Saturday, July 07, 2007


Since we've moved and we obviously are not
The Morrisons in Michigan any longer, which our web address suggests, I figured it was time for a new place for me to ramble.

So after you've commented on my Thoughts on Thursday and met our newest little friend, wander on over and check out our new blog page:
Our Everyday Life at

Things over there, like our new house, are still a bit messy and not completely unpacked yet, so keep that in mind and bear with me as I get used to the new page.

Friday, July 06, 2007

so very nice to meet you

Yuri Marie MalonePresenting the Malones and their brand new baby girl...

Doesn't Savannah look so OLD holding Yuri in this picture?!!!

Sawyer was in love... I'm serious, he was all over her! We had to stand up to hold her just so Sawyer couldn't reach her and wouldn't maul her. He was really taken with that tiny little bundle!

Congrats you guys!! Enjoy your precious little girl. We are so excited to get to know her!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Another Thursday

Tonight Sawyer went to sleep in his new big bed for the first time! It took him quite a while to fall asleep... I don't think he drifted off until about 9 o'clock (he was in bed before 7:30), but he stayed in bed the whole time all by himself, and now that he's asleep in there, he is so flippin' cute! I want so badly to take a picture of him but I don't dare wake him up. I wish you could see him though. My big little baby all curled up in the corner of a real live twin sized bed! Moments like this just make me want to freeze time for a bit.
Anyway, we'll see how the whole night goes and what ungodly hour he pops out of bed at! Keep your fingers crossed for us!

So coincidentally, Sawyer's milestone bedtime tonight leads me into my Thoughts on Thursday post for this week. (By the way, is no one else joining in on our Thursday conversation starters??? Come on! There's gotta be something you want to open a conversation about or something you want to know other's opinions on that you could take a few minutes to blog about?! Well, at the very least make sure you comment on my thoughts... and Nic has her own thoughts too, so go over there and check it out.)

My topic of choice this week is Bedtime.
Do (did) your kids have bedtimes? Is it early or late or whenever they fall asleep? And am I brave enough to take it a step further... what about the family bed vs. kids in their own beds?

I just have to say I don't understand the no bedtime thing. I'm just going to be blunt and ask do parents really think that it's okay for a small child to still be awake at 10 and 11 p.m.?? Do they really think there is nothing wrong with that?
Disclaimer: When I talk about early childhood and parenting habits, I admit I am no expert and probably very far from it... but having worked in early childhood education for almost 10 years, nannied numerous infants/toddlers, and now having two kids of my own... I am fairly comfortable saying I've seen a thing or two and I know I've had enough varying experiences with all different situations to give at least a half-way educated opinion. HAHA!

**Added Disclaimer: It is late and I am very sleep deprived myself and even as I'm typing I have a million other things running through my head. I'm realizing this is why I haven't been blogging regularly... I have too much all jumbled around in my head to focus on actually writing anything that actually sticks to a point or makes any sense!

Most of the kids I've been involved with have had "normal" bedtimes. I'm categorizing "normal" as anytime between 6:30 and 8:30 considering children 6 months to about 8 years old. The majority of them (and can I say generally the happiest and better behaved children as well) were in bed by 8. But then I would have a two or three year old in my class now and then who, for example, didn't go to bed until usually close to midnight (and then be in my classroom before 7am the next morning, poor thing). This little girl was miserable. She was so obviously overtired and really honestly struggled through her day. I was actually pretty close with the mother and had a few conversations with her about K's bedtime. They always said, "oh, she is just such a night owl... she loves to stay up late, we just can't get her to bed any earlier, she likes to stay up late and sleep in". Yeah, well first of all, she's obviously not sleeping in when you have to be at work by 7am. She's taking four hour naps everyday because she's exhausted. She stays up late because she CAN, and you can't get her to bed because you don't really try.
I babysat little K for 10 days with her older brother and sister while their parents were out of town one summer. K was in bed and asleep every night with me by 9pm. By the time her parents got home, it was closer to 8. And she was noticeably happier and healthier... it was like a completely different child! She was not only sleeping more, but getting much better sleep when she was sleeping. K's mom had often complained about K still waking up and needing to be layed down with to go back to sleep numerous times a day. But after the first few nights of an earlier bedtime with me, K was sleeping soundly all the way till morning. I was kind of bummed as shortly after mom and dad returned home, K was back to her "night owl" ways. And those ways included her crankiness, her touchiness, her short attention span, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

I know part of their "excuse" for keeping her up late was the fact that they both worked full time. I know that tends to be a common denominator with some kids that don't really have bedtimes... the parents don't get to see them all day and they try to squeeze in all that together time at night. Nobody wants to only see their children for just basically 2 hours a day (if you're getting home at 6 and they're going to bed at 8). It feels like you're cheated out of spending time with your kids. But I just have to say, if you're keeping them up for those reasons, you're actually cheating them. It is amazing the number of kids who are sleep deprived in our culture. Did you know that over 20% of kids entering elementary school have serious sleep problems that aren't perceived by either the child or their parents? They are chronically sleep deprived. Some doctors say that almost half of the diagnosed ADHD patients would not need any special medication or treatments if they as their doctors could regulate their sleeping habits.

