About Us

There are four of Them: three girls and one boy, little stair-steps all. There are two of Us: best friends, co-parents and truly in love. The Six of us have epic adventures full of laughter and love, occasionally containing tears, but always together.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Holy Busy Visit, Batman!

I can hardly believe we've been here three weeks tomorrow! Time has just flown by. We've been having tons of magnificent adventures with GranEde and GranDude, as well as having some really nice hanging out time. The first week we procured some ride on toys. GranEde and GranDude have a not so small house, with a not so small driveway/parking area that is PERFECT for riding around on. We got two trikes and one push with your feet toy. The driveway has a small slope that is just enough to get the kids going pretty fast. On the first few days, they were pretty cautious about it, but they have since learned that they can zoom down the slope and turn to make a full circle at high speed. Thanfully we've only had one moving accident and that was a minor one. We've actually had several more serious accidents, but those were low speed, head to pavement ones. It is certainly nice to sit outside with the kids, nursing Leila, in the beautiful weather, on vacation!

I've really felt like its vacation because I've had very little house running or errands to do. I mostly take care of the kids (even that I'm getting some vacay from) and the laundry for my heathen horde. GranDude and GranEde have pretty much been taking care of all the choosing what's for dinner and then the emplimentation of said meal. I have to say, I seriously LOVE this part of being on vacay. I really enjoy cooking at home and the kids eat really well, ie there is generally very little complaining about what we're eating, BUT it is soooooo nice not to have to think about it at all (if I don't want to)! We join GranEde for lunch when she isn't crazy busy, which has been most days. Then we get dinner fixin's and run errands. We've been to the library, down to play in the river, down to the playground and done other fun 'round the city activities.

On the weekends we've also had a chance to do some more sightseeing type things. We hiked to a waterfall one Sunday afternoon and had a GREAT time. The waterfall was beautiful and the kids had a blast playing in the water. Talia kept wanting me to take her all the way out to stand under the water fall. I was not really keen on this idea as 1) the water is from snowmelt and is COLD 2) I thought she'd probably flip out when she got soaked and wet and then I'd be stuck with a screaming Talia! I finally convinced her that wading was just as good. Isaac, on the other hand, was more than content to stand with his toes barely in the water. He wanted to throw rocks. No wait, he NEEDED to throw rocks. We got down to the water and the first thing he does is picks up a rock and looks up at me to check if it was alright. I thought it would be fine because there was noone else in the water. But GranDude had witnessed some adolescent boys throwing rocks (one nearly hit Talia) whose parents had made them stop. So we thought it wasn't a good idea to allow Isaac to throw rocks and possible encourage the older boys. I told Isaac no and he said "What if I throw them underhand?" And I said "No, we aren't throwing rocks." Then he looks down and looks up at me, "Well, can I drop them?" Oh my gosh. He just HAD to do something involving rocks falling through the air. I did consent to allow him to drop the rocks because I figured the only person he could hurt would be himself, when he dropped the rock on his own toe. It was amazing how content he was to pick up handfuls of rocks and drop them in the water. The hikes that we go on to see the waterfalls are so nice because they are all relatively short. There are longer hikes to take, but the shorter ones are just perfect for little legs and short attention spans.

GranEde had last weekend off call, which meant that we could go anywhere and do anything since she wasn't in danger of being called in! Yippee! She has no office hours on Friday, so we took the day and went to a place called Wildlife Safari, just south of where GranEde and GranDude live. It is a giant wildlife refuge that is drive through! That's right: a super cool, really nice to animals, driving zoo. My big bone with zoos is that the animals are kept in relatively small cages. Now I don't know if this bothers them, but it always seems a little sad to me. This refuge is huge and has tons and tons of space for all the animals. We saw lions, ostriches, bears, cheetas, buffalo (we even saw a buffalo baby that had just been born, it was still wobbly and the mom still had afterbirth stuff hanging out), giraffes, hippos, elephants etc. The kids had a blast. They really enjoyed looking out and seeing the animals. Plus they got to be unbuckled from their carseats and move around to get a better view.

