Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Naps

All of my kidlets were home from school today.  Again.

(Let me tell you, when that plain ol’ rain started coming down this afternoon I never felt so happy.  I have loved the snow, but all this darn “inclement weather” has delayed us moving into our new house by two weeks!)

Djeryd, in his efforts to be an amazing big brother, took Alyx out for a couple of hours to browse and shop around town (for the love of Legos – self-serving? Hmm? . . . I will choose to think otherwise). That left, Anna, Elle and I to while away the early afternoon.  I laid down on the couch to read a bit and before I knew it I woke up to this little scene playing out adjacent to me. 

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There was my angel Annaliese trying to put Elle down for a nap, helping her look at a picture book while sitting in a little chair beside her charge, reading a book of her own.  They were whispering so quietly and I kept hearing Anna say, “Okay, now it’s time to go nigh-night.”  Melt my mama heart.

Elle really needed a nap, poor thing.  When the kids are home it is very hard for her to lay down for a nap.  She knows exciting things are happening without her and doesn’t want to miss anything.  One or two missed days in a row are okay, but beyond that, we ALL start to feel it. Rather violent temper outbursts become common place and we all take cover (seriously, because otherwise you will  get hit in the head with a flying object).

I know she can’t take it anymore when I find her like this:

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Oh, baby.  I always feel like such a bad mama when my child has to resort to putting herself to bed. Oh, please let the big kids have school tomorrow. ;>

Monday, January 16, 2017

Squirrel!

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We found him outside our local grocery store.  Alyx and I sat and stared at him for quite a while.  He stared back.  For a long time.  Then he started wiggling his tail and looking like he was going to jump onto our faces and start eating our noses voraciously.  So I decided it was time to leave.

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And when I walked in the door yesterday, Alyx proudly showed me the new hole in her head.  Losing teeth is charming for only so many years in ones’ life. Enjoy it while it lasts, little one.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Change of Plans

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We are currently living in an apartment transitioning between houses.

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The little town that we live in hardly ever gets snow.

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But in the short month that we have lived in this tiny apartment, my children have attended only eight days of school (and some of those were late arrival) due to no less than FOUR snowstorms (and Christmas Break).

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I know people think Oregonians are wimpy about snow, but it is very wet and very icy.  And, because we rarely are blessed with this pretty white stuff, we really don’t have the infrastructure to handle it.

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So we have learned to soak up the rare snow and enjoy the day (or days) off.

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However, after virtually an entire week of snow and ice on the ground, one gets a bit of cabin fever. So today we attempted an outing.  A lovely young lady we know was visiting the area to play a college basketball game, and we had a wedding reception to attend for some other friends tonight.  We packed the car with snacks and a change of clothes (because basketball clothes and wedding clothes just aren’t really in the same class) and headed to the big city.  Until . . .

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The transmission went out on the van.  Did I mention this coming week is nuts because we’re MOVING?!?!?!  I’m trying not to panic.  One mechanic told us it may be a simple hose popping-off due to the freezing temperatures.  Oh, please, let it be that.

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My awesome brother- and sister-in-law saved our bacons.  Again.  And Anna kept me company in the back seat of the tow truck.

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At least I had something good to read on the side of the road. Let this be a lesson: Never, and I mean never, leave the house without a book.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Pizza Night

We usually have take-and-bake pizza for dinner a couple of times a month. We use it as one of those easy dinners on the weekend; Friday or Saturday, when we’re tired and done for the week.  Although I do not get to join in eating with my family on this particular meal, I like that it’s quick and easy and makes my family feel just a teeny bit spoiled.

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A couple of weeks ago I came across a very yummy looking pizza dough recipe in a library book (oh, how I love the library!).  I immediately started plotting and planning and keeping my eyes peeled for a great build-your-own-pizza opportunity.

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At the time Anna’s sweet little friend, Emily, was staying with us for several days.  Pizza is one of her favorite foods.  Perfect!  So I whipped up some dough (my kids decided this is their new favorite pizza dough recipe), and set out some toppings and let everyone dive in.

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They had fun.  They smiled. They laughed.  They talked.  They made their masterpieces . . .

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. . . And then relished gobbling them up!

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Elle and I ate the broccoli salad.  Yum!  She is my healthiest-eating baby I’ve ever had.  This girl loves veggies and healthy proteins.  Of course, as you can see, we can’t seem to keep her off the table.  We’re working on it.  She’s just so darn cute, it’s hard for me to keep my wits about me. 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

New Year’s Eve 2015

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I love New Year’s Eve.  Admittedly, some years more than others.  This whole past year was a great year.  A blessing I do not take lightly.

