Sunday, January 29, 2012

This Dog... smelly, I tell you what!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Da boys

Hangin' out with a new park friend.
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....Evie will only wear Jack's.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

55 degrees

...and quite mild outside.  Despite the rain spells, it's getting harder and harder to convince myself that we're still in the winter!

Farmer Flood Superheroes

There has been a lot of flooding here recently, and while we are safe from the water ourselves, not all of our friends have been so lucky.  Last week I took Jack, Caiden and Rebecca to a nearby farm to help them harvest as many crops as they could before their land went underwater.  (I left Evie with Auntie Alison -- she's a bit young yet to be out in the muddy, rainy fields!)

In the car on the way over I explained the situation.  The kids decided they were Farmer Flood Superheroes, and they were going to rescue all the plants!

They look thrilled to be here, right?

Second attempt was not much more successful!

The view from the farmers' front yard.  Normally there's no water to be seen here!

Looking over from their front porch.  Those are their greenhouses in the middle of the river!
Here's the farmer loading up blue boxes of produce to bring in from the fields.

Naturally, once we reached the fields the kids were much more interested in digging up worms, smashing clumps of dirt, explaining how cold they were and so on....  So it was up to me to dig.  We stayed for an hour and dug up one box of potatoes!  Considering the amount of Other Activities we were also doing, I'm proud we got this many out of the ground!

Here they are being totally proud that "we" dug up all those potatoes!  Also being freezing.  ;)

Once they knew we were heading home, they were in high spirits over how much "we" had accomplished.  :)

"We" dug up the whole row from where I was standing to the end of the field!

This was after wiping as much mud off my hands as I could manage.  I got REALLY dirty!
Making our way to the farm house to wash up....

Of course we had to take a closer look at the flood before we left!

That's a mostly-submerged fence in the middle of the shot.

They were very smart (knowing they're in a floodplain) and oriented their greenhouses to let the floodwater flow right through them!

Just before we left, we found this forklift!  It was the icing on the cake to the whole visit.

And look!  It's growing GRASS!

Then it was time for a change into dry clothes, and a snack of granola bars, apples, cheetos and doritos on the way home.  They earned it!

Monday, January 23, 2012


Our dishwasher went on the fritz last week and while I've been looking for our home warranty to cover the repairs (which I finally found, thank goodness!) I've been washing the dishes by hand.  Jack caught wind of how much work this is and he has been my devoted dish washer since then!

You can't really see the sink full of dishes that he's working on, but I thought this picture gave a good idea of his dedication to his job.  He's legitimately saved me several hours of work so far!  :)

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Jack and Evie's new room!

This is the ceiling color in progress on Jack and Evie's upcoming Big Kids Bedroom. I'm very excited about this!
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Evie just wants to watch the rain and the cars driving by.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Making crackers!

Cheez-its, to be precise. Yum!

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Those fabrics are going to be bean bag chairs for my fine kiddos. They have envied Caiden and Becca's chairs for a long time, so they are very excited to have their own!


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Friday, January 13, 2012

Pretty in pink

Evie loves her snuggly jammies from uncle Eric!
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It's official: I have no more babies!

I was just singing a "little baby, little tiny baby" song to Evie (that she has loved for a loooong time now) and she gave me kind of a dirty look. 
So I apologized and said "Should I stop calling you a baby? Are you ready to be a toddler?"
And she said, clear as day and looking straight into my eyes, "YES."
I don't think she could have made it any clearer -- my baby girl is in fact a toddler!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

At the chiro

Jack is showing Evie how the toys work. :)

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Evie's coat

This IS Evie's, right? :)

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I have a dislocated rib. Ouch!!

This is day two of having my rib in the decidedly wrong place!  I can't do much and it's frustrating to say the least.  I was on such a roll with the house being clean, kids happy and well-occupied, everybody fed good things....  Now we're back to "did everybody survive the day?" 

Thank goodness for sisters; Alison came over for almost 5 hours yesterday so I could take it easy and is coming back today!  Hopefully when I go back to the chiropractor today he'll be able to fully resolve this nonsense.  **grumble**

Monday, January 9, 2012


I'm getting quite excited at the prospect of keeping a few chickens in our yard.  Our lot is big enough to allow us a few and between Jack's love of finding eggs and Evie's love of anything bird-related, I'm sure they will be a welcome teaching and growing-up aid too.

I have no interest in starting a flock when the weather is still cold and wet, though (unless I happen upon some free chickens or another noteworthy enticement to get going right away)!  So I'll be waiting until spring to get the actual birds.  That way I can get through my learning curve while the weather is pleasant, and then be ready for next winter when it rolls around.  For now I'm reading up on chicken books from the library and eying the yard to decide on the best place for a coop!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

garden plans

Oh boy, I have big plans for my garden this year! 

I just got a fully functioning rototiller for free today.  There's a lot that I've been dreaming of doing in the front and back yards, but that I haven't really launched the projects because most of my "soil" is actually thick, sticky Oregon clay.  That means that for every project I want to do, extensive digging and soil amendment is needed!  I had definite trouble last year because I didn't amend the soil enough and ended up with plants that were unable to outgrow the holes I dug for them -- they essentially grew (quite poorly) in clay pots made out of the soil itself!  I was very sad to have lost some of my food plants that way.

On the topic of soil amendment:  The house came with a huge bag of peat moss, which has proved very useful for lightening the soil.  I've also been composting basically since the day we moved in, and the compost is proving to be VERY helpful on a small scale as I can get it dug into the clay... but it's still a lot of time and elbow grease to get each plot started.

Enter the rototiller!  Pictured in the previous post.  :)  Obviously it's secondhand (or third- or fourth-hand, if it comes to that).  It's missing one of the handle grips.  It needs a new belt -- two if we want the "reverse" feature to work.  But it's a functioning rototiller and it's going to make my life soooo much easier this spring.  My plans for the next three years are suddenly possible to get done all in 2012!

Alex is much more mechanically inclined than I ever have been, so he's going to get it fired up and working for me with the new belt it needs.  We'll probably do that next weekend since the sun is still going down pretty early.  By the time he gets home from work during the week, it's dark outside!   I'll do my best to remember to get pictures of my new baby in action.  The first step will be digging up an area beside our driveway so I can plant some irises and bulbs.  Our winters are so darned mild that the dormant (and hence the pruning and planting) season is almost over already!  But that's a post for another day.

front-yard gardening

My latest baby!

....a rototiller! :D

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Friday, January 6, 2012

The Year of the Chart?

As Evie is nearly to toddler age and Jack is thoroughly a preschooler, I'm finding that we're leaving behind the flexibility that you *need* with a baby, and I'm starting to become quite organized!  I think 2012 is going to be the year of the chart and list.  Things I am charting/listing already:

Writing ideas -- one of the things I want to do this year is sell my writing.  A lot of it.  And I have plenty of ideas to work with!  But inspiration often hits while I'm busy with something else, like getting ready to take a walk, or halfway through the grocery trip.

Lunches and snacks -- when they get hungry they get HUNGRY, and fast!  I find that I need a few go-to foods that I can produce instantly, even when I have two hungry kids frolicking through the kitchen at my feet.

"School" lessons and weekly activities -- Jack is so interested in counting, letters, reading, and he asks me questions about things all the time.  I'm trying to keep better track about the projects we've talked about but not started yet, the places we've discussed going, and stuff like that.  There's so much to DO!

gardening chores -- Even though it's only January, I can feel spring right around the corner.  We have tons of stuff we should be doing right now to get ready for when spring finally hits.  It's the season for repairing things, making sure all tools are at the ready, pruning the dormant plants, etc., etc., etc.  I just know one morning I'm going to turn around and it's going to be summer!  I can only hope I'll be more prepared this year than last year when we didn't get gardening until mid-May.

pet/household chores -- Two kids, a husband, a dog, a cat, a bird cage.  It's high time to start keeping track of when all this stuff is getting cleaned so I don't miss anything!

sewing projects -- Evie needs some bibs now that she's decided to feed herself.  The kids really want kid-sized bean bag chairs, and I have a bunch of spare fabric that could be turned into awesome aprons.  And that's only scratching the surface.  I'm looking forward to getting my own sewing space set up (once Jack is out of his current room) so I can have a space to pause mid-project without having to take extreme protective measures!

Block-stacking time!

Evie is working on fine motor skills.  Jack is working on architecture.  :)

Thursday, January 5, 2012


Two kids and two bowls.... Endless fun!
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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

warm day in the yard

While Jack was at school this morning, Evie and I spent some time in the garden!  It's a nice, 50+ degree morning here so I was digging up irises and day lilies to divide and share with others.  Evie was finding plenty to do on her first real garden excursion since she's gotten her legs under her!

I found a Thing!

I know where this goes....

Okay, I want it back now!

Coming to get more Things.

Found a good one!  Now I just need to pick it up....

Snagged it!

Aaaand tripped as soon as she stood up.  :P

Now where did I drop that Thing?

Even after she got her sweater soaked by playing in a water-filled pot, she didn't want to go inside.  "How about some football instead, mom?"  :)
Oh yes, and I managed to dig up a good clump of overgrown yellow irises and day lilies.  Hooray!

Monday, January 2, 2012

the chilly entryway

The thing about owning your own home is that there isn't necessarily someone looking over your shoulder asking you the important questions like, "Are you sure the reason you're getting that TERRIBLE draft around your front door isn't -- just maybe -- because you didn't close the window to seal up your storm door's screen?  So the breeze has been blasting right through it?"

....Yeah.  I figured this out yesterday.  Once I sealed the storm door properly, the draft was *miraculously* gone!  Since it's still our first winter here (and barely officially started at that), I'm going to count it as a success that I noticed the open screen before spring rolled around!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Jack paints

Jack has happily insisted that he be allowed to help prepare his (and Evie's) new room with a fresh coat of paint. Here goes the primer!
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Little Bear, Little Bear

Jack acts so grown up that sometimes I forget just how small he is! Here he is enjoying a hot chocolate at our favorite coffee shop, Cornerstone. Note the new Lightning McQueen slippers from Christmas that he just COULDN'T leave the house without. :)
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Snuggle time

Sometimes a girl just needs a good snuggle. :)
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