Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Wacky Washington Weather

Today we had a friend and her toddler over for lunch. (after I hid from her of course, in the bathroom. I'm shy.) We were happy when the weather cleared a bit and the sun broke through, as her son hadn't seen our back yard before and was literally jumping at the chance to play out there. We finished out the playdate with some yummy coffee and then they made their way home.

My kids decompressed, ~D~ with a nap and the big ones with some game time. Then the big ones went outside to ride bikes. I was chatting online with Niki when ~N~ came pounding in, "It's snowing!!!!!!" It had been 44 degrees and sunny (and is again as I write this), but when I glanced outside it was SNOWING. We're talking grey-air, huge flakes of driving, wind-blown blizzard SNOW. Not a bit of it stuck to anything. I got COLD just standing out there, despite wearing boots and a leather jacket so I went inside to get gear for the kids, who had been in light sweaters.

Instantaneously, toddler-D woke up so I bundled him and ran outside to document it. It was already subsiding, but on the video you might be able to see G's wet hair, plastered to her head by how hard it had been coming down. The sidewalks were wet, and it hadn't rained today. When I checked inside, it had dropped to 36-- you can hear on the video how hard the wind was blowing. ~D~decided abruptly that he no longer wanted to be outside and you can see that as well.....

No I don't liiiiiiiike it!!!!!

Monday, February 26, 2007

N's new treads

Canvas clogs from Darling Shoes. I'd ordered one pair for each othe the big kids for just this purpose, but they hosed us and only sent G's. G never liked them so now they fit N, who does like them.

We are Four. We must have flame-breathing dragons adorn our shoes.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Reading to D-baby

While it is an established Montessori task to polish one's shoes, I am not sure it is supposed to include the bottom of the boot.....

And for preface to this sweet little video, click here:

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Home and Garden Day

Today P-daddy stayed home with the kidlets while I roamed into Tacoma. I desperately needed some alone, productive alone time. I did the Costco run, drove down to Pacific and had some fantastic lunch in a place I'd never take the children, and picked up some homeschool supplies on stupid sale at The Learning Sprout. Alone. And I even drank wine. No one whined, pulled on me, screeched or otherwise behaved inhumanely. I always found a parking place and it was just .....nice. Lunch was divine.

With our pitiful (compared to cheffin' years past) rebate from Costco, I bought a pressure cooker there that is just like the Brazilian Goddess' . I was totally sold on it the day we had dinner at her house.... beans and rice... and thebeans took 40 minutes, dried to cooked. FORTY MINUTES. Meet our new baby:
Did I mention bag to table in 40 minutes? Yes. 40 minutes.

Anyway, while he stayed home, P-daddy baked three loaves of bread:

And when I got home, G threw some pottery on her new wheel. I love how her hands are shaped in these pictures:

Nice homey day. I even took Paul's black car through the car wash... turns out it's WHITE!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Beautiful Picture

from an Oregon midwife's page..... (see link)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Cookie Mistress

I have it on excellent authority that I am the bestest cookie maker in the world.


And that I make the house smell good with my perfume.

Stick that in your cookie-makin' bonnet!

My kids are winning

They're far ahead of me. While I have only planted two fruit trees, they have cultivated their individual garden plots, planted some vegetables AND planted ornamental pansies around them. They have nice, neat little garden areas around their play house-- which they have used all year only to store their gardening tools-- and now G wants more land to plant MORE STUFF!




G even paid for her own starts. She had some money burning a hole in her pocket. I was quite leary of giving into her dipping into her piggy bank, but she said "MOM! You KNOW how much I love to garden. I neeeeeeeeed a plant!" When we went to home depot and told her what the pansies cost, she brought home six of them. Hog. Heaven.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

My Mountain Pic

memed from Jubilant Tulip

drawing personality

What does your drawing say about YOU?

The results of my analysis say:

Your friends and associates should generally find you a dependable and trustworthy person.
You are a thoughtful and cautious person. You like to think about your method, seeking to pursue your goal in the most effective way.
You are creative, mentally active and industrious.
You have a sunny, cheerful disposition

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Costcolina Regained

Costco has Annie's! I am so happy. I had the misfortune of discovering how delicious Annie's actually is when we moved to Washington and discovered that the disgusting Kraft mac n cheese my dh subjected my happily obliging children to was no longer "inexpensive." I am deep-fried Southern, and macaroni and cheese is a melty, oozing casserole you slather on your teeming plates every Sunday. NOT the crap in the box. Kraft offended me on many levels. With Annie's, P-daddy had boxed convenience, the kids had "bunny butts" and I had fast food that didn't make me want to hurl. Win-win-win.

Anyway, back to Washington state, where the Costco in Federal Way was always so packed that I well, gave up on Costco altogether. For those who knew me in Charleston, it was a blow to hear me say "Costco sucks," because I clearly meant it. In Charleston, I was a personal chef with an executive membership, and I never paid for a membership renewal until 2006. When Costco launched Charleston, they gave everyone a free year's membership. I paid for the upgrade, but given the nature of my business, the Costco reward I received every year paid for the next year's membership. Sweet!

