I have one brother, one in the whole wide world, my only sibling, one. Today is the day he was born, 5 and a half years before me. All growing up it was me and him. I never disliked him, or really remember having any massive fights even. He was so patient and kind with me, letting me clip lego’s in his hair, sharing his legos (which you know was a major sacrifice for a big brother.) He was a pretty great older brother. And I’m going to take a second to brag about this really amazing guy.
He has always had this smile that radiated happiness, it’s the best smile in the world! And his laugh, it’s the most genuine laugh and his whole face and eyes fill with this indescribable joy. You can just feel it, he just radiates it. I think it’s something that attracts everyone who is lucky enough to call him their friend. There is truly something special about this brother of mine. He’s not made from the same cloth as everyone else, there really is something unique about him and you can only feel it when he’s around. He can make anyone feel at ease and finds real interest in everyone he talks to. No I’m not saying he’s perfect but gosh I have to admit I love that about him too. Even in his imperfections he’s got heart and he’s teachable, always trying. He is a true definition of a continually courageous man.
I know he has a family of his own and a wonderful companion who is so lucky to have him, yes and vice versa. But there is always part of him that I feel is mine. He was my guy first. The one I looked up to, the one I am proud to say is my big brother, the one who to this day emulates to me the love my Savior must have for me. What a blessing for me to be able to look at the divine love my earthly brother has always given me and wonder how would the Savior love me more than that? I know it’s possible, but gosh my brother set the bar really high. He really is that great. And I love him, and I know I don’t tell him enough but gosh I do.
I only have one, just him and I can’t tell you how blessed I am to have him. Happy Birthday to You, big brother, you will and have always stood as an example in my life, and made me the better for it. I love you.
You know there are times in life where we forget how wonderful life is. Well I’m tired of that. I’m tired of not remembering how wonderful things can be. And with this being the season of gratitude I think it is pertinent that I remember and be grateful for how Wonderful my life is. So I decided to create a reminder, as you know I tend to do, here. I have had an open space in my family room that has been driving me bonkers! For a OCD person like myself and a picky person, like myself, I have to find something perfect or at least the perfect idea. I went through several different ideas and nothing felt quite right. Finally I figured it out! A wonderful reminder. I designed the layout of the letters not wanting to make this your typically individual letter layout. Nooooo, that would be far to easy, the letters needed to be overlapped, and skewed, an air of imperfection because while life is wonderful it is imperfect. After the design was made comes the engineering to make my dream come to life, which means I put my Mr. to work. Heaven bless this man on mine. He has a lovely friend who has connections and that’s all I will say. My Mr. and his friend went about figuring out how to make this light enough to hang but still sturdy. They are geniuses so they figured out how to hollow the letters out. Then we carefully glued and clamped the layers together. The rest of the prep was on me, yes you guessed it. Painting! As if painting this, wasn’t enough this year to swear me off of painting anything ever again, why do I do this to myself? Anyway . . . I painted each letter, or letter sections separately, multiple times, layers and layers of paint, because I apparently love to paint. Finally it was ready to hang, which is where My Mr and Myself really shine, we are a fantastic team! In no time we made a plan, measured, drilled and mounted the crazy project on my empty walls pace. Oh it looks lovely, or really WONDERFUL! I know cheesy, deal. My Little Mr. and I even Thanksgiving’ed it up by adding the pumpkins on some of the letters, he sure loved putting them up there :).
Along with the special reminder to us as a family I can’t help but think of the religious reminder, “and they shall call Him Wonderful, counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” All in my life is wonderful due to the blessings He gives me, or that He kindly helps me to recognize.
Ok so I love to decorate for Halloween. I don’t know why this really got started, Oh wait maybe it was because I loved how our house always had plastic pumpkin lights strung across the eves for Halloween every year, not creepy just cute orange light up pumpkins. (Mom and Dad do you still have those?) Anyway maybe it stems from there. But Halloween is a challenge, you see I don’t like gore. Nope no bloody yuckiness or haunted house chainsaws for me, NO THANK YOU. No all that is the easy way out of Halloween, the hard way to decorate for Halloween is fun, classy and family friendly. Last year was a little more colorful, I mean how cute are those topiary pumpkins and paper lanterns, adorable! But this year I really loved the black against the gray and blues of our house. So on we go with the Hollow house! I draped the porch in black cloth this year, like a back curtain being pulled back from the window. The wreath is a new addition I created this year thanks to some lovely black spray paint and a few cheap artificial leaves, and the crow watching over all.. Stacked black cauldrons placed in one corner, as if a busy witch has left them out for brewing. 🙂 A wide variety of pumpkins greet you, a few with smiling faces, as cut out spiders dangle in the side windows. Ooohhhhh, you scared yet, I hope not it’s really not meant to be scary so much as fun to look at.
