Friday, July 31, 2015

Pint Sized Post

Between bites of burrito at lunch today...

Phoebe: "Mommy? Did you know that the whole world is in Jesus' hand?  So, we are walking on His hand!"
Me: "I hope it doesn't tickle too much."
Juni: "I hope He doesn't have to itch His nose!"

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Tid Bit

Ben is sharing his bike ride to work yesterday with anyone interested seeing a biker's view of Keizer and Salem, Oregon, or just getting some vicarious exercise this morning!   


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Tid Bit

Something of interest to me here is the kombucha.  I made my own kombucha in Ohio.  Since we are still surrounded by boxes and living in purgatory, I have been buying kombucha.  They have these things called "growlers" (see photo above) that you can buy anywhere and fill at a growler fill station, We have a "Growl Movement" store near us.  You can fill it with any of their beers or kombuchas on tap for about $14. You take it home and when it's empty, bring the growler back and get it refilled!  If you prefer, you can fill them with the kombucha on tap at some local restaurants or the health food grocery store.  For those who don't know what kombucha is, it's a fermented beverage that turns to vinegar as it ages, rather than alcohol.  It is widely known for it's many health benefits, including being anti-inflammatory for arthritis, it's anti-cancer properties and most of all it's amazing probiotics, which can heal the gut of all sorts of things.  In other words, it cleans you out!  Between all the kombucha and the fresh berries, we are doing really well in the regularity department, if you know what I mean!  Woo wee!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Tid Bit

We are getting excited about moving.  We should close in about two weeks.  Here's a sneak peek at the front of our new home. 
6388 Doral Dr SE, Salem, OR 97306

We are constantly inundated with newness (yes, even a month and a half after arriving).  New roads to drive, new people, new grocery stores, new fashions (kind of), new trees, flowers, opportunities.  It's fun on one hand, but exhausting on the other.   It's the best way to not feel sad or lonely, distraction!!  So, if it seems like we are going a lot of places and doing a lot of things, I am also eating a lot of chocolate and we are not living in reality yet.  The house above symbolizes the return of normal for us.  We are hungry for routine, sameness, familiarity.  We should close in the next week or so...

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Oregon Adventures VIb

Rest of the week in pictures:

Friday morning we set out to pick up Ezra from camp.  On the way, we saw this impressive lumber yard!

Here he is with his buddies after a week together at Drift Creek Camp.

That's when the fun started.  I mean the pain.  So, Ezra was whooped, understandably.  But, we needed to eat lunch and we were right by the ocean, so a quick picnic was in order before we headed home.  Everything seemed to go wrong.  Upon arriving at the new beach we were excited about, I realized (#1) I left the picnic cooler full of food on the kitchen floor at home.  So, we picked up some fish and chips to go.  No biggie.  We head back to the beach.
I set the pop that we were to share on a very stable log of driftwood beside us.  As we began to eat, a gust of wind came and (#2) knocked the pop off the log and it melted into a sandy oblivion and on Ezra's flip flop.  Two Wiglets completely melted down for numerous minutes.  One even took the said flip flop and drank from it the few drops that hadn't been lost in the sand, much to his mother's horror.

#3. Jelly fish.  "Hey mom!  I saw a jelly fish!"  Dubious, "That's seaweed," Ezra, "No, behind that, Mom, look!"  Yup!  Jellyfish.  So, I told him to stay away, they could sting him and some are very poisonous.  I know someone who knows someone who almost died from a jellyfish sting. He says, "It didn't hurt when I picked it up."  I was ready to go at that point and should have.  I kept freaking out about the jellyfish that Ez touched.  They were everywhere!  Two very nice ladies came by and encouraged us that there are many non-stinging jelly fish, so I let the kids touch them after that.

