Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Every Month, Without Fail

There are certain things that I can count on happening every month, and they always come through. These things include the grass needing to be cut yet again (you would think it would just stop growing already), another deadline looming over Kevin's head, the numbers on the scale not showing me what I would like to see, and Kaiser giving me a hard time when I try to pay my bill over the phone.

Our dearest insurance company, Kaiser, gives us a hard time every single month. We don't have insurance through work, so we pay out of pocket every month for coverage, and every month I call the number listed on the bill sent to me to pay over the phone. Of course you get an automated system (I call her Hilda) that needs to know such things as what time you got up this morning, how many eggs you have left in the house and the current price of gas in our neighborhood before Hilda will even give you options. The options, as usual, are vague and misleading, but after months of calling I have figured out the best way to navigate through Hilda.

The first lesson I have learned in calling them is that the number listed will take you to a local call center, but to make a payment you need to be connected to California. Unfortunately the number they have given me for the California office the last four months doesn't work, therefore you must call the local office, and ask to be connected to the California office. Now, 50% of the time the lovely call center person will instead transfer you back to the beginning of Hilda's message so that you can again tell them when you last did laundry and how many toothbrushes you have gone through this year. Again, when you finally get to yet another person you take the chance that they will connect to you to the correct office and hopefully you can make a payment. One month I called them 5 times before getting through to California.

Last month when I called Kaiser I explained how this has been a problem each and every month. They kindly assured me they were aware of the problem and taking steps to fix it in the coming weeks. They also let me in on magic words to say so that if I was not actually connected to California, the local office CAN take a payment!

So with great anticipation I called them this month, knowing they were working on the problem and if all else failed I knew the magic words. I called and told Hilda what I ate for lunch and how many diapers I have changed today. To my astonishment Hilda connected me straight to CA, totally bypassing the whole local office! I told the wonderful call center lady I needed to make a payment and she kindly told me she could help. I told her when I last changed my oil and how many pictures are hanging in our house and she brought up our information. I was already getting a little giddy at how easy this was and then she took out an anvil and squashed my excitement right into the ground. She told me that they will only accept payment over the phone for your first copay and no matter how much I tried to tell her that I did every month, she would not budge. I don't know why I was so surprised. I guess it really has been another month, hasn't it?

(PS. Okay, so she called me back three minutes later and told me that she messed up and that I can in fact pay over the phone. Still, why can't it ever just be easy to give them my money!)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

It's The Little Things...

...that make me happy

Getting a little organization in our life

How Bennett will always try to find a way to cross his ankles-such a proper boy

Revisiting old friends (currently watching Season 2 of these old friends)

Hand painted world decorated Easter egg with marriage proposals inside

A husband that proposes every year

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Two Years

Almost four years ago, Kevin's family was having a work party on a holiday repainting the entire house. After hours of painting with no music things were getting a little monotonous and thus a game was born. Kevin and Chris started playing the game "I Bet You Haven't Thought of This in Two Years." They would go back and forth trying to find songs, TV shows, movies, anything that the other hadn't thought of. Now, these two can think some pretty random thoughts so it is not as easy as it might seem. This game has even gotten to the point that Kevin will still randomly call Chris with something he is sure Chris hasn't thought of recently. Here are some recent possibilities for the game:

1. Snoop Dogg - Doggystyle
2. Slap Bracelets
3. Technotronic - Pump Up the Jam
4. DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince - Parents Just Don't Understand
5. Pogs

Some things are fun to remember, but some things are probably best left forgotten.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Our Quick Trip

We have arrived home again, and while it was a great trip I think Bennett is happy to be home again. Even though I swore I would never fly with Bennett by myself again, he was a champ!

My grandmother's funeral service was wonderful. I am always amazed at how much you learn about a person at their funeral.
Everytime I go to Portland I am struck by how pretty all the trees are. Her cemetary has beautiful trees and wild purple flowers growing amongst the headstones.

I haven't seen my cousin Andrea for probably 4 years. Her hair has changed color and we were actually mistaken for each other! It was really nice to see her and the rest of the family.

It was really fun to see my dad with the rest of his family. I don't think everyone has been together since I was a little girl. My dad will always be the baby of his family, no matter how old he gets.
This is my dad's family at my grandmother's graveside. It was fun to see them all together.
It was really nice to have a chance to see my family also, even if some of them were missing. Bennett enjoyed the attention from everyone.
Is there a family resemblance? It is hard to tell with Kevin's coloring being so obvious.
Four generations of our family.
And while we were there, Bennett discovered toilet paper. Good thing he is too short to reach the roll at home!
It was a wonderful, but very quick trip. It was wonderful to see everyone, most of whom I haven't seen in years. With my grandparents having 5 children, 23 grandchildren, 35 great-grandchildren and 5 more of on the way, the family is growing quickly and it is hard to keep track of everyone!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

So Many Things, So Little Time

Welcome to Shangri La. Yes, this little jewel is nestled not far from where we live.

Owned by Doris Duke, a rich heiress, this palatial estate hosts rooms full of antique Islamic art. It is amazing to see how one woman transformed her home from top to bottom. Seriously, there is no corner left untouched. Unfortunately you cannot take pictures inside and the outside is tame in comparison.

And it was way too much fun to have this adventure with these lovely ladies! Thanks Kara for suggesting that we go.

As for B, I have been very slow to say that he has a first word. He does say mama and dada but honestly, it is babble and it has no meaning to him. Sometimes in his babble other sounds come out that sound like words, but again, I don't think he understands what he is saying.

However, last Sunday a whole group of us were in the kitchen preparing for the kalbi feast when someone walked up to Bennett and said 'Hi Bennett.' His little voiced responded very clearly, 'Hi.' Again someone said 'Hi Bennett' and again he said 'hi.' After a couple rounds of this, and now that he has repeated this through the past week, his first word is 'hi.' It is very appropriate for a kid who is only shy when family is in town! And so with his first word in his pocket he and I are off to visit my family, even though I swore I would never fly with him alone again!

Thursday, April 2, 2009


I can remember one night when I was eight my dad came in to my room to tell me that my Grandfather was quite ill and might not live long. He asked me to pray for his him, which I did and he got better. It seemed like about once a year from that point on my Grandfather would have an ailment and we would pray fervently for him.
About eight years ago, that changed. My Grandmother became ill and we worried for her instead. So many times it seemed like she didn't have much longer left, but amazingly she pulled through. Despite her hardships she was still trying to do her normal activities and would insist on serving you food whenever you came to visit. There were always treats which had been baked and then stored in the freezer for such occasions. It was hard to get her to sit still and rest and you could see the toll having visitors would take on her.
She passed away today and I am sure she is finally resting. And now I find myself again thinking of my Grandfather, but instead of his health I am praying he is comforted.