Thursday, September 24, 2009

August Knows How To Soar

August didn't just fly on by for us, it soared high. Now September is nearly gone, and summer is officially at an end. This summer was exceptional for us, which is why I haven't been posting. There were so many more important things to do. There still are more important things to do, but I have been itching to post, and I need to scratch that itch. It is like one of those itches that lurks right in the middle of your back, and since no one else is going to scratch it any time soon, it's all up to me to get out that long, wooden, hand-shaped back scratcher and go to town...
Summer for us has been:

A fun group trip with wonderful friends to a local sheep farm.

Lots of garden harvesting (and eating, of course).

Baby knitting (on the needles is the matching hat, since finished). Big kid knitting, too - I'm working on Bella's Easter dress, to be followed by the boys' Easter vests in coordinating cotton.

A growing belly size and baby kick strength.

Pool, pool, pool...
A boy turning 4, complete with blueberry cake.
A princess turning 6, complete with castle cake.

Lots of potty-dumping :-), with a mostly-naked boy 90% of the time.
And a bunch of household projects, due to the hubby being home - my favorite being our new, awesome, totally organized craft closet!
We were blessed with glorious weather all summer, and enjoyed every minute of it. Now the days are cool and breezy, and we've had to dig out our long pants and shirts and put on socks once more. Yep, Autumn is here in full, and we're loving every minute of it. I'm digging out the alpaca and wool for knitting, I'm shooting lots of Senior portraits for my niece and some of her friends, and I'm counting the days until I have to harvest my ton of sweet potatoes, one of the few things that actually grew AND prospered in my garden this year. I'm all set to prepare for a cozy winter and start nesting for this new little one that will be coming our way. It's quite wonderful. I hope your turn of seasons is offering the same quiet comfort for you!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Back to Life, Back to Reality...

(You're welcome for that song now being firmly lodged in your brain...)

Oh so much has happened around here as of late, I don't even know where to begin. Adam is switching jobs (just had his first day with the new one today), contemplating a second one, and I have been struggling to keep up with all things with my all-day-morning-sickness and fatigue. Yup, if you don't already know, our Fourth Shining Star will arrive sometime mid-February - once you get to four, you tell one or two people and then hope it eventually filters around to the rest before the baby arrives. What this has all meant is major adjustments. First of all, we're not used to having Adam around, and he's not used to being around. As sad as it is, his abcense has become our norm. Therefore, his in-between-jobs couple of weeks have been a little crazy. The kids have been hanging on him every second they are awake. Bella and Kane are vying for his attention, with talk being the weapon of choice for Bella, rough-housing for Kane. Max on the other hand screams like a panther every time Adam dares to set him down. For some reason, Papa says he can't hold him all day long, and Max just can't understand WHY :-).

For me, Adam being around has meant collaboration on family life, and I am nice and settled in my way being the way. Our parenting styles have clashed a bit here and there, that's for sure. Then there's the whole meals issue - NOT used to having to think of him when I cook, or think of having meals prepared, because he hasn't been around for meals but one day a week for the last year and a half. The kids and I generally fly by the seat of our pants when it comes to food and when to have it. Not that it works well for us, it is just where we've ended up. So meal planning is something we're working on. Another thing that needs some improvement on my part is being able to take care of the house with him around. It's so far out of my frame of normal for him to be here, I feel like we are all on vacation and shouldn't have to do anything. I have just wanted to spend the time hiking, playing, swimming, gardening, putt-putting, etc, etc.... Which, along with the "morning" sickness, definitely adds to the dissaster that the kitchen is in right now. Sigh...

In it all, I have missed my posting. I have hundreds of pictures on the camera that haven't even made it to the computer yet. There's still no room for them, so I don't even try. I've been ordering prints, puting on to disc, and deleting from the computer, and it's making a dent. But it is still a work in progress. Maybe that can be finished during tomorrow's rainy day. I need to get some recent pictures on here of my current, photographable three! The best I could find were these:

My Bella, nearly 6, before the recent hair cut and second lost tooth. Boy is it hard to get an un-hammed-up picture of her... She is just the biggest thing ever now. She spent 6 whole days at Nan and Pap's house for VBS, and only had one night of being homesick and needing Mama. She's reading at a third grade level now and spends all her free time doing just that. I love her love of reading. She has also been insistent on me enterring her into America's Got Talent, but says she would be too nervous to try singing a song with Pap's band first.
My Kaney, who has turned 4 in my blogger-abcense and also spent his first near-week with Nan and Pap. No phone calls home because of missing Mama there - just calls to tell me how much fun he was having and how many fish he caught on his first fishing trip. And he IS 4, meaning few pictures are snapped without a goofy face to go with them. My big stuff has decided to go to sleep in his own bed now - happened while sister was away - stays there most of the night now, and will actually go back to sleep in his bed if I'm in Max's bed at the time. Amazing...
My Maxwell, little mister big stuff. I can't get enough of who this kid is turning into. He is now so long, and thinning out, and just looks like such a big kid. He has his own wonderful words for many things - "oof" for nurse, howled like a wolf-pup now, with his head thrown back and his lips puckered up, "wavuv" for motorcycle, "woolamella" for watermelon, even though water is still just "wa"... I love his progression in to boyhood. He immitates any sound he hears - he does a super red-shouldered hawk - and is always pushing the limits of everything. His new name is Naked Wonder, because he will NOT leave his diaper on.
Life is fun around here, even though hectic. Hopefully our reality will become a little more of what we want now instead of what we have grown used to. Until then, who knows how often I'll get to this. But I'm glad it is here when I have the time...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day Salute

Yesterday (okay, it USED to say Today, but that was yesterday, and I didn't get it done), Shutter Sisters asked us to browse our archives to find some long-forgotten treasures. I am way ahead here, as I have been forced to dig in deep lately to salvage memory before my computer lost it's temper with me in a bad way. Since it is Father's Day, I thought I would quickly share some of those precious few pictures I have of Papa with the kids. With his one day off a week and crazy work hours the other days, I tend to spend any time we have with him just enjoying our family life, and rarely pick up the camera on those days. But here are some of my favorite pictures of him. They may not be the best shots photographically speaking, but the importance of them is in higher focus than the quality here. Adam is a wonderful father to our children. He works so hard to provide the life we have. He includes them in all the work that he does around the house, building so many memories for them. He goes to horse shows with us, even though it means he'll end up sneezy and miserable. He piles them all on a skateboard to ride down a huge hill. He is always up for adventures, big and small, and always ready to teach a lesson (see the lever/fulcrum made out of an old ironing board and box of trash bags picture at the bottom). He always has someone on his shoulders. He plays along with a transformer birthday and gifts of Mousetrap and a Transformer of his own (very carefully picked out by the kids). He is ALWAYS up for snuggling. And my goodness, I love the way my babies look at him, and look when they're with him. There is a peace when he is around, even in the midst of excited chaos. He is our PAPA, and we love him for what he is and what he brings to our lives.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

My Little Big Girl

Bella will be turning SIX in three months (and one day, but who's counting, right?). I can't call her my little girl, because I get in trouble for that, so I call her my little BIG girl. And here's the proof that the "big" is justly included...

Yep, that's a loose tooth down there. She called me from Pap and Nanny's house a few weeks ago, thrilled beyond belief that she had a LOOSE TOOTH! Her friend had recently lost her first tooth, so Bella was totally ready. And here's some more proof that she really is big... That picture was taken just before she left with her GiGi, aunt, uncle and cousin for a weekend trip to North Carolina. I just knew that this tooth would not be there anymore when she comes home on Monday. And I was right. She called from NC to tell me excitedly that her tooth fell out in the car in Virginia. And to think just yesterday we decided she could go along to see her Uncle Lucian (Mikey to most of us) perform in CATS. She prepared and packed all of her clothes. Here she is, all dressed to go on "the biggest trip of her life."
And here she is waiting nervously for the family to arrive. After breakfast, she was strapped in and on her way.

A little nervous about going so far away, but more excited. So, this weekend, my little big girl went for her longest car trip, the farthest she has ever been away from me, lost her first tooth, went to two new states, saw the mountains for the first time, went to Aunt Emily's and Uncle Alex's house for the first time, AND saw her first Broadway show (the white cat was her favorite :-)), all without Mama. And if I went into detail about how I'VE been handling it all, I would be here all night. Let us just say that my girl is having a ball and dealing well. This Mama left behind... not so much. Although I am enjoying the time with my boys, I miss my little big girl, and I can't wait to see her, one less tooth and all, and here all of the stories she'll have to tell. I plan on letting here do some posts to share the pictures that she takes. So stay tuned for my girl's first blog posts!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Old pics

I have been continually sorting through pictures from the last year, deleting what I don't plan on printing (yes, it's been a year since I ordered prints - gasp and sigh) or ones that I took just for a blog post. I have to widdle away at them until my computer has room to edit all my new pictures. I have found many a picture that was meant for this blog, and thought I would, here and there, share with you some old stories from the last year. These will be short snippets of a blog post, but what's wrong with that, right? I need to be able to do that more often - get my creative release, share with you, and NOT make it an hour long process. So, as I head to bed, here are pictures of my Max from this last January, sorting and playing with my old MAX2 water-soluble oil paints. I couldn't pass up that photo op...

