Thursday, December 19, 2013

Afternoon Christmas project

Inspired by some sweet vintage ornaments I snagged at a second hand store earlier today I busted out this wreath during nap time today.  When it came time to hang it up however, my sweet little girl announced that is was for Amelia.  I replied "No, this one's for us." Then she started crying. "It's for Amelia! We need to give it to her!"  So I broke down and gave it to her, plus it looks great on her wall.

  Glad I have such a giving daughter.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


There is something about the Christmas Season that brings out my desire to create things, anything, and inspiration is everywhere.  The trick for me is to hone that desire into projects that are A) do able within a short amount of time B) within my skill set (meaning not only that I can do it, but that I will most likely be happy with the product I end up with) - though this must always be pushed a little bit in order to aquire new and improved skills - best done when you have a more skilled person on hand to help.  Today that person was my sister and the project was to turn an ill fitting adult size merino wool sweater I found at a consignment store for $1 into a dress for Mikaiah. The entire project took about 1 1/2 hours.  Totally happy with the result.  I also included a few pictures of the lovely winter cape my mother made Mikaiah. (I bought this material for this project and found myself overwhelmed, so my mother made the cape and I sewed on the buttons.)  Thanks mom! 

She was very wiggly today, so these are the best I could get!

Monday, December 9, 2013

A new blog

I am starting a new blog to document all our camping adventures, so as not to take over this blog. I will be going back over this past year of camping (one post per trip) and then will try to keep up with it afterwards.  This is for my own records as well as for anyone interested in what we are up to and where we go.

Friday, November 22, 2013


       It's all around us.  It's on our television sets, in our neighborhoods, at our grocery stores and at the local park.  It's the town we live in,  the bumper stickers on the back of the car in front of you and the people who surround us, both virtually and in person.  What is it?  The world we live in and the opinions and views of others, whether we agree with them or not and their influence over us.  You can go certain places and not go others, you can throw out your tv, get "unplugged" from facebook, and become anti-social - but you can't get away from it.  And neither can your children. 
     As Mikaiah gets older I am becoming increasingly aware of it's influence over her.  We do not own a television, but we do have netflix on our computer.  Even in the kids section of netflix I don't let Mikaiah watch most of the shows out there.  The ones she does watch seem pretty innocent (from Curious George to Angelina Ballerina) and for the most part they are, but even so I see how they affect her.  She expresses fears she never has before, talking about ghosts and things like that.  She watches their whinny behavior and they way they sometimes manipulate situations.  She sees tantrums and fits (even though they may be talking about how to deal wtih them) they still influence her.  Not just television, but everything. The behavior of other children and their parents, the way I interact with others, every little thing she observes, both good and bad is being soaked up by this little sponge of mine.
       So, what do I do about it? We could run away into the hills and hide, but not only would that just be a bad idea but that would be motivated out of fear.  I don't want to do anything big or little motivated by fear, but rather  by love.  We could burn all electronics and go completely "off  grid" but it wouldn't really fix the problem.  We still need to (and are called to) live with and be in relationship with people, and as long as we are doing that we are going to be surrounded by others opinions.  We are called to live in the world (not on the side of the world) and yet not be of the world.  I think this is key.  I do not want my children to be afraid of people who believe differently than they do.  I want them to love and accept them as the people that our father made and loves so much!
       So, as I see my daughter rapidly absorbing everything around her, from dance moves to slang speech, I think the best thing I can do,
is to commit her to prayer and ask the Lord to give me (and Seth) guidance as we raise her, and Sequoia as well.  I want my children to know how to love and serve the people around them without absorbing into the darkness.  I want them to learn to be light, treating others with respect and loving them as they would love themselves.  I want them to know the Lord and his love, and I believe all these things are integrated and that they need to start learning it now.
       As I was driving in the car the other day Mikaiah announced to me "Mama, I love Jesus. He loves me!"  This put a huge smile on my face, not because she has been "indoctrinated" and is reciting from memory things she has heard said, but because she is learning to see and receive the love of the father, even at this young age of two.  I can already see the compassionate, loving, caring, helpful side of her come out as she interacts with those around her.  Seth and I are not perfect parents by any stretch of the imagination, but we must have done something right, and I think that something right starts with Love.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Overcoming myself

