~black and white wednesday~

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other posts you may enjoy:

~rainbow mondays~ farm, fair, fun!

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rainbow farm fresh goodness! i’ve become a bit of a compulsive rainbow-maker….

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there were so many rainbows at oregon country fair… just sharing a few, and of course, most of the individual colors in this week’s rainbow are courtesy of fair as well.

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rich told me that the rainbow unicorn lights up a night… i’ve never been that motivated to be at fair for the duration, but the way things light up at night does sound mighty intriguing! maybe one of these years…

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red: always amazed at how much attention is paid to detail in every corner of fair…

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orange: again with the details… layers upon layers of sumptuous fabrics, woven into the tree branches and moss…

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orange: yes yes yes!!!!!!!!!!!!

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yellow: we visited the buddha statue down by the ritz sauna who ended up wearing my flower crown at the end of last year’s fair.

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yellow: vibrant fairy wings!

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green: i just love the way the fair has grown in harmony with the forest around it, and is built in such a way that the forest absorbs it back into itself over the decades.

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green: dragon eggs!

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blue: somehow even an old blue tarp can look amazing, under the right circumstances.

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blue: traditional kite train launch at the end of fair, backed by blue sky.

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purple: the purple couple, on their way out the gate. headed for happily ever after.

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purple: may your week be magical!

~rainbow mondays~

a splash of color on monday morning

a photo study documenting the colors of the spectrum: the balance points between light reflected and light absorbed

other posts you may enjoy:

yes yes yes!

around june 1st we started living in dragon house 2.0, and toasted our new home together with whiskey and cokes and organic peanut butter cups. although we are still finalizing details and sorting out technicalities in anticipation of actually closing the sale, and i hesitate to write much out of superstition, i have been strewing jars full of fake fireflies all around to illuminate it, unpacking one box at a time in stolen bits of time between our many summer activities, wielding a stud finder and hanging things on walls (all the while joking that i myself am a stud finder), and hanging star wars pick up lines on the fridge, for fresh inspiration to share with the one of whom i will never tire of asking, “do you come here often?”


“i must be from alderaan, because you just blew up my world.”

“i can’t believe you’re from an ice planet, because you’re so hoth!”

“care to fly your milennium falcon through my asteroid belt?”

when i used that last one i was met with, “wow, i didn’t know you were into that, honey.” and that was when i, after an awkward delay, realized what it was implying. “you’re such a pain in the asteroid belt,” i responded.


i am building a home with the man of my dreams, and life is so full. we spent a wonderful date weekend seeing a ben harper show at the edgefield, looking at each other as each song started, “oh i love this one!” like… steal my kisses: “i love to feel that warm northwestern rain….” ben substituted for the appropriate geographic region. hearing his new tunes we realized how in sync we are with how content and happy ben seems, from his demeanor to some of his newer lyrics like the song shine

we shine like a new tattoo
scarred on skin bright as day
across my heart
there is no other way

give me tomorrow
and i’ll give you today
in the end
there is no other way

we are like two roads
that lead to the same place
won’t leave a trace
there is no other way

if you were all i had
i would have it all

sitting around the campfire over the weekend of the fourth, one of the topics i discussed with sister friends, as women will discuss when the men and kids are all tucked into their tents, was wedding ideas (i think maybe there’s a little flat bride in each and every one of us). my joke the past few months has been that i think he is trying to have the shortest engagement on record. we have already spoken about setting a date for next summer 2017 for our wedding, having remained “practically engaged” all the while. i was saying to my girlfriends that i wondered if he was waiting to choose a rock for a ring at his mom and dad’s when we went there in the fall (we plan to go to oklahoma in november after he finishes being in one flew over the cuckoo’s nest in october; i know, isn’t he cool?) but i also told them, the main thing is, i won’t see it coming, he will surprise me and manage to be unpredictable somehow. he is just a mysterious guy and he’s gonna find a way to be mysterious about it. (at the end of the post you can comment on whether i called it!)


i talked to rich on saturday night and figured out when to leave home to get to oregon country fair by 11 on sunday when it would open, and he said to meet outside the gate at the dragon. i was trying to remember exactly where that is, which is hilarious because it’s obvious when you are there, but i get fuzzy after a year goes by. the phone call was all logistics and happy anticipation of seeing each other in the morning, after his annual week away doing his thing. fair was once upon a time an event i associated with hurt and betrayal, but ever since i’ve known rich, and in just the 5 times i have watched him go there, and had him conserve his phone battery for an entire week so that he can call me each and every night, i have gone from nervous reluctant acceptance to joyful anticipation of each year’s fair and the one day i spend there at his side.

