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Friday, July 25, 2014

What the World Needs....

...is more 4 year olds re-enacting "Mary Poppins" in downtown Vancouver!!!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Locks of Love

A few days ago, I took a much anticipated trip to my favorite hair salon to see my favorite stylist!  You see I've been growing out my hair for 18 months.  And it was long!  Super long!  It was difficult to do anything with, blow dry, shampoo, or style.  Most days I just let it air dry and then put it up in a pony tail. 
I have known for awhile that I was going to make a change to my hair.  So I spent a few extra months growing it out to make sure it was long enough to donate.  I have always wanted to donate my hair to "Locks of Love".  They are a charity that makes wigs and hair pieces for children going through cancer treatment.  I have been touched by cancer for the last ten years.  My dad passed away from cancer and many family members have had cancer.  People I love.
For me this was something tangible that I could do to show support and love.  Really they are the ones that have done the difficult work (surgeries, treatments, chemo, radiation, tests).
So off it came!  All 10 inches of it.  That is the minimum requirement to donate so they can make the hair piece.  It was a crazy and exhilarating feeling to hold my hair.  Some teenage boys were enthralled with what I was doing and asking me a zillion questions about if I had donated my hair before etc.  It was funny. 
Another reason I choose to cut my hair is to signify a change in my life.  This last year has been difficult and a growing season for me.  I will start a new job position in the fall...one I felt led to.  I will be returning to my roots of early childhood education.  
This style of hair cut always makes me "feel" more teacherish! 
I am very happy with the hair cut and the donation to Locks of Love.
At home the hair goes into a plastic ziplock bag and then submitted with the form.  It will travel all the way to Florida to be processed and made into something beautiful for someone very beautiful!


Monday, July 14, 2014

Appointment Reminder

Tomorrow Luke has a Casey Eye Appointment at OHSU.  It's time for the three month check.  He will also have a visual field test again (since he didn't score very well on the last one).  Usually I am ok the night before the appointments, but I am nervous.  Mainly because whatever the outcome of the testing tomorrow whether joy or frustration I will face alone.  Mark is usually the one who goes with Luke to all the appointments.  They have their special "guy time".  This works out well for me because I have had a difficult time in the past going to these appointments.  If I am to be transparent, I will share with my readers that I have an anxiety disorder.  I am not proud of this fact, nor do I like to dwell on it either.  For the most part I try really, really hard not to let my anxiety limit or control my life.  It is a challenge at times.

You see, the last time I took Luke to a Casey Eye appointment alone...I had a full blown, can't breathe, think I am going to pass out, heart racing panic attack.  I'm a fighter so I fought through it, but it scared me (like all my panic attacks do) and Mark started going to all the appointments after my panic attack.  I should also add that Luke's doctor's office is a complete copy of the high risk OB/GYN that I visited for the first 12 weeks of my pregnancy with Bella.  They are located one floor above Casey Eye.  The waiting rooms, layout, flooring, etc are completely identical.  It's a trigger that causes me to remember those first three ultrasounds where I made the long trek from Vancouver to wait on pins and needles to see if my baby was alive or dead.  A little PTSD is going on for me I think.  So many times Mark is my safety net, and tomorrow he will not be there.  If you think of me tomorrow between noon and three pm. could you say a little prayer for me?  I would appreciate it...and one for Luke too?  It's no fun to have eyes dilated for a procedure, multiple eye drops, pressures checked on your eyes, and then have multiple doctors check you out, because...1) it is a teaching hospital and 2) Luke's type of glaucoma is so rare that everyone wants a peek.  Sometimes it's just not fun! 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Computer Upgrade!

