our pack…8 years later

The following post was published on my blog 8 years ago…when Reece was almost 2 and I was about 5 months pregnant with Lorelai.  Much has changed…Murphy, Oak, Ben and Hobbes are no longer with us; Lorelai and Rainbow have joined our pack. However, the kids love for their dogs has stayed the same. 

When I wrote the original post, Odyssey was 5 years old and the puppy of the family. The words I wrote about Oak, “Oak is pretty much blind, deaf, and very needy so I try to give her extra attention whenever possible. I am not sure how much longer we will have her around..” now ring true for our sweet 13 year old Odyssey.

Our first “children” were animals.  In December 1999, a diluted calico cat named Murphy was adopted from the Dumb Friends League in Denver.  In March 2000, a black lab puppy named Ben came from our good friend and Grand River trainer/breeder Mike Gould.  In September 2000, an orange and white tabby named Hobbes was adopted from the Dumb Friends League.  In November 2003, an 8 year old black lab named Oak was adopted from Mike Gould.  In April 2004, a black lab puppy named Odyssey, again came from Mike Gould.

For almost 8 years we were the proud parents of our five-fuzzy-faces.  The dogs would go everywhere with us.  We drove across the country to Upstate New York with a stop in Chicago for a family wedding…all with Ben in tow! We went on many roadtrips through Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho with all 3 of them…learning what hotels were pet friendly along the way.  My husband would take the boy dogs hunting anywhere from 40-60 days each fall.  They would all go camping and hiking with us during the summer.  They drove with us from Colorado to Oregon when we moved.  Oak used to go to work with me almost everyday here in Oregon.  They lived the high life!

Then July 5, 2007 came.  The world as they knew it stopped.  Our baby boy arrived and they were relegated to the dog runs and scolded for getting too close to the baby.  Oh, I was afraid that we wouldn’t be able to give them the attention they were used to…and we weren’t…but our little guy is!

The little guy LOVES his doggies!  The first word-like sound he made was “woof”; his first word was “doggie”; his first 2-word phrase was “good girl”;  the second 2-word phrase was “bad dog”; and his first 3-word phrase was “no bark dog”.  When he wakes up in the morning he asks where Oak is.  He loves to share his toys and food with the dogs.  He crawls all over them, snuggles on their dog beds, and loves to play chase with them in the house.  He is part of their pack.

When we are outside in the back yard he loves to play in their dogs runs.  He opens and closes the door, pretends to fill up their water buckets, and likes it even better if they will play along with him…Odyssey usually obliges.  Oftentimes, I will find him hiding in the dog crate we keep in the house for “doggie timeouts”…sometimes he will be in there with one of the dogs.  I am sure that he thinks every kid has a house full of black labs  just like he does.

The dogs (and cats) may not get the attention they used to from us, but our little guy sure thinks the world of them.  Their days are lazy, and they get to stay in the house most of the time, now.  My husband runs the boys down at the river once or twice a week…when he can. Oak is pretty much blind, deaf, and very needy so I try to give her extra attention whenever possible.  I am not sure how much longer we will have her around…she has been a mom to around 30 puppies…and acts as a “doggie nanny” to our little guy.  They are all wonderful pets and “children”…including the boy who was raised by Black Labs.

eight years

eight years ago this month i wrote my first post for this little blog of mine.


reece and oak

while it wasn’t my first blog post ever, it was the first one that led to another, then another, and then a move to pretty consistent blogging.


me and lorelai

i was pregnant with lorelai and reece was 20-months old. i had officially been a stay at home mom for a year, after going back to work for a bit and making the decision that i did not want my children to go to daycare…even if it meant giving up a job i absolutely loved.


reece and oak

i’m so thankful that i am able to be here for my kids. they have both been sick with a nasty cold the last few weeks, and it is such a blessing to be able to not have to think twice about having them stay home with me.


reece and odyssey

there are sacrifices that are made for me to stay home and there are things i miss out on when they stay home with me, but i wouldn’t change it. i wouldn’t change the memories that are being made and the life we are living.


me, reece and lorelai (in my belly)

i am so thankful that i decided to write things down here in this space…so much of it would just be forgotten if i didn’t have the words to read and remind me…

“He says (and waves) hello and goodbye to everybody at Safeway, Target, Whole Foods, or wherever we may be. He is perplexed when he is pushed by another child while at OMSI. He loves his three dogs and two cats more than anything in the world. He gives lots of hugs and kisses. It melts my heart when I am sitting on the floor and he comes up and gives me a great big hug (and pats me on the back). He has a heart of gold.”

img_0144i’m going to go snuggle my not so little boy, who happens to be home with me today.

learn something new

i received a new camera body a couple of years ago.

