Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Go Warriors!

Willem's first seventh grade football game is today! 

 My geraniums and nasturtiums love these cooler temps. I really want this weather (before freezing) to last. Lately, many evenings, Vance cooks dinner on charcoal. A dutch oven with charcoal underneath and charcoal on top... beef stroganoff, chicken and stuffing, pork chops and rice... this kind of cooking is pretty delicious. Willem and Merit both have football after school but everyone is home by 6:15 with the exception of away games. And the kids, Oren especially, enjoy being part of the outdoor cooking process.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Grandma Jule

Grandma Jule

What a sweet grandma! A Jesus loving woman! She will be so missed. She passed away on Friday. She lived a long life and touched many people's lives.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Favorite Moments

I love these little beauties

Natasha and family came over last weekend

It's football season! 

Hazel loves finding friends at the games! 

This time of year is so beautiful~ 

This happy hen lays the most beautiful green eggs.
We have a younger hen, same variety that also started laying green eggs, but they are a darker shade.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018


My sister Natasha and her fam visited Saturday and Sunday. They are
still living in a travel trailer on our dad’s property. The building process being very long for them. Three or so weeks ago they began clearing trees, finally. And I think they feel things are underway.
We talked about the hardships of life, the good stuff too. We LOVED watching our kids interact. We get artsy Estelle in the house and we are expressing ourselves in new, fun ways. She and Hazel have a thousand games to play and fun to be had. Ingrid and Oren and have developed such a sweet friendship. He cried when she left. And Lane is a cool cat for sure. These big boys love to bike ride to Big Bend and explore all sorts of things along the way. Our weather is perfect for walks, bike rides and of course football. Our 100 degree August days have past and the comfortable September temps are here.
Natasha  and I talked about her heart. She has an October cardiology appointment and I am praying that her heart looks good, with no additional declines in function.

There is this internal war within me, a battle I know so many fight, reaching for the joy and  forgiveness and good in each day. It is there, but there is also the criticism, negativity, loss and sadness.
The fact that these four kids remain positive and silly and are doing well in school is a huge blessing! Their love for Jesus, an anchor.
And then I think of 9-11. How much was lost, how many were shaken, how FEAR was terribly present. Those who suffered loss on that day still suffer the loss. Today our kids will be led by teachers to discuss that day. This is a hard day for teachers too. They could use our prayers.
9-11, we will never forget.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Prayerful, thankful, fresh starts, new beginnings

I was going to clean up my eating yesterday. You know, the day after Labor Day... kids are back in the swing of things, September goals... And now I plan to clean up my eating on Monday. After Monday, I need to see progress. Progress is such an incentive. Without it, I wallow.

Oren got dressed yesterday in a button up shirt, back pack packed, he wore his best shorts (Miles' hand me downs) and we headed to pre -school. But guess what? It was the wrong day. ---- The pre-school had mailed us a post card clearly stating which class started which day. It got tossed 😞 I was a bit embarrassed. But you know what I was shown by teachers and parents there? A beautiful thing called GRACE.

I diverted and distracted him by heading to the church library where he said "I am not nervous mom. I CAN go." And I tried to carefully explain to him that it was the day the younger kids go and that he would start the next day. Teri (a long time acquaintance and new friend) invited us to lunch. It was great. And Oren was able to get to know her son Teag who is in his class. It all worked out! It was a good trial run.

Today -- Oren's official first day -- he felt sad for a little girl who sat on the teacher's lap because she was missing her mama #compassion - I encouraged Oren to befriend her tomorrow.
He enjoyed his first day. I am praying his confidence grows!

I have had a handful of days wishing my mom could see these kids moments, compassion, successes and silliness. Some days I am a bit lost.

"For I am the Lord who heals you." Exodus 15:26

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble... Psalm 46:1-3

I love hearing about these kids days at school! Hazel has Linda Rosenow. Both big boys had her for a 3rd grade teacher. She is amazing. ---I have several sub days lined up for October and November, all third grade!

Merit is enjoying sophomore year! Culinary and Speech and Debate are the classes he is talking most about. Willem is enjoying 7th grade. Willem has two 8th grade math classes. His course load is not easy, he is working hard.

