New Camera: Nikon D40

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Landon brought home a new camera tonight and we spent the evening at Riverview Cemetery (beautiful place!) eating a picnic dinner and taking lots and lots of pictures. At first, I wanted a D60 or D80, but here are some reasons for why we ended up going with the Nikon D40. We were able to save some money on the camera, and can now spend more money on cool lenses and extra flash. The biggest difference between the D40 and the D60 is the megapixels, and from what we've learned, this actually makes the D60 less light sensitive, which can result in darker/blurrier pixels. So far, we're really happy with the D40. Now I'm trying to figure out which lense I might want to get next!

Midsummer Pruning, Becoming Mindful

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I've been out in the garden this morning. It's already to the point of summer where perennials are dying back and blooms have faded. I love tidying up the garden. I filled 3 five gallon buckets last year deadheading my three Spanish lavender bushes. That took many hours to do. This year, I don't know where I'll find the time, but they sure look nice once the brown blooms have been cut off one at a time, leaving only the evergreen part of the plant. This will often lead to a second blooming in late summer, although not as full as the first bloom of the year. The picture above is of English lavender. Those are so much easier to prune, as the blossoms grow high above the evergreen foliage, so cutting those back only takes a few minutes. The large patch of Monarda (bee balm) has also faded, so I've removed all the blooms, but will leave the foliage up for another few weeks so the root system will be strong for next year's growth. The first leaves have begun to fall already, and I've been mixing those in with the fruit and vegetable scraps that have been quickly filling up our compost bin. These leaves add carbon to the compost, which is essential for breaking down the nitrogen-containing scraps from the garden and kitchen. It's amazing, but I've been able to reduce the amount of garbage we put curbside each week by about a quarter. This is a good feeling. I know I can do even better, so I'm in the process of researching how to recycle other materials that end up in our trash. Enviromom is promoting the "One Can a Month Challenge!", and I'd like to get to that point, although I won't fully get there until both of our kids are out of disposable diapers. However, if I can narrow the garbage down by doing everything else besides the cloth diapers, I'd like to get to that point now. Next small step on my list to reduce trash: cloth napkins and homemade cloth wet wipes. These changes feel great, knowing what a difference they make!


Monday, July 28, 2008
Tonight is book-club, which means another night out! As I left, Landon was heading to the park with the kids to search for blackberries and have some fun with Sam's new kickball in the big green space at Fulton Community Center. Tonight was the first time since Juniper's birth that I've gone to book-club without her. Can you tell I'm looking forward to it?

Landon took some great pictures of the kids at the park while I was away this evening.

Samuel's new ball has led to many hours of fun, but has also brought on some serious lessons about not following a ball when it strays into the street. So far, Samuel has been great about not chasing the ball, and when it rolled out into Miles Street tonight, Landon said Samuel stayed put as his ball rolled right in front of a car. The car stopped, and Landon went out to get the ball. When he handed it back to Sam, he burst into tears, probably from the stress of his ball going into the street.

There were lots of laughs. Sam has been playing on this playground since he was sixteen months old, and still never grows tired of it.

Now Juniper will grow up and learn to master this playground. Right now, she's learning all about swings.

Samuel already mastered the swings long ago, and has now graduated from the baby swings to the big boy swing. Soon, he'll be jumping off mid-air.

Before they knew it, the sun was setting, and it was time to go home. I got back shortly after 9PM from book-club, and Juniper had just woken up from a nap, and Samuel was sound asleep. Juniper was happy to see me, but she wasn't crying. She's getting a lot more attached to Landon lately, and it's a great feeling to know she's so happy while I'm away.

Priscilla Awaits Adoption

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Our cat, Priscilla, born in July, 2001, is such a sweet cat, but she doesn't get nearly enough attention these days, and it's causing her to feel depressed. She sleeps all day, and only gets up to eat, which has caused her to become very overweight. In addition, she gets agitated when Juniper or Samuel are making too much noise, and has lately been trying to bite Juniper when she's crying. The other day, she scratched Samuel because he didn't pet her when she wanted him to. I'm thinking she needs to be in a home where there isn't a lot of noise or children, and where she gets at least a small amount of attention, which she rarely gets these days. She's a very loving cat, but I think her time in our house is going to have to come to an end if I can find the right home for her. I've always taken great care of her, and even used to drive her out to Clackamas so she could see one of the best vets in the area (now she sees whoever is working at our local Banfield Vet Hospital). I checked into adopting her out through the Oregon Humane Society, but then thought better of it when I found out they have more cats than ever awaiting adoption and a long waiting list of more than 300 people waiting to bring their cats in. Before I go through the Humane Society, I need to try harder to adopt her out myself. I took this picture to list her on craigslist, but unfortunately, I forgot to resize the file, and my post, which took me about fifteen minutes to write, was lost when an error message came up. Landon has told me so many times to compose in Word, but I never do, and sometimes I get unlucky and lose a post.

