Monday, September 25, 2006

Weekend Update

It's fall. Which means the Millers are either travelling, at Oregon State for football games, or canning something. This weekend, we did all three.

A few months ago, when the football schedule was first posted on the internet, we made elaborate plans to have a babysitter over on Saturday so that we could both go to the 1 pm game against the Vandals. We thought it would be perfect for the two of us to go over early in the morning while Cameron stayed home and played with Riley. We would be home at or just after bed time. Perfect, right? HA! After weeks of planning, OSU decided to take some TV money and they moved the game from 1 to 7 pm. I probably could have made it work, except I had this to do:

It took me five hours to chop and it took Lyndie and I about six hours to can a total of four batches of salsa, but they turned out great. Much spicier this year, we think because the peppers had much more of a kick to them vs last year's peppers from Fred Meyer. I yielded 26.5 pints and Lyndie yielded 30, so we had a very productive day. The kids ran around and played in Vaccaroville Park while the men sat around and watched (more) football. Afterwards we took the tired kids and their cranky parents out to dinner and made it home and to bed by 8:30.

And because we apparantly don't have enough trucks in this house, we just had to go get another one at the store. These are die cast and pretty cool, so we're adding to our collection.

Remember me? I'm the Touareg. I've been a little brat lately. I've been in the shop four times over the last three five weeks. This time, I promise I'm working. They're threatening to exchange (with the help of the Oregon Lemon Law) me for a youner, prettier model if I don't shape up.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

There are no words right now. Except maybe swear words

So, here's a good news/bad news post for you today.

The bad news?

I left a bunch of stuff in the back of the Audi I nearly stole yesterday. Which I returned today. With my stuff still in the trunk.

I had a rotten day at work.

I got rained on. In Central Oregon.

And, oh yeah... Cameron got beat up at school.

Okay, so maybe he didn't get beat up in the literal sense, but there was an "incident" involving TWO (count 'em two... they freaking ganged up on him) older "boys" where Cameron was laying (helpless and unprotected) on the floor and they were kicking him. Repeatedly. In the abdomen. Maliciously and with ill intent. Horrified, the teacher quickly gained control of the situation and put them in the corner, they had to apologize, their parents were made aware... yadda yadda yadda. Now that Jeromy and I have had a few hours to come down from our bat-shit crazy reaction (I cried a lot-Jeromy was visibly shaking) we've decided there are going to be consequences and repercussions. In the form of written referrals to the principal's office. Because-- you can't kick a three year old in glasses when he's helpless to defend himself. Especially at Trinity. We don't pay all that money every year to get the same shit you get at public school. Aaaggghhh.

The good news?

More shoes arrived today.

So, how many of you want to drive down here and strangle those two little bastards with me?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Grand Theft Auto


Daddy was teaching tonight, so we had a chef come cook for us!Of the Boyardee Variety. The Doritos add a nice touch, yeah?

This one seemed totally funny when we took it.

Also, this being the Miller house, some shoes arrived today! You know, I've discovered something about Nordstrom. They have a ridiculous clothing-to-shoe ratio going on there, especially with regards to toddler fashion. For every, let's say, 3T shirt, they have four or five different styles of shoes to choose from. It's bizzare. But fabulous when you need to find brown or black shoes for school. Like these little numbers:

Cameron: "Squeeeeee! More shoes!!!!"

I also took my Touareg in today to get it fixed. Again. Apparently, this headlight problem (and by problem, I mean THE HEADLIGHTS JUST SHUT OFF FOR NO REASON) is making all the fine folks down at Carrera scratch their heads in wonderment. This is the third time it's been in the shop in the last month. So this time? When I went to see if it was done at 4:30? And it wasn't? I just grabbed my carseat and ran, y'all. *** Because if it's taken them all day to fix the headlights for the third time, I should really get to drive this home:

I'll see your intro-Volkswagen-SUV and raise you an AUDI 8. As in 8 cylindars, baby. And maybe you can KEEP the headlight-shutting-off-Touareg. Well, okay, on second thought I'll start to miss it by Friday but I would really love it for the headlights to stay on all the time. Fumbling For Foglights while barreling down the highway at 70 miles per hour is no fun, people.

*** didn't actually have permission to drive the Audi home, but am justifying it in my own mind. And for the internet. Plus, I totally left a voicemail to tell them I was taking it home because Seriously? All day to fix the headlights?

Monday, September 18, 2006

.... because, *aaawwwww....*

It doesn't get much cuter than this.

