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May 31, 2008

Our last week

So here's the lowdown on our last frenetic week in Oregon.

I can't believe that sentence is past-tense.

Anyway, it was crazy. It all started, of course, with Zach's ridiculous foot injury on Sunday morning. Between that and the fact that the pants I purchased for him at 10:30 p.m. the night before were too small, plus the fact that Tyler decided his church shoes were suddenly, unacceptably tight, our pre-church hours were pretty silly. Zach ended up wearing jeans and I found a pair of clown shoes (aka church shoes that were two sizes too big) for Tyler to wear. I know it's not the end of the world, but not my normal M.O. I had expected to arrive at church feeling rather forlorn about saying good-bye to our tremendous ward family, but instead I had a chaotic morning's adrenaline in my veins. Final hugs still happened and many tears were shed, but church wasn't super gloomy. I was grateful.

On Monday we decided that packing was far enough along that we could enjoy a family outing. Only in Oregon would the zoo be busy on a rainy day. We rented a double stroller since a crutch-wielding six-year-old wouldn't get too far on his feet. The big boys saw the new dinosaur exhibit in style! Also that day, we took advantage of Home Depot's great paint sale and bought eight gallons in various hues for our new place. Although I had previously spent a long time looking at swatches, I'm no longer sure about my color choices. Hmmm....

Zach went to school on Tuesday, so last-minute packing and errands went into overdrive. Tyler vegged out with rented movies. We found out that the dining set we purchased was, in fact, NOT going to arrive in Beaverton before our move. We still tried until the last possible moment to sell our existing set. After school the boys and I met the Hutchings girls for a farewell ice cream date. The Hutchings are moving soon, too, so conversation centered mainly on that. And then we took some crazy pictures in the parking lot. Later Garry and I boxed up the dresser mirror in the master bedroom. It wouldn't fit in the box at first, and I was getting unreasonably frustrated. I could feel all rationality leaking out of my body, but some deep breaths and walking away for a minute grounded me again. No reason to have a panic attack over a mirror, right? Late that night, Garry's sister, Heidi, flew into town. She and Garry stayed up until two a.m. just talking on the couch.

Wednesday was Garry's last day at Wells Fargo. He said it was a little sad, but not too dramatic. He'll still work with most of the people...just over the phone instead of in person. My day included a delightful lunch with Natalie and her boys at Burgerville. We had to defend our boys' honor to a strange lady who called them horrible; they were being really good! Anyway, that was fun. Then we went to the dentist. Zach needs to do a better job brushing and brace himself (ha ha) for orthodontics in the future, but both boys were still cavity-free. I spent 20 minutes waiting for copies of their dental records to take with us, but I forgot to request my own. Duh! Next up was a play date for the big boys with Casey. I packed like a mad woman. Garry met Heidi and I for an early dinner out. I couldn't believe how quiet/enjoyable it was with just a baby at the table! After Zach and Ty got home, they took quick showers before we tucked them into their beds for the last time in Oregon. That's when we discovered that Tyler had a funky rash all over his back, chest, and upper arms. Chicken pox? Eczema? Hives? Whatever...we put him to bed. And then I went out with Krista for pie. Notice the trend? Food+friends happened a lot this week! It was great! We chatted at her house until I was delirious with fatigue, but it was super fun.

And then came Thursday. I took this photo of all my cute boys in bed at 6:30 a.m. when everyone got up. You can see how thrilled Garry is at that time of day! We were expecting the movers at 8:00, and I immediately regretted sleeping in until 6:30. I was pretty overwhelmed with all the last-minute packing that had to be done - linens and electronics and taking down beds...it seemed like too much for one morning. But of course we made it, and I even held onto my sanity. Zach went to school at 8:00. I took Tyler with me to Gavin's six-month well-check at 9:30 to get an opinion on his rash. Gavin weighed 21 pounds 15 ounces, was in perfect health, and got shots. He showed off his tricks of blowing loud raspberries, rocking on his hands and knees (he's soooo on the cusp of crawling), and rolling over. Dr. Nash thought Tyler had hives. Don't know what from, but since he wasn't contagious, he and Gavin both went to the Williams' house for a few hours.

