Tuesday, July 12, 2016


Today I had a great day. We ate berries we picked from our garden. We went swimming at my grandma's house. We even ate left overs and homemade sandwiches for dinner. Also we made a bucket list. There were 2 eagles feasting on dead chickens this morning and Emmett, Gage and I went and scared the eagles away but when we were just about to leave to go to grandma's house we saw 4 more eagles circling the chicken coop.

Adelle's Baptism

Adelle chose to be baptized!
Her baptism was Saturday morning, June 18th and her Baptism was performed by her dad. It was such a special day for our family.

Adelle has been preparing for her baptism all year and she has been so excited about it. She planned the whole program and invited everyone she knew. The Spirit was so strong on that rainy Saturday. I will never forget it.

Adelle is growing up and for the past 6 months I have noticed her really consciously trying to be obedient and follow her Savior, Jesus Christ. She is happy and loving to all she meets and is often recognized as being sweet and kind. She has borne her testimony in Sacrament meeting the last 7 fast Sunday's and she is a great example to all that she is around. 

She planned the program herself, wrote it up, and extended the invitations for all who participated. 
The cousins sang their traditional "When I am baptized" and sweet Corbin stole the show standing up front with his arms reverently folded the whole time while all the kids sang. We are thankful for so many cousins and good friends who shared our day with us.

Isaac was a good sport too and got hauled around by Adelle most of the day after the baptism.
We had so much family in town and with all the excitement and happenings I didn't even get family pictures. Jeff's parents came and were here to join us. My parents and all of my siblings and their families came as well as my grandma's and plenty of extended family and friends. There were people standing in the hall because the RS room was completely packed. Adelle is so loved.  

I'm so thankful that this special spirit is in our family. She is such a blessing and such a little ball of love. Prior to the baptism we had lots of fun getting all prepped and walking around the property taking pretty pictures to display. Love this little lady and the beautiful daughter of God that she is. 

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

13 years of dating

Today marks the 13th year anniversary since Jeff and I went on our first date. I love this day. I'm so glad he asked me out before his friend had a chance. He has been my best friend ever since.

It's funny, the whole concept of time. I can remember that Friday night (or was it a Saturday night?) like it was yesterday. Sort of. I remember big things like what I wore; red tank, black cardigan, gap jeans, my most favorite Steve Madden black slip ons... I probably remember those details because I focused on them so much leading up to when he picked me up. Funny to think about how much I wanted to impress him. How much I still always want to impress him. I hope I always impress my husband. And I hope we always date. Which I am sure we will because we have kept it up for this long already. I remember what he wore too and I can still see that boy who came and shook my dad's hand and opened up the passenger side door for me.  He looks so young and less handsome than he is now. I love how we have aged together.

Jeff woke up at 3:30am this morning to my alarm, which we both hear but only he responded to. He left to do a business job before it opened and from there drove to South Whidbey to do a church job. Long day and it's 9:00pm now and he's still not home.

I woke up at 6:30 and did the farm chores since the farmer was gone.  When I came downstairs there was a note from Jeff wishing me a happy first date anniversary and it said, "thank you for saying yes." I love him.
I drove the tractor out to both pastures with the feed and fed all the chickens and let them out into the day. Then I took the dog out for his morning wee and when I came inside Emmett was the only one awake. Slowly the kids woke up and read, showered... I made eggs and toast. Fried eggs for Braxton, Emmett and myself and scrambled for Adelle, Gage and the dog. We ate. Read scriptures. Gage and I walked the kids to the bus.

Then Gage and I took a bath together. I shaved my legs and he asked me 500 questions about the razor and why I am shaving and why men's faces have hair and when he can shave... Then we got out and met our friends at the beach. Hence why I was shaving my legs.

After beach bummin it for a few hours we came home and I laid Gage down for nap. It took no time at all as he was so tired from all of the swimming. He must have told me a million times thank you for taking him to the beach. It was so sweet. Once he was asleep I inhaled a few chips with bean dip and then got back on the tractor with my crates to go out and collect all the eggs. I texted Jeff from the tractor seat and told him that he makes me the happiest lady in the whole world. I got all the eggs collected, 622 to be exact, and still made it in time to come back in the house while Gage continued to nap.

I had to wake up Gage to deliver the eggs and pick up my big kids from school. Tuesday is busy day around here. I grab them a couple minutes early so we can make it to town for Emmett's eye therapy. We stop at Great Harvest on the way to pick out our individual favorite slices of  bread and buy a loaf of cinnamon raison for Wednesday's breakfast. Emmett always picks cinnamon chip. Adelle surprises me every week when she picks roasted garlic and then smothers it with butter and honey. Braxton likes the dill swiss and Gage changes his weekly. Today Gage went with the raspberry pound cake which was amazing and I stuck with my standard whole wheat sour dough. I love that part of Tuesday's tradition.

After eye therapy we met Gabe and John and their kids and cousins and the whole gang out at Semi Ahmoo. Gabe and John are visiting this week. The kids got into the water up to their waists and found armfuls of baby crabs. We picnicked and visited and enjoyed being together. I wish Jeff had family that lived here still. We don't get to see any of them nearly enough but it's always wonderful when they visit.

We came home late, brushed the sand off our bodies and the kids went to bed while I sit down to record the day. I love this life. I never would have guessed in a million years that going out on that first date with Jeff would lead to where we are now. We are a team in every sense of the word and I can't wait for the next forever years.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Oh la de, Oh la da, Life goes on...

The flowers on the table all month have been from my own yard. They vary week by week and on Sundays when I plan my meals for the week I switch out the flowers. The lilacs were my favorite because they smell so good but this week I have a peony and it's white and so pretty. 
Also  when we moved I brought some of my lily bulbs from my old house and planted them here and this year one is blooming. Reminds me of so many happy springs from  years past.   

Jeff and some of his buds have been busy being boys and playing with chain saws. They fell this tree this month to offer our orchard we are starting more sunlight. Also, the existing apple trees will be happy this tree is no longer shading them for most of the day. 
Gage and I watched this whole thing go down and it was amazing. 

Braxton got the Good Citizenship award at school this month. Adelle and Emmett recieved the award earlier in the year and were all excited for me to come eat lunch with them to celebrate. Braxton told me I didn't have to come. Then he asked if Kamal, who is one of Jeff's employees could come instead of me! It was a laugh out loud. I wasn't offended, just thought it was funny that he wanted a 19 year old kid who he barely knows to go to his recognition lunch instead of me. I got to go in the end and of course my sidekick, Gage, tagged along. He loved being surrounded by the big boys.

The tractor is coming in handy as the coops are way out in seperate pastures. Jeff or I usually use the tractor with the pallet on the end to carry the eggs back. Here Braxton and Emmett are catching a ride back as well after collecting. We are getting around 700 eggs these days. 

Gage is Mr. Social and always asking me who is coming over to play with him. When cousin Corbin came over he had a good time watching Gage use the bathroom. 

All the kids played soccer this spring season and it was so wonderful. I helped coach these cute girls on Adelle's team which was really fun and they had an awesome season.

Adelle also participated in the district Talent Show and her and her friends made it to the finals to win the best group musical number.
Adelle and her friend sang, "The Perfect Nanny," and another friend accompanied them. It was adorable. Adelle's voice is spot on.

Emmett is still the child that wakes up early and right away starts on his chores and responsibilities. He is always reading without me telling him to, doing his eye therapy and taking care of the bathroom garbages. I will also often find him in his sisters room helping her clean up. He is so self motivating. 

Spring has brought more chores and longer days to get them done. Working together as a family continues to be one of the most enjoyable parts of my life right now. I love the skills my kids are learning and the fun we have while working together. There are rings around my tub every time the dirty kids bathe.

Braxton and I ran the Haggen to Haggen 5k this month together. Well, sort of together. We took bets on who would win and all the kids voted for Braxton. Jeff was true and faithful and voted for me. I really thought I would outrun him. I knew he would start out faster but I didn't think he would be able to maintain his pace. Originally I told Braxton we would stay together. Then he talked me into just being able to see each other. Finally on the day of the race we decided he could go ahead and I would just make sure I could see him at all times. 
That didn't even happen. He was so fast and endured so well. I chased him the whole way until the last bend when I lost him. He ran at a 7 min pace and I ran a personal best of 7.49 minute pace. It was a beautiful day and we both had a blast. He was so proud of himself he got 4th place in his age division and wants to run the next 5k.

