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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...