Monday, July 10, 2017

He Built It—And Mama Loves it!


We brought back two swinging hammocks from Winthrop to fill the space I cleared for a bench swing. So Dwayne took a sick day (because he was actually hackingly sick) and reinforced the trellis to support our new swings.  I plan to read the newspaper and drink my morning tea while thinking happy thoughts about my hubby. 


Sunday, July 2, 2017

The Cabin Celebrates the USA!


I have always wanted to make myself a pallet flag.  But never enough to actually do it.  Then I found one on sale and I had an extra coupon, so why take the time and do a lousy job when I can just buy one.  God bless America…and have mercy on Americans?

Friday, June 30, 2017

Hurry Up and SPA!

Julie was bringing the kids WP_20170630_10_38_31_Proover late morning, so I was in a rush to get my summer pedicure before I went from 3 kids to 5.  There’s a typical-looking nail salon just a few blocks up from the ferry, butWP_20170630_10_38_40_Pro I was really impressed!  They had two kid pedicure chairs so Piper was very comfortable next to me getting her first pedi, and Kyla was close by getting a manicure. 

Did they need one?  No.  Did I need one?  Yes.  So, I logged Wesley into the store’s Wi-Fi and we all sat back to a little pampering. Had I made slightly better plans, I may WP_20170630_10_38_37_Prohave gotten the two outdoor spa chairs overlooking the water on a perfect Island day.  Well, I have about 11 months to plan my next annual pedi!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017



My phone camera is not quick enough to catch all 6 grandkids in a smile, so I caught myself an Amber smile and then clicked a few more times so we can have a few shots of the 6 cousins growing up together!



Monday, June 26, 2017

Last Day of School

Winter weather delayed the start of summer vacation until today, but that made it no less celebratory! 



Yes, that is Kyla wearing headphones, as she’s noise-sensitive and just wore them home among the cheering at the end of school (11:10 am!).  Yes, that is Wesley wearing a winter coat with helmet on a 70 degree day.  At this point, I’m just going to call Piper “normal”. 

Mama, however, had spent the entire 120 minutes of today at school frantically putting the Book Room to bed for the summer before co-hosting the Kindergarten classes at our house.  These last two weeks,  I hosted the 1st, 3rd, and 4th graders at separate Play & Popsicle parties at our house, on days I wasn’t subbing or running the school Book Swap or finishing the Book Room.  So I’m kinda beat and looking forward to a pleasant summer.


Sunday, June 25, 2017

We “Camped”!

Can I say how much I love KOA camping, er, “camping”?  First, I have to admit that the kids have asked on several Saturday afternoons if we could all go camping.  We redirected (“Sure, let’s set up your tent in the backyard!”), distracted (“Who wants watermelon?!”), delayed (“Not this weekend”), until we ran out of tactics and previous obligations.  So on Thursday night, I started looking for reservations for Friday and Saturday, and took one of the last spots at the Concrete KOA, a place my brother went to earlier this year.

Because I was at school all day on Friday and then hosted the 4th grade party in our backyard afterschool, we didn’t back out of the driveway until 7pm.  Wanting an appropriate Last Supper before the camping officially began, we lucked out at a lovely cafe in Mount Vernon.




That interlude delayed us enough to pull in at 10pm, dark enough to set up our very-complicated 10-man tent with lanterns and headlights.  It’s the way we roll.

But, here’s the beauty of KOA.  Saturday morning, I paid for Dwayne and I to have the pancake and sausage breakfast and the kids ate free.  (Inference: Mama didn’t cook.)

Kids had a morning of play—we were next to both a creek and a mountain trail.  I fed them all cheese –N- crackers, veggies –N- fruit, before we went to get our 1pm Italian sodas.  (Inference: Mama didn’t cook.)


The kids loved the miniature golf.



We even got a hayride. 




I have to mention two more things about KOA:

1) Dinner—carrot sticks, roasting sticks for hotdogs and smores. (Inference: Mama didn’t cook.)

2) KOA always has water, coffee, and hot water at the read so that I don’t even have to boil water to give my kids oatmeal for Sunday breakfast. (Inference: Mama didn’t cook.)