On Saturday we had a fantastic and fabu visit to the ocean! The day was sunny and warm, the breeze was light (sometimes at the coast the wind just howls and makes a visit pretty miserable) and it was a perfect day for walking on the beach! We first visited a lighthouse that sits on the beach at the mouth of a river. The kids had wanted to visit a lighthouse, but were a bit underwhelmed because we couldn't acutally go up into the light portion. (This was with good reason: the stairs had rusted out and were no longer useable. They are in the process of being fixed, but it will be a while.) So we headed out to the water. Boy were the kids a kick! The water was cold and the waves have quite a strong undertow, so we didn't let them go out very far. They were all very cautious in the beginning, but Talia and Elie soon got more comfortable with the feeling of the waves. When a wave would come, Talia would lean backwards with the rushing water. I am sure it was because she felt like she was moving with the water. Isaac did not ever get comfortable with the water because of that very moving sensation. He was convinced that he was going to get carried away by the waves. However, he did love the giant sandbox and all the treasures that the waves washed up. At one point he had picked up a rock about 10 inches long and a good 8 inches around. I asked him what he was doing because he was trying to carry it while he walked. He told me it was his "plant" and he "was going to take it home." I asked him to put it down, as I feared greatly for the general health and well being of his toes, and he replied "but it's my plant and I need it." I did finally convince him to put it down and he went on to digging in the sand with a broken shell. Whew. Elie is the only one who got soaked and that was completely unententional. She was squatting down to rinse her hands and a wave took her by surprise. It totally knocked her over. She came running over to us, spitting and rubbing her face. "That water tastes salty. Ewww, that is terrible." The beach sure did wear them out though and it was amazing how fast they fell asleep and how hard the sleep was. It was a wonderful day.

GranDude's work here is drawing houses. He occasionally visits work sites where they are building and is occasionally called upon to inventory building supplies recieved from the supplier. We were lucky enough that he was supposed to inventory some supplies at a work site and so he invited us to come along. Boy was it exciting! First we got to see a forklift type machine take the supplies on pallets down off the bed of a semi. One of the workers even rode on the forks of the forklift to help hold on some tippy boxes. Then GranDude took the kids inside the house, where they got to "walk through the walls!" For the grand finale, the contractor offered to take the kids up on the man lift. It is a machine designed for, well, lifting construction workers and their tools. Elie was the only one who was comfortable enough to do it. She was hilarious. She got up there and had a HUGE grin on her face. Then it went as high as the roof and the grin was still there, but her eyes weren't grinning anymore. So she said it was high enough and they moved back down to the ground. She had such a great time.

We've also had the opportunity to attend an outdoor concert series they have here at a local park. The concerts are free and open to the public. Sometimes the performers are a little random, but often they bring in well known artists. This week we saw The Wailers. They are headed by Bob Marley's son and do reggae. We had a BLAST! We took a picnic dinner, walked down to the park by the river and listened to some music. The music really was good (they even played some old standbys that I know) and the kids really enjoyed dancing and picnicing. I was so surprised that we stayed through the whole thing. GranDude and I were completely prepared to leave at a moment's notice due to meltdown or tiredness or boredom, but that moment never came. They were totally consumed with dancing around and listening to the music.

There are even adventures at GranEde and GranDude's house. They have a "windup cd player" (victrola, which we are going to demonstrate one of these days), a "bottom washer" (a bidet, which the kids absolutely cannot get their minds around and keep asking hilarious questions about), a "potty kitty" (portia the cat who comes to get pets whenever somone uses the potty) and deer and other wildlife. Today I discovered that Talia has been hanging from the toilet paper holder in the bathroom (it is just mounted on the wall and apparently seems as though it should be used for hanging oneself from, instead of just toilet paper) and all the children are drawn to rock as furiously as possible in one of the rocking chairs to make it jump on the floor. It is so much fun being here and it is amazing how much they all have grown and changed in the three weeks we've been here. I just wish we lived closer. Adam comes on Sunday and we'll have another week of supreme adventures and some whole family vacation. I can't wait to see what happens next!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

It's no longer safe....

Learning to read with Elie has been a back and forth kind of process. She'll get really interested and then we'll get into it and she won't want to do it anymore. Usually she gets disinterested when the reading gets tough. I was really thinking she just wasn't ready. However, recently she has been saying words right after we spell them so that she doesn't know what is being said. The other day, before we left Virginia, I spelled "l-a-z-y" to Hilary and Elie looked up and said "lazy?" Seriously. I was totally surprised, but didn't give it too much thought. Then, just last week, Dad and I were in the car and he spelled "f-e-e-d t-h-e d-u-c-k-s" and Elie said "feed the ducks?" It has been happening more and more often, so we are having to resort to using SAT vocabulary words to describe what is going on or we are speaking in pig latin. Either way it really slows down the conversations the adults are able to have. However inconvenient I may find this, it is totally cool that she is putting words together in her brain and sounding them out! Some of them, I'm sure she just *knows*, but some of them she is actually sounding out on the fly and that is sooooo cooool!!!!

