Sunday, June 29, 2008


Two funny Soren stories.

1) While we were on vacation we stopped at a restaurant. We went in to order and then while we waited for the food to come, Soren and I went out to run around in the grassy field next to the restaurant. When we came back in we were enjoying our dinner...

Soren: Mom, why were you frustrated?
Me: What do you mean? When was I frustrated?
Soren: You were frustrated. You said that it was about Dad.

Peter gave me a funny look. Like, uh, why are you frustrated with me and what in the world are you doing talking to Soren about it! But I was completely blameless! I'm not sure why he said it, I think it may have been possible for me to have talked about Dad being frustrated with moles when Soren and I found some mole holes out in the grassy field? So maybe that is why he put the story together like that?

2) The second story strikes me as one that will come back to bite us later. We were driving along in the car. Soren in back reading. Peter and I chatting happily in front. Suddenly Soren shouts out "stop arguing!" Peter and I just looked at each other, not only were we not "arguing" but we weren't even disagreeing on anything. But as blameless as we are, I am preparing myself for the time that Soren tells someone about going on vacation and his mom and dad arguing in the car the whole time!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Our Favorite Strawberry Recipe

Start with some fresh picked strawberries (Don't let the fact that Soren is holding this bowl delude you into thinking that he was any help in picking them. I'd turn my back for just one minute to find him chowing down on all my hand-picked bounty.)

Give them a good rinsing and pull off the stems.
Take breaks often to be sure they are still very tasty.
Set aside 3-4 cups to dry.
Set aside one cup and mash them. Mix with one cup of water and heat on the stove.
Mix 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 cup sugar and 2 T. cornstarch. I've tried diminishing the sugar, but it doesn't set up as well. I guess it needs the sugar? Anyway, if you don't mind it being runny you can lessen the sugar it seems.
Do your best innocent who-me? smile when mom catches you sticking your fingers in the sugar.
Mix into mashed strawberries on the stove and cook until thickened and clear. Dump over the berries that you've put into the pie shell. Refrigerate.
Count down the minutes until you can eat it! YUM!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Soren Roasts His First Marshmallow

Another pivotal life-changing event in Soren's life. His first marshmallow roasting.

After doing it the first time, every time the fire was going he'd ask if he could roast another. Camping is a very good thing.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Cape Blanco Vacation

We just came back from Cape Blanco, on the southern Oregon coast. We've actually been trying for several years to do a trip there, but it takes a bit of planning to secure one of their cabins. They have 4 small cabins in great settings with a view of the ocean. The reservations open 9 months in advance and in order to secure a summer weekend you need to do it about that far ahead. So, this is the weekend we reserved last fall. It was worth it.

Here's our cabin. (They actually did have hot showers in the community restroom area...I think Peter wanted to pretend we were doing the old-style no ammenities type of camping we used to do pre-Soren.)

Soren got several lessons in the joys of vegging around a campfire...

Using the campfire to warm up cold hands...
And how to poke a fire with a stick (under militant supervision I should point out)
A good time was had by all.
Now...on to the piles of smokey, marshmallow-crusted, sandy laundry...

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Soren Loves Grandma

Soren is a pretty lucky boy in that he has a lot of great Grandpas and Grandmas. Lately Grandma Ruth has been restarting a tradition begun by my Grandpa P. He used to come over and pick me up for an adventure (truth be told, we usually ended up at his sister Margaret's house because I think he was a little intimidated about managing a little kid all by himself, and of course he couldn't just run back and admit that to my Grandma!) So now Grandma comes over and picks Soren up so that they can go off on an adventure. It is so funny how excited he gets about these trips!

Today it was off to the carousel, the park and then out for dinner and ice cream! Soren came back jubilant but exhausted!

They ended with a little snuggly reading on the couch and as the stories progressed you could see Soren sinking lower and lower and lower. Note the bandaid on the knee and the smeared ice cream on his face - the ultimate picture of a happy boy in the summer!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Forget the Soren Charm School, We Need a Little Manners Training!

Hm, just wondering when it is time to start teaching manners. Soren is pretty good about the most obvious areas, like saying "please", "thank-you" and "sorry." But there are a few finer points that might need just a little work. Some examples...

