a day at the fishin’ hole

today i got to spend the morning fishing with a bunch of kindergartners and it was perfect…well, almost.

there was one kid who fell in the water. he was in our group. luckily, he just got wet. the teacher wasn’t surprised.

the little guy rode the school bus for the very first time and liked it. he was nervous, but got right on and waved from the window when we arrived at the fishing hole. {although, he did tell me that he will only ride school buses on field trips until he is in college}

sunshine and blue skies overhead, jumping fish, and happy kids.

our group of three boys each caught a fish.

gone fishing 1

gone fishing 2

gone fishing 4

the mom leading our group was, obviously, a fisherwoman. between the two of us we had no problem baiting the hook, casting the line, holding the fish, and getting the hooks out of the mouths. so much fun!!

the boys were as patient as three kindergarten boys will be. luckily, there were salamanders to look for, osprey overhead, and other groups to compare fish with!

they eagerly watched the fish get cleaned and were excited to take them home. {the pond is stocked with trout and there is no catch and release}

gone fishing 5

gone fishing 6

gone fishing 7

baby girl came along and had just as much fun watching the boys and playing with all the kids. i can’t wait to go again with her in two years!

gone fishing 3

i absolutely love being able to be a part of these opportunities with them. i am one blessed momma.

home is…a sunny day at the fishin’ hole.

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forgiveness

I’m not “beating myself up” for not getting this post up sooner, rather, I just would have liked to get it done the day my parents left.

The day I wrote it.

Just like I wish I had all the time {and energy} in the world to do everything I need AND everything I WANT to…everyday.

Life doesn’t work like that.

So, we make choices.

We make choices to let things that are important to us go so that we can do things to make other people happy.

We make choices to do things for ourselves and let other things go knowing that we might disappoint someone else. 

Sacrifices.

Compromises. 

And, most important, forgiveness.

Moving on…better late than never.

the day before thanksgiving

Nine years ago, on the day before Thanksgiving, a very special dog came to live with us.

Oak was one of a kind.

She made everybody that she met feel like they were the most important person in the world, but I was her most important person.

She came to me at a very difficult time in my life.

After I had a miscarriage.

After I found out my mom had breast cancer.

After I walked in on a burglary in progress at our home.

We went everywhere together.

She even got to come to work with me when we moved to Oregon…sat right under my desk.

This year, on the day before Thanksgiving, I looked out the front window as I was talking to my mom.

I had spent the morning at the kids school and was trying to finish things up around the house before they came to visit. I had just gotten caught in a freak rain and hail storm while bringing wood into the garage for the fireplace. There was one clap of thunder and that was when I decided to head inside…I’m not a fan of thunderstorms.

As I looked out the window I saw a mud covered yellow lab running down the street. I told my mom I had to go get it and ran outside.

I called for the dog, but she didn’t hear me until I got right up behind her.

When she realized I was there she came running to me and just followed me home…running under the garage door as it opened.

She reminded me of Oak.

Sweet, happy, and older.

oak

I dried her off, but she was too dirty to come inside. I took her water and gave her Odyssey’s dog bed.

She had a collar and tag, so I called and left a message.

Eventually, her owner called.

She asked if there had been thunder, and I said yes.

Kassi, as the dog was called, was afraid of thunder and would dig out of the yard to “get away from it”.

Oak was afraid of thunder, too. We would snuggle together during thunderstorms in Colorado.

In some way, Oak was giving me a little visit on the day before Thanksgiving.

It warmed my heart and made me smile.

and, finally, thanksgiving

{as written 10 days ago}

I dropped my parents off at the airport today.

The table that was filled for every meal the last 6 days is empty.

It’s quiet.

memories were made

As they are everyday, but there were special ones this week.

We celebrated our first Thanksgiving in our home.

thanksgiving
We’ve been in this house for almost 5 years, but we’ve never celebrated Thanksgiving here. We were in Colorado last year and have been blessed enough to have wonderful friends and neighbors who have invited us to be a part of their family celebrations other years.

Each morning we woke up to a warm fire in the fireplace that Ryan had started before everybody woke up. Not sure if he just stayed up all night, or if he got up extra early. Either way, we all enjoyed waking up to the crackle and warmth it provided.

