Monday, December 22, 2008

We went for a family walk in the snow last night. It was so deep and not too freezing, but with a three year old in tow it was a little dicey at times. (I guess walking through the layers of ice wasn't doing it for her). Things improved once we walkled on the road, which was cleared of drifts and ice.

Anyway, I am loving the snow and don't want it to go. We need to be out playing in it more, while it's here, but then again the snow doesn't need us to do anything, it's just there, a beautiful backdrop as I've worked on several projects that needed to be done for Christmas. In the last two days I've knit a hat, made a lined tote with matching key fab, turned a felted sweater into a scarf, and made a new skirt for our Christmas tree. I have kid's nighties left to go and a scarf to knit before Christmas. Talk about a Christmas crunch!

I talked to my dad on the phone tonight, (he's called ME the last few days) and while I was reading to the kids tonight I got this panic about losing him. We will lose everyone we love sometime, but when your dad has brain cancer, it's more of an iminent threat. I started thinking about the MRI that was scheduled for the 8th but then that got rescheduled for the 17th and then cancelled and rescheduled for the
24th and how maybe he already had it but didn't want us to know, and maybe they finally said what they say in movies, like how long, and maybe he knows and when I talk to him on the phone and he says, "I'm just calling to see how the weather is," he's really calling because he won't be able to much longer. The imagination of a daughter whose dad has cancer, it's a terrible thing. He offered to pay halfsies on a surround sound system and we haven't given him an answer yet but I want to say "YES!" for the same reason he made the offer to begin with, because the kind response seems like the only response right now. My heart is heavy and The Family Stone would make me cry but we are about to watch Burn After Reading. Last night we watched Step Brothers. Will Ferrell will always make me laugh.

This post totally reads like an e-mail, and I muse at the fact that the snow seems to wash the formality from things. You watch the news and the reporters seem more like real people, having genuine little conversations about snowboarding in the middle of a weather report, which I love. They're acting like they should act every day, because they are relaxed, because the city is shut down and when things are shut down, anything you do is okay. The pressure is off. The snow takes the edge off everyone and everything, even a blog post. Every blog post should feel like a mind-clearing e-mail. Well that's what you get tonight anyway. Happy Winter!
Snow Sculpture on 4Runner, created by my husband

Look how much we got!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

This fall the girls have been enrolled in two different sessions of swimming lessons that just wrapped up the other night. For three to five year olds, our city pool offers four levels of Catfish classes. Avery started Catfish 1 in the spring right after she turned three and then took Catfish 2 twice this fall, passing on to Catfish 3 the other night. Julia took Catifsh 3 and 4 consecutively this fall and successfully passed on to Frogs! Held in the deep water, she had some reluctance and anxiety about swimming lessons the whole time, but I'm glad I didn't let her quit. Gone are her Catfish days! Swimming lessons have been so good for both of them. They are WAY more comfortable in the water than before and can do all sorts of things. Bread sticks and Icees were their treat the other night after their last lesson.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

This was the view outside our house this morning, and the snow continued to fall all day. What a treat! Tomorrow's Thursday and the kids won't have had school all week, and may not Friday, either. Basically it will amount to a three week vacation.

We've been busy indoors, fending off the restlessness that comes with being cooped up. We've watched several episodes of Kindergarten, which is the best show! The show documents a class of kindergartners and it is full of richness! The kids and I watch it together and really enjoy it. Since Julia is IN kindergarten, I think it especially resonates with her, but I also enjoy just watching the classroom stuff, being a teacher and all.

Julia made a ton of melty bead creations which we turned into ornaments.

Avery played in a box.......

and built this super cool castle.

We've also been reading The Mouse and the Motorcycle, and finished that today. Cute book. I don't think I've ever read it before but love how it has sequels, as we will no doubt enjoy those, too.

We bundled up and spent about a half hour in the snow today. Our snowman came together in about ten minutes.

Snow angels, check!

And now, Daddy's off work to join us. Woo hoo!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Tonight I asked Jooge to go check to see if it was still snowing in the backyard. I figured she would open the slider and poke her nose out, inspecting the air, but she disappeared. I went over to the slider, and looked out to find her leaping and running through the drifts of snow. In her tights. It made me laugh.

Let it!

Holy Crap! This picture doesn't do it justice but it snowed all day today. Portland area highways all require chains, it's that wicked. School is already cancelled tomorrow in every district within a 20 mile radius. The snow is really dry and powdery and it's really windy so white dust is constantly swirling around. It's WAY too cold out to even play in the snow. (Wind chill=14). Go, snow!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Picture Book Shout Outs...It's Been Awhile

The fact that I immediately rush to the new picture books whenever we visit the library makes me both wise and greedy. Here are some of our latest favorite finds...

