Wednesday, March 31, 2010

And the Name Is....

Turkey Tower? (cricket's suggestion) No...there is no tower, but nice alliteration little buddy. :)

Stinky hollow? (that suggestion got tons of laughs from the boys. go figure.) No....I think the skunk would be offended.  heh.

Wildwood? (yes, Em...we thought of that too!) just didn't seem quite "right". 
The Forbidden Forest?  (you in Harry Potter?)'s just not scary enough...although I think Badger is secretly scared of the skunk.

What then?  What shall we name this magical place?  
"Bramblewood!", says J.  (He seems certain.)  Um....ok.  I think I like it. :)

The Wilderness Behind the House

So there is this woods behind our house.....and it's a strange little place.  Strange because it feels like a really wild place, yet it is in the middle of our town.  It is somewhat small but has such old tall trees, several of which are dying (which really peeks my curiosity!) and they give the area such an old "untouched" feel.  Anyway....we've decided to claim it as ours this year.  And what better time of the year to clear some paths between the brambles than Spring?

We've been trimming back the "pokey things" as Owl calls them. (brambles...lots of brambles...i get almost giddy thinking about all the berries that will soon grow in my own little wilderness!!!)  We've been moving dead branches out of the way and of course helping disperse the burrs.  There are sooo many birds that live in the woods.  A few different kinds of woodpeckers, ravens, robins, bluejays.  The woodpeckers are quite bold, stopping right in front of us to have a little squabble with each other.  Today we also saw a huge wild turkey!!!!  It was so cool!  The one thing we haven't seen yet, for which I'm thankful, is the resident skunk.  We know he's there, because we can smell a gentle hint of him. But don't worry, we always are sure to move slowly so as to give him plenty of time to get away from us so he doesn't have to spray.

I hope to post some pictures soon.  We're planning to go out at dusk with papa and take another walk on the path.  There is still so much to explore!

ps. we want to name the woods!  but we have yet to come up with a creative name.  Any ideas? Leave us a comment!

Monday, March 29, 2010

It's starting!!!

This morning just as J was hopping into the shower for work we got a phone call.  I was having a leisurely morning.  In fact, I was still in my pajamas.  So as I went to answer the phone, I definitely was wondering who on earth would be calling us so early in the morning?!  (it was actually already 8:30. heh.  like i said, leisurely morning.)

Hello? It was our general contractor (for the big remodel) asking if they could come and rip the chimney out. Yep.  Like...right now? Yep.!  

Now, you have to understand that they weren't supposed to come for two more weeks.  And the kitchen was still filled with dishes.  Dirty dishes actually.  And pots and pans and tables and things on the wall.  And it all needed to come down and be packed away before they started knocking down the two story chimney!  They said they'd be by in an hour.  OK! READY GO!
Somehow we got things packed away rather quickly and got everything ready before they arrived.  And it really was quite exciting to see them pull up with this giant cherry picker truck.  The boys were excited about that part too.  They worked all day today, pounding and drilling away the old chimney.  It was loud and messy.  And at one point there was a giant hole in my house!!!  But the work has begun!!!!!!!!!!!  How exciting is that????!!!

We took some before pics.  Here is a glimpse of what the kitchen looks like now. 

 Lovely isn't it? That empty spot next to the sink was where the fridge used to live.  Now it is in a different room so we can use it during the ripping out process.  
Here you can see the chimney.  It is inside the wall there....see where the wall sticks out a bit and is all rough looking?  Yeah....that is the part that is getting ripped out right now as I finish typing this.
This wall that you see between the kitchen and dining room is going to be ripped out.  In it's place will be a cabinet island and breakfast bar.  :)  

And here is the color palette that I've chosen.  

Starting from the left: The kitchen color, cabinet color(white), dining room color.  And then on the right....that darker green is the color for the dining room table (which I'm planning on painting) and the other bright colors are for the chairs. :)  I also will be painting all the unfinished cabinets!!! I'm not sure how I'm going to find time for all of this, but I am excited about it.  I LOVE to paint!  So so much.  It's one of my favorite things to do.  There is just something so relaxing about smearing the paint on with a brush.  And having a freshly painted wall with just the right color is such a great feeling too!

