Wednesday, March 29, 2017

"Uncle Ev, hold me hand"

"Uncle Ev" just came to see us over his last spring break. Up until now, Fee's always been a little timid around him. It's usually a little easier for her to adapt to my family when they come our way, in small doses. Spending a week in her territory does wonders for bonding. 
Evan is the youngest in the family, & while he fits some baby-of-the-family traits, he is not an attention seeker or happy-go-lucky life of the party kind of guy. And while he doesn't dislike kids, he'd probably rather be interacting with something with a battery. So it was pretty sweet for me to watch him & Fee connect. At meal times, she'd reach for his hand during the prayers. When we were walking anywhere together, "Uncle Ev, hold me hand". I caught him playing with her when he thought no one was watching. And she got more jelly beans the week he was here than in her entire lifetime to date.
It was extra special that he got to be here for her 2nd birthday. My family doesn't normally get to represent at her milestones. She probably won't remember it, but I will:). 

Most of his trip was spent chilling at our house or with his Oregon buddies. Low-key & relaxed (kinda like him). 
It's been a long, rainy winter here in Oregon, so the snatches of sunshine we did get between grey days were spent outside. One afternoon was especially balmy, & we drank smoothies & blew bubbles on the back patio. It speaks volumes that Uncle Ev blew bubbles for Fee.

But, you can't come to Oregon without a little something special. So. 
We went out to the Coast for a day, & spent enough time on the beach to say we'd been there, then strolled Newport Bay.

This picture above is one of my favorites. 

I think he really loved getting documented as a big softy uncle...

 One of the last days he was here, we drove up to Portland, & cruised the city a little before grabbing some pub food at a craft brewery. Then, we headed off to Bonneville Dam on the Columbia. Multnomah Falls is on the way, but decent Saturday after months of rain = no parking, so we skipped that landmark. I've been there half a dozen times & I still love it though. It's worth seeing.

 aside: Fee is very into her accessories lately. Dar thinks I'm crazy, but I let her haul her unicorn backpack everywhere (even to get the mail). It's kind of nice having her carry her own toys, snacks, & drink.
We ate lunch at Bridgeport Brewing in Portland, & I was pleasantly surprised by the food. It was really good, & there were some couches set up around the tables that Fee entertained herself on so I got to almost savor my food. I'm not sure what the dinnertime scene is like, but lunch was very family-friendly. (This photo is another one of my favorites. The conversation they must be having!)

Bonneville Dam is maybe 40 minutes outside of Portland, & is a nice little afternoon trip. We got to watch the locks in action at the dam as they let a barge through. We only caught the end of it, but it was very interesting. I would recommend stopping by the dam if you're in the Columbia Gorge area. It's free, interesting, & can take as much or as little time as you'd like it to. There's a musuem, underwater fish viewing area at the fish ladders (we only saw one fish: September is the peak month if you want to watch spawning salmon returning upriver), the historic powerhouse, & fish hatchery. Plus lots of hikes & waterfalls within 10 miles. Just doing my Oregonian job of trying to lure out tourists;). Have I ever mentioned there's no sales tax?

 With all the rain we've had, the river was just roiling. It's hard to tell in this photo, but those are probably 6 foot waves.

Fee loved looking at all the trout, salmon, steelhead, & sturgeon at the fish hatchery. If you have young kids, it's an easy place to take them for some free fun. The hatchery itself is a lovely old building for just hatching fish eggs:). Now why don't they put cupolas & paned windows on industrial buildings today? There are a few little ponds around with landscaping and "Herman the Sturgeon", a 12 foot sturgeon to go view. Overall, not what I pictured a "fish hatchery" to look like.

And now Uncle Ev's gone. Fee's been asking where he is, & even told me the other day, "Let's go on an airpane & go see unca Ev." Come back soon, Uncle Ev. Before handholding becomes uncool.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Lessons from a two-year old

She's two. In every sense of the word. 
There has been so much teaching lately: letting her help me in the kitchen, planting seeds with her, showing her the blooming flowers, telling her the wonders of being as loved as she is, teaching her about Jesus, praying she can one day be a stronger, more courageous woman for Christ than I am. She in turn, teaches me so much more. 
She teaches me patience (all day, every day!). 

I can quote "I'll Love You Forever" & "Nothing-to-do Puppy" by heart. So can she.

 I've learned that forgiveness is sweeter than being right. 

Sometimes a nap really can solve everything. 

There is nothing so important that it must be done if the sun is shining & we'd rather be outside stomping through "muddles" in our rainboots. 

I know less & less as each day goes by. 

I need more & more godly wisdom (& patience) as each day goes by. 

She's not mine & never has been. In fact, nothing is mine, or ever has been. 

