December 3, 2002

Most of our Christmas cards will go out in the mail today, and if you receive one, then you know we love you. If you don't get a card from us, it may not be because we don't love you, but you really can't be sure, now, can you?
Anyhoo, here's what I would've written in our Christmas cards if I'd written in our Christmas cards.

Seasons greetings to all you important people!
It's hard to be motivated to decorate or shop for Christmas when it seems like summer's barely over... but them goll-durn calendars don't lie; it's cold and gray outside, and that means it's time to write the Christmas letter. Here's a semi-brief summary of 2002 for the Manullang family, Portland branch.
Our year was off to a rough start when Kathy was in a car accident in early January. As if that weren't scary enough, I almost lost both my parents within a couple months--Mom in a car accident just a couple weeks after Kathy's, and Dad in complications from surgery in February/March. Fortunately, they're all doing better now, though each of them has lingering effects that they deal with daily.
On top of that, we were raising a newborn and trying to get through all that comes with having a second child. We're grateful that Jack was a fairly easy baby, and with Victor's long paternity leave, we adjusted better than we might have otherwise. Now, of course, is a different story. Jack's a typical 1-year-old who tests his parents' patience regularly.
But I digest...
These are some of the things that got us out of bed every morning this year:
Kathy visited in March and August; both were short stays and way too far apart.
Victor had his 20th high school reunion at AAA. Geezer alert!
Deanna and Debi made separate treks to Portland, which I thoroughly enjoyed--I'm so thankful for the fabulous friendships that we've had since our PAA days.
Summer Neil was welcomed to the world on April 22.
April, Debi, and I left our hearts in San Francisco on a fun-filled long weekend in May. More detail about our trip can be found here.
Communicating with Katie got a little easier as her vocabulary and understandability increased greatly (not unlike Mommy's skill of making up words).
We got tons of stuff done around the house: walls painted, backyard landscaped, misc. stuff sold/donated/discarded, shelves built, storage units organized, exterior trim and new garage door painted. We don't feel as productive as we sound when we see that our to-do list is still very long. Either way, though, we're proud of all we got accomplished! After five years in this house, most of the work was long overdue.
Fourth of July was extra special because we had Darlene, Wellington, Mary, Julianne, and Jacob here to celebrate with us! True, we spent most of the day working in the yard, but saved some time and energy for a BBQ and fireworks-viewing.
We had a fabulous summer spent with family and friends. Chris & Sonya were in the states for a few weeks. We had a mini-reunion in Sunriver with Vic's siblings, parents, and Dennis, Dee, and the girls. Got to see Daryl & Sally's beautiful new home and have been green with envy ever since. Made a couple trips to Walla Walla to visit with Mom & Len, Grandma, and the Crofts, one of which coincided with Uncle Paul and Claire's visit. Celebrated Emma's first birthday on a very hot August day in Seattle.
Jack started walking around 9½ months. Yikes!
Drove to Boise and back, and were amazed at--and very happy about--the kids' relatively good passenger behavior. It was a very fun extended weekend with two of my favorite girls, Deanna and Debi, and the perfect way to end our action-packed summer.
Since mid-October the kids and I have been attending a weekly neighborhood playgroup with five other families. It's been an excellent experience for Katie and Jack to get some social interaction (and we moms to get ADULT interaction). I'm so fortunate to have such wonderful neighbors--they're nice people and fun to hang out with.
Halloween? Don't get me started.
This may be the first year in forever that we didn't take a big vacation. That unfortunate trend will end next year, though: we're going on a Caribbean Disney cruise in April 2003 (hopefully that pesky passenger illness thing will be fixed by then). We also have plans to go back to Europe in the fall.
The kids really are doing great. Yep, Jack's a handful right now, but he's also a lot of fun and such a cuddly boy. He's starting to say a few words and learning how to torment his big sister. Katie's a social butterfly and loves playgroup, play dates (favorites are with Jonathan or River), church, and riding in the car with Mom or Dad (but not both--that's not special!). She's enjoying "reading" books, and catches on to song lyrics so quickly, it amazes us! The two of them wear us out, but they're such a joy.
Geez, that sounds trite, but it's true! We still look at them sometimes and can't believe we made them.
Scout is finally enjoying Katie and Jack's playfulness, now that they can actually play with her. She loves to cuddle with Katie at bedtime, and brings her toys to Jack for tug-of-war. Jack usually just puts them in his mouth, but Scout's patient. She's also quite fat--sitting under the high chair is one of her favorite activities. ...mmmmm... floor Cheerios...
Victor's doing well, still toiling away at AMC and trying to catch Mariners or Seahawks games when he can get the remote from one of the kids. His Christmas wish is to get more sleep. I told him Santa doesn't have room in his bag for it.
I'm doing alright too. I'm finally getting some treatment for my migraines and chronic muscle and joint pain. My doctor's still not sure what's causing it all, but some of the remedies have been effective and that's good. I'm working as much as I can (still contract training/consulting), and try to keep just busy enough not to get bored or extra-aggravated being at home with the kids for too many days in a row.
Life in general is not too shabby, and when I fret about teensy things I just have to remind myself that it could all be much worse. We are very thankful for what we have.
Continue reading down this page for more detail on what I've written above--it's copied from the "Latest News" page of the site. Follow the links at the bottom to read last year's stuff if you're interested and have a half hour to waste. While you're here, take a minute to sign the guest book and/or message board, and explore a little--you might be surprised (hopefully not offended) at what you find!
We think of almost all of you often (heh heh). Happy holidays and best wishes to all--

