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My Girl


Miss "I did my hair all by myself and am so proud!"
This girl turns nine in one week. Today I looked at her and asked how on earth she could possibly be turning nine when I just had her two blinks ago. 

How does life zip by so fast? 

She informed me that now she is almost nine she isn't into girly stuff like she used to be, she is into the ARTS. I found this humorous as this was the outfit she wore to make brownies last week.

Yes those are ballet slippers. She dresses up in this ensemble approximately 7 days out of the week to play some version or another of "maiden princess". 

It's just so sad to think that she's right, my little girl is no longer girly AT ALL anymore.

Side note: I'd like to give myself props that I did not try to "fix" her part in the back before letting her out of the house that day when she had so proudly done her hair in pigtail braids. In fact, I didn't even mention it. I've come a long way people! 

A budget breakdown


Yesterday was a looooonnng day. It was payday, which means grocery shopping day - something I always look forward to, but it was also an impulsive day off for my husband - which means YAHOO the kids can stay home with him while I shop, but, uh oh, he's going to want to help with the budget and TAKE AWAY ALL MY EXTRA SHOPPING MONEY... NOOOOO!

And so began the two hour budget battle of 2010. Things got feisty. Someone may have got a little bossy and demanding with his their opinions, and someone else may have made multiple threats of dire circumstances if she they were not spoken to more politely. Children scattered and cried. No not really. Children interrupted incessantly was more like it, driving their parents bananas.

But as always happens as soon as we hit 'save' on our excel spreadsheet and step away from the computer, Russell sincerely apologizes for being all sorts of evil while in the middle of 'negotiations' and I say "oh I love you honey!" and give him kisses before leaving to spend all his money. And all is well. Until I text him 2 hours later telling him that I need more money and then he refuses to answer my call.

Not that THAT happened, just speaking hypothetically here.

You all should feel very, very sorry for my poor husband. In the Dave Ramsey world of married couples where one is usually the nerd and the other the free spirit - the two balancing each other out, we are unfortunately Mr. free spirit trying hard to be the nerd and Mrs. couldn't be any free'er spirited if she tried and no help whatsoever. So here he is trying to pay for our master-suite addition, school tuition, and a recent unexpected several thousand dollar medical bill by working hard and doing all sorts of extra things in a very entrepreneurial manner to make money, while I applaud his efforts but then constantly re-designate the funds to things like vacation, and birthday gifts, and "mama needs a haircut reaaaalllll baaaadddd". Oh and too many groceries

I'll tell you what, I felt so guilt-ridden the rest of my shopping trip that I actually didn't enjoy it. That never happens. So, tomorrow I shall... do all the laundry! Make a wonderful meal for dinner! Hide the extra things I bought that weren't necessary clean the house! 

And send my husband a love letter via email. 

Mr. blue eyed hottie and his mini-me at sunset.

What I Wore Wednesday - week 2


I've learned some valuable information already through this new hobby of taking pictures of my outfits daily (or not quite daily as it turns out). Let me share (and to learn why I'm doing this read here)...

1. The life of a stay at home mom during the summertime does not lead to many opportunities to dress up cute without feeling seriously overdressed.
2. A skinny beveled edge mirror is not the best option for self portraits, especially when screwed to the wall opposite a large window.
3. Holding a camera straight with one hand is apparently quite difficult.
4. Smiling at your reflection in a mirror for a picture feels very silly.
5. A bunch of unsmiling pictures of yourself looks very silly.

