Saturday, April 22, 2017

Thoughts at 35

Alex was laying in bed with Francie last night, after reading her a new book - What Do You Do With An Idea, from Adam - while I was finishing up stretching after 30 minutes on the elliptical, washing my hands, and getting ready for my turn to put our Bean to bed. From my room, I could hear them whispering about something, and smiled to myself. When I walked into Francie's bedroom to see them cuddling together in her Frozen sheets she said to me, "We're not talking about anything." I laughed that laugh that reminds me of my mom - one of the very few ways, sadly, she remains a part of my adult life - the chuckle that somehow transports me through generations and roles, that of mother daughter, 1980s, 2017. The reflexive gigle when my heart is just so tickled by the mind of my growing girl.

I then tell Alex about yesterday morning, that when I was headed downstairs after getting ready for work, Francie rushed ahead of me and closed my office door.

"You know I have to go in there this morning, right? All my stuff is in there, like my work stuff and my purse."

"Oh, okay," she says, opening the office door and then leading me in the room. "Just don't look inside this door," she says, gesturing to one of the three plastic drawers that Alex has been relegated to in 'my' office.

I giggle, tickled by her adorably misguided efforts to "surprise" me on my birthday today.

Last night, as I'm tucking her in I tell her, "I adore how you want to make me feel special on my birthday. But no present you give me or even card you make for me will be as nice as just knowing and seeing how hard you've tried."

After reading her a Fancy Nancy book, and then answering her myriad random questions - about the bedtime CD playing, whether it's the African Dreamland CD or the regular Dreamland CD, what language they speak in Africa, how they learn to speak that language in Africa, about the weather forecast, why I'm not having friends over for a party, why Daddy probably won't have friends over for his birthday, how mermaids swim and breathe under water - I squeeze her tight and ask her to "wake me up like this in the morning" - I kiss her cheek softly.

"Daddy said not to wake you up in the morning."

"Oh, that's sweet. But that's okay, you can wake me up."

"Daddy said to let you sleep in because it's your birthday. And he can take me to school."

"Ok, well I'll check in with Daddy about that, but I do know for sure that I want to see you both in the morning, so wake me up with a sweet birthday kiss, even if he does take you to school."

This morning my alarm went off at 6:40 a.m., even though I planned ahead of time to snooze several times and only get out of bed when I actually felt like it. But also, I didn't want my free "Me Day" to pass right on by. Francie does indeed wake me with sweet kisses and she and Alex softly sing me "Happy Birthday." And then she sings it to me on two more separate occasions. I'm just so smitten with her excitement for my birthday, her energy is contagious. I think I'm smiling in my sleep.

"Bye babe, hope you have a really nice day," Alex says kissing me, his face again smooth-ish; he finally shaved off the beard-turned-Chester-stache.

"I love you guys," I tell them from my pillow, my eyes still heavy with sleep. They finish up brushing their teeth and are ready to leave for daycare/work.

"Ooh, you're breath is stanky," Alex tells me, sweetly insulting. "You smell like an old lady," he teases.

I lay in bed, half sleeping, half daydreaming about how to spend my "Me Day." I fantasize about a delicious hot mocha appearing on my doorstep, and think about how nice it might be to drink coffee and do a Monday or Tuesday New York Times crossword puzzle. About going for a "hike" in Forest Park. I think about whether I should hit up a movie this afternoon, or Powell's, or a coffeeshop with the freedom to read or write whatever I damn well feel like. Maybe I should go spend the $150 I have to Nordstrom. Just this week I started wondering if I might want another tattoo. Triangles seem particularly significant lately, but I'm no fan of the "branded" type markings I already have.

When I finally peel myself out of bed, at 7:30 or so, I spot a sweet note taped to the mirror. "You are beautiful," it tells me and I notice that I might still be smiling from when my Bean woke me. I pad downstairs and there is another note at my place at the table. "Happy birthday, cupcake," says the front, a picture of an elephant in a party hat holding a cupcake with its trunk. "I am SO glad you were born. Today is a day to celebrate yourself. You ARE worth it. I hope your birthday is filled with peace and self-love. I love you." My heart feels full, and my chest expansive, just the way they describe it in books. I don't feel this way often, but when I do, I am so aware of and astounded by the physiological sensations that represent these nearly-overwhelming surges of emotion.

I think about how I'm not the picture of the 35 year old that I briefly fantasized about being this winter (but obviously did nothing about). I didn't put myself on a restrictive diet and prioritize my fitness. No one on Instagram is going to compliment my "new" body or killer triceps. I didn't stop picking my face to ring in my new year with clear skin. I still prefer comfortable clothes over flattering or fashionable ones (thank god for 'athleisure').

