Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Legend of Zelda rules!

Have you ever played one of the Nintendo Zelda games? I have played them since my younger brothers and sisters got their first Gameboy and then various Nintendo systems. I have never finished one of the Zelda games. I always get stuck somewhere and can't figure out what I am supposed to do to move on. My brother Mike used to walk me through the parts where I was stuck (or at least gave me lots of hints) when he was younger and living at home, but now I am on my own.

I have to admit that we bought our Nintendo Gamecube years ago just so I could play Zelda. My mother refused to let me play it at her house anymore...she thought it was terrible for a mother to waste time like that. Of course we bought a few games for the kids and a token golf game for Alan, but it was really for me. I mostly play when I am pregnant and have insomnia, so I still haven't ever finished a Zelda game. I started Zelda Windwaker when we bought our system and I am still playing it. Leilani and Emilyanne like Zelda also, and they frequently get stuck and hope I can help them. Luckily for them I have still managed to stay ahead of them in the game. They beg me to play sometimes so they can watch me and learn what they are supposed to do. Alan doesn't like to play, but he likes to watch and try and help figure out what to do. Unfortunately you do not get very far only playing a few times a year.

So, is it a waste of time? Perhaps. But no more so than reading a novel or playing a board game. Actually, I can see many benefits to it. Zelda is great for problem solving skills and thinking outside of the box. It is also good for eye and hand coordination. It helps reading between the lines, and it is much more interactive than most television. It is also family time at our house. Of course there are limits to video games just like anything else. If my family was playing it everyday for hours on end, it would be a problem. I know these games can be addicting. So far it has stayed a rare vacation time pastime. But someday I would really like to finish one of the games. I have Zelda Twilight Princess still in plastic wrap from last Christmas waiting to be opened and played someday.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Tigers and Bears and Elephants, Oh My!

We went to the Oregon (used to be known as the Portland) Zoo on Tuesday. The second Tuesday of every month is $2 day, so it makes it a lot cheaper to go. This was the last time we could go before the kids are back in school (I can't believe summer is almost over). So, we went and met most of the Bevans family up there. Alli and her kids came from Monmouth, and Jeff and his family, Kim and her family and Mom and Dad with Chris' kids came from Eugene. We were later than everyone else from Eugene, because the girls had dance class, but we were able to spend most of the afternoon there. Finding parking was a zoo in and of itself. There were lots of people and of course it was in the 90's that day. We had a good time, though. Benjamin has been growling like a bear and trying to scare people for the past two days. It is getting together with family like this that will make it really hard to move if Alan gets a job out of state.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Wow, Is That My Son?

My son is a constant source of amazement to me. I don't know how people can say that boys and girls are the same when they are born and then taught to act gender specific. There is absolutely NO WAY! My son came into this world ALL BOY (and I didn't understand what that meant until he got here), and he continues to act that way - despite his three older sisters. He will sit down to play Barbies with them, for about 2 sec, and then he is back to his trains and cars. He is obsessed with balls - hitting, kicking and throwing them. He chases his sisters around with sticks and bats, just to hear them scream. We went to an anniversary party a few weeks back, and everyone of my girls had a scab or scratch on their face from their brother. One of them had a fat lip too. I have never had the baby beat up the older kids like this before.

Don't get me wrong, though, he is not a monster. In fact, I think he is more cuddly and loving than any of my girls were at this age. And he is smart as a whip. We were watching him in amazement last night as he figured out how to swing himself. We were sitting around my parents' backyard, and he kept getting Grandpa Bevans to go swing him. But, it was getting harder and harder to get any adult to go with him. So, he figured out how to do it himself. I looked over at the swing set and Benjamin was sitting on a swing, with nobody else around him, swinging. I asked my dad if he had put Benjamin on the swing, and he said no. So I asked other people, but no one had helped him. Then, as we were watching him, he got off the swing and walked around to the end of the swing set. My 18 month old proceeded to swing himself on the end bar, catch the chains of the swing with his feet, pull the swing towards him, slip his feet over the seat of the swing and then let go of the bar and grab the chains with his hands. He fell off a few times, but proceeded to do it over and over until he didn't. Then he would swing for a minute, slide off and do it all over again. We all just watched him dumbfounded. I don't know how he thought that one up, but I can tell that life with him is going to be quite the ride. I admit that I wanted a fourth girl (greedy, I know, but having five younger brothers can you blame me?), but I think the Lord knew I needed some spice in my life with this little ball of energy. I love him so much! I wouldn't give him up for anything. In fact, I can't imagine life without him. But...I am glad he's not twins :)

Friday, August 10, 2007

Technology Addiction

My sister-in-law Alli warned me that this blogging could be addicting, but what I find more addicting at the moment is the ability to edit and put together slide shows of my photos. I slapped together a montage of Benjamin's 1st year after watching my niece Claire's video. I have now redone Ben's 1st year slide show three times. I just finished the latest and updated it on the website. I keep learning how to do new things. (I also have a husband that pointed out that I left out six months of his first year!) If I ever find the Disneyland pictures from last year, I'll add them to his first year, but I'm guessing that he will be two before that will ever happen. My new project is putting together a video of our vacation pictures. This is fun whether anyone watches or not!

