Thank You!!!!!

I cannot begin to tell you how grateful Josh and I are for all of your words of support and offers to help. We immediately begin to feel stronger about the process knowing we had you all by our sides today.

E did great today. Handled anesthesia very well and the best news is that they found the culprit. It is not at all life threatening and he is going to be okay. Thank God! I’ve never been more scared in my life.

We are going to investigate potential food allergies as the reason for the issues to have begun in the first place.

Lots of love and thank you SO much for keeping little E in your hearts and thoughts.


e standing on tableOn Thursday of this week, our innocent, sweet, and loving 14-month-old boy (E) will undergo exploratory surgery.  After having a series of concerning symptoms and non-invasive tests, we are moving forward with the same recommendation by two highly regarded specialists in Portland.

Though I usually try not to let fear get the best of me, I am currently overwhelmed and nearly paralyzed with the emotion, so I am here to vent. The very thought of this beautiful little boy going under general anesthesia is daunting and of course ultimately, I fear any result reflecting a negative mark of any kind on his health.

I am sharing this private moment because I believe whole-heartedly in the power of thought, prayer, and intention, and I am asking anyone in our network of friends and family, or anyone who may be coming across this post to please keep this sweet boy in your hearts and thoughts for optimal health. He is one special, cuddly, little sweetie and he brings so many so much joy to everyone he is with every day.

mama and e

How We Play

Fall play seems to take a bit more effort on our part (planned activity inside vs. all day play outdoors), but I appreciate this time of year. Time to cozy up on all accounts.

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The rain clouds have finally arrived, giving us reasons for heading outside for some puddle stomping or mud clomping.

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We even took another excursion to the pumpkin patch with our friends Alicia, Andy, and their daughter, Mimi. I was having some camera troubles, so I should also point you in the direction of Alicia’s magnificent photos, which, do a better job capturing the essence of the morning more than mine below. Plus she always has such a way with words.

In line with his thoughtful ways, Monkey picked a few pumpkin vine flowers and gave one to Mimi (all on his own accord). It was one of the most adorable things I had ever seen. We all missed capturing the very moment with our cameras because we were so in awe by the moment. So very sweet.

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My apologies for the repetition of adventures to the pumpkin patches, but these were too cute not to share.

Its a good contrast from that sunny afternoon a few weeks ago.

Perfectly Imperfect

Every day that we are alive, we are gifted with the opportunity to experience the many truths of this world; perfect and imperfect.

I’ve said often that our relationships are the greatest mirrors we will ever be provided to peer into. Every connection, should we let it, provides us with the chance to open greater to ourselves, to others, and to the earth.

In this time of reflection, during the Fall months, I am being careful to choose to be kind to myself. To remind myself that there is





the perfect mother

the perfect wife

the perfect daughter

the perfect daughter-in-law

the perfect sister

the perfect friend

the perfect co-worker

the perfect partner

I am imperfect. And I am okay with that.

I am just here, learning, loving, and listening.


We spent a few days away this week at the beach with family. It was perfect. With all of the moments of imperfect mixed in.

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The Great Pumpkin…Patch

Fall officially started on September 23rd, but you wouldn’t think it to be true around here. The leaves seem to be drying, not changing, the air is warm, not crisp, and the fall rains are non-existent. Alas, there are some recognizable signs of Autumn.

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As we do every year, we drove out to Sauvie Island for our first pumpkin patch experience (one of two trips planned for this fall). So many of the pumpkin patches put on a circus with corn mazes, food vendors, trains for the kids, hay rides, music, petting zoos, etc. But on this particular Saturday, our friends (“Dr.” Brad and Tiff), steered us in a new, and much welcomed direction. Columbia Farms had no lot attendants parking cars – there were only about 5 when we arrived, and the whole experience from start to finish was so carefree. I liked how “Dr.” Brad put it. Something like: “We’ve got a lot of years of going those other places. Let’s enjoy this kind of experience while we can.”

2014-10-04 walking to the patch
We just grabbed a cart and trekked across the road to the patch, which is a nice manageable size to walk through and the pumpkin variety is just right. I didn’t think to bring a knife along for cutting the pumpkins off the vines and I had not realized how prickly pumpkin vines are! At the other farms, they must be pre-cut and left in the field for people to “pick.”

