Friday, September 12, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 36)


(1)
Soooo long since I've posted...where to being?  How about school?  That seems like a good place.  Elijah started school last week, but this was his first full week.  He seems to really enjoy it, despite the fact that he has fallen and scraped his knees so many times that his teacher suggested to me today that perhaps he should start wearing long pants.  Regardless, when I pick him up each day and ask him how his day was, he always responds with an enthusiastic, "Great!"

(2)
Getting dressed for school, however, is not always as great.  Today, for example, after I took off the shirt that he slept in (a school shirt), he ran away, picked up both the dirty and clean shirts, and threw them at me.  Since he insisted that I only buy him blue school shirts, I could then not tell the clean from the dirty.  So there is fifty percent chance that Elijah is not wearing a clean shirt today.  And yes, he sometimes sleeps in his clothes.  What?

(3)
As kids go, Elijah is fairly forthcoming about his school activities.  Sometimes, though, it feels like we are playing verbal charades.  Elijah had to describe one activity three times before I understood that he glued his name on a piece of paper with a purple glue stick.  He had never used a glue stick before, and kept telling me he, "spread the purple crayon on the paper and then put his name in it." 

(4)
There is lots to love about Elijah's new school.  The whole class is taught in Spanish, his teacher Mr. Jorge is one of those people that seems made to teach preschool, and the new school building is beautiful.  The best thing, though, is that we can walk.  After driving back and forth and back and forth for over an hour last year, the pleasure of a 20 minute stroll through the neighborhood each morning and afternoon cannot be overstated.

(5)
And, as an addendum to the above, Elijah's school is also on Kurt's way to work.  So sometimes, father and son walk together to school, then Kurt hops on his bike the rest of the way.  Elijah did have a major wipe out the first time the tried this, but I still think it is going to be a great thing.

(6)
This was Isabel's first week of school, and therefore, mine, too.  It was exhausting, but so much fun.  The biggest hit of the week was some homemade finger paint that I accidentally overcooked so that it was more like jello.  So gross.  The kids were all about it, spooning it, feeling it, generally covering themselves in it.  They have taken to calling it "gooey-gooey", and I may have to whip up another batch for next week.  I'll probably end up accidentally making finger paint.

(7)
And one non-school related note - on Sunday, my baby will be 4!  So hard to believe.  Especially when he is throwing a temper tantrum.  Ha.  But seriously, my boy is growing up, and I am so proud of him.  Love that little man.

 

Friday, August 8, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 35)


(1)
First off, I want to wish a big happy birthday to my little sister.  Yesterday, she turned 28.  Woo hoo!  I wonder if that makes her too old to party all night on a Thursday.  I bet not. 
Happy birthday, Poonsie!

(2) 
Speaking of all night parties, I threw a baby shower for my friend Peggy on Wednesday, and we stayed up talking, eating, and drinking until 12:30 am.  On Thursday, I painfully remembered why I haven't done that in years.  It was a great party, though.  A big thank you to Kit for the use of her lovely home.

(3)
Last Monday was one of my top five worst parenting days ever.  Not sure why, but someone (or both) was crying for 70% of the day.  We had to leave the arboretum in a fit of tears (Elijah's) and I considered just sitting in the car with the kids and crying until Kurt got home, but I couldn't stand the noise.  Of course, Tuesday was 10,000 times better.  That's just how it goes sometimes.  But man, I am glad that day is behind us.

(4)
If you are wondering about the other 4 days in my parenting hall of terribleness, they all occurred when Elijah was a baby, and all involved nights where there was absolutely no sleeping.  So, upon reflection, things are pretty good around here.  (Note: The picture at the top was not taken Monday.)

(5)
One of my current favorite books around here is If You Want to See a Whale

(6)
I am a big fan of Goodreads, and this week I created my first list!  Check it out, vote, and add your own favorite train books.  I am sure I have forgotten some.

(7)
Finally, the most exciting news around here this week is that I got a job!  Starting in September, I will be teaching preschool three days each week.  Isabel will be joining me.  It seems like the perfect opportunity to dip a toe back into the paid-employment waters.  Wish me luck!

Friday, August 1, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 34)

(1)
 It's been over a month since my last post.  Whoops.  Sorry about that.  My only excuse is that we were gone on vacation for almost three weeks, visiting our families in the Midwest.  It was awesome and fun and excellent, but there is nothing like that much time away to make you glad to come home.  It's good to be back.

 (2)
I rarely go on Facebook, but I had occasion to recently, and I'm glad I did because I stumbled on the most excellent website of a former high school choir mate Chris Giesler.  If you are reading this, and you work for The New Yorker, you need to snap this guy up.

(3)
It's official.  Elijah no longer takes naps.  I am a little sad, but he enjoys his quiet alone time well enough for me to get a break, and bedtime just got a whole lot easier.  Plus, school starts next month.  It does make me feel like he's growing up fast, though.

(4) 
I narrowed the twenty entries in the YA category for the Kindle Book Review contest down to the  top 5.  Once the results are public, I'll post my recommendations here, but I will say that there were several strong contenders.  And now that that's over, I am going to reward myself by rereading The Fault in Our Stars.  

(5)
Kurt and I have been making our way through Parks and Recreation.  If your sense of humor is anything at all like mine (sorry Mom) and you haven't watched this show, please do.  Our evenings are significantly more hilarious since we started.  

(6)
Speaking of humor, Elijah has started telling jokes.  Or I should say joke.  The joke is: What has three legs but never runs?  I think he heard the joke on Thomas.  Anyway, I believe that there is an actual punchline, but it doesn't seem like he knows it.  Instead, he makes up his own.  Favorites include "a house with legs" and a spider.

(7)
Finally, I want to give a shout out/thank you to Kit, for piling us all into her van this morning for a 2 adult, 5 kid trip to the zoo.  Crazy fun times were had by all.  

Happy weekend! 


Friday, June 27, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 33)
 Hosted at ConversionDiary.com

(1)
I just gave Elijah a haircut.  This was the first time I did it by myself.  It was only mildly traumatic.  For me, I mean.  For him, it was much worse, I fear.  Judging from his screeches, he is the only person in the world with nerve endings in his hair.  He's recovering with a Popsicle on the couch as we speak.   It appears there is no lasting damage, except, of course, to his hair.  But I hear that grows back.

(2)
This week I finished the eighth of the books for the KBR contest, young adult category.  There are now three books that I have really enjoyed, although all for vastly different reasons.  At this rate, I should be able to choose a top five without including anything I didn't really like.  With 12 books to go, I am hoping that my decision is a difficult one.

(3)
It's official: I am now outnumbered when it comes to choosing the radio station in the car.  Elijah always wants "banjo songs" (WAMU bluegrass radio), while Isabel just wants "Michael Row the Boat Ashore" from the Sing Along With Putamayo CD.  So, we pretty much just switch back and forth between those two.  I miss you, NPR.

(4)
While listening to the aforementioned "banjo songs" today, I heard a version of "The Great Divide", and was surprised to find that I knew all of the words.  It seems that repeated listenings to Nancy Griffith as a child have made their mark, even though I haven't heard that song in at least 15 years.  Also, if you watch the video, be sure to appreciate the early nineties fashion.  Love the blazers, ladies.

(5)
When it comes to kids' picture books, it sometimes seems unfair that the author gets top billing over the illustrator.  Not so much, however, with one of Elijah's current favs, The Only Alex Addleston in All These Mountains.  The pictures are lovely, and make the story come alive, yes, but oh, the story.  It is just so sweet.  And the language is beautiful.  Read it, please.  Then write me to tell me how much you love it.  

(6)
In that same vein, once again the scientists have spoken, telling us that reading to our children is good for them.  This time, the news is that even newborns benefit from being read to.  I hope this news gives Sandra Boynton a bump, being that she is, in my opinion, the queen of the board book.  

(7)
Given the number of Popsicles my children eat, I sometimes feel a tad bit guilty re: my chidlren's nutrition.  But today's quotable Elijah made me feel a little better.  At the grocery store:  "Look, Mommy!  Pizzas that are frozen.  I never knew about that." Good, son.  Let's keep it that way.

By this time next week, we will be in Michigan, on the far side of a ten+ hour road trip.  Wish us luck.  My main strategy: lots of carb-based snacks (but no frozen pizza).  And headphones.  For me.  Have a great weekend.



