Thursday, October 13, 2011

Proud of the Shiplap

It's never too late to learn something new.

One of the families that Hubby was close to in high school had a dentist dad who added a wing to his house and built a cabin on their lake-side property in the woods. Ever since then, he's had a dormant bug for wanting to have the knowledge & skills to be able to do that. More specifically, we've talked numerous times about our family building our house. Live in an rv or job shack on our property until we get the garage built (with living quarters upstairs), then move into that while the rest of the house is completed. He dreams of being up in the trusses, calling out measurements to Abby so she can mark & cut the plywood that he, Alex and Lee are sheeting our roof with. (Age-appropriately, of course.)

I'm totally on board.

Alas, Life has delayed our plans by at least 10 years. Ah well.

However, I had my first taste of interactive house-building last weekend. Because we'll be here in the in-laws' basement longer than planned, and because we'll be joined by someone small & cute within a matter of weeks, Mom-in-law has decided that this is a great opportunity to replace the downstairs shower with a bathtub.

Hubby has been in home construction for the last 13 years, so he's got the tools & know-how. I've learned some of the lingo & rules & stuff from him talking about his day at work, but don't have any hands-on experience, except for wall-painting.

Until now.

Yes, that is me, 34 weeks pregnant, drilling holes through treated 2x4s and into the existing concrete. Afterward, I hammered anchor bolts in there and tightened them so the walls don't go anywhere! Yay me!

I also learned the correct way to mark stud positioning (besides just finding my husband), and wield a nail gun. Okay, that part was a little scary, 'cause not only is it heavy, it can cause serious damage if it misfires or someone is being stupid with it. I have a very healthy respect (fear) for nail guns.

Over the last 13 years, I've gotten used to listening to Riah's technical speak and letting some of it run by because I don't always understand how words like gable, popout, facia and witch's tit correlate. (I only wish I were kidding about the last one.) However, I've gotten better, and by asking a few questions and glossing over the details I can get the general idea. Friday evening he surprised me with something really random, though:
"See how (somethingsomething) post (somethingsomething) stud (somethingsomething) shiplap?"
"I'm sorry. Did you just say that, "...the post and stud are proud of the shiplap?"
*looks at me like I'm asking if he just said that the sun was yellow*
"Honey, that's not English."

'Stud' and 'post' are words that I can understand. How they can be proud of something called shiplap was beyond what my "supeerior eentelect" could piece together. (Extra points if you can nail the movie quote (pun quite intended.).) So here how it goes:

See how the thick post on the right and the 2x4 studs just to the left are sticking out a little past the surface of the horizontal pieces?
It would seem that the tongue-and-groove horizontal pieces are called shiplap, and because they're recessed a bit,
the post and stud are proud of the shiplap! Who knew?

Well, I do.


And it seems you can teach an old dog new tricks.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Happy 3rd Birthday Cora!!!

Happy Birthday Little One!

Well, I can't really say that anymore, can I? You used to be a little one, though.

But you've gotten much, much bigger than you were...sometimes a little too big.

Despite the crazy ride that you've led us on, you really are a sweet, sweet princess.

Well, a princess with a twist.

From the very beginning you've been willing to try new things.

Some haven't been your favorite,

...but others you loved from the start.

You aren't afraid of adventure,

...and you know where to come for comfort when you need it.

You've always been loved, and always will be.

I've been noting things lately that you say, because you're just so funny. Today some of my favorites were:

"Mom pat."
"Honey, I'm not fat, I have a baby in my belly."
"No, Mom pat."
"Sweetie, I have a big belly because there's a baby brother in there."
thinks for a moment
"No, Mom belly pat."

"Evvybuddy tention!"

When Dad copied one of your cute antics:
"Dad! Topy me!"
"Don't copy you?"
"Don't topy me!"

After Lee 'helped' you color your picture:
"No! I mad you daw peypah!"
And when I took a picture of your 'mad pace,' you said, "Mom pictah me happy tung."

You make me laugh, Sweetie. You are by far the best surprise I've ever had.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Weapon of Mass Destruction

I don't often watch Phineas and Ferb, but my children like it. Even Cora, who asks for "Pinnis Pehrb." (Pronounce it like Ferb, but without the clear 'r' sound. Hard to type.) When I do watch--or overhear--it, I like it. I like that it's clean, there are no questionable scenes, no teenage themes, no scary monsters, buxom lycra-clad heroines or bad guys. Well, except for this guy:

But honestly, I love him. Professor Doofenshmirz and Perry the Platypus are the best part of the show! Without them, it would be really lame. I love that every single episode he comes up with some sort of invention that does something terrible, and always ends in '-inator.'
--Metal Destructinator (turns metal into broccoli)
--Evil Perry the Platypusinator (creates evil clones of Perry the Platypus)
--Nannyinator (creates an army of babies because who's going to counterattack a bunch of babies?)

So funny!

Oddly, all this -inator talk reminds me of something that you wouldn't usually associate with destruction:
Yes, my own personal Destructinator. (Note the zero pieces of tomorrow's lunch that have NOT been nibbled.)

It began rather innocently, with her climbing out of her crib, unlocking the door, opening it and coming downstairs when she was supposed to be napping. We added those white childproofing door knob covers and they helped for a bit. I was very surprised at her solution:

I only wish I was kidding.

