"Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of. but do it in private
and wash your hands afterwards." --Robert Heinlein.

We've moved!

For the next two years (Summer 2014-Summer 2016) I'll be blogging our family's adventures in China at www.chinesemileposts.wordpress.com

Friday, July 31, 2009

The Family

Here is an assortment of family pictures from our trip to Utah. It's always a bit difficult, and requires some creativity to get everyone in the picture.

In the car.

Zion National Park

Cedar Breaks National Monument

Ice Cave

Great Sand Dunes National Park

The Big Move

According to my little ticker tape countdown to the right... Today is the big move.

We picked up the truck yesterday. It's enormous. Jed went back and forth all day about whether or not everything we own would fit. It did. With some space. If Jed had it his way, he and I would load the entire truck on our own. Luckily, Jed has helped enough people move that people felt the need to reciprocate and we had some help. I was especially thankful because otherwise I'd be stuck carrying a California King sized mattress down our steep stairway.

Last night some friends had us over for a goodbye dinner and a break from packing. Then we came home and finished loading all the last, awkwardly shaped stuff. Everything that's left needs to go in the car with me (just clothes and entertainment for the next few days, along with the cleaning supplies and vacuum I'm currently using).

Now it's cleaning time. I've done most of the easy stuff. All the bedrooms are vacuumed. The windows (except in the kitchen) are clean. The downstairs half bath is clean. Then upstairs full bath is clean except for the bathtub part. I just need to clear out some junk downstairs, vacuum and then attack the kitchen and finish the bathroom and we're ready to roll. Sort of. We have to have a moving out inspection. And then Jed has to get done with his last day at work. THEN, we're ready to roll.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Baby X turns 1 and a half

I can't believe this little guy is already 18 months old.

His current loves: cars, trucks, airplanes, buses, trains, balls, birds, dogs, throwing stuff down the stairs, turning off computers, shoes and looking at books.

18 months with the alligator

Monday, July 27, 2009

Pack Rats

With Jed home on Saturday we got a ton done. Mainly, the kids' bedrooms. He took apart bunk beds. I took apart a crib. Baby X's bedroom currently consists of a portable crib buried in a room full of boxes and bunk bed parts. The big kids think their room is awesome. They each have a mattress on the floor, a box of library books, a small box of toys, and all of their remaining clothes are crammed into Buddy's tiny, Rubbermaid plastic dresser. I'm starting to like this simplified toy life, but then they still manage to make a disaster of their room multiple times throughout the day.

As Jed and I were trying to get our room packed last night he said to me something along the lines of, "we could through most of this crap away and never even notice." And it's true, to an extent. We have a lot of stuff. A LOT. When we made the move here from California almost four years ago, we knew we'd probably never be moving that far west again (and our truck was uber expensive), so we brought all of our childhood stuff with us. And we have a lot of stuff from our childhoods. Jed did a pretty good job as a kid of going through all of his stuff and videotaping it while talking about it. But since then he's gotten a lot more stuff. Then throw my stuff into the mix... and all of our kids junk (which often times consists of actual trash they can not part with) and we're in trouble.

I just went to our storage unit to scavenge for our last few empty boxes and saw the boxes of stuff from Jed's missionary days and both of our childhoods. I just wanted to bring it all home and go through it because I know that each year that passes makes it that much easier to part with some of that stuff. I'm pretty sure I could eliminate a lot of crap. But we don't really have time for that yet. Hopefully we'll get a chance to go through that after this move, and before we have to move again. It was so upsetting when we moved here and for the first several weeks I was driving box after box to Goodwill... why didn't we just rid of it BEFORE the move?? But that was a quick, unexpected move. And while we've been able to plan for this one, and we have gotten rid of a lot on ebay and Craigslist and Goodwill... there's still SO MUCH MORE.

Maybe you'll hear from me again before the move. Probably you will... unless a leaning tower of boxes crushes me.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Procrastinators Unite

This is what happens when two procrastinators have a huge move looming in their near future and they should be packing or cleaning or something.

