Wednesday, August 31, 2011

first day of school!

shane and layla had their first day of school on wednesday, the 31st! yes, both of them. yes, at a REAL school. it was the right thing to do this year.003    6th grade and 1st grade.004    after walking all the way to school, they had a little time to play on the playground. the 6th graders walking in… notice the lack of parents w/ them. I took this picture from a distance.

005     layla in her desk! aside from staying all day and having lunch at school, the most exciting part of being in 1st grade is that you get your own desk!

002    getting off the bus after school. layla was concerned about being able to remember which bus to get on, so I wrote the number down on a piece of paper for her.

003    there they are. shane was already saying good bye to friends… the social aspects of school are NOT going to be a problem for him!

Monday, August 29, 2011

week 34 in pictures

sunday:008     micah’s melon face.

monday:001     the doormat out the back door. apparently it’s completely commonplace to find tinkertoys and hair clips next to your garden clogs.

tuesday:2011-08-23    micah eating ice cream. you cannot convince this kid that the cone is meant to be eaten. so he licks as far down into the cone as is physically possible… resulting in a chocolate goatee.

wednesday:007    costco’s latest product.

thursday:002     crayons on the warming tray! I will be eternally grateful to my mother for picking this up out of a rummage sale for me.

not friday:002     this is a random picture from some other time during the week. they made a fairground ride out of tinkertoys for the polly pockets. I’m SO glad that when I go to the fair, I’m not strapped, upside down, to the ride with a pipe cleaner!

saturday:2011-08-27    shane got sounders tickets for his birthday from gramma and papa. I got to go with him and it was SO exciting! they won, 6-2. such a great game. and we got to ride the light rail to the game, so that was just an extra bonus.

that’s the week!


okay, enough with this summer laziness! school starts on wednesday and I’m tired of feeling disorganized. not to mention that the diet my children have been ingesting for the last couple of weeks is NOT something I’m willing to publish on the internet! okay, so we’ve been a bit scattered w/ my mom in the hospital and all that, but still. enough is enough!

  • monday: pork chops; oven fries; green beans (fresh from the garden!)
  • tuesday: chicken nuggets; tater tots; carrot sticks/cucumbers(don’t judge! it’s a busy night.)
  • wednesday: meatloaf; mashed potatoes; green beans
  • thursday: chicken vegetable soup; rolls
  • friday: pizza and green beans
  • saturday: hamburgers; veggies or salad
  • sunday: waffles; sausages

yes, we’re having a lot of green beans right now. between mine (that didn’t get eaten by the deer) and my dad’s, we’ve got a lot of green beans! cucumbers too!

I don’t need to do a ton of shopping even. I’ll have some fruits and veggies coming in my veggie box on thursday. just need a couple of pounds of ground beef, some chicken broth (or maybe if I feel adventurous, I’ll just get a whole chicken and use it for the meat and make stock… we’ll see.), some buttermilk for the waffles, and the sausages… oh, and then I need to try and figure out the whole mystery of what my children will be taking in their lunches. yes, the concept of packing two lunches every day is stressing me out a little!

my mom’s progress

I haven’t updated in awhile because there hasn’t been a ton to report. no news is good news, right? this is especially true in this case.

on friday afternoon, my mom was released from the hospital and moved to a care/rehab center in bellevue. she was not quite ready to be at home, but didn’t need to be in the hospital anymore. at this point, she is pretty much ‘over’ the procedure (meaning no pain/nausea), but still has a slight fever off and on (which was expected). she is also having to work at getting her appetite back to where it should be – which is necessary because the main reason she’s unable to come home yet is weakness. walking to the bathroom and back wears her out. so she is working with physical therapists at the rehab place to get her moving more and try to rebuild some strength.

we went to visit her yesterday evening (and to bring her a slice of pecan pie and some starbucks coffee). the kids were excited to be able to see her (it’s been about 2 weeks). they also had fun riding in a wheel chair they found! we had a good visit and it’s so nice to see her feeling so optimistic and happy. she’s also very enthusiastic about her PT.