P.S. I think the cruelest Christmas gift someone could give a person is an ear/nose hair trimmer. Why are they "Gift Ideas" in every store ad I see? I didn't get one, or buy any, I just wanted to share that thought. That is all.

November 28, 2002

Happy Thanksgiving! We spent the day at home doing a lot of nothing, and then went to Dad & Dotti's in the evening to eat their leftovers. Two of Dotti's kids and their families were there, and we had fun visiting with them until Jack had a meltdown and we made a quick exit.
We're preparing to put our Christmas cards in the mail, and I wanted to get the latest news posted, given that this will probably be one of my last updates for a few weeks. The holidays, no matter how un-busy we try to make them, always end up being hectic, and I doubt I'll have time to update again until after the new year.
At Jack's 1-year checkup he weighed 24½ pounds. He's a monster. I mean that--he really is! Lately he climbs on top of all Katie's Little People toys, ala King Kong. He's making Mommy & Daddy crazy because he's at the stage where he screams if something isn't right, which is way too often than we really think is necessary. Anyone who can truly remember having a 12-month old will understand. We are not especially fond of this stage, and looking very eagerly to him moving on to something else.
We've enjoyed several weekends at home in the past couple months. It's nice not to be on the go all the time, to actually relax and spend our weekends the way the gods intended.
What's kept us busy this month are play dates, work, Christmas shopping, and doctor's appointments. I'm finally getting some treatment for my chronic pain--I figure nine years of dealing with it is pa-lenty long enough. We still haven't identified the source of the problem, but I'm finding a little relief in some medications and a little yoga and Pilates.
I've almost completed my Christmas shopping, thanks to my favorite Internet shopping sites. Amazon has been especially good to me this year, as well as If you need any help or suggestions on finding stuff, let me know--I've got tons of new resources for coupon codes and discounts, just haven't had time to update my Shop with Jen page.
This past week we've been getting some of our Christmas decorations up. This will be our first Christmas at home since Katie was born, and we want to make it very special for the kids. Darlene & Wellington will be down to spend the holiday with us, and Curt & Dotti will also join us on Christmas morning. We're drawing from our childhood Christmases to create some traditions of our own, and are thankful that our families were dedicated to making the holidays special in so many ways.
No new additions to the site except for pictures of Katie's bedroom and our Christmas letter. I'll try to get some portraits published in the next couple weeks, but otherwise I'm signing off for 2002.
With love and warm Christmas wishes--

November 10, 2002

Nothing exciting has been happening since I last updated... work, home, work, home... business as usual 'round these parts.
Our throng of trick-or-treaters was at about a third of normal. Not sure why, except that Halloween in Portland this year was exceptionally cold. Still, the kids and Scout loved answering the door that night. Pictures of them in their costumes are on our Halloween page.
Last night was Jack's first birthday party. Check out the pictures here.
Not much else to report as we look ahead to a less-busy holiday season. I suppose I'll keep pretty busy Christmas shopping for the next few weeks!