Well...I'm off to do some more schooling with the boys, despite the pounding happening presently in the kitchen.  Oi.  I think we'll head outside and plant some onions......

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Best Made Plans....

I love to write things on the calendar.  You know, like birthdays and appointments and playdates...that sorta thing.  I never ever was the kind of girl to keep a calendar when I was younger but now that I am home so much I find it fun to keep track of the things coming up.  This is of course spurred on by my eldest boy's interest in knowing what day it is and what the plan might be.  (he also likes to cross the days off when they are finished.)  Anyway....on the calendar for the 27th of March it said a very fun thing....."out with J".  I wrote that on there after our valentine's plan to go out to dinner fell through because the boys had the flu. 
J and I were both really looking forward to the date.  We rarely get time for each other, and rarer still do we get to go OUT on a date.  (not complaining here just being truthful)  So as the day approached we both kind of nervously joked about having to cancel.  Then friday, the day before date night, Hen came down with a fever and I admit I was really disappointed.  

Saturday the fever was higher and he was definitely too sick for us to go out.   There were several moments of grumpiness as we decided how to recover the evening.  The boys were disappointed too as they were looking forward to a night with grandma.  We decided on pizza and a movie.  J half joking half sarcastic said "It'll be a party!" and went out to get the pizza.  While he was gone I was busy tending to little Hen so I didn't notice what the other boys were quietly working on in the other room.  I was sooo pleasantly surprised!

When papa came home there was a sign on the door.  It said, "Let's Party!"  And each boy had a similar sign taped on his shirt.  Also, there was a paper crown for papa to wear and they also drew a party scene on the chalkboard for the occasion.  :D

J proudly wore the crown all night.  We snuggled in all together and had a cozy little night.  Just a different way for J and I to spend the night together, and although it wasn't what we planned it was very good indeed. 

Friday, March 26, 2010


Yesterday.  The morning was rough.  The night before was .....let's just say....less than restfull.  There were many factors contributing to this but what is more important for you to know besides all the reasons that I did not keep my cool.  At all.  I was tired and grumpy and I let my family know about it.  Breakfast was eggs, toast, and a side of indigestion. Oi.

The good news is that I quickly saw my behavior for what it was and humbled myself to beg pardon.  (totally because God helps me with this and for no other reason than His love and Grace)  J went off to work and surrounded by slightly disheartened but quick to forgive boys, I cleaned up breakfast determined to restart the day off much better.

We decided to do something we've been meaning to do for awhile but haven't made time for.  For a family of four boys this usually involves some kind of adventure involving seeing some kind of animal.  Snakes?  Turtles?  Owls?  What is it going to be this time?!?  

Eagles!  Yes I think we can perhaps find an eagle or two today.  We do live within a short drive of a place that has lots of them.  Or so I'm told.  We get out our book about Raptors.  We get out the map.  We find the binoculars and pack the diaper bag.  Sunglasses? Check.  Water bottles? Check.  Potty?  Check.  Shoes? Check.  Anything else?  Yes, I did remember the baby, thanks.  Okay....ready go!

So off we went.  A beautiful day for a drive.  (Coffee? Check. must not fall asleep.)  We enjoy the view from the windows of the van.  Hills and valleys.  Sunshine.  A stream that seems to follow us wherever we go.  Old train cars.  Ahhh....this is good.

We get to the Big River and find the trail.  We see the river, the river's edge, the sand, the sky, the magnificent trees.  It was just the adventure we hoped for.  We hiked for a good while picking up rocks, going through brambles, staying on the river's edge hoping to see an eagle.   And just at the last minute as we were ready to turn around and head to the van, we saw them!  Four eagles circling over the river.  They were soaring quite high so we didn't get a good look at them, but we did see them!  

