Saturday, June 30, 2007

Dragon Boat Festival

Jacob, Violet and Emma playing with a soccer ball in the park.
Emma hugging a tree.

Emma and another little girl playing with the boats.
The family sitting under a tree eating snacks - it was hot!
Emma with chocolate cookie all over her face (she loves chocolate!)

Today we attended the Dragon Boat Festival, a celebration for China Adoption families here in our area. They had a great turnout, with kids of all ages and their families showing up.
There were supplies to make dragon boats, several small kiddie pools to float them in and food to share.
Emma was a bit hesitant, she still doesn't love crowds. Jakey and Vi played on the swingset and kicked the soccer ball around. One little boy even stripped down and got into the wading pool!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Places that I want to see!

Thirteen places I want to see

1. Back to China - I want to spend a month exploring the region Emma is from. (Guangxi)

2. Italy - At least one more visit but this time up in the hill country, and back to Venice.

3. Russia - I've always wanted to explore Russia

4. Poland - I want to see where my father's ancestors came from

5. Great Britain - castles, castles and more castles

6. Greece

7. The Holy Land

8. Drive across the US - road trip!

9. Alaska via the Alaskan Highway

10. Inside Passage via boat

11. New England - Boston, Philadelphia

12. Mississippi River

13. The deep south - Alambama, Louisiana, Georgia

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Vrrrmmmmm Vrmmmmmm

Yesterday I took the bus home at lunch and started running some errands. One of my errands was to pick up a prescription from Bi-Mart. I noticed that there were some race cars out front and then a man came over to me and told me to cover my ears. Soon a monster truck pulled up.
I raced home and told Jakey to put his shoes on. He acted a little put off by my rush, but as soon as we pulled into the parking lot he was all smiles.
They weren't too busy, so they not only talked to Jakey for a while, but they let him sit in a race car! He was so excited. He got a hat and an autographed picture of the one driver. I took photos of him next ot the monster truck as well. A man who was watching said that the truck was so big that I'd have to draw a circle around Jakey in the picture to find him!

Other then that, yesterday was uneventful. Renewed my library card and checked out a couple books. Sorted Emma's clothes and put her winter stuff downstairs in her future bedroom.
I've decided that each evening I'm going to spend a little time in the girl's room clearning the closet out. Emma has been sleeping in our room almost a year now, and I'm ready for her to move to her own space. If I can get the closet empty and the dressers free of stuff I could probably round up some people to help me move the beds around and the girls could start sleeping together. I don't have to bunk Jakey's room right away. I hope to take a long weekend and paint his room though, so I need to start working on a plan. He now wants race cars and airplanes. If you have any mural ideas for that, I'm all ears!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

More Camping Pictures

Camp Pictures

Here are some pictures that the camp counselor took this week at camp - aren't they great! That is Jakey on the zip line, as well as pics of the whole group of Kindergarteners to be!


Just got back from the farm. Drove the twins out to this place about 5 miles north of town that has fresh produce and some animals. Its cute, they have wisely set it up to be a desitation. You drive out, buy produce and dairy, and put it in your car. Then you can walk back and buy goat food for a quarter and feed the goats. You can also see stock horses, cows, llamas, a donkey, and some labms. They have picnic tables and a playground to let the kids run off some energy. It is the same place we take the kids to hunt pumpkins in the fall, and we always really enjoy it.
Last night Glenn and I snuck in a date night. We went out to PF Chang's again (yum) and then to see "Knocked Up" which was a rough but funny movie.
Its actually raining today on and off, suprise surprise. Amazing how once we hit summer officially the weather goes south. Why is that?
I read this article the other day in the Mother Earth News about how they are injecting beef with salt and water now, have you seen that. If you buy ground beef at a big store and read the tiny itty bit print, it has saline in it. They have found that if they add that it stays red longer. It makes sense as when we used to try to cook low salt for my mother in law sometimes she'd swell up after I cooked fresh meat without adding salt. Now I know someone was there ahead of me. I guess you can also tell that they add gasses by the packaging - if it is in plastic and the top is bubbled up, odds are good oxygen or other gasses have been added to make it red longer. Kinda makes you wonder what else is going on....

