Friday, December 2, 2011

five years

I have now been a mother for five years (and change, this is a bit overdue).  We were able to celebrate Eason's fifth birthday with lots of family and friends this year. This was the first event since our wedding that both sets of parents and our brothers and sisters (now all referred to as grandparents and aunts and uncles) were together. We had an amazing, amazing time enhanced by the face painter that came to the party.  She was such a nice addition to the festivities.  The kids and adults alike enjoyed seeing her completely transform many faces at the party.  Just in case you're in the Hood River/Portland area and would like to have her at an event you can find her at shiningfaces.  I really like to pretend that I'm writing to this vast audience out there (hi Dad!). 

My mom made the fire truck cake.  It was a big hit.   I remember being around the same age and having a very impressive Halloween (my birthday is the day after) cave cake made for me.  I'm always so impressed by how my mom can make ANYTHING and do it perfectly from the get go.  She also made Eason a pair of really cool wooden stilts.  I think she should have an etsy site where you just request something, anything handmade and she makes it.  Too bad etsy doesn't offer health insurance. 

A friend of ours also made a homemade pinata for Eason. I mentioned Eason was interested in a pinata for his party and voila our friend told me he's made around a dozen for different parties and he'd love to make one for Eason.  Talk about ask and ye shall receive. 

We've been busy making lots of things lately and trying to fight off colds.  I've got lots of posts I'd like to post, but I've just been too too tired in the evenings. 

Five years, wow can that really be true?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

leafy, watery, wet

It's been surprising how well moving back to the NW fits, despite all of the stress and losing our house (and the greatly increased work hours), we still really feel like this is right.  I'm definitely a wet, rainy, slightly decaying gal rather than a bright, sunny, dry gal.  I've always loved sweaters and jeans and sort of loathed shorts.  I had a tough time giving up my NW status and found it strange that we were planning on staying in California for the duration and that we had California boys, but we had it really good so I was resigned to it.  I do miss Sonora and all of our friends there, but as for natural surroundings, this just feels so easy to fall right into. 

When I told a friend of mine we were moving back here she said "that makes sense, California didn't really make sense."  I sort of agree.

I'm am also positive that living in Hood River will not suddenly turn us into kite surfing, extreme mountain biking, para-gliding, white water fall kayaking adventure seekers.  We've commented that we're not quite cool enough to live here.  But, if we do stay here I am pretty certain a three foot tall boy of our will definitely become an extreme sportist.  He's already tried to convince us to buy skateboards for the family, an ultra-light, kite boards, snowboards, etc. and he can't seem to tear himself away from all the extreme sport videos that seem to be playing in half the businesses in town. 

(The "bumps" coming out of the water in the photo are spawning salmon.  I've been amazed at how much salmon activity there is here and even though I grew up only an hour away it wasn't on my radar). 

Friday, November 4, 2011

mountain adams

One of my favorite things about the house we are living in right now is the view we have of Mt. Adams (Mountain Adams according to Eliot).  Part of my morning routine is to creak out of bed after much cajoling from my two children, slip on the coziest clothing I can find, open the blinds of the bedroom window, wipe off all of the condensation with an old burp rag that I keep close by for this very purpose and then see if I can see the mountain that morning.  I get very excited when we can see the mountain. Sometimes I don't realize it's out until we are in the driveway (the other really great place where the view can be seen).  I shout about the mountain being out today and how beautiful it is and how lucky we are to be able too see a mountain like this from where we live.  The boys are not too impressed, they are, but they don't really see why their mother must carry on and on about this mountain almost daily.  I've gone so far as to keep a tally of how many days we can spot the mountain (Eason does get into this part of it).  Thus far, we have seen Mountain Adams 33 days since we've lived here (according to my ability to remember to make a mark on the calendar).  I almost feel obligated to leave a little note to the owners of the house "hey just so you owners know when you aren't here in the winters you can see the mountain xxx number of days."

In addition to finding a permanent rental, with oh three bedrooms, a really great kitchen with a gas range, a room for our crafting stuff, a fenced yard, walking distance to town, good gardening spot, energy efficient, very reasonable rent and good character, I think I must now add view of Mountain Adams to that list of necessities.