September 5th finds me prayerful and thankful and so excited for what this school year will hold.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

September is here

I planted nasturtiums the beginning of August. Eastern Washington nasturtiums rarely look like Western Washington nasturtiums. But usually I have to try to plant them because they remind me so much of my mom. They looked a little sick until our cooler weather hit and now they are beautiful, with orange, coral and yellow flowers.
Watching Oren in the past month makes me wish I could share him with my mom. He reminds me of my brothers at that age. She would get a kick out of him! So many have shared with me what a delight being a Grandma is.
School seems to be off to a good start. It was wonderful to have a long weekend that included football 🏈 Merit's first game of the season. Other highlights included swimming and boating, jet skiing for Willem with Uncle Jeff and Matt and B came over too.
And today is Oren's first day back to preSchool! I am excited for him.
I miss the kids, but I do love September!

Tuesday, August 14, 2018


A pesky neighbor and his family recently moved. Probably a decent family, not a great neighbor. Anyway, he seems to have left two roosters. This used to be a great chicken lane. But then we ended up with two roosters this spring, our neighbors ended up with two roosters....

Which reminded me of waking up as a little girl on the Sunrise Road in Custer, WA to a gunny sack on our front porch with two hens and a rooster. To this day I have no idea where they came from. What I do know is my dad has been  an interesting, un predictable friend to many --with shenanigans from time to time and my guess is a buddy of his was trying to get rid of a rooster. Or maybe he was moving and didn't have a place for a rooster and a couple of hens. They free ranged with no coop and that rooster chased Lesha and I! We feared going outside because of that blasted rooster! Our dad took care of that problem and I have no idea what happened to the hens. My guess is dogs or coyotes got them.

Some days I want to go back to one day on the Sunrise Road, but without the rooster.

The kids and I made it to Silverwood yesterday and we had a BALL!! My kids rode rides with the West kids! Our good friends Cary, Liz and fam were there! This was dreamy for Oren especially! We enjoyed the water park there so much too. It was a LONG day! Two hours and forty minutes there and home. But the big chunk at Silverwood in between was fantastic. Oren made me so proud. His little feet walked a few miles I am sure and he rode on rides that I didn't think he would!

Hazel's audiology appointment went great today! I am so thankful. Her hearing test went better than a year ago and she had a bit less pressure on her left ear. Her right ear was and has been great. The knowledge of an audiologist is pretty impressive.

We'll see what happens to the orphaned roosters...

Sunday, August 12, 2018

in the thick of it

This summer I saw my sis in law Cary at my bro in law John's. side note; John and Katie love to entertain and they are excellent cooks. We had a really yummy Mexican dinner there! With fresh local corn and homemade salsa....

Cary and I were talking about kids and their interests and activities. And just the lives of a family of 6.  Cary said to me "you're in the thick of it" referring to the ages and stages of 4 kids.

This summer I have felt "in the thick of it" --- I should have logged our baseball travel from June 9th till July 15th -- Wenatchee, Yakima, East Valley, Walla Walla, Kennewick, Pendleton. A few of these towns more than once. I saw some good baseball (which I LOVE). I saw wineries (only saw didn't visit), fields of alfalfa, dry flat lands, farm houses, fields of mustard, burger joints.... Our Walla Walla and Pendleton weekend being a favorite. If you are ever passing though Walla Walla I would recommend Fast Eddy's Burger Joint! YUM! But, this body of mine has hit one too many burger joints and filled my plate with Vance's delicious BBQ a few too many times. It is time to get to walking and spinning.

Hazel and Willem earned Silverwood tickets again - through a reading program. Last summer we did not get there.  - it is a very fun water park and theme park! Silverwood is well run, clean and expensive. The kids had earned their reading tickets last summer too. But there are only so many summer days which translates to there are not enough.

When you sort of forget to schedule summer dentist appts., a mammogram for me, an audiology appointment for Hazel and sports physicals for the big boys and you have 3 weeks of summer left - the appointments feel a bit daunting.
so, I got Merit in for his physical last week and Willem's is scheduled. We'll wait for fall for dental appts. Hazel will see the audiologist this week. She has had pressure on her left ear for months. No fluid, just pressure and although she passed her hearing exam, she was right on the line.

