Tuesday, November 23, 2010


    You've probably noticed the pictures. Suddenly I started making reference to "we" in my posts without any explanation, really. And, unless you're family or a close friend, you have no idea who I'm referring to.
   Of course, unless you're family or close friend you probably don't know me and therefore don't care- except you're reading my blog. And that's awkward for all of us now, isn't it?
   (Feel free to keep reading... my truly private laments are saved for the Secret Blog. Besides, this post is technically for you- for those who don't know.) I'm glad we got that cleared up.
   His name is Chris. He is the most patient, giving, loving person I know. Standing next to him I feel completely incompetent in all those areas and yet he makes me feel like my love is all he needs. I also feel short.
   It started in 1999. At the county fair. He had a BBQ stain on his white t-shirt... I was killin' him in my mini skirt... oh, wait. No, that wasn't me.
   We did meet at the Lincoln County Fair though. I thought he was so cute with his baby face, gangly limbs and Wranglers. I was, well, me, but younger and with bad hair. I had just gotten my braces off around that time so my teeth were really straight, I'm sure. You get the idea...
   After a brief make-out session in the trees After we had a long conversation with each other in which we got to know each other very well, we decided we liked each other. (Sorry mom.) There are very few relationships that survive high school and ours was no exception.
Soon after I left for college we lost touch.
   Fast forward... I graduate from Whitworth and move to Cannon Beach, OR.... Fast forward... I leave Cannon Beach due to too many bad hair days, newsprint on my fingers and a desire for less oxygen.... Fast forward... I'm living in Jackson, WY not learning how to ski... Fast forward... to 2009.
   2009 was the toughest, most joyful year I've ever had. In February of that year I had Jackson. (extreme joy) I had moved back to Washington to be closer to family. (joy) I was a single mom with a newborn baby. (tough) I don't know how to say this without seeming like I'm ungrateful when there are so many people out there without jobs, but I didn't have the job I wanted. (tough) It was a year of growth and as with all growth- it comes with pain.
   One day in 2009 an unexpected joy came walking through the door of the Starbucks I was working at. And let me just say that my life got incrementally better each day after that.
(I should clarify. I, in fact, went rushing out the door and ran into the unexpected joy.) It was Chris. All 6 feet and 10 inches of him. He looked similar, but grown up. He was slightly weathered from life's lessons, but so was I. He had tattoos. He wanted to meet later for coffee. I was wary.
   I was wary for 6 months, but he just kept coming back. He kept coming back and proving to me that he was the greatest guy I'll ever meet. At one point my Aunt Cindy said to me after Chris had gone out of his way to show me he cared, "You know that was really sweet, right? You know that, right?" It was at that moment I realized I had been waiting for the other shoe to drop. I was waiting for him to either get sick of trying and go away or to suddenly turn into a monster. He wasn't doing either and now, 11 months after that, he still hasn't.
    Maybe I don't yet fully grasp the concept of love, but I feel like I'm getting closer through my relationship with Chris. (Motherly love being categorized as different. I had never experienced the kind of love I have for Jackson until I had him.)
   A few weeks ago I heard someone speak about loving people in spite of themselves. Chris loves me in spite of me. Case in point: my car is filthy all of the time. I love Chris in spite of him. Case in point: Chris SLURPS tea. He slurps TEA! (His reason is that "it's just so good!") Point being: we're not perfect people, but we love each other despite our imperfections.
   So there's the story- my cyber-confession of my undying love- minus some juicy details you can find in the Secret Blog.
Oh, and Chris is so good with Jackson that sometimes watching them makes me cry.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Sights of Summer into Fall

This afternoon I was flipping through the pictures on my camera. I never delete pictures until, like this past weekend, my camera has had enough and puts the kibosh on my untrained, albeit gluttonous, photographic efforts by screaming "IF YOU TAKE ONE MORE PICTURE...I WILL EXPLODE!". So about once a season I end up flipping through, deleting the ugly ones and uploading the rest onto Shutterfly (one of my most favorite sites).
Anyway... through all of this I realized one thing. I had an AWESOME summer. And the awesomeness has continued into my most favorite season, fall. I think I've said this before, but there's something about having a child (or children) that allows you to enjoy the seasons, holidays and traditions just like you did when you were a kid, but maybe even more because you experience the joy of seeing your child enjoy those things too. (*Long sentence alert: Feel free to go back and read again if you need to.*) At about age 15 you lose the magic in summer roadtrips, eating strawberries in the garden (er...mom's/grandma's garden), pumpkin patches and, of course, the holiday season. Those feelings don't come back, I've realized, until you have kids. And then there's those few moments you get to yourself or with your significant other that are priceless and precious- even those moments are better appreciated and better enjoyed when you have children.
You may disagree with me, but I'm just talking from personal experience so when I say "you" what I mean is "me or I".
So here are the some of the sights of my AWESOME summer into Fall. Fall with a capital F.
The water park at Friendship Park in Spokane for Mia's third birthday.

