Monday, October 25, 2010

Tipi Village

Although it's not chronological, I'm going to report on the teepee (either spelling is correct) first since I know it's what you are all dying to hear about.

Brandon found Tipi Village online one day while researching primitive living and Intentional Communities.  His typical impatience kicked in and although I told him I'd go with him for a couple weeks in spring or summer, he just couldn't wait, so he took two weeks off work at the end of October so he could take the kids to try teepee life while I was in Connecticut.  They were there for six days and nights before I joined them.

After a whole day of driving thru the desolate barrenness that is Nevada, I was suddenly plunged into a beautiful forrest and then vistas like this:

When I arrived I introduced myself to Natasha as I was walking to the teepee, she has lived in the "village" for about a month.  I found out later that in her "former life" she was an electronics technician.
  I then met Ande, the founder who has been living in a teepee for well over a decade.  He is originally from Wales and has only been in the US since 2001.  I found out later that he is quite funny and a great storyteller.
The first day Brandon was excited to show me around the darling town of Ashland, OR.  First we went swimming at the hot springs and everyone got cleaned up in the hot showers there.  Then we went to the incredible Lithia Park for a picnic and playing.

"Leaf Angels"

Shopped around town.  
Bought some books at one of the town's great used book stores.  

Picked up a couple things at one of their great grocery stores.
I then got to meet the rest of the residents of Tipi Village:
There's Kayla, Andy's wife and the mother of three year old Rowan and two year old Isla.  Kayla is stunningly beautiful and has one hazel-colored eye and one dark brown one.  She is 28 and pregnant with her third child.  She is originally from Big Bear, CA.  She reminds me of my sister-in-law Michelle in a lot of ways.  We got along well.
Rowan and Isla are the same ages as our kids and were really great.
There's Brian, Natasha's husband or boyfriend.  He is incredibly quiet and shy.  They moved here from the Chicago area looking for a simpler life.  They are both currently unemployed.
Finally there's Jacqueline, a 36 year old woman, born in England but raised in Danbury, CT (where I spent last week!).  She has lived everywhere from west Africa to New York City to Ashland.  She works in town in the afternoons as a nanny and is an apprentice midwife.

That night we cooked pumpkin dinner over the fire and I swear it was my best batch ever.
Brandon finishing his pumpkin while the kids enjoy a sucker.

Natasha, Brian, Ande, and Elora.

Rowan and Kayla

Snuggly mornings

Me making banana pancakes for everyone over the fire.

Isla, Jacqueline, Jonah, Elora, and I at breakfast

Isla, Rowan, and Jonah playing blocks in the kids play area

Views of the valley when we drove up a ways to get water from the spring

Winter camp

Summer camp

The glow of the two small lamps and the fire made for the most beautiful lighting outside the teepee.  I wish this picture could do it justice.  On the right you can see the dish washing station.

More later.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Well, I'm home.  I've seen a lot of the country over the last 11 days.  I'm exhausted and I'm still trying to process it all and take it all in.  The really short version of it is that I flew to the East Coast on Thursday the 14th and spent the next four days there visiting my best friend Lisa.  We had a great time together.  Lisa took me to the airport early Tuesday morning.  I arrived home around 5pm.  I let my chickens out, cleaned my messy kitchen, thanked the neighbors for taking care of my pets, gave Rusty some love, and did some laundry.  The next morning I packed, got my house mostly in order, ran a couple errands, etc. and then drove to Oregon.  I spent that night in a crappy motel but was with my family the next morning.  I'd been away from them for a whole week, the longest I've ever been away from my kids.  I had missed them terribly.  I spent the next two days and nights with my little family, another family of four, a single woman, and another couple living in a teepee.  We had a great time together.  Yesterday morning I packed up the kids and most of our stuff and drove halfway home.  Today we spent another six hours in the car.  The kids are now sleeping in their own beds for the first time in ten nights.  We are all glad to be home.  Brandon should be here tomorrow night.  More details to follow soon.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Easy A