I'm now a redhead, sort of. It washes out in 28 washes. And let me tell you, this has brought up a great deal of conversation with our children, especially Princess Sparkley who would like to know if we might let her dye her hair someday. Argh. Although part of this could be that Jed is currently reading aloud Anne of Green Gables, and Anne hates her hair color and recently dyed it green on accident when she bought black hair dye from a traveling salesman. And, the three year old who lives across the street from us has pink streaks in her hair... as does Fancy Nancy, I think. Plus, all crazy appearances our kids have will be blamed on Jed, because this is his senior picture in our high school yearbook:

The List... updated

I made a list of things to do in Kansas before we move. Here it is again:

Eat at Lidia's in Kansas City (Missouri).

Tour the Kansas state capitol in Topeka.

Go to the Kansas City Zoo (again, Missouri).

Visit the Moon Marble Company in Bonner Springs, KS.

Take pictures of my kids in a field of sunflowers.

Last weekend we went to Topeka to return library books, find Alf Landon's grave (this was on Jed's list of "to do before we leave Kansas," we were unsuccessful), and tour the Topeka Capitol. Jed, Princess Sparkley and Buddy even got to go to the top of the dome and outside to see all of Topeka from a bird's eye view. Unfortunately no one bothered to tell us that Baby X would need to be able to walk all 296 steps on his own or would not be able to go on the tour. We'd already been past security, and through the gift shop where the worker there (who ended up being our tour guide) directed us to where we needed to meet for the dome tour, but didn't bother to mention Baby X would be unable to go on the dome tour. So Baby X and I hung out eating fruit snacks while he tried to escape over the back of the bench we were on, to fall 20 feet down the stairwell. PS and Buddy went to the top with Jed and were both scared, but very brave.

Yesterday I took the kids to Moon Marble. I may have been more excited about this than my kids, but I think they (well, maybe not Baby X) enjoyed it as well. The guy who started it used to be a wood worker. He was making wooden game boards that needed marbles but couldn't find any of the cool marbles from his childhood anywhere. He finally found a company in West Virginia that would sell him some, but he had to buy 12 crates (I'm paraphrasing and may not have everything right). When they arrived, they came in a semi-truck and there were over 5,000 marbles. He says he's been in the marble business ever since that day. I'm not sure how he got into making marbles (Baby X was fussy during this part... I wouldn't recommend this for the littlest kids) but part of the tour is watching him make a marble. It's pretty cool. He asks that if you take pictures, you do so without a flash. This is not good news for me since my camera takes horribly fuzzy and out of focus pictures when the flash is off. I'll include pictures, but look here for better ones.

The marbles he makes sell for $30+. If you look at the marbles for sale on the website, they sell marbles from a variety of talented glass artists and some are as expensive as $350. They also sell a lot of vintage games and cheap marbles they buy from somewhere else.

My kids each got a handpicked by them tube of marbles and a shooter marble. Buddy is obsessed with the game.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Today in my quest to pack 10 boxes a day (which I'm not quite making) I attacked our storage closet* which contains all of our photo albums and cds with burned photos on them. I hit the mother load, so be sure to check on a few recent posts that I've added pictures to. My family picture post here and my parents' anniversary post here.

*My goal for today was to pack my bedroom closet (we've already packed most of our clothes and shoes, now it's just random stuff on the high high top shelf), the coat closet which also doubles as a craft/school closet (and is also half packed) and our storage closet which is mostly already boxed up stuff. Mainly, all I accomplished was making a huge mess of everywhere (except the coat closet which I haven't even made it to yet).

Monday, July 20, 2009

Same Name

Recently, Jed has been trying to convince me to go back to my maiden name arguing that he knew me by my maiden name for 17 years or so before we were married and he still always thinks of me that way. I was never very excited to marry into a family that already had two people with my exact first and last name in it (Jed's aunt whom I've never met and some cousin of his dad's-- both women in their 50s I'd be willing put money on). Plus, he says it isn't as important to him now that I take his name as it was when we were married. He keeps telling me that when we go to church after this big move to Virginia he's going to introduce me with my maiden name. We'll see.

