Monday, November 30, 2009

Lucky


We had the finest Thanksgiving ever this year at the cabin. The only bummer was that my dad was not there, but of course he was there in spirit and in all the stories. We made a Happy Thanksgiving sign to add to the festivity.
The eating was good, and I overdid it on the sugar big time. It was all because of Meghann's tarts.
It was fun to bond with Meg. We did two girl power hikes, one on the only day it rained while the guys were golfing/mountain climbing, and one when it was dry.
This is my mom out in the canoe getting high on nature. She was especially excited to sit and commune with the resident bald eagle. It swooped in many times to excite us!

At one point on the trail there was a little area of water that looked like it was bubbling. It ended up being a little community of active tadpoles that we captured for the girls to play with and then returned to the exact spot. They were SO THRILLED with that.
In this shot they are looking at them as I held them up in a jar.



We had a family talent show on the last night. It was AWESOME. The highlight was Meg and Julia's dance/song. My husband played Blackbird on the guitar and I "sang" a bit, Andy danced and sang to Neil Diamond with Avery, my mom told a story, and Ry and his gal sang "The Gambler." It was awesome entertainment. We also bowled (as predicted) on the birthday boy's (above) birthday.



I am so thankful for my family, for the fact that we have that cabin set in the beautiful wilds of Washington to retreat to and bond in, and just that in this life, we have one another to be lucky about. Life is good.

Sunday, November 29, 2009



All the leaves have turned to cornflakes.
It looks as if some giant's baby brother
had tipped the box
and scattered them upon our lawn-
millions and millions of cornflakes-
crunching, crunching under our feet.
When the wind blows,
they rattle against each other,
nervously chatting.
We rake them into piles-
Dad and I.
Piles and piles of cornflakes!
A breakfast for a whole family of giants!
We do not talk much as we rake-
a word here-a word there.
The leaves are never silent.
Inside the house my mother is packing
short sleeved shirts and faded bathing suits-
rubber clogs and flippers-
in a box marked SUMMER.
We are raking,
Dad and I.
Raking, raking.
The sky is blue, then orange then grey.
My arms are tired.
I am dreaming of the box marked Summer
-"October Sunday" by Bobbi Katz

Saturday, November 28, 2009


For me, shopping at Goodwill is full of moments when you ask yourself, "Do I really needs this?" SO many things go into my cart and then come right back out. This alphabet tapestry was the kind of thing I picked up and later bought without hesitation. Look at all the work someone did embroidering all the animals on it! (The flip side has N-Z). Initially, my plan was to stretch it on a canvas and hang it in our playroom but the canvas sizes weren't quite right so instead I made it into a pillow. Voila!

Friday, November 27, 2009

RAP JUJA! HAP BIRD OO DOO!


This is my brother, Ryan, who turns 35 today. Ryan is really fun to go bowling with. When you go bowling with him, there's lots of laughing and everyone has an alias so when you look up and you make a strike, the screen says, "YOU GOT A STRIKE Striker Fosgate!" or whatever you punched your name in as. We're probably going bowling today on Ryan's birthday, because of how much fun he is at the bowling alley. I hope his year is full of nothing but strikes, something you want on the lanes.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankfulness

Happy Thanksgiving! For a little treat click here. Great song. Endearing cover of it. Maybe listen to it while you're cutting up pie or something.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Great Books About Dolls

There are so many great stories out there about dolls, many of which have been around a very very long time! I thought I'd share some of them here along with Amazon's synopsis for each.

The Racketty Packetty House.
When Tidy Castle arrives, brand-new and grand in every way, the Racketty-Packetty House has never looked shabbier, and it is shoved in the corner of Cynthia's nursery. But the Racketty family still dances, sings, and laughs louder than all the fancy dolls combined. When a real-life princess visits the nursery, the Rackettys learn that the humans are planning to destroy their house. Only a miracle -- or some very unusual magic -- can save them now! Since its publication in 1906, the story of how Queen Crosspatch and her band of fairies rescued the Racketty-Packetty House has inspired dreamers and readers of all ages in the tradition of The Secret Garden and A Little Princess. Now Wendy Anderson Halperin's illustrations, brimming with whimsy and wonder, unlock the magic of two dollhouses -- one posh and one proud -- to a whole new generation of readers


