Category Archives: family

Japanese Garden

Another venture during daughter and grandson’s visit was the Japanese Garden. It is not a colorful season, like spring or fall would be; however, there is a subtle beauty to the various greens.

It is more meditative than a place to run and play, so we wondered about its appeal to a 3 1/2-year-old. The ticket clerk offered a treasure hunt map, which Logan guarded carefully for most of the visit.

Japanese Garden treasure map

He spotted the first item all by himself, but had to be helped to find others.

Japanese Garden tall structureSpotted instantly by Logan, it was at the beginning of the path. ETA a description from the brochure: “The antique 5-tiered stone pagoda lantern [was] given to Portland from its sister city, Sapporo, Japan. The stones at the base of the pagoda are in the shape of the island of Hokkaido. The red stone represents Sapporo.”

The rest were less obvious.Japanese Garden heron sculptures

A pointed finger led him to see the heron sculptures; I don’t think he ever saw the frog. (It doesn’t even show up in my photo–distant, small and moss covered.)

The deer chaser was fascinating.

Japanese Garden deer chaser

We watched several rounds while the water flowed from the top bamboo to the lower one; the lower one filled up and tipped, making a sound. Luckily it didn’t take too long to fill.

Buddha and the Animals was a bit abstract and took some convincing.

His mother pointed out the number of animals on the map and the number of small stones in the sand garden, and he was finally satisfied.

The Jizo was spotted by only one adult in the group and required retracing steps.

Japanese Garden lecture

Doesn’t he look like he is giving a lecture about it?

Hunger pangs decreased interest in the map; food not being allowed in the garden, we worked on getting to the exit and a picnic area near the International Test Rose Garden.

The two gardens are among the sites in Washington Park.






Filed under family, photography, travel

Grandson Visit

Three-and-a-half is a wonderful age; I love watching language acquisition and logic development (and sometimes lack of). And imitation.

And physical skill development, like climbing.

Of course Grandma was impressed that he got there all by himself. The more intricate climbs required Mom’s coaching, but not help.

I was too busy watching as he crossed the top, foot dangling in midair till Mom reminded him to look where the rung was. Then he got it and finished, making it across both loops.

Another adventure was the Children’s Museum.

He did wear a hard hat while doing construction, but it kept falling off. The tool belt was also as big a hit as the building activities.

Of course I have more photos, but I’ll restrain myself.


Filed under family

Farm Quilt and Accessories

Years ago I made the “Fun on the Farm” (a Good Housekeeping pattern from the 70s-80s) quilt for my daughter. I never finished the play parts. Now that her son is almost 3, it seemed a good time to make the parts. (It’s a Christmas present, but it is okay to show it early–Logan doesn’t read my blog.)

Being from an earlier time, the pattern for the people was very stereotypical: The “farmer “had overalls. The “wife” had braids and wore a dress and apron. I wanted to change that and also to add kids. First I considered jeans and shirt for each. But “unisex” dress is always male. Then I remembered the Fisher Price toys with the generic peg people. That seemed the solution to allow for imagination to take over.

farm people and vehicles

The car and tractor have a pocket so the people can “ride.” Inside the house (opens both with door and a side zipper) one person can slip behind the table to “eat” or into the bed to “sleep.”

farm crops and animals

The apples snap to the tree and can be “picked” and put in the bag or in the feed trough for the animals; the ears of corn snap to the stalks, and the stalks have a middle and a top snap so they can “grow.” The hay can be feed or snapped to the haystack. The nest in the tree has a pocket for the hatching baby bird. The letter fits in the mail box.

It will be interesting to see what imagination does to the parts and the whole.

Linking the current finish of toys to Link a Finish Friday. Button in sidebar.

On another note: at guild they announced that we had 1100 doll and infant quilts for the Toy and Joy program (mentioned in previous post)


Filed under family, quilting

Excursions With Logan

We took four excursions during my WI stay, three with Logan: Sherry-Butt houseBranches winery, Effigy Mounds, and Kickapoo Valley Reserve.

Although we got a few drops of rain on Sunday, it was mostly sunny. Logan patiently (relatively) waited while we sampled the local wines and bought one. Then he got to run and play. And work the crowd.

in the dandeions

With all those dandelions they should make dandelion wine, but it wasn’t one of the choices.  When the rain started he ran up to the patio where we were relaxing. There he greeted people at two tables repeatedly as only a two-year-old can. And he’d go to the door of the winery and wave at the customers waiting to taste.

at the winery

Maybe he is in training to be a salesman or politician. The rain didn’t last or get the grass too wet to play in so it was back to dandelions.

