1.) Applegate makes the best *Sunday Bacon* 2.) Pig + peaches for breakfast 3.) Animal-loving Auntie helps maintains the kid's terrarium 4.) The 3-1/2 year-old caught this little guy - "all by mineself!"
When visitors come up to the cabin, they often bring with them something special to contribute to our time together: a horseshoe game, a couple loafs of banana bread, some jars of canned treats from their garden back home. All of them mean something special to us, but I wanted to share my absolute favorites to date - some photos of the landscape, as well as a sweet poem.
The images here were taken over the weekend by our good friend (and former neighbor), Peter G. He loves photography as much as I do but has a much better grasp of the technical side. These images of the river and super moon were taken using a technique called HDR - High Dynamic Range. It's basically when you take one exact shot at varying exposures, then merge them all together so that the best lighting attributes from all images come together into one very intense image. You can see more of Peter's work here.
And then there is this sweet poem from *Vince*, a very special sort of Thank You after a long, Thanksgiving weekend last year:
Heavy traffic and a few winding twisting roads,
Deliver us to a place far away, yet so very close
Warm knotty pine ceilings and cool granite tops,
Sounds of the river flowing and an occasional champagne bottle "pop"
Warm turkey wrapped with bacon and mashed potatoes galore,
Corn bread with mushrooms... who could ask for anything more?
Mornings with strong coffee and cool cloudless skies,
Finding interesting curly bugs and studying a chopper that doesn't fly
Lively discussions and games without personal attacks,
Debates about politics, presidents, and voting democrats
A holiday weekend with family but without the ringing phone,
Far away from work and cities, but certainly not alone
We watched the bouncing kids and few happy wagging tails...
Had some driveway walks and explored where there are no people trails
For me, a rare holiday, that ended too fast and was gone way too soon...
We can't express enough thanks for the family, the food, and the warm wonderful room!
It's usually hot, hot, hot here in the mountains during the summer, but it actually rained yesterday (and the day before) which felt so strange. We had some friends arrive Monday who we'd promised hot-summer-fun-in-the-sun to. What we ended up giving them - late winter weather. We still had a great time, just in a different kind of way...a Thanksgiving kind of way. During a break in the weather we took the kids down to the river and played on the new zip-line. The river's water was unusually dark and moody, and its plantlife brilliant and bright. Weeeeeee!!!
Well, it's not exactly like we set out to celebrate the Super Moon... we were actually already having a rather grand time with friends at the cabin when we remembered that it was on its way to rising all crazy big and bright. By the time we thought to pull out the telescope and set-up cameras on tripods, we'd already exhausted ourselves with river time, hiking, chalk art, imaginary play, board games, dinner and dance. Our tummies were stuffed with bunless burgers and salad, and we'd savoured the flavor of cake on the occasion of one child's half-birthday. The summer moon's glow seemed nothing unusual really, especially in comparison to the light of nine happy kids blissed-out on summertime fun.
Something very cool happened recently when Daddy and I miscommunicated about summer plans, set-in-stone appointments and vacation departure dates. For both of us to meet our obligations, we had to separate for a bit and in acknowledging this misfortune, my guy offered to take all three kids with him as he headed out of town.
Careful, Daddy. We might have to make this an annual tradition.
What ended up happening was me having two solid days alone at home to take care of business. I spent it, with our sitter, powering through the house, organizing, purging and cleaning. It was absolutely amazing!
A lot was accomplished through-out the entire house, but I'll take this post to share what is probably my favorite room - Miss Frijoles'. It's not *done*, and in truth, I fear it may never be, but regardless, I'll share what we got, and how it got there.
Before we moved in, we installed skylights and pocket lights in all three of the kids rooms. They needed it sooo bad as they were terribly dark and depressing at the time. I found the above plastic chandelier on one of those flash sale sites and it worked perfectly. At night it casts the greatest *sparkles* onto the ceiling.
Here is a sample of wallpaper that has been tacked to the wall for almost a year. It symbolizes what I hope to accomplish in order to *finish* the room. Frijoles selected it herself. The painting is of Swan Lake, and was something I found at Goodwill for just $10.
Frijoles has a phenomenal imagination. A walk around the house and garden will reveal little worlds of stuffed animals and figurines pumped up with leaves and flowers, strings and found objects, tucked into corners, cupboards and drawers. When I was looking for a bookshelf for her room I wanted something that helped facilitate this *life's work* of hers. I found this one at Target on clearance - it's by BluDot. :)
A six-year-old's self-portrait. I believe the bird on the shoulder is a result of her learning about the work of Frida Kahlo. :)
I love this little girl's bed. It says *story book bed* to me, as in this is the kind of bed I imagine Baby Bear slept in or the princess when she lay awake tormented by the hardness of pea twenty mattresses below.
Well, I'm pretty pooped after a great day filled with lots of food and exercise so I'll keep this short. The kids and I performed well today, I'm thinking. We don't always, but I had remembered a comment in passing from Daddy last fall when he mentioned he wanted a cruiser. He doesn't ask for much, so when something like this comes along, I grab it and tuck it away into a special place... a place I can hopefully find my way back to at a later date. He got his cruiser this morning and so we took a ride down to the *agrarian-chic* Marin Country Mart for a shared lunch at Belcampo with my pops. The food was incredible, the center full of families, there was live music and a long line out the door of Three Twins Ice Cream. Bliss.
I love the last day of school... and I hate it, all at the same time.
I love it, hate it.
Love, hate, love, hate.
I love it because it marks the beginning of what will be a magical time in every child's mind - summertime! I love it because it gives way to camps offering new and unique adventures, heightened by warm weather, late nights and lazy mornings. I hate it because the last day of school has become a logistical nightmare with off-campus class parties in different zip codes and too many heart-felt *goodbyes*. As we powered up yesterday morning for a an intense day of tag-team parenting, I wondered if it wouldn't be a better idea to just skip the last day of school all together and go to the beach. ;)
We started a tradition on the last day of school many years ago, when the big kid was still the only one in school. Even though it was just pre-school, we celebrated the end of his year with a special dinner out - just the three of us, along with a gift of some quasi-educational books to keep him busy during summer. Eventually his sister got in on the action after her first year of pre-school, and this year, Mr. Noodle joined the fun for his first time.
Last night was the third year in a row where we've celebrated at Umami, in the city. The kids love the food and always ask to go back.
After ordering food and drinks, we gave each of the kids their packages...
...and then the food arrived! Pot stickers, Ahi tacos, beef sliders, edimame hummus and flat bread, and veggie fritters.
The real reason we keep coming back to Umami - the dessert roll made of vanilla ice cream wrapped in chocolate chip cookie dough, drizzled in chocolate and served alongside wasabi whipped cream and ginger candies!
We tried something very different this Friday - Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookies made with chickpeas and honey instead of flour and sugar. Super exciting stuff I should say, as I experiment with a wheat-free diet. They were...pretty good! Delicious for what they actually are - flour-free and all. The kids loved them, I loved them and all of us took seconds.
This guy ran around post-cookie with a chocolate beard for hours and I didn't have the heart to wipe it off.
After dinner we had a ladybug release party. I do this once a year with the kids and they love it, of course. We wait until the sun is down, spray the vegetable garden with water to make it damp and desirable, and then we let 500 bugs slowly crawl out on to our beets, chard, lettuce and beans. I typically find them for days after all around the garden. :)