3.19.2017

That year in which all my kids slept...

It was a good year... I was smug in my "There is one thing we do right and that is we know how to get kids to sleep." Ahhhh... I can still remember the glory of it all. Bedtime at 8 for the littles/9 for the girls, the kids sleeping until 7am, no middle of the night intrusions... it was really really good.

But something happened this last February and now everything is broken. It all started with Perry who decided 6:15am is a perfectly acceptable time to walk out his bedroom door saying, "Mom?!?" in his signature this-time-I-am-sure-she-has-abandoned-me-forever-question-of-a-wail-voice. So we got him a clock and showed him where the first digit is displayed and said, "You can not come until there is a 7 here." It works - most of the time. Then Fielding started having very croupy sounding cough fits each night for the past 3 weeks... He is going to the doctor tomorrow because it is not normal and makes me want to pull out each one of my eyelashes when I wake to the sound of his hacks. Then there is Luna...

Luna started sleeping through the night at 2 weeks... it was glorious and scary but the pediatrician gave me the ok and so I let the girl sleep. And she has slept wonderfully the rest of her existence (barring a few ear infections and the one time we put her in the laundry room for a month and she about froze to death). But then she learned the art of climbing out of her crib and she instantly turned from the best sleeper to one of the worst. She wails and wails when we lie her down, gets out of bed over and over, wakes at least once a night to repeat the performance and by 6am has somehow seemed to weasel her way into our bed (the ultimate "I do not do that" mantra of my parenting). If anyone else asked for advice from me on this situation... I would say, "Put her in a toddler bed." but she seems too young and incapable of actually staying in it and she is difficult to discipline due to her lack of communication and maybe I have just gone too soft.

Ummmm, I had a point when I started writing all this... but it is gone now that I had to put Luna back in bed 3 times. 

I guess the point is this, My sister Jaci once told me, "No mom has ever died from sleep deprivation." I liked that and clung to it in those beginning years of learning how to get Paisley to sleep. But now I am old and suffering 1st trimester exhaustion and it might not be killing me but it definitely ain't making me any stronger... I need my kids to sleep and I thought I had it all figured out but now I don't... 

BAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH! 

And I am going to have another...
(In October - I'll blog about it sometime - maybe - if that part of me that loves to write ever reappears).

And what if they never sleep...

And maybe Jaci didn't know what she was talking about and it might just do me in...

And it is making me crazy. 

3.15.2017

Paisley's play...

Paisley's class put on a We Love Idaho play. It was excellent!

Paisley played Eliza Spaulding and had a hard time seeing underneath her large bonnet.

Paisley talked for 2 months strait about this play. She loved everything about it - the costume, the stage, the lines she had to memorize, all of it.

Her teacher is phenomenal this year. Paisley loves all that she is learning about Idaho state history and that she got to have a huge production to present this knowledge. They presented it for 2 days doing 2 different shows... by the end of it Paisley was completely wiped out! Very few things can wear Paisley out so that is how I know she worked hard on this thing and was totally invested.

Way to go Idaho!

3.13.2017

Take the picture...

It has been a year since I got the call that my brother and his wife died a tragic death in an airplane crash along with another couple.

I remember after hearing the news that I desperately wanted to have some way to help. I was stuck here for a few days before we could join my family that was gathering in Eastern Idaho, so I decided that the only thing to do was compile photographs.

I went through all my blog books, photo albums, and digital folders finding all the pictures of them that I could and printing them off at Walgreens. I also hacked my sister-in-law's Facebook and printed all the photos I could find there. I wanted to hold the prints - to see their smiles and the evidence that they lived. I wanted to arrive there with something so I bought frames and inserted photos and once in their completely-full-of-people-yet-somehow-sadly-empty-of-the-two-that-should-be-there home, I stuck them on every surface that I could find.

As I went through years and years of photos, there was one that stood out to me more than all the others. It was this one - the two of them on a log in a forest in Washington after a rowdy game of hide-and-seek. I immediately sent it to mom knowing that it was a photo that she didn't know existed.

This photo ended up being used a great deal for their funerals and I was so grateful that I took this picture... even if it was kind of hard.

You see, my brother David and I have always been close - it was his talent to be close to you. But something happened a few years ago - I don't even know what it was... something I did, said, or just one of those phases that sometimes happens in this thing called life... but he pulled away. He would come to town but wouldn't come visit, his texts stopped, the easiness of our relationship shifted and for the first time I felt uncomfortable in his presence. I tried everything I could think of to return to our familiar state but the more I tried the further I felt him go. In all honesty, it was kind of breaking my heart.

During this time, we went to Washington for a family reunion. We ate, we played, and ate some more - it was Anderson madness and I tried to assure myself that things could be normal between David and I again. 

I am a picture taker in a family of picture takers so people shoving cameras in your face is a normal occurrence if we are together. I distinctly remember taking lots of photos this day of the games and the pizza feed and all the cousin craziness. It was comfortable and easy to take these photos. Then out of the corner of my eye I remember seeing David and Jess sitting quietly off to the side. And I can still recall the vivid mental conversation with myself:
"Go take their picture."
"They don't want ME to bug them."
"Look at that light - look at them - It would be a lovely photo - Take the picture!"

And so I did. 

I walked over and said, "You guys look amazing - can I please take your picture?"

And I am so grateful.

And I will keep sticking my camera in people's faces because you never know if someday those prints will be the only way you can see the blueness of their eyes or the smile crinkles in their cheeks. I miss David. I miss Jess. I miss their notable presence in the giant puzzle that I call my family. We are not the same without them. I am not the same without them.