And...on the way home we stopped at a creek off the highway that has an area that is a public fishing spot.  It was really fun to wander there.  No one was there.  Just us.  In the middle of this field.  And this little creak, the water so clear that we could see the bottom.  We searched for crayfish and tadpoles.  Nope, still too cold.  But we did see two minnows!  And lots of interesting algae.  And a hawk with a white belly and head...or was it an owl?  We couldn't tell.

Then back home again.  Where everything felt more restful and at peace even though there were the everyday chores still waiting for us.  We settled into them and into our groove, ending the day much, much better than we started.  

The Lord is my shepherd.....
he leads me beside quiet waters, 
he restores my soul.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

So Much Cuteness

Our little Hen is talking up a storm.  Tons of new words every day.  His new thing is that he asks, "How?" all the time.  Which I never really know how to answer because freaks me out a bit.  Does he really mean it?  And if he does then how much does he want to know? The first time he said it, happened like this.

He was crying and crying because he was in his crib and wanted me to pick him up.  I said, "Hen, just roll over."  He immediately stopped crying, looked right at me and said, "How?"  I was stupified for a second.  huh? did my baby just really say that? that's weird, right?  I think after a second of staring in disbelief I said something like "Here" and helped him get on his side and then he rolled over and sat up.  The crying was totally gone and he was as happy as a clam. (and yeah, it's a little weird too that at one year old he doesn't roll over and sit up on his own.  I have thought and thought about this and I think that it is just his personality.  He does know how to roll over but just wouldn't do it on his own if someone else will do it for him.  I used to know someone else like that.  ehem......but it wasn't me was it? *sheepish look*)
He also puts two words together.  Today it was, "want ball!"  Wow!  It's totally fun to experience all the newness of his speech springing forth.  

The following pictures are sooooo stinkin' cute.  Be forewarned.  ;)

Did you see the one where he is giving you the uh....the toe? That one cracks me up!  What a monkey he is!  I'm so glad to be the mommy of these little monkeys.  My heart is full.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Two pictures and an update

Hi friends. :)

It's been awhile since I've made time to sit down and write.  But you knew that. :) I am.  Back again.  It feels good to sit and ponder the words.  
I want to reassure you that when I don't post for a's not that we are not okay.  We are. :)  Sometimes I just am too busy to write.  Sometimes I don't have anything deep to write about and the everyday gets a bit tedious to write about everyday.  heh.  Sometimes something wonderful is happening and I just don't have words.  And get the idea....

Anyway, our past few days have been good.  Nothing spectacular.  Except for life.  Which is spectacular.  Isn't it?  I mean...really?  Isn't it?  I am still impressed with the creation of this beautiful earth and these beautiful children and my loving man and my family and friends and I could go on and on.  And every day I get to wake up and enjoy it. (hopefully for many more days) What a blessing.  

There have also been a few struggles lately but we've managed.  They involved snot, and coughs, and snow.  (and hormones perhaps too?)  But still....we are here and life is good.  We have so much to be thankful for!

I went to look at the pictures on my camera that I've been taking for the blog and there were only two.  I keep forgetting to get batteries for the camera.  oops.  Anyway here they are.  :)

This is how the boys spent an entire morning the other day.  On the little porch with books.  The sun was so warm and the air so fresh.  The best part, besides the company, was that we saw some brave little birds come to the feeder while we were out there.  It was fun to see them so close up.  They were only a few feet away. 
And here is one of me.  In case you forgot what I look like. ha ha.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Day with Grandma

Every once in awhile we are blessed with a day with Grandma.   Today was one of those days. Owl woke up today and first thing he said was, "Is it tomorrow, mama?"  Yes honey it IS tomorrow.  (Not technically correct, but I knew what he meant right?)  He responds,  "Oh, I'm glad.  Because Grandma is coming!!" and then more quietly...."sometimes I miss Grandma."  I know honey.  Me too.
Today while she was hear we......

