Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Rats and Double Rats

I did a little sewing this morning. I haven't been at the machine much lately, being more inclined to knit when I have a moment and I think that last project just wiped me out. But this morning I started with some mending and just decided to jump into a small project I have been meaning to tackle for some time.

Months ago now, my dear friend Meg bestowed this sweet little vanity on us having saved it from being tossed by someone who didn't see it's obvious potential. Its bench came with a little cushion that had no cover and, of course, I sought to remedy that. I was feeling ever so proud of myself this morning for getting mending done AND this project and wasn't caring the least that I hadn't tackled the horrific kitchen or bothered to straighten up much at all. After all, I had a perfect, darling cushion complete with vintage buttons for Elle's vanity.

Or, maybe not so perfect. WHAT? How did I manage to miss that? RATS!

And I still have a messy kitchen. Double rats.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Gift Knitting

Last Friday was my mother's 65th birthday. We celebrated in our family's usual way: small and simple. Homemade soups and bread. A delicious apple upside-down cake and tea. We sat around and chatted and checked out pictures from Mom, Dad, Andy and Amy's recent trip to Sweden and Norway. We bestowed my mom with small tokens. I made her a neckwarmer from a pattern over at Loop with a new-to-me herringbone stitch. And, while it didn't turn out looking quite like the picture, it did turn out rather nice.

And because I don't know if my mother wants a slightly blurry picture of her pasted in cyberspace, here I am modeling it wearing a way too matchy-matchy shirt and, as usual, in my bathroom.

Oh, I think there are going to be some more of these made. I feel toasty just looking at it.

Good Mama, Goofball Tate

So, I took the pics today and I am so thrilled because, as usual, Tate was extremely cooperative! ;-) ;-) ;-) Here's Knucklehead's photo shoot:

Oh, those pics say SO much. And, being such a good mama this morning, I laid out both shorts and jeans and told Tate he could choose which ones he wanted to wear to school. What did Pip choose? BOTH. He crammed a biggish pair of shorts under a slimmish pair of jeans and refused any compromises such as removing one or the other, putting the bigger shorts over the jeans, or putting the shorts under looser jeans or sweatpants. NOPE. Laughing and thinking he's very funny the whole time, because he KNOWS this sort of thing makes me nuts, he dug his little heels in and that was that.

Enjoy your year, little man. Next year you'll be off on the bus with Cal and Mama won't be able to whisper to your teachers if you decide to cram shorts under your jeans or want rubber boots the whole day and socks and sandals. You do make me crazy, but I don't really mind. I'm just assuming this is all fodder for your future stand up routines anyway.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bad Mama

In my defense, I've been a little off my game lately. Last week included an expensive repair to our boiler (which, being original to the house- i.e. almost 50 years old- truly needs to be replaced but that 5 or 6 grand isn't currently lying around) and the announcement by the boiler guy that the good news was our boiler was fixed, but the bad news was that our hot water tank was leaking. And the leak got worse, so we had to have that replaced. And one day the bus driver forgot Calvin and this morning Calvin's new lunch bag was missing and, well, I guess I've been a little stressed out. And, this afternoon, was Tate's first REAL day of this year's preschool, since yesterday was really just a meet and greet, but it was the AFTERNOON and I just was worried about getting there on time and the van starting and well, I *ahem* neglected to take his picture before he left. Now I would never tell anyone else who forgot to take their kid's picture that they were a bad mama, but it DOES make me feel bad. And even more so because it is Tate, and if anyone is going to get lost in the shuffle, it's him. Well, we'll try next week. In the meantime, his first painting of the year: Pink House.

It made me feel really GOOD that it was a picture, not just a color blob like all the other kids. So what if he's almost a year older than most of them, I can still think he's a genius right?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

From My Bag of Tricks that Don't Work on My Kids

A couple of weeks ago, in anticipation of the start of school and new routines, I made these cool charts for the boys.

Based on something I had seen in Family Fun magazine, I listed out responsibilities for morning and bedtime, left spaces for "write-ins" and covered them in clear contact paper. Then I sat back to bask in my success. My darlings were going to be so excited: their very own place mats, customized lists and a chance to use the DRY ERASE markers! I could see the year stretching out ahead of us in perfect order, my little men contentedly checking off their lists without complaint. ::SIGH:: They were going to LOVE them. And they did!

For about four days.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Late Summer Surprises

In spite of the fact that the "landscaping" (I use that term loosely) around my house currently looks like it was done by one of the Clampetts, I have been finding some beautiful little things just coming around. The summer squash and zucchini plants I thought were dead, are not.

Tate's TINY little sprouted seed from preschool last spring has just bloomed.

Cal's Nasturtium from school has been growing right along, but needed to be documented!

Tate's little garden has been making some promising little peppers,

and one (out of all the seeds we planted) giant, promising sunflower.

In spite of the fact that ALL of my heirloom tomatoes and several of the Big Boys look like this from all of our icky summer weather and, apparently, some local critters...

we're still managing a few lovelies. I just adore Tate's yellow ones and have pretty much decided next year will be only yellow and red cherry plants.

So, I had to make it dinner. Zucchini, summer squash, tomatoes added at the last minute, sauteed in olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Rejected by my small people, Mike and I had a delicious dinner mixing it with whole grain pasta and lots of parmesan cheese.

Not surprisingly, now I'm hungry.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

First Grade

Well, Cal is off. This is our fist day of full day school. Ever.


Look how handsome he is in his schmancy new shoes. (Yes, his feet really are that big. Not a camera trick) Look how tall and handsome. ::sniff::sniff::

Oh, it is gonna feel SO weird to have him gone all day. But I am excited to watch him grow this year. I can't wait to see what new things he'll learn and what new friends he will make and what new interests he will take on.

Okay, now I feel better. Hooray for first grade and for spreading our wings!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A Birthday Weekend

Well thank you everyone for all the birthday love! I got a little at home too. My boys wrapped up whatever oddities they found around the house to give me as presents and made me cards. Here is what I made with the legos from Cal. It's my retirement villa ;-)

Michael's birthday is actually the day after mine, so there was some generosity for him as well.

Since Mike and I have our own private holiday, we often don't do presents for each other, but just do or buy something together. Sometimes we go out to dinner, or buy something for the house or just do a little shopping. This year we went mini-golfing as a family on Saturday and spent the weekend checking out my "new" vintage games from my friend Korana.

The boys were all over the 1978 Incredible Hulk game, but I preferred Uncle Wiggly for my birthday game. I tell you, it was as much fun as playing with my Gram when I was a kid.

Daddy won, much to Tate's dramatic dismay. In spite of the fact that he spent most of the game in or near last place hanging out with my rheumatic bunny, he was totally convinced that he was going to win and SEVERELY crushed when that did not occur.

Mike made us a delicious cake with fluffy pudding frosting, a tremendous sacrifice on his part as he loves super-sweet buttercream.

Maybe next year we'll go half and half.

Friday, September 4, 2009


33, please be good to me
slow down on the wrinkles
give up the acne already
focus on giving me patience
rather than gray hairs
your alliteration makes me feel you should be special
prove me right

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Country Visit

Yesterday we took a drive into the country to see my oldest and dearest friend. It was her birthday and a lovely weather day and utter craziness with 9 children (7 of whom were boys) in the morning, but totally worth it. The pool was too cold (although tested by Adam and Tate), but the dog dish

and some local grapes

seemed to work just fine.

We are missing our friends today. The big boys, Mitchell and Evan, who included Calvin in some baseball and graciously GAVE him his Lego creation (the niceness of which he is still talking about), Adam who adventurously did anything with anybody (cold pools, climbing trees, you name it) and dear little Polly (even if Elle does keep calling her Laurie, she also calls her "my fwend").

Miss you too Meg. Why do I never take a picture?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Corny Kids

The kids had a great time at Nana and Papa's. They shared a ton of wonderful pics with me, but this is my favorite:

Amidst the veggie picking, ball playing, word puzzle solving and dancing, we were supposedly missed. I sure did miss them, but the break was good. And, more importantly, it makes me happy that our kids love to spend time with all their grandparents. Those are relationships that I am thrilled to (ahem) cultivate. ;-)