Monday, December 31, 2007

emissions done. Movies. See you next year.

Good Morning, it is Monday.

Well, I got it done! I was one of many who waited until the very last day of both the month and the year to get the emissions checked, then to get new tabs for Maren's car. The two cars that were in front of me on the freeway actually exited and weaved through Auburn and went into the testing center right in front of me. The guy who was testing my car was already grumpy, and it was only 9:05 am. I accidentally pulled my car forward a foot before Mr. Must Have All Control started to point at me like I was breaking all the laws on the books. I just "Yes Sir'd" and nodded my head the rest of the time and he got over his big bad self. Maren's car passed just fine. I never questioned it would not, but I guess stranger things have happened. There was very little line at the Licensing place, so now Maren is legal.

The last couple of days Lillie's new favorite movie is an old classic. In Search of The Wow Wow Wiggle Wiggle Wozzie Woodle Woo by a young Tim Noah. That was Preston's favorite movie of all time a few years ago, and Maren's favorite movie a few decades ago. We were watching The Sound Of Music last night and Preston was cracking up that Maren knew every line of the Movie. I guess she watched it a few (hundred) times when she was a kid. My favorite movie (for now) is the Simpson Movie. We have it from Net Flix and it is too funny. Not as good as Happy Gilmore, but it is funny.

We will just stay at home for the rest of the year. We will probably go bang pots and pans and let off a few fireworks around midnight. Have a good new years.

See you tomorrow.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

fridge, emissions, Pats

Good morning, it is Sunday.

Since I have the laptop computer on my lap, Lillie is climbing on Preston. I may have to surf for awhile longer!

Yesterday we had a refrigerator repairman come out. This was a new guy to me. He was very thorough with his exam of the fridge, but came to the same conclusion. He thinks the main board is faulty. I think out of 3 main boards this fridge has gotten from repair folk, maybe the main board is not really the problem? Maybe we just have a lemon? He is ordering a new main board, why stop the experts?

I tried to bring Maren's car to get its emissions tested. The emissions place closed at 1:00 pm. I drove up at 1:02 pm...do you think they would let me get in line? No, no they did not. So I guess I will try on Monday. Some other guy showed up just after me and went into a little road rage with the workers, driving into the line, not worrying about the orange cones between him and the end of the line. Do you think he really got his car tested? Yeah, me neither.

Last night's Patriot's game was very good. Maren was rooting for the Giants, I was rooting for the Patriots. Did not look good for the Pats for awhile, but in the end, they pulled it together.

See you tomorrow.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

shopping, dinner, fridge.

Good morning, it is Saturday.

I am up early for a Saturday during a vacation time. The Sears refrigerator repair man is scheduled to be here between 8:00 and 1:00. Lillie woke up exactly at 8:00, wondered if it was morning looking totally tired. Since she was a little under the weather yesterday, I had her go to the bathroom, then back to bed. She seemed just fine with that and is still in bed a half an hour later. It is just me, the computer, and the cats. I would not mention the cats, but Spiff is (as I type) puking all over the stairs. I would go after him and throw him outside, but I have learned over the years that all that would accomplish is that he would run into my bedroom and puke in there. I would rather have it on the stairs. I will clean it after my time on the computer...which will not be quite so pleasant knowing there is puke on the stairs. Maybe if I leave it for a few minutes, he will eat it back up. Gross, totally gross.

Where was I, oh yes, the refrigerator. It has now has its control box, temp sensor, and digital display replaced...and it is not working. My next guess is it needs the heater rope thing. The tech on his first visit said he tested it, and it worked. Learning over time his actual competency level, I would now guess that it is probably the only thing that has not worked since we got the fridge. I will be curious to see what tech we get, and what they say. Since it does not bother me too much to defrost the fridge myself every two weeks, this repair journey is kind of amusing.

Maren had a nice time with her parents at Kent Station yesterday. She found a couple of pairs of pants for her, she is now officially a Coldwater Creek girl, all her favorite clothes over the last couple of years have come from Coldwater Creek. John said that the store was filled with old people...Maren can be their youngest fan.

Maren and I went out for our Anniversary dinner. We went to a Chinese food place near SouthCenter mall. It was very good. We both really enjoy Chinese food, but don't ever bother bringing the kids out to Chinese food as the kids are (with the occasional exception of Preston who is getting a little more adventurous) only able to eat food that is not touching another food. When the green beans are touching each other, things get tenuous. Hansen will at times need his foods in separate containers and clean silverware for each item. It is good to know these tendencies going into a meal. I would not say we do strange serving practices to please the kids, but an extra bowl here or there can make or break any harmony a family meal may possess. Some times, just for fun, one can go to the dark side and let the food touch just a little bit...just enough, and whammo! Crying and yelling at dinner time! Just a tip for those new parents on the way. To really get a good bang for your buck in this department, serve food that touches (or worse, is mixed together...shudder) on the day that your middle son (sorry if the middle son thing implies Hansen) has helped choose what flavor ice cream we should buy for desert! Fun times. Anyhow, dinner with Maren was a fun time. John and Carol are probably sleeping in after a long busy day yesterday. Thanks.

Tonight is the big game...the Patriots. I hope they win. Plenty of other people in the world hope they don't.

See you tomorrow.

Friday, December 28, 2007

computer woes. Anniversary dinner.

Good morning, it is Friday.

I am using my old computer because my regular computer lost its mind. It forgot that it is able to hook to a modem. This computer is my old computer, which goes online just fine, it just goes SO slow. This computer thing is driving my batty. I am just about to throw away all my computers and just use Maren's laptop computer every once and a while. With this computer, I hit a button, go watch Tiger week on the golf channel, come back and hit another button, go watch Sponge Bob, hit another button to undo the last button and so on. I am starting to think no computers and no cell phones and no TV is starting to sound good. More likely I am already batty. Anyhow, this seems to be working, so I will just take a deep breath and relax.

