take me anywhere

take me anywhere's book montage

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose
The Cinnamon Peeler: Selected Poems
Philadelphia, Here I Come! : A Comedy in Three Acts
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down
The Lost Salt Gift of Blood
Imagining Argentina
A Year Without "Made in China": One Family's True Life Adventure in the Global Economy
The End of America: A Letter of Warning To A Young Patriot
Where the Sidewalk Ends
Amongst Women
Church of the Dog
Charming Billy
Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace... One School at a Time
The Birth House
The Poisonwood Bible
Catching Fire
The Hunger Games

take me anywhere's favorite books »

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Happy Holidays!

Gabe and Camille's smiley cheeks on Christmas Eve.
We love to wrap up in our big, comfy towels.
After the kids went to bed, Brett and I turned the tree into a Happy Birthday on Christmas tree for Camille. We added balloons with birthday messages to surprise her when she woke up.
Christmas morning icicles.
The frog tent is a big hit!
We LOVE our bright and cheery matching aprons that my sister-in-law made for Camille and I. Thanks, Tammy!
After eating our Christmas cinnamon roll and marshmallow hot chocolate breakfast, we dove into cupcake making for Camille's birthday. We are all about sugar today. Yeah, we didn't wait long to eat one or maybe two. Lots of sprinkles and frosting. We are still slipping on those sprinkles.

There were some left!
My Christmas cuties!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Family Reflections.

This week we are celebrating being a family! It is so important to turn our energy to truly acknowledging the wonderful attributes each family member offers. Christmas time is definitely the time to do this. I feel such gratitude when I can see how intertwined Brett, Camille, Gabe, and I are; how we weave together to give happiness, laughter, love, and strength. Last night for Family Home Evening we sang endless Christmas songs including "Away in a Manger" and "Samuel Tells of Baby Jesus." Camille is choosing one song a month for us to learn. We cut out pictures to represent words, then glue and laminate. With these visual aids we have it down! The house is so peaceful when we gather to sing. Tonight, we turned on Mindy Smith's "My Holiday" CD and made fabric bird ornaments. We had such fun creating our individual birds for the tree. Our family is very into birds right now and I guess we have always been. I think we feel drawn to them for their delicate, airy beauty, and music abilities. We are thankful to have many opportunities to observe nature in Skagit Valley. I am blessed to share these peaceful moments with my family. Brett carefully constructs. Gabe is having fun using lots of glue and fabric.

The finished (just need ribbon) birdies.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Importance of Layering!

It is gorgeous here today as I am looking out the back south window at a ribbon of sun remaining on the horizon. Ah, to be able to have the sky open all day. That is the wonderful part. The not so great part is trying to keep warm and I am in my house. I have been in my kitchen for the last part of the afternoon, cleaning from this weekend, and am having a bit of trouble standing in socks on the linoleum floor for more than a few minutes. The floor is an ice pond that I can't avoid. Even better, I heard my washing machine start urring and when I went out into the room that adjoins our house to check. I smelled the burning engine. I think it is dead. Our sheets that I stripped this morning are in a dead washing machine full of freezing water. Nice. I would now have to plunge my hands into the glacial water to retrieve and wring them. It felt like my entire body was immersed in this machine. I took a shower after this in order to recharge my limbs. As I was in the shower, I noticed the last two toes on my right foot were purple and entirely numb. This reminded me of Unity St., a place we lived when first married. We refer to the places we have lived by the name of the street. We have a cat and a dog, so finding a place to rent was always difficult. Well, we found one in Bellingham, on Unity St. It was a part of what used to be a functioning plantation, with a substantial brick house, (now some sort of business) servant's quarters, and a stable for horses. We lived up the stairs at the very top of the servant's quarters. When we moved in January, the weather resembled this coldness, but not even close to the low 20's with endless days of snow. Our first morning there, when jumping out from under heavy quilts to use the bathroom, that had been transformed from a closet, we found our shampoo had turned from liquid to solid. It was completely frozen. I wouldn’t be washing my hair today. Oh, the memories. Our current house parallels Unity St. on certain levels like cradling the cold, but at least there is a heating system so that there is actually heat to escape. When we first began to rent our house from my husband’s grandparents we were adding a mirror in the bathroom and the screws went directly from the bathroom wall into my daughter, Camille's bedroom. No space in between to hold insulation, plenty of space for whirling air. We have become very good at layering; hats, wool socks, and slippers are a necessity for arctic living.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Snowy Days!

