Wednesday, July 27, 2016

New Friends

I met a lady recently whom I have come to admire. I don't know her well yet, but what I do know I like. Let me tell you how it happened.
 Our older kids go to school with her kids, so I have seen her around but had never talked to her. Then she and her family showed up at our church. So I went over to talk with her. As we exchanged who are you's, I mentioned that we homeschool, and she said, "Oh, I'm jealous!"
What? Shake my brain, rattle it around, did I hear you right?
I have never had that response to my homeschooling admission. Usually I hear things like, "I could never do that" or perhaps an inference to my state of mind and sanity. To actually have someone jealous of what I was doing ... I knew right then I liked this lady.
But it gets better.
We continued our conversation, and got around to the fact that I have 5 children. And she once again got me. She said something to the effect of how wonderful that is.
People, that is not the normal response I get. It's usually more along the lines of  "Do you know what causes that?" Or, "You sure have your hands full!" (and yes, I do, to both comments. My little secret is that I wish I had more kids.) The stares, the people visibly counting us as we go by ... it isn't new to me. I grew up the youngest of ten, so yeah, I have heard a number of comments. But this woman said something unlike all of that. She thought 5 children would be wonderful. She has 3 children, so she knows what it takes to be a mom, and she holds a job besides that.
I'm looking forward to getting to know her more!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

What's to eat?

Every few months I get tired of cooking supper. My inspiration is gone, my zeal and any interest in  meals is zapped. If I can swing it in the budget, we usually end up getting pizza or takeout on those nights. This month I did it a little differently. I told the kids to get in the car, and bring a sweatshirt, because we were going out for dinner. The Mr had to work late in the field, so he didn't come along. We headed west while the kids kept guessing. Eventually they figured out that we were heading to the beach.


 We stopped at a favorite park in Lincoln City, to stretch our legs.
 Then it was off to Mos for some clam chowder. Yum.
We even head enough time to walk on the beach and, as usual happens, throw, er, skip rocks in the water. It was a lovely night.

The next night I still hadn't recovered from my lack of cooking syndrome. So we grabbed some takeout and went out to the farm. It was so quiet and peaceful there.  We ate our food, sitting in the back of the pickup, listening to the birds call each other.


 After we were done, the kids got out their BB guns and did some target practice. The Mr got out his shotgun and the kids had a turn learning about big guns. I took one turn too, and once was enough. It hurt my shoulder and I totally missed what I was aiming at. And it's so loud!
I went and pulled weeds instead because strangely enough that was relaxing to me. Cleaning the rows of weeds and seeing my work brought a good feeling of accomplishment.
The kids made supper on the next night! And we had a potluck on the following night. So four days of not cooking helped me get back into the groove. Since my cooking lapse, I've made calzone, grilled chicken, and chili. I've got my hundred or so cookbooks out of the cupboard, and I am looking up some new ideas for meals. I think I am going to make it, at least for a month or so.

Independence Weekend

The annual family camp-out happened this past holiday weekend. We hadn't been camping with the extended family in a few years. But I braved the elements and took the 5 kids camping without the Mr's help. He had to stay home and work, (and recover from a bad cough.)

We had a beautiful weekend on the coast. You know it's the Oregon coast because of the coats being worn. But this time the beach was warm, although it wasn't really sunny.

The kids had a great time playing in the sand, playing in the water, playing with cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents.

We took a hike out to Cape Lookout but only made it halfway. The hike was a bit more than we had anticipated with the young ones in tow.
The drop offs were pretty steep. And although it wasn't too taxing of a hike, it was too much for the little guys this time. The Boy was able to finish the hike later with other relatives.



 My youngest was really enthralled by the one park ranger's talk that we got to hear. It was all about owls and the sounds they make. After we went on a nature walk, we passed the presentation area at just the right time. Even though it was kind of cold, Little K wanted to stay and listen, and she paid close attention to everything the ranger said, even going so far to raise her hand and answer a question (which surprised me!)


We spent a lot of time on the sand - of course it's never enough for the kids. They made sandcastles and dug with their cousins. The Boy had his uncle's help on the wall he was making.

And you just can't keep The Girl Who Swims out of the water.


The campsite had enough bushes and tree growth around it so we didn't feel like we were in someone else's business.


Another great family camping trip - blessed to have such a great large group!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Another adventure

Not wanting to sit around all day again one Sunday we heeded the well known advice offered by our forefathers.
Go west, they said; and so we did.
We rounded up our troops, loaded them in our truck and my sister's car, and drove out to explore a new-to-us park, Fort Yamhill.
The website I looked at made it sound like there would be some sort of physical evidence of buildings that once were at the fort. Only one remained. There were signs for everything and how the fort was arranged There was plenty of historical information. But no old ruins, no evidence that there was actually a fort there once upon a time. And there were no trees, until the very last part of the walk.
All in all, it was a nice enough outing, but not one that I would highly urge my guests to visit unless they were researching for a book.
  

