Sunday, August 17, 2008

Top Fives

Top Five G Rated Family Flicks

5. Milo and Otis

4. Arctic Tale

3. The Children of Noisy Village

2. Heidi (Jason Robard version)

1. The Wilderness Family

Top Five Chapter Books Enjoyed With Julia

5. Little House on the Prairie

4. Ramona the Pest

3. Betsy Tacy

2. The Doll People

1. The Tale of Despereaux

Friday, August 15, 2008

We've been taking a few Mini Masters classes this summer at My Masterpiece Art Studio. I am so inspired by that place. Their art lessons for the "Minis" (2-6 year-olds)are wonderful. If I didn't teach in a regular classroom again I would love to do art enrichment for kids. It's been a real joy to watch the girls create their own mini masterpeices.

Earlier in the summer they learned about Hans Hofmann and created these pictures.

Then, they did some David Hockney inspired swimming pools.

Today's lesson was on Louise Nevelson, who created sculptures with wood. Rich, eh? They are screaming to be mounted on a wall someday.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Meet Diego, a llama we met at the Clackamas County Fair this week. We also happened to catch a guinea pig fashion show! There were the requisite visits to see the large mother pig lying immobile and blissful while the newborn piglets jumped at her teats, there were curly fries and shortcake, and I can't forget the joy of the kids sitting knee deep in a pen of feeder corn, occupied for a good hour. We also brought home a couple of dirt turtles. Gotta love a trip to the county fair.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

How Can Anyone Say "NO" To Those Faces?

There's a park in our neighborhood with a huge expanse of grass and a big gazebo that we always walk past yet it captures the girls attention and they beg to stop. I say,"Not today," because we're on our way home or something.

Last night we walked to get the mail and, in the spirit of a casual jaunt, the girls each pushing something, we decided to keep walking. Our destination unintentionally became the spot that is usually a passageway, the very spot they always want to go to, for what turned into such a lovely, loose time. I sat on the bench reading mail while the kids ran and had a grand old time. Shoes came off. Grass meandered between toes. It was a little slice of magic that a yes allowed. I want more casual jaunts, less rushing home. I want to go back. We might wander there. Or, next time they ask I will say yes.

Vest, Hanna Andersson, $44.
Hat, REI, $12
Dress, Goodwill, $3
A Three-year-old's Self Chosen Ensemble: Priceless.

Author! Author!

Lately, Jooge has been giving me lots of guff when I say no. If she doesn't get a new Polly Pocket, guff. If we don't get curly fries at Jack in the Box, guff. If I only want her to watch one episode of Zoobofoomo (or whatever the heck it's called), guff. It's a heck of a lot of guff for things that don't go her way, and things don't go her way most of the time. It's a new attitude that seems to give our relationship some heaviness we didn't have before.

I just started reading a really good parenting book Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline that I think might help me. But in an attempt to create some quality time for the two of us, to counteract the small negativities between us, we are writing a book together.

This summer we came upon some really great books written between 1910 and 1939 by Elsa Beskow, a Swedish author. It seems they've been reissued and bless our library for having beautiful new copies of them. They feature characters who are either part of nature, like the Hazlenut family in one of our favorites, Woody, Hazel and Little Pip, or they live in nature, like the family in Children of the Forest, who live in the roots of a pine tree and wear mushroom caps on their heads so if anyone sees them they stop still and pretend to be mushrooms. When we went camping I was telling Jooge a story I made up as I went about a village in the woods made of mushroom houses. I'm not sure if that came first or if the books did, but anyway, the two intersected nicely.

Given our interest in nature stories and mushroom villages, the book we're writing is called The Mushroom Village. It's the story of a girl named Katie who lives in the village. When every child turns five in Mushroom village they get to decide where the family goes on a special vacation. Katie always wanted to go to the beach, so her family climbs aboard a gull and adventure ensues. I write it, Jooge helps me with details (choosing names, helping me decide what to do next, etc.) and sometimes even writes a line. I draw the pictures and then she spends time coloring them. It's turning out really cute and I'm really proud of her hard work. It's been great fun to share positive time together working on it. My drawings are QUITE sub-par (ahem, there's a tern that appears in the story and let me just say I'm not good drawing wildlife). We're using an old scrapbook album someone gave us when the kids were born that I never used. Twenty once blank pages have been transformed into a collaborative memory maker.

This weekend I gave our living room a tiny makeover. I made new panels for the windows using this from Urban Outfitters,made a new pillow using this dishtowel from Crate and Barrel, and got a new rug. Grand total, I think I MAYBE spent $60 to reenergize that space and I totally love it.

Friday, August 08, 2008

My husband and I had the BEST getaway last weekend to Fort Stevens and the Long Beach Penninsula. We both came home wearing big grins.

Fort Stevens was a great place to camp and we plan to get back there and do lots of biking as there are 7 miles of trails extending all over the park. We visited the jetty and stood at Oregon's northern most point, nearly getting attacked by a squawking tern. We were wowed by huge pelicans flying overhead.

On the Long Beach penninsula, we explored Ledbetter State Park, a remote and beautiful stretch of beach and bay that took our breath away. And if you're looking for a place to find WHOLE sand dollars, Ledbetter's beach is the place. I could not believe how many there were. We ate scrumptious seafood, tasty ice cream, and I spent some time at the beach in my new portable hammock. We also saw the new Batman movie. It was very good.

Weekends like that are restorative and essential, good for the soul of our relationship. Thanks hon for a great weekend. Remember?