Monday, April 27, 2015

Spot the Wesley


Can you seem him way up there?  Kyla helped him figure out how to get to the first branch, and the next thing I know, I’m getting a “Hi, Mama!” from a height that I though only Kyla’s went to.    He now does this without any assistance.

*     *     *      *     *

[Did I ever tell you about the time, and I can give a date of March 1, 2014, because it was our school’s really, really big Auction, that I climbed this tree?  I came back from approximately 7 hours on my feet running around behind the scenes at the auction.  My in-laws were here, and as I drove into the driveway, Darlene was standing outside with a flashlight.  Rosie hadn’t come in and darling Darlene was worried about her, especially as she heard meowing outside.  We simply couldn’t figure out where she was, but eventually we narrowed down which tree she was stuck in.  Being the only one of sound body and unsound head, I got to climb that tree in my beloved boots and LBD—I swear, I can do anything in that perfect little black dress.  Since it was pitch black except for the flashlights my beloved and his parents were shining up the tree (and my skirt), I can’t swear how high I had to go, but I’m pretty confident it was past the roofline.  Then, little Rosie did not want to be properly carried down.  She climbed on my head and used my shoulders for extra balance…for her.  Anytime she got nervous, she dug her claws further into my scalp.  Finally, I grabbed her in one hand and climbed down with more difficulty but less blood loss.  Seriously, why do we even have cats??]

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Cabin To-Do(ne) List

1. Install the cell phone booster.  Check!


    That’s a small, non-descript box on top of the pantry.  I now almost always can take and make a call or text, and often even get email on my smart phone.  Dwayne still wants to do some small adjustments to it and needs to finalize it’s installation, but it works!

2. Install new kitchen faucet. Check!DSCN2109

It has a pull-out nozzle and adjustable spray, which is about 20 generations beyond the original model, and since we do not have a dishwasher, this makes the job much easier.

3.  Install large screen TV. Check! 



4.  New Washer/Dryer.  Check!


Look, it actually rinses and spins the clothes mostly dry! And then the dryer actually dries them…in under in two hours.  It’s a modern miracle…and necessary for actually leaving the cabin before the last ferry leaves.

5. A new thermostat.  Check!


I arrived at the cabin on a cold November evening and the main propane stove wasn’t working and the back up wall heater also wouldn’t turn on.   Lots of phone calls (before my cell booster or my smart phone so I had to pack up all the kids and drive a mile down the road with a phone book), lots of time, lots of money, and ahem, once I plugged in the stove, the thermostat connected was broken.

6. Taking down the alders trees in the front corner of the yard.  Check!

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These trees were nothing but a caterpillar attraction, and a convenient way to litter our yard and our neighbor’s.  Dwayne will eventually dig out the stumps, but it’s a first step in getting the yard to a more pleasant, less upkeep state.

7. Repurposing old wall heater space.  Check!  Since “we” (thanks again, Jim!) just did this today, it’s currently my favorite project. Since we took out the broken wall heater, we’ve had a big hole in the wood wall as well as a extra electrical wires. “We” built an alcove bookshelf to house the XBox, DVDs, and games and most impressively, installed an outlet in the hobbit hole to plug in all media behind the scenes.  We were able to take out the tangle of wires and the old TV cabinet.  I love it!

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8.  New deck.  Not yet. In June, hopefully.  Right now, there are about 3 spots that you almost step through when you walk on it. 


Wow, cabins take a lot of…resources. Still like it, though!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Island, ho!

After the Tulips, we headed for the cabin.

4-17 Sunglasses!

It’s no longer a big deal to have to wait 90 minutes to get on the ferry.  We had our shades and I rewarded the kids with an ice cream cone from Ivars.

4-17 Sunglasses, ice cream, ferries 2


And as usual, if I can’t find Kyla, I simply look up.

  4-17 Sunglasses, ice cream, ferries 3

Tulip Festival


It needs no explanation, as we’ve all probably been there, but I got to go with one of my best friends and kids!  Piper loves having her picture taken, so she shows up most often.  And yes, I coveted and lusted after all these beautiful flowers.  Two commandments broken at once!4-17 Tulips 02

4-17 Tulips 084-17 Tulips 16 4-17 Tulips 22 4-17 Tulips 57 4-17 Tulips 37 4-17 Tulips 33 4-17 Tulips 79 4-17 Tulips 76

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Poem: Zoo



I’ve heard tell of real animals at the zoo

Wild creatures that roar and squeak and gnaw bamboo.


But instead of zebras, I get zip lines.

Instead of tamarins, only Tarzan vines.


No lumbering bears, just an oversized burrow.

