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Preview: The Stump family...a window into our world

The Stump family...a window into our world

Updated: 2018-03-05T18:10:23.790-08:00


The bombshell, part 3


*You're going to want to read parts 1 and 2 before this final installment if you haven't already...otherwise you'll be quite confused! OH, and if you faint when you see blood from a paper cut, you're going to want to close your eyes when you get to the pictures.I'm not going to pretend I always had a "glass-half-full" kind of attitude about this whole thing. It took me crying out to God like Job and David and so many others did and listening to God's words through the Bible and to wise people like my husband and my family and my friends. But when I wrote this paragraph on Facebook, nine excruciatingly long days and sleepless nights after that life-changing phone call, I meant it entirely, with my whole heart:Surgery is scheduled for June 14, with a pre-op appointment on June 12 which also happens to be my birthday. You can continue to pray with me that the surgery will be effective and that the tumor will not even be malignant or that it has not spread throughout my body. But in all honesty, my biggest prayer is for whatever needs to happen for me to love Jesus more and bring more glory to His name. If I "beat" this but lose that focus, in the long run I will have lost.People were so amazing to our family during the twenty days of waiting before my surgery. I got a gift certificate for a massage, had a pre-op pedicure, and had many letters, notes and immense amounts of prayer. I had a few girls nights, including one where my tumor got a name: Jezebel. Jezzy and I had some great laughs and a few tears with some wonderful friends and family. A group of girls who have done a Bible study with me for years and years threw me a little pre-birthday, pre-pre-op celebration with chocolate fondue and chocolate wine. God, thank you for my sweet friends.June 12 was my birthday. Dan and I mapped out an entire day in downtown Portlandall scheduled around my pre-op appointment. We went to Pine State Biscuits, Stumptown Coffee, spent some birthday money at LloydCenter mall, rode the MAX to VooDoo Doughnuts and Powell's bookstore and took the street car to OHSU's tram where we got an aerial view of Portlandon our way to the surgeon's office up on the hill. Instead of presents, I got a thorough check up, including that proud moment of stepping on a scale after a breakfast of carbohydrates with a side of sugar. I also got my blood pressure taken (not sure the doughnuts and coffee were the best way to keep that down either, but a happy-birthday-to-me-and-my-hypertension, thank you very much). Instead of blowing out birthday candles I got blood drawn. Then instead of listening to the Happy Birthday song, I listened to a very frank physician assistant tell me that I just needed to sign a consent form saying I knew the surgical risks (adverse reactions from anesthesia, risk of massive blood loss, temporary and/or permanent paralysis--either from the waist down or from the neck down, and the risk of stroke and finally death.) Eating another bite of the bacon maple bar that I'd wrapped in a napkin and stuck in my purse made me feel a bit better. See? Bacon. I did have protein for breakfast. Take that, you clearly inaccurate scale.After the appointment we went to a movie. I honestly can't remember which one, not just due to the fact that I was distracted thinking about stroking out on the OR table in 2 days, but because typically I don't ever remember any movie that I've ever seen. I'm actually mostly serious. Dan is constantly reminding me where and when and how many times I've seen a movie when I'm swearing on my life that I've never seen it before. After the movie we headed to dinner at Mother's Bistro. It was good, but I was ready to go home, kiss my boys, and attempt to sleep. It was a good birthday. It could have really bombed. But it didn't. God thank you for my husband; the person who knew what I needed that day and made it happen for me.June 13th was a bit of a blur. I remember trying to have the house clean because I didn't anticipate much ability and/or desire to be scrubbing toilets in the near future. Then I went to a Bible[...]

The bombshell, part 2


If you haven't yet read my previous post, you'll want to do that before reading this one. Unless you're one of those people who like to start reading a book smack dab in the middle of it, in which case, go for it. But don't say I didn't warn you. When I got home from my CT scan Dan and the boys weren't home yet. I walked around my house a bit, not sure what I was supposed to do. Then I heard the garage door open and Dan told the boys to pick a show to watch on TV because he and mom needed to talk. Holy moley did we need to talk.I remember bursting into tears again as he walked down the hall towards me. I hugged him tight and I thanked God for the strength I already could feel through that hug. We talked and cried together. He told me he had once read an article by John Piper that he'd written after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Dan had gone back to that article after he talked to me on the phone and shared part of it with me as we both had tears streaming down our faces. Powerful. Read it when you have the chance. I told him that I didn't want to say a word to anyone until after the appointment with the specialist. Then we'd have more conclusive information to share. My parents happened to be on vacation in Hawaii. I definitely did not want to ruin that for them. And I couldn't tell anyone else without telling my parents. But Dan reminded me of the truth once again. Just because we don't tell people doesn't mean we're not going through this. Don't we want as much prayer and love and support as possible? Oh man. But telling more people means it's more real. But that's ridiculous, of course it doesn't. It's not any less real because people don't know about it.Do I want love and support and especially prayers? That's a heck yes. But it means some people are going to look at me with big eyes and pat my back and say stupid things. Maybe. But it also means that the people I love are going to hold me up and not let me wallow in my misery when I feel like giving up.So I gulped and grabbed my cell phone. Dan called his parents and I texted my mom saying "Call me when you have a chance to talk." The phone rang 30 seconds later. Before answering I knew this would be one of the most difficult conversations I'd had in my life. Remember my first thought after hearing my diagnosis? I'm SO glad it's not one of my kids. Well, I'm a kid. A kid who had to give her parents news that will devastate them. Their child has cancer and might very well die before they do. I answered the phone and my mom sounded all cheery. I asked her if she really did have a few minutes to talk. She said, "Yep, we're just here shopping and walking around, you're not interrupting anything." And I burst into tears, but I don't think she heard me. I was remembering when I'd broken my arm in 6th grade in front of the whole school at recess. I'd been so tough and had fought back the tears, but the moment I saw my mom and her concerned face, I lost it. My mom who loves me more than life itself. Just like I love my boys. I finally said, "Sorry, there's just something about a mom." She said, "what'd you say?" I don't think it was just a bad connection, I just think she didn't understand yet what I was about to tell her. (Though maybe it was because through my tears my sentence was completely incoherent.) Either way I had to tell her. "WHAT? Oh Angela, WHAT? Randy, come here, Randy." And then she put me on speaker phone and half of Maui probably thought we were all nuts. I don't remember a lot of that conversation either, but I do remember my dad being heartbroken and still having his unshakable perspective. His blogthat he wrote shortly after that was not for show. It was for real. Not because he's so amazing (though I think he is) but because the God he has followed so closely for so many years is so amazing. My mom doesn't blog so much--or ever--but her firm foundation proved to be such a deep encouragement to me as well. Wow, I love my parents. As they cried with me they were still able to speak truth [...]

