Monthly Archives: December 2010


Happy New Year friends and complete strangers whom I adore!  I’ve been thinking a lot about resolutions recently.  Even though I’m fundamentally against the whole idea, I never fail to create a list of resolutions…and then feel bad about myself when I don’t fulfill them.  Good times!

My main resolution for 2010 was to have a surgery-free year, which I did.  There were many x-rays, a cracked tailbone, tons of physical therapy and a whole lot of pain management – but no scalpels.   Success!  I’d like to extend that resolution through 2011.

Some other resolutions include, but are not excluded to: not using my car as a battering ram, regardless of how slow the irritant is driving; staying out of the police blotter unless it is citing a heroic act that I performed;  and making a sincere effort to remember that other’s can’t hear the music in my earphones, but they CAN hear my singing.

Here’s a little post I just put on the WenatcheeOutdoors site about resolutions.  You can read the original post here.

One Resolution

I’m THAT person.  The one who always has the predictable “get more organized,” and “lose weight” on her list of New Year’s resolutions.  I should probably add “back up the computer more often” to that list since I’m rewriting this post due to a hard drive malfunction.  Unfortunately, the Organizational Fairy hasn’t visited me, my pants are too tight and my work is lost.

Weary of having the same resolutions year after year, I decided to declare only one resolution for 2011.  A single resolution that is feasible, inexpensive (I guess I can scratch Tahiti off the list) and promotes good health.  The winner?

Instill my love of the outdoors in my son.

Last year I wrote a post about the importance of making time to play outside, even with a newborn (you can read it here). I think my husband and I have done a great job of getting out with our son Roper, who is now sixteen months old.  He’s been Nordic and downhill skiing.  We’ve taken him hiking, sledding and even mountain biking.  He’s splashed around in rivers and lakes.  And of course he’s been camping.

The truth is that Roper had no choice but to join us.  He was strapped down in a front carrier, back pack or bike trailer, unable to do anything but go along with our half-baked ideas. Beginning this year, I want Roper to be a willing participant in our adventures.  I want him to turn to us and ask if we can go again.  And again.  And again.

I realize that this will mean shorter trails with many pit stops.  Our ski days will be more aptly named “expensive cocoa outings” and our mountain biking will become unbearably tame.  We will, against our every desire, call it a day while Roper is still having fun so he’ll want to come back.

It’s going to be frustrating at times.  I understand that.  But it’s worth it if it instills a lifetime love of the outdoors.  Eventually, I want Roper to experience the thrill of fresh tracks, peak bagging and log rides.  In the short-term, I just want him to enjoy playing outside…and wear himself out enough to actually nap.


Filed under Parenting, Roper

Santa Haikus

Pictures really do say 1000 words.  Or at least a few stanzas in this particular situation.  Here are Roper’s 2009 and 2010 Santa pictures with accompanying haikus from Roper’s perspective.  For those of you who weren’t around for the rants and flood of tears, last year at this time I was suffering from postpartum depression.  I’m pretty sure the Little Tyrant was benefitting from my meds…   


Mellow observer

Antidepressants in play

Parents think I’m calm



I have opinions

My moods are not stabilized

Mom is drinking more


I can hear the “unsubscribe” buttons clicking already.   Making jokes about postpartum depression and medications? Posting pictures that will embarrass her child in the future?  Actively blaming her child for her drinking?  All packaged in the format of the dreaded haiku?  BEGIN THE WITCH HUNT! 

For those of you who haven’t recognized it yet – and I’m pretty sure you’re the same people who don’t think farts, Will Ferrell or The Office are funny – this is a humorous blog.  And I will SO go there.  You know, that place where butt clapping, old men’s saggy junk and kegels are all totally valid conversation topics.  And yes, I will make jokes about every single aspect of parenting.  After all, we laugh to survive.


Filed under Parenting, Roper

The Christmas Letter

What? We always dress like this.