Today I just realized that Maren's car needs its emission's checked by the end of the month...and I have not done that yet. Ouch. Guess I will try to do that today? Maybe I will just wait until next month and hope for no ticket? I have known about the emissions thing for a month, I was free to go at the end of last month but the website said not to go on the last days of the month because it is so busy...so I put it off...now it is the last days of this month and her tabs are expired. Do you think the cops will buy that excuse? Yeah, me too.

Maren is out today for a fun day of shopping and lunch with her parents. Not sure if there is an occasion they are doing, or if it is just for fun. Later tonight Maren and I plan on going out for an anniversary dinner(17 years on January 3rd). Since Hansen was born on our 9th anniversary, we have to scrap around for a different day as Hansen's birthday is far more important...Just ask Hansen, he will tell you that he is worth it. 99 % of the time I would agree with him. That 1 % of the time seems to come at bed time where Hansen has the talent to destroy any smoothness. What, stay in your bed at bed time? Go to the bathroom before bed time? Have a book you want to read ready before bed time? I guess he has a plan...why go to bed at 8:30 or 9:00 when you can stretch it out to say 11:00?

Well, it is time to see if this computer will actually let me publish this post, see you tomorrow.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

What a morning

Well, I am very late with my blog because my computer is dead! I have given up on my computer for now and am using Maren's laptop. For some reason my computer has forgotten it knows how to hook to the Internet. The tech from Qwest said I need a new cable...I can't figure that is the problem, the cable is only a couple of years old, and worked perfectly yesterday. The computer just is not turning on correctly...I think it just forgot who it is. I guess I will have to hook up my old old one. Arg.

Just before I talked to the Qwest tech about my computer problems, I spent some time on the phone with the Qwest tech about changing phones. Yes, Preston's phone has still not turned up. He lost it a week ago. It has not been used...so it is either right where he put it, or gone forever. Luckily for Preston I still had my old phone and had the phone number changed over, so now he has use of a phone again, it just does not have quite as many features or look as cool (he can still text). If his old phone turns up, it will become the back up phone.

The last few nights have gotten later and later for he kids as have the mornings. Bed time at 11:00 and wake time at 10:00 just will not work much longer. We may be back on the right track thanks to letting the kids sleep down stairs last night. They did stay up till about midnight, but they woke up closer to 8:30.

Lillie is watching her new favorite movie. Hairspray. She knows the words and the dances. Right now she is singing "welcome to the 60's". The boys are playing Nintendo. It is actually quite peaceful right now. Much better than this morning when Lillie and Hansen were putting their bedding back in their rooms (from sleeping downstairs) and Lillie was being a ghost. Hansen figured he would push the ghost down the stairs...I guess he forgot it was really Lillie, whatever! Lillie bumped down the stairs unharmed, both kids ended up busted, spending time in their rooms.

It is supposed to start snowing anytime and snow for a couple of inches. Then melt. Hard to believe looking out the window, but I guess it is starting to snow around the Puget Sound. Maren is still on vacation, all this snow talk just makes her very happy to not be commuting.

I guess I will work on my computer again in a few.

See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Had a nice Christmas.

Good morning, it is Wednesday.

Hope you had a nice Christmas. We did. Christmas morning started at a decent hour, about 8:00 is when Hansen woke up and in turn woke up his sibs to go downstairs and check out what Santa brought. Santa did not disappoint, which is amazing considering how well the kids did the night before on Christmas eve.

Christmas Eve at the Ostergards was very nice. Lillie did a very fancy fashion show complete with multiple change of clothing and a lot of flair on the runway which weaved through the piles of wrapping paper all over the floor. Preston was showing off his Guitar Hero skills. Stef brought her x-box 360 and had Guitar Hero and Lego Starwars. Preston was totally rocking on the hardest level, while Courtney, Stef and I were just scraping by on the easier levels. The talent gap seems to be about as wide as the age gap...Preston has the talent, the rest of us have the age. Hansen was able to complete a Bionicle project with like 300 pieces before it was time to leave.

Today will be spent making room in the kids rooms for their new toys. Hansen has a number of big Lego/Bionicle projects to work on. He has already finished a few of his new creations. Lillie is enjoying her new clothes as well as her new toys which range from the Polly Pockets Jet runway to Bratz dolls and mermaids. Preston has been busy on the video game front. He got quite a few great games, and if any were missed, he has gift cards as well. Maren and I have been lounging away. We have watched all the timeless movies like A Christmas Story, It's a Wonderful life, The Grinch, and Elf. The kids really like the newish cartoon, Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer.

It did snow for a Couple of hours yesterday, so we did get a white Christmas. According to Maren, since it did not snow for at least 2 inches, it does not count in the record books, but we did see snow falling from the sky and collect on the grass...so that counts. I doubt I will go golfing today as the forecast for the next week is snow and rain. If it is not snowing or raining, it will be cold and yucky.

Preston has got his day planned. A trip to Game Stop, a stop at Jamba Juice, and friends over to play video games. Hansen will spend the day building his Lego Airport. Lillie will go back and forth between toys, art supplies and fashion shows. I am sure the kids will all spend some time in the culdesac with friends. I will try to download all the pictures from my camera taken over the last couple of weeks. Maren will be working on another day of relaxing. In another day or two we will get to putting away all the Christmas stuff and getting ready for the New Year.

See you tomorrow.

Monday, December 24, 2007

P lost tooth, Christmas lights, plans

Good Morning, it is Christmas Eve.

What should I start with???

Yesterday Preston lost a tooth. A molar on the lower right side. He said he ate some Popcorn, was pushing his tooth with his tongue, and next thing he knows, his tooth popped out. Weird. Preston is feeling all better from yesterday. I guess he just needed some sleep.

Last night we did our annual drive around the Lake Wilderness neighborhood with all the Christmas Lights. Once again they did a very nice job. There were plenty of other folks driving slowly with only there parking lights on. Afterward we went and bought some Ice Cream. There is a nice house for sale on the 10th fairway of the golf course for sale for cheaper than I thought it would be. I made Preston a little nervous talking about wanting to buy it.

