Thursday, December 27, 2012


Really though - a truly thoughtful question -- Where does time go? What I mean is yucky stuff on plates goes down the disposal, garbage goes to dumpsters, recyclables go to the recycle plant, old clothes to Goodwill or Other Mother, snow melts, rain waters our gardens, leaves that fall become compost...but time, where does it go? An interesting thought for me today....

Because today.....Caleb got braces! On the way to the orthodontist I asked him if he was nervous and he says, "NO! I am excited!", practically bouncing out of his seat in the back of our blue mini-van. I said, "Well I'm nervous!" He asked why and I proceeded to remind him that just a short, short time ago he was BORN; like came outta my belly and fit in the palm of Ben's hand, born. And now I am driving him to get braces. And to add to the mess of "grown-up-ness" he got an ipod AND a fish for Christmas and he looked at me and smiled so big on the 25th and said, "I must be growing up and you trust me." And I almost melted on the floor right there, because seriously, where does time go? How is it that a 4lb, 14oz preemie can grow into a pre-teen young man, getting braces and pets to take care of? How is it that the time between the hospital and the orthodontist can seem so short? How does time fly? And where does it go?

All I can say is this... "Oh God, dear God, I pray that my daily investment in these little tiny beings that you have entrusted to me will lead them down a path to you. Please help me invest my time wisely and for Your glory." Some one told me once...back when the babies were almost 4 and 5 pounds...that the days of raising kids would be long but the years short. Oh how right you were wise woman. Gonna go hug those crazy-fast growing kids...

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Countdown to Christmas...

Our house is all a buzzzzz this seems, for the first time, all four kids know that something is happening...something is going to happen...and that this is the season for expecting the unexpected. Surprises and gifts, decorations and lights, babies being born in mangers and cows being the undignified visitors. It all is filled with awe and wonder. How could it happen that we DO nothing and get gifts, just because it's Christmas? Oh how it makes me understand GRACE and how a mighty God came to a lowly earth, not because we DESERVED it but just because He wanted to give us a gift, the greatest gift, life.

Ok on to the little details of what's happening around here...we do a countdown in our house and it is so FUN! This year I tried super hard to take a picture of every day but I failed miserably. Oh well - here's the recap of our countdown so far!

DAY 3 - Craft
The crazy craft table

Hot Cocoa snowmen that they got to give away! Super cute

DAY 5 - Sparkling Cider
Sparkling Cider with Pizza and a tablecloth, very classy

DAY 8 - Snowman Day
Alena's creation
Nate's Snowman

Caleb's Snowguy 


 Day 10 - Game Night!!
Da Boyz playing Blokus
Day 12- Carols and Cocoa

Day 17 - Gingerbread Houses :)

It's been a fun month! Merry Christmas to all!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A good man

A good man sees when his wife needs a break and even though babies are sick and the to-do list is long, he lets her go.

A good man models what his words say, he doesn't rely on words alone.

A good man steps in and does a load of laundry, or two, when laundry has overwhelmed her.

A good man makes sure that little boys and little girls know how to respect their mama.

A good man obeys Jesus voice, he goes when the voice says GO, and he stays when the voice says STAY.

A good man does the dishes, and asks the kids to help.

A good man challenges his wife when she needs to be spurred.

A good man works hard all day and then come home and serves hard.

A good man studies his wife and then loves her like he knows she needs.

A good man helps the sweet little old lady at the supermarket, he doesn't turn his back.

A good man explains things in simple terms so everyone understands, including the smallest little one, and it is powerful.

A good man tells the truth even when it's hard to hear, then he hugs and comforts.

Some how, some where, some way, along this road of life, GOD graciously brought a good man into my path. And then showed his second greatest act of mercy in my life - GOD said I could have him to walk life with!! My gratitude to GOD for this man is unexplainable. There are bumps on the road, but some how we make it. God is good. Thank you. I love you Benjamin Cochran. xo

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Operation: Get the Mouse Out of My House

Operation: Get the Mouse Out!

Destination: My house, my yard, my car, my porch, anything that's considered "my area"

