Sunday, August 31, 2008

I'm The Rainforest's "Front Office"

Brian is in Denver this weekend for his fantasy football draft.

This summer, I worked with a friend to clean up and update The Rainforest's low resolution logo, then sent it to embroideryauthority.com, an online company who digitizes and embroiders logos onto the clothing article of your choice.

It cost a few bucks, but it was worth it...Brian is so proud to go to his draft tomorrow, with his new Rainforest Football polo shirt.

Go Rainforest!

Nora In Motion

Don't think for one minute that she sits down for anything other than the Teletubbies.

The rest of the day, she looks a LOT like this...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Can You Get Behind YOUR Candidate Without Stomping On Mine?

I've had plenty of opportunity lately to talk with people both in some online groups as well as in person about Barack Obama's campaign.

I've seen signs that say "NOPE" under Barack's picture, and this most silly one: "Sign of the Easily Fooled" above his bumper sticker. This picture I found on Facebook.

I'm really starting to feel sorry for people who feel the need to tear down Barack instead of focus on the positive aspects of their own candidate. The reality is, if they were SO excited about McCain, they could do what most of us Obama supporters do, and that's just talk about the virtues of their candidate.

Are they jealous of our candidate who will be filling a beautiful new stadium with 70,000 of his raucously happy supporters tonight? Could John McCain FIND 70,000 people that are excited about him?

I have trouble finding a car on the freeway with a McCain bumper sticker (I've literally seen one so far), and yet there are thousands of Obama stickers on the road.

Why is that? Is a certain party missing their rock star?

I noticed something last night as President Bill Clinton and Sen. Joe Biden both said nice things about McCain, and praised his service to our country. Yes, they talked about his voting record (it's a tangible record, so it's a fair shot), and quoted his own words of believing that everything is fine in Afghanistan (it isn't, just because we don't hear about it).

The reality is, they both said sincere things about what a great man McCain is, and both pointed that his brand of leadership isn't what we need right now in these difficult times, which essentially means four more years of the same crap we've all been suffering through.

Yes, I give George.W.Bush. a hard time. But I'm with 81 percent of the population who's able to say they've had enough of him.

I'm not going to say that Obama's campaign has been perfect. But I can tell you his supporters here on the ground (like me) don't rip on McCain every chance we get. And it's not for lack of material.

Sometimes (but certainly not always) I find it's a race thing. The louder and more often someone goes on about how much they WILL NOT vote for Obama (all caps on online groups, loudly in person) makes me wonder if they are really, deep down inside, just afraid of him because he's Black.

Or maybe they've bought the fear-mongering Republican story that somehow Barack and Michelle Obama are going arrive at the White House only to rip off their educated, urban exteriors to reveal a terrorist and his wife in a burka (I've actually heard that, you see, I don't have to make this crap up).

There was a time when even I thought Barack had a Muslim background behind his name (with a middle name like his, who wouldn't?) but the reality is, he's more Christian than I am.

You see, the more adamant you are against someone says more about you than anything else. And the reasons are even more telling.

I've only heard one or two people say that they don't like Obama because they're simply Republicans who don't buy the Democratic ideals.

I get that. I feel that way about Republicans. I am for choice, gay rights, the rights of all people actually, saving the environment (and us with it), and ending this god-awful war.

You won't catch me ragging on McCain much, and I don't take cheap shots in general. Unless you call my pointing out the fact that he called his own wife the c-word in front of reporters.

But even family-values-minded Republicans should be horrified by that.

I just find things like the "EASILY FOOLED" line to be not only offensive in the sense that it directly questions my intelligence, but it makes me think: What kind of cynical person can't just try to get excited about THEIR candidate and leave it at that? Or at the worst, just shut up about both candidates and vote how you want?

I'm just saying, you can't attack Barack and not have us Obama supporters think that you're being small-minded. After all, to us Barack represents hope, something we've been mighty short on since 9/11. And we're not all dancing around thinking that everything's going to be fine after the election.

We know there's hard work to be done. And we're willing to do it. But we need a leader who's actually willing to admit there are problems, and offer solutions, not tell us everything's ok to continue as it is.

Change. The potential for change. The recognition that we need change.

Call it whatever you want, but that's why most of us who want to elect Barack Obama are voting for him.

That doesn't make us easily fooled.

It makes us excited about the prospect of ending this 8 years of what historians are very likely to say is the worst presidency in our history.

-- You are absolutely free to comment on this entry. And I am free to approve it (or not) based on its quality of content. Choose your words, and I'll print it. Don't and I won't. Remember, this is my blog, and therefore my point of entry to the First Amendment.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Cute Pictures Of The Day


My friend Delois sent me a box of books, toys, and a few clothes for Miss Nora.

