Thursday, September 30, 2010

2nd Breakfast

Another blurry picture to continue with the week of crappy pictures theme....

Let me preface this by saying that we nearly never take our kids out to restaurants. As I stated in the previous money post, there really are no funds for that right now. Even when we do have money we don't do it very often because they really aren't the sit still, be quiet and have good manners sort of kiddos. Oh, they are well behaved enough but it feels stressful to take them out to eat so early on Peter and I decided that was an easy thing to give up on. Plus, they don't really eat food. I mean really, there are about 5 things that they each will eat.

This morning though, I took them both to the dentist (no cavities!) and then we went to Bob's Red Mill to buy some flour. If you live in the Portland area you should really check it out they have a great little restaurant and their flour selection is incredible. The kids were hungry by the time we got there so I broke my no-restaurants rule and ordered them each a kid's breakfast and a smoothie to split and people, you would have thought I hung the moon just for them. They were ecstatic. It was all so exciting! Waiting for our food, buttering the pancakes themselves, the choice of jam OR syrup, everything about it. And they were polite and well-manned the whole time.  So I guess breaking a rule every so often is actually a good thing.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


I am hereby declaring this the week of blurry/terrible pictures. The ones from today were all universally terrible and this one was taken through glass. Anyway, please expect better after this week.

Now that we have that out of the way.... Mr. T has been having a hard time this year with being the youngest kid. I think this is something that is a common issue with kids who are really close together in age. They are close enough to expect the same things and get much of the same stuff but they are far enough apart, that they aren't equal. It's been a rough patch to say the least lately. So, we figured that Mr. T needs something that is all his own, something that Miss E has never done so she won't be ahead, faster or experienced in it. And, since he's the second kids and never really go all the music and mommy and me classes with me, he was very apprehensive about doing a class on his own. But at age 4 they don't really have mommy and me sort of classes. So we figured it would have to be through an organization that has a quality program  and quality teachers. Hence, The Little Gym! We went to our tryout class today and Mr. T is in love. He was SO EXCITED about this class that he was bouncing off the walls.  Literally bouncing when I came home from work. And if felt so good to see him that happy and proud of himself. So so good.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Rest Time

Yes, this picture is blurry. Lately they are all either blurry or completely washed out from the flash. So, I guess I am siding on blurry. Someday soon there is a photography class in the works for me - perhaps Winter semester. Until then, you get blurry or flash. Sorry.

Since the kids stopped napping I have imposed a "rest time" period on them. It's really for all of us. When Peter is at work, he's gone for 24 hours straight and frankly the kids and I need a break for an hour or so in the middle of the day. Lately they have been doing about an hour by themselves in their rooms and then another 1/2 hour together. Today when I went to tell them rest time was over, this is what I saw. Miss E organizing the doll house, Mr. T handing her the furniture and Ginger, well, I'm not really sure what she was doing. Relaxing? Who knows. The whole thing seemed pretty peaceful to  me though.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Self-Portrait and $

This is a self-portrait Miss E took at soccer practice tonight. Peter was coaching and apparently left her in charge of the camera. I love the smile she is giving herself for this. So cute. And those pink cheeks.

As they were at soccer practice, I was at home putting Mr. T to bed and worrying. What was I worrying about you say? Money. And that is a subject I have been worrying about a lot lately. As the lady in charge of the finances around here, the buck (literally) stops with me and comes from me. I am the person everyone in the family asks if they want to buy something and lately, I am more often than not put in the very un-fun position of saying "no". Things have been extremely tight lately and it has been stressful.

The hard part for me, is that I really don't want anything extravagant. Right now if we had all the money in the world I would buy myself and Peter some clothes and shoes, pay off everything we own, take my family on a vacation to the coast, enroll both kids in gymnastics classes, participate in all the school fundraisers, buy all organic food, take the family out to dinner and movie once a month, ditto a weekend breakfast out, hire a babysitter so Peter and I can have an evening out and take the kids to a play or basketball game. See? Nothing crazy, no jetting off to Europe, fancy cars or boats or expensive jewelry (although at some point in my life I would love some of those tiny diamond stud earrings). No quitting our jobs or buying a mansion or a boat. I truly don't want those things. I don't need fancy, big or expensive stuff and in truth, they seem to just make life more complicated. But I would like to go to the grocery store whenever I want and buy whatever I want. Or not have to make the choice between which kid gets to do a class or extracurricular activity this time. Or be able to buy Mr. T an adorable fire truck fleece when I see it whether it's budgeted for or not.