Soon her barely-2yo 'skills' progressed to removing the twisty tie from the hamster cage (even after I threw in a couple of half knots with all the twists) and after a while we had to lock the parakeet in her cage. Like with a padlock. And a key kept way up high. I really wish I was kidding.

She looks angelic, doesn't she? Just missing a halo. Right. Let me remind you of this fun encounter.

Don't even THINK of leaving an avocado on the counter to ripen.

When we moved into our bachelor friend's house, the fun really started. My favorite, of course, was hearing Alex outside yell, "Cora, No! Moooommm! Cora's on the roof!" Yeah. Nice. Did not take the time to grab my camera for that. (Did take an awful shot with my phone 'cause I'm an awesome mom like that.)

Other fun things were having her experiment with a b.r.a.n.d. n.e.w. tube of toothpaste

and bring the landlord's "toda" into the bathroom so she could have a drink.

(My all-time favorite.)

So I'm thinking that I either need to have Homeland Security keep an eye on her or borrow her. 'Cause she could do something crazy to some bad guy somewhere.

Professor Doofenshmirtz, you have met your match.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Coming out of the Closet

I haven't been really consistent about my blog posts lately, and there are a few reasons:
--no internet
--looking for housing in a different city
--having such a bad attitude that I'd better just keep my trap shut so nothing horrid comes out
--taking lots of pictures, but losing my camera usb cable

They're all decent reasons, but in reality it all boils down to this one:

Yup. Surprise! (For the 2 followers I have who aren't family or friends I've seen lately.)

This pic was taken the last weekend of July. The girl on the left is my very own chicklegirl, who was sweet enough to swing over on her 'day off' because my Riah & his siblings were participating in a sprint triathlon close enough for her to visit. I sure love her!

So for all of you who are wondering, "Why on earth didn't I know? Or did I know but just forgot?" the answer is, "because Dyann is a little odd."

A couple of years ago I got a weird hair and mentioned to the Hubby, "I think the next time I get pregnant I don't want to tell anyone. I'll just let them figure it out."

I know. Who does that? Who keeps a pregnancy secret from everyone in the world except the hubby & the landlord? Well, I guess I do. This time. Hubby's mom found out when we moved to her neighborhood in June, and his siblings, dad & stepmom found out the end of July...when I was about 5 months along.

The ladies at church were asking around 2.5 months. Geez! That's what comes from having zero torso, I guess. My favorite conversation came from a woman my mother's age who watched me grow with Lee & Cora. She put her arm around me and said something lovingly prying. I responded that we're not announcing it yet. Her honest, fabulous answer was, "Honey, you did tonight." BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! I love her.

Details: currently about 29 weeks along (6.5 months or so), due November 23rd. My ovaries, however, have not read the book about fertility and timing and such, so I'm calling it 'just before Thanksgiving.' Getting very large, but do not know for certain the gender. Want a girl, think it's a boy, will be happy with whatever we get.

So while the reasons above are perfectly valid, the main underlying one is the fatigue & nausea (1st trimester), low energy (2nd trimester) and reduced mobility (3rd trimester) that comes from growing another super cute Monkey.

I'm really looking forward to kissing that round little noggin.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Blessings in Disguise --or-- Public Pouting

Warning--this post is negative, painfully honest and kind of a downer. Read at your own risk. Just so's you know.


My sister-in-law has a really cute plaque in her really cute living room that reads,

Lord, grant me the patience to deal with my blessings.

Whenever I've seen it, I've thought of my children. They are huge blessings that also happen to require a huge amount of patience. Now, however, I'm seeing it from a different perspective.

Sometimes in life, the Lord sees fit to give us a blessing that feels more like a curse. I'm living that now. Without divulging the details that I would really like to vomit here on my computer screen, let's just say that I'm in a situation that could either lead to amazing growth or end very, very badly. It started as just a short-term thing. Manageable. But now it seems that it's going to be long-term. (By 'long-term,' I mean longer than I want--like tomorrow.)

When my husband suggested the possibility of short-term turning to the next 3-6 months, my first--and very honest--response was, "I really don't like how much sense this makes." And I've spent about the last week being just depressed. I cried for about 3 days whenever nobody could see me and filled in the rest of the moments being irritable and annoyed. I know in my head that my problems can only be solved by looking in the mirror and it will all turn out for the best and that I'll be a better person for it all. The Lord knows what he's doing and I won't be given more than I can take and I'm a wonderful, strong person who can handle things like this with grace and faith.

Blah blah blah. I'm tired of waiting and praying and working for ____________. (Enter any number of things I've waited and prayed and worked my butt off for but didn't get.) I want it now. So to be seemingly on the edge of forward progress and to be blessed with this load of garbage is a bitter pill to swallow.

The optimistic and hopeful thoughts in my head haven't yet passed to my heart, however, and it would seem that the Lord is getting tired of my rotten attitude.

