Sunday, March 22, 2009

Road Trip with Number Fifteen...

The alarm sounded louder when it buzzed at four o'clock the morning of Regan's Volleyball Tournament in Spokane. Tim scrambled eggs, microwaved bacon and stuck the half empty gallon jug of milk in the freezer for an extra chill before serving us breakfast. We would have stopped on the road to eat... but he insisted.

Booking a room at the Fairfield down the street from the giant red wagon outside Riverfront Park was a given since I wasn't interested in making the return trip home after the tournament. Our only pending decision was where to have dinner. Neither one of us remembered our bathing suits nixing the hot tub idea altogether.

The games were played at a middle school off the Newport Highway. It appeared the school was a converted elementary explaining the two very different sized gyms. There was very little seating in either venue.

Regan's Strike Force team dressed in green and black was scheduled for a bye first match of the morning giving me time to sneak off to the grocery store for snacks. Chilled mandarin oranges, grapes, cheese sticks, pistachios, bagels and cream cheese and of course... the essential lunchables - ham and cheddar for me and nachos for Regan.

We brought folding chairs careful to choose the two most comfortable from our family's supply knowing we'd spend extended time during the day sitting ... and waiting to either play or keep score. The open area between the school's library and gymnasium was transformed into base camp with blankets and camp chairs marking the boundary lines between opposing teams. Ours was nearest the restroom proving both a benefit and a bother.

Halfway through the day the team changed from short sleeved green to long sleeved white jerseys allowing the La barrow to do the same which gave her the opportunity to wear a cooler short sleeve jersey the rest of the day. The team advanced to the finals only to be eliminated in a sudden death match sending them home around five pm. I'm not sure which one of us was more ready to go.

Back at the hotel Regan enjoyed a shower in happy oblivion of exactly how much hot water she used while I updated our Face Book status to read -- "We're going out to dinner." We split a Steak Fajita Quesadilla at Azteca and nearly a whole basket of warm salty tortilla chips. Water with lemon for Regan and club soda, no ice with lime for me. On the way back we stopped at Perkins for chocolate chip cookies perfect for a five second microwave back at the hotel. Regan talked me out of a dollar for a pack of red licorice from the vending machine.

Within thirty minutes of settling into our side by side queen sized beds, Regan was snoring. The movie we had discussed seeing earlier in the day definitely would not have worked out. Madea Goes To Jail would have to take a rain check. I closed the heavy curtains flipping the "Do Not Disturb" sign on the handle and watched TV in the dark.

We slept in past the hotel's continental breakfast on purpose and lazily packed up... double checking under the bed for personal items we didn't want left behind. After turning in our key card we walked to Perkins for Eggs Benedict and Double Over Easy with Hash browns.

Another successful Buddy Date for the books.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Sweet Scripture Chase...

Tonight for Family Home Evening I wasn't feeling especially inspired nor possessing of any specific direction in which to take the discussion so I opted for the always popular scripture chase. A successful chase must include a reward -- in excess of the obvious warm and fuzzy good feeling one receives just by opening the works.

Thirty years ago Tim held the all time record for wins in Seminary Scripture Chase due in large part to the pudding filled bismarks up for grabs. With a dozen donuts on the line, he was almost always unstoppable.

This evening's keyword searches revolved around a bag of Swedish fish, some Wild Berry Sour Gummy Lifesavers and two Reeses Peanut Butter Eggs. Any word on the packaging (excluding the obvious three letter or less "and" "the" "it" or "oz") was fair game for the chase. Words like fish, food, free, life, save, egg, cup and the like provided more than enough competition for the sugar powered bunch.

Looking up the keyword in the index without actually going to the scripture was a disqualification. Since there were only two Reeses Peanut Butter Cup Eggs they were the first to go. When the kids found the scripture they had to shout out the key word.

Halfway through the competition, McKay shouted "I found ass." which of course qualified her for only the burst of laughter she received from me. She confessed saying it because she knew the reaction I'd give.

Our week always goes better when it begins with the song -- "This is the Night we've waited for..."

