Thursday, June 30, 2011

Following Directions

I asked her to put all of her animals back into the drawer.

I should have clarified that the drawer should also close.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sneak Peek

As I expected, the bedroom makeover is taking its sweet time.  What with kids and crazy work schedules and unexpected flashes of brilliance it's definitely going to be an All Summer Project.  But that's fine. I'm enjoying the process of idea gathering and imagining what it could be if I had unlimited funds...and then finding the alternatives with my exponentially smaller resources.

But, I did make quick work of the bathroom! I wasn't planning on it but when I saw the previously well-liked color against the new gray of the bedroom I knew I had to change it. Otherwise I would walk into the bathroom every morning and HATE it - not a good way to start a sleep deprived day!

So two coats of paint, a shower curtain and rings later I have a "new" bathroom! It's so much better.  Here are a couple of pictures. It's all gray and white. I was worried about the monochromatic palette (would it be too boring, coma-inducing?) but I really like it. It feels peaceful and clean.

So, with the basics coming together in the small room it's onward with my plan for the bedroom.

Oh, and I'd just like to say that I hate my camera and curse at it every time I take a picture. Keep that in mind...

Friday, June 24, 2011

Mt Hood Scramble

I've been waiting to post this until the photos were available online and when my fingers (along with the rest of my body!) weren't so sore...

Last weekend I got out of the house! Steve spent the day (Happy Father's Day!) with the girls while I drove up to Mt Hood with my sister to run the Mt Hood Scramble. This is a crazy crazy cross country race on the mountain. The first year we did this we had no idea what we were getting into and "ran" the whole thing in utter shock. Think scrambling up snow cliffs on hands and knees, fording spring snow-melt rivers and mucking through mud, mud, mud. They don't call this "The Grandfather of Filth" for nothing!

This year there was a brand new course. So, for fun, they add an extra mile to the course - they like to do surprises like that... It was 6.9 miles long. They also put the most elevation loss and gain ever into the course - to kill us!

We also spent miles upon miles mucking our way through red silt swamps. You can tell who has never done this race before when you get to thigh deep mud (if their nice running shoes haven't given them away already. I'd been saving my old pair just for this race and now they're in the trash.) They try to find a way around it, everyone else just plunges in and tries not to lose their shoes in the deep.

Now I know that both of these photos show us out in the open but don't be fooled. Those were the only two openings for the photographers this year. The rest of the time we were fighting our way through brush, climbing over and under huge logs and trying not to fall face first into the endless streams and mud flats (when not clawing our way out of the swamp).  I have the bruises and cuts to prove it!

And with all that I'll still tell you that this race is so fun! I'm totally signing up for next year!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


It took me by surprise, but I completely adore the baby phase. I love the helpless perfection that is a baby. I had zero experience and was completely petrified when The Princess came home with us. My goal was just to keep her alive each day that we spent together, just the two of us. But, the immersion into our tiny little world meant that I watched every moment, cataloged each phase and cuddled and squeezed as much as my heart desired, because I could. After the first three months we emerged from our little cocoon as I headed back to work. But still, we were almost inseparable.

It’s not the same with Sweetpea. She’s growing up fast; too fast.  I miss moments and my brain doesn’t hold onto the memories as tightly. I forget to write things down because I’m distracted by the calls for help with ballgowns and sandals and spelling of words. I sing to her before she goes to bed but then I’m out the door to attend the rest of the needs; content in the knowledge that she will drift to sleep peacefully but with a twinge of regret knowing that I most likely won’t make it back in to peek on her until right before I go to bed myself.

She’s not neglected; far from it. I kiss those cheeks until they’re raw and I know that she has three teeth out but the fourth is still millimeters from breaking through. But she’s more independent; sturdier, hardier, more self reliant. Because she gets to share her life with an older sister who adores her but needs love too. And those are good words, strong words, words that will grow with her. But I adore her too and want that to permeate her soul, to soften and offer grace to all of that independence.

And she’s my last baby. I don’t want more but I do want more of her.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


You're just trying to move around a little and show some independence but you keep backing yourself into a corner instead!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

My Dad

My Dad takes me on hikes. He took me to work with him when I was little and we discovered "mouse moss", ate lunch under the trees or on the edge a ridge, watched for animal tracks and he taught me to identify the different types of trees. We climbed around Mt St. Helens and Mt Ranier when my world had crumbled around me. We explored a tree farm when ideas were sprouting in my mind. We've hiked in all corners of the world just for fun, including Mt. Kenya, Speckle Mountain, Mt. Longanot, The Ngong Hills and Hurricane Ridge. Our quiet walks and shared discoveries are treasures to me.

He put in almost as many miles as I did helping me train during high school cross-country season. I wouldn't have been out there running without him.

He previewed the movie "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" before I watched it so that he'd know what  I was watching and if we should have any significant conversations afterwards.

He skipped through the parking lot with me when I had chicken pox.

He's watched and read multiple tv/book series because I was obsessed with them and he wanted to know more.

He's my example for thoughtful intelligence, quiet compassion and hard work.

He read, among many, The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis and The Princess and The Goblin series by George MacDonald to me in the evenings.

He made me (all of us kids) haul wood but he came out and worked with us too.

He regularly wrote letters to me while I was in college and never complained about the phone bills from my tearful calls home.

He is silly and funny and laughs with abandon.

He warned me to watch out for moose when I was learning how to drive.

He played games in the pool, was pounded by the waves and acted like a human jungle gym.

He helped me study for Anatomy and Physiology when I was determined to make a point.

He never said a word (to me at least) about the fact that my prom dress was strapless. Just told me I looked pretty (even though I stood like a boy).

