Sunday, December 26, 2010

What's Christmas without a Princess Dress?

For my Mama - enjoy:)

Saying "cheese"

Pillbug is in love with dresses, not that one could tell that from this picture!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My First Yarn Along!

I'm playing along with Small Things Yarn Along! Enjoy!

The book is read each afternoon as part of my own "rest time." While Pillbug snoozes away upstairs, the boys are required (yes, required! I'm SO. MEAN.) to watch a video. During that time I get to rest and do my quiet time. This book is taking me through Galations and is focusing on our freedom in Christ. So far, I have gained a lot of insight from it.

My current yarn project is a dish cloth. These are so simple to make and are really the best. ones. ever. I need a whole new set. Slowly, but surely I'm getting there!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Happy Solstice!

Happy Solstice to you!

We celebrated early, early this morning by waking Treefrog to see the lunar eclipse. Thankfully, Fish and Pillbug slept through our craziness since the eclipse happened around 12:30 am:)

Both boys had dentist appointments and while I sat with Fish during his appointment, Ben, Treefrog and Pillbug reenacted the lunar eclipse (I believe Treefrog was the moon, Pillbug was the sun and Ben's fist was the earth). Treefrog has been talking about that most of today.

Tonight we'll continue our celebration with a little fire in our fire pit and roasting marshmallows. We hope to add more to our simple solstice celebration as the years go on, but for now, this fits our family just fine!

Peace to you this holiday season!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

To get me back in the swing of things, here is a bullet-y update for you:

  • My surgery went well. Recovery took longer than I anticipated, though I don't think the doc really factored in the fact that my full-time job includes lifting a 50 lb. toddler.
  • My grandfather passed away in November and I went back east to be with my mom for a week. Pillbug got to go with me. It sure was amazing to have it be just the girls - Pillbug is a whole different personality compared to those rambunctious boys we have!
  • Homeschooling took a three week break due to the surgery and my trip back east. We will go an extra week this coming week with math and reading. Then we'll take a two week break. Yeah for breaks!!
  • Ben finished up this semester and we are both looking forward to his evenings being free. On our first evening together, we laid in bed watching Howl's Moving Castle, drinking his homebrewed beer (English bitter if anyone cares), and reveling in the time together. It had been way too long since we had watched a movie without one of us working during.
  • Our Christmas shopping and gift-making is complete. We'll be playing St. Nicolas to some friends over the next few days and I'll give an update after Christmas with pictures of what was made for the kids.
  • I have been reading a blog called Small Things. I like the pace of her words and often feel a sense of peace and/or understanding of life with kids. She hosts a Yarn Along each week or so and I'd like to start posting a picture of the knitting project I'm working on along with the book I'm reading. Join us if you'd like!
  • Treefrog has decided to grow his hair out. It is now in the awkward stage of fly-aways and longer-in-some-parts-than-in-others. I'll take some pictures when I can get him to stand still long enough. The best views are right after he wakes. So funny!
  • Speaking of hair, Pillbug seems to still not have very much. Oh the irony - her brothers with a full head of hair each from the beginning and her with wisps still at 18 months. But, her sweet personality makes up for what she lacks in hair!
  • Fish is FULLY. POTTY. TRAINED. It's awesome.
Alrighty, I'm pretty sure that is everything to date. Hopefully, I can get back into a rhythm with this blog. It sure is hard to reclaim parts of routine that have been lost!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Confession 6

Pillbug has never spent a night away from me, and it is freaking me out that tonight will be the first.

Attempting to breathe.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ouch, My Uterus

Look away boys. What follows is a post solely focused on my uterus. You have been warned.

Back in May (yes, I know. I have been keeping secrets from the Internets) I started having periodic bleeding. It was crazy - no rhyme or reason. Sometimes it would be heavy. Other times just spotting. At times I would have this for a couple of days, or five days, then a day or three off. The bleeding always came back, though. I figured this was just my body's freakish way of adjusting to Pillbug beginning to wean. But, at the one month mark of this happening I decided enough was enough. I called my midwife.

I went in and had the normal exam along with a lot of discussion on what was happening throughout the month. She listened and offered two follow-up things for me to do: have an ultrasound to rule out "things" and start a round of hormones (not birth control but similar hormones to get my body on track). I was nervous about the hormones. Fake hormones, in the past, have sent me in a downward spiral with regards to my depression and I just didn't want to go there again. I knew I needed to do something, though, and so I agreed to try it for three months. I went in about two weeks later for the ultrasound and had already started the first round of hormones. Two days after the ultrasound I got The Call. As soon as I heard my midwife's voice I thought I was doomed. Cancer, I thought. I have cancer.

Turns out it is a polyp or possibly a fibroid tumor. The surgeon I met with gave me the option of leaving it in (I said no thanks) and he feels confident that there is nothing to worry about (he didn't even mention the 'c' word). So, in November I'll have a little procedure to remove this alien that has taken up presence in my uterus. It should just be a simple out patient procedure with me up and going as soon as I'm out of the stirrups.