Sunday was a beautiful day. To actually awake to a bright day streaming in through the windows, calling for you to slide out into it. Well, I am pretty sure the kids were calling for us to slide on out. Slide we did. We prepared with internal (cinnamon rolls and hot chocolate) and external (the essential gear) for warmth.

Brett pulled Camille and Gabe on the tabogan, and they loved when they flew through the snow, powder spinning into the air. Bryn and I pretended to skate on the icy roads, on more than one occasion we almost came crashing down. Okay, Bryn who has four legs not so much, just me. A lovely day.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Two chairs and a sister and brother.

The other day I turned around (one second) and was on the phone looking out the window and then I spun back again (one second) to find:

Gabe standing on two chairs. Wow, how can one so small be so quick? I thought so! Camille had been wanting to reach an incense holder on top of the armoir and apparently couldn't get ahold of it, so she thought hmm. . . Can Gabe reach? Let's find out. He moves fast alone but with an older sibling leading the way, oh, what can be accomplished.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas Traditions

Saturday was the day for our annual train tradition. Last year's hats were too small, so we needed new hats for the frosty occasion. Gabe's hat size is 5-12, so he's supposedly good until twelve. Not too sure about that. I guess he has a big head. We always joke that they take after their dad, who now has a rebuttal. In one of his grad Science classes they did an experiment and the outcome was: his head was just average. That's too bad. I can no longer say he has an extraordinarily big brain.
Camille rode the ponies alone this year. She no longer needed me by her side and I was banned to the outside rope.
At least Gabe still needed our help.

We love, love, love the train rides as they twirl and whirl through downtown and under the Christmas tree.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

three a.m. thoughts

I am existing on few hours of sleep over the past well, I was going to say days, but this being mobile in the dark hours of night has painfully trampled its way under and over weeks. Sweet sleep apparently will not become a daily reality until my children no longer have blankets and beds in this house. I have to admit my mind, once startled, jumps into this frenzy of mad-dash thoughts. When I started this blog it was to tame my 3 a.m. thoughts by channeling them into written words. So, it's out. I am not normal, not even close to being sane. I know I'm not alone as I look around. Oh, this is getting scary. It's a bit hard when you have to fight yourself, especially your brain, the one that is in control of the thinking. What right does it have to go ahead and have a jolly laugh by sending messages flying all about armed with irrationality? Knock it off BRAIN! Depression, anxiety, OCD, Bi-Polar, the list goes on; I don't have all of these. These just happen to be the "disorders," since that is what most of them end with, that I have seen working within friends, family members, people. Okay disorder, I should be functioning in the opposite, orderly fashion? This is what you are trying to say. All highways and no side alleys for me. Not exactly. Do I have a conclusion? I might have to end with the reality of me being a "disorder." Can I be fixed?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A little help from Mr. Potato Head.

Gabe loves to go to sleep because then he can gather every toy from his room and stack them on his bed. The other night I found him in his doorway reading. He used his Mr. Potato Head glasses to help him.

They are a bit snug but apparently do the job!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Day.

Here are some pictures of our Thanksgiving day.
Yummy food and family fun sums it up.
Camille and Gabe dig into dinner. Gabe is completely preoccupied with eating and will not be deterred from his turkey and mashed potatoes.

Do you see a recurring theme? Gabe was making me laugh the way
he would open his mouth as wide as he could to shovel it all in.

Kailey and Camille

Camille, Kailey, and Paydon

Camille was loving her princess ballet dress she got from Kailey.
Passing on those princess dresses is so much fun.
I am extremely grateful for the many blessings we have.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


It is almost Thanksgiving, the beginning of the Holiday Season and we have officially opened the sparkling cider! Let the festivities begin. Oh, yes, sparkling cider with its bubbling foam is fun for the whole family. We even paired it with Cattle Drive chili from Costco (I have been a bit tired and opening some cans and adding tortilla chips worked as a last minute effort to come up with dinner.) Camille said the blessing and was thankful for "this lovely chili." I didn't know lovely could actually be used with chili! We had fun saying "Cheers," and then toasting each other with silly made up words, mostly from Camille, but Brett and I were having fun toasting part nonsense, part different languages, as well.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Phenomenal Conclusions.

