Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Cousin Calvin

The boys met their newest cousin, Calvin Markis Gant, the day after he was born. They're excited to have another Gant boy join the family.

The boys do not often fall asleep in the van anymore, especially all three at the same time. They were clearly very tired after getting up extra early on Tuesday to make sure I got to the hospital in time to see Calvin born and then two days of playing with William at Grandma Marsha's house.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Haircut Time

When the haircuts are done, I always enjoy looking at the tricolored pile of hair.

Monday, October 31, 2011


Cowboy Cade.
Zane the surprised Park Ranger.
Luke disguised as a bunch of red grapes.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Bonding by way of accident

Sometimes bonding moments between parent and child happen by accident. Literally. My friend recently shared with me just such an accidental bonding moment. After agreeing that accidents like this must happen to everyone and, no doubt, could even happen to me, she agreed to let me share her story. I will not use names in order to protect the innocent.

After arriving at the library and checking in books, she and her three boys {she has three boys just like me} went to the restroom; she in the girls and they in the boys, of course. Trying to hurry, she decided to squat over the toilet instead of taking the time to line it. She soon felt an uncomfortable warmth trickle down and a small puddle quickly formed at her feet. Having not had anything quite like this happen since high school, she handled it with surprising calmness. Thankful for the paper towels and water supply, she quickly cleaned up. While tying her coat around her waist, and therefore hiding all evidence of the accident, she began contemplating what to do; should she go home or could she possibly still get away with doing a couple necessary errands?

Just then there was a tap at the bathroom door. She opened the door and there stood her three boys. The youngest one, age six, looking concerned, said, "Mom, I've got a big problem." He then pulled up his jacket and revealed a large wet spot on the front of his pants. My friend smiled, turned around and lifted her jacket. Turning back around she saw her three boys with their eyes wide open and jaws dropped. The youngest one, who had been assured by his big brother that he was going to be in trouble for his accident, said, "Really, Mom!? Really?" My friend nodded. While giggling, she then whispered that perhaps they had better head home and clean up. The boys, still shocked but joining in the quiet laughter, readily agreed.

I have no doubt that these three little boys {who just happen to be the same age as mine} will never forget the day that they learned THEIR MOTHER occasionally has accidents too.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Luke's 8th Birthday

Luke's birthday was extra fun this year. We took the day off school [a homeschool perk] and Grandma Marsha, Aunt Melissa, Cousin William and Cousin Peyton came to visit. We went to McDonald's for lunch and took cupcakes for dessert.

Later, Luke celebrated with friends. This was his first "kid party" and he had lots of fun and received many nice gifts.

The next day, my parents, sister and niece came for dinner. Grandma Boom-Boom made her famous pizza and Aunt Joy made a special bowling ball cake. The boys LOVED the trick candles that kept re-lighting themselves.

After dinner, we headed to the bowling alley for some more family fun.

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Picking Patriarch

Poppy, our Picking Patriarch and orchestrater of all things fruit, sometimes takes us out for Chinese food after we pick. The boys love Poppy...and Chinese food.

Life is just a bowl of cherries.

Beautiful cherries.

Pickin' is fun for the boys: climbing trees and eating fresh fruit...

You can't eat a more fresh cherry than this...

Plus, there is plenty of time to be silly.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Luke lost one tooth and then so did Cade.

Then Cade lost another tooth...

...and Luke did not.

After about six months Luke went to the dentist....

...and had it pulled out.

Note: Having your mouth numb makes for a silly sideways smile.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

My Journey to Jogging

Four years ago my dad had heart surgery. We were fortunate that he had symptoms that warned him of a pending heart attack and that he was paying attention. Stints were put in and he was given another chance. He became a vegetarian [Well, mostly a vegetarian. I think he calls himself a 90% vegetarian.] and started jogging for the first time in his life. My dad, 90% vegetarian. My dad, a jogger. I would have never guessed! I'm very proud of him for taking his health seriously.

Six months ago I started my own journey to jogging. This was a big decision for me being that I am NOT a runner. I have never ran a mile before! [Well, maybe one time. I may have ran a mile the one day I was on the High School track team. Yep, the one day. I couldn't believe how much running they expected!] However, after my gym canceled 2/3 of my classes, I felt that it was a good time to start jogging. I was fortunate to have my friend, Margaret, join me.

