Thursday, August 28, 2008

Us Vs. Them

While Nick and I have had trouble getting anything to grow in Idaho, we've been very successful with certain plants and trees. Maybe a little too successful.

Feast your eyes on the willow tree that I arrived home to on Monday night. The branches swept the grass, making mowing a near-impossible scenario (sorry, Mom!). Kinda reminds you of an overgrown Oscar the Grouch, huh?

We did trim it down, and now it looks like a gangly teenager who got his haircut by his cheapskate of a mother.
Then, we headed to the backyard. Our home's back fence borders open desert. We love it for chucking Christmas trees over, but it does carry a price. Six feet tall prices, actually.

Yes, folks, tumbleweeds in their finest, watered form. They had a splendid summer drinking of our refined sprinkler city water, but the party's over, buster. Move on out.

Except they wouldn't go easily. Some of the roots were as thick as our wrists. Now, I realize Mom and I are kind of petite women, but still! So we resorted to the 2-person tag team weeding patrol. As in, we both pulled at the same time, were grunting like Monica Seles, and were often sent flying as the shoots held and we didn't.

But as you can see, we women triumphed o'er the scourges of Adam, er Idaho. My yard is now free of tumbleweeds, and my heart is filled with gratitude for my wonderful mother who did not mind helping me rid my yard of unsavory, never-say-die-without-swallowing-small-creatures, desert plants.

It was Us vs. Them. We are the champions, my friend. And I will only keep on fighting to the summer of 2009 when we move home to tumbleweed-free Oregon. So fight the power, my friends. Fight the power!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Elsa turns 5

Announcing Princess Elsa!

My niece Elsa Grace turned a whopping 5 years old yesterday. I remember the day she was born -- I was just about ready to leave for college and was so excited. Here are some party guests! Tobin and Daphne...

James and Ruby...

Olivia and Mallory...
Whoa! What an astounding Easy Bake Oven!
And Stefanie and Ruby in their matching Hannah Andersen dresses.
All in all, it was a lovely party for one of my favorite girls. Happy Birthday, Elsa!

Monday, August 11, 2008

My heaven

One of the most important places in my little world is Clear Lake. Probably all 2 of you reading this have been there, so you know what it's like, but I cannot overemphasize my love for this place. It's what I visualized during labor per my Lamaze teacher's instructions. It's the place where I learned I was going to be an aunt. Where I got my first New Year's kiss. Where I drove off a cliff with a 3-wheeler when I was 12. Clear Lake was one of the reasons I knew I was falling in love with Nickolas -- I wanted to share it with him more than anything when we were 17. It is so special to me.
And this time was different, but wonderful all the same. We went running with the kids (no bears, thank God, though I did see one from the window)....

Loved Elsa's outfit and hair! She turns 5 this Sunday.
We went to the ocean one very windy, cold day. You'd think we'd show up prepared. Think again. Kudos to my grandpa for using some common sense and bringing a coat. Hence the child in his uncle's coat.

This is one of my favorite pictures from the trip. I now know where Jack gets his cheesy grin. Hey, he got his unusual chin from Uncle Jonny too.

Keep me warm, daddy.
The cousins in camo. Mom, Jill and I got them some matching outfits for the fall in Lincoln City! Cannot wait for those pictures!
Thanks to the not-so-great weather, we spent a day at the acquarium in Newport. Aren't these jellyfishes (is that a word?) amazing?

How you doing? (said in a Joey Tribiani accent)

An attack is imminent.

Being Jacques Cousteau's assistant was Shane's 2nd career choice.

And Jack's 1st!

Jack's 1st adventure in a lifejacket. He didn't like it, but he loves cameras....

John, Thora, Grace and Joy came to visit with Grandpa.

I got these tattoos for Elsa at a garage sale. I asked her to show me her tough side, and this is what I got. Priceless.
I found these adorable camo overalls in a consignment shop on the way home from the acquarium!
As always, we had visitors. Luke, his new girlfriend Lindsay and Joey came up for an evening. This is Luke's crazy face.
Jill, Mom and I had such fun garage-saling (with no kids!) 2 weekends in a row. I found Jack this swimsuit for next summer. They're so ugly, yet Jack still pulls the look off.

We didn't have typical August (read: swimmable) weather, but finally on the last day (what else), the sun shone through and the thermometer hit 70. I think Dustin looks like Gilligan.

If you look really hard, you can see Jaimie's goosebumps. Jeanea never gets them when in water.
Shane has invented "Crazy Hair Christmas." Jack is practicing.