It was Christmastime and I was heavily pregnant, in a dark Washington winter for the first three weeks we lived in WA state. We needed food. We needed to restock everything we'd left behind to move across country. For me, that meant Costco. Every day, all day, the Federal Way Costco is a quagmire of rude, mentally stunted people who don't know how to park or yield. The parking lot itself was a steep hill, so the grade made it difficult-to-dangerous for a pregnant woman and two toddlers to navigate with an atomic-butt-ton of food and supplies for an empty house. It was like the Charleston Costco on Saturday noon, but here it was every hour of every day. On a steep grade.

After a few of these escapades, I forsook Costco. I found delicious specialty stores and a warehouse called Winco, which basically is run like a groceries-only Costco. Between the two of these, life regained some rhthym, just without including Costco.

Move forward again to moving into the house we purchased. Here, we get our milk, eggs, honey, vegetables and meat from farms and butchers, but I still need staples like coffee, pasta, rice, canned items and cleaning supplies. Now, I am 45 minutes away from the closest Winco, but only 25 minutes from the two closest Costcos, 30 from the Business Costco we discovered in Fife. I have had to retrain my eye to my Costco love, but at least these are normal stores. Still busy, but nothing cracked out like the Federal Way store. While I miss my specialty cheese, and Costco doesn't really give me that, it does afford me the luxury of avoiding grocery stores altogether, which is worthwhile.

Removed from Winco, one of the only things I have been crabbing about (and this is in my head mostly because it is embarassing) has been missing Annie's. I prefer my own casserole dish, but the kids liek the boxed stuff and I simply won't buy the Kraft. Can't do it. But now I pay something like 1.79 for a box, IF I find it on sale. At Winco, it's regularly .99 to 1.29 depending on the variety. I felt sort of bad buying the giant Costco box, because at .58 there would be NO competition for the specialty grocers who carry Annie's. I proactively regretted the lack of the delicious varieties the company offers, because surely no one would buy them now that this was available.

Holy Hell.

Annie's is good. Real good.

The "blue box," they're calling it, as a direct competitor to Kraft. It is organic, but it tastes just like Kraft. Oh spelunk-yuck. I mean, really. Foulness. The kids, of course, love it, but I of course, think it is foul.

So in a stroke of marketing genius, Annie's has reached for the palate of and successfully sold to the masses with their blue box: organic on the cheap. Meanwhile, they have protected their specialty market labels and ensured that people like me will continue to pay the 1.79 per box. Unless it's not on sale.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Niki's Voice

Niki has the coolest, most grown-up voice.

She could be a radio newscaster or read books on tape.

She needs to make tapes for her babymakin' clients.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Raising a Reader

My dd will tell you -- any random you-- that she can't read. It's embarassing, if I want to be honest about it, because she's whipsmart in every other way. Her spoken vocabulary is amazing and certainly, she's adept at conversation on a very mature level. So when she says to someone "I can't read or write," which she sometimes does, it mortifies me.

In my opinion, she can read and write. Most of the blog readers have seen her writing, both forming the letters on the page and generating stories. She does read as well, but she does not have a good written vocabulary. Explaining this to her in kiddie terms is becoming increasingly more frustrating, because it is a distinction she seems to wholly reject..

"You can read, you just need to learn more words," I tell her.

"I can't read. Bailee can read books, I can't read books, because I don't know what those words are." she replies, agitated and stubborn in her fear that maybe she can't get it.

'Honey," I say, writing a note, "What does this say?"

Giggle. "Candy is yummy!"

"That's right. What did you write here?"

Big smile. "Happy Birthday Daddy!"

"What is reading?" I ask her then, feigning utmost confusion about the matter.

"Well," she explains, "It's where you see words and know what they mean."

"So did you read my note?"

"Yes! But I can't read"

and on and on.....

So yesterday, we did a word building exercise, South Sound style. Together, G and I cut up two issues of a magazine featuring the lifestyle of our area, so that the images we retrieved were sure to include icons the kids know intimately. We made cards with the pictures (a la Montessori) and the printed name for the item in the picture. Some were straightforward: Mt. Rainier, Apples, Grapes. Some were funny to her: Panties, Messy Room. It was fun for both of us to work together on a little project like that.

Then we took those cards and made silly sentences with them, using our existing word building cards from k12. G liked this exercise for a while but burned out when she'd get to k12 cards she didn't know; it had been about an hour and a half on the whole project by that point. When she's no longer willing to sound words out, I know it's time to stop.

I feel like I am no longer teaching her how to read, so much as I am teaching her to accept that she can. She's by no means proficient at it, but she does know many words by sight and can usually sound out the rest of them. The next leap of faith on her part-- the synthesis of sounds into actual words, and then the comprehension -- that is all that is required.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

May 14th Revisited

I am so happy my friend could
come visit us and inhabit our lives
for a little while.