       It was cold outside, rain drizzling randomly throughout the day with a seemingly permanent sheath of clouds covering the sky and camping was the last thing I wanted to do.  It was November and our camping weekend had rolled around once again.  We had put it off one week due to sickness, but it was inevitable and as I putted around the house packing things at random and trying to get myself in the mood I lamented the warm summer days we had spent camping so recently, but which seemed at the moment far off.  
       Still though, our family hadn't spent good quality time together in a while, and I knew we needed it.  Staying around the house usually leads to both Seth and I working on projects from the never ending to do list.  So as Seth and I went through the motions of getting ready and setting off (late in the afternoon, as I knew it would be) I tried to remind myself of this, and not think of being cold and miserable.  
        We had picked out a campground along the Alsea Highway, but did not see it, and with the daylight fading we  continued on toward Waldport and down the 101.  We ended up staying at Tillicum Campground, a place I had never been to before, but will definitely go again.   Our campsite (#30) was surrounded on the outside by a thick hedge which literally had a 15 foot tunnel though it and then opened up to the private little campsite sitting 20 feet up off of the beach with a clear view of the Ocean.  Simply fantastic!   There was a trail down to the beach 100 yards away and though a little chilly, we had no rain.  As we ran about quickly setting up camp before dark fell, my spirits were starting to lift.
            The next day as I soaked in the little sun to be had and sat next to Mikaiah on the beach, looking on as she destroyed the lovely little sand castle I had made, I was so grateful we had come.  As I continued to  watch her throughout the weekend, digging in the dirt, laughing with Papa as we sat by the fire, or sneaking treats from the tub when she thought we weren't watching, I knew that was what she would remember about this trip.  Maybe not all the details, but the feeling of being together, of exploring, playing in the sand and enjoying the outdoors as a family.  She will not remember Mama being stressed about the weather, or not wanting to go.  She won't sense the tension as Mama and Papa tried not to mention to one another the possibility of cancelling this one trip or see their tired faces as they went to heat water for a bottle for Sequoia at 4 am over the camp stove.  And that's how it should be.  
            That day as I sat on the beach enjoying my little girl playing in the sand, it reminded me of my childhood and many happy days spent on the beach or camping in the woods, or visiting an aquarium or playing in the snow.  I could not help but smile at these memories, and then I pondered to myself "How is it that my parents never got stressed on these trips?  Why did everything go as planned for them?" And then I realized, it didn't.  I am sure the were planned trips we never actually went on, and stressful things that they chose to just deal with and not let overcome the experience.  I have memories of forgetting the poles to our tent and sleeping under a tarp, but not the feeling of frustration that must surely have come with the realization that there were no poles.  Many people cannot say the same, but my hope is one day that my children can.  That they can look back and think of all the good times we had, the lessons that were learned and the joy that was experienced and not see the sometimes frustrating and challenging obstacles we all face. 
             Maybe when they grow up, and even along the way they will be able roll with the punches and accept the challenges that come there way as an opportunity to grow instead of an invitation to give up.  Hopefully they too will remember Romans 8:28 and bring it mind as often as necessary.  "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love the Lord, who have been called according to his purpose."

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Happy Birthday Mother!

Today is my mother's 63rd Birthday.  She is a wonderful woman.  I could take 100 pages and not say all the wonderful things that make up my mother, and there would still be more to say.  I could tell you how generous, caring, loyal, encouraging, thoughtful, self-sacraficing she is, but today as I was looking at my lovely daughter Mikaiah and marveling at what an amazing little girl she is turning out to be, I realized that without my mom and all she's done, she would not be here.  Not just physically, though of course that's true too, but if my mom had not poured into me for years and years (and still continues to) what it means to be a good parent, I would not be able to (unperfectly as I am) do that for my daughter.  So today I just want to say thanks.  And also a thanks to my grandmother who poured that into my mother as well. I'm really, truly blessed.  Happy Birthday Mother! You are loved!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Slipping into fall

