Friday, February 27, 2009

The Beauty of Color: Episode I

I was in an interesting place the other day, where I knew the floors needed scrubbed badly, but I just didn't feel the urgent need to get it done. So I fixed that by saying, "Hey, guys, would you like to do some body/feet painting before bath tonight?" I figured, with paint all over the floor, I would have to scrub it well. And the way I see it, if I have to clean it, I might as well give myself the joy of being able to really see the reward to my job well done.

For Maxwell, this was his first time digging in to the painting scene, but you would have never known it. He has watched his brother and sister, and from the minute I set everything out on the counter he was stretching to get his hands on a brush, yelling and bouncing up and down. Once I got him stripped down and into a disposable diaper, the party was on. We started with left over face paints, which were slightly dried out from last painting day, so I dipped the brush in the paint for him, told him to paint his tummy, and he immediately did just that.
He had just as much fun playing with the paints on the brush as he did painting himself.

We had music on (Christmas songs, thanks to Bella), and things got a little wild for a bit with dancing and singing.

Then he decided to try his hand on another canvas - his brothers tummy!

Next I rolled out the white wrapping paper for some feet painting, but Max thought he needed more color on himself, so the acrylics went on the tummy and hands as well. He got really excited at one point, squealing and shaking his paint-saturated hands.

We used some nice bright colors, but in the end everything ends up one color anyhow. Hard to believe it starts with these colors and ends up lime green all over the paper...

Maxwell did finally decide to put a little on the paper.

As you can see, he ended up mostly brown at the end of it all.
It took one good muddy-water rinse before they could all be bathed.

Apparently Max was really thirsty, because he was trying to scoop the water into his mouth with his hands, then gave up on that to try this. He had never attempted this before.

You would think that washable face paints would wash off, but maybe the super-concentration from them drying out some made that pigment a little more resilient than the last time we used them. Max was covered in lovely pastel patterns for the following day. I think I'll just stick to my acrylics from now on.
There are so many more wonderful pictures, some of which I will share with you in Episode II, featuring Bella and Kane. There were just too many to include here. But if you are interested in seeing them all, you can hop on over to my Flickr site: I would love to have you, and I am downloading the images as I type. I hope to see you/hear from you there!

Edited to tell you that my uploader just crashed, so it will take me awhile to reload all of the pictures and relabel them all. Drat. It has taken me three days to get to where I could download them! But they will be there eventually...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Sunday was a relaxing day, and I just had to share with you pictures of how we ended our evening. Kane has "Bam Trucks," which are little monster trucks, the term for which comes from the days of my nephew's childhood. Most of them you pull back then let go and they run, but there are a couple that will crank up forward, gaining more speed the more you crank them, and they really go flying. Which is exactly what Adam was doing. And it CRACKED...

Adam would crank up the Bam Truck to an insane speed...
then let it go out of Kane's and Max's room... and it would speed away to jog off of the door frame of another room, or kick off the gate into the bathroom. Or even better was when it would hit a door frame and flip over on its side, flying all over the place with the wheels still spinning. Once it was spinning wildly behind our bedroon door, throwing out pages of My Little Pony stickers that Bella had stashed there. Maxwell would run, or crawl, off to find where it had finally stopped,
and bring it back every time, with theatrics.
Our little retriever.
Then he would plop down and get ready for the next run. The anticipation was nearly unbearable.
Kane had crazy hiccups by the end, and it was just generally a blast had by all. Now I am off to get some sleep and prepare for our big day, as tomorrow the kids will get the chicken pox. Yes, it was an intentional exposure. And for those who think I'm crazy, getting the virus means life-long immunity, whereas the vaccination (if we got vaccinations) only lasts 10 years and doesn't ensure you won't get it anyway. So we went to a Pox Party and shared a juice box, and we will get them tomorrow. I would much rather know we're getting them and be prepared, and know that my kids, especially Bella, will be spared from complications getting the virus later on in life. So, with that said, I'm off to sleep, to wake up to pox and get ready for the days of healing ahead. Good day to you!

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Many Faces of Maxwell

My children have expressive brows - it is a genetic gift from their father's Italian heritage. Max is finally really starting to use his. He is the baby of one thousand faces. I have said, since the time he was little, that I could snap 10 pictures of him in continuous mode and I couldn't delete one, because each one was different. His facial expressions are constantly changing, and I love to watch his emotions come out in them. For the longest time I have loved to watch him when he is really concentrating on something - the way his little lips are pursed, and his brow furrowed... Here is a classic example from last week when it was warm and he was improvising on the use of this "tee." It takes a lot of concentration to balance a plastic golf ball on top of a Tee Ball tee. You can see how hard his little brain is working to get that ball to stay up there.
Now I have a new favorite face. He just started it a few days ago, and does it when he is really confused or concerned about something.

This is watching me take dinner out of the oven a few evenings ago. I had him back up, then opened the oven and let him feel how hot the air coming out was. It was obviously concerning to him. One of the things I love most about this face is how far apart it sets him from Kane. They look so much alike in many ways, but their expressions are so different to a mother's eye.

One more new face that I love and expect to see a lot more of: the "am I going to get in trouble for this?" face.
Sheepish, head down, eyes looking up, avoiding eye contact. I love every minute of it. And just to be clear, he did NOT get in trouble for eating the dirt here. I figure maybe he was in need of some important trace mineral. Plus, every kid needs to know what dirt tastes like. Heck, every adult should know. So if you don't know, you should give some dirt a try this spring. I hope that you know what it smells like - oh, how I LOVE the smell of soil. I hope that you will give it a try if you don't know what it tastes like. And I would love to see if your feelings about it came through as clearly as my little Maxwell's do.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Flashlights and Suction Cups

Take any parent of a young child and they will tell you, in some form or another, how much kids can take joy in the unexpected things. I know you've heard it before, "We buy her all these toys and what she ends up playing with are the boxes." I love this about my children. In our house I try to foster an environment of creativity, and creativity does NOT come from playing with a plastic toy that makes a bunch of noises as well as it does from a box full of sticks or an empty mesh trash can. Subsequently I have more random things to clean up after, like leaves and pine needles, or those empty trash can space helmets that end up upstairs after a rocket ride when they should be downstairs. I am happy to have this delima.

Some of the most memorable times for me and hopefully for my kids are evenings spent preparing for sleep in an unexpected place. Those unexpeted places tend to have a fort or tent theme around here, and tonight was no exception, with all three soundly sleeping in Kane's and Maxwell's room. There was a handy fort built between the top bunk bed and Max's crib, and Bella just had to snuggle up there to sleep for the night. So we got out my old sleeping bag and a pillow and found her a little flashlight so she could find her way out to me if she needed to, which was a concern of hers. And while we were preparing the fort, Max found a suction cup off of a cheap stick-to-the-door basketball hoop - one of those things I have been meaning to throw away for awhile. He realized it would stick to his chest, and my little cut-up spent 15 minutes smacking it on his belly and then sticking it on, leaning his head way back and laughing, all for the effect it gave of cracking Bella and Kane up. He thought it was super funny. Then we turned out the lights and tested the flashlight. They wanted me to take pictures of everyone in the light of the flashlight,and Bella just had to take one of me.Then it was time for sleeping. Kane ended up in his bed after sneeking down with me and falling asleep on the couch. Bella is sound asleep in the fort, and Max in his crib. I love the bond that they build when sleeping so closely, the way it is meant to be. There is no animal in this world that lives in a heard/pack/flock/family group and sleeps in it's own room away from all the others... And I love the memories that we can form with flashlights and suction cups.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mr. Moon

After a fun day with my knitting group yesterday, the kids went to bed nice and early and I spent some time with my Rebel and my tripod on the front lawn. The moon was big, beautiful, and ringed, and I wanted to play with my shutter speed to see what I could get. I wanted to see the detail of the moon, so with the shutter speed at 1/125 of a second, I got Mr. Moon's face.

Then changing the speed to 1/30th of a second, I was able to capture the glow of that brilliant ring.

Wondering what would happen to the wandering clouds with a healthy shutter speed of 8 seconds brought me this wonderfully blurred shot reminiscent of an oil on canvas.

