Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Big Boys Can Fix Cars

My check engine light was on when I was leaving for work the other day. I ran in the house to tell Peter...

Peter: Ok, I'll go out and take a look.
Soren (running closely behind): I'll look too. I'm bigger now, mom.
I so wish I had had the video running because Soren puffed up his chest and held his arms out at his sides like he was a big strutting man so that he could follow daddy to go do some manly work.

My boys take very good care of me.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Watch Your Mouth, Mama

Lately I've been trying to get Soren to stop talking about poop and pee all the time. He loves to shout out those words fairly randomly, especially at the dinner table. "Old McDonald had a farm and on his farm he had some poop," for example. Oy. Boys. Once I convinced Peter that he shouldn't be joining in on those songs, the training proceeded much more quickly. ;-)

Here's a conversation we had this weekend though:

Me: "Ok my little Sweet Pea, what would you like to do now?"
Soren: "Mama, that is not a nice way to talk!"

Friday, July 25, 2008

Blessings and Glory

Originally uploaded by apsara711.
I have a friend who just started a new blog, Blessings and Glory. She's a terrific writer with a very touching story to tell. Grab a tissue and check it out.

This picture shows her about one month before she delivered Charlie.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Thrill of New Underwear

I bought Soren new underwear the other day. He was so beside himself with excitement that he insisted on hugging the package!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

daVinci Days

It is so funny how often in life with a 3 year old things don't end up quite like you expected. This weekend it was Corvallis' annual daVinci Days festival. Just like Corvallis, daVinci Days is a more cerebral take on typical festival activities. I'd say that Corvallis is where the Country Fair hippies come to live when they've either gotten a PhD or become really rich! As such, even the festivals here are interesting.

Part of the festival has local organizations making sculptures. This sculpture really caught Soren's eye. He was sure that anything shaped like a reindeer and wrapped in aluminum foil must be filled with chocolate. He was quite sad that I wouldn't let him unwrap it.
We came down to the festival because Soren's favorite band - The Maharimbas, as you saw on the video from the Country Fair - were playing here. He was so excited to see them and has been talking about them all week. In fact, he even asked a little girl in his soccer class to come to see The Maharimbas with him!

So, we arrived at the venue really looking forward to the show. But as we approached the site we passed a playground. Big mistake. Soren just couldn't get the playground out of his mind. When The Maharimbas took the stage he dutifully danced to a few songs and then asked "Mom, can we go to the playground now?"

So we did. And as luck would have it some of our good friends stopped by with their three year old son, Cayden. Then more of our friends stopped by. Funny how in a small town if you just hang out in a main playground you'll eventually run into all your friends with children!
After Soren was totally covered in sand, we headed down to the Corvallis riverfront fountains. then the real fun began! (How many more years do you think Soren will be willing to play in public wearing only his underwear?!)
What a fabulous day! While we didn't see much of The Maharimbas ("Maharimbas who?" says Soren) we had even more fun than we could have expected!

Salem Art Fair & Festival

You can see that our focus at the Salem Art Fair wasn't the art!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Blueberry Pancakes

Today was blueberry pancake day. Wonder gardener Peter has gotten all plants to produce in abundance...except for blueberries. His blueberry plants have been awfully stingy so far. Enough for a few to snack on when you are out in the garden...and then one yummy pancake breakfast. Today was that day. We picked all the remaining ripe blueberries this morning and had a pancake feast! Yum!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

As everyone probably knows, we're pretty diligent (read: obsessed) about limiting Soren's "screen time" which for kids his age is mostly today's way of saying "tv time." Since kids now are also so into the Internet and computer games it is lumped together in one big catchall term: "screen time". Until now, for Soren that does just mean TV time. But on OPB (public television) they've been running small plugs for I didn't actually even know that Soren heard it enough or understand enough to want to do it. But then he asked while I was on the computer..."Mom, can I do"

It is actually really awesome. They have all sorts of age appropriate games based on the popular public TV shows. He's really been taken by a few of the Teletubbies games (I'm not even sure he's seen the show) and one of the Caillou games. It is so amazing to watch a three year old clicking around using a mouse. But he loves it!
So, there you have it. Now he's entered the full meaning of screen time.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

More Action Down by the Lake

While we were down by the lake on Sunday we met a few of the neighborhood dogs who seem to like to hang out there. Soren has had some bad dog experiences - they ALWAYS seem to jump all over him. And at only 30 lbs, Soren tends to get trampled pretty easily. But Moes, even though he was a big Black Lab, didn't jump on Soren at all. Soren's friendship requirements are pretty simple - as long as you don't knock him down, he's willing to be your friend. Moes quickly became Soren's good friend.
Moes' friendship requirements are similarly simple: if you are willing to throw him a stick he'll be your friend. Moes hangs out by the lake so that he has an endless supply of visitors who are willing help him out with that. In the three hours we were at the lake I think every visitor who came by threw the stick for him a few times.
He'd jump in the water and retrieve the stick and then run out and drop it at the feet of anyone who looked interested. Apparently Soren looked really interested. Check out the intensity of Moes staring at that stick!
Moes didn't really seem to mind that Soren only threw the stick about 4 feet. He'd still diligently go running after it and bring it right back.
Most people tired of the throwing game after about three tosses or so. But Moes met his match when he met Soren. I think they would both do it forever!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

An Afternoon Down by the Lake

Yesterday morning I had this stroke of inspiration to take Soren "boating" down at our little community lake. We bought a small blow-up boat and a life jacket for him. After his nap, I packed a lunch, drinks, sun accessories (hats, sunscreen, etc.), a blanket and blew up the boat. Then we loaded it all up with Soren on the wagon and walked down to the lake.