And ending that evening covered in spaghetti, which was, and still is, a norm for him. Because spaghetti is nearly as fun to play with as it is yummy to eat. Oh, and to share a tip with you, I came up with the idea of adding mashed avacado to my spaghetti sauce awhile back, and now just can't imagine it without. It makes it thick, creamy and oh-so-tasty, not to mention adding those wonderful brain-important fats. Yum. Try it sometime. You might be surprised...

Friday, June 12, 2009

Painted Lady Release

Two weeks ago we went to Columbus to visit family and the Franklin Park Conservatory. We love this place, and visit at least once a year when they have the butterfly exhibit. We always bring back Painted Lady caterpillars to raise and release. We got them nice and small this time so we could watch them grow longer, one for each kid. Kane's changed into its chrysalis one day when we were occupied with friends here for lunch. We saw it in its J formation in the morning and then forgot to check until that evening. Bella's went into a J the evening before I was going to drive to Mom's and Dad's to pick Bella and Kane up from a visit. I watched and waited, determined to get pictures of its transformation since they would miss it. The next morning it was still in a J, so I stuck it in the car so the kids could watch it. An hour later, I pulled up to my parent's house and found a fully formed chrysalis. Sneaky little caterpillar... So, even though we didn't get to watch either transform, we prepared a big butterfly house from a cardboard box and plastic wrap and stuck the chrysalises to the top. Max's caterpillar is still munching away at its ground nettle - it was really tiny when we got it. But today we came home from leading the local La Leche League meeting to find a wonderful Painted Lady butterfly hanging from his chrysalis. I say HIS because, well, he was Kane's butterfly, and therefore he was named "BOY." Kane has a fascination of late with calling everyone "boy" and "girl," including me... So this evening we released Boy near our flower bed. We opened up the box and as soon as he felt the air he opened his wings.

Kane reached down into the box and gently picked Boy up to bring him out into the soft breeze.

He hung out for a few seconds, then took off. Of course, in the madness of three excited kids and friends over I missed that shot. But after a short loop out into the yard, he came back to hang out on our mulberry tree for awhile to get used to those new wings.

A quick transition to the top of the leaves, and then Boy was off into the wide world. I'm sure we'll speculate for days where he is and what he's doing.

What a wonderful process it all is, and what a joy to be able to be a part of it. There is something about letting that butterfly out into its natural environment that I love. It's a good feeling to know that because of us, there is one more beautiful butterfly out there filling its niche in the world. I've done it with turtles, frogs, snakes, birds, squirrels and one amazing red-tailed hawk, and it never gets old. It makes me feel peaceful and complete to know I'm doing my small part in taking care of a world that we are meant to be the stewards of, and teaching my kids to feel the same.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Hiking, Peas and Shrooms

For the past several days I have been trying to get a hold on my house. Everything seems like a blur of laundry, cleaning, gardening and cooking, and I feel like the kids and I have been left out of the picture. I have also been dealing with the 700-some pictures that I took at my cousin's wedding nearly 4 weeks ago - oh, I had planned on getting them to her within two weeks, but it has been a year since I have managed any photos on this computer (and I'm pretty sure it has a virus that makes it cantankerous), so the download of those pictures onto my computer used up all of its memory, nearly crashing it. So for weeks I have been wading through old pictures, deleting shots by the hundreds, trying to get to where the wedding photos can be edited and burned to disc and trying NOT to lose my computer. I am almost there, but tonight I really felt like I just had to get the kids out of the house, and the events ended up needing to be blogged. I miss my blogging outlet, and as soon as the wedding pictures are done I will back on more frequently, but they have been my top priority. I'll share some soon. It really was wonderful.