What Angela Got This Weekend

Phew! It's been exhausting. And we didn't even drive to and from Sunday's wedding in Albany like we were supposed to. Like we said we would, back when we RSVP'd years ago.

The problem is that we get booked in September. Like, four-conflicting-things-at-a-time booked. I don't quite know how it happens, but it does. Now that Cameron is older, we're able to skip a few naps here and there, so that we can divide and conquer. This weekend, Jeromy got to take Cameron and his brother's family to sight in their rifles at the shooting range (well, actually, out in the middle of nowhere) on Saturday night while I attended a fundraiser for these fine folks: ... for which I'd also RSVP'd years ago.

But first! I visited our local Harry and David's where I picked up this lovely little number.

I am slightly in love with my new scone pan. Is that wierd?

After my delightful purchase, I headed to Vaccaroville to meet the girls so that we could all travel to Faith Run Farms and the Healing Reins fundraiser called Diamonds and Dust. It's called Diamonds and Dust because (in addition to holding both a live and silent auction) they have, for six years, been tempting people into winning a diamond by selling flutes of champagne. The trick is that the flutes are all lined up on a couple of tables (easily 200 of them to choose from) and when you pay your money, you get to pick your flute. The flutes each have a small cubic zirconia in the bottom of them but! wait!.... one of them actually has a half carat diamond in it.

So, being the team player that I am (great cause! What's wrong with four glasses of champagne?) I bellied up and consumed more champagne in that one night than in the previous ten years combined. I also bid on an auction item and won. After the auction was over, my friend Lyndie took our "diamonds" to the jewler to have them checked while I waited in line to pay for my auction item. The line was ridiculously long and so I struck up a conversation with the lovely couple behind me. Who got to witness me, in my champagne-induced excitement, jumping up and down when Lyndie came up to me to tell me that I had actually won this:

I think I also let out an explitive or two and had the whole tent wondering just how many glasses of champagne did that woman buy?

Then, on Sunday, I also got these installed:

Sadly, *finally* getting window treatments up in my house comes a close second to winning a .55 carat diamond.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Play Time with Connor and Ryan

First, a big thanks to Aunt Charlotte and Uncle Mark for picking up this sweatshirt at the Beavers' home opener a couple weeks ago. We can now celebrate our favortie team in all its hooded glory!

So, here's "I wish I'd thought of that" #492,160... a new place in Bend called Chatterbeans. It's a coffee house--wait, forget that, it's an indoor jungle gym for kids and a place where moms can meet and visit while their kids play with other peoples' toys for an hour or two. And have delicious coffee, tea and snacks. The picture doesn't quite give it justice-- the place was near-packed at 10:30 this morning. Cameron and Connor had a ball playing with the toys and trucks, jumping from the giant foam-block castle and enjoying a quick snack together. Liz and I got to do some catching up in between refereeing some of ours and other people's kids, but that's par for the course when toddler mayhem is the order of the morning.

It was a hoot!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Unanswered Question

I know that three year olds learn by asking questions. Cameron is very interested in the world around him, and so I get about 473 questions a day, ranging from the deep and inquisitive to the silly and ridiculous. Like today for example:

(driving home from school)

Cameron: “Mommy, will daddy be home when we get there?”
Mommy: “No sweetie, daddy is teaching tonight.”
Cameron: “What’s he teaching”
Mommy: “Daddy’s teaching young plumbers how to be better plumbers.”
Cameron: “Is daddy still a daddy?”
Mommy: “Yes, Cameron, daddy can be both a daddy AND a teacher.”
Cameron: “Where’s he teaching?”
Mommy: “In Redmond at Redmond High School.”
Cameron: “Where’s Redmond?”

Mommy:…………………”okaaaaaaaaaaaay. Time for some music.”

But how do you answer this question: “Mommy? Why did that plane fly into that building?”

We don’t shelter Cameron from the world. Although sometimes we would like to wrap him in giant wad of bubble-wrap and send him on his merry way, we expose him to his surroundings--within reason, of course. Through trial and error, this is what we’ve come to believe to be our way of responsible parenting. So when Cameron joined me in watching news coverage yesterday morning of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, our Q and A session began. But, explaining these sorts of things to a three year old is difficult. “A terrible accident happened” is just a plain lie. “Lots of people died” is a ridiculous understatement. “Fire trucks were broken” doesn’t even come close.

Five years after 9/11, I still haven’t sorted it all out in my head. I remember being glued to the TV in the early west-coast hours after the attacks. Then I watched the first tower come down. Suddenly a bell went off in my head: I’d better get to work. I’m sure the Red Cross will be involved in this somehow. It was… for better or for worse—and it turned out to be the organization’s largest relief effort to date.

