Friday, December 2, 2016

questions and answers

We played a question game at the dinner table tonight - we've played before (it's a box of questions), with mixed results in terms of generating conversation and interesting answers. But tonight, Sebastian was particularly into the game and really focused on reading and answering questions, and it was fun.

What is your most favorite family activity?
L: going all together to the children's museum
S: playing soccer all together at the field.
Bri: going for hikes together

What was your best family vacation?
Bend trip last April
Victoria trip in August with family
camping with friends last summer at Beverly Beach

What is the worst thing you have made in the kitchen?
B: wood soup (avocado-cucumber soup with chips of a wooden spoon); raw turkey (Thanksgiving 2013); apple upside-down cake (oven smoking and catching on fire)

If you could go on a family vacation anywhere in the world, where would you go?
S: Nowhere. I like to stay home.
Bri: Italy. Hawaii. New Zealand.
L: New York.
Steve: Yes to all of those!! And Spain too.

What is your favorite time of day?
S: 11:11
Bri: dinnertime
Steve: late afternoon
L: when was I born?

Would you rather time travel fifty years forward or fifty years into the past?
We all agreed on going forward fifty years.

What is the most important lesson your parents have taught you?
Steve: to act in an ethical manner, to love people, to value what is important
S: to have table manners at dinner time
Bri: that it's really important to always show up, to do your best, and to keep your commitments

And then Steve made up some of his own questions for the children.

What is love?
S: When you like someone so much you just want to be with them and around them all the time.

Why do people get married?
L: So they can have company and take care of the children. And to have children.

Why do children go to school?
L: So they can learn to read and write and do math; also, so that their parents can go to work.

What are numbers?
S: I don't know. I don't understand the question.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

annual checkups

We had our annual visit to the pediatrician today - it was very straightforward, happily, as both children are healthy and thriving.

Sebastian at 9 weighs 54 lbs and is 51.5 inches tall.
Liesl at 6 weighs 45 lbs and is 45.5 inches tall.

(Interestingly, Sebastian at 6 was 42 lbs and 44.75 inches tall, so Liesl is running taller by a hair.)

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

the end of the beginning

On Saturday, we were sprinting single laps around the track at the school field, timing ourselves. (6 laps makes a mile.)  Sebastian ran three laps in 1 minute each (1:00, 1:02, 1:01). Liesl ran three laps, getting faster with each one (1:37, 1:24, 1:22). I had gone for a 3-mile run before beginning this little competition, but still, my lap took 1:06. Yep, that's right, Sebastian is officially faster than his mama.

In other news, we played chess and were fairly even. We made anagrams from the word Thanksgiving and both got about a dozen words. (Steve got 50 or so.)

It's the end of the beginning, in my mind. I thought I would feel more depressed about this turn - older, perhaps - but I'm instead happy to see him growing and thriving in such good ways.

Liesl and I went to a pottery painting studio on Saturday while Steve nursed a cold and Sebastian played at the school field with a rotating assortment of his friends. We stayed for a couple of hours, happily chattering and painting away. She was able to really focus this year and spend time on her projects, and I liked being there with her. We'll definitely do it again.
As always, the advent of cold weather and dark nights has brought us inside, to play more board games and re-find our crafty things. We've been playing lots of different games - Qwirkle, Ticket to Ride, Busytown, Sherlock, Ducks in a Row, Duck Duck Bruce. Sebastian completed a 300-piece puzzle of American license plates, largely on his own. We've been playing a lot with Mosaic tile pieces, as below. I like the seasons and that each has its own joys and pleasures.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

We had a lovely Thanksgiving day - the first time in Portland that I haven't cooked T-day dinner myself! It was nice to take the year off and enjoy the vacation day with less stress. We spent the morning at PG, climbing in the empty gym with Adrienne, Jeff, Luna, Anja, and our kiddos. And then in the afternoon we went to the Hoangs, to enjoy an amazing dinner cooked by Anne and the sweet company of her family, visiting from California.

I brought a purple cabbage salad, dressed up with dates, pistachios, apples, and feta. I had intended to bring one dessert, but then couldn't make up my mind and on Wednesday morning baked both a cranberry bread and an apple cake. And then on Weds night at 8:30, Anne texted to say that she had forgotten to pick up the pies from the bakery!! No pie?! Unacceptable!! This was just my kind of crisis - the perfect situation for me to be the heroine. I made a pie crust that night and mixed an oat-almond crumble topping, and on Thursday baked a pumpkin pie with cheesecake swirl and a marionberry-blueberry crisp.
Sadly, no photos were taken of the delightful food or company at Anne's, but this morning our family had leftover pie for breakfast and I captured the spread.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

art museum

On Wednesday, the children were off school and I took a vacation day, and we went on a rainy-day adventure to the Portland Art Museum. It was an unexpectedly great visit - unexpected because the morning began with grouchiness and tantrums and also because previous forays have been marked with a good deal of whining. I gave each child a digital camera and permission to take as many photos as they liked, of whatever they liked, with the goal of remembering their favorite pieces and possibly re-creating them at home later.

We saw a special exhibit on Andy Warhol first, and then spent smaller amounts of time looking at exhibits of Japanese kimonos, Pacific Northwest native art and then contemporary art, some contemporary light/sound/digital installations, and a few impressionist works. We were there for two hours and had a really good time talking about the pieces, comparing them, selecting favorites, looking at the paint and brushstrokes and paper, discussing why art is expensive and why some art is in museums, etc.

These were Sebastian's photos:
These are Liesl's photos: 
This was the Warhol piece that Liesl decided to reproduce at home later on - her efforts can be seen in the drawing below. I like how she tried to capture the green grass.

After the museum, we went to the library, and then out to lunch, and then made it back home for an hour before Liesl had gymnastics practice. It was a good day together.

Monday, November 21, 2016

an exciting day

Sunday started very early... at 5 am... with the excitement of a chirping carbon monoxide alarm in Sebastian's bedroom. Steve got up and replaced the batteries and we waited, and it started chirping again. We started Googling what the chirps meant and how worried we should be, while opening up all the windows and doors. Once we felt the house was completely ventilated (freezing!), we closed it up and the alarm kept going off. Sebastian by this point was freaked out and left to go over to the school field, his safe and happy place. We called 911 and reported that although it was not an emergency, and we all felt fine, we thought it best to have someone check it out.

And then this happened:
A whole firefighter crew and their truck, pulling up in front of our house at 8 in the morning. Nice. As quickly became clear, there was no carbon monoxide anywhere, just an alarm that was chirping to tell us it was five years old and needed to be replaced.

We went about our day as usual, but then upon returning home from dinner out with the Hoangs found the neighborhood very dark. Extremely dark. No power anywhere in the immediate vicinity. We checked online (thank goodness for cellphones) and discovered that it had gone out just 30 minutes before we arrived. We got flashlights, lit candles, and tucked the (once again slightly nervous) children into bed. Power was restored an hour later, so no harm done to our food. Crazy day.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Dr. Daisy, super-hero

Liesl went to her room, spent some time with her dress-up chest, and came down as a superhero Dr. Daisy. She had a light saber, she had a bag of supplies, she was ready to do good and fight bad and rescue those who needed rescuing. "Dr. Daisy never loses a fight!" she says. She's adorable and fierce.