We're having a little soft-soled-shoe-ordering party here tomorrow (combining shipping for several friends and me will save us a bit!), so after dinner we ran to the store to get a couple of things to make Stephanie's Sweet Potato Chili for lunch tomorrow and Friday after our local La Leche League meeting. A 15-minute run to the store ended up being an hour because the kids were C-R-A-Z-Y!!! So we came home at 7:15, grabbed my home-made Mei Tai carrier and a hand-full of wormwood to help keep off the mosquitoes, and headed for the Kroger Wetlands just 2 minutes from home. It's a quick and easy hike for us in the middle of town and the kids love it. And boy did they need it tonight. It is amazing what a 30-minute hike can do just before bed. There were no absolute fits about getting washed up for bed (that has become a usual for Kane - a screaming, kicking tantrum in the bath), everyone went right to sleep, AND Kane willingly jumped in his OWN BED and went to sleep, which was one of his punishments for his absolute refusal to stop running at the store. And if you don't know Kane, he NEVER sleeps in his bed. He starts in Bella's room, either with her in bed or on their little foam fold-out couch, and works his way in with Adam, Max and me in the middle of the night.

When we got home from the Wetland (mosquito-bite free!), we went down to the garden for a quick sugar snap pea picking, loading up Bella's dress

and Kane's shirt.
I had to take pictures, if for nothing but to show my dear friend Julie that her children's clothes are right at home here with us now. Then, in the schoolyard across the road, I noticed a humongous mushroom gleaming white in the soft light, so we had to go investigate. I love fungus, but have no good field guide to ID them and no time to look online, so I'll leave you without a fun scientific name. Sorry about that. But it was a really beauty.

Of course, Max had to touch it and smell it.

Then Kane smelled it, and this was as close as I could get him to it after that...

Then it was a quick stop at one of the boys' favorite spots, the rock pile, before heading in for a late, late bedtime.

But it was a great evening, and all three are sleeping soundly now in their OWN beds. Now it's off for me to get my yummy chili in the slow cooker. Hiking, blogging and cooking - what a wonderful end to a mismatched day. I love to share these moments with all of you. There are so many to come - camping this weekend, the wedding, my niece's senior pictures... So stay tuned!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

And The Winner Is...

This has taken some major consideration, y'all. Everyone came up with great suggestions for my Name My Garden contest. I mean, she will definitely be Our Bounty, Jules, as well as our Pocketbook Protector, Denise. That's why I planted her! Sarah, I knew you'd come up with a good one, and Yapashi didn't disappoint! By the way, I LOVE Roxanne - cracks me up - can't wait to see some pictures of her! Hortensia - ooh, what a ring that has to it. Classy, Mrs. Boo Radley. Emily, I love the meaning of Beziwit, and love that it is an Ethiopian word. And don't you worry, I'll probably be pawning off extra harvest on you all summer! And Eric, my dear PITA, although all were ingenious, I have to say Bird's Eye is my favorite of your names - you had to remind me, but I do remember cooking "bird's eyes" for you when I was little :-). When it comes right down to it, I really wanted to go with something with a great meaning and a good feeling. Kind of like naming your baby or a new puppy - the name has to fit when you are looking at their faces. Well, I have looked at her face, and knowing in my heart that she is a "she" (I mean, come on, a male can't offer such fruitful bounty!), and after conferring with the fam, the big shout-out and virtual hug just have to go to.... drumroll, please.... Mrs. Boo Radley!!! It was such a close race, but Hortensia spoke to me and told me that is the name she wants in big black letters over her gate. So Hortensia it is! Right now, Hortensia is a fortress, as tonight's low is to be in the very low 30s - ARG! Way after the expected frost date for our area, and of course after I have all my tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, brussels, kale, cukes, etc. etc. planted out. AND after I moved all of my indoor plants out to my front porch and my herbs are all on the back deck... Big fat sigh. So tonight it took me 2 hours to find enough supplies to fortify my babies to keep them safe. But everyone should hold out for the night, and bright and early tomorrow morning I will have to take it all down and hose down my flower beds. It will all be worth it, even though it will be a late night preparing for Adam's return from a 5 day business trip to sunny Hollywood. He won't get here until 2 am, but the kids and I have a big Welcome Home party planned for him for the morning.

And my goal is for him to come home to a house with at least the important rooms nicely cleaned. So, while the brownies are most cruely smelling up the whole house (it would be noticed if they read "WE *heart* APA!," instead of "PAPA," in our fancy all-natural sprinkes on the top, wouldn't it...), I will be cleaning the counters and straightening the living room, waiting for our beloved Papa to get his rear home! I miss him! Thanks again for all of the name suggestions everyone!!!