See it?
Just then, (#4) I look up and a giant crow flew past us with something orange in it's mouth making his orange beak look twice as big.  I watched it fly past and said, "I have a bad feeling that bird just invaded our picnic."  We all ran to the blanket and the Styrofoam container that I had combined all the leftover food in, had a hole in the top of it.  All of the fish was taken, Ezra's granola bar was gone too.  Exhausted, Ezra was back to crying, which Juni decided to join in.  She was not over-tired, hungry, nor had she lost food to a crow, but nonetheless, she sobbed along side Ezra over the loss.  I decided at that point we needed to leave.

#5 The Bathroom: I ask everyone to try going to the bathroom before we embark on our hour and a half trip home.  Phoebe protested insisting that she did not need to go and was personally offended that I would question her.  So, the one who had not been crying, began to cry WAIL.

  After potty efforts, and all three still sniveling, I sit them down in the grass and get the (#6) Magic Powder.  As I shook the  powder on their feet and legs, the sand amazingly brushed off them and they named it, "Magic Powder".  Where did it come from?  What is it?  It smells so good!  They climbed in the car announcing that they all wanted Magic powder for their birthdays.  As they played with this idea happily in the car, I shook my head in wonderment at the emotional insanity surrounding me.

Look at the funny ad I found for Magic Powder (1979)!

...and that was the end of our sixth week in Oregon.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Oregon Adventures VIa

 Week of July 12th in pictures:
This week began by dropping off Ezra at his first "sleep-over camp".  Heavily researched beforehand, Drift Creek Camp exceeded our approval standards and didn't fail to deliver.  It is almost two hours from our house and near enough the ocean, it warranted a stop at the beach first.  Oh, and we took Ben's '67 Plymouth Fury, just for fun! 

 The last time we tried visiting the beach it was so cold so, we did not expect sunny weather in the 70s and 6mph winds (aka perfect!).

 Being fully dressed doesn't seem to stop our kids from completely immersing themselves around any body of water.

 We played at "D River" in Lincoln City, which has a lovely creek-like stream that pours into the ocean that is perfect for little ones who are unnerved by the ocean's waves.

 What IS this?   It seemed to be alive.
The Wiglets were not permitted to disturb it.

Sea Star!

The treasures.

While we were at the beach we found out Ben's sister, Elizabeth, had her second baby.  We have thought of little else since!

The next three days, I went to a Classical Conversations practicum and the girls went to Play Camp and Geo-Drawing Camp.  Classical Conversations is a national home educator academic group based on the classical model of learning.  We have done the program for three years in Ohio and will be able to continue it in Albany, Oregon.  Hooray for a tiny bit of continuity!

At the end of the three days the kids performed the songs/memory work they learned over their camp.  Phoebe sang a great song about invertebrates that she still sings every day.

Juni got to brush up on her world geography during the camp and we all got to hang out with some of the people that we will be seeing on a weekly basis this Fall.
After asking the girls what they learned at camp one day, I shared with the girls a little of what I learned too, "I learned about the three stages of learning according to the Classical model."  Phoebe quickly asked, "Did you get on the stage, Mommy?" I think for a minute, "Hmmm...sometimes people call a period of time in their life a 'stage', weird, huh?" Phoebe: "Oh, ok."

Thursday, we finally got to visit Bush's Pasture park, which is a park in the heart of Salem and many have told us about it.  It was unique and fun...just like all the other great parks in Salem!
All week, I ached for Ezra, it was our first time apart really ever.  A whole week.  It was good for us though. 
This week is to be had WAY too many pictures for one post!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Oregon Adventures V

The week of July 5th in pictures:
We visited Daddy at his new job on Monday.
Ben has a large cubical he shares with the maintenance team lead.  His title there is "Chief Inspector," which involves keeping Garmin above reproach with the FAA in their aviation department.  He enjoys being a liaison between the engineering and maintenance departments as well.
 I found the testing rooms interesting (not shown).  They have machines and special rooms to test new products under all sorts of different conditions.  We weren't allowed to take pictures of anything technical.  Ben told us afterward that our tour included seeing some top secret things, but as we didn't know the difference, it was fine that we saw!  There were about thirty people playing volley ball when we arrived, but I was too embarrassed to take their picture and so waited till the end of our tour. 