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ohhhhh, you mean this giant dragon?

everything went smoothly driving there on sunday. i had not really put a lot of thought into my “outfit” this year (last year i went all out, with dragon face paint and a flower crown.) saturday night i finally settled on an ocean theme and paired my fish sarong with my blue ruffly sweater. i wore an abalone shell necklace i’ve had for a long time but haven’t been wearing and finally reclaimed for myself (also because of negative associations i needed to let go of and finally did).

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not this dragon. or this one. or this one.

i got my ticket at will call and walked into the area where the dragon is, just inside the fence, but not inside the actual fair entrance yet… oh, duh, that giant dragon, where we end up meeting every single year. looking for rich in his usual colorful shirt made it take 2.2 seconds longer to see him because he was in a light colored long sleeve shirt. it was cool and drizzly (about which i was happy because it meant there would not not be as many overwhelmingly crowded people moments and i got to park really close). he saw me first and just waited by the dragon “pretending” that he didn’t see me. he lowered his hat brim and i followed suit by “hiding” behind little sapling trees “sneaking” up on him. then i finally got over to him and we laughed and hugged for about 5 minutes, to make up for 5 days of no hugs.

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this dragon is the one!

he had our broom in his hand! i exclaimed excitedly about how he had gotten us a broom for our house. last year we had been eyeing the brooms because these brooms are really sturdy pieces of artwork hand made out of real stuff and like tree branches, and the bristles are pretty colors (i overheard kids calling out to another kid who carried an orange broom, “hey, kid with the firebolt!”) rich had a beautiful dark blue one in his hand. we had said we’d get one for the new house so i thought it was wonderful he’d gotten it, but logistics like whether to take it to my car before walking around the fair were my initial preoccupation. but then he held it out and began making a little speech about how he had gotten me this broom, at which point i switched from logistics to wait, he’s being weird, is this it? is something up? then told my brain to shut up and listen.

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he told me how it’s symbolic because it’s for our new house and represents new beginnings, but also because one of the things that’s good about us in our relationship is how we keep our “house clean” and keep the cobwebs out and keep the space between us clean, and free from the dust bunnies of our past, (this is a paraphrasing of his actual words, because shortly thereafter my brain turned to mush) and so the broom symbolizes us continuing to sweep out our cobwebs and keep this good thing going. and we joked about sweeping each other off of our feet, of course. by this time i was totally thinking about how strangely he was acting, but i said thank you for the broom and hugged and kissed him and turned back to whether we should put the broom in my car while we’re still out front, so we don’t have to carry it around, and he agreed, “but there’s one more thing.”

then he pulled a ring out of his pocket and said, “will you marry me?”

i think my eyes must have gotten really big, and i said yes! of course! and more hugging and kissing ensued.

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the original ring he gave me was also a silver dolphin ring, but was too big and we ended up exchanging it for this one.

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he joked that his jedi mind trick about me wearing ocean clothes must have worked.

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last selfie before becoming engaged

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rich got the ring from a guy we know locally, who makes and sells jewelry at fair, and is part of the family who owns the restaurant where rich and i went out on our very first date. he also built the school room addition on our living school, his grandson went to ols with quinn, and i could go on, but you get the idea. both rich and i transplanted here. i make no bones about how i set my intention right away that i planned on putting down roots here, getting to know and adopting the locals for my own; rich jokes that in 1996 he came here to try it out for a year, and that he’s still trying it out. we are very interconnected with the community here. case in point: i got my man, my job, my vacation house, and my dragon house all from connections made in yoga class.

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so we took the broom to my car (phew! i’m sure you were all impatiently awaiting the outcome on that, i know i was) and took a couple of selfies by the dragon on our way back in and then walked around a little bit, exchanged the ring, and got coffee. he asked whether i wanted a peanut butter brownie or an espresso brownie with my coffee; i chose peanut butter. we were being dorks and “practicing” feeding each other cake while we shared it. right after that he said, “well i’m glad that’s over with, i hadn’t had coffee yet because i was so nervous and jittery and…” without missing a beat i snorted laughing, “and were you also pretty full of shit?” and he laughed. we all know who does all of the overthinking and fretting in this relationship, and it’s not him.

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i had already been set on, in the moment, saying yes, whenever if ever that moment occurred. i wasn’t going to joke about that, not even given the latest story he’s been telling that “i’ve asked her but she keeps saying no.”

however, immediately afterwards we could joke!