In Garry's world, he met the movers at our storage unit at 8:00 a.m. They were stunned that we fit so much in an 8'x10' space. Brent, the moving guy in charge, immediately began to question the accuracy of our weight estimate, which was 10,000 pounds. Many phone calls later, we confirmed that we would only be billed for the binding estimate of 10,000 pounds, and that any overages would be charged to the person who estimated our weight by taking an inventory of our belongings. That segment of the day was pretty stressful. Other than that, however, the movers were fantastic. Wow -- they made our job super, super easy. I was relieved to see how carefully they handled all of our furniture, especially the piano. One mover noticed how many boxes in the garage were labeled "food," and he asked if we were Mormons. I had to laugh at that because even though it's true, we have very little food storage!

Deborah Jackson, our Realtor, came over at 3:00, just as the movers pulled away with all of our belongings. That was an emotional moment for me, as was putting the "sold" sticker on our "for sale" sign in the front yard. The finality of it all began to sink in, and it took a while for me to collect myself. I'll always remember those feelings when I look back on these pictures.

Our kids were taken care of all day long by many good friends. They spent time with the Williams, the Lymans, the Carrolls, the Talbots, and the Platts -- and had a fabulous time. I heard afterward that Zach and Ty were both a little crazy and emotional, so I'm especially grateful for the friends who fed and cared for them on such a difficult day. Zach and Ty returned to the house after Gavin was asleep, and in their excitement to explore all of the empty bedrooms, woke him up. Jennifer Rao, our friend and neighbor, came to the rescue and took Gavin for the rest of the evening. What a lifesaver!

Another group of lifesavers showed up to help clean. To Evelyn, Natalie, Krista, Angie, and Julie: thank you!!! Closing out that monumental day with you meant so much. And I never, ever, would have gotten all of that cleaning done without you!

Friday, May 30 was a day I never thought would come, but come it did. I didn't sleep more than a couple of hours on Thursday night, so I was pretty groggy when it was time to get up. The boys, however, slept on as Garry and I set about loading the cars, gathering our electronics, and taking down air mattresses, portable cribs, and the like. I chuckled to myself as I put phones, an internet router, and the DSL modem in a box with toilet paper, plastic dishes, and hand soap. These are the essentials at our house!

Both the van and our car were packed like sardines. The kids were super excited and Heidi (Garry's sister) was anxious to hit the road. Once I was certain we had everything out of the house, I took all my keys off the ring and left them on the counter with our garage door opener. I didn't allow myself a final walk-through. Too hard. Closing the door was bad enough. I did insist on a family photo in front of the house. (The close-up appears at the top of this post.) I'm glad to have it.

Garry and I decided to say a quick prayer in the car before we drove off. Just as I began, Zach yelled,"I'm hungry already!" from the back seat. I couldn't help but laugh through the tears.

And then we drove away. My eyes were glued to the scenery, taking everything in for the last time. We waved at the church and the gas station, our friends' houses and streets, the duck pond, Target...and then the forest that lines the freeway just before the tunnel, and then downtown Portland with its rivers and bridges, and OMSI...everything until we left the state. We passed the sign indicating the state line and suddenly I wanted a picture of it. We took a little detour, looped back, and got the photo.

We had a long day in the car, but new toys and a steady stream of DVDs made it pretty bearable. Gavin had some fussy times, but Garry and I took turns sitting next to him. The company helped. During the drive, we found out that the sale of our home recorded, meaning the title transferred and the sale was official. We also heard from the moving company that our total weight was 13, 480 pounds, but because of our binding estimate, we wouldn't have to pay for the overage. We also enjoyed stopping in Jerome, Idaho to visit my grandparents, who my children have affectionately dubbed "Grandma and Grandpa Idaho." They were nice enough to save dinner for us even though we didn't arrive until 7:30 p.m.

Finally, we pressed on to Provo, our home until next week. We stumbled into Garry's dad's condo at 12:30 a.m., so grateful for comfortable beds. This will be a good transition space while we prepare ourselves for what's ahead! Hopefully we can have some fun, too.

