Wednesday, October 29

Cabin Retreat

This is an enormous Rhodedendron.
It was almost as high as the two-story cabin!

Whenever my mom comes for a visit she encourages hubby and I to get away if at all possible. Often money is an issue, sometimes Ed can't get away from work, and sometimes I just want to stay home and visit with my mom since I only see her one or two times a year. This visit however, we were able to use a friend's cabin for free and Ed has plenty of vacation days stored up, so we spent two nights away!

That's one big leaf!

We left in the late morning for the coast and did some geocaching along the way. It's a totally different experience going without the kids, and we took the opportunity to do a couple of caches we probably wouldn't have if the kids were with us. The scenery was gorgeous, the trees being just at the peak of their color for the fall. Add in a couple of waterfalls, some wildlife, and we had a spectacular display of God's creation during our time away.

After geocaching a bit, we arrived in Tillamook and went directly to the creamery for a chocolate dipped waffle cone. I splurged and got a double scoop! We ran into some friends we haven't seen in three years from our former church in Beaverton, not something we expected on a Sunday afternoon.

We decided to look around the gift shop, something we don't do when we have the kids. The creamery's gift shop is kind of a tight space with narrow aisles and tons of breakables, so we usually just steer clear of it (besides, I'm not really a shopper anyway). You know, life is often ironic. Hubby broke a Christmas ornament! The employee said it happens all the time due to the way they have them displayed, and we didn't even have to pay for it. Indeed, there were evidences of other disasters all around the base of the display!

Next we went to Fred Meyer and picked up some groceries and drove up the Trask River to the cabin. The weather was incredible. It was 76 degrees and sunny in Tillamook. We've been to their in July and frozen our tails off, so this was a surprise. We got to the cabin and opened up all the windows to air out the mustiness and then walked around the property (trying hard not to covet) they have. The house itself is nothing special, but to have a vacation house on such a gorgeous piece of property would be incredible!

We spent that night and the next two days doing almost nothing, and it was wonderful! We played games together, read books, Ed watched the World Series, I worked on my digital scrapbook (I've almost totally given up on my other scrapbooking), we spent time by the river watching huge (I'm talking two-feet long or larger) salmon spawn up the river, we watched a couple movies, and one of us took a nap too. We did spend one morning praying and seeking the Lord about some parenting issues and worked on a plan. We had a wonderful time.

Though we had no cell service or internet connection where we were (gasp!), they did have satellite television. How lucky for us...I wouldn't have wanted to miss out on watching the Obama Channel!

Monday, October 27

Jesus is Enough

The one dark cloud during Ryan's final game was a painful one for him and, honestly, for Mommy and Daddy too. It's so hard to watch your kids being treated poorly, especially by adults who should be looked up to and modeled.

During the season, almost everyone on the team wanted a chance to pitch except Ryan. He was content to play all the other positions and let the other kids jockey for a chance to pitch. However, for some reason during the last game one of the coaches asked Ryan if he wanted to pitch, and Ryan was excited and said he did. The coach told him he could pitch during the next inning, and I braced myself for that (he can't even get the ball to the plate, so I knew it would be tough for him once he got the chance to do it).

However, the inning came and went and Ryan never pitched. Then he was told he could pitch second in the next inning, but again they never changed the pitcher. The last inning was upon us and the coach told Ryan that after two outs, they would bring him in to pitch the final out. As you can guess by now, two outs came and the outfield coach (the current and "star" pitcher's dad) who was standing right next to Ryan ignored Ryan's reminders that it was his turn to pitch. The final out was made. Ryan's heart was crushed. Mommy and Daddy were angry. Ryan hadn't ask to pitch. This coach planted the idea, encouraged it, and then stomped on it.

Ryan, dumbfounded that this adult that he trusted lied to him, couldn't hold back the tears. As the rest of the team was celebrating, Daddy comforted Ryan. It wasn't so much that he was disappointed that he didn't get a chance to pitch but that this coach flat-out lied to him not once, not twice, but three times. I was surprised that by the time I got to go give him a hug he was actually doing pretty well (almost a miracle for my reactive littly guy). When I asked if he was feeling better, Ryan told me that Daddy reminded him that Jesus is the only one who will never disappoint us and He can always be trusted. Jesus is enough!

(As a footnote to this, Ed told the coach that Ryan was upset and asked the him to talk to Ryan, which he did. We didn't get to hear what he said, but Ryan said he told him if he played for him again next year he would let him pitch. An apology instead of another empty promise would have been more appropriate, don't you think?)

Final Game

Ryan had his final game on Saturday, and both he and Gramie were thrilled that she was able to be there to see it! We picked her up at the airport and immediately headed to the ballpark.

The game was held at Alpenrose, a local dairy, that also has built some fantastic ball fields. It happens to be the location for the Little League Softball World Series every year too. The weather was dry and not too windy, and we got to play our favorite team, which was a neat way to end the season.

Ryan played the best game he's ever played! He hustled, he paid attention (don't laugh, it's a BIG deal for this age group!), he made some really great hits, and he got on base a couple of times! He had a first even: he hit the ball into the outfield! After that hit he yelled from first base, "Did you see that, Gramie?!" The crowd got a kick out of that as did Gramie. He was so proud! Considering how hard he is on himself when he doesn't do well, we were so happy to see him doing his best and having such a good time. There was one dark cloud during the game, but overall it was a lot of fun.

Abby doesn't have much patience to sit and watch the games and prefers to run around and do somersaults on the grass and such, but she enjoyed sitting with Gramie during part of this game.

Thursday, October 23


Do you have some old DVDs that you no longer watch? Want to trade them for some others that you might like better? Try this service called SwapaDVD!

You post 10 DVDs (or more) that you're willing to trade for other DVDs. For posting your first ten you get one free credit. You cash in your credits for DVDs that you want.

We have been using this website for awhile now, and it works pretty well. We have received five DVDs and have credits for six more. Our Clifford and Bob the Builder DVDs were the first to go, so if you have DVDs your kids have outgrown, this might be a good way to dispose of them.

It costs about $1.85 to mail a DVD, which is often cheaper than renting a movie these days! The DVDs are used, but so far I've only had to request one credit refund because the DVD was smashed in transit. I got the credit immediately and got another DVD a few days later. It's not a perfect system, but it has allowed me to get some DVDs that I would never have purchased for full price.

There is also a similar service for books, which I also use. I have found that the books I want aren't as readily avaiable on this site as I'd like, though they have millions more than the DVD service. Also, the books I have to trade haven't been as popular as my DVDs either. Still, when we lost a library book this summer, I was able to find it at PaperbackSwap instead of having to pay the full new price. (Unfortunately, we found the library book two days after I got the replacement book, so now we have a copy of 101 Dalmations of our very own. Sigh.)

There is a CD swap site also, but I they charge a small fee for the CDs instead of making it a straight-across swap. I haven't used it and can't offer any feedback.

Tuesday, October 21

Field Trip

Some of the families in our homeschool group went on a field trip this morning (yep, homeschoolers do those too!). We joined one of the public schools for a Kinderkonzert put on by the Oregon Symphony. Today's focus was string instruments, and it was a lot of fun!

One of the neat things about being there as a homeschooler was that when it was over, instead of having to get the whole class back to their school or room, we got to go up and talk to the performers. The cellist and violist were quick to pack up and leave, but the violinist and bassist stuck around a bit. Ryan and Abby got to strum the bass and were surprised to see how big that instrument is up close!

We're looking forward to the other concerts in the series next year: woodwinds, bass, and percussion.

Monday, October 20

Golden Goose

We were out geocaching this weekend when Abby spied this pile of hay, "Oh, can I go play in that golden pile?" She also prefers to say she has "golden" hair instead of blonde hair. I told her I'm going to start calling her my Golden Goose since she's such a silly little goose. I think I need to lay off the fairy tales for a while...

Enjoying Autumn

It's fleeting, but for a few weeks the trees are stunningly gorgeous this time of year!

Sunday, October 19

Happy Dance

We did a little happy dance when we got gas today as the price was finally below $3! It's hard to believe it makes me happy when a few months ago paying $2.99 was really irritating me. Perspective is everything.

Tuckered Out

These late night ball games are hard on little kids. The game started at 7:30 Saturday evening, and since we live almost an hour away, we didn't get home till 10:30. Both kiddoes were conked out...a rarity for my little boy.

Growing Up

It's hard to believe it, but Ryan's actually getting old enough to start mowing the lawn. He's not quite ready to do the whole task by himself, but maybe next year!

Saturday, October 18

Friday, October 17


Turns out I'm pretty good at eyeballing things. Who knew? Try this fun game to see how good you are at it. If you do, leave me a comment letting me know how you scored. (In case you're wondering, which you're probably not, I scored 2.43 which was good enough to get me to the number eight spot out of the last 500 games played.)

I have not been feeling well the last couple of days and obviously spending way too much time on the computer!

Wednesday, October 15

Remembrance Day

Today is the third annual Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. While I know a little something about pregnancy loss, as a family we don't overtly do too much to remember our babies. We have a framed picture in our hallway that is meaningful to us and we have a box we put in the Christmas tree each year, and I there are certain dates that will always remind me of children I never held. Mostly I try to be diligent in praying and being there for others I know who have lost babies, especially months later when most people have forgotten.

Today I wanted to share a blog that has blessed me tremendously. It is in honor of a little girl named Audrey Caroline who only lived for a couple hours, wonderful hours for her family. If you've heard of the Christian music group Selah, one of the singers was her daddy, but the blog belongs to her mommy. She's a gifted writer, and I hope you will be moved and inspired by her as much as I have been. The story begins last January, and to get the full impact of the story, you kind of have to start at the beginning. But even if you just begin reading today, I think you will be glad you did.

Monday, October 13

Numero Dos

Ryan lost his second tooth today. In fact, he pulled it out himself, and he is very proud of himself for doing so!

Boy, did I stand way too close to him or what? Well, you get what you pay for on this blog. :D

Sunday, October 12

Missed a Bargain

We were running errands on Saturday and were stopped in our tracks when we saw the price of gas at Costco! We were thrilled Friday night when we paid $3.29 per gallon, but we would have saved five bucks if we had filled up here instead.

Oh, well, at least the price of fuel is coming down...and around where we live, it seems to be coming down fast! Yippee! I find it ironic that the cost of Ed's monthly bus pass will increase by 20 percent beginning next month "due to rising fuel costs." Do you suppose they will lower the cost in a month when the price is down even more? Yeah, me neither.

Saturday, October 11

Presentation Day

Our homeschool group had our first Presentation Day of the year yesterday. The students get up and share a project or recite a poem or something similar. Ryan recited a poem we have been memorizing. I was surprised how eagerly he got up in front (he volunteered to go second)! I was pleased that he actually stood still and spoke clearly and loudly enough for everyone to hear. He did a great job for his first "public" speaking opportunity!

Forgive my snapping a picture during the videos; I had forgotten that it interrupts it.

Abigail has been struggliing this week. She has forgotten a lot of things she had previously learned, such as, the Pledge of Allegience, the Alphabet Song, etc. So at the last minute I decided to have her read one of her Bob Books. She struggled on one page, but otherwise she did a great job!

Thursday, October 9

Celebrating Autumn

I don't know why, but this time of year I always seem to do more crafts with the kids, but then after about Valentine's Day, it all just ends. Maybe it's because school is in full swing and the newness of the fresh year hasn't worn off or maybe it's because fall is my favorite time of year and I see lots of fun projects I'd like to do. Then of course Thanksgiving and Christmas are always full of crafts and things to do and make, but by the end of winter, I am done with being creative and just want to go outside and play in the sunshine.

Abby is having a humid-weather hair day!

At any rate, a friend (Thanks, Wendy!) sent me a link to some fun fall crafts, and this was the one we chose to do yesterday. It's simple and fun (what kid wouldn't like having their hand and forearm painted?!) and pretty to look at too!

Wednesday, October 8

Cool Tool!

Just last month I came across one of the coolest tools I have ever seen! Are you ever reading something online and it gives a scripture reference and then you have to click on over to Blue Letter Bible or BibleGateway or actually go get your Bible and look it up? Well, never fear having to do that on my blog ever again! Of course, you could just take the author's word for what the scripture says, but that's not always wise as so often things are taken out of context, twisted to fit someone's agenda, etc. In Acts 17:11 we are given a good example of the Bereans who examined the scriptures to make sure what they were being taught was true.

So, go ahead and hover over the scripture reference...I'll wait. Go on, try it...just put your cursor over the reference.

Now tell me that isn't cool?! Just for fun, click over to my church's doctrinal statement to see this very cool tool in action on dozens of verses.

Did I mention it's free? And incredibly easy to use? If you want to add it to your own website or blog, just copy and paste the code provided by RefTagger. They currently only have several Bible versions, but they are working on expanding their selection. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 7

Subtle Inflation

ETA: My sister-in-law kindly provided me with the elusive link to the shrinking ice cream cartons.

A few months ago my sister-in-law did a post on her blog about how she noticed that manufacturers were making their containers smaller--her example was ice cream--but not lowering the price (try as I might, I could not locate her post). I have been noticing similar things as well, but yesterday as I was putting away groceries, I noticed something else that kind of made me laugh.

When I have a coupon or a good deal, I buy these handy little baking soda boxes to put into my freezer and fridge. I noticed that the boxes I bought yesterday said to "change every 30 days," and I thought to myself that I thought it used to say every three months. Sure enough, when I took out the old one it did say "change every 3 months."

I had to smile when I saw I had written on the box to replace it last June, so it has been in there for seven months, which is pretty typical of how often I actually do change them.

Saturday, October 4

I'm a Webmaster!

Our church, St. Helens Community Bible Church, was in desperate need of a useful website, so I bit the bullet and offered my meager skills for the job. I really do love doing it and wish I had more time to take classes and keep up on CSS and XHTML and Javascript and all that fun stuff, but I just can't right now. So I fumble along and barely am able to keep my head above water. I have a couple pages still under construction as I am trying to get the content from other parties (who knew that would be the biggest challenge?), and I have more pages and helpful things I want to add in the future. Still, with all its flaws, this site is a far sight better than our last one, if I do say so myself.

Oh, and by the way, once I figured out what an FTP client was, I was totally in love with that application, particularly FileZilla. Neato!

Friday, October 3

That Time Again

It's that time of year again...rainy season. We have had a beautiful Indian Summer, but it is pretty much over, I think. I knew the forecast was for lots of rain coming up, so the past four days or so, I've had the kids outside as much as possible, but today we broke out some of the indoor activities. It was a Play-doh afternoon for Abby, and she loved it! (Ryan dawdled too much and was still doing school, so he missed out.)

Thursday, October 2

Raccoon Repeat

We caught our second raccoon the very next day! This one seemed a bit smaller, but he was a bit more feisty. The first coon was very scared, but this one seemed more angry than scared.

I was pretty sure there were at least two living in the tree, and they are probably siblings. I was really glad we caught both because I was kind of feeling like a home wrecker!

Ed carried the snarling, snapping, growling little guy to the back fence so all I had to do was put him into the van. I didn't want the little girl who was spending the weekend with us to see him snarling because I was afraid it might scare her, so I put the cage into the van before the girls came out. While I was getting the camera, this little guy curled up and actually went to sleep.

We took him to the same exact spot we released the other coon in hopes that they will find each other. This one didn't hightail it like the other one did, so I was able to get a quick picture of him walking away into the forest. We set the trap again to see if we would catch the mama, but so far we haven't seen any more traces of any wild life in our backyard. Hopefully, our trapping days are over!

Wednesday, October 1

First Sleepover

Abigail had her first sleepover last weekend. Though we have known the family for years from our previous church, Abby had actually only met her guest once before, so I don't think she knew what to expect. We had a baseball game Friday evening, and my friend met us at the game with her daughter. Abby had been sitting on the steps of the dug-out all during the game pouting about how she didn't have anyone to play with, particularly no little girl.

It was almost bedtime when we got home, but after getting into jammies, Ryan asked if he could read the girls a couple of stories. After stories it was bedtime, and it went much better than I anticipated. I only had to remind Abby a few times to be quiet (I never heard a peep out of our guest!) before they were fast asleep.

The next morning we had a repeat raccoon adventure, so after relocating the coon, we went to the same park again. They had fun playing for almost two hours, and I think they spent almost 30 minutes playing on this rolling barrel. They would try to walk on it and fall off and laugh their little heads off. It was cute to watch them having so much fun.

All good things must end, and we had to get home, have lunch, and then head off to another baseball game. It was a gorgeous day. Daddy played Ring-around-the-Rosy with the girls a little bit, much to their delight.

During the game, the girls played chase, turned somersaults, ran races, picked "wishes" (dandelions), hunted for grasshoppers, and just generally goofed off. Abby so rarely has a little girl to play with that she was having a blast!

Down and ready! The girls are imitating the ball players.

After the game we went home, had dinner, gave the kids baths, and put them to bed. Abby ended up having to go to bed a little early due to some misbehavior on our way home and was out cold when it came time to put our guest to bed. It was even easier than the first night...I'll have to remember that trick for next time!

Next day we all went to church, came home for lunch, and then had to take our very well-behaved guest home. Abby did not want her to leave, but hopefully we will be able to have her over again soon.


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