The Doll People.
Annabelle Doll is 8 years old--and has been for over 100 years. Nothing much has changed in the dollhouse during that time, except for the fact that 45 years ago, Annabelle's Auntie Sarah disappeared from the dollhouse without a trace. After all this time, restless Annabelle is becoming more and more curious about her aunt's fate. And when she discovers Auntie Sarah's old diary, she becomes positively driven. Her cautious family tries to discourage her, but Annabelle won't be stopped, even though she risks Permanent Doll State, in which she could turn into a regular, nonliving doll. And when the "Real Pink Plastic" Funcraft family moves in next door, the Doll family's world is turned upside down--in more ways than one! In this series is also The Runaway Dolls, and The Meanest Doll in the World.


Raggedy Ann Stories
Since Raggedy Ann first appeared in print in 1918, she has charmed millions of readers with her always warm and optimistic outlook and calm approach to difficulties. Now she returns to delight a new generation in this carefully produced reissue, which restores the book to its original appearance. All the original stories are here, as Raggedy Ann comes to Marcella's nursery and quickly becomes the leader of the dolls. After learning a lesson from a naughty raid on the pantry, Raggedy Ann's adventures show her striving to be good -- and succeeding. She and the other dolls rescue Fido, the family dog, from the dogcatcher. When, in one adventure, Raggedy Ann has to have her stuffing replaced, she gets her famous "I LOVE YOU" candy heart. Raggedy Ann also goes up in a kite, teaches two new dolls to be tolerant, and shares the excitement of a baby brother for Marcella, among several other tales.


The Best Loved Doll.
Betsy is invited to a party at which prizes will be given for the oldest doll, the best-dressed doll, and the doll who can do the most things. But Betsy chooses to bring Jennifer, a doll of a different sort--with her tangled hair and patched cheeks, she's Betsy's best-loved doll. This timeless story of the special relationship between a girl and her doll is told with directness and charm


Big Susan.
Mr. and Mrs. Doll and their six children, Nurse and the old Cook all lived in a house which had no front and belong to Susan. Susan was just an ordinary-sized little girl with taffy colored pigtails, but to the dolls she was a very Big, very Wonderful, very Important Person. There was one short night in every year when they needed no help from Susan - that Wonderful Night when all Dolls come alive and can speak. This is an exciting story full of ups and downs scaled to dollhouse proportions, full of sense and nonsense, fantasy and truth, with glimpses of the Christmas miracle that can happen anywhere - even in a dollhouse. It's a different sort of Christmas book, one that will be enjoyed at any time of the year and by the whole family.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Salmon Ring


When I was a kid my dad did a lot of fishing. He often caught huge steelhead and we were treated to smoked salmon and one of my favorite dinners: Salmon Ring. I think the recipe originated from a set of those Betty Crocker recipe cards from the 70's and called for tuna, but made with salmon it is quite something.

Salmon Ring w/Cheese Sauce

Salmon Filling:
1 egg
14 oz. salmon, cooked
1/2 cup onion
1/2 cup snipped parsley
1 tsp. celery salt (or one stalk of celery)
1/2 tsp. pepper

Biscuit Dough:
2 cups bisquick
1/2 cup water

Cheese Sauce:
3T butter
1/3 cup flour
1 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheese

Heat oven to 375. Beat egg slightly. Set 2 T. aside of egg. (Good luck!) Stir salmon, onion, cheese, parsley, celery, salt and paper into remaining egg to create filling. Mix bisquick and water into dough. Roll biscuit dough into rectangle that is 10 by 15 inches. (Make sure it is very floured on the surface you do this on because if the dough sticks when you're rolling it up it's welcome to Screwedville). Spread salmon filling on dough. Roll up beginning at long side. Shape into ring on greased baking sheet. Pinch ends together. Make cuts 2/3 of the way through the ring at 1 inch intervals. Turn each section on its side to show filling. Brush top w/reserved egg. Bake 25-30 minutes. While it's baking, melt butter and flour in saucepan, adding milk when hot and whisking as it thickens. Add melted cheese and whisk more. Serve on top of salmon ring.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Scoop on my Supertaster


Julia's big on writing in cursive these days. Or TRYING to write in cursive. I totally remember how when I taught a first/second grade blend the kids were so eager to learn to write in cursive that they were always connecting their letters with swoops and dives of the pencil and saying, "Look, I can write in cursive!" Now that's my kid!(LOVE how she wrote/spelled "GENUIS" at the bottom of the sign on her door.)

Julia has made some great friends this year. One, she talks about all the time. She says things like, "I wonder if________ is getting on the bus," or "_______ and I are dressing like twins tomorrow on twin day because you know how we both have that green t-shirt?" Sure enough, the feelings are mutual because ______called her tonight on the phone to discuss their outfit for tomorrow. Love it!

She has not lost any of her top teeth (just the bottom two). She also finally knows how to tie her own shoes.

And as for the movement towards helping Julia develop more flexible eating habits, we've made progress. Initially, I cooked something new for two weeks and she was required to try it. It felt like we were still doing a lot of cajoling and it was exhausting. With a little help, I revised our plan so that it was officially written out and signed by she and I to include our parameters. Essentially I cook whatever the heck I want every night (one meal, people!) and every time Julia takes her required bite without someone asking her to, she gets a sticker on her chart. It's been very successful in liberating my meal planning and her palate. Some people do not have to deal with this, some people are saying, "WHAT? That's ridiculous!" This is the reality of my child. New things frighten her. I have not enabled or empowered her to try new things. Now I am, and she is. (Very gingerly, but still....) It's nice to sit down at the table where the understanding is that she will be trying what is on her plate. It can translate to new experiences, and will at the Thanksgiving table, too. Though it seems that it's something that is getting a lot of attention even by my writing about it, really, it isn't any more. It used to be a big deal but it isn't any more. In time, I want her to eat more on her plate, but with Julia, I need to move at her pace and not force it. She just started her chart over again last night after finishing her first 15 days and receiving a meal of her choice which she also got to prepare with me: waffles. Then, the next night it was back to the plan. You should have seen her face when the Indian Salmon went in......

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Life, the update.

Avery either marched right into a cold or is experiencing lingering symptoms of the flu sans fever. Her behavior has been a bit puny so I know she's not yet feeling 100%despite being back to school, attending birthday parties, and going to lunch with me today at Subway.

Thankfully, her sister has not gotten sick. I'm quite confident it's my worrying that has kept it at bay because really, whatever I worry about never happens.

This Saturday found us up and at 'em early. Julia woke me up at 6:30 with a shreik because she'd just had a bad dream. In a fog, I hadn't looked at the clock when I stumbled into her room. It felt like it was the middle of the night so I snuggled with her and then went back to bed. Then I looked at the clock and realized it was 6:50am and I would not be lying there much longer.

No matter, we had places to go and people to see. Julia had a play date with a friend, my husband went camping at the coast and I took Avery to a birthday party for one of her classmates. I liked this party a lot because 1) everyone was invited (nobody was left out) 2) The theme was fun: alphabet, with great activities 3) There was a book exchange. I remember when I was teaching one of my favorite students ever told me I was, "Hot with parties" but let me tell you, this friend of mine that put on the birthday party is the one who is hot with parties. I found myself thinking today, who puts on amazing parties that she gets to attend?

Anyway, the afternoon progressed with a trip to Joann's for art supplies and then some time at home creating and mess making, followed by my stab at savory pancakes for dinner (with shredded zucchini and garlic). We watched Dennis the Menace which is a pretty hilarious movie the kids seemed to enjoy, then settled in for some serious reading. Julia read to her sister and I from a Minnie and Moo book and then I read them the last four chapters of See You Around, Sam. The Sam books are true favorites: All About Sam, Attaboy Sam, See You Around Sam, Zooman Sam. They are GREAT. I read these to my class when I taught and they just loved them as much as the girls have. I just love Lois Lowry. She is amazing. I've been reading her blog tonight, too.

Then there is now. Now the house is silent except for the heater and the rain. The kids are asleep. My husband is in a tent somewhere on the Oregon coast probably being blown all over. My kitchen counters and playroom are messy and I have absolutely no energy to tackle it. It was the kind of day where you see it messy, getting messier, and know you will not be capable of keeping a handle on it. If it's still messy at night, I won't worry about it until the morning. I get some of my best chores done in the morning after breakfast. Let's hope I wake up fresh as a daisy tomorrow.