The other day, though, I had to get a shot to "prep my uterus." (I don't know, either, just go with it like I did . . . nodding and making it look like I understood the words leaving my surgeon's mouth.) I have a little, ahem, thing with shots. Like, I can sometimes faint. Only sometimes. Really not that often. But it does happen. Sometimes. But, Ben was busy the day I needed to go in and I wasn't really thinking it was going to be a big deal and so I dropped my boys with a friend and Pillbug and I drove out to the doctor's office. Upon arrival, I found out it was a shot to be given in the buttocks, in a small curtained off area, with only a chair to sit in (so, apparently I will be standing?!). Everything happened so quickly that I didn't really have time to react, though, which was probably just what I needed. Pillbug was trying to touch the freshly alcohol-swiped area and I was trying to keep my bum from being exposed to whomever was walking down the hall. Before I knew it, I had been poked and it was over. We packed up and went out to the car.

I don't know if it was a bit of adrenaline or if the shot just didn't have an effect until a bit later, but once I sat down in the car, it felt like my leg was going to fall off. All through lunch I just wanted to lie down (not really a possibility with the children here!), but instead I mustered through. By that evening I felt a bit better and all the pain was gone the next day. It was weird, is all I'm saying.

Now, apparently, my uterus is prepped and I'm ready to be scraped and whatever else to which I nodded my head. Good thing is the "prepping" means no actual period between now and the surgery . . . now if only the spotting would stop!

And so ends my post of which the male audience may not wish to read.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Confession 5

There are days when my quiet time involves a nap . . . today was one of those days.

I think Jesus gets it.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Apple Picking

Sweet Crabapples - an oxymoron, but true!

I wanted to take the kiddos apple picking after spending a week immersed in our book. My plan was to go on Friday of our first week. Alas, that did not happen as the orchard we were going to visit took a three-day holiday starting Friday. So, Monday it was.

Hmmm, I sure do wish I could remember what Fish was explaining:)

The day was great. We spent some time letting the boys walk quickly (did you know there was no running in the orchard?!), pick until there hearts were content, and taste testing (yum!). The boys loved a tree full of crabapples, partially because the limbs were perfect height for a three, five, and six year old to reach. Normally crabapples are tart and nearly inedible (unless they are jammed), in my opinion, but these ones were very sweet and the kids chomped on them as they picked. I even added some to the applesauce I made later and I think they were the ones giving the sauce such sweetness even without sugar.

Here are the boys, all together (Pillbug was a patient gal, hanging out on my back, munching on her very own crabapple):

Friday, September 17, 2010

Confession 4

I stopped drinking coffee in the mornings a while back and I don't miss it at all.

This one surprises even me.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

First Week

Ben and I decorated the windows for our first day of homeschool!

We spent the first week of homeschool talking about apples. It was not a bad week, in my opinion!

Our curriculum is pretty loose. We are doing a lot of reading, mostly from a book recommended to me from a friend called Five in a Row. I am LOVING this book. It recommends wonderful, full of life stories for us to read, as well as some great activities (I use this word loosely) to take learning further.

So, our first book was How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World. About a gal who decides to make an apple pie but finds the market closed. She then travels to different countries finding the finest ingredients for her pie. We read this story once each day and then took a part of the book a little further in a lesson (geography, art, science, etc.).

Reading makes up the largest part of our curriculum. Hmmmm, maybe that isn't quite the truth. Training Fish to play on his own without destroying things may actually be taking precedence right now. Oh, the joys of an active, to say the least, three year old.

Next comes math. We are working through Right Start Math which is awesome for Treefrog at this point. I have planned through Lesson 10 and there is only one worksheet in those first ten lessons. It is, obviously, very manipulative based and that has been great so far.

Handwriting is a combination of copywork from books that we are reading or that he chooses (thanks for that great idea, J!!) and pages from a book we started working on this summer.

There was a lot of time for Treefrog, Fish, and Pillbug to interact (which I love) throughout the day. We had breaks to change diapers, get snacks or drinks, clean up messes, go for a walks, help a friend in crisis, etc. Though the week was tough, it is what I thought it would be - a LOT of family life with a bit of school. The tide will turn one day and family life will focus more on school, but for now, I'm going with the flow.

The obligatory "First Day of School" picture:

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Meet Brielle

Isn't she so cute?!

We recently got the chance to meet "our cow." We are a part of a creamery and receive a gallon of milk each week from one of two cows on a farm about ten miles from our house. Both cows are pregnant right now and the one in the pictures isn't due until about February. The other cow will deliver sometime in the next couple of months (so she is getting a break from milking right now so her body can grow that calf!). We will make another trip out when the calf is born, but hope to visit sooner than that if possible.

Treefrog and Fish had a great time running around, saying hi to Brielle, and thanking the cows for giving us milk (literally! It was so cute to hear Fish, "Thank you for our milk!"). Treefrog, ever sensitive to smells, decided it wasn't very pleasant to breathe right next to Brielle. He did like climbing over the hay piles and jumping from higher-than-Mama-would-prefer.

I resisted the urge to offer my milking services on a regular basis, but just barely. I would love to get my hands on those udders *wink*

It is such a huge responsibility, caring for two milk cows. I'm so glad that there are people who are willing to make these two beauties a part of their life! The milk is delicious and fresh. We see first hand how the cows are cared for, the process of milking the cows, and how the milk is cooled quickly to keep it fresh longer. I have had people ask me if I am nervous about giving my family raw milk and my answer is a resounding "NO!" It is very comforting seeing the entire process and knowing the milk my kiddos are drinking is roughly 12 hours out of the udder.

Want to find a creamery near you? Check out this website. It is an incredible source of information for local food sources all over the United States.

