Saturday, August 30, 2008

So Much to Say, So Little Time!

I have to go float the river, but I have so much to say about my huge crushes on Sarah Palin and Bobby Jindal, and how stunning it was that crazy ol' McCain chose SP for VP, how I had a spiritual revelation during the last night of the DNC, how my love for The Daily Show grwos with each election, etc...

For now, two things.

First, MY MAMA IS TUMOR FREE!!!! With Dr. Simon's and Awesome Nurse Tammy's help, lots of nasty chemicals, she WHOOPED LYMPHOMA'S BOOTY! She had her PET scan on Thursday and saw Dr. Simon on Friday and he said she doesn't have to do her last two treatments! He is going to give her some recovery time and then fire up the ol' radiation. When she called yesterday, Addie heard me talking (and crying--do you know how much better this makes my Europe trip?) and she said, "Is that Nana?"
I said yes.
Addie said, "Is she all better?"
I said, "Almost! The doctor said he doesn't have to give her any more of that medicine at the cancer center!"
"She's better already, before Christmas? You said she would be sick until Christmas, and she's better already? I'm so glad!"

We all are, Addie!!! She must have got your balloon wish last weekend! ;)

SECOND, this hilarious (PG-13) spoof on the Obama Biography. It made me laugh out loud. Enjoy--More later!

Friday, August 29, 2008

August in Retrospect

(actually, it's just a bunch of pictures I never posted).
Oh, PS: I keep getting questions about our Eurpoe Trip coming up 9/17-10/01, so may I just direct your attention to the "LONDON CALLING" icon over there on the right? It's a link to our travel blog and all your queries shoudl be answered there. Gracias.
Also, I updated the 08.23 post about the balloon launch with a video of the Provo event.
Floating the Yellowstone River (08.16)
Rich's canoe tipped over pretty much first thing when we got in the water and James was surprisingly concerned. He kept standing up in our raft, watching Daddy, shouting, "Oh! Oh!" This picture was taken a few minutes later and he still has a very concerned look on his face. (don't worry--he got over it and had a fun time).
Heidi and Addie would always rather be IN the water than ON it...
Rich took this picture of Jess in front of him in their shared canoe.
Here's canoe #2 with Davey, Sariah, Danny, Liana, and Mark
(yes, I was the only "mommy" that went--what's up with that?!)

This picture cracks me up because you can see that I am freaking out about my kids doing crazy stuff, while Mike is just grinning. See James trying to touch the water, Heidi standing up and yelling commands, and Addie trying to row us closer to Daddy's canoe...what a circus.
Me, James, Heidi, Addie, and Uncle Mike just chillin' in our raft...
it was so beautiful out there!

A darling shot of Sariah, Danny, and Liana.

We Love the River!


That night, James and Amory got married right next to the river.Look at the cool wedding cake (this was not the groom's cake--it was THE cake)!
(Addie and Liana were so excited that Amory gave them trout cookies)
The night before we enjoted some cupcakes in honor of Nana's Birthday

(you may have seen the video of this even posted earlier).


We also stole some grate pictures from Mark's camera... this one of him and Jared in the garden at the ranch.

...and this one of Mark leading the kids on an expedition at Pine Creek (08.14)...

...where they played in the creek and saw these deer!
Here's Mark on the Boys' Hike/Campout surveying the big burn from summer '06.
And I had to steal this photo because it is so quintessentially Grandma Rosalie in August. Here Liana and Sariah watch her tend her awesome backyard garden (and she's got another one at the ranch). I thank heaven every day for her green thumb, which cancels out my black one (is that a curse for being a desert rat? No, couldn't be because my dad grows a mean garden, too. It's just my burden, I guess. It's amazing my kids are still alive!).
So there you have it! Bring on September!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

On This Date in History...

...My sweet nephew Brady Hamlin was born

in 2004 ("the year of the nieces & nephews"

--3 nieces, 4 nephews, and Heidi to boot!)

"You, my brown-eyed boy..." eating an ice cream at Multnomah Falls this summer.
We Love You, Brady! XOXO
PS: Where have all my readers gone? Long time passing...
Please humor this ol' goat and leave a comment ( or de-lurk)!