The bombshell, part 1


*I've written most of the rest of this story already, so I promise you won't have to wait long to read part 2...or part 3, or 21 or however many parts there will be. Just one post would have maxed out poor blogspot. And you have other things to do today. But stay tuned.Yep. I'm doing it. I'm going to document some of my darkest moments here on blogspot for all the world to see. Do I want to do it? Well, it's the end of February 2013. And this happened at the end of May 2012. So...nope. I don't really want to do it. But I am really quite sure that I am supposed to do it. God has brought many things to light in the darkest moments. I do not want to forget those dark moments. Because it was during those dark moments when I came the closest I've ever been to actually seeing the face of God.Those of you who know me know that I don't write anything halfway. Which is probably why I had a hard time starting to write this story. This is going to be long. I'm going to give you a whole lot of details. Some of the details won't matter to you, but that's okay. They matter to me. And I don't want to forget them.For a long time I wondered when the other shoe would drop. We had a good life. Really and truly, I did not have many things to complain about. We were healthy, we were happy. We laughed a lot. We spent our 10th anniversary in Maui, and got to take the kids to Disneyland for Christmas. I mean we spent spring break with Chuck Norris at his ranch in Texas, for Pete's sake.But happiness like that couldn't last, right? I actually struggled for quite a while to give up my fear of all the potential trials we were going to face. I was missing so many of the blessings God had given me when I entertained those nagging thoughts of "nobody lives happily ever after."But then God started changing my heart. My facebook status at the beginning of January was this: My greatest New Years resolution? It's not refusing to believe anything awful might happen in 2012. It's refusing to let those hard times steal my joy. I will fix my eyes "not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."Yep. I knew something was coming. I just didn't know what or when. But it didn't scare me anymore. God was preparing my heart for something big.And then I got a phone call. It started when I had some horrific pain in my left shoulder. It hurt so bad one night that I woke up Dan, sobbing and asked him if he could stay home the next day so I could take a few expired Vicodin I had from a long ago surgery. Me and Vicodin, expired or not, are not able to work around heavy machinery or 2 small children. The pain was so intense that I actually considered going in to the ER. But since I'm an ER nurse, I would pretty much have to have a limb missing before I'd be admitted to the ER as a patient. So I took the Vicodin and got some fitful sleep.I saw my doctor that morning and she sent me to get xrays. My shoulder pain radiated down my arm and made my fingers numb, so I thought it might be related to that "scar tissue" I had on my neck. You see, I had seen my doctor before about some neck pain, and told her I thought the right side of my neck felt a little different than the left side. I had been in a car accident years back and after she felt my neck, she thought it might be scar tissue from that, but to let her know if it hurt me or seemed to get bigger. Well, I thought it might have gotten bigger and was pushing on my spine making my shoulder and arm hurt. So she ordered an MRI.I got the MRI a few days later after finding out my shoulder pain was just calcific tendonitis (a big calcium deposit on the tendon). I dreaded the MRI because I still had not been able to lay down on my soft bed much less a cold table due to the pressure on my shoulder. The pain was still so bad that I laid on the table for 55 minu[...]

The rest of 2011


I'm not going to bore you with a witty introduction. We've got a LOT of ground to cover here, people. Ready?September: #1. The boys started school...and by boys I mean Dan, Jake, and Ty. Dan's still teaching middle school math for which he will receive many crowns in heaven. Ty's in half-day kindergarten, and loves it with all his heart. He has a new BFF and a wonderful teacher and teacher assistant (the same ones Jake had last year.) Jake started 1st grade, and he's actually in a 1st/2nd grade split which makes me proud. He's reading up a storm and has Dan's ridiculous math abilities. #2. School starting meant the start of a glorious stage of life for me that includes a quiet house from the hours of 8am-11am. I've used this time in a variety of ways, my favorite of which is grocery shopping without needing to apologize to the check-out clerk for the 20 fruit roll-ups she'll need to put back because I didn't authorize their presence in this monstrosity that is the "car cart." Oh, and yes she certainly can ring up those ones that are mangled beyond recognition after a vicious light saber duel, and sorry bout that.October:#1. The boys played flag football for the first time. I keep thinking that someday I won't make a fool of myself when my boys score a goal or make a basket or catch a pass. Not gonna be anytime soon. I think Jake scored at least one touchdown in every game they played and I hooted and hollered through every last one of them. And when Ty got to run the ball or pulled a flag off an opponent, I just about burst with pride. I'm really not an emotional girl, but when one of my boys looks over at the sidelines and grins once they know I've seen their accomplishment, I have to fight back tears. Can NOT wait for all the games they'll play in the years to come! Jake and Ty, win or lose your mama will always be your biggest fan. November: #1. Thanksgiving was great, thanks for asking. My parents came over to my in-laws house with us for dinner and it was such a great time having both sides together! My sister and family moved to California in October so we were missing them a ton, but dry your eyes...wait til we get to December. Oh, we might be to December. Was November really this boring? Apparently.December:#1. NOT BORING. Jake stepped off the school bus on the last day of school before Christmas break and buckled himself into my parents van. I fed Ty some Dramamine and my mom headed the van towards Dan's school to pick him up. The 6 of us had an uneventful (this means good) drive all the way to down 1-5 to Redding before we stopped for the night. Then the next day we made it to good old Rancho Cucamonga. Yep. Rancho Cucamonga. Please read it out loud. Cucamonga. You couldn't help but shout it out, could you? I'm having flashbacks to Teenage Mutant Ninga Turtles..."cowabunga, dude." Not that I watched TMNT. But just saying "Rancho Cucamonga" makes me feel young again. Because I'm so old. Hobbling to the bathroom with my cane to put in my dentures. But...I digress. Back to Cucamonga, dude.#2. We were able to stay with the Franklins in their new Rancho Cucamongan house. They have a nice big Cucamongan orange tree in their Cucamongan front yard, so we were able to have fresh squeezed Cucamongan orange juice for breakfast each Cucamongan morning. We were able to go to their Cucamongan church (alright, I'll stop...the church is officially in Upland anyway) and listen to my bro-in-law preach a great sermon. It was so wonderful to see them all settled in, because as much as we miss them, Rancho Cucamonga seems like the perfect fit for them. Those Cucamongan's really know how to make people feel at home. I'm done, I swear. (Photos courtesy of my sister...whose permission I didn't receive, but I'm sure she would have said yes had I asked.)#3. Two words. Disney. Land. Wait, that's not even [...]

Summer 2011 part 2


Some of you doubted me, I know it. I told you it wouldn't take me 6 months to give you Summer 2011 part two. It's only been 5 1/2 months, HA! So there. I do have a few more things to update you on besides summer. Like fall and most of winter. But better late than never, right? Where were we? Oh yes, August: Oh Geez, August, sorry folks: #1. "Take me out to the ball game!" What a PERFECT day we had up in Seattle at a Mariners game! Hot dogs, garlic fries, sunshine, happy children. Hmm, the order of my list might imply that I valued the food and sunshine more than the children...not the case, I can assure you. But seriously, have you had those garlic fries?#2. Jake turned 7 and now I have to physically restrain myself from squeezing him to death when I think about him growing up so quickly. He is funny, he is smart, and 9 times out of 10 he passionately wants to do the right thing. He's independent but still loves to sit next to me and link his arm in mine. Oh sweet boy, never stop cuddling with your mother! For his birthday party we went to Blue Lake Park and barbecued and played in the lake and in the Kids' Splash Zone. It was a great day, filled with great food and great people celebrating with us. A quick side note: Jake got the movie Newsies for his birthday and for the next few weeks went around belting out the song, "Carrying the Banner." Pretty stinking hilarious to listen to a 7-year-old sing at the top of his lungs in a bad New York accent, "That's my cigah/You'll steal anotha/Hey bumma's we got woik tah do/Since when did you become me muddah/Aw stop yah bawlin'/Hey...who ast you?" (How many of you are humming to yourself right now? Only me?)#3. We packed up again and headed to the Oregon Coast to spend time with Dan's extended family. We'd been looking forward to this yearly trip to SeaKrest for such a long time; it's always a blast. Unfortunately the 5 day vacation was cut short when Jake woke up puking at midnight our second night in. All 4 of us were in one room with bunk beds and he sat up on the top bunk and announced he was about to blow. I went from a dead sleep to a sheer panic when I realized he was about to barf off the side of his bed and directly onto me and my blanket below. He barely missed my head as I sprung out of bed and grabbed the first thing I could find in the pitch darkness for him to finish barfing on...a pair of Dan's pants. Not ideal. It took me quite a while to tidy up the nursery after that episode, but I placed a sponge-bathed Jake and a designated barf bowl in bed next to me (after wiping off the vomit on my sheet and covering the wet spot with a towel.) Needless to say I didn't get a lot of shut-eye after that. As soon as the sun rose I knew we had to pack it up so we didn't spread the love around to the rest of the family.The boys were devastated that we had to leave all the cousins and the fun. I quarantined Jake in the bedroom as we were packing up and brought him some dry cereal to get something in his empty stomach. A few minutes later he looked up in all his pathetic-ness in and said in a quiet sweet voice, "Mom I want a little more Cinnamon Toast Crunch." Then Ty speaks up, belting out angrily, "I want a little more stay here." And that's my second born, folks. Humor stemming from a need for some serious anger management.Another great quote from The Tragedy That Was Our Vacation happened on the drive home. Jake was sitting in the back seat sipping on some orange Powerade. Then he suddenly stops mid gulp and says, "OH!" and starts frantically screwing the lid on. "What is it?" I ask, frantically looking for something other than Dan's pants to stop Spew Fest #2. "That sign..." he said, "I can't drink in here. The sign said 'please don't drink and drive.'"As long as we're talking about funny quotes I believe I might have a few from the last 5 1/2 months tha[...]

