Friday, May 30, 2014


It was a five hour drive, we stayed up past midnight every night, we chased a frog we spotted while visiting the botanical gardens, the hotel pool got plenty of use, we even closed the fun center that the reception was held at..... even battling exhaustion it was a beautiful wedding.

Congrats you two, and thanks for letting us share it with you!

Joining Mamabyrd in her weekly impressions post.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Garden Journal Week 1

I decided to join my good friend mamabyrd in her gardening adventures, a couple of weeks ago, but have had nothing to share until now.  Our growing season is fairly short in Huntsville, and I've heard of many who have had to replant entire gardens at the end of June because of a summer freeze.  Hopefully I'll make past September before I post pictures of blackened wilted plants, victims of our cool mountain nights.  This weekend with warmer temperatures finally here to stay, I began the work of transforming my naked garden.  Every year I have plans to get my cold hardy vegetables planted in April, but every year I'm late, even for Huntsville standards.  Not April but almost June and I've finally planted carrots, peas....

 and beans....

And I also found a use for the bunch of concrete we collected while tearing out an old carport,our first fall in Huntsville....

I hope the new concrete planter absorbs enough heat to keep my tomatoes growing strong, and end my constant fear of them freezing.

And with the completion of that project, I think I'm ready to start another.  Hopefully, when I can, I'll journal not only what's growing in the garden, but also a current garden project.  For this week I'm finally going to remodel this space (previously a cage for the chickens).

I'm bursting with plenty of inspiration from our recent trip to the Boise Botanical Gardens.

So don't forget to check back in next Thursday, if your curious about what might be growing... and what potential an old chicken cage holds!

Beauty Grows

I was drawn to her beautiful flowers before we ever met.  She lives only a block or so from our front door, and her gardens are something you'd see on the cover of Better Homes and Gardens.  They serve as the perfect backdrop to her own beauty.  With brilliant blue eyes, and long silver hair, it's no wonder Monte calls her his senior crush.  You can spot her every morning tending to her petaled friends, just before she heads indoors to prepare sweet treats, a gift for any who stop by for a visit (which my children do, at least a couple times a week).  I love that Abe adoringly calls her his special friend.... yes special and a friend to us all. 

She brings me handfuls of her beautiful flower seeds each year.  Her instructions are simple, 'Plant them where you want them to grow.', so I do, and they do.  What woman would turn down free flowers?

I'll even take the flowers that come with a warning of their invasive tendency. I dream of the day an invasive flower can crowd out at least some of the weeds.  It's a good thing I like things pretty natural, because if I'd gone the manicured route I'd have to learn to garden with a head lamp on.

Desperate to have full, green, flower beds, I'll even let grow what others call weeds.

I guess I'll keep gathering seeds, and hopefully keep receiving them by the handfuls.... and while I continue planting I have no intentions of cutting my hair.... and I think some day it will grey..... and maybe my eyes will brighten with age.... and I'll tend to my garden..... and it will grow.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

School's out for Summer!

Backyard preschool graduation..... done,  


 Jo's year end patriotic performance..... done,

Sol losing his very first tooth (it still counts if he lost it trying to pry open a tricky transformer arm)..... done.

Are we already done?  No homework or spelling test for three months?  Welcome summer..... time will tell what adventures lie lay lie ahead!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Birthday Wishes


I can't even begin to imagine what the last four years would have been like without you!  Your insight and laughter make me love you more and more every day!  Fly with your dreams and wishes to the moon and back!

Abe's Birthday Wishes-

 A day full of candy and treats
A new cheap plastic bow
A ninja party
A day spent with everyone following your advice, 'My Birthday, My Rules'
Everyone jumping and yelling 'SURPRISE!', when you enter a room
A play date with Sam
Time spent mushroom hunting
A trip to the park
A trip to the beach
Ice cream sandwiches 
A visit at Lulu and Birdie's house
Turkey sandwiches for dinner
To watch a movie
 For everyone who came to your party, to stay until Halloween
To not pee the bed



Some days just aren't long enough..... Happy Birthday, and all my love to my Superhero, Ducky Piglet boy!

Friday, May 23, 2014


He's four........ why can we never seem to find the roses?

Joining mamabyrd in her weekly 'impressions' post.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Good, the Bad, and the Nutty

I couldn't decide if what I was doing was a good or bad.  Spending time outdoors..... Good, sitting on the hard cement..... Bad.  Doing an activity with the kids..... Good, this activity involved swinging a hammer..... Bad.  Finding and eating something that has been said to fight cancer..... Good, but also contains cyanide..... Bad.  Patiently and reflectively cracking each individual nut..... Good, feeding my obsessive compulsive disorder..... Bad. 

It's not uncommon to leave a neighbors house after a visit with some sort of a gift.... fresh baked cookies, a jar of honey, bottled preserves, I've even received some form of meat pulled from the freezer.  A neighbor's gift was the case with my current bowl full of nuts.

I had no idea that if you let apricot pits completely dry out, you can crack open their shell and eat what you find inside.  Like almonds in looks and taste, it's just another bit of knowledge acquired from my wise fellow town folk.  It was time for me to grab my hammer and my bowl full of pits, collected from months of apricot eating, and head out back for some nut cracking.  Anything loud around here draws an audience, so before long I had two more hammer swinging helpers.  I did convince Abe to hand over his large sledge hammer in exchange for my own much smaller tool.

We sat together learning the art of nut cracking and discovering first hand the meaning of several nut expressions.  Some nuts really are hard to crack.... you do feel a little nutty and a bit like a nut case after continually cracking hundreds of nuts.... and lastly you never really can get that horribly bitter taste out of your mouth after eating a bad nut.

So there you have it, our afternoon in a nutshell.... now all we have left is to enjoy the fruits of our labor..... Good.... Yes, definitely good!

