Saturday, November 29, 2008


Erin loves to go ice skating, so we took her to the mall again today.  

A little break after 45 minutes of non-stop skating

Friday, November 28, 2008

Pictures from the holiday

We had a fabulous Thanksgiving with Grandma B in Jacksonville. When we arrived there at 1am on Thursday morning (I had class until 9:30pm on Tuesday) it was only 37º!!!! That was nearly 20º colder than it was at home, just three hours south. We were freezing.

Anyway, we stayed up for about an hour to visit, unpack, and have a quick snack before heading to bed. On Thursday we ate, ate, and ate some more. While waiting for dinner to be ready we played outside (thankfully it warmed up) with Anah, played kickball, and enjoyed time with Grandma B.

Later that night we built a fire in the fire pit, and had another night time snack. Graham crackers+Hersheys+marshmallows=SMORES!!! We do this nearly every time we go to Grandma B's house.

I love this picture because Anah is trying to get her leash in her mouth so that she can walk herself. When we are at home and she wants to go outside she will sometimes get the leash and walk around with it to let us know that she wants to go out. She's so cute.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Giving thanks

I have a lot to be thankful for, but more importantly I have a lot of people for whom I am thankful.
Carol: for being the absolutely best parent a child could have asked for growing up, and for teaching me to be a strong woman.
Jodie: for reconnecting with me, because I have missed you, and have always adored you.
Larry: for finding my mom, loving her the way she deserves to be loved, and for treating us like part of your family.
Mom: for loving me as much as I love my children. I hope that my daughter grows to have a heart as beautiful as yours.
Mom B: for being my rock when I was ready to fall so many times, and for propping me back up when I did not have the strength to do it myself. I would not be where I am today without you.
My son, Jacob: for teaching me how to truly live, because it was through his death that I learned how much I was taking for granted.
Pam: for being the best friend I could ever ask for, and for listening to all of my drama.
Tony: for supporting our country, giving me two of my sweet nephews, and for always telling me that you love me when you see me or talk to me on the phone.
Sean, Brendan, and Erin: for blessing me with your existence, and for allowing me to be your mother. It is the single greatest gift of my life.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all.
*listed alphabetically except for the last one

Monday, November 24, 2008

Statue of Liberty

By Erin:

She's usually very precise about staying in the lines and filling in the color completely when she colors, but she said that they only had "one art time to finish this" so she was in a rush. Pretty impressive for someone in a hurry if you ask me.  She told me that she spent most of the time drawing it, and not so much time coloring.  I would have taken it with no coloring!

Last game of the season

That's right.  No more baseball for over a month.  Bren's fall season is over, and it was a great one for him.  He grew so much this year, and he's definitely ready for the challenges ahead of him in the Major league that awaits him in the spring.  This will be the best situation for him.  The kids in the Majors are in it for real-like he is.  There have to try out to get on the teams, and you have to be GOOD to make it.  You can't just choose to be on the team. The umpires are officials from the county, not team coaches-so there's a lot less partiality (that makes Bren so angry).  It's a lot more competitive, full-on, serious baseball.  And that is exactly what Bren is looking forward to and expecting.  He's ready for it.  He's been ready for it. He's an all around player.  He's got one hell of a pitching arm, and he can hit the ball like crazy (you should have been there to see the triple he hit yesterday-and it wasn't a triple with errors!).  

So he'll take a break for the next several weeks, practice at home, and then get started in the Majors in January. Thankfully for him (and for me since I love to watch him) baseball is year 'round here.

Pitching in the last game of the year-he pitched FOUR of the six innings

Sunday, November 23, 2008

First haircut

Erin had her hair cut for the first time ever yesterday.  She was so excited, and she loves the way that it looks now. It's a shoulder length bob-they took off about five inches.  We left the bangs the same length as the rest of her hair (I'm not a fan of bangs).  The cut definitely made her curls bounce even more.  

I LOVE her curls!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


It took two months, but my new license plate arrived today.  I love it!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


"In 1859 tribes were forcibly marched northward to the Yachats River.  During the march many died of starvation, exposure, mistreatment, and sheer exhaustion.  Reservation life was deplorable.

The tribes' membership, after just one season in Yachats dwindled from seven hundred to less than three hundred.  We survived and today we have about 900 enrolled members and we continue to grow each year." 
-excerpt from an invitation to the annual Restoration Celebration that was held earlier this year.
Depiction of historical Lower Umpqua life by Pam Stoehsler
I've known all of my life that I am Native American.  I was blessed with this heritage from my mother's side of the family.  Until I became an adult I didn't realize the influence that being Native American has on my life, and I didn't understand the pride that is felt by being related to such amazing people.  

