Katie's visit to Santa and her Christmas portraits on the Katie at 10 months page
A new picture of Julianne and Jacob
A shot from Ed's wild and scary visit to Goiterland
The snapshots Lori sent from the infamous San Francisco trip with Kathy. Martin, take note: Lori's page now has more pictures than yours does!
I also updated the Family News page for the benefit of new visitors to our site.
Went to Seattle last weekend for a visit with Vic's Auntie Sormin and Auntie Flora, and Wellington's retirement party. Daryl & Sally flew there for the day. Half of us were fighting colds, but as always, we had a good time, though the weekend went by quickly.
Vic is not happy about Alex Rodriguez leaving the Mariners. It'd be best not to bring it up, OK?
I'm working on getting Christmas cards in the mail, doing some holiday baking, and packing for our trip to Colorado. Looking forward to meeting up with several friends over the next few days. Also have some work projects going that I hope to complete before we leave. I should get busy!
I probably won't update the site again until after Christmas, so Merry Christmas to all of you and your families! Thanks for checking in and come back soon!
This week we got cable Internet access. It's unbelievably fast, and so far we're really pleased with the difference over a dial-up connection. I'll try to be careful about adding a lot of slow-load images on the site.
Done with our Christmas shopping, nyah nyah nyah! Last night I even put up some of our decorations outside, with a minimum of cursing. We're skipping the "real" tree this year in favor of our small fake tabletop one, for a couple reasons: KATIE ('nuff said), and we're going to be gone over Christmas. It's not the same without that fir aroma in the house, though.
Speaking of stuff that's missing, since I did 95 percent of my Christmas shopping online, I've spent little time in the stores lately. I can't stand the traffic, parking, and crowds, so this is a good thing. But tonight as I ran into Fred Meyer for groceries and heard Christmas carols being played overhead I realized how much I miss that part of Christmas shopping. Lame, ain't it? Guess I'll have to make up for it here at home.
My favorite Christmas CDs this year? Michael W. Smith Christmastime, The Carpenters Christmas Collection, Amy Grant Home for Christmas, anything by Bing Crosby and Andy Williams, Bebe & Cece Winans First Christmas, Michael W. Smith et. al. Emmanuel.
If it seems like I've got sorta corny taste in Christmas music this year, I'd like to see YOUR list!
Events in December: Wellington's birthday and retirement party on the 10th, Elissa's birthday on the 14th, Rachel's birthday on the 24th, Chris' birthday on the 26th, Len's birthday on the 27th. And how could I forget that the new Disney movie opens December 15??? I'll bet my friend Ed can hardly wait for that.
This week's light, but most of this month I've been working a lot. With some new classes Kinetic's adding to their line-up, I hope to be working even more in the new year, which I look forward to. I enjoy being in the classroom again, especially teaching the classes I love. I never got the opportunity to "specialize" at Catapult like I can as a contractor.
Don't even get me started on the election stuff going on right now...
We're hosting Thanksgiving dinner for Mom and Len this year. Plans are finalized for spending Christmas with the Voss Crime Family in Colorado. Hooray! Crossing our fingers for a white Christmas...
Kathy and Lori are going to San Francisco without me next week. This means, of course, that they're getting coal in their stockings, but they just don't care.
Nothing else to report. Almost done with Christmas shopping and then maybe I'll get going on another painting project. Then again, I probably won't. Happy Thanksgiving to all! And in case I forget later, Happy Ramadan, too!
Her new fun is chasing Scout. When Scout lets her catch up, they roll around together in Scout's heap of blankets.
Her top front teeth finally cut through, and with her four teeth on the bottom, she's looking much less gummy.
She's learning to express herself a bit more--frustration, especially--but she's still generally the happiest baby ever, which Mommy thanks God for EVERY DAY!
Lately she's been watching her Baby Einstein videos a bunch; as soon as she hears the first note or two she races to park herself in front of the TV. She sits mesmerized except during one part on Baby Bach when--every time--she kicks her feet and gets noisy. We're thinking it's like those Japanese cartoons that gave kids seizures, but it's so entertaining we love to watch her. And yes, we fully expect Child Protection Services to come knocking down our door any day now.
We made a visit to Walla Walla a few weeks ago. Hung out with Mom and Len and Grandma a bit, but Lonnie and Sherrice just moved into a wonderful house so we bunked with them for the weekend. We visited with Kevin & Lisa Krueger and their beagle Brandy, which was Scout's favorite part of the trip! Katie and I spent some time with JoAnn Wiggins just before we left town.
Speaking of Lonnie and Sherrice, Baby Croft will be joining them next June! We're so thrilled! Poor Sherrice has to deal with lots of unsolicited advice from all of us wise, experienced mothers now.