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we went and listened to a band (the deer, from austin texas, very fun) and mostly stood there hugging and swaying and enjoying the music. he got us lamb souvlaki for brunch and we saw another band we really liked (the hill pigs) and for that show i was standing in front of him with his arms wrapped around me, also dancing, swaying and reveling in the wonderful atmosphere of fair.

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we got him a matching broom for keeping by the wood stove for sweeping up ashes and wood chips while tending the hearth. rich also learned from the broom maker when he bought the broom, that it’s good luck to buy a new broom for a new house, and that you should never bring an old broom to a new house; we also laughed about jumping over the broom at our wedding. we got a couple of hooks to hang the brooms up from the blacksmith (after we watched them being forged, which was so cool) because hanging up the brooms should make them last longer.

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a band we love (taarka) but who weren’t playing on stage this year were playing acoustically just sitting on the path, so we bought their cd and sat and listened for a while to them. their son is about quinn’s age and had his pokemon cards laying next to him so i chatted with him about kyogre mega ex, as you do.

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we spent the better part of the day just walking around, sitting on benches together holding hands and hugging and talking and people watching and taking pictures. he fed me afghani food, indian food, chai, and a blintz. we saw a few people we knew, but we agreed not to tell anyone our news until we had told our families, and just enjoy knowing it for ourselves for that day. we took pictures of ourselves with the “yes yes yes” signs. they are all over the fair, and i’ve always loved those signs in general but now i love them even more!

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we go there every year, so now we have a built in day to celebrate our engagement every year. a fun place we will go back to, close to the date, and spend an amazing magical day there together, one where i don’t have to cook or do things for people, it’s just fun and celebration there, and, um, we got engaged beside a giant dragon. and he got my ring and broom there. just so good.

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it goes beyond that. one of the cobwebs we originally had to sweep away, from my past, had to do with country fair. 4 years ago i had to consciously try to enjoy myself; and now i super look forward to it, and even still sweeping out old cobwebs like hangups about a necklace i want to wear but wasn’t wearing, and finally wearing it. we could have done just fine building a relationship without healing those particular things, done our separate things when fair time came around, but instead, we swept out the old junk, made it a place where there is only love and more love, and now my only thoughts about fair will ever be happy happy happy thoughts.

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briefly, on the word fiance. it is growing on me, as we make a point to use it with great frequency since it will only be valid for a year-ish. at first, though, it made me want to introduce him as richard, because it sounds so formal:


“this is my fiance, richard.”

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yup, there he is again. my sweet fiance.

i asked him if he was bummed i didn’t go on saturday instead, because it would have been the 9th and his number is 9 so i asked if it had crossed his mind. it had, but he said that 10 is also a great number, that it symbolizes completion. (aww.) later on i was singing 10, 10, 10, 10 is for everything, everything, everything, everything!

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and there’s pretty much a little of everything at fair!


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one of the best parts of leaving fair (besides looking at everyone leaving through the sunlit gate and taking pictures and people watching) is walking back past the dragon. we realized that we can reenact our engagement every year! and we started right away. he hammed it up much more for the reenactment with lots more words, will you, mary beth rew, etc…. hilarious. just like picking each other up in the laundromat whenever we go back to it (not often lately, now that we’re washer and dryer owners) only like a million times better.

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candy pink? baby pink?

already, since we’ve been home, i’ve asked him to tell me the story of our engagement, and i offered, “you could start with ‘once upon a time.'” i know he loves me because he indulges silly, playful things like that… the ones that increase the love, you know. “once upon a time, a long, long time ago, i was at oregon country fair. i went to the dragon, and i waited… and waited… and waited…. and waited…. and waited some more…. and then i had to find a dry spot to sit down… and i waited… and waited…”

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frequently asked questions:

q: have you set a date yet?

a: nope! but sometime summer 2017 is looking likely.

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q: candy pink or baby pink?

a: we’re more into rainbow these days. i think rich and i agree we like things not all matchy matchy.

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q: do you come here often?


now that it’s been over a week,  (on the one week date, we celebrated “one week engage-a-versary”, which quickly devolved to “dorkaversary”) the telling of the news to friends and family itself has been incorporated into part of the story… i called my mom the next morning, then my bff, then did a swing by before work to tell camp boss the live version. there was an amazing freak attack by sister camp boss, who abruptly set baby z down, and after we hugged, i picked z up and he proceeded to puke from excitement. camp boss (who now also answers to “wedding boss”, and a few other friends have had amusingly joyous and borderline tearful reactions, while others have had more nonchalant reactions such as, “oh, we thought you were already engaged/married!” when my sister in law texted that she was barfing (a common reaction to warm fuzzy overload) i told her i had the puke situation covered: baby puke on ring, check. it hasn’t been all puke, either, i also bathed the ring in clay while throwing my first bowl with a friend who pointed out that the two dolphin tails represent “the two shall become one,” and still another friend invited us over for a dinner of italian wedding soup to celebrate! it has been wonderful to be carried along on a wave of shared joy as we spread the news to friends and family.

