Thursday, October 30, 2008
Today McKay and I went out to lunch with her Grandma.. my mom. On the menu was Chicken Alfredo Bowl with extra broccoli for McKay, 1/2 Turkey Club and Potato Soup for me and Apple Walnut Chicken Salad for Grandma. We had a nice time chatting and just being together. Thanks MOM!
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
As leaves drop to the ground with falling temperatures - one can't help but look back... one last time... in longing for the lazy hot days of summer.
Looking way back.... I have fond memories of swimming in our family's pool as a child. It seemed bigger to me at the time... but as the photo reveals the water filled respite from the heat of the sun was actually much smaller than I remembered it.
Today is the second day in a row Jensen has a fever and sore throat. Yesterday I gave him breakfast, hotcakes and bacon, his favorite and sent him back to bed. He slept for a long time, he must have needed the nap. Then later in the afternoon he appeared with the Lego car he created complete with multiple automatic weapons. Nice work.
I didn't think anything of it because I was busy working.
When Regan got home from school at 2:45 she reported that Jensen made a huge mess in the living room. Sure enough the Lego box was dumped out on a blanket and Lego structures were in various stages of construction everywhere.
After McKay finished school around 3:30 (she was a VERY hard working girl today) she joined the fun.
Today with fever still looming - More Legos are ready to be assembled.
Legos are one investment I am proud to have made -- everyone loves them including on occasion the vacuum cleaner. In the past, when I accidentally sucked up a barbie shoe -- I'd let it go. The Legos, on the other hand get fished out immediately.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Saturday, October 25, 2008
This afternoon several kids got together with the Perry's and did one last water ski / ride in a tube and get totally soaked in fifty degree water outing. Is there any way to ride in this thing and NOT get wet or NOT scream? ...apparently not.
This cute onesie was given to me by a dear friend Cathy Larson who was studying to be a Doula at the time Jensen was born. Since I was having a scheduled c-section and really wouldn't be using her services as a Doula, we invited her to observe the surgery which she thought was ultra cool since Jensen's Grandma delivered him.
It's hard to believe more than ten years have passed since that day. From the photo you can guess how Tim felt about the whole situation. I was feeling... well...sleepy. We are so blessed to have the little guy in our lives.
BTW -- Did you know Jensen has several nicknames???.... Like... Mr Sneebley or just Sneebley and Nesnej (his name backwards) or "good seed" , but mostly we just call him "best friend" -- McKay gave him that one and it stuck.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Dilemma...video clips, slide shows with music and other cool blogging things don't print. Since I love sharing videos and other such interactive creations with family and friends, I decided to have a separate blog for those things and keep the all6greenstreets blog for only printable media.
It also means I can create more backgrounds and more widgets and embed more videos and manipulate the html script in more than one place..... well you get the picture.
Anyway... The other blog is: www.greenstreetsinmotion.blogspot.com When I post something there I will link to it from here.
See this video at the Greenstreets in Motion Blog
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Yesterday was Regan's last middle school volleyball game. It was a painful victory over Highlands Middle School (painful for the Scotties) and it was the final game in an undefeated season scoring Desert Hills Middle School ten wins and uh... zero losses. Way to go Hawks!!!
Regan is normally very serious during play - but her game face slipped down when the scoreboard said 24 points in the second game signifying only one more point was needed to end the season 10-0.
Some of the team members and families went to Chuck E. makes me want to chuck thinking about eating there Cheese after the game -- the Greenstreets however have more discriminating palates and we opted for Casa Mia. Way better food for not way more money.
Here's what our winning season celebration dinner included: Salad with Roquefort dressing, rolls, Fettucine with Pesto, Fettucine Alfredo & 50/50 Tortellini (half red sauce, half white sauce) San Pelligrino and water with lemon to drink and a sucker on the way out. Total meal = forty three bucks including tip. It didn't include a cup full of CEC tokens but we got over it.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
There was a day... not too awfully long ago that they enjoyed the bum poking straw bale ride and the hunt for the perfect squash. They wanted either pumpkins that out weighed them or random other squash items found in the patch... never just a medium sized round specimen.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Jensen desperately needed some ear lowering so our resident barber did the job tonight (one handed -- he's that good) and just in time for church tomorrow.
The first cut through the top is always funny to Jensen -- sort of a reverse Mohawk. I'm pretty sure he'd keep it that way at least for a few days if I'd let him.
One afternoon right before school started, my neighbor and dear friend Pam Halgren payed me a visit. It just so happened that my garage door was opened and she commented it was amazingly cleaned and organized. (Okay...true confession here... a week prior, I had spent two days on the project to the point I could not move my arms or legs without extreme pain. For two nights following, I slept slathered in icy hot.) By the time she complimented my attached abode, I had completely recovered from cleaning it.