Monday, August 23, 2010

A Day at the Beach











Friday, August 20, 2010

A Quick Check-In

I haven't disappeared. My mom came for a visit and life was rather busy with her here - busy in a very good way! We had fun at OMSI, exploring the tide pools at the beach, and going for walks. Of course, we went to The Cheesecake Factory (a little tradition we have going on) and shopping. Mom bought us a butter bell to keep our homemade goodness a bit fresher and a laundry system (to sort clothes as we take them off, instead of my previous system which was put them all into one bin).

I was delighted with these gifts.

Am I a grown-up or what?

Thanks for a wonderful visit, Mama!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Confession 3

I buy Reese's Cups and Dr. Pepper, consume them together, and don't feel an ounce of guilt.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sittin' On the Dock of the . . . Bed?

I'm in bed.

It's the end of a CA-razy week. Last Tuesday I lost Fish. Friday I turned thirty. Saturday we all got the flu and Pillbug cut the tip of her finger off. Today my back decided to spasm.

So, here I sit.


Here are the details of each event. Tuesday: Fish squeezed his little-big behind through a hole that he had made in our fence and then into our neighbor's fenced-in backyard. Many folks helped me search for him and he was gone a total of 15-20 minutes. It seemed like a lifetime. He patted me on the shoulder when our neighbor brought him back and said, "It's okay Mama. Don't cry. It's okay." The little buggar.

Friday: 30. 'nough said.

Saturday: I woke up thinking my hormones were to blame for feeling like a Bitch (and trust me, it deserves that capital B!), but it turned out I, and the rest of my family, was just getting a stomach bug. Of the vomiting variety. Great. It hit Ben first. Then Treefrog. I held it together until about 4 pm and asked if I could take a shot at laying down since I was feeling queasy too. I had been in our bed for roughly two minutes when I heard The Scream. I bolted out of bed and met Ben at our bathroom door. He was holding our screaming Pillbug who was missing the tip of her finger. Sweet Treefrog had been trying to bring Ben a glass of water since he was throwing up. Ben told Treefrog to shut the door so Pillbug didn't follow him in and Treefrog shut it rather aggressively, taking Pillbug's middle finger with it. Oh, that image is hard for me to remember. She and I rode in an ambulance to our Children's hospital and met our favorite ER doc. He gave her six stitches and sent us on our way. Tylenol and Ibuprophen are working wonders at controlling her pain. I found out today that she really likes to look at it and try to pull the stitches out. Apparently, it isn't bothering her too much.

Today: Scene - lunch time in a typical American house. Mama is shredding cheese for quesadillas. Friend of the Dad, J is keeping Pillbug from clawing at Mama. Mama is looking uncomfortable.

Mama: Gosh, I really need to crack my back. And if I am ever rich I am buying all my cheese pre-shredded!

Dad enters kitchen.

Mama: Oh, I'm glad you're home! If you pick me up to crack my back, will it work in the middle?

Dad: Yeah, it should.

Mama: Wait! You have a broken back. You can't lift me!

Dad: Yes I can!

Dad begins chasing Mama around trying to pick her up.

Mama: Joke's over! Stop it!

Mama lays on floor and swings legs from side to side to stretch and crack her back. She attempts to get up from the floor and at that moment realizes she has made a mistake. A very. big. mistake.

Yes, this is my life. One child who is an escape artist, one with stitches, and me not being able to move an inch without shooting pain in my back. Oh to be 29 again!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Confession 2

Due to [insert whatever justification makes sense at the time; tiredness, laziness, I-don't-care-ed-ness . . .], I sometimes throw away a perfectly recyclable container because it still has food residue in it.

Monday, July 26, 2010

It All Ended In Screaming and Crying

I know the pictures I'm about to show you will in no way depict that title. You'll just have to trust me. A mile walk to the ice cream shop apparently is not overcome by a scoop (or, in Ben's case, two scoops) of ice cream. There was much rending of clothing and gnashing of teeth. BUT. Before that, we had this:

Oh Fish! I will never get past that smile!!

This is the first time I have ever seen Treefrog eat an ice cream cone (he usually wants one, but then uses a spoon to finish the ice cream and throws away the cone).

I know you all are jealous. She is not for sale.

And neither is he.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Confession 1

After submerging myself in the blueberry bushes to get all the berries the birds so kindly leave us in the most unreachable places, I roll around on the floor like a dog to make sure I don't have any bugs on me.

Unless Ben is home.

Then he gives me a rub down. And not that kind of rub down. Geez.

This is something I'm toying with - maybe a confession per week? Who knows. Sometimes I start things and don't follow through. Hmmm, maybe that is confession 2 ;)

Weekend Sewing

This past weekend, I found myself with a bit of time on my hands AND a sewing project started (and by "started" I mean I had the main four pieces cut). When the stars align, one simply cannot push them aside, so I started sewing.

I started a bit before this with the cutting of the fabric. Other than that, it was just following the directions (fold this seam, sew, pin these together, sew, etc) and viola! Here's the final product (a dress for Pillbug):

I'm not kidding about how easy this project was. I am an amatuer sewer at best and I had absolutely no problem with this pattern. It came from a great book I splurged on one weekend called Making Children's Clothes by Emma Hardy. I fell in love with this book the instant I picked it up. It has great ideas and requires very little previous knowledge in sewing. I hope I can make more projects from this book soon, if only those darn stars align again!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Blueberry Sal

That's a fun book, by the way, that we enjoyed when Treefrog and Fish we smaller. I should put that on my library queue while I'm thinking of it since it is blueberry season and all.

