Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Lord Help Me....

Today I was on my way to help my brother with a benefit project. ON the way I stopped at Starbucks. As I approached Starbucks there was a father and son team having coffee together. I thought that was so cute...until I walked in and saw what was going on....NOTHING! The son was playing on an Ipod and the father was on an Ipad. I watched and while they were with in 2 feet of each other they could have been across the pond. I know that my kids are getting older but I pray that we never get that far apart ESPECIALLY when we're in the same room! So I say to you.... pay attention to your loved ones and don't "Blackberry, Ipod, Notebook...or whatever."

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Goings On

I have been really bad about keeping this up. These kids, this house, my life....all stuff that get in the way of the blog. Of course they also give me all my material.

Tuesday I attended, yet again, the annual doctors dinner. If you wonder how I feel about this you can check last years blog on this subject. Last year was fine, this year was better. I know more people this year and more people know Bob. It was actually really fun. The Chief of Staff, Rick Olson gave a "State of the Hospital" address. I remember last years and all the blah, blah, blah that they were going to do. Remarkably, they did a bunch of that stuff. It was really impressive and I told him so. They are measuring so many things that come out exactly like a hotel. It was very much like being back at an annual meeting at one of my hotels. It was fun and we were home by 9:15 or so.

Thursday I took Coulter out on a date. He has been missing mommy time. He doesn't remember having any solo mommy time. Of course Kees came along when Coulter was 1-1/2 so how could he remember? Kees has "Mommy and Kees Day" every Wednesday. We go to lunch, to OMSI, the zoo, whatever. But it's all about Kees. Sophia had lots of one on one time and still does simply because she's the only girl and we do girl days. I have decided to give my precious boy Coulter his own time.

We went to Macadam's Bar and Grill. I know this sounds a bit strange but I gave him a choice and one of the choices was go watch football with the Husky Fan Club. He was pretty excited about that choice. He was adorable the whole time. He had a Husky shirt on and his dad's bio ol' Husky hat. He sat on my lap and I explained the game of football. He let me kiss him, hug him and dote on him. He told me about what he was going to be when he grew up, what he had done at school that day, who he was playing with, what he wanted to do next week etc. Most of it was gibberish but it was sweet and I was loving it. We stayed for about half the game and then he was ready to go. That was fine because it was his bed time.

Friday night Sophia had a slumber (they should call them non-slumber parties) party and as luck would have it Coulter was invited to be the guest of the little brother....perfect. Kees was feeling a bit left out so we decided we should call our neighbor and invite Kees over. We've had her son over a few times lately so this made sense. TRIFECTA!!!! This was a FIRST! We had all 3 kids out for sleepovers and you ask....What did we do???? NOTHING! We stayed home, watched a couple of our regular shows and went to bed at a decent hour. We got up at 7 and went to breakfast, just the two of us. It's a lot easier to get out of bed when you know there is no one there to demand you do something for them. I got up and took care of me with out interruption. Tres cool. We need to do that more often.

And today was totally free form (after breakfast). I went to our church for a crafting day. They just open up a room for who ever wants to come and you can craft. I made some cards, nothing fancy just some cards. It was really just to do something for myself.

Bob worked on finishing the fort. Oh, the Fort. This is a project that started this summer. We had a space that's about 10x10 over the front entry and it was never finished. Not only was it not finished but there wasn't a floor. The "floor" was only the slats that are the roof over the front door. If you were to step on that you would have gone straight through. Bob hung joists, added insulation all around, put in the electric, put up the dry wall, laid the carpet, painted, put in a window and is currently finishing the trim. It is awesome and the kids are thrilled. It's the perfect quiet space. I hope this is a space that the kids use as a study space. Right now it's for slumber parties and playing school. The only thing Bob didn't do was mud, tape and texture. If that isn't done right you may as well not do any of the other stuff right 'cause it won't look right. It does, it's cool and Bob has done an outstanding job.

The kids all played around the house and a couple of neighborhood kids came over for about three hours. They all played in the basement, yet another Heather and Bob production, and had a fine time. They all went to bed early today because we have church in the morning and Sohpia has ANOTHER birthday slumber party tomorrow. That kid had the best social life! I don't remember doing half that stuff when I was a kid but that is yet another story.

There's more to report but it will have to be another day.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Over Heard at My House

While doing math home work with Coulter.... He was supposed to determine what pictures had odd numbers of items and others that were even. He was randomly guessing. I tried to explain what odd and even meant. When I said, "So now do you understand what odd means?" And he said, "Yeah. It means weird."

Kees while trying to help Coulter with his Mad Science..... Bob read off a list of things that they needed to do the experiment. Kees insisted they needed some, "Cornbioxide" I think they do....I just don't know where I put it.

Kees was playing with a friend in the basement and I could hear them talking. His buddy Miles said, "Let's pretend it's Thanksgiving. Here, here is some turkey for you." Kees replied, "I don't want any turkey. I'm having fairies." MMmmmm fairies for dinner.....