Well folks, ‘tis the season for smarmy Christmas cards and long letters about how wonderful, accomplished, darling and/or tan everyone is.  I have to admit, it’s during this season that I race to the mailbox every night hoping for Christmas cards.  I LOVE getting them.  I love seeing all the smiling faces and hearing about how perfectly awesome everyone is.  It makes me feel like all is right with the world.

However,  I do think it would be refreshing to get a letter that says something like, “This year was tedious.  This is actually the only picture taken this year that has all of us smiling and it’s only because someone let off a loud ripper.  We have the same jobs, our kids are repeating the same grade and we’re still in the middle of the same argument.  So, not much has changed except maybe gravity, based on our weight and the location of certain body parts.  Merry Christmas.”

There’s a certain endearing quality to the truth.

As much as I love them, Toby and I have only sent out tangible Christmas cards ONE year.  It was when we were dating (I was probably trying to trick him into thinking I was domestic.  Mwahahaa!) and the “letter” was basically a page full of pictures.  Since then, we’ve sent out emails with a link to our Year in Pictures.  Yes, I’m a total traitor because I adore receiving Christmas cards but abhor sending them out. 

The following is our 2010 Christmas letter that we haphazardly sent out to friends and family – we probably missed sending it to half of our favorite people, but I’m sure we made up for it by spamming  complete strangers.  Hooray for email making social gaffes so darn easy!  


Is it bad that our 2010 Christmas “card” is not only an email, but it’s also our 2009 Christmas card AND a birth announcement….for our 15 month old?  

Roper Jackson Steere was born on 9-2-09 at 8:28pm and was 7lbs, 11oz and 21” long.  He’s awesome.

We skipped a year, but our traditional Year in Pictures 2009 would have included a trip to Palm Desert to visit the Outlaws (Molly), visits from both our nephews and one of our nieces, lots of hiking, a motorcycle trip (Toby), a BC road trip (both), a family trip to Palm Desert and lots and lots of pictures of our dueling projects:  I was building a baby and Toby was building a shop.  Although I finished my project first and the end product was cuter, the shop will require less maintenance over the next eighteen years.  Phew, you’re all caught up!

As usual, we’ll let the pictures do most of the talking – you can check out our 2010 Year in Pictures HERE.  The rest of this email is the standard “this is our family” info that I feel socially obligated to include.  It is not mandatory reading.

Roper is a hilarious and adored addition to our little family.  It was a big adjustment trying to figure how we were going to incorporate the Little Man in with all of our outdoor pursuits, career goals, building projects, etc., but I think we’re finally figuring it out.  At least that’s what I tell myself when I wake up at 2am panicking about how we’re going to make it work.

At 15 months old Roper is adventurous, stubborn, fearless, independent and a complete and total NUTBALL.  The kid is bonkers.  I guess none of those traits are surprising, considering his parents.  He’s a sweet, sweet little boy who makes us laugh out loud every single day and has taught us the meaning of true unconditional love.  How else can you explain thinking something that poops on you is cute?  He goes skiing, biking, swimming, hiking, etc. with us and is game for almost any adventure.  He also cries, throws tantrums and smells pretty foul at times.  But overall, he’s pretty cool and I think we’ll keep him.

Toby has taken to the role of Dad deftly and enthusiastically.  Roper is his little “mini-me” and helps him up at the property and accompanies him to the hardware store.   They have matching Carharts – it’s adorable.  On the weekdays, Toby is an engineer at Van Doren Sales where he designs fruit packing equipment.  He puts in his time there, but his real passion lies in building a shop on our property just outside of Wenatchee.  We hired help last year to do some of the foundation, slab and framing, but Toby designed the plans (with living area above) and has been doing everything himself for the past year.  His craftsmanship is amazing!   We hope to move in the fall.  I’m not going to attach a year to that season…

I’m incredibly grateful that I can stay at home with the Little Tyrant while continuing to write for local magazines, websites and my blog.  I’ve also written two children’s books (about dirt biking and mountain biking, of course) and 150 pages of a Young Adult novel this year – all of which I need to polish and pedal to publishers.  Ugh.  Up until two months ago, Roper was with me full-time.  After a lot of stressful late nights/early mornings trying to make deadlines, we decided to put Roper in daycare one day a week so I can have an uninterrupted day to churn out projects.  I get a lot done, but I miss my little sidekick when he’s gone.  

Other than that, we try to get outside and play as much as possible!  It’s been another fun, adventurous, blessed year.   We’re grateful for each and every one of you and wish you a very merry Christmas!


Molly, Toby and Roper


Filed under Uncategorized

The Tree Grower’s Daughter

My parents at Hog Hollow Farm

You guys are familiar with the old proverb “the shoemaker’s children go barefoot,” right?   Well, that proverb holds true for the tree grower’s daughter as well.   This is the third year my parents have run their  U-cut Hog Hollow Tree Farm in Ardenvoir.  It’s also the third year Toby and I have been suckered into helping out at the farm.  It’s actually a blast, I just like to give them a hard time.  Hi mom!

The first two years we worked at the tree farm, Toby and I didn’t have a chance to get our tree until the final weekend before Christmas.  We were too busy helping customers…and then too tired to care.

This year, I was determined to get our tree earlier.  And by determined, I mean I was going to bitch and moan until a tree showed up in my living room.  I made it clear that life was going to be woefully unpleasant for all involved until my house smelled of pine, the carpet was strewn with needles and we all had pitch on our hands.

Successful tree hunters

We immediately made a tactical error.  The tree farm opened the weekend after Thanksgiving and although it was busy, there were a few lulls on Saturday when we could have snuck out and cut a tree.  But we’re not that smart.  We were so busy giving hay rides, getting kids set up with sleds, helping roast marshmallows, doling out cocoa and, in general, trying to create The Happiest Place on Earth for the rest of the families, that we missed our chance to get a tree.  It was dark by the time the last customers left, so we decided to wait until Sunday. 

Brief tangent:  So, I’ve told everyone I know about Hog Hollow (P.S. we’re on Facebook!  I’m shameless.) and I think everyone I know showed up.  However I’m the person that can’t figure out who you are unless you’re in the same place and same outfit that I met you in.  If I know you from the gym and you’re standing in front of me in a snowsuit…forget it.  Put your sweatband back on Big Boy – throw me a bone! 

Expert marshmallow roasters

Also, those who know me well, know I’m painfully shy.  Quit laughing, I’m serious.  Come on over for one of my 2am anxiety attacks about actually having to SPEAK WITH A PERSON, especially if it’s ON THE PHONE and you’ll believe me.  I would seriously like to rent out the entire grocery store for an hour just so I don’t have to participate in all of that terrifying small town, small talk during which I’ll say the wrong thing.  People, this is why I’m a writer – it’s just me and my imaginary friends.  End tangent.

Anyway, by the end of the weekend I was exhausted.   I was frazzled from trying to keep Little Tyrant from destroying the gift shop, frantically trying to wrap up my NaNoWriMo project between customers and talking to all those PEOPLE.   At the close of business, Toby asked if I wanted to get a tree and I was all, “I’m too *#@%ing exhausted to get a *#@%ing tree.”  End of conversation.

On the second weekend all of our “regular” customers were bringing along friends and relatives and it was CRAZY.  Not quite Black-Friday-at-Walmart crazy, but we were hustling.   At the end of Saturday Toby, being a good husband (and desperately trying to avoid my wrath), asked if I want to go pick out a tree.  In defeat, I pointed to the display tree my parents have on a stand.  “Just throw the whole thing in the truck and let’s get out of here.” 

Another group heading up

The tree was monstrous…our apartment is not.  We showed up back at Hog Hollow on Sunday with the display tree still in our truck.

Finally, at the end of the day when all of the customers were safely delivered to the parking lot and their trees were tied to their cars, we decided to head out into the night to cut our own tree.  It’s pitch black, we’re exhausted, we have our 15 month-old, four dogs and a chainsaw in tow, and I’ve been spiking my coffee with liquor all day.  Another “Best Bad Idea” for the Steeres!