I get really sweaty in August, not just because of the heat. The end of summer pressure hits me kind of hard and I dislike the back to school displays. My garden begins to look dry and tired if we do not very carefully tend to it. Kind of like me. Last summer I had my annual exam in August and expressed to my doctor how every August I have to take deeper breaths. I have to schedule exercise and even sometimes then, the schedule gets thrown out the window. I dread the kids going back to school, but I have to remember by mid September I love the new schedule.

This August has been better than the previous few. Many whispered prayers!

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I can face more with a prayerful, joyful, thankful heart!

So, I enjoy each day. And am so thankful for the energy to make memories with my family!

Thursday, August 9, 2018

August 9th

Summer Break is the BEST.

Ketchikan, Alaska refreshed our family in several ways. We needed cooler temperatures, especially Vance. The GREEN, cooler temps, and a breeze felt wonderful.
Our kids worked together, played together and helped each other so much on the trip. Our travel days  were stressful. Merit and Oren were seated together on the plane, I was a row behind them. I was so grateful hearing Merit help Oren and listening to those two converse.

The water was low where we were so we were able to do a lot of hiking over areas that usually have a foot or two of water. I loved watching the kids look for muscles. It was so fun to see them hunt for skipping rocks. Hazel experienced successful skipping for the first time. The exploring was so fun! Willem took Merit and I on quite an adventure! We thought he knew where he was going, he did not 😀We experienced sunsets there like never before. Ketchikan gets a lot of rain, so clear days with gorgeous sunsets were a bonus.

 Great food, but we did not over buy! We were not going to starve but we didn't plan for enough meals.

Hide and Seek, Racko, UNO, fishing, reading and gold mining were favorite activities. Life slowed down for 6 days.

I love coming home and this trip was no different! Our dear friends, the Bongs, watched our chickens and watered our garden. We came home to happy chickens, sunflowers and veggies.

Now here we are with about three weeks left of summer break, wanting to fit it all in! Today was 106 degrees so the water park was a god place to spend part of the day. We are trying to fit in sports physicals, I am doing more shopping for the Favored Farmhouse where I consign. We dream of a trip to Lynden and a trip to Silverwood...

Vance and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary yesterday!

Happy August! One of the busiest months of the year, it seems! Hot too. --This fam doesn't even think about school until about the 24th!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018


It is 100 degrees and I am sort of melting. I remember 20 years ago, Vance and I were planning our wedding. It was a HOT summer! I wanted to earn some extra money that summer so I signed on to work summer school for the Royal School District. It was a great experience. I would get home in the  afternoon and lay out in the sun, often reading a book. I remember laying out in 100 + degree heat! The only way I could do that today was if I were in a pool. It is supposed to stay hot for a while. I love 8:30 in the evenings when it becomes comfortable to sit outside. I especially love sitting at a ball field at 8:00, 9:00, 10:00 p.m. enjoying the cooler temps, watching baseball.

Last night was Merit's last double header for baseball. We have traveled so much this season. It has been a season of fun, great competition and challenges. Merit's coaches were awesome and Merit's attitude was great. American Legion summer ball was a big commitment.  It made me happy that Willem's season was not as intense. He has a lot of years of a lot of playing if that is what he chooses to do.

I am so tired.
We have had late nights in Wenatchee, Kennewick and Yakima. Late nights in Moses Lake too, but so many good memories made!

Moses Lake has a terrific new "farmhouse". A very old house on Alder Street has been given some TLC and a couple's dream of owning a farmhouse "store" is becoming a reality! I am a consigner at the Favored Farmhouse and the "hunt" for the old, the useful and beautiful has been so fun! Hazel and I went "pick in' " in Tri Cities before Merit's double header Monday. We found some great stuff! I was a vendor there Saturday and loved being a part of their grand opening. I had Natasha's help, which made it more fun.

We are enjoying some water fun! Gardening and weeding early in the mornings of in the evenings is good. We love ice cream, fro yo and sprinklers. There is arguing and tattling and working together and making memories. Summer break is the best.

Friday, June 22, 2018

More than a trip to the Senior Center

I needed 45 minutes the other day. No talking, no conversing, no arguing. 45 minutes. Willem agreed to babysit. My stop, the Senior Center.

