Liesl's gymnastics program had their spring showcase this morning, and it was spectacular. There were 80+ gymnasts running through routines, a demonstration of tumbling and dancing from the competitive team program, and a medal ceremony. Liesl was extremely nervous ahead of time - burst into tears at the mere mention of "gymnastics" "show" or even "Saturday". But then she rallied and did a wonderful job on all four events: beam, bar, floor, and pre-vault.
While Sebastian and Nathan played baseball together this spring, Liesl became friends with his sister Diya. They read books, they played at playgrounds, they made up pretend games, they colored together... it was terrific. It made baseball season so much better and easier for we parents, and it was delightful to watch the two of them bond. They'll be starting kindergarten together in the fall.
Frances' little sister, Maggie, will also be in kindergarten this fall. Recently, while Sebastian celebrated Frances' birthday with soccer, soccer, and more soccer, Liesl got to have a swimming playdate with Maggie - she was so thrilled - the pool was amazing and they got to have cheeseburgers and ice cream! So happy that she's happy and making new friends for next year.
Sebastian and Liesl returned to Steve and Kate's Camp again this year - they loved it last year and I'm hoping that the magic hasn't worn off yet. Monday was opening day and we were there. By all reports, things were good: they ate two bowls of oatmeal apiece, grilled cheese sandwich and hamburger respectively, carrots, peaches, and pretzels. Liesl visited the sewing room and played with Sebastian in the gym. Sebastian said he made a friend - very exciting - and mostly played basketball in the gym, but also made a stop-motion animation film and played foosball. Good times. They're excited to go back tomorrow.
We had a very happy Father's day together - it was a gorgeous day in Portland and everyone was feeling good. We started off by trying to have brunch at Simpatica, but they were fully booked with reservations and so we ended up getting some delicious breakfast sandwiches from Meat Cheese Bread. (The children were momentarily crushed by disappointment, which was only revived with the intake of french toast.) We then headed north to Peninsula Park - playground, ballfields, rose garden - perfect.
After that, we loaded up the bicycles and headed out to the Banks-Vernonia trail to meet up with the Hoangs and ride together. We biked from the Buxton trailhead to the Tophill, about 10 miles round trip, and it was delightful.
After biking we all came back here and had dinner: bread-cheese-olives, fish tacos, blueberry-raspberry cake, and hard cider - and laughed and talked and laughed some more. Happy day.
The weather today was totally bizarre and yet absolutely in our favor. Three times we pulled up to a place intending on an outdoor adventure and it started to rain hard; we sat in the car each time, wondering what to do, before decided that we were Portlanders and not deterred by a little dampness. We got out of the car, put on rainjackets, and lo! It stopped raining and the sun came out. Three times! The weather around here in June is schizophrenic.
We started off the day by visiting the grounds of the private Catlin Gabel school - they have a beautiful track and fields and playground, all of which are open to the public on weekends. Steve and I each ran a couple of miles while the children played. We came home for second breakfast/early lunch, and then headed downtown for the farmers market. Liesl and I shopped and sampled while Steve and Seb kicked around a soccer ball in the grassy middle. I'm always happy to see our farmer friends and to know my fridge is stocked for the week with their amazing vegetables and fruits.
Next, we went to see the roses in Washington Park - again, Liesl and I wandered together enjoying the blooms while Seb kicked a soccer ball around the amphitheatre. (Notice a pattern!?) We came home for late lunch/early dinner and then went for a short hike in Forest Park - Firelane 3 to the Wildwood, and back up Firelane 2 to Skyline. Liesl again chattered happily away, making up a story about a fairy baby learning to fly, while the boys threw a tennis ball back and forth. It was a gorgeous late afternoon walk, with big puffy cumulus clouds and blue sky.
We came back home in time to watch a Copa America soccer match and make dinner. The United States team has played unexpectedly well, and for its reward gets to face Argentina (and Messi) in the next round.
I also decided to try my hand at making galettes - free form pies - for the first time. I have been reluctant to make pies - afraid of the dough, reluctant to waste good fruit and butter on a chalky crust, nervous of lukewarm praise, sure that I could never live up to my mother and grandmother, pie baker extraordinaires. But they turned out amazingly well. Absolutely delicious, and really easy to roll out and assemble. Steve had seconds (unheard of!!!!). There will be more galettes to come.
We started off the day with blueberry oatmeal muffins and the classic book Blueberries for Sal. (As my brother noted, my muffins are basically fruit held together with the bare minimum of batter...)
After some rough moments on the home front - bike tires wouldn't inflate, kids were cranky, I needed a time out - we got out the door. We parked in Sellwood and got on the Springwater Corridor bike trail along the Willamette riverfront. North to the Tillikum crossing, across to the west side, along the west side to the Steel Bridge, and then along the east side of the river to OMSI.
The kids played with sand, Liesl experimented in the chemistry lab, Sebastian moved freight around, we enjoyed this ball contraption, and then it was back on the bikes to return to Sellwood. It was about a 10-mile loop and I was proud of both kids. We are clearly off our game in terms of stamina, but it was a terrific inaugural summer ride.
Back in Sellwood, the kids were starving. STARVING. So we got some roast pork bao from Jade - delicious - and played at the playground and baseball field for an hour in the late afternoon.
We went blueberry and raspberry picking at Columbia Farms on Sauvie Island. My children are becoming more useful as agricultural laborers as they get older, and we picked over 25 lbs of berries. We had a really sweet time picking and eating and playing - they had to drag me out of the raspberry bushes at the end of things, laughing as they warned me I was making myself sick with overeating.
I've made some refrigerator raspberry jam; I plan to make blueberry muffins in the morning; Liesl has requested a pie and Sebastian has requested a cake. Yum.
After the berry picking was mostly concluded, the children wandered into the grass field across from the raspberry patch. They started off slowly, just walking and exploring a little, but then got really into it, chasing each other, crawling and hiding, creating paths for follow-the-leader, trying to sneak back up on me. It was delightful to watch them figure out how much fun they could have in that field. And I had a lot of fun playing with the camera angles - the grass, the clouds and sky, the children peeking out of the grass.