Summer 2011


A warm aloha to my blogging friends! It's that time again. The twice yearly update. Let's see, I need to cover most of June, all of July and most of August in one post. Simple, really. Easy as pie. A no brainer. Piece of cake. A slam dunk. Easy peesy mac'n'cheesy.Trying to recount 3 months worth of life will be easy? Heck yes. This from the girl who takes 30 paragraphs for one single story on one single day. But seriously now. How could writing about this summer NOT be easy? I mean, this post started out with the words "warm" and "aloha." So without further ado (or cliches), I'm proud to give you: Summer 2011June: #1: Ty graduated from preschool and Jake graduated from Kindergarten. This means that I'll have graduated to a mother of 2 kids in school EVERY day come September. Are they really that old? Am I really that old? Which brings me to:#2: I turned 30. And I liked it.#3: I had a grand birthday party with my fantastic husband and my fabulous friends.#4: We continued our "Biggest Loser" competition with some friends that we started in February, and continued to see pounds come off because the dream of delicious empty carbs was not as big as the dream of not feeling mortified in swimsuits for our quickly approaching anniversary trip to Hawaii. #5: Dan and I (mostly Dan) planned, and day-dreamed of, every waking moment we'd spend in Maui starting on the 4th of July.Which brings me to:July:#1. I finished packing myself for Hawaii, the kids for 5 nights with G&G Stump and 5 with G&G Alcorn, and Felix for Doggy Heaven on Earth (AKA the Alcorn house...where my mom actually refers to Feel as her "granddog" and has Felix address her dalmatian as "Uncle Moses.")#2. I stepped on the scale and mentally flogged myself for being 1 pound over my goal weight I'd set in January, and then I realized I had lost 29lbs. Not the 30 I was hoping for, but 29 pounds felt pretty gosh darn great!#3. After giving Alaska airlines the deed to our house in order to check our luggage, we boarded the plane and I started the first of 9 books I read on the trip. Yep, nine. I'm pretty literate. And yep, I bought a Kindle before we left in order to save some of our retirement money that we'd have spent on checking the extra suitcase full of books. Literate and frugal. I'm quite the catch.Which brings me to:#4. My catch. The one I caught 10 years ago. The one that after 10 years of marriage I love even more than on our wedding day. Holy smokes did we have a great anniversary trip! We laughed and reminisced through the longest uninterrupted conversations we've had in 7 years (love you Jake and Ty), and then we had hours of comfortable uninterrupted silence. We had adventures like a helicopter tour and parasailing and almost dying on our boat ride back from snorkeling Molokini and spending a day circling and snorkeling Lana'i. And oh yes, we had food. Which brings me to:#5: Quite possibly the best meal I've ever eaten. In the most amazing location I've ever eaten at. Our victory dinner at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse seated right by the ocean as the sun set. It was there that our friends Paul and Natalie (who were also celebrating their 10th) officially crowned us "Biggest Losers" as we inhaled our butter-drenched steaks and mac'n'cheese with caramelized onions and our fried potatoes...If there was a "Biggest Gainer" competition after eating just one meal, let's just say we would have owned that crown as well. #6: Our completely wonderful relaxing and renewing vacation was the perfect amount of time away. The last night we were there, falling asleep to the sounds of the ocean, we looked at each other and agreed it was time to reenter reality. I absolutely love regaining the perspective that when it comes right down to it, I wouldn't truly want to live any other place but [...]

Could it be?


Well helloooooo there, blog! Feeling a bit neglected lately? You know what, I'm not even going to apologize. Okay, maybe I'll apologize for breaking cardinal blogging rule #1: not blogging about Christmas. And shoot, maybe I really should say I'm sorry for not blogging on Ty's 5th birthday. But honestly...not really very sorry.I know it will come as a bit of a surprise to you all, er, to the both of you who still even remember that I once was a semi-regular blogger at one point in my life, BUT I'm fairly certain that I'm not going to be blogging very often anymore. I told you. Shocker. Why, you two ask? Because, my friends. Well...just because. I really don't have a great reason besides the fact that at a certain point I realized I was stressing myself out feeling like I had to record every funny/important/meaningful moment in our lives or I was destined to forget it all. I decided I really enjoy living it more than I enjoy writing about it. It's like when I realized I was missing just having a blast watching my boys' basketball games because I was so nervous I wouldn't get one of their baskets recorded on our video camera. I know it's sad, but I truly found myself thinking at certain times in the past "now how am I going to word this best when I write about it on the blog?" rather than just appreciating the moment.There are times when I have really loved writing, but I'm not super passionate about it right now. Know what I am passionate about? My family. My husband and my boys are just about the coolest things ever. I just love being with them. Life is really good for us right now, and I'm pretty gosh darn excited to keep living it without as many distractions.OH stop it, I'm not saying I'm quitting the blog all together, simmer down. I'll still post some memorable stories every now and then. Half the reason I'm not posting as much is because I told myself I wanted a record of my kids' childhood. Because heaven knows I'm not keeping up with any baby books. But my kids are growing up. They don't have as many crazy things happening to them (or because of them) anymore. They're kinda boring. And after experiencing the first 4 years of Ty's life, I'd like to take this moment to raise the roof for the word "boring." NO, boring is the wrong word. Really it is. They continue to crack me up on a daily basis. For example:Ty recently stated on his way to swimming lessons, "I hope Carrot is going to be there." Carrot? "Yeah, my new friend Carrot." Um Ty, I think you mean Garrett. "Oh, yeah. Garrett."When asked what he wanted for breakfast the other day, Ty replied, "Could you make some Sherman waffles? Sherman waffles are my favorite." Sherman waffles? I have no idea what you're talking about. He described the "Sherman waffles" in great detail and I burst out laughing. German pancakes...the child meant German pancakes.Jake continues to grow like a weed on steriods. He and Ty have the same size waist but Jake's legs are approximately 9 feet longer which makes buying pants for him a little difficult. Whoever thought of the adjustable waistband for kids is a genius. Rock star brilliant. I mean I know there are people out there coming up with cures for horrific diseases, but my hat is off to the guy who made it his life's mission to make certain my child wouldn't go pantsless. Can I get an amen?So anywayssss, Christmas was great. Watching the boys play basketball together on the same team was the highlight of my winter. Ty's Star Wars birthday was a little chaotic with almost 20 kids in my house, but he loved every light-saber-bearing-Darth-Vader-defeating-Jedi moment of it. Swimming lessons was one of the highlights of my children's lives. Ty graduated from preschool and Jake will graduate soon from Kindergarten which means I will have both kids in school every day next year (Ty will still have half days) and I'm a teensy bit world-r[...]

July in Christmas!


