Wednesday, September 23, 2009


I came into September WAY over-committed, and sure enough, I was sick by the end of the first week. My baby started with the nursery cough just a few days into the month. (You know nursery cough--it is the illness that starts three days after Sunday.) He had no other symptoms, just a persistent cough. Less than a week later I caught it. A week after that Plantboy caught it. Then Jedi Master. Finally, Padawan came down with it a few days ago. But the BABY is still sick. I bought my fourth round of children's cough medicine this morning. I went to the doctor last week and thought I was kicking it, but then I spent most of yesterday coughing. Today started off better, but I'm now coughing up again. I cough so hard my head aches and I worry I'll wet my pants. Right, TMI.

I guess all of this explains the lack of blogging. My energy is low right now and my depression high. I would love nothing more than to crawl into bed for about three days and hope to wake up cured on the other side. But life goes on, and this month it certainly did. With a vengeance.

The first week of the month I helped our YW put on a modesty fashion show for all the girls in the stake. It turned out wonderful (forgot my camera) and was so much fun. I think we really helped to re-energize some girls on church and activity attendance and they felt like superstars. It was a really fun and positive way to approach modesty, which too often seems like a list of don'ts. If you are serving in YW right now and want details about this awesome activity, please feel free to email me. One of our girls completed her Choice and Accountability goal while helping, but I am sure we could have given two girls ten hours. Of course, all of this is retrospect. If you had asked me one month ago how this particular activity was going, I probably would have ripped out a big chunk of my hair and stuffed it down your throat.

The same week I finished making my parents' anniversary movie. It also turned out great, but it was not without a lot of blood sweat and tears. If you ever plan to do anything in Windows Movie Maker, first of all, DON'T. Secondly, if you DO, please contact me or one of any number of trouble shooting websites first. If your movie is going to be longer than about ten minutes and/or have music, some helpful pointers are in order. Otherwise, you'll find yourself at midnight the day before your deadline re-importing 500 pictures, desperately trying to find all the files and getting them in the correct order in time to your music, though you had already spent weeks doing this very thing. Another project that, in the end, I'm so glad I was a part of, but if you had asked me how it was going on September first, my response would have made the hairball down your throat thing seem downright appealing.

Oh, yeah, and that same week I spoke in Stake Conference. I tried to load the talk here, but it didn't want to cut and paste my footnotes and I didn't think it was worth entirely dismantling the talk in order to post it. Again, if you are interested, feel free to e-mail. And yes, thank you very much, I DO put footnotes on my talks.

And with all of these goings on, we still managed to recreate plenty this month. We started the month with pirate-Star Wars-dart guns. Yes, it is all the same game. Aren't my pirates adorable? I mean, really tough and scurvy?

On Labor Day, some friends invited us to go crabbing with them on the coast. Their dad owns a small fishing boat and this is one of their favorite past-times, especially when they have somebody new to take. Not a big fan of shellfish, but you can't live in Oregon and turn down an opportunity to go crabbing, right?

Crab in a net. He is a little bit tricky to see, but he is there in the bottom. The trap works by putting a bunch of meat in the bottom--we used chicken because other ocean creatures don't like it the way they do fish--lowering the trap, waiting fifteen minutes and then hoisting it up. It was a great day for crabbing and a gorgeous day for chilling on the beach.

Jedi spent a lot of time in the boat, usually riding shotgun and shouting directions. Here he is looking over the water at the sea lions we caught playing out in the bay. How cool is that?

This starfish came up in one of the nets. He is bigger than anything we were able to hold the day we went tide pooling. Isn't it cool?

Yo ho ho and a bucket o'crabs.

Bridge in Newport. There is a science center and a really great aquarium just under the bridge. Last year we also had great fish n' chips Newport. Fun spot. Less than two hours from home. When are you coming to visit us? (Bring the hand sanitizer and the face masks!)

Crabby, indeed. This part freaked out Padawan a little bit, but they move pretty slow and sideways. The males tended to be a lot more aggressive. We slowed them down by tipping them onto their backs. Then, in a move that just about made me a vegetarian, our resident crab fisherman placed them, shell side down, on the edge of the cleaning sink at the public docks and with a strategic thump, cracked their shells and killed them. The meat is mostly in the top of the legs, so the legs were ripped out with all the lumpy white crab meat on the top and put in the "keep" bucket. We (I use this pronoun very loosely) washed some of the shells out for the kids to take home and tossed the rest.