Honestly, kids need way more sleep than I think most of us are even aware of. And I think most of us are unaware of the difference it makes. Sleep- good quality sleep- is such a foundation for a child's overall health and demeanor it is amazing.
Recently I've met a few more moms with way more flexible (or non-existent) bedtimes than I was previously used to. At times, after putting my own kids to bed for the night, it is almost painful to hang out with these families and watch their toddler grow more and more tired, whining around on the floor at almost 11 o'clock at night rubbing his red and bleary eyes. These different kids on different occasions, while they were very well behaved and content to hang out with the adults, were just so obviously tired to everyone in the room except for the parents. More than one of us would make a comment, 'oh he looks like he's getting tired' or 'look at those tired eyes', which would be either ignored or answered with 'oh, I don't really know why he's being so clingy, he isn't usually ready for bed yet.'
It's kind of hard to stand by and watch that... I just wanted to say "put your kid to bed already, before he falls asleep in the middle of the floor!" Maybe it's just that I made a career of observing kids and my job was to meet their needs...
It just doesn't make sense to me. I'm just amazed at how many more and more families I meet who's kids go to bed at the same time the adults do.

And seriously, all the children's health and happiness aspects aside, what about grown-up time? I would go crazy if my kids and I went to bed at the same time each night. I know I'm with my kids all day, but Ryan's not and he agrees with me... we are usually counting down to the kid's bedtime. To have that close and cuddly routine of our goodnights, and then we can have some adult time to ourselves. And with each other. I just don't think our marriage, or our sanity, would be half as intact as it is if the kids were up until 10 with us each night. You know what I mean?

Alright. This post is completely all over the place and I feel like I'm talking in circles. It's very late and I could go on forever with this topic. Can you tell I value my kids sleep?!!

Anyway, so instead of preaching anymore (haha!) and since I'm too lazy to research anything online right now... I'm just going to end this and say here's my absolute favorite book about all of this. If you are a parent and you haven't read it, you should. I haven't the slightest idea where my book is right now in this sea of boxes we're living in, but if I did you can bet I'd be quoting from it right and left. But I don't, so I won't. But I love that it's not a "how to" book with in your face theories on how to get your child to sleep. It mostly focuses on why they need the sleep they need and the affect their sleep habits have on almost every aspect of their lives. Good stuff to know.

Wow, I almost even forgot to tell you the name of the book. That's how tired I am. I should not be writing right now.
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child
That's it.
I'm not even going to touch on co-sleeping or kids being able to put themselves to sleep. Those are whole other subjects in and of themselves. I'll let someone else tackle those.
So back to my original question...
What is bedtime in your house and how do you feel about it?

our Fourth

We had a great day yesterday! One of the best Fourth of July's ever in my book. Of course, I've never done much to celebrate Independence Day... I'm not a huge fan of fireworks and most years lately it's just been easier to put the kids to bed like normal and sit around at home. But this year we decided to have some fun.
First the Swinigans came over in the morning to hang out and for an early lunch and we all went over for some play in the pool. We all had fun; Savannah was so excited all morning about having Norah come and play and swim with her!
Here are just a couple of shots of our day at the pool. I was too busy chasing Sawyer around to take as many pictures as I wanted to...

Here's little Lucy flying high with her daddy!

The Malones (plus Michael's little brother Brett) had come to join us at the pool as well. Finally at after 2 o'clock, the Swinigans headed home and I came back to our house to put Sawyer down for a nap. Ryan brought Savannah back at almost 3 so she could lay down for awhile, and then he went back to bake in the sun and soak in the water with the others for another hour or so. When everyone was thouroughly all pooled out, we just hung at our house and chatted for a bit. It was our last visit with the Malones as expectant parents! They are in the hospital as I type, waiting to meet (and possibly have already met) their little one!! Erin's water was broken just before noon today, so we're waiting to hear word anytime!! So, so exciting!

After the kids woke from their late naps (at 5 o'clock!) we said goodbye to the Malones and packed up to head out to the Fourth of July Festival here in O'Fallon. We had such a fun time! Coming from Portland, where yes they have great festivals and fairs but they cost an arm and a leg, it was so nice to have a great local fair with so much stuff to do FOR FREE! Parking was free, getting into the festival itself was free, and sure the rides and food cost $$, but they had a whole big kids area with a ton of free stuff for the kids to do. Facepainting, crafts, puppet shows, petting zoos, animal acts, magic shows, inflatables, a playground... I could go on and on. We rode a few rides, ate a few hot dogs, and hung out until the fireworks. I was quite impressed. I knew that St. Louis offered more free, major visitor attractions (museums, the zoo, the science center and tons more) than anyplace out of the nation's capital, but I didn't know that would run over into the suburbs out here! We had a blast and the kids were great. Sure it was a (extremely) late night for everyone, but it was fun!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

one week

Apparently I'm only able to blog every other day now. I don't know why... we didn't even do that much yesterday that I was terribly busy.

Or today. Well, we finally got Savannah's room painted tonight, but other than that pretty much nothing else house-wise accomplished today.
I did go shopping this morning.
I needed to go to Walmart and Ryan suggested I go to Old Navy (that just sounds so unnatural) since I've been Old Navy deprived for the past year. We now live 1.6 miles from one!!
Anyway, I went out this morning... here was the conversation before I left:
Me: okay, I'm on my way out, call me if you think of anything else we need.
Ryan: which one of the kids are you taking? both?
Me: (long pause and confused look)
Ryan: Neither?
Me: I'd like neither.... but if you really want me to take one...
Ryan: It'd be a lot easier if you took one.
Me: It'd be a lot easier if you took one to work with you every day too.

I left alone :)
Yeah, so what happens when Ryan lets me (so graciously) shop by myself? Well, let's see...
I had planned on going to Walmart (not really shopping, just to pick up one thing) and to Old Navy. I left the house at about 9am. I got home at 1 o'clock and had been to Kohl's, Target, Walmart, LinensNThings and Old Navy. I'm sorry, but Old Navy just wasn't going to cut it. I'm way more interested in buying house stuff right now than clothes for me. But the opportunities to shop on my own without bickering kids to entertain through the store are so rare, of course I had to try a few things on... or maybe a few more than a few. I got a pair of white pants, a skort, and a few shirts. Not too bad. I also got these and these and this. Not bad at all for four hours in the stores. I could have done a lot more damage. I did manage to fill my head with a list a mile long of house things I want. Someday.

