Sunday, November 13, 2011

Special Days and Gold Medals...

Last weekend we had the privilege of watching Jared compete in the Special Olympics State Basketball Tournament.  Over the years Jared has been an on-again, off-again athlete - more off than on most years.  His decision to participate has always been tied to what particular sports were being offered (horseback riding, bowling, etc.).  As various sports have come and gone so has his interest. 

Jared has not been a fan of team sports since he was about 8 years old.  When we lived in California Jared participated in baseball, and learned how to play the game.  When we moved to Montana the only available option for him was the Challenger League that included kids of all ages.  Jared was up to bat, and unlike the rest of the team he had been educated on the rules of the game.  He proceeded to hit the ball and run to 1st base, where he stopped and waited for the next batter.  The next batter was a 16-year old young man with Down syndrome who towered over Jared and weighed about three times as much.  This young man proceeded to attempt to hit the ball and began to run to 1st base.  As Jared noticed that this man was running he began to make his way to 2nd base.  Half way to 2nd base this young man literally ran over Jared as he hadn't stopped at 1st.  From head to toe Jared was scratched and bruised and bleeding...and has never had any interest in playing on a team since. I can't say I blame him!

That being said, Jared participating in the State Basketball Tournament was quite a feat unto itself.  This year, for the first time, his team offered what they called Individual Skills.  Our fine city played host to over 700 athletes from around the state, and of those athletes 36 competed in Skills; three of those 36 were from Jared's team, the Great Falls Lions.  This was the first time that Jared had ever participated in basketball. 

We had a fantastic weekend!  It began Thursday night, November 3rd, with opening ceremonies. 

We were Footloose!  Needless to say, we had fun!
Friday was competition day - time to get serious!
Coach Jerry Sept, Kristen Davies, Ryan Sept, and Jared
The three Lions competed, individually, in three areas of basketball skills. 
Shooting hoops


And dribbling...
Jared began practicing his skills eight weeks before the competition.  His coach noted that when he started this adventure he was dribbling in just over 10 the competition he completed his dribbling in 4.4 seconds.  Pretty darn impressive!  

Saturday was all about gold! All three Lions were awarded Gold Medals for their efforts...doesn't matter that all 36 Individual Skills athletes received gold medals - they were awarded based on their individual skills!

The gold medalists!
The funny thing is that both of the boys (Jared and Ryan) had a tied score!  They both received 85 out of 112 points.  Teammates who practiced together week after week and they tied! Someone mentioned that they'd never seen that happen before in many years in Special O!  There was also a record breaker, the highest score ever was given to an athlete during the competition - the gentleman scored 96.  Pretty impressive!  

It was a great weekend and we're already looking forward to doing it again next year!

Sunday, September 11, 2011


It dawned on me today when my son Justin posted that he was sitting in his 6th grade math class on September 11th that there are few days in one's life that you remember so vividly where you were at and what you were doing when something happened, good or bad. 

I can remember where I was at and what I was doing on January 28, 1986.  I can remember the conversations I had that morning with my fellow co-worker, as we stood around the radio at work waiting for more news, about how she could vividly remember where she was on November 22, 1963.  

I can remember where I was and what I was doing on October 28, 1989.  You won't find that dates' importance to me on Google or Wikipedia though as it was the day I became a mother for the first time.  

I can remember where I was and what I was doing on June 28, 1991.

I can remember where I was and what I was doing on September 11, 2001. 

Thinking back over my life and these days that are so momentous I will never forget where I was at or what I was doing I'm thankful that the good momentous days outweigh the bad ones. 

My hope for this world, but most especially for my children, is that those days that are so good we can't and don't ever want to forget them outweigh the days that rock us to our core, the days we'd rather forget but are unable to. 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Conversations with our children...

Long car rides are always a great opportunity for conversation with one's children...about a week ago we piled into the cars to drive Justin back to Missoula, for his (gulp) senior year of college. Jared and I were in the Suburban, while Jeff and Justin were in Justin's Blazer (it takes two vehicles to deliver one college student and all of his bedroom items).  As were driving along Jared looks at me and says "You and Dad are the best...annoying sometimes."  To which I replied, "But the best?" His answer, "Just annoying!"  Not quite sure where that came from or how to take that, but I'll choose to take it as a compliment!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Adventures in Camping...

