01 April 2013

Out-Takes from the Photo Shoot

I found this old post that never published..... so.......

 Our friend, Roger J. Porter, shot some family photos for us right before Christmas.  We just played around downtown Portland near Pioneer Square and the old Carnegie library.

One of the shots made it onto our Christmas card.  Here are some that didn't make that cut but show a bit of the Sprout's spunky personality.





The Sprout at 4

Dear Sprout,

In March, you turned four years old.  It's not just another year in the calendar, but truly a transformation from plump, adorable little girl to some new long-legged creature that looks more like a kindergartner than a baby.  As always, I cheer each new development and I'm always excited for the next stage.

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I'll admit though to being slightly sad that many of your toddler speech patterns have slipped away.   I love when you are watching t.v. with me and a commercial comes on and you tell me in your wise and knowing way, "That's just and advertusement, Mom!"  I grin inside every time I hear you talk about "hairplanes" and "hairports" and I hope that is the last mispronunciation to disappear.


This year for your birthday you really wanted a ballet themed party. I tried to talk you into an artist party since you've declared that is your future career, but you were not dissuaded.  Personally, I was just trying to avoid a Pepto Bismal pink party.  Every ballet themed birthday party geegaw that I saw in the party store was pink, pink, pink.  And I am not a fan of pink, pink, pink.  Fortunately I also saw a lot of cute black and white party decorations so we put together a black and white ballet party with just a hint of pink.  You were thrilled.


You are really interested in reading and writing.  In fact, the word "obsessed" comes to mind some days.  You want to know "What that says?" and "How do you spell ___?" and "Mama, what does a little 'm' look like?"  Because you practice writing, drawing and cutting all the time, your fine motor skills are developing really quickly.  Already the difference between how you write your name now and only three months ago is very pronounced.  You meticulously addressed all the envelopes for your birthday invitations and then signed thank you notes for everyone after the party. 


The nice thing about four is you have friends.  Real friends.  And you actually play together with little adult support.  It's nice to know that we can take you places and you and your friends will run off for an hour or two of uninterrupted play.  Of course, we can't let down our guard too much.  One night Cara and I were having a beautiful heart to heart conversation while you and Little Bear were playing in the basement.  We heard much gleeful laughter but thought little of it, until we discovered both of you covered from head to toe in marker.  Fortunately they were water-based markers and came off pretty easily leaving only mild bruise-like discolorations the following day.


Your personality remains fiercely independent and intense.  You can maintain focus for an hour or more on a detailed craft or writing project, and you can just as quickly become frustrated with a mistake and destroy what you've been working on in one quick crumple of the paper and an exasperated shriek.  You do not like to be told what to do in any way shape or form.  As parents, we're constantly evaluating which battles are worth fighting and which ones are not essential.  Like most strong-willed girls, you like to have choices and generally that works to defuse situations.  "Would you like to go potty or brush your teeth first?" goes over far better than a directive.  (Thank you, Love and Logic!) 


You love to have routines and checklists.  You have a "Morning Routine" taped to the door of your bedroom in an attempt to smooth the workaday morning hustle.  You like routines so much, you carefully numbered and drew a 6 step routine for your Rapunzel doll so she will know order in which to proceed when she takes a bath and gets dressed.  For a while, you were refusing to wear underwear because they were "uncomfortable".  Magically, Days of the Week underwear seem to have solved this problem.  The compulsion to wear the Right underwear for each day apparently overrides any sensory issues.
Child, I KNOW you. That part of you--that fierce, frustrated, checklist-loving part of you.  That's me.  I only hope and pray we can steer your stubborn little will in the right direction so you can grow into a woman that is kind and strong and wise and true.


Your Mama 

03 February 2013

The Sprout at 3 and 3/4 ths

The Sprout is intensely fascinated with drawing, all manner of script and story telling these days. This culminated this week in writing and illustrating her own book. She has 'read' it to me several times and I managed to video it yesterday.
Each time she's told me the story it has had slight variations but the theme is that Silvie married her best buddy Tait (he is not a fan of this scheme as a hearty four year old boy). Then there is a slightly creepy part of the book where she sneaks into his bedroom and a baby comes out of her shirt.
She will be mortified of this when she is twelve.

