Some Moments

* Still trying to get back at it after a 3 day weekend…a weekend full of flu inspired laziness. We spent hours as a family cuddled up on the couch “cozing” (a family term) and catching up on DVR’d shows and watching movies. It was a much needed weekend of rest for all of us. AND it made the 6am alarm this morning even more evil! I really despise waking up before sunrise…period!

* Making lunches is another part of the morning I’m not so fond of. Sometimes I wonder how many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches I make in a school year?

* My baby makes me smile. She is indeed the morning person I wish I was. She hops out of bed and bounces downstairs full of sleepy-faced smiles and silly thoughts. This morning…first thing out of her mouth as she rounded the corner into the kitchen “I wonder what the real Fawn and Silvermist look like? I wish we got to meet all the fairies from Pixie Hollow when we were at Disneyland. Is the dishwasher locked?” Such sweet randomness. I wonder if she was dreaming about meeting the fairies at Disneyland or if she saw something that reminded her of them on her way downstairs. One will never know what goes on in her busy little brain!

*I only left the house two times this over the weekend.

*Saturday for my son’s soccer game. He has improved so much over the past year, and it is so much fun to watch him play a game he loves!

*Sunday I went all the way to my backyard to photograph our first chicken funeral. One of our hens died suddenly yesterday morning. Funny how those feathered friends attach themselves to a piece of your heart! After this little meeting under the tree the gravesite was moved out to the side yard where there were less tree roots to try and dig around. RIP Lovely Lizzie 😦

*I have been a hooking fool lately…and before you go passing judgement…that’s my crafty lingo for crocheting up a storm! I try so hard to make my granny hobby sound hip. I am taking a little break from my hat factory to work on this colorful wavy cozy blanket. I reward myself for finishing up my daily to do list with an hour or so on the couch with this in my lap working row after row. Yarn, it makes my heart happy!

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Cream or Sugar?

As I said, I’m going to do a little getting real here on this ‘ole blog. I figured I would start by inviting you over for a visit. I am a visual person. I like to see things, and when I can’t…I create pictures in my head. When I meet new people I always wonder what their home looks like. If I’m talking on the phone to a friend, I want to be able to picture where they are sitting. My kids are the same way. Every time we pull up to the house of someone new, the first question out of their mouths is…”Can I go in?” or “I want to go see what their house is like.” Are we weird that way or is this normal? Don’t answer that!

We are a very open door family…sometimes a revolving door even. I will often open the door to see a friend out and find someone else walking up the driveway. I like it that way! I would love it if my house was in tip top shape for my family and my friends all the time. I spent a lot of years trying to keep everything in it’s place and make sure each room was just right. Finally I had to accept that we LIVE here! I still like to get everything spic and span on a regular basis, and I have a hard time sitting down to relax when things are out of place. It’s been a long road for me and I’ve come a long way. So come on over, I’ll pretend we’re old friends. We’ll have a cup of coffee and chat…and I’ll show you my real life house. [honest, I walked around this afternoon snapping all these pictures]

Welcome to my home!

If you came over this afternoon, this is the front porch that would greet you…along with very loud barking from my fierce (meaning, he will lick you to death) Golden Retriever, Baker. I would most likely open the door holding onto his collar, apologize, tell you to ignore him and promise that he will calm down in a few minutes…and he would. We’d walk through my entry hall, which is nice and tidy most of the time (unless, of course, you look at the bottom of the stairs where this is almost always a pile of randomness waiting to go upstairs).


We would end up in our family room/kitchen/eating area…basically the heart of our home, where we all spend the majority of our time. Which explains why today you would find these ridiculously tall skyscrapers of folded laundry on the coffee table and those scattered papers and projects on the kitchen table and the relatively small mound of dishes in the sink.

*I must confess that there were three more skyscrapers in this laundry city but I had each of the kids take theirs upstairs while I was taking photos. 

We would find ourselves a clean mug and pour a strong cup of coffee. I would leave myself room for a generous splash of Italian sweet cream flavored creamer. Then I’d try to convince you to do the same, since I believe it’s the best stuff ever! We would walk past the laundry room, which is a rare gem today…nice and clean after finishing all those loads of laundry!