She's been sending me clothes since Nora was born, and what a load it has taken off of our need to buy clothes for her!
This little outfit came the other day, and isn't there something just darling about shorty overalls on babies?

Maybe it's the chubby legs too, but I just think she's a doll in this outfit.

Thank you Delois! (And good luck -- Delois gets to be at Mile High Stadium in Denver seeing Barack Obama tomorrow!!!)

Monday, August 25, 2008

A Round of Peekaboo/Where's Nora?

She can do this for HOURS...

Getting Back

Wow, after that long trip, it was a long weekend getting home and getting settled again.

Thursday night I flew to Seattle, shuttled up to Oma and Opa's house, and Friday morning Nora woke up to Mommy's face! That meant that at her 5:30 changing, there was NO going back to bed. It was FUN TIME!

We got packed up and ready to go, but not before we had some more fun with Sammy the Dog and Oma. Nora had SUCH a good time with Oma and Opa, and Sammy followed her everywhere and was QUITE taken with Miss Nora. Not to mention patient with her!
We drove down to Jill and John's and picked up cousin Erik at the church where he was working in the Nursery.

Erik rode with Nora in the back seat for a few hours, then it was John's turn to get that last hour in with Nora screaming in the back.

Both boys did fantastically with her. She just loves her cousins!
Jill and John followed late Friday night, where Nora got to have Uncle John feed her.

At first she wasn't TOO sure about Uncle John's beard, but once she realized he was a source of food too, he was practically her BFF.
Saturday was nice and relaxing, with lots of time to play with Aunts, Uncles and cousins too.

John Michael and John worked on trying to influence Miss Nora to like Mac's better than PC's (a running joke in the family), by having her watch the Mac commercials online.
Later on, we headed over to Jeff & Judy's house for a big barbecue, where lots of ribs, rice, and pies and Mom's best potato salad ever waited for us.
Nora had a great time walking around, playing in the grass, on the porch, and inside too.
At the end of the night, as I left to go home, I saw the arrangement of the chairs in a big wide circle on J&J's porch. It struck me how the chairs were all different, but they all pointed towards each other.

And that's kinda describes in a nutshell what my family is like.

I love you all!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Earn It.

There have been a few times in my life when a supervisor or other person has stated that "I need to be treated with respect", as if they honestly think that by saying so, they'll get it.

And never in my life have I understood how on EARTH someone can think that respect is just given upon demand.


I can pretend to respect you. I can act like you're just the bee's knees.

But at the end of the day, respect is never given just because you say you have to have it.

It can be earned, and lost in an instant.

And today, someone lost my respect, and they'll probably never get it back.

Nora Walking To Mommy

Thursday night when I flew back to Seattle and up to Oma and Opa's to get Nora, she woke up at about 6 a.m. and when she discovered I was there, there was NO more sleeping to be done!

So we got up and hung out in the family room, and here are a couple of clips I got on my phone of Nora walking across the room!



Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Chicago!

After nearly 36 hours on the road over Sunday and Monday, we landed in LaCrosse, WI to sleep last night, then we drove to Chicago (and are staying here tonight).

I don't have much time to type, but I have to share a few pictures from our day in downtown Chicago.

We saw the Sears Tower, The Art Institute of Chicago, the lakefront (see the tour group pic on wheels), then walked up the river walk.

I love this picture of the inside of the Art Institute's stairwell.

Chicago's a beautiful city. Each building is like a visual feast of the city's beautiful architectural style.

The El is squeaky. Remind me to send the City a can of oil.

And aside from getting my first speeding ticket ever (in Wyoming), the trip so far has been fabulous!

More later...

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Play Date With Bachelor #4

I just LOVE these pictures my friend Patti took of Nora this week!

Nora had a play date with Sully's older brother Keaton the other day.

It was not only her first date with an "older boy" (Keats is 4), but it was also her very first trip to a sandbox.


It didn't take long for her to chase the man down.

A couple of times, you could hear Keaton saying "don't do that!" and we had to explain that she not only didn't understand him, she wasn't even ONE yet.

To which the very bright 4-year-old said,

"You mean she's ZERO?"

Yes. But not for long!

I can't get over all these fabulous pictures of Nora that my friend Patti took, so I'm showing more of them than probably is necessary...

As my Kodak camera starts blowing pixels, I realize I need to get a new camera soon, and think "Hmm, what kind is YOURS?!"

The Things We Do...

My friend Kristy probably really didn't think I'd go for it.

But I did.

