Thursday, August 28, 2008

I did it!

I am so very proud of myself tonight! I have successfully made THREE 
digital scrapbook pages! Huge accomplishment as I had to learn a new 
software on my new computer with two little girls and a husband all in 
need of my attention! (poor me! :))

Jilllian's "First day of School" was the very first one I did; figuring things
out. Then Jillian helped me do her fav pictures page and Alissa helped with
her fav pictures page. Watch out! I'm loving it!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

It's so nice to know that I am not the only parent with OCD tendencies...

Today, when I was taking Alissa to her class for the first day of school I overheard the tail end of a conversation between a teacher and parent. The parent must of said something regarding how happy she was school was back in as this was the teachers reply; "I don't know why parents say that! The whole thing is that the kids are back into a routine..." I also think that something in the way of the kids were only home for three months and teachers have them for nine was also part of their conversation; it was trailing off as I walking away. The whole truth of the matter is yes, life is back to a routine.

We all (parents) try to cram so much into those three months off that its go, go, go! No time to create routine so when its time for school to start again we can't wait! Or, it could just be that we're exhausted from entertaining them 24/7 for the last three months without the break of them going to school each day. :) You decide. Anyway...

Alissa's first day was a success! She was SO excited to go! She got up  without a whimper or whine, got ready for her day, and walked with excitement to her new classroom. No fear, total excitement! I know she is in the third grade now but I always had a little hesitation of the new year at her age; didn't see a trace of it in her. She was so happy to see her friends and see the staff at her school - they're all her friends! She is truly a social butterfly! She's already made plans to have a sleepover with her "best friend" Nicole. "Mom, since you don't know where she lives, I can ride the bus home with her, spend the night, go to school the next day, and then you pick me up; okay?" WOW! She really thought that through; too bad it won't happen on a school night like she's planning. We'll see how it really plays out.

Alissa outside her classroom today

New outfit, new school bag, and tissues for the classroom
Jillian has slow start tomorrow which is an orientation for me; so we'll go together and leave together. Yesterday, I was all sad in the thoughts of this day. After today, spending it just the two of us, I can't wait for her first full day which is Tuesday. GOOD GRIEF! She has been a handful! I'm chalking it up to "the change"; Preschool to Kindergarten, different schools, different teachers - that's all a big deal! I get it, truly. But today, she been acting out in extremes that I haven't had the pleasure of dealing with before. All of a sudden today she's been acting like she's three! Whining, throwing attitude when she doesn't get what she wants, rolling her eyes like a teenager - UGH! It's got me so frustrated this evening that I am going banana's! She is seriously five going on sixteen; she knows it all - just ask her! (Right now, this blog is therapy! Please excuse my rant - I'll get over it soon.)

After a good nights rest, I'm 100% positive that I will be back to my sadness for her big day. (Sadness isn't really the right word, but you know what I mean.) I'll be home alone next week, without my girls, lost for a little while. The funny thing is that I have been longing for a day to myself for awhile but the last time I got one I couldn't focus on those "me" things I wanted to do! My routine was off from taking care of them that it created a mini chaos for me. Go figure.

I'm sure Brett's already got grand plans of my time while the kids are at school. My time is usually not my own, hence why when I get "me time" I'm at a loss of how to manage it. We'll see. I've got grand plans for my time myself; painting, scrapbooking, house projects, etc. Those alone will take me to winter break in addition to transporting the girls to dance 4 nights a week, CCD, and horseback riding lessons. Oh, and my one day a week job. It's gonna be crazy; but I wouldn't trade it for anything!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Not so fast..

The pressure's on!!! Such responsibility to keep you all posted! What have I gotten myself into.... :)

I can not believe that school starts tomorrow! Part of me CAN'T WAIT! (Oh, did I write that out loud?!?) Another part of me is really sad; my girls are growing up. Jillian going to Kindergarten is a HUGE transition for me. I think I struggle with it because Brett & I don't have the "never say never" about having any more kids - I made sure of it (tubes are tied)!! And while I am at complete peace with that decision it makes every last thing that Jillian does a big deal because there will not be another child to go to Preschool, there won't be another first day of Kindergarten... It's not that it's Jillian per say, it's because she's the last. Her growing up just makes both of my girls show me how fast time goes by; I'm more aware of it. Anyway.....