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Spring (training) in the air…

Left of the front steps, sitting amidst the dirt and left over bark, the first green shoots of spring bulbs are peeking up through the soil. It would be dishonest of me to take credit for the sun colored daffodils ready to bloom. The gardening labor of the previous homeowner continues welcoming spring year after year at our home. It surprises me every year the flowers grow without my help.

My husband and almost eleven year old son welcome spring in an altogether different fashion. The countdown begins long before the weather warms enough to play. Announcing the Baltimore Orioles are packing for spring training and pre-season baseball is about to begin, signals the end of winter’s cold and dark hold on the Greenstreet males, who are… the proverbial boys of summer.

The traditional following of the “Birds” as they are know in our home... goes back to the childhood my husband enjoyed as a boy. The Baltimore Orioles were the hometown favorite of his grandparents and the team he adopted at a very young age. There has been no fair weather support about it. Tim has ridden with pride, the manic depressive rollercoaster that has been the Oriole history for all of the twenty five plus years I have known him. The mood disorder he experiences during the summer months, requiring no prescription medication, magically disappears as soon as the Orioles have either been eliminated from the playoffs or in one solitary year have actually advanced to the World Series.

In our home we are allowed to cheer our hometown Seattle Mariners as long as they aren’t playing the Orioles. We have traveled from Washington to Baltimore with tickets to Camden Yards and witnessed the Orioles beat the Mariners – something we are careful not to rub in to our neighbors.

When the Orioles are “stinking up the place” we plug our noses in protest … and when the game interferes with family home evening… it certainly gets paused long enough to remind everyone that life is spiritual and, well... baseball is life.

A close friend of Tim’s mother actually used to baby sit young Cal Ripkin and one of our oldest son’s most prized possessions is a picture of Cal – To Kendrick and signed Cal Ripkin. Since baseball lives in the mind forever, helping it stay there are signed balls by other Orioles players, trading cards and memories of traveling to Seattle early enough game day -- glove in hand… hoping for that Oriole foul ball.

Other sports exist so there’s something to do off season. The Boys of Summer are back!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

My 2008 Blog Book is at the Publisher...

I have FINALLY finished my blog book for 2008. It is 200 pages long, has 116 posts and 352 pictures (I added extra ones from the whole year since I only started blogging in August) It was actually pretty easy -- just a little time consuming. Here's a sneak peek at a couple pages.

The front and back cover wrap around a hard bound book that is 8x10 in size.

This is a photo McKay took at Sunset View -- I loved the view.

This is a photo that McKay took at Girls Camp and I thought it was perfect for this page.

Most of the book consists of the parts of the blog I slurped with Blurb --I did have to replace some of the photos with high quality images depending on how big I wanted the photo to end up. When you upload to Blogger it reduces your images for web view, so I keep a folder on my desktop with all my images so that I can later replace them for printing if I need to.

I will be stalking the mailman for the next little while until the book arrives -- I can't wait to see it. I also already know how I'm going to do 2009's book different.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Why do they call it "Winter Formal"??

Kamiakin's Winter Formal aka Winter Semi-Formal a couple Saturdays ago was yet another chance for McKay to dress up cute and go out to eat with friends. Jackie altered another dress, this one a hand me down from Cassie, McKay's cousin. It turned out very cute!

The date with Josh began much earlier in the day at the shooting range. Tim took a group of us including Josh and his dad and several of our friends to the pistol range out near the Rose Iris range in West Richland. The pistol range looks like an old west town and it quite a fun place to shoot down metal targets. We opted, as usual to set up our tactical paper targets and shave the mustache clean off the bad guy -- 9mm style.

Getting ready for the dance took about as long as setting up the lights and backdrops for pictures. By the time all the couples had arrived it was almost impossible to get them all to smile at the same time and lean in close for the shot. We did manage to get a couple good ones and then off they went to PF Chang's for dinner.

The actual dance ended up being a small portion of the night giving way to a locating and pricing treasure hunt at Walmart. McKay was home on time -- 11:30 just like her date promised she would be.