My two favorites came with a shutter speed of 1 second. I love the way the glow of the moon back lit the passing clouds.

It was fun and relaxing. Now on to more fun - we're heading to Roseymama's to plan our garden and order our heirloom, organic seeds to split between friends. Yeah, spring! Can you smell it? Go ahead, try. Go outside, even if it is raining, and close your eyes. Listen to the multitude of American Robins gathering in the trees above your head, take a deep breath, and feel the energy mounting in every living thing surrounding you. Now can you smell it? Spring is on the way, even if we have to endure another 5 weeks of winter to usher it in. And I'll be ready with trays of tomatoes and peppers, pots of sprouting herbs and a song in my heart!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Snow Day!

After our 60 degree day here in Marietta, I had to share some snow pictures from this season with you before our snow days are all gone! I try to make sure every day there is snow the kids get out in it, and me, too! I LOVE taking pictures in the snow. Here are some fun ones from our last few snow storms. I love them in their snow suits.

Kane is so easy to take pictures of. Here he is, worrying a little too much about something.

Then you have the happiness of having ran smack into our maple tree on the sled.

Sledding is a blast. The only time I took Max out, I didn't have my camera, but we went to Broughton Nature Preserve and went sledding with some friends down a trail hill. I must say, it was fast and fun (even with my brused tail bone still healing), and Bella and Kane loved it, but Max was cranky the entire time and didn't really like the sledding, either. I think it was just because he was hungry, but we have been doing most of our sledding when he's napping...

Every once in awhile I get a good, non-posed picture of Miss Bella.

Most of our snows haven't packed well enough to make snow men when we were out in them, but out of desperation we made a couple of small ones on the slide. They're in their bathing suits :-).

Snow angles are a must for all...

Then it's inside to warm up those rosy-red cheeks and sweaty heads.

I just love winter fun. I also love seeing the hints here and there that spring is really on its way. The days are getting longer, the angle of the sun's rays is changing slowly but surely, and the robins are coming back. My heart jumped when Bella said, on February 2nd, "Mama, I see a bunch of birds over there with red breasts. Are they robins?" I had to open the door to hear their voices, and they warmed my heart. I love, love, love winter, but I love to usher in every season. I will take some more snow days for sure, but I will be happy to welcome another spring as well. Welcome back robins, you have been sorely missed. Snow, rain, warm, cold, we will find a way to enjoy whatever is coming our way.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Busy Day

Today was an incredibly warm day - the high was 60! - and my kids could sense it in their bones. They needed some outside time, but the way it all turned out, our morning was spent running errands all over town which meant they were swept in and out of their car seats with a short time here and there spent in the fresh air. Then we had the most fun afternoon roller skating at a good friend's birthday party. They got some exercise today, that's for sure. And we all had a blast. I used to live on my roller skates, and for me it was like being a fish tossed back in the water. Oh, how I love to skate! And I LOVED taking pictures at the roller rink! The kids had lots of fun learning, and first off Kane was asked to skate by his friend Gianna, and off they went.
A quick check to make sure Mama is coming along...

Here's the Beautiful Birthday Princess Olivia, sitting tall amongst her guests. Don't you just LOVE that blue wall???

With our food allergies, friends' birthdays mean I get to make cupcakes to take with us. They enjoy them, get to participate, then I get to come home and eat as many as I want :-)!

Bella was pretty comfortable by the end, skating as fast as she could to me. She said on the ride home, "Mama, when I was skating, I was skating like a big girl! I was as fast as all the grown-ups, pre-teens and teens there!" Love it.

Kane gave up on the skates by the end and decided just to run. He was much faster that way. He had fun on the skates, don't get me wrong, but the boy needs speed.

Maxwell decided to join in at the end of the evening, out there by himself under the disco ball. Hew as enthralled by the lights on the floor and running along the wall.

They all were, really. Heck, so was I.

But by the end of the day, Kane and Maxwell got to spend their time outside on the porch, while Bella took a cat nap in the chair. Max was finally happy - it was where he really wanted to be.

Now, I used muscles today that I haven't used in awhile, so I'm off to bed to sleep it off! Hope you all enjoyed your day as much as we did our's!