Monday, August 4, 2014

Outdoor's Cool

Oh hey. Happy summer!

I guess it's been awhile.

Full disclosure here: I haven't been too busy to blog, I've just been choosing to do other things. And now that all of those other things have seriously filled all of the space on my camera, it's time to start blogging again.

And I also kind of wanted to step back and see if I would miss blogging. When I saw my 90 year old grandpa a few weeks ago, the first thing he asked about was the blog. I had missed it, too.

Since we are having full disclosure here, I should also mention that I do not have a red screen door anymore. Brent took it down two years ago. There, now I feel better.

I went to outdoor school the summer after sixth grade. It was rainy and soggy and I hated it. I remember that the food was gross and that we made raincoats out of garbage bags. I didn't want to poop in such close proximity to my classmates. We counted the rings on trees and made lanterns out of tin cans. I remember being so excited to come home.

My students go to outdoor school during the summer before sixth grade. I have read many personal narratives about the experience and no one has ever complained about the food. In fact, everything I'd ever heard about outdoor school made it sound like a lot of fun. Every once in awhile my classroom will erupt in laughter at some inside joke and I'll just stand there wondering until somebody says, "Outdoor school. You had to be there."

So this year, way back in May, I decided to go.

 I took the boys along with me and Kate brought her daughter. Job perks are few and far between in our profession, so getting to bring our kids to outdoor school definitely felt like a treat. And it was Kate's birthday, too.

I wondered how my kids would fit in with the fifth graders. I wondered what they would think of the food. Would they get the inside jokes? Would everyone be able to poop?

"Your kids are camp kids," the director told me. Yes, yes they are.

Jack hung back at first, but was quick to join in once everyone started playing capture the flag and dissecting squid. Sawyer became friends with just about every kid he met and ditched us at mealtimes to hang with his new crowd of fifth grade buddies. I got to spend time getting to know my former students (the counselors) again, now that they are practically adults. That was the best part of outdoor school for me.

The food wasn't bad either.

We had our own bathroom. 

I hated leaving.

I guess now I am a camp kid, too.

Thursday, May 22, 2014


Mother's Day 2014: Brent made pancakes and the kids greeted me with their special gifts. Jack had written a poem in French for me. Sawyer's teachers had helped him write in a card:

My mom's name is Cassadie. She is 78 years old. Her favorite color is pink. She loves to go grocery shopping. I love my mom because she takes me to birthday parties.

He also gave me a plant.

(I should point out that not only am I light years away from 78, grocery shopping is my MOST DREADED task, followed quickly by chauffeuring my children around to birthday parties.)

(But it is the thought that counts.)

(I think I might have forgotten to water that plant. It's probably dead by now.)

 Ahem. So, after breakfast we loaded up the party chauffeuring bus and took the dog out for a walk at Golden Gardens. I really had my heart set on some pictures of me with the kids, even though Sawyer was sporting some day-old face paint.

Sawyer must have been surprised that instead of going grocery shopping, I wanted to go out to Sarver Winery with Brent's mom that afternoon. Half of Eugene must have had the same idea, but the view was stunning and the wine was delicious and it beat the hell out of standing in line at Fred Meyer or cutting cake in the party room at Skateworld, so success!

And then there was this ridiculous cake that my mother-in-law made. Happy Mother's Day to us!

In other alcohol related news (yes, drinking in the presence of our children seems to be a recurring theme on this blog, thanks for noticing), my brother breezed through town on his way back to Portland.

I had been boycotting Agrarian for a reason which now seems sort of petty, but I got over it when we realized that there's really nowhere else to take the kids on a Saturday night where they can run and scream and get all riled up by Uncle Nick without driving everyone crazy.

So, Agrarian, I am not impressed by your customer service or your menu (or even your beer, for that matter), but your landscape is pretty sweet and kid friendly. And the hula hoops are a nice touch.

Though I am admittedly athletically challenged, I can hula a hoop. So much so that I received an impromptu round of applause from the party next to us. I was pretty proud of my accomplishment until Nick and Brent mocked my octopus arms and wet noodle body and pointed out that my fan club was all drunk.

Whatever. Haters. I'll show them. Next year for Mother's Day, I'm asking for a hula hoop.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Sweet Spot

A few months ago Brent and I started looking for a new house. 1000 square feet and 1.5 baths has felt crowded for awhile now and spring seemed like a good time to get this ball rolling. We looked at bigger houses, houses with four bedrooms, houses with open floor plans, houses with three bathrooms, even. Big houses with funky kitchens and big houses with funky yards. Big houses with old carpet. Big houses with wood paneling. Big houses in unknown neighborhoods.

As we took virtual tours and actual tours, a feeling started nagging at me. Sure, we (Brent) could do a lot of the updating ourselves (himself). We have replaced flooring and remodeled bathrooms. Brent knows how to turn a yard with three strips of English ivy (no joke) into an awesome outdoor living space with garden beds, playhouse, sandbox, and chicken coop. He can build a deck and install sun tubes. I can paint and hang molding. We know how to replace doorknobs and light fixtures. 

We know all of this because we've done this to our house. The one we live in now. The one with the sweet yard and updated light fixtures.

Then I realized that 2000 square feet would be a lot of house to clean.

And that I really like paying a mortgage we really can afford.

It's in our nature to want more. Right now I want to want less.

Birthday merry making. Brent got a scavenger hunt with all of his favorite things.

Easter. Science fair. Soccer. Sunshine. It's been a busy spring.

The doors are open and the air is sweet. The yard is exploding with raspberries and rhubarb and Brent is replacing our back fence. I borrow a steam cleaner from our neighbors, who borrow the trailer from us. The playhouse is filled with neighborhood kids. The evening sunlight pours in through the sliding glass door as we sit down to dinner.

I think we'll stay.