Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009...

I'm tired...but it's a happy kind of tired. My mom's family(the Vanderwalls)came from near and far to share Thanksgiving Day with us. My uncles live in Seattle. My aunt lives in Portland. There are teens in these families from these metropolitan areas, and, bless their hearts, they love to come spend the holiday with us in Hicksville! (insert sigh of grateful wonderment here) This year, we were blessed to also have cousins(or should I say "cud'ns") Kris & Krissy from Alabama, Zach & Cori and heart-stealing sons from Montana, and Sam & Kasi, newlyweds from Salem,OR... The family grows!! For the first time in 3 years, Jess was home for the holiday...(insert happy mom sigh). All in all, 37 people with good attitudes crowded into our home, finding seating in some unusual areas of the house. Everyone contributed to the menu, and we feasted and visited all day long...laughing, playing games, enjoying having 3 little boys to entertain us...It was quite wonderful.

I made one pretty turkey...

...and one pretty ugly turkey! But they both tasted delicious (whew!).

Tables were everywhere! The study...

The white carpeted living room...(I'm happy to report no spills -- though, ironically, this is where the teen boys chose to sit. :D)

The entry, the family room, and -- oh yeah -- the dining room too...


Visiting... and the remains of the buffet...

This is just a small portion of the buffet line...It went all around the kitchen!

People everywhere...

Erin came up with a great group game where each person had to share their favorites on a few topics.

Hmmm...I think Grandpa is saying Grandma is one of his favorites...We knew that!!! :D

Lots of laughter...

Let the games begin!! We had some diehard "Nerts" (??is that the name of the game) fans...serious gaming going on here. They even hired Linda to keep score (They needed a neutral party, you know).

Conrad and Josiah create with Lego in Jess' former room. It was such fun to have younger kids around again, and these boys are really great kids!

Their little brother Brenden (3) taught Caitlin (25) how to box on the Wii...

Then he decided he needed more of a challenge and took on Nate (14, but man-sized!)

Boys of all ages enjoyed the Wii...

PDQ played in the study...(you must be Pretty Darn Quick for this game!)

The day ended with a couple of rounds of Apples to Apples. Daisie lies exhausted after spending the entire afternoon making new friends, and getting attention from 37 people...heaven!
It was indeed a little slice of heaven to spend the day with people we see once a year, or even less often, but whom all love each other dearly. I've said it before...I'll say it again...FAMILY -- it's a good thing!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

An Update on the Fam...

A bit overdue on catching you up on the exploits and adventures of our family...and that, just written, is a huge oversell – but there are a few new and nifty developments since I updated last.

Dillon and Tiffany enjoyed their Hawaiian honeymoon, and are settled into their new life. It’s not quite as they had hoped as Tiffany’s paperwork, allowing her to take residence in the US, has not yet come through. SO – she continues to be a visitor to the good ol’ USA...kind of a bummer. She has been able to continue her job up there (part-time) and so lives with her folks for most of the work week, and then visits down here for the weekend. At least she can stay with Dillon now! That is an improvement, and they are having a good attitude about the delay. On the legal front, things are moving in the right direction, and we’re hoping she’s in the final stage of the process.

Because Dillon is employed by the Cascade Radio Group, and his general manager and boss is Michael O’Shea, the guy who hired and trained a 16 year old Glenn Beck to do radio, he and Tiffany got to meet Mr. Beck himself! Pretty cool! There was quite a stir when the Mt. Vernon, WA mayor arranged for Glenn Beck to receive the key to the city and give a speech here. On the west side of our blue state, there are lots of people who hate him, and didn’t appreciate the mayor’s attempt to honor "local boy does good". Anyway, D & T got to go...They said Mr. Beck’s speech was not the name-calling derogatory slugfest that his detractors expected. He spoke about his life, and his heart and hope for this great country. He had an enthusiastic and appreciative audience. Tiffany said that for her, it was the first time she had been in a large group of people who were demonstratively proud of their country, excited about it, and enthusiastic to preserve its goodness. This had quite an impact on her. Later, when they met Mr. Beck, she was able to relate her experience to him, and tell him that for the first time she felt excited about becoming a part of this country. This elicited a hug and a sincere thank you from Mr. Beck...he was touched! Dillon & Tiffany found him to be a very nice guy, and were very pleased to have the opportunity to talk to him.

They continue to have neat opportunities and adventures – the latest being the chance to attend the BC Country Music Awards, sitting at a table with Tiffany’s friends, The Higgins. They got to mingle with a bunch of country music "up & comers", and established artists...People they hear on the radio all the time! They even snagged tickets to the after party where the artists combined talents to perform great music all night...Dillon thought maybe he & Tiff were the only "nobodies" there... How much fun is that?? I guess that’s the kind of fun you have when you are young and live an international lifestyle!

In the midst of summer’s craziness, I was remiss in never updating you that Caitlin’s place of residence had changed. Her roommate was scheduled to marry on August 29, so she was planning for some kind of a change...She looked into trying to take advantage of the first-time home buyers incentive, but it just didn’t work out. Shortly after she gave up on that, God provided her the opportunity to rent a very cute little 2 bedroom house on Grover St. It was quite wonderful how He allowed us to find it, and discover that we knew the landlords, and they happily allowed Cait to become their renter...all in a weekend! It’s small, easy to care for, has a yard, newly refinished original hardwood floors, and charming character. We moved her in the first week of June and she has been loving it ever since.

In September, she became the envy of many of the guys that live on her block when she purchased a 2009 Dodge Challenger! Our little girl drives a muscle car!! It’s not the kind of car you expect to see a pretty blond girl driving – and I think she loves that! Goodbye little practical RAV 4 – hello hot car! Practical Caitlin goes crazy!! We were quite surprised, but enjoy seeing her have so much fun with her head-turning car!

Also in September, she had outpatient surgery on her toe...Her unfortunate misstep in February is finally fixed now! It’s been a long time of trying to get it to heal, but now the offending piece of bone has been removed, the touchy nerve repositioned, and hopefully this episode will soon be finished! She had to wear a special shoe, and the original bandage for 2 weeks, now the splint for 4wks, then only at night for another 6...At the end of it, she will have spent the better part of the year messing with it – but she will be able to run again, and she can’t wait. She handled anesthesia well, and was off pain meds in a couple of days; stayed only one night at our house, and then was back to her house. Since getting the stitches out, it has finally been with less pain than in a long time...wonderful! Her job continues to be very busy, and a little more so right now as one of the employees has moved on – some gaps to fill. Since running is Cait’s stress reliever, she’s going to really be happy to run again, even in the fall rains!

Jess was happy to become gainfully employed mid-August. He is now a sales consultant for Wilson Motors...that’s right! He’s a car salesman! No one was more surprised than he that this is the job he ended up with. A friend of his who works there recommended Jess to the manager when they were in need of more salesmen. Jess went in to meet the manager, was invited back to meet the next manager, and then offered the job. Amazingly, he sold a car each of the first 3 days he worked there! We were all amazed! We asked him if that was "normal" – he had no idea! He did find out in the next weeks that it was not the norm, but he has done well since despite September & October being some of the slowest months for car sales in a long time... He told the managers that he had no sales experience. They were more concerned about he was with meeting people and establishing rapport with them...He is good at that – just a friendly nice guy to talk to, you know... He’s learning a lot – not all days are good, but it’s a paying job which to this point has been hard to find. Of course, Caitlin bought her car from him...keeping it in the family!

Jess’ next change was one of address. The first of October he moved into a 2 bed, 2 bath duplex in town with Dillon’s former roommate, Kyle Roosendaal. It’s a really nice place, and he is enjoying having his own space, and a schedule unfettered by the old folks’ unreasonable bedtimes.

So, we are officially empty-nesters...and though we have had tastes of this previously, we still find that it is kind of different to not have any other noises in the house than what we lights left on for the late-returning...leftovers go bad...cereal actually gets stale...two gallons of milk last 2 weeks, not 2 days...Ironically, Randy was more melancholy about the change than I...I saw it coming from afar, and have been adjusting for years at the loss of access, of being needed, and more and more appreciating the joy of seeing the kids function so well on their own. It is a great joy to my heart to see them settled in cozy, comfortable homey places, making their own lives, their own homes...So much to be thankful for! Wasn’t this our goal way back when? It always has been, but we’ve so much loved having them in our lives daily...Now it’s back to just the two of us...but we’re finding that there is much good there as well... "Ring, Ring...Hey kids, can you take care of Daisie? We’re taking off for the day..." There’s fun to be had at every stage!

About Me

Needing an outlet for various thoughts rattling in my head, I've created two blogs -- One about my real life ( and one where I can vent. (