Friday, May 30, 2008

A Day in Manhattan

Jared, Daphne and I headed in to Manhattan for the day to have an adventure.

We went in on the bus with all the commuters, and we were stuck in traffic. Apparently, a crane fell over in the city, and we got stuck right behind it. It is all over the news.

When we got in the city, we went to visit some friends that work at our church. We have not seen them in ages, and it was so much fun to introduce them to Daphne and to see the lives that they have built for themselves.

After that, we headed out and found a deli to get food at. We made a trek across the city to central park where the plan was to sit and eat some lunch. Daphne got a huge kick out of the park because she was able to run around wherever she wanted to, and she came back to us to get food.

We decided to let her have the day she wanted, so we took several hours walking with her in the park.

We happened upon the Carousel in Central Park, and true to my grandmother, we stopped to get on. All of the horses are orginonal carved art, and the carousel is supposed to be one of the best in the country. Daphne and I got our tickets to go on, and Jared spent the whole ride getting photos of us riding around. Daphne did not love it so much, but we did have a good time going up and down!

After we walked some more, we ran into the zoo, so we decided to go in. We went to the children's zoo where there were goats and lambs and pigs and llamas and cows. Daphne had fun playing with them. She was used to them and very comfortable with them. We headed on over to the main part of the zoo and checked out the penguins. They were so fantastic, and Daphne just loved watching them dive down and play around.

We also got to see the Polar Bears in the park. They were playing around rolling around in the water, it sure was a lot of fun to watch. The zoo was not as big as I thought it would be, but we had a lot of fun anway.

After hopping on the subway, we ended up at the Met. I wanted to get a gander at some more works of art I had missed before. We hit up the painting area where I got to see another Boticelli and some Filpo Lippi paintings. I also got to see the Vermeer, Degas, Van Gough, Manet and Monet collection. Daphne and Jared loved the Japanese art. I am so glad that I have gotten the chance to look at some more wonderful works of art. This is a hobby of mine, and I love to do it.

We headed home and got home just in time to go out to eat. We went to the best clam bar where we got steamed clam and calamari. The steamed clams are to die for, and I think I could eat them for dinner every day of the year for the rest of my life with no complaints!

I am for sure a New England girl in the sense that I LOVE sea food!

Better Than Art

We went to the Metropolitan Museum of Fine Art today in New York. As we were walking around with Daphne, one of the security guards mentioned that Daphne was more beautiful than all the art in the museum.

I tend to agree. That was one of the best compliments that a mother, especially one that loves art, could ever get.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Betting the Ponies

It has always been a lifelong dream for me to go see the race tracks where the triple crown races are run. Jesse and I headed out to see Pimlico almost a decade ago, and I realized that being in New York, we are right there where the Belmont is. The Belmont is almost always run on my birthday, and, that being next week, I was wanting to head up and see the action.

We arrived for the 1:00 post time, and we stayed for 8 races. After a slow start, I was able to start calling the races, and I won about $100 with my new betting style. Jared is convinced I should start betting online because I can pick them with a little knowledge and a little luck.

The track is so beautiful, and we were able to play with the ducks in the duck pond while I watched my last two horses win their races. It is so much fun to be in the grandstand and to be a part of such an old and wonderful ledgend.

I am so lucky that I got this chance to see the ponies and be a part of racing history.

Oh... and Daphne liked it too. She was fascinated by the horses, but she had a better resposne to the geese in the duck pond. She liked jumping up and down with me yelling for the winner of the race, and she really liked how excited I got when I won!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Worst Fear

A mother's worst fear is finding the cap to a permanent marker with the body no where in sight.

I have been searching the house for ages trying to find the damage.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Woof, Woof; Mooooooo

Daphne is very, very fond of our dog, and she cannot resist saying hello to him.

Somewhere along the line, she learned his name, and now all dogs are called "Bwaff", though she does know the word dog.