So we finally pulled out the old tent, packed up the Suburban and took off for a couple of days of adventure in 'the wild'. None of us can even remember the last time we went camping, it's been that long, so we were due.

We drove to Hauser Lake, just outside of Helena. Set up camp and within minutes saw lighting and heard thunder. The first crack of lightning and thunder were split seconds apart and I instantly said to Jeff, "That was close!" So we hopped in the Suburban and went for a quick drive to check out the area. As is usual form for afternoon Montana storms the skies were clear in less than 20 minutes, so we headed back to camp. (Had some good views of a double rainbow - that the photos just don't do justice too.)

The last time we camped (years upon years ago) we went to Holter Lake, between Great Falls and Helena. On that venture we discovered that Holter's bathroom did not have running water so after using the restroom one had to head to the nearest outdoor spigot and wash ones hands, soap-free (unless you had thought ahead and packed some camp soap that is). So the decision was made to give Hauser a try this time around, as Hauser actually has/had running water & soap in the bathroom (the little things turn out to be quite important when one is tent-camping).

So we arrived back in camp, after the little storm passed through. Got moving on the campfire, made our dinner and enjoyed the meal. After dinner we ventured to the water pump to get some water for washing dishes and discovered there was no water! Turns out that little lightning strike hit a transformer immediately outside of the campground and the water pumps were electric - so no water for us! We managed, it was like tent camping in the back country (haven't done that in almost 30 years)!

Our campsite - definitely one of the best tent sites

After s'mores by the campfire we headed to bed for the night...Jeff and I quickly realized a few hours in that our bodies just aren't made for tent camping anymore, but we lived to tell!

Ventured out on the lake over the next two days and enjoyed our little adventure immensely!

The view of the Hauser dam from the boat

Hauser Dam

Jeff - ready to tube!

Jared - always loves being on the boat!

Jeff & Jared in the 'rocket' as Jared called it!

Jared & Teddy - just waking up on Day 2

Friday, July 29, 2011

Like a Kid again...

The Blue Angels are in Great Falls!

No one seems to understand or appreciate my enthusiasm...but it truly brings out the kid in me!

I grew up a Navy brat, and an officer's brat too boot! The only time I can ever remember my dad pulling rank was when an air show came to town. We had the privilege of sitting in the VIP bleacher seating with every air show - and in my opinion, there really is no other way to see an air show.

Today we had the privilege of being invited to the airport to watch their dress rehearsal. This invitation was made possible by the fact that we have a Special Olympian in our household - so you could say we pulled rank today. All I can say is that it was amazing and I remain in awe of the Blue Angels and their incredible abilities. It was wonderful to be able to be in an audience of about 200, we all were in the front row, as opposed to the 20,000 they are expecting over the weekend! There really is no other way to view the Blue Angels!

Over the years, Jeff has also attended many air shows, but apparently he's never been that 'up close and personal' as he had never witnessed what I call the 'pomp & circumstance' that make up the Blue Angels. The mechanics do everything in sync, the pilots parade out and their entry into the cockpit of their planes is timed perfectly with the announcer introducing them, etc. These are some of the little things that make an air show and the Blue Angels so special - precision.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Funny Story...

Wow, it's been a long time - more proof about the theory of time, flight and speed! Who knew it seems like just yesterday!

Funny story to share...Jared got into the shower recently and in a big loud voice yells "It's damn too hot!" So I went into the bathroom and said, "Excuse me, what did you just say?" He peeked out from behind the curtain and gave me this sheepish grin and replied, "Nothing!" I again asked what he had said, same reply but this time with hesitation as he thought he might be in trouble. I then said, "Don't you mean, 'It's too damn hot?'" And he laughed and said "It's too damn hot!"

