{7QuickTakes}Weekly mishmash: Vol. 11

Well, here we are approaching the last full week of October!  I can hardly believe it.  Time is flying so quickly.  Linking up with Kelly again for this week’s 7QTs.

~ONE~

My computer is boasting a sticky keyboard this week.  Thanks to Evvie kindly spilling my coffee all over it.  And I am too lazy to unscrew it and take the back off and clean inside it, so I am still using it while having to pressssssssssssssss (see?) really hard on some keys to make them work.  It’s an occupational hazard, I guess.

~TWO~

We went to a local corn maze extravaganza on Friday night.  The kids had a BLAST.  Hubby and I (who are more antisocial homebodies) tried to keep those completely fake smiles plastered in place while freezing our hinies off as the kids insisted on running in four different directions while we we kicked ourselves for not bringing more than one flashlight.

~THREE~

I had the opportunity to volunteer at my older kids’ school on Friday.  Since the public school system in Idaho is so poorly funded, classes like art and music have been cut.  In my town, the elementary schools greatly rely on parent volunteers to teach “FAME” or “Fine Arts Mini-Experience” once monthly so that kids can be exposed to art history and music appreciation.  I have been volunteering with this program for four years and I really enjoy teaching it.  I am always really impressed with how well-mannered and inquisitive the kids are.  One of the major highlights of this lesson (in which the art discussed was Grant Wood’s American Gothic) was showing the kids the different parodies that have been made of the artwork.  I think the overwhelming favorite was a Star Wars-themed one where the farmer traded his pitchfork for a light saber.

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courtesy the Art Institute of Chicago, artic.edu

~FOUR~

We babysat an 11-month-old baby girl yesterday.  She was sweet, but a big girl!  She was the same size as 21-month-old Evvie, and weighed much the same.  Evvie has always been at the low end of the size spectrum.  She’s growing, just seems to be petite.  It was interesting to watch Evvie interact with a younger baby.  Mostly she was just jealous because I was giving attention to another baby!   The parents sorely needed a break, Hubby works with the dad, and they are new to the area and don’t know a lot of people.  I sometimes forget how vital it is as a new-er mother to have other friends who are also traversing the journey of motherhood along with you.  It sounds like this mom is very lonely for other mom friends.  I am always so happy to recommend MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) to moms looking for that kind of connection.  Just being able to check in a few times a month with other parents who have kids the same ages as yours and who can commiserate with the ups and downs of parenthood along with you is such a blessing.

~FIVE~

I recently had a friend diagnosed with breast cancer.  They caught it early and her prognosis looks good, but she will still be in the throws of chemo for the next several months.  She is young (36) and is married with two young girls.  I have offered to help with whatever she needs, and I know she has many other friends doing the same.  I have never had a friend go through this before, and am unsure what would be the most meaningful way to help.  Any suggestions from anyone who has been there?

~SIX~

One of the best things about having kids get a little older is that you can pass on chores to them that you do not relish doing.  Having Junior clean out my car this weekend was SO AWESOME!  Of course he is not as thorough as I would be, but he vacuumed.  He threw away trash.  He put little trash bags by everyone’s seats to encourage them to throw garbage in there instead of on the floor.  It warms a mother’s heart!