Apparently, while she was hanging out with her Grandma this weekend, Daphne learned that the dog says, "woof, woof." When Jared was telling me about it, I asked her where the "woof, woof" was, and she turned to where the dog was supposed to be, and looked greatly distressed that he was not there.

Later in the evening, we were doing a puzzle, and there was a dog in it. I asked her where the dog was, and she pointed to it and said, "Woof woof." I then showed her the cow and went, "mooooooooooo". She mimicked me perfectly.

My little girl makes animal noises. How fun is that?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Wading Pool

It has been mega hot here lately. It is hard to believe that we had the latest snow on record here in Yamhill county just a few weeks ago in April, and now we have record breaking heat 3 days in a row.

The change from heat to cold has not been gradual at all, so it has been hard on all of us, including the animals.

Daphne and I decided one of the best ways to stay cool was to get a little wading pool set up. I blew it up and put it on our back porch. It worked out really well. There was a point yesterday when our neighbors were over here sitting in it with Daphne. Jared and I were standing in it to keep our feet cool.

Daphne really likes it, but her favorite thing is to get in and out of it. Since it is an inflatable pool, when she straddles the side of the pool, a bunch of water spills out, and the reaction she has when the water leaks out is just precious.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Potty Training

I have been working back and forth with Daphne about using the toilet. Ironically, she will poop on the toilet, but she will not pee (I hear it is the opposite with most kids).

She has been running around with out a diaper on mostly because we have been outside a lot. In fact, I only have 3 diapers in my diaper pail and I haven't washed in 4 days or so.

We made a big fuss and gave her a big congratulations when she made a poop in the potty yesterday. I am hoping that she will start to tell us when she needs to go, since very often when she has to poop she just goes and stands in the bathroom to do it.

It is a little early, but the sooner the better, I say.

Bird Brain

There is a reason why calling someone a bird brain is not a complement.

You see, the birds have a little tub that I use to fill with water. Two of the chickens decided to stand on it at the same time, and it managed to flip over on top of them. They were stuck under there for hours before I managed to find them and flip it back over (this was at night).

Silly, dumb birds.

8 More Days

Only 8 more days until the chicken and duck butcher.

I think that I will appreciate it, and I also think that my neighbors will appreciate it. The ducks have taken to "talking" to the neighbors. Though it is cute, it is a little more high-key than I wanted my farming to be.

And so, they have a butchering appointment on the 25th at 9am. Things will be a little calmer and I a little more quiet without the ducks. The living conditions will be a little crowded until I butcher the next set of chickens in 2-3 more months.

Friday, May 16, 2008


Today was hot, Hot, HOT!

Daphne and I spend the majority of the day outside despite the fact that it make it up to 101 degrees here!

I realized that our back yard gets shade later in the day, so even though it is very hot, we are in the shade and can be outside and play without too much of a problem.

I have been working very hard in the yard trying to get it all up to snuff. Yesterday, I moved my apple tree because it turned out that I had planted it originally in the only spot in our back yard that we can fit the trampoline. Our neighbor had a trampoline they were wanting to get rid of, so they gave it to use for next to nothing. It is in great shape, and I really like them, so it will be a fun addition.

Because of the heat, we also got a little blow-up kids pool, and I put it on our back deck. Daphne and I played in it, and she really, really had a lot of fun, which was nice!

I also finished planting all of my plants except for my herbs. It was nice to be out there getting that all done (oh wait, I still have to plant some garlic). I will be producing quite a bit of food, which is nice. I already have quite a few sprouts,so it will not be long at all before I have radishes at least!

It was all hard work, and I was definitely sweating, but it was totally worth it.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Towel Cape

Daphne got a hold of a dish towel this morning and put it around her shoulders.

She was trying to convince me that she was using it as a coat so that she could go outside--at least that is what I assume. The cape stayed on her all the way outside and didn't come off until she saw some bunnies to play with.


Last night, Daphne and I went outside to enjoy the beautiful weather just before bed. Actually, it was way past her bedtime, but I was letting her stay up late because she generally sleeps better that way.

