Friday, August 29, 2008

Let The Season Begin!!!

There are some strange traditions that are started at WSU and some of which should probably be LEFT there! But when Will and I left WSU 12 years ago there was one tradition that Will took with him:
On Saturday mornings during football season you could always count on Kelly Molstad (one of Will's fraternity brothers) to run through the house YELLING at the top of his lungs...


So you guessed it, Will likes to keep Kelly's tradition a-rolling. And somehow no matter how early or loud he yells it, I still seem to get a smile and a giggle, picturing Kelly back in the day.

Even the "Town Of The Huskies" are preparing for us all.

To me there is NOTHING better than football season! You know it is that time again when the mornings begin to get a little chillier and the days begin to get dark earlier. That's right...there is NOTHING better than football season!

And this weekend the chilly air will definitely be there...The Cougars are invading Seattle! My dad, brother, his girlfriend, Will and I are all going to the game together. It is going to be a blast. Will and I have not been to a Coug game since the Rosebowl in 2003. Due to the fact that football season falls right in the middle of harvest Will is usually a bit busy at this time. So, this weekend is going to be a big treat.
To all you Coug Fans: start packin' the car and headin' over the pass cause morning comes early and the "festivities" will wait for no one. It is going to be one-heck-of a great weekend. Enjoy!!
**Oh, and remember to listen closely tomorrow morning, you just might hear Will or maybe even Kelly yelling their famous words!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Expensive But Worth It

I guess that title could go two ways... The expense of Ryan riding a motorcycle would be one but the one I was meaning is my new hobby: Scrapbooking!

With all this extra time at home, I have known that I was going to need a few new hobbies to keep myself busy. So, not only have I taken up Blogging but also now I am trying my hand at Scrapbooking. I know you are all thinking the same thing Will is..."Why didn't you take up this expensive hobby when you had an income?" But it has become a way for me 1. to be creative and 2. do something with ALL the blasted pictures we have on the computer!

Ryan went out to Dick and Cheryl's last weekend and got to spend some time on his favorite thing...his motorcycle. So, yesterday I spent time putting together a page for Ryan's 1st Love.

I had decided I didn't want to journal on this page. I wanted the pictures to speak for themselves. Once I had placed and tact the pictures I thought I was done, but ended up with a blank corner. So, I got on the computer and printed off a piece of paper that said "racing" over and over. I cut that out, mounted it on red cardstock like Ryan's pictures and then put the Thor sticker on along with a Fox logo that I printed off of Google Images.

I don't think it is too bad for my first page. I found it to be a lot of fun. I can see how one could get REALLY caught up on one page and not get a lot of "scrappin' " done in a day. I had so much fun arranging and then re-arranging the pictures until it just felt right.

Scrappin' one page at a time...

Ready For Take OUT

Mr Ryan (aka:Crash-n-Burn) had obviously bumped his front tooth sometime last year. We had Dr Grow look at it in December and he said it was dead but there was no need to do anything with it. Well, leave it to Crash-n-Burn to find a way to hit that tooth at least two more times which in turn chipped it very bad! I still am trying to figure out how he hit that tooth since it was so much farther up into the gum than the rest.? Anyways, when we were brushing his teeth the other day I noticed the back of that tooth looked really, really funny...almost like I could see the nerve. I called the Dr Grow's office and they found room to squeeze him in to check it.

So, this morning at 8:15 Ryan, Brock and I headed to the dentist. Now mind you, Brock doesn't like going to the dentist himself so I had told Ryan he had to be a VERY big boy and show Brock there was nothing to be afraid of. Taylor and Ryan are the only two kids I know who look forward to going to the dentist (strange kids)!

Dr Grow looked at the tooth and shook his said while saying to me "He has got to be in a lot of pain. The nerve is extremely exposed!" That comment just verified that Mr. Crash-n-Burn has a HUGE pain tolerance! (I had asked Ryan several times over the past few weeks if the tooth hurt him and he always replied with a shrug of his shoulders and a nope.) Dr Grow said there was nothing else to do other than just remove the tooth. I had no problem with this at all except that I knew I needed to get Brock back out in the waiting room before this event took place!
After taking pictures of his teeth it was time to give him the "laughing gas" which Dr Grow said made him look like a Fighter Pilot. Ryan thought that was pretty cool but then he began to get a bit panicky. He didn't want to lay back in the chair, the nose piece was bugging him and I think he just plan didn't know what to expect. The Dental Hygienist came to give him "the shot" which they refer to as "Goofy Juice." I had to step out of the room because 1. I DO NOT DO NEEDLES and 2. I HATE NOVOCAINE SHOTS MYSELF!!! I would be NO HELP to my poor child. But as I was standing outside the room the wail of my child caused me to leap to his side. He had gone from being panicky to down right hysterical. As they started to give him the shot he jerked his head which caused the needle to shift inside his gum. I held his hand and tried desperately to calm him down but did not succeed immediately. I just kept thinking "Ryan this really isn't helping Brock's fears of the Dentist!"