No, you didn't read it wrong. I said "July in Christmas." I know, the phrase is supposed to be "Christmas in July," but it's not July. It's Christmas. And I'm going to talk about July. When everybody else is talking Christmas, I'm talking July, baby. Wrap your mind around that one.Down to business. And by business I mean the Happiest Place on Earth. It's Disneyland story time, folks. Only 5 months overdue. I actually wrote most of this post about 2 weeks after returning from Disneyland, but then there was Jake's birthday and then there was Dan's birthday and then there was soccer and school and Halloween. And I recall promising you this post sometime before 2011. Since it's against Blogger law to not post about Christmas and it's also against my own personal law to post a blog any earlier than 1 week after the event, I knew that I'd break my promise to tell you about our Disneyland trip before January 1...if I didn't do it tonight. There's no time like the present, right? That's my motto. Oh wait.Just crank up the heat and put on some flip flops and sunblock and pretend I'm not the worst procrastinator you've ever known.July in Christmas:On July 11th we packed up my parents' swagger wagon (not the official Toyota Sienna, but still a wagon with some swagger to be certain) and picked up Dan's parents and headed south. And by the way if you haven't seen the "swagger wagon" video, you're seriously missing out and need click this link immediately. So...official start time was 8:24pm and Dan's goal had been set to drive through the night as the kids slept and reach Anaheim in 16 hours. I, being the encouraging wife that I am, laughed in his face when he told me that goal. Two small children with two small bladders, and two small attention spans that were going to be stuck in two small carseats did not equal 16 hours in my humble opinion.Who knew that after picking up Dan's sister Jane, Curtis and little Bekah in northern CA, we were actually on pace. And then we decided to stop for lunch at In&Out (my mouth just started to water as I typed those words) before crossing the Grapevine. Ah, the Grapevine. You know, that windy stretch of I-5 in SoCal with no exits that takes you up into the mountains, and then out into the valley. We were pumped to pass this milestone and not stop til we high-fived Mickey himself. And then we went around a corner. And abruptly stopped.  For the next 3 hours. Seriously, we drove 4 miles in 3 hours. It sorta makes me exhausted all over again just thinking about it. God bless the Swagger Wagon and its DVD player. The kids did awesome. I, on the other hand, probably lost a few years off my life due to my blood pressure reaching limits it had not seen before. I'm not exactly the most patient of drivers. Although it was great to get to catch up with Jane sitting next to me in the front seat. In fact, she probably lowered my stress meter down to non-lethal levels. Here's to you, Jane. We found out 3 hours later as we passed a charred semi-truck what the problem had been. Well, like I said, we had been on pace to completely miss LA traffic, but of course now we were stuck right in the middle of it as we exited the Grapevine. Our 16 hour trip turned into a 22 hour trip. But long story (not even remotely) short, we made it!Oh, Disneyland. The Happiest Place on Earth. My boys were in awe. We had 5 day hopper passes between Disneyland and California Adventure. The first ride we went on was Thunder Mountain Railroad. We assumed that Ty would be the daredevil (this in keeping with his typical fearless behavior) and that Jake might be a little more cautious. So we decided not to tell the boys how fast Thunder Mountain would be. Jake rode next to me and Ty next to Dan. Jake was whooping it up, screaming for it to go faster and grinning from ear to ear. [...]

Happy Halloween


Oh, Halloween. What a love/hate relationship we have. The love part started, of course, when I was little. Wearing makeup and getting buckets of candy pretty much sums up my life's goals as young girl. I mean seriously...when a 7-year-old sporting a homemade Mary the mother of Jesus frock with a baby Jesus doll (wrapped in swaddling clothes) under one arm gets to slather on some red lipstick and blue eyeshadow, go to a "harvest party" and get a pillowcase full of cinnamon bears and tootsie could it not be love?The hate came when I realized that I was no longer young enough to pull out one of my mom's old prom dresses again and be willing to walk around the neighborhood in the rain. I guess driving myself around the neighborhood would have been an option. But I was also not young enough to appreciate smarties and sweet tarts anymore. Seriously folks, is the chocolate that much more expensive? Yes, (the adult in me has to interject at this point) it is that much more expensive. But oh so worth it.    The love came back when I had tiny kids and got to dress them up in a-stinking-dorable little costumes and walk them around town nodding at the exclamations of just how cute they were. It also didn't hurt that I got to eat all their candy because they couldn't chew on a Cheerio yet without risk of imminent death.And that hate part came in again when, for really the first time, the kids wouldn't let me talk them into (or out of) certain costumes. Of course I drew the line at a certain point, like no devil-children or Scream masks. Thankfully Jake picked out a Darth Vader mask at Goodwill that I was able to work with and thanks to my seamstress mother-in-law and her cape making abilities, he actually turned out to have one of the best costumes yet.Oh, and then there's Ty. He changed his mind about every 2.3 seconds and I ended up insisting he wear the Ninja costume I bought for him, again at Goodwill. I'm pretty passionate about second hand Halloween costumes, especially for boys who will inevitably rip them to pieces minutes after consuming ungodly amounts of Halloween candy. I was fully happy with the Ninja costume. Wow was he awesome in his full get-up. Except for the fact that after he got in his full get-up, he decided it wasn't to be. The knight's helmet and breastplate we'd gotten at the dollar store 8 months ago was just too much to ignore. Except he didn't have an outfit to go underneath it. He became so passionate about the knight idea that I was certain he'd agree when I told him he'd have to just wear underwear beneath it because we didn't have time to go get another outfit. So...long story long, he decided to be a ninja knight. That child. At least I'm not worried about him ever giving in to peer pressure. When he's made up his mind, there will be no stopping him thank you very much.  We went to downtown Gresham, as is our tradition, and trick-or-treated with the six billion other children, and even got to meet up with the cousins. Another tradition we have is not getting a good picture of the 4 of them together. Or even one where they're all even remotely looking at the camera.We also tricked and treated around our neighborhood and had a few "brave" moments at scary houses, and filled those pumpkin baskets to the brim with candy. Love/hate that candy.That about wraps it up. No rambling paragraphs from me tonight. Jake's been asking me to play the game Aggravation with him and I told him I'd be done 15 minutes ago. So if you'll excuse me, I've got a date with a 6-year-old Darth Vader and some marbles.[...]

These are the alliterations of our lives...


Goodbye summer and sunshine. Hello school and soccer! Goodbye trips and time. Hello teachers and teammates! Goodbye California and chillaxin' (I know I'm not cool enough to use that word, but I'm trying to alliterate here.) Hello cold and classrooms! Goodbye organized chaos and once-a-month-blogging. Hello order and o...o...ONLY-going-to-ignore blogger-every-once in-a-while! Dang, alliteration is harder than I thought. Shoulda left the O's alone.Okee dokee. So just a few things have happened since Dan turned 30 on September 1. The most monumental and shockingly absent on the blog (til now!) was the fact that Jake had his first day of kindergarten and Ty had his first day of school EVER. They're both loving school, and I'm loving the fact that on Thursday and Friday mornings from 8:25-10:55 I'm childless. Well, I guess Jake and Ty are still my children, I just don't have to watch them like a hawk in the grocery store so they don't stealthfully slip 300 fruit rollups in the cracks of the cart, or throw in 9 packages of Danimals Crush Cups that inevitably end up directly on top of the fluffy bread.Here's some first day of school pictures:And I'll give a shout out to my friend Faith who was a better mom than I and actually brought her camera to the first day of kindergarten. Faith's daughter Peyton is in Jake's class. And will hopefully go on at least one date with him someday. Speaking of children dating, I have a funny story. Actually it's not at all funny to me now, but will hopefully someday be funny. Maybe. The first week of school I asked Jake (aka Most Social Kid of All Time) if he had made any friends. "Yep." Shocker. What are their names? "Well, there's Emma, she sits by me." Ooooh. Emma. Okay. So who did you play with at recess today? "Emma." Um, who else did you play with at recess? "Wellllll, Emma doesn't really like me to play with other people." Oh my good gracious. Does it really start this early? Needless to say, I was quite insistent about the fact that he needed to tell Emma to find some other friends, hopefully some GIRL friends to possess, I mean to play with. Case closed. He's now playing with the boys at recess and has made a great friend in our neighborhood by riding the bus (which by the way, comes at 7:12 to get him to school by 8am). So he spends 45 minutes on the bus when it would take me approximately 45 seconds to drive him down the street to the school's front door. But he insists on riding that bus and has a grand old time every morning. His teacher is wonderful and I get to go volunteer in his class once a month.And Ty is loving preschool on Thursday and Friday mornings. His teacher is also wonderful, and he just skips right into that classroom. This from the kid who screamed when I tried to leave him in the nursery until he got old enough to go in the same class as Jake. My baby's growing up. He's no longer little brother following big brother around. He's a true blue bonafide school goer who has his own friends and his own homework that he works diligently on. Such a little man, I just am so happy he's grown out of a lot of his craziness. Not that he doesn't still get into mischief now and then. I posted this on my facebook wall the other day, "Ty cleaned the bathtub for me last night. Don't be too impressed. "Mom, I used Jake's Spiderman washcloth to clean the bathtub. I just put it in the toilet to get it wet..." Oh man, that kid. How boring would my life be without him?Alright moving on to soccer. It's so awesome that both our boys can be on the same team this year! Jake has improved approximately 900% since last year, and is one of the best on the team, and Ty is one of[...]

