Friday, October 31, 2014


Happy Halloween! We had a festive day: visited the Children's Museum (in costume), put the finishing touches on Sebastian's costume, carved our pumpkins, and went out trick-or-treating!

Steve had a fantastic idea on Wednesday, and suggested that Sebastian dress up as Captain Edward J Smith of the RMS Titanic - Seb has had an ongoing fascination with the disaster and knows at this point a lot of the details.  Sebastian was super excited, and so we rushed to put together a costume. We bought a pilot's blazer and hat, but then re-did the hat with white paper and tape to make it more nautical. Steve drew the Titanic's symbol in gold paper on the hat's front.  At the Children's Museum today, Sebastian created a ship's steering wheel from cardboard and rolls as well as a nametag. And then during his lunch break Steve made a beard out of a white sheet and cotton balls. It was awesome.
Our Liesl girl dressed up as a kitty cat, wearing a costume that my mom sewed for me when I was 3-4 years old. It was sweet for me to see her in the costume, as I remember wearing it around the house to play dress-up.  Liesl and I went to a Halloween party with our meetup mom's group last Friday morning.

It was fun to play at the Children's Museum - they had an outdoor scavenger hunt, a special exhibit on the Wizard of Oz, a craft activity to make your own treat bags, and lots of kids in costume.

And finally, despite having visited multiple pumpkin patches, and having had pumpkins on our front stoop for weeks, I hadn't gotten around to carving one up to be a jack-o-lantern. I finally did!
And finally, the aftermath....  Liesl was super excited to go trick or treating. She literally bounced up and down saying "trick-or-treat! I'm a kitty cat!" at everyone's door. And then said "thank you!" and ran to the next house. In the rain. :)  Our girl has a sweet tooth.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Beverly Cleary

Sebastian's reading continues to amaze and delight us - he loves Roald Dahl, has developed a fascination with the Titanic through several nonfiction books, and has fallen deep into the Beverly Cleary universe - Ralph the mouse, Henry Huggins, Ramona Quimby.  For those who might not remember, or never knew, Beverly Cleary lived in Portland, and all her books are set here in our city. I don't think it made an impression on me when I was younger and reading the series, but it's so cool to read with Sebastian, or to hear him report, on local sights and events in the books.  Cleary describes the beauty of seeing Mt. Hood on a clear summer day; Henry goes fishing for salmon in the local river; it's often drizzling in November; etc. It's so fun for Sebastian to be reading these books that are both famous and about the regular trials and tribulations of everyday children, here in Portland.

The other thing that is really striking to me as a parent in this particular time is the freedom of the children in the Portland of then. The kindergarteners walk by themselves to school and back home - Ramona finds herself in trouble one day when she skips school and hides in the yard, with nary a parent or teacher around to notice. Henry takes the bus across the city by himself, after dark, when he's 10 years old - he also brings home random stray animals and gets a paper delivery route and in general lives a life set apart from his parents. I don't want to romanticize it too much, but there's definitely a freedom and independence there that is no longer available to our children.

birthday bicycle

Our boy got a new bicycle as an early birthday present. It's got gears, and hand brakes, and is a much better size for him. And it's blue, which was his one request. :)  He was initially a bit anxious about stopping and starting, but a few turns around the track made him feel much better about it.
And one little girl got a new bicycle helmet, to replace her battered old pink one. This one is pink too, with unicorns.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Liesl's birthday

Liesl is four! Happy birthday to our sweet, lovely, happy, dancing little girl - may you always shine so bright, and bring such happiness. We couldn't love you more.

We celebrated Liesl's birthday on Sunday with a party - lunch, games, presents, cake, and FRIENDS! It was really fun.
 Pre-party present from us: a new fancy dress! She immediately put it on, of course. :)
Lunch! Breads, chicken salad, kale salad, roasted squash and chevre, eggs, carrots and hummus, apples and peanut butter, assorted cheeses, chips and guacamole, grapes....
Pin the nose on Olaf! Olaf drawing courtesy of the talented Steve.
 Wrap the snowman! It was supposed to be boys vs girls, but the boys were much more enthusiastic about wrapping the snowmen. Toilet paper, eyes, carrots.  Thanks to Mason (Nilsa's husband) for participating with such grace.  :)
And finally, the moment that Liesl (and Sebastian, vicariously) had been waiting impatiently for since the first guest arrived: presents!! 
Last but not least, there was cake! An apple cake, with maple cream cheese frosting to look like snow, and the characters from Frozen. It was a big hit.