Wednesday, December 31, 2008

i have "done something"

about shane's room.

if you notice over there on my BIG FAT TO DO LIST, for ages now, i've had "do something about shane's room" on the list. and it has sat there on the list, doing nothing. 

well yesterday, we "did something".

i couldn't put "clean shane's room".  that wouldn't really cover it.  i wasn't sure exactly how to phrase what is was that needed to be done in there, mainly because i don't really know the proper grammatical term for "set off 4 sticks of dynamite followed by much jackhammering and industrial vacuuming".  needless to say, it was a pit!

every saturday, one of his chores is to clean his room.  but at this point, that was just putting clothes in the basket, books on the shelf, toys in bins, etc.  anything else was WAY too big of an undertaking for a 9 year old boy on his way out the door.

sadly, i didn't think to take a 'before' picture, so i didn't bother with an 'after', but i describe to the best of my ability all the CRAP that was gotten rid of yesterday.  just imagine my junk drawer, bedroom-sized and filled with the 9 year old boy variety of random crap.

behind shane's door, there were about 20 plastic grocery bags.  why? "well i need them for when i go to the Y so i have something to put my wet stuff in after i swim." "HOW MANY DO YOU NEED???" he got rid of them all.

on the floor NEXT to the toy shelf, was an open box containing a remote control car of sorts that he had gotten for his birthday, IN JULY.  so we emptied a bin on the shelf that contained a mostly broken and incomplete plastic 'garage' set that he hadn't played with in at least 3 years, got rid of that, and put the rc car and all it's parts in the bin.

behind the toy shelf and crammed between the shelf and his dresser was so much indescribable junk that i wouldn't know where to begin.  more plastic bags, notes from teachers of classes he had LAST YEAR, papers from sunday school, cub scout stuff (he's not even in scouts this year), the tags off of every single new item of clothing he's gotten in the last year and a half, feathers, leaves, rocks, candy wrappers, drawings he did, drawings layla did, a broken checkerboard, legos, lego kit instructions, lego kit boxes (empty, of course), a pair of too-small underwear, an extension cord, a box that micah's shoes came in, etc, etc, etc.  and then, between his closet and bookshelf, there was a box.  it was the box his lamp came in.  he's had that lamp for well over a year.  and it was full of more random crap. 

as he's pulling this stuff out, i'm just looking at him in disbelief and asking repeatedly, "why do you have this?" "i dunno."

well it's done now.  the recycling bin is filled up, as is the garbage, since we didn't get picked up last week, so there are a few boxes and stuff like that that got tossed out in the garage until after the stuff gets picked up today.  then, directly to the cans!


Monday, December 29, 2008

adjusting my attitude

this is something i tell shane to do all the time and i really needed to tell it to myself this morning. 

although i go through phases where i'm diligent and consistent about getting up early and taking care of pertinent chores, getting dressed, etc. i've been REALLY bad lately.  and it's not just the christmas break thing because i've been throwing myself and the little kids into the car in our jammies to take shane to school for a while now.  it's something that's really been bugging me, but it's just so easy to sleep as long as possible and then turn on the tv for the kids while i drink coffee and surf the internet wake up for 3 hours a little while.  i am aware that i really need to have some sort of a schedule and i need to adhere to it.

so after staying up past midnight reading a book about scheduling getting motivated, i vowed to get up early - before the kids - this morning and be all dressed and have some time to myself to take care of morning chores and possibly even do a little bible reading.  so i set my alarm and coffee pot for 6:30am. 

at 5:30am, my younger, evil, plotting, plan-foiling children woke up.  they did not go back to sleep.  needless to say, i was furious and very discouraged.  this seems to happen every time i attempt to establish good habits in this area.  so at about quarter to 7, i finally gave up on them going back to sleep and we all got up.

grumbling as i was pouring my coffee, i decided that the day was ruined and i was NEVER going to have any success because my children were plotting against me (complete with sinister laughter amongst themselves).


i decided to adjust my attitude.

so i drank my coffee as i made some oatmeal for the little ones and thanked God for their coughs and runny noses because if that's the worst i have to complain about, then we're really very blessed.  i got their clothes out and got them dressed, did layla's hair, and managed to keep them occupied until 8 when i let them watch curious george.  i also unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher.  shane was up too at this point and has done his chores and gotten dressed as well before i let him play some wii.

so it's really not so bad.  i'm off to get myself dressed and fold up some laundry.  we don't have any big plans today since the kids still have colds.  maybe i'll read some more about that schedule and how to handle it when your children won't sleep when they're supposed to!  oh, and i'll knit, especially since i had to give my aunt a preview of her christmas present yesterday since it's still not done.  PATHETIC!

