Fall afternoon

The wild park around our house has been put up for a possible city project to make the place into a organized park with soccer fields, tennis courts, and a dog park.  I recently went to a town meeting on the subject. Many people had a chance to talk. Someone in the minority called the area ugly and commented that she wanted to make it “look good.” The group boo-ed this person. I was happy to find out a majority of the citizens around the park want it to stay wild. Thank goodness, this place is a treasure. 


Twenty eighteen Halloween

Pumpkins, costumes, decor, doughnuts, soup, and candy - Halloween was fun as we walked through the leaves around our festive neighborhood. 

LEGO folk art from Jess (and Ash)

Flame face from Oliver

Colorful Frankenstein from Ansel

Knight ninja, Salvador Dali, and Hungry Elephant

Guess who stayed out the longest trick or treating? Ian. Maybe it was because he was carried most of the night :). 


Zion National Park visit

Taking in the beauty of Zion was a great way to spend fall break. Since Oliver is a fourth grader, he and his guests get into all Park lands for free. It was fun to thank him for his kindness in providing this perk.

On our first trail, we saw this tree and loved how it’s roots were in the side of the hill.

The Weeping Rock was something I’ve never seen anywhere else. The water comes out of the middle of the rock because of a shale layer. It creates an oasis in the desert and beautiful hanging gardens. 

Riding the shuttle bus was barely tedious. The kids loved it and the buses came often. I’d take the shuttle bus over traffics jams any day. The Park Museum said back in the 90s the Park was just full of sitting yet running cars. 4.5 million visitors a year at this place. They do a good job making the natural wonders very accessible. 

The older boys, including Jess, used this rock as a natural slide. Much fun was had, all pairs of shorts were damaged. All worth it. 

We hiked up to the Narrows and Ollie wanted to keep going. Someday Ollie!

Ian was a trooper and got some good rest on our longest hike.

The views were amazing everywhere we went. 

The next day we stopped at the Big Bend of the river and hung out listening to the water and throwing lots of rocks. 

And getting wet. As a parent I am slowly coming to learn that: Water + kids = kids in water. Ansel loved floating leaves and sticks. 

One of us went pantless. It was warm out but became chilly if you kept your wet clothes on. 

It was a beautiful spot. A great trip. We’ll have to go again to hike the Narrows and hit up Angel’s Landing when the kids get bigger. Plus, the Upper Emerald Pools we’re closed as was Hidden Canyon. Next time!


“Mom, where are you?”

All of my kids ask this when I’m not in the kitchen or family room. I’ll answer back, “I’m in here.” They’ll try to hone in on my voice and I listen for their little (or big) footsteps looking around for me. Oftentimes I have to give them more of an explanation as to my whereabouts. Then they find me. 

On busy days, I feel that I just need a break to sit down and read something without an interruption. However, sometimes I think to myself, “I am going to miss this someday,” and I perk up the minute they find me. “Hey, what do you need?” Usually it’s a drink of water (Ian), a bottle of food coloring (Ansel), or participation in the latest magic trick (Oliver).

Recently I read a blog where a woman in her fifties looked back on her experience as a parent to four kids. She sounded pretty amazing and cool. Many of the things she said were so good, but the one that stuck out to me was: 

At the end of the day, I’ve done what’s worked for me and my family. Other people’s value judgements typically say more about their lives than yours. 

I love that! Parenting works differently for every personality. We all do things that allow us a balance so we are the best parents we can be. Anyway, I’m trying to take in all of this stage of parenthood because everyone whose gone before me tells me it goes by so fast and I’ll miss it. I’m sure they’re right. 


Fall sports

Oliver played mostly defense on his soccer team and got a lot better at stopping the run and keeping balls away from the goal. When he’d come to the sidelines, he’d ask Jess, “What can I do to play better?” It was fun to see him get into the game. 

Ansel played T-ball and was a hustler! He loved running fast and scrambling for the hit balls with his glove. 

Both boys enjoyed their team this year and want to do more of it. We had many games during the week, instead of weekends, and I really enjoyed it!


“Scary guy”

While on vacation this past summer, we watched some Star Wars on cable television with the kids. We viewed about a half hour and for much of that time the scenes included the Emporer. As such, Ian dubbed him “scary guy.” That same vacation, every time we’d watch TV, Ian would declare that he wanted to see the “scary guy.” Of course, the rest of us thought this was hilarious which made Ian say it that much more. 

Fast forward to October with the stores that have so much (so much!) Halloween decorations. My kids love to explore the offerings and Ian often asks to see the “scary guy” at the stores. One afternoon, Ian and I found ourselves shopping without the other boys. We had to peruse the Halloween section and since it was so impressive, I decided to take photos to show Oliver and Ansel later. What I caught on digital film was Ian’s face and fascination with the whole thing. 