~SEVEN~

I recently discovered Overdrive from my library and have been having so much fun listening to audiobooks while I clean and do the dishes.  It makes those chores go soooooooo much faster.  I recently “read” (listened to?) the Ruby Red trilogy by Kerstin Gier…started out as a read for a book club but then I really got into it, even though I am not usually into the young adult/fantasy genre.  But I absolutely loved the narrator.  I love when you get a good narrator who does all the voices believably.  The three books were a really good listen.  Now I am listening to Z: a novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler.

~~~

That’s all folks, Have a lovely week!

 

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In the Land of Blahs: how to cure a tired routine

may-you-walk-a-lighted-pathI am really good in times of crisis.  Not that I am asking for one (kay, God, got that?) but I have observed that I wind up being resourceful, focused and disciplined when called upon if things get suddenly very bad, very fast.  When my dad had a heart attack.  When, at two separate times my children had to be hospitalized.  When hubby lost his job.  I think it is something about the immediacy, the necessity of a plan, the life-and-death sort of reality that is more concrete than abstract, if that makes sense.  There is one goal: to get through this.  Often there is one course of action – to just keep buggering on.  And I feel adept at that.

Where my resolve starts to falter and my focus and motivation leaves me is when the routine of daily life becomes so repetitive – so predictable – that each day seems more dull and difficult to find joy in than the last.  I don’t believe this is a problem unique to stay-at-home moms.  I know Hubby feels the same way about going to work, as I am sure most people do when the day-in-day-out tends to more repetitive than stimulating.

Don’t get me wrong:  I love my life.  I love my family.  I feel blessed and grateful that we live in such a safe and healthy environment where my children have enough to eat and the opportunity to go to school and extracurricular activities.  I have a roof over my head and don’t need to worry about where the next paycheck is coming from.  I certainly don’t take any of that for granted.

But lately, I have been feeling….I don’t know….Blah.  Part of it is probably the weather.  Part of it might be due to the fact that I pick up 10 million toys that are littered around the house about 15 times a day and it gets old.  I get tired of the routine of yelling at the kids to get their lesson stuff together and get into the car (a process that takes, at best, 30 minutes)  and then arriving at said lesson with one of them missing their shoes.  I get bored to death with having to cook dinner every night (fancy cuisine-preparing genius I am not) and change two sets of diapers on a regular basis, with an almost 2-year-old and almost 4-year-old (yes, he is resolutely not interested in using the potty!) fighting me every step of the way.  I groan at the end of the day when I see the dishes piled up still on the table (Hubby doesn’t get the memo that yes, on nights when I am running with Junior to karate, the dinner chores still need to be done).

On Monday, the younger two were taking turns whining and fighting with each other, while simultaneously following me around trying to bite me out of love (I guess?) and I couldn’t take it anymore.  I turned on Paw Patrol and locked myself in my office and researched lodging options for Europe.  For two hours.  It was as though after all the figurative trudging through the muck and mire of daily life I just needed a mind vacation.  The mind vacation of fantasizing about a real vacation.  A real vacation that I keep struggling with feeling OK about taking.  Needless to say, I feel like if I didn’t have that to look forward to, life would feel very bleak indeed.

Which leads me to try to come up with some other ways I can Fight the Blahs.  I can’t always be planning a trip.  (Or maybe I can, but I still need some other outlets!)

Learn Something New

I admit, I have a problem with this one.  I think it is because I have so many interests, yet once I start something, I lose motivation pretty quickly.  Especially if I get bogged down if I feel it is difficult or tedious.  I took up knitting a few winters ago because several friends were learning how to knit.  They all seemed to excel at it (rather quickly, silly overachievers!) and I was still struggling with how to count stitches while they were already on patterns.  They were knitting socks with circular needles while I only managed a lopsided pot holder.  So I guess the goal for me is to learn something new that might yield positive results right away and that I can learn at my own pace, which might be really slow.

Set a Goal

This ties in with Learn Something New.  It occurred to me that I haven’t actually set a goal in my life for a looooooong time.  And I am talking something realistic, not just “be the perfect wife and mother with zero stress and a supermodel body.”  Something attainable yet challenging.  Something to look forward to, not something to be viewed as an obligation.

Vary Routines

A lot of my day is set in stone, with the times and days of lessons being set.  But if I look at some pockets of time, I realize that I can vary what I do, and when.  The easiest thing to do is just to drive a different way to and from my destination.  I could drive by the river instead of through town.  I could leave a little earlier and take the scenic route.  Sometimes just a change of scenery can break you out of the Blahs.

Wear Pearls

Part of my frustration with my daily routines is that I don’t feel good.  I mean, I don’t really feel good about myself.  Going through daily life in yoga pants and a t-shirt might be comfortable, but it was not giving me the boost of confidence I think that would make my interactions with people more pleasant.  I read a blog posting a while back saying that stay-at-home moms should “dress for success” just like their working-mom counterparts.  Which is somewhat hard for me to stomach, when I spend the majority of my day cleaning up smushed floorbanana and poopy diapers and trying to avoid being used as human kleenex.  But maybe if I treat myself more “professionally”, my family might see me as less of a doormat and more of a woman worthy to be respected.  And that might make me respect myself more, too.  I am not talking dresses and heels or anything here; I am just thinking taking a little more time choosing what I wear and perhaps throwing on that string of pearls might be a positive boost for my day.

Practice Gratitude

One of my favorite books is Corrie Ten Boom’s The Hiding Place.  She and her sister were very religious and were sent to a concentration camp during WWII for hiding Jews.    While Corrie found it hard to stomach the conditions they were living in, her sister reminded her of St. Paul’s admonition to “give thanks in all things”- even horrible things, like life in a concentration camp.  Corrie tells her sister, “I see what you’re saying, but how are we supposed to be grateful for the fleas and the lice that are infesting this cell block?”  Her sister didn’t have a good answer.  Earlier,  Corrie related a story of how she and her sister smuggled a Bible into the camp, somewhat miraculously.  With the Bible, they were able to encourage fellow prisoners to keep everyone’s spirits up.  Later on, they thought it was incredible that the Nazis had never come into the cell block to confiscate the Bible (and, most likely, enact a brutal punishment on the women for smuggling it in).  In fact, they never entered that cell block at all.  The reason?  The lice and fleas that Corrie was reluctant to give thanks for.  Their presence had been the reason God’s Word could still be heard in the most unlikely of places.

This story reminds me that, even in the doldrums of daily routine, there is plenty to be thankful for!

Deepen Spiritual Life

I find everything is easier to deal with when I am focused on the most important routine of all: spending time with God each day.  Of course most of the time I don’t make this a priority.   There is always something “more important” to do.  Housework, for example!  Chasing the kids!  It is hard to find time with these more pressing, immediate, concerns.  I think God gets that.  So I wait around for a quiet moment and try to get in a bit of Bible reading.  I find that sometimes I won’t even be thinking about it, but will feel a little nudge as though God is telling me, “Spend a little time with Me right now.”  And I try to listen.   I feel that by making Him a priority, I can more easily get the rest of my priorities in order.