Thursday: grocery shopping
top: Ross (love the back)
 capris: Plato's Closet (consignment store)
 sandals: rummage sale
bracelets and hoop earrings: Walmart

  Friday: friends for dinner
 blue tank: Old Navy
white cami: Diviine ModesTee online
 skirt: Seaside, OR outlet mall (don't remember which store as I removed the tag because it was itchy)
sandals: rummage sale
necklace: Target

Saturday: yard work day
cami: Shade Clothing online
shorts: Nike - Fred Meyers sale
sandals: Adidas from Costco
hat: Adidas - gift

Saturday night: friends house for child's birthday party
tank: Old Navy
cami: Diviine ModesTee online
skirt: Target
flip flops: Fred Meyers

 Sunday: church
top: Forever 21
Skirt: Goodwill
belt: Goodwill
wedges: Walmart
bracelet: gift from Mexico

 Monday: prayer group, Mother-in-law's for lunch
pink tank: Aeropostale 
black tank: Shade Clothing online
capris: Calvin Klein from Costco
sandals: Old Navy

Tuesday: at home all day
picture: not taken on purpose.
Trust me, a picture of me in my 5 yr old sweat capris with a tank top and ponytail would benefit NO ONE.

Wednesday: free children's movie at cinemas and lunch at park
tank: Shade Clothing online (yes I have a couple dozen of these in various styles and colors. No I didn't quite realize how matronly this one looks unlayered) 
skirt: Goodwill
sandals: Payless
You may notice I've taken the skirt route a lot so far. It's the summer of the skirt! Well so says my friend Therese and I at least. They're comfy and breezy and cute. And my shorts don't fit this summer. 

 Check out other What I Wore posts at...

Birthday BBQ


This past weekend my family celebrated my Dad's birthday by letting him grill for us. Yeah that's how we roll. 

My father is simply the best bbq'er around, and since steak is his favorite food and no one cooks it better than him, why not let him enjoy it on his special day? And partake as well in the name of celebration?

We also surprised him by completely sabotaging him via text message. You see my parents bought a new swimming pool near the end of last summer but were delayed in setting it up this year by a wedding being held on their property (a beautiful, amazing property I might add). By the time the wedding came and went my Dad decided summer was halfway over and thought why bother now? He was also not looking forward to the exorbitant water bill he would receive after filling said pool.

My mother was not pleased with this but was willing to give way to his wishes, until this past weekend that is, when our local temperatures sky-rocketed. And that's when she embarked in some dirty tactics:  "the daughter's plea". Mum sent out a text message Saturday morning asking both my sister and I to beg Dad to reconsider, using our children as amunition. Kelly and I both enjoy nothing more than a lazy afternoon float at the folks, so were more than willing to comply and began our assault immediately. 

My text: Dad our pool is shot and Russ is chucking it! So Sad. And hot. Where are the grandchildren to go now? I vote your place! Better get your pool up ;)

Kelly's text: Oh it is hot. If only there was a pool at my parents for us to come swim at. Hint hint. It's not summer without your pool!

Dad's reply a couple of hours later: don't tell the grandkids but bring their swimsuits tomorrow :)

Success! Don't you just love how he didn't even acknowledge our requests/demands and acted like it was all a planned surprise thought up by him? That's why he's so awesome, he knows how to give in AND save face!

We had a great time the following evening celebrating Dad with all of our family, enjoying delicious food, and SWIMMING OUR HEARTS OUT. Thanks Dad, you sure are the absolute best guy/father/Papa around! And you are one mean grill master!

Dad the great sport & dessert

The entire family (minus me the photographer), with a few extra cousins thrown in :)

Summer workin'


Yesterday was declared a family work day at our place.

I love family work days because Russ gets in serious "get 'er done" mode and breezes through our to-do lists, putting the kids to work outside with him, while I get to pretend to work hard but really work in 10 minute spurts and then play on the computer in between. And take breaks to get everyone drinks. And lunch. And maybe nap with Blake when I'm worn out from all my workin'.

Kendall and Cooper were put to work hauling rocks with the trailer hooked up to our riding mower and Kendall was taught how to drive it herself for the first time. She may have also taken her brothers for a spin or two around the house.

 Blake was put to work learning how to go potty in his potty chair and look good in his new training pants while doing so. 

I put myself to work mentally rearranging some barrels Russell had just "decorated" our yard with and once decided on an improvement made him move them to my satisfaction. Boy, that was hard! Time for a computer break!

After coaxing Russ into a picture and admiring his muscles I let him know that I will be removing that longhorn head he mistakenly thinks is going to live there.

