Friday, December 21, 2012


Bria is going to pre-school at the Corcoran School while Mommy works for a few months. She LOVES it! The school is very high tech, with a computer lab, library, and a playground she has been wanting to try out since they first started building the school. Mommy and Daddy can check in on Bria anytime during the day by logging onto a computer and viewing one of the many cameras throughout the school. It looks like she is having a really great time, and she is learning a lot.

Bria and one of her teachers working on a dry-erase worksheet where she finds the one that's different. She didn't notice Mommy standing in the door watching. She was really good at it!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Cards

Bria and Daddy putting together the Christmas cards.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Sunscreen and carpet cleaning

"Mommy, I have to tell you something," Bria said, emerging from the hallway.

I could see that she was covered in some sort of white cream, but she looked so apologetic, it was all I could do keep a straight face as she climbed onto my lap.

"I put on sunscreen so I could go outside," she said.

Her shirt was white with sunscreen, and she had it on her cheeks, legs (she was not wearing pants), and hands. We talked about maybe bringing it to Mom next time so that she could put the sunscreen on for her. Then we looked out the window -- at the first blizzard of the year in North Dakota -- and talked about why we wouldn't be going outside today, definitely not dressed in our t-shirt.

I went to the kitchen to get her a washcloth and changed her clothes, then we got busy with snack time and playing with puzzles and reading books. Soon the sunscreen was totally forgotten about.

A few hours later I was fixing supper and had to use the washroom -- apparently the first time I had been down the hall since the incident -- and found what Bria had really meant when she said she had to tell me something! The carpet in the hallway was no longer green. Instead it was solid white in several large areas, completely covered in sunscreen. The empty bottle lay on the floor nearby.

I pulled out the carpet cleaner, and Bria came into the hall.

"I made the mess, I'll clean it up," she said.

And she did.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Wrong Sort of Bees: The Topic of Giving

The Wrong Sort of Bees: The Topic of Giving: Like many parents, we work hard to instill a sense of the world in our children, and to teach them to do what they can to make a difference....

The Wrong Sort of Bees: C Collage

The Wrong Sort of Bees: C Collage: This week Bria and I have been learning about the letter C, so I thought we would try making a collage. I pulled out a stack of magazin...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Phases of the Moon

Tonight the three of us stepped out for dinner, then stopped at a local park to "get the wiggles out" before bed. Bria loves the swings, so that is where she spent the majority of her time!

After a few minutes she got off the swing, and she and I were looking at the beautiful pink sky of the North Dakota sunset. She was pointing out the colors and the clouds, then I spotted the moon - but it wasn't moon like she expected it to be. A tiny sliver of crescent moon was just barely visible in the sky above the colorful clouds,  and she couldn't quite see it.

So Daddy drew her a picture in the bark of the playground floor of the moon she expected (a big, full circle), and explained how the moon always looks like that, but some days you can't see all of it because the rest is hiding. Then he scratched out all but the tiny crescent of moon and told her what it looked like tonight.

Bria looked back to the sky and saw it right away. And she was so pleased! I wish I had had a camera with me to see the look on her face as she discovered a phase of the moon she was unfamiliar with.

Then, of course, it was off to the slides.

Saturday, August 11, 2012


Bria and her friends from dance class riding on the float for Elizabeth's Dance Expressions. That is Bria in the middle -- four in from the right. She really loves dance class and Miss Liz.

Monday, July 30, 2012

TV on a hot day

Hanging out with my buddies the Pursell kids and watching Dinosaur Train. It's HOT!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Mexico dress

Mommy brought me a dress back from Cancun. Don't I look adorable?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Te Puia - Maori Cultural Experience

We were up with the sun and went to the Redwood Forest for a walk with Grandad Wayne and Jenny. The forest was seeded from the Redwoods in California, so it had a very familiar feel, only with different and interesting birds! The family set out on a one-hour tramp through the woods, and it was a beautiful day for it.

After a peek through the gift shop, we went back into Rotorua. Lunch was a sandwich spread a la Jenny, then we looked at some family photos and headed over for a long soak in the thermal pools of the PolynesianSpa. We went into the family area, which had three pools of varying depths and temperatures, plus a slide for the kids. It was lovely to soak and relax in.

Once we were all overheated we headed out to prepare for the night’s festivities, an indigenous evening experience at Te Puia. We started in the gift shop, browsing around and waiting for the evening to start. Then our guide met us at the gate and led us back into the grounds.

