Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Text Message Review....

I wrote once that I like to read my text messages again before I delete them. I just can't seem to do that efficient "erase all" thing.

If I did that, I would never get a review on some interesting messages. These are mostly from December. (I haven't polished them up, you'll notice.)

First, here is one from a day when Jeff took the girls Christmas shopping without me.

From Emilee - LOL Riley just told dad NOT to look at the underwear or bras!

When I texted back and asked his response I got...

From Emilee - He said oh cuz i haven't lived in a house full of girls forever:)

I enjoy random hellos from my family too.

From Emilee - Greetings earthling

From Kaitie - U <-------- the joy of my existence

From Jeff - I love you

And hey, that message from Jeff was a big deal. He is just coming into the texting world, slowly but surely.

There are also those messages which I have sent.

To Kaitie - Riley just said "Kaitie and Emilee are on my team, and YOU are alone."

One day, also during Christmas, Ally sent me a text message saying that someone had asked her if she was "high." If you know Ally, you know that was a silly question. I sent her back a silly answer.

To Ally: I bumped my head on the Salvation Army sign when I was trying to put a buck in the kettle. I also forgot to take Em to piano this morning. I got too annoyed with Dad over nothing. The girls aren't speaking to each other. I miss you! What are you high on? Are you sharing?

When Ally asked me if my bumped head was okay I told her it was....

...fine. I was just so ashamed. The older woman with the bell said, "These aren't cleverly made." I said, "I am not cleverly made."

And really, here is one of my main reasons for this post. I want to experiment with this little video. Right after Riley got her bike for Christmas, Jeff took all the girls to the park. I wasn't feeling well, and I stayed home to sleep. Emilee decided I should be reading text messages rather than sleeping. She sent me some videos from her phone of Riley learning to ride her bike. It's rough video, because it was from her phone...but I could really see Riley's progress and I loved it. It will be interesting to see how it looks here:

Like I said, not picture perfect, but fun for me.

I had one stray message in my Sent Box from October when I got a root canal. It was telling about my day:

To Ally - I am alive! Going to takr a pill anf a nap. love yoiu

I think I needed that nap!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Seven is a Very Good Age

Riley was so excited to take her umbrella to school yesterday. She spent a lot of time in the morning making sure she knew how to open and close it. That was not my favorite part of the morning. (One of my favorite parts, was seeing that she chose pink leggings and the zebra shoes to go with her otherwise blue outfit. She likes to spice up that boring "uniform look" and I don't mind that at all.)

Riley only has this umbrella because of our rainy Disneyland trip in December. Riley and rain are only casual acquaintances. I am not sure if Riley even took the umbrella out at school yesterday. When I dropped her off in the morning, we were met at the car by a teacher with an umbrella who provided a dryish walk into the school. I'm sure the presence of the umbrella was satisfying in some way, even if it wasn't actually used.

And now, this Friday morning, Riley is home playing, as school has been called off today because of the rain. There is brilliant blue sky outside my kitchen window on this so called Rain Day. We will see what it turns into as the day goes on. The weather does change very quickly in the desert.

Riley keeps checking the weather, on the computer, and by looking outside. She is anxious to see what is supposed to be going on and what really is going on. I love the age of seven. She cares about what is happening.

Riley has been telling me about Haiti. This morning she informed me that she wants to do extra jobs around the house, and earn money. She told me that her school is collecting money for Haiti. She wants to put her earned money in that big envelope in her classroom marked "Haiti." Riley has told me which children have brought money, and how much they each brought. She really wants to be a part of it.

Riley has been extra helpful around the house too. I have learned that it is all in how I ask her to do things. When I tell her that I need her, and am counting on her, she comes through every time. If I just rattle off some list of requirements, she can whine and procrastinate like a champion. When she feels a real need, she is right there to meet it. Riley helps with chores especially well in the mornings, when her sisters are already gone.

Her help doesn't always come in "chore form." I had a call early on Sunday morning in which I was asked to play the piano for Primary. (That is the meeting for children at church.) I agreed to do that. I enjoy doing it. I, however, don't play nearly as well as the usual pianist.