Lillie woke up very early this morning all excited about going to Nana's house and opening presents. We will go to John and Carol's house today for dinner and presents. Then we will do Christmas morning and day at our house and anyone who wants to come over is welcome. Tonight we will eat a traditional dinner of Swedish Meatballs and Lefse. YUM! Tomorrow we will have Ham. Tomorrow we will watch 24 hours of A Christmas Story. One of the channels plays A Christmas Story for 24 hours straight. If you don't all ready love the movie, you will after 24 hours of straight viewing!

Have a great Christmas.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

hanging out, lost cell phone

Good Morning, it is Sunday.

Yesterday was just a hang out day. I took the kids on a long walk to the Soos Creek while Maren took a nap. I don't really do well on "hang out and do nothing" days. I need to get out and do something. I may go to the driving range today to hit some golf balls? Who knows. Maybe just go for a run. Lillie has been spending the days taking the old newspapers, wrapping up her books, or dolls, or anything else she can find and giving presents to everyone. It was great fun for the first few days, but not even the boys want presents from her anymore.

The real countdown has started...only one more sleep until Christmas eve...and presents!!! Christmas eve is when the kids get to open presents from their Grandparents and Aunties (the local ones), and then Santa and family presents Christmas morning. And if your Hansen, a week later and you get birthday presents! The exciting lives of kids!

Preston woke up feeling and sounding sick this morning, so we will not be going to church. There is no Sunday School for the next couple of weeks so the kids were not too interested in attending today anyhow. Preston lost his cell phone on Thursday and for the life of us, we can't find it. I hope it turns up someday. He must have it turned off because we just get the message machine when we call it. If it does not turn up in another week or so I will have the phone number transferred to my old phone. The old phone does not have picture abilities, but I think it can text?

See you tomorrow.

PS. I only spelled one word wrong according to spellcheck. That is a world record, usually half the screen is yellow thanks to my amazing spelling skills. And I miss the word "morning" every morning. Go figure.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

musical kids

Good Morning, it is Saturday.

I was able to stay in bed until 8:30 this morning! I finally got up when I heard Lillie bugging the boys downstairs. There were two boys sleeping downstairs, but they were not all ours. Hansen is at a friend's house, and Preston has a friend over. It seems the neighborhood is playing musical kids. Will one kid from each house go two doors to the right, for the night. Thank you. We got Connor, lost Hansen. Lillie was up by 8:15 bugging Connor. Right now Lillie is at the art table and the boys are playing Nintendo. I would guess the boys were up until about 12:30. Late enough for me, but I have seen later.

Yesterday Maren took off the last part of the day for lunch with her friends. Sounded like she had a very nice time as usual. As she was leaving work, she probably did some sort of happy dance as she is now on vacation. No work for Maren until next year! Trust me, ten days off with this family and she will be happy to get back to work!

If I am not mistaken, today is the first day of Winter. I don't think we have much on the books for today. Just look outside at the rain. Pretty clear it is no longer August.

See you tomorrow.

Friday, December 21, 2007

kids shopping.

Good morning, it is Friday.

Yesterday was the last day with any structure. Hansen had Taekwondo so we actually had to be somewhere at a certain time. From now until next year, life is a free for all. Even if I try to get some kind of routine going it will be answered with whining. As long as things go somewhat smoothly, I will try not to get too bent out of shape.

Yesterday I did bring the kids to the dollar store for shopping and fun. Preston and Lillie got right into it. Picking out stuff for others no problem. Hansen started in with trying to negotiate how much he could spend on himself. After Preston and Lillie were almost done shopping, Hansen finally started to look around for others. Also it helped that I gave in and just let him buy himself stuff. We were out to shop for others, but you do what you got to do. Today we will start wrapping the gifts. I am guessing that the kids will excited for the first few, then I will be doing the rest myself. I think we will go for a couple per day, with any luck they will be wrapped in a few days.

With any luck the weather will be OK enough to kick the kids outside for awhile.

See you tomorrow.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

kids on vacation.

Good Morning, it is Thursday.

Today is the first day of Winter Vacation...for the kids. Two more days until Maren gets some time off, that is why we are up so early. Next week, I will not be blogging until 8:00 am. The boys each had nice parties in their classrooms yesterday and are totally ready for vacation to begin.

Today I will bring the kids shopping at the dollar store so they can spend their own money buying gifts for other people. We will see how that goes. Hopefully it will be smooth sailing...I am quite optimistic, I hope they will enjoy shopping for others for a change (I suspect Hansen will only enjoy shopping for others if he can also buy for himself). Besides, I don't really want to be totally fed up with the kids after only one day of vacation!

I may go back to bed after Maren leaves for work in 15 minutes. Either that or watch the Golf Channel. Lets just say I will watch the golf channel. I should have a whole hour before Lillie gets up, and a couple of hours before the boys roll out of bed.

See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Lost Tooth, band concert.

Good morning, it is Wednesday.

Yesterday it happened...Lillie lost her first tooth! She was very excited. I helped her out a little bit. The tooth was just dangeling in her mouth. If you ask her about it, she will tell you "just a little tug." She drew a picture of the Tooth Fairy on the envelope to put under her pillow. She is not awake yet, but I do know the Tooth Fairy did show up and trade her tooth for a dollar. I am sure she will be excited when she wakes up. She is not even five until March, but she is very tall and growing fast, it does seem kind of early for a first tooth to fall out, but I guess it is getting earlier and earlier for kids these days. The boys did not lose their first tooth until a few weeks from turning Six.

Lillie is quite good at manipulating any situation. Yesterday I put her on the phone to tell Maren about her tooth. After talking on the phone for a minute, she said to her mom "Dad wants to talk to you now." (I had not said that) , then as she was handing me the phone, she told me "Mom wants to talk to you now". Maren was laughing at Lillie's skill of getting off the phone. It is kind of scary her ability to make this stuff up, but I guess it is better than just telling her mom she is tired of talking to her! I will try to keep this story alive in the back of my mind when she is a teenager.

