Monday, December 26, 2011

A Merry Christmas To All

On Christmas Eve, the kids and I made cookies.  We left some for Santa, and Porter begged to go to bed, scared that he would be up too late and the big guy would skip our family.

Clearly, Santa also needs a beer by the time he gets to our house.

Bryce and I stayed up in the wee hours assembling a trampoline and a marble run.  Also possibly playing Mario Kart tournaments with each other.  The kids actually slept the next morning until 8:30, and we all had a lovely Christmas day, just relaxing at home, enjoying new toys and the bit of sunshine that made its way to the Far North.

Cedar was very happy with her gifts of wrapping paper.

We ended the day with a venison pot roast, and a completely over-indulgent chocolate pie.  

Life is truly wonderful.  Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 23, 2011


My baby boy, my first born, turned six yesterday.  Just one more example of time flying by I guess.  Looking back at pictures of his first five birthdays, I realized that:

1.  I never, ever get a decent picture of Porter on his special day.

2.  It is really fun now that he has moved past the tantrum/nap/butt wiping stage.  We can actually have a real conversation and do new things and relate on somewhat equal level.  It is really very amazing to be with someone who is in so many ways just like you, but then also just enough of their own person to keep it interesting.

Happy Birthday P-Man.  I love you! 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Ghosts of Christmas Past

In light of Cedar's reaction to Santa, I found myself revisiting the horror I have inflicted on my other children in much the same manner.  I still find it very funny.  I also find it amazing how big Porter is compared to that picture of him screaming on Santa's lap.  This year, he still didn't really want to go near the big guy, but he really wanted to let him know that he wanted a marble run for Christmas.  He knew he had to break through the apprehension in order to do so, and he did.  He's come a long way!

This time of year, I also often find myself busy and stressed and tired and not enjoying what really is a very fun time of year (Santa notwithstanding).  I realized today, with the kids young like this, with their belief in Santa still holding, that this Christmas and the next few will probably be the best ones of my entire life.  There really isn't anything better than seeing this season through their eyes.  So I'm going to try to chill out and have fun with my family.  I am so lucky to have them.  

Saturday, December 17, 2011

So Long Baby

Having a baby these days seems to require the retention of many, many pieces of large, plastic containment devices.  They do serve a purpose (mainly of letting me shower and sleep), and so we've dutifully stored these items for six years, also acquiring additional plastic pieces every time we acquired a new baby.  But now that we are done (DONE) having babies, we get to pass on or otherwise get rid of this mountain of stuff.  It's exciting!  I am not a stuff person, and I've been waiting for this since Porter was little.  Bassinets!  Bouncy seats!  Swings!  Exersaucers!  You know. These things are big and awkwardly shaped and ugly.  And they end up in your living room and really, really dusty in your garage.

So I put some ads on craigslist and freecycle, and found some old user manuals.  And I was happy.  And then a really nice pregnant lady came and took the Fisher Price Baby Papasan (3 C batteries, I mean really).  And she left.  I watched out the window as she put it in her car.  And I was sad, I didn't expect it.  There goes my last baby. 

Did I mention she is eight months old?

Damn you, forward progression of time.  I like to get rid of stuff.  But I also really like my sweet, sweet baby.  And I'm not quite ready yet to give her up. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

It's That Time of Year

The Annual Christmas Torture:

Friday, December 9, 2011

Pigs Don't Smoke

1.  Porter comes home every day from school with a folder containing papers and art work.  A couple of weeks ago there was a book mark in there.  It had a picture of comic book characters on it, with the slogan "super heroes don't use drugs or alcohol."  Porter asked me what it said, and after a few seconds I told him "super heroes love to read!"  I felt bad about lying instantly, but it was a total gut reaction.  And I was a little annoyed with his teacher for putting me in that situation in the first place. 

2.  Porter came home from school another day, and I asked him what they learned.  He said that the counselor taught them about poisons.  Sounded okay to me.  In Porter's rendition, one of the lessons involved looking at pictures of pigs' stomachs.  He said one was pink and healthy and one was black from all the smoke.  I asked him, really, the pig?  How did the pig get smoke in its stomach?  He looked uncertain.  From cigarettes, I questioned?  Yes, he said.  Hmmm.  Clearly, lesson well learned.

