Unexpected Blooms

Sometimes I wonder if this should be a travel blog rather than stories of our house. We spend so much time visiting exotic places I hardly know what it’s like to sleep in my own bed. 

In September, it was Italy and Oregon. October we managed to stay put. But we’ve made up for it in November with trips to New York City, Oregon, and Mexico.  I know you’re wondering how exotic Oregon can be, but time with our sweet girlies makes it worthwhile. 

When we were in Cabo last week, I saw this beautiful plumeria in a courtyard of a small hotel. Even with Google maps, we were lost. As my sister-in-law asked for directions, I took a few pictures. 

If only our plumeria looked like that I mused. Our first day home as I walked by our bougainvillea, I was struck by its beauty. 

I guess we do have our on little bit of paradise here. 

As Thanksgiving approaches, I am thankful for fun times with those I care about—even if the fish are scarce. 

I’m thankful our girls home for the holiday, and the love of family. 

And water, but that’s another story…

What are you thankful for?


Me and the MR reached a milestone last week—25 years of marriage. It’s hard to believe all those years have gone by, but I’m sure glad to have spent them with him.

Sweet Miss caught the train home on Thursday, and we picked her up in Seattle. She arrived for our mini-heat wave, so we opened presents out on the deck celebrating her birthday and our anniversary. She and Baby Girl had put together something special for our silver anniversary. They’d had made a canvas with our wedding picture, one of the two of us in Cabo a couple of years ago, our iinvitation, and some numbers quantifying our lives.

Anniversary Canvas

We quickly found a place for it in our room. The girls also presented us with 25th Anniversary salt & pepper shakers they had found when helping my dad move.

We rounded out the weekend with a fancy dinner with friends, an overnight at a lovely hotel, a couple’s massage, a barbecue with my dad, and brother, and sister-in-law, a beautiful slate cheese server from Sweet Miss’ Fella, card games and laughter.

While roses from bell boys, and the massage and presents were great, I think the best part was just being together. Sweet Miss ended our list with “1 Blessed Family”. You know something? She’s right.

Hoping you are blessed with the love of family and friends, too.

A Little Friendly Competition

Hard to believe, but this sweet, little teenie is turning 22 tomorrow.

Sweet Miss

Sweet Miss was up visiting a few weeks back and suggested a Fitbit for a birthday present. Simple, easy, and to the point; this I could do. Amazon even shipped it for free with a gift message from me and the MR.

I had laughingly said we could be friends on Fibit. I had no idea what that would mean. I’m friends with my little brother who always has way more steps than I do, and his wife, and one of the MR’s co-workers. My sister-in-law has challenged me to Weekend Warrior to see who can get the most steps, but we’ve never gotten too competitive. I don’t feel like talking smack talk with her.

Sweet Miss’ Fitbit Alta arrived early, so I got a “thank you” phone call on Monday night. We became Fitbit friends, and then next thing you know, she’s challenging me daily to a step competition. No longer is my goal of 10,000 steps enough. I found myself pacing back and forth last night to pull a few hundred ahead.

I know she’s younger, and taller, and stronger, and prettier, but I can’t let my kid win all the time. I’m already the short, roundy mom. I don’t want to be the lazy mom, too.

 Unfortunately, I tend to go to bed first, so she’s beaten me every day so far. We have some exciting trips planned, so maybe then I’ll be able to beat her.  Me and the MR logged in more than 22,000 steps our first day in London wandering along the Thames.

Who knows? Mayb all this walking will help me lose that extra 10 pounds that I’ve been meaning to for years. I’m not the only one making an effort. Sweet Miss’ roommate sent Baby Girl a video of her walking crazily around their house.

At least I’m giving her a run for her money.

Happy Birthday Sweet Miss! You are loved.

Any exercise motivation tips?

Garden Expansion

While I’ve been visiting our sweet girlies, the MR has been hanging out with the pups and making some progress on the vegetable garden redo. 

It’s all smoothed out, and it looks like the asparagus has found a new home. 

All those leftover pavers are being reused for a retaining wall outside the fence. 

I’m planning on planting squash in the unprotected area in hopes that the deer and bunnies will be less impressed with pumpkins and zucchini. 

My trip to Oregon is winding down. With shopping and pedicures, BBQs and birthday celebrations, studio and dance practice, plus a trip to the coast, the last few days have flown by in a whirlwind. 

Time spent with these two does my heart good. 

Hope your weekend was productive—filled with good times with those you love. 

Sweet Miss to the Rescue

You know how sometimes you just kind of put things off. I mean why worry about that? You have lots of time.

Perhaps that’s my mindset a touch too often.  When we were getting ready for our recent trip to Hawaii, I remembered that voucher I bought on Amazon Local two years ago when it was still actually a company They were offering a great price on a canvas photo collage; it would be great next to Sweet Miss’ graduation photo.  I would put together a group of pictures of the girls growing up.  I’d have to have the one of Baby Girl riding on the MR’s shoulders on Lopez Island when she had those cute braids in her hair.  I even put together a group of photos featuring childhood memories.

But, and this is a big but, those silly girls don’t like pictures of them in what some might term those “awkward” years.  Now, I’m their mother, I think they look so cute in all their photos, but hear enough “why’d you let me weat that? or what did you do to my hair?” and even I get hesitant.  So my file was set aside, and time marched on.

I wasn’t too worried about it, since I had till the middle of April to figure things out, right?  That’s when I decided to look at the voucher and figure out just how much time I had left to put this together.  It wasn’t April, it was the end of March, ack; this was never going to work.

I decided to just forget it and move on.  Sometimes these things happen.  But then one of the first mornings of vacation, I came up with a stellar idea.  I’d already paid for it, it was just going to go to waste if I did nothing, I could just send in photos off my phone, and call it good enough.  That’s when an hour or two of frustration and I’ll admit a few tears ensued.