One of my main goals for jogging was to run a 5k with my Dad. On Labor Day, we ran together in Run the Dam Loop at Cottage Grove Lake. He runs faster than me, but I was able to stay with him...barely.

Along my journey, Luke has also become interested in jogging. He set a goal a few months ago to jog a 5k before he turns eight. We accomplished that goal on September 17th, 2 1/2 weeks before his eighth birthday. I am very proud of him!

Note: In the picture below you can also see my sister, Joy, and niece, Lolly (6).

Margaret and I also set a goal of running a 5k together before the end of summer. Last Thursday, the last day of summer, we accomplished that goal at the Twilight River Run. I'm proud of Margaret. She has had to struggle with several health issues, but hasn't given up. Without her, I'm not sure I would still be jogging.

Not long ago I thought I would never be able to run a mile, let alone three. Now I'm thinking about how to run faster than my dad [Seriously. He's 26 years older than me! I've got pride.] and I'm considering an 8 or 10k in the summer.

2011 Huckleberry Hunt

We went huckleberry picking again this year in the Mt. Hood National Forest. The huckleberries were plentiful. The weather was beautiful. It was even warm enough to go swimming in a nearby lake. We have such a nice time in God's beautiful creation there that Cory and I would really like to stay a week.

My mom's main goal for the camping trip is to get a good picture of her grandkids. She made them matching t-shirts for this year's picture.

In our family photo last year, Cade was making a face that made him look like a chipmunk. My dad e-mailed the picture to me with the caption, "I've found the forth chipmunk: Alvin, Simon, Theodore and Cade! This year we all decided to make chipmunk faces. Oddly, after setting the trend, Cade now looks the least "chipmunky".

Summer Slam

A few weeks ago the boys and I went down to Drain for an extended weekend (Friday through Monday). We hadn't had much opportunity to visit our family in Drain, so we tried to make the most of our time. Here is a quick list of some the things we managed to do:

(1) Swimming in the Umpqua River near Elkton
(2) Blackberry picking (twice)
(3) Jogging with my Dad and then to breakfast (the boys slept through this)
(4) Wildlife Safari
(5) Pool party at the Drain pool
(6) BBQ with friends
(8) Church (twice)
(9) Reedsport Beach

Many thanks to our family for dropping everything in order to accommodate our wish list of things to do. If you're up for it, I think we should make Summer Slam a new tradition. We had so much fun!

I didn't take many pictures during our stay, but I did manage a few from our beach trip. It was one of those beautiful days at the Oregon coast which are seemingly hard to come by.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Cade's Cakes

Cade finally got the Costco cake he has wanted for three years.

I served it with a small slice of the Dairy Queen ice cream cake that Pearl, Cade's Special Person from church, surprised him with. Talk about a load of yumminess!

Friday, July 08, 2011

Growing Up

I try to give my boys the opportunity to learn to do some "grown-up" things for themselves: make purchases with their own money, check out their own books at the library, handle their own banking transactions, etc. At Cory's birthday dinner they each were allowed to order their own meal. [Red Robin makes it easy being that the kids menu includes pictures of each choice. I had them circle what they wanted and then tell the waitress. They did a great job and the waitress commented on how well mannered they were.]

Today, Zane learned to bargain! He found a toy at World Market that was missing a piece. He still wanted the toy and asked if I thought it would be sold for less. I told him that he could ask when we got to the sales counter. To my surprise, he quickly agreed. [I wondered as we walked around the store if the clerk would think that I put him up to it.] We got to the counter and I made my purchase and then told the clerk that Zane had a question. He showed her the toy, explained about the missing piece, and then asked if it was worth less. [At this point, I mentioned that this was truly his idea.] She offered him the $4 toy for $2. After a moment of thought, he happily made the purchase.

It really enjoy watching them learn these life skills and know that they are gaining confidence with each experience.

Busy Boys

My boys do not have trouble finding things to do. They are not the type to complain about not having anything to do. I think I have only heard the word bored used in our house once or twice. I feel blessed that I don't have to deal with that attitude that seems to plague so many children.

