I Have A Family Tree

Today I want to share a collage of Nicole's latest drawings. She's been working on a series of family portraits, and I think they're fantastic. See if you can identify the person in each picture! Some of the aunts and uncles have identifying features, but don't be offended if you didn't get much personalization -- there were more of you than she originally realized.... :)

Dad(love that hair)

Mom (obviously)

One tough Chick!

Today I was in the car running some errands. We got to an area of town that makes me kind of nervous sometimes. I said, "kids, please lock your doors for Mom." I didn't tell them it was because I was nervous, but Ariana must have figured it out on her own. She turned to me and said, "Mom, if our town was a chicken, this area would be the tough part!" I got a good laugh out of it. And yes, it is the "tough" part of town.

Say hi to our new host

www.mauery.com has moved hosts from a colocated server at the vcolo.com site in downtown Portland, OR, to a site5.com shared server somewhere in Texas. Sith, our old server, was starting to show signs of age; dying disks, slow processor, not enough RAM, not enough disk space, etc. I decided to go out on a limb and hook up with a plan that I was not given root access. This means I can't administrate the machine, but it also means that I don't have to administrate the machine if something goes wrong. I just open up a ticket and tell the sysadmin to fix it.

Some differences in the switch include:

  1. Now your subscriptions will show up a little different than before. I have not been able to figure out how to get them working exactly how I want them to, but everyone is set to digest mode, so you shouldn't get too many emails every day, regardless of how often people post stuff.
  2. The photo albums look a lot better
  3. Book reviews are now an aggregation of reviews made at Goodreads. (Sorry, Sarah, Shelfari lost out.)
  4. I am sure there are other things as well, but I can't remember.

"I'm Free Years Old..."

...says Nathan! My little boy is growing up! He is now officially three and wearing size 4 clothes. Sheesh. His favorite things still include all the little boy favorites: fire trucks, digger trucks, basketball, baseball, dinosaurs, and bugging his sister. :) Here's how we spent his birthday:

Tummy Tuck, Anyone?

I've been surprised how many children's books there are that deal with life events a child might encounter. There are books explaining different family structures (nuclear, single parent, two mommies/daddies, etc.), how families cope with an incarcerated parent, all kinds of natural disasters -- you name a situation, there's a book to help your kids deal with it.

But this one takes the cake: My Beautiful Mommy. The book to help your child through mommy's plastic surgery. Seriously. Check out the link and be very, very disturbed by the Barbie-esque mom on the front cover.

Blustery Day


The wind is crazy here in Portland today! The kids and I were walking out of the rec center after Nicole's tap class joking about how it felt like the wind was going to just pick us up and fly us away. Then Nicole said this:

"It could pick us up and fly us up to heaven! If it picked up Daddy, then he could take his computer with him so he could click in heaven!"

Apparently the celestial kingdom won't be complete for Vernon without his laptop....

It's Right under Your Nose

Today the Pulitzer Prize winners in journalism were announced, with the Washington Post and The New York Times coming in as the big winners. That's not the important part of this post, though. I followed a link in the story to the winner in the feature writing category, and it was mesmerizing! Gene Weingarten at the Post put together a great test in a D.C. Metro station to see if people paid attention to beautiful things happening around them. You'll have to read the article to see what I mean, but I thought it was a great reminder to be on the lookout for beauty all around us. Kids are great at this, so it pays to be willing to walk at their pace, stop when they do, and see the wonder in dewy green grass, rolly-polly bugs, and the petals of a daisy.

Scary Stuff

Okay, gang, it's official: we're getting OLD!!! It isn't just turning 28 last weekend that's getting to me, I swear. Here's a list of things that make me feel old lately:

Little Seeds Wake One by One


Almost three weeks after planting our seed flats, we have seedlings! Lots of them! The broccoli were the first ones to poke through the soil. Then came both varieties of tomatoes, and finally the peppers -- both yellow and red. Their happy green tendrils are stretching up much faster than I expected, and I find myself checking up on them throughout the day as if they were my children. Vernon and I even talk to them at night as we're getting ready for bed. Okay, maybe that was more than you needed to know... :)

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter, everyone! Have you all sunk into your chocolate-bunny-induced stupors yet? We're still recovering from the sugar rush, as well as the usual Sunday runaround, but I wanted to share pics from our Easter week.