We are one of those families that the recession doesn't seem to affect but it has. (Let me interrupt this pity party here - I completely understand that there are MANY families worse off than we are and I am thankful for where we are right now. Ok? Alright, back to the complaining...) The cost of everything has gone up for us, bills and goods. Peter's salary has not and in fact, it has gone down some. You do the math on that - costs up, income down. Not good.

Miss E (who listens to everything) has heard us worrying about money lately and I have had to reassure her that we are fine. And truly we are. The basics are covered, Peter's job is secure and that alone puts us in a much better position than many. It's the extras that have been so tough. We will always figure out a way to pay for soccer shoes for Miss E or to get Mr. T a winter coat (even though it might be second hand). But we have birthdays coming up and Christmas and frankly, those have me a little worried because right now there is no extra for a birthday party but I have a girl who is about to be 6 dreaming of a princess party. And how many more years do we have to throw a princess party? Now we are not the parents who overload our kids with toys and stuff or buy them things a lot. We can't and I don't believe in doing that for kids. But I do want to give my daughter some version of the birthday party she is dreaming of.

We will work it out, we always do. Right now Peter and I are forgoing new clothes, birthday presents, and some furnishings we want to replace for the house. Eating out and movies also have to wait. For the most part, other than obligatory family trips, vacations are on hold as well. Truthfully this has been the hardest period financially for us and we are just treading water trying to get by.  I know there are many people out there who are better at living on less than us. And that we have many blessings to count and I have been trying to do that every day.  We will figure it out and get by. But the day to day stress of managing this is something I personally am going to have to figure out how to deal with better. That, and how to pay for a new dryer.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday Sunday Sunday

This is what the house looks like all day Sunday when friends are visiting during football season. Football, football, football and since we are all in the same fantasy football league (my first year - it's shockingly fun) there was a lot of time spent talking about football. It was all fine and good and lazy and fun for the grown-ups. However, guess who doesn't like watching/talking about football all day long? 4 and 5 year olds! Hmm... so I hopped up got out the Playdough, ran an errand with Mr. T, set up another art project, and made homemade spaghetti sauce. Miss E made up a guessing game where she would get something from her room, make up three clues and then have us guess what it was. All the guys were extremely good sports about this of course. Mr. T occupied himself by using these three guys as his own personal jungle gym. Up the legs, over the shoulders, standing on the laps. It ended up being OK for the kiddos and I got to watch snippets of the game while I was entertaining them and cooking which is all fine and good. I don't really like sitting all day anyway. Even for football. And, playdough is awesome.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Ella's Posse

Another Saturday, another soccer game. Our fall has nicely settled into a weekend rhythm of soccer, family time, cleaning, cooking and football. Not necessarily in that order. This weekend 2 old and dear friends (well, they aren't so old, Peter has just known them since childhood) came to spend the weekend with us. This is a real treat for us all because Peter gets to see friends who live far away and the kids absolutely adore these two guys.

Because of this at Miss E's game today she had quite the cheering section. On the left in the brown hat is Ryan, next to him in the white hat is Casey, my Mom is in the red shirt and Mr. T is telling her a joke. Miss E was hanging out with us waiting for her turn to go back into the game. Peter was out on the field coaching and I, of course, was snapping pictures. It felt good that we could easily supply such a great group of adults to cheer her on for a regular Saturday soccer game. Old friends are the best. Well, new friends are good too but there is something about friends that have turned into family that is pretty special.

It was also wonderful to have my mom there because Mr. T has not exactly made the last few soccer games really enjoyable for me to watch. It's a bit boring for him and he's a bit too young to understand the whole "supporting your family thing" so he spends most of the time complaining. Fun, I know. So she greatly helped with entertaining him and afterwards they had a "special Nana date" which involved a carousel, lunch at a restaurant, ice cream, a toy store and a new Buzz Lightyear toy. Yeah, he was in heaven.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Walk Home

 Miss E has been asking to walk home from school for  awhile now but it's about a mile and I always seem to have Mr. T or someplace to go which makes it an unattractive option. However, when Peter and I picked her up at school today we parked half-way away from our house walked to pick her up. It was a really sweet time with just her and us and we walked the paths through parks in our neighborhood to get back to the car and while we did that we talked about school and our mornings and stopped and poked at orange slugs. It was one of my favorite parts of today.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Legos and Writing

The kids have hit a bit of a hitch in their playing together this last month. With school starting and the issues that came up with that, plus Mr. T giving up his nap (which makes him a crying mess from about 4 on) they just haven't found many ways to play together happily. However, come this week, enter the Legos. They both have their own little sets but are also able and willing to play with them together. This has been a huge relief for me and I think for them as well.