Anywho, we have been picking blueberries from our three bushes for about three weeks now. They started slowly and are peaking right about now. We have eaten A LOT of the berries so far and only put one gallon-sized baggie by for winter use. I'm not sure we are going to have many more to put by since our demand has increased as the boys have gotten older.

He just consumes what he picks . . . and whatever ones he actually puts into the bucket, Fish claims as his. Fish isn't a berry-picker (he's just a berry-eater).

What fun it is growing one's own food! We didn't even plant these bushes (I think renters previous to us may have put them in), but we sure do love taking care of them and harvesting the berries! I hope we are fortunate enough to be able to plant even more berry bushes and food when it is time for us to buy a house. That is definitely one of the qualifications - space to plant!

Afternoon Rut

Round about 1:00, I tucker out. I want to drink my coffee and read. I don't want to answer questions or play games or argue any more. I'm all done.

Unfortunately, that feeling can last even after our family's rest time is over. Yesterday was one of those days. I had been hosting Ben's mom and sister and was finished with people. But, people were still here. I was poking around on the Intra-Web and found a recipe for homemade paint. Hmmmmm. Paint is messy. But, it is warm outside. . . . What if I made the paint and then threw the kids outside while I started dinner?! Genius!!!

Never you mind those Oregon Brewfest cups *wink*

That's what we did. Treefrog merrily followed me out and proceeded to paint picture after picture. Fish (who had fallen asleep during rest) grumpily joined Treefrog, stole his pictures and threw them into the pool. Good times. It did, however, afford me the chance to start dinner.

Today, everyone is gone (except Pillbug. She is still attached to Mama.). The boys are with Ben's parents and Ben is at work. I'm relishing in my time to myself while Pillbug sleeps, listening to the sweet music the coffee pot makes just before it is finished brewing and loving the fact that I swept the floor and it is still clean. Sigh.

Friday, July 9, 2010

He Knows How to Get What He Wants

A scene from my day:

Treefrog (crying, mouth open, blood dripping down): What happened to me?

Me: Well, you busted your lip when Fish jumped on you. (checking teeth to make sure nothing else is wrong) Why don't I get you an ice cube to suck on? That will make your mouth feel better (inwardly sighing of relief that nothing else is wrong besides the busted lip).

Treefrog: I want ice cream.

Me: . . .

Yes, he got ice cream. So did Fish. The rewards/punishments for injuring here are, I think, pretty darn good.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Ben and Treefrog had quite the adventure during their time away. About a mile and a quarter on to the trail they were originally following, a ranger met them. He was patrolling the trail to let folks know that sporadic wildfires had been spotted. The ranger said they had the option of staying, but Ben felt that wasn't the safest option with a first-time, five year old backpacker. So, they came home that night, tired and disappointed. After G-Man went to bed, Ben made some phone calls and found another spot - secluded, along a river, not too far in; perfect for our first time backpacker. The morning dawned and Ben let Treefrog know that all hope was not lost, but they would go to a different spot for a night. I had a quick errand to run (more about that later) and then they would leave again (no packing necessary since they were still packed from the previous attempt!!).

We had borrowed my father-in-law's truck for me to drive while the boys were out with our van. I just jumped in the truck for my errand and was gone about a half hour. When I got back, I noticed that our van's front tire was flat. Not quite un-driveable flat, but undeniably flat nonetheless. One more errand was added to the morning's happenings, and about an hour later, the boys were off again.

They went on a trail up on Mt. Hood (but not any of the trails on Mt. Hood - the ones where people almost die, just one that follows the Salmon River). A day spent walking along the river, splashing and playing, and setting up camp made for two exhausted boys. Ben said he and Treefrog were both asleep by 10pm. Ben was up and enjoying the sounds of the wilderness at 5:30. Treefrog joined him around 6:30 and promptly asked if it was time to go home yet (my little guy still likes a warm wake-up which is not necessarily afforded in the wilderness of Oregon). They made breakfast, packed and headed home.

Our dinner conversation centered around their trip and I think it was quite a success for Treefrog and Ben. Treefrog is all smiles when he talks about playing in the river and hiking. He tells of finding an injured bat and packing out an M & M that they found along the trail (because part of Leave No Trace's philosophy is to, well, leave no trace. Even if the trace was left by someone else, you have a duty to take care of it).

I am so glad that Ben got to do this with Treefrog. I can't wait (and neither can Fish!) for when he repeats this with Fish. We are undecided if Ben will take Pillbug or if she and I will get to go out together. Either way, I love the outdoors and the opportunity to instill that love in our kids.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Kindof a Big Deal

I spent the last few days prepping for Treefrog's first backpacking trip with his dad. I couldn't resist snapping a couple of pictures before they pulled out early this morning.

Treefrog, do this *pointing off to the distance*
Why, Dad?
Just do it for the picture. It's funny.

I'm hoping for lots of good stories from both parties upon their return.

Camping - Part 2, Dos and Don'ts

Do . . . begin packing before the day you leave (go us for being on top of things!)

