Tuesday, September 1, 2015


The Bear showing our neighbor Sam the apples he picked up off the ground in Sam's backyard. 

Mike and I have lucked out with neighbors in every state we've lived in together. When we first started dating we actually were next door neighbors, so maybe it's all in the stars to have great neighbors in our lives. One of the things I was most heartbroken about when I learned we would be moving from NC was moving away from a fantastic neighborhood with THE MOST AWESOME NEIGHBORS. I am tearing up just thinking about all of the wonderful people who surrounded our home there. 

Well guess what. We found another lovely neighborhood and some more great people that we call neighbors and even friends. We've met the two neighbors who live to the left and second to the left of us (second to the left has the fairy house). I have met the Dad and a couple of the kids across to the right of us (they just moved and are selling this house if anyone is looking to being our neighbor!!) I met the elderly lady across the street from us who lets us know when she is mowing the lawn so that the Bear can watch her :) . I have met the two little girls who live across the the left; the Bear loves watching them ride their bikes. We've met Jay and his wife who live 3 houses down from us on the right; they helped us jump start our car one morning. Jay grew up in the house we live in. He and his brother(s) dug out our basement! We've even met many of the folks who live behind us, Barb and John in particular who gave us many of our bookshelves! There is an alley behind our house that we share with all of the neighbors behind us so we get to see those folks a lot as well. And Sam and Barb live to our right; the Bear adores Sam. 
Sam lent the Bear these gorgeous, old, rusty Tonka trucks.

Sam showing the Bear a lady bug.
I think there is a mutual adoration between Sam and the Bear they are so sweet together. 
Here are the tiny apples that fell off of Sam's tree. The Bear kept himself busy picking them up while we chatted with Sam. 

Here's to good neighbors and strong communities!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Camping Pot Play

Gramps and Grams gave us all of their camping pots and pans. They were sitting in the carport for awhile until the mischievous Bear unearthed them and they soon became a staple in his backyard play. 

There was also far-out apron in the box. The Bear insisted that I tie it on him. Once aproned he got to work cooking stews, soups and pies...of the mud and grass variety.

There was also a table cloth in there. The chef takes a break:

Friday, August 28, 2015

Swing Band

During the summer at our beloved park they have music in the park every Thursday. When we were in town we tried to walk over there every Thursday to listen to the music. This one day they had an orchestra. We went over to the playground and the Bear swung on the swings and danced to the music. I love this video:

swing band from erin kawamata on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

It's OK to Be a Translator

I asked Mike a "what would you do" question the other day. I gave him a scenario that happened at the park a couple of weeks ago because I was at a loss of what to do and ultimately didn't feel comfortable with my actions. Here is what happened:

We were at the park playing in the sand volleyball court. Usually we bring his big bag of toys but on this day we just had a truck and a race car. Another boy showed up with all sorts of sand toys. The Bear stopped what he was doing and watched the boy play for awhile - this quiet observation often happens. Eventually the Bear came up to me and quietly says, "I want to play with his dump truck." So I told the Bear, "I bet the boy would say yes since you shared your race care with him." Then the Bear said, "You ask him." I said, "You can ask him." "No, you ask him." I said, "I will walk with you over there but you need to ask him." So I walked closer to the boy with the Bear at my heels and said to the Bear, "O.K. why don't you ask him now?" "No, you ask him," he whined. I calmly argued with him about it but finally gave in saying, "Can the Bear play with your dump truck?" The boy said yes. Then a couple of minutes later the Bear came to me and said that he wanted to play with the man (a small figurine) and the same conversation went down but this time I refused to ask for the Bear. He wasn't happy. I ended up dragging him home kicking and screaming (a very rare occurrence). I felt strange about the entire situation. It's like my instincts and confidence as a parent and decision maker went out the door.

It was simultaneously strange and familiar that he was being so shy. Strange because normally he is very fearless and rambunctious. Familiar because when I was very little I was extremely shy, practically mute. I was shy all the way up to my early twenties; year by year I would become less shy but those preschool and elementary years I was the shy girl. I heard people say to me, "Oh she's so shy." or "You don't have to be shy." I remember not liking being called shy. I remember not liking being shy. I think because of my experience, seeing the Bear acting shy was frustrating for me. I must say that he is no where near the same level of shyness that I was but that day at the park was me trying to force him not to be shy. When he does act this way I feel funny calling him shy so I tend not to or I spell the word out if I'm talking to a grown-up about it: He's being S-H-Y. I don't even like spelling it out.

Anyways, I felt at a loss on how to handle his occurrences of shyness. And then a week later I came upon an article. The article is called How to Help Your Shy Kid Get Confident on the Montessori Notebook Blog which I now follow and love. The first piece of advice is to not call your child shy! (I really need to start honing in on my instincts). The rest of the advice makes perfect sense and is very much in tune with the philosophy of Janet Lansbury's RIE methods which I have been following since before the Bear was born; simply communicate and prepare him with scenarios. It's so simple and so helpful.

