Friday, December 20, 2013

On the road again

If it were up to Elijah, this would be our vehicle of choice: box airplane.
Today we embark upon our long journey to the place of Kurt's birth to be counted, or something.  Let's just hope there is room at the inn/Best Western for us wherever we are forced to stop this evening when the children's my screaming gets to be too.  I will try to blog while I am away, but I might be too busy sleeping while Kurt's saintly mother attempts to corral the children.  Which is, by the way, the best gift a mother could hope to get for Chistmas, so thanks in advance, dear Marty.

Peace on earth, and to all a good night.  Or, in our case, peace in the Camry and to all a good stay with two small children in one hotel room.  If that is even possible.  I don't think it is. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Blackberries for Iz

Many of you, I hope, enjoyed the book Blackberries for Sal as children.  It held a special place in our house because Sal is one of the many nicknames belonging to my dear little sister, Sarah.  As a child, she even kinda looked like the girl in the story, so even though the timing wasn't quite right, we just figured the book was actually written for her.  Nothing like the egocentricity of small children.

It's been awhile since blueberries were on sale at Aldi, so our berry of choice lately has been the noble blackberry.  Now, Isabel is not the voracious eater that Elijah once was, and could even possibly be called picky.  If left to her own devices, she would happily eat cheese and hummus exclusively.  So, imagine my surprise when I found out that the absolutely loves blackberries.  Loves them.  As in, would eat a whole box if Elijah was not around to secure his portion.  I made it to the checkout counter this week with a mere half-box remaining, and two rather purpled children.    Blackberries for Iz, indeed.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Just some pictures

Yesterday, Elijah spent the afternoon and evening puking.  Today, Isabel has green goo issuing forth from her tiny nose.  We are coming up on a month of continuous illness here at nuestra casa.  Disgusting.  But rather than neglect this here blogity-blog this week, I offer you some photos.   And that's pretty much all I can muster at this point.  More tomorrow.  Maybe.

(Sorry the pics today are so Izzy-heavy.  Seems that already, at age 3, Elijah is tired of the Mama-razzi.  He'd better grow out of that soon.)

Friday, December 13, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 15)

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Okay, first off, I need to apologize.  Turns out my rant from last week was unfounded, as my post that I worked so hard on did run. You can check it out over here. It ran on Thanksgiving, which is why I missed it.  Fortunately, I noticed this before I hit send on my angry little letter to my editor.  For the record, I still think I should be getting paid, though.

If you do not live around here, you  may have heard on the news about the severe weather that hit  (or did not hit) Washington, DC, this week, also known as the storm that wasn't.  A big thanks to my friend Patrick for sending me this hilarious commemoration of the non-event.  Funniest thing I have seen in awhile, and so, so true.

Yes, this is my only post this week.  We are having a bit of a sleep revolt around these parts, which is, as they say, revolting.  I have plenty of things to write in mind, just no mental energy with which to write them.  Specifically, I was going to write a post this week entitled, "Blackberries for Iz," and one called, "For love of the series: Poppleton".  Who knows, maybe next week will be better.  A girl can dream.

In the absence of writing, I have been getting a little mental stimulation from reading books.  If you ever wonder what I am reading, just check out the Good Reads widget in the lower right hand corner of this page.  This morning, I finished Serena by Ron Rash.  Very well written, but like the movies Traffic and No Country for Old Men, it left me feeling rather bleak.  Great, evil characters, though.  The movie comes out next year, and I will probably see it, then have to watch a few episodes of 30 Rock after to cheer myself up.

To my continued great joy, Elijah is still a voracious reader (or, in his case, listener).  We went to the library this week and got another bag full of books, including, for the second time, And the Dish Ran Away with this Spoon.  Our household opinions on this book are divided.  Elijah and I love it, but Kurt most definitely does not.  Isabel is thus far neutral.  I love the way it weaves together twenty or so different nursery rhymes and gives me an opportunity to do different voices.  Kurt thinks it is cheesy and overly long.  I see his point, and I am sure by next week, I will be happy it is a library book, but for now, I still love it.  

Speaking of nursery rhymes, did anyone else play the computer game Mixed-Up Mother Goose as a child?   When Elijah is ready for computer games, I feel like this could be a good one to start with.  And with those giant pixels, I will be setting the par pretty low, thus hopefully postponing his requests for an Xbox as long as possible.  

Last time I did this, it worked, so I am going to try again:
Kurt, if you are reading this, and assuming Elijah takes a nap today, let's go to Sala Thai for dinner.
And Shaina, if you are reading this, you and Jonathan should come, too.

