Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Just Moms Review: Finding Her Tribe

Megan Tietz of SortaCrunchy just posted an amazing review of our book, Just Moms. It is a must read and a must comment on her site!

Just Moms Update: Capturing the Moment

Wondering how things are going in the book world? Jessica does a great job of capturing what it is like to attend a reading. We are hoping for another reading this summer in Salem and later one in Portland.

If you haven't "liked" us yet on FB, you really should. This is the best way to keep updated on the happenings surrounding Just Moms.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Iron Mountain: A Mental Challenge and Victory

He did it! My middle son did it. He fought through his own mental weakness and climbed the whole thing without any help from us, his parents. This is quite impressive, for this is the son who often quits when things get uncomfortable. He's never been a great hiker, something the other four members of his family love. Even the youngest brother shows more hiking aptitude; A has often out walked C on many a family outing.

My husband has been promising the boys that we would climb Iron Mountain, and this last Saturday was perfect for hiking. We got up, quickly dressed in hiking layers, packed food and water, and took off toward the Cascades. We decided to stop off at the ranger station out of Sweet Home and ask about the service road that would cut this hike in half, mainly for our hiking challenged child. I'm glad we did because we were told that that road was still snowed in, in fact the trail still had patches of snow on it. (The total trip is 4.8 miles.)

Hopes were high when we parked at the trail head. C was eager to climb, but I knew this would quickly fade before the first mile was behind us. Iron Mountain is a pretty steep climb and once you are out of the treeline, it is hot sun to the top. My boys hate sun. True Oregonians I guess.

"OK guys, whoever makes it to the top without needing to be carried gets a dollar, and if you make it down you get a quarter."

"I want a dollar! I'm going to be rich!" C announced with a hop, skip, and jump. We were off.

My husband does a good job of making hikes about nature and discovery than pain and fatigue. We stop for each slug and inspect each new flower species. He speaks of fragile ecosystems. He puts moss on his face and become a bearded crazy woodsmen. All these distractions help the boys to keep on. We rested whenever C wanted. We rationed out the peanut and butter sandwiches. There were moments when I thought C was going to give up and disappear into the volcanic soil, but somehow he dug deep, "Am I still getting that dollar?" Yes! Oh yes you are! And on he'd go to the next bend in the trail, the next shady spot.

Maneuvering through the snow patches added to the hike's difficulty and once stopped us completely. Mama and boys rested on a cliff's edge while Hans worked his way around the summit, finding a good path up to the lookout's deck. There was quite a bit of snow covering up any signs of a trail.

But we made it! And it was an adventure. The view was incredible. We could see all Cascade Greats from Mt. Thielsen to Mt. Adams.

Coming down was much easier and spirits rebounded. Every 10 steps C would say, "Didn't I do good Daddy? I am the only four-year-old who has ever climbed Iron Mountain. It was like I was on top of the world and flying. Did I do good Daddy?"

If you are thinking of taking this hike with your children I would wait one or two more weeks so that all the snow is gone and also you'll get to see all the beautiful wild flowers. They will be gorgeous. And if you taking children, find out what motivates them. For my son, a dollar. A small price to pay for a pleasant family outing and a life lesson in perseverance and success. He is so proud of himself.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Vomit Giggles

My husband and I turned to each other and laughed. What else could we do? I actually got the giggles, which is laughter at a different level. These giggles are the kind that makes you feel like a young child in church, trying desperately to suppress the laughter under the irritated eye of Mama.

Why was my laughter so taboo? Our middle son had just barfed all over himself and the backseat, narrowly missing his older brother who shifted in his seat at just the right moment. Safe. A bit did get on the corner of his sandal. Nasty.

We knew it was coming. We were driving over the Coast Range, heading to Tillamook. I would venture to say that even the locals find the route we were on, curvy. C had been gagging and coughing for the last mile or so. We’d passed back the customary bag with instructions to puke into it, please. He often complains of motion sickness, and nothing comes of it.

B was curious. He was fixated on his green brother. I wonder if he thought it would never happen; we were all beginning to think this was becoming the standard for riding in cars with C: complaints with no real outcomes. B kept leaning into the bag, checking it for contents. Still empty. A, our youngest, was just jabbering away, oblivious to the impending doom.

I guess we, the adults, were hoping the road would straighten out soon, and C’s complains would be a distant inconvenience. And then it happened. All of McDonald’s was covering his chest, shorts, legs, car seat, and floor.

