Friday, July 29, 2011

Theme Weeks: Bosom Friends...

Two whole weeks of watching Anne of Green Gables....  

Poor T.

We started reading the book a few months ago (Kindle).  It is a bit wordy for a 3 and 5-year-old, but they, too, fell in love with Anne (spelled with an "e").

It was (hmm..and might still be), my absolute favorite movie.  Bosom friends and kindred spirits...good stuff. :)  Love that I get to watch it all over again with my gang.

But in all actuality, swimming lessons at the lake (aka large gravel-sanded, man-made pond) started three weeks ago and they tend to consume a large portion of our day.  

The packing of gear, bathing suiting the squirmy worms, sunscreening the whole crew, taking two trips to the shady spot, rushing to the lessons across the pond with the wandering sheep, attempting to keep sand out of hair, persuading anxious to-be-in-the-water want-to-be-fish to sit down to each lunch before the lake opens, making sure they all stay alive, and then lugging the whole conglomeration back to the baking hot van is all a bit exhausting.  Not to mention the clean-up at home... Whew!

But three-weeks in we're a bit more stream-lined and possibly not so grouchy about the whole ordeal. ;)

Honestly they love it though.  And M's making some huge strides to becoming a swimmer.

Getting ready to practice some under-water skills with her nose plugged. :)

Latest technique for keeping this fast-walking water-lover corralled. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Larger Than Life

Bear art.

This giant "T" bulletin board has been in T's room from before he was even born. 
(I loved the dog silhouettes on the orange paper.)

It was time for a change.

Inspired by the love of T's stuffed animal life, Beary,
Who happens to be in desperate need of a good "fluff.".

I made this larger than life Beary head--using ripped brown paper grocery bags for the fur and ripped paper placemats for his muzzle.  

M requested her very own modeled after the bear love of her life, Ben.

Ditto need on the "fluff."

I made this one on an old dry-eraser calendar/bulletin board.

They're a little crafty and not perfect, but they definitely work for now. :)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunday Funnies: Got Milk?

Two of each kind.  One kind for each child.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

"Take it all. I don't need any of it."

Today was a pretty typical day around here--a day that included the usual rummaging around to come up with something for meals and snacks, breaking up arguments, finding lost bears, and having to re-wash the fresh sheets that I had just put on two beds yesterday.  Sometimes those things make me just a little grumpy.  And bedtimes can sometimes be a bit rushed.  In the everyday tedium my view of life can be quite myopic.

But on Sunday night, after a fun evening with friends, the night-time routine broke free for a moment.

Sitting on the futon for our usual stories and prayers, someone asked God to be with the children in Africa.

No water, no food--famine and death.  Children that look like my children.  Mothers who look like me.

Hundreds of thousands of miles away and way too easy for me to forget in my way too normal day.

And then a little voice says, "Can you please get my piggy bank.  We need to send them money."

We watched a few news clips (here and here).

Then talked about how much to give.  "Take it all, I don't need any of it."


We talked about how the money will make a difference.  How through the internet the money was probably already there.  They cheered and realized that maybe it was morning in Africa and that because of their piggy bank treasures a good number of little bellies would be filled that day and the little people who were too weak to stand up would walk today.

It's Wednesday and they're still talking about it.

And I am convicted and moved by their hearts.

Today's report was very grim.

There is so much hurting and suffering around the world and even right where I am. Sometimes that feels overwhelming and I think that it can even numb me to the reality of the suffering.

But what pops into my head is that once my eyes have been opened, what will I do with that? (Proverbs 24:12)

I want to be more like M and T.

Praying tonight for the people of Somalia... 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Just finished...

reading Melissa Fay Greene's No Biking In The House Without A Helmet.

As we're still navigating the intricacies of our relationships with the beautiful newest member of our family, I was touched by her candidness in describing her own family's personal adoption journeys.  

One of my favorite lines from the book comes from the introduction.  "Donny and I feel most alive, most thickly in the cumbersome richness of life, with children underfoot."

So very true...

Monday, July 18, 2011

Vintage Summer Bathroom Makeover

A little over a year ago I decorated the kid's bathroom with owls (here).
Feeling ready to stir things up a bit and inspired by all things light, airy and summery I  started with this bunting that has a bit of a sail-like essence. 

Yes, yes, I painted those flowery swirls on there.  Stunning aren't they? ;)

Then I remembered that I had stashed away this handsome shower curtain some time ago.  Totally fell in love with the stripes and fell even more in love when I snagged it for 75% off ($7 at Target).

I embellished it with a few scrap pieces of ribbon, you know, to add to the whole light-and-airy feel.

I happily found a new home for this wandering navy bird.

And moved this frame from downstairs to grace the wall above the potty.

Speaking of which, would any children's bathroom be complete without this book?

Purchased once upon a time when we were having some "issues."

And when all of that business is done, we have this FABULOUS soap!  Addictive!  And it might induce urges to lick your own hands--or those of your offspring.  Which would lead you right back to washing them all over again.  Vicious cycle.

I'm sure you're on the edge of your seats, just wondering what our towels look like.  After a simply delightful bath during which no one ever cries because water has come dangerously close to their faces (right!), one has the pleasure of choosing from the bear, puppy, monkey or princess towel--depending on their fancy.

And before leaving the grand tour of the bathroom, I feel like I simply must point out the night light.  What a deal!  75 cents!  And it matches!

Wah-lah!  And there you have it, my practically free summer bathroom makeover.

Sunday Funnies: Four Heads

Conversation from this week:

T: Mommy why is it called a "forehead."
Me: I'm not sure. Maybe because it's on the front of your head?
M: Yeah, why is it called that?
(Starts squinting across the table at T while counting his facial features.)
M: It should be called a "fivehead" because there are five parts on his face. (I'm not sure what part 5 is--his chin?)

The clever namers themselves (Mystic).

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday Favorites

Get out of town!--My favorite ice cream is now a chewing gum flavor!

This stuff is amazing--dessert in a gum--SWEET!

And while I'm in love with this decadence, M and T are wild about Wild Kratts
These little people are becoming quite the animal experts thanks to the Kratt brothers.

Conversation from yesterday.
M: Did you know that koalas have pouches...
Me: Yes, they're marsupials (feeling pretty proud of myself for remembering this).
M: their cheeks?
Me: No way, really?
M: It helps them with their food.

Who knew?  
(M and T)

There was the day when I was a little concerned that T was pretending to be a devil.  When I asked what he was doing, he said, "I'm a manian devil.  From Wild Kratts."  Right, a Tazmanian Devil.  Gotcha. :)

And if I do say so myself, I play a pretty mean Donita Donata.  ("Dabio? Oh, Dabio?  Won't these children make fab-u-lous handbags for my new fall collection?")

And this is our favorite new song--they all break out into dance. :)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Theme Weeks: Frontier Living

We spent a whole week celebrating America's Birthday--a whole week! 

As one might suspect, because the week so conveniently began with the Fourth of July--we kicked it off with fireworks (from the roof of our van.).

Beza might like fireworks...
(Seriously, I'm not sure that smile could get any bigger.)

We watched a few chunks of PBS's Frontier House.  And then built our own cabin/forts.

And one day we lived it up by making our own butter (heavy cream shaken for about 10 minutes).

We put the butter on fresh buttermilk biscuits (the just add water kind...).
(Red, white & blue nails.)

And I even let them have decaf coffee--heavy on the sugar and cream.  

They drank coffee all day long.
(Coffee and the Goodyear Blimp--kind-of random.)

That day we built our own lean-to--complete with a "firepit" for our coffee thermos.  (The day before we had pretended that the treehouse was a ship on it's way to America--M & T had a hard time believing that our ship could suddenly become a house.)

They forged the "river" on their "horses."

They washed their own dishes in the "creek."

And hung their freshly creek-laundered linens out to dry.

And ended the day by picking fresh peas from the garden.

We read this book a lot last week.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Look Who's...


For at least the whole length of a room. 

(From the back--because that's just plain cute.)

She gets the biggest kick out of it. :)

Toddle-walking involves A LOT of falling.  Beza always pauses for a moment to reflect on her feet (upside down)--what magnificent little vehicles they are!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Made-It: A List on Date Night

Last night (Sunday night) J surprised me by getting our friends to watch all of our littles for dinner out.  

