Friday, January 30, 2009

Pinewood Derby Night!

The biggest night of the year for the Cub Scouts (and their Dads)! Brandon's car this year was a Crunch bar. He won the "Shiniest" award and came in 6th overall. Quite an improvement over last years placement.

Here are a few pics of the race night...

Look at the excitement on those faces!Last race of the evening...So much BOY energy in one place!
It was a fun evening overall. Last year I got there late, so I didn't realize the work that goes on before the cars are even checked in to get them just perfect on the weight - you want to be 5 oz and not a bit over! The drills, superglue, weights, glue guns were all out and in use until all of the cars were checked in.

Patrick decided at the very last minute (I mean, walking out the door last minute) to "make" a car. He took a pinewood derby car kit, took it out of the box, attached the wheels and wrote on it with a permanent marker. That's it. The funny part was, Brandon wanted to color it with the marker. He said, "Dad, let me do it, since you did the other car!" Shhhhh, Brandon, don't let them hear you say that at the race! It's supposed to be the Cub Scout who makes the car...

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Isn't this fun?

I got the idea today to make a little camera case for my new little Canon camera, so that it would be protected in my purse. I went to the quilt shop and found this cute cat fabric. I just love the bright colors on black! A fun little Saturday project, and the fabric just makes me smile. :)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

We're going to Disneyland!

Seriously. I just booked a trip to Disneyland in February. We have the big qualification checkpoint review on my project on Monday, February 9th. We'll fly out that afternoon, spend 3 days at Disneyland and fly home on Friday morning. Patrick and Brandon have a train show over President's Day weekend so we'll get back just in time for them to leave.

Isn't that wild and crazy for the us? I mean, it's less than 3 weeks away! But with the current timing on Italy, since we don't have the work permit yet we have a window of opportunity where we won't impact any potential move plans. It will kind of be my "break" and "reward" after this big project. I can leave with a clean conscience and have a little fun with my family.

I can't WAIT!!!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

So close I can taste it...

Remember the big project I was leading? The one for the technology we are transferring to the company in Italy? The one that is the reason I have the opportunity to work in Italy?

Well, we are almost done with the transfer project. It is so close I can taste it. We had one qualification review this evening and have another one on Monday morning. Barring any last minute surprises, we should be qualified.

This has been so much work over the last nine months... I was given the rare opportunity to lead this important project at work, with very big business consequences. What seemed like an insane schedule to begin with was accomplished with the hard work and dedication of a very talented team at both companies. I have been so gratified by the people I've come in contact with on this project. I have learned so much!

But, was it worth it? At times, I worked long hours at night and on weekends. There were days that we had crisis after crisis come up, each one taking energy and focus and immediate reaction. For the first time ever, there were moments I really felt like I hated my job. I was grumpy at times to those around me, including the people I love most.

While I have a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction with being this close to completion, what I really feel is relief. Relief that this huge organizational objective is not going to be on my shoulders anymore. Relief that I can get back to the day-to-day objectives and regular firedrills. Maybe even slack a little. (OK, knowing me, not much, but a little.)

Maybe in a year or two I will feel like it was worth it. Right now I'm not so sure. I'm just ready to be done. And we are so close....

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

An Inauguration Day Story

I was just chatting with Brandon about his day. He was excited, they watched the inauguration news coverage all day at school. Brandon has been interested in the election even way back in the primary. Whenever you asked him about it, he would say "I would vote for Barack Obama."

So then later today...

There is a new house for sale up the street, someone Brandon knows from school. He asked Patrick why they were moving. Patrick told him because the dad lost his job. Brandon answered, "Don't worry."
"Why?" Patrick asked.
"Because Barack Obama promised everyone a job."

So he not only watched the inauguration, he listened and remembered. I don't remember ever being interested in election coverage or inaugurations... I mean, at his age, they were just messing up my shows on TV!

This truly is a historic day. President Obama has inspired the nation in an amazing way, including the second graders.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Brandon's Invention

Brandon is always coming up with "inventions" of different sorts. Give him some basic supplies of tape and paper and he'll use what he finds around him to create something new. His latest is a "telegram" system he devised that runs from his desk to each of ours. Here's how it works:

1. Brandon's desk lamp is the hub, and the message holders run to my desk lamp and Patrick's desk lamp on some silver cord I use for gift wrapping.2. He sends the message holder across by moving the cord at his desk.3. The message arrives at our desk, for us to read and reply. Just in case you wanted to make your own, here are the instructions he had written on his easel white board: You never know what the message might be! What a fun, sweet, creative boy we have.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

We DID something!

Lately in our house a lot of conversations start with:
"When we are in Italy..."
"When we get back from Italy..."
"If we don't go to Italy..."
We've been waiting and waiting and haven't been DOING much these days. Yesterday we finally DID something, not waiting for what is coming next. And it felt soooooo good!