I just got home from a funeral and have shed my dark attire for fleece pajamas that give me comfort to think. It was a wonderful service because it clearly celebrated this woman's life. The pastor who led the services spoke about attending the funeral of an 11 year old, a few weeks back, and how he felt he needed to remain at the cemetery after family and friends had left. He was struggling with how short a time span this child had here. As he was walking and reflecting, he kept noticing this theme imprinted on all of the headstones, the "dash." The dash between when you were born and when you had moved out of this existence. The dash is the here and now, what we are doing right now. We are sent here to this earth to learn, to grow, and how many years we spend here is irrelevant. What matters is how we spend those years, what we do with this time we have been given.

As the pastor was retelling memories that this woman created in her life, I was wondering what moments and feelings would be shared at my funeral. I hope that I am living in the moment of my relationships, the only things that produce ultimate meaning. What I have created, learned, and given within my relationships with others as well as myself will be what I carry with me to the life hereafter. Monetary items can create friction and playing the part of a consumer will not assist me in achieving the happiness that lies through the simplicity of relationships, which are complicated, but concentrating on their beauty is the simplicity. As I reflect on what will lead me to truth, I return always to family and friends, to my children, who move through creation, who are ignited through small movements that create phenomenal conclusions. Conclusions that this life is only a small part (albeit significant) of the entire plan, that we will be with our family eternally.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Love (sounds hoaky but read on).

Sunday, we had Ward Conference, which is something my church has where our Stake leaders (which consists of Anacortes, Burlington, Mount Vernon, Oak Harbor and Sedro-Woolley) come and speak to us. I just love President Reed. He has this strong spiritual presence that encapsulates him. He spoke the 3rd hour, when I am teaching the kiddies, so my husband was relaying his message to me. It was about strengthening our marriages.

He also spoke of an experience when a woman's husband had gone into a coma and she had been desperately praying for him to recover. Her struggle and absolute need of having him return to their life is something that I could really grasp onto. Heavenly Father had another plan for her and during one of her prayers, her husband woke up to briefly say, "Let me go." She returned to her prayer knowing that she couldn't hold him here any longer and immediately following, her husband left her presence. I felt chills through my entire being when my husband was telling me this and am teary-eyed now while writing it down. I can understand this woman's plea to not be separated from her husband, to not have to endure this crushing divide.

This reminded me of Leslie Norris' poem, "Hudson's Geese," which is such a heart wrenching poem. I pulled alongside the road last week, one sparkling day, not far from the river and took a photo of the lovely geese which were floating in the overflowing river water.

Hudson tells us of them,
the two migrating geese,
she hurt in the wing
indomitably walking
the length of a continent,
and he wheeling above
calling his distress.
They could not have lived.
Already I see her wing
scraped past the bone
as she drags it through rubble.
A fox, maybe, took her
in his snap jaws. And what
would he do, the point
of his circling gone?
The wilderness of his cry
falling through an air
turned instantly to winter
would warn the guns of him.
If a fowler dropped him,
let it have been quick,
pellets hitting brain
and heart so his weight
came down senseless,
and nothing but his body
to enter the dog's mouth.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

"What do you do all day?"

I follow Little Window Shoppe blog which led me to Supermom Central blog which led me to Pancakes and Pinesol (love the blog names) where I found the following snipit which made me laugh because it is so true.

What Do You Do All Day?

A man came home from work and found his three children outside, still in their pajamas, playing in the mud, with empty food boxes and wrappers strewn all around the front yard.

The door of his wife's car was open, as was the front door to the house and there was no sign of the dog. Proceeding into the entry, he found an even bigger mess. A lamp had been knocked over, and the throw rug was wadded against one wall.

In the front room the TV was loudly blaring a cartoon channel, and the family room was strewn with toys and various items of clothing.

In the kitchen, dishes filled the sink, breakfast food was spilled on the counter, the fridge door was open wide, dog food was spilled on the floor, a broken glass lay under the table, and a small pile of sand was spread by the back door.

He quickly headed up the stairs, stepping over toys and more piles of clothes, looking for his wife. He was worried she might be ill, or that something serious had happened.

He was met with a small trickle of water as it made its way out the bathroom door. As he peered inside he found wet towels, scummy soap and more toys strewn over the floor. Miles of toilet paper lay in a heap and toothpaste had been smeared over the mirror and walls.