October 27, 2002

I know, it's way too early for me to be updating the site, but I don't feel like cleaning the bathroom or doing anything else that's calling desperately to be done.
Not much new is happening. We're still getting some of our house projects completed. All of our scheduled trips out of town are done, and we're enjoying spending a couple weekends in a row at home.
I took Katie to her first movie a couple weeks ago: Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie. It really is a cute movie, and if you're a VeggieTales fan, all the better. Katie loved the popcorn, loved sitting on my lap. She got restless for a few minutes in the middle, but otherwise did surprisingly well. I had expected not to see the entire movie. Vic took her to see it today, which was mostly just an excuse for him to see it.
Our trip to Seattle two weeks ago was marvelous! We did a bunch of shopping and walking around Southcenter and downtown, mostly just enjoying some kid-free hours. We met a long-time Internet friend of Vic's for lunch--he's a super nice guy. And "Beauty & The Beast" was even more magical this time around, if that's possible.
We spent a fun weekend with the Neils and Crofts for Baby Summer's dedication and a trip to the Pumpkin Patch. Pictures are here.
I coordinated a play group with some of the moms in our neighborhood, and we met for the first time this past Wednesday. There were 10 kids and five moms--MADNESS! It was a lot of fun, actually, and we're hoping to get together pretty regularly. I was glad someone else volunteered to play hostess for next week--in fact, when my turn rolls around again in another five weeks I might feel motivated to clean the house again.
Jack is going to be a dog for Halloween. He's worn his costume a couple times already and seems to like it OK. I got Katie a beautiful Belle dress and tiara, and when I showed it to her she said, "Oooh, so pretty, Mommy!" But when we tried to get her to put it on, she refused. In fact, for two weeks if we even mentioned the Belle dress she got completely hysterical. It broke my heart, but I returned it to the Disney Store today. I suppose this is just the beginning of those times when Mom and Daughter disagree...
So we aren't sure how Katie's going to dress for Halloween. She doesn't understand the whole trick-or-treating thing exactly, so while she'd be content not to dress up at all, I know when kids start ringing our doorbell she'll want to do what they're doing. I'm hoping I won't have to create one of those horrific last-minute homemade costumes I always hated having to wear!
Cake and candles
It's hard to believe Jack's going to be a year old in a couple weeks. This year has really flown! I have a long list of things to do to prepare for his big day.
Kathy's safari
Hot off the press, Kathy just sent this e-mail:
"Ron and I attended (once again!) a tour at the local lion/tiger refuge. It's become my favorite place in Colorado. They have over 30 lions/tigers/ligers/leopards/cervals/cougars. Absolutely fascinating!! We had a wonderful opportunity today to have our pictures taken with a darling little 6 week old tiger cub named Magic. He was so adorable I wanted to take him home. I do hear, tho, that soon he would be more expensive to feed than my current two teenagers! Anyway, enjoy the pictures!!"You can see the pictures here.
I'm done
I tried to get as up-to-date with the kids' pages as I could, since my next update will be a much bigger effort, with lots of birthday pictures. Watch this space for more fun in a few weeks!
Let us know you visited our home, home on the web! Sign the guest book or write something exciting in the message board. It puts a bright spot in our otherwise dreary and monotonous lives.

