot of time just wandering the grounds and checking out all the different areas (when I was still sleeping). Again, the more you wandered, the more you found people you knew to visit with. It was really nice!

The wedding was at 5:30 in the evening. It was pretty warm, so ice water was set out by the hotel staff. The ceremony was lovely. The (air-conditioned) reception hall was right next to the lawn, and we sat at the table right under the cooling vent :) As it was, I think we had the 'fun' table anyway. The bar was free and Lee was on a roll, so we were laughing pretty good.

After the dinner, the DJ's played dance music and Lee & I got to dance for the first time in a long time. There's just not anywhere local for us to do that. Plus, since Lee lost all that weight, he can keep dancing for a long time - it was really fun!

Around 10:00 I think, we headed off to the soaking pool again to relax and unwind. All Lee's sibs & spouses were there, as well as cousin Roger. That closed at 11:00, so Lee & I decided to join Doug & Myrna in the pool hall to try shuffleboard. I hadn't played before. It's on a long table (not the ground like I expected), and you slide the puck-like things across silica sand & try to keep them near the end of the opposite side. You really need a light touch. I think I did okay for a first-timer :)

Then it was off to bed. No ghosts grabbed my ankles that night either.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Weekend Escape (Part 1)

Mcmenamins Edgefield

Here's where we spent our first weekend without kids since Trevor was born. We had managed just one night away when I was pregnant with Connor 11 years ago before this excursion :)

For some reason, Lee & I were lucky and got a room with a sink! This place used to be a poor farm and then was used as retirement home until 1982. Now it's a rustic hotel, populated with ghosts that grab ankles & bathrooms down the hall. There are no TV's or phones in the rooms, so we kind of just had to bump into people we knew - which was a fun way to figure things out :)

Without any real plans, Lee & I decided to check out the nearby waterfalls. Lee had never been to Multnomah Falls. My last time was when Trevor & I were going up to visit with my dad on Spring Break. Trevor & I only did a short stop & took pictures. Once Lee & I got up to the bridge, we decided to go ahead & do the hike to the top of the falls.

Okay - that's a long, steep hike! It's a little over a mile long, and it's about as steep as the hill up to our house. Our hill gets me winded already, and so I had to pause a number of times on this hike. It didn't help that it was over 90 degrees & humid. I would wait until my heart rate went back to normal, and then we'd be off again.

Once we reached the top of the hike, there's a stream that feeds the waterfall that comes from an underground source from Mt. Hood. This stream was really cold and clear. It was perfect for cooling down with feet & hands in the water! Then we headed over to the actual top of the falls. That was pretty cool.

When we finally made it back, all the parking was full and we had to show our room keys so that we could park in employee parking (due to a concert being hosted on the grounds). On our way back to our room, we saw Kraig & Nancy driving in as well. Nancy called Myrna on the cell and found out where they were, and we joined them at the rehearsal for the wedding where a bunch of the cousins had gathered.

We all decided to go over to the pub to eat dinner. Mcmenamin's is famous for their pubs. They have about 60 in Oregon & Washington (including the Roseburg Station Pub). I sat across from Ralph Radenbaugh. He was a kick :) After we ate, we went outside for more visiting with the cousins, and then we decided to hit the mineral soaking pool. I could feel my legs from the hike, and it was lovely in the hot soak!

We headed to bed a bit early, but it took a while for me to fall asleep. There were still a lot of people milling about from the concert, and we used a fan in the window to cool down. That helped cut down on the noise of people talking, but we did have to move the fan to get rid of the cigar smoke from someone on the porch. We slept really well though :)