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Paperseed on Instagram

A couple months ago I finally joined Instagram. At first, I thought it was just a fad, like Hipstamatic, something that I didn’t really like or care to be a part of. I’m not sure what made me change my mind, but I’m really enjoying it now. It’s like photography practice on an (almost) daily basis, but using my phone instead of my dSLR. It’s so easy, too – no having to find time to sit at my computer to download photos (like I do with my dSLR), and then uploading them onto the web when I have time. It’s all so… instant. And taking good photos with my phone is part of the challenge.

The other thing I like about Instagram is that the people who chose to “follow” me do so because they are interested in looking at photos. They expect it. This is different than on Facebook, where I only uploaded photos if I thought they were relevant to me, my family, or my friends. After all, would my FB “friends” want to see a minimalist photo of sunlit bamboo leaves against a perfectly blue sky? Or a closely cropped architectural detail of Pittock Mansion? Or a single, rich sapphire-blue feather found on a walk? I don’t really think so. It would be too random, and then I’d feel like I had to explain it using words. And sometimes words just aren’t necessary, don’t you think?

So, anyway, I know I’ve been scarce in these parts the last month or so. That is soon to change, hopefully. We’ve done some pretty neat things this summer, which I’d love to share once I have some time. Plus, I also have some sponsored posts in the works (hooray!). Meanwhile, checkout my Instagram feed to see more of what we’ve been up to, and I’ll be back soon!


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Photo Friday: Peach Blossoms

First, I just wanted to announce the winner of the the Elmer’s Painters and $25 Walmart Gift Card! Congratulations to latanya who said “This would be great fun for the summer!” Also, a BIG thank you to everyone who participated with a comment on the Spring Painted Flowerpot Makeover. I was crossing my fingers for 40 entries, but ended up with over double that. Awesome!

Now, back to the photo above -  two pink blossoms from our young peach tree. While not as showy and profuse as the plum blossoms, they are still special. Each of these little flowers is capable of transforming into a delicious piece of summer fruit. This will be our third summer with this tree. We plan to move it out of its container and hopefully find it a permanent home in the back yard.

Proper pruning technique still eludes me, but one thing I learned last spring was to thin the amount of growing fruit. This is done by rubbing off over half once they are about the size of cherries. Thinning allows for better spacing and lets the remaining peaches grow to an edible size. Its silly, but I found thinning to be somewhat sad. Pruning is like cutting hair to me. I get that. But rubbing off all those little hopefuls… well that was different. However, the results were sweet, small-to-medium-sized peaches, so it was definitely worth it.

I guess that’s a lesson that applies to life in general, right? Some things are hard to do (like exercising, or practicing a skill, or raising children), but doing so is rewarding. Food for thought (ha!).

Have a great weekend everyone!


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Making Exceptions

I am making a lot of exceptions today. Right now, as I type, I can see Chloe playing in the backyard with Leo and Barkley. She is wearing her Mini-Mouse princess dress. Her legs are bare and on her feet are Keens. It is cool outside, but at least she is wearing her coat. Normally, I don’t let her wear any of her dress up clothes outside, but today I don’t care. I’m just glad the kids are out of the house for a while.

This week I’ve put in extra effort to keep the house clean. It is so hard! One of the problems of wanting a clean house is recognizing that the house has clutter in the first place. And noticing that the kids are causing the majority of it. So then I get frustrated. Two minutes after picking up, there is a mess on the floor again. Right now I am looking at the discarded wand, butterfly wings, and light up princess shoes by the back door that Chloe dropped in her haste to get outside. I can either pick them up or I can ask her to do it. Either one involves me getting involved. Its easier to just do it so I don’t have to remember to ask her, or to follow up and make sure they go back to their proper place. Or I could ignore them.

And there! Chloe just presented me with another example. I mopped the floors this morning. She just ran in, through the kitchen to the living room before I noticed the muddy shoe prints she was leaving and called for her to stop. Stop!

It’s impossible. I can’t keep up.

I’m tired of being the cleaning lady today. I’m tired of being the cook, the laundress, the referee, the coach, the safety monitor, the naysayer.