This past week I had the pleasure of taking a quick trip with my husband and two girls, along with my mother and sister to El Cajon, CA (in San Diego county) to visit my Grandparents and my wonderful cousin Abby Faith. 
       Sequoia experienced her first time flying (and did quite well) as did Mikaiah, though any parent who has traveled with little ones will tell you that even when children travel well it is still exausting, though worth it.  We didn't do a whole lot while we were down there (Sea World, Legoland, Disneyland and all the rest Southern California has to offer will have to wait until they're old enough to truly appreciate it) but what we did do, we thoroughly enjoyed.  In fact, it was really wonderful to watch Mikaiah discover the joy of her first Carousel at Balboa park (though the rest of us enjoyed it as much or more I believe) and the fun to be had on the little train.  We strolled alongside the turtle pond and did a quick tour of the Arboretum and then left before the littles got too hungry or tired, with no pressure from a spendy ticket to stay longer than we were want to.  Truly liberating.  An evening spent playing in a kiddie pool in the backyard and spending precious time with the grands was perfect. The next day we lounged on the beach at Coronado and swam in the Ocean. The mid-seventies temps were enjoyable without being overbearing. 
      After having such a lovely trip you might think that my heart sank when I saw the rains pouring down out the plane window, but it was really quite the opposite.  Like a sweet welcome home shower.  It's truly Autumn and I'm ready for it.  Don't get me wrong, I love summer. But I also love Autumn, Winter, and Spring.  They all have their place in my book.  I've grown up with seasons and I need them.  Without those changing leaves and different weather patterns I would really feel I was missing out.  The changes invigorate me.  I truly am an Oregon girl.  I do believe Mikaiah is too.  She smiled with glee at the rain and after donning her raincoat and rain boots asked for her "Gabas" which is what she calls her Umbrella.  After a hard winter however, her little umbrella was sadly broken.  Not to worry, a quick search on Amazon and a not so swift decision made by both Mikaiah (for style) and myself (for price) has a new little butterfly umbrella on its way.  All ready for a wonderful (but most likely very short) life at the hands of my 2 year old.  That's okay, everyone needs a fun way to welcome fall.  One day Mikaiah will learn that Oregonians don't actually use umbrellas, we're more like fish in that respect, but she can enjoy it in the meantime.  I however will enjoy fall with a fresh batch of loose leaf Madagascar Vanilla tea and a relaxing (though brief) nap time break.  
      Happy Autumn Everyone! 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Rejoice! This is the day which the Lord has made!

       From my cozy bed I hear a little voice call out my name, the lovely cloud of sleep hovering about my head resists answering and the voice goes away, but all too soon it repeats itself "mommy!  mommy!" Pause...."MOMMY!!!"  It will not be ignored.  I glance at my phone and notice 5:59 am on the screen, uggh.   Clumsily I slip out of bed, trying not to wake my sleeping infant beside me and go into Mikaiah's room where she (in an all too awake voice) informs me that she was scared, but she can't remember what she was scared of, and that she is hungry.  I tell her it's not time to get up and ask her if she wants a granola bar, she nods and then follows me out to the kitchen where I grab one for her.  I tell her she can cuddle on the couch with her blankets but that it is NOT time to get up.  I stumble back to my room and fall asleep, only to be awakened 10 minutes later by her calls again.  I get up and answer the call, finding a crumbled granola bar all over the couch and carpet (good thing I stayed up late cleaning the house.) My daughter is covered with chocolate chips (from the granola bar) smeared all over her face and hands, asking to watch "Shaun the sheep" (which really just means she wants to watch a show on netflix.) I resist giving in, but in my groggy state I grudgingly put it on for her thinking maybe I can grab 20 more minutes of sleep as I walk down the hall toward my room, but then I hear what I was afraid of, the stirrings of  Sequoia coming from my bed.  It's over.  I can't put it off much longer, so I quickly make a detour to the bathroom and jump in the shower (I have learned that if I don't take a shower in moments like this I don't get one at all...there is no ideal time to take a shower as a stay at home mom.)   Sigh.  Morning is here and I have a choice, right now standing in the shower (for all of 2 minutes) how I am going to respond to this day I have been given.   I can grumpily get out and take care of my children and let the day push me along, or I can choose to rejoice and enjoy those lovely little girls (crying now coming from my room.)  I choose to rejoice.
       Everyone tells you these times pass too quickly.  Parents say it,  the neighbors say it, even the lady behind you at the grocery store looking on as you struggle with two grumpy children says it, heck I've even said it (to other people of course!)  "They grow up too soon" they all say, "enjoy it while you can."  I mumble an affirmative while shuffling my children off to wherever we are going next, but the truth is, they're right.
        With Sarah's passing this past month I have thought a lot about why we are here on earth and the conclusion I've come to is relationships.  We're here to have relationships with one another and to love one another in the way that Christ loved us, and gave himself for us. I realized the most important thing to me is not trying to see how long I can live, or even how successful I can be or how many places I can travel to, it's the people in my life.  At the end of the day I want people to look back on my life and see me as someone who put others first.  Someone who loved those around her and not only when it was convenient to do so.  Someone who loved as Jesus loves and who gave herself for them.  I don't want to waste my time complaining, what a horrible way to spend my time.  That's not how I want to live, and how I live my life today, how I respond to the challenges of this day is how I am living my life.  I think sometimes we talk about how we should live as though it is this time in the future that never really gets here, but it's not.  It's now, and some of the most important people in my life now are these two wonderful little girls I am have been blessed with, along with my amazing husband (something I need to remember when he comes home from a long day at work and sits down to relax while I continue to clean the house and change diapers.)   I am so grateful to have such a wonderful family,  I don't want to miss out on any of it.  Not even at 6 am.  This is the day which the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it. No exceptions.  Not only Tuesday through Sunday, everyday.  This is what I need to remember and remind myself of.  Thank you Mikaiah for that "gentle" reminder this morning. Now I need to end this so I can fetch her some cheerios and feed my little one.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


