Monday, March 28, 2011

My Front Porch Lookin In

What a (lazy) weekend!

It was kind of awesome.

Its been raining and raining and raining.... rain makes me feel fat and lazy and like the world may never see the hope of sunshine or Spring ever again. I know, drama queen. But its what the voices tell me when it rains for six.days.straight. and the babies run circles around me and tie me up and cast evil spells on me. And that's exactly what they do... promise!

Saturday we spent a rainy morning in SLO as a family just wandering the streets and window shopping. We splurged and ate lunch at Firstones (SO.DELICIOUS) and took the kids to the candy store. It was a nice treat and a great family day. When we got home, Ty went to work, and I sat on the couch in my sweats with my kids and watched TV. Ahh the beauty.

Sunday I drug my poor kids out of bed "in the middle of the night!" (according to my dramatic daughter... NO idea where she gets that...) ;) and we headed up to Lopez Lake to watch these little miracle moms kick some serious triathlon tail.

Ya, they rule pretty hard. They've been training like rabid dogs for months now, and although I was 'invited,' I talked myself out of it this time around. I want my maiden Tri voyage to be 'fun,' and learning to swim in the rain and dark even with the luxury of a heated pool was not my definition of a good time. Bethany and Kari are seasoned swimmers and gifted athletes that never cease to encourage and inspire, and I am now (finally) SO excited to learn to swim (or at least not look like a drowning cat...) I can hardly stand it.

But... for this race... being the cheer squad was a perfect fit...

My kids loved being there. I loved having an excuse to wear a tutu in public. Dawson asked me if he could do a triathlon last night. He was SO pumped he actually had himself convinced that he could swim in that lake no problem! He was almost in tears when I told him he needs to give it the summer and practice a little more before I just throw him off the pier... tempting as it may seem to do it at any given moment... ;)

When we got home Sunday, my Dad paid us a visit to make good on his Birthday present promise to me...


New screen door. We installed a whole house fan last summer to save energy and cut our power bill down. The fan sucks in the cool air from outside and blows the hot hair out thru the attic. In order to make it work effectively, we need to open doors and windows while we run it at the end of the day and early in the summer mornings. Having a screen door is a key element of this process, plus I LOVE that now I can open my front door and hear all the kids playing in the street in the afternoon. Such a simple joy... but I'm sure my poor Dad wouldn't be so fast to call it 'simple.' He wisely reminds me on a regular basis in all my wild ambitions..."there's no such thing as an easy project!" And when you are as meticulous and thoughtful of a craftsmen as he is, that's the absolute truth.

Anyways, THANKS DAD! I adore the door. And you. xo

And... I'm not the only one...

My kids LOVE having Grandpa around.

Playing in the back of his truck is a close second to Disneyland in the world of curious kids...

Yep. That would be a saw blade 2 inches from their feet. Good thing we have insurance.

Anyways- SUNSHINE is in the forecast for all this week. I may put a hit out on our local weatherman if he lied this time... (this message will self destruct....)

Have a great week, everyone!


Friday, March 25, 2011


Dawson is officially enrolled in Karate... more on that later, but its amazing.

Yesterday was his second class, and he begged to invite his friend (who Anabelle is particularly fond of) from across the street.

After the lesson, we were all piled in the car heading home in the rain, and I said some lovey comment to Tyson without realizing I had an audience. I can't even remember what exactly I said now, but Anabelle pipes up from wayyy in the back seat ...

"So, what... are you guys, like, going to go on a honeymoon now or something?..."

We couldn't resist a giggle and of course I dramatically leaned over and said

"OF COURSE WE ARE! Lets run away together, TYSON!" and planted a big fat smooch on him.

Dawson groaned in disgust as loud as he couldn manage from the backseat and said

"GUYS. PLEASE. You are EMBARRASSING Kaeden...!!!!!!! STOP IT."


How are they already this old?!?

This could get fun.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hawaiian Haystacks

Alright, I'm obsessed with food. I know, you're all shocked.

Since I'll eat anything and am not particularly refined or choosy on the kind of food I want to devour at any given moment, I don't have that many recipes worth sharing that are out of the ordinary. But that darn Bethany Sobraske is always introducing me to more excellent things than I ever thought possible in life, so not surprisingly this fantastic recipe is hers. We had it last night- its an undeniable winner.

Hawaiian Haystacks

Saute in a pan 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts with a pinch of olive oil and garlic until cooked thru. (You can also use pre cooked leftover chicken, or rotisserie chicken).