Friday, June 22, 2007

Closing Ceremonies at Camp Wilani

Today we left work early so we could drive out to Camp Wilani and attend the closing ceremonies for our little campers. Camp Wilani is out in Veneta, over a hill and down a gravel road.
We all drove out there and parked, and then we walked into the camp. It is deep in the woods althought they have clear-cut just across the meadow. We went to an amphitheater where the other campers were all waiting for us.
Camp fire still looks the same as it did 20 years ago, surprisingly enough. The outfits were about the same, and even the patches sometimes looked like 70s motif.
The kids sang, did skits, and talked about their week and what they learned. The twins and the other kindergarteners were just adorable singing together. Their counselor, 'Monkey' did a great job of leading them all.
All the camp counselors had fake names for the week and they announced their real names today. It was a lot of fun.
I'll load pictures this weekend. Have a good one.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The tree is down...

When I returned from lunch today, I heard a very loud crash right as I was crossing the street. I could see dozens of people standing on the sidewalk looking towards my office. Sure enough, while we were gone they had taken out the last of the tree.

Our university arborist is really terrific. He didn't hit anything, and things landed right where he said they would. I guess I can work happily this afternoon without worry!

13 Reasons to love being a parent

Thirteen Things about Shari

1. Hearing the shout of 'Snuggle!' before 3 small ones land on top of you in bed and shower you with kisses.
2. Having an excellent reason to lay on the ground and discuss cloud shapes with another human being.
3. Being able to kiss a hand while wearing lipstick and knowing they will guard the 'kiss' most of the day as a reminder of your love.
4. Seeing the world through a child's eyes
5. Singing and knowing that no one cares if you are good or not
6. Dancing until you fall over laughing.
7. Decorating cookies and sandwiches with smiley faces
8. Listening to stories about the pill bugs you find under the flower bed
9. Receiving boquets of dandelions with heartfelt 'I love you's
10. Coloring the left page while your child colors the right page
11. Reading the books you loved as a child to your children and seeing the same joy in their eyes.
12. Watching your child excel at something you never mastered
13. Listening to the stories of their adventures away from you and seeing their excitement as they gain self-confidence.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I usually could just take it or leave it

But I couldn't not share this video it just cracks me up! I so hate our age where you can be famous for no talent whatsoever. I have to admit I've taken some obscure pleasure in seeing Paris Hilton get locked up, in spite of the waste of perfectly good journalism space that is spent on her. Anyway, this video is just terrific.

Camp, Tree removal and other musings...

It is Wednesday at lunch, and the sound of a chain saw comes through my shut window as I am occassionally startled by branches hitting the side of the building on their way down. There is a large tree that someone thoughtlessly planted back when the University began, over 100 years ago, about 4' from the foundation. Over time it has become taller then our 4 story building, and probably close to 3' across at the bottom. With all this growth roots stretched out seaking more water, and finding none, broke through the concrete foundation hunting for more.
A few weeks ago men with hard hats and clipboards started circling my tree. Yesterday they arrived and roped off a quadron with orange tape to keep people safe. It goes out 30' feet on all sides of the tree, but they did not ask me to move. Interesting.
I did abandon my office yesterday for a while when the big branches were hitting. This afternoon I suspect I'll leave again when they start removing the actual trunk. It makes me sad that it is leaving.
The twins are on day 3 of summer camp, and they are loving it. I can't tell you how glad Glenn and I are that we sent them. Each day they come home and I'm amazed at what they have done. They have been canoeing, they have gone swimming every day, and yesterday they even did a zip line across the river. They both said they were a little scare but then they had fun once they tried it.
They do come home exhausted each evening, and covered with dirt. I do two frantic loads of laundry to get all their stuff cleaned up before the next day. They crash into bed hard and sleep well each night.
I am looking forward to a quiet weekend with nowhere to go. After all our running around the last few weeks the thought of just being home and being still is pretty attractive. Of course plenty of chores await us. Its time to start working on the bedrooms, getting ready for Violet nad Em to share a room. I have lots of work ahead before that, but we might as well get started.
Have a great day!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

8 Random Things About Me...

Above are a few random pictures from our Seattle Trip, just for fun :)

1. I am an artist, I can draw people pretty well and have pictures I've drawn of all my boyfriends when I was in my 20s
2. I love to travel
3. For my 16th birthday I toilet papered the Murphy bridge with my friends
4. If money were no object, I'd have at least one more child
5. My favorite color is cobalt blue
6. I actually enjoy doing laundry - I love how clean everything gets, making the whites really white and how good it all smells when you are done. It is a job that can be completed with very few complications.
7. My idea of a great day is being somewhere in a house adjacent to the ocean, the window open so I can hear the waves and smell the salt in the air. I have to have a really great book as well!
8. So far my favorite European City is Venice.

