Friday, December 30, 2005

Round Two: Creature Cantina

We've finished our second round of stuffed creatures in anticipation of Auntie Andrea's visit from Pasadena. Max designed the green guy which he named "Needle." Apparently he scanned around, while trying to decide upon his creature's name, and settled his eyes upon one of many sewing notions on the dining room table. Needle was born. Jack's is the black spider with four eyes, aptly named "Web." The first round were a total hit with my parents, as well as Cabel and Nicole. The boys were very excited to give them, after many long conversations about which one to give to whom. Just before Max handed his to Cabel and Nicole, he gave it a big hug and said quietly, "I'm gonna miss you, guy." I felt terrible and realized that, um, maybe we need to make a few for us to keep. Duh. That's next on the agenda.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Flip Side

Well, now you all can get the flip side of life in Meegan Blue Land. Eric has a new blog. 'Nuff said.

Friday, December 23, 2005

The Best Day

WARNING: If you are Eric, Cabel, Nicole, mom or dad please read no further! This post contains some serious spoilers regarding Christmas gifts!

Eric stayed home today, and very generously took Zöe with him on a morning-about-town. It was like an early Christmas present...they were gone for four hours! This enabled me to complete many unfinished tasks that I've been scratching my head over, wondering how in the world they'd get done by Christmas. I bought some canvases from Michael's last week and each of the kids did a painting for Eric.
This was much harder than I imagined it would be, but they turned out better than I dreamed. Each of the boys did a sketch first, and then begrudgingly penciled it onto the canvas. It took us several sessions over a period of days, but that was good becasue they'd get all tired after a while and start laying on the floor, rolling around. Spacing things out kept the project more fresh. I don't have a picture of Zöe's yet. Hers was the hardest to do by far. She loved doing it and has a lot of confidence with a paintbrush, but things just became kind of a mish mash. I kept the colors in one family: red, pink, orange, maroon. That way we didn't end up with a big brown puddle, and it worked for the most part. The other project we finished today are stuffed creatures for Cabel and Nicole, and my mom and dad. The boys each drew a creature on paper, helped me pick out fabric and I made their image into a stuffed animal which they helped stuff. They're cool and I definitely want to make more, especially since Zöe is in love and will hardly let go of Jack's "Red Eye Guy." It's amazing how much I can get done with just a little bit of toddler-free time. Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Look Judy, it's Santy Claus!

If you live in Portland, I really hope you've had the chance to visit Santaland on the 10th floor of the downtown Meier and Frank store. After this Christmas it will be no longer. This particular Santaland has been one of my yearly holiday experiences since childhood, and I'm really struggling to imagine what next year will be like when the whole thing is gone. Laden with winter coats, mittens, scarves and hats the stuffy elevator ride from the main floor is a test of determination as difficult for grown-ups as it is for the children inadvertently stepping on their toes. The elevator makes multiple stops on it's ascent to the 10th floor, opening it's doors onto floors void of customers where no passengers enter or exit. At the top at last, the elevator spills it's tightly packed riders out into a chaotic inferno of Christmas activity. Santaland. The murmur of adult voices is punctuated by those of children, crying out in glee and in fear of all that awaits them inside. Snaking lines of families waiting to visit with Santa wind their way around the gigantic room. Children press their noses to Plexiglas as they spy on little wide-eyed animatronic elves, repeatedly putting bows on gifts in their dusty workshops. And the very special thing which makes this place unique comes grinding it's way around the room, suspended from the ceiling, earning the attention of every Christmas reveler. The Monorail. Children run for the back of the room, ducking if they must under the archway which separates the riders from the onlookers. There was a time when height was unimportant and I rode many times into my teens, giggling from inside with my friend Sally. Now they are scrutinized for size, climb the narrow wooden stairs in groups of ten with no help from parents allowed, and then are carefully arranged into three cars being very mindful of pinched fingers and squished toes.
From down below a crop of faces can be seen peeking out from the windows of the train. Children clutch their tiny fingers to the wire as they scour the pack of grown-ups for a wave from a familiar face. And then, with a jerk, they're off. The loading platform is left far behind as the train lurches around the room, a chorus of small voices from above calling for the attention of Santa Claus in his chair by the fire. Twice around the room and the ride is over. Children reluctantly stomp down a different set of narrow stairs only to race back under the archway for another ride. When they can finally be pulled away, lunch in the Georgian Room (on the same floor) completes the day. A very "fancy" affair with tablecloths, cloth napkins, and lots of grandmothers wearing hats, even the smallest child feels grown-up in such a place. Waiters bustle, silver clatters on china, and Christmas is just around the corner.