Vic's two weeks' vacation ends tomorrow. He didn't do too much exciting stuff--he was at home with Katie about half the time while I was working. We did get one big project finished--we painted our bedroom and bathroom. The walls are dark blue now, and wow!, what a difference it makes! We're really happy with it. Next project: something downstairs (oooooooh!).
Ed and I went to Armistead Maupin's book reading and signing last week. The man is incredible; I am in such awe of him. If you're looking for some fun reading, try the Tales of the City series. His new book, The Night Listener, is one of the most captivating books I've ever read.
Debi had her open-head surgery two weeks ago and recovery is going well. For Halloween, she's going to be FrankenDebi--just needs to glue some bolts to her neck and she's good to go.
I'm sorry to say there's not much new stuff on the site. Lori sent a picture I put on the Katie at 7 months page. I'm still waiting for Las Vegas pics from Kathy. And Martin promises more of his special variety of really-I'm-not-a-celebrity-stalker photos too.
Someday I will see my friend Lisa Ross.
Celebrations in November: Barb Matlock's birthday on the 8th and Wellington's retirement party on the 12th.
Getting ready to do your Christmas shopping? Check out my Internet shopping page for suggestions on saving money. I should also recommend creating a Wish List on Amazon, especially if we're going to be putting a gift under the tree for you this year (that does NOT mean you, Martin).
September was busy, which is why I haven't updated the site all month. We were in Seattle for Labor Day weekend, and then Kathy was here for ten days. We had a lot of fun doing a lot of nothing, but enjoyed the times we cleaned ourselves up and actually left the house too. Got to see "Auntie" Lori a couple times, and the infamous Martin of the message board.
The day after Kathy left we drove to Seattle, dropped Katie at Grandpa & Grandma's, and flew to Las Vegas. We met Kathy and her family there (you might think we'd had enough of each other, but NOOOO!) and spent four days avoiding the outdoors, as it was over 100°. Pictures will be posted when Kathy gets them developed and sends me copies. Vic and I video-taped the exciting parts: Kathy pretending she didn't know the camera was on her, Kathy dancing in front of Paris, Kathy eating my cheesecake, Kathy using profanity, Kathy embarrassing her husband and children...
Anyway, the hotels that have come up since we were last there in early 1999 were incredible! Our favorite was the Venetian, where we took a gondola ride on a canal... down the middle of a shopping mall. OK, so maybe it wasn't completely authentic. We also enjoyed Paris, the new Aladdin, and Mandalay Bay. Spent WAY too much time at the Krispy Kreme in our hotel (Excalibur), but we did celebrate my birthday at The Cheesecake Factory and Spago.
Stephen had his picture taken as The Terminator at one of those booths where they put your face into another picture. Sean got to put his hands on the butt of a lion cub and have his picture taken at the Lion Habitat at MGM Grand. Hopefully Kathy will scan and send the photos so I can proudly display them on Sean and Stephen's page.
The day we got back home, Deanna came to visit for a long weekend of sitting around. Since we were all fighting colds there was barely energy for shopping, although we did do some. Also watched a great movie: The Big Tease, starring Craig Ferguson as a Scottish hairdresser who's invited to a Hair-Off in Los Angeles. Antics abound, as you can imagine. We also watched--Ed, don't read this part--the new Little Mermaid movie. Anyway, I loved having Deanna here because she's one of those friends who's just fun to be with, even when we're all sickies and grouchy.
I'll be working a lot in October, but otherwise we don't have too many plans. With Vic on vacation for a couple weeks we'll probably try to get out of town for a few days, but right now we don't even want to think about leaving the house.
Happy Birthday to Ted (10/1), Jenna (10/2), Judi (10/3), Brianna (10/10), Jim and Erin (10/13), Ron (10/19), Alex (10/24), and Uncle Paul (10/31). Happy Anniversary to Ted and Jocelyn (10/8)!
New stuff on the site: pretty much nothing. Note our new e-mail addresses on our home page. Hopefully I'll be able to add some new pictures soon.
Well, the big news is still that Katie's crawling. She pulled herself up at Donna's last weekend, though it was on a pretty low footstool. She's starting to get much more adventurous and we're starting to get much more aware of just how many dangerous things we have in reaching distance around our house!
Her other new thing is smiling and laughing with her mouth closed. This comes from hating solid food very much. To get her to open her mouth to eat strained vegetables, we do goofy things to make her laugh and then shove the food in. She's no dummy... now she smiles and giggles, but with her mouth tightly closed.
Admittedly, acquiring a taste for solid food isn't easy with Daddy on the other side of the spoon saying, "Katie, squash is yummy, that's why Daddy eats it twice a year!"
Kathy will be here September 5-15!
New things on the site: Katie's 6-month portraits, snapshots from 5 months, the new car, and the day we spent at the Macketts' house last month.
C'mon, there must be more people out there who have had some exciting moments of near-greatness. Share them in the message board, PLEASE!