Sunday was an interesting day. All during church there were not-so-subtle moments where He very lovingly and patiently whacked me upside the noggin:
--Paul instructing the saints in Corinth to be unified and not divided. (1 Corinthians 1:10) *sigh*
--Mosiah 3:19--"For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father." Do I have to?
--And the piece de resistance: being put in a situation where there's no option to gracefully bow out of publicly extolling the virtues of the precise source of my irritation and annoyance. Really? Are you serious?

God's message to me: "Get off your high horse, knock off the attitude and deal with it."

I'll get there. I will. I'm just not done being mad yet.

(And another lovely reminder was a friend's blog post about waiting actively and faithfully on the Lord. PS--my troubles don't hold a candle to hers and her post is inspiring. Unlike mine. Which is pouty.)

Monday, July 25, 2011


(Quick update because it's really, really overdue: moving is always a pain in the neck, but we moved mostly uneventfully from the temp place we were in on June 18th. Mr. Live-in-Landlord even took some time out from his father/daughter/grandpa time Father's Day weekend to come say his goodbyes. We moved into the really cute little rental owned by Hubby's mom, and just as we were really starting to get settled, we found out that it sold. We knew it was on the market, but all indicators pointed to 2-12 months of being able to stay there. No dice. July 17th had us moving into mother-in-law's basement just a few miles away. *sigh* I guess that's what happens when you don't really pray about what your major decision will be, you just move forward with what makes sense. So nearly all of our stuff is in a storage unit in the city where we'd like to end up (3 hours away), Hubby has a great temp job that is exactly what we need (we were praying about that one) and we're living in his mom & stepdad's basement. Anyone who knows me well knows that my relationship with my's come a long way. And judging from my irritation levels, it's got a long way to go yet. Well, I've got a long way to go.)

So here on the other side of the mountains life is different. The climate is different, the landscape is different, the lifestyle is's just different. And while I've been internetless for a month during this most, uh, changing time of life, there have been quite a few blogs that have sprung up in my head. And stayed there. So for your reading pleasure...a few cliffnotes:

I Spy...

Things that I see where I live now that I'm not really used to yet

...way more than usual. Well, laterally. The Pacific Northwest is quite hilly, and those hills are generally covered by really old, really tall trees. Cedars, generally. But over here, the hills are more roll-y and spread apart, so I can see way further that I'm used to. And that means that I also spy...
...light coming in my bedroom window at 4:30 in the morning. Who knew that the sun was even awake at that time of day? Yeesh! Go hide behind a tree or something, and let me sleep! bicycle helmets. Lots of cyclists, but no helmets. Except on the noggins of my own children.
...more yard sales than I have seen in my one neighborhood in one weekend. And it happens every weekend!!!
...mercury. You know, that red stuff that usually hovers between 50 and 65 on the thermometer? It goes up. Did you know? Sometimes it even goes between 90 and 100. I kid you not.
...pedestrians jaywalking. Everywhere!
...vehicles stopped in a 5-lane road so that the pedestrians on the sidewalk can jaywalk. What??? I understand that you want to be considerate, but how badly do you want to be rear-ended?
...a thunderless thunderstorm. Really. I sat on the porch, enjoying a cool evening and saw lightning a few times, but didn't hear the thunder. Odd.

Move & Move & Move & Move

Okay, there's a line in Jurassic Park that I like to quote. I amend it to the situation at hand because it's such a great line. When that pesky T-rex is loose in the rain storm and the kids are in the car, then out of the car, then over the wall, then in the tree, then the car joins them in the tree and they have to climb down as fast as they can to avoid being smooshed by the car, then said smooshed car falls right over the big roots between which the kids & Mr. Scientist are cowering, the boy breathlessly states, "We're back--in the car--again." I've felt that this line has been rather relatable lately, except we were back in a truck instead of a car.

I was talking to someone recently about our situation, explaining that we'd like to move straight from the rental to our ultimate destination and just wait for Hubby to be accepted to the program there he wants. (Obviously, this was before we moved.) I said, "We'd just like to move once and not have to move again. Well, twice. We've already moved once." She must've been listening well, because she corrected me, "You don't want to move and move and move again." Yeah.

So when we've found a place that works for us, we'll be towing a trailer and I can say with all the breathlessness I want, "We're back--on the road--again."

Where Did I Put That %@!&# Silver Lining?

This was one witty blog title that I came up with during a less-than-optimistic moment. I'm a self-proclaimed optimist, and underneath it all I really am. But sometimes I just get tired of it all & want to crawl in a cave until my problems solve themselves. Sadly, that never actually happens. Dangit.

But during a significantly-less-than-optimistic moment, I realized that for the first time ever, I'm alone. I am without my support network. I don't live by my family. I don't have friends that I can call to arrange sanity-saving playdates for my children. I can't call a friend to have them watch my kiddos so I can go get my hair cut for the family pictures this weekend. I don't get calls from friends who are getting together. I don't have anyone to play with. Even my freshman year at college where everything was new and unfamiliar, my sister was just a phone call away. I'd even see her on campus occasionally! But here I really don't have anyone. And I get lonely. And it's sort of pointless to make friends because we'll be gone in a handful of weeks.

I can't wait to move and get settled. I want to put down roots and make connections and have the kids make friends and host a ladies' night. I want to move forward.

