Sunday, September 25, 2016


It was one of those weekends that is just me & the kids. I confess that I had BIG dreams for this weekend. There were three painting projects, a construction project, and a fantastic cake slated for completion. Jim gets home in about three hours and oh, none of them have even been started. I could blame it on my mildly fractured fingers (smashed in an extension ladder), or two sick kids, but really, it's just that I had ridiculous expectations. Clearly I am not in single-parent mode any longer (thankfully!!) and grossly overestimated my productivity in a couple naptime hours each day (which I didn't actually end up with anyhow). 

We spent a lot of energy working through some emotional stuff Friday, then on Saturday we all needed a break. I told the kids (ok, just the one old enough to have super-strong opinions about family time) that we were going on an adventure whether they liked it or not, I would be taking pictures, and they were going even if I had to cram them into the car with bed head and pajamas still on. The threat of bed-head pictures posted on the blog for all to see did the trick. Happily, I can report that no force was necessary and they all came along joyfully. 

There is a nice little natural area we chose to check out. Honestly, I had no clue what to expect when we headed out and my gps couldn't locate it, so I was happy as can be to find clearly marked signs on the highway. 

There were really neat mushrooms growing all over the place, and we saw a turtle and a crane in the lake. My plan was to hike, but there was a wide mud bog at the start of the trail that Aeryn could leap quite easily, but was too big for T to maneuver and I had visions of myself knee deep in goo if I tried to traverse it with him while wearing the baby on my back. In a split moment I chose the easy (read: dry) option and we skipped hiking for the day. 

As we were walking along, one of Jim's coworkers saw us as she drove by. It caught me completely off guard to hear our names because we still know about four people in town. 

Aeryn did a reasonably good job of pretending to be interested. I'm sure she knew that her mom is a sucker and if she's nice just long enough she'll get her phone back before unleashing the teenage tyranny once more. What can I say, she knows me well. This time however I gave her a photo scavenger hunt and it seemed to keep her interest for more than a few moments. I'm sure it's hard to be a teenager stuck with the preschool age crowd all the time. Once in a while I succeed at being compassionate. 

Tate just loves everything.  He's at that super fun inquisitive, curious, and mostly cooperative age. I don't want it to change, though when he decides he's done with diapers I will welcome a little change gladly. 

I'm thrilled to have found a little place to escape from daily life and enjoy the peacefulness of nature. We all felt a little refreshed and it gave me the mental strength to make it through the rest of the weekend. Yay nature! We will be coming back here for sure, if only to look for more turtles. 

Labor Day

As part of our Indy adventure, we looked up some places worth stopping. Our first stop was to the Canal Walk. I was really impressed with the wide sidewalks and pleasant landscaping. There are apartments along part of the way and it ended at a medical campus. Jim and I agreed that if you were in a hospital long term it's the kind of view and walk opportunity that you would cherish. 

Aeryn started the day great but wasn't feeling well once we started walking. The little kids and I were on the other side of the canal and I had to snap this, although when she sees this later I will be in the doghouse for a while. She laid there for quite some time until we were ready to go. 

The babies and I took a selfie stop. I am making an effort to be in more pictures with my family if only to prove that I was here and involved! I'd hate for them to look back and not know that I was present. 

The walk didn't turn out like we planned, with sick/grumpy/stubborn moments, but it was a start. 

Jim had found a highly recommended pizza place that we drove around for a while to find, and then when we got there it was closed. As we looked around, suddenly we noticed several places were closed. It didn't even occur to us that may be the case, so we came up with plan B on the fly. End result: Stake & Shake and a park. 

The littles did really well in the car but I think they were excited for some time to roam. We found a cute little park attached to a fire station. It had a small creek with a few bridges and a fun emergency response themed playground. 

Dropping sticks off bridges has probably entertained countless children over the years. Who needs toys?

There really isn't much to say here - this is 100% accurate as to how the teenager was feeling about family time.

This playground was fairly new and I think once the trees mature a bit it will be quite incredible.

Labor Day didn't quite turn out the way we envisioned, but the smallest among us had a great time. The humidity and heat haven't clobbered us yet (but check out those pink cheeks!), and it's nice to realize that we can take something that is mostly just normal and make it a fun day.


