My Family

I don't really want to publish close-ups of my children's faces, or their actual names, in interest of their personal privacy.  But I can tell you a little about each of our blessings, because I can't help but mention the so-important people in my life, and this will help you get to know them a little bit.

Hubby.  DIYer extraordinaire.  He teaches construction, wood technology, etc.  I always said that we're blessed he chose that subject area, since the skills have enabled us to buy houses with 'potential' and fix them up for ourselves, do a lot of our own maintenance, and, finally, to build our own house.  He says, "You design it, and I'll build it."  Who couldn't love that?  He's so patient in having our kids work alongside him.  He is passionate about making sure they can take care of their own homes when they are adults...And he hopes to be called on to help build a home or eight, also!

Princess Bossy.  Daughter #1 (28).  She is not offended by this label.  Actually, the only part that will offend her is the 'Princess' part, because she always insisted she was no princess, she was 'The Queen.'  I tried to remind her otherwise, but to no avail.  She is a wonderfully take-charge person, unafraid of taking on major responsibility, and who speaks her mind.  -Very caring, too, which is a great combination.  She loves boisterous or strenuous outdoor activity as much as she loves learning, reading, and intellectual discussions...and shoes.  At this point, she has her BA in Theology, and is working on her Masters in Public Administration, working at the university and also in an internship in public policy.  She always loved to sew her own creations and to throw ceramics on a wheel, and cook amazing meals. She now uses that creativity in her own home.  She also volunteers in church and community organizations. She has BIG plans, and sees great possibilities.  The grand plan might change from one week to the next, but she's always fully invested.  She is mom to "Lucy," "Bertrum," and "Gina," 3 adopted doggies.  ;-)


Prince-in-Law Helium. Although he has many other stellar qualities, we immediately think of Prince Helium's sparkling eyes in attempt at rapier wit.  His particular brand of humor is almost identical to Hubby's, and we respond similarly... Good-humored eye-rolling and groans intermixed with the laughter.  He takes it all in stride, and is a fun addition to the family.  He also has a strong Christian faith, which guides his decisions and demeanor.  He's a fairly traditional person, while appreciating the strengths and talents of his head-strong and intelligent wife.  He allows her to be the capable and independent-thinking woman and partner she is... also recognizes her need to debate and argue... But he also gives her the assurance that she has someone to rely on when she needs him.  Prince Helium has degrees in finance, and is very hard-working attorney.  He's an active guy, loving soccer, bicycling, gym workouts, and bouldering.  He and Princess Bossy camp, enjoy walks or long runs together, argue legal or theological issues, and while she loves to cook, he loves to help out, and, of course, eat the results!  More recently, their spare time is spent on keeping up and improving their new home and yard.

Prince Stoic.  Son #1 (27).  He was always as quiet as Princess Bossy is loud.  If you wanted him to share his feelings or aspirations, you have to know the right questions to ask. He's not afraid to share a carefully considered opinion, though, but don't expect chit-chat...or an answer to text! Our house would not have gotten finished without his time and efforts, and he also took my plans and made them into our working blueprints with his skills in computer drafting.  He's a disciplined, dedicated, and detail-oriented worker, whether he was framing a house, doing his physics homework, or making guitars in his earlier years, or, now, working in year 4 of the Electricians' Apprenticeship program.  He is currently remodeling a space above a community motorcycle garage into an apartment, and spends most spare moments riding or working on his motorcycles.


Princess Sassy.  Daughter #2 (25).  I don't mean 'sassy' in a bad way.  She lives out loud...Quiet is not her way, but has a bold, somewhat varied approach to life. She's either overjoyed or angry.  Bubbly or stern.  She can live in sweats, participating in things like game of Ultimate Frisbee, or be as at home in a dress and frilly apron, baking in the kitchen.  She loves bargain shopping at thrift stores, and dresses her family WELL on a dime.  She never feels better than when she's done one of her fitness routines, or, especially, has been on the water on her paddle board.  Her personal passion had been coaching track at the local junior high for the last 9 years, sharing, especially, her skills in running hurdles.  All of her previous interests and experiences paled in comparison to becoming a mama in 2013. She continued to coach after our grandprince was born, and planned to continue this year, after they welcomed our grandprincess in late summer 2016. But her hubby's job offered an adventure in Japan that spanned the track season, and off they went, leaving the coaching job to others.  The happy and healthy, quickly growing kiddos keep her constantly busy, and she is glad to devote herself to her family.


Prince-in-Law Steadfast.  Prince Steadfast is moral, serious, responsible, and thoughtful. --Pretty darn cute, too, with such a look of love in his eyes whenever he looks at Princess Sassy. And now an awesome, very involved daddy, to boot. He doesn't share the characteristics, but understands and respects his wife's more impetuous, emotional approach to life.  They balance each other well.  His father-in-law and I are in awe of the spiritual maturity he exhibits daily through his Christian faith.  He is dedicated at work, as he was in his pursuit of the engineering degree he finished last spring, graduating Summa Cum Laude. But he is certainly not all work and no play.  The prince has an easy-to-get-along with way about him and a fun sense of humor. He and his princess love kayaking and paddle-boarding together with their little prince.  I'm sure the little princess will join soon, too.


Prince Inventive.  Son #2 (22).  This one was born to solve problems and build his own versions of everything.  We used to call him the Cardboard Engineer, because he was always building cardboard versions of tools and technology with working parts.  He moved onto wood, and now metalwork.  We think the sky is the limit for his abilities in this area.  He has an eye for detail in mechanics and building, and down to what he wears and the 'just-right' length of his hair.  He helped frame our house, too, at the age of 12.  He's quiet, too, but sociable, and has always had a smile that goes from ear to ear.  He's working as a nanny and in a church leadership internship in high school ministry.  After intending to major in business marketing, his plans flexed, and this prince will soon finish his degree in Theology, and is deciding how to use his interests and skills next.  He considered a Masters in architecture, but is now thinking maybe he'll go to law school.  Still inventive, he and Stoic seem to always have business ideas in mind.

Princess Artiste.  Daughter #3 (20).  She was always a much quieter girl than her sisters.  Her personality spoke through her paintings and her fashion... and the occasional sharp and witty zinger.  She used to think she would love to combine her love of art and clothes, and someday be a fashion designer.  Then she decided to become an interior designer.  Her brothers were sad to lose her company in the Big City, when she decided to transfer from the private, Christian university that Inventive attends, and from which Bossy graduated, to another on the far side of the state.  There she is pursuing a business degree, interning in the college's sports marketing department, and hoping to work toward a career as a college athletic director. She juggles the internship and lifeguarding at the YMCA, is always looking for another job in order to pay her own tuition expenses, while also competing on the university track team, running the 200 and 400 meters.

Prince Go-for-it.  Son #3 (19).  He is not one to hold back, but just jump in with both feet.  The idea of thinking first is something we've always had to work on!  He is the one who always brought in bugs, frogs, and snakes as a young boy.  He is the first person I knew to make a garter snake, usually a mild-mannered creature, mad enough to bite him.  He could also identify the gender of snakes and differentiate between types of frogs by about age 4.  For years he lived for fishing and baseball, baseball and fishing.  He filleted his own salmon, and brined and smoked them.  Like Princess Sassy, he's quite social and is comfortable conversing with almost anyone.  He had a passion for both distance running and baseball in his life.  Baseball eventually won, and he was offered a college scholarship for his prowess in center field.  Unfortunately, problems with his throwing shoulder didn't improve after a year of rehab, so he traded his scholarship with the desire to have a working arm in the latter years of his life.  It's taken some adjustment to give up that dream, but now he's working 2 jobs, saving to move to the Southwest to study business administration at a private, Christian university, starting next fall. He hopes to be a financial planner some day.

Princess Eager.  Daughter #4 (17).  She was always one to keep up with her older siblings, and try everything.  She yearned, though, to have activities of her own, and not just follow the rest.  She's always seemed to be in a hurry...A hurry to speak, a hurry to run and dance, and in a hurry to grow up, but while not missing anything. She tried gymnastics, volleyball, and soccer as she grew up.  She did well at them all, but didn't feel any of those were her niche.  She joined Go-for-It on the high school cross-country team as a freshman, and distance running, as well as fitness exercise, have become her athletic focus.  She is most passionate about photography.  She is often asked to take portraits for friends, has also photographed models for their portfolios, and enjoys making videos. While living in the gray and cold winter, she yearns for warmth and sun, and her goal is to attend a private, Christian university in Southern California after she finishes high school next year, where she plans to major in computer science.

Prince CuddleBunny.  Son #4 (12).  I am surprised I can get away with still using that name.  After 3 miscarriages, we all felt very blessed to have this guy in our family.  He brought smiles to all faces and was happily included by his older siblings in almost every outing and activity. From an early age, he never seemed to realize he was any smaller or younger than anyone else.  During the housebuilding, he was on site with his tool belt on.  He had the training wheels taken off his bike at age 4.  When the garage addition was happening, he was known to prompt Dad to work on it, rain or shine.  Dad would say, "Maybe we shouldn't work today, since it's raining?"  The prince would respond, "I have boots...Come on, Dad."  He liked to bake with his sisters, and play ball and other games with his brothers. As the tail-ender,  though, he now spends more time alone than the others ever did, and more than he'd like!  But the arrival of his nephew helped remedy some of that.  He misses the babies like crazy since they've been in Japan, and often prompts FaceTime visits. As mature as he sometimes seems for his age, and as near as he is to being a teen, it's a blessing for Mom that he still likes to give hugs and hang out with her. His big passion is baseball, and his big brother and coaches say he's 'gifted,' and his hard work is often recognized.  If that doesn't help motivate a guy, I don't know what does.  :-)

They are truly a great bunch with great promise.  The kids have always been involved in church, Sunday school, and youth groups, as well as their sports.  They have really great discernment in choosing their friends, and we have 'regulars' around here a lot that have become almost family. It gets noisy and, at times, messy...but it's happy noise and industrious mess.  I wouldn't ever trade for clean and quiet if it meant an empty house.




Our Furry Friends
                 





For those interested in pets, I thought I'd introduce the pet part of the family.  Actually, we're not really ones to regard animals as children.  I had a cat from age 9 to 21, who was my best buddy and 'child,' but having human children changed that kind of outlook for us.  That said, though, if we weren't pet-loving people, we sure wouldn't have this menagerie of them!

Millie, usually found at Princess' Artiste's feet during school.
--She always looks like she's in trouble for photos
Millie joined Princess Bossy as her partner in Dog 4-H over 15 years ago.  Prince Stoic and I found her at the Humane Society.  She was about 2 months old, and quite shy.  
Millie understands English--  If anyone says, "Would you like a bath?" she is GONE...but if it's "Would you like to go for a ride?," she's in the car and ready to go.  She also 'talks' back.  She used to tell Princess Bossy all the woes and trials of her day...or maybe just let her know that she was frantic about where she'd been and worried that she was never coming back!  Since Princess Bossy has left the nest, Princess Artiste is Millie's sidekick.  It's a little amusing to see Millie try to choose when Princess Bossy is home for a visit.  We lost Millie a few years ago, but it doesn't seem right to remove her from this page!

Martin Ul-Dartin, is what we call him 'for long!'
Martin and Lewis were adopted from the Humane Society in 2003.  Lewis was an orange tabby, and although very great with the family, he didn't have a lot of 'street smarts' (yard smarts?), and Martin was always able to sneak up and jump him from behind for a lark.  We think his lack of awareness and fight may have been why he disappeared one winter several years ago...the same week the kids caught a glimpse of a coyote in our yard.  Martin is huge, and looks too pretty to be as tough as he is.  Most of the time he hangs out on his own, but when he gets the need for companionship, he follows us around, very obviously demanding attention.  He does not show his age, and still is a good hunter and keeps the dogs in line.


Always having had wonderful and easy-to-care-for cats, we decided to add another pair to our home in 2008, after just finishing our house...So a trip or 3 to the Humane Society gave us Chai and Zeta, our first female cats.  The woman at the HS said that Martin should accept them fine as long as they were under a year, and since he was male.  She said females were much more territorial and unaccepting of other cats.  We later found out how right she was!    
Zeta was annoyed with impromptu photo session.
This was her happiest shot!
Those 2 kitties weren't as care free for us as males had been. Like many girls, they liked to do their nails...and double-handedly destroyed the seats of our dining room chairs, and started in on my favorite ruby-colored leather chairs.  Chai, we fear, met the same end as Lewis.  Zeta, named after Catherine Zeta-Jones by Princess Artiste, because she was such a beautiful kitten, continues on. But I think she'd tell you that her life is not all rosy, as she is not at all thrilled to share us and our home with other pets, and maybe some of the people!   She has the softest fur...and a big attitude.

Rosie: Like a toddler...Full on, or naptime
Rosie is a rambunctious youngster, a lovable oaf...Our British Lab who will be 9 years old soon.  She has always harbored the delusion that she's about 20 pounds, instead of close to 80.  She sits under the desk while I'm at the computer, and once or twice a day, decides she should try to crawl up into my lap!  She has arthritis in her hind 'knees,' but jumps around like a puppy at the prospect of a walk in nearby trails.  Rosie was a bit lost without Millie, but wasn't sure she was thrilled when we brought a new puppy home in December 2015.  She adjusted after a few weeks, and, thankfully, figured out how to barely establish herself as the Alpha female before the puppy quickly grew quite a bit taller than Rosie. They love to tear around outside and both play like puppies, though, sometimes Cookie has to urge Rosie, doing things like grabbing an ear and leading her outside.  

Cookie is 3/4 Labradoodle and 1/4 Australian Shepherd.  Having learned my lesson in raising previous puppies, we asked for the one who was least excitable, and, hopefully, the most curly.  Curly, we got.  At all calm?  NO.  She is always ready to play, and is expert at keeping herself entertained, even if not always in the ways we would hope.  She can open the pull-out cabinet to access 'treasures' from the kitchen garbage, and has occasionally used baseboard as a chew toy... 
But, mostly, she is a delight, and she loves to play endless games of fetch, as long as it's in the house.  Outside, she rarely returns the ball!  She's another who thinks she is a lap dog.  Within a year she grew so that her head was as big as her body had been when we got her.  She tries to get on our laps and put her head on our shoulders...while her back feet stay on the floor, because her gangly body is way too big for the chair.  She doesn't leave 'dog-hair tumbleweeds,' like Rosie, which is nice, but in our wet weather, she's often sporting 'muddy boots' on her giant paws, and tracking our house full of dirt and sticks she sneaks in. 




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