Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Eight Years

8 Years Ago

7 Years Ago

6 Years Ago

5 Years Ago

4 Years Ago

3 Years Ago

2 Years Ago

1 Year Ago

Happy Birthday, Bunny!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Rebooting a Play Area

I’ve been very much NOT enjoying playing out back with the kids for the past year or so, unless we’re in the pool.  When Bunny was smaller than Cole is now, we bought our play house, sand box (nightmare at our house because the kids dumped it all in the pool, cup by cup), teeter totter, etc… and a few wheeled toys have come and gone along the way. 

The sand box didn’t work for us because kids like sand to be wet and stick, and they never seemed comfortable sitting in that small space or reaching in from outside, so it’s been empty for almost 2 years now.  Minus the sand activity, my kids inevitably ended up digging in the mud (hard to keep tidy when you have as much paving as we have) or ripping leaves off plants, making messy concoctions. 

I don’t have a problem cleaning up certain messes, but purely destructive messes that escalate over time irk me a lot.  In a nutshell, I was the ‘no, no, no’ Mommy, and I never felt like I was actually relaxing outside.  As a result, I avoided taking them out back, preferring the park.  The park is great, but it doesn’t take much imagination to understand why proximity to outside playtime is also wonderful.

After hemming and hawing over it for a couple of years, last week I pulled the trigger and bought a sand and water table for the kids.  The preschool where the boys play has a sand table, and after watching them sift and scoop for over an hour straight one day a couple of weeks ago, I saw it might be a good solution for us.  Finally, Amazon had an awesome deal on a sturdy Step 2 table—with free shipping.

Assembly was easy—even with my two waaaay too eager helpers.  I’m very pleased.  The kids love it, and I have enjoyed sitting outside supervising them and sometimes getting in on the action.  I even read a magazine outside yesterday afternoon.  Bliss!





Friday, March 26, 2010

{this moment}


{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Not So Big, in Some Ways

My big toddler with a little voice… it’s easy to forget how young he is sometimes. He’s so tall and large, and verbally, he’s also miles ahead of where Carter was at the same age. He keeps up with his older siblings perfectly fine, too, running, whooping, and displaying glee in most situations that might intimidate some children.

However, sometimes the evidence is overwhelming: he’s a little guy.

The other day we stopped to admire the snails as they marched back from the lawn to shady areas, and I could not resist snapping a few shots.

I like a lot about this photo, but the detail I love most is Cole’s chin. All jokes about his robust appetite aside, the drool bespeaks of one thing to me. He’s still so little that, when fascinated by something, he forgets to swallow and a stream of drool makes its way on out.

Cole had a great time with this, and the three other snails slowly making their way under the bushes, touching the shell, exclaiming when its owner recoiled, and marveling at their tennas. It was but a moment, but one I am glad I caught on camera.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Brag Alert…

Warning: excessive bragging.  :)

Had to jot down the comment from Bunny’s excellent report card…  the only item which she has not yet reached or exceeded grade standards for the end of 2nd grade is handwriting.  Her reasoning?  I have my good handwriting and my fast handwriting.  She’s not interested in middle ground on the topic.  :)

Anyway, the teacher’s comment:

Bunny continues to do well in 2nd grade!  She has done so well in reading groups—improving her fluency, decoding, comprehension, and response to literature.  She is incredibly expressive and talented as well in readers’ theater!  Her writing is very detailed, we will still work on mechanics and spelling.  math continues to be easy for Bunny as well.  She is a joy to have in class each and every day!  Thanks for all your hard work, Bunny!

As much of a struggle as it can be to get this child to sit down and read, and as impatient as she is with herself, it is gratifying to see it all bearing fruit.  Her teacher also added, in the conference, that she wishes she had a classroom full of Bunnys.  High praise, indeed.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Red & Sweet

To some (okay most) people it may seem odd that I buy food from people who walk around with a wagon.  There’s the tamale guy, who sells the best homemade tamales 4 for $5… that’s not to be passed up, I tell you!  And there is our favorite: strawberry lady.  It’s always the same very sweet gal, who brings berries that are sweeter and more ripe than you’d ever buy in the store, because, to varying degrees, there they care more about shelf life than taste.

Strawberry lady’s berries have a life span of perhaps 36 hours… but that is merely speculation on my part, because we can gobble half a flat—6 very full pints—in 24 hours with no effort.  My uber picky 4 yr old will only eat her berries.  Everyone else will tolerate a mere store berry, but we all know the best stuff when we come across it.  We do live near the strawberry capital of the universe, after all!

Cole, the strawberry vampire.

Think I can bribe her to come more than once every 6 weeks or so?  I sometimes pass a “Super Sweet” black label berry from Trader Joe’s off as from the strawberry lady, but only if he doesn't see the package… this boy is brand loyal, I tell you.  :)

Friday, March 19, 2010

{this moment}

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy (?) St. Patrick’s Day!

