Sunday, December 30, 2007

Christmas Hits

This was the year of the Leapster!

Other big hits were the Shake and Roll race track and the marble roller coaster kit. The Moon Sand set has been a big hit...with the boys. That stuff does not dry out and go bad like Play-Doh!

Unfortunately, our Christmas morning involved a flood in the kitchen, courtesy of our fridge. Yes, the one that had broken twice before. I'll never buy a GE fridge again! Not now that we have to replace the hardwoods in the kitchen!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Swedish Christmas Eve

The McCauley family has had a Swedish Christmas Eve...well, forever. It is a great memory from childhood that Jeff has. Each year we hope the boys will start trying some of the traditions - like Swedish meatballs, rut-mus (rutabega mashed potatoes), corn pudding, rice pudding...however, this year they were mainly interested in chips and the raspberry jello dessert. Hey, it's a start.

Having fun is a big part of the tradition as well. Our boys don't have any cousins, so they borrow Daddy's youngest cousin, Sean. The boys all gathered in the basement where there were tubs of toys waiting to be played with. Legos, dress-up, cars...and a doll house. We'll have to get one for Gracie. Hayden LOVED playing with it.
Then it was on to presents! The kiddos all collected their gifts, and had to try and be patient until it was time to tear into them. We got a bit nervous when Aunt Sonny handed Jeff a bag of batteries... the boys were thrilled! Hayden got a race track and art supplies...Bayley got a telescope which he is currently using to try and spot Santa (he caught sight of the sleigh rail, but then lost it). AND he got a kit to basically turn his room into a small planeterium! Oh my!
He thanked Aunt Sonny...and may have told her he wants a planetarium next year. Aim high, kiddo.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

What A Day!!

Friday was a marathon day of holiday fun. While Hayden was at preschool, I helped in Bayley's classroom with their holiday Buddy party. In kindergarten they assign the kiddos a buddy in the 4th grade, and the buddies stay together through the years. The big kids came to visit and have cocoa with marshmallows and read holiday stories. Too cute.

Then, I snagged Hayden from preschool and we came back to help out with the holiday party. He was so excited to be able to participate. The did art projects together...and then Bay was upset I was helping the other kids and not spending enough time with him. Which...made me question why I was there at all... I keep saying I am only going to do the small projects so I can attend to him as well, but it is hard.

Our afternoon was stuffed with visits from the Aunts (complete with pink baby gear!) and a playdate with the Bunkers Brothers...and then Daddy came home early!

We've been trying to get the boys to ZooLights all month, so wven though we'd been running all day, we trekked over there. Hot tip - show up at 4. We got there ate half past and got a parking spot (which we hadn't been able to score on previous attempts) but had to wait in line for the zoo train...though the line grew exponentially once we got off. It was crazy! BUT the boys loved it.

The train zips you around a short zoo loop, so you get to see most of the main lights, plus some they have set up just for the train ride. The boys are in for everything train related, so it was a big hit.

Afterwards, we hiked around a bit (not as much as they would have was cold and mom was dragging). Hayden liked the lighted swamp set up on the amphitheater lawn - beacause that's where the hippos are. Bayley thought the anaconda was cool.

After dinner we moved the party to the boys favorite restaurant, Sweet Tomatoes because they were doing a fundraiser to aid the flood victims in Vernonia. That, and I was just plum tuckered out!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Hayden's First Movie

I know. He is 4 and has never been to the movies? Well, Bayley hates watching movies on TV, so talking him into a theater is impossible. Since we usually do things together, it hasn't been an option. Plus, they don't make many G rated movies anymore. Everything seems to be PG.

Today we had a pocket of time, and he was being sweet, so I thought we'd give it a try since there are two movies he wanted to see. We missed Alvin & The Chipmunks, but made it to Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium!

We sat down...and were the only ones in the theater. Now, why they put scary previews in a G rated movie, I have no idea. Hayden wanted to leave. But, he hid in my jacket and we made it to the movie.

A good thing since at the begining of each preview he asked "IS THIS MY MOVIE?" Glad we were flying solo. It was a lovely story, light and fun but about the serious subject of moving on after someone you love leaves.

Hayden's review :: There were lots of toys and then that weird guy and a girl, and it was so funny when the color didn't come back. And there was a big ball, and a room with lots of balls bouncing, and a rocketship and trains and lots of stuff.

However...he did not sit still. I think he sat in about 30 of the seats. He went all the way up to the front to say 'hi' to the screen. He laid across seats. He took off his shoes.