These two things, while really no big deal to Porter, have lingered obnoxiously in the back of my head.  I have no big issue with the anti-drug message in general.  Of course I don't want my kids to use drugs and smoke.  And I do plan on talking to them about these things.  When it makes one lick of sense.  Which just isn't now, in kindergarten.  While we have talked about smoking, he really doesn't get it.  And he wouldn't understand at all about drugs.  And, we have alcohol in the house.  And we "use" it in front of the kids.  And I'm totally okay with that.  But it's a confusing message to send to a five year old.  One that's hard to explain, and one I don't feel needs explaining right now.

I worry about my kids a lot, and I'm sure I'll worry about them a lot more in a few years.  But right now, I'm glad this is one thing we haven't reached yet.  And I wish the school would stop making it come all too soon.   

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Week In Review

Wow.  It has been crazy around here.  And fun.  And crazy.
Bryce's sister and her wonderful family came to visit.  Porter and Molly were so happy to hang out with "baby Q."

Molly had a birthday party.  There was much princess action.

 And ladybug cupcakes.

Then it snowed.  And snowed.  And snowed.  And Allison and I ran a 5K on Thanksgiving morning in two feet of the stuff.

Then we came home and ate.  And it was good.

We went sledding, and tried to take a Christmas card picture.  But someone (who will not be named) was scowling in every one.

 Porter went on his first successful deer hunt.  Dawson was happy.

And!  Today, Molly had her first day of preschool.  She's in the big leagues now, and true to her independent nature, did not need me in the least.  Get out of here now mom, really, it's embarrassing.

We really did have a great time with Allison, Dan and Hugh.  And a great holiday. 
 Cedar has decided that teething sucks, and sleeping in overrated, but she's happy too.
Looking forward to December and possibly more frequent blogging.
Happy belated Thanksgiving all! 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young

Happy Third Birthday to my Molly Joyce.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Again, life has gotten in the way of me writing anything intelligent or thought out. But!

Cedar is also allergic to the new antibiotics as evidenced by another horrible rash over the weekend. There was more crying and less sleeping and ohmygod this just needs to be over. She is looking much better today, and I'm taking her back in to the doctor to see if she can kick this ear infection.

We woke up today to a blizzard with a foot of snow already on the ground. Unexpected. They closed all the schools, which is a rare occurrence around these parts. SNOW DAY. Porter cried when he woke up, because he wanted to go. He clearly does not get the importance and joy of a snow day yet. But there is still time for that.

I had to rescue Molly twice from being stuck in the snow, once upside down. It must be hard when it comes up to your thighs.

I made a Venison Stew last night. Everyone liked it. I added potatoes and used my own seasoning. Very good on a winter evening.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

None the Wiser

So I had this big, long post in my head about life lessons and babies, but really, I'm just too tired. Instead, the facts:

Bryce went out of town on a hunting trip.
Cedar got very sick.
I took all three kids to the ER on Saturday night.
I got many looks of pity and some of horror.
Molly actually licked that tray they keep the instruments on.
Porter got reprimanded by a doctor for kung fu fighting.
Cedar cried a lot and did not sleep.
Cedar got antibiotics for an ear infection.
Cedar cried some more.
Bryce came home with a deer! Nobody was enthusiastic.
Cedar got a rash all over her body.
Cedar is allergic to penicillin.
Cedar got different antibiotics.

The End. More Soon.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Last weekend, in anticipation of Halloween, we took the kids to the mall (such as it is here) to see the Haunted House. Porter had been asking to go, and we really didn't think about it all that much. I figured it would be a small town, low budget sort of operation that wasn't all that scary. Or long. The kids would love it! Right.

We lined up, and I could tell Porter was a little nervous. He kept dancing around and asking questions. Molly was oblivious though, really having to idea what we were about to do. When our turn came, we walked into the dark (really, pitch black) hallway, where there proceeded to be fake, bloody severed heads and spiders and creepy monsters. It was indeed small town and low budget, but that didn't matter because Molly totally lost it. By the time Bryce picked her up and was trying to talk her down, there was a group of screaming preteen girls behind us, and there was no way to turn around. Molly was truly terrified, and kept screaming things like Papa pleeeeeaaaase I don't want to go in there, noooooooooo. It was awful. He was trying to get her to close her eyes, and she just kept crying and screaming. I felt terrible. We figured the only thing to do was to hurry through it as fast as we could, but the dang thing was like an endless maze of dark corners that felt way longer than the small space it occupied. It took us forever to make it through, with the girls behind us screaming bloody murder at every little thing, which was not helping Molly at all. When we finally made it out into the light of the mall, Molly was red faced and sobbing on Bryce's shoulder. PARENTING FAIL. Have fun everyone waiting in line!