Friday, December 26, 2008

our WEIRD christmas

christmas was more than a bit odd this year. we've had an insane amount of snow in the last week and a half, which caused everything to be unusual. church was cancelled both christmas eve and day, and our lovely white christmas knocked out our power half an hour after we got up. it was kind of a bummer, since santa brought a wii and the kids got to play it for all of about 5 minutes before the power went out. my parents were supposed to come for dinner, but didn't so we had a festive dinner of mac and cheese that dave cooked on the campstove. there were utility trucks down the street all day working to get stuff fixed and it finally came back on around 6:30. we'll celebrate for real on sunday when my parents and my aunt come over. here are like a million pictures of how we spent our day.

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merry christmas everyone!

Monday, December 22, 2008


i learned something about myself today.  well, i realized something about myself. 

i hate it when things get all wet.  hard surfaces mostly.

i realized this just now, when i went into the bathroom where layla had spent about 5 minutes 'washing her hands' earlier.  the counter was completely covered with water, and to wipe it up, i had to pick up all the things that were on the counter and dry them off too.  grrr.

i remember as a kid, sharing a bathroom with my mom, that i despised having to use the sink after she'd been in washing her face.  i don't know what it is she does while washing her face, but she splashes water EVERYWHERE!  all over the sink, faucet, counter, mirror... i hated having to turn on the faucet when the knobs were already all wet. 

i'm not crazy about getting into a shower that someone has recently gotten out of.  it would be my preference to always have the first shower (and not just so i won't run out of hot water).

it drives me bonkers when someone either doesn't put a mat down or doesn't put it all the way to the corner (where all the water runs out of the shower) when using the shower and there's a puddle that i discover later.

while i like swimming, i HATE pool decks and even worse, pool locker rooms.  they disgust me.  i get the heebie-jeebies walking around in my bare feet in all that cold, gross water that has been sitting around on the floor.  if you want to see me get all neurotic, just watch me trying to navigate a locker room and trying to get in and out of my shoes, swimsuit, clothing, etc, without putting my bare feet on the floor or let any of my clothes or towel touch the floor.

i hate washing oversized items in the sink like big pots or cookie sheets that cause lots of water to wind up all over the counters.  and i ALWAYS have to wipe up around the sink after i wash dishes because the only thing worse than a wet counter would be a wet counter with possible food goo!  (my food goo aversion in a whole other post!)

i don't know exactly what it is, but this whole standing water on hard surfaces thing disgusts me.  weird, huh?  i know.  i have problems.  but i freely admit it!  that's a good sign, right?  i'm on the road to good mental health!

junk drawer challenge 2008!

if you're anything like me, you have one of these:Picture 207

yeah, that WAS my junk drawer.  it's ridiculous.  it was getting to the point where you couldn't even close it.  instead of the "junk drawer" i think it should really be called the "don't know what to do with it or too lazy to put it where it really goes drawer".  so i decided to document exactly how ridiculous it really was.

this is all the stuff laid out on the kitchen counter:Picture 208

so what is all this stuff?

Picture 209 Picture 210  here we have a dozen or so rubber bands and used twisty ties, a stamp pad from a hand/foot print kit we got when micah was born, 4 used birthday candles, and a pack of spare buttons from some pants.

Picture 211 Picture 212  a bunch of batteries and a bunch of cord-type things. Picture 213Picture 214 instruction booklets and a bunch of writing utensils... although upon closer examination, the red one in the middle is actually a tinker toy!Picture 215 Picture 216 a bunch of the little packages of 'hardware' that comes with stuff - notice the one that says 'important', a pack of pea seeds from last summer, and 2 wedding favors of wildflower seeds from a wedding we went to a year and a half ago.    Picture 217 Picture 218 some of the little wrenches you get in 'do-it-yourself' furniture kits and a pile of random keychains.      Picture 219  Picture 221 the hook off the top of our fire pit, some chain for hanging baskets, some hooks, and a random piece of hardware that i don't recognize.  2 tubes of nail hole filler (because one wouldn't be enough), the end of a roll of plastic tape used for painting, and a highlighter in some sort of calibrated plastic tube - yes, that's how it was in the drawer.Picture 222 Picture 223 an assortment of 'household fasteners' in and out of a package, a drill bit, 2 screwdrivers and a wrench. a valentine's day card, a work order from comcast dated august 07, 3 sonics tickets from a year ago, the card from a cub scout award patch, my rhogam id card from my shot in the butt while pregnant w/ micah, some documents having to do w/ our car loan, a box of checks, and an old used up checkbook.                                    Picture 224 Picture 225 random crap: a belt for our old vacuum, 2 balls of hemp twine, a refill for a plug-in air freshener and a glow in the dark keychain thing. office supplies: a ruler, a staple remover, some binder clips, paper clips in and out of the box, a safety pin and 2 thumbtacks.Picture 226 Picture 227 some masking tape, some SCOTCH tape, a glue stick, a roll of film, and our old cell phones, plus, a bungee cord, a penny, part of a child safety lock, a space link, stickers from the little tapes we put in our video camera and a kid mirror for the car w/out the attachment part.                                                 Picture 228 Picture 229 some mangled sheets of mr. yuk stickers, and some patch kits for air mattresses and pool toys, plus an air pump and 2 needles.Picture 230 Picture 231 a bunch of little christmas light extras that come in EVERY package you buy, my big wallet that i don't use currently, and the case for dave's manicure set stuffed with crayons (what else would you expect).Picture 232                                  and last, but not least, GARBAGE!!! empty battery packages, empty birthday candle package, something else i don't recognize, and a dirty, not sticky pack of post it's w/ like 2 sheets left.

so.... i tossed a ton of stuff, put away some more stuff, bagged up some other stuff, filed some stuff, and tossed even more stuff.  and NOW, it looks like this!                     Picture 233                      and just to prove that i really did it, here's my kitchen counter now: Picture 234                    SO, do you have a drawer that looks like this? if so, i challenge you to tackle it!  and take pictures to prove it.  seriously, it can't be any more ridiculous than mine.  it didn't take that long and taking pictures of all the random crap was pretty fun.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

storm... sort of.

well, we got dumped on again, but the wind thing was a little bit 'overblown', at least for our area.  it was a little bit windy when i went to bed last night (just before 1), but nothing major.

we did wake up with our power out, but there was also a utility truck parked RIGHT in front of our house, with a dude in a cherry picker fixing the lines.

i guess a branch fell out of the neighbor's tree and knocked out the power to 17 houses.  but we survived and were up and running and able to turn on the heat (and the coffee pot) by 7:45am.

it's hard to see, but this is the utility truck out front of our house.Picture 188 and here are all 3 kids watching the utility truck out the window.Picture 191 and the results of our most recent dump.  the climber on the left has snow filling it about half-way up.Picture 192 that bump is the sandbox.Picture 193

and the front.Picture 194 oh, and looking outside now, i've just noticed that it's snowing again.  holy cow!  are you sure this is washington?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

only the insane people went out today...

...and i was one of them.

today had so many thing working against it.

it's saturday.

it's the last weekend before christmas.

we've been buried under snow since wednesday and the roads have been awful.

a very large snow/wind storm is predicted for tonight.

did i mention it's almost christmas?

every lunatic in king county was at the redmond fred meyer today, including us.  i had that panic bug going on, remembering 2 years ago when we were without power for 4 days (that time without snow and below freezing temperatures), and felt a strong need to stock up on things like batteries, candles, soup...  i also had this fear that we wouldn't be able to get out much or that stores would be without power, and so i wanted to have all of the remaining christmas presents taken care of as well.  this was not an original idea.

dave and i decided to divide and conquer... i took micah and did the christmas shopping, he took shane and layla and did the grocery shopping (yeah, i realize he got the short end of the stick).  he finished before me and i wound up waiting in line to check out for at least 15 minutes.  it sucked.

then, already flustered, i decided that i HAD to go across the street to target to exchange shane's boots.  i bought them on wednesday (i think) and they already have ripped at the seams in front.  now, these are just $26.99 target boots and i know they're not the best quality, but even for that i expect them to last longer than half a week!  that's still 27 bucks i spent!  so i ran in and saw that the line at customer service wasn't too long (unlike every other line) so i jumped in and returned them.  then i ran over to shoes to grab some new ones, intending to buy a different style than last time in hopes of getting something that would hold up better. 

what was i thinking?

the boot aisle was EMPTY!