We had grocery shopping to do this afternoon, and since I feel so guilty about looking for a home for Priscilla when the Oregon Humane Society is overflowing with kittens and cats that need good homes, we decided to support them by buying lunch at a benefit barbeque at New Seasons for the Humane Society. A $6.00 lunch included a hot dog with lots of delicious relishes and sauces to choose from, Kettle chips, crunchy coleslaw, ice-cold soda, juice, or water, and a tasty cookie. All New Seasons' quality products, and 100% of the proceeds went to the Humane Society. They didn't even take a cut to pay their two employees to do the work. New Seasons never stops impressing me with their community awareness and friendly staff.

If you're considering adopting a cat or dog, the Humane Society is the place to go! But if you think Priscilla is too cute to pass up, I promise to donate $100.00 to the Humane Society if you adopt her instead. If you already own a cat or dog, please spay and neuter--there are just too many homeless animals out there to risk producing more!

Saturday in Late July

Saturday, July 26, 2008
Today was a great day. The weather the past couple of weeks has been beautiful. Rarely does Portland have a string of 80 degree days. Usually, it's 100 degrees and I'm laying on the couch dying from heat exhaustion (we don't have a/c), or it's 60 degrees and overcast. Love this weather!

We spent some money today on camping gear, which we'll be putting to use next weekend at Pickathon. We've never been before, but are looking forward to it. With a small stove, I'll even be able to make an espresso each morning--thank goodness! I know it will be interesting camping with two little ones, but life is short, so we might as well live it to the fullest.

Then we headed north to the Mississippi Pizza Pub for lunch, then walked across the street to look at The Rebuilding Center for an old vintage sash I'd like to paint and hang in our bathroom that I've just finished painting (looks great, by the way). I didn't find the sash I was looking for, but I'll try again in another week or two as materials are constantly being dropped off.

Later, Landon took the kids to the park, and I got caught up on some reading for book-club. Juniper is doing a lot better with Landon these days, and I'm so relieved to finally have some time to myself here and there. After reading, I went outside and worked in the garden for a couple of hours. My neighbor even brought me over a glass of chilled rosé wine. Doesn't get much better than that on a summer evening.

Night Out

Friday, July 25, 2008

It had been way too long since I'd had a night out, and I don't think I'd ever left for a night out without Juniper, so I decided tonight to leave Landon with both of the kids for the first time to spend an evening out with some moms from my moms' group. It was a lot of fun! We went the Thatch Tiki Bar in NE, and I had one of the best coconut cocktails I've had in a long time! When I got home, here are the kids as I found them. Not only were they sound asleep, but apparently, there were no tears, and they fell asleep happy. Couldn't have gone better. It felt so good to get away for a few hours, and because it went so well, I'll have the confidence to leave them more often. Good job, Landon!

Styrofoam Recycling in Portland

Thursday, July 24, 2008

All it takes to fill a garbage bin sometimes is a web or catalog order. Our new medicine cabinet from Restoration Hardware arrived yesterday, and I had no idea what to do with the packing material. In the past, I have put a little into our garbage can each week until it is gone, but I've recently become more aware of what our family is throwing away, and this has been a huge motivator to educate myself each time I'm unsure of where to recycle materials.

With a quick google search, the first link that came up was to Enviromom with the following information on styrofoam recycling (these women are amazing):

Pacific Land Clearing & Recycling in N. Portland will accept clean styrofoam blocks, cups and trays for FREE. 4404 N. Suttle Road, Portland, 503-285-8777. Drop-off hours: 6am - 6pm.

While I'm in N. Portland this afternoon, I also plan to drop our old medicine cabinet off at The Rebuilding Center.

What a good feeling! Replaced a medicine cabinet (new one looks great!) and didn't generate any trash!

And one more thing . . .

