Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

Merry Christmas! Joyful Solstice! Happy Hannukah! (insert favorite winter holiday here)

Posted by julie on Tuesday, 25 December 2012, 0:19

We’ve been busy this month. Here’s a sampling:

Hmmm, I can’t put captions on the photos anymore. But please do notice:

  • that Elena wore cowgirl boots and Sylvan wore shorts to see Santa (who’s growing up in Oregon?).
  • that Sylvan was very excited to get a tree, and they were both very excited to read next to it the day we put it up. You should note that we cut this gorgeous Grand fir for a grand total of $14 (including two hot chocolates). Again, that’s Oregon.
  • that Elena is going to be so happy when she can read so she can sing Christmas songs by reading the lyrics. She is trying very hard in this photo.
  • that we just spend the last two days in the Winter Wonderland of the Oregon Cascades. Unbelievably powdery piles of snow! (For birders, we saw many mountain chickadees, some flittery wrens, a northern flicker, mergansers, a hairy woodpecker, an osprey, and we heard a bald eagle.)

4th of July Parade, Small Town, Oregon

Posted by julie on Monday, 9 July 2012, 23:44

The kids and I have created a tradition, the Creswell 4th of July parade. This year, we brought friends.

Mr. A joins the siblings for some T. Rex riding at Holt Park before the parade. Closely followed by morning sno-cones!

Please excuse the quality of the photos. I was trying to get the mules in the photo, but between dodging water balloons and kids standing in front of me, these photos are more of a dynamic process than a tidy result. But read the carriage; I think it's worth it.

Can I please drink this water balloon puddle? Never mind; it won't make me look any tougher, and that's really all I want these days.

If you head to the Creswell Parade, my suggestion is to leave early. We left town at about 9:20 this year, getting us into Creswell before 10 a.m. We easily parked north of the parade route and placed our chairs near the parade route’s end before heading to Holt Park for some playground action and brunch sno-cones (the kids’ll think you’ve lost your marbles, but it’s worth it; there are no lines before the parade). A fighter jet flew over at 10:30, followed by lots of local small planes right before the parade’s 11 a.m. start.

Valentine Love

Posted by julie on Friday, 17 February 2012, 21:42

A couple of our Valentine’s Day creations:

Heart-shaped pancakes on Gramma Jo's plates.

Elena's and Sylvan's valentines for friends

In retrospect, I would have let Elena do her art thing and then cut it up into little squares or hearts for her classmates. She has art project staying power, unlike my last 3-year-old. The “love bugs” are cute, and she loved them, but they were parental-involvement heavy (I downloaded the printable jars here.).

Sylvan’s valentines were GREAT, though. Sylvan and I were inspired by this post, so we developed some Mad Libs for his friends. They were entitled Super Pig’s Rules for School, for some reason, so he also signed his valentines ‘Super Pig.’ Each was wrapped in origami paper, as we’d seen in that blog post, so I decided that I’d print up some little twirling airplane origami instructions on the back of the Mad Libs. Sylvan was involved, but he didn’t feel overwhelmed by his jobs of developing Mad Libs and writing tags. He still doesn’t enjoy long-lived craft projects, and I never want to lose him and feel like I have to do his valentines without him. Success! We’ll do it again next year.

Snow play and Christmas tree cutting

Posted by jonesey on Monday, 12 December 2011, 6:01

It’s almost Christmas in Oregon, which means it’s time to go cut a Christmas tree!

It hasn’t snowed in the mountains for weeks, but it has been nice and cold, so I figured there would still be some snow for sledding. We decided to gather some friends and make a day of it.

We cut the tree first, while we had lots of energy. Since there was only about six inches of packed snow on the ground, we were able to walk into the woods after the tree in our regular snow boots. Much easier than snowshoes!

Shoveling it (in).

It took us a little while to find a tree that was short enough and full enough to make a good Christmas tree.  Wild-grown trees are necessarily a little Charlie Brown-ish, but they always look great with lots of lights and ornaments on them.

The kids practiced their saw safety:

Like this?

Big brother shows how it's done.

Cries of “Timber!” rang through the woods, and we heaved and pulled the monstrous beast back to the van.

And then it was time for:



The kids loved the hard, fast snow. They are fearless. I, on the other hand, got jounced around hard enough that two runs was enough for me. I was happy to be the designated photographer.

After a peaceful ride home (Sylvan read aloud to himself from chapter books during the whole ride there and back), we took a quick break to go down the street and watch a little Thomas the Tank Engine with Señor Cupcake

Señor Cupcake's mom says that Elena can come hang out with him any time. That sounded good to Elena.

… followed by putting up the tree!

No ornaments yet. Just a really soft tree skirt to rub our faces on. Did we mention that it was really soft?

A Halloweeny Saturday

Posted by julie on Saturday, 29 October 2011, 23:54

At noon, I said, “I should carve the pumpkins, or switch the silverware, or make some soup. But I don’t want to do anything.” Chris had just popped popcorn. I looked at him and said, “Hey, do you wanna watch a movie?” His reply: “I was going to ask you the same thing.” Well, the kids weren’t crazy about Gentleman Prefer Blondes, but that’s okay. Sylvan played a video game, Elena played with play-dough, both watched some musical numbers with Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe that just confused them. But we watched a whole movie. In the middle of the day!

Yay, Alder Bikeway! I wouldn't have attempted to take my new cyclist downtown before this. He impressed one group of football fans, who said they were twice his size before they biked on the road.

Then Sylvan and I headed downtown to see thousands of pumpkins. A few of my favorites:

Sylvan looked at more pumpkins just to humor me. He was patiently awaiting a doughnut.

Then on to the Porter Party! Halloween at the Porters is worth dressing up for: prizes, lots of other great costumes, praise. So, Elena was a princess, Sylvan a member of the Residential Unified Air Force (RUAF) in his shorts and a sweater, and I was finally Holly Golightly for Halloween. Boy, no more false eyelashes for me! What a hassle. For the folks who got my costume, I received high praise.

Sylvan is holding Cat the cat, which I carried all night.

4th of July in Eugene

Posted by julie on Tuesday, 5 July 2011, 0:12

We stayed in town for the 4th. Swimming, birthday party, cooking over a fire, 10K race, small-town parade, fireworks, picnic dinner while the Eugene Symphonic Band saluted our veterans. It was worth staying in.

Towels on the line, swim trunks still on, making a fire to cook the rabbit he shot. Not really, but he is definitely going to be our designated campfire builder.

Mmm, tofurkey dogs wrapped in organic (store-bought) pizza dough. Tasty, tasty.

Elena's portrait of Bunny. Looks like she caught him off-guard.

Here I am getting passed by a very nice runner who felt bad for getting in the photo. Course (and 10K) PR, all with stars on my legs.

Awaiting the parade in Creswell. We missed the fighter jet flyover because we waited in traffic on the highway for 40 minutes. I am very lucky my kids are so patient.

Headband AND kettle corn. Why isn't she smiling?


I do love me a nice, old tractor.

Happy Independence Day!

Mr. S. and I (the night owls) caught the fireworks, which started at 10:15 this evening. We biked down to the river, laid out a blanket, and covered up with a down blanket. Eighth moon (named by Mr. S.) setting to the west, personal fireworks being set off all around, blue glow bracelets, and some chocolate buttons. We were afforded a fantastic view of the fireworks across the river, and Mr. S. called the smoky ghost firework leftovers “dents” in the sky.

Good night. Fireworks are still being set off all over the neighborhood. I always feel like I live in the Wild West on the 4th.

A Weekend’s Productivity

Posted by julie on Monday, 14 February 2011, 8:04

Apparently constitutionally incapable of buying Dora valentines at the drugstore, I helped Sylvan with his rockets (look how small he wrote his name; those are glitter gluesticks) and Elena with her collage valentines.

Sylvan's new "book"shelf. This took a painfully long time to paint. My husband is very patient with my endless in-process projects. He only mentions them every couple of weeks or so.

I felt productive this weekend. Happy Valentine’s Day!

‘Tis the Season

Posted by julie on Monday, 13 December 2010, 12:30

For your viewing pleasure, our Christmas-y weekend:

Breakfast with Santa, run by the Eugene Downtown Lions Club. Well-organized, inexpensive, no lines for Santa pictures, cute elf hats on the Lions, crafters selling their wares: I wouldn’t go anywhere else for one-on-one time with Santa and Mrs. Claus (who is cute as a button, I might add; she thought the same of Elena). Please note the similarity to last year’s Claus photo (looks like I’ve become a better barber).

Breakfast with the Clauses, 2010

I am smiling.

Sugar, sugar, sugar, sugar, sugar, sugar, sugar, sugar, sugar, sugar

For the first time, we ventured to Coburg for the Christmas light parade, which started, inexplicably, at 7 p.m. on a school night. It’s dark at 5, so? Despite the screeching, chatty, sleepy Elena we had in the car on the way home, the parade was beautiful. We caravanned up with our Porter friends, who make any event 2.7 times as fun as it would have been otherwise. The parade started with a horse-drawn wagon pulling Santa. The horses were blanketed with lights, and each float and fire engine afterward shone with thousands of lights. People on the floats threw candy (in the dark, while the floats were driving by; again, is this such a good idea?), and someone came by handing out cute stuffed animals. Then, while the Porters stood in line for some photos with Santa, we headed home to put our sleepy munchkins to bed.

I took this photo from the wrong spot, but these little houses were adorably painted.

I know: we're gor-geous.

Despite our raingear, the rain actually held off for the entire parade, then started as soon as we piled into the car.

Merry Christmas! Joyful Solstice! Happy end-of-Hannukah!

4th of July

Posted by julie on Monday, 5 July 2010, 22:47

We went to America for the 4th! Who knew there was a place other than Columbus, Ohio that really knows how to DO the 4th? St. Paul, Oregon, 30 miles outside of Portland, has held a rodeo every 4th since 1935, which is a long time by west coast standards. We skipped the rodeo, but we saw a great, horse-heavy parade, rode carnival rides, and ate funnel cake.

A lovely member of one of many equestrian courts - Queen Kelsey, Princess Ashley, etc.

Politely posed just seconds after his brakeless John Deere almost rolled off the front of the trailer. This purty machine's for you, Dad.

Overcoming friction

Dive bomber!

Dive bomber!

Moments before she shoved away my protective hand.

Oscar night

Posted by jonesey on Monday, 8 March 2010, 20:52

Our friends Chandra and Eric host an Oscar party every year. They encourage us to dress up, and they even take red carpet photos. This means I get an excuse to wear my tuxedo at least once a year. Here’s a photo of Steve, Eric, and your humble scribe, looking pretty suave.

I'm well dressed, but I have a little face coming out of the back of my head.