December 17, 2011

We are in Hawaii

And I'm finally updating my blog!  It has been a crazy couple of months.  Once we finally got settled in Wisconsin, we came on an extended vacation to Hawaii.  We're loving our time here with friends and family.  The kids love Pounders.  Miriam has made two trips to Wailele already.  We had so much fun with Kaity and family.  And we stopped by to see the turtles at Lani's.

I had an exciting week applying to grad school.  I've been thinking about it for a couple of years but this trip cemented the deal.  I'm going to library school (if they accept me!).  I'm hoping to study academic librarianship and music librarianship.  Did you know they even existed?  I'm planning on studying full time.  It should make life totally crazy, but in a good way.  I'm pretty lucky to have such an awesome supportive husband.

It's good to be back in blogland!  More updates to come...

September 8, 2011

The First Week of School

Recycled some folders from previous years.  A little washi goes a long way.
School started on Tuesday!  Oh, the thrills of a new school year!  First grade is dreamy perfect, complete with  teepee, hermit crab, and teeny tiny desks for each little pupil.  Fourth grade appears to be just right.  An in class library, dreamy!  

The beauty of a neighborhood school is at 8:05 am.  Little legs pumping bicycles, scooters whizzing by, groups of three and four walking by.  Four crossing guards situated around the school helping the little ones get there safely.  I love it.  

Here's to months more of educational bliss.

August 24, 2011

The Kids' Room

Finally took some pictures of the girls' room.  Jesse has been so handy downstairs in the basement.  He creates these amazing pieces out of very ordinary pieces of wood and not wood.  I've been redeemed for hauling around my loads of fabric.  The curtains are from 2 meters imported from Japan.  Three years ago.  The carpet is an Ikea as is find of years past. 

The best part about this room is how functional and roomy it is.  The kids actually play in it!  Yay!

August 4, 2011

The Kitchen

I love our kitchen.  The first few days after we moved in, Jesse and I found ourselves sitting on the kitchen floor at night.  It was the most put together room in the house, and we just loved how it felt.  I will love it even more on Friday when Andy our trusty plumber comes to install our dishwasher.

Our sink is huge.  Jesse really wanted a farm sink and they are super expensive.  Unless you get this one from Ikea.  Then it's just super huge.  I wanted the smaller one tub version, but this one does make a statement.    I sewed curtains for the two windows and our doorless cupboard from this cute fabric.  Gwyn insisted that I get the floral as well as the circle pattern.  I think she was right.  I like the different designs but same colors.   You don't even really notice that they are different (especially if you're Jesse!).
This is our delightful new slide in range.  It's fun having gas again, and the convection oven really does cook things evenly.  It's a little weird having to cook things at the low end of what the recipe calls for.  In this picture you can see the curtain cupboard.  We didn't have enough space to do a lazy susan, but we wanted to get the most out of what space we had.  So we left the cupboard open, and it goes all the way back to the wall.   I'm not sure if it was the best way to do it, but oh well!
Jesse made this open shelving for what we use everyday.  We found the wrought iron shelf brackets at an antique mall, though they are definitely not antiques.  We wanted to keep the kitchen looking open, so that's why we opted for these shelves instead of a traditional cabinet.

This picture is a little wonky, but it's what we ended up with by the fridge.  At the last minute, we realized we didn't have a junk drawer or a place for the microwave.  With this arrangement, we have a little bit more counter space, and a cool cupboard up top.  I use the counter all the time for making things right out of the fridge like sandwiches.

So this is our way too fancy for us kitchen.  It's awesome, but I feel like I'm in a time share, y'know.

August 3, 2011

The Dining Room

Finally!  Here's the hardest part about taking pictures of our house.  It's only clean at night when the light is bad.  In weighing the options, flash seemed better than never posting again.  So....Here they are.

The previous owners let us have this dining room table.  It's beautiful, and with benches we'll be able to squeeze in 8. 

We got the credenza off of Craigslist for $30.  Finally, I have a place for the obi I've been carting around for years.  The credenza was an essential addition, as our kitchen space is so limited.  Inside are all my crazy Japanese ceramics, table linens, extra plates, etc. 

