Archive for September, 2007


This is our reflection in the brook after a successful find of the A Forest By Any Name series.

We spent the day letterboxing. We had some great finds! Letterboxing is a quiet hobby–print clues from an intriguing online description and set out to find a box planted by another letterboxer. The boxes are not usually boxes, as they need to be weather-proof. They are often planted in beautiful scenic areas. Once found, you leave your signature stamp (from a rubber stamp) in a journal in the box, and mark your own journal with the stamp hidden in the box. It’s great fun to read through the journal and see who else has been there. We found one today that has been in use for 3 years! Then carefully tuck it back into place for the next letterboxer to find.

Letterboxing North America

Atlas Quest

Here are the kiddos marking their journals:


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I am lucky to volunteer a lot this year at the kids’ school.  I’m in Dawit’s art class every week, and for the past two weeks they have focused on Piet Mondrian, enforcing the concepts of horizontal/vertical, and the primary colors.

This evening we were working on his Word Book.  He has to think of several words that start with the letter of the week.  This week we have “B”.  He then sounds out the word, writes the sounds that he hears, and then draws a picture to illustrate it.  For example, he chose the word “baby”, and he wrote “bb” for the sounds.  “Bucket” was “bct”  It’s a fascinating process to watch a kid discover language.

He was spiffing up his drawings to illustrate his word choices, adding lots of detail.  He exclaimed:

hey Mommy!  I used red, blue and yellow!  All three imaginary colors!

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Thanks, Granny!

We loved everything!  We are going to make this a whole week of celebrating.  We still have a family party, and cupcakes at kindergarten.

Here is a photo from last year’s party.  He’s grown so much!

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Bowling party!

Dawit is employing the “lean technique” to guide his ball.

We had a great party–filled with stuff little kids like:  bowling (duck pin with bumpers), arcade games, pizza, ice cream cake, and  presents. It was a great group of kids, too:

At this moment, Lily and Dawit are setting up an elephant tent in her room to sleep in tonight.  A fun, fun day.

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Happy New Year

Ethiopia celebrates the new millennium with festivities in the capital city Addis Ababa.

Tickets for a concert featuring US hip hop group the Black Eyed Peas cost $170, two months’ salary for an average Ethiopian.

Full BBC article here.

Ethiopia 2000 with details of many celebrations.

Photos of the celebration in Ethiopia.

We went to our local Ethiopian/Eritrean restaurant, and had a fabulous meal of doro wot, shuro wat, and injera. The kids had soda in wine glasses, and we took turns making toasts. They like the klinking of the glasses best.

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5 More Days


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One thing leads to another…

So, someone in our neighborhood wanted to get rid of their backyard playscape. It was free, and John spent a couple of hours disassembling it and bringing it home Friday night. He sketched out a design to combine it with the playhouse he built a couple of years ago, and got up early Saturday morning to get started. He knew he had to move the playhouse to make it all fit. This is when the project turned into a weekend-long series of projects:

  • Move playhouse. Tools needed: truck, rope, saw, Irish Spring soap, wood. This accomplished, we realized that the crabapple tree was still too close. We always wanted the tree gone anyway.
  • Remove tree. Tools needed: loppers, chainsaw, Heidi and Bill. This accomplished, enough time to set up one side of the swingset. John worked until dark. Day 2:
  • Set up tire swing. Tools needed: big ladder, trip to the Depot, wife (to hold stuff), lots of imagination to reconfigure playscape to work in his vision. This accomplished, John thinks that he may have damaged a pipe in the septic system. This is going to extend our project into next weekend.

We do have the coolest playhouse/playscape in the neighborhood. What you can’t see is that the house has a second story and a tube slide off the back. Future project plans include a walkway over the swings and a matching roof on the smaller platform.

Saturday morning:

Saturday afternoon:

Saturday afternoon:

Sunday afternoon:

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