Friday, January 31


I am sad today.  I read this post a while back about sadness and how people are often so uncomfortable sharing about sadness.  It's easy to talk about being happy or being angry, but sadness is almost looked down on.  Why?  It's a natural part of living and loving.  It's part of life's landscape, the peaks and valleys.


Today I am sad because yesterday my dog Dawson died.  I don't think I've ever talked about him here because about the time I started this blog we moved to Alaska and Dawson stayed behind.  I have never stopped feeling guilty about that.  There's another feeling we don't talk about much, but it's the truth.  I still feel guilty that I left him (and Stamps and Molly) behind.  That I adopted them and promised to take care of them forever and I didn't.  And they didn't understand why or what was happening.  Don't get me wrong...they all have good lives.  They were all adopted again by our loving family members and have wonderful love-filled lives.  That doesn't erase my guilt though.

I adopted Dawson around my birthday in 2001.  Here's a picture taken on my birthday that year.  My mom and I were visiting him at the SW WA Humane Society while he waited to be neutered before we could bring him home. 

The idea was that he would be a guard dog for Scott and I at what was then our new home in Yacolt.  The guard dog part didn't really pan out (he never barked until the past few years), but I have no doubt he would have been protective had the need ever arisen.  Thankfully we never had to test that theory. 

Dawson loved to go for car rides and he also loved my parents dog at the time, Kady.  Somehow he could always tell when we made that turn from Highway 14 onto 32nd Street in Washougal and would magically be wide awake as we approached their house. 

Dawson was also Houdini dog.  He could not be contained in fences or on chains.  Or on chains inside of fences.  We spent those first few months totally frustrated trying to keep him contained.  One day when we were out of options I left him in our laundry room, pretty sure I would come home and find it destroyed.  I didn't.  We quit trying to leave him outside and he was much happier.  He did love to run though.  He always went looking for people.  He ran away from my parents house and convinced some nice lady he hadn't eaten in days (she figured so, since his tags were from so far away) and got her to feed him most of a loaf of bread.  He made friends with a family with kids down in town and we picked him up from there several times.  The crowning run was when I picked him up down at the little league field...he wasn't all that excited to come home.  They had been feeding him hot dogs down there!

Dawson loved snow...

He loved chasing balls, frisbees and bunnies.  He loved to go to work with Scott on weekends, laying under the desk on a dog bed and being treated to french fries at the drive-thru at lunch time.  He expected fries at all drive thrus, which made Starbucks a frustrating experience for him.  This summer Scott and I made a special trip to Burgerville to take him out for fries.  He couldn't get into the car by himself anymore, but he was so happy as we fed them to him.  I am glad that the last time I got to hang out with him we did one of his favorite things.

Dawson loved boat rides, where he would tuck himself up out of the wind and snooze away.  Here is he is on the beach after a boat ride one day.

As much as he loved boat rides, he did not love water.  He never learned to like to swim, no matter how many times I floated out in the middle of the lake and tried to coax him to jump off the swim platform of our ski boat!  He tolerated wading and hid from baths.

Of all his qualities though, the one that stands out to me the most is tolerance.  He would let you do just about anything to/with him.  He had this sigh he would do and a look he would give you that said, "Whatever, Mom.", but he would let you do it...

at Kelsey's 2nd birthday party

summer, 2008

January, 2007

commiserating with Stamps, shortly after Stacy was born

Just like people have different relationships with each other, dogs do too.  Dawson used to LOVE to lay on the floor like this and cuddle with Scott.  With me...not so much.

December, 2003

So goodbye, Dawson (D-Dog, Dawsonofagun, Bozo).  Thank you for being such a good first dog for me as an adult.  Thank you for never forgetting me and making me feel like a million bucks when you got so excited to see me every summer and on Skype.  I love you and I will miss you, but I am so glad that you did not suffer and that you were with people who loved you. 


Yes, of course I have cried my way through typing this.  Yes, I lay in bed crying last night.  But it feels right to be sad and I know it won't last forever so today I am just feeling it.  Remembering and feeling.  Glad to have had a connection in life strong enough to allow for such sadness in its absence.  Life truly is richer for it.