It went surprisingly well.  Meaning there wasn’t any dismemberment that I’m aware of.   We knew every tree in the field was beautiful and we just needed to find the right size.  The whole thing took about seven minutes and the tree is now happily decorated in our living room, radiating joy and festivity.  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. 

I would like to think we’ve learned from this and we’ll plan better next year, but we’re not learners, we’re improvisers.

Photos from the Big Event:


Filed under Uncategorized

Fifteen Big Ones

Little Tyrant,

You are fifteen months old today and holy cats – you are one hilarious little dude.  You make me laugh out loud every single day.  You also incite a lot of swearing, but we won’t go into that right now.


Last night I took a bath with you.  Yes, you had to share your bath with your sweaty post-workout mama, but in all fairness you probably peed in the tub.  We’ll call it even.   Afterward, you ran around butt-naked, chasing the outdoor-but-keeps-showing-up-indoors cat while making strange guttural noises and rubbing your belly.  Then you’d remember that your junk was out and available and would promptly sit down and play with that for a bit.  And then it’s back to chasing the cat…

You keep us entertained.

It was another month of big changes for you.  Remember in your last letter when puppy dogs and rainbows were spewing from my heart because you decided to start sleeping and I was all, “Seriously?!  This is how other moms live, what with the napping and sleeping for more than eight hours?!”  Apparently you were just teasing me.  HahahahaNOT FUNNY!!!  When I pick you up at daycare on Wednesdays, the staff always seems to be in awe when they report that you didn’t sleep.  AT ALL.  Pretty soon they’ll start charging extra to make up for the break they aren’t getting.

But when you offer up that wide, beautifully fanged grin (you have officially scared the front teeth from coming in – they know you’ll use them to open beer bottles) and your delighted giggle, I completely forget about my frustrations. 

You have a couple molars now so you’ll be able to eat steak soon.  You’ve picked up a few new words like shoe, dog, hi, bye-bye and kitty.  You still love playing outside, especially in the snow.  The main attraction seems to be walking around in circles.  Speaking of circles, you now spin in circles while dancing to music.  You have officially surpassed your dad in dancing skills – you actually pick up your feet.  And you’re all about cars.  You’ll push anything around like a car while making engine noises.

Your dad has become your new favorite person in the world.  It was a heart wrenching adjustment when I was first bumped, but then I realized I could go to the bathroom without causing a major meltdown.  WooHOO!   You wake up in the morning asking for Daddy and in the late afternoon you’ll start hanging out by the front door, looking out the window and waiting for him.  It is quite possibly the cutest thing in the world.  And I love that you use your soft little baby voice when talking about Daddy instead of the disturbingly loud pronouncements that generally come out of you.

On Thanksgiving Day you braved the cold temperatures and participated in Turkey on the Run with me.  You are an awesome little sidekick – almost always game for a new adventure.  You’ve also been helping your dad up at the property.  I hate to even guess what your dad allows you to do up there, but as long as you come home happy and in one piece I’ll keep sending you up there.

Little Bear, your dad and I get the biggest kick out of you.  So do your grandparents.  We love experiencing the world anew through your mischievous eyes.  Every time I read a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon, I know in my heart that you’re going to grow up to be that kid.  I can’t wait to see what you build out of snow or Legos. 

Beyond all the noise and destruction, you are an amazingly sweet boy.   You still give great “spider monkey” hugs with back pats as you lay your head on our shoulders.   You love all animals (stuffed or real) with reckless abandon and you’re excited to greet each person as they enter your life.  You’ve become quite the hit at the Christmas Tree Farm, wandering around in your snowsuit like a giant blue starfish. 

I love you Roper.  Always have.  Always will.  And I can’t wait to see what the next month will bring!


Your Mama

P.S.  If you’re trying to come up with good Christmas present ideas for me, start thinking potty training.  That’d be great, thanks.


Filed under Letters to Roper, Roper