Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!

Updated photos... as promised

Pickle, my mom's cat

We had Christmas morning at home. We opened presents, Tony made us breakfast and then we relaxed until it was time to go to Dayton. I have pictures of this, but for some reason they are not loading right now.

We have been relaxing during our vacation. We have played with our toys, read lots of books (Thank you Sara and Andria), have fed our large population of Quail and our singular Squirrel, and have enjoyed haing my sister and David over.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Ok, maybe it is 7 1/2

Happy Birthday Andria!

For some reason I had it stuck in my head that you turned =sum(big birthday vacation in Mexico with your sister -8), but I guess that is me. Happy double 16 plus 1!!!

Here are a few reasons why you deserve the BEST birthday ever. . .

*you are the thwart-er of evil- You never hesitate to make a bully think twice about repeating their mistakes when it comes to Lane or Kaid (or anyone really). You won't stand for it. I know there have been times where you have given the death glare to unsuspecting bullies as a warning. I remember just last summer when a girl decided to pick on Nadia by giving her a different name because she didn't like to call her Nadia and so you dubbed said-girl "Ralph". Quick, effective, end-to-the-bullying.

*you are classically beautiful- yes it helps that you are a knock-out, but it is your classic style that comes from within that makes you shine. I know, you think I am corny, but I don't know how else to say that the light you cast when you are around people is one of beauty.

*you are a teacher- I can't possibly list all of the lessons you have taught me but here are a few of the biggies: you taught me to read, ride a bike, kill with kindness, curl my hair, wear blush, end a fight with laughter, give love when I would rather scream.

*you are my childhood- There are few memories I have of my childhood where you are not there. My best memories are when you were. Even the socially awkward ones [like standing outside of someones house' "you knock, no I'll knock and you talk, no you go first, remember to ask permission before you use the bathroom, but only if you absolutely have to and remember not to eat or drink anything, don't even sit, even if they offer!" Even the memories of fighting over the good mirror in the bathroom and mostly letting me win. Skipping school in the 2nd/3rd grade, someone had to make sure those newborn kittens were ok, right? Even the memories of fighting over clothes and then sharing clothes (and makeup and hair stuff and cars). Even the memories of the moped and the one (I can't believe it was only one) accident we had. Not yelling at me too much when I would beat you to your Volkswagon everyday after school, turn on the radio and string my gum on the underside of your steering wheel so you would grab it when you got in. Memories of burrying the green pickup, eating ice cream at the fair for breakfast, bringing every single pet inside during the summer even though we were not suppose to, hair-brained schemes like building a pen for a miniature donkey, miniature dairy cows or revamping the kennel for the two basset hounds we were going to get.

I could go on and on and on and on. I look forward to all of the memories we still need to make. Hopefully this year will be a memorable one for you!

Happy Birthday! I love you Andria!

Happy Birthday To ALL of you!

In no particular order...
Atticus! I can't believe you are 7 already!!! Have a great birthday!
Amy and Mike -Happy birthday to both of you today!
Tony's co-worker John- Many birthday wishes to you!
Uncle Gene- Happy Birthday to you!
Andria- It wonderful to get to see you yesterday. Have a fantastic birthday. Just 8 more and then it is Feliz Cumplianos.

I hope you all enjoy your special day!!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

SnOW SnOw snoW snow

An update on the weather, past and present:
Last week we had school delays Monday through Thursday (don't get me started on a regular on-time day the Friday before Winter Break!!!) There was a moderate amount of snow that fell Wednesday and temperatures in the single digits all week. Friday it began snowing again. It has fallen off and on since. We have about 6 inches now.

An update on Mel's Snow Beliefs:

I hold a firm belief that snow is meant to be visited...snow is not to visit me. Yes I think the snow is beautiful. I remarked that very thing as I sat here last night watching how it sparkled and swirled out my window. It does make it feel like Christmas and I do look forward to sledding at my parents. It is also cold and wet and leaves sock-magnet-puddles on my floor and is cold and wet and wet and cold for that matter. That being said, I piled layers on, Tony piled layers on, we piled layers on the kids and out we went.

Rosy cheeks and hot cocoa.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tony Turns 32!

Warning: if you do not want to read mushy-lovey feeling stuff then read no further. This post is for my husband.

