On Saturday we went to a pop-up sale for one of our favorite artists, Lisa Congdon. You’ve heard me rave about her Creativebug classes and her art, which makes me happy. She was selling items from her Etsy shop at Collage, that store with the giant wall of washi tape. I ventured out in the rain with four of the kids to do some Christmas shopping at Lisa’s sale.
Rilla, who has taken several of Lisa’s Creativebug classes* with me, was so excited to meet her. Wish I’d gotten a better picture! She also made a furry friend. Equal levels of excitement, I would say.
Afterward we did some window shopping on Alberta Ave. and then inhaled some truffle fries at Big Little Burger while we wait for Scott and Huck to pick us up. Rose and Beanie hung around for root beer floats and more window shopping. A birthday present or two may have been acquired. ’Tis that season, too, for us.
As often as not, this is what our Poetry Teatime looks like: circus animal cookies on a Dominoes napkin. Yesterday we didn’t even remember to bother with something to drink. Although it doesn’t take much to elevate the event (plates would be a good start) 😉 — there are days when you know you’ll miss your moment if you don’t jump right in. This was one of those days. We had just enough time left in our morning for a no-frills poetry teatime and a short nature walk, or a frillier tea and no walk at all. The vote was to squeeze in both.
Huck certainly doesn’t care, as long as poetry teatime contains the two essentials: cookies + Shel Silverstein. He had us all howling with “The Nap Taker” (“I did not take a nap— / The nap took me”). Beanie picked the Lewis Carroll collection (more howls) and Rilla chose a family favorite: Jack Prelutsky’s Imagine That! Poems of Never-Was. (When she read “The Multikertwigo” I had such déja vu. I will always hear that poem in wee Jane’s four-year-old voice.)
We live a block and a half from Klickitat Street. I know I don’t have to tell you booklovers what a thrill I get every time I see the sign. Four months in, it hasn’t gotten old. It never will, you know? My childhood copy of Beezus and Ramona is right here on the shelf. To this day, harmonicas sound like oh dear, oh dear to me. To this day, the first bite of an apple is the best. Fig Newtons are filled with worms, and the first one to see a white horse gets to make a wish, and when the room is dim you turn on a dawnzer for some lee light. If you need me, I’ll just be sitting here for the present.
Shortly before maximum eclipse (which was 99% for us in Portland):
And moments after:
I was captivated by these shadows during the whole event. Loved watching them change direction.
We had a magical day. A feast prepared by friends (including homemade pecan sticky buns, oh my!), gorgeous weather, music, laughter.
Photo by Larry Deal
Then home for a long nap (well, for me, at least) and late in the day, a visit with a longtime online friend—one of the first people I connected with on AOL homeschooling boards back in the day. We had 22 years of conversations to revisit. So good.
Eek, it’s all happening so fast. Today the kids have their last piano classes. This will be a hard goodbye. They’ve been students at Wagner’s Music School since shortly after we arrived here. It was Jane and Rose then, each in their own class—small Wednesday-morning group classes with our homeschooling friends. A few years later, it was Beanie’s turn. Jane and Rose grew up. Their classes graduated. New crops of beginners rotated in: Rilla’s class, and this year, Huck’s. Miss Cyndi—calm, cheerful, inspiring—taught them all.
Oh, this one is really a hard goodbye.
And it isn’t just piano—these are my lit-class kids. For three years, while Rilla was upstairs in piano, I’ve taught English lit to Beanie and her friends. At first we met in the coffee shop right below the music school; then, when it closed, we moved to the outdoor tables of the neighboring taco shop, swapping muffins and tea for quesadillas and salsa.
This year I added a second class during Huck’s piano lesson—the younger sisters of my first group. And then we added another class after lunch, this one full of the boys I’ve taught poetry and writing to over the years. Oh, I’m going to miss these kids. The lively discussions, the belly laughs, the sudden insights.
Piano is also when I got to squeeze in some mom time. Mostly in the interstices—a dropoff here, a pickup there—but often we found time for a nice little gabfest during Beanie’s lesson, between my two morning lit classes. As your kids get older and activities ramp up, your leisurely playdates diminish. You learn to make the most of the scattered minutes at the front and back of things.
Afterward, there’s lunch at the park with our homeschooling friends. If I start to write about THOSE hard goodbyes I’ll never get out the door this morning.
The antlion bit was especially fun. On Tuesday, as I was finishing our Moomintrolls chapter, I noticed that the next chapter was the one with the antlion in it, and I wasn’t sure either Huck or Rilla knew what that was. So without telling them why, I grabbed our Handbook of Nature Study and we read a bit about them. And then of course we needed to see one. We watched a short National Geographic video and then followed the suggested link to this delightful video made by a homesteading dad, accompanied by his four young children. At least, I think I counted four.
The video is embedded below, along with one for The Raggle-Taggle Gypsy—our folk song this week.