Saturday, August 29, 2009

Swimming in the Rain

The move to our new neighborhood this summer has meant a new novelty just down the road from us: a neighborhood pool! We have been able to enjoy it off and on in the month of August and one of our favorite things is sharing it with good friends.

Friday we went to the pool with Jordan, Haley and Wendy. The weather was overcast but the air was relatively warm. Soon, however, it got colder and we found ourselves shivering and choosing to sit in the warmer wading pool. Suddenly raindrops began to fall! We walked home in the rain. Indeed, fall is on its way.
Thanks for getting in one last swim with us, friends!

Southern Tomato Pie

Have you ever tasted Southern Tomato Pie? I hadn't until we found a recipe for it in Food Day last week and my husband made it. One word: YUM.

We took a bike ride on the Springwater Corridor last weekend. It was a little overcast, even misty, but we did five miles total and had a great time. We need to get out and explore Portland's bike paths more often. Despite her perseverence, today Julia needed to stop a lot for an itchy ear.
Avery was as happy as a clam in the Burley surrounded by her babies.

The Birth of a Fashionista

Does Julia look twelve in this picture, or what?

Last week she and I went back-to-school shopping. For the first time, she was the one choosing things. According to her, "Plaid goes with school," hence the abundance of it. The red dress, almost Veruca-like in its' style, was her favorite score. It's all one peice.

She wanted more jeans this year. Argyle showed up twice. One of the goals we set for the summer was to learn to tie shoelaces. We're getting to it a little late with the recent purchase of tennis shoes with laces.

First grade, here we come!

Old Friends

When I was pregnant with Julia, my husband and I enrolled ourselves in a birthing class. On the first night of class we discovered that Jenny, an old friend of mine from high school and her husband Chuck were also in the class. I had no idea she was even living around Eugene but here we were, both expecting! Jenny had Carly at the end of May and I had Julia a few weeks later in June. Every once in awhile we got the girls together and chuckled over their unsteady way of leaning on each other as infants and the active frolicking they did as toddlers.

Carly and Julia got to reunite last week as six year-olds at the zoo! Jenny, another good friend Ginger, and I met at the zoo with our kiddos and did almost the whole zoo. The kids got along great and we had fun reminiscing about the good old days of high school and working at Coast Roast Coffee Company in the late '80's. It's nice to have old friends that you can just pick right up with again after not having seen them in a long time.

Avery, Julia, Carly, Riley (Ginger's 21-month-old daughter) and Jenny's four-year-old son Jacob

Jenny, me and Ginge!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Book Report

Like a bear lucking out at a honey tree, our frequent visits to the library this summer yielded quite the bounty of goodness. It's time now to lick the lovely stickiness from our fingertips and share them.

Take The 3 Bears and Goldilocks, for example. Cleverly told and wonderfully illustrated, it's a slightly newer take on the tale, but one worth checking out, especially because of the illustrations. Did I mention the illustrations?

It's always the illustrations which lead me to any book, but to report on it here means the story delivered as well. Such was the case with Big Rabbit's Bad Mood, which I saw at Powells and was drawn to. Rabbit's bad mood, represented by a large grey creature, followed him around and wouldn't leave him alone. It was only when he was distracted by something else that his mood disappeared. Young and old can relate. Julia especially enjoyed the drawings on the inside cover, penned doodles of rabbit's similarly quirky friends.

The Owl and the Woodpecker is the story of Woodpecker and Owl who are neighbors, but not friends. Woodpecker makes so much noise that he disturbs Owl, who likes to sleep during the day. Their argument gets so inflamed the other animals try to get involved but have no luck. Owl eventually changes his mind when Woodpecker saves him from danger. Brian Wildsmith's colorful illustrations enliven this story.

Last but not least, John Willy and Freddy McGee is based on the true story of two guinea pigs who get loose and find an adventure in an unlikely place: inside a pool table. The author recreates the sounds the balls make as they tumble down into the table and towards the trapped guinea pigs. Being a lover of guinea pigs, I especially loved this book and preschoolers through second graders will, too. With such hilarious names, these guineas are bound to make a repeat performance in another book one day, I predict.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Fair or Bust

We hit up the Canby fair yesterday with our pals Donna and Jenna. It was very hot, which made us a bit lethargic, but we enjoyed the usual animal bonding and sightseeing. The girls loved anything newborn, like these darling ducklings and piglets.

My favorites are the llamas! I forget this fellow's name but Diego was there too, (it was so good to see him!) sulking in the corner behind a white Llama named Micky. His pronounced underbite might as well have been uttering, "Sheesh, can't a guy get a little privacy?"

I also like the doves, maybe because of the way they're always cooing in our yard.

Omsi was on site with a cool touch table for the kids to explore.
One of our favorite things to do is hit the children's area. They fill a big area with dried feed corn kernels that the kids can dig and play in. We couldn't find it this year! We were so sad! There is usually an opportunity to make a "Dirt Baby" too but alas, not this year.
Donna is my oldest and dearest friend and this tradition of taking our kids to the fair is one I look forward to every summer.

