Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Thankful for...

Have you ever been just going along, doing your day-to-day stuff, when you get hit with one of those seemingly out-of-the-blue revelations?

I was loading the dryer late last night, and all of a sudden, it hit me that I was very grateful to own a washer & dryer. Now this may sound a little weird, but let me finish. Because we have our own washer & dryer, I can run a load of clothes any time I want, instead of having to bundle it all up, make sure I have enough quarters, and then go down to the local laundrymat, where I can sit around waiting for it to finish.

Please understand I'm not judging or meaning to belittle in any way those who use laundrymats. My point is, I'm just thankful that we have a working washer & dryer that are just steps away.

Another thing I'm thankful for is Kyra is back to her normal self, health-wise. Our visit to the doctor's yesterday showed no strep throat~~they did a strep culture as her throat was a little red, and her tonsils a little swollen~~and today is Day 2 without any fever :-) Must have just been one of those 24 hour viral buggies that little kids are famous for!

Finally, we had a great day as a family last Saturday at the Washington County Fair. Kyra loved actually seeing all the animals that she's been learning about~~cows, horses, pigs, chickens, etc. and when she would see one she knew, she'd point to them, and say, "Mooooo" or "Oink, Oink!". She also had her first "fair food" as we all shared a gigantic Elephant Ear, complete with tons of butter & cinnamon sugar. Yummmy!

The picture below is from our visit to the fair:

Giving thanks,

Monday, July 30, 2007

Life is Fragile

I think one of the hardest things we have to go through as parents, is when our little ones are sick.

I know compared to some of the medical stuff our friends & family are going through (our dear friend Julie Reid, my husband's sister Beth's chronic back problems, my dad's ongoing recovery from a very serious fall, etc. etc,) Kyra's fever/runny nose seems like small potatoes.

However, when you're holding this little, little girl, late at night, who is burning up with fever, life's fragileness seems very real. You would give anything to take her hurt away. And all you can do is hold them, and pray, often with tears running down your cheeks.

Luckily we live in a great country where excellent medical care & insurance are available, and best of all, a doctor's office who will fit you in for an appointment, even on a busy Monday.

And with that, I need to go, as I need to pull together something for a quick lunch before our appointment at noon.

Blessings friends, and keep praying for each other!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Merrily we Mow along...

Kyra is a huge fan of bubbles & push toys, so it was a no-brainer that at some point in her young life, she would be the proud owner of a Fisher Price Bubble Mower. Besides, they're just cool :-)

A trip to & back from Target, a quick glance at the instructions (which I was told are for WOMEN! Grrrrr!), a little assembly and she was off and running/mowing. Unfortunately our backyard would be better suited for a mower with off-roading tires, so the bubble mechanism never really had a chance. She didn't seem to mind, however. She just liked the growling sound it made, and liked pushing it around the yard, forwards & backwards, and of course, BY HERSELF! No help! Are we coming into the 2s???

If you click on the Play arrow below, you'll see her mowing debut. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Who are you?

After reading Janet's and Michael's blogs about personalities, I thought I'd take the test as well. Here's what it had to say about me:

You are an Encouraging Analyst.

· Your attention to detail, confidence, sense of order, and focus on functionality combine to make you an ANALYST.

· You are very curious about how things work, delving into the mechanics behind things.

· Along those lines, how well something works is usually more important to you than what it looks like.

· You find beauty and wonder mainly in concrete, functional, earthly things.

· You are very aware of your own abilities, and you believe that you will find the best way of doing things.

· Accordingly, problems do not intimidate you, as you believe in yourself.

· You trust yourself to find solutions within the boundaries of your knowledge.

· You don't spend a lot of time imagining how things could be different—you're well-grounded in the here-and-now.

· It is important for you to follow a routine, and you prefer the familiar to the unknown.

· You're not one to force your positions on a group, and you tend to be fair in evaluating different options.

· You're not afraid to let your emotions guide you, and you're generally considerate of others' feelings as well.

· You much prefer to have time to plan for things, feeling better with a schedule than with keeping plans up in the air until the last minute. Your decisions are well thought out, and you're not the least bit impulsive.

· Generally, you believe that you control your life, and that external forces only play a limited role in determining what happens to you.

· Your outgoing nature, understanding of others, and directness make you ENCOURAGING.

· You want others to do well for themselves, and you generally believe in their abilities.

· You often know what's good for people because of your caring nature and your worldview.

· When you care about someone, you don't keep it to yourself: you are good at letting people know that you're thinking of them.

· Because you trust people, you take violations of that trust very seriously.