So...He wants to see Alvin & The Chipmunks...but I think he'll be waiting until it hits On Demand.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Holiday Pageant

Hayden's preschool does the cutest pageants. The little girls were all dressed up in their best holiday dresses, the kids were all excited to give the gifts they made to their parents...and then there was Hayden.
I tried to put a nice outfit on him, but he insisted on his cars shirt with the flowers on it - woody cars and palm trees on a polo shirt. We practiced the songs together - Santa's Belly, Jingle Bells. But as soon as he marched out I knew it wasn't going to happen.
He stood there between two of his best friends and didn't sing a word. In fact, I thought he might cry at some point. How can one boy be so outgoing and so shy in the same body?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Gingerbread House

I do not know why Bayley is so obsessed with gingerbread houses. He has been asking nearly every day if we can make one. I put him off, saying after Hanukkah. Well, he's a bit too smart for me. He thought that meant we'd do one on the day Hanukkah ended.

Ever the patient kid (ha!) he was so excited by it, Hayden and I went and got a kit on Thursday. I remembered almost instantly why it is I fight this tradition of Bay's every year.

The fighting when Hayden eats the candy...the mess from all that frosting...however, this year I did get a preassembled house (having learned from the tears that came from having to wait for it to dry).

They had a great time putting it all together, which is I guess what counts. As soon as dinner was over they went to work deconstructing it. Of course.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Favorite Gifts

I know some of you are still looking for gifts this season, so I thought I would share what went over BIG for Hanukkah at our house this year.

Bayley's fave seemed to be the marble set. At first he only built the track that came in the instructions, but now he makes all sorts of contraptions with it. The only thing that worries me...we've lost half the marbles...

Hayden had a Thomas and Friends Hanukkah this year. He got the Christmas DVD, what I thought was all of the engines he didn't have (apparently he is missing Murdoch, who can tell?), and the Thomas Carnival play set. This is a photo of Jeff getting a big hug and a "Thank you, Daddy!" You know...I do not recall Daddy having much to do with picking out this particular toy, or any of them really, but there you go.

Leapster was also HUGE for us this year. The boys both got Leapsters from Gram-Mo & Pop-Pop, and Bay got a new game for one of the nights of Hanukkah because he had beaten all the levels on the ones he had...we'll have to tell Santa to bring more...

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Vocabulary Lessons

Hayden started speech therapy and is currently working on his L sounds...or should be if he weren't proving his enormous vocabulary by coming up with an alternative word each time we try and get him to practice. Joy.

Bay has picked up some fun words from school, nothing too bad because he knows those might get him in trouble, but lately so many things are 'lame' it is starting to make me giggle...

And...when pressured to eat vegetables, Bay now says I am not a veggie-tarian, I am an omnivore. He's also petitioning to have his veggie bacon count as his fruit or vegetable serving for the day.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Uncle Chris is back in town!!

After flying all day...well, technically he did arrive 4 hours before he left, but that's another story...Chris showed up to take a peek at the boys. He hadn't seen them in 2 years and I think he was shocked by how big Hayden had grown.

The boys started climbing all over him. They also shared their holiday gifts, and thankfully everyone was most gracious. Chris even seemed to think punch balls was a good idea. Bless him.

They even made some plans...Chris hopes to get Bay's training wheels off (which I'm not so sure about...we were going to get Bay a bigger bike in the summer and pass his bike on to Hayden), they all want to have a sleepover, and even go skiing! We'll see how much they get done...

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Happy Hunukkah!!

We opened the box of holiday decorations, pulling out the menorah (and the electric one for the wall, huge hit, HUGE) and the candles...usually I pick them up at the end of the season, but I must have forgotten last year. And I didn't pack up the clue where they got to...

But other than that, the boys had a good first night. Bayley got a paint by number kit (he is all about the art) and Hayden got Toby, one of the few Thomas trains they don't have.

Jeff and I opened the gifts the boys got for us...I got a loofah on a stick and gel pens...Jeff got a flashlight and a window sticker that has half a football sticking out of it.

Bay looks at Jeff and deadpans..."It's a joke, Dad." I had to turn around.

Their gifts to one another were bigger hits. A glider and bouncing putty! Who knew?

Monday, December 03, 2007

Holiday Gifts

A commercial came on TV (no clue what for) and asked "Are you done with your holiday shopping yet?" Hayden turned to me..."OH NO! I need to shop!"

So once I stopped giggling, I took him to the Dollar Store and let him go to town picking things out for everyone. It was random, so hopefully people realize he was so sincere in his choices. I tell you, it was adorable.