Thursday, December 08, 2005


Last weekend my parents helped me paint the living room and dining room. They are expert room-painters, among other things (check out my mom's paintings in the link above), and we were able to crank out both of the spaces in a pretty short amount of time. Eric was the hired hand in the babysitting department and he did a great job keeping Zöe's fingers out of the wet paint. It feels great to have some color on the walls! I didn't even realize how void we were of color until we got it up there. The green is a Martha Stewart color from Sherwin Williams called "Galax" and the rusty red is called "Blush" from Devine Color . Next on deck for a color overhaul is the kitchen. I've been priming it for weeks now. There are so many cabinets, corners, nooks and crannies! It will be changing from it's orange/olive green color scheme to the same Tuscany yellow (a happy, warm, orange-yellow color) that was in our old house, which looks good with all of the stainless appliances. I've got a "Hummingbird" blue (also from Martha) for the small bathroom in which the sink and toilet are that same color, oh my! I've chosen another Devine color for the office, a dark steel-blue called "Denim." And lastly, Devine "Ale" for the entry way/staircase. Whew! That's a whole lotta paintin'! We're having Eric's office Christmas party here next Friday night. Do you think I can get it all done by then? Yeah, right. Instead you'll find me in my new cozy chair (thanks mom and dad!) reading the newest Harry Potter, which I am just now getting around to reading. Now, where's that eggong?

Sunday, December 04, 2005

A Monster Surprise

We had a crazy morning this morning, running around trying to get things accomplished while somehow having fun with three little kids at the same time. It really didn't work. So by the time Zöe's nap time rolled around I was really ready to hit some of the local crafty gatherings with my friend Holly. We ended up at "Riches at Rimskys" which had a great and varied group of local craftsters. There was one in particular that I was looking forward to seeing...Jennifer of Dishy Duds whose stuff I have been admiring for a long, long time. In particular, her monster tees are amazing, beautiful, and so, so unique and fun! It was so great to meet her and we had a nice chat about Portland, crafty stuff, life with kids, cool shops, blogs, and other good stuff. I was really coveting her cool monster tees when she completely took me by surprise and gifted me with one! I was speechless. After the crummy morning I'd had, her generous, spontaneous gesture really lifted my heart. The boys were too excited when they saw it and are now planning a schedule of who gets to wear it on which days. Thanks Jennifer, you made us all so happy with your fabulous blue-eyed monster!

Monday, November 28, 2005

The New Kid

Today was Jack's first day at his new school. How many different ways can I describe being a nervous wreck? Changing schools has been a very difficult and gut-wrenching decision for all of us, because we love the magnet school that Jack has been going to across town. And since we moved in September we've been wrestling with what to do, as we now have this excellent elementary school ACROSS THE STREET from our house. I took this photo from our front door so you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. It's a really solid, strong neighborhood school with great parent involvement and it's ACROSS THE STREET! So we made the decision to switch now, and Jack has really been a trooper. He was angry and unhappy at first, really hating the thought of leaving his two great buddies to be new all over again "just like in Kindergarten." But he is just like his dad, as he seems to have that ability to knuckle under and deal with whatever comes his way with hardly a complaint. It's a quality I greatly admire and wish I possessed in even a small increment. So after picking up Max from preschool today we drove past the playground on our way home. There was Jack at lunch recess! We pulled over and I jumped out to give him a big hug. He seemed very grateful to see us, comforted that we were just right there, that he could see our twinkle lights in the living room window. He didn't ask me to please get him out of there, he said things were fine, and he actually smiled. Wow, did that ever make me feel better.

Friday, November 25, 2005

First Thanksgiving

We had a great first Thanksgiving in our new home. Although a little smaller than usual, it was cozy, and silly, and really nice. Zöe hammed it up for everyone with singing and dancing on top of the coffee table. Jack and Max were gifted with "Shark Boy and Lava Girl," which they dug in a major way. Eric made a fabulous dinner, with the turkey on the grill. Yum!
My parents were fun, as always, with great stories and laughter.

Thanks to Eric's bravery in the face of the unknown, we had our first fire in the fireplace. After many, many years with no fire in the hearth I imagined a whole army of critters living in there. But it worked! And my dad gave Zöe her first slurp of fresh whipping cream straight from the dispenser. Everything was perfect. We have so much in our lives to be thankful for, but my biggest heaping of gratefulness goes to family. Our family here and our family away, both past and present: life would not be nearly as rich and plentiful without you. Thank you.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Getting Excited

I went out yesterday and bought all of the goodies I needed to make our Christmas card this year. I love, love, love making cards and I never really do it except at Christmastime. So gathering my supplies always gets me feeling really festive and in-the-mood for some good crafty holiday fun.
The weather here has been absolutely amazing this past week. The skies are crystal clear with sun and the air is crisp and cold. Max had a playdate with a preschool friend yesterday and we totally bundled up for the walk there. Needless to say after wrestling three kids into coats, hats and mittens we were kind of late. But the walk was marvelous and well worth the exertion it took to get out the door.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Run, Don't Walk

Recently my friend Joyce, who lives in Pittsburgh, sent me some photos of her amazingly beautiful handmade Christmas ornaments and garlands. She uses different fabrics mounted on card stock with finished edges of silver chenille pipecleaners and glitter. The effect is amazing, vintage and very unique. If I happen to get one for Christmas (hint hint) I'll post a picture to show exactly what I'm talking about. Anyway, Joyce displays her ornaments and garland on these really cool tinsel trees. I know they can be expensive, but I've really been wanting to buy one this year. I looked in many different places and couldn't find what I was looking for at all. Until today. Yay Target! I found these great 16" tinsel trees in five different colors in the DOLLAR SECTION. That's right, one dollar each. The adorable matching felt tree skirts, edged in satin ribbon, are also a mere dollar a piece. Remarkable!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

More Pictures Than Words

I am seriously behind in posting any photos of our fall activities. Judging by the bulging toy isles in Target and the ever-encroaching holiday decorations everywhere we go, I decided to post everything right now before it's suddenly Christmas.

For Halloween this year we had a cute little witchy-poo, a Clone Trooper, and a red Bionicle. Max overcame his seriously bad costume phobia and trick-or-treated with the best of them. It seems his love of candy outweighs his fear of dress-up.

It probably didn't help him much that Eric and I actually dressed up this year to attend a costume party. I think it may have started things off on the wrong skeletal foot as far as Max was concerned. Looking at the picture it's not surprising, really. I was shooting for a witch and wound up looking like a punk-rock Prince Valiant. And Eric, well his costume really speaks for itself doesn't it? I could not stop laughing the entire evening.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

A Silly Knitted Self Portrait

It's been months since I've done anything crafty, and almost a year since I've done any knitting. But I was inspired by a woman on the airplane to pick up my gigantic Wilma Flintstone (size 19) needles to make a scarf. And what a scarf I made. I used brown chenille together with a fun eyelash yarn of browns and greens. The pattern is basically two rows of knit stitch, with a triple yarn-over, and then I don't even know what it's called. My directions were verbal, so I just did it and it worked. It makes these cool sections of the scarf where the yarn is long and loose (in an organized fashion) between the rows of knits. It knitted up very quickly thanks to the big needles and the pre-historic wooly mammoth acting as my skein outside of the window. I was so excited to have a completed crafty project that I put on lipstick and took this self-portrait (in front of my new dining room curtains) at 1:00 in the morning. I think I was just a wee bit wiggy.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

So My Dad Has Something New To Read

Actually I've been itchin' to write something anyway, but first and foremost I am a dutiful daughter. I don't want my dad to spend another minute checking-in on my dumb old boring blog. So dad, I love you, here's something new!

Hooray it's Fall! Oh, but it really is all about the clothes, isn't it? There's nothing better than when the air becomes crisp and we can once again wear courduroy, herringbone and tights! Actually what's better is buying it for Zöe instead...cheaper, smaller sizes, better colors. This photo perfectly illustrates Zöe's obsessive fascination with the car. She can spend forever sitting behind the wheel, pretending to drive, pushing buttons, flipping blinkers, making car sounds, and checking herself out in the vanity mirror. Given how hyper-excited I was to learn how to drive, I think Zöe may have inherited the gene. For now I'll just be happy buying stripey tights and butterfly barrettes.

