Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Recipe for a Get-Away (when you have 7 kids)

Z's job always gets a little hectic this time of year, so we've made it a habit to try to run away together before things get too far out of hand.  We also have a get-away in six months (March) for our anniversary.

Before now, we've had good friends with whom we've traded kids for an entire weekend, but now that our kids are older, we leave them to take care of each other and fend for themselves for just one night.  We could probably still do a whole weekend, but I'm not willing to push it that far with a thirteen-month-old in the house.

Here's how we work it out:

First, we go to the calendar and find a good day when not too much is scheduled for anyone.
Second, I take a little trip here.  We don't stray far from home, and there really is so much to explore here in our own backyard, that we choose to bid and do it in an area close to home.  I start by clicking one area and putting an almost indecent price the first time I try; I also put in for the highest quality accommodations I can get.  As they reject my bids, I click more areas, lower star levels, and then start putting in higher bids.  There was one time the Hilton downtown took my low bid and we ended up on the top floor.  It was great!  This time, I bid $50 and we ended up here:

Portland Marriott Residence Inn RiverPlace

It's a newer hotel down on the waterfront in Portland.  We had to pay taxes, so all in all, I think it cost us $65.  We were on the 7th floor in a really nice room that looked like this:

It had a kitchenette to the left in this picture.  We also slept in a king-size bed, which is a must with a husband who's 6'6".

The only thing about bidding on priceline is that once you bid, and they accept that bid, you're committed.  They go ahead and charge your card, so I always tell them that I want a 3-star place or better, but I guess it also depends on how desperate I am to get away.

This hotel had a wonderful breakfast--better than continental.  They had warm food as well--waffles you make yourself, hot oatmeal, biscuits and gravy, eggs, and sausages, along with all the other stuff you'd expect from a continental breakfast--fruit, juices, toast, bagels, cereal, etc.

After we finished breakfast, we went back up to our room and packed up, sat and watched a little bit of TV and headed out to board this:

From the hotel and all around downtown, it's free to ride.  We ended up here:

Portland Saturday Market
Like I said, there is much to explore.

Other resources I use when doing one of these trips are this to find what others rate as the best restaurants and things to do in the area and this to find coupons to get meals at better prices (when you sign up, they send you emails when they have promos; you can sometimes get $25 gift certificates for $2 with the right promo code).

I am a firm believer in running away for a romantic weekend with one's spouse.  The kids'll eventually move out and start families of their own, but your spouse will hopefully be there forever, and I have little doubt this'll help us get there--to forever that is.  It's also a great opportunity for your kids to see that you make each other a large priority in your life.  Someday, maybe they'll follow your lead with their own spouses.

Friday, August 27, 2010


I signed up for an account with a few months ago.  I was inspired by watching this show.  It has been fun to peruse records actually in my ancestors' own handwriting and to see lists of their names on the ships records when they immigrated to the U.S.  It has also been amazing to receive messages from others searching the same records looking for the same people I am.

The skeleton was discovered as I responded to one of these message.  She was searching in one of my dad's lines.  I went to her site to see what she had.  She had a photo I've never seen and a story.  It was a family history written about each member of the family I was searching in.  It was written by a neice of the next generation, so I have a hard time refuting the information there.  It was wonderful to read of these people's lines until I got to my own.  It became very heavy and hard to believe.  It has weighed heavy ever since.

Now, you have to understand, my dad's side, although easy to research and find the names and dates, has always been a bit tight-lipped and almost overly sensitive about their relationships with others.  So, finding background has been somewhat difficult.

This skeleton is only a few generations back, and I really don't think my dad even knows the story.  Although it explains a lot of prior generations behaviors and my dad's memories of them, I don't think I could bring myself to share these things with my dad.  I also see the miracle that forgiveness can be.  Destructive behaviors ended as the Hamm family came into the Church.  I only wish memories could be erased, but these adversities make us into who we are.

I have written to my dad asking for further information that he might have first hand, but so far, I've heard nothing.  It might just be that he doesn't have any.  I would love to have the entire thing refuted and backed with some kind of great story of heroism, but the truth of the matter is that we're all human and must take the goods with the bads.

In a strange way, I'm so glad to know what caused the pain, anger and secretiveness in this branch of my family tree.  I hope there is forgiveness for this family member, but more than that, I hope that I can learn to love each ancestor I run across for all their good and bad decisions that helped form my family into what it is.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


I've heard people use the excuse that there are "too many skeletons" in their family's closet that they're afraid of unearthing, so they don't want to do genealogy.  Well, I may have just opened the door on my own.  Ugh!  It's heavy, but it explains a lot about following generations and their relationships with each other.  It also explains a lot of closed-lippedness (is that a word?  Well, it is now) from part of the family.

Just wish I hadn't found it.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Looking Forward to Monday

I really have nothing much to write, so I'm going to sit here and write whatever comes into my mind. 