Inside the console table is filled with a fun selection of various brewing paraphernalia. All ready to cook up something spooktacular! I decided my chandelier needed a bit of a twist so I dangled my favorite bat garland I made several years ago from it, with some fun pom poms because they just make it so cute, right?! The mantel has the same garlands strung about, with the addition of some spidery lace. And my favorite addition is the Halloween silhouette village and crooked fence. I saw a similar one of these at crate and barrel and thought “ohh how fun.” But here is the thing, it was CARDBOARD, I live in a moist climate cardboard doesn’t last very well and warps. Second it’s cardboard, every week I pay someone to take all my cardboard away why would I pay for it? It’s painted cardboard for an outrageous price! NO THANKS! So I went to designing my own! I designed some cute houses and then a fence to go along with it. The problem then became how do I make these bendable to stand up and then to store for next year? Hmmmm, Oh hinges! But I was still riding the cheap train and didn’t want to pay for them. Luckily I’m married to an engineer, and he owns a 3D printer! So we made our own, I glued them together with the best glue in the world, E6000, the glue of champions! That stuff I fixed my dance shoes with so believe me it can take a beating! Ohh and it turned out so great! I love it! Perfect for my mantle! I had a little more village so I added some fence to a family room shelf, our Big Hero Six figurines fit perfectly, I love combining little Mr’s toys into decor. The remainder on the table along with another glass cauldron, and a friendly ghost popping out for a scare! Little Mr. calls this his ghost, and I say “yep it is.” I don’t want him to be scared so anything scary like ghosts and skulls are all his and for some reason that makes them less scary. Then those cute, mischievous, mice running about the floorboards are kinda a tradition in our house. So that’s it y’all! I am adding a few little things here and there to finish up the fun. But I’m tuckered and ready to just enjoy having the Hollow House up for the month!
We aren’t the kind of people who typically go to fairs, I mean after watching the old movie “State Fair” growing up I figured people might be singing “it’s a grand night for singing the stars are bright above.” Not one person, yep not one. I mean that’s kinda disappointing after you watch that show :). But that aside we thought it still would be pretty fun to take little Mr. to see all the animals and have a little treat! We saw fowls of all kinds; these amazing pheasants were full of color, and since I love to wear color these were the birds for me. Then we checked out the bunnies, a sweet little gal even opened up her cage and let little Mr. pet her hare. He had the longest ears I’d ever seen. (sorry no photos I just wanted to make sure that little Mr didn’t love the bunny too much.) Then we went and saw cows, and sheep, sweet little piggies only 7 days old, so sweet. I can now do a very realistic sheep baaaa, My Mr. was really impressed by my impression. Ahh that’s love, if you can still love your wife after about 5+ minutes of her baaing like a sheep and complimenting her on it, you know this is the real deal ladies and gents. Anyway I’m sure the skill will come in handy one day.
Oh on to these goats I just fell for. I call them bunny goats (Nubian Goats) because they have long bunny like ears, one even let me pet him, he kept eyeing me over the rail and I just had to give him a love. I’m a sucker for animals, yes this video sent me into fits of desire to hug a cow, My Mr. says, having grown up with cows, that they are not real huggers. But this gosh it looks so lovely! Speaking of cows we then we went over and had our first ever purple cow. And what luck the bell chimed and the lovely gentlemen with the cow, comfortably on his head announced that our purple cow (grape soda and huckleberry ice cream) was on the house! What luck! We had to take a photo with him. Little Mr. indulged in an ice cream cone, face first! He loved it and I loved cleaning him up after :(. We popped into a few more places, there was soooo much to do and see we couldn’t get to it all before we had to head home. Something to look forward too for next year! Hmmmm, maybe we are fair people! So I leave you with another lyric from one of my favorite “state fair” songs. I love old movies;
“I’m as restless as a willow in a windstorm. I’m as jumpy as a puppet on a string. I’d say that I have spring fever, but I know it isn’t spring. I’m starry eyed and vaguely discontented like a nightingale without a song to sing. Oh why should I have spring fever, when it isn’t even spring.”
