Showing posts from 2015

Back to School...Sort of

Well, here we are, the end of September, and I haven't put up any back to school photos of my kids!  Of course, they only started on September 14th, so I'm not too behind, I suppose.

Max with his wonderful teacher, Betsy, at Redland Montessori in Oregon City.  He started there in April last year.

 Meanwhile, in Gladstone, here's Ruby at her desk in kindergarten!!! How on earth do I have a kindergartener already?

 So now it's just Ben and me in the mornings 4 days a week, doing light housework ;)

Allen's back to school for Year 3 of his carpentry apprenticeship on Monday nights.  
The title says, "sort of."  Here's why: I just received a message that due to a lack of enrollment, Redland Montessori will have to shut its doors.  I am sad that Max will not be able to continue there, but I'm glad he did have some time there to learn and grow, and I completely understand that Betsy is doing the best thing for her family even though it must be so hard f…

A shot in the dark

Well, I did it.  I entered one piece into an essay contest and applied for a grant.  The prize for the essay contest is $3000.  The grants are either for $6000 or $2000 if you are a runner up.
I know that I am one applicant among...thousands? Tens of thousands?  I really don't know what size fish I am and in what size pond.  "Small fish, big pond," would be my guess.

I didn't have much to lose.  The essay had no entrance fee; the grant had a $15 application fee.  That's not too much to spend on the chance to receive $6000 to use in order to take writing from being an avocation to a secondary vocation (secondary to being a wife and mother, that is).

I worked painstakingly on the essay and the application (which included attaching 25 pages of writing samples).  I'm pleased to say that I attached a personal essay and 18 pages of my novel (!) as samples.

What? A novel?

Yes, I guess so. You see, from childhood through college, I wrote scads and scads and scads o…

Ah, Sweet Harmony!

It doesn't last all day, of course, but the times of brotherly/sisterly love and collaboration are pretty wonderful to behold...and amusing, too.

Exhibit A: Cinderella
Ruby is Cinderella.  Max is the Fairy Godmother...but not the Disney version!  He's a fairy godmother who FIGHTS the bad guys and PUTS THEM IN JAIL!  The wand is a weapon, of course.  After a few minutes of playing the FG, Max said, "Never mind, I want to be Cinderella's enemy.  I'll be the wicked stepmother!"
Exhibit B: Three Witches
They galloped up the steps on their brooms (or in Ben's case, a kiddie rake).
Exhibit C: Dress up "shopping" in preparation for various imagination games

Ruby is helping the boys find their "perrrrfect costume!!!!" (Ruby always speaks with implied exclamation points) Ruby is offering different dress ups to her brothers and using her best saleslady patter: "Oh, let's see if this is your no, let's try this. Oh yes, this s…

Funny Kid Things I Will Undoubtedly Forget...

...unless I record them here.

While on the phone with my mom, Max treated her to quite the story.  He was a mommy; Ben was the daddy.  The baby was in his tummy for a while (i.e. the baby--a plastic whiffle ball--was under his shirt.)  Then the baby was born.  Her name is Honey, but her nickname is Bucket.  After a while he put the baby back "in his tummy to grow more."  He said that his name was Jenny.

And no, this is not some kind of stealthy pregnancy announcement...just a game that Max thought up on his own.

Another funny kid conversation of late: we were in the car talking about Heaven (all of our best theological discussions happen in the car).  Ruby was saying that she hoped she could bring some of her favorite toys and books with her.
Me: Well, maybe you will...but I'm sure there will be lots of things there that are so cool, things we don't even have!
Ruby: Yeah, like stairs!  And an attic!
Max: And closets!
Ruby: And a dishwasher and washing machine and d…

Hey, I'm over at Ordinary Lovely this morning!

Theresa at Ordinary Lovely had the neat idea to run a mini series of guest posts on the theme of how large families are living with contentment in small spaces, and I'm one of her guests!

Now, I wouldn't say that we have a large family, but it is large relative to our living space.  And I certainly can't say that I have perfect, serene contentment 100% of the time.  Just the other day I was in our kitchen getting dinner ready.  I glanced to my left and surveyed the scene: Ruby and Max were running in circles around a pile of books and Ben was looking on, roaring with laughter at the hilarity of it all.  There was something a bit absurd about it all, especially after spending some time housesitting for another family.  Our house looked so...miniature.  Fun-sized, if you will.

Read more here!

Renovation Updates

First things first: thank you so very much to all who have donated either money or materials to our renovation project.  We have been blown away by the kindness and generosity of friends, acquaintances, and strangers (well, "stranger" in the sense that we have one anonymous donor)
The house renovations are going well so far. Two projects down and the biggest one to go.

The Boys' Bedroom
Allen made the needed changes in about two (long) evenings' work.

 My goal this week is to paint a mural on the back wall behind the boys' beds (as you can see, that wall needs something!)

The Kitchen Floor
We had a few boxes of tile donated by friends, but discovered--alas!--that they were not enough to do the whole area.  We called some stores and searched online to find more of the same type of vinyl tile, but couldn't locate any.

What to do?  At first our plan was to find another kind of tile which would complement the ones we'd been given.  This proved hard to do, si…

Summertime Dinner Lethargy? The Slow Cooker's Got Your Back!

I can go for very long stretches of time without eating meat (as can the kids).  I could be good with a salad every night.  But no one else around here would be fine with that, and Allen gets antsy without some meat on the daily.  Luckily for me he has pretty cheap taste as far as meat goes: poultry, lunchmeat, and hot dogs.  This means that at least once a week I need to get my act together and cook chicken.

That's fine and dandy in the winter, when a nice warm meal in the stove is a pleasure. But in the summer, it's hot and I don't want to be standing over the stove or turning on the oven.  Oh, and I don't have a microwave, so unless I remember the day before to take out the chicken from the freezer, it's going to take some extra cooking time and therefore extra heat.  What to do?

Let the Crock Pot do all the work and take all the heat, that's what!

In the morning I'll put in a couple of frozen chicken breasts and douse them liberally with some kind of ta…

Pluggin' away...

First things first: a huge "THANK YOU!" is in order to all who have contributed either materials or money to our Home Improvement Round 2 project.

Because of the materials donated (flooring for the kitchen), we were able to knock off $150 from our goal price!

Now, thanks to donors both known and anonymous, 72% of that new goal has been provided!!!

I think the part that is the most touching is knowing that some of the people who have donated have "come out of the woodwork."  That is, they are people I have not been in touch with for a long time (very long, in one case...someone who babysat me when I was a kid!) and yet they saw fit to give us some of their hard-earned money.  It really, really means a lot.

It's easy for me to look askance at social media for all of its ill uses and abuses, but it really has made it possible to be in touch with people from all over the world and from all stages of your life...or even from strangers.

So far, we've gotten the…

7 QT (Plus 1!): Before and After House Pictures (FINALLY)

1. These are long overdue. We bought the palace last March; Allen spent May-July working tirelessly to take it from unlivable to very livable.  Throughout the course of the year there have been improvements made (painting; curtains; rearranging furniture and hanging artwork; and countless little fixes).

So why am I just now getting around to posting some before and afters?  Well, I think it's for a reason pretty common to moms: wanting everything to look *picture perfect*.  Of course, that's delusional.  My house is never going to be showing up on Better Homes and Gardens or Real Simple or anything like that.  I'm just not that homemaker, and this structure was not made for greatness.  As the bard might say, it had greatness thrust upon it.

Still, I kept lingering and putting off the "after" post.  A discussion at my mom's book group not too long ago helped me to realize that it was time to go Nike on this and just do it. The book we read, Momnipotent had …