Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thankful Thursday - Recognizing my blessings!

Words have escaped me these last couple of weeks with Jessica's passing and I haven't felt much like writing.  I'm realizing though, that as hard as it is to accept, life does move on and while we will continue to grieve we will also heal...

In the spirit of that I thought today a good day to recognize how much I still have to be thankful for!!  The number one thing is the amount of grace and out-pouring of love that has come from all of our family and friends in the face of Jessica's tragedy.  I could never have imagined how many lives she had touched in her 12 years and am in awe of it.  I know that my sister and her family (and myself) would not be coping nearly as well without all the grace from the prayers that have been unleashed for them.  How can I not be thankful, grateful, humbled by that?!

My children remind me every day how thankful I need to be.  They are both miracles to us and for however long they are entrusted to my care by God, I am blessed. 

Fall is in full swing and I've been noticing it finally this last week.  The smell of the leaves, the crispness in the air, pumpkins on the porch... everything was hidden from me because of my sadness is starting to creep back into my consciousness... I am thankful for that because these are all things I LOVE about fall.

Ok - that might seem like a short list but it fills my cup for this morning, for which I am also thankful.

A picture of my sister's kids with Karen from fall a couple of years ago to end my post...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Miss you Jessica {Wordless Wednesday}

This picture is several years old, but wanted to post it today nonetheless.  I miss you sweetheart!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Trying to understand

... this is a hard post to write, but after today I need to get some of it out of my head... we had a beautiful weekend celebrating Megan's second birthday - a party on Saturday at my sister's house with my folks who were visiting, all three of my sisters, and my sister's family.  A second party yesterday at our house with most of my husbands family.  Happy times all around.

I was going about my day as usual today and received a phone call from my sister that our 12 year old niece had collapsed this morning with a severe headache and had to be life-flighted to the local children's hospital.  We found out just before lunch that she had suffered severe bleeding on the brain from an AVM (arteriovenous malformation) and her prognosis is not good.

I am trying so hard to understand God's plan in all of this... I trust His holy will for our families... but it is so hard facing what may become an inevitability with Jessica.

Lord, grant me the grace to accept your will  but know that I am currently praying with my whole heart that it is not the road that currently looks like it is before us.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Happy Birthday!

My sweet Meg turns 2 today!  It is so hard to believe 2 years have already gone by!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Frogs!! {Wordless Wednesday}

This weekend the girls had their first "catch" on the farm.  They found a frog while playing outside with their Daddy.  They were THRILLED, to put it mildly, and a little beside themselves when it decided to hop out of their bucket and make a break for it...

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Finding some structure... an update!

So I posted last month how my lack of structure and routine was starting to kick my butt... well, I got sick on top of it and then it REALLY kicked my butt!!  So... I'm giving you an update on what is developing in my life with regards to a routine (ack! structure!) ... and surprising myself with how much I'm liking it!

A caveat before I lay it out... this is a rough outline which obviously needs to be filled in some places with more detail.  I expect that to happen as we get more used to living within a routine!  Secondly... as with most things, about the time you feel like you've figured things out something comes along to throw a wrench it in it... I realize that this will more than likely happen to my "beautiful" plan, but if I continue to use that as an excuse not to make one, I'll be in the same place I was a month ago!

Sunday - Church and Family Day
Too often right now, Sunday's are a our "make-up" day for outside chores, inside chores, etc.  I would love to get back to what Sunday is supposed to be, a day of rest (which with my husband's farming and soon-t0-be coaching schedule - he needs!) and family "fun" - whatever that entails.  

Monday - Appointment and Errand Day
Karen has Speech Therapy and every other week I will be having my OB appt. until Crider Baby3 makes his/her appearance.  It's an hour drive one-way, so this is a minimum of a three hour round trip for us.  I plan to try and do grocery shopping and/or town errands this day if it works

Tuesday - Home Day!! 
With all of our running around, I'm starting to cherish these!  My goal on Tuesdays is to be more structured in my play with the girls and to tackle one "project" ... I use the word loosely as it could be something as simple as carving out an hour or two to work on my quilt, tackling a closet that needs organizing, catching up on our budget, etc.

Wednesday - School, Appointments, and Errand Day
Karen has preschool and then we have to leave by 10 for her 2nd speech therapy session.  My goal is to try and have myself ready to go so that when Megan and I come back home from taking Karen to school, I can focus on other things in the house besides getting ready!  I would like for Wednesdays to be my "quick" cleaning day... doing those weekly cleaning items like bathrooms, a quick run through with the vacuum, etc.  I should be able to do this (if I'm not trying to get ready) in the two hours between when I take Karen to school and pick her up!  Since we are in town again, this is another opportunity for groceries and/or errands if I'm organized!

Thursday - School and Home Day
Karen has preschool (and speech therapy at the school).  She is dropped off between 8:00 and 8:15 - then Megan and I have three hours before we head back into town to pick her up.  This time can be used to 1. spend some one-on-one time with Megan, 2. tackle something that is hard to do with 2 little ones underfoot, or 3. engage Megan in something so that I can have some time to "myself" to catch up on reading, housework, blogging... :)

Friday - Another Home Day!! 
Yay!  I'd like to follow my plan for Tuesdays with the additional item of completing any household items (cleaning, laundry) that are outstanding so that we go into the weekend with a fresh house!

Saturday - House Day
We have soooo many little and big house projects that we are hoping to get done before the weather changes and the baby comes.  If I do a better job during my week of taking care of the every-day items, we can use this day to focus on these projects (and maybe I'll be able to carry some of them into my Tuesday/Friday routine!).

I feel like this is a pretty reasonable approach to putting some structure into our daily life.  As you can see - the structure is kind of already there because of Karen's appointments, but I was still flying by the seat of my pants most days.  This gives me something to work towards. But what do you think?  Am I being as reasonable as I think or does this sound like I'm setting myself up to struggle?!  I'm praying for the former!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Sick and pregnant equals sick and tired!

I've been absent for a few weeks now.  My last post was about needing some structure and well... life happened and smacked me up-side the head and said "here's some structure"!!!  It's been a busy few weeks adjusting to our "out of the house by a specific time four days a week".  Then to top it off, the girls passed along their little cold to me... being pregnant and getting sick is a really bad combination for me.  It happened my last two pregnancies (at almost 9 months!) and I went into labor with both girls recovering from bronchitis.  Sounds fun, huh?! 

Needless to say - the little sniffles the girls had has hit me like a ton of bricks and knocked me almost flat for the last 10 days!  Today is the first day that I feel like I even have the energy to tackle more than their and my basic needs... which is good because my house needs a little TLC!!  Anyway - I'm hoping this "little" bout with sickness will exempt me from having to go through it again at 9 months like the last two times!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Needing some structure

Lately I've been feeling sort of adrift... I'm coming to the realization that there is no pattern or organization to my days (ok... truthfully I realized this LONG ago but have been resisting the notion that this is largely responsible for the struggles I've been having).  "Routine" is always something that has been a struggle for me.  So, starting from my single days and somewhat continuing until now, life has been pretty on-the-go, no routine, and definitely no structure.

I'm finding as a stay at home Mom, especially as my girls are getting bigger and I'm looking at another one on the way, that I'm spending way to much time wandering around my house in circles wondering where to start and what to tackle.  There are too many trips to town followed by another one a day or two later because I wasn't organized enough to realize there were a couple of other things that were going to be needed or done.  I also know that most kids thrive on a structure in their lives and knowing what to expect.  Now that Karen has started back at preschool two days a week and I will be taking her to speech therapy for three sessions a week... things are going to be crazy without a little better organization on my part!

I'm also finding that, as someone who wants God to be at the center of our family, of my daily life with the kids, and just ever-present in our house - not having a structure in our day makes it very challenging to remember to include those extra times for prayer, for song, for teaching my girls (as much as can be taught at nearly 2 and 3.5...).

