Monday, March 30, 2015

Green Thumb?

When I was little, I spent a lot of time at my grandparents house and my grandpa had a pretty large garden. I remember helping him a bit in the garden with stringing peas and pulling carrots and picking beans.  Then helping my grandma shell peas and snap the beans.  As a kid, it was all just a lot of fun and it has been something I have wanted to try my hand at for a few years (on a much smaller scale of course). The kids seem to be at a good age to try and do some planting of our own and I think homeschooling is a great excuse to try our hand at a little garden of our own. 

We had a bit of a dead space in the yard that we didn't really know what else to do with and it was in full sun, so it was perfect for a planting bed of our own. So we got Peter off to work on the first summer project of '15!  The boys loved "helping"! 

                                                                  Aren't they beautiful!

Then we filled the tall beds with lots of  good dirt and compostable debris. The kids were already having a blast with the amount of worms they were finding!

                                             Then they tried their hand at planting a few seedlings!

                                             And putting some garlic and onions in the ground!

It's going to be a bit of an experiment this year as we are just beginners at this gardening thing, but we're excited to try and see if we can make ourselves a green thumb!  So far I have had plenty of little helpers eager to get their hands in the dirt. I will keep you posted as the months go on!  Hopefully we'll end up with a bounty of yummy fresh veggies soon!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Beach Trip

We had the opportunity to go and join my parents for a mini-vacation at the beach.  The kids are getting to an age where vacations are becoming a lot of fun with them!

The first few days were pretty nasty weather-wise, as the Oregon coast tends to be!  But all of a sudden the skies cleared and we had a day of gorgeous weather that we took full advantage of! The kids had a blast on the sand! 

And besides the ocean, we spent A LOT of time in the pool!  Malachi is working his way through swim lessons so Peter was able to get a lot of hours of practice in with him.  The other two just had fun splashing and getting more used to water.

It was a really fun time getting away as a family.  The only thing we didn't accomplish was Peter wanted to go out fishing but the water was too rough.  It makes me look really forward to all of the other trips we have planned this year.  Ireland is just around the corner and a week at Eagle Crest and a Christmas trip to Disneyland are also on the books!  Gonna be a fun year!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The New Ride

It's kind of the end of an era in our house right now.  You see, Peter has had his much beloved 1997 Honda Accord car since the day he started driving.  It's the car I always remember him driving to high school. It's the car we would hold hands in and blast music as we cruised while dating.  It's the car we drove off into the sunset in on our wedding day.  Clearly there are lots of memories with this much beloved car of Peter's.  But as time passes, it just started wearing down as cars tend to do.  

Its been a good 6 years or so since the air conditioning last worked in it.  He tried a few times to get it fixed but it would never stay charged for long. So he finally gave up and has road to and from work (in hot dress clothes) with the windows down on hot days. 

Not only has it been broken into multiple times, but it was also stolen 3 years ago. The fact that she was recovered at all was a bit of a miracle but she was even more worn down after that.  The thief tore apart the console and ripped out the stereo. For whatever reason, we never replaced it and so Peter has spent the last 3 years without music or radio to listen to on his commute. 

Then this winter was kind of the last straw.  His heat setting would only work on high.  Now that is also probably fixable but the poor guy has only high heat and no air conditioning. For a commuter car, that is kind of a pain.  Yes, I know - 1st world problems!

I've been trying to convince him for quite some time that it was time for him to get a new ride.  Now being the sentimental man that he is, he has been very hesitant to part with his much beloved old faithful car!  We've spent probably a good year (or more) in discussion about this.  After narrowing down his options, and taking this baby out on a test drive, he knew what he wanted.  After I did the legwork for him, he is thrilled to have a brand new 2015 Honda Civic Hybrid!  This car is pretty sweet!  And he's getting 45 miles to the gallon on his commute!  

I know it will definitely be a little bittersweet as we let go of his old car and get it on the market here in the next couple weeks, but I am happy for Peter. He's always, always put the needs of the rest of the family ahead of his own desires. He's pushed off a new car purchase for many years for various reasons. But it was his turn to finally get something nice for himself!

Monday, March 2, 2015


This past weekend, Peter and I (and Peter's parents, who are also adoptive parents) had the opportunity to attend a wonderful conference up in Seattle!  The Refresh Conference for adoptive parents. It was a really great time to learn some new tools and just enjoy a few nights away with Peter!  So far I have had the wonderful opportunity to attend women's adoption retreats but it was so great to get to learn right alongside my husband instead of having to try and take home information to him!  

We started our weekend off with an all day intensive work shop from Empowered to Connect with Michael and Amy Monroe.  If I can offer one word of advice to a family in process it would be to #1 - read The Connected Child and #2 - Find an Empowered to Connect Conference and GO! 

So our first day was spent going over Parenting that Connects and Corrects.  It's all information I have heard before, but man I needed a refresher and every time I hear it, I glean a few new techniques to bring home and implement. Even if you aren't an adoptive parent, this Connecting while Correcting stuff works great!  

After our first day work shop we spent the next 2 days at the actual conference.  It was a really great time spent with 1000 other adoptive parents!  

Photo Cred Refresh

Photo Cred Refresh

Photo Cred Refresh

Peter caught not just 1, but 2 prize balls (he only kept 1)!  That was an added blessing to the weekend!  

We got to hear from some incredible speakers, including Jennie Allen, Stephanie Fast, Dan and Terri Coley, Deborah Gray, and Dr Randy Stinson!

There were also countless breakouts to choose from. We took workshops on:
How to tell your kids their adoption stories
Raising a Transracial Family
Communicating with Bio Parents
Trauma Triggers
African American Hair Care

All in all, it was a truly wonderful time and I highly recommend to any of my adoptive or foster care friends residing in the Northwest to save the date and go next year!

And because who doesn't love homework, I came home with a massive reading list that I need to check out. Thought it was worth sharing and maybe will come back with some book reviews down the road:

The Connected Child
Anatomy of the Soul
The Mystery of Risk
The Whole Brain Child
The Out of Sync Child
Nurturing Adoptions
Attaching in Adoption
Telling the Truth to your Adopted or Foster Child
Talking with Young Children About Adoption
Real Parents, Real Children
Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew 
Raising Adopted Children
I'm Chocolate, You're Vanilla
Chocolate Hair, Vanilla Care

And  A Recommendation for kids:
W.I.S.E UP! Powerbook (Adoption and Foster Care versions)