Monday, September 30, 2013

31 Days of LIFE AS ART

Life is messy.  Sometimes really messy.  And complicated.  During this 31 Day Challenge (hosted by The Nester) I want to purposefully pause to notice the beauty in the midst of the mess.

Art molds mistakes into masterpieces, changes perspectives, highlights hidden treasures and captures moments. 

And so through photographs, conversations, the funny stuff and the messy stuff, I want to tuck away these pieces of life with gratitude for the story they paint.

In the words of Beza every time we pull up to the library stop sign, "Hold on to your hats!" for 31 straight days of blogging. :)

(You can come back here for a complete list of all of the posts as they're written.)

Day 1: Let's Start With Today 
Day 2: Nature Makes It Easy
Day 3: Capturing the Songs 
Day 4: Savoring the Highlights 
 Day 5: Learning to Make Music
Day 6: Funnies--Ways With Words
Day 7: Beauty in the Storm
Day 8: Filling in the White Space
Day 9: The Funny Thing About Zippers (And Lack Thereof)  
Day 10: When It Isn't So Pretty 
Day 11: Snapshots from the Week 
Day 12: One For Everybody You Know 
Day 13: Funnies--Come in Peace
Day 14: Shadow Play
Day 15: When I Open My Drawer
Day 16: Fall Yumminess 
Day 17: Sunporch Stew (And Other Outside Delicacies) 
Day 18: This Week's Captured Moments (Five on Friday) 
Day 19: This Face 
Day 20: Funnies--Heart Talk 
Day 21: Painting the Sky (#unfiltered)  
Day 22: Life as Art (A Literal Lesson)
Day 23: Celebrating (A Sweet Deal)
Day 24: A Work in Progress 
Day 25: Snippets of the Week (Five on Friday) 
Day 26: And Just Like That--She's Eight
Day 27: Partying
Day 28: Animals as Art
Day 29: A Study in Contrasts  
Day 30: What's In A Name?
Day 31: The End :)

Thanks for reading along!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Funnies: Cupcakes

With a little milkweed on the side...

Yum. ;)

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Five for the Week

1.  We started the week with a field trip to the apple orchard.  The picture of T and Hannah--that's the one where she said, "If we get eaten by a monster, I want to be in the same tummy with you."  True friendship. ;)

2.  After the trip to the orchard we made applesauce (of course).  Round one was a huge success with everyone (that never happens.).  Sadly, round two turned the ENTIRE pan thick, dark black.  It smelled horrible.  J, always up for a good challenge, googled some concoctions for fixing the pan.  But these few spots are still hanging on for dear life.  It's like a pan-tattoo.  We can always remember the applesauce.

3.  The moms from T's class rock.  We've been hanging out at the park after school.  LOVE that.

4.  This pile and a few more like it have been staring me in the face all week.  I switched out all of the summer clothes for cooler-weather clothes but now I need to put all of these away in basement bins.  Some day.

5.  Soccer is back.  J is coaching both teams--he's a good guy. :)

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

What I Learned in September

In no particular order...

1.  Beza LOVES preschool.  So do I.  Last week the checkout cashier asked me if I missed her now that she's in school.  Do you know what I did?  I laughed.  Embarrassingly loud and long.  Preschool for two hours twice a week is so very good for both of us.

2.  I live with a ninja.  (Who wants to be a weightlifter when he grows up.  The weightlifters in the circus who "you know, see how strong they are." Now that's definitely something new I just learned.)  We might be talking with him when all of a sudden he just quickly tosses whatever is in his hands behind his back--making it disappear--"because that's what ninjas do."  Also, there are A LOT of sneak attacks.  But then I suppose that's par for the course when you live with a ninja.

3. I'm so glad we replanted the garden in early August.  Outshining all of the plants--the compost tomatoes.

4. These school days are crazy full.  Dinner as of late has been a bit sketchy.  I'm learning to just plan on PB&J on Soccer-Night Thursdays.

5.  You can buy BIG rolls of paper that look just like wooden slats.  (And then you can use them to "wallpaper" big cardboard boxes in the play kitchen during nap time. ;)

6.  The habit of waking up for those ocean sunrises is actually working!  (I had pretty low expectations for that one.)

(Now.  5 years old.)

8.  The library has a system that sends you an email BEFORE your books are due!  Dream. Come. True.  (You just have to sign up for it.)

9.  My favorite thing to do so far in school with M this year is finishing up our book on Ancient Egypt.  I can't get enough of this treasure hunting, mummies, lost and forgotten cities stuff.  (Who knew?)

10.  The 31 Days Challenge.  I think I'm going to do it.  31 straight days of blogging starting in just a few days.  Get ready. ;)

(Linking up @ Chatting at the Sky.)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What's Up (My Reading List)

Building Up the Parenting Toolbox
Refreshingly practical. 

Second time around and it still perfectly helps with one.

Gearing Up for the Next Phase of Parenthood

Filling Up

Brushing Up on the Stuff I Think I Once Knew ;)
An awesome book for teaching kids (and yourself) about unlocking the deeper meaning of books.  And it includes some great reading lists by grade.  Who knew I wouldn't be able to stop reading a book about reading?

Listening Up

(Always wishing there were more.)

Coming Up This Fall...
(Besides the ever growing pile of books from M.)

It's coming out next week.  If you pre-order this week you can get a few FREE gifts, including a $10 coupon to use at Lisa Leonard Designs. (This should be arriving in my mailbox soon.)

(And you? What have you been reading?)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Five for the Week

1.  Caramel Apple Ciders to celebrate the arrival of one of our favorite seasons.

2.  We're going to start learning about flying creatures in science so this week we did a few fun experiments.  (One with wing shape and one to demonstrate Bernoulli's principle.)

3.  Beza has started to wear some of M's hand-me-downs from when she went to preschool.  I LOVE seeing them again.

4.  I'm very thankful for friends (and a mom) who "get it" when this parenting stuff feels really hard. :)

5.  M started guitar lessons this week.  (Do I have a picture of M and her guitar?  No, I do not.  But I do have this lovely one of T playing his guitar from some awesome neighbors who handed theirs down to T and Beza.  He is taking it very seriously. ;)

Happy First Day of Fall!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Weekend Away

The small crew and I hit the road after school on Friday for a quick trip to my parents.  (J stayed behind to coach soccer and to stain the deck. :)

My dad's grapes are just starting to get ready and all of my sisters were coming.

We had farm time.
Corn field "mazes," corn kernel piles, egg-collecting, new puppies, dusty cobwebs, fresh potatoes (turned into mouth-watering french fries), and covered in almost every kind of dirt from head to toe.

And these two--I usually can't tell them apart in pictures (and sometimes not in person if they are in the distance).  (Grandpa is wearing blue.)

Cousin time--Love these little guys.

And then an airshow.
We literally parked right between the hot-air balloon trucks.  We could have touched the baskets.  
Aunt Bubsy's fan club.
(The last two pictures are courtesy of our cousin Alex.  It was fun to hang out with her for a bit. :)

Then, after a crazy air show and night skydivers wearing glowsticks,
As we left, the balloons put on a light show.  So cool.

The next day, we drove away to our very own oompa loompa dance farewell as only my people can do. :)

Thanks for having us--for all of the food (more chocolate cereals than I ever knew existed), laughs and late-night talks.  Love you guys!

Monday, September 16, 2013

A New School Year

Last week was the first week of a new school year. :)

Our preschool decided to start a half-day kindergarten program this year (because this is the first year of full-day kindergarten in our district).  T is in a class with 3 guys and 3 girls.  We're so excited about all of the fun stuff he's going to learn this year.

Beza is off to preschool 2 days a week.  We're also thrilled that she gets to spend some time with the awesome preschool teachers and that she gets to make some new little friends.

M--2nd Grade
We're starting our second year of homeschooling--and (imagine this) we're also totally looking forward to all of the fun stuff we'll be learning this year (except Spelling;).  

(And how cool is it that we can walk to T and Beza's school?)
Here's to a fresh start and an awesome school year!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Funnies: Writing Is Like Funnel Cakes

T has developed a recent passion for writing.  He said the other day, "Writing is like funnel cakes or fun rides, it's so fun and I just can't wait to do it."

Limitations never even enter his mind.  He believes he can so he does.  

These are some of his prolific (and quite phonetic) notes from the weekend:

The small crew and I stayed at my parents--it was a full house and my dad was having a bit of trouble finding the bathroom space to brush his teeth.  T spontaneously made this sign for the door.
"Nobody Allowed In"

These were notes he passed to me at the table.

And this is a note he gave to me one afternoon.
"Mommy, I love you so, so, so much."

 Also, he can't wait until he has to journal for school like M.  (This, I can't wait to see! ;)

I am smitten.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Best Way to Become an Early Riser

(Or at least one way...)

Waking up early for a whole week of ocean sunrises.
(Except on Friday--maybe we slept in?)
Living art.

It's a pretty great way to start the getting-ready-for-school habit that we needed for this week.

Also, it reminds us of watching sunrises over this same ocean with (Great) Aunt Marg so many years ago.
(Beach trip with J's family while we were in college.  ~1998  Check our hair!  Wow.)

Summer Days (A Beach Goodbye)

We embraced the end of summer by spending last week in Ocean City, NJ.

We were in awe of this view right outside our window.

Most mornings were greeted with a beach walk.

And evenings, too.

Just one cloudy afternoon.  (Bez thinks all of the airplane banners say, "Welcome to Ocean City!")

A day perfect for playing sand jumping games.

There were lots of chances to swallow my mostly irrational ocean-creatures-I-can't-see-just-waiting-to-eat-me fears because She's-Seven-For-Just-Two-More-Months wanted to ride the waves with me.

But there was that one day when I landed firmly with both feet on something that felt eerily like this.  (With the slashes to prove it.)

We had a few days with special friends before Nana, Pop and (Great)Grammy joined us.

Friends on the boardwalk.

And who introduced us to the Rainbow Loom.
(The homemade version.)

The week had plenty of sand castles.

And ball time.

Treasure hunting.

 Wannabe surfing.

Gull feeding.  
(They LOVE seagulls "because you can get close to them--not like the birds at our house that fly away when you try to get by them.")

Photo ops.

Donut shops.

Seashell stores.

Bug loving.

Freestyle surfing.

Kite flying.

Just before T took his turn and "either forgot that I had to hold on or what I was doing" and it flew footloose and fancy free forever right over our (2nd floor) house.

And after 6 glorious days it was our last night.

Which called for funnel cakes

and ice cream for dinner.

And nostalgic feelings of a week that went too fast.

(Just like them and their growing.)

One last sunset on the Ferris Wheel.

So very thankful for a week away soaking in every minute of this salty, sandy masterpiece.