Thursday, October 23, 2008

If you're looking for frame-worthy art to hang in your house, look no further than your kids' picture books. In our bathroom hang framed images from Storytime, First Tales for Sharing, illustrated by Anne Wilson. Gotta love the Barefoot Books. We've got a Gingerbread Man theme going on in there I guess.
Here is a page from Brian Wildsmith's Tortoise and the Hare from Avery's room. I just love this illustration, and all his illustrations.

I can't remember the book these came from but I just loved them when I saw them, they were exactly what I'd been looking for to hang in Julia's room.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Six years ago in October I found out I was pregnant with Julia. I had only just met (and been impregnated by) the man who became my husband. I was thirty and had lived my whole life doing things "the right way," so telling my parents was tough. When I told my dad, it was especially hard. It took him awhile to adjust to the idea.

We went to my parent's house a few weeks later for Thanksgiving and I knew he had adjusted. Out came a present for us: a boy's bike, bright yellow with flame decals covering it. Apparently he was readier to accept the news if he could imagine me having a grandson that would one day become his little fishing buddy.

We kept that bike, I married Julia's dad, and we had her that June, a beautiful blessing of a baby. Fast forward nearly six years and the only thing that's changed is that the little yellow bike no longer sports flames but instead tiny butterflies. Julia has ridden it and moved on to a bigger bike and it waits in the wings for Avery to ride soon.

Last Friday we were dinking around outside and I took the training wheels off the little yellow bike, thinking it might be easier for Julia to learn to ride than her larger bike. A few trips with me pushing her around the cul de sac and she was totally riding all by herself! I think I used to be anxious that it would take her a long time to learn, but here she is, a five year old who can ride a bike without training wheels. It's especially fitting that at this time of year, she learned on the bike that my dad, her Bumpa, got her before she was even born.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Now that fall is here, we've been knee deep in favorite autumnal activities. Last weekend Grandma scoped out a "Sincere Pumpkin Patch" that we visited.
I will never be able to stop picking up beautiful leaves. It's unavoidable. This year for the first time I learned here about dipping them in beeswax and was inspired by what I saw here to string them onto a garland.
Our table is "festooned with decorative gourds." (This is a direct quote from Martha Stewart who we mock when talking about festooning or decorative gourds because of her pronunciations for each).I have been collecting chestnuts and acorns, compulsively, without being able to stop myself.

We went to a fruit stand for apples, which taste SO GOOD right now. YUM.

And, lastly, I made pumpkin bread, because anything pumpkin flavored I go for.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Hen Hears Gossip is a rich picture book that revisits the age-old idea of passing on a story only to have it morph into something completely different the longer it's passed along. When Hen overhears Pig say something to Cow, she passes it along only to have the "gossip" morph into a whole other phrase by the time it reaches the final animal. Then Hen sets about to figure out what Pig REALLY said to Cow and what ensues is clever and oh so brightly captured in collaged illustrations. Check it out! We got it in the new book section of our library.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Check out these Simple LAYaway slippers I saw at REI today. SWOON. I find them to be quite adorable, but won't be in the market for new slippers for a long while.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Kid Updates

Jooge is completely giddy about school. She LOVES her teacher to bits. Suddenly she cares about writing her numbers, she is sounding out words in books. Fertile soil, that girl. Her teacher is just scattering seeds that are sprouting right and left. She's making new friends and she did a chant wearing paper coyote ears with all the kindergarteners at the assembly the other day. When I pick her up there is always a chorus of goodbyes as we leave. She is taking swimming lessons right now and enjoying that, though for awhile there she had an aversion to her teacher because he was a boy. She is into playing mancala at home and drawing. The other morning she was laying in bed with me and she told me, "If I ever get a girl I'm going to maybe name her Cutia." (Pronounced, "Cute-ia") Rich! Later she was playing with Avery and wanted to "play president." I heard her tell her, "I'll be Ah-rock know who Ah-rock Obama is? Ah-rock a bama is a famous president." I like her thinking on that one.

