Musings from a dreamer, who fell in love with the Pacific Northwest 18 years ago and in 2011 made it her home. I'm raising a Pinkalicious 7-year-old and a 11-year-old with a big heart - and epilepsy. Ditching perfection, celebrating life, finding joy in the journey and reminding myself daily to Let.It.Be.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Finding our way

So, the last two weeks have been spent learning new jobs and looking for a house. Last weekend, we saw 10 houses in three hours. The kids were amazingly good. We also went to the beach and Yaquina Head lighthouse (they weren't impressed). Gorgeous, perfect day on the coast. The kids love chasing the surf, then letting it chase them.

And the coast there is phenomenal - as you can see in the pic at right! We also fit in outlet shopping at Lincoln City. All in all a perfect day.
This weekend, we again spent Saturday looking at houses, but only four this time. And Sunday we went back to the coast to explore the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport (and more outlet shopping - David's idea, I swear!). Friday night, we all tried something new and got a babysitter (my student worker Taylor) and went to dinner to celebrate David's birthday. We tried new craft beers and enjoyed being out by ourselves for the first time since we moved. Taylor said the kids were great - no drama!
Houses are incredibly expensive here thanks to all the California immigrants who think it's incredibly cheap to live here. Wow. Remind me never to move to California. In any case, we saw one yesterday we saw last weekend and are thinking it might be the one. Very nice touches inside, if not a little small. At least compared to what we've become used to. The yard is also small, but full of very nice, very tall trees, which you can see quite nicely from the living room and deck. Not a lot of room for the kids to run, but a woodsy area for them to explore. And we're thinking we can probably get a trampoline back there next summer. Thankfully there are tons of nice parks and fountains and bouncy houses and water parks and other things for them to do when it's nice outside. Good for me and David, too.

The other nice thing about this house is that it won't completely break the bank. We'd like a little cash left over each month for traveling back to Missouri and around Oregon, as well as for buying toys such as kayaks and bikes

The summer couldn't be more beautiful here. When everyone comes to visit, I highly recommend the summer!

Miss everyone and hope to see you soon!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A week of firsts

The big news this week was that it was Kat's first week at Oregon State U. Already, the house if full of orange and black clothes, pom poms, bags, pens, etc. Thanks to my predecessor, Pat, who has spoiled us all this week with OSU goodies, chocolate cake for the kids and chocolate for mom, I feel like I'll be standing on my own two feet next week when she's gone. Not only did she pour out nearly everything the job entails and introduce me to everyone as someone who will be awesome, she also took me to the Grocery Outlet, where I bought I ton of discounted wine. Eight bottles I think. At the rate we've been going, that ought to last the next month. A truly great find. So, other than that, I'm getting brand new office furniture (My office is behind the two arched photos closest to the wall in the pic below; the top pic is the lobby of my building.) and am looking forward to a college retreat next week at the Oregon Gardens, north of Corvallis.

David continues his bewilderment at how his agency runs - or not - and has grand plans of how to make it better. At least his portion of it. He'll be great. The kids, too, have been well-behaved and happy in Oregon (The pic at right is them wearing their Little Beavers' preschool shirts. They came home wearing them, looking way too cute.) They're still loving the apartment, although I think it's starting to get on our nerves just a bit. Calling the Realtor tomorrow, in fact. We don't need a lot of space, but this is kind of ridiculous. Also this week, David will be calling the school system to discuss Aidan and where he'll be when school starts. We need to figure out that, as well as after-school care.

Saturday was a girls' day out after hitting the farmers' markets, where Kat shopped and the kids played in the fountain. Afterward, Ava and mom shopped downtown at some of the great shops there - a second-hand store, Many Hands Trading, and Zooey's, which is run by one of "my" alums at the college. My first alumni contact in my first week. Not bad. We also went to a kids' store and just enjoyed walking around outdoors, with Ava waving her pink magic wand. We then drove past David's work to the lavender fields, which weren't so lavender because it's harvest time. But we drank lavender lemonade, which made the trip worthwhile. The landscape on the trip was also gorgeous, not that Ava enjoyed it because she was konked out in her seat.

After the girls had our fun, we picked up Aidan and David and headed to Avery Park, not far from wehre we live. On the way, we noticed Aidan finally lost his other front tooth, which we found back at home after him telling us he threw it out the window. The kids had fun climbing on an old locomotive, and we just enjoyed the enormous trees, green grass, sunshine and cool breeze.