October 1, 2002

Back again for my overdue update. If you think I'm slow to get new stuff on the site, you should check out Ed's site--he only updates a couple times a year! (Though when he does, it's totally worth the wait.)
We accomplished more around the house at the tail end of this summer than we have in the five years we've lived here! Since I know you're dying to hear about it all, here's a quick summary of what we did since mid-August:
Got a new garage door (No need to go into details of WHY, except to say that my father-in-law needs to learn to control his temper!). The new door has winders! No one should get as excited as I was for this change... I'm pathetic.
Painted the family room and kitchen a very light taupe. If you've been in our house and remember our living room/dining room colors, it's between those two shades. If you haven't been in our house, shame on you! This was a huge project because we couldn't do it while the kids were around or when it was dark. Though some might say they can't even tell we painted, to them I say maybe they should think before they speak.
Painted the entry, up the stairs, and the upstairs hallway a light butterscotchy yellow. It coordinates with the living room sofa color. I should clarify that we didn't actually do all the painting; I hired a guy to do the two-story entry because no matter what he charged, it was cheaper than the inevitable hospital stay I would have paid for had I attempted the task myself. Vic and I painted the upstairs. It's yeller, all right... we're still getting used to it.
Re-painted Katie's room. Because her room was the first painting project in our house--and it was done long before it was ever her room--I didn't really know yet about choosing un-obnoxious colors. As we painted it a much lighter shade of lavender last week it looked white in comparison to the original color... but the finished room definitely still looks lavender, which makes us realize how positively dark the first color was. Yikes! The change is a big improvement. I still have some details left to take care of, as I'm planning to hand-paint some flowers and bugs on the walls.
Painted the kids' bathroom the same taupe as the kitchen. We also changed the decor a bit. It was always Mickey-ish, but now there's no doubt. Ed, you'll love it.
Replaced lots of photos and created new arrangements in wall frames throughout the house. This is still a work in progress.
Put up shelves in the office. I think I mentioned this in my last update.
Got sheers for the living room and dining room windows, which give us some privacy and allow us to keep the blinds open to soften the glow of the new yellow walls in the entry!
Added a new leather recliner to the family room. Vic didn't think we needed it, but guess who won that argument? After it was in place he admitted he liked it, but I still punish him by not letting him sit in it.
Found storage boxes for the office shelves (picture is not actual size). They're from IKEA. Now I can put junk on the shelves like always, but it's disguised in somethin' purty. Oh, and thanks, Mom--these were a birthday gift from her!
Vacations and visitors
My mom and grandma came for a couple days in August. Grandma scrubbed the grout in our tile countertops with a toothbrush and bleach and she's welcome back any time!
Vic and I had a weekend escape to beautiful Vancouver, Washington the weekend before my birthday. We left the kids with a big bowl of food and a box of diapers while we shopped and ate in good restaurants and had two nights of uninterrupted sleep. Fine parents, we.
On my actual birthday Vic took me to lunch at The Chart House. Although we love that restaurant, their lunch menu didn't begin to compare to dinner menu choices. All I can recommend is to skip the Portobello mushroom sandwich. Ick. It tasted like dirt. Otherwise it was a very nice meal with delicious warm spinach salad and Godiva chocolate lava cake.
Vic had a couple weeks off in September, which is when we got a lot of the above projects completed. However, we also fit in some fun when we made the trek to Boise to visit Deanna and Debi. We had a fabulous time watching movies, playing at the park, inventing new beverages (the Dew-Mi!), testing our Simpsons knowledge, and simply hanging out together. We girls spent an afternoon at the paint-your-own ceramics studio and Katie painted a tile.
On the way home from beautiful Idaho we took a detour to Walla Walla to visit my grandma. It was hard to tear Katie away from the koi pond and to get Jack out of Nana's lap. We had a nice visit.
We made a trip to Seattle last week to spit-shine our brick at Safeco Field and see the last Mariners home game of the season. Turns out it was the first of four meaningless end-of-season games, but it was still fun. We took a long route home and it just happened to put us in line at Krispy Kreme! Convenient, hm?
Our final trip of Vic's vacation was to Cannon Beach last weekend. Neither of the kids had been to the beach before, and at first the sand bothered them both, but Katie adjusted quickly and ran straight to the water. Jack developed a taste (literally!) for the sand soon after we set up "camp." Vic spent a few minutes with Scout and Katie in the surf until a wave surprised them all and drenched Katie. It was a very uncomfortable walk back to the car, and a long drive home after our half-hour beach visit. We'll try again next year.
Kid Stuff
Jack started walking just after he turned 9 months old. In his first attempt he took not one, but three steps, and never looked back. Life has changed for us, Katie mostly. He's like Godzilla--he's so out of control with his movements and destroys everything he can reach. Oh, and he's finally getting some top teeth!
Katie gives a running commentary on our daily activities and is getting easier to understand, thank goodness. She bosses Scout around, tells Jack what not to touch, and has learned all about "time-outs." She really is a good girl, though, and makes us proud with all she continues to discover.
Other fun things
I meant to publish this photo the last time I updated the site. I think it's a great shot of the Manullang kids on our Sunriver vacation this past summer:
Victor, Sonya, Ted, and Daryl
One of my client contacts has a sense of humor I've really come to appreciate! Here are links to two short but hilarious videos she recently sent me. Thanks, Alisa!
Icky Monkey
Blind Date
The WWC web site has a photo project going in an attempt to identify students in uncaptioned archive photos. I spent an hour going through them the other night and guess what I found???
Wellington doing dishes!
Heh heh heh. I love the power that comes with webmastering!
Coming soon
I need medical help. I seem to have broken my foot again. X-rays were inconclusive, but after four times I think I know what a broken foot feels like. I've got a thorough exam coming up that will hopefully give us some answers as to why this keeps happening. It's not like I suddenly became clumsy!
Ed and Stefan got a new puppy and he's a cutie! We have yet to meet Augie in person, but hope to get over to see him soon.
Next week we're going to Seattle again, this time for my actual birthday gift! Victor got us tickets to the Broadway production of "Disney's Beauty & The Beast." It'll be our second time seeing it and we can hardly wait. By the way, if you're interested in seeing it on its current tour, they're not coming to Portland, but will be in Eugene Nov. 5-10. (I'm trying to find an excuse to go to a performance there too!)
A little farther away is our next big vacation to look forward to: we're going on a Disney cruise! Wellington and Darlene will be celebrating their 40th anniversary and have invited all of their kids to join them. I've heard they're fun for all ages, but I just found out that the kids' programming requires participants to be potty-trained. We keep telling Katie that if she wants to play with Julianne and Jacob all day on "the Mickey boat" then she needs to use the potty chair! She agrees to the theory... but not the actual practice, at least not so far. Wish us well.
Closing statement
I've done a huge update this time, and I'll remind you of that if you complain about my lack of attention to maintaining the site. Actually, it'd be easier to just keep the thing current. I shall do my best.

