How many more times can you see Beauty and the Beast? One more.

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival is a well-known professional theatre located in Ashland. We have never been and so when I was working on my 101 in 1001 list, #32 was to go the festival. Last week, Taelin and I took a little overnight trip to Ashland and saw one of the plays at the festival this year, Beauty and the Beast.

Why Beauty and the Beast? Well, Taelin’s voice teacher has worked at the festival before and this year he is one of the musicians for Beauty and the Beast. I was thankful that he was able to get us discounted tickets (because they are not cheap) and we made a little girl’s trip out of it.

After meeting for lunch and getting our tickets, Taelin and I went to the local independent bookstore Bloomsbury Books. It was an amazing little bookstore and since we were there….

We spent a good hour there and left with some books that we just couldn’t resist. I would like to say for the record that this pile could have been a lot larger.  I was reserved in my purchase.

After we left the bookstore, we went to check into our hotel and after a mandatory nap, Taelin went swimming and I read poolside. Talk about it officially feeling like summer!

After some downtime, we got ready for the show. They gave ample warning that it could get chilly since the show doesn’t start until 8:00 and the theatre is outdoors, so we made sure to dress in layers and we even took a blanket with us. I had no idea when the doors opened but Taelin was so excited we got there VERY early.  So early we had no trouble finding parking or being able to snap a picture in front of the outdoor theatre.

(As an aside, you may have noticed the boots making many appearances in photos. I got them a few weeks before the end of school for $3. She seriously wears them everywhere.)

The doors were finally opened and we found our seats. I was impressed with how roomy the seats were, both for behinds and for legs. Because we were outdoors, we were able to have drinks and snacks, which was nice. We both had pretzels and bottled water but there were a lot of different options. As we were waiting, Taelin’s voice teacher waved to us and Taelin was giddy! She knew someone on the stage!

The show started on time and, from the first moment, grabbed our attention and didn’t let go. It was the Disney version, so the story was familiar but there were many added songs and a few twists that were unexpected. All in all, it was a great experience and I know it will not be our last visit to Ashland. In fact, I am trying to figure out how I can squeeze a show in when we go on our road trip in August.

Not that I am an expert, obviously, but I would highly recommend The Oregon Shakespeare Festival. If you are wondering what else is playing right now, you can visit their website here!

Beach time!

After the craziness of the end of the school year and the dance recital (which involved people staying at the house), I was so grateful that I had booked two nights for us to go to the beach. On Father’s Day, we packed what we needed and headed an hour west to Neskowin. Neskowin is home to one of my favorite beaches but we haven’t ever stayed overnight because it is so close to home.

Not long after we got to the beach house, Joe and Taelin changed into their swimsuits and were down on the sand.

Those are my people. I love them. A lot.

My mom and dad, who still live in Montana, were visiting and my sister and her husband came down from Seattle for the weekend. My sister had to head back to Seattle that night so we made it easy on ourselves when deciding on dinner. We started a fire on the beach and roasted hot dogs and marshmallows. Not your typical Father’s Day dinner but it worked.

You can see we brought the dog for her first trip to the beach and I think you could say she loved it. Actually, what she loved most was chasing seagulls. We have never seen her run so fast or listen so poorly. The girl actually got herself in a bit of trouble when she went barreling into the ocean towards a rocky edge that had seagulls sitting on it. We are lucky she was able to get herself out of trouble and back on land.  She was exhausted afterwards.

I taught Taelin the art of reading at the beach and I would have gotten a picture of that but I wanted to be a good model for her and keep reading myself. It’s my responsibility.

It was also my responsibility to make sure there was enough food to eat while at the beach and I decided that one way to make that happen was to buy a giant Costco cake and take it with us. It was a good call as you can see my sister and daughter looking pretty comfy and cool…with their chocolate cake.

When you look at this picture it almost looks like there is sun shining and I guess there must have been but for the most part it was pretty cloudy/foggy. But, we still had an amazing time and I can’t wait to spend more time at the beach!

2017 Summer Reading Challenge

It will come as no surprise to anyone that I love books. I always have and I think I always will. This school year was a pivotal year for Taelin, in terms of reading, so I really wanted a fun way to keep her going this summer. We have done the summer reading program at the library (and we are still doing that this summer) but that program counts all minutes spent reading. So the audio books we listen to on road trips and the books we read to her before bedtime all count. Which is great. But I really wanted her to be able to see what she is really capable of all on her own.

I also did not want to go all crazy Pinterest with this. There are so many great ideas (and I’m not knocking anyone who does them) but I know myself well enough and it just wanted to make this one simple. We talked about it for a long while and finally came up with the idea of just picking a number of books we were going to read by ourselves. I decided I am going to try and read 20 books (which is half of my 2017 goal) and Taelin decided she is going to read 40 chapter books.

When we get done with a book, we are just recording it on our paper and moving on to the next book. Now, a goal wouldn’t be a goal without something to sweeten the deal a little bit. So, if we both reach our goal, we get to go to the beach overnight. (I might have wanted a reason to plan a girl’s night at the beach.)

We have been trying to convince others to join us and, so far, we haven’t had any takers. So…if anyone wants to join us in the challenge, please do. We picked a number of books, but you could record time or pages or different genres. Anything you want! Just read!!!

I can tell we have already both added books to our list since I took this picture, but we both better get cracking if we are going to make our goal! In fact, I have a poetry book that is due to the library tomorrow that I should go and finish right now. Happy reading!

p.s….if you have an recommendations for a quick, fun summer read, tell me in the comments.

Where have I been?!?

I can not believe I let myself get so behind here. There have been so many times over the last 10 days where I thought, “I need to blog about that!” only to have another thing needing to get done. We haven’t transitioned well to a summer schedule yet and my writing time has suffered. Not to mention, we have had a few things going on.  Like this…

The total numbers of hours this girl danced in June is directly related to how much stuff I haven’t gotten done. But man, it has been so worth it.  The smile you see on her face right there (thank you Teresa for taking this photo) was pretty much been on her face the entire week leading up to and including the recital. (Except for the slight meltdown on the Wednesday when she couldn’t remember how to do about 16 counts of one of her 10 ten dances, that is.)

We had a lot of people come watch Taelin, which was pretty amazing. She was so happy that so many people were coming to watch her dance. Before having Taelin, I would have been hard pressed to believe that someone could find their passion so young, but I believe it now.

At any rate, the craziness is done and we have had a few days of settling in after all the company has left. Let the summer adventures continue!

Oregon Sand Dunes…It’s About Time!

This past Saturday, I checked off #9 from my 101 in 1001 list, ride on the Oregon sand dunes. We have been in Oregon for 17 years and had yet to experience riding across the sand dunes.  I originally had planned to make this part of our summer road trip but as I got planning I found other things I wanted to do, so I decided this needed to happen on it’s own.

I made a reservation earlier in the week with Sandland Adventures for a 1 hour ride.  We were all feeling really excited about it and Taelin and I would be lying if we said we weren’t also a wee bit worried as well. I know myself (and Taelin) well enough that we both took Dramamine before we went and I am SO glad we did.  I have no doubt we would have been feeling gross 10 minutes in and it would have not been nearly as fun. Here we are before going:

Our driver’s name was Kyle and he was so great! He made sure everyone was having a good time and stopped several times to tell us what we were looking at or to describe something about the dunes.  There were 3 other kids on the ride and he was constantly checking in to make sure they were doing ok.  He was also a bit of a crazy driver which, if I had to guess, is a bit of a requirement! There wasn’t anytime during the entire trip though that I felt unsafe. We were so strapped in, we weren’t going anywhere! I did have a moment of panic at the beginning where Joe looked at me with some worry because I didn’t look so good but I just employed some deep breathing and then was fine.

The hour went by so quickly.  Most of the time was on the sand dunes but we did get to go down to the beach which was very cool.

Even though we were bundled up pretty well, Taelin got really cold.  She didn’t complain at all but I think it made the last part of the ride a little less fun for her. She is so dang tiny that it doesn’t take much for her to get cold.  An extra pair of socks and some gloves would have made a big difference for her.