Hayden told Bay about his day, and so Bayley was anxious to go on his own shopping spree. Oddly enough, Bayley kept trying to pick things out for himself (under the guise Hayden and I can share), while Hayden didn't. Bay was nearly done, then had a moment of panic. Oh no, I didn't get anything for my teacher! Too cute.

Hanukkah starts tomorrow...we'll see how the gifts go over...

Thursday, November 22, 2007


We made our annual trek to Medford for the big day...what a drive. Thanks to the baby on board I have had terrible motion sickness, but a friend suggested SeaBands and they worked like a champ...if only they worked for grocery stores...but I digress...

The boys loved being at Gram-mo & Pop-Pop's, though they were non-plussed we forgot their swim trunks so they couldn't take a dip with Pop-Pop in the hot tub. We stayed for a few days, but never really made it out of the house. That seems to be our MO in Medford.

Gram-Mo had a Bingo game waiting for Bayley, so he was constantly recruiting people to play with him. He should have been charging for the Bingo cards...he could have made some serious cash! Instead he let everyone play, and pined for the Leapster Gram-Mo and Pop-Pop got him for Hanukkah...mean ol' mom wouldn;t let him play with it until Hayden had one too. It made the drive home quite nice!

Grandma Evie again proved her skills - bringing cream puffs (Hayden's fave) and eclairs (Bayley's fave). I swear, that woman doesn't miss a trick! Hayden had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner of rice crispies...while Bayley at least opted for mashed potatoes.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Guy Fawkes Night!

Remember Remember
the 5th of November,
the gunpowder, treason and plot
I can think of no reason
the gunpowder treason
should ever be forgot.

Since the Tweeds trekked across the ocean and country, we've learned quite a bit about England...namely they like to lounge and nosh on Boxing Day, and Guy Fawkes Day is about fire.
Next year we'll plan ahead and have some fireworks...and something more than marshmallows to burn in effigy....Sponge Bob perhaps?

Monday, November 05, 2007


We had a Howling-good time this year. Hayden loved dressing up. He wanted to be a clown, doctor, leopard...and the leopard won out!

He had a fun party at his preschool with all his friends, then they went to pizza together. Their conversations are hilarious. "Leopards eat food off the floor, and I am a leopard, so I can too."

Bayley had a class party...but I have no pix as I was bussy doing this bean bag toss thing. Next year I am wising up and sitting down, doing a craft like the smarter mom's did. Bay is getting so big. He carved his own pumpkin this year!

For the big night we had a neighborhood party where we had pizza and fixings, then the dads took the kiddos trick-or-treating. Except...the bigger kids were much to fast for the wee ones. Hayden was so proud to be the one that kept up with them.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

That Zoo Trip

Remember the one where I thought I lost my camera? It was member appreciation day and we got zoo lunchbags...and the kids pretended they were monkeys :)

Saturday, November 03, 2007

In Loving Memory....Connie Gooler

Mother, wife, sister, daughter, aunt, friend, artist, athlete, humorist, and the woman who introduced me to frozen yogurt..we miss you already.

To Those I Love and Those Who Love Me
(Author Unknown)

When I am gone, release me, let me go,
I have so many things to see and do,
You mustn't tie yourself to me with tears.
Be happy that we had so many years.

I gave you my love, You can only guess,
How much you gave to me in happiness.
I thank you for the love you each have shown,
But now it is time I travel alone.

So greive a while for if grieve you must,
then let your grief be, comforted by trust.
It's only for awhile that we must part,
so bless the memories within your heart.

I won't be far away, for life goes on.
So if you need me, call and I will come.
Though you can't see or touch me, I'll be near.
And if you listen with your heart, you'll hear,

All of my love around you, soft and clear.
And then, when you must come this way alone,
I'll greet you with a smile, and say,.......
"Welcome Home"

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Out Front

In our neighborhood we're very lucky that most of the kids are in the same age group. For little tykes, they play together quite well. Usually they enjoy sidewalk chalk or riding bikes...but this time of year one of our neighbors has a tree in the front yard that is magnificent for dropping it's leaves. Adults think, what a mess. Kids think, what fun!!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Pig Pen

No pictures...but the boys had their annual trip to the pumpking patch - Hayden as a field trip with preschool, Bayley with a group of friends during school inservice day. Luckily, we got good weather on both is the 101 thing...there is a pigpen there. Check!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

No we didn't disappear...

I just lost my camera the last time we went to the zoo. Having pics helps me remember to keep people up to date, and since I have no pics...

But, we do have some news. We're expanding...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Avast! We Celebrated Talk Like A Pirate Day RIGHT!