Anyway, what prompted all of this thought is this funny article I read about a guy and a girl, both named Kelly, who also both have the same last name and are getting married. She can keep her name (while also taking on her husband's name), but they have the same name and have to refer to themselves as Kelly girl and Kelly boy. AND, they met because she searched for her own name in Facebook and the only other person was this guy. So she sent him a quick message about how it was funny they had the same name... and now they are getting married.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Green Thumb

I wrote here about how I don't have a green thumb but wish I did. Due to our impending move, we didn't plant any sort of garden this year. For a little church music class I taught on Earth Day, we planted sunflower seeds in an egg carton. I sent a little egg parcel planted with a seed home with each kid, and still ended up with at least 3 dozen seeds to plant. I planted 18 of them in an egg carton 9the rest PS scattered around the creek by our house... I haven't noticed any growing) and was amazed to watch them grow (and kicking myself for never taking a picture of them at their cute tiny stage). When they were about 2-3 inches tall, I switched them to flower pots and moved them outside. When we were leaving for two weeks in Utah, Jed planted them in the actual ground figuring they'd have a better chance of staying alive if they could soak up all the water in the ground, and not rely on rain water while we were away.

They are huge. Taller than all of my children (separately, not standing on each other's heads). And one is very close to being taller than I am... and it flowered this week!! I'm so proud of my little sunflowers.

The top left and bottom right picture were taken a few days ago before my one sunflower had bloomed.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Chocolate Chip Cookie

Click here to find an enjoyable time line of the chocolate chip cookie's history.


I wish that I could make money:

  • reading books
  • searching for stuff on the internet
  • baking treats for their family to enjoy
  • writing
  • recommending books

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Boxes Update

I've made an executive decision. Bags of trash thrown out also qualify as a box for purposes of meeting my daily goal of packing 10 boxes. Today, I have packed 7 boxes (so far) and thrown out one bag of trash. Thus, 8 "boxes" have been "packed." If I hadn't slacked of yesterday, packing only 5 boxes, I'd only have 2 more to pack today. Unfortunately, I'm just over halfway to my goal of 15. Maybe I'll try to find some more junk to throw out tonight when my pack rat kids are asleep.


I only packed 5 boxes yesterday. Which means, to stay on target, I need to pack 15 today. Luckily some friends delivered more boxes for us last night leftover from their recent crosstown move. Bad news... there's no where to walk in my living room due to the boxes I've already packed and the stack of new boxes waiting to be filled. More bad news... I'm really starting to worry that this isn't all going to fit in our truck . And, we've rented the largest truck we can without needing a special drivers license.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


If I think about it too much, I am to the point where I'm going to start panicking about that fact that we move in less than three weeks to an unknown location (I'm currently working on finding a place we can rent short-term so we can get a better idea of where we'd like to be long-term).

While it seems like a lot of our place is packed up (especially if you ask my kids who are fairly convinced that all of their toys have been boxed up ...they haven't), there is still so much more to do. I need to make a goal for myself of packing 10 boxes a day, or something. But then I fear I'll run out of boxes and have to track down more.

I think my next items to tackle (after, of course, finishing the clean up from our trip and consequent messy return) will be packing up random under the sink bathroom supplies (but I know if I do this, someone will get sick and I'll have packed up the thermometer or one bottle of medicine that we've only used once several months ago, and suddenly we need again) and then the kitchen (but I'll do something like pack up my Bundt pan only to find out that one of the desserts in the cupboard that I should make instead of moving food will require a Bundt pan). This is why I'm typing away instead of packing. I over think.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Family Pictures

For most of my childhood, my mom had a fancy painting done of our family hanging in a hallway, room or staircase wall. The problem with this photo was that I wasn't in it (unless you count the wallet sized school picture I tucked in the corner of the frame). My family rarely got photos taken. This fancy portrait was taken just a year or two before I was born, then when I was 7 or so we had family pictures taken at Sears or somewhere. And I wasn't in another family picture until I was in college, both my siblings were married and each had one kid. So approximately 12 years later.

minus my school picture tucked in the corner

I'm about 7 here in my first ever official family picture.

I'm in college.

Due to this lack of family pictures, I have tried to have more pictures taken of our family and with greater frequency. Unfortunately at one point we were able to get a huge one, and since then, the pictures haven't been able to be blown up as large. So the one hanging over our fireplace was taken when Buddy was 2 1/2. He's coming up on 5 1/2. We have more recent pictures. They too are on display in various locations in our home. But the one over the fireplace is of course the most noticeable. Poor Baby X. This needs to be remedied before he starts tucking his own little snapshots in the corner of the frame.