And perhaps that is why “The Blahs” occur anyhow – they are a call to take stock of life and figure out what is really important, what is really necessary, and what really brings joy to one’s life.

I’d love to hear some other suggestions for how to Fight the Blahs!

 

 

 

 

 

{7 Quick Takes}Weekly Mishmash, Vol. 10

We’re into October…already?  with these 7 Quick Takes!  Log in to Kelly’s to see what everyone else is up to!

One.

It is Pumpkin Spice season!  I confess I am an addict of Starbucks’ PSL.  However, this is only the fault of my local grocery stores not selling Pumpkin Spice syrup.  Because if they did, I would be able to make my own at home.  But they don’t, so I can’t.  So if you find me running to Starbucks daily to get my fix, I blame it on Albertson’s.

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Two.

If you are the parent of the children who live next door, I heartily apologize for what I am about to say.  Well, kind-of.  Your 5-year-old daughter rings our door bell at all hours of the evening.  Like especially during dinner time (and if we decide to “ignore it” she will continue to ring that bell six or seven more times) and 9 at night.  We don’t mind little Sophia coming over once in awhile, but us setting boundaries for her does not seem to be working.  If we say, “please come back later” – she will wait 5 minutes and ring our bell again.  If we say, “we are busy, please go home,” she asks us what we are doing that could be possibly more important than letting her play.  If we announce, “It is 8 and we are getting the kids ready for bed” she wants to know why our kids go to bed so early!  So, anyhow, Sophia’s parent, it would be nice if you could maybe talk to her about that.  Like maybe only let her come ring our doorbell between the hours of 6:30 and 7:30 and maybe only on weekends?  Because I would definitely come over to talk to you, but your pit bull you leave chained up in your front yard seems to have taken a dislike to me, as it barks and growls angrily when I go get my mail and for some reason I am a little nervous!

Three.

School fundraisers.  Well, fundraisers in general.  I hate them!  And my elementary kids come home and give me the forms and give me a guilt trip about how they really really want to win that iPod or that trip or that pizza party if they sell the most.  So could I please please please help them achieve these goals?  I hate bugging my friends to buy stuff.  And my kids won’t bug my friends to buy stuff.  And I refuse to have Hubby take this stuff to work, it just seems weird to me.  So last year I just bought all the raffle tickets my kids were tasked with selling myself for the school carnival.  And surprisingly enough, Bellie ended up winning for “Top Seller” in her class.  I had to laugh.  This year I think I will just do the same thing, buy up $50 worth or so of raffle tickets and chalk it up to a donation.  I would so much rather donate than fundraise!

Four.

“Pretend” school update:  It is going rather well.  I think the main thing I have been focusing on is just to stay positive and not get too intense.  Also, being a little flexible about the schedule.  Spike thrives on a)storytime b)crafts and c)songs.  So I try to teach him his letters, his letter sounds, and a religious lesson while bookending it very strongly with stories, crafts, and songs.  Plus, today I decided to do the coloring pages I had earmarked for “C” along with him and that was surprisingly relaxing and fun!  Anyhow, we’ll just keep on keeping on with that.

Five.

This.

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Six.

You know when you are eating a graham cracker, and you love it so much you go “A-mmmm.  A-ummmm.”? And then you climb on the table, grab your sippy cup and say,”Tank-UUUU Mommy!”?  That’s just one of the fun things 1/4 of my kids do while I am trying to blog.

Seven.

Wake me when the election is over.  That is all.

 

Have a great week!

 

 

{7 Quick Takes} Bison, bears, and bathrooms in Yellowstone

A couple of days behind on this one, but better late than never right?  Linking up with the lovely Kelly at This Ain’t the Lyceum and the gang…

ONE

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    Even if they are just walking through the parking lot, it is still never a good idea to pet a bison.

Last weekend we took advantage of the post-Labor Day crowds and took the family to Yellowstone National Park to camp.  We are so lucky to live a short drive away from the park, so weekend mini-vacations there are easy.  We have friends who are storing an RV trailer in our yard that they are graciously allowing us to use, and we took that when we went.  Otherwise we would have had to bring tents to augment our itsy-bitsy slide-in pickup camper.  And no offense to tent-campers out there, but I am not brave enough to risk sleeping in a tent with four kids who smell like hot dogs and marshmallows  in Bear Country.

TWO

Did you know that in Yellowstone, there is this lake that straddles the Continental Divide?  Its significance is that one side of the lake drains into the Pacific Ocean and the other side into the Gulf of Mexico.  And if your son just happens to surprise you by suddenly urinating into it (which I am sure is totally legal in a national park…)his pee will likely travel both of those directions as well.  Keep an eye out for those “teachable moments”.

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This location holds a new meaning for us.

THREE

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2016 may be the year Old Faithful finally becomes female.

“Why is it called a “Guy”ser?  Where are the “girl”sers?” – Bellie gets feminist at Old Faithful.  Maybe Hillary will change that if she gets elected.

FOUR

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Looking up from the lobby fireplace.

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I love how they’ve incorporated natural logs everywhere

I love, love, love Old Faithful Inn.  Every time we go to Old Faithful, I drag the family in here to see the awesome log everything in this awesome old hotel.  I love going into the lobby and just looking up the several stories to the roof.  And that fireplace is just fantastic!  We stayed there once, and I thought I was in heaven.  It is just a fantastic piece of history and one of the biggest log cabins in the world.  We watched Old Faithful erupt for a second time from the front balcony.  Low crowds, a huckleberry mocha, the soft sounds of my kiddos fighting over a muffin.  It was lovely.

FIVE

I am so proud to announce that my oldest three are now JUNIOR RANGERS.  They worked so hard.  How, you may ask, does a child become a Junior Ranger?  Well, it involves many hours of study (i.e. completing fun activities in a workbook), going on a nature patrol (i.e. walking from the visitor center to the boardwalk by Old Faithful) and listening to a ranger’s talk (we watched a bear spray demonstration).  The kids had a lot of fun doing this.  My favorite thing was Spike’s drawing in his workbook of animals one might see in Yellowstone.  He drew two turtles and a dinosaur.

SIX

We are the champions!  We did UNCLE TOM’S TRAIL.  With kids.  With no injuries.  And we’re not even that in shape.

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The way down is easier. Across from the falls of the Yellowstone.

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The gorgeous Yellowstone Canyon.

So, I had forgotten that there were SO MANY STEPS.  I really wanted to get close to the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River and I figured Uncle Tom’s Trail was the best walk to take.  I had forgotten that it has like one million and eighty-two steps down the canyon wall (those scared of heights may want to reconsider).  Which isn’t that bad going down, but is really, really a joy going back up!  The last time we had done the trail, Bellie was a baby in the backpack (carried by Hubby) and Junior was about three.  He ended up falling on the metal grates of the stairs at the very bottom, skinning his knee awfully badly and not wanting to walk anywhere anymore.  So our friend Eric offered to carry him all the way up those million-plus steps.  Our friendship with Eric was solidified and written into the annals of friends-going-above-and-beyond history.  I am pretty sure we still owe him big time for that.  And as far as Hubby goes, babies in hiking backpacks are not a piece of cake going up and down that staircase with, either.