Debi got to witness the first crawl when she was here last weekend. We had a great time on her visit! She helped me choose more accessories for the guest room on one of our many shopping ventures. We saw some movies and worked hard to stick to our diets. Oh, and about her open-head surgery: she finally found out what's wrong with her--she's missing a bone in her face. Now, it may sound like she's a freak but she's really not. Deanna might suggest otherwise though. (Deanna, wouldn't a missing face bone make a person a slack-jawed yokel?)
Nothing else to write about. We're headed to Medford this weekend and will hopefully have some pictures to share upon our return.
I've been busily working on projects I put off while the boys were here last week. I did get our guest room closer to being finished--my first painting project in our house. I know, I know, it's about time after nearly THREE YEARS. It's actually been quite motivating to have it done, and I'm making choices for some of our other rooms now. During Vic's October vacation we'll try to get some more projects done.
I painted our front door--changed it from green to blue--and the boys helped me re-paint the porch. I ordered new white shutters for the front windows, since I always disliked the green, and am looking forward to their arrival. It will give the house a much softer look, although I doubt anyone besides me will even notice.
Debi changed her plans and is coming for a visit THIS weekend! Hooray! With the good weather we've been having, a trip to Saturday Market is in order. We might even find some other shopping to do too! (Don't worry, Deanna, I've got exclusive fun stuff saved for YOUR visit next month!)
A few weeks ago we had a photographer offer to do an in-home portrait session with Katie. See the results here.
I'm working on modifying my Fun Links page, which is now the Fun Stuff page with things spread out among many pages. I'm planning lots of changes as I have time to make them, though I can't promise they'll be exciting.
Thanks to those of you participating in the message board discussion and signing the guest book. It brings tears to my eyes that you care to write. Well, maybe I'm not THAT touched, but close. You give us something to look forward to when we check in to see if there have been any changes!
Looks like my good wishes for Bernie, Carolyn, and Jason Neil on their trip to Madagascar were a bit too late. Bernie had a heart attack last week and it took them 3 days to get back to the U.S. where he could be evaluated at a flea-less hospital. He underwent double bypass surgery yesterday in Spokane. I've not yet been able to reach Sherrice to hear how it went.
Now I'm REALLY worried about Ed on the burning footbridge.
I took Sean, Stephen, and Katie to the photographer yesterday. The boys are a little bit too cool to be themselves in front of the camera, but check them out!
Tomorrow Katie will be six months old--the time has flown! It's amazing how quickly and how much our lives have changed. Every day she discovers new things and finds ways to make us laugh. Even though it's so much more work than we ever imagined, at the same time it's so much fun. I don't think there are very many things in life we can say that about.
<--END FUNCTION philosophical stuff-->
Watch this space in a couple weeks for Katie's six-month portraits.
We're looking forward to having some visitors over the next few months: Kathy will be coming in September, right before our trip to Las Vegas. As soon as we get back, Deanna will be here. Debi is coming in October if she can put off her open-head surgery (and if she truly loves us, she will). We'll probably see Sherrice again sometime too. Deanna would say: on the one hand, I know they're only coming to see Katie, but on the other hand, they have to see us too! HA!
...crossing my fingers that Ed is not trying to cross a wooden footbridge burning on both ends or lying robbed and naked on a volcano in Guatemala, and Bernie, Carolyn, and Jason get home safely from Madagascar...
Remember to sign our guest book and/or join the conversation on the message board!
Victor celebrated his birthday this past Saturday by going to church, spending the afternoon with the Macketts and Neils, eating at Ruth's Chris Steak House (nummers) and going to a movie. I was with him too. He had fun. You don't have to ask him, just take my word for it. "Auntie" Sherrice and "Grandma" Carolyn had the distinct honor of keeping Katie for the evening. They had fun. You don't have to ask them, just take my word for it.
Yesterday I painted our front door. (See, I told you there's nothing worth writing about!)
We've got some new pictures of Katie on the web site. Check out the portrait and the world tour. I think Deanna Gutierrez has a little too much free time on her hands, but I am forever in awe of her vast talents!
My friend Debi spends way too much time at the cineplex.
That is all.
That night Sherrice arrived and she and I stayed up til 4 a.m. talking. It was great to catch up and solve all the world's problems, which we hadn't done in a long time! The next day Daryl and Sally joined us and, in typical Manullang fashion, we ate a big meal. Bailey, Scout, and Guss (our neighbor beagle) ran around the backyard for a miniature beaglefest. Betcha can't guess who barked the most and the loudest. Hint: it was Scout.
BTW, thanks to everyone for all the help... my kitchen's never been so spotless, especially after a big get-together like that! Come back anytime!
Yesterday Uncle Dennis, Dee, Elissa, and Brianna took a break from their Seattle vacation and drove down to spend the day with us. Although I had some other commitments and couldn't be there the whole time, we did have an awful lot of fun together. Pictures of Katie and the girls will be published on the site when I get them developed.
