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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Books Read in July

Amazingly enough, I read three books this month.

Eclipse and Breaking Dawn were the final two books in the Twilight series. Once I picked up the first book there was no stopping. I loved the series, and although there is a lot of controversy over the final book, Breaking Dawn, I really thought it was wonderful. Other than... well, I won't put spoilers here, let's just say that I'd like to see evil sadistic vampires be torn to bits and leave it at that.

Last month, I also mentioned that I really liked having read the books after seeing the movies because it gave me a glimpse into how much genius it took to change a book into a screenplay. I could read the book and appreciate the need to shrink 200 pages into two minutes of screen time. This month, I finished the series and two days later went to see Eclipse in the theater. I did not have the same "genius mushy gushy" feeling. I was disappointed.

And so it goes that most likely, the book and your own imagination is much better than anyone could translate to the screen-- there simply isn't enough time to get everything from the book into the movie and there were scenes I desperately missed. I have a feeling though that once the movie comes out on video enough time will have elapsed, and I will have had enough time to rewatch the first two movies, that I will love the third for itself. Without comparison to a book series and love story that comes in second-- behind Jamie and Claire from Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series.

The final book, by Judith McNaught, is a reread. Enough time had passed that I couldn't remember every word, so I picked it up again.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ouchy Back

The only downfall from being at camp all week is that Short Person injured herself. Ironically, she didn't notice that she'd hurt herself until after camp was over and she was on her way home. She got into her car seat and stated that her back stung, I lifted up her shirt and yelped. The photo below is what greeted me.

At first glance, LJS and I thought maybe she'd been bitten by something, but from the photo you can tell that she simply received one heck of a scratch.

I've always had the weird ability to completely disregard any major injury. Unless I'm bleeding or unable to walk after it happens, the pain doesn't usually phase me if I'm engaged in something or enjoying what I'm doing. I've noticed cuts and bruises on my body the size of softballs with absolutely no idea how I received it. Sometimes I'll have a vague impression of something having happened earlier in the day or week, but I can never place the exactness of it. From this photo and the events leading up to the discovery of Short Person's ouchy, I'm going to surmise that she received the trait of pain disengagement from me.

I wonder if this means mommy needs to give her the once over every night when she changes into pajamas, just to make sure no infections are going on. At least until she's old enough to learn to do it herself.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Tilted Truck

Just in case this photo doesn't speak for itself, I was driving to pick up Short Person from her friend's house when I came up to the light. Two cars in front of me was a truck that had blue barrels in the back of it that someone had loaded in a fashion to make the most hearty of fearless drivers pause and say, "What the HECK?!"

From the photo you can already see how tilted it was in the idle position. Let me just say this was nothing compared to when it turned a corner. I watched each time as the wheels lifted off the ground, cringing because I thought for sure it was going to tip over. Wondering what was in the back of that truck.

Amazingly, it never did. I stayed about four car lengths back, even after the car in front of me turned off, I still stayed back, and how the truck stayed upright I'll never know.

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Week at Camp Tilikum

I have been hyping up camp to Short Person for a month now. Camp, as in... actual get dirty, play in the stream, go on hikes, get suntanned, see bugs kind. Short Person has been giving a wary "O-kay" to it and putting faith in my explanation that she will enjoy it. But this morning, I dropped her off at a friend's house so that she could ride up with them and her friend's big sister mumbled that she needed to go inside and hurry the kids up because they'd been saying, "We don't want to go!"

Poor Shortie. She looked at me with eyes as big as saucers, and you could tell the faith was gone when she said, "Umm Mom? Why are they saying they don't want to go?"

Although I dated this post for the day camp started, and the day that the photos below were taken, the week is now over and she enjoyed the heck out of camp. Every day there was something new to do and see. A new game to play, and new place on the campground to visit. It makes me excited for next year because knowing how much fun it was for her, I will be signing her up for multiple weeks. I'm so happy for a place nearby that she can be a kid, be outside, and enjoy summer.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

New Moon Study Guide

I don't know how many teenagers really enjoy studying for the SAT's. I can't imagine any of them do. I've seen the study manuals and most of the time I just shutter in memory.