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One of the things I really enjoyed about New Year’s Eve this year was my little ones were much more involved than they have been in the past.  My wonderful parents always come over in the afternoon and stay for several hours playing games and eating yummy food.  This year my in-laws were able to join us as well, which made everything even more fun.  And all of my kids dug right in playing games and adding to the fun (except Elle, who was sick and stayed quietly on laps all night).  In the past the girls would curl up in the living room and watch Tinkerbell movies for most of the night.  This was a welcome change.

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We made the rounds with Jungle Uno, the animal game, Guesstures and the 100 dice game.  We laughed and laughed and ate and ate and I loved it.

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Djeryd snuck out to dance the night away.  Anna insisted on taking masses of pictures of the fireworks show in London (a blessing of Youtube – everyone gets to see the extravaganza and feel like they rang in the New Year, but still go to bed well before midnight). 

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One of my very favorite parts of the whole night was the food.  I have been on a pretty restrictive diet for several months now (because of some health problems I’m working through) and sometimes it’s hard to find safe things to eat at a party (or even for dinner).  But because I was in charge of the menu I could make sure almost everything was MyLiege’s-tummy-friendly.  What made me so happy was that everyone ate really healthy food and REALLY enjoyed it.  We all stuffed ourselves silly and still felt good after it was all over.  I really cannot tell you how fulfilling that was for me as someone who loves to feed people.

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We’ve been celebrating New Year’s Eve with my parents for as long as Sean and I have been married.  In the early years it was just the four of us since Djeryd was a baby and went to bed very early (and sometimes my sister’s little family would join us).  It has been so fun to see the tradition grow with our family.  It just keeps getting better and better.  Last year was the best yet! I’m excited to see what New Year’s Eve 2016 will be.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Pittock Mansion

Have you ever been here?  Portland’s very own Pittock Mansion.  It was built in 1814 by Henry Pittock, owner of The Oregonian.  I had not set foot in this beautiful family home in 20 years so it was really fun to share it with my kids.  What brought all this about, you ask?

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I finally watched Citizen Kane (as someone with a past in the theatre, there are some things I simply feel compelled to watch in order to be able to take myself seriously (Casablanca is another one – it’s on my bucket list!)).  Djeryd watched it with me, sharing in my evolving love for black-and-white films.  We became the teeniest bit obsessed after that, googling the Hearst Castle and checking out big glossy picture books of it from the library.

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Since a trip to the Hearst Castle in California was not in the cards, I remembered our own local little mansion we could tour.  It was very different from when I was there twenty years ago.  And I’m sure I appreciated it much more this time around.

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Surprisingly even my little ones really enjoyed it.  Erik was spending the weekend at a chess tournament at the beach, so it was just our girls and Djeryd.

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My favorite rooms were the kitchen and the butler’s pantry.  They were huge and sparkling white and absolutely shining with sunlight.  I wanted to stay in those rooms and never leave.  I spent the next few weeks dreaming of what it would be like to cook and bake in such a place. (Oh, how I miss all the natural light in my old kitchen!)

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One of the things I really like about the Pittock Mansion is that it is a family house.  There were a lot of people living in it – parents, children and grandchildren.  The rooms were spacious, but not enormous, beautiful and filled with light.

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I love the detail that goes into beautiful custom homes.  Seriously, who has a radiator that is that beautiful?

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Or leaded windows like this in the hallway?

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Although, you know, as beautiful as that window is, the little girl standing in front of it is infinitely more precious and beautiful than anything I saw in that big house.  At the end of the day the Pittock Mansion is a really amazing house.  But it’s just a house. 

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There was a little breakfast room down the hall from the kitchen with a small vase of flowers in the center of the table.  I imagined the sisters having breakfast together in the morning, laughing and talking, maybe still in nightgowns, just being themselves.  That thought made me happy.  And it made me feel lucky that I get to enjoy that every morning with my own sweet family in our very own little “mansion”.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Spring Happenings

Spring has been full of many wonderful things so far:

Djeryd finally persuaded us to let him construct a forge in the backyard so he can hone his blacksmithing skills (he uses slave labor to pump the billows so he can monitor the fire – Erik and Anna are embarrassingly obliging).

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Easter was a treat with General Conference (which was wonderful!) and visits with grandparents on both sides of the family and our traditional Easter nests.  And I invented a new soup called Easter Soup that I made with all the ham and garlic-mashed potato leftovers – YUM!

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Elle is teaching herself to read.

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Anna is her inspiration.  This is a picture of her reading the final few pages of her first Harry Potter book.  She finished Chamber of Secrets within the following week and is currently in the middle of Prisoner of Azkaban.  Her reading is finally taking off – yea!!

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This guy got his driving permit!  Holy smokes!  How time flies!

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And he’s running track.  It has opened up his whole world in such a fun healthy way.

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We found out Anna has some seriously disturbed teeth.  Criss-cross applesauce is going on all over the lower half of her mouth.  First she had to have three perfectly good baby teeth pulled out . . .