This seems to be a pattern -- or at least it has been.
I break my neck getting the place spit spot. I get my van washed and then pull it inside the protective walls of the newly cleaned space. I sigh at a job well done... and then... slowly, but surely while the car is gone... stuff starts to appear parking itself here and there all over the place. I come home, remotely opening the door to find that I cannot park inside. Usually, I am not in a position to do anything about it at the moment -- arms full of something or running somewhere or generally not feeling like doing it, and so... I park outside.
Days turn into weeks... and you know... I realize it's been a month or so since I've put my van in. Soon, I am kicking aside bats and skateboards and fishing items, laundry, bikes and trash bags headed for the garbage just so I can make a path to the door.
I can put up with the "how did this place get so out of control" thoughts only so long before I concede the after body pain is worth it.
This time I made a better plan. I called all three kids (Tim was nursing a surgeried wrist - so I didn't make him work) and I said -- "I need 30 minutes of your hard work helping me clean this garage." I told them we didn't necessarily have to get the whole garage done -- just work for 30 minutes.
I ignored the whining and moaning as if it wasn't happening and stood my ground, stating that if thirty minutes was too much... they could have forty five. Worked commenced fairly quickly and within the allotted time the garage was done. All items belonging in the shed were returned there. Autumn leaves belonging outside were swept hence. The trash was thus disposed. Laundry returned to the hampers and bikes were parked somewhere else besides the middle of the floor.
Four people times thirty minutes saved me from the usual icy hot application. A trip to the ice cream shoppe as bonus and the thirty minute clean job was completed with happy management and employees.
Next stop -- kids rooms -- although thirty may not be enough.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
This year McKay has embarked on new journey in education. During the summer we transferred her out of the Kennewick School District to the Kittitas Washington School District (near Ellensburg) although I doubt she will ever step foot in an actual school building in that area. Her schooling is done completely online.
It's called Achieve Online and so far it has been a very smooth transition. She has a personal academic counselor who tracks all her school work toward graduation. (conveniently she lives literally around the corner from us in Kennewick Park)
McKay is working towards a diploma (the same kind you get at Kamiakin) and so far she has completed one semester class and two others are more than 65% done. Her PE class is also being completed on a daily basis as she logs her activity. Sometimes McKay and I go on bike rides and recently she has been walking and talking with her dad as he recovers from surgery.
At the end of the quarter she will have finished four semester classes and will start on another three for a total of seven this semester. (Kamiakin requires 21 credits for graduation -- Achieve requires 24) In every class so far she has earned better than 95% which is FANTASTIC since she is working on Trigonometry and World History.
How... you may ask does she do everything alone staring at a computer screen all day??? and what about the socialization she is missing at Kamiakin?? Two big questions -- I will answer them separately.
First -- she doesn't just stare at the computer all day and fill in bubbled answer sheets. For instance, Mr. Quist, her Trig teacher is available for help when she needs it and uses something called a "white board" to help her figure out problems she's stuck on. Using a microphone and headphones she can talk directly to him while he explains and demonstrates - using the white board -- mathematical equations. Same goes for things she doesn't understand in History. (she has a different History instructor) It is very interactive and she connects directly with the instructor. It's like raising your hand in class and getting called upon every time and receiving personalized answers to your questions. (Never, ever been in a public school class where that happened)
Second -- it is precisely the Kamiakin Flavored Socialization that we are trying to avoid. All of the distractions that were nearly impossible to ignore -- not to mention the various other complete wastes of educational time built into the school day -- (don't get me started on these)
McKay goes to seminary for first hour and then comes home to start her school day. It works out nice because I can work at the same time and the house is quiet enough that she can get some good quality studying in. Thus far she is ahead enough that most Fridays she takes off -- she gets a weeks (plus some) worth of work done in 4 days.
I am pleased thus far with her progress and I think she is proud of the grades she is earning now. The good student discount is well within reach this semester.
Some of you may remember that I had surgery several years ago. When the doctor said "go home and rest" I took that very seriously and did exactly as I was told. Even though I wanted to clean and cook and drive my kids around I resisted because the doctor had ordered me to rest. It was tough... but I made the sacrifice.
