Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Breathe the Air

 We've been busy around here! It was a lovely summer that moved by too fast. I think I blinked, and it was over. The big project that we decided to undertake this year was adding a beautiful covered porch onto the back of our house. You guys - this is so exciting! We've lived in this home for almost 14 years, and I've wanted to do this for probably 13 of those years. We had a basic aggregate concrete pad back there that has been serviceable for summer use, but I don't know if you know this: it rains in Oregon. I LOVE the rain, but I also love to go be outside in my yard, and that rain makes it tough to do that for about 6 months of the year. Since we are not moving any time soon, we've decided to make this house the house we love to live in. That meant it was time to find a great contractor and get this done.

Here's the "before":

And here's what she looks like now: I couldn't be happier. I will, of course, tweak arrangements, adding and subtracting, and I haven't hung the party lights or the wind chimes yet. I'll add plants in the Spring, of course, but LOOK at this wonderful, new outside space!

We decided to go with a tree house feel, so lots of wood (or wood look - the decking is Trex, and so are some of the chairs). Because the covering blocks a lot of the light that came in the windows along the back of the house, we included four skylights. I LOVE this fan that James found.

We'll add a little propane fire pit to this seating arrangement, I think:

We wanted a really BIG table, because we love to have lots of people over. When we first visited Oregon, way back in 2004, we stayed with James's boss - a man, named Thurman Miller. He and his family hosted us out at their house that they built on some gorgeous property, and we got to know them a bit. Thurman has since retired from the corporate world, and he is a full time wood working artist. We commissioned this table and two benches from him. The wood for the benches came from his land!

I found this little cabinet at the exotic location of...Target.

And this sweet little cart was a Goodwill find.

Our old fishbowl (RIP fishies) is a terrarium now.

We hosted a group of ten people out on the porch this weekend, and it was perfection. Truly, it was just what I had hoped, and I'm so thrilled. Here's to making home and getting outside, man. Here's to breathing that Fall air and welcoming loved ones in. As a good friend of mine always says: here's to the good life, the one we know.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018


 This week, I'll be turning 40. 40 years old. Four decades on this earth. I'm not worried about the number, but I have been feeling reflective. My thirties have been good to me. I've learned who I am, what I will and won't stand for, where my boundary lines are, which things are most meaningful to me, where my priorities stand. I've never stood high in my own esteem, but here, at the end of my thirties, knocking on forty's door, I can look myself in the eye without wincing. That's something. As I head into this new decade, the image that keeps coming to mind is a hand opening up to let go. I want to let go of all the things I cling to so tightly, hoping to hold them to me and make them stay. The truth is, the people and things that need and want to be with me in my life don't need me to hold them here with my grasping hands. I'm going to try to open them up and breathe and see what happens. Maybe there will be pain. Maybe not. I love ferociously, and with love comes fear of loss, but loss never negates the benefit of love, I think, whether that love is for people or places or art or any other pursuit.


James already had his birthday, and since ours are so close together, we had a big party together this year at a place we love here in town. So many friends joined us, and it was sweet and lovely and fun. My friend, Traci and I baked a ton of desserts, and there was food and beer and laughing and conversation and reunions with friends we hadn't seen in a while and friends we'd just seen the day before. It was perfect.

We had a small celebration on James's actual day as well, of course. He chose Top Golf, which was super fun. The two of us also had a nice evening out, just us.

We're just about to the end of Birthday Season now, and it's been a doozy. It's almost time for school to be over and the long, beautiful summer to begin. I'm ready. I'm ready for all of it.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Weeeeird Science

 Miss V is turning 8 this week, and she very sweetly requested a Mad Science party. It was meant to be a small party, but, as usually happens with this child, it accidentally ended up huge. Even at 17 children, we were not able to invite every child she would have liked to, and it hurts her heart to leave ANYONE out, but I can't fit everyone she knows into my house. I tell you, I cannot.

It was a fun party. One and one half hours of very structured science experiments, snacks, a little Bill Nye the Science Guy, and some mass hysteria.

I had two tables set up with a kit for each child. The numbered containers held the various things needed for each experiment. The children were so attentive and did such a great job following directions. James helped me with this party. We did four experiments, and each was a great success.

 For our first experiment, the kids spooned baking soda from Container #1 into the balloon in their kit. Then, they stretched the balloon over the neck of the bottle they were given, which contained vinegar. When we said, "Go!", they tipped the baking soda into the vinegar and watched the chemical reaction blow up their balloons.

For our second experiment, we poured milk onto plates, and James and I dropped food coloring on. The kids dipped cotton swabs from their kits into dish washing liquid (container #2) and touched the milk to see a hydrophobic reaction.

We microwaved some Ivory soap for experiment 3 to see it expand exponentially after being heated.

Experiment 4 was Elephant Toothpaste. I went around with a funnel to help them tip the peroxide in Container #3 into their (rinsed out) bottles. They added their leftover dish soap and a drop or two of food color and swirled. In Container #4 was some yeast. I went around with warm water, which we added, and they dutifully stirred. Once that yeast and water was combined, they poured that container into the bottle, and we watched the reaction!

Science completed, it was time to eat. We had pre-scooped and frozen ice cream with Magic Shell

Make a Molecule fruit

Too much candy

And chocolate cupcakes with vanilla cream frosting and pop rocks.

My girl had a very big, special day with her sweet, lovely friends.

We sent them all home with their safety glasses, whatever candy they were willing to take, and a test tube of bubbles.

My precious, precious baby is turning 8, and it blows my mind. Seeing her surrounded by this loving community of amazing kids is a really beautiful thing. I'm so happy for her that she has that. She draws it to her. After the party, the friend she has known the very longest - since she was born - stayed for a while, and they went upstairs and just had some quiet time together. I think they were ready for it after all that hubbub.

I love you, Miss V. You are confident and strong and brave and kind. You are thoughtful, creative, smart, and funny. I like you. I respect you. I'm looking forward to seeing who you are as an 8 year old.