Monday, December 29, 2008

A&W Photography

I've mentioned my friend Ashley and the amazing photos she took of my kids several weeks ago. I am finally posting some of the pictures here on the blog. I hadn’t done this because I’m lazy, but also because I gave photobooks with most of the pictures to the grandparents as Christmas gifts this year. They are awesome! If you come and visit me I will proudly bore you to death with the book.

I always mention how wonderfully talented Ashley is, but I feel like I should mention her equally awesome husband, Wendel. What a pair. They are like the dynamic duo of children’s photography. A perfect blend of talent and comedy. At our shoot, Ashley did most of the camera snapping while Wendel had the important jobs of carrying heavy things around, holding up reflectors and saying silly things to make my kids smile. He spent about 30 minutes inventing a secret crush that Tyler apparently has on his 2nd grade teacher, Mrs. Spalding, and then teasing him profusely about it. Very important work.

I love photos of my children, but having them professionally done is like torture. They are complete spazzes most of the time and never follow directions. But this experience was wonderful. No rush, no rules, no limits on poses or settings or number of shots. We just went where the kids took us, literally. Emma even peed her pants at the end because we couldn't make it to the port-a-potty fast enough. Ashley and Wendel just smiled and continued the shoot. The kids laughed and played at the park. And when they were done, we were done. I really hope A&W will continue their work and we'll be able to do this again down the road when my children have grown an inch or two.

Thanks A&W. To see a few more pictures from the shoot, click here.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Holiday Letter 2008

Friends and Family,

How wonderful it is to be back in our home state of Washington! We believe our wanderlust has finally subsided, but can make no promises because who knows when an offer to relocate to an exotic locale in Middle America will materialize. On that note, the recent deluge of snow that rivals any Midwest winter has quelled any feelings of homesickness we may have had.

We have enjoyed a wonderful year as we have resettled back into familiar settings. Chance is busy at work at AT&T in Marketing Operations as a project manager. His office is located at Redmond Town Center, which incidentally is the same location he opened the Gap at 10 years ago when he was much more hip. Regrettably in his new position he does not receive a mall discount.

Michaelynn continues to grow into the ever expanding role of ‘Mom’. Our van’s odometer has grown at a rapid pace as she shuttles the brood to volleyball, t-ball, soccer, field trips, recitals, etc. She is also further exploring the plethora of options that exist as a homemaker having recently tackled some very extensive sewing projects and has become a proficient blogger. You can find her outstanding work at ‘’.

Our oldest, Tyler, is in the middle of his 2nd year at Crestwood Elementary in Ms. Spalding’s class. A woman, who along with himself, is apparently smarter than both of his parents combined. Tyler continues to enjoy all things sport, music, and electronic. His career path is leading towards science, his goal being to build a light saber. Hopefully he will choose the path of light.

Noah has become the comedian of the family, overshadowing even his father at times with his antics and infectious giggles. He is not content unless is making noise of some sort, the louder the better. He began preschool this year, and for now still believes his parents to be quite intelligent.

Though Emma has lost her accomplice to preschool this year, she has grown ever closer to her Mother. Emma is definitely all girl, desiring ‘dolls, all of them’ and a pony for Christmas. She can usually be found wearing a dress, and aspires to become a princess some day.

We hope this letter finds each of you well. We celebrated our 10th anniversary this year, and it truly is amazing how fast the years pass. Life is truly a finite period that we are meant to enjoy together, and we very much appreciate this time of year in which we at least have a few moments to reconnect with each of you.

Wishing you a most Merry Christmas,

The Richardsons
Chance, Michaelynn, Tyler, Noah and Emma

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Quotes


Emma: "Dad, its Christmas! We're going to the North Pole."
Dad: "Emma, we're NOT going to the North Pole."
Emma: "Yes, we ARE!" (insert very belligerent 3-year old voice)

Emma has been watching a little too much Polar Express lately.

Her favorite songs this week have been her own special versions of: "Frosting the Snowman," "The Chipmonk Song" and "Old MacDonald".


Upon opening his Christmas Eve present (containing pajamas):

"What?! Clothes?" (voice dripping with disdain)


Tyler: "Yay, Sonic Unleashed Video Game! Wait ... its for the Wii?"
Mom: "Oh, oops. Guess Santa forgot that we don't have a Wii. We'll just take it to the store and exchange it for a different one."

Sad, gloomy, depressed face appears on Tyler.