So... I don't really have an answer as to what "structure" I'm going to put into my days - but just sharing that I know it HAS to happen and while a part of me resists the idea, a larger part of me is really looking forward to having a rhythm to our days and weeks.  I think the girls will thrive better and I know that I will certainly feel calmer and be able to accomplish more.  I would love to hear what your daily/weekly routine looks like and how it came about for you, if you feel like sharing.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Flower Girl

Last weekend we attended the wedding of a good friend of my husband's.  Our little 3.5yr old was asked to be the flower girl.  We accepted with the caveat that we couldn't promise that she would actually cooperate... to our relief, she did!!  It was a beautiful wedding and really sweet to see Karen in her role.
Walking back with her Daddy to join the wedding party
Our thoughts: "Yay!!  She's doing it!!"
She had to pull out the duck lips at the "picture pause"

Once the ceremony was over, she got back to her favorite activity... dancing!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Harvest Bee

I have never regretted moving back into a small farming community and yesterday I was reminded just how special these communities can be.  A little more than a couple of weeks ago, a local farmer (and cousin to my husband) was severely injured in a forklift accident.  He had to be life-flighted to the closest trauma center and is now recovering from 16 broken ribs, shattered collar-bone, collapsed lungs, among other injuries... he has a long recovery road ahead of him but fortunately survived!

Grain harvest started around here right after his accident - we have been going strong for a couple of weeks now.  So many people were asking what they could do to help that a Harvest Bee was organized... if you've never heard of it, it is where local farmers donate their time, equipment, and harvest crews for a day to help another farmer in need.  It is a pretty neat sight!

There were 24 combines in total spread out in two groups.  My husband and our other combine is in the picture below.  This particular group cut with 10 combines and the other 14 were put in a different location.  Between the two groups, they managed to cut 600 acres of fall wheat in less than a day!
Group of 10 lined up for a photo

Carl leading the charge from the picture taking to wheat cutting...

They made short work of their 200+ acres

We are praying for you Jerry and hope that you rest better knowing that your fields are taken care of!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Stepto Butte {Wordless Wednesday}

I apologize for being a lazy blogger the past couple of weeks.  I like wordless Wednesday because I KNOW I can find time to at least post a picture (or several) from the last week... but realize that it's a bit lazy on my part to only do this kind of post week after week... so I will do better!  In the meantime, here are few of my favorite pics from our trip up Steptoe Butte to watch the sunset this weekend.

My favorite picture of the whole trip is this one of Megan and Carl.  She keeps going down into this pose - Carl laughingly says she is practicing her basketball defensive stance... I think she looks like she's practicing to be a sumo wrestler.  Either way, this picture of the two of them in front of the setting sun is precious to me!

Here are just a few more from the evening.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Country Girls {Wordless Wednesday}

My girls uncovered some of the fall shoes that had been put away and fell in love with their boots!!  They ran around in these the rest of the weekend, Megan even had to wear hers to church on Sunday with her dress... country girls in the making!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Ugly Cherry Pie

I inherited some pie cherries from my mother-in-law a couple of days ago that were begging to be made into a pie.  I'm not the most expert pie-maker, but have had pretty decent luck in the past.  I'm beginning to think it was beginners luck!  Making pie crusts is an art, I've decided... one that does not come naturally to me!

Last night I had it all rolled out and was patting myself on the back for how pretty it looked!!  I had used a small cookie cutter to cut four little hearts for venting and decoration and it looked prefect laying there on the counter.  I started transferring it to the waiting pie and just as I had the shell over the top of the pie, it came apart in about five pieces.... argh!!!!!!  It's a lot harder to salvage when it actually lands on the pie and has filling all over the one side.  If it had happened en-route, I probably would have just crumpled it into a ball and started over (even though I know it makes the crust "tougher"...)!  But, that's not really an option with cherry filling all over it... so I salvaged it the best I could.

It's one of the uglier pies that I've made, but I'm amazed at how much baking disguises the imperfections... and simply the fact that it is a pie...  here's to hoping it tastes better than it looks though!

I used the following two recipes for the pie:
Sylvia's Perfect Pie Crust from Pioneer Woman
Cherry Pie IV Recipe from (only the pie recipe)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Priest Lake

Nearly two weeks ago we headed up to Priest Lake, ID for several days of fun in the sun, beach time, huckleberry picking, and just a lot of fun!  I'm really slow about getting through my pictures which is why this post took over a week to get up!! Priest Lake is a beautiful lake.  It is glacier fed, so very clear and clean... and very cold.  Since I'm a total wimp when it comes to cold water, I don't do much swimming!