Preston performed very well at his School's band/orchestra concert. He was the first band member to have to stand up and introduce a song for the audience. Grass Lake has a good size band and orchestra, and they sounded very nice. John and Carol came out to see the performance and then to take the kids and I out to McDonalds for and early dinner and ice cream. That was very nice. Who knew the happy meal toys were Strawberry Shortcake and Bionicles...could you have planned that any better for our kids? I hear that with the massive construction projects resulting from the flooding, as well as the weather, time and holidays, a drive home from our house that normally takes about 45 minutes, stretched all the way to two hours. Ouch.

Today is Gymnastics for Preston and dance class for Lillie. Today is also the last day of school for the boys until next year. School resumes on Hansen's birthday. How is that for a birthday present...Happy Birthday, wake up early and go back to school, vacation is over!

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

good deals, good pizza

Last night we decided on Pizza Hut Pizza for dinner. Preston treated with his money earned by taking care of our next door neighbor's cats for several days. We chose two large stuffed crust pepperoni pizzas. I had an old coupon for a free large when you buy a large. Well, Pizza hut has a buy a large get a second for $10.00. and they took the first pizza which should have been like $14.00 off for the free pizza. The cashier just said that is what the computer did...good for us. Preston actually got some cash back. And the Pizza Hut stuffed crust pizza is SO yummy. Hansen will never eat the crust, unless it is stuffed with cheese!

While the Pizza was cooking, I walked over to Safeway and got even more great deals. Cat Litter was on sale, but the big deal was a Coke/Hallmark deal where you buy a few hallmark cards and there is a coupon for a free case of pop. Then the kicker is that if you buy two cases of pop, you get three free. And the case you get for free with the coupon for the cards counts as the one bought for the other free pop. I don't know why these stores like to give stuff away every once in awhile, but when they do, who is to argue? I do argue sometimes when our stock pile gets on the large side, but pop has a very long shelf life. We gave a ton of food to the school's food drive as well as the church's food drive. When Maren finds these great deals, then forwards the extra goods to food banks and such, it sounds like a win/win to me.

Today is Preston's music assembly where he is playing the clarinet. Should be fun.

See you tomorrow.

Monday, December 17, 2007

in the car, loose tooth, ready to read?

Good morning, it is Monday.

Yesterday was a great day...if we could have transported everywhere. We only went to Church, Sunday School (same trip), and in the afternoon the Church Christmas Pageant (the Pageant was great, Zion Lutheran Church is a good place to be). Yes, only two outings, both to the same place, both very fun...unfortunately for both, we had to drive in the van. Why is this so troubling you ask? Well, the dynamics of the kids yesterday led to a few very unpleasant drives for the adults. I did not think of the old standby, "Do you want me to stop the car? Do You?!?" They would have said yes, and thought it was funny. Hansen is in the third row making some crazy hum/buzz noise. In response Lillie and Preston start to sing the alphabet song as loud as possible as that always gets Hansen in a funk. So basically it is an annoy everyone fest. When told to be quiet, they just started leaning into each other and throwing stuff at each other. Of course, I remember doing all the same things as a kid and thinking it was great...but now I am not the kid, and yesterday it was pushing me and Maren to the edge. The radio does not go loud enough to drown out the goofiness. Finally, the kids were sitting on their hands, looking forward to cleaning their rooms. Luckily the trips were only Four miles each way.

Lillie has her first loose tooth! She is very excited. She was worried at first, but now is very excited. She has been told all kinds of stories about the tooth fairy, teeth being lost, teeth being pulled out by strings tied to doors, and Preston's latest tooth that came out when flossing...he did not even know it was loose and it popped out of his mouth and flew across the room! That was cool. So Lillie is ready. She seems to think the Tooth Fairy will bring her $100.00 dollars. Maybe 100 pennies cleverly disguised as a one dollar bill. Last night it was almost loose enough for me to pull out. My guess it tonight or tomorrow Lillie will be a tooth poor and a dollar rich.

One of Maren's old co-workers, Susan, was telling me a few years ago that there are a few old ways you can tell if a child is ready to learn to read. One is when they first loose a tooth, the other is when (and you need to visualize this) you can hold one arm straight up in the air, wrap it over the top of your head, and touch your ear. This is easy for an adult, but little kids just don't have long enough arms for their largish heads. According to these accounts, Lillie is ready to read...and she is not even 5 until March! We read to her plenty but never push her to read anything. She is starting to write on her own, and can remember how to write words and names when she wants to. I hope we don't hold her back too much!

Tonight we have no activities...yay. Preston (and I) fed the neighbor cat and took care of the litter for a week, so with the earnings, we will eat well tonight. Pizza Hut Pizza! It was Preston's idea...he could have just kept the $$$. Sometimes he does nice things for the family, when we are not ruining his life.

See you tomorrow.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Volleyball, Noobs, date change.

Good Morning, it is Sunday.

Yesterday was the Volleyball tournament for the Elementary schools. Grass Lake (team that Preston is on) struggled. They face the toughest team the first game and never recovered. They had a few close games toward the end, but never won a game. They have a history of being the best team in track, and not so good in Volleyball...go figure.

After the tournament, I brought Preston to Noobs, the arcade. I stuck around to watch the kids (three other friends of Prestons were there) play and to watch David's dad play a 'M' game I think was called Call Of Duty 4. The gamer is a soldier in WWII and has missions. Lots of killing, and when you get killed it is very harsh. Noobs has chairs with speakers and movements along with huge screen TVs in your face. I left after an hour longing for simpler car racing or golf games. Preston and his friends spent the time playing a 'T' game on the PS3 called War Hawks which was a shoot em up game as well, but not like Call of Duty. Noobs is a very cool place. They also have tons of computers for online gaming.

Yesterday Maren's sister Mel changed the date of her baby shower (she is pregnant with twins!) so Maren can attend. Maren would have not been able to make the original date as she will be in Philadelphia for an ALA conference the original weekend. That was very nice. Thanks Mel.

Last night we watched the latest Pirates of the Caribbean. It was a cool movie.

This morning is Sunday School and Church. This afternoon is the Church's Sunday School Christmas Program.