I would invite you to sit in our cozy old green chairs in the front room where there is lots of light and not much mess. We would chat about kids and school. I would admit that I have not been the most patient mother lately…nor have my kids been the most obedient children either. Not a good combination! I would confess that I have raised my voice at them alot lately. Then in the next breath I would tell you how much I love being their mom and how much joy they bring into my life. I would probably joke about how many years it has been since I was able to go to the bathroom without a kid or two banging on the door and asking me questions…which would get me rambling about kids and their incessant questioning. We would laugh at the stories of my extremely chatty five year old and discuss polite ways for me to tell her to shut UP! My goodness that girl has a lot of words to cram into her 13 waking hours a day. I would ask if you had any wisdom about pre-teen girls…I’m pretty sure this is just the beginning of a long road! Then I would smile and tell you how easy my son seems since he’s sandwiched between these two crazy girls! We would talk about my church and the children’s musical I’m helping direct…strange project for me since I do NOT sing! I would tell you I’m exhausted and feel like I’m pulled in a hundred different directions, but that I don’t know how to slow down and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I would ask you about your family and how life is going for you. I’d go pile our empty coffee cups in the sink with all the other dishes. If you asked to go upstairs, I’d cringe a little, but gladly let you see the rest of the house. And this is what you would see.

*the kids workspace in the hall upstairs

*my unmade bed and one more basket of dirty laundry

*Isaac’s spooky spiderwebbed room! He and the neighbor had a great time doing this the other day. Makes it a little tough to get in and wake him up in the morning.

*Eliza’s out of control closet and clothes…pretty standard scene in her room since she’s not quite old enough to put her laundry away herself.

I’d walk you to the front door and then we would probably stand in the entry way and talk for another 15 minutes. One of us would suggest that we do this more often…and then it will be 6 weeks before I see you again.

It sure was nice having you over though. Thanks for coming!

QUESTION: When I look at this published post it is all spread out and wacky. Is that how it looks for you? Hmmm, can’t figure this one out. Maybe this is why I haven’t blogged in a while…too much tech talk 🙂

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Filed under Family life, Friendships, My home

The Winds of Change…





It’s a beautiful, crisp, clear, sunny, blustery day here in the valley. My absolute favorite weather ever! I’ve opened up most of the windows in the house this afternoon. We are loving the breezes blowing all sorts of fresh air into our stuffy little house.

I know I haven’t exactly had the best track record with this whole blogging hobby. I think mostly I have just been waiting. Waiting for what? Waiting for ho-hum to be exciting. Waiting for noteworthy and funny and clean and profound and perfection. That’s silly stuff right there! Given the fact that my biggest beef with the interwebbed world is the way so many share only 140 characters or 1GB of neat and tidy happiness. Blogs and facebook pages and twitter accounts full of day to day perfection. Clean smiley kids, tidy houses, delicious meals, cute outfits, mowed lawns and blooming flowers. Pretty much leaves the average pj wearing stay at home mama feeling a little blah about life. Right? Anyone? No? It’s just me…well okay then.

Like I said, the wind is blowing today. Blowing in change, a new season. Ironically, todays weather is the perfect metaphor for my life right now. Winds. Change. New season. Yep, pretty much sums up the goings on here.

It’s no real secret that we are a part of “those” people…the ones working so dang hard to stay afloat in the economic crisis. We have been at it for over two years now…unfortunately this is longer than we thought it would take to get back on our feet. We’ve cut back and simplified. We’ve scrimped and saved. We’ve brainstormed and consulted. We’ve tried this and tried that. Are we on our feet? Nope. Feels more like we are out treading water watching the sharks circle. Hubby dearest and I have done a fairly decent job of sticking together through the battle. I’ll pat us on the back for communication, teamwork and support. Recently we sort of looked at each other and realized that we have become the people who keep doing the same thing (or versions of the same thing) hoping for a different result sooner or later. We’ve decided it’s high time we held hands and clicked our ruby slippers together…oh, wait, wouldn’t that be nice!?!?…it’s time to take a few big steps out of our little box of comfort and try something different. So, ideas are flowing and conversations are happening. No big decisions have been made quite yet, but one thing I have decided is that I will be blogging my way through this change of season. I’m going to be honest and real. I’ll show you my messy house. I’ll tell you when I let my kids eat Life cereal for dinner. I’ll share my not so glorious mama moments. I’m a pretty open person, so it’s quite possible I’ll say more than you want to hear!

