Wednesday, March 31, 2010

New Babies

Cooper- 15 minutes old

I've been quite absent from here lately. Carl and Gus are on Spring break. When they're on break, we have great fun with many different activities and outings, but there's little time for myself or the computer.
Also, in the past 12 days we've had two babies arrive in my brother and sister's families... Edward and Cooper. The boys are 10 days apart and at least two pounds apart. I got to sit in on my sister's delivery and watch little Cooper come into this world.
Life is good in Minneapolis. I can't wait to see them together on Easter!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Multigenerational Chicks

I picked up an adorable kit at Paper Source last week. It is something that I'm sure I could have figured out myself, but sometimes, it is just nice to get all the pieces in one package.
The kids and I drove out to visit my grandma and thought that she might enjoy doing a craft project with us. The chicks were a huge hit! I can now see using the same idea and making squirrels, owls, bats and more....

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Little Messes and Piles

Gus is into making little piles. He likes to leave them all over the house. He doesn't do it to be a pest or to drive me crazy, he just does it because he loves little things. This is the guy who at the age of two started a collection. We'd be out walking or at a park and he'd run up to us to tell us to put his _______ (fill in the blank with screw, nail, stick, rock, hair band, bead, eraser or anything small) in our pockets. Soon Ron began to store all these little things in a jar on our dresser. The jar became known as "the finding jar." Now these things are called his "findings."
"Hey Mom, can I sort out my findings?" is a common request when he has free time. Gus likes to climb up on a stool, grab the box of his stuff on our dresser, and lay it out on a tray. He manipulates, builds, plays, makes up stories, sorts, makes patterns and more. He can stay busy with his findings for hours. Hours.
I love this about him. I love when he plays with them. I love when he finds things that no one else in the world would notice on the ground. I love how it makes him smile.
What's a mom to do when he leaves them all over the house?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Happy Seventh Birthday, Carl!

Carl turns SEVEN today. Yes, that means I've been a mom for seven years too. Seven years ago today I went to work, taught a full day of classes and suddenly during my prep period at the end of the day, my water broke. Luckily I was prepared with extra clothes, but my adrenaline kicked in so much that I insisted on staying after with students to do detention and finish my sub plans. My brother drove me home from school and I sat down at the sewing machine in my underwear to finish sewing the curtains for the baby's room while I waited for Ron to come home. What? Yes, crazy. Crazy fun.
These past seven years have been a lot of crazy fun. Carl is a fun-loving guy, always up for a new adventure or to learn something new. A project? Yes, please. A bike ride? For sure. Some Lego time? Uh huh. Algo en espanol? Por supuesto. An episode of This Old House? He'd slay a dragon to do so.
I'm proud of you Carl. I love watching you with Gus and Louise. It is amazing to watch you take on new responsibilities like unloading and loading the dishwasher, vacuuming the basement, taking care of our dog. You impress me daily with your Spanish skills and interest in the world. You are a great cuddler, a super adventurer, a quick learn in the swimming pool, and a kind and thoughtful kid. You're silly, squirrely, and serious sometimes. You remember jokes that I forget one minute after hearing and love to tell (and listen to) stories. You can take a pile of nothing, and build it into something incredible. Like you. My Carl.
Happy Birthday, Big C!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Bit 'O Green

We're not Irish, but it has never stopped us from celebrating with the best of them. Tonight we're off to an Irish dinner with my family... complete with cabbage, corned beef, onions, carrots, potatoes and soda bread. I've heard rumors that all of the appetizers are going to be green. This should be interesting.
Last night I got to eat a leprechaun... or, well, Janet's leprechaun bars. Isn't that what makes the green part of the minty chocolately brownies green?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Just Takin' Out the Compost

Does your compost pile look like mine does after a long, snowy winter?

Next fall we're going to have to remember to empty the bin out prior to the winter, so this vegetable and fruit explosion doesn't happen again. Yuck... or yum.... depending on your perspective. There's a mama cardinal that likes to drop by for bits of fruit, a raccoon that has been known to haul off egg shells and coffee filters filled with grounds (WHY??) and our dog seems to enjoy sharing apple and pear cores with the dog next door.