I think the part that made me laugh was how instant his joy was after he emptied his stomach, “Oh, I feel much better. I am all better now!” Then he looked down at his mess and started to cry, “It is on my Easter shirt.” I tried to reassure him that it would wash out and that I could save the Easter shirt, this in between giggles of helplessness. Bren was definitely no longer interested in seeing his brother explode and was now struggling against his own reflexes due to the scent of fresh vomit. A, however, was very interested and leaned way over to see what had just happened and caused such stir.

“Well, are you going to pull over?” I asked my husband as we continued to S-curve through the mountains, “I do need to clean him up, you know.”

We kept looking for a good place to pull over and finally chose a slight straight-stretch. Lovely. I had a limited number of baby wipes to do the job with and one newspaper to wrap C’s stinky clothes in. The puke bag was clean and empty, a bright side in our latest adventure. Unfortunately for my husband I wrapped C’s nastiness in the newspaper’s crossword puzzle.

The cars whizzed by. The Oregon drizzle was now coming down. Perhaps the mist might aid my struggle to clean and disinfect.

B and A were now out of the van and playing on the hillside. C was nearly wiped clean and into his pajamas when B, the oldest, started to cry---he was quite upset. “What happened? What’s wrong?”

“I peed on myself.”


“I peed on myself.” In B’s goofiness and joy at being free from the car and our arduous journey he’d lost his focus while doing his business.

“You’ve got to be kidding me.” Now I had another boy to clean and put in his pajamas. By now all feelings of car sickness had subsided in C and he was back to his joyful self, “I love vacation! When are we going to be there! I can’t wait! I’m never eating McDonalds again. That made me so sick. That is sick food.”

We loaded up, got everyone strapped back in, and handed C our last plastic sack with the expectation that if he felt like throwing up again he really did need to get it in there and not on everything else.

We pulled around the corner and there was the town of Hebo: a much better spot for changing children and stretching legs. I bet there was even a place for a boy to properly use the facilities. Of course we’d be that close to civilization. I laughed again. More giggles.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Handsome Men

They've been wanting "handsome" clothes and then like manna from heaven they discovered their cousin's hand-me-down clothes!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Things To Say

Time to Vote! What would you like to read about:

1. Time Magazine, my last great read.
2. Book Review: Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
3. Book Review: Forgotten Garden
4. Great Kid Books for New Readers
5. Vomit in the Car
6. Riding in Cars with Boys, Mine That Is
7. Summer Hopes

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

From Another Perspective

Sometimes other people just write excellent posts, so why not highlight them. I was going to give you all an update on Just Moms, but instead thought I'd link to a post from one of the contributing authors. (Jessica Kantola)

Also, we are going to be at Frogs and Pollywogs in Albany, Oregon on the 25th of June at 5 PM.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Show 'n Tell

A high priority is placed on my kinder finding that perfect show 'n tell item. He rarely misses a day. One morning he hauled down, from his bedroom, his large castle complete with kings and knights. Yesterday he took a pile of rubbery spiders. Each morning it is something new and different.

This morning he was very excited to be taking a photo of his great grandfather hunting wild boar in Hawaii. Love this. My oldest does have a few faint memories of his Great Grandpa Richey. I have a few faint memories of my Great Grandma Richey.

My grandfather is the first person in my life that has died that I truly miss. He was so coherent and relational all the way to the end. Other grandparents have died, other elderly who I was close to have deceased. But in the end they were so out of it because of drugs/morphine or had been suffering the effects of a stroke for way too many years, that I remember a feeling of relief when they finally passed.

And although my grandfather was ready to go, his physical body was done. For most of his 97 years, his life had been good. And he related to all of us right up until the moment he closed his eyes and left. So I think that is it, all my memories of him are so good that I miss him more. I remember him as he was, alive and living life well.

So I am happy that my son took this picture of The Great White Hunter to school. I'm glad this man that took part in molding and shaping me has had a little influence over my oldest, and that my son knows that this man represents a life once lived.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Field Trip Cool: A Poem?

Field Trips

Excitement, as you load the bus
Who do you get to sit with?
Did you get with the fun mom or dad?
The cool kids have:

Sour Patch Kids

It is raining, Oregon...end of the year trip...expected, but
Disappointing regardless.

However, the bus ride was fabulous.
Totally noisy and stinky.
Everyone was so fun, so fun to be with your class out of the classroom walls...

Its all good.