Starting tomorrow (see that little deadline I gave myself): I am going to attempt a little “Get Real” blog series. I’ll start at the surface and go as deep as my conscience will let me 🙂 How about a coffee date at my house tomorrow morning? I’ll open the door and show you how it looks around here on any given morning.


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Still, so much going on around here…as always. So many things I could share. Right this moment though, I am wearing a smile. A smile because I am blessed. I am content. I am grateful. I am happy.

In the spring of 2002 my little family (Bryce, an infant version of my oldest daughter, and myself) drove around the growing neighborhoods of Happy Valley looking at houses. Dreaming. Sometimes dreams come true…and end up being better than you could ever imagine.

We moved into our cute little yellow house on the corner in July of 2002 and a love affair began. It’s not my dream house by any stretch of the imagination. It has a honey do list a mile long. It’s not perfect. It is h-o-m-e!  It is the first house B and I purchased. It is the only home my three children have ever known. They learned to walk and talk here. They napped and snuggled and played here. They grow and change…here. These walls contain memories and more memories. Smiles, struggles, triumphs, tears, arguments, laughter and love. The longer we live here, the harder it is to imagine living anywhere else. I dream often of an old farmhouse down a long country driveway on a scenic hillside…but it would have to be a pretty ideal situation to drag me away from my yellow house on the corner in Parkside!

So much of my love for my home comes from the neighborhood we are a part of. This street specifically, since I have learned over time that one block in either direction would mean a different way of life. Our house was new when we bought it. The entire street was full of new homeowners and void of fences, trees and landscaping. We all spent our first summer becoming friends over hammers and shovels. We celebrated our first New Year’s on the street together with a neighborhood open house. We’ve shared kiddie pools and sprinklers and sidewalk chalk and bubbles. We’ve painted and built and dug and sprayed. We’ve watched the kids learn to run up and down the sidewalks and then ride bikes up and down the street. We started a 4th of July block party 9 years ago, and even though some neighbors have moved on and new ones have joined us…the tradition continues. It is truly our favorite day of the year. Everyone, young and old looks forward to closing down the street, pulling out the sun shades, banquet tables, BBQ’s, sno-cone machine, popcorn maker, and celebrating together. It has become such an awesome event that a few years ago we decided to end the summer with another big block party. Today we closed off the street for the 3rd Annual Chili Cook-Off/Dessert Bake-Off. It was HOT! Not necessarily a day one craves chili. We hooked up a misting hose, got out the shade canopies, and spread out chairs in the street. There were 9 crock pots of lined up for judging, with cornbread, corn chips, cheese and sour cream to add. There was also an entire table full of desserts…pies, cookies, chocolate banana cream pie, blackberry dump cake, fruit tarts, and more! Awards were handed out to many neighbors for the best, the spiciest, the thickest, the favorite, etc. Sadly the local fire dept wasn’t able to join us and judge this time (that was a highlight for the kids last year). There was a bike race, water fun, a light saber war and finally an intense game of flashlight bike tag!?!? We all had to drag our kids into the house at 9:00 to try and get them in bed at a decent hour.

It’s all cleaned up out there now, and here I am sitting on the couch smiling. Smiling because in a time when people are always on the go…I live on a street where we all stop being busy every once in a while to sit in the middle of the street and talk. I live in a neighborhood full of friends.




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Where do I begin?

So, I decided to pick up the pieces of my blog…and over the weekend I found myself thinking “Where do I start now?”  Blogging in general tends to be chronological. Life has been generally “hard” lately, and I struggle daily searching for the silver lining. I tend to be a relatively transparent person, while I also enjoy a fair amount of sarcasm and humor. So, do I dive into a open book post about life as I know it? Do I ease in with a few humorous anecdotes from daily life? What is a mama to do?

