Friday, December 30, 2011

this i know.

Here's the thing about my boy. He still lets me rock him before rest time each day. If I sing Jesus Loves Me he lasts a few seconds before climbing the ladder up to his bed. If I make up songs about poop, or songs about his stinky feet, he will stay there all day. So, I abandon Jesus Loves Me and he laughs and scrunches his eyes up and kisses me. I love having a boy.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

do everything better???

Am I the only one that sometimes forgets to feed her baby?

I read this great quote a while back. Here it is:
“I’m a list keeper. I always have a to-do list…At one point I kept adding to the list, more and more items, more and more sweeping in their scope, until I added this line: DO EVERYTHING BETTER. It was, at the time, a pretty appropriate way to capture how I felt about my life and myself fairly often…why my life sometimes felt like I was running on a hamster wheel and why I searched the faces of calmer, more grounded women for a secret they all knew that I didn’t. This is how I got to that fragmented, brittle, lonely place: DO EVERYTHING BETTER...The grandest seduction of all is the myth that DOING EVERYTHING BETTER gets us where we want to be. It gets us somewhere, certainly, but not anywhere worth being.”
― Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet

I return to this little neglected space, shaking off the feeling that I should be better at blogging consistently, that I should do more crafts (that was for you, bff), that I should exercise before the sun rises, that I should have a PLAN, a 401K and equity (that was for you, Scoobs).

The truth is, this December I played with my kids. I baked brownies and the best flourless chocolate cake imaginable, I read a ton of Junie B. Jones with Claire, I went to the park every Thursday afternoon with a dear friend, I wrapped gifts and did an advent calendar and exercised with moderate regularity and made giant huge batches of playdoh that smells like peppermint. It has been a good month. DO EVERYTHING BETTER is a lie. We have to choose. I choose to return to this space because I like to write, even if no one is reading.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

all over town.

We are no longer the family with a school bus. It was fun while it lasted. And making fun of Nate for buying it was a fun perk too. The school bus is on its way to the bay area to enjoy a new life with a very excited and nervous young man. The kids asked me why we were selling it. I said, as I always tell them, that it was time. That we'd enjoyed the bus and that now it was time for a new adventure. I also mentioned that maybe next we'll get a submarine. Their eyes lit up. "Really? What's a submarine?"
I love that we live a life full of possibility and adventure. Even if I am usually the one who frowns on strange purchases like short buses. Thanks, Nater for not being ordinary. I love you.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

better now.

The new church has lollipops. Sunday was rough, but a little sweetness seemed to help.

Stellar Parenting Notes; When moving your kids ages 3 and 5 to a new church, perhaps don't expect them to be excited about singing Christmas carols on stage. Also, make sure they know where you are sitting in the audience.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

grace in la hacienda.

The other night we ventured to a Mexican restaurant. You know the kind of place- not exactly a date spot, but perfect for families like ours. Plenty of chips and salsa and menus that come with crayons for the kids. They seated us in the back corner. The man in the next booth smiled as he watched us settle in. "We were hoping you would sit next to us," he said, with sincerity.

"Yeah right," I smiled back.

We proceeded to fulfill every single cliche of a family with young kids. Water was spilled. Kids cried. Kids made up. Trips to the potty. Crayons were exchanged. Refried beans were flung. And I watched as this couple watched us. Their kids were grown, she said. And I could tell that she would trade places with me in a heartbeat, to have one more messy, chaotic family meal when her kids were small.

And I can't get the image of that couple out of my mind. We're deep in the season where the best thing I can imagine is an uninterrupted afternoon alone. On the days when I long for quiet, let me remember them.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

that kenny rogers was right.

Sometimes you need to know when to walk away and know when to run.

Tuesday, after prayer and clear confirmation, I quit my bible study and went to a Zumba class. In attendance: 2 elderly ladies, one of which was wearing a fur coat (WHAT???), a girl who not that long ago birthed a 10 1/2 pound baby and a pregnant lady with some fierce moves.

That hour was better for my soul than a week of bible study.

This obedience stuff is fun.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

theology lesson.

"Heaven must be pretty big. Because God is big and He wouldn't want to bump His head."
-Claire Elisabeth age 5 1/2

Monday, November 28, 2011

let's take a tiny break from my cute kids.

I've been thinking about simple crafty gifts. Here are some cool things you could do with mason jars:
This craft involves very little craftiness. I like it.

This one is also cool, but not exactly thrilling as a gift.

I would like someone else to do this and let me know how it turns out.

There's always also tiny pies, these cuties or mason jar lamps for the truly ambitious.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

double date.