See you Tomorrow.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Volleyball, Taekwondo, Santa.

Good Morning, it is Saturday.

I am definitely the first one up. Up at the usual time because Preston has his year end Volleyball tournament this morning. I will be waking him up in 10 minutes unless he wakes himself. After Volleyball Preston is off to a modern arcade of sorts called Noobs with a few of his friends. The kids enjoy the arcade...I call it an arcade, but really it is a place with PS3s, x-box 360s, Nintendo WIIs and games with up to 8 players. I guess it is like the game room that Paul Allen would have on his submarine...but you can rent it by the hour.

Last night Hansen had a make up Taekwondo Class due to missing the night before for the Nutcracker. Hansen was the highest ranking belt for the first half of class, he was very excited because the senior belt gets to start meditation and stuff like that. He has moved into the advanced classes fast enough that he was never senior belt in any lower classes.

After Taekwondo we packed up the kids and drove 0.9 miles to the Timberlane Community Center to see Santa. Not too busy, very nice Santa, and very good gifts for the kids. I had my camera and was able to take a couple of good pictures. It worked out perfect. Now we don't need to stand in a mall line for an hour for overpriced pictures. Yay. Lillie has asked every Santa she has seen as well as written Santa a letter asking for the exact same thing. A Polly Pocket Jet Pack. I think John and Carol are searching for one, so Lillie may be in luck, but I can't believe how she has stuck with just one thing all this time. The boys would never have done that at such a young age...or I just don't remember when the boys were that age, but she seems more determined then the boys ever were, or ever will be for that matter.

Got to go wake up Preston, see you tomorrow.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Lillie at the Mall, The Nutcracker @ Grass Lake


Good Morning, it is Friday.

Yesterday was a fun day. During the day I took Lillie to South center mall for a little shopping. She had a great time looking at all the decorations at the mall. She especially likes mannequins and their fancy clothes. We went into a few stores and she would show me all the clothes she would buy and all the clothes she already has. She is a little fashion expert. She was showing me a skirt at the Children's Place that she already has, how it comes with a jacket that she wished she had. How it comes in different colors, but she likes the pink the best because pink is the best color and on and on and on...until I decided it was time to go. We ended up buying Maren her Christmas present, and Lillie talked my into buying some Christmas flavored lotions for her and Maren. I actually would not take her to the Macy's place where they spray smelly stuff on you. She wanted to go there and would have spent as much time as given getting sprayed with test smells. Maybe Maren will take her there some day. Today I will take her to the motorcycle store just to get even...just joking, but maybe the golf store. At the Mall, Lillie got to see Santa. Since the boys were not with us, we were not going to get pictures taken, but Lillie had the chance to say "hi" to Santa, but she did not want to. Of course when a Santa came out at the dinner theater, Lillie ran over to him as fast as she could...I think she was the first to say "hi" and she came from half the gym away.

Last night we went to the Nutcracker Dinner Theatre at the Grass Lake Gymnasium. There was a catered spaghetti dinner followed by a local ballet schools rendition of the Nutcracker. The performance was like 50 minutes long and mainly covered the dancing toys in Clara's dream. It was a nice performance...well worth the $7.50 tickets. Lillie had a very good time. She ate her dinner with her old friend Lily Rose Rudolph. Preston ate with Lily's brother Garret. Lillie really enjoyed the ballet. The only bummer thing was how freaking cold it was in the gym. It was kind of hard to relax, I don't think the kids noticed too much, just the adults were freezing. This was a good size performance to go to. They had all the Nutcracker music, and some good ballet. The boys did not behave very well and have no business going to the big performances of the Nutcracker, but Lillie would do just fine. Maybe next year. I think it is good for Lillie to see these small performances first...for one, she is almost a good enough dancer to be a little mouse herself and these were just kids like her (a few years older) doing this performance, and secondly, when she goes to the real Nutcracker in a couple of years, she will really understand how amazing it really is...

Today is Hansen's make up Taekwondo class. Preston has his last Volleyball practice.

See you tomorrow.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Golf, Nutcracker.

Good Morning, it is Thursday.

Yesterday ended up being good golf weather. No rain, probably 43 degrees. I shot a 72 with 3 putt bogies on both ends of my round. The good news is that I won enought $$$ for lunch today! I don't gamble much with the guys I golf with on Wednesdays, so the max I can win is like $10.00. Which is exactly what I won. Last week I also shot a 72, but ended up loosing $3.00. go figure.

Tonight we will be seeing the Nutcracker Ballet. Sort of. We bought tickets to the dinner and the Nutcracker at Grass Lake Elementary. They will cater spaghetti, then hold a show! How exciting for us. I will let you know how it went tomorrow. Last year went to see a much larger performance of the Nutcracker which was very nice, keeping it small this year.

Today I get to pick up the DVD of Lillie's Christmas Pageant at Sunshine Mt. We did not bother trying to film it as I was in the performance and they were selling a DVD of the performance. Hope it shows enough of Lillie! Usually these DVDs just pan everyone and move a little too fast, but it is way better than nothing.

See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Jade Green Christmas party.

Good Morning, it is Wednesday.

Last night was the Christmas party/ dinner at Jade Green Golf Course. It was nice to have an invite since I really don't teach that much. There was a good turn out, probably 50+ people. We were the only ones with kids, but I did make sure they were invited. Most of the people at the party either are kids (19 year olds who work there) or are Seniors (the marshals and such) so we really are in the middle of the age bracket. The others in our age bracket just don't have kids.

Dinner was catered by Rooters BBQ in Maple Valley. Owned and operated by Verl Potts who I have known for years from my old Elk Run days, but never knew until last night that he was Kurt Cobain's godparent (a trivia question). Dinner was excellent. Most of the older folks around us felt bad for our kids as they did not eat any of the bbq ribs, bbq steak, or other absolutely yummy stuff. I don't know at what age kids decide to enjoy good food, but our kids are not there yet. Lillie ate butter with a little of a bread roll. Hansen ate a bread roll with a little bit of salad, and Preston had a regular looking dinner. Each kid topped their food off with pop. I guess the age of good food is somewhere around eleven. I ate a ton of great food and I know Maren enjoyed her dinner as well.