Well, here I am sitting at the kitchen table on a Monday afternoon. We just got home from meeting B at the beach after the Hood to Coast relay. We had a fun filled, exhausting last weekend of summer. That’s right, I said last weekend of summer! The kids don’t go back to school for another week, but I have learned that we need one week to get back to the school routine…so the fun stops here. We had a morning full of chores, and now I’m listening to the washer and dryer spin more and more laundry for us to fold and put away. The kids are all playing together quietly upstairs, the chickens are clucking away out on the patio, and the fleas are biting away at my ankles… Well, they aren’t actually biting right now so much, since I just finished my rigorous morning routing of vacuuming, spraying, wiping, mopping, sprinkling, and vacuuming again. Yes, my friends, fleas! UGH! For the first time in my pet loving life I am facing what I consider a flea “problem.” Did you know that teeny-tiny biting brown bugs can make you an emotional wreck? Hmm, well, I’m here to tell you they can! I consider myself a clean and tidy person. I am a modern homemaker who prides myself not so much on my culinary skills, but on my ability to keep house and make a home. So, this war in my home is killing me! I’ve halted all playdates for the kids and I’ve avoided hosting any last BBQ’s of the summer. I’m happy to see cooler weather in the forecast, because long sleeves and pants will cover up the fact that Eliza is particularly tasty to the biting little buggers. Over the past month, when I have wanted to cram in fun and sun with my kids, I have instead been consumed with the war on fleas. Not to mention that this month we are living on an exceptionally tight budget and I’m learning that war on fleas is not cheap! I now have a shelf in my cleaning cabinet dedicated to flea sprays, powders, combs, collars, foggers and frontline. I have spent hours on the computer researching what works and what doesn’t only to induce complete panic and anxiety as I realize that this could be a long battle.

I’m constantly torn between staying home so I can continue to vacuum and spray…or getting the heck out of this house hoping that they won’t multiply to quickly while I take a break from battle. Either way, I’m feeling a bit insane. One of the biggest problems for me is that here I am trying to buy as much organic food as my budget will allow to stay away from the chemicals and pesticides. Yet, I’m facing the fact that I will have to spray them all over my entire house if I really want to fix this problem. I’ve avoided it for a whole month and the natural remedies aren’t working. So I am spending the next few days preparing my house for a nice big fogging. I will be tidying up every room, taping off all my kitchen cabinets and pantry, and then vacating my home as bug killing chemicals fight on the front line in my war.

If I’m a little slow to start back up here on the blogging scene…it’s just because I’m still vacuuming!



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Filed under Family life, Gripe and Moan, My home

Let’s try this again.

It seems that I may have forgotten I even had this website in my “possession!” Part of me thinks maybe it’s better that way, one less thing to think about, do, etc. But then I sat and looked back over the posts I have shared with the world and I realized that I love blogging…if it’s only for me, I love the way my life is preserved here. I found a draft of a post I had started over a year ago. It was just straight typed dictation of Eliza’s incessant jabbering. Her non-sensical talk, talk, talk, talk, talk! It made me smile. So I’ve added blogging to the short list of things I WILL keep on top of once the kids go back to school in a couple weeks. I am going to have 2.5 hours to myself 3 times a week you know!?!?!? Looking forward to sharing more of my moments and things.


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This will pretty much melt your heart into a million little pieces!

Dear God, Thank you for this great weather, this rainy and sunny weather. Please help my Dad not be sad about his fishing pole. Help him get home from his work safe. Thank you for this beautiful family you gave me and I love so much. My Mom, my Dad, and my two sisters…one who is big and one who is little. Thank you for our house to keep us dry and warm when it is raining. Help the people without a house get a house so they can be cozy too. And we love you so much. Amen.

Yep, tonights bedtime prayer with my tender hearted, sweet, sensitive, beautiful inside and out 6 year old son. And I say…

Thank you God for these wonderfully amazing little people that you have created in your image and given to me to raise in my home and in my heart. I cherish each and every day with them, and the love I feel for them gives me the slightest glimpse into the love you have for your children. Amen.


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I think the thing I love most about getting older is the fact that I just keep learning more and more about who I am and what I was created for. I like slowly figuring out what I am good at, what I am capable of, what I like…oh, and there there are the things I cannot do, and the things I don’t like!