Watch it for a fun, old fashioned time.
So thanks to the amazing watering system and the amazing grow boxes (you remember here). This is the first year that we have really had a fantastic bounty from our garden since moving to the NW. We were pretty selective in what we planted knowing that we would be away for a little while and didn’t want to kill off the plants. And even though I mistakenly pulled out my pumpkin plant, mistaking it for a weed (Oopppps), everything else survived. Our pea plants exploded and our little Mr. affectionately called them “beby peas.” Our cucumber plant has gone nuts producing 20+ cucumbers. And we kinda went crazy with the tomato plants, we kinda love tomatos. It does my heart proud to see my little Mr sitting calmly on the edge of the grow box chomping down on all the cherry & grape tomatoes he picks right off the vine. We go out and pick from the 5 different tomato plants we tried this year, eating as we go, ohhh those sweet 100’s are divine, special thanks to Cedarcrest High school for that plant. That is my favorite cherry variety and thankfully they were the only place I found that sold it, and now we are enjoying its fruits. Amazing! You know there is something awesome about planting something and watching it grow. We hope to get enough off a few of the plants to make some tomato juice. Now I know what you are thinking, why didn’t you plant zucchini? Well the truth of that is, everyone else plants zucchini’s and they end up giving them away, so I’ll save my garden space for other things and enjoy the free zucchini that others grow, I mean I’ve given away my cucumbers so I feel like that’s a fair trade, right? It’s been a fun summer watching our garden grow, now we’re making plans for what to try planting next year!
Now many a folk has asked us if we had been to the legendary, and majestic Mt. Rainer, just an easy 2 hours south. To this we would in shame reply “no, not yet.” Well with the summer drawing quickly to an end we made plans with the Cline Crew to visit this craggy site. We loved the back roads trip south from our home town. It was like we were creeping up on the mountain from behind (though I’m not sure if this place has a front or a back per say, any Rainer regulars that can correct me on this?). But we made our way winding through the small towns that border this incredible site. We caught a quick distance glimpse through a farmer’s field and the excitement intensified. It disappeared behind it’s forerunner hill sides, staying out of sight. We shot through its forest fully engulfed in the tree luge created by the surrounding forests. Then as we climbed the mountain side there it was, shooting out from between the trees. I was in awe and stopped to take a rare selfie, yep just me, I’m the shooter not the subject. A quick stop turned into a fun meeting of another adoptive family whose children were grown. It’s such a blessing to commiserate with these people, and I really appreciated their insights and recommendations and support, what am amazing community we are a part of. Then in was off to meet with the rest of the crew and set up a little camp. Our first stop was ‘Groove of the Ancients.” This gave us an up close view of some of the oldest and largest trees in the area. It was amazing to see the roots and trunks of these massive trees. The littles sat inside the roots of a fallen giant, and there was even plenty of room for us adults to join them. We moved along the board walk path, to show the sheer height and size of these behemoths, the littles struck a pose at the base, giving some perspective on the enormity A trip across a fun bridge only added to the adventure, with the promise of a quick dip in the creek below, which turned into a full scale swim for little Mr. We traipse around the trees taking in the sheer size of these literal giants. Then back to camp for relaxed fun and some tradition fire cooked hot dogs , and you know SMORES were a must. Bedtime eventually came, only after a few hours of adult chat time, which is always apart of our get togethers.
Next we headed up the mountain to Paradise Inn, taking our time and enjoying the many pull offs to different sights of the scenic views. The second day the mountain was engulfed in cloud cover, hiding its summit but still revealing the skirted crags making the base, it was a beautiful perspective, shrouded in mystery. The visitor center at Paradise was fun, and we had to say our goodbyes and head back down, taking a few of the fun tunnels that little Mr. loves so much. I kept thinking of this talk as we looked to the light at each tunnel’s end. We stopped in the little town of Greenwater for a couple ice cream cones just to enjoy on the rest of the trip home, MMmmmmm, so yummy! It was a quick trip and most certainly not our last, that place has so many amazing locations to explore, the boys are already making “MANCATION” plans. I’m sure we will be returning there for years to come!