Sunday, June 22, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 32)
Sunday Semi-retirement edition


If you've been around the blog lately, you may have noticed that posts have been a little scarce.  Here's why:

(1)
I am continuing down the list of 20 titles for the 2014 Kindle Book Review contest, young adult category  I just finished the seventh one.  Fortunately, it was quite good and did not involve either vampires or a post-apocalyptic story line.  I would be delighted if I could say the same for the next 143books on the list. 

(2)
I am tired.  I cannot remember the last time both of my children slept until at least six o'clock.  To get eight hours of sleep (assuming no one wakes up in the middle of the night), I would have to go to bed at 9 or 9:30, which I am not willing to do.  Nap time often finds me napping rather than blogging.  Not my ideal, but that's just the way it is right now.

(3)
My mom suggested that my lack of bloggy-ness began with my failure in the A to Z Challenge, and while I don't believe that is the whole story, there's probably something to that.  I set a task before my self and did not complete it.  That's hard.

(4)
Some days, parenting takes all that I have in me.  This relates to number (2), but it's more than that.  I love my children so much, and delight in them hourly, but dang, this job is hard.  Friday, for a solid hour and a half after nap time, one or both children was screaming.  I had to get off the phone with my friend Emily because Elijah would not stop yelling at me to read him a book.  All of this drama tends to sap my will for other pursuits, blogging being one. 

(5)
Call me Augustus Waters, but sometimes this blog just seems like a shout into oblivion.  I am very grateful for my few but loyal fans, many of whom are related to me, but sometimes I have a hard time motivating myself to keep posting on this blog that only a few people are reading. I think part of that comes from the fact that I never really settled on a theme, and I don't do much to promote my blog on social media.  

(6)
I have other interests that I'd like to pursue.  There's reading, of course, but I would also like to spend some time writing more fiction.  Also, we've been in this house for nearly 6 years, and there are projects I've never tackled, but I'd like to.  So, with what little time I can find, I'd like to do some of those things.

(7)
So, what I'm really trying to say with numbers (1) - (6) above is that my heart is just not really in this here blog these days.  I may come back to it.  After all, that worked for Michael Jordan.  For now, though, I am just going to take a break.  I will still post a few pictures from time to time, hopefully once a week.  I will still do 7 Quick Takes Friday because I like to, and its an easy way to fit all my updates into one post.  So, if you stop by once a week or so, you should be able to experience all I have to offer, at least for now.




















Friday, June 13, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 31)
 Hosted at ConversionDiary.com

(1)
Isabel is getting really good at buckling her high chair, and entertains herself in this manner for many minutes each day.  Unfortunately, she can't unbuckle it, so this is definitely a "together" activity.

(2) 
Week one of summer va-cay was super fun.  I built a little "music wall" outside on the back porch, and I acquired a very sturdy, weather-resistant play kitchen, so the back "yard" has been a major hang out in the past few days.  In the field trip dept., we have so far enjoyed the Arboretum, the library and the fountain in Columbia Heights.

(3)
I finally read The Fault in Our Stars this week.  What took me so long?  I couldn't help tearing through it, even though I simultaneously didn't want it to end.  If you haven't read it yet, you really need to.  But be prepare to neglect all other life responsibilities for a few days.  Sorry laundry.

(4)
In addition to buckling, Isabel has been "reading" a lot of books this week.  She spreads them all over the floor in the process, but that's okay because she reads them in a super-cute, very low voice.  I will try to capture this on video soon.

(5)
Next week, Elijah and I are hosting a little math camp at our house.  And by math camp, I mean a little 3-year-old fun time with play dough, Legos, art and yes, a tad bit of math.  Because I love math.  I know, nerdsville, but I can't help it.  And, as one of my dad's students said, "It seems like people who are good at math are good at a lot of other things, too." So, no reason we can't start early.  I'll let you know how it goes.

(6)
I am through five of the books for the KBR contest judging.  The last book I had to read was so bad that I almost didn't finish.  I only have to pick the top five, and if that makes it in, then I will cry.  I don't think it will.  But I finished it anyway.  Because I'm a good judge like that.  Only 3/4 of the books to go.  

(7)
 We're gearing up for a busy weekend around here.  Potluck, b-day party and babysitting tomorrow, Father's Day on Sunday.  A big shout out to Kurt, who is an excellent father even in the face of extreme stress (read: road trips), and another big shout out to my own dad, who is the source of my aforementioned math love.  You guys are amazing.