I’ll update again when there’s something to tell. for now, thanks a ton for all prayers. it’s been so wonderful to feel the outpouring of support from everyone.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

a happy update on my mom

copied from facebook update:

soo... yesterday evening i had the BEST visit with my mom! it was so nice to arrive in the room to see her sitting up and eating! she's still got a ways to go to get back to normal, but having her 'back' was just about the best thing ever.

she's still pretty weak, and last night i left just before she was about to have a blood transfusion. her red cell count was a little low, and they were hoping that, and getting back to a regular diet, will help her gain her strength back more quickly. if not, she may have to go to a rehab center for a few days before going home, just until she's able to get around better. they are trying to get her out of the hospital asap, which would make everyone happy.

at any rate, i'm SO thankful for all of the prayers, well wishes, kind words and support from everyone. knowing that people who don't even know my mom are praying for her is amazing. thank you so much!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

another update

copied from my note posted on facebook:

what a roller coaster! the last couple of days have been really tough. after a rough time this weekend, we were hopeful that my mom was getting better and that her 'mental clarity' would improve as her liver function normalized. well, those numbers continued to improve, but her state did not. this led the dr. to believe that it may be the medication, causing the problem. in one of those fun, chicken and egg scenarios, her liver was severely irritated from the procedure, but she needed to take medication to control pain and keep her calm. this medication needed to be processed through the liver. which was not doing so well in that function. the dr. believed that the medication may have been building up and she was not reacting well to it, so he spoke with the pharmacist to switch her medication to something that would be processed through the kidneys instead, thus giving her liver a break. we were hopeful that this change would allow her to get the other stuff out of her system and come back to 'normal'. this was all happening in the early afternoon. i went in around 5 to visit, and she was sleeping. the dr. came in and i spoke with him. he sounded encouraging, but was a still a little bit baffled by her condition. she did have a slightly normal conversation with him during that time, but she was mostly asleep. still, it was the most normal i'd heard since i spoke with her on the phone last friday night. i felt encouraged. i left for a little while, since she was just sleeping, and i needed to charge my phone and get some coffee. when i got back, she was starting to wake up. sort of. she was very aggitated, seemed to be in a lot of pain. was angry and seemed to be hallucinating. even with 2 doses of pain medication, she wasn't settling down, and they wound up giving her a dose of the medication to calm her down. it took about an hour for her to finally calm down and go back to sleep. WORST EXPERIENCE EVER. i stayed until 10pm or so, and finally came home since she was sleeping. it was so discouraging. and having had the hope that that sort of thing would be diminishing with the change in medication, only to see the worst episode yet was awful. given that they are unsure what is causing this reaction, it was hard to not wonder if this horrible state might be permanent. a very scary thought.

so when i got a call from my dad this morning, saying that they had her out of bed and in a chair, that she was aware that he was there, although groggy and a little bit confused, i was elated. relieved and hopeful that there might be some improvement.

i feel like i'm walking a fine line here. i want to protect my mom's privacy, and not share too many details. but i also know that there are so many people who care about her and her progress in this. and she needs prayers. lots of prayers. for healing, for answers, for encouragement. i really appreciate everyone's support. hopefully tomorrow's update will be better.

Monday, August 22, 2011

week 33 in pictures

I don’t have a picture for sunday… will have to have one of the kids draw something.


here, we have layla, expressing her death-wish. her newfound talent in hula hooping is manifesting itself all over the place, and in odd, and sometimes precarious, positions. here, she’s balanced at the very top of the big, metal slide, which is balanced on top of the little plastic climber, which is on the edge of the deck. maybe the magic wand in her hand has cast some safety spell around her. she lived, but succeeded in giving me a heart attack first.


tuesday:007     layla, micah and I took a picnic to the park. on the way back, micah was determined to carry the cooler. you can’t see it very well in the picture, but it also has 3 filled water bottles clipped to the front of the handle. he didn’t make it very far before he gave it back to me.

wednesday:001     notice what’s going on in the background of this picture: our backyard neighbors were having their roof replaced. VERY exciting! from watching a big dumpster arrive on a truck to be parked in their driveway, to watching the rip off shingles, lots of hammering, and all that sort of general excitement, the kids were in the back yard A LOT. this day, they ate their lunch on the trampoline so they could watch the roofers work while they ate.

thursday:023     the first two green beans from my garden!!!

friday: photo  dave snapped this picture with his phone from the deck of our neighbor’s house where we had dinner friday night. beautiful sunset over the lake. if you look down in the left bottom corner, you can see the silhouette of 2 canoes full of kids. it was quite entertaining to see them all out there paddling around, and even attempting a little canoe-hopping (all safely, of course).