There's a silver lining in all of this muck somewhere, but right now I'm just too tired to look for it. No matter what happens it'll all work out. It always does. I don't know how or when, but in the meantime, I'm counting down the days until I go camping with my friends. I can't wait. I might just stay there forever.

So that's just a few of the blogs that have been rattling around in my brain. Not really happy-go-lucky, but whatever. When I finally have internet on MY computer (using my mil's now) I'll have better ones, and pictures! Especially of Cora's nutty antics during the short time we were living in the bachelor pad. Think independent 2yo and a fridge of beer. Good times.

And this has ended up to be some pretty long cliff notes. I'll try to be better about sorta' more kinda' consistentish blogging, and I'll get more light-hearted as we go. In the meantime, here's to not seeing the inside of a moving truck for a very, very long time.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Now & Later

In the immortal words of Rafiki the blue-keistered babboon:
"It is time."

Today I packed, tomorrow I finish up.
Tomorrow we rent the truck & load it, Saturday we pull out, headed to our next big adventure:

Riah's mom has an empty rental not too far from where she lives now on the other side of the mountains, with a garage and a plum tree and a fenced flat yard that'll be great for Abby's slip 'n slide. The kids are already signed up for swimming lessons at the local pool, and are pretty excited. It'll be a great landing pad until Hubby is accepted into nursing school...whenever and wherever that is.


Now I will pack up everything that we've used and acquired over the last 2.5 months.
Later I will find that one purple, jewelled toddler sandal (I really, really hope).

Now I will get nearly everything in boxes so it can stack in the moving truck.
Later I will be glad that it fits & doesn't crush.

Now I will think about the task at hand.
Later I will think of the last seven and one third years and the amazing things I've learned from some of the most amazing women.

Now I will enjoy the goodbye parties and hugs.
Later I will more fully express my love and thanks.

Now I will blog lighthearted.
Later I will blog and cry. And cry and cry and cry. (I've gotten verklempt a few times, but no tears yet.)

Now I will be grateful for a gracious, accomodating landlord.
Later I will pay it forward.

Now I will step forward into the unknown.
Later I will look back with experience and wisdom.

Now I will trust in the Lord.
Later I will do it again.

And again and again and again.


In the immortal words of my mortal father whenever it was time for us to get in the car...
"Saddle up!"

Monday, May 23, 2011

Listing busy

Okay, so after my last post I DID make a few great lists: what was happening each day, what needed to be done each day, etc.

A quick synopsis, plus a few pics:

Thurs 9pm: Bountiful Baskets conference call that ended up to be an hour.

Fri 6:30pm: ward potluck

Fri 6:30pm: Double Dream Hands flash mob practice in Renton

(yeah, I know. there was talk of the practice being cancelled, so we did the potluck.)

Sat 10am: niece's baptism 45min away

Sat 12pm: Abby & Alex's combined birthday party at the aquatic center

Sat 3pm: take Abby to a friend's party

Sat 5:30pm: DDH flash mob final practice here in town

Sat 6:30pm: DDH flash mob performance at mall

Sat 7:00pm: pick up Abby from party

But as I lay in bed at 7:30 that morning thinking of the schedule, I realized that driving 45 minutes north, staying for the baptism, then driving 45 minutes back would leave us ZERO time to change, cut watermelon, gather last-minute things and get to the pool EARLY. Crud. So I called my sister-in-law, who was very understanding. Poop. I still didn't want to miss it.

We were 15 minutes later for the party than I'd intended (not my fault--lateness around here is due to certain people underestimating how much time it REALLY takes to get kids ready, rounded up, loaded & buckled up), so of course, I was snappy & stressed. Not too bad, though.

The party:

Get there, check in, find out I can pay for the total # of attendees later in the day when everything is more settled *whew*, send Hubby & kids to the pool with the 3 guests who arrived before us. Set up party room (thanks again, Marie!):

(cupcake idea courtesy of Family Fun magazine--of course!)

After a bit of swimming, call the kids in for a super-rushed cake/presents episode. Ab & Alex didn't get to eat. They blew out their candles, then opened gifts. Poor kids. I only rented the room for an hour, so I had to get our stuff out of there. Send the kids back to the pool for the last hour.

For the record, the party room came with the wall decor. I'm not completely nuts.

6 10-year-olds

6 8-year-olds

I cleaned & moved stuff frantically, trying to keep Cora with me. She kept leaving because she wanted to "tim. Dad." Of course! She had a blast, and so did Lee.

The older girls all spent most of their time in the deep pool & the water slide (Dad wins a huge award for taking Ab to the pool 4 times the week prior so she could pass her swim test. Yay Dad!) The boys hung out in the 3'-4' area, and the younger 2 needed to be within arms' reach all the time. That was boring, but it worked out okay.

In all, it was a fun party.

We got everyone showered, dressed and placed with the right parent, then came home. We brought one of the girls Sheri, then her mom took Abby and her to the other party while we put together Alex's new WWE toys. *eye roll*

I don't have pics or a video of the birthday flash mob, so I think I'll hold off until I do. It's the lamest, most ridiculous dance, but it ended up to be fun--anything is with my Ladies!

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Today is Thursday, May 19th.

Within the next 2 1/2 days, I'll be either throwing or participating in 4 birthday celebrations. There's also a potluck and a flash mob dance to practice (that's part of one of the birthdays).

