Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Where the time went

I am finally catching up on this little corner of the web.  I'm back-dating posts a bit, so I can get them in the right order, but I managed to get through summer and will be tackling fall events over the next couple days... I hope!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Halloween in (mostly) Pictures

Halloween was pretty low key for us.  With all the craziness of the previous week, we found ourselves on October 30th with uncarved pumpkins on our porch. With Scott still in recovery, we needed a quick solution and that lead us to Mr. Potato Head. Owen was able to carve almost his whole pumpkin, but still liked the option of adding Mr Potato Head ears. So easy. We may do that every year!

The kids were fearful pirates and it was fun to trick-or-treat in regular clothes and not the full winter gear that's usually required on October 31st in Bend. We even met some more neighbors with kids. Arrrrgh!!

Monday, November 12, 2012

What a Week!

Back in October, we had one of the craziest weeks of our year. And in 2012, that's saying a lot!

The Set-up (aka. what we thought would happen)
- I had accepted a new job the previous Friday, so the plan was to give my 2 week notice at work on Monday, followed by what could be a very interesting week at work...

- Spend a few evenings painting our bathroom and installing all new fixtures (including lighting)
- Josh's birthday on Thursday
- My parents come into town on Friday morning, bringing a bunch of shrubs for our front yard.
- Scott's parents and Ryan/Sara/Calla arrive on Friday evening to celebrate the birthday.
- Owen's final soccer day (and scrimmage against the parents) on Saturday.
- Celebrate the birthday and watch the Huskies Saturday afternoon.
- Home appraisal the following Tuesday (finishing it out!)

It looked crazy and pretty intense, but manageable.  And frankly, pretty much par for the course for 2012.  Why not have a birthday, a job change, a home appraisal, and a bunch of family visiting all at the same time?  It's just the Maxwell way.

The Actual Series of Events
- Turn in my notice at work on Monday. Though this went very smoothly, it really kicked off my week with a high stress level. It's hard to walk away from anything you've been a part of for nearly 12 years!
- Monday night, Scott started feeling lousy... 
- Tuesday night, Scott tore out all the fixtures in our bathroom and primed the walls. I wrapped presents.
- Wednesday, Scott had a second interview (with the company he now works for).  It was grueling interview, requiring him to really think on his feet and answer some pretty tough technical questions. He still felt miserable.
- As our evening progressed, Scott felt worse, and we found ourselves on WebMD looking up the symptoms of appendicitis...
- Thursday morning (Josh's Birthday), Scott called the nurse hotline, drove to work, waited for Urgent Care to open, WALKED to the clinic, and finally got instructed to go to the ER where they diagnosed appendicitis and lined him up for afternoon surgery. I spent the morning at Josh's birthday celebration at school, went to work, and finally got to the hospital around 2:00. Scott went into surgery at 4:00.
- Ethel hopped in the car to be at the hospital when he came out of surgery.

- I raced though Fred Meyer to purchase the nastiest tasting cupcakes possible and food for the weekend before snagging the kids from school. Once home with frayed nerves (all three of us), I attempted a birthday dinner while Josh smashed the box of cupcakes and we all put on brave faces to celebrate. The cupcakes were so bad that none of us finished one. Josh opened presents while I tried to do some frantic house cleaning. We waited for news on Scott's surgery (he was fine, just took a long time). I was stressed out and short tempered with the kids. At one point, we were all crying on the stairs. The kids finally got to bed and I A stressful day left us all crying and the kids finally got to be 1 1/2 hours later than normal,

- I spent Friday with Scott in recovery, while Ethel watched Josh and took the Owen to school. My parents showed up with two vehicles full of shrubs. By the time Scott and I got home, our yard was looking re-furbished on the outside and sparkling clean on the inside.

The rest of the weekend's events actually occurred as planned - soccer, birthday, husky game, visit to the Children's Museum - only with Scott knocked out on the couch. All of our family offered to reschedule their visits, but it turned out to be a great blessing to have everyone around. Uncle Ryan subbed for Scott at soccer, Calla gave the kids ample playtime and distraction, Sara helped me make proper cupcakes for our birthday, Josh had birthday toys galore, and Scott had lots of extra hands to take care of him in recovery.

