Tuesday, April 29, 2008

An Entire Row

In the desert Southwest my husband built me a garden. I'm not talking bells and whistles (although he did a really nice job) but a box about 2x6 that housed many an effort. We couldn't get a whole bunch to grow there- tomatoes did nicely and peppers, too. Each year I would with great enthusiasm plant herbs and veggies and just wait for them to wilt in the 100+ heat all summer long.

When we moved up to the Pacific Northwest this year I found that we are surrounded by farms. It was like hitting the jackpot- fresh, organic foods right there at my disposal. Then I realized that much of this farmland goes quiet for many dark and rainy months. Ugh- what a tease. I also found that our beautiful yard on our rental property had well manicured lawns and beautiful landscaping surrounding the house. But no garden. My first chance for green appendages and no outlet.

Our landlord raises trees on a tree farm just beyond our yard and Sunday night we walked through the farm when he mentioned my fondness of gardening. That's when he said it- those magical words...I could have my own space for MY OWN garden. And it wasn't just some space but an entire row of the most beautifully tilled soil I'd ever seen! Can you just imagine my delight?

So far the order looks like this: corn, potatoes, onions, beans, squash (acorn and spaghetti), zucchini, carrots, spinach, melon, chamomile (for tea), sunflowers and lavender. We should have our shipment in about a week and be planted by mid-May. I am hoping to be knee-high by the 4th of July! Watch for updates...

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Capper

How do you end the most beautiful spring Saturday yet? (It reached 75 yesterday when only one week ago it was snowing!) You gather up the kids and head down to the river for an after dinner bonfire including s'mores for the little ones (okay me, too) and an ice cold beer for mom and dad. What more needs to be said?

Impromptu is Best

Friday evening was one I'll remember for a long time. I had just seen my husband disappear over the hill when I grabbed the camera and the dog and we followed in hot pursuit
Belle and I reached them to find the big kids quickly sketching their whereabouts and excitedly discovering new things. Of course every mother should be happy to see this but immediately I thought, "Oh no- those aren't their nature books!" Talk about control issues...
We have this fabulous tire swing made by the landowner that hangs underneath an old tree house (more like tree platform). It's really, really high and it looks completely dangerous. I started to climb it when my husband began to hem and haw. "Come on, honey, think about what you did as a child. And if you saw this on your property don't tell me you wouldn't be up there in a heartbeat". That did it- he tested it out, smile and all.
A highly reluctant girl followed him and to her ultimate joy- she did it.

By now the dog was going insane. Her master was up a very big tree and she tried with all her might to do the same.
And of course, the toddler wanted in on this too. Oddly enough, he climbed up the fastest- just took off like a rocket and had to be pulled down by daddy. Do you think he liked that?

We set off for more adventures up through the trees. We happened upon some unsuspecting antlers, a hawks nest with a baby hawk flapping his wings while mama squawked loudly overhead, some slugs and best yet some views that only God could create. At 7pm we realized we had been out for hours and not one child complained of being hungry, what a success!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Seussical Hill

Those trees! Those trees! Those truffula trees! All my life I'd been searching for trees such as these! The touch of their tufts was much softer than silk, and they had the sweet smell of fresh butterfly milk!
The Lorax

For the life of us we cannot figure out what these mysterious things are that grow on our hillside. Anyone??

Seven Things- How Hard Can That Be?

Being the first time to get tagged...it has taken me a whole day to think about what to write. Tara over at Arbo Acres has put me on a mission to fess up seven random things so here goes.

1. I want to be a writer. I love all things literary and get excited about books. As soon as I pin down a genre I would like to start a book.

2. My list is so long of all the things I want to be when I grow up. I have checked off being a teacher and a saleperson in the marketplace, a mommy, and wife. I still want to be a masseuse, a carpenter, a personal fitness trainer, a writer, a Broadway singer/dancer, a FULL marathon runner (somehow a half isn't good enough for me), a chef, and I bet there's more but I can't remember.

3. That leads me right into...my head. I am forgetful and growing more so each day. I have trouble remembering many a thing and oh, I better go check the stove.

