Sunday, August 30, 2015

Fall schedule and bucket lists

We sat down and made lists of things we'd like to do this fall and then wrote up our schedule. :)

School, work, dance, gymnastics, soccer, climbing... piano?? Yes, indeed, Sebastian will be starting piano lessons in a few weeks. He has been interested in learning to play an instrument for a little while - last year he was interested in the violin after seeing the Youth Philharmonic play a concert - but we had failed to figure out the details (and commit ourselves to the lessons and practicing). But once it appeared on his bucket list, I felt obligated to let him at least try it out.  We'll see how it goes!
Ten salads???? Huh??? Steve had the absolutely brilliant idea explaining that a chef gets to put whatever they want in a salad, and offering that each child could take charge of the family salad for a night. So they could put whatever they wanted into the salad - he explained that raisins, nuts, coconut, fruit, fave veggies, dressing/sauce - all of these choices were up to them. They were enthralled. They argued about whose turn it was to make the salad for the next week. Seb's first one had lettuce, carrots, celery, cucumbers, raisins, nuts - and ranch dressing. Liesl's had lettuce, nuts, peaches and grapes, with a honey-yogurt dressing. They eat salad now!!! We had lunch on Saturday of a big salad accompanied by bread and cheese, and I was so happy.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Oaks Amusement Park - and some bowling!

On Friday, I followed through with a promise to the children and took them to Oaks Amusement Park to ride the old-fashioned rides. (A plan to go on Tuesday had to be postponed when the temperature soared to 100 degrees.)  We enjoyed the train, the carousel, the giant boat, the rollercoaster, the hot-air balloon, the ferris wheel, the frog jump, the giant slide... most of them twice. I brought a book and channeled my dad, finding shady spots to stand and read while the children enjoyed themselves.

Steve left work early and met us at Hoyt Arboretum in the late afternoon - we ran around the redwood and pine and fir tree forests - the children tried to hide from us and tramped through the underbrush and gathered sticks and in general had a fabulous time in the woods - so fun to see.  Carl arrived at 9 pm at the airport and made his way to us -

Saturday morning we visited the children's fort in the forest behind the school - they'd been diligently adding onto Seb's framework and have a really great structure at this point. We went for a short and sadly smoky walk in Forest Park - the wildfires burning in eastern Oregon and SE Washington are raging, and the winds shifted today to blow all the smoke towards Portland. It was really nasty and smelly and made our poor girl cough. Lunch at Sen Yai, and then to a bowling alley for one more adventure before Carl and Danica departed for the airport and Sacramento. It was a great visit!! It really capped off our summer to have such a memorable week of adventures with a cousin!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Umbrella Falls hike on Mt. Hood

Our adventure for the day was a 4-mile hike on Mt. Hood, up to Umbrella Falls, in the company of Adrienne and Angelo. It was a beautiful sunny day, the perfect temperature - we hiked through some alpine meadows, crossed some tiny streams, and arrived at the falls at noon. We picnicked there, clambered around the logs and in the stream, and then looped back down to the trailhead. The kids did great - some minor complaining on the way up (the heat! the sun! the dust! the itchy branches! is that a hornet?! I'm hungry!) but all made it just fine, and then ran down pretending to be various animals (dolphins, cheetahs, dogs, zebras, eagles, fish, pinecones...).

  We drove back to Portland and stopped at Jamison Square for some late afternoon splashing.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Westmoreland playground and OMSI

On Wednesday, we spent the morning at Westmoreland nature playground, where the children mostly played in the sand/water area, making dams and lakes and unleashing floods. They tried to construct a wood-branch teepee, but couldn't agree on a construction space, method, or the proper shape of the habitat. Danica resorted to insisting that her's was a work of art and not a fort at all - an installation, I assume.  :)  (Meanwhile, I read a novel of dystopian fiction, which was not at all in keeping with the mood of the place....).  When they started getting too hot and tired, we left to get some Thai food at Jade Bistro. The children had roast pork buns and chicken satay and sticky rice and sesame balls and happiness was restored.
We then made a quick stop at the Sellwood library, cleaning out their entire selection of Rainbow Fairy books. If you haven't heard of the series, count yourself lucky. We brought home 10 or so and all three children have been reading them obsessively, voraciously, ridiculously, ever since.

The afternoon was spent at OMSI in the science exploration room - as usual, we spent time conducting experiments in the chemistry lab, as well as moving giant Legos through the Port of Portland, creating sailboats and paddleboats, and playing Connect4 with robot arms.  It was a good adventure for a hot day.