Sunday, May 29, 2016

Patrick's Room

With two kids moving out we are once again re-doing bedrooms.  I'm also cleaning the attic.  You do NOT want to come to my house right now.

BUT, I really like the way the Patrick's room turned out.  The re-do included fresh paint (so tired of that mocha tan!) and a new wall hanging.  Vu is moving into Paul's room and Paul is moving into Lizzy's room.  For the first time ever, all the kids have their own rooms.

It seems weird and sad to have extra beds and extra space.

And YES this was perfect for the photo but does NOT usually look so clean!

More bedroom updates coming soon!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Home Of The Free Because Of The Brave

I'm home this Memorial Day.  Unusual because we usually go to my parents' cabin.  But Vu got a concussion in basketball and is down for the count. Yikes!  And Kim is due any day!  Whoop!  We keep her happy with lunch dates and finally found her craving--green tea ice cream!

And we recently had Kim's Fan Club over for a baby shower.  Not the best photos but a wonderful event which included baby food testing, laughter, and a surprise guest from Arizona!

Being home this weekend I am especially thinking of those who have served our country.  Those who died serving our country.  And those who are currently serving our country.  I've prayed many, many prayers this year.  

We recently found this beautiful book at our library.  I guarantee you will cry!  It's a true story of love and kindness in the friendship of a WWII soldier and a little girl he meets in an overseas village.  It has an unforgettable ending!

We truly are the land of the free because of the brave.  

Monday, May 16, 2016

Celebrating Paul

From Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life:

"Don't wait for things to get
easier, simpler, better.
Life will always be complicated.
Learn to be happy right now.
Otherwise, you'll run out of time."

The above photo is of Paul.  For the most part, he seems to live that quote well.  He enjoys life and finds the humor and enjoyment in little things, despite the circumstances.  He's humble and quiet, but friendly and caring.  

Today he's celebrating a big thing--he made State for his high school golf team.  When it comes to golf, he can sometimes be his own worst critic.  I hope he will take the quote above to heart.  It's not every day you get to go to State.  

Very proud of the person he is and the man he's becoming.  Congrats Paul!  

Friday, May 13, 2016

Belated Birthday

Just a couple months late, but tonight we finally got the crew together for James' birthday.

BBQ, ice cream, basketball, and then henna tattoos.

It seems like just yesterday he was my little boy.

He's still the same--just bigger!  Sweet, curious, funny, athletic, and adventurous.  Love you James! So glad God put you in our family!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Weddings On A Budget Part 1

Sooooo, since I'm catching up here, let's go back to Kim's wedding!

We didn't have a lot of time to plan, but it turned out beautifully!  The most important part was being surrounded by all the love!  We didn't have a bunch of extra cash laying around, and don't believe it's necessary to break the bank for a wedding.  There are some easy solutions to making a wedding much more affordable than some of those TV programs convey.

Part 1:  Let's talk about food.

We decided to do our own food for the wedding. (Insert oohhh and awww here.)  Honestly, I had NO idea WHAT I was getting myself into.  And in the beginning we were just planning on having 50 people.  As the guest list grew to 200, so did our menu. I couldn't have pulled it all off without the help of family, friends, and many saints from the church.

Sub Sandwiches (purchased from sub shop)
Meatballs (recipe below)
Salmon with Crackers (an advantage to living in the PNW--salmon fishing!)
Fruit Tray
Veggie Tray
Hubby's Homemade Macaroni and Cheese (request of the bride)
And--the best part--a variety of salads brought by friends.  Whenever someone asked me if they could do something to help I would say, "Yes!"  Which is totally NOT in my nature, but desperate times call for desperate measures!

I am sorry to report that half the mac and cheese burned just prior to the wedding when a child turned on the oven, not realizing food was warming.  Yikes!  That child might be scarred for life--he'll always have some strange aversion to weddings and not know why!

And of course Hubby made cookies.

The stunning cake was given as a gift.  The topper was from our own wedding cake almost 35 years ago.

Note the paper plates and napkins from THE DOLLAR STORE, where I also found large, square, white plates for the buffet.

The punch was equal parts Hawaiian Punch and 7-Up, with lots of vanilla ice cream.  Yum!

We had no alcohol since the bride and groom are not yet 21--huge cost savings there!

Best Meatball Recipe:

Get a big crock-pot
Put in and stir equal parts chili sauce and grape jelly (about 18 ounces of each)
Add a bag of ready-made meatballs
Cook on low for several hours
Simple easy.  Delicious.  Just make sure you 1.) Listen to your daughter-in-law who says you need at least 4 giant bags of meatballs and 2.) Let the bride get some before you run out.  Lesson learned.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

For Scientists Who Love Coffee

I love science.  I love coffee.  I need this shirt.