When we were done, we had so much sand everywhere…in our hair, ears, clothes. I had three shirts on and I still found some in my more unmentionable parts. It is hard to believe that there is enough sand left for how much it seems everyone must take with them.

I am so glad we finally did this. We had a lot of fun and have declared that we need to do it again, this time taking a certain favorite family of ours with us. It is truly a beautiful part of this state and one that shouldn’t be missed!

Pickle Jinx

A few weeks ago we sitting at the table eating dinner and talking when all of the sudden Taelin yelled, “Potato jinx!!!”

She looked rather proud of herself.  Joe and I mostly looked at her strangely because while she and Joe did say something at the exact same time, it had nothing to do with potatoes.  I asked her what she was talking about and she just kept staring at Joe until finally he said, “There is no such thing as potato jinx.”

To which Taelin said like she was meeting Joe for the first time, “Hello, there is no such thing as potato jinx!” which was followed by a fit of giggles.


We finally got the explanation that Potato Jinx is a game that they play at school.  There is no owing anyone any kind of carbonated beverage in this version of jinx.  A potato jinx is called when two people say the same thing at the same time.  Then the person who called potato jinx listens for the next thing the non-potato jinx calling person says.  And then that becomes their name.

Joe declared it dumb right off the bat but it didn’t stop him from trying to be the first one the next time he and Taelin said the same thing. There were varying degrees of success for the potato jinx caller to have something hilarious to call the other person. I apparently am slow because I always seemed to be the one with someone staring back at me waiting for me to say something. After a few times, I figured out to just say my name and then was dubbed a party pooper for not playing along.

Then last week, I was driving Taelin somewhere (probably to dance) and we were talking and to my surprise I was able to shout, “Potato jinx!!” (It is a bit funny to me that I can’t remember what we were talking about but can remember after.)

Taelin looked at me with a flat expression and said, “It isn’t potato jinx.  I was wrong.  It is actually pickle jinx.”

So I responded, “Hi, it isn’t potato jinx I was wrong it is actually pickle jinx.”

I got nothing back. Just a “mom, you aren’t pulling it off so just stop trying” look.

Taelin went on to tell me that she was wrong the first time she told us about it.  That it wasn’t actually ‘potato jinx’ but ‘pickle jinx’. I am fairly suspicious that just when I finally was able to be the one on top, all of the sudden the rules change. I informed Joe the next time we were eating and he too was suspicious but rolled with it because that is what you do when your eight year old comes home claiming to be the expert of a game she plays at school.

So, if you find yourself talking to one of us and we by chance say the same thing at the same time, don’t be alarmed if we scream “Pickle Jinx!” at you.  And then, think of something really clever to make us repeat back to you.

Here is a picture of Taelin at school dressed like a fish.  I shouldn’t be surprised that she comes home with games about fermented vegetables.

Project 52: Week 20-Stairs

Here we are at week 20 and I am glad that I picked this challenge back up.  This week’s word was ‘stairs’ and while I found a lot of stairs pretty much everywhere I went, it wasn’t until I went to the library with Taelin that I found the stairs I wanted to take picture of.

Reading has not come easy for Taelin.  She has always love to listen to books and has always blown people away with her vocabulary. But, breaking the code for her continues to be a challenge.  In the last few months, she has made a breakthrough. The all-elusive chapter books are feeling more accessible and today Taelin bound up these stairs, eager to find a new Cam Jansen and the next book in the Critter Club series. It is still hard and will probably be for awhile. But she has turned a corner and these stairs will lead her to all sorts of amazing things.

If you have a picture for Week 20, please post it in the comments!


The Signs of Summer

After today, Taelin has 14 more days of school until summer officially starts! I love our life but I am most certainly ready for some slower days.  Here are a few more signs that summer is coming.

We have a few plans for the summer but for the most part it is unscheduled time.  I am so grateful that we will have the time off together.  Usually, we make a list of things we want to make sure we do over the summer but we haven’t started making that yet.

Summer is coming!