He married my mom and they've made it work for 40 years.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Baking Adventures

I went into the pantry to get the ingredients for bread this morning.  Looks like the princesses beat me to it, but I bet they're making something fancy like scones or crumpets.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


On our walk yesterday we were lucky to be right next to the interstate drawbridge when it raised for a barge going through. With the river at flood stage right now we've watched it raise from a distance but this was a lucky break! I love being able to walk along the river, there's always something to see.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Birds Series: The Chase

So, those that know me know that I have an irrational fear and hatred of birds.  "But Why?" you might ask. There are a number of traumatic experiences to point to and, in an attempt to bring some levity to your day, I'm going to chronicle as many of those moments as I can remember.  So...keep a look out for The Birds Series. (the first, though done as a stand alone and not originally part of the series, can be found here.)

My very first memory of bird trauma happened when I was little. I must have been about six. The town we lived in had a beautiful city park that we visited a lot. There was a nice sized pond with a very large and diverse duck and geese population. (There was also a caged bird area with all sorts of exotic birds. I think it’s strange that a small town with a small park would have such an extensive bird collection. Misplaced priorities? I think so…)

These ducks and geese ruled the water and the grounds. They were well fed and had expectations; expectations that any human, no matter how small and defenseless, was a ready food source. Heaven help you if you came unprepared.

One day I was on the path that circled the pond keeping a watchful eye out so that the birds didn’t get too close. I had no food and nothing about me screamed “Here duck! Here is a person who wants to show you affection!” But ducks are wily creatures… Alone on the path I came head to head with a duck. I slowly backed away trying not to make eye contact – it was either that or play dead and who wants to play dead on the ground covered in duck poop? The duck didn’t take the hint. Rather, he smelled weakness and fear and took two steps forward for each step back I took.

I turned my back on the duck and started to walk away as quickly as I could but anxiety turned to panic as I realized that the duck was following me; at an increasingly rapid pace…and he was starting to quack. Quacking could only mean one thing: he was calling in reinforcements! Losing all sense of reason I took off at a run, frantically looking for my mom or any other caring adult who might save me. My mom wasn't in sight and no one else had clued into the danger I was in. Instead, I was being chased by a duck and providing everyone their comic relief of the day.

Realizing that I was alone, and that the duck was still waddle-running after me, I bowed my head and turned on the speed, sprinting around the pond as fast as I could. I made it ¾ the way around before finally checking behind me and finding the path clear and the terrorizing duck no where to be found.  I was safe…until the next time…

A couple of things:
  • No, it never occurred to me to run AWAY from the pond rather than AROUND it!   
  • Yes, I nursed a grudge against my mom for the rest of the day for not rescuing me (she had two other kids she was trying to keep track of – I realize this now). 
  • No, I have yet to conquer my instinct to run when faced with a bird. It’s not ‘fight or flight’ with these evil creatures! They would totally win in a fight, they have claws and beaks!!!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Commence the Makeover

My summer project started! On the hottest day we've had so far this spring...Actually, it's only the second hot day we've had at all, it's been a cold and rainy spring (my kind of spring!!). But, of course, we chose a hot day with an east wind to stay inside painting all day.

A few things I learned:

  1. I don't really know what I'm doing. Honestly, I was slightly afraid to open the paint can... I was a little intimidated with the getting started. Do I use a brush or a roller? Which wall should I start on? Oh, I should have taped the trim! Let me run down to the basement for the 50th time to see if we have...drop cloths, small paint brushes, a rag, and plastic container, etc, etc, etc.  Luckily my mom was here to help and she had no qualms diving right in and directing me on where to start and what to do - thank goodness!
  2. I'm not a good painter. I don't mind painting at all. In fact, I kind of enjoy it. But I'm not very good at it. I have weak arms and my hands are much shakier than I realized. It's probably good that I didn't become a surgeon like I dreamed about... 
  3. I cry when I paint. Not really, but my eyes do water periodically so if you didn't know any better you'd think I was the saddest painter there ever was! Seriously, I had tears dripping off my chin at one point.
  4. There was a time when I thought that I might be stuck with a lavender room...Not really what I was going for. Luckily that second coat made all the difference.

With three of us working on it we're practically done with the painting already! It's thrilling! Especially because now that it's dry I love it!

On to the next steps.

More later.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Dino Screams

Dinosaurs. Exciting, silly and fun. The Princess LOOOOVES dinosaurs! So, when the zoo announced that their dinosaur exhibit was returning and that we could get in for free ONE DAY ONLY I immediately put it on the calendar. In Pen.

Friday morning there was no dwaddling over breakfast, no dithering over what to wear, no long drawn out conversations about why it's important to wear socks, shoes, hats, any article of clothing that could possibly be seen as optional...  We had lunch packed, girls dressed and excitement in place as we headed off to meet the dinosaurs.

Apparently everyone else in the are got that special announcement too because the place was a zoo (ha!).  Seriously, this is the first time that having a zoo membership has really paid off in terms of bypassing the 500 person deep line to get in. We sailed in, skipped all of the animals and headed straight to the dinosaurs, The Princess chattering beside me.

The first roar was heard as we presented our tickets for entry. (Do dinosaurs really roar? I think it could be described more like a rough scream...) The first flicker of unease passed over The Princess' face.  Two more steps towards the bamboo fence and another 'scream' erupted eliciting excited ooohs and aaahs from the other kids scrambling to get through the gate. The Princess stopped dead in her tracks and said that she might be a little scared. I reassured her that it was going to be great and in we went, reluctantly.

The first dinosaur appeared ahead of us, sharp teeth and beady eyes in close proximity and that's all it took. The Princess decided she wasn't an "in person" fan so much as a "safe in my house" type fan.

I ended up carrying her through the entire exhibit while pushing Sweetpea in the stroller, who took the whole thing in with a calm, cool and collected interest...