Notable quote relating to this:

"Mommy, I hope somebody in Hood River loses their job."  -Eason
"Why Sweetie." -Me (sounding concerned and perplexed)
"Because, how else are we going to find a permanent rental?" -Eason

Sometimes I sort of think they are a bit too young to really soak all of this in and then one of them will make a statement like this.  I really hope we do find a permanent place that we can settle into, but I also hope that if we don't we can all find a way to really feel like where ever we are is home and to let go of some of our attachments to having "our permanent space" on this planet.   I think as a mom, if we don't find a more permanent situation, I need to get really creative about how the places we are in can feel a bit more like ours.  At least for Eason I think this will be very important (okay and me a bit too).

So here it is.  Dut da da duh... the view we see from our bedroom window *it looks a bit more impressive in person.

Oh yes, and I really do like being able to see the river too.  

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

our halloween

A family of pirates this year.  This might very well be the last year Eliot is open to Eason's group costume idea.  Although Indians (is that pc these days?) and family of scarecrows has already been thrown out there for next year. 

We had a great Halloween, but the Sierra Waldorf and Columbia State Park celebrations were missed by all.  I missed the candy free atmosphere when Eliot became a total madman for a 48 hour period obsessing over candy and how he could get it for every meal (mind you I think he had a total of 6 pieces over two days).  I think trick or treating was fun in the moment, but when I was putting Eason to be he said "why do people even think trick or treating is fun when people just give you candy that tastes disgusting."  I read something recently that said that tastes are formed by age three, so maybe by being candy free until 5 means candy has been ruined!  I'm not sure what this means for Eliot. 

I saw a brilliant idea over at soulemama about the candy ferry visiting and collecting any candy donations in exchange for a gift.  So, I busted out this idea and all accepted.  They left their candy by their jack-o-lanterns and in the morning the gifts were stuffed in the cavities.  Halloween cozy pants for Eliot (made last minute by the mom when I realized I had no gifts to exchange) and spokerZ for Eason.  Do you remember spokiedoks?  They're back and still a hit with the kid crew.  The rest of the candy we saved for the candy buy back at the local kids consignment store they will buy back candy for 10 cents a piece this week. 

Hope your Halloweens were great. 

PS This is the perfect house to decorate for Halloween. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

just my thoughts

We did some really fun things today and I did snap a few photos, but I must say I'm realizing I'm not really a camera in the hand girl.  I like taking photos, but with kids it seems like it just barely maxes me to always have a camera at the ready to record moments.  So I venture out, with just my poor memory and then wish oh wish I'd had my camera to record some really great moment.  Like for example yesterday when our 5 block walk to town turned into a 3 hour adventure, much of that spent with me plopped down on a sidewalk, hoping the condo owner wouldn't shoo us away, while the boys mashed up gutter leaves.  And my lack luster photography of late could possibly, maybe be that the quality of my photos just doesn't seem as great as it used to. Is it just that the newness has worn off?  Is it that everyone else now has nicer cameras?  Or could it be that pool of water that it soaked in in the back of the bike trailer on our Yellowstone trip,  oops.  PS if you buy this new model water bottle at REI be aware that the cap can be deceptively askew. 

So today we made leaf banners from the book Earthways that I'm really enjoying and think I will just work my way straight through it and feel really good about myself as a mother.  AND I managed to find my missing sewing machine pedal (well Brian did) and actually use my sewing machine today.  Eason and I busted out a table cloth while Eliot took an unusually long nap today.  I'll toss up some photos soon.  "Mommy, I love doing things like this with you."  Me too, and even though we had some really rough spots in the day, I've got some solid crafty proof that things were accomplished.

Tomorrow we set off to spend the day at a school in town that I've recently discovered called the Gorge Discovery School.  I'm very very excited about it.  In fact I think I'd like to enroll.  It's a two day a week experiential ed. school for home schoolers.  We've yet to decide what we'll do for Kindergarten next year, but this may be perfect for us.  I've always said, "if only the boys could just go to school for two days a week..." and low and behold there was a poster at the health food store advertising just that.  It's a fairly new school with only 19 kids and it sounds blissfully perfect.  It's a mix of place based environmental education with lots of Waldorf sprinkled about.  We shall see.