Last Sunday night we ventured to Portland to watch Pinkalicious! The Musical. It was not surprising that Claire had a pinktastic time. It was the first time we had just the two "big kids" since Ingrid was born and it was a treat.
These two are secure enough in their manhood to sit contentedly in an auditorium full of fluffy pink tutus and giggling girls.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Today this girl is riding shotgun to Bend with the Dada. Their mission: to pick up a ratty volkswagen bus. He mentioned taking her shopping. Then he mentioned the Army Surplus Store. Then I mentioned the mall. I can't wait to hear about their day.

Friday, November 25, 2011

black friday.

We saved the newspapers until after the meal. Then the cousins cozied up on the couch and made their plans. Claire finds a princess art set on sale at Toys R Us. She walks over, pats my hand and says, I'd like this, Mom. Just put it in your mind.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

happy thanksgiving

From our turkeys to yours.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

the hunca files

Ingrid LOOOOVES the bath. And I am crazy about this girl.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

dear clairegirl,

Today we went to the same small bookstore that I used to take you to as a baby. We bought chapter books, because girlie, you are a reader now. We read Charlotte's Web this afternoon and you pointed out all of the words on the page that you recognized. When Wilbur meets Charlotte, tears filled my eyes. Because I know what will happen and soon you'll know too.

Today you caught a salamander, named him Smally and put him in a jar. I said he could stay inside until Dad came home. You drew a picture of trees and taped it to the outside of the jar so that Smally could "see nature." You nervously touched his smooth skin when I opened the jar to free him. Five and a half is my new favorite age.

I love you, girlie.

Monday, November 21, 2011

poultry love.

When I made this for dinner, Nate asked me if I had written this recipe down. Then he asked again to make sure that I really had the recipe saved somewhere. It was that good. We are big fans of chicken in this house.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

boy oh boy

I am first a girlmama. I am better at crafts than I am at wrestling. I love cozy spots and snuggies and pink. I learned how to be a mom with a girl. Taking walks with her each day and baking with her standing on chair so she could reach the mixer.

Then came Everett and my heart opened up to the crazy fun of a boy. I wrestle with him. I push him down, I laugh when he calls me Stinky.Yesterday, Nate came home and I showed him a bloodly lip (mine) caused by my son. Nate asked Everett if he had been wrestling with his mom. Ev's response, "No. Just being me."

Saturday, November 19, 2011

the reveal.

In case there was any doubt, baby A from yesterday's post is my current baby. Baby B is the baby who is not a baby at all, but is now 5 (AND A HALF!), is beginning to read, is obsessed with hello kitty and is missing two bottom teeth.

Friday, November 18, 2011

baby who?

Let's play a little game. Guess which of these two babies is my current baby.
Exhibit a.
Or...exhibit b.

Any guesses???

Thursday, November 17, 2011

brownie roundup

Apparently, I bake a lot of brownies. If you have a baby, there is a high likelihood that I will be bringing you a batch of post partum brownies. Here's the rundown of the best and worst brownie recipes that I've tried:

Best Idea Ever- Brownies + Cheesecake. Yes, please.

Best Gluten Free- I got this recipe to make for a gluten-free friend. They are perfect. These are our favorite brownies.

Most Unusual-I made these a few years ago. The recipe was super-fussy, but worth it. Even my 80 year old neighbor liked them.

Only Good in Theory "Healthy" Brownie-Did I ever tell you about that one time I made brownies that had black beans in them? It wasn't pretty.

Horriblest "Healthy" Brownie-These are gluten-free but why would you want to eat these when you can eat the Goddess ones???
These will be going to baby Liam and his parents tomorrow because I didn't have all the right kind of chocolate for my usual ones. Everett didn't seem to mind.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


In the six years that I have kept this blog, I have discovered that:

a) 11 posts is the perfect number per month for me
b) less than 11 posts is too few
c) more than 11 posts and I start to annoy myself
d) this posting everyday definitely falls under the category of "annoying myself"
Unrelated: my boy decided that his name is now Winky Mawunda. I have no idea where he came up with that one.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


One is cutting teeth while the other is losing them.

One is sitting up alone while the other is taking off training wheels.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Thankful trees are all over the place right now. Today we made ours:
Happy Birthday, Papa!
And, I'm guessing ours could be the only one that included gratitude for forklifts? Am I right?

Sunday, November 13, 2011


This summer we made a big move. It hurt to leave faces that we love. It hurt to have my kids say they wanted to go back and tell them that we couldn't. It hurt that people couldn't quite understand why it was time for us to go and it hurt to tell them that we didn't know where we were going. In obedience, we found ourselves moving to a new church after being at the same place for nearly ten years. If you're not a church person, maybe you can't relate to how this could be so painful. But we were invested in our church. We loved that place. It was home. It remains a place full of people that we love. The place where I met my husband. The place that let a guy with an anarchist hand tattoo be an elder and his broken wife serve. What a gift!

But the Lord's gentle whispers grew louder and louder and we simply had to obey. No matter the cost. And after that last hard Sunday there was sweet relief knowing we were going where He wanted, even if we didn't know where we would end up.

Still, months later, my kids ask to go back. Arms wrapped around each other at night we ask if this was real. Did we really have to go? And we walk into this new place each week feeling like we don't quite belong, yet we head out of that place each week rejoicing because the Lord is a gentleman and He confirms that He is in this (week after week, He confirms, He's that much of a gentleman). And I am still homesick for that place sometimes. I long for the comfort of old roles and friends that have know me since forever.

Last week, I downloaded a song and played it on repeat all day. It became my prayer that day. I played it on my phone while I ran. I played it in the car and sang it to my kids. Imagine my surprise when the singer of this song stood in front of the congregation of my new church that still doesn't feel like my church. At this point, it sort of felt like God was showing off. But I get it. He is in this hard move. And I'll hold on to what I know is true. This is what he sang:

Yes I will rise
Out of these ashes rise
From this trouble I have found
And this rubble on the ground
I will rise
Cause He Who is in me
Is greater than I will ever be
And I will rise

-from Shawn McDonald's Rise.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

update: 33 things.

Some time ago, I made a list of 33 things that I hoped to accomplish before my 33rd summer. I will be 35 (!) in January, and thanks to my mom, there are now only 4 items left on my list.
5. Make or pay someone to make a quilt using the kids' baby clothes.
Thanks, Mom. It's perfect.

Friday, November 11, 2011

king oil.

Tonight I stayed up way past my bedtime playing a game that is older than we are. I wish I had something witty to say about King Oil but I am one tired oil driller. It was an impulse thrift store purchase from a few weeks ago. Pretty ridiculous, yet more memorable than a night watching TV.

I love this guy.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

sew and sew.

When given the choice between watching Dinosaur Train and Quilt in a Day, my boy NEVER chooses Dinosaur Train.
The dudes in our house are way into sewing.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

a riddle.

I have never wanted a big house. When we moved into this house five years ago, it felt so big I couldn't imagine EVER needing more space. Now, it's not so much that I need more space but I could really really use one more bedroom. At the very least I could use a closet to store this little gem in at night time:

What does one do when it appears that all of the kids in the house would really like a single but someone is going to have to bunk? What do you do with one rambunctious 3 year old who wakes up at 5:30 in the morning to "poke Claire in the eye" and then wakes me up to tell me about it? What do you do with a baby who sleeps 12 hours solid when alone but seems to wake up at every little noise when her big sister is in the room?

Currently, Claire is asleep on my bed and we will move her to her own bed tonight, so she can sleep with the sibling that hasn't figured out how much fun eye poking is (yet). Wish us luck.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

linky loo

Making this for dinner. Grateful that my family will tolerate my slight soup-obsession.

Baking these with Mister again and again.

Watching this for the first time this season...until 30 Rock returns. Still can't decide if I love it or hate it.

Reading...correction, read this in about 3 days. Love.

Loving these for the Mister.

Wondering if this is going to work. Mine should be ready in a few days.

Thinking about doing this, anyone interested in joining me?

And a photo of this one. I need grace for this nutburger. Love him.

Monday, November 07, 2011

there she grows...

"Having a loose tooth is like having a little toy in your mouth." - Claire Elisabeth, age 5 1/2

Sunday, November 06, 2011

feels like home.

We stayed home from church because 5 out of 5 of us have colds and while I don't think the big people mind sniffles in the service, people freak out when you bring a baby with snot dripping down her face to the nursery. We declared it a "jammie day" and no one got dressed until around 4:00. We napped, we cleaned the house, we did little projects. The kids made great big forts and we read books. Our only outing was to drop off junk at Goodwill this evening and get coffee.

Ten years ago, I can't say cleaning the toilet with a baby strapped to my back and building forts would've been high on the awesomeness scale. But today was a perfect day. I'm so glad I got to spend it with them.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

great pumpkins.

This was the first year that the kids carved. I love that Claire's pumpkin's teeth are identical to her own.

And this guy was throwing a crazy fit five seconds before this photo was taken, but stopped mid-fit to pose. Ham sandwich.

Friday, November 04, 2011

an exuberant chicken

It took me three babies, but I finally produced a child willing to smile in the chickensuit.

Well done, Hunca.

Here's the boy.
And the original Angry Chicken.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

on raising a rule follower.

We pull up to the school and across from our parking space is a fire lane. "Why are we parking here when the sign says 'no,' Mama?" She asks, sincere concern in her voice.

"We can talk in the bathroom now, Mom. But Miss Van Dyk doesn't let the kid girls talk in here during school, but we can."

And my favorite, one of the boys was playing around with the little magnetic name board where the kids "check in" and "out" of school. He had moved all of the kids' names to the "in" position. Down to business, she marches to the teacher and says, "I know I checked out yesterday."

