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Stumbling along

Our homeschooling journey is still young, as my oldest is only 7 years old. We’ve basically been unschoolers up until now. I have been craving some more structure, and it sounds like River was as well. So, I decided to give Oak Meadow a go. We’ve only just begin (like, THIS week). We are doing 2nd grade, along with the 1st grade readers. I know it seems funny to start at a time when children are getting out of school (almost June now), but we take such a laid back approach, that I figure we will work through the whole 2nd grade in about a full year. When the sun is shining, our kids tend to spend their time outside, and I am cool with that. I am grateful that they have a place to roam, even if it is our little back yard in the middle of the city.

River has his own vegetable garden plot this year. He is very excited about this! So far, he’s planted potatoes and carrots, along with some calendula flowers. He really enjoys growing vegetables.

~~~

I’m hoping to bring this blog back to life. I’ll post picture and updates about what we are up to when I am able. Of course, the belly babe shown in my last post is now nearly 23 months old! We’ve been busy!

bread pictorial

Today was bread day again, and I remembered to photograph the steps.

hot water, sugar, salt, and oil

hot water, sugar, salt, and oil

with 2 cups of flour mixed in

with 2 cups of flour mixed in

I added 4 Tbls of wheat germ and 1 Tbl of gluten this time around

I added 4 Tbls of wheat germ and 1 Tbl of gluten this time around

I only used 1.5 Tbls of yeast this time around.

I only used 1.5 Tbls of yeast this time around.

adding the yeast.

adding the yeast.

after adding 2 more cups of flour and mixing well

after adding 2 more cups of flour and mixing well

and 2 MORE cups added in....

and 2 MORE cups added in....

dumped onto the counter to begin kneading and working in as much of the remaining 1 cup of flour as needed.

dumped onto the counter to begin kneading and working in as much of the remaining 1 cup of flour as needed.

about 10 minutes and 3/4 cup flour later

about 10 minutes and 3/4 cup flour later

ready to rise

ready to rise

about 45 minutes later

about 45 minutes later

ready for one last rise

ready for one last rise

about 15 minutes later

about 15 minutes later

DONE!  You can tell that the loaf ont he left is a bit more brown.  That is the one that baked in the glass pan.

DONE! You can tell that the loaf ont he left is a bit more brown. That is the one that baked in the glass pan.

he's hot!

he's hot!

Strength

Tomorrow, I get to bring River to the dentist, so that he can have an abscessed tooth pulled. I thought we were all done with this chapter of his youth.

One of his baby molar’s which has a stainless steel cap (he has a total of 4 caps) has become infected. Yesterday, I noticed that there was a nasty red blister on the gum directly above his tooth. 😦 I have been watching his gums, to make sure everything looked healthy. So, I know it only recently developed. He cries and cries when I touch even the surrounding area. I have noticed today that he only puts food on the opposite side of his mouth. My sweet little boy.

It will be a quick procedure. That is the only thing that brings me comfort in regards to tomorrow. I am not looking forward to the tears. I am very anxious for tomorrow evening to come, because all of this will be behind us.

All night, he has been asking if he is going to the dentist, saying he never wants to go to the dentist again, “not ever!”. I don’t want to lie to him so have been trying to talk to him about why we need to go, but that just results in crying marathons. Oh, why is this so hard? I feel strongly that he will understand when he is older, but it is still hard to see in his eyes a look that says, ‘help me!”.

I am going to have to pull up enough strength to be calm tomorrow. I know that having me in hysterics won’t help anything.

Strength.

crossing the river

Today was a fine day for an adventure. A ferry adventure! 🙂

River and I headed over to the state park to enjoy this lovely day, and on the way, I noticed signs for the small cable ferry that run across the Willamette river. We decided to head over there and take a ride, just for fun. It was great!

We are watching the cars unload, waiting for our turn to get on.

Oregon is so beautiful!

We are on board here, as pedestrians. River didn’t want to drive on because he thought our car might fall of the ferry. I enjoyed walking on, though. We could enjoy the breeze and get a better view of the water.


After one round trip across the river and back, we headed to the state park, as planned. Squirrel heaven, let me just tell you. 🙂 They are everywhere, all over. Here is a little pile we gathered for a cute picture (which River took):
Don’t they look pretty magical?

