Thursday, June 27, 2013

First Day with Aba! :)

Hey all!

So my mom is in town with us now and what a week we have ahead of us!
It's already started off so grandly~

Due to delays and whatnot, she was finally in our home at 2:30am Tuesday morning (ouch), but that didn't stop her from waking up with the kids and being her usual energized and bubbly self all day long until finally crashing out at 10pm -- woo, that woman is amazing!

Ella Rose was immediately excited to wake Aba (short for "Abuelita") up in bed, where she got to receive some select souvenirs from her trip to London last month. She now has a lovely mermaid lightswitch cover and nifty pencil case with accessories. :) Even little William was more than happy to jump into her arms and even give her one of his signature "kisses" (open mouth plant on the nose). I'm so happy he's taken by her so easily~ :)

After lounging in bed all together while we talked London and whatnot, we had a nice, leisurely breakfast and then Aba and Ella Rose started painting this nifty little wooden doll house that they'll then be constructing. Goooo DIY!! :D I walked William to sleep and then got some work done -- I have a book due on Friday but I think I'll be A-OK getting that done in time.

After William awoke, I figured it'd be the perfect time to catch a flick with Dash, so we left the kiddos with Aba and watched...World War Z!! I'm going to be honest with you, though: loved the book, could've done without the movie. If not for a couple of scenes, I would have felt completely robbed of those two hours. Either way!! It was nice to be away and know the kids were in safe hands.

When we came back, we were thrilled to learn that they'd been out and about at the local park...had fed some ducks...ate lunch themselves...hit up the thriftshop for shoes...and overall had a great time.

Apparently William found this car and wouldn't get out of it for 45 minutes!
Reunited with his mama, William promptly got a second nap (so rare these days!) and then we had a delicious dinner of tortilla española and salad, and then berries on ice cream! Yum!!

It's good to have my mom here with us. She's so positive and eternally patient and great with the kids. Ella even declared "I like Aba more than anybody else in the world!"

So yeah, it's gonna be a good visit, I'm sure :)

Until next time, I hope you are all looking forward to a good week and here's to more Happy Days with Aba!!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Camper Cushions...Complete!

Hey all!

You may recall my blog post from way back in January, about me commencing this DIY camper cushion endeavor...
Well, I'm happy to report that yesterday (a whopping 6 months later!) I finished the last cushion and now our camper has a brand new set of beautiful and comfy cushions for the rear dining/sleeping area!! :)
God, this photo doesn't do it justice!
It really only took as long as it did because of motivation issues. I mean, really, knowing that we wouldn't be taking the camper out for any winter/early-spring trips meant that I was in no hurry to get them done by any particular date.
But! My mom is coming into town tonight (!) and I wanted to have the camper looking good and dandy for her arrival. Not that we are necessarily planning to go anywhere in it while she's here...but who knows! Maybe we will get a wild idea and take a trip somewhere :)
She is the adaptable type so I don't think she'd mind the cramped quarters and outdoorsy activities.

Look forward to more interior shots when we start taking our camper out and about this summer!
Until then, take care and Happy Camper Cushions...Complete!!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Gosh Darn Good Weekend

Howdy, howdy!

So I just gotta share with you all the awesomeness that this weekend has entailed~
Firstly, Daddy rejoined us from his trip to Florida on Thursday -- not to say that the days while he was away weren't awesome too (zoo, garden, dumpster diving, raspberries, etc) -- but it's good to have him back again. :)

Then, on Friday, we started off the day with french toast, had a park playdate with other Peachies, attended a Hawaiian-themed "birthday" party for a local adult care center, and then...watched Ella in her second-ever public performance:

It was at the Pioneer Picnic in Brownsville and was a part of the Cascade Performing Arts Center again.
This time, only two of the five original girls turned out for the performance (Ella Rose and Athena...ages 4 and 7 respectively), but I think they carried it off well enough anyway :)

At home, I passed out early with a very tired child, and didn't even really have dinner -- oops!

On Saturday, I went to the farmer's market to meet a prospective Japanese pupil (woo-hoo!), bought a replacement mirror for one that broke during the Clothing Swap, and then generally laid low at home while Dash took the kids out and about so I could do some tasks. We took a family walk to the high school playground for a while and then had Family Movie Night (one day late) while we munched on delicious Dashiell Pizza -- yum! Then I went out real late to attend a Full Moon Fire gathering at a friend's house. It was cloudy so we couldn't see the moon, but I was still happy to enjoy the fire with cool local peeps.