Well that's tonight's quick post...hopefully I won't forget about my blog for so long next time - til then...stay cool!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Metal Mouth

Jared began the adventure of getting his braces on a couple of weeks ago…he has four braces on his top front teeth. Next month they’ll finish putting the braces on his top teeth and will probably start on the bottom in two months. I have to digress and say just how very much I appreciate and like our orthodontist – for taking the time to work with Jared and helping him adjust to this huge change in his life. Jared is adjusting quite well, all things considered…from having been adamant that he was not going to get braces six months ago to now we’ve come pretty far. But it’s going to be a long road ahead! I’m feeling mother’s guilt though…I’m feeling bad for his pain (and I’m personally very familiar with the type of pain he is experiencing) and I’m also feeling bad that I should have been able to anticipate at least some of his questions, especially since Justin (and Jeff for that matter) went through this whole process about five years ago. One thing I definitely tried to avoid was the subject of pain – I didn’t want to give him any preconceived ideas. If he’d asked I would have been honest, but thankfully before this adventure began he did not ask. But I still should have anticipated some of his questions…the first question he asked after getting them on was if he’d ever be able to eat. Shortly thereafter he asked the question of whether or not he could take them out to go to sleep. Followed by the question of how long he’d have braces. Of course he’s already asking how they take them off too. Some of these questions I could have and should have anticipated, but others I couldn’t have begun to foresee. Overall, he is adjusting extremely well. He’s learning what he can and can’t eat and figuring out how to eat the things he really wants to (break up the cookie rather than just biting into it). Thankfully, the pain issue has diminished as well – as it does…of course it always goes away just in time to go back to the orthodontist!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


That’s me howling at the moon…last Saturday we had a full moon, happens every month as you know. Well for me it usually means a week of less sleep. I can be completely unaware of when a full moon is, on the calendar, but my body always knows. The rest of the month I’ll sleep like a rock, but for a few days each month when the moon is full I sleep less.

This month the full moon was known as a Super Moon, as it was closer to the Earth than it has been in almost 20 years. Great Falls decided to be cloud covered so we were unable to see any of the moon's glory. We were kind of bummed, as we wanted to catch a glimpse and perhaps a photo or two, but no such luck this time around. Apparently the next chance to see a Super Moon will be in 2016 – so I’ll have to be sure I’m awake (no problem there) and ready to watch it! In the meantime I'm getting ready for a good night's rest...keep your fingers crossed that tonight is the night!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The purple dinosaur

I'm a bit embarrassed to share this story but it'd make a great Reader's Digest's so comical and typical Jared I have to share...

For many years Jared has been a humongous Barney fan.  Many parents get irritated about Barney after just a couple of years, we had the joy of having Barney videos played in our house for close to two decades.  When Jared was somewhere between 15 and 16 years old we finally managed to convince him to donate his Barney videos.  There have been times over the years that Jared has asked to purchase new Barney DVD's to which we've reminded him that Barney is a baby show and he is not a baby anymore.  So we've managed to live Barney free, for a few years...

Jared recently discovered Google, or as he refers to it "Doogle".  With that discovery he found that he can look up many of his favorite shows, from Arthur to Winnie the Pooh.  Of course it wasn't long before he found Barney!  He has proceeded to watch many episodes, old and new, and has been enjoying himself.  As we sit at the dinner table Jared likes to tell us about the shows that he's been watching.  Not long after he discovered Barney he mentioned specific Barney episodes that he'd been watching.  I reminded him that Barney is a baby show and that he is not a baby and I have no interest or desire to hear anything about Barney - as I have watched every single episode almost as many times as he has.  What is so funny and typical Jared is that when I reminded him of the fact that I did not wish to hear anything about Barney he sat quietly for a moment and after giving it a bit of thought and with a sly smile on his face he casually stated "So, that purple dinosaur..." 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Winds of change...