However, this time all went well.  No injuries, no kids losing their motivation halfway back up again.  Heck, I am super-proud of myself for not losing motivation halfway back up again.  It was tempting to stop at one of the landings and say, “that’s it, I can go no further.  Bid fond adieu to my mother for me.”  but I kept going.

The view really is to die for.  Well, not literally (there are always some really unfortunate fatalities in Yellowstone Canyon every season), but it is just gorgeous.  If you are into self-punishment (or just enjoy the stair-climb machine at the gym) Uncle Tom’s Trail is for you!  It is worth it.

SEVEN

You gotta love the worldliness of Yellowstone.  There are people there from all over.  We were following a family from France on our way up the Stairway from Hell Uncle Tom’s Trail.  There were Germans in line next to me at the restrooms.  And a very nice group of Chinese tourists wanted to join us for lunch in our camper.  They were very intrigued that there were four children.  They also found blonde-haired Evvie positively enthralling.  And she’s not even that blonde!  (On an earlier trip, we were on a trail and there was a family ahead of us with a toddler who had platinum blonde hair.  A large group of Chinese tourists surrounded the family and started touching the child’s hair and gestured that they wanted to take pictures with her.  So they began taking selfies with the little girl as though she were one of the Jolie-Pitt kids.  We felt relieved that our dishwater-blonde kids were wearing hoodies.  It would have taken us forever to get done with that walk around the hot springs!

It’s a good learning experience to be able to explain to the kids how things are different in other countries and in other cultures.  For example, the Chinese tourists were interested in the size of our family because in their country they had a one-child policy until just recently.  So families of our size are not seen there.  And blonde hair is likewise rare.  Even explaining how toilets are different (prompted by the kids seeing the following image in the restrooms in Yellowstone:)

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If there are footprints on the seat, someone probably ignored this sign.

was a good opportunity to discuss that the U.S. is not the only nation on earth and the way it is done here is not necessarily the way it is done elsewhere.  Not good or bad, either way…just different.

 

Have a fabulous week!

Asking for what you need and guilt-laden “me time”

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lovely image of Paris courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

I have been struggling with two main emotions  challenges stumbling blocks lately.  And they are guilt and my struggle to be assertive.

I struggled with this last month when my in-laws were visiting.  I have been struggling with it this month while I try to plan my upcoming Europe trip, as well as take some much-needed “me time” in the form of my monthly Bunco get-together.  Hubby, understandably, is resistant to the times I spend away from the family.  It places extra burden on him and he really doesn’t get anything concrete in return.  (One could argue a happier, more rested wife, but we’ll get back to that in a minute…)

Things came to a head last week when I was discussing the aforesaid European trip with Hubby, complaining that there wouldn’t be enough time to comfortably see EVERYTHING, and he suddenly said, “I am not sympathetic; I am not supportive of this trip in the first place.”

Wow.

I was thrown for a loop.  Here I am, glibly planning this two week trip for next summer with friends and – heck- we’re almost ready to buy plane tickets, when Hubby suddenly brings to my attention the fact that, ahem, he is not supportive of this trip.  I admit I never really asked permission to take this trip with friends -a trip that I have been saving both my money and airline miles for.  I had, at first, mentioned to Hubby that we take a trip together, just the two of us.  I suggested Alaska, a place Hubby had always wanted to see.  I figured out a little itinerary (Denali! Kenai Fjords! A fishing charter!) and asked my sister if she would be willing to come out to Idaho to watch the kids while we were gone.  I had it all planned, and presented the plan to Hubby on his birthday.

The response was not as I had expected.  He replied that he didn’t want to spend that kind of money, that his idea of an Alaskan trip was much different than my idea of an Alaskan trip (think flying into a remote North Pole-ery location and rustic camping/fishing for a week) and he reminded me that we don’t travel well together.  (Which is true, we have very different traveling styles).  I told him that we had enough airline miles for both of us to fly to Alaska for no cost.  He said, “I’m sure you’d rather go to Europe with those miles.”  And I said, “Yes, actually I would.  Can I go to Europe with those miles if you really really don’t want to do Alaska with me?”  And he said yes.  So I really really thought he was completely OK with me going to Europe next summer.

After the conversation (the one where he said he wasn’t going to support my trip), I was wracked with horrendous amounts of Guilt.  Who was I, thinking that it was completely OK to ditch my young family for a couple of weeks, leaving my poor frazzled husband to deal with them?  Who was I to make my husband take vacation from work to watch the kiddos while I gallivanted around Europe while he was forced to stay home and be stressed out?   Why did I think I deserved that?  What if something happened to the kids while I was gone?  What if something happened to me?  How selfish was that?  How selfish was I?

While I kept trying to make sense of my emotions regarding this I tried to ascertain exactly why Hubby said he was non supportive.  What he had said was he wasn’t supportive of my trip.  What I heard is that he wasn’t supportive of me.  When I asked him to clarify, he said he thought the expense of travel was too great and that he didn’t believe I would be able to save enough money beforehand to finance my trip.  He also was unhappy about having to take work off, using up valuable vacation time that he would rather use for….um, vacation.  He also was worried for my safety, in light of the terrorism that seems to run rampant in Europe these days.  Additionally, and perhaps a little “selfishly” on his part, he was jealous.  When had he gotten to take a two-week trip with his friends?  I reminded him of the cool locations he had traveled to for work (Sweden, for example).  Also, I reminded him that I had tried to get us to plan a trip to Alaska, a #1 bucket-list item on his agenda, but he had declined.

Nevertheless, even after finding out the reasons for my husband’s reluctance to this trip, I still felt guilty.  I assured him I would try even harder to save money.  I would sell stuff I was no longer using on ebay.  I would pare down my spending.  I also assured him I would try to figure out childcare options for while I was gone, perhaps hiring someone or seeing if a family member would come out to provide babysitting.  I can’t do anything about terrorism or crime except to keep alert and stick with my traveling companions, and I told him I would be supportive of any travel scheme he came up with in the future – with or without me.  But the guilt remained.

As a wife and a mother, and especially as a woman of God, we are taught the intrinsic value of sacrifice.  We sacrifice for our spouse.  We sacrifice, especially, for our children.  Our sleep, our time, our energy, our bodies.  We are happy to do it because our families are worth it.  No one wants to be that mom or that wife who selfishly puts her wants ahead of her family’s needs.

So when, if ever, is it OK to say “Time Out!  I need to focus on my needs a little bit.  And they might look like ‘wants’ to you, but believe me, THEY ARE NEEDS!”  Like rest and rejuvenation.  Intellectual and cultural stimulation.  Exercise time.  Heck, a shower!

I guess, ultimately, I don’t want my kids to look back at me during their childhood as a woman who had no identity except that as their mother or their father’s wife.  I want them to see me as a dynamic, interesting, and joyful  woman who sacrificed for them but never forgot to take time out for herself.  I don’t want them to remember me as bitter and frustrated and failing to be a person in my own right.  I also don’t want them to remember me as a woman racked with guilt over following my dreams.

