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Our hope is that this gives you all a chance to see what we're up to these days.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Letter from a desperate daughter

Long car rides have gotten easier as the kids have gotten older - they can handle longer stretches without stopping. On the other hand, they seem to pester each other more, too. The usual sibling rivalry, I guess. On one recent (and particularly long) trip, our daughter, after getting fed up with her brother, penned us a letter and discretely 'delivered' it to us in the front seats. I simply HAD to share. Even the artwork was adorable (Finn's angry eyes)...

Jeremiah has turned into a poop, a meany and a grump. He is covering his ears and going 'la la la la la' so he cannot hear me. Make him stop.
Your desperate daughter,

Thursday, March 13, 2014

A daughter's poem to her father

Recent father-daughter date night.
Our kids love, love, LOVE to steal our sticky Post-It Notes from our work desk. It doesn't matter how well we hide them, they always seem to find and abscond with them. Tucked behind a pile of papers? Behind books on the bookshelf? On top of the desk out of sight and reach? Yep. Found it. Been there and stole them. Those rascals! It's become a game to them...not so much for us. So now we've just taken to just purchasing an extra stack of sticky notes when we need to restock the office supplies. Problem solved.

Except for notes stuck all over the house labeling what belongs to them, what not to move, smiley faces to bring cheer, scribbles to designate secret spots, what-have-you. Guess they've taken after their mummy - which is a good thing - who leaves little love notes tucked around the house for me to find and get a warm heart over. I love it.

Anyway, a few days ago our daughter - who is REALLY into spelling and reading right now - pulled out her stack of sticky notes and proceeded to scribble away, hiding from all prying eyes what she was writing. Until she delivered me a note - a love poem from her to me. In her words it was

'Words about you that I love. There's WAAAY more than this. These are just my favorites.'

I...was moved to tears. and I could see in her gleaming eyes and facial expressions - as she watched me, searched my face and body language for my reaction - the excitement and knowledge and warmth that her Papa loves her deeply. It was incredibly moving for us both. So without further ado, Finn's poem to me:

Love, Finn.

I do believe I'll be keeping this note for all of my lifetime...
Hamming it up on the ice.

Bright eyes.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Snowy days in Corvallis

Corvallis and surrounding areas have had more school days cancelled because of snow this school year than any in recent history. And, with a changing climate, we can expect more of the same (i.e., more extreme events; higher highs and lower lows). The question is, will we be societally smart (and proactive) in our planning for the future? When it comes to work and school schedules, it's nearly impossible to plan which days will be cancelled due to weather. But we can prepare for the eventuality by having a list of fun (and challenging) home activities close at hand. And a potential list of babysitters ready to call. Personally, we like the idea of swapping kid-watching days with parents of friends. Then the burden doesn't necessarily fall on any one person. In the meantime, the kids just love playing in the snow, even at their school playgrounds!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

An English Tea Party

Gentlemen ready for a spot of tea...

You never know what will happen in this house...Nanny and Grandpa came for a visit and we put on a tea party for Finn. Cat was Mrs. Farkwar, Finn was Ms. Nesbitt, Little man was Mr. Stansfield the 4th, Nanny was Mrs. Perrywinkel, Papa was Mr. Hazelbottom, and Grandpa was Mr. Pigglesworth. We made up stories, dressed up, and Finn loved it!
The tea party.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Marriage and Division of Labor

While discussing table etiquette after dinner, I jokingly teased mummy that she didn't pick up her dinner dishes after being excused. With a wink and a smile I said something to the effect of, "how are we to teach our children proper table manners if we don't pick up our own dishes?" Mummy, with her own wink and a smile, jokingly says "well, I do the dishes. I figured I would pick it up later." Finn, after overhearing our conversation says, "well, mummy, you ARE his awfully wedded wife." Laughter and general happiness ensued.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas Newsletter 2013

Happy Kwanzanukkahristmas Everyone! And a Merry Christmas, too!

We hope this newsletter finds you safe and well and wonderfully blessed this holiday season.

It has been another adventurous year for our family, full of summer travels and a number of changes on the horizon. We write this with coffee in hand and dogs at our feet realizing just how fast time is disappearing. Finn is so tall and READING now…wow! Little man is in pre-K and was a Christmas angel in his school pageant. Imagine…our wild man an ANGEL! Wonders truly never cease.

Finn is taking second grade (still at Muddy Creek Charter School) by storm. She’s doing so well! She has learned to read quite well and amazes us every day with how much she’s advanced. She’s discovered a love of math this year after it being her least favorite subject last year. She’s also kept up with her regular horse riding and has learned to work with our friend’s larger horse It has truly been beautiful to watch her confidence blossom. She still enjoys family bike rides to/from her school bus stop a few miles away. Her fascination with art and science is only deepening and she continues to fill our home with her many art and science projects. You can follow along on her classroom blog (a bit dated) at http://missmelissaclassblog.wordpress.com/.