G can't find his form for his physical.  They are due with the crazy amount of money for fall sports by 8:00 tomorrow morning.  Q has a form she still needs to pick up too, so we have to be at the athletics office at 7:30.  Ugh!

With DJ out of town at a friend's house until Wednesday evening, I have no one to watch the kids while Q and G are at soccer try-outs this week, so I have to haul them along with me.  Fun times.

Now that G can't find his form, we also have to take a run by the doctor's office in the morning to get her to sign another one.  Can you see why I'm a bit frustrated with life? 

We cleaned G's room until it sparkles, so I know it's not in there.  But, I gave it to him and told him to hold onto it and make sure it ended up in the right hands two months ago when we got his physical done.  So, where is it?  I honestly have no idea.  But it always seems to come back on me.  Ah the joys of motherhood!

I just hope it all works out in the end.  I'm sure it will.  It always does.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Old Photos

I've been scanning photos onto facebook.  My brother did so a few weeks ago, so I thought I'd add some so he could see them too.  My mom, when she made our albums, gave the photo to the youngest child in the picture.  I, being fifth of six, got a good number of them that my older siblings have never seen.  Here are a couple for your enjoyment.

Me and my four older siblings.  My younger brother wasn't born yet.
Me and my sweet Momma
Me and my dad
My three older brothers and some of the neighborhood kids.  That's me in the front.
Me at about six months.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Serious Family Togetherness

All the Hamm's!  I may need to recount, but I think there were 42 of us for our annual reunion at Seaside, OR.
The kids at Grandma and Grandpa's for Z's sister's wedding.  Heading to the pool.
We hiked to Punchbowl Falls at Eagle Creek up the Columbia River Gorge with my older brother's family. 


Well, let's not get too excited.  She took a few steps today, and she stood on her own for quite awhile a number of times.

Isn't the whole learning to walk thing just amazing.  I'm sure there's a bigger lesson from this than meets the eye.  You just start forgetting to hold on.  Maybe it's more complicated than that, but it sure doesn't look like it.

Oh, by the way, the tongue in the photo has something to do with balance, I'm learning.  Funny kid!

Control Freak

Now that I'm pretty sure nobody reads my blog any more because I never write, I can write anything I want to and not fear anyone's reaction, right?

If you see the time stamp at the bottom of this post, you'll see that it's dang late.  I'm still up for a number of reasons.  Reason #1:  It's HOT!  As they went to bed tonight, the kids asked Z if the was going to turn on the air conditioning.  His response, "No, it's plenty cool outside.  Just open a window." 

Well, the windows are open, and I'm boiling.

Reason #2:  I'm worrying about a lot of things right now, but I won't bore you with those.  Just know that tomorrow I take my second exam for this stats class.  I've been attempting to study and have rescheduled this test four times.  I am bound and determined to take it tomorrow.  This class has been a HUGE reason for my lack of blogging.  It's taken up a ton of my time.

Another thing on my mind is my eldest.  I used to think I was a great mom for her, but I don't lately.  She is a great kid, but we're clashing a bit on things lately, and I think I'm being too controlling.  I need to step back and trust her, but I see her becoming so much like I was as a teenager, and I don't want her to be like me.  I wasn't a horrible teen, but just rebellious enough.  In being so controlling, though, it's almost like I'm pushing her in that direction.

Don't you just love my blithering?  I just needed to do this tonight.  It's therapeutic.

The stats class is ruling my life right now, and I'm sick of it.  I have to study everyday (I don't study on Sunday's, so that's a nice reprieve), so I don't fall behind.  The concepts are difficult, and I'm almost certain that I'll never use them again after this class is over.  My goal is to be finished on September 30th. 

I've been losing weight.  Roughly eight more to go.  That's been good.  I joined in on this "sugar pot" challenge, which I think I've mentioned here before, and it's been good for me.  I won't stick with it after August 31st, but it was good while it lasted.

You should see the ginormous pile of laundry that's sitting next to me right now.  I washed everything today, which is somewhat miraculous as I've just finished cleaning out every  kid's room but Q's.  Their rooms are gorgeous!  T has always had a problem with throwing his clothes all over his room, so I took them out.  They are in a small dresser in my closet.  Talk about control issues...  Wow!  I really didn't used to be like this.  I'm just sad that he has to live in such a sty.  I want him to live in peaceful surroundings, so there you have it.  Over time, he'll get it all back.  As for now, he comes into my room at bed time, and I have him pick out his jammies and his clothes for the next day from my closet.

In my absence, the background that I loved disappeared, so I had to choose a new one.  I don't like the one I just put on, so I'm going to choose another here in a minute, but as I was looking through them, I started to get really excited about blogs, an I realized how much I've missed reading them more than writing on mine.  This is the blog I started missing tonight.  I love her...she's just so...real.  No faking it.  No sugar coating.  Just how life is.  What's better than that?

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