Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Reflections on the Christmas tree ornaments

Recently someone complimented our Christmas tree, how nice it looked.  It was very kind of my sister in law to say it, but there really is no coordinating theme to the tree at all.  If there was a theme I would have to say, love and memories.  There are not any particular colors or styles of ornaments. There are some shiny balls, snow men, manger scenes, angels and . . . well you can imagine.

 My mom always buys us ornaments for Christmas, every year.  One for each of us, or rather in later years, just one for each child.  Those are fun to unpack.  I tell the kids, "Grandma gave us this one..." over and over.  There's the Thomas Kincaid ornaments (my favorites).  The Victorian doll ornaments that both girls received one year. There's the baby's first Christmas for each one. And the "First House" ornament.  There's the "Fishing Hole" ornament and the angel with a trumpet, for my husband.  Then there's the ornaments my mom gave me when I was in college, first time away from home.  I still have a lot of those little ornaments Mom!

But the most important ornaments to me are the cut out stars with wiggly writing on it, the pipe cleaner ornaments and the wooden ornaments painted with watercolors.  Those are the memories.  Maggie and Heidi made those wooden ones at my husband's Christmas party 3 years ago.  The paper star was made at church by Maggie when she was 4 or 5.  There is a clothes pin angel that came home with Alex from church just this year.  And a fun ornament made from a laminated picture of Alex stuck onto a juice lid and decorated. Heidi wanted me to be sure and mention the ornament she made for our tree at school this year, with her picture on it.  So I have added it as well.

So I have to admit that my tree is not going to win a decorating contest.  But it is covered with love.  Thank you to all those who have given us ornaments and memories over the years.

P.S. I had to add this picture of the real Oochakitty, hanging out under the tree too.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

When did I become "Mom"?

When my 12 year old was a baby I adamantly thought to myself, I want her to call me Mama, not Mommy or Mom or definitely not Ma. So I religiously referred to myself as Mama. "Come to Mama." "Mama loves you". And it worked.....for a number of years. I noted when she was 8 or 9, she still was calling me "Mama" and it warmed my heart.

But somehow since then, the overwhelming cultural term of "Mom" has cleared away all of my efforts, and that is what she calls me. "Mom, I need some money". Mom, I need a ride". "Mom...." And of course her younger siblings have naturally followed suit, even to the point where my 4 year old who SHOULD still be calling me "Mama" says "Mom" also. "Mom, I love you ."

Now that I think about it, "Mom" sounds pretty nice too. What was I ever worried about?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Soccer Mom

I remember when I was younger, my friends and I would gently make fun of soccer moms in minivans. I thought I would never be a soccer mom. I never played soccer as a child, heck, I didn't play any sports at all, except a brief stint on the church volleyball team, as chief bench sitter.

But anyway, I was thinking about all of this recently as I was trying to organize my schedule. Tuesday, soccer practice for Maggie, soccer practice for Heidi, Thursday, soccer practice again, and then guessed it.....Soccer games! Maggie and Heidi had their first soccer games last Saturday. It was especially noteworthy because this is Heidi's first time to play soccer.

Sigh...I guess I am a soccer mom after all and with a minivan too. Aaaaaah!

So now our family is embarking on the crazy soccer schedule for fall. I wonder if I will survive? Actually the question is, will Kevin survive? I have to work every other weekend, so poor Kevin has to lug the whole family out to the soccer complex every Saturday for the next 5 weeks. So say a prayer for him and us!

1. Heidi's enjoying her new uniform!
2. She got to play goalie and really liked that!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My dilemma

School is starting next week here. Today, Heidi and I went over to her school, new school for her, to walk around and get familiar with the layout and all. You may or may not know that Heidi and Alex are both legally blind, from a genetic retinal dysfunction called Leber's Congenital Amaurosis. To look at them most people never realize that they are visually impaired, just a couple of (very cute) kids with glasses. Only when they have their white canes, is it apparent to others that they don't see very well.

Anyway, this summer, Heidi became more comfortable and confident riding her bike. So the inevitable question arose. "Can I ride my bike to school". We live too close to the school for a bus, so I was planning on either driving or walking with her to school, weather permitting.

Heidi sees well enough to ride her bike to her friend's house without any trouble, however, we worry that she isn't aware enough of cars to be safe in maneuvering around the school with lots of cars around. And then there is the other thought......

Picture this......little girl riding her bike to school, parking it in the bike rack and then getting her fold up white cane (signifying that she is blind) out of her backpack and walking off to class using her cane. Is there something wrong with this picture? :-)

But how to explain all of that to Heidi. I wanted to say, "No, because I said so!" But no, I hope I explained diplomatically that it isn't safe enough for her to ride a bike to school. Thankfully, she accepted it philosophically enough.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Working Things Out

As you probably know I am the mom of 3 kids. They are all 4 years apart. I hoped that maybe because of the distance in age they would not fight as much as my brother and sister and I did. Well, I was wrong. Especially with the two older girls who have to share a room, the squabbles are ongoing.

So yesterday, Heidi found her camera that she got for Christmas. We put new batteries in it and she was taking pictures of everything.....the dog, the cat, Alex, the t.v. program, and so on. So it is no surprise that she went into her shared room and took a picture of Maggie, or Maggie's bed, I am not sure which. Maggie came out yelling, "Don't take a picture without asking...." She wanted me to talk to Heidi about it and work it out. I told her that she needed to work it out with Heidi, that I was staying out of it. The next thing I heard was Maggie and Heidi talking.

Heidi: I won't delete the picture, but I'll pay you a dollar.
Maggie: Ok!

