Saturday, December 03, 2011

Bee Baw Day

Veronica's vocabulary is expanding. Praise the Lord! although then it occurred to me that perhaps I need to write down the word that Veronica made up to be her all purpose pronoun. BeeBawDay has been her "go to" word for anything she doesn't know how to express or doesn't want to try to say. Because there are certainly some days where you say to her "Oh, would you like this purse? can you say purse?" and her answer will be "no, BeeBawDay" while pointing at the purse. Her current phrases also include: My Happy Day (we think this refers to her birthday because Suzy talks about her birthday a lot, but Veronica has a LOT of happy days), Dee Dee  (thank you, and those are just sweet words to hear), dja dja (her word for Suzy, although she CAN now say Suzy she just doesn't), Me too! (which is usually accompanied by a sprint as she follows someone doing something), Me Go! (this girl loves, loves, loves to go. go where? anywhere!), Meet cha buddy (she shook my hand the other day repeated this and broke out into crazy giggles. I have no idea where she learned it).  She does try to make little jokes now, she'll say things and then say "ha ha ha" in a little monotone rhythm. I love those little moments inbetween the normal screams of no! and "ready for my canny now mama".

Thursday, September 29, 2011

My new Montessori school

Every so often I'll get a bug and start scouring the internet for "creative" learning ideas for the baby. She's my last one, so i vacillate between just barely keeping track of her in the chaos and spoiling her rotten because 'She's my baby!'. All in all it's probably the worst parenting combination to inflict upon a child that we will expect decent behavior out of later, but que sera sera.
Rainbow rice has become my latest 'must do this' idea. Why? you ask, because the water frog is dry and it's too cold for more water. (although i did bust Veronica trying to fill it herself the other day by carrying cup after cup of water from the bathroom through the kitchen out the back door and dumping the last tablespoon of water left in the cup into the frog) so here's a look at the super fun rainbow rice, what child wouldn't be inspired into increasing their IQ by playing with such wonderful stuff.
I love it, it makes me smile. But let me just tell you, do i actually have any rainbow rice in my house? nope, it's on the to do list, and while this to-do list is a lovely thing, my baby is growing right on up regardless of whether or not i have done the things on my to-do list.
The good news here is that I'm already running a Montessori school. Yup, today's first session was compliments of not cleaning up the breakfast dishes. I found Veronica sitting at her booster seat this morning very carefully pouring the leftover juice from breakfast in and out of the 3 juice cups left on the table. She would combine them all into one and then pour a little back into each cup. Then two cups has juice and one was empty and then they all had juice again. Then someone was a little thirsty and then the levels were lower in each cup. I remember doing this exact thing with dried peas at the Montessori school in parkersburg under the watchful eye of Sister Fellamena at DeSales Heights. (although i'm sure i didn't drink the dried peas)

So here's to our little Montessori school, the Administration is a little lax but the teachers sure love their students.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

My Auntie

If there was one thing I heard from my Auntie growing up, it was "slow down, don't eat so fast". I can only imagine the absolute joy in her heart up in heaven when she watches Suzy eat.

Suzy turned to me the other day with her eyes as wide as they could be saying "Mom, look at my eyes." so I looked deep into those beautiful eyes of my little girl and she says "are they twinkling mama?"
"Yes, my sweet girl, they are the prettiest things i've ever seen".

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Rest of the Story

I want to get the rest of our visit in before I forget what we did:) Already I'm a little foggy on what we did the day after the plumbers came. I think that was the day that Lee and I went to get pedis so our feet could look like they belonged to women who don't spend their days running after children, but perhaps like feet that spend their days on beaches or other exfoliating places. It was a very nice afternoon trip, the great irony being that Lee was saying on the way there that she wasn't sure she would be comfortable with a man giving her a pedicure and I chipped in with the ever intelligent "do men even do that sort of thing?", and sure enough I ended up with a man giving me my pedicure.  It was worth it, our toes looked lovely as could be afterwards.  While I'm not sure the hot wax/plastic baggie thing actually did anything to our feet, it was certainly entertaining at the time.

We did decide to adjust our camping plans. Upon learning that Bend was supposed to be 42 degrees overnight, we decided that a day trip would be just lovely. We started our day with a tour of the Columbia River Gorge. It has, hands down, the nicest rest stop I've ever seen:)

For the record, Mike would like the caption for the second picture to read "I just peed" and now back to our regularly scheduled blogging...

It was a beautiful drive. We saw several waterfalls before we stopped to hike to the top of the largest one, Multnomah Falls. It was gorgeous and very very tall.

Along the trail to the top, a little cave just big enough for a man, or a man and his brother who loves a nice close hug.