made butter.
played outside.
played Boggle.
learned how to type on the computer.
ate Irish Soda Bread. (with homemade butter)
Played the camouflage game (again).
Went shopping for new rain boots. :)
Went out for ice cream.
Made a scavenger hunt for Cricket.
And played outside some more.
And made pistachio bread. (it's green. for St. Patty's day)

and all the while, even though all the time was spent focused on the boys, I felt like I had a companion.  Someone rooting for me.  Someone on my side.  Not that the boys are against me....just that she is a woman like me.  She understands.  She knows without me telling her. Yet, she doesn't mind if I do tell her, because she knows I might need to say it.  She knows I need to be heard sometimes, and she is willing to listen.  She is someone who delights in my children even when they are acting not so delightful.  I'm so thankful for this.
Thanks mom for the visit.  I love you.
and thanks for the new rain boots. I love them!


Welcome to the Dragon Newspaper
first edition

March 14th, 2010

Ezra is playing with his knight.  Papa is watching Lori eat his pizza .  Mama just got back from a  walk, and she found a little car.  She is watching a cooking show and Lori showed me the car that  Mama found on her walk.  Lori was playing with his car while Ezra went up stairs to get a Lego book.  He is now looking at it.  Ezra is kind of complaining about going to bed, but we went up stairs with Papa.  

Papa said we need to clean up the stuff  on the ground, so we started to clean up when my x-wing fighter Lego fell down from its shelf.  Papa and I fixed up my x-wing and then we got in our beds.  Mama and I read stories to the boys.  Then we fell asleep and that is that.
(typed mostly by Badger with a wee bit of help on how and when to make capital letters with the keyboard)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

My Baby is 1!

I know, I know.  No one wants to hear a mother lament because her baby is growing up.  But I am suddenly so very, very emotional that little Hen is one.  One!  (and besides it's my blog. hee hee) So here I will give tribute to our littlest bear.
One year ago he was just the smallest little monkey.  So fresh and wrinkled and new.  We were so excited about his birth.  So excited to meet him.  The birth itself was so exhilarating and faith-building.  We waited and waited for you to come little boy and your coming was amazing.  You showed me how strong I could be.  You taught me to trust more.   Before you were born, we didn't know that something was missing from our family....but when you arrived we knew we were complete.
Happy Birthday my little man!  I am so glad to be on this journey with you.  You are my delight! 

Monday, March 15, 2010

Another Harry Potter Scarf

Cricket took the posing very seriously when I asked him if I could take a picture of him with his new scarf for you all.  These pictures crack me up!
So two Harry Potter scarves to go!  Thankfully Grandma J said she would make the last one.  I wasn't sure I could sit through another one simply because I have a weird impatience with working with the same yarn for too long.  Anyway....I'm making a scarf for myself now!!!  Can't wait to show you how it turns out. :)


Today the sun was shining.  We journeyed out shortly after breakfast to the local natural food co-op to put in our bulk food order. (raisins and peanut butter this time)  The sun was so warm and the walk so very pleasant.

Today we had a picnic in the backyard.  Birds were everywhere.  Everywhere.  Such a brilliant sound from them.  We ate cashews and dried apples and leftover birthday cupcakes and talked about the splendor of spring. (and somehow ended up discussing whether or not platypus are marsupials or not.  do they have a pouch?)

Today Badger finished his first edition of the Dragon Newspaper.  This is a newspaper about us.  It is so cool.  I love it!  He actually sort of tricked me into purchasing it.  (25cents) What a little business man he is.  The second edition is still being edited. (update: Badger sold the second edition, complete with illustrations this time, to papa. another 25cents.  with the instruction that papa was not to share it with anyone unless B received another 25cents.)

Today I weeded the strawberry beds and pulled last year's asparagus stalks down and shook the seeds around in the dirt.  I was surprised to see how plentiful the new strawberry bed looks.  Tons of little green plants everywhere, even in the path next to it.

