Friday, May 22, 2015


Earlier this week we headed east to explore the deserts—both the Colorado and the Mojave.  I had planned the days as days off from school; instead, we counted them all!  The boys had a blast and learned lots.  Or, more accurately, we all did.  What more could you ask? 

Checking out Joshua Tree National Park


Entering the park




California Fan Palms at Cottonwood Springs

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Ocotillo….nature’s fence.

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Creosote bush.  Smells like a campfire!


The “man’ rock on the way to the Lost Mine

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The view near the Lost Mine.  The Salton Sea is in the distance.  IT would be easier to see if it hadn’t been so smoggy. 


Cholla cactus garden.


Skull rock.


Trailhead at Ryan Mountain


A Joshua tree!  They look like a Dr. Seuss creation…or perhaps his inspiration.


The view from Keys View.

Then, we spent part of a day exploring the (absolutely FABULOUS!) Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert.  The boys—all 3—loved it.  Mazes. Puzzles.  Laser harp music.  Weaving.  Motorcycles.  And building race cars.  Oh my.  I think we spent 2 hours just putting together K’nex race cars and racing them.  Such a great day!

The last day we headed up to Mount San Jacinto State Park.  The only way to get there is up the Palm Springs Aerial Tram.  SO cool!!  The tram ride is 10 minutes, and goes from an elevation of 2500’ to a elevation of 8500’.  And…the tram rotates on the way!  The views were astounding.  The hiking was amazing.  The snow was a fun bonus. The day was beautiful, and we had a great time.

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Heading up.  On the cable, just at the edge of the rocks toward the top of the picture is the other tram, heading down.


Taking in the view




Snow means snowballs.  Always.


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Heading back down.

Incredible days.  So amazing to see God’s handiwork, and to wonder at how different it is from what we are used to.  Creativity?  I think God’s got it covered!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

out of the blue

Sometimes these boys of our astound me.  The other morning they blew me away.

Mornings here are slow and peaceful.  I’m enjoying the change of pace, and they are too.  Our normal routine includes some snuggle time before we start our day.  Monday was no different.  As we were discussing the agenda for the day, one of the boys abruptly changed topics on me.  “Mom,” he said, “We need another baby.  There are lots and LOTS of boys in China who need moms and dads.  You and Dad are the best.  We’ll share.  We’d love to, right?”

After recovering from the initial shock, I tried to defuse the situation.  I said with a grin, “Um…no more blue.  Mom’s already outnumbered.”  Immediately, both boys shouted that pink would be fine, that they’d love a baby sister.  “Well, you wouldn’t be able to have your own rooms any more,” I replied.  Having their own rooms here has been a BIG DEAL, and I was certain that would be a deal-breaker.  “And….babies are a LOT of work.”

Wrong again.  The sweet little man who first brought it up didn’t even hesitate.  “Momma, I will share my room.  I will take are of her in the night. I want to do like Hailey did with me when I was a baby.   I will make her feel safe and loved.  I know how.  You and Dad do it every day.  Hailey learned—she did it for me.  I can do it.”

When I finally recovered (and quit crying!), I pointed out that while adopting a baby girl sounds like lots of fun, they needed to keep in mind that Daddy was OLD and would be WAAAYYY old when this desired baby turned 18.  Not a problem—the dynamic duo has that issue solved too.  “We’ll all be older then, Mom.  It’s fine.  Brent can help.  Hailey and Alec can help take care of her. They’re MARRIED!  Emily and Tori would love her.  Even I will be old enough—she can come live with me.  She’ll have a family, Mom.  That’s what matters!”

Speechless.  These boys.  Their hearts.  Such love.  And old parents.  Pray for us.

“Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.  But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.”  ~James 1:23-24

“God sets the lonely in families…”  ~Psalm 68:6a

Sunday, May 3, 2015

creative gardening

With the glorious weather that comes with life in southern California, I really want a garden.  I love growing vegetables and fruit and miss the sight of my fruit trees, raspberries, and roses from my kitchen window.  Here, though, we have no yard—just a brick patio. 

