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Why We Moved

February 24, 2015

We have been in our new place for about four months now. The house projects are still in full swing. We just finished going over our budget for downstairs. We are remodeling an entire bathroom including new windows and a clawfoot tub, a laundry room, and a foyer/mudroom. The anticipated costs added up quickly and it has me a bit depressed. We spent the last four months demolishing the water-damaged walls, ripping up old tile, and tearing down ceiling. It has been time intensive but not hard on the checking account. We just bought windows and a steel exterior door for the yet to be built wall between the garage and the mudroom. We are just at the tip of the iceberg of big purchases. We need to decide on heating in the basement and like the idea of radiant floor heating. The clawfoot tub needs expensive hardware….

Sometimes I need a reset button to remind myself why we are doing this. A week ago we went to Bend for a fun getaway weekend. We hiked, swam in the hotel pool, window shopped, ate out, and watched HGTV. This last weekend we spent both days working on the house and yard. We demo’d, built, shopped at Home Depot, chainsawed, and painted. The girls were outside at least half the day both days. The rode bikes, played with the dogs and bunnies, explored, picked flowers, and climbed trees. Many things they would not have been able to do in our previous houses. That is why we moved. We want the girls to be outside with nature instead of inside with a screen. Inside they love to color, read, play games, but also relax in front of the tv or play games (some educational) on their tablets.

We want to teach them about raising animals and caring for the land. About running in a field with your sister and playing fetch with your dog. About where our food comes from and how it grows. We want to show them that heaven is in nature and God planned the earth as a perfect home for us. That value comes from loving yourself and coexisting with our beautiful and bountiful planet.

So when the projects stack up and there aren’t enough hours in the day I need to remind myself that we are only young once. We need to enjoy our lives and spend them with people we love making memories we love. We moved to show the girls the value of hard work and the love that comes from pursuing dreams together.

Project 333 Conclusion

September 13, 2014

For the months of June – August I participated in Project 333. I could only wear 33 articles of clothing for 3 months. It was easier than I expected. Getting dressed was faster and I enjoyed it more. I didn’t feel bad about not wearing “that shirt” or “those pants” just because I have them. I picked my favorite items and wore them over and over. As a result I got rid of about half my clothes. Shirts that aren’t my favorite? Gone. Most of my blue jeans? Gone. Slacks that don’t fit right? Gone. Dress shirts that aren’t my style? Gone. It felt good to get rid of the fluff in my closet. I will say I probably have too many shirts still, both dress shirts and t-shirts. I will keep working on that. But for now it is great to look in my closet and see only clothes I like wearing.

Project 333

June 13, 2014

I recently read Everything That Remains by Joshua Fields. A couple years ago he started the modern minimalism movement. Essentially, reevaluate your life/time/possessions/relationships and keep only those things that add value or make you very happy, and get rid of the rest. One practice he brought up in his book is Project 333 by Courtney Carver. Starting June 1st I will be participating in the project. Here are the basics straight from the website.

The Basics

  • When: Every three months (It’s never too late to start so join in anytime!)
  • What: 33 items including clothing, accessories, jewelry, outerwear and shoes.
  • What not: these items are not counted as part of the 33 items – wedding ring or another sentimental piece of jewelry that you never take off, underwear, sleep wear, in-home lounge wear,  and workout clothing (you can only wear your workout clothing to workout)
  • How: Choose your 33 items, box up the remainder of your fashion statement, seal it with tape and put it out of sight.
  • What else: consider that you are creating a wardrobe that you can live, work and play in for three months. Remember that this is not a project in suffering. If your clothes don’t fit or are in poor condition, replace them.

I took a couple weeks in May to practice and refine my list. I tweaked the ratios then made the final decisions. Here are my 33 items:

  • 6 pairs of shoes: black dress shoes, Merrill casual shoes, Merrill running shoes, Sanuks, Hiking boots, flip flops
  • 3 pairs of casual pants: blue jeans, tan cargo pants, black pants
  • 3 pairs of dress pants: tan slacks, gray slacks, brown wool slacks
  • 6 dress shirts
  • 2 pairs of shorts
  • 1 long sleeve t-shirt
  • 8 t-shirts
  • 1 belt
  • 1 gray North Face sweatshirt
  • 1 raincoat
  • 1 pair swim shorts

I have to admit I am adding one exception: yard work clothes. For my 33 items I picked my favorite and best clothes. I don’t want them to be ruined. I am adding a grubby pair of pants, shorts, and a t-shirt exclusively for yard work and home projects. To them these items almost fall into workout clothes and would therefore be excluded anyway.

After just a couple weeks I am already feeling great about the project. Getting ready for work is much easier than before. I was tired of rifling through shirts I didn’t really like and wearing pants only because I hadn’t worn them in a week. Now I enjoy the relatively few dress clothes I have so the decisions are much simpler. I also pared down my casual clothes so I only have my very favorite pants and t-shirts. I already decided to donate big stacks of clothing I no longer wear but after this project will easily have even more items.

To join me you can check out Project 333.


