Monday, March 31, 2008

words and pictures

Eva has different words of the day -sometimes- lately. The other day it was discrepancy and throughout the day she would say it in various scenarios, with various meanings attached to it. The interesting thing to me is that how she uses it, with her tone of voice, which part of the sentence it becomes, who she is talking to, it is always just the right word (even if she doesn't quite know our technical meaning, if you get my meaning). "That princess is so discrepancy." "Yes, isn't it discrepancy?"

Then one day it was revolting and that was fun to listen to. Then derogatory- which she even added -illy to, as in derogatorilly. Today I believe, judging from what I have already heard, it may very well be pneumonia. As in, "Pneumonia is definitely not what you want to do."

I was just going through my most recent photos and there are some very fun pictures in there. A picture of Samuel with his head in the candy bag (from the St. Patrick's Day parade in Hillsboro) and lots of pictures of candy taken by Eva so that she can remember all of the different pieces after she has eaten them. Today Samuel had an idea that he could take pictures of people when they are angry and then erase them...and the anger would go away as well. He took a picture of me pretending to be angry and then erased it, otherwise I would post it as well.

Our friends Mary and Addie visited from Texas and we went to the Arboretum with them. Eva and Addie enjoyed climbing up these gigantic tree roots sticking out of the ground. There is Eva in her new "party" dress climbing in the trees and mud! Also, Eva and Samuel carrying Big Baby!

Playing out in one of the many Spring hail storms...

Fast and furious on Easter morning with lots of eggs and bunnies staying up for the Easter Bunny himself!

These are our Easter pictures, as Samuel calls them, and they seem to be all about having rabbits on our heads!

Eva ready for her birthday with her big unicorn balloon; Samuel with his dragon balloon; Eva on her birthday in her new purple shoes holding up her playmobil penguin family and Samuel holds up his lego guy.

Blowing out candles, up close of penguins, riding in a fast car with Samuel at Chuck-E's.

More Chuck-E rides and cupcakes and cake. Eva said, "Momma I thought we were going to have cupcakes and cake for my birthday!"

And this is where Eva spent most of her time at Chuck-E's- the merry-go-round. She just loves it and the lovely part about the merry-go-round is that someone at some point is bound to come up and put tokens in to make it go, so the kids just climb on and look around, waiting for this to happen!

Ok, how cute is this? I gave Charlie one of my old fleece socks and he really likes it. He gets into the sock and sleeps- so warm. And he learned through trial and error to keep his head available for treats!

Eva and Samuel with lots of animals, Eva coloring with others while Samuel has riding lessons, Samuel's self-portrait.

Samuel on Mirage!

Ok and I just can't resist how gorgeous Spring can be with pink petals against dark gray sky- hail is on the way!

Saturday, March 29, 2008


Today the kids and I went to a homeschooling conference nearby and I got to see my parenting coach Scott Noelle speak, which was great fun. He has a lot of say about unconditionality and the title of his talk was "How to enjoy parenting, even if you have kids." Samuel found it to be great fun and Eva and I colored pictures of unicorns to pass the time (1 hour, 15 minutes, not too bad but really they are ready to go at 45 minutes...). We celebrated with Thai food and a trip to the park, good swinging times for everyone, including Eva's newest baby, who pees if you put water into her mouth. (I had a baby alive when I was little and can attest to how much fun this is. This baby came with a potty as well.)

Back in time, we celebrated Easter as usual, with colored eggs and an Easter egg hunt on Easter morning and of course lots of Easter candy. Ellen and Evan came over and we had a nice meal with them to celebrate spring and Grandma Spangler's birthday (she has since passed, but she was born on Easter and died on Good Friday and her presence is palpable during this time of year.)

Eva has taken an interest in Jesus and the Christian meaning of Easter and we spent Easter looking at several pictures of Jesus being crucified and the Stations of the Cross, both traditional and avant garde, and I learned a good bit more about this event then I had previously known. Then on Tuesday we took a little trip over to St. Mary's Convent here in Beaverton and the good Sisters there let us in to their chapel and we got to see a Crucifix up close and lots of pictures of Jesus and angels and more Stations of the Cross, which were quite fascinating and we had the whole chapel to ourselves to look around at our leisure. I think we are going to Mass tomorrow morning to see more pictures of Jesus and the Cross. We saw Jesus today as well because the conference was held in a church and we got to see a Protestant cross without Jesus on it, which was also fascinating.

