Friday, August 31, 2007

I think my neighbor has a death wish...

As I'm sitting here at the computer upstairs, I have the windows open to catch some of that nice cooler air that's been hanging around today. The sounds of a nice summer day are also making their way through the windows: a basketball bouncing across the street, the occasional passing car, and now a leaf blower.

But unlike the nice safe gentleman pictured here, with his ear-protectors, and feet firmly planted on the ground, my neighbor has decided to blow the debris off his ROOF, while standing on said roof. Did I mention this is also a 2-story house with a fairly steeply-sloped roof?

This just seems like a bad idea. However, my evil twin Keerstin says, "Where's my video camera for that inevitable 'America's Funniest Home Videos' moment?" Then good Kristin steps in and says, "Remember when your dad fell off a 20-ft ladder 2 years ago, and how unfunny that was?"

So, I guess I'll sit here with 911 within my reach, and hope for the best...

Have a safe & enjoyable Labor Day Weekend!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Watee anyone?

I was going to write about the importance of eating your vegetables, and how we've enjoyed the produce from our weekly Harvest Box.

But I'll have to save that for another post, because a change in plans this afternoon (my phone/conference call meeting got canceled) provided much better blog material when Kyra & I turned part of our backyard into a wading pool.

Now mind you, when we first started out, the plan was to bring a blanket for Mommy to sit in the shade, and a large roasting pan and some scooping & filling toys for Kyra. Nice Mommy was to fill the pan with water (watee, as she calls it) from the garden hose, and then Kyra would play happily while Mommy watched dryly from the blanket.

Yes, I know what all you seasoned parents out there are thinking, "What delusional planet does she live on? This is just a recipe for a good soaking of everything." I was thinking ahead, people! I brought out the special blanket that is especially for wet~~it has plastic on one side, so it keeps the moisture off your backside~~and I put the pan far enough away so as to avoid any leaks and splashes.

Well Kyra had other plans. She is still in that stage where she WANTS to spend time with me :-) so of course, there was no just sitting on the blanket & watching for this Mommy. She wanted me to hold the bucket while she poured the water into it. Then she took the measuring cup, which was full of grass-filled water, proceeded to take a drink from it--a little extra fiber never hurt anyone, right?, and the rest promptly went right down the front of her shirt.

Then because we're still perfecting our hand-eye coordination, while pouring yet more water, about 3 drops of it went into the designated cup, while the rest went right into my lap. Luckily it's warm out so I should dry quickly...

But we weren't finished yet. I had been "painting" my feet with a basting brush & some water, so Kyra decided to get her feet wet as well. Remember this is not a large body of water, so she's standing in this pan, and you can tell from the look on her face, that this is just not getting the job done. She looks at me, and says, "Sit!" I said, somewhat hesitantly, "Mommy sit?", like she expects me to sit in the pan??? She says, "No, Kissy sit"--her new name for herself, and plop, down she goes. Now she's sitting in her "homemade" wading pool, happy as a clam, pouring cup after cup of water over her legs & feet.

I, on the other hand, am thinking, "Great. Why didn't I think to bring some towels out? Now I'll have to carry a very wet child inside, because I can't leave her outside by herself". And I'm also wet, which I've found I don't have a lot of tolerance for, since I've become an adult--I don't know why--maybe something to explore in another post...

But everything worked out fine. When it was time to be done, I picked her up by what I call the Flying Superman hold, and went straight to the bathtub, where we cleaned off all her grass/mud. Then dry clothes for both of us, lunch and now she's down for a little quiet time before David gets home.

Enjoy the rest of your day!
Blessings, K~

Friday, August 24, 2007

My Eight

Here they are, by popular random habits/facts, but I refuse to tag anyone else.

  1. I love to eat bread dough & Top Ramen noodles before they're cooked.
  2. I once jumped on the back of a motorcycle to go for a ride, with a cute boy I just met at a party. Helmet? No. Long pants? No. Shoes? No. Later found out said boy had 3 outstanding warrants in 3 different counties for evading the police while on said motorcycle--this has to be the dumbest thing I've ever done--my guardian angel was definitely working overtime that day!!!
  3. If there was one other instrument I'd like to learn to play, it would be the drums.
  4. If I could visit any place in the world, I think I'd like to go to Tuscany.
  5. I held the 11-yr-old girls' backstroke record for best time, on my local neighborhood swim team for several years, before some other whippersnapper broke it.
  6. I've never eaten at the Costco deli.
  7. I had to have surgery on the second toe of each foot a couple of years ago, due to a condition called hammertoe.
  8. I won 2nd place in a Blueberry pie eating contest when I was 9 years old.
There you have it. Jenni, are you happy? ;-) Happy Friday friends! K~

Thursday, August 23, 2007

What's in a Name?

Yes people, I've been tagged twice, but I refuse to play the game...BWAHAAHAA!!! So consider this mention here as my participation, and now I'm done.

Instead, I'm going to wax poetic about names.

When you find out you're expecting, one of the first things you do, besides pick yourself up off the floor, either from pure joy or fear, depending on if this was planned or not, is to go out and pick up a baby names book.

A search at of baby name books reveals over 50 titles, ranging from one like the picture here to Simply the best baby name book to The Greatest Baby Name Book ever, and everything in between.

New parents-to-be spend countless hours pouring over names, making sure initials don't spell out something obscene or unfortunate (like Patricia Isabelle Graves or Brian Ulysses Matthews). They practice yelling out the name in the backyard to see how it will sound when you're calling your child to come in for dinner. They write it down on paper to see how it will look on a business card, or on a wedding or graduation announcement.

Then they narrow it down to 2 or 3 favorites, and then wait in great anticipation until that day when the wonderful one arrives: Little Ava or Macy or Chance or Hudson or Sophia or Kiel or Reilly or Ireland or Kelton or Chris or Molly or Abby or Chloe or Maddie or Jack or Nick or Nate or Hayden or Tiffany or Blake or Emma or Morgan or Olivia or Daria or Caden or Luke or Caleb or Micah or Samuel or Christina or Josh or Daniel or Michael or Grant or Evelyn or Tatum. Each name picked out especially for that child.

We were like any other parents when it came to naming our daughter. In fact, I think we took it one step further & kept it a secret because we were afraid if we told people they'd say, "Oh, we knew a (insert name here) in high school", and then they'd get this disgusted look on their face, as if to say, "why on earth would you choose that name?"

December 2005 Kyra (pronounced KEAR-ah) Diane was born, and she was just as beautiful as her name.

Now fast forward to today. This same little girl is talking up a storm, and has recently learned how to say her name. Are you ready? Remember, endless hours of agonizing over names...

Me to Kyra: "And who are you?"
Kyra: "Kah-kah"

Now, I know eventually she'll be able to say it correctly, and she's totally innocent when she says it, but kaka???? Let me tell you, that never made our Top 100 list!!!

Oh well. I guess there are worse things she could have come up with.

Loving our daughter's zest for life,

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

By the Sea

Last Friday was my dear Mom's 6o-something birthday, and when asked how she wanted to celebrate, she said, "I need to go to the beach, and walk on the sand."

Unfortunately, the forecast for the Oregon coast wasn't very promising (low 60s, with intermittent rain showers)~~not very nice strolling on the beach weather. However, we were determined to go west, so like the hardy Oregonians we are, we loaded up the back of the car with rain gear, sand toys, and lots and lots of towels.

What my mom didn't know was that earlier that morning, I had sent up a little prayer to our Father, asking that He smile on our little trip, and bless us by at least holding off the rain. I also reminded Him :-) that He controls all the weather patterns, and can choose to change them if He pleases. Besides, He tells us to pray specifically, and that He wants to bless us with the desires of our heart, right??

Driving out to the coast, it appeared the clouds were breaking up a little bit, and no need for windshield wipers, but we weren't there yet.

If you've ever driven Hwy 26/Sunset Highway west towards the coast, and then south towards Cannon Beach after the Junction, you'll know the spot I'm talking about. We'd just rounded the bend, by the highway marker for some historical event (something to do with Ecola), and there we saw it before us: the beautiful Pacific Ocean, and what was that???? The SUN was sparkling off the waves, and I about ran off the road!