I just want to be the mom. The hugger, the playmate, the tickler, the storyteller, the teacher, the explorer, the kisser of bruises, the planter of ideas.

But today isn’t that day. I’m too tired. It is my fault. I’m not getting enough sleep, or eating right. And today is not a day I can dedicate completely to the kids. There are other things I’d like to do. But I’m too tired to do anything more than sit here right now. And drink water, and take my vitamins. Remembering to begin again with the little things, one at a time.

The kids have abandoned their lunch on the chair outside. Another exception, because I let them eat partially unsupervised. Which means they may have eaten a little dirt.

There they are. Getting muddy, having fun, enjoying the sunshine that just recently flooded the yard. The birds are chirping merrily. Someone is mowing their lawn. When the kids come in they’ll be a mess, but I’m going to help them calmly because I never care how messy they get outside, as long as they’ve given me a little peace while doing it.

Better yet, it will be nap time soon.


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Life

I’m leaving on a trip tomorrow. By myself, without the kids, for a week. I don’t want to leave them. I am trying not to freak out. I want to be calm and rational. In four years, I have only been gone from them for one night.

But… something has happened.

It will be awkward. I will be uncomfortable. I will pretend to be more confident than I am. I will go beyond my comfort zone and be the best supporter that I can be. There will be some good times, too. I am sure of it.

Motherhood has taught me that I can be strong and capable of many things. That I can cope. Strange to think of motherhood that way. That something so cherished and wonderful and natural can also be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I should be so lucky.

The kids will be fine. They’ll be home, in familiar surroundings, in a comfortable routine, with people who love them.

And I must rise to the occasion. And also to pack.


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Sun + Sand

We went to the beach on Sunday. I just love it there. It was sunny, but with a cold breeze, and we were glad we brought our sun shelter along. Although this wasn’t Leo’s first trip to the coast, it was the first time I took some photos of him there. Like his sister, he seems to be a big fan of the sand. Unlike his sister, he is a pacifier baby, which helped to keep him from eating it.

This was also our first trip in our new-to-us minivan. What a difference! Room for everyone, and even Barkley got a seat to himself. I hesitate to say this, but if anything good came out of the car crash, its that we got a vehicle better suited to our family (the Element we bought pre-kids). The inside still smelled a little of ozone from the extra interior detail we had done, but even that has since dissippated. The car feels as good as new. I just hope it lasts us longer than our last one.


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Dear Chloe, 3 years old

Dear Chloe,

You turned 3 years old on Thanksgiving day this year. No longer are you considered a toddler, but a preschooler, with all the interests, blossoming language skills, curiosity, fledgling independence, willfulness, and complexities that description entails. It has been a big year of changes for you. One major one has been the construction of our home addition, eventually giving you a wonderful space to play and dance, and the other being the summer arrival of your baby brother. I am happy to say that you are a very helpful big sister, which brings me great happiness and hope that you two will be lifelong friends some day.

As you are growing and learning, so are we, your mommy and daddy. We want to be the best parents we can be. You are both charming and clever, your actions often bringing smiles to our hearts on a daily basis. But some days are a struggle. Of course you’d like to get your way all the time. But sometimes we, your parents, have to make decisions for you that you don’t like. One example that comes to mind is your eating habits. You just don’t like to eat many healthy foods. You would eat cookies and cupcakes all day if we’d let you. As it is, we allow you an almost daily chocolate milk, which in some ways I’m thankful for since I can hide some vanilla yogurt (calories!) in with the Carnation instant breakfast mix (vitamins!).

The natural parent-child struggles aside, I want you to know what a happy childhood you’re having. It amazes me to think that you will likely remember none of this, and even we may forget some of what life is like right now. But it is good life, without a doubt. We are lucky to all be healthy, to have a comfortable home and especially each other. We are lucky that your daddy has a good job and that I can stay with you and your brother, that we can go places and do things. While we may not be able to afford everything you want (or we’d like to give you), you certainly have plenty of toys, games, art supplies, clothes and classes that you love, like dance and swimming. As your parents, we are trying to teach you to appreciate what you have, to understand how lucky we are, but those are probably lessons you’ll understand better as you get older.

