Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Rare Winter Visit

A couple weeks before President's Day weekend, Tadd got a hankering for home. During a normal winter, driving to southeastern Idaho is not something we like to consider. But during a mild winter like this one, it's a great idea. We didn't tell the kids our plans until we started loading suitcases into the car on a Thursday afternoon. Ezra was excited, but groaned at the idea of the long drive. Caroline kept saying "This is a great surprise!" and hopping all around. Nora just grinned and said "Grandpa Idaho's house".
So, off we set. The roads were great. Ezra started asking "when are we going to get there" about 15 minutes into the trip and continued to do so every 10 minutes of the next 8 hours. Around Tri-Cities Caroline asked how much longer until we got the airport to continue the trip--hehe, poor girl.
We managed to stop only once on the side of the road for the necessary and then pushed on through to Baker City, Oregon for a McDonald's supper--much to the kids' delight. We know far too much about Pendelton, Baker, La Grande, Ontario, Burley, etc. As in--we know which town has a McDonald's, Taco Bell, Subway or a Safeway with a deli. We know which McDonald's have play lands (Pendelton) and which ones have been torn down in the past 1.5 years (Baker). We know which cities have outdoor parks with easy freeway access. We know where the deer like to cross the freeway. No need for a smart phone--we've stopped in all the tiny little in between towns a million times. This time we didn't need to find parking for a moving van.
Anyhow...after our supper the kids settled down with a dvd player in the back seat and the adults sat in the front seat worrying about staying awake the rest of the way. Long about Mountain Home we pulled off for another side of the road necessary and then I took over the wheel. Those last 2.5 hours felt like 35 to my sand papery, watery eyes. I am not the night driver I used to be. And my weary bones were so happy to settle into a bed at Grandpa and Grandma Idaho's house shortly after 1 AM.

We spent the weekend enjoying Grandpa and Grandma time, cousin time, friend time, taking in one of Teddy's basketball games, eating really yummy food, watching country sunsets, skiing and relaxing. I'll save the skiing for a post of its own.
I love this next muscle sequence. Do they look like their dads?

Of course, showing off turns to a little show off fighting...
which in turn leads to one crying and one saying: "What? I don't know what happened!"
Grandma made Nora some darling turtle cakes and we celebrated her birthday together.

Grandpa contributed some home made bubble gum ice cream.
Much to the delight of some. He also made some strawberry chocolate chip for those who can't appreciate the gourmet taste of bubble gum.

We had sleep overs and reading time.

There was hide-and-seek.

And these two got to know each other a little better.

It's tradition in our family to have a cousin about your age to fight with. We prefer it this way. Fighting with cousins is so much nicer than with strangers. It sort of looks like they are sharing the double stroller when really it was about to be ripped in half.
Our last night in town we were all invited to Uncle Don and Aunt Esther's for a Fairview Inn quality meal. Delish! Aunt Esther knows how to make the kids happy too!

We all ate until we couldn't breathe...but apparently Levi saved room for a little of his Dad's cheek.
Such a cutie. Levi, I mean.

A few pictures of these four siblings.

And Wednesday morning we loaded up and headed for home. We had to make a quick stop in Burley to pick up Tadd's skis (explanation in ski post to follow). The roads were wet and quite windy. But not snowy or icy until we hit Snoqualmie Pass. We made a few more stops on the way home than on the way there, but that was expected. And we even made it home before dark!

Thursday, February 16, 2012


The other night my husband was playing a bunch of make me cry country songs. Ones about little girls growing up and how "You're gonna miss this" and memories and all. And I sobbed my way up the stairs to cuddle my little one to bed and my heart hit panic mode. Full blown panic. Because no matter how hard I search, I cannot find the pause button. In fact, somehow I must keep hitting fast forward. I don't think it's a case of over scheduling ourselves and having no time, we only have one child in school and currently only one activity (Ezra's basketball). It's simply the speed of life. And it's frightening. Today they spend the majority of their time on the couch, in the kitchen, riding bikes...with me. Tomorrow they'll be gone. Boo hoo! I know God created the seasons of life. And with His help I will learn to accept it. But for a while, I'll probably fight it with tears and panic.

One cure for that kind of panic is chocolate. The other is spending time with my kids. Monday I mixed the two.

Lately I've been loving almonds and dark chocolate. I found this old recipe from Better Homes and Gardens in my files and it looked easy. It was.
The simple version is that you roast and coarsely chop 1 cup of almonds. Add 1/2 cup of chopped dried cherries. Set aside while you melt 3 ounces of chopped dark chocolate over low heat in a double boiler (or a large mixing bowl set on a small saucepan of water if you don't have a double boiler). Remove from the heat, and add three more ounces of chopped chocolate. Mix until all chocolate is melted and smooth. I might tell you that I didn't have enough really good dark chocolate in the house, so I mixed semi-sweet and unsweetened baker's chocolate. 2 parts semi to 1 part unsweet. Take bowl off top of double boiler, add nuts and cherries, mix together. Plop spoonfuls of the mixture on wax paper. Put them in the fridge for 20 minutes to set up. Store at room temp. You can get the longer directions at

I placed mine into Valentine cupcake liners to make them cute and also so that you have something to hold them in since the chocolate melts all over your fingers easily.
Then the girls and I worked on some cookie dough together. Look at those orange noses--perhaps I've been putting a little too much carrot juice in the smoothies???

