A garden is a wonderful metaphor for life. Come visit my garden where you may find occasional bugs, droughts, and floods, but there is also planting, nourishing, nurturing, and growth. I hope you find, as I have, some of the most beautiful creations blooming here.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Lava Caves

We went to Sun River Resort in central Oregon this summer to visit with my parents and my sister's family. Right around the corner, so to speak, were these lava tubes; carved out thousands of years ago by, well, lava.  Now the tubes are a constant temperature of 40 degrees.  Surprisingly, no one felt a need to wear their jackets while inside.
On a hot 90+ degree day we descended into a refreshing naturally air conditioned cave of blackness.
I was surprised that the kids had no fear of the absolute darkness.  They had lanterns with them but they did experiment with leaving them around a corner to feel what total darkness was really like.

Most of it was a leisurely stroll with high ceilings and a wide path but a couple of times the path narrowed to allow one person at a time and/or the ceiling dropped to stooping level.  I must admit, claustrophobia threatened to rear its ugly head once or maybe twice through those bottlenecks.

Overall, it was a fun little two mile jaunt underground and I felt a little hesitant to leave as we came back up into the heat above ground.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Elise's Baptism

Elise was baptized Saturday, August 4.  
We are so happy to have such a loving, vivacious daughter in our family.  She was ready to be baptized and we are so proud of her and her desire to make good choices.

Elise was surrounded by family and friends for her baptism.  We all feel very loved by such wonderful friends!
And I got to try driving a motorcycle!
Rob is an excellent teacher!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I'm Fine, Really. . .

I need to write and I should probably be handwriting. It has been an extremely busy summer of my own creation.  Last year I felt like we did nothing because I was too overwhelmed to haul four kids around to various activities.  I concluded that because of that I was depressed.  The kids’ boredom exacerbated the overwhelmed feelings. So this summer I have gone in the opposite direction and we are hardly ever home.  I don’t feel like I have enough time to grocery shop.  Because of all our activities I am tired and have begun to conclude that I might be depressed.  Why can’t I just BE?  Why must I see patterns and make generalizations?  I don’t want to be depressed.  I don’t want to be impatient or grouchy.  I don’t want to be exhausted.  I’m not sure what I expect of myself.  I think I expect that I will be cheerful and energetic with my kids all day long and have the stamina left to make dinner and calmly put them to bed and then be ready to spend quality time with my husband or work on my own projects.  But I haven’t been in the last several weeks.  I have felt completely drained to the point where I don’t wake up refreshed.  I wake up and by the time we leave the house at 9:15am I am heaving great sighs and snipping at my kids in an effort to alleviate the pressure in my chest and the seemingly endless irritation when a child says or does anything.  I am adjusting to not taking any medication at all and it has only been three weeks. The medication that I was on for a few weeks before that was contributing to my grouchiness.  I still fear that because this has not been a perfect transition that must mean I need medication and can’t do without it.  I don’t like how I currently treat my children though or how I feel constantly overwhelmed unless I am by myself.  I want to give myself some credit that life has been busy and I haven’t really had a proper break recently but I fear that even requiring breaks is an indication of failure to thrive.  Joe does not seem to understand although he tries to understand as much as he can.  Unlike me, he doesn’t require those breaks from the family, but then he doesn’t spend 24 hours a day every single day with them either.  I’m not sure he realizes that I may not be that different from any other mother out there.  But because he doesn’t understand and gets frustrated with me sometimes when I express my exhaustion, I am afraid that I am failing at this job.  I am afraid that I shouldn’t feel this tired; that I shouldn’t feel this impatient; that I shouldn’t feel this overwhelmed; that something is wrong with me.  Why can’t I just BE?  Why do all my thoughts and feelings have to be up for analysis and judgment all the time?  I’m trying to make writing a coping strategy, which does seem to help a bit because I can write anything and everything.  I am afraid to put it on a blog though where family and friends read it.  Someone will always take issue with something.  I am finding that I am a very judgmental person and that bothers me.  Why does it matter what other people do or say that does not affect me personally?  I generally consider myself a fair-minded person with good judgment.  These recent weeks have been a real slap in the face by weaknesses that I thought I had overcome.  Actually, the more I think about it, the thought patterns of depression seem to be desperately trying to claw their way into my subconscious.  I am more critical of myself and others.  I am struggling more with negative thoughts and fatigue and guilt and impatience and emotional sensitivity.  Several weeks ago I seriously considered whether or not to stay on medication and I determined that if I chose to go off medication that I would need to stay very, very close to Heavenly Father and that this would be a long, painful road.  Medication is the easier way and I would never know if I could do without it if I didn’t try.   Maybe I can’t.  I don’t know.  I’ve been on medication for seven years now.  This period of time is part of that experiment.  I still need to get exercise and proper diet into place to replace medication.  I don’t want to be dependent on psychiatrists and pharmacies and profit-driven drug companies to dispense drugs for me.  I just wish my kids didn’t have to be affected by my moods.  The truth is, I need my friends and I need a lot of support but I have trouble asking.  I know that staying close to Heavenly Father through scripture study and prayer will help me through this time but it could still be dark and painful and long.  I am fine, really.  The last few days have been particularly intense and will probably get better soon but having been through much, much worse before, I am afraid of the downward spiral.  Will you check up on me every once in awhile?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Ballet Recital 2012