On Sunday afternoon, I was even able to finish painting the bathroom while Ethel kept the kids busy. By the time our appraisal happened on Tuesday,  the house was clean and sparkly, with much improved street appeal.

We're glad to have that one behind us!

This was a week when we were SOOO thankful that our move away from amazing community in Bend at least brought us closer to family.  There's no way we would have managed this one without the help of EVERYONE that joined us for the weekend. It was also a good reminder of how much we all need a support system to come along side us when the going gets rough.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Josh Turned 3

Josh had a much awaited 3rd birthday.  For months (since Owen's birthday in July), he had following every mention of "birthday" with - "My Birthday's October!" I don't think he really understood what that birthday would mean, but he was excited anyway.  We didn't do a friend party, but we did have plans for a full weekend of family visiting to help with the celebration. Nana & Papa, G'ma & G'pa, Ryan/Sara/Calla were all on hand for a Pirate Birthday Party. (You might notice a recycled theme from Owen's summer birthday, but since the boys were still on the pirate kick... why not?!)

Nana heard about our party theme and brought tattoos for the boys. They insisted that everyone apply a tattoo for admission to the party. I'm sure papa's patients got a kick out of a dentist with a pirate on his arm that week. 

Auntie Sara's new accessory fit right in with the theme...
Josh decided to on his own that his newly acquired halloween costume would make for an extra festive party. I have to agree.

Three blondies  playing with new birthday toys. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

August Recap in Pictures

Nana came to visit and to celebrate her 60th Birthday, we took a tour of downtown Lake Oswego - lovely lunch at Scratch cafe, a stop to listen to the summer music concert, and then some time at the splash park for the kids. Happy Birthday Nana!


Portland has an amazing array of splash parks.  We only managed to visit 3 or 4 of them this summer, but I think next summer will have a "splash park checklist" affixed to the fridge!

The kids took a two-week session of swim lessons.  Why do they do that?  Two weeks of swimming everyday is just exhausting for everyone involved.  We're looking forward to fall lessons that are just once a week AND Josh will be old enough to be in lessons without a parent. Whoohoo! 

Josh became long overdue for a haircut, but I just couldn't imagine trimming those summer blond locks. Thankfully, the Maxwell Barber Shop operates on Sundays and I came home from the store to find that Josh is equally adorable with a buzz cut.

These two worked hard to spend as much of the summer in as little clothes as possible.

The kids had a week off of school, so we took the opportunity to jump over the mountains and savor a long Labor Day weekend in Bend - hiking Sparks Lake, TIME WITH FRIENDS, dinner at Jackson's Corner, gelatto at Powell's, a morning at Bloom School, Scott brewed beer with Neil, dinner on the deck, Scott got on his bike in the woods, farmers market, we crashed Kaden's dinosaur birthday party, BBQ with the biking crew, dinner with the MacSween's, and so many smiles and hardly any pictures - we were playing too hard!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Garden Grown

Just a little recap of our first summer gardening on the "wet side" of the state.  It is so, so, so, so much easier to plant the types of veggies that we actually eat when the temperatures are reasonably going to stay above freezing for the whole summer.  What a difference!

One of my co-workers has a greenhouse and she sold a ton of veggie starts to raise money for the Oregon Food Bank. We planted three types of tomatoes, plus peppers and basil. Because our house was still very much a construction zone during planting season, we stuck to containers this year.  The kids brought home pea starts that got added to the pots, but really needed more room.  Our only major setback was an experiment with organic fertilizer.  The fertilizer was fine... so wonderfully enriched with fish meal, in fact, that Hudson dug through all our pots in under 10 minutes the first time we fertilized. Lesson learned - all pots now go up on a bench or table after fertilization.  And, for just $10, Sarah supplied us with replacement starts for our lost tomatoes.

All summer, Owen would diligently tell our friends that we had three types of tomatoes: Brandywine, Cherry, and Early Girl... "but our early girls are NOT very early." After the replanting, in fact, the early girls were the LAST to actually bloom and fruit.

Scott built these awesome bench/planters to replace our collapsing (or collapsED) deck railing, so the pots got a serious upgrade and access to MUCH better sun about halfway through the summer.  Our peppers were very happy about the switch, and I ended up very happy that I hadn't yanked the "not producing" pepper plants out too early. Instead, we were pulling fresh peppers and tomatoes through October.