I arrive and the parking lot has a long line, in the heat. People waiting for free food. Bread and produce is what I saw. Elderly people, people with walkers, a few young mothers, one with a baby in a front pack. They came for food.

I didn't know many who were hungry as a child. I know of many who are hungry now that I am an adult. I am critical of the rich and of the wasteful. This is my shortcoming.

My mind does not stop. Early hours of the morning it starts going again. I am not sure how to stop this and maybe God made me so that I won't. My heart aches at times and my thoughts become more introverted.

A girl told me on the last day of school that she was not excited for summer break. She would miss school very much. This could have meant she would miss being fed. This could have meant she would miss her friends or her teacher or the consistency and care of school.

She cried in a cubby, the cubby where you put your coats and backpacks  - on the last day of school. I saw her today at Goodwill!! Oh how I loved seeing that girl! She told me she was doing summer school and could not have been more excited! I got to meet her mom! We don't share the same language but we shared a smile.

I don't know if I have shared through my blog in the past, but these kids are placed in my path! The kids I have felt concerned about! I see them thrifting or while grocery shopping and am reminded to pray.

I found fabric for Natasha and Maria at the thrift store! I found a book, of course!
The senior working there was as kind as could be.
I left refreshed and with cute fabric.
I left with a prayerful heart.

We are missing Merit. He is on day 3 at Eastern's football camp. That boy has a heart of gold, a compassion that is somewhat rare in a 15 year old and is one of the easiest people to talk to.Tomorrow we will have him HOME.

These are "uneasy" times, yet I have a feeling of contentment. God given.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Happy Wednesday!

I think this morning of the kids who were not looking forward to summer break.
Kids who really needed the breakfast and lunch at the school, the socializing with friends, the care of their teacher maybe the support services of the counselor. These kids are really on my mind.
Our community does some important things to help ease the burden for these kids. Several locations offer free lunches for children under 18. And we can pray that people come in their path that can help ease some of the hardships of summer.
I also feel thankful that for many summer break is a needed break and includes more time at home, more time with family, more free time...

This blog would be fake to only highlight the "good times" There are many, but they are not all good. These last three days have been challenging and frustrating and I have worked very hard to smile and to push through.

Blessed be... the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation. 2 Corinthians 1: 3-4 -----------I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Matthew 28:20

Merit is off to camp at Eastern! Football camp! He will have a blast I think. I am praying he works hard, stays safe and is an encourager to those around him!

Willem is up for tricky jobs and challenges on the home front! He even tried to help tame our wild foster kitties. These are the trickiest kitties we have had so far! But they always go in their litter box AND once in our arms are sweet (when we catch them!!)

Willem has organizational skills that I lack. Sometimes he will help me with a room or cupboard. It is wonderful. Willem likes playing Fortnite when he has downtime.

Hazel had a blast at her friend Alli's yesterday! And then once at the baseball game, she had Sophia to giggle with! ---There is some horse dreaming over here too...

Oren LOVES having these big kids home. His imagination is my favorite.

Monday, June 18, 2018


The last several days have involved driving all over Eastern, WA and into Oregon.
The drive from Pendleton to Walla Walla is my favorite!! Wineries, horses, crops, farm country! It was beautiful. 
Got to watch Merit play baseball and basketball along the way! 
Merit and Willem were playing in two different places over the weekend so Vance headed to Ellensburg with Willem. Merit, Hazel, Oren and I have been all over the place. 
Summer nights are the best. 
I am not much of a night driver, so long days are so great.

 I love baseball. I love it almost as much as basketball. What I do appreciate about baseball is that it allows my littles to run and explore. Drinking fountains, mud holes, playing in the grass, pushing trucks, duck, duck goose...

 This kid works hard. Always.
He works hard at being kind and inclusive.
He works hard as a teammate.
He works to be the best he can be.

 I love these kids!
There play is fantastic!!

La Michael and Oren. 
There bond took off in Calgary, Alberta - it continues to grow! 

 Garden fun once back home

The first sunflower of the season!

