Thursday, July 30, 2009


If you play solitaire Memory, you can cheat a little. No harm, no foul.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Poking and Prodding

The past few days the high tide has been quite high due, and a lot of kelp and other sea plants (and a lost seal) have washed up on the beach. The seal was escorted back to where it belonged, but not before giving the kids a thrill by getting much closer than a seal should (and making me wonder if it was healthy). I was not too keen on getting close to it, cute as it was.

HOWEVER, the kelp was fun to poke around in. So many types of plants were all jumbled together, along with sea stars, a few unlucky tiny octopi, and shells aplenty. Cole busied himself with dragging around long strands of whatever he could, and Carter and I explored the mess, checking out the colors and textures. He saw that there was great variety in the types of leaves and thought the roots where they anchor to rocks were really cool. Then he whacked me in the legs with a piece of kelp that was easily 12 feet long. Good times. :)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Run, Swim, Run

That’s the name of one of the events in next week’s upcoming Little Guards competition.  The kids do a ‘Collins' Cove’, which is to run to the end of Cowell’s Beach, where someone at some point scurried up the cliff and put up a little plaque, run back to the lifeguard tower, swim out around the buoy, which is 25 yards out, then run to Collins Cove and back again.  It’s not easy!  Last year, Bunny got 6th place, but was actually in 3rd until she became confused and started to do another lap running (silly girl… I always am ready to stop running, haha!).

Yesterday they did a couple of run-swim-runs, and Bun was 3rd around the buoy, which was her snag last year (not that she didn’t do very well, but she had NO interest in swimming in the deep water).  I’m so proud of her for facing her fear.  She still becomes a little anxious when she’s in over her head (what a metaphor…), but she does it—and quite well!  Much to be proud of…

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Beach Setup

 Little Guards 005

We’ve done two days of Little Guards…  this week is only 4 days, so I’m halfway through week one!  Yesterday went much more smoothly, as the boys understood more what the rules were (no sand in the tent!  NOOO sand in the tent!) and I was feeling a little better and less grumpy.

I thought it would be fun to show what I bring to the beach everyday.  I think, considering it’s just me making all this stuff move, it’s pretty impressive!

The stroller is the key, of course.  I’ve figured out how to use carabiner clips to hang stuff that won’t fit in the little basket under the seats and otherwise configure it all to transport the following:  one tent, one umbrella, one blanket, one reusable grocery bag (containing changes of clothes for the boys, 3 towels, sweaters in case it’s chilly), many sand toys, 1 or 2 trucks, a large shovel, one large cooler bag for our snacks, the Ergo carrier, and my backpack aka diaper bag.  Bunny also carries her backpack with her gear for Little Guards (towel, sunscreen, thermal shirt, snack, water).  It’s a lot of stuff, but when you are spending over 3 hours a day on the beach, you need to make sure your bases are covered—can’t just run home.

Yesterday I laughed when I saw what looked like a grandmother and grandson put down on the beach with just one towel each.  I remember travelling lightly!  It’s been a while, though!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Brought to you by the color red.

Little Guards began today.  Bun is in the afternoon session, and it was a very nice day on the beach, weatherwise.  I was not feeling my best, but managed to set up for an afternoon of sand play for the boys.


I was in the mood to play around with the camera. so I filtered out all but red and orange…  that’s gonna have to be it for today.  My bed is calling me.  :)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

When You’re One

When you’re little, you have short little legs.  Sometimes most of the people in your family move too, too fast!  Playing chase with your older brother and sister, you’re just catching up to them when they change directions and run the other way!  After a while it’s enough to make even the most amiable of fellows cry in frustration.

A trip to a park can seem like a trip to the jungle.  Most of the plants are taller than you are, and no one wants you to play with that cool pointy stick, meanies.


By the water’s edge everyone seems worried about you.  You just want to explore a little, but it’s so steep (to you) that you stumble and those grown ups get scared.  So, then you don’t even get to walk on your short little legs.

