Saturday, March 28, 2015

They have a thing!

With Ellie, it's Temples.
With me, it's National Parks.
With Tate, it's slated to be ballparks.

Jim and Aeryn didn't have a "thing" that they visit together, but now they do: State Capitols. {Yes, this will take a while.}

We've been on spring break this week, and it came not a moment too soon. I can't speak for the rest of my family, but I was completely on empty and not sure I would survive until the end of the school year. One class in particular is so trying that for the first time since I started teaching I've seriously thought of changing careers. Instead, I have done absolutely nothing productive for the last seven days. Well, I mean I've done more laundry than one human soul ought to, cooked, ushered kids to the dentist, taken another licensure exam, swept the floor about a million times a day, baked a bunch more than normal, and even {gasp!} exercised a couple times - but nothing productive FOR WORK. It's been glorious.

Since Jim still has to work in the lab during spring break, we didn't really do anything as a family until Friday. We headed up to Salem so Jim and Aeryn could check off the first of their many adventures. Aeryn was her typical 12 year old resistant self, protesting and complaining until after we were about halfway there. Once we made it to Salem she was talking nonstop about how awesome her 4th grade field trip up there had been, and it was clear the grumps had gone away and she was very, very happy to be going. Thankfully. Perhaps one day we will get to where her initial reaction to ideas is less... middle-schoolish.

The park outside the Capitol was darling. It has a nice mix of spring flowering trees, meticulous shrubs, and modern art. I get a kick out of things like that.

Tate was eating his blanket and playing with wheels, as is normal.

The magnolias are in bloom and I love to stand beneath the trees while the petals rain down on me. The blooms don't last long, but they are so very beautiful that if I end up living somewhere they grow I will make sure to give them a prominent place in my yard. They just make me so very happy. Oregon has spoiled me. Even though we have a full year left here, I am already dreading living somewhere else. Oh, I know I can and will be happy anywhere, but the vegetation and rain are so delightful to me and so very refreshing. I used to wonder if I could live somewhere without a mountain view. Now I wonder if I can live anywhere that isn't lush and green.

The Capitol was much more symbolic and sentimental than I expected. I haven't made a habit out of visiting Capitol buildings and it's been years since I've been to one, so it was really a surprise. The marble is so very pretty. 

The building is very large and majestic. I thought the top looked rather weird but didn't think anything of it until I read the Wikipedia description that states many residents criticized the design because the top looks like a paint can. Now that is all I see when I look at it.

There are so many Liberty Bell replicas out there that I wonder if the real thing would seem impressive. Outside of trusting a sign I don't think I'd be able to tell them apart.

Tate was happy as a clam. He just loves to be outside and is fascinated by anything new. Lucky kid.

This is what we call a highly effective photo bomb - it completely hijacked the focus point and everything. That's what happens when I hold the camera at arms length and try to take a picture when I can't see anything.

Afterward we walked around the riverfront and ended the jaunt with ice cream sundaes. That's my idea of a perfect ending to a great day.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Boy in the Rain

In Oregon, we play in the rain, though I do think Tate is getting a skewed introduction as it hasn't rained as much as I think it ought to for this time of year. He still gets the chance to get sprinkled on once in a while.

His new favorite thing to do outside is shake this gate. It makes a loud rattling noise when he shakes it and that is apparently awesome. The downside is that it is right in the middle of the trash and recycling bins. I don't exactly love him playing there. Fortunately I've been able to distract him from the beer bottles undergrads have left on the ground instead of putting in the recycling bin less than 12 inches away. Argh.

A part of me is anxious for the day we are not in an apartment anymore so that the kids have a fenced back yard (without garbage bins!) and their own rooms (with closets!) but there are some serious perks to living here. Among them is the fact that I do not have to maintain the yard, pull weeds, or install play structures.

He is constantly trying to figure out the world around him. The bolts on the back of this bench warrant close examination every time we venture out. He can stand there doubled over for quite a while without getting disinterested, or dizzy for that matter.

I don't know what's up with kids. I'm still trying to figure out why it's okay to eat rocks, but {insert healthy vegetables here} are not. Why is it okay to be rained on, but having their hair washed brings screams of untold comparison?

By this point he had crawled through puddles and his pants were soaked. He had started to whimper, but once something catches his attention all that is forgotten. I'm just grateful he didn't get completely covered in mud, although that would have been adorable and I would have taken about 72,000 pictures of it, so maybe I actually wish he had been covered in mud.

When we headed out, it was not raining yet and my only goal was to get a good head shot to print in black and white. I took a cute hat (of mine) thinking it would make a fun prop but he wanted none of that. It was on his head for a whopping 0.0000036472 seconds before he ripped it off and threw it straight on the ground. Somehow this picture ended up in focus and though it isn't what I wanted, it is so stinkin cute. Getting pictures of this kid that match my imagination has gotten significantly harder. Good thing I love candids.