I knew which song they would be working on, and it was a new one. I looked at it, and had a little difficulty with the timing in the chorus. Riley told me she had that song on CD. She played it for me, and sang it sincerely about 10 times while I put our future dinner into the crock pot. The singing was sweeter than our future dessert.

The song is a new song about Jesus and the children. I have listened to the children learning this new song (I have been in Primary for three weeks running) and have enjoyed it. But it was even more meaningful coming from my faithful, earnest little girl. "....I did not touch Him, or sit on His knee, Yet Jesus is real to me."

I'm telling you, seven is a very good age.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

New Year, New Soccer Season

Riley started a new season of soccer last week.  Her first game was last Saturday.  Her first practice was last Thursday.  I think I like this casual coach.  He is great for Riley.  She is not ready for a serious coach quite yet.  Her playing style is hesitant and polite as ever.  Those aren't exactly the words used to describe the star players. 

Riley is happy with her team though, and that is so nice.  Last year I had to drag her and push her through the season.  Since she is more enthusiastic, I am going to be hopeful about improvement as well.

Riley was still funny when I went to take her picture at the end of the game.  Not exactly enthusiastic.....

 This is what she looked like when I told her to "just be normal." 

This next picture is the one that is actually normal for her:

The after game Gatorade is still the highlight for her ;)

Monday, January 11, 2010

It Made Me Laugh....

......to be driving down the road and randomly encounter this:

(Emilee and her amusing partner in crime trying not to be recognized.)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

"Polar Bear Swim"

Last year (okay in 2008) Jeff when the pool was still so new, Jeff thought he would swim year round. He didn't really swim in December though. It got too cold. He started swimming again in the early spring.

This winter, he has been having a little trouble keeping the pool clean. He decided that there was a clog of leaves, and that he would have to swim down and get them. We named this the "Polar Bear Swim."

I realize that our over reaction to weather is relative to what we are used to. Ryan told me it was -15 in his town the other morning. "I would be dead," I replied. "I am freezing when it gets to about 45."

It looks like a perfect and beautiful day for a swim, doesn't it?  I will tell you that I put a sweater on to go outside and take these pictures!

Jeff was able to get Kaitie and Riley out there to help him.  I just couldn't put even a toe in, and Emilee was tucked away in some safer area of our home.

Riley said it smelled like the river.  She enjoyed being in there though, and showing that she was not afraid of a little dirt and cold water.  I, on the other hand, am not afraid to admit being afraid.  I'm grateful to report that so far no one is deathly ill.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

And Then.....

It is a tradition for us that we do a pinata at my parents' house.  Every year someone cringes that the kids are beating up something....this year, a clown....and then scrambling for candy.  I think it is a fun tradition, myself. My parents even have the perfect tree for it.

This is almost a complete line up of the cousins,  in age order.  I love that Riley has so many cousins to play with.

Even the much older cousins got a shot at it.

I didn't really take pictures for the rest of our long weekend.  We all went to my sister's house on Monday for her amazing homemade pizza.  The kids did lots of rock hunting out there with my dad.  He is a good grandpa.  The party ended too soon for me.  I was left wanting more time to visit and play.  That is the sign of a good party...

On New Year's Eve, I had treats and games at my house for the in-town family.  I think it left them wanting less.    Everyone left by 11:00 or so.  Most years they celebrate midnight with us, banging pots and pans and yelling "Happy New Year" into the dark neighborhood.  Who doesn't want to do that?  ;)

After everyone left, Jeff, Kaitie, Emilee and I played Wii Sports Resort games until about 11:45.  Then we decided to wake Riley who had fallen asleep during our apparently dull party.  We knew she would be upset to miss midnight.  She was upset to wake up.  At midnight, the duet was four of us calling "Happy New Year" into the night, and Riley crying hysterically.  Riley went back to sleep after midnight, and we stayed up for a couple more hours.

In the morning, Riley cried because she missed midnight.  We assured her that she was out there with us.  I wish we had taken a picture or video of her to prove it.  She didn't remember.  I knew she wasn't really awake, because she was so irrational.  Silly girl!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Party of 35, Your Table is Ready.....

My brothers and sisters and their families came to celebrate with us the weekend after Christmas. Saturday was at my house, Sunday at my mom's house, and Monday at my sister's house.