Luckily, our good friends were in town recently and Rachel is an excellent photographer. If I'd only known this about her when we were actually living in the same town. Now she lives in southern California (southern California readers, take note Rachel Clare Photography) where she continues to impress me with the pictures she captures. While they were in town she was nice enough to take some pictures of our family... you can get a sneak peak here.*

*Friends and family... forget you've seen these so you are surprised when they arrive in your Christmas card in a few months.


Just over two weeks ago we left for the mountains of southern Utah and with that, no cell phone reception and no internet access. We arrived home this morning and while I'm exhausted and should be in bed right now making up for the very little sleep I got last night, I'm instead going through all the pictures we took while on vacation. Here are some favorites from the first two days, aka the trek from Kansas to Utah.

PS reading outside the Topeka, KS library.

Flat but pretty, cloudy western Kansas.

Baby X following Jed.
Great Sand Dunes National Park.
near Alamosa, CO

Great Sand Dunes National Park.

Great Sand Dunes National Park.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Screamy McScream

If there was sound accompanying this picture, you'd understand. You'd also be experiencing the loss of hearing in one or both ears, depending on how close your ear is in relation to his mouth.

Baby X needs a new blog name since he's more of a toddler than a baby these days. He'll be 18 months old at the end of the month. Screamy McScream would be very fitting at this stage in his life, but I hate to stick him with a nickname that I certainly don't want him to live up to. But at this point, his teeth shattering shrieks have me about to pull my hair out. Part of this is his inability to speak (delayed speech). Part of it is his age. And part of it is trying to get noticed in a busy house with other, LOUD, kids.

Friday, July 10, 2009


We own a lot of stuff. Specifically, we own a lot of books. And not just Jed and I, our kids have a lot of books as well. I came across this post at this blog recently and have really fallen in love with the bookshelves in her girls' room and the desk with all the art supply containers. I may have to give this a try in our new home. I know Princess Sparkley would definitely enjoy a reading nook (as would I!!).

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


This is mostly who I see lately. Is it something to do with approaching one and a half? Baby X has become the king of grumpy faces. What's especially funny is that as many grumpy faces as I get, anyone we pass in the grocery store that happens to look at him, he gives them a huge grin. Me, the mom, I get grumpy eyes. So he's either giving me grumpy faces, or he's covered in food... in the two food pictures, he's decided to feed himself oatmeal yogurt, with his hands. And he's COVERED in it.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Happy Anniversary!

Forty-six years ago today my parents were married.

*For their 40th anniversary, I scanned in a billion images and had a dvd playing at a little party we threw them. I can't find it ANYWHERE... but hopefully in my packing for this move, I'll find it soon and add it to the post. [I found it and have added a picture and amended the fact that, according to my mom, who is probably right, it's 46 years, not 45.]

Friday, July 03, 2009

Fourth of July from the Archives

image from amazon.com

I love the Fourth of July. I love the fireworks, the parades, wearing red, white and blue, and everything else. And of course, I also love the traditional American desserts. Mmmm. Except for cherry pie. Yuck. But, I love the book How to Make an Apple Pie and see the World and now there's a new book, How to Make a Cherry Pie and see the USA. Yea for the book, yuck for cherry pies.

Here are some links to my past Fourth of July recipes and favorite books:

My favorite apple pie recipe here with some great apple children's book suggestions.

A great Fourth of July book from the McDuff series.

My family's traditional Fourth of July dessert is Peach Cobbler, here's that recipe.

And some Fourth of July side dishes, since you should probably eat something other than dessert... I guess.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Toy Tissue Box

How brilliant is this? I know that my toddlers, and many others LOVE pulling tissues from the tissue box. Who wouldn't? It's fun. This uses an empty Kleenex box (recycling, yea!) and scrap fabric cut with fancy scissors into tissue sized squares. I would probably use this as more of a toy than as reusable tissues, but I also know that little noses will get wiped on them.

I think I'll be making one of these with some of my fabric scraps. Hopefully it'll fool Baby X... although our old remotes don't fool him, he knows they don't really control the TV.
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