Sunny Days with Cousins

June 29, 2010 by Adam in Family

Emma got to spend time with Isa yesterday, having a wonderful time. I picked them up from mom's house after work, feeding everyone dinner and taking them down to the park afterward. Sam and I practiced our ninja Frisbee on the snake. There was much giggling and laughing. Emma shot milk out her nose from laughing for the first time. My little girl keeps growing up.

Sam played Sims 3 a bunch yesterday, his Sim family having twins and then triplets. He finally gave up, declaring five toddlers and babies as too chaotic. I had to explain where Sim babies come from over dinner.

Emma picked up a Zelda manga at the library, and I've been reading it to her at night. This morning she decided she was going to finish it herself, which she did quite well. It's been awesome watching her get so good at reading.

Tonight Joanna and her kids come over for their usual Tuesday sleepover. Once Joanna's brother Christopher arrives, I'm not sure when we'll manage to get together for a few weeks. The summer schedule is event-filled and it's sometimes challenging to coordinate everything. It does keep life interesting, though.

Home Again, Jiggidy Jig

June 29, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek

Then off to Boston, to buy a fat pig...leaving Eugene tomorrow morning at 6:00 am.

Isa slept in a bit yesterday morning, and has been soaking up cousin time since. She's at Jordan's for a sleepover right now; Lohring will fix breakfast, and I'll go pick her up later this morning for some more Emma time. Are these not the nicest kids?

Hanni and Yayoe, I'll have her at least call today; hopefully I'll be able to break into the fun, fun, fun...


Boxes, Bikes, and Nautical Disasters

June 28, 2010 by Adam in Family

It felt like the first weekend of summer, full of adventures and play and laziness.  One of my favorite moments was laying squished up in a hammock with Emma, listening to her read her Ponyo book all by herself.

Friday night Joanna and I went to the Graveyard Club, a quirky play in Pleasant Hill.  Community theater at its finest.  In the morning I picked up the kids and took them home, Joanna and her kids arriving after lunch.  We had a lazy day of play and running around outside.  Everyone but Sam went to the park to ride bikes.  Emma's graduated to Sam's old bike and is right on the edge of being able to ride by herself.  Berry was very enthusiastic, despite the scraped knee.  Duncan's slowly getting more comfortable himself.

I managed a few projects, washing the car with the kids, emptying and moving the compost tumbler, and putting up a second hammock.  Emma and I did a fast library run.  I still have bark-o-mulch to spread and a rope ladder to build.  It's fun watching the back yard come together.

Mythbusters was sadly a rerun, though we watched How Its Made with our pizza.  Joanna, Sam, and I watched the Doctor Who finale, which was surprisingly good.  We've decided to switch to Glee as a replacement.  Sam has really gotten into it lately.

Sunday breakfast was the usual massive affair, followed by musical events in the basement.  Joanna and her kids went to church while I took my kids rafting at Alton Baker Park.  Sadly we overinflated one of the chambers and burst it, but the raft still worked relatively well.  We watched Canada geese, nutria, and other aquatic creatures.  There were showers all around for our return.  The rest of Sunday was lazy, with a forced reading session on the hammocks.  Emma's turning into a very good reader, and it's fun to hang out with her while she reads.

This morning Dave came to watch the kids, which they were both excited about.  Josh is back in town, and my mom should be here tonight.  Summer is proving to be an interesting mix of relaxing and busy.

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

June 28, 2010 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I sure miss Greg, but it's nice to seize the free time for preserving summer. The rhubarb is from a dear friend's organic farm in Dover.

Ingredients: 4 c. crushed strawberries, 4 c. de-stringed cooked rhubarb, 4 c. sugar, 1 box of pectin

Take a large heavy pot and pour in the strawberries, rhubarb, and pectin. Stirring constantly bring the above to a rolling boil, then add sugar. Return to a rolling boil and boil for 1 minute. Turn off heat and skim off excess foam. Pour the jam into clean jars, wipe off jar, seal lids, and boil jars for ten minutes. With patience, the jars will seal themselves in the coming hours with a satisfying *pop* sound.


Project Two: Check

June 27, 2010 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Dressmaking is not as meditative as I anticipated, but it is an exercise in self-reflection. I know now that I am not a naturally procedural thinker. Technical, non-intuitive directions are challenging for me to understand. This, combined with my bullheadedness and aversion to slip-stitching made this project more difficult than sanding and varnishing outside for three days. On the upside, I have a new dress with a real zipper and pockets. Thanks to my new dress form, it also fits like a glove.

