September 30, 2008

Little Blue Fairies

This is the scene in our yard just before sunset these days.

It happens every fall, thousands and thousands of blue aphids, like little blue fairies or tiny puffs of cotton, swarm over our yard in the early evening. Caught in your hair, stuck in your teeth, breathed up your nose; it's crazily annoying and deliciously amazing at the same time.

That means it's going to get cold here real soon. Mark and the dog have both been turning their noses into the recent cool morning air, anticipating the hunting season that's just around the corner.

September 29, 2008


Beautiful fall weather, time with family and friends, lots of excitement and junk food!
When the park opened, everyone ran for the coasters, so Claire and Ben and I were the first and only passengers on the paratrooper.

This is the new roller coaster, After Shock. Mark and Brian were in the first car, Jen and John in the second. 178 foot drop at 65 mph; I was in line for this one, but I chickened out when I witnessed the speed of the car as it came screaming back through the loading point. It took Mark quite a while to regain his composure from this ride, but Brian and John went back for another whoop and holler!

Everyone one loves the log ride, although it was a tad bit chilly for getting wet.

The scrambler, one of my personal favorites, also appears to be one of the girl's favorites too. They rode it over and over.

The harsh possibility of chattering teeth and uncontrollable shaking could not deter Brian and Ben from trying out the battle boats. When they weren't in the boats, they were on the platform squirting the drivers with water guns.

I have tons of great photos from this trip and I'm thinking I'll put them into a mini album of some sort. Since we try to go every fall, it would be nice to see the changes over time.

Have a happy Monday!

September 24, 2008

Home Again

Mark and I had an amazing time on our jaunt to the Seattle area. We stayed with our friend David, who has a beautiful condo in Edmonds and treated us like royalty while we were there. It was like being in a four-star hotel! Thanks David. We saw 2 great concerts at the White River Ampitheater, Journey and the Counting Crows, did a little scrapbook shopping (of course), hung out at Pike Place Market and ate at Ivar's, and saw the movie "Burn After Reading" which was phenomenal. Thanks to the grandparents who selflessly watched our kids for 4 days while we galavanted. Our next adventure is this Saturday when we will meet our family from the Tri-Cities for a day at Silverwood Theme Park. Can't wait to try out their new roller coaster, but I'm staying away from that thing that drops you out of the sky this year!!

I had a small taste of how great my kids are while I was away: we allow them to watch television if they promise to mute the commercials. And they did this on their own while staying with the grandparents. I am so proud of them and relieved that the lessons I'm trying to teach are not falling on deaf ears.

Ben has discovered the joy of playdates. He had one yesterday with his new friend Max and was quite pissed at me when I came to take him home. He did not want to leave. He asked me how I knew where Max lived and I told him that Max's mom had told me. He said "Then it's all her fault!" Funny boy. I know he's going to continue to move away from my parental grasp, but it still pains me. He and I have been buddies for so long and I so enjoy his company that it's hard to share him sometimes!

Fall is here. The pumpkins took a little frost hit and we had to break down and turn the heat on yesterday. I'm not looking forward to the dollars I'll have to shell out to put oil in our furnace tank this year. I am a staunch, left-wing liberal Democrat, but the Republican National Convention chant "Drill, Baby, Drill" keeps ringing in my ears!

September 17, 2008

Where in the gene pool did this come from? posted by Mark

To all those people who share our genes: We just learned tonight that our kids can BOTH vibrate their eyes REALLY fast. Neither Kristi nor I can do this. Can any of you or your kids do this?

And,,,,,Kudos to my Gal. You all know that she is one thrifty shopper but she hit the shopping jackpot today. She found tickets from Seattle to Frankfurt for $350 on Scandinavian air!Way to go girl! We were hoping for anything under $800. That sure eases up some room in the budget for some more Euros, and it's official,, we are leaving Jan. 15 in the evening from Seattle. Anyone want to drop us off and take our car home or just give us all a ride?!?!