This was really the only time where Jeff's being a marathon runner actually came into play in our relationship. We lost them about 1/2 way up the trail (maybe a little sooner). When we finally got to the top, there were PB&Js all around and some great pictures. (not that I went anywhere near the edge to get them, that would be the handsome man i married)
If you click on this picture, you can see the bridge waaaaaayyyyyy down there. that is the bridge from the first picture.

From there we headed to a nearby town to get some good coffee and then off to drive the fruit loop (local orchards) to Mt. Hood. We visited the Timberline Lodge. It was beautiful and there was snow to play in, so that was a bonus for Ez and Hads.
 This picture is one of my favorites for doing its best to express the absolute blue of the sky that day.
 This was the view from the front of the lodge. Notice the vast amount of space before one would fall off the mountain? My kind of view. It was the details in the lodge that made it so spectacular. Sure it was neat to see how they basically used tree trunks to build the place, but the pictures of people from the 1930s gathered in the lodge socializing and seeing the "game" room with its ancient pingpong table and table shuffleboard (which apparently utilizes some sort of sawdust?) and what appeared to be a stage was too too charming. The picture of the guy with his foot wrapped burning his broken wooden skis in the great room fireplace was priceless. Then you get to the architectural details of the building itself. Like this door..
 I loved this door. I wanted this door. I wished i had a house big enough for this door. alas, i think this door would probably not work on a 1950s brick ranch in Ohio, but if any of my relatives ever decide to buy a castle, I know just where to start with their decorating suggestions.
 Note the ever present delicious coffee in the hiker's hand on the left.

Lee and I decided that we had to be brave enough to stick a toe into the little pond that was being filled by the melting pile of snow next to it. Almost 1/2 of the pond was an underwater iceburg. It was beautiful and it was CHILLY.
We headed home after some more exploring on Mt. Hood and enjoyed s'mores by the fire at home. 
Reeces Cups, Caramellos, or Hersheys were the s'mores options. Goodness were they tasty and rich! Ez was so jazzed about camping out that Jeff was #1 Dad and slept with him in a tent in the backyard while the rest of us snuggled comfortably in our own beds.

that was a very busy day, and now i am tuckered just writing about it. more tomorrow...

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

The Crunchy Capital of the World

Mike and I are having a wonderful week visiting the West Coast Becksforts this week. It IS very strange to be here sans kiddos, but having face-timed with said kiddos a couple times, we know they are enjoying being spoiled by the ice cream vendors we left them with.
So far this week we have gone to the local farmers market, eaten vegetarian from a food cart, eaten tasty coconut cream pie from another food cart, watched the wonder that is John Mark's ability to preach a great sermon while his swirly twirly hands never ceased, gathered eggs from the chickens, loved the way Hadley says "chicken", hit the coast...

ate fantastic halibut and chips and watched Hadley eat shrimp ketchup cocktail, enjoyed super fresh Clam chowder, shopped the antique stores and kite shops...

watched our first clips of Portlandia,went to Powells bookstore, bought some new hiking boots at REI and watched the plumbers come and re-plumb the house. The follow up crew was very handsome, but some of their supervisors were pretty "hands on"

and I'm not sure what it means when your supervisor makes this face...

let's get a better look at that...

and this face was a little worrisome too...

fortunately, the supervisors did their job well and were rewarded with Ruby Jewel ice cream. Ah-mazing ice cream. Caramel with salted Dark Chocolate was popular, my personal choice being the Peanut Butter Dream. Ez got Salted Lime, it was potent stuff that had uncle mike looking around for a shot of tequila.

Today we're waiting the requisite 24 hours for the caulk to dry on the new shower head before we all take really hot luxurious showers (that will be starting at approximately 4:01pm for those of you thinking of telephoning us). tomorrow we camp.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

that method

So we were up in Perry to celebrate Oma's 60th birthday. It was a wonderful visit, we got to see Aunt Marlene and cousin Bev as well as the Portland Becksforts. It was a very fun and jolly time. Mike was reading his ipad one morning and starts sharing with us the article that he was reading. It was called "How to land your kids in therapy" and we were having a chuckle at the absurd examples and commenting on the philosophy behind them. Jillian loves to know what's so funny with the adults so she asks Mike what we're all talking and laughing about. Mike goes on to explain that we're talking about parents who are only worried about their kids being happy and not focusing on helping their kids become responsible and healthy adults. Jillian's response? "Can we switch to that method?" - It took me a solid 5 minutes to stop laughing.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Growing up, my church used to go to Icthus every year. I'm pretty sure it was at one of those festivals that I first heard about Compassion International. I sponsored a little boy, Lutalo Joshua, for several years till I went to college. My mom was sweet enough to take over my sponsorship so I didn't have to deal with the guilt of abandoning him when I left. She even turned out to be a betters sponsor than i was, she wrote him letters for years till he graduated from the program.

