Winding Down

Friday, August 29, 2014

Happy Friday! This is officially our last weekend of summer break. This summer, while long and hot and pretty much perfect, has gone by in the blink of an eye. I have felt crazy busy but I am not sure exactly what I have done. My summer to-do list has a few measly check-marks, actually I am not sure I even finished writing that list. The other day while I was doing a little cleaning around the house and thinking a string of random thoughts something caught my attention and I realized in that moment that it was the first time I felt really present in a long time. You know those moments in life where everything is visceral, all of your senses are picking up on everything around you - the way your clothes feel against your skin, the way the air smells, the sounds outside your window, your feet planted on the ground. And you know it's a moment in time that you will later reference to remember a period of time in your life. I tend to have those more often. And I love those moments best because they are the dots that we connect to make life's memories. So the realization that I hadn't had one in far too long was a little bothersome.  It's something I need to give more thought to, this whole keeping things at arms length thing I have been doing lately. Maybe despite my love of the sun and hot weather I just need a little rain here and there. But I shall fear not, it is coming, and soon!

Last night we had open house for M+L's kindergarten class, and if you all thought I was already a little sappy about my babies growing up, boy howdy, you should have seen me after that. All the other kids looked twice their size and I couldn't help but repeatedly doing the math in my head to make sure they really were 6! My awesome parenting moment was getting a little verklempt in the car and M+L comforted me saying "we'll always be your babies mama, even when we are big." Isn't that all suppose to the other way around? Me comforting them. Still, my heart about burst. They know what's up. But whether I am ready or not (which we will obviously go with the not on that one) they are so ready. They don't need my pep talks because they are beyond excited to go to school. With all of that said this weekend I think we are just going to hunker down, talk about all the exciting and glorious days ahead at school and enjoy the fleeting long days of summer while they last. Do you have any end of summer plans for the long weekend?

Six Years Ago Today

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Today is a very special day my little Allday-Everyday and Tiger (aka M+L) are six years old! Luckily this year they are quite excited about it and have been asking me if they were 6 yet for last two months for entirely different reasons than last year. That makes it so much more fun and helps me not focus on my own "omg! i want you to stay little forever!!" feelings (i totally get this little girls sentiments). It is so wonderful watching these little guys grow together as twins and as individuals. The antics are nonstop and everyday they grow I get to be a part of all of that and that really makes me one of the luckily people in the world. But still, my baaaabies. Turning six this week, starting kindergarten next. The time really does go so fast when your days are filled with so much joy and happiness. It's almost entirely impossible to have a bad day around these two. And as a mom of a teenager I know, oh how I know, these little years don't last forever, these cuddles and I love you mama's every 5 minutes and the hilarious things that kids say and the unabashed "look what i can do's." Not to say that teenager don't come with their own sort of magic (you're still magical fisher!), but these years, these tiny years, oh they are just the best, it's like waking up and falling in love over and over everyday. And I owe so much of my joy, so many bouts of laughter and an immeasurable amount of feelings of love and gratitude to these two little guys right here.  So to celebrate we are continuing with our amusement park birthday celebration for a day of woozy tummies and cotton candy. Happy birthday to my Tiger and Allday-Everyday, my Milo and Luca, my M+L, my baby A and baby B.

PS that's Tiger (L) above and Allday-Everyday (M) below

Photo Diary | The Ranch |

Monday, August 25, 2014

Happy Monday! I think it might be first day of school for some people. We are lucky enough to have another week of summer holiday left, which is good because Tuesday is M+L's birthday and, I don't know about you, but I like having my birthday off. Speaking of their birthday, we seem to be doing the staggering birthday celebration this year and, as opposed to one big party, we have planned some fun things through the week. This weekend we went to movies in the park with our friends for a Frozen sing-a-long. I figured it would be crowded but there must have been close to three thousand people there. I actually have no idea how to figure these numbers from just looking at a mass of people, but I know the park was packed. Usually there is space to spread out at these things but not this time. But, you know, that just made the singing all the much better. After we went out for macarons and crème brûlée. So all in all it was a great weekend. 