That said, I am forging ahead with the planning for my Europe trip.  I will try to come up with ways to make the time I am gone (and the expense) less painful for Hubby.  I am sure I will continue to struggle with feelings of guilt, but I need to focus on the actual goal which is to create enough joy that I come back to nurture my family even better.  One can’t feel guilty about that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

{7 Quick Takes} Thoughts on Hamilton, “pretend school” and memory

Hello, gentle readers…hope your week has been lovely.  Linking up again with Kelly to let you in on what’s been happening around here…

ONE

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I am sort-of behind the times, but just recently discovered and immediately jumped on the Hamilton bandwagon.  I’ve been listening to the soundtrack on Amazon nearly non-stop for a few weeks now, and I love it.

I was a history major in college and I always thought, reading about Alexander Hamilton, “what a stud!” first, but then, “this guy was the epitome of the American Dream”.  He rose from illegitimacy and poverty to become one of the most influential of the Founders.  He had such a fascinating, nuanced life and that’s why this musical really excites me.

Plus, the hip-hop?  That’s pretty darn revolutionary for a Broadway show about an 18th Century Federalist.  It could have been a tired, classical story about an interesting guy, but Lin-Manuel Miranda does such great things with his writing that it makes the early days of America fresh and exciting.  And relatable.  Which is a complaint I think a lot of young people have about the study of history.

(Why do I  have to learn about this?  What does it matter to me?  These people in the past are nothing like me, they have nothing in common with me.)

Miranda took it a step further and cast people of all ethnic backgrounds as the central (historically Anglo-Saxon/white) characters.  And it is brilliant.  The story transcends race and gender and solidifies the fact that no matter our backgrounds or ethnicity, ALL AMERICANS have a right to the heritage of our nation.  And that is just fabulous.

Plus, the music is super-catchy.  If you haven’t, I encourage you to check out the soundtrack (even if you’re not a musical fan…this one might change your mind!).  If you’re waiting to see it on Broadway, it is probably going to be a long wait – it’s basically sold out into 2018!

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Alexander Hamilton (left) and Lin-Manuel Miranda (right) as Alexander Hamilton

TWO

The older two started school Aug 28th.  I had to laugh at Bellie (1st grade) when she came home after that first day.  It was an excited, breathless, stream of consciousness about eating lunch at school and riding the bus with her brother and seeing her friends and she loves her teacher and she got to help in the library and she used her new pencils and she loves her teacher did she tell me she loves her teacher?  And Junior (4th grade) came home and grunted “fine” when I asked him how his first day was.  Haha, the difference between boys and girls.  (Or 1st and 4th grade?)

THREE

I attempted to begin homeschooling my preschooler on Tuesday.  I had tried to get him excited about the prospect (We did not enroll him in “away from home” preschool this fall because A) at almost 4 he is showing a stubborn lack of interest in being potty-trained and B) I really don’t want to have to shuttle anyone back and forth to a 2-hour preschool when it takes me 1 hour round-trip  to get there.  This is my one year to be free from that!).  Anyhow, I told Spike that I was going to teach him at home.  He responded, “I get to go to pretend school?  Yay!”  Initially, I thought, that’s cool he calls it “pretend”, I know it is real, and it will be awesome.  Well, it turns out he really thought we were only going to “pretend” we were at school.  I barely got through the morning prayer and the pledge before he got sidetracked and started throwing a fit about playing with his Lego car.  I tried to lovingly refocus him, I attempted to move onto something I thought he would enjoy (coloring), I finally resorted to giving him a time-out.  He sat on the steps screaming, “I hate pretend school!  I don’t want to do pretend school any more!”  So I decided we would probably just take a break for the day.  I don’t want him completely hating it if I push it on him.  I vow to try it again next week.  I will keep trying for a bit but if it appears he is just not ready, perhaps he might not be.  I will keep you updated.

FOUR

The baby has some weird skin thing going on.  It looks like a rash or maybe psoriasis, is mostly on her chin and around her eye.  It looks very dry and red and patchy.  The only thing I can think of is it appeared around the time the kids were doing swimming lessons last month.  So perhaps a reaction to the chlorine or something?  It has been a couple of weeks since we’ve been swimming, though, so I don’t know what is going on.  Junior had some weird eczema around that age that eventually subsided, but this appears different.  I hate skin conditions in kids…one thing can look very much like another thing.  Something serious that needs treatment can appear just like something else that only needs to be washed with a gentle soap and moisturized.  It could be a reaction to some kind of detergent or it could be an allergy to some kind of food.  In that case, it can take months to figure it out while removing and adding stimuli to the child’s life.  Gaaah.  At least it doesn’t seem itchy or bothersome to Evvie.  She just looks somewhat ghastly.

FIVE

Our garden is overflowing and I couldn’t be more irritated.  I know that sounds totally awful, but it is true.  I love the idea of gardening.  I like having fresh herbs and lettuce to pick when I am making a salad or cooking and need just a little bit of parsley instead of running to the store.  But…but…even when you plant just one, little, teeny zucchini plant you somehow wind up with 5,634,592 zucchinis that you need to figure out what the heck to do with!  I have at least 3 friends who begrudgingly took one or two to make zucchini bread.  Hubby’s been cubing it and sautee-ing it with butter and Parmesan cheese (yummy actually, but not when you have it served for every meal for every day for a month!)

We have tomatoes and plums and really hard, not delicious pears strewn all over my counter.  The fruit is not so bad: the kids eat it constantly.  Unfortunately, those children still in diapers (I’m looking at you, Mr. I Hate Pretend School) tend to bless me with delightful pants to change after consuming all of that fiber.  Hubby was raised with the Depression-Era mindset (I am pretty sure he is actually a vampire who grew up in the 30’s) that you use EVERY LAST available piece of food for SOMETHING, no matter how ugly it is, how full of worms it may happen to be (yeah, our apples didn’t do so well this year), or how bad it tastes.  If it is not rotting or full of mold, you better dang well figure out some way to cook it, freeze it, or preserve it.  Of course, since Hubby is at work all day, this generally gets “intended” my way….and I honestly have tons of things I would rather be doing.  Hence the resentment over my bounteous garden.  I am blessed.

SIX

I have to go to the library today.  My kids love the library.  I love the library.  But I hate going with my kids to the library.

SEVEN

I am reading this fascinating (although a little technical) book: Permanent Present Tense: The Incredible Life of the Amnesic Patient, H.M. by Suzanne Corkin (2013).

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I became interested in this subject because a new nonfiction book about the same thing was recently published:

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My library hasn’t acquired this new book yet (Patient H.M. by Luke Dittrich, who is the grandson of the brain surgeon who operated on H.M.) but a search led me to the other one.

Permanent Present Tense tells the story of Henry Molaison, a 27-year-old epileptic who underwent an experimental surgery in 1953 to remove part of his brain in order to relieve his seizures.  It seemed to work somewhat, but tragically included the added side-effect of Henry never being able to create any long-term memories.  His life really was in “permanent present tense” as he forgot everything after about 30 seconds.

As a result, for the next half-century, Henry agreed to be studied by neurologists to discover the intricacies and nuances of the brain.