saturday:004    my cycle boys. dave took shane to look for some bike gear and they were successful at finding a good deal on some clip-in pedals and shoes. if you’re not familiar with this concept, I’ll enlighten you. it terrifies me! the bottom of your shoes actually CLIP to your pedals. yes, you can pull them out, and apparently, once you get the hang of it, it’s not that difficult to do, but still, the concept terrifies me. at any rate, that evening, shane wanted to take a ride around the neighborhood to try it out. dave decided to go with him and they wound up riding 5 miles. dave spent some time teaching shane road rules and hand signals and such. stuff like how to indicate to your riding partner that a car is approaching, or you’re coming up on a pot hole (or in their case, a pile of horse poop). this was all prep for the 16 mile ride they took on sunday, home from church!

and the extras:2011-08-16

update on my mom

I posted this over on facebook, but I know there are probably a few people out there who read this, but not facebook, so I’m copying it over to here as well.


okay, several people have asked what is going on with my mom. so here's the basic scoop. my mom as about 13 carcinoids on her liver (essentially, liver cancer). she has knows this for about 2 years. the course of action thus far, has been just to monitor them, as they are very slow growing, and treatment options are limited. lately, she has become very uncomfortable, and a ct scan revealed that her liver was very enlarged, and therefore pressing on her other organs. they determined that the best course of action would be to do a liver embolization, in which they basically cut off the blood supply to half of the liver at a time, in order to shrink the carcinoids. the did the first proceedure on wednesday, the 17th. (the second is roughly planned for a month later, depending on her recovery from this one.) the first couple of days were rough, as general pain, as well as severe nausea are the expected results. after that, she was told to expect more flu-like symptoms, high fever, chills, etc. apparently, messing with the liver is not something the body likes. when my dad and i went to visit her on saturday, we found her very aggitated, confused, and not at all herself. the nurses said she'd been like that when her medication wears off since the previous night. it was very disheartening and we were concerned, as we were not expecting it. my dad spoke with the doctor yesterday morning and he assured him that this was a normal reaction to the elevated liver enzymes (a result of the procedure), and that, according to her labs from the morning, they were starting to come down slightly, so we could expect gradual improvement. that was encouraging. yesterday, she was still aggitated, and they are mostly keeping her medicated (and therefore asleep) to help her rest and heal. my dad was planning to go back this morning, and i imagine i'll go in at some point today. her regular doctor was scheduled to be in this morning, and so my dad was hoping to be there at the same time as him, so he could talk to him. labs were going to be done again today, so hopefully there is more improvement with the numbers on the liver enzymes. but they had expected her to remain in the hospital at least though wednesday.

i'm so thankful to everyone for their prayers, kind words, and support for me and my family right now. it's a tough time for us, but we're hopeful that once she pulls through this part of it, she'll be okay and on the road to recovery, and hopefully be able to head home soon. please continue to pray for her. i will update soon on her status.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

especially for christie

so, our closest park is on the lake and there are paths and bridges that wander around the park, along the edge of the lake. during the summer, we like to go home this way, so we can look for frogs. there are several streams that run in or out of the lake at this point and there are masses of lily pads growing at the mouths of these streams, where the frogs like to sit and sun themselves. it’s totally cliché and a great place for frog sightings.

we were successful yesterday and I snapped a few pictures. 008009010

sorry christie!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

week 32 in pictures

very layla-heavy this week. camera magnet.

sunday:087    do not believe that crap about boys and girls being no different. I used to believe it. I did everything I could to provide gender neutral toys and experiences. and then I experienced reality. shane and micah play with cars in this way: they line then up. they race them. they crash them. they make outrageous wrecking noises and ‘vroom vroom’ noises. they build stuff like car washes and repair shops and off-road vehicle parks out of blocks for the cars to use… layla plays with cars in this way. (and may I add that this is all after the cars have had baby cars and taken their naps under the blanket…

monday:2011-08-08    layla is super happy to have mastered the hula hoop!

tuesday:095    this magic little piece of plastic was in layla’s stocking last christmas. it’s a card holder and is SO awesome for little kids who want to play card games, but can’t manage a whole handful of cards.

wednesday:003  this picture cracks me up. micah built this complicated whatever out of blocks and layla was SO impressed with it, she ran off, made a sign for him to hold, and took his picture. so typical! (in case you’re not fluent in kindergartenese, it says, “I made it all by myself. signed, micah”)

thursday:002   this is a little nasty, but shane has been losing teeth like crazy. he yanked out 3 big, fat molars in the course of 1 week. I think he may actually be OUT of teeth to lose now.

