Monday, March 31, 2008

Our First Track Meet Ever

I say OUR first track meet, but rightfully, The Boy Scout did most of the work. It was quite a morning!

We woke up to snow falling and lots of hail piled on the ground and the roofs.
The snow soon turned to rain.

Ah, raining and 35 degrees, perfect weather for a track meet! When we arrived at the field, the sun had broken through the Spring clouds
and it was almost pleasant.

Having arrived early, The Boy Scout jogged around to get warm and stretched out his muscles.

We staked out good seats in the stands, where we could be heard by everyone in attendance, as we commenced our family tradition of cheering loudly for our competitor... and anyone else we know... and anyone who looks like they need cheering. "Go Number Four! You can do it!" "Hang in there 'Miler,' you can make it!" "Way to go, Orange Shirt!"

Just as it was time for The Boy Scout to line up for his first event, the long jump, it started to rain. Ugh. He did a masterful job of looking cold and wet, as we watched from the stands and gave him lots of "thumbs up" and "I love you" signs from the covered stands.

Let's just say, we're moving on from long jump for the next meet. It does not appear to be his forte.

His attitude, however, was stellar! I was so proud that he didn't whine about the weather and he didn't get cranky about not jumping as far as he would have liked. He just moved on to the next thing.
He also threw? did? put? placed? hurled? the shot put. I'm not sure how he did there, since it was far, far from where we were sitting.

In addition to field events, he ran the 200m and 400m races. He did especially well in the 400m.
We're thinking he's built for distance. We're going to work on his stamina some more and shoot for the 400m and 800m next week. Maybe, he can work up to the mile by the end of the season.

Track is fun to watch.

We're looking forward to nicer weather as Spring settles in a bit.

It's such a blessing to see our boy conduct himself so well. He really was a great sport about the whole thing. I think, just maybe, he's growing up. We couldn't be prouder.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Working Together

Are these boys a great team, or what?
The Sprout is walking more and more,
but is still quite wobbly.

Most walks end in falls.

All the Ducklings love to "walk" the baby.
This method seems to make them both really happy!

Keepin' it real alert: That's peanut butter and jelly on the Bambino's cheek.

Post Eastery Goodness

Mmmm... Sister, what is that you're eating? Is that a chocolate bunny? I think I'd like to try that.

That's great!!
Please, Sister, may I have some more?

Friday, March 28, 2008

Gratuitous Sprout Photo (GSP)

Hat Tip to Amy at Good Soil, originator of the Gratuitous Photo idea.

Sunshine Swinging

Yesterday was beautiful, off and on.
Today it's raining.
Must be Spring!

When the sun was out, I sneaked outside for a few minutes alone on the swings with Sunshine.

It's good to be 5...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Girlfriend(6) and The Boy Scout(11) have been taking private swimming lessons from a wonderful lady whom we have gotten to know through church. She's doing a great job of improving their stroke and building their confidence. They're also getting exercise several times a week. Yay!

As a bonus, swimming outdoors on the
Southern Oregon Coast in February and March has been a character building experience. They tell me the water is warm, but getting out is a real bummer!

Thank you, brave
Swimming Teacher!

Me Too!

The other night we had the Boy Scout Troop Committee Meeting here at the House of Coast. In preparation, I moved The Bambino's portable high chair off of the dining room chair to make room for an adult to sit.

Soon, The Sprout had found the chair and was delighted to climb on it and sit in it. He played there for a good 20 minutes before Girlfriend found him and "helped" him sit down and put the tray on. He was delighted to be sitting on the floor in the Low Chair.

Take a picture, Mom! He's so cute!

Now, take one with me!

D wandered in just then.

Take one with just me and The Sprout!

Alright, all together now!


Monday, March 24, 2008

More Fun with the Letter F

The Bambino(3):

Mo-om, it's not a tennis racket! It's my Fuh-tar!


Mom! I can see the birds from here! (holding hands up to eyes)

What do you mean?

I can see them through my Fuh-nopple-ers!

That boy makes me so happy.


We had a lovely Easter weekend!

Saturday, the weather was beautiful and we accomplished a bunch of outdoor jobs.
  • Assembled the giant, complicated basketball goal
  • Planted 25 strawberry plants
  • Transplanted 2 blueberry bushes
  • Blew dirt and ash (courtesy of the Fire) off of the driveway
  • Cleared some debris from the RV parking area
  • Moved sand from sand bags into the front yard ditch
  • Changed several light bulbs to florescent
  • Fixed the gate latch
  • Fertilized the front lawn
  • Blew the back porch clean
  • Visited with various neighbors
  • Had three boys over to play basketball in the driveway
It was a very productive day! The Ducklings were very cooperative and sweet. We enjoyed the taste of Spring and Summer days to come.

