Archive for May, 2012

Do you know who’s fabulous?

Posted by julie on Thursday, 31 May 2012, 23:32

A Wednesday Afternoon and Evening

Posted by julie on Wednesday, 30 May 2012, 23:05

After spending a very long, very glorious weekend in the Redwoods with our glorious friends (photos will undoubtedly follow), today was a little quieter.

Sylvan read a whole book this afternoon. It wasn't short; it did have lots of pictures and jokes about toilets.

Despite the fact that there were cupcakes with whipped cream for dessert to celebrate a certain 39-year-old's birthday, someone fell asleep at dinner. It's so hard to be 3.

Happy Birthday, Elena! You’re 3 3/4.

Posted by julie on Tuesday, 15 May 2012, 13:39

You started the day with princess face paint...

...and you ended it with an impressive fat lip. Your mouth bled for two nights afterward, as you slept. And your nose is now bruised. It was some bar fight.

Dear Elena,

You are a tough little chickie. While your latest big injury—your fat lip, bleeding gum, bloody nose, and subsequent bruised nose—did leave you weepy for the rest of that evening, you never needed any pain medication, and your didn’t have any trouble eating the following day. We coached you to tell grown-ups that you’d been in a bar fight, which was more amusing than the I-fell-off-the-bathroom-stool-and-hit-my-face-on-the-sink explanation.

If you knew my Gramma Jo, you may have seen her in glasses like these—they probably would have been black, or maybe red, but she'd have appreciated the panache of the pink ones..

You have a very respectful sense of nighttime and morning. While you do wake us (read: Daddy) up in the middle of the night because you need water or you can’t find Bunny, when it’s nearly morning but still dark, you hole up in your room and talk to your various dolls and stuffed critters. Sometimes you sing, and sometimes you fall back to sleep. Then, when you notice light, you fling open your door and holler enthusiastically, “It’s morning!”

Elena and Grampa Tom with their Stuart Little-sized snowmen

You are currently an interesting and contradictory collection of characteristics and behaviors. Since you were born, you’ve been happy and smiling, and you still are. Life is exciting, and you sing your way through it. And you’re also very much THREE! Three is an age of strong opinions and hardheadedness, at least for children who live in this house. You feel your emotions so strongly, and sometimes you just lash out with your negative ones and they manifest as ear-piercing screaming, fake crying, real crying, hitting. or, excitingly, biting!

In the past couple of months, you’ve started doing some representational drawing, encouraged by your calm and inspirational teacher, Jen, at school. Largely you’ve been drawing people, but I’ve seen some animals too. You can now cut with scissors on a line very well—better than some adults I know, in fact. You often ask me to draw hearts, which you trace with marker, cut out, and decorate with shiny things. You like to paint, and you’ve recently been painting a piggy bank, rocks, and probably the couch cushions.

You counted to 23 the other day, when you were counting stickers on your sticker chart. I was dumbfounded, as I’d never heard you count above 13. Yesterday, you added “eleventeen” after nineteen. I smiled; Sylvan corrected you, because you have to be right if you’re the big sibling.

These last couple of photos attest to your fearless nature. I won’t be at all surprised when you join the IceAxemen at South Eugene High School and tell me that you’re climbing Middle Sister in January. I just hope you don’t mind too much if I foil your plans to kiss that cute sophomore by joining the trip as a chaperone.

Elena, I really appreciate your hugs and kisses. You never fail to be aware of other people’s feelings, and you know when mine are low. You wrap yourself around me like a baby monkey and don’t let go. Thank you.

I love you, Miss Thing.


5/21/12 P.S. I forgot to mention your singing habit, at least more than in passing. Especially when your big brother’s annoying you with loud noises or copying your every word, you have started to sing a happy song to keep yourself smiling. It usually goes something like this: “Princesses like hearts. And fairies like hearts. And unicorns like hearts.” Repeat. It’s difficult for me not to smile when you sing it, so I can only assume that it works for you, too.

"Go, Mommy, go!" Here's you cheering for me at the marathon, mile 8. You look really old in this photo, thin and tall.


Happy Mother’s Day!

Posted by julie on Monday, 14 May 2012, 10:40

To all those Moms we love, to whom we’re related or who treat us with loving kindness anyway:

Elena's new skill: representational drawing

Walking meditation


Diamond Peak in May, Take 2

Posted by julie on Monday, 7 May 2012, 14:30

I’ve started my volcano habit early this year, specifically my Diamond Peak habit. I’ve hoped to ski down Diamond Peak for a few years, and yesterday was my day. The weather report said 70 and sunny in town, which boded well for a bluebird day in the mountains.

Seven years ago (!), Chris and I backpacked into Diamond Rockpile, at the south end of Diamond Peak, with him carrying most of the gear and me carrying my belly with a 25-week-old Sylvan inside (photo available here). The following morning, we snowshoed up the south end on a route I’ve taken a few times since, but always when the snow has melted. The route that day was wind-scoured and scary. I was apprehensive about: climbing a mountain with a bean inside me; ever being able to climb a mountain again; and the mostly-melted-out summit ridge, which looked hairy and difficult. We stopped and turned around at that south, false summit seven years ago. Yesterday the summit ridge was a highway, wide and accommodating of the 21 total people we saw on the mountain:

Wide, lovely summit ridge, with group just leaving false summit. Notice the fantastic cornices and the STEEP east side drop. That's Summit Lake in the background, the most heavily mosquitoed place I've ever been - but not in May!

My climbing buddy, Wayne, and I left Pleasant Hill at 6:30 a.m., and, after a short hike from the car up a road not quite passable yet due to snow, we were stepping into our skis around 9 a.m. We started near the Pioneer Gulch trail, but to avoid the walk on snowless trail we walked up the road a little higher into an old clearcut, perfect for finding more snow. After some route-finding for complete snow passages through manzanita and small Doug firs, we got high enough to find more snow, and we were on our way uphill, 4000 feet in four miles.

A prominent west ridge at the south end of Diamond Peak was our, and everyone else’s, route. Climbing skins and climbing wires on my bindings made the climb possible. I did take off my skis for some very steep, 3-4 foot steps that I just didn’t feel confident negotiating with skis on. There was also some rime ice at about 8000 feet for which I de-skied in order not to slide too far down the mountain.

Flags of rime, with Mt. Thielsen in the background

We climbed steadily, and, when we popped out on the south summit, we both agreed that the south slope looked like nice, mellow skiing compared to the steeper bowls, which sounded a little icy at the top whenever anyone skied down them. We skied the summit ridge easily, since it was wide and inviting, staying away from the corniced east side. In no time, we were on the summit, eating cheese and snapping pictures.

Diamond Peak's north ridges, with Willamette Pass Ski Area behind and Mt. Bachelor, Broken Top, and South and Middle Sister to the left (from right to left)

And then it was time for the glorious ski down. Nice softened snow, skiing in a T-shirt, perfect slopes, “adventure” skiing through the trees lower down. Highly recommended.

My turns