And I haven't made a single list.

What am I thinking?????

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Miracle Unveiled

So, living here in this smelly old house with ants as neighbors, drafty windows that are hard to open, and a definite settling problem has sometimes had me wondering where the miracle was.

I mean, God in all his omnipotence could have given us something way more upscale when we prayed for our miracle leaving our old apartment. But he stuck us in a bachelor pad, of all crazy places. Why, oh why, oh why?

It all became clear yesterday.

Our Live-in Landlord came home yesterday evening from taking his 5yo daughter back to her mom after her fun-filled weekend here. (It was a little crazy having 2 Abbys in the house, but the kids all enjoyed themselves...alot.) He then announced quite out of the blue that he convinced his parents to delay putting the house on the market for a few weeks so the kids can finish school here. My response went something like this:

Shocked pause
"Wow. Thank you. That would be great. I could kiss you, but that'd be weird.
"Did Riah say something to you?"
Him: "Nope, this is all me."

I don't know if he was just thinking of his own daughter or putting himself in Abby & Alex's small shoes, or if he overheard me telling the kids that I'd try to keep them here but we may pull them out early. I don't know. But I do know one thing--despite his imperfect halo, he's an angel!

So the kids can finish school with their friends (can you say, 'closure?'), they can complete their in-school projects, and we can go to all the end-of-school parties we want!

Thank You, Lord, for the miracle.

(And PS--it looks like we'll probably pack the truck the 17th (last day) & head to Spokane for the summer or forever or until Riah starts Nursing School...wherever that is.)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Locked up for Mother's Day...

Mother's Day at our house usually consists of breakfast in bed, handmade cards, gifts purchased with Dad the day before, church, and me taking the rest of the day off of making lunch or dinner. I nap, I read the newspaper...basically veg.

This year started the same with cinnamon rolls, oranges eggs and toast--YUM, however, it ended really really different. And I'm glad.

The L-iL mentioned a couple of days ago that he was thinking of inviting friends over for a barbecue today. That meant smoking, beer and swearing--not exactly the best atmosphere for my children to be in, if you know what I mean. So I've been brainstorming Things To Do With The Children For Hours On End That Won't Drive Me Batty for a couple of days. Oh and PS--Dad's in school. So for Mother's Day I get to be a Park Mom (I am not, and have about a 10-minute park tolerance) AND a Single Mom in the same day.



I looked at zoos, aquariums, kids museums, etc, and no matter what I looked at, admission alone would cost over $50. No thanks. I decided on the Ballard Locks, a localish attraction that I'd been to on a 'field trip' with friends years ago. I distinctly remembered a few things about it: boats, green grassy areas, a fish ladder and NO ADMISSION.

So I packed a picnic, some sports equipment, umbrellas for the chancy weather, a blanket & tarp for damp ground, a few extra pairs of bottoms for Cora & we were off!

I really had no expectations, but it ended up to be a GREAT day! To start with, I went to pay for parking and it was a weekend!!! No parking fees on weekends!!! Yay!!!!

On the non-list of things to do (can you believe it? I didn't even have a list!!!) but what we ended up doing anyway because it just worked out that way:

1--Bathrooms (Cora's been potty trained for almost 2 months now. 'nuf said.)

2--Backtrack to the ones that we passed in the gift shop because the ones by the locks were closed for cleaning.

3--Be alerted by the employee outside the bathroom that Lee was not, in fact, with us--he was continuing on his merry little way.

4--Send Abby & Alex to chase him down because he's too far to hear me holler at him.

5--Have The Discussion with Lee. Again.

6--Juggle mens/womens bathrooms with 4 children in a gift shop while keeping someone on guard at the backpack hanging on the stroller. Are we having fun yet?

6a--Be complimented by a complete stranger in the bathroom that Abby is a really great big sister/helper. She was right. Ab did GREAT ALL DAY!!!! She was fabulous!


8--The thing that the kids were most looking forward to was the fish ladder. [The locks are really fascinating things to watch. Lake Union & Lake Washington are at a higher elevation than the Puget Sound (which changes, as it's salt water), but boats come & go all the time between them, so the locks provide a way for boats to overcome a varying-height obstacle. How it works: boats come in from the Ship Canal (the lakes), putt into a long, skinny enclosure & the doors are closed behind them. The water is then drained out until it's the same level as the water in the Sound. The doors in front of them open and then motor away. Sailboats, yachts, barges, tugboats...whatever can fit, goes. Check out the site. It's pretty cool, and it has pics of the actual location--I didn't take many pictures of that. Just my kids. And yes, Lee's feet are completely off the ground. The kids' just crazy strong.]

Oh--the fish ladder. There's one of those, too, with a viewing room where you can go down into a room next to the canal & look through the glass to see the fish swimming up the fish ladder. Well, you can if it's the right time of year. We missed it by a couple of months either way, but there was one little fishy hanging out there. It sorta looked troutish to me, but who knows? So the kids learned more about fish eggs, development, etc.

9--Then we went to look at the boats coming & going. It sort of takes a while, but it's still cool to watch.