Eva's interest in Jesus and Samuel's interest in the Revolutionary War and all of this Star Wars viewing and talking has given way to some very interesting discussions about good and evil and the lack thereof and duality in general and I almost forgot they have been watching All Dogs Go to Heaven, which also has opened up the discussion on different people's views on Heaven and Hell. Quite fascinating, all of it.

Eva is fully five now. We celebrated her birthday (March 20!) at Chuck E. Cheese's with pizza and cupcakes. She spent a good bit of time on the merry go round and Samuel continued perfecting his skee ball. We finally got the flowers for Spring Equinox and her birthday planted a couple of days later. I like this tradition of planting on the Equinox and Eva likes picking out the flowers and a special one for her birthday, as she was born on the Equinox.

We planted more peas because I got restless about the others- which, by the way, have finally started to come up, so there will be plenty of peas! This year I planted English peas, not just sugar snap peas (which I like so so) and am excited to freeze some as well. There is mesclun mix coming up, radishes, forget me nots, turnips, peas, onions and then we planted more! Broccoli raab, deers tongue lettuce and something else I am forgetting. We had our first radishes from our produce basket this week and Eva ate them all up on the first day, in between playing a game with them and the purple carrots, which is always fun. And more leeks. Good grief, what do I do with all of these leeks! There are certain foods that seem to come in massive abundance that I just can't seem to use up- zucchini, cabbage, celeriac, leeks...I bless them for their abundance and then I just have to move on, I guess.

I got the idea to plant the deers tongue after looking at Slow Food's Ark of Taste which looks at preserving our food heritage. Deers Tongue and Jacob's Cattle Beans are two heirloom vegetables that are from North America and I thought I would give them a try in the garden this year. But for now we have crazy weather as usual, spring time in the Pacific Northwest- hail and sunshine and rainbows and rain all in the same day!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Revolutionary War and other reading

The kids and I are doing quite a bit of reading about the American Revolutionary War, per Samuel's request. He is particularly interested in the Boston Tea Party, because, as he told me last night, it makes the least sense. He has questions like, "How does throwing the tea in the harbor do anything about the taxes?" So we have been reading and talking quite a bit about the ideas behind the Revolution and about freedom and taxes. We had a fun conversation last night with Samuel comparing the Star Wars movies to the American Revolution- King George and the Emperor, General Cornwallis and Darth Vader, the Rebels and the Colonists/ Patriots. Because as you know, we study Star Wars quite a bit around here, particularly lately- again...

Here is our list so far-
Can't You Make Them Behave, King George by Jean Fritz (a particular favorite!)
Deborah Sampson Goes to War by Bryna Stevens
Aaron and the Green Mountain Boys by Patricia Lee Gauch
Katie's Trunk by Ann Turner
Paul Revere's Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Still to go-
This Time Tempe Wick by Patricia Lee Gauch
The Story of the Boston Tea Party by R. Conrad Stein

So we have read about Tories and King George and the Patriots and women enlisting and how others helped the fighting soldiers. Samuel is really looking forward to the book about the Boston Tea Party and it was fun to read Longfellow's poem, which is dramatic and beautifully written.

We are reading another book by Dick King-Smith and just finished up Little House in the Big Woods and are waiting for the next in that series from the library. Lots of other reading tidbits going on as well. Samuel is still enjoying his Mars Mission legos and the kids are playing with their Star Wars guys quite a bit and there is also a lot of play with Eva's new playmobil toys, most of which I have not written about yet but intend to soon...

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Watch it!

This is a really inspiring video and I highly recommend that you watch this!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

This is a fleetingly glorious part of spring with daffodils everywhere on the ground and pink cherry blossoms in the trees. There are red buds blooming and yellow buds blooming and tiny light green leaves on the willow tree across the street.

