Sunday, December 21, 2014

Over the River and Through the Woods

 We made it to Utah again.  We picked Rocky up from school early and left at 12:30.  I fell asleep right away and Rosy woke me up with a cry of snow.  I opened my eyes to an amazing winter scene.  It lasted for about 15 minutes until we lowered in elevation and that was it.  It was magical while it lasted though.
 The girls were great, if not a little grumpy.  But whenever gloomy faces came out we just reminded them that we were going to grandma's house and cheeriness would return.
 We took a surprise stop at a creepy cafe in Juntura.  The cafe itself was pretty cute but it was so quiet and a little bit off the road giving it a horror film kind of feel.  When we got inside she told us that the phones had been dead for three days.  We used the bathrooms, picked up a quick order of fries and jumped back into the car before we became the next victims.  I can't explain the logistics of it, but somehow I knew that this particular film would not have had a psycopathic murderer, but it was one of those where a mutated wild animal picks off its prey one at a time.  Once we were back in the van we happily ate our fries and were safely on our way.
This worked out for us again later on when Daisy started barfing and the styrofoam take out container that had been empty was filled again with much less appealing fare.
We have gotten pretty good at this driving back and forth deal.  We got there in just a smidge over 12 hours and were happily tucked into warm beds at Oma's before we knew it.

Now that we were in Ogden it was right to business.  Brandon played basketball with his brothers in the morning, the Howards had their Christmas party in the afternoon and then it was the Weber State game that night.

It was the mascot game.  Rosy loved all the characters until they came close.  She wailed so loudly that Grisbee the bear ran away.  Being the caring adults that we are, we laughed our heads off at her fear and then I took a picture.
 She didn't think it was funny.
 Daisy appeared in full ladybug uniform.  I told her that she had better check in advance who we were playing because I didn't want her to accidentally support the opposing team.  It was okay though because they were the wolverines which are not at all associated with ladybugs.  Unfortunately neither are wildcats.  Luckily Opa was wearing enough purple for the whole family.

Put on Your Yarmulke

 Even though it wasn't Friday we made a loaf of challah bread as a Hanukkah gift for Abbey.  She invited us over to light the candles and spin the draidel.  We all love it when Abbey shares her traditions.

More Festivities

 Rocky drew this picture of Santa.  I will let it speak for itself.
First Grade School Picture

 We made paper snowflakes.  There it is, proof that we do other things in our house besides food.

 And then more proof that all we do is food.
 Daisy was too worn out to help with the porcupine marshmallows.  I wondered if she wasn't feeling well.  She waited all the way until the next day when we were driving to Utah to puke all over the place.
 Rosy was feeling great.  She helped out in her usual manner.

A Bribe in the Name of Science

 I sign us up for any kind of paid research study we can find.  For the past few years our Christmas budget has been made by selling our bodies to science.  I was thrilled when this one came up and promised to pay $150.  It was like hitting the jackpot.  Unfortunately Daisy really wasn't into it.  I actually told her that if she didn't do it there would be no presents.  Her answer:  We already have too many toys anyway.  Her dad is a little more diplomatic and asked her to have an "open mind".  She took it to heart both literally and figuratively and we were on our way to have our brains scanned.
 The pay off came early with a giant ice cream cone.
I do appreciate the money but what I really like about participating in studies is that you get to watch science in action.  This time we really lucked out and the scientist was a girl.  Not only was she as cute as a Disney Princess, she was also as sharp as a tac.  My pink-loving, princess worshipping little munchkin now has a role model that might actually be worth admiring.  And now we have $150 to buy Frozen toys.

Do You Hear the People Sing?

 The end of the semester this year brought on something different than the regular finals.  Brandon was involved in the GTF strike.  The Graduate Student Fellowship Federation banded together to demand a fair pay raise and paid leave for medical situations (most especially for pregnancy).
 Brandon was asked to be a steward for his program and he started out going to the meetings with a conviction that striking was not the right thing to do.  But as time passed and the administration refused to bargain and he heard the stories of other students he realized how important it was to stick together show solidarity.
 It was the longest strike in Oregon history and they were out there with their picket signs for several rainy days.  In the end they were able to work out a compromise that is going to help a lot of families.
Hopefully the movement that they made here at the U of O will lead the way for other universities so that if our little girls decide to go to grad school they won't have to choose between being a student and being a mom.
Nobody was happier that the strike was resolved than Brandon but we were all proud of him for working so hard.  It was a unique experience to watch the process happened and it proved to me how important collective bargaining can be.  