Sunday (today), I was exhausted since I went to bed at 2:30 a.m. (ouch!) so rather then attend church, I attended "slurch" (our new made-up word for "sleeping at church") which was just my intention and exactly what happened. The First Presbyterian Church has this great soundproof room in the second-story balcony for families with small (a.k.a noisy) children. It has a couch and nobody is every in there during the services except for William and I. He wanted milk and I was sleepy, so we nursed and were lulled to sleep by the singing congregation and the pastor's great storytelling voice... Le sigh~~

Following that, it was still sunny so the kids and I enjoyed some romping around the Central Park, but the rest of the day was rainy so it was mostly indoors with chores done, tidying up completed, and things like that.
Oh! And Ella Rose voluntarily did some downsizing to her playroom (a first!) so that felt good. Finally boxed up toys that are too small for both Ella and William (baby-centric teethy toys and such) as well as play shoes/clothes that she's plain outgrown (wow!). The box will be stored in the attic for the next Holiday Toy Swap, or maybe Vina Moses.

And that's just about all there is to say now...
I really don't mind this rain-sun-rain-sun weather -- I just know that garden is eating it up!!
Now to get some "real" work done while I listen to This American Life. Scooooore!

Until next time, take care and Happy Gosh Darn Good Weekends!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Two Wheels~??

Hey all!

Just thought I'd show you this li'l video of what Ella Rose has been up to:

That's right!
Just yesterday, she went from "omigod, mom you have to hold on!" to "look, ma, no hands!" Ha! :D
Granted, she can't mount nor dismount on her own, but for having only ridden on a two-wheeler twice this summer, I'd say she's making good progress!
And when she made that 90 degree turn that surprised hands didn't even touch her! She somehow stayed up! Wow!!

Well, we're going to be doing more of that this summer, as you can imagine.

Anyway! Hope you guys are enjoying the start of summer and until next time take care and Happy Two Wheels!!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Two Books Read!

Howdy all,

I'm happy to announce that I recently finished two books this past week.
One fiction, one nonfiction.

I actually got the large print edition from the library ;)

The fiction title was "World War Z" by Max Brooks.
Just in time for the film coming out tomorrow!!
Kathy originally read this back in early spring, and told me lots about it, but I had to read it myself before I got watch the movie.
I really enjoyed this book, because it was formatted as though there had been a war against zombies and the author was holding interviews with survivors of the experience -- so I didn't have to worry about beloved characters dying or anything. They're all alive to tell the story!
The way that the book is a compilation of at least a dozen or so interviews with people from all walks of life and all regions of the world makes me wonder how they are going to do a film adaptation of it... I've seen exactly one trailer for it that featured Brad Pitt so I guess they're going to turn him into some kind of central main character~? We'll see...
The book was a fascinating account of how the world might react to any major crisis, not just the unlikely zombie scenario. Like how, when it comes to rebuilding society from the ground up, it's not "creative directors" and "stock analysts" we'll need, but masons and farmers -- people with the old skillz who can create what we honestly need to survive (shelter, food, etc).
All in all, a great read~!!

The other title was "Affluenza" by John de Graaf, David Wann, and Thomas H Naylor.
I actually started this book back in, what, April? So it's taken me a while to get through it, but very much worth it!
It's based on this PBS special, so that's kind of interesting that it's a book that came after a film. But anyway, it basically breaks down the aspects of the US lifestyle that are bad for our wallets, our health, and our planet. The lifestyle being namely the obsessive quest for material gain. The book treats these aspects as symptoms of a disease (affluenza) and covers the root(s) to it, the current problems it's causing, and then "remedies" for it.
It's a lot of information -- some depressing, some hopeful -- and all-in-all a reminder of why I am choosing the kind of life I have: my aspirations to be even less car-dependent, working less to make family and community more of a priority, and hoping to raise my children in a way that does not lead to them having affluenza either.
I know I'm doing a crummy job describing this book, but do yourself a favor and either watch the documentary (also available at the Corvallis library!) or read the book.
And then talk to me about it -- I'd love to discuss it! :)

That's all for now.
I now just started a book on parenting/commercialism -- right in line with those other socioeconomic books I read earlier this spring ("Radical Homemakers", and "Your Money Or Your Life"), right? ;)

Til then, take care and Happy Books Read!!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Zoo & Swing

Hey everybody!