1) Peeing outside. You know, we live in the country so if Soren needs to pee and we're outside it is usually easier if he just whizzes in the grass or the bushes. No problem, right? Well, the subtleties of exactly where that is/isn't appropriate appear to be lost on him. Recently he was at a birthday party, in the middle of the party, in the middle of the back yard, in the middle of a group of parents chatting on lawn chairs...and, yep, you guessed it. He yanked down his trousers and peed in the grass!

2) Smacking. The sounds of people chewing drives me crazy. And somehow I ended up with the loudest smacking child ever! I haven't focused on it all because I didn't know if he was old enough to understand how to chew with your mouth closed (the fact that I can read without saying anything outloud still totally bewilders and frustrates him!) I gave it a try on Sunday. He was smacking away on his cereal. So I told him to try to chew with his lips put together. I showed him how to do it and asked him to try. He curled his lips over his teeth, and started opening and closing his mouth. He looked EXACTLY like a muppet! In the next bite he did it all again only to lose all the cereal and milk dribbling down his face.

I thought I was doing so well modeling polite behavior for him all these years. Then I made a note of our activities in the bath tub last night. We spend literally almost a half hour smashing rubber duckies against our skin because they made these hilarious farting sounds! Hm, I might not be the perfect teacher for polite social etiquette. Poor kid, he's doomed.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Quintessential Mommy Moments

There are some moments that just seem like real mommy moments. You know, when you just feel like you thought it was going to feel to be a mom? Today, was one of those moments. Nothing fancy, just me slicing watermelon at the counter and looking down at a smiling juicy-faced boy. Love it.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Thomas the Tank Engine

You know, I've recently realized that I've been grossly misrepresenting Soren's adventures here on the blog. I mean, I've posted recently about soccer and strawberries, about chatting with him via Web cam, and telling of his random funny sayings. That makes it almost look like he has diverse and wide-ranging interests. Ha! While there may be random times when he is torn away from his truest love, most of the time Soren is obsessed with playing trains.
If we are in the house I can almost guarantee that I am within 2 minutes of hearing the always-at-the-tip-of-his-tongue question...

"Mama, wanna play trains?"
So, to rectify that horrendous oversight I've decided to make up for it by making the next 249 blog posts about Thomas. And Emily. And Percy. And James. And Gordon. Then we'll cover Sir Topham Hat, Harvey, Edward, Rosie, Maevis, Duncan, Bill, Ben, and Butch. You already can't wait, I bet.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Soren Starts Soccer

Soren started soccer last week. Fortunately, his first class was on my first day back from Sweden - so I had the day off to recover (a small 11.5 hour nap seemed to do it just fine and I managed to escape return jet lag relatively unscathed.) It was so awesome to watch him in this class. He's the smallest and youngest in the group, but he just jumps right in without hesitation.
It is amazing to watch him listening and following directions. In his swimming lessons, I was in the class and it was mostly playing around. But in soccer the coach actually has them doing very basic drills.
The coach seems to know what all kids love best - stacking things so they can be kicked down!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

More Sweden...

I went on another boat tour today. This one was a bit longer and went up a local river. The views weren't particularly interesting - this city is both very stylish and very industrial - and we saw a lot of the industrial side today. But it was still a great way to get around the city to learn more about it. And on such a warm, sunny day it was a great place to hang out.
Flowerboxes bursting with color is one of my favorite sights at this time of year:
One of the countless bridges we went under on the river tours:
After a lot of sightseeing it was nice to join all the crowds out relaxing in the park on a warm Sunday afternoon.
Normally I wouldn't post a picture of my hotel room, but the design of this one is so typically Swedish that I had to include it.
I'm staying at the Radisson. It has an excellent location right downtown. And a fabulous continental breakfast complete with pickled herring, smoked salmon, and a huge assortment of cheeses plus tons of other yummy stuff. I still haven't had any Swedish meatballs. I'm leaving early Tuesday morning, so if I don't get them tomorrow it looks like it won't happen this trip (and, truth be told, that would be just fine with me!)