Now she is hooked on learning to read and we are using a set of books called "Bob Books" by scholastic. They are the best thing for learning to read. They get incrementally more difficult and the early ones have only four or five word sentences on each page. They have simple line drawings to illustrate the story, but they aren't so intricate or involved that they distract from the task at hand (for long anyway).

Yesterday Aunt Kiwi (Hilary) and her boyfriend Don came down from Portland. We spent the day doing some caches around town and then cooked some delicious Indian food. GranEde let Talia help with the peachy/blueberry cobbler. Talia got to put the blueberries in, but GranEde's instructions to her were to "throw the blueberries in." Well, like all two year olds, Talia is VERY literal and so she spent the next half hour or so, throwing blueberries into the pan - one at a time!!!! As is to be expected when a two year old throws blueberries, some got smashed and many ended up on the floor. But it was so darn cute to see her tossing blueberries in, one at a time, oh-so-deliberately.

Today we took a hike to a beautiful waterfall located to the east of Roseburg. There are MANY hikes to waterfalls up the canyon that is to the east of town. This is one of Mom and Dad's favorites. The kids had a great time hiking and then playing in the water, although I think they were surprised at how cold the water was. Talia kept wanting to get into the waterfall, but neither Dad nor I wanted to take her out and get under with her. It wasn't really warm enough for that type of adventure. Next weekend we are hoping to go to the ocean and see some lighthouses. The kids are wanting to bring bathing suits, but I don't know that it will really be warm enough for that!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Leavin' On a Jet Plane

I wrote the following on the 31st of May and never got back to it...I thought I'd put it out there anyway and then write some more....

(Well, it has been FOREVER since I last wrote. Life has been, well, a little hectic. We had Leila's baby naming last weekend and the lead up to that took it out of me! It wasn't that the even was so big, I was just having a hard time functioning. You know, post partum crazies and all that. Poor Adam has been having to deal with CRANKY Oj and we all know how much fun that is.

Anyway, the naming was beautiful. My dad's folks were able to make it out, along with my parents and so that summed up the out of town guests we had. We really missed those who were unable to swing coming for the weekend. On Saturday we had a brief ceremony at the synagogue during the Saturday morning service. Then on Sunday, Adam's dad led a ceremony at the house that was much more personal and meaningful. He created a ceremony with lots of beautiful readings that included all the generations that were at the naming. It was really special.

The kids have been up to all sorts of crazy antics. I swear they get cuter everyday. Talia's speech is so incredibly clear, she sounds just like the bigger kids. The only downside to having clear speech and good communication at two is that she is extremely susceptible to suggestion. So if Elie approaches and claims that Isaac pushed her, Talia is right behind her claiming the same thing. Or if Talia is crying she will often make up some reason and it usually involves her blaming one of her siblings. It's not hard to tell what is going on, but it does make it a little more complicated. Talia has also learned how to get on the swing by herself recently. So she will hop up on the swing and Elie is quite content to push her. It is the CUTEST thing. )

Okay, whew. Here it is, weeks from when I last wrote. There has just been WAY. TOO. MUCH. GOING. ON. So I'll attempt to fill you in...

Our tomato plants really were growing great before we left. I think that every single seed we put in the pot must have germinated. I even thinned them and they are still taking over the world. I just hope that the girls we've hired to watch the house make sure and water them. The kids are so excited to get to eat tomatoes from our very own plants. The tomatoes were so exciting we also planted some bell pepper plants and watermelon plants. We'll have to update you on the progress of those when we finally get home!

Leila has really gotten into a nice schedule. She is an AWESOME sleeper and is going down for the night right around the same time the older kids do. She wakes up a couple or three times in the night for nursing, but never rouses fully and just wakes to nurse and go back to sleep. The week before we left on our trip, she slept 8 and 1/2 hours one night! I kept trying to get her to nurse, but she was asleep and would not rouse at all! She is also super cute and is loving even more to talk, smile and laugh at faces and people. She is one amazingly cute and loved kiddo.

The end of school was just a blur. I swear I blinked and the year was over. The last few weeks were filled with activities (a farm trip with Isaac's class) and projects. The kids were excited, but a little sad too. On June 8th Elie graduated from pre-school. They had an adorable graduation ceremony, even got to wear little mortar boards and were handed a diploma. Elie was totally weirded out by not going to school like regular on the day of graduation. I think she was a bit sad (despite claiming the contrary time and time again). I had asked her if she was going to miss her friends or school and she said "No. I'll just make new friends when I get to kindergarten." But I really think that when the time came, she was sad. I'm not sure she recognized it, but she was definitely subdued during the graduation. Isaac is just thrilled he's going to be the big man on campus and be in five day next year. I know that I'm going to blink and it'll be a year from now and I'll have two munchkins in elementary school. Time just flies by.