We headed up a few days before Carl and met his Mom, Grandma, and one of our nieces who stayed to help entertain my girls!  We were very glad to have her - as you can see, my two followed her lead!

It was also a help since the weather didn't cooperate the first couple of days.  We had rain and temps in the 50's... we weren't really expecting that in late July!!  Thank goodness for books, play dough, and being able to beauty-case Granny!!  It made being porch and cabin-bound for the better part of two days a lot of fun!!

Carl made it up during naps on Friday, so he joined the girls for the remainder of their snooze.  He worked some long hours to be able to get away for Friday afternoon and the weekend.

The girls were glad to see their Daddy and spent most of the evening with him down by the water throwing in rocks.  It's amazing how long that activity will entertain little ones!!

The weather turned around for us the next day (although mornings are always chilly in the mountains)!!  We're not sure what prompted this "slouch" session on the porch, but took it as our cue that we'd better get moving!

We tried huckleberry picking with the two girls.  Karen was somewhat game - she LOVES huckleberries and will eat them as fast as you will pick them for her.  Once you stop letting her dip into the picking stash... well, she was a little less impressed with tromping through the woods.  Megan... not impressed from the get-go.  It is hard to pick with a 21month old on your hip and a 20week pregnant belly!!  We lasted for about an hour before we headed back to the cabin.  The girls found that activity much more agreeable!!

My sister came up to join us for a day while we were up there, but I totally slacked and somehow didn't get a single picture of her!!  It was fun having her up there and next time I'll be sure to get a picture to show that she was there!!

We capped off our trip with the girls first ever camp fire.  The girls loved it.  Megan didn't like the marshmallows, but was all over the chocolate and graham crackers.  Karen ... loved it all!!

Unfortunately, we did not get a picture of the four of us altogether this year which always disappoints me when I get home and realized it happened... here's one from last year to look forward to next year when we'll have to remember to take one of the five of us!!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Pregnancy eating

My challenge right now is my eating... all of my pregnancies have been the same - once I hit the 2nd trimester, I crave nothing good for me.  Pizza, bread, nachos, all things bound to make my stomach (and all other areas) bigger than I want them to be by the time this baby comes!

So far, I've done a better job this pregnancy of controlling it by really trying to manage quantities.  But portion management can only go so far.  At the end of the day this is just not the kind of food that is going to do the most for me (or the baby, or my long term eating habits), you know?!  One of my biggest challenges in turning this pattern around is that I have a really hard time making myself eat what my body is not wanting.  I make myself good, yummy salads - and don't have an appetite after about 5 bites.

Any advice on what worked for you in your pregnancy?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Why the break?

So I've been meaning to put up this post for a while but keep putting it off.  I wanted to share what initially prompted my blogging break earlier this spring. 

The wonderful news is that we found out we were expecting again in early April!! Yay!! This is something we were very much wanting and it had been a long six months of "waiting"... one that included two hospital stays with our youngest daughter, an unconfirmed early miscarriage, the tragic loss of a very good friend, and a second, but confirmed, early miscarriage... yes, it was an eventful and stressful 6 six months.

The short explanation for the break is that there were some early complications (which fortunately did not turn out to be anything worrisome after a couple weeks of taking it easy).  But after the struggle to conceive - which included much more than two losses we suffered (a fertility story I hope to share with you sometime, but don't want to make this an incredibly long post) - I just did not have the capacity to post about anything else but was not yet ready to share this news outside of family. 

So I took a break but am back now!  and sharing that we are expecting another Baby C sometime around December 13th!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Back on the exercise wagon...

sort of... I've been horrible lately about working out.  I keep meaning to do something whether it is a Lindsay Brin video, letting Jillian Michaels kick my behind, or simply getting out for a walk or jog... but meaning to do it and actually getting it done have been two concepts very hard for me to put together.  So... with the help of sunshine and happy summer weather to encourage me, I'm getting myself back on the exercise wagon.  I'm not doing much, but have been walking with the girls (with a short spurt of jogging thrown in). 