In other fashion news our house has had a serious haircut. If you check back to the first photos I posted (Sand, Salt Water and Tomatillo Green) you should notice a gigantic can actually see the house! I've also included a photo of my favorite feature: a sweet covered side porch which sits to the right of the house, off of the living room through french doors. Max and I had our first lunch "al fresco" last week and it was lovely. We had a delightful time laughing at the antics of the local squirrels. My grandmother was a die-hard animal lover who went through 20 pound bags of peanuts on a weekly basis to keep her squirrels fat and happy. After she died the squirrels went away for a while, but when we moved in they started coming back to check us out. Eric has been filling our feeders and while they're not as well supplied as before, they seem to be happy and are certainly as silly as ever.

This last photo is for my good friend Rebecca, who is just beginning the packing and moving process with her family of three little ones. I guess the purpose is just to show that nearly a month after move-in: a) we've decided to incorporate the "U-Haul Look" into our interior design scheme c) it is widely believed that there may actually be a fireplace behind all of those boxes, and c) we're gettin' there, and you will too Rebecca!

Monday, October 10, 2005

Max Man Ray

Boy is it nice to finally be back online. The move is complete but the work is far from done. At this point anything that distracts me from the enormity of the tasks at hand is a welcome diversion. While on a walk the other day with Max and his best girlfriend Anna, Max set up this surreal vignette and asked me to please take a picture. He helped me set up the shot and then took a few of his own. The whole series is really one of my favorite photo sets, ever. It's exactly how I have been feeling lately: very much upside down, with my legs flailing in the air and my head stuck in pipe. I know that things will right themselves soon enough with some physical, mental and emotional elbow grease. But for now I'm just going to try my best to enjoy how everything looks from this angle.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Vader Baby

I snapped this picture as we were headed off to pick up Jack from school today. Did you know Darth Vader had an infant son named Norman? Contrary to popular opinion he's actually a very good father. Almost all of his friends are girls, so he's quite in touch with his feminine side. Starbucks is one of his favorite haunts, where he can always be found leisurely sipping a Horizon chocolate milk and munching on a donut of any variety. He's a friend to all animals great and small, and loves to snuggle anywhere, anytime. He makes absolute sure Norman is well cared for night and day (except when he's thrown to the ground from the limbs of a giant rhododendron.) He bathes, comforts, and nourishes his baby. But most of all he protects Norman from vicious attackers whenever they are in battle. And from what I've observed there have been no limbs amputated by light saber, whatsoever.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

New Beginnings

Today was Jack's first day of First Grade. This picture is hilarious and perfectly represents Jack's state-of-being as of late: I'm trying not to smile because I don't want to, but I can't help but smile because my mom is such a dork. He had mixed emotions about today, and I clearly remember feeling the same way when I was a kid. He was excited to see his friends, to get to know his teacher, and to be a Big Kid. But he was sad to be leaving home for the whole day. He and Max had a five minute discussion at breakfast about being best friends, and about how much they love each other. And from the minute we got back in the car after dropping Jack at school Max has been like a lost puppy. He's aimless, wilted, and flopping around on he floor like a fish out of water. I've been hugging him lots, but I think he'll be glad to start preschool next week. With one more week to go until we move I haven't been the best mom around.

Work has begun on The House. Yesterday they started by ripping up the carpet on the basement stairs, the main stairs, the main floor hallway and the upstairs hallway. The main floor hallway has the same beautiful mahagony inlay as the living and dining rooms, but I never knew it because it was covered by carpet. That was an exciting find. They've sanded the entire upstairs and are ready to seal it. They'll begin the downstairs rooms tomorrow. I love hardwood floors, and I've really missed the look and feel of it these past few years that we've had carpet. Jack informed me that he prefers carpet like our house has now, but I had to inform him that he learned to crawl and walk on our hardwood floors in LA. So there! We finally agreed that hardwoods with rugs is the perfect combination. These floor guys are good and they're making good progress, which is important because the timing will be getting critical next week!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Sand, Salt Water and Tomatillo Green?