One of the first things that Jeff & I learned about Great Falls, before we moved here, is that this city is famous for its wind.  It is actually windier here than the 'Windy City'! Who knew? Of course, there are those who curse the wind, but not I!  We've had a few beautiful days here over the past week, as a result of the wind ALL of the snow is gone, or I should say was gone.  It started again, a little more than an hour ago.  I have to say that when the snow comes down the trees are just beautiful!  I'm in awe...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I’m not talking about it…aw, come on now…

When Justin was a young tyke (between 2 and 3 years old) he was busy talking up a storm, and singing too. Unknown to him I started recording him talking & singing, so that we’d have a record for all time of how he sounded. He was singing “Hound Dog” and I managed to capture it, for a moment anyway. As soon as Justin realized he was being recorded he clammed up. All these years we’ve teased him about the fact that we thought he said “I’m not talking about it” when he realized he was being taped. Turns out, when I played back the recording many years later Justin actually said, “I’m not talking about them” as we were having a conversation about the Ninja Turtles at the moment when he realized he was being recorded. Even though we now know what it was he really said, to this day we often tease and say "I'm not talking about it!"

Jared has given us a few golden tidbits that we often chuckle about and regularly use too. He has quite the sense of humor and often likes to tease when he thinks someone is getting into mischief. He loves to tell us “Go to your room for two weeks and no supper!” I’m a bit surprised at how harsh he is considering he’s never been sent to his room! But it’s all in good fun, and we joke about it often. A couple of his other famous lines include “Fine, be that way!” I regularly paraphrase him, prefacing it by informing everyone that it’s a favorite Jared phrase. Recently he’s started to use one of my all time favorite phrases, “Aw, come on now!” In order to appreciate it you have to hear him, as he puts emphasis on key words and it just makes you chuckle. It’s become one of my favorites and no doubt we’ll be saying it for a long time to come…aw, come on now! 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

What’s in a name?

When Justin was about five he started asking me for a nickname. I noted that with a name like Justin it’d be a bit hard to come up with a nickname tied to his name. It was about that time that Jared really started to speak. To this day we don’t know if Jared was saying “Justin” or saying “brother” but he started to call Justin “Audie”. Justin has been our Audie ever since. I don’t think he’s ever been embarrassed by it either. Although now that I think about it there was the time when he was playing football on the football field as a sophomore in high school and I was busy on the sidelines screaming, “Go Audie Go!”

For some reason Jared often adds an “O” to the end of words…he calls Jeff “Daddy-O” and when called he often replies “Whatdi-O?” I have always been “Aunie-O” and Justin will forever be our “Audie-O”.

A few years ago my sister Beth came to visit. She has always been Beth or Aunt Beth; our family has never called her anything else. On this particular visit, Jared, being the comic that he so often is, looked at Beth with a straight face and said, “Well all right Betty!” to which she replied, “Well, okay then Jerry!” So now they are both known as Betty and Jerry (and very often he is called “Jerry-O”).

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Adventures in the Produce Aisle

I’ve never been a big fan of vegetables, or fruits for that matter. I was born allergic to most foods and as a result I’ve just never really developed a taste for fruits & vegetables. When I attempted to eat them at various times throughout my life (when I was pregnant for example) I have not been a fan. So fruits & vegetables have not been a big part of my life.

When the boys were growing up I insisted that Jeff never ask me to try things in front of them, as I didn’t want to say no and impress upon them my food hang-ups. Thankfully, Jared will pretty much eat anything; he’ll definitely try everything once and if he doesn’t like it (and there’s not much he doesn’t like) he’ll let us know. Justin, on the other hand, has definitely inherited my finickiness, and there’s no medical reason for him to be that way. About the time he reached his teens he made the decision to start eating better and he has really broadened his horizons in the past several years. Now, living on his own for the first time, he’s become a bit of a health nut – to the degree that he will – and it’s a very good thing. I’m thrilled that he is getting over his food hang-ups much younger than I have. It’s taken me this long to start coming around!

In the past year Jeff & I decided to make some dramatic dietary changes. We were never junk food junkies or horrible eaters, but I was not one to make vegetables at night with dinner. We ate a lot of pasta and bread, without focusing much on protein. Now we focus on protein and vegetables. As a result salad is a regular staple in our diet; it’s something we eat daily now. I feel like I live in the grocery store, or I should live there as I’m there often enough. I’ve never spent so much time in the produce section. I’ve definitely spent more time in the produce aisle in the past year than I ever have in my whole life. It’s really good and I’m really glad about it, it’s just different for me. I’m at the grocery store every two to three days buying a fresh head of lettuce, among other produce items. I feel like I should just move into the produce section!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Home James…err, I mean Jeff!

