Nature Walk Fridays

FishingIMG_3244 IMG_3259

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I love Maidenhair ferns.IMG_3279

I took 180 pictures and Miriam is running in about two thirds of them.IMG_3281

I decided I needed evidence of the last days of baby feet before they turn into big kid feet.IMG_3295 IMG_3317 IMG_3335 IMG_3343 IMG_3349 IMG_3351

Stinging nettle. See below :(IMG_3353 IMG_3354 IMG_3372

“Miriam, what do you think might live in that little hole?” “A DRAGON!”IMG_3373

“Mama, we found a CASTLE!”IMG_3378

Aaaaaalmost asleep little one.IMG_3383 wrap

We have a new spot that we love – the nature preserve trails behind the Portland Audubon Society. We play at Balch Creek for a while, eat a snack or lunch depending on the time, and then take a little hike. We don’t have any “learning agenda” but the kids like to know what plants and bugs are so we do our best to figure it out. Unfortunately, this last trip necessitated a lesson in how to identify stinging nettles after Miriam pushed a tall one away with her hand. And that experience made them very wary of the Oregon Grape growing everywhere for some reason, so they learned that one too.

We always leave way too late, like after 10 am. One of these days I will learn to get everything packed and ready Thursday night. I carry Sophia in a wrap in front (she’s usually tied on to my back, but I wear a backpack for our hikes) and took a bunch of baby selfies. She’s such a ham. She always notices the camera and makes her giant wide mouth grin at her picture in the lens.

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Photo Shoot Fail

Fact: getting everyone to look at the camera and not look distressed becomes exponentially more difficult with each added child. I have a photographer friend with nine children. She got a Christmas picture with all eleven members of the family looking fabulous. She said it took three days, and I’m pretty sure Photoshop was involved. Anyway, here’s what happened when I tried to get my children to sit still and pose for a 4th of July picture.

Sophia plots her escape.


Sophia is foiled.




Look, two out of three!


I gave up and tried individual pictures.



If I knew how to edit photos, I would Photoshop out that scrape on Sophia’s nose (from when she tried to escape out the back patio door), but alas, it will stay.


Seriously, why won’t these people let me go.




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Clover Cross

I love the piety of children. James brought me a few clover flowers. I told him it might be nice if he added them to the little of vase of “Mary flowers” the children are responsible for. Instead, he brought me back his little wooden cross, that he had attached the clover flowers to (rather ingeniously, by separating the two pieces, tucking the stems in, and reattaching it). He told me, “I thought it would look nice, like the big cross with the flowers and Jesus on it with the crown” [he's talking about the large cross that the priest nails an icon of Christ to and carries through the church during Holy Week, which is later adorned with a crown of roses while we await the Resurrection]. I love that he makes these connections all on his own.

He asked me to take a picture of his cross, and I did, and immediately wrote this down to remember.


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Yarn Along: Shale Baby Blanket


This is my first Yarn Along in a long time, because I quit knitting for a long time. I started knitting a baby blanket for my third baby almost as soon as I knew I was pregnant with her. It is the Shale Baby Blanket by Jared Flood. Sophia was born nearly eleven months ago, and I thought her blanket would be finished soon after she was born. Other than making her a little capped-sleeved sweater (that was easy to knit up with her in my arms), I haven’t knit much of anything since. I spent most of those eleven months holding a baby. I was so happy to have Sophia sleep in my arms nearly all the time, and she was happy to do it until she started being able to put herself to sleep in her bed just recently. So I’ve finally picked up her baby blanket again. It’s getting close to done, and I really hope she can have it for her first birthday at least!

I’ve just started reading The Religious Potential of the Child. I’m so intrigued by the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and the work some have done to adapt it for Orthodox children. I’m looking forward to reading this book that is the foundation of the Catechesis. Liturgical worship is so well suited for the way children learn, and I have always sought to make my children’s religious education as physical and experiential as possible, but can definitely use some more ideas on creatively bringing them into the spiritual and liturgical life.

Joining Ginny today.

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This might be one of my favorite kid pictures ever, because it is so typical. Sophia is so excited about…just about everything.She is excited about food, Mama, milk, going outside, getting picked up, getting out of bed, and especially, BATHS.



She is such a darling girl.

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Summer Solstice Picnic at the Rose Garden

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Those are the kids dancing on the stage way down there.

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I want to plant a big section of my yard just like this.

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The kids found a “bad forest” to play in (and get stuck in)


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Spring and Summer Manifesto (Ongoing)

Edited and reposted to show progress.

I have so many ideas of what to do this spring and summer, I have to get it all down! I am so optimistic for this season of good weather. Here in Oregon, it rains quite a lot during the late fall, winter, and early spring. Late spring through early autumn is unbelievably perfect, and we need plans to take advantage of every day! We just moved into a new house, with much more room to have guests, and we have a huge yard and a gas grill on the way as an awesome gift from Paul’s parents. And I’m not pregnant! Summers when pregnant vs. not pregnant are very different :)

1. Go someplace beautiful, every week.
Forest Park
Portland Audubon Society
Portland Rose Gardens
Elk Rock Gardens
Pittock Mansion
Sauvie Island
Japanese Gardens
Chinese Gardens
Vashon 4th of July! Monastery while we’re there?

2. Invite friends over to play (daytime) every week
Not doing great at every week, but working on it!

3. Invite people over for dinner, every week.

4. Go to the beach

5. Go to Ireland!
     Did it!

6. Do a new art project every week, preferably a messy one

7. Plant something every week, especially perennials
Brought home a whole bunch today to catch up :)

8. Eat outside most of the time
This is no problem – we do this even if it’s raining

9. Go berry picking
Does in our tiny front yard patch count?

10. Plant fruit trees
We’ve got one in

11. Find a place to go swimming (river, lake)

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