All in the family

One of the challenges that I’d never really thought much about that we would face as our family grew was that we would have choices to be made about what sorts of things we would say yes to outside the things we do at home.  Not that we spend our days here in a bubble not engaging with the outside world.  Not at all so.  We love having a steady stream of people here for one thing or another.

Some of our friends are highly involved and committed to year around sports.  While for certain families this works great, it also has the potential to fragment the family quite a bit.  Dinners together are the exception instead of the rule.  The costs for kids who move beyond recreation-level sports are into the many hundreds of dollars per season.  However, even for just 6 weeks of YMCA level, “for fun” soccer for our kids it would have cost us almost $500.

When one child excels in a sport, it’s easy to get excited and put others on the sidelines (literally and figuratively).  We’ve watched this play out just this past year in fact.  It is harder than I’d have guessed to find things that a family with several children can be involved in together.

Two years ago this fall we happened upon a county wide 4-H meeting near us.  We stopped and talked with each club leader for any animals we were interested in.  The commitment levels varied a great deal.  The personality and “feel” of the groups did as well.  We still lived in our tiny rambler with our five children, mostly quite happily.  We had chickens and a dog and a cat.  We were far from anything that resembled any sort of country, agricultural life.  But we signed up anyway.  Figuring we could just learn about animals, make some friends and have some fun.

We had no idea what we were in for.  We spent that first year learning all sorts of interesting things about dairy goats.  But better than that we made some great friends.  Grown up ones as well as kid ones.  Each of our children were challenged to give presentations to the group.  Learning to stand up in front of your peers and share about something is such a helpful lifelong skill.

When we had the opportunity to move part way through that year we found ourselves living at the end of an unmaintained county road with a small pasture already in place.  And it happened to be just about kidding season.  Three baby goats quickly found their way to our little family farm and into our hearts.

Of course fair season is the culmination of the 4-H year.  We didn’t really “get” that the first year.  Last year we showed up at one small community fair and had a ball.  This year we did the same fair (pictures below!) but had anticipated all year long that we would do the Big One.  The full Monty of the fair world around these parts.  But it requires its own post which I promise to work on this week.  For now, here are some snapshots of us enjoying our time at Silvana together.  Even just a one-day, all day event for seven people isn’t a small affair….but it was insanely fun for all of us.  Finn included!

Finn getting ready to take on the show ring with the Tiny Tots
Audrey getting Little Su ready
Finn and Kodiak
Audrey and Little Su in the ring
Finn showing Kodiak
Finn with the (lovely) judge
Kyler with Posey
Caleb with Wyatt
Rylee with Blanchette
the lineup!
lovin' us some cousins who came to watch!
our little goat show-girl
the fantastic Finn
sweetest Kyler face ever
going for a sno-cone run
taking a snooze wearing his show ribbon - hard work wrangling goats when you're two!

Delighting in daughters

Her blanket is in the van and its dark and late and my foot has a tiny piece of glass in it and I don’t want to limp outside to get it.  She is too tired to argue so she gently takes my hand and cradles her cheek with my palm just like she would with her blankie.  She holds on to my other hand with her tiny one and I watch her eyes flutter.  Mine keep closing from a longer than most day of the hardest work.  But I will them back open to make sure I don’t miss getting to watch her fall asleep.

There is something delicious and other-worldly about little girls.  Her lips are a perfect tiny rosebud and her curls hang all around her face.  She reaches out to touch things that aren’t there and makes the softest little sounds as she drifts off.  Her skin is unblemished and untouched by age and I soak in all that she is in this moment.  She possesses a tender, sweet spirit and I pray for it and her to be protected in all the years to come.  That somehow she can cultivate and grow in her feminine, soft loveliness in this ever-so-mixed up world.

The older daughter, my first born, she has this intangible ability to sense how people feel around her.  Maybe that’s why she went to all the effort today to set up a tea party in the family room for us girls.  She thought of everything.  Put Ray LaMontagne on the CD player and a fan on for ambient noise.  Tried to light candles but couldn’t find a lighter.  Put a table cloth over the old card table and sprinkled rose petals from the yard all over the table.  She played two roles even, server/waitress and the friend joining us who was running late.  She switched between roles throughout our lunch.  Made sure to tell me I would be so impressed by the baker who’d made our cookies we were eating “she has FIVE kids, can you believe it? and she made these delicious cookies and they are gluten free!”  I grinned big and marveled at her nine year old self, play acting and still managing to compliment me in the most darling fashion.  There were even little umbrellas in our iced tea!  I rode the happy of our tea all day long.  I replayed it all over and over and was unceasingly thankful that I am blessed with these two daughters.

Time for lovely

Yesterday afternoon the boys were playing and the girls asked to have a tea party.  Rylee found a little pad of paper and wrote down their order and handed it to me.  Usually she runs her own tea party but this time she wanted to be waited on.  I could have told her I wasn’t a waitress (it’s been said before!) but instead I told them to wait at their table.  I donned my grandma’s old ruffled apron and rummaged around finding snacks and crystal bowls (that haven’t been used in years) and my wedding china.

It was the end of the week so options were slim for food but I decided it was more about presentation.  Rice crackers in a beautiful glass dish with a lid would be perfect.  I used the tray they’d set out for me and filled it up with fun things.

Oh their delight when they saw me in my apron at their door with a tray full of love!

It doesn’t come natural to me, this slowing down, but oh the sweetness that comes when I do.  And my goodness are children ever so good at helping me practice this discipline!

Who dun it?

