Monday, May 31, 2010

Peonies

Growing up, I observed my mother, who is an avid gardener, and never really developed an interest in it myself. It mainly looked like a lot of work. In the dirt. With the possibility of bugs crawling on you. When I moved out in college, I did a little planting around the house I lived in, but I didn't know what I was doing, nor did I know the difference between weeds and wildflowers...so my flower beds were a mess. When we lived in California, I was so sick (asthma...a long story), that I didn't have the focus to spend on anything but breathing - nevermind all the "Spare the Air" days we had during that time - we'd watch the news each morning to learn whether or not the pollution was so bad that "Children, the elderly, pets and those with breathing problems" needed to stay inside that day.

Then, we moved to Oregon. In Oregon, if you drop a seed, it will grow. And the air is so clean where we live that, after years of intense medication regimens for my asthma, I don't have to take ANYTHING anymore. I can't tell you how unshackled I feel! Because of those things, I did, at last discover the gardening gene, and I've spent the last five years learning, experimenting and LOVING the whole process of dirt and sweat and, yes even the bugs. It's cathartic and rewarding and never-ending. And a lot of work. Most of my back yard is now gardens, and the kids and I spend a lot of time out there. Anyway, as I have become a gardener, I've found that I have different "favorite" flowers with each passing season. It's like a show in my own yard, watching each lovely thing develop, remembering how it grew last year and seeing how it's different this time around. At this particular moment in time, I'm enchanted by my peonies. Aren't they lovely?


There's something mysterious about a peony - so many layers opening up, it seems they never end. And the colors are so fresh and perfect. I'll spend lots of time admiring them before they finish up for the season. Then, we'll move on to lilies!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sunday Best

Today being Sunday, we got fancied up for church.


The tiny girl.



And the great big giant boy.


And we headed out for church. We got a fun surprise when we got there though!



The J-bird got to help ring the big bell!




He loves the bell - he says that it tells everyone, "Come to church! Come to church!"




And he was beyond thrilled to get to pull on the rope to ring it.

Man, it was LOUD.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Playing OUTSIDE!!

The J-bird's having a banner day today. He spotted his best pal, D outside and hollered out the window to her until I took him out to say hi, we transplanted the carrots we were growing on the kitchen windowsill into his own little patch of dirt in the back garden, we read a bunch of his new library books while Miss V was napping, he got to have fish sticks for lunch, he made his Mama nearly hyperventilate with laughter by calling her "Honey", and it was nice enough out for him to ride his tricycle on the back patio for awhile before his nap. Big doin's for a three year old. :)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

My Babies And I

I generally try to stay behind the camera, in a concerted effort to avoid being in front of it, but my friend, Sara blogged recently about how our children most likely don't care about our extra weight, flat hair, pimples,etc...but will simply be happy to look back at pictures of themselves with a happy mommy, and that made sense to me, so...




Thank you to Emma for taking these!

Emma Darlin'


The same day that Olivia left, another of my sisters, Emma showed up for a visit. We had a BLAST and packed a lot of fun into a very few days.


Since I've lived far away for almost nine years now, I've only caught short glimpses of Emma as she's blossomed into adulthood, but each short burst of time spent together is precious to me. Because of the age difference (I'm more than 8 years older), our relationship as sisters seems to change and grow with each visit, as she has gotten older - and I have too! This visit was a particularly special pleasure and privilege for me, because I got to see my sweet sister spending time with my beloved children.






The J-bird took to his Aunt Emma immediately. She works with 3-5 year olds at a montessori school and is beyond amazing with children. She always has been (growing up in our family, it would be hard NOT to be comfortable around little ones), but as an adult, it's obvious not only that Emma has experience and training, but also that she is tremendously gifted at what she does.




In addition to fun time goofing around together, we got to do lots of fun things with Aunt Emma - church, the mall, movies together at home, and the zoo!











on the zoo train - Jimmy was in Heaven!








I'm so grateful for all my siblings. Living so far apart means having to make each minute we spend together count, and I'm so happy to say that these last few days with Emma counted for a lot. I love you, Emma. See you again soon!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Last Day With Liv




We'll miss her so much!

Bein' A Boy


James titled this photo, "Take That, Tree!" He took it this last Saturday during our picnic at the Farmer's Market. The J-bird got bored and wanted to hurl pinecones at the redwood tree...so he did...and we let him. :)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Smiles

V has started smiling. I know she's not supposed to be able to yet, and you may try to tell me it's just gas.



But it's not gas.


I mean, we Houxes DO find gas pretty funny, but THIS, my friends is not gas. This is a genuine, "I'm looking at my hilarious mommy" smile. She does it frequently and beautifully, thus completing her utter conquest of my heart.

Olivia

This is my sweet sister, Olivia. She's been here helping me for almost two weeks, and it's been wonderful having her here. I'm twelve years older than her (she's 20), and I moved out when she was 6, so, even though I stayed as involved as possible in her life (and the lives of my other siblings) she's remained frozen as a tiny girl in my mind to some degree. Being with her these last weeks has been eye opening though. She's really becoming a young woman, which is amazing and terrifying at the same time. She's heading into her third year of art school - she's so incredibly talented - and she's starting to make real decisions about her future and her life and to show who she will be as a woman. For example, she's always been opinionated, but her opinions are evolving and changing with her own growth as a person. She's always been sweet and caring, but her views of people are becoming more mature. It's so cool to watch her blossom, and I'm beyond grateful, not only for all her help, but for the opportunity to spend this time with her and to see her with my children. We all adore her, especially Jimmy. It's been great, and I will be very, very sad to see her go. Luckily, my sister, Emma is coming in on the same day Liv leaves - that ought to lift my spirits!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

She's So Sweet

And precious. And snuggly. And darling. And she smells like a baby.

I love that smell.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I Look Like A Monkey....And I Turned 32

Every year since we moved to Oregon, we've gone to the zoo on my birthday. I thought for sure there had been at least one year that we'd skipped it, but no...I found photographic evidence of a zoo trip every single birthday.



2005 - my 27th

2006 - my 28th



2007 - my 29th. Two months after the J-bird was born. All my hair was falling out. So sad.


2008 - my 30th. Glory days of the O.F.



2009 there are fewer and fewer photos of me as the years go by. I started manning (womanning?) the camera, and getting a photo of MOI at the zoo seems to have become less important.




As a side note, what happened to this baby? He seems to have been replaced with a humongous, extremely loud person who just came over and randomly licked me for no apparent reason then cackled madly.



And now, this year. James had to be out of town, but my sister, Olivia is in town to help out for a couple of weeks, so we piled the kiddos in the car and went on my first BIG outing since V was born (other than Costco, which doesn't count, even though I was exhausted when we left) ;)



Looking at the eagles.



I told you he's enormous.


Fishies



Duckies



The new lion exhibit



And zebras



The J-bird's favorite.




And here's why Olivia is worth her weight in gold. When I started flagging, she pushed the stroller with both kids in it up the hill to the exit. Happy birthday to me!