Sunday, we enjoyed a great church service and then headed out to my mom's for Easter dinner and way too much chocolate. It was really a nice afternoon. The weather was terrible, but everyone played very happily indoors for the most part and The Scoutmaster got to watch Arkansas play basketball on TV.

Today, there will be Serious Repercussions involving huge piles of both clean and dirty laundry and bits of shiny foil and plastic toys strewn about everywhere. Ack!

I'm so thankful that He is Risen, so that we can walk in new Life!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Ffffun Times!

Lately, the Bambino(3) has been starting a lot of words with the letter F.

He came to me just now and said, "The Sprout walked! He gets a Frophy!" I said, "A Frophy?" He held up a stuffed bird and said, "Yes, a flying Frophy!"

He also puts on his Fuhjamas every night at bed time.

His verbal foibles are not limited to F's, though.

My mom was highly amused the other day when he told her that he had a Cop and he needed a Cop Drop.

He keeps us all in stitches.

Art for our Home

In home decorating, fine artwork on the walls is the quintessential touch that really brings a classy room together.

Here at The House on the Coast, we are all about style and class. My highly gifted children have even gone so far as to create an art gallery in the living room.

Even just a few years ago, The Scoutmaster and I would not have been able to handle this level of "creative decorating." It's amazing what a decade of sleep-deprivation will do to your tolerance of All Things Not Eternally Significant.

And then, of course, there are these works of art, created just for me by Girlfriend(6.) My wise, older-than-me friend once told me that "cashing all my paychecks" is a key to enjoying these energy intensive years. These paychecks are glorious, indeed.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Chance to Win!

Hey, I found this on a homeschool mom blog. If I post the news here about a contest, I am entered in the contest! Maybe, just maybe, I can will a free foreign language program for my family. It can't hurt to try! [grin]

When we win, what language should I choose??

For what it's worth: I can't change the color of the font below, pasted from the contest. Ugh.

Rosetta Stone has been the #1 foreign language curriculum among homeschoolers for a while — next week they are unleashing a brand new curriculum, and you can WIN the *all new* Rosetta Stone Homeschool Version 3… FOR FREE!

This is a $219 program (and believe me it’s worth every penny!) and the winner gets to pick from any of these 14 languages: Spanish (Spain or Latin America), English (American or British), Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Irish, Hebrew, or Russian.

This will also include a headset with microphone, and students will participate in lifelike conversations and actually produce language to advance through the program. Rosetta Stone still incorporates listening, reading and writing as well, in addition to speaking. Many homeschoolers requested grammar and vocabulary exercises, and with Rosetta Stone Homeschool Version 3, they’re included! For parents, the new Parent Administrative Tools are integrated into the program and allow parents to easily enroll students in any of 12 predetermined lesson plans, monitor student progress, and view and print reports.

To win this most excellent program — in the language of your choice — copy these (blue) paragraphs and post it in (or as) your next blog post – then to enter the contest, go to the original contest page HERE: and leave a comment with the link showing where you blogged about it. And please make sure the link works to get back to the original contest page when you post it. And good luck! The winner will be picked randomly on March 26, and will be notified thru the link they left to their blog pg. And if you have more than one blog, you can post them and enter those separately for more chances to win. Yay for free stuff!

Happy Anniversary!

Yesterday, March 19, marked 14 years married to The Scoutmaster. As we chatted over an afternoon snack at a local Italian restaurant, we agreed that each year together has been better than the year before. I think that bodes well for the next 50 years!

The Scoutmaster surprised me in the afternoon by having a friend watch some of the Ducklings while we went out for a couple of hours with just The Sprout. It was great
to have uninterrupted conversation and to relax together for a while. We also considered how amazingly blessed we are. God has been very kind to us and we are grateful.

Happy Anniversary, Scoutmaster! I'm so glad I married YOU.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Grace of God - Updated

This was the view from our front porch at 12:25 this morning.

That's our next door neighbor's RV. I know it's hard to get a sense of distance from a picture like this. Our driveway was all that stood between our house and the fire.

I was awakened at about 12:20 this morning by - I don't know what. In my sleep, I may have sensed the orange light in our bedroom window. Or, God may have simply nudged me awake at just the right time. I wondered about the orange glow and quickly recognized the color and shape of flames. Pulling back the blind, I saw the fire leaping from the roof of the RV. I woke The Scoutmaster and ran for the phone.

As I dialed 911, The Scoutmaster stepped out on the porch and we wondered whether anyone was inside the RV. Someone has been living in it for a while. The vehicle was already fully involved and, as I gave information to the dispatcher, there was a small explosion in the RV and we remembered the propane tanks. When I got off the phone, The Scoutmaster sent me to wake the Ducklings and he headed out the front door to warn the neighbors, as we hadn't seen anyone in the street or any sign that they were aware of what was happening. As he ran across the lawn, a volunteer fireman arrived and urged him back into the house, warning of the potential for the propane tanks to explode. About that time, we realized that the carport near the back of the RV was
burning as well. The back corner of the carport is about 15 feet from the corner of our house. The wind was blowing hard toward our house.

