Friday, February 28, 2014

My Baby Girl

I want to celebrate my five year old, today.  
No particular thing, she has just been delighting me lately.

She is always the FIRST in the kitchen to help me cook.
That isn't always great because it often means she is sneaking out of completing something she is supposed to be doing.  But, it is nice to have someone volunteer around here.

This picture cracks me up.  She called her best friend/cousin.  They visited for a while and then it was her turn on the computer.  She didn't want to hang up with him, so she decided to "watch" a show with him.  She unhooked one headphone and stuck it on the phone so he could hear it.

Finally, noodles were done, but it was just too much to wash a fork.

As you can tell from her outfits, she loves all girly things.  The other day, I was on my bed reading.  She came in and plopped down next to me, "So, Mom.  Let's talk about facials!"  Her favorite music is techno, she is actually a rather capable big sister to the boy and she even loves to help me pick out my outfits.
My goodness, it is fun to watch these little people come into themselves.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


This is our fourth child.
She's done some pretty exciting things recently.
Things which have nothing whatsoever to do with Dr. Who.

Snapped by another mom at our home school co-op last week.
Dr. Who fans will understand.
This particular child has really struggled with reading.  Though not dim in the least, she has always done things on her own timetable.  Being a relaxed home schooling type, I continued to encourage her and we worked and worked and worked at it.  She has been making progress, but things were still moving at a snail's pace.

For Christmas, I got her the Mercy Watson books by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Chris Van Dusen.

If you have an early reader, 
ready for chapter books but intimidated by the idea of chapters, 
these are a must read.

The stories are funny and the pictures are fantastic. 
For two months we worked on those books; I say worked, but it was the least amount of work that she ever had to put into reading.  She loved it, she couldn't wait to read more.  If I suggested two chapters, she'd read three.  She never felt frustrated or embarrassed.  She never cried.  In fact, she looked forward to our reading time.  It felt mildly dream-like.

We went to the library this afternoon.  
She found a short chapter book she had been wanting to read.
All on her own . . . in about 30 minutes.
I'm telling you, exciting things are happening around here!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Date #2: The Symphony

Our second date of the year was going to the symphony with a guest pianist, Jeremy Denk.  
(Mr. Denk was completely wonderful, by the way.  His encore was mesmerizing.)  
I used to go to the symphony all of the time because, as a long-time orchestra student, I regularly got free or really cheap tickets.
I hadn't been back in years--mostly because I was mothering a house full of small children.  
Now that my life circumstances have changed, live music and plays are back on the docket.
Our area symphony has family ticket prices that make it reasonable.  The seats weren't the best, but because the theater is small, they were absolutely fine.

A better view of the scene behind Eliza and I in the first picture.
A few years ago, the symphony bought a historic theater that had been converted into a movie theater in the 70's (I think).  Most of its incredible art deco design was removed or covered up.  The symphony orchestrated (ha!) a complete renovation.  The interior was gorgeous!

We listened to pieces by Maurice Revel and Jean Sibelius and were delighted by the performances.

After, we visited a neighboring historic building, The Davenport Hotel.  We wandered around and Eliza was captivated by the elaborate and ornate decor of that 100+ year old building.

Sometimes in my anxiousness to introduce my children to the world, 
I forget how many amazing things there are 
right here at home.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

New York Bound

Isaac rehearsing for 2014 NY Finals.
Isaac has once again qualified for Youth American Grande Prix (YAGP) Finals in New York City.
Last year, his grandmother and aunty took him because I was busy having a baby.
This year, I'll be taking the baby and my 18 year old nephew.
I'm actually super excited.  We had been saving up to bring Isaac home for his Spring Break, but it looks like Spring Break will be spent in New York.  Most importantly, I'll get to see my boy before July!

While I've never been to the Big Apple, I am fairly well-traveled and am good at reading maps and asking directions.  I haven't been nervous about going to the big city, other than making sure I get Isaac to his classes and performances on time.  
Until this morning.
This morning I logged onto a site called 
Tips for First Time Visitors to NYC.
I was greeted by a picture and caption:
"Trust us, New Yorkers don't dress up like the Statue of Liberty."
All of the sudden, I got a wiggly tummy.  
I'm not going to try desperately to not look like a tourist because that's precisely what I'll be!  
But I also don't want to look like a fool.