As he rushed to the bedroom, he found his wife still curled up in the bed in her pajamas, reading a novel. She looked up at him, smiled, and asked how his day went. He looked at her bewildered and asked, "What happened here today?"

She again smiled and answered, "You know every day when you come home from work and you ask me what in the world I do all day?"

"Yes," was his incredulous reply.

She answered, "Well, today I didn't do it."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Junk food and a haircut.

Brett had today off so I wanted to head out on a day excursion but that didn't happen. Another day happened instead, which began with inhaling donuts from Krispy Kreme. We have never been and you can tell by the reaction on Gabe's face that he is a big fan.

Next, we were off to get Gabe's hair cut. Our $7.99 coupon was soon to expire. While we were waiting, Camille grabbed the latest hairstyle magazine to examine Gabe's options. She found the picture of how she thought Gabe should look when he was done. I took a picture so we could compare!

Not quite what Camille was going for, but this will have to do. Gabe cracks me up though because he is so serious when he is in the barber chair. He had this expression the entire time.

Not only was it bad enough that we ate "breakfast" at Krispy Kreme, we ate McDonalds for lunch. The 11:30 showing of Madagascar was sold out, so while we waited for the 12:30 the kids-McKennna, Garrett, and Camille lucked out with Happy Meals (we have seen Super Size Me and it is quite a shocker.) What a day for advertising.

There are more mundane things to share (like roaming from store to store in search of a mattress for Gabe) but I'm sure this is more than enough excitement!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

How to Re-Use an Empty Altoids Tin | Little Window Shoppe

How to Re-Use an Empty Altoids Tin Little Window Shoppe
I love re-using items for another purpose, so again here is an idea posted at Little Window Shoppe. I think the wallet idea is great.

Pinecone Turkeys

Thanksgiving Dinner Flair Little Window Shoppe
These turkeys would be so cute to make for Thanksgiving! Check them out.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Appreciating what we have.

So, we got a new car, about a month and a half ago, a few days after my birthday. We got it out of neccessity, not because we wanted a car payment. Today, while we were driving to school, Camille was on the phone with Brett playing the "I love you more than a . . . game," so it seems we play this game a lot, but everybody needs some love, right? Well, I heard her say "I love you more than our car," which I thought was going to be nice until she said, "red car." The old car. Brett pointed out she loved that big boat with dents and paint scrapes and had a difficult time when we said we would no longer be sailing our way through these Woolley roads. I love that she doesn't see people on terms of what they drive or where they live. She thinks our house is huge (she is small still and will soon realize) but she knows this is where we can feel the Spirit, sing at the top of our lungs, whisper secrets in ears, and dance like we mean it. I was driving our two year old car today and I was waiting, out of habit, for the battery to die when we went through a puddle. It didn't. Strange. Every time we drove through water the battery would die and well, today is a repeat of yesterday. I can barely see through these water doused windows. As soon as you open your car door, be prepared to take a cold shower.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


I have added Patty Griffin's "Rain" song to my playlist because it is officially that time of the year where dampness and gray saturate the earth of Skagit Valley. They actually become a part of you, digging into your bones. It is quite beautiful if you study the trees, and how droplets ready to burst hang on to the bare branches while moss creeps up the root base of our Akane, Summered, and Bartlett.

We made our Thursday pilgrimage to the Children's Museum. We had fun, especially Gabe who went right for this white lace-patterned hat with silk flowers and heely slip ons. I took some pics and will have to post them, but the camera is in the car. I refuse to go outside into the wet until I have to tonight for Camille's preschool meeting.
It is 3:52 p.m. and it is dark in our house. Nice.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Working Out!

So, I just finished working out (at home with a 2 and a 4 year old). We are working with the body ball and some weights. Camille velcroed some weights to Gabe's arms and then told him to squat down which led to him planting it face first. It is so much fun having Gabe trying to sit on me and Camille offering to hold my legs in the air. Not to mention listening to Mindy, the head ball lady, urging us on with "Oh, my" and "Heavens to Betsy." We are all going to be so fit, stopping every 2 seconds because Camille and Gabe are fighting over who gets the ball. We only have one ball and three people that want to use it! Kids are so much fun.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

St. Augustine

I have mentioned "Band of Horses" in a previous post. They sing St. Augustine, one of the songs floating through my blog. I just adore the chorus and laughed my way onto the sofa when I first heard the lyrics. He sings "I know you tried, I know you're cursed, I know your best was still your worst . . ." It was good that I could laugh at myself when hearing these all too familiar words. There are days when my best is still plainly my worst and this just brings it to the surface. It is really quite amusing. Well, for me anyhow. Like when my friend asked me if my hair was from yesterday, the yesterday when I had it cut and styled by a professional, (which happens two to three times a year) not myself, implying that I hadn't taken a shower. Yes, she's seen me on most days when I haven't yet taken a shower. She told me she meant my hair looked good, despite the fact that I fixed it, which meant moving short bouts of hot air around my head and this was a good day. All in all a great haircut for showerless days.