You see, we talked to my parents about converting our gas log kit back into a wood burning fireplace and thought it might be a project they could help us with.  Little did they know we had already hatched a plan with a neighbor who helped Ryan out in trade for our gas log set that he wanted to convert his wood burning fireplace to a gas fireplace. We had a chimney sweep come clean and check our fireplace and chimney, and the Friday before Thanksgiving week we had 3/4 cord of wood delivered. Lorelai and I spent most of the day filling our radio flyer wagon and stacking as many logs as we could before the downpour started here in Portland. I stacked almost 1/2 cord of wood to fill the log rack we bought, and left the rest for Ryan which he stacked in a steady rain on the Saturday before Thanksgiving in our unused dog run.

but i digress

We shared our own tree cutting tradition with my parents at Sleigh Bells in Sherwood.

oh christmas tree

The kids even got to “see” Santa, but were not yet ready to sit on his lap. We peeked around Christmas displays, but kept our distance from the man in red.

Our tree was up and decorated in record time with help from my parents and the kids. We actually put our “real” ornaments up this year…not the plastic and paper ones I used the last 4 years! Collected since we were married over 12 years ago…personalized…and, just like when I would decorate the tree with my mom, a story about where each one came from.

We made homemade pizza for dinner, drank wine, and enjoyed introducing my parents to Reece’s (and my) favorite, American Pickers.

Saturday morning, we took a trip to one of our favorite places for breakfast. Nothing fancy, but can you believe my parents have never eaten at Panera?! I know there is one within a couple blocks of my dad’s office because I used to go there when I worked in the same office 13 years ago! The kids love sitting by the big table next to the fireplace and for once I did not feel awkward taking up a large table for 8 because we actually had 6 to almost fill it! We split off into the “girl’s car” and the “boy’s car” to go the the craft store and the sporting goods store, respectively. That afternoon we got out of the house and caught another glimpse of Santa at Bridgeport Village. The kids, again, did not want to see him, but Ryan and Topher both made sure that they were not on Santa’s “naughty” list.

bridgeport

The unanimous decision was made to order takeout for dinner, so we had a cocktail at PF Changs while waiting for our lettuce wraps and lemon chicken to enjoy at home.

On Sunday, the boys went out to Sauvie Island and shared the Catlin family tradition of a Thanksgiving weekend duck hunt with Reece for the first time.

hunting2

When they got home I asked Reece what he thought of going duck hunting with Poppa and Topher.

hunting1

His reply was, “Best.”

hunting4

I think he liked it.

Lorelai, Meme, and I spent the morning together creating gingerbread masterpieces, searching for the perfect princess nighties (for Lorelai), and trying a new recipe with some of the Thanksgiving leftovers.

post hunting nap

post hunting

The afternoon was spent relaxing by the fire, snuggled under quilts, watching football. Eventually we made a trip to Whole Foods to get more food and wine (like we needed it) and threw together another great meal of crab cakes, salmon, chicken satay, steak, and roasted vegetables.

Monday morning we raced to get the kids back into a regular routine. It is Reece’s turn to be Star of the Week, and although we had four days to prepare his Sharing Box and other information, we were pulling it all together before 8:30 on a Monday morning. The items were strongly focused on hunting, as the hunt from the day before was fresh in his mind.

While the kids were at school for a couple of hours, the adults ran some errands, got cleaned up, and turned the last of the leftovers into a delicious potato turkey soup that we all ate for lunch.

We had a great lunch together before Ryan had to leave to work in California for the week.

Tuesday was a very special day. We took lunch to Reece to be a part of his Star Week. We brought burgers from Burgerville and sat in the gym to eat with his class. He even saved a special scooter to ride around the gym with him. I could not keep up with those 5 years olds…they move fast!

sharing a shake

hoop walking

hoop1

hoop2

hoop3

After lunch we were able to spend a few minutes in his class when I was able to read a letter that Ryan wrote about what we think is special about Reece, and Reece was able to introduce me, Lorelai, Meme, and Topher to the class.

red bike

After that excitement, we scooted to the car to drive Meme and Topher to the airport so they could get back to Colorado.

Hugs and kisses…and quiet.

Memories were made.

home is…thanksgiving with meme and topher.

unexpected

It’s been quite a week.

Ryan’s been traveling for work.

Ben has been sick.

And, the weather has been wacky!

We have had more snow showers in the last week than we had all winter.

That’s not saying much for Portland, but it’s also saying a lot for Portland.

We don’t get much snow.

Rain, yes.

Snow, no.

So, while the rest of the country was enjoying spring or summer like temperatures today, let me remind you what winter looks like.

It started around 5pm on Tuesday Wednesday night…

Just falling, not sticking.

If you follow my Instagram feed (homeisablog), you may have seen some photos taken at 1am…I couldn’t sleep.

This morning we got outside early.

And, built a snowman.

“Hello, Snowman. I am Lala.”

(for the record, she no longer wants to be called a baby girl)

Ryan was worried about our recently sowed spinach, lettuce, and kale. I found (and knew from experience in Colorado) that snow insulates, so you shouldn’t cover your plants in the snow.

Despite the fact that it wasn’t even a normal school day for the little guy we declared it a “Snow Day!”

The little guy plowed snow with his new monster truck.

Our snowman watched happily.

The little guy decided the shovel was a better plow.

Lala gave it a try, but she wasn’t into the hard labor. According to her, snow pants were not acceptable fashion this morning.

So, I took some photos.

The little guy visited with the snowman.

And, posed for a photo.

Lala decided sitting in a chair under a blanket was warmer than playing in the snow. (Did I mention the not wanting to wear snow pants?!)

She’s smart, but…

…she’s got to learn to be tough if she’s gonna hang. We’ve got camping, skiing, and lots of other outdoor activities to do.

So, I snapped some more photos while the kids rested and played.

The blue sky was peeking through.

I am sure the Camellia would have been just fine without the snow.

There are definitely more to come.

By the afternoon, our snowman was all the snow that was left of our “Snow Day!”

He’s slumping a bit.

Looking watch over our garden.

By dinner, the kids were over the snow.

Lala moved on to dress up.

“Bat-Lala to the rescue!”

She was telling me that she needs a Lalaloopsy costume.

I agree.

These kids were raised in Oregon…they’re not used to snow.

We’ll have to see what our snowman does at night.

Stay tuned…

home is…an unexpected winter storm during the first full week of spring.

get moving…

Happiness consists in activity: such is the constitution of our nature; it is a running stream, and not a stagnant pool.
~John M. Good

I love moving water.

It is one of the things I love the most about living in the Pacific Northwest.

Whether it is the great Columbia River, the smaller rivers and streams, the Pacific Ocean, or even the falling rain there is moving water everywhere.

A good friend, Mike Gould, once asked me if I stood next to a river which way would I want to instinctively go? Upstream to find out where it started? Or, downstream to see where it ends? What about  you?  Which way would you choose?

home is…being the running stream, not the stagnant pool.

Lost in Transition

A lot has been going on the last two weeks.  We found out we are having a baby girl, my 97 year old grandmother passed away, we became a two car family and coordinated the transport of a car from Oregon to Colorado, we moved the little guy to his “big boy” room, we had new carpet put in the house, and today we had to say goodbye to our beautiful little kitty, Murphy.
It seems that every time I sit down to write something that the right words don’t come out.  I guess that’s why I don’t write for Hallmark.  I want to be deep and meaningful, but I am at a loss.  The ups and downs of life come at us all the time, but the last couple of weeks they have come with lightning speed.  Some of the events were planned or “expected”.  Others, like the loss of our sweet Murphy, came on suddenly and have been quite a shock to the system.
The good news is that we have a healthy baby girl on the way, the little guy is sleeping well in his new room, and we have beautiful new carpet.  The hard stuff is dealing with the loss of Grandma and, right now, Murphy.  And, while dealing with all of these emotions, my house is not put back together and that will have to wait until the weekend after Ryan returns from Seattle.
I am on a roller-coaster of emotion due to my fluctuating pregnancy hormones as it is, and I am feeling a bit lost in transition.