Tomorrow Tony turns 32. I could write volumes about all of the wonderful, fantastic, loving, beautiful, intellegent charactoristics my husband possesses, but I will keep it to 32.

32 your evil-excited-too-much-sugar laugh that includes an equally energetic finger-wiggle-thing: it is impossible to describe

31 your willingness to please me: even when it is something you don’t like (um, yeah, I am sorry the cat moved in and I broke my promise, but you understand, right?)

30 blue thunder: and all of the defining conversations had within

29 your ability to clean a shower: it would not happen if it were not for you

28 along those lines, your understanding: for instance, you understand my inability to operate a vacuum without it burning up, squealing, getting tangled or all together giving up and the fact that you enjoy vacuuming to begin with

27 you take care of us: no matter how tired you are.

26 you are a man: I mean a grown-up-bonified-adult-kind-of-man, you know how to do things, like fix cars, repair damaged pipes, wire things, balance budgets, buy houses, weird grown up things that don't match the 20 year old Tony I have in my head

25 you are sexy-smart: you know how I love a nerd, no matter how many times I give you grief for it I love it

24 your determination: and I thank you for giving it to Aidan

23 your smile: thank you for giving that to Nadia, even with it is coupled with impish intent

22 your extended family: thank you for giving them to me and to our kids

21 history: and by history I mean history of society like how you use to ‘help’ me with history in high school and how you still find a way to make it interesting to me

20 our history: 5 years as neighbors, which led to 6 years of dating and now 8 years of marriage, I am lucky to have you for the better half of my life.

19 your streaks of ‘Saint Anthony’: when you do what is right because it is right even when it is not easy

18 your streaks of obstinacy: you can certainly be obstinate sometimes but it is part of the reason I love you

17 your great work ethic: I was warned that it may be your downfall but you have an amazing sense of balance between work and play

16 your baking ability: I appreciate that you are willing to bake anything from bread to cookies, no matter the hour or how tired you are

15 your compliance: even with my silly-controlling-slightly-irrational-albeit-sensible-in-my-crazy-mind silverware in the appropriate slot in the dishwasher obsession

14 your craftsmanship: no matter what it is, from cubbie to chair to unbelievably huge bookcase built in our tiny apartment, you are willing to build it exactly how I want it

13 of May: even though the wedding was not what I imagined, the marriage is more than I could have dreamed of

12 your singing: I melt when you sing, even if the song is about how my hair will fall out from too much hair-dye

11 your playfulness: I love when you act Goofey with the kids

10 your accents: I remember a time sitting on the couch when all of a sudden you said everything with an Irish accent, you crack me up

9 your attention to detail: even when I want to rush you won’t give up on something until it is perfect

8 your bald head: I know it is silly and you had great hair to0, but I love your bald head and the confidence it shows

7 your chest: it makes the best pillow when I can’t fall asleep

6 your help: I so appreciate all you have done to pick up the slack this past year as I have been working toward work goals

5 your support: More than just the help around the house, I appreciate that you are patient and supportive when asking me ‘what can I do to help’, even if it is just listening

4 your love for my family: they mean so much to me and you have loved them like your own

3 your love for Aidan and Nadia: it is not easy being a parent, but you continually help me be a better Mom and look for ways to be a better Dad. Never giving up or being satisfied is your best quality as a father. Aidan and Nadia will always appreciate that you put them first.

2 the way you look at me: I feel loved

1 being my best friend.

Happy Birthday My Love!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Merry Christmas and Feliz Navidad!

Last Thursday was the Winter Program at Nadia and Aidan's school. First up, the kindergartners, singing such favorites as that 'Patito' song, Up on a House Top, and Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer. You can see she really got into that 'Patito' song. She is about to take flight!!! Nadia was in the front row, (get use to is sweetie). She said afterward that she was a little embarrassed.
Aidan came strolling in. When I say strolling, I mean shoulders back swagger. There he was, right of center, second-row from the top, chattin' up his buddies, and completely oblivious that there are about 150 parents there to see their little children shine. His first grade class sang Cho-Co-La-Te and We Wish You a Merry Christmas. Aidan, however, could be seen mouthing the words a good two seconds after his classmates or turning around to check out what the kids behind him were doing or my favorite, yawning. Not one little descrete yawn but 9 separate, long, I-am-bored-out-of-my-flippin-gourd yawns. Sorry to trouble you son, but I do like to see you dressed up singing a song or two once in a while. At least he didn't turn around and wag his behind at the crowd as they sang a song about a little duck. . . this time, anyway.