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i think rings are supposed to symbolize eternity, the circle going around forever, but i see this ring as more of a spiral. the whole eternity aspect of this journey we’re on is a no brainer “love you till i die meet you on the other side” and so on and so forth, but we live in the right now, here in the present moment. i see the spiral as a symbol of beginning again from right now. let’s wake up and be in a wonderful (clean, swept-out) space together and love each other today. new beginnings, fresh every day. it’s just like meditating: go back to your breath, start again when your mind wanders… stay with it, keep your attention on it, always come back to it.

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the morning after our day together at fair rich texted me “morning my lovely fiance.” his choice of the word lovely coincided with these lyrics from the taarka cd that had been the soundtrack to my drive home along the foggy dark coastline, so i texted him back:

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shall we rise up my darling and greet the new day with open arms

and shall we be strong my lovely and never give up on heart and song?



(a: yes yes yes!)

other posts you may enjoy:

~black and white wednesday~

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other posts you may enjoy:

~rainbow mondays~ float down memory river

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it’s a camping rainbow! and it’s coming to you on tuesday! i’ve been a little… distracted! more on that soon! probably with continued excessive use of exclamation points!!! but first, camping quilts, glow sticks, and spring rolls to launch us into an inner tube to float down the river of memories from our fourth of july family camping weekend.

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red: ready, set, float!

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orange: crab over the coals from our family fisher cousin/friend. so much good feasting is done around the campfire.

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yellow: birds, trucks, and baby blankets accentuating exceedingly cute toes.

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(photo credit: rich!)

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green: lots and lots of green whenever we are camping. hard to choose just a few! another dino boy in the family, the light through the vine maples, the ample baby borrowing opportunities, the mini-boo trying out how to snuggle a baby in a sweatshirt like he saw his mama do, alternating his play time roles between playing capture the flag, football and card games with even bigger kids, and playing what time is it mr. fox, play kitchen, and shepherding littler kids across the river or pulling them upriver on the raft, equally at home with all the age groups. also taking time for himself as needed, to binge-read greek mythology texts and dinosaur science comic books. he also spent a small sliver of his time snuggled up one on one, conquering logic puzzles with mama.

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blue: this sums up the river for me: sun on little kid bare arms, cold clean water splashing the dust and mud off of little kid bare legs. it’s always such a fun weekend.

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purple: shared love of comics by all, especially our insatiable reader kiddos, endlessly taking turns on the tire swing, which barely ever sits motionless the entire weekend, and laughing with cousin/sister/friend/family people we hold near and dear to our hearts. hope your holiday weekend was as colorful and joyful as ours!

~rainbow mondays~

a splash of color on monday morning

a photo study documenting the colors of the spectrum: the balance points between light reflected and light absorbed

other posts you may enjoy:

~a month in the life of a lifelong learner~ kites, shrinky dinks, and synesthesia


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quinn started off the month with a health setback. i knew he wasn’t feeling too great, because one afternoon he told me, “my whole body hurts!” i took some time to talk him through what he meant by that, and it turned out his toe and his throat both hurt, and that was making him feel as though his whole body hurt (naturally). i helped him do some breathing (in through nose, out through mouth) to help him get through it, and after we did that, he was thrilled to tell me his throat felt so much better!

still, he was out of sorts that week, and then he ended up having a 103 fever for a few days and being generally out of it. he didn’t have any other symptoms or problems, just a fever. he stayed home from school one day, and about all he had energy for was a game of risk (he still dominated the world). it was the same day we had tickets to go for a sail on the lady washington, and he was devastated when he woke up mid-afternoon, thinking he had slept through the night and moaned forlornly, “we missed the tall ship!” so we did not miss the tall ship.





he looked pretty miserable throughout the cruise, but he claimed he was happy to be there, and did participate in hauling on lines and listened intently to the sea chanties and stories he got to hear about life at sea.


