Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Rain-gutter Regatta

One of the fun perks of moving here is that Devon is now able to participate in Cub Scouts through the church.  It has been fun to see him get excited about getting his uniform and handbook and about belonging to an organization.  He had his first big event at the beginning of November, a rain gutter regatta.  He had started working on his boat back when we first got here, so he had been anticipating the event for close to two months by the time it actually took place.  I watched him race in his first heat- and win- before I had to run Kennedy to a friend's house.  The rest of the family stayed to watch.  Sadly, by the time I got back, the regatta was finished.  He had won two heats and lost two.  I wish I could say he was happy enough with that outcome, but that would be a lie.  He was grumpy about not winning the whole thing, wouldn't stick around for refreshments, and insisted that he didn't like Cub Scouts.  So what started as a fun event kind of took a sour turn.  He's a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to this sort of thing.  If he can't be the best, he doesn't want to do it.  I hope we can help him overcome this attitude and learn to just enjoy things for the fun of it.  Parenting is hard. 

Being the scout-parent greenie I am, I can only say that in the picture below, Devon is receiving an advancement of some sort. ;)

Blowing his little heart out.

Monday, November 12, 2012

House Tour Continued

Yesterday I shared the main living areas of the house.  Today I'll show you the bathrooms and family room.
Standing in front of the fireplace looking the opposite direction of the kitchen, you see this hallway.  The door you see where the hall turns is the master bedroom.  At the end of the hallway is the office, and across from the master is the guest room.  Closer to the living room end of the hall on the left is the main floor bathroom.  Sadly, it is also the master bathroom.  Other than the lack of a garage, this is probably my biggest complaint about this house.  But it's really not a big deal.  The master bath also being the guest bath is much better than the kids' bathroom doubling as a guest bath like at our last house. 

And here it is.  I like all the tile and the decent size walk in shower.  There is a pocket door to the right (just before the striped towel that's hanging) which leads to the master bedroom closet.

Lots of mirrors and storage has been great.

Back to the stairs now.  On the landing is this cute dutch door that leads out to additional deck space.

This is a view looking up from the basement. 

This is from the doorway to the family room.We left all of our cheapo, craigslist bookshelves behind, so we were very excited about all the built in shelves here!
 Down that hallway are a couple bedrooms and another full bath.  From where I was standing when I took this picture, if you turn left, there is another bedroom.

I think I'd like to put a narrow table and a couple chairs back here.  Not sure about that yet.  I have done absolutely nothing to organize or decorate these shelves yet.  All we did was pull books out of boxes and cram them on here.

I love the huge windows (again).  In this picture below, you can see the little hallway and little bit of the pink curtains on Julia's room.

And lastly, for today, the downstairs bathroom.  This bathroom has some interesting features, like the terra cotta tile and the mosaic tile on the counter, the dresser style storage, and the bit of natural light.  But if I owned this house I think I would gut this bathroom and start over.  The tub is a pain- I hate that style of sliding doors, I'd much rather have a curtain, the toilet seems to always leak somewhere, and that mosaic and terra cotta tile is not fun to clean.
 I have to say, though, that all that storage is nice with 5 kids sharing this bathroom.

Next tour will be the yard.  And one of these days, I'll share the bedrooms.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Our New Home

Making a major move across country can be very difficult, just ask my 13 year old daughter.  But moving to a place as beautiful as Bainbridge Island makes it just a little bit easier.  I want to take my camera with me everywhere I go snapping pictures.  I love being surrounded by water and mountains.  I love having quick and easy access to Seattle, then coming home to this quiet island.  I love that our rental house is at the end of a dirt road, surrounded by trees.  I have been promising my sister a photo tour of the house and today is the day. 

Let's start at the front door. 

I love the entry of this house.  The full glass door and full length windows are fantastic.  Most houses here in the northwest are built to maximize the light, since there is very little of it through the long rainy season.  This house is no exception.  But what I also like about the entry is that even though there are lots of windows, you can't see into the main living area.
As you walk in the door and look to the left, this is what you see. 

The doorway to the right leads to the kitchen, the stairs lead down to the basement.  Standing over by the stairs and looking back toward the door, you see a super cute boy!  The coat closet is there to the right, and to the left is the living room.

Looking back at the view out the front windows.

So, let's go to the left, through to the kitchen.
From the doorway:

Stepping in and looking to the left.  I love the big window over the sink.  Thanks to it, and two skylights, the kitchen is very bright.

I also love the vaulted ceiling in the main living area.

This is looking back at the kitchen from the end of the dining area.

And looking at the dining area.  It isn't huge, but it is big enough for our large table.  You can see the sliding glass door that leads out to the deck.  And again, the big windows.

And looking back at the kitchen.

And looking toward the living room.  Notice the continuation of the windows.

Standing at the end of the dining area looking into the living room.  I love the hardwood floors and the wood ceiling.  To the right, where my rustic door is leaning, leads back around to the front door.

I also love the fireplace here.  It has been a long time since we've had a fireplace, and although I love a woodburning one, the convenience of propane is nice too. 

This picture gives a good idea of how the whole main floor flows in a circle.

So I think this post is plenty long enough.  More to come another day.  We were thoroughly prepared to be crammed in a small space while we were renting, so we have been so pleased to be in this larger home. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Halloween 2012

Since I've only posted once here since last Halloween, I figured, what the heck, why not pick up here, one year later.  So here we go.