Oh and if you notice an unusual perkiness to this entry it might be because I GOT A NIGHT AWAY!  I spent the night at my parents house this weekend (another bonus to the move) and after 24 hours away I felt so refreshed.  Yes, I actually do love being a mother.  Yes, I just really desperately needed a break.  Yes, I do actually have energy it's just always tapped. Yes, I spent most of my time running around town collecting goods in order to do fun projects with the boys.  Yes, a mother needs some time away in order to be a good mother.  I'm not sure why this seems to be such a tough tough lesson for so many of the mommas I know out there.  There is so much guilt involved, but man I've been able to face the tough moments with a lot more clarity this week and I think it's no coincidence.  

Quote of the Day:

Tonight I made chicken mole and when I began to dish up the plates Eliot said, "Me have my chocolate on the side."  

Sunday, October 16, 2011

pumpkin, pumpkins, pumpkins

Pumpkin bowling

One of the toughest parts of our move is that I really felt like we were building some good traditions and had a great community established.  Sonora is rich in yearly festivals and events that we really enjoyed going to, and it seems most of our favorite events (like the jack-o-lantern lighting ceremony and the Sierra Waldorf Halloween Festival) were in the fall.  BUT, I always wished there was an actual pumpkin patch that we could get our pumpkins from.  We visited Rasmussens Farms this weekend and it was a hit.  We're finding that there are going to be many favorite annual trips in this area too. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Nothing Wasted

For awhile I've been trying to avoid throwing any food away, even trying to avoid any going into the compost (before the move we had chickens to feed extra scraps to, it's a bit more challenging now).  We're big eaters, so there isn't usually much in the way of left overs, but we do end up with a lot of vegetable cuttings.  One way of using them has been to  throw them all into a pot and turn them into vegetable broth.  A favorite around here is to make potato skin chips.   A few Thanksgivings ago my chef brother in-law was horrified to see my mom throwing out the potato peels from the mashed potatoes.  He exclaimed that that was the best part, quickly swept them aside, tossed them with some olive oil, salt and pepper and threw them in an oven.  He served them crispy on top of the mashed potatoes.  We love to have them as a snack any time peeled potatoes are a part of a recipe.  Here is how we make them:

We take any potato peelings (yam peelings also work well) and toss them with olive oil until they are coated.  Then we toss them with some dried herbs (this time we used a mix of rosemary, thyme, basil and lavender), salt and pepper.  Spread them on a baking sheet so they have room (but they don't have to be perfectly spaced).  Bake them at 425 for about 15 min. (or until they look browned and crisp).  They'll crisp up a bit more on the pan as they cool.  It's important to let them brown enough or they end up tasting soggy, crispy is the key. 

That's ginger beer in the background, Reeds Ginger Beer.  I have had an unusual craving for this the last few months and my youngest has been right there along side me.  It's pretty gingery spicy, so I'm a bit surprised he loves it like he does.  He loves to take a big gulp, let out a big "ah" and exclaim "that was hot."  (Yes, I feel like I'm promoting product placement right now).  It's surprisingly not  bad for you at all.  I should take some time to look up what ginger cravings are all about.  Maybe we're deficient in something critical. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011


Today we spent the day watching salmon attempt to jump up the falls on the Klickitat River.  Wow.  Two things astonished me.  One, that any salmon can ever make it up these falls, continue on up the rapids and have enough energy to mate.  They were getting so knocked around by the falls and smashing into rocks I was surprised that didn't do them in (not to mention that on normal days these fishing platforms would be occupied by big guys with nets to add another challenge).  And two, that we were the ONLY people there the entire time. 

I continue to be amazed that we actually get to live in this area.  Every time we walk downtown to an event or drive a few miles to a spectacular scene I'm pinching myself.  It really makes getting over the job/house loss a lot easier. 