Fast forward to uh...Tuesday. I listened ad nauseum to the discharge orders given after Tim's surgery... go home and rest, elevate the arm, no lifting, twisting or stretching. No driving, showering (until Friday), apply ice, rest, take your medicine, get some rest, no making important decisions, no partying, no fishing, rest, no heavily spiced or fattening food, increase your fiber intake, wear your sling when not in bed, remove the dressing in three days, call us if your temperature goes above 101 or you get a rash or hives, if you have excessive swelling, painful urination (that's a fun one), or you can't urinate at all or if you're throwing up and be sure .....to rest.
Do you see a pattern here???........REST -- which does not count if you are sitting at the computer or in any other way not actually resting. The point of rest is lack of activity.
I was prepared to bring meals in bed and refill the ice packs and fetch the happy restful pills, only there was one problem.... the patient didn't want to rest. The patient fought resting kept getting up to "use the computer left handed" as he put it. After repeated gentle reminders to .... well....rest -- I gave up and went back to work myself.
Do I love this non-compliant unwilling to take it easy drive me crazy because he won't rest patient????? Absolutely!! Is he all of the above??? Well...yeah!
So this morning when he asked me to apply two swipes (and only two swipes) of antipersperant to his right armpit, I knew he was getting ready for work. Not even two days post op and he's going back to work. When I asked him if he was tired of "resting" -- he admitted as much.
Then I asked -- If your surgery didn't hinder your fishing ability you wouldn't be so quick to return to work but would be "resting" on the river right???
His facial expression confirmed that I pretty much nailed that one.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
So far this year Regan's Volleyball Team at Desert Hills Middle School is 7-0 which means... you guessed it... they are undefeated! It is so much fun watching the girls play. Unlike some of the other middle schools, the lighting at DHMS is pretty good allowing me to get this shot from half way up in the stands.
We just returned from the Surgery Center in Richland where Tim had carpal tunnel surgery. The procedure lasted all of 15 minutes. Tim watched the entire thing on video...of course he did. Here is a short home video clip demonstrating just how numb his arm is. I agreed to video tape this with the promise he would keep his arm still from now on until the block wears off.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
This year for his birthday, our friend Jim Hansen received a guided fishing trip from his wife Stefani. He invited several of his relatives for a day of male bonding. Tim was invited after one of them was unable to attend.
The deal was that you got a professional fisherman to take you by boat to prime fishing locations significantly increasing the probability you'd hook a big one.
The one and only fish caught that day... was at the end of Tim's line.
Jim did not weep openly at the lack of birthday catch nor did Tim didn't brag excessively of the trophy (except for the 5 x 7 he passed around church) still... the unfairness of the whole day lingered way past the cake and ice-cream.
Tim had snagged Jim's birthday fish.
Fast forward to yesterday... while I was out of town, Tim was watching the kids via cell phone while fishing with Jim on the Touchet River.
After driving a blind folded Jim to the remote favorite fishing spot, Tim explained in whispers the rules of secrecy, spoke the secret password and swore Jim to the oath of silence.
Tim had cast his line in the spot more than 50 times and was now prepared to bring another brother into the club. Jim was instructed to watch... and learn.
Imagine Tim's horror towards the end of the day when hanging off the end of Jim's hook thrashed the illusive 16 inch German Brown trout Tim had been trying to hook for years.
There is no picture of this prize -- a usual requirement for verification... so we cannot be completely sure it actually happened. The camera battery gave out as the shutter was capturing the image... or so they say.
I don't believe ANY fish story true without visual proof but Tim does make a good point quoting D&C 6:28 where "out of the mouth of two or three witnesses..."
Sweet payback for the stolen birthday gift.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
The ScrapGirls Convention has officially logged off and the circuit breakers have ceased humming overloaded by one hundred plus buzzing laptops. Some of the women have already gone home counting on one hand the number of hours spent actually sleeping.
It has been a whirlwind weekend jammed with class after unbelievably amazing class. The photography class was incredible -- but then so was the intentional design lecture and the the Use of Artistic Brush demonstration. Each course was taught by design team members and layout artists who all have graphic design or art degrees. The CEO of the company personally introduced herself to every single participant. I was floored by how down to earth these people were.
Prizes were given out on average of about one every 15 minutes and with the exception of chocolate everything was purple -- purple pens, jewelry, slippers, headphones -- you name it if it was purple it was probably a prize. Seventy five per cent of the clothing worn at the conference was also purple. I like purple -- but just like cookies -- if you eat them non-stop for 3 days -- you might understandably feel a little like retching.
I so enjoyed Gardner's Village -- While everyone else was snapping pictures of humans I was busy capturing the sweet little faces of the pumpkins posing everywhere. I also found the cutest realistic looking fake pumpkin ever.. in a little shop. I don't exactly know how I'm going to get it home...too big for the suitcase. I'll probably just try to carry it on, shrugging dumbly if anyone notices I have too many bags.
