Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mother's Day

Oh, Mother's Day! The one day a year that we set aside to honor our Mothers. This year, my boys treated me to a day of doing nothing. They forced me out on the deck in my lawn chair to read a book. They let me have control of the remote. They doted on me. And then they cooked me dinner.

But they didn't just make me dinner. I mean they did every single step of making me dinner under Rob's direction.

Marc sauteed the onions and garlic.

Nate poured in the wine and tomatoes.
They let it simmer.
Marc sliced the portobellos. Nate brushed them with olive oil.

They dumped in lobster, shrimp, and lots of other seafood to fix cioppino. It was delicious!!

Then the boys made me the best brownies ever!

It was truly a fantastic Mother's Day. Love these kids!!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Lemonade Dreams

The boy wants a Kindle Fire.

My youngest son Nate has been diligently saving every penny, dime, nickel, and dollar since January 15th to buy himself a Kindle Fire. He loves to read (here he is below with his school award for meeting his reading goals).

He saved the $90 in birthday money. He saved the $2 he got from Great Grandma to go get an ice cream on Valentine's Day. He saved the 50 cents he found when he cleaned out my car.

He decided to not spend his money on a Wii game. He decided against purchasing more toy cars. He's avoided toys at the dollar store.

He's been counting down in his head until he gets the $199 to purchase his Kindle.

So two weeks ago, he came home and wanted to do a lemonade stand.

On Monday, I said, "Yeah, maybe one day this summer." I left it that thinking he'd forget.

On Tuesday when he remembered, I said, "I'm not sure people buy lemonade at stands anymore and we don't have family here."

On Wednesday when he woke up begging me again, I said, "I'll look at my schedule and see when we can do it."

On Wednesday, he came home from school, pulled a chair up to the table with a stack of college-rule lined notebook paper. He sat for 2.5 hours writing out 35 flyers to hand out. He left a big blank area for me to fill in date, time, and location. He wrote in his best handwriting and drew pictures on each and every hand-written flyer.

On Wednesday night, I caved. After all that hard work, it was evident I was committed to helping him with a lemonade stand.

We chose Sunday from 10 a.m. to noon. I purchased the lemonade. Rob brought the "coolest pitchers ever" - according to Nate. I borrowed a table, grabbed my tablecloth, and we made a couple of signs. I created a private event on Facebook to invite all my friends.

Sunday morning, we set up. I tried my best to prepare Nate for the worst. "Honey, we might only make a few dollars and we're only staying here until noon, ok?"

He had $32 to reach his goal.

He set up on the corner and waited (not very patiently). I have to admit I'd buy lemonade from this cutie.
It was slow going and he was getting disappointed. I told him he should wave at cars and smile (everyone likes a friendly, cute, outgoing kid). By 10:15, Nate had his first customer (and it wasn't a friend or family member, it was a complete stranger):
She paid 50 cents for her cup of lemonade and gave him a 50 cent tip. He had the biggest grin. He just knew the $32 was in sight.

It was a little slow but then the church crowd got out and from 11 to noon, Nate's little stand was filled with people dressed in their Sunday best.

Many older people smiled and shared stories of how they missed little lemonade stands.

Many, many people commented that they'd watched a show just the night before where Glen Beck was talking about how the lemonade stand was disappearing for good and with it, the entrepreneurship of our country.

And nearly everyone told Nate what a great thing he was doing saving his money. He even had one lady hear his story and come buy just to give him $5.

All in all, Nate spent two hours pouring lemonade and talking to people. He made $41.20 (after he paid me back $6.00 for ice, lemonade mix, and lemons - cost of business).

He also learned important lessons:
  • With hard work, we can achieve our goals.
  • If we're willing to save, you can have the things you want.
  • Smiling and waving (being friendly) will draw the customers in.
  • Quality control is important. I was proud to see Nate not serve a couple of cups of lemonade because a speck of dirt had gotten in the glass.
  • Manners are important. It was fun to hear him say Please, Thank You, and May I offer you a glass of lemonade.
Problem is now, he's trying to figure out how to repeat his success. Only this time, he's decided he should dress up in a lemon costume and dance. Oh yes, I will capture video.

Off to take Nate to buy his Kindle Fire......

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Sun, Speed, and Soldiers

About four months ago, I was notified at work that I had been selected to participate in an ESGR trip. ESGR stands for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserves. We have an active base here that trains F-15 pilots. They are our third largest employer and to say we are a patriotic town would be an understatement.

In recognition for their support, about 20 of us were treated to an overnight stay in Tuscon, Arizona. Our transportation from Oregon to Arizona was this beautiful KC-135.
Now maybe some of you have travelled aboard one of these "luxury" liners but let me help those of you who haven't. First, you'll notice there's no luxury. True to the military style, everything has a purpose. There's no real bling on this liner. I arrived expecting cargo net seats but was pleased to find they put chairs just for us.
So on a regular commercial flight, it's all prettied up. The pretty little lights signify the exit, yadda yadda. Not so on this plane. A warning is a warning - it's stated plain as day.

Anyway, we said goodbye to 42 degrees and headed up into the clouds. We were going to get treated to something special. About an hour into our flight, these beautiful visitors stopped by to say hi:
After they posed for photos, they took turns coming to the back of our plane for refueling. We got to lay down in the boom and watch the refueling. It was fascinating. I'm amazed at what the guy in charge of this is able to do. He basically uses two controllers similar to a joystick and lines everything up perfectly. Here's the operator.

Here's our first visitor for refueling:
Notice how close to us he is to our plane. We could darn near make eye contact. Well hello there flyboy:) Now back to the guy who refuels, he has to line up this thing (shown in the photo below) with the plane (shown above) to refuel.

He does this all while flying at warp speed in a circle. With me on one side taking photos and asking a million questions. He's a superstar!

We landed and got a tour of one of Tuscon's Air Force Bases. We got to stand out on the runway and watch the jets land:

And take off (that's our bus):

The next day, we were treated to a trip through the boneyard. The place aircraft go to retire. To say it's huge is an understatement.
We found a row that contained several planes from home

I'd like to add we also got to fly in their state of the art simulators...the only place we weren't allowed to take photos. After taking my plane underground, I recovered and was able to land it (sort of). I don't think pilot is in my list of available occupations.

We had a great time and I learned alot about the Guard's role in our communities. The men and women who serve were gracious and friendly and willing to answer questions. I'm so honored to have been able to go! Hope you enjoyed the photos!