First came a greeting ceremony. The group gathered, and our guide chose a chief – Grandad Wayne! Our chief was to represent all of us and the lands we came from (the U.S., Germany, Italy, Canada, Australia, and NZ) in the powhiri (welcoming ceremony).

A warrior came out of the meeting house – his tribe behind him – and offered sort of a greeting/challenge dance and chant. Chief Wayne stood before us and watched. Then the warrior put down a peace offering (a branch) and waited for our chief to come forward, pick it up, and then come back with it – without turning his back on the warrior. This was a sign that we came in peace (phew!), so the warrior came forward and welcomed him with a gesture of pressing noses together called a hongi.
Once the greetings were exchanged, the group was welcomed into the marae. The chief sat in the front row, his family just behind him on the left side of the house, and the rest of the group sat on the right.

We watched a full kappa haka (performing arts) concert, filled with interesting traditional music and stories of the Maori culture. At one point all the women were invited on stage to learn a poi dance – even Bria did it! The guys were invited up a bit later to learn a haka, which was really fun to watch. Chief Wayne, Justin, and Cameron got pretty into learning.

They closed the concert with a song telling the story of Hinemona and Tutanekai, sort of a Romeo and Juliet story of their tradition (with a happier ending). It was really beautiful, and we all saw a great piece of history and culture.

We then moved into a really first-class meal, with cuisine that incorporated indigenous ingredients, traditional hangi cooked food, and contemporary Maori dishes. There was pork, lamb, chicken, seafood, kumera, potatoes, salad, and lots more, plus gorgeous mussels as an entrĂ©e (what we Americans would call an appetizer) and breads. The dessert spread was just as impressive – and we were encouraged to come back for seconds and thirds (and to use a plate if the bowls were too small). There was chocolate mousse, eclairs, fruit salad, pavlova, cream, and chocolate cake with hot custard. We could have stayed there all night, and we were all stuffed to the brim!

After we had all gotten our fill of the lovely food and hospitality, we met up with our guide again for the closing entertainment – a starlight visit to Pohutu, the famous geyser located on the grounds.

Every detail was thought of. We were met with tubs of soft, warm blankets (July is winter in the southern hemisphere), and told to grab one and get into a car, which was one of a row of cars, attached to an electric engine. Each car was encased in heavy plastic with zippers o help keep us warm as we headed down to view the geyser.

They drove us down a path and paused on a bridge to view the pools and geyser, telling us a bit of history of the area, then drove down a bit so we could get out and check it out. When we got out of the cars, there was hot chocolate to warm us. We walked back down to the bridge and watched Pohutu spit and sputter and shoot water 20 feet or so into the air. Then we walked back up and sat on thermal-heated rocks while the evening drew to a close. As it turned out, our host had a beautiful singing voice. We then got back into the cars and rode back to the gate, where we each splashed water on the huge greenstone for luck and then headed out. We all agreed it had been a lovely evening, and Jenny felt she had found a wonderful local secret!

Finally it was a dark drive around Lake Rotorua to get back to our lake house and call it a night, smiles all around.

Monday, May 28, 2012

An exchange with our lovely daughter today...

Bria and her baby doll were sitting in a laundry basket, and she anounces, "Baby is hungry, she needs some milk," as she proceeds to lift her shirt to nurse her baby.

A few minutes later she is walking around, rocking the baby in her arms, and she says, "Aw, you need a bottle!"

I said, "Why does she need a bottle? If she's hungry, why don't you give her mommy milk?"

To which she replied, "Because it is empty!"

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Meeting Diego!

We went to the Week of the Young Child today, where mom and the rest of the Cyber Doulas had a booth. Diego was there! It was a big long line, but Maia stood in it with Bria and then they got a photo together. So fun!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Playing the violin

Bria had a day at C'Dale and Phil Jore's today, and had to try out the violin. Ella will be so proud!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Baby dolls

 Bria snuggled up in her chair to nurse her baby doll. What a good mama!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Making castles

Sent from my Verizon Wireless Phone

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sick little girl

Our sick little girl had a pretty long day today -- including a chest x-ray to try to figure out what is going on with her and this yucky bug.

She handled it all so well, though! Very big about the long wait, and all the poking and prodding and strange people. She also loved getting a bear and matching mask.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Political minds

At the Williston High School Auditorium, getting ready to hear Ron Paul speak.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

OCD baby puts her toys away...

Sent from my Verizon Wireless Phone