(3)

Monday, June 9, 2014

Life's a beach - 2014 edition


It's 90 degrees here, a few days ago we did what any sane parents of two small children do on a random June weekend - we took a three hour car ride south.  The car ride was every bit as awesome as a car ride with a 3- and 1-year-old can be.  I think I pulled a muscle in my shoulder while trying to keep Elijah from kicking Isabel.  But, we made it. And our hotel room had two rooms, which basically saved us from total insanity.

But!  The beach!  Elijah is still solidly pro-sand, anti-ocean.  Isabel joined him in that camp, though, to be fair, the water was freezing.  Sand castles were made, sand was eaten, fun times were had by all.


Also, Elijah had his first experience with that quintessential beach activity: digging a giant hole.


Now, it's back to reality.  Just kidding.  School's out, so basically, it's happy-fun-time 24/7 around here.  Let the adventures roll on!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Fit to print


If you have been to my house, then you know that I have a problem when it comes to printing and hanging photos.  Most notably, in our lovely ascending photo array of family pictures, one young lady is conspicuously absent, despite her nearly two-year membership in our little four person club.  Boo to me.

I heard someone on NPR recently, a photographer, talking about how her rule is, "If it's good enough to share, it's good enough to print."  Wise words.  I have shared so many picture on this here blog, yet I have printed almost none of them.  I'll have to work on that.

I was looking for some photos for today's post when I came across the ones you see above, memories from the birthday of a dear friend a few weeks ago.  I thought, "I should print some of those and give them to the birthday girl."  I almost let the thought pass me by, to be added to the bottomless invisible to-do list in my head.  But no!  Click, save, picmoney.com, CVSphoto.com - ta-da!  Ready to be picked up tomorrow in under 20 minutes.  And I even had a coupon.

Now, if I can just figure out how to make this a habit, I might actually print and hang some pictures of my own children one of these days.  With all Isabel has to put up with, she has definitely earned her spot on the wall. 

Friday, May 30, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 30)
Hosted at ConversionDiary.com
Harmonious 
(1)
The picture above comes from an event so amazing, so noteworthy, that really, it deserves its own post.  But since 7QT is the only sure thing around here, I figured I had better share while I have the chance.  Earlier this week, Elijah and Isabel played together for twenty minutes.  Elijah passed Isabel stickers and she stuck them on paper.  It was glorious.  Echoes of things to come?  I hope so.

(2)
Elijah has one week of school left.  This year has really flown by.  We had such a great experience at St. Jerome's that I am truly sad to see this year wrap up.  I won't miss all the driving, but I feel blessed that Elijah's first year of school was so wonderful.

(3)
In addition to the families, teachers, etc, what I will miss most about Elijah going to St. Jerome's is Isabel and my weekly trips to Shortcake Bakery.  We have become quite the regulars, and I have even done some of the signage for the various baked goods.  We might not be there as often next year, but I am sure we will find a way to work it into our schedule.

 (4)
This year, I am judging the young adult category for the annual Kindle Book Review contest.  I have to read 20 books in three months, which is quite a lot, but I am still honored to take this project on.  I started yesterday, and so far, so good.  Just 19.25 books to go.

(5)
 One obstacle to reading all those books is that there are always lots of other books I want to read, too.  For book club, I just finished Out of My Mind, a middle grade book that I highly recommend, and an author whose books I have reviewed favorably in the past just sent me a copy of his new book.  I will never get a tattoo, but if I did, it might be this one:

Image source

(6)
When I was googling around to find the picture above, I also found this:

So true.

(7)
Kurt is putting Elijah to bed right now, and I have already done (most of) the dishes, which means I should not be writing this.  I should be using these precious free moments to wrap up book 1 of 20.  See you next week!
 
 
 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Three things

Inspired, as I am quite often, by SouleMama, today I bring you three things that I am thankful for right now:

One delicious-smelling sausage and red bean stew simmering away for dinner.
Two children sleeping at the same time for a whole hour (and looking downright angelic doing it).
. . .

Two children who slept at the same time for a whole hour (and looked downright angelic doing it).
. . .



Three good books (real, paper books!) on the night stand.  If you count Let's Go!, which Isabel would insist that I do, were she not napping at the moment.
. .
Okay, I guess that was technically five things.  What can I say? Gratitude abounds. Feel free to leave your own list of three (or five) things you are thankful for today in the comments.
 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Strawberry sweetness


Here's something to know about me:  I am not so great with family traditions.  I like them, and if they are executed by someone else I will gladly partake.  If it's left to me, though, well, um...

However, there is one exception: strawberry picking.  Every year since Elijah was but a wee lad of one-half years (that's six months in normal-speak), I have shlepped the family out to Shlagel Farms for our annual strawberry eating, picking and wearing extravaganza.  And by doing this one thing annually, I have seen my children grow and change before my very eyes.   Last year, I even documented our trip on this very blog.


This was, for example, the first year that Elijah actually helped pick strawberries in a way that contributed to the family take-home.  He ate his fair share, but he picked two quarts that did not immediately enter his mouth.  Isabel, content last year to sit and bask in the the light of the summer sun, was impatient to walk up and down the aisles hand-in-hand.  (That was two weeks ago, and now she's happy to toddle all on her own.)


After the picking, we picnicked at the Shlagel Farms playground, full of strawberries and sun.  This time last year, Elijah was more or less indifferent to the Iz.  This year, the flavor of their relationship is more of a love mixed with antagonism (but the love generally wins out). 


Strawberry picking may be one of the few family traditions that I have thus far managed to reliably pull off, but goodness, it sure is a sweet one.


Saturday, May 24, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 27)
Saturday Edition
Hosted at ConversionDiary.com

In the garden last summer

(1)
Yes, I know, it is Saturday, so this should not be called 7 Quick Takes Friday, but you know what?  This is my blog, so too bad.  The main reason I did not post yesterday is that we were fortunate to have our dear West Virgina friends in town, so we spent the day with them out in Woodbridge, Virginia.  Also, last night I watched Parks and Recreation instead of blogging.  So funny.  Sorry blog.

(2)
So, as I mentioned in (1), we spent yesterday in Woodbridge, Virginia.  It is only 45 minutes from our house, but I could not shake the feeling that I was Very Far Away from Washington, DC.  When it was time to go home, our car may as well have been a spaceship because I felt like we were traversing a great distance from suburbs to city.  Huh.

(3)
On Thursday, I went to Politics and Prose to listen to a panel of readings from the editors of the literary journal N+1, which included Chad Harbach, author of one of my very favorite books.  It is a very weird feeling, sitting just ten feet from someone and thinking things like, "You are an amazing writer," and "When I grow up, I want to be you." I thought about going up to talk to him afterwards, but I chickened out.  Maybe next time. 

(4)
Speaking of favorite books, last June I wrote about a bunch of mine, but of course there are many more, including my most favoritest book ever, that I did not get to.  So, next month, which is also June (oh how the time flies) I am going to do that again.  Something for you all to look forward to, no doubt.

(5)
As I was walking from Politics and Prose to the metro on Thursday night, I realized something.  I love living in the gritty part of the city for many reasons, but there is one thing that the posh side of town has on us, for sure: the smell.  If I closed my eyes during my stroll through Tenlytown, I might as well have been in a forest.  So green and flowery.  Here in Eckington, we are more diesel fuel, cigarette and other, less legal smokables.  Oh well.  Not like I have a spare million lying around to move me over there, and even if I did, I'm not sure if I would.  But I might.  For the smell.

(6)
I am sure by now, you have heard of Dangerdust, right?  So fun.  They sell prints of their work on Etsy, and I am thinking that one might be just the thing to hang over Isabel's crib, but its so hard to choose.  Thoughts?

(7)
It is 70 degrees and sunny here, so its about time I stopped sitting in front of this computer and headed outside.  We have decided to extend our gardening adventures into the local community garden this summer, so some planting is certainly in order.  Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

If a weekend goes unphotographed, did it even really happen?

This picture was not taken in the last five days

Kurt and Elijah took the camera with them on their big trip, and my phone takes grainy, blurred shots that cannot be downloaded, so I have no evidence of Isabel and my adventures this weekend.  Believe me, though, they happened.  I know because I was there.

Tomorrow(ish) I will post some pics from the boys' weekend away, but until then, here is a list of what you missed around here:
  • Isabel hung out with, at various times, her friends Tommy, Abby, Sarah, Charlotte, Theo, Ethan and Max.
  • I reorganized the kids' closets.  (Actually, I'm pretty proud of that one, so I will probably post an "after" picture for you all to admire).
  • Isabel ate her own weight in guacamole and beans at Chipotle.
  • I read Where's Mazie? at least a hundred times.  Then ending continues to catch me by surprise every time.  Really, she's in the house?  Not the pig pen?  Odd.
  • And, a bunch of other stuff, because, let me tell you, when you go from two kids to one, the time just seems to multiply, to the point where a two mile walk to Trader Joe's seems like a lovely way to kill a few hours.  
Hopefully your weekend was equally full to the brim!

Friday, May 16, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 26)
(Girls' Weekend Edition)
Hosted at ConversionDiary.com
I miss this face.  And it's only been two days. 

(1)
I had some really great intentions centering around writing a blog post every day this week.  Heh heh.  But, given that it's just me and Iz around these parts and my little lady took a nap for ONE WHOLE HOUR today, it's a small miracle that I am even writing this post while it is still Friday.  So, you're welcome.

(2)
Yes, it is just Isabel and me this weekend because the boys took off yesterday for Peoria/St. Louis and will not return until Monday night.  In addition to non-napping, Isabel has been enjoying this together time by not letting go of my hand all day long.  It's been fun(ish).  To give my fingers a break from her tiny clutches, we took a very long walk to Trader Joe's.  Mr. Google tells me it is 2.2 miles each way.  I believe him.
 
(3)
We went strawberry picking this week, which deserves its own post that includes pictures from years past.  However, Kurt took the camera with him on the trip, and I unwisely did not upload the pictures before that happened, so y'all are just going to have to wait till next week to experience the joy that was Isabel smearing her entire body in strawberries.

(4) 
I continue to make my way through Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norill.  I am currently in the midst of Vol. 2 (of 3), with only 600 or so pages to go.  It's quite good, but not a page turner, so I estimate I will finish sometime in 2014.  Beyond that, no promises.

(5)
I am currently under the spell of a sorceress by the name of Erica.  Okay, she's just my ordinary human friend, but she has inspired me to attempt to eat crazy-health for the next two weeks.  Today was day two, and it has been going surprisingly well.  Mercifully, dark chocolate is on the approved foods list, and with that to look forward to each evening, I think I might just be able to make this work.

(6)
This probably deserves it's own post, too, but it is really weird going from two children down to one for the weekend.  If I had to choose one word to describe it, I would have to say...boring.  I know, I know, I should be enjoying the sweet reprieve from Elijah's constant noise-making, and believe me, I am.  But I think this weekend will also serve to make me appreciate the crazy-awesome of my usual life as well.

(7)
In the spirit of enjoying the quiet, I am off to watch Parenthood (the show) while eating popcorn and drinking root beer.  Have a lovely weekend!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Smile! It's Monday


Just in case the beginning of the week is getting you down, I offer you a big of Isa-cheer.  The girl loves to walk - as long as someone is holding her hand (thanks, Grandma!)


And yes, this picture was taken in a cemetery.  I love urban living, but, well, green space can be hard to come by, and sometime you take what you can get.  But, back to the walking.  The thing is, she can, but she won't.  Unless, of course, she happens to be stomping her delicate feet across the spongy surface of the park.  Huh.  Stubborn like her mama, I guess.
video


Friday, May 9, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 25)
Hosted at ConversionDiary.com
I think we're going to need a bigger boat.
  (1)
Right now, my house is overrun with ants.  Okay, overrun might be an exaggeration, but there are a lot of them, and if you know me, you know that bugs (and mice) are the one thing I just can't handle.  Cloth diapers?  Moldy, scary leftovers?  No problem.  But creepy crawlies, I just can't abide.  Yet I must, because the ants are willing.  They are just so numerous.  My nose is itching just writing this.  Let's move on.

(2)
On the recommendation of a friend, I am now reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrill.  I am enjoying it, and making good progress considering that it is 1000 pages long (literally).  The main thing impeding my progress is the sheer weight of the thing.  It is extremely unportable.  If ever there was a book to be read on the Kindle, this is it.  But I will persist.  And report back.