One great thing about moving to the Midwest is that we are close to many cities/states/parks/places that we have never been to. This is going to give Aeryn and Jim a chance to add many new places to their state capitol visits! For Labor Day we spent the day in Indy and stopped by the capitol to add one to their list. 

We got there early in the day and the sun was already crazy intense. There wasn't much free parking available - or so we thought - so we quite literally parked on the side of the road at an intersection so Jim and Aeryn could hop out and I could snap a pic. I was standing in the middle of the road while the car was idling in park, so a sense of haste trumped artful aesthetic in the photo department. Although, that's sort of my life lately.

I haven't even taken the time to straighten the pics, which bugs me to no end, and more so now that I have pointed it out.

I really, really, want to claim this guy Oliver P. Morton was connected to Morton salt, but he wasn't, at least not directly.

The capitol square was rather nice, with interesting architecture and cafes. I'm sure at some point we will make it there again to explore further.  

Monday, August 29, 2016

Block Party

"Downtown" had a block party. It was rather obvious that we are now in a small little town. Several cover bands up and down the main street, kids could sit on fire trucks, restaurants had little bites of food for sale, and there was a kids bouncy section. 

This mural is humongous and shows the entire state, if I remember right. Aeryn wasn't really sure about posing for me but I sort of made her. She's at that age where anything I want her to do deserves a protest even if it is something that she enjoys. She obliged, and I felt momentarily triumphant in this game of parenting a teen. 

It was blazing hot (***correction: humid and medium hot), and I felt bad for Squishy stuck in her little chair the whole time. We covered the stroller with a light blanket at one point just to keep the sun out of her eyes. She was a trooper and I figure it was much more comfortable than either of us would have been if she'd have been in the carrier instead. 

Tate hesitated and then agreed to go on this bouncy slide. It ended up being a blast and he went on it nine times! 
He loved every second of it. 

We had pie and then headed back to our car. Something about this old RC cola sign just felt retro-fabulous and small town to me. There's really no point to taking a picture of it other than that. 

Two weekend days in a row we got out and did something! Jim and I talked about how we didn't do enough of this kind of thing in Eugene. Granted, life was stressed and crazy with his schooling and having little babies, but I think we feel like we missed out somewhat. We did the best we could, but we are trying to not let things fall by the wayside here. We are going to be active participants in our community. Besides, we hear they have a great blues festival in a couple months.

ISU Outdoor Center

Jim's department is in charge of running an outdoor center for the University. As part of a "Welcome to the school year" shindig, the new faculty, staff, and their families were invited to a barbecue at the center to see the facilities.

 Let's just say, it's beautiful.

 Like, completely beautiful.


Growing up, I swore I'd never be happy living somewhere I couldn't see mountains. My idea of mountains is pretty specific, thanks to the gorgeous Rockies that flanked my hometown, and I haven't lived around mountains like that for very much of my adult life.

You know what? It HASN'T killed me and I HAVE been perfectly happy. Huh. Who'd have thought?

I'm now super in love with green. 

Blame Oregon. {My heart still lingers in Oregon, FYI}

I really didn't know what to expect when we moved here. We flew out to look at houses and I noticed corn fields, a lot of corn fields. I also noticed that there are some large trees (win). Mostly, I noticed that my hubby felt at peace with his job and so it made everything else feel like a win, even if it is a small little town without a Target. 

Long story short, I'm really liking it. The people are so kind and there is definitely a different pace of life, but it's really charming in it's own little way. We've seen deer, and jackrabbits, and of course the beloved fireflies. 

The outdoor center is a great resource for faculty and is open to the community, plus employees can use it free on Sundays. There are some great little trails and pocket lakes so we may take advantage of this little escape now and again. One day we'll have to go back when it is fully staffed and we can use the zip line and ropes course. 

This seems like it will be a sweet place to raise a family.

Monday, August 15, 2016

New House!!!

There are no words. We are out of student housing and in an actual house! Seriously, it is amazing. I have so many plans it is ridiculous. The home is quirky in many ways, for example, I have never seen so much coaxial cable in by life. Seriously, do people even use it anymore? It is coming out of the walls all over the place. Three places in the family room, in the closets of at least two bedrooms, and literally every single room has at least one.