I did not get a single decent picture of this girl in her Itsy Bitsy Spider costume!  And she looked so darling too!
She also refused to dance but did compromise by standing on the stage while everyone else danced.  She even stayed put until someone had to come get her OFF the stage.  I think 3 years old is a bit young for ballet, at least for this daughter!
Taking pictures of, hanging out with, and watching Elise were much more fun by any standard.

I love this beautiful 7-almost-8 year old face!
Elise really knew her stuff and she and her whole class danced beautifully together!  This is a great age for ballet as they are growing in competence and grace, while still young and childlike. 


"Weeds" from our neighborhood.

We had great seats in the fan section.  I, in my pink shirt, felt totally out of place.

I love soccer!

Happy to share it with these guys!
These buildings were rather stunning at this time of day!
The action!
Did I mention that I love soccer?
I was happy to share it with these ladies too!
I hope we'll have another chance to go to a Sounders game!  Now I know what to wear!  We had a ton of fun with friends and as a family.  Even though we didn't get home until almost midnight and the kids were tired and grumpy the next day, I'd say it was totally worth it!

Father's Day

As in, I actually did something for him worth mentioning here (thank you Pinterest!).

He deserves all this and much, much more though because he is an amazing father and husband!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Staircase Rapids

Who knows what dangers may be lurking in these woods?  Elise was a bit nervous at first, especially about taking a picture inside this tree trunk.
Completely unafraid of trespassers, this cute little mouse just contentedly hopped along the path looking for food.  
Loud and powerful and stunning!
Packing heat (all the way up and down the trail!)
Nature's Tie Dye
Hunger Games?
Feed me, Seymour!
I have the POWER!
The only calm I've seen on this river

I love that Abe is explaining something to his sister...
And that she's interested...
And so is he...
Happy mom moment for me!
An intro to rock climbing
Wood ducks
This stuff is alive, I tell you!
Caption, anyone?
Plumbing the depths
Little Diva
They were (we all were) laughing at Grace...
Probably because of this.  She was happy as a clam to be wading through the frigid water.  She only wanted to go back to the car because she was cold.  At the car at the end of the hike we put her in dry clothes and she wanted to go back to the river.

A sampling of flora.  If you don't look up or down you might not catch all the beautiful things the forest has to offer.

And a Chinese Dragon
 We all had so much fun!  Abe said he wanted to come back every week.  While that would be nice, an hour and a half drive is somewhat time prohibitive.  Maybe once a year or every other year.  Although, there are so many great places to explore he might be won over by every one we encounter.