Always, always, always, bring snacks. And a drink. 

It's okay to take it slow. Reeeeaaaallly slow. And examine every rock along the way.

Have I mentioned patience?

Every morning, the mercies are new & eggies & bacon sound good. Every morning. Unless it's pancakes & syrup.

Leave room for the unexpected. It will happen. Especially when I'm already overextended, ten minutes behind, & haven't yet done my hair.

I wouldn't want to be anything other than Fee's mother.

Oh, Fee, some of those may be kind of funny, & I may have been being a little facetious, but truly, we love you. So much. I don't always know what to do with you, but I do know I wouldn't want to be without you.

I'm so looking forward to seeing you as an older sister (mostly), & I have no doubt two will be just as fun as one.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

"I help you, Daddy"

There are days I wish I could just scrub my kitchen floor & have it stay clean for more than five minutes. The sound of the kitchenaid brings Fee running to the kitchen. I can't take a shower without my little sweet Fee joining me. I found her helpfully watering the plants (they were dead at least) on the back patio very liberally. Ten times. I realize I can view this two ways. Let it frustrate me, or embrace it. I have an oldest child, a Martha, on my hands.
She puts my work ethic to shame. The phrase that came out of her mouth so cheerfully the other night when we were tagging along with Dar on one last farm task was, "I help you, Daddy."

She wants to be where the action is. She wants a rag too. She knows where the aprons are kept & has her own half-apron that we fold over & wrap around her twice. She lines up her boots next to ours by the door.

At this stage, it's usually very inconvenient to let her help. But the joy in her voice & the thrill of being allowed to "help Daddy" is worth a lifetime of clean kitchen floors, neatly folded laundry, unstained little clothes, & smooth workflow. It is my prayer that I will welcome her cheerful help, when it's actually helpful, & even more, when it's not. I will try to embrace the gift that her helpful attitude is.

When she is an adult, I still want to hear, "I'll help you," roll off her tongue as cheerfully. And it starts here.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

love lived here

We moved. It's been four months now, and it's starting to feel like our home. But before it was our home, it was home to one of the sweetest, gentlest women I've known. To live here, where so many memories have been made, where so much love has been shown, where so many people have come & been refreshed & prayed for, is an honor.
She always said, (and I think she had an idea someday we'd be the ones to live there, since it's right on the farm), "I just hope whoever lives here after me loves this little home as much as I do."

 We've done some work to it: resided, painted, tore out the overgrown landscaping, put in new floors. And it doesn't look exactly like her house anymore. But I still hope that the love that lived here keeps living here. I hope that whoever comes through our newly painted robin's egg blue door feels as treasured & loved as they did when she was here. I hope that I can appreciate the cozy little house as much as she did. I hope the birds keep coming back for food. I hope the neighborhood feels as comfortable "just stopping by" as they always did. I hope the mint keeps growing wild. I hope the dreary gray days of winter are kept out with bright lights & music like they've always been. I hope memories of joy & family will keep being forged here. I hope that as much prayer will be made for others. I hope contentment radiates from me as much as it did her. If this can be our home's message, I will consider our mission fulfilled. So stop by, anytime:).
 The rest of the photos are of the "remodel" process. We had so much help! I am thankful, as always, for two big families that never fail to step up. Thank you, all who helped! Call on us when every room in your new home needs painted...


This little girl was very involved with the process. And always discovered the joy of "Grammy's" house just a jaunt across the road. I'm grateful she can cultivate a close relationship with the Grammy across the road, just like her dad did. Sometimes it's hard that it isn't both sides of the family right across the road, but we are where He wants us.

We painted every square in of surface in the house except for the walls in one room. I didn't want to see a paintbrush or roller again for a long time after we got done! But it refreshed the walls & gave us a new canvas to make our own nail holes in:).

My stepdad Dan is an electrician & whipped up some can lights which dramatically lit up the living areas! It made such a huge difference.

Wherever there was carpet (everywhere but the kitchen & bathrooms), we put in laminate wood flooring.

 Thankfully, there was only wallpaper in two rooms: the master bedroom & kitchen. We toiled to get the border off in the bedroom (thank you, Wendy, master of old home remodels & stripping wall paper), & decided we'd just paint over the wallpaper in the kitchen!
 We sprayed some texture over the wallpaper to match the rest of the home's textured walls & patched the wallpaper seams with putty to hide them, then painted over it. It looks great to me!
We are still settling in some: I've hardly put anything up on the walls yet. The front room has me scratching my head about what to do with it. (office? play room?) But we feel like we've come home. And I know it's due to the sweet lady that first made it a home where love lived.

**I'll try to post a tour of what it looks like now sometime this spring.