When the breasts are cooked, add 1 can cream of chicken soup and 1/2 cup chicken broth to make a delish creamy gravy.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, steam up 3 cups rice of your choice. I used Jasmine, but brown rice or whatevs would work too.

Spoon cooked rice into bowl, add generous scoop of chicken gravy lovin to the top.


Top that deliciousness with:

Diced Celery
Shredded Cheese (Which I forgot to add, but didnt miss at all!)
Chow Mein Noodles
Cubed Pineapples
Mandarin Oranges
Red Bell Pepper (I used green- its what I had)
Shredded Coconut
Sliced Green Onions (Yep. Forgot to add those too... still delish without)
Sliced Almonds

Yah, I'm that freak that takes pictures of food masterpieces.
You're welcome.

So there are kind of a lot of ingredients, but as I mentioned in my lovely recipe narration, if you don't have a few ingredients or leave a couple out, you still quite a masterpiece.

I was also pondering the fact that you could easily make this a vegetarian dish if you wanted to omit the chicken part and use cream of mushroom or some other variation instead.

Anyways. DO THIS RECIPE. You won't be sorry.

(Unless you eat too much of it, like I did. Burp.)


Monday, March 21, 2011


I had a really sweet conversation with my son tonight as I tucked him in.

Bedtimes have gotten pretty hectic around here as the kids get older. Its such a struggle to get everything fit in to the day, and the last 30 minutes feels almost as rushed as the first 30 minutes. Time is only going faster and faster every passing moment.

But tonight, the hands of Father Time were as tired as I was, or so it seemed...

I managed to master the race, and had both kids bathed, jammied, properly nourished, read to, and in bed by 7pm. I know. Insane time warp.

This gave me a moment to just lay in bed and talk to the suddenly not-so-little boy I happen to adore so much.

He shared about how he thought it would be so fun next year when Anabelle was in Kindergarten, that he could pick her up from class and ask her how her day was, and then they could come find us or another grown up they know to get a ride home together.

If you've ever heard my lovely son tell a tale, you know he has my gift with words (ie: he never shuts up, he will make a one word answer longer than a sleepless night with a sick baby). The way he carried on, and the enthusiasm in his voice was just so genuine, it was such a sweet thing.

It didn't take long for Miss Anabelle to realize she was missing the party as she lonesomely pinned away for mommy time abandoned in her bedroom down the hall. Not knowing if she was invited or not, she padded cautiously into the room, clinging to the ragged blankie that is the only thing left that reminds me she is the baby of my life.

She hopped in next to me, and Dawson sweetly goes "ANABELLE! Know what we were just talking about?..." And proceeds to tell her all about the adventures that next year will hold for her in the wondrous promised land called Kindergarten.

I let it go on for awhile before I finally realized their stall tactic was working, and shifted the conversation towards our bedtime prayers.

We've been praying for a lot of things at bedtime lately. Life has handed us a lot of recent opportunities to have meaningful yet sometimes difficult conversations about why people get sick and some get better and some don't (we miss our grandparents!), how you know if you are marrying the right person or not, what happens to the people after natural disasters occur, and whether we might be next on the list for tidal waves and earthquakes.

Tonight, Anabelle started her prayer "Dear God, thank you SO much that your hand is over us, that you are our Father who loves us so much... please help the people who got Tsunamied and earth-quaked. Help them to have people come and fix their homes, give them food, help them not to be sad... and please bring the dead ones back to life. Amen."

Dawson took the reigns from there, and also offered a fervent prayer about the Tsunami victims and the people who need help in the world.

Their prayers aren't always this meaningful, sometimes they are downright silly, but tonight they were both feeling it.

When Dawson finished his prayer we sat for a moment in the dark, and I just drank in their smells and their soft breathing, realizing this was a special moment and I have the best kids that ever lived and that the gift of childhood doesn't last near long enough (except for on the days when you're sure it will last forever and you are a miserable failure of a parent).

The silence hardly lasted long enough for me to finish this thought, however, because Dawson (also lost in his thoughts, evidently) screeches out of nowhere...


I have never thought I'd be changing my kids sheets because I peed their beds, but for as hard as I was laughing, it was a close call.

I am thankful for this night.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Winning Bunch

So Dawson is really, really into 'running' since the Turkey Trot last Fall.

We got a flier back then for the Hares N Hounds race in March that benefits our local high school booster club.