We visited Nana (my Mom) in Portland last week; good times - except the fact that I forgot about the cat...

I gave my cat, Oreo, that Brett & I had had for 12 YEARS to my mom last summer; I do believe. My mom came back to visit about two weeks later and I had an allergic reaction; my eyes almost swelled shut! I went to the MD and he told me that I was allergic to cats. "WHAT! I've had a cat ALL my life" Doesn't matter, he explained, you can be exposed to something one time or a million, when you have a reaction you have a reaction (that's the explanation in a nutshell, not his exact words). So, much to my dismay I no longer have a cat. Since that episode and over the last year I've found out that I have asthma with allergy triggers - FABULOUS! I now have an inhaler. YEAH me! Whatever....

Anyway, I was all excited to drive the 4-6 hours (cause with girls it takes that long) to my Mom's and relax, hang around the house and visit; see my niece and nephew and just hang. Instead, I stressed out about the cat as I needed my inhaler and Clariton to be able to BE at my mom's house. So, we kept busy outside the house - shopping at IKEA, finding a scrapbook store (big shocker- me? Scrapbook store?), and school shopping at the mall. Lots of stuff to stay away from the house; which is really a shame. My mom just completed a three year renovation on the outside and upper floor of her house; it's beautiful! I just couldn't relax enough to enjoy it.

The girls had a great time! They loved it ALL!! My poor niece April got mauled! They ADORED her! She is currently staying with my mom while doing Pharmacy rotations for WSU. She took them to the playground across the street, played pine cone baseball, went for a walk, let the girls climb and sit on her; gees! What a playmate! I bet she needed a good nap after we left! I know I did!

The original plan for this trip was to take the girls to the ocean; before we left, I decided that I was not up for the ocean after all so we would stay at Moms'. But I'm pretty sure that my decision disappointed my mom a bit; while shopping at the mall at Pottery Barn, she bought some sea shells and gave some to each of the girls; "at least they have some shells, even of we didn't make it to the ocean". Sorry mom. 

Although I was very stressed while I was there, I am very happy I went. It was nice to see my mom in her element and it was a bonus to see my niece and nephew! It's so strange how time moves so slowly yet goes by so fast, ya know?

Top Row: Nana, April (niece), and Martin (nephew)
Bottom Row: Alissa, Jillian, and Michelle (Martin's girlfriend)

My mom asked if this would cancel all thoughts of visiting again; no, but I 'm not staying with you next time. :)

I must also say sorry to Tim and Katie, I was close to seeing you but my time down there ran quicker than expected; sorry. Next time!! :)

Much more to share, more that I needed to catch up on; but this will have to do for now. Share with you soon!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

"How I spent my two week vacation from the office" by Tiffany

As I have been SO event filled the last two weeks I feel that I need to catch up and summarize; here we go.My work vacation (which is a little funny to say, as I am back to my one day a week schedule) began the weekend of our Seattle trip and is ending this weekend. In that time, in addition to the Seattle event, we have gone boating with the Lloyd's, done dance camp, IKEA trip with Melissa, attended a family wedding in Snohomish, horseback riding and 4 wheeling at the shop, playdate and sleepover with Cayli, boating with my brother and his family who were up from Utah and that I haven't seen in the last four years, family BBQ at my house, Grant County Fair in 100 degree weather, and ending the vacation break is the Grant County Rodeo.

Mr. & Mrs. Sean O'Leary

Alissa watching everyone get their dance on!
(The bride - Allison, Elie, Malynna, Jillian, and more wedding guests)

Alissa leading Jillian and Riley H. on Eclipse in the round pen

Releasing pink balloons for breast cancer awareness at the Grant Co. Rodeo on 
"Tough Enough to Wear Pink" on Thursday Night

Ashley, Alissa, Ivie, and Jillian enjoying the Thursday night rodeo and each other!

Time well spent with Evan and his family at Thursday night rodeo
Left side: Levi, Evan, and Cindy
Right Side: Brett, Me, Alissa, and Jillian

Tons of pictures!! Tons of fun!! And many more stories to come - after the rodeo! Stay tuned!