Which is why I think whomever wrote the book photographed below is a flippin' genius. Had I read the series-- er, had it been written-- when I was in school, I certainly would have enjoyed turning my newly found vampire fetish into a way to study for the SAT's. I'm tempted to pick it up now just to prolong the ending of this series. Sad, but true.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Short Person and Art Camp

Sometime back in April, Short Person's school sent around a questionnaire about what types of Community School classes we'd be interested in enrolling in should they offer then. One of the choices was an art class and Shortie was enthusiastic about this idea. So enthusiastic that from that moment all I heard was "I want to go to art school".

Since summer was coming up, and as luck would have it she wasn't old enough to take the Community School classes, I set out to locate an art camp or school that she could attend. The first one, and only one, I found that was suitable was in Beaverton-- an hour away! It would have been tough, but I would have taken a week vacation to get her there and back, just because that's the wonderful kind of mom I am. (haha)

As I was muttering about this one day at work, the City Planner pointed out that the city's new Cultural Center had opened and was offering art classes. In a series of events that literally had me waiting until the Friday before camp started, I was able to enroll Short Person in the camp they were offering. It was a mixed media art camp, offered from 9am to 3pm, Monday through Friday.

Best I can tell, Short Person enjoyed the classes, but she's very critical of her work so it seemed that every day I'd pick her up and she would be unhappy with the results she'd gotten. I, on the other hand, thought she did a wonderful job.

Here is some of her art from that week.

The first day, the got to throw clay. The way Short Person talked about how well it was going having the clay on the wheel, I really expected that it would be a clump of nothingness. I should have known better. These are the two little bowls she made and a piece of glass she made during that week as well.

The drawing below was the first thing she got to take home. It is of my favorites. I'm not sure why. I just think it draws you in. Anyway, it was the first thing I got to see from camp and I was excited and complementing Short Person on it. She looked at me and said, "I don't like it. It's not my usual work." I responded that I hadn't even known she had a *usual work*. She looked at me, sighed, and said, "Yeah, I didn't know either... until today!"

This was a face she did, Picasso inspired. Again, she is not happy with it, but I am framing it :)

Below are photos she took. The purple, featherish one is actually a pinecone.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sentimental Lunch Boxes

The 2009-2010 school year has come to a close. Actually, it came to a close a month and a half ago. So, it is no surprise that high on my "to do" list would be getting rid of two lunch boxes that had been beaten, torn, bruised, and battered beyond their natural life. I actually looked forward to it with great anticipation. Before I could do this however, I needed to find a suitable replacement for summer camps. This eventually happened thanks to an early back to school sale at Target.

I brought the new lunch bag home, gathered up the old worn boxes, and buried them in the garbage thinking my husband would be smart enough to see them in there and whisk them out of the house. Unfortunately, husbands being what they are, the whole Mars/Venus mind bender thing was in effect and he didn't catch on.

After a series of events involving an ice cream truck and popsicle Short Person did not like, she discovered them in the garbage can and burst into heartbroken sobbing. "You just CAN'T throw away my lunch boxes. They were my first ones! I love them and want to keep them forEVER!"

And out of the garbage they came with the promise that they'd be stowed for a lifetime in the attic.

Of course, the attic is really far away and up high, and well, there was the green pail on the way there, sitting outside open and empty... and hey, is it my fault that they just sort of ended up in a box labeled "Newberg Garbage Service"? Yeah, I didn't think so either *wink*

This photo is of the sentimental lunch boxes in question. Ten years from now, I sincerely hope she forgives me for not keeping them...

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Short Person's New Bike

LJS was given a bonus at work this week for keeping payroll costs down. Not an easy feat most days as there is always more work than there are people. But, he did it and the object of purchase was not for himself, but for his daughter. A new bike.

