Last Christmas, Alma’s gift from my mom and step-dad was a camping trip with her cousin Liam and their dads. They decided to go to Silver Fall State Park. Of course, it turned out to be the first rainy weekend in months. They went anyway, and decided to play the camping part by ear.
When they got to the park, it was sunny and warm. They hiked around the waterfalls, in the woods, and had lots of fun. They had a picnic lunch in the lodge and hiked some more. Alma and Liam are just a few months apart in age, so it was fun for them to get to spend so much time together. One of the stories they came home with was from the caves. Alma said to Liam, “Will you protect me?” and Liam replied, “I AM SCARED.” Alma has been looking forward to her camping trip for months. She would tell me, “I’m going camping with Grams and Grandpa. You are not coming. Harriet is not coming. Daddy is coming.” She was very clear about this. There was no way I was going to sneak into the car. Of course, the rain showed up. They embraced the water and got soaked. At this point, it didn’t matter if the rain was falling, or the creek was splashing. It was warm enough that it was still fun. It was so wet, though, that everyone decided to head home. They realized they would have just spent the whole night in their tents as a fire would have been impossible and everything would be too wet to sit on. I don’t think Alma was too disappointed. They got to do all the fun things of camping without sleeping on the wet ground. I can’t wait for this to be an annual tradition. Maybe next year Grams and Grandpa will take Alma and Liam without their parents… maybe they’ll take Harriet, too!
The photos in this post were all taken by Jesse. He did a great job, didn’t he?
Our Fourth Annual Pumpkin Patch Playgroup. I could write a lot about this, but I’d basically just say the same thing I’ve said before (here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here). I won’t put you, the reader, through that again. I’ll just say that I love raising my kids with these people.
Before I post the photos from this year, let’s take a little trip down memory lane, shall we?
2012: So many Ergos, so few people. This was one of our first organized outings. We have grown in families and children. Most kids weren’t walking yet. Leia and I were almost pregnant, but this was it! Seven kids in this photo!
2013: Quite a bit bigger. A few pregnant moms, two new babies, eleven kids. 2014: Even more! More families, more babies, more pregnant moms! Just more! Fifteen kids (I think!) 2015: Wow! So many kids! So many people! No pregnant women (as far as I know!) Nineteen kids! Today was one for the books. We were planning on going to our usual, traditional farm. Someone (Jane I think) checked their website and saw that they didn’t open until noon. We were all on Facebook discussing what to do. My family was already in the car, ready to go, so I suggested a change of venue (after changes of time and other ideas had been thrown out there). Everyone agreed and spread the word. It might not sound impressive, but it was quite amazing to watch 10 moms discuss and agree and mobilize all within about three minutes. I told you this playgroup was special. I love these people.
Hayride, pumpkin picking, corn mazing, fun, fun, fun. It was an oddly beautiful day. I love these sunny, crisp days, but I have to admit, I’m getting anxious for the rain to come (and stay for a while). Call me crazy!
I think it’s pretty cool. I submitted a few photos with #seenineugene to be considered for a month long exhibit. Two of my photos were chosen to be displayed, as well as to be in a photo book. The proceeds of the sale of prints and books go to a local art nonprofit. We went do to the new Barn Light were they have the photos displayed with our friends. The kids ran around and played. I especially like the photos they chose because both my daughters are involved. There’s the photo of Harriet and Elsa playing in Elsa’s playhouse: And one of Alma sitting at Humble Bagel. When Alma saw this photo hanging on the wall, she was pretty excited. She recognized herself right away. I know this doesn’t make me a successful professional photographer, but it sure makes me feel like one. I never thought that I would have my photographs on display, with a real exhibit opening night.
If you want to see my photos, along with 98 other great photos, head down to the Barn Light East, grab a cup of coffee, check them out, and maybe even buy a print or one of the photo books. You can even say you know one of the artists!
One of our play group’s annual traditions is to go apple picking in September. We go to my favorite orchards and spend the morning picking apples, playing with the farm stuff, tasting cider, feeding the goats, and welcoming Autumn.
This year was also warmer than it should have been if you ask me. Last year was sort of drizzly and that was much more Autumnal. I love this event because it assures us that Autumn is, in fact, coming. Even when it’s 80 degrees and the day before was over 90, the apples on the trees are a promise of cooler weather, and darker skies. And nothing beats biting into a crisp, juicy apple picked directly off a tree in a century old orchard. I can pretend that there’s a crisp breeze blowing down the rows of trees, if only for a moment.
My camera was doing strange things, and it turns out that the only photos that were in focus (or mostly in focus, anyway) were of Alma, Harriet, Rory, and Poppy. I swear that there were lots of other people there! In fact, I think it was one of the best turn outs we’ve had at a playgroup lately – nine out of the ten families! As I’ve said many times before, I love our little tribe of families in this group, and all our traditions. Next month is our 4th Annual Pumpkin Patch trip, a perennial favorite!
Forgive me, children, Autumn is coming. I can make no excuses for my silly ideas. You will just have to get used to it.
June is here. School’s almost over. Summer’s coming. I’m not the biggest fan of summer, I admit. I thinking having a list of things to do this summer might make me enjoy it more. A lot of these are also on my 35 Until 35 list, so that’s good.
Pick a summer theme song. Right now I’m thinking of something by Jenny Lewis or Rilo Kiley. We just saw Jenny last week, so I’m on a Jenny/Rilo kick. Or I might throw back to some of my favorite summers, and go with a Dave Matthews song. DMB songs always make me think of summer.I decided on Budapest because it’s fun, it’s on the radio a lot, and Peter just did a cool version.
- Take, and post to Instagram, a photo every day, starting June 21st and ending September 22nd – the first and last days of summer. Recently I’ve gotten into sharing my day to day stuff on Snapchat, and haven’t been posting as much on Instagram. I think I’ll look back and wish I’d taken more permanent documentation of these days. This summer, I will post (at least) one photo a day and I’ll use the hashtag #93summerdays if you want to play along!
- Run through the sprinklers. I tend to be an observer in this activity. I vow to participate this summer.
- Play outside everyday. This is a long-term goal to get my kids to play outside everyday, rain or shine or snow or fog or whatever. I think they’re getting to be old enough, and creative enough that I can start this. Best to start in the summer, I figure!
- Have a dinner of corn on the cob. When corn is in season, there’s nothing better.
- Go to a concert.
- Stargaze with Alma. Ideally, I want to take her out into the country or wilderness where stars are brighter. I think it would be fun to let her stay up late (or get her up) and take her out, just the two of us.
- KonMari Method everything. This will likely be an entire blog post, but I have read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and am in the process of getting rid of things that don’t spark joy. It’s already been incredible, I can’t wait to continue.
Go on a day date with Jesse. Hike. Camp. Ride bikes.
- Make lemonade from scratch.
- Watch fireworks. Big ones this year, I think.
Build a sandcastle. Make ice cream from scratch.We made a cherry dark chocolate ice cream. I liked it, Alma didn’t, Jesse was indifferent, Harriet likes anything.
Redecorate the living room– specifically the mantel. It still is covered in Easter decorations. Come on. Jesus has already ascended into Heaven and we’re fully in a new church season. Seriously, Carolyn. Go to the beach.This should be easy. We have another vacation to Coronado planned. Go to the mountains. Bake a crisp, or other summery dessert.Blueberry cobbler ftw. Swim in nature – ocean, river,lake, stream.
- Eat wild berries.
- Take each Harriet and Alma on an adventure, just us.
- Plan our tenth anniversary celebration. Ten years! What?
- Learn how to shop at thrift stores. They totally overwhelm me and I never buy anything. I love to idea of not wearing new clothes – better for earth, better for the workers who make clothes, cheaper – I just don’t know how to do it.
Go to the Country Fair.Photos here! Go to new parks.Maybe try for all the parks in Eugene? Is that crazy? Anyone want to attempt this with us?
- Shop at the farmer’s market as often as possible. Maybe make it a weekly activity.
- Have a water balloon fight.
- Buy some treats from the ice cream truck.
- Go to the library. Another weekly activity?
Swim in a pool.
- Tie dye something.
- Go berry picking. Anyone want to play along? What’s on your list this summer?
When Alma and Harriet were babies, they had portraits done. That’s the only time I can think of since our wedding that anyone in our family has had portraits done. For my birthday this year, my parents gave us a session with a wonderful photographer for family portraits.
Courtney Theim was amazing to work with. She was incredibly flexible as we waited for a break in the weather to head up to Hendrick’s park. We met her early one morning and she took some beautiful family portraits with magical light and the incredible backdrop that is the park in springtime.
Here are some of my favorites.
I’m not often in front of the camera, so I’m so happy to have these. I could write a whole blog post about body image and moms missing from family photos, but I’m sure you’ve all read it before. The main thing is that I don’t want to look back at my life and not see myself in the photos. I also don’t want my daughters to see me missing. My beautiful, silly girl, with those sweet freckles. Come on, seriously. Harriet is so lovely.I love Harriet’s closed eyes here. And our strawberry blond curls. Look at Harriet looking at Alma. So much love and admiration right there. Believe me that it is mutual. Courtney wanted to try this hand photo, and Harriet didn’t want to play along. I’m astonished that Courtney was able to catch the split second all our hands were stacked up. That’s talent, folks. Please contact Courtney if you need some photos done. She’s wonderfully professional, and was great with the kids. And the proof’s in the pudding. The photos are amazing.
For the girls’ Christmas dresses, I used Oliver + S’s Fairy Tale pattern (the same one I used for Harriet’s baptism dress) and solid fabrics from Piece By Piece. Alma got to wear her dress to the Nutcracker, and Harriet got to wear her dress to my dad’s Rotary meeting, but unfortunately, Alma was really sick on Christmas, so we skipped church, and didn’t have the kids wear their fancy Christmas dresses to Christmas Eve dinner at my dad’s.
Luckily, we’re really lazy and still have our Christmas decorations up, so before we went to Alma’s birthday party, we had a quick photo-shoot with Jesse’s old sled, decorated with some Christmas boughs.
It was Jesse’s idea to make Alma’s dress look like a Christmas tree. I thought it could be awesome or ridiculous, but I decided to go for it anyway!I raised the waistline and lengthened the skirt, and added a few extra layers. I think the tiers of green look really sweet, and I love the petal sleeves in this pattern.
For Harriet, the initial idea was to make it like a poinsettia, but in the end, I decided making petals would be too much, so I just lengthened it, and added the dark red lining, longer than the dress.I love how the Christmas dresses look Christmas-y, but are plain enough that they can wear them all year long. I also love how Harriet was totally mugging for the camera. She seriously cracks us up, all day long.