We continued on to our destination of Manzanita, one of our favorites spots on the coast, and the weather just kept getting better and better. Being that it was Friday, we had no trouble finding a parking spot along the beach access road, and started to unload all our stuff.

We had a great morning, with no rain, although it was a little windy (see the pictures below), and Kyra had a blast playing in the sand. All was well, until she was playing with Grandma near the surf's edge, and a bigger wave than they expected, came in. As you can see in the pictures, getting that wet was not on the agenda--a little foot-soaking, yes. Soaked up to the waist, no.

catch me if you can!

special time: Grandma with one of her girls

cruisin' cousins

Mommy, look!

the water was surprisingly warm in this little eddy

the wave incident
(you've got to click on this to enlarge it
--classic unhappy face)

cousins hanging out in the warm sand

Then it was time for lunch, so we packed up all our gear, put dry clothes on the girl, and went into town in search of something to eat. The consensus was seafood, since we were at the beach--duh!, so naturally we gravitated to a restaurant that claimed to have great chowder, the Manzanita Seafood and Chowder House, which was right on the main drag.

We sat outside, as by that time, the sun had come out, and it was absolutely beautiful. The wind had also died down, so I was glad I had layered that morning as it was definitely T-shirt weather. In fact, I was regretting not throwing in a pair of shorts, but who knew?

Lunch was really good, and hit the spot. Unfortunately, I ate way too much chowder & the yummy sourdough bread bowl it came in, so a walk was in order. We decided to take a walk down the street, as Mom wanted to inquire about vacation rentals for next year, and there was also a vote for more beach time as it was now sunny & warm (thermometer in the car said outside temp was 72 degrees!).

We put Kyra in the stroller, for a little downtime, checked out a few rental agencies, and Dad & my niece headed on down to the beach. Mom & I walked back up to the car to get now-sunny beach gear, and then she walked back down to the ocean, pushing a now-sound asleep Kyra, in the stroller. Meanwhile I moved the car down closer to the ocean (we had moved it from our original spot when searching for lunch), so we wouldn't have to hike the hill again, when we were ready to leave.

We hung out on the warm sand for another couple hours (Kyra took a short nap in her stroller), and then we headed to Cannon Beach for a light dinner at Ecola Seafood Market & Restaurant and Bruce's Candy Kitchen for that all-important Taffy!

All in all, it was a great day, and the beautiful sunshine that we were blessed with, was just icing on the cake (pun intended!)

Blessings friends~

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Indoor Play areas....GRRRRR!

My 9-yr-old niece is in town for a couple days, so with the weather being typical Western Oregon (read Rain), my mom & I decided to take her to Washington Square with a promised stop at one of her favorite shops, Build-A-Bear.

All was well, and she got a couple of cute things for her hippo, a previous Bday gift from her wonderful aunt & uncle ;-) Then we decided to walk around a little bit, did some shopping at one of my favorite shops, Gymboree, and then since Kyra had spent a lot of time in her stroller, we decided to venture down to the indoor play area by JC Penneys.

Here's a little background info: Prior to Kyra arriving on the scene, I always told myself whenever I walked by that area in the mall, "I would never take MY child into that Germ Factory, are you kidding?"

Then one time we met our friend Laura, who has two little boys, there for a play-date, and she assured me as long as you had the handy-dandy Purell for afterwards, you were good to go. "Besides", she said, "they've gotten more sickness-ick from other places (that I won't name to protect the 'innocent'), than ever from here".

So fast-forward to today's visit. My niece desperately wanted to go in and play with Kyra. However, when you first walk into the area, there's a height-requirement sign that says you need to be below this height to play in here. Although my niece is not overly tall for her age, she's obviously taller than the 42" cut-off.

Now here's the GRRR factor: I look around inside the play area, and there are at least 5 children that are a good 6"-1ft over the allowable height. And yes, their parents are right there. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for physical activity for kids--It's much better than letting them rot away in front of the TV or computer. However, when they're in that small of a space, with little ones Kyra's age, and some others who are barely crawling, you're just asking for trouble.

And to top it all off, how do we tell my niece, "I'm sorry, but you can't go in there", when she sees other kids just like her, already in there? Do you send dirty looks to the parents who have obviously thrown the rules right out the window? Or do you wait until their child tramples your little one, and then go into attack mode?