Fascinatingly, only Henry’s long-term memory of things after his surgery was affected.  He could remember things from before, and his intelligence and personality remained the same.

Henry passed away in 2008, before that, he was only referred to in scientific circles as “Patient H.M.”  He contributed greatly to our understanding of how the brain works, most importantly memory.

I have always been very fascinated with the brain and the history of how brain injuries and mental illness have been treated.  In the first part of the 20th Century, lobotomies were considered appropriate and acceptable treatment for a wide range of conditions, among them depression and schizophrenia.  They were used, with some success, on patients with epilepsy, but up until recently doctors were not sure precisely which areas of the brain were able to be removed or damaged to yield results without damaging other brain functions (such as memory).

I’m only about half-way through but am engrossed.  I feel devastated for Henry and his family to have to have enriched science and medicine through their loss, but it really did open up a whole knew era of understanding about the brain.  Alternately, the book calls into question the lengths we as a society are willing to experiment on human “guinea pigs”(drug trials, for example) to further our goals to find treatment for disease.

Oregon: Part Deux

Continuing with our exciting Oregon coast report…

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One of them was terrified by the waves, the other three were enraptured by the wet sand.

THE OCEAN

We reached the Pacific at the northern part of the state, near Seaside, and drove to Del Rey Beach.  We were able to drive right out onto the sand.  It was fairly overcast, but still warm enough (the kids said) to run into the surf fully clothed!?!?  I don’t know if 64 degrees F is my idea of swimming weather, but they had great fun.  Just being able to play in the sand was a fabulous experience for them.

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Sand Angels are JUST like snow angels, just a little bit grittier.

Evvie HATED the waves!  She wouldn’t let me put her down for about an hour.  And then when I did, she just ran around screaming.  Eventually, though, she figured out that sand is kind-of fun to play with and she got in on the action, too.

It was fun to see the little jellyfish washed up by the waves.  They looked just like little bubbles on the sand.  We also saw a few different types of crabs, and different species of seagulls (which I didn’t realize existed – I thought they were all alike).

FORT STEVENS STATE PARK

We camped here two nights.  It was a super-nice campground with awesome bike trails that were easy for kids.  The first night we went to see the Peter Iredale shipwreck that was nearby.  We had watched the movie Goonies just before leaving on our trip, so the kids were really curious about where the pirate ship was with all the gold.  And also a little nervous about those sneaky bad guys and the skeletons.

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At the beach with the Peter Iredale.  No pirates in sight!

ASTORIA

What a gorgeous town!  I wish we could have spent more time there, but we really only had time to visit the Columbia River Maritime Museum.  I thoroughly enjoyed the exhibits, which were all about the coast’s relationship with fishing and shipping and exploration.  They also had a great exhibit for the kids about the Coast Guard and how they rescue people.  The kids got to climb in the rescue rafts and even try on a survival suit which would keep you warm and toasty if you were to spend a long time in frigid water.

We drove by the Old Jail that features in the opening scenes of Goonies.  It is now the Oregon Film Museum.  I hope that next time we’ll have time to stop and visit!

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Loved the rainforest!  The ferns were my favorites.

ECOLA STATE PARK AND VIEW OF HAYSTACK ROCK

We finally found a place to park with our little trailer near the overlook for Cannon Beach.  We had heard the tide pools down at Indian Beach in Ecola State Park were pretty good, so we thought a short hike down to the beach would be an OK proposition.  (Apparently the parking lot down at Indian Beach was full).  So we started pushing our stroller up the trail until we realized that the trail followed a narrow cliff-drop-off on one side.  Our stroller was too big and I didn’t relish the idea of the kids (or me) falling down the precipice to the rocky shore cliffs.  So we turned around.  We would look for tide pools elsewhere.  The walk up until that point was really pretty.  And the view of Haystack rock was gorgeous from the picnic area.

TILLAMOOK CHEESE FACTORY

This was a super-fun stop a few miles down the coast.  We get Tillamook dairy products in Idaho, and it was really fun to see where they make and package them for distribution!

While there, we got ice cream (Huckleberry is my favorite flavor!) and did a free self-guided tour of their cheese plant.  We all found it really interesting.

This video can give you a little glimpse of what we learned.

SEA LION CAVES Florence, OR

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The sea lions were cool, the kids enjoyed the cave…a little spendy, but worth it for us.

HECETA HEAD LIGHTHOUSE

I think this was one of my favorite parts of the whole trip.  After we went to visit the Sea Lion caves in the morning, we drove a short way north to the Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint.

We just spent the whole afternoon there, had a picnic, and then the kids played in the sand and we wandered in the surf, looking in the tide pools.  Very relaxing!

Well, it took me long enough to finish this post!  Only a few months later…ha!

{7 Quick Takes} Thoughts on hospitality, houseguests, and being too nice…

Well, as I said before, I had houseguests these last two weeks…

Sigh.  I wish I could say I was always 100% cheerful and happy to have my in-laws visit.  I wish I could say I was the epitome of hospitality and carried zero resentment that they take over our ground-floor master suite.  I would be lying if I said I did not breathe a giant sigh of relief when their car finally turned out of our driveway this morning.

I feel like a terrible daughter-in-law, wife, and most of all, a terrible Christian because I really don’t relish the bi-yearly visits with my in-laws.  I try to focus on the positive, like I mentioned before.  I am glad they are interested in having a relationship with their grandchildren.  I am glad they come all this way to show us they care about us.  I am happy that Hubby gets to go fishing with his dad, something that both of them miss doing together because of the distance.  But it is an insanely trying two-week period for me.

So, I decided to link up with Kelly this week by offering a few thoughts about having houseguests, being a houseguest, and what hospitality means to me:

ONE

The ancient American College Dictionary on my desk defines “hospitality” as “the reception and entertainment of guest or strangers with liberality and kindness” 1 Peter 4:9 says, “Be hospitable to one another without complaining” and one of the more famous, Hebrews 13:2 says, “Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels”

Gaaaah.  I always start to bristle at the thought of having my in-laws as houseguests, but when faced with these definitions and biblical exhortations about hospitality, I always wind up preparing for their visit with a giant buried heap of resentment and a side-order of SuperSize Guilt.  Guilt because I don’t look forward to them coming; guilt because I can’t receive them with open-armed exhilaration; guilt because their visit creates a lot of work and stress for me, with very little return on the investment.

TWO

I think most of my feelings of resentment and guilt lead straight back to my lack of assertiveness.  Particularly when it comes to my extended in-law relationship.  Although our upbringings were similar in the values I believe matter most, many things about our backgrounds were different.  The dynamic of our families of origin is very different.  Hubby’s family just interacts with each other differently than mine does.  That doesn’t mean it is bad, just different.  Hubby’s family doesn’t think a thing of dropping in at a relative’s place with very little notice and then staying a week.  My family is terrified they will wear out their welcome after 3 days.  Hubby’s family is very focused on meals together.  My family is very focused on intellectual conversation.  Hubby’s family has a lot of physical limitations.  My family has a lot of emotional limitations.