We did a casual buffet type dinner in the family room, including lots of treats, then we went to the living room for presents and games.

Here are a few pictures of Saturday evening:

The cousins drew names for gifts a few weeks ago.  Everyone's name went in twice, so each child gave two gifts and received two gifts.  It looks like Minnie Mouse was a hit.

Kaitie helped the kids each find their gifts.

I wish this picture had come out a little clearer.  This tiny niece of mine is a sweetheart.

Speaking of tiny nieces....here is a tinier one.  She was three weeks old here, and amazingly alert.

My mom was excited for this gift:)

 My sister Natalie gave a beautiful family calendar to each of us.  Included in each calendar gift big was a plastic goalie mask for each person.  It's a family joke that goes way back.  Years ago, when one of my sisters first brought her guy home, (now her husband of eight or so years) several family members rushed out to greet him wearing glow-in-the-dark goalie masks.  I guess everyone wanted him to know what he was getting into from the start!  The masks were an old family joke even at that time, and I don't recall the origin.  (Anyone? Anyone?)

Caution:  The following image may be disturbing for some viewers.  Discretion is advised ;)

At first, Shayla needed to be protected......

....but it wasn't long until everyone played along, including Shayla.  (She is very near the center, with her mask on.)  Wouldn't it have been awkward if someone had come to the door? 

After this, the adults played the a white elephant gift exchange game.  Crazy.

We really missed Ryan, Brittany and Grandma S.  We also missed my sister Karen, who lives in Oregon and my brother Jon, who is a new dad.

Jeff and I visited Jon, Lisa and Paxton on the Saturday before Christmas.  I didn't take any pictures there, because there was a sweet peace in their home that I didn't want to disturb.  I think those three could have been the best part of any Christmas party.  They would have been the perfect models for a Nativity scene. (Seriously, if you look at the pictures on their blog, you can exactly imagine it.)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Story Continues.....

So, there I was, in the December 25th predawn, minding the insides of my eyelids, when my door flew open and the song started:

What time is it? Present time! Come on and get up! What time is it? Time of our lives! Anticipation!

Maybe you recognize that this is a variation on a High School Musical song. Then again, maybe you don't....

Our kids have done this for years. They have "slept" in the same room and dreamed up different songs to wake us up with in the morning. The classic one that in my memory (my kids may correct me) started this tradition was Ryan's take off on the old Pooh Bear theme: "I've gotta get up, gotta get going, gonna see some presents of mine...."

For years, Jeff's mom has joined the kids in waking us up. She has even come in and taken pictures of it before. (Imagine how pretty those pictures are!) This year, she was gone for a funeral. We missed her! I didn't mind the absence of her camera, I have to admit.

After Jeff teased the girls for awhile, he got up and they did the traditional hallway line up. I get to be in front, taking the picture (my camera was not absent) and Jeff hides in the back.

I remember when age order and height order were the same thing....not any more! 

Note the amazing difference in Riley's expression from the last picture to this one.

Here Riley is modeling her gift from Ally.

After we opened everything, I made breakfast.  We had fun, but it was lower key than usual here.  I think that was because Grandma S. and Ryan were not here.  Also, we were not expecting out of town family until the next day.  Most of our years, we have had to hurry right over to my parents' house for more party. 

So we played games.  We played many different games that day:  Candy Land, Jenga, Pirate Dice, and Wii Sports Resort...at least.

And it was really fun:)

Yes, this picture would frighten Miss Muffet away, but this is how I spent some time "playing"....getting my new ipod up and running.

In the afternoon, Jeff and I  decided we should go to the movies.  The kids were not too sure about that.  They haven't gone to the movies on Christmas Day before, and they thought that was a strange idea.  I remember going to the movies on Christmas with my cousins plenty of times.  

We took everyone to see The Blind Side, which was a great movie to see on Christmas.  It was even perfect for Riley.  She had a nice long nap right there in her movie seat.  She was going to need that nap, plus her night of sleep to be ready for the next day.....

.....because this was the day she really learned to ride her new bike.  I told Riley that I learned how to ride a bike when I was seven years old too.  I know a lot of kids ride on two wheels earlier, but this was Riley's time to finally get it.