August 15, 2002

Even though the summer's not officially over, the busy-ness of ours is behind us. It was fabulous, but we're relieved to have some nothing-planned weekends ahead, for a little while anyway. So here's what we've been doing since June:
My dad and Dotti came over for Father's Day brunch, which I prepared with some help from the dad in OUR house. Finally tried the Spinach-Strawberry Salad, and got many thumbs up. It's delicious! Although Dad (Curt) is feeling a bit weak these days, he had a good time playing with the grandchildren and even got some cuddle time with Katie. Vic's Father's Day gift was a Palm m125 and he hasn't put it down since (when he can get it away from Katie).
Amusing anecdote time! Besides Vic's new PDA, he also recently got a new cell phone. After carrying handfuls of gadgets to work for a week, he came home one day and said, "I need something to carry this stuff in! I'm worried I'll drop my phone, and the Palm is too big to carry, I have no place for my wallet (it makes his scrub pants fall down!). I don't want to put something down and lose it." I replied, "Honey, what you need is a purse!" and then I laughed and laughed and laughed. He found a "guide bag" at Eddie Bauer, which looks like a small-ish messenger bag and has room for all of the above, along with places for pens, stamps, and lipstick. His co-workers call him "Girlfriend," and he endures relentless taunting at home too.
If Martin weren't on my you-know-what list right now, I'd insert a joke about him and his purse here.
Debi visited over a long weekend in June, and as always we had a fantastical time. We shopped, stamped, scrapbooked, and hung out with the kids.
I am officially back into scrapbooking, especially after sorting through pictures from the past 2½ years and realizing how many details I'd forgotten about many of them. I'm trying to get Katie's stuff done first, and then I'll start on Jack's. Although it's an awful lot of fun--especially to see the finished layouts--I am way too much of a perfectionist to get pages done very quickly. It's a slow process, and Vic is getting tired of all my supplies being spread out on the dining room table. (Hey, can you think of a better use for that space???)
This, of course, makes us both think that we want to add a room onto the house. It didn't help to see Ted & Jocelyn's new sun room, which is gorgeous, and made us want something like that for ourselves. Actually, our new room would be more of an office for us, and the current office would become a project/guest/TV room. Ah, dreams... we're pretty sure this will never happen.
We got a bunch of stuff done in our backyard, and it's finally finished. Only took us four years. Someday I'll post pictures.
Fourth of July was so much fun! Darlene and Wellington came down with Julianne and Jacob, who'd come home from Paris ahead of Chris and Sonya. My mom also joined us, so the grandparent to grandchild ratio was quite favorable. We had a traditional BBQ dinner and then spent the evening in the front yard watching our neighbors set off their illegal fireworks.
When Chris and Sonya got to the states in mid-July, we raced up to Seattle to spend a weekend with them before they got too busy with their five-week to-do list. While there we were also able to attend Alec's 4th birthday party, which was great fun for everyone! Jim, April, and Emma came over one night with a box of Krispy Kreme donuts, which means they're our favorite people EVER!
We had to go up again the next weekend for a portrait session with all six Manullang grandchildren. You can just imagine what a nightmare that half hour was, and I'd prefer not to dredge up the awful memories to share. But surprisingly there were actually a couple really good shots! Check them out here.
The weekend after that we all headed to Sunriver for a long weekend. Jocelyn and Abby were the only ones who weren't there--Dennis, Dee, Elissa, and Brianna even drove up from southern California to join us! We had a very fun birthday celebration for Daryl and Vic at Daryl and Sally's gorgeous new house, and otherwise spent time most our time doing Sunriver stuff. The trails were perfect for trying out our new Razor scooters!
We left Sunriver and headed to Walla Walla for a day to see my mom and grandma. Our timing was right, because Uncle Paul and Claire were there too. Although it was a really quick visit, we were glad we could get up there to see them.
Kathy visited a couple weeks ago. I didn't see much of her because she stayed at Dad's, but she said they had a good visit together. She'll be back again for her 20th reunion at Laurelwood in October.
Last week I put shelves up in the office. They look great, if I do say so myself, and have created a whole series of new projects (re-organizing all closets and cabinets where books were previously stored, etc.). This was not quite the effect I was hoping for, but it needed to be done anyway. If it's normal to take years to finally complete plans for rooms in one's home, then why do I feel so lazy for taking so long?
Darlene came down with Julianne and Jacob again last week and we made a trip to the Oregon Zoo. Katie loved it; Jack didn't really care. I was exhausted from walking in the heat, but it was an awful lot of fun anyway. My favorite critters: lorikeets and otters. My least favorite critters: every monkey ever in the history of the world.
We were back in Seattle again this past weekend for Emma Jordan's first birthday party. She's a cutie! Pictures soon.
Katie is talking more than ever these days, and has begun to show a keen interest in the mirror and what she wears. She has absolutely LOVED spending so much time with her cousins this summer, and has even picked up some of their funny traits. We're thinking that their advanced language skills (they are in school, after all!) are rubbing off on her too: when Jacob first got here he was "Gape-up" and over a few weeks he became "Jacob." Impressive, hm?
Jack, aka Bamm-Bamm, is crawling and standing and THIS close to walking. He's 9 months old as of Tuesday. Four teeth, all on the bottom. Loves tormenting Katie.
I was trying to get through a very enjoyable book this summer but kept getting interrupted with all of our projects, trips, and visitors (not complaining! not complaining!). One of the benefits of things slowing down a little, now, is that I might be able to get some reading done. I've got a long list of things to pick up at the library and look forward to escaping into something entertaining soon.
Well, this whole update is kind of half-assed since I've posted very few new pictures. I promise, they'll come soon. If you had the migraine I've had for the past couple days you'd understand that I can barely type, much less dig through a zillion digital photos to choose some to share with you. Maybe this one will tide you over?
Aw, Mom!Bossy Sonya spoils all the fun
Feel free to sign our guest book to let us know you visited! Have a great rest of the summer, and check back soon for a more complete update to the site.

