Thursday, June 28, 2007

"Peerless" Lives Up to Its Name

Well, the estate sale is over, and I must say, I was very impressed by the transformation that took place in two weeks. Watch the slide show above to understand what I mean! Anyone who knew my mother-in-law knows I speak the truth when I say that she was many things, but "organized" and "minimalist" are not two words I would choose to describe her. Peerless Estate Sales did a great job! And now, the big question that remains is, "Just how much money did we make off this?" We probably won't find out for at least a few more days -- but Rusty and I both feel that the point of this sale was just to get rid of stuff, not necessarily to make money.

By the way, I am very proud of the slideshow I created using pics from my digital camera and some basic movie software. Still working on how to get music to go with the slideshow. I tried for that this time, but it just wasn't happening!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

What I've Been Up To

Well, since my mommy stopped posting "Month Milestones" on the blog, I figured it was time to let my readers know some of the things I've been up to lately. (By the way, I have my own space on this blog. It's called "Alex' Corner," and it's in the sidebar to the right. You can always check that out to see how I'm growing. My mommy updates it about once every month or so.)

I really enjoy playing the piano with Mommy. We make pretty music together. (Editor's Note: Sadly, the piano, which originally belonged to my great-great grandmother, will be going to its new home at Allen and Kristi's soon. We just didn't see the point in hauling it back to Memphis just for a year or two. We are thankful that we have family who are willing to give it a home for us. Still, I am sad that I will not be able to play it whenever I want.)

My cousins turned fifteen this month. They had their birthday party at a bowling alley, so I got to try bowling for the first time. (Cousin Johnny helped me.) I had fun, but the balls were too heavy for me to pick up, and that was really frustrating.
I really love to read! I bring books for Mommy (or whoever else happens to be around) to read to me several times a day. Sometimes, I even read on my own.

Like my scraped up nose? I am always falling and banging my head on something these days. I guess that's part of what being a little boy is all about. This scratch came from falling down some carpeted stairs and getting a rug burn on my nose. I cried, of course, but I'm looking much better this week!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Future Basketball Player

For the grandparents (and anyone else who is interested), here is a short video of Alex playing with his basketball hoop.

Saturday, June 16, 2007


Well, the great exodus from Mary's house is now complete! It has been almost a week, and I still feel like I am recovering, so forgive me for not posting sooner. We are now staying with friends in Vancouver, WA (just across the river from Portland). Words cannot express how grateful we are to Tim and Chalon and Baby Lemuel for allowing us to move in with them for the next month and use their garage for storage until we can get our shipment packed. The estate sale is next weekend, and I must admit, I am curious to see how well the estate liquidator handles the mess we left them. I did take some "before" pictures on Sunday night before we left the house, and I will try to take some "after" pictures next Friday when we do our pre-sale walk-through.

Several have asked for more details regarding our upcoming move back to Memphis. So, here is our general plan for the next two months:
  • We will leave Portland on July 12th
  • We will spend most of July traveling through Canada, visiting some of Rusty's relatives who live there.
  • We will spend the first week of August in Detroit with my parents.
  • We will arrive in Memphis (Lord willing!) on Tuesday, August 7th.

We are definitely taking the scenic route to Memphis, but I am really looking forward to it! Although I have been to Canada before, I have never driven through it. Also, I will be meeting "cousins-in-law" and their families whom I have never met. We are planning to do some camping along the way as well, which should prove to be an adventure with a 16-month old!

Pictures to follow as soon as I can locate the digital camera!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

May Days

May is always a busy month for our family, and May 2007 was hardly the exception! Not only were there several special events to celebrate, but this year we have also been busy sorting, packing, and getting ready to move out of Mary's house. We have to be officially moved out of the house by the evening of June 10th, meaning that we have to leave and take with us everything that we are keeping. After that, an estate liquidation company will have the house for two weeks to prepare everything left behind for an estate sale. With just over a week to go before our move-out date, I am starting to do a slow panic. So much to do, so little time...

