Thursday, June 26, 2008

Oh to be a Little Princess, too

I'm obsessed. But it's an okay obsession. In breaking all literary rules by not reading first, we've been listening to The Little Princess on tape when we get in the car. Have you read or listened to this story? If not, you must, it's a crowd pleaser to say the least.

I just love little Sara Crewe and I can't get enough- so much so that I'm counting down the minutes to our grocery outing this morning so I can find out who that man is that moved in next door. And I delight in Sara's proper way of telling off that mean, old Miss Minchin. And doesn't Becky just crack you up? Oh and I can't (imperative that you say "can't" with a British accent) wait to learn if she truly is a princess after all this time being treated so poorly. Regardless if she is or isn't real royalty, what a role model this character is. I mean to be starving and wet in the cold and give away your food?! Unheard of!

I won't give away any more pertinent info...promise.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Otter Connection

I like to think things are providential- all for a reason. Last week my daughter brought me a library book and asked if I'd look at it with her. The cover looked cute enough, the little one was sleeping and it was a beautiful day. "Sure" I said, "let's sit on the patio".

So out we went and read this fantastic little gem entitled Lootas, Little Wave Eater: An Orphaned Sea Otter's Story. The true story features Lootas*, an otter pup, who was housed at the Seattle Aquarium- our stomping ground. I noticed on the back that the author has written other children's books and lives not too far from me. So what's a wondering mind to do? Google her name and see what else she's written.

Only to my delight I see that she has a link of upcoming events- a writing course...for children's books... I'm all signed up and ready to go!

*The author was kind enough to answer an email I sent. She let me know that Lootas is still at the aquarium and she is a grandmother!

The Lingering Bug

Wanna know how long he sat in this position?

Let's just say we have one very sticky teddy bear.

Day four of the flu shows little improvement- clue #1- the uneaten popsicle.

Clue #2- he went green when I made a strawberry smoothie. (The offensive onset of the flu).

Clue #3- No sleep last night for either of us.

Big sighs...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Please Join Me

In praying for Danny, a 15 year old boy who is the son of a dear friend. He was seriuosly burned yesterday in a bonfire accident.

Please pray for healing, comfort and wisdom.

Weekend Wrapup

Another weekend has come and gone already? Goodness that was fast. Let's see...Friday we packed a lunch and headed off with friends for a nice hike. I am so excited to have finally learned from a friend of a friend what my mystery plant is that is growing like crazy all around my house. We spotted it again on our hike so I snapped this photo.

It's a Wild Cucumber or Manroot and it's seeds inside are poisonous. Good to know that we were playing with the little fruits the other day...
Upon our hike my little one got a little, shall we say, feisty? Didn't want to be in the stroller, didn't want to walk- that type of thing. I should have known we were going "down" when he wouldn't nap later that afternoon either-something terrible was on the brink. I say terrible in the form of the dreaded stomach flu. Yep it struck about 5pm with a vengeance. I ended up pulling an all nighter- something I have not done since college. He was sicker than sick until Saturday evening. Poor little thing is still so weak and fighting his fever, deliriously telling us about sideways babies and trucks that crash?! It's actually quite bizarre to see my rambunctious two year old lay on the couch for an entire weekend.

We did manage to slip in a few niceties on the side. A quick trip to the farmers market to get soap wrapped in dyed and felted alpaca fur. (The kids think it's a hoot). And cherries that taste fresher than fresh. Some of us made it to Mass to witness an incredible array of parishioners that joined us from an Eastern rite of Catholicism. The priest and community are from Eritrea, a small country in Northern Africa. They were so gracious after Mass to perform spiritual dance and song and also brought along some deliciously spicy "homemade" food. I just love learning about other cultures and I love that my kids do, too.

So our weekend was different than it was regularly scheduled to be. But that's not a bad thing. Sickness is a good thing because it's humbling for the soul. I had so much stuff planned (and selfishly much of it for me) and it had to just go. Taking care of someone, a helpless little one in fact becomes integral and for a mother it is reaffirming of what roles we truly play. I'll get over what I missed- not a biggie. But I won't forget the way my little one begged me to hold him, love him, take care of him. And really, next weekend is just around the bend!

Happy Summer! I took this photo about 9:20 pm on the first day of summer. These summer days are crazy long- and well waited for!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Coming To A Tent Near You

We're in. Are you?