I am fully aware that I am not always the easiest person to love. That even when loving me one way works one time, there's no guarantee it'll work again another time. That more often than not my own self-loathing trumps another's caring and affection. That I am an expert wall-builder and insist 97% of the time that we all are, in fact, islands. But today, I am SO fucking grateful to have two people in my life that despite the poor odds of their ability to make me feel special and loved, they keep trying and trying and trying again. And then, when it works, like this morning, I feel high as a kite, floating on their nearly unconditional love and devotion.

And then my oldest friend surprised me at home - still in my PJ's - with a vase of purple tulips and thoughtful card, and my heart, yet again, feels so full.


I walk 7 miles in Forest Park, listening to music on my iPhone, and take notice of the little gifts from Mother Nature - the tiny snail with its shell unblemished. The red and black striped caterpillar that I recall 'catching' as a kid. The small waterfalls on the hillside. A cloudy, but rainless, sky. The fresh smell of Spring. The sing-song of faraway birds.

I take myself to lunch at Kenny and Zukes - a toasted sesame bagel with plain cream cheese, cucumber, and tomato - and get it to-go, as there is just enough time to arrive a tad early for an afternoon movie at Fox Tower. I enjoy the British film, only one other person in the audience, and stroll around Nordstrom, looking for inspiration on how to spend a gift certificate.


Dinner out with Alex, Francie, and my dad at Oak and Olive in Hillsdale, capping off too much garlic and the to-be-expected stomachache with dessert. I open sweet cards from them, and the REI presents I got last weekend on my dad's dividend. The present that Alex and Francie ordered online for me us yet to arrive by mail. At home, my dad offers us all the macaroons he and Francie baked, encourages me to get a beverage of my choice and to curl up on the couch. I'm kinda tired, got my fill of family time, and am ready to watch that Life in Pieces show I discovered on Netflix that makes me occasionally laugh out loud. Instead, Alex pulls up on his phone a video from Dropbox and Airplays it to the television - I am sweetly surprised by my dad's generous creation of a "35th birthday shout-out video." I see friends and family from a breadth of my life experiences - my parents' friends, a preschool girlfriend, West Linn, UPS, Telluride, Tahoe, my husband, dad, brother, BFFs, daughter. People saying, simply, "Happy Birthday," and those sharing memories of us together. I'm surprised that I don't feel overly emotional, and aware that a large part of me would much rather be alone watching this montage of my 35 years - but the grown-up part of me is damned grateful I have three people who love me dearly to watch this with. And I'm tickled that my curmudgeonly father spent many hours and frustrations putting this all together for me.


The best gift, I admit, is letting my daughter eat too much sugar and stay up too late, and then fall asleep under a plush blanket next to me on the couch. No music. No tv. No iphone. Just my best girl, the only time she's still, and the soft sound of her breathing, snuggled up against me. I linger here, already feeling nostalgic about and longing for this moment.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

(Stuff Jo Made) - DIY Rubber Stamp & Thank You Notes

Since Spring Break started with, you guessed it, sickness, I did have the chance to do a lazy craft in front of a family movie one evening, when I made this "Thank You" stamp in Francie's writing.

Then I got a bit carried away and made another stamp, with her initials in her writing. She seems to only write her initials, not her name, on all the things, so it's fitting to have a stamp instead.

... now to actually write all those thank yous from her spoiled-rotten 5th birthday.

5th Birthday Interview

These questions are not in the exact order they were asked. And there really are far too many to get through, so as she gets older I think it would be fun to focus on the more abstract questions, although the concrete "Favorites" are fun to have on record. Her answers from the interview are in quotes, and my responses, aka the truth, are in parentheses.