I wonder what the spring program has in store for us?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Homework is a very big deal

Nadia is not enjoying kindergarten as much as I had hoped. We did have a mini-breakthrough during homework time this week. Nadia read all of her Spanish sight words! This is from a girl who is opposed to Spanish ("because it is hard, that's why!!!!"), swears she can not read, and in general uses denial as her primary defense mechanism to all things academic. Well, she did it! We are so proud of her. Hardwork (and a great deal of nagging) do pay off!

Actually, most of the credit has to go to this guy.
Aidan has been encouraging her each morning on the way to school. He told her Spanish was hard for him at first but she just needs to keep trying and she will learn it just like him. He practices with her too. I love to hear him tell her she is doing a good job, or even better, 'good try'! Aidan says he loves first grade. His teacher pretty cool and very understanding. Even her homework is fun! Not only does she send home books on tape, but the kids use computers and they do a ton of math. First grade is a nerd's heaven!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Aloha my good man

My wonderful husband and my fantastic brother went to Hawaii last Thursday morning to support our beloved Cougars. They returned this morning around 2:30 am. The intent was for James to celebrate his 40th birthday and Tony decided he would tag along, which I thought was a great idea. Sure I missed him, and our children missed him, and I think Aidan may be harboring a little resentment toward his Uncle Jimmy for taking what he thought should be his place, but Tony and James both deserved it!

Tony has made my schedule a priority this year so I can work toward some of my goals. He has changed plans, worked early, worked at home and sacrificed his own time to make sure Aidan and Nadia never have to stay late at childcare. He has taken on the Super Dad role without complaint. He cooks, cleans, maintains, fixes, budgets, listens, organizes, packs lunches, brushes teeth and hair, loves and makes us laugh. To top it off, on his vacation he searched out perfect and thoughtful 'pre-prizes' for each of us.
Reason # 5123 that I have the best husband on the planet!

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Last week we had conferences. Here is the mini version. Our kids are smart, stubborn and cool. They come by smart and stubborn naturally, but cool? Who knew?

Afterward we celebrated at Fiesta (fitting). Nadia and Aidan were very chatty. Nadia said she does not want to eat animals anymore because her Papa is a farmer and that would make him sad if she ate them. She was eating a cheese enchilada. Tony asked her what cheese is made of. She whinned, with a worry-stricken face, "lion?". Ok, maybe she is a late bloomer in the smarts department like her mom!

By the by, this is my 100th post! Whoa!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Crazy Cats and Crazy Kids

Last Sunday we stayed in our pj's all day long. It was the best. Here are some of the highlights:)

Saturday, November 1, 2008


I think not. . .
unless it scares you that your daughter wants to have 5 children and that your son looks like a cyborg.

Nadia was a mom with 5 kids, Aidan started as a CIA special operative with night vision then transitioned to an alien but really looked like a cyborg, Cousin MacKenzie was a beautiful Princess, Cousin Cooper was a cowboy equipped with his own horse (that he traded for the pantsless look) and Uncle Jamie was a Hazmat Worker, but everyone thought he was a GhostBuster!

A declaration of "no more candy tonight" brings tears to the young and the not-so-young.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

halloween is on its way...

Tombstones are pretty wicked, but if you want to see real halloween spirit, check out these creative pumpkins!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

More pics!

Sara giving the kids a sugar high!
Sausage Fest '08!
Thank you Sara for these pictures. I am a lame-o and always forget my camera. Sara is there to cover for me.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Here and there

I don't have any stories for you today.
I do, however, have a few pictures.
Feel free to add your own version of the stories to the comments!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

wait a minute...

This just in. . . Alina is now Alex. Spark gets to keep his unisex name. I think we got the bait and switch :)

I promise they will stay outside...

Really, I do.

I know I didn't really keep my promise about Alice's cat litter box. But this time, I swear! Pinkie-swear if you want. And honey, they are not for me...they are for the children!

I know I have to set a good example so I WILL keep my promise about keeping them outside. There is just something so wonderful about a kitty. I have been w.a.y. overstressed lately. (here is where you say, 'I told you so'). I admit, I over committed. I have issues saying no.