4. I tend to go into hyper-emotional overdrive. So that might not be a big surprise but I am super sensitive and can cry on command. My children now look at me to see if there are tears welling during a sad song or story. Yep, I'm a sap.

5. Coffee addict, wish I weren't but it's true. Can't break it either.

6. I daydream about the ocean. I have always done that, too. I share of love with my daughter of marine life and the magic of the open seas; their vastness and beauty overwhelms me. When I was a child I had re-occurring dreams of falling deep, deep into the dark water and calmly watching whales swim around me. I loved that dream and feared it at the same time. How lucky I am to be fairly near the water now.

7. I want the Brady Bunch at my house. I want a zillion kids and Alice, too. (That way the laundry won't be so out of control). I love the thought of big families with all their chaos and love. I just happened to marry someone who prefers less chaos and less numbers but equal love.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Babysitting Chair

We actually got some good work done yesterday as the little guy happily got himself stuck in the chair. He was pretending to drive a really big truck. Why didn't I think of that sooner?

Earthly in Thought

My nickname years ago was tree-hugger. I personally don't find anything wrong with that and at this time it's a badge to wear proudly. Today we celebrate Earth Day and hope to find enough inspiration to make every day special on this beautiful God-given planet. I found it interesting that some in the news were questioning Pope Benedict on his recent trip about some environmental content in which he spoke. Why the questions? What's the confusion? We have a green pope. He isn't speaking from some political standpoint- he cares very deeply about the state of the environment.

In our house we have a very busy day with classes at the co-op (and just for earth day- you can get free coffee if you bring your own mug, yay!), t-ball, ballet and books due at the library. Somewhere in the middle today we will be making the favorite every year- dirt cake. Yum! We'll be working on crafts like this one.

And because they begged- we'll be having little chocolate earths.

Happy Earth Day everyone!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Keeping Spidey on the Down Low

I mean no offense when I say this and perhaps I'll sound a little snooty but I just can't stand super heroes. You know Spidey, Superman, etc. In my book they aren't real heroes at all- we have the saints for those great stories. Joan of Arc, St. George, St. Patrick; all have incredible accomplishments and entail true superhero status. Their stories have danger, drama and best yet...faith.

All righty back to my point. I have never bought my children clothes with characters on them. (With the exception of one Mickey Mouse nightgown and I had to explain who that was- thanks Disney!) My husband takes it up a notch. He won't wear anyone's logo- no free advertising for him. He winces if there is a horse on the pocket, he refuses to wear a shirt that displays those three familiar letters that begin with a G. It's just him- gotta love it.

Our family hit the outlet mall yesterday afternoon, shopping for a much needed raincoat for my middle man. About every 20 feet there was a motion car for suckers, I mean parents, to plunk $.50 into and watch their kids go back and forth with great enthusiasm. We happened upon one that had a creepy looking Spiderman in the passenger seat. My kids ran to it, laughing. They all took turns jumping in the car with the strange man in webs. Both my husband and I asked them, "Who is that man? What's his name?" To which the three replied, "I don't know" shoulder shrug and all.

Yesssssss, we both said at the same time. It's working this non-commercial thing. And as for the raincoat- a lovely yellow slicker with not a logo in site.

P.S. About my Disney comment earlier- they really don't know about that gimmick. Let's keep it up okay?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Some Spring

It's not much but it's still snow. Off and on mixed with showers today. It's 33 degrees right now. Ugh.

Friday, April 18, 2008

In An Apartment?

So we got swept up in all papal things yesterday- strudel with tea, crafts, readings, watching EWTN. Of all the things we covered yesterday about Pope Benedict- the one thing that stuck out for the kids was that he lives in an apartment. An apartment?! they asked several times for clarity. I'm not sure where they thought he lived, perhaps inside church? Just like all teachers live in their classrooms?

Dinner was simple but fun- orange soda (couldn't find the Fanta so we settled for all natural orange pop. Definitely not as fun!), bratwurst, followed by Bavarian cream pie that was much to soupy to eat last night- let's hope it's a better consistency today!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Grab Me a Smock

And call me crafty- I just got my copy yesterday. I already can't wait to try some ideas...
I also picked up this book and this one, too- both were less than $5 and beautifully illustrated from the bargain selection at Barnes and Nobel. I'm dangerous in that place- it's a good thing there was a two year old melt down with a quick escape!