10--The walkway from the locks to the fish ladder is wet & misty from the water being shot out of the spillway (check out the pics of it on the website), and the kids were fascinated with the rainbows they could see in the mist. It was also a bit of a game to find the one harbor seal that was hanging out looking for food. In salmon season the area's full of sea lions glutting themselves on the salmon waiting their turn to figure out how to get into the lake. Pigs.

11--Tire of hearing how hungry the kids are, so hit the bathrooms on the way to the car, where the food is.

12--Lunch was light, so we treated ourselves to an early dinner. Tarp. Blanket. Subs, Pirate's Booty, Capri Sun & chocolate covered mini-donuts. The dinner of champions.

13--Play. Wiffle-ball baseball, roll down the hill, climb the trees. Just have a good time. I found one tree full of a particularly adorable breed of Apple-Cheeked Monkeys. Love it.

14--Go for a walk. The signs boast of a world-renowned botanical garden, but I have to say that it doesn't really hold a match to the one up the road from home. Oh well.

15--Be told by the park people that we don't climb the trees. Oops. I didn't let them climb the one with the fence around it, and this one was definitely not fenced!

16--Continue on our walk. Stop beneath a cherry-blossoming tree to enjoy the 'snow' as it drifts down. The ones around Abby are from the handful she just tossed up. And I love the petals stuck in Cora's curls.

17--Have mild panic attack when Cora announces, "Mom! Pee! Mom! Pee!"

18--Score her first successful peeing in the woods.

19--All around the inlet from the Puget Sound are high, grassy, terraced hills. Perfect for rolling! Roll and roll and roll some more!

20--At the bottom, Lee found some mussel shell fragments left by the seagulls. He kept some for his 'collection.' He had more, but there was water, and it was within throwing distance.... Cora found some mud that collected in her crocs. "Mom. Luck. Toes." So her crocs & socs came off. I guess her pants got a little wet too. *sigh*

21--Put pants back on the child.

22--Standing here we were right next to the large locks, which hadn't been used the whole time we were there. But we waited just a bit to watch a big tugboat with a little tugboat tied on like a dinghy pulling a LOOOOOOOONG trail of logs. What they were for I'm not sure, but it was cool to watch.

23-Bathrooms. Again.

24--Make our way back to the locks, over the walkway, to the other end of the other side because Alex wants to go throw rocks from a sandy area he can see. Nevermind that it's 6:30 on a school night. Whatever.

25--Go even further because...well...I have no idea why. But we did. We eventually were under a train trestle climbing on barnacle-covered rocks. Abby--bless her heart--commented that it was too bad that we didn't have a garbage bag, because there was some litter lying around.

26--Get back from the stroller that was so loaded down with bags, coats & hats that it looked like our homeless shopping cart, give it to the kids to tidy up a bit.

27--Try to convince the kids to come back. (The pic was actually taken from the base of the train trestle because I couldn't see them around the corner & I was wondering what the heck was taking so long!)

28--Enjoy the view of a train passing RIGHT ABOVE OUR HEADS!!!!! So cool. (Notice how teeny Lee and Abby are compared to the trestle & train.)

29--Head back.

30--Watch boys race. Then notice them stop for Lee to pout because Alex is winning. Rinse and repeat. Again and again.

31--Let Abby roll down the other terraced hillside just once.

32--Request her to fetch Cora because while Abby was coming down, she was making her way up. To the top. (Boys are far ahead of me, girls are behind. Thank Heaven that most of the crowds were gone. They were home putting their children to bed.)

33--Gather everyone back together and make our way back to the car, saying goodbye to our friend the harbor seal.

34--Let the kids walk the railroad tracks that run the length of the parking lot for the 4th time.

35--Wonder where Cora's shoe is.

36--Find it about 25' away, sitting on a railroad tie.

37--Thank Lee for returning it.

38--Change Cora's wet pants. "Pee. Tain. Tack. Pee. Tain. Tack." Hey--you can't really expect to go for over 5 hours without changing wet unders once, can you?

39--Finish Pirate's Booty on the way home while listening to the kids declare that "This is the best day ever" (Alex). "This is the most fun I've had all month!" (Abby), and that I'm "...the bestest Mom EVER!!!" (Lee).

40--Put things away, collecting the important stuff: Lee's collection, and the bits of love they gathered for me all day:

(Today in church the line from the childrens' song choked me up as I thought of all the flowers Lee has brought me lately: "Dear Mother, I give you my love with each flower...")

41--Be thankful for the four crazy monkeys that call me 'Mom.'

Friday, May 6, 2011

I'm not dead yet!

You have to read that in a British accent to fully do it right. I'm just sayin'.

Life is crazy sometimes. Our current temporary situation has its ups and downs. I love the big windows with windowsills where my African Violets are actually blooming again. I love that I can let the kids wander around the yard outside and my biggest worry is bothering the neighbors. I love that I don't have a single pressure to take care of anyone's needs outside of my family. I love that my phone is quiet. Dead quiet.

But it's weird.

The live-in landlord is great--he showed a really cool amount of interest in Abby & Alex's science fair projects, asking them what they were, how they worked, what was supposed to happen, etc. He's And he's a bachelor. So on a very small scale, my children are being exposed to life in a bachelor pad. Which is odd.

That's not what this post is meant to be about, though. I just figured that while I'm here, I should probably give you a little bit of a low-down as to our current state of being.

Frankly, sometimes I fall off the face of the earth and retreat into my own little world of me, the fam and the house. That's it. And I'm there. I have my own reasons (whether or not they make sense to anyone else is irrelevant to me) and I'll come out in my own due time. But for now, I'll just stay in my little Cocoon of Life, dealing with Life as it comes to me.

(Oh and PS we just found out that the house we liked way out in the boonies won't be ready until July/August & the guy bumped the rent from $800 to $1200. Yeah, maybe not. But our time here is still up May 31, as June 1 marks the day that Live-in Landlord's parents put the house on the market. It'll all work out...somehow.)

Today's post really is about my two youngest cute kids. Particularly the things that come out of their mouths.

A couple of weeks ago, Lee lamented that he didn't "...want Cora to grow up because she's so cute."

Just a few days ago, he announced, "Mom, I want to marry Cora when she grows up because she's so cute." Funny boy.

Then last night while he was folding his laundry he said, "Mom, we can pee in the ocean because it's already dirty." Um...yeah. That's true. I guess we can.

Cora is really starting to grasp onto this 'talking' thing, and cracks us up with her little mispronunciations. She's also really into the whole process and routine of whatever is going on. She knows that when I get out of bed, I pull on my purple fleecy pj bottoms and my big soft white robe. So a couple months ago, as I was climbing out of bed, she held up my pjs & said, "Dammies." When I took them, she ran to the back of the back of the bathroom door, pulled on the hem of my robe and said, "Dis." "That's Mom's robe." "Woe-bot." "Yes, it's Mom's robot." And it still is.

The place we're in has little sugar ants that come in to help clean up the floor underneath the dining room table. They're so helpful! The kids think they're pretty cool, and they don't really irritate, so whatever. Shortly after Easter, Lee was trying to convince one of his new little 6-legged friends to climb into his bug-magnifying container the Easter Bunny left in his basket. He said something like, "Come on Buddy. Go in." Now whenever he or Cora find one (they come through the bathroom heater vent, too), Cora picks one up and carries it around saying, "Buddy. At. Buddy. At." Unfortunately, she's not too delicate about her collection method, and often crushes them. Poor things. One time, she reported, "Boke-it. Buddy. Boke-it. Buddy." I looked and sure enough, its head was removed from its still-wiggling body.

About a month ago the kids were watching a nature program with Ryan, the L-iL. It had snakes and frogs & such. Her commentary:
"Mom! Wibbit! Mom! Wibbit!
"Wibbit. Walk. Wibbit. Walk.
"Mom! Take! Mom! Take!"
Then the snake caught & ate the frog.
"Take eat-it. Take eat-it.
"Eat-it. Wibbit. Eat-it. Wibbit...
She thought about it for a moment, then decided it was disgusting, because she then announced,

We all got a good laugh!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Here's your blasted update

Okay, okay, I've had enough people whine and complain about needing an update that I'll give you one. Jeez! Only kidding. If any of my friends had a major transition in their lives and were subsequently as close-lipped (well, -fingered) as I have been, I'd have some ants in my pants, too. So here goes: We moved out of our 7-year home on March 31st. Well, moving never goes as quickly as it's expected, so we finished early evening April 1st, cold, wet and hungry. And that goes for all of us--not just the kids. As we are not currently in a life-situation that would work well with a standard lease or any home attached to another (preferred, for the sake of any neighbors), our options were limited--to say the least. There's a house that we really like that'll be ready in a couple months, so we don't want to get locked in and miss out on it. Our temporary situation is this: Hubby has a friend from work years ago (I know him too--really nice guy about our age with a little girl about Alex's age) who lives alone in his grandparents' 3-bedroom home and is allowing us to stay with him at a really, really low rent rate. We asked for a miracle & got it! Two sets of bunkbeds are all set up in one big room with toys, clothes & a 1/2 bath. We have a bookshelf in our room with clothes, and another with kitchen pantry stuff because the cupboards are already full. The house is in a great neighborhood, closer to the church & preschool than we were before, on a quiet little dead-end street where the kids can play. Lots of trees to hide in when spring finally decides to set in for good, too. The 'landlord' has been really gracious. He gives us a really, really wide berth & doesn't mind when he comes home & we're watching Dancing With the Stars on his big flatscreen tv, but visits for a few minutes, then holes up in his room & watches something else on his smaller tv. The whole situation is weird, but I'm trying my best--well, I'm trying--not to look a gift house in the mouth and ignore the odor and idiosyncracies of a 1950s original windows/wood paneling/wallpaper house. (His grandfather bought it in 1954 for $10,500. Excuse me while I go curl up & cry in self-pity.) To avoid too many transitions, we're driving the kids to & from the bus stop, have kept the same church attendance and aren't changing much...on the outside. So now you know. There will be many more changes as the months go on, and I'll keep you updated on those, too...I promise.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Hell in the Hallway

Recently I posted a status update on my fb account expressing that my brain is worn out from working overtime ALL THE TIME to find a home, negotiate with the ex-boss, deal with normal day-to-day motherhood adventures, find a home, feed the family, keep house quasi-tidy and find a home. My dear, wonderful, very real friend Melani responded with a priceless quote:

"When God closes a door, He always opens another one...but it can be Hell in the Hallway."