Vote Today!

It is an exciting day. Brett is listening to CNN live to see how it is all going down. We are caught up in the excitement as well. We hope that Obama wins!! We don't believe in the trickle down effect. Get out and vote!

Music-November 3, 2008

Brett and I are constantly starving for new music and discovered or rediscovered “Band of Horses.” When Brett mentioned he had been listening to them I knew I had heard their music before. I remember it was around 5 years ago because I was pregnant with Camille. We were down in the U-district at Tower Records and I was listening to them at one of the music stations. I apparently didn’t listen long enough because I really dig them and for some reason they didn’t take then. I think it had to do with having to go to the bathroom, being pregnant and all, because I did buy a CD, and I wish it would have been theirs. I think I talked myself into liking the band I bought because I wanted to use Tower’s bathroom. I thought for sure you had to be a customer to use it. So, I went up the counter, bought the CD, and asked to use the bathroom. They didn’t have one. I didn’t even end up with a CD I liked. I ended up giving it away. It might have been worth it for the bathroom.

SW Halloween Parade and Breakfast-November 1, 2008

Yesterday we went to our 2nd annual Sedro Woolley Halloween Parade. I grew up here and had no idea that this was a tradition, until my friend Kari, who moved here told me about it. It is a parade, but you don’t know until you’ve been that you are the parade. Noone is really watching this because they are in it. It is quite amusing. Joy’s Bakery gives out super yummy homemade donuts and SW Family Dental gives toothbrushes. Score!

Speaking of Joy’s Bakery, we get up this morning and decide to go there for hot chocolate and breakfast. It is 10 a.m. by the time we actually get going and the kids are starving because we usually eat at 8 a.m. We go in and the place is packed, so we leave because we are very hungry. We have to run home because I forgot my purse. So, we decide to give it one more shot, hoping that in the past 5 minutes a table has opened up. Brett parks and I run in to see and I spot a booth, so I run back to the car, tell the gang and grab Camille so we can get the booth. Camille and I look for cars then head across the street for the booth when I see a family just like ours getting close to the door, so I grab her hand and we run. Well, I run, dragging Camille because she has been very tired and says she can’t walk, let alone run. So, she is crying and I am dragging my child across the street for this booth, all the while Joy’s Bakery has rather large windows for people to stare out of. Well, we made it, not in front of the other family, but there was another booth that I didn’t see when I went in for the initial stakeout. All of this for pancakes and hot chocolate (hot chocolate with mountains of whipped cream and sprinkles.)

Bright Moments-October 31, 2008

I haven’t really written because I am entranced in this newness of technology-newness for me. I added a picture I took of some Madrona trees (one of my favorite trees). They survive on cliffs which is a strange place to thrive. Pictures of trees will more than likely be frequently added to my blog. I was torn between having a separate blog for my family and keeping this one for writing, music, and the ramblings of my mind. I figured that my nightly awakenings and ramblings coincide with family, right?

I was looking back on my first post, thinking wow, you are admitting to people that you are insane. I am hoping to turn that into creative insane. I just meant that you have to find joy and beauty in everyday things. October has been gorgeous in Skagit Valley. I have been in denial that the gray will come and it has, but not before we experienced many bright moments. I am trying to add some of these bright moments captured by photo as I write. Back to that.

Just Write-October 30, 2008

Okay, so I am switching my blog, therefore copying my posts over. It's a good thing I just started.

Blogging seemed so strange to me at first, then I became keen on documenting the things that run through my mind, mostly in the middle of the night, possibly far past the middle of the night, depending on if you can pinpoint when night actually begins. So, I set one up around two days ago and haven’t written because I am still trying to get the design right. I chose this domain name after a song by Josh Ritter, a mad man of a musician. I think it describes me, not because I am in an actual war, but because daily, mundane life is this constant struggle of remaining sane.