Welcome to the world, Adeleine Caoimhe! July 23rd--what a great birthday!
Way to go, Annagrace--I can't wait to meet your new daughter and hear all about her waterbirth.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Still painting. I put the first coat on the ceiling yesterday while Juniper took a three hour nap. She's either going through a growth spurt, or she's finally clumped her string of thirty minute naps together into one long nap. I can't tell you how much I can get done in three hours, especially if it is a morning when Samuel is at summer camp!

Here's a picture of some stale flatbread that I threw out onto the street for the birds, but the ants found it first. Sometimes, I'll throw stale bread out at dusk, then at 5AM, just when the sun is rising, a crow will spot it, perch itself in a tree right outside our bedroom window, and caw for what seems like well over an hour to let every family member in SW Portland know that breakfast is on the street. Once the family arrives, the cawing really gets loud. Our poor neighbors! It's mornings like that where I wish I'd sent it to the landfill, but instead, I just use it as an excuse to drink more coffee--and try to remember next time to throw the bread out earlier in the day.

Speaking of sending less to the landfill, I got Samuel a book on landfills yesterday at the library and learned that 60% of the garbage that we generate can be composted or recycled. I also learned that the food scraps that go to the landfill produce methane gas, which is a leading cause for global warming. I love a good compost for my garden, so lately, I've been determined to keep all organic waste out of the trash and into the compost bin. We got our compost bin through Metro. The key is to mix this organic material with materials that have a high carbon content to offset the fruit and vegetable scraps that contain nitrogen. If the materials are balanced and turned, then the compost breaks down quickly into humus with little odor (this will prevent vermin from getting into your compost), and fewer greenhouse gases.

The writers of Enviromom are trying to limit the waste their families produce to one garbage can curbside each month. They've gone through each room in their homes and put together lists of what each room tends to generate in trash. They have some great ideas for alternatives to limit waste, and suggestions for how to recycle and compost everything else. They've also written a post recently on food waste, and even took the time to make a video. Check out their blog post on food scrap composting.

Also, if you haven't been down to one of the Portland Recycling Centers, you might be surprised to find bins where you can recycle a lot of materials that can't be put out curbside. It's free. Just pull up, drop off, and leave! In fact, there is a bin for rigid plastics, where you can recycle your old yellow recycling bins (unless you've found another use for them) once you get your new ones. Also, the SE location (just S of 17th and Holgate) accepts aseptics, so there is finally a place to regularly drop off your soy milk cartons!

Time to get Samuel off to summer camp, then if Juniper will sleep her morning away, I plan to get some serious painting done!

Show Tolerance or Speak Up?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Still painting . . .

Here is something I've been thinking about recently, and since Urban Mamas just posted a blog entry about the topic, I thought I'd bring it up here as well. The topic is smoking. Before I had kids, smokers didn't bother me nearly so much as they do now. I've noticed at family friendly places that people often light up, and it's up to me to either say something or to move the kids to a different location. So far, I haven't said anything to the smoker(s), but I'm starting to wonder if I should.

Some examples of this have been sitting outside Starbucks with newborn Juniper and 3-year old Samuel, enjoying treats and the sunshine, and having a young woman sit down and light up. We had to move. Also, we attend lots of concerts in the park over the summer, and I'm always surprised to see people light up, right in the midst of families, who are enjoying their picnic dinners and watching their kids play and dance to the music. I don't know about you, but this strikes me as inconsiderate, because it shows a lack of respect for others.

One of my friends, who has a 3 year old and an infant, recently told me she asked someone to put out a cigarette on the playground. The person complied. I haven't yet had the confidence to do this, and instead have taken the kids and left. Somehow, that doesn't seem fair.

I personally have a fear of dogs, and have always been annoyed with dog owners who seem to think everyone loves their dog as much as they do. I remember we were recently eating a picnic dinner at Marshall Park when a large dog approached our picnic table. I froze up in fear, and the dog obviously wanted us to hand him some snacks, which we did not do. The owner, who did not have her dog on a leash, even though it was not an off-leash area, just smiled, thinking it was cute that her dog was so friendly.

It comes down to lifestyle choices, which of course, everyone is entitled to. The inconsiderate part comes into play when your lifestyle harms or could harm another person, like when you let your Rottweiler approach a small child when they have a history of aggression and biting, or when you light up a cigarette next to a newborn infant. I don't mind that you have a Rottweiler or smoke, but I also don't want to pet your Rottweiler or breathe smoke instead of the fresh summer air I've come out to enjoy. In turn, I promise to take my crying infant out of the movie theater so you can enjoy the film you paid $9.00 to see.