Now for strawberry rhubarb jam!

On Our Way Home

June 27, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek

Isa says to say that she's having fun, she's swimming in the hotel swimming pool (we're in Susanville, Ca.) and she can't wait to get to Eugene. She is so excited to see her cousins. Last night she told me that she wanted to fly up to Eugene to celebrate her birthday.

We went to Death Valley National Park yesterday, and are contemplating driving through Lassen to connect with I-5.

We're dirty but cheerful!

Project Two: Dress

June 26, 2010 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I'm not actually finished with the dress, but let me say that making things out of fabric is really, really hard. It takes a ton of spatial intelligence that I don't have. But I have finally cut all the fabric, snipped all the linings, and ironed everything into flat geometric pieces.

Greg also has a new project going, his Baltimore blog: Yesterday, one of my local farmers called blogging self-indulgent. This from a guy with his own blogspot for kale recipes! Sheesh.

Please Rain

June 25, 2010 by Seraph in Cortez

We're in desperate need of rain down here.  The weather report is calling for it, the clouds roll in, we hear the thunder, but alas, no rain.  There are several large fires burning in our region, and the Forest Service has put out some Stage 1 fire restrictions.  So far this doesn't affect our campers, but without rain they'll upgrade to Stage 2 restrictions, and there go the summer s'mores! 

Rafting the Mill Race

June 25, 2010 by Adam in Family

I took yesterday off work, letting Jamie get a work day in and letting me spend more time with the kids.  The morning started off very lazily, stopping by Target, dropping off cold medicine for Joanna at work, and then going to Dick's Sporting Goods for a raft which was on sale.

I got the kids from Jamie's and headed home.  The first order of business was to try again with a climbing net.  Unfortunately my beat-up hammock made for a pretty lousy one.  I'm to the point where I'm going to simply buy a real one.

Next off was playing with fire.  I tried to make match rockets, but they must have changed things since I was a kid.  The tinfoil wrapped around the match simply melted through rather than containing the ignition and turning it into thrust.  Hopefully they learned some science from the failure.  Sparklers were passed out as a reasonable substitute.

Next was getting the raft set up, inflated, and driving it strapped to the roof down to campus.  It was a little exciting, but didn't fly away, and we found some quirky parking.  The kids were pretty excited to get it in the water, and we had a great time puttering about.  Sam in particular liked the industrial feel of the millrace, with odd garbage, bridges, and machinery strewn about.

Unfortunately the raft got poked by a downed tree on our way back.  I put the kids in and crossed the stream before it deflated, sinking knee-deep into the mud.  Everyone made it back to the shore and I required several showers before feeling truly clean again.

The rest of the afternoon was pretty lazy.  We patched the hole, watched movies, and played on computers.  I took the kids back and went down to Corvallis.  Joanna fed me snap peas fresh from the garden, though sadly was still up much of the night coughing.

It's mocha Friday, and I'm well caffeinated.  Tonight Joanna and I are seeing a play in Pleasant Hill.  Tomorrow I'm collecting the kids and promised Emma more rafting adventures.  Good times.

Good Morning from the Grand Canyon

June 25, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek

I'm so glad we got a hotel in the park. We drove to a viewpoint just a few minutes after sunset as the colors of the canyon muted into dusk. The moon is nearly full and the temperature ideal! Lowell Observatory was interesting; we saw Saturn and Isa reminded us she wanted to be an astronomer. The Petrified Forest was 99 degrees; we nearly petrified. Isa is the best little kid. Hope we can plan lots of cousin time; I think that not many kids is the only downside of Sipapu.

She and Shiloh have the run of about a jillion acres of river and woods.

Project One: check

June 25, 2010 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I completed my first project, designed to keep me busy while Greg is in Baltimore. It took three days and I got an offer from neighbors to start my own lucrative refinishing business, but they are now done and back in the living room.

Here is the before and after:


Honolulu here I come!

June 24, 2010 by Yayoe in Yayoe

Hi Family,

I'll be in Honolulu visiting Josh/Jodie/Robbie (age 3) and Curtis (5 months) from June 29-July 7th. Now that the weather is so wonderful in Eugene I almost hate to miss summer here but I'll make the sacrifice by watching the sunsets at Waikiki and listening to Hawaiian music. Josh is working very hard remodeling their new home which is about 10 minutes from Waikiki. The family is not ready to move in just yet because there is lead in the soil and around the exterior of the house. He's also working at his new job inspecting radiation equipment. He lost his old job when the state health department downsized his division where he was an environmental specialist taking water sample tests all over the island. Sniff. So aloha for now.