I don't think I have even posted anything here about our big move in September.  Two months ago we made the life-changing decision to pick up and move our family from Wisconsin to the pacific northwest, specifically, an island across the sound from Seattle.  There are many things we miss about our beloved Dodgeville, but there are many things to love about Bainbridge Island. 

One of the things we really enjoyed in Dodgeville was Halloween.  We lived in the town's trick-or-treating hot spot.  Throngs of children would flood the neighborhood for a couple hours each Halloween.  I would start buying bags of candy as soon as it was on the shelves so I could spread out the expense.  But it was worth it to see the kids doing their Halloween thing. 

Our home we are renting here is in the woods at the end of a dirt road.  No trick-or-treaters.  We weren't even sure where to take our kids to do their trick-or-treating.  We asked around a bit and discovered that the businesses downtown are open to trick-or-treaters from 4-6pm on Halloween.  We decided we would give that a try, completely unsure what to expect.  We figured we could go find a neighborhood that looked promising afterward. 

Typical of October in the Seattle area, it rained all day on the 31st, and it rained as hard as I've seen it rain here.  I was beginning to dread the evening.  As soon as the kids were home from school and suited up, we headed downtown.  We met up with Lincoln at 4:30 and joined the hundreds of people on the main drag, umbrellas in hand.   

 Almost on cue, the rain tapered off and other than a couple little showers, we stayed pretty dry. 

There were definitely lots of people, but it was not crowded to the point of irritation.  There was a festive feeling in the air, made all the more palpable thanks to the Halloween music pealing out from the bell tower of the church on the corner.  The same church was serving free hotdogs and chili, which we took advantage of.  (I did leave a donation. :)  )  It was fun to bump into people we knew because that was something we loved about Dodgeville; whenever we went to a community event we knew lots of people. 


So here are the kids in costume:
Devon as Harry Potter

Renie as a prisoner.  It was impossible to tell due to the raincoat. (So I pixelated her into a specter :)).

Julia as a huntswoman.  That cloak she is wearing was my "big" sewing project for this Halloween.  I think it turned out pretty well.

Jesse as Captain America.  He is the only one of the children who did NOT change his mind about his choice of costume as least once in October. 

And Kennedy as Black Widow. 
And the best part of the evening was that the kids were satisfied with downtown trick-or-treating so we were home enjoying our evening by 6:00. 

It was a crazy day- I helped out with Jesse's class party in the morning, made a quick run to the grocery store (and discovered when I got home that one of the bags did not get put in my cart), took Jesse to a Halloween party, made dinner, went trick-or-treating, took Kennedy to a party, and met up with Julia's ride to go to a friend's house. But it was really fun.  And we're excited that we now have our first Washington tradition in place.  I look forward to blogging about many more!

Monday, June 4, 2012


You know those rare parenting moments of clarity, when everything suddenly comes into sharp focus and you look into your child's eyes and see something that you had missed before?  Admittedly, those moments don't come nearly as often as they should. 

I have been quite open here on this (nearly defunct) blog about how difficult it has been for me to parent Renie.  I love her to pieces and admire all the things about her that make her difficult to parent: Her courage, her determination, her fierce independence and refusal to be intimidated by anyone or anything.  She is a goofball and a ham, but stubborn and a bit prideful.

I have been praying, of late, for guidance in my parenting.  Not that this prayer is anything new, but I think I had recently upped the urgency of my pleas for assistance.  I wasn't thinking of Renie in particular as I prayed, just for help in my calling as a mother. 

Tonight as I played around on the computer, yelling at the girls to quiet down and go to sleep, Renie came out of the bedroom to lodge a complaint about something one of the other girls had done to her.  For some reason, (answer to prayer), in that moment, I looked at her and looked so completely through to her sweet little spirit that I was overcome with consuming love for her.  I asked her to come sit with me for a minute and she climbed into my lap and let me pull her close.  In that quiet, tender moment with her, she immediately confided in me that her classmates had been calling her names and picking on her at school.  As her tears flowed down her cheeks and splashed onto my arm, my little girl suddenly came sharply into focus before me.  Refer back to the second paragraph of this post, and you may begin to understand why this was such a tender moment for me.  She is my tough girl, sandwiched between the two boys in the family, and she does not like to show a weak or vulnerable side.  In those few minutes, I realized that I have come to treat her as if she does not have that vulnerable side and that is infinitely unfair.   I have felt that at times myself; like people expect me to be the strong one and work through things on my own, or even that things don't bother me or hurt me like they do other people.  And I have felt that it was unfair, that I wanted to be the one to cry on someone else's shoulder for a change.  But at the same time, I didn't feel comfortable exposing that vulnerability to anyone and so I just continued on in the same way.  I don't want her to feel that, in her 7 year old version of it.  Not with me.  Not with her mother. 

I am grateful Heavenly Father knows me, knows my children, and knows what we need.  I am grateful He hears and answers the pleas of an imperfect mother.  I am grateful that I was given a glimpse of my child through His eyes.  And mostly, I am grateful I have been given the opportunity to be her mother, that I have been entrusted with such an amazing, sweet spirit. 

I know this clarity will begin to fuzz and blur with time, which is why I am recording it here.  I know that coming back to read this again will help to refocus when I need it, and help me to be the mother she deserves to have.