He did finally calm down once we allowed him to sit in my lap. And when Dr Grow came back in Ryan without being asked moved back toward the tooth. A discussion then took place between Dr Grow and his assistant (Cedar) that a second shot had not been given that was needed. I thought to myself...Oh dear, here we go again! But Dr Grow was SO good with Ryan he talked calmly while gently rubbing Ryan's head and explained what was going to happen and that he needed Ryan to help him out so they could be a team. Ryan NEVER flinched, cried, winced, NOTHING! The next thing I knew there was the tooth sitting on the tray. My 4 year old had a funny little gap where his baby tooth used to be.

They placed the tooth inside a cute tooth holder which could be worn as a necklace. Ryan was so proud! He walked right out and told Brock (with a piece of gauze sticking out of his mouth) "I lost a tooth and the Tooth Fairy is coming to my house tonight.

Both boys were so good. So we went past Becky's for a special drink for each of them. Oh yeah, and ME.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

For My Workin' Girls

I know some of you have had a LONG exhausting day and I wanted to help in someway relieve some of your stresses! So here are a few things for you to relax with tonight.

1. NOT COOKIN': Knowing many of you like I do, I know there won't be much home cookin' going on in your homes tonight. But here is a simple recipe that you could use for your 2nd night of school (or any other night for that matter)!

Easy Chicken Bake

Prep Time: 10 min
Total Time: 40 min
Makes: 6 servings

1 pkg (6 oz) Stove Top Stuffing Mix for Chicken
1-1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 can (10-3/4 oz) condensed cream of chicken soup
1/3 cup Sour Cream
1 bag (16 oz) frozen mixed vegetables, thawed, drained
Preheat oven to 400°F. Prepare stuffing mix as directed on package; set aside.
Mix chicken, soup, sour cream and vegetables in 13x9-inch baking dish; top with the stuffing.
Bake 30 min or until chicken is cooked through

2. SIT DOWN! Most of you have been on your feet all day for the first time in months. Let your feet relax. You can also get a pop can and roll your feet over it to help massage your arches.

3. H2O: You have been talking ALL DAY LONG. Drink lots of water to replenish your body and help your vocal cords rest. Remember: for the most part your kids were pretty quiet today...tomorrow they begin to come out of their shells!

4. ENJOY: Do something you enjoy doing whether it be watching tv, reading a book, blogging, listening to music, etc. You have many more days (179 to be exact) to concentrate on school work.

5. BED: Get to bed at a decent hour. You just put out every ounce of energy you had for those kids today. Make sure you re-charge because they are comin' back in full force tomorrow!

6. WEEKEND: Only 3 days away and it's a THREE DAY WEEKEND...even better! starts all over tomorrow!

Here She Goes Again...

It is amazing how quickly our children grow up right before our eyes. Today was no exception! Miss Taylor went to school today, for the last time as an "elementary school child." I remember her first day of grow up even then. I got her on the school bus from the middle school and then raced down to meet the bus at Keene Riverview. She got off the bus walked right past me like she didn't even know me! I was a bit sad, but also so proud that she could stand on her own and be so confident in herself to go to her first day of Kindergarten not needing me or better yet not needing someone to pry her from my leg.

Kindergarten: She must have thought we were sending her to Military School by the look of her stance!

1st grade: Rockin' the Leopard print backpack!

Taylor you are a wonderful daughter, sister, friend, and citizen! You have learned so many things educationally and worldly already in your few years of school. Keep working hard each day to better yourself, learning about life through schoolwork but also with what each day deals you. We know you will (like EVERYONE) hit some bumps in the road along the way, but just remember your friends and family will ALWAYS be here to pick you up and set you back on track.

2nd grade: Smile and show us your missing teeth Miss Tay.

5th grade: Here's to another GREAT year!
It was fun to see you walk into school this morning. Being able to drop you off each day was something I didn't think I would ever get to do. We are going to have a lot of fun times together this year Miss Tay. OMG...I didn't think I would EVER have to be the "Room Mom!"

Miss Britney and Miss Taylor: Go take on the world girls!

