Thursday, August 25, 2011

Blueberry Squicking

Yep - you read that right.....the children, Grandma Marion and I went blueberry squicking today.  As you might imagine, our adventure started like most others of the sort.  We had planned a day of blueberry picking.  Carrying their buckets, the children scampered along the rows until we finally reached our assigned rows of 26 - 28.  At first, it seemed as if each bush was laden with blueberry treasure.  However, as is human nature, after a short while of picking in the hot sun, the next row always looked more full of blueberries than the one we were on.

The boys each carried their own bucket, Emet stopping about every 20 blueberries to show us how many were in his bucket.  This year Caleb was pretty focused on making sure he filled his bucket as full as possible all on his own. Anna Ruth didn't carry any bucket but the round tummy that was quickly filling with blueberries as she went along.  All ate their fair share of blueberries, however...including Mama and Grandma Marion.

As we neared the 3 hour mark, we were all tired, sweaty and sunburned...but we picked on, knowing Anna Ruth had a limited amount of time remaining.  I looked over to check on my little blueberry muffin to see that she had changed her tactics and was now leaning over my 3 gallon bucket of blueberries eating directly from the freshly picked pile.  A few minutes later, I glanced over to see that she was no longer eating but was digging her hands into the blueberry treasure, taking little fist fulls and squishing them!  Yikes!  I was able to divert her back to the bush, then continued my picking.  Glancing over once again after a period of prolonged silence, I saw she was back at the bucket....but this time, she had tipped the almost full bucket over, spilled them onto the ground, and was now happily putting them back into the bucket.  Arg!  I went over to once again divert her and pick up the treasure.  As I was frantically picking them up, she had toddled over to another small bucket, picked it up, and had added it to my now growing pile of blueberries on the ground.  I was starting to get overwhelmed by my inability to stop the blueberry tornado.  Ah, but the fun had not yet ended....not for Anna Ruth!  I tried to heave my sore pregnant hips from their crouched position in order to physically remove her from the scene, but before I could do this, Anna Ruth had discovered the joy of blueberry stomping....yes, just like they do with grapes, but the goal here wasn't blueberry wine.  By now, I had collapsed back onto my rear (the getting up wasn't so successful) and was laughing along with everyone else.  Grandma Marion came over to help me salvage our, now twice picked crop and get the remainder into the buckets before any other disaster befell them.

All in all, we ended up with about 25lbs of blueberries and a whole ton of memories!

Goodbye little road grater and snow plow....You will be missed.

Yesterday the children and I went through all of their toys, bin by bin, until we had sorted out all of the broken toys and those that were no longer being used. We discussed how with our little house and another baby on the way, in addition to the toys they would likely receive from their upcoming birthdays and at Christmas time, we needed to declutter.  We talked about how there are many little children that are not as privileged as our family has been that would love playing with the toys they no longer used.

Caleb came downstairs with each addition to the give-away pile and explained why he was or perhaps was not going to add it to the donation pile.  At the end of the experience, we had 2 bags of broken bits and a big box of toys to donate.  All felt accomplished........that is until Caleb proudly told Papa about what they had done that day.  He announced that had had given away his road grater and snow plow.  A sad look came over Jason's face.  I know he remembered playing with the boys and the road grater and snow plow.  But, he said nothing.

Today, we went by the Goodwill to drop of our box of toys. After dropping them off, Caleb said he felt bad about himself for giving away his toys.  As I worked this through with him, he started to mention the road grater and snow plow and how much he really liked them and wished he hadn't given them away.  The funny thing is, I completely understood.  It was as if the process of giving these favored toys away was a process of saying goodbye once again.......goodbye to the two little boys excitedly awaiting Papa's return from work so they could play with their favorite cars and toys on the living room floor, which, of course, included the road grater and snow plow.  Sure, now they have moved on to excitedly await Papa's return so they can play tag, soccer or football outside....or play a game on Papa's phone...but the road grater and snow plow are no more.

I felt like weeping.  I nearly, and I'm not kidding you here, drove back through the Goodwill drop off  to see if our box was still unloaded.....tell them we had made a mistake and put a favorite toy inside.......and could we please have it back.

In the end, I decided to let it open my clenched fist and say goodbye once again, so that there would be room for the next special treasure that would take it's place.  However, in the meantime.....I can say this:  Goodbye little road grater and snow plow.  You will be missed.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Gone Fishin'

(From Papa)

I decided this year to make time to take the boys fishing.  So, in May I purchased a $35 license and set it in what I thought was a reasonably safe place.  More on that later.  Advance several months to a screaming busy work schedule, social life, house remodel, wood for the winter, broken down everything...and still no fishing.  To avoid another missed chance to share the joy, this Saturday morning was determined to be THE day.  We were going fishing.  In order to make getting little boys out of bed at 0545 easier, I got them jazzed up about the whole idea and mentioned the bakery might be open before the fish were awake.  The parenting joy was in full tilt as we listened to Caleb and Emet in their bunk beds discussing the finer points of sneaking up on fish.

Early that evening I had realized that my grandpa's fishing gear and the pole he had given me were in bad shape.  A gracious coworker stayed late and we oiled reels and put on new line.  But three fishermen and two poles just wouldn't do.  So off to Bi-mart for a new rod and reel.  Even on sale, I rang up another $30.  After the kids were in bed, the preparation continued by carefully setting up the new pole, tying hooks and swivels, and getting everything into the truck.

At midnight, I thought I would look for the fishing license that I had purchased in May.  At 0130 we determined it was gone...filed, thrown out, or organized.....didn't matter, just gone.  Now fishing in the morning was a mission.