I also have to jog tomorrow. I've been doing at least three jogs a week and walking at least two or three days, too. Jogging is not as hard as it used to be and I'm proud of myself for sticking with it. Last week when Avery was at school I spent an hour working out at the local rec center (using up our 20 passes from the auction) first running on the treadmill for a half hour then swimming a half hour. It felt SO GOOD! Unfortunately, I have hit those days in my cycle where it's both impossible to exercise and impossible to stay away from sugar. Case in point: I'd made a goal to avoid fast food all month and to eat applesauce or suckers for dessert but broke that this week with a trip to Taco Time and making oatmeal cookies all on the same day.

I am excited to watch SNL tonight as I mentioned I have a celebrity crush on Joseph Gordon-Levvitt, the host, who was just coming out of his mother's womb when I was a fourth grader learning about ocean life and perfecting my cursive.

The kids and I were playing with our chins the other night. You know, you draw eyes on your chin, then cover your nose/face and they watch you talk upside down. This is something that can make me laugh so hard if I let it. The girls LOVED it, too. It was a golden moment, indeed, one they have tried to recreate again when I'd already moved on. I need to go back with them, to draw eyes on my chin again and again and laugh.

As I ramble on I find myself wondering who really gives a *bleep* about the mundane details of a mother's Saturday. Yet I feel like this blog often skips over the little day to day updates, failing to yammer on enough about the way a day plays out, so it's sort of fun to do it, even if it's boring, even if I lost you all at the word sick in paragraph two.

My blog was born in November four years ago(!!). It's four, it could be a preschooler, this blog, sitting at story time and eating goldfish for snack. It could be Avery's playmate, lining up colorful bears in a pattern on the rug. It could have just been the star of a birthday party, one where there definitely was party hats and horns. I will help it reach five, keep reporting on the mundane mushrooms growing in our yard, and the major milestones, on nothing and everything. Whether I have ten readers or none, I will always be glad to have this little glimpse into now.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Last week was our fourth and favorite preschool auction. It was held at McMenamin's in their Octagonal barn and had live music by Lincoln Crockett, lots of great stuff to bid on, yummy hors d'oeuvres, desserts, cocktails, etc. Totally fun. We also made great money as a school, too. WOO HOO!

We won Teacher Penny's bedtime story, which is always a hot item and one which we hoped we'd eventually win before we were gone. We also got some pretty jewelry, 20 family passes to the local pool, (which we have to use before Dec. 31 so we are gonna GET ON THAT!) a hula hoop, and these cute flags we put in Avery's room.

Friday, November 20, 2009


I had to get a shot so you could see what a serious mushroom village we had going out front. The population seemed to be growing daily. Must have been something about the grass, the trees above, etc. that made it just right for a ring of mushrooms to grow there. My husband harvested them and estimated that there were about 100. Wow!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

We Wish You Well We Wish You Well We Wish You Well


Each day in Avery's preschool class the kids gather with Teacher Penny and think of wishes for their friends that are gone. If nobody's gone, they wish each other well with a song. If more than one child is gone, the children's wishes pile up for all who are gone on one page. Penny records them on a peice of paper and the page of wishes gets delivered to that child's mailbox so they have something nice to welcome them back to school.

Avery went back to school yesterday and had a few days worth of Wish you Well notes in her box. She would have had a third but one of her absenses fell on Veteran's Day.
Here are the wishes her friends gave her on Monday, the day she was the only one gone:

Come back to school (5)
Come to play
playdate with me (2)
celebrate your birthday
toy robot
come to my birthday
big castle
I love you (2)
dragon costume
everything done magical
toy care
have a sleepover
wish you could fly
doggie

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Glee


This season I've been watching Glee. It's a pretty good show. Last week's episode focused on Artie, whose wheelchair would keep him from travelling with the rest of the Glee club to sectionals. Though their advisor, Mr. Schuester, wanted to raise money for them to rent a bus that was wheelchair friendly, none of the other club members wanted to put the effort into doing it. This song Artie sang was so good. I love his voice, but also just the idea that with his disability he is alone, and it's kind of sad, but he's also celebrating it in a small way. Watching it, especially in the context of the show, gave me small shivers. Mr. Schuester eventually taught the Glee club an important lesson when they were all required to use wheelchairs for three hours every day so they could understand Artie's world. It was rich.

Glee is on Wednesdays at 9 on Fox. Check it out!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Game? I'm Game!