When I arrived at the office, all hell had broken loose. At first, I couldn’t get into the building because at that time our office was located inside the National Guard Armory. The nation’s defense level had already risen to some other color that didn’t allow me access other than through the main doors, where I was searched and finally allowed to go to work. Once inside, it was mayhem—everyone on the phone, taking notes and fielding calls from Central Oregonians trying to track down loved ones in the heart of the disaster. The Emergency Services director was being recruited to fly the next day (on a private plane reserved for VIPs) so that she could supervise the nursing station at the Pentagon. Betsy was late because her roommate’s dad was supposed to be in one of the towers that morning for a meeting and they couldn’t get in contact with him. He was okay, but it was a harrowing few hours for Betsy and her tight-knit group of friends.

I remember being numb for most of the day. My attitude was something along the lines of chin up, toughing it out and fielding the phone calls, dealing with the stress. There just so happened to be a blood drive already in progress that morning at the Bend River Mall. The President had gone on the news and told everyone to go down and give blood. We got reports of lines snaking out through the mall and into the parking lot. Six hour waits and refreshments for those waiting but wanting to do something- anything- being provided by local restaurants and served by other people who couldn’t donate blood.

At quitting time, around 5 pm, a couple of women came into our office with their kids. It was the end of a long and terribly emotional day for me and all of the staff. Everyone else had already gone home in preparation for a busy rest of the week. When I saw our visitors I gasped. Every one of these kids- to a number- was carrying their piggy banks. They had waited in line all day with their moms to donate blood and when they found out they were (of course) too young to donate and there was nothing that they could do, they drove home, retrieved their piggy banks, and brought them to me. For the 9/11 fund. We ceremoniously opened and emptied every last penny into bank bags. I collected their names and addresses so that we could send them a letter acknowledging their donations. I thanked them and began to come to terms with the scope of the disaster and the nature and cost of the response effort… and how I would be involved in that as well.

After they left, I allowed myself to grieve for the first time that day at what we had lost—what we had all lost—when those buildings came down. And when the Pentagon was hit. And when United 93 went down in Pennsylvania. My life and my view of the world was changed forever. What I remember most in those first few days and weeks after the attacks was how the nation came together as Americans and we bonded in a way that probably hadn’t been seen since Pearl Harbor or since Kennedy was assassinated.

We all saw the televised concerts and the President’s addresses and the flags and all the other public, outward displays of unity that had suddenly cropped up, only to lessen and fade away in the months after the terrorist attacks. For me, the most poignant example of this Americanism and this patriotism surrounded Betsy and her mother. Elise had been staying with Betsy’s older sister in Denver during the week before September 11. She was scheduled to leave on September 12 and fly back to Massachusetts but, of course, her flight was cancelled and there was no way to tell when she would be re-booked, if at all. So, with few other options and already being on this side of the Mississippi, Elise decided to come and see Betsy. Since car and van rentals in and around the Denver area were getting to be more and more scarce by the hour, Elise hopped in a van with six or seven other strangers, all bound for different destinations in the Pacific Northwest. I remember Betsy telling me, in a slightly horrified tone, "Angela, MY SISTER HAS JUST PUT MY MOM IN A VAN WITH COMPLETE STRANGERS."

But, see, they weren’t really strangers. They were all Americans, stuck in a tough situation, and working together to get out of it. That’s what I remember from September 11. I'm also no longer afraid to look at things like this: Because we should never forget.

And maybe one day we all will be able to comprehend... why did those planes fly into those buildings?

Sunday, September 10, 2006

What we are reading

Thought you might like to know what we are reading. This month, we're again obsessed with:

So, what would YOU do if you met a jiboo?

And... what ANGELA should be reading: Missed Fortune for our WFG training. Rest of the group is on Chapter 12. Angela is on Chapter Zero. Because... what I am currently reading:

Also, Life and Style teased me and told me that Suri Pictures will be in my October Vanity Fair but it is not yet in my box! Damn my moving two times in the last year!!! Fingers Crossed that Vanity Fair will find its way home quickly and into my loving arms. Even if I am supposed to be reading real stuff.

Weekend in Review

Busy, busy weekend!

Friday night was an ice cream social, held at Trinity School as a kick off to the new year. All the teachers manned the ice cream and the toppings and served us, parents and kids alike, with a sugar-high smile.

But first, we had an assembly and were introduced to all the teachers, administrators and support staff who we will be working with this year. They all lined up, single file in the gymnasium, and they stretched from one end of the gym to the other. Quite a feat for a little school with 400 students! There are five kids starting out in the newly-formed high school. That's five kids in 9th grade... with one teacher. Where else are you going to find those kinds of teacher to student ratios?

So, here are some pictures of the ice cream eating. Apologies in advance, but Cameron was having nothing to do with my requests for a picture while he was eating his precious sugar

Joey and Mia, with ice cream too

The next night (Saturday), the guys were playing poker and so a few of us girls got together at Vaccaroville and chatted. We schemed up a trip for Thanksgiving that involves lots of food, football and the Polar Express train. The kids ran around and played until 10:30 pm-- late night for all of them. Cameron, interestingly, spotted Mia's watch during a trip to the bathroom and so HAD to wear her purple, flowery watch for the rest of the night. He was super great about giving it back too, but probably only because I had threatened him within an inch of not getting a watch of his own if he didn't give it back "how" it was time. Again with these Mother of the Year nominations. Really, you shouldn't.

And today... Jeromy has been watching football since 8:30 in the morning. Well, he showered and couldn't watch it in the bathroom, but other than that it has been on all four tv's for the whole God-loving day. Okay, I just checked and apparently football is no longer being broadcast at 9:32 pst and so he's watching the World Series of Poker. And swearing, because I'm making him do this:

I finally have blinds on ALL my windows! Yay! Also note, the half gallon of Jack Daniels. Because, really, he must be medicated to help me with the decorating.

Tomorrow: Day Two of actual pre-school. Wish me luck.

How Time it Is

So, I'll get to the weekend in review, but I wanted to shout out a whole 'nuther blog about Cameron and his new fascination with watches.

For those of you who don't know, (besides his family) Jeromy has three loves: football, shoes and watches. In that order. Apparently, he inherited these loves from somewhere in his family line and has passed this gene onto Cameron. Does anyone remember the flip-flop fiasco from early this summer? I'm still shaking my head in wonder at the science of it all, and I now have further proof:

Friday morning at about, oh, 8:05, Cameron announces to me that we need to go to the store to "get me a watch." I ask him why he NEEDS a watch. "So I can see how time it is" was my reply. Ah-hah.

I redirect his request for a shopping spree about forty five times until finally just break and I agree to go shopping on Sunday (lest this child get everything he asks for... sheesh) and in the meantime suggest that he borrow my watch. So I take it off my wrist, attach it around his and he takes one look at it and proudly declares: "Yep! Time to go get me a watch!"

GAWD. They're so smart, aren't they?

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Day Three

An extended care day.

So, yesterday when I picked Cameron up from school, we talked about what had happened that morning in the classroom. I told him about how sad it made mommy that he cried so much on his first day of school. I think I even shed a tear or two when I explained how upset it made me.

When daddy got home from work, he sat down and talked to Cameron about it.

About a half hour later, Grammy and Grampy called and talked to Cameron about it. By this time, I think he'd had enough of the pep talk already and he began making up stories about his teachers, but I think he got the message.

Although today was a day care day, he did great. A couple of loooooong hugs in the morning and a "mommy! one more hug" as I was walking out the door, but nothing like yesterday's public spectacle.

Crisis averted. For today.

Where Jesus Lives

So, every night just before Cameron falls asleep, he sais a "now I lay me down to sleep" prayer. He's been reciting the same one since he learned how to talk, so much of the language is two-year-old speak, but I leave it be because it's pretty darn cute.

Anyway, about half way through his prayer last night, he suddenly stopped his recital and asked me: "Mommy, where does Jesus live?"

Having already answered this particular question about 670 times, I replied "He lives in Heaven with God."

"Noooo..." Cameron replied. "He lives in your heart."

I stand corrected.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

First Day(s) of School, the prequel

You might also like to know what I was doing at 10:30 pm the night before the first day of school.

In my most recent Mommy of the Year Moment, I was sorting and washing uniforms... one of which had to be worn in less than ten hours.

Who was it that said "if it weren't for the last minute, I wouldn't get anything done"?

First Day(s) of School

Okay. So I'll admit Cameron's school schedule is a bit confusing, even to me. It goes as follows: Mondays and Wednesdays, he's in his preschool class with Mrs. Carpenter and Mr. Polk. He arrives at 8:30 and is through at 11:15. They take him next door to extended care for the remainder of the day. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, he's in extended care all day. Which we still call "school" and probably shouldn't because it's confusing the heck out of him.

