Monday, September 13, 2010

Top Ten

Jodi's top ten reasons for not updating the blog

10.  We went to Seattle to celebrate Chris' 40th birthday.  It was awesome.  We watched the Mariners lose, ate lots of baseball stadium food, ate lots of yummy Seattle food, did some shopping and even rode on public transportation!  That's right folks.  You heard it here first.  Our kids have now experienced public transportation twice in their lives. 

9.  We bought a trailer.  No more roughing it for us.  We are officially old.  And we're pansies.  The first thing we did was put memory foam on the bed in the aforementioned trailer.  Pathetic.

8.  We went to Canada for two weeks, pulling the trailer and getting a whopping 9 mpg!  Our carbon footprint is so big that it could be referred to as a sink hole.  I think there's a bunch of Chilean miners trapped in it. 

7.  After being gone for two weeks, it took us a month to catch up on everything around here.  It's taken us more than a month to straighten out our Verizon bill after roaming internationally for two weeks.  Gotta love 'em.

6.  Keaton started high school.  Wait.  What?  Actually, it's going really well for him and we've been excited for the opportunities that it brings.  He auditioned for the school play today, and is working on getting on the debate team.  I've experienced his arguing skills first hand and I can assure you that they are top notch.  I'm anticipating him leading his school to the national championships.

5.  Carson started fifth grade and football season is in full swing.  Two hour practices, five days a week.  He loves it, even though he is just about the smallest kid on his team.  He doesn't shy away from trying to tackle the bigger kids.  He still runs at them full speed, wraps his arms around them, falls down and hangs on to their ankles as they continue to run.  The kid's got heart.

4.  Jantzen started first grade (can I get an AMEN?).  She is almost seven, so she's older than most of her classmates.  She likes to stay busy and she is very social so first grade has been a long time coming.  She also started gymnastics classes today.  It's really hard to sit back and watch without jumping in and correcting the teacher on her technique, but I guess I'll have to get over it.  Jantzen loves it.

3.  Chris has lost 40 pounds, and is looking better than the day I married him.  He works a ton, which is a bummer, but I really appreciate the fact that he takes his role as provider so seriously.  I am one lucky girl.

2.  I started school too.  I'm studying massage therapy three nights a week in Tri-Cities, so my commute is about 45 minutes.  None of us are used to me being gone so much and it's been crazy hectic around here, but I'm loving it and hopefully soon I'll be able to pull in some more income so that Chris can work less.

And the number one reason for not updating the blog is........

1.  I didn't want to. 

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Guns vs. Hoses

Just a quick little post to let you know that we're still alive.  That is, if anyone still reads this.

Anyone there?
OK, well I guess I'm just talking to myself here, but  I wanted to share these pictures of Jantzen's field trip to the.....
wait for it.....
wait for it....
Fire Station!
Yeah, like she hasn't already been there a million times.  But it was fun for her to show her daddy off to her kindergarten class.  And let's be honest here, I had a great time watching my hunky husband give the tour.  I can never get tired of my man in uniform.  Well, unless he has more than, like, two days off in a row and he drives me crazy around the house.  But maybe if he wore his uniform on those days I wouldn't be so irritable toward him.  We'll have to give that a try. 

The fire station and the police station are in the same building, called the Hermiston Safety Center (or something like that).  So after their tour of the fire station the kids went next door for a tour of the police station.  Chris' favorite prank to pull on the police is to tell all of the little kids to ask the police where they keep all of their donuts.  What a riot!  The kids head into the police station all excited thinking that maybe they're getting donuts, then the cops have to be the "bad guys" and tell them that there aren't any.  You 'd think that they would plan ahead and just buy a bunch of donuts to give to the kids so the kids don't hate them.  Now I know why people don't like cops very much.  It all starts in kindergarten when they don't give donuts to the kids!
  Anyways, at the fire station they got the royal treatment since it was Jantzen's class.  Everyone got a chance to squirt water at the police cars parked behind the fire station. 

And Chris showed them how he likes to hide in the ambulance when he should be working.  "These cots are really pretty comfortable!"  He tells the kids.  Actually, he gave a very fun and interesting tour of the ambulance, even telling them details about cancer, big needles and drilling things into your bones. 
 Hopefully there weren't any nightmares that night.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


First of all, let's just get this out of the way. This is our awesome friend Heather. She loves firemen. I do too. We spent all day cooped up with 1500 of them. It was a tough job, but someone had to do it. And we did. We rose to the occasion and did what was necessary. We took one for the team.
We can't wait to do it again. A few weeks ago we went to Seattle for the Scott Firefighter Stair Climb. We stopped in Prosser on the way and picked up Ryan and Heather. We had a blast roaming around Seattle, eating at three different restaurants in a matter of about 6 hours and trying to figure out how to use the trolley system. We are such country bumpkins, at one point the driver came out of his little booth and asked us, "You guys just along for the ride?" Apparently, we were riding in circles.
"No, sir. Just from a small town, that's all." He seemed to understand. Public transportation in Hermiston consists of hitching a ride on the bumper of a watermelon truck.The next day was
Firefighters from all over the country, plus a few from New Zealand, Australia and Germany travel to Seattle to compete in this stairclimb. The proceeds benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and last I heard they were able to raise about $650,000. Thank you to all of our friends and family who opened your wallets for this great cause. Chris and Hermiston Fire as a whole was able to far surpass their fundraising goals. It's great to see that even in this tough economy people are willing to help others in need.
The day started out with a cancer patient sharing her story of survival and how she was helped and inspired by this event. Then the first group of firefighters was escorted to the starting line by the "Pipes and Drums". I'm not sure what the history is between firefighters and bagpipes, but there is a definite connection there and they love it. There is something eerie to me about the sound of bagpipes, especially when they were taking them to begin one of the toughest physical challenges of their lives. Here is Chris getting psyched up to go. I have participated in several running races, including two half marathons, and I understand the feeling of dread, excitement, apprehension, nervousness, adrenaline and let's-just-get-this-overwith-ness. He had several hours to wait until his turn, which made it hard. Too much time to fret over it isn't good.
They have to be all suited up in their turnout gear as if they were actually going into a fire. Boots, turnouts, helmet, gloves--the works. Oh yeah, and one minor airpack. Oh no, they don't get to suck regular air at will while they're climbing 69 flights of stairs and carrying 50 pounds of gear. They have to suck it through an SCBA. At the 40th floor they can change bottles for a fresh supply of air, but after that they're on their own. One guy in our group ran out of air about 5 flights before he got to the top. The funeral is next week.
Just kidding!
But you believed me for a second, didn't you?
This is Chris going through the doorway of dread that will lead him to the stairs.
69 flights of them! All of the guys from Hermiston Fire were doing this for the first time and when they were finished they all said, "That was the hardest !#$%& thing I've ever done!" Well, except for Chris. He said, "That was the hardest gosh darn diggety dad gum thing I've ever done!" Well, at least that's our story and we're sticking to it. Here's all of the guys from Hermiston Fire, with the tower in the background. Yeah, it's tall. Chris finished in 23 minutes, 52 seconds. He can't wait to do it again next year. It was an awesome experience.
Oh, one more thing...
There. That's better.
**This just in...Dana's foster daughters aren't supposed to have their pictures up in public places, so sadly I had to take them down from this post.  But trust me when I tell you that they are sooo cute and I took some really great pictures of them.  If/when the adoption happens I will gladly post hundreds of pictures of those cuties.**
So MAYBE this post is slow in coming. And MAYBE it happened like a month and a half ago. And MAYBE I'm a total slacker. But MAYBE we just had too much excitement in our lives in February and I didn't want to overload you with it all at once. I'm spoon feeding you to prevent convulsions of happiness.
You're welcome. (This is Jantzen and Alexis, who I will tell you about in a minute. Just hold your horses.)
So someone (and I won't mention any names) that we call mom/grandma turned the ripe old age of 60! Oh, heck. That's not ripe. That's down right rotten!
I'm totally cracking myself up here.
Anyways, (almost) all of us kids/grand kids met in Portland to go to a Globetrotters game together to celebrate the occasion.
I've always wanted to go to a Globetrotters game and I was pretty excited about it. But when we got there we discovered that the real show was watching the kids playing together and sharing treats with each other. They all got along so well and were just so stinking sweet!
 Clearly, Grandma was in heaven with one toddler on each leg. If only she had one more leg, she could fit them all on her lap at once. My kids have been around for 14, 10 and 6 years now. Then grandma had a little dry spell and didn't get any more grand kids for awhile. But (almost) two years ago, Jena and Nick contributed Jace to grandma's happy land. That was nice, because it took a little pressure off of me. (Thanks guys!) Then last summer Dana was given two sweet foster daughters, Aubrie (on grandma's lap)and Alexis (pictured at top). Now grandma's land is super happy and all the pressure is off of me. I'm loving it. We're crossing our fingers SUPER hard that these girls will be able to stay in our family forever. They are so darling! Dana is an awesome mommy and such a natural at it. Plus, she bought a minivan and I'm pretty sure all sales are final. tee hee
Chris is no dummy. He knows that the way to a toddler's heart is through food. He showed up with a couple of bags of popcorn and all was right with the toddler world.