(3)
It is officially birthday party season.  Which is actually a weird thing to write, now that I see it typed out.  I mean, shouldn't children's birthdays be evenly spaced throughout the year?  And yet, we have three parties in the next two weekends.  Maybe it's just that Elijah is getting to the age where his friends have parties that he is invited to.  Either way, bring on the cake!

(4)
This week the city has taken on the admirable task of fixing the sidewalks around our house.  Not only will we now have a much smoother ride from our house to the park, there have been all kinds of construction vehicles visible from our front window this week.  The children are in heaven.  Isabel has added several new words to her vocab, most notably "big truck".

(5)
Speaking of the Iz, she continues to be stubborn in the area of walking, but has deigned to stand on her own for seconds at a time, particularly when she think no one is watching.  I almost caught her on video this morning, but alas, as soon as I turned the camera on, she decided she had some other, ahem, business to attend to.  Which, lucky for you, I did not film.  

(6)
Yesterday we got the exciting news of Elijah's acceptance at Mundo Verde PCS for next year.  Walking distance from the house and Spanish immersion?  ¡QuĂ© perfecto!

(7)
Of course, as the song says, "Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end," and we will be quite sad to say farewell to our friends at St. Jerome's come June.  The school has truly been a blessing to our family.  Somehow I imagine that we will still find ourselves in Hyattsville on a regular basis. 

Well, that's all she wrote.  Have a lovely week everyone!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Daddy time


I sat down to write my Blogging A to Z post (Letter P) today, and something strange happened, something that rarely happens to me: writer's block.  Fortunately, it has a known cause, at least this time.  For several nights now, the children have conspired to prevent any of the adults in this house from getting a good night's sleep, or even an okay night's sleep.  So, when I sat down to write today, my brain refused to cooperate with my fingers.  Here's to hoping that tonight is better.


HOWEVER.  You, blog reader, are in luck.  While I was blogging through the first half of the alphabet, several well-photographed events occurred that I have yet to share with you.  One of them was our first ever family boys weekend/girls weekend.  While Isabel and I jetted off to Chicago to visit my dear high school friend Emily and her darling new baby, Andrew, Elijah and Kurt lived it up here in DC. 


One thing you should know about Kurt and his family is that they are doers.  Vacations with them are both extremely fun and rather tiring.  So it is unsurprising that Elijah and Kurt did about 20 things in the four days we were gone. 

Although Elijah and Isabel love each other tremendously, there is such sweetness in getting to spend time one-on-one with Mom or Dad, isn't there?  


Monday, April 28, 2014

Insider's DC: Maryland Day


Now, don't worry.  I haven't given up on Blogging A to Z.  It may take another month, but I will finish.  However, I know there are some of you out there (Mom) who enjoy this blog not only for its writerly content, but also for the pictures of the kiddos.  So, today, I give you that.  Tomorrow, back to the writing.


One of our favorite annual DC activities, which does not, in fact, happen in DC, is Maryland Day.  On a spring Saturday, the University of Maryland fills their campus with family friendly activities.  Games, music, cool demonstrations, free balloons: basically, it's everything that kids and their grown-ups could want.


This year's highlights included a bubble machine, some Kurt-powered light bulbs, a performance from the UMD drum line (Elijah's favorite) and a rare moment of Elijah non-camera shyness in the back of a police car.


I know he's my own child, but seriously, could he be any cuter?

Come back tomorrow for a little bit a of story starting with the letter P.

Friday, April 25, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 24)
Girl loves her hats

(1)
So, as of this writing, I am up to the letter N in the A to Z challenge, which puts me, oh, ten letters behind or so.  But, I will persevere.  It might take until summer to get to Z, but it's going to happen.
(2)
Disclaimer: I am a math nerd.  If you are not also a math nerd, you may just want to skip down to number three because this particular quick take will not matter to you whatsoever.  
There is a classic probability experiment called The Monte Hall problem.  It has always, always bothered me.  I never understood why the solution is what it is.  And then, I watched this video on Khan Academy, and the metaphorical light bulb was illuminated. If you have experienced this same problem, I highly recommend watching this video.  If you have no idea what I am talking about, sorry.  But I thought I'd let you know. 

(3)
While I am typing these quick takes, I am making my first attempt at oil pulling.  I'll let you know how it goes.  So far, delicious. 