What do you think? Does tolerance have limitations? When do you speak up and say something like "leash your dogs" or "can you put out that cigarette?"

Fish Pedicures, Samuel's First Playdate without Me

Monday, July 21, 2008
No . . . couldn't do it, even if the service was free.

Samuel's off at our neighbor's house for his first playdate. He plays with this little boy at summer camp all the time, and they've become good friends. I'm feeling a little emotional about it, only because it's a sign that Samuel's growing up so fast. I'm also feeling pretty excited about the beginning of playdate exchanges. The house is super quiet as Juniper sleeps. I could get used to this!

Still painting . . .


Sunday, July 20, 2008
Juniper took her first three hour nap today!
Landon and Samuel were working outside on a chore list I put together for them, so I was able to paint for three hours straight, then when Juniper woke up, Landon watched the kids, so I just kept going.
Good news--the bathroom is looking great, so the color I chose was a success!
My friend Tara has suggested Vanilla Bean at Lowe's, so I will check out that cream for the kitchen once I'm finished with the bathroom.
I was so tired by 8PM that I did something I haven't done in years--watched my VHS copy of High Fidelity.
Love that movie!

New Guitar, Family Visit

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Landon bought a Yamaha guitar last week and, because he's such a natural as a musician, already sounds great. He's been singing songs for the kids and learning some songs on his own. The kids can participate with the guitar a lot more than they can with the fiddle, so the hope is that he can learn lots of songs that they can sing along to.

We went down to McMinnville today for a BBQ at my parents' house. There was lots of good food, and we got the menu planned for the family trip to Sunriver in August. I still haven't figured out what I'm going to do with Juni on bike rides, because no one goes to Sunriver is all about the bike riding in summer. Anyway, she isn't quite old enough for a Burley, but I don't know how I feel about the safety of a bike seat, not to mention the fact that she might not put up with wearing a helmet at her age, and I'm not going to put her on a bike without a helmet.

Otherwise, I am still prepping the bathroom for painting (hopefully will start tomorrow!). There were some wall holes from hardware that needed spackling, and after applying a third coat this evening, the bathroom is just about ready for its first coat of paint.

Juniper has been pretty fussy today. Perhaps she's cutting that third tooth. Things are still going really well with Samuel, so I think we're definitely on the right track.

Looking forward to a new day tomorrow.


How to Keep a Butterfly Habitat Going

Friday, July 18, 2008

I ordered a butterfly habitat for Samuel from Amazon a couple of months ago, then sent away for the caterpillars, which arrived within a couple of weeks. They are sent in a little plastic cup sealed with a lid containing all the food they need until they form into their chrysalides. When this happens, you open the cup, remove the paper disc from the inside, from which all the chrysalides are hopefully hanging, and pin it to the side of the habitat. 7 to 10 days later, the butterflies are born. We actually got to watch two of the butterflies emerge from their chrysalides! Don't worry if you see red stains on the side of the habitat--when the butterflies are born, they pass meconium, which is red in color, and this happens when they start pumping their wings for the first time.

To feed the butterflies, all you do is soak cotton swabs in a diluted solution of sugar or honey water (two teaspoons to one cup of water) every few days, and put them on the bottom of the habitat. If you're lucky, like we were, the butterflies will begin mating within a week or so, and a few days after that, will start laying eggs, which are as small as the point of a pin and ours were bluish in color. Ours laid hundreds of eggs, and many of them have now hatched. I've added cosmos and mallow to the habitat for the larvae to eat, and some of the larvae are nearly an inch long already! It's actually quite amazing how quickly they grow.

The butterflies only live for about a month, but if you provide food for the larvae and keep the habitat out of the direct sunlight, it is possible to keep the life cycle going and observe complete metamorphosis over and over again. If not, release the butterflies after a few days and enjoy them in your garden. Good luck!

Painting the Bathroom and Kitchen

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A few months ago, I mentioned in a blog post that I wanted to repaint the kitchen, and I've now officially started that project. Martha Stewart Color has never let me down, but since I'm so limited with what I can choose for the kitchen due to the differing colors in floor, tile, and countertops, I'm expanding to other lines at this point to find just the right shade of cream. I've tried four samples in the kitchen already, but none of them were quite right. I really thought her Macaroni shade would be the one, but it's hardly noticeable except in certain lights. I plan to look at Benjamin Moore next. I'm going for a cream that isn't too yellow or brown. What about you--is there a cream color that you love and would recommend?