Obviously I have a few more pictures to share from our recent trip to Montana and Idaho. One of the parts of our trip that I haven't mentioned yet was how lovely it was seeing family I hadn't seen in quite awhile. It was really nice seeing my kids get many of the same experiences that have stayed with me all the years and meet many of the people that fill my memories. I literally don't remember what I did yesterday. In fact someone just asked me "what did you do yesterday?" And I said, "um, i don't know." But my memories from 2-5 are sharp and vivid and I know it's because all my senses were so alive surrounded by all those animals and all that nature, people who really believe in "it takes a village." So I am hoping M+L will remember this experience for years to come too. I knew one of the things I could look forward to with my family was big cookouts over the campfire. But it also ended up being one of my biggest worries when I thought about our food restrictions. I didn't want to put my family out by having to accommodate us too much, nor did I want to have to sit in a corner and chew on rice cakes while everyone was enjoying a meal together. So I brought extra food, figuring gluten-free wasn't probably lining the local store shelves, but when we got to our first family meal I learned where the celiac comes from (ended up being my grandmother's family, just as I suspected). And with that we had some of the best and most plentiful of gluten-free spreads I have had, well, probably ever. There was nothing that wasn't gluten-free, including angle food cake with fresh huckleberries. 

Visiting the ranch might have ranked number one for M+L. I talked all about how depressed the area is in my previous posts about our trip, but this reminded me why I have such fond memories of living in this area, I don't really remember the towns like I remember being in the woods and in creeks and on ponies. It felt just like the days of my childhood being around horses and chickens and sheep, lazying around the ranch. I was so excited that M+L were not afraid of horseback riding at all. In fact they seemed to take to it like little ducks to water, so I am thinking some more horseback riding is going to be in our future. It is so therapeutic and relaxing. In fact when we pulled them off the horse they were both almost asleep. 

Perception Collection | Round Up 2 |

Friday, August 22, 2014

Simple: mawlovesbsd |tempusfugitrapidus + Leading Lines: algbeyer | tdsuth
Distortion: cherylsorg | laurenkeim + Repetition: smidgebox | likewantneed
Shadow: macfilipe | shalaghhogan + Boundless: homestilo | tkreisky
Neon: living_in40beemer123 + Treasure: annacgunn | greenwithrenvy

Lauren and I are so happy with the second installment of our instagram challenge, #perception_collection. One of my favorite parts of how both challenges have gone is how much people interact with each other, comment, compliment, and start conversations. It feels like such a kind and passionate community of people that have joined in both times (and many of you returned. yay! that's a good sign, right?) and, really, for me personally I just couldn't ask for more - a challenge with like-minded and supportive people, yes please. 

So last time we pulled pictures from each of the seven days to feature on our blogs which meant I featured a bit more, but with the hectic nature of the summer coming to a close we decided to do just one post this time for both weeks. If you know me, or read this blog, I like to curate so this is a mix of my favorites (i mean they are all my favorites, so how do you choose?), I choose by curating the pictures that I like grouped together and trying to get a good mix of those who participated. With that said, if you joined in and you're not here, it certainly does not mean your photos were my favorites, I left so many that I loved out. There were many amazing photos and many with lovely stories/thoughts/quotes with them. So thank you so much to everyone who participated and to so many of you who followed each other, liked each others photos and sent a kind word or two to your fellow instagramers! Our next one will be sometime in October, we will get word out when we set a date.

I hope everyone has a great weekend! I am going to see Frozen sing-a-long movie in the park tonight with my boys, my BFF and her kids as a little pre-birthday celebration for M+L. They will be 6 on Tuesday, ohmygosh.

You can see Lauren's picks from the challenge here

Wall Planters | Red Envelope |

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

I've been eyeing these wall planters for awhile. I love the way they look in so many of the photos I have seen of them on places like pinterests where I am often finding myself thinking, I need that! I want that! But as many of you know who have followed me for awhile here on this blog - indoor plants are not my strong suit and so with that I kept passing them up. So I was really excited when RedEnvelope reached out to me and gifted me these! Right now they are up in my living room filling up a small wall space that needed a little "something" but I also keep envisioning in my kitchen with some chives or above my bedside table, maybe with something fragrant in them. 