No matter how good the picture is it is not as good as them - here, in the flesh... but it is better than nothing and I will be forever grateful for this photo and the hundreds of others taken by amateur Anderson photographers...

So the next time you are together as a family - take the picture.

Especially if it is the hard one to take.

3.12.2017

Saturday...

Loaded the kiddos up to take them out to Eagle to watch Dad run the Shamrock Shuffle.

At the park waiting for the runners.

We briefly walked down to the river - it is raging and scary and captivating to watch.

Blake rocked his run - first place with a PR of 1:18:43 on the half. That is a 6 minute mile pace my friends!

Due to flooding the course was super bizarre with 14 out-and-backs. Even with the congestion this caused he is still smiling at the end.

Blake's running prowess baffles me at the moment. I am super proud of him and have to brag about his achievements because I have decided he is far too humble about it. 

After a quick bite of post-race food, we took off. Whenever I see Blake (or another mom) walking around with 5 kids all I can think is "Wow - is that how insane I look?"

Back home, we cooked up some tacos for the crowd then headed out to get our chores done.

5 hours later the pig pen was mucked, pig feed mixed, fruit trees/grapes pruned, more leaves raked, and branches hauled all across the yard.

It was our first burn of the season and the kids loved it.

Especially when the s'mores came out!

The Triple Threat - got to make up for all those calories burned.

 The kids loved being able to frolic outside again and it made us eager for many more Spring adventures.

3.06.2017

10 facts in 10 minutes...

10. Although I hate that Mondays are an end to the weekend and signal Blake's return to work, I do love my Monday energy surges and that I always slay my to-do list on the first day of the week.

9. If you have a 3-year-old, ask them to say Presbyterian - it will make your day.

8. Blake and I re-watched the first 3 Mission Impossible last week - we also watched Tom Cruise age 30 years over the course of the 6 hours that they played. All we could say during the first one was, "He is so young." over and over.

7. I saw my Wal-Mart putting up their grocery pick-up signs... HALLELUJAH - I will totally be using that this summer!!!!

6. Watching your almost 2-year-old try to clean up spilled water while holding the cup that is still half full of water and subsequently spilling more water is very entertaining.

5. I replayed Scythe - I feel much better about that game now. Still got totally destroyed but think that there is potential that someday I might be able to win.

4. Our cat went missing... we are officially not cut out for cats and will no longer be trying to own a mouser.

3. Idaho Springtime winds drive me batty... I am constantly saying, "If it wasn't for the wind - we could be outside right now." After 7 years, I should be used to it - but I am not and want them to go away.

2. We have been puzzling a lot lately, which has everyone including the 2 littlest in puzzle mode, which means that there is always puzzle pieces on my dining room floor.

1.This actually took me 12 minutes because I had to stop to get Luna a drink, help Perry wipe, and cringe as Luna emptied another puzzle onto the floor.

3.04.2017

Hall tree...

We needed an improved coat/backpack/shoe storage set-up. Blake got on-board over the winter when the house was completely overrun with snow gear. It was his Christmas present to me but with the shop snowed-in for over a month - it became more of a Valentine's thing.

Blake worked very hard on this beast. And maybe me too (the painting and staining). When we finally got it moved in today - I couldn't have been happier! It is gorgeous and functional and fills up a bit of our giant living room fantastically. It was a big undertaking and I think it projected me out for a bit.

Now to continue the hunt for the perfect baskets - if anyone lives near a Big Lots and wants to go on a wild goose chase for two more of these gray banded canvas bins for me (they only had 4 in our valley)... I will love you forever.

2.26.2017

The county auction...

Wait - go back.

You need to reread the title with the hick-est accent you can muster.

It will set the stage.

We were in need of a fresh batch of hogs - usually we get our pigs through Craigslist but there seems to be a shortage at the moment. So Blake did a little research and found a livestock auction in Caldwell. I really wanted to go with him but finding a babysitter wasn't working out so we hitched up our trailer and loaded up the kids in the truck and made a Saturday morning/afternoon adventure of it. Since we were newbies, we were worried about gallivanting in there with our whole crew, so Blake dropped me off at the Burger King a block away while he went off to the races. He was there for about an hour, bought 8 pigs, and called saying, "You got to come see this." So he came and picked us up and we went to check out the festivities.

It was a cultural experience and our kids were shockingly hypnotized by the entire procedure.
 They bring in the animals through one gate and give the bidders about 15 seconds to make a decision and take them out the next gate. You don't know what history the animal has, if more or less of your animal are going to be showing up later, and, for us first timers, we could barely understand the auctioneer.
video

Luna was so into the whole thing, the auctioneer just lulled her to sleep right on the spot.

Once you have put your bids in, you go up front and pay and then out back to pick up your load. They went through so many animals - it was pretty remarkable to watch how efficiently they ran the thing. And their were tiny goats and sheep that made us ohhh and ahh in their glorious cuteness... I am shocked Paisley didn't bid for one herself.

But even being new to the ropes, Blake was proud of his purchases. He has dreams now of "flipping pigs" - who knew this was a thing? We got the bigger black one by himself and then the 7 other little ones were in a lot. We will be selling 3 of the little ones and have big plans for an upcoming pig-in-the-ground roast for one of the others. The ones left will be around for the season.

The weather was great yesterday so we could get the pigs settled in, drain the swamp that had formed in their pen, and let the kids run around getting about as filthy as the pigs.

There was once a time when I never would have imagined spending a Saturday doing such a thing...

but now it just seemed like some good ol' fashion fun. Especially since Blake and I can't stop talking like this:

25... badabid... 30... eh... 30... badabid... 40