Not another word was heard about taking pictures without permission or anything else. I was in the other room laughing silently. Apparently we are prone to bribery at any age.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Small Miracles

I experienced a small miracle today. You may know that last Wednesday I lost my keys and haven't been able to find them. I got home from taking the kids swimming and when I tried to leave later that evening.. no keys. So I borrowed Kevin's key and we have both been driving around town for the last 5 days. Below is a photo where I found my keys today...Monday.

I am just amazed and laughing at myself over this whole thing. How did those keys stay on top of our van while we drove it around for 5 whole days? Thank you Lord for small miracles!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


A couple of weeks back we decided to try out jet skis for the first time ever. We live very close to the Columbia River and in this area, "everyone" has boats or water toys of some kind, except us....oh and my in laws....oh and the next door neighbors.....well you know what I mean. Anyway, there's this place that one can rent jet skis, right on the river so we tried it.

It was a great time, with my in laws coming along for the picnic. Kevin took the girls out the first time. Then his dad went out with him. Dad's hat fell off and they both decided to lean over to get it. You can guess what happened! That's right, they both fell in the river. After some time of watching them try to get back on the jet ski, the jet ski rental guy started out there to see if they needed any help. Just as he was headed out there, they made it back on the jet ski.

Now for my turn. I was a little nervous because I have never done anything like this before. The rental guy (a young teenager) showed me how to run the jet ski. I didn't quite understand and asked lots of questions. He looked me like I was an idiot. So I headed out on a trial run. When I came back in I didn't know how to stop it or anything, so came in too fast. Oh well, nothing damaged at least. Then, with Heidi hanging on behind me I went on my way. I was speeding along feeling pretty good when the kid came out on his jet ski. "Uh oh, what's wrong now?" I thought. He informed me that I needed to go faster as the speed that I was going was too slow and was hard on the engine. Think 1st or 2nd gear. OK, I gulped and squeezed the accelerator and sped up to a terrifying speed.(I was probably still going to slow.) Then I decided I better head back in 'cause I didn't want to use up all our time. We had rented the thing for an hour. So I slowly came back in trying to remember all the rules, like stopping the engine before you are too close to the riverbank and all that.

Then it was over. Kevin took Maggie out and then our hour was done. So here are a couple of pictures of our adventure.

1.Coming in from my ride.
2.Mom, Dad and Alex watching from the side
3. Kevin and the girls

Monday, July 13, 2009

Dancing Dog

The kids and I have been going through the pictures and videos that we have stored on our computer in recent days. We came across this video which we remember fondly. It is of our dog Ritzy that we had when we lived in Nampa. She was a very excitable dog and liked to get in on the action if the kids and I were doing anything like dancing or tickling or whatever. So here's a video of her dancing with us.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

4th of July

We had my husband's family over for the usual 4th of July BBQ. It was a good time of fun and fireworks. I just have to wonder however, what it is about fireworks that gets guys so fired up. Here's some pictures of what I mean.

In the first photo, we are all relaxing, chatting etc. In the next one, some fireworks get brought out and all the guys are up out of the chairs trying to get in on the

action. My sister in law was hiding in the house. :-) You can see from the photo, my daughter is in on the action too, but has her ears covered in case it gets too loud.

So I guess it's true that in some ways we never grow up.

Hope you all had a great 4th

Friday, July 3, 2009

Bowling with the kids

Today we went bowling. The local bowling alley has this great deal where kids can bowl 2 games for free. So the kids were excited to bowl. One problem, I am a not so great bowler, having only done it a handful of times in my life. So how am I supposed to teach them how to bowl?

Well, here's how it went..... The girls had the bumpers up and I didn't and we all got close to the same score. My younger daughter kept swinging her ball out to the side and I was just sure she was going to lose it and whack the girl bowling in the next lane, but fortunately that didn't happen.

I think I got one strike and one spare through two games of bowling. My final score for the 2nd game, (the better score), 98. My eldest daughter scored a 94 and my younger daughter scored 86.

Well we had fun, and it was nice and cool inside the bowling alley too!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Ok, So I figured out how to add a photo. Ignore the horrible curtains in the background. That was in the rental house we lived in a few months ago. This is Oocha's favorite couch to sit or sleep on, keeping an eye on everything.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Everyone else is doing it and why Oochakitty

I have several family members who all blog including my hubby. He recently said, "You should start a blog too." I responded, "I have nothing to say". But that is not actually true. I have plenty to say because I talk all the time. I should have said, I have nothing thought provoking or interesting to say. So I am going to blog about nothing, and I may or may not tell anyone about it, so there will probably be no one reading it. Hey but at least I get a chance to say everything I want about nothing.

So why is my blog called Oochakitty. Oochakitty is the name of my cat, who is now 12 years old. We got her as a 4 month old kitten at the local kitty shelter. I thought she looked just like a cat I had when I was younger, named Daisy. So I named her Daisy, which lasted about 5 minutes. My hubby, who is famous for coming up with silly names and sayings, started calling her "Oocha". So it eventually evolved to Oochakitty, and the name "Daisy" went by the wayside. It is nice for a handle because no one else has ever used that, so it works well. So don't start copying it now.

Oochakitty is a pretty nice cat. She has handled 3 moves with only a little bit of whining, much less whining than the rest of us. She is very soft and nice to cuddle with when she lets me do it. And she has put up with all 3 of my kids through babyhood, 3 dogs, and of course my hubby. He has gotten nicer over the years out of respect for her age, but some of our family will never forget K putting the cat on top of the door, or on top of the plant shelf in the living room, just to see if she could get down. Or giving her a "swirly" when she is getting too frisky. He has never ever hurt her, just some kind teasing to let her know that he is boss. But she knows the real boss is....Oochakitty of course.

Soon I will post a picture of her when I figure out how to add pictures to this blog!