· You thrive in social situations, and even though you know who you like and who you don't like, you can interact well with many different types of people.

· You have a healthy respect for people who have earned what they have, and you strive to be similar to successful others.

· You are a loyal friend and a good listener.

Well, no real surprises there. I've always thought (no pun intended) of myself as an analytical person, and one of my
spiritual gifts is Exhortation, or in plain English, the gift of encouragement.

Like Janet said, though, is this how others see me? How much of a gap is there between how we see ourselves, and how others see us?

It seems like you'd almost need to have some other people take the test about you; others that know you extremely well, and then some that know you at an acquaintance-level. I think only then could you really have an accurate picture.

Anyone brave enough to "I test about you, you test about me?"

Blessings friends!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

A Road trip and a Raccoon

My apologies for not blogging for awhile, but our only computer is upstairs, which I've been avoiding like the plague--no A/C at our house...

So today it's actually bearable up here, and I thought I'd take the opportunity while Kyra's napping to get caught up :-)

The day before David's Grandparents left, we all took a Road Trip up to Chehalis, Washington to take a ride on the historic Chehalis-Centralia Railroad. David's Grandpa, in his younger years, was a switchman for the Milwaukee Road rail yards, so trains are near & dear to his heart. Plus the Chehalis-Centralia Railroad used to be part of the Milwaukee Road line, so that was just icing on the cake :-) The rest of us just thought it'd be a beautiful day for a steam train ride in the country, and less walking than our other option, the Oregon Garden in Silverton.

We bought our tickets, and soon were able to board the train. We chose to sit outside as it wasn't too hot, and thought we'd get a better view without train walls in our way! The train route isn't the most scenic of rides, but it was fun to wave to the cars stopped at the railroad crossings, and every once in awhile get showered with a little mist from the steam. Below are some pictures we took from that day:

are we there yet?

Happy people on the train

Now to our furry friend. As it turns out, I'm not alone in my Hatred of the Heat. The other night, we were sitting outside in our backyard eating dinner, as there was a nice breeze. I happened to look up, and saw this ringed tail hanging down from a large branch of the neighbor's oak tree. I grabbed the binoculars for a closer look, and this is what I saw: (If you click on the picture to expand it, you'll notice its eyes are even open!)

Every once in awhile, he/she? would stretch, smack its lips, and pant like a dog, obviously bemoaning the heat. I'm sure glad I was not the one in the fur coat!!! And amazingly enough, only once did its shiftings result in a near-free fall. It was neat to see it, though, as most of the time they are up & about when I'm asleep :-)

So, that's about it. Try to stay cool, my friends! I heard tomorrow's forecast is Partly Cloudy and only 83!!! Yippee!

Blessings, K~

Friday, July 6, 2007

Fourth of July Fun with the Fam!

Ahh, the 4th of July. A time to celebrate with fireworks, family and good food! And this year, amazingly enough, NO RAIN!

I can't tell you how many times I've worn a ski parka, or dodged the raindrops, while tilting my umbrella up and down, to see the fireworks show.

But this year's 4th was warm & sunny, and it seemed like our whole neighborhood was out on the common green space to enjoy the great weather, and time outdoors.

In addition, David's grandparents, who live in Florida, came out for a visit, with their sole goal to meet Miss Kyra :-) This being great BBQ weather, we invited everyone over to our house for a BBQ party~~David threw 2 chickens & some Baby-back ribs in the smoker, and of course, I made my now-famous cheesecake.

The following Tuesday, the 3rd, we went over to David's folks' for another BBQ, this time a fish-fry, gobbling up the fish we'd caught on our trip to the Snake River--Yummmy! The picture below is from that evening:

from L to R: David's Grandma, David, Kyra, David's Mom & his Grandpa

The next day, the 4th, we went over to my parents' house for yet another BBQ, this time with hamburgers, hot dogs, and tons of yummy desserts, including another of my cheesecakes, which every last piece of, was devoured. Speaking of my cheesecake, I made it in a larger pan this time (10"), and though it made a shorter cake, it didn't crack! It was absolutely beautiful--I should have taken a picture of it, as this is the first time I've had one that hasn't. Oh well.

Kyra looked absolutely adorable in her Oshkosh red,white and blue denim dress that I've been waiting all year for her to be able to wear. Although she was sweating like crazy because she had to wear a T-shirt underneath for modesty, you know! But it didn't seem to slow her down, because she wanted to walk all over the green space to say hello to all the people who were having their own parties, even if we didn't know them--my girl, the social butterfly! This actually turned out to be a good thing, because she was so exhausted from all that walking, by bedtime, she was practically begging to go to her bed, and wasn't fazed by the loud fireworks one bit.