 
See that little box?  Do you know what is in there?  A NEW COMPUTER!!!!!! (Yes it deserves six exclamation points cause that's how awesome it is!) My brother and sister totally rock!  Like totally bless my socks off, can't believe they did this, your generosity is inspiring, made me cry gift!  Total blessing people!  Just because they can, and they care, and they thought of our family.  
Ya...so...our last computer (as in the computer we used last week) was from the year 2006.  I bet you all can guess how fast and impressive it was!  My bro heard me mention we needed to buy a new computer before the fall and no sooner had I finished my sentence than he said to me, "Let Katie and I bless you guys with a new computer."  How cool is that!  Bam!  My need was met like that...and I don't think you can really classify a computer as a need (just a want).  So an amazing blessing!
And I am just going to brag on my bro for a minute here because he totally could of just bought us a standard PC, and I would have been over the moon happy, remember the good ole 2006 model?  But he didn't just buy a standard computer.  He bought us the computer he would like to have for himself.  It is absolutely beautiful and amazing and it makes me want to do the happy dance every time I see it.  It is an all- in- one computer but it is all wireless and it is TOUCH SCREEN!  I know I said it before but AMAZING!!! Gone are the days of the big tower...this one is all built in to the back of the screen.  Totally loving it!  Thank you David for your generous heart and kindness.  Thank you Katie too!


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Once A Month Shopping

Last month I decided to tackle "Once a month grocery shopping".  After spending a month researching blogs, books and articles, I wanted to try and see what it would be like to shop for the entire month in one day.
I focused on my three main stores I shop at: Costco, Win-Co and Safeway.  I also bought fruit from a farm stand to make strawberry jam.  The first thing I did was plan a menu for the month.  I planned each dinner for the month of June (main dish and sides).  I then came up with a list of snack food, breakfasts, lunches and school lunch items.  I made a detailed list for each store and then off I went. At the end of the three stores, I spent 573.00 dollars.  I saved all my lists and reciepts in a notebook so I can reference for future months.  I also wanted to track how quickly we use specific items like dishwasher tabs, cleaning wipes, fruit snacks etc.
This is what my kitchen looked like when I came home.  Crazy to put all that away.  But nice to have it all and to have a plan.  
One of the things I tried was buying a large package of hamburger; dividing and cooking it to freeze for later meals.  This has been genius for me and allowed me a lot of freedom in meal preparation at night. I browned all the hamburger meat I would need for the month and then divided it up into freezer bags and labeled them.
The next day I went and prepared 4 pans of enchiladas that we would be eating throughout the month. Two pans were chicken enchiladas and two pans were beef enchiladas.  I covered with foil when finished and out to the garage freezer they went.  When ready to make dinner, I pulled it out of the freezer and popped them into a 350 degree oven for 60 minutes.  I also cooked and froze two large lasagnas too.
Chicken enchiladas.
Beef enchiladas.
I also had fun this past month making strawberry jam!  

I processed two flats of strawberries and came out with a lot of jam.  It's one of Mark's favorites!!
I have to say we stuck with the menu about 80%.  There is always things that come up and you just role with it.  I think the most difficult part of the whole once a month shopping was coming up with the money to shop all in one day, especially when you get paid twice a month.  I think for our family looking to find a balance in twice a month shopping will be more beneficial for planning.  I am very glad that I tried this and feel that it was a success.  I am always looking for ways to save money and this was a strategy that proved successful!
 


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Our Chicken Adventure

The weekend before Easter the Dahl Family became 'backyard' farmers.  It was purely coincidence that we got baby chicks right in time for Easter, but it was really fun to have them for the holiday! Mark and I have been planning for chickens for at least a year (reading books, asking questions, planning a coop).  
We ended up with 6 baby chicks.  Some will lay brown eggs and others will lay the blue/green eggs.  I am pretty certain that one of the chickens is a rooster.  One of the Jersey Giants is a lot larger, has a really big comb and now is developing these beautiful tail feathers.  We can't keep a rooster in the city so once we hear the 'cock-a-doodle-doo' he will have to find a new home.  My heart is really sad about losing one and I am hoping to find him a home where he can live and not a home that will make him a meal.
Mark designed and built our movable coop.  He had a good friend of ours come and help as well.  I am really impressed with the design, although both of us wish that he had built it a bit taller as we have each hit our heads pretty hard.
Bella picked out the paint color and we each had a turn painting and helping build the coop.
I am proud that we raised them as babies.  They lived in the shed for many months growing and changing.  They've all been held and will eat out of my hands.
This was the day we "officially" moved them from the shed to the coop.  We still had their light on a timer outside for night time for another month.
As you can see our kids really love the chickens.  They have been a big part of raising the chickens too. We don't have any eggs yet (too soon still) but I look forward to the day that the kids can see and enjoy what we were working towards.  It is rewarding.  None of our chickens have names.  We opted not too but I do find myself very attached the chickens.  I love it that at a certain time of night they all head up their ramp to roost and they all come down early in the morning.  For the most part their care is very easy and maintenance pretty low.  The enjoy eating the grass (we move their coop each week), vegetables and they really love watermelon rinds.  This has been a fun adventure.  Can't wait to get those eggs!