friday:005    layla and my mom, playing pick up sticks.

saturday:009    while doing some sorting at my mom’s, we ran across a random package of clay. my kids have lots of play dough, but not clay, so I brought it home for them and they love it. micah sat here for over an hour, just squishing and cutting.

and the extras. not too many this week.2011-08-11

Monday, August 15, 2011

do you know who you are?

for real? in a consistent sort of way.

if so, you’re lucky.

or maybe you’re normal, and I’m in the middle of some decade-long, no end in sight midlife crisis…

I seriously confuse myself. I never really know, from one day to the next, “who” I will be when I wake up in the morning. no, this isn’t some sort of schizophrenic, multiple personality disorder kind of thing. well, I don’t think so, at least. just kidding. I mean, yes, I’m rachel. yes, I’m my husband’s wife, my children’s mother, etc. that doesn’t change.

but who I am as a mother. as a wife. as a daughter. as a generation x-er. as a christian. as a coffee lover. as a 12 years through college-er. as a former literature major. as a public school grad, parochial school survivor, homeschool advocate but homeschooling chicken with TWO kids now enrolled in public school. as a former waitress, preschool teacher, tie-dyer, pizza deliverer, secretary. as a native washintonian and whatever else fills in the description of ME.

good grief, it really changes daily.

is. this. NORMAL.

I mean, really, I guess the fact that I’ve now got a rather significant portion of life behind me… meaning I’ve been places, done things, known people, had jobs, heard music, read books, been through all the predictable phases and then some…

everything. all of this. feeds into me.


ugh. let’s get a little more self-absorbed, shall we?

[aside: perhaps I should warn the reader that MY blog is sometimes a bit of a celebration of all that spews forth from MY brain. I guess you could call this my therapy. sometimes I whine here. sometimes I confess. sometimes I rant. lately, I just post pictures of what my family is doing. maybe I haven’t had much on my mind. my mom is always telling me that I should keep my opinions to myself. I’m sure she’s right. however, as this is my blog, and reading by anyone other than me (including you, mom) is completely optional, I will continue to post whatever I feel like here. (love you, mom. you ARE so right and I’m working on the mouth thing… writing it out helps with that!)]

at any rate…

maybe I just feel like so much of who I am contradicts or conflicts with other parts of who I am.

it makes me confused a good share of the time.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

my broccoli cheddar soup adventure

so I had a bunch of broccoli in the fridge. last night, I made angie’s sesame oil sautéed broccoli (with carrots) and I wanted another way to fix it, other than just steaming it. that paired w/ the not so warm weather had me thinking SOUP! so I went on a quest to find a good broccoli cheese soup recipe. a lot of them call for american or velveeta (gag). I want some good, old fashioned cheddar. the sharper, the better! found one on the food network site that looked promising.

almost famous broccoli-cheddar soup

I actually mostly followed the recipe (gasp), with the exception of using only half of an onion (so as not to upset dave’s stomach), and I used all 32 ounces of chicken broth, rather than just the 3 cups it called for. other than that, I did it exactly as they said.

I made bread bowls using my w/w sourdough recipe (which, looking at my posted recipes, I see I will have to post soon). the only glitch was when I put the soup into the blender (my new hand-me-down cuisinart, thanks to jennifer and andrew) for a quick shot of pureeing, the power of the mixing soup popped the top off of the blender, even though my hand was ON it! eek! apparently I hadn’t shoved it down all the way. and so, I had hot soup spattered all down the blender, all over the coffee maker, counter, cupboard fronts, floor, my arm, foot… yeah. that was cool. so, because of that mess, we ate a tad late and the boys had to shovel it in to head off to soccer practice. BUT, everyone liked it (well not micah “I hate soup” because he doesn’t like ANYTHING), so I’ll definitely be saving this recipe. it didn’t take that long to make (maybe an hour, sans bread bowls), so I like that flexibility. it would be good in regular bowls w/ some good sourdough to dip in it, or even w/ just a handful of croutons thrown on top.