Isaac and Kevin, you CAN'T let me buy a Statue of Liberty hat!

After all, I might run in to Tim Gunn.

That Smile!

For about a month, Baby Boy had only one tooth.  
It was about the most darling thing ever!

Over the course of one rough week, he pushed out five others.
I'm not sure that this new smile is any less adorable.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Goats

We have two pygmy goats.  
My father-in-law brought them over one day last summer to mow down the meadow and it looks like they're here to stay. 

They are small, easy to care for and make the funniest bleat.  

My only complaint with the goats is that they poop a lot.  Since they love my south-facing front porch, this attribute isn't great.  Our front door is a sliding glass door which means our baby gets to interact with the goats on a regular basis.

Baby boy interacting with the goats on the porch.
We've been having problems with a neighbor's pit bull terrorizing the goats.  We had had the goats on a tether.  The dog took advantage of them being tied up, so now we let them roam.  They generally stay close to the house, but since they have their choice of places to wander, they aren't always inclined to bed down in their little stable.  Even though they are cold tolerant, with their thick and cozy layer of cashmere, we were experiencing below zero temperatures so we set up a heat lamp for them.  We put the stable in a sunny location, laid down straw for insulation and stuck that blazing heat lamp in there for good measure.  Guess where they continue to hang out.

Yep, the front porch.


Monday, February 3, 2014

Movie Date

Justin and I are still recovering from being sick over the weekend and, though we felt healed, we were both tired.  We decided to hit a movie at the theater--and since we're cheap, we checked the cheap theater first.  There was one movie that caught my attention, mostly because it was rated PG.  I did not tell Justin which movie we were seeing until we were already on our way.  I was afraid he would reject the proposal because, based on the poster, it could have been interpreted as a girly movie.  As a rule, Justin does not like girly movies.

(And here I should define that term as romantic comedies, romantic dramas or nearly anything produced by the BBC--Sherlock excepting.)

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

What we saw was delightful.  I hesitate to recommend movies because there is such a wide variety of tastes in that area, but I really thought this movie was delightful.  It is a grown-up's movie, not because of anything inappropriate, but simply because it is aimed at grown-ups.  In fact, part of what I enjoyed was that it was so completely appropriate!  No underwear, no bathroom humor, no silly romance.  You may not believe this, but the title of Father was honored, even hallowed.  It was a simple and lovely story.

Ben Stiller starred, produced and directed the picture.  Suddenly respected.  Who knew.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Snowy Update

Early this morning, I got the following note from my son:

Mom, I know that you compliment Dad, Eliza and I often on our writing skills, but I must tell you that you are a fantastic writer! Your blog posts are inviting and very loving. I hope that you will continue to do it as I most likely will be living away. It's nice to see everyone's faces and your opinions on life.

Well.  That little paragraph warmed me to the tips of my ears.

And so, since my son requested it, I will keep writing. If it is only important to he and I, I will keep writing.  Apparently there is some kind of Foosball game going on today.  I know this from Facebook.  I know this because we are all home sick with a terrible stomach bug and we don't want to do much of anything . . . which means Facebook.  Since that boredom-relief source is failing me, and since I've kept 1/2 cup of chicken broth and a cup of hot tea down for nearly an hour, I'm moving on.

This is what is going on in our neck of the woods.

Snow, snow, snow.  

It is breathtakingly beautiful 
(and it makes me feel better about not having a construction site in my back yard).  

Our winter, with a few exceptions, has been a bit of a dud.  The girls, therefore, have been outside nearly non-stop (until the sickness arrived and demanded otherwise).  Our puppy is a snow dog!  He loves to run around and play in the fluffy whiteness of it all.  I tried to get a picture of Patches and Baby Boy, but neither was cooperating very well.  Baby kept trying to roll over to stick his tongue in the snow and Patches just wanted to play.

Good grief.  Well, the trees are pretty.

There you go, Isaac.  Some more about our life here at home.
If you had to miss snow cream, at least you got to miss out on the vomit.
Happy Groundhog Day!
Here's to six more weeks of winter.