What are you most looking forward to about being 5? (I forgot to ask this first)
What is your favorite color? "Pink" (For the last year or so she's claimed purple as her favorite color)
What is your favorite toy? "Wonder Woman - motorcycle toy!" (She just received this from a school friend at her party. Her favorite toys recently include her scooter, wooden emergency vehicles, baby dolls, "Fancy Lady Stuff," and probably art supplies).
What is your favorite fruit? "Cuties" (She also eats strawberries and blueberries regularly, and has recently taken to eating apples
What is your favorite TV show? "Caillou, Daniel Tiger" (She does like Daniel Tiger, but I can't recall the last time she watched Caillou. Really, though, her favorites include Stella & Sam, Curious George, The Mindy Project, Dr. Seuss).
What is your favorite movie? "Frozen" (Now also, Moana!)
What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? "Mac and cheese" (#truth)
Snack? "Chips and hummus" (We don't buy a lot of snacks, but she does like chips, popcorn, string cheese, bars, anything carby or sweet).
Cereal? "Kix" (She eats cereal every morning, either Kix or Cheerios, on occasion honey-nut cheerios)
Favorite drink? "Apple juice and pear juice" (She mostly just drinks water, or sometimes lemonade mixed with bubble water)
What is your favorite outfit?"Wonder Woman" (The long blue tank + sparkly blue fabric, oft referred to as her "Elsa dress," has been a staple for the whole year now. But she has taken to wearing her Wonder Woman costume since Christmas. She definitely chooses her own clothes every day, and for the most part seems to have a good sense of style, or at least a totally preschooler sense of style, which I also love and support).
What is your favorite game? "Lost Puppies" (This is a cooperative game that we borrowed from the toy store, and it was one we actually all really enjoyed. We are all about board games since the winter, and other favorites in the last few months include Monopoly Junior, (Frozen) Uno, Trouble, Alex and I loved Catan Junior)
What's your favorite sport? "Soccer" (She played soccer last fall, and then often goes to Alex's indoor soccer games on Sunday. She also seems to like gymnastics, and told us that she want to do taekwondo again).
Favorite animal? "Penguin" (True!)
Favorite song? "Twinkle Twinkle" (She knows the words to most of the Moana songs, and of course, all the Frozen songs. She seems to catch on to lyrics really quickly. And she's fine listening to grow-up music with us in the car or on the stereo at home.)
Book? "Wonder Woman! ... Dr. Seuss ... Ivy and Bean" (We have SO many books, and we've discovered the Beaverton City Library. We regularly read at least two books every night, but often read more. Some family favorites include Quick as Cricket, Caps for Sale, The Lorax, Those Shoes, Fancy Nancy books, Betty Bunny Likes Chocolate Cake, Last Stop on Market Street, Wonderboy Junior, Miss Rumphius, Olivia).
Who is your best friend? "Mila" (It warms my heart to think that maybe they really could be close friends for the next several decades. I know that is unlikely once they are in school and spending most of their time with other kids, but because Alex and I are friends with the Hubbards, I still hold out hope that they might be able to one day say they've known each other since birth and have been BFFs since they were toddler/preschoolers).
What is the best part of school? "Playing with my friends" (In her PreK class she has Anders, Asher, Owen, Adissa, Addison, and now Amora, Landon, and Parker).
What's your favorite thing to do outside? "Dig in the dirt" (She also likes to ride her scooter, scoot bike, and started to learn to ride her pedal bike on flat ground at Christmas)
What's your favorite holiday? "Christmas!"
Where is your favorite place to go? "Playground, Children's Museum. To Mila's house." (Also, the coffee shop, anywhere there are friends to play with, but she's mostly always along for the ride and a good sport for all errands, too).
Favorite thing to do with Mama? "Play with her" (We like watching grown-up TV together, running errands, doing art or crafts or writing notes or making presents for other people, going to a coffee shop or on another kid-oriented adventure like to the Children's Museum or library)
With Daddy? "Play with him" (Alex and Francie play a lot of board games, she accompanies him to Home Depot, helps in the yard or with the garden, and they sometimes watch movies together just the two of them)
As a family? "Go to the park" (We enjoy both staying home and being out and about. When the weather is nice, we like being outside together, going for walks/hikes, playing at the park, getting coffee or treats, eating out, going on trips, and we have the most fun together camping in the summer! This winter we watched a lot of family movies, and then started playing board and card games especially in February when we were without tv/internet/etc)
What do you want to be when you grow up? "Firefighter, police officer" (She has also mentioned being a nurse or baby doctor, a construction worker, astronaut, and once she said she wanted to be a speech pathologist like her mama)
Where would you like to travel and visit someday? "Canada, China, Africa" (China and Africa are regular references in our household, for whatever reason, even though neither of her parents have ever been to either continent)
When or where or who might you marry when you're a grown-up? "My house"
What do you wish for? "Sleep in until lunch" (This is a big fact fabrication, as this girl would do almost anything to avoid sleep. It's like she was born with FOMO, as she would easily prioritize anything social over her own sleep, and has even stayed up til midnight with us, like at Erika's wedding last summer)
What makes you laugh? "Tickling" (Her daddy can get her in hysterics with tickling, and her laughter is downright contagious)
What makes you feel afraid? "Monsters" (She does occasionally inquire about monsters or "bad guys" before bed. She has also referenced vague fears of bees, or letting bugs in the house. Generally speaking, she's not a very "scared" kid, although she's also not the first to jump in the pool either)
What do you do that is kind? "Help people" (She has a big ole heart, is mostly very considerate, and seems to include others and consider their feelings)
What is something you are good at? N/A (She's really good at remembering things, looking for things, making friends with any and every body, practicing writing her letters and numbers, now sounding words out and trying to spell them, she is SO friendly and is a little social butterfly, seems to be a good and decently fast runner, an easy traveler and pretty laid-back personality, learning song lyrics, noticing patterns, asking questions or for the definition of words, being flexible and adjusting to change, listening and following big deal rules like not going outside our gate, helping with chores, art, making plans, waking up in the morning, being cheerful ...)
What is something you're not very good at yet? "Reading" (But she's learning! Some things she's not so great at yet include apologizing to her Daddy when she does something naughty, riding her pedal bike, being brave when Mama or Daddy are nearby, playing by herself, going to bed early or easily, not talking when she's getting her teeth brushed, listening (interrupting!), wiping her own butt)
I am very proud of ... N/A
If I were president I would ...  "Say, 'everyone! Listen to me!"
If you could choose a different name, what would you choose? "Rose"
What age is the very best and why? "My favorite age is 6 .. because then you can go to kindergarten, play at the park whenever you want ..."
What will be special about being 5? "Guess what letter starts with five? F. ... it's the letter that starts with my name ... is that cool mom?"