They like building forts or towers with nearly every cushion/pillow in our house.

They were so excited when they discovered that Cade's little beads that expand in water would also stick to the ceiling. There were about 60 up there and it was very interesting and colorful; however, I was a little concerned they would stain the ceiling or dry and then damage the paint. They thought trying to get them down was also fun.

Sometimes I'm smart enough to harness their energy and put them to work doing things that I don't find the time to do. They had a great time washing windows.

Medic Luke

Luke loves first aid kits. I think he would spend all his money on them. He has quite the collection and usually takes one with him wherever we go. He helps his friends/family, but lends the kit to me if a stranger needs assistance. Some have suggested to him that he may want to be a doctor when he grows up. He doesn't want to be a doctor, but is more interested in being a medic for the fire department.

Luke bandaging Cade after a fall during the kids fun run at the Butterfly Run in Elkton.

Luke's Goals

Luke recently started 20 weeks of vision therapy. During one of our recent sessions, Penelope, his therapist, asked him to write down goals. I love the list he came up with:
1. Learn to swim.
2. Become a spy or ninja.
3. Go ice skating ASAP, but definitely before his is 16.
4. Be a Christian.
5. Learn how to make cookies.
6. Run a 5k by the time he is 8.

Mind your manners

The other day Cade and I were in his bedroom and evidently I interrupted him. He began to scold me for it and I reminded him that I was the parent and that it was not his job to correct me. The way I remember it, he said, "Someone needs to teach you." I asked Cade today what he had said and he told me that he didn't say "someone" needs to teach me; he said that my mom needs to teach me because I interrupt too much.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

What's for dinner?

The other night we had potatoes and salad from our little raised bed gardens. I love providing the family with home grown goodness.

Also from the garden, but not on the menu, about forty roly-polys gathered by Cade.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Cade's Turn

Cade lost his first tooth on the first of July. I told Cade that the root on his tooth seemed long. After finding two dollars under his pillow, Cade concluded the Tooth Fairy paid him extra for the long root.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

On Father's Day we hiked up Spencer Butte. It was the first time the boys and I had been there. It was a beautiful day and we all enjoyed it very much. I think hiking on Father's Day may become a new tradition.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Cory's 41st Birthday

We went to dinner at Red Robin for Cory's birthday and then came home for ice cream cake. Cory loves ice cream cake!

Zane made his Snap Circuit set play Happy Birthday and had Cory "blow" out the light bulb. He also gave him a $10 Taco Bell gift card.

Cade bought Cory a petunia and also a $5 Cabela's gift card.

As a family, we also gave Cory a knife and a Cabela's hat. Luke was okay with those gifts and didn't feel like he needed to add anything to it.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011


I pulled up one of our potato plants primarily to find out if the ants were eating the potatoes. Being that this is the first time we have grown potatoes, it was really exciting to dig them up. Cade lined up the five potatoes we found and said that they were Cade, Luke, Zane, Mom and Dad.

Cade holding our first potatoes.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Luke's Teeth

Luke just lost his first tooth on May 14th.

He is 7 1/2.

His new teeth got tired of waiting.

We say he has shark teeth.

He likes that.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

This means war!

I am at war with sugar ants! They started nibbling on my radishes and I was okay with that. I planted more than I needed and was willing to share. I should have known better. They must have thought, given my previous kindness, that I was also willing to provide them with a new home. Those greedy little suckers have made my potato hill into an ant hill. They have nearly killed one potato plant and a cauliflower plant too. They have gone too far and now we are engaged in battle. Or, at very least, a major food fight.

Battle #1 - Cornmeal.

Once ingested this is suppose to expand and end their little lives.

Victor- Ants. The cornmeal didn't seem to have any effect of them.

Battle #2 - Bacon Bomb

Jerry Baker's Ant Control #1. I like to refer to this as the Bacon Bomb. It is a mixture of cornmeal, bacon grease, baking powder, and yeast. It is the amped up version of cornmeal alone.