Odd Middle of the Week

June 23, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's been quirky the last 24 hours or so.

  • My rope ladder in the back yard didn't pan out particularly well.  I may have to buy a real one.
  • Joanna's cough continues, and she was up most of the night, exhausted today.
  • Her car was broken into by a polite thief, removing only $2 in change.
  • This morning Jamie arrived amidst the chaos and tentatively asked, "You're not expecting me to watch all these kids, right?"  I laughed and replied, "What's a couple more?"
  • When Berry decided to change her dress at the last minute and ran into trouble, Jamie nicely assisted.

Like mom used to say, some days I feel like I'm gathering material for a novel.

One More For The Fairy

June 23, 2010 by Adam in Emma

The Tooth Fairy visited us last night, a belated scribble in a note and dollar bill stuffed into Emma's mailbox by her bedroom door.  The way it was described to me is that Sam caused Emma to faceplant on our front hill, though she seemed not at all bothered by the method.

I miss the funny shark teeth already.

This morning Emma woke up and we did the usual cuddle in bed.  I let her know that I had to take a shower.  She asked if I could take a picture of myself on my phone and cuddle with that.  I cheerfully obliged.

Fun in New Mexico

June 22, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek

We had a very speedy trip down, given that we didn't leave Thursday until three in the afternoon. Bob drove until 11 pm, and we reached Vale. That route is a perfect reminder of the variety of Oregon, and its incredible beauty. The next day was also pedal to the metal, and we arrived in Green River, Utah about ten.

The last day was a lovely drive through the mountains. The section from Durango

south past old silver mines at Silverton and Ouray was amazing, high up into the Rockies.

It has been so much fun to spend time with Seraph, Robbie and Isa. On Father's Day, we drove down to Chimayo, which has the old church where the annual Easter pilgrimage Robbie walks ends. We had brunch outside at an old ranch-now-restaurant (the restaurant had burned down about a year ago and had been rebuilt, and just reopened). It was really lovely! Then we went to the church, where there were lots of families with the elderly parents. The dirt in the floor of one room is supposed to have healing powers, and we also saw lots of people carrying back the dirt, and one man was rubbing it on his gnarled hands.

Sunday late afternoon Bob, Isa and I walked down to the river to play. Isa's situation reminds me of my own growing up - no TV, a huge area to run around in, and lots of books.

Yesterday, Isa and I walked straight up a mountain to play in some wooden tipies

up on top, while Bob and Robbie played tennis. Later, we all drove into Taos and had dinner at a neat Middle Eastern restaurant, and returned to an amazing dessert. Seraph made a Red Velvet cake with beautiful chartruse frosting, home made ice cream, and home made hot fudge.

This morning Robbie went into Santa Fe for a job interview, and we're hanging out keeping Seraph company. We head over to Las Vegas, New Mexico this afternoon to stay in the big restored hotel, where they filmed some of No Country for Old Men, then on to Flagstaff tomorrow. We'll try to post pics!

Much love, Mom 


Swings and Loose Teeth

June 22, 2010 by Adam in Family

I had a long, lazy three-day weekend, generally pleasant and sunny.  The kids continued to be sniffly but are on the mend.

Sunday we hung out with Joanna and her kids, with Emma in particular helping entertain Berry.  When the rain came, they retreated to the shed for snacks and games.  It's nice to see that space finally used for something.

Sam tried to spend Sunday night at John's house, but returned home after not feeling well.  Monday we walked down to Metropol for treats, and started making a rope ladder next to the swings.  The weather was gorgeous, fitting for the first day of Summer.

Jamie's watching the kids today and tomorrow, and then I'll take Thursday off to watch them.  I'm not sure what's happening next week, but hopefully we can handle it before our normal babysitters arrive in town and the summer schedule begins for real.

Last day

June 22, 2010 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Today is Greg's last day in town before orientation at UMass and the summer math/robotics academy in Baltimore. I have a series of projects to distract myself from his absence, including refinishing two chairs, learning proper dressmaking, and making the table placecards for my friend's wedding. I've re-ordered the Netflix cue so all the Richard Prior movies are at the bottom and the John Adams mini-series is at the top. I have a series of coffee dates, the strawberry festival is penciled into my calendar, and there is always the library.

But it goes without saying that Mr. Caswell is irreplaceable.

Happy Father's Day

June 20, 2010 by Adam in Family

Happy Father's Day, all!