While I was standing there watching Kyra, a father walked up with his 2 kids who were unfortunately just a little bit too tall. You could see the disappointment in the kids' faces, and I said to him, "Yeah, it's hard because it doesn't seem to matter to some other people". He said, "It's okay, because these places make me kind of uncomfortable anyway--too many kids in too little of a space. It's just asking for a problem."

I know I can't hover over Kyra all the time, and having her navigate her way around other kids is good for her. However, at what point do you say, "Enough is enough?"

Donning my Super-protector Mommy Cape,

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

"For my next selection..."

If you've ever tried out for something, be it the school musical, or the basketball team, or even a job interview, you know that the process of auditioning can make even the strongest person break out into a cold sweat.

So why do we do it? What would convince an otherwise confident person to literally want to throw themselves at the mercy of another person or committee?

What I came up with is this: What they're offering appeals to us. We want to be a part of it. We want to belong to a group, who has similar interests or talents, who is pursuing the same things we want or are.

But in order to get there, we have to "survive" and often, endure, the audition process. defines "audition" as such:

  1. a trial hearing given to a singer, actor, or other performer to test suitability for employment, professional training or competition, etc.
  2. To evaluate (a person) in a trial performance.
  3. perform in order to get a role
Growing up I went to my share of auditions. Some went very well, and happily, I was chosen, and some not so well, where they "chose to go another direction". But I think it's this choosing that can get really sticky.

Whenever an audition is introduced into the mix, it is inevitable that what comes next is the "us & them" philosophy. It can't be avoided. Those that get selected are "the chosen", and everyone else, by not being selected, are being sent the message, however subtly, that they didn't make the grade, or they weren't what the interviewer was looking for at the time.

This can make for a very difficult situation, especially if those groups are then expected to work together, and get along. Try as you might, there will always be this underlying tension: "Do they think they're better than us because they were chosen?" "Are we better because we were chosen?"

Add to that, the audition is usually for something arts-related, which means we've landed smack in the middle of "heart/soul" territory (see my previous post about music, and how much it's a part of our lives).

So where does that leave us? Can there be harmony where discord and maybe even resentment want to reign? Can people put aside their disappointments and/or rejections for the greater good? Can hearts win over hurts?

I'd love to know what you think?


Monday, August 13, 2007

It's all happening at the Zoo!

"I do believe it. I do believe it's true". To quote Simon & Garfunkel, yesterday the Oregon Zoo was the place to be. And what was amazing to me, was the sheer numbers of people, especially since the weather was less than desirable--overcast & slightly drizzly. Oh well, I guess a little rain never stopped Oregonians :-)

And yes, we were heathens, and played hooky from church. But it's not often that we get to go to the zoo with David, so when he suggested it, we jumped on the idea.

We got kind of a late start~~normally if you don't get to the parking lot by 9:15 (zoo opens at 9:30), there's not a parking spot to be found~~and it didn't help that the exit ramp to 1-405 south was closed due to the Providence Bridge Pedal event. But we got there about 11am, and still found many open spaces--maybe the weather did help a little bit.

I was quite excited that David was along, because for once, Kyra was going to be able to actually SEE the animals. Our typical visits to the zoo, without Daddy, she's in her stroller, as her little legs would never make it, and I certainly can't carry her that much.

This time, she sat on Daddy's shoulder, like a Princess, with the whole zoo at her feet. And because of the cooler weather, the animals were actually active! I can't tell you how many times we've gone to the zoo, and it's like going to a museum, or worse, the animals are taking naps behind a large log or rock, and all you see is an empty exhibit--not that exciting for any age!

The other thing that was neat is Kyra is starting to recognize the animals that we've been learning about, so when you say, "there's a zebra or giraffe", she gets it. Also the polar bear was taking a swim in his pool--more like doing the back stroke, and we were able to get right up close to the glass--makes you feel very small, and yet he was so graceful in the water. Amazing!