Half a World Away is the sweetest story about two preschool pals who live nearby one another and play together all the time. Then one moves away and for some reason, maybe because we moved a lot when I was a kid, this part was so sad to me. GREAT illustrations.

Trout Are Made of Trees is a great story helping kids to realize the connections in nature. The illustrator, Kate Endle, has an Etsy shop with collages I covet, which have inspired me and my collages.

Little Blue Truck
had really great illustrations.

A Visitor for Bear was a wonderful story about a bear who liked to keep to himself, turning away a friendly mouse, until he realized how different and fun life was with a friend around, and he began to enjoy the mouses company and didn't want him to leave.

Help is a wonderful story about a mouse who is a afraid of a snake until snake ends up saving it from danger.
Again, great illustrations. Also great message.

Friday, December 12, 2008

We got our tree up a week ago. This was our second year going to Bob's Garden Center's Tree Stand. Sadly, this year they had no Frasier firs, which after last year I have decided is my absolute FAVORITE tree. Nobles are great, too though. I'm laughing remembering our Noble from 2006, which totally DOMINATED our diminutive living room at eight and a half feet tall. Woah. Now though, we've toned it down and like the six foot variety. Also, it is COVERED in ornaments. Irregardless of the ornament crowding, this little guy really needed me to buy him at Goodwill this year.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

It kills me that my kids never want me to muck with their hair. Maybe had I been the kind of mom that combed her kid's hair into cute hairstyles each day when they were younger, they'd be used to it, and sit while I styled away. Now, most mornings, I run a brush through their hair, to the sound of shreiks, and still, we come to school with hair full of sleep-induced personality. HOWEVER, the heavens shone down upon us the other day because I was able to get Avery to wear a pony tail! Look how DARN CUTE she looked! By about 10 am at school it had completely fallen out though.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

"Helps To Know What You're Entitled To"

Today my husband discovered that not only does Intel provide him, as an employee, with a complimentary peice of fruit each day*, not to mention unlimited free beverages daily, his Vault Card gives him discounts on many many area restaurants, some which we patronize.

I am working on the computer when he begins listing them off.
"If we ate at Arby's, we would receive a free Regular roast beef sandwich with the purchase of a regular fries and drink."

"By the way, at Carls Jr. we could receive a free star burger with a purchase of the same sandwich at a regular price."

"All those times we were ordering from Garlic Jims we could have been getting 20% off."

"You know we could have our groceries delivered by Safeway? Three dollars off, with my vault card."

Later, "We should be getting 10% off our T Mobile Bill each month."

"If we want to eat at Merchant of Venice, we could have a second order for free. Same for Orenco Station Grill. 20% off at the new "FU" place. (PHO)"

I can't stop laughing. Not that I'm not grateful for all the deals Intel gives us.

"Back," he bursts, "50% off?!?"

But then his voice BOOMS: "10% off all services at Larry Miller Honda plus free pick up and delivery service!! They should be coming and picking up our car and then bringing it back to us when they're done AND we should be paying less."

My husband figures had we been using the 20% discount his vault card earns us at Pizza Schmizza, plus dedicatingly employing the Pizza Schmizza punch card, shucks, we'd have a paid vacation to Hawaii by now.

Oh the perks.

*I have seen a random orange littering the road near his office, presumably tossed from a car by a cackling, disgruntled employee.....

Monday, December 08, 2008

Growth spurts have dictated new shirts and a lot of t-shirt embelishing lately. Fun.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Sadly, I have no photos to share. Just words, about a wonderful cultural experience we had today. We went and saw Lineage Dance perform. My sister-in-law Meghann is one of the amazing dancers in this group and they WOWED us today with their performance. It's one of those experiences you can't really explain, except that while I was watching, I was just so full, so moved, so amazed, so captivated. Both my mom and I welled up at different points. My husband was completely blown away. My daughters sat rapt the whole time. (Well, except for when Jooge was shouting, "Meghann!" hands outstretched). The gift each of them has for dance is something I want for my girls. Imagine being able to do something creative with your body and soul to make themselves and others happy. Also, Lineage performs to earn money for other non-profit organizations, which is super super cool. Today they were dancing for Growing Gardens.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Thriftin' It Up

I found this at St. Vincent De Paul's for $4.00. I'd been looking for a little desk for the kids for awhile. It will require some TLC, but it's salvageable.

I also found some very dear vintage handkerchiefs and a yo-yo covered potholder made of very old fabric. It's framable, I think.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Today during an episode of Charlie and Lola I scrambled to get our Plamobil Advent Calendar assembled. An episode of Handy Manny was required for me to finish. Avery calls it our "Avalent" Calendar. I hung it in the bathroom, of all places. I trusted that we could handle unopened presents left unsupervised. Then I heard boxes being ripped open and had to intervene. Back on track for now.