 Monday through Friday, Juni had paper mache camp.  The camp was a half hour away in Silverton, so we just stayed at the pretty park everyday and waited for her.  Ezra finished his schoolwork from the past year that needed finishing at the park, working a little each day before getting to play.

Ezra trying to catch minnows in the creek at the park.

 There was a fat squirrel that didn't seem too afraid of us.
 Paper Mache Piggy Bank!  Juni had such a good time.  She also made a fish bowl candy dish and a solar system mobile.
 Some of the fields we passed driving to Silverton were breathtaking!  I think these were buttercups!  Who plants a field of buttercups?  
 ...and poppies!?  LOVE!
 Ezra took this picture of a bookstore cat while we purrrused downtown. :-)
 Saturday morning, Juni and I had a scheduled date together.  Here she is with her chosen chocolate chip cookie and root beer for breakfast.  I had a latte and chocolate croissant that was entirely too big.  She said, "I wish I could be a fish so I could be in the water all the time, and not just some of the time, like now."  So, I asked her, "If you could be any fish or sea life what would you be?"  She thought a moment and replied, "One that people don't eat."  That's my girl!
 We finished off the week with a trip to the Saturday outdoor market.  There are FOUR markets in Salem.  One is indoor and year round.  This one was huge, at least for us.

 We tried fresh pressed sugar cane with lime.  It is not what we are used to, which makes you wonder what happens to our processed white sugar before we get it.
 Some upcycled bottles turned into windchimes.  Lots of nationalities were represented in the foods offered.  I did not see maple syrup though (normal at our market in Ohio), or fresh salsa or granola from heaven.  Also missing: all our farmer's market friends.  There was good honey and hummus though, so we have some consolation.
A strawberry frozen lemonade was more our pace flavor-wise, not that Daddy or Mommy got any.

I apologize for the delay!  Part of my phone broke and we needed to buy a card reader to help get the photos off my phone.  We are set now though!  I have lots more to share, it's been a full two weeks since I posted.  Thanks for being with us, at least in cyberspace.  If you think of it though, send us a text, or leave a comment (here or on FB), it makes blogging WAY more fun!  Thanks to my Grandma Jennings for all the feedback, you ROCK!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Oregon Adventures IV

Sunday - We kicked off this week with our 18th anniversary.  We were all exhausted from Ezra's birthday celebrations the day before and so didn't go anywhere or do anything all day.  That evening though, the kids brought us fancy drinks to the kiddie table in the backyard and then put on a performance for us with singing, dancing and a brief comedy routine. We are planning to celebrate our anniversary at a later date, but the kids' gift of trying so hard to make it a special evening for us made our day. 

 Monday - Ben was back to work, which he LOVES, by the way.  He is really coming into his own at Garmin, I am so proud of him.  The rest of us went to Eugene, Oregon, which is an hour South of us to see an old friend of mine from Ohio.  Melinda Caldwell and I used to work at a crisis center together.  Now she runs a booming supervised visitation program and teaches co-parenting classes in New Philadelphia.  Her daughter is an aspiring Olympian and came to Eugene to qualify for the Olympic team and other honors.  Melinda and her mother-in-law came to watch and we spent lunch together before she had to catch a plane back to Ohio. It was a little surreal to have our worlds collide out here, but sweet medicine for the soul!

Tuesday: We went blueberry picking with the Linds, they have kindly shown us all the best picking spots in the area.  This berry orchard is about 20 minutes from our rental home, just outside East Salem.  

 We didn't pick nearly as many blueberries as we did cherries the week before, but the Linds shared some of theirs with us and we still ended up with plenty.

We had school and laundry to do afterwards, and so put the two together.  I read the 20 rules listed on the wall of the laundry mat and though one said, "No sitting on the folding tables," it said nothing about the washers.

OK, so we broke a rule (that's Phoebe on a folding table).  There were clearly 19 rules we did not even touch, like smoking and leaving children unattended. Sometimes, I am a little rebellious.  It was worth getting half of school (and the laundry!) done though.

This is our favorite (and the most prominent) mural in downtown Salem.  The kids have named her, "Eleanor Chrysanthemum Morocca," and it fits.  I just researched and found out that her stage name was Theda Bara, she was a silent actress from the early 1900s.  This walking blog had a nice tour of Salem's downtown, if you are interested.

Salem is considered the most rural and agricultural of the three big cities in Oregon, with lots of farms and orchards surrounding it.  Coming from Northeast Ohio, we are spoiled though, every time we see this scene, we remember the beautifully hand stacked corn and hay in Amish country. 
As a side note, I have also been missing my beloved granola that I used to buy from Shepherd's Market.  Marion Yoder makes homemade graham crackers and crumbles in it, it's got toasted coconut and walnuts too.  If you live in Tuscarawas County and haven't tried it, you are missing out.  You can get it, and it's GF doppelganger Wednesdays 3-7pm at the Tusc. County Farmer's Market at the fairgrounds.  So far, I have found nothing even remotely comparable and there is even a large population named after the stuff here!

We still love our new neighborhood.  Who knew how nice the suburbs could be for family living!?

We are eating up the blackberries we find on the side of the road near our rental home.  Hee hee!

Wednesday and Thursday were busy with school, homeschool park day and seeing off our friends from Switzerland. :-(

Since we first found out that we might move to Salem, we have been interested in visiting the "The Gilbert House Children's Museum."  It is 10 minutes down the road and is three historic houses full of imagination play.  There is also a large outdoor play area with lots of shaded seating, so even if it's raining, it will be a fun place to come and do school sometime. We got a membership.  We used to go to a similar place in Mansfield, called, "The Little Buckeye Children's Museum," it's worth the drive, Ohio friends!

There's a psychedelic digital body art room

The China room where Ben and I were served "tea" by someone else's children.

An aerospace science room, that got under Ben's skin a little.  The buttons and knobs should actually work, in his opinion.  He has plans to approach Garmin execs about making this a reality. :-)

There's a farm room to collect eggs, pick veggies and milk a cow. 

A stage for singing the A,B,C's.

A creative design block room and many more (I had way too many pictures to share).

A. C. Gilbert was the originator of the erector set and produced many other toys back in the early 1900s. He was born in Salem, OR, but did most of his work on the East Coast.

Saturday: We had a low key Independence Day.  The fireworks didn't start till 10pm, TOO LATE!   We had a nice cookout with our new friends, Chris and Bonnie Lehman.  Chris reports the politics from the State House here in Salem for NPR.  Bonnie is a soon-to-be homeschooling Canadian and is addicted to Yerba Mate tea.  She gave us a kilo's worth and a bombilla (metal straw/sieve) to get started.  All of us are enjoying the tea very much, it's fun too because it's a communal and you pass it around.  I had only had instant yerba mate before and it's very different.  Oooh, I got my first mosquito bite that night.  There aren't many mosquitos here, only in their backyard, I'm pretty sure.

In Ohio, living in the country, we were used to bugs.  We made peace with them and usually let them co-exist with us in our home.  I went from being nervous around spiders to picking them up with my bare hands and carrying them outside if I didn't wish them to be in a particular room.  All of Salem and Keizer is known for the orchards that used to be here, many are still here.  Our rental home sits on what used to be a cherry orchard.  We had an ant invasion this week that caused me to forego my peaceable ways.  I'm not proud of how many ants died in our vacuum this week, but Juni has found a new way to help out.  If she sees an ant, she turns the vacuum on.

Pictures forthcoming.  We are staying in boxes in our rental as we know we will be moving into our new home in the next month or so.  We should get a closing date this coming week.

That's all the news from the Wigtons in Oregon!  Have a great week everyone!