After I made this mixture, the boys and I headed out-of-town for the day. Knowing that the bacon smell would call to Cory, I left a note right under the bowl of Bacon Bomb telling Cory not to eat it. I should have left the note on top. Thinking it was brown sugar [and it does look like brown sugar] he had it in his mouth before reading the note. He didn't know the ingredients of my "ant bait" and quickly washed his mouth out at the sink. Funny, huh?

Victor- Ants. I'm pretty sure they love it. Maybe Cory did too.

Battle #3 - Vinegar.

Supposedly vinegar messes with their sense of smell.

Victor- Ants. No effect noticed.

Battle #4 - Terro?

I called a local nursery asking about diatomaceous earth and boric acid. The lady who I spoke to recommended Terro Ant Killer and said it is made from Borax. Unfortunately, being that the store was about to close and I'm desperate, I bought it and then read the ingredients: 5% Borax and 95% Other Ingredients. Uh Oh. Here comes the warning: DO NOT USE in edible product areas of food handling establishments, restaurants or other areas where food is commercially prepared or processed. Do not use in serving areas while food is exposed. Avoid contamination of feed and foodstuffs. Place bait in areas inaccessible to children and pets.

Feed and foodstuffs!? Is foodstuffs even a word? Regardless, I get the message and decide to try something else.

Victor- Ants, by default.

Battle #5 - Cinnamon.

I guess they hate it and I happen to have a Costco-size supply of it. I have now sprinkled it generously around the garden. The garden smells great and maybe my veggies will taste cinnamon infused. Yum.

Victor- To be determined.

Battle #6 - Molasses.

Apparently this is another thing they don't like; neither do I. I have a nearly full bottle and I'm happy to share [get rid of it]. I poured the whole bottle all over the perimeter of the garden. My garden is starting to smell like Cinnabon. I like that.

Victor- To be determined.

Battle # 7, 8, etc. - Bay leaves, Mint leaves and anything else I read about. Perhaps cayenne pepper and orange oil will soon be added to the mix.

This war is getting weird!

I must win. I must win!

Please let me win.

Cinnamon covered ground. Molasses drips. Bay leaves spiked into the ground. Mint leaves around the stalk. Bacon Bomb Hotel in the background.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Smart like Ben

A few weeks ago Zane was learning about Benjamin Franklin. Here is an excerpt from Zane's history book:
It did not take his father long to realize how bright his youngest son was.

'That boy will make a fine minister. With seventeen children, I cannot afford to send them all to school. But I will try to send Ben.'
At the time, I wondered out loud what it would be like to choose one of your children, based on how smart they are, to go to school because you couldn't afford to send them all. Zane said, "I'd probably have to go." He's pretty sure he is the smartest of all three boys. I told him that I don't know which boys is the smartest, but I might not send him to school because he says he doesn't like it. I told him that I would rather send a boy who wants to learn.

Today, as I'm writing this, Luke said to Zane, "You think you're the smartest boy in the country." Zane, with a pondering look, said, "Maybe."

Monday, April 11, 2011

Church Clothes

Yesterday, after Zane got dressed for church, I noticed that he was wearing faded blue jeans and asked him to change. He said,
"Mom, church isn't about looking good, right? It's about Jesus."
Who can argue with that?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Charpie Spice

Cade said the other day, "I don't like babies, except William [his cousin] and Charpie Spice." Our friends, Ken and Charissa Charpie, make a special seasoning that they've dubbed Charpie Spice. The boys love that spice. It's the only way I can get them to eat some foods. On the day that Cade made the statement above, he couldn't remember the name Linus, Ken and Charissa's son, so he called him Charpie Spice. I officially recommend that Ken and Charissa begin using this new nickname for Linus. Just keep him away from British pop-music bands...

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Whoa, Martha, back up!

A few years ago I was given Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook. Although the book has useful information, I wouldn't have bought it for myself. I didn't want Martha's expectations swirling around in my head. Ignorance is bliss.

My bliss lasted until page 24 of the 744 page book.

First the good news. I actually do pretty well at Martha's Six Things To Do Every Day: (1) make the bed, (2) manage clutter, (3) sort the mail, (4) clean as you cook, (5) wipe up spills while they're fresh, and (6) sweep the kitchen floor. If only she stopped there I could, on occasion, pat myself on the back. I really wished she had stopped there.