On another note, tonight I went to hear Margaret Atwood and Ursula LeGuin speak and it was, of course, an amazing experience. They are both these tiny little old women, both dwarfed on stage sitting in huge chairs, but the intellect and spirit and strength encapsulated in those bodies is awe-inspiring. They both talked about the process of writing and here are a few things I came away with:

1) Yes, you can make a chart of your plot and list out how the whole piece will be written before you write it. However, most authors don't do that and it doesn't create fun or great works. Virginia Woolf described the process of writing as going into a dark room with a lamp and the lamp shows you what was there all along. I was interested to hear that when both these women start books, they don't necessarily know how they are going to end or how they are going to get to the ending. They just start with a vague idea and the art is created from there. Beautiful.

2) You have to find space to let ideas come to you. Uncluttered brain space. This also resonates of Virginia Wolf's lovely quote "A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction." It is so hard, especially with small children and a family to find uncluttered brain space. I am constantly trying to keep together the little details of our lives and it leaves little room for creativity. I find that in the shower or in bed at night before I go to sleep is where I have space for creativity and find myself jotting little notes then.

And they said about a thousand other wonderful things. It was just a delightful and inspiring evening that came at a time when I really needed it.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tired puppy

This is what Ginger looks like after we go for a jog. Then she sleeps for about 8 hours.

This morning was the first time both the kids were in school and Peter was at work. I had three hours to myself and it was overwhelming. What should I do? Laundry, jog, coffee shop, clean????? The options were endless - I was alone! Fortunately, I have wonderful friends and one of them asked if I wanted to hang out thus taking the crippling indecision away. So I ended up taking Ginger for a run, taking the fastest shower ever and meeting a friend and her son at the mall. And it felt good, even more so because I knew both Mr. T and Miss E were doing something they loved as well. So far this year, the kids and I are loving the new schedule.

Side note- when I picked up Miss E at kindergarten after-care, her teacher told me she was a "joy to have in class". Now that is something I will never get tired of hearing.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

It's my birthday!

Today is my birthday!!!! I won't say how old I am but the first number is a 3 and the last number is a 5 and it felt pretty old. However, my birthday day was lovely. I am usually the occasion planner/doer in our house and while Peter has many great habits and qualities, planning birthdays and holidays is not one of them. Or, hasn't been in the past. However, as the kids have gotten older and we have gotten older, we have come to re-understand the importance of celebrating each other in the family, and how important it is for the kids to learn how to celebrate others.

Fast forward to today - I got to sleep in and when I woke up there was a dutch baby in the oven and coffee waiting for me. Went to work for a few hours, came home, hung out with the family, and had a lovely dinner and cake with my mom. (Then onto a PTA meeting but that's how it goes...) There isn't money for presents this year, but Peter helped the kids paint beautiful picture frames for me. It was all very thoughtful, sweet and touching (except for the PTA meeting).

Monday, September 20, 2010

Rainbow Fish

Today I was at Miss E's new school shelving books in the library and snapped this picture of the board outside her classroom. Each of the kinders had cut out cut out and decorated a Rainbow fish and it was pinned up next to their picture. This is Miss E's. Now, we are her parents so I am not claiming impartiality here, but I really thought it was the best one. Not that it matters of course....   I just think she did such a good job on this and I love that she even put lipstick on the fish. She takes such care in the way she approaches tasks. I am a lucky mama.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Today I wanted to: stay home all day, watch football, do laundry, hang out the with the kids, cook something yummy for dinner, not have a headache.

We ended up: going to one of my jobs, frantically wrapping a birthday present in construction paper, spending 3 hours at a birthday party that Mr. T would not let Miss E and I leave him at, doing 1 load of laundry, watching 1/3 of a football game, serving leftovers for dinner and having a migraine.