I'm entertaining Emma and Duncan with Fimo clay.  There were Doras, goo balls, and hearts with angel wings.  Time to paint.  Joanna's still sleeping, her cold continuing on.  Hopefully it will distract little people long enough to get breakfast started.

Everyone was under the weather yesterday.  Sam and I put up the second swing, this one far more real than the first.  It's very secure and we managed to do it without drilling into the balcony.  The rest of the day was spent hanging around the house or puttering in the garden.  Sam and I worked on his computer game some more, which has a man-versus-nature theme.  Emma watched Pirates of the Carribean, declaring it was a pretty good movie.

Hopefully we can get outside a little today and enjoy the weather.

Father's Day

June 20, 2010 by Seraph in Cortez

Happy Father's Day one and all!  Thanks Robbie for being such a wonderful dad : )

School's Out

June 18, 2010 by Adam in Family

It's mocha Friday for me, the second mocha in two days. Everyone seems to be sick lately, Sam wrapping up his cold and Emma starting in on one herself. Thursday night Berry was up screaming for an hour, clearly not feeling very good. I required caffeinated assistance come morning time. Sam and Emma had their last day of school yesterday. The afternoon was filled with Field Day, a series of outside games to wrap up the year. Sam had been sick all week, but was there to enjoy the festivities. Emma had lots of fun, exhausting herself at the end. They bid their final farewells and headed to Jamie's house. As for this weekend, Joanna and I are hanging out as usual tonight, and tomorrow everyone descends upon my house. With everyone feeling under the weather, it may be a movie marathon weekend. I'm taking Monday off to watch the kids, and hoping we can rent canoes at Alton Baker Park. This year Sam gets his own, as there's too much negotiation with two children in one boat.

Grafton Life

June 18, 2010 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Greg and I moved all of his boxes into storage today in preparation for his summer in Baltimore. We're leaving Grafton after a year here, a place where I sat on the planning board, editorialized for the local rag, and on which I wrote my final policy capstone. Despite this, I have two conflicting reflections: first, that I never felt totally at home, and second, that I didn't do enough to give back- I paid my excise tax, but I didn't pay the community tax.

I wanted my rabble rousing to make the town a little more critical, engaged, and interested in its own preservation. I don't think that happened- the cranky haters still voted three to one for Scott Brown.

So what did I really do? My editorial column ended and I resigned from the planning board. My recommendations for citizen engagement in public planning are in the hands of a town committee. All of the policy and community planning work I was a part of is ongoing (and unfinished).

Of anything that I can look back on and say, that was when I paid my community tax, was the night before my final policy capstone presentation, when our neighbor's apartment flooded into the apartment below. Instead of memorizing index cards, I spent the night filling garbage bags with fallen, bloated ceiling tiles. And because of that night - and many other nights with board games and cookouts and impromptu walks on the track, I think our neighbors will be with us for a long time.

And whoever said paying taxes didn't get you anything, well, they never met Blaise and Lydia.

Bob Marley

June 17, 2010 by Adam in Family

It was an odd and interesting day.  Sam was sick again today, missing his graduation ceremony.  I took Joanna in for a quickie medical procedure, and then returning home to keep an eye on everyone.  Joanna slept most of the afternoon, in between Desparate Housewives.  Sam played video games.  I wrote interfaces between Oracle and SQL.  Somehow I think I got the short straw between the three of us.

Toward the end of the day, I made Sam go into the basement and play some big ball.  It seemed to perk him up and he was in good spirits as we dropped him off at Jamie's house.  Hopefully he's well enough to go to his last day of school tomorrow.

I went to Joanna's house to help entertain children and tidy up.  After dinner we had some impromptu Bob Marley in meow language:

Leaving on a fast...

June 17, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek

Well, the old Town Car is oiled and aligned, its two new tires gleaming. We're aiming to get into Vadito late Saturday, but Seraph and Robbie, we will keep you posted. I won't mind leaving the Pollen Belt for awhile; my nose is so big we really need a travel trailer. Hugs to all, Mom

PS The place will be locked up pretty tight - Adam and Aric will have a key. 


June 15, 2010 by Adam in Family

The annual Crest Drive carnival was last night.  Sam missed it, as he's been sick, staying home a second day this week.  I'm nervous leaving him alone, but he's been doing relatively okay.  Yesterday he made himself waffles and microwaved pizza.  For dinner he requested "something that can't be prepared in a minute."  I made him ravioli.