This werewolf was no joke!

While I got a shot of the witch, Ian was being captivated by an equally frightening ghost. 

This fortune teller can tell you your fortune for $129.00! 

Every time October rolls around I am amazed at the selection and creativity of the offerings these stores come up with! 


Growing fast

The other day my sister-in-law came over to visit and upon observing Ian said, “This kid is growing so fast!” It’s so very true. He can reach the hanging monkey bar on the play set. His pants no longer require rolling. He uses words I don’t recall introducing to him. He puts together sentences like a pro. He can lift big things. 

He sings songs with the correct and incorrect words, dances with the best hip movement around, and likes to draw with pen. He wakes up slowly and eats two or three breakfasts a day. 

He and I are good buddies (just like Oliver and Ansel were at this age) as we hang out together at home. There is nothing like this time with kidlets. They are learning so much and it’s fascinating to watch. 



The last Saturday of September Ansel declared that we must go to the pumpkin patch! He very much wanted Dad to be able to come and had already begun to listen to Halloween music, so this was our next step to making October begin. We weren’t even sure if the patch we like to go to was open, but as luck would have it, Saturday was it’s first day. 

Photo cred for the above by Oliver. 

The brothers took turns pulling the wagon. 

The day was perfect. 

Now our porch is complete with pumpkins, orange and green. 


These colors!

Our family took a “welcome fall” drive up the canyon the other day and took in the colors of the changing leaves. We talked about how the yellow aspens looked like frosting on the mountain amongst the evergreens. The views were magnificent.

It began to rain and I was thinking we’d have to bag our walk among the leaves. However, my kids love the rain and aren’t adverse to being wet with cold temperatures, so we waited out the worst of it and began our little hike with a sprinkle. 

I love the photo below because the first two or three in the series included Oliver resting his elbow on Ansel’s head and afterward these were their “we love each other but we also love to bug each other” faces. The whole time Ian just kept saying, “cheese, cheetah, cheese!”

Now back to the colors. They took my breathe away. Look at the depth of those hues, right from the bottom to the top!

What is it about aspens in groups? And those long, skinny trunks. To give credit where it is due, the better photos in this post come from Jess. 

Ian loves taking little trails though the trees. 

We found vivid reds here and there. Beautiful. 

Ian’s face in this family selfie says it all. We had a great time. 


Winging it

Today I held a training meeting for an art project at the elementary school. I was supposed to give the intro to the project then start a video explaining it. Technical difficulties with the video resulted in me explaining the project. I thought the whole thing went smoothly. Afterward, a woman at the training said to me, is there a way to check out the video?  Um, yeah, so I guess the whole thing didn’t go all that smoothly. 

I recently read an article mentioning how mom’s have a lot going on all of the time. When they are buying groceries their mind is going a mile a minute deciding what each night’s dinner will be like and how the family will work around sports and parent teacher conference. They’ve got to have knowledge of how much toilet paper is available so they can restock without any delay in service. This is the same with soap, cheese (at least at my house), garbage bags, paper, sandwich bags. Their is concern about what birthday party gift they need to pick up, who is playing with who, and how their oldest kid is growing out of his nice pants. Then their is the picking stuff up and putting it where it belongs. That is why mom’s know where everything is, because if they didn’t, their world would be that much more difficult. 

Doing all of this is a part of my job and it gives me the sense that I can wing other things because I feel like I’m winging everyday parenting life sometimes. However, sometimes my winging it totally fails even when I feel like it was awesome. Such is the case with today’s art presentation. Luckily, I’m not that bothered and I’ll spend a lot more time making sure the equipment works better next time. That, right there, is the joy of today’s occurrence. I can’t change how my presentation went. It’s done and over with. And so I move on. I wish I was that good at accepting all the the things I’m not all that good at. In time, I hope. 


Writing an album

All of my boys love to listen to music, dance to music, play or attempt to play music. Recently, Ansel has taken to writing his own songs via Garage Band with assistance from me. We listen to beats and put them together then play them back and make needed tweaks. Once a song is finished, Ansel names it and we import it to iTunes where we add it to our music library.  It’s fun to see him understand what it means to be an “artist” and how an album comes about. He’s also learning what it means to be famous and how that can affect one’s life. The other day he said to me, “Mom, perhaps (he uses this word a lot lately) I want to write music but don’t want to be famous. I want to walk around without being bothered.” Sounds good to me!

Oliver helped make a CD “case” and Ansel did the writing and created the paper grid artwork. 

The Flying Stars album is a work in progress, but it’s showing great promise. 

