Saturday, August 29, 2009

Happy Birthday Daddy!

Last Wednesday (I'm obviously not one of those up-to-the-minute bloggers) we celebrated David's 36th birthday. Man, we are on our way to 40....weird.

Anyway, he and I had a long-anticipated and much-needed lunch date at Todai (shout out to the DFAC for keeping our kids for us!). Then I drove around the Sellwood neighborhood looking for a parking spot while Dave fulfilled a lifelong dream of seeing Captain Bogg & Salty in concert. Yarrrrrr! I found a parking spot and rolled the stroller up to the park in time to yell "EAT A LIME!" and set up a little picnic. Then we busted out a chocolate cake and candles, and Dave and I sang 'Happy Birthday' while the kids drooled on the cake.

After the park, we came home to open presents. All our presents right now have to be made or bought with the Oregon Trail card, which is completely okay with us! This was mine:

We love these because we consumed mass amount of these (originally intended on being souvenirs for the folks back home) on our honeymoon in Maui.

Korah makes the most fantastic cards! She is so creative and sweet. And I love how she is always so proud of herself. She'll ask you for days if you saw it, liked it, if you want to see it again.

The kids have caught on to what Birthday Cards are all about and often include "games" as part of the Birthday Card Experience. Taylor's was my personal favorite, with these words:

"Dear daddy, I hope your birthday is so fun that you want to have three more!!"

Even Morgen made a card this year! She had a lot to say, and she had her own little fun surprises inside. Taylor helped her write it all out, and they did all this without my prompting or anything! They are amazing....

Korah and her grandma picked out a singing card which Micah thought was just hilarious. It went something like, "Nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-naahhhhh!" You know the one. It's his favorite song.

I have to mention that getting that group photo at the top was not an easy shot. And then I discovered when it was all over that there was a huge, greasy fingerprint on my lens. (sigh) Oh well. I was there...I lived it. I don't need a professional photo of it! And look how much fun we were having:

A great day was had by all! Happy Birthday, V.V.!

...and many more....(than four)...

Thursday, August 27, 2009


In the beginning of summer I noticed a lot of people blogging about the amazing wonder that is their kid taking swimming lessons. And I was like, really? You have to take your camera everywhere, even to watch your kids do like, nothing in the "lesson"? I'd bring a book.

And then my mom visited and since she pretty much resembles a mermaid (functional on land, but much more dynamic in water), swimming lessons became a priority if we wanted to play with her at all. And now I get it.

In fact, I did bring a book. I had my nose buried in it for the first few days as I worked on tanning the places where the sun don't shine (just my legs, people...I live in Oregon). So when I would look up to see what they were doing in class, I was truly amazed at the progress they were making in their swimming technique! No more flailing about; more controlled arm circles and moving across the pool! It was very exciting.

Half of the pictures I took (my proudest moments) are of kids underwater, since that is when they are swimming. Underwater. So cool! But an interesting picture this does not make...

The other half of my pictures are of kids sputtering water off of their faces and wiping their eyes, since I'm too cheap to buy goggles ("when I was a kid, we didn't have goggles for swimming lessons! We had chlorine burns and we liked it!").

Morgen played all the tricks in the book so that she wouldn't have to stick her head in the water for the first week. Her favorite thing is hopping up and down in the water...constantly. If she wasn't doing an exercise for the teacher, she was hopping. Hilarious! But in typical Morgen fashion, she eventually tried it, succeeded with perfection and hasn't looked back.

Micah was born in the water. Literally. And since his birth, it has been harder to keep him above the surface than below! So you'd think he'd be a natural...but he's so excited to be in the water that he sometimes forgets to coordinate his arms and legs to actually accomplish some real movement! But no worries...Micah eventually gets where he's going, and he always surfaces with this look on his face:

No kidding. Start to finish, this guy's grinning and laughing. He loves swimming so much!

So sweet. Korah's taking Micah to the "deep end" (4 ft)

In between classes they got to play in the shallow side of the pool (the deep side is separated by that solid wall). It's totally safe and shallow and so much fun! They are apparently doing something hilarious with the Noodle here.... I love this picture.

Where's Noble during all of this, you ask?

Naked, of course. These were 100 degree days we're talkin' about! He was busy learning to crawl! I took him into the water a few times and this little guy (also born in the water) loves it too! He makes little motor boat sounds and loves when I count 1-2-3 (hold breath) and scoop him underwater about a foot and bring him back up. He's always eager for more! And if he's not motoring through the water or diving down, he is splashing with all his might. What a fun little guy.

I love summer. And the sun. And outdoor pools. Let's go swimming!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

No Wonder Tweens Are Swooning....

...we have a baby Nick Jonas!

We watched a Jonas Brothers video this morning to see what all the hype is about, and had a good laugh watching Noble dance to it. We love his crazy curly hair and think he is way cuter and more talented than Nick Jonas. I mean, Noble can crawl all over the place now, and plays a mean air-guitar. He's pretty awesome if you ask us.


Eggs courtesy of Ruby and Uncle Lucy: zero dollars
Bruchetta from the garden: zero dollars
Trader Joe's Olive Tapenade: ok, a couple of dollars

A farm-fresh breakfast for me: priceless

Friday, August 7, 2009

Art 365 Daily

Tonight was a hard night. My body and spirit were drained for so many reasons, and I was just about at the end of myself when there was a knock on my door... Thank goodness for whiny Facebook status updates and the people who reach out beyond them, because there stood my good friend Laurie, asking if she could take my kids off to run around on the farm so I could have some alone time and visit First Thursday. I threw my arms around her and started to sob! How grateful I am for good friends.