After the kids woke up from nap, we went over to the pool. Yes, we finally made it over there. The kids and Ryan have been twice, and this was my first time actually getting in. It was the perfect day for it. Nice and hot and just tolerable if you were nice and wet. Sawyer had a blast in the wading pool... he walked around like he owned the place. And then Savannah taught him how to jump in and he must have jumped at least 827 times. His feet barely hit the ground when he was scrambling to get out and jump in again! And of course he had to wear Daddy's goggles!!
Here are just three of his 827 jumps.

And when Sawyer got bored of the pool, he spent the rest of the time right here...

Seriously, he hung out here for like 20 minutes watching people come and get snacks, apparently trying to figure out this machine!

And here are just a couple cute shots I should share from last week... Ryan and I were putting together Sawyer's bed and of course as soon as Sawyer sees tools, he has to join in. And SJ cannot be left out. So here they are "helping" finish the beds.

I'm sure I'll have more pics tomorrow... we're having some friends over for lunch and then hitting the pool as long as the weather holds out... it's supposed to thunderstorm tomorrow. Of course. Not sure what we're doing for "The Forth" yet, but we have plenty to choose from... lots going on in our community. Again, if it's not storming!
Happy Forth of July everyone!!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

day of rest

I thought about posting yesterday... it would have been titled What A Difference A Day Makes. We seriously got so much done yesterday and the night before, I couldn't believe it. Sawyer's room is completely done; painted, decorated, (well, we're waiting on the shades for the windows to come in), unpacked and situated, and we even got his bed put together. He hasn't slept in it yet because we took the old blinds down and we don't have the new ones yet and he really likes it dark, so he's been camping out in the guest room for now.
We made a huge dent in other boxes around the house... our bedroom and the upstairs landing were pretty overrun with boxes to unpack as well as empty boxes and packing paper, and now you can actually see how much room we have!! I think once we get completely unpacked and organized around here, we're going to be shocked at how much room we really have. We're getting so used to living surrounded by all this moving mess, it'll be strange to have empty space!

Today we did absolutely nothing though. I'm declaring it our Day of Rest. It is Sunday, after all. We went to the church down the street (it is literally at the end of our street) this morning, and then came home and had a great lunch of Biscuits and Gravy. Yum!! Then it was naptime (everyone napped but me... I spent an hour or so browsing online for decorating ideas/shopping), and after that we went to meet some new friends for dinner. Well, they're old friends for Ryan; it's a couple he went to school with at Greenville. Turns out they live just a couple of miles from us, and they have two girls who are three and one. Ryan and Kevin had been in touch since we moved and they invited us over for dinner this evening. Kevin's wife's name is Heather also. She stays home with the girls, and she has already given me a lot of good leads on local pediatricians, preschools, parks and such. It was a nice evening of visiting, a really yummy dinner, and the kids had a lot of fun. I'm sure we'll see more of them in the future!

Now tonight, we got the kids bathed and in bed and we're both just sitting here vegged out on the laptops. I figure the day's pretty much shot anyway, why ruin it by getting any work done now? LOL! I think we're going to watch a movie.

So instead of posting much house stuff, or pictures of our progress, I'm just going to leave you with the product of my blog surfing this evening... a fun way to find out what your choice of images says about your personality.

I'm an Easy Rider, what are you?

Friday, June 29, 2007

here it is

I made myself take a break from taping and painting and unpacking and building to actually pick up my camera and get some pictures off of it and onto here for you all who can now get off my back!!! Just Kidding. I know I've been bad. There is just sooo much to do around here and any little projects we have, we're really trying to get done before Ryan goes back to work. Actually a few days before he has to go to work so that we can just relax and get out and have fun. And enjoy our new house without painting/unpacking messes everywhere.

Sawyer's room is painted. Hopefully by the end of the day tomorrow he'll be sleeping in a finished organized and decorated room. With a big boy bed?! We'll see about that last part!
Next up, Savannah's room.

Today we made our big trip to Lowes. We've been there pretty much every day for something or another. But today was a big trip with all the paint, some ceiling fans, lights, and a lot of miscellaneous stuff for miscellaneous projects. $469.25 OUCH!!
And then this afternoon we made our "stock up" grocery trip to refill our fridge and freezer and pantry. $195 at Walmart. Also OUCH!

Well, I won't bore you any longer with the uninteresting house stuff... I'll just summarize to say that we are loving our house. Savannah is sooo excited about the pool around the corner. "I just LOVE swimming, you know" she says to me about 87 times a day. We have yet to actually swim, because when we finally got over there to get our cards on Wednesday, it started thunderstorming and it's been rainy, thundery and cooler ever since. But the other highlight for Savannah is the fact that there are two four year old girls right across the street from us on either side of the corner!! She is so excited about her new friends and feeling quite grown up about going over to play with them! Lots of kids in this neighborhood, so we're looking forward to getting to know more families!!

Okay here are a few pics...
well, maybe more than a few. I originally took pics of the empty house, but these are from earlier today, everything as is, pre painting and boxes everywhere. Disclaimer: please ignore the window treatments and light fixtures in some of these pictures... they are original to the house in 1993- personally I think someone actually brought them in from the year 1987- and we will slowly be replacing them!! These are really horrible and boring pictures, but I know some of you really wanted to see them and try to get a feel for our new house. So here it is.