I told Riley that it took me a long time to brake correctly, and that I had to crash every time I wanted to come to a stop. This isn't really a "crash site" for her. (I think she is smarter than I was, and just puts her feet down.)

This especially makes me laugh, because in the last post I mentioned the soft, melty hearts of these two girls.

They had a great time playing in the park, while Kaitie and I stayed home preparing for the family to arrive that evening.  We had dinner, and a crazy party at our house that night.

That is what I will write about next!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Looking Back......

On Saturday, we took down the lights, the tree and all the decorations.  We did it reluctantly.  There are some years I have thrown it all back into boxes on the 26th of December, with relief.  This year Christmas dashed by so quickly, it barely registered. I definitely did not get sick of it.

I am looking at the first Monday morning of January, and I don't want to look there yet.  I haven't even bought a new calendar.  I am going to look back for a moment today.  I will get around to looking ahead after that.

It seems like just a few days ago, that we put up our tree.  I wrote about this already.  We put it up when Ryan and Brittany were still here.  It was the day after Thanksgiving.  Riley seems to be wrapping herself with ribbon here.  I can't remember what she was doing.  I actually probably didn't even know then.  SHE probably didn't even know then.

It was still Thanksgiving weekend, so here is Jeff with his big turkey card he received from the Primary children.  He loved that card!

Ally and Kaitie were having an adventure of their own.  Ally had to get back to work quickly, so she left the night of Thanksgiving.  Kaitie got to spend some of that weekend with her, and they had such a nice time.

They followed through on some plans they had for awhile.  They enjoyed a trip to a Greek restaurant...

Well, they enjoyed SOME parts of it.....

They also took a trip to the ice skating rink.  Aren't they so cute?  I love that they do these things. (I couldn't skate a day in my life...even when I was young and cute.  There is something terribly wrong with my balance and coordination.  Luckily my kids mostly take after their dad in these areas.)

In a blink, November was over and the December rush was on.

Right at the beginning of December, I went on a field trip with Riley's class.  They went to a play at the high school.  I liked riding the bus, and seeing a play with these second graders.  I spend time with them every week.  I think it is a really great age.  

Here is Riley, with a couple of her very silly classmates.

I guess I will fast forward here....because December was like that....to December 24th.  I don't have pictures of the 24th at all.

I had a Christmas Eve dinner here.  My mom and dad were recently back from my dad's eye surgery.  My sister and her family were recently back from their vacation to New York and Washington DC, during record breaking snow.  I wanted to have a little dinner for them, and not have them have to do anything.  I really enjoyed it.  Ally arrived for the weekend when it was pretty close to dinner time.  We caught up on everyone's stories.

We gathered in the living room afterward for lots of songs and the Christmas story.  After they all left, we piled into the car and looked at the Christmas lights around town.  We had done this a few nights previously, but the kids wanted to do it again.  We seem to do what the kids want to do, whenever we can manage it. 

On our Christmas light tour, we stopped at a home with characters in the front yard.  Riley was dying to get out, but the rest of us were not feeling the same way.  Luckily for Riley, Ally and Emilee have soft, melty hearts.  They got out with her, so she could run into the arms of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.  I laughed that Riley wouldn't talk to any characters on our last couple of Disney trips, but ran into the arms of a shabby, shady Rudolph.

Finally back at home, we opened our presents from Ryan and Brittany.  We always open one present on Christmas Eve, and we decided (with persuasion from Ryan) that this was the way to go.  We felt his absence in body, but in spirit he was sort of here.  His body was in Texas, with Brittany and her family.

The girls all slept...and I use that term loosely...in Kaitie's room.  Ally said Riley woke her up every five minutes to find out if it was TIME YET.  We had agreed that we would get up at six the next morning.  No one is allowed in the living room, until everyone is ready.

A little after midnight on Christmas Eve, so very early Christmas morning, I asked Jeff, "Do you remember what was 26 years ago?"  (We were engaged.)  He replied, "Wasn't I in second grade 26 years ago?"

Yes, the time has flown, not just these few weeks, but the years too.

Tune in soon, for the rest of our Christmas story!