Okay, so I am a horrible mother and can not find 1st day school pics of 3rd or 4th grade. I will keep hunting and post them when/if I find!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

No Longer Dreamin'

Mr. Daniel you played your heart out today-you should be smiling!

As a little boy in the town of Prosser you watch the "big boys" play football just waiting for your day. Well, today marked the end of the waiting and wanting for another group of boys.

Livin' the Dream!

Brian Weinmann, Jerry Fitzgerald, and "The" Scott Coleman are coaching a group of "Future Mustangs" on the football field. They have been practicing for a few weeks, but today was the first time to take to the field with a real opponent. I was so proud of those little guys working their behinds off in the heat. The funniest part was watching them try to move with their helmets on. The helmets seemed to dictate where the boys went, due to the fact that the helmets themselves, probably weigh just about as much as some of the kids out there.

I see the next Cody Bruns on his way!

Will W. spent most of the time as the quarterback which was so much fun to watch. He took his role very seriously; celebrating when things went well and hanging his head a bit when things didn't. The team was very good about helping one another keep pumped up and going through the heat.

This is exactly what we've been practicing for...BRING IT ON!

It's been a day! #24 got TWO touchdowns in one game! Keep it up Mr. N'

Jerry and Brian making sure they are still on the same page.

The coaches were hilarious to listen to. A couple times new players would come out onto the field saying "I don't know what position I am suppose to be playing coach." The coach out on the field would yell back to the other coaches on the sideline askin for some help! They have WAY more patients than I could ever muster up to coach those boys. But, the time they have already put into teaching these young men the ins and outs of the game, along with how to be a good sportsman is outstanding! Here is to a great season gentlemen! Go out and have fun!

Remember Will...Hard work ALWAYS pays off in the end.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


It was time again for a G.N.O. (or for those of you who aren't down with the latest "teen music") that would be Girls Night Out. It is amazing how relaxing it is to get out of the house with "The Girls" to sit and have time to vent, laugh, and say very, very funny things. We were able to go and enjoy the wonderful food at P.F. Chang's together Wednesday night. With school starting next week it gave us a chance to spend quality time with one another before the chaos takes over . For all of us, the beginning of school spells out: activities starting up again, homework dilemmas, not knowing what to make for dinner, and just wanting to come home from a long hard day and veg-out!
Thank you Ladies for a final summer G.N.O.!
Amanda we missed having you with us last night!!


Knowing that my three good friends were gearing up to go back to work in a few days I was trying to think of something to give them to start their year off GREAT. After doing some Googling and creative design I came up with putting together Survival Kits for them. Anyone who has ever taught knows that the first week or so can be very stressful on a teacher. So, hopefully their little kits will at least give them a giggle or two on those first nervous days.

Here is what they found inside those fun little bags:

Survival Kit

Lifesavers: for when you’ve had one of THOSE days
Jingle Bells: There are 4 total symbolizing each of us. Just ring when you need help and one or all of us will be there!
Eraser: to remind you that everyone makes mistakes-That is okay…we learn from our errors
Alieve: to make you “All Day Strong!”
Wiggly Eyes: for days when really wish you had eyes in the back of your head
Hugs & Kisses: to remind you everyone needs a hug or compliment every day
Gum: reminds you to stick with it and you can accomplish ANYTHING
Paperclip: to help you hold it together when everything seems to fall apart
Band-Aid: to remind you to heal hurt feelings: yours or someone else’s
Chapstick: for you to put on, instead of saying something you might regret
Hand sanitizer: to keep the extra germs from getting you sick
Deodorant: for days you are running late and forget to put on OR just need a little extra
Magnet: reminds you to do EXACTLY as it says!
Loose Change: for a day you might need a bit more caffeine than planned
Lotion: to help you smooth over those rough patches in your day
Shout Wipes: reminds you to “Shout Out” your messes not your students
Kleenex: to wipe away the tears
Stress Ball: squeeze this instead of someone’s neck
Sticky Tabs: you are leaving your mark on each student you teach
Snowflake: when all else fails…pray for a snow day!!!
It was a lot of fun collecting the items and coming up with little sayings for each. But the part I really enjoyed was putting the entire thing together, decorating the bags and the Survival Kit page. Amazing the kinds of things you can do when you don't have to go to work! The office has been transformed into the "Craft Room." At times this week it has looked like a tornado had struck in there. But in the end, it is all about the fun I am having!
Here is to you three beautiful ladies...GOOD LUCK this year-and remember:
"We're not primarily put on this earth
to see through one another, but to see one another through."
~Peter DeVries

Sunday, August 17, 2008

{Gotta Love Him}

Why is it that boys are SO MUCH harder to raise than girls? Mr. Ryan is constantly on the move. He NEVER stops talking and while he is talking to you he is jumping off of something or running somewhere. And when I say running what I really mean to say is he is SPRINTING, as if trying to win gold at the Olympics. I absolutely LOVE the kid to death but there are today where I am just tired and do not have the patience to deal with his extra loud volume and his need to be in control of everything. Him thinking he needs a toy and me disagreeing, turns into a screaming fit of rage...from him, not me.

