Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Bark Story

A few of you have not yet heard the bark story. Prepare yourselves.

A few weeks ago, Ed & I decided that one of the projects for this spring was going to be to cover the flower beds with a new layer of bark. After a bit of research, reading blogs, and visiting a couple of nurseries, we chose to get a bark mulch that is made out of composted materials. It’s pretty and dark and smells good, and was pretty inexpensive, compared to regular bark.

A little back story: A few years ago, when we had our patio poured, we had to bring in some dirt to fill in the land around the patio and level the ground, etc. We guessed and ordered the minimum of 15 yards. That was quite possibly the most daunting pile of dirt I had ever seen. It was way too much. We let friends and neighbors take the rest, after we filled in every spot we possibly could.

Back to the recent past: THIS time, I wanted to figure out exactly how much we needed. So Ed & I went outside and measured every flower bed in the yard so that we would know how much bark mulch to purchase. My genius husband (you know, the one that outsmarted the Internet in order to bring back my blog?) did the math to figure out how many cubic yards of bark we needed. Everyone thought it seemed like a lot, but Ed was a math major. We didn’t question him.

We should have questioned him.

When the TWELVE cubic yards of bark got dumped on my driveway, I thought, Hole. EEE. Cow.

When Ed arrived home from work that day and saw the HUGE PILE on the driveway, he said, “Uh, I think maybe I did it wrong.”

Ya think?

Turns out, he divided by 9 instead of 27 and we have 3 times as much bark as we need. OH. MY. This is what 12 yards of bark mulch looks like.


So, we worked our butts off on Friday night and brainstormed about what to do with all that mulch. We have a problem in the back of our house with the field – it keeps encroaching on the grass and is really difficult to cut down with the weed eater. The field gets mowed for hay during the summer, but the guy who drives the mower never mows right up next to the yard, so there’s always this strip of tall grass right behind our lawn.

We decided to dig out a 3 foot wide barrier between our lawn and the field (we have about that much property behind the lawn anyway – left it without grass in case we ever built a fence) and cover it with a weed barrier and a TON of mulch.

So Ed started to dig it out with a shovel on Friday evening. The first part went OK and then when it got dark, we went inside. Lots of things were happening on Saturday, so it was afternoon by the time much progress was being made. As Ed progressed through the back strip, things got more difficult. We finally decided a rototiller was going to make life a lot easier for Ed.


It was hard work, but within a short period of time, the ground was worked, and the junk raked out of the way. I made some dinner, fed the kids outside, then sent Sarah in with the job of bathing the kids and putting them to bed. She’s almost 12, after all.

Ed & I worked, hauling bark to the back strip, until after dark. At first, we would each take a wheelbarrow full, so we had two wheelbarrows going. After we got about 2/3 of the way done, we were so exhausted. It took both of us to push the wheelbarrow full of bark out to the back. We had been working for two days straight, hauling bark. We were so sore. But we got it done!

Sunday we finished up a few other places around the yard where we wanted mulch – around trees and such. We have since sold the remaining 5 or so yards to our neighbors and friends and it is now GONE from my driveway. THANK. GOODNESS.

Let this be a lesson to you and to us. Never let Ed figure out cubic yards.

Here’s what our newly cleaned up yards looks like:

2010_03_22 And the bark saga is now complete.


I am grateful for my parents who are healthy and active and young and can watch the girls so Ed & I can have getaways.

I am grateful to God for keeping us all safe while we were apart from each other this past weekend.

I am grateful for the blessings of Ed’s amazing job…the boss, the co-workers, the wives, the friendships, the atmosphere, the benefits, and of course, the food.

SJ Food Collage

Monday, March 29, 2010

A Walk in the Park


We have been having some wonderful spring weather here again lately. The other day (okay, it was about 10 days ago when we were having good weather, but that is how long I have been without my blog!) I spontaneously took Elise to the park! Yes, I know. I have to stop doing so many spontaneous things. It’s just not like me. Anyway, we had to go into town later on anyway, and I didn’t feel like starting (& not finishing) any projects at home, so off we went! We had a lot of fun and I got to practice some photography. I took 199 photos in 30 minutes! Lucky for you, I’m only posting the good ones here.

Look at those curls! 

_MG_9140_MG_9145 copy _MG_9169 She kept trying to jump and grab these bars. She only made it a few times and crashed and burned a lot. She tried it about a year ago as well and got a nasty goose egg on her head, so I was glad that didn’t happen again. She even remembered doing that and still had to keep trying! She is nothing if not determined.  
_MG_9171 _MG_9185 _MG_9187_MG_9209_MG_9219 _MG_9233 _MG_9240 _MG_9276 _MG_9295 _MG_9320
By the way, if this is actually posted on my blog, my husband is a genius.


1. We’re back from San Jose. It was AWEsome. Someday, eventually, details and pics will be posted.

2. I’m still pretty ticked at Google. We finally got an email last Thursday that our order for additional storage is “apparently stuck”. No Kidding! They said “Please allow 24 hours for it to be cleared and then you can order more storage.” Guess how many hours ago that was? Um, just a minute…I have to get a calculator out to figure that out… One hundred nineteen hours, 54 minutes, and 37 seconds. Or so. Guess what else? Our order is still stuck.

3. I saw Google’s HQ in San Jose. I thought about buying some eggs to throw at the building, but I didn’t want to get arrested and not be able to get on the flight home.

4. I plan to have a Gratituesday post tomorrow, but am not getting my hopes up that pictures will be posted. I have various posts I’d love to get up for your enjoyment. Maybe if everyone who reads my blog emails Google to complain that life just can’t go on without my updates, we’ll make some progress.

5. I have a stack of papers approximately 3 feet high to go through, menus to plan, laundry to work on, shopping lists to create, and, unfortunately, a TON of yardwork to deal with. Good-bye.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Random List of SYSK INPO

SYSK= Stuff You Should Know

INPO= In No Particular Order

1. My blog: Google is ignoring our payment for storage space and apparently also our 10 emails asking them to straighten out the situation. According to the recording I got when I called Google, after pressing 2, then 3, then 9, then 3, “Google has no live customer support at this time.” We don’t even know what to do anymore to straighten this out. I’m irritated with Google. I still can’t post pictures.

2. My side-bar: I removed a number of blogs from the side-bar, in case you care. I wasn’t reading half of them, and it was clutter in my “computer-world” and I’m in a “get rid of clutter” mood lately.

3. Saving Money (couponing) vs. Health: A number of those blogs I removed from my side-bar were couponing blogs. I was really getting into the couponing…getting stuff for free or saving 86% at the grocery store is pretty cool. BUT I found myself bringing home items I would not otherwise bring home, just because they were free or nearly free! So now we have junk in our house, and we had previously been trying to have more whole, natural, foods in our house. And guess what? When junk is in the house, it’s a whole lot easier to eat junk. And guess what else? When you eat junk, you don’t lose the 5 pounds you’re trying to lose.

There have been a number of health-related issues in our family of late, which have reminded me again that we are what we eat and I need to provide more whole and natural foods for my family in order to keep us healthy. I’m not giving up couponing, but I’m just not going to go out and do every deal just because it’s a deal. Only the stuff I would buy anyway (like shampoo, etc.), and no more junk.

4. Hauling mulch: It’s not a good idea to use your thigh when tipping over a wheelbarrow full of mulch. If you do, you will probably end up with massive amounts of bruises on your thigh. I have some great pictures of said mulch, and if Google ever cooperates, you’ll get to see them. No pictures of the bruises, lucky for you.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Additional comment

What I failed to explain in the earlier post is that all of my four years worth of Picasa web albums (which I sometimes link to on my blog) are using the majority of my free space, which is why I have now run out of space. It is shared space with my blog. Most people with a regular blog will have no problems. I could conceivably delete those web albums, but I’d really rather not.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Blog Issues

So I have this great write-up to post on the ole’ blog, but Google (who hosts blogspot) is giving me issues. Apparently I have used up all my free space on Google due to my large photos and frequent posts. Ed nicely bought me some cheap additional space (he’s my hero) but Google won’t give it to me. Ed is trying to sort it out (again, my hero), but so far, we haven’t heard back.

So, until Google gets its memory space straight, there will be no more posts or photos from me.  I have some good stuff coming, though, so don’t forget to check back at least twice a day!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


It’s time once again for my weekly blog feature and once again, I really am having a tough time. Last week I didn’t write anything at all for Gratituesday. I was feeling kind of blah and all I could come up with was that I was grateful for the TV. I was gonna write a poem, Ode to the TV,  in haiku form, but the only line I could think of was “Curious George Rocks”. I couldn’t decide whether that should be the first or last line and then the grammar teacher in me got to wondering whether or not I could write an ode in haiku form. Is that even allowed?

So now here we are. A week later. Gratituesday. Again. And today, despite my little “perspective” post of a few days ago, I can’t think of anything real good to blog about. You see, today I have to go to the dentist. Again. And if you know me at all, you know I loathe going to the dentist. I’d rather give birth without an epidural than go to the dentist. And I know a little something about what that feels like, so you know it’s true.

I suppose I should be grateful that I live in a country where we have dentists and all that. But. I’m just not feeling it. Now don’t go thinking that I don’t take care of my teeth. I do. I brush my teeth more times a day than anyone I know. I like to have a clean mouth.

Some people say they love that just-fresh-from-the-dentist-clean-feeling. I don’t get that either. What’s clean about going to the dentist? First off, it smells in there. I don’t know what it is, but dentist offices always smell like that and it does not smell lemony-fresh. Then, you gotta go lie in a chair where some perfect stranger has just laid their head. That gives me the willies. I don’t like airplanes for that reason either. After that, at least two other perfect strangers are going to put their hands in your mouth. Sure, they’ve got gloves on, but still. Then they supposedly clean your teeth. It doesn’t feel clean to me. It feels all gritty. I always have to brush my teeth again when I get home because it just feels gritty.

I suppose I should be grateful for my husband since he’s coming home from work early (taking half a sick day) to take care of the kids while I go to the dentist (and after I come home). But the way I figure it, he owes me. He’s the one who made me go to the dentist in the first place. He’s kind of, um, how can I say this nicely? He’s um, rigid, about going to the dentist. I’ve gone twice now without him (once for the so-called-cleaning and once for fillings) The last time was so awful that there was no way I was going back again without him here to deal with the children. He’s cooking dinner tonight, too. And he should probably bring home some tulips for me to make me feel better.

Then I would have a good Gratituesday post.

Monday, March 15, 2010

No more baby

Well, it’s official. We have a baby-free house.

Now, I know I said this when Elise gave up the binky and when she was completely potty-trained. I think I also said it when she quit taking naps and when she started school.

But through all those things, she still had her baby hair. I had never once in her life cut her hair. Poor thing has such fine, wispy, nothingness for hair on her head. I didn’t want to make her look even younger.

The problem with this approach of course was that she had some weird long strands and goofy lengths. Her sort-of wispy nothingness was a mess most of the time.

Now for the other girls, I gave them their first haircuts myself. I sat them on the counter and trimmed them up while Ed took pictures. This occurred at age 14 months for Sarah, 17 months for Bethany, and 19 months for Becca. Elise is now 45 months old.  So sorry, baby.

Today she sat at the beauty salon like a big girl and got a big girl haircut! She is especially proud of the little braid and the real rubber band that was put in her hair when the haircut was finished.

_MG_9125_MG_9128  _MG_9130

Thanks, Miss Tammy! We love the new haircut! (I need to get a picture of the back yet – that’s the cutest part).

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Something I need to Remember

I was directed to a blog post at Amy’s Finer Things and I just had to share it. It’s good to be given a taste of perspective. My apologies to those who may be experiencing the tougher situations listed here, or other tough situations. I know you are there and that you are in pain. You are in my prayers.

It’s easy to think the grass is always greener in your neighbor’s yard.  And perhaps it is.  At least the part you can see.