Luckily so does Tony. How could he say NO to his three favorite people and their batting eyelashes? (I said I am working on setting a good example, didn't I)

Here they are...

Alina (said a-lee-na) and Spark
There is no surprise as to who named who. Yes, Aidan is wearing protective gear. Both kittens are friendly and enjoy being held but are still a little nervous.

Don't worry, we will take very good care of them.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

James...40...'nuff said

Update: Here is a pic or two from his party!

Well, not really. In fact, there is a whole lot to say about my brother who is turned 40 today.

1. He is really, really, really funny. It is just a natural storyteller.
2. He is the one who calmed me down on my wedding day and kept me from crying by blowing in my eyes.
3. He gave me my nickname: munumana
4. He gave my sister her nickname: face
5. and Lane: Lane Zaney
6. and Aidan: Mister
7. and my cat: the pan-faced cat
8. He once blew a fire-cracker up in a pvc pipe and convinced me to put my ear up to it. He also convinced me to put my tongue on the inside rack in the freezer. Don't judge me, I looked up to my big brother. Don't judge him either, you probably would have done it too if you had a little sister like me.
9. He has a beautiful and just-as-funny daughter, that I nicknamed: M&M.
10. He has a very handsome and playful son, who my mom says is just like him.
11. He use to listen to the stereo, on full blast, with his head between the speakers. He made all kinds of music cool.
12. He convinced me it would be cool to make his lunch every day while he worked at the grain elevator and convinced me to build a bigger and better sandwich everyday.
13. Two words: Christmas Donuts (made with a car, not in the kitchen)
14. He sat up with Aidan all night the night Nadia was born, enduring puke and all.
15. He is a Coug, through and through.
16. Pizza Pipeline, baby!
17. He once set up a giant teeter-totter with Andria and I taking turns on the low end and him jumping off a ladder onto the high end.
18. He taught us to build Alfalfa Forts
19. He would pick me up from school so I didn't have to wait for my parents to commute from Pasco to Dayton.
20. He would let me practice driving.
21. He convinced Andria and I to jump on the bed and then took pictures as evidence.
22. He gently encouraged me not to sing in the school play after listening to me 'try', saving me some serious embarrassment.
23. He always asks PHS students if they know me.
24. He always follows a yes response from them with, "She's really mean right?"
25. He would drive my Grandma around to get her out of the house.
26. He took me on my one and only hunting trip.
27. He is a really good cook, everything from dutch oven apple crisp to curry (minus the raisins) to tater-tot casserole to Cornish game hen. He has been cooking since I can remember.
28. He was willingly going to put his dead deer in the back of his Passat.
29. He too has nicknames: Uncky Monkey, Tio Mono, and my favorite, "the Rooster"
30. He has traveled to Europe where he sailed a ship and taught at-risk kids.
31. He is a wonderful provider for his family.
32. He likes to play the didgeridoo (ya, I don't really know how to spell it, but it impresses the heck out of my kids)
33. He is traditional. He 'courted" his wife. He brought her flowers, made her dinner, sent her packages...Too Cuuuuuutte.
34. He use to make up characters, like 'jeffery'.
35. He won a baby contest and had his picture displayed in the 'Crescent' in Spokane for a year. Again... Too Cuuuuute.
36. He knows everyone, and if he doesn't know someone he soon will. He is extremely outgoing. Women love to talk to him, maybe it is that whole cute thing.
37. I once got a job simply because he was my brother. The owner called me out of the blue. I didn't know him, or the line of work (he was a crop duster), but he offered me the job because his girlfriend said James was a great guy.
38. I love going on drives with him (even though it seems like it is always to funerals) because he is great at making conversation and telling stories.
39. He is a good sport, he didn't kill Andria and I for wearing all of his clothes. In fact, he once sacrificed his football pants to make my sister a Halloween costume. He even wrote 'defense' on the rear in a protective-big-brother kind of way.
40. I wouldn't trade him for the world. He is an AWESOME older (way, way, way older) big brother. I meant that, he is AWESOME. I mean if there was ever a brother that was AWESOME, it would totally be him. Next to AWESOME in the dictionary is his AWESOME picture. Honestly, I could have gone to 50, or 60, there is just that much to say about you (and your AWESOME-ness)

I love you! Happy 40th Birthday James!!!!