The one she'd been using up to this point was toddler size with training wheels, and when she rode, her knees darn near hit her chin. She was in desperate need of an upgrade. So, she and I set off to find a bike that fit her, that she liked, and than mommy thought would be safe and sturdy enough. We found it at K-Mart.

The bike itself was fairly inexpensive so she was able to choose a few things to complete it-- a basket and tassels for the handlebars. We also purchased a new helmet for her head, something I was really happy about since her previous one never seemed to fit her head right.

This photo is one from the day before the purchase, when she and I went looking. The family picked it up as a whole the next day since it would not fit in my car. We needed daddy and the truck.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

...And So God Sent a Baby Kitten

I came home from work and began to cook dinner and as I did so I received a text message on my phone. It was one I had been expecting, but the news contained within was not. What I read was devastating and enough to make me angry. Angry enough to see my patience propelled out any available opening and my ability to be present get put on hold.

Although I was able to carry on with cooking dinner, the attention that needed to be given to the two little girls sitting at the table waiting for it was not... the best it could be. For half an hour I stewed, angry, worried, heartbroken. I remember praying. I remember screaming at God, that is how enraged I felt.

And then, there was a knock on the door.

It was our neighbor, who told me that she'd just watched a baby kitten crawl up into the engine of my car. Since this had happened to her brother, with not such a good outcome, she wanted to let me know before I drove off somewhere. Curious, I went outside to see for myself. Only to be greeted by the neighbor's teenage son.

Indeed, the kitten had crawled up in the engine. He told me that a man had walked into the street, looked around at the people standing there, and had asked if anyone wanted a kitten. When they all replied that they couldn't take the cat, the man dropped it in the street and ran. Terrified, the baby dodged for the nearest hiding spot, which just happened to be my car.


It took an hour for the teenage boy to coax him out, but finally we got him. The kitten was terrified, shaken, and dirty. But the thing that struck me the most was the fear. Just like any baby would have been, he was trembling violently.

I've been a mom for only six years, but it was long enough for me to know that what this kitten needed was comfort. Comfort that I couldn't give if I was still angry and heartbroken myself. I carried him inside to cuddle him and try to figure out what I was going to do with this baby tho barely looked old enough to be weened from his mom, and as I sat there all my feelings disappeared.

I could try to explain why I feel this way, but I would fail. All I know is that at the time I was raging at God, he sent a baby kitten. On that couch holding that trembling one-pound animal, I felt like I was being sent a message that everything was going to be okay.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

365 Project... Ending?

Well, it has now officially been one year since I began my 365 Project. I have to say, it didn't go so well. Out of the necessary 365 days of photos to declare a win, I posted 180. Less than half.

It was an interesting experiment and definitely one I do not regret. The ability to see my days in photos and share them that way was invaluable-- especially since I'm equally behind in scrapbooking.

So, today I declare an end to the 365 Project, but not an end to the photos. I like doing it too much. But, I admit that I will feel monumental relief from the frustration at always being days or weeks behind in posting them.

I admire my friends who always seem to manage the weekly blog posts, on time and full of content. You know who you are =)  I strive for that amount of time and dedication. The absence of needing to hook up a cable to make my post is going to be beautiful. Or, at least that's my hope.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Photo 180 - 4th of July

This 4th of July, Short Person and I headed out to Vernonia to watch the parade that my nephew and Dad were going to be in for Boy Scouts. I was also picking up my niece so that she could spend the week with us. When we got there, I found out that my niece was going to walk in the parade too. They invited Short Person to walk with them, and after some hmm-ing and haw-ing, she accepted.

This is Short Person and Little Bit anxiously waiting for the parade to start.

My nephew got to carry the American Flag at the beginning of the Parade, which I thought was way cool. My dad is helping him get ready and get the weight of the flag balanced. I tried taking more pictures of my nephew, but he caught on to it and started hiding. At one point, he told me that I should tell him when I was going to take a photo and I had to laugh in response because, as I told him, he'd just do a better job of hiding then!

Following close behind were Short Person and Little Bits with my dad. Short Person had the wave down perfectly (I have no idea where she learned it from) and waved the entire route. It was a lot of fun to watch the three of them.

Since the Boy Scouts started the parade they were the first ones finished, which allowed the girls to sit with me and watch the remaining entries and collect candy. The horses won the favorite award from both of them and so when one of the beauties came to stand just feet away it was hard to say no to their pleas to be able to pet him. After walking up and asking politely if they could pet the young horse, and gaining instruction on how to do so (holding your hand down and out and letting the horse move to you), they were allowed to pet him. The poor horse was terrified-- it was his first parade-- but he repeatedly let the girls pet his head and give him compliments.

Once the parade was over and we were back at my dad's house, Little Bits was ready to go! So out the door we went and back to my house where the girls played with sparklers and then lit a few fountain fireworks.

Of course, in my neighborhood a few is all you need because it is way more fun to watch on a blanket in the back yard. There is a 360 view of illegal ones going off in every direction.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Photo 178 - Megan's Fish

LJS actually took this photo. He and Short Person went up to a friends for a few hours and did some fishing. Here's Short Person with her "catch".

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Books Read in June

I'm feeling very happy with myself this month because I actually got some "adult" reading in-- and I'm not talking the genre. I'm talking a book with more than 15 pages. WooHoo!

Oh! And, make that TWO books of more than 15 pages.

I finally, after deciding that I simply could not wait to find out what happens in Eclipse, decided to start reading the series. It took some doing because a friend of mine had loaned me the last three books in the series, but not the first one. Luckily, I was able to borrow that from another friend (finally) and start reading. Of course, by this time, Eclipse was opening in the theaters, but that's no matter because once I opened and started reading I never looked back.

Books read this month are (drum roll please...)


I really liked them both, but think that seeing the movies first was better this time. Reading the books gives you a fuller picture of the story, but doing it in reverse (seeing before reading) made me realize how good a job the screenwriter that did the adaptation did. There are moments in the movie that you realize 100-150 pages are encapsulated into a single moment, without losing anything of the story. It was cool to read the book and go, "Wow... that was genius!"

Maybe it's like that all the time. I usually read the book first and then get grumpy when my favorite parts are missing. Either way, I enjoy the movies and I really enjoyed the first two books.

Now onto the second two!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Photo 177 - Zoo and Rose Garden

Every Christmas, my sister gets us a gift certificate to the Oregon Zoo, which I take and turn into a yearly membership. This year, due to funding, I had to wait a bit to make up the difference. Man oh man, by the time we finally got it, Short Person and I were excited. The wait was worth it too. Nearly every animal was out and close to the windows and looking relaxed.

In between looking at the animals we also took a train ride through the zoo and into Washington Park. Short Person had never been to the Rose Garden before, so we hopped down for a quick tour before catching the train again.

It was a beautiful day and we were wiped out when we came home.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Photo 176 - Garden Art Show

This weekend, I booth sat for my mom at one of the art shows she does. It was my first time doing it and I was nervous. Actually, worried might be a more appropriate term. 75% of the day flew by without me selling even one thing.

Luckily, after that things started picking up and I actually managed to seal the deal on a few things. YAY!

Here's a photo of her booth all set up and ready to go.

It is next to impossible to not look around at all the other things people do and create. I loved this guy. Although totally impractical for our yard, I still couldn't resist snapping a photo and text messaging it to my husband with a plea to bring it home.

Didn't fly with the man. Oh well.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Photo 175 - Emily's Birthday

Today was Emily's birthday party, and we got to discover a whole new park to play in! Plus, it was fun getting to see friends of Short Person's from both Preschool and Kindergarten. Lately, every party we've gone too has had the most adorable cupcakes at it. I find myself wishing that I could have creativity like this. And uh, yeah... the ability to cook would be nice too.

I'm not sure why, but when Short Person got dressed this morning for the party, the antenna were an intricate part of her outfit. She simply needed to wear them. They look cute though.

One of the other things at the new park was a water feature. It is so awesome and quickly became one of our favorite places to play in the water. Not only does it have the jets from the floor that you see here, but there is a wall that follows alongside the road (seems like sort of a barrier, which was a good thing) that has water flowing out of it in waterfalls. All in all, a totally sweet place to play and get wet. It was a bit chilly today, but that didn't stop Short Person or Emily. They were drenched when it was time to leave.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

What do Tarantulas and Bats have in Common?

I'm going to fully blame the following post on my husband. The trauma associated with what happened is his fault too. Just because I got sucked into his evil plot does not make me a party to it. I claim plausible deniability.

We had just sat down for dinner. An informal one as we were all eating in the living room, save LJS who was in the garage cooking. He was deep-frying, a new recipe that he'd been looking forward to trying of smoked salmon, cream cheese, and chives wrapped in a wonton wrapper. It was delicious, especially when dipped into the sauce.

Anyway, as I said, we'd just sat down to dinner. LJS had started watching this new show with Short Person called "Bizarre Food". He said he was doing it as a way of proving to her that what we attempt to get her to eat is not that bad. If you've never seen it, the show features a man who essentially travels the world tasting bizarre food. If you ask me, they could have called the show Disgusting Eats and accomplished the same audience base.

Tonight's show was on location in Cambodia. I should have known better than to watch, but I was eating and too lazy to get up and find the remote-- and of course, LJS had decided on the TV program and he was going to come back soon. He'd be mad if the channel was changed. Manly remote thing going on, right? If only I'd been brave enough to just do it. Change the channel. But no...

The show floated in and out of my brain as I only marginally paid attention, that is, until he decided to try a new dish. Deep Fried Tarantulas. Even now, the mere thought of it brings the rise of bile in my throat and the overwhelming desire to hide and think of lovely things like... anything other than spiders.

Spiders. If you've known me for any length of time, you know that I can't stand the creepy, crawly things. The sight of them makes me dart for cover, so you can imagine how I'd react to a discussion of hunting, cooking, and EATing them.

I stared in rapt fascination as they talked about how they found them and put them into a bucket or sack or somesuch. Then watched in shock as they talked about removing their fangs, coated them with seasoning, and then tossed them in to a skillet of oil-- still alive. If that weren't enough, they then explained that during cooking you had to stand back because they EXPLODED. Since I was near puke point by now-- and he hadn't even started eating them yet-- I may have lost some of the explanation, but I think the exploding had to do with the venom sack overheating and boiling or something.

EW!! I'm trying so hard to write this and be okay, but... EW! I'm traumatized. Because once they were cooked, evenly seasoned and crisp, still looking all-together too much like a very large spider, he ATE a leg.

I barely made it through the segment. My appetite having left abruptly during the tarantula bit, came back little by little. I still wasn't smart enough to change the channel. And I should have because what came next was almost worse.

Next, was deep fried bats. Their mouths gaping open in horror. Fruit bats do not look any less menacing than their relatives-- the evil, vampire-changing kind with fanged teeth. By the end of that segment, I couldn't eat any more. I wasn't sure I'd ever eat again. The mere thought of it nearly my undoing.

And, what they say about taste, sight, and smell having memory retention is true. That great recipe LJS found and cooked is forever linked with tarantulas and fried bats. A common link for the ages. Memories of the damned.

Short Person, who sat calmly on the couch playing Nintendo and only listening with half an ear, is totally fine and still considers hamburger the bane of all existence, and us cruel parents for making her try bites of food at dinner. Wonder what she'd do if I plopped a deep fried bug in front of her!

The things we do in the name of parenting, eh?

Photo 174 - IHOP

In preparation for an interview I have in a few days, I drove out to Hillsboro to make sure I knew where I was going and where the building was that I needed to be at. While we were in Hillsboro, I decided that it would be a perfect time to take Short Person to IHOP since we've never been before and with the great selection of pancakes... Well, I figured we'd have a great time.

My crazy daughter ordered a cheese omelet. She doesn't even like eggs!! But, it came with one solitary plain pancake. I couldn't even talk her into having chocolate chip ones. Sheesh!

Since she doesn't like eggs, but she likes cheese, she decided she'd lick the cheese off so that she didn't have to worry about eating the eggs.

In the end, I was way disappointed. The food was not that great-- at least, not to the degree I was expecting-- and it really felt like they couldn't get you seated, fed, and out fast enough. One more point for our usual favorite Lil' Cooperstown. Did I mention that they were a lot more money than our usual too? All in all a disappointing experience.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Photo 173 - Papa, Momma, Baby Bear

I got done cleaning the kitchen tonight, and as usual our water cups were sitting on the counter for midnight refills. As I was walking away, I realized how much they looked like they might resemble something found in "Goldilocks and the Three Bears".

I think it just made a cool snapshot of our tendencies. Something to look back on and remember.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Photo 172 - Hadassah's Birthday

Today we went to the birthday party for one of Short Person's classmates. It was a lot of fun to watch her receive a new bike-- one that was sitting out the entire time under a tree and she didn't have the foggiest idea it was for her.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Photo 171 - Airport Waiting

My Cousin Cathy needed a ride to and from the airport over the last several days and when I went to pick her up, I found this extraordinary place to sit and wait for her. Nevermind that it is called the "Cell Phone Waiting Area", the vantage point was SWEET!

When I was younger, pre-September 11th, going to the airport and watching the planes take off and land was one of my favorite past times. I used to take my nieces up there, or go up to the airport to go shopping and hang out. But then, after September 11th access to the terminals was strictly limited to passengers. No more plane watching.

I tried for several years to find a cool vantage point by the river or from a hotel or restaurant, but there's no where great to park by the river and in a hotel people look at you weird if you are loitering. So you can imaging how excited I was to discover a whole village of shops and restaurants tucked away to the side of the airport just waiting for spectators. (Not really, I know. Accidental consequence, I'm sure.)

You can watch the planes come in, drop down low, and land. You can watch the taxi of the runway, the roar of the engines, and see the planes lift as they take off.

Pure bliss. And I'm so glad I found the area and can resume a favorite past-time for myself and introduce it to my daughter.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Photo 170 - Hair Do's

Short Person and I like taking turns doing eachother's hair. I think it's good practice for her for later in life, and way too obvious I have no practice. It is something that happens frequently here, and I since I don't remember documenting it I decided to do so now.

This is Short Person's styling on me.

And my styling of her. Wish I could figure out how to not make her look so much like Medusa when I braid her hair.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Photo 169 - More Art by Short Person

Short Person recently spent some time with her Grandma Linda, and as almost always happens she came home with a pile of stuff. Some things long wanted (like one of those Hamster things) and others... questionable. Questionable as in I don't even know what they heck it is.

This time the item in question looks like a bunch of little Styrofoam balls with pink and silver mixed with some sort of really weird sticky stuff. I literally haven't got a clue what it is, but it seems fun. You can mold it and make it into a bunch of shapes and generally just have fun with it.

It just so happens that it also became the... victim is not the right word, primary subject maybe? Okay. It just so happens that it became the primary subject in some more of Short Person's art. This time when she called us into the dining room to look at her newest design, even her dad was struck by how out of the ordinary impressive it was. Never in a million years would my brain work like this. I'm just in awe.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Books Read in May

Okay, I'm really starting to get discouraged now. I didn't read anything this month.

On the upside, I did create two scrapbook albums and coordinate donations and gifts for three teachers. So, win some months, lose some months, right?

Of the children's books knocked down, Short Person and I got through "Nubs", "I Knew an Old Woman Who Swallowed a Bat", "I Knew an Old Woman Who Swallowed a Bell", "Duck on a Bike", and "Dooby Dooby Moo".

I have to say that I love the Moo books. Click, Clack Moo may have been my favorite though.

Here's to June!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Photo 168 - 300 Flags

It was the weekend and I was searching for something to do with Short Person. I didn't want to sit around the house watching movies, and I didn't want to drive 20 minutes back the way we came (from swimming) to go paint or to the store, so I was really stuck looking for something local. In this small town, there's not much of that. As LJS, Shortie, and I drove home from running morning errands I glanced down a street where there is an old cemetery and thought that it would be interesting to go look at the gravestones. Then, inspiration struck. Short Person and I could go on a photo adventure.

I approached the subject in the car with her and we decided that we'd go and pick up a disposable camera and check out a few places. So, after going home and dropping off Daddy and picking up our coat, we headed out the door. First stop on the list, after getting the camera and coffee, was the little air field.

There wasn't much going on there, and even though vehicles were parked in the parking lot, a tour through the lobby showed that the place was essentially deserted, so we headed outside. Overhead, there was a helicopter. I think the person flying must have been doing some sort of training because the copter would circle around, approach the runway, lower and hover about ten feet from the ground and then repeat the process. Short Person loved it and, if I had let her, would have taken the entire roll of film on that one thing. Thank goodness for manual film advance features.

When we had gotten enough airport exploration done, we headed to the cemetery. I had forgotten up to that point that it was Memorial Day weekend. Once I saw the flags out, I knew it would be a good chance to also teach Short Person a few things. We parked the car, grabbed out cameras, and began walking around looking at the different markers. It seemed that every turn we took had a flag marking a grave site.

We walked along and I'd read the headstone to her if there was a war notation and point out the little metal noting a veteran. We did this until she learned to do it herself. I watched as she took photos of different things, wondering at her choices and asking her why she'd take a picture of something. All in all, it was a nice afternoon and she enjoyed taking the pictures.

Our last stop was at Memorial Park where I showed her the monument erected to honor those men from Newberg that had died during the various wars. It surprised me while we were walking among the graves that most of the men and women buried there that had fought in the war had also gone on to live long lives. The average age of death was 80 years old. In fact, I only found one marker of someone that had died during the war as a cause of the war. World War I. As we were walking back to our car, an old-timer walked by us and commented about the number of flags. He said there were 300 flags.

So, in comparison to the 300 flags, very few who are buried there are named on this monument.

Once we finished, we turned the camera in to get developed. But, there was one photo I snapped that I needed to take home and look up. It was a marker of someone that had died as a result of lynching in the Centralia Massacre. Having never heard of the Centralia Massacre, my curiosity was sparked and I wanted to remember to look it up.

It turns out that there is a bit of history to this particular man. Sad history. If you are interested, here is a link to read about it. The Centralia Massacre.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Photo 167 - Short Person Graduates from Kindergarten

Today was not the last day of school. No, the last day of school is Tuesday. But, today was Kindergarten Graduation. It was the day that the kids had a field trip to Top Spin, where they'd sing a medley of songs they had learned throughout the year, the day they received their certificates, and the day that gifts were presented to the teachers. It's a fun day and one that I took off from work so that I could attend. The only day I was able to take off and attend.

The day started with Chapel and then a field trip to TopSpin. Since I was running late with having the gift ready for presentation, I decided to skip Chapel and sit in the classroom inserting pages into the album and gift-wrapping. It also presented the opportunity to get to know one of the parents that I had managed to miss all year. Then, once Chapel was done, we left for the events of the day.

At TopSpin, the kids received a tennis lesson. It was a lot of fun to watch them learn, and by the end of the hour I was amazed at how much an hour had taught them. Each and every child was able to hit the ball with the racket, including Short Person.

After the tennis lesson, we headed to the park for our picnic. The kids played in the park for a little while and then we ate a wonderful fare of pizza, watermelon, strawberries, juice, chips, brownies, cookies... It was yummy and wonderful. And then afterward, it was time to Graduate.