The color of the room has much to be desired.  It's also a flat paint, so it just sucks up light, making it the darkest room in the house.  I guess that might be nice if you were into intimate dinners, but that's just not us.  Unfortunately, after painting my mom's house, I know how much prep would go into painting the room and I just can't get myself motivated to make the change yet.  (See all those moldings, plus the window, and three doorways.  Eeeek!  Can  you imagine how much tape that will take?)  Also, I'm not sure where to go with the color since the kitchen is so vivid.  Even more, we are contemplating opening up the kitchen into the dining room even more, so that would have a huge influence on the color. 

What do you think is a good wall color for a dining room?

July 29, 2011

The Garden

I hear that one of the previous occupants of the house didn't have any children.  She spent her time on the garden.  On our first spring visit, there were numerous columbines.  When we came in June, the irises were spilling over everywhere.  Before that, we hear that crocuses and tulips pop up along the path.  Now it's lilies.  I think there are about ten different varieties in the front and back yard. 

We will need to make some changes to give the kids some more room.  But for now, we're enjoying the beauty.

July 27, 2011

A New Home

We're here, we're here!  At home in Wisconsin!  I'll take some pictures tomorrow in the sunlight and show you our new house. 

But for now, here's the quick and dirty version.

We moved in last Monday after signing away our children's inheritance.  Good news is that our payment is affordable.  Yay for low interest rates! 

Especially since the a/c broke on Wednesday, the hottest day of the year.  If you live in Verano, give those maintenance workers a wistful smile from me.  I miss them.  So much.  I like our guys here a ton.  But I'm not too fond of the check I have to write whenever they come over. 

We love the house.  It's really perfect for our little family (and whoever wants to come to WI for a visit).  Not loving the mice in the basement, but hoping that if there are any more they'll either move on or meet their end trying to get that last lick of peanut butter off the trap. 

Everything else is of course perfect!  Well, not really.  But we're working on it.  We should be old pros at moving.  Instead we're bumbling around forgetting important things like feeding our kids (thank you new neighbors who took care of that not once, but twice.)  Enrolling the kids in school, registering our car, putting up pictures.  All in good time.  For now, we sit in the sunroom (because it's the only room with enough furniture to seat us all)  licking our popsicles (since the a/c only got fixed yesterday), staring at a blank wall (no pictures up) or reading a book (we did get library cards!).  Perfect!

June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

The girls at Badlands, SD

When I was around Miriam's age, my dad would take us on road trips with him around the west.   Badlands, South Dakota.   Wall Drug and Mount Rushmore.   On other trips we drove to Tulsa or Rosebud.  

Last week, I felt as if history was repeating itself.  We didn't stop at any reservations, but we did stop at Wall Drug, Mount Rushmore and Badlands.  I don't remember much about those trips with my dad.  We may have been complaining all the way.  But as I showed these places to my kids, all I could remember was that my dad brought us along with him and made business trips into adventures.  So thanks Dad.  Happy Father's Day.

May 31, 2011

G's Grandparents

Ok, I lied.  One more post.  These are Gwyn's Grandparents.  There's a bit of Mimi and Austin to them.  Gwyn says it's Merv and Kay.  Okeydokey.  Well, here's to visiting the grandparents this summer so next year their portrait will be a little more accurate.  

April 29, 2011

For the Birds

Our neighbor's birdhouse is the most happening birdhouse I've ever seen.  One day I had to scare a crow away.  He was trying to get some eggs, I believe.  I hope I was successful.

House Update

Looking good, no?  Don't you wish  you had a blue tarp on your roof?  It's so chic.   And it's all the rage my home fashion forward thinking friends.  We are considering a mattress in the front yard.  But we're not sure if it's the look we're going for.  What do you think? 

April 21, 2011


Can you believe it?  That was us ten years ago!  It's so exciting to be in double digits.  We went out to lunch and talked about houses.  We talked about some of our adventures.  The Nissan Sunny we drove in Taiwan.  Backpacking in Japan.  The adventures we have planned for this summer.  Jellystone, kayaking, and backpacking.

I'm a lucky gal.  He's a lucky guy. But it's not luck that's kept us together.  Two great kids, a lot of work and compromise, and a whole bunch of family FUN has made these ten years so fabulous.  So here's to the next ten years, and the ten after that, and the ten after that, and the...

