Saturday, September 17, 2016

this is real life, folks

So many blogs (professional ones) are just about the good stuff.  The pictures are beautiful, the food is always delish, the house is always perfect.  I love those blogs.  It's eye candy for me.  

But this is not one of those blogs.  

Here's a glimpse of "a day in the life."  It doesn't show everything, but it does show a series of unfortunate events:

The garage is really getting to me, so looks like it's time to
clean it out!
All this stuff in the middle of the 2nd bay?  It needs to be relocated.
And the play area needs some TLC.
And while I have an awesome school-storage system (thanks dad!)
I still have some books to sort.  Just a few.  :oP

This was a day when Marcus was traveling.  Whenever I try to tackle a project when he is traveling, it never ends well.  Really, taking care of these kids is a full-time job!  They can't be left unattended for a minute!!

Someone thought she had dry skin.
 That night was a rough one for about 20 minutes there.  I was about to put Sedric to bed when I realized his freshly-cleaned sheets were not yet ON the bed (he had had a little accident at nap time, bless his heart).  While I was struggling with the sheets, Bunny came running in saying, "The giant mice are eating Speckle!  The giant mice are eating Speckle!"  This can't be good.  

I told her, "Send up James to take care of Celeste, and I'll go down to the barn with you!"  So James bounded up and found Cellie in the bathroom.  Still working on the sheets, I heard James exclaim, "Noooo, no, no no, this is bad, no, this is really bad...."  The above picture shows how we found her.  So I had to scrub Cellie with soap to get the greasy cream off, the dash downstairs to put my boots on to go to the barn and take care of a poultry crime scene.

Turns out the giant mice did not KILL Speckle...but they were willing participants in her burial process. I decided at that moment that barn or not, country or not, mice were NOT welcome!  Anyway, Bunny and I set to work to bury poor Speckle (who likely died of natural, not rodent, causes).

I think it was about 9pm at this time.
I wondered what the neighbors thought.

And I still had work to do inside:

When I am alone, I usually leave dinner dishes
until AFTER I put the kids to bed.  Blah.
 The kids, however, were not traumatized by the evening's events, and decided to do some star-gazing.  (They did show me Saturn's rings.  That was pretty cool.)

Marcus came home right about this time, much to all of our delight.  I'm sure he was bummed he missed all the action of the previous 30 minutes.  But he was glad to have a project the next day (buying and setting mouse traps).  There's nothing like being needed and staying active! :o)

Thursday, September 8, 2016

dinner with friends

It's not often someone is willing to take on a family of EIGHT healthy eaters and invite them to a home-cooked dinner...but that is exactly what my friend Fanny did!

homemade focaccia with onions--YUMMMMM!
Fanny made a fresh salad and pesto pasta along with the focaccia
(Fanny is from Italy BTW).  I've known Fanny for 15 years now,
since she was pregnant with her 3rd child.  :o)
Fanny's daughter Irena made DELICIOUS
chicken and salmon skewers--seriously, they
were amazing!  She is only in 9th grade and she
has a big interest in the culinary arts.  The drinks
she made for the kids were fantastic as well!
The L-Z family has a beautiful old home in
Forest Grove, with a perfect back yard.
showing--and learning--card tricks (Veronika is in James' grade)

Marcus with Krystof 
Seddy and Veronika
We all had a FABULOUS time and are so grateful for friends like Fanny and her family!  We were totally spoiled and the L-Z girls were very patient and energetic with Seddy and Gemma especially.  :o)  Next it's their turn to come to OUR house!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

end of August random happenings

Just scanning through pics from the last few weeks, and here's what I came up with:

First, I got the random notion that I wanted to go to the Street of Dreams this year.  I figured Marcus wouldn't want to go with me so I asked my friend Lisa if she wanted to go the next evening.  Turns out Marcus DID want to go, so we spontaneously went on a date that very night!  It was so much fun: the houses were GORGEOUS and the setting was beautiful, overlooking vineyards and with a mountain view.  We didn't necessarily get any ideas that we can bring back to our own house (glass floor looking down into your wine cellar, anyone?) but it was great fun getting a peek at these multi-million dollar homes.

Like my stylish booties? :oP
(the room on the very right is a 2-story game room with a
$600,000 brass and glass garage-style door)

I haven't been out in the garden much--I am a terrible harvester--but I did manage to put a few garden veggies on the menu to force myself to shop my own store.  Celeste and I went out to pick potatoes one Sunday afternoon:

2 kinds of potatoes, and 2 kinds of beets, from our garden

We've been spending most every evening outside.  Installing a sport court 4 years ago was the BEST decision we have made for our property!  The kids are out there every day, and usually Marcus too.  ;o)  I think it has held up very well over these few years, and it gives the kids a large, safe, flat surface to do all kinds of activities.  Sometimes my husband knows what doing when he comes up with crazy ideas (good job, hon!).

My feeble attempt at a panoramic shot from our front porch

Bunny is continuing to have horse lessons but now that Marcus' travel has increased, I often need to take ALL the kids.  James is not quite old enough to babysit.  So what we do is we drop Bunny off, drive 15 minutes to the nearest McDonald's play land, spend 30 minutes there (free wifi!), and drive 15 minutes back to pick her up before driving 30 minutes home.  Whew.  But it is worth it for Bunny, and the younger kids really like these fun evenings as well.

And a couple of bonus pics:

(me trying to fill the ground-mouse holes under our apple trees)  

Friday, September 2, 2016

TLUSA beach trip

This past weekend The Boys took a Trail Life USA trip to Pacific City/Cape Kiwanda.  It is one of those popular beaches that we just never have visited for some reason or another.  The Boys were excited to see what it was all about, and to have a fun time with their friends.

Marcus got an early start to the morning, to beat
traffic and to have more fun with his sons.
They ate a 2nd breakfast at The Grateful Bread Bakery & Cafe
where HUGE portions are the norm!
good eater
It was a typical day on the Oregon Coast--very
chilly and very windy. 

Marcus was very surprised to find that this beach allowed for cars to drive right up to the shore--which was PERFECT for spending a day in the sand without lugging all your gear up and down!

Sedric got cold a few times and had to sit in the Pilot to warm
up, which was NO PROBLEM since the Pilot was right there!
Marcus was grateful that Sedric had brought along a bag of junk,
I mean "toys," which kept him busy.

They spent most of their time with friends Thomas and William.
James got to hike up a huge sand dune with them while Marcus
stayed back with Sedric.

They can't wait 'til their next adventure!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Backpack Service Project

At the end of each August we always make time to help out with the St. Vincent de Paul Backpack Project.

The parishioners of St. Matthew have donated school supplies for over a month now, and St. Vincent de Paul had taken names of over 80 kids who are in need of full backpacks.  It's so much fun every year to be the worker bees for this worthy cause.  This year we only stayed to fill the packs; in years past we also distributed them to the clients.

Good job, kids!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Field Trip to Pittock Mansion

A typical Portland sight-seeing location is Pittock Mansion, but despite living here for 18 years (and hosting numerous visitors), I had never been there!

Since I am a big fan of "intentional living," I purposefully planned a date in August to make a fun field trip for all of us.

Pittock Mansion is on a large parcel of view property above Portland.  It was built by Oregonian (newspaper) owner Henry Pittock and his wife Georgiana.  I thought it was interesting how they each individually came across the country by wagon trains, and how Henry started as a lowling at the Oregonian and worked up to be owner in only a short time.  He later was a successful businessman in the booming late 1800's.

Sedric stayed with grammae and papa after Sunday Mass, since this field trip was not exactly geared to an active 4-year-old boy.  ;o)

beautiful view

After our visit to the Mansion, I did another Portland first...I ate at a real food cart!  I seriously cannot believe I have never done this, since not only is Portland famous for food carts, but I am famous for eating.  ;o)  We choose a pod on Alder, and while Marcus was getting the kids their food at a Grilled Cheese cart, I chose "Steak your Claim" for their outrageous fries and house-cured pastrami.  Bunny chose a neighboring Mac & Cheese cart.

(if you look real closely, you can see all the
homeless people in the background...another
famous Portland experience)  ;oP

 As if all THIS wasn't fun enough, we ended our trip with a visit to Finnegan's toy store: