Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Happy (almost) new year!

You know what I've noticed?
When I stop making lists that include "update blog", updating doesn't happen.
Sorry about that, interwebs.
I resolve to become more obsessive about blogging in the new year.*

To tide you over:
Christmas eve I am trying to get Fion to GO TO BED. Mostly because we are rapidly approaching MY bedtime (yes, grown woman with a bedtime--oh the glamour) and I had endured a hair-raising drive home on icy/sleetly/snowy roads and had not yet had the opportunity to yell expletives into my pillow.
So I explain to Fiona: It is Christmas eve. Santa is coming! With presents! But he cannot come if you are still awake so laydownandgotosleepNOW.
And she responds: Oh! I have to get some sleep so Santa and Batman can come.

Santa and Batman: partners in law enforcement and gift delivery....

*This is not true.
I will blog when the blogging spirit moves me.

And now I'm off to the other blog to talk about the rediculousness of life.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

where did the year go?

did you know that it's December? I looked at the calendar and nearly fell off my seat. This year got away from me, that's for sure.

The kids are anxious for the arrival of Santa Claus.
Fiona wants a polar bear. (PLEASE DO NOT SEND ME A LIVE BEAR. I will not love you back.)
Adrian wants all kinds of stuff, but we are having a BATTERY-FREE CHRISTMAS.
(SOAPBOX: Batteries are bad for the environment, bad for my wallet, and stunt a child's opportunity to use their god-given talents:i.e. their imaginations!)
Either he understands my reasons or has come to terms with the fact that his mom is a fun-killing crazy lady, but has suggested that legos would be a good alternative to battery operated, I mean, toys.

And I want....nothing, really. All kinds of things would be nice, but what I REALLY want I already have.

No wait. That's not true. What I really want you can't box up. (Hoping, wishing, praying to avoid all nasty viruses brought home by my beloved school-aged children)

This past year started with 8 weeks of pneumonia. 2010 set the bar low for 2011. I hope 2010 gets a high-five on his way out the door.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A week...

A week is all it takes, really, for your life to change.

For the better: I got to spend time with the Lovely Karlee (whom I have known for 12 years). I have been instrumental in getting a book-writing photographer to come (in January) to where I live and photograph veterans of the Korean War & WWII. My boss is in Ethiopia in the process of adopting 2 children, doubling the number of children in his home that he will teach, and love, and guide.

For the worst: A dear friend's mother passed away after years of illness. And so there will be a wake, a funeral, and a luncheon. My kids are at their grandparents, so they will miss out on this opportunity to see the celebration of an amazing woman's life.

This week is when we as Americans are supposed to stop and take stock of all that we are thankful for.
I am thankful for a family (both through blood & marriage) that fills my children's lives with love and joy.
I am thankful for friends who pull together through good times and bad.
I am thankful for my job, which I love, and my boss who has given me the opportunity to pursue this dream.
I am thankful for strangers who open doors and smile at me on the street.
I am thankful for a full pantry.

What about you?

Thursday, November 18, 2010


So, I am only 3 weeks late, which is better than never, right?
This guy I know just turned 6.... And in the annals of birthdays, it was another one for the record books. He got a party with his friends at the pet store and a party with his family at home. Both had cake and presents, so I say they are equal.

So far, I am liking six. He seems like a pretty cool number. Not too cool to hold my hand while crossing the street, but cool enough to rock the air guitar while listening to head phones. Still curious about his world, but the questions are deeper and more in search of explanation of social customs and our role on the planet. Six understands that whining doesn't get you anything (though he still tries), and Six understands that little sisters can totally play along. (It helps that little sisters like to pretend to fight bad guys, I guess)
Six is no longer a baby, but will still accept hugs and kisses (and even give them out). Six can read! Six can spell a few words, but hasn't quite mastered grammar.
Six draws pictures for his friends, cuts out hearts for me, and dreams of being all kinds of awesome when he gets big.
But you know what?
Six is pretty awesome right now.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Adrian: Hey Mom! Check out this slug I found! It totally pooped in my hand!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It's times like these that make me wish I lived closer to my family. Jono is out of hospital (hurrah!), diagnosis: he's no longer in remission (boo).

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Because my brain is slow & not feeling in a narrative mood, I give you photos!
Make your own story....

Saturday, October 16, 2010

It's been awhile...

And for that, I apologize. When life gets ahead of me the blog is usually the first thing to get bumped off the to-do list.
Since I saw you last, we have been reading A LOT. The kids each have their own library card and enjoy weilding its awesome power. As far as I can tell there is no check-out limit at our library. (sweet!)
Back in September, Adrian had his first day of school. Once Fiona realized she wasn't going to school she was no longer interested in dropping him off or picking him up....

But then came October (and toilet training!) and Fiona is now a school-going girl too. It's the quietest 3 hours of my day. And instead of blogging, I am walking the dog, painting, sewing, listening to music, and generally enjoying my grown up time.
I am thinking that once I have caught up on my unfinished art projects, there will be more blogging.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


"When we deny our children nature, we deny them beauty"
Richard Louv
Last Child in the Woods

Monday, August 23, 2010

My blog, my rules!

Hey. I realize I didn't post last week, but the week went faster than I expected. It's like time is speeding up in anticipation of SCHOOL.
So last week, we painted, got school supplies, Fiona went to the doctor (for a check up), had friends over for dinner, went to friend's houses for dinner, went for a walk in the woods, stayed up late and made the most of the last week of summer. And I can't seem to remember to bring my camera along for much of it.
Adrian was in my studio & found my color wheel & wanted to make one of his own. Grand idea!
Fiona just likes to paint.
At her doctor's appointment we learned that she is 37 inches tall and weighs 35 pounds. (no wonder my back hurts at the end of the day!) 3 more inches & 5 more pounds and she'll be out of the baby car seat (and I will be dancing in the street). I plan on updating you on the first day of school...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

This week...

On Sunday last we went to the Brookfield Zoo. It was hot. We saw all kinds of animals, including the super awesome new bear exhibit (complete with Bison!) which will only get better as the seasons roll on. I am looking forward to our annual freeze-yr-buns-off day at the zoo which we take the week before Christmas.
As a result of this jaunt Adrian is quite sure that he wants to be a zoologist. I was 5 when I decided I was going to be an artist, so I figure this could stick. He's been saying he wants to be a scientist and has been pleading for a microscope (but if he can't keep from using a magnifying glass as a hammer I don't think he's quite ready), a telescope, and an incubator. I keep pointing out the survival rate of baby birds in a house with 2 cats, but in his rosy view of the world the cats would know better. (Also, what do you do when you are up to your elbows in adolescent birds?)
And Fiona's take on the whole affair? She has been a variety of animals through the week: a seagull, a wolf, a tiger, a lemur. She's really into the whole pretending aspect of play and I am really enjoying it. Especially when she tells me that she is a tiger and would like tiger food. (What's tiger food? Orange ice pops)
As for me...I had a birthday. It was low key...I worked, Aaron worked. Adrian gave me 10 hugs & 10 kisses. Fiona said "Happy birthday! I'm 3!"

Tomorrow we (the kids & I) are going to the Bristol Renaissance Faire for 2 reasons: 1. It is scouts day 2. Adrian is going to receive the badges he has earned in Spiral Scouts this year (Geology, Cooking, Photography, Swimming, Hospitality) and Fiona is going to receive her Gold Club Pin (for learning scouty things. It's the pre-req for earning the other badges). As I am going to be single-parenting it I am NERVOUS. Adrian rarely leaves my side in public places, but Fiona will take off like a monkey with his tail on fire. And I can't imagine he'll have a whole lot of fun chasing his sister when there are scout-type activities at every turn. In all, I am just hoping that nobody gets lost and nobody gets hurt. Having fun will have to wait until next year.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

As we wind down...

As summer draws to a close, I have been trying to do a project a week with the kids. Something different, something that draws them outdoors and gets them to really LOOK at the world, not just move through it. My greatest ally in this crafty nature parade has been a website. It's a collection of craft projects for kids and goes faaaaar beyond pine-cone-peanut-butter bird feeders & popsicle stick picture frames.
And that is where I nabbed this idea:

Flowers AS paintbrushes.
We paint regularly around here, using a variety of paints: watercolor, acrylic, finger paint. We have learned the character and limitations of each. It was fun to watch the kids explore a familiar media with an unfamiliar tool. We used black-eyed susans and queen anne's lace as that was what was in the vase at the table. This will be interesting to try again next year, with a wider variety of flowers.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

The worst part

about having kids is that it turns you into a broken record.

My soundtrack for the past 2 hours: Bed. Now.

Fiona is a jack in the box and it is CRAZY MAKING to level hereby reserved only for ex boyfriends and late pizza delivery guys.

She's lucky she's so dang cute or she'd be on the first train to Birmingham.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Easy Peasy Apple Sauce

I was in the midst of trying to create a new & exciting dinner from leftovers when I realized that we had no veg dishes the kids would I decided to make applesauce. But the easy way--in the microwave!
You'll need 2-4 apples, peeled & cut into chunks. Throw that in a 4 cup-ish microwave-safe bowl.
Add 1/4 cup water (trust me you NEED this). Microwave for about 7 minutes (or until the apples are squishy when poked with a fork). Remove from microwave & mash the bejesus out of the apples. We add a teaspoon of honey and a half teaspoon of cinnamon to ours. Let it cool a bit, and then chow down....Ours never sits long enough to get cold!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Goodbye, July!

There was playing outside after dinner.... Trips to the library...

A trip to the beach (Kemil Beach, Lake Michigan)...

Fresh sugar snap peas from the garden--a green vegetable ADRIAN WILL EAT!

And a 12 week art project that I started. I am closing up week 2. There was also work, and play and hiking at Lake Katherine.
We are gearing up for August--and August 1 celebrates the first harvest. We will be celebrating with friends and food.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


i have started a 12-week art challenge.
i was going to sit & tell you about it at length, but it sounds as though the children are bent on global destruction....
so, i'll be back later.

(kiss kiss)

Thursday, June 24, 2010


I haven't been blogging out of sheer laziness. Yes indeed, I have a case of SUMMER. We have been taking it easy, filling our days with outdoor play, library trips, and cookouts with friends.
And talking to friends who live really far away....

And Fiona is THREE. She is enjoying herself & the summer days. We've been swimming, out to catch lightening bugs, making home made ice cream & stopping by the farmers market.
Our own garden is SLOW GOING. We have had plenty of rain, but not too much the plants are taking their sweet time.
And now I have to go fold laundry before I head to work.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

today's lesson: you should always have mayonaisse on hand for removing pine sap from little boy's hair.

Monday, June 14, 2010

And what did she want for birthday breakfast? Popcorn.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Aint that the way?

I am out of the habit of doing anything after the kidlets are in bed, so I find myself aimlessly shuffling through the house picking up discarded toys, mate-less socks, and wishing I had the energy to force myself downstairs into my lovely cozy studio.

The wee ones are off on separate adventures this weekend, so maybe I'll find some time to spend getting covered in paint, sewing, soldering...
That is in between the house-chore list, work, 2 meetings and a trip to the vet.

I forsee a lot of peanut butter sandwiches eaten off of papertowels in the coming days....

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

pickin a good one

A lot has happened in a week-ish. My brother, his girlfriend, former roommate & his girlfriend came to visit for 3 full days (2 travel days). The kids loved the extra audience, I loved having adult-type-peoples to talk to.

Adrian has 2 weeks left in school...and I am trying to figure out how to keep him just busy enough. He will be spending his first 5 days of vacation in DC with grandparents. After that we have camping, birthday parties (fiona turns 3!), and a tentative trip to the beach. Who knows.
I think we'll just roll with it. That's a good life skill, too--right?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

fiona's new favorite activity: glue & glitter.
my house is sparkly!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Happy Monday After

Happy Belated Mother's Day to all!

Mine was good, how was yours?

Top 10 things about Mother's Day 2010

1. Foxgloves!

2. Hydrangea (hopefully this one will survive)

3. Krispy Kreme Doughnuts (FYI: this wins over chocolate)

4. BBQ!

5. Tball meets volleyball in a bizarre combination game

6. Somebody I know & love is pregnant & I was finally allowed to share the news (it's been trying to slip out for WEEKS)

7. Handmade presents from little kids. Awesome. Every. Time.

8. Fiona getting over her fever and sleeping in!

9. Glueing & glittering with enthusiastic kids.

10. Mrs Plummers Chocolate-Pudding cake. (I think I'll invite her to EVERYTHING. That cake rocked my socks)

Sunday, May 09, 2010

can anybody explain to me why a 5 year old would have 46 shirts shoved into one drawer?
(and have 10 more hanging in the closet?)

Monday, May 03, 2010

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Hooray for May!

We are 2 weeks from our last frost date. And my gardening pants are getting antsy!

The windows are open, and the house is filled with the smell of fresh-cut grass, spring blossoms, and vanilla crepes (our latest breakfast of choice).

I am slowly introducing the kids to french cuisine, so that when we take our trip to Paris they will be able to order food with comfort. Although I can tell you now that lapin is going to be a hard sell.

I am struggling with my own dilemma. I watched Food, Inc. and then I watched This American Life season 1, episode 6. And now I can't buy meat from the grocery store. I was in the meat aisle yesterday and I just couldn't do it. It's about more than the treatment of animals. It's about all of the chemicals that go into raising quick-sell meat. It's about the fact that homes around industrial pig farms have water that is undrinkable because it's contaminated with pig feces. It's about unethical treatment of employees by industrial food companies. So, I am in search of a halal butcher or a farmer who does it the way it has been done for centuries.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

me: fiona, did you draw all over you?
fiona: yes. i've got skills!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Workin Hard

Working harder this week to keep Adrian busy enough that terrorizing his sister doesn't seem like a good way to spend his time. So far we have finger painted, dug in the dirt, and observed local wildlife (bunnies! birds!bugs!)

Any more suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

today was the kind of day that makes you want to call all your single friends & tell them not to have kids.

Monday, April 05, 2010

It's April!

And I am so FAR BEHIND on yard work it might as well be November. Also, I need a rain barrel (or 4) and it turns out the easter bunny doesn't deliver those.

The kids and I dug many many many dandelions out of the backyard this afternoon...and we still have many many to go. I just got tired of looking out the window & seeing dandelions where other things are supposed to grow. But I did notice hostas peeking up through the ground AND the daffodils have started to open. I think I am going to plant a million of them in the fall.

Also, I need to dig out last years worm bin & set up a for real compost pile.
And direct-sow my cold-weather crops. And pre-order my strawberries.

So much to do! You would thin with the kids getting up at 6, I'd be all over it.

Pictures at some point in the future.
Now bed is calling.

Monday, March 29, 2010


Fiona: got to pet a Uromastyx today. (It's a lizard from somewhere very very hot & very very dry) At one of the local pet shops there is a wall of amphibians & reptiles. We go there frequently to admire all the animals. I took Fion today while Adrian was at school. We didnt see the lizard who is usually doing all kinds of attempting to escape, so we figured he was gone. But no! The friendly pet-store-lady fished him out of his hiding place & let Fiona pet him. And then there were introductions: Hi uromastyx, I'm Fiona and this is my brother Mommy. (Everyone is Fiona's brother. Her actual brother, the cats, the dog, the birds that nest in our yard)

Adrian: has been spending A LOT of time in the time out spot. I can't decide if he's just not listening, or if he is listening and choosing to ignore me. Either way it's infuriating. When he is behaving he's a regular Prince Charming. He starts T Ball on Thursday. And they are required to wear protective gear. Where am I supposed to find a cup for a 40 pound 5 year old? I already told Aaron he has to be the one to explain how to put the thing on.

Me: The antibiotics seem to have worked (hurrah!). I have a follow-up appointment on Wednesday. I'm looking forward to getting the go-ahead to resume regular activity so I can get out into the garden and walk the dog.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Round 2 of antibiotics for pneumonia, as round 1 didn't work. I feel like a science experiment.

Friday, March 19, 2010


It's kinda like being hit in the face with a porcupine...

I got a call from the doctor's office today. The radiologist finally got around to looking at my chest x-rays and hey! I have pneumonia. Back to the doctors on Monday. With another co-pay.

Aaron found out that his gracious employers might be cutting his salary by 15%. If that happens, we'll have to sell the house...

but we can't do that because the upstairs bathtub has drainage problems that include water running down the wall of the bathroom below. And our newly installed roof in the upstairs bath seems to be leaking.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The glory of antibiotics!


I am back (mostly) to the land of the living. The past 15 days, I have been brewing a nasty case of bronchitis! I saw the doctor! I had to have chest x rays! (And who doesn't love a big ol' dose of radiation when they are ill?) The good news: It's not pneumonia! The bad news: It's bronchitis!
I exit with a steroid-based inhaler, a prescription for antibiotics, and the desire for a nap.

I am on the mend, and don't sound so much like a phlegm factory. In my downtime, I haven't really kept up with the laundry (just doing enough to get by--underwear? who needs it?!). And wouldn't ya know it? The snow has melted, the weather is warming, and my yard & garden beds need some serious tending to. And the dog needs to be walked. And my mom is coming for a visit in 5 days.

I am trying not to fret over that and instead enjoy getting better.
With that may come more blogging, but I promise nothing!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Good times...mostly

A Fiona update!
Anybody who knows me well knows I have a million nicknames for my kids. Lately, Fiona has taken objection to all of them. It goes like this:
Me: Good Morning, sunshine!
Fiona: I'm not Sunshine, I'm Fiona!
Me: Hello, my love!
Fiona: I'm not a wove, I'm Fiona!
(repeat, ad nauseum)
But she's always so cheerful about it, I don't mind much....
The other one, however, has been carrying around his own cloud of doom & gloom. Last week he was off sick and sprang a wicked case of hives one night. And in the midst of his sickness, he completely forgot his manners, or how to talk to people.
He wasn't poor, pitiful Adrian, he was mean & ugly Adrian. It didn't endear me much to him, and put a damper on any sympathy we had for his hideous cough.
Today he is no longer sick, but the nastiness remains. In the course of this morning he has been banished to solitude twice for being awful.
Aaron keeps reminding me that he will be going to school this afternoon, but all I can do is worry about sending the beast into a classroom of 4 & 5 year olds....
Is this just a phase? Or is this hideous behavior Adrian-specific?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The strangest girl

I thought that I would forever be the strangest girl wherever I lived...however my beloved Fiona is making strides to best me even before she turns 3.

Tonight we were waiting for our potatoes to finish baking so we could sit down to dinner and I asked her if she wanted some bread or some chicken.
Her reply?
"No thanks. I want broccoli!"

Monday, February 15, 2010

How you know...

How you know when the sick day is over:

Adrian: I want to watch Dirty Jobs!

Me: Ok. But first you're going to eat some chicken soup.

Adrian: What? Why?!

(note that all of adrian's communications are at MAXIMUM VOLUME. Sore throat? I think not.)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

it is negative 7 degrees with the wind chill. without the wind it is a balmy 9 degrees. ferenheit.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Busy little bees are we...

So I missed posting last week. Could have been that every time I went to sit at the computer I had 2 kids at my side with a whole list of "Mom can I...", could have been that I needed a week to recover from a VERY LONG 4 day weekend. Could just have been that I forgot.
I honestly don't remember much these days....
But I do know that our time has been filled with dress-up, art projects, books, and as much silliness as a body can handle. Because if you are going to get a little cabin fever, it's best to get the silly kind. The best-loved silliness here goes like this:
Me: (sneeze!)
(look around until I catch eye contact from one of the kids)
Was that you?!

That is the funniest thing EVER, according to our resident 5 year old.

Anywho, I'm off to do my 1 hour of art for the day. Enjoy the pics.

This was 2 weeks ago. Today we hit 43 degrees and are currently enjoying a light drizzle. I am considering breaking out the short sleeves & having a hula party.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Turning a corner

Maybe it was just openly admitting a case of the blahs, or maybe it's that Adrian craves to know EVERYTHING about EVERYTHING but I have gone and decided to make the best of the next 10 weeks of winter. (10 weeks--gag!)
Thus far we have

1. Created a question box. In it, we put questions he has that I don't have answers to. (Currently I need someone who knows about porcupines and someone who knows about bees--Nessa I'm looking at you)

2. Caught snowflakes on black paper & examined them w/a magnifying glass. (EVERY household should have a magnifying glass)

3. Tonight we are timing how long it takes for ice to form outside (it's 22 degrees). We also put animal-shaped cookie cutters into the tray of water--I'll let you know how that pans out.

4. Looked up craft projects for later. I reeeeally need to restock the kids craft bin. We are all out of pipe cleaners, pom poms, and googly eyes. I learned that with wax paperas a non-stick surface you can make a whole mess of stuff out of stuff from your kitchen.

5. This coming weekend is a 4 day weekend for Adrian. I thought we could get crafty, get cozy, and learn a little bit about Martin Luther King, Jr. And if I can get Fiona into snowpants (or newspaper bags) we can go out into the yard and make some snow sculptures. Our current accumulation is about 6 inches (measuring will come later)
Fried polenta cakes for breakfast. Heaven!

Friday, January 08, 2010

Unh hunh unh hunh

I have been busy trying not to be "ogre mom". It is tough work, let me tell you. I think its just the season...I've said it before, I'll say it every year until I shuffle off this mortal coil: I HATE WINTER.
I feel no joy in a snowy landscape. I don't look forward to first frosts, wool sweaters, thermal underwear, and all that heavily layered stuff.

So, I am trying to overcome the tiny black cloud that follows me like a balloon & not take it out on the kids. (After all, they can't even tie their shoes--it would be highly unlikely they could build a weather-changing device out of legos & shiny gum wrappers for me)
And as winter draaaags on, I have less patience, less time for fun & frolic. Today, it was pretty sunny out so I made a point to sit in a sunbeam for as long as I could.

And its becoming harder to live up to the goal for 2010: don't forget to have a good time.
Winter is a roller coaster of blah!
I'm going to drink some hot chocolate and read something funny. All this stewing is no good.
More later.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Happy New Year!
My resolution is as follows: Don't Forget To Have A Good Time.
What's yours?