Girls and Bugs and Love and Music

A compilation of some random pictures of Claire over the last year. Love bringing lots of photos together from different times to tell a story.

These freakin' bugs are driving us all insane. This is some sort of beetle that appeared in our area from Utah a few years ago and has taken up residence here for the past two summers. They hatched at the end of July and I seriously think we have had a couple hundred thousand tooling around since then. They are crawling everywhere. I don't usually have much of a problem with bugs; living in the country has made me somewhat immune to little critters, but these guys are getting obnoxious. We will not bug bomb the house because of our pet toad who lives in the basement, but if anyone could pass us some voodoo, it would be much appreciated!

This coming Sunday is the 25th anniversary of Mark's and my first "real" date, so we're celebrating with a trip to Seattle to see 2 concerts. The first is Journey, Heart, and Cheap Trick on Friday night, and then Sunday we'll have the pleasure of listening to Maroon Five and the Counting Crows, one of my all-time favorite groups. Nana and Paul are taking care of the kids for us and we are westward bound. It's sure to be a fabulous weekend.

September 15, 2008

Happy Monday

Our soccer girl. The fall season has started, so I thought I'd better get a move on last spring's layout!

Moving and shaking here. My family made it through Ike with nary a scratch on them or their home. My dad said it was blowing pretty good and sounded like a jet engine was sitting right on top of them all night. The neighborhood lost a few trees, but no major damage. When I told Ben Grandma and Grandpa didn't have power at their house because of the hurricane he said "Oh no, now they can't watch Cash Cab!"

I am scheduled for a thyroid biopsy on October 6. That gives me three weeks to relax and play until I may have to get serious. I'm not going to worry about it until then. My mantra, "It is what it is".

Happy Monday everyone!

September 10, 2008


Here is my sweet gal having a blast driving Farmer Bob's Ranger. If anyone knows how to get Adobe Premiere to adjust brightness I sure would like the help. It is brighter on the camera and you can see her lovely beaming smile .

And here is our happy and free spirit, Ben, dancing atop the butte!

Just Feeling Grateful

A layout I did in an attempt to describe my gratitude for the love Mark's family has given me over these many years. It's been such a pleasure and privilege to witness marriages and births, growth and change, laughter and sorrow with these fabulous people. And they are a ton of fun!

Journaling reads:
I'm not sure when it happened exactly, but happen it did and I am now a full-fledged member of this crazy and wonderful Jones clan. I had an "aha" moment at this year's family campout and realized that these people have become "my people". They have accepted and embraced me and have always made me feel welcome and loved and comfortable in their company. I am so very grateful for their inclusion. Thanks Jones Family!

September 9, 2008

Something's Missing

Remember that loose tooth? With the help of a tiny finger and a little wiggling and coaxing, it popped out during an exciting episode of Power Rangers yesterday afternoon. I was working in my studio when Ben came in, tooth in hand, mouth covered in blood, grinning from ear to ear. He spent what seemed like hours in front of the mirror, checking out all the blood and the new gap in his teeth. And I am happy to report the tooth fairy was not too busy to visit last night and she left $5 under his pillow (she's not always so generous, but this WAS a first tooth), which Ben says he's saving for college. He's excited to get his name on the September tooth in his classroom.

Gymnastics and soccer begin today. Good thing I bought that station wagon!

September 8, 2008

Happy Monday

We had such a lovely weekend. Early fall weather is incredible. I was feeling like nesting, so I did a bunch of organization and some scrapbooking and Mark built us a new entertainment system so our components aren't sitting on the floor anymore. We also got to take out the "Ranger", a little 4-wheel-drive thingie made by John Deer and owned by farmer Bob. I got to drive and it was such a hoot to go flying over the harvested fields. Mark got a little movie while we were out and I think he might be contemplating posting it.

A layout I completed that tries to depict the immenseness of a single moment shared between Mark and Ben.