Afterwards, I felt bad for not thinking of Molly and the fact that she is still only two years old. She is so brave and confident physically and socially that I often forget that she has a big imagination and that those kinds of bravery are very different from being scared of the dark. Molly will go down the giant slide and walk up to a group of strangers and start talking. But she is also scared of the monsters under her bed and strange toilets and bugs. She actually peed her pants the other day when Bryce acted like he was going to hand her a moth. I generally think of Porter as my cautious one and Molly as the brave child, but it isn't always true. And it is good to remember.

By the way, Porter loved the haunted house. He did hold my hand, but he loved it.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween! Love, Indiana Jones and his friends Cat and Frog

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Four Down

It has been another week since my last post. That cold we were passing around has really taken me out. It isn't that the illness itself was that bad, just a nasty cold. But all three of the kids and I got it at the exact same time, more or less. Cedar decided that sleeping while sick was entirely overrated. And if I did manage to get her to sleep for a few hours, one of the other kids was sure to be up with a stuffy nose or a dire need for a glass of water or a peed in bed or some other issue that probably involved bodily functions. And then Cedar cut two teeth. And had to go in for her six month vaccines. So the sleeplessness continues unabated. Last night Bryce even tried to get her to sleep, and at midnight declared it "impossible." And then of course whichever child actually slept well the previous night was up at 6am chipper as hell. Gah. This has been a busy week, but I have spent most of my free time nodding off on the sofa while nursing the baby. After three kids, I know by now that the old adage is true, that this too shall pass. Powers that be, please, please, please let it pass tonight.

Also, in much better news: My dear, beautiful friend Karen had a baby boy yesterday afternoon. Welcome to the world Carter Samuel! As soon as I am not a hotbed of contagion, I absolutely can not wait to snuggle your newborn cuteness. Congratulations all around.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Pardon

Postings have been slim this week. The kids and I have been passing around a cold, which has turned into sleepless nights and crusted-shut eyes and one grumpy mom. Winter is hard on those in possession of young children.

But! Our chicken saga continues. Our original goal of only having egg-laying hens took another turn when the Little One (Big White's friend) declared himself most assuredly a rooster. He is a little guy, the outsider, picked on by the other four chickens. Slept by himself in a corner of the coop. And then one morning at a most annoying and dark hour, he starting crowing. And then he just never shut up. Bryce knew what had to be done, but he was putting it off. There wasn't much meat on the bird, and the whole plucking and butchering process didn't quite seem worth it. But it also seemed like a waste to just kill him and throw him away.

Bryce mentioned this dilemma at work, and a coworker of his offered to take the rooster, do the business himself and eat it for dinner. Great! Bryce put the Little One in a box and carted him off the next day. He gave it to this guy (who runs the asphalt plant), and happily went about his day. The next day he asked to see how it went, and it turns out the Little One endeared himself to the guy, and he just couldn't do it. And now, a couple of days later, he has become the asphalt plant pet, wandering free, apparently running up to anyone that comes around, fed all kinds of treats and staying warm next to the equipment. The Little One has found a new home, and is likely happier without those hens pestering him all day. Plus he can crow to his heart's content, and he won't bother anyone. It's kind of a happy story, although I'm not sure he can avoid eagles and truck tires forever. There has been talk of him moving to a horse barn to live out the winter there. So we will see how the Little One manages his last minute pardon.

Also! For those of my fellow Alaskans with salmon in the freezer, I made these homemade salmon fish sticks the other night. They were crispy and easy and my kids loved them. A great way to use up frozen salmon if you're a little sick of it already. I made them a bit thicker and bigger than called for so they wouldn't overcook in the oven. Yum.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Six Months!

Cedar is half a year old today. This inspired me to look back on photos of Molly and Porter when they were six months old, and the differences were amazing. There is one of Porter where he appears to be sitting up unassisted, and it seems impossible, but I can't figure out how he is propped unseen. In my pictures of Molly, she appears to be crawling, or at least trying very hard. Cedar is nothing like either one of them! She can roll over, but seldom does, she seems happy in one place, with no real desire to move. She is content and happy to just snuggle and watch everything that goes on around her. If you look at her at all, she gives you the biggest smile, every single time. I am grateful that my third baby is turning out to be my easiest, most laid back one of all. At least so far. Happy half birthday babe! We are so happy you're here.