Memorial Day was rainy, but we had an inside back-up plan, the historic Sherry-Butt house.  Luckily it opened for the season on Memorial Day. Old furnishings and gadgets are fun to look at. On this tour we learned the origin of “sleep tight don’t let the bed bugs bite.”  Ropes instead of springs needed to be tight to provide a comfortable night’s sleep; mattresses made of straw could easily have bed bugs in them. I didn’t have my camera with me, but there are a few shots at the link as well as information about Jane of Vernon County. This didn’t seem to be a Logan thing, so he stayed home and napped.

Effigy Mounds are near (1 1/2 hour drive) in Iowa. I’ve had a fascination with the Mound Builder prehistoric culture since living in Ohio and seeing Serpent Mound. Most of the mounds are conical or rectangular; the animal shaped ones seem more special.  At Effigy most animal mounds are bears, but there are a couple birds. And lots of Conical, Linear and mixed. They are on the top of a ridge along the Mississippi–a memorial meant to last needs to be out of flood danger. So the trail began with a 400 foot elevation.  After that it leveled out.

logan in back pack

Traveling in style

This is the way to do elevation. And maybe the rest of the hike. Always be prepared.

At Little Bear mound

The photo is by the sign because otherwise it looks like more grass. One would have to be in a helicopter to really see the shape.  It is outlined with a couple rows of stones to help visualize the bear. We declared the 3-mile hike enough; to see more bears and the birds would have taken four more miles. The drive home was perfect for nap time.

The next Sunday was sunny, so we headed out to the Kickapoo Valley Reserve. The land had been purchased for a dam that had been abandoned; it was turned into preservation/recreation land. We hiked on what had been old State Route 131. Nice and easy and level.

walking a level path

So Logan started out walking and exploring. Only at the end did he need the stroller.  It was not a loop, so we had to figure out when we were half tired.  After the walk, we ate a picnic.

Logan and sandwich

Nothing quite like PB and J. But it does make one thirsty.


In between excursions was more book reading, CD listening (favorite of the day was Simon and Garfunkel–Logan knows which is which, even in an old one where Simon has long hair and mustache), and library story times..

I’m home now after having enjoyed most of a 42 hour train ride.  My photos through train windows are not worth sharing; however, some will do for quilt color inspiration.

Soon to be returned to regular quilt programing.


Filed under family

Grandson Interlude

Can’t say “grandbaby” anymore; he is growing so fast! A little past 2 now, and calls himself “I” instead of “baby.”

Some of his favorite things.
Helping unload the dishwasher.
Unloading dishwasherLet’s hope this fascination continues as he ages!

Listening to music and reading tractor catalogs. Tractors are among his favorite things.

music and catalog

Breaking stereotypes: he  listens to opera as he names the various tractors and other equipment. He also recognizes whether the singer is Rudolfo or Mimi. With musicians for parents, it is no big surprise that he names CDs by the composer or performer. Wild Colonial is another favorite group. He names instruments when they solo, often accurately.

His mother works at the library, so on a short shift day I took him to story time and he also played with the toys.

He surprised me by saying “Turn round” when a  puzzle piece didn’t fit right, before I had a chance to suggest it.

Then he moved to another favorite.
construction toys

Enough from this proud grandma.






Filed under family

Belated Finish Photos of Doll Quilts

Because Logan enjoyed playing with the doll quilts destined for charity, I decided he needed his own for his birthday. Only I forgot to take pictures before putting them in the mail. So his mom took some for me.

The quilt to the left was Plan A, various animals playing various musical instruments–both things Logan is familiar with and enjoys identifying. But then when some repairs were being done, he was fascinated with the screwdriver. Soon after he got a tool bench and played with it for 2 whole hours and more after dinner. Since I had the tool print, it seemed he needed that one too. Not quite I-Spy quilts, but lots to talk about. (Alas, I can’t make the video of him finding the saxophone work but you can see him studying the tools.)

Studying tool print

Someone else in the family liked the quilt.

Cat on quiltAny self respecting quilt needs a cat (or dog). Now the interesting thing is that Shirley, the cat, has so far only chosen this one. Poor low-esteem tool quilt. Logan tried to help by wrapping her in it.

Cat wrapped in tool quilt

I don’t know if she stayed long enough to establish the quilt’s dignity or not.

Linking up with Finish it up Friday, TGIFF and LAFF when links are available. (Hmmm. since it is almost noon, maybe I should say, When I wake up, instead of when available.)


Filed under family, quilting

Early Christmas

Sometimes family life and calendar life don’t coincide. So we celebrate when we can. Logan is almost 2, and toddlers can be quite entertaining.

We did sight seeing things, of course. We were one of three small groups late in the afternoon at the Lan Su Chinese Garden.


I’m sure part of our enjoyable 2-hour visit there was that Logan led the way. He thought he was in a BIG park.

