We got chicks!  It was a spur of the moment decision, at least 5 years in the making.  We’ve talked about getting chickens for a long time and really started to get serious about it once we moved into this house.  We wisely put it off because the first year in our house we had a baby, and the second we hosted a family reunion, but this year was the year.  At least that’s what I told Ben when I told him I was getting the chicks.

Our little flock of chicks contains, two Buff Bramas, two Red Sexlinks, two Australorps, and two welsummers for a total of eight chickens in case you are counting.  I wanted to have six chickens but was afraid that we’d get a rooster or two in the mix which is how I ended up with eight.  It’s a slippery slope.  Chicken ownership that is.

Right now the chicks are in a large cardboard box in our garage, but our friend brought us over a larger box/kiddie pool set up that they used for their chicks last year.  I’m going to move them over to the new digs as soon as I buy more pine shavings.

We are all excited about the chickens, but no one more so than William (though Adelaide is a close second).  He loves chickens and has been begging for chickens for years.  In a few months all his egg dreams will start coming true.

Orange for Oliver

I know that it’s common for children to pick a favorite color, I’m pretty sure Molly’s and Adelaide’s was pink at this age.  I know that William loved red, and Henry loved William so he often chose red too.  Oliver decided to pick something all his own and that is orange.  Every morning when he gets dressed he picks out an orange shirt and asks for his favorite orange pants which seem to be in the wash more often than not.  He loves them so much that I’ve even thought of buying another pair so that I don’t have to do the laundry as often.  If it is a really lucky day then his orange striped socks are clean and we are able to find both of them.

He only wants to drink out of our orange cups, eat out of orange bowls and on orange plates which thankfully we have a lot of due to Ikea’s rainbow plastic dish packs for kids.  He hoards the orange Legos, and the orange crayons and colored pencils, and only wants the orange gum in my purse.  No peppermint for him.

I love it.  I love that he’s chosen something so uniquely him and it is really cute to her him pronounce the word “orange” when he’s trying to make his requests known.  I sure love this little guy.

Throwing A Party

William had his first friend birthday party this year.  I’ve offered to throw him a party before, but this is the first time he’s taken me up on it.  He is usually content to celebrate with just his immediate and extended family, but I think it’s important to step out of your comfort zone occasionally.  He has some good friends at church so this seemed like the perfect opportunity.

He chose an outdoor theme for his party.  All he really wanted was to be able to cook outside over the fire.  I was really worried about bad weather crushing his dreams, but the weather turned out to be gorgeous.  Absolutely gorgeous.  Ben ran the party, much to my relief, and the boys all had a great time.  They cooked hot dogs over the fire, baked cakes in hollowed out oranges in the coals, played all sorts of short minute-to-win-it type games, had a marshmallow game war and finished out the night with smores.  It was a great party and William had a wonderful time with good friends.


Nine!  William chose to begin his ninth birthday celebration with a breakfast of German pancakes (monster pancakes, whatever you might call them), apples, grapes and orange juice.  He didn’t want to have breakfast in bed because it was important to him to be around his family.  He loves his family.

After breakfast we took a walk around our neighborhood lake and played at the park.  The weather was beautiful and we saw all sorts of interesting birds including ducks, a cormorant (at least that’s what I think it was) and a woodpecker.

Ben got off a little bit early enabling William to open his presents before dinner.  He got lots of books, a new game, some candy, new church shirts, and a new whittling knife.  I’m guessing the knife and whittling books were his favorite because he’s been whittling every chance he’s had since opening them.

He wanted Ben to smoke something in the smoker, but there just wasn’t time so I made steaks, glazed carrots, and fresh rolls instead.  Honestly, William would be happy with anything so long as I made fresh bread to go with it.

I made him an ice cream cake for dessert but then I accidentally put it in the fridge to set up (instead of the freezer) and I didn’t realize it until it was time to eat it.  So we had a blizzard/milkshake cake instead.  Luckily it was still tasty.

William!  I can’t believe you are nine!  I think it suits you well though.  Actually I have that same thought every time you have a birthday.  Your soul is an old one and it seems like your body just has to catch up.  You love to read everything you can get your hands on.  Gardening books, classics, survival handbooks, history encyclopedias, science fiction, and comic books.  If there is a topic you are interested in, I help you to find a book on it at the library so you can find answers to some of your questions.  You always have a million questions and I can barely keep up.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used Siri and Google to bail me out of a jam.

You love the outdoors and have a great appreciation for nature.  You are a born environmentalist and it bothers you to see all the buildings and roads taking the place of trees.  You absolutely love water, especially rivers and streams.  You love reading all about survival techniques, outdoor cooking, whittling, shelter building and emergency preparedness but you have zero desire to ever go hunting because you would never want to hurt an animal.  You love cats maybe even more than I do and are so sweet with Sushi (or Shadow Tail as you call him).

