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Dec 28, 2004

Bear (under construction)

(Here's the Russell life summary I described in the post below. As usual, if you click on a photo, you'll get a larger, more detailed version.)

Russell was born about 5 years ago, on December 21, 1999. December 21 is the shortest day of the year, but when Russell was born it was a bright, sunny day. Russellís parents named him Russell because they liked that name and because Davidís grandfather was named Russell. This is a picture of Russell the day he was born, and here are some pictures of him as a baby. He was very alert and very snuggly. Before Russell turned one, he learned to recognize people, sit, eat, and crawl.

When Russell was one, he loved to hear stories, go to the park, and play with friends. He learned to walk and talk.

When Russell was two, he became a big brother to Silas. He went to the beach in Oregon and then in North Carolina. He still loved stories and he learned a whole lot about trains. He decided his favorite color was green.

(Photo credit note: my uncle John Williams took the wonderful picture of Russell in the red and white shirt.)

When Russell was three, he started going to playschool. He liked going places and doing things. At home, he especially liked to build railroads and buildings and play Bucko Rucko with Silas. His doll Pinata came to live with him. He had the chicken pox.

When Russell was four, he built a snowman when it snowed. He went to Seattle and North Carolina with his family. He started a new year at school with Teacher Jory. He still loved trains, building, books, and the color green. He liked to do crafts projects and rake leaves and ride his bicycle at Grandmaís house.

Russell turned five on the shortest day of the year. When he is five, he will go visit his Grandmom, Grandpa Steve, Great-Gram, and (we hope) Grandpa George in Pennsylvania. He hopes he will build another snowman. In the fall he will go to kindergarten. He will teach his brother how to do a lot of things.

Russell is five! (plus one week)

Our little bear is five years old now! He had a good birthday.

The first thing we did for Russell's birthday was actually on December 15th, because that was the last school day before the holiday break when we could do a school celebration. At Russell's preschool they do a nice ceremony for the birthday child; the parent brings in some pictures and information chronicling the child's growth over the years, and Teacher Jory presents all that to the children, one year at a time. After each year's description, they chant something like "the earth moves around the sun" while the birthday child carries a small globe around a candle. I'm going to put the pictures and text I chose in a post here, too, above this one, so you can see it as well (probably already have by the time you read this).

On Russell's actual birthday, David took a vacation day from work (one person asked if he was celebrating the Solstice) and we had a lunch party at Metta and Roger's apartment, where we had the presents and cake. Russell was very appreciative of all his presents; the biggest hit was undoubtedly the huge present from Grandma and Grandpa, a foam log cabin playhouse that he can put together himself.

Russell loves it when we have "Kids' Night" at our house, and that was how he most wanted to celebrate his birthday with other kids. On Kids' Night (known among parents as Date Night!), nine kids from five families -- four about Russell's age (including Russell) and five about Silas' age (including Silas, who's actually the youngest by about five months) -- gather at one family's house, and from 5-8 pm, the parents from that family watch them and feed them and play with them and (eventually) plunk them in front of a video. The kids all love it, and the parents have a reasonably good time babysitting and a great time on their four earned nights off, too!

So anyway, the night after his birthday, we hosted Kids' Night and included a few birthday things like cupcakes they could decorate. You won't be surprised to hear the party favors were mostly from SCRAP -- we got some neat, pretty red boxes there, decorated with beads, and filled each with stickers from SCRAP and some little modeling clay packs and some mints. Russell did most of the preparation of the boxes, too. It seemed just the right amount exciting; Russell had a good time without any emotional crash. He was very pleased with the whole thing, including some lovely presents from his friends.

Then, on the 23rd, it was back to getting ready for Christmas!

Dec 18, 2004

What he said

Here's the easy way to update you on our trips to Zoo Lights and the Meier & Frank monorail.

They keep raising the bar

Our Environmental Protection Agency thinks bribing poor families with a camcorder, bibs, and the like is a super exchange for getting them to expose their infants to pesticides to see what will happen.

I'm so proud of our government I could just spit.

(Heard this one on Air America Radio originally.)

Dec 14, 2004

"I yaw eh-wuh-phant"

Here are a few cute pictures of Silas from a zoo trip he and I took together.

Five days after that trip, Silas went out with Metta for the morning. Later that afternoon I was asking him about what they'd done.

J: Did you go to Bob's Red Mill?

S: I wike Bob Wed Mill.

J: Yes, I know you do. Did you go there with Grandma today?

S: I want go to Bob Wed Mill.

J: You really like Bob's Red Mill, don't you? Were you there with Grandma this morning?

S: Yuh.

J: (trying to figure out if he actually was there) What did you see there? (expecting to hear about the big water wheel he likes, or the pond)

S: I yaw elephant.

Later he elaborated, "I yaw elephant at the zoo."

Dec 12, 2004

Christmas list

I figure if I put this here, then point relatives toward it, I can edit it as necessary! So here goes.

SPECIAL NOTE on all books and CDs below: we love good-condition used books and CDs!!

For Russell and Silas:

(Russell's favorite color is lime green, and Silas' is yellow. They both love trains and firefighters. Russell especially likes building toys and Silas especially likes jigsaw puzzles.)

photos of yourselves, where you live, and/or stories about yourselves

Your Big Backyard magazine, from National Wildlife Federation

(Gram has dibs on this one!) Click magazine, from Cricket

CD: Dan Zanes, Rocket Ship Beach

Thomas & Friends magazine (with Thomas the Tank Engine and some puzzles and things; not sure where to find this, however)

books, especially favorites of yours

travel toys

wood puzzles (~60 pieces for Russell, ~30-50 for Silas; or, marked about age 6 is good for Russell, age 4-5 for Silas)

Sri Lankan pond life 3-D & 2-D puzzle

Portland Parks & Recreation Department money for classes: call 503-823-PLAY and ask to add money to our account; they'll ask for our phone number.

They actually have plenty of toys now, but things that help them do adult tasks (or pretend to) would be nice. Some show up at For Small Hands or at Rosie Hippo.

Also, now that Silas is big enough not to swallow them, marble toys (especially ones made of wood) and marbles would be really cool.

Other ideas for Russell:

Celebration of Family CD (I ordered this 12/17, so if you did too please let me know!)

size 5T shirts, cotton, machine wash/dry, easy to put on (probably not button-up)

The Maggie B., Haas

(Mom has dibs on this one!) How to Fly for Kids!, Windsor

Other ideas for Silas:

small, colorful, sturdy umbrella

size 3T clothes, cotton, machine wash/dry

For Julie:

socks! I love colorful, stretchy ankle socks and badly need them, but am too cheap to throw out my holey socks (lifelong affliction)

How to Cook Everything, Bittman

Conned Again, Watson!, Bruce

Williams-Sonoma vegetable grip (I'm hoping this works for Russell, too, this year)

Sunset magazine

Fine Cooking 2004 archive book

sweaters and tops, XL or size 16-18 (pref. cotton/machine washable, "summer" colors (teal, burgundy, dark blue, etc.), no V necks or very wide necks)

CDs: Wicky Sears, Playing with Tradition; Tift Merritt, Tambourine; anything else you think I might like

Dec 11, 2004

We give thanks for parades

Hey, if you think I'm slow getting this post up, wait till I post the Halloween pictures in January. (You think I'm kidding?)

The day after a Thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat [™ Alice's Restaurant], we went to the Thanksgiving parade downtown. We missed one bus, so we waited at the bus stop quite a while.

Then we found out the next bus involved a transfer we hadn't counted on, so I was starting to work out what line I'd use if we missed the parade completely. But, to quote one of my favorite books (Minims), fortune favors the lucky, and we got off the bus just as the start of the parade came up the street.

It was fun. I always like the llamas best (they are in every Portland parade!), but the kids, of course, like snowmen and trains.

1 comment

Dec 03, 2004

And speaking of dictionaries...

mustrument [pronounced moo-da-ment by Silas, moo-stra-ment by Russell] n [coined by Silas, understood only by Russell until Russell explained it] : a musical instrument

Seal of approval

We went to SCRAP the other day with Russell and Silas to get tile samples for David's projects, paper for collages and paper chains, and whatever else caught our eyes. Naturally, the kids, having the magpie gene from both sides of the family, love to go to SCRAP. They each get a shopping basket and collect treasures in it, then we evil authority figures review them and put most of them back before checking out.

Anyway, as Russell darted happily around with his loaded shopping basket, he and David had the following conversation:

D: You know, Russell, we're going to have to approve the things in your basket before we buy them.

R: Approve them?

D: Yes.

R: You mean, look at them and think they're very nice?

I had to hold off on snickering long enough to explain he meant a different kind of "approve". I see Merriam Webster gives Russell's definition (2) higher billing than David's (3b).