And this is the smile I have been getting from Mr. T lately - it's cute to me (of course, I'm the mommy!) but it also kind of looks like some kind of teeth-baring grimace.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

RIP Flower

2 days ago, I noticed that one of our hermit crabs, Flower, was a little more lethargic than usual and she was hanging out of her shell which I have come to realize is not a good sign in a hermit crab. Yesterday, she was more out of her shell and Miss E started to notice. And get excited. Because she thought Flower was changing to a bigger shell which is a very exciting event.

"Mommy! Flower is changing! That's so awesome! Thank you for getting me these hermit crabs for my birthday! It was the best present ever!"

Uhhhh..... "Well, honey, she might be changing but she might also be sick. We should just give her some space and see how it goes"

Anyway, long story short, Flower climbed completely out of her shell and lay there on the sand. Now, this is not good for a hermit crab and I knew the end was near. This morning at breakfast, I prepped Miss E a bit that she seemed pretty sick. And I knew she would be upset, but I had no idea about the tears. There were sobs and I reassured her that we would see but also let her know that Flower was probably going to die. Then I sent her off to school

This is not the first pet Miss E has lost, she was 2 when our beloved dog died and we have lost fish and even other hermit crabs but this one was different. When she went off to school Peter and I debated the merits of putting the crab out of her misery or letting Miss E watch her die a slow death. We finally decided to end it so we could bury it after school instead of having her watch it slowly die. However, we could not think of a way to kill it that wouldn't leave a mark she could see. So.....


 .....we tried to drown it but it was still moving a little bit. Finally, when Miss E got home we told her Flower was dead, swiftly put her in a little box, told Miss E not to open it and buried her alive. Yes, that's right. We buried something alive. Barely alive and certainly dying, but still ALIVE. I don't even want to think about the karma on that one.

So we buried her, said a few words about what a great and spunky hermit crab she was and Miss E cried a lot. She and I sat on the deck with her sobbing into my shoulder for about 20 minutes. Then she asked if we could get another hermit crab.

The stone pictured above is what Miss E painted to put over her grave. Pretty nice huh? I hope my gravestone looks something like that.

Friday, September 17, 2010

River Rock

We finally made a decision on driveway gravel and river rock won out (yay!). So we have had 8 yards of this beautiful stone delivered to us. I have shoveled about 1/2 a yard, the kids shoveled and moved about 1/4 of a yard and you can do the math on how much that left for Peter. It looks great and come this winter, hopefully our driveway and yard won't be such a mud pit. I love the look of this rock when it's wet, I love that we can walk on it barefoot and I love that it still keeps our driveway a permeable surface. With so many trees around and the amount of cement and asphalt in the city, I think it's really important to keep this kind of surface when possible. Plus, we won't be cursing in 5 years when the tree roots push up like we would be if we had cement. Win win all around. (Especially on the shoveling part - thanks babe!) Also - kids think hills of gravel are insanely fun. Seriously. All you new parents out there - buy your kid a yard of gravel. So. Much. Fun.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Monkey Mind

As we went to bed last night it was so peaceful. The house was dark and quiet, our bed is unbelievably comfortable and I was snuggled against my warm snoozing hubby. The windows were open and there was a cool breeze and the sound of rain. The whole air was filled with the sweetness and quiet of the moment and then….

I wonder how we can help Mr. T focus. Maybe more puzzles? Is it just something he will pick up with out us forcing it? Should I even be worried?

My brain switched on. I think in Buddhism it’s called Monkey Mind.  Let it go, I told myself, enjoy the moment you are in now and go to sleep.  A moment later:

I can’t believe I’m going to lose my football matchup again this week? Did I draft wrong? How come all my running backs suck? Is Alex Smith going to be playing any better this week? Should I bench him?

Seriously, I tell myself? You’re thinking about football while you are lying in bed next your sleeping husband enjoying this perfect moment? Let it go.

Should I try and head to the Round-Up this weekend with the girls? No, you have responsibilities. But it would be spontaneous and fun and a way of saying yes to life. But your way of saying yes to life right now is not leaving Peter to care for the kids and their cousins alone, watching your daughter’s soccer game and spending the weekend with your family. But it would be fun and a lifetime memory and you have lots of weekends to spend with your family. Sorry but it’s not possible – you have responsibilities.

Apparently I argue with myself a lot in my head. At this point I was getting increasingly frustrated. What is wrong with me? Why can’t I turn off my brain? Not even for rain and peacefulness and sleep? OK, focus on the rain. Let’s just listen to that and see if it works.

I can’t believe Peter has been off work for 5 days. It really doesn’t seem like that long, usually it seems longer. I think that’s a good thing…..

