Tuesday, December 30, 2008


We're heading to Port Townsend to ring in the New Year in the fresh air and quiet of life on the peninsula. I'm planning on cold, windy beach walks and cups of hot tea, repeat as needed... See you in 2009 and sending lots and lots of love your way.

Monday, December 29, 2008


Since most of the last two weeks, it looked something like this outside our door, we frequently were inside doing... well, all kinds of stuff. I tended towards food preparation, Lucy to a three-dimensional craft. Jasper was in a world of his own - Rudolph in his red jammies, a conductor in his overalls and, after Christmas, a cap, a mouse king with his sword or baby "Jejus" in the manger - Lucy and I taking turns being Mary. BTW, we are not Christian exactly, but threw Jesus stories in the holiday reading mix. When he wasn't at work or in transit, Rob ran interference on all the above activities, photographed them, did laundry, provided comic relief and shoveled lots and lots and lots of snow. Now the snow is melting and the world outside our windows not quite so sparkling and beautiful... And very rainy. But I am grateful for the beauty of the snow which helped to catapult the holidays into magical realms even for a grinch like me.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The day begins...

Rob and I finished our 12th morning of yoga (usually we have company of the red-headed variety for most if not all of our session...). What a great way for Rob and me to connect and have some fun, and feel great all the day long too... We wonder why we haven't always done this. I guide Rob in various routines and then do my routine alongside him. It is win-win, people. Teaching yoga privately to one or two people would be something I'd really enjoy. I'm working on the business model (step one: send kids to school).

But I'm not (quite) ready to throw in the towel on homeschooling. I got started planning again last night and Lucy and I settled on a mutually agreed upon schedule for January yesterday. We're making some changes - no more circle - just morning walks, lots of arts and crafts projects and spontaneity requested by Lucy, plus weekly swimming. I wanted time for math, reading, writing and recorder practice. We got it all in there and are feeling good about it. We'll start our language arts block Monday January 5th, focusing on "word families" i.e. the family of "oat," "eep," and "ight" and sight reading. So we have a whole 'nother week to par-tee...

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Lucy and Jasper got digital cameras from Santa. Lucy took this shot of J. in his new conductor hat. As Rob says, both kids have a good sense of spontaneity in their photos. Lucy also has a good sense of composition...

A favorite tidbit from Christmas: Lucy on getting willow switches if she were bad - "Well, it would be OK, as long as I got three so that I could braid them into a crown." Ever the optimist, that one. Fortunately, Santa and others came through with lots of loot...

We were home for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and very grateful for our local family who traveled the scary Seattle streets to come to us to eat and sing Christmas carols. Mom and Merrill even brought a delicious Christmas dinner today! We did manage to contribute lots and lots of cookies. A special cyber-hug to you all who are far away. I miss you today - I wish I could give you a big hug and a tin of cookies, maybe two? Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Solstice

This year's Winter Solstice is one of the most beautiful, magical ever. We have had snow on the ground for a solid week now. And it isn't the usual Pacific Northwest slushy, sloggy, wet snow either. It is crunchy today but still fluffy underneath the crunch. It makes for great stomping and sledding. The kids finally caught sledding fever today. Rob and I are also loving it. Today is the day of solstice and, after a long adventure in the snow, we settled into soup-eating, cookie-making, lots of reading and, well, me, dinking around on the computer listening to the advent story and Pandora Christmas music. We're going to prepare a little solstice celebration and candlelit feast a la one I read about on this blog. Rob's taken a world of snowy pics to be downloaded, possibly at a much later time... And the snow is still falling! Gorgeous...

Our friend Melanie has a solstice resolution of sorts: to slow down and do less. I like that one...

Happy Winter from Snowland!

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Week In Review

Here are a couple of pictures from last weekend. We spent most of the weekend "bludging" off our friends, Matt and Melanie in West Seattle. Melanie spent Saturday morning making us soup, hummus, cookies and bread for starters and Matt spent the afternoon making us pizza. We were very spoiled... Then we dared to look at the house next door to them in West Seattle which is for sale. We got caught up in short-lived frenzy trying to figure out how we could make that happen. Turns out we can't for various reasons, primarily lack of money, disrepair of our own house and plain old inertia. What can we say?? I'm afraid this old house doesn't want to let us go.
The rest of the week went by in a flash - lots of work and bussing around the city for Rob and driving here, there and everywhere for me and the kids. Lucy and I saw "The Wizard of Oz" at Seattle Children's Theatre, kids did circus class a couple of times, Lucy had a nature class out in a boggy wetland area. Jasper and I tagged along, Jasper in his conductor overalls (see last post for picture), with his tape measure attached to the pocket.
Rob had a couple of nights out and I had last night out. I took a Nia dance class at a place on Capital Hill called Dance Underground. It was the best. Then I went around the lake twice with Bianca in the light of the full moon. Unfortuately after all that deliciousness, I finished the evening at the mall and tried to get out of there with a bit of my soul still intact. Remind me not to do that again...
Homeschooling proper is off for the rest of December - or until I have time to do more planning and figuring out what to do. It seems like Lucy needs some time to let everything soak in - and probably so do I. It was an intense Fall for both of us. But fortunately, school or no school, that Lucy keeps right on learning...

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas and Stuff

The Spirit of Christmas has definitely drifted into the Brown Household. Immediately after the tree went up last week, Lucy dug out old Christmas dresses for her and Jasper to snuggle into. Jasper does make a very charming little elf... So now we have the tree for company - I especially enjoy driving up to the house at night to see the lights twinkling in the window. The kids and I spend time each day on the couch reading stories about Winter or Winter Solstice. And sometimes we sing Christmas carols or read Christmas stories. It is amusing and a little odd to be singing about such weighty theological topics as "God and sinners reconciled." I suppose I do actually appreciate the concept although I might have chosen different wording... Jasper called baby Jesus "Lorgie" today after I'd sung "Away in the Manger" (the little lord Jesus became "Lorgie").

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Weekend on the Farm

We had a beautiful weekend on Megan and Keith's farm. Thanks again to Megan and Keith for sharing themselves and their slice of heaven with us. We got quite relaxed and cozy there, sharing in each other's leftovers from Thanksgiving. Megan always has lots of fun stuff around for the kids to play with and we enjoy sleeping in the Hawthorne Room and the River Room. We were super-spoiled, as usual, with yummy cocktails and mocktails at cocktail hour and homemade treats such as biscuits Megain whipped out on Sunday morning. Saturday night Arlene made the most amazing pizzas (using Megan's secret recipe). I'm going to try to reproduce them soon. Richard taught Lucy to make Japanese lanterns out of paper. You can see in the last picture that she has mastered this skill. The lanterns are now decorating our Christmas tree, set over the white lights as Richard had suggested.

Pictures coming soon of our tree, which the kids picked out on Sunday after we got home. Jasper and Lucy were so happy last night as Rob brought down all the Christmas decorations and they cranked up the Christmas tunes as they decorated the tree. Jasper kept wondering when we were going to "trim" the tree...

Jasper is covering his ears in the first couple of pictures because we were near the guys who were using chainsaws to chop up dead trees for firewood. Lucy helped them unload.