I recently said that I have this feeling that 33 is going to be a good year for me. I’ve decided that I feel this way because I have gotten so comfortable in my own skin. I have given up on trying to “fit in” with other people and learned to just be myself. I have several “best” friends who I adore and who make my life complete. We are all SO different it’s kinda crazy that we get along the way that we do. For instance, I’m an animal lover…but some of my closest friends hate animals and don’t understand why you would let a dog watch TV with you on the bed. I have quit trying to convince them they are missing out on something (which they totally are!). I have a couple friends who live in “magazine houses”…EVERYTHING is ALWAYS neat and tidy. I’ve learned to stop trying to make my home look like a picture in a magazine. I have three kids and a cat and a dog…we live here, we make messes! I’ve also learned to decorate my house with things that I like and things that mean something to me and things that make me happy…instead of the things that look pretty. I have pictures of cows on my walls…in my house in the middle of the suburbs. Some of my friends think it’s so silly, but I love them (the friends and the cows)! I have also learned that no matter how much I love that beautiful skirt/dress/nice shirt/pair of heels at that store or on a friend…I won’t wear it, so don’t buy it! I mean what stay at home mama gets up in the morning and chooses a nice pair of trousers, a cute sweater set and heels to prance around the house in all day? Okay, I actually have some friends who dress like that every single day. But not me…I look through my closet for a comfy pair of jeans (okay, sweats) and a nice cozy hoodie. That’s me, that’s who I am, and I’m done pretending that I need a wardrobe of fancy clothes. Oh, I could go on and on and on…but I sat down at the computer with a specific thought…and this is going off in another direction! Tangents, another thing I’ve learned about myself.

Anyway, what I was planning on mentioning here today was that I am a list maker. I love lists. I have made lists since I was a little girl. What I love even more than making a list…is crossing things off of a list. Now that I am the mama of three little munchkins I have learned that I cannot accomplish nearly as many things in a day as I could 10 years ago. The munchkins have a way of distracting me and demanding my time and attention. The last few years I often found myself frustrated by the amount of things on my lists that are left undone at the end of the day. I continued to make long lists on paper, on the chalkboard, in my head…I carried the to-do list with me everywhere and became more and more irritable as my schedule deviated from the set to-do’s. I would stay up late after the kids went to bed and hustle through chores. I would wake up in the morning to tattered, day old to-do list that still needed work. There was just something about the feeling of never being “done” with anything! It started to drive me nuts. Honest to goodness…I was getting a little crazy!

Then I had an epiphany. A light bulb went off. I had a “duh” moment, and things have been looking up every since. Are you ready for this folks? I still make my lists, but I learned to only put two things on my to-do list every morning! TWO THINGS! Simple! For instance, today, my list was 1) do the dishes and 2) clean off the kitchen counters. Easy breezy! It’s done. Now, I am free to read a book or play with my kids or take a nap or watch tv…the options are endless. But you wanna know the cool secret about this new way of life for me? I feel so good about my accomplishments that I am motivated to do more…do things that weren’t even on my list! I’ve even had a few days that rivaled the “old me”, the pre-3 kid Amy. It’s seriously changed my outlook on life! I go to bed feeling pretty smug, feeling like quite the domestic goddess, feeling like a supermom. I wake up ready to take on a new day…okay, that might be taking it a little too far…I still wake up grumpy, I hate waking up, I hate the alarm clock, I hate sunrise, I am NOT a morning person!

Anyway, I am a new woman, and I just wanted to share my new-found love for the “two item to-do list.” You should try it. It just might change your life too. Give it a few days, and then you may find yourself wanting to do “extra” too. Don’t get crazy and start making four item to-do lists though, cause that will mess it all up. It’s all about the extra credit people!


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A strawberry ceremony.