One word on graduation-- Mess. I was a mess. I am often thankful for my camera because it gives me something else to focus on other than the moment. I know there are times when I should be present and focused, but there are others when you realize that you've already made one teacher cry and maybe enough is enough and you should check out a bit. Now was that time. I'd already gotten emotional the night before with one of her teachers over how fast time goes. We both spent time acknowledging that our kids were growing up faster than what we were prepared.

We listened to the kids sing, and then watched as they each received their "diplomas".

After the presentation of the certificates, we presented Short Person's teacher with her gifts. She opened the scrapbook and looked through it. All the kids and parents looking on. It was a very happy, relieved, proud moment for me.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Photo 166 - Peacock

Today, I began scrapbooking the first of two albums that will eventually be appreciation gifts for both of Short Person's teachers. As usual, I was with a group of friends at Sleighbells enjoying the atmosphere and company.

Outside of Sleighbells there are many peacocks. Most of the time, they keep their distance from the customers and people, but not today. Today, they were active and stayed only feet away at any given time. Preening and calling, it must be spring.

There are both white and colorful peacocks. The blue are my favorite, especially when they have all their feathers out showing off their majesty-- and prowess to all the female peacocks who care to look.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Franklin's Last Visit

Dear Class,

On Thursday, I went home with Megan again. I got to go to her gymnastics class and watch her walk on the balance beam and flip on the bars. She looked like she was having a really fun time! When we got back to her house we played for awhile before going to bed.

The next day, I was really excited because I got to go to school with Megan-- and I didn't have to be in my backpack! I got to watch everything that happened. It was really cool. But then, something went wrong and I think Meg forgot to bring me back home. Meg's mommy said that they miscommunicated. So instead, I went home with Mrs. Bessler.

On Monday, Megan took me back to her house so that I could get my journal and backpack. I got to visit her and her Grandma Linda for a little while. But then, something weird started happening! Megan's eye started getting bigger and bigger until it was almost swollen shut. She said it was itchy, so her mom made her put ice on it and gave her some medicine. We watched Scooby Doo while we waited for her eye to look normal again. Megan loves Scooby Doo!

After the movie was over, Megan and I put her tooth under her pillow and went to bed.

It was a long weekend, but I'm excited about today and wondering who I get to go home with next!


I can't tell you how many times I'd fall asleep on the couch at 1:00am writing in Franklin's journal, but for some strange reason I'm still going to miss it. Maybe that's one of the side effects of writing-- creating characters that live and breathe and that eventually you have to say goodbye too.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Photo 165 - Mother's Day

This was my Mother's Day gift from Short Person. She made it in her Kindergarten class. I love it. The colors are incredible and she did such a good job.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Photo 164 - "Sittin' By the Dock of the Bay Wasting Time..."

It was a beautiful day today. LJS went fishing with his Dad. Short Person had swimming lessons. But, after we got done her and I were floundering for something to do outside in the sun. I decided to go and get us some snacks and then go down to the river to see if we could spot LJS. His truck was still there, but the boat was too far down river.

Short Person really wanted to see him though. See him and, to my surprise, go out on the boat. So we rushed home and picked up her life jacket and drove back to the river to sit and wait. She blew bubbles on the dock and I simply sat, enjoying the sun and taking pictures.

You can tell it was really sunny from these first few.

Her and I goofing around with the camera. She didn't want to make any nice faces, so most of them were goofy looks.

These are the posts holding the dock in place. I really liked the way they looked against the blue sky with the white of the spires and the white of the clouds co-existing.

Once we got on the boat (Daddy finally came back to dock. YAY!), Short Person wanted to go really fast. This is the moment after LJS cranked up the motor and started flying down river.

A little bit wind-blown after the drive.

My handsome husband.

Shortie was getting tired, so she laid down to take a nap while we fished.

I don't know how well this photo shows it, but the cotton trees were shedding their cotton and it was floating through the air. It looked like snow falling all around us.