Then, in a glorious turn of events, Russell, who thinks cloudy and 65 degrees is the perfect day, got hot and sent me off to buy a new swimming pool because our lovely Easy Set pool had popped a leak for the billionth time and would be patched no more. And it was 90 degrees outside and not even noon. 

I was feeling awfully perky after a solo trip to town and offered to mow for a while once Blake was napping. Part of my motivation was the fact that our mower was fresh out of the mechanic shop after being out of commission for the past 3 weeks and our grass in the meantime was beginning to resemble a hay field. Five minutes into my job, however, I remembered why I don't mow our yard, which could also be termed "acreage", because 2 1/2 hours later I was HALF WAY DONE. And did I mention it was 95 degrees now? I called it quits.

Luckily for me I married Mr. Awesome, who is always happy when I am outside with him whether I'm working or not, and he was so pleased with what we got accomplished (and my part in it) that he spent the rest of the evening spontaneously stopping what he was doing to tell me how much he loved me and sighing contentedly. 

If I play my cards right I might just get out of laundry for a week!

Some background


I used to live in New Zealand. Well, I was born there actually, and I lived there until the end of my 7th grade year of school (Form 1) before moving to The U.S., or as I told everyone, "America".

Didn't quite get the whole North/South - DIFFERENT CONTINENTS concept back then.
My mother is from New Zealand and my Dad, a U.S. citizen, met and married her there, staying for 15 years and raising 3 children in the process. When they decided to pack up and head to the States the move was greatly anticipated by both my younger brother and I. While my older sister was moaning and groaning at the thought of leaving her high school friends, I was all "See ya, suckers!" and didn't look back. You know, because the U.S. has DISNEYLAND! 
I was excited about the snow. I'd seen it before on a Mountain, but never on the ground, or falling from the sky, or 5' TALL ON EACH SIDE OF THE ROAD! There were soooo many other new things to see/taste/learn about too...
  • Olives. At once revolting and stinky to me. 
  • The Olive Garden. Avoided for the first year here because I didn't want anything to do with olives.
  • Mexican food. I guess there were no Mexican immigrants or influences in NZ before I left (I don't know about now but it makes sense why not geographically). Salsa and chips, tortillas, refried beans, or any Mexican dish were all new, and not easy to get used to. 
  • Jif peanut butter. Sweet manna from Heaven where had it been all my life? 
  • Dairy Queen. Sweet manna from Heaven where had it been too? 
  • Homeless people sleeping on the streets. We visited DC that winter and wow, was that eye-opening, they were everywhere
  • A REAL crime! When we finally arrived in Oregon we drove through Beaverton and saw a shoplifter running out of a store with a carry basket of food and a store clerk chasing after him down the street. It felt like we'd stepped right into an episode of Cops and I wondered what my parents had gotten us into. 
  • Warehouse shopping (first Sam's Club then Costco out West). Holy CHEAP Batman! Us kids all went around oohing and aaahing over giant bags of popped corn for $2.00 and FREE SAMPLES on the corners!
  • Jerky. "What the heck?!" was my first thought. And when someone said teriyaki all I could think of was teradactyl and had to be convinced into trying it. I know, what a weirdo. 
  • Cable television. NZ TV had 3 channels when we left, and all of them turned off at midnight or 1 am. The thought of a whole channel being devoted to cartoons or The Cosby show and never ending was mind-boggling. And trance-inducing. 
I do feel blessed to have lived in two different cultures (and parts of the world!) and feel strongly patriotic to BOTH countries, as I'm a citizen of each. And how many people can claim that?!

I was rudely awakened upon arrival however. Hello Chicago in a January snowstorm! (Has anyone seen "New In Town" with Renee Zellweger where she leaves Miami, lands in Minnesota, and walks out of the airport terminal only to run back inside freezing? Yeah, pretty much the exact same scene.) I had NO idea that was coming. Or that I was apparently prone to cold sores due to the extreme temperature change. Lovely.