May 30, 2008

Moving Day

As a preface to this, my 100th blog post, I invite you to read my inaugural post, which makes me marvel at how life has come full circle in a few short months.

My little family has walked a lot of road since the day back in January when we decided to move. Now we're standing on the edge of a new road, an unfamiliar and kind of scary road. The adventurous part of me that I cheerfully flaunted a few months ago is warring with the two-year-old part of me that is clinging to her mommy's pant leg, red-faced and screaming her stubborn refusal to budge.

But enough of the dramatic analogies. I'm really just heartbroken to leave.

As I walked through the empty rooms of my house this afternoon, the memories crashed over me in waves. I could almost hear the echoes of mischievous boys bouncing off the walls, crayon murals calling out the dates and times of their creation, and colorful carpet splotches reminding me that play-dough masterpieces, markers, and moon sand are evidence of a childhood well-spent. Standing at the top of the stairs reminded me of the time that Tyler spilled a gallon of paint down them, and in the kitchen I remembered a zillion blonde hair cuts and scores of "Zach-cidents" involving eggs, various baking supplies, and/or electric appliances. Every room was a treasure trove, each filled with gems I want to
keep forever.

I didn't expect to be so attached to my house, or to feel so sentimental about it in these final hours. I'm generally not a sentimental person, but I find myself dreading tomorrow morning when I have to walk away from the only home my boys have known. I think that's because they aren't the only ones who have grown up here...
I have grown up here, too. While living in this house, I have learned how to be a parent, a neighbor, a friend, and so much more. I know I still have a lot of growing to do, but the lessons I have learned and the experiences I have had during these formative years, when my children were young (and when I was a young wife and parent), are ones that will surely shape the rest of my existence.

That, of course, has nothing to do with the brick-and-mortar building I live in. It is the people that have made my life so rich and wonderful. The people who have taught me that gentleness and kindness are so important. That being irreverent once in a while is okay, too. That nobody is a perfect parent or has the perfect child. That sometimes the best conversations happen in driveways. That crazy road trips, long distance running, embarrassing musical theater, or difficult life experiences can bond people for life. That forgiveness is an essential ingredient in any successful relationship. That there is power in prayer. That friendship can transcend race and religion -- and that it is worth the effort. That giving is better than receiving, but that there's joy in receiving, too. That raising boys is not for the faint of heart. That sometimes children are the best teachers. That time is a gift. That miracles happen every day. But most of all, that the journey of life is made brighter, happier, and more beautiful by the love and support of cherished friends.

A huge band of these friends -- too many to mention -- rallied around our family this week. From watching our children to bringing us food, taking me and/or the kids out on ice cream/pie/lunch dates, giving us boxes, lending us all manner of household goods, packing, cleaning, you name it...these angel friends lightened our load in so many ways. They offered kind words, presents for the kids, and gifts and cards for our family. I feel so loved.

And so the Oregon chapter of our life comes to an end. I can't believe the day has come. Just know, dear Oregon friends, that you are loved and missed already. And if the blogosphere doesn't object too much, you haven't seen the last of us!

May 25, 2008

Because life should never be boring

Zachary didn't need stitches after all. The cut on his foot had closed by the time a nurse practitioner was able to see him, and no amount of prying would open the wound. However, because the cut is on the ball of Zach's foot, extreme care must be taken to avoid exacerbating the situation.

So instead of stitches....
...Zach soaked his foot in iodine solution....

...got super glue and steri-strips...

...a gauze wrapping...

...a protective boot...

...and CRUTCHES! Can you believe it? Crutches.
For the next 24-48 hours he is supposed to elevate his foot.
For the next 7-10 days, he can't put pressure on his foot.
No walking, running, bike riding, P.E., recess, zoo trips,
park trips, play structure time, etc.

All I can do is laugh. Maniacally.
It should be an interesting week, to say the least!

Our status

Since many people seem to be curious about our moving progress, I thought I would provide an update.

