Monday, November 29, 2010


Simone didn't feel well today. She woke up with the sniffles and hung out on the couch most of the day. Thankfully, by the end of the day she was doing hand-stands on the couch, and by the time I got home from work, she was very bubbly and energetic in the bath tub. We read a couple Clifford stories in bed, said the nighttime verse, and sang a song. Very sweet.

While lying in bed, Simone told me that headaches leave through your mouth while you sleep. I said, "really?" And that's when I learned

Headaches go down your head and peek out your nose, then down into your mouth, and out your open mouth while you sleep.

Lesson learned.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Let it Snow!

It snowed about an inch in Corvallis, and it isn't even Thanksgiving! I know, how crazy is that?
I didn't get any pictures of Simone and Mary playing in the snow in the back yard. They looked like they were having a blast, throwing snowballs at each other and giggling. Durned work, I should have run out and joined them.
Hazel and I did go out toward the end of the day for our classic hike up to the top of Dimple hill. Dusk was approaching fast, so we went as quickly as possible.
The forest trail right before the old clear cut.

In the middle of the clear cut with Hazel racing towards me.

Up on Dimple hill, with the snow almost 2 inches deep.

Overlooking Corvallis
Hazel normally really likes running around in grass that is about as tall as she is. When it has a couple of inches of snow she goes berserk! She would bury her muzzle into the snow so that her eyes were buried and hide, then race off through the grass and snow.
It was a little slippery coming down, and a tad dark in the forest, but I did have the foresight to bring a flashlight.

Monday, November 22, 2010


I read stories to Simone tonight while going to bed, an later went in to check on her when she was calling for "Momma." We had a nice chat and I told her that it might snow tonight and maybe she should cross her fingers (that's a recent trick she's learned) and dream for snow.

Simone got very excited (hmmm.... maybe not the best for going to sleep), and talked about getting her snow clothes ready for going over to Memere's with her cousins (they're coming down in 3 days for Thanksgiving). I told her the snow might not be around then, but, if it is here tomorrow morning, we'd gather up all her snow clothes. She seemed satisfied with that.

Tonight, while going out to lock the chickens up, I found snowflakes falling.

I think her crossed fingers did the trick!


Forgot to bring my regular shoes to work, so I'm wearing my workout shoes all day. We'll see how comfortable they are while sitting in a chair for 8 hours.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Mushroom Picking

Sunday morning, Mary woke up before the rest of us and took Hazel on a lovely early morning walk in the frosty morning with blue skies and sunshine. She came home stoked and was ready to go mushroom picking.
We talked about a couple of trails to check out and decided to go to the North Ridge Trail, a place I'd gone on my mushroom class. I knew it had a nice, flat area, which should be Simone friendly. The other places I'd gone picking (all 2 or 3 times) I'd gone to steep areas w/out much of a trail.
So, we headed out and as we got closer and closer to the trail head, it got cloudier and cloudier, and a couple of miles from the trailhead we could see snow in the trees a couple hundred feet higher in elevation. No worries, it was cold, but we were dressed for warmth.
We hiked down to the flat area and started looking around. Hazel ran around like a kid in a candy shop, exploring everywhere and running at top speed. Simone found mushrooms at every turn and constantly yelled, "Look Momma! Look Papa! Mushroom!"
Simone and Mary posing next to a mossy tree.
Then it started to rain. No worries, we were under big trees and weren't getting wet.
Then it started to rain hard, and Simone was a little hungry. We sat down for a little snack (not far from frozen breakfast bars) and some hot (too hot) tea. I figured we'd be heading back real soon b/c Simone was going to get cold pretty fast.
Then the rain started to change, it started falling a little slower, and a little colder.
Simone having tea as the rain started turning to snow...
Then the flakes got bigger and bigger, and we had a real snow shower. Simone got so excited and started eating the snow off the logs and off the moss (blech, it tasted like dirt, not so fun).
We started exploring other areas (to keep warm) and on our way out of the place we'd had snacks, Mary noticed something. I dug it up, and it was Mary's first wild Chanterelle mushroom. Very exciting. She found two more, and my competitive drive got going. I found 5 or 6, but it was all in one spot, right next to the road (where Mary shortly thereafter walked and would have found them).
We had about a pound of mushrooms, ready for some Hungarian mushroom soup. Hazel found some deer bones (a jawbone with teeth even), and we found a couple of patches of snow to play in.
The snow level falls.

Simone posing on a log in the snow - with Mary in the background.
We hiked back up to the car to get out of our wet rain-gear and to warm up with some now drinkable warm tea. A very successful mushroom trip.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


This morning Simone asked me if I'd woken up with bubbles in my feet. Turns out, she was referring to how I pop my ankles when I get up. She says she doesn't have bubbles in her feet.

And yesterday we were eating bagels with cream cheese and she wanted to split the last half. Instead of cutting it in half or sharing bites, she wanted me to cut around the hole in the middle, that way we each still had a bagel. Though her part was transformed into a donut.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Halloween at the Stevenson's

I think this is our second year going over to the Stevenson's for Halloween. They live in the kind of neighborhood where every house is handing out candy and eagerly awaits the pitter patter of little feet. We had a lovely dinner beforehand (thanks Pamela!) and headed out.
We knocked on about a dozen doors, and I think Jack and Connor would have raced around from house to house for another half hour, but the twins were done. Simone was so excited to be trick-or-treating that a dozen houses was great.
John reading to the little ones.

The perfect little piggie.

Can we go yet???

All the kids, pre-candy.

Fall Colors

We went back east two years ago (two?!!!? wow) and the colors were pretty. I'm definitely enjoying the colors Corvallis has to offer this year, they've been pretty spectacular.

A Walk To Sunset Park

Sunset Park is a popular place to go, and these photos were taken on a walk there a couple of weeks ago.

If you look closely, you'll see a pile of moss by Simone's feet - that is the bed for the fairies.

The duck whisperer in action.

Simone building up a pile of leaves to jump in.

Pre-Halloween Piggie

Mary had the idea to make Simone a pig costume (wearing a tu-tu of course) for Halloween. To be honest, I figured we'd just take the easy route and have Simone dress up like a fairy with one of the "princess" dresses we'd inherited (they're pretty cute - just add wings, which we have).
But, Mary had the itch, and she found some wonderful pink fabric at the craft store, so we started planning. Mary put the nose together - using a TP tube cut down, some black buttons for nostrils, and some elastic cord. I figured out the tail would be made of a wire coat hanger bent into a spiral.
Unfortunately, Mary was off to a seminar and couldn't finish it before she left. I might have been able to finish it on my own, but I'm real slow. Enter Nana. Nana put fabric on the tail while playing with Simone in the time it took me to take Hazel for a run. Then she whipped together the ears even faster. I was working in the other room and heard Nana giggling in the living room - and figured she'd gone back to reading her book, but she was attaching the ears to the pink hat and just thought the ears were hilarious.
It was a team effort, and it all came together splendidly. We got many comments on the costume at the pre-halloween party we went to.
Someone Mary was talking to noticed a barn-yard pattern. Simone has been a cow, a chicken, and now a pig. Who knows what next year will bring?

A nice shot of the outfit.

Look at the nose. Later I had to make another one because Hazel ... well, she likes the pink fabric.

Pigs can climb rock walls it seems.

Dimple Hill

I've been avoiding running for the past month or so, and walking on flats isn't very satisfying. Here are some photos of the trail up Dimple Hill. There's another trail just to the east of the grass one pictured below - but that one is so steep it's challenging to walk.
This is the grass Hazel loves so - she blends in really well.

The low sun provides for some nice lighting.

There are a few old trees left.

Nana and Simone

Nana came down, yay!


I wrote about our bowling trip, here are some pictures.
The lovely ramp - what a great idea to let little kids bowl.

Strike! Yes, she was beating the pants off both of us.

Sunset Park October 2010

Some pictures of a rainy day at Sunset Park. We had a little picnic in the covered area.

Stop and smell the day lillies?

Sometimes you've got to stop and smell the day lillies.


We had visitors a couple of weeks ago. Carl, Jana and Ayli came down to visit. I tried taking some photos, but the two wiggle worms wouldn't sit still long enough. The one picture in focus with them in the rocking chair doesn't have Ayli looking at the camera. But they are all pretty cute.


Two peas in a pod.

They're still long enough for a focused shot, it's a miracle!

Full service strolling.

In addition to taking rides in the stroller, Simone and Ayli spent a bunch of time in the kitchen cooking up food, and dancing to music.
We only see Carl, Jana and Ayli once every year or two - they have made the trek down to Corvallis twice now, and methinks we should head to Chicago at some point to return the favor.

And so it begins...

My first project:

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

This is where we live

This is a panorama from Dimple Hill, with Corvallis in the distance (and the edge of my finger on top).