I think before the salmon spawn is over I'd like to go back on a day when they are fishing.  I already considered becoming a vegetarian today when I saw what the salmon had to face to carry on their species and I'm wondering if a club to the head would seal the deal.  Hmm... do I want to give up that tasty smoked salmon they throw in free at the fish stand? 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Let the costume making begin

A family of pirates are we to be.  First step, dirty up some pirate clothing in coffee grounds, turmeric and then a good rubbing in the dried mud bog outside.  Later on in the day Eliot began to cry "I don't want to be a dirty man."  Apparently he had a change of heart on the unanimous vote to be "dirty pirates."  We are currently working on sewing our own Jolly Roger and planning numerous trips to the second hand store to pirate it up a bit more with some accessories.

On an unrelated note... Tonight at dinner Eliot looked at me and said "Me poop on you.  It be really weird."  Eason immediately jumped in with, "I'd wipe it off you."  How is that for showing some pure love and devotion for your mother?   

Anybody else out there have boys and still feel a bit of shock each day at how many times the word poop is mentioned and in so many different contexts?  Ignore it, ban it, join right in???

Sunday, September 25, 2011

We're back!

It's been a long, stressful, uncertain six months, but we're finally regaining some sense of normalcy.  We're now living in Hood River, Oregon (lucky us) and are enjoying the new clean slate that life has given us.  We felt a bit insecure at first about leaving our "old life" behind, but now we're super excited to dream and scheme and plan for the future.  What better way to celebrate jumping back into this than a mud pit (and hopefully if our landlords see this they'll fully understand that we will fill in and re-seed this area in the yard). 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Heart Melting Material

"Mom, when you were working in Antarctica were you the hero of the cleaners?"

I couldn't have put it better myself!

"Mommy, I love snuggling with you more than I love going to Disneyland.  It's my best thing in the whole world."

Friday, March 25, 2011

Butterfly Release Party

We released our butterflies today.  Of the four remaining Pink Ladies (one passed on) two of them flew right out of our hands and headed up up up in a hurry.  One flew right to the tree in front of us and the last one flew right to the ground below us.  And there they still sit.  We have all enjoyed this project and each of us have learned a lot.  For example did you know butterflies release a meconium that is a bright red upon emerging from their chrysalids?  Or, they taste with their feet?  Or, the final measurement of the caterpillar is less than the length of the chrysalid, therefore Eason deduced that they shrink!

I think next we'll try the praying mantis kit.

My favorite quote of the week:

"Hello.  Welcome.  This dance originated from Bosnia."
-Eason Greene announcing a bit of background information on a performance for Eliot and I. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


"They were very good.  I liked them."
-Eason Greene

The caterpillars all turned to chysallides (quite some time ago, I'm a bit behind on the blogging).  They were amazingly beautiful when looked at up close.  From a distance they looked a bit drab and dull, but up close they were iridescent with tiny gold dots.  They have now all immerged, we managed to miss them all, some it seems by just minutes, but we've enjoyed watching them flutter around the cage and feed on orange slices.  I think we'll release them today. Our temperatures are still a bit low, but I think they're coming to the end of their life cycle because one died (Eason wanted me to add in the obvious information I used to draw my conclusion).

Art Party

We were lucky enough to score this art party (thanks Grandma Jinny) at the Sierra Waldorf AuctionBZ, a professional story-teller/everythingelser put together an art party for us that we hosted to celebrate mid-winter.  She read to the kids about Matisse, played some songs and taught them how to make custom prints.   She worked a crowd of 12 under 6ers like no body else can. 

"I hope we can host another art party just like this one."
-Eason Greene

The New Time Out



and away!

I have one child who I have to convince to get his hands a bit dirty and another who thinks nothing of climbing a chicken poop crusted chicken ladder in his pjs.  I must admit I have a tougher time relating to the latter.

This was on a day when Eliot refused to come back inside, and refused to wear anything other than pajamas (every day) so I just went back in assuming he'd hurriedly follow me when faced with being outside alone.  Nope.  He promptly unlocked the coop and crawled inside and I could tell that he'd been awaiting this opportunity for some time.