The little girl is our friends' daughter. She and Padawan are BFF. It is pretty cute actually. We all stopped at McDonald's on the way home. There is nothing like having no idea about the source of your meat to make it more palatable. Neither Plantboy or I were able to stomach the crab cakes too well. It was disappointing really--picking the bits of crab off the legs after boiling was arduous and extremely stinky work.

In classic Oregon tradition, school started the day after Labor Day. Here is Jedi in his Star Wars Lego shirt. And if I haven't mentioned it 85 times already, we DO love Star Wars Legos. He came home from school, filled with stories about all the kids who admired his shirt. "But mom, only half the girls did. The rest didn't even know about Star Wars." Poor little lasses.

Later that week, Jeff went fishing and caught this gorgeous salmon. He brought it home at 5:30 pm on ice, showed, changed his clothes, and we took off for Stake Conference. When I got home from dropping our babysitter at the stake dance (a condition of her employment), Jeff had this baby cut in half and the house smelling of the ocean for the second time in a week. I took one look at him and told him that if he planned on slaughtering a chicken or a cow in the backyard then I was done with meat for good. So many sea-creature guts and smells make beans very appetizing. I don't think I would have cut it as a pioneer.

Still, the salmon was quite a bit more palatable than the crab cakes and we had a delicious dinner on Sunday. We also found out on Sunday that one of our sister missionaries, who has been here about four months, was getting transferred. She has a larger-than-life, very fun personality and I have had several teaching opportunities with her. As a farewell present, I told her and her companion that for their last p-day we needed to tie-dye tee shirts as a real Eugene-thing. Her companion made a cool logo to commemorate her time on the Oregon "coast" and I bought computerized iron-ons and a tie-dye kit. My white Chipotle shirt was already getting a bit manky under the arms, so I dyed it. Here is the result:

Cool hey? The kit only had red, yellow and blue in it, but it was quite strategically placed I think. I've tie dyed a couple of times before, but this was probably my most psychedelic result. It was also a lot of fun. I think that I am going to do this with all of our future visitors. So Eugene.

The Youngling is cute in his little hat. He is our budding jock. He wants to carry around a ball of some type all day every day. And though he is starting to actually get some language, the word "ball" is still the first word he used and the plainest. We tried to get him to pose in these shots, but he was just too busy. His cuteness definitely translates better to movie.

We've had a few early autumn days of Indian summer this week. The warm weather allowed our late-in-the-ground corn time to ripen. The boys harvested this yesterday. Each ear was over a foot long, worm free and had amazingly sweet, tiny kernels. It might just be the best corn I've ever had. Ever. Really. (Padawan is wearing his tie-dyed shirt too. He tells me that he wants to wear it every day from now on. I'll have to hope for a growth spurt.) But the picture I'm going to leave you with is the ultimate late summer piece-de-resistance dish. These are four different colors of carrots from our garden--three different oranges, yellow and purple. I sauteed them in olive oil and butter just until tender, threw in a handful of pine nuts (not many, these puppies just shot from $12 to $17 per pound this month) and stir-fried just until toasted. I poured them into the white bowl and threw on some fresh basil. Oh, boy, were they fabulous. And SO pretty.

I like to think that October will slow down so that I can get better and not feel quite so crabby. But October brings an 8th birthday, out of town visitors, swimming lessons two nights each week, a baptism, Halloween and Young Women. Always Young Women. I love it. Really. Because most of our girls are Mia-Maids we only have a presidency, no advisors and we meet together for everything. This is both good and bad--I plan and execute every third activity and lesson, which is very doable. But you know how the youth program is! Besides the activities and lesson there are dances to chaperone, firesides every month, quarterly temple trips, service projects, monthly sleepovers, personal progress. . . . . it looks like the two year-old will nap today.

What do they say? Sleep when the baby sleeps.

Oh, and my book group is meeting tomorrow to discuss my book. I feel like I'm going to puke a little bit every time I think of it. I'll let you know how it goes.

I'll leave the word verification on for another week. I need another entry or two before ending the contest. (See last post.)


Kimberly Bluestocking said...

I agree - I would rather remain blissfully ignorant about what happens before meat reaches the grocery store.