Meanwhile, Bub has started preschool and is slowly wading in. Our teacher is a GODSEND in that she plays a game with her every day when it's time for me to go. I know in a few weeks/months she won't need that. At the end of the day she usually hsa a story about how someone did her wrong. Today they were all fighting over her Curious George in the Box (like a jack-in-the-box) and she left the classroom in tears. She is a hair chewer these days. That little peice of hair is ALWAYS in her mouth. She also chews on her dresses and saturates them with saliva. Bub loves to give her "sly" look.

She also loves to ask for jerky by saying, "I want something that sounds like jerk..." She tells animated stories about her stuffed dog, "Jack." She told me today that she had another camping trip to Silver Falls planned. She is FAMOUS for loading up a backpack or her suitcase with a bunch of stuff and then wanting to take it with us when we leave the house, which is often these days. She hates wearing shoes, and the minute we get in the car she has them off. Her swimming teacher is a really good match for her with a wry sense of humor and a no tears approach. (You would never have known Avery cried the first few lessons). She's been doing great in the pool.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Craft Therapy

After the madness of school starting and stressing about my dad, I took advantage of a rare available Saturday a few weeks ago and indulged in a little therapeutic creativity. The above benched tote was born for our preschool auction. Then I liked it so much I decided to keep it. I did not use a pattern. I love love love the print on the inside, which is also used for the pocket. I wish I had yards of it for lots of projects but alas, the fabric is all thrifted, so I got what I got when I found it. Both navy and red outer fabrics are corduroy.

I made this tote later for the preschool auction, and it will really be going to the auction, though Jooge thought I was making it for her. I'm enclosing a thrifted copy of Little Bear and Mercy Watson to the Rescue. The heart on the front is a pocket and there's also a pocket inside for a library card.

This was another creation for the auction, a collage designed for a child's bedroom. Just take a square of birch from Michael's, create a design, and grab your mod podge.

Two Good Reasons to Leave the House in the Evenings

We typically stay pretty close to home in the evenings but twice in the past few weeks we've gotten out and done something in Portland. It can make for a long day with the chillins but I do love getting out!

First, we went and watched the Swifts, at Chapman Elementary. This is a group of legendary birds that spend time flying around the chimney at Chapman and then coreograph a unique entrance into it. We went later in the season so I don't think it was as breathtaking as it might have been with the bigger number of swifts earlier in September. Still, it was very cool. And any reason to sit in a field with a crowd and watch nature on a warm night, I'm down with it.

The next week, we met friends and their new baby at Cool Moon Ice Cream. Holy crap were we ever treated to some tasty licks! I initially heard about it because a friend of mine's daughter is the woman who opened the shop. I must remember to thank her for telling me and for raising her daughter right to create such masterpeices in a dish. The girls and I all had toasted coconut and my husband had citrus pistacio. All of it, yum. A bit spendy, but worth each lick. Another review here says it all again. Check 'em out.

Family Tree Project

Here I got the idea to make this family tree for my brother Andy this year for his birthday. I kept wanting to do it for he and Meghann for their wedding but I just didn't get it together. That, and as willing as I was to pay the big bucks for the Red Envelope version, the resourceful girl within could not justify playing that much for frames without glass and paper shapes that I could create myself. I am planning to make the second half for his wife for her birthday and they can hang them together. That's assuming they like them enough. I printed the names of family on colored cardstock and then used a cookie cutter to trace and cut the maple leaves. It was lucky that I just happened to have a maple leaf cookie cutter around the house, eh?

Friday, October 03, 2008

Lately I've been in total movie mode. It all started with some free red box tickets from McDonalds that had been in my pocket forever. Baby Mama made me laugh, Sex in the City made me laugh and cry, and then, The Things We Lost in the Fire totally made me cry. It's the dramatic story of a woman who loses her husband in a tragic accident and how she befriends her late husband's best friend, a heroin addict, whom she never really approved of. It was beautifully written and shot. Benicio Del Toro is amazing in this movie. I liked his character.

Smart People is on my radar next. Any more recommendations?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

My dad is doing fine these days, for all of you who might be curious. I didn't mean to leave you hanging. He has begun chemo and radiation and will be continuing on that path for six weeks. So far he reports that he doesn't feel at all different.
Phew! Hang in there, Pops.