Wall and windows

We did our ritual stop at the tea house (alas I neglected to take pictures there) where his favorite food was the cucumber garnish. Adults enjoyed moon cakes, steamed buns and dumplings. And of course tea.

And I have to have the ritual shot of the persimmons tree, even though Logan is not in it.

persimmons tree

Not the usual angle, but the same tree.

And the red rose was in bloom, though it was getting too dark to get a photo of it. Sunset was around 4:30; garden visit 3:00-5:00. A visit at dusk was a new experience.

The next day was as full as a 2-year-old can handle. First the Benson Hotel’s gingerbread display.

Gingerbread castle

Gazing at the 150 lbs. of housemade gingerbread, Logan said, “Toys!” Luckily he has learned (most of the time) to enjoy things with his eyes. From there to the children’s section of Powell’s City of Books, then to VooDoo Donuts, then the Christmas tree in Pioneer Courthouse Square. No photos. What were we thinking?

Even though light rail is not new to him, Logan got excited to be on the “Big train” with “People,” and even moreso when another train passed us. We rode to N Interstate and N Denver to see the Paul Bunyan statue. Logan was not as impressed as we expected, but he did comment, “Big boots!” No photo because we were hurrying to get out of the rain at Posie’s Cafe for lunch. Next time Logan saw the statue it was from inside the car, and he pointed and said, “Little big guy.”I love trying to follow his logic as he chatters. I’m thinking this statement was a comparison of the apparent size from the car window in contrast to the closer view walking by, and “big guy” was the name of the statue, and this time it looked little.

Another day we went to the train museum.

What a clever museum! The adults loved the three working vintage engines–one of which was being steamed up for an excursion the next day. (We would have ridden it except they were leaving the next morning.) And a toy train for toddlers. We had thought Logan might not let us get our fill; it turned out his interest lasted longest.

And then the early Christmas gifts.

It took a while to get the hang of unwrapping gifts; then Logan wanted to help everyone, play with the paper, and start rewrapping things. (Did you see the placemats in one of the photos? They got finished in time.)

In addition to all that sight seeing and gift excitement, there was food, conversation, and hanging out time.

hanging out

More fun than the toys was playing with the afghan, poking fingers and toes through the holes, wiggling and watching the afghan move. Who needs toys?

Linking with Anything Goes–Hey there is one mention of a quilt.


Filed under family, Holidays

Child “Labor”

With a condo for sale, we have to keep it clean and tidy.

baby with broom


Sweeping looks like so much fun and sounds so interesting. Let’s hope the interest continues after he grows a bit.

Anyone moving to Chicago? Here is a cool condo. There is a quilt I made on the bed in the bedroom photo.





Filed under family

More Baby Photos and Antics

I love this age  (16 mos) where the child is figuring out the world and language.

Problem Solving 101: Logan dragged a toy chest across the room so he could climb on it to climb onto the coffee table. Unfortunately he wasn’t very rewarded as coffee table is off limits.

Game Rules 101: We were playing with a medium sized ball, a rudimentary version of Catch.  I started to say “Logan’s turn; Grandma’s turn.” Soon he switched to his tennis ball. Then he maneuvered to a different chair and asked for help getting up, ball still in hand. Then he made it clear he wanted to keep playing our version of Catch. And I remembered that we had used that ball in that chair yesterday when I “invented” the game.

I would like to get more action shots, but as soon as he is aware of the camera, he begins to pose. So I am lucky to get one. One adventure was to climb from a ledge in the fire place to a chest to the window sill where he could reach the rod that opens and closes the venetian shades. He was so proud we let him continue for a while.

Baby at windowPosing soon began.

Posing at windowOnly problem with this game is that when he crawled away, there was a big paint chip on his foot. We couldn’t think of anything to put on the sill that would protect the paint but not cause him to slip, so we moved the chest. Now he heads there and gets as far as foot on brick ledge, then looks very puzzled.

It helped that a play mat had arrived and he could help unpack it. Distraction works wonders (sometimes).

opening play matThe one and only busy shot.  Next came the posing.

ABC poseNotice his hands.  He was signing, “More.” I have learned I can distract him when he is fussy with the camera–each photo is followed with him signing, “More.” It is a good thing we have digital cameras these days.

And then you have heard the saying, “You have to hold your mouth right.” He is demonstrating.

That tongue is making a difference in the success of the task at hand!

That tongue is making a difference in the success of the task at hand!

Now to see what tomorrow brings.




Filed under family, photography

At the Exploratorium

I wasn’t on this excursion, but I got the photos. I really enjoy watching baby intense interest, whether IRL or by photo.

The Exploratorium is a great concept for the little ones. I love the water proof smocks provided so that the kids can climb the steps and dip their hands in the water. Logan did too.


Filed under family