Coulter and I went out on a date last Thursday. We were talking and he said, "I think I want to be an Archiabiologist when I grow up." I asked what an Archiabiologiest does. (This, of course, was after being corrected on the pronunciation of the word. I originally said, "Archibiologist") He said, "They find dinosaur bones and stuff. Nah, I don't know." But he still wants to be one.

Goin' to the Lodge, The Great Wolf Lodge

Oh, the excitement. Oh, the joy. Oh, what the hell. We are at the Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Mound Washington. Yeehaw.

It all started at the school auction last year when I "won" the package. It included a nights stay for up to 7, a $50 gas card and $300 to spend at the GWL. My intent was to come for Coulter's birthday like we have the past 2 years but he informed me that he wants a regular birthday party with his friends. That's reasonable for a 7 year old boy. He may be changing the date of his party to some random date in the future when his friends may be in town. We'll see.

So what to do, what to do..... I know. Sarah and I have talked about taking our kids. All our kids get along, Sarah is so lovely, pragmatic and such a good friend. It all seemed like a good match....and indeed, it has been.

Since the room was covered, Sarah offered to bring the food. There is a half fridge and microwave in each room. It's been nice. I am so used to planning everything that it was quite nice not to have to do that part. The kids had lots of snacks, hot dogs, yogurt etc. and I was spoiled with Thai Food. Love it...

We gave each of the kids $20 for whatever they wanted so we didn't have to worry about begging for stuff. When they were out, that was it. You want hot chocolate? If you've got the cash fine, if not, too bad. A toy, shirt, ice cream...all the same. That also worked out well. We had a couple savers and the other 3 couldn't leave until their money was gone. Fine. The savers get to keep their money. Great, extras were covered.

We arrived at about 2:30 and had a 20 minute wait in line. The room was ready so we unloaded, organized and went to the water park. We planted ourselves and set up home base so the kids would know where to check in. Sophia and Oliver paired up, Coulter and Kees paired up and Sarah and Charlotte paired up. I got to blog and sit for a while. Nice. Of course that was short lived. Coulter was on a mission to kill me.
When I was looking at dates for this adventure I wanted to make sure it wasn't busy. Who wants to spend their time waiting to slide rather than sliding? NOT ME!!! What I didn't take into consideration was that without a line you don't get to catch your breath. I would run up 95 stairs, immediately hop on a raft and go. I would still be winded when the ride was over just to run up and do it all over again. After about 4 times in a row I told Coulter I couldn't do it anymore. That I needed a break. He laughed. He weighs all of 50 pounds and that's all muscle. So he essentially floats up AND down the slides. Me, not so much. Each time after that he'd come to me and say, "Comon' mom. I'm gunna kill ya." Then he'd giggle and run away. I did more than 1400 stairs while I was there. Not bad for "lil" ole me.

Kees finally is going on the medium slides. The first two times we went to GWL he'd only go in the kiddie pool. If you look below on the left you can see a purple slide. I think Kees has been on that slide about 300 times. He wouldn't get off it last time. This time we went up to try the medium red and yellow slides. Kees was going to ride down with me but they don't allow that any longer. He had to make the decision between going alone or not at all. He was afraid but he went down alone....and he LOVED it. As a matter of fact he ran that loop for about 2-1/2 hours. He had a smile on his face the whole time and didn't notice anything but his loop.

Then there was Sophia. She was a little leery of going with a boy but after she got started, she thought going with Oliver was awesome! He's a great kid who just wants to have fun. She'd say, "Let's go on the Howlin' Tornado." and Oliver would respond, "OK, but then can we go in the wave pool?" Sophia would agree to that plan and off they'd go. It seems that the whole time we were there that is how they got along. There wasn't one cross word between them and that made Sarah and I very happy.
Charlotte and Sarah stayed close to the ground. I did see Sarah go down one of the medium slides that Kees was on so I caught her at the bottom. You'd have thought she went down the Howlin' Tornado by the look on her face. She came down on her back and under water. When she came up she was surprised and proclaimed, "That's it for me." And her water sliding day was over. Sarah is afraid of heights so there was no way she was going up the "big" slides. She'd be sick before she hit the water. Charlotte went down the same slide though I didn't see her immediately following the "ordeal." She seemed content knowing she had done it. She enjoyed the wave pool, hot tub and one of the regular pools. Their water park experience was a bit more sedate than the rest of us.
We were on the slides until about 7 the first night. That gave us about 3+ hours. We all went back to the room and had some dinner. Thai Food for the adults and hot dogs, apples and such for the kids.