Don't . . . allow Ben to pack the girl's clothes (No, one long sleeved shirt will not be enough for the week, honey.)

Do . . . allow Ben to pack the boys' clothes and then double check to make sure he remembered the essentials (but don't tell Ben you are double-checking *wink, wink*)

Don't . . . forget to pack your underwear.

Do . . . make a list for the meals you need.

Don't . . . forget said list when going to the grocery.

Do . . . pack the cooler well. Mama don't like spoiled half and half, yo.

Don't . . . realize upon arrival at the campsite that someone forgot to pack the pots and pans . . .
AND the camp chairs
AND the toiletry bag (which included needed medicines for both Fish and Pillbug)

Do . . . decide to make it work and send Ben home to get forgotten items after partaking of s'mores.

Don't . . . leave s'mores supplies out assuming that Ben will put them back in the car upon his return.

Do . . . shine your flashlight at the bobcat (yes, a bobcat) and yell for Ben to GET OUT OF THE TENT RIGHT NOW AND DEAL WITH THE ANIMAL EATING OUR S'MORES SUPPLIES!!!!!

Don't . . . leave the cooler out the second night and have the exact. same. thing. happen. Only Ben is sleeping so deeply he won't wake up. Good times that night!

Do . . . take the kids to see awesome waterfalls and let them splash in the water.

Don't . . . expect Fish to walk. Apparently he is not capable of this feat once he is no longer at a playground.

Do . . . take the kids for a hike while Ben packs everything up on the last day.

Don't . . . expect Fish to walk. Apparently I'm not a quick learner.

Do . . . spend the next three dinners asking and answering the question (posed by Treefrog each time), "So. What was your favorite part of camping?"

Do . . . take lots of pictures since the ones in your head will not last forever, despite what you tell yourself.

Do . . . laugh a lot. Especially when things are forgotten and wild animals steal your cheese.

Do . . . plan to do it again. And again.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Camping - Part 1

Goodness! Recovering from our camping trip while starting to get Treefrog and Ben ready for their backpacking excursion this coming week has taken quite the toll! Upon unpacking from our family's venture into the woods (sorta), I began cooking and dehydrating food for Ben and Treefrog (thanks for the use of your dehydrator A!!). Now that my part is finished in their trip, I get to sit back and relax. Oh, wait. I have two others that I'll be in charge of while Ben and Treefrog are gone. Sigh.

So, in order to give you a glimpse of our awesome trip, I'll just throw out some pictures for you to peruse. My hope is to have another post later in which I share the do's and don'ts of car camping. Let's just say that after 8+ years of camping together, one would think that Ben and I would have learned some lessons. Not so.

My three guys enjoying a bench seat behind a waterfall.

The boys being boys and throwing rocks into the water. Ben is attempting to keep Fish from jumping in (we were only semi-successful with that one!).

Treefrog on one of the many trails near our campsite.

Another trail by the site. We learned here that Fish isn't a big fan of using his own legs.

Pillbug spent the majority of her time attached to me (because it was butt-cold), but every once in a while she got a posh seat by the fire.

Monday, June 28, 2010


I can see why people own a camper now . . .

Why, yes, that IS my second cup of coffee for the morning in the foreground. Don't judge, people. Don't judge.

We are heading out, as soon as I am off the computer and the remainder of our stuff is packed (What? You thought one bag of clothes and three bags of food was all we were taking? Silly, silly reader.). A little south of us is a place called Silver Falls, of which we have heard some pretty good feedback. There are multiple waterfalls along a fairly short trail, swimming, and a playground. What more could this family ask for?! Well . . . maybe an RV to haul all of our stuff in.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Day Four of VBS

Looks a little like this:

Me too, Fish. Me too.

Monday, June 21, 2010


So much fun can be had in the back yard:

After a morning spent at VBS, we were all pretty spent. As today is also baking day in my house, some time in our back yard was called for. Ben played tag and kept Pillbug from ingesting too much sand while I baked sandwich bread and strawberry bread. I didn't get to the hamburger buns (that I need for tomorrow - yikes!), so that'll have to be on the agenda first thing tomorrow when we return from VBS.

Well, what an exciting post this is:) Probably indicative of the weekend's wedding festivities. A five hour drive, two full days, and another 5 hour drive makes for two very tired parents. But, the windows are open, the house smells yummy, and brinner is on the menu for tonight!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Ten Things

From SouleMama (an ALL TIME favorite blog):

And you?? What are ten things bringing you joy right in this moment? Write it down, say it out loud, photograph it, or share it with those you love..

1. A not-really-planned-out trip to the strawberry farm with Treefrog.

2. Watching Treefrog run down the rows of berries.

3. Finding strawberries that say, "Treefrog, you must eat me right now!"

4. Meeting smiling friends at the farm

5. (Okay, enough about strawberries!) A delightful lunch (brought on by a freezer that had been inadvertently turned off by some little hands).

6. Rest time

7. Weekends away

8. Weddings

9. Peeks of sun

10. Gnarly Head Cab

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Summer is Here!!

I have fully embraced summer today. We (and by 'we' I, of course, mean 'Ben') set up the swimming pool. Can I just tell you,

3 boys + 1 swimming pool = a whole lot of fun (and mess, but we aren't thinking about that right now!).

We let Treefrog invite our neighbor over for a swim and they had a wonderful time splashing, getting into trouble, and torturing Fish. Poor Fish. He needs a buddy closer to us. Or maybe I just need to be more intentional about inviting his buddies over. One of those.

The set up of the pool was rather humorous. My mom had purchased this pool for the kiddos when she came out in April. It sat in a closet until today, in its original box. Before we set it up, Ben headed to the store to purchase an electric pump. My mom broke our last pump while setting up a different pool and we have been borrowing a friend's whenever we needed to use our air mattress. We figured it was time to invest in a pump. Upon beginning to blow up the pool, Ben realized there were three caps missing therefore the air wouldn't be able to stay inside. We had three very disappointed boys hanging around at that point. A few unproductive phone calls later (thanks for nothing Fred Meyer!), Ben headed back out and to the hardware store to see if he could find a cap that would fit. He returned semi-successful. The pool stays inflated for a bit, but will need emptied this evening as it won't hold throughout the night. We have the three needed caps on order and will hopefully get them before the weather turns cold again!

Today also continued our strawberry extravaganza. I am trying my hand at fruit leathers. Strawberry puree is currently hanging out on top of our grill outside to dry. I'll see how it's doing after dinner and then I may transfer it into the oven for a bit. I was trying to go low-energy on this one, so I am hoping the oven won't be needed. Oh, and strawberry shortcake is on the menu for dessert again. Hmmmm, I wonder if the kids will remember it is in the fridge . . . maybe they won't notice if we don't have it for dessert . . .

Saturday, June 12, 2010

For the Love of Strawberries

Well, one good thing about all this rain we have been having here in beautiful Oregon is that the fruit becomes out-of-this-world good. Sweet, juicy strawberries were picked on Friday afternoon. Since then, my family has been enjoying them straight up, with a bit of cream, in smoothies, and tonight's feature was . . .

Yum. Strawberry Shortcake.

Don't worry. I shared:

This picture was snapped just in time - I'm pretty sure Fish didn't breath during the two seconds it took him to consume this.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

In Which I Share Too Much About My Feet

I have issues with my feet. I am currently seeking out a support group for my feet. Let me know if you hear of a good one.

I remember as a kid HATING my feet. I was embarassed to wear flip-flops. I don't think I owned a pair of shoes that showed my feet until I was in college. I had to make a conscious decision to Stop. Hating. My. Feet. FortheloveofGod. The reason eludes me now. Maybe my toes were too stubby. Maybe the sides of my feet hung over every pair of sandals I ever tried on. . . who knows.

In college, I remember realizing that my feet weren't all that bad. Sure, they were wider than the average foot, but all in all, not too shabby. I started buying flip flops and I even got a pair of Birkenstocks (shut up - they were cool). I even painted my toenails.

Then I had a kid (and another, and another) and we moved to Oregon (is this a reason why? I'm not sure) and I began to have new foot-issues. You see, I have extremely dry skin. I use lotion like no one's business and still, my dryness persists. However, until a few years ago, I don't ever remember my feet suffering from this. Summers have turned into torture for my feet. They get so dry, they peel, they crack open, they are pretty much a pain in my arse.

For a while now, I have been treating this with lotion and socks at night and not wearing my sandals as much. This system has worked okay. It keeps the awful cracking at bay for the most part. Then, a couple of weeks ago, I noticed a spot on the ball of my foot that hurt with every step. I just ignored it, thinking it would eventually heal (it was probably just a cracked spot anyway, I thought). It hadn't gone away and last night, I decided it was time to inspect the buggar. Turns out there is a planar wart hanging out down there. Awesome. I now am hobbling around with an apple-cider-vinegar-soaked cotton ball bandaided to the ball of my foot in hopes that the acid will take care of it. The Internets tell me that this method will take around three weeks, but is less painful than having it cut or frozen and is a more permanent solution. Because, apparently, these things are prone to inviting friends. Awesome.

Don't worry. I'll keep you posted on how this treatment works and whether or not I can regain a love for my feet.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Well, our pictures were successfully recovered (though all of the organization was lost). Ben is gearing up to leave for a conference, so those awesome posts I have in my head for those two special people who just celebrated birthdays will again be put aside. Maybe this year I will just handwrite a letter to them since this is getting ridiculous.

Another success is in regards to our weather - sunshine is finally here! Only for a day, but I'll take what I can get for now. We have spent most of the day outside and I am hoping that the trend continues for the remainder of the day!

Alrighty, I'm off to cajole my family into taking a walk. Though, I don't think I will have to work hard at this:)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

One Computer Crash Later . . .

We have had a wonderful weekend and beginning to our week. We spent Memorial Day weekend with Ben's family at a campground close to the coast (like within a mile from the coast, but, interestingly enough, I never seemed to make it there). It was truly a great trip for us. The kids had a blast, were filthy, and were totally worn out by the time we arrived home. We then began the birthday craziness in our family. . .

Our dearest Fish was born May 31, 2007. Pillbug decided to make her entrance into the world on June 1, 2009. So, it was our first year of birthday extravaganza!!! We had pancakes two days in a row since each child gets pancakes on his/her birthday in the shape of his/her age. As well as birthday cake and presents for each day. Whew - this is one tired out Mama!

