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).


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!


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!


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


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 . . .


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”).


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. 


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


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! 


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


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!). 


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


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


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.


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


We had Pineapple and Popcorn for snacks.


And we finished up with Patterning.


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. 


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!


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.


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


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. 


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:


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:


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.


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. 


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.


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


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!

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things . . .

Coming home from running errands and walking in the door to find my entire family cleaning the floors as fast as they can to surprise me (they also cleaned up the whole house while I was out).


Lu’s lovely paintings


Elle’s first venture out on the actual lawn, of course after the initial touch of grass captured in this photo, she refused to go near it.  It sure makes watching her outside easy.


The weather has been gorgeous! And I have made the most of it getting outside everyday by forgoing my daily nap.  I have been digging up weeds, digging up beds, sowing seeds (two pea sprouts and three spinach leaves are up as of tonight!) and smelling the heavenly perfume of this evergreen clematis. 


And my little gardeners-in-training. 


Life is good.  ;>

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Preschool: Ladybug Walk

We went on a field trip for preschool a few weeks ago; a Ladybug Walk.


It’s a program the city puts on to get kids excited about nature.


Basically they give each kid a little ladybug backpack full of exploring tools.


Things like spoons for digging and magnifying glasses for inspecting things in greater detail.


The girls, however, thought the magnifying glasses were for pretending they were little old English men with monocles.


They explored tree bark and flowers and dug up worms and peeped through sewer grates and looked for nests in the tops of trees and followed bushy tailed squirrels.


They even picked up a new little friend.


After a very quick hour they turned in their backpacks and earned a ladybug sticker.


We were at a park so that led to wild and crazy fun for a while.


They enjoyed snacks.


And all their baby siblings.


It was definitely a grand day out.


Sunday, March 1, 2015

My Gorgeous Girl

While going through pictures for an upcoming post, I found this lucky shot of my lovely little Lu.  01-DSC_0236

I love that girl!

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