Well I've been talking about how cute Kyra was, so I'll leave you with some pictures of our 4th, as well as some Kyra sprinkler time in the backyard. Enjoy!

Blessings friends, K~

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Joy Overflowing

Golf is one of my favorite pastimes, and today I got to add another reason why I like it so much.

No, I didn't get a hole-in-one, or hit a 200-yard drive, right down the middle of the fairway.

Instead, I saw there was a need for volunteers to help out at this weekend's Special Olympics of Oregon and their Summer Games. And listed among all the events was helping out as a forecaddie for the Golf competition, to be held out at the Quail Valley Golf Course in Banks.

Up until this week, I'd never heard of a forecaddie, so off I went to dictionary.com. They define a forecaddie as "a caddie positioned on the course at a distance from the tee or a given lie, to locate balls after they are hit." I thought, "I can do that!", so I filled out the online volunteer form and waited for a response.

Not too long afterwards, I received an email saying, "Thank you for volunteering. We have you volunteering on Sunday from 1-4pm." I still wasn't 100% sure of what I was supposed to do, but decided to figure it out once I got there. And besides, I was coming in as part of the last shift, so by then, they should have the whole "where & how" all figured out, right? (Sunday was Day 2 of the golf event).

They recommended getting there 15-30 minutes prior to your start time in order to check in, and receive any training. I arrived at 12:30, checked in, and then was told to stand at the turn for further instructions. For all you non-golfers, the turn is where the golfers finish up the 9th hole, and have the option to continue on to the back 9 of the course to play 18 holes, or finish, just playing 9 holes.

While I was waiting to see if they needed me to relieve one of the scorekeepers, I watched one of the groups of athletes approach the green on the 9th hole. In order to reach the green on this particular hole, you have to shoot over a small pond. Though not very big, anytime you have to hit over water, it can be a little disconcerting. I know I always pull out my junkiest balls that I don't care about, because it's quite likely they will be going for a swim. Sports psychologist and golf guru Dr Bob Rotella, author of "Golf is not a game of Perfect" would say that's a defeatist attitude. I need to visualize where the ball is going to go, and if I say it's going to go in the pond, it'll go in the pond.

Anyway, in this group was an athlete I'll call "H" for how happy she was. H was getting ready to hit her approach shot to the green, and the woman I was standing next to, said, "I hope she does okay. She had kinda of a rough start today, and was afraid she wouldn't be able to compete in the tournament." But she appeared to have put that all behind her, because she lined up behind her ball, sized up the pin, swung, and her ball sailed right over the pond, landing beautifully on the green. And if that wasn't enough, she proceeded to 2-putt, to finish out the hole. She was so ecstatic, she could barely contain herself. In fact, she gave new meaning to the phrase, "Jumping for joy!"

Then it was time to begin my forecaddie career. I was assigned to the 14th hole, a fairly straight Par 4 whose left-hand side contains a nice long pond. My job was to stand about at the 150-yard marker, and as the definition said, "watch where the balls land", so as to help the athletes find their ball, and in essence, "keep everyone moving".

For the most part, I just stood there getting a nice tan, as most of the athletes stayed in the fairway. A few sent their ball into the pond, and one gentleman hit his into the deep rough, but thanks to my keen eyes :-), they actually found it--or they may have found someone else's, but either way, they weren't down a ball, just an out-of-bounds stroke...

I felt really sorry for one athlete, because their first shot was a nice straight one, right down the fairway, about 50 yards from the 150 marker. Then, on their second shot, their ball HIT the 150 marker, dead-on, shot off to the side, and right into the pond! You know, if they'd been trying to hit the marker...

Anyway, each and every one of these athletes were amazing, and just the fact that they were out there, blew me away! Their joy and enthusiasm for life, in spite of the many challenges they must face every day, was truly inspiring.

They finished a little earlier than when my shift was to end, and the people in charge said, "If you don't have to hurry off, you should stay for the awards ceremony. It's something to behold." So I stayed, and it was well worth it. All the athletes and their friends & families gathered in this big tent they had set up for the occasion, and they began. Each place finisher was called, and were given their award by an officer from the Portland Police Force. Then when all the awards & medals were handed out, pictures were taken and smiles abounded.

And the best part? You remember "H"? Her team won the gold medal in their division :-) I congratulated her afterwards, and the look on her face was one I'll never forget: Joy, in its purest form.

Today was a great day!

Blessings friends, K~