Dawson never forgets anything. He has been begging to train for it ever since.

And... the crazy part is... he actually follows thru with it!

Anabelle humors him too... being the little sister that doesn't want to be left out and all... we've been doing some 'drills' in our living room...

And last week we even met up with our Hammies for a few laps around the park in some beautiful Spring Sunshine!

I figured they would poop out after a lap or two. They lasted a long time! A little friendly competition between the big kids (Kailee and Dawson) and the little sisters kept it alive for quite some time... Dawson kept shouting "Im the hare, youre the tortise!" over his shoulder. The grown ups had a good chuckle and Kari asked him if he was familiar with the story. Dawson goes... "YA! The hare is so fast he stops to take a nap... then he looses!" Haha. Alright. As long as he knows what hes putting his name on...

We sat on a blanket and watched as they took lap after lap around the dirt trail... they worked hard!

...OK, maybe some a little harder than others. But still! These kids meant it! And still had tons of energy left over to climb apple trees and wander around as far as we would allow.

On Saturday it was finally race day.

The kids were SO PUMPED, they even got numbers to wear this time.

I had some butterflies for them... it felt strange to be spectating!

We made them a sign, and Kari and I stood nervously at the finish line with several other friends and acquaintances from our little town and watched as tons of our little friends and neighbors took off as fast as their 4inch long legs would carry them.

...Kailee's legs are much longer. They are at least 6 inches long. ;)

I am SO impressed with this herd.

Kailee ran the mile in under 8 and a half minutes!

That is about what I run on a good day!

Dawson was just about a 10 minute mile

(which was about my average pace a year ago)...

I'm sure he would have taken the title for the whole entire race (haha) if the sweetest little boy God ever handmade hadn't stopped to PICK HIS MOMMY SOME FLOWERS to hand me at the finish line.

(Yep, I definitely cried).

Addie and Anabelle weren't far behind...

They stayed together, naturally. Addie even slowed her naturally athletic stride to encourage an older friend from the hood to keep it up after the girl got a side cramp. Such sportsmanship!

Tyson (father of the year, according to ME), showed up in his Greyhound orange and ran the race with the kids to get all these snazzy pics (and make sure no slow and undeserving kids passed 'em up! Haha).

At the finish line, they were handing out participant medals.

Addie and Anabelle were beyond perturbed to discover they had run out of them by the time they crossed. Look at their annoyed little sour faces! I don't blame them.

Addie had to run out her aggression... by running the half mile race that took place following the race she had just participated in.

That girl is hardcore! And I am delighted that my daughter has a bff that tough to have her back thru the perils of childhood. ;) They are a fantastic pair.

Rumor mill has it that they will be sending medals in the mail to those that didn't get them at the finish line. Hope its true... or Anabelle may develop an extreme hostility toward the United States Postal Service. Maybe I shouldn't put that in writing... ;)

All that to say... these kids are extraordinary.

I remember in Jr. High, when our PE teacher used to make us run the mile. It was scary, and hard, and I hated doing it ( I wasn't the only one!).

I think at this rate, these particular kids may just finish that assignment before the coach has time to blow the start whistle, and ask for extra credit for miles 2-5. I hope it makes them aware of the fact that our bodies are fearfully and wonderfully made machines, built to meet goals and overcome challenges. This is a great way to push yourself mentally and physically, and build lasting relationships along the way. I am thrilled something that means a lot to me on a personal level has sparked an interest to them, and I hope they push themselves to the best they are capable of for as long as they can~

Oh, and maybe remember stop and pick some flowers every now and then... just in case they happen to find someone they love (me, ME!) waiting at the finish line.

These kids are winners.


Monday, March 14, 2011


I'm sitting here in a quiet napping house in SHORTS! Spring is Springing! Birds are chirping! Life is full of so many simple pleasures.

I've been particularly blessed lately. There are a lot of new things happening in my world.

Some of them are small, like my NEW HAIR!!!!!

I've been dying for highlights since I got rid of my last ones... 3 years ago.

These little beauties showed up just in time for Carly's wedding in MAY (its getting close!!).

Moving right along...

Who remembers that awful dream they once had when they came over to my house, and we were all having a really nice time, and then all of a sudden you had to use the restroom, and you walked in, and all you saw was this VOMITING GREEN MONSTROSITY glaring back at you?!

(The vomit part is the paint... not the Tyson. Not that I needed to clarify... ahem.)


I had the same dream. Every day since I painted my bathroom right after we moved in almost 5 years ago.