Packing is going well. Dishes and foodstuffs -- other than those we'll eat in the next few days -- are packed. Closets are empty. Clothing that isn't boxed up will end up in suitcases. Even our home office with all its electronic paraphernalia is nearly packed up. I am hoping that this level of preparedness will allow us to (somewhat) enjoy our last few days here.

Cleaning efforts have begun. Yesterday I cleaned out the fridge and the boys tackled the bathrooms with Garry. A friend wiped out kitchen cabinets when she watched the boys Wednesday night. I have helpers lined up for the final cleaning efforts later this week.

The moving truck is coming Thursday morning. We've hired United to load and drive the truck. Delivery in Colorado will happen sometime between June 7 and June 9. Garry's sister is flying in to Portland this Tuesday. She'll help out for a couple of days, then drive our Accord down to Colorado Springs. She has also offered to paint a few bedrooms while she's there! My mom and youngest sister will fly into Colorado Springs and help us get settled for a week starting June 7.

We are still trying to sell one of our office desks, our dining set, and our living room speakers, since none will work in the new house (bummer!). We did sell one desk Friday and are glad for that. Garry and I also enjoyed a "date" to IKEA on Wednesday and found the perfect office desk for our new place.

Although it's a silly time to be acquiring things, I also bought a used exersaucer for Gavin. He has grown out of his bouncy chair and doesn't like the swing much anymore. He's on the cusp of being very mobile, and yet he can't sit up consistently on his own. Anyway, Gavin and I are both thrilled with this $20 investment. It's just perfect for his developmental stage.

We've had a lot of "lasts" this week. Last piano lessons, last grocery shopping trip, last visit to the library, last time picking up Isabel, last run with a good friend, last time cooking (we'll subsist on sandwiches and leftovers for a few days). We have also started saying good-bye. When our neighbor's daughter (fun friend and babysitter) knocked on our door yesterday for a final hug, my heart broke a little. It's feeling rather fragile these days.

Last night some of our good friends gathered at the Lyman's house for what was advertised as the Bartle Bash. It was fun to visit with a few of the wonderful people we have grown to love during our years here. The weather, which has been lame most of the week, was absolutely gorgeous for the evening and the kids enjoyed romping in the backyard for a couple of hours while the adults talked. I was grateful that one friend offered to take pictures all night. I'm sure I'll treasure those photos. Here's one I took of Tyler and Isaac.

Before the party last night, I collected our Sunday clothes for ironing. I then discovered that Zachary's church pants were missing. I searched high and low, in boxes and laundry hampers -- nothing. Although I was completely aggravated to do so, I made a late-night trip to Kohl's and bought him some new pants. I was happy about the Memorial Day sale, at least.

This morning a member of the bishopric released me from my callings at church. A year ago I never would have dreamed that I'd miss leading the Primary music, but I will. And accompanying the choir was definitely entertaining. I will miss the silly banter that went on during our Sunday evening practices! It will be interesting to see where Garry and I end up serving in our next ward.

While I had my interview at the church (I was gone less than ten minutes), Zachary jumped on a plastic toy case that shattered and sliced the bottom of his foot. The cut didn't bleed a lot, but it is deep and we are fairly certain Zach will need stitches. So Garry took Zach and Ty to the urgent care clinic to deal with it. I knew I couldn't handle the situation; I'm so glad that Garry, my rock, was willing to go. Stay tuned for an update on Zach's foot. For now I'm signing off!

May 22, 2008

Emotional

So this has been a harder week than most. I'm not really surprised, but I still hate that things are hard. I hate feeling inept and overwhelmed. I prefer being that "totally together" girl -- or at least putting on airs that I'm that girl. Unfortunately my current phase of life is bent on teaching me how to function without controlling my destiny.

In a way, I can relate to little Gavin, who is currently on the floor at my feet. He is on the verge of mobility. He has discovered that he can roll, and also that he can rock back and forth on his hands and knees. He'll push up in that position, give a big grunt, and scoot a foot backwards. Of course, that is the opposite direction he intended to go, so he'll try again. After a few minutes of either spinning in circles or scooting backwards across the room, Gavin will wail in frustration. Instead of being rewarded with a pile of toys, he's further from his goal than when he started. Boy, I can relate to that!