Key Players: Hazel and Sucker

Minor Player: mouse

Time Frame: Immediate

Back Story: So we moved to the country. And one thing I think my sweet husband forgot to mention before this decision was made was that there are mice out here. Hungry mice. Was this something I should have been aware of before? He is so protective of me. Thanks honey. My first sign that mice might be around was when we moved in and all the previous people left were: a set of keys, a bottle of shampoo (unused, is this a new type of welcoming gift?) and mice poison. There were these little corn cobs in closets, under sinks, in the lazy-susan cupboard. I thought, "Weird, what are these?", as I am cleaning up the house. Ben laughs. He says, "Oh those are mice poison. The people said they had no trouble with mice once they got a few cats. It should be fine." Inside I about died, but responded with, "Sure, ok, yeah, well once we see signs we'll just get a cat. That's cool. Ok. Yeah, I'm good." Then, PUT THIS OUT OF MY MIND. Oh and threw away all of the mice poison- you can't really leave cute little corn cobs laying around when you have a toddler who is quick, curious and loves food.
So, a few months later, we get out of the car at the library and what does Caleb see JUMP out of OUR VAN? A mouse. Weird. And not so weird that we find napkins ripped up, little poop droppings all over the car and especially around the kids' where are the crumbs are. Annoying. And freaky, it was IN our car. We set traps and get TWO mice in one night, IN OUR VAN. We need a cat. But instead we turn our vents to "cycle air inside only" and forget about it. Oh and my darling man reminds me, "We live in the country babe, we have to expect mice." Yes, yes, I hear you. Forget about this. Two weeks later, mice in the van AGAIN. This time I find the droppings and we forget to set traps, the next day the droppings are BIG and so I text Ben that the mouse is getting FAT by eating our KIDS' crumbs. We set a trap and catch a fat one. Ugh, we should really get a cat. We go looking for cats. Do we really want a cat? We're dog people. We have a dog that is giving me a run for my money, I can't handle a cat too. Plus my hubby reminds me, "It's getting cold out, the mice are trying to find a warm place." Yes, I think, he's right, those cold little mice need a place to be warm and so let's be calm about this.

Current Issue: Now, MONDAY MORNING comes around. I get up to make coffee. I find a half eaten cherry tomato ON MY STOVE TOP. I throw it away and then reality hits me square in the gut as I turn back around and find mouse droppings around MY COFFEE POT. Now this little animal has taken my SACRED morning routine of practically dripping the black stuff straight to my veins and contaminated it. The WAR is on. Droppings are found across the stove, on top of my microwave, on the windowsill. This calls for serious action. So what do I do? I call a friend and cry and she helps me come up with a plan. She reminds me that my vacuum is broken and so for the last few weeks the kids have been creating a mouses heaven. She tells me to take action. So I call in the big guns - Ben's grandma, aka: GG. She will know what to do. She takes me to Petco, we search. She takes me to the vacuum store, we do research. Then she takes me to lunch, we come up with a terrific plan. (Thanks GG! I realized later, lunch was the best part.... what was I going to do?? come home and eat off the contaminated counter??!? No way!!)

Action Steps: Off I went to Sears. I got a NEW vacuum. And I didn't settle on a cheap one.
Meet Sucker -

Then off we went to Petco. We got a mouser. And we didn't settle for an ugly one.
Meet Hazel -

I hired trainers. And I didn't settle for anything less than the best.
Meet the trainers -
Hazel and Sucker still in their boxes, with the trainers.

This is the intense trainer girl.

She's all business, none of this cuddling stuff allowed.

Oh and Ben did some work around the house to ensure that little contaminator would not come back in this house. He set traps and he assured me, he said, "We got this honey." I cleaned my kitchen like a mad woman. And Ben joked that finding a mouse is a really good way to get a really clean kitchen. He's right.

Mission Complete:  We haven't had any mice in the traps. But the mission is not complete until it's been weeks and months without the little poopers. We're on it.

Oh and don't mess with my coffee.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Struggle

Ok, so here we are a month into school and I am having my first real crisis.

I'm kind of dramatic though so this might not be that big of a deal. It's just wreaking my world.

It's about this simple question- What is important?

Here's my debate. There are so many things calling for attention and something has to get it. Multi-tasking is such a great idea, in theory. But in reality SOMETHING is actually getting your attention. It's why they make crazy laws, like not talking or texting while driving. "They" are smart enough to know that although we think we can do three things at once, we really can't. Or at least not 100%. Something is getting 99% or 80% or 63.2% and something else is getting only 1%, 20% or 36.8%. It's just reality folks.

As a mom of three elementary students when the spelling lists, fundraising sheets, library books, music show-n-tells, homework to-do's, and volunteer sign-ups come rolling out of the back packs I somehow get lost in the paperwork. But what is actually harder than organizing and making sure that everything gets looked at, is the deciding - What is important?

Here's an example from this week...the kids came home with all the above mentioned papers. And the boys are STOKED about this fundraiser they are doing for school. The deal is that the more cookie dough they sell the more little RUBBER DUCKS they get. Ok, seriously, they are little ducks that go on a lanyard and they can't get enough of these ducks. It's really a GENIUS idea. Get kids excited about a little trinket that they get for selling cookie dough and your school makes a ton of $moo-la$. At first I was like, "Nope, this is not getting my attention." But then the boys come home day after day so excited about the ducks their friends got and I am thinking... "RUBBER DUCKS??!!?" But then I realize they only have to sell three bins of dough to get the lanyard and a duck or two. "It's not that hard, have them call the grandparents and get this done." **Mind you, this means, fundraising for rubber ducks cookie dough, is now getting some percentage of my thinking.** Ugh.