So today was another doozy of a day. :)
I woke up at 6:30 (early for me) to get ready for a daytrip to the Oregon Zoo in Portland -- my first time, Ella's second -- with the lovely Clara and family.

We packed a picnic lunch and carpooled there so it was already starting off to be an eco-friendly trip, yay! ;D

Clara's papa knows how to get goofy with the kiddos~!
I gotta say I was muy impressed with the Oregon Zoo!
Beautiful layout, and what looked to be pretty comfortable habitats for the animals. I always feel so torn at zoos. On one hand, they are a "safe haven" for endangered species...but those species are only endangered because we are messing up their original homes so bad, so instead of stopping/fixing that...we recreate an artificial habitat for them miles away from their homestead? Also, they are presumably comfortable because they don't have to worry about predators or injury and their food comes to them on a platter...but that's like if we said a person would be comfortable living stuck in a hotel just because they get room service for the rest of their life...
So yeah, I tried to have a positive mindset this time around, and I must say the zoo seemed to be pretty candid about the reality of these animals' plight with the numerous placards and such describing efforts to restore natural habitat populations and whatnot.

Gah! Enough philosophizing about zoo systems, and on to the animals, right??

Cheetahs have such huge round eyes... I never knew!
William was pretty adventurous and intent on walking everywhere himself, so this is what he looked like most of the time:

He looks like a literal "egg-head" here @_@

And Clara's Papa was such a trooper to always help out whether it was holding Ella by the hand, pushing the empty stroller, or even carrying William!

Thanks for the lift!
We picnicked in this outdoor theatre-type space they had and that was just lovely lovely; so was the train ride that circled around to the Portland Rose Gardens -- I will have to remember that for my mom's upcoming visit!

I quasi-lost Ella at one point, too, but that was resolved quickly and Ella didn't even notice. Ha!
Besides that, it was a hiccup-free adventure and a wonderful day all thanks to the generosity of Clara, Matt, Rachel, and li'l Henry -- thanks, you guys!!

We'll be BACK again soon! (pun~)
It was about 5:00 by the time we got home, and while William snoozed Ella and I randomly thought to build a swing in the backyard! Man, we are sharing some pretty creative wavelengths these days, amiright?
Simple, simple
I procured the rope from some leftover supplies I'd used for that stool cushion I made a couple of years back. The seat was some kind of composite wood board that came with the house when we bought it. All I did was cut it to length and drill four holes in the corners, through which I threaded the rope and tied a fat knot on the underside.

Here it is in action~

Ella loves it, William's a little scared but still curious, and I'm so proud of myself for working the saw, the manual drill, and power drill all by myself! :)
Tomorrow we will paint her name on the seat.

A kid's best friend~

Until next time, take care and Happy Zoos and Swings!!

Monday, June 17, 2013!!

Hey all!

You may be wondering how I can make such a huge claim with this post's title.
Well, it's because today was so productive, creative, refreshing, and overall great!

Let me share with you through photos and such:

We started off the day with breakfast, laundry, and outdoor garden chores.
The garden in the back finally has all the seeds in the ground, labels in place, and was thoroughly watered before the day's heat really got into full swing.

Ella Rose also has her own garden in the front, under the grape vines!

It features corn, pumpkins, tomatoes, and sunflowers.
She's really manned the whole thing from selecting the crop, to laying out and dampening the newspapers, adding the compost, planting the seeds, and (her fave part, I'm sure) making the labels.
It's so funny how people will sell these pre-made garden labelers, when all it really takes is a cut-up yogurt lid and permanent marker. She loves practicing her letters, but doesn't yet understand the importance of order so we have "otomat" and "kinpump".
I will let you know how things progress with it! :)

Mei Ella just sits there every day, waiting for them to sprout. But they don't seem to want to grow!
(quote from "My Neighbor Totoro" ;p )

By 11 a.m. William was pretty tuckered, so we went on a stroller walk...which also happened to involve more dumpster diving! God, I swear I am getting addicted. We all know about America's wasteful habits, but goodness to see it firsthand like this is really...shocking to say the least. I wonder if dumpsters will be as enticing once the last of the students has left. Is it really only a June-moveout thing? Or does it last all year 'round to some degree~? @_@We will have to see. Some scores on the D.D. trip included 4 pounds of rolled oats (bulk!), 2 bananas, big laundry detergent, box of Emergen-C, and two reams of gorgeous ribbon. Ella is really getting into it too and completely gets the "one man's trash is another man's treasure" motto. She loves to find her own "treasures" on our trips and also marvels at the nice things people are needlessly tossing out.

Anyway, speaking of trash and treasures, I finally cleared some stuff out from under the carport and put it on the curb out front in the hopes that our trash will be someone's treasure too! Ella got especially excited at that prospect. :)

So far a broken safe box and old palette have been taken off our hands - phew!
At home, we lunched and read and tidied up...and then Ella was inspired to undergo an "イメージチェンジ" (makeover) and we cut her hair!!

So long, Rapunzel...
...hello chic madam! :D

Seriously, this is the first time we've cut more than just her bangs or the tips of her hair. It was done in one fell swoop and we're both pretty pleased with the results~ :)
She looks like a fancy little European artist or something. But Ella keeps saying that she looks "like a teacher". Ha!

Wicked short pigtails are so fun, right??
After that, we were both hit with the random idea to try to remedy our two-kids-in-one-trailer problem by attaching one trailer to the other.
Ella Rose suggested we use pipe cleaners which sounded so ludicrous that I laughed at it...but lo! That was actually the first viable solution and in literally 30 seconds, we had our bike-trailer train.

William sits up front so that he can watch keeps him happy (mostly)
My god, I felt like I was in Heaven -- enjoying the ease of getting around on two wheels, while knowing that the kiddos were not crowding each other while in tow.
Truth be told, the pipe cleaner solution didn't last longer than 20 minutes, but I was able to use a steel screw to cinch the deal -- strong and reliable.

Yay for wicked dark shadows, gack! >.<
So yep!
We went around in that for a little, then hit up a park, and had black bean soup for dinner. Yummy~
Now the kiddos are zonked out and I am looking forward to finishing my first fiction book in a long time. You'll be hearing about it here soon~

Until then, take care and Happy Best Day Evers!!

Sunday, June 16, 2013


Hi again!

Along the same lines as yesterday's post, I'd like to share with you another source of free food.
In particular, raspberries.

That's right, my most favorite berry of all!
I get my annual fix of raspberries from a particular bush located outside a student rental in the neighborhood.
I've been doing this every summer that we've lived here and made pies and smoothies out of them, as well as eaten them fresh and frozen them for enjoyment later in the year. This year, I started hitting the bush about a week ago, and been visiting it for little harvests every other day or so. Even with William and Ella in tow, it can be a productive and fun visit. :)

There are so many properties around town that have fruit-bearing bushes or trees out in front (between the sidewalk and the street, often times) where the owners/residents of the property seem to have forgotten the fruit is even there! Apples grow slowly but surely all summer, finally reaching peak ripeness in September...only to go unpicked and fall to the ground to rot. Same with walnuts, I've noticed too.

And it's no different for this particular raspberry bush. The berries reach perfect ripeness in mid-June when students are focusing on their finals, graduation, and packing up to ship out. But it's pretty evident to me that the bush goes untended all year long as it is super overgrown and never cut back.
Regardless, the berries on it are scrumptious and juicy. So I like to think of myself as saving these berries from having to go unpicked and then simply rot away.

I think I can still look forward to at least another week of raspberry-picking from this bush, and besides eating them fresh (William will eat a good cupful in one sitting), I think I'd like to experiment with making popsicles with them...

What's your opinion on picking produce by the roadside?
And what's your favorite berry? ;)

Til next time, take care and Happy Raspberries!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Dumpster Diving!

Howdy all,

Man these past two days have been a flurry of dumpster diving scores!
Students are moving out and dumpsters are overflowing with items/food that students just "can't be bothered" with finding proper disposal (donation) routes for.