A few of my close friends may recall the ‘Strawberry Saga of 2009.’ The lazy, do nothing day in June when my good friend Erika, her mom, and I decided to pack up the kids and head up to a farm in Oregon City and pick some berries. I loaded up rubber boots, a few pails and one seemingly harmless rubbermaid container into my rig. It was a nice day, the berries were big and red and yummy! The kids happily picked, ate berries, played, ate berries, and picked a few more until our containers were full. As I loaded the seemingly harmless rubbermaid tub onto the cart…I realized it was HEAVY! My head started spinning a bit and I began to worry about what I had just done! In the wide open field of a farm, my seemingly harmless rubbermaid container seemed…welll…harmless…and…smallish. As I loaded it on the the garden cart it suddenly seemed really big and really full!

And it was really heavy…as in 40 pounds!

So I paid my bill, loaded up my things, and drove home with the rear end of my Sequoia sagging under the enormous weight of berries and kids. Okay, not really, but that would have been funny huh?

I called Bryce on the way home to tell him what I had done, and I promised not to waste a single berry.

I spent an entire day…ENTIRE DAY…cleaning berries, mashing berries, measuring sugar, stirring, timing, pouring, washing…over and over and over….

Twelve batches of freezer jam later, all the berries were gone.

And, 10 months later…all the freezer jam is GONE!

Last night I made breakfast for dinner. We ceremoniously dressed our waffles with the last jar of strawberry freezer jam. I cannot decide whether to be glad that we actually used all those berries OR to be disturbed by how much of that strawberry and sugar concoction we consumed in less than a year.

Either way, we are counting the weeks until we head back out to the strawberry fields with our seemingly harmless rubbermaid container. This year, maybe I should pick an extra 10 pounds? 🙂

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It’s only been a week now, but I’m pretty sure 33 is going to be a good year for me. I like it. Just the number alone I like. It’s symetrical, 33, the same forward and backward. Not to small not to big. 33. It’s nice.

Yep, I know I’m weird!

It’s true what they say about your 20’s…you’re still finding yourself in your 20’s, figuring out who the heck you are and how to be okay with that person. If you did your 20’s right, then you made mistakes, fixed mistakes, made more mistakes, vowed to never make those mistakes again. You’ve been pushed and stretched. Hopefully you’ve grown a bit, and hopefully you like who you see in the mirror everyday (well, maybe not first thing in the morning…that’s just not pretty! And if you are pretty in the morning, well, we just can’t be friends.). I know I’ve grown, and accepted who I am…and who I am not.

I’ve learned that I appreciate the city and the diversity and the shops and the restaurants…but that I LOVE the country and the space and the serenity and the simplicity. I love my little munchkins more than I ever could have imagined and in ways I cannot express in words. I know that I like a pair of pricey jeans, but pretty much everything else can be from Target. I’m really just a homebody, I love my home, I love to rearrange (much to the hub’s dismay) and I love to decorate. Speaking of the hubs, I love him in a different way and for completely different reasons than when I first met him…well, except for the fact that he still makes me laugh, even when I don’t want to…I hope that never changes. I realized that I don’t like extremes! Extreme temperatures, extreme people, extreme places, extreme beliefs, extreme behavior…yep, pretty much anything extreme makes me crinkle up my nose and walk away quickly in the opposite direction. I have learned that everyone comes from a dysfunctional family, yes, that probably means you…and I’m beyond blessed that with all our dysfunction, there is no absence of love. I’ve accepted that whole saying about friendships that come and go…and friendships that last a lifetime. I love those lifelong friends like family. Here’s some pictures of some of my favorites on my birthday.

My number one favorite. Making me laugh of course.

These two, they were favorites by themselves…then we introduced them…and they got married…and now they are favorites together.

These favorites are going to be sisters soon. They come from a big family. I love big families. I’ve asked to be adopted.

These favorites are sisters too. They are kinda new favorites. They are gonna be old favorites someday though, cause I love ’em.

This favorite goes way back! Back to the beginning of the Gintherfam. This favorite sang at my wedding with her fantastic husband (who was not at the party cause he was off being Paul Bunyan, his words) and her kids were my ring bearer and flower girl…they are in college and high school now. This favorite makes me feel old, and I’m sure I do the same for her, but we’re young at heart!

Here’s a table full of favorites. I sure do love ’em all. I don’t love the fact that I still haven’t hung my curtains back up after the painting fiasco…geez! I wish every day could be a party at my house with a table full of favorites!

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