And that is all.

Friday, December 6, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 14)

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Last Saturday was Small Business Saturday.  We were on our way home from West Virginia, so I was not able to partake, but I wrote a lovely post about it, spotlighting Franklin's General Store in Hyattsville, Maryland.  You may be thinking to yourself right now, if you are a regular reader, that you don't remember such a post.  That's because I wrote it for another blog, whose name I will not mention here, but for whom I provide my writerly services for free.  Despite the fact that I gave the editor a week's notice and previewed the post with him ahead of time, it did not run.  Despite the fact that I made a special trip to take pictures, it did not run.  This is very frustrating.  I think that said blog may not be receive any of my pearls of wisdom in the near future.

On that note, did you hear the one about the writer who died of exposure?  It is hard, when you are an amateur writer such as myself, to bypass writing opportunities that provide no financial benefit, but get the name out there.  I am wondering, though, if I am selling myself short in this respect.   Sure, if it's something I really want to do, great, but if not, I think it's time to stop giving it away, ya know?

I've been toying with adding a regular link-up to my blog where people can share their parenting success stories.  I hesitate because I don't want to come off as thinking that I have it all figured out.  If you've been to my house lately and nearly died from stepping on a Lego, you know this is not true.  But...while its funny to read about what went wrong, so many of us try so hard and succeed, even if its just for five minutes out of a very, very long day.  Writing this right now makes me think its time.  Meet you here next week for the first ever Triumph Tuesday (Or some such, if I can think of a better name.  Suggestions welcome.)

I considered giving up blogging for Advent, but I realized that my posts have been pretty sparse lately anyway, so then I considered ramping up my blogging for Advent, but that clearly hasn't happened, so it looks like maintaining the status quo it is. 

If you know me in the real world (not the internet one), you probably know that I loves me some crossword puzzles.  I get this from my dad.   I tell myself that time spent puzzling is not wasted, as it is clearly necessary for maintaining my mental acuity.  Since I am forced to talk about poop at least once a day, there may be something to this.  If only I liked jogging as much as word play, the rest of me might be as in shape as my gray matter.

I believe I just heard a summons from the crib of one Isabel Joan, so its time to wrap up the not-at-all quick takes.

My mom is coming tomorrow!  And that is all.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Thanksgiving on the Farm

Our family was blessed to spend a lovely Thanksgiving weekend with our friends at Bethlehem Farm.  The turkey was really, really fresh (like, 24 hours before eating it, it was still gobbling fresh), the pies were plentiful, the snow-encrusted mountains were picturesque, and the company was wonderful.  Elijah spend his time eating turkey, building forts with his friend Miriam, and eating turkey.  Isabel spent her time opening and closing a box.  So, basically, a great time was had by all.  

Clearly, our family has much to be thankful for.

Friday, November 29, 2013

{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 28, 2013


Happy Thanksgiving from Our Family to Yours!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Then and Again: Lizard Pajama Edition


Green footie pajamas + blunt objects + scooting = photo opportunity.  again.

Friday, November 22, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 13)

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First off, how awesome is this birthday card.  It came from my dear friend Danie, and although I am usually skeptical off store-bought cards, clearly the person who created this knew what they were talking about.  Sometimes the best friends aren't those who've known you the longest (although those are good, too), but those who come to us at just the right time.

Just in case you were worried after reading (1), be assured that you did not forget my birthday.  It is next Friday (and it's a big one).  This is your one and only reminder, unless you live with me, in which case just know that I expect to be treated like a princess all next week and will not hesitate to make this known as often as is necessary.

Twice in the past two weeks I have made casseroles that would have been excellent except that I cut the root vegetables (potatoes, then turnips) too big.  Kurt thinks that this could be an indication that I am a closet fruitarian, and that I am worried about wounding the poor vegetables.

What are your feelings on Myers-Briggs personality typing?   I was skeptical, but then I took a little online test and it came back as ISFP, which was eerily accurate, so now I am thinking that maybe there is something to this.  Jen writes about the Myers-Briggs a lot, which is what got me interested in the first place.   Has anyone else out there taken the test?  What did you think?

Isabel has been talking up a storm lately, which is especially hilarious because she is so teeny, and people assume that she is much younger than she is.   I imagine it is a little disconcerting/creepy to hear what you assume to be a six-month-old greeting you with a very clear, "Hello!".  It doesn't help that she still has so little hair that she is closer to bald than not bald.

We've been on a run of good book series from the library, in particular the Fox and Poppleton books.  However, I would not recommend reading Minnie and Moo Go Dancing if you would like your child to eat a hamburger ever again.  Actually, you know what? That book is weird in other ways too.  Just skip that one and head straight for Mr. Putter and Tabby.

I am hoping that Kurt will be up for a trip to Sala Thai for dinner.  I just got a Groupon, and they have live jazz on Friday nights.  Last time, Elijah was so mesmerized by the bass fiddle that he barely touched his food, which for Elijah is basically unheard of.  Even Isabel handled herself well, mainly by playing with chopsticks.  Yes, I think we will do that again.  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 21, 2013


My thoughts exactly.

Why have I been so lame about posting this week?  I'll give you some choices and see if you can guess.

Is it...
a) I spent yesterday morning at the doctor's office.
b) Elijah hasn't taken a nap for the past two days.
c) There is something wrong with the sound on the video camera.
d) Kurt worked late last night.
e) My computer mouse ran out of batteries and I lost the will to find new ones.
f) All of the above.

If you chose letter f, you, my friend are correct.  But, the battery situation is now resolved, so who knows? Maybe things are about to take a turn for the better.  Until then, if you just can't wait to hear more of my silver-finger-tipped prose, hop over here.  See you tomorrow for seven quick takes.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Turnaround Specialist

It's not just that Isabel is the world's happiest baby.  What is truly impressive is how quickly she bounces back from, say, getting kicked in the head (accidentally, he says) by Elijah.  

There's just no stopping that Isa-sun from shining. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 12)

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If you've been a longtime reader of mine, you know that Elijah is quite musically-minded.  I, on the other hand, am a lover of the visual arts.  Perhaps, then, you can understand my excitement when this week, Elijah produced his first representational drawings.  Of talking meatballs.  The funniest part is, Elijah has probably eaten meatballs three times in his entire life.  Apparently, though, they made an impression.

Some days lately, Elijah has not taken a nap.  Rather than crying into my afternoon Diet Coke, I have embraced this special time together.  By which I mean I have fought off feelings of despair while reminding myself that no nap means an early bed time.

An early bed time for Elijah means more time for Kurt and I to spend quality time together watch The Wire.  We are in the final season and will definitely be sad when we are finished.  It may be the best show ever.  I am not exaggerating, nor am I alone in thinking this.

I have now posted on Endless Simmer for two weeks in a row.  Woot!  Wish me luck as I attempt to make it a three-peat next week.  It won't be easy (see #2).

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post for GreaterGreaterEducation that received the most comments ever for a post on that site.  That is exciting, except that some of the commenters were downright mean and almost made me cry.  My next post is about the new DCPS report card, and I am a bit relieved that this is no doubt a less controversial topics.

Yesterday on The Kojo Nnamdi Show, there was a segment on video game music.  As I listened, I was amazed at how much video game music has entered my consciousness over the years.  Also, I kinda wish I had tickets (and a babysitter) to go see this.

Speaking of video games, if like me you wasted many hours of your youth on Super Mario Brother, you might enjoy this youTube video.  Do those guys have serious skills or what?  Too bad they couldn't get their hats to stay on.  Also, love the ending.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

New park love

We have lived in this house for five years, one year longer than we have known the twins, two years less than we have known Elijah.  In all that time, with all those kids, we have never had a park we could walk to.  Well, I mean, there are two that technically we could walk to, but they are at least a mile away, and on a 100 degree (or drizzly, or freezing) day, they may as well have been out of town. 

 Two weeks ago (and thankfully, just in time for the week of the grandparents), that changed.

Where once there was a broken down, boarded-up, swingless playground, we now have an honest-to-goodness play space, adjacent to the Harry Thomas Sr. Recreation Center, just four blocks from home.

See that little top tooth peeking out?
It's got it all: slides, a four-person teeter-totter, climbing spots, and, of course, plenty of swings for all.  Swings, might I say, that already practically a permanent Elijah butt-print in them.


Friday, November 8, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 11)

It's good to be back.  A week in paradise wherein no one interrupts you while you eat your food because yes, they need a fork, but no, not that fork is good for the soul, but being home is even better.  Also, it seems like the kids aged a lot while we were gone, even though this seems unlikely.

I have noticed that my cooking this week has taken on a somewhat Mexican dimension.  Following a trip to Bestway Supermercado, I cooked up some zucchini and acorn squash in ranchero sauce and served it with corn tortillas.  I, for one, thought it was delicious.  Unfortunately, not everyone in my family shares my love of squash.  Fortunately, they all love quesadillas, though, so no one went hungry.

While we were away, I received a review copy of The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  I started reading the intro, and it looks pretty good.  My plan is to dig into it more this weekend.  I am skeptical about the "Five Minutes a Day" part, but I will let you know.

A new park just opened by our house, and it is awesome.  Unfortunately, thanks to daylight savings, it now gets dark here at 5 o'clock or so.  Therefore, we have been running out the door post-naptime to get a little playtime in before the light fades.  We have meet some neighbors and spent a lot of time on the swings (ahem, Elijah).  It's great now, but it will be even greater in the summer time when we can stay out a little (or a lot) later.

Since our park time has been cut back due to the darkness, we have been making frequent trips to the library, which is now open until 9 every night.  Elijah's latest favorite book is The Last Train, which he insisted upon "reading" on the way to school today.  We've only read it together twice, but he already knows most of the words.

I just uploaded a super-cute Izzy video, so check back tomorrow for that.  Clearly, youtube has been collecting data on me (no surprise there, really), because they helpfully suggested that I watch this.  From the title, I though it was going to be a sort of Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged, except with the gospels, but no, it was even better.  If you like spoken word poetry (or don't feel like reading all of Mere Christianity), watch this video. 

Thanksgiving is fast-approaching, and this year Elijah is old enough to understand a bit more about giving thanks, so if anyone has any suggestions for good activities to do or books to read, please let me know.  May you have a blessed and beautiful fall weekend!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Elsewhere: Chocolate Cake

So, as a part of the lovely wedding celebration, Kurt and I had our first taste (and taste and taste) of an all-inclusive resort.  Being as we prefer not to start drinking at 8 am, I don't think we got our money's worth, but we sure ate enough ice cream and sushi to last us awhile.  In the interest of detoxification, our meals this week have featured lots of dark leafy greens.  Rather than beer with breakfast, we have....water.   And since our trip was basically a 7-day meat bender, we've been hitting the beans pretty hard.  And even though there is a bag full of Halloween candy in the kitchen, it has remained largely uneaten.

Before we left, however, I did review a desserts cookbook for Endless Simmer. So, if, unlike me, you have been treating your digestive system kindly for the past few weeks, perhaps it is time for a treat?  You can find my review along with a recipe for the chocolate, coffee cake above right over here.  Now, I believe it is time for my morning kale snack.

Monday, November 4, 2013

My Grown-up Little Sister

Yes, our vacation was lovely.  Thanks for asking.  We ate, drank, slept, went to the beach, went to the pool, snorkeled, zip-lined, cliff-jumped, and slept some more.  One thing we didn't really do: take pictures.  However, that's okay because none of those fun things was the real reason we went to Mexico.  Rather, the main attraction (and really, the most fun I had) was my little sister's wedding.  Here are a few pics of the big day.  I am sure that if you are reading this and you are friends with Sarah on Facebook, you have access to a few thousand more.  Also, she had a professional photographer, and if some day I am granted access to those lovely photos, I will post some more wedding highlights.  For now, though, these will have to suffice.

  Congratulations Sarah and Matt!

Friday, October 25, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 10)

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Last weekend, we took a trip to the pumpkin patch.  Normally, such an event would warrant its own post, but there was a sore lack of pictures, making a full post seem a little anti-climactic.  Instead, please enjoy the above highlights: Isabel with a giant pumpkin, Elijah expressing his distaste at the loudness of the tractor (and wearing a slightly too-small sweater).

I am currently reading The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers.  I got it from the library for Kurt, but took a peek myself, and was hooked from the first page.  It is a novel about the Iraq War, yes, but really, it is so much more than that.  The writing is so beautiful that I am restricting myself to reading one chapter a day so that it isn't over too quickly.

Isabel is awesome.  So awesome, in fact, that there is one (just one!) thing about her that drives me crazy, and it is this: she just loves dropping her food on the floor.  Or, in the case of loaded spoons, flinging her food on the floor.  It is gross.  Last night, Kurt and I were looking at an old picture of toddler Elijah chowing down on some sweet potatoes, and we realized that this is a new problem for us as parents.  Elijah would not have dared let even a tiny morsel of food escape his gaping jaws.  He still doesn't.


I just sent off another set of snack magnets to a giveaway winner, this time in Spanish.  If you or anyone you know is interested in purchasing a set of your very own, leave a comment or email me at  

Catchiest song of the week?  Has to be That Girl by Jennifer Nettles.  It's kind of like Stay, but, you know, not as depressing.