June 2, 2002

Here's what's gone on in the past month:
Victor's 20th reunion at Auburn Academy was in early May. He had a good time, saw some friends he hadn't seen for ten years, and felt old. It helped that I gave him constant reminders of that.
I had a very special Mother's Day this year. Each of the children gave me a card; Katie handed me hers, Jack's was on the tray of his walker, and Scout presented hers taped to her collar. I got a beautiful mother's pendant--a heart with my birthstone and the kids' too. We also took the kids in for their first portraits together, so I matted and framed them for a gift to myself. Vic grilled a delicious meal of filet mignon, baby red potatoes, and corn on the cob (this was an especially big treat since lately we haven't been eating red meat!), and generally just gave me a lot of relaxation time. Every moment was wonderful!
Deanna visited and brought Gus along (pictures of Gus and Katie), so Scout had fun chasing him around the house all weekend. Jack hadn't had the good fortune of meeting Auntie Deanna yet, so that was a special moment for him. He liked her a lot! She and I had a fabulous time as well, mostly doing a lot of sitting around and catching up, but finding time to teach Katie silly sounds too. Saturday night Ed & Stefan came over for dinner. We spent a few hours up around NW 23rd on Sunday but otherwise stuck close to home and the kids. It was wonderful to have her here.
Big milestone: Jack cut his first tooth the day Deanna got here! He got his second one this last week. It makes such a difference in his big grin! He's also very close to crawling--today I saw him on all fours (and his knees were NOT two of those fours!). I'm not pushing him, as life in our house will change dramatically as soon as he's on the move. Already Katie is often yelling, "GACK! NOOOOOOOOO!"
I took the Boy in for his official 6-month portraits. He's at the perfect age for picture-taking right now because he's cooperative and easy-going. I'm going to try to take advantage of it while he's this way and have his pictures done a few more times in the next couple months!
April, Debi, and I spent a long weekend in San Francisco. Read all about it.
Victor's parents brought down their play structure last week to store until they get moved (we're "storing" it in our backyard!). Katie can't get enough of it, and we're glad to have something for her to do in the backyard besides step in dog crap. We're making good use of the digital camera and finally getting some good shots of Jack, too, which can be found on his 6-month page.
I've been working a lot lately but things may slow down soon. The Lake Oswego School District computer lab is closing, so I won't be contract training there anymore. This is a big disappointment, but I'm hopeful that other clients will come my way to fill in the gaps. If you know of anyone needing some excellent instruction, think of me!!
On this summer's agenda so far: visits from Jen's mom, Debi, Kathy (hopefully), Chris & Sonya et. al., and possibly others... a long weekend in Sunriver... lots of yard work... Emma's birthday... many classes for me, and the same old stuff for Vic. I know, I know... everyone wishes they were us.

May 2, 2002

I got a bunch of the updates done today. Not everything, but for now it will have to do.

April 30, 2002

I give up. There are way too many things to update, and I just don't have the energy. I've got new pictures. I've got new fun links. I've got books and movies to recommend. I've got all sorts of goodies to share, but can't seem to find the time to get the pages laid out and organized in a viewable fashion. If this disgusts you, then I invite you to come live in my world for a few days and see what it's like... then you'll understand!
We're taking advantage of this week's nice weather and getting some much needed yard work done. Our goal is to make our backyard an enjoyable and peaceful getaway for this summer. Whether that happens really depends on how well we keep up our motivation, and anyone who knows us might as well start placing bets on when we'll chuck it all and hire someone else to do it. (Yes, we're that lazy.)
I did find time to "epinion" our new digital camera--check it out at If you register, you can even give me a Very Helpful rating, or the ever-elusive Most Helpful rating. Ooooh!! I'd love you forever if you'd take the time to read and rate my reviews.
The kids are fine. The dog's fine. Victor's fine. Actually, Victor's tired, and so am I.
I will do my best to get pages created, pictures posted, and news updated. Watch this space for changes, hopefully soon.

