June 2013 (Facebook Compilation)

June 5: Our new in-house OCD test:
Real-life picture layout on our welcome-wall (first wall you see walking into house).

welcome wall

June 8: The newest member of our crew at Willow Rock Farm: flew her home from the Palmer airport.

Plane ride home

June 13: My work over the last week: organizing (and thinning) the books in my library.

A job I haven’t done since before we moved here.

It was fabulous to discover/recognize the pattern of my “collecting.”

books 1 books 2 books 3 books 4 books 5

June 15: Got all three freezers emptied/defrosted/inventoried this afternoon. A few people commented on the soggy ice cream. (It all took about as long as you’d expect…)

Still in awe of the accomplishment, and figuring out the best way to meal-plan with the new information.

June 18: Pleased to announce that ‘that magazine project’ I’ve been talking about for months is now live.

Wyn (wynmag.com) is an online magazine focused on providing resources and hope for mental and emotional healing. Each month’s issue has a specific theme that runs through all the articles.

I am so excited to be a part of this project with amazing women from around the globe.

Please stop by and join the conversation on the blog.

June 19: Wheee 2a.m. and a gentle tiredness on top of a feeling of productivity. Got some good writing done and kids are at Gma’s so I can sleep in.

June 21:

Dunno if you can tell from these pix, but this is Griffin scratching himself six ways from Sunday.

Can’t tie him out b/c he’s helpless against the bugs, and now I can’t even walk him, because we’re both *mobbed* instantly.

Finally just turned him loosen out the front door (which I *never* do on purpose). He was back five minutes later: more itchy, but less whining. Took care of business, I assume.

griffin itch A griffin itch B griffin itch C

June 27: Vamp bucket. The mosquito magnet catches them, but this model at least has trouble getting them into the collection plate.

Freakiest part: we’re still chewed on in the length of time it takes to cross the yard, and the dog continues to be scared to go outside.

vamp bucket

Elisha [getting ready for a camping trip]: “But what do we need to bring *toothbrushes* for?!”

Kid Events February 2012

We’re still having fun with the kids.

Company got to join in the fun; Lilia seemed fascinated, but wasn’t always sure what to think of all the attention. Once again I was so thankful they’re small.

~ ~ ~

Elisha finished his kindergarten math book this last week, and yesterday started the first-grade book.  He is very proud.

“I love math!” He says over and over again.  His sisters try to burst his bubble (“Wait till you get older and it’s actually hard!“) and I try to nip it in the bud.  But at least so far they’ve not been able to dampen his enthusiasm.

~ ~ ~

Melody still loves the camera and has a standard pose that she takes when she asks me to take a picture of her.

She’s almost ready to lose her second front tooth.  The first adult front tooth has already made it’s appearance, so she might never be without “apple” teeth.

And here is Natasha modeling my latest finished project, and my first “chemo” hat.

One of my goals for my rabbit wool is to knit super-soft, super-warm, close-fitting hats for folks who have lost their hair.  This hat is for a dear lady I met last year who wore a creative range of head-coverings all summer.  She had hair the last time I saw her (a long time ago now), but because she was the one in-mind the whole time this idea grew, well, I knew she had to get the first one.

Natasha says she would like one of her own. “Exactly like it, Mama! Colors and everything!”

You can’t tell in the picture, but only the bottom half is dual-strand knitted, because I used up all my angora yarn about that time.  So I’ll have to spin some more before I can do anything new.  I like this pattern, too: it’s easy to remember without looking too simple.

Oh, and Natasha’s news is that she’s becoming quite proficient in the kitchen. She can break-up and watch the ground meat or sausage while I work on the rest of dinner, and she’s mastered the Lara(esque) Bars in Katie’s Healthy Snacks To-Go.

Today she came to me at lunch time and (rather than complain she was hungry) simply asked if there was anything she could make for lunch.

I love that attitude!  She and sibs made their own cheese tacos for lunch.

This growing independence can be fun 🙂

Sunday Snapshots — useful kids, matching kids

When Jay finished installing the stacked washer/dryer, it took some serious, one-time gymnastics to get out from behind the machine and water heater.

It wasn’t till we finished celebrating his escape that we realized a screwdriver had been left behind.

Elisha took the chance to go where no man would go again, then cheerfully informed us he’d be happy to stay there the rest of his life.

Continue reading

Sunday Snapshots — playtime on the new homestead

We have such a good daddy. 🙂

This is from last spring.  Jay was trying to get away during Chase and the girls weren’t going to let that happen.

And here is Elisha, considering whether he likes holding something without a sphincter. Cute can win-out, if no one reminds him. (He’s this way about the young rabbits, too. Less so as they get older and more… self-controlled.)

We have pictures!

Here is Natasha, sewing her cousin Brooke’s birthday present. She was so pleased to put the whole thing together herself.

It’s called a “warmy” in our home, and the kids each got one for Christmas (a fun surprise, since they knew their cousins were getting one each, and I made a second set after they went to bed Christmas Eve).

These next two are a couple of the pictures I wanted to include in this post.  They were the chosen ambiance for each room.

That’s the Elephant Thread-Holder you see to the left of the large quilt has a fun family story behind it.

My mom has a giraffe-shaped piece of wood full of finish-nails that holds her spools of thread in relative tidiness.

Early in my marriage I was very busy with quilting and sewing, and building up a healthy spool stash of my own.  I was the second child to leave the nest, and my parents began the long project of streamlining their household.

Behind the kitchen sink, all my growing-up years, as long as I could remember, there was an elephant-shaped cutting board.  My dad had made it of the bit of bathroom counter top he’d cut out years ago to put the sink in.

I knew it was old, and probably unsanitary and all that, but it was still hard to watch it disappear. Well, our second Christmas (I think it was) Jay hung out at my parents’ place more than usual, and surprised me with this thread board (with pretty matching dowels rather than nails) still slightly sticky with my favorite wood stain.

He had taken the blocky, familiar shape and recreated it as a memory-keeper that served a real and needed purpose.

And it was a total surprise.

This is my kitchen wall (three weeks ago. Now the picture at the top has been changed, and the slogan,

Ut tensio sic vis

has been added below the two bottom pieces.

It doesn’t have a clean/literal translation, but the meaning of the saying is “Strength in proportion to stretch.”  That is, think of a spring, or a bowstring.  The tighter it’s stretched the more force in contains.

I like how the words look, and use it as a reminder to let the tightness I feel focus my strength, rather than snap me.

And here is Natasha’s birthday party on the 14th. We had another -30 party and a handful of dear friends who joined us to make the celebration complete.

Yeah, that’s a doll in the middle of those candles.

We used a dress-form pan and filled it only part way so it would be a little-girl cake. (I looked through a few stores before I found just the right little girl doll to use for the centerpiece.)

So there you are: the highlights of January. Oops.  Sans rabbits.  But Jay’s on the editing computer now, so I’ll have to do it some other time.

Reproducing like Rabbits

Okay, we now have evidence we’ve got this Rabbit-breeding thing figured out at last.

With the four mamas that delivered Tuesday we now have 30 baby buns in the Rabbit/chicken house.

We also have the hard decisions to make: namely, who to eat and how many to keep breeding.

Two of our “first-timers” kindled this month, and produced the awesomest nests I’ve yet seen on our property.

The nesting boxes we use have bottoms made of pegboard, so the infants’ natural instinct to burrow down ends up setting them against the holes.  But but Buttercup’s nest had a solid felted floor the littles couldn’t crawl through.

Joan, our single “silver fox” (mix) rabbit also made a nice nest.  I was contemplating “retiring” the older generation and letting all the youngsters carry the flock, then I realized that the older mama’s bebe’s had, well, distinctly fuller tummies.

I still don’t have an easy way to snap a picture in dim light, but observe this shape: db

Now imagine that the staff is a little’s ribcage, and the bulbs are its belly.  They doin’ some seriously good eatin’ in those nests.

My favorite thing about baby bunnies?  Holding.

Snapshot Update

Two weeks ago, now, Jay and I droe to Anchorage and back, leaving Friday afternoon and returning Saturday night.


The next weekend the Renaissance Faire got rained-out, but the girls still got to wear their costumes:


On Saturday to Papa and Grandma’s, and Sunday to church.  Yes, Melody wore a shirt under that vest.

I find I didn’t get a picture of Elisha in his bi-colored “jester” outfit, but Mom got several, so I’ll have to get hers.

He didn’t really care for it on Saturday (thought we managed to “trick” him into wearing it, which is no small trick these days).

But when Elisha saw the girls in their costumes on Sunday he was excited to put his on again, and as soon as Jay tied the back you would have thought he was wearing a cape, because he began at once to make these flying leaps between pieces of furniture.  I felt a little shell-shocked.

Something about costumes, I guess…

That same weekend a bird flew into our garage:


Elisha was the first to notice him (Jay and I couldn’t figure for the longest time what he was so excited about).

He was still stuck after hours with the door open and it took some getting to get him out, but it was finally accomplished. (A flashlight in a dark garage and a dry humidifier figured largely in this process.)

Just this last Saturday we did a lot of biking around, and Jay found a way to fit all three kids (and yes all buckled) in the bike trailer.

3-kid-trailer.jpgYet another moment when I’ve marveled at the perfection fo God’s timing and design in giving us children of these ages and sizes.

First Sunburn of the Season


We spent the morning at the Ewigs, and the kids had a ball, playing in the sand, riding in the canoe and generally enjoying being outside– without sunscreen.

I’m surprised Elisha shows as much color as he does, since he was the only id who brought a hat (his sister’s sunbonnet) and wore it much of the time.


This trip was also the first time he didn’t race to my side every five minutes, coming on the heels of his second sunday in a row of going to his own “class” for sunday school.

This has been a long time coming.

In other news, Natasha is loving her bike with training wheels.  Last year she tried really hard but it was still too big for her.  I think she’s ready for a real ride now.  Haven’t gotten my bike down yet though, so we haven’t tried yet.


Jay bought two air purifiers in the last, hmmm, 3 or 4 months.  He was preparing for alergy season which is in full bloom.

I got my first taste of his sorry condition this spring, with my eyes becoming irritated and the skin around them itchy and swollen.  Not. cool.

The up-side, though, is that when I went to the eye doctor to verify allergies he gave me a sample of an eye-drop antihistamine.  It’s been sooo nice.  Not only does it directly target the problem area (eyes), there are none of the tiredness side-effects that come with systemic (oral) meds.

Jay’s used them too, and while they don’t eliminate his issues (as they mostly do for me) they have been a help.

I have to use a cortisone cream, too, on the skin around my eye.  It fights the itchy feeling.  I actually couldn’t use it at first because that tender skin was so raw.  I used ointment on it for a few days until the skin healed and now between the drops and the cream I feel entirely human again.


My latest big project is making costumes for each of the kids for a “Renaissance fair” coming up.  It’s taking place on Melody’s birthday, so she is thrilled about the big “birthday party” she’ll get to go to.

I’m hoping (especially if it goes annual– this is its first time) to mae this a dressing-up alternative to Halloween.  I’ve been growing more uncomfortable with that over the last several years, and have been praying for an alternative since October.

When I saw the article in the paper and the coordinator’s comment encouraging costumes, “It’s like Halloween in the middle of summer,” I felt I’d found my answer.  We’ll see how it goes, but I’ve trying to be very enthusiastic and creative here to mae this a more special/fun time.

Natasha picked out a princess-dress with bell sleeves, and an indigo fabric, Melody chose a fairy costume and bright pink.  Elisha, of course, is oblivious, but I found a simple costume I described to the girls as a jester and they are pleased with the idea.

The article was asking for more era-correct entertainment on a volunteer basis, so I put a call in to the number to offer storytelling.  I have several adult-length tales that I believe would be quite appropriate for the era.

The only drawback I can think of to the whole costume-thing is the all-or-nothing weather of summer.

Natasha’s dress is dark and long-sleeved, Melody’s light and sleeveless.  Odds are somebody’s going to be uncomfortable.  I just hope they have enough fun being out and about in their dress-ups that they don’t melt into complaining.

There is good hope for that.  They’re already pretty excited.  Piles of frilly, colorful stuff will do that for a girl, I suppose.  😉

Books Figure Largely in Our Lives

Like I mentioned earlier, I spent most of January 1st working on books.

The girls and I traded bookshelves in our bedrooms. These pictures are the girls washing their “new” kid-sized bookshelf.

washing-m.jpg washing-n.jpg

And then I saw Elisha in his little rocking chair, sitting with “Where the Wild Things Are” in a perfect photo-op set-up. But Jay flopped out behind him on the bed and the boy immediately climbed over the back of the chair to get his daddy to read to him.


There were so many great expressions the camera was *just* too slow to catch, but these were still fun too.



That last one is E roaring at the pictures of the “wild things.”

It’s so fun to watch my family do stuff together!