Monday, August 6, 2007

Fantasy Sports

We just finished our annual Fantasy football draft. If anyone had told me 8 years ago that I would be playing fantasy sports, I would have laughed them out of the room. Me and sports do not mix! However, I decided to do fantasy football with my husband, so we could do something sports related together (he is a sports addict), and we are still sharing a team all these years later. I have even expanded into having my own team in baseball and basketball.

So, what is the draw for someone who totally detests watching sports? Winning! We play in a family league made up of my five brothers, my mom, my husband, my sister, Kari, for football and basketball, and a few of my brothers' friends. It is just so satisfying to beat my brothers at their own game (or the other men in the league for that matter). They just have a hard time handling it. I won the fantasy baseball league two years ago. No one would acknowledge it for a long time, and then of course it was explained away as a fluke. My team name is the Unicorns, and they love to frolic all over the manly named teams in the league. I remember we were at my brother Mark's wedding the August that I was leading our baseball league, and one of his friends asked me about trading a player. I had no idea who the player was that he was talking about, and apparently that was just amazing. My brother,Todd, who had been listening just turned to the guy and said,"and this is the person who is in first place..." What glee I get!!! I do best at baseball, because I can research the stats and understand them. I find basketball a lot harder, and I don't do very well. But Alan and I do fairly well together with our football team (named the more manly Dragons name). We finished first once and have been second a couple of times. I have more time to research than alan, but he is actually willing to watch the games and read the recaps. Not I. Anyway, we are now official for 2007. Baseball runs at the same time for a few months, so it keeps me busy. I am racing for a top spot in baseball, so I can't neglect it for a moment. I have a love/hate relationship with my players (especially A-Rod) and I need to encourage them to keep up. I do not know many of the players we drafted for football this year, so it will be interesting to see how that turns out. Alan knows a lot of the names from college ball, since he prefers that to pro.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Oh, No!

I got a phone message today that injected a surge of adrenaline and despair into my body. My mother-in-law left a message telling us that they were leaving tomorrow and would be here Tuesday. Now don't get me wrong, we love to have my mother-in-law and father-in-law visit. My kids ask all the time when Grandma and Grandpa Walker are going to visit again. It just stresses me out, because I am a terrible housekeeper. And to top off the normal mess, we started cleaning out the garage yesterday and there are boxes all over the house that I brought in to go through. So, I guess they will go back out in the garage for now. If I think positively, we have been making baby steps since they last visited. My guest bathroom is clean (they can even shut the door) and I am caught up on the laundry (so they don't have to jump over piles in the bathroom). All the boxes in the toy room have been unpacked, so we could turn it into a bedroom for my son. And we finally unpacked the dining room and moved the furniture around. But my bedroom is still a no man's land (then again, they do not have to go in there) and the living room has become the new toyroom by default. I guess we will see what we can do in two days. Tomorrow is shot because my brother, Chris, is blessing his baby and then we are having a family dinner. After dinner we are having our all important fantasy football draft, so nothing much will get done until Monday. That is when the adrenaline and despair will really kick in. And Tuesday? I will be running on pure stress. Oh, well. I am sure after 11 years of marriage to their son, they are not expecting us to be anything we are not. It would just be nice to have them pleasantly surprised when they came. To have the kind of house that was ready for anyone anytime. I tried Flylady once or twice, and it helped me get a few routines down, but I don't think I was committed enough to make a huge difference. Maybe I will try it again when school starts. Sigh...I just have to remember baby steps!

How Little We Need

I was thinking today about how happy we are, even though we do not have an extra dime to spend anywhere. We have a roof over our heads, food to eat, clothing to wear and we are getting a lot of together time. We are healthy and somehow our bill are getting paid. Someone asked me if it was driving me crazy to have my husband home all the time (he lost his job in June). The answer would have to be "no." We have done a lot of things around the house and yard that have needed to be done for a while. The kids like to have their dad home to play with them or take them to their activities. I haven't been shopping in forever, and who knows when I will get to go again, but it didn't even kill me to not spend my Gymbucks. Maybe this unemployment stint will actually turn into a financial blessing for us. I do not even think the kids feel like they are really having to go without much. Sure, they don't get Happy Meals or soccer camp, but they are enjoying life just the same. I guess my husband and I will have to be better about showing a happy face during this time, because I do not think my kids think we are as content as I am feeling right now. My four year old said the other day, "I wish I knew how to make money, because I would make it and give lots and lots to Mom and Dad so they can be happy." I guess I will work on pointing out how good life is for us.