But, I digress. Back to the special events of the past month...

First, there was Mother's Day. We went to early service at church with Ronda and the boys, then to brunch at Acapulco's, a local Mexican restaurant. After that, at Ronda's request, we all visited the cemetery and placed some flowers on Mary's headstone. Rusty and Alex both gave me very sweet cards, along with gift cards to Bath and Body Works and Bed, Bath and Beyond.

Me and my precious boy!

Me and my one and only sissy-in-law!

May 19th, we celebrated Rusty's 34th birthday. Ronda kept Alex all afternoon so the two of us could go to lunch and then to see Spiderman 3. Later that evening, we had cheesecake and chai, two of Rusty's favorite things! It was a much more low-key celebration than the party I threw him last year, but it was still a special time.

Rusty, Ronda, and "the nephews"

Rusty blows out his candles

May 25th, we celebrated Ronda's birthday. Officially, she is "29 and holding" for the 8th time. (I'll let you figure out how old she really is!) I baked her a German chocolate cake which we ate outside in the front yard since it was such a gorgeous day. Then, we got a baby-sitter for Alex so we could all go see "Pirates of the Carribean 3" (BIG disappointment, even bigger than the second one, but we will not speak of such things here).

The birthday girl

Alex and Daddy share a piece of cake

On Memorial Day, we visited Willamette National Cemetery, where Rusty's parents and my grandfather are all buried. It is truly an amazing and humbling sight to see the hillsides covered with tiny, fluttering flags, and to think that each one represents an individual (or a spouse) who has served our country in some capacity through the years. After that, we went to a barbeque at some friends' from church. They live out in the country, and Alex just had a ball! He got to see sheep for the first time, and play with several dogs. There were several kids there, all older than him, but he enjoyed trying to keep up with them and being pulled in the wagon.

Rusty's parents headstone

My grandfather's headstone

That evening, we drove up to Seattle to spend a few days with Rusty's cousin Linda and her family. The next day, May 29th, was our 8th anniversary. Linda kept Alex for the night so the two of us could enjoy an overnight getaway. It feels like forever since we have gotten to do something like that! It was my first time to leave Alex for a whole night, but it wasn't as traumatic as I thought it might be. I knew Alex was in great hands and would have a great time. Linda's four kids just dote on Alex, so he certainly didn't lack for attention!

We went to a little bed and breakfast on Whidbey Island in the Puget Sound. It was a truly lovely spot, and we were the only guests that night, so we had the place all to ourselves. There was a hot tub and a great hammock big enough for both of us to read in! We enjoyed a walk through the little town and a delicious dinner at a restaurant called the Edgecliff with a gorgeous view of the sound.

8 years and counting!

I have been doing a lot of reflecting lately on where we were a year ago. May 29th, 2006 -- about one month before we found out Rusty's mom had a terminal brain tumor and our whole world turned upside down. The last year has been, without a doubt, THE most difficult and stressful one we have lived through in our 8 years together. There is a "stress scale" that Rusty remembers studying in one of his counseling classes that rates different life events according to how much stress they bring to your life. Almost every single one of those events has happened to our family in the last 15 months. Birth of a baby... loss of a home... loss of a job... moving (international moves are much more stressful than domestic moves, just for the record)... caring for a loved one through a debliltating illness... death of a parent... financial difficulties.

I say all this, not because I'm feeling sorry for myself or because I want anyone to pity us, but because I want to celebrate that through it all, our marriage has not only survived, but grown stronger. Oh, sure there have been some difficult moments, frustrations, angry words, hurt feelings, a multitude of tears. But I don't think either of us ever questioned our commitment to each other for a minute. I always felt secure, knowing that whatever the future held for us, we would be facing it together.

Rusty said it best the other day when he said, "If our marriage survived this year, I'm pretty sure it could survive anything." Here's to another eight years!