Tuesday, December 23, 2008

40-Year Snow Event

  We're in our tenth day of snow on the ground in what the Oregonian is calling one of the worst snowstorms in decades. Unfortunately, there is still several days to go before we warm up and get out of the winter wonderland.
  We have 13 inches on top of the car in the street and it is an ice sandwich with 6 inches and then another 6 on top of that. We haven't driven for a week and I am a bit worried about the car not starting.
  We went out after dinner and made snow chairs and Abby rode on Susan's snowboard. She was adventurous even wanting to stand up on the board and take a ride. I was surprised.
  Well, it is about to get dark, so we are heading back out to take advantage of the once in a lifetime event?
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Monday, December 15, 2008

Snow Storm in Portland


I remember getting a call from Susan while I was in Vancouver BC and chuckling that the news outlets were hyping a winter storm for the following week and this time it wasn't hype. We have a good three inches on the ground and took Amelia out to play. Abby was over in Bend for a birthday party for Grace, so it was just us three around the house.
Amelia enjoyed the snow overall, but we need to get her snow boots. After about 30 minutes, she starts complaining about her feet being cold. What a wimp!
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Sunday, December 7, 2008

O Christmas Tree 2008

  It wasn't all work this weekend. We took a quick trip towards Estacada, we stopped at Carver, to get a Christmas Tree. Abby mentioned she wanted a tree in a bucket, so we almost ended up with a living tree, which would have been my first choice.
  The farm we went to had a set price for a tree, so we ended up with an okay deal and a nice sized tree for the front room.
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Christmas Cards


We went through several iterations on our Christmas cards, but while having to work this weekend I was able to create this collage. Now back to work.
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Saturday, December 6, 2008

Christmas Lights

It was a cold morning to put up Christmas lights, but they have to go up sometime! Our obnoxious brightness has been around since we moved and is a fun tradition.
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Even Better than Santa... Benny Beaver

We ventured downtown for a visit to see Benny Beaver. It was fun to see Benny fresh after the Civil War loss. Benny needed some cheering up, considering that he is headed to El Paso instead of Pasadena and the Rose Bowl.  It is a busy day for us as we have the Kittelson Company Party tonight and Allegra is coming over to watch the girls.
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Visiting Santa Claus

We stopped by the OSU Alumni Association to visit Santa. It was a great visit and gave Abby a chance to get her list summarized.  She wants a tea set from New Seasons that is made up of Recycled Plastic. She also wants a front tooth.
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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Girls and Santa Claus

The girls went to visit Santa Claus at the Kittelson kids party. Abby gave Santa an earful of ideas for holiday shopping and Amelia was pretty simple... she wants a doll house.
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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Christmas Music

'Tis the Season, it's that time of year for Christmas music. www.pandora.com is a great new find that is essentially internet radio without commercials. Pandora combined with the local radio station blasting out Christmas music is likely to lead to Christmas Music overload for us. I have hit the wall on a couple of occassions, so I recognize the need to pace myself with how much I am listening. Too much of a good thing, is seldom good.

The reason I like Christmas music is that there is such a diversity within a consistent theme. It's mostly good artists of all vintage with an occasionally bad song that makes me think about that era (if I remember it). It's about celebrating a holiday for the most part, something that I am not particularly good at, (the whole taking time off bit is still somewhat foreign because of my Dad) yet I recognize the interest in improving.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Lots to be thankful for this year. We had a great Turkey Day and hosted the McConnell's including both sets of grandparents and my sister and her family.

Susan cooked a marvelous 22 lb. turkey that was from New Seasons. We had a busy day of getting the house ready and catching up on the housework since Susan was gone. James was the official photographer of the event and I am looking forward to getting photos from him.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Susan's Back!

It sure is nice to have Susan back home from Hawaii. Every time I look at how tan she is, it reminds me of the trip and how it was a good experience for me to be with the girls alone. I reaffirmed that I can't get as much work done at home (or ate least as much as I thought), that it makes sense that housework doesn't get done during the day, and how quickly the girls are growing up.

The day Susan got back we had a Parent Teacher Conference with Ms. Tursi and we learned about Abby's progress at Llewellyn. It was an interesting experience because I wasn't sure what to expect from her evaluation. Abby doesn't always talk about her schoolwork and based on last year's assessment at Childswork, we weren't sure how she would fit in a traditional school. It turns out that she's doing great, Ms. Tursi has a great sense of what her needs are and the style of teaching that Abby will respond to. The evaluation was very well thought out and it was very neat to see Abby's progression from knowing numbers and letters to words and sounds.

Susan and I cycled over to the appointment which was fun and Grandpa watched the girls as we were gone for about an hour. Grandma Chris took a well deserved break.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Skyping with Mommy

We're talking to Mommy on the internet this morning. Skype is a very cool application. Susan is talking about her adventures snorkeling and seeing eels and octopus. It sounds like most of the time has been spent on the beach and checking out the natural wonders of Maui. She's describing the colors of the fish that they have seen.

Susan is enjoying her vacation, but misses the kids.

Today, Abby was invited to a birthday party during the Beaver game, which makes me Dad of the Year for giving up my rights to watch the Wildcats get beat by the Rose Bowl bound Beavs (fingers crossed!)

The pictures that I sent here are here.

Amendment to the post....
Maybe Skype isn't so great. The talk may have depressed the kids a bit. Abby has been a little down today and was pretty pouty when we went to the store and didn't get to bring home a toy (she wasn't listening very well, otherwise it would have been rubber lizards for everybody!) and Amelia was in tears when she was being put down at 1:45, which is early, but she definitely needed it. It looks like Abby rallied from the walk home from the store and is having a nice play date with Natalie.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Abby's Morning Commute

One of the best things about Susan being gone was helping Abby get from Home to School every morning. Getting out the door was always a little tricky, but once we were out, it was pretty fun getting to the school with the bakfiet.  
On Friday morning, it was really cold, and fog covered the City. We took a few stops to enjoy the fall foliage on SE 7th Avenue adjacent to the park.  
The sun was breaking in the morning and we went to a damp Sellwood Park to enjoy the play structure. It was quite wet, but Amelia didn't seem to mind. The slippery part was what worried me, especially as she was climbing the bars. We're a lot less protective with Amelia, but still pretty careful. 
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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Initial Pictures from Maui

Susan shared a few photos from their trip and it looked like they were having fun. The Mai Tais were a part of the trip as was snorkeling. They took an excursion and had a great time.
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I am not sure who the guy in the second picture is though :)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday with the Koonces

This whole being a single parent thing is a piece of cake.... If you have grandparents like ours. I haven't been alone with the kids for more than three hours since Saturday. Chris and I actually talked about it a little and it was funny because she felt guilty that they aren't around this month for when I am out of town.  
The girls and I went to church with my family at the First Immanuel Lutheran Church. It was a nice service, although the sermon was a bit of a pitch to give money and one of threadings was describing how flesh would be turned into feces, so I thought that a bit extreme. I consider myself a fan of the more subtle side.
Well, tomorrow will be a fun test of what Susan goes through in the morning with Abby. My hope is to get her to school a little before 8 so she can play before she has to get in to class, but we'll see.  
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Friday, November 14, 2008

Reflecting on Day 1 with the kiddos

What a great day! Dropping Susan off at PDX, Mia and I drove back to the house and got on the bakfietsen. We went to the library and then to the Columbia store to return a jacket. We picked up Abby and toured through the Llewellyn Holiday Bazaar. Lots of great stuff, but handmade stuff is a little pricey (not that I would buy anything anyway). It would have been nice to support Abby's teacher's dress making company, but $45 is a little bit of a stretch for a dress. Would it get her special attention in the classroom?

We played a bit in the playground, a little tag and lots of running around. We headed back home and I took the kids to Sweetpeas (a resale shop) and was trying to find Abby a coat to replace the $45 I took back from Columbia. Not really anything that fit, but we did get some shoes and a little outfit. Mary Kate got something from a second hand shop it turns out, so we're probably set without having to buy new. Good stuff.

It was great fun to ride on the bakfietsen with the kids. Later on that night it was tough to get Amelia to settle down, she was not ready to get up at 5:40 PM, after a two hour nap and well, that's the day. Natalie came over for dinner and we had leftovers and then some pomegranite for dessert. We read a book from the library and off to bed they went.

I am relieved to be blogging as opposed to working on the Boise proposal like I have for the past week. Every night, so maybe that's why I am still up after 11 PM!

Susan has left the mainland

Well, the time has come! Earlier this year, when Sheila was going for a round of treatments I had the idea that the Kishpaugh women should head for some place warm to celebrate... well, themselves! Obviously, there's a part of me that wished I did this with my Mom before it was too late. It is funny how I can make that happen for her and not for myself (with Dad).

So, they're off. Actually, Susan is on the phone right now and they just arrived on Maui after about ten hours of total flying time. Luckily, she gained an hour. Their hotel is 28 miles from the airport and they haven't eaten (airplane food in coach), so they will likely have a short first night there.

For me, I have the kids for 10 days. It's actually not something I am worried about. I thought I might be, there was some worry about work, but now that it is started I am confident and feeling good about things. It doesn't hurt that Grandma Chris is very willing to help out and they are going to take Abby tomorrow while I go to the Beaver game in Corvallis with Kurt.

I am looking forward to pictures from Susan's trip, I am hopeful they have a great time.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Play Date at Sellwood Park

  It is rare to get a weekend day at the Park in November. I say that and it is so cliche, this weekend is supposed to be great and today was amazing (60 degrees and sunny in mid-November!
 Last weekend we jumped at a misty day to spend some time at the park with Julia and Natalie. We had a great time playing on the structures and walking around the muddy parts of the park.
  We had a little trouble getting the kids to stop for photos, but it wasn't too hard to get them to say cheese once they were stopped. Susan joined Sara and I a little later bring Parker down for a little walk.
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Monday, November 3, 2008

Election 2008 - Abby Weighs In!

We're not a very politically active family. We didn't buy a yard sign, we didn't volunteer for a campaign, but we do listen to the radio and we do make comments about the current administration from time to time. But I was a bit surprised when Abby could say who she was voting for. I guess they had a mock election at Llewellyn School a few days before and Obama won handily. It is good to see Abby is assessing who her friends like and then going with the herd, or perhaps we have overtly influenced her.
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Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween 2008

Abby and Amelia went trick or treating with Katie and Lucy and Brinna. I joined up with Matt and Tina and Dorie and Eric. We had a great time and it was a beautiful night for walking around through the hood.

Highlights included Amelia being scared at a well decorated house. Abby being scared at one a few doors down, but showing resilient spirit when we challenged her to become a dragon and scare the house and its decorations back. Finally, being offered spiced wine was a nice gesture from one of our neigbhors, it was a cold night.

Lowlights included Amelia falling after stepping on her princess dress, recognizing that we don't know as many people in the neighborhood as our friends (they get out and walk at night a whole lot more than us), and having Susan stay at the house as opposed to walking the neighborhood with us.
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Saturday, October 18, 2008

081018 Team Canada Soccer

  Abby plays soccer for Team Canada of the Southeast Soccer Leauge. The games are Saturday mornings at Berkeley Park in the Eastmoreland neighborhood (SE 39th & Bybee Boulevard). They play 3 on 3 and we don't keep score, although today I heard some of the kids counting goals in the second half.
  I believe this is the first year that they have organized soccer and it is fun to watch the kids. The games started out four weeks ago and seemed more like recess then actual soccer matches with an actual objective. It is amazing though how quickly the kids are picking up on the concepts and getting more heavily engaged in the activities. There was a little pushing and positioning for the ball which is good to see from a competitive perspective, but also somewhat like a loss of innocence from purely a parent's perspective.
  Dad and Chris came to this game and it was a nice morning. Abby got a little distracted knowing that grandpa was on the sideline and as usual, she didn't want to go in during the second half because she was a little bit tired and generally less interested as compared to the first half, where Susan said she almost scored a goal. Our neighbor Tina coaches the team and her daughter Katie is a really good dribbler.
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Monday, October 13, 2008

Saturday in the Fall

We have been having a lot of fun with our new neighbors next door. Mike & Sara have two daughters Natalie and Julia who are both just a bit younger than Abby and Amelia. It seems like most days when I get home (on normal days) they are playing outside with them, which is great fun for them and nice for Susan too.
Over the weekend, our neighbor Natalie came over to play dress up. Her sister Natalie must have been sleeping.
On this particular Saturday, grandpa dropped by with grandma to read some books and have a quick visit. Susan and I hadn't seen them since our trip to Europe, so it was nice to be able to spend some time with them. Chris shared with us some more about her experience with the girls and she mentioned how much fun and how hard it was at the same time, don't we know it! It was fun to see them with the girls, we hadn't spent as much time with them as the kids had, so it was nice to catch up with them. We also had a chance to say thanks for taking care of the kids while we were in Europe.  
For Abby's soccer game, we were in charge of snacks. So rather than packaged goods, Peter decided we should make something. Susan wasn't sure of making cookies, so we looked up a "healthy" cookie recipe. They turned out pretty good and it passed the kids licking the beater test. I think we may be able to puree vegetables and put them on a beater or spatula and they would still think they are getting a treat. Ah, the fun you can have as a kid!  
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