Friday, June 23, 2006

Signing Off

I'm signing off for seven whole days. I don't think they even have the internet where we are going. Amazingly enough, we are taking books, and I got my fishing license. We'll be in the woods.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

playing circus, two years old

playing circus, two years old, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

I thought I'd post some old pictures of the children because I'm feeling sentimental.

john daddy

john daddy, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

salad dressing

Asian Miracle Dressing (results atypical, individual results may vary, please try this at home)

1/8 cup balsamic vinegar1/4 tsp. Dijon mustard,1 1/2 TB maple syrup,a pinch of salt,a grind of pepper,1/2 tsp. low sodium soy sauce, 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil,1 1/2 TB extra virgin olive oil.

I know, this blog is getting a little random. It is like a pad of paper beside the phone with incomprensible scribbling--but with pictures, recipes, kid stories, migratory birds, and craft projects. Apparently this dressing turned Schmoo over at Vegan Lunchbox into a salad eater.

Ella says, "Do you think they wear nightgowns?"

Migratory Vaux's Swifts make their nightly descent into the chimney of Chapman Elementary School in Portland, Oregon. (October 2005)

Have a Portland moment. People bring blankets and picnics to watch the birds go into the chimney for about two weeks in the fall.

Funny, Ella just said two days ago, "Do you think they remember me in Portland, Oregon?"

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

who drew this???

the evolution of stickgirl, originally uploaded by ellajohn.


_bitty, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Somebody please drive me to a felt store immediately. Click the photo for a link to directions.

Wee Wonderfuls

embroidery, originally uploaded by Hillary Lang.
Wee Wonderfuls is an inspiring site. Wouldn't these make great dollhouse people?

amy's angry chickens

amy's angry chickens, originally uploaded by Hillary Lang.


no sitting, please, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

getting buggy

getting buggy, originally uploaded by ellajohn. Ella was very happy to be at Cypress's house yesterday. She is happy to be outside all day. We were supposed to go for a hike at Pandapas Pond, but thunderstorms were threatening, so we picniced and played nearby. It never did storm, so the kids were bughunting, playing in the sandbox, and other good summer kidstuff. It is interesting to watch the way they are interacting without the form of the school day to guide them.

giraffe lassoing

giraffe lassoing, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

John loves toys, especially anything with a string. He is the kind of baby that likes to sit next to a small basket of toys and go through all of it. On the other hand, he is completely oblivious to television. Most babies seem to be mesmerized by it, but if John can't hold something and then put it in his mouth, it just doesn't even exist for him.

dinner conversation

dinner conversation, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

calamari baby

Baby number two likes his calamari. At ten months old, it was time to give him a taste. We were visiting our smalltown pizzaria last night, and John was completely non-plussed with his pricey jar of chicken whatever, so I spooned some of Sal's marinara sauce on top, and he was opening his mouth like a hungry baby bird. Then he ate some pizza crusts and smiled at old ladies and waitresses.

Father's Day? John refused to feel good enough to really enjoy it, but we tried. (He is a wee bit sick or allergic to our house). Ella and I made him breakfast in bed and french presse coffee. She made a Frog Prince card. Brother kept reaching his arms out for daddy, and I took both children away for two hours this afternoon. Oh, and there was ice cream pie.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

spring fairy forest

spring fairy forest, originally uploaded by ellajohn. We are going to make some of these. This one is from Magic Cabin. I thought it would be good for fairy play as well as a good place to keep treasures, feathers, stones. We have some good sticks from Oregon, and I want to have a slice of tree for the base. These dolls are twelve inches tall, but I want to make some smaller clothespin fairies. Hopefully I can find my bag of acorn hats.

Friday, June 16, 2006

quilt idea

quilt idea, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Thursday, June 15, 2006


One week until vacation. Not that my whole life isn't a vacation.

miss ella strolls home

miss ella strolls home, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

a whole new world

a whole new world, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


babykitty, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

ella's dreamspace

Ella is getting together with some school friends this summer to play, and when she went over to Isaac's house on monday she developped a major crush on his room. Now she loves him and his world. (He has the boy version without the tower) She had seen these at Imaginations, and now she has fully realized her dream bed. The most important part to her is the slide, and the play space under the curtains. I keep trying to make a clickable link, but apparently I have a learning disability. It is this.

She has this dream of bunks when her brother gets older. She also says that I "must" get Isaac a new guitar because his is "absolutely destroyed".