There, that's 8. Now I'm tagging any of you who want to play. Here are the rules:
Each player starts with 8 random facts/habits about themselves.
People who are tagged, write a blog post about their own 8 random things, and post these rules.
At the end of your post you need to tag 8 people and include their names.
Don't forget to leave them a comment and tell them they're tagged, and to read your blog.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

North for Father's Day

For Father's Day this year DH decided he wanted to head north to Seattle. Seattle is really one of our favorite cities, and we try to sneak up there once or twice a year when we have a long weekend.
Initially we envisioned this as a train ride, but after assessing what it would be like for me to carry all the luggage and manage children while dh was recovering from shoulder surgery, we opted for the 4 runner instead. After a liesurely ride up to Portland and a couple toy store stops (Hannah Anderssen for me, Fry's for him) we made it to Seattle. Friday we were up early, and we ate breakfast at the hotel before setting off on foot. Our destiation initially was the zoo, but after checking our weather reports we opted instead to hoof it up to the Seattle Center. It wasn't far, probably a little over half a mile, and we were there.
We were a hair early, so we went into the food court area to wait for things to open. At 9:30 am there isn't much happening there, except for an occassional transient trying to keep warm and catch a nap. We had some starbucks before heading down to the Children's Museum.
The Seattle Children's Museum is wonderful. The kids played nonstop for several hours. It was so much fun to watch Emma try to do everything her sibs were doing, laughing the whole time. We dressed up, they made food for us, they assembled and dissassembled things. It was grand.
We went upstairs and boy had the room changed while we were gone. By 12:30 the food court was jam-packed with people of all shapes and sizes. We finally found a filthy table and cleared it off enough to eat. It was fun to watch the crowds. Seattle is so much more diverse then our hometown. For the first time in a while I felt like we didn't stick out a bit. I think the oddest sensation was that when I saw an asian child they most often had an asian parent of two. In our town, most asian children are adopted and so you rarely see a parent of the same race.
So after lunch we headed over to DH's favorite playground, the Science Center. We saw a movie about Lewis and Clark at the omnimax theater before we went to play in the exhibits. The center has a terrific dinosaur fossil exhibit right now. We looked at fossilized eggs, and lots of great dino skeltons. Jakey was in heaven.
We ended up at the water play area. Jakey and Vi are actually about an inch too tall to go in there, but we snuck in anyway. Emma succeeded in dousing herself with water and we couldn't really get her rung out. We decided it was probably time to head out, so off we went.
I stopped at a cute little store next to the Children's theater and bought a few books. They had some really gorgeous fairy books, and of course the colorful sheep book that went with the dramatic performance going on at the Children's museum.
DH dug out garmin and we headed out for a grocery store. Safeway looks different in Portland, it has its own parking structure! After picking up supplies we headed back to our hotel and ordered italian in for the night.
Saturday was a public transit day. We found the bus and rode it all the way out to Woodland Park Zoo. The Zoo there is so nice - the critters aren't caged up in miserable spaces and are allowed to inhabit habitats more like they would have in nature. Its always a pleasant experience, and due to the big solstice celebration in Fremont District no one was there until much later!
We rode the bus back downtown and got off near Pike's Market. We walked down a LOT of stairs (carrying Emma who didn't want to walk much) and ended up at the Seattle Aquarium. The kids had a good time watching the sea otters eat abalone, and looking at baby salmons.
We ate dinner outside, which was a mistake. A cold wind was coming in and we almost froze sitting on the deck looking at the sailboats As usual the food was terrific, but we ate quickly and scurried back to the bus and our hotel.
Today we hit the Boeing Space Museum along with hundreds of other families to see the new space exhibit. It was great - they had a mock-up of the space station and lot sof lunar landing stuff. I think Em didn't get much out of it, but the rest of us were thrilled. It always makes me smile and think of my Dad too, when I get around the old planes. There was one vet from WWII there, and it reminded me of how much he also loved to fly. I hope at some level one of the kids gets that love. It was such a part of who my Dad was, and he never got to share it with them.
More later, its late, and I'm pooped!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A Beautiful day...