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Obsession

"The Easter Bunny isn't even real," I found myself telling my five-year-old daughter the other night, as she inquired about Easter for the millionth time.

Immediately wracked with a touch of guilt/shame, I tried to explain myself. "I mean, the Easter Bunny is not real like how Mickey or Minnie Mouse aren't real."

"Like Santa's not real?"

"No! Not at all. Santa is totally real. The Easter Bunny is made-up, pretend, more like a character."

She thought about this for awhile, and then asked again why the Easter Bunny wouldn't be bringing her anything on Sunday. He/it came last year, to Aunt Patty's house, after all.

Me: "No, that was Mimi. She gave you that Easter basket with some stuff in it."

Her, defensively, even, dare I say, defiantly, "No, it was the Easter Bunny."

Alex pipes in from where he is washing his hands in the bathroom, asking gently: "Francie, do you want to believe in the Easter Bunny?"


"Well that's fine, of course," he tells her. "You can believe in the Easter Bunny if you want. But just don't be sad when you wake up on Sunday and you don't have presents or candy or anything."

"But I want presents."

If you ask me, this is

Still ruminating about how I'm a dream-killer of a mother, having told my preschooler that fun pretend things are not real. "Hey Francie, also, maybe don't say anything to your friends at school about whether or not the Easter Bunny is real. Some kids might think that he is a real thing, like Santa, that comes to their house to bring them candy or presents. We don't want to make them feel sad by telling them that he's just a character."

If there was the Springtime equivalent of Scrooge, I would totally be it. I HATE Easter. Which is funny, simply because of the fact that I was actually born on Easter; my birthday and the holiday have coincided every eleven years so far.

On Friday, "We had an Easter egg hunt at school today! I found five eggs! But why don't we have Easter at our house?"

Me: "Because we're not Christian. But even if we were Christian, we wouldn't do egg hunts or Easter Bunnies anyway."

"But why?"

"Well, because Easter is the most important of the Christian holidays. The Easter Bunny is just some made up character to get us to buy more stuff that doesn't even have to do with the holiday. If we were Christian, we would celebrate Jesus, not the Easter Bunny. And since we're not Christian, we don't celebrate either."

"I'm a Christian."

"People who are Christian believe that Jesus is their lord and savior. Some people are Christian, some people are Jewish, some people are Muslim, and some people, like us, are atheists. People who are Christian believe that Jesus was a really, really important guy, the son of god, and that he was killed and then resurrected. They think Easter is when Jesus came back to life.  It's what makes them believe in heaven, too."

"I believe in heaven."