This week on the Montessori Notebook Blog she posted an article titled Being Your Child's Translator May Be the Answer We've Been Looking For. Another good one. I like her list of why it is handy to be a child's translator:

A few things come to mind that are useful about being a child’s translator:
1. Other people – who may just think your child is being naughty, or impatient, or “shy” – will also be able to better understand things from your child’s perspective.
2. It shows we accept our child and their feelings. All of them. Even the big ugly scary ones.*
3. Your child will feel understood. There is nothing better than a friend who just seeks to understand you – they give support without pity, advice, teaching etc. I hope my kids and the children I work with get that from me too.
4. Rather than you playing judge and jury for siblings, they can take responsibility for working out a solution together.
5. You don’t take the child’s behaviour personally because you are busy translating what they are saying. This supports the child without us getting upset too.
I really tend to overthink and overcomplicate things in all aspects of my life. I remember prior to taking Physics my junior year in high school people would say, Mr. Jones is great but Physics is a hard class. I went in with that mentality. Every lab or assignment I over thought; I tried to make it harder than it was. Every time I would ask the teacher for help he would lead me to the answer and I remember always thinking, "Well duh. That was easy." That's how I feel with parenting sometimes. The best solution is sometimes the easiest or the one that makes sense from the very start.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

To Portland!

One of the views in Eastern Washington as we drove to Portland.
We also went to Portland this summer! Only a six hour drive away (no stopping).  We went to my friend Andrea's wedding, had lunch with my friend Tiff and fam, and stayed with our friends Alex and Susan and their kiddos. It was a time!
The Bear really grew connected to Alex, Susan and their kids. He still talks about their eldest (I will call him F) like it was yesterday.
Here they are in action:

Fin and Stan from erin kawamata on Vimeo.

We saw a potato truck as we were leaving Idaho...apropos:

The Columbia Gorge and our dirty windshield:

In Portland; making friends:

I love how kids flock to Mike. It cracks me up.

Susan entertaining the kiddos:

Cyclists Glidists:

Lookin' sharp at Andrea's wedding:

The nuptials:

Donuts instead of a wedding cake:

The Bear chose an M&M covered donut:

Me and my girls!:

Mike with a flock of kiddos again:

I also got to have lunch with my friend Tiff and her family. I've known Tiff since Kindergarten and went to high school with her hubby Darren. This was the first time I met her son and the last time I met her daughter she was probably a little younger than the Bear is now! It was good to catch up!

Gliding down a ramp with Alex and M as a target!

F in a pool:

These are some good folk:

The boys eating din at their little cooler table in their cute little chairs:

I love this picture of Alex giving the boys a lesson in BBQ:
They are so attentive.


On the pump track! F was such a good example for the Bear on the bike. I think the Bear learned a lot by observing F!
Grown up time with Coleco Vision:



Leg hugs!:

And then we were back on the road with one long stop to check out Multnomah Falls:

The falls were gorgeous but the Bear was probably more enamored by this tunnel:

My good traveler, fast asleep:

F had a great sand pit in the back yard and when we got home I was inspired to do the same. Here is the start of the project:

The pit without sand. It now has sand but here it is as a mud pit!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

To Sandpoint!

We are so fortunate that we live very close to one set of grandparents now and double fortunate that we live closer to the other set! It's only a couple hours to Gramps and Grammy's house (the Bear rarely calls them that, just once in a while - he mostly knows them as Grandma and Grandpa...I tend to turn everything into a nickname and have got the Bear calling Mike Pops and Popples - ha!) Anyways, we've been up there twice so far and plan on a third trip in September. Here is the Bear in the car on our 2ish hour drive to the Grand P's casa entertaining himself with his bear "Beary" and making him dance to "rock and roll!" (The Black Keys).
dancing bear from erin kawamata on Vimeo.

Here he is playing at Millie's beach next door - the weather was wonderful in June! The second part of the video is of a bald eagle flying and Mike far away in the kayak. I think the eagle ended up diving in for a bird right near Mike but I never go that on tape(or pixels or whatever it's called these days.)

close to sandpoint from erin kawamata on Vimeo.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Reading ME Books

There are some books that we read so much that the Bear can basically read them to ME (Good Night Gorilla and The Very Hungry Caterpillar are two that I can think of right off the bat.) There are other books that we don't necessarily read a lot but that are so repetitive that they are easy to catch on to. The following is one of those; here is the Bear's recitation of Ten Monsters Jumping on the Bed - a book we got at the library:

no more monsters jumping on the bed from erin kawamata on Vimeo.