Energy = milk x coffee (squared)

Tuesday, May 10, 2016


Making it through the end of the school year.  Limping yet again to the finish line!  Conferences, projects, field trips, speeches, and concerts.

These two LOVE band!  Patrick continues to play the trumpet and Mei Mei the drums.  At the end of the year the elementary, middle, and high school all get together for a giant concert.  It's great to see how they improve.  I also love the final piece where nearly 500 band members play together.

I'm happy to report I survived being a chaperone for the weekend to a bunch of middle school boys. Whew!  Not sure I'm up for that again any time soon.  The sleeping on the gym floor was the easy part!  Lots of fun though with a Mariner's game, visit to a science center, ferry ride and Pike's Market.

I'm usually super excited for summer and this year I'm feeling like I'm not quite ready.  Time to sit down and figure out who will be going where, when, and how, make some goals, and keep some structure.  I'm definitely looking forward to more family time and a slower pace!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Simple Pleasures

We recently went to dinner at the home of dear friends.  There's not a lot of people brave enough to invite our whole family, so I always offer to bring food!  As it turned out, only part of our family was able to go, but we still went potluck style to make it simple-easy.  I brought store-bought chicken and rolls, and my friend made roasted carrots, potatoes, and a delicious dessert.

The best part of the whole evening was making music together.  Now, I am not a musician, but it's a love for our friends and for many of my kids.  At one point we had everyone singing, along with people on the drums, guitar, ukulele, and an Appalachian dulcimer.  Oh, and I did the shakers because of my amazing musical talent.

As I looked around at everyone laughing and singing together it felt reminiscent of a scene from Little House on the Prairie.  

My kids said it was one of their best nights ever!

I want to have more simple pleasures in my life.  More nights just hanging out with friends, laughing, sharing, and enjoying life together.

Mother's Day

"A child born to another woman calls me Mommy.  The magnitude of that tragedy and the depth of that privilege are not lost on me."    ~ Jody Landers

That profound quote hits hardest today.  I always think of my children's birth mothers on this blessed day--for their sacrifice and love.  I am truly so privileged to be a mom--to all my children.  Being a mother has been my utmost dream since I was tiny.

I had a day filled with all the things I love--children, flowers, chocolate, coffee, and phone calls from kids who live far away.  Our lives are changing so quickly--only the youngest four were home today as all the olders live away or had to work.  We drove to Mount St. Helen's--our first time ever!  We LOVED the beauty, wonder of renewal, educational value of the visitor center, and the walk down memory lane.  It was cloudy, but at one point I prayed the clouds would clear and right after that we caught a glimpse of the top.  God's beauty and wonder!  Truly beauty from ashes.

To all women who love, protect, care for, and mother children--HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!!!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Spring Break

I guess that given it's almost summer I should finish posting the pics from Spring Break!

We had a great combination of relaxation and fun--days sleeping in and spending time with friends and family.

Friday, May 6, 2016

The Art Of Letter Writing

"Remember life, and then your life becomes a better one,
I made a man so happy when I wrote a letter once."
             ~ Lukas Graham lyrics from "7 Years Old"

Even though it's palpable, there's something intangible about receiving a hand written letter.  One year for Lent I wrote a simple note card to 40 special people in my life--from the local librarian, to our pediatrician, to best friends.  I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you to each life-gift, but I was surprised by the positive joy that ricocheted right back with appreciation, for receiving love via a hand-written note. Some said they cried.

We need to write more letters.  We need to tell each other what we appreciate and how they are loved.  Especially in these times of quick e-mails and even quicker texts.

My sister Lori is an artist when it comes to letter writing.  One might wonder what would make her so amazing?  Well, first, she takes the time to write a letter!  AND it's in her beautiful cursive.  And you know what she writes about?  Simple, ordinary life, but in a way that brings out the details and wonder of life.

With my mom, Lori, and niece

Recently, Mei Mei sent Lori some artwork, and my sister wrote a letter back.  I think a lot of people don't know what to write to a child.  Lori's a natural born teacher and she wrote about everyday things like cleaning out her garden (giving details of the rows she had planted), stacking wood (not her favorite job), and having the horse shoer come to trim the horses hooves, adding, "their hooves have to be trimmed every 6-8 weeks just like our fingernails."  

The part I loved the most was where she described feeding "bad carrots" to the horses.  She says, "I guess I should explain what I mean by a bad carrot.  Sometimes they grow kind of funny with little legs instead of growing straight down.  So the horses get all the funny shaped carrots.  They like them."

And then she went on to draw a picture of the carrot.

I've saved this special letter for Anna.  It isn't filled with headline news, it's filled with something better--simple life pleasures, and the love of a special aunt.

Just before Easter we spent time with my sister and her family.  She lives a good distance away, but we always enjoy our special time together.