Pudgy hippos?  Filthy warthogs?  Yeah, zero. 


The only lemurs and meerkats I see

Are on the zoo  marquee.                                                                    


No mountain goats or bounding gazelle--

The only hooves I spot are on the carousel.


Wild animals at the zoo?  Phew, let’s see…

I seem to have given birth to three!




During Winter Quarter, when I was taking my last class for my literacy endorsement, the professor gave us an option of trading one of our weekly posts for an original poem or story, and a February trip to the zoo inspired my little ditty (which I am enormously proud of, by the way). 

We had the opportunity to meet up with Island friends today at the zoo—6.5 hours and very few animals and lots and lots of play, the usual ratio for my kids. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Spring Break Adventure: Port Townsend

After exchanging the cousins for a little extra sanity by meeting Julie at the ferry dock at 11am, the kids and I went on a very spontaneous adventure.  Originally, we thought about driving up to Coupeville and hanging out in town, when I remembered that the Port Townsend ferry is up that way.  We drove there with no preparation but coats, and nearly-dead phone, a granola bar each, and a credit card. 

It was meant to be, because we parked and crossed the street with exactly 3 minutes to purchase my ticket ($3.25 one way, kids under 18 free) before we boarded.  It’s still winter hours, and the ferry leaves only every 90 minutes. 

It’s a longer trip, a full 30 minutes, and it was a rough sailing, which is perfectly pleasant with a cup of hot cocoa and several half-finished puzzles at window tables. 

Port Townsend is a perfect destination because the ferry lands within yards of the main street.  There’s cute shops, restaurants (that do not accommodate gluten-free, as we discovered), a small, delightful museum, and probably lots of other things to do with slightly dryer weather. 

We’ll go back again this summer and explore the second street, the intriguing stair steps up the steep hillside, and look for a few more Port Townsend adventures! 

Sunday, April 12, 2015


You’d never know we have 6 beds at the cabin—4 twins and two queens.  The kids squeeze in as close as they can and, in the case of Piper and Cecily, squeeze me out of my own bed. 

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The girls and I had an agreement.  For some reason, Piper and Cecily have really hit it off lately. (Cynics may say because they have the potential to be equally…spirited… children in spite of their angelic looks.)  So when the cousins spent two nights at the cabin, Piper became Cecily’s mini-mama.  To the point, Cecily would squeal, “That’s my Mommy, that’s my Mommy!” whenever Piper was around.  Piper dressed her, brushed her teeth, got her in and out of her car seat, slept with her, read to her, played with her, lifted her in and out of her high chair, and generally took really good care of her.

Kyla took over the care of the boys (who called themselves mini-daddies).  Of course, she had twice the kids but a lot less work.  And her ability to fully hold responsibility doesn’t shock me one bit, but I still can’t forget to give her full credit.  Well done, daughters!

A Gift Idea

Mother’s Day is coming! If anyone wants to buy me a gift, I’d like a copy of

by Adam Mansbach and Ricardo Cort├ęs

The first copy will be bedside reading at the cabin.  A second copy would be kept at home. 


(Notice the date.  I’m at the cabin with 5 children on my own.)

Saturday, April 11, 2015


Not ours, but Keith and Julie find themselves with darling motor home parked in their front yard.  We are all smitten.  The kids want to live in there.  Mama agrees.


You can read that anyway you want to.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

“MOM! Take a Picture of Us!”


Right up until I wrote my 2014 Christmas letter, these two goofballs were not getting along—with about 90% of the fault lying at Piper’s feet…or fists.  And then a corner was turned.  She no longer whined about not being an only child and she spent more and more time playing with each sibling.

Dwayne and I were thrilled.

Until we were not.

Turns out Piper playing well with Wesley causes more chaos, strife, and negative consequences than ignoring him.  These two wind each other up like a Tazmanian devils on cotton candy crack. 

But they take memorable pictures.  Piper wanted to know if she looked like she was smiling in this one.



The eyes say aye!

She Did It!

WP_20150402_09_29_06_ProAfter a year of Vision Therapy, Kyla graduated today! Technically, I don’t think she would have graduated if I hadn’t already stated we wouldn’t continue another unit (12 week session), but she has mastered all the skills except horizontal tracking, which seems to be a dyslexia problem, not a vision problem.  Her eyes getting tired really easily, too, but we might as well wear them out reading than doing eye exercises.  Regardless, I’m really proud of Kyla.  The girl has an impressive work ethic and, with her fantastic therapist, gets full credit for achieving this one! (I’ll be taking the credit for any improvement Wesley shows—at age 5, he’s not exactly a self-starter for things he should be doing.)