Life, Thankfuls


Today I turned 27.

Normally – I hate my birthday.  Not so much the fact that I am having another birthday -but the whole spotlight on me -sort of makes me uncomfortable.  Getting older, being old -the whole package.  But today?  Today was pretty epic.

It was one of those all-around amazing days that left my heart feeling full and happy.  An almost guilty type happy -because the day has been that great.  The kind of day that fills you up with all the happy, bubbly feelings that leave you smiling.  A kind of day I wish I could bottle up so tightly and pull it out on grey days.

Mom went all out -as she does, to make me feel special.  With cake, balloons, presents and flowers.  We had lunch together -and rounded the afternoon out with a free coffee from Starbucks.  Nothing beats free!

There was a special package in the mail from my friend, a number of special messages and of course -a few Starbucks gift cards from mom and Amanda and co.

The evening was finished up with a free (yes, free!) steak dinner at a restaurant with a small group of good friends, mom and dad.  I can’t remember the last time I was out for my birthday with friends.  It’s always nice to spend time with family -but adding some really good friends to the mix made my heart happy.

It was a…wonderful day.

I didn’t win a million dollars -but cashed out in the friends and family department.

A big thank you to everyone who made my day special.  I really, really enjoyed it.

I’d say 27 is off to a good start.

Life, Thankfuls, Thoughts

Welcome to The Room!

About ten years ago, we made a move from one house to another.  I will spare you the details, the stories and everything else involved with the great move – just know that nothing is ever as simple as it seems, and get to my point: My room.

When we moved in, my sister and I were basically given the run of the room upstairs.  It was a long, narrow strip of room in the middle of two attics.  It was a decent size, but awkward shape.  The floor was covered in green carpet.  The kind that you would find on a pool table.  There were about 10 closet doors along one side of the room, and cardboard paneling along the other side.

We were told at one point, it was considered an orphanage.  I don’t know how true that story is, but it’s one that my sister and I ran with for years.  It made sense.  It worked.  And now there we were.

It was a frantic move that didn’t involve a whole lot of planning or preparing.  One day we lived in one house.  The next we were moving into another.  Not for terrible reasons – the reasons were all good.  It was just a rush to get from one house to the other – for reasons I can’t recall.

At one point, we had four mattresses lining the room – one for us, and one for the dog and cat.  And then somewhere along the way, we stacked the mattresses, and made us each a bigger bed.

Our room also became a room for the chickens that were hurt.  Or…needing time to readjust.  Such as Amanda’s 10 year old hen: Big Red.  She dutifully kept our dog supplied with treats.  Moving along…

room 008

See the carpet?

room 007

This is one of those pictures that I really don’t know where to begin.  Yes, that is a rooster on my bed.  Yes he is crowing.  Yes those are stickers on my wall.  No I don’t know why they are there.

Anyways, over the past number of years, we have cleaned up the room, moved the chickens out (vacuumed), put drywall in, put a few decorations up.  Re-stained the closets because, can we say ORANGE?

room 004

Also worth noting: That flooring is what was under the green carpet – leaving us not a whole lot to work with.  And yes, that is the same rooster.

We painted an accent wall, repainted the rest of the room white, threw down a few rugs – and then Amanda got married and left me alone with the giant room.  One afternoon, in a fit of anger (who knows why, really) I ripped up 1/2 the floor.  Another day I decided a good color for the room would be “Jamaican Blue.”


Obviously we were going from bad to worse rather quickly.  None of our plans for the room were panning out, paint wasn’t cutting it anymore, and I was ready for some updates.

When I returned home from England – I went and got a price to have carpet installed, and was literally appalled that we waited so long to make the move.

This last week I moved everything we stashed in our room (note to self: its time to get rid of things!) from one room to another.  I didn’t think we had a lot of stuff, but moving things will prove you know nothing.  I painted over the blue wall, and returned the entire room to a color known as “Hint of gray” (aside from our purple wall, which is there to stay.)


This was right before everything pictured in the room above was covered in tiny specks of paint.  Note to self: Move the laptop and all other items of importance before painting.


….Out with the old….

DSCN0190And in with the new!  I went up yesterday, and didn’t like the look.  Hated it.  Was upset with it.  I had convinced myself that the color was going to be different, and upon seeing it – was devastated.  I know, right?  But after a few minutes, I took another look – and fell in love.

I spent the night at the shop, because the carpet man was coming to finish installing this morning at some stupid early hour, and I like my sleep on Saturday mornings.  Mom was nice enough to let him in this morning (thanks mom!)

And then?


I don’t think I could be any more in love.


The purple wall and our ten million closets.

DSCN0201And this?  Well this just makes me happy for reasons I can’t explain.  I think it will be my happy corner.  It’s the small things really.  The attention to details.  The carpeting AROUND the obstacles and making it look oh so pretty.


We aren’t completely done up there yet – I have big plans to change the closet color, and then comes the adding back in of all the things, but until then – I can’t help but brag just a little…

England - 2014, Family, Life, Photography, Thankfuls

“What do you do?”

Before I left Ketchikan to come over here, the most common question of all is “What are you going to do there for three months!” I am always a bit taken back, when people ask that. I sort of want to ask what they will be doing for three months. But I don’t. I just smile and say something along the lines of “Oh boy…so much to do!” For example…I don’t even know what today is. I mean I do, because I have deadlines and have to keep up with them – but time goes SO fast around here, that three months – seems literally, like three days.

The first two weeks of our trip was focused on vacation time. We went to Portugal, and then spent the next week trying to cram as much as possible into our schedules because mom and dad would be leaving in a week. If you want to see time fly, literally, just try to do everything in one week. Its not possible. We did a lot, but not everything. And then they left. And life went back to deadlines and projects.

So just WHAT will I be doing for three months? To be honest, Im not entirely sure. I couldn’t even tell you what I have been doing these past few weeks, or how long I have been here. Or what day it is. But if its anything like this past stretch of time has been – Im pretty sure I wont need to worry about that. Take today, for example.

I woke up a little bit early so instead of rolling back for a few more zz’s I took advantage of the quiet and read my bible. About 20 minutes later, Amanda flung the door open. And about 2 minutes after that, Judah came running in. Then there was breakfast. And coffee. Which isnt as easy as it sounds. Because the kitchen is down about 10 flights of stairs, and the coffee pot is a French press. And Judah likes to grind the beans. A short time later, David leaves for work.

After coffee I take my shower and get ready for the day, where its decided that I will take the first stab at writing. I pack my computer, and head to the coffee shop around 11. This is the only way to really get any writing done. We frequent the coffee shop a lot. I write for three hours, when Amanda shows up. We have errands to run she says. And normally – errands are no fun. Except that here, they are. Because Im not doing them alone. And everything is somewhat of an adventure.

We hit up the post office, the computer shop and return a coat I didn’t like. We laugh about returning things, and comment about “How old” we are – returning things, and frequenting the post office. We look for masa…something that doesn’t seem to exist in this town, or country – and then Amanda says good bye. Judah and I hit the store for some food, because three hours of writing, followed by an hour of running around doing errands, then trekking back up the mile long hill will make a person hungry.

I haven’t hit the stores alone with a 2 year old before, but we managed. He growled at other customers, and I tried to remember how much was too much to pay for a loaf of bread. We forget the peanut butter in the cart, and then stop to ride the coin operated toys. He rides them without any money – and I sort the groceries. Then we make our way home.

He points out all the flowers, the trees, that man….wait a minute…that man happens to be David. We wave, and continue on. Up up up UP the hill. And into the kitchen. We get lunch. He grabs a fist full of jelly from the jar, and panics that the recycling wont return. We make our way up the ten flights of stairs. We watch some curious George, I email with Amanda – and then my computer dies. She has my charger, so instead Judah and I play monsters. And then we go outside to “Shoot the bad guys.”


I try to give him some photography tips “The light is PERFECT for portraits” I tell him. But hes having none of it. “Stand in this shadowy light!” he looks at me like Im nuts. And I probably am.