Since I'm still working on a color for the kitchen, I'm actually starting on our bathroom, since I was able to narrow it down to Martha Stewart's Glass-Bottom Boat (MS338 and one shade from Vintage Map, Annagrace!) with a new coat of Martha Stewart's White Calla (MS138) for the trim. Again, I was limited by flooring (royal blue marmoleum) and tiles (sea green), so I'm hoping this is going to look great when I'm done. I'm at the stage now where all the hardware has been removed, including our recessed medicine cabinet, which has cut me on the arm twice already, and will be replaced with a new one. We are going to replace all the hardware as well, since everything seemed to be falling apart anyway. I just hope it looks nice when I'm finished, because once I make a commitment and buy the gallon, well, I kind of have to live with that color for awhile (although I did repaint a bathroom at our old house twice in one year).

The kids were great all week while Landon was gone. We established some new routines, I've adapted some new parenting approaches, and I feel like we're back on track with Samuel again. Parenting has always come back to intuition for me, which is why I have sort of grounded my parenting style in a modified version of attachment parenting. The thing is, intuition can get lost in the busyness of life, so it takes slowing down to carefully consider and reflect on what it is your child is trying to tell you. I was able to figure out this week what it is I think Samuel needs, and there has been a big improvement with his behavior and our interactions overall. I learned a lot this week about how to be a better parent to Samuel, and learned to slow down and keep the calendar free for a few days to get perspective and to find solutions.

So, fresh paint and new solutions--we're making progress around here!

Sprinklers and Sangria

Wednesday, July 16, 2008
I picked up a sprinkler today at Lowe's so Samuel could have some good old-fashioned summer fun in our backyard.

And what a great time he had outrunning that moving sprinkler this afternoon.

My clematis transplant from our Pasadena House. Still hanging on after all these years . . . and this year, a bloom!

One of my favorite things about this summer--Juniper's bare baby feet. She laughed and made noises while watching Samuel from a safe distance.

Starting to wind down after an hour of running through the sprinkler.

Samuel has been helping me water this week. I thought it might be easier to use the sprinkler instead of holding the hose, but I quickly abandoned that idea after seeing how much water was wasted in the process, and how long I had to let it run in order to water the plants sufficiently. Fortunately, I picked up a new garden hose today that works great, so watering didn't take nearly so long this evening.

And nothing like a cold summer sangria at the end of a hot summer day well-spent.

I made a pitcher tonight from Martha Stewart's August edition of Living. and they were strong. Hmmm, guess that's what happens when you soak fruit in vodka and mix it with a good Sauvignon blanc. I was only able to drink half a glass, and left the rest with Mike and Susan (Landon's parents). Guess I'm a light-weight these days, or need to use a sangria recipe with less alcohol next time! Those apple, orange, and plum slices soaked in vodka were intense (the picture speaks for itself!). Samuel snapped this one just before I called it quits on the sangria.

Here's to more summer fun!

Learning to Pedal

Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Samuel learned the skill of balance on his Kettler children's bike, which does not have pedals, last summer. In fact, he learned the skill a little too well, and ended up cruising down a steep hill, which went down as the scariest experience as parents Landon and I have had to date. So, the balance part of bicycling has been mastered, but he still isn't sure how to pedal, so I picked up a Radio Flyer Tricycle this afternoon so he could practice. Next summer, we're hoping to put Juniper in the Burley, and get Sam going on a third wheel attachment, so we can start going on family bike rides a little more regularly again. I'd put the two kids in the Burley together, but I have a feeling that wouldn't work out too well, plus the weight might be a bit much for one person to pull.

Samuel working on pedaling uphill.

Trying to get some momentum going.

Samuel did great. I think he's finally old enough that coordination comes a lot quicker than it did for him last year, when I couldn't seem to get him to pedal no matter how many times I showed him how to do it!

After spending some time on the tricycle, it was time to clean out Daisy's aquarium. She's still doing great, and we found out the other two crawfish taken home by two other kids from the boil we attended in mid-June are also alive and well.

We feed her lettuce and fish food, or little scraps here and there (turns out she likes pickles!). We don't have a filter on her aquarium, so I clean it out every day or so, but overall, she's an easy pet, and Samuel seems to be having a lot of fun with her!

