New Routines

Now that both boys are in school we have some new routines we’re all adjusting to.  Elliott started string lessons at the university and we brought home a Cello on tuesday.  He can’t play anything with it yet, but supposedly they have some sort of concert near the end of the semester.  There are university music ed majors helping teach the kids under the supervision of a professor.

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PJ learned about fire drills and safety at school.  He came off the bus looking like this.
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Speaking of the bus, he loves riding it.  We got some new neighbor girls a few houses down, their oldest is in kindergarten also.  It’s fun having lots of kids at the bus stop!
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One day he brought flowers for the principal, his teacher and the secretary.
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This is just a random photo of him posing like a mannequin while we were shopping for jeans.  He asked me to take this picture…so here it is.
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Both boys are pretty exhausted by the end of the day.  We’ve been putting them to bed a bit earlier than usual.  PJ still needs to be woken up in the morning, that kid sure loves to sleep in.  So far we have only had a few over-tired meltdowns, so I’m considering that a back-to-school success.

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First Day of 2nd Grade

Today Elliott had his first day of school.  PJ will start next wednesday, the kinders have to do assessments this week so they start later.


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Blazing NW

It’s still quite hot here.  We’ve had a day or two of cooler temps but for the most part it’s been quite toasty up here in the NW corner of the US.  It’s seriously hindering my plan to refinish our deck this summer.

We have spent our mornings at swim, and ET has progressed nicely, he is in level 5 (6 is the highest level).  PJ is still trucking along in level 2.  He was verrrrrrrrry close to passing it a week ago, and so we’ll see if he can do it this friday.  He’s got a nice small class but his teacher is not one of my favorites.

A few weeks ago we did a race in town to benefit the high school’s cross country team.  Both boys did the kid race, and ET and I did the 5k.  It was his first 5K ever :)  The newspaper came and took pictures of them, though I couldn’t find any pictures of us in the longer race.

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We have also been spending a lot of time at the school (i know, right!!) working in the garden.  It’s starting to look a lot better in there now.

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My helper gives me two thumbs up for the new picnic table we built2015-07-28 12.01.22


And last but not least, they tore out our beautiful hazelnut grove across the street and have started the construction process for building a new neighborhood (sob!).  It’s sad but the kids love watching it all happen.2015-07-22 14.23.30

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Summer Fun

It has been such a HOT summer here.  I thought last summer was hot but this year it’s been an extended heat wave with many days in the mid/upper 90’s.  I think a lot of weather records are being broken this year.  We haven’t had any rain in about a month either.  I enjoy it, but it does make it difficult to get outside work get done after the morning hours.
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Both boys have been doing swim lessons.  PJ is getting closer to completing preschool level 2 and Elliott just passed into school age level 5.

ET sat out this round of lessons to go to string camp again, and we will probably sign him up to play with the string program this fall.  He’s in the middle of this first picture in a black vest.

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He has been singing/humming all the songs he learned at camp while he plays at home.  (adorable)

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What’s new here

Elliott played soccer this spring.  His team named themselves “The Golden Ninjas.” LOL2015_05_3171

PJ liked to pretend he was on the team too.

We’ve had a nice warm spring here in Oregon.  Even daddy is in on the water gun fights.

PJ turned five.  FIVE!!!!!!  My best fire truck cake yet.
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And now school is over, I have a kindergartener and a 2nd grader and a lot of swim lessons in our future.

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Aloha from Kauai

If you’ve seen my Instagram you may have suspected that I was not in Oregon, and you’d be correct. Last Friday Evan and I (no kids, weeeee) arrived in Kauai for 10 year anniversary vacation. Yes, TEN YEARS (ok fine, 10 years in June. I’m rounding up!) Is kinda hard to believe!

Anyway, if I ever come into money, I would get a place in Kauai in a heartbeat. I have been to Oahu before, but like a million years ago. The magic of Kauai is that it is small, rural and therefore more unspoiled and drop-dead gorgeous. Wild chickens wander everywhere. Wild orchids grow all over the place.

The beaches are beautiful, and very different than Oregon’s. In Oregon we have more typical low/high tides and the beach looks very different depending on the tide. Here the coast is steeper, which means much shorter beaches, not ugh tide change and CRAZY BIG waves. I have seen surfers in CA but they have nothing on the north shore out here. I won’t go out in the water past my knees because the waves will come every so often above your waist and they are wicked strong. There are tally signs everywhere keeping track of drownings 😳

For the past week we have been hanging out at a condo on the north shore and then tomorrow we will venture south. We hiked along the Na Pali coast, which was pretty awesome/hardcore for us. Today we kayaked along the Hanalei river. I have to type all this now because I’m sure my arms will fall off tomorrow.

I didn’t take my big camera because we are traveling light and Google has better pictures than I could take here. These are my phone pics:









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Stairway Re-do

A few weeks ago, Evan went to Vegas for his annual March Madness trip so I took full advantage and made a huge mess that he would not have liked living amongst while he was out.

Go big or go home, I say.

I hate honey oak. Sorry mom and dad, I know you like it…but…NO. I got tired of looking at it and decided to “stain” it. The only true way to stain is to strip down to bare wood. Which would take a billion years and cause a ridiculous mess, even by my standards. I cheated by using a tinted polyurethane. Gel stain also came highly recommended and that was my plan B, only because no stores near me had the shade I wanted. Black paint was plan C. You can’t use tinted poly for a lot of things ( never on floors!!), but for this, it was great. I wanted to match it to some dark strips inlaid in the floor and I think I got pretty darn close.
before (realtor photo before we bought it):


Then in between drying coats I started working on the army green. I like light wall colors. Sucks, since I live with a bunch of dirty boys who like to drive their hotwheels on my walls but I will continue to fight the good fight. Some jerk in the past must’ve gotten a caulk gun for Christmas or something and had no idea how to use it; they caulked a ton between the wall and the trim AFTER painting. Whyyyy?!?! You know what never comes clean? Caulk. Also, it messes up my tight straight paint lines that I love so dearly. So I ended up having to chisel out all that stupid caulk to find the trim edges. Then caulked the gaps neatly. THEN painted over it, with good, cleanable paint.

People!! Caulk first, then paint.

I have to hire a guy to finish painting the foyer for me since it’s so tall. I hope our light fixture bulbs last a long time because I have no idea how we’re going to change them out, I’d need a 20 foot ladder for that (hint hint Evan).

Next I need to pick a color for the upstairs hall. Evan wants something darker so we’ll have to see what looks good. I don’t know if other paint companies post this info but my favorite Ben Moore puts LRV (light reflectance values) numbers with all their paint colors, and they can custom lighten or darken colors as well. Since I know what LRV numbers Evan thinks is too light I can look for numbers a bit lower and not have to test all of them out. BM also lets you order large sized paint chips for free and they mail them to you!! Saves me lots of trips to the paint store…good since it’s not close to home.

I still need to repaint all the white spindles because they just need a fresh coat, and then someday I’d love to rip out the stair carpet and put stained oak treads and white risers. So classy! I could do pine for cheaper but oak would match the floors and can tolerate wear better. I can imagine Evans eyes bugging out over all this but it’s just the right thing to do. :)

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Spring in Oregon

We’ve been busy taking advantage of our unseasonably warm weather here.  I got a wild hair to re-level the lawn and got about half of it done.  If I was smart, I would have just rented a sod cutter and done it that way.  But I didn’t.  Oh well…The seed is down and hopefully in a few weeks it won’t look like such a mudhole.

Our yard has some interesting angles.  There is a retaining wall at the back, and the lawn has some slope going down to the back and from the right side to the left.  The level of the grass at the top was above the sidewalk, so the sidewalk could never be swept/rinsed off and it made the slope a little more dramatic than necessary.  The slope at the very bottom was steep, and it dropped off into a bark dust planter area…so it was a mowing nightmare.  We put a blanket down on the lawn last summer and it was so lumpy and uncomfortable…so I decided instead of trying to find and fill those random spots, might as well just shave off the top layer and start over.   The left half is done and seeded, once that grows in and my back recovers I’ll work on the right half.




I added some retaining wall type blocks, only one level high, so that I can separate the lawn and mow the edges without falling off the lawn.  They will continue on once I get more of them, and I will raise the dirt level below them to help hold them steady.  I also had to make my raised bed a bit more narrow and now it’s down at the lower part of the yard.  I’m not sure what I’m going to do with the chicken area yet.  I might plant something for them there and then fence it off a bit so they can wander in a slightly bigger yard area outside their run.


This lovely area is where the raised beds were, and right now it’s a hot mess.  I need to move the good dirt down to the other raised bed and make a shade/cover for the AC unit.  This area is the hottest part of the yard by far, so it doesn’t work well for garden beds and AC units, go figure.  This might be a spot we add pavers to so Evan can put his smoker/grill out.  We’ll have to see if that works.  It’d be nice to add a bit of shade up here, but we don’t want to obstruct the view from that window either.  #firstworldproblems


Also on the to-do list this summer: sand and refinish the patio.  Thankfully it’s not that big and I have a friend with a belt sander.


Around the yard things are starting to sprout and bloom.  Lilacs above.


Daffodils in the side yard and front yard


Bulb city USA right here.  I dug up a lot of bulbs (coincidentally) when I was moving the pavers and shoveling bark dust.  I put them in a bucket, and filled it to the top and then some.  The only issue with doing that is you have no idea what is what.  I planted random bulbs in the fall and soon we will find out what colors are where.


Some of these things are new and some are leftovers from last year.  New Sedum, new-ish tulips, old hyacinth and lilies and columbines.


Hellebores are blooming, new bulbs are on the right side.


Random bulbs!  I am thinking about tying different colored threads on them so I can keep track of what’s what.  Then I can re-arrange them in the fall.  That sounds like a lot of work though, so maybe not.


Left strip was empty last spring, I added some plants in the fall and now the Hyacinths are blooming.  I love those, they smell great!  There should be other new stuff filling in over there too, if the frost didnt kill it off.  Right hand side…it’s there.  it doesn’t bother me enough yet to really mess it up.


y hot mess corner.  it’s not THAT bad, but it looks really random and disorganized.   I need to figure out what I’m doing here and re-arrange some things so it looks like it has some purpose.



Other half of the hot mess corner.  I got a salvia from a friend/neighbor and added it to the corner.  I ripped out some stuff that was overflowing onto the sidewalk last fall.

lower sideyard.  Random bulbs.  Haha, I was here.

The Back-Back.  I have made a sizable dent in my blackberry infestation.  I need to continue moving those dead vines to my yard waste container.  I have TWO of those and I fill them up every week this time of year.

  A little raised bed I put in the back-back.  Look at me, I’m so good at growing things!  LOL.

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Field Trip With Grandma

Grandma is here in town visiting us for a few days.  Today we went to a waterfall about 20 miles from our house.   It took a bit of time to find the right trail to actually get to the waterfall, but we figured it out eventually.

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Happy 7th Birthday

We are a little bit late here, yes.  This year, Elliott requested two things: a coconut cake and a surprise party.  We told him his party was going to be on a sunday and then arranged for 6 of his friends to be at home while he was out with Evan at the store.  The party was a success :)
ET age 7

He says he feels eighteen.  Right.  Plans for this 7th year: lose his 7th tooth :)

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