February 5, 2002

What a past few weeks this has been. I'm gonna have to go by chronological order so I don't forget everything, although if I wrote in priority order this would read MUCH differently.
Uninterrupted sleep
The weekend of January 19 Victor and I celebrated our fifth anniversary early by spending four days in Seattle BY OURSELVES! We stayed in a luxurious room at the Hotel Vintage Park and broke our diets dining at Krispy Kreme, The Cheesecake Factory, Wolfgang Puck Cafe, Tulio, Rock Bottom Brewery, and many, many Starbucks. We went to movies (Beauty & The Beast at IMAX, The Royal Tennenbaums), shopped a little, and most importantly, got three straight nights of quality sleep. It was really wonderful, and even though we missed the kids a lot more than we thought we would, we definitely enjoyed a break on our own.
Wear clean underwear
After our relaxing long weekend, we were frustrated to be re-routed off I-5 on the way home because of an accident. It lengthened our drive by nearly two hours, and because the kids' traveling limit is right around three hours, this made for a hellish remainder of the trip. But that wasn't the worst thing that happened that day. When we got home my mom called to tell us she'd been in a very scary car accident in Milton-Freewater that morning. Here's the article from the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin:
Woman dies in crash Jan 23 2002 12:00AM By Kathy Korengel of the Union-Bulletin
A Walla Walla woman is in serious condition after the 2-vehicle accident on Highway 11 near Milton-Freewater Tuesday.
MILTON-FREEWATER - A Milton-Freewater woman was killed and a Walla Walla woman was in serious condition following a Tuesday collision north of town, officials said this morning.
Elinor Margaret Stewart, 79, Milton-Freewater, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Oregon State Police.
Mildred Mary Laabs, 59, Walla Walla, was transported to St. Mary Medical Center. She was listed in serious condition with multiple fractures and bruises this morning, a nursing supervisor said.
Laabs was driving a 1990 Toyota Camry north on Highway 11 at about 11 a.m. when the car collided into the left side of Stewart's vehicle as Stewart began entering the highway from the Towne Pump gas station, authorities said.
The airbag in Stewart's 1991 Plymouth Acclaim deployed, but it remained unknown whether she was wearing a seat belt.
Laabs reportedly was wearing a lap/shoulder belt, state police said.
An investigation is continuing and no citations have been issued, state police said.
Mom was in the hospital for a few days. She has a bruised or cracked sternum, a broken knee, and her heel is fractured in six places. They're doing surgery on her heel tomorrow, after which she'll have to be completely off it for six weeks. Her spirits are surprisingly good under the circumstances, but she's got a long way to recovery. We are all very thankful she's alive, though. Thanks to all of you who have called or written to me--I appreciate your concern so much. If you'd like to e-mail Mary herself, her address is Because they're right in the middle of a move, if you want her current mailing address, e-mail me.
Lori Lassen's birthday was celebrated in our home January 23 with a cake, balloons, and many wonderful gifts. Too bad she wasn't here to enjoy it.
Just crack the window
We've found a sitter, so Katie and Jack will not be sitting in the car while I work. Fortunately, Kristine is a neighbor who's a stay-at-home mom with a boy Katie's age, so it's convenient for us and fun for Katie. We've had a couple play dates to try things out, and are thrilled to have found someone we know and trust to care for the kids when I work.
Smile pretty
Katie's 2-year portraits were taken the other day. Hopefully they'll turn out well and you'll be able to see them here soon. Jack will be going in for his 3-month portraits next week.
We finally chose a digital camera! It's a Fuji FinePix 2800, 2.1 megapixels, with a 6x optical zoom. It just arrived yesterday so we're still getting used to it, but this should mean that you can count on seeing new pictures more often here.
Here's what I think
While researching digital cameras, I did not rely solely on advice from Ed, Deanna, and Debi (sorry guys); I also depended on Epinions, a web site offering up critiques of just about anything you can imagine. Although I registered a year ago, I'd never actually written any "epinions" until just this week. Check out the site, register, read my reviews (I'm jmanullang), and be sure to rate me "very helpful," too! I think I earn about half a penny every time each review is read. A few billion more ratings and I can get that pack of gum I've had my eye on.
Bug up my butt
I painted the family room. I'd been wanting to do it for a while, and even had the color selected (dark taupe), but I just hadn't decided exactly which walls to do and there was nothing really motivating me to go buy the paint. I don't know what came over me, but one day last week I decided it needed to be done. NOW. I started my project at 10:30 one night and finished around 2:30. In the morning I did the touch-ups and moved the furniture back and voy-all-ay! New family room! Here's a picture, courtesy of my new digital toy (please ignore the mess, I forgot to straighten up before grabbing the camera):
The color matches the fireplace tile and one of the darkest colors in the berber, and is just a shade or two darker than the living room and half bath color. I know you were wondering.
And yes, that's Katie planted in front of the TV glued to her Baby Dolittle video, and Jack's there in the foreground doing what he does best. I think Scout's buried in the blanket on the couch.
South... to Salem
Sunday we spent a few hours with the Lassen Family. Katie had a wonderful time playing with Trevor and Taylor--together they are three VERY loud kids! The best part was that we finally got to meet each other's new babies! Too bad for Auntie Kathy that SHE hasn't met either of them yet...
Men at work
Vic started back to work yesterday. I know I should be glad for the 12 weeks he was home--and I am!--but I think I was more upset than he was about his leave being over. I'm lucky that Jack is so easy, and actually have felt OK about being at home with both of them lately. Then Katie undressed herself four times (diaper included--this girl doesn't do anything halfway) yesterday every time I left her alone for 40 seconds. Where's that Prozac, anyhow?
Fee fi fo fum
Jack continues to amaze us with his growth. He's right around 16 pounds now, and quickly growing out of clothes and diapers we thought he'd be wearing for another couple months. Maybe he knows that with Katie around, the only way he'll ever get his way is by sitting on her, so he's bulking up. Whatever it is, we're having a hard time keeping up with him. He sure is a sweetie though--really smiley and excited when he gets lots of attention.
Party, part deux
Katie's second birthday is Saturday. Her party this year is a much smaller affair than last year's, mostly involving neighbor kids and some of our close parent-type friends. We're still amazed that two years have passed, that this goofy girl toddler was once our little tiny baby. Wow. Watch for party pics here next week.
No more words.