Willem works hard. He does not over think the game. He is positive and a good sport. It is a blast to watch him play. These pics are from the weekend of the 9th - both boys' teams had a rough weekend of baseball but it was still a good weekend. And Stan and Adie were here to visit.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Baseball and Cousins

Baseball! Last weekend, our nephews Kai and Lane (on the same team - how cool is THAT?!) were going to be playing in Moses Lake and Ellensburg. Merit was going to be playing in Moses Lake and Willem in Yakima. hmmmm Trying to be three places at once proves to be very interesting.
On top of this we were invited to four graduation parties. 
Phil arrived at 7:45 Friday morning, texting at 7:30 asking if the coffee was on! 
I knew he was coming but guessed he would be here about 5 when Tasha was supposed to come. 
He ran my errands with me and stayed back with Oren while I went to get the kids from school. 
The weekend was very full and good. 

 Hazel and Estelle
 The pretending was so fantastic.
These two pretend they are married.
Estelle had Ernie, the foster kitty, in her arms often - Oren had his pretend chain saw and was cutting branches. I found myself peaking out windows and spying on them because their imaginations and play are so wonderful.

If we pack good snacks and sunscreen, Oren is going to have fun

Merit cheering on Lane and Kai

 Woody's for lunch

 Brielle, Estelle and Hazel
Lesha had to stay back - Amara had stuff going on in Lynden. We did miss them, but were pretty excited we could see so much family.
 These two!! I love to watch them play!! They are such good buddies.
Rob (my brother in law) and Kai


This next weekend I will be able to get pics of Will playing --

I sometimes have to take deep breaths. It is a BUSY season!
Every year at this time the garden suffers a bit and I get behind on laundry. The calendar is full and the days are long - but good, oh so good.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018


A couple of friends and I sat down at my dining room table two weeks ago and made some personalized, fun graduation cards. These two friends have seniors, graduating Saturday. The range of emotions... And for those who have kids moving away, it may feel especially big!

I was at a therapy session yesterday (my therapy sessions consist of walks with friends :) A friend who has a senior graduating was walking too with her husband. She shared the excitement of this week, how busy it all is, how when she thinks of him moving out in August the tears start to flow. He is a good kid. He adds a lot to their family. These kids growing up, good stuff and hard stuff too -

I am often reminded how important COMMUNITY is. Walking with, talking with, praying for these mamas has been so good.

Yesterday was a good day.
COMMUNITY on a walk and at the park, FUN with Oren! Then later in the day, a sports banquet where Merit received the Freshman Coaches Award. It was a dinner and then a presentation in the theater. I enjoyed my burger, chips and salad while Hazel ate two donuts! We sat with some of our favorite peeps. --COMMUNITY -- Got home at 9:30 and began getting everyone ready for bed #latenightsspringfever

Gotta get ready for another walk. It's hard to be thin at 43, but these walks are terrific, therapeutic and good for my mind!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Last but not Least

This kid has been fishing since he was 18 months old.
 Fishing on the Creek
 Oh Oren Paul!
I love Happy Hearts and I love Oren's love for singing and for "dance parties"
 The fourth kid sometimes gets unnoticed, maybe a bit pushed aside.
Although doted on and cared for by three older siblings (who are amazing) Oren has been along for the ride many times. I realize as I try to put this in writing that this has been both hard and good. Watching him mature and develop his own interests as a young boy has been really cool. And letting him develop his own interests, tell HIS story and be the person HE is has been important.
All his blankets and pajamas as a baby were hand me downs, his clothes are too. Although I think this is a healthy thing, this is the way it is for the fourth. If I asked him tomorrow if he wanted to go to Goodwill or WalMart to choose a toy, he would most likely choose Goodwill.  He has attended more baseball games than many 30 year olds. The older people in his family have an opinion of what cereal to buy or what we should have for dinner. He is rarely asked. The importance of his voice being heard has become more important to me. And when he was so excited for his family to attend his little pre-school program, I realized THAT was about OREN. And I loved that.

Last but not least Oren! You are our bonus baby for sure. Thank you God.
4 of my favs right here

Connie, the amazing cat! Everyone should have a Connie in their lives.

The parade was beautiful!! And it draws such a crowd!

Sir Mix A Lot put on a FANTASTIC show!!! Merit, Willem and I went and it was so fun!! It really took me back.

The weekend was good. Great weather, good fun!

Hazel was delighted because she saw Matt, Brenda, Carly, Quinn, Grandpa Vic, Grandma Kris and Kendal ALL in ONE day! Not to mention some other people she loves being around!