We were lucky enough to share our Easter celebrating with Grandma Nancy, who came to visit from Wednesday to Saturday. Unfortunately, both she and I fought illness during the week, but we still managed to have a good time. Mostly, we hung around home to give Grandma some quality grandkid time, reading lots of books and playing trains (Nathan is obsessed with Thomas the Train). We spent Friday afternoon dying Easter eggs -- and Nathan's hands. :) Nicole was especially proud of her pink, sticker-covered egg. She is one girly girl, my daughter.

100 Things


My sister-in-law did a 100 Things About Me list on her blog, and it looked like a challenge, so I decided to try and write my own. Who knew it would take me over a week to come up with them? :) Who's going to take the challenge next?

1. I hate running.

2. Mostly I hate the feeling of cold air in my lungs. (The burning!)

3. I like making cards for people I love.

4. I have way too much paper for making said cards. :)

5. Music is my passion.

6. If I could choose my church calling, I would be the Primary chorister.

Which leather makes the best gloves?

I once bought some hippo skin from a native American woman. Her two competitors at the hide market, both women, were selling deer hides and elk skin. While at the market, the ladies allowed their children to play on the merchandise. Interestingly, the hippo seller told me was expecting twins, the others had only one boy each.

The Garden Begins


Happy Family Home Evening night! What did you do this evening? At our house, it was time to start our garden. Vernon is already having visions of tomatoes, peppers, and broccoli.

In an effort to extend Portland's growing season, we're starting a few things from seed in planters this year. We've had kind of disappointing production from our gardening efforts in the past, so we're pulling out all the stops we know to get more veggies out of our little plot of land. And that means taking the operation indoors for a few months.

Touring the Fire Station

My little firefighter got a great present on Saturday. A local fire station has been in the process of renovating the past few months, but it's finally finished, and they had an open house to celebrate. Since Nathan hasn't taken his helmet from his firefighter Halloween costume off since October, we thought we ought to take him by. :)

We toured the firehouse, but the best part of the open house by far was getting to climb in the fire trucks! There were three out to look at, and one where you could get in the cab and check out all the knobs and buttons. The kids were a little hesitant at first, but pretty soon we got Nicole to climb up on Daddy's lap, checking out the radio, and generally running the place.

Tongue Twister

Sven said, "Ted, send ten tents."

Ted said, "Sven, send ten cents."

When Sven sent Ted ten cents,

Then Ted sent Sven ten tents!

The Mark of a Watson

Nathan and I talking this morning about what to have for breakfast:

L: Hey, Nathan, do you want to have toast or cereal this morning?

N: "I'm starving for waffles!"

Sounds like a Watson to me....

(The photo is Nathan going at his silver dollar pancakes with both fists at the Pig 'N' Pancake in Cannon Beach, OR.)

Giving Blood


These past two weeks, we've been hunkered down sick. The first week was a cold -- coughing, congestion, the works -- that we ALL got. Then, when we finally thought we were getting better, Nathan came down with a fever on Monday of 102. And it didn't let up. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday -- still had a fever. So, worried about a fever that lasted that long, I called the pediatrician, who said to bring him in the next morning.

Happy birthday to me!

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About a week before my birthday, Nicole and Nathan both came down with nasty head colds. I didn't need a crystal ball to figure out that this meant Lauren and I would likely be sick on my birthday. What we didn't count on was that Nicole and Nathan would still be sick as well. It turns out that by my birthday, my symptoms only included a sore throat in the morning, but Lauren was really not feeling so well. I can tell she loves me because she still cooked up a nice birthday dinner of roast chicken, homemade stuffing, broccoli, and a spice cake with cream cheese frosting for dessert. Mmmmm.

Entertainment at the Mauery House

We've been sick at our house for, well, 10 days or so now, and apparently the cabin fever is setting in. The kids have always gotten a kick out of watching us juggle, so a few nights ago, Vernon and I pulled out our act.

Then we got in a contest to see who could stack the most beanbags on their head. Vernon set the record with a 15-beanbag stack, but Lauren stacked 13 AND went from sitting to standing without letting the stack fall over!

The Big Three-Oh


It's official: Vernon is 30 years old! Unfortunately, his actual birthday wasn't the greatest of birthday days, seeing as how all four of us were sick. We didn't go to church, and we had to cancel our dinner with the Harts (they were all sick, too). We did, on the other hand, have a fab-u-lous birthday dinner -- roast chicken, stuffing, broccoli -- and Vernon's favorite spice cake with cream cheese frosting for dessert. In his honor (and partly because the present I ordered him won't be here till tomorrow -- doh!), here's a list of some of the things I love about Vernon. Vernon is....