I love Love LOVE this! Because I'm in the hallway.

My ex-boss has agreed to an eye-rollingly generous $75 rent decrease on this $1650 apartment we're in. Gee. Thanks. That helps us to be able to afford it a lot more. *sigh*

Riah & I have looked at no less than 10 homes sort of in the area that are in our teensy tiny budget and that have enough bedrooms for our passel o monkeys. The good ones were rented, leaving the ones that...well...could work if they had to. But if you're advertising a vacant duplex, please wipe the mud splattered on the wall, repair the hole in the siding & get rid of the mossy carpet on the slippery back deck. The one that we like the most won't be ready for at least 2 months. *sigh*

Have you ever tried to pack the contents of a cabinet with very interested preschool/toddler-aged children around? If you enjoy giving instructions repetetively, reorganizing the cabinet contents multiple times and packing the same doo-dads & trinkets 14 times, GO FOR IT!!! It's lots of fun. *sigh*

When something crazy and life-altering (not life-shattering, just altering) happens, there are normal stages of emotion that people go through: shock, anger, grief, avoidance, tantrums, pouting, etc. (Not necessarily in that order, and sometimes I go back for do-overs in some categories multiple times.) Through the hard junk, there's always prayer, and right when I feel like I can't persevere anymore and my long-suffering is stretched taut, I need to keep going just a little more. Just when I really can't go much further, the Lord provides His miracle.

I'm ready for my Miracle.

I know it's there, I know it'll be good, I know it'll be just what we need or will work for now until something better comes along. And I'd like it sooner than later, please.

'Cause this hallway sucks.

The laundry fairy

You know, I really don't have anything better to with my time than sort dirty laundry multiple times.

Dontcha just love that charming little dimply smile? Goober.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The End...or is it just the Beginning?

This is it.

Today is my last day managing this 45-unit apartment complex. In it, I've conceived twice, borne 2 children, taught 4 to stop at the end of the sidewalk before entering the parking lot, buried 2 pets, flushed about a dozen fish, mourned the loss of a 3.5mo-old angel nephew, rejoiced at the marriage of my brother and the birth of 9 other niecephews, taught 3 children to pee on the toilet, expanded the approved unsupervised play area from the backyard to the courtyard to the front parking lot to the swampy foresty area across the stream, learned to allow the big yellow school bus to take my babies, laughed, cried, and make a home. Albeit a neglected, dirty, biohazard of a home, but a home nonetheless.

Though we do not have a home to move into yet, and we aren't packed or totally organized, I am ready to hand over the keys to the kingdom that I have created here. (I have no idea how many leases I've signed or how many people I've moved out or how many apartments I've shown, but of the 122 people currently living in the 44 occupied units at this complex, there are 5 who were here before I was. 2 old bachelor brothers, 1 retired lawyer who signed a lease in 1987 (he still has chocolate shag carpet), 1 middle-aged single woman and the recently-fired maintenance lead who knows more about this property than anyone in the world.

I am...

...Feeling hurt, hopeful, angry, mournful, resentful, excited, nervous, relieved, frightened.

...Resenting the way that I was let go, without the personal consideration and professional courtesy that I deserve after the 7 years of sacrifice that my family and I have given.

...Celebrating not having to pick up other people's litter and cigarette butts, pick up after their lazy children, answer the door at every knock, forward my phone when I leave for vacation, and pussyfoot around a boss who may or may not be about to bite my head off at any given moment.

...Anticipating teaching my children what a clean house is, spending more time with them, staying on top of the laundry, getting more disciplined about using my time wisely, playing outside, teaching Lee to read, and having more time doing what I want to do, which is be a fabulous mom.

A handful of years ago, Abby was next to me as I was working at the computer and asked, "Mom? When we buy a house will you not spend so much time on the computer?" At that moment, I knew that my job was affecting my family. They notice the time away from them. They notice that I put them off because I'm working on something. They notice.

While the title of this post could have been "Up Yours" or "Kiss Off" or some other genteel ladylike phrase (and it would have if I had posted this morning), I recognize that Life may currently have me looking at an end, but it's also put me right at the beginning.

Of something.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

On the ball!

This morning our friend Mei is visiting for a short play date. Lee invented a game called "Stand On The Basketball Behind The Couch Then Fall Off Dramatically And Make Mei Laugh."

It's a pretty good game.

As I sat and watched, cuddling a grumpy wakey Cora, I almost made a comment about Lee's fleeting proximity to the ball, and I caught myself, noting the idiomatic play on words that would go right over his head.

And that got me to thinking.

Why the heck does "on the ball" mean being in control, and having everything going the way you planned it?

Because as I watch my son stand on the basketball--using the back of the couch for support--it sure doesn't look like he is in control! When a person is standing on top of a ball, balance is elusive and gravity becomes the seemingly most powerful force, wreaking havoc on the grace, control and 'plans' that the person atop that orb may try to possess.

Which gets me thinking about my own life and its current events. And you know what?

I'm totally on the ball!!!