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

John said "mama"

I handed him a comb, and he started raking it across his head. I put his shoes in his hands, and he started trying to get them on his feet. I took him to his story hour at the library today. He loves it and hates it. They hand out little thrilling. Then they take them away..cry.. cry. They hand out eggs and read Humpty thrilling. Then they take away the eggs...cry..cry. They hand out instruments and thrilling...and then they take them away..cry..cry. What is this? Reality training?


Kiddley is a great site for projects and ideas to do with children.

Monday, June 12, 2006


walker, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

hunting liza minelli

hunting liza minelli, originally uploaded by ellajohn. I thought I'd make a note since John thought this was "hunting Liza Minelli style" in grosgrain flip flops. No, Liza is a very fancy chicken at the Old Woman Farm.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

I'm ten months old today!

im ten months old today!, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

I'm starting to cruise around the furniture if someone helps me pull up. I like to pick up food and especially like hummus and salmon. I like to say, "Ella", "Da Da", and someone (mama) claims that I said, "Lil Duck".

birdie, little birdie

birdie, little birdie, originally uploaded by ellajohn.


up, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

I hadn't mentioned her ability to fly before.

Saturday, June 10, 2006


I've slept so much that I barely know what day it is. Tonight is our last night here, and J and I are going dinner in Richmond sans children. I am a bit, well, more than a bit, child overloaded. I'll tell some Ella stories later.

Tomorrow I'm picking up my banjo on the way home, going back to Appalachia, cell phone coverage, gmail, and my own messy but familiar world.

Monday, June 05, 2006

saturday sunday monday

Saturday was Ella's recital. It is hard to believe that she has been taking ballet for two years already. For me, the highlight of the show was her frustrated plea, "WE ARE GOING THE WRONG WAY!" The three strays then had to work their way into the whirling dervish of small pink tutus like rush hour on the Capitol beltway. Ella was thoughtful, theatrical, and understood the story. I thought that it was ambitious of her teacher to do Peter and the Wolf, and her efforts really paid off. We had lunch with John's parents after the recital and then headed east to my mom's house for THE BIG PARTY.
My month is offically over. I celebrated mother's day, my anniversary, and my fortieth birthday in the past few weeks. John and I are also celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the day we first met in Williamsburg, Virginia. The Garden Room of the Trellis Restaurant. He was vacuuming.
The party was great, and I'm hoping that people who haven't seen each other in years got a chance to recconect in a positive way. The spawn got a chance to run, play, catch snakes, and bughunt under the watchful eyes of some babysitters. We welcomed John Blease to the fray at nine weeks old. My brother brought me a violin and made me some delicious martinis, and his wife Shelly made beautiful lemon poundcake with strawberries and whipped cream. The food was so good that I had curried chicken salad and green beans for breakfast this morning.
After several cups of coffee we drove out to Goochland this morning to Cait's mom's farm, The Old Woman Farm. Ella held baby goats, fed the donkey, and looked for Liza Minelli the fancy chicken. She planted a field full of pumpkins, butternut squash, and melons.It was good to sit on her back deck and watch the golfinches and swallows. Her porch swing has a nice breeze and a Buddha-view.
So, I"m out here without a USB port or email, but the whipoorwill sings all night long.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

country week

The kids and I are in"Grandmarie's Country" for a week. I just wanted to mention that I can't reach my gmail account from here.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Peter and the Wolf Rehearsal

peter and the grandfather, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Here is Peter, a puppet, actually a Groovy Boy, and the Grandfather. If the show is as funny as the dress rehearsal, it is going to be wonderful. Imagine twelve four year olds performing for thirty minutes. They are often confused, amused, and sometimes afraid of a man in a wolf suit.

birds and cats

birds and cats, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

birds are afraid of the wolf

birds are afraid of the wolf, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Happy First Birthday Oya Baka Mama

I started this blog as a way to NOT send everyone I know tons of sappy soppy inbox clogging pictures of my children. In case you were ever wondering what "oya baka" means, it is a japanese phrase that literally means "parent stupid". Oya baka means loving your children so much that you have pretty much lost your mind and don't mind sharing it with others. I wish I had started this when Ella was born in Portland.

So, as I start this year of bloggy baby buggy bumpers, I think I'm going to try to actually write more. I probably need two blogs, one G rated and the other all ranty and R rated. Oh, and the R rated one needs to be know, my imaginary blog entitled "Mama Dropped the F-Bomb".

Summertime officially starts here at our house today. School is out and Ella's ballet recital is saturday morning. John' s folks are coming in tonight, and tomorrow night is the dress rehearsal. Ella and I are going to play Cinderella all day (As in clean up this house like crazy people). After the rehearsal we are headed to Richmond for a week.