I miss my cuddlers at home and three days straight eating out is about all I can take, so I'll be headed back to the airport in the morning allowing enough time to declare my unloaded firearm at check-in.
This trip has been so much fun! What a memory. I am certain my brain cannot comprehend everything I learned -- fortunately there is a CD with all the class handouts and instructions for all the techniques.
I'm laying off the purple just until the queasiness subsides.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Well Kids...here I am in SLC and the weather temperature is.....perfect, it's just shy of being able to see my breath requiring only a light jacket. The breeze is still and crisp and I can smell a nearby fireplace faintly wafting through morning air.
I am typing one handed while I enjoy toasted bagel topped with cream cheese and... peanut butter. Lest you think this combination strange -- you should try some at your next morning opportunity. (My preferred spread is actually almond butter)
The flight here was uneventful except that we sat in the tarmac with icy wings in Pasco for an hour before take off and something in my suitcase exploded. You know... since my hair is so high maintenance requiring complicated product application in excess of the three ounce limit permitted for carry on -- I was relegated to checked baggage stuck in the unpressurized cargo hold.
I always put anything with the potential for leak in gallon sized ziplocked bags -- doubled for safety. This insurance has always protected my designer clothing. When I unpacked yesterday, the smell of hair product emanating from my bag was a dead giveaway. The culprit was not the cheap hair spray but the $17.99 can of "give me the illusion I'm not going bald in the front" foam.
The container was completely empty although I could find no puncture. The entire contents had discharged into the ziploc pooling at the bottom. Unfortunately, Walmart does not sell this stuff so needless to say I will have to rely on Photoshop to give me the full bangs lost in the explosion.
Yesterdays classes were fabulous -- the one on Typography was excellent although a bit technical -- serifs and san serifs, leading and kerning... Did you know font placement in scrapbook layouts was a science and an art??
The room was filled with a hundred women and all the ScrapGirls product designers and layout artists, every one with an open, plugged in laptop. The "high voltage" sign on the electrical set up was a sight to behold.
I sat across from Amanda Sok who's familiar designs are on my computer and used in some of my creative adventures. I told her she was a celebrity.
Of course, with such a large gathering of women who wear purple and who scrap there is bound to be entertainment in just watching. Listening to what others say in every accent from the south to the south of England has been a riot. I have also picked up many useful tips and tricks in conversation with all these creative types.
And lastly, my bangs are flat today and my toothbrush tasted like root boost but I am headed to day 2 of classes which are going to be amazing.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Looking through old photo albums today in search of something McKay I had to exercise great restraint not to repeatedly kick myself for my prior PATHETIC handling of precious pictures of my babies.
The first step... is to admit that you had a problem.....
Hi my name is Brenda... and my scrap booking life had become unmanageable...
I threw away negatives and hacked up pictures of my children with deckle edged scissors. I cut circles and triangles and ... (oh this one is hard to admit) star and heart shapes out of pictures of my infant babies. I cropped out people I thought unimportant only to discover that in the process I cut off arms, legs and even heads of the very people I loved. I used the circle cutter and the crimper on original photos I had no way to replace. I even disposed of (in the garbage) perfectly adorable photographs because the circle I cut was not centered.
PLEASE don't end up like me with volumes of RIDICULOUS scrapbooks and pages of regret.
If you must indulge in the permanent forms of photo destruction -- do it on a copy. Just say NO to multi-colored decorative edged scissors -- They belong at Value Village stuck in a bag with some other random item nobody knows what to do with.
Here are a few examples of things to avoid.
It was actually 17 1/4 years ago when I first got kicked in the stomach ... it just took several months to meet the kid who did it.
McKay Suzanne ... named after Kamden McKay Gardner (the daughter of my best friend) and Susan, her mom (Suzanne being the stretched out version of Susan) was born by Cesarean Section in Pocatello, Idaho on October 7, 1991.
The night before she was born Tim and I drove to Rexburg, ID and dropped off our 3 year old son at the home of the only people we trusted enough to take care of him.
The vernex covered ball of joyfire let out her first rebel yell shortly after 7:37am wanting zero parts of that shot some nurse dared inflict upon her. Had she been a little taller she'd have probably decked her.
He head was perfectly round, her face without the usual birth canal blemishes and her hair was dark and curly... a perfect ten - not withstanding the apgar score was just shy of 8.
We were both delighted and overwhelmed. We had created another Greenstreet... a sibling for Kendrick ... a daughter. We'd better start saving for that wedding.