just like my blog posts have become fewer and far between since i loaded instagram on my iphone, my photography with my big camera(s) has also lessened.

it’s just so easy to snap a photo with my iphone, which is usually in my pocket.

last year, i had hoped to learn to use my big camera in manual mode as i have always just used automatic mode. it just didn’t happen.

again, so easy to pull my iphone out of my pocket to snap a photo.

however, i REALLY want to learn how to take better photos and use my big camera(s) to capture more of our life!

so, my first stop is back at ashley’s snapshop!

i actually signed up for her basics of DSLR course the first time she offered it online.

the bad news…i never really kept up with the content as it was being presented and never took the time to go back and learn it.

the good news…now, i use a monthly subscription to her snapshop online to view the DSLR course…and the iphone course…and all of the additional lessons that she (and others) add!

so, i’m going to start today and try to spend 30 minutes a day learning my big camera(s)!

i hope post some of my photos here along with notes from my journey…stay tuned.

{this post contains affiliate links}

blogs and bumwad

I used to read a fair number of blogs after I originally started my own.

It was interesting to find out other people’s reasons for starting blogs, and when I was new to Portland and motherhood it felt good to have something in common with a lot of other mom bloggers.

I sat down to read them during naptime.

Eventually, naptime stopped…and Instagram started.

And, so many of my favorite blogs disappeared…eaten up by the tiny squares of Instagram.

Mine included.img_0673And, what started out as a type of “mom blog” to keep family and friends in far away places aware of my mom-ing activities, is not so much a mom blog anymore.

What used to be Tuesday’s with Lola and The Little Guy Said, has turned into “what the heck do I write about when the kids are in school all day and I’m not doing my mom-ing activities?”

Some of the bloggers that I followed when I started my blog are still writing. In fact, this morning I read Kelle’s post about The Balance Bird. Her friend’s epiphany in yoga class about being erased hit home.

I felt that way when I was in the trenches of mom-ing activities while the kids were both so little. I have truly felt like I have lost pieces of myself while nurturing my kids. However, I am beginning to realize that my mom-ing activities are HUGE pieces of myself, and what I am pouring into my kids is a reflection and part of ME.

I’m not being erased, but redrafted, refined, remodeled.

Like a house with good bones, I am still here.

My structure is still here, there are just some parts that have been taken away…erased.

Sometimes you need to strip away the layers of wallpaper and plaster or drywall to get to the shiplap (and you can’t do that without demo day)! Other times there are parts that have been added because they are necessary and weren’t in place before, they just needed some updating, or were completely outdated and needed an entire overhaul!

When you remodel a house you have the original floor plan and you keep what you need and make changes where they are needed. Most times the original floor plan is drafted in pen, because it is the permanent structure, then you place tracing paper (my instructors in design school used to call it bumwad) on top of that and pencil in the new changes and additions. The eraser is used, and most times multiple drafts and layers of bumwad end up over the original floor plan. Eventually, you get to a final design that will, once again, be drafted in pen.Stephany Taddeo Interior DesignAnd, then you have change orders.

And, you decide to repaint your walls.

And, you need new floors because the old carpet smells like dogs.

Sometimes an eraser is what is needed to really get the changes we need to take shape.

At any rate, my blog is still here. I just might put some layers of bumwad on top and have to use an eraser from time to time to get it where I want it to be.

snow much fun!

i’m hitting publish on this one without photos and editing…just want to get it out there. i will come back and add photos/video/etc, but i need to go play in the snow!

we’ve lived in the pacific northwest for 11 years.

it rains here almost 9 months out of the year. not a steady grey rain everyday, but from november through june you can expect rain in some form a lot of days. it’s really the worst in december and january when the days are so short and any gray and rain just makes them seem even shorter.

people around here just get stuff done in the rain. you have to.

i learned that a good rain jacket and some hunter boots will get you through most of the rainy weather. in fact, i love my patagonia rain jacket so much that although it needs some patching, i just couldn’t part with it when ryan bought me a new one for christmas.

umbrellas are optional. we keep them in the car if it is just a crazy downpour and you have to walk more than a few blocks. mainly, we keep them around for people who visit from out of state who might melt in the rain. heck, my kids don’t even bother with the rain jacket and rubber boots, but they are oregon kids…it’s in their blood.

when the sun comes out, especially when there are sun breaks between rainstorms in the spring, people get out and take advantage of it. yes, sometimes it takes us a little while to recognize that bright yellow orb in the sky, but once we confirm that is is indeed the sun we take advantage of it.

go for a run.

go for a hike.

get out on the water.

go to the beach.

just get out and enjoy whatever isn’t possible in the rain…or, at the very least, get out and enjoy what you usually do in the rain without getting wet!

get out in the sun, because you don’t know how long it will last!

and, then there is snow.

we get snow in oregon. plenty of it. in the cascades.

portland, doesn’t do snow very often.

an inch of snow will close schools.

a few inches of snow will create havoc on the roads where people will literally abandon their cars and walk.

the topography, and lack of snow removal equipment just don’t help us out when the snow hits the ground.

in fact, in the 11 years we have lived here we have only had three BIG (relatively speaking, of course) snow storms.

december 2008.

february 2014.

january 2017.

this has been the snowiest winter i have ever been a part of in portland. since december 1st my kids have had EIGHT snow days.

four of those snow days occured before christmas break when we had some small 1-3″ snowfalls. yep, the schools close because the buses cannot get into the neighborhood with hills.

one snow day was this past monday, january 9th after we had a small snow storm and then a layer of ice on top.

there was one more storm forecast before the weather people said we would finally warm up and return to normal portland winter weather…rain.

on tuesday night i took the kids to the store to get some milk in case we got the 1-4″ that were forecast. school would certainly be closed, and i wanted to make sure we had milk for hot chocolate!

ryan had driven down to bend for work on monday night and it was snowing so hard in central oregon that he decided to stay on tuesday night rather than drive back into portland.

well, as we walked out of the store and drove home the snowflakes started falling. by the time we got home they were sticking to the roadways, our deck, and our front yard.

the kids and i ate dinner and watched some tv as we saw more and more snow fall. the big districts of beaverton and portland had announced their closure by 9 pm as snow in some areas had already reached 3-5 inches.

the snow kept piling up outside, but we kept waiting for word of our districts closure. lorelai went to bed, but reece wanted to stay up and wait to hear about school. i went downstairs to watch the 10 o’clock news and he was up in my bedroom. right before 11 pm i heard branches cracking as the wind was blowing the snow through the trees. then the power went out. more loud pops and a bright light.

reece came running down the stairs scared of all the noise and the dark house. we decided to sleep downstairs with a fire in the fireplace. i moved his sister to her room, away from the trees at the back of the house.

it was a rest less night of sleep for me. at 3:21 am i woke up and noticed we still were without power. when i reported the outage to PGE at 11 pm, they had expected to have power back on by 1:30am. my mind started churning with thoughts of how i was going to make coffee and hot chocolate. i texted ryan and he told me where the camp stove we bought him for christmas was. i was certain that i was going to need to use it. i was going to need lots of coffee.

at 5 am, the house woke up. electronics chirped, beeped, and began to hum back to life. we had power…just in time for coffee! while it was inconvenient, and a bit scary, to be without in the dark of the night with a storm howling outside, it was not as inconvenient as i imagined being without power during a snow day with two kids home would have been.

shortly after power was restored our school district also announced, officially, that we had a snow day!

7-12″ of snow had fallen all over the metro area and the storm was not over. highways were littered with abandoned cars. power was out all over the area.

by then end of our first snow day we had 8+ inches of snow and other areas in and around portland had up to 15″.

the mayor of portland and governor of oregon issued a state of emergency for the entire state.

central oregon, where ryan finally was able to drive home from, had received even more snow, the gorge had not thawed out from the ice event from the previous storm and was getting dumped on.

the school districts all called another snow day for thursday.

and, another one for today.

while a couple of inches of snow may shut down the city, and a foot of snow may cause a state of emergency, portlanders know how to have fun in the snow!

snowball fights.



cross country skiing.

igloo building.

snowman building.

you name something to do in the snow, we are doing it.

i have never seen so many snowmen in my life.

our neighbor built a legitimate igloo.

we have been sledding everyday, multiple times a day. streets are turned into mini ski/sled runs!

we still have plenty of snow on the ground as we also have record low temperatures. and, although the sun is shining, the snow is not melting.

so, sun and snow, we are going to get out and play…before the rain comes to wash it all away.

we have friends headed over for playdates, and a huge mound of snow waiting for us to create something with it!

happy thanksgiving eve

stack up

the kids participated in the “stack up!”,  which was “the most people sport stacking at multiple locations stacking in one day”.


i volunteered to help in both of their classes…i also stacked, which contributed to the numbers to hopefully make/beat a world record!


some of lorelai’s artwork at school…if you didn’t know already, she is a bit obsessed with pigs.


reece created this piece of artwork during our most recent art literacy lesson…it’s the leaves falling from the aspens when we were in vail for my cousin’s wedding!

friendsgiving bunco

i have been playing bunco with a group of moms from our school/neighborhood since earlier this year. this month was my month to host and i decided to go with a friendsgiving theme.

mimosa bar…instructions written on mirror with dry erase markers.


candy apple bar…dip apple slice in caramel {or chocolate} and sprinkle with toppings .


if you got a bunco, you wore the turkey.


