Friday, April 30, 2010

Garage Sale Season!

The neighborhood across the street from ours has a neighborhood garage sale going on this weekend. So, I got up early this morning, brushed my teeth, threw on a hat, and drove over there.

Here are my finds:
A healthy hen and chicks plant: $1
Decent looking crocs for Nicky: $2

Luau fabric for the upcoming ladies Bible study brunch from a retired event planner: $2
Seriously, she had 20 sets of everything: vases, candle holders, easels, table cloths, etc.

15 sets of glass drop ornaments: $12
(Brad and I were wanting some ornaments like these for our front tree and this was a great price.)

Quality time with the man I love: $2

Barbie cars: $1 for both
Bag of dress-up clothes: $2
Books and puzzle: $2.50

A cute Christmas shirt and 2 nice dresses for Catie: $5
These prices were a little steep for my garage sale taste, but they were name-brand, barely used. I think all three of these are Gymboree.

Two awesome shirts and a pair of shorts: $6

Crafter's Heaven: $10
Seriously. This lady used to sell craft supplies. I had so much fun going through her books and supplies. They aren't all in the picture, but I got 5 packages of elastic for 10 cents each.
Not pictured:
Booster seat so that we can have a place for our friends' kids when they come over: $2
I had so much fun today. Tomorrow I'm going to be on the other side of the table. Our small group is having a sale to benefit Royal Family Kids Camp (a camp for foster kids.)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, and the rest of our trip to Portland

On Saturday morning we went to OMSI. Our first stop was the real submarine docked in the river outside the museum. Catie and Nick were fascinated by all the buttons. Brad was fascinated too. Hunt for Red October was filmed on this sub.
Looking through the periscope.

Piloting the submarine. :)

Trying on an oxygen mask.

Inside the museum, we checked out the preschool play area first. Nicky loved the sandbox.

Catie had fun looking at the animal exhibits.

Then, both of them got their sleeves and pants soaking wet at the water table.
We spent a little time looking at the other exhibits, but it was difficult to keep Catie and Nick's attention for very long.
Catie is testing her hearing.
Catie and Nick weren't so sure if they liked the big dinosaur up close or not.
Photo ops:

We ate lunch at the cafeteria and then watched an Omnimax film about the ocean. It was really interesting, and both of the kids were enraptured (and a little frightened) the whole hour.
We went back to the hotel and tried unsuccessfully to get the kids to take a nap. At about 4, we took a walk down to the Saturday Market. We weren't there very long before it was closing time, but we got to see the majority of the vendors and it was fun. Next time we'll get there earlier.
Brad and I couldn't decide on dinner. So, I called down to the concierge and asked for a family friendly restaurant within walking distance. She recommended Mother's Bistro and made reservations for us. Oh my goodness. Delicious. Brad had chicken and dumplings and I had a greek salad. Catie and Nick had the most yummy, gourmet PB&J I've ever seen. And the rolls and biscuits? Heavenly. Even though we were full, we couldn't resist a slice of cake. Yum.
After dinner we went swimming again. (Swimming with the twins is so much fun right now! They love it. I'm thinking swimming lessons will be part of our summer plans.)
On Sunday morning before we headed back home we stopped at IKEA. Not everything there is our style, but I love that store.
So, that was our trip. What a fun weekend!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Oregon Zoo

On Friday morning we went to the Oregon Zoo. It was very well done; the walkways flowed naturally from one exhibit to the next so that you didn't miss anything. I'm always a little disappointed, however, that the St. Louis zoo can manage to do an excellent zoo for free, but we have to pay $40 or more to enjoy a zoo of similar quality in another city.

The eagles were in a large enclosure with no glass between them and the look out. Impressive until you see the poor things hopping around on the branches with clipped wings.

The animals all looked really healthy and happy.

I'm thinking this elephant is really old. At least I hope so. All she did was rock back and forth and shake her head.

Hippos are so ugly. Nicky says, "It's a Hip-o-poatamus." (I know I spelled that wrong. He pronounces it with a long 'o' sound and with breaks where the dashes are.)
These animals (I can't remember their names) are known for standing on their hind feet to reach food. This one used a rock for a boost.
The zebras were a favorite with Catie and Nick.
I love their enclosure.
The giraffe wasn't out in his exhibit, but their was a window into his house. It was cool to be so close to his head.

We took a ride around the zoo in the train. I'll spare you the terrible in-the-train photos.
That afternoon we checked into our hotel downtown and tried unsuccessfully to get the kids to nap. We walked down to a pizza place in the neighborhood and had some yummy Hawaiian pizza. After dinner, we walked to Powell's City of Books, a landmark in Portland. I wished I had a list of books to look for. Then, we walked back to the hotel, swam, and put the kids to bed.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Portland Bound

I gave Brad a trip to Portland for his birthday. :)

We headed out last Thursday at about 11 am. On the way down I took lots of photos to show you the beautiful drive, but they all turned out like this:

On the way back, though, I managed to capture this one of Mt Hood.
The first night we stayed at Comfort Inn in Troutdale, a suburb of Portland. We were just down the street from this:

After taking a dip in the pool, we got dressed and went shopping. :) We didn't stay long though, because it was dinner time. We met the wife of one of Brad's coworkers from Doha. He's in Afghanistan now, but it was good to see his wife. Plus, we ate the best Chinese food we've had in a long time. :)
Stay tuned...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Sometimes He keeps us from falling

The parking lot is across a busy street from the post office. I had given Nicky the job of carrying the box that we were mailing to Grandma for her birthday. Since his hands were full, I grabbed his hood to keep him close. We waited for the signal to cross the street, then halfway across, the box slipped from Nick's hands. I let go of Catie to grab the box and, in the process, knocked Nicky off balance. I was still holding his hood, and instinctively, I pulled it up, keeping him from falling, but choking him a little. We collected ourselves and hurried across to the sidewalk where I stopped and gave him a once over to make sure he wasn't hurt.

As I was driving home, I thought about the sight we must have made, and how I often keep my kids from falling by lifting them up by the hand. I began to get a picture of how God sometimes works in our lives. Yes, sometimes He allows us to fall, but sometimes in His grace and mercy, He lifts us up so that we don't stumble and fall down.

About a month ago I was given the opportunity to do something good and I dove right in. When it came time to decide how it would be done, though, I couldn't get excited about it. I went into a funk for a few days, crying at the drop of a hat, and with no peace about this project. After talking it over with a trusted friend, I was able to back out graciously. I'm not sure why, but I feel like God took me by the hand and said, "This isn't for you," and He lifted me up and over what might have been a stumbling block.

Just like Catie and Nick sometimes, I'm not exactly sure what happened, but I am so thankful for a loving Father who is watching over my steps.

I guide you in the way of wisdom
and lead you along straight paths.
When you walk, your steps will not be hampered;
when you run, you will not stumble.

Proverbs 4:11-12

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A Gift

My dad guessed that my bulbs were irises. We were surprised then, to see this:
Upon closer inspection, I discovered that this was a lone tulip in the midst of irises (which Dad tells me will bloom in May.)

Guess what? The "mystery shrub" at the end of the patio and the two other shrubs in the corner of the yard are lilacs! That makes me so happy.
And, also, because I hate to be wrong I need to say that the tree in our backyard is not a red bud. It's a flowering plum tree.
This is like unwrapping a gift. I can't wait to see what God uncovers next in my yard. :)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

My little flower girl

"Mommy, Mommy, I picked a flower."

I stifled a groan (barely) as I realize Catie just picked the only flower currently blooming in our yard (besides dandelions.)

"Oh, sissy," I say, "that's beautiful, but Mommy doesn't really want you to pick her flowers. But, since you already did, let's take some pictures."

You can't put them back once you've picked them. One more life lesson (hopefully) learned.

Monday, April 5, 2010


Easter weekend started for us on Friday. Brad had the day off. (He works longer days during the week so that he can take every other Friday off.) I made a deal with him. I would clean the house completely and he would keep the kids out of my hair. (He ended up doing some vacuuming and he "helped" the kids pick up the playroom, so I think I got the better end of the deal.)

Ahhhh, a completely clean house. I don't think that's happened yet in the four months we've been here. I mean, we've had pretend clean (the quick pick up and wipe down or the bathrooms are clean but I didn't get around to dusting kind of clean), but really clean? I hate doing it, but I love it when it's done.

I can't believe I'm publishing that last paragraph. Please tell me I'm not alone.

Saturday afternoon I started cooking. In addition to Easter fare, I made Ice Cream Delight to take on Monday to celebrate Brad's birthday at small group and a lasagna. (Brad's birthday fell on Easter this year.)

Then, I decorated these with some help from my friend Amy who stopped by.

I baked them in a cake pan that I think my mother-in-law gave me one year. They were fun, but I think I'll go back to cookies next year. These were too much, and (sorry, Amy) I ended up throwing them away today because I didn't need them sitting around. No one really ate them. They were just decoration. Fun, though. :)

We enjoyed a great Easter Sunday service. (I'm still thinking about the sermon and looking forward to the series that will be coming from it.)

When we came home, I tried to take the twins' picture, which you saw in my post yesterday. Hoping to stop the fussing, we gave them their Easter baskets.

It worked for a few minutes.
We bought those baskets this year when we realized they had way too much stuff for the other ones. I'm thinking I'll paint them or sew liners next year.
While I worked on lunch, Brad helped the kids change their clothes and then we opened the goody bag from Aunt Brittany. The electric toothbrushes are a big hit!

Then Daddy took them outside to play "Easter egg hunt" and got some great action shots.

He's a tiger!
We had friends from Brad's work over for lunch. Here are their wives, Selenia and Amy.
We had a super yummy lunch. Here's the menu:
Devilled Eggs
Scalloped Potatoes
Corn Casserole
Resurrection Rolls
Lemon-Raspberry Mousse
Walnut Brownies with Vanilla Ice Cream
Easter Cakes and Marzipan Candies
After a run in the backyard to burn off the sugar energy, we put two exhausted kids down for a nap, and the adults settled in living room to chat.
It was a lovely resurrection day!
Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! 2 Corinthians 9:15