Monthly Archives: October 2009

Happy Halloween!

From our ghoul & goblin to yours!

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ALWAYS check your laundry

Don’t let this happen to you.

As I opened the washing machine to move a load of the kids laundry to the dryer, something seemed off. All the clothes looked not quite clean.

I started lifting the wet clothes only to find clumps of wet paper. After calling my mother (who else would you call??) I decided to shake out the clothes, and then put them in the dryer – letting the lint trap (checked often) do it’s job. As I was emptying the clothes of whatever had gotten thrown into the hamper (Paige has a slight obsession with putting things into the clothes hamper, which I should have remembered as I hastily dumped the clothes into the washer…) I realized what had gotten thrown in. A board book. A counting board book that Paige loved. I say loved, because it’s in bits and pieces. All. Over. The. Place.

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The dryer is almost done its cycle, and the lint trap has definitely done it’s job, and the clothes are looking better. I’ve checked on the lint trap every five minutes, and every five minutes it’s FULL of the book. Sad, sad book. Always check your laundry for extras. Always!

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Treats for the soul

Sometimes, a little treat is good for the soul. Big souls, little souls, we all need treats. They lift the soul after a very tough week. I’ve of the belief that food can fix almost anything. Might not be true, but not be the right mindset, but it’s what I firmly believe. And when you don’t have brownies… you go to the next best thing.

One part healthy:

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One part, not so healthy:

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Put them together….

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And it makes for very happy, very messy children.

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Peek into our week

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It’s been a long week

My feet hurt from doing the walk more often than not

My arms hurt from carrying little ones with one arm and doing everything with the other

My head hurts from hearing the whining and sad cries

My heart hurts for all the times I’ve had to say just one more minute to one while taking care of the other

My soul hurts from lack of peace

But the winds are changing

Hopefully….

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Autumn leaves and chickadees

Early this week I had high hopes of getting out and taking some new pictures for this weeks You Capture challenge. Unfortunately… the kids had other plans. We’ve been stuck inside due to Paige being really under the weather since Monday. I didn’t want to miss out on the fun this week though, so I went through photos from last week and found one from our adventure up to New Hampshire. There were pictures of the kids playing in leaves, pictures of them playing with the sandbox, but this photo has really stuck with me. The birds payed little attention to the kids that day, they were more focused on stocking up for winter, on a beautiful fall day. So simple and peaceful. So autumn.

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This weeks You Capture challenge was to capture Autumn. Check out Beth’s site to see more fantastic captures!

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Our Graceland

The music and lyrics have followed us from days of bottomless glasses of wine

and nights on an ancient porch

And sometimes when I’m falling, flying

Or tumbling in turmoil I say

Oh, so this is what she means

To the chaos that is wedding planning

no matter how small & simple the day

She means we’re bouncing into graceland

To quiet evenings stretched out on the couch

enjoying the view of an expanding baby bump, softly humming the same tune

And I see losing love

Is like a window in your heart

The album has seen us through road trips

harsh and soft words, long embraces and too quick goodbyes

Everybody sees you’re blown apart

Everybody sees the wind blow

Time passes and it’s still bringing us together

thanks to man throwing caution to the wind singing at the top of his lungs

In graceland, in graceland

To no one, then a lovesong, and finally as lullabies

and silly calming mechanisms

I’m going to graceland

And all of  a sudden we’re all dancing

on a rainy Saturday going about play and chores

For reasons I cannot explain

There’s some part of me wants to see

Graceland

It’s our soundtrack of the day

and all the memories of how we got here flood my eyes as the kitchen dance continues

And I may be obliged to defend

Every love, every ending

Painful and beautiful, it’s our happily ever after

Tears start as giggles take over two wee ones and a daddy in the next room

Or maybe there’s no obligations now

Maybe I’ve a reason to believe

We’re here. Happiness is ours.

We’ve made it to our Graceland.

We all will be received

In graceland

** Lines in italics are lyrics from Paul Simon’s Graceland, off of the Graceland album**

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Tuesdays page turner

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He had to bring it to the dinner table. It was not an option. He was engrossed, telling his own story as he looked carefully at each and every illustration. Struggling to keep the book in the right spot as he turned the pages, the pages so big in his little hands. He didn’t eat much dinner (he rarely does) but he was at least with us at the table that evening. A small success for us in the grand scheme of things.

And who was I to make him put down his book?

I couldn’t. At that moment, in him, I recognized myself. The book worm, eager to get my hands on anything with words. The child whose imagination grew with every turned page. The girl who couldn’t get enough of worlds that were captivating and seemed somehow possible.

Who was I to make him stop?

There’s no way. While it might not be polite, the occasional book at the dinner table will be tolerated, if not encouraged. Especially when shared with enthusiasm and curiosity with his dinner dates.

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Please visit Emily at Chatting at the Sky for more Tuesday’s Unwrapped. You’ll find simple moments and simple mysteries unwrapped in everyday life. Enjoy!

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A new (tv free…) world

Recently Heather of The Extraordinary Ordinary put together a very well written post about unplugging, being tv free. I read it and remembered the TV free few weeks we spent last winter as a TV detox for our oldest child Fynn. It went better than we expected. We put the TV in the closet and it was an out of sight out of mind situation. Fynn never mentioned the missing mind sucking device. It was going well, until we all got sick with colds one week. Then out of desperation (mostly on my part) the TV came back as a babysitter for the toddler while I tried to simultaneously take care of myself, the toddler, and nurse an infant with a stuffed up nose.

And then it was all over.

You see, like Heather, moderation is not my strong point – especially when it comes to the TV.

In her post, Heather mentioned The Case for Make Believe, by Susan Linn. After catching wind of that book, I promptly hopped on the waiting list at the library and waited my turn. It came sooner than I expected, and I devoured the Linn’s words. I highly recommend it, but I’ll warn you, as I read I kicked myself for taking away chances for my kids to enhance their imaginations and their emotional growth by giving unhealthy doses of TV every day… It’s heavy, and some parts seem extreme, but it’s good stuff. I promise.

So, since reading Heather’s post, and Linn’s book, it had been on my mind. The need to be free of it.

The thing Fynn asked for the moment he woke up, “I watch a wittle bit of TV mommy?” The minute his sister would go down for a nap “our quiet time Mommy! TV Mommy!” Since when does TV = quiet? And the kicker of it all? We don’t even have cable.

Something had to be done.

We mentioned in passing to my blonde haired little boy that the TV might have to go into the shop for a bit. He didn’t really say much. And I must add, I have not mentioned Paige yet because, bless her, she could care less about TV. It could vanish altogether from the face of the earth and she’d be none the wiser.

After the kids went to bed one night we snuck the TV into my closet, and covered it in blankets in case a certain sleuth found his way to our hiding place. Instantly I felt calm. Then overwhelmed with the though of how I was going to survive, being the parent at home with the kids all. day. long. every. day. Panic set in. Fynn’s quiet time had been my time to do my thing. Email, use time sucking networking sites that will remain nameless…

In any case, the first morning came, and after the initial shock of the TV being missing I heard things like “I want my TV!” and “I miss my TV!” Apparently this time it would stay in his mind.

But we made it through the day. More got accomplished (by all!) than usual, and we listened to more music, danced, read more books. It was really nice. However, when I mentioned his father’s upcoming arrival from work I was told matter of factly “Daddy bring my TV home.” Sorry baby, not tonight.

Day two brought with it a panicked bright eyed boy. “Where’s my TV? Where’s my TV?” was heard as he ran through every room of our two bedroom apartment, about ten times. Searching hysterically, the prior days success seemed hard to repeat.

Day three was a little easier, though he still longed for his TV. But that day he was happy to sit on the couch, stare at the vacancy left by the electronic babysitter, and pretended to watch one of his shows. I won’t even tell you for how long.  But still, no whining.

Day four the only mention was that he wanted to watch a movie, but then he quickly moved on to something more interesting.

Day five came without so much as a hint about TV, movies, or anything else electronic for that matter. And so it continued.

We now have a week of being TV free under our belt. And I know we did the right thing. The other day Fynn had us all pretend we were at the beach. He took off all of his clothes (because apparently that’s what you do when you go to the beach…) Then Lucas helped both kids jump over huge waves and build sand castles. All in our living room.

We love it so much that we’re actually going to get rid of our TV (this was NOT my original plan, nor was it my idea. It was ALL the husbands – so don’t go saying I’m some kind of crazy wife who’s depriving her husband… little do the kids know we can watch TV on the lap top… shhhhh!!!!)

It’s a whole new world. It’s not for everyone, but for us, it makes us more connected as a family. Imaginations are running wild and giggles have filled the void left by TV signals. We spend more time just being with each other, and exploring our creative and quiet sides. And if we feel the need to be crazy, all we have to do is put on our sunglasses, pop in some tunes, and stroll to our living room to enjoy the view.

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Hitting the historical paths…

This morning we spent some time wondering around the historic Minute Man trails. We had gone last year when the kids were smaller, and it was so gorgeous we wanted to try again this year. The leaves were breathtaking, and it was the perfect temperature to hit the trails.

As you can see… I’m not above looking like I have pj’s on while out of the house these days. To my credit, they’re yoga pants (wide leg ones, absolutely wonderful!), not pj bottoms. They’re meant for exercise. That’s what I tell myself. And that thing around my waist? The Ergo. It looks funny, but it’s easier to wrap it around than carry it by hand when it’s not in use, no matter how many funny looks I got. But Paige looks super cute, as always.

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Gorgeous gorgeous scenery. Don’t ask why we didn’t get any pictures of some of the remains of the old houses. It’s so amazing to think of all the history that surrounded us.

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Fynn was just enthralled with the map. The only problem he ran into was the map dropped into his daddy’s vision a few times… the boy was a wee bit tired…

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And what could possibly be more endearing than a kids pom pom topped hat sticking out of your husbands back pocket? Seriously. I love the man for little things like this.

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Stumbling

Sometimes the hardest thing for me to do is step out of the way. I get in the way. A lot.

With myself. In the kitchen when there’s more than one of us in there. In Target – I’m always in someones way or going the wrong way down the isles. With my kids.

That’s the hard one. I get in the way of my kids, and forget to step aside.

And I don’t think it’s just because we’re living on top of each other, toys, books and pots and pans.

But because sometimes what they need is to just be. With each other, or by themselves. How else can they learn? The friendship that comes with being siblings. The peace that comes with quiet play time. Getting lost in your imagination without being steered of track by someone else’s imagination…

With myself, I think too much. If I could just get out of my own head sometimes, stop stumbling into myself, I’d be able to let go and feel compelled more often, instead of over analyzing and getting in my own way of simply being. I also stumble over my husband now and then. The man will never say I’m in his way. But sometimes, I know he’d like a quiet moment in his own home. To just be.

We’re all learning how to just be in this little home of ours. I think it’s so important, and want to give the kids the ability that I’ve seen so many not have. The confidence and comfort to be yourself, whenever, and not worry about stumbling over yourself. To listen, and hear. To be. And then maybe to realize that we’re really not in each others way after all. That we’re part of each others being. Maybe that’s what family really is, stumbling into those we’re tied to so closely. With those ties, as much as we try to step out of each others way, we’ll always stumble now and then. A constant reminder. And a constant struggle, to find the balance between being in the sense of yourself, and coexisting with those who were written into your story.

See, I’m constantly stumbling around. Sometimes into a few things that make me appreciate the gifts we’ve received, like family and our health. Sometimes into something that actually makes sense.

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