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It’s a nice brick patio, but not exactly conducive to a garden.  Sometimes, though, being married to a creative engineer has its benefits.  Smile

We had discussed various options for a container garden before the boys and I headed to Seattle at the beginning of April.  Jim researched some and showed me an idea on Saturday.  Because Logan wasn’t feeling well, instead of exploring the area we headed to Home Depot for supplies for my new garden.  Check out what we did!

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First, we picked up some cedar stair risers.  You know, the kind that you put on a deck?  Yep.  Those.  Then we attached them to the pergola posts.

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We added cedar fence boards (and cedar trim boards to stiffen the fence boards over the 6’ span).

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Add some plastic window box liners and soil, and you’ve got a great container garden!

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I LOVE IT!!!   The drip  irrigation will be expanded for the garden tomorrow evening.  The seeds (beets, carrots, zucchini, butternut squash, and cantaloupe, all heirloom) will be here Wednesday.  The bell peppers will be planted tomorrow.  Small pots for herbs will go on the top shelf and will be added later in the week.  (Note:  that’s rosemary in the pot by the fence, visible in the previous picture as well.  It’s HUGE!  Smells heavenly too…)  The heirloom tomato pot is on the other side of the pergola, under an existing drip line.

I’ve told Jim many times that while I love the fact that we’re not tied at home with yard work, I miss my garden fiercely.  This should help. 


On April 1, the boys and I flew back to Seattle so that Logan could have surgery at Seattle Children’s, with the plastic surgeon and craniofacial team that’s been providing his care for the last almost 7 years.  Pre-op was April 6; surgery was April 17.  Seattle was wonderful and we loved every minute of being there. 

Surgery day was a Friday, and Logan has his last meal at 5:50am.  Then, at 9:55am he has his last drink of clear liquid—a large glass of apple juice.  We arrived at the hospital at 1pm to check in, as requested.  Then, we waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Finally, at 4pm they were ready to take him back for surgery.  For a child with trauma triggers around access to food, this was excruciating!  But we survived.  Surgery took just over 2 hours, and the dr. was very pleased with the results..  (Logan was born with a cleft lip and cleft palate.  This surgery was to repair the alveolar cleft—the gap in his upper jaw—so that he can retain the permanent teeth waiting to erupt.  They use bone from his hip for the graft.)

Around 8:15pm they finally moved Logan to a room.  He was a bit loopy…
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Although we loved everything about the nursing care we received at the hospital, being a post-surgery patient on a medical unit was challenging.  The nurses didn’t have a good handle on Logan’s surgery or the level of pain associated with it.  They didn’t know the procedure for his oral medications.  And they didn’t treat his pain adequately.  It’s not their fault—they followed the orders as given.  They simply don’t have post-surgery patients on their floor very often, and the particular surgery Logan had, with 2 incision sites, is extremely painful.  We left the hospital Saturday morning without appropriate pain medication, because he ‘hadn’t needed any, so you probably don’t need it.’  Not having done this before, I was clueless and went along with it.  BIG mistake!  Saturday was tolerable, Sunday was mostly manageable, but Monday was a nightmare!!  6 hours of crying, 4 phone calls, and a trip to our (amazing, incredible) pediatrician finally brought the right meds and relief. 

Now 15 days post surgery (and back in California since the 28th), Logan’s doing awesome!  His post-op appointment went very well, and the nurse practitioner we saw thought his recovery was coming along quite well.  Everything looked excellent and we were cleared to return to California and the sun.  He’s still moving a bit slow—his hip hurts still if he overdoes the activity—but he’s pretty free to do as he pleases.  No contact sports for sure, but swimming and bike riding and body boarding and Disneyland are all cleared activities.  He’s one happy boy with that.  And, because his jaw looked so good, his only food restriction is on hard, sharp things like carrot sticks, apple slices, crackers,  and tortilla chips.  Works for him! 

Thank you all for your prayers and support.  They were much needed and much appreciated!  We are truly blessed to have friends and family like all of you.  Smile