What Happens When You Don't Believe in Birth Control

Monday, July 14, 2008
Well, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar have announced that baby #18 is on the way. Their family is pretty much run like a summer camp that never ends. They just might be able to pop out a few more before she finally hits menopause. Seriously, I have to admit for a family of almost twenty, and judging only by their blog, they are doing a great job. I'm not quite sure how they do it, but I'll try to stop feeling overwhelmed with two now!

Juniper: High Fever on a Hot Summer Day is No Fun

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Juniper's fever persists, although I don't think it got up to 104 today. I've been giving her Tylenol to try to keep it down, so that is definitely helping her to feel better. She was pretty fussy all day, and just wanted to be held. We took Samuel to see WALL-E this afternoon (so good!), and Juniper pretty much slept the whole time. I think she enjoyed the coolness of the theater. It was hot today! The thermostat in our house read 91 degrees at 4PM. We don't have air conditioning, but there is a window a/c in Samuel's room upstairs (we don't have a thermostat upstairs, but I can only imagine it was at least 10 degrees hotter up there), so Sam, Juni, and I hung out and played in there for awhile to keep cool.

I'm going to miss Landon this week.


(Am I the only one who has noticed that WALL-E seemed to be modeled after a PC and EVE after a Mac?)

Birthday Party and Dinner and Concert with Friends

Saturday, July 12, 2008
We had a good time celebrating a friend of Samuel's 5th birthday today, then meeting friends for dinner before heading to one of Portland's concerts in the park. It was a little scary for me today, because Juniper suddenly came down with a fever last night, and by this evening, it was 104.5. Samuel never had a fever above 102 or so, and because I couldn't remember how high is too high, I called the advice line. Turns out babies normally handle fevers pretty well; the important thing is to monitor their diapers for signs of dehydration and that they are growing listless. Juniper so far is doing okay with hydration, but sleeping a lot, so I have to try to wake her so she can nurse. The doctor on-call said there is a virus where babies have a high fever for three days, then break out into a rash. Today is day 1, so we'll see if she shows a rash on Monday. She vomited twice tonight, but seems to be doing okay on hydration as she's had a wet diaper every four hours or so. Back to the rash that might happen after the third day--I have noticed a rash on her shoulder, but she's so sensitive to the heat that she sometimes gets light rashes when she gets hot. The other thing is it could be an ear infection as she's been touching her ears. I might bring her in on Monday if she isn't doing better, but more than likely, whatever it is will get better on its own. In the meantime, she's getting lots of love and attention. It's always so hard to see either of the kids sick!

Happy 5th Birthday, Logan!

Hood River Cherry Days

Friday, July 11, 2008

One day, I plan to have a cherry tree in my backyard. We used to have a big cherry tree in our backyard when I was a little girl, and my sisters and I would eat cherries for weeks on end in the summertime. These days, at $7.99 a pound for cherries at New Seasons, I've decided to head out to Hood River for Cherry Days this weekend to do some cherry picking. This is part of the Fruit Loop Celebrations and is July 12th and 13th. Check out the various farms at the link above. I think we're going to head out to the Draper Girls Country Farm. Maybe we'll see you there!

7 Months

Thursday, July 10, 2008
Juniper turned 7 months old today. She is a happy baby, loves to watch and interact with Sam, nurses to sleep for naps and at night, seems content to sit and play with what is around her (still not crawling!), and sleeps deepest between the hours of 11PM and 3AM, but seems to wake up every hour or two after that to nurse back to sleep. She is happiest during the morning and early afternoon, but gets a little fussier in the evenings. She cut both her lower central incisors, and is now working on a third. She likes baby food, but hasn't quite figured out how to open her mouth. She kind of quickly opens and shuts it long before the spoon reaches her mouth. I plan to order a food processor this week, then will begin making her baby food myself. Although I couldn't go anywhere without a pacifier for the first four months of her life, she now throws it if you give her one. We're still cosleeping, and loving every minute of it (well, almost).

Samuel had a playdate this morning, and had lots of fun with bubbles and sand with his new friend, Evan.

I'm going to have to get him one of those.

Evan and Samuel playing in a cardboard fort.

Sam's favorite toy of Evan's was a large snake from OMSI. Evan had several toys that were new to Samuel, and he had such a good time that it was hard on him when it was time to go. He told me on the way home that he wanted to stay at Evan's house for a week. I told him he would miss me if he were gone for a week to which he replied, "No, I wouldn't!" Nice.