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we have been slowly unpacking and getting settled into dragon house 2.0. his room has been in various stages throughout the month, and it’s encouraging to me to look back at what a mess it was just a month ago. we have vey little time at home lately, so it’s all going to have to get done in small chunks, that’s just the way it is. i have had a few fun inspirations such as making him a desk for his room, and setting up a trail mix snack-making station for him in the kitchen, and things are coming along bit by bit. also, note to self: if you want to inspire a video-game obsessed quinn to come and help make banana bread, offer him a choice of two banana smashing “weapons” from the “armory” and watch him get down to business. then hand him a sharp knife to chop walnuts and he’ll stay for more!

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berry season in the back yard, salmonberries, thimbleberries, and red huckleberries all represented. we also found one black huckle bush, and look forward to trying them out once they ripen!

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reading this month: continuing to listen to the percy jackson series on audio, as well as read the copy in his classroom during free reading time, we have finished up through the titan’s curse (book 3). quinn is supplementing his learning of greek mythology with two books: rick riordan’s companion book to the series, and the national geographic treasury of greek mythology. he is also cruising through the complete calvin and hobbes (4 volumes; a splurge during one past costco trip, and well worth it!) he is on volume 4, and i think he is finding calvin to be quite a kindred spirit, as well as highly entertaining. i love listening to his giggles from the next room. he spent quite a number of hours tucked in his newly reconstructed loft bed, lost in calvin’s world, this month. (the picture that is too dark to see, is him sleeping with calvin right beside his head.)


calvin’s world and quinn’s world are not so different, after all.

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we had rich’s daughter e visit us, and she and quinn got up to all kinds of games (he  roped her into a dungeons and dragons session) and treats (pastries and trips to dutch bros! quinn has a “usual” order there, apparently: a 16-ounce, not-so-hot soy milk. “i used to get the kiddie size, but now i get a 16 ounce!”) it is so wonderful to watch how nice our kids are to each other!


while we were loading up e’s car with her stuff from our storage unit, we were visited by several osprey.

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quinn required me to finish the dungeon he started with e, and then i started him off on his next adventure, a dungeon i drew for him back in february that he hasn’t gone through yet. i am excited for him to find the dragon fossils and the dragon egg waiting for him… we didn’t get that far this round, though!


rumors of dragons in hickory glen village” dungeon by mama (mama was a dungeon master)

and now i will treat you to 42 seconds of audio detailing quinn’s ideal day as a grown up paleontologist, including vocabulary gems such as excavate, and reconstruct!

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arting this month: quinn went to another art friday class at our visual arts center, but didn’t get to do the second class day because of his fever illness. he also got to make a lighthouse collage at school, and do concentric square chalk designs on the pavement at a friend’s going away party, which inspired many other kids to make concentric squares… the whole patio looked incredible when they were done. we are sad to see our friends (some of our ols kids, including a boy who was one of quinn’s 2 birthday guests this year) leave town.


quinn’s class field trip involved a week or two of kite-making that i got to help out with in the classroom, and then a trip to the beach to fly the kites! this eagle greeted us as we arrived on the beach, and i got to point it out to some kids who had never seen one before. the kites were designed based on a favorite book each kid read during their year in third grade, and quinn chose the spirit animals series. i just love how his turned out! they were all works of art.

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for whatever reason, he chose not to fly his kite that day, but he still had a super fun time beaching around with friends, building sand fortresses, and playing army/survival games, football and frisbee.



friends… third grade… my mom taught third grade for years, and she told me once that her first graders (she taught first grade for years as well) were not that concerned about friendship, and still tended to do parallel play, but that by third grade, they were waking up to the idea of friendship and becoming really interested in being friends and having friends… “and they were the worst friends you could ever have!” she would laugh, lovingly. i think i got to see that before my eyes in his class this year.  they started out pretty terrible at it. they still are not pros, but i think that by the end of the year, they are starting to get the hang of it! i think quinn definitely has a few kids in his class whose company he consistently enjoys, and it was nice to see them hanging out on the field trip.

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flash back: first day of third grade

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field trip day; less than a week of third grade left!

having spent time almost every week in the classroom, i really got to know the kids pretty well, and i think that by the end of the year, they knew that i was a person they could lean on. i had a bunch of kids turn to me towards the end, and do some sort of processing of non-academic stuff. a handful had very pointed questions for me about the criminal background checks required of parent volunteers; i know they were wishing so hard for their parents to be able to participate at school, and they seemed to be searching for a loophole, but ack! the things i learned, i wish i could unlearn, about those dear sweet childrens’ family lives. there were some beautiful connections, nonetheless, like a long conversation with one girl who spoke no english back in september, but who is becoming quite fluent, and shared much of her life story with me on kite day, including that this was her first time ever going to the beach! it’s a small town, and when i see these kids in fred meyer, they wave and yell “hi, ms. mary beth!” before they can stop themselves. i know i will continue to see many of them for years to come, at fred meyer and school alike.