We couldn’t head home until we had explored the town of Concrete—Dwayne and I have a thing for small towns, mostly befuddlement how they survive.  But we found the 5B Bakery…and friends, I’m going back. 


I think Dwayne and I are trying to eat our way across Washington, because we also found an amazing chocolatier on return trip through Mount Vernon. WP_20170625_14_26_13_Pro


Very satisfying….wait!  Am I talking about the camping or the chocolate? At least the kids think of it as one of the best weekends of their lives!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Piper’s Pacific Rim Project

3rd grade cumulates in a WP_20170622_15_18_03_ProPacific Rim research project.  Piper did Australia.  There’s not much else to say—by the time Piper reads this blog of her childhood, she will have vague memories, probably none of which include Aussie imports and exports. But at least, there will be pictures!


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Happy Dwayne Day!


How embarrassing—I forgot to take any pictures of Dwayne until the day after Father’s Day. But we didn’t forget about Daddy.  The kids made a list:

25 Reasons We Love Daddy

1. He lets us do fun things! W

2. He wrestles with us! K

3. He loves me. P

4. He cooks excellent dinners. K

5. He’s great.

6. He lets us watch Vultron.

7. He married Mama.

8. Helps us move heavy things

9. He’s the best dad in the entire world.

10. He plays with kids.

11. He jumps us high on the trampoline.

12. He’s great at art.

13. He loves making us mocktails. He’s a drink-making expert.

14. He loves our mom.

15. He takes us out to dinner. He once took us out to our favorite breakfast place. When Mom isn’t around, he takes us out for meals.

16. I like how he plays with us in the pool!

17. He’s the sole provider for our family.

18. He wants to teach me how to program

19. He’s an excellent trellis- and stair-builder. And he let’s me help him!

20. He lets us get toys at McDonald’s.

21. He takes us to great places, like Oregon and California.

22. He snuggles with us. He cuddles us.

23. He’s fun and happy and makes us laugh.

24. He loves us!

25. He’s nice to us.

By Kyla, Piper, and Wesley 6/18/2017


We celebrated by meeting my parents for a walk in Denny Park along the Kirkland waterfront, to prove to ourselves that, yes, walking up long, steep hills is hard.  The kids found trees to climb, streams to wade in, and worked up an appetite for celebratory gelato in downtown Kirkland. Grandpa didn’t seem to mind it either!


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Point for Wesley


You can say a lot about Wesley, and I do, but I’m going to give him an A+ for taking care of me when I’m down.

On Monday, I got the 4am flu, the 4th (and last?!?) of us to succumb.  Dwayne stayed at home and took care of…well, everything.  I didn’t even leave my bedroom until about 10 o’clock that night.  When Wesley was allowed to visit me after school, he came so gently on the bed, put one cool hand on my forehead, another on my cheek, and I will have a forever-picture in my heart of his blueberry eyes gazing into mine, and telling me, “It’s okay, Mama.  I’m just checking for a fever. I brought you medicine if you need it,” nodding toward the bottle of cherry-flavored children’s Tylenol he had left on my side table.  He read me books, and snuggled up with me so he could have more Mama time.

More than canceling Easter, Sick Mama really throws the kids off, but they all reacted sweetly and helpfully. 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

He Has Risen/We Have Fallen (on our asses)

Easter is usually one of our favorite celebrations; both as a religious ceremony and a huge party Dwayne and I have thrown for family and friends for probably a decade.  This year, on Easter eve we had to text 24 people to cancel everything while two kids were vomiting in the backseat of the car. At 4am, I emailed one of our church pastors that I couldn’t be in the nursery that morning, as one kid and Dwayne were now dog-sick. I was in my PJs until dinner time, as once Dwayne was able to sleep, I didn’t want to disturb him. In between loads of laundry, I packed up the lamb and bread so others could have it at their dinner, as well as the egg hunts we love to do.  Wesley had a hard time staying quiet all day (by “hard”, I mean “impossible”) as he was in a great mood, finally waking up healthy after 48 hours of being miserable. 