And I think it's a good idea for everyone.

Kristy used to date my nephew Trevor, who goes to school at Georgia Tech. But last spring after they broke up, she got stuck with a Spring Break plane ticket, at the time I was headed in the same general direction for Jenny's wedding.

So she floated the idea of going with me, and I said "SURE!"

I'm a road trip kinda gal. I like the art and science that goes with long hours on the road, negotiating truck stops and potty breaks, and how to eat better than McDonald's when stuck somewhere like Central Montana.

And here we are just a few months later, and Kristy's going to college at Tennessee Tech.

So Kristy just floated the idea of me going with her, I said "SURE!"

So tomorrow we're off.

I'm packing up Miss Nora to spend the week with her Oma (Brian's Mom), and at some point tomorrow, we're leaving for the longest road trip I've ever been on.

I've been back and forth between Denver and Seattle (24 hours), but this is a 36-hour road trip, with a stop in Chicago.

It's hard to leave my baby. Boy, it's harder than I ever imagined!

But the thing that really does it for me -- is that a lot of people wouldn't leave their baby for 5 days while they drive cross-country -- and that is PRECISELY why I'm doing it.

At Nora's earliest ages, I want her to know that Mommy DOES THINGS. And through my example, she will decide that that's the way life is lived, so she will too.

And this is for my friend Kristy. She's a great person. Not really great. She's FABULOUS.

Our trip to Savannah was so much fun, I can't imagine a better road trip partner than my own husband, so I know we'll have a great time.

I often wonder if her parents see the wonderfulness of their daughter the way some of us outside the family do, and if they are willing to share her with the rest of the world the way I hope they would be.

I know it's got to be hard to say goodbye to their oldest girl heading off to college.

But I also know that she's going to be a raging success wherever she goes.

And I'm just happy to be able to help drive her there.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Just Call Me Tater.

Our girl is officially a TOT!

Nora has been toddling around the house, mostly cruising the furniture, but more and more each day she lets go a little longer, and walks a little farther.

And today, she let go of the chest so she could turn and walk towards the cat, then STOOD there as she reached down twice to pet the kitty.

Amazing, isn't it?

And I'm going to go on a road trip for 5 days Sunday, leaving Nora with Oma, and I bet Oma's going to have her walking all over the place by the time I come back!

Doesn't The Orange Make My Eyes Look Bluer, Mommy?

We've been working on Nora having more "regular" meals, including sandwich stuff, cheese, and noodles. The stuff that's easy to chew when you only have two bottom teeth.

And while it's easy to give Nora food, how much of it actually lands in her mouth when left to her own devices is a WHOLE 'NOTHER STORY.

Tonight, for no particular reason except the curiousity that would make me a fine researcher or engineer, I decided to lay down the vinyl tablecloth under the high chair, and just give her the messiest of all messy foods: Spaghetti.

The hands went straight in. Then to her mouth (which I thought would be good), then all over the tray, and well.

You see the result.

Some of it DID make it in her mouth because I opened a second serving and FED her that.

Then I gave her some more, and she got to wear some more of that.

And once she had her fruit and cookie for dessert, this is what we had.

Cleanup, suffice to say, has not ended. And it's been horrendous.

But boy, was that fun, or what?

If You Haven't Seen This...(M)

There's been something of a character debate happening on a board I belong to, over Obama (never left his wife for another woman or cheated on her) vs. McCain (left his wife, married the Other Woman) amidst what originally was a conversation over John Edwards' recent scandal (cheated on his wife WHILE she was in cancer treatment).

I MUST warn anyone with any Christian sensibilities that this video may be disturbing. But it is disturbingly HILARIOUS.

It takes the truth (that John McCain called his wife a c*nt in front of reporters, to her face in 1992...and makes a skit making fun of that fact.

Be prepared to have a good chuckle. Or to be incensed. Whichever way it is you lean.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

OOOh. Are Those Dreads? Let Me Touch 'Em!

Hannah was over today, she's my oldest niece, and she babysat Nora for a couple of hours while I ran errands.

Then we hung out a lot this afternoon, and later Jeff and Andrew came over so they could take Judy out for her birthday dinner, with dessert at our house.

Jeff (my brother) and Andrew (Hannah's boyfriend) stopped by before picking up Judy, and I asked them in to see Nora since by the time they got done with dinner, Nora would be down for the night.

Well, Nora got to show off her new "skills" by walking a few steps between Jeff, Andrew and me.

But she kept heading over towards Andrew with his dreadlocks.