Auntie Kim heard that a tall ship would be stopping over on it's way to the Pirate Festival this weekend and giving tours. Their press release, and all the info as to when they were coming, hadn't been passed on to the people actually running the ship. So...we arrived expecting a 4 o'clock tour, but instead we got to watch the ship arrive and fire their cannons. Twice! Eddie hated that part. He didn't want to have any part of a boat that exploded.

Bayley liked guessing exactly where they'd dock, I think the adults in the crowd liked the photo op. Once they were ready we boarded the ship and got to take a look around. Bayley checked everything out, from the riggings on the back to the wheel and compass. I'm not sure why he is so interested in pirate ship compasses...

Hayden liked going below decks, so he could take his shoes off and lay down in one of the berths. Sorry to whomever sleeps there. The crew did a great presentation, explaining that cannons on boats are called guns and which kind of ammunition did what. They also explained about privateers and the War of 1812, so it was truly an educational experience. Score one for me on that!

Everything was great...until Bay got a HUGE sliver in his hand. We had to boogie out of there, quick. Uncle Russell made a valiant attempt to remove the splinter, but it wasn't budging. Anutie Kim and I tried tweezers, it only put him in agony...hey, that's what it looked like to me. So...we came home and Daddy worked his sliver removing magic. He's not as put of by screams as I am. That thing was a stick I tell you. It looked big, but that was just the end of it, the rest was really embedded!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Aquifer Adventure!

The local water bureau puts on a pirate adventure each year to sneakily educate kids about drinking water. They get to canoe through the Columbia Slough, looking for animals, rocks, and treasure. Next up are activities to teach them how rain water filters down through soil.

They explain to the kids the importance of not littering, paying attention to how much water you use, using non-hazardous household products, and planting native plants. Of course, naturalist Bayley was in his element. Hayden was much more about the pirates.

Monday, September 10, 2007

First Day of Preschool

A week after Bayley, Hayden started back at preschool. Most of the kids from last year are back, plus 12 new friends to make. All the new kids arrived early, as did at first he thought none of his friends were coming! He relaxed once they started to file Miss Katie helped him out a bit. He loves her - she's also the mom to one of Bay's friends, so that helped!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

First Day of 1st Grade

With the whirlwind August we had, September sprang upon us. We didn't get to meet Bayley's new teacher before the big day, so I was a bit apprehensive. But, just like his kindergarten teacher promised, she was perfect. Bayley likes that she is pretty and wears different clothes every day. High praise.

He's excited to find out what the field trip will be, to have PE twice a week, to eat lunch in the cafeteria, and to raise tadpoles! He likes sitting at his table where there is no one behind him to bother him, and sitting with Tyler, his friend from kindergarten.

More next week when Busy Bees pre-school starts. In the meantime, Hayden and I are enjoying one-on-one time. We even went to the zoo!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Elynor Pritchard Bayley (1927-2007)

Elynor went home to be with the Lord on August 27, 2007 after a tedious battle with Alzheimers. She was born in Santa Ana, California. During her childhood her family moved often, drawing Ely closer to her three sisters. Ely felt blessed to be born into such a loving and close-knit family who nurtured her love of gardening and art.

Ely attended art college, and while she loved her studies, she missed her family. When it got to be too much she called home. Her mother said she needed to finish out the time she signed up for. Elynor took matters into her own hands...asking that Daddy be put on the phone. He picked her up a few hours later.

Back at home a young man who worked at her fathers gas station caught her eye. Elynor and Chuck were married in 1947 in Reno, Nevada. They raised three children in San Jose, California; Mark, Steven, and Kathryn. In 1977 Chuck 'retired' and bought a cattle ranch in Eagle Point, Oregon. Elynor worked as a telephone operator in California and transferred to Oregon.

Elynor was grateful her sons and their wives also moved to Southern Oregon, keeping her grandchildren close. Elynor loved babies, and was delighted when she became known as 'the twins' grandma. Dedicated to Eastwood Baptist, her church family of thirty years, Ely loved the life she created in Oregon.

The church and her grandchildren became especially important after Chuck passed. Ely depended on her church community, her sisters, and her family to keep her spirits high. Weekly Bible studies and doughnut dates became the norm. She was ecstatic when her life entered a new stage, that of great grandmother to what became a brood of five boisterous children.

Elynor was laid to rest on Wednesday, surrounded by as much of her precious family as possible. She was thoughtful enough to leave hints as to what she wanted and pre-plan as much as possible, including selecting the hymns, writing a prayer, and requesting turquoise carnations. True to herself until the end. We love and miss you.