It all started when I volunteered for the Donation Drive at OSU. Students living at the dorms have had three weeks to donate whatever possessions they couldn't take with them in these giant bins in their dorms' main lobby. AKA, OSU's attempt at keeping as much stuff out of the dumpster as possible, because that's where it would end up otherwise.

On the last two days of finals, volunteers picked up those bins and sorted them in the recycling warehouse to donate to local nonprofits. For two hours each day, I was in the warehouse sorting.
And oh my goodness, what a reminder of the stuff that some students accumulate and then so easily shed. Clothes with tags still on electronics...etc, etc.

They even had a team go out to the dorms' dumpster to see what they could salvage. It was incredible! For example, there was a couch in beautiful condition just left down there by the dumpster. And tons and tons of bedding and such. Mind you, this is only what I saw in the tiny 2-hour window I was there. Imagine all the stuff that came in while I was gone...let alone the stuff at the volunteer teams couldn't even catch!

It was a great volunteering opportunity and one that inspired me to go and explore dumpsters in apartment complexes in our neighborhood.
I have got to share with you the incredible haul I picked it up from my many trips.
A couple of gems include:
- ipod (!!)
- accessories for just my model of cell phone
- craft supplies
- one-piece bathing suit, never been worn
- beautiful hair clips

And last but not least:

High-quality rain boots with tags still on them!!

Then there was the food.

We all know that a lot of food is wasted in the USA, but on my dumpster diving trips, I really saw a shameful amount of waste going on. Don't these students know about the local Food Share program?? I would come upon bags of perfectly good food, tossed out only because they're under a tight deadline to leave their apartment. So often the food wasn't spoiled or anything! All I'd have to do is feel a bag and if it was cold I knew it had just come straight out of somebody's fridge or freezer.
Some things I got include (most in pristine condition, unopened, etc):
- huge vial of sea salt
- 2 lb. frozen blueberries
- bananas, oranges, carrots, potatoes
- various yogurts
- four dozen eggs
- cereal of varying levels of consumption
- canned food galore
- frozen sausages, veggies, ready-made meals

It's mostly a lot of processed/packaged food that we don't eat or buy, but I don't mind having it in the kitchen if it means diverting it from the landfill and padding our food supply in case of emergency and whatnot.

Just check out our fridge/pantry now. We NEVER have it this packed:

And that's after clearing out and consolidating a couple boxes already

So what's your opinion on dumpster diving?
Are you "above it"? What are your hesitations about it, or are you all for it?
Lemme know, I'd love to talk dumpster diving techniques/experiences/theories, etc~!

Until then, take care and Happy Dumpster Diving!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Farewell, Peach Blossom~

Hola hola~

So yesterday was Ella Rose's last day of preschool.
If you missed it, I did a big sappy post about Peach Blossom Preschool here.
I cannot say enogh good things about this school -- the teacher, the community, the peaceful energy...
I am patently pleased with our choice to put Ella Rose here...and thrilled that Ella Rose will be attending again next year too :)

The last day was a potluck of all the families and involved the following fun activities:
(get ready for a major photo-dump!!)

Frodo (left) and Kiko (right)
A couple of the Peachies' dogs made an appearance.
January Jewel's dog Frodo and Betty Plum's new puppy Kiko.
As you can imagine, William was pretty smitten with them.

Face painting!!

Somebody brought face paint "crayons" and we eventually all got pretty into it...

"Rainbow Fairy"
Ella Rose is pulling a Lady Gaga it seems...
He's not featured here, but William had a spiral on his cheek too
The eating was, of course, phenomenal. Dash made his famous biscuits and I brought my homemade strawberry jam. There were also pickles, deviled eggs, a lentil dish, Waldorf salad, guacamole, dairy-free cheese, Miss Christine's killer buns, fruit salad, kale chips, and more~! All wholesome, and delicious. Yum!!

Sitting and eating, picnic style ;)

The last day also coupled as a celebration of the Papas so the children did their special honoring of them too:

Gathered 'round

They sang (sort of) and then the children presented their gifts:

Ella explaining what it is. That's her handprint too!

All the children had made books that compiled special drawings they'd dawn for their Daddies!