Now the bad news. Next comes her Weekly Homekeeping list. [To be fair, the lists are meant to be a general guideline and the reader is encouraged to tailor them, but I think it's more fun to mock them.] The weekly list is where my grade starts to plummet. Actually, I failed before I even made it out of the kitchen. Here it is; Martha's Weekly Homekeeping list for the kitchen:

~Wipe surfaces, including sink, countertops, the outside of the ventilation hood, refrigerator and cupboard doors, top of refrigerator, appliance exteriors, shelves, and furniture

~Wipe the inside of the oven, microwave, and toaster oven

~Flush drain with boiling water

~Discard foods and beverages past their prime

~Dust light fixtures

~Wipe the inside and outside of trash and recycling bins

~Vacuum and mop floor

Whoa, Martha, back up. Wipe down the cupboard doors! Honestly, even if I had a staff of people working for me, I still wouldn't think it necessary to do that each week. Not to mention the top of the refrigerator and inside/outside of the trash bin. And the light fixtures? Weekly. Really?

I'm glad that Martha will not be visiting me.

Today, I decided that it was time to dust the master bedroom. Why? Because it is my weekly routine, like Martha recommends. Nope. Because the dust was thick. I could have easily written "wash me" in the layer of dust on top of the chest of drawers [and then made a plaster cast of the words].

I think that it is more gratifying to wait until something is a little dirty [or, in the case of dusting, a lot dirty]. Then, after you clean it, you feel like you've really accomplished something. Plus, in my opinion, if your house is immaculate people begin to feel uncomfortable. Even the people who live in the house. And, if you get the reputation of being an OCD type of cleaner, people become less comfortable inviting you to their home. I know a few people who cause me panic at the thought of them dropping by.

There seems to be a fine line between keeping a house comfortably clean and becoming a slave to your home. Another Martha quote:

Manage clutter: Whenever you leave a room, take a quick look around for anything that isn't where is should be. Pick it up and put it where it belongs. Insist that everyone in the household do the same.

This is, for the most part, a habit for me; however, I get tired of looking around to see what needs to be done. Sometimes it feels like each room of the house is wrangling for my attention and I just want it to be quiet. I certainly do no want my kids to feel that way. I want them to enjoy this house. I'm okay with finding Lego's in every room. I'm okay with the couch cushions becoming forts/motorcycles/islands. I do teach them to pick up after themselves. At least once a day I have them put things back where they belong. But I don't want to "insist" that they are always on the lookout for anything that is out-of-place. How sad.

That said, I must confess that I have a hard time allowing anyone else to see my house messy. Funny, huh? It contradicts what I believe; that a house should look like people live in it. That it is more welcoming that way. Unfortunately, those Martha-like expectations pop into my brain and persuade me that less-than-perfect isn't good enough. I'm working on finding the balance; enjoying more company and caring less about the condition of my house.

But for now, I'm off to wash the cupboard doors...

Monday, April 04, 2011

The Cake for Cade

For two years Cade has wanted this rainbow cake from Costco for his birthday.

What Cade didn't know is that I am not much for store bought cakes; I prefer to make the boys' birthday cakes. The first year Cade asked for the Costco rainbow cake, I made each cupcake [that fit together into the shape of an alligator] a rainbow-ish color. Sounds a little strange, huh? It was. I didn't say that my cakes look better than the store bought ones. [Did I mention that the cupcakes were zucchini cake?] Unfortunately, I don't seem to have a picture.

Joy offered to make Cade's next birthday cake. [No, not because of the rainbow alligator zucchini cupcakes.] She said that she doesn't get to make many birthday cakes and wanted to help out. [Okay, that does kinda sound like a nice way of saying that my cakes need help. But, it wasn't. Was it?] She stayed up all night creating a masterpiece rainbow cake. It was amazing; the picture doesn't do it justice.

Cade really liked Joy's cake, but later told me [when I inadvertently took him by the cake section during a Costco grocery trip] that he really wants THAT rainbow cake. I will, and you're my witness, buy it for him this year! No homemade cake for him. If I don't buy him that cake ... may a shark bite MY nose.

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