Steve Dubsky was there and had a trivia quiz for everyone to participate in. Out of 27 questions I got 10 correct, which was pretty good. The winner got I think 14 right. Lots of silly questions like What is Jake Locker's number. People were giving phone numbers, locker numbers, but Steve was talking about the QB for the UW Huskies #10. How many greens at Jade Green, that type of question. It was a enjoyable evening...for me, the kids tolerated well.

Today we have dance class for Lillie and gymnastics for Preston. Hansen has a ton of homework. Well, it seems like a ton of homework when he is doing it, it would only take Preston like 10 minutes....Hansen can turn that amount of work into an hour. No surprise really, his room get messier when he is left alone to clean it.

John is coming out today to hang out with Lillie and I will get to go golfing before the kids get home from school. Yea for me, hope to play well.

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

done painting and stuff.

Good Morning, it is Tuesday.

The exciting news from yesterday...I finally finished painting!!! Kind of. I finished the stairway and entry way. I have now completed the entire downstairs and stairway. That was all that Maren wanted done by Christmas. That was more than I ever actually thought I could do. Done dude! The only thing about the new paint is now it is very clear that the boy's room needs to be painted, that will be next. I just need to decide if I will paint the boy's rooms white, or actually let them choose a color. Originally I was going to let them each choose a color for their side of the room...but I have found that painting white over white is a ton easier than painting anything over a dark color. I will think about it for a while...and not paint anything until I decide.

Next for our house will be new carpet. Our carpet is the original blue with brown stairs. We want to do the the downstairs and the stairway. The bedrooms could use new carpet as well, but getting the bedrooms in a place were all the stuff could be taken out, new carpet installed, and the bedrooms returned [all in one or two days] would take more work than we are capable of. I may just do each room with pergo, or something of the sort, over time. We originally wanted the carpet done by Christmas as well, but our budget will keep that from happening. We will make it a top list item for next year.

Today Preston has math club and volleyball. Lillie has speech class. Hansen has Taekwondo. Hansen has been begging to join the children's choir at church. I think Taekwondo twice a week, sparring once a week, and piano once a week is plenty. Maybe we will let him try choir, I don't know, he complains so much about his homework as it is, and his schedule is so full. I am on the fence with this one.

After re-reading this post, I see it is kind of wishy-washy. I guess today will be a wishy-washy day. See you tomorrow.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Christmas Pagent

Good Morning, it is Monday. I did not post yesterday. Just too busy in the morning. I am sure Saturday was a good day.

Yesterday was Lillian's Preschool Christmas Pageant. It was very good. Sunshine Mountain Preschool has to put on the best Christmas Pageants of all Preschools. Lillie had been in her Pageant dress and ready to go an hour before it was time to leave. In contrast, Preston was in grubby sweats and a dirty t-shirt until 1 minute until it was time to go. Lillie was seated in the very middle of the group surrounded by her Preschool buddies. They sang a bunch of songs and did a wonderful job. I even got to be in the Pageant. Parents had a few parts and I was a Wise man/ King. I was the giver of gold, and dressed in golden robes with golden bling. John was able to make it to the Pageant which was nice. I think everyone in the standing room audience had a great time. After the Pageant, it was down stairs for snacks and refreshments for both the kids and the guests. There were tons of cookies and brownies and Cranberry punch for everyone. Now it is official, no preschool for Lillie until next year.

The only bummer about the schedule of the Christmas Pageant was that held at the same exact time as Maren's cousin Amy's baby shower. This does not seem to be Maren's time for baby showers. Maren will have to miss her sister Melanie's baby shower as well, it has been scheduled for the one weekend Maren will be in Philadelphia for the ALA mid-winter conference. Bummer for Maren.

It was fun to see the Seahawks beat the Cardinals, but it would have been much better to see the game of the Pats against the Steelers. Of course the Pats/ Steelers game was not shown around here because it was the same time as the Seahawks. By the looks of the highlights, the Pats won without much trouble.

Today is a regular Monday around here. Lillie has gymnastics during the day, and Preston has Volleyball. Preston was one of only 3 fifth graders selected for his schools tournament team. Go Grass Lake Gators.

See you tomorrow.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Dynamics of a monthly Costco run.

Good Morning, it is Saturday.

Last night was the monthly Costco run. What are the three little words that your bank account fears the most? Monthly Costco run. Here is the way our Costco trip goes...

We go to Costco at Dinner time so we can eat Pizza. When we get in the doors, Maren gets a cart and starts to shop. I have the kids and head over to the food court. We stand in line for a long time. The time in line goes fast because of their sign that reads:

PLEASE
LEAVE
Carts
outside
lines
THANK
YOU

So as you can see Preston is trying to convince Hansen and Lillie that the sign is asking them to Please Leave. As in the store!!! It is actually funny the way the color codes are [on the sign] as whoever made this sign did not think that sign making was part of their job description so decided to make it read for the customers to simply Please Leave...and don't bring your carts in the food line.

After ordering a large pizza and getting a few pop cups, we go find a place to sit. Not too busy yet, so no problem. I let the kids do their own pop. How many different flavors of pop can you get in a graveyard? And does the Sprite on this side taste the same as the Sprite on the other side? I don't really mind them doing this dance at the beverage dispenser as long as no one is in line behind them looking at me like kids don't really belong in the world. Lucky for Hansen, he had a whole minute or two just to decide. The pizza takes ten minutes to cook, so by the time I get the kids seated with napkins, pop, and straws...it is about time to go get the pizza. Leaving the kids out of reach for 2 minutes to get the pizza is always dicey. Hansen is going to blow Lillie's napkins on the ground, she is going to yell at him to stop in her loudest yell, and other people are going to start to wonder if these kids parents finally made the right decision and just left them at Costco once and for all.