Explaining every picture, page by page...
It was very sweet.
And to top off the day, the children had a "Fly Away" ceremony that celebrated the three children that would be leaving Peach Blossom Preschool to graduate on to Kindergarten.
The three had spent the past couple of months crafting their very own special walking sticks, decorating them as they saw fit, and filling a special leather pouch attached to it with gifts from their classmates. One by one, they went up to add their special contribution to their pouches so that they will be remembered even after the child's moved on~

Ella Rose gave them each a special seashell
All the parents then created an arch with their arms over the pathway leading out of the school and sang a song honoring each and every Peachie. It took a while, but it was worth it because the children felt so special and it was a great way to wrap up the year at preschool.

Now to look forward to a summer of less scheduling, playdates at the park, sleeping in (?) and the general goodness that Oregon summer brings. :)

If you have kiddos, are they all done with school for the year?
Feels great, doesn't it?
I love the atmosphere of Corvallis when the university school year is ending -- a mix of nerves and restlessness and euphoria as the students graduate and "enter the real world".
I have more news on what other things come up when the students leave, but that will be saved for tomorrow ;)

Until then, take care and Happy Peach Blossom Farewells~!!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

EC Progress~!

Hey everybody!

So I thought I'd give you all an update as to how William's journey in elimination communication (EC) is going.

For a quick rundown of what EC is all about you can check out this post though obviously our strategy with William has been a little different.
Firstly, I started sooner (aka first week of life) and also we haven't rocked the floor-potty as much as the seat-insert because I was not looking forward to having to lug around one of those for outings again.

Every morning with William
Much like with Ella, we always start the day off with a trip to the bathroom so that he can relieve his bladder after a night of sleep. Truth be told, at least a couple of days a week he'll wake up in the same dry diaper we put him in the night before, so that's a good sign that his bladder continence is doing well.

During this time, we mainly read books or play "this little piggy" and other baby games to keep his experience pleasant and relaxed. And we always point out when he begins urinating with, "William's going pee-pee!" so that he gets the connection right away.

Aside from that, most of the day is pretty diaper-reliant unless we're outside and the weather's great, at which point he enjoys a lot of diaper-free time. And there's been a pretty cool development as of this week! When I'm outside and say "William let's go pee-pee on the grass", he's been responding quite well! I'll assume a squat and point to the grass, and he'll come over and squat too and pee if there's anything in his bladder! So that's been a pretty good milestone, in my opinion. :)

Maybe it's the very hot/dry weather we've been having, but it seems he's been able to go longer before eliminating so if I can just start making bathroom trips even more of a regular thing, that should cut down on diaper use even more~

A little dazed, but happy!
So yep!
That's all I have to say about that~
If you have little diaper-clad ones, are you trying any EC?
Like I say, just keeping the mind-bladder connection alive and well is going to help wonders with getting your kiddo out of diapers sooner than not~

Until next time, take care and Happy EC Progress!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

A Lovely Sunday

Yo yo~!

How is everybody doing?
Enjoying this fine summer-like weather, I hope~
Today was a very productive day!

After a pancake breakfast made with love by Dash, the kiddos and I headed to yet another strawberry field -- this time at Rigor Farm -- to pick strawberries for eating fresh/frozen.

Small but sweet!!

I made a shout-out to some Peach Blossom mamas, and was joined by Miss Angelica and her sweet family. :) Miss Angelica was so sweet to help with a very tired/uncooperative William while her daughter entertained Ella Rose. I must remember to do that from now on to go berry-picking with other adults, because taking one both kids by myself is too tiring!! >_0;

Since I had given the morning to Dash to do his work, when I got back I got to do my work!
I will be blogging about the fruits of that work in the next day or two -- don't want to ruin the surprise or anything ;)

This is what Dash and the kids were up to while I was busy:

Chalk outlines with a mythical twist!

Fun a the fountains downtown!
When they got back, Dash gave them a bath (more water!), then we ordered dinner in because none of us were feeling like cooking -- plus the fridge was empty! Thank God for El Sol de Mexico!! :)

Anyway, just about wraps it up.
So much outside time and inside/focused time for both the little ones and the mamas/papas.
William was spent after his big day and went to sleep at 7:30.

Now to watch another episode of Downton Abbey~ Weeeee~~
Until next time, take care and Happy Lovely Sunday!!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Get Outdoors Day!

Hey everyone!