archaeological artifact from the school desk dig site…


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we’ve been making shrinky dink charms to commemorate summer events because of kelle hampton’s recent post. what a fun project! quinn has been going through a drought of drawing and arting, and i know that is normal for him (he goes through peaks and troughs in many areas. i think it’s a perfectionism thing; when his development catches up to his goals for the end product, he starts using a certain medium or exploring a certain activity again with full competence.) anyway, he took a little convincing that he could draw his own shrinky dinks, too, but then he got into it and has made some for the various books, games, and video games he’s interested in right now, plus some activities, like sailing on a tall ship (i drew that one to demonstrate: 80’s kids are experts at shrinky dinks!) and going to dutch bros!

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a recipe for summer only a true geek would dream up!

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when it came time to make a father’s day present for his dad, quinn was all geared up to make him a shrinky dink woolly mammoth necklace. for that one, he just pulled his geologic time scale poster down from the wall and did a lovely tracing!  it was fun to see him extend the idea to making a present, and it was his own idea!

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family bonding moments: guys in the kitchen, friend’s notations on the summer calendar i printed for his camp boss mom of plans for things he wants to do with quinn including : baseball, legos, monopoly, army, and book club.

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quinn let us in on one of the many quull things about being quinn this month, and it’s kind of amazing to me he hadn’t let on before now. quinn has grapheme-color synesthesia (fancy words for seeing each letter and number as a certain assigned color). synesthesia, in a nutshell, is when two sensory experiences overlap, and it’s a neurological phenomenon – it’s how his brain is wired. in reading up on the topic, i realized i think he also has number-form synesthesia, where he has visual number maps that appear for him when he does math. he showed us a cool way of doing multiplication that he learned at school (far left image), and it obviously appealed to him, enough that he wanted to show us. but then, i asked him about the way i’ve watched him add up 5 rolls of the d20 for character attributes in d and d (middle 3 images) and he tells me that is just something that came to him, it wasn’t something he was taught to do.


quinnesthesia: q is green, m is purple!

because i was curious, i asked him the colors of a and b, 1 and 2, then casually left the piece of paper i had begun writing them on lying around on his new desk so he could fill in the rest if he wanted…  and he did! when he got to e he paused, “i need a way to draw it white…” then grabbed a skinny sharpie and made its outline. then i asked him a million questions. if you write 89 is it pink then red? yes. of his own accord, he brought up dollar and cents signs and their colors, and it unleashed a whole bunch more questions from me about different symbols, which he indulged (though i see he didn’t get colon and semi-colon written down. he told them to me but i forget!)

i asked if they have all stayed the same color all along, like has a always been orange, and he told me that they all start out one color, like gray, “but then as my mind gets more advanced, they turn more colorful.” then after that, the color seems pretty set.

i asked if he knew that not everyone had this, and he said he knew that. he’s just too quull for words.


calvin’s version: dinosthesia

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in home improvement world, i have been doing some creative lighting around the house, involving affordable light fixtures, mason jars, and rope. stay tuned for more on that, but i needed an assistant for making rope, and i enlisted the lad to crank the rope machine for me while i held the ends. then he left to go read calvin and hobbes, and i let my spade fork hold the ends while i cranked it myself. sigh.

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in karate news, quinn finished up his last few weeks of being a purple belt! he earned his final red tip and became eligible to promote to blue belt! and in other karate news, mama began going to karate class, too! speaking of lifelong learning… we have a new white belt in the family!

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it’s pretty laid back, so quinn can hang out with the dojo kids, building forts with the mats until they get too chaotic and then reading, you guessed it, calvin and hobbes. one night he studied a map of oregon with his buddy m for the whole hour and i think they read every single name of every town in the state.

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we’ve shared some nice back yard wildlife moments including woodpeckers and swallowtails. i also tempted quinn to try cucumber again by making him this veggie smile, and confirmed he still doesn’t like how it tastes. he did eat the carrots and spinach, so it’s all good.

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and just like that, school is out, and summer is off to a wonderful, fun-filled start!

other posts you may enjoy:

~rainbow mondays~ redwoods and blue belts

it’s a full moon, summer solstice, celebration rainbow!

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sometimes you need to meditate on the absence of color in order to appreciate the colors!

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red: quinn and i watched a family of 3 woodpeckers practice climbing up our redwood tree.