Before we left we went to the playground on one of the last nice days before the summer heat eats up NOVA. Elie was playing and there was a little boy who was probably about Isaac's age there. He got into a tunnel with Elie and there was a long conversation. Then Elie came out and came over to us and said "That boy said he wanted to marry me. He told me that I should kiss him because Ruby kissed him when she married him. I told him I didn't want to kiss him because I didn't want to share germs." All I have to say is thank goodness for my daughter's OCD....I don't want her kissing anyone yet either! ;)

So the days were filled with errands and tasks and the nights were filled with trying to get ready for our month long trip to Oregon. The getting ready for Oregon wouldn't have been so bad, except the battery acid had come back to haunt me. Let us all revisit the battery acid nightmare....Okay, let's not. Read back in the blog for the whole dang story. Let's just start with the fact that I didn't get it all cleaned up and it got on (and made holes in, lots and lots of big holes) in my brand new Ergo. For those of you who aren't addicted to babywearing, an Ergo is a padded carrier. It is like the best of the best. And I had finally purchased one and was waiting for Leila to be big enough to carry in it. We had tested it on Talia and it was GREAT. Anyway, I was planning to take it to Oregon, but discovered it had giant, battery acid made holes in it. So I had to patch it in a long and painful, hand-work way. The Ergo alone took me five nights of working to finish. Add to that, there was acid on the back packer (which is invaluable because Talia still fits in it and hiking goes so much faster when she's in the packer), so I had to take it apart (again...we had fixed it with my parents but I didn't realize that the plastic parts were being eaten by acid, so we fixed it only for me to discover that it was falling apart again) and fix it. Lesson being: DON'T MESS WITH CAR BATTERIES. THEY HAVE ACID AND WILL RUIN THINGS. Got it?

I know that you all are thinking: How did you get to Oregon? No, fear not, I did not attempt to fly on the airplane by myself. That is something that will simply have to wait until the kids are older. There is no way I could have done it with out my dear, dear sis, Hilary. My parents paid for her to come out to DC for a couple days and then she flew back with us. She was amazing. Hilary leads a very quiet life, sans children, with her boyfriend and two cats. She has a full time job as a vet tech and is quite content. I'm not sure what momentary insanity struck her when she agreed to come out and help me fly back with the kids, but I'm sure glad it did. She sat across the aisle with me and took care of Elie and Isaac. I had Leila (lap baby) and Talia next to me. Hilary was great. She played with Elie and Isaac, introduced them to the music stations that you can plug into, showed them the airplane safety cards, played brain quest with them, colored, spelled, read and was generally an AWESOME AUNTY! Yeay Hilary!

The kids were a kick and a half on the plane though. Isaac took to the head phones (or *ear-heads* as he called them). He spent lots of time scrolling through the stations until he found one he really liked. Then he spent the last hour (of our five hour flight from DC to SanFran) listening to music and reading the airplane safety card. I kid you not. He read it backwards, forwards, upside down and right side up. He clapped and swayed and bobbed his head to the music. It was hilarious. Really. Hilary kept inviting him to join in whatever activity they were doing and he'd say "No thank you" and put his head phones back on. I really had the easy part as Leila and Talia fell asleep pretty soon after takeoff. On the flight to Eugene from SanFran, Elie and Isaac got to sit together ALONE. They were really happy about that. It was super cute. Talia did awesome on both flights and was mostly happy to talk to herself and play with her Dora or Elmo figures. Probably the funniest thing is that when you ask the kids what they did on the flight they tell you....They got pretzels. Yeah, six hours on planes and all they remember is the 15 mins where they got to eat. But, I can't tell you how relieved I was at how smoothly it all went. The kids were AMAZING and Hilary was a super help. Now we just have to get back, but Adam will be flying with us, so it should go just as well.

So now we are here and having a blast. We got some ride on toys so the kids can tool around on the giant paved driveway/parking area my parents have. We get to visit GranEde at her office for lunch everyday. We are planning on lots of fun trips and adventures. We've even gone caching. It will be a great visit! The kids are loving being with GranEde and GranDude and getting to do fun things they don't get to do at home. I'm loving being here and getting a bit of a vacation for myself. My Dad is a GREAT cook and has been serving delicious food, so I'm getting a big vacation from cooking. Also, it is wonderful to have so many extra hands to help out. I'm getting to exercise, by myself because I can leave the kids with Dad. And getting the kids to bed is sooo much easier with three adults herding and prodding to make sure that everything is getting done. Whew, I'm tired. Now that we're settled it should be easier to get back to writing regularly....If we're not out having too much fun!