Today at the grocery store our favorite checker picked up Eva and announced to the store that it was her birthday tomorrow and had everyone sing Happy Birthday to Eva. She was torn between being thrilled and mortified. She beamed through most of it and was also happy when I picked her up again. We left the store giggling and feeling bright about tomorrow's celebration.

We are on our way to Party City again to get balloons. This time we are in search of a unicorn balloon in honor of Eva's big day. She will be 5!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Do you remember way back in December when I wanted to go for a walk in the woods to celebrate Winter Solstice? And how we didn't get to go because the kids were sick and then I was sick? And then how we still didn't get to go the next month or the next because of one thing or another and then the kids got sick again and then I got sick- again? Well, I am happy to say that today! we went for a walk in the woods, a spontaneous walk at the Arboretum, and I realized this was our first walk in the woods in a long long time. Finally, one week before the Spring Equinox, we found ourselves in the woods again! Yeah!

We ended up in the woods today because we were visiting with my friend Mary and her daughter Addie who were in town visiting for a couple of days. We haven't seen them since we left California nearly 5 years ago and it was great to see them both. We also got to meet her brother and his friend who were also in town to visit with Mary and we all ended up at the Arboretum (rather than the Japanese Gardens) and had a lovely time enjoying the woods and the kids got to climb on the tree roots and I got to show Mary the amazing moss and lichen that grows in the very damp woods of Oregon!

And the only thing that was troubling was having to tell Jack when we got home that we did indeed go to the Arboretum without him today- because he had an inkling before we knew ourselves, that we would go someplace glorious today and when we left the house he was particularly upset that he wasn't going with us. And you say, why tell him, why upset him so? Because he knew and I had to be honest with him. He could tell by the dirt on my jeans and the mossy damp smell on my hands and I swear he turned his head away when we got home and that he knew we had done the unthinkable and -gasp-gone on a walk without him. So I told him that I would take him to the woods- the Arboretum or Sauvie Island, maybe, as it time to see the frogs- and he was pleased with that. No one like a dog to remind you just how great a walk in the woods can really be!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

One of these things is not like the other

Where's Maxwell?

Where's Jack?

Eva's pose

Momma, take a picture of me with the gorilla...

knights and princesses

birthdays birhdays oh my

Tuesday, March 11 Samuel turned 8! Wowee! Can you believe it? He has been planning planning planning his birthday for several weeks now and I think he really enjoyed his success. Samuel loves to plan and set up a scene and his birthday was no different. There was a robot cake that he helped to decorate (thanks Kate for the recipe!) and we made card board robot cut outs for decorations that he painted and decorated on his birthday eve with lots of red and blue, his favorite colors du jour. We bought 20! helium balloons from party city (they put a boost in the balloons to make the helium last longer and there are still two up in the air today!). I had not considered how to get them back home (although Samuel had) and it is amazing how much you can fit into a honda civic. Samuel was in the back seat with all twenty of the balloons and said he felt like he was in a balloon cage. On his birthday Samuel's friend Jack came over to play and for cake and a treasure hunt. Later Ellen and Evan came over for Thai food and a marshmallow toast and fireworks and of course a game of chess! Everyone went home with a balloon hand picked by Samuel.

This year Samuel asked for a piccolo for his birthday (his is silver) and has decided to take lessons (if I can find someone willing...remember the whole piccolo saga?). He has also been thoroughly enjoying his new Mars Mission sets from lego and his Dragonology book.

Samuel with 20! helium balloons!

Giant robot (based on Samuel) with cut out in hand for weapons to take in and out; robot cake!

Decorating robots the night before; et voila, the robots! (they hung around the house looking their best for the big day!)

Samuel and Jack before cake; marshmallow toast that evening.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

nutella II

So basically Nutella is really good. It is good on crackers and it is good on apples and it is good in a bowl with a spoon.