Green Eggs and Ham

March 4, 2014

I told a coworker the other day that Claire read the entire Green Eggs and Ham book by Dr Seuss. I said we were impressed and praised her accordingly. We got into a discussion about our generation (Y, millennial) and how as kids we were always given participation awards. This led to the sense of entitlement attributed to our generation. I inferred that because we were raised that way we will also raise our kids that way and I think that’s a good thing. I mentioned that one of the best gifts I can give my kids is unconditional love and support. If they know above all else that their parents are proud of them they will have the courage to do great things.

I got a lot of inspiration from a particular post on the Single Dad Laughing blog. Dan Pearce says in his post “You Just Broke Your Child. Congratulations.” several things that I wholeheartedly agree with. They are worth mentioning. In fact, the entire article is worth reading, monthly.

1. “I get the power a dad has in a child’s life, and in a child’s level of self-belief. I get that everything I ever do and ever say to my son will be absorbed, for good or for bad.”

2. “a child’s entire sense of value can revolve around what they see in your face when you first see them”

3. “…a child is what you tell them they are.”

4. “Everything you say or don’t say will impact their ability, success, and happiness throughout their entire lives.”

The whole article reinforced my method of parenting. Continually offer love and praise. Rarely show anger and never yell. Smile, be thankful, and love every time you see them. Let them play on their own. Get on the floor and play with them. Be interested in many things so they are interested in many things. Be happy and kind to everyone. Say please and thank you.

We often get wrapped up in work, chores, dinner, etc. and forgot how good our lives are and how lucky we are to have such great kids.

Horsetail Falls Loop

January 7, 2014

Over the weekend we hiked the Horsetail Falls Loop in the Columbia Gorge. This fairly short hike packs in three separate waterfalls and a few gorge views. It has some elevation gain and even a peek into Oneonta Gorge. The trail was quite rocky and we had to hold the girls hands often to navigate the rough terrain. Here we are in the parking lot with Horsetail Falls in the background.Image


After a few ascending switchbacks we reached level ground far above the parking lot. Around a corner we came to Ponytail Falls.Image


The trail passes behind these falls. We decided the cave was a good place to stop for snacks.



We had to stop a few times for breaks and once to let the silliness out.Image


After the hike we had a picnic in the warm car. After the peek at Oneonta we can’t wait to explore it during the summer.

Book Review: Silent Spring

December 7, 2013

This is a book everyone should read. The relevance is outstanding considering it was written in 1962. The dangers of pesticides and herbicides cannot be overlooked in our current Monsanto based food system. Rachel Carson outlines the dangers of chemical warfare on our planet and how so called “safe for human” poisons often end up hurting people, animals, and the very plants they claim to protect. A common result of herbicides and pesticides is sterility. It has been documented hundreds of times in bird species. It is also well documented that these poisons build up in the body of all animals.

In the natural food chain the big fish eats the smaller fish and, along with it consumes the poisons carried by the smaller fish. The process repeats itself until the poisons build up to a fatal amount. At the top of the food chain, we should be very worried about this fact. But far before the toxins reach a lethal dose the poisons start affecting biological systems. One of the first affected is the reproductive system. Massive populations of birds across the country have been wiped out because they can no longer reproduce. It may be just a matter of time before these effects reach humans. The movie Children of Men is about an infertile world. After reading this book, the movie doesn’t seem like such a stretch.

The book gives examples of government supported programs that were supposed to kill bugs endangering a crop. After one program failed Rachel had this to say:

“It is an outstanding example of an ill-conceived, badly executed, and thoroughly detrimental experiment in the mass control of insects, an experiment so expensive in dollars, in destruction of animal life, and in loss of public confidence in the Agricultural Department that it is incomprehensible that any funds should still be devoted to it.”

More and more I could say this about the FDA as well. These agencies are put in place to protect our food supply and ultimately us as consumers. It seems like these days they are in place to protect the profits of agri-business and corporate farming.

Rachel combats these pesticide programs with examples of species control using natures methods. For example, introducing a predator for an invasive, crop-killing species. These natural methods have proven far superior. She explains that nature has had millennia to perfect itself.

“The balance of nature is not a status quo; it is fluid, ever shifting, in a constant state of adjustment. Man, too, is part of this balance. Sometimes the balance is in his favor; sometimes–and all too often through his own activities–it is shifted to his disadvantage.”

This book focuses on the disadvantage of pesticides wiping out beneficial bugs along with the bad ones. But, unfortunately, this is a valid statement for environmental impacts as well. We are starting to see the balancing of nature almost daily as huge storms tear countries apart. Nature is adjusting to the pollution we are creating. The balance of added CO2 in the atmosphere is violent storms across the globe.

Both with pollution and chemical control, the effects are slow to materialize. By the time we know something is wrong, it may be too late.

Garden Potatoes

September 5, 2013

I picked about 10 potatoes from our garden today to add to a roast for dinner. We planted four red variety potatoes this Spring and I picked about 1.5 plants worth today. A couple of the potatoes were about baseball size ranging down to a couple about ping pong ball sized. In other garden news I picked the first of five Gala apples on our espalier tree yesterday. It was really good. I also picked a pear about a week ago and two are still on the tree.


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