As soon as I get the pizza and am seated, I call Maren on her cell phone and she can stop shopping and come eat pizza with us. She takes a long time getting back to us...who can blame her. She finally get to the food court in time for Hansen and Lillie to have a knock down drag out about who gets to sit next to mom. The pizza at Costco last night was probably the best pizza I have had in months. Our pizza is usually take and bake Papa Murphy's or cheap freezer section pizza from the grocery store. The Costco pizza was very good, may have to go back soon.

So when we are done eating, we all head into the store. Because we are on a tight budget we spend the first few minutes putting things back on the shelves that somehow jumped into our cart. The kids want to look at video games and toys and stuff, so we look for a few minutes. Once the begging starts, we move on. On the way back up to the front of the store, the kids like to ride on the cart. No problem for a few minutes. By the time we get to the front of the store it becomes clear that things have keep jumping into the cart which, by now, is way over budget. The kids are fighting about who gets to ride on the front of the cart (actually not Preston...he now avoids his sibs and the whirlwind that surrounds them). So in line Maren and I are figuring we just doubled our budget, but we did get some nice pajamas for Lillie, and most of our Christmas shopping done. Yahoo. Hansen and Lillie are no longer allowed within two paces from the cart or each other. We pay, and leave as fast as possible.

When the Costco opens in Covington next fall, we can turn this monthly Costco trip into a weekly Costco trip and really live it up!

See you tomorrow.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Last day of Preschool for year.

Good Morning it is finally Friday! TGIF Baby! Whatever, I am old now. A party and a movie means yell at the kids to be quiet so I can watch Ratatouille for the 3rd time.

I am a little late with today's blog because my computer was "scanning" for like an hour. I finally gave up and restarted the thing. Maybe later I will let it "scan" again.

Today is Lillie's last day of Preschool for the year. She has her Christmas Pageant this Sunday. The Pageants that Sunshine Mountain put on are the best. This year I am going to be one of the three Wise men. I get to just stand there looking silly in my sandals, but it should be fun. Lillie has been singing songs left and right getting ready for the big performance. Hansen is really good at covering his ears and yelling "stop singing...you don't know the words!"...actually she does, it is he that does not. I really don't know what I will do with her for nearly a month of no school. Especially the next 10 days or so when everyone else is in school. I guess we will just have to live it up. Fast food lunches and trips to the mall. Yes, the perfect life for an almost 5 year old girl. I may be looking for a real job by the end of the season!

Today Maren will pick up her new glasses and contact lenses. Her new glasses are very cool, hopefully the store does a good job on them. Next time you see her don't forget to mention the cool new glasses...unless she is wearing her contact lenses, that would be silly.

See you tomorrow.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

I-5, activities

Good Morning it is Thursday.

Yesterday was a good day. John and Carol came out and watched Lillie while I went golfing. I played well. The golf course was not too wet. But we are not near Chehalis. Chehalis (2 hours south of Covington) is still flooded. I guess there were Levies built in order to build the Walmart and such stores in the low lands. Well, once flooded, the water is not really going back. Everything is still flooded and they are pumping the water out...then they will have to re pave a 1/4 mile are of I-5? Maybe the freeway will re open on Saturday. I am sure they will figure it out. My friend Mike works for a Trucking Company and he was even quoted in the Seattle Times about how closing I-5 is hurting the trucking industry.

Lillie's dance class brought the parents into the studio to see a dance the kids were working on. They did a very good job. Lillie does have flair. Preston is excited about gymnastics these days as he is now able to do a forward hand spring. Hansen is very good at math and math homework, but spelling...not so good. I almost wonder if Hansen does poorly on his first spelling test just so he will not have to do the assigned bonus words. Hmm.

Today Hansen has Taekwondo. Lillie has Preschool.

See you Tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

First night of Chanukah, volleyball and activities.

Last night was the first night of Chanukah. My Grandparents on my mother's side are Jewish and have always hoped that we would raise our children (and ourselves) with the knowledge and understanding of Judaism. My Grandpa sent us a nice Menorah, and last night as Jewish people all over the world did, we lit the first candle and recited the blessings. We will continue to do so for the next seven days. We are raising our kids as Lutherans which was how Maren and generations before her were raised. I was raised a Baptist (I attended my childhood church when visiting my parents in FL last month) but now am a Lutheran as well. I think it is good to give the children plenty of information about the world we live in, and knowledge of different religions, and how they have been part of our own family is important.

Yesterday Preston's school team won all its Volleyball matches. I should say that Preston's team (red) won all its games. The blue team lost one, and the girls struggled. Grass Lake seems to have more kids than other schools in the league. Grass Lake has the same as many girls playing as other schools (two team) but other schools that they have played against have only had one boys team as Grass lake has two. Preston also started on the Math team yesterday.

Hansen is very excited because yesterday we found out that our neighbor who taught Preston Piano a few years ago will also be available to give him lessons starting in January. Hansen is very excited because in January he gets to start piano lessons as well as a second class of Taekwondo Sparring. Hansen will now be hands down the kid with the most expensive extras. Preston may have one or two more activities, but many are through the school, which saves a lot of $$$.

Last night Maren said she ran out of hand outs for her class for the first time ever. She was told there would be like 20 people, and there were in excess of 50! Lots of parents learning the importance of early literacy skills. Interesting topic came up in her class last night. It has been known that a child ability to hold a beat in music will have a direct correlation in their ability to read. A student in Maren's class was telling her how a co-worker who is a music teacher could come into the regular classroom and point out to the teacher who would be good readers and who would struggle with reading based totally on their ability in music class...with near 100% accuracy. Amazing huh?

Today I will go golfing on a rain drenched golf course. Me and the two guys I golf with will probably be the only golfers on the course today, as we were the only golfers on the course last Wednesday as well. Then Lillie will have Dance class and Preston will have gymnastics.

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

area flooding, busy day, Pats win

Good Morning, it is Tuesday.

