Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Sunday Morning conversation

Ada: Jude, who are you going to marry?
Jude: (no answer, intent on his game)
Ada: Are you going to marry a boy or a girl?
Jude: (This gets his attention) A girl.
Ada: But not me, right?
Jude: Right, you are part of my family.  If a family girl marries a family boy, their kids will be not strong.
Ada: I'm going to marry Milo.
Jude: Milo is pretty strong.
Ada: Who are you going to marry, Jude?
Jude: I don't know yet.  Maybe I'll meet someone in college that I want to marry.
Ada: Yeah, college kids are strong.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


My walks around the neighborhood have been especially beautiful recently.

This went from dark green to magenta overnight.

I love the purple berries on this one...

Two-tone tree

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Mid-Life Crisis

A large Douglas Fir fell across the back of our property during a wind storm last winter.  It snapped off about 15 feet up from the base, and crushed the back fence.  Turns out, the tree had a disease called "red ring rot", and several of the other Doug Firs behind our house were also affected.  Long story short: we now have a lot of firewood.

E Ben has been working on a woodshed for the past few weeks, and got the roof up last weekend.  Jude has a new favorite perch.

Thursday, September 26, 2013


Big milestone for me yesterday.  My 1999 Corolla, which I've had since the year I started working for Intel, hit 100K on the odometer.  I wonder if I'll get to 200K?

Monday, September 23, 2013

My Pride and Joy

Is it possible that laundry preferences are hereditary?

My mother has always been slightly obsessed with doing laundry at Baekeland Camp, and then hanging the wash out to dry on the clotheslines attached to large trees.

On an August weekend this year, my husband surprised me with a clothesline from the door outside our laundry room out across the back woods.  The first time I hung clothes out to dry, the long clothesline hung dangerously low, almost touching the underbrush.  We were able to tighten it up some, and then I pictured in my mind this ingenious device that would attach the lower line to the upper line, maybe with wheels, or, oh, ok, this already exists and it's called a clothesline spreader.  I bought a couple of these, and now my clothesline is working great.

Apparently some people like to dry their clothes outside for the fresh scent (I'm looking at you, Terry) but for me it's all about the energy savings.  Too bad the dry season is almost over in Oregon.  I guess I'm going to have to wait until next summer to really put this through its paces.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


On the wall as you walk in our house, we've got the classic growth chart, updated once a year, on the first day of school.  The thing that shocks me this year is that, while Jude (who seems huge) grew three inches, Ada (who seems tiny in comparison) grew over five inches.  That little girl surprises us every day...

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Mind: Blown

A conversation with Ada, this morning at breakfast:

Ada:  How does all the food I eat fit inside my body?
Me: When you eat and drink, your stomach digests the food and sends all of the parts it can use to the rest of your body.  Everything that your body can't use comes out as pee and poop.
--long pause--
Ada: That's incredible.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Zero to Kindergarten...

Today was Jude's first day of Kindergarten.  The morning went according to The Schedule.  Jude and Dad took the long way around the neighborhood on the scooter, and still got to school first!  What a big day for our boy.

The Schedule

Scootering to School

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

A Zillion

My boy likes to think about numbers.  Last night, he asked me "What comes after a zillion?".  I didn't have an answer, so we looked it up on google and found that zillion is not a real number, but a slang word for "a really big number".  The same page had a list of numbers multiplied by 1000.  Thousand, Million, Billion, etc.

Jude wanted to write them all down in his journal for future reference.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


I spent a week in Israel recently, and had a few hours to walk around the Old City in Jerusalem.

Ancient Roman ruins. 

A map of the Old City in mosaic. 

The Western Wall and Dome of the Rock. 

A giant mezuzah at the entrance to the Wall. 

A trilingual sign, like most in Jerusalem. Hebrew, Arabic, and English. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

To Ada on her Third Birthday

Dear Ada,

You had your third birthday last month, and I think that someday you will want to know what you were like at this age. You have straight blond hair that is very prone to tangles. You like to call it "golden".  Teacher Liz taught you that.  When you wake up in the morning, your father and I try to remember to comb out the bees-nest before you leave the house, but all too often we fail and you look like a little ragamuffin. Sometimes you ask for clips, occasionally you ask for tails, but most of the time you prefer 'just my beautiful hair'. 