I was laying on our porch outside, and she was sitting on me. She wanted me to take my hair down, but I didn't know why. I almost never take it down.

It turned out that Daphne wanted to get my hair bands out of my hair so that they could go in hers.

She sat there putting the band on top of her head and waiting for it to fall down. She just doesn't understand why she doesn't have any hair.

Another Use for Thank You

Daphne is quickly learning about "thank you" and manners.

However, she did learn another use for saying, "thank you" and being cute.

When she wants something that I am holding, she points to it and says, "thank you." She does it as a preemptive way to keep me from saying no, and she assumes that she will get it anyway, so why not get the matter over with.

This worked today when she wanted the marker I was marking my garden with. A nice polite, preemptive, "thank you" got her exactly what she wanted.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

School Woes

This semester is not going as well for me as I would like. I am just hoping to survive the next two weeks and be done with it!

I have two research papers to write and some other things to do as well. I am working on a project for one of my classes that is a "green" or "eco" website. It is kind of a lot of fun. I have done the majority of the work for that class at this point, so I just need to do a little coasting to the end.

For my Native American Studies class, things are not going well. I got a D on a paper, which is completely unlike me, and when I inquired with the professor, she did not get back to me for 2 weeks, and when she did, she told me that she had changed the grade to a C. There is no explanation for the reason that that grade was increased or the reason that the grade was so low.

My only hope with that class is that I get by with a C in the class so that I can walk away from it and find a class where the professor is actually interested in teaching.

In all of this chaos for school, I was not looking very far into the future, and it turns out that I have a few hurdles to jump to make it to graduation.

1.) I got a phone call from the adviser at the school that said that they had decided not to accept 20 of the credits from Greece. The school is not accredited, so they would not accept the credits.

The good news about this is that there is a petitioning process, and the even better news is that I have gone through the process with my other credits from Greece, and they were approved. That gives me a great deal of hope that I will be able to gain the 20 credits back. I just hope that it does not take a long time to do it because I only have 2 semester of school left if these credits are accepted, and I want to make sure that I am taking the right classes (if I take the wrong type of classes, I just have to do them over).

2.) PSU does not give grand money during the summer. The truth is that I have been using my grant money to go to school, and it has worked nicely. However, they do not give grant money during the summer, which means that if I want to take summer classes that I need to pay for them on my own. This is less than thrilling for me, and it means that I will most likely skip the summer to go to school because our financial situation does not allow for me to shell out 2-5 thousand dollars for a semester.

3.) With the decision to not do summer school comes the devastating realization that I will not graduate for another year from now if that is the case. I was planning to finish up Christmas of 2008, but with the summer school not happening, it is more likely going to be June of 2009. It is a devastating blow to me.

4.) And so, I again need to muster the courage to continue on in the face of adversity with school. It would be a very dumb thing indeed to quit now when I have done my senior capstone and fulfilled the requirements for the degree and now all I have to do is just match a "number of credits needed". In truth, no matter how much I don't want to finish, 24 credits away from a 180 credit degree is a really dumb place to stop. I will persevere. I was sure that I would get a college degree, and I promised myself that I would trek on, but a lot of times, I feel like I would rather be investing my time into something else. My future self will thank me, I am sure.

So my To-Do list looks kind of like this

  • Don't fail my current classes
  • Take the summer off
  • Get 24 more credits
  • Have a college diploma!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Facing Forward

Car seats... car seats

These are things that have to be dealt with when you have a child. We had an infant car seat that Daphne used for about 9 months, and we recently switched to using the Britax car seat she is in now.

The government regulates heavily what you do with your child in the car. Though I think it is funny that they find it necessary to keep a child in a booster seat until they are 8 years old (or even longer if they do not meet the weight limit). I DO appreciate that there is a safely tested option for my baby when she is in the car.