OK really, stop. Go to sleep.

And it continued on like that until I finally fell asleep and when I woke up at 5:30 my brain literally picked up where it left off. Exhausting.  

This morning while Miss E was at school, Mr. T and I headed to the children’s museum to glaze our clay projects that we made last month. He is pretty picky about which art projects he will engage in and/or spend some focused energy with so this was a real treat for me to sit in the clay studio with him. We sat and glazed our pieces, chatting about colors and brushes.  It was actually very calming for my Monkey Mind.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

No Kids!

This year we will have three mornings a week with both kids in school AT THE SAME time! And because of Peter's schedule, that means we will have some time to hang out. With each other. With no kids. So, how did we spend our first morning? We got coffee, went to look at gravel for the driveway and went to buy groceries. Now, don't be jealous by the fanciness of this all, that's just how we roll. The gravel part was particularly exciting. The above picture is Peter impatiently waiting for me to get done with the pictures so we could get back to debating the merits of river rock vs. oil rock (river rock won out  in the end). It was a lovely morning.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Today I got the kids ready for school, worked for 8 hours and then went out with some friends. And I forgot my camera. When I got home it was about 10 and the house was dark and quiet. Peter and the kids were all sleeping. As I sat down to check my e-mail, my faithful companion got up from her bed and settled right behind me. Such a good puppy dog.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Finally school!

Mr. T started school today!!! Hooray! He was SO excited and ended up having a great day. The first day a parent goes with him so Peter went and he spent the three hours pretty much socializing with other parents. Mr. T is like the big man on campus. He knows where everything is, the teacher, the routine, the other kids - he is all over it. Peter and I have come up with some activities for him to do at home this year to supplement preschool so that he won't be bored and will be as ready as possible for kindergarten next year. I'm so proud of my little guy (who has incidentally informed me I can no longer call him "little guy" as he is now 4.)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Spiders and Football

Random thoughts for today:

1) The kids spent last night at my parents so we woke up this morning to a quiet house that we were remarkably able to keep clean for more than 10 minutes. (Thanks Mom!)

2) It is spider season, so there have been spiders everywhere - in the house around the house. The guy above built that web on our front porch overnight. At the beginning the kids would scream everytime they saw a spider and refuse to enter the room it was in. So I told them spiders eat mosquitos and they have been co-existing ever since. Now all the spiders in our house are named Henry.

3) This is my first year playing fantasy football with husband and friends and it has been a bit awkward. Who knew fantasy football was a boys game? They seem pretty uncomfortable having a girl in the league, and in turn I am REALLY REALLY trying to not be last, actually I would very much like to win but will settle for not being last. Which leads to another awkward thing - this week husband is last. Can I do a victory dance and post a lot of smack talk because I was fifth (or third from last for you negative folks)? Not so much. Fortunately, he is not the sort of guy who has a ton of ego invested in something like fantasy football. Which is one of the many things I love about him.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Soccer Game

Miss E had her first soccer game today. After one practice, they had a game. None of the kids knew what to do, the coaches weren't sure of the rules and they all had a blast. The ball was dropped and all six of them would converge on it. There was pushing, shoving and falling. But the kids all got up and got back in there. When it wasn't their turn to play, they sat on the sidelines picking flowers, trying on the bounds markers as hats and doing head-stands. It was just the most delightful morning, sitting in the sun-warmed grass (note to self: bring chair next time) and watching a group of 5-year olds kick it out in an aggressive manner over a soccer ball. And I discovered that apparently, I am the sort of parent who likes to micro-manage the coaching. Who would've thunk it? I guess it's a good thing Peter is the assistant coach.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Left behind

We have finished Miss E's first week of kindergarten and it has gone great. Better than great - it has been FANTASTIC. Those of you who know her know what a big deal this is. She is entering the classroom happy, riding the bus with ease, thriving on all the structure and rules and today was her first all school assembly ever and she was beyond words. Tomorrow is her first soccer game. It is all amazing, new and fun.

And we are all so happy for her. However, Mr. T does not start school until next week. He is also going to the same preschool where he has been for 2 years already. He has been home with us everyday not doing too much (hindsight -should have planned more exciting activities for him during first week of school) and he is a bit bored. He also has been to her amazing new school, looked at the huge library, seen the computer lab and her classroom. He has met her bus every day and listened to us excitedly ask her about activities and friends and teachers. And he is feeling very left behind and left out.