The weather this winter has been extremely harsh, and I know most folks don’t believe me when I say that’s unusual for Great Falls. We’ve had many mild winters, so to have this much snow and ice and cold is unusual for us. We aren’t used to it anymore, or perhaps I should say I’m not used to it. This week has been a blessing in comparison to the past several weeks. We are in the high 30’s to low 40’s daily with some sun, compared to last week’s teen’s and clouds. Folks are back outside wearing shorts and t-shirts! It’s been a very nice, much needed break!

This time last week the roads were sheets of ice. Cars were ice skating all over town and into each other. My little bug is not made for this. I’ve already told Jeff, as much as I LOVE my bug, in 5 to 10 years when I am car shopping again I will want a vehicle that is a little higher off the road IF we are still living in an area where snow is part of our lives. The other school of thought, and I really like this one, is that I have a summer car and a winter car – makes me dream about the days when I can become a snow bird and have a winter home and a summer home! Wishful thinking…

But last week, Jared and I are getting ready to head out for the day – me delivering him to school and myself to work. Jeff says, as always, “Drive safe!” To which I respond that he should be chauffeuring me to work and Jared to school. I reminded him that he is the reason that we live in Montana. (That’s not to say I don’t like it, but it sure works when the weather is crappy – I blame him!) I informed him that if I had my way I’d be living in sunny, 70+ degree Southern California and not driving on an ice rink. To which he responded that if we lived in So Cal he’d have a minimum one hour commute to work. So I gave him two choices, he can either chauffeur me six months out of the year OR he can commute a long distance to work. I really felt I had a sound argument, but he still wasn’t buying…so off to work I drove! I’m just hoping this fair weather holds out a little bit longer as the ice rink is finally starting to thaw!

Monday, January 24, 2011


I’ve written so many blog posts, in my mind, in recent weeks…I’ve decided that I just need to start writing and stop putting so much thought into it! Perhaps I should change the name of my blog to something like the ‘Ranting’s of a mad housewife’…here goes today’s rant…

I bought my brother-in-law a t-shirt for Christmas that had a picture of a man dragging a donkey on it; the caption notes…I went on a little hike, now I’m dragging my ass (or something to that effect). He is an avid hiker. I, on the other hand, am not…yet I’m seriously ‘dragging my ass’ today! So, what’s my excuse?!

I am not a morning person. Jeff bought me a magnet several years ago that sums it up very well, “Not a morning person doesn’t even begin to cover it!” That’s me! Coffee doesn’t help; I’ve never liked it, can’t even stand the smell of it. My morning cup of coffee is my shower, yet that hasn’t seemed to help get me moving this morning!

I slept like a rock last night so you’d think I’d be good to go, but that’s definitely not the case. Perhaps it was our weekend jaunt to Missoula. I took the day off work on Friday and we drove away with two packed vehicles, ready to move Justin into his first apartment. I slept well while there, so I’m still asking, what’s my excuse?!

I have none, but I’m just glad that today I have nothing to do but pick Jared up from school and go home! Tomorrow is another day…hopefully I will wake up raring to go! One can hope anyway…

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Resolutions…or not!

It’s that time of year again, the time of year when folks start talking about their resolutions…and soon after are talking about how they’ve already broken those resolutions. The other reality is that everyone pretty much makes the same resolutions; lose weight, quit smoking, watch less TV, etc. There’s so rarely any uniqueness to them. Personally, I’ve never been much for making resolutions, as I know the reality is that they are rarely thought of, let alone kept, soon after the New Year begins.

And therein lies the problem, I think, with resolutions. Most folks state a resolution and think about it for about a week or two and quickly forget it. It is not something that they have truly committed to or take the time to make a habit out of. Experts tell us that it takes 21 days to create a habit. My non-scientific guess would be that most resolutions are forgotten by the 15th of January.

I found an interesting article on resolutions, kind of funny reading actually…resolutions one should never make:

So with this New Year I’ll once again stick with my resolution to NOT make any resolutions thank you very much! Oops, wonder what happens if I wind up breaking that resolution?!?!