Mmmmm...maybe pink cream cheese frosting will take away some of the orange. For the afternoon I managed to find the pause button.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Miss Nora Liv

We have a new two year old in the house. As I was putting her to bed tonight I couldn't help but think back to that first night after she was born. Tadd had gone home to sleep in a bed. Ezra and Caroline were staying with their Grandparents. It was just me and my itsy bitsy little Valentine with the red bow in her hair. Tonight when I put her to bed there was no red bow in her hair. She was not (quite so) itsy bitsy. But it was just the two of us snuggling for a few minutes. She is so grown up these days. She's still tiny as can be--but she makes up for it in talk. I can't imagine life without her.
She loves shoes, as you can see. Yesterday she came out of my room wearing a pair of 4 inch Jessica Simpson heels. And she was walking in them! She also loves to sing "Jesus Loves Me" and knows all the words to the first verse and chorus. It makes my heart squeeze every time I hear it--and I can't imagine how much He must love it.
Nora has a few favorite things, among them: turtles, polka dots and the color orange. Her birthday was filled with each of those things. She has been enamored with turtles ever since we visited Uncle Nathan and Aunt Megan and saw their turtle. She requested a turtle cake with orange polka dots. I was pretty intimidated by the request, but I must say that I was very happy with the cake results. And when I showed it to her she said "OH, thank you, thank you!" Which, of course, made all effort worth it and then some.

Last Saturday night, Grandpa and Grandma Tractor, Great Grandma Kilcup and Uncle Brett came over for dinner to help us celebrate. Nora was blessed with lots of fun presents. She got a super cool turtle night light from Grandpa and Grandma and an outfit that was orange with polka dots. What more could she want? Well....besides a real live turtle. Which--she got! I'll devote a whole post to our dear turtle Mr. Tommy. Ezra and Caroline each spent some of their own money at the dollar section at Target to get her a cute little mask and some bracelets. They do adore their baby sister.

She loved having us all sing to her and talked about that and "blowing out the cake" a lot the next day or two.

Today on her actual birthday she attended the Valentine's party in Ezra's classroom and felt like that was another birthday party just for her. She will never lack for parties on her birthday! Happy Birthday, precious girl, Mommy sure does love you!

Monday, February 13, 2012

When Blogs Collide

Last Friday we packed up and went down town to the Seattle Aquarium to meet the girls (and technically, maybe the boy) of the diaries of the happy sanitarium.

We were there to see the fishies and the baby sea otter. She's the tiny ball of fluff up on the wall...she kind of looks like a fuzzy rock. That's partially just how she looks and largely because of my photography "skills". Our kids were all quiet, well behaved and ready to learn the finer points of marine biology.

There was never any running around... climbing on any exhibits... silliness... splashing...
and certainly no burping contest between those two who are only two weeks different in age.
Naomi and I walked peacefully behind our perfect children with smug smiles on our faces, never losing any of the children (haha). And when we found this real live human trimming coral, none of the kids pretended to pinch him through the glass.
What? You don't believe me. Well, we did have a lot of fun : ) And that's the actual honest truth.
Thanks for a fun Friday, girls!

After we left Naomi an her girls, we headed up into Pike Place Market. The Market has its lure to tourists and local. And it can be fun to take company to see it. But, may I just say, I'm not too attracted to it. There, a local gal and here I am admitting that I don't like Pike Place Market. I never buy any food there because I know I can get it cheaper elsewhere. And I always feel like I need to take a bath in vinegar when I leave because I feel so germy. There are lots of weirdos who talk to my kids. And keeping track of three kids all alone in that mess is scary to me. Thankfully the kids are all pretty nervous around the crowds and so they stay close to me. We did have a lot of fun buying treats from the Pike Place Bakery (the hardest part was choosing which one we each wanted) and then eating them while watching the Flying Fish. Ezra and Caroline wanted me to take their picture on The Pig before we left. Then we hiked up the hill 7 blocks to Daddy's office. We bugged him for a while until he decided to pack up shop and come home a few minutes early with us instead of riding the bus home. The best part is when Ezra told Tadd's boss "You won't see my Dad anymore today because he's coming home with us now!" I guess we always are telling our kids not to be sneaky!
And when we came home, Tadd went up in the attic and found that--a gigantic wasp nest. Thankfully it's dormant and he was able to remove it without any stings. Now to make sure the attic is totally sealed off so that they won't be able to get back in--because we know they will try hard!