Today when she was telling us about her assembly she happened to let drop that they were having a movie night were you could bring your pillow to the gym and watch a movie. She also happened to leave out the part about it being for the whole family. At this point his head dropped to the counter and he started bawling. It was too much. And then as I reassured him that he could go as well, he looked up, with tears in his eyes, and said "I know, I was just joking" and my heart broke a little bit.

I'm not sure how to make this OK. His school IS going to be a bit boring this year. He has been there for 2 years already, and they do the same activities (with variations for ability) each year. I want to make this better for him and help him feel like he's not getting the short straw, but I don't know how. This is something that is really hard about having kids so close in age. He will be in Kindergarten next year but by then it won't be as shiny and new anymore. For now, we are going to really focus on him starting school next week and see if helps things look up a bit. And extra hugs. Always extra hugs.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


While waiting for the bus today, Mr. T picked up these little gifts for Miss E. 4 dandelion heads and a small rock (Ignore the wet rotting deck under them that is a story for another day. Sigh.)  He then assured me that he would pick the same for me too, except maybe one less because it was Miss E's second day at kindergarten and that was pretty special.

I tell you, that kids got charm in spades. SPADES I say. It will take him far. We also spent the morning making chocolate chip cookies which he got to mix. And guess what makes kindergartners happy when they get off the bus? Warm cookies and flowers.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

First Day of Kindergarten

OK. I did cry. A little. After I dropped her off. She looked so unsure when I left - actually all the kids looked a bit shell-shocked. The classroom was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. I realized as I was there, how different this was than preschool. The building is huge. There are a ton of kids at school. The kids are all expected to know how they are getting home that day or if they are going to after-care. They come in, hang up their back-packs, wash their hands and tell the teacher that. Some kids said "bus" and their mom dropping them off would say "no, you're being picked up today". I was grateful once again for the kid that Miss E is. I know in the morning every day I can tell her what is happening after school and she will remember that and communicate it to her teacher.

As I left I wanted to give her about a million hugs and say "I love you" and "this will be OK - not just OK but great" but after about 2 of those people start looking at you funny. Including your kid. So I left, with a deep breath in my lungs, faith in my heart and some tears in my eyes.

Today I left her in the care of adults that I don't know. I have never done that before. See that guy driving the bus? I don't even know his name, have never even talked to him, yet he is driving my child around town. And I am letting him because I have faith that he is kind. And in fact, he did drive an extra loop around to give her a longer bus ride since it was the first day and she is the first stop. So I am grateful to him for that. For paying attention and making an effort. As for her, she was proud of herself for being so brave today. And I was proud of her for the same thing and proud of myself because, let me tell you, sending your kid off to kindergarten isn't for the faint of heart. (Unless you have older kids, then it probably doesn't seem like such a big deal. Or a lot of kids and you are ready to boot them all out of the house.)

A story from today:
Me: What were the rules you learned at circle time?
Her: If you want to say something you have to raise your hand and wait for the teacher to call your name. One kid rose his hand after that rule and when she called his name he said "fart". He was not being good.
Me: I guess not.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Happy Anniversary

One of the best things about being married to a firefighter is taking the kids to the fancy new fire station and letting them climb all over the trucks whenever they want to. One of the downsides is spending your 8-year anniversary night (or Christmas, Thanksgiving, birthday's, etc.) at home alone while your hubs is at work. Today is our 8-year anniversary - 8 years! I can hardly believe it. As my Dad said in our wedding toast "some years are great, some years are not, you just keep stacking them on top of each other and eventually you build a life together." Some of our years have been great, some not so much. But here we are and there is no one I would rather be stacking the years up with and building a wonderful, blessed  life with. Happy anniversary to you, my dear Peter.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Pirate Re-touch

Mr. T was playing pirate this afternoon - the little wagon is their skiff and he is currently sailing out to check for sharks. Apparently sharks are afraid of 4 year old boys with dimples and cow-licks.