It’s 9:30 at night.  The boys were put to bed 2 hours ago.  They are still awake though they shouldn’t be.  Their little heads have popped out of their rooms about 15 too many times tonight.  I give them one more stern “go to sleep please” and then head to my room with the baby who’s hungry.

Chris is on a late night long run.  I’m exhausted and ready for sleep.  Rylee is sleeping over at Nana’s.  Phineas gets what he needs and is about to be asleep in my arms when 3 kids burst in my door all talking at once:

Audrey went #2 in the potty!  No she didn’t!  I did, yes I did mama, I get a chocolate!

Just an hour ago I’d come home from the store with a brand new little potty for Audrey.  Really hoping to get a jump start on the whole potty training thing.  So if she’d figured it out this fast, I was thrilled.  But the accounts were all conflicting.  One by one they told me what they thought had happened.  By now baby Finn was wide eyed and listening to the action.  So much for sleep.

Audrey re-thought her statement and told me she hadn’t actually gone in it (she was still snug in her footie jammies which confirmed it had not been her).  She blurted out that it was Kyler.  He’s 5 and knows far better than that so I thought there was no way it was him.

By now I’m mildly amused and sure that the potty is empty and this is all a ploy to stay up later.

So I walk with all three in tow, and lo and behold the tiny potty is certainly full.

Now I figure someone is lying to me.  So I carefully ask each one who did it.  I explain there were only the three of them out there while I was in my room and it had to be one of them.

Not a word.  No confession just giggles and heads nodding no.

I am now baffled and laughing and its so late my sleuthing skills are seriously lacking.  I give up the inquiries and tuck them all in bed again.  But they are all riled up because there is a mystery at hand and they want to know the answer.

So do I.

My best assessment at this point is that it was the cat.  Our perfectly trained lovely sweet cat we’ve had for nearly 3 years.  Now I’m left picturing her using the pristine frog-shaped kid potty I just bought for her own kitty business and I can’t stop laughing.

I can’t toilet train my 3 year old child but the cat is another story…

Birthday Princess Audrey

We talked two years ago as a couple about how we wanted to downplay gifts at Christmas (making room for the real meaning of the season) and make an intentional effort to celebrate the uniqueness and blessing each child is on their birthdays.

We celebrated Audrey’s 3rd birthday (two days after my birthday and three days before our wedding anniversary…its been a busy week!) on Saturday with her sweet girl friends.  The sweetest princess pal being her older sister who prayed for her long before she was born into our family.  Such a treasure to watch these two girls love one another.

I took on my most ambitious cake-making yet with this 9 layer pink princess cake, it nearly tipped but we stuck a BBQ skewer in it and it held in okay!

The girls (and our two boys) all decorated crowns and scepters.

Audrey was pleased as punch with her cake, so worth the 5 hours of work!

By night’s end the party girl was worn out and we found her on the couch with her new pillow pet and her special blankie and her thumb…

It’s hard work being in a princess!  What a delight of a time to do girl stuff and celebrate the gift this sweet thing is to our family.  She makes us laugh and smile literally every single day.

Bedtime sweetness

This girl is a peach at bedtime (can’t quite say the same for the other 3 at the moment!)

We are babysitting Nana’s 2 kittens at the moment and they are finding themselves quite well-loved I’m sure.  About 10 seconds after this picture Audrey was fast asleep with her little buddy.

Anacortes-one year later

I realized in looking at pictures from our wonderful trip to Anacortes that we had many pictures of the family in the exact same places as last year and we were there in August both years…I thought it would be fun to post them together.  So much changes in a year!

august 2008 132

Tired Kyler last year

august 2009 177

Tired Kyler this year!

august 2008 110

Bathing three last year…

august 2009 119

Bathing four this year!

august 2008 156

Caleb last year…

august 2009 157

…and this year at the same beach.

august 2008 166

Sweet Rylee last August…

august 2009 132

..and this August, minus a few teeth!

august 2008 147

Kyler last year…

august 2009 135

Kyler this year, more hair and less baby chub!

august 2008 192

the baby cousins last year, tiny and new…

august 2009 069
august 2009 072
august 2009 073
august 2009 081

…baby cousins this year, into all kinds of mischief together!

august 2008 218

Last year, in the kitchen, looking at the baby deer and her mama…

august 2009 053

…this year in the kitchen with family visiting from Africa!

Need a photographer?


This is just a tiny taste of what’s to come-I could not wait to share.  We recently, through another friend, found an incredible photographer who we actually new in jr. high/high school.  We were all through with mall photos and wanted something unique, something beautiful and something that captured our kids in their natural state instead of in a studio.  Alicia resides in Arkansas but has family here so spends a fair bit of time in the Seattle area.  My sister and I were both lucky enough to score photo shoots with her this past week.

I had high hopes and I haven’t even seen my own kids pictures yet but if they are close to as amazing as the ones of my nephew and sister and brother-in-law, they will be amazing.  Alicia still has time open later this month and I think again in late August/early September if you are in need of some incredible photos.

I shopped around a lot.  With some photographers costing nearly $1000 for session and print fees, Alica’s prices were extremely reasonable.  And more than that, she takes great photos, which after all is what matters most.

I can hardly wait to see the shots from the nearly two hours she spent with our four children.  She was brave.  And very, very patient.

If you want to see more, visit here and click on ‘blog’ for Alicia’s top picks.  If you want to see the whole gallery of Jorgenson photos, click on ‘website’ instead of ‘blog’, then ‘clients’ then ‘Jorgenson family’.


Seriously?  Look at those gorgeous eyes.

Can’t wait to see what those two come up with next-talk about a good gene pool…