April 20, 2011


Here are some pictures of the outside and inside of the house.  Blegh. What a pain.  But it should get us on the news this evening.  I'll post it when it shows up.  Whee!

Crazy Storm

I know the picture is bad. That is a tree down in front of our house. The hole in our roof is worse. A branch came down on our roof missing the kids and our car. Everyone is ok. We even have power. But we also have some wicked leaks and insulation all over the kids clothes. It's hard to sleep with the lightning and chainsaws and now the crazy drips. We might be moving earlier than expected!

April 16, 2011

This Week in April

The week after Spring Break can only be topped by the week after Christmas break or the week after Summer break.  Monday had Gwyn skipping home from school.  A whole day of planned learning made her the happiest girl on the block.  I'm not going to dwell too long on how that reflects on me and my parenting. 

On Thursday I drove to Indy to turn in paperwork for the Cub Scout pack.  Of which I have no affiliation.  And no desire to.  But I love my husband.  And H&M is close to the scouting headquarters.  And Trader Joes. 'Nuf said.

This week, we're really going to start making decisions.  Find a real estate agent, book a moving van, plan house hunting trip(s).  We're done with debating and ready to be done with all the talk.  Time for some action.

April 7, 2011

Spring Break

It's Spring Break!!!

The kids are home this week.  On Monday, I tried to do my usual Monday things.  Clean the kitchen, vacuum, laundry.  But those kids just got in the way!  They wanted to play!  So on Monday night, I realized that I had better make a plan for the week.  One with limited work and maximum FUN.  So we have had playdates galore, hiking with friends, and are planning a trip to the caves on Saturday.  Jesse took them to work today, which freed me up to finish the taxes!  Yay! 

We were thinking of going to Chicago and then to Appleton to look at houses, but with Jesse just back from his trip to Hawaii and me feeling a little overburdened solo parenting last week, it just sounded like a silly idea.  And since we really don't need to close on a house until July, there is no rush just yet.  We'll go up sometime next month and hopefully the home of our dreams will be available.  Or at least one we like enough to sink our savings into! (and that tax return)

March 31, 2011

Love My Glasses

These are my new Warby Parker glasses.  I love how black glasses they look.  I also love that Warby Parker donates a pair of glasses for every pair purchased.
I got the Coltons in Revolver Black Crystal
 Every time I take my glasses off I worry about the little girl with no money for glasses.  She has such bad eyesight that if she could go to school, she wouldn't be able to see anything. 

So thanks Warby Parker for giving sight to someone in need.  It's one thing to be blind.  It's another to just need corrective lenses.

March 30, 2011

Today is Wednesday and I Love Wednesday

We sent J packing Monday!  To Hawaii!  And work is paying for it?  Lucky dog!
We'll grudgingly hold down the fort for the next week while we freeze.  And work on getting us moved up north.

Today I got the best piece of junk mail ever.  It says "read before discarding".  I love it!  How can you not? 
And speaking of junk mail.  Why does Honda send me envelopes that look like junk mail.  I put aside an envelope for a month before I deigned to open it.  Luckily I didn't trash it because it notified me of a recall on my car.  Nothing big, but yikes!  Can you get some more formal envelopes that say "read before discarding"  or "this is real mail.  not junk." 

I guess I'll know next time. 

In other news, Gwyn hides in the closet and watches Barney.  Granted, that's where the comfy pile is.  But Barney?  Yuck.  She knows that I forget that I gave her my ipod and that there's a better chance for her to get more viewing time in if she's out of sight.  Yikes. 

I'm super stoked because I made all the hard phone calls today for moving.  The ones that involve people and buying a house.  Those are the kind of calls I can put off for forever.  So pat on the back for me for behaving like a grown up, calling strangers, and letting them know how little I know about buying a house and how much help I'll need to do it.  Yay me!

ps.  I made carnitas today in the crackpot.  Yum.  Want some?

March 26, 2011

Permission Granted

A little note from Gwyn this evening:
"I know it is time for bed.  I do not want to go to bed.  Just now.  Can I watch some more instead of stories.  Signed Gwyn.  To Parent."

My kids are awesome.  I am really enjoying them right now.  They are very self sufficient which is great.  And the hormones haven't kicked in yet, which is awesome, too.  Momhood is sweet.