But, then I did a little homework and went to a few home-improvement-projects-gone-bad group therapy sessions, and suddenly the dream is looking a lot more peaceful.

HUGE shout-out to my Dad for the use of his wonderland of supplies and tools from his shop and his handyman tips on demand, my father-in-law for giving up a Saturday to re-plumb my bathtub to fit the swanky new (high maintenence!) fixtures we had to have,

and of COURSE the star of the show, TYSON...

The man manages to pick up overtime, help in Dawson's classroom, be the carpool guy for 2 different school schedules, and still make time to learn how to lay tile all by himself while I run a daycare under his nose as he does it.

There is nothing this guy is afraid to try, I love my new bathroom and my good 'old' husband. ;)

Also in recent headlines, I am now officially broadcasting from the mature perspective of TWENTY EIGHT YEARS OLD!!!!

Happy Birthday, ME! ;) I've learned to embrace these age advancing occasions in my "Camelot" years of life.

I enjoyed a a pre-celebratory bday feast with Tyson's family the night before that included wine, cake, and PEEPS! Then, after a good night's sleep, went to coffee with my parents followed by a Home Depot run to pick out a new screen door my personal fixit man (holla, DAD!!) is slaving away to install for me, and came home to an AMAZING lunch that my girlfriends made me.

There were flowers, sandwiches that are so good I cant talk about them or I will cry because they are all GONE, LOTS of kids I happen to adore running wild everywhere just the way kids should, and then, later that evening, I got the pleasure of being in the company of both brothers (and mom!) on my day.

I don't know what more I could have wished for... except then, I got this:

Bethany's mother-in-law is an artist, and she doesn't even know my family, but a few months ago Bethany mentioned that she had a recent masterpiece that looked JUST like Anabelle and I at the beach. She texted me a pic, and I fell in love with it. I mentioned it to Ty and he remembered! I love it so much I feel like no room in my house is good enough of a spot to hang it! I have so many good people and good things going in my life... I don't even mind that I'm getting any older. Yet. ;)


If you are... good.

Two more new things.

My son is getting old. He is six now, you know, and he popped out of bed the other morning while I was at the gym (that means it was before 7am!), got himself dressed head to toe including jacket and shoes and socks, and then packed his own lunch...

Apparently he prefers his sandwich with a cheese stick chopped to smithereens and light on the meat, heavy on the pickles. No mayo. It was so so cute and such a milestone since mornings can be quite a shenanigan around here. He was completely ready to head out the door by the time I got home at 7am.

That entire day was quite a mommy love fest evidently, because after dinner he suspiciously kept asking if I needed to go potty. I didn't think it was all that strange because Ive been known to ask them frequently if they 'need to go' if I see them being antsy.

But when nature finally did call... I discovered why he was so anxiously waiting for this occurrence...

Oh yes he DID write me love notes on the roll of toilet paper. And oh yes it DID bleed thru several layers. I was laughing SO HARD at the thought of wiping with purple marker soaked TP I almost had an accident. For reals. You KNOW someone loves you when they proclaim it from the seat of their throne!

Ahh, Dawsie. I love you, too.

And last but not least by ANY measure.... speaking of love... if you made it to the end of this long catch up blog, then here, oh good and faithful reader, is your reward...

Something that has never happened to me before is about to happen.

Something amazing and wonderful and surprising and emotional... something I've looked forward to forever but never expected to be blessed with so soon.

My (extended) family is growing.

KJ and Jessica are making me an AUNTIE for the very first time, and I have tears of joy in my eyes as I type the words.

My brother and I are 6 years apart, which is a big age difference, but I believe it made us close for the reason that I remember all of his life.

I remember being an only child, being lonely in that role, and wanting a sibling so much.

I remember the ultrasound that the Dr squirted jelly all over my mom's tummy at, finding out it was a brother, being disappointed until I found out my best gal pal at the time was also having a brother and we started a "baby brother club."

I remember the hospital tour, the 'big sibling class,' then day my Grandmom showed up to pick me up early from Kindergarten because my Kenneth Joseph was on his way into the world.

I remember being so confused about why he wasn't instantly mine to take to the park and play Barbies with, changing his diapers, blowing raspberries on his tummy till he was belly laughing so hard he was pink in the face, watching him scoot across the hard floor of our house on his little red firetruck toy.

I remember his big baby fine blondie curls and his very first haircut, his first day of preschool.