Well If She Can Do It

Then so can I, I think. Have you seen her? The mom with the six, yes six babies? She just completed the Rock and Roll marathon in San Diego. And before you say, that's not a big deal- let me clarify that YES IT IS. It's huge! And I'll tell you why. I trained for my first marathon last November for months. Come April I still wasn't ready for the full 26 miles so I ended up running the half. Training is grueling- it requires many, many hours of running and proper menu planning. It truly can consume you.

But let me digress. About this time last year I recall a prayer request for this family in Arizona. Jenny Masche had just delivered sextuplets and was going into cardiac arrest. My friends and I gasped upon this request- how could that be, we thought? She couldn't possibly die and leave daddy with all these babies?! Well God is good and merciful because she lived to be incredibly strong. Jenny claims that the babies being good sleepers is how she was able to rise to such an event. (Perhaps I could use the excuse that for the past two years my little one has left me comatose from sleep deprivation!) She would put on her running shoes after they went to bed and just go. Wow, I say. When I put my children down at night I can hardly manage to get my face washed.

Well, that was before I saw this clip anyhow. Not anymore. Last night I donned my trusty sneakers and off we went. I was tired, I was hungry, I needed to finish a sewing project and pick up some mess. But I did it and I was glad. Thanks Jenny, you're my much needed inspiration to do a full marathon in October.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Guessing Game

Most of us have had the mystery allergy. It attacks out of the blue either in sneezing itching form or in hivey-bumpies. All of my kids have had the sudden sneak attack and yes I usually have Benedryl on hand for such occasion. Except for yesterday.

We left the house about five pm for a quick little hike. The sun finally came out and that always beckons us outside. Up the hill we went, cotton blowing in the air. The kids grabbed at shrubs and flowers growing along the path. We traipsed through high grasses trying to explore new territory. Achoo! It began. Eye rubbing, sneezing-"I'm going home!" my daughter abruptly announced. By the time the dog, the boys and I got back to the house she was a mess with golf balls for eyes. She claims that a seed hit her eye. A seed? What kind of seed? Where is it now??

Out to get the Benedryl I went. But it didn't really help.

This morning we're no better. The eyes are hugely swollen and red and goopy. She looks terrible. What does a mom do? Cold compress? Off to the doctor? And just where is my How To Be A Mother guide??

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Serious Soccer

When you see swarms of homeschoolers on the field all mismatched with no apparent order or uniform, no official organized league, you may think that it's just a bunch of kids kicking a ball. But no, this is serious soccer. These kids are seriously good.

Last night commenced summer soccer that our friends have put together over the years. More than 80 homeschoolers are divided up into three main groups- the little ones, the tweens and the teens. They all ran their hearts out last night up and down the field. Dads coached and offered advice. Moms wrangled tots, bounced babies and made sure all played nice. (But what am I talking about- aren't all homeschoolers fair and nice??)

I love that Monday summer nights will be spent this way. I love that we don't have to pay for our kids to learn this sport. And I love that there are people out there who can put something like this together and make it work. Thank you Betz family!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Weekend Wrapup

Where to begin with such a glorious, no-rain, sunny and warm weekend? I suppose with the bad stuff. Let's get er out of the way. My boys had mandatory BASEBALL SAFETY 101- the crash course. We learned why a two year old cannot run behind a boy swinging a bat. And then we learned why a boy swinging a bat needs to be aware of his surroundings at all times. (That you can't just yell "look out" and wash your hands of all responsibility). We learned all about what a broken nose means, with drawings from Dr. Born and that we should know in about 10 days if indeed we have a broken nose at the ripe old age of two. And lastly we learned that we have a fantastic quick care facility not too far away when the occasion rises again.

Between the nose and the eczema on the chin-my poor kid is in bad shape.
Saturday brought us more beauty with our local town festival. The day began with me beating the pants off my husband in the 10k race. (Ok, it wasn't literal and sorry honey, had to gloat). Then ensued the town parade which was at times was so hysterical I couldn't even write about it with any justice. All I can say is that the Vets (meaning veterinarian) with their Medieval Mayhem was strangest, funniest thing I think I've ever seen. You have not seen animals on parade like this before. The festival brought lots of art, good music, crafts, etc. And in the Group One division of the watermelon eating brought my middle man- the winner! He told us for weeks how he was going to win that. Take note here folks- you can think yourself into winning, try it!

