Friday, November 30, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
Thank you to Amanda Soule of Soule Mama for the words and inspiration.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Insider's DC: United States Botanical Garden

As any parent of a toddler knows, especially those of us who are home with the children, there is nothing quite so valuable as that perfect indoor destination.  Because there will be days, oh yes, when it is rainy and cold, and no amount of layering will make for successful trip to the park.  And it will be just such a day when you feel like you have to get out of the house, lest you lose your precarious grip on your sanity.  Enter the US Botanical Garden, which took a firm position on our list of indoor faves following our visit this past Monday.

First of all, it is basically a huge greenhouse, so it is nice and toasty warm.  Also, being a Smithsonian Museum, it is free.  These factors alone would be enough to recommend it to us.  And yet, that was just the beginning.  There is currently an exhibit on display there that can only be described as magical, and yet that word is hardly enough.

In a small room off to one side of the building, 800 feet of train tracks wind their way through a fairy land composed of intricate, tiny sculptures made entirely of natural materials glued to foam board.  Part of me, the crafty part, was inspired to create something like this of my own.  Mostly, though, I just looked and enjoyed, child-like in my amazement.  Kinda like this:

I am sure you are wondering what Isabel thought of the whole experience.  Well, you know..

And Kurt, of course, couldn't resist taking lots of lovely pictures, which almost do the exhibit justice. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


"It happened in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John. On coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, 'You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.'" Mark 1: 9-11

Is there another word out there as evocative as the word "beloved"?  It is love, but more than love, it is one who is loved, one surrounded by, wrapped in, love.   How fitting, then that this was the word used by God at Jesus' baptism.  Jesus, of course, had no need of baptism, and yet God saw fit to open the heavens at that moment, making it clear to all present that this was not only  His very own Son, but his Beloved Son.

Isabel was baptized last weekend, and in that moment we, as parents and godparents, were afforded the opportunity to say to her, as God does, "You are my beloved daughter, with whom we are well pleased."  If this is the message that Isabel receives most strongly and clearly throughout her life, that she is beloved of God and of us, then we have done well by her as parents. 

Amen?  Amen!

Monday, November 26, 2012

The fourth year of the stuffed pumpkin

Thanks, I think, to high school and college, there is something about four years that carries a particular significance when it comes to the passage of time.  I am a (gulp) adult now, out of school for more than four plus four years, and yet that particular time division still triggers something in my brain.  Thus, when I realized that this is my fourth year of  writing for Endless Simmer and my fourth stuffed pumpkin, as well as, for that matter, over four years of marriage, it seemed somehow significant.  It won't be long till Elijah is four, certainly no longer a baby, and then he'll go to high school, and maybe college, and....aaaaaaaaghhhhhhhhh. 

For now, let's just focus on the stuffed pumpkin, shall we?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Next Step

Books, books, books.  Our lives around here are filled with them (although, thanks to the Kindle, less actual physical space is being taken up by my books these day.)  As I noted back when I began this blog (and my photography was kinda crummy), there are plenty of good board books out there, and these are particularly good for the books-taste-good set.  However, as any toddler parent knows, reading a board book takes about 30 seconds, which means you have to read the same book six times, or six different books, just to read to your child for five minutes.  Once Elijah stop trying to ingest his books (or otherwise destroy them),  we moved on to slightly longer rhyming books (certain Dr. Seuss, Mr. Magee) and of course, the beloved Piggie and Elephant.  Still, these books have the misfortune of being, well, short.  The language play was fun, but the books didn't last long, and the plots, though amusing were rather thin.

And so, it was much to my delight that just the other day, we made it all the way through a book that I would consider to be in the next developmental reading tier, Strega Nona.  It is an old Italian folktale lovingly and lov-ely illustrated by Tomie dePaola.  I am not sure why this particular book captured Elijah's attention, but he sat rapt while we went from beginning to end, then asked to read it again the next day.  I was a little worried that the plot might be to long for him to really grasp, but then I caught him "reading" it to himself, saying, "The pasta is boiling over!  Oh no!", which, if you have read this book, you know is basically the main issue in the story, so I guess he's getting enough of the story for now. 

PS Don't you love Elijah's play "pasta" in the pot?  Just some yellow yarn, I tell ya, but it does the job nicely. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Vidi-o the Week

For this week's viewing, I bring you a little Elijah concert, a mash-up of Alleluia and Amazing Grace, performed after Isabel's baptism.  Elijah was disappointed that there was no music at the baptism, so he figured he'd add his own.

Friday, November 16, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
Thank you to Amanda Soule of Soule Mama for the words and inspiration.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Yesterday, Isabel had her first real bath.  Of course, Elijah was on hand to help, and had to be preventing from covering her with bath toys, just has he often has to be prevented from covering her with play food, blankets and stuffed animals.  ("She wants it!")  And how did Miss Fizzabel feel about her first bath?  Well, what do you think?

These days, Elijah requests to take a bath daily or more often, sometimes heading to the playroom first to recruit some animal "friends" or trains to join him.  He will happily splash in there for half an hour or more, pouring water from cup to cup.  However, last night I was reminded that that was not always the case.  A quick flip through the photo archive provided confirmation.

Oh, and looking at this picture, I am also reminded that while Isabel's hair isn't much to speak of, compared to baby Elijah, the girl is practically Rod Blagojevich.  I mean, look at that cue ball.

There was only one word for Isabel's expression once she was finally warm and dry:  relieved.

Phew! I'm glad that's over.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Housewife confession: I love laundry

Yep, it's true.  I don't know why, exactly.  There is just something about the sorting, the folding, the neatly arrayed squares laid out on the bed that is just...satisfying.  Even though I washed these clothes last week (or yesterday, in the case of diapers), and I will wash them again next week, I get great feeling of accomplishment after going from basket full of dirty clothes to empty basket and full drawers.  I particularly like folding and putting away the children's laundry.  Those tiny socks and sleepers, or "big boy" shirts and pajamas remind me of my sweet girl, my growing boy.  Doing the laundry is a tangible sign that I am tending to the needs of my little family, making sure they are warm and clean. 

Growing up, I certainly did not feel this way.  Laundry was more or less of a cooperative effort in our house.  Supposedly, whoever heard the dryer buzz was suppose to change the laundry over and fold the laundry from the dryer, but for some reason, my sister and I often seemed unable to hear the buzzing sound.  Huh.  Then, once the laundry was clean and in the basket, it would often sit in my room for days, becoming a makeshift dresser since I tended to avoid putting the clothes in the actual, you know, dresser. 

So, what changed?  I often wonder when I will become a "grown-up", but perhaps this is how it happens, when one day you stop avoiding the pile of dirty clothes, and start embracing it (not literally, of course).  I know I'm not a real grown-up, though, because I still can't say I enjoy doing the dishes.  Maybe when I'm 30.  Until then, pass the clothes basket over this-a way.

Monday, November 12, 2012

One Month - 5 Things

As of yesterday, Isabel Joan is one month old.  Here are five things you might like to know about her:

1.  She is a lazy eater.  Elijah's nursing nickname was the Barracuda.  Isabel could not be more different.  Call her Queen of the Snack Bar.

2.  She is a little ball of gas.  Seriously, her farts are shockingly loud coming from such a small person.  She is generally not bothered by her gassiness, though.

3.  Elijah adores her.  He calls her "Izzy Izzy" and likes to pile his toys on top of her and give her tons of hugs.  As a result, she is less sure about him.

4.  She loves pink. Just kidding.  I have no idea if she likes pink at all, but pretty much all of her outfits are pink, so she doesn't really have a choice.

5.  She's as chill as can be, at least so far.  Maybe I'm misremembering, but even at this young age, Elijah was already, well, strong-willed (read: crabby-pants).  So perhaps this speaks to her future personality?  This family could use at least one laid-back member, and I'm kinda hoping it could be her.

That's it for now...except that she is one beloved baby.  But perhaps that goes without saying.

Friday, November 9, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
Thank you to Amanda Soule of Soule Mama for the words and inspiration.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Just (en)chillin'

If you are a friend of ours, and thinking of coming over for dinner, be warned: if you aren't a lover of beans, you may want to come over on a day other than Tuesday.  After successfully instituting Pasta Monday over the summer, we have now added Taco Tuesday to our weekly rotation.  And as we are not so much in the carnivorous way over here, beans are the main attraction when it comes to taco (or enchilada) filling.  Today, you can find my super-easy enchilada recipe, along with a picture of Elijah making them (did I mention they are super-easy?) over at Endless Simmer.  And if beans aren't your thing, well, there's always Pizza Friday.   

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Just the three of us...

So, it's been two days now with just the kids and me, and it has been both easier and harder than anticipated.  I'll explain more soon, but until then, enjoy a few pics of Isabel, aka Fizzy Izzy (she has a lot of gas).

Monday, November 5, 2012

Curse you, Eastern Standard Time!

November 4, 2012, 5:30 am

I have to say, I don't often give much thought to Daylight Savings Time.  I think this is mainly because I find it very confusing that twice a year, the time changes, just like that.  Clearly, time does not actually changes; the clocks do.  Still, it's a bit disorienting if you dwell on it to much.  What usually happens is that around the middle of March/October, I start thinking, I wonder when I have to change the clocks.  Then I look it up, make a note, and that is that. 

Not so this year.  Lately, Elijah has been waking up rather early, by which I mean 5:30 am.  I am decidedly not a morning person, and neither is my dear husband, so it only figures that I would give birth to one.  Sometime before six each day, as I lie nestled all snug in my bed, I hear a little (loud) voice, calling, "Mama, I wake up!  Go play downstairs."  I really do love Elijah's sweet voice, but I love it just a tiny bit less when the sun has not yet risen.

Oh yes, and putting him to bed later has zero effect on his wake-up time.  All that happens is he gets less sleep and is more grumpy, earlier, the next day.  And so, all of this is to say that Sunday morning, at 4:50 am, Elijah was up and at 'em.  The picture above is what the first hour of the day looked like before I found my glasses.

Yes, Captain Underpants couldn't wait to get a jump on his drumming, feeling that the "extra hour" would be much better spent playing that sleeping.  It's a good thing he's so cute (and that he still takes a nap.)