I remember when he fell off the monkey bars and scared us half to death, the time he almost poked his eye out with a stick, and the time he shoved the rock up his nose that warranted a trip to the ER.

The school plays, the lego fettish, the birthday parties...

Theres just so much about this baby boy that I adored from the moment I laid eyes on him, and I just can't believe he's grown into a kind, strong, capable man who set sights on such a lovely girl for our family to love, and here I get to have the joy of watching him grow his very own miracle to enjoy.

I hope he loves his baby experience as much as I loved having his babyhood a part of my life.

(But I already know he will, and then some).

YOU GUYS WILL BE THE BEST PARENTS, and one thousand congratulations.

Look out, world!

Harkness is about to get a whole new generation.

(And I am about to spoil it rotten).


Monday, March 7, 2011

The "Fodder Dodder" Dance

If you're a loyal follower, you may recall the Father/Daughter sweetheart dance Ty took Anabelle to last year.

Its a shindig the City of Atascadero puts on annually and its an excuse for local fathers and daughters of all ages to get dolled up and spend a little quality time together.

Anabelle has literally talked about this event at least once a week since she attended last February. She prays about it at night, "...and thank you that I got to go to the Fodder/Daughter dance with daddy..." she looks forward to it like the other regular milestones in a child's measurement of time... Christmas, her birthday, the dance... She points out outfits she thinks we should buy ..."for when its time to go again..." and asks on a regular basis if I will style her hair like I did for the last event (that took me the better part of an hour to do...).

This year Tyson took the entire week off work because he isn't allowed to 'swap' days off until his one year hire date in April, and he was not about to chance missing it. But, since it was costing him an entire week of vacation time, we had to plan our Disneyland trip into that week as well... and it ended up being quite a juggling act to squeeze it all in.

We woke up in LA on Friday morning.... went to Disneyland until lunchtime... loaded up and flew like pixies down the freeway to make it home in time to get ready and party some more. We got home at 5:30pm...

Did a magical little song and dance the forest animals and birds and fairy godmothers taught us to sing that magically transforms carsick sleepy toads into sparkling princesses in an instant...

...and WHA-LA! We were ready to meet our friends the Moens to head out by 6:30pm!

I think they clean up pretty splendidly, if I may say so. <3

How adorable is this... my daughter is only five years old... already on her second formal dance date ever... and strapped into a booster seat with her little gal pal.

Don't be surprised if I try to talk her dates into this ritual for the rest of her life... I'm sure they make booster seats for 17year old girls who have boyfriends with drivers licenses?

Of course I'm hoping said 17 year old boy will not stand a chance...

These girls were pampered and twirled and "juice-boxed and dined" and treated like the princesses they truly are all evening long by some pretty great menfolk we happen to know and love for being the Dads most girls only dream of having.

(John and Julie)

(Jeramey and Isabella)

(Jim and Sarah)

Their daddies have some pretty to fill.

So as the night wore on, I'm told my little flower began to wilt from all the excitement of Disneyland and the dance of her dreams...

In the true spirit of girl-friendship... Isabella (who had carpooled with Ty and Anabelle) agreed her friend Anabelle was indeed very, very sleepy and should head home a smidgen early to catch her beauty sleep appointment with Mr. Sandman.

It was definitely a hit, I think the girls all had a blast and... they were certainly some heaping slices of adorableness.

Meanwhile back at the ranch...

Nobody was AT the ranch, because Dawson and I had ourselves a double date night too!

What... you didn't expect us to sit around like wallflowers and cry about not getting asked out all night long did you?!

Connor and Meg joined Dawson and I for an enchanting evening of Gnomeo and Juliette (Yes. Its an actual movie title... the story of Romeo and Juliette... acted out by Garden Gnomes. And it happened to be a decently cute movie, I was SHOCKED!), followed by a trip to Powell's Sweet Shop and then burgers and fries and milkshakes (oh, my!) at Good Times Cafe.

Dawson and Connor rocking their respective afros... pretty awesome.

My favorite part about this date was the fact that my son insisted on wearing his Indiana Jones costume and carrying his jewel pouch and whip the whole time...

You just never know when you may be called to defend the woman you love from some killer animated garden gnome come to life.

Ah, these kids.

We love them so, and this has become one of my favorite family traditions. I hope when they are 30 years old and finally allowed to go on 'real' dates, they remember the fun and innocence of these nights together, and feel the eyes of their parents on them AT ALL TIMES! ;)