Monday, September 28, 2009

if they could see me now

Greetings from somewhere on the Pacific Ocean!

Jeff and I are having a wonderful time, and I thought I'd sent you a few select photos (in lieu of a postcard of something) from our trip so far.

No, I didn't get a pedicure, or even paint my toenails before setting out on this trip. Yes, I am regretting it.

In happier news, this is a photo of my steak dinner from last night. Grilled flat iron steak, macaroni and cheese, creamed peas and vichy carrots. Yum.

The service staff on this ship is amazing. I can't remember the last time a man pulled out my chair for me. And the waiter shook out the napkin and placed it on my lap, for crying out loud.

Towel animals every night! So fun....

Until next time,

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Kyle's 4th Birthday

Happy birthday to my Kyle Warren! You bring joy and laughter into our home each and every day. We love you, Kyle! It's hard to believe it's been four years since you arrived...

Here are a few photos from Kyle's birthday party today. It had a Star Wars theme....hence the lightsabers.

The Darth Vader cake...
...and there really were 4 candles, I promise. Even though it only looks like 2.

Present time!

It was a fun, full day. I can't believe my 3-year-old is four years old!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

as I bombard you with photos

We went by the house this past weekend, and were pleased to find that the second floor is framed. It was even possible for us to go upstairs and walk around (don't worry, we have permission).

This is part of the upstairs:

A shot of the front, taken by the curb:

Benjamin, as he enters with excitement:

We inscribed our names at the top of the stairs.

The doorpost:

journey through an ultrasound

My 20-week ultrasound was last week. I had made my appointment for 4:45 PM on Wednesday, September 16. I even double-checked the date, since the lady on the phone had referred to the day as "this Wednesday."

When Jeff and I arrived - after Jeff left work early, I dropped off the boys at a friend's house, and we met at the hospital - we were told that my appointment was for October 7 at 4:45 PM.

This preggo was not a happy camper. My bladder was full nearly to bursting, and I felt that I had dealt with a dozen hurdles to get where I was standing in that moment. I stood, trying to decide whether to find out whose heads ought to roll, or to burst into tears then and there.

What woman gets confused about which day her ultrasound is scheduled?

After about 15 very uncomfortable minutes, with Jeff as my able advocate, the hospital agrees to go ahead with my appointment. The very nice ultrasound tech gets started, and almost immediately lets out a "Lordy! Look at your bladder! We'll get you to the bathroom in just a minute, honey..." She is true to her word, and after that point it was a very pleasant time. We saw the little heart thumping away, the toes on those sweet feet. Baby was trying to suck the thumb. It was such a precious time.

Then at the end, we learned that she could give us no photos. Something about not knowing how to print them off...if I called next week someone may be able to help me, though.

This morning, I called. The gal on the phone and I had a difficult time communicating, but the long and short of it was that her name was Jessica, and she could help me out. She said to stop by the front desk when I got there.

So a while later, we enter the building. I walk up to the front desk of the hospital, three children in tow. "Hi, I called earlier about getting some photos of an ultrasound I had last week? I spoke to Jessica?" After a few questions ("Did you call ahead of time?"), the receptionist sends me down the hall to "a lady in a blue jacket named Wendy." We traipse down to see Wendy.

"Hi, are you Wendy? They said you could help me." I proceed to give my standard greeting. "I called earlier about getting some photos of an ultrasound I had last week? I spoke to Jessica...." Wendy takes my name and goes back to talk with the powers that be.

After five minutes she returns. "Evidently no one called it in. They don't have it..."

So I say, "No, I don't need an ultrasound. I just was hoping to get photos of the one I had last week." Wendy is an older lady. Maybe she misunderstood? People often say I speak softly.

She is firm that she gets it. "I understand that you don't need an ultrasound. But no one called about it. What's your doctor's name?"

I answer: "My midwife is Sonya _____."

"Okay, because it'd need to be sent to her..."