Growing up she would always say to me, “I want to be your best friend.” As a child it was hard to wrap my mind around a mom and a friend? Friends are kids my age right? But as I grew that thought, which she continually reminded me of, crept into my thoughts. My Friend. As a teen I was really close to my Mom and regardless of my adolescent selfishness and mistakes she continually befriended me regardless. Many “age friends” came and went but there she was, my best friend. Offering comfort and encouragement, love and honesty. Teaching me selflessness and thoughtfulness, seeking the spirit and using it, positivity and rising above. And even; though I know she’ll deny it, SNEAKINESS. 🙂 Now, as grown as I can say I am, she is indeed a best friend. I still call her to shed a tear, and seek advice, to share joys and pit falls. She is still there.
So I want to honor her today on her Birthday, no I won’t tell you her age because she is ageless. Mom, thank you for all you taught me. For loving me at all times. I know that in this grand scheme of life a plan was set out for you and me. I know our friendship extends longer than we can remember and I am so grateful that a loving Heavenly Father consented to let me stay close to my best friend as I navigate this incredible life. I think he knew I’d need you. Thank you for continuing to share your life with me Mom, thank you for being the Holy woman you are. What an example of faith, positivity and happiness you have been throughout my life. Your example of steadfast living has given me and example to emulate and I am in debt to you for helping me become who I am today. Thank you for loving me, thank you for wanting to always be my best friend, you truly have always been. I love you.
As a mom of a crazy toddler boy you seek solitude, quiet in the crazy. Btu it’s also frightening, right? You know what I’m talking about. The minute the crazy stops your know your in trouble. So on one such occasion I went looking for my trouble. To my delight I found him calmly lying in the guest room quietly jabbering to himself. He did make a mess of the pillows on the bed but honestly who doesn’t love falling into pillows. It was sweet I didn’t capture the moment in time but I did get his first look at me. Gosh I love this little boy!
(To me this photo is Happiness. watching my sweet son running ahead in a place that is so special to me, getting the opportunity to share this with him makes it more meaningful)
Our annual crabbing, camping trip went off without a hitch. We were prepared and ready to eat until we were sick. Getting together with this group of amazing people is something we look forward to every year and since last year My Mr. mistakenly planned his Alaska fishing trip (he’s still trying to make up for that) during the same week as this I really look forward to this so as you can imagine he was on my naughty list for a little while. Little Mr. is an amazing camper, he runs through the forest like a mountain man, and sleeps like a bear during hibernation at night. Yep he’s a born camper, which couldn’t make his father more happy! We couldn’t wait to take him out in the canoe! He had a brief trip earlier this year but he has never helped pull of the crab pots and see the crab. This was such a fun experience. As we rowed out he was cautious but by the time we reached the 1st pot he had his hands gliding through the top of the water and me holding on to his life jacket while I rowed, I won’t tell you how I was able to do that but it’s a mom thing I guess. The first pot was empty to our disappointment, as we discarded the bait, which was a new mixture then what we typically use, the seagulls began to circle hovering over the water to grab the floating bits. As our friends canoe, piloted by Landon, joined us to convene on the catch (or lack of) we made no notice of the birds darting about us. The next thing we knew a bald eagle swooped down and grabbed some of the discarded bait! It was amazing, it was like 10 ft away. But that wasn’t it, it continued to hover and dive the bay for the next 10 minutes. Then it silently swooped onto a branch overlooking the bay. We then caught eye of another one that came in to land in another tree just above the other. It was majestic and I forgot my telephoto lens to capture all this, ahhhhhhhh! It was majestic, I mean that’s the only way I can describe it. Every time we go to this location we have one of these “eagle experiences.” They always amaze me, I never tire of seeing the enormity of their wingspan flying over head. Even after that incredible animal planet moment, yes we caught some crab and had enough to take home and enjoy for the next few days. Little Mr. loved watching as Dad and Mom pulled the crabs from the pot and he even helped release one that was too small back to it’s watery home. So how would I rate that trip? Even with a few tantrums, and rainy patches? Perfection.