I have been practicing my "good mother" voice when he gets upset instead of raising my voice lately. My plan has been to model for him what someone looks/sounds like even when they might be frustrated and/or upset. So, I have been trying to use a soft, calm tone. I say "trying" because it takes everything inside of me to keep down that "hollering mother voice." I know he is just trying to show me who's boss and some days I really just want to let him be the would be so much easier. But in the long run, me modeling a calm voice and talking with him about good ways to deal with frustration will truly pay-off. Let's hope!

Somehow, even at the end of days like today, when he FINALLY falls asleep, I find myself quickly forgetting how much of a little turkey he can be and see the sweet angel inside of him!

I think I am going to go enjoy some quiet time to myself before morning comes and he's back at it!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Vineyard Views

With the kids at my parents house since Sunday, Will and I have been spending some quality time together. This included going out to work with Will for a while yesterday. It brought back memories of our first year being married (before kids) when I used to ride with him late at night during harvest.

As we drove through the vineyard I realized I had my camera and started taking pictures. I have ALWAYS envied Sunny Wright's ability to take such amazingly beautiful pictures of just "grapes" or "onions." I know, I know, they aren't just "grapes and onions" they put roofs over many of our heads. But it is one thing to take stunning pictures of people, but nature is a whole nother thing!So, I gave it a try yesterday and found it quite relaxing! I found myself standing on the top of the truck to get different angles and views and also kneeling down into the dirt to attempt something totally "artsy". It was fun. I did realize that Sunny has a MUCH BETTER camera for that sort of thing and A LOT more talent than I will EVER have. But it was still fun to see what I could snap.

The other thing that I realized yesterday was how much work Will does to keep the vineyard running. I always give him a bad time about just driving around in his truck all day, when in all actuality he is a very busy man, accomplishing a lot in a LARGE area in one day. He has developed what was just acres of dirt blowing in the wind, to a breathtaking vineyard now swaying in the wind.
It was peaceful to sit and enjoy the quiet sounds the wind made whisping through the vines and absorbing the fact that "my husband" has done all of this from the ground, up!

I think many of us take for granted each day what a wonderful place we live in. It is absolutely incredible! Taking these pictures yesterday reminded me that I need to take more time each day to look outside and be very thankful for what we all have!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Our Anniversary Present!

Ten years ago Miss Taylor arrived as our "1st Anniversary" present. I find it very special to share that day with her. Will and I have found that it is best for us to celebrate our anniversary a couple days before August 9th so Miss Tay can have the 9th all to herself. She doesn't seem to be bothered with having to share her special day with us but every child should have a day "as their own."

The Armstrong Fam: All Growd Up!

The three of us in order of age, not height, left to right!

Why is it the baby is always the tallest?

"Da Twins" look very engrossed in someones story!

My family has made a point to be here every year on Miss Taylor's Birthday Weekend. It puts a bit of stress on me but it is always nice to have everyone here for her. This year was a change in that the weekend was not stressful for me at all. The meals went smoothly (and those of you who know me so well know that I HATE TO COOK!!!!) But you would all be very proud of me in the fact that I was very "Martha Stewarty" this weekend and even ENJOYED IT. This stay at home mom thing is mellowing me out a bit...don't worry I still have plenty of Drama Queen left in me.

Poor Brian got to spend the weekend with our crazy family!

Dick and Marge, our Republicans, talk politics by themselves...

Brother Scott is ALWAYS welcome with his massaging hands!

Miss Taylor had a wonderful birthday weekend receiving wonderfully thoughtful gifts. She gets to add more songs to her iPod with her iTunes card. A new mountain bike thanks to Nana Cheryl and Papa Dick, will allow her to ride a bike without hitting her knees on her chin. We will need to do little shopping thanks to Nana Juli and Papa Mack and their great taste in clothes. Thankfully Will and I had little problems coming up with a gift for her since she has taken up guitar. She now will be carrying her own guitar to class!

Mr Ryan even got a gift or two from the Nana's and the Papa's but also Miss Taylor gave him a gift so he had something to open on that day.

G.G. Marge and Miss Taylor

Here is to another year Miss Tay...

Love Mom, Dad, and RyJack!