It’s enough to make a one year old cranky.  It’s nice when there is a Grandpa, who, for his own reasons can’t keep up.  Then you both sit at a picnic table together.

Friday, July 17, 2009

This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

I sometimes joke I grew up in a museum.  Not literally, of course, but my childhood home was filled with family artifacts and antiques.  My sister and I had toys, but they firmly belonged in our rooms.  All through my childhood I was regaled with tales of how I broke this or that very old and valuable item as a toddler: “When you were two you broke ___________!”  Back then, I felt bad about it, as that meant something very old that had been in my family for perhaps a few generations was no longer going to be passed on, and because of me.  Now, as a parent, I generally wonder how on earth I even got my little hands on those things in the first place and am relieved I didn’t hurt myself.  I mean, I don’t let my kids near the crappy Shrek glasses because I don’t want them cutting themselves, much less leave out crystal.  Child proofing is a good thing, I find.

I’ve probably gone farther than most would in my response to growing up in a house where I felt like everything in it was more important than I was, and my husband and I jokingly call our decor ‘early childhood’.  There are stains on things.  Our sofa, which was very nice at some point, is thrashed.  It’s also large, and I can’t find a slip cover for it that’s not one of those ‘throw’ ones, which experience has taught me means sloppy and continually untucked. 

So, I just throw a quilt or comforter over the mess and wash it as needed.  It’s not great, but it works, and I’m never stressed about it becoming messy.  Sure, sometimes I look for a more attractive solution, but really, I know the solution is when the children are older and I feel ponying up for a real refurbishment is not akin to throwing money into a hole, then throwing a match down that same hole.  Additionally, I suspect I’d be like the wife in American Beauty who can’t overlook the possibility of a spill on the furniture and is distracted by keeping things perfect to the detriment of everything beyond appearance… that would not be much fun for anyone.  Finally, I myself am pretty prone to spills, so it’s always good to ‘myself-proof’ things.  :)

Just yesterday I was once again looking to see if by some miracle prefab fitted slipcovers are made in size for a deep 9 foot sofa, and came up empty.  A little while later Cole and I sat down to share some chips and guacamole.  “Yaaaay!” he’d squeal every time he got to dip his chip in that blessed green stuff.  Inevitably he got a bit on his hand, and immediately he wiped it onto the comforter on the sofa.  I told him not to wipe on the furniture.  At the same time, I felt very happy that sitting with my son enjoying a little snack and enjoying *him* enjoying that snack was what we were doing, and that I really could give a rat’s patoot if there was a bit of oogy on the fabric.  Someday I’ll not need to worry about people wiping their faces directly on cushions.  Until then, rest assured, I’m not worrying about it anyway.  Go ahead, spill a little.  I might too!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

10 Years

Magnolia, originally uploaded by Kristianna.

Last week my husband and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary. We were married on possibly the hottest, most humid day in the history of the earth in the chapel at the University of Virginia, where we both went to school and met. July in Charlottesville is uncomfortable on the whole.

But there are magnolias in the summer. In my mind's eye, I wanted to walk the aisle with just one magnolia as my bouquet. However, the timing was not quite right for us to find one (Paul tried that morning--they were all either closed or out of reach.) So, I went with my backup plan, red roses, which I loved, too. They were bright, happy, and at that time, unexpected.

To celebrate our tenth, Paul and I walked to a neighborhood restaurant, and on our way home, he snapped two magnolias off a tree a couple of blocks away. They turn brown in only a day or two, but the scent was amazing, and it was a wonderful gift. Maybe I'm too easy to please, but they made my day. I hope, in 20 or 30 more years, we still can have as much fun as that, and as simply.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sandy Hands & Feet

Cole has been to the beach many, many times, and really enjoys it. However, we found out on our vacation that Cole really doesn’t like walking on the beach or getting sand on his hands while walking. At home a trip to the beach involves a decent walk, and I use our BOB stroller to transport the boys and our copious quantities of toys, snacks, etc. a few blocks to the beach. So, walking was never an issue for Cole.