In most ways, you take after your father, but you definitely sleep like your mom. You are a light sleeper, and any unfamiliar noise wakes you up in the night. You love to sleep late in the morning, often emerging from your room at 9am or later if the house is quiet enough. Last weekend, during your sleepover at Nini's house, you didn't wake up until 10! We turned your crib into a toddler bed earlier this year, and you handled that change well. The first night, you left your room about a dozen times, just because you could, but since then it has been smooth sailing. For a while, you would wait for someone to pick you up out of your bed in the morning, but recently you have started getting up by yourself. Girls wake up slowly in our house, and like your mom you don't like to be rushed in the morning. You sleep with your blankies, your Elmo pillowcase, George, Dora, and a few other friends. We also keep white noise going in your room while you are sleeping. Everyone is happier that way.

You are cautious by nature, and prefer to look before you leap.  When you meet new people, you'll usually hang back and observe rather than immediately joining the conversation like your brother.  You are also cautious with your body and rarely push yourself past your capabilities.  In the past few months, you have become so much more adventurous about things like climbing, scootering, and swinging.  When you are around people you know, you are a little chatterbox.  I can't believe the things that come out of your mouth sometimes.  Lately, you have been telling us elaborate stories about your imaginary friend Igaloo.  You talk on the phone with her and make up songs together.

We took you to see Dr. Jack last week, and he said that you are growing well.  At 38 inches and 32 pounds, you are 60th percentile for both height and weight.  You graduated to 4T clothes a couple of months ago, and most of your shoes are size 8.  You're not very interested in potty training, and we've decided to just wait until you're ready.  We've been reading "The Princess and the Potty" for over a year now - it's one of your favorite books - but I guess we just haven't found the right pantalettes yet.

About six months ago, you discovered dresses, and now you won't wear anything else.  We can layer you up with pants and a sweater, but the dress must come first.  As the only granddaughter on both sides of the family, you have a closet full of dresses and you love to pick out your "sleeve dress" or "no-sleeve dress" each day.

Your brother Jude is your idol, your tormentor, your best friend, and probably the biggest influence in your life.  Until recently, you have generally been very easy-going and let Jude take the lead.  He'd suggest a game, ask you if you want to play, and you'd say "Okay".  Jude watches everything that you do very closely.  If you start to play with a different toy, he immediately becomes interested.  When you start to work on an art project, he'll join you.  If you finish half your cookie in the time it takes him to finish the whole thing, he'll sidle over to you and ask for a bite - and you usually give it to him.  With a big brother who is so much bigger, physically, than you, you have learned to read his moods and stay out of his way at times.  I think this is a skill that will serve you well in life.  

For the past few weeks, you two have been fighting like cats and dogs, but in general I think you really enjoy each other.  When you are getting along, you love to play together.  Just recently, though, I've seen you push Jude's buttons in very subtle ways, like making fun of the way he says something.  He doesn't know quite what to make of this.  You are also less tolerant of him, and complain vigorously whenever he does something you don't like.  I'm glad to see you standing up for yourself, but it does make for a very loud house at times.  

We celebrated your third birthday in Florida, and took you to Disney World to celebrate the occasion.  You weren't too thrilled.  The parades were too noisy and the rides were too scary and you didn't want Mickey or Minnie to get too close.  You did love "It's a Small World" ("the boat ride") and grudgingly admitted that Winnie the Pooh didn't scare you.  For the most part, though, you preferred to hang around and watch people while Jude went on ride after ride.  Tom Sawyer's island was probably the biggest hit - you sat in the window of the fort and shot the runaway train with a musket for about an hour.

Ada, you are such a joyful child.  You love to dance and to sing, to laugh and to play.  Your smile brightens everyone's day.  Happy Birthday!


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Florida Favorites

We spent April in Naples, Florida. Linden was charged with the organization and dispersal of her grandmother's worldly possessions. I promise to write more about Ninette Roll Peterson at a later date. In the meantime, here are a few photos from our month.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Disney Report

The Cornett family has relocated to Southwest Florida for the month of April.

The trip has been part vacation, part family business, and part experiment to see if we can really travel with our two children. Most days, everyone gets part of what they need, and some of what they want. Ada needs some quiet attention, Jude needs action, Linden needs sleep, and Daddy Ben needs a drink by five o'clock.

Just in case the changes of time zone and climate weren't enough, we tried to throw in a little trip to Disneyworld to mix it up. Mission accomplished. Last week we drove the 4 hours from Naples to Orlando for 3 days of theme park madness. Here is the report.

