Saturday, January 21, 2017

Liesl plays basketball

Liesl is playing basketball this winter through the local YMCA. The league is coed but she's playing on an all-girls team consisting entirely of friends from her kinder class, coached by the dad of one girl. (He has two older daughters, who he has coached for years, and a background as a competitive basketball player; from what I saw today he's going to be an outstanding coach.)

They did some running to warm up and then stretches, picked a team name - the Lightning, did some dribbling drills, passing drills, and a shooting practice. They were so happy and bouncy and loud and fun to watch - it was wonderful. (The pics are bad; I only had my phone. But they capture some of the spirit.)
video


Friday, January 20, 2017

lanterns for Lunar New Year

On Wednesday morning, PPS finally decided that our children were heading back to school (with a two-hour delayed start, but still very welcome news!). We've had 9 snow days so far this year - 4 in December, and 5 in January - plus 2 weeks for Christmas and MLK Day. Basically, we've forgotten what school is, and what work is, and we're just hanging out together at home. :)

One small nice thing: when there's snow on the ground and covering his soccer field, Sebastian loves to go out for walks with us. He kept saying, every day at some point, "Do you want to go out for a walk with me? Maybe down to the pond? How about up the hill, or the Bompy loop?" He would bring along his trusty red sled and throw himself onto it at every slight decline, shooting headfirst downhill. It was altogether delightful to have his enthusiastic company on so many snow tromps. Nice to exercise together; nice to talk and laugh with him.

Before school started on Wednesday, we decorated for the upcoming Chinese New Year. Liesl drew a dragon and a rooster; I wrote some Chinese characters; all three of us made paper lanterns.
On Tuesday, I baked a huge pumpkin bread and made them write about their winter vacations and snow days. Grumbling ensued, kept in check by the promise of some videos later in the day.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Go Steelers!

The Steelers are in the playoffs - the Steelers are always in the playoffs! - and my boys are super excited. There've been two games so far and they're scheduled to play the Patriots on 3 pm this Sunday. For the first game, they wanted to go out to a local Steelers bar, but there was too much ice on the roads to drive our little Civic out of here. Then our power went out just before the game started, so Steve was reduced to watching the game on his phone, with a sketchy wireless connection, hoping his phone didn't run out of battery. This past Sunday was better; we made it to a restaurant with a giant tv screen to watch the first half. We ordered nachos and pulled pork sandwiches and fish tacos and enjoyed the game. We headed home at half time to get the kids to bed, and Steve watched the Steelers beat the Chiefs.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Tamanawas Falls

Despite the cold temperatures (8 degrees when we stepped out of the car) and the occasional complaint from the children (cold toes), we hiked over snow to the amazingly beautiful, frozen Tamanawas Falls today. It was a gorgeous day - blue skies, deep snow, Oregon forest - and I was so happy to be out with my family.
Liesl was so proud of herself for making it - and we were proud of her too. The hike was about 4 miles round trip on top of packed snow, and given the cold we couldn't stop for rest or snack breaks, or even to play much in the snow. When she saw the falls she started running down toward it, skipping occasionally in glee.
Someone hung a gold-flecked ornament on a tree along the trail. It was delightful to find it.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Hood River escape

We decided to escape our neighborhood for the long weekend, and headed out to Hood River. I was excited about the prospect of hiking to see the frozen waterfall at Tamanawas Falls; Steve was excited to have a family adventure out of town; Liesl was excited to swim in a hotel pool; Sebastian was excited to watch tv. :)

Some friends (the Reulands!) had stayed at the Best Western here, and the pictures of the heated outdoor pool looked amazing, so we decided to give it a shot. As it turned out, it's 18 degrees and windy here, which is really very very cold. We tried to get out of the car in the Gorge to see frozen Multnomah Falls, but it was so frigid that we only lasted 5 minutes. We arrived at noon, ate an enormous pizza lunch at a brewery, and Steve had a tasting flight of beer, which led to some sweet giddiness - and tried again to play outside. This time we managed to sled for 20 minutes before everyone was freezing and we headed for the hotel.
They let us check in early and so we got cozy, watched some football on tv, and then headed for the hot tub and pool. It was freezing out there. The wind was blowing and it took all of our brave powers to walk outside in bathing suits to jump into the pool. There was snow and ice on the pool deck and we were barefooted!!! Sebastian, reasonably, decided this was crazy and stayed in the indoor hot tub. But Liesl and I got warmed up and then made the jump. It was amazing to be out there in a warm pool, looking up at a blue sky, surrounded by snow; it was extremely weird to feel your face and hair freezing while your submerged body was warm. We had a great time and I felt exhilarated afterwards.

After that, getting dressed in all of our warm clothes to leave the hotel felt like too much work, so we went downstairs to the hotel restaurant to eat dinner. Liesl set up her cozy little space for sleeping - we read books and Steve told a story - and then we tucked in early. We'll see if tomorrow finds us feeling more adventurous.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

today's snow photos

Anne and Cuong's power went out at 7 pm last night - a tree fell onto their power line - and so we invited them to come over and sleep at our place. They drove slowly but arrived safely, and we tucked in Camille and got to sit around talking and eating cake - a happily impromptu gathering. Anne went off to work at OHSU this morning but Cuong and Camille spent the day playing with us in the snow. It was a gorgeously sunny day, perfect for sledding, tromping, fort-building, and diving headfirst into snow drifts.

This hill provided a truly terrifying/exhilarating sledding experience. I have some videos to post later of Sebastian, Steve, Cuong, and Liesl flying down and ending up with face-fulls of snow.