This summer I forced myself to cook well. This was one of my culinary attempts. I got better as the summer drew on.

Kissing in the rain is one of my favorite memories of this summer. We went on a bike trip in N. Idaho.

Camping and canoeing! Maus couldn't help but go with us!

We attended a few parades too. Balloons were always a favorite!

The park- a few times.

Lucy's sunglasses.

Mommy's sunglasses.

Culinary creation! Salmon burger (salmon my dad caught in Alaska, bread from a local baker, tomatos from a local grower), beet salad (beets from a local grower, herbs from my garden) and potato salad (from the grocery store).

Every time Chris is back from work we go on a date. This particular time was Silverwood!

Every Friday you could find us all at the farmers market!

Peaches from a local grower. I sliced them and froze them so I can have wonderful peaches all year long!

Tubby Time!

One of my favorite meals.

Summer storm!

Jackson enjoying the fruits of someone else's labor at the farmers market.

Vintage Harvest.

I have the most amazing sunsets from my backyard.

Jackson went to Noah's fourth birthday party. It was at the Cheney fire station- which I think is the best idea ever. So did Jackson.

At the park... again.

Chris took me on a "celebrate the end of the farmers market season" trip to Cannon Beach. I lived there briefly right after college and hadn't been back since. It was so nice to go back there!

Straw maze at the farmers market.

Our local baker made this cake for the last market of the season for the farmers market. How amazing is this? It looks exactly like our barn.

Instilling musical tendancies early on.

Pumpkin patch up at Greenbluff. Such a fun day with the Kile's, Papa and Grammi!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Confessions of a Recovering Introvert

By the way, I love fall. It's the time of the year that my soul wriggles out of its cocoon, dusts off the cobwebs and belts out its favorite song in the middle of the street, arms stretched out and head tipped back. From the feel of things, my soul is an alto- wearing earthy colors and disregarding social norms. Now, if you don't mind, I think I'll go get a pumpkin spice americano, light some pumpkin-scented candles and probably run through a corn maze at some point.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Lessons about Mud.

Yesterday Jackson played in the mud.

While most mother's are fearful of the "I looked away for one second..." followed by a tale of danger that brings terror to every mother's heart, my story regularly goes more like this:
I looked away for one second and Jackson was covered in dirt. In this particular case, it was mud. There is one mud puddle on the entire farm right now and Jackson found it. The sticky looking pit in the driveway was caused by the sprinkler. As I turned away from Jackson to adjust said sprinkler I didn't give it a second thought. I should have known better.

A couple days prior Jackson went on a walk with Grami up the driveway while I was tending to the farmers market. She looked away for one second and "it was like he was swimming in the dirt." As she described it, he was belly-down in the field with arms and legs submerged. So I had plenty of warning that his affinity toward dirt was rather strong.

The real kicker, though, is that he was wearing his brand new Converse shoes- both times. Now, I have owned the same pair of Converse since 2002. They are tan and look like I've been through a battlefield with them- because I have. I love am obsessed with my Converse and will not trade them in for a new pair until I can feel the gravel between my toes. However, my initial reaction to the scene that I turned toward after wrangling with the sprinkler would say otherwise. 

Let's just say I had a bad mommy moment.

I grabbed Jackson out of the puddle, held him out in front of me at arm's length (he had been sitting in the puddle) and said, "no, no, no!" while pointing at the source of Converse shoe demise. 

His shock was evident on his little, mud smeared face. Then he was mad. Really mad. How could I be so unreasonable?

At the same moment I thought, "How could I be so unreasonable?". Yes, I paid too much for those shoes in the name of baby fashion. Yes, I had just given Jackson a bath. Yes, mud is, well, very dirty. But where's the harm in letting him play in the mud- it washes off.  He'll grow out of those shoes by December anyway.
In my guilt I placed him back in the puddle. This was very confusing and he stood there frozen for a second, looked up at me, looked down at the puddle, pointed, and said, "no, no, no" as his shoes disappeared into the oozing abyss. The puddle had lost its lure and he toddled away down the driveway with the dog, all offenses forgotten.