(4)
It was my turn to pick the book club book this month, so we are reading this.  Lately, my book club has had the problem of not everyone reading this book, which informed my choice.  I figure, if we all start at the beginning, we'll have at least one story to discuss.  So far, my favorite story in the book is "The Summer People."

(5)
For dessert tonight, I am making Jell-o Cheesecake.  I've wanted to make it for a few weeks now, but I held off because it was Lent.  Judge away, but I love the stuff.

(6)
One of the funniest bloggers out there, Grace, had baby number 4 this week.  Congrats to her and many blessings on her beautiful family!

(7)
Finally, I want to give a big shout out to my parents and Kurt's who have visited us in the past two weeks and have watched the kids for date nights, washed hundreds of dishes, and general been great company.  Thanks Am, Jeff, Marty, and Buddy.  You are welcome back any time.

Blogging A to Z: Once Upon a Time



               (First time visiting during this year's A to Z Challenge? Start here.  Or, if you don't, know that this is just the beginning of work of fiction.  It is neither complete, nor true.)

        Once, there was a girl.  She was ordinary in many ways, extraordinary in a few.  She was not a princess, secret or otherwise.  If offered the chance at a life of luxury, she might have taken it, but all in all, more or less, she was happy. 
                She lived in a cottage at the edge of a forest, as girls in stories such as this often do.  The cottage was neat and tidy on the outside, with well-tended flower beds and a sweet little kitchen garden where the girl grew tomatoes, sugar-snap peas and turnips.  She hated turnips, but an old woman had once told her that they were the secret to a long life, so she ate them anyway, mashed, with lots of butter.
                The inside of the cottage was another story, although it is still a part of this one.  It was an absolute disaster.  To open a cabinet or closet was to risk death by avalanche.  Trying to find a clear path for walking was a futile effort, so the girl just wore socks to avoid soiling the carpet of clothes, and hoped that nothing too sharp lurked beneath the surface.  Stacks of papers leaned precariously on every raised surface.  Even the girl's bed was barely discernible, as books of every size and shape littered the covers.  She had become accustomed to sleeping a top their multitudes, and to avoid being stabbed in the night, she only bought paperbacks.  If this story were taking place in the present day, the girl would have been a prime candidate for that show about hoarders, but this was a long time ago (and far, far, away), so most days no one had to witness the material mayhem except the girl herself.
                The mess, however, was not the girl's fault, or at least not entirely.  As with many girls of her geographic and temporal location, she had been cursed.  When she was five years old, she was out in the yard of a different cottage, this one belonging to her parents.  It was time for dinner, and her mother had told her to put her dolls away and come inside.  The girl simply did not feel like doing either of these things, and because she was five and not sixteen, rather than simply ignoring her mother's instructions, she decided to throw a temper tantrum.  As the tantrum was reaching its peak, an old woman entered the yard.  (It should be noted that this was not the same woman who advised the girl on the health benefits of turnips, which was a piece of helpful advice and not an actual curse.)
                The old woman saw the girl rolling in the dirt and yelling, "I will never put my dolls away! Never! Never!  NEVER!"   The old woman waited for the girl to stop to catch her breath, which seemed to take a surprisingly long time, particularly to someone who had never before witnessed a five-year-old tantrum.      In the brief silence between howls, the old woman asked the girl, "What on earth is the matter with you, child?  You are dirty and disgusting, and your toys are thrown about you like rags.  You should be ashamed."
                The girl looked up from where she was lying, and, in a moment of true childishness, stuck her tongue out at the old woman.  Well, that was the last straw.  If this old woman had been a camel, her back would have been broken.  Because, as with many old woman in that time and place, she also happened to be a witch, she did what she knew best.  She cursed the girl.
                "Dirty, disgusting child.  You show no appreciation for the gifts you have been given: home, family, nice things to play with.  When the clock strikes midnight on your sixteenth birthday, you will become blind to your own filth.  Your house will be so filled with junk that you will have no friends, or at least none that will come over and visit.  You will be like those people in the show who have so much stuff they can hardly move.  You will be the victim of your own disorganization!" And with that, although it was a clear day, there was a resounding clap of thunder.
                 This so startled the girl that she ran inside.  Unfortunately, this meant that she missed out on the second part of the curse, where the old woman would have told her how to undo it.  When the girl went back outside a few hours later, the only trace of the old woman's visit were some claw marks in the dirt.