With no fire trucks in sight, we hustled the Ducklings out the back door and The Scoutmaster started to contemplate ripping down a section of our back fence, in order to escape in the safest direction. Embers were being blown into the back yard. The Ducklings were amazingly calm. Just then, the fire department arrived. They brought two large fire trucks and a rescue truck and in a moment, they were hosing down the RV. Thankfully, we were able to bring the Ducklings back into the house and send them back to bed.

The Scoutmaster and I watched out our bedroom window, maybe 30 feet from the fire, as about 20 firemen worked to extinguish the blaze and to make sure there were no hot spots in the RV or the roof of the carport. All the while, we wondered if the people who lived in the RV were home. As we watched, no ambulance ever came and, once the fire was out and the firemen had sifted through the rubble quite thoroughly, the firemen looked happy. So, we felt sure the people weren't there.

About an hour after it all started, the firemen rolled up their hoses and unplugged their spotlights and turned off their flashing red lights, and drove quietly away. It was strangely dark and quiet. The Ducklings had all gone right back to sleep. The Scoutmaster and I sat up for a while, watching and feeling like we should do something. But there was nothing to do.

Then, just as we lay down to go back to sleep, we heard a car drive up. The Scoutmaster looked out. It was the little blue car, driven by the occupants of the RV. I grabbed my coat and headed outside, thinking to offer them some explanation and maybe some comfort, but by the time I got out to the street, they were already inside the neighbors' house.

It was all over, except for the clean up.

By the grace of God, I woke just in time to get help before the fire spread to our home. By the grace of God, the
Ducklings were not frightened by our midnight disturbance. By the grace of God, we can't find one bit of damage from all the flying embers (it was raining all evening and everything was very wet.)

We are thankful!
This is the vantage point from which we watched the firemen work. Amazing.

God is good!


I spoke with the neighbor today. There was no one living in the RV. The neighbor just used it for an office of sorts. The firemen suspect a space heater caused the blaze. Damage to the carport was more extensive that it looked from here.

I still feel a little drained by the late-night adrenaline.

Monday, March 17, 2008


“Anxiety shows that we are too close to the world and too far from God. So don’t be anxious—the world has nothing eternal to offer, and your loving heavenly Father knows your needs now and forever.”

I just read this John Piper quote over at Amy's Humble Musings. It's really just a paraphrase of what Jesus said, of course, and it perfectly sums up what I have been mulling the past few days. Some friends and some friends-of-friends are facing daunting circumstances. It's so easy to be anxious about very real problems, which can seriously impact our lives. However, really, in light of eternity, there is nothing that's really fearsome here on earth. The trick is finding that eternal perspective in the midst of our earthly surroundings, which seem so much more tangible and pressing than our spiritual surroundings.

Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

Saturday, March 15, 2008


For Posterity and for your Enjoyment

Easy Cheesy Beefy Macaroni (Family Size)

In a large skillet, brown 1# ground beef


4 c. pasta

1 large can spaghetti sauce (26oz.)

4 c. water

1 T Italian seasoning

1 T Garlic Salt

1/4 t Pepper

Optional: add one can sliced olives

Cover and simmer 10 minutes

Add 1 c shredded cheddar cheese

Cover and simmer 5 minutes


All quantities are approximate and can be adjusted. If your family doesn't need a Bucket o' Food, my original recipe was 1/4 of this quantity.

The Sprout(11mo's) loves to help in the kitchen!

Grand Adventure

Yesterday my generous mother offered to take me shopping to pick out my birthday present and to help her choose the Scoutmaster's birthday present, since both of our birthdays are in March. What fun! Since the Scoutmaster was unavailable, we loaded up all of the Ducklings and headed out into the wide world of Shopping.

Shopping is a foreign concept to my children. We saw some basketball goals and some benches at the first store we went to, but they weren't exactly what we were looking for. The Ducklings were baffled when we left the store with Nothing.

***It's funny how when you have six children, five of whom can speak, they all seem to become deaf to each other's questions. Surely, this isn't just an isolated phenomenon... Mom and I answered the same questions from all five speaking children about a zillion times yesterday. By the time we were done, we were both laughing hysterically any time they asked us anything. For some reason, the Ducklings were unable to see the humor in all of it.

But, I digress, as usual, perhaps because Girlfriend(6) is talking continually in my left ear and the Sprout(11mo's) is fussing and the BoyScout(11) is watching TV. Ah, to string together a coherent thought is an elusive thing. See that, I digressed again. ***

At the second store, which happened to be WalMart, we found fantastic benches and a super basketball goal. We also found mysteriously helpful employees. It was all very surreal, being in WalMart and finding what we wanted, and good help, too. The giant basketball goal box was carted up to the register for us, with a promise to load it into our van when we were ready. The benches were carried out to the van and the first one was loaded easily.

