Monday, May 31, 2010

Soldier Stories

If Memorial Day reignites your appreciation for the sacrifices our soldiers make to serve, consider reading my friend Marcus Brotherton's book, A COMPANY OF HEROES: PERSONAL MEMORIES ABOUT THE REAL BAND OF BROTHERS AND THE LEGACY THEY LEFT US. It's filled with the never-before-told stories of the The Band of Brothers.

* * *

In other news, some Americans are upset today because President Obama won't be at Arlington National Cemetery to recognize Memorial Day. Instead, he'll be in Chicago at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, honoring America's fallen.

Well, guess what I learned?

He's not the first president to be away for Memorial Day! Presidents Bush, Bush and Reagan were away from Arlington on Memorial Day during their tenures in office. President Clinton, however, never missed a year.

Read the article here at for the full scoop.

And Happy Memorial Day, wherever you're celebrating it.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Just Some Good Old-Fashioned Family Morels

With Craig, a family friend and expert in fungus among us, six Reynolds kids and six adults headed out the Green Springs Road yesterday to the Hyatt Lake area to gather morels.

Kai drove us out in the Death Star along some forest roads and we spent a couple hours trying to find the delicious morsels among dense trees and decaying stumps. The kids searched for a few minutes, but mostly played in swampy muck with sticks and rocks while we adults combed the hillsides.

Dane and his cousin Indi are ready to swamp stomp

Aubs gets ready aboard the Death Star

Ultimately, we discovered we were a bit early in the season, and only found eleven morels. However, we kept up group morel by harvesting mushroom jokes.

Needless to say, when we didn't find any mushrooms, morel was low.

Kai realized his disappointment in not finding a single morel could be considered mushtrating, but he was going to be a good spore(t) about it.

Mick said that with twelve people and two dogs in the Death Star, every space was filled, not leaving mush room for anything else.

And Craig told us at the end of the day that although he may have seemed a little serious during the search, he really is a fungi.

Aw, what a lucky strike.

Go ahead, cringe. Then tell me what would you have said.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Daykeeper's Grimoire RELEASED!

My new writer-pal Christy Raedeke just published her debut YA novel, The Daykeeper's Grimoire, from her Prophecy of Days series.

In the book, punchy and smart teenage narrator Caity MacFireland takes on an old secret brotherhood that's attempting to sustain a sinister and conspiratorial world order. At her new home, an inherited castle in Scotland, Caity finds out she's an integral part of a prophecy to save the world, and uses the Mayan calendar and other ancient concepts or texts to interpret the prophecy and thwart the brotherhood's plan.

The book is an exciting, well-written and intellectually-stimulating adventure. Kids these days are so lucky to have this in the reading nook.

And the second one promises to be equally good.

I wasn't in the writing group when Christy wrote this first one, but she was kind enough to let me revel in her victory as one of her "Writing Group Buddies" at her recent Bloomsbury reading.

As a group, we were the proudest, giddiest folks in the audience, appreciating the tenacity and talent it took to get there.

From Left to Right, you see Jennie Englund (in green), me (chewing gum, woops), Julie Inada (Christy's long-time friend who gave a kickin' intro that night, referring to becoming hooked on Christy's writing back in 5th grade when Christy would leave notes for Julie in the Girl's Bathroom), Christy herself, and another writer, Marcia, who currently is taking a break from the group.

Christy's from Ashland, and Bloomsbury was packed - with family, friends, and even her former teachers, including her fifth grade teacher who was absolutely beaming.

For my Washington pals, go be inspired at one of Christy's upcoming readings!

*Village Books in Bellingham on June 5th at Noon
*U Village Barnes and Noble in Seattle on June 5th at 5PM

Tell her "Anjie sent me!" if you go - and tell her you'd love to hear more about Mr. Papers, the monkey who communicates through origami.

Just for fun, I've included some pictures of some hubbies and offspring.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

If The Dog Could Read, She'd Have To Settle For Book 3

Oh, my poor little neglected blog. Neglected for a few baseball games, gymnastics practice, walks with the dog, field trips with the kids, and... a really engaging book.

I'm nearly finished with Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief, which I was finally allowed to start reading after Dane finished it for his book report, and then after Mick and Aubrey tag teamed possession of it during their waking/sleeping hours for a couple weeks.

That book is a fun ride. You have a kid who thinks he's different (in a bad way) who finds out he's special (in an amazing way) and you're pulling for him to successfully complete a quest - because he's actually genetically linked to the gods of Greek mythology, and is mixed up in a complex plot among them.

It's an amazing, fast-paced, educational adventure - and, like I said, Percy and his series are a huge hit in this house.

Currently, Dane's reading Book 5: The Last Olympian, Mick's reading Book 4: The Battle of the Labyrinth, Aubrey's reading Book 2: Sea of Monsters, and if Sharkles could read, I'm sure she'd be on Book 3: The Titan's Curse because she probably would've beaten me to access to Book 1 long ago, too.

I also have to add that it was really tough to put Percy away for a night so I could read Cheaper By The Dozen for book club. Ultimately, I found Cheaper to be a charming. if not slightly overly-anecdotal, book about an unusual family: psychologist (mom) and efficiency expert (dad) raising twelve kids in the early twentieth century.

I may have found the father's chauvinist ways bristling at times (when he's courting his future wife, he stops conversation to pick her up and set her on a book shelf because she "looks prettier there" - and then no longer contributes to the conversation!) but I took it with a grain of salt and mostly found him to be a fun-loving, mix-it-up kind of guy who loved education and family.

Wonderful things that stayed with me: Teaching his children Morse Code by painting code on the walls, teaching the children (ages 3 and up) to multiply double digits in their heads by memorizing squares and then adding differences (or something like that -- I have to figure it out; my parents didn't teach me that!), and hanging the solar system from the house ceiling. Every situation was an opportunity to educate in this family, and it was inspiring, although a little heavy-handed.

Ultimately, I'm glad I read it, but Mr. Frank Gilbreth couldn't really hold a candle to Percy Jackson. But comparing them is like comparing apples and oranges. Or Humans and Half-Bloods. It's really not an even contest.

Monday, May 17, 2010


Dane made up the above logo after working really hard to come up with "Drive Twenty-Five - Keep Kids Alive!" which was a good idea, if, um, a bit inaccurate for a school zone.

Walker Elementary won a "Safe Routes To School" grant this year - the only school in the district to snag the grant, thanks to their four years of "Walker Wednesdays." (Kids get to enter drawings for prizes when they walk, bike, or take the bus on Walker Wednesdays.)

Since we walk or bike to school every day, I responded to the coordinator's email and said we'd be happy to make signs over the weekend and help out before school.

So the kids made these signs on Sunday and we walked to school an hour early last Monday. At the corner of Iowa (our street) and Walker (the school's street) we stood with Officer Steve, recording speeds and license plates and vehicle makes and driver gender. Officer Steve would then be mailing those folks notices that they were speeding and the next offense would be a big fat ticket.

While we were out there, a couple drivers got clocked speeding TWICE that morning and a couple drivers had been clocked speeding the week before! (In a school zone, for crying out loud!)

Officer Steve and the other coordinators said that drivers slow down for a couple weeks after speed traps like that - especially if they haven't had speed traps in the zone for a long time.

I'm still trying to figuring out if two weeks is considered successful, or a crying shame... Whatever the case, remember


and if you obey that law, we'll say:


Monday, May 10, 2010


I've been tagged. This is a big deal to me, because I love to be included! (I've been over this before in this post and this post and this post...)

So, let me begin:

Question 1 - Where were you 5 years ago?
1. May of 2005 we were starting to look ahead to dental school in San Francisco - moving in June, starting school in July;
2. Dane and Aubrey were 3 and 4 and chubby-cheeked and young in ways that only hindsight can reveal;
3. Mick and I were about to drive 30 hours round trip to Marin City (at the edge of Sausalito) over Memorial Day Weekend to apply for an apartment - we were nervous and thought it would be really tough to get in, but it turns out it was no big woop;
4. We were about to have the biggest garage sale of our lives (mostly Mick's quiver of wakeboards) so we could downsize from a 3 BR, 2 BA, 2 car garage to a 2 BR, 2 BA 1 shared garage that cost twice as much;
5. We were about to pack everything we owned into a Hertz rental (with no small help from our focused and fabulous friend Eric Friesen when Mick just stood in the garage turning circles unable to determine where to start) - and the truck would be so full we'd leave our kitchen chairs because they just couldn't smoosh in.

Question 2 - Where would you like to be in 5 years?
1. I would like to have my healthy, loving, brilliant family - Mick, Aubrey, Dane, Sharkles and me - all living in peace and harmony with each other and our environment (I know that sounds cheesy but it's true);
2. I'd like to be teaching in some capacity and writing a lot - with a hundred essays or poems or short stories published in major literary markets and a hot novel I've written in the hands of a publisher;
3. I'd like to possibly add a foster child or an exchange student to our family - which also means I'd like to have a little more room in the house (this one or another snazzy one);
4. I'd like to be fit enough to play ball, ride bikes, hike, camp, run, and climb trees with my kids;
5. I'd like to go places and see things with my family and friends.

Question 3 - What is on your To-Do list today?

1. Pick up In Brief, In Short, and Cheaper By The Dozen at the library;
2. Write, and then study a few good essays;
3. Walk/jog the dog, break a sweat;
4. Make dinner;
5. Blog.