{this moment}

{this moment} - A weekly ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  

Inspired by SouleMama

Thursday, January 30


The girls' school hosted a community kickball game last night, pitting our fire/EMS folks against our police officers.  It was a very fun evening...Scott and the girls played and I was the {un}official photographer...

Wednesday, January 29

::right now::

:: Outside my window it is gray...not raining at the moment, though!

:: thinking about the fire/EMS vs. police kickball game at the girls' school tonight and our bible study gang meeting at our house tonight

:: thankful for friends who truly listen...even when you can't chat in person

:: creating a quilt for someone special

:: reading Proof of Heaven...I don't usually (ever) read these near death experience books, but it was reccomended to me by a friend and I am really enjoying it.  Recently I finished A Year of Biblical Womanhood which I enjoyed tremendously.  The author is so funny.  I felt like she was across the table from me drinking coffee and chatting.  Next up...some fiction!

:: hoping for snow.  Or sunshine.  Or both!

:: looking forward to taking the girls to a play next Tuesday.

:: learning to be a patient, more present parent. Again.  Some more.  Seems this is a lesson that I am often reminded of...

:: listening  to a new album I downloaded this morning

:: missing my good friend who is in Anchorage for an extended bit...texting is not the same as talking to her!

 :: planning Dr. Seuss's birthday celebration and the Iditaread program for the girls' school

 :: listing stuff I need to do...always listing!

:: grateful

A favorite quote for today..

Monday, January 27

She Who Forgets the Camera

Wow.  So nice to be home!  As always, getting away is great, but home is wonderful!!  I left Whittier on a very wet Wednesday morning to head to town for several days of meetings.  When they all wrapped up on Friday afternoon I met up with Scott and the girls and headed up to Trapper Creek to our friends' cabin.  While Scott and I were sliding back and forth between two cars in an icy parking lot I left my dear, sweet 3rd child camera.  I realized it on the way up...Oh no!  I didn't grab it!  I knew it was safe in the car, but I knew I'd miss it too.

As always, the weekend at the cabin was wonderful!  So relaxing!  Some visiting, some eating, some excellent coffee, some laughing, some crocheting, some reading, some fun.  Here are a few pictures...

Hope you had a lovely weekend, too!

Wednesday, January 22

Rock Climbing

We took the kids rock climbing this weekend with some friends of ours.  Fun!  They lasted two hours and came home exhausted with blisters and soooo happy!  It was fun to see them stretch themselves and try new things with friends.  They did a great job of encouraging each other...a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon!

Tuesday, January 21

S'Mores Pie

Stacy: Mom!  Let's make those s'mores ice cream cones again!
Me:  Yum!  But we don't have any cones
Stacy: Let's make s'mores then
Me: OK...what about this?  {shows Stacy this post, via Pinterest}
Stacy: Nope.  Let's make a pie.
Me: OK

Pulse one package of graham crackers in the food processor.  Add 4T melted butter.  Press into pan.

Dump in some chocolate chips...

Break up a Hershey bar, too.  Sprinkle with mini-marshmallows.

Bake at 425 for 4-8 minutes...


Your sister will like it, too!

Speaking of's what she and Dad were up to while we were slaving away in the hot kitchen...

It was tasty folks!  Try some!

Monday, January 20

I Made an Afghan

The pictures here are not the best...too dark outside!  I love those nice light pictures on some blogs...people who live much nearer the equator than I do.  Even those lovely, bright interior shorts, with no gargantuan TV or treadmill in the background.  And no bird climbing on their finished works, either.  Oh well.  Real life here, folks! 

I picked this pattern and this yarn at the spur of the moment.  After I started it, I realized you really can't see the chevrons with the variegated yarn.  Oh crocheted up fairly quickly and I had fun so there!  Turns out my wise Grandma Paul was afghan is a perfect thing to crochet in the winter!

Since this is a (little bit late) Christmas gift, it is all boxed up and will soon be on its way...I may have tried it out one night though.  It's nice and warm...hope it keeps you warm too, Kael!!

Friday, January 17

{this moment}

{this moment} - A weekly ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  

Inspired by SouleMama

Thursday, January 16


Wow.  We've come a long way haven't we?  Sleep is such a vital part of life, such an integral part of parenthood.  We are so focused on our children getting enough and we ourselves never having enough.  Days are planned around sleep schedules...wake up times, nap times, bed times.  Then before we know it we've entered a different phase of life and sleep (or lack thereof) becomes a bonding time.  Our girls have long shared a room and enjoyed the intimacy of relationship that comes with it.  I recall room sharing as a kid...the closeness that comes with it as well as the built in challenges.  Sleepovers are just the next phase of that evolution, I suppose.  A time of bonding.  I don't remember my first sleepover (bet my mama does though!) but I do remember sleepovers.  I was about the age my girls are now...spending the night was *the thing to do* with my group of friends in the third grade.  I don't remember being nervous (but again, I bet my mama does!), but I do remember lots of fun nights with my girlfriends, stretching into my high school years.  Heck, there's still something fun about a girls' night out in town where a bunch of women crash together in a hotel room and stay up way too late giggling!

We've dabbled in the world of sleepovers before, but it has always felt to me more like dipping our toes in the water.  The girls have stayed with family, a few miles away, able to come home if things didn't work out.  Things have almost always worked out, which for my cautious ladies has been a good thing.  This weekend though, we dove headfirst into the world of sleepovers.

We headed into town to attend a Christening and visit some friends.  We did both and even visited a local swimming pool with three little girls...a sure-fire way to tire out the kids, especially when you add in a water slide like we did!  After all this excitement, our friends graciously offered to keep the girls with their daughter while we went out to dinner.  We accepted the offer and then (as usual!) found ourselves a bit lost without the junior members of our family.  We certainly had fun, though!  When we returned we were greeted with big smiles and, "Puh-leeeeaaase, can we have a sleepover?".  After clearing it with all the other involved parties we gave our blessing and loaded up and headed back to Whittier.  Before the car door had even closed my stomach was in knots.  Scott and I talked about it on the way home and I came to discover something.  I wasn't nervous.  I knew that they would have fun.  I knew they were excellently cared for.  I knew that no harm would come to them in any way.  I still don't know the exact word to describe my feelings...empathy is as close as I can come.  One of my ladies was close to tears as we left.  She wanted to do this with all of her heart, but she was a bit nervous.  And I know that feeling.  Oh boy do I know it well!  So although I knew she would have fun, I hurt for her in that moment...that moment when we fight past our fear to try something new.  This weekend it was sleepovers, in the future it's reports, presentations, and goodness knows what.  Rites of passage of a sort, I suppose.  Firsts.  A little bit scary, I told her, and a lot of fun.  It's that moment right there that tore me up on the way's letting them step away from you for a bit and the encouraging them to try something new where you can't 100% guarantee the outcome.  It's hugging them when you pick them up and it's all gone well, but it's also hugging them and comforting them when it didn't go they way they wanted.  It's the reassurance that, "You had a bad day, but you're not a bad person."  It's hard in a whole new way.  This post perfectly explains the hardness of mothering little's a little excerpt...