And her little look on her face that said "OOOh. Are those dreads? Let me touch 'em!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Franken Walker

Nora walked a few more steps towards me today, and then with Daddy and Mommy on either side of her, she did even more. She gets so excited she falls down sometimes, but here's a few shots of her Frankenwalker style.

Ten Random Monday Thoughts...


1) I can't believe I told my friend I'd leave my baby and drive to Tennessee with her.

2) I can't believe I'm going back to school. AGAIN.

3) I can't believe I've already filled out my FAFSA (Financial Aid form for student aid)

4) I am a total whiner on days like today, but at least I rebound quickly.

5) Nora has been such an angel today. I wonder how I got to have such a GOOD HAPPY BABY! Look at this picture!

6) I wonder if I'll be a good nurse, or one of those mean nurses that wants to kick patients' asses when they don't take care of themselves.

7) I don't need to see 100 years ahead, but I wish I could see into the future just enough to know if decisions I'm making now will work out.

8) I really need to dust.

9) I hate dusting.

10) I'll dust when hell freezes over.

Daunting, But Doable

I had this image in my head of myself, and I decided to just TAKE a picture of myself sitting just like that, and play with it on my photo program til it illustrated how I feel.

After much consideration of my future, and the future of my family, I've decided I need to go back to school, and I've decided to become a registered nurse.

So today, I went to the local Community College that has a nursing program, and talked with an advisor there. Two of them, actually.

I can't begin to tell you how daunting it is to realize that you basically have to start over with school in order to start a new career.

It'll take a year and a half of pre-requisites like Chemistry and Anatomy/Physiology just to apply to the program, then two more years of school after that.

I have no idea how we'll handle childcare, how much can be done online, and how much this is going to cost or how the heck we'll pay for it.

But in the end, it will be the best thing for our family to have one of us technically trained and able to work in a growing field. With times being tough and probably getting tougher, it's essential I think for my whole family to move forward with this.

And as I sat there in the appointment, feeling overwhelmed, I realized one thing:

I'll be done when I'm 45 if I start now. If I don't start now, I'm still going to be 45 years old four years from now.

So I'm going to need all the help I can get, but I might as well get going.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

I May Be A Day Late, but DAMN, That Was Impressive!

Brian and I just got done watching a tivo'd version of the Opening Ceremonies at the Olympic Games in Beijing.

We'd watched the first hour last night, but then I got on the phone, got on a chat with a friend, and Brian researched his fantasy football league stuff, and before we knew it, we were just glad to have taped the thing on our DVR.

I had already been impressed with the first part that I wanted to see the rest, and DANG, was that awesome.

AWESOME.

AWE-SOME.

I need to go to China now.

There is that moment as the athletes from around the world start pouring in -- long before the halfway mark where you start wishing that maybe it would be great if we had a few more unifications so it wouldn't be so LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNGGGGGGGGG -- where you realize just how cool it is that our lonely little planet can get their crap together enough to hold an Olympics where everyone shows up.

George Bush started looking bored. Laura Bush looked like she had the same exact smile plastered on her face since about 1999 when he started running for office, and the Chinese President couldn't have looked much better after about 3 hours of constant clapping.

And as Israel walked in, they pointed out that the show would be over AFTER midnight, so the President of Israel would NOT be able to take a car home, and instead would have to walk to his hotel.And my husband, usually sedate this time of night says.

"I think they're in need of a New Testament."

You know, one where you can use a car after midnight on Saturday. Since THAT'S written into the Jesus portion of the Bible.

Swinging With Daddy

Daddy took Nora to the park today, where she got her first swing ride. He made a quick clip on his camera phone so I could see it too!

Friday, August 08, 2008

I Know The Seat Adjustment Is Down Here SOMEWHERE...

Nora got to go to work with Daddy today.

Not for long really (she just went with him to meet some inspectors on a job in town).

And she didn't get paid, but she did entertain the concrete pourer guys that showed up.

And while she didn't drive it or even get to wear a hard hat, she got a few minutes to try out the seat on a backhoe thing-a-ma-bob.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Paris Hilton, Who Knew?

A sign of the End Times for sure...Jules thinks Paris Hilton is h-i-l-a-r-i-o-u-s.

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

More Phone Pix

It's been a while since The Kitten Hopper found a new place to hang...a few times now I've found this bin on the bookshelf out instead of tucked in, and this morning I finally found out why!

The Hopper has found a new place to sleep.

And believe it or not, Brian weighed him and he's about 19 lbs. now. He's SKINNY!

Anytime now, we'll have to stop calling him The Kitten Whopper instead of his real name, The Kitten Hopper.
Walky walky cruiser girl. Is constantly finding new ways to get around the house without actually walking more than a couple of steps alone.