January 14, 2002

We're in the final weeks of Vic's leave, and I'm getting sad. Frightened, to be more precise, of how I'm going to cope alone with two little ones all day. Fortunately Jack is still fairly well-behaved and not too demanding.
Speaking of Jack, he had his 2-month checkup today. He's grown 3 inches since birth, and gained 5 pounds. FIVE POUNDS! He's still on the charts, but in the 90th percentile, so there ain't a lot of wiggle room. He's already starting to wear 3-6 month sizes--good thing, since he got some very cute sweaters for Christmas I wasn't sure he'd get into before it warms up.
Otherwise he's pretty grouchy today... he got four vaccinations. Mind you, "grouchy" for Jack is "occasionally fussy." Yes, life could be much, much more difficult for us.
Katie is learning all sorts of fun animal sounds, and even some non-animal sounds that make us secretly proud (let's just say she watches "The Simpsons" waaaaaay too much). If I ever get sound files recorded you can count on hearing them here. I've updated both Jack's and Katie's pages just a little, and will most certainly have more pictures to add in a couple weeks.
We went to Olivia's first birthday party last weekend. What a treat! I put a couple pictures on Katie's 23-month page.
Kathy was in a very scary car accident last week. Here's her story:
Last night as I crossed an intersection where I had the right of way, a 16-year-old kid in a Ford 1-ton truck ran their light. I tried to stop and couldn't. I smashed my Sentra into the side of the truck (I actually went under part way between the tires and his back truck tires ran over the hood of my car). Well, my airbags both deployed (they smell horrible and they're smoky and I still feel the junk in my throat and lungs). In the process, the hood of my car ripped off and landed in a crumpled rolled up mess behind my drivers side back door. There were many, many cars there. Everyone stopped. I jumped out really fast because I wanted everyone to know I was OK (it's embarrassing, like "Oops, I tripped in front of a hundred people. I'm OK, really, I'm OK").My coat had been laying on the back seat. When I pulled it out a little later, it had been forced underneath the front passenger seat. It goes without saying, the car is a complete wreck. I lost a tire - there were car parts all over the intersection. My windshield was completely busted up, but the inside of the car was totally intact. People were wonderful, stopping to help and check on me. One woman who witnessed it stayed with me until the cops were done, filling out paperwork and stuff. Ron took care of everything.

She's recovering from a concussion, whiplash, and some nasty bruises, but is alive and that's really the important thing--thank goodness for airbags and seat belts. Oh, and if you know Kathy, you know she picked up all those car parts in the intersection so as not to leave a mess!
I've been working here and there, and am enjoying being in the classroom after about three months off. It's nice to stand in front of a group of people who don't have food all over themselves, expect me to change their diapers, scream if they don't get what they want, and actually think I might know something.
Since our wonderful babysitter, Cheri, has taken sabbatical (that's the nice way of saying she quit), I'm not sure what I'm going to do for occasional child care after Vic goes back to work. Any suggestions are welcome.
I felt very productive yesterday: I cleaned the kitchen top to bottom. It was one of those cleanings where you actually take the stove apart to get every little corner spotless and rearrange cupboards. I know, I know... I don't know what came over me, either. Oh, and let me just say that OxyClean is pretty amazing on the commercials, but not nearly so in a real life setting. Anyway, I'm hoping my cleaning energy doesn't disappear because I've got a lot more to do. Anyone who's been at our house recently knows of what I speak.
Children are crying. Must go.


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