An Earring Post....

Meet my new earrings. Their size warrants a formal introduction. They are the largest earrings I own and the most cheerful. I love them.

Monday, August 17, 2009

We got up to the cabin again this past weekend. My friend Molly met us up there from Seattle on Saturday and our families got to play for a night.

We got to meet Molly's little guy Benjamin for the first time. He is three months and adorable. What a sweet baby.

Saturday was overcast and chilly. There was wading, no swimming. Here, sweet Lucy models the latest in water-wear for almost three year-olds. She later received a wicked yellowjacket sting on her hand, poor girl.

We were determined to capture a frog this weekend as they abound at the cabin just like they did when I was a frog-crazed kid. Even after hunting along the banks and in the canoe, we failed to nab one, despite adding a net to our "gear."

Molly and I have smoked cigars together many times during my visits to her pad when I was single. This weekend when the men busted out the humidor I resisted but eventually joined in the merriment. I don't look like I'm enjoying it, but it was well worth it, as Molly's husband Don brought some choice stoagies. My dad would have been proud. He was always leaving cigar stubs everywhere.

I have gotten to share the cabin with many friends over the years and it was fun to share it with an old college pal now that I'm an adult. Leaving on Sunday when it had gotten sunny and beautiful sucked. But we'll be back!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

August is in full swing and our new rental is feeling more like our home just in time to resume our enjoyment of summer during its dwindling days.

We got these Expedit shelves from Ikea for the playroom. I can't tell you how long I've wished for storage like this to organize all their toys. It's a huge improvement to have things sorted and put away. I'm very happy with it. The big square drawers on the bottom are from Target and the baskets are from the dollar store.



I worked on the yard a bunch last weekend. My husband bought me pruning shears that came in handy pruning our roses. So satisfying and addictive to work in the yard. I liked it as much as my husband liked mowing the lawn!

We really needed a rug to go underneath our kitchen table, because it sits right on brand new fancy carpet that we didn't want to ruin. Ikea helped us out there too, for a very reasonable price given the size of the rug. Rugs are not cheap!


We are very close to ordering actual bedroom furniture for the girls! I'm thinking we're going to go with Macy's, as they have the furniture I'm liking the most after having perused all the other stores like Costco, J.C. Penny, L.L.Bean, Land of Nod and Pottery Barn. It's between the Summer Breeze Scroll Top Bed and the Summer Breeze Sleigh Bed. The girls are fans of both. Which one would you pick?

Yesterday it actually rained for the first time all summer! We stood on our covered deck in the dark listening to the rain. It smelled like the spearmint and lavender that grew at our feet. Next week I will register Julia for first grade at her new school! She hopes she gets a teacher, "as sweet as Miss Honey." (She's been listening to Matilda).

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Today Avery came flying down the hall wailing. She sounded terrified not hurt. It was the kind of cry you reacted to pronto.

She told me, "There's a spider! There's a spider in my room."

Avery's not a big fan of bugs, but I knew this spider was going to have to be huge to have caused this kind of reaction.

I went down to her room and searched for it. She'd told me it was by her bedside table.

I didn't see it at first, but then I SAW it. Woah. It. Was. Huge.

I think I shreiked, though I don't think of myself as afraid of spiders.

I captured it under a cup. There was excitement in the room as we gathered around. I was worried that it was big enough to knock the plastic cup over.

I transferred it to a container with a lid so the kids could observe it and so my husband could see what was co-habitating with us. WAS living with us. WAS. (yes, that part should be spoken as Pee Wee Herman might speak it).

I deposited him in the backyard, but fear he will be back.

This is his actual size, the size he is on your computer.

Any suggestions about how to keep him out?

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

It was our first official weekend in the new house and we took off. My husband went camping with a friend and we three girls went down to visit Grandma. Here we are pictured in a nectarine orchard where we scored many sweet and tasty nectarines. We were in the neighborhood pool every day. We also enjoyed the neighborhood wildlife. Here a turkey flock makes a pass through the yard. Ry and I had some good laughs over our Altoid "teef." Oh the fun that can be had with a good mint.

Now we are back and settling into the new pad. I had a very productive day yesterday getting the kitchen totally unpacked and cleaned. We had some time in the neighborhood pool. Now the playroom needs to be tackled, and by tackled I mean "wrastled" to the ground and tied up, quick-like. It is a monster task given we also need some smart storage solutions for toys etc. I am probably going to invest in something like this, which is what I've been wanting for the play space for a long time. I'm thinking of finding some choice baskets to put in the compartments, maybe. Someday I'll grace you with some before and after shots so you can see what it's like now and what it will become, once wrangled. In the meantime, the girls are LOVING their outdoor play space. They can go out into a big back yard any time and play on the equipment and run around. As I type they are singing Do a Deer at the top of their lungs while swinging. What mother isn't loving THAT? Here they are enjoying the sprinklers last week on a super warm night.