Sophia has been running with a small cross country group from her school this fall - Monday practice after school, Thursday meets, and beautiful Saturday morning runs in Hoyt Arboretum. She and mom have settled into a lovely post-run routine, three weeks running now: hot biscuits with jam and honey butter from the Portland farmers market! This morning, Coach Robert raved about how strong Sophia is looking and what a great run she had!
A note from Nicholas to his mom:
"I love you I love you I love you"
And another early kindergarten work sample:
Nope. I'm not teaching my Oregonian offspring that a little rain should keep them from playing outside. I admit, there was a moment's hesitation as we got Nicholas ready to go (doesn't he look a little tired this afternoon?), but I'm glad we're here!
Our 2nd annual Mother-Daughter camping trip with Megan and Emma. Last year we took some kayaks out for a day. This year we stepped it up by kayaking into a campsite (2.5 hours!) from Quilcene to Broad Spit County Park in the North Hood Canal. We saw lots of wildlife - crabs, oysters, sea stars, jellyfish, harbor seals, eagles, and more! The girls were awesome and fun was had by all! Check out the slideshow of our photos here!
Sunday, August 7, around 7pm, the kids come running out of the front yard with the neighbor kids, yelling, "Mom! Mom! Look what we found!" They are carrying 3 of the tiniest baby squirrels you have ever seen! A whirlwind of events ensued. Highlights and pictures below:- find info online about how to encourage mama squirrel to return for them (leave them where you found them) - also find phone # for a woman who does wildlife rehab in Tigard, OR. We call her, her adult daughter answers, explains that her mom is having health problems and doesn't do much rehab anymore, but maybe she can help us. She explains that the Audubon Society ... (will finish later) [gallery]
We had planned to go get haircuts this morning, but in a crazy fit of 'do-it-ourself'-ness (could my children be taking after me?), we asked ourselves, "Why go somewhere else for something we can do ourselves?" We set up a sheet and a kitchen chair on the living room floor, turned on PBS Walking With the Dinosaurs, and had at it.
30 minutes later, Nicholas has a buzz cut and Sophia a happy summer trim.
Success![gallery link="file" order="DESC" columns="2" orderby="ID"]
A great day for berry-picking! Our first day of raspberries yielded a beautiful array of red and golden berries - and big ones, too! Sophia enjoyed picking gooseberries (or mini-watermelons, as she called them), despite the prickly prickly bushes. And I was blessed yesterday with a very rewarding strawberry hunt at our CSA 'farm'! It feels good to be back in the Northwest (although I did pick strawberries, raspberries, and currants at the dacha in Russia - I think the summer climate must be similar to Oregon!)
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Chalk and Elmer's glue on black construction paper
It was 11:15pm last night when I almost burned down the Days Inn in Burns, OR. I was using the microwave to make my simple-but-yummy pretzel/rolo/pecan treats for the teacher lounge today. I am inexperienced with microwaves and made two simultaneous errors: placing the rolo candies on the pretzels to melt on a non-microwavable plastic tray (I thought all plastic was microwavable), and allowing the chocolate to burn (happens so fast!). These actions combined to create a puff of dark smoke when I opened the microwave. Panic set in when I saw the smoke alarm directly above the microwave. I slipped on my boots and ran outside in my post-snowshoeing running tights to the front office. “I burned something in the microwave and I’m afraid the smoke alarm is going to go off!” I really didn’t want the fire department to show up. Apparently the Days Inn smoke detectors are not nearly as sensitive as ours at home. (Should I be relieved?) Just removing the smoking tray, opening the door, and turning on the fan seemed to be sufficient.
In a possible subconscious effort to maintain balance in my life, I froze far more items today than I do in a typical day. Here is a list of items I froze today:
- a gallon jug of water I picked up on the way here and thought, “why should I lug that into the hotel room…?”
- my leftover breakfast that I left in the car during the day (sensing a theme?)
- my hair, whilst sitting in the Crystal Crane Hot Springs Pool
- my partially wet towel (Having used it once, I set it down on my boots as I got back in to the hot springs. It was waiting for me when I got out – stiff and cold.)