Woke up early and went into work. It's graduation weekend this weekend, and the campus is abuzz preparing for the event. As I drove by Dad's Gate there were 6 people out planting big flats of flowers. Others were powerwashing the sidewalks, pruning and weeding, and spreading bark. I always love this time of year, all the excitement and happiness. Families come together to celebrate a fantastic accomplishment that their son or daughter, niece or nephew. Often these accomplishments take years or even a lifetime to reach. Over the last few weeks I've repeatedly seen nervous students pacing the hallway outside our conference room. The culmination of a PhD is the defense, which happens in the weeks up before graduation. It is given after years and hyears of work and it can be the death of your dreams if you somehow blow it. Generally people don't, because by the time you are far enough along in a PhD program to do your defense you have proved yourself, but it still is a time of anxiety and then celebration.
This is a busy time in the offices. During the school year staff work Monday throught Friday, and are off at 5 without a second thought. This weekend though most everyone will be working out in the departments. They do it as much for the pleasure of seeing people complete their degrees and start their life as anything.
People always ask me if we have the summer off. The resounding answer is a big fat "NO". College goes on all year long. Faculty often take the summer off, but staff are still in the trenches. Working like I do in the dean's offices, we are barely effected by graduation or the end of the school year. Our biggest work season often is spring and summer. We start preparing for the 'new year' which for us starts July 1 early in the spring and we continue with setup and adjustments right up till fall term.
I think the truth of the matter is that I really love school. I loved college - I loved learning, the smell of new books in the fall, the cycles that let you complete one set of tasks and move onto another. I loved the freedom of learning about whatever you wanted, stretching your imagination and finding out you could do things you never imagined. I still love that as that is a large part of my job. I may not be developing a cure for cancer or writing the next great novel, but I'm allowed a level of freedom and creativity in my job that would never occur in most standard corporate positions. Universities are full of bright people and lots of energy. They can get stuck in 'how we have alway done it' but often you find innovative people who are dedicated to doing things for something besides money. (Lord knows you don't work there for the cash, private industry would pay so much better for most PhDs and even a lot of Masters and Bachelors degree holders.)
The other thing about universities is that they are really beautiful. The buildings are often old and protected by historic preservation. There are plans to maintain green spaces, and the landscaping is gorgeous. The tree outside my window is almost 100 years old. I work in a building that is 120 years old. There is something great about being a part of something so much bigger.
Ok, enough ode to work for one day. Have a fantastic evening!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

How to be a good Mom, according to 'them'

Have you ever considered how our perceptions of what we 'should' be come into being? I've been thinking about that lately. It seems like all of us are racing along at a startling pace, trying to get stuff done. We are trying to work hard, buy more stuff, enroll our kids in all the right things, take the right vacations, buy the right cars, and live in the right houses. Yet who determines what is 'right'?
Very little about our lives is real anymore. I noticed last night as I was picking the kids up from childcare. A woman was picking up her baby. Her body was not real. Here in my little neck of the woods people are investing in plastic surgery. Magazine covers are airbrushed. Women are held to rediculous standards.
Oprah, who I don't often watch, had a show on last week about age. She had on Gina Davis and Diane Carrol and Norah Ephron. Diane Carrol has had so much plastic surgery that she hast the skin of a 20 year old and she is well into her 70s. Gina Davis's forehead doesn't move when she talks, and she has not a crease. Even Oprah's forehead looks pretty creaseless. How is that possible? I look around at my 30 and 40 something girlfriends and we all have a few lines. Of course none of us are willing to pay to have someone inject botox into our foreheads.
Did you know if you go to the store you can pay to buy a 'neck mask' The neck is the one area that we haven't mastered yet. They can't do a neck lift. They can laser it, but the bottom line is your neck is going to show your age, a lot like your hands do.
Ahh, but I digress. So while we are supposed to look a certain terrific way, we are also supposed to do certain terrific things. That song in the 70s, I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, etc, is a lie. No one can do it all without sweating. I think most women who work during the day, come home, make dinner, take care of kids and keep the house fairly decent fall over from exhaustion the minute they get everyone put to bed at night. How could they not? Its exhausting demanding work. At least I get to go to work and just be a worker for a few hours a day. I get adult conversation and interaction. I can do that job and do it well. I come home at night and suddenly I have a million jobs to do, and some of them are changing constantly. Kids don't stay static. Just about the time you figure out how to help them with whatever behavioral problem they are presenting, they throw a new one at you and you start from square one.
Next week I've signed the twins up for daycamp out in the woods. It requires that they get on a school bus together, without us, and ride out each day. I'm so worried they won't go. They have never done it before, and they tend to be a little tentative at first. I've signed them up for very little this summer. I also don't have them enrolled in a million after school activities. I don't know how I could. How do people work 8-5 and get their kids to soccer practice, ballet lessons, karate, and piano lessons? I'm baffled by it. I refuse to buy into it, although the pressure is horrendous. So far we have not been tutoring our kids and pushing them. We read to them each day and we use computers, but I haven't been forcing them to use them to 'get ahead' when they enter kindergarten. People do.
I wonder what we'll see in 20 years when this generation enters the workforce. I suspect we'll see another set of counterculture - people who have been pushed too far too young and rebel by not pushing at all. We are already beginning to see tired and worn out 20 year olds.
The weekend before last we spent a better part of one morning looking for bugs in the front yard. We found 'rolly pollies' as my daughter likes to call them, or 'pill bugs' The kids have far more fun doing what kids have always done, playing with stuff in nature, make-believe and dress up. A large box is still a far more excellent toy then anything we could buy. If the basic truths of childhood haven't changed, why is it that we sink so much cash into commercially marketed things that are supposed to be even better. . You can't get better then a fairy tale castle made out of a refrigerator box, or a pill bug family on the front stoop.
Ok, enough rambling for today...

Monday, June 11, 2007


Matching is such a different topic to me. Since having twins I've learned that you should not under any circumstances match your children daily. It is frowned upon big time in the twin community. I dress them in matching stuff for pictures sometimes, or coordinating stuff, but for the most part they are their own people and they wear what they want to wear.

This worked out well right up till we started down the adoption road. Now there are new rules. Dress your kids alike so your new kid feels a part of the family. So now for the first time I am hunting through racks of girl's clothing for matching 2T and 6 dresses, tops and skirts. The girls just glow when they match, but finding matching toddlers and girl's clothing is a chore!

This means of course that we are doing a terrific job of making sure the girls feel a part of the 'club', but what about our son? How do we make him not feel excluded? We can't really pony up another son just so he can have his own club. If you think finding matching girl's clothing in different size groups is hard, add in a boy and the fun really begins! So we struggle daily with how to make sure Jakey feels like part of the gang.

One thing we do is to talk about how we are a 'Pile of Powells' or a 'Powell Sandwich' or 'A Line of Powells'. This means we are either all stacked on the bed together, or we put the kids in the middle and hug em (sandwich, we are the bread) or we walk 5 across holding hands.

If you have any ideas on how to make your kids feel part of the group, send them along, we are all ears!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Long Time No post

Sorry to be so long away - things have been a little hectic here. Did a quick trip down this weekend to the Rogue Valley to see our nephew at his graduation party. He graduate from Hidden Valley with honors, we are all so proud of him!
Stayed a cute little place in Ashland, where the party was. Rented a cottage just across the street from Lithia Park. Played in Ashland, explored the shops and found out that some things have not changed at all! Rare Earth, a store that met every teen's dream in the 1980s, is alive and well. It still has cute clothes, adorable shoes, records and cheap decor. Gone are the bongs of the 1970s and 80s, but there is even more cute asian themed stuff to replace it.
Em had a clingy weekend. I feel like I could use a break as she has wanted me to hold her 24/7. Dad won't do, only Mommy. I'm not one to be with anyone 24/7, so it has been a challenge.
Drove both ways as Glenn's shoulder is still not ok. He goes back in 10 days and then he can remove the sling and start the grueling process of physical therapy. I both dread it and can't wait for it. I miss his contributions around here, but I know that the road back is pretty awful.
Had a nice family time Saturday night. Our family is such a bunch of contrasts. Half of the family is fairly 'clean cut' and religious and middle class. The other half is alternative, with tatoos, dreadlocks, piercings and drug use abounding. Always weird to get the whole group in a room together.
I'll try to get some pics up tomorrow. If you can't wait you can always sneak over to the other website,
Sweet Dreams!