We've been gamin' it up around here lately and it's so fun! Avery loves Zingo, Schmetti Coloretti, sometimes her Eric Carle Sloth Dominoes Set. Jooge has been enjoying Shut the Box. Both girls learned to play Checkers this weekend and Julia especially loved it. I'm excited to add more new games for Christmas this year. Pictureka looks so fun, and good old Connect Four. Sorry is on the list, and I'm going to pick out some ThinkFun games, too, like Rush Hour Jr. or Chocolate Fix that Avery's friend had that look so fun! What about you, any game recommendations that your family loves?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Life on Planet Sicko, The Update

Well, after Avery had been sick a week and I had another conversation with the advice nurse this morning, I took Avery into the pediatrician to see what exactly we were dealing with. I always feel better after seeing the pediatrician, my worries dissipate and I know it will all be okay.

Her symptoms were fairly mild last week as far as just having a low fever and being tired and having some soreness in her head, legs. The fever completely disappeared for awhile but then came back and wiped her out again over the weekend. After hearing how her week had gone he deduced that she had H1N1 but her lungs were clear so there were no secondary infections. He said it should last another day or two and figured it was too late to treat. He said if she didn't have any secondary infections at this point, there wouldn't be any. He said she shouldn't get worse. She hasn't. No more fever. She has a wicked cough. He said that she should not need to be vaccinated against it.

I told him that last week she woke up on either Thursday or Friday and was walking on her toes. It was too painful for her to walk with her heels down. Apparently the sore calves are textbook H1N1. For some reason, that strain of Influenza is linked with soreness in that particular muscle. Isn't that interesting? Poor hobbling little influenza-stricken girl.

I am amazed Julia hasn't shown any signs of getting it. Who knows if she will? The doctor said some families are all hit hard, and some families only have a few victims. So. If Julia gets it the loveliness will be prolonged yet another seven days or more, and then I will be all awash with worry over how it will play out with her as her asthma makes it more sketchy for her to get. Maybe, just maybe, she will not get it, I can vaccinate her, and we can be done with all of this.

After getting home from the doctor I had a wicked headache. I sometimes get migraines and have some meds I take that can get rid of it. I took one of those, but this time, the headache did not leave and I threw up four different times over the course of the evening. AWFUL. I hate feeling like that and I hadn't for so long. Usually if it's a migraine it reacts to that medicine, but maybe I took it too late, maybe it didn't stay in my body long enough, maybe it wasn't a migraine. I was so thankful my husband came home and completely took over. Those headaches wipe me out!

I'm SOOO ready for things to be back to normal and especially ready to see Avery return to her usual self.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Extra! Extra! Read All About It

Today I sent my first text message. It was a one word response to a text my brother Andy sent me. I have officially entered our century.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


I saw 500 Days of Summer this week. Great flick. I have a new celebrity crush on Joseph Gordon (born in 1981-HELLO!) as well as on the skirt Zooey is wearing in this picture. Check out this scene. It makes me smile.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Planet Sicko


Avery has been sick all week with a minor fever, (the highest it got was 102.9)body aches, (especially in her legs) a stuffy nose, and exaustion. It all started Monday at preschool. One minute she was fine, the next she was crying. It was terrible to see her crumbled up and hit so hard all of a sudden. Later I asked her if she had a headache when she was crying and she said, "No, my head hurt, I didn't have a headache."

Thankfully she has been able to sleep through the night, she doesn't have a cough, she has somewhat of a normal appetite, and during the day she behaves fairly normally, though on her worse day she hit 5:00 and was exhausted. Who knows exactly WHAT she has. Most people are getting similar symptoms and claiming it's H1N1, but I don't know for sure and our Doc does not test for Swine Flu.

Speaking of that lovely flu, I tried to get Julia vaccinated for H1N1 the other night (I couldn't take Avery because of her fever) but it's madly competitive to get the shots where we live and we haven't been lucky yet. After a great discussion with our advice nurse I learned that the body's response to the vaccination can take two weeks. If she HAS been exposed to the swine flu getting her vaccinated still might not prevent her from getting sick herself.

H1N1 is obviously going around, but as our advice nurse wisely reminded me, all the other usual sicknesses are still going around,too. Most people are assuming that their child's sickness is the swine flu, but it isn't always. True influenza, our nurse emphasized, gives kids respiratory problems, which Avery hasn't had. She reminded me that who knows what spring will bring and it's wise to have kids vaccinated. So we will, one of these days, when we can! Sheesh!