I die a little on the inside each time she says this, thinking about the white-washed Jesus surrounded by all the white fluffy lambs decorating her daycare walls this month. I know full well that if she thinks of it at all, she thinks of Jesus/god as a white man with a big white beard sitting up on a cloud reigning over the earth like some kind of weird hippie president. Instead I tell her, "Well that's fine, you are allowed to believe in different things than me. We can all believe whatever we want. That's what makes it so cool to live in the United States." Unable to stop there, "But you know, Daddy isn't a Christian. I'm not a Christian," and then trying to use her adoration for Paul to serve my agenda, "Papa isn't a Christian, either."

We've been having this "Christian" conversation on occasion for a few months now. Clearly the religious lessons at her preschool are infiltrating her tiny, impressionable brain. I'm not opposed to the teachings, per se - I actually think the cultural competence is essential - but I totally take issue with the ethnocentricity and concreteness of organized religion, particularly those conveyed in places like Sunday School.

As for Easter, I am fully aware my logic is ridiculously inconsistent - I'm a YUUUUGE fan of all things Xmas (notice the "X" for "Christ" there? that's deliberate; not to disrespect, but actually to reflect my awareness that its origins are Biblical, but that my practice is 100% secular), but barely acknowledge and refuse to enjoy a single aspect of Easter. My rationale for Xmas is that it's a cultural, not a religious, holiday (for us); that it's a great time for family to come together; that it signifies a change in seasons. But all the same could be said about Easter. For so many Americans, Easter is a cultural holiday to be spent with family in celebration of Springtime. I get it, I do. If I feel comfortable celebrating Christmas, I should also be able to celebrate Easter. Or if my atheism makes Easter not applicable, then the same should be said for Christmas. But my love for Santa, gift-giving, tree decorating, cookie baking, holiday music, and something merry and bright in the midst of the dreary winter - it totally trumps my logic about religious celebration.

This morning we saw a few neighbors walk by with their kids carrying baskets, and I wondered aloud if there was an egg hunt at our neighborhood park (I'm rarely on FB so am not reliably privy to these things). Alex was lacing up his shoes to head out to Home Depot, "Are we bad parents for not taking our daughter to do something fun like an Easter egg hunt this weekend? Instead, I'm modeling the importance of Sunday capitalism in the name of home projects."

Me: "Nah, we'd be teaching her capitalism either way - buying shit at Home Depot, or looking for the most plastic eggs at the park. Like I said before, I'm not anti-Easter, I'm just anti- us celebrating Easter. If we are ever invited to an Easter dinner or church service or something with practicing Christians, I'd totally join. Just like if some Jewish friends invited us to seder or something. But otherwise, I don't really see the value of bunnies and baskets and egg hunts."

Interestingly, there hasn't been one *peep* (get it?!?) about Easter from our little believer today, even though just yesterday she was hiding and then finding her very own eggs (from the school hunt) in the yard. She is, however, dressed in a very fancy pastel blue dress and looks like she spent her morning at church and afternoon with a retirement home filled with the elderly.

Friday, April 14, 2017

(Just Pics) - SUPER Francie and Her SUPERhero 5th Birthday Party

"I think because I'm an Oregon Girl, the sun chose to come out for my birthday."

Morning birthday date to Driftwood Coffee with Mama.

Good morning to our birthday girl - as requested, she woke up to a house decorated for her party, and a giant 40" "5" balloon! (That was promptly popped at her party)

Kitchen table turned cape-making station. Yes, I did in fact cut out of felt a cape for each kiddo, their first initial, and some superhero shapes to make their own superhero cape!

Birthday cakes, thanks to Mimi! M&M "5" cake and a Wonder Woman cupcake cake

Snack table, with "Superhero Training Checklists," and photos of Francie's birthdays through the years hanging across the mirror.

"POW!" punching balloons form Amazon.

Hand-cut felt capes.

40-inch "5" balloon.

Wonder Woman cupcake-cake - thanks, Mimi!

Proof of strength photo op

Superhero tattoos

Create your own superhero name, and superhero trivia.

Hand-cut construction paper masks

Decor galore.

Just before "superhero races" in the street.

Waiting for their disc throw.

Monrow - so much personality on a tiny-ish person.

The sun allowed for our 40ish guests to expand onto the deck and backyard for BBQ lunch.

George and his girls, Monroe and Harlow.

Time for singing HB - and cake!

SuperMimi and SuperFrancie

The heart of Tafiti (Moana)

SuperMax, SuperFrancie, and SuperLogan

Reviewing the "Superhero Training Checklist"

Disc throw.

She did, in fact, open her presents in front of everyone.

The SUPER Close Family

DIY superhero dress and felt "5" crown made by yours truly, my patriotic/Wonder Woman tights courtesy of Tipsy Elves, and SuperDad thanks to Amazon

Still shot during videotaped birthday interview

Such a good poster, with a great reminder.