Mike and I have been discussing sponsorship for a while. We hemmed and hawed, trying to decide which company to use (World Vision vs Compassion mainly). Eventually I went onto the compassion website and began looking at the kids. It was overwhelming. How on earth do you choose which one to sponsor, or maybe more to the heart of it was how do i look at these children and choose not to sponsor them? So I went to the section where the kids have been waiting the longest. We chose Mrisho, a little boy Suzy's age. Mike and I were excited, the joy of making a small difference shining in our hearts and excited to share it with the girls.

Our package came a week ago, the twins understand what we've done. Suzy knows there's a little boy her age that we pray for now. We all had a great time looking up information on Tanzania, a place so very different from our own. My heart is different this time. Sponsorship is different this time. I know the ache of a mother's love. Mrisho is a little boy that I will probably never meet, but God has given us an opportunity to make him a part of our family, to connect our family with his. God has given my children an opportunity to see that family goes beyond blood. My girls experience with sponsorship will be a little different than mine was as a child, but I hope that our experience as a family that's reaching outside itself to love the world that Jesus loves will be one that sticks with them.

Ironically, Simple Mom and several other bloggers just got back from a trip to the Phillipines with Compassion. If you want to be reminded of how good our lives really are, feel free to check out some of her posts and the posts of the other bloggers that went on the trip. as a fair warning, you might find yourself not really needing the $38 a month that you currently spend:)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Update on the Simple mom project

Needless to say that weeks 4 & 5 of the decluttering project were abandoned. Week 4 was the refrigerator. Since we use a menu and shop on a tight budget, the fridge doesn't really get too cluttered up. Plus it's behind a door, so it wasn't something that was even remotely motivating to me. Then once you skip one week, it's really hard to get back on that train, plus the last week was a "pick your own" week. I am horrible at making decisions, (hence why i was letting someone else in the world of the interwebs tell me what to clean) so I couldn't "pick my own" anyway. The grand update to this decluttering adventure is that the computer desk is still partially clean, the ledges have remained fairly clear. The girls lost upstairs toy privileges so the toy shelves look ah-mazing, albeit odd as an empty set of shelves in the living room. My favorite part of the update has to be the closet. And not only is it an update, but it's a story in and of itself.
The season switch, as every mother of more than one child knows, is a complicated thing. Especially this year, where the weather has been vacillating more than my moods during a certain week of the month. So my bedroom had become a haven for storage tubs and piles. Sure the piles started out with an obvious label such as "4T Winter", but then one night I'm exhausted and just toss the clean towels and washcloths off the bed so i can crawl into it. Then the next day sweet hubby tosses his dress pants on it and then the pile falls over and mingles with another pile. The storage tubs are picked through and quickly the overall effect is that there is absolutely no floor to be found in my bedroom.
Why am i sharing this so freely over the internet you ask? well, one if you are reading this then more than likely you are my friend and you already know this is the state of my house sometimes (ok, most times) and two, the second reason is the best part of the story (she says through gritted teeth).
I left in the middle of this chaos to go to Women of Faith with some family and friends, the only night i was gone from the house in weeks and weeks and weeks. On THIS night, a neighbor/pta mom/very-connected-woman-in-the-hood/"someone who doesn't know me well" stops by our house to sweetly ask if she can use our bathroom. Hubby thought Suzy was in the guest bathroom taking a bath, so my husband he sends her through our bedroom into our bathroom (did i mention that it had been several weeks since i had cleaned OUR bathroom, nobody uses our bathroom but us. uggh) The guest one practically had that bald man's reflection on every tile in comparison!! So yes, i don't care if all the interwebs knows about my messy bathroom and bedroom because once one person of limited acquaintance has seen the underbelly of my house, the gig is up. I could only imagine this poor woman's mind as she picked her way to my bathroom. "The woods isn't that far away, next time I'll just use the woods. Leaves of three, let it be"

Friday, March 25, 2011


The childrens clothes would definitely be the death of me, so I opted to participate in the toy section of this weeks Decluttering challenge from Simple Mom.

Ahem. i present to you the before picture.

And now the after picture.

I know. Less than impressive. turns out my children get their inability to make decisions and let go of things from me. Oh wait, no i figured that out many moons ago. Still trying to make that bit of learned information useful in my daily life. We did get rid of a few things that we were keeping because they were gifts. Even though nobody has played with them for years. I will keep plugging along at it, especially this summer i think. when they're building their forts outside. My favorite picture from this week though is this one...