And just for fun, Porter and Molly at the same age. All in hats.

On another note, I made this Potato and Carrot Soup last night. Comfort food, perfect for fall. All ingredients you are likely to have on hand. Delish!

Monday, October 10, 2011


Giggle in bed. And jump on the couch. And chase chickens. And dance in the kitchen.

They also fight to the death over every last toy in the house.

And get really annoyed when you try to take their picture.

But we had a great week! Thanks to Caitlin and Ava for making the trek to the Far North and sharing good food and big laughs.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Lemon Pound Cake

My generous neighbor recently traveled to California, and upon her return gifted me with several home grown Meyer lemons. After some consideration, I made Lemon Pound Cake. The lemons (I also used twice the amount of juice and zest) really made a difference. I also baked it in loaf pans for ease, and it came out moist and lemony and delicious. I would have taken a picture, but we ate it all up. Yum.

In other news, my sister and niece arrive here from down south tomorrow afternoon. We are really looking forward to a (somewhat) relaxing visit! I figure the ratio of kids to adults is better at 4:2 than 3:1 any day. I can't wait.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Laundry & Challah

I know that this likely is the most boring post in this history of ever, but here it is. Laundry. This is one thing I just seem to totally suck at. I mean, I do it. All the time. But all of the kids' clothes seem to be covered in stains two weeks after I buy them, and my whites get dingy and colors fade and it never seems to smell that good. Gah. Bryce has a sensitive skin issue, so I don't like buying anything scented. Plus I figure babies and kids don't need lavender fresh mountain breeze artificial smells on them either. So I usually end up buying organic, awesome free and clear stuff, but honestly, it doesn't work that well. And it's expensive.

I've been meaning to try making my own laundry detergent forever, and always thought it would be a pain in the neck. But? It actually is embarrassingly easy. There are a million recipes out there on the web, but they're all pretty similar. I made a small batch this first time, but I'll probably make a huge tub soon. I used:

1 cup Borax
1 cup Washing Soda
1 bar Fels Naptha laundry soap, grated

I found all this stuff at the grocery store. You can really use lots of different kinds of soap too, I think I'll use Ivory next time. Upon inspection of old detergent bottles, these things seem to be the basic ingredients in commercial laundry soap, along with a few other mystery items. You mix it together and use a heaping tablespoon per wash. Super, super cheap. And so far, so good. My clothes smell fresh from the dryer, and although I haven't had any epic diaper blow-outs or grass stains yet, it seems to be working well.

I made this batch plain to try it out. But the best part for me is that you can add a few drops of essential oil to the mix to get a fragrance. I am guessing that this will be okay for Bryce and the kids, and then I will actually get good smelling laundry for the first time in years. So, for me, it's really not about being green or saving money (although that is a bonus), but just getting what I want instead of a lot of what I don't.

Also! I made bread this weekend. It had been a long time. I used this recipe for Challah as I am always trying to use more eggs these days, and it turned out delicious. I need to work on my braiding technique, but this link has some very nice instructions for the six stranded braid. Really, really awesome toast.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Not Enough Arms

When I was pregnant with Cedar, I knew that having three kids was going to be harder than having just two. I knew that Bryce and I would be outnumbered, and that I was not going to get much time to spend alone with anyone. Someone always has to come first. Which means someone else is coming last. This week I have found it very difficult to find the right balance, and I feel like Porter is really getting the short end of the stick. Parenting guilt is high.

Porter had his last soccer game of the season on Saturday, and his team was having a party at the local pizza joint afterwards. But Bryce is out of town, and by the time the game was over, it was nap time, the girls were losing it, I forgot the Ergo, and I just didn't see how we could do it without 1500 major meltdowns. So I told him I thought the party was just for coaches, and we went home. Then on Tuesday he had his first martial arts class, something he was excited about. I really wanted to stay and watch, but Molly peed her pants while sitting on one of their super clean no shoes allowed mats, then threw a tantrum when I tried to remove her, so we had to sit in the car. Porter had a great time, but I missed it. Then on Thursday we had back to school night (again, no Bryce), and I was so distracted by Molly running off into giant crowds that it was hard to focus on everything Porter wanted to show me. And that day he told me that he "felt left out of our family." Awesome.