So, first day is a Tuesday, so we're up for extended care. Since we now live in Redmond, I must get up at Oh-Dark-Thirty in order to get the two of us ready, fed and coffeed enough to hit the road at precisely 7:45.

Day One, Tuesday:

7:52*: Leave house. Am already running late, on the first day.



8:15: Train is still stopped on the tracks. Decide to take longer, alternate route.
8:30: Arrive at school. Cameron spots the toy bins, and takes off. I slip out with a quick hug/kiss and leave the building without incident... for my first day at the new job.

Day Two,: Wednesday

7:49: Leave the house. But who knew it would take me an extra four minutes to take five hundred pictures?

Mommy edits to add: the "boo-boos" on his face? Um, yeah. Apparently, Honey Nut Cheerio cereal breakfast bars have nuts in them. Who knew? Nothing on the label would indicate that there are nuts in them... perhaps just a production by-product, but he broke out in a nasty allergic rash nonetheless. So my bad. And? Picture day is when? Tomorrow.

8:08: Arrive at school. Too early, as it turns out. Because? No train! So we loiter and linger and finally go in the doors at 8:15.

8:16: Cameron clings to my leg

8:20: We "talk" about school and being a big boy and all that mommy-talk because I have a 9 am meeting for the love of Pete and you've been in daycare for most of your live-long years and also, whhhaaaa? Where is this coming from?

8:25: We go in the hallway to talk because there are now tears and wails and OMG I can't believe this is happening.

8:30: Bell rings. More wailing and now, shrieking!

8:32: Mrs. Carpenter (literally) peels Cameron from my loving arms and I rather ceremoniously skulk my way out of the classroom.

8:37: As I glance through the tiny peeophole classroom window, Cameron is still crying. He isn't even making the mixing motions or jumping up and down during the Milkshake Song. (no, not that Milkshake Song for those of you whose minds were in the gutter)

8:40: Okay. I really have to go. 9 am meeting.

9:02: 9 am meeting will start at 9:15. I have 13 minutes to sit, think and ask... what have I done?

*play-by-play format borrowed from and now properly credited to Amalah. For all you Amalah readers out there.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Our Labor Day weekend

Can be summed up in two pictures:

Sadly, there are no "after" pictures yet. There are shelves on the wall, there are shelving units assembled, there is a swanky new tool center... but we are not yet finished.

Aaaahhh... a relaxing day with friends

Swimming and hilarity ensued

After the required twenty minute time had elapsed. Yes, tall cold ones.

James colored. We couldn't keep Cameron out of the salsa.

Many Thanks to Jim, Stefanie, James and Sam for coming to Sunriver and inviting us for a visit, lunch and a swim. In that order. We also practiced "not napping," which I think will help immensely for the coming week now that everything is new. Fingers crossed that Cameron does stellar tomorrow, his first day at Trinity.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

New Horizons

So, after weeks of thinking and contemplating and waiting for the right opportunity, it finally came along. I work here now, as the accountant/office manager for downtown Bend's Tower Theatre Foundation. The job description is shockingly similar to what I did for Red Cross, only in a new industry and with a few more responsibilities. So I very much look forward to immersing myself in the arts community of Bend and learning/growing professionally as I surround myself with new co-workers, directors and community members.

As Cameron starts at his new school and I start at my new job, Jeromy will be taking on new responsibilities as well. I guess since we're pretty much through with the house he feels that he's up for yet another challenge, so he will be teaching to plumbing apprentices this year as part of their classroom requirement. Every Tuesday and Thursday night through the collegiate calendar, Jeromy will be at Redmond High School with twenty-odd apprentices as they wander through plumbing code and tactfully avoid any and all math. He's been threatening to do this for years now, and since Cameron is getting older and since we're less than ten minutes away from RHS now, it seems like the perfect time for him to give it a try.

This is the final weekend before we start on all of our "new" adventures, so we've been trying to wade through some of the big projects still left to do on the house. Yesterday and today's goal was two-fold: organize and sort through the mess in the garage and find my greencard for work next week. We've spent two days on the garage and it still looks like a bomb went off in there, but I have to say it's getting there. I searched for my greencard for quite a while today, and although I found lots of Dutch Brothers Coffee Cash and more chapstick than I know what to do with, I still haven't found my greencard. Appears I put it in a very safe spot. Tomorrow we will be finishing up on the garage, as well as getting some of our artwork up on the wall and putting up the rest of the window blinds. Sarah and Carey are coming over for dinner as well, so that will be nice.

Until next time...