This morning-
Eva- "Momma, can I have some of that penitentiary? It was really good!"
Me- Thinking to myself, "Hmmm...I wonder what penitentiary is?" (I mean, I know what penitentiary is, but what does Eva mean right now when she says penitentiary?)
Eva- "Momma can I please have some penitentiary. You know, the stuff in the jar? Can I have some in a bowl?"
Me- "Ah ha! Nutella!" And I give her some in a bowl with a spoon.

This afternoon-
Eva- "Momma, can I have the marsupial?"
Me- Thinking to myself and squinting my eyes and puckering my lips and trying to u-n-d-e-r-s-t-a-n-d (discern the hidden meaning within) what marsupial is...I conjure up images of stuffed creatures and little plastic creatures and look around and wonder what we saw at the store yesterday that I came home with but am not remembering right now.
Samuel- Sensing my confusion, says to Eva, "Eva, what sort of thing is marsupial?"
Me- I smile. "Yes! Exactly! What sort of thing is marsupial? Thank you Samuel. Good idea!"
Samuel- Nonchalant, "Sure." Back to whatever robot he is looking at but with an ear for the conversation...
Eva- "You know, that stuff from the grocery story?"
Me- "Ah yes! Nutella!" Relieved!
Eva- "Yes. Can I have some in a bowl? With a spoon?"

Samuel- "Hey, that stuff is pretty good. Can I have some Drusilla?"
Me- "Yes!"
Samuel- "Is that what it's called? Drusilla?"
Me- "Nutella!"
Samuel- "Huh, that was pretty close!" Big smile!

Eva just calls it Drusilla now!

Friday, March 7, 2008


Anyone had nutella lately? I was feeling festive today and bought nutella and almond butter and they are such a wonderful match. I don't think I have had nutella since I was in Russia and at the time we thought it was so divine. It still is! Eva and her babies had a tea party with green tea and nutella on toast. They just licked the nutella off the toast. She asked for some in a bowl next time, no toast.

We also bought several colors of decorating icing for Samuel's robot cake, as well as candles (pink with sparkles!) and a #8 candle for the center. And marshmallows for a marshmallow toast on his birthday. And we are going to have a treasure hunt (my surprise!). It is getting close now and the excitement in the house is palpable to say the least.

I have to say I am really enjoying living with a rat. Charlie is a lot of fun to have around. He gets up every morning and gets all excited for his eggs. He comes when I call him if I have let him run around. He sits on my shoulder and chatters. And he gives kisses. When we adopted him, the woman at the adoption place told me he gave kisses but he has been quite modest up until recently. Sure enough, if I make little kiss noises at him when he is on my shoulder he will kiss my face. So sweet.

More photos from our recent life-

Here is a photo of Eva's most recent dinosaur. He is quite tall- over a foot high- and when you press his left arm he gives a mighty T-Rex roar. And I just found about 15 more pictures of him in different poses and close-up mode. I won't upload them all, but if you are interested, Eva was very thorough!


Thursday, March 6, 2008


Well, let's see. Grandpa came to visit and we had a lovely time. I just cleaned up the large installment Shadow game that Samuel enjoys playing when Grandpa comes to visit. There are knights, of course, and robots and dragons and castles and hover crafts and bombs and many many many lego pieces. We played miniature golf and had pizza and sorbet twice and brownies twice and chocolate chip cookies that Tammy sent along and Jack had so many dog treats he didn't eat his food for days on end. There are new bionicles and coloring books and dvds and books and sad faces now that he is gone and Jack is mopey mopey mopey.

We finished up Mr. Ape by Dick King-Smith and I have to say we all loved it. Such an inspiring story about finding what you love and doing that instead of anything else. Samuel wants to be a Gypsy and have lots of rabbits and chickens and live in a caravan...

And now we are busy getting ready for the big birthday month, plus Easter. Samuel will be 8 on March 11th and Eva will be 5 on March 20th. So of course there are many many fun ideas floating about the house for the celebrations to come.

I have a whole slew of photos...

Sparrow watching as Eva puts peanut butter in her kong. Sparrow with baby and Eva!

Eva making sorbet for Samuel (as it turns out this is now his favorite kind- orange!)

Jack and also Charlie on Eva's shoulder. She gets all wrapped up to avoid his itchy scratchy claws...