We just came home from a great extended weekend with my parents at a beach house in Gearhart, Oregon. This is the fourth year in a row for our Gearhart getaway, and we always find ourselves in awe of the beauty and splendor of the Oregon coast. Jack is a complete beach nut. Come to think of it he has been in love with the ocean since he was just a toddler at Manhattan Beach when we lived in Los Angeles. He would sit for long periods of time just pushing his cars and trucks through mountans of sand. Now somehow he has come to associate the beach with being nude.
Within seconds of hitting the shore his clothes are in a pile at his feet and he's off like a gazelle running over the dunes, through beach grass and into the waves. We're not exactly sure, however, how this habit will translate into action when he becomes a teenager. Perhaps we should be worried, but for now it's a pretty amazing sight. Max is a bit more reserved than Jack when it comes to nudity, but he loves the beach equally. Running through flocks of resting birds seemed to be his favorite bit of action. Although snuggling in the chair with me and eating yummy snacks was one of his highlights too. And once again, Zöe may perhaps be the wildest of all. She has no fear and would wander into the waves and swim to Atlantis if someone weren't holding the back of her shirt. She face-planted into sand and water with nary a pause, oggled horses and dogs, and happily ran through the rain. Her nickname for the trip was "nature's child." I think it suits her.

The only bummer of the whole trip was that it was necessary for us to leave early and take care of some pressing business here at home. We need to pack our boxes because two weeks from today we're moving! We have sold our house and are buying my grandparents house in the Laurelhusrt neighborhood. The excitement level around here is pretty intense and emotions (on every level) are running high. It's actually a pretty amazing story. Thirty-one years ago my grandparents were babysitting me and brought me with them to look at a beautiful house that they were hoping to buy. I remember my gorgeous grandmother leaning close to me as she told me that this was our secret and that I needed to do my best not to tell anyone until the time was right. Somehow my four-year-old mouth kept the secret (much to my mom's amazement) and I always felt extra-special that I was her co-conspirator in such a grand plan.
The house became a castle to me, as the backdrop for decades of happy memories. Holidays of every sort were celebrated there with Aunt and Uncle, cousins, grandparents and great-grandparents. Their home served as an anchor for all of us, the place where we gathered together no matter where life was taking our individual family units. Since the passing of my grandfather several years ago and my grandmother just this Spring, I feel so honored and fortunate that I can attempt to carry on the tradition of this great gathering place. It's twice the size of where we live now, double the bathrooms (two instead of one!), with a great 1950's knotty-pine party room basement. My parents sacfrificed an enormous amount to make this happen, and for that I'm forever grateful. So now we get to make all sorts of exciting decisions such as: Tomatillo or Pressed Leaves green? We're having the floors refinished, a new roof, paint, tree-trimming and so on. I'll be posting lots of before-and-after photos in the coming months. But for now it's just Playstation2 for the boys, Teletubbies for Zöe, and packing for Eric and me.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Happy Birthday Dear Eric, Happy Birthday To You!

My first thought this morning is that we need to get more pictures with daddy in them. I think this one is about a year old. After that my thoughts venture into birthday lucky we all are that 37 years ago our Eric came into the world! What an amazing man we have in our lives. Jack loves daddy because he's happy all the time, and loves to snuggle. Max loves daddy because he makes our house "full of laughing." They both love that he's silly, chases them, jumps around, and makes gross sounds. Zöe loves that he feeds her all the yummy foods she loves, and takes her for adventure walks outside in the backyard. I love Eric for all of those same reasons (except the gross sounds), and for the three children who expressed them. I love Eric for making our lives full of fun with enthusiasm, energy, and light. Happy Birthday to Eric, and Happy Birthday to us. Today we celebrate our good fortune that you were born!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Chop Chop

Last night at Salon 77, Mandy cut 14 inches off of my long, long hair. What a liberating experience! I haven't had it this short since seventh grade, and other than that I think 1992 was the last time I even had it slightly above my shoulders. So, hooray for a new 'do. I am loving the feeling of shortness! This morning when I stepped on the scale I was four pounds lighter, literally. Now I know my hair couldn't have weighed that much, but I'm taking it as a good sign.