The carnival itself was the usual blend of fun and madness.  Emma loved getting tickets and redeeming them for a weird mix of Made in China trinkets.  The duck scoop in particular was quite lucrative, as the volunteer operator wasn't given any reward instructions.

Joanna showed up with Berry and Duncan, and the three kids ran about eating, playing, and showing off their treasures.  Emma and I went home tired, but content.


June 15, 2010 by Seraph in Cortez

Isa made it safe and sound last night to Tucson.  She was a ball of nervous/excited energy about flying on her own.  I think the waiting was the hardest part, and we got to the airport really early which didn't help.  It's expected to be around 100 degrees while she's there, so I imagine there will be a lot of pool time!

Hittin' the Road

June 15, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek

Trying to take care of the last 3,284 details before we head for New Mexico. We leave on Thursday. Hugs to all, Mom

Water Slide Madness

June 14, 2010 by Adam in Family

I'm back at work, trying to get into the swing of things. Sam's home with a lingering cough, but generally okay. I dropped Emma off at school and left her with a yearbook she was cheerfully looking through. It was a good weekend, overall. The kids continue to all get more used to each other. They had a great time on the water slide and breakfasts were full of tasty good conversation. There were the occasional worries and breakdowns, but they seem less common. Saturday night was pizza and Mythbusters, and then another Doctor Who for Sam, Joanna, and I. The next day was puttering around until church. I'm not sure when I'll make it back, as my mom's out and I've been wanting to spend some alone time with Sam. I may end up doing things like bike rides with him while Emma plays with my mom. In the afternoon I took Emma to buy an air rocket and swing equipment. I haven't figured out how to attach the official swing, but I improved a rope swing with a seat that the kids thought was pretty awesome. More work is needed. The evening was pretty quiet, the summer heat seeming to sneak up on me. I ran about in shorts and opened windows. The sun is amazing.


June 14, 2010 by Seraph in Cortez

Isa's sporting a new super-short hair cut, but I can't post pictures as the goal is to surprise her cousins!

Amanda and Charles

June 14, 2010 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

Greg and I returned early this morning from my dear friend Amanda's wedding in Princeton, New Jersey. This was my first prolonged stay in New Jersey, and by all accounts, it is exactly as one pictures it. Princeton itself is beautiful and so steeped in money that investment firms and Ralph Lauren have elbowed out anything locally owned on Main Street. Past the mansions are mega malls and furiously swerving drivers. The miracle is, despite the inequality and superficiality, New Jersey also made two of my favorite people: Carly Bruder and Amanda Milstein. So what is a New Jersey wedding like when the two people getting married are vegetarian egalitarian Marxist Jews?

It's both a little weird and tons of fun. The things that Amanda and Charles obviously controlled- their outfits, the ceremony, and their friends- were awesome. Amanda was beautiful and unadorned, without makeup to veil a huge grin. Their ceremony reflected a deep respect for each other's beliefs and their joy in togetherness. And like Charles and Amanda, their friends are happy, silly, and committed to a joyous practice of Jewish faith and traditions. There was dancing. There were skits. There was a puppet making table. Everything with Amanda's fingerprints on it was thoughtful, bright and funny. 

Amanda and Charles' loud and loving dancing almost overshadowed the un-Amanda parts- the extravagant country club reception and multi-course meal. The older guests were cut from a different cloth, occasionally rude to us ushers and less interested in the incredible klezmer band. But the older generation will not last, and the new generation, stomping and laughing and singing praises, will eventually take over. And hopefully, they will take New Jersey with them!

So, here's to Amanda and Charles, whose sustainable and local three-course meal was its own step toward the world they want to live in.

Summer's Here

June 12, 2010 by Adam in Family

I realize we have another week of school, but it's feels like summer has suddenly come upon us.  I took Friday off and played with the kids all day.  It was a little cloudy, so the kids and I went to the library and both of them got library cards.  We puttered about all afternoon.  Sam and I played computer games together.  At the library, both kids got free books as part of a reading program and Emma read hers to me off and on all day.  She's got the reading bug now, going through most of a chapter book by herself.

Joanna, Berry, and Duncan arrived that night.  We'd thought about going swimming, but Joanna had a migraine and Emma and Sam didn't want to go.  We settled for playing, reading bedtime stories, and going to bed early.  Sam and I stayed up and watched Stargate Universe, decrying yet another "To Be Continued."

This morning everyone seemed much improved.  I made my usual massive breakfast of crepes, bacon, sausages, and gluten-free blueberry pancakes.  And whip cream.  Far too much whip cream.  It's a massive undertaking, but fortunately cafe mocha makes it all possible.

