Sunday, February 24, 2013

"I didn't mean to!"

It has become one of Liesl's, and by the miracle of copycat-ism Sebastian's, favorite phrases. Spill your milk? I didn't mean to! Pee on the floor? I didn't mean to! Fall off your chair? I didn't mean to! Hit your sibling? I didn't mean to!

We've tried to talk with them about the problem with acting in such a way that you could expect a bad thing might occur, either based on experience, common sense, or mommy's warnings, and why it is important to pay attention.  But Steve at dinner tonight decided to take a different route.  He gave them a lecture on fault and criminal liability - I lost track, but there was talk of intention, and negligence, and recklessness, and strict liability...  There may have been some Latin terms thrown around.  :)  We'll see if that works.

In a side note, I am feeling much restored from my previous post.  The children and I went on some lovely hikes over the last few days, on different parts of the Wildwood trail and around Hoyt Arboretum. The redwood and cedar trees in the arboretum were particularly wonderful. Sebastian and I have decided we'd like to hike the whole 27 miles of the Wildwood trail through Forest Park, bit by bit. I'm going to print out a map so we can start coloring in the parts we've already done.  It's so fun to watch Liesl growing so much faster and stronger - she ran and skipped and kept up for a whole hour-long hike on Saturday morning. We also went to the farmer's market and bought tasty things, and ate some meals out, and I played frisbee today and had a fantastic time again, and in general I'm ready for another week. Phew.

Friday, February 22, 2013

ugh. argh. blech.

Yesterday was one of those days that I really wanted to go to work. Or anywhere, really, as long as my children were not with me.  In fact, best of all would have been a daycare to drop them off at, so I could be home, peaceful and alone. Or out and about, also peacefully alone.  In looking back at all my blog posts, there's a lot of joy and adventure, and right now I feel compelled to record and thus remember that not all days are fun and happy.  Liesl woke up too early, and woke up Sebastian, and they were both grouchy all day. And so was I. We argued and yelled at each other, and dawdled unnecessarily, and picked fights, and were ungrateful, and wouldn't let things go, etc.  And I had a long list of chores, none of which could be done with two grouchy children around, which only exacerbated my grouchiness.

Today was better. The children still woke up too early, and my long list of chores is still long, but somehow it all worked out better.

As a side note, I really do not like housework. I especially hate dusting, but really - scrubbing, vacuuming, bathrooms, more scrubbing... what's to like?  I was out on Tuesday for a mom's night out, which was super fun, but a couple of moms were casually discussing their cleaning schedules and strategies and I thought, "Wow. I am a total slob, and my house is a dirty mess, compared to these women. I am not a good housewife."  :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

the best ever!

Sebastian places foods into two rating categories: "not the best", and "the best I've ever had in my whole life".*  Popo's blueberry pie fell into the latter category, and received its very own drawing in honor:
 *I guess, in all honesty, there's a third and fourth category. The "no, thank you" category, which means he really doesn't want to eat any more of the particular food, and the "spit it out immediately onto the plate" category, which earns him angry looks from mama.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Japanese Garden

It was free admission day at the Japanese Garden, and since it was President's Day and partly sunny, it was unbelievably crowded. There were lines. It was the antithesis of the meditative experience one is intended to have. Despite that, we had a lovely time - the children thrilled at the carp, danced over the little stone paths and bridges, tried their best to fall into various ponds, giggled madly at a tilting water spout, and happily gazed at the view of the city. (One mishap: before I could realize what she was about to do, Liesl ran out onto the smoothly raked pebble garden, leaving her footprints and disturbing the perfectly straight lines. Oops.)

Wildwood trail

On Sunday morning we hiked a portion of the Wildwood trail from Cornell Road up to Pittock mansion. The trail went straight up all the way there, with lots of switchbacks at the top. It was partly sunny and so we could see the whole downtown and east side spread out below us once we were at the peak.  Sebastian did great, and Liesl consented to be carried up (she ran down on her own). 

We had mortadella and sausages from Olympic Provisions for lunch, and then while the children and Steve napped I went to check out an all-women "master's level" (30 years and up) pickup frisbee game. It was great - really really fun to play again, and very different to play against only other women.  I was rusty, of course, and it took me awhile to figure out that they were playing a different field setup than I was accustomed to, but once I got into it I had a terrific time. I'll definitely go back.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

buses, trains, and water-buses (repeat)

No trip to visit Popo and Grampa would be complete without a jaunt into Vancouver via bus and train. And then, for good measure, another short bus ride, and a water-bus ride across False Creek. My boy gets spoiled.  :)  In between, we visited a kids marketplace on Granville Island, filled with toy shops and children's clothing, poked our heads around some clothing and pottery shops, chased pigeons, and had lunch in the market. Fried fish =  yum.  We also happened upon a very old steam engine, from 1887, an outpost of the Canada Heritage Railway museum, and climbed aboard to ring the bell.


Roaring like a lion at the pigeons

In the toy store, Grandpa tried to interest Liesl in various stuffed animals and dogs, but she kept returning to this one dog, a pink-jacketed chihuahua.  She could not be dissuaded, and Bompy is a softie, and so he bought it for her. We've named it Lucky, and it's lucky indeed.
bike rack, aka climbing gym

salmon fish and chips for lunch

Seb getting to steer the water-bus.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Liesl's baby Poppy

Popo made a new party dress for Liesl's baby doll - the baby came from aunt Mary at Christmas, and has been named Poppy. We have a beautiful stroller for it (a Graco jogging stroller) from Grandma Raab, and a lovely outfit of green and pink pants and jumper from Great-aunt Adele's Christmas money.  Lucky Poppy. Liesl loves her baby.  (She also loves her lamb, which she calls Lambie, and which she refers to, strangely, as "my sister".)