Our New Home...

The Family Room

The Kitchen (sorry it's kind of dark!)

The Kid's Playroom (this was originally the formal living room, but had previously been remodeled into a main level bedroom complete with floor to ceiling closets, built-ins and french doors.)

From the Playroom looking through the entryway into the dining room. These are the front two rooms (big front windows) on the house. The front door is directly in front of those stairs.

Dining Room (again, please ignore the window treatments and lovely light fixtures) :)

Sawyer's Room

Savannah's Room

The Spare Bedroom

Our Bedroom

The Master Bathroom... and instead of a nice relaxing bubble bath, I'm looking at a tub full of packing paper.

This is one of my favorites of the house... this is the view from our Master Bedroom; the double doors open to see the whole landing and all the other bedrooms. Which in case you're wondering are from the left, Sawyer's door (you can't see it because it's at a right angle), a linen closet, the main bathroom, Savannah's door, and the spare bedroom.

Here's the view from the top of the landing to the front door.

And if you looked closely, here is one of the many reasons for our spendy trips to Lowe's. I'm having a hard time living with this... this is just one of many beautiful light fixtures in this house.

Oh maybe you don't fully understand how beautiful...

Thursday, June 28, 2007

we're still alive

We just got internet here at the house this evening. I missed being online!!!

Mike and Kasey just left today to head back to Columbia. It was so nice to have them here with us for a few days... besides the extra helping hands, it was just so nice to spend so much time with them. Mike and Erin also came over on Tuesday night and we all got Chinese take-out, they helped unpack much of the kitchen (and got shelf-lining down to an artform!), and then we had a few beers and played Imaginiff which is a fun new game we got as a housewarming gift for ourselves. So nice to have good old friends in a new place!!!

We are up to our necks in boxes and packing paper and can't find anything we need when we need it, but we're slowly digging out. And loving our new house.
We've mostly gotten the kids playroom unpacked and organized along with the kitchen and the family room. We're slowly attacking the bedrooms and bathrooms. We may start painting tomorrow... I'd rather paint before getting the bedrooms unpacked and arranged. I'm just being indecisive with the paint colors.

I do have pictures to post. I've been really lazy with the camera, but I do have pictures of the empty house. And now that at least a couple of rooms are starting to actually look lived in, maybe I'll actually think to get the camera out once in awhile.
So I'll try and post pics tomorrow. I just wanted to let you all know we're still alive!!

And sorry I'm slacking on the Throw Us Your Thoughts Thursday this week... I do have a topic, I just have not had a minute to sit down and write a little post about it. So tune in next week for that one.
But check back here tomorrow for some house stuff.
We're slowly getting into the groove here...

Monday, June 25, 2007

we're almost home

The kids are apparently on Eastern time and are up and ready to go before 6am each morning now. I really hope we can bump that back to 7 soon because I'm not a fan of such an early wake up time as a routine.

We made it to St Louis, had a walk through of our new house (which was the first time the kids had seen it), had some lunch, and then continued on to Columbia to spend some time at the Laughlin's house for the evening. Kasey's a lifesaver and is going to help us out with the kids tomorrow while we do the closing and everything. Then she and Mike are going to camp out at our house with us for a couple of nights while we get our things in and settled. It'll be sooo nice to have some extra hands around with the kids and a new house in chaos!!

The kids were a bit better yesterday... we only had a short drive and they were tolerable at our stops at the house and to eat. Actually Sawyer came down with a fever, so that explains both his extra fussy behavior the last few days and also why he was more subdued yesterday. He didn't want to eat or play, and he definitely had his moments, but he just mostly hung out pretty mellow.

So just four more hours or so till we have our house! I'll get pictures up soon!!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

ready for a fresh start

I know some of you are waiting for updates...
We've been on the road the last couple of days, and yes, we're on track to being in town on schedule.
Other than that, I don't have much to say right now.
Except that the past 24 hours have been absolutely hands down the worst two days of my parenting experience so far. I can't even talk about it, that's how awful it's been. Let's just say there have been plenty of tears on this trip... not just the kids but mine as well. And it wouldn't be so bad if they were tears about saying good bye to our house and friends. But they are far from that.
I'm trying to remember that we are moving for the second time in a year and that as smoothly as we've all accepted that, deep down we are probably all a little stressed out with our own fears and uncertainties. I'm trying to be sure the kids are feeling as secure and comfortable and familiar as can be and even though they seem fine with all of this packing up and moving stuff, I'm also really trying to remember they must have a lot of emotions about the changes we're making.
But still. I am almost in shock at the way our last two days have gone. I think I've left Michigan with the wrong children.
I wish I could even begin to explain, but I can't. I'm exhausted.

A couple more days till we'll be settled in our house. And of course I use the word settled loosely.
I hope we make it.

What to pray for if you pray?....
patience, wisdom, rest, peace
We are in desperate need all of that around here.

MI, you will be missed for....