I like to think about the rich, beautiful soil that we'll be able to harvest as soon as it thaws and the life that will come forth from the cast-off scraps.

When I'm cleaning the kitchen after the kids go to bed and take the compost bucket outside in the dark, I often think of a funny story about my friend/former roommate Stephanie. Just out of college we lived on Franklin Avenue in the Wedge area of Minneapolis... a safe-enough area, but also potentially not-so-safe. Late one evening she was walking out to the compost pile in a dark, shadowy area of the yard when an unsavory character stumbled by, obviously drunk or worse, mumbling. He noticed her, moved closer and tried to engage her in conversation. Instead of running for her life, she said, "I'm just takin' out the compost." He departed immediately.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Friend with an Orange Hat

On Wednesdays I get to take the boys on an afternoon date while my Mom takes care of Louise. It gives my Mom some alone time with Louise and my nephew Logan and allows me a few hours to myself, plus afterschool time with just the boys to do more grown-up activities.
Since the snow is quickly melting away today with the rain and a forecast that predicts 50s soon, I figured it was time to get outside and enjoy the snow in a big way. I had seen that Kerry had visited this site recently and knew the boys would love it.
I asked them, "Are you in, or are you out?" which in our family, means an adventure is on the horizon. Of course they were in, so we donned snow pants and boots and hit the road. I parked a few blocks away-- knowing it would be more fun to meander through the woods by the Minnehaha creek and discover it themselves. All I told them was, "We're going to be meeting a friend with an orange hat."

"We found him, Mom!"
Off to dry off, warm up, and sip our hot cocoa..

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A touch of orange

I couldn't resist buying a case of oranges at Costco yesterday when I saw these beauties. So bright, so juicy, and almost better than a bouquet of flowers on the table. They bring the spring sunshine straight into our lives and our bellies.
And you? What signs of spring are showing themselves to you and your family?

Posted by Picasa

Friday, March 5, 2010

10 Simple Things

Last week, Sarah Jane tagged me to name 10 Simple Things that make me happy. Here goes:

1. Kid art.
2. Play dates with friends with babies.

3. Playing dress up with the neighbor girls.

4. Thoughts of summer and putting in the garden.

5. This tutorial (I have wanted to order some for so long... now I can make my own.)
6. The Slow Food Movement.
7. This stair case (compliments of Elly for sharing!)
8. Two new baby boys to be born to my siblings in April. Just let me know when I can cuddle them up!
9. Watching these two become best friends.

10. This website called Simple: Organic

Oh, and also, instant Chai goodness in a jar (Thanks Kerry.... we love it!)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Encouraging Creativity... I think.

Many days when Louise, Gus and I are home together, I allow them to have time with the art supplies at the kitchen counter while I'm in a nearby room, cleaning the kitchen, or running up and down the stairs doing laundry. Most days, they get along well and create pretty fantastic things. Recently I was folding laundry in my room and came down to find them in the kitchen looking like this.
Fortunately, they were washable markers. Unfortunately, even washable markers require some elbow grease to remove them off of delicate body parts. You should have seen the smiles at the grocery store. Adoration or stifled snickering, I haven't a clue. I smiled proudly.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Being a Mother

Have you seen this? The collection of photos alone are enough to inspire me for days, weeks, and more. Watch the credits as they roll to learn about the project.

What inspires you these days?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Pink Fairy Cakes

We made banana cupcakes last week, the delicious ones from Martha Stewart with the Cinnamon Honey frosting. Around the same time we checked out Lauren Child's Charlie and Lola book called "This is Actually My Party" from the library.
The book is a sweet story about Charlie's birthday party where Lola really wants to help out. She opens his cards that come in the mail, she opens presents at the party, and she even wants to change the party to a girly theme instead of the monster theme that Charlie has chosen. In the end, he gets frustrated but allows her to help some. Her best contribution to the party? Cupcakes with pink frosting, 'cause even monsters like fairy cupcakes with pink frosting.
After having read the book and having our own little pink-frosting loving Louise, we decided to jazz up the Cinnamon Honey frosting with a little pink food coloring.