We headed to Target where Emma bought herself a purse and toy with her birthday dollars (thanks, dad!)  The rest of the crew stocked up on house supplies and Sam finally got new shoes.

Returning home, I broke out the slip-and-slide, hooked it up to the warm water off the water heater, and had an hour of four kid sliding madness.  Even Duncan, who's a little cautious around water, got in on the action.  Eventually we had to call it quits and feed everyone lunch. 

Oh, and yesterday Emma burned some gnomes.  We covered the safety rules, as usual.

The Last Music Performance

June 09, 2010 by Adam in Family

The kids had their end of the year music performance at Crest Drive today.  Emma was so excited to have me there, leading me to her classroom and having me sit behind her while we waited for the performance to start.

I had heard some of the songs before.  Last night, Emma led Duncan and Berry in a song and dance routine while they ate tacos.  Emma seemed pretty cheerful throughout, while Sam seemed a little too cool to sing songs in front of everyone.  He did crack a smile when his friend John got to play the shunned kid for one song.

Wednesdays are always a little bittersweet.  Joanna and I plan on going to the movies tonight, followed by a fun-filled shopping trip at Target.  I miss the kids already, though fortunately I get to see them on Friday.  Jamie's going to Bend and I'm taking the day off.  The plan is to get them library cards so Josh can take them to the library once per week.  I'm also hoping we can enjoy the weather and hopefully go swimming.


June 09, 2010 by Seraph in Cortez

Happy Birthday!!!!  We love you!!!!!

Tuesday Odds and Ends

June 08, 2010 by Adam in Family

It was nice visiting with Yayoe last night. Both kids enjoyed her cooking, and I got a few brief moments to chat with her. When we got home, books and games had arrived, courtesy of Sam's gift cards from his birthday and Christmas.

I continue to strive to organize my life these days. Both Joanna and I are in a state of weird financial limbo, unsure of how much savings we have or what our adjusted incomes will be. Optimisically, we put together a budget, though it has a lot of missing numbers. Hopefully the influx of unknown dollars will be more than the outgoing unknown dollar amount.

Both kids have really loose teeth. I'm expecting them to pop out any moment, so I hope I have some dollars handy. Sam's also getting a physical and shots this July. Evidently he hasn't had a checkup for seven years.

Tomorrow is the kids' musical performance at Crest. Friday I'm taking the day off to watch them as Jamie goes to Bend to see her new nephew. I hear the name is Finn, according to Emma. It is indeed strange that I don't talk with that side of the family anymore. I hope they're all okay.

Everyone is getting together for tacos tonight. Once again my vegetarian self will be cooking the meat. Hopefully my childhood cooking skills will return to me.

The Job Search

June 08, 2010 by Sadie in Sadie & Greg

I just want to acknowledge how supportive all of you have been in the last three weeks of post-graduation, full-time job hunting. Thanks for the kind words during what continues to be a stressful time, even with the illustrious degree. 

Our bookshelves are bare and packed boxes line the spare bedroom. Greg is moving to Baltimore at the end of the month, so we'll move his things to Amherst next week. I stay in Grafton until the end of July. That gives me two months to find the perfect job- one that combines service-learning, community partnership development, education, and perhaps a little public policy. And with the help of public speaking podcasts and lots of practice, my high level skills and experience summary was never more concise. 

Here is another beautiful picture of Seraph from her trip east.

Fun-Filled Weekend

June 07, 2010 by Adam in Family

I'm much relieved about Emma. We had a good weekend and she happily played with Berry, Duncan, and Joanna. There were lots of hugs, reading at quiet time, and general cheerfulness. Joanna led an effort to interview everyone and create some house rules. Emma in particular seemed assuaged, and relieved when kids were moved to their bedrooms when screaming broke out. I also tried to spend a lot of time with her, which she seemed to appreciate. As for the rest of the weekend, Friday afternoon I saw Emma get an award at her school. Later on both kids tried to Skype me at once and I had to take time switching between them. That night I made dinner for Joanna and we went down to the public library to listen to music and pick up a few books. Saturday morning I scooped up the kids and played until lunch time. Joanna, Berry, and Duncan arrived for Phad Thai that I'd whipped up, and later on they headed out to play in a park and go food shopping. Emma and I made bread. The kids and I went to another park to practice bike riding and play frisbee. Eventually everyone regrouped for pizza and Mythbusters, followed by bedtime. Sam, Joanna, and I watched our weekly Doctor Who. Sunday was the usual massive breakfast, which miraculously wiped away all crankiness. We barely made it to church, with me dropping my kids off at my mom's house. Once again we regrouped at home for lunch and playing. Joanna and Emma worked on the house rule posters. Duncan and Berry played off and on throughout the day. Towards the end of the day they headed home and I took the kids to the park. We explored Amazon creek, returning muddy and tired. Emma picked flowers and Sam failed to build a bridge across the creek, sensibly deciding not to jump. His shoes had to go through the wash as they were completely gross. Dinner was leftovers, pizza for Sam, Phad Thai for Emma, and cereal for me. Emma and I chatted at bedtime, going through her worries and trying to find ways to make sure she's okay with the upcoming changes. If I keep engaging her and making time for her, I think it'll all work out. The evening ended with Sam and I watching Stargate Universe, and heading to bed. Good times.


June 07, 2010 by Adam in Emma

I went to the Crest Drive award ceremony last Friday, where Emma got the award for respect. It's cool seeing the kids get awards over the years, and Emma has hung them in her room with pride. She was very excited seeing me after the previous day's weepy Skype call. There was smiling and dancing and wiggling. I'm quite proud of that girl. Afterward Sam and the other people who went to Outdoor School stood up and sung songs. It's so strange that the kids only have a couple more weeks of school and then they're on vacation. Sam in particular is done entirely with Crest Drive and will be off to Roosevelt this fall. How times change.

Sunny Days

June 04, 2010 by Seraph in Cortez

Remember when I was complaining about the long winter?  Well, in true NM fashion, we skipped spring and landed smack in the middle of summer.  It's been absolutly beautiful!  There are moto-cross trials this weekend, so we're swamped with riders and their familes.  Isa's already made friends with a bunch of kids.

We snuck over to Las Vegas yesterday for lunch and a walk around.  Now if we can just magic up the perfect teaching job for Robbie over there!

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

June 04, 2010 by Adam in Adam

It was a rough day yesterday and this morning. I'm sipping my mocha, taking a breath, and thinking of the things I can do to make things better. It's what we parents and grown-ups do.

I went to Emma's last Coyote Kids class, where she gave a presentation. They must have started early, as though I was a little late, they were nearly done when I arrived. Emma was sad and nervous, thinking I'd forgotten about her. In the car afterward, all these feelings bubbled up for her, that she was afraid I wouldn't love her if Joanna and her kids moved in. We Skyped later, where we talked about things she worried about and generally felt sad to be apart.

While I was cleaning the house and getting ready to go to Joanna's house, Sam called. He was bored, feeling like he had nothing to do. We talked about game design and he texted me a couple pictures of his concept art. We chatted while I drove, eventually wishing him good night sometime after 9 p.m.

That night Joanna and I had a good talk about things, trying to take reasonable steps to make sure our kids felt loved and supported, creating sensible house rules, and finding time to spend with our kids individually. This morning was pretty rough, with much screaming from Berry and Duncan. I remember what it was like to move young kids through the various routines, and when two of them decide they'd rather be playing, it can make for quite the challenge. Joanna was feeling overwhelmed by it all, worried I might be having second thoughts about moving in.

In a funny way, it's almost a relief. Our councilor talked about a honeymoon period, followed by a lot of acting up. It sounds like we're in the expected next phase now.

Short-term, my plan is to spend a lot of time with Sam and Emma. I'm going to Emma's award ceremony this afternoon where she's getting an award. Sam's wanting to learn how to program and design games, and I hope to work on that with him this weekend. I also have a lot of days I'm taking off to watch the kids when Jamie works and my mom and Josh are out of town.

Longer-term, I want to work on house rules and establishing new routines so that the house is relatively harmonious. Joanna and I hope to set up time with our own kids, everyone together, and the two of us alone. There may be some rearranging of the house so that people get an appropriate amount of space without being too far away.

I also emailed my mom yesterday, telling her that I wasn't going to send Sam along on the trip. I tried to do it in person, but my crazy schedule and pathological tendency to avoid conflict ended up with the impersonal email approach. She really wanted Sam to go along with her, so I certainly understand her being upset. I need to call her soon.

As for tonight, Joanna and I are going to the library to listen to music and pick up an audiobook I put on hold for Sam. I'm really looking forward to seeing my kids tomorrow. I continue to be both happy and sad, doing what I can to make life better.