As for the photos, it seems I have been using the re-touch tool lately to mostly clean off the kids faces. Seriously, it's like a virtual washcloth. And what is with my kids always having crust on their faces? Is that a summer thing? I don't seem to remember taking children who looked like street urchins to school last year. Perhaps it has to do with the 20 snacks a day they are demanding during the summer? Or the fact that they seem to be unable to eat sitting down or in one place? Oh, school year, I welcome you and the order you will restore to our lives.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


So, we've owned this house for about six years and at this point I have a pretty hefty list of "things I wish we had considered before buying a house".  One of the first would be that stucco is a pain in the arse. Especially cream colored stucco. It always looks dirty, it's difficult to repair, and when you decide that you have had enough of single-pane wood windows from the 1920's and the accompanying heating bill and decide to put in vinyl you have to watch your hubs do something like this. Stand on a ladder and cut through rock with a skill saw. Yikes. However, this winter it will be nice to not have a cold breeze blowing by my head as I am going to bed. And to not have a heating bill that looks like a Lexus payment.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Are you ready for some football?

This weekend the whole family - Nana, Grandpa, Sister, Brother-in-law, myself, the hubs, Miss E and her cousin Mr. F took the kids to see the Ducks play. They are our family team, as my Dad and myself are graduates and husband attended there with me. This was Miss E's first football game and I think she was a bit overwhelmed by the size of the crowd, the size of the stadium and the noise. We had her wearing ear protection for the first half and she still thought it was loud. The second half the stadium emptied to about half full (complete blow-out, ending score was 72-0) so we had our whole row of seats to ourselves, and it wasn't so loud. Throw in some curly fries, absolutely perfect weather and a trip down to the turf after the game was over and a good time was had by all.

On a side note - Mr. T and his cousin Miss U were too young to go so they stayed with a babysitter the cousins had used before but Mr. T had not met. He spent three days fussing about the babysitter and how he didn't want to stay with her, despite all my reassurances. The morning of the game, this all cumulated into a hysterical fit and there was nothing I could say to reassure him. I was starting to think I might end up missing the game. Then guess what happens? Babysitter arrives, he says hi and starts playing with a dump truck like nothing is going on. I give him a kiss and say good-by and he doesn't even look up. He spent the whole afternoon happily playing with her. Go figure.

Friday, September 3, 2010

End of Summer

I love this end-of-summer light. The kids have been playing outside in the afternoons and enjoying every bit of our last days of sun. They have been having all kinds of adventures - bug collecting, making a pirate ship out of the picnic table, trekking. The make-believe lands and adventures these two can create when they are given some free time (and not fighting with each other, ahem...) is amazing.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

This Girl


This is the girl who made me a mother. Who started the next generation of our family. In so many wonderful ways, she has made me a better person. 

She is starting kindergarten this year and it has been hard for me. It's not so much about her going to school, I won't be crying the first day because I know she is ready and she will love it. It will be new experiences, new things to learn and she will LOVE IT. And it's not so much about her being away from me, although that is a little bit of it. 

It is about the passage of time. Babyhood is over. Toddlerhood is over. Preschool is over. Never to come again. The years during which I will be her everything are also coming to a close. The years in which she will go to bed untroubled every night are unfortunately probably going to end soon too. And it is so bittersweet. She is moving forward in an exciting and wonderful way and I wouldn't change a thing but I am mourning her babyhood. When she was little I eagerly awaited her sleeping through the night, then when she would sleep past 5 in the morning, then when she could dress herself and each thing was so exciting and we celebrated it but now I'm afraid that I forgot to soak in the NOW. To breath it all in despite the lack of sleeps and tantrums. And I wouldn't go back at all but a part of me is grieving.

There is also a little bit of fear. Now, I know we are not supposed to carry fear in our hearts, but I can't imagine a mama out there that doesn't have a little pocket of fear in her heart for her babies. This is the first time she will interact with many adults that I don't know. She will ride the school bus. That little pocket in my heart is filled with "what if's" right now.  What if the teacher doesn't get her? What if she feels lost? What if she has a hard time making friends? Or worse, what if she is picked on? What if she is so quiet they think she doesn't know anything despite the fact that she is reading and doing multiplication? This is the stuff that I have to set aside and have faith in her and the school and us and know that it will be OK. 

So the first day of school, there I will be with a brave look on my face and a deep breath in my lungs saying good bye to my first baby as she goes off to her next adventure.  

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Kitty Cat

Tangerine spotted Miss E sitting still and took advantage of the moment (and her lap!) He is not one to miss a cuddling opportunity!

Yesterday's picture I ended up boosting the color because everything was so washed out and gray. Today I did the opposite - this couch is actually really red, her dress is really orange, as is the cat and when you mix in a flash I can't control, this whole picture was blaring FIRE. However, a little color fading worked wonders to tone it all down without losing the light.