I know he just needs a little more attention. And that he's tired and grumpy from being in school. And that it's extra hard when Bryce isn't here to share any of this evening stuff. But still. I feel so bad for him. He really just wants to hang out with me, but it's always a poopy diaper or a two year old tantrum that comes before drinking hot chocolate and talking about Legos.

So today when I picked him up from school I left the girls in the car (happy and amused at the time), and spent a few minutes talking to his teacher and letting him show me a few things in his classroom. It was nice. And then we got out to the car, and Cedar was red faced and screaming with big, fat tears rolling down her face. And Molly had started in with the sympathy crying. And they all cried the whole way home. Sigh.

A friend of mine who has three kids herself (slightly older than mine) told me it only gets worse. That I will feel really guilty about short changing the middle one later on. So I suppose this is all just life. Good moments and bad. And that the gift of siblings will make up for it all in the end. And that Porter won't end up in therapy just because we didn't eat pizza one day when he was five. At least I sure hope so.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Breakfast of Champions

Roasted peppers stuffed with fresh eggs, cheese and tomatoes.

Also, my kids ate frozen waffles.
But at least I was happy.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

One Season Down

Today was Porter's last soccer game of the season. It was a beautiful fall day, full of blue sky and energy. Porter had a great coach, and a lot of nice kids on his team. This was our first foray into team sports, and we all had fun figuring things out (note to self: juice boxes seem mandatory as part of the post game snack). But I have to say I'm pretty relieved that it's all over. Chasing Molly around the soccer field twice a week was getting stale, and it's hard for me to even watch Porter while making sure she doesn't run into traffic or make an appearance in the game (sorry about that today). I also can't exactly tell how Porter feels about the whole experience. He gladly attended all events, seemed to have fun out there, and even asked to play again next year. But he also didn't seem that into it, you know? He doesn't really have an aggressive bone in his body, and tends to be the kid doing cartwheels while the ball rolls right past him. He told me one day that it was really fun when you got to kick the ball, but that he hardly ever got to do it. And it's true. It is certainly not surprising, given who his parents are, that team sports (or sports in general) may not exactly be Porter's forte. But it is also true that he is five years old. And the verdict is probably still out on his athletic ability. So, I am one season down in my career as a soccer mom. We'll see how many more I last.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


We had a fun and busy weekend here with Grandma Allison!  The kids got spoiled by all the attention and stickers, and we managed to get outside a little despite the less than stellar weather. 

We also finally said goodbye to Big White.  She was a nice chicken, but far, far too large for her own good.  In fact, it really was amazing just how big that chicken was.  We had friends over on Saturday and roasted her up.  Then the next day we had chicken pot pie, and the next day chicken soup.  Both with enough leftovers for lunches.  For everyone.  That is five meals from one chicken.  That's a lot of meat.  It made us think harder about raising meat birds, but that will have to wait until next year.  We are also suspecting that the Little One, the bantam, may be a rooster.  So he may not have a flock of his own for long.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


I feel like Porter and I have been waiting for kindergarten to start for years now, and here it is, finally upon us. He has been watching the school bus drive past our house for years too, and insisted that he ride it the first day, even though I tried to convince him to let me drive. So we all walked down to the bus stop and waited with the big kids. He looked pretty nervous looking around at all these kids we didn't know. And then the bus came and I saw him get on. The bus driver asked him his name, and I saw that he couldn't understand Porter's mumbling. Then I saw him creep down the aisle of a very crowded bus, trying to find a seat in a sea of unfamiliar faces. There he was, my first baby, reliving that uncomfortable moment from my childhood. All alone. Gulp.

Luckily, that was by far the hardest part of the day for all of us. The girls and I followed the school bus in my car (I know, I know). And by the time we parked and found Porter in his classroom, all was right with his world. He had found some friends, and was beyond thrilled with his new teacher, the school and all the new big kid stuff that was now his to know. I could barely get him to talk to me. So I lingered, unneeded, for a few minutes, and then left to go back to my quiet house.

He was just as excited when I picked him up (kindergartners can't ride the bus home), and although he was exhausted, he was ready for another day at school. Molly and I baked cookies and watched Strawberry Shortcake this morning. And we are looking forward to hearing all about the second day.