Here They Come

And there they go...
When asked what the game was I had to laugh- "we're watching ourselves on the GPS, aren't we fast?" No wonder I heard a women's voice saying "turn left" over and over.

What Disrupts a Math Test?

A red-tailed hawk with straw in tow, looking to build a nest out the window.
Isn't it always something??

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Bye Bye Birdie

Yesterday the kids and I were on our last decade of the rosary praying for Grandpa when a loud boom hit the window just behind where we were sitting. I turned to see feathers flying, "dear God, no!" I thought. But yes, a bird smashed into the window and was lying on the deck trying to get up. I panicked, I'm totally new at this country living thing.

While I called around to get advice - do I flip it over to get up? Do I leave it?? - the bird died. Oh no. We couldn't help it anymore. Both the big kids stood at the door and stared at the poor thing, tears streaming down. I don't know what was more painful, their faces and broken hearts or watching an innocent creature die.

We agreed to wait for daddy to come home to give the birdie a proper funeral. Daddy dug a hole under St. Francis and my daughter read:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life

Later in the day as we were driving out our long road we stopped for a deer on the road. "Mom," said the most sensitive one, "please slow down so there is no more death this week". May the sun come back and soften our hearts again...

Monday, April 14, 2008

Farewell Grandpa

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where I am going, you know the way.
John, 14:1-4

Please pray for the repose of the soul of George Moebeck. He is my husband's grandfather who passed away yesterday at the age of 86. We will miss you grandpa.

We Did It

And painfully. The half marathon really was a great experience but those hills... my legs might be sore until Christmas! My husband, our friends and I ran over the mats together and shortly after our first hill, separated. We all broke into our own comfortable strides and didn't reunite until coming into the stadium 2 hours later. As we finished, the rains began to come down and we very quickly cooled off.

For me, the best parts of the race had to be around mile 8 when our friend, Jill, (bravely in charge of eight children) drove by in the van-honking like mad and all the kids cheering me on. What a perk! Also, the scenery doesn't get much prettier than on the island- fields of flowers to one side and the ocean on the other. Not too shabby!

Silly seagull- I was trying to get the mountain views from the ferry!

A quaint farmers market on the island- they were having a wine tasting as we pulled in. Too bad for us that doesn't bode well with a big run the next morning.

The tide is out, let the scavenger hunt begin...

Before and after

Nothing like a scoop of ice cream to make the 3 hour trip home. Weekend well done!

Friday, April 11, 2008

A Sort Of Letdown

Since November my husband and I have been training for our first marathon. He long ago fell off that wagon but has managed to run a little here and there to do the half-marathon. "Oh no" I said, "not me- I will run the whole thing!" Very determined, I ran myself into some shin splints that will not heal. (Okay maybe if I stopped running and working out they would but don't tell me that!)

So in the interest of my stubbornness, I will join my husband and run the half. Only because I have no other choice. I've had to seriously cut back on the miles so I won't be prepared for the full 26.2 miles.

And who wouldn't want to go spend the weekend with good buddies on beautiful Whidbey Island? I'll see you back on Monday with spectacular pictures of the island in bloom (hopefully), limp and all.

And while I'm thinking about it, please don't tell the acupuncturist that I'm doing this for she strongly warned against it. It seems that some people believe this kind of running to be extreme. Apparently they haven't fallen to the brainwashing and addictions of running like I have.

To Market, To Market

I am so looking forward to the local farmer's markets that will open sometime in May. Until then we have been baking some yummylicious apples.

We core them out and stuff them with oats and a mixture of brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. I add a dab of butter to the top of them to melt through before they go in the oven.

Of course it helps to have a cute, little person around to do the hard work!

Pop them in the oven for about 40 minutes on 350 and serve them with a scoop of vanilla for an even sweeter treat.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

We're Ready

With snow last week and lots of rain, we anxiously await spring...
Seeds are planted, herbs are growing and artwork is flowing.