10 minutes later...

Tyler: "OH! Santa got us a Wii! Yes!"

10 minutes after that....

Tyler: "Yeah, Santa got me a Wii because he knew I couldn't afford one."

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Watched Pot

You know the saying "A watched pot never boils?" I think you could also say "a watched sky never snows." We were supposed to have a snow storm Wednesday. The school district had late arrival again for some reason I cannot understand and the news continued to report severe snow warnings for our area. We watched the sky all day and waited. And then we gave up watching and made cookies - Noah, Emma and I. It was very interesting and fun. If you look closely at the pictures you'll see that Emma is wearing her ballerina costume from her recital last week and Noah is working side by side next to his Star Wars Stormtrooper action figure. The kids and I (and "trooper" as he is affectionately known here) took turns with the rolling pin and the cookie cutters. And then Tyler came home and ate his fill.

Here is Noah with "trooper". (And yes, Noah's t-shirt is on backwards. I think his shorts are on backwards, too, to be honest. But he's happy and who am I to take that away from him?)

And just when you stop watching that pot ... it boils. Or snows, in this case.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Who knew?

The other day I ruined two batches of fudge and it sent me into a depression spiral. Who knew all my happiness and self-confidence rested on my ability to boil and stir and stir and stir for 11 minutes straight on into chocolate perfection? But, after the fiascoes I was in a funk. It just didn't feel like Christmas anymore. I am living in this mess of a house that I cannot escape with a defective stove to boot. Woe is me! But thankfully, everything is back on track. I have had fudge success and life is rosy again. I'm smiling. Suddenly I feel like all the things that were impossible are possible and the desolation of my life is not so dark as it seemed before. Suddenly I have Christmas carols in my head and everything is right in the world again. Yay! Who knew fudge had so much power?

Chance mentioned that although I don't remember it this way, this is a Christmas ritual for me. Apparently I always have a few disasters before I get in my groove and things get all magical in the kitchen. Hmmm ... I've decided this is probably his fault for moving me around the world forcing me to get acquainted with different atmospheric conditions, new kitchens and stoves all the time. Maybe if we finally "settle down" for awhile I could go a few years without wasting a few pounds of butter and sugar at Christmastime.

Some people don't really like fudge. But making fudge is one of my favorite Christmas traditions. My mother's fudge recipe is an edible masterpiece. The recipe is difficult, but worthy of the Nobel prize. It has been a holiday tradition my entire life (or at least since I was old enough to lick the spoon). Back in the days before Kitchenaid civilized the world with their fancified mixers, my mother slaved her way to arthritis making fudge during the holidays. She stirred that bubbling, boiling pot on the stove continuously for 20 minutes and then dumped that lovely potion into a bowl full of chocolate yumminess. She continued stirring like a madwoman for another half hour until the fudge became the right (really thick) consistency. By the end of the hour, mom's arm was useless and I was made to do all the cleaning. (Especially the toilets. I remember them well.) And then to add to the torture the fudge had to set in the fridge for 12 hours before we could eat it! But when that moment came, when we could taste the hallowed chocolate, it was glorious. All the cleaning, the toilets, the was all worth it. Its a different feeling now when I make it in my own kitchen. In my youth, the anticipation is what made it such a treasure. Now, it is not the waiting, but the work; the labour of my hands that makes its all so valuable to me. We all have our treasured labors ... the hunter his game; the fisherman his fish. Me? I have fudge.

Hello beautiful.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

New Camera & New Snow!

This weekend we almost (not really) felt like we were back in Minnesota. Snow fell from the sky and covered all of Covington really nicely. So nicely, in fact, that church was cancelled! This turned out to be a good thing for me because I had to teach today and I wasn't prepared. (I tried, I really did, but I was too distracted with my new camera (see below) and with all the other things going on around here.) With nothing to do all day, we had a snowball fight and photo session outdoors until we got too cold. (HA! TOO cold? We've become a bunch of weenies since we left Minnesota. Have you noticed that I use a lot of parentheses? Its weird.)

So, I've been complaining for months about the sad state of our digital camera. It didn't use to bother me so much, but it seems to have aged over the last few months and the photo quality is ... well there is no quality. Of course, Ashley's gorgeous photos of our kids last month only increased my discontent. After seeing them, every picture I take is just disgusting to me. She's ruined me! Maybe someday I'll be rich enough to buy my own SLR and lenses and photoshop and photography classes and ...well, maybe not.