    At moments like this I realize how much God has protected me from and truly blessed me indeed.  I am 30 years old and until now I have never lost anyone I was close to apart from two grandparents who were both in their 90's and ready to go home to be with the Lord. I am very grateful for this and for the many, many other ways in which the Lord has blessed me.
    One of those huge blessings was in the form of an amazing friendship with Sarah Kristine Nichols (whom I am lucky enough to share the same middle name with same spelling, very proud of that. Thanks mom!) =) This past Sunday after fighting a second bout Cancer for several months Sarah was called home. 
     Sarah was amazing in so many ways, I can't even begin to cover them all, but she had this special way of being so many things to so many people.  She was a mentor, a mother figure, a sister, a friend (the wise friend, the serious friend, the good advice friend,  the artsy friend and the silly friend all in one.)
      Sarah mastered inter-generational friendships better than anyone I know.  She cared so much about so many people, young and old, introverts and extroverts alike.  She had a special gift for asking just the right questions and drawing out even the most reserved person.  When I think of good listeners I think of Sarah, and that's it. She was the ultimate listener (though many of our mutual friends have taken some good lessons from her as well, some that I need to work on sometimes!
       Sarah loved worship.  Organic natural, spirit led worship lifting up Jesus and giving him thanks and praise.  There was something so pure and honest about the way she worshiped. Unashamed.
       Sarah was not afraid to call a spade a spade and yet even when being called out on something you could not help but go away feeling encouraged - how is that even possible?!?  I think it is only possible because it was truly done out of love. Unconditional love that has no selfish ambition, no second agenda, but simply wants God's best.
       Sarah was human, and all humans make mistakes, but I think she would like to be remembered as one who did what she saw the father doing and loved as Jesus would have loved, and this she did.  I don't know anyone who would argue that you could truly see Jesus in her, and in this life (at least in my opinion) that is the greatest compliment you can receive.  
        I know there are many people who could say (and have said) a lot of these same things about Sarah, for they are things worth saying as she is a woman worth remembering and who will be remembered and missed greatly.
         Some of my favorite personal memories of Sarah are of her hiking 50 miles in one day for her fifieth Birthday (I cheered her on, but barely made in 23 miles - she was truly an amazing walker.)  Playing pinochle with Kev and Seth against Sarah and myself.  We won some, we lost some, but it really kills me that we lost the last time we played a few months ago.  What a bummer.
         Skinny dipping with Sarah (she's the one who introduced me to this elusive "sport."  And getting married at her house in Amity, Oregon.  Of course everyone has a special spot in their hearts for their wedding day, but that whole property and the love woven through it by the family that lived there still makes me smile.
     But I rejoice that she is home with the father and I will see her one day again, though missing her now.  She leaves behind a truly amazing family which I am so grateful for.  Seeing her children have such good relationships with their parents even through the challenging "teenage years"  gives me hope as a parent myself.    I will quit my rambling now and end with a verse that Sarah really lived out, all the way to the end.  Something that I hope can be said of me when my time comes to go home.
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also all who have loved His appearing." 2 Timothy 4:8
  Thank you Sarah. For everything.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tumalo State Park - March camping trip

This year Seth and I made a goal of camping once a month, all year long.  Maybe a little ambitious, what with a 2 year old and another on the way, but Mikaiah loves camping and is quite the sport. So, with the help of having plotted out our camping dates all year long, this past weekend we headed out on our third trip of the year at Tumalo State Park (and if it happens to be near Bend, I'm sure it was just a coincidence!)  We arrived on Friday and were planning on leaving Sunday, but after meeting up with Jake and Tammy Bumstead and Evan and Katie Finley in Sisters, OR (they had just arrived) they convinced us to spend the night with them at a cabin at Camp Sherman.  It was well worth it.  The weather had not been bad (dipping into the 20's at night) but sunny with highs of the high 40's/low 50's during the day (which actually feels pretty good) but it was still nice to be in a warm cabin with beds, and some great friends.   So after a weekend full of biking, coffee drinkng, hiking, and more coffee drinking (mostly done by Seth), and hanging out with friends, we headed home to re-cooperate!  Can't wait for more camping as the weather gets nicer and nicer (while I get bigger, and bigger...but it can't be helped!) Oh, you might also notice that I have quickly added two short blogs with pics of our other two trips - I will try to keep up on this in the future, but for now this will have to do.