Day 1: The Drive

We left Naples at a leisurely hour, heading north on the highway with movie players entertaining the back seat. A stop at Wendy's took us one full hour to get out of the car, order lunch, find a table, eat lunch, play with the toys in the kids' meal, use the bathroom, order a frosty, eat said frosty, change a diaper, and get back in the car.

Arriving in Orlando, we had booked a time-share condo through an acquaintance. The property was 20 minutes from Disneyworld, but it turned out to be just perfect for us. The condo was in a high rise, and had a largish living area and kitchen, with a bedroom and full bath at either end. Our kids don't seem to sleep very well together, so we put Ada to bed in one bedroom (in a travelling crib) and then Jude would fall asleep on the other side in our bed. We sat up in the middle watching Game of Thrones, and then carried Judey, the heavy sleeper, back to the kids' room. So we all managed to sleep. Oh, and it was CHEAP.

Day 2: The Magic Kingdom

We planned for two days a the Magic Kingdom with a rest day in between. Our little crew bravely got up early, sunscreened, dressed, and packed for a day of adventures. We all wore good shoes and socks, light clothing, and hats. Daddy Ben had bought the Unofficial Guide to Disney World with Kids, and it was very helpful in planning our visit.

Arrived at the theme park close to opening, only to find that it is quite a long process entering the kingdom. Late April is not a busy time for Disney, and we passed vast empty parking lots on our way to an exact spot indicated by uniformed employees. From the car, we walked to the end of the line (maybe 100 yards?) and boarded a small tram bus that carried us to the gates and ticketing machines. We managed to buy our passes in the machine with no fuss at all, and proceeded to the Monorail station. Now we boarded another large bullet train looking thing, and headed off over acres of jungle and through Disney resorts to the gates of the Magic Kingdom.

The sheer size of the Disney empire is impressive. Of course they want you to stay at Disney resorts and hotels, sleeping close to the theme parks, or generally spend all of your money on mouse ears. There are Disney meal plans, Disney photographers, and Disney travel agents. But none of this was necessary for us. We were happy to experience the place as first time visitors.

The Kingdom is seeing some wear. First built in 1971, the basic infrastructure is now over 40 years old. So here we were, first day, riding the monorail and what happens but we are heading up a rise and the train comes to a stop. We were fairly packed in, and our family was all standing and looking out the windows. We could see Cinderella's castle in the distance, with swamps and trees down below us. There is anticipation in the air, and everyone on the train is disappointed with the delays. Apparently something was wrong with the power system, and they had to back up the monorail and get another run a the "hill", but this didn't work either. Our kids were fine, but a few others became restless. One boy, he was maybe 8 years old, began crying on his mother. Sometimes the anticipation is just more than you can take! Linden was very nice to him, and helped him calm down. Anyway, the delay was only about 15 minutes, so no big deal.

Okay, now we are finally at the gates of Main Street USA. This is the Disney of my memories, with old fashioned shops and a long boulevard heading to the princess castle. We all walked in together, kind of in awe of the place. There was a truckfull of singing and dancing people that wandered by and did a show right in front of us. We laughed and looked and pointed, and then eventually ended up walking through and under the castle and into Fantasyland. We read a number of touring plans, and had a list of our favorite rides, but that basically went out the window. I'll give you the short list of our first morning, but I'm sure you can see that we were busy. We used several combinations of Fastpass to accomplish all this.

The Carousel
It's a Small World
Mickey's Fantasy Show
Winnie the Pooh
Peter Pan's Flight
The Barnstormer Roller Coaster

After all of this morning action, we were pretty tired. Last but not least, we rode the old-fashioned steam train back to the entrance. This was a crucial part of our planning and strategy. The book suggested we LEAVE and go home during the hottest part of the day. This was brilliant. Just when our little crew had worn themselves out, we broke for home and had naps, shows, and a short swim. I woke up from my nap to hear the kids in the other room, singing "It's a Small World After All!" They were ready for another shot at Disneyworld.