In Virginia, however, no BOB. And Cole is 32 lbs. He gets heavy, and no amount of shifting from one hip to the other helps after a few minutes. As a result, I kept trying to ditch encourage him to walk for himself.

This very consistently resulted in him pitching a fit, and either refusing to walk at all, or trudging a few yards behind me screeching. Then he’d get sand on his hands and really become upset.

However, once he was on the beach in situ – he was happy as a clam to get covered in sand and water. Kids are weird.

Monday, July 13, 2009

I’m a mean, mean mom.

My kids are spending time every weekday morning doing workbook pages. For my daughter, it’s mainly to help her retain what she learned in first grade and not have a hard transition to second—and if she augments her reading or math, then so be it. For Carter, this is f-u-n. He loves being like his big sister, and sees his ‘work’ of 'circling all the 2s on a page as just as big kid as can be. I got his workbook mainly so he’d have something to do while Bun does hers, but he’s actually getting a lot out of it. I can see this as my child who enters Kindergarten knowing how to read a little. He and his sister are very different in that way. I have to defer to the teachers to tell her when it’s time to learn something, as, apparently, I have no authority in these matters as far as she’s concerned.

Whatever – as long as she is ready by fall, I call it fair enough. She’s smart, but dislikes having to ‘try’ to learn anything… yay. So, I’m a mean mom who makes her work. Tough, toots. Sometimes my job is not to make her happy, but help her prepare.


July 2009 019, originally uploaded by Kristianna.

Sometimes you get to get ice cream from the ice cream man. Sometimes you drop it. If you're lucky, you have someone to console you.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Back in college, Alysen and I were like Flick and Flack.  We pledged our House together and also dodged a lot of German classes as first years and the rest was a blur.  We learned you can not expect to get  much out of a film you must watch for a class, albeit a gut, if you slug back a few $3 pitchers of Killians while you don’t go to the 5:00 showing and barely make it to the 7:00 showing, especially if you don’t remember much more than, “Um, it was in black and white, right?”  But hey, we have our memories of Sweaty Wally, and who can’t cherish that?

Here we are… sheesh, in 1992?  Seriously?  Last time I checked it’s 2009, so um, yeah…  Those knuckleheads in this photo had no CLUE what was ahead of them.  Except for the next party.  We knew where that was.  Yeah, yeah, we also went to a lot of classes, too.  What kind of pansyass story would that be?  I can spare you the 1,000,005 hours we spent at the library or computer lab because as much of a HOOT as that would be to read, I’ll just have to leave you hanging…  Well, there was the time our teacher, who was also Al’s advisor and was ALSO named Alice Cooper (you can’t make up this kind of thing) announced to the class that she had not made tenure and, as such, would be absent a lot whilst the pursued other institutions for employ—lemme tell you, that was one semester cram packed with learning nothing.  I can’t for the life of me figure why they passed on giving her a lifetime gig at UVA…

But anyway, back to those dorks in white in the photo.

Now we have 6 kids between the 2 of us.  No kiddin’.  Those chicas in 1992 had no clue that was coming.  Or that one day our oldest 4 (four?) would be frog hunting while we held our youngest ones.  Man alive, I tell you what: time it is a trip!


Oh, and PS, yes, we’re hung over in the first photo.  It was a brutal day to schedule initiation—the day after we *had* to participate in Derby Days as pledges, and after the week long culmination party.  So yeah, we look like we feel there, haha.  Silly little girls who had no clue…  and too dang much bangs.  Way too much bangs.

Back from Vacation

frog hunting, originally uploaded by Kristianna.

...and lotsa memories to compile... I have literally hundreds and hundreds of photos. I'm steeling myself for this task, and today will start simply with this tidbit of my kids and my dear friend Alysen's kids frog hunting in their Virginia backyard.

These guys were tiny and plentiful. Hours of entertainment.


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