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red: sometimes it’s just another dead leaf on the gravel driveway, until the sun hits it just so…

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orange (and friends): i love picking quinn up from camp boss summer program, becoming absorbed into the family chaos, plopping myself down on the awesome polyester picnic quilt, and getting my fill of baby squish.

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yellow: quinn and i interrupted our baseball game so i could attempt to capture these two. “they’re playing!” he observed. i think that’s a nice way to describe it!

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green: some of the tree friends we are getting to know little by little. i love listening to rich be able to tell people in conversation the exact number of redwoods, port orford cedars, or sitka spruces we have on the land.


green: a water strider walking on the bayou.

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blue: dragonfly on the dragon shed.


blue: one final note of celebration: quinn promoted to blue belt on friday!!! (photo credit to another karate parent, i couldn’t be there on friday; so grateful to get to see his beaming smile!)

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purple: last days as a purple belt. i’m so proud of him!


~rainbow mondays~

a splash of color on monday morning

a photo study documenting the colors of the spectrum: the balance points between light reflected and light absorbed

other posts you may enjoy:

~rainbow mondays~ butterfly butts and darth moths


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red: the biggest one

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red: seeing hearts

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red: a dragon of dragon house 2.0

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red: darth moth

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orange: lilies of the lab

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yellow: one of the best things about the bayou walks is the wafting aroma of honeysuckle lurking around various corners

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yellow: i finally sat still long enough to catch some swallowtail photos

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it was impossible to just choose one…

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yellow-green: western tanager is still hanging around, eating the neighbor’s plums in addition to our cherries.

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green: another frugivore munching huckleberries on the bayou trail.

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green: the bayou

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green: fauna of the bayou. yes, i know, seeing a mama hummingbird feeding its baby was supposed to be once in a lifetime, but apparently someone goofed, because i just got to witness it twice in the same one. (different birds: this one has apparently fledged but is still getting help from mama; this one is in our backyard, while the others were from work.)

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so glad i happened to be holding my camera.

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thank you, universe.

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blue: more bayou fauna, this time cedar waxwings.

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blue: the view from down here

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blue: finding some creative alternative lighting options for the dragon house kitchen. since we don’t get real fireflies here, we’re having to mimic bioluminescence with artificial firefly jars: micro leds in an old blue jar above my sink.

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periwinkle: there really should be more periwinkle in the rainbow…

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purple: bayou grasses

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purple: butterfly butt, as it turned its back on me to drink from each and every blossom on the bright purple buddleia.

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i hope you have a fantastic week!


~rainbow mondays~

a splash of color on monday morning

a photo study documenting the colors of the spectrum: the balance points between light reflected and light absorbed

other posts you may enjoy:

gratitude for the step dad






it’s no secret i have a lot of love for this guy i’m spending my life with, but i don’t know if i’ve ever really bragged about what a wonderful step dad he is to quinn. if luigi were reading this, he’d fuss that rich isn’t really quinn’s step dad yet, just like he isn’t uncle rich yet, but i can’t think of a better term for the role of mama’s partner in all things including parenting.

these guys got along right from the first dinosaur battle, but as anyone with a blended family knows, the step parent relationship can be a thankless, unfulfilling one. you have all the pains in the butt of parenting, with so few of the perks. rich is my back up, and he has always been there to reinforce what mama says, and when he does, look out for the fire shooting out of his eyes. it tends to encourage a rapid response in children on the receiving end. there was once a time when quinn would beg me, “don’t make me have a talk with rich!” as if anything on earth would be more pleasant! please mama, just not that.

other times, they have both worked their way towards finding common ground and they have really grown to appreciate one another. one goodnight hug after another, they’ve found their groove.

in dragon house 2.0, there is a wall above the stairway that apparently has been the spot to hang trophy heads, and as we were remarking that we didn’t have one, rich realized, actually we do have one! a dragon head! and quinn chimed in right away, yeah! with hearty enthusiasm for that brilliant idea. the reason our home is the dragon house to begin with is that both of them have a deep and abiding love for dragons.


when rich’s kids came to karate with us, i was touched to see quinn come off the mat afterwards and walk straight to rich and give him the first hug.

often i find myself playing one-on-one games of baseball with quinn, and i do my best to help the mylanta falcons, miami home slice, and south dakota purple fairies not be too devastatingly defeated by the buffalo stormriders. still, quinn seems to know that rich is a much better bet when it comes to baseball. he made up a team on paper, and if you’ll notice, rich’s stats are pretty great. he’s the toledo dragon with a speed rating of 9!


speaking of 9, the two of them stood in the kitchen procrastinating bedtime a few nights ago, and talking about math, the present moment, the irrelevance of time, and fourth grade. we learned that quinn is a synesthete, and that certain letters and numbers evoke certain colors in his mind. i had no idea!