Monday, February 11, 2013

visiting Popo and Bompy

We drove up yesterday morning from Portland to Surrey, BC, to visit mom and dad Avery (Popo and Bompy to my children). Seattle was a trafficky mess - bumper to bumper traffic going 10 miles an hour on a Sunday afternoon - but otherwise the drive was easy. The kids did really well, reading books, singing songs, eating snacks, looking at trucks and horses, lifting their feet over bridges, and napping. It took us about five hours, with one stop for gas, coffee, and restrooms.

We immediately went to the playground to burn off some energy, and then had some of mom's delicious food - roast pork loin, rice, squash, zucchini, Chinese greens. Aunt Dianna and uncle Rick joined us for dinner, and Seb played mousey mousey with Dianna, to his great glee.

Today we went for a long walk at Campbell River park, through a forest, along a river, and across a boardwalk that went through a marsh. There were lots of ducks and wrens in the area and we fed them birdseed. You could hold out your hand and the birds would alight on you briefly to eat the nuts and seeds. Sebastian was fascinated and very patiently held out his hand for the birds, hoping one would land on him - after a long time, one did come, which made him really happy.

There is a construction site next door to Popo and Bompy's house, with an enormous crane lifting lumber, lots of men working, and a big condo unit structure going up. Seb and dad have been watching out the window for long stretches of time, talking about what's going on. So for writer's workshop today, Seb made a drawing of the site. There's the crane, a forklift with operator, the three separate building units, and best of all, arrows showing how the chain of the crane is moving through space from one place to another.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Writer's workshop

During his stint in kindergarten, Sebastian had 'readers workshop' and 'writers workshop', opportunities to read books to himself and to draw and illustrate his own stories. Writers workshop was a real struggle - he didn't like to draw, didn't feel confident or comfortable at it, often took so long to get started that he was unable to finish, and in general just didn't seem to be getting as much out of it as he could have. Since early January, though, we have instituted our own writers workshop after lunchtime a few days a week, and he's made some really great strides in his conceptual approach to writing and drawing. Just in the last six weeks he's gone from mostly abstract squiggles and lines, to actually attempting to color within the lines and make designs in coloring books, to illustrating his own stories and experiences. It's been fantastic to watch.
coloring in the train, with attention to details
crazy striped cars
I love this pirate ship
It's me! :)
Red Mac, a truck from the Cars movie
the Max train and the local shuttle bus and the 20 bus
scenes from Harold and the Purple Crayon - the apple tree
Harold in the balloon, with moon

zoo, with giant turtle
a painting for Daddy - playing soccer together, and a setting sun
Sebastian and me, with flowers, sun, and blue sky. :)
Daddy and a cart full of luggage
trail off Burnside up into Washington Park - many steps, and we did indeed get higher than the six story apartment building on Burnside.  20 bus running alongside.

apple tree for mama, birds in the sky
Giraffe, and the 20 bus
Red Mac, with Lightning inside the truck

Thursday, February 7, 2013


I liberally sprinkle endearments on my children - honey, sweetpea, lovie, cutie-pie, pumpkin - and lately they have been returning the favor.  Sebastian has started saying "Don't cry, my sweet potato," when I get frustrated or upset.  (It's a line from a book we have about Oliver and Amanda, pig siblings.)  And Liesl will say, "I'm coming, honey!" when I call for her. It's so adorable, and cracks me up.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Valentine's crafts

We spent yesterday afternoon making some heart banners for Valentine's day decorations. I got the idea* from Kiwi Crate Studios online and it worked out really well - the kids both had fun cutting, gluing, sticking, and glittering the hearts, and the banners look bright and cheery in our dining room windows.

(I should mention I'm the least crafty of people - disliked art class in elementary school, still cannot draw, and rarely have any spontaneous ideas for arts and crafts projects. :)  But I'm trying!  I love online sources of ideas, though - I need other people's imaginations and advice.)

A lot of parenthood feels very natural to me - I love to read, cuddle, and play outside.  I don't feel conflicted about my role as a teacher and disciplinarian, and cooking for my family is often a source of joy and pleasure. I love knowing that I'm feeding them good food, and I love watching them eat my meals and baked treats.  But there are moments when I feel very much like I'm pretending - pretending to be a mom, pretending I know what I'm doing, acting out a role that I don't fully inhabit. That's definitely how I felt yesterday - there we were, happily doing an arts project in the afternoon, a pot of black beans and a pot of rice bubbling on the stove, and I thought, "Huh. wow. I'm kind of like a stay at home mom. This is crazy!! I can't believe this is where I am and what I'm doing, and really, are hearts and glitter glue all that I've got? Is this really me, doing arts and crafts?"  But then I calmed down and reflected, and really, I'm really very happy right now with this situation. The children are happy and more relaxed, our home and assorted to-do lists are in better shape, we're eating better than we ever have because I have time to make everything, and Steve is feeling healthier than he has for years.  And I love our days together.  But making things is never going to be my area of strength, which is totally fine, and I think I'll continue to feel like I'm faking it when I do get a good project going.

hiking the Wildwood trail, with our trusty sticks

popcorn happiness
eating her burrito (took two hands! and a number of re-wrappings)