There was another rise in Avery's fever yesterday after her fever had almost gone away, which is what a lot of families we know are experiencing. Who knows. We shall see how it plays out with Julia, Miss Asthma. In the meantime, Avery is laying low, hunkering down, taking vitamins, water, and some serious t.v. I'm so anxious for her to be better.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Loving What you DO


Secret Hideaway by Johanna Wright

On OPB's Oregon Art Beat last week, there was a piece on Johanna Wright, a Portland area children's author and illustrator whose book we've coincidentally checked out of the library in the last few months. To think Johanna Wright makes her living writing and illustrating kid's books, inspires me! Hello, dream job!

I have heard several times recently that to find a true career path in line with your interests, you must look at the things you loved when you were seven. At seven, Johanna Wright wanted to make children's books. And now, she's doing it. Success for her wasn't instantaneous but she stuck with it and now she's doing it. Her fears never became a barrier to doing what she dreamed of doing. As Johanna said on her blog, "Our fears are just gems covered in mud, and it's our job in this life to find them and clean them off."

There are examples everywhere of people who followed their dreams and are making a living. Keep your eye on Johanna Wright. She's really something. Keep your eye on me, too. Inspired, I'm getting in touch with my inner seven-year-old to make sure that I'm not letting fears get in the way of possibilities.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Make a Wish!


Because I believe so strongly in the whole concept of wishing whenever I just happen to look at the clock and it's 11:11 (this happens more frequently than you might think) I am encouraging other wishing out there on 11/11 by posting this post at exactly 11:11. Yes, I realize the likelihood of someone reading it at 11:11 is slim. Still. Someone will be doing it, somewhere. This wishing business is not something I alone, do. There are 1,714,624 people on Facebook who are fans of "11:11 Make a Wish." I say, "Keep on wishing, peeps!" Check out this eventwhere people collectively wish at 11:11 in San Fran. There are even t-shirtsadvertising the idea.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Loving Brian Wildsmith's Illustrations


There's a local library branch we visit on ocasion that has a HUGE and well-stocked children's section. Unlike the branch we typically visit, at this branch every book you're looking for seems to be there on the shelf waiting for you. I found myself in the W section and checked out a whole pile of Brian Wildsmith books I had never even seen, just so we could peruse them for the wonderful illustrations! The following illustrations all come from the above Birds book.


Monday, November 09, 2009

Somewhere Over It


The rainbow in the picture above was seen yesterday during a trip to the Blue Heron park. That's our favorite place to cavort outside and we usually see a blue heron somewhere while we're there, which I always see as good luck. There was a period when I never saw it and stopped looking, but the last two times we've visited, the blue heron has surprised me with its' flight. It figures that just about the time I stop looking for it, there it is offering up the very hope I forgot I really needed!

For those of you who might be wondering what they learned after performing a lumpectomy on my dear sweet mother Friday, it ended up being a cyst with nary a malignancy. It is NOT CANCER! WOO HOO! In my mind that is the real blue heron taking flight in front of my eyes, the true rainbow smiling down on me from above.

Sunday, November 08, 2009


Look what one of my favorite childhood toys is going for on Ebay! Wow. Where did mine go?

Saturday, November 07, 2009

America's Best Idea, Indeed!


My husband and I have been settling in at night to watch Ken Burn's Documentary: The National Parks, America's Best Idea. We are enjoying it so much! From John Muir to Steven Mathers, so many men were advocates for our natural beauty to be preserved into national parks. They gave us such a gift! We are itching to hit Yosemite now, but also love the idea of Acadia, Denali, and the Great Smokey Mountains. I would highly recommend this series to anyone who loves nature and who doesn't know the full story of just how this country established its' national parks.

Friday, November 06, 2009


In January of 2008 my mom had a teeny tiny breast cancer that was whooshed away so quickly that we all sighed sighs of relief.

When you have any kind of breast cancer you are given a lot of things. You are given statistics about how likely it is for you to get it again. You are given more frequent mammograms. In my mom's case, she was given very good odds: four out of one hundred women would get breast cancer again.

She had an irregularity on her mammogram in June and that irregularity did not go away in October, so they decided that in November, today actually, they would go in and do a lumpectomy to take the irregularity out. So that's what she's doing right now: lying on a table being operated on. After everything she's been through, still, this!