Anyway, yesterday Emma woke me up and said that Santa had brought presents. It turns out that Chance did have one for me. A new Nikon P80! I almost cried in joy. But I was too happy to cry - I just kept smiling! And then I just wanted everyone to leave me alone so I could read the manual. I spent the next hour and half doing that and managed to snap about 186+ pictures before the battery ran out. (This happened to occur at the exact moment Emma walked onto stage for her ballet recital yesterday! Sigh. Thankfully, a friend took video of it and I'll post it later after I get it. I know, parentheses again.)

And now to compare the old with the new. Below is a pretty scary picture taken with my old camera. This kind of quality was fairly common. I ask you?! How am I supposed to live with that? It looks like something taken with a mobile phone. (Of course, the picture is also pretty scary because Tyler is pretty freaky in that shot.) I don't know what happened to the camera. Maybe it was dropped too many times or something. All I know is I am so grateful to be able to grab a shot like the one of Noah in "time out" on the porch. Hallelujah!

"Buying a Nikon doesn't make you a photographer. It makes you a Nikon owner."
~Author Unknown

Friday, December 12, 2008

Bell Square vs. Disneyland

Last night we went to Snowflake Lane at Bell Square. After hearing great things about it, I guess I was slightly disappointed. I should have done more research before we drove all the way there. For some reason I had it in my head there would be a parade of toy soldiers in the streets. And unfortunately, that is what I told my kids. That is not exactly what happened.

This is what did happen. There were toy soldiers/nutcrackers drumming magnificently. They were loud and cool and exciting as they streamed out of the buildings and marched to their posts on the sides of the street. The drums beat to music projected over the crowd while several characters (snowmen, penguins, soldiers on stilts, snow princesses, etc) strolled the sidewalks and interacted with the kids giving away peppermint lollipops. Snowflakes were projected onto the surrounding buildings and snow (thick bubbles) did indeed fall from the sky. And the scene was beautiful. Holiday lights, nutcrackers, children everywhere. The music and drums continued for about 15 minutes. Sounds good, doesn't it? What's wrong with me?

But there was no parade. There was a street full of traffic. Those cars driving by detracted from all that musical talent. The street was never closed and the nutcrackers didn't march around with all those cool characters and dance in the streets. I waited and waited for the moment when that would happen so the fun could really start. It never did and I sat thinking how sad it was that an opportunity for holiday greatness was lost. What a difference it would make to close off those three blocks for 15 minutes and have a parade with all those soldiers and drummers and snowmen and princesses and music and snow and lights. If only, if only. Sigh. I have been totally spoiled by Disneyland. Snowflake Lane is a fun holiday experience; it just falls a little short of magical.

BUT ... We still had a nice evening. All that holiday festivity was contagious. We strolled through Bell Square and grabbed hot cocoa before the show. Emma was thrilled to see Rudolph and the other reindeer suspended from the ceiling. We heard some carolers. We spent 20 minutes at Pottery Barn Kids and the kids played with tons of expensive toys we will never buy. Plus, we ate dinner at Red Robin and received a free Mud Pie (and, let's be honest, that made the trip worth it right there). The kids had a good time. (Of course they did! Hot cocoa, mud pie, peppermint lollipops!) Noah's favorite thing was riding the escalators. Weird, but that's what my 5-year-old digs these days. He was a bit disappointed that there wasn't a parade like I said there would be (which is probably why I was disappointed because HE was disappointed. It's the mama in me.) Tyler loved it and wrote all about it for his writing assignment at school. Emma just quietly, happily took it all in and became one with her hot cocoa.

Chance and I looked at each other and agreed that Disney would have done it better. But then, Disneyland isn't free.

"Perhaps the best Yuletide decoration is being wreathed in smiles. "
~ Author Unknown

"Blast this Christmas music. It's joyful and triumphant."
~ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Tale of Two Trees

We usually try to get our Christmas tree the Saturday after Thanksgiving. We like to go out into nature and spend time selecting that one perfect holiday treasure for our home. We go out and get to know our tree. Meet its family, breathe its air, discover where it is from. Then we cut it down and tie it to our van kicking and screaming. Its a tradition.