Our Seattle Trip - Part Two

After the aquarium we went for a walk along the Piers; taking in the fabulous Seattle skyline, the beautiful pacific ocean, the ferries, the barges; it was just a beautiful night.

We ended our evening at the Piers riding the carousel. The girls had a blast! We rode it about 3-4 times, each time the girls picked a new horse and I found it very interesting that even though they were on a new horse it was VERY similar to the one they had just been on. Alissa's usually had some feathers on it and Jillian's had flowers and bling (shiny stones) - shocking! It was a good end to a fun afternoon. Now, let's find a room....

Now, as I mentioned last post, it's SeaFair weekend, WAY more people in Seattle than usual. A well prepared person would have reserved a hotel BEFORE they made the journey over the mountains but this usually well prepared person was trying to step a bit of her box and "go with it" for a change. Bad time to try. THERE WAS NOTHING!!! Brett was so frustrated that he was ready to go back home at 7:30pm. At our fourth hotel that we drove to (I also called two) they said they did not have any rooms but their hotel in Lake Union had ONE left. (ONE!) "We'll take it! Yes please and thank you!" Again, VERY thankful for the movies in the back to occupy the kids; Brett's patience was GONE and understandably so. We were SO thankful to have found a room. We checked into the Silver Cloud Inn in Lake Union where we had a pretty good view of the harbor. The girls changed into their suits and we were off to the pool.

My girls are fish! Especially Alissa! They had a blast just playing in the water. They pool had been taken over by all sorts of kids! All the adults supervising were either in chairs on the pool deck, like Brett and I, or in the hot tub. The biggest downfall with watching I think was the chlorine in the air. Because it was an indoor pool with no fresh air circulating through the room the chlorine just hung there. After about a half an hour to forty-five minutes we had to go. Brett and my eyes were dying! The girls took showers and were off to bed.

The next morning at breakfast, we sat next to a window looking at the harbor. I swear I saw a pod of Orcas swimming! Brett was helping the girls dish up their continental breakfast and I was saving our spot; so I was the only one that saw them. I thought it was pretty cool. After breakfast we checked out and headed for the zoo.

The zoo was beautiful. I have never been to Woodland Park Zoo so I had no idea what to expect. It was a big adventure not only for the girls but for Brett and I too. We saw it all from the farm animals (which was hilarious because we already know all the farm animals), exotic birds (we skipped the bugs), the tropical rain forest, day and night exhibit (very cool!), butterflies, bears, the Australasia exhibit, the Northern Trail exhibit (more on that in a minute), Tropical Asia and ended with the African Savanna.

It only took us about four and a half to five hours to complete; without any breaks. Good grief!

Brett was pretty mellow through it all until we got the Northern Trail. "They have ELK! Come on, let's go see them!" His inner child had emerged!

I think that we were all in awe of the beauty of nature. It was just really cool to see all the different animals in their habitats. I took some great pictures!! Here are some that I am most proud of:

Of course on completion of the zoo, where do you think the gift shop was? At the exit of course; and once again, we need something "to remember this"-per Alissa. Brett and I encourage getting a bracelet or something other than a stuffed animal. Yeah, right. Jillian found a necklace right away but Alissa could not find anything that would satisfy; she kept spying the animals. Finally, after about 15 minutes of searching, a very tired mom and dad said "go get an animal, a small one!" Jillian put her necklace away in a flash and picked a Giraffe right away; Alissa couldn't choose; "only one?!?" She finally decided on an African Wild Dog. Brett and I were relieved to finally be on our way home.

As we're headed for home it's now time to decide what route to take. The quickest route home is across the floating bridge on I-90 but is there anything going on right now? I turn on the radio, nothing mentioned. But Brett just gets this feeling we'd better go home the way we came; across SR 520 to 405 to I-90. What a GREAT call! As we're crossing the 520 bridge we see the water FULL of boats headed for the floating bridge area and find out while on the 520 bridge that the floating bridge is indeed closed. Because we are headed out of town vs. in, the journey is quicker and smoother and we're back to I-90 in about a half an hour. YA!