  • Obviously, our house and our great big yard. Savannah always called our big wooden swingset/climber our backyard park.
  • Sawyer waking up each morning pointing out his window, wanting to say good morning to the dogs next door as we pulled up his blinds to start the day.
  • The bunny family that made their home under our back shed and made themselves comfortable in our yard.
  • Deer wandering past our windows.
  • Feeling we were "out" where it was so peaceful and spread out, but being so close to town.
  • Low property taxes and mortgage payment.
  • Local ice cream shacks.
  • The small town feel.
  • Even if something is all the way across town, nothing is ever more than 15 minutes away.
  • Golfing with Don on any one of the many nearby (and cheap!) courses.
  • The Happy Huff House (and pool!).
  • No traffic.
  • Game Nights with the Barczaks.
  • Porter Days.
  • Savannah's favorite (only) teachers ever.
  • New friends.
  • Finding my twin. You're right we look nothing alike, but Savannah says we're twins because we have the same birthday. But seriously, I've never met anyone who thinks as much like I do... everything from parenting habits and pet peeves, to the things that end up in our shopping bags. There has been many the occasion that we ended up coming home with the exact same clothes from Target, and then show up on outings wearing at least the same colors, if not completely similar outfits. Our blogs even have the same title! Anyway. We've become, at times, somewhat inseparable and that makes this one a big miss. I'm so sad to be leaving such a great friend. It's a good thing I don't have to miss IM'ing or email!!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

speaking of language mix ups...

Sawyer signs "more" for "lawn mower".
You know, like "more" = "MOWER".

I've wondered if he thought that's what we were saying... he loves mowers and tractors, and even though right now he's in a phase where he's terrified of the loud noises (he always covers his ears and frantically says 'all done'!!), he is fascinated by yard tools and riders. If he hears a lawn mower in the neighborhood he runs to the window and signs "more, more" and I just thought it meant he wanted to see more of the action.

Well, today we were at Lowe's, and as we pull up in the parking lot and I'm getting him out of his seat, he is pointing around me excitedly and signing "more! more!". I look around, but I can't figure out what he wants, as many times he signs 'more' when he wants to eat something. I was wondering what he had spied in the parking lot that he would want to eat?
Then as we walk to the front door, past all the riding lawn mowers lined up out front, and Sawyer is still precisely signing "more", I realize he is pointing to the mowers. More = Mower. Sound the same, right???

Haha, I just realized something else...
Maybe he's signing "all done" when he wants the loud mower to stop because he knows "all done" is the opposite of "more"?!!!

throw us your thoughts thursday... it's a whole 'nother world!

Okay, so I'm actually kind of cheating on my first Throw Us Your Thoughts Thursday post. It's not really a topic of great debate, or probably even much of an opinion. Just some fun personal observations in my move from one side of the country to (almost) the other. I've been saying I would post this for close to a year now, and I really wanted to get it done since we're leaving this state... so I'm combining it with my Thoughts on Thursday post. Comment with your two cents if you have any, or add any geographical/cultural differences you've come across in your own little world (especially if you've moved around a lot!!), and see how different we all are!

So here it is...
My collective list of differences between where we came from and where we are.
I would simply say the differences between the West Coast and the Midwest, but I'm not so sure they are consistent on either end. Mostly this end, as I'm positive a lot of these are unique Michigan things and many of them actually unique Jackson things! LOL!

First, the language.
Aside from the accent, YES YOU PEOPLE HAVE AN ACCENT, there are a lot of saying, terms, and words that are different than what we were used to a year ago.
The accent: It's hard to explain. The best example I have is when we confused our neighbor by talking about "DON" and she kept thinking we meant a female "DAWN". Now where we come from, there is no sound difference in those two names. Dawn and Don sound exactly the same. Here they are "DaWWWn" and "Deahn". In our vocabulary, the words Don, Mom, Gone and so forth all rhyme with lawn, drawn, pond, etc. Here, words like Don, Mom, Gone and Tomorrow have a very drawn out almost nasally A sound rather than a long O sound. And don't get me started on the accent in words like cEAHr and pEAHp, --car and pop for those who don't speak Michiganese.
I could actually do a whole post someday on accents and the different ways people pronounce the same words. Here's a good quiz that's exactly what I'm talking about....
What American Accent do you have?
here's mine

What American accent do you have?
My Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Anyway, back to my thoughts.
Now for some of the words themselves...
  • Grilling- we slowly learned that where we were used to having BARBEQUES back home, here we have to have a COOKOUT or we're GRILLING OUT, we are NOT barbecuing.
  • Working Shifts- On the West Coast, if you're working shifts, they are Dayshift, Swingshift (nights), or Graveyard shift. Here they are first second and third shift. This is one that was very confusing to me, as almost everyone here works in these shifts and even if they work a regular bank hours kind of job, people call it first shift. And everyone is assumed to know the shifts. Like when I was telling my hairdresser about my husband's job, she asked if he worked first shift. Ummm... yeah.(???) What the heck is first shift? Everyone, and I mean everyone talks about these shifts in simply the first second or third and no one ever mentions times and if you don't know the names of the shifts it is quite confusing!! My husband works daytime hours... 7 to4 okay?!
  • Tanning- which is a much bigger Midwest thing than in Portland by the way (unless you're in highschool tanning for Spring Break or Prom), is not called tanning here, but going to the tanner. Instead of saying I went tanning or I've been tanning, everyone says I went to the tanner or I've been going to the tanner lately. This is just a funny little one I notice often.
  • I know there are a handful more, but I'm drawing a blank now...
Here are some other notable differences...
Party Stores- What do you suppose you would find at a party store? If you're from the Northwest, you would probably expect to find balloons, party decorations, matching plates, cups and napkins in every imaginable color and character, gifts, party favors, etc... Stuff for whatever birthday, holiday, graduation, over the hill or retirement party you may be planning.
But if you live in Jackson, you go to the party store for liquor, beer, cigarettes, ice, mixers, and that kind of stuff. You know... for a party. Is that what people around here think a party is?

Also, that fact that in Oregon and Washington (not sure which other states do and don't do this) always have separate
party liquor stores. They do not sell alcohol in grocery or convenience stores out there like they do here. We coudn''t just buy a fifth of Captain's with the rest of our grocery list. We would have to make a separate stop at a Liquor Store. And the hours are limited and closed on Sundays.

Stollers always... rarely front packs and never a backpack for your baby- I know no one here who owns a baby backback. They don't even know what you would use that for. Rarely do I see frontpacks or slings either. But strollers? Those are everywhere! Moms have their babies in strollers everywhere. Target? You don't use a cart, you bring in your stroller. Even in grocery stores, I see more infant seats in strollers than in the shopping carts.

Recycling- obviously Portland is going to be much heavier on the recycling front than a Midwest state. But can you believe there is a ten cent deposit on cans and bottles here, and many people don't even recycle those?! And no curbside recycling.
And conservation- people waste water like you wouldn't believe. Okay, I probably shouldn't go so far as say waste, but they are sure less water conscience than we're used to. For one, we don't really pay for water use here. I mean, we pay, but it's a flat fee every month( just $30), and it is not dependent on a meter. It doesn't matter if we use 1 gallon or 100,000, it's the same every month. And for some reason people here, just don't follow the water "rules" that we're used to. Like watering lawns? If you walk through our neighborhood at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, I'll bet you almost every yard will have sprinklers on. Not only on, but running for at least 3 hours. I am not exaggerating. I noticed the other day that our next door neighbor (the older obsessive lawn mower lady) had her sprinkler on and in the same spot in the front part of her lawn for over 5 hours... we had turned our water on at the same time in the morning, and I had watered our whole yard, moving the sprinkler to five different locations, and then turning it off, and she had that one sprinkler still in the same spot 2 hours later. Even the yard with sprinkler systems on timers... they are usually on in the middle of the afternoon. I mean, yeah, the yards are green, but haven't they ever heard of the standard "your lawn needs an inch of water a week and it's best to do it early in the day so there's less evaporation"? Hasn't everyone heard a filled tuna can in the yard is enough water for the week? And not at the hottest part of the day!!!

And, last but not least... Have you ever seen this? (*Well, I meant to get a picture by now, but it hasn't happened. Picture a six pack of beer/pop in the plastic ring carrier things hanging over the side of a grocery cart... three on the inside, three on the outside KWIM?*)
This is how people shop here. I had never seen this before. If you walk through the grocery store, you will find pop, water, gatorade, whatever comes in packs like this, slung over the side of grocery carts. I admit it is pretty smart, and I would have never have thought of such a space saving solution myself... I just throw it on the bottom of the cart if I don't have room LOL!... but it was sure funny to see at first. Because it's on like every other cart! And it's not just with full carts.... someone can be walking around with an empty cart and still their four six packs are hanging around the sides of their cart! This is so common in fact, that when my parents first visited here, they noticed it with their first trip in a grocery store and came home and asked us about it. Why does everyone hang their pop on the side of their carts? I felt like we missed out on some shopping space saver class that everyone else had been to and we had been left out of the loop! This one is definitely a Jackson thing. Hmmm. I wonder if we can get it to catch on else where?

Whew! That was a long one!!
Okay, so like I said... be sure and leave a comment and join in on the "conversation". At the very least, go take that accent quiz and let me know how it turned out!!!
If you're a blogger and you want to join in on our Throw Us Your Thoughts Thursday posts, pick a topic that's been on your mind and write about it!! Or you can elaborate more on anyone else's topic for the day that you like. I'll add links here to others I know are taking part. You can also leave a link yourself in the comments here.
Other Thursday Thoughtfuls so far....

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

note to moving company:

the job of packing and loading a household would go MUCH faster if your employees did not take 30 minute smoke breaks every freaking hour!!!!!

I am not exaggerating.
I am sitting alone in my house while four smokers puff away in my front yard, chatting, laughing and NOT PACKING for the umpteenth time today. Seriously, are you smoking a whole pack out there? I actually timed them this time... 21 minutes and counting. And they're not even looking like they're close to coming back in. Ugh.
It's a good thing I'm not paying them...

they're heeere!

new idea

A friend and I were talking in general about conversations we've had with and about other parents concerning "hot topics". And not just parenting issues, but life issues.
You know; the things you probably have your own different opinions on, but have to bite your tongue in fear of stepping on the other person's toes.
But you can't help thinking it might be nice to have a conversation about it... not a "debate" so much as a here's what I think about it and why, now I'm interested in your thoughts and reasonings behind your opinions as well?.

Many times, having a blog is a good way around things like that. I think any one with a blog has used it at one time or another to get their point across on something that they may not normally say in person to someone. Not in a passive aggressive sort of way... just in a written word sort of organize your thoughts way. I've always enjoyed reading a blog where the writer poses a question or an issue and asks for some reciprocal "conversation" about it. It's truly interesting to see all the different answers or opinions people from all different walks of life come out with.

Anyway, my friend and I were talking about these things and we decided we were going to try creating a day each week to "talk" about these things on our blogs. Big things (like politics *yikes!*) and little things (like should the toilet paper hang over or under)... anything is up for debate.
And Thursday is the day... Thoughts for Thursday is what we're calling it. Every week, I will try to give my two cents on a topic (like I did with the Adoption post), or bring up thought provoking questions, and I want as many people as have a thought on said topic to comment and join in. Just leave a comment if you have a short thought to add, or write a whole post on your opinions yourself, and leave a link to your blog. Also, if you do have your own blog, why not bring up your own topic? It would be fun to have a bunch of different pages to go to and read and see what is on other's minds.