Little man (Jeremiah August) is still at Good Samaritan School but now in Pre-K three mornings a week. He is LOVING school and all the friends he’s made there. He’s had a big year, learning his numbers and letters, how to fish, ride a scoot (bike without the pedals) and fallen in love with Legos and his teacher Ms. Meagan. One day as Cat picked him up from school and they were walking home, he turned around and yelled “goodbye Ms. Meagan” then turned to Mummy and said “she sure is beautiful”. You can find photos of his school year at http://www.goodsamschool.org/media-gallery.php .

Cat’s year has been filled with BUSYNESS. With Finn in school full-time and Jeremiah in Pre-K three mornings a week, work has been a bit less crazy of a juggling act. She’s still works from home to be available for our kiddos but her work has only increased. She loves directing the Family Violence Prevention program (part time) and has had the privilege of advocating for clients who live outside the state of Oklahoma. Additionally, she’s a still teaching women’s studies courses online for Oregon State University. It can be a crazy busy life at times but she loves the diversity and flexibility of being able to volunteer at our kids’ schools while teaching and growing her work for women’s health and safety of her tribe. Check out her program’s website at: http://fvp.estoo-nsn.gov/.

This has been an outstanding year for Jeremiah. After a hectic first year in his second Masters program, this one in the Public Policy program at Oregon State University (he took two years of course work in one year) he’s busy writing his thesis while applying for PhD programs…oh and publishing journal articles, blogs (NotQuiteConvergent) and presenting at and organizing science communication sessions at national meetings. Currently, he’s working on renewable energy policy, public perception/opinion, and potential impacts of renewable energy development on natural resources. He also teaches undergraduate classes. Despite the busy school schedule, he still reserves plentiful time for his family, playing with kiddos, making meals together with his beloved bride, and enjoying the fall harvest and bounty the Pacific Northwest offers.

After school got out last June we all began a summer of adventures. In July, all four of us (and our eldest dog, 10yo Quinn) floated the Grande Ronde River. It was four days on the water…beautiful sunshine, lots of splashing and wonderful fishing. We then spent a few days camping on the Oregon Coast with a large part of our family. In August we spent two weeks in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri and oh what a time we had! We visited family, went to the Eastern Shawnee Children’s Pow-Wow, toured/explored limestone caves, excavated salt crystals, visited where LauraIngalls Wilder lived as a little girl in Kansas and where she lived as an adult and wrote her books in Missouri…we even got to see Pa’s actual fiddle! We caught fireflies with family and had a wonderful time getting to know our cousins better over late evenings of visiting and hot sultry days of junior high school softball games. We came home in September so the kiddos could start school then all four of us took two weeks and went elk hunting in the Rogue-Umpqua Divide Wilderness area. What an experience that was, cold mornings but warm fall afternoons to explore the woods together and spend quality family time.

For those of you that love updates about our furry children, they are both doing remarkably well. We often forget how old they really are as they are in such good shape. Quinn will be 11 years old this Christmas and Sidda will be 9 in February. We have noticed Quinn slowing down a bit, not so much on hikes or backpacking adventures, but in the evenings after big days of exertion. He tends to sleep a little longer, prefers to sleep by the fire, and sometimes grunts a little bit when getting up, old man that he is. Sidda is still as crazy fast as ever and never seems to find anything but high speed gears. Only occasionally will we be able to fully wear her out…and usually only after she’s worn blisters on her pads. Stinky pinky, our sweet furry girl. They do grace and bless our lives so much. It’s hard to imagine them not being a part of our lives in the relatively near future. Perhaps we can clone them…

Our family has had an amazing adventurous year. God has truly blessed us! And we wish the same blessings on you and your families this coming year and beyond.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Bad parenting moment #764?

Kate Mason blog post on messes.
BabyCenter's pic list of epic messes!
Yeah, that's about right...
Slow Your Home blog. Awesomesauce.
Forget coloring. This is all LJ wants to do with crayons.

I spilled something this morning and looked at Finn and said "Man, all I've done today is make messes...you ever have a day where it feels like all you do is make messes?"

Finn: Yeah everyday.

Me: Why on earth would you say that?! You don't make that many messes.

Finn: Because everyday when I get home from school you say 'Finn clean up...you get home from school and make tons of messes for me to clean up'.

DOH!!! Guess I need to give some more thought to how I present things to her.

In the end, sure kids make some pretty crazy messes. But sometimes, making messes is what it's all about! At least I know she was hearing me.

Now to work on reinforcing their cleanup behaviors...