Question 4 - What snacks do you enjoy?
1. Chocolate chips from a bag - the whole bag;
2. Apple slices with lime juice on them;
3. String cheese;
4. Frozen berries with agave and milk;
5. Chocolate chips from a bag.

Question 5 - What 5 things would you do if you were a billionaire?
1. Take in as many kids as I could emotionally care for - and donate money to care for foster kids around the world;
2., 3., 4., 5. I don't think I'm going to get very creative on this one - because I think I'd just keep living the way I do, with maybe a bigger home, a few more clothes, and a bigger travel budget - but other than making sure my kids were adequately taken care of in their education, I'd donate to any cause I felt worthy. Any time. A billion dollars is a lot of money.

Now I'll do some tagging - if any pals feel like playing (remember, I know how nice it is just to be invited):

First, I'll tag Nia Sayers at Summerland Style because she's so freakin' creative and amazing and inspiring that her work deserves a big nod;
Second, I'll tag my pal Jennie Englund because she's my fabulous writer-pal (even though she was already tagged by KJR, who tagged me!);
Third, I'll tag my love bug Shelby Friesen over at Shelby's World because she writes the most spectacular birthday posts - for each of her children - that make me laugh and cry no matter which kid, which year;
Fourth, I'll tag my friends Colin and Angie over at Tadhana - who haven't been posting much since they got married(!);
And Lastly, I'll tag my BFF Karen Urlie, even though she doesn't even have a blog, but she deserves my tag if only because she's read EVERY SINGLE POST I'VE EVER WRITTEN.

Sunday, May 09, 2010


Yeah, you read that right. I'm on a new kick: I'm going to start breaking a sweat. Daily.

I don't break a sweat very often any more. I don't belong to a gym, and even though I exercise every day by walking or biking, I can't tell you the last time I had sweat running down my face from a good run, stair climb, or jump rope sesh.

That's just plain lame.

Enter Project Break-A-Sweat: somehow, some way, every day.

I'll let you know how that goes.

For now, I'm going to lie here in bed and wait for breakfast to be served. Mick just returned from some sort of clandestine mission that I think involved buying breakfast groceries.

Can't wait to find out what I'll have to sweat out of my system today.

Happy Mother's Day!

How often do YOU break a sweat? Wanna join me?

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Sun Letter

The Sun rejected a poem I sent them. It's my third rejection from them in ten years. That's okay, it's just a love letter. And besides, I'll never forget how wonderful it felt the one time they accepted something - so I'll keep flirting.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Nickel Slots With Mom

After sticking a nickel in my crack as I got a trash bag from under the sink, Aubrey drew this picture of me.

What a lovely girl.

Monday, May 03, 2010

A boy, a book, a bag


Dane had a month to choose and read an Adventure or Mystery novel, write up a Summary/Setting/Character/Opinion report, and put together a bag of representative items. He spent the last four days dialing in the report and bag - and here's what he finally came up with for his project.

Click on to see it.

Update: Dane presented this to his class today and totally rocked it. He blew his teacher away and earned an A+!

Saturday, May 01, 2010

The Christmas Chronicles, 2009 - Part I

I can't believe I didn't blog about Christmas -- at all.

And this blog is supposed to be the family album; it's the family scrapbook! What kind of mother misses Christmas???

It must have been that we had such fun just being in the spirit of the season, and entertaining house guests (a future blog post), that I just didn't hop on the computer much.

So let The Christmas Chronicles 2009 Part I simply be this:


Dana, Jan (Grammy), and I took the girls. First, we went for the traditional pre-Nutcracker meal at Red Robin and then we headed to the Ginger Rogers Craterian Theater for some Nutcracker. I think the guys all stayed at Kai's and put together the Wii, but we don't have photo dox of that... so we'll just stick to The Nutcracker.

At Red Robin:

At the Craterian:

And going home happy:

See ya next year.

Quotes of the Day

First one:

Mom, can we just stay home and read all day? -Dane and Aubrey, Friday morning.

Yup. They found my soft spot. Hopefully they have no idea how close I came to caving in. Picturing them curled up under blankets with books to their noses all day seemed very educational and inspired. I had to trust that their teachers had something even better in store for them - but sheesh!

* * *

Second one:

Mom? You know what I like about Jude? [Kindergarten cousin] He's so cuddly. He just gives me the biggest hugs. Every time I see him at school - even if I'm going with my class in another direction - Jude just runs up to me and gives me the biggest hugs. I like that. -Dane, grade 3

And another one by Dane, from a couple months back, so you see a theme here:

Mom? You know what I like about Dominic? [my friend Jennie's 6th grade son] He always asks me how I'm doing. Like when I came over after a baseball game with my uniform on, he asked me if my team won... and how I played... I like that.

So, two cool things there: Dane has really wonderful boys in his life and he appreciates affection and kindness and can articulate it.