A Long Hiatus

 Instead of keeping my blog updated I have been putting my time into more important pursuits, such as sitting on the couch under a pile of blankets.  When the weather turned dark and cold in Eugene I surrendered to it whole heartedly.  Don't feel bad though because I also equally neglected all the other chores and responsibilities in my life.  So what have we been doing instead?  Well, not a lot.  There is the twice daily trek out to Buena Vista, which has become increasingly longer as the holiday shopping has made turned Oakway Road into an imitation of downtown NYC.  It works out well for the panhandlers that stand on the corners, but not so well for moms that would rather not spend their entire afternoon in transit.  There has been a lot of ukulele playing and Christmas song singing.  There has been some crafting and a lot of coloring done by the girls, but their mom still hasn't really even started on her homemade Christmas gifts, which should make for a couple of busy days coming up.  I did prioritize to ensure that we did make it through our yearly reading of A Christmas Carol, which just might be my favorite tradition.
I am still injured so I haven't been running which can only be described as a BUMMER.  This lack of physical exercise in my life may or may not have contributed to the moping around the house.  We also had a big change at church when the Spanish Branch was split up and we started attending the Eugene 3rd Ward.  
I couldn't remember anything else that happened until I found these photos.
Rosy looks cute here but the important thing is that there was actually a ray of sunshine.
 This is the single photo that we took on Thanksgiving.  Pretty sad.  We had a nice meal in the Spencer View Community Room with lovely friends.  It was our 4th year in a row and as always, the food was fabulous.
 I thought that since we always go to Utah that we would try to do some Christmasy things around home before we left.  I looked at Pinterest and found a bunch of ideas that were way to much work to be of interest to me.  Then I looked again and found some that were within my grasp, namely, that the girls could basically do them without any assistance.
 Side Note:  Rocky's other front tooth is now hanging on for dear life.  It is still attached but it hasn't stopped her from singing her new hit Christmas song, "All I want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth, and a Vitamix, and to see my Grandmas."  What? You haven't heard it?  It is all the rage.  It caught on so quickly because all the 6-year-olds that are losing their teeth also want blenders for Christmas.
 These candy canes were supposed to be made with strawberries, but the grapes were on sale and that is how we roll. You can see that the results were mixed, but delicious.
 We did some other games and stuff but why would I take a picture of an activity that didn't involve food?
Of course we had to make marshmallow fudge.  All the girls call it "sudge" which sounds disgusting but still manages to taste good.  Noted:  Any points I received by making a fruit treat a few nights earlier were immediately void once we pulled out the sudge.

 We did watch a bunch of Oregon Duck football and celebrated when Marcus Mariota won the Heisman.  Rosy seems to be the lone sports enthusiast of our progeny.
 The other two found something else to keep themselves occupied.  NERDS!  It looks like we may have future scholars on our hands instead of Olympic athletes.  My hopes and dreams are crushed.  We have no choice but to leave the United States and hope we can find another homeland that will accept us.
Does anyone else think that I may have been a little bit enthusiastic in calling "Green Eggs and Ham" scholarly?

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Pajama Time

 Daisy's favorite thing to do is  to  stay in her jammies all day.  On Fridays she doesn't have school and she and Rosy have p.j. bonding time.  I used to make them get dressed so I could go for a run but I am working through a little injury right now and can't.  It seems like a perfect opportunity for them to live it up.   Especially because it is too cold and rainy to go anywhere anyway.

They  like to play cards.  I don't really get the mechanics of the game but it keeps them relatively quiet for a few minutes.

At one of the 5ks that we did during the summer we were given a coupon for a free pizza at Track Town Pizza.  We went on a Saturday night and actually ate in the pizza parlor.  It reminded me of when I was a kid and we used to get those Book It prizes from Pizza Hut.  We didn't have a lot of money and going out to eat was  a big deal.  Luckily because of our financial situation  in grad school  we are able to provide our children with the same kind of magical experience. 

 Maybe  we will teach them how to eat in public before we try it again.

Who would use a whole couch when you can scrunch up together in the corner.  Movie Night might be my favorite moment of the whole week.
Bonus Picture:

A Box of Otter Pops

 Brandon did not disappoint this year  with his   creative family costume.  Most everyone had no idea what we are but those who are savvy to the  personalities of the Otter Pops were delighted.  Unfortunately we didn't have a Little Orphan Orange.  If we had stuck to our one baby every two  years rule this wouldn't have been a costume problem but who knows what other kinds of problems that would have caused me.  
Poncho Punch

Strawberry Short Kook

Alexander the Grape

Louie  Blue Raspberry

Sir Isaac Lime
 The  Halloween  festivities  included   all  of  the  regular traditions.   We carved pumpkins and cooked dinner in one.  
 I  did make one change.    Upon inspiration from my healthy friends  instead of making sugar cookies we did healthy snacks.   The kids thought they were  awesome.

 Rosy had  a little bit of trouble making the treats  but when it came time to eat  them  she did  just fine.
 When she saw Tucker in his costume she had to put on her "Georgie".  If you see this kid coming your way, watch out!
 We did our Trick-or-Treating around Spencer View which is always an adventure.  There are so many international students that aren't prepared and they give all kinds of things.  One couple opened up a box of fancy chocolates  and let the kids take one.  I hurried to confiscate them just in case there were razor blades inside.  They were delicious.
They also ended up with candies that had foreign labels, a bunch of cough drops, some books, a couple of rocks, and a ton of candy.
The Spoils
Everyone was  thrilled with the night, especially Georgie.   She couldn't believe what was happening.   At every door she would come  back and tell me that she said thanks.   "I said thanks Mama, I said thanks Mama, I said thanks Mama." Every door.  She also  was  completely surprised every time someone  gave her something.  Usually after a door or two kids kind of get the idea but she was genuinely shocked every time someone had a basket  of candy.  Whenever there were stairs to climb Rocky and  the bigger kids would already be on the way down before she would get to the door.  I kept hoping  she would give  up but she would  not miss her chance.  No matter how long it took her to climb all those stairs.   I thought they would want to go all night but after about 45 minutes the Riglets were all pooped out and made a beeline for home.
They have already been brainstorming about costumes for next year.