His song titles are the best! Don’t Down was his first track and it includes vocals from him and Ian. Oxelmation shows true originality and has some amazing club beats. The songs that follow are similar with some instrumentals from Ansel mixed in. The whole album is expected to be dynamic and surprising, experimental and refined. I told him musicians can take a year plus to complete an album to which he responded, “I definitely won’t take that long.”The expected release date is January 2019. 

This musician is a busy guy!


Hills and mountains

The still air of those lazy, hazy days of summer has been kicked up by a wonderful breeze that’s been moving the air for a few days. With that breeze, we’ve taken to the hills and mountains around our home. 

Playing in a dry riverbed always soothes the souls after a long week. Oliver was Mr. T as he picked up this massive log. 

Ansel loves to mountain bike in the hills close to home. He calls it the “close hike” and we walk here often. 

Ian enjoys a good walk too. Here he was the king of trees standing tall on a stump. Look at that face!

Ages 9, 5, and 2; and great company. 


Back to school baby!

I can’t believe this boy is in 4th grade! Or maybe it really is that I believe it,  but I don’t want it to be so. Kids grow so fast I tell ya. He is such a great kid and I love seeing him grow (even if I tell him to stop!). 

This guy needs to stop growing too. He’s off to Kindergarten and so ready to be in school (he was counting down the minutes)! He is a great kid and I just love what his 5-year-old self comes up on a daily basis. 

Then there’s this kid who just celebrated becoming two! I’ll say it again, stop growing. He’s using full sentences and every week he’s got some new skill to show off. “Hold you” is still a common phrase however, and I love it! He’s 20% in height and 8% in weight, yet he eats whole avocados and can’t stop with the string cheese. 

I live with four of my favorite people and that’s the best. 


A visit to Oregon

Ever since my parents went to Oregon for a friend’s graduation from Lewis & Clark, I’ve wanted to visit Oregon. When they came back from their trip, my mom spoke of beautiful pine forests and green everywhere. I was nine then, so yes, Oregon has been on the visit list for quite some time.

My little family and I were able to head that way right before school started and it was a wonderful trip. Still, it started off with a bit of a hitch. I forgot my phone. Then, after Jess dropped me off and was on his way to long term parking, a large screw found it’s way into his tire. As he parked he could hear the thwap, thwap, thwap and showed up to security somewhat frustrated and exclaimed sarcastically that the trip was off to a good start.  

This however was the last of our difficulties and we had such a great time. We were upgraded to a mini van and my kids were amazed by how much space there was! We hit the ground running and went to Multnomah Falls. Wow! 

We skipped rocks on the river.

Then we decided to drive along the old highway and found another awesome waterfall. In the photo below can you spot Jess with the boys? The waterfall was huge! And the natural basalt formations behind the falls, they were hexagonal in shape and so cool. 

Ollie wanted a optical illusion photo. He was thirsty!

The next day we ventured to the beach. Cannon beach and Haystack Rock did not disappoint. 

We saw starfish and sea anemone.

We also saw lots of cool birds including the Tufted Puffin. Jess played with the boys in the chilly water. They ran from the waves and had a great time. 

We visited the Tillamook Cheese Factory. Ian, being the cheese loving boy that he is, totally loved sampling the cheese. We bought ice cream here too and the large bunch of napkins in my hands should give you a clue of how messy it was with the kids. That was my third bunch of napkins. Still, worth it. 

The next day we headed to Rockaway Beach. Lots of kite flying here and wave chasing. 

Ian got soaked and was loving that Dad was with us 24/7. 

After stopping there we went berry picking. We were there at the end of blueberry season, the peak of blackberry season, and the beginning of raspberry season. We picked many of each. 

Ian ate most of what he and Jess picked. Look at that berry mouth!

Jess and Ollie were the master pickers. These blackberries were huge and delicious. 

The next day we visited an awesome Japanese garden in Portland. It was beautiful and we tried channeling the zen, even when our kids were not as peaceful as many people would have liked. 

We stopped at the temple. The visitors center had some cool activities for the kids.

That evening we were able to visit with some good friends who live near Portland. The kids loved playing and Jess and I loved chatting. We went back the next evening and my kids were so excited. Their hospitality went above and beyond. 

Our last stop was at the OMSI, the Oregon Museum if Science and Innovation. We were there for three hours and could have stayed for three more. 

It was a great trip! 

And since we had had so much time to prep mentally for fixing a flat tire when we got to the airport, that went pretty smoothly too. The kids were troopers. 

That same day Jess got new tires and I got my battery replaced (it had died the day before). We were so proud of our efficiency. And we were ready to go back to work and school the next day. 

And might I just add that not having a phone for five days was a-okay.