Perfect day, which we capped off with a trip to American Dream Pizza, where we sat on the roof downtown and listened to a man sing and play guitar. Ava smiled and flirted with him the entire time, and he even included us Missourians in one of his songs. To illustrate how we better enjoy this weather because basically winter sucks. Where doesn't it??! This perfect, perfect summer weather surely makes up for it. I can't imagine it could be better. I think it makes us all especially happy, which is why I'm hoping for a house before the rain kicks in. Then we can focus on that and less on being soggy!

Sunday, we went shopping in Albany, about 15 minutes away, hitting Target and signing up at Costco. Also had to clean what we can reach in the apartment and do laundry. Fun stuff no matter where you live. Capped off the weekend the way we always do - getting bags packed and lunches made for a new week.                                           
Country's longest continuous picnic table,
created from one tree.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Hello, Corvallis!

We're finally here! All four of us. One little happy family. After sifting through boxes and making our apartment functionable, the kids visited their new preschool while mom visited her new office.

Little Beavers preschool
Our 'partment
OSU made me feel incredibly welcome - I even got a sweet gift bag full of all kinds of orange and black goodies. The kids did well with school - no fussing when I left the first day. Hopefully that continues next week when I go back full time. Big adjustment for me, the whole 8-to-5 grind, but the job is going to be great, and I'm looking forward to being on the beautiful OSU campus every day. My office has two big arched windows I can open and breathe this awesome fresh air. There are even exercise classes held in the building I can take during lunch. So, no excuse not to be fit!

Women's Building, where I'll work

Today showed me there's no excuse not to eat healthy. We picked a ton of blueberries, which the kids enjoyed, and visited the farmers' market held every Sat and Wed. It was amazing, and I picked up organic lemonade, fresh honey, lettuce, cucumbers, strawberries, marionberries, green beans, garlic something-or-others the lady assured me were aweomse roasted with olive oil and basil, and purple kale, which Ava insisted on. I could TOTALLY be a vegeterian here. But I did notice fresh salmon, which we may have to pick up next time. I can't wait til I have a nice, unpacked kitchen where I can cook a bunch of NW veggies and salmon and serve Pinot Noir or Gris to my friends and family who visit. The strawberries I ate today were the best strawberries I've ever eaten - save those I ate 15 years ago when I first visited here. The marionberries and blueberries were equally delicious. Blueberries here are as big as your thumb.

Farmers' market, held Sats and Weds. AWESOME!

After lunch, we drove the hour to Newport where we dug in the sand and played in the surf. Next time, we'll bring a jacket as it was a good 10 degrees cooler there with a constant cool breeze. Heaven compared to what Missouri has had for the last month.

Ava and mommy eating blueberries

Next up was Trader Joe's because I wanted to see what the fuss is all about. Turns out, it's good fuss. Bought some curry chicken/basmati rice, cheap wine, quinoa and other good stuff. We then topped off our big day with Cold Stone Creamery ice cream. Aidan had blue cotton candy and Ava ate cake batter. Super yum. Also noticed a shoe store, Dress Barn and Michael's next door. Bed, Bath and Beyond is across the street. I think we've made it to every store in town this week. Still several downtown I've got my eye on ... And I'm itching to try the TWO Indian restaurants in town.

Next week, my predecessor at work is going to take half a day or so and give me the inside scoop on living in Corvallis - where to get my hair done, dentists/doctor, Realtors, where to shop, where to buy a house, etc.  And maybe I'll convince her to get some Indian food :-).

All in all, it's been a great first week. Everyone is happy, and that's the best anyone can hope for. I'm falling in love with Oregon all over again, and David is just smug happy because he knew it all along. The kids love the 'partment, while David and I are crusing neighborhoods looking for For Sale signs. All in good time ... More updates next week!

David, a.k.a. Mr. Zen

Monday, April 11, 2011


This has been the most amazing, devastating, joyful week of what quite possibly could be my entire life. The events: A deeply soulful, uniquely wonderful friend died in an accident, leaving behind a 2-year-old son and a community sadded by the vacuum created by his death. Friends wondering how they'll go on without his acceptance, love, laughter and "Toddy" bear hugs. Friends who will be better people not only to honor his legacy but also because they've learned his way of living is indeed a better way.