My walks have strongly reminded me of an item that is at the top of my wish list... a Bob Double Jogging Stroller.  I've been trying to talk Carl into letting me get one for the better part of a year now, the cost is just kind of hard to get around... But the 2nd hand one I inherited from my sister just isn't doing the trick.  I know I'm being picky... the hand-me-down is free... but living on a gravel road with lots of hills, it would be nice to have a stroller better designed to handle it, like this one:

I know that I'm just getting myself back onto the exercise wagon, but also know that I'll use it.  I'm planning to run the Windermere Half Marathon next May and would love to have a stroller that works to bring the girls with me for the occasional training run.  My current hand-me-down won't work for much more than a brisk walk (and a short one at that!!).

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

One of my views

I feel so blessed to live where I do.  I was sitting outside watching my girls play today and had to take some pictures of the view from my back patio.  The mustard in the neighbor's field is blooming, so the yellow is a pretty back-drop.  Ignore the yellow in our yard, we've had a hard time keeping up with the sprinklers this year!!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Greek Orzo Salad!

I know it's finally summer when the sun and weather prompt me to crave Greek Orzo Salad... it is one of my go-to salads for hot summer days, potlucks, or any other occasion I can use to make it.  It takes a little bit of prep work in the form of chopping, but is so worth it!!

You start with boiling 1 1/2 cups of orzo pasta according to package directions.  I prefer my pasta less al dente, so tend to cook it the full amount of time.  If you like a little bit of extra bite in your pasta salads, cook it a minute or two less than package directions.  Also, I've found that salting my water and making sure it is at a full rolling boil before adding my pasta helps keep the orzo from sticking to itself.  When cooked, drain and rinse in cold water to cool pasta down and stop the cooking process.

While pasta is cooking, start chopping!!  I use:
  • 2 -3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cucumber, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 - 1/2 red onion, finely chopped (feel free to use more, I'm not an onion lover so prefer to keep the taste mild!!)
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup chopped kalamata olives (you can also use a 2oz can of sliced black olives if you prefer a milder taste, just drain before adding)
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese

Look at that yumminess in a bowl!!

Add your pasta, along with:
  • 1/2 tsp lemon pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano 
  • up to 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (I did not have any fresh parsley so I sprinkled just a little bit of the dried stuff - I tend to go light with the dried herbs since I don't like the graininess it adds when eating the salad)

Then make your dressing:
  • 6TB Olive Oil
  • 5TB Red Wine Vinegar
  • 2TB Lemon Juice
Mix these three together until combined.  You will notice that it almost seems to thicken after stirring a minute or two - this is the sign that it is fully combined!

Pour over salad and mix (I tend to not always use the full amount having 1 - 2TB remaining depending upon how saturated the salad looks).  Refrigerate for at least an hour or even overnight.  The flavors meld together and are so good the longer it sits before eating!

Then just enjoy!!  My kids eat it really well and even my husband eats it (who doesn't care for tomatoes, olives, or cucumbers)!!

Adapted from Greek Orzo Salad Recipe and comments posted on

***************** July 28 Update ********************************

Linked to The Larson Lingo's Summer Salad Swap - Enjoy the salad party!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Fun in the Sun!!

I'm going to lift an idea used in a couple of other blogs I read... wordless wednesday!   :)  We are currently visiting my folks and are thoroughly enjoying the beautiful weather!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Slowly getting organized!!

Well, it has been a painfully slow process... mostly due to my own reluctance and procrastination with tackling it, but I'm finally starting to get those "cluttered" spots in my house organized.  I decided to start with the girls room.  There were two reasons for this... the primary one being that it was driving me crazy every time I walked into their room (good reason, right?!) :)

The second reason was that it just needed some revamping.  When we had Karen, her room was originally our guest room and we never completely cleaned it out of all the stored stuff (aka junk) to make it her room.  This wasn't too big of an issue until we had two of them in there. Lately I've been going bonkers because their closet is unusable because there are so many odds and ends still stored there and the book shelf was always a mess mostly because I was still using a couple of shelves for my own books.

So I still have the closet to tackle (hope to post an update later today with some progress)!! But I did accomplish thinning out and reorganizing toys and the book shelf.  The pictures are pretty self explanatory on how much better it looks!!