 Do you think they like each other? Yeah, me neither.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Mt. Bachelor, how I love thee.

For President's Day weekend we stayed at Sunriver with the Billingsley crew and had a BLAST!! We used to make this trip every year but for some reason we missed the last couple of years. I don't know what we were thinking because we love this mountain and always have such a great time there. It's a great family friendly resort with plenty of easy runs for the kids. But what we found this year was that the kids have gotten so good at skiing that they don't really need the easy runs anymore. Some of us parents even had a hard time keeping up with our kids.

All weekend long we were amazed and pleasantly surprised at how much easier it is getting to take our kids skiing. It used to be an all day struggle trying to keep their mittens on their hands, their hats on their heads, their jackets zipped up, their skis un-crossed and smiles on their faces. Just as soon as we would accomplish that they would have to go to the bathroom. So we would trek to the lodge in our ski boots, strip them down, take them potty, try not to drop mittens in the toilet, put a fake smile on our faces and go outside to start all over again. We would take one run on the bunny hill, holding them up all the way down until our thigh muscles literally caught on fire (It's true! I have the burn holes in my ski pants to prove it!) then they would be hungry. So off to the lodge we would go again.

I know that this doesn't make skiing sound fun. But when you're teaching your kids to ski it's a different kind of fun. If you understand that your hard work will someday pay off, you will do it happily because when your whole family can hop on the ski lift and ski together it is all worth it. Words can't describe how much fun it is. Have you ever had an experience that you wish you could just bottle up and save? Where you're thinking, "I should record this so I can live it over and over." But you're having too much fun to get your camera out, plus a camera just can't do it justice anyways.

On our third day of skiing Jantzen (the youngest in our crew) was doing really well on skis and we felt like she was ready to branch out a little and try some runs other than Marshmallow and Dilly Dally Alley. If you don't know what those runs are like, let's just let the names speak for themselves. They are beginner runs and mom and dad were getting a little bored with them. So everyone headed out together to take a few runs on the other side of the mountain. Over there we found sunshine and beautiful views but no crowds. We were in heaven! It was so fun to ski with everyone together and listen to the kids' "Woo hoo" and "Woop woop" as they skied down.

Later that day Keaton took me to the summit (pictured below) and proceeded to "own me" all the way down. It's awesome to see him skiing so well, but it's a tough pill to swallow when I can't keep up with him. I still remember when he was three and Chris and I put him on tiny little skis and would push him back and forth between us while he put his hands on his knees.

Dang you Keaton anyway! Could you at least PRETEND to not be so good?
Anywhooo...that was our weekend and we've been talking about it ever since. We have vowed to not miss another year and if we do, then we're gonna punish ourselves with...with...with...well, I don't know. But we won't go easy on ourselves and it won't be pretty.

The many faces of Keaton

Not too proud to be a dork and pose with his mom's sunglasses in public. Friendly, happy-go-lucky pose at Multnomah Falls.
Down right intimidating!

Keaton is turning out to be such a fine young man. He is always willing to help around the house and I can always count on him to babysit for me when I need him.
He has such a great sense of humor, and sometimes he says things that are so funny I can't believe he made them up on his own. (I wish I had written them down!)
He recently was chosen to be in student leadership and that's been pretty exciting for him. He'll have the opportunity to travel to Eugene for a leadership conference this spring. Do you think it would be uncool to tag along?
I'm just wondering.

Better Than Wheaties

Ladies and gentlemen!

Please allow me to introduce Mrs. Thurman's 4th grade Breakfast of Champions recipient...

Carson Wrathall!Carson was honored to be chosen again (he also won in 1st grade) this year. To be honest, I really don't know why they call it the "Breakfast of Champions" because there is no breakfast to be had. It's probably another victim of budget cuts, because there used to be food, once upon a time. But it is a big honor regardless of the missing food!

There was an assembly at school and each student had their moment of fame, where the principal read a statement from their teacher telling why they were chosen. Carson's teacher wrote that he is nice to everyone, looks out for others, gets along with everybody and has a real enthusiasm for learning.


And here's a funny little thing about that day that I would like to add, just for future embarrassment. Carson LOVES the Oregon Ducks and found it very important to have his Ducks jersey on for the assembly. The night before, he pulled it out of his dirty clothes hamper and asked me if I could have it clean by morning. I told him that I couldn't get it done in time and that maybe he could choose a different Duck shirt. I didn't notice it until I got to school for the assembly, but he pulled the precious jersey out of the laundry and wore it dirty!
Way to go, Carson! We're proud of you, even if you do wear dirty shirts to school!