So what do you think? Are ya game???
Check back here Thursday for my first topic.
Gosh, that's a lot of pressure... I better make it good!

any bloggers who want to join in and do their own edition of Thoughts For Thursday every Thursday with us... let me know and either leave a link in a comment here on Thursdays, or if we get a regular group of more than just the two of us, I'll create a little sidebar note and direct my readers your way!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

an old fashioned homemade Father's Day

So this was the first year for handmade Father's Day cards... well, I didn't make mine, I guess I was the lazy one, haha! But the kids loved making their's for their Daddy... Savannah's little googly-eyed people are her and Sawyer and Daddy. And the word Daddy is in green and yellow because her daddy loves the Ducks. She could be a custom card designer don't you think? Sawyer glued on his little wooden letters... and then peeled them off and glued them back on about 50 times LOL!

Here's a peek at the insides... Sawyer's has a picture of him signing his version of "I Love You!"; just a little visual aid to decipher his scribbling sentiments.

We made cinnamon rolls for breakfast and had a nice relaxing morning.
We didn't do anything special today, but it was a nice day... although it felt as though we didn't have all that much "family" time. We went to church with some friends and didn't make it home until 1:30 with two tired, hungry and cranky kids. So we ate a quick lunch and then we ALL took a nap. We all slept till at least 4pm... I had to go in and wake Sawyer up at 5!!
We splashed in the wading pool a bit, had a quick early dinner, and then Ryan actually had to leave and go into work this evening right after that (bummer on a weekend, and especially Father's Day!!). So the kids and I spent the evening trying to keep cool just laying low, and even after all our naps, they were still just a little crabby. I think they missed their Daddy. They had a great time celebrating him today, and were sad to have him leave!!

Happy Father's Day Ryan... thank you for all that you do and everything you are that makes you such a great and "bestest" daddy in the world for our kids.

Friday, June 15, 2007

procrastination ended

(that's a link by the way)

it was a horrible, no good, very bad day

Yesterday. This is what I felt like.
Well, it wasn't all bad.
I suppose it you ask the kids, it was a great day... we went to the zoo, we had lunch with Daddy and went to the park, and even though we skipped swimming lessons we swam in the backyard.

But in my mind (literally, in my head!) it was no good.
Starting out, we had to plan on being out of the house all day because they guys were coming to work on our chimney and because of the chimney's close proximity to where our power lines come in, the electricity was going to be shut off to the house for the day. So we made all these plans... to be out of the house early, spend the morning at the zoo in Battle Creek, continue out to Kalamazoo to have lunch with Ryan, spend some time in the city shopping (at the good malls!) and then hit swimming lessons on our way back into town. By the time swimming was over (4:30), we would be good to go home.
Well, then it just so happens the night before, I had one of the worst migraines I remember having in... I don't know when. Horrible. As in up at three in the morning throwing up horrible. It was better, but just barely, by 7am when I had to get up with the kids. But still, I could hardly move. I thought there was no way I could keep up with all our plans for the day when I could hardly sit up and I felt like if I moved too fast I would hurl again. But it was at least better than it had been hours before, and I honestly cringed more at the thought of being stuck inside the house with these two kids running around being loud, squealing, yelling, playing, fighting all day with no electricity (read: no movies or music to entertain, or fans to cool off with). They were already killing me at 8 AM. So I decided to suck it up, make myself eat some toast and pack us up for the day.
It was okay.
If you consider okay being extremely nauseous with a pounding headache all morning, driving 45 miles and then pushing a stroller with two kids around a zoo. And don't forget the light hurting my eyes on a sunny 90 degree day. But we made it through.

And the kids had fun. Nicole, Porter and Aria met us there. Savannah and Aria had so much fun skipping around the zoo together, running hand in hand from animal to animal. I am so glad they joined us, because it was so much more fun with Savannah to share the morning with a friend. I'm afraid I was not the best of company.

I wasn't really up to a lot of photo ops.... but I had to of course take a few at the new Carousel. Savannah has been looking forward to this opening for months. It's really too bad we only got to visit this one last time with the carousel up and running. Here are just a few shots... this is all I got because my camera decided to play some tricks on me, and between messing with that, staying upright on the moving carousel while I was already dizzy, and keeping Sawyer on his Zebra, the camera took last place.

Sawyer did really like the carousel, as bored as he looks in this shot!

As usual, there are many more (and much better) pics of the kids and our zoo trip over at Nicole's place like this one..

So we cut our zoo trip a little short to go in to Kalamazoo and meet Ryan at work for lunch. I was feeling just a little better after eating lunch, but then Ryan tells me about the phone calls he was involved with all morning. Turns out the electric company never did come out to disconnect the power, the chimney people waited around for awhile, but then gave up and did what they could for the day. So after the morning I had, it was all for nothing. I could have sat at home, plugged the kids into movie after movie, curled up in bed or on the couch and semi-slept off the rest of this migraine. I packed up a crapload of stuff for a bunch of different outings for all day feeling sicker than a dog, and it was ALL FOR NOTHING!!!
Anyway, at that point, Ryan talked me into skipping swimming lessons (him saying over and over again how I looked like crap didn't really encourage me to stay out in public) and take the kids home. I was not excited about either going to swimming or going home... both were work for me and both were an hour away. I felt bad about Savannah missing swimming, but I just couldn't do it. Heck, I could barely make it home.
When we did get home, I stuck Sawyer in his crib and Savannah in front of a movie. Sawyer never did take a nap, but at least he was in there for almost an hour so I could at least lay down for a bit. After that I did feel better, so I actually took the kids outside and sat in the shade while they splashed in the little pool. And by the time Ryan got home, I was actually chatty and almost back to normal. But man, was it a long day until then!!

we're getting down to the last

I made one last run to the grocery store last night... got some fresh fruit and vegetables, some lunchmeat, snacks for our trip, and the last gallon of milk we will consume as Michiganders.