"No, I don't need the report, just the photos."

"You don't need the report?"

"No, just the photos. And I called this morning. I spoke with Jessica."

"You called this morning?"


She turns around, "Okay, I'll go see what I can find out..." and goes back down the hallway.

We wait and wait. The lobby is nearly empty. Kyle brings me numerous fliers and publications, ensuring that I have at least three copies of each one. He also seems to believe that I need three different issues of Guideposts magazine in my hand. Benjamin clambers on the chairs. Owen attempts to turn off all the lamps within his reach.

After a good five minutes (maybe more, but I'm striving for accuracy here), Wendy comes back.
"Jessica left it at the front desk for you."

I stand up, smiling. "Okay, great! Thanks for your time."

As I'm gathering my boys, Wendy heads toward the front desk and stands there chatting with some people there. My entourage and I approach the front desk again. The receptionist from before looks up. "Yes?"

I say, "Hi, evidently they left the ultrasound photos here at the front desk." I give my name.
Much searching ensues. There is confusion as to whether I was picking up a report or photographs. "She said there's something here for her... in an envelope...maybe it's this one. No, it just says Front Desk...."

Finally an efficient-looking woman at the end of the desk holds it up. She politely asks for my I.D., which I provide. Wendy looks at me and chuckles. "Well, that was quite a road to get what you needed, wasn't it?"

I just smile and think of Sept. 16 at 4:30 PM.......

Remind me not to give birth to my baby in that hospital.

Monday, September 21, 2009

the big V

No, it's not what you think.

Not even close.

Jeff and I have had many wonderful chances to explore the world together. We were married for 5 years before God blessed us with children, and in that time we visited New York City, Minneapolis, Orlando, San Francisco, and other places. And since our boys have been born, we've been blessed - many times over! - by the fact that their grandparents make wonderful substitute caregivers. So it's not as though we never get away, just the two of us.

But...something has shifted. There's a change in the wind, something big looming on the horizon which we're incredibly excited about.

Do you wanna know what it is?

In a matter of just a few days, we are going on a cruise! Yep, my husband and I are going to leave Oregon (and our boys) behind for a while, and go sailing the ocean blue. We'll be enjoying sun, sand, and all manner of attractions. We'll be sleeping, sightseeing, dining, and... dare I say dancing?

We've never taken a vacation like this before.

The majority of our getaways have consisted of the chilly, yet beautiful, Oregon coast. Our honeymoon was a bargain, we-stayed-at-a-friend's-place kind of deal. But this...this feels like luxury.

I'm not really accustomed to luxury. Neither is Jeff. We've been saving, budgeting, making careful choices with our money, for a long time. We make do with ripped fabric on our living room furniture, and an ancient vacuum which frustrates us both to high heaven. I wash and re-use gallon-sized plastic bags. I think it's safe to say that we were raised frugally, and that we live frugally.

But next week? Next week is about romance, fun, adventure, and getting away from the craziness that has become our home life in the last 9 months. Next week is going to be different. Next week? Will be a treat.

We will be escaping the daily grind for a while. Getting pampered. Enjoying a true getaway. I have no doubt that I'll miss my children, and that my hands may itch to bake something.

Still... for now, I'm anticipating a taste of the sweet life.

"Not me!" Monday

Welcome to another edition of "Not me" Monday, the fun and cathartic blog carnival created by the one and only MckMama. Hop on over to her blog, My Charming Kids, for gorgeous photos and a refreshingly honest take on life. Oh yeah, and more "Not me" Monday confessions.

For reasons which I will disclose soon, you ought not to expect a "Not me" post from me for the next few weeks. Unless I'm feeling really motivated, that is.

I absolutely do not look forward to my birthday each and every year, and I certainly would never dream of blogging about it Because my dear bloggy readers do not need to know anything about my birthday...I mean, why would they?

Speaking of my birthday, I definitely did not go shopping not once, not twice, but three times during that 24-hour period. I care nothing for shopping, particularly without children, and I certainly never feel the burn of birthday money in my pocket...

