I am wife to a magnificent man and mother to five wonderful children. Three of my children were born in the Northwest and two were born thousands of miles away in Liberia, West Africa. Birthplace is no matter, all of my children were born in my heart. This is our journey.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A great gift

We had a great time with my extended family the day after Christmas. When we got home Lij decided he wanted me to take a picture of him with his gifts from Grandma and Grandpa.

He loves his new blanket and Galaxy set. 

This momma loves it, too. It is geared for a little bit older than he is and that means some assistance from his older siblings is required.

In the last three days this set has provided hours of putting together, following written instructions and problem solving. Fantastic!!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tis the Season...

...to be busy. At least that is what it is this year for us. Crazy busy but a lot of fun things have been happening. My mom and dad now have matching degress from George Fox University as of last Saturday. We are all so proud of both of them.

(My dad and I) 

My brother who is living with us made the varsity basketball team here in town. Here he is dressed up for a home game while he was waiting for OSAA approval for the disctrict transfer.

Our washing machine has been really loud for awhile so we decided we had better get it serviced before it quit on us. This is the pile of the concrete the technician found underneath. We are pretty sure this is not normal. Apparantly there are concrete weights that balance the drum and ours broke. The repair man said he has never seen one this bad. Yay us, over achievers that we are.

My husband's family decided to give my mother-in-law a mini home make-over for Christmas and her birthday. She has new carpet, new tile in the entry and under the woodstove, windows and paint. It has been a whirwind the last two weeks but the house looks great. Steve laid the tile and I am so impressed!!! He is so talented and it really adds a lot to the new look, don't you think?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Winds of change

There are lots changes happening in our house. You may notice this guy making an appearance in my pictures. This is my brother. Born in Africa and then again conceived in my mother's heart when he was three years old.

The reasons he has chosen to live with us is his story, one I hope that he shares someday.

Matters of the heart can be like that. 

Private healing for now, a testimony later.

In the meantime we will enjoy getting to know him in a way we never have before.

And that works for me.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sometimes you need your things around you

She says she feels safe when she has all of her stuffed animals around her. This is just a sampling of the things we find tucked in with her when she is sleeping.

There have been plastic stools, flashlights, spatulas, you name it, we have probably found it in bed with her. I do love that the doll has her purse around her arm. One must always be prepared for shopping at any given moment, even while resting.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It's a hard knock life

I went to take a shower first thing this morning. This is what I returned to find.

One child doing her schoolwork and two doing her bidding. It looks like the other two were wise to sleep in. (For the record, the youngest two were having a great time. :-) )

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A rare moment

It doesn't happen very often that I am caught in front of the camera. I enjoy documenting get togethers and special moments and truth be told I am more comfortable behind the camera.

But as you can see on the right side of the photo my camera was out of my hands and something much more precious had taken its place. Thanks to one of my sisters for catching this moment!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Discoveries of the Day

I am participating with Storing Up Treasures today with her Discoveries of the Day. It's really more from the last while but I agree with Courtney that Discoveries of the Day has a better ring to it. Here we go...the last while I...

  • Discovered a brand of cookies that only has 6 grams of sugar each so I can have one.
  • Discovered that it is difficult to have just one of said cookies.
  • Discovered a love for design blogs.
  • Discovered I should limit my time on design blogs to keep a lid on all of the coveting.
  • Discovered that when people are unhappy with me it very often has very little to actually do with me.
  • Discovered that I would like to own a Kindle.
  • Discovered I spend too much time on the computer. (Well, really more of a last few months kind of thing but coming to terms with it recently. Wink. )
  • Discovered that I can have half of an Almond Joy.
  • Discovered that I think about chocolate too often.
  • Discovered that though I miss the chubby cheeks of my kids being little that I also am really enjoying getting to know them as they grow up.
  • Discovered that I actually won't miss out on anything if I shut everything down and go to sleep at a reasonable hour.
  • Discovered that my husband loves museums. Who knew?
  • Discovered that I would not make a good sisterwife. I do not share well with others. (Ok, not a new discovery, more of an acknowledgement really. And for the record I do like to share, just not my husband, thankyouverymuch.)
  • Discovered that even though I think I can't love my kids and husband more, they and my heart surprise me and I actually do more every day.

Friday, November 5, 2010

So much for a great deal

We purchased this great patio set on Craig's List for $120 brand new in the box three years ago. It was a $700 set so I was thrilled. Each of the last two years, come October 1st, I have removed the chair pads, stacked the chairs and placed the table in a location that would be safe from the branches that fall in the cooler months.

Sadly, I ignored the storm report that came out last week for the weekend and this is what we opened the curtains to this past Monday.

Sad, sad, sad.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Leaf Season

The very thing that drew us to this neighborhood is the very thing that may drive us to move some day.

The trees are a gorgeous canopy in the spring and a mess in the fall. 

We are in the fourth week of leaf blowing and we have at least four weeks to go.

All of us neighbors work together to put the pile in the middle of the cul-de-sac. It makes for hours of fun for the kids and keeps the mess to a minimum until the city picks them up in December.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A house full of readers

We are now officially a house full of readers. I have read to and worked with all of my kids since they all joined our family. Then as each one reached school age I handed over the reigns to the schools to finish the job of teaching our children to read. Our youngest is the first one that I have actually taught to read. He is just beginning his reading journey but it is pretty satisfying to see him sounding out words knowing that I helped him learn that skill. He was proud to show off his new skill to Daddy the other night before bed. Also, during free time, he has started making lists of things in his little notebook sounding out the letters. Things like trcee for turkey and Dnl for his Uncle Daniel. Pretty fabulous if you ask me.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


I am really proud of this kid. It's his fifth year of football and he loves it. He works hard and he's good at it. The team is 6-1 for the season and they are headed into playoffs this weekend. Last year they weren't able to win one single game so this year's hard work has paid off.

He had a personal record a couple weeks ago scoring four touchdowns and rushing for more than 220 yards. The icing on the cake was that Grandpa and Grandma got to be there to see it. He is very strong, so much so that often when he is tackled he drags the defenders with him for another few yards. I'm not just saying that because he is my son, other parents tell me it really is amazing to watch. (I tend to agree partial as I may be.) The season is almost over and to be honest I am ready to be less busy. I would be remiss, however, if I didn't say that I would miss watching this guy play every weekend.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Trading ashes for beauty

For me autumn always seems to usher introspection in with the colors. I felt the shift a few weeks ago. Everything around me takes on deeper meaning, highs are higher and lows lower. At times I welcome the depth of emotion and stay there awhile. Other times I avoid books, blogs and passages of scripture that challenge my core knowing it will go to a place I am fiercely protecting. I deny the journey for a moment convinced I will drown in the darkness.

It was a cold and brisk fall day when I went into labor much too early with our first daughter. The colors were changing and Steve was woodcutting with family. The smells and colors of fall bring it all back in an instant. I'll turn the corner on a country road and the autumnal display of reds and yellows will make me catch my breath as the reminder brings it all rushing back. The smell of a warming fire or the sound of crisp leaves under my feet is all it takes.

It was the following fall when we welcomed our second daughter into this world, this child we would take home to keep. I spent the nine months fighting grief refusing this child I carried to know only a crying mother. Her arrival, however, opened my heart to joy once again but also to the grief of my loss that snuck in the same door. A joy we desperately clung to, this child of grace who brought healing to our hearts. Unaware her joy and grace were a salve to our wounds, a sling for our hearts and a safe place to let go.

It was that same fall it became clear to both of us that God had plans for us still. Plans for us to prosper, for a hope, for a future. Our little family of three would not be the same. Our little girl was just five weeks old when we made the decision to accept the call on our hearts to open our family to two little children across the ocean. The prayer of my mother's heart she prayed on our wedding day coming to fruition that we would be blessed with children and a blessing to children. Life is a gift we said, one we have now with no guarantee of tomorrow. Now is the time.

It was again fall the next year when those little round faces joined our family making us a family of five. Three more years and two more little faces born to us, now a family of seven. Each change of the seasons bringing more and more life as the grief slowly faded.