This year, our schedules have been completely overloaded and we found ourselves on a late Thursday afternoon with an hour or so to find a perfect tree. Chance came home early and the kids were bubbling over with giddiness. Then we discovered that all the tree farms in this area are closed during the week. (WHAT?!) We drove around searching for farms to take our family in. It wasn't long before darkness was descending and we found ourselves in front of The Home Depot. I was completely depressed. Our holiday tradition was ruined and we were forced into the position of purchasing a tree cut by a stranger. The kids however, were still filled with giddiness. (I think it was mostly excitement to finally get out of the car and use the potty.) They cried out in joy when they saw the piles of trees at the Garden Center. I was despondent. No amount of Chance rubbing my shoulders and apologizing for nothing did any good. Then we met Anton.

Anton is a jewel. He's The Covington Home Depot's Master of Christmas Trees. He happily walked around lifting up trees one after another; giving tree advice; chatting with the kids. After we found what was probably the best Noble Fir in the store, he trimmed it, netted it and helped Chance load it up. All this for the bargain price of $39.95.

"You can do it. We can help."
~ Slogan for The Home Depot since 2003

Monday, December 8, 2008

White Elephant Bingo

I'm not sure if there really are "winners" in white elephant bingo or not, but if there were to be losers ... well, we definitely lost last Saturday night at the Schultz' holiday gala. We brought ten scratch lottery tickets to the exchange. We took home this little gem ....

Perhaps "little" isn't the right word. Special thanks go out to Tami B. for her excellent sense of style and artistic genius. The bra just wouldn't be the same without her bedazzlement. And thanks to Phil for passing on this rare piece of joy to me.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Remembered

This post has arrived late due to the bermuda triangle of internet service at my mother's house in Spokane.

I think my favorite Thanksgiving ever occurred in 1997. Chance and I had been dating for a couple months and I brought him home to meet my family for the very first time that weekend. It was the first and only time I ever brought a boy home to meet the fam in all my college years. I cannot describe the anxiety I felt on the drive to Vancouver. Would they like him? Would HE like THEM? Would his family resent me for taking him away during the holidays? Would we discover we really didn't connect after all and then have to endure a long weekend together? Would he understand my Black Friday shopping? Would he love my mother's cooking and properly praise it? All of these worries and more (much much more) ran through my mind continuously. The torture of this was magnified by two things:

1. Chance was just as pensive as I was during the trip (it was quiet ... too quiet ... radios are good); and

2. There was monstrous traffic on I-5 for most of the drive.

The normal 2.5 hour trip ran more like 5+ hours that day. A long drive spent torturing myself. I wish I could find my journal because I'm sure I recorded something about the weekend. Right now, I can only remember two things. First, my mother's house was beautiful. She had spent hours killing herself cleaning it for me and my "boyfriend." I'm sure this was compounded by the fact that I had not decided to invite Chance for Thanksgiving until about 24 hours earlier. And second, I was filled with an immense sense of relief after we arrived and Chance settled into place in my family like he'd known them forever. That was the beginning of the end for us. We were engaged about two months later. Looking back to that tremendously joyful Thanksgiving 11 years ago ... how very grateful I am that I brought him along.

"We are all a little weird and life's a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love."
~Author Unknown

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I've been neglecting this blog all month. Life has been very busy, but the truth is I haven't felt much like writing. I'm exhausted and we have had some difficult times in our family.

My stepmom passed away suddenly last Thursday. It was completely unexpected and the reasons behind it are still unknown. Kim was a wonderful person and I am grateful that she was a part of my life. I am grateful for the love she gave to my dad and to his children. What a kind and generous spirit she had. I will miss her love and support and the way her comforting and encouraging words felt like hugs over the phone. That was Kim to me. She was one great big long beautiful hug. I will miss her.

We love you, Dad. Hang in there.

“...Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life.
“And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow.” ~Alma 40:11-12

Friday, October 31, 2008

Saturday, October 25, 2008

My lil' Pumpkins

We ventured out to the pumpkin patch today. We always have a good time inspecting the pumpkins for "worms" and other flaws. We selected three of the finest pumpkins in the NW to grace our porch this year. I snapped a few shots of the kids ferrying their selections away as the rule is: "if you can't carry it, you can't keep it." (Well, except for Emma. She had a little help.) It was a nice trip. The patch wasn't too crowded and the kids were able to inspect several squished and decomposing pumpkins; pretend to drive a tractor; use the port-a-potty; and (almost) push the wheel barrow.