i had fun making score cards for the night…


it was a great night.

a very merry oil infused holiday


i recently talked about thieves household cleaner during a class for my young living team. if you are interested in learning more, please contact me!

the kids will be helping with a kids essential oils 101 class {online} on december 6th…contact me if you would like an invitation!

colorado buffaloes



we’ve become duck and beaver fans after living in oregon for 10+ years, but i am so thrilled to see my buffs at the top of the pac 12 and in the top 10 in the nation!

i cannot wait to see how this all plays out in the future…reminds me of when i was in high school and college (the last time they were really good…20+ years ago)!


it seems like it has taken forever to get our house back in shape after the remodel, but we are almost there.


gallery walls are back up.


craft supplies and toys are back in their places.


and, the powder bath is gallery walled again. this bathroom reminds me of the bathroom in the house i lived in at my kids ages…my mom had family photo collages all over the walls and said that people would take forever in the bathroom because they were looking at all of the photos!

morning message

lorelai loves to write messages on the whiteboard/chalkboard in by the stairs. this was her morning message today…




we are hosting thanksgiving at our house for FAMILY. YES! we have family way over here on the northwest coast of the US. a couple of ryan’s cousins have moved out here in the last few years, so we are hosting them! it should be fun!!


i am usually a wait until after thanksgiving to decorate for christmas kind of girl. the last few years, i have let the kids anticipation and excitement get a hold of me and i have started a bit early. this year i am holding back until black friday…when i will be pulling boxes out of the attic, listening to christmas tunes, and watching football.

that being said, i heard this from the attic the other day.


“we’re equal opportunity trees! we demand that you take us out of this christmas box you have kept us in for months. we don’t discriminate between the holidays…easter, 4th of july, columbus day…you name it, we will celebrate it! thanksgiving happens to be one of our favorites.”

oh what fun. falalalala.

happy thanksgiving eve, everybody!

{home is essential} fa-la-la-la-la…

while i won’t be decorating around here until after thanksgiving, nothing is stopping me from putting christmas spirit in my diffusers!


with the scents of orange, cinnamon, and spruce it is just perfect for the holiday season.

christmas spirit “is a purifying blend of evergreen, citrus, and spice, reminiscent of winter holidays, that brings joy, peace, happiness, and security.” {Essential Oils Desk Reference}

orange is an uplifing fragrance that can boost immunity and induce relaxation. cinnamon is thought to unlock feelings of abundance, boost immunity, and has been used since biblical times. spruce has a balancing fragrance also with immune booting properties.

in addition to smelling wonderful, it also boosts immunity and increases feelings of abundance, relaxation, and balance. yes, please!

doesn’t it sound fabulous?!

well, the good news is that  for the month of november, when you become a member of young living by purchasing a premium starter kit you get a 5ml bottle of christmas spirit FREE!


are you ready to start your oily journey to health, purpose, and abundance?

i would be happy to help you!

To get started on your oily adventure to health, purpose and abundance:

  • go to the member sign up page
  • select wholesale member (not retail customer)
  • enter my member number in the sponsor and enrolled ID if it is not already there: 2365060
  • create your account, enter your personal information
  • select the premium starter kit

welcome to the world of essential oils…it’s awesome.

member 2365060

hello, november

here we are.

two months left in 2016.

it’s the most wonderful time of the year.

here’s a quick recap of some of the things that happened in october…

grand river rainbow returned home after spending the summer in idaho…and this rainbow showed up to greet her!


i hosted my first yellow door vintage pop-up in our home, which was a sale of vintage goods that i have collected over the last few years. it was fun to see some of the items that were in our home go to new homes where people would appreciate them!




lorelai’s teachers came by for a home visit.



we finally made it to a pumpkin patch so we could carve pumpkins before halloween.









i am continuing to color in my bible.



thankful for sunshine streaming through windows, and walks through fall leaves.



{home is essential} hair spray for keeping yucky things away

moms talk.

lately, the rumor going around is that there is something hopping from head to head at school.

it’s not something that i want to deal with here at home and i am so happy that we have something right here at home to help with prevention!

home is essential

i just put 5-10 drops of each oil in a small (2-4 oz.) spray bottle and mix it with distilled water.

i spray it on the kids heads before they go to school.

i also spritz their jackets and backpacks everyday.

if you ask me, i would rather prevent this problem from coming into our house than treat this problem if it sneaks into my house.

the prevention is all natural.

the treatment is not.

To get started on your oily adventure to health, purpose and abundance:

  • go to the member sign up page
  • select wholesale member (not retail customer)
  • enter my member number in the sponsor and enrolled ID if it is not already there: 2365060
  • create your account, enter your personal information
  • select the premium starter kit

welcome to the world of essential oils…it’s awesome.

member 2365060