I seem to be obsessed with putting the car seat in the car correctly and making sure that each time Daphne gets into the car seat that the straps are all perfect. I was yelling at Jared for some half-hearted attempt to put her into the car seat because "my two most precious possessions are in the car, and if we were to wreck...." He gets it, but it is still kind of an obsessive thing for me.

The safest thing for a baby in the car is to stay rear facing. Technically, when a baby is 1 year old and weighs at least 20 pounds, they can turn around and face forward (at least in Oregon). However, the safest thing to do is to leave them rear facing as long as possible. I know moms that have done it for almost 3 years leaving their kid in the seat until there just nowhere else to put the legs of the kid.

Though I don't want to go that long, I do want to keep her rear facing as long as possible. She doesn't seem to mind.

When we were driving home from California, I decided to put her forward facing. The amount of stuff we had crammed into the car made it clear that I would not be able to sit next to her like we had done on the way down so the only way to have access to her was to face her forward. We also thought that it would be an amusing new thing for a baby we planned to cram into the car for 8 hours.

To tell you the truth, it was not as exciting as we had thought. She liked to be forward facing, but the tilt of the car seat was not quite right, so when she fell asleep, there was a lot of head flopping. I think she can see better back facing, actually.

Alas, I will turn the car seat around and try to get another year out of her facing backwards, but I suppose some time she won't be a tiny baby anymore either.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

California Here We Are

We decided to take a long weekend trip to California to visit Jared's dad down there.

Jared's dad's name has officially become Papa Bob for all intents and purposes.

Jared and I have been married for almost 5 years now, and we have been together for almost 7. In all that time, we haven't done a lot of family visiting together. He has come to Burns with me 3 times total and I had never gone down to California.

He talked about taking me over and over and over again, and so we decided to head on down. It would be good to get to visit with his dad and see the sites of where he grew up.

Man O man did I get the grand tour. We went everywhere. Most importantly, we went and took some photos with a big, giant tree, which is really cool. I had always wanted to play around in a Redwood forest, and we did for a little while.

I saw the house Jared grew up in and the town he grew up in and many of the towns around as well. They even took me by the hospital he was born in!

We had an awful lot of fun, and we got to hang out with Papa Bob for a while, what a treat!

Saturday, May 10, 2008


We are now calling Jared's dad "Papa Bob."

We decided to take him out to eat while we were visiting for a little birthday celebration. As we were walking away from the restaurant, I was coaxing Daphne to say, "Papa" over and over again.

She was working on it, and she eventually, just blurted out a nice little Daphne, "Papa." It was very sweet. I think that is the best birthday present that a tiny baby can give to her Papa for his birthday.

Friday, May 09, 2008


When I was in high school, I had to write a paper about communication without words.

When I started the paper, I was convinced that it was impossible to get anything done without using words because it just wasn't' possible. There was, in fact, a reason that the cave men decided to use their voice to delineate language, it is a basic thing that separates man from beast.

What I didn't know was how important nonverbal communication would be just a few short years later.

You see, we are becoming masters at communication that has nothing to do with words. Daphne's ability to think about things and want things is progressing much faster than her vocabulary, so she has formed a method of solving this for now.

If there is something that she wants that is in sight, she makes a fuss, not a cry, about it and points to it until you give it to her. Sometimes, her pointing is just in a general direction, and it takes some guessing. It is unmistakable what she wants though because the second you give it to her, you get a "hu huh huh" as a reward.

If she just wants something in general, she will make a crying fuss to get it, but as soon as you figure out what it is, you get your "hu huh huh" as a reward.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Thank You!

I have to say that I do have the most polite daughter.

Most people have to beg borrow and plead to get their kids to say "please" and "thank you", but not this girl.

Daphne has taken it upon herself to say "thank you" when someone gives her something, especially if it is something that she wants badly.

Now mind you, this does not happen all the time, but the first time she did it, I was taken aback by it because I was shocked, but it quickly became clear that this was going to be a regular thing.