But remember…

When you’re weary of fixing another meal and doing dishes yet again, somebody wishes they had food to put on the table.

When you’ve folded and put away a(nother) mountain of laundry, somebody wishes their children had proper coats and hats to wear to school.

When you’re groaning over the highest heating bill yet this year, somebody wishes they weren’t so cold.

When you’re losing sleep and gagging over a child’s stomach bug episode, somebody is praying for a miracle over her child’s hospital bed.

When the exhaustion and nausea of the first trimester are about to do you in, somebody is weeping (yet again) over a negative pregnancy test.

When your headache intensifies over your teen’s college financial paperwork, somebody is visiting the site of her teen’s fatal wreck.

When you wake up to another cloudy, rainy day, somebody is praying for moisture to end a season of drought.

When you pick up your husband’s dirty socks and take out the trash because he forgot, somebody is wishing that for just a moment she didn’t have to do it all alone, all the time.

The next time your situation threatens to steal your joy, try to remember… somebody wants what you have.

Give thanks in all circumstances…
1 Thessalonians 5:18

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Official Olympic Red Mittens purchased in Vancouver: $10 + tax+ minimum 3 hours waiting in line (elected not to participate in this torture)

Official Olympic Red Mittens purchased on ebay: $34! WOOT!


Becca learning how to ride a two-wheeler all alone: PRICELESS!!!




She can’t start by herself, and to stop she jumps off a moving bicycle, no matter how many times I tell her not to do that, but that’s OK because she’s riding a two-wheeler!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Having fun with photos

To celebrate having completed Phase One of The Booklet, I spent a little time goofing around with Picnik.

Bethany sunglasses picnikpicnik sunset  Nothing phenomenal, but pretty fun.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A Perfect Window

_MG_8963 perfect portrait

Happy Birthday, Jacqueline!

My sister-in-law Jacq (married to Ed’s brother) is celebrating a birthday today. I imagine she will not be reading my blog as I think they are in the midst of moving! Imagine moving with 4 children under the age of 6, with a husband who works 24 hour shifts as a firefighter!!! Yikes. But Jacq is amazing at handling things under pressure, so I’m sure she’s doing fine. And she, like me, is blessed to live near her parents and they help her out a lot. I hope you have a fantastic birthday, Jacq! You are awesome and you deserve it!

_MG_7113 Jacq & Rowan (age 2)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Things I have to say, but wish I never had to

*Eat your dinner.

*Stop bugging each other.

*Don’t lie on top of each other in the bathtub.

*Did you wash? Did you use soap? (I believe I’ve said this one every day for the last 11 years).

*Pleeeeeaaaase stop whining.

*Don’t put that in your mouth.

*Yes, you have to brush your teeth.

*Because I’m the Mom.

*Hey! Watch where you’re going!_MG_8954 And, yes, I really did say all those things, and more, in just one 12-hour period.

And yes, I know my parents are smiling, even laughing, about this. It’s poetic justice.

And someday, I’ll get mine.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Gratituesday, March 2

There are these wonderful ladies in my church. I call them Secret Sisters. Each of them agreed to pray for and encourage one of our GEMS Counselors for this GEMS year. It’s like a Secret Pal kind of thing, except that it’s about prayer & encouragement and the GEMS Counselors simply receive the blessing from the Secret Sisters. This is the 4th year of this and it is a blessing for the Counselors and the Secret Sisters alike…at least…I think it is and I hope it is! At the end of the GEMS year, in May, we have a Secret Sister Reveal. We meet at a counselor’s home and the Secret Sisters bring clues and a gift for their counselor and the counselor gets to guess which lady has been praying for them all year. We have such a good time! I am so grateful for the ladies who have committed, both this year and in past years, to praying for and encouraging the GEMS Counselors. I don’t think they even realize how valuable their service is, but it makes a huge difference in the lives of the counselors and ultimately, in the lives of the girls we serve in our GEMS club.

And a totally unrelated picture – aren’t those just the cutest little daffodils you’ve ever seen? Yes, they’re supposed to be that small.