I just put the last new roll of t.p. in both bathrooms.

I just baked my last batch of cookies in this old too-hot oven.

Just dumped the last bouquet of flowers from the vase on the coffee table.

I'm currently filling our wading pool with fresh water one last time.

The movers are coming on Tuesday to start packing. Thursday it will all be on the truck, and we will be staying else where for those few days in between. Friday we will be on our way. One week from RIGHT NOW we will be on the road. Not sure if that's really sunk in yet.

We'll make our way into St. Louis sometime next Sunday, we close on our new house on Monday, and then the moving truck is scheduled to arrive there on Tuesday. Between crashing at friend's houses, hotel stays, and even camping out in our big new empty house Monday night on our air mattresses, we'll have roughly a week of being nomads.
And then it begins... all new firsts.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

read this

My husband's favorite tagline is (in a dramatic on the verge of sobbing voice) "I NEVER LEARNED TO READ!".

When I or anyone else suggests a good book, he's quick to give one of three responses:
"the only reading material that I acknowledge exists are magazines",
"I don't know how to read",
or just plain "I don't read.".

When we were first married, I did manage to squeeze reading a devotional together out of him, and then for a few weeks we actually took turns reading aloud Couplehood and Babyhood before bed each night... they were easy read with nice short, funny chapters.

I have always been a bookworm, and his apathy towards any and all reading material has always driven me nuts. How can you not enjoy a great book once in a while?? I even made the mistake of buying him a couple of books for his birthday one year... books I thought he would actually be interested in reading and admit he enjoyed. The World's Game and Fever Pitch are still sitting unopened on our bookshelf. Actually, I read Fever Pitch and it was very good. But Ryan has yet to crack either one open.

I've been reading some great "parenting" books lately and I'm trying to get Ryan to read them with me or after me so that he can have some of this stuff in his head as well and I'm not just saying "goodbye to whining complaining and bad attitudes in you and your kids" on my own. But it's not going very well. I think he started one of the books one night and that's been the extent of it.

He claims reading puts him to sleep. He claims that if he's up and awake he'd rather be doing something else, and even though he admits that reading before bed is relaxing, he says if he does read in bed, it puts him right to sleep.

Well last night, as he got ready and into bed before me, I came in quite a while later to find him reading this:

Stocks Strategies and Common Sense

How on earth can a great humorous and touching novel about a young boy's fascination with the game of football (er, sorry-- soccer) and the impact of it on his young life in Britain put you to sleep, but reading about the stockmarket and how to make decisions about stocks can keep you up for hours??!!!!
Tell me... does this make sense?
Well I guess I can say at least his nose is in a book for once.

Monday, June 11, 2007

a bunch of beach

And I do mean A BUNCH!
Just warning you, I wasn't too picky about which pictures I put up tonight. I took SO MANY. Believe me, this is a ton, but I've spared you by many. Don't be afraid to critique the photos any of you photographers out there... (Nic, Jess, Annie, Debbie, and anyone else stumbling upon my amateur attempts). Too dark? Overexposed? No focus? I need all the advice I can get! I'm just proud that they were shot completely manually and they actually turned out. I'm looking forward to printing them out and seeing how they hold up in real life. These shots are all straight out of the camera... no editing or adjusting besides a little cropping here and there and some sharpening for the web. They're not all the greatest, but at least they're presentable here (and can I just say manual shooting again?!... and completely frustrating can't-decide-between-sun/overcast-weather for all of the afternoon?!!... sorry, I'll shut up now)!
As usual, clicking on any image should bring it up full size.

On with the show... Here's our day at the beach:
Here's the SawMan's version of a sandcastle. A mound of sand with a stick stuck in the top.Sawyer was all about the rocks. He spent most of his time gathering them. Gathering, placing in bucket, carrying them to a new location, emptying the bucket, and gathering again.
He got a little frustrated with the larger rocks...

I don't have as many keepers of Savannah from this trip as I would have liked. Partly due to her pretty much always having her back to me, and partly because I can't stand the swimsuit she had on. Not the one I would have picked had I known I would be on such a roll with my camera and want so many frame-able shots. She loves the swimsuit, so it's good to have it captured, but Disney princesses plastered all over the front with a tu-tu skirt is not my idea of cute.

Two of my favorites... (you may have seen else where LOL!)

And Ryan's saving this one in case Sawyer's ever an Olympian and people wonder when he started training for the rings.

I know this one's not so hot technically, but I love SJ's face!!!

After a couple of hours we left the rocky beach of Van Buren and migrated north to the nicer sandier beaches of South Haven...

our little swimmers...
Sawyer didn't even want to stand up in the water. He just wanted to lay low and kick away like this. Ryan would try to take him out further to play and he just wanted to be totally in the water "swimming" around like a fish.

Love those wrinkly feet!! Our little water baby.

Maybe he's going to be a surfer or something, because this was also his favorite position in both the sand and the water... I think he liked the warm sand on his belly.

Making a mudpit...

and of course we had to watch the "pirate ship" come in
We really did have so much fun. Both Ryan and I kept saying that we really wished we would have spent more time along Lake Michigan last summer. Another example of why to just do things and not put them off... we thought we'd have years of summers to visit the lake. But we missed most of our chances.
Anyway, we all had such a good time I think we decided we're going to head over and spend a night or two at the beach on our way out of state. We were thinking about going to Chicago or a few other places making a few day trip down to St Louis when we leave. Like a little mini vacation taking our time and breaking up our drive down there. But now if the weather looks good, I think we're going to find a place near the beach and let the kids hang out in the sand and sun for a couple of afternoons.