I wasn't sure what to put for number 6, until Shaina sent me this.  My recommendation?  Bridget Jones' Diary with Woodchuck cider because a girly book needs a girly bev.

Finally, as many of you know, Kurt and I are going to Mexico next week.  Without the kids.  (Gasp!)  I am a bit apprehensive, but am buoyed by both my confidence in the competence of my in-laws and the excitement I feel in attending the wedding of my little sister.  You may not hear from me for awhile, but be assured that I will be enjoying myself heartily while simultaneously missing my children terribly.  

Monday, October 21, 2013

Then and Again



Why watch TV when there is so much to see right out your own front door?

Friday, October 18, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 8)

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Once again, we had quite the abnormal week around here, but instead of being caused by a careening car thief, it was caused by buckets of...yuckiness.  (I was going to let my alliterative side roll on, but some of you might be eating while you read this.)  Anyway, I am sure those of you out there who are parents will hear me when I say that nothing says unconditional love like cleaning up after your sick child (on the side of the road, no less.)


I am pretty sure that I can skip my daily Mensa crossword this morning, as I was able to successfully rethread and reinstall Elijah's car seat in under ten minutes.  This is what happens when you forget that you washed the car seat cover (see #1) and hung it to dry in the basement, only to realize upon heading out the door for school that the naked car seat frame is sitting on the porch. 


Vomiting aside, I did enjoy spending some extra time with my Lijah boy this week.  A shout goes out to Mamo and her timely gift of a giant dinosaur floor puzzle, which provided hours of entertainment for Elijah and I during Isabel's morning naps.


Since it is fall, I have switched from buying 1/2 bushels of peaches at the farmer's market to buying crates of apples.  Unlike the peaches, the apples really are not good to eat raw as they are pretty banged up, so instead, I have been making huge pots of applesauce.  So good.  It may be time for some potato pancakes up in here.  Izzy has been gobbling up the sauce, too, thanks to these.


It seems like fall may finally be here to stay in DC, which means it's....soup season!   Typically I try to limit myself to one soup night per week, as Elijah and Kurt are lukewarm (haha!) about soup, but this week we had curry squash soup on Monday and potato onion soup last night, and I got no complaints (from Kurt).  If you are a soup lover like me and you don't own this book, you should.


Countdown to my sister's wedding: 15 days.  Woohoo!  Sarah and Matt, can't wait to watch you tie the knot in sunny CancĂșn.  And if it rains, well, that's okay, too, because there's no such thing as bad weather for a wedding...or a tropical vacation.


Since this is our last in-town weekend of October, it gonna be all-fall up in here.  Caramel apples, pumpkin carving, leaf pile jumping, we're there.  I promise to take lots of (or at least a few pics.)  Hope you and your are enjoying some lovely fall weather, too!  Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Quotable Elijah

Lisa: What do you want for Christmas?

Elijah: A sea turtle.  Not a pretend one.

Lisa: A sea turtle?  Where would it live?

Elijah: In the basement.

Lisa: What will its name be?

Elijah: Fighty.

Lisa: Is this a small sea turtle or a big one?

Elijah: It will be enormous.

Lisa: And what color should it be?

Elijah: Pink.

So, there you have it, Santa/grandparents, one real, large, pink sea turtle please...or maybe not.  After all, this house is a rental.  You have to admire the specificity, though.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

She's number one!

That's right folks...we've reached the second leg of our family's birth month trifecta.  (Sorry, Daddy, you'll have to wait for spring for your cake.  But the rest of us are happy to share.)

This month's special someone is none other than that tiny girl known affectionately as Izzy, Izzy Fizzy, the Iz, and "pretty girl" (says Elijah). 

When Eljiah was but a wee lad, one of my favorite tunes to sing to him was, "You are my Sunshine," but Isabel really and truly is a ray of sunlight that shines on our little family.  She is as sweet as summer peaches (although she would rather eat cheese or rocks), and always has a smile on her face, except maybe when Elijah bulldozes her with a giant ball.  She's a mama's girl right up until the moment she catches a glimpse of Daddy out on the porch, at which point she scoots as fast as possible and bangs on the window until he comes in. 

The other day, Kurt had a conversation with Isabel that went something like this:

Kurt: Isabel, can you say, "Dada"?
Kurt: Can you say, "Mama"?
Kurt: Can you say, "Elijah?"
Isabel: E-la-la!

Yep.  No doubt about where her greatest affections lie.  And despite the aforementioned bulldozing, the feeling is pretty much mutual.

Happy birthday, sweetest girl.  You are our sunshine.