I could upload files, set up the collage, and then the whole process stalled.  When I tried to login on my Ipad, so I could see it a little better and have fewer fat finger mistakes, the website said I didn’t have an account.  That’s when I took a shower and a few deep breaths, and called in the cavalry, I mean the girls.  I sent them an SOS text asking them to help out.

I mean, me and the MR have bought them computers, I know they know how to use them.  They could help me in a pinch.  Sweet Miss came to the rescue.  I sent her the photos I had been using, told her to add some of her own if she wished, and told her to go to town.  Somewhere in the midst of that, she said I sent her to an off-color web site, the deal wasn’t working, she didn’t know what I wanted.

A few frantic phone calls and texts later, she had it all together and ordered.  So I was quite excited to pick up the mail upon our return and find a large package containing this canvas.

SMTTR Photo Collage

Is it perfect? No.  It’s not photos from some fancy photographer all staged and photoshopped, but it’s the last year in our lives.  It’s Baby Girl’s graduation and our anniversary. It’s Mom’s Weekend with Sweet Miss and Dad’s Weekend down in Oregon.  It’s Christmas with our silly dogs and kids and it’s hanging out on the deck. It’s my family, the people who mean the world to me, and I absolutely, totally love it.

And now Sweet Miss and Baby Girl get to share a little wall space with rest of the family.

SMTTR Photo Wall

Because this isn’t just a house, it’s a home filled with love and laughter.  A place where friend and family are always welcomed—usually by crazy, wild, barking dogs.

What do you do with all those great photos? 



A Little of This, A Little of That

It’s just been one of those weeks.  Our sweet girlies are on spring break, and they’ve brought a whirlwind of excitement with them.  While I love having kids home, a whole lot of other stuff goes on hold.

We’ve been out to dinner five times, headed to the mall three times, and sent Sweet Miss and her Fella off to Ireland.

SM & F

We celebrated Baby Girl’s golden birthday at a Japanese steak house with six teenage girls and have had kids over on multiple nights.

ALT Cake

We’ve spent hours in meetings, at the mall, and explored the architecture exhibit at the Bellevue Art Museum.  (Baby Girl’s professor told her class they’d never be great architects without studying other architects work; she’s a very wise woman.)

Me & BG

That’s a lot more than our usual low-key week.  Oh and this weekend it’s Easter, and we’re teaching Sunday school and then driving Baby Girl down to the bus station for the ride back to school.  (Note to self: don’t wait till the last minute to see if you can catch a ride with a friend when Easter and spring break coincide.)

The MR finished painting upstairs—but it’s a mess—so let’s aim on photos for next week.  We still have a pile of pavers to move down in the garden and the bird netting enclosure in the orchard is only half-way done.  Measure twice, cut once is such a good rule.


So what do you write about when there’s nothing to write about?  Knitting of course.  I finished BG’s poncho, and can I say Alpaca is lovely to work with.  This is Two Harbors Poncho by Sarah Smuland in Blue Sky Alpaca’s Extra (a 50/50 fine wool and baby alpaca blend).


Baby Girl looks great, and this pattern knits up really quickly in this cushy, bulky yarn.  My only caution is that it’s knit from side-to-side—something I failed to notice before I made my gauge swatch.  My gauge may be a little off, but this will keep my baby cozy while she’s off at school.

If you’ve read my knitting posts in the past, you’ll know I’m a huge proponent of blocking your finished product.  Here’s a pair of socks I finished recently.

ALT Sock Collage

I was excited to try “Magic Loop”, two-at-a-time socks for the first time and made up Felicia Lo’s Park City Socks in Intrepid Otter sock yarn.  By the by, it’s the Piano Man colorway cause who doesn’t enjoy a little Billy Joel? What I want you to notice is the huge difference between the blocked and unblocked socks.  Taking that extra step makes a huge difference. The lace pattern truly shines with a little blocking.

When you’ve gone to all that hard work, it pays to finish strong.

Have a blessed holiday weekend.  “He has risen.He has risen, indeed.”

Next week, I’ll say goodbye to my sweet girlies and be back with gardening, or house stuff, or knitting, or maybe chocolate cake—you just never know around here.





Share Your Stories

I was talking to my sister-in-law the other day, and she mentioned she’d donated some of her mom’s costume jewelry to a charity that helps women get back on their feet.  She said that she didn’t know where they came from or who had owned them, her mom may have known, but the stories died with her.

That reminded me of an afternoon with my dad.  We’d been cleaning out the basement, and even though my mom’s been gone for 10 years now, it’s still hard to part with her treasures.  I told him it was OK to let go of these things if they weren’t his style and pointed to a large, purple glass vase that had been around for ages.  I figured it was a safe bet that he’d want to get rid of that.

That’s when he told me a story of when they were newlyweds.  Now, I knew the draft notice had showed up on Valentine’s Day bumping their summer wedding to March, and how they spent hours making ceramics on base as cheap entertainment, I’d even heard how my aunt and cousins came to visit and my oldest cousin flushed a watch down the toilet and grabbed a plate off the wall and smashed it on the floor.  Those were the tales of early marriage that I’d grown up hearing.

This was a new one.  When they were first married, my grandma came to visit, and they took her across the border to Juarez.  They’d visited a glass blowing factory where they had watched them make a purple vase.  My grandma had bought a similar one and brought it home.

I remembered seeing it in her house filled with grass plumes, and after her death it had come to my parents.  It was more than just a glass vase—it was memories, and good time, and laughter.


My dad admitted it wasn’t really his style…  I told him not to worry; I’d find a place for it.

Share your stories before it’s too late.