But the best thing was the elephants. Normally they are far away in their enclosure, or standing by the doors to the indoor area, wanting to be let in, so not very exciting. This time, one elephant in particular was in search of a snack, and was literally reaching his trunk as far as he could in order to snag some bamboo just on the other side of the fence. I can honestly say I've never seen an elephant's tongue--kind of like a big, pale slug, but this one gave us a great view while munching away on his contraband greens.

I've included some pictures taken from our visit, including a couple with the elephant. Enjoy!

the elephant looks happier than the kid

check out the elephant...
I bet he's wishing his trunk was just a little bit longer.

"no more pictures. more 'amnimals'," says she.

the elephant's not the only one enjoying a snack...

Happy Monday,

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Out of the mouth of babes...

It seems like Kyra learns a ton of new words every day, so I thought I'd take a minute and write down all she had to say. As of right now, the list is over 100 different words & phrases! Rather than boring you with all the details, I took this short video (4min, 30 sec) that I thought I'd include here as just a glimpse into her world. Be sure to turn your sound up, otherwise you'll miss her cute little voice. And I apologize in advance for my "annoying mommy" voice--it was the only way I could get her to "spout"the right answers :-)

Now it seems that my video file is too big for a normal upload to Google, so I'll need to figure out how to edit it before I can post it. Stay tuned.


Thursday, August 9, 2007

Clash of the wills

This morning I see a glimpse of what life's going to be like for us in the next couple years. Here's the scenario:

Every morning I go into Kyra's room to get her out of her crib to eat breakfast. Well, this morning, she decided she wasn't going to get out of bed. Rather, it was a game: Can Mommy catch me before I run to the far-side of my crib? So after a couple rounds of chasing her around her crib, which isn't that big, mind you, I said, "Ok. I guess you don't want any blueberries or waffles". I thought I'd use the favorite food card, and she would just jump into my arms, blissfully excited to be heading to eat.

Wrong! She loved the idea of blueberries (or booberries, as she calls them), but when I'd go to pick her up, she'd either drop to a sitting position--have you ever tried to lift a child from a crib when they're sitting down?, or run to the opposite side of her crib, which rests up against a wall.

So I said, "I guess you don't want any blueberries or waffles. Mommy's going to go eat them all", thinking this would change her mind. Then I acted like I was going to leave the room. You would have thought the world was coming to an end for the ashes & sackcloth routine she proceeded to put on.

I came back into the room, and said, "Oh, so now you're hungry," and I held out my arms so I could pick her up. She looked at me, said, "Nope!", shook her head, and ran to the opposite side of her crib. So once again, I said, "Ok," and left the room. Moanings & wailings abounded. By this time, I had lost my fun & sunny natured "let's make it a fun game", and was just getting frustrated. It also doesn't help that I'm not a morning person, so needless to say my tolerance level in the mornings is pretty low.

The score is now Mommy 0, Kyra 2, except that Kyra is really on the losing end of this battle because her tummy is empty and I'm feeling like the worst mother in the world because it's now 9:30 and my child still hasn't had breakfast.

I decide to call in reinforcements, and call David at work to see if he has any magical spells up his sleeve. His "guy" response? "Make it a game!" Duh, I already tried that, and it didn't work.

So, now it's 10:45, Kyra still hasn't had breakfast, and I'm at a loss as to what to do. Any suggestions from the "seasoned" moms out there?

At this point, I've decided to let her have some quiet time--the old nap switcheroo from afternoon to morning, and then around lunchtime, I'll try again. She's bound to be ravenous then...

Seeing the 2s looming,

Monday, August 6, 2007

Summertime in Portland

I'm always looking for fun things to do around Portland, and on just about any weekend during the summer, our fair city is bursting with activities for young & old. In fact, one visit to Oregonlive, which is the Oregonian's online site, under the Entertainment/Events section, and you're sure to find at least one thing that strikes your fancy.

This last weekend, for instance, you could choose from the Mt Hood Jazz Festival, a Classic Car Cruise-In down near Troutdale, the Clark County Fair in Vancouver, or the 13th Annual Bones & Brew festival in the Pearl District.

Being lovers of good BBQ~~we even have a BBQ smoker in our backyard that was a housewarming gift from David's parents~~we thought we'd give the Bones & Brew a try. We also asked my parents to join us, as they're always up for good food, and they love any opportunity to love on Kyra :-)

The festival was set up between 15th and NW Flanders, and the wafting BBQ smell while trying to find a place to park was downright drool-worthy! We parked the car, and made our way up to the front gate. Actually, it wasn't so much of a gate, as just the end of the blocked-off street, so you were literally steps from the traffic that was driving by. Luckily they weren't going too fast--maybe it was the smell of MEAT that kept the speeds down :-)

Anyway, we paid the suggested $2 donation (which went to a good cause--the Oregon zoo), and proceeded to follow our noses. Near the front were all the food booths, with the big BBQ pits looming black & forboding. But oh, the smells! Then as you went further down the street, there were tables & chairs set up, where people were gathered, eating and laughing. Finally as you turned the block, there was the long tent where the beer could be bought. Down the other direction was the entertainment stage, and when it wasn't occupied, a local rock station was filling the down time with music.

We finally made our decision, and chose some brisket & pulled pork from one of the vendors. Then came the task of finding an empty table & chairs. But people were very friendly, and like the seating at McMenamins, we shared a table with some other people, and it was great! The pictures below were taken there:

Where's mine?

"More, please!"
(said Miss Movie Star, in Mommy's sunglasses)

After the BBQ, came the Italian Ice chaser (strawberry-kiwi), and then a much-needed walk! We also had some extra time because the car was in a 3-hr meter, so we decided to enjoy the beautiful evening, and explore the Pearl District.

I'd heard rumors of how amazing the fountain in Jameson Square was, and it turned out to be only blocks from the festival. Unfortunately, we/Kyra weren't dressed for wading, but has that ever stopped a kid? And the Super Mommy that I am, we did have a change of clothes in the diaper bag, for times just like these--although to be honest, they're more for blow-out emergencies, but anyway.

At first, Kyra wasn't sure what to think about all the people, and especially the water. In fact, as I was holding on to her hand, she was literally pulling me AWAY from the water. Then she saw the other kids running and splashing, up and around all the different levels of blocks, and she got her feet in, and that was it. Now we're doing the Toddler Crouch/Squat, to get a closer look at the running water, with our dress taking a nice dunking. Oh well, it was a warm day, and again, change of clothes. And then it was time to leave, and guess who didn't want to leave now. Below is our dip in the Jameson fountain, during a break in the water cycle--I know, not too exciting--just looks like a bunch of rocks:

All in all, it was a great day, and we got to see another part of this wonderful city we call home.

Blessings friends!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007


Our daughter is going through a stage right now where she absolutely hates being alone.

This is a child that up until a couple weeks ago, you could put her in her crib in the morning, with a book and some toys, and she'd play happily until you came and got her. Now mind you, we don't leave her in there for hours on end. This was just so I could take that all-coveted shower--you mommies know exactly what I'm talking about.

Recently it's like pulling teeth to put her in her crib, and walk away. The other day she about screamed herself hoarse, she was so distressed I was leaving the room.

I know children go through a phase called "separation anxiety", so what she's doing is completely normal. However, it absolutely breaks my heart to hear the anguish in her little voice when she thinks she's being left and all alone.

As adults we too experience this unwanted aloneness at times. When you want desperately for the phone to ring, with an offer to go to coffee or just hang out. To have someone who is seeking YOU out, who WANTS the pleasure of your company, who likes spending time with you. Yes, you can be the one to pick up the phone and make the call. But then there's the risk of rejection, of "Do they really want to hang out with me, or they just being polite?"

Also I think a lot of times we tell ourselves, "Oh, everyone else is too busy, or they've already got plans with someone else." And yes, there's no denying we're all running 6 ways to Tuesday, with soccer, work, meetings, grocery shopping, doctor's appointments, etc. However, I think you'd be surprised how many people aren't as busy as they'd like people to believe they are. No one wants to admit they're just sitting at home, hoping someone will call to invite them out or over.

Maybe I've just got my head in the sand, and it's just me that's feeling a little too "unbusy", and not in a good way. But I would bet if you were to be brave, and step out, and be the one to make that call, you might just be exactly what someone needs that day to keep going, because you cared enough to take the time, and call.

Feeling like this was maybe a little too transparent, but needed to say it~~may delete it later :-),