Instead of talking about these differences with my in-laws and Hubby, I tend to just clam up and not bring anything up.  I hesitate to request help in the kitchen (they are the ones who love to cook and spend time around the table, not me!) because I think they expect me to be just like them in that regard.  I don’t want to say, “Hey, could you change your visit to the beginning of August instead of the end because the kids are starting school?” because I don’t want to seem like I don’t want them here, it is just easier on me if it is on my terms.  I don’t want to ask them to please not do laundry in our laundry room until I am completely done with my laundry (“could you please not take my laundry out of the dryer still wet so you can put your clothes in?”) but I am horribly afraid I will be viewed as being “inhospitable”.  I don’t want them to not like me, even though I am seething with resentment inside.  I also don’t want Hubby to think I am selfish (a mistake he made earlier in our marriage when referring to my attitude about his family that I have never been able to stop rewinding in my head).

Do I need a 12-Step program to learn to be more assertive?

THREE

So, what really are the responsibilities of a hostess?  As far as I am concerned, it is to provide a comfortable, safe and not unpleasant environment in which to stay.  I am not opposed to providing the bulk of the groceries.  I am not opposed to suggesting fun and entertaining things to do both in- and outside the home.  I am willing to provide my vehicle for their use.  I am happy to let them use our washer and dryer.  I will try my best to be kind, hold conversations, and be helpful.

FOUR

I do not believe I am responsible for:

Providing round-the-clock meals, entertainment, or perpetual conversation.

Cleaning up after everyone as though I am a servant. (Hey, if my kids can take their dirty dishes to the dishwasher, so can you!)

Being tantamount to a car service so you can avoid reading a map to get to a location only you want to go to.

Neglecting my personal daily routine, chores, and responsibilities to focus on my houseguests.

Feeling guilty if you are bored while at my home.

FIVE

Houseguests, realize that you may wear out your welcome within 3 days (like that adage with the fish).  THIS CAN BE AVOIDED if you make an effort to be a Super Awesome Houseguest.

Super Awesome Houseguests (SAHs) keep in mind the following:

Before planning a trip to stay, inquire what time frame works best for the hosts.  If a certain week is better than another, take that into consideration.  Ask if the host has time available to take time off from work.  If not, discuss what the houseguest(s) might do while the host(s) is at work.  Do not rely on the fact that one of the hosts might be a stay at home parent and is, therefore, free to be at your beck and call.

Try to NOT inconvenience your hosts as much as humanly possible.  Consider the Golden Rule, would you want them to come into your home and turn their toilet paper rolls the wrong way.

Ask what you can do to help out.  Sometimes attempting to put dishes away when you don’t know where they go is not helpful.  It might be more of a help for you to keep your hosts’ children entertained while the kitchen gets cleaned up after dinner.  Suggest something you’d like to do (“I’d love to sweep the floor after you’re done clearing the table.  Can you show me where the broom and dust pan are?”) and see if this would be acceptable to your hosts.

Offer to pay for groceries.  Or better yet, on a visit to town, pick up a mega-pack of toilet paper.  Or wine.  Wine and toilet paper go a long way to solidifying your reputation as a SAH.

Don’t complain about their kids keeping you awake.  They are kids.  It’s their house. Your hosts are providing you a place to stay for free.  If you really want, you can go check into a hotel and possibly get a stranger’s kids on the floor above keeping you awake as well.  Or you can just stay home.  The ball is really in your court, people.

Don’t complain about not sleeping well on your hosts’ king-size pillow top mattress that they generously vacated their master suite to allow you to use.  This is just poor manners.

Their way of life might not be your way of life.  But when in Rome, at least try to do as the Romans do.  If your hosts generally get up at 7 and go to bed at 10, it is nice to mirror their schedule somewhat.  Sleeping all day and still being awake when your hosts go to bed just makes for a weird dynamic.  Likewise with toilet seats.  I know it seems anal (pun intended!) but observe whether they normally keep their toilet seats shut or open.  Make sure you leave them that way when you’re done doing your business.  At our house, we always close them (an open toilet seems sort-of obscene to me, don’t know why…) not only for aesthetics but also for safety – we don’t want our toddler falling in!

Ask what your hosts’ plans for the next day are.  Is there something you can do together, or will the host be busy and the guest will need to figure out something to do?  Having a houseguest sitting around being visibly bored while a host is trying to balance the checkbook is surprisingly stressful.  Don’t stress out the host!  Find something to do.  My dad used to always say He who is Bored is Boring.  You’re on vacation!  Make the most of it!  Don’t make your host feel guilty that they aren’t being the Activity Director.  If nothing else, ask if you can help with chores.

A no-brainer: If you make a mess, clean it up.

Send or bring your hosts flowers at the end of your visit to say “thank you!” for opening their home to you

SIX

I guess my goals for next time the in-laws come to visit are to be more assertive about what does and does not work for me.  I tend to be too nice to their faces while being extremely irritated inside.  I don’t think that is what the Saints meant hospitality to be when they described it in the Scriptures.

Also, I think I need to be more vocal about asking for help with the extra housework.  I need to not be afraid to put my father-in-law to work.  He gets really bored (particularly when Hubby is at work all day) and I am hesitant to press him into labor.

I also need to have an honest talk with Hubby about the length and timing of their stay.

SEVEN

Above all, I think I need to meditate more on the Christian meaning of hospitality as well as how to have a heart of charity while not being a doormat.  Any suggestions?  I love my in-laws and I love my Hubby but I need to find a way to not let these visits hurt our respective relationships!

Have a great week!

 

Oregon {With Pictures!}

Last month we took our first *real* family vacation.  Our trips up until this point consisted of camping weekends and journeys east to visit family in the Midwest.  I decided it was high time we went somewhere that didn’t involve sleeping on the floor at my sister-in-law’s or worrying about whether my kids were extorting too much candy from Grandma.

We settled on Oregon.  It’s close, yet far and different enough from Idaho to be “exotic”.  I wanted the kids to see the ocean.  Hubby wanted to save money by camping.  So we traveled the fabled Columbia River route, traveled by scions such as Lewis & Clark and the Oregon Trail pioneers.  Here are some highlights:

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We like to pretend we are hard-core with t-shirts.

EBR-1: Atomic City, Idaho

En route to Oregon, we stopped at the very first nuclear reactor that has since been decommissioned and turned into a museum.  (Don’t worry, the radiation levels remaining in the building are so low to as not be considered unhealthy for visitors)  It was in operation from 1951 to 1964 and is left largely the same as it was when they moved to a new facility.  They make it fun for the kids to learn about nuclear energy (and what Daddy’s work is all about).

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I always knew the kids were mad scientists…

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In the real world, they usually don’t let kids sit on top of nuclear reactors

The kiddos had fun pretending operate the reactor in the control room, walking on the cell where the nuclear reactor used to be, and seeing how “hot” (radioactive) material was handled with robotic arms through an insulated cell.

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One of the young owls sitting perched outside the museum. Spike said, “They’re scary. I’m freakin’ out!”

