Tuesday, March 30, 2010

the best part of our day

"bells": a performance for mama

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Spring Gifts

Here are some pins I made as equinox gifts for the girls, and a birthday gift for my sister.  My first attempts at embroidery - it's pretty addictive...

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Saturday and Spring Books

We headed to the garden this morning to work on Plot 55 (Yes! THE Plot 55!).  Dan continued to work on the bamboo and stick fence, while I worked a small area and set up a trellis for peas.  The girls visited the other gardeners there, offering to help them dig up their plots, and checked in with us once in a while, to "redistribute" grubs or lend a hand in the planting of the seeds.
Here is our plot - it's about 14 by 18 feet, which is soooo much larger than we thought it was before beginning our first planting last year.  We wasted a lot of space, didn't plan well, and were absent for all of May and August, so...it was a disappointing experience.  This year I can't say that we have planned any better, but we are going about it a little differently and are determined to stay around for those crucial gardening months.
Here is a bit of the laying-out work we did today (gee, this looks so much more interesting to me than I think it must to you!!! Oh well, it's our way of journaling our baby steps, so just skip this part if you want!).
We spotted our first dandelion flowers of the year, as well as our first butterflies...

Despite today's beautiful weather, the girls are still pretty tired, so we are out in short spurts (hack hack). In the meanwhile, there are so many books that we're enjoying right now, I thought I'd share some of them.  
This book is so beautifully done, and we have read it over and over.  It has a lovely companion book, by the same author-illustrator team, called An Egg is Quiet that is also perfect for this time of year.  The girls have been cracking up over Leaving the Nest, by Mordicai Gerstein, and Anika is carrying around the library's tiny copies of the Beatrix Potter books - I think she loves the combination of little and animals. I will expand this list in the sidebar; though trying to keep up with Dan's turnover is daunting, I will endeavor to change our reading list at least seasonally!

Gotta love BINGO

Friday morning the girls hopped up from breakfast to get out a numbers BINGO game we've had for a couple of years.  Little did they know that I'd stayed up late the night before (you know how these things go) and made a word BINGO to play with them.
It was so simple - I got the idea for the kinds of words to use from Peggy Kaye's Games for Reading and then expanded with a couple of cards filled with words I knew would get the girls excited: nature words and...Harry Potter.

They loved it - I know, it's a simple thing, but aren't those the best? (Can you see how Eliza couldn't sit still? She's a blur, she was bouncing around so much.)

The rest of Friday was spent cooking together, doing lots of reading (still coughing a lot)...
Here is a rare shot of Ani with a workbook - we don't "do" these much, but I had one lying around and she was immediately caught up in the math and reading, picking and choosing what sounded like fun...It amazes me, how much more interested she is in learning things this way than Eliza ever has been.  It speaks to my "school trained" mind that I get excited over the fact that she can do worksheet after worksheet, and do it well.  Eliza is writing an email, all on her own. ("Oh darn - I forgot to put in those thingies! Punctuation!"  She went back and reread it and decided to add a few exclamation points for good measure.)

 And finally a little bit of Out. Not much, mind you. But the sun was beckoning and we so needed a change of scenery to change our grumpy moods.
It worked. (at least for a while...)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sick days

"Eliza I love you I am sore that you r sick"
Yes, fevers. Coughs. Restless sleeping. There is the drinking of "fizzy juice" (Emergen-C) and echinacea.  Heavenly Cold Elixir.  Reading of entire graphic novels (a true gift from the mama who finds that print sooo tiny!).  No appetite for anything but snuggles, and a little bit of this:
and this
A very wet walk in the rain after dinner for me, stories, bed...and now a quiet evening, hopeful for some solid sleep for the babes.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Breath of the Northwest

Prepare yourself for a post containing no photos of my children. This is because I was not with them for four days!! Dan generously held down the fort while I met my mom and sister at my cousin Ben's wedding in Oregon, and his one request was that I come home feeling a bit rested and renewed...

 A gifted woman named Patty made me a gourmet breakfast every morning.
 We visited the Pacific Ocean. Twice.
I visited with people I love dearly.
(my grampa and cousin; my sister, and my mom, the beach gnome!)

I breathed in the northwest in its lush swell of springtime.
the newlyweds
(my aunts and uncle)

I shared in the joy and sweetness of a wedding, reveling in family, connection, the good stuff of Life.
And as if that weren't enough, this dear woman drove an hour in the night to meet me during my layover in San Francisco.  How's that for love? 

*photo of my mom, sister and I and photo of my aunts and uncle were taken by my sister - thank you!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wool for the Birds

After a morning of Quiddler and breakfast with Ani - always terribly entertaining - I told the girls that I wanted to do something with them to celebrate spring and the approaching equinox.  I am traveling west tomorrow and will be gone over the weekend and so will miss the actual day, and it is one that gets us all pretty giddy. From the mud to the newness in the air, what is there not to love about spring?

We headed out to the backyard where we sat with our backs warmed by the sun and read a few books about seeds and nests...and then we got to work.  I loved this idea from the beautiful Magic Onions.  We decided to refill our bird feeders and fill the stick house and neighboring trees with tufts of colorful wool roving for the birds to scavenge for their nests.  I could tell the girls felt like the very Root Children (we've been reading this version), making the spring more beautiful for little creatures.
Happy Equinox, friends (feathered and otherwise), a wee bit early - I hope you find a smell, a spike of green, a little something that gives you hope at this turning of the seasons...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Rockhouse Trail

Blue skies were back today, so off we went...to sweeten the deal of having to run errands on the other side of town (Eliza is really aware of trying not to use the car every day, exploring the places we can walk to), we headed first to a trail on the ridge above all the places we had to go, picnic in tow.
I was in search of violets (didn't see any) and woodpecker holes (saw lots). E wanted to see some spiders - she saw two and many of these beautiful jeweled webs. Ani had a list too long to begin mentioning...I think it was a little bit of everything.

She got in some lovin' time with her "breathing buddy"...

Leftover beet and feta pizza for lunch among the rocks...

Cutleaf Toothwort
Dandelions!! They are so delicious this tiny - not bitter at all.