Chloe, we love you so much. Your arrival three years ago made us a family. I hope this next year continues to bring you fun, happiness, new skills and joyous learning. You will always be our sweet little girl and a blessing to our lives, as we hope to continually be a blessing to yours.

Love forever,
Mama

 


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Before & After: Cubbie Storage Bench + Greatroom Update


There has been a little sewing going on around here. We purchased this Martha Stewart cubbie-storage bench from Home Depot to put right inside the french doors in the great room. It came with a plain cushion so I bought some home dec fabric during the labor day sale at Joanns. What I really wanted to do was a whole entry-style unit including wall hooks for hanging jackets and such, and use the cubbie for shoes, dog items and other outdoor paraphenalia. David didn’t agree, saying that it would just accumulate junk, so we comprimised. We got the cubbie, but instead of hooks we hung our new tree of life print above it.

Do you remember this photo of our under-construction great room? Well, besides the cubbie bench we’ve finally started furnishing it to a point it is somewhat livable. We’ve been really budget conscious, so it remains on the bare side as we decide over time how best to use the space. The sofa was a happy hand-me-down from David’s parents. Otherwise the most expensive item in the room was the Ikea Bjursta dining table and bench (which we keep in the bedroom unless we have company for dinner). This is a bit of an older photo, but you can get an idea of the layout (a rare moment not toy strewn). I’ve since changed that stretch-frame fabric for a different print in an actual frame (see below). That wall is so big, I’m not sure what we’re going to do there. Shelving? A collage of frames? One huge piece of art (that we likely can’t afford)?

The only other purchases I haven’t mentioned are the 8×10 rug we bought for $100 at HomeGoods and that coffee table ottoman that we bought on sale at Fred Meyer for $50 (which I love because it is soft – no bumped heads and such). Everything else we’ve had.

P.S. After re-reading this I realized I wanted to mention that quilt above the sofa. My mother-in-law made it for us from  an old Pottery Barn sample book of discontinuted (mostly) velvet swatches of upholstery fabric. For the backing and sides she used an old deep burgundy velvet table cloth we were getting rid of. Its very heavy and very cozy. 🙂

 


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A good day

Despite having even less sleep than usual for the past three nights due to extra fussy baby, today turned out to be really great. Took the kids on a successful outing to the zoo. While there Chloe used a public restroom for the first time with help from this which I picked up from a yard sale for $1. Anyway, she is doing awesome, and even napped today in her big girl underwear for the first time. Looking back, this process wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be once I made the decision to give it my full attention. Although, this may still be the honeymoon period, so I best not count my chickens…

Currently reading: Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five. I came across this interesting paragraph where the author talks about the importance of relationships:

When I lecture on the science of young brains, the dads (it’s almost always the dads) demand to know how to get their kids into Harvard. The question invariably angers me. I bellow, “You want to get your kid into Harvard? You really want to know what the data say? I’ll tell you what the data say! Go home and love your wife!”

Fascinating! Although, when I told my husband this when he got home, he replied that that must mean our children will be going to community college. Boo.

Here is something else I found out today – this blog made Babble’s list of Top 50 Mom Craft Blogs 2011! How’s that for crazy? I had gotten an email a while back saying I was nominated, but I didn’t realize the result. And within that listing, my blog also ranks #8 in the Best for Moms Category. Well, I’m so honored. Thanks! 🙂


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Lazy Weekend

I hope you had a nice weekend! Ours was pretty relaxing. I think the most effort I put into anything this weekend was dyeing my hair. I had to fix a botched lightening job from a few weeks ago that I did without David here to help me with the kids. Big mistake. It turned out patchy and strangely reddish. If I had done my research, too, I would have realized that they discontinued that line of products. Last night I dyed it back to my normal color. Much better. Makes me wonder why I wanted to lighten it in the first place.