For my mom's birthday and Mother's Day this year my sister and I organized to go to dinner at Thai Food and then to see the movie, "Mother's Day." It was so wonderful to be with my sister and my mom and my aunt and my Gramy. We laughed so hard and had a great time together. 

Emmett and his buddy Cayson at one of their soccer games. Emmett had such a great season, being his first year, and scored 4-5 goals this season. He was our only soccer played to score. All the parents who know Emmett couldn't believe how aggressive he was on the field for being such a nice boy.

One of our recent projects is building a bigger coop for our little personal chicken flock that we brought with us from Ferndale. They have been free range until now and I am tired of them pooing on the patio and scratching through my garden and plants so we are giving them a nice big, grassy area to roam but they will be contained. All the kids have helped to build it.

A couple weeks ago we threw a big surprise party for one of our good friends. The kids loved the lights that we set up for it and now in the evenings you can sometimes find us with the lights on and dancing. Adelle took a picture of us doing just that. It's the little things.
Jeff is my best friend. I'm sad because this past year really tried us.  The farmer and the farmers wife were sometimes just that and we have to work, harder than ever now, to not just be co-workers. We get so tired and so burnt out. We get frustrated and impatient and sometimes it all feels so heavy. In those moments I would often wake up early to write my feelings. To release as I would call it.
I was writing a memoir about our farm, our marriage and our faith. I was writing my blessings of blueberries and the funny mishaps of poop. It's all gone now though. The tears and the trials and the hammer flying through the air in anger are no longer recorded. Neither are the huge accomplishments and triumphs. The feeding our first 500 chicks or the first time we found an egg.  The rain that ceased when I said a prayers and the all nighters we spent, together, transporting hundreds of chickens to their new coops. All while other couples were doing what other couples do at night. 
I will start over now and though the stories will be different, they will still be stories. 

It's Sunday night and there is an amazing sunset. I walked into the kitchen to get a glass of water and one for Jeff and I told him how amazing the sky was outside. He got up and came and stood with me and we just gazed out the front window. Pink and red and purple and blue. Orange. It was amazing and I'm glad we took the time to enjoy it.

My journal that I've kept for the past 5 years died with my hard drive a couple weeks ago. After multiple attempts it's been concluded that nothing from the drive can be retrieved. I am grieving. I feel broken and sad and lost without those words. Two thousand plus pages, typed, single spaced, of words. 

I've spent since Wednesday laughing at how saddened I am. Crying about how unfair it is. Curious about how pioneers traveled through snow and rivers with their journals and yet they still have them and here I am, in a warm house at a nice computer starting over at page one. 

Life goes on. Life is so good and full and although I will never again be able to read the reaction I had to Gage being rushed to the ER, shortly after a beautiful home delivery, or Emmett's first day of Kindergarten or Braxton's feelings about moving to a new school or Adelle's first time riding a bike... I have some of them in my head and I will start again. There is so much more life to live. More stories to be told. More memories to make. More treasures to behold. I lost a part of my heart in those lost words and pictures, but not all. Oh how life goes on.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Picture in my head

I didn't bring my phone/camera along on the hike we did yesterday as a family. It was on purpose. I didn't want the distraction.

It was a beautiful day, muggy and warm. Braxton was the only one who wished for a coat in the shade but he's always the one who is cold. After a minute of running he forgot his request. Adelle brought her jacket, but she's hot blooded so go figure. Realizing she didn't want to carry it the whole time she convinced Gage to tie it around his coat so here is her little brother, sporting the sweatershirt tie around the waist. He can go about 10 steps and then he call, "can someone tighten this," as it slides the short distance down his legs. I tell Gage that I love him and he gives his typical response, "me too." It's my favorite.

Emmett has his backpack on and has supplied it specifically for the day with his magnifying glass. All the kids take turns looking at bugs, branches, rocks, through the lens. I notice there are also bubbles in Emmett's pack and ask about them. "Those are for Gage because I thought he would want to blow bubbles on the hike," he tells me and my heart skips a beat. Always on point with his family members, friends feelings and needs.

Adelle is a scene to be had all in herself. She dressed for the hike by wearing her jungle safari romper. The socks are pink and they are pulled up to her knees. She put in a big, green, hair bow with monkeys on the ribbon because, "monkeys swing in trees and there will be lots of trees." She has two pockets on the front side of her romper and each one holds a library chapter book, "in case I get bored," she explains. Her backpack has her sketch book and a whole bag full of markers and crayons. It's no wonder she talked her little brother into carrying her jacket.