Imagine my surprise when I had a child who didn't just do as I said based on my words being "the rules." It's been an adjustment.*
*This is my boy, enjoying the Oregon coast in October, wearing his ironic white fruit of the looms, size giant.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

the why.

I maintain that the only reason to go to the dollar store is to purchase pregnancy tests. And I do not need one of those (I plan to post a vasectomy soup recipe later this month). However, I broke our family rule against dollar store purchases yesterday when I traded each kid all but 4 pieces of Halloween candy in exchange for $5.

I liked the idea of them choosing 5 items. Auntie Mel and I loaded up the kids and headed to the Dollar Store. They were fans. Each got 5 quality Chinese toys and I got to marvel at my sweet seven (!) month old baby, smiling like a Buick. Like she always does.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Nothing says November like a month of blog posts

I haven't done this in several years, but I'm going to attempt to post every day for a month.
Tune in for pictures of the kids in their costumes. Also on the agenda, what was Hunca Munca doing at the dollar store and why was she so happy about it?

Monday, October 31, 2011

roasted squash soup, its what's for dinner.

House Squash Soup:
Roast 2-4 squash (any kind)
Meanwhile, saute' together for several minutes: 1 onion, 2 celery stalks, salt & 1 garlic clove in coconut oil
Add curry powder (I like yellow)
Add roasted squash and chicken broth to cover
Bring to a boil
Reduce heat, simmer 15 minutes.
Blend til smooth with immersion blender or regular blender
Return to stovetop
Add 1 can of coconut milk and salt to taste
Top with sauteed kale, almonds or yogurt
Everyone in our family loves this. Except for Clairegirl. She would prefer a steak.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

claire, see.

It's a good thing Claire learned to spell her name CLAIREC! because again this year there are 2 Claires in her class.

Guess whose mommy ordered a whole ton of class photos?

Answer: Not CLAIREC!'s mommy. Score!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

pumpkin spice.

Sometimes when life feels chaotic, it feels good to make something that I could easily buy. I'm not sure why. On this day, after throwing my goons onto a pile of pumpkins, I made pumpkin spice creamer. Happy coffee, happy mama, happy goons.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

my daddy's school bus is cooler than your daddy's school bus.

Claire's class went to the pumpkin patch this week in a school bus. My child mentions to her (confused) teacher that we have a school bus at home. And that we went on a field trip together to the coast this weekend. When she asked Claire why we had a bus, Claire said, "my daddy thought it would be fun."
And as much as I hate to admit it, he was right. It is fun.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

claire c. & me.

You sign your name is way: CLAIREC!
You are a big fan of the exclamation point.
You make up songs about your sister. They mostly repeat the line, "You're so cute! You're so cute!" I have to wonder how this is going to impact her self image.
Dad skated you into school last week. It may have been the high light of your life.
I love you, Clairegirl.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

is this thing on?

Fall is my favorite. I like the colors. I like visiting the pumpkin patch. I like the tractors.

Summer is so obvious about its awesomeness, but fall. Fall is fun.

This week, I'm going to share loads of pictures from our many trips to the pumpkin patch. Because when you love fall, you go to the 'patch again and again and again. And, if you're me, you may plan to go back to the farm market one more time and throw your kids onto a pie of pumpkins to get that perfect photo where no body is crying and no one is covered in pee.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

sleepless in salem.

Anybody have any brilliant ideas of how to get two girls ages 5 years and 7 months to sleep soundly in the same room? Hunca Munca does beautifully when the big sister is away but if she is home, it's another story.

Poor Claire has been banished to the couch the last 2 nights while the tiny babe has slept in 12 hour stretches alone in their bedroom.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

another runner.

This girl ran around the track at her school 11 times on Friday morning. 11 times, folks. Without stopping. Without complaining. Without asking for a snack.

I watched as this big girl ran her heart out raising money for her school, holding hands with friends as she ran, smiling and waving. Lately, things with Claire can feel complicated. She is five and questions everything I say. She demands more than I have to give. We are still adjusting to mornings apart, to a newish baby. But this day, it was easy. She ran. I watched.
This girl has stood on the sidelines and cheered for me during races. Friday it was my turn to be her cheering section. And I loved it.

Friday, October 07, 2011

the newest normal.

The days of taking a morning nap with one tiny babe sprawled across my chest have been over for about five years.
The days of making dinner while my 2 kids nap in the afternoon have been over for about 2.
The days of grocery shopping with the little cart while Claire is at school are on hold.
Our newest normal is a napping baby and puzzles or playing with this big guy, who is happy to stay home in his spiderman slippers.

"You look at him like you've just seen your first trans am.*"

Better than a trans am, this one.

*This quote's for you, Scoobs.

Monday, October 03, 2011

my little pelican boy.

We took the kids to the aquarium this weekend.
At least we managed to keep him out of the water. I consider that a victory.