Now I know it's still summer and we are all going to be kicking and screaming our way towards fall here soon enough, but when I received these in the mail I couldn't help but think of the holidays. They came in this big red box with a lovely ribbon wrapped around it, and I thought this would be the perfect place to buy gifts for loved ones who may live far away. Even though it was about 90 degrees when I got my package it immediately felt like christmas morning. 

This is a sponsored post by RedEnvelope though all thoughts and opinions are our own. 

A Bird Ballet

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

This is just something I came across this week and it immediately felt soothing to my soul in the way that reminded me my soul needs soothing sometimes. Summer is almost to an end here. Going on our mini-vacation was so wonderful, but it was a lot of miles to drive in a short time, and seemed to span years, lifetimes even. So it wasn't exactly relaxing. Not to say that's a bad thing. 

I also realized, upon returning, that I often don't feel like I get a lot (enough) done in a day, but coming back to piles of work I realized it is a lot on most days. Just keeping up is a lot. And being able to do that on a daily basis is pretty awesome. But while it was a good objective perspective time for much reflection on it was sidestepped (after my quick pat-to-self on the back) by trying to catch back up. Also with the close of this summer M+L will be starting school. And the truth? I am excited. And a heartsick. I keep trying to focus on all the positive because, well, it's how I like to roll, makes you feel better and all. But also something that makes you feel a bit better is being honest. 

And honestly there are so many positives to think about. The friends they will make, the things they will learn, the (uninterrupted) time I will have during school hours to work (omg!!), the artwork they will bring home, school performances - even after Fisher left his kindergarten class I still always watched the little ones at all performance because, d'uh, there is just nothing cuter. But of course they are my little tiger and all-day everyday so my mind sometimes slips and thinks of other honest things and feelings like "what if their faces flood with embarrassment and I am not there? what if someone teases them? what if they get hurt? what if they don't know all the answers?!" I know, none of us know all the answers. Being embarrassed can make some of our best stories later in life and everyone gets hurt sometimes. The logical person in me who truly wants them to grow to be strong independent people knows these things. But the mama in me is a little bit sad. Not because of those things really. I am afraid to say it's more selfish than that. It's the time and that realization that it slips, or has slipped and you want to catch it and hold tight in your fist but you can't. You have to let it go.

And for a laugh, or maybe a bravo, this amazing little piece of satire on being a mother.

Photo Diary | Idaho |

Monday, August 18, 2014

Are you guys starting to feel like I am your grandma holding you captive while showing you thousands of slides from my latest cruise? I know. I know. So many pictures! Since being back from our mini-vacation I have been trying to play catch-up, both on some rest and lots of work. It's amazing what a few days away from both can do to you. With that my only leisure time on the computer has been going through photos. These ones here are from the town of Wallace, Idaho. 

When we first got into Idaho, I had booked a hotel, sight unseen, in Kellogg which is trying to bring tourism into the area with a resort and its 3 mile long gondola that takes you up to Silver Mountain. Last time I went we stayed there and that's pretty much where I lingered in said town. My memory betrayed me of the rest of the town. Oy. I don't like to hurt peoples feelings, in fact I hate it. I also don't want to come across as a snob, because I really don't think I am. But. This hotel was so awful, I walked in and immediately walked out, we handed back the keys. I just couldn't. We then took a little walk around Kellogg and the whole time I was thinking "I need to get to Wallace. I need to see something cute." Wallace is the only place in America where the entire town in on the national register of historical places. It is so cute. The population is just over 700, even though the town sign says closer to 1000. It's also in the Silver Valley and has suffered the same fate as everywhere else in this area as the mines have closed down. I kept thinking what a perfectly quaint town it was. How it seemed suspended in time. It looks like a place where people would come for that quaint small town charm, it almost feels like it's a movie set. But of course if people came there it wouldn't be what it is. That whole circle of thought spun in and around my head a lot while I was there. 