Probably the most memorable was seeing a pair of young owlings sitting on the abandoned fighter jet reactor in the parking lot.  They were very still, just looking at us.  I don’t think I have ever seen an owl that close before.

Farewell Bend, Oregon

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Wagon ruts

Just across the border into Oregon is Farewell Bend State Park.  It is a really pretty location, on the banks of the Snake River.  It is known for being the point where the Oregon Trail pioneers said “farewell” to the Snake River (which winds north from here) as their continued their journey west.  You can still see the wagon tracks in the nearby hills.

National Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, Baker City, Oregon

I probably date myself a little, but remember that old floppy disk computer game, Oregon Trail?  I loved that game.  Well, this museum is where you learn the reality of what the game was based upon.  They do a good job of helping to re-create the hardships and decisions those emigrants went through to reach the “Eden” of western Oregon.  I left the Center feeling knowing I wouldn’t have had what it took to survive and thrive on the nineteenth century Oregon Trail. Especially since we had only been camping one night and I was already wishing we were staying in hotels!

Bonneville Lock & Dam on the Columbia River

I had wanted to see the Bonneville Dam ever since learning about it in a college history course.  It was initially a New-Deal project that created thousands of jobs.  Now it powers thousands of homes through hydroelectricity.  We were able to tour a powerhouse to learn how it all works, which was cool, but the highlight for Hubby and the kids was the fish ladder.  You are able to view it from above and also from below (through windows) to see how the Pacific salmon and other fish are able to navigate the dam safely to swim upriver.

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Spike and Bellie smell roses, the Bonneville spillway in the background.

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Giant turbines

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Follow the power signs to see where it gets harnessed!

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The fish ladder

Old Columbia River Highway and Waterfalls

We took this road, reading that it was “the scenic route”, which was definitely true, but traffic was so awful I am not sure it was worth it!  Granted, it was a Sunday and there seemed to be lots of weekend Portland visitors, but the road itself is insanely narrow and we had a larger truck with camper insert as well as a trailer, and it was very nerve-wracking for Hubby.  The route is through a gorgeous rain-forest and is dotted with waterfalls every few miles.  We wanted to stop and see one of the more famous ones, Multomah Falls, but there was no safe place to park.  People were parked down the road for a mile or two and walking on the shoulder while cars on the two lane road were trying to avoid hitting pedestrians as well as fellow motorists.  There were NO RVs and there is no way we could have found a place to park with our small trailer.  So we just kept driving.  At one point we were stopped for at least half an hour because pedestrians kept crossing at a crosswalk with no break.  Bottom line: it was pretty, but if we did it again it would be on a weekday morning and we would leave the trailer at the hotel.

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Latourell Falls.  Not as tall, not as impressive, but we found a place to park!

Willamette Valley west of Portland

The highway we took to the coast was littered with fruit stands and pick-your-own flower gardens.  The fertile Willamette valley was where those Oregon Trail pioneers were headed.  There is a long growing season and rich soil.  We stopped at a cut-your-own flower farm and the kids all helped pick the flowers of their choice.  We wound up with a lovely bouquet that became our “camp flowers” throughout the rest of the trip.  We stuck them in a gallon water bottle and proudly put them on our picnic table at each camping site.  We felt so fancy.  Next time Hubby and I will get a babysitter and check out some of the Willamette valley wineries.  Not as well-known as Napa or Sonoma (but just as good) the area has hundreds of small vineyards.

Well, that was the first half of the trip….I will separate this post into two to avoid the length of a short novel!  Stay tuned for more adventures in Oregon!

 

{7 Quick Takes} Weekly Mismash, Vol. 9

A day late on these, but better late than never, right?

Linking up with Kelly et al again…

{ONE}

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Helping me clean the bathroom before Grandma & Grandpa get here.

My in-laws are here.  This is always a little bit tough for me.  I am just so used to my own routine, my own way of doing things and it is challenging to have visitors who come in and “move my cheese” so to speak.  They are good people and they love my kids.  And since my father is no longer around and my mom doesn’t isn’t super-involved with the whole grandmother thing, I appreciate that my children have the regular opportunity to get to know their paternal grandparents.  We live so far away from family that we are not able to see our relatives very often.  I really need to focus on the good, rewarding things about their visit and downplay the frustrations.  Nevertheless, it is hard!

{TWO}

School starts here in a little over a week.  I will have a fourth and first-grader this year.  Where does the time go?  I feel like my summer went way too fast, but we actually did A LOT this vacation.  Of course I always intent to accomplish more – like work inch by inch throughout my storage room decluttering.  Ha, with a curious toddler and boisterous older kids…like that is a realistic goal!

{THREE}

I am going to attempt to do home school preschool for Spike this year.  He could technically go to real-live-preschool because he is three but….*he is not potty trained*.  That, and I have a strong aversion to driving the 1 hour round-trip to a brick and mortar preschool twice a week.  So I am going to see what I can do at home.  I am excited but worried that I will lose my motivation right away.  I attempted the same with piano lessons for my older two and never went more than two weeks!

{FOUR}

And while we’re talking about piano lessons, I should mention I am going to try to jump on the homeschool piano lesson bandwagon again.  I figure if I confess this here, you all might keep me accountable to actually setting a time and sticking to it.  I’ll let you know how both teaching endeavors go.

{FIVE}

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Love. This. Mystery.  Broadchurch starring David Tennant is my new favorite Netflix show.  It is a BBC drama-mystery (surprise surprise…I love me some British television) but I just think it is so well-done.  I finished watching the second season and I think both the acting and the writing are superb.  Obviously the content is somewhat disturbing (especially for me, as a mother) in dealing with the murder of a teenage boy, but the complex emotions and relationships between a community are presented so realistically and grittily that I truly was gripped.

{SIX}

Visiting the set of Antiques Roadshow Salt Lake last weekend was fun but we waited in line a long time.  I went to the actual event with Bellie.  I’ll admit, there weren’t many kids there (and, hey, there weren’t many in the under 50 crowd either!) but she did really well.  My great-grandmother’s pocket watch turned out to actually be worth less than I thought it would be, but the appraiser was super-nice and made a point of telling Bellie how lucky she was that one day if she was very lucky, this priceless family treasure (that, monetarily wasn’t worth very much but who cares?)would someday be hers.  I thought it was cute that he involved her in the appraisal.  But no, we did not get selected to appear on camera.  Unless they decide we are cool enough to feature in the “Feedback Booth” section at the end.  Will keep you posted on that one!

{SEVEN}

My baby girl said her first real sentence last week!  She’s barely 19 months old, so I figure that’s pretty OK.  Her big brother fell asleep in the car and she said, “He is seepy”.  Which, aside from the fact she needs to work a little on her enunciation, I believe counts!  I am just loving this age.  She can repeat most of the words we say, although Grandma and Grandpa haven’t been in the same room when she’s said their names.  Both sound kind-of like “Gumpa”…

HAVE a GREAT week!