When we woke up Saturday morning, we noticed two of our Painted Lady Butterflies had emerged from their chrysalides. Two more emerged this morning. It is nice to see Chloe curious about them, since she is NOT into bugs. Sometimes she’ll be playing outside and I’ll hear a blood-curdling scream because she saw a bee or some such insect get too close without warning. She usually shies away from butterflies, too, since their flight pattern is so drunken-looking and unpredictable. We released them this morning, and Chloe did great. Now we are just waiting for the remaining one to hatch.

Otherwise, besides getting groceries, and taking Chloe swimming, David and Chloe spent most of both weekend days playing Legos. Leo watched them from his play pad for a while. Will he like Legos as much as his father and sister?
Only time will tell, but as a mama, I’m not looking forward to keeping all those little pieces out of his reach, and out of his mouth!


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Me

I am really tired today. Leo was up a lot last night, and while he’s been able to catch up on sleep during the daylight hours, I am not so lucky.

When I get this tired, it is harder to be positive about things. I start to question myself. I start to wish I had something besides mothering to call my own. There are so many things I wish I had time for, but I know those things are for the future and not necessarily the present…

Later…

Decided to get up and go do something productive while Leo was napping and the other two were out getting groceries. Turned out to be 10 minutes of yoga and 10 minutes of stretch & relaxation with a postnatal workout DVD I got from the library. I feel better now. I’m reminded of an Oprah video with Gwyneth Paltrow and her trainer, Tracy Anderson. Looking at Gwyneth’s body makes me wish my library had a copy of Tracy Anderson’s Post-Pregnancy DVD. Can’t believe its $30 bucks. Hopefully I’ll get started with a workout class at the gym soon.

It’s about bedtime. Looking at this rambling post I’m not sure if I should delete it, or post it. Today was just a regular day. But these are what life is made up of after all. Regardless, I think I’m going to try to make tomorrow better.


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August

It’s August! Wow! I need to really start soaking up the summer, because I know it will be gone all too soon. Check out this lovely week we’re in for:

While we Portlanders complain about the grey and rainy winters, it is the perfect summers that we live for (thankfully, not the scorching heat waves allotted to the rest of the nation). Everything is so sunny and green and beautiful out right now. Despite it’s early neglect, our garden is exploding. David’s mom did a bunch of weeding (among the many other tasks she accomplished) while she was here, and we are eating lots of fresh green beans, spinach and rainbow chard, and picked our first red tomato!

I’m happy to say that life is beginning to take on a pace that I am finally beginning to keep up with. For one thing, Leo is starting to have a recognizable schedule. I’m beginning to understand his needs, although sometimes still there is no telling and I have to try everything I can think of. Also, we finally finished the hall bathroom (aka Chloe’s Bathroom). I LOVE how it turned out, even more so than our master bathroom. Interestingly, too, we spent way less on the hall bath than the master bath, yet it still turned out better. I hope to share photos of it soon!


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Memorial Day Weekend

We spent a lot of time outside this weekend, although it rained off and on. On Saturday, Chloe and I went to the Farmer’s Market and David took the day to go fishing. This time we stopped to enjoy a marimba and drum performance, which brought back memories of high school, playing marimba in the drum corp. We also munched  on a lot of freshly popped kettle corn. Afterwards, despite the cool weather, I let Chloe gleefully play in the park fountains along with some other adventuresome kids. She seems to have caught a little cold, though, so maybe that wasn’t the best idea.

Other highlights from our weekend include working in the garden/playing in the dirt, blowing lots of bubbles, a little last minute baby shopping and going with Chloe and David to the pool on Sunday. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen Chloe so excited to be somewhere, but she LOVES the pool. It was so good to see her laughing and splashing with such confidence. The smile hardly left her face for a moment. Luckily it is something that she and her daddy can do together, because once the baby comes I’m thinking I won’t be able to join them for a while.

Besides all the good stuff, I also had two noteable not-so-pleasant moments. One included this surprise crawling up my leg in the car, the day after David went fishing. While I know that stoneflies are harmless, they are ugly and very big. Not something you want to look down and see while you are driving. The second included someone’s poor parking job next to my car at Babies R Us. Even if I wasn’t hugely pregnant I wouldn’t have been able to fit between the cars to get to the driver’s door. Instead I had to awkwardly lumber in through the passenger door. Either this person was simply oblivious, or downright thoughtless, neither things I appreciate.

