Elia Writes

March 2, 2012 at 8:28 am (General, Just Photos)

It always touches me to get a peek inside Elia’s thoughts through her writing. Her interests shine through and we get a sense of who she is. A few examples of things she works on…

Here is her latest picture book, modeled after The Pigeon Wants a Puppy. Hers is titled, The Pigeon Wants a Walrus.

Poetry…She wrote this impromptu poem on the back of a scrap of wrapping paper…

Journals. She has several of her own journals, and also this shared journal between the two of us. We started it together when she was 5, and keep it going off and on, writing notes notes back and forth. There are no rules except when you’re done, leave it on the other person’s desk-by-the-bed. It’s most exciting to get a note back right away.

Writing is a valuable outlet for this thoughtful girl!

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End-of-Year Highlights

December 31, 2011 at 8:43 pm (Just Photos)

With a trip out of town and 2 weeks off of school, December has given us lots of family time. We started the month with a visit to Minnesota to meet a brand new nephew/ cousin. JJ thought the baby was great, but wrestling with the other nephew/ cousin was better. I couldn’t get a shot that wasn’t in motion.

We got home with plenty of time to get a tree from a local farm. Right next to a horse pasture, Panga wandered over to check it out. She’s so tough from this side of the fence, all woofing and pouncing around.

Yikes, someone got too close.

We don’t get a lot of snow here in Oregon, but the mornings have been frosty this month. The nighttime fog is beautiful frozen onto the landscape.

No matter the month, every time we wake up to frost out the windows, the kids cheer, “It’s Christmas!” I guess that’s the conclusion they make from every Christmas book, picture, movie, or show they see. Christmas equals snow, so any whiteness resembling snow on the ground must equal Christmas.

It started to look a little more like Christmas inside the house as we got our decorations up, including two impromptu stockings Elia fashioned for the rats.

She asked Santa to please fill the stockings for the rats, too.

An evening trip to the zoo meant no animals, but plenty to see.

The live animals go in for the night, and the light-up animals come on display.

Hot chocolate is a must when waiting in line for the night zoo train.

A little surprise we discovered inside our tree. What kind of creature did this belong to?

It wasn’t this little friend:

Cookies gets cozy in JJ’s sleeve as she eats a small treat. We did send her into the branches of the tree to climb around for a while and see who might be living in there. Spiders galore, but no small animals in the nest.

My favorite part of the holiday is Christmas eve dinner; soup from scratch and homemade bread. A simple meal that we eat by candlelight and remark on how much goodness and joy we have in our lives. All year round, our lives are rich with the essence of Christmas; it’s nice to take a quiet evening to reflect upon this. Of course, we also share our excitement in giving each other gifts the next morning.

Elia made this candle from scraps of modeling wax and a piece of string. I love it.

JJ enjoys a snack by the Christmas tree, while someone discreetly tries to make her presence known.

Hm, can I get any closer? Or focus my eyes more intently? Maybe I can perk my ears up higher to let you know that I’m very interested in what you have.  That, what I’m staring at. I want what you have.

As this season of reflection draws to a close, I am looking toward the new year. We’ve spent so much time at home this month, it will be sad to get back into our regular routine again next week. But back into it we will get, and I have plans, lots of plans. Can’t wait to see you all again in the new year!

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Summer Activities

August 17, 2011 at 3:05 pm (Just Photos, Out in Nature, Play Time)

I have pictures.

I occasionally like to do posts in which I share a bunch of photos of the things we’ve been up to and catch everyone up on our recent activities.  Well, we’ve had a busy summer, and this is one of those posts.

First, swimming, lots of swimming.

When we see a huge mound of dirt, we go play on it.

Here, Elia is grinding wheat with a stone:

John enjoys taking the kids fly fishing, and he lets them do as much of the reeling, netting, and releasing (always catch and release) as possible.  My husband is absolutely in his element on a river, and the kids are getting to be pros already.  JJ got out there to net one and haul it in on his own.

JJ had a birthday last month.  He requested “a playable Angry Birds cake.” He wanted a working sling shot, small cake-birds sized accordingly to said slingshot, cake blocks loosely constructed in a tower formation atop a cake base with green frosting grass, with cake-pigs perched strategically throughout the structure that would fall when he launched the cake-birds at them.  I told him I couldn’t do that.

He told me I should go to cake decorating school.

For lack of time to graduate cake decorating school before his birthday, we settled on an alternative plan.  Elia helped me make chocolate cake and 4 different colors of frosting, and the result after 2 days of creation and construction was a passable substitute for a playable Angry Birds cake.

And our latest venture: canoeing for crawfish.  John gets the credit for planning these happy outings:

We release them into our neighborhood pond so we can come find them again and say hi.

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Berry Early Morning

July 3, 2011 at 1:24 pm (Cooking, Just Photos)

I was thrilled to discover that we didn’t miss our strawberry harvest while we were on vacation last week.  This is the first year we had an actual patch of strawberries and a significantly higher chance of eating the ripe ones before the slugs did.

Due to the time change during our travels, Elia and JJ woke up 2 hours earlier than usual–at 4:30 and 5:00 am, repectively–the morning after our return.  It was a very early morning, full of activity.  The excitement began when we raised the shades to the backyard and they discovered a bounty of dark red (and most importanly, un-slug-eaten!) strawberries out there waiting for us.

No one could wait; we had to get out there at 5:45 am to do some berry picking!

We also noticed the blueberries are almost ready!

So we ended up with three bowls like this one.  It was especially thrilling to pick them from our own yard.  We ate berries all morning; the kids’ were plain, I sliced mine into a bowl and splashed local, organic cream on top.

Oh, and then there’s this little creation:

I prefer strawberry shortcake made with a slightly sweetend biscuit, rather than a more traditional spongecake, so I made these cakes from my favorite scone recipe; just cut the dough into biscuits instead of wedges.  It was light, crumbly, barely sweet, and perfectly moistened with strawberry juice.  Amazing.

The kids had no words, but mouthfuls of appreciative murmurs of delicisiousness.  We love berry season.  It makes a 4:30 morning just a bit more enjoyable.

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Laughter

June 5, 2011 at 6:58 am (Just Photos, Play Time)

Just a typical time sitting around the dinner table at our house…

Just kidding, this is not all that typical at dinnertime.  Usually we eat.  And talk.  And at some point John makes the kids laugh.  This time, though, they laughed harder and longer, and I got the camera.

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