I had this feeling that this was either going to be a ton of fun or a complete and total disaster. I tried hard to stave off the disaster by packing well, but still a three-year old, a hot day, and a long walk to and from the lake is fraught with potential melt downs. The lake is only a mile or so from our house, but it is a VERY hilly mile. Especially the walk back home.
But it turned out to be a lot of fun! Soren loved paddling around in the boat. Especially when I let him do the paddling.
We paddled around for awhile and then had our lunch in the boat. We watched the dragonflies buzzing around, poked the paddle into the seaweed, and listened to the croaking frogs (which Soren still argues were cows hiding somewhere!)
The walk home was pretty tough. He rode in the wagon for about half of the trip, but then insisted on walking because riding in the wagon was "boring." On the steepest hills he kept stopping and saying he needed a break, but for the most part he was quite a little trooper. We did have to resort to a few Sound of Music songs to distract him on the final quarter mile, so I'm sure we made quite a sight traipsing through the neighborhood with our stocked up wagon and weary pace. It was a really terrific afternoon. One that is sure to be repeated many more times this summer.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Oh How We Love the Country Fair!

This weekend was one of our very favorite events of the year. The annual Oregon Country Fair. It is a hard event to describe, more of a huge hippie love fest than any sort of typical fair. All sorts of beautiful handmade crafts, out of this world food, and incredible music. And people watching that is the best we've ever experienced! Friday is the least crowded day, so I took the day off so we could enjoy the festivities.
It has been going on for decades and has a reputation for lots of hippie-flavored things, like herbs (other than basil and rosemary if you know what I mean), and a definite clothing-optional flare. but while those aspects are still present I'd say the whole event is much more main stream and family friendly nowadays. Well, "family friendly" for families who don't mind the occasional guys walking around in loin clothes and girls wearing only flowing skirts and having their breats painted up as cherries, apples, or mangoes!

This year we were so lucky to get to see one of our new favorite local bands, the Maharimbas. We discovered them at a recent celebration at the local children's museum. Soren was absolutely mesmerized. He refused to dance at that event but just sat on my lap and watched them intensely - for almost an hour! This time he started in that mesmerized trance but we eventually talked him into some dancing!

And after lots of dancing, singing, and people watching we could retreat to the children's area and lay on our blanket and take break! What a great day.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Lesson #623 of Parenthood

Never ever--even if you are diligently making a really yummy cream of brocoli soup, and are only 7 feet away from your beloved child, and you are hearing all sorts of calm and happy sounds coming from his direction--never assume that he must be up to only innocent activities.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

What Else Could We Make With Strawberries?

This weekend we made strawberry jam, strawberry bread (like banana bread but with strawberries instead, awesome with cream cheese and sliced strawberries on top!), and two more strawberry pies.

I thought we were almost out of strawberry recipes, but we remembered another great one - strawberry popsicles! Just a few fresh strawberries....
A little bit of milk (and some agave nectar to sweeten them a little)...
Blend it up and pour into popsicle holders. Can't wait to try them tomorrow!
I'm afraid I'm not being quite as creative with the overabundance of lettuce, kale, swiss chard and broccoli...but those don't sound quite as good in popsicles, do they?

Monday, July 07, 2008

Soren's Friend Colby

This weekend our good friends Mike, Tammy and Colby joined us for the trip to see Thomas. Peter and Mike went to college together and have been great friends ever since. Colby is 6 and in so many ways is quite similar to Soren. They both have a really sweet, gentle nature.
It was Colby that introduced Soren to Thomas in the first place. From the time Soren was born, Mike told us that because he was a boy Soren would eventually be totally into trains. Wow, was he ever right!
Since they don't live near by, we only see them a few times a year. But Soren always looks forward to it. He was especially excited to get to ride Thomas with Colby this year.
When Soren saw Colby arrive at the train station he went running at him full-tilt with his arms open wide. Adorable. The interesting thing was that Colby totally didn't respond. Soren's over the top enthusiasm clearly wasn't very "cool". I can't believe that already at 6 they start changing their behavior to be more "manly". Kind of broke my heart. Colby still is a wonderful, warm and sweet child though - and once he forgot about acting tough, he was his old playful self again.

Is that transformation really only 3 years away for Soren?