What about you? Did you have a nice weekend?


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Chloe, Two-and-a-half

Chloe turned 2-and-a-half yesterday. Since our OMSI membership has expired, and I am no longer up for all the walking required to visit the zoo (at least until after the baby is born), I decided the Children’s Museum might be fun and manageable for the both of us. It had been a while since we visited the museum (here’s the last time, over a year ago. So crazy for me to see how much she’s changed!), and luckily the free pass was still available at our local library.

Of course Chloe had a grand time. She didn’t spend as long in the water section as I thought she would, maybe because she is still too short to have full access to everything. Not surprisingly, she really enjoyed the dig pit, which is so much better than her current obsession of digging in the fill-dirt pile on the side of our house. She almost always heads straight for it when outside, and of course she comes away head-to-toe filthy. We’re hoping to plant some grass seed there soon, but meanwhile I’ve ordered her a Step2 Naturally Playful Sand & Water Center for the summer.

The only downside to our morning was Chloe’s mini tantrum when it came time to leave. I was tired, too, just trying to keep up with her and watch that the older kids didn’t take her tools or toys, or accidentally knock her down (which nearly happened countless times). I know I didn’t handle her breakdown as well as I could have, but we eventually made it home in time for only a slightly delayed nap.

I can hardly believe Chloe is already two-and-a-half. She’s still slender and petite for her age, but wears a normal 24-month/2T in clothes (although she’s only in a size 3 diaper/pull-up and barely in a size 5 shoe). Her size is in wild contrast to her vocabulary. It surprises people all the time to hear how well she talks. Just one of the examples from the Children’s Museum was when we were sitting in the clay studio – Chloe made some remark and I overheard the older boy next to her turn to his mother and say “Mom! That baby can talk!”

As for Chloe’s baby brother, Chloe does have at least a vague idea of his existence. She knows his (still tentative) name, where he is (in my belly) and which drawer contains his clothes. What she doesn’t know is that he will be here in a matter of weeks, and how that is going to rock all our worlds.

(And just for the record, Chloe calls that dress her “Princess Dancing Dress.” She puts it on herself and insists on wearing it. And she knows the difference between Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, etc. without ever having seen one of those movies. I admit that I just recently learned all their names myself. I guess the “princess” phase is in full swing.)


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Hello from DC!

Chloe in the sand box

Hello from the DC area! Chloe and I have been here a little
over a week, visiting with my parents and sister. It’s been quite
cold here, and silly me, I didn’t bring our warmer coats, so our
outings have been somewhat limited. However, that hasn’t stopped us from enjoying the nearby parks and nature center.

Chloe & Grandma, at the Nature Center

I am always amazed every time we visit either set of grandparents, how Chloe just blossoms from all the love and attention. I get to watch from my rare position on the sideline as her vocabulary grows, and her individual personality develops as she interacts with other members of her family that she rarely sees.

Now that Chloe is quite a talker, sometimes I worry that she will pick up bad language habits while she is here. My dad has an endearing, but grammatically incorrect, “baby language” that he uses with her (and Likely used with my sister and I), but so far I haven’t noticed her responding in a similar way. Sometimes it’s good to remind myself to butt out and let Chloe have her own experiences with others, uninterrupted by my motherly instincts. 🙂


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Mid-February Update

Well, it’s been a while since my last post. Sometimes I find it hard to start back up, so I thought I’d just bite the bullet with some random updates…

  • We finally broke ground on our addition a couple days ago (the 17th). Unfortunately the wet weather combined with our softened clay ground caused lots of problems for the excavation vehicles. Our only option to move forward was to pay extra for gravel to be delivered and spread along the side of the house as a make-shift driveway. Not what we wanted to hear during the first (and second) day of the project, but we’re still optimistic that other parts of the construction will move on as planned.
  • At twenty-three weeks pregnant I’ve already gained 20 pounds. Sigh.
  • David caught a wild steelhead while fishing the Necanicum a couple weeks ago. He was so happy, and I was touched that he thought to call and tell me about it right afterwards while the excitement was still fresh. Trout has been his specialty, but he’s found steelheading much more challenging, and his perseverance is paying off.