After playing at Evan's, I took the kids to New Season's for some much-needed groceries. I haven't restocked the kitchen since our trip out east, and although my good friend Jen brought me some basics last week (along with an iced vanilla latte!), those basics have now dwindled--it was time to do some shopping.

Here are the kids before I started shopping. Still wondering to myself if this was to be a good or bad shopping experience.

Look at these silly kids. Always making each other laugh.

The shopping trip actually went well, but with the two kids, it takes twice as long (two hours), and is pretty energy-depleting. I saved a trip out to Target for later in the evening with Juniper once Landon was home to watch Samuel.

Sam took a few pictures of Juniper and I--his request! He said he wanted to take a few in a row. When we were on our trip out east, he told me he wanted to be a photographer when he grows up, but today when I asked him what he wanted to be, he said, "I want to be a Daddy, Mommy. Then I can pick up Juniper and give her back to you when she cries." Hmmm. Seems as though he's been watching Landon's parenting style a little too closely!

My 7 month girl. Still growing chubbier by the day. I didn't know rolls could form on shoulders, but Juniper is proof that this is possible. Her little shoulders are probably the most adorable things I have ever seen.

BREAKING NEWS: Samuel is now drinking water. Catch is that you have to tell him it's "fountain water." That's the only water he likes (apparently).


Wednesday, July 09, 2008
I left my car unlocked yesterday at Fred Meyer, only because I didn't think anyone would want to steal a diaper bag. I was right. But I had forgotten about my change drawer, which someone ripped out and emptied, all 29 pennies or so that were in there, as well as some dimes and quarters. I know it was only some loose change, but it still upset me that someone had been in the car. Stealing is one of those things for which I have just about zero tolerance. But, it was nice to get rid of all the pennies, I guess, and they didn't take anything else. Maybe they had enough for a beer or a cigarette. But can they really enjoy the beer knowing they robbed a Mom with two kids? I hope they felt at least some remorse, but I know, I know...most likely not.

Went to Urban Outfitters the other day, and Samuel had an accident slightly under a clothing rack. I went up to the counter and told an employee, a young girl with short hair in her early to mid-twenties, about the small puddle on their concrete floor. She stared at me blankly and said, "You're going to help us clean it up, AREN'T YOU?" I was a little taken off guard, but said, "Of course I will." She tried to explain herself. "You know, TECHNICALLY, we aren't supposed to touch that stuff." Then she looked down and saw Juniper, apparently felt sorry for me, and said, "You know, I'm going to let you off the hook THIS time, since you have your hands full, but in the future, you need to clean it up yourself." I was so annoyed, but for some reason, I said, "Are you sure, because it's not a problem. If you bring out a mop, I can clean it up." She said no, that she'd take care of it, and it was only as I was walking out of the store that I thought of all the things I SHOULD have said. Why I kept a pleasant voice inflection and still bought the shirt is anyone's guess. What's interesting is that at New Season's a few weeks ago, when Samuel threw up, the store manager told me when I insisted on cleaning it up myself that they are trained and want the area completely sanitized, so that they prefer to clean it up themselves. They were so accommodating that I took that experience and hoped for similar treatment at U.O. I had to make a conscious effort not to let that experience ruin my morning, and called the one person I knew I could count on to hear me out--my Mom! She told me all the things I wanted to hear, like it was her problem, and she probably doesn't have any kids, and is most likely too self-centered to worry about anyone else but herself. JUST what I needed to hear. I felt better almost immediately. Until Samuel had another accident in his carseat. Then I didn't know who to call!

Our neighbor hired a canine search and rescue professional to track down her missing cat. She stood crying in her driveway for thirty minutes when they found the site a few blocks away where it had been killed and eaten by a raccoon. It amazes me that those dogs can pinpoint one cat's scent in a neighborhood full of cats, dogs, wild animals, and humans.

Then there was the tragedy in my parent's beautiful backyard pond. They had over thirty koi in there that were about twelve to thirteen years old. Well, the filter malfunctioned big time and by morning, the entire pond had drained to the ground. By the time my Dad woke up in the morning, it was empty, and all the koi were lost. Surprisingly, their largest slowly came to once they started refilling the pond. It's gills slowly started moving, and with a lot of care, it has survived. Four babies also made it, but thirty-one others perished. My parents are really devastated. My Dad had to use a wheelbarrow to haul them all away. It was a sad day for them, and just one day after their thirty-second wedding anniversary. Today they purchased 19 babies, but it will be another decade or so before they reach the size of the ones they lost.

I promise this wasn't supposed to be a negative post, but Landon just dropped his ipod down the basement stairs, and it is making a strange sound and all that is displayed on the screen is a frown face with a note to contact Apple support.

Some things I'm thinking about this week:
--New paint for the kitchen--would love suggestions!
--Purchasing a food processor.
--How much I'd love a Nikon D80 and Photoshop installed on my Mac.
--Ways to be more creative personally, for my kids, and in the house and garden (blogs like Soule Mama inspire me). I just might take up sewing.

Paper Pile, Interrupted!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Paper piles stress me out, so they are rare around my house, but this magazine pile, which I started sometime before we left for the east coast is now setting off my internal stress alarm. I have declared tonight a night for reading magazines. It's too hot to do much else, and I've already become overwhelmed with deciding on a paint color for the kitchen. I hid the trashy ones, as there is at least one In Touch and, okay, maybe an US Magazine, too. You know you're looking at a night of simple reading when you see a spread entitled "Just Like Us!" There, you will find that stars (just like us) drink from water bottles, pay parking meters, go for walks, and even talk on their cell phones! Amazing!

Actually, I do have some great magazines in there that I'm looking forward to reading. Magazines like Fine Gardening, Portland Monthly, This Old House, and Mothering.

Oh, and one more thing--paper piles only stress me out at my house, not at yours!

Let's Pretend

Monday, July 07, 2008
The theme of Sam's summer camp this week is "Let's Pretend," so it was perfect timing that he brought home a safari hat from Dylan's party yesterday. He wore it to school, where we found a big pile of dress up clothes. I don't know how much Samuel participated with dress-up, but he sure likes his safari hat!

Picture Samuel took of me on the way out the door to summer camp. I asked him on our trip what he wants to do when he grows up, and he said he wants to take pictures. He's getting a little better so we're thinking about buying him a camera built for kids so he can practice more than he's able to with our camera. When he's a little older, one of our friends gave us their old digital camera that he can use. He'll be uploading to his own computer and editing in Photoshop before I know it!

While Samuel was at camp, Juniper slept for two hours! It was such a nice break!

Birthday Party!

Sunday, July 06, 2008
One of Samuel's friends, Dylan, turns four this week, and his Mom (my good friend, Jen), planned a fun safari-themed birthday party for him at a local park. The kids all had a great time & Samuel played for about four hours, more than adequately energized by chocolate cupcakes and lollipops! The kids all took home safari hats and binoculars, as well as safari animal figurines. It was a fun party. Here are a few pictures:

Samuel announced to Jen what Dylan's gift was long before it was opened: a dinosaur transformer and a wooden fruit and vegetable play set (great toy for coordination and imaginative play--I highly recommend!).

Dylan opening presents.

There were lots of cupcakes for everyone. Samuel had more than his share!

Landon and I had a good time, too. Here is a picture of the dads playing around with a soccer ball at the party. Happy 4th, Dylan!

To Mix or Not to Mix?

Saturday, July 05, 2008
For years my parents have debated about whether or not to serve spaghetti with the sauce mixed in or over the top. Tonight I made spaghetti and couldn't figure out how I wanted to serve it. I think I like it both ways, but one benefit to not mixing pasta and sauces together is that in the event you boil too much pasta, you can make sure you have enough sauce to cover if you put it over the top. Of course, you can also slowly add the pasta to the sauce until you have the right amount. I'm pretty sure the traditional way is to serve spaghetti with the sauce over the top, but I could be wrong. How do you like your spaghetti?

Happy 4th of July!

Friday, July 04, 2008
Today was a long, but fun, day! Landon left around 1PM for Fiddle Tunes, and I took Samuel to the only place I could find that was opened today--Fred Meyer--for a small aquarium for his crawfish, Daisy. She's thriving and is now officially a family pet, so she needed an upgrade to a decent habitat, as she's been living in a small sand bucket for the past three weeks. We no sooner arrived home when my parents stopped in for a surprise visit, and we ended up going out to dinner with them at Newport Bay before heading to St. Helens for a BBQ and fireworks.

Samuel laughed and laughed in delight when the fireworks started up.

We watched in my friend Amy's backyard, whose house sits right along the Columbia River.

There were lots of kids there, and Samuel had fun playing on their large property that is completely fenced in, as well as in their sandbox!
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