But Gavin has an advantage: he only has two emotions. Gavin is either content or frustrated. There's nothing in between and very few nuances on either end. Two emotions. That's it. I, however, have an expansive spectrum of feelings, any one of which threatens to explode from my body at a given moment. One minute I'm laughing hysterically at Zach's successful efforts to entertain Gavin, and another I'm sobbing uncontrollably because my fatigued body can't take one more night interrupted by a hungry, crying baby. One minute I'm feeling all warm and fuzzy because a dear friend helped me pack or brought me lunch or offered to watch my boys and another I'm feeling desperate that I'm leaving such dear ones behind. Yet another minute finds me in a good rhythm with packing and preparing; the next finds me feeling hopelessly behind and incompetent!

I didn't mean for this to turn into a sob story. I'm just documenting the reality here. Heidi=emotional smorgasbord. That's all.

My coping mechanism (other than cookies) this week has been to think about all the things that are going well. Happily, there are many.
  • We are fully qualified for our new mortgage
  • The "Begonia House," as we call our new place, appraised at value
  • My piano students all did great at their recital Tuesday
  • The person taking over my Primary calling is starting on Sunday
  • I got to hug many of my favorite Oregonians this week
  • A friend gave me a pass to the Nike Employee Store, which means I got awesome new running shoes for cheap
  • Portland Running Company started selling their cushy socks again
  • David Cook won American Idol
  • A few ward members and our Realtor blessed us with many free packing boxes
  • A truck driver has finally been assigned to our moving job
  • I haven't lost the tape gun or red marker yet
  • Some friends are throwing us a party on Saturday
  • The sun has been shining (at least intermittently)
  • Green leaves have returned to Portland
  • Garry's sister is going to paint some rooms at our new house
  • We get a discount on our new homeowner's insurance policy because of a computer system glitch on the day we got our quote (this sounds shady but it's not)
  • I'm about 90% finished with packing our house
There...now I feel better.

I just have one request: please, somebody, buy this lovely dining set. I don't know which emotion will burst out of my being if it doesn't find a new home before Thursday....but I know it won't be glee.

May 18, 2008

He did it!

Gavin rolled onto his tummy for the first time (and the second, and the third...) this morning. Way to go, buddy!


I missed the inaugural roll as I put on my earrings, but he was willing to repeat the feat as long as the camera wasn't trained on him. The whole family gathered around Gavin to cheer him on. Now he thinks rolling is a pretty cool trick!

May 17, 2008

Zoo Highlights

The Bartle boys and the Lyman boys had a fun zoo outing yesterday. It was such a fun reprieve from packing! We started early but the hot sun still zapped our energy after a few hours.

When I got home I realized I only took pictures of three animals along the way...probably because I was so busy trying to keep track of six little hyenas.
At any rate, here are the highlights of our trip:

Each boy had his own map (at least in the beginning), as well as his own opinions about which animals we should see. Zach was intent on visiting the African Savanna, while Alex wanted to find an ATM and a photo booth.


Stellar Cove and its sea creatures is my favorite part of the zoo. I think the boys enjoyed the tide pool simply because it was wet.


Gavin seemed to enjoy himself in spite of the heat. He wore shorts for the first time in his little life and seemed very intrigued by his hat, too. He kept grabbing the brim and pulling it over his eyes.


The train ride around the zoo may have been the best part of the day. We were the last people on and had to split our group between several benches.


Alex got his front seat and pretended to be an engineer.


Gavin and I experimented with self-portraiture.


We spent a long time at Lorikeet Landing.
The boys loved feeding these colorful birds.


By the end of our trip, all of the boys were vying for a seat
in the stroller next to Jackson.

Thanks for a super fun day, friends!

May 16, 2008

Boxes

So I've started the big ugly chore of packing.

Thank goodness I packed half the house in January.
Still, it's a rather daunting task that requires
deep breaths,
focused and sustained energy,
and regular doses of chocolate.

And perhaps a box of tissues.