Those are just a few of the things that stuck out in my 12 1/2 year old mind. Over the years I grew accustomed to it all and increasingly missed all of the unique things about and from New Zealand. Good thing I still have plenty of family there who bring us goodies when they come visit and also give us a good reason to go back and see them (which sadly I've only been able to do once). 

I'll take a brain please.


Today I have been a little... er... forgetful.

I'll blame night-owling it up last night combined with an early morning wake-up call from the Blakester, who doesn't respond to a groaning "it's tooooo early, get back in beeeedddd" the same way my older two do. Darn it. 

Let me give you some examples:

1. My sister invited me to meet her at the park so our kids could play in the water sprinklers and I said I'd like to but I'd give her a call after running some errands to see if she was still there. Then I forgot to call.

2. When I remembered that I'd forgotten (all is not lost at least) I decided to send her a text, was interrupted from sending it by a phone call, and forgot to go back and hit send. (Perhaps all is lost...)

I'll tell you right now that it's not easy to put up with a sister like me. It takes patience, know-how, and a general tolerance for repeated acts of spaciness. Also, cute accessories to borrow. Oh, and some prime baking skilz to appease my sweet tooth!

3. After coming home with groceries in the car, unloading an exceedingly cranky toddler, and being inside for about 3 1/2 hours I remembered the groceries were STILL IN THE CAR DARN IT ALL!!!

At this point I decided: hot dogs it is! for dinner tonight. I can't trust myself with anything more complicated.

What I Wore Wednesday - Jod a La Mode


First, a word about me and fashion. 

I love fashion, love looking at clothing catalogs, online stores, fashion magazines, etc... and best of all, going SHOPPING! But I am not fashion forward. I want to be trendy, but it usually takes about 6 months for me to stop hating a new trend, and a year to actually fall in love with it, so by the time I'm wearing it it's not actually new and I pretty much look like everyone else as far as style goes. In fact, usually I'm clinging to it after it's come and gone because I just finally joined the band wagon and gosh darn it, I've got to wear the item at least a few times! 

And I'm fine with that! The point is I don't want to give the impression that I think I'm some hip mama with fashion tips to share. That being said, here goes something new... I'm linking up to What I Wore Wednesday by The Pleated Poppy, a blog I like to read even though I know zero about sewing and try to refrain from anything resembling craftiness. I just admire it in others it seems.

So the idea is to take a picture of what you wear every day with the goal of working on being more creative with the clothes you already have, and also not wearing your pajamas 5 days in a row, which believe me can be very tempting when you have 3 young children that you stay at home with every day and who don't notice if you even have a bra on, let alone if your shoes are matching your outfit.

Just sayin'.

I'm only on day 4 of blogging so I don't have a week's worth of pictures to share but don't think I wasn't tempted to start a blog just so I could join up with this fun concept... I started taking my pics first thing Monday morning!

 Monday: prayer group, errands.
Tee: Shade Clothing online
Vest: Ross
Gauchos: (an example of not letting go of a long-gone trend, people) Fred Meyers
Flats: Old Navy clearance
Necklace: Plato's Closet (consignment store)

 Tuesday: picnic at park, Dr. appointment.
 Tank: Old Navy (for the 4th of July)
Under tank: Shade Clothing online
Capris: Unionbay from Fred Meyers - when I was in HIGH SCHOOL. Wow. 
Sandals: Target
Bracelet: Maurices

Wednesday: errands, Wed. night church. 
Tank: Shade Clothing online
Skirt: Eddie Bauer outlet
Flip flops: Fred Meyers - YEARS ago
Necklace: Fred Meyers

So there we have it! I would like to acknowledge that yes, that is a window air conditioner you see in the background. Just one of the pitfalls blessings of living in a 50+ year old house. Also please don't judge me on the floral/pastel bedding combination going on back there... we are in the middle of adding on a master suite and believe me, that bedding will NOT make the transition when we do.