After being weighed, measured and scrubbed up, she was brought to my bedside swaddled tightly with a pink bow stuck to the side of her head. This photo is one of my all time favorites -- She lay there sleeping by me for hours. I waked only to look at her... and to marvel.
When you have a child, your heart does not remain the same and take them in ... but enlarges and surrounds. My heart is bigger because of McKay and life got sweeter the day I met her.
I forgave the stomach kick.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
When I was a missionary in Rome in 1983 the closest temple was in Bern, Switzerland. It was at great expense and sacrifice that our faithful Italian saints journeyed to that Holy Place.
I was overwhelmed (including streaming tears) when I heard the announcement by President Monson that a temple in Rome, Italy would be constructed. This is something only dreamed of at the time of my mission.
Tim and I had already started planning our next European Trip (including Italy) and directly after I heard the announcement I phoned him (he's out of town this weekend visiting his AF pilot brother in Tacoma) to say that we would have to wait until AFTER the temple was completed in Italy to go.
I can only imagine the reactions of my dear friends the Salernos who live in Rome after hearing the news. I think they probably reacted the same way I did.
Today as I was hauling groceries up the stairs I noticed a small hole in the wall with a safety pin sticking out of it. Out loud I said ... what the??? and then turning my head side to side several unbelieving times I just had to shrug... and laugh.
Regan was the only potential suspect present, and when questioned she denied any knowledge of how the pin came to be stuck in the stair wall. I guarantee you that if everyone in my family had been home there is a 90% chance that no one would have any idea what happened.
Sometimes I think our house is haunted because unbelievable things happen ... and not a soul knows how. None of them appear to be lying -- but none of them are fessing either.
I mean really -- was it a neighbor who left poop in the toilet without flushing (during the night) or ate in the living room to the tune of 45 combined cups, plates and forks, wrappers, crumbs and sticky something on the table? Was it a random stranger who came in and showered dropping all towels to the floor?
I'm no mathematician, but even my 5th grade math skills tell me that when I know I didn't do it and Dad didn't do it (I'm assuming dad didn't do it) ... that leaves just three -- What??... no takers?
Well then that only means one thing -- We obviously had another kid without my knowledge or consent.
I just have to locate him/her ... so that my sweet innocent other children won't have to keep taking the wrap for all the unclaimed crimes against decency.
Friday, October 3, 2008
Thursday when you think of me -- I'll be sitting aisle side (I hate the window seat) on a flight to Salt Lake City. The conference is being held at the Officers Club at Fort Douglas.
I am BEYOND ecstatic because this is going to be three days of advanced classes taught by some of the most creative digital designers anywhere.
Here are a few of the class titles:
Understanding and Creating Color Sets
The one I'm really looking forward to is:
“Making Art Out of the Ordinary: Mastering Light, Location and Composition.”
Ever wonder how those professional photographers manage to find such incredible locations? And how do they always get that amazing light in their photos? Wouldn’t it be fun to create art out of the everyday, ordinary things you see? Nichole will discuss how to assess and best photograph any given location and how to “see” and use natural light effectively, getting perfect light in your photos. She’ll also discuss how to compose artistic photographs based on principles of classic composition and then how to bring all these elements out when editing in Photoshop. Come learn how to create art out of your life!
We are also taking a field trip to Gardner Village where the pumpkin festival is in full swing (never been there but it's supposed to be a fun shopping and photo spot) and I love pumpkins!!!
One thing I've been sorta stressing about is the ATC's we are supposed to make and bring to the conference. (ATC stands for "Artist Trading Card") It's supposed to be the size of a baseball card and be designed with something about you. On the messageboards others have shared their ideas -- like printing them on cardstock and laminating them or having them printed on business card weight paper. I could not think how I wanted to do mine except that it had to say "Spunky Mom" and have something purple on it.
Anyway, it came to me the other morning after 5:00am scripture study when I couldn't go back to sleep -- that I would design my card digitally and have it printed at -- you guessed it -- Costco -- and then adhere both front and back to an old playing card -- finishing up by distressing it via sanding and inking. I think the prototype turned out nice -- now all I have to do is make a hundred more.
Here's what the front look like:
The background is the very same brick wall as on the blog (Tim took that picture for me) only I added a little pizazz in photo shop for this card. The flower center is an old belt buckle I bought at an antique store and scanned.
Here's what the back says:
I did not include my address or email just in case some psycho killer decides to attend the conference -- (which really won't be a big problem since I'll be packing my Glock 26 loaded with brand new hollow points).
I hope to have time for posting after classes each day. Those of you interested in learning what I learned after I get back -- let me know.