I've been busy making dresses to sell at Art in August, which is this Sunday. My friend Holly puts together an amazing garden party/crafty show every summer with a dozen local artists. I was so happy with the dress I made for Zöe last week that I decided to make more. I figured out how to increase the size and I bought some great fabrics, so I've been able to make seven so far in three different sizes. I have two more ready to sew in an even larger size. In the end I'll have four sizes total with 10-12 dresses in all. It's been fun, but I think I'm getting a little weary. Yesterday I took my sewing machine into the shop because the thread kept jamming and getting all twisted up around the bobbin. I was certain that I had a big problem on my hands. Boy did I feel a like an idiot when the guy showed my the problem...I simply had it threaded incorrectly. I must be getting tired, because threading it is something I can normally do with my eyes closed. My feeling of stupidity was quickly surpassed by my relief that the machine is fine and I can keep on sewing.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Better Than A Barbie

Actually I never had a Barbie, Skipper was the only fashion play doll I was permitted to own. It just so happened that I liked Skipper better anyway, so that worked out nicely for my mom. But in the end, my little Dottie Z: The Living Doll totally takes the cupcake. She walks, she talks (in her own language even!), she smiles, grins, laughs and cuddles. But even better, she's a running, moving, climbing, twirling girl body just perfect for dressing-up. We'll worry about all that awful teenage-girl stuff later. Last night I finished the first real dress for Zöe that I've ever made. I'm so excited! I've been turning the pattern idea over in my mind for a few weeks now, and it came out exactly as I'd hoped. The thought of hems and finished edges (armholes, neckline) was intimidating to me, so I used the serge stitch on my sewing machine for all of the "raw" edges. It was much easier and I really like to look. The fabric is all cotton; the stripe is by Michael Miller, and the dotted fabric is called "soft spot" by Alexander Henry. I purchased both at the one-acre-large Fabric Depot. There is a vertical opening in the back at the neckline with a hook-eye closure, and a little pocket on the front of the apron. I've got some great 1930's vintage reproduction fabric, and I'm itchin' to make another one already!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

All About Teeth

I FINALLY finished the tooth-fairy pillows that I sold as auction items for the Preshcool way back in March! I made one for Jack when he lost his first tooth, inspired by a pillow my friend Rebecca made for her son Parker. I'm happy with how they turned out, especially since I'm very new to the "sewing thing" and it's been a while since I made the first one. The tooth itself is a small pocket, sewn tightly enough to securely hold the homeless chomper until that lovely fairy whisks it away to tooth-land. It's big enough to hold a folded certificate of some sort, coins, paper money, diamonds, raisins, or whatever the fairy fancies as adequate payment.

We were able to use Jack's very own tooth pillow once again last night, as he lost the second of his top front teeth. It was wiggly beyond all wiggliciousness, but he still wouldn't let me "take it out." (We are unable to use the phrase "pull it out" without inspiring Jack to try and glue his loose tooth back in with peanut butter.) As he was getting dressed yesterday he pulled his shirt over his head, and the thing just popped out and rolled across the floor. If you ask me, that little central incisor was trying to make a break for it. It must know something about that tooth-fairy that we don't know. What could it be, I wonder?

Monday, August 01, 2005

Dementors and Bludgers and Muggles, oh my!

I finally finished reading The Crimson Petal and the White by Michael Faber. At almost a thousand pages, that in itself was no easy task. I really liked it. Set in Victorian London and centered around the life of a 19-year-old prostitute, the characters are amazing and the descriptions of period costume, habits, and social stations are fascinating. It's a simple enough story, rather hard to imagine that it could cover so many pages, actually. But it rolls along at a good clip, and is told with such depth and detail that it's easy to become immersed. A few of the lesser characters and their plot lines drag a bit, but not nearly enough to cause boredom. It's easily made up for by the unbelieveable lives of the more key characters. A good read! Soon I will be moving on to Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters, as I begin yet another adventure (this time about a lesbian music-hall singer) into the steamy underbelly of Victorian London. But in the meantime I must read the new Harry Potter book The Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling. A new Harry Potter never fails to deliver a solid, fun, and exciting read.

In other news, we're in our second week of swimming lessons for Jack and Max. They're both doing great. They love playing the games and they're comfortable in the pool, but they're not keen at all on getting their heads underwater. I'm kicking myself for waiting so long to begin lessons. Zöe and I join the boys for free swim when their lesson is over, and we all play in the pool together. Today the boys made great advances in submerging themselves all the way up to their ears! Woo hoo! I think they're inspired by their little sister, for Zöe Dott is emerging as the true water-baby of the family. She floats on her belly with only a little support underneath, and spends most of the time with her face IN the water, blowing bubbles and drinking the yummy pool juice. I think I'll start her with some parent/child lessons in the fall.