Saturday, October 3, 2015

Ducky Love

We acquired a duck at the county fair. I've never been around ducks, other than the wild ones at the park, and I assumed this one would be quite aloof, like they are. To my surprise, she is entertaining, snuggly, loud, messy, demanding, and totally adorable!! We named her Jemima Puddle Duck, and call her Puddles. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

How Trauma Does Birthdays

It's Bean's birthday, so of course Abi has been a mess all day. From being silent and owly this morning, to bragging at school that everyone loves her and fights over the chance to be her partner, to being sullen and angry at home again with us. 

At first I felt frustrated. She was demanding attention and I just wanted to give Bean a nice birthday. Finally she was such a grump that Hubby sent her to her room so we could enjoy the festivities without her sour mood there. 

Still, it bothered me that she was being such a stinker. Didn't she understand that it was Bean's day? Couldn't she allow him that?

Then, I started thinking about what the therapists have been telling us: that her brain goes into panic mode and she can't always rationalize it away. Yes, she knows it's Bean's birthday. But trauma was telling her that the attention he received meant we didn't love her. 

I went up to her room and told her that. I told her that even though her brain was telling her we don't love her, it's not true. We do love her. As I spoke, she broke down and sobbed. 

I held her, sitting on the floor next to her bed. Over and over we recited, "Mommy loves you. Daddy loves you. Natta and Seth and Cody love you. Just because it's Cody's birthday and we gave him attention and presents doesn't mean that we don't love you. We do!"

At last, she calmed, and I pulled out a silly singing Elmo guitar to play with. 

Little girl, my heart hurts along with yours. It's so hard that things like this stir up such deep fears and hurts. I hope each tiny step forward will help you find a way past this trauma and rejection, but no matter if it does or not, we will always love you. 

Yes, I snapped a selfie of us. I asked her if it was ok. Because this is where we are. 

How A Bean Turns Six

Balloons at Breakfast. 

Cupcakes at Homeschool co-op.

Special name tag in class. 

Kicking a goal!



We finished the day with a sweet phone conversation with Miss A, Bean's first mom. Bean chattered her ear off about every random thing he could come up with. I could tell he had a wonderful day. 

Happy birthday, Bean!!! We love you SO much!!

Monday, September 28, 2015


All the little bunnies are living in the back yard, and seem to be flourishing. 

We discovered that the play yard made a small enough space for Abi to play with them and they couldn't sneak away from her. She is so gentle that they did fine, and she fed them a Triscuit. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

County Fair!!





New baby furries and featheries

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Snapshot: Salsa Making

On my to-do list: chop the tomatoes I got free from someone at church and make them into salsa. 

Also on my to-do list: give Abi another cooking lesson and teach her how to chop vegetables. 

Brilliant solution: combine them!

Note: a plastic serrated knife works great and won't cut fingers on beginners. :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Homeschool Co-op

Getting a chance to learn with peers in a class setting, and to socialize with other homeschoolers makes the week so much better! On Tuesdays we attend a great little co-op. It's in one of the outlying small towns, so it's a bit of a drive, but it's worth it!

Model Rocket

One of Mister's projects this fall was to build and launch a model rocket. Daddy helped, enjoying memories of doing the same thing with his dad as a kid. 


Monday, September 14, 2015


I've wanted to get Bean into sports as soon as possible. He's so athletic, I know he'll love it! For a somewhat nerdy, intellectual, music-oriented family like ours, it's been a bit of a stretch. Luckily some friends from church are going to take him with them for the games this year. Go Team 1 and Bean!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Snapshot: Bean Dog Tram

(A Bean Dog is a funny little Japanese creature, also called a Mameshiba. My kids love them.)


When you have an eight year old doing algebra and geometry, it keeps you on your toes!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

First Day of School Pics

School started September 1, so I had to get the requisite pictures to put on Facebook!

5th grade 

3rd grade

2nd grade


Saturday, August 29, 2015


When we were still in South Africa, my Facebook feed began to fill up with stories of the fires in the Pacific Northwest. We'd known that with the dry conditions this year, the fire season was likely to be bad, but nobody knew it was going to be this bad. 

August 16

My cousin posted about evacuating their farm and horses. 

Burning around the old Finkel house, where my family lived when I was a baby. A lot of lost pasture and hay. 

All over the area, news articles posted about livestock and pastures being lost. 

August 18

The area around highway 12 and Kamiah burned. 

Three firefighters were killed near Twisp. 

August 20

Fire crews from Canada and even Australia came to help. Local volunteers trained as relief crews for the exhausted firefighters who were working non-stop. 

This repurposed DC-10 flew over the school in Chelan, Washington, trying to save the buildings. 

August 21

August 23

Wind from the west brought smoke into our town, even though the actual fires were miles away. The air quality index dropped to "hazardous."

The photo of this firefighter circled the Internet. After a 32-hour shift, the photographer reported that the man sat down and fell asleep within seconds, despite the small blaze just behind him. 

August 24

Comparison photo in Lewiston, 35 miles south of us, where my parents live. 

August 26

A friend and I had planned to walk downtown, but instead we drove. Even walking between buildings caused my asthma to flare and my eyes to burn. 

School started at the University, but the students had to brave the smoke to get to class, and outdoor activities were canceled. 

August 27

A reprieve of blue sky! We took a few deep breaths and went for a walk. 

August 29 (today)

Back to staying indoors again. It feels like winter in August, when we get cabin fever from staying in so much. 

Curly and Mister made homemade masks. 

The weather forecast predicts a bit of rain. We're all hoping there is enough rain to help the firefighters, but not lightning to start new fires. 

Updated: it did rain a bit tonight!!! It smells heavenly.