Watching the colors change this year I am once again reminded of my grief. Once again I feel it washing over me but it does not overtake. When I catch my breath and look around my table, I see the blessings of my children that are my beauty from the ashes.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Works for me Wednesday: Organizing our school

I decided to take a different approach for the kids this year. With two sixth graders in the house this year, I wanted to start teaching some organization as well as the basics. I picked up these binders at a back to school sale and they were just $.75 each.

I bought a variety of stickers trying to hit on an area of interest for each of my kids. They look a little strange in the picture below but those are dinosaur eggs.

Inside the binders vary slightly for each one but some things are the same such as an assignment page, journal, beginning/end of year statistics sheet and book lists.

Organizing this way does several things. The most important one for all of us is that it allows the readers in our little school to start without me. They can look at their assignment sheet and start on their independent work while I work with youngers on their handwriting and math.

I can slip worksheets in for each day if needed and the younger two have weather graphs that they are working on in the front of the binder. Every day they get their binder out and it's the first thing they see.

We are more than a month in and it is still working!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Soup Season

Just about the time we end birthday season around here (five kids in seven weeks), we round the corner into soup season. The leaves are starting to fall, too early in my opinion, and we get the call that our half of a beef is ready at the butcher.

I pulled out a gem of a recipe book last week, the absolute best engagement gift ever. My grandmother put together a list of family favorites and hand copied all of the recipes into a book for me. I have used it over and over the last thirteen years. It was a rainy day and I was looking for something warm and easy for lunch but more special than the standard grilled cheese. I came across one of my favorites that she makes, Corn Chowder. It was perfect for a mid-week lunch. It's easy to make and is fast, too.

Corn Chowder (serves 5 well but I like to double it for my 7 and have a few servings leftover)
Cost per serving: $1- $1.50


1/2lb bacon, diced 3 1/2 - 4 cups potatoes diced up

1/2 cup chopped onion 1/8 tsp salt

1/2 cup chopped celery 1/8 tsp pepper

2 Tblsp flour snipped parsley (optional)

4 cups milk paprika (optional)

2 cans creamed corn shredded cheese (optional)

In a large saucepan fry bacon until crisp. Remove bacon(set aside) and all but 3 tblsp of drippings from the pan. Add onion, celery and potatoes to drippings and cook until the onion and celery are tender. The potatoes will finish as you go. Remove pan from heat and add flour. Blend flour in and add milk. Heat to boiling and boil for one minute. Stir in corn and seasoning. Heat through. Stir in bacon. Serve and garnish each bowl with snipped parsley and paprika or shredded cheese.

This soup is so good with a dense bread or baguette. Let me know if you try it. Enjoy!!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

On my mind

Random train of thought when I should be sleeping. I hope you can stand the craziness.

What's with the weather this year? Only 8 quarts of pickles instead of 75. Tomatoes are coming off so slow. There was enough going on that less canning was welcome, though. God knows.

The beef is at the butcher. Soups and steaks and roasts. I love soup in the winter. Pumpkin soup in Haiti. Mmm, wish I could make it like they do.

Now I'm hungry.

Breakfast. What I am going to make for breakfast? I am tired of coming up with breakfast foods. Time to meal plan those too I suppose.

I cannot wait for the twins to get their birthday presents this year. Fits them perfectly and they will be thrilled.

Oldest didn't think her and I had anything in common. Thought I hated shopping and shoes. How did she misinterpret not being able to afford it with not liking to do it? Love how her dad set her straight pointing out how alike we are and how she has been relating to me since. She is going to love her birthday this year.

Second oldest is dealing with some heartbreak. So grateful he has his dad to lament with and relate to.

Youngest three still think I walk on water.

Love how capable my hub is and how the family room looks now. My inner Mallory can rest.

For now.

I love brown and white with shades of blue. Living room maybe?

No rest for the decorated weary.

Whatever happened to the chocolate Special K?

Now I'm hungry again.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Book Review: Your Money God's Way

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book "Your Money God's Way" written by Amie Streater. I was skeptical to read another book about money. We are Dave Ramsey fans and have learned a lot the past year about the way we handle or mishandle money. We are enjoying the discipline of the envelope method and have been eliminating debt which feels so good. We have a plan that is working and I wasn't sure I would take much more away from another book on the same topic. However, when I saw that the book is endorsed by Dave Ramsey my interest was piqued.