Then Amanda shows up. Hungry from her three hour writing stunt, and trek up the hill, we go into the kitchen. She gets a bright idea! “ Lets plant the garden” we race out. Just as we start digging holes – it starts. One drop followed by another – and before long its pouring rain. We run fast, laughing at the sight.

Then we make cookies. Because what else does one do on a rainy afternoon when there is so much to be done, and so little time?

After cookies, we clean. Dishes, vacuuming, and a little bit of sorting. The vacuum leads to some unexpected hair styles, and Judah spends nearly an hour giving himself new styles.

By the time its all over, its nearly 9pm.

There is nothing to show for the days work. A few cookies, two or three cloves of garlic that happened to make it in the ground, and a few blurry pictures. But somehow, the day was perfect. Its not story worthy. It cant be retold in three months as “What I did for three months” and it certainly wont go down in the history books. Except maybe it will. Because that’s what life looks like at the moment. Running in the rain, planting garlic, making cookies, and hair styles.

I couldn’t tell you what I did today. Couldn’t tell you what occupied my time these last few weeks. But I can tell you this – the times I spend here? Are some of the best times in my life.  I just dont know how to say what I do.


Family, Photography, Thankfuls

Thanksgiving Shots

I was reading back over last years month of November, laughing at the random bits I had written down and kicking myself for not doing something similar this year.  But then I had to remember – last year it was just dad and I here.  This year there was twice our regular population, and an almost 2 year old keeping things lively around these parts.  So while I may not have had a lot of words, or photos these past few months…I have two months full of adventures that arent anything out of the ordinary…except they are.  Having the ability to pick up where you left off with someone, even months, years later is just awesome.

When Amanda and David (and Mr JD) got off the plane, there was nothing nerve racking or frightening.  No worry, just giddiness that hasnt stopped.  Until I stop to think that their time here is almost over.  And then I get sad, and dont want to let them go.  Because even though it means we will be going THERE sooner, it means that I will be leaving there sooner, and then…then well, then who knows what.

All that is I guess to say, this thanksgiving wasnt one that will stand out in years to come.  We didnt have anything spectacular, and while the food was pretty good – I think we have pretty good food most of the time.  But it was just like the past few months have been.  Awesome without reason.  With a side of crazy just to keep things down to earth and normal.


We went outside and played ball, got ready to go to the waterfall and our wood showed up.  So we stacked wood.

DSC_0224I think this is pretty much how everyone felt about that.


Then we finally made our way to the waterfall.  Where the lighting wasnt all that great and I messed around with different shutter speeds etc.


I threatened to get mad – because it just wasnt working.  But then turned my attention to other things.


Like these two.  Who were about as difficult to capture as their almost 2 year old!  🙂


Then we came home to make a big dinner.  We had some extra special help in the kitchen department.


Ive wanted to take pictures of these beets since…well, for a long time.  I thought they just looked really cool.


The finished product.


And…the Fam.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, hope you all had a wonderful day.

Family, From England, Thankfuls

January 5

Since today is a special day, I thought it would be appropriate to write a blog post, dedicated to none other than a very special person.

This person is indeed special. In fact, he’s one of the most special people I know. And I know quite a few. What makes him so special you might ask? Well, he’s small and cute and cheeky, but so very, very smart.

He is just under two feet small, but to me that is very tall, considering that just a few months ago, he was under a foot. He may be small but he is growing fast, and his personality is as big as life itself!

How many thing has he learned in a few short months? More than probably most of us will learn in a few years. He is learning a new language, learning what reactions happen with cause and effect, learning what it means to change from one thing into another. And now, as of today, he has even mastered the unthinkable, despite never before stepping out on his own, he has now learned even to walk.

His bright sunshine face lights up a room, as well as my heart, and my life is better just because he’s in it.

I will always love him, and I desperately hope that he will always love me. He’s stolen my heart and captured my love. I hope one day to look back and see, that though my love for him will have changed throughout the years, it will only be to have grown deeper.

Happy Birthday to Judah!

My little buddy and our big boy!