It makes my heart so happy to see how much you love your family.  You are kind, loving and thoughtful.  I can always trust you to do the right thing and make good choices.  You are responsible, hard working and honest.  I love when you squint your eyes when I catch you up late because you are trying to pretend like you just woke up.  I love when you smirk because you are trying to hide your smile when something happens that you really like.  I love when you are really happy and let loose with a genuine deep laugh full of pure joy.  I love that you still hold my hand when we are out in public and that you tell me that you can’t ever imagine being embarrassed of your family.  I love seeing all the things you are interested in and watching you learn at such an amazing pace.

I am honored to be your mother and I’m so grateful you are in our family.  I love you!

Family Weekend

We had a busy but wonderful weekend full of all sorts of family celebrations, including birthday parties for 3 cousins and a baby blessing for the newest member of the Johnson clan, little Leora.  Both our Adelaide Leora and new little baby Leora Mae are named after Ben’s grandma.  New babies are the sweetest and Adelaide couldn’t get enough of Leora.

After Leora’s blessing on Sunday we went back to Grandma’s house for a luncheon.  She made William a very fancy ice cream cake out of all his favorite things (mint chocolate chip ice cream, whipped cream, fudge, brownies, and Oreos) and he was thrilled.  This boy of ours turns 9 on Wednesday and I can hardly believe it.  He has elected to have a friend party this weekend, his first one ever which is a big step for him.  I think it is going to be a lot of fun.

Saturday Adventuring

On Saturday we went adventuring.  After spending Valentine’s Day, a long weekend off work for Ben and then mid winter break for the kids cooped up in the house doing nothing more than surviving, we were all going a little crazy.  I needed fresh air, a change of scenery, and to forget that life has been a little bit too hard lately.

We chose to visit Carkeek Park in Seattle to see if we could find any tide pools.  We’d never been there before and the kids were beyond excited.

Right after we walked down to the beach, a train came passing by.  Oliver was especially impressed.  Ben held him up so he could get a better view.

The air was clean and the sun felt so good, but the wind made it bitingly cold.  It felt like two daggers stabbing into my ears and I had to steal Ben’s  jacket to wear over my own in order to survive.  The kids ignored the cold and immediately set to work looking to see what creatures they could find.

They found crabs, fish, a baby eel, a star fish, a clam and a what looked small shrimp.  I don’t think we’ve ever had such luck finding creatures before.

After awhile, I took the littlest two up to play on the playground and escape the wind.  They had all sorts of little things to explore including this giant slide that made it look like Oliver was getting spawned by a salmon.


After the park, we headed to downtown to get some lunch and explore Pike Place Market.  We don’t come down to Seattle very often because it isn’t the most family friendly place and keeping track of everyone nearly sends me over the edge, but in small doses it can be quite nice.  We visited all sorts of little shops and made some small purchases including a bunch of white tulips, meats from the German store and breads from the French bakery.  Our last stop was a quick visit to the gum wall which was something the kids really wanted to see.

We returned home feeling renewed and everyone’s spirits were lifted.  I would call that a very successful Saturday indeed.

A Knee Injury

On the Thursday of the week before last, Molly had a collision at her soccer practice that left her with a sore knee.  It was the first time she has ever had to sit out of part of a practice so I knew it was really bothering her.  I bought her a brace and she was careful to rest it the following day, but when she woke up on that Saturday she was determined to play in her game.  I told her I didn’t think she should play but she was convinced she would be okay since she was walking better on it.  3 minutes into the game she collapsed on the field.  I had to carry her off with the help of one of the other mothers.

Ben was out of town that weekend, and so two of the other dads in attendance carried Molly up the hill and all the way back to our car while I gathered up the rest of the kids.  My visit teacher met me at my house so that I could leave the little ones behind and just focus on getting Molly to the urgent care clinic.

Much to her embarrassment, I had to use a wheelchair to get her inside.  She was in so much pain and couldn’t straighten her knee.  I told her there was no way I was going to carry her inside.

The urgent care doctor took a brief look and diagnosed it as a sprain.  He put her in a brace and gave her some crutches with the instruction to follow up with an orthopedist if it didn’t get better in a week.  He thought it would likely feel better within a few days.

A few days came and went and she was still in a lot of pain and unable to put any weight on it.  It was also swelling, causing her foot to tingle.  That added to the fact that she heard a “pop” when she hurt it at her game, made us want to get a second opinion.  Luckily we have a friend at church who is a very good orthopedist and he evaluated her in his home and advised that we get an MRI done.

Last Friday Molly had her office visit with our orthopedist friend and an MRI and x-ray.  She still had quite a bit of swelling in her knee which wasn’t a good sign, but we had to wait until today to find out the extent of her injury.  It turns out that she has a grade 1 MCL Tear and bone contusion. No surgery is needed but it will likely be 3-5 weeks until she will be back in playing condition. Molly is super bummed about missing the last half of her season.  Poor girl!