After dinner the kids wanted to play Magic Quest. You get a $17 wand and then activate it for another $14 or so. What a bargain. The thing we had going for us is our friend Annette had given us 2 wands so we only needed to pay activation. The two big kids had one wand and the 3 smaller kids had the other. We let the biggers go off on their own. Sarah and I wandered around with the smallers. We went up the stairs, pointed the wand at something that would move and give us the next clue. Then down two flights of stairs with the same routine. Up three flights, point, clue, down one flight, point clue.... You get the picture. HELLO....aren't there enough stairs in the water park? Sheesh... enough already. After about 20 minutes we told the kids they could each have the wand on one floor and point it at everything on the floor to make it do what ever it was it didn't. Essentially, "Let's get out of here." Great! DONE!

Back to the room. A bottle of wine for the mom's and a movie for the smalls. They all lined up on the bottom bunk and watched Harry Potter or something. I think the kids finally got in bed between 10:30 and 11:00. We were all exhausted. I actually slept pretty well which is unusual for a hotel, especially that hotel.

The next morning we all were up at about 8. I laid in bed until 9. Sarah even gave me breakfast in bed while she took the kids to Starbucks....to get coffee and even brought me back one. I could get used to this having a wife stuff. We had some snacks and packed up. Check out is at 11 but you can slide until 10 pm. We loaded the car and divided and conquered. I parked and checked out while Sarah took the kids to the water park. And it starts all over again...Coulter trying to kill me, Sophia and Oliver playing together, Kees on he own personal slides and Sarah and Charlotte in the wave pool and hot tub.

We played for more than 3 hours and then got into dry clothes. The kids played a bit more Magic Quest, went to the gift shop and snacked. We finally rounded everyone up at 3:30 for our road trip home. They all watched movies while Sarah and I chatted.

The kids were all terrific the whole time. The stay was fun, busy but fun. We all ate well and didn't have to buy stuff at the lodge and wholly had a fine time. In my book that was a very successful trip.

The Perfect Halloween Night

This is my friend's man eating house....SCARY!!!!!
Sophia and Carlie....Apparently they just ate (blood) because they are smiling.
And this must have been just after getting her fix. The blood is still fresh! Yikes....

Treats for the adults....yay!

As a kid Halloween is one of the biggest and most exciting days of the year. Deciding what you are going to be is a huge decision and not to be taken lightly. What if you're Superman and the guy you go with is the same thing. Well that just wouldn't do.

My kids took their costumes just as seriously as any kid. Sophia is past the cute fairy stuff. She was a scary vampire. She could pass as Dakota Fanning's baby, vampire sister for sure.

Coulter went as the red Ironman. Of course he lost his mask 2 seconds before we walked out the door. He then was the black Ironman because Kees had that costume, wasn't wearing it and knew where his mask was.

Kees went as Kees. What could be better then that? Originally he was going to be the black Ironman but he changed his mind. Then he was going to be a cat. Oh man that was funny. He had a Danskin, one piece, crushed black velvet thing. Then he had a tail attached and I did his make up. But he is going through a phase and doesn't like people staring at him. He felt it was best to just be Kees. He had on Navy Blue jacket and pants and a black shirt. An hour into it he started saying he was a black man. I had to jump in quickly every time he said that and explain that he meant MEN IN BLACK. It's VERY different! MEN IN BLACK son. He had fun.

For those of you who have experienced a NW Halloween I do not need to explain. For those of you who haven't, read on. Most Halloweens you go to great lengths to plan and prepare your costume. Then you end up covering it up with either a parka or your longest rain coat OR BOTH! It sucks. This year was like a dream. It was the most gorgeous Halloween I have ever experienced. The leaves were brown, gold, orange and red and every hew between them. It was about 55 degrees out and there was no wind, not a puff. Nor was there any rain. It's hard to believe how perfect it was. I felt like I was on a movie set and any minute they'd yell, "CUT" and the whole thing would come crashing down. But it didn't happen.

We went to visit some friends who invited us for a little prefunction. They handed us an adult beverage and the kids got some candy. Bob ended up staying with the husband at the house and my girlfriend and I took our collective 5 kids out. We both felt like stars in our own lives, actually the stars in the movie about our lives. We talked about how grateful we we're to live where we do, when we do, how we do. We are lucky girls.

We walked the whole neighborhood and saw many many people that we know. The houses we're decorated so nicely. There were kids everywhere! A few houses had "treats" for the adults too. Those, of course, were my and my girlfriend's favorite houses. After cruising the 'hood we went up to the ridge where the "Halloween House" is. They decorate to the max. This year they did Thriller. No really, they DID Thriller. They had 15 people out on the front lawn, in costume, doing the whole dance. It was awesome.

We wrapped up the night at about 8:45. It was a school night. The kids were wack tired but we had so much fun.

I don't know if I'll ever experience another Halloween like that. But when I am old and grey, and if I am lucky, this is the one that I will remember in my minds eye. I choose to remember the best and reflect on what we have and what we do rather then any lack of. We're so blessed and I am going to hold on to, and nurture that. Cliche maybe, but with 1/45th of my Halloweens being damn near perfect I believe my glass is half full of Dom Perrignon thank you. C'est la vie.....