I continued to feel awful. I had just unnecessarily disciplined Jackson for doing something he was absolutely loving just because I was worried about his shoes. Shouldn't his emotional well-being take precedence over his material possessions? Shouldn't there be a mommy manual that says, "If you overreact like this, you will feel like crap and you will send confusing messages to your child- so don't overreact."?  

At the end of the day Jackson was clean, his shoes were salvaged and we snuggled extra long before bedtime to make up for it.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Where the Wild Things Grow

It's been hiding in my backyard for awhile now. I don't let friends, family or guests go back there for fear they will either judge me or get lost forever in the jungle of foliage.

I love my garden, but you'd never be able to tell. Actually, I love the thought of my garden. I love the thought of strolling through the perfect rows, not a weed in sight, while sipping my coffee on early, dewy mornings. I bend over occasionally to check the status of a budding tomato or infant squash. As I make my way back through the lush, productive vegetation I pluck off ripe and ready fruits with glorious summer recipes in mind. I am wearing a summer dress. I am barefoot.  

(the haze around the edge of the screen slowly disappears and the sounds of wind chimes dissipate in the background)

I have weeds. The poky kind and the tall kind. I have to wear combat boots to get to the corn, which is infested with grasshoppers, and the broccoli, which has lace-like leaves. I'm pretty sure they aren't supposed to be that way. My herb garden, while producing, shares much of it's space with ants and, of course, weeds.

So here I am, confessing my green thumb sins and wiping the slate clean.

Green Thumb Sin #1: Believing I had a green thumb
Okay. I never really thought I had a green thumb, but, like many of things I've wanted in life, I thought I could change the parts that were never really in my control anyway. I scoff at people who buy all the latest scrap booking, stamping, photography paraphernalia, who sign up for an entire year's worth of subscriptions and classes on the subject, who start off so strong and who have nothing to show for it all, but a closet full of hobby and a half-finished memory book you can't even open because the pages stick together from the glue.

I am that person.

Green Thumb Sin #2: Being a time-whore
There are things you must devote your time to and then there are things you choose to devote your time to. I must devote my time to my son, my job, my relationships, my animals, my business, my sleep. These things leave roughly -5 (as in "negative five") hours for me to devote my chosen time to- things like recreational activities, facebook (she says sheepishly), my blog, community activities, vacation, yoga, my garden. Of course, I fit some of these activities in, but they are on a priority only basis. Sadly, facebook is easier than gardening at the end of a long day. (she says even more sheepishly)

Green Thumb Sin #3: Doing it the hard way
I wanted organic. I didn't own a hoe. I have an 18 month old child who has an uncontrollable attraction to tractors. The tractor is on the opposite side of the farm from the garden. Going on vacation for a week (or a weekend) is not good for gardens.
I like to think these were hurdles that kept me from my dream garden, but reading back over them I know they are just excuses. I mean, they really did hinder my efforts toward a bountiful harvest as going organic means pulling more weeds,means necessity for a hoe, means more time spent in the garden,  means chasing Jackson down the driveway toward the "tracka", means no time for vacations anyway. But deep down I know that if my garden was a priority then these would not have been hurdles.

Green Thumb Sin #4: Expectation of inheritance
You should see my mom's garden. Strategically placed Sunflowers and a white fence frame fruit trees and perfect rows of lush vegetables. When I call her house before 8pm in the summers I don't expect her to answer because I know she's out in the garden.
My fault is in thinking some of this would be passed on to me- that somehow because we share the same kind of knees that we would also share the same kind of thumbs... the green kind.
Also, my dad is a farmer. 'Nuff said.
I know I committed more than four green thumb transgressions. However, I feel I have been forgiven because there is a farmers market in my front yard every Friday. Thank the garden gods...

There are two roads I can take from here. I can forever be a one-tomato-plant-in-a-pot kind of girl and never try to plant a garden again- solely relying on the talents of those around me, or, I can try again next year and probably fail, but be one lesson learned closer to the sun shining on my shoulders as I bend over and pluck my first successful cucumber from its leafy bed on the ground. I will be wearing a summer dress. I will be barefoot. I will use Preen.  

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Grab some tea and we'll catch up.

