Tuesday, April 28, 2015

date night

We had a lovely date on Saturday - Lilly came over at 4 and we headed out to explore the Japanese Garden. It was a gorgeous late afternoon to see all the spring blooms. There was also special exhibit on Japanese sculpture/pottery which was simply gorgeous.

After the garden, we visited Tea Chai Te on NW 23rd, browsed the salts and chocolates at The Meadow, got mini-cupcakes at Saint Cupcake, and then had small plates at Taste on 23rd, a wine bar - a very grown-up kind of evening.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sunday game day

After a very busy Saturday out and about in the world, we spent Sunday around home. We walked up the hill to Skyline Blvd; we read books; we did chores; we played soccer; and we played a lot of games.

Steve and the children have been playing a strategy game called Ducks in a Row obsessively for the last week or so - it's a little like Connect 4. Today we played Apples to Apples Junior, a game where you have to match your noun cards to different adjective categories, competing to see who picks the best fit.  They also played Forbidden Island, a cooperative game to collect treasures before the island sinks under water.  And then we had dinner word games. We started off simply: guess the number I'm thinking of. Guess the animal I'm thinking of. I'm thinking of a word that rhymes with the word 'bed' - guess it.  

And then Steve said, "I'm thinking of a weekend adventure in Oregon - guess what it is."
We three had lots of fun, good guesses: bakeries; the farmers market; a hike; the beach; the mountain; soccer; playing at the field; Marshall Park; swimming at the community center; Pokpok; and then Liesl won the game with her double guess: "I know! A trip to the moon, or walking to the waterfall (in our neighborhood) and going swimming in it!"  Because those are equally likely as weekend adventures, right?  And then she suggested that Steve was thinking of playing in salt balls. Like, an Alice-in-Wonderland, human-size version of our salt cellar, with enormous white salt balls inside, and we'd roll around in it.  We laughed so hard. She did too - such a good sport.
This is more of a pattern-making project than a game. Aren't our new floor pillows amazing?! Everyone got their own, in a different color. :)
 Forbidden Island
Ducks in a Row

Sebastian has optional soccer practices on Sundays with his Forest Heights soccer club, and last week we found that the club has the kindergarten practice right beforehand. So we took Liesl over last week and convinced her to participate in the practice - her first soccer experience! She had a good time and was happy to return this week and try it out again.  The scrimmage at the end was a hoot - 5 little kids running every which way around a small field, chasing each other, ignoring the ball, missing the ball, getting distracted, falling down, running in random directions... it was beautiful.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

report card report

At the recommendation of his teacher, we had Sebastian screened for the 'talented and gifted' program through Portland Public Schools. The tests were in February and were, in Sebastian's estimation, pretty long and intense - and a little boring. We weren't sure how to take that - were they actually easy, or did he just not like sitting in a room answering questions on a Scantron form for multiple hours over two days. (Understandable! It sounded boring to us too.) 

We got the results back this week and he tested at a pretty high level in reading, math, and logic.  The designation won't change much about his experience in the classroom at school, since FPE already does a lot to differentiate instruction within each grade. Rumor has it that it might make a difference to Sebastian in later grades, especially if there is competition for spaces in advanced classes. But who knows if that is actually true at the high school we are currently zoned for, or will be true in a decade.

Last Friday was report card day, and Seb's report was once again full of good news - good in the sense that he is meeting or exceeding expectations in all subjects. Not good in the sense that I loathe his report cards - there are 50 categories of miniscule detail regarding his achievement in reading, writing, math, science, social science; the idea that his teachers have to go through and fill out these horrendous forms for every single student, and test each of them on every last thing, instead of actually teaching the students!!  It drives me bonkers. As I remember, my elementary school report cards had four categories: reading, math, and two others that I don't recall. The possible ranking designations were Excellent, Good, Fair, and Poor. And that was it, until 7th grade.  These report cards are insane.

my monkeys

Friday, April 24, 2015

open art studio

It was cold and rainy today, and Liesl and I are both struggling with colds, so we headed indoors to the Portland Child Art Studio for their open studio time. Anne and Mary met us there, so it was an artistic extravaganza. We had a wonderful three hours of painting, drawing with oil pastels, shaping clay into pinchpots and snowmen, and creating glue-bedecked collages. I decided that if I was going to be there, I should dive in wholeheartedly alongside Liesl, and so I too painted and played.  It was splendid. I wish there had been places like this when I was a child, to get so messy and splattered, to be able to collage with so many different objects - maybe I would have enjoyed art more.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

meanwhile, on Saturday

While I was hiking with my friends, Steve and the children had a lovely fun day in Portland.  They dropped me off at 7:30 and then headed over to 4-4-2, a soccer restaurant.  They enjoyed french toast while watching a Barcelona vs. Valencia soccer match.  Liesl then had dance class at 9 am - the boys went across the street and kicked a ball around while she danced. 

And then it was on to Peninsula Park to play at the playground, re-create our wedding, and watch some sporting stuff.

For lunch they headed to Life of Pie, a pizza shop in NE Portland. The kids elected to sit at the bar overlooking the pizza-makers, and were rewarded with a huge dollop of pizza dough to play with. Seriously cool! They got to play with it, shape it, stretch it, and tear it into little pieces. Steve said they were enthralled, even to the point of ignoring the actual pizza when it arrived.
In the afternoon, there was soccer, of course. Sebastian's team played at 2 pm and the other Forest Heights team (with many of his friends) played at 3 pm.  Since they were short a few players, Sebastian was asked to stay and play a second game, which he absolutely loved.
Liesl amused herself with Maggie and her father, Mark - Frances' family. Liesl and Maggie will be in kindergarten together in a year or so.
 We ended the day at Lela's Bistro, enjoying banh mi and beef pho.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

mom's hike: Hamilton Mtn and Beacon Rock

Anne, Adrienne, Mary, Paula and I ventured out for another fantastic moms' hike today, up Hamilton Mountain and Beacon Rock on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge. The hike up Hamilton was about 8 miles round trip, a gorgeous Pacific NW forest with ferns and moss and waterfalls and towering trees, ending up at a peak with beautiful views of Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams, and the Columbia River. 
 Beacon Rock on the left
 At the peak! And having fun with the sign. :)
We arrived back at the parking lot and decided that we still had just enough energy for one more adventure, so we decided to hike up Beacon Rock too. It's a 2-mile round trip, straight up and straight down.
From Beacon Rock, looking at Hamilton Mtn.