 I had to throw this one in there because they actually stood still, without silly faces, long enough to snap a picture.

Wedding belles

One of my nieces got married this past weekend. It just so happened that my youngest daughter was in the wedding party. It was finally her turn to be the flower girl. All of her older sisters had had their turns in cousins' weddings and now her turn in the spotlight. We were a little trepidatious about her ability to get through it without breaking down, but she did a great job.
Earlier she had told me she was scared, but after going over it, practicing, talking it through, she took charge of her little cousin the ring bearer, and she did her job like a pro.
Of course having a fancy new dress and shoes and hair pretty also helped.
The wedding was held in a gorgeous log-cabin-esque chapel with plenty of seating for our large extended family, and friends.
The bride picked copper and turquoise to be her colors, and they were beautiful together. My Mr and the kids helped decorate the reception venue the morning before the wedding. It sure is handy having a tall fella around to hang lights and decor. I think we should rent him out for parties ....

Some leftover flowers that did not make it to any other homes ended up on my table, and lasted for over a week. There were gorgeous, greeting me each morning with cheeriness in my kitchen.
 
We got to see family members we don't see too often. The girls love seeing their cousins any time!

We got to hang out with two super adorable little great-nephews of mine. Side note, baby laughs are just the greatest. They stayed at our house over the weekend, and we had such a blast with babies in the house again!


Adventures with the girls

**I can't really write about our July adventures until I update what we did last month!** So here is the final revision of an entry I started a month ago**

Time for a field trip! With some but not all schools in the area still in session we grabbed at one last chance to go to a nearby attraction before there were too many crowds.
Just down the road is a place called Enchanted Forest. It was built back in the 70s and I can remember as a child driving by it on the way to and from Grandma's house, and always longing to go there. It looked so wonderful, so exciting! A play-land centered around fairy tale. I knew as a kid I would never be going to Disneyland (that didn't happen until I was 19, living in California) But this place ... it was near! It was a possibility, although maybe slight. And yes, as I got a little older and actually stayed with relatives without my parents, I did get to go to Enchanted Forest. Such happy memories. So now that we live nearer, I make sure my kids get to go there at least once or twice in their childhood.

It was time for the younger two to experience the fun.
There was a line formed already when we got there at the opening time, but it went quickly. And despite seeing two school buses, we did not get overrun by crowds. For the most part we had the areas we went into all to ourselves long enough to enjoy them.
The girls went running into the castle, exclaiming at all they saw.
We had fun with the goofy mirrors, 
and enjoyed "snacking" on Hansel and Gretel's story house.
There is a "western town" part of the park which had a tepee. 
My 6 year old decided to dance around the center.
And the slides were free so we went on those over and over again. I had a blast too!
You're never too old for the slide!

We made it to the special show The Princess and the Pea in the theater area. The bad queen mother was played by a man, which made it even funnier. A queen with a 5 o'clock shadow is something to behold. The goofy story and the hammy acting were enjoyable enough for all of us.

And then we made a walk through the 'good' parts again, making sure we saw everything and visited the slides again. 
On our way out the door we said goodbye to the alligator, 
and the girls asked, When can we come back?!
A successful field trip day I'd say, better than a trip to the grocery store.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Growing Pains

Growing older *can* be a lot of fun.
1. I am finally feeling more comfortable with who I am.
2. I don't mind being silly even if people are watching.
3. I have fun embarrassing my kids. Thankfully #2 and # 3 often go hand in hand.

But what isn't fun about growing older is the change in my physical condition!
A few weeks back when the weather finally turned sunny here in the Pacific Northwest, I was wearing flip-flops all day, which sent my right foot into hysterics. The tendons were so sore I couldn't put any pressure on my foot; I couldn't move it in any direction; I had to use crutches for the evening, and it was just incredibly painful to even touch. By the next morning, the pain was gone. My foot was basically fine - a little tiny tender, but fully functional.
Fast forward to Monday morning, I woke up to a sore right arm. It hurt to turn it certain ways; I couldn't pick up my full water bottle even. Once again, the tendons were so sore it just hurt hanging at my side. All I can figure is that I have been driving so much that I strained my arm. And if that isn't a sad commentary on my arm-strength!! I have driven more in the past 3 days than I have probably in the past month. Two days of driving to and around Portland, and another trip to Eugene and back, all have taken a toll on the arm.
So, the lesson learned from this? Time to add weight training to the running.
Or else just milk it for as long as possible while I watch the kids do all the things I can't around the house.