The big 3-0


30? Didn't we just discuss how 6 seemed old? Oh yes, that was a month ago, but still...those were the words I left you with, no?

Thirty years old. Let me just clarify that it's not me who's turning 30 today. No siree. My cradle was the one that was robbed...we'll discuss my thirtieth birthday in the muuuuch distant future. Today my household is celebrating the birth of our patriarch. Daniel John. Dan. Dad. Daddy-o. Dude.

It's true. As of today I'm married to a 30-year-old. And it's not even freaking me out. You know why? Because I made a list. Yep. A list of all the things about Dan that keep him young at heart. Yes I realize that I'm talking like he's turning 80. I really don't think 30 is old, but the list is funnier if you picture him on the verge of needing a cane and denture cream.

He's a fine wine, my husband...better with age...get it? Except for the fact that he hates wine. Cheese maybe? Doesn't some cheese taste better after it ages? Ahh, I've got it. How about aged beef? Dan will appreciate that one. Except eventually even the greatest of steaks gets rotten if you don't eat it. Oh forget it. Back to the list.

Things about Dan that make him seem young (even though he's not anymore):
* He teaches my boys WWF moves as they wrestle on the living room floor
* His favorite cereals are Reeses Puffs and Fruity Pebbles
* He just got a Seahawks jersey and has been wearing it around the house multiple days in row
* He gets a high pitched giggle when someone really makes him laugh
* He still prays for snow days that will cancel school
* He ate pizza for 3 days straight when the boys and I were gone last weekend
* He tried to get me to tell him what his birthday presents are
* He couldn't sleep the night before his fantasy football draft because he was so excited
* Speaking of the draft, he wrote a trash-talking poem to read to the guys in his league before any picks were made
There are tons more. But the greatest part is that there are also tons of things that he does that prove he's a mature responsible adult. Like working a good job, taking care of his family, taking out the trash, making wise decisions, and being an all around great example to our boys of what a godly man looks like. It's true. He's pretty much the best combination of young and old. But he's mine and you can't have him.

Happy birthday, dude! I am proud to be your wife and I am so excited to grow old with you.

And I'm also excited about the fact that you're the one who will grow older first.

Jacob Gary


Unbelievable. Seriously unreal to me that I have a six-year-old. Six years ago today, well not today, but on August 3rd (I know, bad blogging mother, get over it) Jacob Gary was placed in my arms and I knew life would never be the same. Six years ago. 6? Six. Five is a milestone, six is just plain old. It's like turning milestone. 22...old. And not only is he old, he's also ginormous. Not one ounce of fat on his body (he and Ty have the same size waist), but he is as tall and skinny as a...shoot what's tall and skinny? My 19 inch baby has turned into the six-year-old equivalent of Yao Ming. And I can't for the life of me find a full-body picture of Jake in all his tall glory, so that one will have to do. For those of you who haven't seen Jake in the last 24 hours, he's already grown another 4 inches. He's 6 years old and approximately 6 feet tall. Ok, obviously I'm kidding. But I swear that when I stare at him for a few minutes I can actually see him growing.Alright already. Besides the fact that I can not get over his height, I also can not get over him losing teeth. He's lost his bottom front 2 teeth, and now he's got one upper tooth that is hanging on for dear life and makes him look like he's got a snaggletooth. Wonder if spellcheck knows what a snaggletooth is. Nope. Enough about Jake's physical characteristics. Except I'll just throw in real quick that he's got me terrified about how many girls are going to be calling my house giggling in a few years time. Lord help me. My happy, laid-back little baby boy has turned in to such a sweet and tough and funny young man. There's moments where my heart actually hurts I love him so much. He was getting out of the car to go to a backyard Bible club the other day, and he jumped out, started running, then abruptly stopped all by himself and said, "OH, I forgot," and came running back to the car to kiss and hug me. "Love you, Mom." Yep. Heart squeezing. He's also quite a little missionary. There's been multiple times lately where he'll strike up a conversation with someone at the store and ask them if they know Jesus, or tell them about our church, and that he's learned the names of the books of the Old Testament by singing a song in his Sunday school class. We were on our way to the dollar store a few days ago and he announced from the back seat, "The dollar store is the best thing EVER. Oh, no wait, Jesus is the best thing ever, and THEN the dollar store." He prayed for Jurgi every night that he was here, and he also rarely forgets to include in his prayers, "and thank you for my brother and my mom and dad." As sweet and tender-hearted as he is, he's definitely all boy. He got a rapid-fire Nerf gun for his birthday and he and Dan and Ty have been running around the house for days yelling and shooting and laughing like crazy. And that's when he's not outside playing basketball or making soccer goals out of 2 shoes. His favorite show on TV (besides cartoons like Handy Manny or Arthur) is Wipe-Out, which is pretty much just laughing at people who hurt themselves. All boy. And the birthday theme this year? Batman. It's been Hot Wheels (4th birthday), Transformers (5th) and Batman. No lace doilies in the decor at one of Jake's parties. Or any party I throw...but you get the point.Living with Jake is constant comedy. I got him some shoes a while back that were 2 sizes bigger than the ones he was wearing that I bought (too big for him) 9 months ago. I laced them up and he proceeded to go strutting around, and my heart stopped for a second. Then I said, "Dude, you look like a man." To which he quickly replied, "YOU look like a man," and we both burst into laughter. Then just tonight he was wearing a new hat that Auntie Becca gave him (Stud, with a capital S) and he had it twist[...]

Summer...part 1 of 36


And now the moment you've all been waiting for...the summer update. Now I know what you're thinking. How could she possibly write a blog explaining the 4+ weeks of silence we've just experienced, when it typically takes us 4+ weeks to finish reading even one of her ridiculously long stories? Or, sentences, in this case. What would that blog post even look like? Well, it could look something like this:Token apology for not updating readers. Assurance the author will not ever again wait so long between posts. Confusion about where to begin the update. An aha! moment and clever segue into the first of many stories. Picture. Attempt at brief explanation under picture. Repeat until author runs out of time and or energy. Concluding remarks. Second promise of timely next post. Witty final sentence.Sweet. I guess I'm done. No? Allllright. But seriously, you may want to grab a drink, put a movie or 2 on for the kids, be sure you've emptied your bladder recently, do a little stretching...cause you're gonna be sitting here for a while.Okay, June 28th was the last day I updated you. Jurgi had only been with us for 3 days, but we knew that he was a perfect fit for our family. For the next 2 weeks, our days were full of activity. I couldn't help but throw another baby shower in the middle of it. Cause that's what I do. (We miss you already Matt and Sharon!) We had barbecues with friends, Jurgi and the boys shot approximately 8 million baskets and made 3 million goals with a soccer ball, and Jurgi toured downtown Portland where he became passionate about someday eating a bacon topped donut while looking at the line winding around the block at VooDoo Donuts (the bacon donut dream was realized before he left). Jurgi inspired us to have a new appreciation for soccer while faithfully watching the World Cup even in the early morning hours, so we took him to a Portland Timbers Soccer game with the boys. We played tennis after I dusted off my racket and my old bones. I'm definitely not going to wait another 8 years to do that again. Jurgi went with us to a 4th of July barbecue with Dan's family and then witnessed Jake's near death fireworks experience. Dang, I guess I have to explain that one. Oh, here I'll just put a picture instead and attempt a brief explanation under it. Sparkler + wind = shirt bursting into flames and 5 year old grabbing the chunk of flaming sparkler and obtaining 2nd degree burns on his fingers. Oh and on his chest of course. Right underneath that charred hole in the shirt in case you were wondering.And then we went to Disneyland. Next post. Oh crimeny, Jake's birthday is tomorrow. Next to next post. I cannot ask you to sit through the stories of my kids' first trip to Disneyland on top of all the other things I'm jabbering on about...mainly because I'm just plain refusing to write them right now because I'm getting carpal tunnel just thinking about it.Okay, so when we were in Disneyland getting heatstroke (but still having an insanely good time), Jurgi got to go to the Washington Family Ranch for a week at camp. He said it was an incredible time, which makes me excited because I get to take the kids there the last weekend in August. I get to be the camp nurse. For a group of First Responders. Because I'm sure they'll need me to tell them what to do in an emergency.Back from Disneyland and back to our last week with Jurgi. We went up to Mt. Hood to the Alpine Slides and the other adventures they have there. Mountain sliding, go-cart riding, bungee trampoline-ing, putt-putt golfing. Oh yes, and then there was the bungee jumping. Jurgi got talked into strapping himself onto a bungee cord and launching himself off a 100 foot platform. I prayed the whole time that he'd survive so his mother wouldn't ha[...]

Stay tuned


Three weeks with Jurgi, a week at Disneyland (the boys' first time) with Dan's's a teensy bit overwhelming how much stuff I have to blog about. Jurgi leaves tomorrow, so maybe I'll have time on Monday to update you. Before we leave for Sun River with my family on Tuesday. And then for sure I'll have pix and stories from Sun River before we leave for the Oregon coast with Dan's extended family. Oh good golly I'm stressing myself out. Pictures at least are coming soon...I think. I hope.

My boys


(image) There they are, my three boys. They've been outside playing soccer and basketball every waking moment that they're not watching World Cup. Pretty stinking cute, aren't they? And...anybody notice that Dan already has Jurgi converted to Huskies purple?

Foreign family


He's here! Our son-for-a-month made it to the US of A!First of all, I'll apologize for not keeping the blog up to date. Before Jurgi (pronounced Yurgi) arrived we exchanged multiple emails with him and got to know him a little bit. Part of me wanted to just copy and paste those emails here on the blog, but if I were Jurgi's mom, I probably wouldn't want a complete stranger posting details and pictures of my son's life all over the internet! So I'll be careful about how much information I share about him so no one can steal his identity or do whatever it is that the crazies of the internet do with people's personal details.So Jurgi (if that's his real name) arrived on Friday night at a little after 9pm. Jake and Ty helped me decorate a welcome sign for him. Actually, we had to go over to my creative and artistic sisters 'crack' house (see old blog for explanation if you're ready to call the cops on Karina) in order for her to draw some bubble letters. It took her 1 minute to do what would have taken me approximately 1 day to do on my own. I painted her bubble letters (with her paint) and that was my entire contribution to the sign making process.Anyway, Jurgi loved the sign, and gave us all hugs when he got off the plane, and gave me a kiss on each cheek and I felt very European. Or like I live in the Hamptons and say "fabulous" all the time. Whatever. We got home after 10pm and we were all exhausted, but Jurgi pulled out some presents for us. During our emails back and forth, I had told him all about Jake and Ty and what they liked to do. Jurgi told us that he loves sports and plays soccer, so I told him that Jake had played on a soccer team last fall and loved it, and that Ty loved all sports but especially basketball. Well, sweeter than sweet teenage boy brought my boys presents that absolutely could not have been more perfect. For Jake: a soccer uniform, right down to the socks, from the official Basque team (in the perfect size), and for Ty: a full sized basketball (and a shirt with cartoon sheep and Basque writing on it, also the perfect size.) So in other words, my children will now pretty much lay down their lives for Jurgi. He's the best surrogate big brother! Ty actually slept with the basketball that night, and Jake wore the soccer outfit the entire next day.There's tons more intimate details that internet stalkers would LOVE to get their hands on, but honestly, I'm tired and I'm also about to leave to get a one hour massage from Dan's cousin (a birthday present from my fabulous in-laws. I'm definitely kissing them on the cheeks next time I see them.)That's it for now, but things really couldn't be better here around the Stump house. I'll get a good picture of him and the boys and post it soon. I promise.[...]

Summer time...


(Disclaimer--I sent the first part of this blog out as an email to some family and close friends. If you think we're close friends and you didn't get it #1 I'm sure I thought I sent it to you, or #2 I tried to send it to you and I don't have your current email address, or #3 maybe I don't like you. Regardless, here it is. I'll let you know when I'm done plagiarizing myself and I begin writing new material.) Seriously? Summer is almost here? We’ve had a few sightings of the sun here in Gresham lately, usually immediately preceded (and followed) by torrential rain. But sun or no sun, life is good here around the Stump house, and it’s about to get a whole lot better! This summer we’re anticipating lots of things, including: Dan being off work, kids frolicking in the sun, Ang sipping caramel frappucinos, Disneyland in mid-July, Alcorn family Sun River trip, Stump (Milliken) family trip to the Oregon coast, meeting our third child, a possible trip up to Seattle for a Mariners baseball game, and a lot of smokin’ good BBQ. Did I lose you for a second?Don’t worry, you didn’t miss any news about another pregnancy. That was just my clever intro to an amazing opportunity we have this summer! We are inviting a 17 year-old high school boy into our home for a month. He is from the Basque country (a region that sits between Spain and France on the Bay of Biscay.) His name is Jurgi and looking at his application, he’s going to fit in perfectly with our family! He will stay with us for 1 month, from June 25-July 25, and learn about American culture, practice his English, eat our food, be followed around by our kids, become fluent in fantasy football, and be loved by our family, our church, and our God.So we’re writing this letter because we absolutely need your prayers. Inviting a high school boy to live in our home where he will get to see all of the good, bad, and ugly is a little intimidating. But we hope that as Jurgi becomes a part of our imperfect and ordinary lives, he might be able to see a perfect and extraordinary God!Okay, sorry to bore all of you who read this previously. Read on for all of my exciting, original never-before-seen blog thoughts.Sooo...yeah. We're excited about summer. And I promise to post pictures and embarrassing stories about Jurgi just as if he were my own. Just kidding, Jurgi. If you're reading this. If not, then I'm 100% serious.Um, what else? Jake graduates from preschool tomorrow. Whoa nelly I'm going to have a kindergartner. Yep, then pretty soon he'll graduate from high school, get married, give me lots of grandkids and have to put me in a nursing home where my dinners will consist of pureed steak and potatoes through a straw. It's right around the corner. And that's pretty much how I'm feeling about that.I should clarify that right now it's 12:55am and I'm writing this from the triage desk at work. Therefore if any of the "original" sentences above make any sense whatsoever, I probably don't deserve my paycheck tonight. Typically nights in the ER don't lend themselves to frivolous things like emptying your bladder or blogging. Tonight on the other hand...I actually considered praying for a major city-wide catastrophe so time will go by more quickly. But instead of wishing harm upon the citizens of Portland, I'm choosing to blog. Maybe not very well, but blogging I shall continue. It just took me 10 minutes to write and re-write that sentence. I'm getting paid for this, folks.Ha, just when it was about to get boring: a little amusement in my night. I have a screen at my desk that shows me various views of security cameras in our waiting room and outside th[...]

Pictures and thoughts


It is getting ridiculous how many weeks go by before I actually post some of the pictures that I take. Why must I always be compelled to write seven thousand words to explain them all? Not today, friends. I refuse to give in to my compulsions. Here's some great pictures with very brief explanations. And some with just a little briefer than usual explanations. Ok, some will be semi-brief to normal. Maybe normal to not-quite-long-winded. Dang it, somebody stop me.Jake is still pretty passionate about cars. I should have taken a video of him touching each of these Hot Wheels individually and quoting their make and model (the year isn't usually specified on the box, which is frustrating for him.) But I guess a video of him naming 97 cars might have destroyed my attempt at brevity right from the start. How'm I doing so far? Right, sorry.We took Ty to a Blazer game for his birthday. Ha! You see, I CAN do brief! Ok, more pictures, more explanations. Yes I realize Ty's birthday (and therefore the Blazer game) was a month and a half ago. It's still interesting, isn't it? Oh my goodness gracious sakes alive, did he absolutely L-O-V-E being at that game. Probably one of the highlights of his life. He was a bit overwhelmed at first, and sat on my lap for most of the game. But towards the end he started screaming like crazy when the Blazers made a shot. Every home game if the Blazers score over 100 points the whole crowd gets a ticket for a free chalupa from Taco Bell. After they hit a shot to make it 101, Ty yelled out at the top of his lungs, "CHALUPA TIME!!!" Oh, great memories.A few weeks ago Dan's sister Jane and our niece Rebekah were up here. I've said it before and I'll say it again. There is not a cuter little girl on the planet. Seriously, look at this cuteness:The boys and I went to the zoo with Jane and Bekah, and mother-in-law Ann and other sis-in-law Becca and the kids she nannies for, Claudia and Charlie (2 of the cutest kids who are not related to me) and friend Stacy and girlies Piper and Chloe. There had to have been an easier way to say all that. BUT, I'm too tired to edit it, so there you go. Here's the kiddos minus Charlie and Chloe who were sleeping in their strollers:Piper, Ty, Jake, Bekah, and little miss Claudia. Ty pretending to be a monkey. At least I think/hope that's what he's doing.This lioness charged us and actually jumped up with it's huge front paws on the glass. It actually made my heart skip a beat. But mostly made me wish my camera wasn't buried in my pocket at the time.Enough zoo. Actually, enough blog. For now. The sun is starting to come out, and I've got places to go, people to see...laundry to move from the washer to the dryer. I know, you're jealous. I'll leave you with one more picture of precious Bek: We left her alone for 1 minute and she found Ty's shorts and Jake's shoes and put them on all by herself. C'mon, who doesn't want to be like those Stump boys? Speaking of those Stump boys, it is WAY too quiet in this house right now...[...]

Two things


I'll give you two guesses...who decided the couch was a blank canvas on which to display his artistic abilities:

And now this muliple choice question: Is this price tag A. a typo, or B. evidence that I am the best bargain shopper in the history of the world?(image) Yep, I wore this $1200 shirt to church on Sunday. And I'm pretty sure everybody thought I was a celebrity.

Do you like that I'm ignoring the fact that it's been over a month since I've blogged? I promise I'll give you more of an update (and tons more pictures) soon. Or relatively soon. I swear.

Tyler Daniel


I guess I should have known. Hindsight is 20/20, isn't that what they say? 4 years ago today, I should have known that my life was about to drastically change. Oh, I knew I was in for some change. Going from one child to 2. Changing 2 sets of diapers instead of 1. Needing to ask one child to wait as I dealt with the other. But I was about to have another boy. I knew how to have a boy. Things would go just about the same, right? And then the monitor on my huge belly started to alarm. The nurse moved it around, then moved me around, then put an oxygen mask on my face. My heart started to pound. Tears welled up in my eyes. This baby was scaring me. Then things seemingly went back to normal, and because my epidural was working quite nicely, I sighed with relief. Soon it was time to do the "practice" push before they called my doctor in the room. I literally had barely started pushing when the nurse held her hands out and yelled, "STOP, stop, stop!" I looked up at Dan, who started laughing and made some comment about how he was going to just squirt right out across the room, and then I started laughing. The nurse quickly said, "Oh, DON'T make her laugh, seriously, he is coming out." And thus began the flurry of activity, 800 nurses flying around the room, one standing at the foot of my bed, ready to catch a child should I dare laugh again. Then my doctor arrived, asked me to push, and 1/2 a push later I heard, "STOP." And then I heard, "okay, the cord is wrapped around his neck, I need some help here." And my heart stopped again. Don't scare me like this, child! Seconds later I heard him cry, and I saw his blue tinged little body (see his hands?) start to pink up while screaming on my chest, and I knew I was in love.I just didn't realize then that this child would continue, sometimes daily, to scare the life out of me and then make me laugh within a minute.My baby turns 4 today. Tyler Daniel. Ty. Beebs. Beebee. Beebs McTeebs. The one person I know who can bring out the most emotion in me. For better or worse; I've discovered that phrase applies to more than just a marriage.Ty can move from the most defiant child in the universe to the most loving in 2.5 seconds flat. This kid doesn't do anything halfway. He is passionate about whatever it is that he's doing. He'll go from cheering wildly while watching a basketball game on TV, to focusing intently on his latest puzzle. Precisely coloring a picture, to giving a serious beating to his competitor on Wii boxing. He's either yelling at the top of his lungs, or whispering a secret in someone's ear. He softly pets the dog, then tries to push poor Felix down the stairs.I mentioned Wii. Right now, Wii is Ty's reason for getting up in the morning. His reason for breathing. His little competitive spirit both excites me and terrifies me. Team sports are just around the corner for him. Hopefully we can channel that drive to win in a positive way. It's a little ridiculous to say that I think Wii has really helped him with that. Or, used to. See, I used to be able to beat him. I would let him win sometimes, and then frequently I'd win so that he would learn that even when you don't win you can still have fun playing. Unfortunately I can't always win anymore. Yes, a 4 year old is consistently beating me. And I'm not half bad. Just saying.There is no way I could love my baby more. The times I've wanted to pull my hair out may just about equal the times I've laughed, but when he sits on my lap, kisses me, hugs me, or grins at me with that dimpled left cheek, I can't imagine living lif[...]

We have a loser


...and no, it's not me, though I realize it's been almost 2 months since I've updated the blog. Think of me what you will, but I'm NOT a loser. Jake is. A tooth-loser that is. Sweet mother of mercy when did I get old enough to have a child who loses teeth?Let's see, what else? January and February were good, thanks for asking. We've had plenty of busy days and lots on our plates and on our minds, thus the lack of blogging activity. Dan hasn't been coaching since mid-January, so he's home at 3:30 most days. The boys and I are loving it! But we've, mostly I'VE, been filling up our copious amounts of "free time" with all sorts of activities. Side-note: when I use words like copious, does it: a)make you think I'm superbly intelligent, b)irritate you, or c)cause you to think I'm ridiculous for being proud of the fact that I threw out the word copious in the midst of a totally normal sentence? Personally I go for option d): think about freshman honors English and how when I actually use those vocab words I learned so long ago, I feel like a real adult. You'll be excited to know that I've just decided to use more vocab words in the paragraphs to follow. Isn't this going to be fun?Alright, sorry. I'll move on to more germane subjects. Though you know how when I get going I tend to be quite loquacious. No one can accuse me of being taciturn. I may be too garrulous in my posts, but at least they're not phlegmatic.Okay, seriously now. Jake lost a tooth. He is officially, "the man" at preschool. His teacher told me that 2 of the girls follow him around everywhere, and that half the class wants to marry him. Lord help me on the day that girls start calling my house to talk to my boys.Ty is as passionate about life as ever. He's currently obsessed with Wii Sports. My facebook status the other day was, "my 3 1/2 year old is getting seriously good at Wii. And trash talking. While he was legitimately beating me at baseball today, he shouted, 'You're going DOWN, baby!'" Cracks me up, that kid. And my Mr. Beebs is not going to be 3 1/2 much longer. His birthday is rapidly approaching. So are my gray hairs.And us? Well, Dan and I have had approximately 65 people over for dinner in the past month. I've been working here and there. Last weekend I had a girls slumber party for our church youth group, which was AWESOME! We did all sorts of girly things like homemade facials and make-overs. I'm not used to so much girl related business in this house full of testosterone. Thanks, ladies, I hope you had half as much fun as I did! We're still hosting a small group Bible study at our house every Tuesday night, which has been amazing. Super fun, but super challenging too. Love those people. Have I told you that our church is the best? Cause it is. Gresham Bible Church. Sunday's at 10:30. Go check out the website. And stop by sometime. We have free snacks and coffee every week. Jesus did say to "feed my sheep," right? Seriously though, church is a huge part of our lives, and we've been so blessed by the relationships we've made at GBC. And by the encouragement and conviction we get from our pastor Vergil, who can really preach it.Oh, what else? We've got a lot more things scheduled in the next few weeks. A baby shower (shocker, I know), Ty's birthday parties (3 of them. For real.), hostessing more dinners and people. Being a good wife and a good parent and a good friend. You know. The busy and boring, the marvelous and mundane, but the always very rewarding same ole, same ole.That may be it, friends. At least you k[...]

Back to life, back to reality


Dang you, Maui, Hawaii. Dang your lack of responsibilities. Dang your carefree laziness. Dang your insistence on leisure. Dang your redefinition of productivity. Dang your blissful do-as-you-wish-when-you-wish-it-...ness. You've made me relax into a puddle of unconstrained slackericity. Slackerocity? Even now you're forcing me to make up words for my lack of motivation to do anything that doesn't involve laying in the sun. Well, my tan has faded, so I can no longer pretend I'm still in Maui when I look in the mirror. It's officially time to get back into real life. The daily grind. Same ol' same ol'.I knew once I blogged about it, the bubble would burst. So I apologize to the 2 people who might have actually believed I'd be typing furiously right after we stepped off the plane a week and a half ago. For the rest of you who are just now checking this in the month of February, you know me too well. I am, of course, exaggerating how little I did in Hawaii, and how devastated I was to come home. Actually, I'll be honest. I'm not really exaggerating how little I did, but the part about dreading being home is completely false. As much as I loved soaking in the vitamin D, I really did miss home and was happy to come back to it. But you didn't blog surf over here to read about Oregon. And I didn't sit down 26 interrupted times to type about Gresham. So here's a brief (laugh...out loud please) synopsis of our Christmas vacation: Really and truly, I did nothing. And I brought home proof. #1 is my tan that has since washed away in the rain. #2 is some extra body fat. My dad, who is very fit and healthy, said he gained 8 pounds in Hawaii. I may have gained a few (dozen) more than that. Give or take. I'm pretty sure I drank 8 pounds of passion-orange-guava juice alone. Oh how I miss thee, POG. You and your 10% fruit juice, 90% high fructose corn syrup/deliciousness. I also had a few pounds of macadamia nut pancakes. Mmmmmm. I'm salivating. Course that's maybe because I've only eaten a hot dog today that I bought while shopping at Target because I forgot to have lunch and was on the verge of passing out. Sorry, little Gresham interjection. Where was I? Maui. Oh yes, food. Cheeseburger in Paradise. Teryaki steak, carrot cake muffins, Hula pie, cashew chicken stir fry, BBQ steak and twice baked potatoes, pecan monkey bread, tropical smoothies. Oh and did I mention POG and mac pancakes? Those delicious delights - the calories burned from jumping into the pool when I got too hot from laying out = enough of a fat layer to keep me warm for the rest of an Oregon winter...or 5. Now while I was winning grand prize in the eating and lounging around competition, my boys were burning calories like it was going out of style. They swam for hours. Not even a joke. Water wings are probably the best invention since POG. And you know how I feel about POG. Ty was leaping head first into the deep end of the pool. The kid couldn't love the water more. Unless maybe he had gills.Jake got used to a mask and snorkel in the pool and then he went out into the ocean with Dan and my dad and a pair of kid flippers, and made his mama proud. He snorkeled like a pro, out for an hour with the fishies and even a pack of turtles. A pod of turtles? A herd? Doesn't matter, Dan says they were surrounded by 10 turtles and Jake was loving every second of it. Good gracious, that little man in his Hawaiian print swim trunks, his Quicksilver rashguard shirt and a snorkel coming out of his mouth. Dude with a capita[...]

Mele Kalikimaka to all


Sorry I didn't get to update you before we left. That just means you'll REALLY get a blog-full when we return. Until then, Mele Kalikimaka, friends. Warmest Christmas wishes...(image) ...get it? In all seriousness, the Stump family wishes everyone a truly special time with family and friends this season as you celebrate the birth of our Savior. Happy birthday Jesus!

The month that was November


Just a warning: this will not be the best blog post you've ever read. I don't think you'll laugh til you cry, or be moved to tears in any way, but at least you'll get a little update, right? Maybe I'll even edit this post later so it's more interesting...oh forget it, read on. A few quotes I don't want to forget:Quick background on this one. After Jake's soccer practice a long time ago the boys were complaining about being hungry. They hadn't eaten a big dinner, so I stopped at Burger King and became Mom of the Year when I bought them 2 "burger shots" to share. You've seen those annoying commercials, haven't you? "Oooh, look at those cute little burgers!" I said quick background, didn't I. Ha! Anyway, at the grocery store before Thanksgiving they have those really tiny pumpkins you can use for decoration in the produce section. Jake pointed at them and practically yelled, "Mom, look at those cute little pumpkins...they're like pumpkin shots!"And since we're talking about grocery store quotes, and produce departments...when Ty looked at a huge pile of yams he stated, "Ew, Mama, those look like slugs." Indeed.Thanksgiving was awesome. I don't even want to think about how many carbohydrates I shoved into my stomach. It wouldn't have been so bad if I'd stopped at one turkey dinner. I had 3. Not 3 helpings, 3 different dinners. Alcorn's at noon, Stumps at 4:30, and another full meal at around 2 in the morning. That was at work, I'm not that much of a food addict that I'd get out of bed in the middle of the night to feast again. 3 delicious dinners. Lucky? Sure. Now tipping the scales? Definitely. Perfect, right before Hawaii. Oooh, does anybody not know that my parents are taking our whole family to Hawaii for Christmas? Aloooooha. That's why one of the Christmas songs on my playlist is Mele Kalikimaka. Just so you know that song will be the only one playing on my blog from December 17-28. So if you need your Bing Crosby Christmas fix, I'm your girl. And no, my parents are not looking to adopt any more children before December 17th, sorry. Anyway, back to the quotes. Both the boys have had the most ginormous appetites lately. Just a small picture of what's to come, I'm sure. Jake was eating pancakes the other morning, and halfway through his third (large) one, he groaned and said, "Whoa Mom, it's like Man vs. Food."Two nights ago we celebrated my mom's birthday. We had a great time over at my sister's house, eating dinner and the famous chocolate log cake that's her fave, and hanging out as a family. Later on my mom was opening presents and Jake, Ty, and cousin Matt were surrounding her, telling her what each present was. A few presents were wrapped by Matt (5 years old) and filled with little treasures he wanted to pass on. The first one she opened contained a small cut out of the state of Tennessee. Jake quickly announced, "well, that's not much of a present." My sons, always oozing with sensitivity.Okay, moving away from quotable quotes now. Of course the month of November wouldn't have been complete without throwing another baby shower. This time I had help from my friend Emily, God bless her. We had a great time showering one of my BFF's Natalie and chatting and laughing. There is always tons of laughter when you're near Natalie, she and her hubby are a tag team duo of comedic genius. Love them. Here's yet another diaper cake for Natalie and baby boy (who is going to show his sweet little face any day no[...]



Yes, please don't faint. I'm posting two times in the same week. You can thank my BFF Megan who has started a recipe exchange. Mmmm, I love me some good new recipes. This time it's a main dish...and let me just tell you that this main dish is now MY main dish. Mexican Chicken Lasagna. It's like sour cream chicken enchiladas except for more amazing because it has Doritos on top. Holy delicious. It does take a bit of time to do, preparing the chicken and all the layering, but it's soooooo worth it.

I found it in one of those little recipe books you find at the checkstand at the grocery store. I wish I had a scanner to show you how marvelous this looks. Maybe I'll make it soon and post a picture. And you know what, I'm also going to post another main dish recipe because I've shared this other one with a lot of people already. Yep, two for the price of one, all here at the Stump blog.

Mexican Chicken Lasagna

12 lasagna noodles
2 cans (10 3/4 oz each) cream of chicken soup
8 oz sour cream
1/4 cup milk
3 cups cooked cubed chicken
1 can (4 oz) green chilies
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 can (2 1/4 oz) sliced black olives
1 cup (8-10) green onions, chopped
3 cups Mexican cheese blend (cheddar and jack)
1 cup crushed nacho cheese tortilla chips

Heat oven to 350. Cook lasagna noodles and drain. While noodles are cooking, mix next 7 ingredients (soup to garlic powder) in large bowl. In a greased 9x13 pan, layer chicken mixture, olives, green onions and cheese like you would a lasagna, starting with a small amount of the chicken mixture at the bottom before adding noodles. Save largest layer of cheese for the top. Bake uncovered for 35-45 minutes or until bubbly and hot in center. Add crushed chips and cook another 5 minutes until chips get slightly brown. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.

Here's the freebie (you can tell we like Mexican food and Nacho Cheese Doritos around here): Nacho pie

I promise I do cook healthier options sometimes. But if you're looking for mm'mm good, these are winners. Now it's YOUR turn! Even if you're not in Megan's recipe exchange, I'd love to see your favorites! Leave me a comment with your recipe or a link to it.

Mmm, and now that I'm salivating all over my compter, I believe it's time for a snack.