Our "toad abodes" compliments of the Woodland Park Zoo are open for business.

What you can't see is that inside two of the abodes there are drawings of couches, chairs and toys so little froggies will find it quite hospitable!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Just Like a Pincushion

I love new experiences in life and yesterday I got to have one.

I went to an acupuncturist for the very first time. Dr. Beck Su was a fantastic listener with phenomenal insight. Our bodies are mind blowing how they work as a whole. So I learned a ton, relaxed a bit and am still amazed that it really doesn't hurt!

Monday, April 7, 2008

And To Think

We actually turned off the tv. Okay, I admit, I turned off the tv but there was only one minute left. My husband turned the set back on and said, "They can do it". I disagreed- I mean there were now only 10 seconds left. Memphis missed their free throws and we got a 3. A 3!

Into overtime we screamed and mom set a really bad example for the two year old! In an Elaine fashioned "get out!" I pushed my smart husband- a few times. All chaos ensued.

What crazy fun those kids in Lawrence must be having! Rock Chalk Jayhawk!!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

On Pins and Needles

What a game!

And playing for the National Championship! Go Jayhawks!!

Inspirationally Ikea

In case you haven't noticed, spring fever has spread. It's all over the blogosphere. And the bug has found it's way to my house. The junk drawer can no longer hold it's title. The closets are slimmer. The flour and sugar have found new homes in these. Drawers now shut. CD's are organized. Calendars are up. And we have a new bookcase with books topically arranged, thanks to our trip to Ikea yesterday.

If you haven't ever been to this store, you must locate one and run to it. Bring your children because it's a field trip like no other. You can spend an entire day there and it's almost like going to Disneyland (not like we would know that!). And don't forget to stop for the meatballs before you go.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Swelling Heart and the Spanish Inquistion

Sitting at breakfast this morning my middle man fired away with his armory of questions.

Mom, why are you weak with the hand you don't use? (bite of oatmeal)
Mom, what's the last number in the universe? (another bite)
Mom, when are we going to grandma's house again? (gulp)
Mom, what is 25x5002? (scoop and insert)
It went on and on. No one else could say anything. And yet when those big brown eyes peered up at me over his bowl and I saw this little person growing by the second, my heart just swelled. It almost hurt from love. I think sometimes about how much I care about these little people and at times how they make me certifiable- that must be how God feels about us but magnified. His love is even greater than my heart-swelling moments and his disappointment in us when we stray must be worse than my hair-pulling days.

The ebb and flow of having these children home with me is life changing. We have our moments when it's all falling apart and we have our moments that shine so brightly. I will treasure this table talk and keep it tucked in my back pocket for the next rainy day.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Humor Hits Home

If you give a mom a muffin,
She'll want a cup of coffee to go with it.
She'll pour herself some.
Her three-year-old will spill the coffee.
She'll wipe it up.
Wiping the floor, she'll find dirty socks.
She'll remember she has to do laundry.
When she puts the laundry in the washer,
She'll trip over boots and bump into the freezer.
Bumping into the freezer will remind her
she has to plan for supper.
She will get out a pound of hamburger.
She'll look for her cookbook
("101 Things To Do With a Pound of Hamburger" ).
The cookbook is setting under a pile of mail.
She will see the phone bill, which is due tomorrow.
She will look for her checkbook.
The check book is in her purse
that is being dumped out by her two-year-old.
She'll smell something funny.
She'll change the two-year-old's diaper.
While she is changing the diaper, the phone will ring.
Her five-year-old will answer and hang up.
She'll remember she wants to phone a friend for coffee.
Thinking of coffee will remind her
that she was going to have a cup.
And chances are. If she has a cup of coffee,
Her kids will have eaten the muffin that went with it.

~Author Unknown~

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Tell Me Your Troubles...

And I'll tell you mine.

Poor Belle, she has a large tumor under her side. I mean large, like seven pounds worth. She's gettin old, my girl. Bad teeth, tumors in the mouth, can't hack long walks.

We still don't know what the other one's story is...