0545, dizzy with tiredness, I tucked in little sister and went to wake the boys.  Caleb greeted me with open eyes and "Papa, I've been awake."  Emet shared in my morning grogginess.  Caleb, seeing that all of the fish were going to be caught before we got to the lake at the pace that I was going, showed incredible maturity and encouragement.  He got and helped me put on my shoes and reminded us that "we're going fishing today."
Even a very tired Papa was motivated by an enthusiastic little helper.

The gate to the lake opened at 0630.  The new fishing license would have to wait until 0700.  We were not going to get the jump we were hoping for.  Even still, coffee and donuts can fix a lot of disappointment at that early hour.

The bakery was closed.          

Ok, we'll get some gas and Starbuck's coffee and wait until the store opens.  Five more dollars.

The lady behind the counter at Fred Meyer kindly explained the $20 fee that I would need to pay for the reissue of the fishing license.  We were on a mission...

License and coffee in hand, the 1979 Dodge crew-cab gassed up, and we finally head for the lake.  The recent repairs to the truck were not sufficient to keep us from spending a few minutes on the side of the road. I briefly contemplated quickly darting over and grabbing the suburban. No, we were on a mission. A few exciting backfires and rolling starts later, we finally got to the lake and pay the $10 dollar parking fee.  We walked down to the lake, each with pole in hand, and I finally felt the stress from the work week and the fishing mission start to dissipate.  Papa left the new bait in the truck. Ok, we tried the salmon eggs that were purchased before Caleb was born.  They worked.

The boys intently looked for each move of the bobber, and we grappled with three perch.  Their concentration level was not high, but neither was mine.  One for Caleb and two for Emet.

All tolled, the Ordway fishing mission cost about $50 an hour and surely sent some of Papa's brown hair to gray.  But spending special time with my boys and seeing the results causes me to think there are more missions in store.....


Sunday, August 14, 2011


(From Jason)

In the middle of getting dinner at the fair, Emet exclaimed, "Papa I've gotta poop"....false alarm #1; Stuck in traffic leaving the fair, Emet once again says, "Papa, I've got to go poop NOW" (insert crying, panicking). We drive to the nearest gas station and I rush into the Honeybucket with him (Emet officially declares "I still have to go, but I'm all out of poop") ...false alarm #2; 30 minutes later while giving Anna Ruth her bath, Emet frantically rips off his clothes and RUNS for the bathroom, poop squirting out as he goes (kitchen, bathroom floor, my foot, and last but not least....the toilet.) Thank you sweet wife for cleaning my foot while I continued giving Anna Ruth her bath.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Celebrating 10 years with my best life is beautiful

Ten years ago tonight, I married my best friend. The amazing part is, as much as I loved Jason then, I couldn't have imagined how much I would love him now.

Anyone who knows my Jason knows just what a privilege it is to be his friend.  He is loyal and honorable.....a man of his word.  He encourages and supports, yet challenges, as iron sharpens iron.  I've seen him come alongside strong men of great stature and strength, and when they falter or fear....he encourages gently as if they were a child in need of a father. And they are comforted.  His name means Healer and Hero.  He has been that to many others.  Can you imagine what an honor it has been for me to be his wife, closest friend, and mother of his children?

Ten years ago, Jason committed to love me as Christ loved the church.  No, he hasn't been perfect, no one is, but it has been a humbling experience to see this man of integrity in action and to experience his love for me.

We've learned a lot together on our journey thus far.  We've built a toolbox, and have collected a fair amount of tools which we can pull out when things need to be built or repaired. We have a long ways to go. To that end, we are ever thankful for the large network of family and friends who are walking alongside us on our journey.  What a blessing and support they have been in our lives!  And to God above who has guided and protected us each and every step of the way.........

Ten years ago, we celebrated our union on a perfect August evening surrounded by the lush gardens of my parents' home in Port Orchard, WA.  Swing music and stars filled the night air.....and dreams danced in our hearts.

Tonight, we celebrated ten years of our union on a perfect August evening surrounded by our three children (and baby girl still inside) at the Clark County Fair in Vancouver, WA.  Carnival music and lights filled the night air....and dreams danced in the hearts of our little ones....and thus in our hearts too.   We had a wonderful time together as a family.  I couldn't think of a more perfect way to celebrate.

Our life is a beautiful life, filled with so much love, joy, and life. We have been truly blessed.

 Jason and Ann....newly married

 Radiant with joy...the quads just came out to race.
 Snuggles with Mama.
 My sweet family
 10 years and he still takes my breath away
Mama with her 4 babies
 Papa and his little Ru
 My boys....side by side, as usual

 Soul deep: Emet staring at the Ferris Wheel after first learning he was 1 inch too short to ride this year
Jason and Ann....10 years married...forever in love
We were dreaming then......still dreaming now...

I love you, Jason. May God grant you to me until our last breaths on earth.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Money Hunt....

Today, I sat down with the boys to count the change in our "Family Bank", a little glass jar in which we deposit change we see floating around the house.  The money is being saved for a trip to Disneyland.  (Something tells me most families with small children have a similar jar and purpose...)

We had accumulated a total of $39.22.  When I told Caleb this put our fund total to about $175, Caleb was amazed.  I'm guessing he thought we were about ready to get on the plane!

I took the opportunity as a teaching moment and explained that while we already had airline miles and hotel points to cover our fees in those areas, we'd probably have to spend about $1000 on park entry tickets and another $1000 on food and spending.

Caleb's response was priceless:  "Wow!  Mama.....we have GOT to come up with a plan.  We need to go on a money hunt!"  :-)