And lastly Sunday, Father's Day. Lovely breakfast, lunch at the lake, hiking into the lush trees, feeling what 70 degrees feels like. Ahhh. Followed by Mass and a barbecue- doesn't get much better than that. I hope yours was a good one, too!

I just couldn't imagine getting into that ice lake-somehow all three kids did (for a minute!)

Friday, June 13, 2008

It's Not Just the Trees and Grass

Life where I live is a little greener than I'm used to. In the past seven months I have slowly switched over to all natural cleaning products (except Oxyclean, it's very necessary with copious amounts of mud). Now I buy natural, meaning no chemical additives- dishwasher detergent, laundry detergent, cleaning sprays, shower cleaner...all of it and I feel good about using them. My years of insanity with bleach are over and I'm sure my lungs are thankful for it.

Where am I going with this? Well recently at a friend's house we got on the topic of just how many diapers one child will go through. And what happens to those diapers when their off our little one's tushies. I got to thinking that I'm sick and tired of paying for diapers that sometimes get worn for such a brief period of time- it seems oh so wasteful. I was totally inspired by ready Sarah's post but I don't know if I'm ready to conquer my own sewing of these cute little things! She has great links though, like the Indian prefold cotton diapers. Can you guess what I'm ordering??

My little guy will soon be ready to move on to being a big kid but for now, I'm not buying one more landfill accessory. If my friend's can do it- so can I! (Yes, it's sort of like a bandwagon, want a ride?) My friend Molly has used them with all three of her little ones and she survived so I think I can do this for the next few months. Plus, it may help my little guy wean off the "diaper thing"- we'll see.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Techy Boy

He's always been a little bit on the tech-y side. My little guy started his fascination at age two while stuck in an airplane for hours. The cell phone was a life-saver for us but to him it was a marvel. Then it went to computers and so on and so forth. If I can't figure out how to download, upload, overload...I call him. If I can't program the tv to record something- he's paged. New phone? No problem. See what I mean?

His grandparents sent him this new gadget for his birthday last week. He was, how can I put this, pleased as punch. Sadly it didn't work at first which was almost the demise of my new six year old. But, Amazon has wonderful customer service and another one found it's way quickly to our house.

This camera is so easy to use that he has the whole thing figured out. It can take digital pictures and record movies. There are fun editing projects for the little photographer/producers as well.

photo taken by big sis, embellished by the camera owner

So be on the lookout for a little boy secretly filming you- you never know where you might end up!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Really, Truly and Seriously (Kind of)

If it's warm and sunny at your house, I'm packing immediately and coming for a visit. I don't care if gas is $20 per gallon- it's worth it. I am turning all shades of verde reading posts of flip flops and breezy summer skirts. Of playing outside till one can't play anymore more. Get my drift?!

I'm sick of the rain and the cold. We had a winter advisory last night for snow in the mountain areas. A winter advisory- is there something terribly wrong with that phrase?

I don't suppose our art club will meet today as regularly scheduled. And the thought of sketching on a blanket with a picnic in tow doesn't sound very comfortable in a deluge wearing a parka. Or here's a good one- it's my son's last day of t-ball, followed by a pool party and barbeque. Fabulous! Do I sound irritated?

And so, if you live in this kind of utopia that I dream of, would you please be so kind and wash the linens because I'm going to get my sandals and toothbrush I'll be on my way.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Weekend Wrap Up

A seemingly wintry weekend still held promise. There was a quick break in the rain Friday evening after presents and birthday cake- so we ran out the door (some of us forgetting it was in the 40's and only in t-shirts: BRR!).

What a beautiful night hike- we saw tons of deer, blue heron and some hawks overhead. It felt so strange to leave for a hike after 9pm. The sky was still light at 10:30. Just in time to come home and pull out a front tooth. Talk about a memorable birthday!

Saturday we met up with friends in the city to take in the Science Center. The butterfly garden is the perfect spot to stop and get out the nature journal, and of course, a photo or two.

We found an awesome Greek restaurant across the street after the museum and got to people watch- for free! (How much of a tourist do you think I looked like taking this picture??)

