Monday, December 31, 2012


 December was a flurry of activity-I was in the moment, keeping up with the day to day, being present for my four children. A broken camera, a slow computer, life. It got busier than I thought possible. The noise level at my home-yeah, it was loud. Laughter, tears, hugs, giggles. Four active, healthy children kept me on my toes. It was bittersweet to let this blog slide the past month (not to mention most of the year) but maybe that's what happens when there are young children that need (and deserve) attention. As for the future, I have plans and ideas in my head-I feel with Rebecca turning two this past November (2!-really! who saw that coming?) my head is getting more out of the little baby/toddler stage. Wait, not just out of the toddler stage, but more. The crazed, do everything, multitasking to the nth degree stage too. At the very least I've stepped it down a notch, just so I can be in the present on what matters to us. Faith, family, friends. It works for us. I won't claim to know/have all the answers, but that is the mystery and beauty in life. I have no plans to end this blog (although I did consider it at one point). My plans will unfold in the weeks to come, so stay tuned. Until then, may 2012 close its doors, bringing forth hope, peace, and love t.o those we know, both near and far. We wish you all a blessed New Year.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Birthday Boy- Elijah

Elijah's my third son, and the one that was hardest to name. I distinctly remember when he was born, how he looked wise and serene, full of wisdom beyond his years. I think of him as an old man in a young boy's body, since his perspective on life, since he is quick with good humor and witty remarks. I love this boy, and its been an adjustment not to have him as my sidekick this year once he entered kindergarten. This year he turned five, and his request was simple-a treat brought to school, and an ice cream cake. Oh to be five, and happy with such simple things. Happy birthday Elijah, we love you!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Birthday Boy-Gabriel

He is my wild child-full of spunk, noise, and always willing to go on an adventure. Gabriel is independant, eager to learn, and wants to test boundaries and push limits to the nth degree. Our family loves his creativity and how he sees the world. Today l look at him and I see myself, and I can't wait to see how he grows up. I'm the lucky one to have him as a son. Happy 7th birthday Gabriel, we love you!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Birthday boys

It always strikes a cord with me when Robert and Gabriel's birthdays approach, because their personalities are similar, and their birthdays are one day apart. This year their special days fell during the weekend, which meant family time and time to truly relax and celebrate. We spent Robert's birthday relaxing at home, he opted to sleep in after working 10+ days straight with early hours. We went out to dinner at Chevy's (his favorite chain restaurant) and had fun out together. The kids had fun wearing sombreros and munching on chips and salsa. Margarita was the word of the night, and we had a couple of them to celebrate. We ended it with ice cream and the kids and us cuddled up at home.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Just a wee bit frazzled-but its okay

Its been a buzz of activity the past few weeks. We've had birthdays, pot lucks, and more activities than I could have envisioned for our family. It all works itself out in the end, but because of it it has led to early bedtimes/strange schedules, and I have to go with the flow. My camera is literally broken right now-and I'm trying to decide what camera will replace it. It doesn't help that it broke down right in the midst of birthday celebrations and right before Black Friday. I can't dwell on it- I count my blessings when it comes to having my family together under one roof. We're healthy, and have just enough of what we need. No complaints here. Contentment is the word of the day.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Pick me a pumpkin

Jumping right into what we've been up to the past month: Our family went to Hillcrest Farms, an annual family tradition, a couple of weekends ago. We went with Miss H and her kids, and we had a wonderful time. The weather was fabulous, in the 80s-meaning t-shirt and shorts. The boys had a blast running through the maze, up and down and all around. The steam train ride was relaxing, with Rebecca sitting with Robert and me, along with Miss H and K. We brought snacks, and enjoyed a picnic under the shade. Fun memories made, definitely worth repeating!

So excited!

Rebecca with Miss H
Matthew loved "driving" the tractor

Big wheel, little girl

Ready to go on the trail!

Rebecca and Miss K
Best friends since preschool

The big kids sat in the caboose during the train ride.

Rebecca sat with us, along with our friends.

I love her tiny feet.

Happy to give sister a ride

Allen Family Fun
The Allen kids-take one

Take two
Take three

I love her curls.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

almost 2

I took these images when we walked home after taking Elijah to kindergarten earlier this week. She was content in her stroller, and then wanted to walk. This stoop caught her eye, and gave me an opportunity for an impromptu photo session. Rebecca is feisty, full of laughter and conversation. She loves her babies, and sitting on the counter to crack eggs into a bowl. She's 22 months, almost two. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Food changes at home

For the past six months we've been slowly changing our diet at home-change is gradual, and doesn't happen overnight. It may not sound impressive, but the strides we've made at home, well, its a lot different than how we used to shop. Part of it was purely financial, but then as I explored more recipes, and my creativity, and aligned myself with like minded people, I see that it''s manageable.

So what is this change- pure and simple, it's eating whole food. Yes, most the items in my pantry now reside in my freezer and refrigerator are still in their form given by nature. The farmer's stand is used bi-weekly, and Grocery Outlet is used weekly for my organic purchases. Winco is used for bulk bins (grains, popcorn, dried fruit, etc.) Local markets like Kristina's have become a go-to store to explore, and use when I'm in the area (their markdown area!)

The vegetable garden didn't happen this year, but supporting local farmers did. I learned how to roast, puree, steam, better than I once did, and actually make food taste good. On my pinterest recipes board, I've saved the ones that have worked out for us, and have more that I want to try. We're setting ourselves up to bid on a cow, pig, or lamb (or combination of) this year from the fair. I'm excited to support the local kids raising the animals, and excited to really buy local.

Most items I purchase now for our home are either organic, unprocessed, or in purer forms. It is a switch, my kids used to scarf down macaroni and cheese from the blue box, or I'd have frozen toaster strudels in the toaster for breakfast. Sauces and mixes, well those use to reside next to my spice rack. Now the spices outnumber the mixes (although I will be making my own eventually).

Reading this, it sounds like I'm a warden of the food in the house. I don't think that's a fair portrayal. I choose to do this-and strive for not casting judgement for those who do differently from us. For our family, this works. I still like to go out to eat, I still like my french fries and onion rings. We occasionally have Little Caesar's because I don't want to cook, and the kids think its a huge treat.  I'm a lover of chocolate and candy. I am just doing the best I can to stretch those days further out, with more homemade in the mix.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


This month has been anything but normal-what we usually have in our quiet, sleepy town, well, it's apparently not that quiet. The van-still has issues. My husband-wicked sense of humor that had me in freak out mode-but in the end I do love him, and I got over it-thanks to MOMS Club Night In. Speaking of which, that's the only normal thing right now-maybe because responsibilities are all divided making the business aspect so much easier? Love my friends, the ones that text, the ones that are near, the ones far away too. We all add something to each other's life, if only for a season, but the impact makes a mark. I have lots of pictures that I want to upload-lacking in that department for far too long. Life is moving along with four children, that's definitely normal though too. Yes I'm scattered today-but its one of those days. Normalcy, or lack there of, life is what you make of it.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Couple time

I have a friend who is just now starting her family and I was struck with a twinge of nostalgia as I saw a picture of them on a date night (before their first baby is born). The days of not having to worry about bedtimes, sitters, prearranging dinner time, and extra clothes, diapers, and wipes-it hit me it's been eight and a half years since we had a completely care free date night. Mind you, now with our fourth child inching closer to two, it has gotten remarkably easier. I don't fret so much about leaving the kids somewhere, or someone staying at our home. I don't worry about the hour and pumping breast milk, or how someone will handle three boys so close in age. The only main concern-as selfish or parent minded as it sounds-is making sure we get safely home so we can start the day together as mom and dad and kids. I made arrangements for a sitter for next weekend-it is long overdue. With all the car issues and school starting for the boys, date night has been pushed to the side. I was reminded by my neighbors today (seriously, it was weird seeing them where I saw them-it was like someone was telling me something!) to spend time together as a couple, not so much as them explicitly saying it, but seeing how they were with each other. I miss that-parenthood has changed that. I look to my friends and have nothing but good wishes for them-parenthood is a new venture, but they are mature, wise adults, and their daughter is blessed beyond words to have them as parents. I'll enjoy where we are in our venture as parents, and next weekend enjoy a much needed respite that will recharge us as mom and dad, and a couple too.,

Friday, September 7, 2012


Blogging with kids isn't what it used to be like. No question about that. My life and responsibilities have gone haywire, and settled down, and I feel like I'm coming up for a big breath of fresh air. School started three weeks ago for our boys, and its been an adjustment for all of us. It's a bit weird to be home with only one child, all day long. There were times when someone was in school before, but I was always pregnant or nursing a new baby. Those days have shifted now.

I don't know where this blog will lead, but I know just as my heart and life continue to take a journey, so will this place. I like having a place to write, reflect, let it all hang out. It's a space to just be. Today is my day to reflect on gratitude.

1. I am grateful for being able to spend time with Rebecca when the boys are in school. Her personality is coming out, and she's starting to talk non stop. We played with her babies today-and it cracked me up how she has 10 little babies, all acquired since her first birthday. She was all smiles and laughter, and I loved every second of it.

2. I am grateful for my neighbors, Linda and Brian. They epitomize what we strive for in our marriage and with our kids. Their candor, yes-attitude, and friendliness are contagious. I am so thankful they were able to help us last night with the van (and what they did for our home too!)

3. I am grateful home grown tomatoes. There's been something about having them in the salads and wraps this summer that is going to leave me longing for them when winter stops their production.

4. I am grateful for my healthy two feet. They have been pushed to the limits over the past month, and they haven't let me down.

What are you grateful for?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

7/15-Foodie in OR

Travel through Oregon, and you need to see what foodie adventures are available. I'm one of those people that likes things off the beaten path, and will stop a take a peek-so that's exactly what we did. 
One stop was Butte Creek Mill

We showed the boys an old refrigerator, their first words "Wow, it's small!"

From The Food Network, The Rogue Creamery. I really wished it wasn't 100+ temps facing us on the way home, because there was so much cheese and dairy products I wanted to purchase, but would have spoiled on the drive home. We settled for samples and a self guided tour of how cheese was made.

Lillie Belle Farms Artisan Chocolate was across the parking lot from the Rogue Creamery. 

We drove from Oregon to Sacramento on the way home-we weren't quite sure how it would go, but we decided to stay in Sacramento and visit with family there longer than stay in another hotel for a night or two. The kids were awesome travelers, as many hours as we went, and places we explored, they adapted well. While sometimes its hard traveling with a big family, this trip was one of those memory makers that I remember the good stuff, and the bad, well, it just makes for some interesting family stories.