Our power went out this weekend, as it did for about 59,999 other homes in our area.  My initial reaction when all the hum and buzz of power in our house is suddenly sucked out is always this:  bummed.  But it doesn’t ever take long for me to feel thankful for this gift of being forced to unplug.   I may have felt differently if the dishwasher or washer and dryer were going, or if I were editing a stack of photos in Photoshop, or if our only source of heat was electric …. but since none of those were the case, I welcomed this gift.  I’m grateful for power and technology, but often feel too dependent on it.   Don’t you?

It wasn’t quite dark outside yet, so we had some time to scramble for candles and flashlights and headlamps.   The boys wanted to play Hide-and-Go-Seek, but I know how much one of these boys loves to scare his other brothers and how sensitive those brothers are to being scared … and I didn’t want to have 2 freaked out little boys when I didn’t have any lights to take away the scary darkness.  So, I said ‘no’ to Hide-and-Go-Seek.  And ‘yes’ to reading with Grammie on the couch.  

{And just in case you’re interested, here is the SOOC shot…}

Kaden’s light was too dim for me to capture what he was doing, but he was studying a map. :D

I’d defrosted some antelope for burgers, and for whatever reason, we didn’t feel the need to simplify our dinner at all, despite the lack of power.  I guess we thought that with a propane cook-top, there was no reason to.   But we’re a bacon/egg/sauteed onion-on-our-toasted-bun-burgers family, so this was no small feat.   Note to self:  just go with PB&J on paper-plates when the power’s out.

I shouldn’t really say that … Matt handled dinner like a pro and it was fun watching him work by the light of a headlamp and candles. ;)

Plus, it was delicious.

And it was a good thing we had a filling meal, because minutes after we ate, Matt got called out to work a 20-hour shift to help restore power to those 59,999 homes.

Ours’ wasn’t one of them, though … our power came back on about 20-minutes after he left!  Ha!  Which is crazy because we’re out in the middle of no-where, and houses in the heart of Portland were out of power for 2 days.

We enjoyed our little time without power and after hurriedly getting the boys showered and off to bed, we stayed pretty much un-plugged and I took that un-plugged time to put about 300 photos into my albums.   Under the glow of incandescent lights and by the company of HGTV. ;)

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  • martha - Awesome time! I loved seeing the SOOC shot after your wonderful B&W conversion. Feel free to keep the comparison coming! As a new photographer I love seeing how others are editing.


  • meg - Wow! That first shot is beautiful! And The Hubs always welcomes power outages so he can use his head lamp to walk around too!ReplyCancel

  • Mom - It was a fun evening…it was a great weekend :) Thank you.
    (Love the photos)
    XOXOXO to GCK from GrammieReplyCancel

    • Marilyn - Incredible images! I know you must get this a lotReplyCancel

  • ClaireT - thanks so much for showing the SOOC shot. Always good to know how you do it

    “I’d defrosted some antelope for burgers” this made me laugh as I can just imagine my neighbours faces if I came out with that comment!! :) 30 miles from London, antelope are just animals we see on wildlife programs!! We never even thought of anyone having them for dinner. Always so interesting to here how different life is for everyone.

    As always thanks for sharingReplyCancel

    • Lacey - Hah! It is so different from ‘burger’ that I felt I had to do it justice and actually say that I got antelope. :) It is our first time having it in our freezer and I’m wishing the hunt isn’t such a hard one to get. It’s yummy and so lean. ;)ReplyCancel

I sat with Gage and quizzed him on his spelling words, one after another.  The next day, he’d be taking his second spelling test of the year and even though he’d done fine on his first one, he’d missed 2 out of 20 and that bummed him out.  Only mildly though, compared to how bummed out he would get last year if he ever missed a word.  This boy can be one determined, hard-on-himself boy.

So as we studied, we talked about ways to remember the odd spellings of the words that aren’t able to be sounded out like they logically should be, and I admired his focus and drive to nail this test.  To get that A+ sticker.  To keep studying after his brothers had left the school table.  It made me think about a post Heather Sanders wrote over on Pioneer Women | Homeschooling about using learning incentives.   More specifically monetary learning incentives.  She gave great points in support of it and I totally admire her and respect her advice, so while I watched Gage study I thought, sure!  Let’s reward him for an A+ and all this hard work.

I told him that when he gets 5 A+’s in a row, he’d get $1.  My kids don’t earn money from us … we don’t do allowances … they just contribute to the house work when I ask since they live here too and make 80% of the messes.  So, I thought, this might be a fun little reward for them!

With a little shrug of his shoulders, lift of his eye-browns, tilt of his head, he said, “Hmm, I guess that would be alright.”

Alright?  I pressed for why that idea didn’t tickle his fancy …to find out if it were the low amount …. did he want more money?  $1 PER  A+??  Not that I’d offer, but I was curious.

His answer?

“Mom, I just want to do good on my tests because I want to do GOOD.  I want to know the stuff and get it right on my tests.  I just try hard so I can do well.”


My eyes teared up, a tiny ounce of pressure I put on my own homeschooling-teacher shoulders lifted and I grabbed his hand.  I told him how proud that response made me.  Rather than talking about his use of the word ‘good’, we began talking about how critical a strong work ethic is.   About how, yes, his Dad goes to work to support our family but he is not satisfied with, or rewarded by, a paycheck … he needs to know he did his job well and as well as he could.  The incentive has to be so much more than the paycheck or the congratulations or the  A+ sticker.   Those are fabulous responses to hard work, but is that the measure of success?

In talking with Gage, he helped piece together some of my answer to a question I’ve been pondering since reading another one of Heather Sander’s posts.    Here is an excerpt:

“When it comes to our kids’ education, where does the rubber meet the road?

As in, Jeff and I have been homeschooling our children for years now, but is there a specific point where we will clearly see how their education holds up? Is there a moment when it will register how conditioned they are for life’s race? How will Jeff and I know if we effectively equipped them? Will there be an experience or moment that provides the blessed assurance that “Yes! INDEED! Here’s all the proof we need that we did it right! Drive on, crouton!”

There is such a growing concern for standards and testing–for what? Have we proven ourselves if our children graduate high school or its equivalence with a 4.0 grade point average? Is college the marker? Is it a Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctorate that proves the overall success of their educational endeavors?

Each question leads to another question until it becomes one of those yes or no flow charts that ultimately circle back to the same starting point, regardless of the answers.”

I have asked myself this countless times!  How do I know that this is working??  I’ve realized that I can’t just look the end of the race to determine this.  I have to tally up all the little success we have along the way.  Cooper’s light going on about tens and ones.  Helping Kaden work through some of his speech issues.  Listening to Cooper retell a story and feeling certain that he gets it.  Hearing them belt out the Books of the Bible.  Them ask to pray before we start school.  Offering to read to Kaden.  Offering to help me without being asked.  And Gage telling me that he wants to work hard and do well simply because that is the right thing to do.

Little successes, day by day, and I have to trust that in the end they will compile to result in the outcome we’d hoped for from homeschooling our children.  That they would love and trust the Lord.  That they would be each others best friends.  That they come to me and their Dad first.  That they can learn and apply what they’ve learned.  And that they’d be hard, honest workers.  And if they get jobs that enable them to buy me a house on a sandy beach for all the dedication I gave to their education?  I’d be alright with that.

But, that can’t be the measure of success.   That leaves way too much time for me to wonder if I’m going to fail them.   And trust me, I do wonder that at least once in 4 out of 5 of our school days.   Sheesh, I wonder that about my mothering in general.  But I remind myself to enjoy the successes along the way, as small or big as they may be … and as infrequent as they sometimes come … as an encouragement that we’re getting there!  This is working.

Thank you for being here and for reading!  xoxo


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  • Mom - Ahhh….goose bumps and tears! That was lovely, sweetgirl. You are a wonderful wife, mother, and teacher…and, of course, daughter, sister, and friend.
    XO to you
    XOXOXO to GCK from GrammieReplyCancel

  • Jeannie Denney - Thank you for your transparency! Such pressure to get it ‘right’ as home school moms. There is a great little thrill in those moments when they ‘get it’!ReplyCancel

Just a little set of breakfast on the patio, while we listened to chain saws and trees falling.  Breakfast with the loggers.  