I started in the two worst rooms: the kitchen and the garage.
Things have to get easier from here, right?
(At least packing-wise. I expect the need for tissues will get worse.)



I was so grateful all day that the glorious sun was shining.
It was more than 90 degrees outside.
Zachary and Tyler played in the backyard for hours.



They had much more latitude than usual with the water spigot.
They made a huge mess and had a blast.
And I got so much done!



Gavin, as usual, was the sweetest thing.
He spent a lot of time in the jumper.
He spent a lot of time in the swings (indoor and outdoor).
And he spent a lot of time sleeping.
I've never been so grateful for his personality.



After such a long day, Garry stayed home with the boys
and I went to the Relief Society quarterly birthday dinner
and a song practice with Julie, Angie, and Krista.

I had a hard time parting with such good company,
even though it was emotionally tiring to so carefully avoid
hard subjects that would make us all cry.

Two weeks until we drive away. Two weeks.

May 15, 2008

Education Celebration

We attended the annual Education Celebration at Tobias last night. This included a student-led conference, a brief meeting with Zach's teacher, Mrs. Chronister, and a kindergarten performance of the Three Piggy Rap.

Zach enjoyed showing us many of the projects he has worked on throughout the year. He shared a reading journal, a poem collection, a measurement book, several art projects, a various other reading and writing samples. We celebrated Zach's achievements together and especially enjoyed his version of "The Very Hungry Caterpillar," which he told using a sock puppet and construction paper foods.


After we visited his classroom, Zach walked us down the hall to show us more of his artwork and the science fair displays created by his friends. Then he ran off to join his class for their little performance. We had debated about making Zach participate in another experience on stage, but Zach was surprisingly eager to perform the Three Piggy Rap with his peers. We were so glad to see him enjoying himself on stage! It was definitely worth missing the first 20 minutes of his baseball game to have such a positive performance experience, even if it was a little silly! We are so proud of our little kindergartener and all he has accomplished this year.



video

May 13, 2008

Can't....stop....thinking....

Today started off at neck-breaking pace and never let up.

When I rolled over to look at the clock this morning, it read 7:43 a.m. - seventeen minutes before school started. I bolted out of bed, threw on yesterday's clothes, and ran downstairs. The house was eerily quiet.

I made it to the kitchen and saw Zach wolfing down some Cheerios. Garry was frantically making a sandwich for Zach's lunch. Apparently Garry and I woke up at the same instant.

To backtrack, I sort of remember feeding Gavin somewhere in the five a.m. region. Apparently he didn't go back to sleep. Garry retrieved him from his crib and snuggled with him on the couch. I was completely unconscious, and Garry and Gavin quickly followed suit.

We assume Zach and Ty went about their usual morning routine: waking up around six and playing in their room until someone summoned them for breakfast at seven. Well, that was the point of failure. There weren't any coherent adults to perform breakfast duty at 7:00, and amazingly, the boys didn't complain about it. At 7:42, Zach and Ty were still in their bedroom, lazing about in their pajamas. Oh boy.

Incredibly, Zachary was seated in his classroom at 8:00. My heart rate returned to normal around 8:30, but once I showered it was back to go-go-go-go-go....there were insurance guys to call, emails to send, music time to plan, and visiting teaching to arrange. The phone was glued to my ear all day, even when I drove around town making returns, buying sheet music, nurturing Tyler with his slammed-in-the-door fingers and potty emergencies, picking up lunch, and meeting Garry to sign inspection paperwork. I actually set up shop in the parking lot of Wells Fargo for almost an hour while we waited for a document to arrive. Tyler perused children's books that I need to return to a friend and Gavin nursed and played. I lived in fear of a blowout since I forgot the diaper bag, but we survived 4 1/2 hours away from home without it.

I squeezed in three phone calls and retrieved four phone messages in the 15 minutes we were home before picking up Zachary from school. My cell phone rang while we walked to school, as well, but I had to quit my conversation with yet another insurance guy because the post-school bedlam was just too much.

