Wednesday, August 31, 2011


pee-cause / my-cause
zeeze (Zeeze ones are really tasty!)

bakka-shoop = basketball hoop. He conquered this one a few months back but will still proudly declare "basketball HOOP!" every so often. :)


It's worth mentioning that the last few months have encompassed one of those rare spans of time when nature and the weather agree exactly with my idea of what should be happening. Hot when we're ready for it, cool and breezy when we need a break. Cloudy only when the sun threatens to become monotonous. And the rare splashes of rain have happened (I kid you not) on every night that I've forgotten to water the garden.

Tonight I was planting some perennial bulbs in the front yard (more on that excitement later, with photos, of course) and reflecting on how tomorrow is the first day of September and really fall is just around the corner. I'm ready for falling leaves and pumpkin patches. Today Jack and I were remembering last year when we got a hay ride in a big wagon pulled by a farmer's green tractor. He's ready to do that again, please, but takes my word that we have to wait *just* a bit longer before those are available.

Well, back to tonight. I was outside at 10:00 p.m., planting the last of about 50 bulbs. It was cold and my nose was just a little runny. The wind suddenly gusted and the night air smelled like wood smoke and slightly damp soil, and everything felt just... like fall. And I tell you what -- I have never been happier than when I get the first signs of summer's end, and this year was done particularly stylishly!

So I do have to commend Mother Nature on her timing and attention to detail. Well done, madame! I hope to see you continue this trend right on through the new year. ;)

Wheatland Ferry and State Park

Jack recently saw a kids' show involving a little boy who gets to ride on a ferry boat. Naturally, we were inspired to head out to a nearby ferry that connects to a state park! This was adventurous for many reasons. :)

Mommy's favorite part of a state park visit...

(I'll give you two guesses.)

...proved to be difficult. While I was trying to coax not-quite-crunchy leaves to burn and wishing I had brought more pre-kindling, Jack was wandering around explaining the many reasons that the situation was not okay with him.

The smoke was going to Get him. The (two, in the entire park) bees were going to "stung" him. He needed to wash his hands. He couldn't eat his apple because it was dirty. Evie was going to take his piece of cheese. And the smoke was really going to GET him, Mommy.

As soon as I got it burning he changed his tune and was very excited to have fire-roasted hot dogs. Then we had a new problem: If you want to have a hot dog, you have to help Mommy find some sticks for the fire! Well, after some coaxing and instruction on where to look, here he is excitedly displaying the world's tiniest stick. :)

"Wook, Mommy! I found one stick!!"

Yay, hot dogs for everyone!

"Seriously, do you have any idea how delicious these are? Mommy, we're going to need yours too."

Here's Evie trying to figure out how to make the magic plate produce more bites for her....

And I was able to get one picture before we boarded the ferry for the drive home. Jack has officially declared that this is the Best Ferry In The World. I'd call the trip a success. :)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

You're kidding.... Just saw our first V of geese!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

is now chowing down. :p
Evie just pitched a mega fit over eating apple sauce... until Jack and I explained and demonstrated that it's not BABY food. Everybody eats this! ...She

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Jack and I have been working on a big project: tracing all the letters of the alphabet! Here's the culmination of our efforts:

Sunday, August 7, 2011

summer projects

Living in Oregon gives one a fine appreciation for summer weather. The days have been hovering around 80 degrees, usually with clear skies and a gentle, cooling breeze. Perfect for just about any summer activity one could imagine.

There are so many things to do, from picking berries, to playing in the river at a park nearby, to taking beach trips, to having playdates with our friends who will be back at work when school rolls around again... and special summer activities like the county fair this week!

We've been having a very busy time of it, and I'm still turning down activities here and there. "Stressed" is not the right word, but sometimes the kids just have enough of activities and it's time to stay at home and mellow out.

Or, you know, the "mellow out" that you can do with two little ones, which is usually pretty busy in its own right. ;) At home one of our big activities is the garden, which is going gangbusters. This leads me to my first picture:

That's fifteen cups of basil right there! I picked it yesterday from my four basil plants. Today I used 2 cups of olive oil, 2 1/2 of Parmesan, 1 1/2 of walnuts and pine nuts, and all that beautiful basil to make an enormous batch of pesto. The end tally was 5 1/2 cups! That went into the freezer tonight as Alex fed dinner to the kids. Pesto is one of my food passions, and I'm so glad we'll have plenty for the winter. The basil plants are growing so well that I'll be able to make another big batch in just a few weeks.

The garden is also ramping up production on the veggies. (At last, more than just lettuce and herbs!) Here's Jack showing off one of the carrots. He's been waiting and waiting to pull one out of the ground! We kept digging one up just a tiny bit and seeing that it still wasn't ready. He finally got to gobble this one up without any more prep than just washing the dirt off.

We also have peppers and all our tomatoes finally showing signs of ripening, along with a few eggplants that are SLOWLY getting bigger. Add our few cucumbers to that mix and we're in business! We also have chard, lettuce, winter squash, more carrots (a later planting), summer squash, zucchini.... In about two weeks I'll be complaining that we have more produce than we can eat, I'm sure. ;)

We also have projects going indoors. Jack is being a wonderful helper these days. There are a lot of projects related to the fact that the people who lived here before us were... not of the same mindset as I am.

Painting is one big thing. Scrubbing is the other. If/when we ever move again, I'm hiring professional cleaners before we take occupancy! Today I finally got back to my project of scrubbing the kitchen floor. I don't think the previous tenants ever mopped -- literally. I've been hand-scrubbing one tile at a time to actually find the floor under all the grunge.

Well, I scrubbed for a while and then took a quick break. What do you know, Jack scampered over, grabbed my sponge and cloth and took up right where I left off! He did a wonderful job, getting 20 squares clean before he was distracted by Daddy returning from work.

The best was what he told me as he scrubbed: "Mommy, I making your day! I making your day! By scrubbing the floor!!!!" Boy, does he know when he has figured out a good way to help me. :)

As if that weren't enough, there is one more project we worked on today. It's nearly time to plant the winter garden, which means I am in need of more garden space. Jack and I tag-teamed this one. (I mentioned he's been a great helper recently, right?) I dug up big clods of the dense clay, and Jack beat the stuffing out of them with his hoe. His mission was to break them up small enough that we could blend in some of our homemade compost.

Here's the completed hole, with loosened clay down to 12 inches deep. We ultimately had to call it quits for bedtime, so tomorrow we'll be mixing in the compost, filling up the hole, and planting a little more lettuce and lots more chard.

Why all the chard, you may ask? Well, Evie LOVES chard cooked up with a little onion and garlic, so we have to keep her well-supplied! She can literally eat an adult portion in a day, and I'm more than happy to indulge her.

You may also notice a few cars parked by the side of the hole. Jack got tired after a while of swinging the hoe (the whole thing so far has taken at least two hours) so he drove his cars over the bumpy, dirty landscape while I finished digging. I can really appreciate that he wants to spend time with me. He was right there by my side until I dragged him in for his bath and bedtime!

By the time the end of the day rolls around, I spend a little time loading up the dishwasher, tidying toys out of the kitchen or putting away laundry that we've folded earlier. I keep a notebook handy so that as it occurs to me, I can write down what's happening tomorrow.

I try not to forget anything too important -- like the fact that I told Jack we'll make blueberry muffins together tomorrow. Or that Evie needs more diapers. Or that I haven't talked to my sister Amy in a few weeks now.

And I trust that whatever I am forgetting, I am forgetting it in favor of something worthwhile like spending time planting seeds one by one with Jack, or blowing raspberries on Evie's belly, or having a quiet moment with Alex after we get the kids to bed.

In closing (since I can't say "in short" after such a post...) it's a busy, busy life right now. But that's part of the flavor of summer, and part of the joy of it is that I know winter will come again. It will bring the rain and the slower pace, and we will all take a deep breath for a few months until it all ramps up again in the spring.

Yes, I'll admit it. Part of the glory of gorgeous, hot crazy summer days is that they make me think of how I can't wait for the winter season.

BUT there is just so darn much good stuff to do right now, and I'm thankful for the sunshine and the long days, and the many friends and family who are accompanying us on our wild ride. And now -- good heavens! -- it's almost midnight and I have to get to bed! I know a very happy baby who will be up with the sun, waking me with her latest words: "Hi maaaaaama!"

It really is a beautiful life. :)