Today is "NieNie Day" on the internet
(see here and here and here and here and here).
Lots of people are auctioning things, or buying things.
Me, I'm just trying my best to answer the quetion of the day with my actions:
"What Would NieNie Do?"
Would she preserve fresh fruits and vegetables for hte coming winter (I mean, if they HAD winter in AZ)? Yes. Would she bake fresh and healthy cookies for her family? Yes. Would she love on her little ones all morning (and feed them aforementioned cookies and let them make a mess)? Yes.
Then would she put little ones down for nap and enjoy a romantic lunch with her hubby while watching European Travel Tips DVDs? Probably.
So check, check, check, and check.
Now, I don't know if Steph has a testimony of SIESTA like I do, but in Jamie's world a cool, windy afternoon + napping kids + clean, quiet house= NAP FOR MAMA!
Here's to you, Nie! XO

The End of Wednesday

While I was uploading yesterday's video of Addie's school, Heidi swiped the camera and took these (among other) pictures: Bright flowers for a rainy day...
The poster we made for family night, which is hanging on the door to the garage (right by the hooks for jackets and backpacks).
Heidi's Self-Portrait
After we picked up an elated Adeline at 3:10pm, we drove over to Grandma's and harvested green beans and talked about school....
We brought the bans to our house for processing and storage.
My workstation

Two fresh onions and three tomaters hitched a ride with the green beans.
1 hour and 40 minutes from garden to dinner plate--
Steamed, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with S&P
YUMMY! Lots of vitamins for energetic kids!
(Addie & Heidi playing with our neighbor, Taylor after dinner)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

First Day of the First Grade

The Story of Rich's Life... Rich writes a check for Addie's lunch ticket near the playground.
My (tall) first grader!

Silly Heidi gives Addie a Good-Luck-Hug
James thinks the Playground is awesome

As The Bell Rings... from MelinFamily on Vimeo.
As The Bell Rings... from MelinFamily on Vimeo.

Addie waiting in line to go into her class

We parked behind this cool old truck near the school

Update: I woke up this morning with the whole left side of my throat & sinuses swollen. It hurts to swallow or sniff, so I have been blowing my nose every five minutes. Something bad happened back there. Oh, well.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Seriously, So Lame

Here's something funny (it's SATIRE).

In other news, I have a super sore throat because I CHOKED on my medicine tonight like some kind of invalid!

No, really, I just chugged my two night pills with a soda that was sitting on the counter as I ran between putting Addie to bed and taking James downstairs. So I picked up James, and when I laid him down (gross alert) I had massive kickback that went up my nose, wherein a pill became lodged at the convergence of my ear-nose-throat in some little fold of tissue. It was horrific!. I gulped and breathed deeply as tears began pouring from my eyes, and I kissed James good night. I bolted to my bathroom and started gargling and sniffing water, but the burning--oh, the burning--continued.

I did everything I could think of (including trying to dislodge the bugger with a Q-Tip, which made me gag and throw up, which then made me realize that it's really not that hard to be bulimic, although I have never been able to make myself throw up before). Finally, I just got some gum (hoping extra saliva would help the cause) and a hug cup of ice water and the horrible bitterness eventually dissolved and went away (coincidentally, right about he time Hilary stopped flappin' her jaw on the DNC coverage I was watching--had to see my homeboy, Brain Schweitzer warm up the crowd--I'm still conservative, but I love that guy [Montana Rox]!). A nice pink grapefruit bubble bath and a new issue of Real Simple calmed my frazzled nerves, and now I am just finishing up some of Addie' back-to-school stuff before bed.

Yes, my darling is heading off for her first day of the first grade tomorrow. She will be in Mrs. Phillips' class, and Mrs. Phillips is Grandma's neighbor. We have heard mixed reviews about her, so we are hoping for the best. Addie's skills have backslid quite a bit this summer, and I take responsibility for that. All those nights I spent with her last school year learning to read kinda went out the window since our summer schedule didn't really give us a quiet half hour each night before bed. I hope she'll catch up quickly and enjoy learning. I am so excited for her to start writing and doing more science. She has such fun ideas and good questions and all of that starts to come out in writing (I won a poetry contest in the first grade, believe it or not; don't ask me how I even KNEW about poetry at that age, but I did!). I keep fantasizing about my girls being adults and being awesome people and two of my best friends...isn't that weird? I think it's because of all the fun I have had with my mom this summer (despite that sucky cancer).