Then, another co-worker gave us a pile of strawberry plants, so the kids and I built a makeshift planter bed using the trunks of a couple cedar trees that we lost last winter.  Owen and Josh diligently went to work making stringing rainbow yarn around the bed to ward off iguanas.  You know, because "there are a lot of iguanas in Portland and iguanas LOVE strawberries." 
We were late planting the strawberries, so I wasn't expecting any berries this year. In the end, we got three berries, each the size of Josh's pinky finger... and the boys insisted in sharing each one. Very cute.

When Sarah brought us our replacement plants, she also added in a sunflower start, thinking the boys would like watching it grow.  Was she ever right!  That plant started just 4 inches tall, hardly distinguishable from the strawberry plants.  We took measurements against Owen's body - ankle... knee... waist... shoulder... and by July, it was already as tall as Owen, and I thought we should probably start taking pictures. 



September required a stool to get the full effect.  

Gardening with the boys was something that we all enjoyed and certainly an easy "passive" educational opportunity. Owen eats anything that comes out of the garden and I could probably live on tomato and basil recipes. I'm hopeful that less work on the house next spring will give us a chance to build at least one raised planter and try our hand at lettuce, squash, carrots and some fall veggies like broccoli.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


We've been swapping Owen's drawers over to fall clothes and some bigger sizes. This has led to our first discussion of the sizing on clothing and me trying to delicately explain why it's okay to wear "4" clothing when he's actually 5. (of course, josh is still able to fit in most 18 month clothes, but I'm starting to pull those out of his drawers simply out of principle!) we managed to get al the size 3s out and Owen seemed to get excited about something other than T-shirts and sweatpants. Okay, excited might be to strong a word, but at least he was Joyfully hanging some more interesting options in the closet.

After Work on the closets, Owen decided to wear his slim jeans (not that there's any other option to fit him), and a new collar shirt for a "mom and owen date night. After getting dressed, He looked at me said, "Mom, this is more like 8."

I was pretty confused. "You mean, like size 8?" I asked.

"No. Not the size. My STYLE!"

Saturday, September 15, 2012

They Do!

A long awaited day arrived in August. Scott's college roommate, tied the knot with his lovely bride Julie at a beautiful outdoor wedding at Suncadia Resort.

We packed up the car for a weekend in Cle Elum, so thankful that the previous week's forest fire seemed to be under control. The boys are getting to be pretty solid road trippers. I'm not close scheduling a week-long driving vacation like Scott's family used to do, but at least we know that a 4-5 hour drive isn't going to land us all in the looney bin.

Owen was soooo excited for the wedding.  I was excited to take them... matching clothes, cute kids dancing, the awe that comes with seeing the bride and groom, etc.  However, my excitement quickly dissipated the week before the wedding, as I watched the kids eat dinner and thought to myself, "Oh no, we're raising hooligans!" I actually told the boys that we were having a week of "manners and politeness boot camp" to get ready for the wedding.

Jon's family hosted a pre-wedding BBQ on Friday night, and I think almost half the wedding guests were in attendance.  We got to see some old friends while Owen and Josh hunted for stray golf balls off the back deck.  

We took advantage of a mostly free Saturday to swim in the COLD hotel pool and then make the short drive out to Ellensburg to catch up with my grandparents and Ramona. My grandpa is truly amazing - still cutting hay fields with his "tractor buddies" and looking like he's found the fountain of youth. We picked up 25 pounds of peaches at the giant THORP FRUIT freeway stand, along with snacks for a picnic lunch and (thankfully) managed to get the boys to take a solid nap before rallying for the wedding.

Beautiful setting, Beautiful ceremony, Beautiful couple. We are just thrilled for Jon and Julie.  

Owen was in awe during the ceremony and all the people in fancy clothes, which resulted in some pretty good behavior and Josh followed his brother's lead.  We made sure to take a few "running breaks" out on the lawn during the cocktail hour and again during some down time during the reception, but once the music started... the boys pulled out dance moves I have never seen before and didn't stop dancing until we carried them back to the hotel. 

Overall, one of our summer highlights for sure!