Under Construction

Work in progress.

Around here today – Flowers

If you’re gonna have dandelions in your yard, you might as well have daisies too. They’re in tiny patches here and there. Little habitats. I didn’t notice the silky spider threads until I saw this one on the computer. Also, you notice the decapitated stem? That lovely one is in my kitchen.


Hollyhocks. I’ve tried for three years to get them established outside our barn. A too-mild winter, and ahem… these birds called chickens, took quite a toll. But LOOK! Blooms! Finally, I am getting closer to declaring the hollyhock mission a success. Also? Pink is so not my color, but I’m totally okay with it if that’s what it takes.


The cilantro is flowering. Fine by me if it seeds itself again so I don’t have to do that next year. A cilantro jungle – that’s what we have.


And the dill. I planted it once, like four years ago, and it shows up right on time ever since.



other worldly

So in conclusion, I probably should have titled this one, “The things that grow all.by.themselves whether I want them to or not, except the stubborn Hollyhocks”.

These purple carrots

We’re doing a few experiments in our garden again, a collaboration with the NDSU extension. We’re nothing special. But we like to think we are, and when I word it like that… it sure sounds like we are. Special, I mean.

This garden just went crazy behind my back these last few weeks. It always does that in July. I figured we had the weeds about 80% under control. And then? July happened.

So I figured we’d better get started taste-testing these odd carrots. They’re purple. I guess I told the kids these ones were going to be purple, because they were neither impressed nor surprised. With all the drama we usually have going on around here, I was honestly a bit disappointed.

We picked a few carrots. Carefully. In two bundles as to not get the two varieties mixed up.

‘Cause we have to be responsible with this one, you know.

in the wagon

No drama to write home about.

For once.

(Yesterday was a different story… Emergency Room. Stitches. Lots of wailing and snot.)

deep purple

Oh, and the girl found a very pretty squash. That was after she ate a basil leaf half the size of her head. Now do you think she’d eat a leaf of basil if I handed it to her in the house? No way. These kids always smell very, ummm… culinary(?) after a trip to the garden. One favors the cilantro, and the other two go after the basil, but it has to be foraged completely on their own.

Scratch and sniff: Basil

yellow squash

I’m realizing now these pictures make it look like our garden is on the moon (or Texas?), or mulched with rock, or something. This is actually up on our driveway next to the house. The driveway has weeds too. It keeps the chickens busy. Everything around here has a purpose, people.

modeling the purple carrots

here it comes

Even the squash.

On the kitchen table…

Just as I found them:

artwork found - kid 2

artwork found - kid 1

artwork found - kid 3

I have no idea who started it this time, but I love these kids’ creativity. Our table sees so many beautiful things.


This kid of mine? He wants to have fun. Always.






Unless he’s busy whining. He can fuss and whine like nobody’s business. Otherwise he’s all the time silly.

simple moments is about finding the small things that make up our everyday, things we want to remember and be thankful for. it’s the little bits of our lives that might not be remembered when we are gray and old. so we document it, on paper, with a photo, in a journal, through a blog

My helper

By default, she’s my helper. Sometimes this works better than other times. Sometimes it doesn’t work at all. And sometimes, the universe interacts with her in ways that just boggles my mind.

Our local K-Mart is closing, which is a sad thing because it means Mal-Wart wins.

So we went. Just to see what was left, and we found some foam swords. Foam swords! Thus commenced a great battle in the summer-fun aisle. Me and her, with much giggling and squealing on her part, to the great delight of all kinds of old ladies meandering past with their shopping carts. I’m sort of disappointed none of them grabbed a sword to join us.

Then I got distracted by a blow-up bounce house for small kidlings, because I often wish I had a padded room to toss that girl into. It would be good for both her and me, actually. On clearance it was still a ridiculous $200. But you know, I have a job now and so it was slightly tempting anyway. While I was deep in thought imagining how cool it would be to throw her into such a contraption for half an hour, and the great many things I might be able to get done, and how it could perhaps be worth almost $200…

That was when it happened.


The girl? She’d been bravely swinging her sword up and down the aisle like any good warrior.

And she’d been captured.

By a stack of 9 evil plastic pools.

Attack of the plastic pools!

And what did she say?

“It’s dark in here”

Looking for the Simple Moments with my friend Brooke. “simple moments is about finding the small things that make up our everyday, things we want to remember and be thankful for. it’s the little bits of our lives that might not be remembered when we are gray and old. so we document it, on paper, with a photo, through a blog”

March 10 (+2) on 10

She’s getting braver. I don’t know if it’s the super-awesome fish treats, or if the kids have learned to be quieter around her, or if she’s going senile. My vote would be for the fish treats.

Fish, Ellie? FISH!???

Ellie... fish?

He’s the mechanical-minded one – asked for a toothpick and went and got himself a light. Then he announced that if he spun the wheels backwards all that junk caught around them started to unwind itself. Not too bad for a six year old. Then again, he’s always had an interesting connection with cars… ahem… having been born in one.

little mechanical engineer

Our drive to church. Kind of bleak. Kind of still winter. Endless month of March. I’m totally okay with it this year, which is unusual.

North Dakota winter

Ye old styrofoam cup, always begging to be mutilated.



And a peek back:

peeking back

You have muddy pawprints on your sunroof too, right?

See the reflection of the little girl feet?

pawprints on the sunroof

This was right before his head smashed into my lens… which smashed my camera into my glasses. My new glasses. My only-four-days-ago I got’em glasses. My I-gotta-go-back-and-get-them-adjusted already again glasses. My this-is-exactly-why-I-got-two-pairs-of-them glasses. I win, dear readers. I win.


She’s three. But she’s almost four. And when it gets deathly quiet, it’s still a dreadful thing. Blue sand dunes all over the kitchen floor? True story. I lose.

blue sand

Just try, ladies. Just you try coming through that door.


just try to come throught that door

And there’s most of the menagerie. What should we add next? Turkeys? Goats? Emu?

the menagerie

The spoiled floppy purring one. And there. All the cats made it into one blog post.

Floppy purring kitty

Did I mention she’s still a handful? Some nights this is the only way (without tears) I can convince her to head into the bathroom to get ready for bed.

coloring in the mirror

Valuable lessons

She was searching for lipstick. I told her I thought I had one somewhere… maybe it was in the bathroom, or a coat pocket, or a camera bag. After we searched, and searched, and searched, I re-thought what I had previously thought. Then I thought perhaps I had thrown that one tube of lipstick away. Then I tried to remember the last time I might have used it. Meanwhile she continued to search for it.

“Mom, what’s this?”

It was a can of shaving cream. Half-empty. Almost as old as she is.

The way I saw it, there was only one thing to do.

shaving cream

Four minutes is about how long it took me to post that picture on facebook, in the other room, by the way. Meanwhile, a couple of valuable lessons were simmering.

Being the Swedish Chef is good, but there’s always more imagination to be had. Fun is good, but more fun is better. Pretend bugs leaving their footprints all over the table is good, but bugs walk on the walls too, so obviously that’s better.

Lesson number one: Don’t turn your back on the shaving cream.

shaving cream II

Lesson number two: Shaving cream will take the finish right off the table.

February 10 on 10

He’s creating a masterpiece drawing on the iPad. What kind of masterpiece, you ask? The kind with a rocket ship that suddenly lights on fire so all the frogs have to jump out and then you draw parachutes on them, of course, because frogs can’t fly very well on their own. Mouth open concentration required. Cute sister optional.

playing iPad

We were in a blizzard warning, or blizzard watch, or prepare yourself HERE COMES THE WIND, or church and 4H cancelled or something like that. I was confused. But then I saw Marshall hunkered down in the chicken coop and figured something must be brewing. The critters always know.

Marshall in the coop

More creative concentration in full swing…


Then, instead of a blizzard, the sillies arrived. What else do you do on a so called Snow Day when someone “accidentally” smashes a plant?

Mom: “Hey, all you need is a toga!”
Kid: “What’s a toga?”

The sillies

I call this one: “Brave children onward through the snow”
Alternately titled: “Mom kicked them straight out the front door”

snow day

Kids outside, peaceful house inside, my Ellie slinks out of the attic temporarily.

Ellie hiding

Two hours later, he’s nowhere near ready to come in yet… and by the way, for all my Southern friends, it was so warm out the dog was panting. True story.

two hours later... he's still out

Prelude to bedtime. How do you comb a Dad’s hair when he hasn’t got any hair to comb?

bedtime (sort of)

It’s obvious what this is, right?

What, you can’t tell?

Hello. It’s a Christmas Tree.

Christmas tree

The commute to my virtual office is a short one. Blowing snow and ice has Interstate shut down? Whatever.

Not all online chat agents barely speak English and live in India. Sometimes they live in the middle of North Dakota. Some forward-looking companies want their customers to have someone knowledgeable to walk the aisles of their online stores with them, except, in a less creepy way. And if you (by some act of God, or perhaps lack of regard for normal safety standards that most humans have) smashed your Nikon D90 at an off-road race in SoCal… I’ll promise we’ll get along okay, even though I love Canon. And I’ll tell you the Mack Diamond warranty might be nice for “normal and abnormal wear and tear” but it’s too bad it’ll only cover your gear and not your personal injuries. And then I’ll sell you a sweet new Nikon camera.

I am really loving this job, it’s such a perfect fit for where I am in life right now.


Oh, and dual monitors? Kicks butt.

Counting (again)

72. Packing peanuts. The starchy kind that dissolve in water. The kind you can lick and stick together to build all sorts of interesting things.

Packing peanuts.

73. Crusty noses and milk mustache remnants. ‘Cause this too shall pass.

It’s been awhile since I counted these simple gift-type-things… I was all ready to post this last week. And then I accidentally broke my photo editing software. And then I accidentally got sick.

74. How much better a 99 degree fever feels than a 102 degree fever.

75. A husband that’s totally my computer guy.

76. Shadow-masked pretend grumpy faces. Awesome, right!?

The shadow-masked pretend grumpy face

77. Shoving packing peanuts up your shirt.

78. Belly buttons.

Packing peanuts up (and down) the shirt.

79. Gravity. It never fails us. Except when we don’t want certain things to fall down. Ahem. Packing peanuts? Ummm… yeah. That’s exactly what I meant.

Joining my dear friend Brooke in looking for the “Simple Moments”.

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