These two are really starting to play together. Their giggles fill my heart to bursting and their screaming makes my ears bleed.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Paper piles

Ok, so this week the goal is paper piles. I'm choosing to focus on my desk, although any flat surface in my house qualifies for this challenge. I will definitely have to tackle the "ledges" as well because they are the most apparent paper clutter in the house.

I did as Tsh over at Simple Mom suggested and gathered everything together into a great big pile. I actually did this twice. First I tackled the ledges and then on a separate night (ie last night) I did the desk. Knowing that I had to completely finish in one night because I was going to work in the living room (and Vee has no respect for piles that have already been sorted) made me break up the project a little more.
The good news at our house is that clean does lead to more clean.
Once the ledges were cleaned off, then the kitchen counters started staying cleaner too.

Once the ledges were cleared off, I was once again annoyed by the screw holes from where we attached them. This time they got filled with joint compound and are ready for a new coat of paint. Perhaps if they are lovely, I will be more motivated to keep them clean.
The desk was next, it feels like I've cleaned it off a thousand times. Our system works well, until I get to those fuzzy sentimental kid items. Then the inbox starts to overflow with things "I am still deciding on". The one thing that has always worked for us is receipts. They get laid right on the keyboard so you can't do anything (like this blog) until you enter them into the budget. Then they are immediately tossed into the trash (we rarely have any that are needed for taxes or the like).

The little extra thing we (and by we I mean Mike) did this week was inspired by a post over at Ana White. Although it is not my wish-list swing bed (you should check it out, so fun!), it is very exciting. What was once just hooks on the wall is now our key basket/sunglasses holder/mike's pocket dump spot. The blue tape is so we can open the drawers till i find some drawer pulls that fit the spot. and the drawer fronts need a coat of paint as well, but we were waiting for the joint compound to dry on the ledges so we could paint all at once.

So this week we did a bit more than paper piles, but it's all for the sake of keeping the spaces clear so the paper doesn't look at home in its piles :)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Before and After

Ok, here are the results. And for the record, I can't believe i'm putting this "before" picture on the internet. yikes. You can see in the before picture that there are a couple tubs full of out of season clothes/dirty clothes/ clothes that need to go somewhere else. These have been a constant in our closet. I have put a tall laundry basket with a lid on my "wish list" that will go in another corner of the room for our dirty laundry. putting a basket on the floor of our closet just doesn't cut it. the basket fills, overflows and quite quickly takes over the entire floor of that side of the room. so we're going to try a smaller corner and see how that works. I've got one giant garbage bag of clothes to go to goodwill and another shopping bag of cute skirts to offer my friends first. Turns out I really like to own skirts, but not wear them. The shocking part of that to you my friends is probably that I actually own skirts :) I also got rid of several pairs of shoes. as much as i love shoes, i haven't worn some of them since I was paid for my work. The bins on the shelves I scavenged back from my children who had been using them to play house with downstairs. My love of all things "Container Store" has finally paid off.
I'm pretty happy with the results, Mike hasn't done his shirts/pants section but I did some of his other stuff because it's shared space.
One other place I got inspiration is from
Now to see if we can keep it this great :D

Tuesday, March 08, 2011


One of my favorite people did a whole house reorganization project last year. I got to hear the trials and tribulations over the several months that an ENTIRE house project can take. I got to celebrate and be very very impressed with the results when she finally finished the last closet. I love my friend, I am impressed with my friend. I am not my friend. I can't keep the top of my desk from becoming a delicately balanced mountain that self generates "caution avalanche area" signs.
That being said, one of the blogs that I like to check out on occasion (occasion being at least 5 times a week) has issued a challenge. 5 weeks to declutter and reorganize 5 "hot spots" in my house. This I might be able to manage. So I'll be posting my before and after pics for posterity so that someday I can have a visual reminder of the subtleties of life in the midst of raising these 4 energetic sweet young things. and plus now i have to do it, because now i have told the interwebs...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Girls in the forest

I have decided that warm spells in February are the perfect time for me to explore the woods. I really do love the outdoors, just not all the insects and spiders that seem so necessary to nature. I think Heaven will be insect free or perhaps my new body will include some chemicals in my perspiration that doubles as insect/spider repellent. Either one works for me. God knows which of those two options is best :) Does anyone really wonder why God thought it best to give us all girls?