Do you know what today is?
National Get Outdoors Day!!
Some local organizations put together an event at the Peavy Arboretum to celebrate the day. It included guided hikes, fishing, and other things.

When we got to the Arboretum, there were so many cars that we had to go to the overflow parking lot and wait for the shuttle to come by and get us. That gave us ample time to wander through the field by the lot, and even stumble upon the local "Society for Creative Anachronism" dueling with lances and shields and such!
What a treat!!

It was so beautiful -- not a cloud in the sky, wildflowers all over, and of course my children :)

The Dashiell Duo~
Bouquet of wildflowers, anybody? 

At the Arboretum, we took a long walk through the forest and it was just beautiful. William was a bit of a handful because he should've been asleep but wasn't, and he was determined to walk even though it meant off-path or super meandering. Oy ve, so we tried to hold him as much as we could.

Reshaping Daddy's face, heh :P
At Cronemiller Lake, they had poles and bait available for the kiddos so Ella got to have her second fishing experience ever! It was much more "real" than the Hatchery one, so even after casting and reeling and waiting for 20 minutes...we got no bites, so no fish.

She's becoming a natural~?
Still, it was a good time. Just walking together as a family and enjoying the rich forest all around us felt so good for the soul... It's kind of unsettling how few and far between such experiences can be. I mean, I get the kids "out" but that mainly means manicured parks or along the sidewalks and such...but I need to make a conscious effort to bring them into nature more. Hopefully it will be happening more this summer what with traveling to campsites in the camper. We're even thinking of buying a set of fishing rods/tackle for ourselves so we can catch more of our own meals while we're out and about. Mm-hm!

Anyway, after that, we returned home to welcome Ella's good friend Clara who'd be spending the rest of the day with us. We hit up this "Summer Celebration" event put on at the Osborn Aquatic Center -- it was a completely free event, that included food from local restaurants, caricatures, massages, pet adoption, and more!
We mainly stuck to the shallow water on behalf of the kids, and got to meet some friends there too :)

Happy children~
They had an intern going around taking high-quality photos - yay!

And that just about wraps up our day.
Lots of fun in the sun, for sure!
How did you spend National Get Outdoors Day?
I hope you had a good one and a good rest of the weekend in store as well.
Until next time, take care and Happy Get Outdoors Day!!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Regal Ella

Hi everybody!

Just thought I'd share this cute photo of Ella with you:

Maybe it's the Downton Abbey I just started watching, but doesn't she look so ridiculous in her attempt to be prim and proper? Just like the characters in the show! Ha!

Love that smile~~
And that flower on her head is one of the paper ones I made for her birthday. We still have them all...and are trying to figure out what to do with them/where to put them.
Any suggestions? Let me know!!

Well, until next time take care and Happy Regal Ellas!!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The She Project

Howdy ho!

Today was the reception to an "art" project I took part in nearly a month ago that I've been dying to share with you. :)

I was invited to partake in the annual She Project by a friend, and so spent the evening of May 10th among women of all ages and walks of life to respond to a phrase using whatever medium we liked as long as it fit within a 8 1/2" x 11" frame. Oh, and we only had two hours to do so.

The She Project's been going on for 9 years, but apparently this may be the last one for a while because the lady in charge of it wants to take a break. It's a lot of work organizing it and setting up all the pieces at the end. But I hope she knows what a wonderful exercise in creativity and spontaneity it is for so may ladies in the community!

Below if my piece:

"She found the courage to reach for it."
Each and every piece was something to behold. So many mediums, such varied phrases, and great interpretations. Here are some pieces I particularly enjoyed:

"She noticed that her scarf was way too long...
...and chose to share her strength."
You also had the option of "finishing" the rest of the quote. Like I could have transformed my quote into "She found the courage to reach for it...and realized she already had it." Or something like that :)

"She questioned whether to build walls or bridges."

"Her home was cool...
Almost as cool as her shoes."
Anyway, there are probably around 100 of these responses and they're going to be displayed in the Corvallis Public Library's main meeting room for the remainder of June.

If you don't have something like this in your community yet...go ahead and start it! It can be done individually at home, or in a group setting. The ladies who took part in this are not all necessarily artists, but they all definitely revealed a little of themselves in this project.

Until next time, take care and Happy She Project!!