The day of his visitation, my husband was offered a second interview for a job in another state - a job and opportunity we've worked for and wished for the last 15 years. A job that will take us from many of those we love.

Also on that day, a friend published the story of my son's diagnosis of epilepsy. Is it simply irony that we moved home just before our son was diagnosed and reached closure on the day we found out we could leave?

I don't think so. I felt God's presence and knew, for the first time in a long time, he hadn't abandoned me.

This all leaves me fairly jumping out of my skin. At the prospect of change. Of overwhelming love. Of thankfullness. Of complete amazement of one day in my life where its pieces came together in the most amazing ways.

Because the spoken word failed to adequately express thoughts and feelings nearly bursting my seams, on that day, 4.4, I wrote the first poem I've written in a very long time. It may not be literary greatness, but it's mine.

This is the most amazing day.
I saw beauty in tragedy.
In loss. In change.
And I saw tragedy.

I lifted someone up.
I hugged friends new and old.
I said goodbye the last time
And welcomed new life.

I shared a story of walking in the Valley
and making it the other side.
I opened hearts
And healed my own.

On this most amazing day
I'm OK. For the first time in a long time
On this day. This day of fullness.
Of tears. Of laughter.
Of celebrating life and honoring country, father and the Father.

I heard the song. I saw
the light. And I thanked
God for you and my life.
For telling me everything's gonna
be all right.

It is on this day
I realize He has carried me, not foresaken me.
He answered my prayer!
He gave me what I needed
Even when I didn't want it.

I felt His presence this amazing day.
And his, who will tomorrow lie in Earth.
On this day, I am given the promise
of new life. And I am blown away.
I am in awe! I glow with the love and peace and
connectedness of this day.
This transfixing, transformational, most amazing day.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Mourning - and celebrating life

I have been inching toward this place for so long. That place where I can see, with clear eyes, that what I've mourned, what I've longed for has been with me -- and is within me -- all along.

Two things are on my mind and filling my heart today. One is the death of a friend with such a big heart and zest for life that he filled up a room. People were drawn to him. I think in part it was because they knew he liked and accepted them, no matter who they were or were they came from. Of course, he had a soft spot for anyone from this small town, Macon.

His death has made me think again of how we hold up in the hard times. That we as human beings are like a metal, forged stronger by fire. Which leads me to the second thing tugging at me today, my son.

Rocketcitymom blog editor Jennifer Breuer featured my story on Aidan's diagnosis and our journey with epilepsy on her blog today. Already, one mom of a child with epilepsy commented. And that is why I wrote it. And that is one reason I started this blog. I've known all along I wanted his story to help others and that I needed to reach out to other moms living in my shoes. But my independent spirit wouldn't allow it. I am strong enough to handle this on my own, I would say.

And for the most part, I did. But I've made my journey through grief and have decided on healing. On being positive and moving forward. On no longer mourning my son, but celebrating him. My God, what a gift he is! And I've spent too much time being sad and disappointed with the child I've been given. This is my greatest lesson. And it has not been easy. Forged by fire.

So check out Even if you're not from Huntsville, Rocket City Mom offers great articles on parenting from one of the smartest, coolest moms I know. Who is also a blessing.

Count yours today. Life is short. Don't waste time with coulds or shoulds. Be present for yourself and those you love.

"Unable are the loved to die. For love is immortality." Emily Dickinson

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I love how the universe steps in and whispers to us when we take just a moment to slow down long enough to listen. Yesterday, I'm thinking this blog has no direction, I have nothing to say, etc., etc., etc. And today, I'm utterly and completely inspired by the words of two amazing women -- one being Maya Angelou.

My direction today? One foot in front of the other. One step at a time.

Phenomenal Woman
Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can't see.
I say,
It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
The palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Oh, my. How I've neglected my poor blog, which I started nearly a year ago. Since then, we've bought another house (which of course means we'll move to another town soon), and life continues its flow of school, work and when we can, play.

I suppose it's the fact I work in communications that I'm having a hard time with this blog ... What's my strategy? What's the purpose? Who is my audience? What do they want to hear? What can I provide that no one else can?

I know. I'm overthinking it. My goal this year, however, is to answer some of those questions and figure out my purpose, if not in life then at least in the blogosphere!

Til then ...