No church, no friends, family, feast, nor incompetent adults unable to find their eggs…it was a disappointing and dull Easter for us all. Amber even came up all the way from Oregon to see what all the fuss is about when Auntie Denise throws a spring party!  Now I will have to impress her next year if I can convince her to give me another chance.

I guess the bright side is that I can return some Easter outfits to Costco for a full refund.  Ah, well.  One bust after all the fun years isn’t a horrible record.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Cabin + Campfire + Hotdogs = Wild Fun


I made a new friend, who’s got four sons (Wesley was so excited to finally have boys to play with!), invited some neighbors over, and suddenly we had 13 kids roasting hotdogs, making s’mores, running up, down, in, and out, and mostly (miraculously?) avoiding injury.



I’m kinda in love with this little guy, but I don’t think he will even notice me if there are marshmallows in the vicinity.


I love my friends and my Whidbey space!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Piper’s Bling

Piper worked really hard thWP_20170409_16_29_05_Proe last few days to earn enough money to get her ear’s pierced. She even cleaned our garage to scrape together the last few quarters together. 




Saturday, March 18, 2017

Snowboarding (like Waterboarding, but Colder)

For Christmas, we gave the kids 3 lessons each at Stevens for snowboarding. 

It’s not an easy snow sport to pick up—I have fond memories because when Dwayne and I began dating, I had already tried boarding and he dived in and bought a board before his first shredding attempt, and we learned together, often while nibbling on, “yum, skier sandwich”. 

Anyway, the theory goes that it takes at least 3 [painful] days before boarding is fun.  After 3 lessons, we have 1 kid who loves it WP_20170130_14_53_35_Pro

(Hint, it’s this one)


I will admit that they did about one 3-hour lesson a month, so it wasn’t an ideal schedule.  Our last day was also a bit of a cluster when we parked in the lot and realized that Wesley did not actually bring his jacket.  The Wombat got really pissy when she had to give her jacket to Wesley, wear Kyla’s jacket, who in turn wore my jacket, and Mama got to wear Dwayne’s extra sweatshirt over my own sweatshirt.  (Really, she was pissy?) [For those wanting to second guess the parenting choice, letting him go without a jacket was not an option.  You can’t place other people in the position of causing your child hypothermia because you want him to suffer.  Also, wasting the last lesson so one parent could sit with him in the lodge for 4 hours while the other parent shredded alone wasn’t really appealing either.]

Anyway, the kids had lift tickets and their rentals for another hour after lessons, so we took them up Daisy for their first bunny hill.  Piper came down well the first time, raced down the second time, and waited and waited and waited for a parent to take her up again.  Meanwhile, Dwayne and I were juggling a Kyla and Wesley who wanted to go down the hill…until they both had their first fall.  I don’t think the wailing started until the second fall, but unfortunately, they had about 100 more falls to go before the bottom.  Eventually, Wesley took off the board and just stomped down the mountain like an injured and furiously wild cat.  Kyla was at least as dramatic.

All I know is that by the time we turned the equipment and got their own boots on, we had three sweating, weeping, angry children…Piper because she couldn’t go down the hill again because of her siblings. 

I reached a new funny in parenting that afternoon.  By the time we made it back to the car, they were lashing out at each other and were starting to recycle the earlier fight over the coats.  So I said in my sternest voice, “Everyone stop talking.  Get in the car and start eating cookies.  Eat lots of cookies NOW.” And then turned away to try not to laugh aloud. 

Kids eating cookies cannot cry or yell.  I’m definitely packing boxes and boxes next time…if we ever try this again!


These pictures are just for the kids so they can see how cool they looked back when they learned at age 7, 9, and 10.

1-30 kids snowboarding 1

1-30 kids snowboarding 2

1-30 kids snowboarding 3

1-30 kids snowboarding 4

2-12 Snowboarding 1

2-12 Snowboarding 4

2-12 Snowboarding 6

2-12 Snowboarding 10

2-12 Snowboarding 12

2-12 Snowboarding 13

2-12 Snowboarding 15

2-12 Snowboarding 20