"I've learned there are three things you don't discuss with people: religion, politics and the Great Pumpkin."
~Linus, from It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)

Halloween Traditions

I love family traditions. A comforting feeling swells in my heart when the traditions of my childhood come to mind. Now that I have my own family, it is fun to discover our traditions as they develop. Several times I have attempted to force my own ideas and traditions onto my new family and have found myself unhappy and somewhat dejected when Chance or the kids did not revel in all my hard work and planning. I realized that no matter how much I try to "create" a family tradition, it never works out the way I plan. I think our family traditions are discovered by accident more often than planned on purpose. No amount of planning can create those unexpected moments of happiness and family togetherness that sometimes spring out of nowhere.

Last night we took out the box of Halloween decorations from the garage. I know it seems strange that we would have an enough spooky stuff to fill an entire tote, but a few years back Chance became competitive at our ward's trunk-or-treat. There was a contest for the best decorated trunk. One giant grim reaper, a fog-machine and several (ahem) dollars later ... he was triumphant! We're not one of those families with the giant plastic Santa's and crazy holiday yards at Christmas, but our "white trashiness" seems to come alive at the trunk-or-treat. Anyway, the kids love pulling out that box. Last night they went absolutely wild. I was reminded of Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are when the "wild rumpass" begins. There was dancing and singing and chanting and screaming and general craziness all over the house. I cannot pen the joy I saw last night and I cannot express how it filled my heart. How grateful I am for the life in my house.

Sometimes we feel the need to go to the movies or the fair or somewhere exciting and spend money in the name of tradition. While those are fun things to do, nights like last night are more meaningful to me. We simply celebrated together. Celebrated a time of year for being silly, wearing costumes and becoming monsters. These little traditions that develop by accident are as precious to me as those from my youth. More so. The nights we pull out the boxes are special.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


My grandmother used to sew adorable things for me when I was little. As I got older she attempted on numerous occasions to pass on her sewing secrets to me, but I was never similarly inclined. I had little interest in learning to sew. My passions were more geared to music. At that time I did not understand the draw of sewing. Perhaps it was because I remembered the horror of Theo's shirt (handmade by Denise) on The Cosby Show. Jayne (my mother-in-law) bought me a sewing machine three years ago when she visited us in Minnesota. She completed several projects with it during her visit, but it has since stayed packed away in its box. Until last week, that is.

I made this dress for Emma with Jayne's assistance. She instructed me throughout the project, but I sewed it on my own. A few weeks ago during a quick stop at JoAnn's I discovered this lovely bolt of light cordoroy and immediately felt impressed to make Emma a dress. I have no idea where this stroke of sewing passion came from; possibly my Grandmother's blood coursing through my body speaks louder when I'm at a fabric store. I took it home and realized that I don't speak seamstress. The pattern contained several terms I had never before heard and I quickly realized I had no idea what I was doing. Thankfully, Jayne is nearby and gave me a crash course on sewing. The most important of which was how to thread my sewing machine.

I now understand why people like to sew. I look at this and I feel tremendously satisfied.
Clip from The Cosby Show - Season 1, Episode 8

Friday, October 10, 2008

7 Year Olds

I am writing this post to remind myself how much I love Tyler. He is currently "grounded" and has been most of the week. I fear he will continue in his current situation as his 7 year-old personality refuses to respect the rules in our family. I have endured a very trying week with this boy! The sad thing is that I only see him before school in the morning and then from 3:30 in the afternoon to bedtime. But by bedtime each night he has mentally and emotionally exhausted me. I remember reading once in a parenting book that anger is physically draining. That book has come to mind frequently this week.

I know Tyler is still a young child. He's only seven - a mere 91 months on this earth. At times like this I attempt to release my frustrations by remembering the things I love about him. And at this moment I am pondering four particular endearments.

1. I love his fondness for telling strange and not-so-funny jokes. (Over and over and OVER again.)

2. I love his imagination and his curiosity about the world. His driving need to take things apart and look inside to examine how they work, which he calls "experiments."

3. I love that he is capable of abundant remorse. He gives the best apologies - so sincere and overdone it is impossible not to smile or roll your eyes.

4. I love that Tyler writes me love notes continuously. I have a steady supply of sweet letters and sticky notes around the house from him. He has filled notebooks full of hearts for me. Chance has never done that.

