So much happened this fall that I fell out of the habit and ran out of time to update the blog. We had several visitors including Aunt Amy, Tina, and Grandma K. Jon and I coached Taylor and Liv’s FIRST Lego League team where we competed in the Into Orbit challenge. We enjoyed some social visits including a cookie exchange, a road trip to California, and Jon did a 10K. We celebrated Halloween, Christmas, New Years, and 5 Birthdays. There were tears, laughs, and fits of joy.


Today, though, marks one of my annual days of soul food and mourning, self pity, all that stuff. It’s a day that I dread all year, and one that just sits in the back of my mind as the worst day of my life. So here begins my annual obligatory blog post about my amazing Mom who I lost too soon.


Last year on this day, I decided that I had to forgive myself for whatever guilt I harbored related to her demise. That is not to say that I don’t still miss her like crazy, cry, and wish she were here everyday., but I don’t spend my quiet moments silently agonizing about what I could, should, or would have done if I had any inkling that her health was in as much peril as it was. 2018 was definitely a better year than 2017, but I feel like loosing my Mom has been the lowest place in my life. So I feel like there was no other way to go but up.

In 2018 I finally sat for my certification exam in Maternal Neonatal Nursing. Achieving this certification was a big deal for my confidence in what I do. It validates that knowledge that I use in my practice every day. I feel really good about my work, and given all the things that complicate my world, this gives me a little place of peace. At work I have accepted new challenges that are helping me grow professionally and also help our department. Not surprisingly, my favorite role is precepting new hires. The charge role presents new challenges every day, but it also grows my confidence while allowing me to support my coworkers too.


I made extra effort in 2018 to cultivate and grow my personal friendships. I think that my personal relationships, in general, have never been better. I’m so grateful to the friends I have made here in Portland, and those back in Wisconsin, all who are so supportive of me regardless. I have always been good at recognizing that it’s not about the quantity of time spent, but the quality of that time spent. I know that our family obligations often keep us from putting more effort into our friendships, so this year, I just made a strong commitment to putting a little more effort. I really appreciate my friendships more and more with every passing year.


Our family is really settling in, and the kids have some new special relationships too. Taylor has made a friend that he invited over for our Halloween party and stayed a night. Liv has several new friends, and Ava and Wes spend a lot of their time down the block at the neighbor’s house. We added our amazing pooches in 2018, and everybody loves having them in the family.

So on the second anniversary of my Mom’s passing, I’m really trying to be thankful for the gifts around us. I miss her, and I feel angry that she isn’t here to see how much the kids are growing and maturing, to share in my successes and those of my siblings, to get married and enjoy her retirement.

How many Marathons?

what should I do differently while training for my next one?


Lucky number 8! 


Always smiles in the morning! Nerves haven’t fully taken effect yet!


A smile for us at the finish because the “nightmare” is over.  I don’t photograph ‘recovery’, too scary!


I tried to find an official photo that included Jon... there wasn’t one, but I found us!!! 


Jon trains hard all year long for his marathons. This was his first in Oregon, and his first since Cellcom 2017. Prior to our move, he had done 2 each year for a few years. I know that he was hoping his hard work would have even better results, but I’m proud that he still gets out there to train nearly every day. I’m proud that his hard work does show, even if he was hoping for something more. Next year... your going to be great... again!


Meet Mocha


Mocha is the newest member of our family. He is a 2 year old Silky Terrier. He was found in our neck of the woods as a stray. We adopted him as a companion for Coco who has clearly been missing his brother Bolt (who was adopted out before we met him). He is also a companion for the rest of us. He has added a little spunk and fire to our lives, but also the same calming essence that made us know that he and Coco are both right for our family.


Mocha and Coco have both visited the salon. They love to chase each other around and play with toys together!  


We feel like these additions have filled a small void that has been growing as our kids have become independent and more apt to doing their own things.  


After Jon’s marathon, we enjoyed a quiet lazy evening of lap sitting and rest! 

2 peas in a pod! 

2 peas in a pod! 