By the news and the local rivers and creeks, we are very lucky no to be affected by the massive flooding in the region. Maren had to be careful on her drive home from work, but otherwise, no problems for us. Seems like these "100 year weather phenomenons" are turning into a yearly thing. By the time the water goes down around here, there will be dozens and dozens of closed until repaired roads, and the ones that are not closed will have new pot holes and such. It is amazing how areas will be fine except for a couple of homes flooded due to a little creek that runs through its back yard which became a river for a few hours. Maren is glued to the TV checking to see if the roads to her work are opened or not.

Today is a busy day. Maren works late in Redmond...assuming they hold the class with the flooding up in that area. Preston has math club in the morning, then a volleyball game in the afternoon. Lillie has speech class and Pre School. Hansen has Taekwondo in the evening. I think I will be doing a lot of back and forth between activities this evening.

I enjoyed watching the Pats stay undefeated last night. Baltimore came so close. I will enjoy next weeks' game with the Pats and the Steelers. The teams playing the Pats these days are just playing so well, trying anything to win. The Pats just do what needs to be done. I don't really like Brady that much (he was my QB a few years ago in my fantasy football league...after I got rid of Peyton Manning...who I don't like, because like Phil Micklson, he is just boring) but I will be rooting for the Pats. I would like them to stay undefeated for the season. Personally in today's world of sports, I enjoy seeing a team or person dominate what is seemingly impossible to dominate. I always root for Tiger Woods every time he tees up his ball.

See you tomorrow.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Year without Santa Claus

Good morning, it is Monday.

I am a little late with today's blog as I have been a little sick and I decided to sleep in an hour. Maren was the first up by 45 minutes. Last night I just did not feel good at all, but this morning am doing better. I think I will survive.

Yesterday we had all the kids healthy and we made it back to church. It was nice to be back. Yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent. Lillie even has a nice advent wreath she made in Preschool that we lit last night.

Last night we watched the old movie Year Without Santa Claus. The movie with the snow miser and the heat miser. This movie reminds me of when I was a kid and my mom would sing the songs for the misers. Even in today's age of technology and animation, even the kids enjoy the old movies like Year Without Santa Claus. They are just fun to watch.

It has rained non stop for the last 24 hours or something. It think the news said Seattle had 3 inches in the last 24 hours? I am glad we replaced our roof a couple of years ago.

Anyhow, not much going on today. Lillie has gymnastics and I think that is it. We may go have dinner at Costco and spend the rest of our money on bulk items.

See you tomorrow.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

snow, Huskies

Good Morning, it is Sunday.

Yesterday at 2:00 pm it started to snow. By 4:00 pm there was a couple of inches around. All the kids were out playing in the snow for a couple of hours. Not really sledding snow, but good snowman snow and snowball fight snow. Hansen and Kole make a snowman as tall as they are, I was on my way out to take a picture for them when Hansen decided he would hid behind the snowman and pelt me with snowballs...sadly for him, he just knocked down his snowman. Oh well, no picture. After shedding all the wet clothes and warming up in front of the fire and having dinner, it started snowing very hard. Sure it was 8:30 at night, but all the kids got dressed again and stayed outside and played for another hour. So it was back in to warm up and get dry at 9:30 pm. Well, it was good they got their time out in the snow because it is raining again and all the snow is just slush. The only thing I did not do is take the car out to do some good power slides. I guess it would look kind of silly to see an old guy in a minivan power sliding around the neighborhoods just for fun.

The Huskies almost beat an undefeated Hawaii last night. Hawaii had to come back from a 21 point deficit. Can't believe it was the same Husky team that lost to the Cougars last week. I told the kids we were going to watch the Huskies, and Lillie said "NO, Lets watch the Cougars"...looks like Stef and her Cougar cheering got through to her. I am only paying the kid's college if they are Huskies, so Stef, start saving you pennies for Lillie's college. I will be pointing her your way if she keeps this Cougar stuff going. Well, maybe not, but it sounds good.

See you tomorrow.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Evil Knivel, Hansen work the system, First Snow and Lillie

Good morning, it is Saturday. There is snow on the ground. Not a lot, but more than a trace. The road is clear so Maren will have no trouble getting to work today...besides, she is only going about a mile to the closest school around. But the trees, roofs, and cars are all white. Lillie just came down stairs, looked out the window, and yelled "Is it Christmas?", I said not yet, but it did snow. She then ran straight over to the advent calendars and did all the stuff for day 1...how exciting. Maren just smiled and said "that's my girl."

Yesterday I read that Evil Knievel died. I did not really follow his carrier or anything, but when I was a kid, I loved my Evil Knievel stuff. One of my favorite bicycles was an Evil Knievel bicycle. I think I eventually took off the fake motorcycle tank and seat, but I really liked that bike. One on my favorite toys was a motorcycle wind up Evil Knievel thing were you put the motorcycle on the winder, wind and wind (while scraping your knuckles on the road) until the motorcycle takes off and jumps over stuff. I had an Evil Knievel lunch box and would just be mesmerized by the pictures of him riding wheelies with his feet on the seat and his cape flying. Maybe I should have been learning my spelling words...oh well. Such cool toys. The x-game kids like Travis Pastrama do far more crazy stuff (like his double back flip) than Evil seemed to do...except they are not on Harley Davidson 750 that twist sideways in the air due to torque. Also the x-game kids don't go like 75 mph then crash on the pavement. I don't have much to say about Evil and his family...they all seem from interviews that they had lost a few marbles along the way, but those were great toys...and just the name Evil Knievel, so cool.

Hansen was invited to watch a movie at his friend Kole's house last night. He went over around 7:00 pm. At about 8:30 pm I get a phone call from Hansen asking if Kole can spend the night. I told Hansen that the answer is no, Maren has to work in the morning (this morning) and he starts going on and on about how he already invited Kole even though he did not invite Kole but somehow Kole thought he was invited and his parents said it was a yes why can't he spend the night and on and on and blah and blah. Well, the rule around here is that you ask the family where you will be staying first, then the friend second. Hansen did the deal backwards and had to squirm out of it. Anyhow, it was no big deal, and no one spent the night...maybe tonight. But it was kind of amusing hearing Hansen try to work a deal that had gone wrong from the start. I think those two will do it right next time.

See you tomorrow.