Anyway, I am so excited for Addie, and next week Heidi starts up (preschool, 11-3pm). Her teachers are coming over tomorrow to meet her, and I love that. She will be way more comfortable on the first day after having them in our home. James and I are going to be LOVIN' IT--livin' la vida siesta! Heh, heh!

Well, I better go. I am getting a head/neck ache from all that choking I did earlier, so I better take the Tylenol and hit the hay.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

On This Date in History... SIL Audrey was born! Audrey is a beautiful woman and a great mom, and we miss her!
Happy Birthday, Audrey! XOXO

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Hope Floats

I'm not generally one to join in random activities to support causes, but I couldn't resist joining in the balloon launch in support of the Nielson family today. Of course, I have to work tonight and Richard took the kids to the Playmill Theatre in West Yellowstone with his parents, so we let our balloons go early (at 2pm instead of 6pm). Inside each balloon is a dedication to the Kinneards, Nielsons even tho' we spelled their name wrong), and Clarks with Job 19:25-26 written beneath, and wishes for "Love, Hope, and Healing." Addie, Me and Heidi with our balloons.

"Ready, Set...
...there they go!"

As we let them go, Addie watched hers for a long time, and then said, "Maybe mine will fly to Nana's house, because we want her to get better, too!" I smiled and my heart swelled up a little thinking about (a) what a sweet and thoughtful girl Addie is, and (b) how every family has a heartache, and NONE of us are exempt from the need for The Comforter and The Great Healer. One wonderful thing I am learning through the blogosphere is how far-reaching, how necessary, how touching, how infinite the atonement of Christ really is. Just think how crushing some of these burdens would be without Him, and then think about that night in Gethsemane...all of the heartache, all of the pain of all the world AT THE SAME TIME.

And then give thanks.

I know He lives and loves us. I know the Nielsons and their loved ones will be "encircled about in the arms of His love" through their trials.


Here is a little slideshow about the Nielsons if you're curious. And if you live in Mesa or Provo, you might still have time to join the launches at Kiwanis Park or at the Arizona Temple.

UPDATE: A video of the Provo Launch

Friday, August 22, 2008

Note to Self:

Click here to read up on Courtney's Paris recommendations. Also, dear self, make your pre-trip list because September is practically here...only 26 days 'til take-off. Remember the legal documents, the school notes, the calling cards, the pocket photo album, the loading of the ipod, and the "cleaning-like-you're-never-coming-back-and-people-will-go-through-your-stuff." Call Matt and Amie and see if you can bribe them with Chico Passes and a comfy bed on Sept.18-20. See? There is a lot to do and you need to get crack-a-lackin'.


On This Date in History...

My darling grandparents were wed in 1950

Papa Bill & Gramma Lyn, 2005

Gram & Gramp share a smooch, June 2008

And my sassy sister-friend, Adriane, was born in 1972

Adriane with her cute mom, Kathy

Happy Anniversary, Grands!

Happy Birthday, Adriane!

Slumber Parties and Other Stuff

Last week I missed a few pictures of all the fun we were having.James, Addie, and Heidi wearing the "Space Chimps" masks I brought them from Vancouver.
Heidi, Sariah, Addie, Liana, and James at the cousin slumber party (8/14)...Addie and Liana did their own makeup and they were so proud.
The girls "camped out" in the basement and watched Looney Tunes on DVD courtesy of Uncle Rich.
On Monday, I took the kids to the splash park again with Mom Melin and Elena, while all the Melin Boys had thier own slumber party (well, they call it a campout, but whatever).
Apparently, the adventure began at the Old Saloon in Emigrant, MT (a few miles past the ranch)...

There they are...Mark, Jess, Mike and Rich, tossing back some hard water.
Heading up to Mission Creek

Jess, Mike, and Mark head up the singed trail to Passage Falls, which burned up two years ago.
(if you wanna see where they went, google map "Montanapolis Springs")

Ta-da! They made it!
Rich, Mike, Mark, and Jess at Passage Falls
Flowers on the trail.
The boys ended up camping at the ranch Monday night while I did laundry, watched "The Hills" (so lame), and slept in my bed with my girls.
Last night (my only other night off this week), Rich went ot the movies with Jess and Mike in Bozeman. They left right after work and got home at 10:30pm. We had a wicked rain storm and it got really cold (the house was 58 degrees when we woke up cuz I left the windows open as usual in the summer), so it was the perfect night to put the kids down and snuggle up with a pay-per-view movie (after folding two loads of laundry, that is).
So I ordered "P.S. I Love You" which I wasn't all that excited about. But it turned out to be a pretty good movie. I loved the soundtrack! Two of my all-time favorite songs (Fairytale of New York by the Pogues and If I Ever Leave This World Alive by Flogging Molly) played a big role in the movie. I liked that it was made by one sister (Molly Smith, daughter of the FedEx founder) in memory of another sister (Windland Smith) who died at 34 of a heart defect. Apparently Molly read the book right after Windland died and it comforted her a lot. I can see how that could happen--it's such a sweet story. Did anybody else read the book? Does Holly stay in Ireland with Billy? Cuz I lands, that man was lovely. And he sings Pogues songs! Also on my mind were the Clark sisters...cjane's blog post today made me so thankful for sisters!!! Anyway, that was a pleasant surprise, and Rich came home right as the movie was ending.
Another thing that has been on my mind: Russia is so incredibly lame. I do wish Georgia would just give the rebel provinces back to Russia instead of trying to force them to want to be in a democracy--it doesn't work that way! Still, I am so mad about the invasion of Georgia, but mostly I am mad at us. I am mad that when a freedom-loving country like Georgia calls for help, our hands are tied because of the muck-up in Iraq. I wish there were an easy way to get out of there and get back on our feet. And have you heard the President of Georgia speak? He is an inspired man and deserves our support.
Yet another thing on my mind: is it just me, or do the two candidates for president seem VASTLY unqualified for what lies ahead of them? Seriously, neither of them seems remotely able to deal with the bag of goodies Bush is handing down. Glenn Beck echoed my sentiments perfectly Wednesday night in his opening bit. Here's what he said:
BECK: Hello, America.
Have you ever had one of those nights where you -- you know, you flip on the TV and two of your favorite shows are on at exactly the same time, and you`re like, "Aw." Or better yet. You know when you`re going to go to the movie and you walk up to the concession stand and you can`t decide between Raisinettes and the Goobers. And then you realize, 'Hey, my wife`s not here. I`m going to buy them both.'
Well, you take that feeling of overwhelming joy. Then you douse it with gasoline, light it on fire, run it through a wood chipper, bury it in your backyard, and then you start to come close to the understanding of how little excitement I feel for either of the two presidential candidates.
Here is "The Point" tonight. I have truly never, ever cared more about our country than I do right now. But I have also never cared less about our choices for who should be running it. And here`s how I got there.
I think most of us would all agree that we`re in a pivotal time in our country`s history. You know, and you see it on television every single night. I think most Americans feel it in their gut. They just know something is fundamentally wrong.
But what we can`t seem to agree on is which way to pivot. I mean, we`ve got some great choices, don`t we? One candidate is especially a socialist while the other one I would call a conservative socialist. He`s pro-life, but pro-global warming. He wants to keep the troops in Iraq but also keep our borders open. He wants to drill offshore, but not in Alaska. What the -- what? That leaves me not only without any candidate, but also without any excitement whatsoever. It`s kind of like being back at the concession stand and they`re out of the Raisinettes and the Goobers, and your wife is with you, and all they`ve got there in the counter is raw eggplant and tofu.
So America, here is what you need to know tonight. If you feel like I do about this election, we are not alone. A new Zogby poll asked people to rank their excitement about our choices on a scale of one to five with one being not at all excited and five being -- the average answer, a very ambivalent three, which not coincidentally, is slightly less than the number of spokes on these pitchforks that I keep here in my studio. (He goes on to chat with Penn Jillette, who's a wild libertarian).
Heaven help us.
And have a great weekend!


Dear Loved Ones ,                                                                                We've enjoyed a great first week o...