Looking on the bright side today. Got my teeth cleaned this morning and my smile is dazzling! I made our next appointments for January, right before we leave for Germany. Woo Hoo!!

September 5, 2008

One Test I Really Didn't Want to Fail

So be it. My doctor called a while ago with my scan results. She said "Don't freak out, but we need to go farther with this." I've been referred to an endocrinologist at the Rockwood Clinic in Spokane for a biopsy. The scan showed an inconsistency or dysfunction between the left and right lobes of the thyroid in iodine uptake. There are numerous nodules in many different sizes on both lobes, but the one nodule that concerns my doctor the most is on the right lobe and was shown to be "hyperfunctioning" during the iodine uptake test. This leads them to believe it may be cancerous. And, let me see if I can relate this in a correct manner. The fact that my bloodwork came back negative for hyper or hypo hormone production is consistent when considering a cancerous tumor.

So, after I got off the phone with my doctor and Mark, I googled the Mayo Clinic and scared the shit out of myself.; four types of thyroid cancer ranging from "high five, no big deal" to "you will be dead within a year of diagnosis". I think I'm going to get blitzed tonight and go to bed early. Tomorrow may very well be the first day of the rest of my life!!

September 4, 2008

Another Meaning for "Hot"

Yesterday morning I went to the hospital and swallowed a beautiful, although rather large orange and blue pill that contained radioactive iodine. I returned later in the day and again this morning to be scanned to determine if and at what rate the iodine was collecting in my thyroid. Of course the technician couldn't breathe a word of the results to me, but he did say he didn't notice anything spectacular.

After my scan this morning, Mark invited me up to his lab so that he could measure the radioactivity emitting from my neck area with the gieger counter. Needless to say, the reading was hot, hot, hot and the reader was clicking along like I was its favorite tune. Then Mark led me down the hall to visit a colleague, just so he could show him how "hot" his wife was!! It was all pretty funny in a "laugh at the things that scare the shit out of you" sort of way.

I should have results tomorrow afternoon.

September 3, 2008

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday dear mom, Happy Birthday to you.

She's the best mom ever, loves me wholly despite my many faults, thinks my kids are the best grandkids on earth, and is also one of my very best friends. Lately I've been dreaming of sitting on her back porch with a cup of coffee and pouring my heart out for hours.

I hope you have a great day mom, I love you so much!

September 2, 2008

Settling In

Ben attended his first full morning of kindergarten on Friday. I waited in front of the school with all the other eager parents to pick him up at 11:15, expecting him to run to me for a big hug like all the other kids, but he never came out the door. I went inside and found him holding open the door to his classroom. I asked him what he was doing and he said "Mrs. B asked me to hold the door today." I guess he didn't realized that once all the kids were through the door he was also able to leave. But that's Ben, he follows the rules, and if Mrs. B did not tell him to leave his post, at his post he was going to stay!

We had a relaxing Labor Day weekend at home. We took the boat out on Friday night and Mark got a little water skiing in, most probably the last of the season. We visited the farmer's market on Saturday and took a hike around Kamiak Butte on Sunday. Yesterday was spent making elk jerky and getting ready for the week ahead. It is predicted to be calm and steady around here this week; next week gymnastics and soccer begins, but this week we'll spend settling into our new routine.

Thyroid Update: My hormone levels are normal. There are three nodules on the thyroid, one much larger than the others. Tomorrow I will go to the hospital and swallow a little radioactive pill, then be scanned at noon and again at noon on Thursday to see how the iodine is moving through my body. This test can tell them if the nodules are cancerous. If they're not, we'll probably just watch them to see how they change. If they are, well, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. I certainly need to have all of this taken care of before we leave for Germany.

Ben has his first loose tooth and he's very proud. I think Claire had lost 4 or 5 by this time, so he's a little jealous about missing out on the tooth fairy. Hopefully, the tooth fairy won't forget where we live like she's been doing recently!