Jeff and I totally didn't visit the lot (house!) twice this weekend. We're so not excited that the upstairs is assembled - and it wasn't at all thrilling to walk around in the bedrooms, laundry room, and common area up there.

When Jeff was gone for a meeting Sunday evening, and the boys were installed in their beds, I absolutely didn't settle down on the couch with a small bowl of ice cream to watch the Emmy's. Because, I mean, I had already had my "one sweet a day" at lunchtime, and besides, I care nothing for awards shows...they're for sure not a guilty pleasure of mine...

...And I am clearly not gearing up to blog about something that's a big deal for Jeff and I. But if I were, I would totally not leave my readers hanging until I manage to get around to it. Nope, not me!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

it's my birthday and I'll blog if I want to

Yep, it's true. Here I sit on the ____th anniversary of my birth. When my parents mentioned how many years I'd turn this week, my dad said "Wow." Hmm....I suppose that's telling.

This morning, simply because I wanted to and it was my birthday, I went to the Farmers' Market. By myself. In the rain. I didn't so much want the rain part, but today I took what I could get. I also managed to get a fairly choice parking spot, due to the dreary weather, which is nothing to complain about. I enjoyed myself, bought some fruit, two last pints of berries for the summer, and resisted the urge to purchase any vegetables. Well, except for some lovely red peppers. I've been waiting all summer for red peppers, and this is the first time I've gotten my hands on any. Now that I've bought some, I'll probably get a bunch in my CSA basket this week...

We had a rare leisurely morning. Almost all of us enjoyed a family snuggle (one person slept late), and while I took a shower, Jeff made pancakes. He also baked my birthday cake this morning. It turned out great! What a treat to come from from the Farmers' Market to an apartment filled with the smell of chocolate.

The evening ahead holds some "just us" time with my husband, and I'm so looking forward to that. But for now, my ears are still pleasantly ringing with the sound of my love and our boys singing "Happy Birthday To You." I have such a sweet, precious family. Even Owen, who hasn't yet learned about birthday serenades; it was so fun to watch his beaming face, looking around at his daddy and brothers singing to me. He looked so incredibly pleased.

And so am I. What a blessing my family is!

Monday, September 14, 2009

"Not me!" Monday

Welcome to "Not me" Monday, the blog carnival where you can share your garbage, yet the points don't matter. This is MckMama's creation - hop on over to her blog, My Charming Kids, for a delightful read.

While without a vehicle this week, I was not too chicken to take the boys to the playground at the apartment complex. I did not think through an entire scenario involving broken limbs, coupled with an inability to drive to get medical attention, and instead opt to stay holed up in our apartment. That would be utterly paranoid, and brand me a total worrywart. So...nope, not me!

Speaking of vehicles, our van is definitely not still dumping steering fluid, right and left. No way! We would certainly have had it repaired by now, regardless of the fact that Jeff's "drive the train station and back" car is refusing to run.

After Jeff's parents were gracious enough to offer their Honda Pilot for our drive to Idaho (and back), I did not breathe a huge sigh of relief when we returned it to them, a week later, with neither damage nor theft inflicted upon it. Absolutely not! I don't still carry any "what's next" feeling with me, and I would certainly not worry while using someone else's (nice!) vehicle. Not me!

When Jeff and I read through the guidelines and tips for an exciting upcoming vacation, I did not immediately begin to think "I need new clothes!" I'm sure I have plenty to wear, and I have no hankering for fun new duds to sport around the deck. That sort of thing wouldn't matter to me at all.

So I definitely didn't spend a bit of money today while shopping the sales racks at my local maternity store. Nope, not me!

A day or so after discussing an upcoming midwife visit, and the sonogram which I hope to schedule within the next two weeks, I was certainly not at a complete loss when Kyle began to speak of wanting to hear the "vulture noise." I am highly intuitive when it comes to my children, and I knew instantly that he was referring to the ultrasound.