The evening drive down the interstate was easy. Parking was a breeze. The kids were a little tired, but we pressed on with our evening plan. Arriving at Main Street USA, we tried to take the steam train again but found it was closed for the night. At this point we broke out our snack bag and just sat around on the raised deck of the train platform. The sun was low, the whole place was thinning out. The kids were HUNGRY, and they proceeded to eat ALL the snacks I had brought for the night. A breeze picked up, and we just relaxed our way back into the Disney experience. It can be a very beautiful place. Suddenly, the sounds of a Disney parade came up the street. And there we stood, watching the whole place roll through a beautiful celebration.

The kids were tired that evening, but we managed to explore a bit more of the park, including a quick ride for Jude and Dad on the Pirates of the Carribean, and a trip for Linden and Jude on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. We also enjoyed the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse, and generally took in the evening scene. We carted the kids out of there around 8:30pm, just as it was getting dark. Ada looked back from the top of Mom's shoulders and saw the Cinderella castle, all lit up in purple. She asked me to stop and take a picture. The ride home was short and sweet. I kept a cooler in the car with cold drinks and milks. The sun went down on our long day at Disney and everyone slept well.

Day 3: A Day Off

Besides a little morning shopping, we basically took Wednesday off from the adventure schedule. But by mid-afternoon we were at it again with some new activities. Our condo was in the neighborhood of Universal Studios, but also right near Wet 'n Wild waterpark. Now waterparks and thrill rides in general are really the purvey of the brown eyes in our family. After our day at Disney, where Ada's participation was fairly limited, we blue eyes decided to skip the waterpark. Instead we made an afternoon trip to Epcot, another of the Disneyworld parks. We basically walked around and looked at the exhibits for different countries, catching sight of a few favorite Disney characters along the way.

Both the blue eyes and the brown eyes had a nice time, splitting up and seeing different things. This is what is known as "touring" the parks. Orlando is full of theme parks, from Seaworld to Harry Potter to Legoland. What fun to have a vacation and adventure!

Day 4: Magic Kingdom Around Again

On our final day of Disney, we planned to meet with Linden's cousin and Judey's lifelong buddy Lukas. They were in town for a wedding, and we all just decided to spend the day at the Magic Kingdom together. Again we rolled to Disney early to try and beat the crowds. This time we were TOO early, and had to wait about 30 minutes at the head of the monorail. The kids were in high spirits, so we didn't mind the wait. Unfortunately we tried to beat the system by rushing over to the thrill rides in Frontierland and getting fast passes. There was some kind of technical difficulty with the rides that morning, so our early efforts were wasted. About 20 minutes later we met up with our cousin crew in the Pirates gift shop and a good time was had by all. We knocked out a few rides with them, then headed over to Tomorrowland to chase down several more rides. Ada was not really ready for most of the rides in this area, so again Daddy and daughter sat out and watched while the others had fun.

The action packed morning included the Buzz Lightyear ride, Monsters Inc, the People Mover, and Space Mountain. Then we broke for lunch at a counter service place. Good friendly times were had with the kids, and we revived ourselves a bit. Following lunch we returned to Frontierland and everybody rode the rafts out to Tom Sawyer's Island. Our kids were getting a bit worn out as the hot afternoon wore on. The cousins were still going on rides, but our kids lingered for a nice half an hour around the island. Ada was in the fort turrets, shooting the pretend rifles. Jude and I took a seat at an old fashioned checker board and played our first game of checkers. He won.

We saw the cousins again after a bit, and then said our goodbyes around 3pm. As we headed toward the exit, we stopped for some last minute Disney shopping and caught part of a parade on Main Street. Ada was too scared by the loud music to see much of the parade, but we managed to leave with some lovely little princess figurines and ANOTHER sword for Jude. This one was a Mickey Mouse Lightsaber. That's my boy!

We pulled out of Disney about 4pm and did not return that night. It was enough Disney for us. We got home, watches shows, and swam in the pool. We picked up some dinner and called it a night. All four of us were EXHAUSTED. And also relieved. We succeeded in visiting Disney with our young children.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Easter Sunday

We had a nice crowd at our house for Easter. The adults had a deviled egg contest while the kids searched the yard for hidden treasures.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Spring Concoctions

"Concoctions" are a springtime ritual at the Cornett House. 
 Combine watering cans, the hose, dirt, wooden spoons, and leftover materials from the pantry.
 Add two kids and some vessels for mixing. 
 Instant fun!
 Meanwhile, Dad is adding a shed roof to the back of the house to store some outside furniture. 
 We also added a slide to the backyard play structure. Come over an visit us! Spring is springing!