YouTube Video

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

23 January 2013

Snow Day

The great privilege of living on Portland is that we can chose our weather.  Sure, it's rainy and grey in town most of the time, but all we have to do is drive 45 minutes up the mountain to be in sun and snow.

The Sprout must have read too many Christmas books about snowy winter days because she was insistent that we would have snow for Christmas.  We didn't.  She was sad.  So we took her up the Mountain one Saturday to play in the snow.

2013 Jan Feb Mar

2013 Jan Feb Mar

Apparently, her romanticized dream of snow did not include:  a) cold  and b) snow so deep you can barely walk in it. 

2013 Jan Feb Mar

She was not a fan.  She made a few snow angels, walked a few hundred yards and was done.

Two big thumbs down.

Maybe next year.

2013 Jan Feb Mar

30 December 2012

"Orphan" Christmas

We jokingly refer to our Christmas day celebration as "Orphan" Christmas.  Over the years we've collected a few souls who also have no family in town for the holidays and we have brunch together on Christmas day.

Here are our friends, Dave, Krys, P and M, who we love dearly:


Here's our former housemate hamming it up with the Sprout.  They are good friends and even better enemies.


In a quiet moment, listening to "princess stories".


We gave the Sprout a dollhouse for Christmas.  I bought it used from a friend and cleaned it up a little bit. It used to have pale pink floral wallpaper.  I don't know if you can tell it in the pictures, but on Christmas Eve we stayed up late painting out the pink with black chalkboard paint.  I think it's a big improvement plus we can draw on the walls any pattern we choose.


More photos on Flickr for friends and family

29 December 2012

Fall 2012, In which I prove once again that I am not Superwoman

Dear Long-Forsaken Blog,

I feel like I've been pretty careful in the last few years to not take on too much at any given time. But this fall I got a little carried away. I took a graduate class toward my administrator's license and  I signed on to two heavy-duty committees in my school district.  These duties on top of my already busy full-time job and roles of wife and mother.  Add to this, the Wise and Bearded One's new job in an architecture firm--a new job in which he has increased responsibilities and has been averaging fifty-plus hour weeks.

And it was all too much. Some of my favorite parts of life fell by the wayside.  I did almost no reading for pleasure, almost no crafting, and (obviously) no blogging.

I struggle with being an ambitious career woman while valuing a creative life, a nurturing home, and spiritual/emotional balance.  I've searched for blogs by women who work fulltime outside the home and are involved mothers.  I haven't found one yet.  They probably just don't have the time to blog.  If you find one, let me know. 

I take comfort from conversations with many of my female friends who are in the same place I am---trying to find balance and figuring out when to say "no" and when to say "yes".  I also really appreciated the Atlantic article by Anne-Marie Slaughter that made the rounds of the internet this summer. If you haven't read Why Women Still Can't Have It All, I recommend it.

What's Really Important:


 Things that Happened This Fall that Did Not Get Blogged About:

--Our housemates moved out. We love them and are happy they can finally get their own space and we are glad to stretch out across our whole house again.

--The Sprout got her own room--we repainted and are in the process of making one of the upstairs bedrooms her special place.

--The Wise and Bearded One renovated half of our basement into a work/studio space and play space.  It's almost done.  Happy Dance!  I can't wait to have a space to sew that is somewhere other than the dining room table!

--We now have a guest room/office too.  So, out-of-town friends, come and visit!

--I read several thousand pages about using data for educational decision making, common core curriculum, formative and summative assessment, and evaluation systems for teachers and administrators.  I am not any smarter than when I started.

--We watched four seasons of Sons of Anarchy in quick succession in the evenings after the Sprout went to bed.

What Will Be Different Next Semester:

--The Wise and Bearded One and I have a deal:  Only one of us is allowed to be stressed at a time.  Since his job promises to continue to be extremely busy for the next few months, I will scale back my extra duties
--Hopefully, that means I will have time to read, to create, to blog.  But I'm not promising anything since I have definitively proven that I am not Superwoman.


31 August 2012

Thrifted and Re-purposed

A teak tray, stemless wine glasses and black platters--all from our neighborhood Goodwill.

Two 'zen' dish gardens for my new office at work. Windows nearby may lend enough natural light to keep plants alive. The plants are shade 'steppables' from Portland Nursery. Now to see if we can survive the school year---me, my plants, and a bit of serenity.

21 August 2012

Made: New Pillow Covers

When we first moved to the Pacific Northwest, I knew the grey days would really bother me. Version 1.0 of our house had a different saturated color in every room because I thought the colors would offset the grey.

Over the years, I've learned I long for white and bright rooms to reflect as much light as possible. Version 2.0 of our house finds me slowly painting over each room with different shades of white and limiting the palette to whites/creams, black and wood tones. Here's how one half of our bowling-alley living room is looking these days.

The pillows and throws were getting a little too heavy on the IKEA scale for me, so when I found this black and cream honeycomb patterned fabric I had to make some new pillow covers. Perhaps a honeycomb pattern is appropriate for this bee's nest.

19 August 2012

Summer, Where Did You Go?

It's hard to blog after you haven't for two months.  Where do you start?  Do you even try to start again? For me the answer is "yes" because this blog is really the only journal/photo album/recuerdo that we keep around here.

And so, here's an omnibus blog post, meant to clear the air and record in brief what we've been up to this summer.

1) Two weeks in Indiana for me and the Sprout to do the family tour--cousins, aunts, uncles, grandmas and grandpas.

2) A 7-day graduate course for me at Lewis and Clark. Compressing one semester's work into a week and a half nearly put me over the edge.  Fortunately, we had a second weekend to finish writing our papers.  I'm considering working toward my administrator's license so this was a little dip in the pool to see what I think.  I'll probably take another course this fall but at a much more sane pace.

3) Two weeks of swimming lessons for the Sprout.  She was pleased to be able to take lessons with her great friend Tait ("I gonna marry Tait when I grow up.  I'm going to be a princess and Tait is going to dance me.").  She will now tolerate water being poured on her head but still is careful to never ever submerge her head in water.  Hopefully more swimming lessons will cure that fear.

 4) A round of flu swept through the household.  Fortunately, I avoided it but the Housemate and the Wise and Bearded One were out for the count for about two weeks there.  And then the Wise and Bearded One let his cold/flu morph into a nasty sinus infection.  He was so sick that he lost five pounds because he had no appetite.  

5)  Cleaning.  It's frightening to be home on a sunny day after being away so much and realize how awfully and astoundingly dirty our house is (was).  Goodness!  Moving the couch to vacuum required a bio-hazard suit.  Fortunately, this blog isn't about cleaning, or  I'd have to just declare a "fail" and stop here.

6) Dog care.  We have two dogs, a large, beautiful and stupid Weimaraner named Abraham and a slightly smaller, sweeter and more neurotic German Short-haired Pointer named Keegan.  Keegan is probably about twelve years old.  We don't know for sure because she's a rescue dog.  But over the last year, we've seen her age rapidly.  She has severe arthritis in her rear legs which makes getting up every morning painful, and our 1930s house is in no-way handicap accessible.  She has to go up or down stairs to get anywhere.  Some days she needs us to help pick her up to help her get out of the house first thing in the morning.  She's been cleaning her plate, wags her tail occasionally and even goes for very short walks down the block with me.  But it's clear her days with us are numbered.

7)  Not blogging.  No, but I've whiled away many happy hours taking photos and posting them on Instagram and pinning away on Pinterest.  If you're an Instagram user, please find me at beesnestdeb, and if you're a Pinterest user, I just installed a "follow me" button in the sidebar and I'd love to see you there.

There.  Let's see if that's enough to get this old blog machine rolling again.

20 July 2012


The Sprout and I are long back from our Midwestern tour, and pouring ourselves into the beauty of the Portland summer. I was looking back through my iPhone photos and found these.

Often, when I contemplate an Indiana summer, I think about the oppressive heat and humidity which I loathe. I forget the things I love: fireflies, lightening storms, ice cream, and dusk at the end of a warm day when the earth starts to cool. This was always my favorite time to go for a walk or a jog and it still is.