Without further ado - the poorly documented "before" as my real camera had been packed into the middle of the moving truck and I had only a few moments to snap phone pics before the unloading commenced.

Our front door is red, as is our garage, and they will both be changing. Of course, pretty much every color everywhere in this house will be changing at some point. We did not buy a house that matches our (ahem, my) taste very well.

We have a garage! Literally folks, this is luxury right here. No longer will we have to unload our groceries outside in the rain! Not that I really minded, I love the rain, it's just the principle of te thing.

Ellie is perhaps more excited than anyone to have her own room. She wants it pink and gold with a daybed, princess curtains, and a reading nook with a canopy in the corner. It is my goal to have her room done before she comes back at Thanksgiving.

This family room is four steps down from the main level. At first I expected it to be a secondary area we didn't use much but it is turning out to be the main room for us. The fireplace already looks different. I love a good whitewash, but this is neither whitewash nor good... so it is no longer. Stay tuned for updates :) Can we talk about that wall color? Oy. It looks exactly like creamy peanut butter. So, yes, I've already bought the paint to cover that.

This is the other side of the family room where it meets the kitchen. That door goes out to our deck (We have a deck!!!!).

Standing in the dining area looking toward the front door.

The main floor living room, which I had expected to make the TV room so I could close the doors, but instead is not turning out to be as conducive to hanging out as I anticipated.

One side of the kitchen... the other side was loaded up with bags and things that were immediately brought in from the cars. That fridge is being replaced today because it leaks, we can't find where, and it is ruining our floor. Ah, home ownership.

The backyard is the reason we almost didn't buy this house, and now it's one of our favorite things. There is no fenced area for kids to play, and this slopes downward into what we call our "ravine" with a little creek at the bottom. Seriously, we have a creek! It may actually just be a drainage thing but don't tell me... I'm going with creek. Looking out the front, it feels like we are in a neighborhood, Looking out the back, we are isolated and surrounded by trees. Seriously, I don't think it gets better than this.

T & C are sharing a room, for a few years at least, and theirs is the one I like best in it's current state. It will not be staying this way though it is pleasing enough that I don't feel as much urgency to change this one.

This isn't a complete overview, of course, as we do have bathrooms and a couple other bedrooms, but it's a glimpse. The carpet isn't as pink as it looks in the pictures and the paint is in many places worse than it appears. The home is older than I am so clearly there are some updates needed and that is OK. After all, we plan on being here a while.


So, it happened. We packed up our student apartment, loaded a truck, and spent five days driving across the country to our new home. That was quite an experience. My pictures are quite lacking, as Aeryn was in Texas and Ellie was in the car with Jim most of the time, so only a few of us appear to have gone through this. Here is the cliff-notes version of that week, in no particular order and only maybe will the pictures relate.

Here it goes.

  • With the help of friends we somehow packed and cleaned our apartment.
  • My parents came out to ride with us so I wouldn't have to be alone with the kids in the car. 

  • My kids were superstars in the car. 
  • We stayed in too many hotels and shared beds to all fit into a room.

  • Aeryn was lucky and didn't have to sit in the car for days on end. 
  • Ellie rode in the moving truck most of the way with her dad. 

  • Tate was mostly content watching out the window and holding his blanket. 
  • Charlie slept almost the whole time.

  • We only watched 3 movies the whole trip.
  • Play-places are life savers. 

  • Spontaneous stop in Denver let my kiddos sit on the porch swing at my Grandparents house. 
  • I-70 East isn't quite as straight and boring as I recalled. 

  • I have a slight obsession with wind farms. 
  • Tate got to ride in the truck the last day and thought it was the greatest. 

  • Ellie ate at McDonald's multiple days in a row without complaining (this screams for documentation!)
  • Closing was delayed a day (ugh) so we looked for ways to kill time in a new town. 

  • The humidity was stifling.
  • We found an amazing park. 

  • The asphalt at the amazing park was crumbling and our van got stuck over the edge. 
  • Thank heavens for AAA. 

  • We got ice cream. 
  • The end - for now.