Thursday, July 31, 2014

summer reading at the library

The Multnomah County Public Library has a summer reading program for children that encourages and rewards them for reading over the summer months. Steve and I both have semi-fond memories of such programs from our own childhoods. I seem to remember some kind of racing wall at the local branch of the Edmonton Public Library, with a personalized piece that you moved along the gameboard as you read books. Steve remembers the moment when he discovered he'd read exponentially more books than the next closest reader in his class, and the social embarrassment that ensued.

Anyway. Back to the present. We signed Sebastian and Liesl up for the program a week or two ago - a bit late, but I didn't know what to expect and was managing to encourage enough reading as it was. But we got onboard and then discovered the intermediate prizes that they could earn after reading (or being read to) for a certain number of minutes, and we were all super impressed.  Free admission to the zoo, Children's Museum, PlaydatePDX, the ice-skating rink, various swim parks....  coupons for free food at a doughnut shop, at Chipotle, and at Grand Central Bakery.  Seb picked out a ticket for admission to the pool, and Liesl (no surprise here) went for the treats. She got a coupon for Grand Central Bakery this morning at 10, we went directly to the shop, and my girl got a cinnamon bun as big as her head. :)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

mini-golf at Oaks Amusement Park

And, just for fun, climbing the trees at Sellwood Playground:

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Mom's day out!

I spent Saturday hiking in the Mt. Hood National Forest with a group of mom friends. We did a seven mile loop to Ramona Falls, which was amazingly beautiful. Even better, three of us went out on Friday night, spent the night at the Mazama Lodge, and then enjoyed a more leisurely morning. We ended our hike with a decadent, celebratory all-you-can-eat brunch at Timberline Lodge. It was a wonderful day, a much-needed break from the children and chores and everyday routine, in excellent company.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Elowah Falls and Upper McCord Falls

We hiked to Elowah Falls with our friends, and had a wonderful time splashing, clambering, throwing rocks, and picnicking. After they all went home, we three continued an additional mile up to McCord Creek Falls - same river, just higher elevation - we got a great view along the Columbia River and a very sheer drop (with railing) down to the streambed we'd just been splashing in. It was pretty neat.

Friday, July 18, 2014

fear and swimming

We have had swimming lessons every day for the last two weeks, and both children have made wonderful progress. Liesl actually swam today - kicking and floating and moving forward - for the first time. It was fantastic.  Sebastian is still struggling to overcome his fear of the water, particularly submerging his face and head under the water. He hates to get water in his nose and often panics and inhales water into his mouth. It's hard. But at least this time he gave it his best shot, really trying to get his face in and go under the water.

the reader

And just like that, our boy is a reader. An avid one. It's amazing and wonderful and makes Steve and me both nostalgic for our childhoods.  We were both the sort of children who were happy to disappear for hours into stories, who read constantly (annoyingly!).  So to watch Sebastian become enthralled with his ability to read is magical.  Some vignettes, for me to remember:

We arrived at the SWCC for swim lessons and he walked across the parking lot with a book held up in front of his face. Walking and reading! I remember it so well.
He wouldn't come in to the coffee shop with me because he preferred to keep reading his book in the car.

He asked me to read a chapter of his book, and when I said I couldn't because I was busy, he replied "Fine, I'll read it myself", and did. 

I almost - almost! - said to him the other night: "Get your nose out of that book and come to the table for dinner!" But I laughed at the thought, and reflected again on the justice of karmic revenge, and instead asked him nicely to come when he finished the chapter. Which he did.

We are keeping track of the number of books he's read so far this summer, and are up to 49 already. I had promised to buy him a book at Powell's for every ten books he read, not realizing I was committing to quite so many!

His favorite books right now are the Thornton Burgess Bedtime Story books, a set of 26 books written 100 years ago and bought by my dad for Carl and me. I remember reading and re-reading them as a kid. I can't believe that these are his first real books! Really shows the enduring value and quality of the characters and stories.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Mirror Lake

On Wednesday we met up with our friends Mary and Rowan and headed out to the Mt. Hood national forest to hike up to Mirror Lake. It's about 1.5 miles to the lake, which is warm and shallow enough for splashing and wading, and perfectly reflects the snow-capped loveliness of the mountain. We had last hiked this trail in August 2012, before we moved to Portland, in company with my parents. (Here's a link to see photos from that day:  It was great to be back. Seb and Liesl made the 3-mile round trip easily and Liesl loved splashing in the lake.