Today the boys and I cleaned out the sandbox and got out the dump trucks and diggers.  And shovels and buckets.  Badger and Owl played in the sand while Cricket and Hen were swinging, swinging.  

Today we drew animals and colored them in and cut them out.  Then took turns hiding them around the house in a place where they were camouflaged.  Then took turns hunting for them. (thanks dear cousins for this idea!)

Today we played hide n seek at the park.  And Hen went down the slide for the first time.

Today I took Millie for a long walk just at dusk.  And met the man who owns the big pear tree off the bike trail.  He told me to come back in fall to share in the pears because there are so many.  

Today I wrote on the blog what we did today, and felt thankful that I have a place to write about our journey.  

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Birthday Cake

I love to make birthday cakes.  Especially crazy decorative ones.  The love of cake decorating was passed on to me by my mom.  She used to make me all kinds of beautiful cakes when I was a kid, mostly for birthdays, and I always felt really special that she did that for me. :)  Now...I do that for my boys.  They think it's fun and so do I.  I've made all kinds of crazy things.  Like the millenium falcon, R2D2, Redwall Abbey, a scuba cake, a fire truck, a dump truck and even a garbage truck!  

I also love to bake things that are made with freshly ground wheat and natural sweeteners.  Since this is Hen's first birthday I wanted to make him something that I wouldn't feel bad about him actually eating!'s what I came up with.  It all started with some homemade graham crackers.  Made with freshly ground wheat and some honey.  I decided to cut them out with these teeny little animal shaped cookie cutters.  Aren't they sweet?  
Here they are ready to go in the oven. 
Next I made some whole wheat banana cupcakes.  They were supposed to be sweetened with honey, but I forgot to put it in!  They were pretty good even without it. :)  The frosting was a honey cinnamon whipped cream frosting. (and a bit of chocolate frosting for decoration too)  Yum!

Saturday, March 13, 2010


It occured to me that some of you are probably dying to know how big our little puppy is getting.  ;)  So here is an update and a few pics of our Millie. 
This picture perhaps shows how not-so-little she is now.  Her back is about as high as the futon now.  Her tail just the right height to conveniently knock anything lightweight right off the coffee table. 
She has lost the last of her puppy teeth.  The boys and I found one (i stepped on it actually) and it was very interesting to look at.  It's nice that her teeth are less sharp now (those puppy teeth are soooo pointy!) and that she is learning bite inhibition really well. (unless you are a sock or a foot with a sock that is kinda whoppy)
She also is a great companion to walk with.  Most days I take Hen in the backpack and Millie on the leash and am able to manage quite well.  She is even learning how to walk on the leash next to the double stroller.   Also, she lets Badger hold the leash and is quite gentle with him.  He takes her out during the day and it is good for him to learn how to meet her needs even when he may not feel like it.  It's good for all of us really.  And more importantly she is a friend.  A snuggle buddy.  Someone who is always eager to see you.  She is patient.  And...she licks up the crumbs under the table which I find quite useful.
Look at that face.  Isn't she just sooo cute?

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Yesterday, Badger accidentally crashed his heavy plastic fire helmet into Cricket's cheek.  ouch. Cricket howled.  It was a rather big bump and Badger, who felt really sad for his brother, went to fetch the icebag.  Cricket was fine.  He settled in to watch "Emma" with me (the boys LOVE Jane Austen :) and Badger went off to play.  Or so we thought.  

A little bit later....after some "mama, where is the tape?" and "mama, where is the scissors?" Badger rounded us all up to do some "birding".  In Cricket's Monster Mailbox there was a piece of paper with clues to the bird's names and we hunted around till we found them all.  Sooo fun! Here are a few of the birds from the big hunt. :)

a black capped chickadee
a crow
a mallard 
and a blue heron. 
(found in the shower of course, because herons like water)
There have also been many messages written in code ready for us to decipher and pictures where things are hidden in the picture with a list of things for us to find.  Thanks for creating these for us Badger!  I love your creativity and that you want to make fun things for us to do.