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.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Gone Yurting

Spring break is usually a week of pancake breakfasts, lounging in pajamas until lunchtime, board game battles, playdates with our busiest friends, popcorn and movie nights, and Brent complaining about the rain while the children slowly succumb to cabin fever.

But not this year. Oh, no. This year would be different! This would be there year that we set out on a quest to satisfy our thirst for spring break adventure. This was the year of the yurt!

Sometimes I think this blog is simply a collection of beach photos. Today's entry will be no exception.

Yes, it's true that we spend a lot of time at the Oregon coast. And for good reason. Many times when the valley is shrouded in grey drizzle, one needs only to drive west to find that the beach has been hogging the sunshine all along.

And yet, as we loaded the kids and the dog and the snacks and the games and the sleeping bags and the camp stove and the rainboots- just in case- the sky pelted us with angry raindrops and I knew we were not going to be driving out of this spring break deluge anytime soon.

Kids bickered in the car as we parted curtain after curtain of downpour with our windshield. Brent complained about the rain while I tried to distract everyone with snacks.

"Well, let's just make the best of it," I chirped about five thousand times as we arrived at the campground and found that yurts are actually pretty small. The sky brightened and we briefly explored the campground and ventured down to the beach before the rain started up again, sending us scurrying back to our tiny shelter.

Jack was bored, he informed us. About five thousand times. "This is the worst spring break ever!" he wailed theatrically. Sawyer coped by annoying everyone with his loud voice and disregard for personal space. Brent complained about the rain. I opened two beers.

Clementine was the happiest camper in our troop. She kept busy by unpacking our camping supplies and stomping in mud puddles, oblivious to the fact that this was "the worst spring break ever."

As night fell the rain intensified. The sleeping arrangement was less than ideal and it took awhile to get everyone settled in. There was a lot of complaining happening at this point and somehow the yurt seemed to be getting even smaller. "This is impossible," Brent informed me as we attempted to get Clementine to sleep.

No one was interested in my make-the-best-of-it gospel, so I just kept quiet and finally, AT LAST, after many trials and tribulations, we managed to get everyone to bed. And then we tossed and turned all night long as the rain and wind assaulted our yurt. Sometime in the night Brent turned to me and we whispered a plan to leave the next morning if the weather didn't improve.

But, miraculously, it did.

We drove south through Reedsport and Coos Bay. Sunset Bay sounded appealing and the clouds broke, giving us nearly an hour of sunny beach exploration.

We had beers and root beers at Seven Devils Brewery in Coos Bay. We picked up bubble gum and propane before returning to the yurt.

Brent strung up a tarp and the kids roasted marshmallows. Sawyer joined Clementine's puddle stomping party. Brent poured me a beer. The sun set and we cozied up in our yurt and watched Wallace and Gromit on the laptop. No one complained and there was no talk of going home early. There was a lesson here about making the best of things and toughing it out, about seeking the silver lining even when it's raining too hard to see the clouds. It's a lesson that we seem to have to learn over and over again in our family. But instead of seizing this teachable moment, we slept as the light rain drummed soothingly onto the roof above us.

The next morning we woke to a torrential downpour. Fuck this. We loaded up the car in record time and got the hell out of there.

Spring break was drawing to a close, but would not be complete without a rock star themed birthday party for one of Sawyer's friends.

Guess who won the costume contest?