This is where it gets really ugly... On Monday Nathan came home and said, "Mom, I signed up for music show-n-tell and I HAVE to do it. Can I take Uncle Marcus' saxophone?" Honestly, I thought this was a great idea but decided to put it off until Ben got home. "Maybe Nate." When I talked to Ben about it his thoughts were a bit more practical- it's heavy and expensive- two good reasons that this wasn't the best time for Nate to take it to school. But Ben had a great idea - Take a piano book and show the kids that you know how to play the piano! Good idea dad! That meant practicing and taking some time to make this important. But.. time went by.. and it somehow didn't make it to the top of the "important list."

Uglier...This morning Nathan is totally distressed. Should he take the sax and risk losing it or it getting stolen or broken? Or should he take a piano book that he really couldn't, off the cuff, play something out of? (We haven't taken lessons for over a year). He was totally stressed and I was stressed and we both wanted the same thing, but in reality neither Nate nor I had made this important.

He ended up taking the piano book but he was so sad. The whole walk to the bus stop he hung his head. In the heat of the moment I think he felt like he wasn't responsible enough to take the sax and he was settling for second best by taking the music book. The whole way back home I felt like, "Where did I miss the mark here? What was really important to focus on this week? Are there other ways I am missing the mark? Am I putting things at the top of the list that are not important? Am I making unimportant things important?"

Somehow rubber ducks got my focus this week and I think Nathan's music show-n-tell maybe should have been at the top instead. It was a bummer for both him and I this morning. But it did open my eyes to see. There are SO MANY "things" that require my attention. I think I want the little "people" in my life to get that attention first and foremost. I want to get excited about the things that excite them but also want to teach them that we are pulled in lots of directions and sometimes we have to STOP and LISTEN to our hearts and find out what is really supposed to be at the top of our list.

In this day and age I think it takes a lot of self control to do that. I hope that I can exercise this muscle and help them to develop it over time. A good lesson to learn at 33 years old, a GREAT lesson to learn at 8 years old.

Dreaming of duckies tonight....:)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Oh Summer, sweet Summer, where art thou Summer?

We had, seriously, the BEST summer ever. It was long, hot, filled with fun, sweet memories and just plain wonderful.

The most amazing thing about this summer was that Ben did not have to teach summer school. For the past few years Ben has had commitments during the summer that didn't allow us much time to be together as a family. But this year he worked very part time with a flexible boss :) So he was around to play with us a lot more this summer, it was a gift.

We started out by taking a road trip to visit my grandpa and grandma in Weiser, Idaho. There's really ONE main thing that happens in Weiser - The fiddle festival. So we planned our trip around going to that MAIN event. It was a real good time. It was exciting to see family, we capped our time by stopping in to see my Aunt and Uncle in Boise. (We also snuck in a quick visit to some friends of ours from Tacoma that moved to Boise recently - Yeah for the Knesals!)
Road Trip!

The Stoehr great-grands and kids!

My sweet Aunt Tammy! xo

 Arts Camp for Caleb and Nathan and VBS for Alena
Nathan strong and mighty

 HIKING with the kiddos!

Fourth of July was spent with friends, family and...guns. An interesting combination but super fun!
Does it get any better than this? True country livin'.

Trips to the pond to fish and hunt for frogs
Caleb with his frog Beans

Nathan fishing with dad

Riverfront Park!

A visit from our FUN FRIEND WINNIE!!!
Love ya Winnie!

A trip to Wenatchee to see the Sutherland clan; Jocelyn, Ethan and Kyle. Mama Susan hosted us as if we were queens. Love.

Kyle, Ethan, Alena, Nathan

Hello hot tub in 100 degree weather! :)

Lemonade Stands

Little boys keeping it cool

FUN, FuN, fUn, FUN trip to Tacoma - friend, water parks, zoo, etc
Arielle and Alena

Titus adoring Myron

I got to be at the shower for Joc and Hailey!

Mr and Mrs Titus and Ruby Cochran

They are training for the Olympics

PD Zoo with Hippes and Mocks

My gracious hostess

Rainer's game!

Baseball chic

CAMPING with friends - so extremely enjoyable
Lizzy, Alena, Luke, Caleb, Nathan, Isaiah

Da boys

MY boys

Best buds

Swim lessons
Alena waiting for her lesson
Looks like we had a fun summer huh? It WAS a blast. It's an amazing feeling when you get to a spot where you know, "this is our family," the 6 of us. What will we do? One thing we established this summer is, we are a family that has fun together! Good-by to summer for now - I anticipate your return!