Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls. Or Do. Because It's Awesome.

 To celebrate the J-bird finishing Kindergarten (WHAT?!), we grabbed our friends-who-are-family and went on a Portlandia adventure on Saturday.
 We started with the best donuts in all the land at Blue Star. Go to there. Eat of their amazing wares.
I bet you'll like it.

 You may or may not know this about me, but I love to dance. This does not mean I dance well, only that I love to git down. My children will not always love this about me, but they currently enjoy it.

 After Blue Star, we drove out to Multnomah Falls. Gorgeous. I hadn't been out there since before Miss V was born. Yep, still breathtaking.

 (This is actually Wahkeena Falls - right before Multnomah. We stopped and walked up there first.)

 A rare photo of all four Houxes.

 Be not afeared. Someone was right behind her. :)

 "Please do not plummet off the path to your certain doom, darling."

"But I waaaaant toooooo!"

 The J-bird is intentionally winking in this photo which makes it a contender for my collection of all-time favorite photos. Look at the smirk! And the dimples! Augh. I'm dying. Nope. I'm dead. I've been slain by it. I don't know if it's the little plaid flannel shirt, or the Spock haircut, but this kid breaks my Cute-o-Meter lately.

 Miss V smashed her Cute-o-Meter with a hammer a long time ago ;)

 Then there's this little number. Yeah. See? Hammer go smash.

 Orrrrrr this. Thank you, Bailey. I believe I'm cured. ;)

 Aaaand...that's enough walking.

After hiking around the Falls for as long as the kids could handle it, we went back into the city for some lunch/brunch at the Screen Door. Have MERCY. Go on and go there for some Southern food, and plan to share with your friends, because it's amazing and huge and filling. We got chicken and waffles, grits, and biscuits and gravy to share around, and we didn't really eat for the rest of the day. We ate like pythons, is what I mean to say.

So, to sum up - donuts, waterfalls, chicken and waffles. And grits. How was your Saturday?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Puppy Power

 Jumping into school just six weeks before the end of the year has been a little intimidating, if I'm being honest. We're learning everything as fast as we can - Montessori culture, how to be apart all day, everything - and I think we're doing alright, though I'm sure we've (I've) fumbled once or twice. Having these six weeks to acclimate before diving in next Fall has been invaluable though - well worth any awkward Mommy stumbles or missteps. The teachers at the school have been really helpful and kind, and I've met some truly lovely parents who have helped me navigate and learn the ropes. Above all, the J-bird is LOVING his school experience. He adores his teacher, and he's making friends and learning a lot. James and I feel like this school is the right place for our little dude.

The other night, our J-bird got to participate in the end-of-year program, and boy howdy, was it ever adorable. It was a play that the children had written themselves, called "Puppy Power". It featured all the kids in the J-bird's class (about 20 children, grades 1-5), two dogs, an original song, and a microphone that was enthusiastically passed around. Seriously. So cute.

 And was he excited?

 Oh, you betcha.

Tomorrow is the last day of school. There will be a picnic (probably inside, considering the resurgent rain) and lots of fun, and then we'll start summer break. Some short trips, Vacation Bible School, day camp, swimming lessons at the pool. School will be imminent though, and that's how it will be for many years to come in the J-bird's life. It's weird how quickly that happened. Those long, sleepless nights of his babyhood stretched on forever, and now, ka-bam! Here we are. I suppose that's what makes summer so sweet though, isn't it? Knowing it will end? So you roll around in it and enjoy every warm, hazy minute free of schedules and books and homework, because you know those things are biding their time, waiting their inexorable turn to carry you along. Turn your head away from that though. To everything a season, and it's time for summer!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

First Tooth In, First Tooth Out

The J-bird's little tooth has been loose for a looooooooong time - getting looser and looser by the day. He showed it to me the other night, and it was so loose, that I told him I could just pull it for him, if he'd let me. He sat on my lap, and we took turns wiggling it, until it was just about ready to come out. I told him this would be the very last pull, and he leaned back and asked me with questioning eyes if the Tooth Fairy is really real.

"What do YOU think?" I asked.

He thought about it for a second, and then answered, "Yes."

"Alright then." said I. "Let's do it."

 And out it came! There were no tears, and he was very proud of how brave he'd been.

Look how little!

And it's the first one that grew in when he was tiny. First in, first out.

We put the tooth in the little monster pillow I made for the Tooth Fairy.

 My gap-toothed wonder was very, very excited to find the perfect spot to put it before he went to sleep.

The next morning, right at the crack of dawn, a thrilled little boy came bouncing into my room to hurriedly apologize for waking me and then show me the golden dollar coin, blue glitter, and tiny note from the Tooth Fairy that said:

Dearest Jimmy,
Congratulations on losing your very first tooth! Thank you for leaving it under your pillow for me. I've taken it away to my castle - I've got the perfect spot for it! I'm so pleased to leave you this gold coin in its place. I normally only leave a quarter, but a first tooth is special. Be sure to keep brushing - I do love nice, clean teeth. See you again soon!

Lots of Love, the Tooth Fairy

He read and re-read the note to anyone who would listen (most especially his enraptured sister), and seeing him wrapped up in the magic made the early wake-up call completely worth it. Man, do I love this kid. And his one-tooth-less smile.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


I grew up in tornado country. We had drills for tornadoes in school, where we'd all go to the central hallway and crouch with our heads against the wall. Once, in the tenth grade, I was at play practice after school when the sirens started to wail. The power went out, and we knew this one wasn't a drill. Like maniacs, we ran outside to look at the crazy sky, and then the teachers shooed us inside, and we all went to the central hall and did as we'd been trained. We were lucky that the worst of the storm passed us by. No major funnel. No major damage. We walked to our cars through huge drifts of blown leaves and marveled at the power of the Kansas weather. Just a scare. We were so lucky.

It's easy, when you live in an area that has "tornado season" every year, to become cavalier about it, until you see the destruction that a serious storm leaves in its wake. That is sobering.

My dad was at a business meeting a few miles away from the tornado that devastated Moore, Oklahoma this week. Seeing the footage and knowing how close he was ties a knot in my gut that won't seem to untie. He was so lucky. He is ok. A heartbreaking number of  others were not and are not. My heart aches for the parents, the family members, the loved ones. All those people, those somehow familiar Midwest faces. I see their anguish, and I see their bravery, and I see that amazing middle-of-the-country willingness to pull together, rebuild and heal. I love you, Midwest people. I'm thinking of you and praying for you right now.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Bailey's Photos So Far (aka: Practice, Practice, Practice)

 Here are some of the shots Bailey and I have come up with during our fun, "Oh! Let's try this!" photo sessions. She's so nice to patiently "sit" for me as I practice and practice.