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And a week later, she wound up with these little babies strapped to her teeth.  She is ecstatic and Erik is enormously disappointed (he’s had the orthodontist look at his teeth “way more times than Anna”).

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Erik has been helping me in the yard a lot.  The garden is about half planted and the yard is looking really nice.  This is the best garden/yard position we’ve been in since Sean and I hosted a wedding open house for some friends about eleven years ago. 

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Elle had her first ride in a swing (normally she’s snuggled up nice and tight in the stroller, falling asleep).

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At Alyx’s urging we have been spending a fair amount of time at the park trying to soak up this beautiful weather.  It is hard for me to get out the door (there always seems to be one more thing to do before we leave), but I’m trying hard to say “yes” and let dinner take care of itself.  So dinner’s later than normal, which means everything else, including bedtime, is later than normal, but we’ve sure had fun! 

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I hope a little piece of this spring magic stays with my kids long enough for them to share it with their kids.

Lemonade Ladies

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During Spring Break my little ladies decided to set up the lemonade stand their grandpa made them.  They charged a small fortune (a cup of ice water from the fridge was a whopping $1.50!). 

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They made a killing thanks to the generosity of our neighbors and  a relative or two.

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Alyx kept meticulous notes of each transaction in her princess notebook (that girl loves her notebooks).

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I loved the spirit of the whole enterprise and I love that they are both old enough to keep each other company out in the front yard while the rest of us moved in and out and all around doing yard work.  I still remember the lemonade stands of my childhood.  We would spend most our money on candy at the convenience store down the street then sell it to each other until all four of us were completely broke (and stuffed full of candy).  Ah, the stuff of childhood!

Preschool: The Letter P

There are so many words that start with the letter P.  This was the easiest week ever!  First we made Painted Pictures of Poppies.

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Then we read the Princess and the Pea and made little collages with mattresses and blanket stacked on top of a real Pea.

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We had Pineapple and Popcorn for snacks.

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And we finished up with Patterning.

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Anna didn’t have school that day so I had a little teacher’s assistant.  Boy, oh boy, was that wonderful!  I’d hire that girl in a minute!  She was Patient and Productive, and Practically Perfect at Persuading the little Princesses to Participate. 

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And for those of you who are curious, these are the words that did not make the cut: Pneumatic, Phosphorescent , Psychosis and my Personal favorite, Pterodactyl.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Birthday Girls

We celebrated a couple of birthdays recently.  My lovely little Lu turned five and she is so excited because as far as she’s concerned kindergarten is right around the corner.  At dinner on her birthday she asked me if she was officially five yet.  I told her yes, she had been five for about twenty minutes.  She  pushed back her chair looked down at her outstretched legs and exclaimed, “Wow! It worked! My legs really are longer!”  We could not stop laughing!

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The things that girl says!  Today Elle had a little accident with Erik and started crying.  Alyx very sternly told us, “That is why we should not keep babies in the house.”  We never know what is going to come out of that mouth.  She definitely keeps us on our toes.

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Elle had a nice little birthday party and woke up the next morning wanting to spend the day like this:

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My poor little lady was sick for the next few days, along with Erik (still sick), and Sean.  It’s been quite the house to be in this past week. 

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But there are always moments that make up for the ick.  After church all my girls wanted to snuggle with Daddy.  Oh, my lucky ladybugs.  What a gift to have sisters!  What a gift to have daughters.  Happy birthday to all my spring babies!

Roman Training Camp

Djeryd is obsessed with all things Roman at the moment.  When I say obsessed I mean obsessed.  Observe the backyard:

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Yes, that is my son, dressed in a tunic, with a hatchet, making sticks pointy.  And yes, he’s doing this of his own volition in his precious free time.  Why does he need pointy sticks?  See below:

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This is a small-scale version of a rather effective barricade that would be erected around a Roman battle camp.  So naturally it is erected in my backyard.  The shield on the ground is one of many  Djeryd has constructed for Erik so they can actually try to kill each other when they sword fight, but still be protected.

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Djeryd’s newest shield is the classic humongous Roman body shield.  He free-handed patterns, then meticulously copied them onto the shield.  Why did he bother with the patterns, you ask?  Because he has plans to outfit the entire family with such shields, and he’s thinking ahead. 

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These carefully crafted shields come in handy during sword fighting training.  Djeryd teaches Erik and Anna, and then Anna teaches Alyx.  A continuous cycle of violence in my very own backyard.  It warms a mother’s heart to see her innocent little daughters going at each other with sharpened chunks of wood.  Oh, and yes, with the baby looking on.

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What’s ahead for our resident Roman encampment?  I don’t know, but this is what Djeryd came home with Saturday morning:

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Yes, those are more sticks.  Sticks that he literally carried across town on his back.  Sticks that he is going to make pointy.  Who says a kid has to grow up on a chunk of property to do all this crazy stuff?  Three cheers for obsessions!

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