Your mission, should you choose to accept it: capture image of three children while they’re looking at the camera at the same time.  Bonus points if the majority appear to something this side of completely miserable.  Triple word score if your beloved, yet rotten middle child agrees to look at the camera.  Instant bank transfer from the state lottery should that occur while the other siblings also glance in the general direction of your camera, and everyone seems happy.









Oh, never mind!  Have a super day, y’all!

Friday, March 05, 2010

Kitchen Cure, Week #1 Assignment: Done!

The Kitchn is hosting The Kitchen Cure, a four-week program designed to help you get your kitchen in tip-top shape: Clean, healthy and organized. Or, better than it was before, right? As much as I bemoan the lack of cabinet space, I think it is a good idea to join in The Cure this year and see if I can’t make better some irritations, gifted as I am at simply whining about them. :)

Last week was assignment #1: Clean out the fridge and pantry. I don’t have a pantry, so this translated to cleaning out the hodge podge of cupboards crammed to the gills with food for my busy, hungry family.

The assignment was to photograph the kitchen with everything open, and take a few detail shots. Then, it was time to declutter and purge old food: food we have in our kitchens should be fresh and replenished frequently. Finally, what we kept was to be wiped down, along with the cupboards and inside the fridge/freezer.

So, here are the ugly shots:

I have to say I much prefer all the doors closed. :)

under the sink….

above the sink, where the coffee cups and water bottles live

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the funky cabinets over the stove—with fan chimney in the middle

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Aside from seeing I really need new shelf liners, it was a lot of sorting and some purging. Everyone here has such varied tastes that satisfying everyone means the variety of food in this house can be dizzying… and only I know all we have and where to find it.

There was more purging in the fridge than I expected… a lot of yogurts were expired. However, since I shop with a list, it was not all that much, since impulse buys are fewer when I use a list. I’m only about halfway through the cupboards, and will continue to work on them, but this is what I did finish.

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A lot of improvement here in the fridge and freezer! I took the before photos a couple of days before I cleaned, and many leftovers had been used up, plus it was getting close to grocery day, so I realize it looks like much more was discarded than was. More thoughtful use of space helps, too. :)

This cabinet represents a little change I think I’ll like. Two out of 3 ‘food’ cupboards are over and under an oven, so they’re ridiculously deep. Food gets lost back in the depths that I can’t see or reach. When I had it empty, I tried to think what could be stored there that would not prove to be a complete pain: even only occasionally-used items can’t be there. Aha – wedding china! I like to pull them out a couple of times a year, but lately even skipped using them for Thanksgiving and Christmas, as I worry about #2 Son (AKA Ringo; please, someone get the kid a real drum…) banging flatware against the fragile plates. They seemed like perfect near-permanent residents of ‘where the sun don’t shine.’ As a result, other space I can see and reach has been freed up. Win-win!

I have 2 more cabinets to work on, but wanted to post these before assignment 2 is underway this weekend. So far, so good! I’ve gained a few square feet of space in a place where every inch counts.

Thursday, March 04, 2010


Bit by bit, it’s happening. 


Color is returning to our little part of the world.


Sweet smells beckon the nose.


The poppies are almost ready to show us what’s what—and how far they made it as they creep a little further around the fence line each year.


I can’t claim to be a fan of winter.  I can appreciate the rain, and the life it gives, but the shorter days cooped up just do not ‘do it’ for me. 

Winter, see you next year. 

Spring, welcome!

Monday, March 01, 2010

Working List: Halloween Costumes for Carter

My eldest son is a bit obsessed with Halloween.  Granted, his birthday is the day before, making a holiday most every child loves all the more special to him.

Nearly every day he claims he has changed his mind and has a new idea regarding his costume choice.  His one rule: it must be scary.  So, whenever he sees something that he feels is spooky, he wants to be THAT.

Some ideas are pitched and then abandoned that same day.  Others recur.

Here are a few of his favorites, in the order they came to my mind, which probably makes it close to order of importance or him mentioning it.

The Miner 49er.  Frankly, the concept of my small child walking around looking like a grizzled prospector cracks me up.  How crazy would that be, anyway!?!  I think a large part of the allure, aside from the ‘rrrrrrr!’ noise he makes, is perhaps he could finagle a gadget…

He really wants a miner’s lamp.  A lot.  A lot-a lot-alot.

Classic choice, of course.

Can you tell Carter’s a little bit into Scooby Doo?  This is the mummy who wanted his coin.  Another fun one.

I think maybe he’s seen a commercial for The Wolfman.  In reality, he was scared of the mask last fall when we looked at a werewolf costume, so this seems unlikely.

John Locke—WHEN HE IS THE SMOKE MONSTER.  Carter does not want to be John Locke; he wants to be the monster pretending to be Locke.  Now, wouldn’t that be a fun time costume??  Think he’d let me shave his head??  Other that that, it’s just a dark shirt, haha!

Finally, we watched E.T. for the first time today, and… you guessed it.

This list is sure to be added to, as there are only 9 months until Halloween…  he likes to plan ahead.


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