We went to our favorite BK (Before Kids) restaurant.

There was smooth and delicious pulled pork on top of corn pancakes with cilantro coulis.  (Coulis--how fun is that word?)

And lightly crusted halibut over smashed purple potatoes.  

Two hours of  completely un-interrupted eating and conversation.

Conversation that did spend a bit of time on this list...
Brainstorming some creative ways to conquer a few of our daily challenges.  Perhaps just writing them down dispells part of their gusto. :)

Thank you, C&J for watching the whole crew.  They thought they were the lucky ones who got to stay with you while we went to a boring restaurant.  And they're plotting ways to come back. :)

Sunday Funnies: My Dad (Grandpa) has a Mohawk!

My parents always do something funny (read, "CRAZY!") for my cousin's graduations.  This past weekend my Dad shaved his head into an orange mohawk for my cousin Greg...

Have you ever?!

Friday, July 08, 2011

Favorites: Berry Vacuums and Bubble Umbrellas

Today we picked fresh raspberries (Quite an experience with a newly potty-trained little guy.).  

They didn't last long, though...

M & T after already consuming half of a quart of berries.

Seriously, they eat these faster than any treat sweet. :)

And today my umbrella order arrived--with excellent timing--it was a rainy afternoon.  M's 50cent yard sale parasol umbrella has seen better days.  Now they both have (had) their own.

While I was mopping up a few stray smashed berries, they were outside in the rain.  Apparently, inspired by the fun bowl shape, they thought it would be fun to sit in them.  T's is awaiting some Daddy magic-tricks...  ;)

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Going to a Hotel...

For our 11th Anniversary (Wow!) we all snuck away to Mystic, Connecticut for a few days. 

But, first, on the way, we met up with one of the families that we traveled to Ethiopia with on our first trip.  

So fun to see them again and so cool to watch our kids play together.

Then we surprised M and T by not driving back to our house.  (We had secretly packed their bags while they were sleeping.)  We said, "We have a surprise.  We're not going home.  We're going to a hotel."  They dropped open their mouths, looked at each other and whooped, "A hotel!"

Sidenote about vacation planning with our little people:  There are a ton of things to do in Mystic.  J and I sat down to plan out a rough schedule and we were totally overwhelmed.  Then we remembered a basic kid principle--the hotel would inevitably be their highlight.  So, we cancelled our original cheaper hotel and upgraded to one with an indoor pool.  And it was their favorite thing.  There hasn't been a day this week that they haven't mentioned a longing to go the hotel. :)

We ventured around Mystic Seaport.  Lots of old boats to see and get on.  Our two favorite things, though--seeing a real jellyfish with tentacles in the water and a really old falling-apart ship from the Civil War.

We also visited a Submarine Museum.  So cool--we even got to go in a real submarine.  I can not imagine living on one... 

There was a "submarine control room" that T could not get enough of (well actually, J and I might have pushed just about every button and lever in the whole room. ;).

And then we hit the beach.

M loves everything about the beach--favorite quote from her, "You just don't know that you would like seashells, but then you pick one up and you just want more and more!"  We collected a lot of shells. 

T started out as a sand guy, but by the end we couldn't get him out of the water. 

He thought it was crazy fun to slide down the beach on his bottom backwards into the water.  

Beza is also a fan of all things water.  But she eats the sand. And the shells.  And rocks...  :)  This basket is our current plan for keeping her sand-intake to a minimum this summer at the lake. :)

(Row, Row, Row Your Boat makes her smile. :)

Oh, and on our trip we also checked out Dinosaur Place--a locale with life-sized dinosaurs along meandering walking trails, complete with an erupting volcano (on the hour), a maze, huge playground, and an awesome splash pad (Where a little girl M's age asked me about Beza's skin color--it was a good conversation. :)

We squeezed in one last trip to the beach,

And came home, arriving just in time to watch fireworks from our bedroom windows and very happy from our 3 days away.

T wants us to make some "plan-works" for more hotel stays in the near future.  We'll see what we can do. ;)