i imagine it’s only fair to mention that this blog has relocated.  no use hanging out with the archives.  we’re done here.

pronounced “bouquet”

move along betsy.


the kids have been watching blandings like nobody’s business.  this morning, upon arriving at the breakfast table to find cereal instead of mush, gideon raised his fists in triumph and declared, “where there was squelch man, there shall be a godly crrrunch!”

ollllld news

oddly enough, chewing food doesn’t seem to slow down a child’s capacity for noise.  and idiocy.  i particularly noticed this one evening while the children were arguing over who got to be what on the pop bottle.  “i’m shasta!”  “no, i’m shasta!  you’re ginger!”  “well who is going to be ale?”  and after much rioting it was discovered that everyone would rather die than be ale.  and i discovered that i would rather die than listen to any repeat of this conversation.  ever.


lucky for me i have a husband who likes to read at the table.  marc has to begin by reading quietly for a bit.  then, just before the conversation derails itself into a puddle of quivering imbecility, he jumps in and saves the day with some fascinating anecdote.  and we’re off.  we’ve had talks about the girth of henry the 8th (complete with tape measure), the history of alcohol, feminism, socialism, colliding migratory birds, the birkenhead drill, the transatlantic cable, why people in paris are under the general impression the government should pick up their dog poo, margaret sanger and her “negro project,” we’ve read about symphonies and then had to listen to them, observed “beatlemania” on the ipod, we’ve honored deaths, celebrated births, and laughed.  a lot.

i imagine for lots of people this comes naturally.  but my husband and i would just as soon stare at each other.  we can’t help it, we’re both good looking.  😉  but boy has been incredibly faithful in this regard, and it’s been wonderful.  especially when you consider the alternative.  we’ve also declined to dismiss people immediately from the table.  if you really want to get down, you can go work on the dishwasher.  and usually i start kitchen work at this point and try to get the bulk of the work done before the mass exodus.  (they keep me company.)  but i hope that someday we can clear the table only to start all over again with dessert.  because this is the place you should want to be.  incidentally, if you do get down, it only means that it’s time for saxon math.  yes, let that put the fear of god in you.

we like our rpms

jehu was looking for the cd case of audiobooks the other day.  i overheard him asking his brother, “do you know where all the little records are?  for that thing over there?”  (referring to the cd player.)  but really, no one needs to know what cds are anyways.  things of the past.  otto children, on the other hand, are ahead of their time.  vinyl is forever.

deary days

small town parades are the best.  they practically drive up to you, stop, and then dump out a bucket of candy.

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and that is just what my mother has in her mouth.  i would be nice and not include any pictures of her with her lip full of chaw, but unfortunately, she was so occupied in all of them.

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red, aren’t they?

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i could be mistaken, but it looks like either one of them is going to spit on the pavement any second.

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but that really wasn’t the point of this post.  here are the darling children with their cousins living large at grandma’s.

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that’s the life.

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and here i am taking daddy boy in hand.  me yammering, him failing to look concerned.  repeat.

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the children were commandeered again by the other grandparents last weekend.  boy and i were sitting across from each other at the empty dinner table when i asked in mock desperation, “what would do if we didn’t have kids?  would we still like each other?  do we even have anything in common?!”  to which he replied indifferently, “nothing but jesus.”  now that’s the good stuff.

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i stopped and chatted up this grandma.  she even let me take pictures.  i have to say, she strikes me as the kind of woman who never bothered with saying “when.”  just my type.

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on our way to the library fundraiser.

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natalie posing with a personal favorite.  please note the less obvious volume in her other hand.

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the otto boys wasting no time.

and here i am working on my pile.

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in other news, this blog is finished!  clean out of space.  i think i can throw up more text, but otherwise i had better get to work on the new digs and come up with a camera.  perhaps i’ll see you around.  *m

bad mommy

i can’t remember my kids’ names.  maybe that’s my fault for naming them so obscurely and then having five.  but dang-it, i run through at least three proper nouns, including siblings and close friends,  before hitting on the right one.  “jael, natalie, judith, what’s your face…rahab!”  anyways, it’s just not right.  i remember my friend with five was here, and her two year old was having a melt down.  she kept remonstrating with her and it only got worse, until we finally picked up on what the girl was blubbering about.   “i’m not sussanna, i’m jane!  i’m jane!”  ha.  poor little kid.  not that i would feel too bad.  but really, i either i need to round up the will power to clean up my act or just start calling them “hey kid.”

i’m leaning towards the latter.  i think it’s “son” or “daughter” from here on out.  unless your name is “gideon.”  then i don’t even bother, i just whip out my water safety whistle and cover my ears.  i got this.

yes, we’re still eating

someone asked.  😉


m.  grapes + crackers and cheese (we had a late lunch out with daddy)

t.  crispy quinoa and mole sweet potato tacos 

w.  tadoori grilled tofu with cauliflower curry and cucumber raita + lemon blueberry cake + company!

thrs.  white bean, avocado, and lime soup + homemade corn chips + chocolate truffles

f.  tofu tikka masala + indian fried green beans


m.  costco

t.  simple spaghetti with kale, lemon, and garlic

w.  avocado sammiches

thrs.  spaghetti with spinach, garlic, and lemon + cucumbers and fresh dill in greek yogurt

f.  “almost chipotle” beans and rice + sauteed zucchini with garden dill


m.  cereal + yogurt and honey + egg cups

t.  biscuits and mushroom gravy + orange juice

w.  fresh blueberry pancakes + oj

thrs.  baked spinach and eggs + toast + tea

f.  pancakes + (fake) sausage + eggs

and no, we still haven’t fixed the camera.


one of those weeks i was missing in action was because i was at my parent’s house.  they like to get their hands on my children every once in a while and rough the city off of them.


this is uncle reuben’s colt, sassafras.  the kids love having a “mini” horse.


jael is the one who seemed to like it best.


gideon was the least impressed.


hey now!


my mother took the kids mining a few times.  there is some place out in the middle of nowhere where you can dig up marble sized garnets.




harkens back to the good ol’ days of child labor.


little mine slaves.


i sense an uprising.






jael saw a bumper sticker there that said, “even good girls get dirty.”  true, true.


later they went camping.


which was also dirty.



cousin hadassah.



swimming in the nasty.


makes you wish you were still five and didn’t have a conscience.


reuben was just excited to have someone to shoot guns with him.


trying to get me to not look like a retard.  “why do you keep sticking your butt out like that?”


and there were just heaps of flies.  i would try to aim but then i would break out in the hokey pokey.  shaking it all about.  it’s a wonder i didn’t shoot anyone.


it’s a work in progress.


look at those babies.


and that’s what grandma does to you.  runs you into the ground.  no mercy.


there’s jehu with gideon sweating like a stuck pig next to him.  turns out gideon picked up a fever somewhere and passed on the nastiest bug to everyone  in a mile radius.  except, of course, to grandad.  who is invincible.


and here is my sister sarah’s adorable little thug.  reuben often points out my children’s genetic inferiority.  i mean, there’s mister chievous in his skull beanie and under armor, sporting a crowbar.  meanwhile my white bread is laying comatose with his two stuffed animals, and accompanying security blanket.  …next to his brother who just polished off his personal copy of “little women.”


mister chievous beats up boys who read “little women.”  bwa-ha.  actually, this little boy got accepted to logos last week.  tell me he’s not going to rock it in a school uniform.  kindergarten girls, eat your hearts out.



where the camera went to die

a slow and sandy death in my husband’s pocket.  someday, when i feel like it, i might even get another camera.  until then, i’m going to be an even more negligent blogger.  cuz mama don’t care.

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grammy took all of her grandkids to the sand dunes for a weekend.

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they did what came natural.

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the weather was perfect and the wind didn’t even blow.  under any other circumstances bruneau sand dunes would be more likened to hell than a national park.

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but feel free to take your chances.

tea and roses

my friend sharla asked me to help her plan our friend janean’s baby shower.  it only took two seconds thinking about before i had my heart set on an english tea party in a rose garden.  and then the ball was rolling.

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sharla had an amazing and gracious friend who let us use her back yard.  the church lent us tables.  our host had all the linens and chairs.  another friend brought the mass quantities of snack sets.  everything went together lovely.

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best of all i could tell the girls were utterly transported.

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i think it was something they will always remember.

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even judith was stoked.

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sharla and i had so much fun planning.  i drove out to her house and we went through her storage shed collection of china.  not everyone keeps tea service for 40.

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there she is.  a glutton for punishment that one.  she can hardly stand it.

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she arranged the loveliest victorian table settings.  my dear husband even pressed and folded 40 cloth napkins.  he only does that when i’m pushing critical mass.

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i re-used both the girls’ buntings on the gazebo.

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a tour of teacups.  i had a set of 12 of these.  now i have 5 since the bottom of the box dropped out and sayonara.

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the kids had a whole miniature service.

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this green one (was) my favorite.

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it’s a good thing there were so many flowers.  the girls couldn’t keep their hands off them.  fortunately i don’t think they made a real noticeable dent.

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here is janean expecting number four.  (sharla, by the way, had her boy last week.  janenan is still packing.)

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i got up that morning and baked a pile of blueberry scones.  sharla made lemon lavender shortbread cookies and fruit salad.  someone else brought cucumber sandwiches.  and best of all, my friend kimberly made clotted cream.  i’m thinking i should go back in time.

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some of the prettiest girls in the world.

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the children’s table.

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judith, like her mommy, is fascinated by betsey johnson.

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habbers found (and took) a friend.

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i also made coconut chocolate mousse for dessert.  i came out and took them by surprise.  there was groaning all around.  i made them eat it.

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and the perfect baby shower gift for a future tea partier.

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we can hardly wait.  who is this mystery lady?

keeping up appearances

vicar: "oh no, it's the bucket woman. drive, drive!!"

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