A recap


  • while making sandwiches for myself and 3 kids to take to a local park for lunch I decided that my two boys would probably only eat half a sandwich each and could share one so I made 4 sandwiches. Because my math skills are AWESOME.
  • while taking a shower I put my 2 year old in playpen time and came out to find him undressed and decorating his tummy with poo. No, not Winnie the Pooh. "An unfortunate event" doesn't quite describe it.
  • while driving home from a dentist appointment I decided to snack on some peanuts leftover from our picnic lunch and then accidentally ran a red light while chewing. Apparently our Oregon road rules aren't tough enough people, because I can not eat and drive.
  • while shrieking in horror that I was BREAKING THE LAW I immediately and without thinking started to pull over to the side of the road as if I were being pulled over, realized what I was doing and quickly pulled back out, and managed to be even more embarrassed about that then running the light.
  •  while turbo-cleaning my house at 11:00 pm out of guilt because I spent the rest of my afternoon and evening at Cara's house goofing off and gabbing, I found this, made by my 7 year old son...


I pray for... car crash. My brothers fever.
And it made my day. 

A Visit


Today I swung by my sister's place for a "quick visit" that lasted a couple of hours. I'm afraid to say that I picked up a tasty coffee on the way through town and then may or may not have talked my sister's ear off the entire time I was there. So much to discuss since seeing each other only two days previously.

This is Kelly, older than me by 18 months. Also known as Kell-bell, Kelly Marie, and sometimes Kellsadore, which she loves. But look Kelly: when it's typed out you can clearly see that it ends with "adore" so really it's an affectionate nickname! Anyway isn't she the cutest? Some important things to note:
  • Kelly is a "gourmet". Meaning for a surprise lunch visit she made caprese salads with fresh picked basil from her herb garden. I am the complete opposite of gourmet. Meaning if you come to my house for lunch, surprise or not, you will be offered a tasty ham and cheese sandwich or possibly peanut butter and honey. Also while I dream of lovely herb gardens I would have no idea what to do with said herbs. It's sad.
  • Kelly has cute hair and she knows how to style it. You work that style Kel! I know how to do my hair in approximately two different styles and alternate between them both and no style whatsoever equally. Also sad.
Kelly made these after lunch: fresh fruit smoothies with frozen berries, banana, and yogurt. It's disgusting really what a show off she can be. However as they were totally awesome tasting I shall forgive her.

The fun thing about going to visit Kellsadore is that her oldest child is only two months older than my youngest and they are both boys. We sorta conspired on the first part but got lucky on the second.
Meet Hayden and Blake! They are two and a half years old and love each other dearly, but in Kelly's own words: "they self-destruct together". But, they're two and they'll grow out of that. We pray. Notice the cheesy grins. As scrapbookers we train our children young to always be camera ready :) Note: this picture was taken before epic battle 1, 2 & 3 had taken place and I finally decided to remove my child from poor Hayden's presence. 

But not before I got a few last cuddles in with this guy...
This is Elijah and he is 8 weeks old and ADORABLE. One of the best things about Kelly and I having babies together was that we got to be pregnant together too. However, one of the best things about Kelly having a second baby was that I was NOT pregnant with her and therefore was not an unsympathetic hormonal wreck this time around. And now I get to enjoy a newborn nephew without being distracted by one of my own. It's delightful!

So besides a fun visit, another summer day went by in which I wiled away a good chunk of time without having to do any housework whatsoever and that, friends, is what I call a success!



    Today my youngest was sick so I took one for the team and stayed home from church with him. And started a blog.

    It was bound to happen really.

    My sister-in-law started blogging recently and when she told me, I was filled with excited envy. I have been thinking about blogging for almost a year now... ever since I was about to turn 30 (a big event in my not-so-eventful life) and thought it would be a fun thing to start as a present to myself. But as one of my main strengths in life is procrastination it's taken 10 months to actually happen and don't think I'm still not all jittery inside with nerves!

    The ONE thing I knew was that when I did start I would call my blog Jod à la Mode, the nickname my very best friend and former high school enemy used to call me. Anybody that knows me at all will tell you that I will NEVER pass up on dessert :)