At this point, it seemed clear that both benches would fit in the back of the van. And the helpful WalMart guy was quite determined to make it happen. The second bench was oriented endless ways, as he attempted to make it fit. Fully ten minutes later, it occurred to me that I could have driven home, unloaded the first bench and come back for the second bench in less time. So, I suggested maybe that would be the best plan. The sweet WalMart guy was clearly disappointed and I was amazed that we would be making three trips to bring home our WalMart bounty, as the giant basketball goal would not fit in with the bench either. So, in the end, WalMart was WalMart and the universe was still in balance.

We also took time to eat lunch out and run another quick errand. All in all, it was a fun day, if a bit crazy and I am grateful for the bounty in my life and determined not to take it for granted.

God bless the WalMart man. God bless the patient Ducklings. God bless my generous mom. It was a grand adventure!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Flowers for Miz Booshay

Quiet Life is one of my favorite blogs. In fact, it's the first one I read every morning. This morning, sweet Donna, in the frozen North, was pining for Spring. So, when I pulled into Staples this afternoon and saw this tree in front of my windshield, I had to take a quick picture for her. (Of course, there were suddenly a bunch of people getting into and out of their cars in the parking lot and they all glanced furtively at me, as though it were somehow unusual to see a lady jump out of a big van and start snapping pictures of trees in the Staples parking lot. But I digress...)

So, this one's for you, Donna! Thanks for all the great reads.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

It's Good to be Three

Me: Do you need a hat to keep your ears warm?

The Bambino(3): Yeah, I need a hat so my hair won't get too cold.

This is why...

I have hesitated to start a blog.

Must. Sort. Laundry. Before. Blogging.

... And plan dinner... and clean the bathroom... and educate the children... and wash the dishes...

Oh yeah, this could be a problem.

(For what it's worth, that's clean laundry.)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Yummy? - Updated for Clarity

Girlfriend(6) loves listen to CD's with headphones in the van and to sing along... loudly. Steven Curtis Chapman is a favorite.

Original SCC Lyrics:

Crank up the music.
Climb a mountain and shout.
This is life we've been given,
Made to be lived out.
So, la, la, la, la, live out loud!

Overheard in the van on the way home:

"Crank up the music,
Grab a muffin and shout,
This is why we've been given,
To feel it out.
So, la, la, la, la, live out loud!"

Birthday Weekend!

Okay, so the implications of my 20th high school reunion coming up this summer have hit home. How can I be 38, when I'm only 19?

We had a great weekend at Sun River. There was much laying around, some walking in the sun, over the snow, a little shopping at Costco, a yummy meal at McGrath's, and a quick trip to the High Desert Museum for "Gold Panning Day."

As Girlfriend's(6) picture implies, "Gold Panning Day" was a bit of an exaggeration, as it was really "Tiny Little Sluice Box with some Fool's Gold Mixed with Mud Day." But, overall, it was a good time. I really like having a membership to that museum, because we go much more often when it's free, and there's no sense that we have to see everything, every time. This time, we zipped up to the Settlers' Cabin, where the "gold panning" was taking place. We had a nice visit with Grandma Walker at the Settlers' Cabin, while the "gold panning" was being set up. At the appointed time, the ducklings dug through the mud with their little fingers and each acquired some "gold." Then we lugged our "gold" down to the Spirit of the West exhibit, where folks were acting as assayer and banker and school teacher in the Old West town. That was really fun. The nicest people always seem to work as docents. The museum is much more fun on weekends when there are special events.

(The Scoutmaster took the picture of The Sprout(11mo's) and me at the cabin, on my birthday. Not bad, if I do say so myself!)

Monday, March 3, 2008

Family Movie

This is our new family movie watching strategy. On the rare occasion when we all sit down to watch a movie together, we push the two couches together to make a super couch. We all pile in and snuggle, our legs tangled hopelessly in the middle.

I don't know what Martha would say, but I think it's a Good Thing.

We Heart Bread Dough

I dumped the bread dough
unceremoniously out of the mixer and onto the counter this morning. I grabbed a knife to divide the batch into four, roughly equal, parts. When I cut down the middle, it looked like a heart ~ you would have thought it was the Madonna appearing in a piece of toast!
D(8) was so excited and called for everyone to come and see.

"Take a picture, Mom!"

So, of course, I did.

And I'm so glad that he suggested it.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

The View From Here

One mom of many wrote that the years with several little ones were "just a blur" in her memory. Maybe, by writing
it down, I can capture some of this amazing time and savor it, as it deserves.

The Beginning