I know. It's been months, but I refuse to apologize. I have the same excuse everyone else does; Life just gets too busy.
I will, however, try to catch you up.
My last post was Jackson's first birthday. He is now 15 months old and has 8 teeth. He has learned some basic signs for things and will immitate the sounds of words. He's a completely different child from 3 months ago and for me, this is bittersweet.
Oh, and he's walking as of a week ago. It's hilarious and terrifying as he totters his way around the living room, navigating every hurdle with determination. He's such a sweet boy and the more independent he becomes the more I appreciate the times he needs his mommy. I hope that he will forever need his mommy.
Jackson's new best friend is a German Sheppherd/St. Bernard/Golden Retriever named Mouse. (I don't know if dogs can actually come from three different breeds, but she's a mutt and these are the dogs she resembles.) She has what I like to call "Marley and Me moments". These moments usually come in threes and (so far) I don't get mad at her about them because I know she can't help that she's huge and hairy. She knocks over plants and tracks mud inside and jumps up on the sofa. She slobbers and drools with the best of them and she can't help but want to constantly be petted. Despite all of this, she is the sweetest dog I've ever met and she has a soft spirit that you can't help but notice. We love her.
About a week ago we packed Jackson, Mouse, Kiki (the cat) and all of our things into the car/trailer and moved. The house we moved into is the house I grew up in and a family homestead site that is over 100 years old. It's also the site for the upcoming farmers market that I'm starting in Davenport. "The Big Red Barn Farmers Market" will have its grand opening on June 4th and run through October, if I'm still alive at that point.
The market will be in the barn that my grandpa restored last summer (which he just won a state-wide award for the restoration during a conference in Walla Walla this past weekend- I'm so proud of him!). I have so many memories in that barn and I'm so appreciative of the fact that my grandpa spent the time and money to preserve that piece of history. Now Jackson can create his own childhood memories there! My hope is that the farmers market contributes to the history of agriculture in our area and honors the rural lifestyle while bringing new opportunities to the community.
Aside from a newly mobile toddler, a new dog, a new house and a new business, life is as usual. I'm settling into my job at Lincoln Hospital as the PR/Marketing Coordinator and Jackson and I are going to plant a big garden in our new backyard as soon as I find all those seeds I bought a few week ago...

Things are busy, but blissful.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Monkeys and chocolate cupcakes!

DSC00262Jackson turned one on February 9th. (I’m a little late in posting this.) I was able to keep him alive for an entire year and that deserves a celebration!

One year ago on the 9th  I woke up being as pregnant as ever and ready to hold Jackson in my arms and not in my belly. We left the house very early that morning in order to be at Sacred Heart in time for my scheduled c-section and a few hours later I saw Jackson for the first time! It was completely surreal and one can never prepare themselves for that moment, but when it happens you know that what you’re feeling is real.

Since that day Jackson has given me many moments of “real”-ness. I’m proud of completing the first year of parenthood and even more proud of how Jackson has grown and developed. So we celebrated with balloons, monkeys and chocolate cupcakes!

Thanks to Holly for helping me out with all the preparations and to everyone who came to celebrate Jackson’s first birthday!    


Friday, February 5, 2010

A lock of hair…



Above, you see Jackson’s new haircut. Now, let me tell you the story…

For weeks now my dad (papa) and my Grandpa have been telling me that “Jackson needs a haircut.” I would respond by saying, “maybe…”, but secretly hoped that Jackson would grow cute little curls at the end of his stick-straight hair. Well, he didn’t.

On Tuesday I went to pick Jackson up from daycare and as I walked into the room I saw the back of his head and thought, “that boy needs a haircut.” As cute as Jackson was with a moppy head of stick-straight hair I knew he’d be even cuter with a Sunday School Charlie haircut.

That night I called my Grandpa to admit defeat, but come to find out he was one step ahead of me. He had already purchased a haircutting set for Jackson. I won’t deny that this made me nervous. “Now, who will be operating the trimmers?” I had planned to take him to Barber Bob in town- where all the farmers go to get their haircuts. He has an old-fashioned chair and I was thinking photo opp. to be perfectly honest. 

I didn’t have the heart to say no. Besides, how great of a story is it that Jackson got his first haircut from his Papa and Great Grandpa?

So on Thursday night, with Papa on one side and Great Grandpa on the other, we strapped Jackson into his highchair for his first of many haircuts . Jackson didn’t cry, I only had to step in one time and it’s not a good haircut at all, but it’ll grow out soon enough. Until then I need to learn how to give Jackson a haircut.


(Left) This picture was taken while Papa was trying to figure out how to use the trimmers. It wasn’t very comforting for me and, obviously, not for Jackson either. “Um, excuse me. What do you think you’re doing?”DSC00146





(Right) I guess my dad thought it would be helpful to show Jackson that the cover wouldn’t choke him. Again, we were both terrified. DSC00151 

(Left)  The first snip! Like I said, Jackson didn’t cry, but that doesn’t mean he was happy about the whole experience. DSC00167





(Right) Three generations of Guhlke’s. They now all have the same haircut.  DSC00175 DSC00199