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E in Cart

E standing

E standing in cart

monkey in love

The boys and I picked out 5 pumpkins in a variety of colors; orange, blue, green, pink, and white with orange stripes. Once we selected our pumpkins, we carted them back over to the barn where there was a big trough for washing. I have to admit that this was a first for me – washing pumpkins. And, guess what I learned from the experience?!  Pumpkins float! Does everyone know this but me? So, with that in mind, it was a fun and interesting activity for Flo and Monkey to enjoy together, and a learning experience for me.

2014-10-04 washing pumpkins

Once our pumpkins were clean, we carted them over to the scale to be weighed. Inside the barn was a modest-sized store with goodies from the farm like raspberry honey and apples, which also ended up coming home with us.

After pumpkin hunting, and a shaded picnic, the kids enjoyed time playing together in the tunnel and hay pyramid.  It was the perfect morning.

tunnel together

2014-10-04 Flo in tunnel

Thanks friends for a nice adventure together. It is always a treat to share time with you.


As a (very important) side note, we celebrated Monkey’s 3rd birthday at “The Bird Show” a few weeks ago, which is where we have gone every year since he was born. I think it may have been one of the busiest evenings there at Chapman School, but it was still a lot of fun and we were so touched by the turnout of friends and family who came to picnic with us.

Bird Show

Thank you Monkey for all of the joy you bring to so many of us! You are a beautiful little being and we are so blessed to be your parents in this journey.



Little Hands, Big Work

On October 11th, our family will be participating in our very first school fundraiser for Monkey’s preschool; the first of many in the years to come for both boys. Whether a school is private or public, I’ve learned through my years of fundraising work with my dearest friend and former colleague, Johnna Wells, that all schools rely heavily on fundraising to fill the gaps in classroom needs, and to create opportunities for children to attend via scholarships.

I find the Whole Child Montessori Center approach to be refreshing, as it serves as a modest fundraiser for the school, while also benefiting the local community and its natural environment.

As friends and families donate money toward the event, the Whole Child community works tirelessly to remove invasive species from the Johnson Creek Watershed, and replace them with native plants. The watershed is an important home for a number of threatened native fish and wildlife, including steelhead, cutthroat trout, coho and Chinook salmon as well as the red-legged frog, painted turtles, salamanders, pileated woodpeckers and great blue heron.

photo from WCMC website

photo from WCMC website

Should you feel inspired to donate, (your donation is tax deductible, as WCMC is a 501-c3) you will have the gratification of knowing that in sponsoring this event, you are helping to shape world citizens of the future who care about the environment through this important work! And you will also feel good in knowing that your contribution is helping keep our family’s tuition costs down, while also supplying scholarships to others!

Last year, WCMC raised $13,600, and it is our hope to exceed this goal in 2014.

photo from WCMC website

photo from WCMC website

You may have heard me share my praise in the past about the peaceful, and effective approach that Montessori education provides during a sensitive period in a child’s life when their minds are most absorbent, but, jut in case you are still curious, here is a bit of info:

Montessori education is an aid for life; an education that encourages independence, refines the child’s natural tools for learning and fosters self-motivation. Montessori goes beyond the academic disciplines, it stresses responsibility and consideration for others. And, importantly, it prepares children to embrace life experiences openly, enthusiastically and with a sense of joy for discovery.


“Mama, I’m Happy”

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Monkey started preschool this past week and is about to celebrate his 3rd birthday at the end of the month. He makes me laugh and smile every day. Today, while running some errands, he was sitting in the backseat and said:

“Mama, I’m happy.”

I squealed at the cuteness and told him how happy I was to hear this and then asked if there was something in particular that was making him feel so happy. Irrationally expecting some deep explanation about how life just felt really good right now…perhaps because we just spent a long weekend full of adventure – stargazing,  bowling, visiting with grandparents, neighbors, and friends.  But his answer?


Wow. It was that simple. The thought of firetrucks was making him feel happiness right then and there and he just wanted to share that emotion with me. The whole thing launched me into this internal dialogue on how I used to express my daily joys and emotions here before I rarely had extra moments and time to myself to “think” at the end of the day. These “pages” used to be a place where I would steal a moment to myself and reflect.

As most mothers (especially of very young ones) know, having these moments are rare. This past few years have been busy and I’ve struggled to find a balance – of emotion, energy, dedicated time to my family, to my work, to myself. But, I hope to return here and reflect more often, as it always used to help me stay connected somehow.

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Monkey LOVES being in school again. When we pick him up, he pours over how much he likes all of his new friends, his teacher, and the activities. After E was born and we came up with creative ways for me to take a year off from working (selling my car, taking odd jobs, etc.), we pulled Monkey from his toddler Montessori program. Though we had a blast spending more time together at home, I know he missed it. He still talks about the school, his old teacher and friends, and every time we would drive anywhere near South Waterfront or in visible shot of the ariel tram, he would ask if we were going to his school.

We began to talk about his new school in June to prepare our HSC for the big change.

Little brother (E) seems to be enjoying the undivided attention he receives for those few hours in the morning before he naps…

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…but he sure loves to spending time with his big brother!


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And though we love having him home more, we are hoping that Josh’s back heals soon, as he has needed to take off from work for a month and is not seeing any relief in sight. Even still, we’ve managed to have a few some fun, family adventures that don’t require much on his part. I’ve become used to doing all of the heavy lifting these days.

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The pics above are from our short trip to Kah-Nee-Tah, which I absolutely enjoyed, as it was our very first family vacation together where it was just the four of us. It is so beautiful and so peaceful there, which seemed to rub off on the kids too.

With the summer months staying so warm, we’ve also spent many a day at water parks around town; our favorite being Elizabeth Caruthers Park because it is never as busy as the others.

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Do you see why these guys remind me to stay in the moment and to cherish the journey together?

So here I am, reflecting. I hope to do it more. I hope to take the time more often to share outwardly how grateful I am for these moments . Because, I am. So very grateful.

Paving the Way

Everyone has the list. You know the one I’m talking about. The projects you want to get done around the house. Fix something here. Maintain another area there.

We have had quite a large list but for a very long time have been focused on just functioning in our day to day busy lives that starting anything felt like more than we could handle.

Well, we have finally decided to bite off some of the projects so we can both maintain our investment and make it work here for our growing family for more years to come.


Currently, we’ve been painting sooooo many swatches of paint to pick an exterior color. I never would have imagined how hard it could be! Seriously! We wanted a grey but they all felt too drab, so we tried on some blues but I just wasn’t feeling those at all. The latest test is trying out a warmer brown-grey which I like more than anything we have tried so far.

All of the work makes me both excited and nervous at the same time. We are somewhat frugal when it comes to big purchases. We lived with just a claw foot tub (no shower) for our first three years in our house because I didn’t want to spend money on the shower conversion kit. Then when we finally did it, I couldn’t believe we ever lived without it. That’s how these things go, isn’t it?

Similarly, we have carried our lawn mower up from the basement every time we need to mow (we’ve lived here for 9 years). We are just now getting around to building a shed. I can only imagine how great that is going to feel when it’s all done.

Between our fancy new HVAC, complete with a high tech air filtration system, and tankless water heater, along with being able to move all of the outdoor stuff to the shed, our basement will be clear to build a second bathroom and completely finish off the space down the line.


That’s our trusty friend Jonathan putting in our new hvac and water heater. He just started his new biz this year: Stumptown Heating.

Over the coming weeks, I am sure we will have a lot of before after pics to share!


Is it really something we are entitled to anymore? In an attempt to create a more productive, present, and seemingly safer environment for myself and my family, I went on a bit of a quest recently to remove myself from the world-wide web by changing my blog to “private,” and deactivating my Facebook account. At first, I wasn’t going to be that “extreme” about it and tried to pare down my Facebook profile to only one picture and beefed up privacy settings. However, I learned quickly that although I could delete all of the photos I wanted to on my end, there were numerous photos I’d been tagged in that would link up with my profile and I didn’t feel like notifying all of my friends to spend time removing tags from their photos. So, I deleted it all together.

