Saturday, December 31, 2011

Oregon: These are a few of my favorite things, 2011.

I've been dreaming up this post for quite some time now and I thought New Years Eve would be the perfect time to write about my favorite things about Oregon. So.... Here goes.

Top 10 Favorite Things:

1. The Oregon Coast! This by far is my most favorite thing about Oregon. 
We've lived here for a year and I think we've been to the coast 6...or 7 times... hey, it's just an hour away so why not! 

2. The Sand Dunes in Florence, Or.  This is practically the coast also but it deserves it's own number because it's by far the most entertaining thing I've done this year. 
This picture doesn't even do the dunes justice by the way.  They were huge and our driver was CRAZY! I thought we were going to flip several times but he assured us that he has never flipped one.

3. Camping! We took the girls camping for the first time and they loved it.  We went to Cottage Grove. Baker Bay... but Camping anywhere is FUN!

4.  Learning to Knit.  Ok, so I know this isn't a place but it's definitely something that I am SO thankful that I was taught how to do.
5.  Multnomah Falls. Just because it's BEAUTIFUL (and I love waterfalls!). 

6.  Lowell, Or.  This was our first hometown when we moved to Oregon.  I still take people here when they come to visit. Lowell is on Dexter Lake and has a cover bridge. It's a small town of 1,000. You can drive up to the dam (a mile from our house at the time) and on a clear day see Diamond Peak.

7.  Sweet Cheeks Winery. For mine and Q's anniversary we went here for wine tasting.
There are 2 or 3 other vineyards close to this one that I want to check out in 2012.

8.  Saturday Market, Eugene, Or.  This is only in the Summer and it's downtown Eugene. It's a place where locals can sell things that they make or grow. 

9.  PARKS! Lots and Lots of parks in Oregon. I've never in my life seen so many parks and so many playgrounds! 

10. Oregon Country Fair. This was quite an experience. We were warned not to take the kids...and if we had to take the kids we should go as early as possible on Sunday. Luckily our friends Richie and Sharee got Q tickets for his birthday so we could go in early. We did see a few nudest but the girls didn't seem to notice.
Deci dancing with the Hippies! She fits in so well. :)

10 +...ok so one more.. Thrift Stores!!! I counted today and I could think of 12 thrift stores within 10ish miles from my house. Here is a picture of one of my favorites:
In the summer the huge blue garage door is open. This is the store where we got our Couch. Our house is full of thrift store things and I LOVE IT! 
(By the way, if my husband had a say he would have added Sisters, Oregon)

Check back in tomorrow where I'll add a list of places we hope to visit 2012!

Friday, December 30, 2011

I need a break

What? I need a break? Didn't I just come back from vacation?? YES I did and let me tell you that I need another break. The weather has been yucky the past few days...WHAT? It's December in Oregon and the weather is yucky! Ha! (Did you know that it rains from October until June here?) It's actually not been that bad here this winter so far but this past week it's been bad.  Here's what we've been doing lately:
When it gets this cold and rainy I don't leave the house. Am I the only mom that HATES going grocery shopping? (unless you are alone and then it's only slightly less painful.) 1/2 the battle is getting both kids dressed and with shoes on then into the car....the other 1/2 is trying to keep the 1-year-old from screaming and the 4-year-old from going home with a stranger. Seriously, she disappears faster than any kid I know....and I'm a little paranoid...

So last night my lovely husband let me go to the local craft store for 30minutes to buy yarn. Then he cooked supper! Steak and Veggies! Yeah, I'll keep him. The thing you may not realize is that when we lived in Alabama it was so much easier to get a break.  Once a week, at least, Q's mom would come over and get the girls and take them for a few hours. I could always call my mom to meet me at Wal-mart so she could help with Deci while I grocery shopped. I was SPOILED! Q and I could go on as many dates as we wanted because we had so many grandparents to keep the kids.  It was so nice and we are so thankful for that time.  Here in Oregon things are so different. I'm learning to appreciate the little things...and the little breaks...even if it's 30 minutes in a craft store.

I wanted to share this photo with you. We've played dress up this week. Deci was "Super Power Wand Girl"
She had me dressed in a Batman mask and cape and I was "Super Batman Girl". I know you're dying for a picture but it didn't happen. ;)

I love these girls!
I love them so much that I need a break! So thankful that my mom is coming up Jan 9th and staying for 3 WEEKS! Yes you heard that right 3 WEEKS! Q and I are already planning our date nights, over night getaways, thrift store shopping, ministry opportunities, and sleeping in...but Shhh! Don't tell her or she may not come.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Losing weight

I'm obsessed with The Biggest Loser T.V. show...I'm currently wasting my time away re-watching all of the seasons on netflix now. I'm at the end of season 4 now.  I love the finale....I love seeing the changes these people have made in their lives. I've always been a softy for makeover stories so I thought I would share with you a little about my weight loss story.  When I got pregnant with Journey I think I weighed 145ish... I gained about 40ish pounds when I was pregnant so I ended up being around 185 or so... This picture was the day Journey was born, August 31, 2010:
(I've stolen all these pictures off of Kerrie's Face Book page) I Hate this picture of myself but it gives you a good idea of how big I was then. (and it's such a cute picture of Deci.) 

These next few pictures are from our move out to Oregon. January 2011. We were in San Francisco, CA at the time. I believe I weighed 151. A week before we left I was still in maternity pants.
We started Weight Watchers a few months after this and I lost around 10 pounds after a few months. I stayed around 140-144 for a while and just a few months ago Q and I decided to start Weight Watchers back up.  This morning I got on the scale and weighed the lowest I've weighed since we've been in Oregon.  135.6! I've lost 16 pounds since I've been in Oregon! Here's a recent picture...I don't have a full body shot but I believe you can tell from my face.
I'm pretty proud of myself.  I know it's only 16(ish) pounds and I realize that most of the weight was because I had a baby but that baby is  16 months old now! It's extremely hard to lose weight. I'm extremely proud of Q also. Over the past few years he has lost somewhere around 70 or 80 pounds! 
Now, If I could just get someone to give me a makeover! :)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas 2011

This was our first Christmas in Oregon.  Our first Christmas away from home...or what has been home for me for the past 29 years. Yesterday was the first morning since I've been alive that I didn't spend at my grandparents house.  It was hard being away from family but I really have enjoyed making new traditions with my girls.  We started the day off opening presents:

 We don't usually get them a lot.  This year all Deci asked for was a Hula-hoop or a"hoopdeloop" as Deci calls it and a locket. She said she wanted one because of the movies Annie and Pippi Longstocking.  I don't think she realizes that the reason they have a locket is because they are have lost one or both family members  (Does Pippi Longstocking even have a locket?? I can't remember but Deci thinks she does.)

At 12 we had our Crash team over to eat lunch. Here's a picture of Deci, Derrick, and his friends Tonya and Maribel.

 This poor girl got an eye sty.
 If you like looking at gross stuff just Google: Eye Sty and look at pictures. I wanted to make sure it was an sty and not something else. I about lost my lunch.

Our neighbor (also photographer) JoAnna came by with her two sons. Her husband had to work.  She grew up in Florida and doesn't have family in town either.
 We played dirty Santa.

 Below, our newest Crash member Zach and Luis. Zach moved up here from Alabama a few weeks ago.
 Later in the afternoon, Q had to go into work for a few hours to help with giving gifts out to the guys there. Over all it was a very relaxing day. Q shared more about our feelings about being away from family at Christmas and you can check that out by clicking HERE.

Here are a few pictures our neighbor JoAnna took for our Christmas card. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Saturday, December 24, 2011


 I wanted to add the finished products of the ornaments that Deci painted yesterday.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Homemade Ornaments

About 2 weeks ago I decided to let Deci make all her grandparents homemade ornaments. I remember making paper mache balls with balloons when I was younger and thought I could Google how to make an ornament and it would be easy and fun...well fun, yes but not as easy as I imagined.  I thought this would be something I could let Deci do all on her own but it ended up that I did all the hard work. To make Paper Mache Ornament Balls you will need:
-Small Balloons
-Glue or white flour
(Optional- Paint and yarn)
First start by blowing up the balloon the size you want your ornament. Then coat the balloon with Vaseline.
 Next cut newspaper into strips about an inch thick and about 3 inches long.
Mix either: 3 part water, 1 part flour
or 2 parts white glue to one part warm water. 
The flower/water mixture didn't work well for me.  After 2 days the newspaper was still wet and soft.

Dip the newspaper strips into the mixture and remove excess liquid with fingers. Place strips onto the balloon.  Make about 6 layers. Set aside to dry for at least 24 hours. Ours took almost 48 hours to completely dry. This part by the way was the hard part.  I let Deci do the first one, but she has 4 sets of grandparents (not counting great grandparents) so I ended up making the rest.
 After they are dry, paint away if you wish. This was the fun part for Deci.

 Let the paint dry and then cover with a layer or 2 of Mod Podge. (This is optional)  It goes on creamy but drys clear.
 After this drys, pop the balloon and pull it out. Then figure out a way to hang them on the tree. This was another hard part.  Ideally it would be good to use what most ornaments are hung on the tree with as pictured below:
 I had a few extra laying around from broken ornaments. For the other ones I used thick yarn. I just looped it and tied a really thick knot at the bottom. Then pushed the knot in the hole at the top where the balloon was sticking out.
 I think they turned out really cute but like I said, they took me a while to's just lots of steps on waiting for it to dry. I mailed these out yesterday so grandparents, don't put up your Christmas ornaments just yet.  You will have a late Christmas gift that should be at your house by December 29th. :)

If you are looking for an easier homemade ornament to do with your kids check out my friend Bryan's blog HERE and follow these instructions from his guest blogger. We started making these ornaments this morning.
 Mix flour, salt and water. (I didn't have the alum the recipe calls for)
 Roll dough out and use cookie cutters to make shapes. Use drinking straw to poke holes in the top for string. Then bake in the oven for 2 hours at 250.
These were so easy to make and Deci had so much fun. She even said, "This was a good idea mom!" She loved playing in the left over dough after.  These take 2 hours in the oven though so ours are still baking away.  I'll post pictures soon after we paint them. (oh and leave more room on your baking pan than we did. They swell in the oven and ours are starting to stick together.) I only wish I would have found this recipe earlier...I guess I can save them to mail next year. :)

A must watch Christmas video

Me and the girls have watched this video 3 times this morning and I can't get enough of it! My favorite video of the birth of Jesus. Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Seattle: Day 4

 Our last day in Washington we went to see the Fremont Troll and ended up passing this statue on the way. 
This is the statue "Waiting for the Interurban" which was created in 1979. People often dress the statues. Click the link above to see more pictures of them dressed up. I wish we would have realized we would be passing this and brought something to help decorate them.

We walked up the street to the Fremont Troll, located under the Fremont Bridge.
 Kerrie took a group shot of all of us here maybe she will post it in a few days.
After the Troll we stopped to eat lunch then took Wade, Kerrie, and Rick (Hilde stayed to spend time with her family) to the airport on our way back to Oregon. It's always hard to say goodbye. I think Q drove most of the way home silent. I immediately start thinking of better ways we can impact Oregon. If we are going to live 2,518 miles away from our friends and family then I don't want to just "live" here. Luckily we cut 2 hours off our trip back and it only took us 5 hours to get home so we didn't have long to reflect on leaving our family to fly back to Alabama without us. We are so thankful that they got to come up to visit us! (and help make it possible that we could even afford a trip to Seattle) To see some pictures and 2 funny videos from the first part of last week click Here. I'll leave you with this sweet picture of Aunt Kerrie watching Cartoons with Journey and Deci.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Seattle: Day 3

Q and the girls figured out that the Seagulls loved to be fed pancakes... $15 dollar pancakes from room service... I guess if we weren't going to finish them we shouldn't let them go to waste.

I don't have a lot of pictures from this day. My camera battery can only be charged in the car and since we didn't get in the car the whole trip after we arrived (until we were leaving) I didn't get to charge the battery. We started the day by walking to the Pacific Science Center. The girls loved getting to run around there. Next we walked to lunch where we met our friends The Buckley's who are originally from Washington but moved to Alabama a few years ago then moved back to Washington where they live now. They have 2 older sons and recently adopted a 9 year old little boy named Luke who we got to meet for the first time. We all went to the Space Needle which was my favorite part of the trip...minus my fussy one year old at the top plus a sometimes claustrophobic mom (Me!). I love going to places that I've seen in Movies all my life. I told Q that we must watch Sleepless in Seattle soon.

I'm pretty sure this is the best family picture we have from our trip...My camera was dying at this time and Deci was refusing to be in pictures. She was trying to grab her jacket to hold over her head. I think Kerrie took another picture after my camera died so maybe it turned out better than this one.
The picture below (from right to left) is Q with Hilde's daughter Michelle, holding Journey and then Jan and Steve Buckley. It was so nice getting to see them again.

After we left the Space Needle Kerrie and I walked back to our hotel with the girls so they could rest while Q and the rest of the crew went to the EMP (Experience Music Project) Museum. We all met up again at the hotel and walked down town to eat at restaurant called Local 360 which had the most random menu of Rabbit, pig ears, and other random but yummy food. I'm not big on trying different things but Q loved it. :) My steak was wonderful! Once again we left the restaurant early because of sleepy kids.  I'm impressed at how well our kids (and me. ha!) did on this trip with all the walking and eating out, but by the end of the day they were tired and getting fussy.

A confession. A not so perfect stay-at-home mom.

When I decided to start this blog up again I had a discussion with Q about how one problem I had with blogging is that sometimes when you blog your life can seem almost perfect or make believe. We only write about this good things and post pictures of smiles. Sometimes you never see the kids screaming or the parents fighting. You can read another blog and wish your life was like that when in all reality their life may not be so "perfect". I've noticed this can also happen on Facebook. I understand the opposite of this is the annoying people on Facebook that complain about anything and everything. I often have the habit of being negative and I hate it. When I was talking to Q about this he said that I should write about the good and the transparent.

So, I'm going to try to be transparent without being negative or complaining...I just want people to know that we are not a "perfect" family...whatever that may mean. I let my kids wear their PJ's all day long...not because I'm a cool mom but because sometimes it's easier then trying to find something for them to wear. I get really excited that my 1-year-old now takes a 3 hour nap because I know that it means I can let my 4-year-old watch TV while I shower, knit, read, and blog when really I should be folding clothes or washing the dishes that are overflowing in the sink. I was just thinking this morning that life was so good and in a minute all that changed as me and the kids were covered in paint and I wanted to SCREAM! Ok, maybe I did scream... Life is still good because God is good. I'm learning everyday that I can't live this life without Him.

I wanted to share a text I sent my husband this morning:

"Started the morning singing Christmas songs, watching Christmas movies, playing Barbies...all was perfect in the Williams house. Then disaster hit. Tried to paint ornaments. Paint everywhere! Both girls screaming at the moment with snotty faces. Journey eating a marker while crying. Deci not wanting to clean up...funny how a day can change so fast! On top of all that I think I just burnt the soup that I was cooking on the stove for lunch. Oh the joys of being a stay at home mom. :)"

Monday, December 19, 2011

Seattle: Day 2

We woke up on day 2 and went to Pike Place Public Market.
Sea creatures everywhere!

Deci tried Strawberry Bubble Tea. It had tapioca pearls at the bottom. I wasn't a huge fan but Deci loved the strawberry taste.

We walked to the original Starbucks and got coffee then headed to Beecher's for the best macaroni and cheese I've ever had!

Next stop: The GUM Wall! Deci had to add her gum to the collection.

In the afternoon Q's dad and Hilde offered to keep the girls so Q and I (along with Wade and Kerrie) could go explore the town. We stopped at the Pioneer Square where we ate at the oldest restaurant in Seattle: The Merchants Cafe and Saloon.

We walked A LOT... I think at the end of the day Q said it was 10 miles.

We ended the night at The Lava Lounge where Hilde's sister works. We also met up with Hilde's youngest daughter Michelle there then headed back to the Hotel to get the girls in bed. It was so nice to have a few hours with Q, Wade and Kerrie to explore!