Sunday, July 30, 2006


I've always thought it was interesting how nicknames come about and evolve. I've discovered that you can't really pick a nickname, they just kind of happen. My friend Amber always wanted a nickname and was always making them up for everyone else, but they never stuck for her. But, she definitely has a talent for coming up with names for other people. I think she gets it from her dad, who rarely calls people the same thing twice.
She has come up with some rather interesting ones over the years, but my very favorite (because it is so random and not even close to the original name) is that she calls her sister William. Her real name is Claire. It all started because Amber would always say, "What you talkin about, Willis?" to her all the time. So, that got shortened to Willis, then Will, then William, and sometimes, Wilhelm.
There's always a logical sequence if you get an explanation, but you can't always see the connection right off between the nickname and the real name.
I always thought it was pecular when nicknames were longer than the original name too. Because I thought the reason for a nickname was to shorten the name. But, it's amazing the things that stick. In high school, my friends all called me Malaria (thanks to Amber). That's a whole 2 syllables extra added to my name. But, it stuck, so my nickname was a disease.
When we named Britton, I kind of thought that we would call him Britt a lot. But, we never do. Maybe because it sounds like a girl or maybe because it just doesn't fit him. I don't know. We've never called him anything but Britton.
But, with Haley, we hardly ever call her by her name. From the beginning, I called her Haley Bug which over time has evolved to "Bug", "Bugs", "HayBug", etc. And we call her "Hay" or "HayHay" all the time too.
It's just funny how somethings just seem to fit and so they stick.

New Renters

Last Saturday we got new renters in our basement. So, it was a crazy weekend. The old people moved out Friday evening, so we cleaned the carpets that night and the new people moved in Saturday night.
The new people have 3 kids--a 5 year old boy, a 2 year old girl, and a baby boy (I think he's around 1). They are the perfect ages for my kids. They're already the best of friends too and want to play together non-stop. I invited their kids into play while they were unloading everything on Saturday. Since then, my kids have wanted to play with them every second.
They also have a dog. We told them they couldn't have pets at first but then we changed our minds. But, if there are any problems at all, they have arrangements for someone to take it. I kind of like it though. It doesn't go inside at all and is very well-behaved. It doesn't bark at night and is really good with kids. So, it's perfect for us. We have all the benefits of having a pet without actually having to take care of it. Britton has been wanting a cat or a dog for a long time, so this is ideal.

Mini Van

For about a month or so, we have been the proud owners of a minivan. I'm so excited. I've been wanting a van for a long time, but we hadn't planned on being able to get one for a while. My mom bought a new van so she gave us her old one. She's the nicest. It's so nice to be able to let other people ride with us. Or have room for everything. It gets way better gas mileage than the Rover plus it will help extend the life of our other two cars.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

At Brent's House

More of the Cedar Forest

Cedar Forest

The cedar forest is another one of my favorite places. It's home to some very, very, very old trees. It's so fun to see such big trees everywhere. Once again I discovered that Haley really is in her element in nature. She took her time to examine every little detail and pick up every rock, stick, or leaf that she could keep in her hands. It was fun to watch her be so interested, but it made for some very slow paced hiking. About half way into the hike, she decided it would be a good idea to take her shoes off and just go barefoot for the rest of the time. Although there is a path, it's not particularly smooth or clear. There were pine needles and rocks and sticks all over the path, but she didn't seem to mind one bit. By the end of the hike, holding sticks and rocks, covered in dirt, with her hair all messed up, and shoeless, she really looked like she had been raised in the forest. But, she was so content.

Beauty Bay

On our way home from Kellogg, we decided to take a pretty drive to see the other side of the lake. We explored quite a bit and got quite a few flyers for houses for sale (only $1.5 million!). It's a dream of mine to own a house right on the lake with our own private beach and dock. Unfortunately, I think it will always remain a dream as I don't predict housing prices to go down anytime soon (or ever).
We stopped at a lookout point at Beauty Bay. It was so gorgeous! The pictures don't do it justice at all. I guess the name sort of gives it a way, but it really is beautiful. We tried stopping at Beauty Creek as well but were unable to find any creek. I think it must be dried up for now. Britton really wanted to practice skipping rocks so we stopped again on a dock so the kids could throw some rocks into the lake.

Silver Mountain

Wednesday it was a bit too chilly to go to the beach, so we decided to drive to Kellogg to ride on the gondola. It's been probably 15 years since I've been on it. It's the world's longest gondola. My kids loved it. They loved looking down and seeing the cars and houses get smaller and smaller. And then when we got up higher, all we could see were tons of trees. It was beautiful. The gondola ride was very long. I must admit, I was starting to get a bit claustrophobic by the end. But, when we got to the top, it was just gorgeous. They had a little playground with the inflatable jumping thing up there for the kids which was a nice surprise. So, we played for a while and explored a little while before heading back down on the gondola. It was a good way to spend a colder afternoon.

Tubb's Hill

Tubb's Hill is one of my very favorite places. You hike for about 15 minutes along the lake and end up on a much more secluded and rugged little beach. It's one of my favorite spots to go swimming. Britton hiked the whole way, but I ended up carrying Haley for the majority of the hike, not because she didn't want to walk, but because she insisted on collecting one of each of all the different plants. I was trying to be patient with her as she'd squat down every few steps to pick a leaf or two, but when she started tasting each one, that's where I had to draw the line. So, she spent the rest of the hike on my shoulders. When we arrived at the beach to swim, there were two dogs (with their owners, of course). My kids were so excited. The dogs would fetch sticks thrown out into the lake. So, my kids started throwing out sticks for Mark to fetch for them. Mark was a good sport and played along and kept them quite entertained.