If you liked Clueless and Mean Girls, then you are going to like Easy A.  It is funny and sweet.  The parents are slightly unrealistic and totally hysterical (I love Stanley Tucci).  And I've never seen any of these teen stars in anything else before, which was kind of refreshing, except for Amanda Bynes who is certainly no teenager and should stop auditioning for and being cast as one.  She is adorable but frankly, quite obnoxious and can't act.  
The best part and the biggest flaw of this movie is the main character.  Her name is Olive and she is played my the actress Emma Stone.  Emma Stone looks a little too mature to be playing a teenager to me and is way too gorgeous to be playing the unpopular girl that has only one friend and whom boys never notice until she becomes the topic of the latest rumor.  Other than that, she's great to look at and plays an extremely funny, ballsy character who is loads of fun and laughs.
Watch for the Pocketful of Sunshine montage at the beginning, it is probably my favorite part of the movie, though the whole thing was lots of fun.  This is a movie you probably can't drag your significant other to see (though he'd probably like it more than many chick flicks) so make it a girl's night.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

New York

Yet another reason to love Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake.

If I'd been thinking ahead at all, I would have called for tickets to the Jimmy Fallon show a month ago since I'll be in Manhattan all day on Monday.  In fact, when this publishes, I'll be in the air flying to LaGuardia.

PS- Does it look like Justin got veneers/caps recently to anyone else?  Oh, and does Justin totally remind any of you of my brother Ted like he does to me?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Update on the Kiddos

Wearing a little mascara they applied themselves.

Watching a show

One morning last week the kids were coloring while I checked my email and things got too quiet.  When they heard me coming in to check on them they hid and I was so worried one of my walls was going to be completely ruined.  Instead I found them buck naked coloring their whole bodies with washable marker.  Pretty typical.
Last night my poor babies were sick.  Jonah threw up about every 20 minutes for about five hours straight.  He woke up at 6:00 this morning (more than an hour earlier than usual) telling me he was hungry.

Jonah's Favorites
word: stupid, idiot (both not words we use at our house so I assume they came from friends)
food: ice-cream, oatmeal, anything chocolate, fruit
activity: dancing in the dark, jumping on furniture, helping in the kitchen
show: he likes pretty much all cartoons and also loves Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (old version) and MythBusters
friend: Vivian, Corrine, Ellie 
For several days, when Jonah would wake up in the morning he would ask, "Is it Halloween-time?"  He's very excited about going trick-or-treating and even remembers going last year.  Now it's usually when it gets dark in the evening that he asks if it's time to go trick-or-treating.  He wanted to be a witch or a cat but I got him the greatest Frankenstein costume and he's pretty happy with it.
He is such a talker, especially at bedtime when he'll tell you all about what he is planning on dreaming about that night or in the morning when he'll recount his dreams.

Elora's Favorites
word: "stupit",  "peep" (this week she stopped saying pee pee and now says peep instead, go figure)
food: cooked vegetables, chocolate, suckers, noodles  
activity: holding chickens, jumping on furniture, 
show: The Nightmare Before Christmas & Willy Wonka
phrase: "like a same" (she likes finding things that match or are similar), "like me does" (Such as, "You got pink toes like me does!")
book: Yes Yes No No
clothes: her yellow "swimsoup" (which has finally been put away for the season) and her pink tutu (which goes over anything but she prefers to wear it on its own;)

After swallowing gum three times in one week, Elora has been banned from gum until she is three.  She now asks for it about five times a day.
Just like last year, Elora loves all things Halloween, especially skeletons and spiders.

I am so glad that I get to be a stay-at-home mom.  I feel so blessed to have perfect, healthy, smart, wonderful, rambunctious children.  I like working two days a week and I like the extra money, but when I come home and know I have to put my kids to bed in two or three hours I'm pretty sad that someone else got to spend all day with them.