Amie doesn't mince words and says it like it is. Her advice is biblical and quite frankly is a kick in the pants where needed. I was impressed with her straight forward approach and the book answered some questions I wasn't even aware that I had. She takes what she calls counterfeit convictions and replaces them with timeless truths explaining mistakes that Christians make every day concerning money.

She explores topics such as spending habits, loaning to family members and friends, viewing God as an ATM, Scarlett Syndrome and so much more. I enjoyed this read and highly recommend this book whether you are doing well at managing money, need a refresher or just plain want/need good biblical advice regarding money.

Booksneeze sent this book to me for my review. The opinions are my own and I was not compensated in any way other than the book that I received to read.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


This picture is for me. I need to have it documented. Yes, that is one lone towel in the bottom of the basket. Though I get close, laundry never really is done around here.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Why I iron my husband's clothes

Confession time. My husband loves ironed clothing for work. I hate to iron. Ok, maybe hate is a bit too strong of a word. I don't enjoy it, however. My feelings aside, though, it is a necessary evil in our house since the hubster needs to dress in business attire for work. However, he has never asked me to iron for him. In fact, he has actually said that if he wants something ironed he can "do it his own dang self." The laundry is on my list of responsibilities but the extra step of ironing has not been an expectation that Steve has of me. I appreciate that he recognizes and gives room for my aversions.

It is hard for me, though, to hang up wrinkly dress shirts and pants in the closet knowing he will have to iron when he is tired before bed or would have to get up extra early to do it. My solution? Buy wrinkle resistant business clothing and circle the laundry room like a vulture over fresh meat waiting for the dryer to buzz. I have been known to hurdle toys and other laundry to get to the dryer so I can yank those babies right out and get them on a hanger before they wrinkle. Did I mention that I don't enjoy ironing?

If I am being honest I do have to admit that you really can tell the difference between an ironed shirt and one just out of the dryer. Recently it became important to me to go a step farther, go the extra mile, if you will. Steve works very hard, gets up early with no complaint, deals with my night owl tendencies and more importantly values the call on my life to be stay at home wife and mom. I realize these days that being able to stay home with my kids is a luxury, that it's not always possible for those who would like to do the same. While we have made zillions of sacrifices and it is hard, hard, hard, I still wouldn't trade it for any other job.

Each week, I get his wrinkled shirts and pants out of the dryer and I iron them. I pray for him and his co-workers and I thank God that I have a husband that values the call on my life as much and sometimes more than I do. And you know what? When a less than desirable chore is done as an act of love and gratefulness, it takes on meaning and purpose and can actually be enjoyable. And if I do it while watching my Seattle Seahawks mow down their opponent on a Sunday afternoon, well that's just gravy.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

It's time

Time to finish up the canning.

Time to crack open the books.

Time to slow down on outside activities.

Time to open our minds.

Time to learn.

Time to buckle down.

Time to build character.

Time to make memories.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Sweet reminder

I have long wanted something subtle to honor our first daughter that we were blessed to parent for a short ten days almost eleven years ago. Kelli from Rie's Dialogues had a Vintage Pearl giveaway recently and I won a gift certificate. I have been a fan of The Vintage Pearl but had never taken the plunge and ordered something.

When I found this necklace that could have an O engraved on it I knew it was exactly what I had been looking for all of these years. Now I can carry a little piece of Olivia Margaret with me. Margaret is the name of both of our mothers and means precious pearl. So many perfect details in my sweet reminder.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A family affair

We were gifted three boxes of apples from my great-uncle. They were the best apples I have seen in long time.

We decided to try some pie filling first and made 6 pints.

It looks so pretty in the jars.

We then moved on to applesauce. My kids like it so we thought it would be worth having it on the shelves.

We all chipped in and the process went really fast.

With all of our help, not to mention the awesome motorized victorio strainer, we made lots of beautiful applesauce.

21 quarts and 7 pints to be exact. The kids are devouring it. I knew they liked it but it would seem that they like homemade even better.