How was my day? Today has been a lifetime. It was the best of times and the worst of times. There were moments when my heart was so full I thought I might explode, and there were other moments when my senses were under such intense assault that I was CERTAIN I’d explode. I was both lonely and absolutely desperate to be alone. I was saturated- just BOMBARDED with touch and then the second I put down this baby I yearned to smell her sweet skin again. I was simultaneously bored out of my skull and completely overwhelmed with so much to do. Today was too much and not enough. It was loud and silent. It was brutal and beautiful. I was at my very best today and then, just a moment later, at my very worst. At 3:30 today I decided that we should adopt four more children, and then at 3:35 I decided that we should give up the kids we already have for adoption. Husband – when your day is completely and totally dependent upon the moods and needs and schedules of tiny, messy, beautiful rug rats your day is ALL OF THE THINGS and NONE OF THE THINGS, sometimes within the same three minute period. But I’m not complaining. This is not a complaint, so don’t try to FIX IT. I wouldn’t have my day Any.Other.Way. I’m just saying- it’s a hell of a hard thing to explain- an entire day with lots of babies. 
But now.  Now is different.  Now is when they are their own people having their own experiences away from me.  No more can I shield them from the harshness of the world.  I know I should not and in my head I do not want to (here's why)  But my heart!  Oh my heart does not always agree with my head.  My heart wants to take the fear and the embarrassment from them.  My heart literally hurts when I watch them fight through that moment of uncertainty and come out on the other side.  I honestly have to sometimes hold my own hands to keep myself from interfering in a situation and fixing it for them!  It is hard.  And yet.  Just like when they were little and I wouldn't have traded it, I still wouldn't change it.  Every one of those moments builds their character.  And mine too.  We're in it together...learning today what we'll need for tomorrow.  My motherhood motto from way back when we brought home our first newborn...I'll learn enough today to get through tomorrow.  It has worked so far...

Friday, January 10

{this moment}

{this moment} - A weekly ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  

Inspired by SouleMama

Wednesday, January 8

Off My Game...

I feel like I am off my game a little bit this week...getting back in the groove of kids at school again.  Cleaning up the messes and piles.  Sorting, finding new homes for things, tossing stuff we don't need.  You get the picture!  I've made pretty good progress, too.  I also have two Christmas presents I am still working on.  Yeah.  I'm a little behind in that department, too!

So the long and short of it is that I don't have any stories of adventure or fun pictures to show you.  It has been raining and warm here for a week straight now.  Very gray and dark out there.  I could take a picture of the pile of garbage bags headed for Salvation Army this weekend...but that hardly seems all that exciting.

Instead of a picture, I will leave you with this quote (or is it just an idea since it's not attributed to anyone and internet searches don't reveal its source either??).  I typed it up, printed it, and hung it in  my kitchen in December while I was baking up a storm.  It's easy for me to start doing something out of love but continue doing it out of duty.  This reminds me to think about where my heart is.

Tuesday, January 7


Well folks!  Here it is Tuesday and I haven't yet provided you with a scintillating wrap up of our weekend.  Not much to wrap up, really.  Saturday we went to town and ran a gazillion errands while Scott met up with a friend of his and helped him with a project.  Sunday we went to church and then napped and were generally lazy.  Pretty fascinating, huh?

The girls had gift cards for Burger King, so we spent those on Saturday....

Scott and I had these fabulous his-n-hers shots of Nyquil on Saturday night...

It's been a sickie winter for us so far.  For everyone in town, really.  I was comparing notes with someone the other day and we were both wondering why there are so many more bugs going through Whittier this year.

Whining aside, here's what I love about living 9am I had no big plans for the day.  Just lots and lots of cleaning.  At 11:30am here I was...

Riding along with a friend of mine to drop off and pick up people at the Esther Island hatchery.  It was a dreary day, but nice to get out for a bit, dreary or not.

We wrapped up the day with this...'s a cast iron skillet chicken pot pie and it was y-u-m-m-y!!  I got the recipe from a magazine I bought...everyone loved it.

With that my friends, I am off to tackle some more cleaning/sorting/rearranging...

Friday, January 3

{this moment}

{this moment} - A weekly ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  

Inspired by SouleMama

Wednesday, January 1

Happy New Year!

We spent our New Year's Eve at home, making a list of things we'd like to do in 2014.  Our 2013 list was good, and we did a lot of the things on it.  We tried to focus on family stuff--trips, fun days, home days--that sort of thing.  Then we stayed up until {gasp} 9:30 when the fireworks started.  Stacy and I played some board games, my favorite NYE tradition from my family...

While Kelsey and Scott watched a movie...Stacy and I halfway watched it, too.  Here they are at almost 9pm.

Then we went to watch the fireworks!  A wonderful show!

The girls made it through the fireworks and then crashed.  Today has been a nice, slow start to 2014.  We're celebrating with friends this evening.  Wishing you all of the very best in 2014!