  • Chloe has enjoyed several special outings outside of her usual classes this week, including a fun toddler Valentine’s Day party hosted by Lorenzo’s grandmother, a mid-week mother-daughter lunch at Noah’s Bagels, and a fun ride on the Jantzen Beach carousel with her friend Anjali, followed by a chocolate ice cream cone all to herself.


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Sand and water

A couple weekends ago we had Daddy all to ourselves. This particular day we joined him for a brief afternoon on the river, and then a few hours at Cannon beach. It had been a long time since we’d done something like this, and we had such a great time. Chloe loved playing in the water and especially the sand, despite the cold temperature.

I wish we could do this kind of thing more often, like we used to, but there are so many reasons we don’t – I’ve been so tired this pregnancy, or David has to work the weekend, or we need to take care of house-related errands or chores… And honestly, Chloe is becoming a handful. At two, she is naturally more independent and willful (and sometimes downright naughty!). There are days I can’t even bear to take her for groceries, and have put it off, if it just isn’t a good day. I wish it wasn’t that way.

I wish getting out of the house was easier… that everyday could be spent somewhere stimulating and fun. But now I’m okay if its just a few times a week, not counting her dance class or her morning at baby preschool. And when Baby Two comes along… well, I think its going to be tough for a while. David said something along the lines of wishing we could fast-forward through that first year, and though I see his point, this will be my only other baby. The last time I’ll get to experience the wonder of a newborn and all the sweetness that entails. And I want to share that with Chloe in a good way. I want them to love each other, to get along, to be friends. But I won’t be able to help them do that if I’m exhausted all the time, like I am now. So, when things just happen to work out, like it did on this special day, I am that much more grateful.


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Dear Chloe – 22 months

Dear Chloe,
You are 22 months old today. Thanks to a new Babymate app, I’ve been able to record some things about you as they happen. Here are some noteworthy occurrences during this past month:

Sept 14aYou got a black bean stuck in your nose. During dinner you kept saying “bean… in… nose” while holding a bean in your hand and gesturing toward your nose. We kept telling you that no, we don’t put beans up our noses. Then Daddy finally figured out that you already had a bean stuck in your nose. Oh boy. Daddy told me to run and get the tweezers, and after a slight hesitation, I did. I guess I was afraid we’d scratch the inside of your nose with the tweezers, or worse, push the wayward bean back in too far. Turns out Daddy was only able to pull small pieces out at a time, while the majority remained lodged. Then he got a tissue, held your right nostril closed and told you to blow. I was afraid you’d inhale it even further, but after a few tries it came shooting out. I guess it was a good thing you already had a little cold, so the mucus helped it slide. Go figure.

Sept 14bThe potty got a record amount of action on this same day – both your first time peeing and your second time going poop.

Sept 15Your second pee in the potty!

Sept 16a – You and Daddy love playing “blocks” (mega-blocks, legos, and/or wooden blocks) together. This particular day, you built a structure all by yourself which you called a “baby bed,” and then proceeded to lay the baby in it.

Sept 16bYou slept through the night! Consequently, you’ve been sleeping amazingly well ever since. Not always through the night, but with less wakings than you’ve had in a long time.

Sept 17You fed the Lorikeets at the zoo all by yourself. Although you’ve always enjoyed them, their piercing squawks and abrupt movements kept you from getting too close during previous visits. Today we had the area all to ourselves and it was pretty special. I was pretty proud with how far you’d come. The lone attendant said you did amazingly well for your age, especially since you moved slowly and listened when I told you not to touch the birds. I took a video of you with my iphone, and consequently, you love to watch it over and over.

Sept 19 – While Mommy and Daddy were working in the office, you left and took your pants and your diaper off, and then put your pants back on. Did you think we wouldn’t notice? This is far from the first time you’ve taken off your diaper, but the first time you put your pants back on afterward. Clever girl.

