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.
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 laabmaDELETETHIS@wwc.edu. 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.
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.