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Great Race

I'd be lying if I didn't say the events leading up to the execution of this race didn't include a few arguments, but in the end everything worked out great.  Sol and Abe got to enjoy their first ever sleep over.  Jonas learned the meaning of 'up at the crack of dawn'.  Monte got to run his 1/2 marathon.  And Jo and I got to spend some one on one time running the 5K.

We made it out of the canyon by it's schedule 6:00 am closure time.  We still had 45 minutes to wait until the start of our race.  That time spent waiting ended up being the most difficult part of our day.  Trying to stay warm in what little clothing we had, in cool 6:00 am temperatures, and typical windy mouth of the canyon conditions.  By the time they said go Jo's lips were blue, and his teeth were chattering, but all of that quickly changed.  He set the pace and we'd agreed to only walk through the water stations, which he took full advantage of.  More than once I had to go and retrieve him from his excited placement in front of a cookie tray or the basket of free Cliff energy bars.  My fanny pack (yes I wore a fanny pack), was full of not only some cash, our keys, and Monte's cell phone, but the collection of Jo's energy treats.  I think we could have ran the race at least two more times before the novelty wore off.  It could have been the cookies kicking in, but Jo sprinted that last half mile like a champ, and when they put that medal around his neck, I could have cried.... wait I did cry.

We still had plenty of time to wait to cheer Monte through the finish line, so what did we do?  What any growing boy would want to do.... eat!  He'd already broken into the fanny pack stash, after consuming the creamy they'd given him at the end of the race, but he was ready for more.  A stop at the bread store for a honey smothered slice of bread, and a second stop at the gourmet doughnut shop, finally left him satisfied, at least for the moment.    

He was licking the glaze from his fourth visit into the doughnut box when we spotted Monte running the last few blocks to the finish line.  He jumped up to make that final push with his Dad.  He was so happy.  It was a personal best, hopefully in more ways than one, I could have never guessed that the day would have turned out so successful.  I've realized how important moments like this are, important for Monte and I to feel the love and support from our sons, and important for our boys to see their father or mother accomplish something they've worked so hard for.  I think these moment are partially the reason for my next big adventure, an open water swim on the Summer Solstice.  Hopefully they'll make the 500 mile drive, and although I'm not certain I want anyone to join me for that 'final push' to the finish line, I would love to hear their cheers.     

As we slurped our smoothies on the ride home, I listened to Jo and Monte swap stories about their races.  Jo gave an animated description of our race, how we actually got to run under the road, and how next year we'll run it with both Sol and Abe(?), and he'll show them how awesome the water stops are.  Monte explained the great energy of the crowd, and the difficult transition from the canyon hills to the flat roads.  And they both shared the love of running through the finish line together.... who knows, maybe next year Jo can experience even more fun water stops and run the 1/2 marathon with Monte..... I'll just buy the doughnuts.   

Friday, May 16, 2014


Often on Thursday evenings I'm uncertain on what to write for my weekly impressions post, but then I look out into the back yard and inspiration hits...... Our high today was 65 degrees, but being mountain folk, we are unnaturally optimistic about the temperature.

Joining Mamabyrd in her weekly impression post. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Small Town Secrets

I'm both amused and intrigued by the knowledge you can gain by living in a small town.  I'm not sure how many years I'll have to live here before I earn local status, but I'm positive if far longer than five years.  However, if I'm willing to listen, those much older and wiser than I have plenty to share.  A level of expertise that can only be gained by years and years of living, loving, and working in their home town.  Maybe not all knowledge shared is of real value, I still get asked if I really did paint the shelves in my front room pink (It really is more of a red), but it's still knowledge all the same.  I've learned to use the snow line on Mount Ogden as my guide in my garden planting.  And can determine how wet our spring will be by the arrival time of certain birds.  I also know what things I can gather from my own yard as a remedy for a stuffy nose or a clogged sink.  And who could forget the small town terms used as navigational tools.  Terms like 'Short block', 'Twin Hills', 'Locals Beach', 'Rope Swing Beach', 'Probasco Lane', and my boys favorite, 'The River Bottoms'.

'The River Bottoms', full of mystery, discoveries, and mud.  It's become a fun hangout for my older two boys.  I'm not entirely sure how their game goes, but it involves portals to another dimension, lots of hideouts, and treasure mining.  Treasures by the pocket full find their way back home with them, does anyone know something useful to do with sticks and snake grass, we're gathering quite a collection?

But it's not just my older two boys who love exploring the 'River Bottoms', I find myself making my way down there more and more often.  And after some shared knowledge from a old town local, I decided to do some of my own treasure hunting..... and guess what I found.

They're half free morel mushrooms, and because of this year's ideal weather conditions many go in search of them down in the 'River Bottoms'.  Yes, I was nervous about eating them, but we did, and they were great!  It seems our hidden stash (that's what they call it) was quite the find, and was even the envy of several town natives.  It probably seemed like I was bragging a bit when I told them that we found so many that I let Abe pick them, and that I left any that seemed too small behind, but really it was just beginners luck.

This evening we shared dinner with some souls much older and and wiser than us.  A delicious combination of mushrooms gathered in a secret grove, and fish caught in a secret fishing hole.  Our get together was so pleasant, Abe even asked for thirds.  But I can't help but wonder if there was a secret agenda to our shared meal......   'Pssst.... Syrina, do you like the fish, I'll make you a deal, if you tell me where your secret stash came from, I tell you where my secret fishing hole is....'  Nice try, but I'll never tell.   I will give you a hint.... if you go halfway down the 'short block', and turn into the 'river bottoms', you'll find just off the 'old road' the secret hiding place of some pretty incredible mushrooms..... Yesssssssss..... score one for the town transplant!