We stop periodically. Adelle sits to sketch. Gage needs the jacket tightened around his little waist. Emmett pulls out his magnifying glass. Braxton picks up a rock and aims for a tree. Jeff loosens his hold on Hercules who is dragging him along the path, while strangling himself. I soak it all in. Painting a mental picture to hold onto for years to come.

There is a tree that has fallen out over the lake and I decide to try and balance on it. Jeff and Braxton start teasing me. Adelle gets out her pad to sketch the scene. Jeff asks if she is going to capture the big splash. I start to laugh and loose my balance, steadying myself back on the bank. I try again and cross, ignoring the peanut gallery. Adelle wants to try so she goes next, holding my hand the whole way but without needing my help. Jeff has to one up me so he attempts to cross walking backwards. Emmett doesn't need to impress anyone so he sits and watches, more curious about the bark on the tree. Braxton wants to cross on his own but isn't quite sure he can make it. He doesn't want to ask for help either so I change the subject and challenge him to a race.

He beats me running. It's a short distance and midway there is no more competition. He is fast, and proud. I'm happy. Not that I lost to him, but that he recognizes his talent. Emmett, Gage, and Adelle run with us to and just for the fun of running.

We make it to the waterfall and it's beautiful. Adelle finds a trail up to it and decides to explore. Braxton takes the lead and before we know it he is standing on a rock, water falling on all sides of him. Jeff tells him it's going to be slippery and to be careful. We all follow. Jeff, drug by the dog, and me in between Gage and Emmett helping lift them over logs and rocks and find ample foot placement to avoid the fall. I slip. My jeans and my hands get muddy from the fall. Emmett follows suit and slips. He isn't scared of being dirty though, unlike me, so he gets up and is wearing half the mountain. I holler up to Braxton and Adelle to stop except that I can't get the words out, they are slurred and I am laughing. The stench of marijuana is so strong. Jeff says I am on it because I can't get the words out. We both start laughing hysterically, looking around for the source. We don't see anyone but we feel like we are locked in a small closet with a dozen users because the smell is so strong. The kids are oblivious. Gage slips and slides into a little pool midway down the fall. He is wet from the waist down but he doesn't cry, just gets pulled up by his dad. We've had enough fun so we start our descend. Hercules is whining at the bottom of the falls where we tied him to to log.

I ask Braxton to run the dog on the way back. They both have loads of energy to release. Gage is tired and asks to be carried. Jeff lifts him onto his shoulders, and then remembers that Gage is soaking wet. It feels good though because it's still 70 degrees. I offer to take Adelle's pack and Jeff is already wearing Emmett's so the two of them run with Braxton and the dog. I reach for Jeff's hand and we talk about how big our kids are getting. We talk about Conference talks and what a world we live in. Another family approaches and Jeff and I watch from a distance as Braxton reigns in Hercules and controls him from hindering the small children. Braxton does a good job of staying in control and the people smile when we pass.

We can't see Emmett. Braxton has circled us and Adelle runs like a girl in front of us but Emmett was in the lead and cannot be seen. Jeff starts to panic and I reassure him that Emmett is fine and can't be too far ahead. We send Braxton and Hercules up to tell Emmett to wait. Emmett is sitting at the fork, taking a breather and waiting for us because he didn't know which way to go. It's nice to know that our kids have common sense in the wilderness.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

We bought a Tractor

"Come on," he says after we finished lunch one Thursday. "Where are we going?" I ask. "To get our tractor!" "But Gage is asleep." "That's okay, they are delivering it!!" 
"We have to take a picture." "For what?" "To document the day we got the tractor. I always want to remember how happy you were about this tractor!"

Since we started our farm it's become apparent that we really need a tractor. Like, really. 
Jeff has been tractor shopping for a while, just browsing actually but getting a feel for what he liked and what all we would need. There is so much you can do once you have a tractor. Now we just need more daylight and stamina to do all we want to do!

We drove the truck down to The Diner where we thought it was being delivered but we ended up turning around and the semi brought it all the way back to our place for us.

Jeff made sure we bought all the bells and whistles too. For tilling, for plowing, for lifting, mowing...

When Gage woke up from his nap he was excited about the tractor too and he got to take the first ride on it with his daddy. They went right to work on the driveway. 