March 25, 2011

Silver to Gold

photo from here.
Sometimes second place comes in first after all.  Jesse just signed the contract and we're off to Appleton, Wisconsin this summer.  And we will stay there!  It's a tenure track position at Lawrence University.  So Yay for Jesse and all the hard work he's done these past 9 years!  It sometimes felt impossible, but here we are.  In the midwest.  In cheese country.  Go Packers!

March 15, 2011

No News is...

just that.  No news. 

Having Jesse gone for last week was a little traumatic.  Then this week with the earthquake in Japan, I got over myself pretty quick.  Thank you Facebook for keeping me in touch with all of my Tokyo friends.  They're all ok.  But under a lot of stress with all the aftershocks.  Most are taking off to parts unshaken.  My heart goes out to all those who are suffering.

We still don't know what will happen next year for us.  Lots of nibbles, no bites.  And after having yet another cryfest about poor me, I think I'm done.  I think I'm really lucky to have two great kids.  They're not healthy, but a cough and sore throat seem minor.  I have a great husband who agrees with me that doing something grand for our anniversary this year seems more like a headache than a celebration.  We've planned a lunch date.  Somewhere nice (come on Groupon, help me out with this one).   I cleaned up my pantry today and I have plenty of food and toilet paper (1971 Honolulu dock strike, not that I was there but my dad was).  And the house is clean because someone came to look at it so I finally took a load to the recycling center, put empty jars down cellar, and cleaned my room.  I have a lot of big and small things to be grateful for.  So that's the news.  We are well.  We are safe.  We are happy.  We are lucky.  How are you?

March 8, 2011


Life is getting exciting here in the midwest!  The sap is flowing, mystery bulbs are poking their heads out in the yard, and I changed my hair color from dark brown, to medium brown.  Ah!  Spring is in the air!

We sent Jesse on a spring break trip to see his brother in California.  Solo parenting has me falling on the couch at 8:30.  But pats on the back to me since we did have family night and we have been reading scriptures.  My entire goal this week:  Keep it together.  Anything accomplished is extra. 

And I'll finish with a fascinating conversation with Miriam on the walk to school last week.
"What does the Holy Ghost look like?"
I said that He is a spirit so doesn't have a body like ours.
"Well, you have to think about what his body looks like to think about what his spirit must look like.  I think the Holy Ghost is a girl."
"Hm.  I haven't heard that theory before."
"Why is the prophet always a boy."
"Well, historically there were women who were prophets."
"My teacher said that Miriam was a prophetess.  Have there ever been any women apostles?  I think that women and men should be equal.  Well, maybe five less than equal."
"Or five more."

PS, if you didn't know, we're Mormon.

March 2, 2011

Some Bad, Mostly Good.

The bad news....the job in Wisconsin didn't work out.

The good news....two phone interviews for this week.  And Jesse has put out quite a few more applications.  He's been working hard.  And there are sure to be more one year positions showing up in the next month or so.  Something is bound to work out. 

More good news.  We've been boiling our sap down and making the best maple syrup ever!  I've gotten one of my friends in on the boiling fun, so no sap is going to waste.  And I'm not overwhelmed on the days its flowing like crazy.  So far, I've made almost 5 pints.  I'm getting close to my goal of making one gallon of syrup. 

The downside to all this syrup production is that we haven't made pancakes to enjoy it with!  Silly us!

February 23, 2011

Gwyn's Valentine's Party

Little Gwyn made a sad face after Miriam's birthday and said "I've never had a friend party."
Jesse and I looked at each other and realized "she's right!"
Oh, what a sad first six years.  A December birthday has some major drawbacks.  No friends.  So sad.

This year we shook things up and had a Valentine's party for G and her friends.  A Friend Party!  Yay!
We started by making cards.  The girls were busy for 45 minutes.  They would not be budged. 

We played some games.  Pin the Nose on the Snowman got turned around and became Boring Horse to Fancy Unicorn. 

We decorated pink sugar bombs aka cupcakes. 

We had a little lunch of sandwiches, veggie tray, apples, and apple juice.  We sent the bombs home with the kids so very little sugar was eaten on our premises. 

This was the easiest party ever.  I loved that there were no gift bags, no gifts, just FUN.  I believe we may have started a new tradition! 