For her, the hardest thing about it has been facing it without my dad. His reaction was always determined and it gave my mom so much strength to have that support.

I am sharing this here, this personal tidbit, this slice of REAL so that you can send your positive thoughts and wishes down down down to Roseburg and to the table she's lying on and to the body I want her to live in for a long long time.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

My Friend Ram


I met Donna Rambo when I was in the fifth grade and our family was living in Canby. That was when they had year-round school which meant students attended school for nine weeks and then got three weeks vacation. Kids were divided into A,B,C and D TRACKS, and while three tracks were attending school, one track would be on their three week vacation. I was on B track and Donna was on D track. We lived in the same neighborhood and had seen one another before but didn't know each other that well. One day while I was at school and she was at home, "off track," she walked to school and ate lunch with me. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Donna and I spent a lot of time together back in the day. We were always writing notes to one another. Our main goals then were to encourage each other about whatever boy we liked and laugh a lot. At one point we both had crushes on different boys both named Doug. We loved Mrs. Hollen in seventh grade and Mrs. Givens in eighth. Once we started a survey on who liked Chiquita bananas and who liked Dole. We gathered signatures from everyone we knew. In eighth grade we both had short hair and my brothers called us Tim and Don. We were on the same intermural basketball team, Crystal Blue Persuasion. Donna was a real renegade on the court. We made an audio tape once that was hilarious. We would talk and then insert snipits from songs. For example, we said "Mom, I'm tired of looking at all these bras," and then we played, "The search is over." We thought we were very funny. We laughed a lot.

Our family moved away from Canby at the end of eighth grade and Donna threw me a wonderful surprise going-away party that summer. I made new friends, but nobody as close as she was. Having a friend like that at that point in my early teens made a huge difference. I had someone who understood. I had someone who liked me no matter what. I had a devoted friend. I was lucky.

I am still lucky today to still have a friend like Donna. I could talk to her about that kid I had a crush on in seventh grade and I can talk to her about my frustrations with motherhood. If Donna wasn't in my life, I would feel a huge void that would never quite be filled by anyone else.

Ram, happy 38th birthday!
Jenna and Avery

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


This year I created a few things for our preschool auction, coming up November 14. First I made the above collage on a thin sheet of birch. I also embelished totes and filled them with a few quality kid reads. Fun to have a few crafty projects.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


Julia has recently become a lover of reading.

There has been a long progression towards this spot, beginning with all the reading we did when she was a baby. She would recite stories back to me that she knew from memory as a toddler and preschooler. In kindergarten she became an official reader, learning sight words and how to sound words out. Still, reading was far from her idea of fun.

When first grade started, she knew how to read but would do it almost begrudgingly.
My hope for her was that she would transform into someone who was drawn to books, seen often lying with them open, absorbed.

I knew we had arrived at that magical place where knowing how to read turned into enjoying reading when we were at the library last week and she begged to check out a whole stack of Young Cam Jansen books. Before that she was usually not that interested in picking out books for herself to read. A few days later I couldn't believe she'd plowed through almost the whole stack.

To see her lying in bed at night reading to herself fills me with genuine happiness.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Gimmie a B, Gimmie an O, Gimmie another O! BOO!


On Halloween we carved our pumpkins. I always love seeing the faces they create. Julia's is on the left with the eyelashes and heart-shaped mouth, mine in the middle with the big mouth and Avery's with the arrow-shaped eye. Avery also got to create the face on Daddy's pumpkin, which he had to modify given the small size she made it.
This year we found the girl's costumes at Marshalls. Not a finger was lifted to create them, refreshing for a change. They loved being cheerleaders.
In anticipation for Halloween they practiced their cheers for weeks: "Big G Little O Go, Team!" When the night finally arrived, I took them out for about an hour of trick-or-treating. They were the perfect age for trick-or-treating this year. They marched up to the doors together and everyone in our neighborhood was SO FRIENDLY, oohing and aaahing at their costumes. They came away all smiles telling me what they got. A highlight was trick-or-treating at Teacher Penny's house. They were very excited about that.
They got a good loot, just enough. After they went down my husband and I watched Sleepaway Camp II. Those eighties horror movies were bad, really bad.
And talk about a fright: how about seeing yourself dressed up like this. My costume this year paid homage to the old lady I will one day become. I got to wear it at preschool and to a really fun Halloween party the night before Halloween. Man that wig was hot!