And I don't find it utterly breathtaking when the boys kiss my belly and say sweetly "Good night, Little Bit. I love you!" Nope. Not at all.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

fresh roasted pumpkin

I recently took a whack at my first pumpkin.

Truly. I received one from the CSA one week, and considering that it was organic, I decided to use it for food purposes, as opposed to a purely decorative one.

So I did some research. In the process, I came across this website. I found it extremely helpful, and, in light of the fact that I had a "small pumpkin" and had very little interest in removing the pumpkin's shell with a knife (I had hacked away at a round squash not too long ago, and it was less than enjoyable), I decided to go with the method the website used on pumpkin #2.

So I cut it open, removed the seeds and pulp, and cut it into wedges.

I then roasted the wedges at 350* F. It didn't take nearly the 2 hours suggested, though. In fact, I wish I had taken it out a bit earlier.

Still, the peel came off beautifully. I then pureed the pumpkin flesh in my food processor.

Please excuse the poor quality of this photo. My camera and I were having a serious disagreement. This is the best of my efforts, if you can believe it.

I used it in a loaf of pumpkin bread. This was my first attempt at using fresh pumpkin, and I think it's safe to say that I learned a lot. But I will no longer be intimidate by the classic and charming vegetable!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

check it out!

Framing is just so stinking exciting!

roasted summer tomatoes

One of my favorite things to learn this summer is to make roasted tomatoes. So simple, yet so delicious.

I've been enjoying such a bounty of tomatoes, between the CSA and our friends' garden surplus. I've loved making extra batches to put into the freezer for some cold rainy day this winter. I'm convinced that the wonderful taste of tomatoes will be like a ray of sunshine.

Preheat the oven to 375* F.

-approximately 4 lbs (about 8 cups) tomatoes, cut into 1 or 1 1/2 inch wedges
-1 sweet onion, cut into 1 or 1 1/2 inch wedges
-15 or 20 garlic cloves, peeled

Place the vegetables into roasting pans. (I used metal pans before, but since the move my edged pans are glass it is for me.) They can be crowded, but try to keep the vegetables in a single layer.

Top with:
-1 c. fresh basil, torn (if on hand, I've recently been using dried basil instead)
-generous drizzle of olive oil
-salt and pepper sprinkled over

Roast about 1 hour, but check frequently. You want the skins to be wrinkled, but you don't want them to be burnt.

After the pans come out, let the vegetables cool. My preference at this point is to transfer them to my food processor, and process into a chunky sauce. We love it on pizza, as well as served over noodles. Delicioso!

Friday, September 11, 2009


1) Kyle, while playing in his room with Ben: "A baby is in Rack, Shack, and Abednego's castle!"

2) Kyle, after Bible study at a friend's house: "When I was on the trampoline, I told the other kids to sit down, because I was going to sing a song to them."

3) Owen, saying his own name: "Oh-eee."

4) Kyle: "When I was on the trampoline, if anybody stood up two times while I was singing, then they had to get off that trampoline..."

snapshots of our trip to Idaho

In explanation of my absence, I thought my loyal readers might enjoy a few photos from our recent visit to my parents' house in Idaho.

I continually find it impossible to get these three to look at the camera and smile, simultaneously!

Here I am at 18 weeks & 5 days pregnant.
My dad took Jeff and the two older boys for a ride on the "mule." Benjamin even got to steer for part of the ride. It was a definite highlight!

Ben and Kyle examining some deer tracks while on a hike.

Owen rode in style.

We had a great time, took lots of hikes, a trip to city beach in town, a visit to the best pizza joint on Earth, enjoyed fresh air, the scent of pine needles, saw plenty of wildlife, and ate wonderful food (they've even started buying raw milk!). But the best thing of all was the company. Thanks for the wonderful time, gracious hospitality, and unconditional love, Mom and Dad. You're terrific!