I was so refreshed and invigorated that when I got home I dead-headed all my roses and cut the sun-burnt blooms off the hydrangia, packed up the yard debris bin and rolled it out to the curb. And I had an idea. Inspired by my friend Aaron's 365 Daily photography discipline --and I hesitate to say this because I am not very good at self-discipline and long term resolutions-- I decided I might try a 365 Daily ART project. Basically, I will do some sort of art every day. I hope most of it is painting. Something I drop a little bit of soul into. As Aaron says, this will be a way of pushing me to make better art (or make due with an average effort).

It is too late tonight to paint anything, but I have some ideas I've been wanting to sketch out, and I'm excited to have a reason to push 'em through. For tonight, I want to post some photos I took with my SLR in black and white over a year ago. I found the roll and developed it only a few short months ago, and was thrilled at what I found. If I was a millionaire, I would switch to photography, and only shoot film... but for now I paint; the poor-man's medium. (Heh-heh.)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Æbleskiver Day

Once upon a time, I had a grandmother. We called her Grandma Cat. Grandma Cat didn't have any cats. In fact, she didn't have any pets. For most of the time I knew her, she lived in a cool little mobile home in a cool little mobile home community. In her tiny--but cool--mobile home bathroom, she always had pantyhose hanging to dry everywhere; she was a nurse, and nurses have a lot of pantyhose. And comfy white sandals.

On special occasions, Grandma Cat loved to go to the quaint little town of Solvang just north of where we lived, and get Æbleskivers. When she passed away four years ago she passed her own Æbleskiver pan on to me and I declared August 5th, her birthday, as Æbleskiver Day.

Grandma left very specific instructions that I was to turn the Æbleskiver with a knitting needle, which I thought was appropriate because my first knitting needles, which I still have, were given to me by her.

I think she would be proud to know that I served them with my own blueberry/marionberry/raspberry jam! To be honeset, this was the first year I got over the intimidation of using that crazy pan and actually made Æbleskivers, and it was so much easier than I thought it would be. And oh so tastey! I am not a big fan of doughnuts at all, but these are more of a pancake...fried like a doughnut....and seriously, people. These are really, really good. Here is the recipe, which came with the cast iron Æbleskiver pan which my Grandma got at Rasmussen's in Solvang:

Danish Æbleskiver
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs, separated
3 Tbs. melted butter

Sift dry ingredients. Beat egg yolks. Add to milk. Combine with dry ingredients, add melted butter. Fold in beaten egg whites. Fry in Æbleskiver pan.

Happy Æbleskiver Day!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Farm Life

As the sun sets behind Forest Park, leaving the sky striped with a cotton candy pink and blue, the evening starts to cool, so I open the kitchen windows for some long-awaited fresh air. I feel a gentle coolness touch my face and shoulders; I inhale a deep breath....
...and then cough as my nose is filled with the aroma of chicken poop. life.

Wait. We don't live on a farm. And why'd we put the chicken coop right outside the kitchen window? I'll never know. (Did you just say "chicken window"? 'Cause I just did.)

Either way, living on a farm--and I use the word farm very loosely here--with five kids affords us some good stories. For instance, to watch Micah chasing around the chickens, picking them up, gently stroking their feathers and nuzzling his face into their's precious. A little gross. But precious. Micah really loves those chickens.

In fact, they are his playmates! Earlier today, he took them, one by one, up into the playhouse and put them each on their own shelf in a little cabinet that used to be in our bathroom. He must have shut the glass door on the very contented Ruby while he went to wrangle Uncle Lucy. Dave caught Micah stuffing--errr, arranging, rather--his fluffy friend and made him let them loose immediately.

Later on in the evening, as the sky turned into the aforementioned cotton candy, I took the baby on a little stroll up to the market to buy bread. When we got back, Micah met me outside and said with eyes wide and brow raised like he does when he's telling you something amazing, "mommy--one ah da chickens is SICK! It peed on me! It was YELLOW!" And I immediately wondered if the chickens needed to drink more water on these hot days like the rest of us (ah-hem).

After interviewing several witnesses, the story unfolds: Micah was sitting on the ground with Ruby in his lap, stroking her back (Ruby is the most elusive; they must be developing quite a relationship). Taylor came around the corner and was a little taken aback to see Ruby's head bowed low to the ground, so he thinks Micah is killing her, and then--! A scuffling, details are fuzzy, the chicken skitters off and Micah jumps up with the golden goo dripping down his shorts...RUBY HAS LAID AN EGG!

If you don't know*, they come out soft and harden up if all is going as it should....but this one popped and left it's deflated-balloon-looking shell dismembered from its yolk, and a four-year-old boy shocked, disgusted, a little embarassed, and intrigued!

I am sorry. I know that is not what you hoped to read as you grabbed your mug of coffee, your egg sandwich and sat down at the computer. I mean, does anyone really want to think about the journey of the egg before it reaches your sandwich?

By the way, egg sandwiches (with tomatoes, avo, thinly sliced red onions, oh, and a little garlic aioli, preferably on ciabatta) are just the best way to eat eggs. And egg sandwiches top my list of types of sandwich. Just in case you were wondering.

So farm life: it is...good. This is the Vonderhaus Life!

*I don't know much about chickens the comments for some more info, and stay tuned, while I do some more research....

Saturday, August 1, 2009


"I don't ever want you to die, Mommy. Because I couldn't live without you," said my daughter, whose heart is so bursting with love and adoration (sometimes for me!) at this stage of her ten-year-old life that she is sometimes compelled to think about the losses of death and dying.

I am compelled to stop, and not take for granted that I love being her mother. I love being the mother of a daughter. I love that Korah Lee.

I don't know how I'd live without you either, love.