In the past five years I have had the opportunity to learn about our tribe, its culture, people and history.  The past March the kids and I were able to visit our Reservation for the first time, and see first-hand where our relatives were born, lived, and died.  It was an emotional trip for me. When I stood in the sacred tribal Longhouse on the reservation I felt as if I was being taken back in time.  Back to a time when my ancestors were there, fighting for the only home they had ever known.  The pride that I felt that day was beyond anything that I can possibly explain.

In the months since our visit to the reservation and the surrounding areas I have had a desire to learn even more. My mom and step-dad are active participants in the tribe, and they live nearby in Oregon.  My mom is considered an "elder" in our tribe, and Larry has knowledge of our ancestors beyond what I will probably ever have.  He has helped preserve some of our heritage, and worked with older members of our tribe that know the native language of the Lower Umpqua to make CD's and DVD's available to tribal members so that we can learn the language.  It's amazing The more I learn the more proud I become.  

The kids and I are Indian.  We are members of the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians.  Our tribal enrollment cards show an identification number, similar to that of a social security number. However, this number has so much more meaning. It proves that we are part of one of the most amazing groups of people to have ever lived.  

k'wii'ash'in (I'm proud)

Me and Bren in front of the sacred tribal Longhouse on the Reservation

No fish for Greyson

We've had Greyson for almost two years now, and we've also had our beta fish for about the same amount of time. As you can see from the picture below, Greyson loves to drink the water out of the fish bowl.  He doesn't want the fish.  He hasn't ever even tried to get it, although he does sit and watch it swim around after he's finished drinking. The odd thing about it is that this is the ONLY water that Grey will drink.  He always has fresh water near his food, and Anah has her bowl of fresh water that Grey could drink from, but he doesn't.  Never has.  This is the only water he will touch.  So I just have to make sure that I keep the fish bowl filled with water on a regular basis.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Florida goodness

I grew up with fresh (from the tree) squeezed OJ, and I remember squeezing them with my Nana every year. She always had orange trees so that we would have fresh juice.

Afterwards we went inside, and we all helped squeeze the two bags of oranges. We ended up with 1.5 gallons of pure heaven (delicious OJ) to bring home with us.

Later in the afternoon Sean spotted some wild parrots on the telephone wires.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

An egg

Erin took Anah Belle out for a walk this evening, and she ended up tripping over the leash.  As a result she has a huge egg on her forehead, two scraped up knees, and a wound on her hip.  You can't tell very well from this picture how big the bump is, but it is.  I hate head wounds.  They always look so much worse than they are.  After some TLC she was settled down, and we're going to enjoy a movie together now.  

She's still my beautiful girl.  Even with a big bump on her head!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Space Shuttle Launch

It's always exciting when the shuttle launches, but it's even more fun when it launches at night. Especially on a beautiful night like tonight.  We had a perfect view from the back yard, and a clear shot of the bright orange burst of fire and light that comes up over the horizon within a few seconds of the launch.  

The moon just minutes before the launch (click on any of the pictures to see a larger image):

And it's up!  It may just look like a streak of orange, but in real life it is so much more impressive (and exciting).  I've seen this event so many times in my life, and I still get goose bumps every time:

I zoomed out so that you could see the shuttle as it passed near the moon.  The little orange dot is the shuttle:

Erin and a couple of the kids from the neighborhood all watched it together in the back yard, and they were just as excited.  It's so neat that they get to experience this.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Photos from the weekend

The weekend came and went too quickly. Pam was here from Friday until Sunday evening, and it was so nice to see her again. However, I've decided that in the future all of our trips have to be AWAY so that I can get away from the hustle and bustle of this place for a couple of days, too!

Saturday we went to watch Bren's game.

Afterwards, we took everyone home, and then Pam and I headed down to Honeymoon Island to go kayaking! We used a tandem kayak, and went all the way across the channel over to Caladesi Island (voted best beach in the U.S. this year). We were soaked, but it was a lot of fun, and definitely something that we'll be doing together again.

On Sunday morning we headed over to an air show at Fantasy of Flight. My baby brother, Tony, was part of the presentation of colors during the air show. He also received an award from the Military Order of the Purple Hearts Association. I was face to face with him while he held the Florida state flag, and the National Anthem was played, and I was crying. Seeing my brother in uniform, and knowing the sacrifices that he has given to serve our country makes me so proud of him.

We're thinking about a January/February trip to celebrate both of our birthdays, and I'm already looking forward to that!!! 15 months was too long to go in between visits!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Lucky me!

Pam is here, and I am one happy camper!