The kids had another long weekend so we took the short drive to Portland for the night. I love handing the camera over to see what they see when we walk around new cities.
We started the day at Stumptown where we had warm drinks and good treats.

Then we walked down to Powell's and saw many interesting sights along the way:

Hazel headed right for her "just right books" and picked 3 to read to me...I love Dr. Seuss and the confidence his books have given my daughter.

Trey was happy to introduce us to VooDoo Doughnuts...he and the kids thought they were great...I thought they were sick.

"Tag" you're it!

Found this waiting for us the other morning:

I guess they were nice enough to tag us on the window of our car...it came off very easily...and the mailbox can be replaced...so there's that.
We called the police just to notify them...they thanked us and patted us on the shoulder and sent us on our way.


On Death and Dying

It would be so self centered to say, "OK, come on...let's be done with all this death and dying...I'm all set for a long time!" It's self centered because I'm only thinking of me and how these recent events have effected...well...ME!
It started on January 3rd with John's death. It threw me for a loop. It's hard to imagine a life without the possibility of John. It's nuts.
This past weekend Trey was told that one of the members of a band he works with died.
Then, today at the kid's school we learned that one of August's friends lost his mom in her sleep.
This is crazy. THIS IS CRAZY.
How will all these families recover from these events. How will August's friend ever be the same? This is crushing. How will they face each day without their son, mother, wife, friend?
I'm done with it all. DONE!


Portland Pool

Trey has a Blitzen Trapper show to go to tonight so the kids and I
thought we'd tag along to swim in the hotel pool. The sad part of the
evening is that the last time we came to this hotel we were with the
Bazan and Walsh family. Good memories for sure but sad to realize
it'll never happen like that again. It's hard to find new old friends.

She's Crafty

OK...who wants to knit this sweater for me?owls
I know, I know...I can knit...why wouldn't I knit it for myself? Well, there are number of very strange things about me that maybe you should know...I have a hard time eating the food I make...I will eat it, but it just does not taste as good when I'm the one who makes it. I also do not like anything I create for myself. I have knitted sweaters for myself and have promptly unraveled them without a thought. I love knitting things for Hazel or for friends who have little ones on the way...but I KNOW that if I set out to knit this sweater I would end up HATING it.
So, come on...I know there's someone out there who's just dying to knit me a sweater with OWLS(!!) on the neck line. Holy owl, I love it.
I'll buy all the yarn and buttons and I'll even give you my measurements...all you'd have to do is whip it up!
Any takers???


You're still The champ Amen For NY

We're back!! Trey and I flew over to NYC this past weekend to see one of the bands he books (Fleet Foxes) perform on Saturday Night Live for heaven's sake...
It was a quick 2 night visit. We arrived late Friday night, cabbed it to the hotel on South Central Park, checked in and cabbed it to Balthazar for a late night, oh so delicious meal and then back to the hotel to sleeeeep. The trip was so exhausting that first night that we slept SOLID until 1:30pm!! Keep in mind that we were still on Seattle time so that's really just sleeping until 10:30...which is still a feat for us.
Saturday (afternoon) we got up and walked around SOHO for as long as our skin could take the cold. I'm talking COLD folks...those of you in Michigan know exactly what I'm talking about but I don't remember EVER being that cold. We would run from store to store regardless of the store just to warm up. We ate at a cool little bar called Fanelli's Cafe where we shared a tuna melt and some soup to warm our bones.
Saturday night consisted of going down to Rockefeller Center to get in line for the really big show. We stood among the parent's of the band. They were beaming with pride. I could not take any pictures while we were in the studio but let me just tell you this, it's so much smaller than it looks on TV. Each set gets set up and torn down during the commercials with remarkable speed. The band did an amazing set. They were spot on with both songs. Everyone from the cast and crew poured out to watch them perform...it was amazing.
After the show we all went back stage and toasted the band and then took off to the after party. I think I had a bit of a bigger idea of what this party was going to be...SNL rented out a restaurant and you had to be on the list to get in. Once inside they asked who you were with and then they set you up at a table with those people....and then everyone ate and drank to their hearts content. There wasn't much schmoozing at all. Just eating and drinking and then...leaving. Trey and I got back to the hotel at 4:30am and quickly asked for a late checkout.
Sunday afternoon we took the subway to Trey's most favorite place on earth. If you're ever at a loss for what to get him for his birthday/christmas/kwanza, this is the place to order from. I got a dark chocolate peanut butter chip cookie that lasted me literally all day. Trey ordered the traditional chocolate chip cookie. So Good.
Then we walked around a bit more, took the subway again, and headed to the airport for our flight home. We landed around 10:30pm and tripped into bed shortly thereafter.
We couldn't have done any of this without some quick help from the Nyssen family and the Wilkinson family. Meredith came over and stayed with Tank and then the kids and kept them busy and happy the whole time. We are so thankful to them all.
The rest of the pictures can be found here at my MobileMe Gallery.