We rearranged our front room to finally, FINALLY give me a reading chair that will get some sun. Sun is a precious commodity in Oregon winter, and we have only one south facing window. For years I've wished for a comfy chair to read or nap in the sun, but we never had the space. I've always loved that warm or even over-warmed feeling you get when sitting in a sunbeam. :)

In order to make this happen Patrick and I swapped desks, and we moved another cabinet from the front room into our spare room. Since I haven't been doing a ton of crafting, I don't need a lot of supplies out here. Many of my craft supplies are out on loan anyway. We moved my favorite chair from the spare room to the front room. Here is what "my" side of the room looks like now:

Here is the desk, where I mostly do my Italian lessons and homework these days:
Since it's clean and fresh, maybe I'll so some crafting again too. Who knows. :)

The only thing new I bought is this new collage photo frame above the chair, which I found at BiMart and it fills the space great. I did some conversions of our family pictures to give them a unified feel and was good to go.

I love it! It felt great to do something instead of waiting. It didn't cost us much of anything other than time. Today is sunny again so I'm going to take some time this afternoon to read in the sun.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Quick Update

I just want to give a quick update on my cousin's son Blake... they were able to meet with the doctor in Texas and then went back to Colorado to do the treatment. It sounds like the therapy option in Texas wasn't the best one for Blake. So they are back in Colorado, Blake is currently in treatment and doing a little bit better. We haven't been updated in the last day or so but I'm assuming everything is at least holding steady with Blake because I haven't heard anything.

If you would like more information, either to subscribe to the blog they have on Blake or to donate to help with the family expenses, please contact me and I'll give you the information.

Life throws you curves sometimes, and we are all lucky to have the family and friends that we do to support us when that happens. There has been amazing support for Blake and his family from family, friends and strangers alike. No matter what the news says, people are GOOD! :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

What to write?

I've been lacking topics to write about lately.

Work is... work. Nothing new.

Italy is... not happening, still waiting for the work permit.

Home is... normal home stuff. Nothing new, except for the time it's taking to learn Italian. Classes and homework.

Ever feel like that? Nothing bad, nothing great, just moving along.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

If you can help

My cousin and his wife are in Houston right now trying to get their 4 year old son Blake in to see a specialist down there for some experimental radiation treatment in order to save his life. He has brain cancer, had surgery last January to remove the tumors and has been in chemo the last year. They just found out last week that a new tumor is growing on his brain stem and he has only weeks to live.

When they got down to Houston (after driving the weekend from Colorado), they found out that the treatment center will not see them unless they have $125,000 in hand. They are scrambling to do whatever they can to raise the money and to get in to see the doctor. There is a fund set up to take donations if you can help. Checks can be made out to:

Sandy Wells
Cancer Treatment Fund (write on memo line of check)

and send to:

Members Trust of the Southwest Federal Credit Union
PO Box 925687
Houston TX 77092

Email me if you have any questions or would like more information. They also keep a blog updated at: I can't even imagine as a parent what it would be like to be going through all of this.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Just a little something

This is a little something I made for my sister with a picture from Christmas. First thing I've created in a while. I don't think she reads my blog, but if she does - Surpise! :)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I thought it was a bad day...

... when we had another hiccup in the project I've been working on, I was kind of grumpy.

But then I found out that my cousin's 3 year old son, who has been in the midst of chemo for the last year, has a new tumor on his brain stem. After the battle they have had this year, I can't even imagine how my cousin and his wife are surviving right now.

And then I came home and found out that Patrick's uncle had a stroke today, and he is now on life support. Patrick's parents are going back to Wisconsin as soon as they can to support his aunt.

So, my day wasn't bad at all, when you put it into perspective. What was I thinking by being grumpy over it? Mine was just a silly little work problem!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

No News

There is no news on the Italy front. There is work going on to get the documentation that we need but it is all up in the air. Our trip that was planned for next week is definitely cancelled - I was holding out a tiny sliver of hope that we could shake things up at work with the documentation once we got back but there's just no possible way to pull it off this week.

I had a hair cut appointment tonight and made another one 6 weeks out... I keeping thinking maybe I'll have to cancel the next appointment but no such luck. :)

It sounds like Tasha is doing well in Colorado with Heather and family. She has become attached to Heather. That is good to hear! We miss her. Here's a pic of Stevie I took on Sunday to play around with my camera download settings, isn't he a pretty kitty?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Finally home and tired of road trips! These last two weeks went very quickly. We had a great time visiting the family. It was relaxing... I read a few books, ate waaaay too much, and still kept up with my Italian lessons. Today we are just doing the usual post-trip laundry and organizing, tomorrow it's back to school and work. Here are a few of my favorite pics from the trip!

Christmas Eve with Patrick's parents and sister Brooke's family

Cousins on Christmas morning - Brandon and Dylan

Christmas morning - Me & all my scarves Heather made for me!

A teary Brandon saying goodbye to Tasha - she stayed in Colorado.

Me & my sister Laurie

Brandon built a snow tunnel

Brandon with cousins Logan and Josh

Brandon was soooo happy to see his Uncle Ryan - it's been a while!