Of course, River insisted on bringing his balls. Here is the obligatory soccer picture:



Before we headed home, we had to go ride the ferry a few more times. In all, we took 3 round trips on foot. While there is a part of me that is very nervous being on such a (heavy) boat over water, knowing it isn’t too deep made it a bit better. I love bodies of water so, so much, but I also have an intense dread of somehow falling in and drowning. I used to go swimming int he ocean frequently as a teenager. When I was 16, I got caught in the undercurrent, though, and for a minute, I felt like I was drowning until someone managed to get to me and I held on to their boogie board. I still carry that choking fear, I guess. At this point, the thought of being on a boat on the ocean (or any deep body of water) makes my physically ache with dread. Flowing water has always been somewhat of a fascination for me, its purpose and power. Everyone recognizes the power of fire. But, I don’t think that water is universally seen as something that has such a strong force. It is vital for life, but it can sweep life away in one small swoop. Let us not forget that it is water that calms the fire.

Ok, back to the present. Here are a few more pictures. The last one is of some canoes we saw that passed by us. There were about 5 or 6 of them. I didn’t think of taking a picture until they were rather far away.

Success!

We have had a busy couple of days, and I haven’t had a chance until now to sit and update…and the only reason I am doing so, is because I am really too excited to sleep right now. My Russian sister finally wrote me back tonight! I would love to post their picture, but I should ask for permission first. But, wow! I can’t believe it! This is huge deal in my life…I cannot wait until I can go and visit.

Aside from that life-changing news….River and I went to the beach a few days ago. It was so fun! Of course, it got gray and cold about 10 miles from the beach, but that is ok. It is Oregon after all. The sun poked out her head a few times while we played in the little River that ran into the ocean.

I finally got my camera cord. Well, I guess I should say that I know have two! I bought a replacement for the missing one earlier this week. Of course, the day after, I found the original one under a pile of papers waiting to be filed. Ah, yes. My life is like that. Now I have 2, though.

Tomorrow I am going to attempt a ‘day in the life’ photo journal. It won’t be packed full of photos, but I want a few to make up for the lack of things to look at on this blog lately.

Just to break the dry spell, here are 2 photos…..

What is directly in front of me right now:

And, directly to my left:

(he fell asleep on the floor (finally!) and I don’t want to disturb him until I go to sleep, which is any moment).

Exciting update!

I have spent a few hours in the last day doing all sorts of internet searching for ANY information I could find about my host family. I was even just looking for someone who lived in Timashevsk and spoke English an d may have remembered me or knew my family.

During my searches, I came across some business (I don’t remember what it was) and their contact for exports was a woman who, it stated, lived in Timashevsk. This was all written in English, so it gave me hope that she would be bilingual.

I sent an email to here, not really expecting much.

Dear Olga,

I don’t know if you will be able to help me. This is a
personal matter, not business related. Did you live in
Timashevsk in 1997? I am American and lived as an
exchange student in Timashevsk in 1997. I was 16 at the
time. The family I lived with were Galina and Anatolia
******, they had a daughter by the name of Oksana, also
16 at the time. Do you happen to know anything about
them? I remember that Galina used to the director of a
kindergarten in Timashevask. I lost touch with them many
years ago, and want very much to find them again.
Thanks for any help you can offer.

She replied tonight (less than 24 hours later!):

OK!
I know this family.
My daughter went right to this kindergarten. I shall
contact with Galina and answer you (send e-mail).

All the best!
Olga

I don’t think I can put into words how excited I feel.

What would life be life without the internet? Seriously? 🙂

Fleas and laundromats

Our poor cat, Athena, is full of fleas. 😦 She has quite a bit of white on her, so we can even see the fleas crawling around. She has looked like such an unhappy cat, lately. I would be if I were her, that is for sure! I tried a natural flea treatment that I found in the store, made of essential oils. I tried 2 rounds of it, to give it time to work. Nothing. In fact, it seems to have gotten worse. I seriously detest using the chemical flea treatment, but I felt like I had no choice. We were finding fleas all over the house, even with our wood floors throughout. They seem to especially enjoy Walter’s blood. They never seem to bite me. So gross, though.

So, today, I finally went and bought the chemical stuff. It is times like these that I ponder making her an inside cat again, but I think she would become seriously depressed. She just loves to roll in the dirt outside so very much, and nap in the sun on the concrete where it is nice and hot.

I still don’t feel particularly good about using that junk, but it is what it is.

We also took a trip to the laundromat to wash our big king-size comforter. It has been sitting in a pile since summer started, waiting for me to go and wash it, but I kept putting it off, thinking it was too hot to need it anyways. Well, last night was the first night that I actually felt was pretty chilly. Not enough to warrant turning on the heater or anything, but it is time to get our nice and warm blanket ready to go. So, we headed out to find a super big washing machine. $4.00 per load in the commercial washers! I had no idea! I just barely had enough quarters to start the wash, and then had to run home to get a few more for the dryer. River had fun hanging out in the laundromat, though. There were 2 toddlers, maybe 18 months old or so, there with their moms, and it was so mind boggling to me to sit back and really see what a BIG kid River has become. And, he will only get bigger! He really amazes me everyday. Days like today, I can really feel my uterus aching for another baby.