So today was a fantastic day for exploring. It was about 65 degrees and there wasn't a bug or spider web to be found in the woods. The girls went down ahead into the woods with Mike and a friend from school. Suzy, Vee and I brought up the rear. Having not been down there much last summer was really showing. It was hard to find a path to the creek. Even so we were only about 5 minutes behind Mike and the "big" kids. In those mere 300 seconds they had managed to discover and TOUCH a deer skull down by the creek. As I walked up with Vee, they were poking into a pooled part of the creek with a stick saying "I think this is its leg. Yeah, there's its hoof!" OH MY GOSH people! what is wrong with you???? My husband is simply saying "Now don't put your hands in your mouth till we get back up to the house since you've touched the head". Yeeeaaccck! Get out of the dead deer soup of a pond children! At least they're wearing their rain boots, but still- who knows what kind of horrible diseases are breeding in there with the decaying 8 point's meatier parts. Mike is now down by the creek (WITH Veronica I might add) and because of his wife's gagging and loud protests from afar is trying to move the children along. I head back the way i came under the pretense of making a path from our house to a point further down the creek, but mainly so i can get as much distance as possible between the dead deer soup and my gag reflex. I can hear the girls moving down the creek, screaming about every 20 yards or so. Although what they are screeching about I have no idea as they've already been playing with a dead deer, so what can be so gross that they have to screech??

So i'm stomping around smushing waist high weeds (did i mention we weren't down there much last year) and making this path so that no one needs to go anywhere near the other end of the creek again, when my husband walks up to me CARRYING the muddy crusty deer skull AND my baby. Again, it must be asked "What is wrong with you???" to which he replied "Don't worry, she didn't touch it". Needless to say, I take Vee from him. Mike takes the water bottle from me, opens the cap and takes a drink. Now what 21 month old doesn't want what somebody else has? exactly, so Mike offers Vee a drink and as she's drinking she reaches up and touches the cap. Just where Mike had used his dead deer hands to touch the cap. Now my baby is teething, she's got those fingers in her mouth all the time. What are now dead deer infected fingers. I did the only thing I could think of, I collected as much saliva as i could and I spit on her hand and wiped it all over my shirt. While it may not be as dramatic as throwing myself in front of a bus or a speeding bullet, it wasn't without sacrifice that I dead deer infected my new GAP hoodie. Sure enough 4 of her fingers were in her mouth within 2 minutes. Mothers save the lives of their toddlers everyday, today just happened to be in the forest.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I found them all like this after a few moments of quiet made me feed the need to investigate (as two of them are still in the age where quiet can be dangerous). Even day 4 of snow-trapment has it's cuteness.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Baby it's cold outside

It was a one day school week for the twins this week. Even Suzy went to school for two days, Mike went for 3 (although he was REALLY bummed about having to go that third day). Jillian slept in till almost 10 this morning and then came out to say "Is it a not school day?" To which Suzy pipes in "Do I have school today Mommy?". Suzy loved that she had school on Tuesday when the twins were off for teacher in-service. Thursday we all had the day together, even Xavier closed so Mike had the full day off. Mike snuck in an afternoon nap, and Jillian found it weirdly hilarious that he was snoring. Sing-songing that "dad's snoring, dad's snoring, dad is snoring.... that's so weird"

It's too cold to go outside and take advantage of the almost 6 inches of snow, and amazingly there has been so much snow this winter that the girls aren't quite as enamored with it as they ought to be. This is the first year that Jillian and Alyssa have gone sledding without us. They've just suited up and headed out back for the first few snow storms. Suzy still prefers to stay warm inside with Mommy since Veronica's not a huge fan of the snow yet. Suzy will go sledding with Mike or I if we go out while Vee is napping, but she prefers to explore the woods and play hide and seek. Sledding makes you go pretty fast, and Suzy's quite cautious about her speed of life.

On our way home from dinner with the Gasts' this evening Alyssa says "Oh no! we forgot to make time to play with the Nicholases." When Mike and I replied that we had had a pretty full day of playing with other friends and it was too cold to play outside today anyway, Suzy responded "We forgot to ask if we could go outside and play and You forgot to say No Mom". Guess we'll have to remember tomorrow.

Monday, January 10, 2011

I'm serious.

On the way to 3Cs last week for Suzy's preschool class, I overheard this exchange in the back seat.

Suzy: ROAR!!!!!!!!!
Vee: hysterical laughter
Suzy: Beronica! It's not funny. ROAR!!!!!
Vee: more hysterical laughter
Suzy: Beronica. I'm roaring at you. It's not funny. If a dragon roars at you that means he's going to EAT you.
Veronica: staring in rapt attention at her big older wiser sister.
Suzy: Mom- Don't worry about me. I'm teaching Beronica about dragons back here.