At home I shamelessly set up the boys with a movie and a big snack, then nursed Gavin and put him down for a nap so I could hit the computer and phone again. I only came up for air when Gavin cried, and that happened twice before 6:30 p.m. The boys were mesmerized with recorded episodes of Cyberchase.

Happily, I made progress on many fronts. We have chosen an insurance carrier for our new home and cars, and we'll be getting far better coverage for not much more money than we are paying now. We have also selected a moving service and have locked in at a rate we are comfortable with. (Tomorrow we will find out if the dates we have to work with are doable for the company. Apparently having closing/possession dates eight days apart is rather odd.) I have changed our address with a bunch of places, most notably USPS and our church magazines. I have begun to organize the mountains of moving-related paperwork (most of it is going to the recycling bin!). I have selected sheet music for my piano students and made an important return/purchase expedition to Deseret Book. And I have gone visiting teaching for the last time in Beaverton (sniff, sniff).

As I went about my tasks, I began getting overwhelmed by all that did NOT get done today. This house looks like a tornado swept through it this morning. There are mountains of laundry everywhere. The kitchen is a wreck, despite the fact that I haven't cooked since I got home from Colorado. How is this possible? The house was spotless on Sunday morning. I need to prepare singing time for Primary and practice the choir number I'm accompanying this week. The piano recital program won't format itself, and I'm sure the guy who is interested in seeing our dining set will choose to come at the worst possible time. Oh, and packing? Yeah, that's gotta start happening soon.

Can you sense that I'm starting to get a little frantic? I feel like there's a little mouse in my brain, running on a wheel that goes faster and faster as time goes on. Pretty soon that mouse is going to lose his balance, fly off the wheel and crash into a wall. Something tells me that when that happens, another mouse will appear to take his place.

Farewell to the fauxhawk

I have loved Gavin's hair since birth. From the amazing blond-ness to the funky rooster tail, Gavin's hair has just been a delightful part of his appearance.


Sadly, his hair started falling out last month and I was shocked to discover this weekend that his head has taken on the appearance of a molting bird. Entire sections of his scalp were reduced to 1/4-inch peach fuzz while tufts of longer, wispy hair remained in other places. Gavin's cuteness wasn't compromised, mind you, but his hair still needed some attention.

So with a sigh of resignation, I buzzed his hair yesterday. He sat in the bathroom sink, entirely nonchalant about the whirring clippers scraping his scalp. He was far more interested in the black cape draped around him, which immediately became a chew toy.

I miss Gavin's hair already, but the new tennis ball look is growing on me.

May 11, 2008

Globetrotting grandmother

To say that our big boys were in good hands during our house-hunting trip would be a giant understatement. Grandma's hands were full, to be sure, but they were super busy, fun, and creative, as well. Thanks to Grandma's camera, we can offer a play-by-play of Zachary and Tyler's week with her.

Friday
The boys and I picked up Grandma from the airport in the morning. We played at Washington Park near the zoo for about an hour. Grandma was especially enamored with little Gavin, who enjoyed a bucket swing for the first time. That was lots of fun. Then we met Garry for lunch at Costa Vida and played outside in the afternoon. All too soon it was bedtime and the boys weren't ready to quit their Grandma fun!


Saturday

We all woke up in the wee hours to make our 7:30 flight to Colorado. Three sleepy boys accompanied the grown-ups to the airport, and then Grandma navigated all the way home with the aid of a GPS device. Not bad, considering the route crossed five freeways and 30 miles! The day was pretty busy in Beaverton. Zachary had a ball game at 9:00 a.m. He did well at first base, although once when he missed catching a ball, he dove to first anyway, hoping that the move would still make an out. After the game the boys went to a Primary activity, then home for lunch, and then bowling!

Grandma wasn't tired yet, so she took Zach and Ty to Rood Bridge Park. It was there that they realized the boys' coats were missing. They backtracked to the bowling alley, but it seemed that someone had stolen the left-behind coats. Bummer! After checking out a few stores, it was apparent that buying coats in May is a tough proposition (even if the cool weather warrants warm outerwear). She did, however, spend quite a while in Kohl's outfitting the boys in new summer clothing! Zach and Tyler are thrilled with their new wardrobes.

