Saturday, September 28, 2013

Family Date at the Skating Rink

The family that roller skates together, falls on their bum together.  -Ancient non-Chinese saying


It’s a rainy Saturday morning—let’s go to Little Kid skate at the rink! 

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And if I can just preen for  minute—my kids all have enough daring-do and lack of self-preservation that all my kids can actually get out in the rink and skate…no walls, no parent, no hurry.  They may spend 15 minutes to do a lap, but darnit, they are going to finish!

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A few years makes a huge difference. Kyla doesn’t need a parent at all, except to help her figure out which is her left during the Hokey Pokey!

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The grin says it all (because her bruised bottom isn’t photogenic)

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You go, my boy!

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Fortunately, we have many rainy Saturdays ahead.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

My New Love

Hint, it’s not the preschooler.

My old vacuum has only half worked for several months and a little while ago, I actually noticed.  My earlier hot affair with my muscle-y vacuum had soured and my eye began wandering.oct 109


I still have a pretty hot affair with my Shark steam mop, so I found a Shark vacuum that weighs only 12 pounds and had the service send one over.  We’ve been together ever since.  Sure, it might just be a rebound relationship, but I’ve got strongly attached to this little sucker.  And the fact that my 3 year old can use it, well, I’ll admit, I don’t mind sharing.


Don’t worry, Wes, you will always be my baby.

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013


My favorite go-to blog is I’ve read her book, Carry On, Warrior, aloud to my family, and she actually makes me want to give up writing (even though I really just write an annual Christmas letter) because she is so good and says everything I want to say better while making me wet my pants.  Who can compete with that?  And, she might even be more liberal than I am, and there are very few published Christians I can say that about.  I love Momastry. 

Today’s post gave me my new mantra, “I am Suzanne” (click here to read in full, but check your diapers first).

But here’s the real gem of today’s wisdom:

This summer, twelve minutes into the first day of summer- Craig walked into the kitchen and two of my three kids were crying and we’d already run out of fun summer activities. In twelve minutes. And so I looked at Craig and said, “You know what is so much better than just like summer camp? ACTUAL SUMMER CAMP.”

I know they say money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy ACTUAL SUMMER CAMP and after a week I was unable to detect any difference.


Here’s how it applies to my life:

I know they say money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy SEVERAL PRESCHOOLS and after a week I was unable to detect any difference.

Wesley goes to two preschools:  Monday & Friday morning at one (while I volunteer at the girls’ school), and Mon-Thursday afternoons at a Montessori, with Piper, after she is done with morning Kindergarten. 

On any given day, this means anywhere from 2-3 drop off times, and 3-4 pick up times.  It also means 2.5 hours a day all to myself. Between this and some supplements my voo-doo doctor put me on, I’m a pretty happy mama.  And even a content Denise. 


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Mama’s Workout Regime

Walk up and down (hilly) neighborhood street several times carrying tools back and forth to worksite, where Dwayne and I are move the neighborhood sign out of the trees.  Get dirty.  Haul 100 p0unds of kids home.  Feed kids.  Change clothes to go on date with Dwayne.  Do yoga in the theater in an effort to contort my body away from the horrible pictures on the screen.  Decide to choose a musical for our next date.  Sleep soundly.


[Yeah, only two are mine.  Our neighborhood is finally becoming what I dreamed it would be ten years ago when we moved in, before we had kids of our own.  There’s now one more family with kids close in age to ours, and they just run and ride back and forth between houses and play on the street and in the islands on the way there.  When Dwayne and I spent most of the afternoon on the opposite end of the street from our house, I gave Piper the home phone so she could call me if she needed anything.  The only thing she ever needed was permission to get a snack.  Which means she probably already had the snack out and was eating it when she called to make sure it was okay.  We are getting to the easier side of parenting!]

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Piper lost her first tooth!  Just like her big sister, she asked me to yank it out, and then proudly cleaned up all the blood.  That’s m’girl!IMG_4259



Kinda cute in braids, too.  (Note to self:  just keep her back half looking cute, as that’s usually the side I can get a picture of!)


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Pumpkin Making

The Firehouse Glass Blowers in Langley is an old-- get this--fire station that keeps the station doors fully open and lets visitors wander in and out while glass flowers, bowls, ornaments, balls, sea stars, and yes, pumpkins are being made.  These items are frightfully expensive, so when you look at the price to make on yourself, it’s not so bad comparitively.

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So Dwayne made me a glass pumpkin!


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Perhaps with a smidgeon of help from the owner.

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Dwayne loved the experience and I get a beautiful, new fall decoration….that I have asked my mom to keep at her house at least for another year.  Because I would scream and sell a child if said child broke my new glass pumpkin.  So now I post his picture so I can visit him when I want to.

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Cool, huh?

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24 Hours at the Cabin

My OR brother (and his darling wife) hadn’t been to the cabin in the year that we’ve owned it, but they finally had a small chunk of time to come up and do a half-dozen things, one which is to play with us on the island for a day!



We always love the ferry ride over!












I still occassionallyIMG_4207 try to collect poses of the three of them together.  Here we are in one of my favorite little towns, Langley, as we meet up with Brian and Sandi.














Oh, look!  It’s Uncle Brian and Aunt Sandi!



We got ‘em, Mama!






IMG_4218I tried to get as many family shots as I could, but Fast Children beat Slow Camera almost every time!











Just a second before Kyla photo-bombed them.  Score one for the Camera!






Yeah, the afternoon really was this good!



The next day, after church, we made it to Meerkirk Gardens, which is a place we’ve always loved.  Wesley and I didn’t get further than the parking lot (our two cars were the only ones there), and he took a long nap while the others stomped around the grounds. 


Great Dahlias!  (And I love Piper’s hair—it’s the best way to keep hair out of her eyes while she grows out her bangs.)







And then we say good-bye to our favorite Oregonians!  We loved our 24 hours with you both!IMG_4253

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Kyla’s Big Gift

9-7 Kyla at Seattle Fountain 2

Over the last few months, Kyla has asked for various and sundry items for her birthday, but the two things she kept coming back to were a date with Mom and Dad (and more importantly, without her siblings) and a nice necklace—a fancy one like the one Mama always gets.  And under my breath, I would add “and you always break.” 

But her birthday came, and we promised her that we’d drop her siblings off at Grandma’s, and we would take her necklace shopping. 

How fun!

You think I’d have a picture of the necklace, but she chose a garnet (red) heart on a silver chain that, at $30, seemed just the right fancy for a little girl who tries very hard to take care of her things…until she forgets. 

But one can’t shop for jewelry all day, so even with an excursion into the delightful-smelling Bath & Beauty Works, we still had time to drive to Seattle for to see an IMAX.  We chose The Hubble, and It. Was. So. Cool.  Totally vegetables for the brain, but really yummy veggies, like grilled asparagus and red peppers with garlic.

And you can’t end up at the Pacific Science Center on a sunny day without playing at least a little bit.

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Dwayne has some justifiable concerns about heights, but he did this without screaming like a child.

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Look, Ma, no hands!

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Happy 7th year, Kyla!

Friday, September 6, 2013


T-Rex pajama shirt, new rain coat (a $5 steal at Value Village—it’s actually waterproof!), gym shorts (please, Almighty One, let him be wearing underwear!), and a polka dot tie.   002


Not as good as yesterday’s plaid shorts, striped shirt and same time, but close enough.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The First Day of School



Hey, I’m working on my emotional depth.  I think I’m improving.

Other parents: Oh, my [1st, 2nd, 3rd, last] child is starting school today.  I feel a little bit sad and nostalgic.

Me: {sob] I still have one more at home!  For two. More. Years. WAH!


354This brand new kindergartener should have a wanted poster around her picture.  I kid you not, Piper laid down on the classroom rug, declared Kindergarten to be “boring”, and chose to spend part of her half-day in the office instead of joining her classmates in first day activities.

Just one more story for the Piper legend.



358I think Kyla is trying to hug me  as we struggle to get out of the house.  That’s my best explanation for this pose. 

The night before, I helped each girl pick out her school outfit.  The next morning, they were both dressed in something  completely different, and neither matched.  They also both decided to do their own hair.  Let’s just say they can both stand out in a crowd….

Coordinated outfits notwithstanding, it might be a long year. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

She’s Seven!


[Dwayne made this pop-up card for Kyla---using a box cutter because we couldn’t find the Exacto-knife! (Hopefully, if we can’t find it, the kids won’t find it.)  Isn’t he amazing?]



I have lots and lots to say about this girl, but I’m going to spend more time collecting my thoughts. 

How to Celebrate a Birthday at the Cabin: A Guide

286First, plan the party on the middle day of the last long weekend of summer, so your guests can avoid the first and last day ferry lines.  Instead, they get to just wait in just as long as a line and get to be more surprised by it.  Oops.


Second, invite all guests for a, ahem, walk down to the beach. Consider plying them with beer before they get to the rappelling ropes.  Next time.  Do not look at the tide charts so that you can be surprised when the tide is in all the way and the party cannot walk along the beach. 


(That punk on the end is my husband who is allegedly not throwing stones at me.)


As a good hostess, be the first to fall into the water.  Delete the digital evidence.


Swing, swing, swing, swing!


Before returning to the cabin, climb a tree for the heck of it.  This particular tree all but has stairs built right into it.  My mother’s  (my  AWESOME MOTHER!) climb would be slightly more impressive if the dog hadn’t climbed up right after her.


Eat. Drink. Rinse. Repeat.  Use up every dish in the cabin.  Twice.  (Hand wash before reusing for dessert.)5061

Open gifts. 






Thanks, family, for making this special effort.  It meant a lot to Kyla to celebrate her birthday with loved ones!