We started hearing the repetitive hammering of a wedge …. over and over and over again… telling us that they were about to fall a really big one.  So we watched ….

…. and waited ….

… waited so long I got bored and took photos of other things than the watching ….

We started to hear the tree crack so they jumped up …

… and watched it crash through those around it.  I was more amazed than they were though.  I said, “Wow!  That was huge!”  They said, “Yep, pretty big, Mom.”  And went back to their cereal.

I think they are over the logging. ;)

Have a wonderful weekend! :) 

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  • Kjersten - I can’t believe how different the hill looks!,ReplyCancel

  • Mom - Yes, I agree with Kjersten! When I was there this weekend, I was surprised to be able to see the hill line and the morning light coming through the thinned-out trees. I tried not to shed a tear.
    XOXOXO to GCK from Grammie – I miss you already!ReplyCancel

I watched Kaden ride down the berm of bark-dust, over and over again.  He would skid to the side each time he’d come to the flat ground making dust swirl around him…  so proud of his new riding skills.   I saw the photo in my head, but since he’s the one that sometimes isn’t all about the photo-taking, I told him, “Hey, buddy!  Let’s show this to Dad!  He’ll love it … I’m going to go get my camera!”

He was all about that.

So he went back up onto the long berm, I metered off of the bright bark-dust area where he kept riding through, and got ready.

And this is how he ended up.

He was fine.  No worries.

He recovered and wanted to show his wheelie skills instead…

This is how that turned out.

We gave the berm another go, and success!  This time, he didn’t topple.

Then, he was done with that game because Brothers found a lizard…

And as he started to walk away, I couldn’t help but notice how lovely the flare was off of his big, black helmet. :D

“Hey tough guy….

… I love your helmet-flare….

… and your skills on the motorcycle.  Thanks for letting me take photos of you so we could show Dad.” ;)

Photography friends, this is encouragement I give to my children often, and is a genuine reason for why I do take their photos.  It’s not just words … I often say, “Let’s show Dad,”  “Let’s show Grammie” … and it works!  They are happier to be okay with the camera when they know one of the reasons for the photos is so their favorite people can see them doing their favorite things.  ♥ 

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Last week, Matt worked six 12-hour days in a row.  Plus, he was sick.  I was sick, and so were the boys.   Oiy.  Long week …

He was working on Saturday, but by Saturday I finally felt well enough, and motivated enough, to get busy getting some things done outside.  He texted me Saturday morning and asked what I was planning spending my day doing.  I’m sure he figured I’d be editing, cleaning, putting photos into albums, etc.

I told him I was going to go up into the trees, rake piles of fallen limbs and sticks, and burn them.

He responded, “I just cried a little.”  Tears of joy and likely bewilderment, my friends.

The boys and I got ready for working outside, and evidently, grey shirts, black boots, and gloves in the back pocket were part of the uniform.

They brought the tools…

… got to work.  This is familiar territory for them.

And I photographed them until it was brought to my attention that this job was my idea and the job would go a lot faster if we were all working together.  All said in a very sweet, kind-of-kidding, pretty-much-serious, way.  ;)

I wished I could have photographed them a lot more, in all their adorable-working-hard-glory, but of course, I had to put the camera away.   I was running the show, after-all.   Sticks needed piling, piles needed burning, boys needed instructing.  I LOVE this chore (it’s like vacuuming on steroids!).

And with that, I may have lost what little bit of the city-girl I had left in me.   Especially because on Sunday, I went back for more.   My husband has never been so proud. :D


Photography friends … once I was done taking a few shots and needed to put my camera away, I just tucked it away in my Lowepro SlingShot bag and nestled it by a tree.  Kind of near where we were working, but not too close.  Handy, for sure!

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  • Mom - LOL….just before you admitted that you needed to put your camera down, I was thinking to myself that your hands were on your camera – not on a rake! Too funny. Also, I remember back when you were in high school and SO embarrassed to bring a wheelbarrow full of wood to the front door. “None of my friends have to haul wood!!!” :)
    XO to my country girl
    XOXOXO to GCK from GrammieReplyCancel