Sunday
Grandma took the boys to church, of course. While the boys were in Primary, she went to Relief Society. A woman investigating the church was touched by a comment Grandma made during the lesson and said Grandma's words helped her realize the gospel was true and she wanted to be baptized! Amazing! We'll definitely have to follow up on that investigator and attend her baptism when it happens.

Monday
Zachary had a three-day school week while Grandma visited, so she got to see Zach's classroom a couple of times every day. While Zach was off learning, Tyler and Grandma puttered at home and ran errands. On this day she bought supplies for some art projects. The boys LOVE the construction paper, smelly markers, and giant coloring book! Grandma gave a Family Home Evening lesson on how to bear a testimony of the gospel. She explained the steps and then had the boys share their feelings about the church. It sounded like a wonderful lesson! Their activity was making "welcome home" signs for Mom and Dad and Mother's Day cards for me. What sweeties! For dessert they had ice cream with chocolate pudding sauce. Apparently it's the dessert of the year.

Tuesday
Zachary went to school again. Grandma spent the morning playing with Tyler. They were super silly and played some games. That afternoon, she took the boys to Rood Bridge Park, their favorite outdoor destination. They took scooters and helmets and spent three hours there! Zach and Tyler enjoyed the play structure for a long time, but also roamed all of the paths around the park. They even followed some paths we had never explored and were delighted to discover some new things.

Wednesday
The morning started early at Pump-it-Up, Jr. While the boys romped on all the inflatables, Grandma struck up a conversation with Melissa, one of Heidi's friends who happened to be there with her daughters. After Pump-it-Up, Grandma took the boys to Krispy Kreme where they had free samples and bought a dozen donuts. Then they ate sack lunches and drove to OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry -- another favorite). Incredibly, they spent five and a half hours at the museum! Zachary was especially obsessed with a paper airplane area, where he followed instructions and made lots of wonderful aircraft. Both boys dressed up as squirrels and hid acorns in a giant tree for a long time. They also toured the submarine permanently docked in the river outside of OMSI. This is something they have always wanted to do!

Thursday
Zach had school on Thursday, so Ty ran errands with Grandma. They went to Costco and Fred Meyer and even got the van's oil changed! Grandma bought us four lawn chairs since all of ours broke last summer -- and so we'd have something to sit on during baseball games. Zach had another game that night and apparently it was absolutely freezing!

Friday
In preparation for our return, Grandma cleaned the house, washed laundry, and even scrubbed bathrooms. Then she went outside and vacuumed our filthy van.While she engaged in that two-hour project, she turned the boys onto a project of their own: blasting chalk "graffiti" off a brick wall with their water guns. They filled some big buckets with water so they could refill their guns easily and then went to town. What fun! Later they picked up Garry, Gavin, and I from the airport. While we rested, unpacked, and got settled, Grandma enjoyed Gavin some more and fixed dinner.

Saturday

I left early for the half marathon, and Grandma stayed behind with Garry and four boys (including little Jackson Lyman, my running partner's 15-month-old). It was quite a feat getting four little ones fed and ready at the same time! The whole crowd met us at Champoeg State Park to celebrate our finish. I wasn't worth much after the race, but we had to drive straight to Zachary's baseball game. He had a wonderful time, but in my condition the game seemed long and the weather was too cool for my worn-out body. Grandma watched Gavin for me so I could rest in the car. That evening the whole family enjoyed a lovely dinner together at Stanford's.

Sunday
Grandma spent as much time as she could with the boys during her last morning here. We also exchanged Mother's Day gifts and I discovered I had wrapped up the wrong thing for her and inadvertently given her present to Aunt Heidi for her birthday last week! I felt like a Class A Dweeb for the mix-up, but Grandma and Heidi were both gracious about my faux pas.

Garry and the boys drove Grandma to the airport while I started working on this little [big] post. Good-byes were hard all around, but at least we can look forward to another visit from Grandma at our new house next month! We are so grateful for all she did for our little family this week and hope that someday we can repay her generosity.

pass it on!

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