We weren't so lucky on our next hiking adventure- we were soaked. It rained and rained and rained- but that didn't stop us. I loved that I my little guy refused his covered stroller ride and toddled waaaay behind us singing to himself and stopping to talk to worms. We heard him shout, "LOOK! A birdie nest!" And he was right- just laying near the road, an uninhabited home. Isn't it marvelous? I just can't get over how totally perfect these nests (or nestes, as we call them) truly are. That is perfection in nature by all means. Looking forward to our adventures next weekend...

Sunday, June 8, 2008


Yes, that's what they're calling it. It's June but it feels like winter. It's in the 40's as I type with a high of 53 expected. Did I move to Alaska?? What is going on here? I haven't seen the sun in days, it hasn't stopped raining in days, it's been gray for days...

So weather reports claim it's about 15 degrees cooler this month than the norm. That makes me feel a little better. But how I long for short sleeves and skirts with sandals. How I wish I could retire the fleece jackets and the rain boots. After ten years of living in the desert, I am so not accustomed to this.

Okay, okay, enough complaining. I'm sure it will get nice soon. Until then I'll stay bundled up and have yet another cup of tea and focus on the good stuff- I love that it's light out until 10 and when the rain stops for a minute we can step out into the lush beauty that surrounds us.

Here is my husband walking the dog behind our house. The fog was just rolling in behind him- it was magical.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Happy Birthday Little Man

Six already, how can that be? Weren't you just a little guy? I love you SO much. (Even if that doesn't seem like enough, wink wink).

Thursday, June 5, 2008

I Had a Thought

My father just had a pacemaker put in on Monday to help with some heart troubles he's been having. I'm slowly understanding these handy, little gadgets. I learned that this device will never let the heart get over a specified amount and likewise not get too low, either.

Here's what I propose (especially after losing some brains yesterday)...what if we invent a pacemaker for the brain? You know, it will automatically switch off those agonizing thoughts at midnight, stop you from the yo-yo game of "did I turn off the iron or not?!" while driving away from home, prevent you from getting your toddler's cartoon song stuck in your head, etc.

On the contrary, this neuro-pacemaker will never let brain waves get so slow so you can avoid the problem of seeing people you know on the street and go blank over their name. Imagine never zoning out on a test again. And every grocery store visit will be fruitful (ha!) because you'd never forget anything- namely your list.

Do you see where I'm going with this? We're on the brink of genius here. Now who do I contact about it...

Hopped Up on Pain Pills and A Little Less Bright

Here they are, my not so pretty not-so little chicklets, otherwise known as wisdom teeth. And the evidence that they were in fact wisdom teeth? I just poured a splash of coffee in my mug and then filled er to the rim with half and half.

Other than losing a little on the smarts register, the event was very, how can say this...pleasant! I absolutely adore iv anesthetics (nope, not being sarcastic). It's like 1,2,3 nighty-night! And then to be pampered all day by all three kids and my husband doting on me. Combine that with non-stop junk on tv- what a vacation from the ordinary!

My husband had to go to work for the afternoon and bless his heart put the little guy down and took the big kids to the neighbors. It was so quiet in my house (at least I think it was) and when my kids showed up hours later with pudding in hand and beautiful drawings for their mother in confinement, I was happy to see them.

So I guess today means picking up the pieces (literally, all over the house), getting back to testing, and continuing with those prescriptions when necessary. If any of you are interested in the oral surgeon spa day- I have a great recommendation for you!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Where Do You Go

When the tide is low? On a field trip, of course!

A fabulous mama from our homeschool group who just happens to have a PhD in Marine Biology led us on a low tide field trip at Alki Beach in West Seattle this morning. What did we find, you ask?

That the beach on low tide is a place teaming with life and to respect it. Especially in the Puget Sound which is known for having one of the most productive underwater systems in the world. And that the sound is actually an estuary.

That we only eat male crabs (go figure!) and they are marked with a triangle underneath.

That sea cucumbers and sea anenome can come in many different colors.

That crabs "shed" their exoskeleton and leave behind this. And to think all this time I thought those were dead crabs. Another sure fire way to know is smell them. If they stink like no tomorrow- they're dead. If the smell is only mild and tolerable- they're on to bigger and better things.

Big lesson here- bring a change of clothes! Little people get very wet in these tidepools and it's a long way home.

And lastly, that when you gotta go- well you get the picture.

Sunday, June 1, 2008