We traded in the Cabrio for a Ford Explorer last week. For anyone who cares about such things, we'll publish pictures of it too. Anyway, there's a lot more room in the Explorer for traveling, and that was what we'd wanted. Of course, this big vehicle means there's little chance we'll ever get both cars in the garage, no matter how clean we get it. The other problem is that now we're fighting over who has to drive the "old" Jetta.
Katie cut her two bottom front teeth on July 13! These were a long time coming and tested Mom and Dad's patience quite a bit before they arrived! We're hoping she stops here--who needs more than two teeth anyway?
Our neighbor Jenna is the babysitter of the year in our book! She and her mom Cheri take Katie off my hands when I teach daytime classes, and deserve many thanks for keeping her entertained. THANKS!
June and July were our busy months, and now we're starting to relax, although there's still a lot going on. Sean and Stephen will be with my mom for a few weeks, and we'll be trying to get them to Portland for some of that time in August. We're headed to Medford at the end of August for my cousin Lia's wedding and are looking forward to seeing Donna, Sharon, and Uncle Paul and Claire too. Kathy's coming to Portland for a couple weeks in September. Plans for our Las Vegas vacation are coming right along.
Happy Birthday to Vic (July 29) and Kathy (July 31)! They'll be the same age, but only one of them will tell you what it is. The other one will lie like she's never lied before.
That's my story.
We spent a weekend in Walla Walla two weeks ago, stopping at Fishhook Park on the Snake River to hang out with Sherrice and the other Neils for the afternoon. It was a great time, as always. In Walla Walla, Mom watched Katie Saturday night so we could go out for dinner, and even took night duty so we could get a full night's rest. That may have been the best part of the whole weekend! Sunday morning Mom made brunch and Grandma joined us. It was a quick trip but we had a really nice time.
Last weekend we were in Seattle again. Finally got to see Safeco Field for ourselves when we went to a Mariners-Dodgers game with Jim and April. The Mariners won, so that made it even more fun. Oh, we also got to see our personalized brick, which--if you want to see it too--is in front of a bento place. At first I thought it was a little too close to the restrooms for my taste, but bento's not bad. LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION! If you happen to see it, will ya give it a polish? Jim and April's upkeep leaves much to be desired.
We celebrated Darlene's and Alec's birthdays at Ted and Jocelyn's Saturday evening. Seems Alec's favorite gift was, of course, the noisiest (from Grandma and Grandpa). Now that we're parents, we know better than to get our nieces or nephews loud toys because we fully expect (and deserve) their parents to reciprocate.
The Lake Oswego School District Technology Learning Center is going to be closed for a couple weeks starting next week, so I look forward to not having some big deadlines. I'll still be developing some courseware, but not teaching. The classroom's being remodeled and will be pretty great when it's complete! Remember, if you're in the Portland area, you can register for classes. All the info you need is here.
Scout's new trick is digging holes under the fence and running around the neighborhood. Since everyone know who she is and where she belongs, her adventures don't last long. I know what you're saying: Duh, dogs dig. Yeah, just shut up.
Hold everything! This may be our biggest news yet: we can now fit a car in our garage. Just one, mind you, but it's quite a milestone. If anyone who was at our baby shower peeked in the garage (you know who you are, I heard the gasps) you know what an accomplishment this is for us. If we get a shed for the backyard we might be able to clear out more stuff and fit both cars. Woo-hoo!
We used HomeGrocer.com for the first time yesterday. Talk about convenient! Shop in your undies and wait for it to come to the door the next day!
That is all I have to say at this time.
We had a fun couple of days with Sonya and her family this past weekend in Seattle. They're home for about six weeks before they head off to Belgium so we're trying to get lots of time in with them. In fact, this month is busy busy busy with lots of visits and visitors planned.
I'm keeping even more busy with contract work. Among other projects, I'm developing courseware and teaching classes in the Lake Oswego School District. If you're in the Portland area and are interested in taking great 3-hour classes for only $30, check out the schedule. E-mail me if you have any questions.
Victor? He's just happy to be married to me.
We're looking forward to our first "big" trip since last fall... just got tickets to go to Las Vegas in September. The Voss Crime Family is meeting us there. Katie will be staying home with Grandma and Grandpa. No plans on where we're staying or what we're doing, but it will have been a year and a half since our last visit to Vegas so we've got some new hotels to visit and money to lose. I'm dragging Kath on the New York New York roller coaster with me, although this time will have a bar of soap to clean out her mouth at the end. Last time she said many baaaad words! Ron just can't wait to see Siegfried and Roid.
I've made some changes on the site... this page, for one. There's a new message board too. I bet I know who'll be first to try it out! New pics of Katie can be seen here.
That's it for now.