Bang, Clang all over again!

I feel like the new year has finally begun. The kids are back into their school routines. They wake up pretty ok during the school week and get right to homework after school. The snack drawer is full and they help themselves when they're hungry...life is good.

Some updates:
The bathroom is pretty much done...we're still waiting on a custom mirror but the sinks are done and boy do they look good. I'll post pictures when it all comes together.

The Fleet Foxes are playing Saturday Night Live this weekend...and Trey and I are going to New York to see them live! Holy cow, I'm so excited I can not stop thinking about it.

We've begun some more remodeling on the house. The basement was semi-finished when we moved in...there was carpeting and the walls were finished but it hasn't been very usable because there's a huge heater down there. Trey has envisioned another great extreme makeover...the room that we were using as a junk room will now be a real bedroom. We'll have the TV in this room too which will make it much easier to hear having it far away from the heater.
So out of town friends and family...you'll have a nice place to crash soon at the Many house.


Goodbye Dear Friend

My phone registered a call the other day but there was no message. It was a Michigan number but not one that was already on my phone so I shrugged it off as a miss dial. A few hours later the same number called and I picked up. The voice on the line informed me that a dear friend had died.

When I was in High School I befriended a new student. We sat together during lunch, I tried to include her in any activities I was involved in...and then one morning she didn't come to school. A schoolmate would later come up to me at my locker and ask if I'd heard that the new girl had gotten into a car accident and had died.

In both instances my brain refused to hear the news. Both times I said that I didn't understand. It just couldn't be. The giver of this news was surely wrong. In the case of the new girl I simply refused to believe it until it was announced over the loud speaker.

The other day, something told me that the news was true. My friend hadn't been happy for a while, he had gone through some tough times. He wasn't always so healthy and he didn't make many moves to fix this. But I couldn't believe it until I had confirmation...the confirmation came when I called the funeral home.

John Campbell was such a fun friend once upon a time. He ran sound for the church we went to and I sang songs so we had to work together pretty often. We went to the same youth group activities and the same school. He drove me to school along with my neighbor Becky. His big truck was always so cold on those winter mornings. He was older than me and I had a crush on him for years. We would go back and forth between liking each other and not...back and forth, back and forth. I had so many pictures of the two of us but as many silly teenage girls will do, I threw them all away vowing I'd never like him again...and now I have only my memory of him. We eventually grew apart but would somehow get back in contact every once in a while.
His calls came randomly, a few times before I married Trey, a few times after. Then there were no calls for a while. And then they came more frequently. They were always a surprise and we'd talk about the past and how much fun we had once upon a time.
I thought about him over Christmas because we had that party with friends. A part of me thought that maybe he'd show...but he didn't. He was in Tennessee with his folks. Which is where he died. Went to bed one night and just never woke up.
My heart is so sad over this death. I will never get another call from him, never another surprise email. And I'm sad, so very sad.
I've sent notes to his parents and flowers to the funeral home but feel like there should be something else...something that I should do to commemorate the life of my friend John Campbell...who loved Elvis and made me smile.

John's Obituary

Traveling Stinks

We really got hit hard during our Christmas break. The travel days were rough. We finally arrived in Detroit 12 hours late and without our luggage...for 3 days. Here are pictures of the kids sleeping in the Chicago airport:

We have a ton of family in Michigan and try to split our time between them. It's not an easy job but the kids love each and every stop along the way:

The Klier Christmas:
On the Polar Express:In the snow:
The Reynolds Christmas:Playing in the snow:Visiting the Chicago family:We also had the Mitchell Christmas.
The kids got to play in the snow at their house too...the weather had started warming up a bit which meant that the snow was perfect for snowmen! Avery is on a Shrek kick so August, Anna and Paul all made a Shrek snowman!!

We also etched out a night to get together with some old friends:
Then we loaded our loot up and began our long journey home:
Our flight to Chicago went without a hitch...but our flight to Detroit was delayed not once...but twice. Thankfully our ride home from the airport was very flexible and we got home safe and sound.
The kids went back to school today...and there was snow on the ground!! August just got home and said that he had a really good day.