Coeur d'Alene Lake

The majority of our vacation was spent at the beach. Aunt Pat bought the kids a whole bunch of sand toys so they had lots of fun digging and building castles. They also loved swimming and splashing and got braver and braver each day. It was nice just to be able to relax and enjoy the beautiful weather (mostly in the 80's) and scenery.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Coeur d'Alene

We had such a fun time in Coeur d'Alene. We stayed with my Aunt Pat and my Uncle Vic. They hired Jason to do some work for them around their house, so it was a working trip for him and a regular vacation for me. We spent most of our days at the beach and most of our nights hanging out and playing cards. I got to sleep in everyday and just relax and enjoy being around relatives. It was great.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Traveling These Days

Traveling these days is just not the same as it used to be. As we were getting ready to embark on our 12 hour roadtrip with our two young kids, we spent most of the time downloading our playlists for ipods, gathering up DVDs, and finding all the car chargers for the various electronic equipment we'd be taking along. When I thought we were ready to start loading up the luggage and be on our way, Jason was just beginning to wire our car with all the needed gadgets. When he came out with a power strip with 5 different plugs, I knew we were in for trouble. It took him a good hour to get everything arranged and plugged in. We had the DVD player that is already in the car, our portable DVD player with two screens--one connected to the XBox and one connected to our DVR (we had to bring that so my brother Mark could catch up on the last season of Lost), then in the front we had two different mp3 players each with headphones and charger and the little thing that makes it so you can hear the music through the car radio, and lastly, the GPS. There were so many wires and gadgets all over the place it's a miracle we had room for the kids and our stuff. It's another miracle that I figured out how to use it all. There was one point that we were all doing something different. The kids watching a movie, Mark watching Lost, Jason listening to a book on his ipod, and me listening to my music. Although, I really appreciated being able to turn on a movie for my kids, or let Britton play Xbox when he got grumpy, or have my very own favorite music to listen to at 2 in the morning while I'm driving and everyone else was sleeping, there was still a part of me that misses those roadtrips when we were forced to talk in the car to entertain ourselves. I missed the good conversations, singing songs, and playing "Mary car games". I think when my kids get a bit older and more capable of handling 12 hours in the car, I'm going to ban all electronic devices and just rely on our personalities to keep us happy.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Don't Cry over Spilled Milk

I never really understood the saying, "Don't cry over spilled milk" until I was a mom. Before, it seemed so dumb that anyone would cry over spilled milk in the first place so I didn't see why there needed to be a saying to remind them not to. My neighbor said one day, "It's not spilled milk that makes you cry, it's spilled milk for the 10th time in one day that makes you cry". I can totally relate to that. I don't even like milk but both my kids LOVE it and drink it like it's going out of style. Luckily, they use sippy cups for the most part so there aren't a lot of spills. But then you have to deal with cleaning the sippy cups which is another whole story. Anyway, Haley has learned that if you shake the sippy cup upside down, milk will come out anyway. And she loves to do it. So, on numerous occasions I've entered a room to find it splattered with milk. This makes it even harder to clean up because it's not all in one nice little pile. It's quite a chore making sure you get it all. But, it's definitely worth it to do a good job because rotting milk is one of the worst smells on earth. The worst is when my kids spill milk without me knowing about it and then don't tell me. There was one incident (and I'm embarrassed to admit it) when Haley spilled some underneath her rocking chair and Jason and I didn't know about it. Within a few days we were searching our house for the smell. When we had located it, I of course was the one designated to clean it up due to Jason's "sensitive" nose and the fact that I also didn't want to clean up his vomit afterwards. When I was finally finished scrubbing the floor, I was about ready to ban milk from our house for good. Too bad it builds strong bones and teeth and all that other good stuff. Otherwise, I'd rid my house of it forever.

4th of July Festivites

This year we tried to take advantage of all the fun Freedom Festival activities for the fourth. Saturday night we did the traditional barbecue at Kiwanis Park with the Kemps then watched the fireworks from the Stadium of Fire. But, this year I actually planned ahead and made us some good food to take along. I made barbecued pulled pork in the crockpot. It cooked all day long and it was just perfect for sandwiches by evening. Then I made brownies with whipped cream on top and then blueberries and strawberries on top decorated to look like the flag--very festive. I was pretty impressed with myself. Britton and Haley loved the fireworks. I think this is the first year that Haley has actually paid attention to them. She was so cute. Everytime one went off she's say "there's a firework" then two seconds later "there's another firework" and she kept saying it each time throughout the night. It was hilarious. She just sat there staring, saying that, all throughout the whole firework show.
Monday morning we got up really early and went to the balloon festival. We got there just in time to see the majority of them fill up and then all of them take off. The kids loved it. I don't think they've ever seen hot air balloons before and especially not that close up. Jason kept talking to everyone trying to somehow get us a free ride, but with no luck. (Big surprise)
Tuesday we decided to brave the crowds and go to the parade. This year they had an aviation parade simultaneously. So, every few minutes a plane would fly along the parade route. That's really the only reason we went. They had a few impressive planes, but for the most part they were just the same kinds that Jason flies all the time. But, it was still fun and added some variety to the marching bands and politicians in fancy cars.
We ended our 4th of July festivities with cherry picking at my parents house. We had a whole assembly line going. There were some pickers, some washers/sorters, some pitters, and some baggers/driers. It was pretty amazing that we got the whole tree picked and most of them dried or bagged for freezing. We'll have to do the other pie cherry trees in a few weeks. Britton's favorite job was pitting the cherries. By the end of the day he was covered in splats of cherry juice. Luckily he took off his shirt before starting.