It is very sweet to hear her little "tak tou" when she gets something she wants.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Old Underwear

Jared and I are working very hard to come up with ways to pay off the debt.

As we were packing to go to California, we were talking about clothing. We are both in grave need of some new clothing. I am holding out on getting a little thinner, and I think Jared is holding out on getting a little fatter.

I have had the same underwear since 2005. It has holes in it with the seams ripped out of many key places. It is my favorite underwear, and it is difficult to find an inexpensive replacement for it.

I told Jared that as soon as we were out of debt that I would throw out my underwear and buy some new ones. I will not do it a second sooner. I just hope that the underwear hold out that long...

Sustainability and Family Values

This is a little something I wrote on the blog of my college class that I thought I might share with you. Enjoy.

I realized that there are a lot of things that I am doing that are sustainable practices. I have cloth diapers that I made myself that I use to diaper my baby. All of our laundry is done in cold water. We have a rain barrel harvesting system in place, we grow all of our own vegetables. I raise my own chickens and milk my own goat (and yes I live in the city, so this is possible). I sew all of my daughters clothes. I grind my own wheat that I buy from local farmers. We don’t own a TV. We harvest our goat kids for meat as well as a few cattle. We have almost no solid waste, which means that our garbage is taken away less than once a month. We have no plastic bottles in our house because all of our food is made a home. I make all of our mayonnaise and mustard, chocolate sauce and nutella. I make my own cream of wheat from the wheat that I grind. I have no gallon milk containers because I use glass. All of my things are stored in glass that I reuse over and over again. I take very short showers because I only wash my hair once a week. My baby only takes baths in 1-2 inch water, etc. The only thing that I don’t do great is that I drive. We live in a rural city that is very small. There is no other choice but to drive, and I think that my carbon footprint, if you will, is greatly reduced by many of the other things that I do. For example, I save a cup of crude oil every time I change my daughter’s diaper. That feels good.

I have chosen to become really involved in the game of being sustainable. I do it for the environment, yes, but I do it for myself as well. My family is happy knowing that I make all of our cheese. We get to harvest our chickens when we want, and I don’t have to wonder if they were given antibiotics. My eggs come from the hens that laid them right outside my window. My daughter gets to come with me to milk the goat every day, and she reaps the benefits of drinking raw goats milk and raw goats milk cheese. These actions have drawn us closer as a family because we are forced to confront what we are doing in our lives and what effect those actions have on others. I think that is what sustainability really is.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Laundry Discrimiation

I think that I am a victim of laundry discrimination,a nd I would like to formally take a stand.

You see, this weekend (and at times in the past) Jared helped me do the laundry because I was very busy.

When it came to the folding step, his clothes got folded and Daphne's did as well. I found mine in the basket clearly neglected. How sad.

He says there is a reason, but there is always a reason.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Ta Tou

Tonight, during dinner, Daphne was wining about wanting something to eat. We offered her many, many things, and none of them seemed to please her.

I got the brilliant idea to give her some Cherios, which were on the other counter.

When I poured them out in front of her, I got a very distinctive Ta Tou.

It was very nice of her to have such good manners.

Sunday, May 04, 2008


I have had my garden beds set up for some time, but I have been waiting for the spring frost and the late snow to leave before I planted my garden.

Finally, we have had some nice weather here, so I went out and did some planting. Daphne was along for the ride.

There is an awful lot of planting to do, so I was trying to plan it all out. I would plant the seeds and then mark them with a popsicle stick. I had a perfect system--or so I thought.

Right behind me as I planted was a little monster digging up all the seeds and pulling the markers out.

It was a long day and I am only 2/5 done at best.

Saturday, May 03, 2008


Daphne has learned to climb up onto things.

We can no longer leave anything on the table because she will inevitably climb on up and start to munch on it or throw it on the floor.

This principle of not leaving anything out you don't want played with or ruined rolls over into other practical areas.

Apparently, leaving the chair in front of my sewing table has some disastrous side effects as well.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Six Word Biography

Earnest Hemmingway was once challenged to write a story using only six words. His brilliant story was:
"For Sale. Baby Shoes. Never Worn."