Later when Jeff was seeing how it worked in the wet pasture he got the tractor stuck! On the first day of owning it!!

Then one Saturday I learned how to drive the tractor and got to act as Jeff's ladder while he worked on one of the mobile chicken coops. I drove, backed up, and lifted and lowered him to be able to reach his work area.
I love working with my husband. I have always been so in love with how handy he is. He just really knows stuff and he is good at improvising on the job. And when he tells me things, like how impressed he was with how well I operated the tractor, it makes me feel like the luckiest lady. Not only does my husband let me drive his tractor but he stands on it while I do and he thinks I do a really good job at it.

This was my view from the drivers seat. 

Men are so cute. They are a lot like women in some ways. Like when women get a new pair of shoes they want to show all their friends and wear them out and their friends want to borrow them....
Come to find out, guys are the same way when it comes to heavy machinery. A couple weeks after we got the tractor my dad is asking Jeff if he can use it and the next thing I know my dad is "that guy" that is driving the tractor down the county road to his house to spread his bark. And just grinning ear to ear the whole time.

I don't think there is anything sexy about a tractor but I sure do love the man whose tractor it is.

Man Camp

Jeff’s dad and all three of his brothers showed up Tuesday morning, with their work faces on. The kids couldn’t wait. Since Monday they asked about every hour when they were going to be here. Company is thrilling around this place and has come to feel more natural than when we are the only ones here. The farm is a place where we gather with family and friends. Where we work together. The load is lightened that way and everyone gets their fix of the farm. We love that about it. The  more the merrier.

Aside from the kids being excited though, Jeff was the one who was lit up all week by their help. He was so giddy about them coming and it was fun to watch as they were here, how natural it was for them to work together as a team. Without words or a lot of instruction they all sort of just knew their job and did it. They worked so long and hard and I felt, as usual since moving here, like a pioneer woman. Wearing my apron all day. Making big breakfasts, caring for the children, making big lunches, taxiing my kids around to activities (this part was very un-pioneer of me), and then coming home to make another big meal for dinner. Which we didn’t eat until sundown every night they were here. The difference between Froberg’s and Ashmore’s is that Froberg’s feel hunger and stop to eat once in a while. Ashmore’s don’t notice they are hungry until you physically put hot, fine smelling food, under their noses. So all the week the kids and I would eat dinner around 5:00pm because we were hungry, and then we would sit down again when all the guys came in and eat a second round.
The guys brought welders and tools and machines with them to town. They started from scratch and built the frames of two large mobile chicken coops. I assumed they were working all day, every day they were here but come to find out some of them were occasionally playing on the four wheeler as well. Boys.

Bonuses of Man Camp were the days off that I got from my normal farm chores.  Man camp was a little like “Mom Vacation” in some ways. They collected my eggs on numerous days which left me to wear nice clothes and be showered more than is typical. Braxton, Adelle, and Emmett still had school all week and Gage wanted nothing to do with me while they were here. My little mommy’s boy wanted to work with the men the whole time so I found myself frequently picking up my book to read, or going to the grocery store all by myself. It was wonderfully relaxing and made the chicken coop project less stressful on me.

The sun shone the whole week and I remember looking up and thanking my Heavenly Father when they were pulling out of the driveway to leave for home Sunday morning. I felt a sprinkle from the sky and I knew our sunny days had expired. They were able to get so much more done in the sun than they would have been able to in the rain and I felt that blessing.

I’m thankful for Man Camp. Blessed by the men in our families who sacrifice so much of themselves for their families.  The amount of work that they got done that week was something that has no price. Jeff needed so much help and they came so willingly and accomplished so much. It never would have gotten done doing an hour here or there like we had anticipated. 

The guys are so fun and silly, and we love them all so much. I love the relationship that Jeff has with his family. Makes me want to have more boys so they can have fun experiences like this when they get big. I kept imagining Brax, Em, and Gage as adults. Coming to help each other. Working together. Being competitive and goofy.  I love how fun they made the job and how light the mood was when they were all working together. I felt the Priesthood so strongly in my home while they were here and especially when they gave their dad a blessing after his manly accident on the four-wheeler. I am thankful for men who know who they are and why they are here. Who think outside of themselves and serve. My heart is overflowing.  

And here is the finished product! Out on the pasture April 1, 2016