When Life gives you Lemons

We moved to Oregon a year and some months ago now, I was really excited to learn how to garden here. Last year, late in summer, I managed to plant a huge garden of beets, carrots, green beans and 4 different tomato varieties. It was fun and the growing season is so very different than it was in Wisconsin. I lost a little faith when I discovered that the slugs, which I had been happy not to see, had eaten the better part of all of my beets. The rest of the veggies were fine, and proved plentiful.


When we decided to move closer to Portland, however, I gave up my big garden. I didn’t know it when we bought the house, but I inherited an orchard. It too is plentiful, but always being me, I wanted more. I have been fairly obsessed with idea of growing my own lemons. And now, I have a gorgeous indoor lemon tree!


With a lot of work, I probably could have it grow outside, but I am not sure I want to work that hard. So, for now anyway, it will live inside. I can’t wait for these huge fruit to turn yellow!


Coco loves Wes’ blanket. It’s soft and cozy and when Wes isn’t curled up in it, Coco is!  


He also loves my Packer blanket (Go Pack Go!) and my othe soft throw.


So Liv and I decided he needed a blanket of his own.  We bought a yard of soft cozy fabric at the store, and made two large pads and a small blanket just for Coco.



I purchased a small dog pad for $16 on Amazon, and it took 2 weeks to get here. Coco sleeps on it, but is really small and not preferred to our many blankets. We lined the pad with a clearance fabric that is slip resistant ($2/yd) and lined it with some batting ($6). So I paid $20 for all the supplies and now have two pads (each twice as big) and a blanket. Disgusting capitalism. 


We joined AnnaLisa, Shelly, Nicki and families/friends at our first Portland Thorns women’s soccer game. 


It was so much fun and pretty reasonably priced (even with concessions)! Initially, Wes was loving the fervor. He loved clapping and chanting “P-T-F-C”! But it could not last.  Wes got scared by the crowd noise when the home team scored, but was able to work through it. By the end of the game he could tolerate the noise, but only just barely (and he was pretty confused about they were so excited). He did however realize that it got loud when the ball moved towards the goals, and he started yelling “no,no, no” when either team was near the goal.


I bonded with this handsome bean again (having Buzz, Woody and Mickey on my watch really helps!). Can you believe that his mom wanted me to tell home “no”!?!? 


I am sure there will be more Portland soccer in our future!

Hurray for School!!

And in the nirmal chaos of the first day, the bus came early, and this is the only photo I got...  

And in the nirmal chaos of the first day, the bus came early, and this is the only photo I got...  

I usually look forward to the dog days of summer, but I have to admit that, for some less known reason, this summer has been grueling. The kids didn’t have any big summer adventures, camps, or excursions, but they didn’t have that last year either. Perhaps moving here last year was enough of an “adventure” that little more was needed. I do think we worked harder last summer to get out and explore, while this summer we worked at getting our home in perfect shape, taking care of each other and more R&R. I would say that this approach to summer was exactly what the tweens ordered, but probably paled in comparison for the younger two.  

Ava’s neighborhood friends and some of Liv’s friends took long vacations in late summer also. I going to venture a guess that this didn’t help the situation.   We did spend several weekend days getting together with our adult friends (and their kiddos) which probably didn’t feel as adventurous as our hikes on Mt Hood, trips to the coast (though we also did this), or voyage to St Helens last year.

Work for both Jon and I has been busy too, leaving us more tired most weekends. Thereby making our necessary weekend tasks that much more difficult. Our side projects, including both podcasts have contributed to this point for sure (even though it’s fun, it’s also a lot of work!). 

And, we got a dog! 🐶 I mean what is more adventurous than adding another mouth to feed?!? 

So Jon and I welcome the start of the new school year. We long for quiet boring mornings and long silent afternoons (okay, short afternoons with a little silence). Of course we also recognize that this bliss comes with its own sacrifices. Homework battles, early morning alarms, teachers (who are usually well intentioned, but just can’t “get” 4 kids, 3 schools, and multiple multiples with complex health and educational issues...), etc. 

Here is to another year, here is to our last 4th grade!