seriously, there were like 4 pairs of hot pink boots, one little kid pair, and THAT WAS IT! 

i almost started to hyperventilate as i ran frantically up and down surrounding aisles, hoping i was looking in the wrong place.  i should have known better...  a snow storm in seattle means 3 things.  no more sleds, no more tire chains, and NO MORE BOOTS! 

i'm practically in tears at this point because i've been shopping for WAY too long, spent way too much money, don't want to have to go to any more stores because they're all crazy, and shane needs to have boots.  i can't just send him out in a foot of snow in beat up tennis shoes.  and you can't tell a 9 year old that he can't go out in the snow!  so i got back in the return line (which was long at this point) to buy back my holey boots. 

i felt like an idiot forking over almost 30 bucks for boots with holes in them, but it's my intention to go back and return them (again) when all this craziness is over and they actually have more boots in stock again.

i was SO frustrated.

we needed gas today too... apparently so did everyone else, and it took 3 gas stations before we finally found one that actually had gas.  i guess i can understand that... large tanker trucks full of highly flammable liquid, driving on extremely icy roads doesn't really strike me as a good idea.  but this fact meant that EVERYONE was at that gas station.  i think we waited about 20 minutes for a pump.

but all in all, i guess we were successful.  we made it all in one piece, we have a full tank, and food, batteries and candles.  there's only a few little christmas things we still need, and it certainly won't be the end of the world if we don't get them.

so we're as ready as we can be... it's been snowing a while now (on top of all the snow we already have), but no wind yet.  we'll see what the night brings.  hopefully not much.

a new sign for this year.

it's my charlie brown christmas tree.  really!

Picture 114

i found this at fred meyer and fell in love when i saw it.

Friday, December 19, 2008

for my not-so-american friends

Picture 166

i didn't have an actual roll w/ the green plaid on it, but i found a refill and an empty roll in my junk drawer (yeah, i know, that should tell me something).  but even the empty one says 'scotch' on it.  there you go!  SCOTCH TAPE!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

after all my griping yesterday,

  the snow finally showed up!!!

Picture 124 Picture 125 Picture 126Picture 135Picture 138 Picture 141

and it's still snowing!  the first pictures were taken this morning at around 7:15 and there's been more since.  dave is at work, i hope he'll be able to get home tonight!  shane's been out playing all morning.  layla said she wanted to go out, but hasn't gotten around to it yet.  she doesn't understand the urgent nature of playing in the snow in seattle.  you never know how long it will stick around!  i'm sure she'll get out there eventually.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

i'm in love with the milk man.

just kidding.  but i just have to take a minute to RAVE about this. 

we get our milk delivered every week from smith brothers.  we love it.  it's great tasting, hormone-free milk that is delivered to your door. 

tomorrow is milk day, and our milk man, kasey has been coming earlier and earlier lately, often before i get up in the morning, and since our bill was due this week, we needed a little less milk than usual, AND i wanted to leave some christmas cookies for him, i wanted to make sure i put all that out before i went to bed.  so when i got home from stitch & bitch at around 12, i wrote a note and a check, and packaged up some of the cookies i made this afternoon.  as i opened the door to put the stuff out in the milk box, i hear a car pulling up in front of my house.  i look and it's the milk truck!  talk about timing!  and out jumps the milk man with our crate of milk and runs it up to my door.  i eloquently say, "wow, you're prompt", thinking holy cow it's the middle of the freakin' night, is this guy nuts?  and he says, "well, we wanted to get everything delivered before the big snow hits."  i came in a looked at the clock;  12:09am.


seriously, this guy is driving around in the middle of the night and it's well below freezing, there's already ice all over the roads, to make sure that everyone gets their milk.

that's awesome.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

a sign of christmas again...

i had to take a bunch more pictures since i had run out of my original set.  so here's a new sign for today (just ignore the baby gate, it's an ugly necessity):