One awful thing did happen this weekend, our computer's hard drive decided to go kaputt. Once again we may have lost all of our children's photographs (there is one more chance that they will be recovered on Thursday - keep those fingers crossed!!). We are for sure purchasing an external hard drive now. No more waiting for us. Uh-uh. We are on it. First thing tomorrow. I am waiting to do the birthday posts for Fish and Pillbug until after I see how many photographs can be recovered. Is it sacrilegious to pray about photos?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Oregon Rain

[Side note: my favorite Phish song is their cover of Purple Rain, originally recorded by Prince. I find that funny.]

[Side, side note: this is my 100th post. I find that fun.]

Upon deciding to move to the great state of Oregon, Ben gave me a few 'lessons' in Oregon culture. He figured that we would fit in since, in our southwestern Pennsylvania home, we were known as the 'crunchy-granolas' because we, . . . wait for it . . . recycled and liked to camp - insert astonished, mouth-opened-wide GASP!! (Okay, so there may have been a few talks about me wanting dreads, but those never came to fruition so technically that shouldn't count against us.) Ben also assured me that our political views would probably not seem quite so left (indeed, we actually fall closer to the middle than the far left out here. In PA, we were most definitely far left-ists!).

The lesson that I like to bring up often though, the one at which I am constantly baffled that I believed, is Ben's proclamation that rain in Oregon isn't really like rain in PA. It's more of a drizzle; a constant one, he said, but a misty-drizzle nonetheless. Yes, to some degree my loving husband is correct. There are days that are just plain moist. Days when, though there is technically nothing falling from the sky, the glasses that adorn my face are wet and the air is thick. However, more days than not, my amazing man is wrong. We have actual raindrops falling from the sky, a LOT of raindrops falling. And, for the past couple of weeks we have been having downpours. Like, cats and dogs downpours. Spattered with hail. I am trying desperately to keep a good attitude these days, but holy hell, this is a lot of rain. I need some sunshine in my life (and would like to actually get some plants for the garden, call me crazy here, planted in the ground).

To Oregon's credit, we do have wonderfully warm, dry summers (usually July through September). Those are the months we all live for (and the sporadic days throughout the remainder of the year that we are given sunshine).

I guess for now I will continue to live for and look forward to those 90 degree days, full of sun, and out-of-door playtimes, with a thriving garden in the background. . .

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Strolling Together

We had declared this to be a rest day. The previous three days had involved two (yes, two!) trips to the zoo and a carnival. Our kids were done and we were too. Why is it, though, that when kids are tired they still insist on being energetic? Don't they understand the beauty of a nap? Or sitting and reading quietly? Geez.

We knew this going in to our declared-day-of-rest. Ben and I were prepared for the whining and the not-so-peaceful actions. When we saw that things were escalating a bit too much, we decided to step in and separate the kiddos. Treefrog and Fish had the "I'm going to clobber you to get you to do what I want" tiredness, so we knew that they needed separated. The toss up was Pillbug. Each boy individually dotes on her and so we Rock-paper-scissored for it, and Ben won the privilege of taking Pillbug with him. The three of them drove off to find us some local, raw honey (allergies are upon us full force, our normal honey-supplier is STILL. NOT. OPEN., and we are Desperate). Treefrog and I decided a stroll through the woods was in order.

The beauty of where we live is that we are within walking/biking distance of the grocery, post office, our church, and many friends, as well as The Canyon. The Canyon is part of the college campus and is a wooded area that is home to many paths, a creek, and a few wild life. One year we had a hawk that nested there. It is usually teeming with nutria and deer have been known to meander around as well. Today, we got a little taste of wildlife as I almost stepped on a snake. It was a garter snake (ours looked like the one in the top right corner of the link) and so there was no fear as it was just lying there. Treefrog decided to watch it for a while and so we stood while it slowly made its way across the path and into the dried leaves off the side. It was a peaceful few moments. He asked many questions about the snake (some answers I knew, some I said we would have to look up) and we did a search for the snake's possible home. Eventually Treefrog was ready to move on, collecting wood for his "campfire" in our backyard, and I realized that the kids' kind of restfulness is rejuvenating in its own way. I like strolling with my biggest little man.

p.s. The honey was only available in the gallon size. For $60. We are still honey-less.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Tuesday Nights Revive My Soul

Each Tuesday evening I can be found (or can be found wanting to be) at my friend A's house for a few hours. She hosts a "Craft Night." At times there is a little bit of talking and a good deal of knitting/crocheting/whatever-ing. While at other times there is only talking, wine, and chocolate. One never knows what the night will hold beyond good company, freedom to just be, and a lifted spirit at the end. Tuesday evenings have become a sanctuary for me.

Thank you, A, for making your house available, allowing us to laugh loudly, talk too much, craft too little, and stay too late each Tuesday evening. The time there revives me for the remainder of the week!

Last night we spent much time talking to a new(er) friend about our milk choice. I haven't blogged about this yet, but, well, we've gone raw. (Are you keeping a list? I now make my own deodorant, wash my hair with baking soda and vinegar, AND drink raw milk. It's official - I'm a hippie). We pay $5 per half gallon and get milk that was in the cow less than 12 hours previous to us taking our first drink. It is a beautiful thing for me. I love having a connection with a local farmer, making a sustainable choice for our milk, and knowing the cow from which we are consuming milk. So, our newer friend was intrigued (maybe a bit disgusted at first), but took the plunge, tried the milk, and declared, "Oh! It tastes just like milk!" I guffawed heartily and we moved on. It was fun introducing someone to the choice my family has made in a non-judgmental (hopefully!) way. There was no request for her to join us in getting the milk. We didn't talk her to death about the health benefits and/or the way our milk industry treats milking cows and/or the benefits to buying local. The three of us present who are buying the raw milk could have gone on for hours on these topics. But we didn't and I think that is what begins the process of good communication regarding these issues: Talking all friendly-like about the choices my family has made and accepting and communicating that not all families can or should make those same choices.

So, yeah, Tuesday nights rock. And buy local (when possible).

Monday, May 10, 2010

To Bake Bread or Cookies . . .

Tonight, I chose the cookies.

Yesterday was a weird day. When people asked, I answered that it was good (after all, it was Mother's Day), and really, I didn't have much to complain about. Ben made me breakfast (a super yummy omelet with spinach, onion, pepper, and aged cheddar. mmmmmmmm), the kiddos got me a gorgeous hanging basket, and Treefrog made me a very cute plate in his pre-k. It was fine. Really.

Except, it wasn't.

Ben and I went to service for the first time in 2 (3?) months. We were out of town every weekend in March, I taught or helped in the third grade class throughout April, and then check outs happened. We were busy, is all I'm sayin'. Rewind to the previous times I had been to church. . . I had never once felt lacking in our service. I had never felt disconnected from those around me. I had never had the desire to stand up and scream about the lack of participation in the service. Never.

Until yesterday.

I sat in service and was struck by how I felt like I was watching a performance. I was put off by the people singing, or more like whispering, around me. I felt as though I was disconnected from those sitting in front, behind, and beside me. It put me in such a funk. I was restless. I was angry. I couldn't engage in the happenings, no matter how much I prayed for a connection.

Two months and the gathering that I have become a part of on Sunday evenings has completely flipped my world upside down without my knowledge. I was completely unprepared to realize that my church, my connection with other worshipers, the time where I feel I bring forth my gifts and offer them to God alongside others, was usurped by a gathering that, a year ago, I would have said I wouldn't have a place in.

I am still processing this - with Ben, with God, apparently here. I know I will be okay with this eventually. I think I will need to allow myself some time to mourn this loss. Does that sound silly?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Five Turns Around the Sun (now with pictures!)

Five years ago today, Papa and I woke at 5:30 am. We were scheduled to be at the Washington County Hospital in Washington, PA to induce labor. My blood pressure had been running really high for quite some time, so it was evident that you needed a little help in coming out. We arrived at the hospital just before 7 am and by 7:30 I was hooked up to pitocin. Nurses flitted in and out, which we thought was normal. Around 9:30, though, they shared with us that this was not normal. Your heart rate was very concerning and we needed to stop the labor and go in for a "very quick" c-section. We were scared. The nurses told us it was fine, probably just a reaction to the pitocin. I hyperventilated a bit, but had a nurse that grabbed me by the shoulders, looked me in the eye, and breathed with me while the anesthetist found the needed spot for the spinal. At 10:30 am on April 27, you were born. Amazing, beautiful, a gift from God.

Papa got to hold you for a bit before they wisked you away to clean you up. For reasons we are still not sure of, I did not get to hold you again until 6pm that night. Papa went out to the nurses and demanded you be brought back to us. Good ol' Papa:) You nursed well and everyone cuddled with you and cooed at you. Around 9pm, you were still sleepy, but I attempted to wake you to have you nurse again. You would latch on, but then promptly fall asleep. A nurse happened by and started "helping" me. Soon, she called in for assistance. Two nurses sat by my side, telling me to move this way, hold you a different way, watch that I didn't smother you, poke you to keep you awake . . . and on and on for three hours. At midnight, me in tears, we decided to supplement with a bottle. The nurses took you to the nursery for shift change and to try a bottle. Exhausted, Papa and I fell asleep.

At 1 am, I was awakened by a doctor. He came in to inform us that your heart rate was extremely high and you were not responding to the normal methods to get the rate to come down. They needed to life-flight you to Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. We stayed as close to you as they would let us (me in a bed, Papa standing) for the next 15 minutes until the helicopter arrived. The nurses snapped a polariod of you before you were taken "just in case."
Papa left with Judga to go be with you at the hospital and Nana came up to be with me. We learned around 5:30 on April 28 that you were going to live, indeed thrive, with the right combination of medications and/or a simple surgery. There were still many questions, but much relief at hearing this. I wouldn't make it up to see you until April 30 as I was recovering from the c-section. Papa and you bonded over those three days as he held you (when he was allowed), talked to you, and read to you.

Five years later, you still keep us on our toes. You are a light in our lives. You love playing superheros (you are Spiderman or, your own invention, Super Kid and you designate Fish to be The Hulk), running, drawing, and playing Redwall. You would rather be outside playing than inside most of the time (unless drawing is involved!). You have an endless supply of questions. You hate to be interrupted. You love your brother and sister (and say so very often). You love Pre-K, Sunday School, YoungLives, and Thursday morning Bible study. Many people asked you as your birthday approached what you wanted. You always had the same answer, "Well, whatever I get!" My sweet, sweet boy. I cannot remember what life was like before you came to be. I love you, my five year old. You are my most favorite Treefrog.

Pictures (in order): 18 months, 2 years, 4 years, 2 years with baby brother Fish, just after "The Fall" 4 years old, today with his birthday pancake