We happened upon a parade while we were there too, and while it only lasted about one minute, I am thinking it was probably pretty good luck. The fact that it turned out to be an accordion festival convinced that it was indeed quite lucky. In fact the parade was so small that when we took a little trolly tour around Wallace while we were heading up to go to the mining tour, M+L were convinced that were another parade and proceeded to wave to everybody we passed. On our trolly tour were given a few factoids about Wallace. And if you didn't know Dante's Peak was filmed in here. That's right. Dante's Peak!!! It's the claim to fame and you can't go anywhere without anyone who was alive 1996 letting you know this fact. And if they happened to run into Pierce Brosnan, well, he was the nicest guy ever. And Linda Hamilton used to sit at the bar and shoot the breeze with locals. The other big news I learned on our trolly ride was that Teddy Roosevelt visited once in 1903, and in 2003 they had a commemorative festival. So if anyone out is there is looking for a place to make history or perhaps a movie, I hope you will consider Wallace, the tour guides need some more material as he told us the same two stories both there and back. And seriously, Pedro Chang's sounds like some good movie material. 

PS Thanks so much to everyone who participated in our instagram challenge. Lauren and I will be posting some of our faves on Friday to share with you all. 

Photo Diary | Ghost Town |

Thursday, August 14, 2014

One of my favorite places to visit when I went back to Idaho with my grandparents was the ghost town of Burke which resided in Burke canyon in the panhandle (that's north) of Idaho (there are lots of canyons and gulches in this area.). The Silver Valley, as this region is called, was once filled with boom towns and this was one of the first and most profitable mining areas which housed the Hecla and Star mines where silver, zinc and lead was mined (you can see from the last photo the lead mineral deposits still turn the creek rocks a deep rust). People came from all over for the mining in the late 1800's. My great-grandfather on my mother's side, once a runner for the pony express, came here for the mining, as well as my other great-grandfather also on my mother's side ended up in this area looking to make money in the mines. This is where my grandparent's grew up, where they met (they were neighbors - their houses within inches of each other) where my mother was born and where I was raised for a few years in my early childhood. 

I have always been fascinated by the history of this area. Once Burke was busy and bustling with mining and so many people flocked to the area that houses were precariously built on the hillside and scrunched up against one another on any and all available space. The road was so narrow through here that, The Tiger hotel, had two train tracks and a creek running through it's lobby. Shop owners had to pull in their awnings to let the trains pass. My family worked the mines when they were still running. My grandfather's father and brother both died in the mines as well as countless others that they knew. There were fires and mining disasters and it was overall a very hard life. And when my grandfather had children, my mom and uncles, he left the area to come to Portland to ensure that his children would never work the mines. My mom moved back for a short time when I was about two until I was 5. When I lived there people still worked the mines, in fact most everyone I knew worked the mines, but there were only a few left in operation. Now I believe there is just one. The towns were fairly depressed then and even more so now. 

As I said in my last post, going back here is literally like stepping back in time and in so many more ways than just visiting ghost towns. I took to calling the area the detroit of the pacific northwest. Things are so unchanged from my perspective, which is a trip (for lack of a better term) in and of itself, but also they have changed so much from when people first flocked here, when these ghost towns were anything but that. When the towns were filled with millionaires and people actually traveled from all over to find work here. Now it is a very depressed economy, really a quite desolate place. And to me there is something so beautiful about the preservation of history in this abandonment, but of course something so pervasive in that as well that seems to spread for miles and miles.

As you can imagine mining practices in the late 1800's was probably not up to the environmental standards that it would be today, and even that, well. So the one thing that I can say has changed since the time that I have lived there is trees have grown in so thick. For years the landscape was strangled out along these mining gulches likely because of all of the toxins and minerals that were released into the soil. My great-aunt who has literally lived up two mile gulch since the day she was born (that is where my grandparents lived after the moved from Burke canyon) her whole life mumbled something about the "goddamn EPA messin' with stuff," I just smiled and nodded happy to hear the EPA is messin' with stuff around there. 

Of course I had to visit Burke again on this trip and due to peer pressure, for the first time one or more of us, may or may not have, hopped the no trespassing fence (no children were involved in this crime). Which completely took me back to my teen years as I found myself saying "i don't think this is a good idea guys." But I finally saw the "other side" and was able to get some photos of this place that has always made my imagination run wild. We also took a mining tour in a different mine, which I took last time I went as well, where they take you into a mine and show you all the in's and out's of mining. So those photos of the actual mines - don't worry, I would never in a million years go unattended into a mining shaft. That would be crazy.

You can see some photos of Burke back in the day here, here, here, here and here.
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