- my tushie as I scurried into the water hot water in what was a beautiful end to my day. Clear, starry skies, and -6 degrees!
Well, I got here last night in the dark, so didn't get to see much. But I woke up to a crisp, sunny morning, ready for my first day of work here. The crisp fall morning made up for the less-than-satisfying coffee at the Day's Inn breakfast buffet (and let's just say I was glad I brought my own food with me...). Harney ESD speech/language department has a lot going for it. Great organization, and a good balance of experience, energy, and efficiency. Things seem very well managed, the paperwork is beautiful, with high quality IEPs/goals at first glance. I met lots of people - the 3 other speech paths, the SLPA I'll be working with, the Slater Elementary sped team, and almost all of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade teachers.
After I left Slater this evening, I took a walk around the neighborhood. Some pictures below...
[gallery link="file" order="DESC" columns="2" orderby="ID"] Made my first trip to Burns today. What a beautiful drive - a sunny fall day through stunning country. Saw 3 large deer, a lizard, a fiery sunset, and lots of Oregon country I hadn't seen before!
Highlights included the place just after I saw the deer and took the lizard/river pictures where I came upon a sign that said "Pavement Ends" - I laughed out loud! Then I drove for the next 45 minutes on a dirt road until I came to highway 20.
The "Horse Exercise Area" sign is from the rest area off Highway 20, about an hour from Burns!
Today was Monday - the first day of children's school Purple Room for Nicholas, and Group 3 at Girl's Club for Sophia! Some highlights:- Nicholas was excited to have Poppy take the bus with him on this first day. The bus monitor recognized him from last year ("Oh, Nicholas! I remember you!"). Poppy reported that he easily picked out his own bus tag and name tag from the table, and even read his new friend Sam's name tag! He also enjoyed puzzles, painting, and is looking forward to an "ooey-gooey" themed week! - Sophia was thrilled last night to find her friend, Eliza, from last year back visiting from Cleveland! Her family is also here for 2 weeks, and the girls immediately made plans to ride to club together Monday morning. Going to club this year seemed to be like putting on a comfortable old outfit - easy and familiar. She's in level 3 swimming class, working on dolphin kick (although the teachers reportedly told her she was a tough one to decide between level 3 and level 4). Her group is practicing the Beatles "Life Goes On" for the air band competition later this week (Friday?).
In other news... - We heard Steve McCurry speak at the lecture this morning. He is the international photographer who took the photo of the Aphgan girl for the cover of National Geographic. Lots of other beautiful photos, and several he had chosen as "iconic" for discussion. - Sophia enjoyed a long walk with Mary and Mary last night to help them with the alphabetic scavenger hunt they are on (Chautauqua-spomsored). Nicholas, then, also wanted to work on a scavenger hunt - and so found and checked off all seven items on a list mama created for him and Baba! - We went up to Bestor Plaza this evening and had ice cream with Eliza and her family (oh my goodness, have we already had ice cream twice?? Ok, well maybe only some of us...). Then to the ballet for the first half (hmmm... Baba is impressed with Sophia's maturity and ability to sit through the ballet!) - Learning more about Eliza... Her birthday is only a week before Sophia's, and they live right near Overlook Drive in Cleveland Heights where Baba and Poppy lived when mama was born. They are almost exactly the same height, and both doing summer swim team (at home) for the first time this summer.
July 19-23, 2010. Farm Camp was a success this week. The first time for Nicholas, an exciting return to last year's fun for Sophia. Some things to remember: - This was Nicholas' first real experience with a packed lunch. He was thrilled to have a lunch bag to bring, and proudly hoisted it up over his shoulder like a purse when I came to pick him up. I asked him how his lunch was and he abruptly sets it down and says, "Oh! Luckily I have this," pulling the melted ice pack out of his lunch bag. "Just in case someone has an owie." i smiled. "Actually," he said, "I think I have an owie on my foot!"
- Sophia read to Nicholas and Dasha each morning as we drove out to Gaston. Some favorites? The Story of Gluey the Carpenter Snail and Mercy Watson.
- The kids were worn out at the end of each day. This was probably a bigger stretch for Nicholas, who still really needs a nap (even if he doesn't get one every day). On Wednesday, one of the teachers told traci, who was picking up, that she didn't think Nicholas would make it home without falling asleep because he had apparently fallen asleep while riding a horse that afternoon! To the point where they took him down after the ride and laid him in the grass until he woke up!
- In addition to tired, they came home exceedingly DIRTY!!
- The kids each made bird houses (currently hanging in our back yard, picture to come!) and seed balls and came home with beautiful memory (photo) books and lots of stories to tell.
- The last day was a rush to Chautauqua! They showed mom around, introduced me to friends and teachers, as is customary on these last days. We then raced home, bathed/showered them and changed clothes! Grabbed a snack and rushed off to the airport by way of the Strands! All in time to catch a 9:20 red-eye to Chautauqua!
Nicholas has become so brave in the water - trying out new things without mom right there! He had swimming lessons 6/21-7/2, and we've been swimming many afternoons. This week, he jumped off the side and swam to the wall - ALL BY HIMSELF! Yea, Nicholas!
Nicholas - aka Superman - had a great family birthday! Check out these pictures of Superman "S" cakes, a tired superhero, and a sister enjoying the day![gallery link="file" order="DESC" columns="4" orderby="ID"]
[gallery link="file" order="DESC" orderby="ID"] OK, I haven't been good at the every week blogging, but I haven't made big purchases at the Farmer's Market every week either! Since our CSA started (our weekly veggie/fresh egg pick-up from the chicken-llama-farm), we are well stocked in kale, spinach, arugula, green onions, spring garlic, and more! We get goodies like strawberries at the Farmer's Market - Oregon-grown in the ground, but covered.
The girls attended a Kids Volunteer! event in Forest Grove, OR, put on by Hands On Greater Portland. We planted seeds for the community gardens, made bookmarks for book deliveries to homebound seniors, created alphabet cards for headstart classrooms, and craft kits to be handed out at summer lunch programs for kids.
OK, now I'm getting serious! I going to try to make this a weekly after-market post to celebrate my finds of the season. I went by myself this weekend and, unlike the last two beautiful weekends, this Saturday was cold and rainy. I was already cold and very wet from a nice run over Terwilliger with Meg, so I decided to change into a dry rain jacket for the market. Turned out to be a silly decision because I just returned home with 2 wet jackets instead of one.
So it was a quick walk through the Farmer's Market instead of my sometimes leisurely stroll. But I still found some treasures!
- mushrooms - black trumpets, hedgehogs, crimini, and some others... (I decided not to buy any morels, although they had some. I hope to pick my own in a couple weeks!)
- asparagus! everyone here loves it, and it's such a short season...
- miner's lettuce - so beautiful I wanted to put it in a vase before we ate it. But so tender and yummy - the kids like it right out of the bag!
- my new item for the week? Stinging nettles. Yes, you have to double bag it, and make sure you don't touch it with bare hands, but it's supposed to be very healthful and tasty too! After blanching it for about 30 seconds, I ate it like spinach with eggs and a little goat cheese. Yum!
pictures below are (clockwise from upper left) stinging nettles in double plastic bags, asparagus, miner's lettuce, assorted mushrooms.
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I spent Thursday unloading a ton (2 cubic yards to be exact) of compost from our neighbor's truck onto our beds. I prioritized the beds where we grow food - vegetables in the raised bed, bed with grapes along the back deck, raspberries and blueberries in the side yard and in the back... then had a little left over to go along the back fence. That will be nice because of all the clay that was turned up when we put in the new fence last summer. Anyway, here are a few pics from the day. We started out at Natures Needs - first customers of the day. My iPhone pics cannot do it justice - there were many huge and long piles of compost, still steaming in the morning air![gallery link="file" order="DESC" orderby="ID"]
Hmmm... I didn't take any pictures of how great the beds looked after I was done! I'll have to do that when the rains let up!