Building the Arc

June 04, 2010 by Sue in Wielesek

If I were to add a few words, it would probably be glub, glub, glub. We've had as much rain in the first four days of June as we usually have in the entire month.

We had the area where the patio will go excavated in anticipation of having a patio poured later in the summer, and it's a giant mud pit. I'm thinking of skipping the patio and just putting in rice paddies.

Mid-week Changes

June 02, 2010 by Adam in Family

Sam's presentation went well.  He accidentally referred to Richard Feynman's "one eye" as opposed to his "own eyes", which produced lots of laughter.  Still, my impression is that the presentation was fine.  It's hard to believe that the kids have only two and a half weeks until summer vacation.

Joanna took most of the day off yesterday, as she was under the weather.  She very nicely came over early to make burgers and mac and cheese for everyone.  After dinner we had an epic hide and seek session, even getting Sam and I to hide in closets and behind curtains.  Joanna couldn't help giggling, which gave her away more than once.

I drove the kids to school, with Sam chatting happily about his game idea for his first programming task.  I'm going to have him work with Josh this summer to see if I can get him learning the basics of programming.  Sam asked if he could work on concept art while at his mom's, and I cheerfully agreed.  The kids are off to Jamie's for a few days, though I'll see at least Emma occasionally, as she has several end-of-year presentations going on.  Coyote Kids is tomorrow, and awards are this Friday.

As for tonight, we'd normally go to song circle, but we're both a little under the weather.  We might try to go out for a little while if I can find something interesting to do.

Birthday #2

June 01, 2010 by Adam in Family

Emma's second birthday was both more wild and subdued.  Everyone over sixty congregated in the living room, sipping tea and chatting.  Everyone under twenty descended into the basement and played loudly.  We few in-between folks ran back and forth, making sure neither group got into too much trouble.

In terms of the rest of the weekend, it went generally pretty well.  Sam and Joanna were sent out for pizza on Saturday.  A chicken tractor was delivered Friday night, making a great place for kids to play until occupied.  Joanna dug out her Donkey Kong board game and we all played together.  Sam and I finished watching Lost Monday night.

Joanna and I both came down with colds, so we were a little draggy on Monday.  Still, we managed to hold down the fort.  Joanna and her mom went apartment hunting.  The plan is that by August 1st, Joanna and her kids will be moved in and Collette will have her own place.  There's a lot of details to go through, but it generally seems to be going well.

As with all these life changes, mostly I worry about the kids.  I'm not expecting perfection, and issues do come up on occasion.  Emma wasn't particularly happy about getting lip gloss applied to a bunch of things in her room.  Berry has gotten bumped once or twice while playing.  Still, I'm surprised at how well they do get along.  Emma likes having people who will play pretend with her.  Sam is amused by Berry and likes to help Duncan do his computer puzzle games.  We continue to work on house rules and resolving conflict.  As I pointed out to Joanna, "The Brady Bunch was a pretty funny show."

I'm picking up Sam and Emma shortly, and then we all descend at the house for dinner, homework, and bed.  I'm curious as to how Sam's research project turned out.  I made him practice in front of us last night, but he'd only do it if he hid behind the coffee table.

Birthday #1

June 01, 2010 by Adam in Family

I put together a video of Emma's first birthday, along with the elaborate work that went into the birthday cake. 

Joanna and I planned the cake in advance, bringing home all we'd need to make a guitar-shaped cheesecake.  We had two cheescake circles, one with a gluten-free crust.  The guitar neck was made of organic chocolate cake, and a thick layer of chocolate was poured over everything.  It was a huge hit and by the end of the long weekend, the cheesecake was gone.  Friday night we spent hours baking, and finished it up the next morning.  Ironically, Emma decided she'd rather have vanilla ice cream.

I picked up Sam and Emma Saturday morning, and Joanna, Berry, and Duncan arrived shortly afterward.  We did our usual playing around and getting ready for the party, with guests arriving at 3 p.m.  Emma had a great time, with a lot of Taylor Swift themed music playing and singing along.  The girls got dressed up and their goodie was a picture of them together to take home.

Seven Years Old

June 01, 2010 by Adam in Emma

This whole weekend, I kept being amazed at how old Emma seemed.  She'd read books, help with cooking, and have deep discussions about the world.  She had a very social weekend, charming the young and old alike.  We also had some time alone, shopping for birthday presents for Jenny.  It's been a memorable year for her, with lots of changes and growing.  I've been proud of how well she's handled it all.

Tonight we lit candles using twisty ties in the microwave, then melted the faces off of gnome candles.  It was very sweet.

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