I fixed a few of the dining chairs with new covers, which means we now have five chairs, and some of them I put around the house. Including an extra in the family room, and before we knew it, she'd found something else to cruise to/from.
This was our trip to Target to buy Nora some very early dishes (too soon, she just dumps it and wears her food!) and the very wise advice I got to throw a vinyl table cloth under her high chair to protect the carpet.

And I can't remember posting this picture, but it's typical of her lately. Rushing the phone and giving me a grin I can't help but want to share.

Our happy baby has also started saying a couple of words. She's figured out "Kitty" when Jack comes around. She looks for him if I say "Kitty" first, and then actually says "Keeee" when she sees him.

Now we're working on "Baby" because she has a couple of favorite books with baby faces, and she says "Babe" or something like it.

The talking has begun!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Nora's Taste Buddies

Thank you very much, Daddy. For the Key Lime pie.

Nora's taste buds got to become what I jokingly refer to as her "Taste Buddies" now that they have discovered sugar a few times.

I made Brian's favorite fake Key Lime pie (more like a lethal combination of frozen Lime-aid, a vat of Cool Whip and a can of sweetened condensed milk all mixed and put into a graham cracker crust).

Well, anytime Nora sees us with a utensil and a plate, it's time to share, she thinks.

So share we do...

When she gets ahold of desserts, you'd think we'd given her the Holy Grail of foods, and really, we have, haven't we?

This was last night's dinner too: green beans, rice, cheese, and some goldfish after dessert (an arrowroot cookie) because she was having so much fun sitting in her chair and playing with her food.

Note where her plate is in the photo. She wedged it there ALL on her own!

Naturally, bath time immediately follows dinner these days!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Thank You Aunt Julia!

Aunt Julia just sent Nora this cute little outfit from Old Navy this week. Nora loves it, and it's just adorable on her.

Thank you Aunt Julia!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

I am a Serial Killer of Household Appliances

Yes, I killed another one.

K-I-L KILD

Let's all bow our heads and have a moment of silence for the SpaceMaker GE Microwave that adorned the stove. It was a good tool. It heated Nora's milk bottles. It started making rice tonight.

Then it died.

There had been squeaking coming from it for about a week. The motor died, and then there was an awful smell. Please note the darkened window where the time used to be told in digital read out. The lights are out and I put them there.

This is not the first time I have killed. In fact, one might say I am a serial killer of appliances, because I have left a path of expensive destruction in my wake. And what a wake it is.

Let's recap what I have killed so far. (Because you know I am not done):

First, let's start with what I killed while living at Jeff & Judy's house:

1) I broke the knob on the dryer. Judy had to special order a new one.
2) I was the last person to use the washer before they had to buy a new front-loader. (I swear they needed a new one anyway).
3) I killed the coffee maker (I replaced it).
4) I might as well take credit for being the last person to use the KitchenAid mixer before the awful grinding sound. Fortunately that one was still on warranty. Unconditional warranty.

Now, since I've lived in THIS house, I've killed:

5) The dryer first
6) Then the washer
7 and 8) I might as well take credit for the death of both vacuum cleaners that died in Jeff & Judy's garage during the large storm, since it WAS my idea to move here in the first place.
9) The old microwave is missing. No one can find the body.
10) I hit the laptop so hard the hard drive had a fatal error. That's killing it, isn't it?
11) I happened to be in the room the day the 32" TV died. It made a horrible sound when it died too. Like I was stabbing it.
And finally:
12) RIP Microwave.

The good news? Since it's a built-in, for some reason this one appliance (along with the stove and dishwasher, which I have my eye on) are covered by a warranty that came with the house, so I only have to shell out $55 for the "service call".

I kill 'em, they remove the bodies.

Now THAT'S what I call service.

Fun at OMSI

It was a perfect afternoon.

Nora, Brian and I drove up to Portland to OMSI a super-cool kid's science and industry museum, with lots of room for even the littlest of kids to play!

We met Renata, who was visiting from San Francisco, and her little girl Talia. Her husband Jeff stopped by too on his way to a music festival.

Nora enjoyed the little "house" area where the kids played and this little red-headed girl seemed to shadow Nora a lot!

xWe had so much fun here. And Nora played with Daddy MOST of the time while Mommy and Reny talked.

Nora and Daddy played in the water area for a LONG time. The "apron" was really just for show though...


Because eventually Daddy just let Nora play IN the water. She was the only one with a Daddy who let her do that!

And of course, the only thing to do after she was all wet was to play in the SAND so lots of it could stick to her!

What fun that was!

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