My favorite five year old!

Francie at birth, 1st bday (Goodnight Moon red balloon theme, 2nd bday ("Portland" theme, for her love of the Trimet bus), 3rd bday (blueberry theme), 4th bday (ambulance theme), and 5th bday (superhero theme)

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

(60 Months) - 5;0 = FIVE Years Old!



We've officially got a FIVE YEAR OLD! No one is happier about it than her, as she's been talking about it for months, really.

Overall, March was a rough one at the Closeman Residence. For starters, we got sick about February 20th, and continued the trend through the entire month of March, with one of us out with a cold/norovirus in any given week. But also, Mama had some demons to battle on her own - I'm talking in the third person because then I can distance myself from said mental health bullshit. Needless to say, while her birthday itself was a joy, and we were lucky to have Mimi and Papa in town both for their company and their help, March was all around not our finest time. But I did manage to write down at least a few things she said over the month, and took some photos, too.

The following is form her well-child five year old checkup with Dr. Erin Ryan at Kaiser:
Height: 3 ft 5.75 inches (36th percentile)
Weight: 36 lbs (25th percentile)

F: Wanna play a game to see who can be the quietest?
Me: Head nod.
F: Whoever is quietest gets to choose books.
F: I think I was the quietest.

"Mama, I might have to roll up my sleeves when I go skating. In case I need to hold my friends hand."

Me: Oh, I'm just so proud of the person you're turning into.
F: The person I'm turning into loves the person you're gonna be.

Out of the blue she touches my face: "I don't think you're old, I think you're just right."

3 guys accepting best Oscar for makeup:
F: "that guy in the middle is funny ... (unintelligible speech) broccoli."
Me: "huh?"
F: "he must not have eaten enough broccoli when he was a kid, because now he's a grownup and he's so short. That's funny."

After the Moana song performance at the Oscars: "I don't have the voice of Moana. But it's kinda like it because it is beautiful."

Sick, watching an episode of This Is Us together, where one of the main characters is shown getting into the shower (in a perfectly appropriate way):
“That's creepy. I don't like watching other people, strangers, taking showers. It's creepy.”

Driving past the cemetery, “why do people get put under ground?”

We made cupcakes and brought them to school for Teacher Joann’s birthday, who told us she didn't think anyone had ever done that for her before.

Alex said that when she was getting tantrumy and aggressive and she tried to hit him and he held his arm out to push her away, she screamed at him, “You’re going to give me a brain injury and you don’t even care!”

Sooooooo excited for her 5th birthday. “It’s my birthday next month … it’s my birthday this month … it’s my birthday next week … this is the last Monday I’ll be five.”

To everyone we see: “Today is my birthday! I'm FIVE!”

“I think because I'm an Oregon girl, the sun chose to come out for my birthday.”

“I don't really feel FIVE.”

“I don't even have to hide any fingers.”

This month she wrapped up her gymnastics class at Garden Home Rec Center on Thursday evenings, where she did not learn to do a cartwheel like she had planned. And she also finished her woodworking class with Beebee at the Multnomah Arts Center where she learned to use real tools and made a chalkboard.

Beebee has been bringing the NYT over, and I've been doing the crosswords, which she always wants to "help" with. So I direct her to the number puzzles and she practices adding.

I took Francie and Mila to the preschool skate at Oaks Park. Holy flashback to 1990.

These ladies started with the real roller skates, but we downgraded to the ones that go over your shoes and I was able to have my own limbs back.

Francie made this "airplane" for Logan and wrote his name - all by herself just by sounding it out! Folks, we have a budding reader/writer.

I was temporarily in possession of a pediatric language assessment before needing to return it to Pacific, and I couldn't resist giving some of it to Francie. I wish I wasn't this kind of person, but I was oh-so-pleased to see she was in the 98th percentile for one of the subtests.

Children's Museum, photo credit @ Beebee, titled "Warrior Princess."

It happened to be International Women's Day, she independently chose her Wonder Woman costume, and we had a great Mama Day together, including a jaunt to the play boutique in LO.

Baking cupcakes for Teacher Joanna's birthday.

Beauty and the Beast Jr play at Alpenrose. Francie literally chose Alex's outfit, bolo tie and all.

Another independent attempt at writing. Translation - "Please do not enter. xoxo. heart heart"

At the play.

This was at the Beaverton City Library, and I not only thought it was fitting, but love it!

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