Moments in Time:

"It's not me, its my imagination." ~Tyler (age 4) after being told 87 times to stop jumping from the couch to the table

"Mom, Dad! You can't eat junkfood! Just leave it for the kids. We'll eat it." ~Tyler (age 6), when Chance and I were dieting

"I love you, Momma. I love you more than my video games." ~ Tyler (Age 7), yesterday

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A Little Off the Top

Tyler is famous! Sort of. We attended the Kids Day America in Covington a few weeks back and the Covington Reporter published a picture of him receiving a haircut. It was a miserable day full of cold rain and wind, but the haircuts were FREE. Due to the weather, I think the turnout was a bit scarce. All three kids received free haircuts, free lunch, and free prizes in the raffle drawings. I saved at least $50 that day on haircuts and lunch. Plus, Tyler won a free sports registration at Covington Community Sports, which saved me another $50. Not bad for a few hours in the rain. Tyler is thrilled to see his picture in the paper. He is absolutely enchanted by it.

A little off the top

Casie Coltes gives Tyler Richardson one of the free haircuts that were offered during Kids Day America, a community event hosted Sept. 20 at Chiropractic Today in Covington.

Covington/Maple Valley Reporter 10/1/2008

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


When I was young the most important elections for me were for my middle school class officers. During the school assembly, the candidates would stand and give speeches about all the fine things they would do if elected (i.e. installing a new Coke machine). Based on their words I would form opinions about their self-confidence and intelligence and eventually decide my vote. But I do admit my vote could be cheaply purchased with some cool stickers or lollipops that carried messages of "Vote for Heather" over another's mundane flyers. I realized at the time that the candidates' promises were irrelevant as they were unlikely to achieve them. A 12 year-old student had little impact on whether or not the school signed a contract with Coke, but it still sounded great. In reality, my vote came down to two things: who said they would give me the things I wanted and who I simply liked more.

Today, I find myself in a similar position. I listen to the debates and try to determine who I believe can grant me all I desire and who I generally "like" more. The campaign promises are more difficult to follow. Of course, the things I want have changed - but not much. As a 12 year-old, life didn't get much better than some sweets, a soda and stickers. Or at least it didn't in my day. Those were symbols of our prosperity and happiness. My symbols are different now, but they continue to represent the same ideals. I simply want to be happy and to prosper in this life with my family.

But lollipops are nice, too.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Noah Balboa

Here are some pictures of Noah's latest injury. We iced his face after he fell and collided into a chair in the kitchen. And woke up the next morning to this! Naturally, today was picture day at school.

Bodyguard: Did ya get the license number?
Rocky: Of What?
Bodyguard: The truck that run over your face.
~Quote from Rocky (1976)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Tag! ... I'm It

This is in response to Heather's post the other day. I've been "tagged." How exciting! I didn't even know I was playing! These things I share below are not exceptionally interesting, but I adore Heather and so I honor her request.

5 Joys/5 Fears/5 Obsessions/5 Suprising Facts

5 Joys
1. Talking to Chance about anything. He makes me laugh everyday.
2. Downloading a great picture from my digital camera and discovering that my hidden photography talent is finally starting to show itself.
3. The feeling I have when my house is clean and all my chores are done. It's a rare feeling. (I'm not having that feeling now.)
4. Watching my kids sleep. They are such wonderful children while they are sleeping.
5. Making cards. It's my art. I stink at all other forms of art.

5 Fears
1. Chance dying, the kids getting kidnapped or hurt. I can almost hear them screaming!
2. Laser Eye Surgery. I've worn contacts for 20 years and I badly want the surgery. My doctor recommended wearing glasses for awhile before having surgery - like 4-8 weeks. I've been wearing them for over two years now. I'm a serious chicken.
3. Taking cold medicine at night and then getting pulled over for a DUI the next morning.
4. Spiders.
5. Getting botulism from canned food. This is why I don't can peaches myself. I tell myself if Dole accidentally poisons their peaches, I'm going to hear about it on the news before I die.

5 Obsessions
1. Cleaning after handling raw chicken. It freaks me out - its so slimy!
2. Locking the doors and windows at night. Mostly, I make Chance check the house in the middle of the night.
3. Eating off real plates. Plastic is just fine for my children (and my husband even), but I hate it myself. Using real plates makes me feel like a real person and helps keep up the illusion that my cooking is as good as any fine dining restaurant. Plus, I have this strange fear that plastic will give me cancer.
4. Maps. Whenever Chance and I talk about going somewhere, I immediately want to see where it is in the world and how I'm going to get there. Chance doesn't get it, but he has a naturally amazing sense of direction. A map is a must. We're planning to drive to Disneyland in March and I'm sure he's already cringing.
5. Chocolate and Doritos. There's just something about it. It's the Britney Spears in me.

5 Surprising Facts
1. I have visited or lived in 29 states and traveled to 8 foreign countries.
2. I was a Madonna-wannabe when I was 10. She is the near opposite of everything I believe in, but I loved her. And now I secretly adore Britney Spears. She's a freakshow and I'm hooked.
3. I got engaged on Groundhog's Day. Seriously. February 2nd - like 12 days before Valentine's Day, the most romantic day of the year. But Chance was apparently too smitten with me to wait another 12 days, thus thwarting my chance of having the most perfect of all Valentine's Days, although I doubt many others have had such a romantic Groundhog's Day.
4. I make a mean pie crust.
5. I use a child-size toothbrush (my dental hygienist recommended it) because my mouth is so tiny.

Now I tag Jolie, Bianca, Laura, Angela and Stacy - but only if you want to play.

Friday, September 19, 2008

If I Had a Million Dollars

It used to be when Halloween came around you'd scramble around your house for materials to create a one-of-a-kind costume for nearly nothing out of pocket. A sheet, some crazy makeup, a pillowcase and you'd be set. If you had a real costume, handsewn or purchased at a store, you wore it until you shredded out of it like The Incredible Hulk. At least, that's the way I remember it. I still remember the witch costume I wore almost every year of my childhood. My grandmother may have sewn it. I put on this big, black cape-thing, ratted out my hair, put on my hat and I was good to go. It cost my mother nothing but a few sprays of hair spray.

My children have a box full of costumes we have purchased over the years. They dress up in them all the time when playing. Several were purchased at after-Halloween sales, garage sales and consignment shops. Each one of my children have at least 3 costumes (Emma has 7!) they could wear right now for Halloween next month. Unfortunately, we have corrupted them into believing they must have a new costume every October. Next month Tyler will masquerade as Darth Vader, Noah as Jango Fett and Emma (surprise!) as Cinderella.

These costumes definitely cost more than a few sprays of hairspray. Apparently, the apple has fallen very far from the tree in this case.


Heard at the dinner table last night:

Tyler: I wish we were rich.
Noah: Yeah, then we wouldn't have to do our laundry.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Noah is 5 today. I simply cannot believe it. A whole handful of years gone by. In some ways I can't remember what life was like without Noah, but in others it feels like he only just arrived here as a tiny baby. Noah was our miracle baby. He proved all our medical experts false that I could conceive a child. Tyler came along in our fourth year of marriage suddenly with only a few days notice. The adoption process took over 18 months to complete, but it was final one week before Noah was born. The pregnancy was somewhat difficult for me, but I had never been so happy or worried about someone I had never met. I couldn't imagine I could love another child as much as I loved Tyler, but I remember my mother-in-law Jayne telling me that babies arrive with their own extra love. How true! Somehow my heart expanded enormously to include him. At the end of the pregnancy, I became extremely ill. My doctor had to deliver Noah almost 7 weeks early. He arrived at 4:09 pm on September 9th, 2003. He was so tiny! Only 4 lbs. 15 oz. and was a mere 18 inches long. When curled up he was just a bit longer than Chance's hand. The doctors were sure he would need to stay in the NICU for about 4 weeks. But miraculously, Noah was much more developed than the doctors imagined and he came home only a few days later. I remember what a beautiful feeling there was in our home after he left the hospital. His sweet little spirit filled our home. I remember how very real and tangible it felt to me.

Since that day, Noah has been our joy. He is shy, tender, uniquely perceptive about the world and full of imagination and comedy. I have no idea where or how he will journey through this life, but I enjoy watching his travels.

“When God wants a great work done in the world or a great wrong righted, he goes about it in a very unusual way. He doesn’t stir up his earthquakes or send forth his thunderbolts. Instead, he has a helpless baby born, perhaps in a simple home and of some obscure mother. And then God puts the idea into the mother’s heart, and she puts it into the baby’s mind. And then God waits. The greatest forces in the world are not the earthquakes and the thunderbolts. The greatest forces in the world are babies.” ~ E.T. Sullivan

Below: homage to Noah, including a hospital shot with Chance's hand.