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Tattle Telling and Tics

I am listening to my children argue with each other in the living room. Words spoken under muffled breath, "does he always have to be so bossy?" "Yes, he does…" I say in my head. In another room, forts are being built with soft baby blankets that just a few years earlier held tenderly my little one who now speaks to me with sass. Snow cones devoured, late night swims in the evening heat, hikes around lakes and playing at the park. It is safe to say that summer is in full swing.


 
To the outsider it might look like a perfect life glancing in, but summer and changes is not without challenges. After several months of Luke being tic free, he has developed yet another new tic. Thankfully he has never had several tics going on at the same time. It's always just been one. But one is enough. Some tics don't bother me, but this new one…oh man…is testing my patience. We've gone through eye blinking, shirt chewing, nose sniffing, nail biting, throat clearing and now teeth chomping. The sound of his upper teeth connecting with his lower ones is a test to my coping skills. I know from my research you can't tell them to "knock it off" it only makes them feel more compelled to tic. They can't control it, so you can't force them to control it. Eventually in time it will fade out and away. 

Truth…I am struggling feeling that somehow I brought this new tic on…that it is my fault. There isn't an exact science to what causes tics but a change in schedule, stress, routine change can all cause tics. I easily take it upon myself that this new tic is my fault because we have a much more relaxed schedule in the summer vs the school routine. I am having the kids read daily and do a math worksheet as not to fall behind in skills, but there is a lot of unstructured time.

Then yesterday Mark was notified that his position as a BNSF Railroad Mentor was being cut due to "need for manpower on the ground." Too much work….too few workers. They are so short staffed that they have called all the employees doing extra assignments back to the yard/road (I know…I know…railroad lingo). We have 48 hours to make a decision to where he works again. Yard switcher or Road Switcher. Each with pros and cons. Each with benefits and negatives. Even though the "higher ups" only say this is temporary, Mark really values his work as a mentor/leader. I could see a bit of disappointment when this news was announced. I am believing that this will be only temporary and he will mentor once again soon.

I look at our summer so far with all its ups and downs and isn't it true of life? Life with ups and downs…mountains and valleys. Not one without the other. Nothing ever stays the same…the perfect world doesn't exist. There was however; one perfect man that made a way for each one of us to have a relationship with HIM. He lived a sinless life for my sinful one. He was unselfish to cover my selfish ways. He suffered so I wouldn't have to. He is real, and holy and the giver of peace and patience and kindness and goodness. The maker of joy and love. He is faithful. Even though right now things may feel confused and weird and different…I am thankful HE is constant, ever faithful and good.

 

During this crazy time, I can choose to be full or worry or to be thankful for this wonderful exciting life. I am thankful…for my children, my husband, our home, cars and health insurance. Thankful for my new air conditioner that is cooling the house so beautifully. For BBQ's and sunshine. For a four year that has the most contagious laugh. For the art work my nine year old creates, and love of an 11 year old boy that melts my entire being. For a husband that loves me fiercely, protects me and considers me his partner and friend. Thankful for so many things! Especially for forgiveness from HIM, and also from others. For second chances, and re-commitments. For the beauty of a fresh start. For jobs and provision both old and new. For private school for my children, and a job that meets my needs. I am especially thankful for friends. My heart is full of thanksgiving.



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