It was a fun time but also an exhausting one. I think the girls were asleep before we got to I-90. We all had a blast even with the little obstacles (traffic and hotel). 

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Our Seattle Trip - Part One

Last weekend we made it to the Seattle Aquarium and Woodland Park Zoo. Not enough time for the Pacific Science Center. Overall, it was a great experience! But it was crazy from getting there to getting home. Let me share.....

After Brett did his morning routine (checking the water, feeding the horses, and an overall look over everything) we headed for Seattle. The girls were all set in the back of the car with movies and music. After a short stop in North Bend for wedding outfits for the girls, we continued on our way to Seattle. When we got to Bellevue we read a sign "Floating Bridge closed, find alternative route" just in time to dart into the exit lane to I-405 North. Those of you not familiar with this interchange can not relate. IT'S MAYHEM! It's a wonder there aren't more wrecks! That entire interchange, north or south, TOTALLY stresses me out! 

Enough ranting, back to the story. So, once on I-405 headed north we turn on the radio for traffic info. (We didn't notice the traffic advisory signs flashing before Bellevue - would have been handy) It appears that the floating bridge is closed for the Blue Angles practice from 12-2:30pm. Had we known this info earlier we would have been happy to stay in North Bend for another hour, but it is what it is. And bonus! It's Seafair weekend! Which means WAY more traffic than usual; which also means this detour that should only take a half an hour with regular traffic is now going to take over an hour to get onto SR 520 to get across the water to Seattle (about 15 miles). Thank goodness for the movies! It would have made this part even worse to not have the girls occupied! I can only imagine all the questions and "Are we there yet?" moments.

We FINALLY get to the Piers about an hour and half later and went to Ivar's for lunch. The girls LOVED it! We were seated right next to the window and watched the Ferries arrive and depart and got to check out the fire boat docked right outside the window. We still hadn't told the girls why the road trip. So, after lunch, we headed for a stroll towards the aquarium. 

Alissa got smart. "Mom, isn't the aquarium down here?"
"I think so.."
As she's jumping up and own for joy, "Please can we go! PLEASE!"
"Let me think about it" (I'm bad, I know. It was just too easy!)

Brett and I stopped just outside the aquarium next to this fountain for a photo opportunity; the girls didn't even realize that the aquarium was right there! I took my pics then pointed out the aquarium and we went inside.

 the girls in front of the fountain

Alissa loved it SO much that I had to keep slowing her down. "Alissa, would you like to see this with us?" "Slow down! We can't go back. Enjoy what your seeing now." It was almost too much excitement for her! She was FASCINATED! Jillian enjoyed it too, but was sure to stick close to Brett or I. It was cool to watch the girls and Brett. I lagged a little behind so that I could take pictures. Brett helped point things out and answer their questions. It's the little things that get me sometimes. I was so happy that he was able to get away from the farm and have this time with the girls.


Alissa really enjoyed the whole thing! Touching the starfish,  standing in the middle of a jellyfish display - the Circle of Life, looking at crabs and an octopus, as well as seeing all the different kinds of saltwater fish. Jillian just took it all in, like always, and just followed Alissa from display to display. It wasn't until we came up to the clown fish tank that I really heard anything out of her. "Look! It's Nemo, Dori, and Marlin!! And an anemone." That tickled her.

Nemo tank

I think their favorite part was the bigger sealife. Alissa wanted to see dolphins and whales but there not at this aquarium. The girls really enjoyed the otters! The otters were pretty active swimming around. Jillian had a tender moment for the two river otters all cuddled up together. After the bigger sealife, the tour ended in the gift shop. (These people know how to direct it! Any parent trying to avoid shopping will be unsuccessful!) We let the girls pick out a toy to "remember the trip" - Alissa's words, not mine. Alissa picked a Harbor Seal and Jillian picked an Orca.

 riding an Orca. "Hang on!" (GREAT photo setup)
lovin' the otter

So, now that we've seen the aquarium, it was too late in the day to go to the Pacific Science Center or the Zoo, but too early to head for a hotel (which was not reserved yet). So, we went for a walk along the Pier looking for some more fun.....

More on that later! Stay tuned!