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m is purple, for example. s is yellow, n is brown and p is pink. 3 is green, and rich’s favorite number 9, is rich’s favorite color, red.

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i am hoping to find out more about what colors go with what numbers and letters for quinn, but i know that on this father’s day, feeling filled up with love for both of my guys, all the letters seem red-violet to me.


other posts you may enjoy:

~a month in the life of a lifelong learner~ i’ve gotta be me


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farm tour!

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quinn got to wield the allen wrench and build his bed once again… this time at dragon house 2.0, age 9. flashback to dragon house 1.0, age 5!

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some fun foods of the month; bird face pizzas and rainbow fruit!

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returning salmon fry to the stream with quinn’s third grade class.



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quinn got to attend his second karate seminar with mr. sepulveda, and go to dinner at the laughing planet cafe afterwards. it seems to be becoming tradition. he had a girl a head shorter than him enthusiastically choose him for a sparring partner, and they took turns flipping each other over for the whole hour. i think he had fun and learned a lot, and once again absorbed awesomeness from an esteemed kenpo teacher who actually studied directly under ed parker, the founder of this form of martial arts.

in between karate and dinner, we got to go on a brief farm tour #2 for the month (this was more of a sister friend visit, but… baby goats!)

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climbing up ladders into haylofts, swinging on rope swings, meeting a sheep named artemis, having a baby goat suck on his fingers, and generally farming around. mama even got in on the baby goat holding and one took a nap in my arms.

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come home on a friday after a week of school and work on division worksheets, why don’t you? sometimes an activity, like treasure map division problem puzzles, sits on a shelf for 6 months and then all of a sudden must urgently be completed in one sitting.

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karate – second black tip earned on his purple belt!



spring concert fun, with the interjections song from schoolhouse rocks. i think he was pretty pumped to be one of the sign holder uppers. they also sang a ladybug song, and the 5th grade sang this land is your land with all of the best verses included – love that music teacher. then the whole school joined in on i’ve gotta be me. so much gratitude for teachers who plant the right subliminal messages…

Whether I’m right or whether I’m wrong

Whether I find a place in this world or never belong

I gotta be me, I’ve gotta be me

What else can I be but what I am

I want to live, not merely survive

And I won’t give up this dream

Of life that keeps me alive

I gotta be me, I gotta be me

The dream that I see makes me what I am

That far away prize, a world of success

Is waiting for me if I heed the call

I won’t settle down, won’t settle for less

As long as there’s a chance that I can have it all

I’ll go it alone, that’s how it must be

I can’t be right for somebody else

If I’m not right for me

I gotta be free, I’ve gotta be free

Daring to try, to do it or die

I’ve gotta be me

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we geeked out about the number 9 this month; i still sing “that crazy number nine” from the 80s show square one  when i show a kid the nine trick. so i showed him the real song on you tube (some things are better left to the mama’s remembered rendition?), which launched a session of schoolhouse rocks math videos. i just recently bought the book go figure for him, because i think he really digs knowing all the fancy math secrets.

his room is getting set up piece by piece at the new house, slowly coming together. he said he likes that the changes are gradual so he can get used to them.

we managed to get to the pool for one open swim this month, and quinn spent the entire hour and a half doing laps back and forth with two noodles tucked under his arms, practicing his swimming and even getting his face wet and working on blowing out bubbles. major progress. he was wearing his new goggles and squishy ear plugs to keep water out of his ears. if only i had thought of getting some of those years ago! it made such a visible difference for him.

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coming back from an evening walk, mamarazzi caught red-handed.


bunny watching out the vacation house kitchen window.


backpack archaeological dig finds

quinn got to go on a weekend camping trip with his dad out to eastern oregon desert country. when he told me about it, he told me he found a really cool piece of fire obsidian that he described in great detail; that he got to buy a barn owl stuffie at the high desert museum; and that he got to smash a penny. i found out later he also saw a porcupine up close, and got to see a great horned owl even closer; saw a baby owl in the wild and then found one of its feathers after it left; saw another owl flying; and spent his free time reading tom brown books.


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reading and listening our way through percy jackson and the olympians, i found quinn another book written by rick riordan, percy jackson’s greek gods, which gives more background on the mythology behind the books. he is fully engrossed in that book, as well as calvin and hobbes, and the spirit animals series.


all of which leads me to ask… what if the hokey pokey really is what it’s all about?


other posts you may enjoy: