Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The Big UnEasy

Cameron is officially on "vacation," as Ana has left for hers and thus closed the daycare. Not that it matters much, since he can officially start at Crawmers Critterz on Thursday... but we had already made some very special arrangements before that whole turn of events noted in an earlier blog. Yes, Cameron is on vacation because his Grammy is here to spend the week with him while mommy and daddy slave away at work.

As she was the reigning Club Champion since the summer of 2004, we insisted that Grammy stay in Sandpoint this past weekend and play her match to try and defend her lofty title. Alas, Marceen Williams (again) stole the crown and is now queen of Ladies Club at Hidden Lakes for another year. But Grammy had bigger fish to fry... she had to hurry and pack to come spend the week with Cameron. She arrived Monday afternoon, just as Mia and Joey were readying to leave our house. Mia and Joey came to spend the day at Cameron's Castle so that their mommy could have a quiet day with her friend Barb after receiving her first chemo treatment on Friday. After our guests went home, we loaded into the car and went for groceries for the week.

I am sure glad Grammy is here this week of all weeks, what with Katrina leaving her ugly devastation and the American Red Cross in an utter ker-fluffle over what to do about her. I like to call it the Big UnEasy.

First, it must be noted that Ryan, George and Bridget Ott are all safe and sound in Waco with George's mom. They had to leave Ryan's gigantic pickup parked next to the house (couldn't get it in the garage) and a just-filled freezer in the garage as well, but they left about an hour before the giant race out of the city. No word yet on their return, since according to Ruth, Ryan doesn't yet know what, if anything, he'll be returning to both at home and at work.

I expect it will still take a couple of days for our staff to assess the full impact of what Katrina will do to our organization; as of this past weekend we already had three volunteers en route to help with Katrina's victims in Florida but I'm sure they were promptly re-routed to more western states once she turned into the Gulf. We haven't yet heard from those three, a fourth and fifth were recruited by National and most likely won't report for quite some time, and a sixth and seventh volunteers were recruited today and will be traveling tomorrow. It's been reported that our little chapter has to help satisfy lofty goals of sending hundreds of volunteers to the east coast in the coming weeks-- all the while with threat of wildfires in Central Oregon which forced the evacuation of a neighborhood this past weekend.

Fortunately I will only be periphally involved in this recruitment and sending-off of folks to the east, as I have my own battles to wage on the finance front whenever disaster strikes. For the recent Asian tsunamis alone, more than half of the Chapter's entire year's revenues crossed my desk in five weeks-- every dollar of which had to be accounted for and forwarded on to support that international relief effort. I expect something similar to happen for Katrina-- it is a true testament of the generosity of Central Oregonians who donate their time and treasure to help complete strangers half a world away.

But that's for the first of September... for now I'm busy trying to wrap up my annual audit of last fiscal year while trying to dodge what might become the inevitable: traveling to east coast myself. My only line of defense right now is my parental obligations to Hurricane Cameron and the devestation he may very well wreak on our peacful existence should mommy leave for three weeks. Only time (and my deft dodging abilities) will tell, but on the flip side I may get a visit with Miss Bridget Ott out of the deal. Keep 'ya posted.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Twice the Blessing

I normally won't have time to post once a week, let alone twice a day... but I just can't resist. As if our August wasn't CRAZY enough, I have just gotten the best news from Elizabeth (Hogan) McCrank. She and her husband Peter wanted a family for quite a while when they finally learned that they were expecting. So as to not jinx it, Elizabeth held this information from the world-at-large for 15 weeks, at which time we received the wonderful news. In her first example of "baby rules the roost," Elizabeth and Peter learned last Friday that there are going to be TWO (count 'em, TWO) little McCranks running around come December/January.

I am super excited for them (Elizabeth, I apologize if my enthusiasm wasn't translated through the international call but I was taking a few moments to mourn your peaceful and rested existence) and can't wait for them to be parents, let alone get a double dosing of parenting all at once. Good damn thing I've already started picking up a few things for them here and there.

Woo-Hoo! Instant Family!

The Power of Positive Reinforcement

It's been quite an August at Cameron's Castle. To say that we have been busy is an understatement. Now, I know that busy is a relative term and I know that there are probably plenty of families out there who would trade their hectic schedules for mine in a heartbeat, but the pace is certainly quickening and I'm scrambling to keep up.

We have two big new happenings in August that compounded our already fun-filled days... First, we made the decision in mid-August to switch Cameron from Ana's daycare (just down the street) to a daycare/preschool called Crawmer's Critterz which is a little further away, but will be a welcome change to his and our environments. Cameron's vocabulary and learning skills have exploded in recent months, and we just figured it was time to give him a more structured day and an opportunity to begin learning preschool-related subjects and incorporate those into his already play-centered day. Ruth and Russ Crawmer and their assistant "Mister Tyler" have been operating the Critterz for nearly five years now, so their experience and expertise with early childhood development comes highly recommended. We look forwad to learning and growing with Cameron as he begins his preschool path September 6th!

Our second devleopment to note is that our dear friend and neighbor, Lyndie Vaccaro (Queen of Vaccaroville) has been diagnosed with Hodgkins Diease. Essentially a cancer of the lymph nodes, Hodgkins disease can be a treatable condition with a high survival rate. We are blessed to have learned that Lyndie's condition can be characterized as Stage One Hogdkins and she begins her twice-monthly rounds of chemotherapy tomorrow (Friday, August 26). Her prognosis is very good and, other than losing her hair and being worn out, she hopes to have radiation in the fall/winter and receive a clean bill of health by the New Year. I continue to be amazed at how loving and nurturing her church family and her family family have been in the weeks since her diagnosis. Everyone has come together to love and support and pray for this incredible woman who gives ALL of herself and asks for very little in return. Lyndie is always the first to lend a hand and can never say "no" to anyone. So, Lyndie, it's time for you to sit back, tolerate your treatments, LOVE your family, and let your friends and neighbors help you out with the cooking, cleaning, errand running, mowing... whatever we need to do. I hear fundraisers and other "asks" are in the works to cover the tremendous medical bills that could mount during the next few months; Vaccaroville's job is to get their Queen better; our job is to take are of the rest of the stuff. Wink, Wink.

For those of you who may not have heard, we ARE building a new house this fall. Well, it should be completed by next spring, but the application for permits are in and Jeromy will be scheduling the push-out and excavation for the first week of September. Many continuted thanks to Corey and Micki Kovash for having the wherewithall to add a general contractors license to their plumbing contractors license and for allowing Jeromy to pursue his dream of generalling his own house. We know there will be many bumps in the road (that's another of Cameron's new verbalizations: "bumpy road, mommy!") but our end result will be amazing-- a new and improved Cameron's Castle (2800 square feet of living space with a 900 foot garage) designed by our brother Mark on a larger lot with a sweeping view of the Three Sisters... who could ask for more?

Well, lunch break is over so I'd better get back at it. I hope that, when I can get the Miller Family Newsletter out in the fall, everyone will have a moment to review these older posts and catch up on our comings and goings. What did we do before the World Wide Web???

Take care, everyone!
The Millers