Sept 20Your first train ride. You and I took a morning ride through Forest Park on the zooliner. It was a really special experience for the two of us.

A few other tidbits about you this month:

  • You’re vocabulary is growing, and your making more complete sentences.
  • You like yogurt covered raisins, which you call “beans”.
  • Yellow and Orange are the colors that you consistently know.
  • When you’re excited, sometimes you’ll loudly call out random numbers – “Two! Eight! Seven!”

I can’t believe you’re going to be 2 years old in only another two months!

Love,
Mama


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Weekend Bits

:: I just finished reading the leaked copy of Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer (of Twilight fame). I came upon it by accident on Goodreads and then found a copy on her official website.

:: Chloe’s potty is finally getting some action. One poop (2nd time ever) and then later a pee (the first!) on the same day. Again with the disturbed reaction with the former, but I was prepared this time. Plus Daddy was here to add encouragement afterward.

:: Went on a nice family walk this weekend from the Wetlands at Durham Wastewater through Cook Park and Tupling Butterfly Garden to the Ki-a-kuts Bridge over the Tualatin River. Seeing the kayakers brought back memories of when David and I learned to kayak back in college. I’d like to do it again someday.

:: On that same walk David spotted this little praying mantis. Aren’t they so alien and fascinating looking?

:: Have you tried Diana’s Chocolate Dipped Frozen Bananas? I saw them at our local New Seasons and picked up a box. Had a hard time deciding between the milk chocolate with nuts or the dark chocolate dipped. Which do you think I chose?

:: Want to make your own frozen chocolate bananas? Here’s a recipe to try.

:: Angry Birds is fun. And addictive.

:: David surprised us with Zucchini Bread this week. He made a second batch yesterday. It’s delicious, and a great way to use up some of our garden zucchini. I’ll share his recipe in the next post!


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Despite the best intentions

Chloe had an unusually accident prone day today. It started with a bloody split lip on a picnic bench at the park, with further little mishaps throughout the day, ending with a scraped cheek on one of the short bamboo poles that surround our smallest garden plot.

After the early split lip, I tried to be careful of the foods I offered her afterwards – banana, scrambled eggs, macaroni and cheese – but after lunch I forgot and gave her kiwi. I felt so bad after she cried out that in a mild panic I offered her vanilla ice cream, hoping to soothe the swelling and sting. David gave me a brief hard time for the kiwi, but then during dinner he gave her ketchup, which, from her reaction, must have been worse. Uh-huh. Despite the depth of our love for our daughter and our willingness to protect her, both of us accidentally caused her just a little more pain due to simple forgetfulness. I don’t know why, but it surprises me. We’re only human? We make mistakes? But they’re careless mistakes, despite our best intentions.

After our al fresco dinner, we stayed in the backyard for a while longer, soaking up the beautiful blue skies and temperate weather. David and Chloe were playing together, so I started clearing the table, but them came back out to sit and watch. It was weird though, because I kept feeling pulled to do something else – get on the computer, play with my iphone (did you know you can watch netflix movies now?), read through a catalog that came in the mail, anything but just sit there, enjoying a beautiful evening with my family. That didn’t seem right either. Summer will be over in less than a month, and I could barely seem to quiet my mind long enough to appreciate it. I shared these thoughts aloud to David, and he replied that I’ve always been like that. That my mind is always going, and I often seem to be somewhere else. He continued to tease me (I think) with some exaggerations, but there was some truth to what he was saying. Anyway, eventually we lay there on the grass in each others arms, with Chloe and Barkley playing close by, and I was able to focus in on the moment, for which I am grateful. It seems that it shouldn’t be so hard, to be in the present, but sometimes it is. I, in particular, have to work at it. Maybe that is why I enjoy reading so much, because I like to “get away” for a while. But it is nice, and important, to come back, too.

Oh, and two more things: 1) I finally got a decent shot of one of the elusive white butterflies (above) that I mentioned here.  2) The article on how Digital Devices Deprive Brain of Needed Downtime (NYTimes) is worth a read. Goodnight!

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