My brilliant six word biography is:

"Hippie photographer farmer mom loves Greece."

Not as good as Hemmingway, but you get the idea of who I am at least.

What is your six word biography?

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Life Update

I have been a little sporadic about posting recently, at least it feels that way, I used to post several posts a day, and I am down to one per day. I have even slowed down on taking video and photos.

And I plan to remedy that.

Daphne does not like to let me work on my computer AT ALL, which means that the time I get to sit down to myself is either when she is napping or when she has gone to bed (or has not yet woken up).

Usually, she takes her nap when I go to milk the goat. She falls asleep in the car and I park it in the shade with the windows rolled down and the radio on while I head around the corner to milk the goat. She then stays asleep until I get home, where I turn the radio on and roll the windows down.

I don't like to leave her in the car herself, so during this time, I have been going outside with my snap press (used to put snaps on diapers), and I sit outside of the car making diapers until she wakes up again.

The only problem with this system of sleeping is that I don't get the things I need to do.

You see, when Daphne is asleep, I have to allocate my time.

Do I

a.) pay the bills and balance the checking acount
b.) reply to emails that I have been ignoring for some time
c.) get back to wedding clients I am a little late on talking to
d.) clean the house up after Hurricane Daphne
e.) make the diapers that are my new way of living
f.) start to make the food in the kitchen that needs to be made
g.) get caught up on school
e.) do any other project around the house I can't do with a baby
f.) blog

Truth be told, everything gets put off for the most part except for getting caught up on college. Email is not a good way to contact me right now, nor is the phone. I guess I am just in a little hole while I work through all this stuff I have to do.

You see, I still am determined to go to school. I have only 2 semesters left as long as I can get PSU to honor one more semester that I did abroad. That means that I will be graduating by December. I can always take another year of torture or so right? Having my degree will make me feel like I completed something and accomplished something. I will get a lot of time back when I do complete my degree, but for now, it is a permanent part of my life.

I am also starting to make diapers for money. It is official. I am finishing 40 diapers right now for someone and then I have more sets to go. The good news is that if I sell 11,500 diapers, I will pay off our debt. The bad news is that that does not count taxes, and that is a LOT of diapers to make. The 40 I am working on now is a huge project. I am taking it one step at a time, but this is the only method I can come up with of paying down our debt.

I don't know why I am so desperate to pay off our debt. Jared and my lives will be a lot easier without this money looming over our heads. We pay a fair amount of our monthly budget to it every month. As soon as we pay off the credit cars, I am going to cut up the cards so that they can't be used. I won't close the accounts because that dings your credit for when you go to buy a house or anything, but I just plan to leave them there empty never to be used again. The good news is that Jared is feeling so, so much better that this should never be a problem again.

Truth be told, I really, really want a farm, and I really, really want to have some more babies. Jared says we can't have another baby until we are out of debt, which at the past rate was going to take about 8 years. That is too long for me, so I am desperately trying to figure out how to pay off these credit cards so that I can move on with my life. So much of our attention and income would be freed up to do things like pay taxes and maybe save for retirement!

And the most important part... having another baby.

And so, I continue to do the things that I have been doing.

I am milking the goat and making lots of cheese. I have some Creme Fraiche and some Chevre culturing right now along side the gallon of yogurt that I made for Jared as well.

I plan to make some hard cheeses in the future, but I'm going to have to figure out how to press the cheese to do that.

That's life in a nutshell, sorry for not talking a whole lot more about it on a daily basis.


Daphne has kind of tapered off a little bit in the words she is learning. She has her basic, mama, dada, Flaff words, and she is not really adding much to them right now. I am in no hurry, so it is not a big deal to me at all.

Sometimes, she will go for a while without saying and words, and I will ask, "Can you say mama?"

It really is the sweetest thing when she says "mama" and she knows exactly what she is saying.