Did it make a difference in creating that more productive, present, and safer feeling in my every day life? Not exactly. I essentially did have more moments of “present” time with my family where I was just overall more aware of my smart phone addiction (which is an epidemic anymore in society). Time spent on my phone perusing social media definitely went way down, but I developed new obsessions like checking local and international news stories and looking up articles on strange medical issues that could be plaguing me at any given moment. Not the healthy change I was wishing to obtain. I do have to say that I haven’t missed my time on Facebook, but I have noticed that when I am with friends, there tends to be this general assumption that I am somehow caught up with the goings on of their lives or the latest social media YouTube circulation.

The initial catalyst to this need to be more private came after our across-the-street neighbors installed a fortress camera system ALL OVER their home. We walk outside and are made very aware that indeed privacy is not something we are entitled to as we are filmed walking to and from our cars, and as I’ve recently discovered INSIDE our houses when opening the curtains. Someone out there, please tell me this is somehow illegal. Perhaps this has made me more of a paranoid person, because I am also suddenly very attuned to the location device in my cell phone and the fact that if someone really really wanted to, they could track where I am and what I am doing at any given moment of any given day. But, who in the world would actually want to do that? I am probably one of the most boring subjects out there.

With that in mind, I am putting myself back out there. SO, here I am. Because my current work depends on it. Because people in this day and age communicate this way. Because I am a sucker.





Funny. I woke up to this horoscope today. Seems very fitting:

‘Be careful, walls have ears!’ That’s what people used to say once upon a time. But now, thanks to the stalwart efforts of Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, we know that it isn’t just the walls. The CIA has many ears, though the jury remains out on whether these are attached to brains that are truly capable of understanding what they are hearing. But you really need not worry about protecting your privacy today. Just protect yourself instead, from your own tendency to worry too much about invisible enemies.

I’m Still Here


It really is hard to believe that I have completely abandoned the blog over the past six months. There were times in the past when I’d write at least 2-3 times a week. That was pre-kid life, but still! 

With the new year, I quickly became very busy with lots of exciting new projects for work, which became a challenge in those beginning months of pregnancy when nearly everything made me sick. But here I am – just into my last trimester now – feeling great, and looking ahead in anticipation of having another little soul joining our family who will amazingly be his own unique person, so different from anyone else. That’s the thing that gets me; being able to witness these tiny people develop and show their uniqueness over such a short period of time after birth. It will be another very special time.

So…what have we been up to? Six months time is too much to catch up on, so I will just share some of our more recent adventures.

In March, we took off for Spring Break in California – Santa Barbara, San Luis Obisbo and Pismo Beach area. We had some nice family vacation time and also got to stay and visit with my Aunt Julie and Uncle Lee. 








At the end of May, we took a spontaneous trip to Cannon Beach with friends, Johnna, Scott, and their daughter Wrenne.


It was an ideal way to spend Memorial Day weekend.  Since I have been such a workaholic this year, I made a point to unplug by leaving my laptop at home and putting down the phone.  


Seeing the kiddos play together felt so good. Though Monkey gets plenty of interaction time with other kids at school in the mornings each day, I don’t have the benefit of being witness to it all. 



Between adventures, this boy keeps growing up. So fast.



He continues to be spoiled by having wonderful extended family all around him – to take him to the zoo for quality time (Opa and Bestemor); to send him postcards from far away places to hopefully peak his interest in travel and exploration (Pop Pops and Grandma Sandy); to have dance parties with him (Uncle Ster); to spend time with him while his Papa is away on long fly-fishing trips (GiGi – while Cool Dude fishes too); to make silly faces on Skype with (Glammy and Jimbo); or to have BFF time (with Jelani).


I’ve been heading out of town some to the festival site to prepare and have been enjoying the beauty of the land and the new friends and colleagues I’ve met with this project.





Last weekend, I mixed a little work time with some additional family adventure by playing at the beach on a beautiful day in Hood River on the way back from another site visit.

With mine and Josh’s schedule, we often don’t have much time together as a full family since one of us is always working, while the other is with Monkey. For us, it has been the best way to make things work without having to enroll Monkey in school for full days.  





This Spring has brought us such gorgeous weather. We’ve so been enjoying the time outside again and in the garden. 



It looks like in the coming months, we will have some visitors here in Portland – with my childhood friend Tina and her husband Chris coming out in the start of July, then my soul sister, Alisha coming out to help me with the festival (my rockstar, go-to, event go-getter), and this just in —- a visit from Jules and C after the festival wraps.

Busy times, but lots to look forward to.