February 22, 2011

Sweet Maple Goodness

I needed a little project this winter/spring to keep me out of trouble.  Something productive, fun, and sweet.  Since my friend Rixa taps her maple tree for syrup, I figured I could, too.  Not her maple of course, mine!  So with some info from Rixa,  and spiles from (I know, isn't that the greatest url ever?) I'm on my way to making maple syrup.

Here's the 411.  I drilled a hole in the tree about 3 feet from the ground.  Rixa said to angle the hole down.  Which makes sense and I'm glad she told me to because I'm sure I wouldn't have. 
The kids and I jammed the tap in with a mallet.  Rixa gave me some tubing that connects from the spout and into a gallon jug. 
I bought the spiles and not the buckets because I'm way too cheap.  The tubing gets the sap into the jug and hopefully keeps all critters out. 

So far I've gotten a quart of sap which boiled down to about 3 tablespoons of syrup.  Not impressive, yet.  But those three tablespoons are the best maple syrup I've ever tried!  I need to ask our neighbor if I can tap their tree in which case we will be swimming in sap.  Not so much syrup, but that's ok.

February 21, 2011

First Time

photo from here

So we haven't gotten an offer from the school, but if we do, we'll most likely buy a house.  I can't say it very loud because it's SCARY.  We've been serial renters our entire marriage, so buying a home seems like a very big step. 

Here's what I've learned so far:
-I think our piti should be less than 25%.
-Lots of houses are in foreclosure right now.
-And there are lots of other houses on the market.
-A lot of them are dumps, especially the ones that will be easy to afford.
-I don't mind a kind of fixer upper.  I'm not sure about a gutter.
-Jesse and I are not in complete agreement about what kind of house we want to get.
-I don't know anything about buying a house.

So what do you know?  What do you suggest?  What has your home buying experience taught you that I should know?

Happy President's Day

I don't remember a lot of political talk growing up.   But I do remember this book.  And wishing that Jack and Jackie would take me sailing with them.

I had a Kennedy fascination that had everything to do with that book.  I remember watching a made for tv mini-series about the Kennedys.  And being even more enthralled than ever. 

So on this President's Day, I salute Lion Books and the first president I ever met through them.  When my mom had us go through our books this summer, I snatched this one and held it tight.  I'm glad that there are people who want to be president.  I'm glad that we get to vote for that person.  I'm glad that people write books for kids about politics.  Because kids should be glad, too.

February 19, 2011

Turkey Runs Again

Before the snow melted last week, we went to Turkey Run State Park to see if we could fall off a cliff or two while slogging through the snow.

Mention a hiking trip and there is sure to be whining.  It can get very disheartening very quickly.  This trip was no exception.  Although five minutes into it Gwyn said, "I'm behind because I'm looking at how beautiful it is here."  Finally!

J didn't try to pick trails with sheer cliffs and only slabs of ice to walk on, but alas, that's what happened.  We had hiked each of the trails previously, but never when they were covered with snow/freezing rain/ice pack.   Needless to say, we made it back safely.  No one was injured during this adventure.  And we will stick to less cliffy terrain for our next snow hike (if there is one this season).
G became very interested in reading the map to figure out where we were.  It was so very Jesse like.
We sure wish any of you had been there with us.  It wasn't even that cold!  And it was Beautiful, just ask Gwyn.

February 18, 2011

A Very Happy Ninth

This is just a touch late.  Not even a month yet.  Yay for Mom's who finally download pictures! 

Spoons was less of a hit than I thought it would be.  Maybe in a year or two.
I'm not sure how it happened, but we can't be super pumped for anything here.  Miriam's party was incredibly mellow, even though there were 10 kids, tons of balloons, presents, and raucous games of duck, duck, goose and spoons.  Two hour parties are short, fun, perfect. 
Pin the carrot on the snowman. 

 I had a mini breakdown because the cake got stuck in the pan.  A whole bunch of frosting, a mess of gummy worms, and no one was the wiser.  Crisis averted, thank you calmingJesse.  He's like one of those herbal teas.  Perhaps we can package him and market him to stressed party planners everywhere.

We ended the party with Lego building.  Everyone made some sort of creation.  Yay for 43 pounds of Lego fun!
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