Thursday, September 29, 2016

Sliding Swiftly

If you live in Portland, you've probably spent an evening at Wallace Park/Chapman School for "Swift Watch". Each night of early fall, thousands of birds circle the sky and swoop into the school's chimney to roost during their migration. We thought this year that the girls might love to watch the birds, so we headed over there, had some playground time, dinner at a local cafe and some ice cream afterward, and headed to the back of the school around dusk. What we found was an atmosphere so energetic that Penny and Lulu were almost overwhelmed. There were spontaneous soccer games, jump rope and tug of war competitions, and a giant slide of cardboard boxes, brought and left by kids each night. Penny just kept shouting, "This is the best day ever! I never want this day to end! Can we come and watch the condors every night?" That's right, the condors. It's an understandable mistake because I think they only glanced at the birds for one minute total, anyway. Everything else was just too much fun.

We used to live in this neighborhood, renting a small apartment that we loved so much it was hard to leave. Returning here is filled with Mr. Jones telling the girls about the places we loved, the hospital where they were born, and the home where we first lived as a family.

At one point, Penny turned to me and asked, "Mama, did you like it better when it was just you and Daddy, or when it's all of us as a family?" and it broke my heart, her emotional intelligence to sense there was a different life before her, and that it might have been fun, too. Of course, I assured her everything now was better. Especially on nights like this.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Summer's End

We say good-bye to summer today. I can hardly stand it. It was over 100 degrees for so many days, and I honestly didn't mind it at all. I'll trade winter colds and months of rain for endless heat any day. This was the first summer that my girls really played together! It felt so good. They spent their days in so many parks, swam in pools constantly, gardened and ran around in the back yard, napped at the same time, and played everything from princesses to superheroes to trains together. I'm not sure what future summers will bring, but this one was particularly amazing. It ended with Lulu joining Penny at preschool, so the playing together hasn't ended. Last night Penny asked us, "Did you know that fairies gather up the fluffy clouds, give them to other people, and they make Lovies from them?" Oh gad, how I love these ages.

I leave you (and summer) with a serenade from Penny, who is also playing piano as her own accompaniment, in case you were wondering about the hands:

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Picking Apples (and Pears)!

Apple season has come early in Oregon, so this past weekend we headed out in the drizzle to one of our favorite fruit farms. There wasn't too many good apples or pears left on the trees, but we didn't mind! There were wagons to ride in and animals to feed, after all.


We even found an apple with teeth! These photos are looking kind of autumnal to me and truly, I'm not ready for Fall quite yet! We've had a great summer, and I'm clinging to the fact that the official end of summer is not for a few weeks, so I can force us to be in the parks, eating dinner outside, and in swimming pool as much as we possibly can before the rain really begins.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Oaks Park

Are you tired of seeing photos of Penny and Lulu on rides? I tell you, we have gone on some rides this summer. From Enchanted Forest, to Drayton Manor in England, to the county fair, to Oaks Park this past weekend, my kids are so used to rides that they are even patient waiting for the rides, which I highly appreciate. This amusement park visit was very sweet in that it was sponsored by Mr. Jones' work. We not only got to ride the rides for four hours straight, but saw lots of friends on the midway!




When I look back at last year's photos from our day at Oaks Park, and I see the girls riding the same rides, it makes me really wistful. It makes me think about these old rides, and how many children grow up on them, and how they wait in the rain all winter to make the kids happy. There's the stage, where Penny and Lulu pretended to put on their own show, with friends they had just met behind the plastic curtain. I hope they hold on to the memory of places like this for a very long time. I know I will. There was 2014 and 2013 here, too.

PS. I made their dresses. The pattern is vintage Simplicity 5241 from 1963, which I just happened to have in size 2 and 5, from a large stash I scored at the goodwill, years and years ago. It was a fussy pattern, but I like the result, especially in seersucker.

Monday, August 29, 2016


I've given a few handmade gifts, lately. Last week was one of Penny's teachers' last days before her maternity leave. She's been the sweetest, and I wanted to give her something for her upcoming baby Raven (isn't that a great name?). I made her an Annie Baby Blanket in yarn that self stripes. There was still a million ends to weave in, but I didn't mind. 

The colors reminded me of sunshine, so I made a Baby Surprise Jacket to match the blanket. I still love the idea of giving a "set" to a new mom. There are so many great sets in vintage pattern books I own, and I liked doing one knit item and one crochet piece.

Speaking of crochet, I made a gigantic donut for a friend's 40th birthday from a pattern in this book. It took so much yarn, but not as much time as I was expecting! It sure took a lot of fiber fill though, wow. Bags and bags and bags of it, bought with as many coupons as I could muster, at the craft store.

The size is ridiculous, and the girls pretended it was a pool float one day before we went swimming the day before we wrapped it up.

They were sad to see it go, which made me think I should make another - an orange one with bright pink icing, a chocolate one with light pink icing? Maybe someday, or maybe not :).

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

At the County Fair

We went to the Clackamas County Fair for the very first time, on the last day it was open, after the recent heat wave had broken. We found animals and jugglers to watch, and airplanes and tractors to ride. Lulu rode a pony for the first time. Penny rode one called Rockstar, all by herself. Mr. Jones and I talked about the days when we'll ask them to go to the fair and they'll shrug, and say they'd rather spend the day with their friends. Could that day ever be coming? A big, big part of me really hopes it's never here.