Monday, August 18, 2008

Winding Down

Well, we've reached that week. That week being my last week before returning to work for another hopefully great, always busy, professionally challenging year.

It has been a great summer--full but not jam-packed. We started with our big trip to Cali, subjected ourselves (myself) to a weekend of camping, and filled all the days in between with play dates, berry picking, trips to the park, and lots of time on the slip 'n' slide. I love that I feel satisfied. I don't feel like summer escaped me or that I didn't have time to enjoy my kids. I often found myself in awe of them, knowing full well that this time in their lives goes too fast. But at the same time I was able to savor the minutes, and really, in the back of my mind I know that it's okay for them to get older. After all, even though I think I want them to stay a certain age forever, when they do grow I find myself saying EVERY TIME, "Wow, today is even more fun than yesterday." Still though, to think that Molly won't be a HILARIOUS, cuter than cute toddler forever does put a little lump in my throat. All the more reason that I loved this summer--because for the duration of this summer at least, she was my hilarious, cuter than cute toddler day in and day out. Sure, she exhausted me, but the joy and the laughter that she also brings to the table way exceeds the exhaustion! Speaking of the table, the other night we were in the middle of eating dinner, it was relatively quiet, and all of a sudden our little comic shouts out, "Oh, poppycock!" after dropping some food or something. Excuse me?! "Oh, poppycock?" What 2-year-old says that, and where did she hear it?! Hilarious, I tell ya.

So, this summer is almost a wrap. Grayson is closing it out with a round of swim lessons this week. I'm so proud of him. All I can say is what a difference a year makes! Last June he would barely put his big toe into pool his first week of lessons. Now he's putting his head underwater, practicing his strokes, and loving the slide! See, it's always fun when they grow up--we just have to remember that...

Friday, August 15, 2008

Olympics Bound?

Probably not, but we did get to celebrate an exciting and momentous occasion this past week!

Sweet Molly has been wanting to pedal her trike solo for so long now. But let's face it, my kids did not get the gift of height or long legs. Finally, FINALLY though she took off! Ah, who knows what's next? The Olympics Road Race? Or perhaps the Tour de France? Hmmm. My money is on a 2-wheeler with training wheels!

Gotta love summer! :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Men in Orange

Yesterday while riding in the car Grayson said to us, "Mom and Dad, when I grow up I want to be one of those people who picks up garbage off the ground."

Hmmm. I mean you've got to appreciate his willingness to do his part to help protect our planet, but isn't another name for one of those people JAIL INMATE?!?!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Felt Just Like It Was Yesterday...

Okay, maybe not, as I was flanked by a teenager on each side. And heavens to Betsy I definitely don't feel like a teenager anymore...though that's what I was 13 years ago, the LAST time I sat in a chair at the orthodontist's office! Today I'm a 32-year-old mom of 2 with some weird, unexplainable bone decay in my mouth that apparently braces will fix. I'll spare you all of the would take too long to explain the history of my ONE tooth in question, and you probably wouldn't believe me anyway! I've gone thru everything with this stupid tooth, from having a spring with a gold dangly chain attached to it (not kidding) to a root canal during which the dentist broke off the tip of his tool and the said tip lodged itself into my root while the dentist simultaneously stormed out in frustration, left me with my mouth wide open, and refused to finish that day (hello?!? ) to hanging upside down (literally) in the endodontist's chair while the endodontist (have you ever even heard of an endodontist?) took the time to call my dentist to tell him how excited he was to discover the puzzling condition in my mouth (that being the bone decay). Oh but wait, I said I wouldn't go into detail...

Well today the saga continued as I found myself once again in the orthodontist's chair having my spacers put in. Lovely. For the next week I get to feel like I have meat grizzle stuck in my teeth. But I suppose that's not as bad as what I will feel like for the next 12 months once my braces are actually on! Next Wednesday, by the way. And no, I will NOT be color coordinating with the holidays!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Alright Already! (Tag Smag)

Okay, I'll do it! Apparently there is such a thing as 'cyber tag', and recently my friend Sarri 'tagged' me. So now I have to reflect back on the last 20 years just as she did. Good lord, I know I'm not THAT old, but I can barely remember what I did this morning, much less 20 years ago! But here goes...

20 years ago I was 12. I think. Yeah, I was. I was getting ready to start jr. high, which oddly enough there wasn't a jr. high in my town, so we had to go 11 miles down the road to the next town. Go figure. Seems very funny to me now. And why they never condemned that building, I'll never know! Gross, gross, gross. I don't think much has changed between me and my friends back then and 7th grade girls today. Lots of lame, catty catfights. One thing that has changed--it was that summer that I experienced the female "curse" for the first time, in Hawaii of all places! Nice. Seems like girls today are in 3rd or 4th grade when it happens! (Obviously I can't remember much if I'm talking about menstruation! Geez louise.)

10 years ago it was 1998. I had just gotten my braces off, graduated from Linfield College, and gotten married--all in that order. We totally thought that we were going to move back to Idaho until both Dave and I realized that neither of us really wanted to. Phew! The only downside to our last minute change of plans was that I hadn't been looking for a teaching job in or around McMinnville. No worries, I resigned myself to subbing for a year. Little did I know that I'd be offered a 1st grade position in Carlton halfway thru September. Talk about a stressful start to my teaching career! School had already been in session for 3 weeks. Boy did I love Carlton though and all the friends I made.

5 years ago I was a new mama. That summer we went to Dave's high school reunion, which was equally fun for me since I went to the same small school and was friends with many of his classmates. What wasn't so fun was having to see all of those friends 3 months after giving birth. Eek! I definitely hadn't discovered the South Beach diet yet! Also that summer several friends and I started a "play" group for our babes--though really it was mostly just a chance for all of us moms to get together once a week and chat up a storm! Those babes sure aren't babies anymore, and it's hard to believe that they're all starting kindergarten in 1 month's time! Speaking of kindergarten, I was teaching it at Newby 5 years ago, sharing a classroom with my pal Sarri. That fall also marked the beginning of our 3 year long childcare trade. God is good.

3 years ago I was prego with Miss Molly. We told my family at our annual reunion down in Umpqua. My mom thought she was getting some updated portraits of Grayson when really she discovered ultrasound pictures in the envelope, too. Very fun. At that point I was still CERTAIN that we were having a boy!

So far this year I have discovered blogging, read 1 grown up book, watched my son start and "graduate" preschool, celebrated my 10th wedding anniversary, gone to Disneyland twice, and taken an extreme liking to being on vacation!

Yesterday I entertained Sarri's kids and my own with Gak and the Slip 'n' Slide, among other things. We had so much fun!

Tomorrow I will watch the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics in Beijing! I'm such an Olympics nut! Can't wait!

In the next year I will send Grayson off to kindergarten, move Molly into a big girl bed, hopefully say goodbye to binkies and pull-ups, go to Hawaii if I can convince my husband, and give my daughter another opportunity to finally hug Mickey Mouse, if I'm lucky! :) I'll also meet a new class of 5-year-olds--love most, gain a few more gray hairs because of a few, and reconsider my career path because of at least 1. Ha! Ha! There's always 1! :) And oh yeah, I'll also get braces. Again. :(

Now I tag Tara, Traci, and Fairlight! You're it!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Play Day!

Today I got my hands on the 3 sweet "Gibbies" all day! What fun we had! Here's a little glimpse:

Apparently the window sill is better suited for reading on than the couch.
At lunchtime, all 5 dined on only the finest cuisine--Lunchables! (But hey, at least I recycled the boxes!)
Next up, jeep rides all around!

Too sweet.

Then it was "movie rest" time. Carter's missing--he needed his beauty sleep. And now that it's 6 o'clock and I've got a crier on my hands, boy do I realize that Molly needed her beauty sleep, too!

And finally, we ended this very hot day appropriately--on the Slip 'n' Slide!

Watch oouuutttt!
Water and sand--one of my least favorite combos, but it sure was fun!

Now, give me my pillow and a very cold drink! I'm exhausted!!! :)

Gak Attack!

There are 5 little scientists at the Ryan house today. Today's experiment? What do you get when you mix water, glue, food coloring, and a little Borax?

Why...Gak, of course!

You can find the recipe here. Enjoy!

Monday, August 4, 2008


Okay, I buy the argument that spiders are necessary to help control the insect population. I get it. But really, what redeeming quality do slugs have???

PLEASE someone tell me! Because until you do, they're staying on my list of reasons not to camp!!!

Life on the Umpqua

Ah. Looks serene, doesn't it? Well it is...when the Spencers aren't around!!! But this past weekend serenity was replaced by hootin', hollerin', and the nonstop whirring of the Margarator at the "Umpqua Institute of Family Togetherness" (as my Uncle Steve calls it). In layman's terms--my mom's side of the family had its annual reunion on the Umpqua river. Aunts, uncles, cousins, and second cousins, along with my Grandpa John, all converged on the old "cabin" for a weekend filled with junkfood, laughter, a potato gun, tents galore, slugs aplenty, and numerous river explorations. Grayson and Molly loved it all!

Unbelievably, everyone made it this year, and incredibly, we managed to take a halfway decent family photo that we framed and presented to my grandpa. Now that he's in his 90s, each summer gathering that we have with him in attendance is truly a time to treasure. And thank goodness that, up to this point, he's always held true to his word when at the end of the weekend I say goodbye and he pats my hand and says, "See you next year, kid!" with a little chuckle in his voice. Yes, Grandpa, we will see you next year! I'm counting on it!

Life on the Umpqua (in pictures)