I highly recommend it. just make sure you have the top securely on your blender! LOL!

have you seen my summer?

it started in the spring… er… I don’t know if you can really call it spring. by the calendar, it should have been spring, but it really wasn’t. it was cold and rainy. then we hit june, edging closer to summer, and people got really hopeful impatient ticked off. spring was still not really showing up. gardens were floundering and people around here were getting concerned.

so here we, almost at the half way point in AUGUST!, and we’ve had MAYBE a week of summer… here and there. I just looked at the 10 day and, while tomorrow is scheduled for sunny and 76, the rest of the forecast tops out at a scorching 71.

what. the. heck?

what’s even more ironic is that the whole rest of the country seems to be suffering through this crazy heat wave that won’t quit. temps in the 100’s and not just in arizona!

now I’m not advocating for that, but summer in the northwest usually means 80’s. at least a good share of the time. it means short sleeves. it means brown grass because people around here don’t have sprinkler systems.  it means glorious blue skies and teenagers lining the beaches along lake washington. it means fans (because people around here don’t have AC).

well, my fans are still stashed away in the garage, and only a couple of my windows are open just a crack. I’m wearing slippers and a sweatshirt, my grass is still green, and the sky is full of clouds… again.


this summer is really running out of time to redeem itself. I guess maybe we’ll have summer in the fall, since we seem to be having spring right now. and then maybe we can skip winter altogether…

well, one can hope, right?

or move.

Monday, August 8, 2011

week 31 in pictures


no pic, but I have a paper that micah wrote his name on repeatedly that I’m going to crop to 4x6 size.

monday:002    it finally occurred to my kids to put the slip & slide at the bottom of the big metal slide. they had lots of fun and no one wound up w/ a concussion from running into the trampoline. always good.

tuesday:033    who says you can’t style a buzz cut? layla was determined to put a clip in daddy’s hair. by some miracle, it actually stuck!

wednesday:051    I sent them to get their jammies on. they showed up a little later with odd looks on their faces wearing this. micah had this weird, guilty look on his face the whole time, and layla was all put out with this big long story about how micah MADE her put the dress on him and he made HER be the prince and that was just ridiculous because why did she have to be the prince anyway and I don’t wanna wear this stupid vest and micah should be the prince because HE’S the boy. it was rather comical.

thursday:052    MOMS club business meeting followed by lots of outdoor playtime. micah decided to plant himself in the middle of the parachute.

friday:2011-08-05    seafair weekend! we headed to a park where we had a great time 2 years ago in warm sunny weather and got to see several good shots of the blue angels’ show. this year, we had drizzle and cloudy skies. the kids still had fun on the beach (well, the younger two and their friends). shane protested and then tolerated it. and we never got any good flyovers either. disappointing.

saturday:084    I took micah and layla to marymoor for some bike riding. there’s this HUGE open lot next to the velodrome that is rarely used for anything. it’s a great place for kids to ride around without worrying about hills or cars or anything to run into.

and the extra pics:2011-08-03

that’s last week!

Monday, August 1, 2011

week 30 in pictures

sunday:2011-07-24    our neighbors, who live on the lake, invited us for dinner. we had a lovely salmon dinner on the deck on a lovely summer evening. the kids enjoyed their hot tub, we had an amazing fly-by by two hot air balloons, and then we took a little paddle on the lake in one of their canoes. it was a very fun evening. we are blessed with a lot really wonderful neighbors.

monday:031     looked out the front window in the morning to see this pair feasting on my neighbor’s huckleberry bushes. we watched quietly and took pictures until they made their way across the street and toward my garden… then there was much shouting, window banging, and shane chasing them out of the yard!

tuesday:2011-07-241   well, not really. this was actually sunday, but I don’t have a picture for tuesday, but had 2 from sunday. the weather was FINALLY nice enough for shane (and micah and layla) to try out the slip & slide he got for his birthday. it was VERY entertaining to watch. shane was probably a little too big for it, given that he slid off the end every time. micah was probably a little to small and couldn’t figure out how to dive onto his belly. he kept doing these knee land/belly splats which were hilarious. layla decided she was feeling well enough to try it out a few times too.

wednesday:001    I was making a blenderful of smoothies in the morning, when I heard a ‘rattling’ sound. then the contents of the blender stopped mixing. I lifted up the pitcher and saw this! crazy!

thursday:001     I decided to try my hand at making some beef jerky. used angie’s recipe and a roast I had in the freezer and put it in my dehydrator. turned out pretty good!

friday:003    I posted this before. the kids playing restaurant after team-cleaning the table and stools.

saturday:010     after several days of rain and cold weather, it finally got warm enough to swim again. layla, in her stack of tubes.


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