Picture 113

this picture actually covers like 3 different signs - which should make up for my lack of posts in recent days.  we have the nativity set - love the willow tree stuff, the garland wrapped in lights (something from dave's cache of christmas traditions) and the stockings.  some people have all matching stockings, and that's great too, but we like ours all different.  from left to right, we have layla's, dave's, mine, micah's, and shane's.  we were in ohio for layla's first christmas, and a member of our church here, made that and sent it to us.  it's beautifully done cross-stitch.  dave's was made by a next-door neighbor when he was a kid after his original stocking was chewed up by mice in the attic.  it's like a boot or a tennis shoe or something.  my mom made mine when i was 9 or 10 or so, and for awhile i alternated between that and the one next to it which is now micah's.  the bear stocking was made by my aunt for me when i was really young.  when shane was born, i gave it to him since i had another one.  he used it until last year (even though he complained that it was 'babyish' and he didn't like that it hung the wrong way) but we surprised him w/ a new one last year, and now the bear stocking has been passed down to micah.  why it hangs the wrong way, i have no idea.  last year he had a 'baby's first christmas' stocking, which has now been passed along to hannah.  shane's new stocking was appropriately chosen for him and custom-made (by some internet company) in john deere tractor fabric w/ his name embroidered on top.  he was VERY excited about it to say the least. 

so there you go - that should make up for a few days at least!


we got about an inch of snow on saturday night... amazingly enough it's still around.  and probably will be until january.  we're frozen and there's no thaw in sight.  what state do we live in again?  but the kids have been having fun in the snow. Picture 103  Picture 068Picture 089 Picture 084

no, she doesn't have any eyes... and that's her rubbing snow on an inflatable fish - yeah, we still have a few random pool toys out.  classy!  she was trying desperately to make snow balls, but didn't have too much luck.

Picture 106 Picture 108

yeah, that's the trampoline.  super fun!

there's more coming tonight, so i made a successful dash to target for boots and snow pants.  i'm sure i'll have new pictures tomorrow!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

an ode to christmas lights

i have this theory that christmas lights are one of those things that have the potential to land you in one of two places: the looney bin, or jail.

let me tell you how much i LOVE christmas lights.  don't get me wrong, i really do love christmas lights. they're festive, it's fun to drive around and look at people's displays... it's not like any other time of the year.  but whoever designed the way they function needs to be tied up with all of the stupid, half-lit strands i have and dropped in a snow drift.

when we put up our tree, i pulled out the 4 strings of lights i used last year, all neatly bundled together.  of the 4, one worked completely, one not at all, and two, half.  when i started to put the one that worked on the tree, it kept flickering every time i moved it, so i just called the whole thing a wash and went and bought 4 new strings of lights.  they still work, thank goodness!

we bought some of those nifty new LED lights for the house.  C7s with the multi-colored, faceted plastic bulb covers.  5 strings of them.  we had to take one back when we were putting them up because it would only stay fully connected if you held it into the outlet.  because that's convenient to do when they're ON YOUR HOUSE in DECEMBER!  so we replaced that string and put them up about 2 weeks ago... friday afternoon shane informed me that one of the strings was out.  nice.  so dave tried to fiddle around with it and ended up taking it down (it's right in the middle, by the way) and we're going to try and exchange it for one that might actually work.  grrr.

a few days before that, i noticed that a string i had put on a tree in the yard was not working.  when i went out to fiddle with it, i noticed that half of another string on a bush wasn't working.  i fiddled to no avail... grrr.

today, i came home from the library and noticed that the string i have wrapped around the light post at the end of the driveway was out.  grrr.

i mean seriously!  i can relate to clark w. griswold, jr.  i know why he punched santa in the face.


Friday, December 12, 2008

another sign. my bad.

i've been neglecting this.  what's up with that?  well, layla's been sick for a week now.  low fever last friday night, and then nothing until sunday afternoon when she starts showing cold symptoms. nothing much until tuesday night when around midnight, there's the classic "my ear hurts" followed by 3.5 hours of whining and crying until i discovered that she can take the jr. strength motrin i give to shane (but only one tablet) and she FINALLY passes out on the couch. a trip to dr. in the morning, followed by a trip to the pharmacy and 2 days of sporadically napping, up and down fevers,and occasionally snapping out of it long enough to shove some nourishment into her takes us to today.  we'll see where we are now.  but dave's office christmas party is tonight and so she'll have to skip that, and we'll see what else comes of it.  hopefully the antibiotics will kick in soon and she'll start to take that other foot out of the grave and act like herself again.  i have never known anyone who can get so completely wiped out by a cold. 

at any rate, enough excuses.  here's my pic for today and after this i'll have to take more pictures because i'm officially out.  but it's okay because we've done more decorating since i took the first batch and now there's more to photograph.  so without further ado...


i love christmas music.  i love charlie brown christmas, and the soundtrack is one of my favorites.  in fact, i think i'll turn it on right now.

...and layla just woke up whining about her ears... sounds like another fun day.


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