The carrots are lovely, and the dart-gun pirates are adorable.

Good luck with the cough. :/

FoxyJ said...

There is definitely some kind of illness-of-death going around because my husband had it last week. He still has the cough too; doesn't sound fun at all.

The crabbing excursion looks beautiful, but I'm also not a great fan of crab. When I was almost a senior in high school my family moved back east for a while and we lived in a house on the Chesapeake. Which meant lots of crab feasts because we could catch them right outside our back door. And I never liked the meat enough to enjoy the process of breaking them all up and picking them apart. Ick. I'm just not a fan of seafood, despite the fact that I like the sea so much.

chris w said...

1- Cutest pirates ever!
2- When I was on my trip to Asia I got to listen to a goat being killed for me to eat. It definitely puts you off to watch your food suffer.
3-I hope you feel better soon. There is little worse than being sick as a mom.
4- I can't wait to hear about your book at book club.

Caitlin said...

Your Young Women do monthly sleepovers?!?! Sheesh! I think I would have fallen over dead by that point! I have been in YW for 6 years now and no matter how you divide things up, the activity you are in charge of seems to constantly be on the horizon. I understand your point on the different dynamics when it comes to big wards vs.small wards. Our ward, which was just redivided, has TWO Deacons Quorums. There should never be that many 12 year old boys in one place at the same time. Never. Not that they are naughty, it's just that they are 12.

I have a question for you in regards to Relief Society and Young Women. We have both been Enrichemnt Leaders and 1st Councilor in YW, so I know you will understand where I am coming from. I think sometimes the RS sisters get a little frustrated with the YW leader attendance, or lack thereof, to Enrichment meetings. Those who haven't served with the youth often don't realize how often we are gone from our families. At minimum I am gone one night a week and it just goes up from there. Do you attend any of the group meetings, or do you just go quarterly? Also- do you have a hard time justifying to yourself or to your family, being gone an "extra" night during the week to attend a RS meeting? Just curious.

Your corn looks amazing! How did you keep the bugs out? Did you grow a hybrid? Our corn is filled with worms. Every. Single. Ear. I think that Texas has more bugs per capita than anywhere else in the world. OK- that might be overstating things, so let's limit it to the continental US.

Last-thing, I promise. Did you see the incredible pictures from the dust storm in Australia? I have never seen anything like it. I just thought you might be interested, you know, since you lived there for 2 years and all...Here is the link:

JennyMac said...

What adorable pics! Those are the cutest pirates I have ever seen.
Glad I happened upon your blog.

Hope you are feeling better soon.

Science Teacher Mommy said...

Caitlin--Thanks so much for the link. Very thoughtful of you. This might be the first week in 13 years that I'm glad NOT to be in Australia! It looks awful. My areas were all right in that dust plume. It was actually quite verdant when I was there and it rained very regularly. There has pretty much been a drought ever since. Farmers are leaving their stations in drove as the cattle die of thirst and hunger. It is pretty tragic, really.

As for the sleepover thing, well, our president decided to start this as a unity builder. On the Friday before fast Sunday the girls have a sleepover and make homemade bread for the sacrament. We are trying to turn it into a personal progress night as well--that is an ongoing challenge.

As for the other--well, that sounds like a really interesting blog post and something I DO have a lot of thoughts about. (Shocker, I know.) I will organize myself a bit and post on that in the next little while. Thanks for the idea! ;)

And JennyMac--welcome!

Yankee Girl said...

I remember well spending the entire winter sick when I was the nursery leader. I would start feeling ill on Tuesday/Wednesday, be deathly ill until Saturday, and feel better just intime for Sunday. One week I just couldn't take it anymore and called in sick even though I was perfectly healthy--very bad of me but it was so nice to be healthy for an entire week.

When I come visit you I want to hit the coast, see a chick flick, eat from your fabulous garden, and do lots of talking.

Slyck and Slim said...

What fun you are having in your little life there! Fresh seafood twice in one week? You are a brave woman. Hope you get feeling better soon. And by the way, I think your youngest is a male you. So stinkin' cute!

emandtrev said...

I'm glad you had some fun to counter some of the stress and sickness. Your boys are truly precious. The pictures of the veggies from your garden made me wish once again that I could come to your house for dinner.