Sunday, August 31, 2014

Grandma and Grandpa visit

Sebastian and Liesl were beyond thrilled to have the Raabs visiting this week - they crept downstairs at 6 am every morning and divided up - Sebastian and Grandpa going over to the school field to play soccer, and Liesl and Grandma cuddling in bed and reading stories. Both kids loved it. And, as an amazing bonus, I was able to sleep in until 6:30 for the first time in years!

It's always sweet to see your children show love and affection, and this was an amazing visit for that. There was a lot of hugging and cuddling, and requests for Grandma and Grandpa to do bedtime tuck-in, to read stories, to sit next to them at the table, to play games. There's always been such a wonderful bond there and I'm so happy that our long-distance move hasn't affected it.

We took some longer trips to Mt. Hood and Cannon Beach as well as exploring many city adventures - Peninsula Park, the Rose Garden at Washington Park, the farmers market at PSU, the Balch Creek trail.  We treated ourselves to ice cream at Salt & Straw, brunched at Besaw's and Simpatica, and ate a truly amazing dinner at Pono Farms.

All in all, a wonderful visit. "Come back soon!" say Seb and Liesl (and their parents)...

Saturday, August 30, 2014

first week of work!

I started my new job at Portland State University on Monday the 18th, and it's been a roller coaster of emotions. Some days have felt great - getting to know the faculty and other advisers, meeting students, learning the ropes - and other days have felt sad - I miss the children, I miss being outside in the sunshine, I'm not used to sitting still all day. And there's so much to learn!  It's going to take me a while to get up to speed on all the policies and processes and curricula, not to mention the exceptions, and I get a little anxious thinking about it. I'd like to be confident and competent, and I'm not there yet.

I know it's normal to have these mixed feelings of anticipation and nostalgia, and I expect I'll enjoy work even more when I get into the swing of the term, but change is always discombobulating.  On my first day, Sebastian told me he wished I could just stay home with him instead, and Liesl said she didn't want to go to daycare (she starts in mid-September).  But I have confidence that as a family, we'll get there. I think the children will enjoy being in classrooms with their peers once they get over their initial feelings of worry and anticipation.

summer pictures

Sebastian and his new Barca jersey. He loves it. He would like to wear it every day.
Liesl pretending to be the queen, with Seb as her humble servant.
a cat costume, made by Popo for me many years ago.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Cannon Beach

We took Grandma and Grandpa to Cannon Beach to dip their toes into the Pacific Ocean and enjoy the sand and sun and salty air. We drove out around noon and spent the whole afternoon there, playing in the sand, jumping the waves, and eating ice cream cones and fried clams, fish and chips, for dinner. It was a beautiful day.
This group of boys dug an enormous hole - probably 10 feet deep by 6 feet wide - in the sand. It was amazing to see. Liesl of course wanted to go down in there and they obliged by helping her down. :)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

1st grade!

We finally received a note from Forest Park regarding Sebastian's teacher and placement for this upcoming school year. It was a bit of a surprise - he's been placed into a blended classroom, half first graders and half 2nd graders. FP doesn't have a history of such mixed classes, but the enrollment numbers for this school year were right at an awkward level for both grades. There would have been two first grade classrooms with 30-32 students each, and the same for second grade; we were not excited at the prospect of Sebastian getting lost in the mix.  And yet, and yet... he was worried the big kids would be mean to him, we were worried that he wouldn't have lunch and recess with the rest of his class cohort, and we had a lot of questions.

Yesterday we got to meet his new teacher, Mrs. Fink, check out the classroom, and ask some questions. We were relieved to learn that it seems like a really well thought out plan, with a lot of support - eleven kids from each grade, a veteran teacher, a teacher's aide for two hours a day and a student teacher three days a week, and his lunch break with the rest of the first graders instead of the second graders. One of his best friends from last year is in the class, along with two girls who live in our neighborhood, so Sebastian feels like he'll have a built-in network already.  All in all, we're now feeling really excited about next week and his 1st grade experience.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Trillium Lake

We drove up to Mt. Hood this morning to get a closer look at our local volcano and visit a mountain lake...  it was a gorgeous day. The lake was clear and cold, the picnic was tasty, and the walk circumnavigating the lake just perfect.
Afterwards we stopped by Timberline Lodge for some sightseeing - I somehow failed to get any pics of the historic lodge, but it was fun to be up there on the slopes of Mt. Hood, overlooking the forests down below and the peaks in the distance.
Grandpa was worn out from the fresh air and exercise (and the driving), and was gifted with baby Foofoo for his late-day nap. :)

with Grandma and Grandpa in the roses

Grandma and Grandpa Raab arrived on Friday afternoon, to the children's delight. Sebastian has a new soccer mate, Liesl has a new teaparty friend, and everyone is doing very well.

We headed to the farmers market on Saturday morning and stocked up on our amazing Oregon produce for the week. Liesl took a couple of photos with my phone...
In the afternoon we went to the Washington Park Rose Garden, where the roses are in full bloom:

Friday, August 22, 2014

bike adventure!

We had a wonderful family biking adventure on Wednesday - Steve took the day off work, and we headed out on I-84 toward the Columbia River Gorge. We biked a section of the Historic Columbia River Highway trail, a restored road that was built in the 1920s as a Sunday sightseeing cruise for Portlanders, but fell into disrepair when it was replaced by I84. There are still gaps in the bike trail, including a break where you have to carry your bike up 63 steps, but it's beautiful and scenic. We biked from Toothrock Trailhead to the Bridge of the Gods, about 8 miles round trip.  On the way back we saw a gorgeously fern-covered creek and decided to hike up a little way along Ruckel Creek trail.

On the way back to Portland, we decided to stop quickly at Multnomah Falls, hoping it might be a little less crowded with tourists than usual. We got some fabulous family photos on the first bridge: