Monday, December 22, 2008

Best Shot Monday - Santa

Every year the fire department lets Santa take a ride on the back of this fire engine, and he and his helpers hand out candy canes to any little ones who come out to greet him. There is a truck that drives ahead blasting sirens and Christmas carols, and carrying a big inflatable Santa to get people out of their houses. They came by our house Saturday about 15 minutes after we'd put the kids down for a nap. We ran up and grabbed Claire who hadn't fallen asleep and she asked for two candy canes so she could give one to Ben. A nice way to kick off her Christmas vacation!

Head on over to visit Tracey at Mother May I and see what other best shots have been posted this week!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Recipe for disaster?

One almost-three-year-old boy who is potty training who was:
  • taught to pee standing up at preschool (minus)
  • taught to lift the toilet seat and wipe up afterwards (plus)

  • two curious kittens who love running water (or anything that sounds like it)

  • one big mess

Let the caroling begin!

Well, Thanksgiving is over, which means the Christmas season is officially upon us. Some notables from the last few days:

1. Mom got her usual teasing for her love of Christmas - the Christmas mugs and dishes were out before most people were awake on Friday morning. Uncle Paul decided to protest yesterday morning and for breakfast used a non-Christmas mug, non-Christmas plate, and non-Christmas napkin. He's a rebel that one.

2. Sherryl got to hear some of the fun stories about Uncle Paul growing up - like when he ironed his hair because he was so upset to find out it was curly.

3. Ben playing air guitar to Rocknoceros and watching his reflection in the fireplace doors.

4. The kids dancing with each other at Eric and Jaclyn's party last night, they had more energy and enthusiasm (though a little less grace) than the rest of the people out there.

5. The Hokies won yesterday! Go Hokies!!

Now I'm snuggled under a blanket on my own couch with a kitty purring on my arm, trying to figure out how to get all the cleaning done that needs to get done today before the week begins! Maybe I'll listen to Christmas carols while I do it.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Gobble Gobble

That's what we did today! Gobbled up turkey (fried), stuffing, potatoes, cranberry sauce, green beans, salad, and much much more. Not to mention four kinds of dessert.

We have so much to be thankful for. The family and friends we had dinner with today, the family who we couldn't be with, but are always in our hearts, and our friends scattered all over the country.

The kids, in typical kid fashion, alternated between charming, mischievous, and whiny, but overall they were well behaved. Of course, because it's a holiday, they've been sick. Claire had a stomach bug yesterday, but was much better today, while Ben has a nasty cough that he can't seem to get rid of.

We hope everyone else had a similarly fabulous day. Hopefully I'll get photos from our day up soon.

Gobble gobble!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Time for Ten on Tuesday

I know, the excitement never stops around here!

1. I am very tired this week. And it is only Tuesday. This does not bode well.

2. Last night I made Citymama's Balsamic Roasted Brussel Sprouts. Mmmm, tasty.

3. According to Brian, kittens who have been basking in front of the fireplace make an excellent heating pad.

4. I wore a nice skirt today that made me happy, with shoes I really like, but with the amount of standing and walking I did, the heels were a bad choice. My feet say, "ow!"

5. Ben now repeats everything I tell him at bedtime. "I love you, buddy." "I love you too, Mama." "Have sweet dreams." "Have sweet dreams, too, Mama." "See you in the morning!" "See you in the morning, too, Mama." What a cutie.

6. I am looking forward to Thanksgiving. More for the chance to relax and spend time with family than for the food, but the food will be good, too!

7. This year the turkey will be fried. Mmmmm, fried turkey skin.

8. The kids were asking yesterday whether Christmas was before or after Thanksgiving, so I clarified that it was before. Then they asked about Easter. Seriously? I think we have a while before we need to worry about when the Easter Bunny is going to arrive.

9. And also, Ben told me yesterday that he wants to be a spaceship for Halloween next year. I'm sure he'll remember that next October.

10. Although he does play with the space shuttle toy at Claire's school every day when we pick her up. Maybe he really will want to be a spaceship next year.

Wasn't this fascinating? Ten things you really needed to know. I am so glad that I could help make your life more complete. Any time.

Too fast

This weekend Ben woke up grumpy from a nap, so I cuddled him in my lap, and as he rested his cheek on my chest I could look down and marvel at his thick dark eyelashes, the soft curves of his cheek and nose that tell me he is still more baby than boy. I looked at his hands to check for those little dimples at the tops of each finger. He gently reached up and put a hand on each of my cheeks, and pulled my face down for a kiss. My little man. My snuggly, loving, mischievous little boy.

And then yesterday he wore underwear to school. He made it all day until 6:30 PM without an accident. He cried when I made him take them off and put on a diaper for bed.

Where is my baby disappearing to?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Best Shot Monday - my boy

I had to go into my archives to find a photo for this week, as I haven't picked up the camera lately. Here's Ben who was only too proud to show off the delicious mess he made with his macaroni and cheese.

Head over to Mother May I to see what Tracey has in her heart, and other shots from Best Shot Monday.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

already trying to play the system

Normally every morning when Ben and I come downstairs (before dawn has cracked) I make my coffee, he gets his cereal bar, we let Lucky out, and then he asks me if he can watch Imagination Movers. The other morning, he started talking to Penny.

B: Hi catty-cat! Good morning!
P: rrowr
B: What's that Penny? Oh, OK.
P: meow
B: I'll tell her.
B: Mama? Penny-Pen wants to watch 'magination movers.

Sure, blame it on the cat, buddy. That's sure to get you what you want.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Cute cats? Where?

Nothing to see here. Please disperse.

Oh alright. We're cute, we admit it. Purry and cuddly, too. Whatcha gonna do about it?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Ten on Tuesday

1. Since we've had the kittens I've heard Claire laugh more than I can recall recently. I'm glad that they are bringing our family so much joy.

2. Role reversal - Today I had to work, but Brian and Ben had the day off, so Brian also kept Claire home from school and was in charge all day long. And I mean all. day. long. since Tuesday night's I teach my class from 4:30-7:30.

3. I think they all had a pretty good day - a trip to Grandma's for haircuts, lunch, and to see the new puppies - how could that be bad!

4. Today near his mom's house Brian got gas for $1.92/gallon. The cheapest price I saw today around here was $2.25/gallon.

5. My awesome husband made my day today, because in addition to keeping the kids busy he made huge strides in picking up the house so it will be ready when the cleaning ladies come tomorrow.

6. It's been quite chilly here the last two days, so we've had a fire both nights. Cozy.

7. Even kitties love to bask in front of the fireplace.

8. Claire can now read on her own the first 6 Bob books. Everyday she is eager to try more.

9. I feel like we've had some really nice family time lately. It's been good to have that.

10. My husband and I have a date night this Saturday to go to dinner and see the new James Bond movie. Hooray! It's been a long time since we've had some quality "alone" time.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Best Shot Monday - frog

There was just something I really liked about the sun shining on this frog statue at the zoo. I feel bad I cut his little toes off, but I was doing this while holding my 35 pound son. I didn't have a lot of time to futz around.

See lots of other Best Shots when you check in with Tracey at Mother May I.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Meal Planning

I used to do my meal planning on Mondays, make my grocery lists, and have plenty of time to shop. Now that I'm back to work it's not that easy, so I meal plan on the weekend, we try to hit the grocery store together on Sunday, and hopefully we remember everything, or don't change plans too much. Here's what we're having this week:

Sunday -
butternut squash soup for the grownups
pumpkin waffles for the kids

Monday -
chicken cordon bleu (made these today and they're ready and waiting in the fridge)
green beans

Tuesday -
I teach class, and Brian takes the kids out for pizza

Wednesday -
pasta w/pesto (a surefire way to get the kids to eat!)

Thursday -
beef stew in the crockpot
roasted brussel sprouts

Friday -
taco salad if we're home, but maybe, hopefully, we're going out

What's on your menu this week?

Saturday, November 08, 2008

having fun together

Two times in the last few days while having conversations with others it has come up that children that are close in age, like Ben and Claire, often play well together. I am happy that they normally enjoy playing together. Just this morning I came to the kitchen after being in the basement paying bills, and Ben showed me that they had set up "carseats" in front of the back door. When I asked where they were going he said they were going to the grocery store, but then I asked what they were going to be and he said, "Actually, we're not going to the grocery store. We're going somewhere else." Then he headed off to play with Claire and I overheard a bit of their conversation, at first Claire wanted to be the mommy, but Ben insisted on being the daddy, so he drove her to her "dress-up party". When he stopped the car he told her, "now let me open and close your door, so you don't hurt your fingers."

Moments like these I want to always remember. Especially when they're teenagers, and don't want to be in the same room with each other.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Once upon a time...

Ben spontaneously decided to tell a story at dinner (I think he was trying to avoid having to eat, he never did finish his dinner).

Once upon a time there was a little boy named Ben who was wearing a green shirt. Then a giant came. He started to cry. But then he ran away. He went to a picnic concert. Then he was happy because the bear didn't come. The End.

I'm not sure if it was a giant bear, or if there was both a giant and a bear. He didn't elaborate. Either way, given the other stuff I've seen out in the bookstores I'm pretty sure that we can find a publisher.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Mother's Night

One of my new favorite nights of the year. Once again I got to go to Claire's school after dinner, and she got to show me three kinds of "work" that she does during the day. This time we did the matching game, flag learning, and the sound box.

On the way there she told me, "Mother's night is not my favorite night because I can only do short work, and all the work I want to do is long." She seemed to recover her enthusiasm once we got in there. I was slightly mortified because her current favorite phrase is, "oh darnit!" and she said it over and over again. When the teacher said she needed to move on to show me something new because we'd spent nearly half the time on the first "work" on the list she said it, and then she was told there was only 7 minutes left and she said, "only 7 minutes left! oh darnit!" Then again when she dropped some colored pencils while carrying them back to the shelf. We had a little talk when we got home about it, so hopefully she's not teaching her entire class to say it. Or if she has it will start to subside.

Her teacher told me that everyday after lunch she and another 4 year old in her class that she's friends with decide together if they want to work with the kindergarteners or play. Apparently this other girl always thinks for a minute and then says that she wants to play, so finally this week Claire said, "You always just want to play! I'm going to work today." This is the second time this year that her teacher has noticed her making up her mind about something and standing up for herself, not just going with the flow - good work, Claire! Don't forget that lesson - you'll need it all your life.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

International Day

In addition to Halloween on Friday we had International Day at Claire's school. Fortunately when Nonni was going through the old Halloween costumes at her house she found a small kimono. I bought a pair of child-sized chopsticks for 50 cents, and she had a costume. I managed to finagle her hair into a teeny tiny bun, and with the help of some hairspray it held up for the whole day!

Here is Claire practicing her kung fu moves at home.

And at the parade at school.
We ended the day with a nice afternoon of just Claire and Mommy - she used a gift card to Build a Bear to make a horse named Callie that she carries everywhere, and then we had a yummy lunch, walked around the mall some, and had some ice cream for dessert - because she surely wasn't going to get enough sugar later in the day! It was a really nice way to spend the afternoon.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Ten on Tuesday

I'm trying to do NaBloPoMo again this year, so I stole this idea for Tuesdays from my sister.

  1. I started my morning by climbing out of bed, pulling on some clothes, making coffee, and heading to the polls. I was in line 20 minutes before they opened, and home 25 minutes after. Not too shabby. I hope you voted, too!
  2. Yesterday and today were teacher work days - it is relaxing to be there when the building is quiet and people are feeling industrious. Back to the real world tomorrow, though.
  3. I like having it be light out when I'm on my way to work. Makes me feel better about starting my day.
  4. Our kittens switch regularly from being spastic to being fast asleep. Crazy kittens.
  5. I love how Ben looks at and talks to the cats. He will say in this high pitched voice, "hi catty-cat! Catty-cat! How are you?" If they go anywhere near him, or let him pet them he turns to me and says, "aww, she loves me!" SOOOO cute!
  6. I have started Christmas shopping. Go me!
  7. I have not shopped for the birthday party we have to attend this weekend. Boo!
  8. My job is sometimes frustrating, but sometimes very gratifying. I really like the people I work with which makes a huge difference.
  9. I am loving the fall colors outside right now. I really need to get my camera and just have it with me all the time. Often as I'm driving I see an amazing tree - just incredible color or shape or contrast - and wish I could stop and take a picture.
  10. I have been teaching the same staff development class (a class for other teachers) for over 5 years. I think that this year I am doing a better job with it than I ever have - I don't know why, but all of a sudden I am filled with lots of new ideas and enthusiasm for the content. It feels good.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Best Shot Monday - Halloween Treats

I did make the kids dress up again yesterday to take pictures that showed their costumes better. Here are my favorites, I can't pick just one!

We had a doggy that I could barely slow down long enough for a good picture.

A very fierce "dinosaur rex".

And here he's getting a little help with his tail. Much like Halloween night where he wanted me to carry his tail, or carry him, in between every house. Next time the tail needs a wrist loop like ladies used to have for the trains on their dresses.

Many thanks to Nonni for making the fabulous costumes - we got many compliments!

Head over to see Tracey's adorable cheetah at Best Shot Monday, and see what other shots people are sharing this week!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Two more days.

Oh I am glad that the election will be over soon. Although I've been able to participate in some interesting conversations over the last few months I am so tired of the endless commercials, phone calls, and people knocking on the door. No matter how many times we tell people on the phone that we have definitely decided and who we are voting for they keep calling to check. I am more than ready for some change, but I don't want to spend the next 48 hours hearing about it. Wouldn't you rather see something adorable?

Last weekend we were invited to a Halloween party. The kids had a blast - here is Ben, having already shed his costume, playing the drums.

The cutest little puppy dog tail.

A very sweet kitty cat climbed into my lap!

And oh yeah, we also brought home these two adorable kittens last weekend. Meet Penny and Papaya - they are sisters, although they look nothing alike. Penny is the gray and white one, and Papaya would almost fool you into thinking she was a pure-bred Siamese if it weren't for her sweet white little paws. They are such a sweet addition to our family, and we're all having lots of fun with them.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Halloween Preview

I haven't had time to sort through all of the photos from yesterday to pick my favorites, and I think that I might need to sweet talk the kids into putting them on again during the daylight tomorrow to take a few more pictures (some of the leftover Halloween candy might come in very handy for that), but here is a teaser -

I hope that everyone's Halloween was as sweet as ours was - all treats and no tricks!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Best Shot Monday - glee

Last weekend the cooler fall weather heated back up a bit, and we had plans to go apple picking that fell apart due to a variety of factors. We wound up at Clemyjontri Park with friends, and the kids had a great time - can you tell?

Head on over to Mother May I, where Tracey shares the love in her house, to see what other Best Shots people are sharing.

PS - If you have an extra minute, please head to 5 Minutes for Mom, and vote for my photo of Ben (#14) - thanks!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wow! Please vote!

My photo for the Sleeping Angels photo contest the other day is now a finalist! I'm so excited about this. I can already envision Ben's room with this fabulous new furniture in it - unfortunately I have to actually win for that to happen, so I need your help! I need your votes!

Think of it as practice for November 4th. Except Ben is a lot cuter than either candidate. So head on over to 5 Minutes for Mom, and vote for Ben (#14 - A Tale of Two Kiddies). I'd really appreciate it! I would also like to use more exclamation points in this post!!!

The rules say that you can vote once per computer, though we found at our house that I believe we share an IP, and couldn't vote on each of our computers. But give it a try - maybe it will work for you!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

picnic dinner

Saturday my kids were overtired despite long naps, and I had a feeling that dinner was not going to go smoothly. So I decided that for dinner, we would have a picnic! In the family room! While watching a favorite show! (Charlie and Lola is a GREAT show, btw.)

Claire: I don't liiiiiiike that picnic blanket, I want the blue one.
Me: This is my favorite picnic blanket. It's the one I used when I was a little girl, and I went on picnics with Nonno and Nonni and Aunt Jen, and Uncle David and Aunt Sarah.
Ben: When you were a little girl named Mommy?

Yes, buddy. You got it.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Best Shot Monday - sunrise

The sunrising behind the opening ceremonies at last weekend's Susan G. Komen 3-Day. This was an amazing, life-changing experience. When time allows I hope to post a much more detailed post about the weekend. For now this will have to suffice.

Check in with Tracey at Mother May I for a look at other Best Shot Monday posts.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sleeping babies

I don't think there is anything more heart-melting to a mom than a sleeping baby. My "babies" are growing up - much faster than I want them to. Much faster than I am willing to admit sometimes. But sometimes I still walk in on just the right moments. I'd been sitting with Ben, with his head in my lap, and then got up to go do something in the kitchen. I realized it was awfully quiet in the family room and peeked in to find this.

The lovely sisters at Five Minutes for Mom are sponsoring a giveaway that I just couldn't miss out on the opportunity to win. My "baby" could use a big-boy room, and when I saw the Summer Breeze line that's one of the available prizes I knew it couldn't be more perfect. Because Ben is in the smallest bedroom I've been planning on looking for a Captain's bed to get the extra storage underneath, and I've already bought sheets and comforters in red and blue stripes to go with the two gorgeous framed pieces that we have for his room. I would love to have this set to help move things along on the path to making his "big boy" room, even though it will probably break my heart just a little.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Emily - 0, voice recognition software - 2

Last time I battled with, and finally outsmarted, the voice recognition software in the car. This time it was on the phone. I lost. Today I was trying to get through to a real live person (a feat in and of itself) at my credit card company, but the Fates (and a two year old) were working against me.

Phone: If this is correct, please press, or say, one.
Phone: I'm sorry, I did not understand your response.
Me: frantically presses 1 over and over
Phone: If this is correct please press, or say, one.
Phone: I'm sorry, I did not understand your response.
Phone: Please press, or say, your 16 digit account number, now.
Ben: MOMMY! I need WATER!
Phone: I'm sorry, I did not understand your response.
Me: bangs head on desk. bangs phone on desk.
Phone: I'm sorry, I did not understand your response. Returning to the main menu...
Ben: Mommy? Can I have water? Water? Mommy, water?
Me: gives up. hangs up.

Best Shot Monday - my girl

This picture is from a weekend at the lake in late August. Claire kept wanting me to take pictures of her making funny faces, but I caught this one when she was in between funny faces and just being herself.

I am determined to make the time to get to visit all of the other great shots going on over at Best Shot Monday, and you should, too!

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Claire and Ben having an imaginary phone conversation. Please note that apparently phone conversations best take place at top volume!

B: Hello, who are you?
C: My name is Claire Pyatt, P-I-T-T-T-T-T-T-T.
B: And my name is Ben Pyatt, T-T-T-O-O

Monday, September 22, 2008

Best Shot Monday - Say CHEEEEEEEESE

Ben and his buddy Ethan, cheesing for the camera.

To see more shots from Best Shot Monday make sure to check in with Tracey over at Mother May I!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Best Shot Monday - Claire and Patrick

The week before Labor Day I had to work, but the kids weren't in school yet. We paid a fortune to the babysitter for the first two days, and then my parents took the kids down to the lake for the last three. We managed to get there on Friday while the kids were still napping, and so I got this absolutely adorable picture.

Patrick is a dog my sister got from FAO Schwartz. He was bequeathed to my parents when Sarah started moving into apartments that were far too small to house a giant stuffed puppy, and now he is Claire's buddy when she's down at the lake. He sleeps on her bed at night, and when she "rests" in the other room he has to go with her.

Sometimes now Claire can act so mature, but moments like this make it easy to see how little she still is.

Go over and check out Tracey's pictures of her daughters, and everything else that will be shared at Best Shot Monday!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

and we'll have fun, fun, fun...

A few weeks ago we attended a Beach Boys concert with my parents at Wolftrap Foundation for the Performing Arts, which is, conveniently, just a few minutes from our house. This was our birthday present for Dad, and everyone had a great time - particularly the kids.

Ben took a while to warm up because we had to wake him up from his nap to get in the car and go, so he settled in with Nonno to eat some cheese and crackers.

Claire and Nonni had a lot of fun dancing.

Doesn't Ben just look thrilled? I actually like this picture of myself, though, so I'm posting it anyway. :)

Me, trying for something a little different. Those in the family will recognize the picnic blanket in the top right from picnics 25 years ago (or more).

Ben finally decided to bust a move.

Last dance - awwww.

I love this picture, even though you can't see my dad's face, and while snapping away I didn't notice that woman behind Claire. Something about the way she is looking at him.

We really had a fabulous day - good food, good wine, fun music, a patch of shade, and a very enthusiastic crowd. I think that we will all be eager to go back again next year.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

First Day of School

Today was Ben's (and my) first day of school. The entire ride to school every time we passed kids waiting at the bus stop or saw a school bus he told me, "Those kids are going to school. Just like me!" He was very eager to begin his day - particularly since it started with sitting down at the table at school to eat his yogurt and cereal bar. Yum! He didn't even notice my leaving, and I was too stressed about making it to work on time that I didn't even have time to cry. I did tear up a little when I recounted it to my office mate later in the morning, but we all survived.

Of course I couldn't resist taking some pictures before we left the house - we were only running a few minutes behind.

First I asked Ben for a thumb's up. Instead he flashed me his gang signs.

Wait, that's better - complete with a totally cheesy grin. That's my boy!

And of course Claire couldn't resist getting in on a photo-op!

When I picked Ben up he was just getting up from his nap. All we can get out of him about his day was, "I went outside and played and stuff and sleeped." Sounds like a busy day to me! When I ask him about his teacher, Miss V., he tells me that she helped him go potty. (She told the parents at the meet and greet a few weeks ago that she would have the whole class potty trained in 2-3 months. Good luck with my stubborn boy, I will support you every step of the way. He told me tonight that he is excited to go back tomorrow, so that's a good sign. I think we're going to have a great year!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

bring on the smiles

Yesterday I was pleasantly surprised to find out that my lovely, long-time friend, Colleen, had given me a very special gift.

The Rules:
1. The recipient must link back the the award's creator (
2. You must post these rules if you recieve the award.
3. You must choose 5 people to recieve the award after recieving it yourself
4. You must fit the characteristics of the recipient of the award, as posted by Mere.
5. You must post the characteristics of a recipient.
6. You must create a post sharing your win with others.
7. You must thank your giver.

Characteristics for the Smile Award:
1. Must display a cheerful attitude. (not necessarily at all times--we are all human)
2. Must love one another
3. Must make mistakes
4. Must learn from others
5. Must be a positive contributor to blog world
6. Must love life
7. Must love kids

I definitely have #3 and #7 covered. It was just the kind of pick-me-up I needed yesterday to know that someone else sees all of the other characteristics in me. Colleen is such a kind person, always doing something for others. If you have a minute to take a look at her blog you will see how much time and energy she puts into making her house a happy home for her husband and her three gorgeous kids. I wish she wasn't all the way up in Maine, but I keep trying to convince her that a trip to DC would be a fun way to spend their vacation. Maybe one of these years!

I'm going to break one of the rules and pick only three people for this award today. Some of the others that I would have chosen don't have their own blogs - imagine!

1. Julie at Rarely Home Mom is an amazing person. She has such an enormously good heart. We share a love of reading, cooking, and having fun with our kids. Although I've never met her in person I've known her online for probably close to 5 years. I consider her a kindred spirit, and am lucky to "know" her.

2. Paige at My Home is My Heart fills her blog with a delightful combination of humor, fun, and adorable pictures of her kids. She is an amazing woman and mother, and I really enjoy getting to read these snippets of her life every day.

3. I know my friend Leah doesn't typically participate in these sorts of things, but it just wouldn't be right to leave her out. First of all, her kids are so freaking adorable that I love being around them. Not to mention that mine have a blast when we play together. Leah is someone I haven't known for very long, but it seems like that doesn't matter at all when we're together. She's one of the few people that I can talk to about absolutely everything, and when we go out for our "ladies night" dinners we talk and talk and talk until the waitstaff is ready to throw us out of the restaurant. And then we leave with things still unsaid. She is a true friend, and a wonderful mom, so I had to include her on this list.

Thank you ladies for being a part of my life - even if most of the time it's only via the computer screen. I really enjoy the glimpses into your lives that you post on your blogs.

Monday, August 18, 2008


I've missed two Best Shot Mondays - and not because I don't have pictures to share. Things have been a little bit crazy around here lately, and I just haven't been making the time to post, so I thought I'd share some of the kids latest funnies.

Claire: Hey mama, you know what?
Me: What?
Claire: Are you thinking what I'm thinking?
Me: Probably not. What are you thinking?
Claire: We didn't see any shark pajamas when you bought my new polar bear pajamas.
Me: ....


Ben: I'm a scary dragon!
Claire shrieks and hides on the couch.
Claire: Help! It's a scary dragon!
Ben: *offended* I not a dragon any more. I a Benjamin!


Yesterday we went to a Beach Boys concert with the kids and my parents at a local outdoor venue. All week I'd been talking about it with the kids, but Ben had a little trouble keeping things straight.

Ben (Monday after nap): We go to the Beach Mans today?
Me: Not the Beach Mans, buddy, the Beach Boys.

Ben (Tuesday morning): Today we see the Beach Kids?
Claire: It's the Beach BOYS, Ben.

Ben (Friday afternoon - finally catching on): We're going to a picnic-concert. The Beach Boys. Not the Beach Mans.


Yes, we've been very busy, but it sure has been fun!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Best Shot Monday - hula

Ben takes a break from learning to hula hoop to pet the turtle.

I don't know what it is about this picture, but something about it just strikes a chord with me. Click on over to visit Tracey at Mother May I for more great pictures from Best Shot Monday.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

What a way to start the day.

Ben: I don't want to be a good listener. I want to be a grouchy boy!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Best Shot Monday - story time

This is probably my favorite image from our recent trip to North Carolina. On our very last night there, after putting on his pajamas, Ben wandered out to the family room, and asked Brian's grandpa to read him his bedtime story (Paddington Bear). Claire joined them as soon as she got her pj's on. Seeing the three of them all sitting together in the chair, and knowing how much that moment must have thrilled Papa Jim made my heart melt.

Head on over to see more shots from Best Shot Monday at Mother May I.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The times they are...

a changing.

Around here anyway.

In just a short time - a month from tomorrow to be precise - I will be headed back to work. This is not something that I was seeking out, however it is an amazing and exciting opportunity that was too good (and unpredictable) to let pass by.

I will be working at the same middle school that I taught at before Claire was born. This time I will be serving as a math resource teacher - helping the students who need it the most. Our goal is to raise student test scores starting with the incoming seventh graders.

I can't tell you how immensely flattering it was to have the school seek me out and tell me how much they wanted me to take this position. I have been lying awake nights ever since coming up with ideas of what we can do for these students, and how to best accomplish it. I have dozens of ideas of ways that I can help the classroom teachers.

At the same time I am extremely anxious at the prospect of being away from my kids for so long every day. I have no doubts that they will flourish in their respective schools, but I worry about missing out on so many little moments in the day, or feeling like I have the time to just stop what I'm doing to roll around on the floor with them - or dance in their pajamas.

I know there will be a learning curve for the whole family as we get used to a new arrangement. I know that we will continue to make many happy memories together. I know that there are times that I will love it and times that I will hate it. I know that we will have lots of help as we get used to things.

It's not going to be easy. But it will be good. For all of us. I know.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Stolen moments

This morning the kids were at a high-level of neediness. I, of course, was running around trying to get a lot done in not enough time. Welcome to my life. I put on our Imagination Movers DVD, which usually makes everyone happy while they dance and sing along. They squabbled. "Don't touch me!" "No, Claire! I don't want to dance with you!"

Until I separated them. You get this half of the carpet, you get this half. As soon as I looked away, they were sneaking onto each other's space - giggling together. Conspiring against me. I'm all for it since the whining stopped. Temporarily.

Some of my favorite recent memories:

Ben: Mama, I want to tell you something.
Me: Yes?
Ben: A car got broken, and a tow truck fixed it and a fire truck fixed it.
(He repeats this at every rest and bedtime. In its current incarnation there are also usually five tractors of different colors who also help fix the car. Staller extraordinaire.)

Me: Why are all of the pillows on the floor?
Claire: All of my friends are coming. We're having a hotchskop (hopscotch) tournament. If you need me send me an email, ok Mama?


Right now the silence is wonderful. The dog is sleeping in Daddy's chair, head resting on an Elmo slipper. (Oh yes, he is a daddy's boy.) Ben is quietly snoozing in his crib - he chatted for approximately 12 seconds after I put him in, and then dropped right off. When I last left Claire she was setting up her chairs and her bunny blanket to make a tent for all of her "friends". Now I hear no pitter patter of footsteps on the dining room ceiling (no KABLOOM of jumping off of her bed, either). I imagine her up there on the floor in a tangle of blankets and stuffed animals, legs stretched out in what appears to be an impossibly uncomfortable position. Flushed cheeks and even breathing. I wish I could sneak in, but her door sticks, and invariably wakes her. I will just have to hold onto the picture my mind has built, and wait for her to wander downstairs with creases on her cheeks, and eager for hugs.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Best Shot Monday - uncles

Growing up I had two uncles, one aunt, and no cousins until I was halfway through college. One of the things I am so excited about for my children is being part of a big family. They have 7 uncles and 4 aunts, and more great-aunts and great-uncles than I could possibly count.

We don't always get to see a lot of all of the aunts and uncles, though we do really try to make an effort to do it whenever possible. I was pleased to get this picture on our recent trip to North Carolina.

Ben was intrigued by what Uncle Calvin was doing on his computer (looking at magic cards).

Check out more shots from Best Shot Monday over at Mother May I.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Happy Anniversary

Eight years ago right now I was a nervous wreck. I was probably getting ready to go with my mom to get make-up done, and then back to the house to get hair done.

I'm not sure I spoke more than a 3 word sentence to anyone the entire morning. When I am nervous or stressed I tend to become much more introverted than normal.

I can still remember the feeling of taking those first few steps into the church, and seeing Brian at the altar, and our friends and family smiling at me. All of the butterflies magically disappeared. The rest of the ceremony is a blur, I couldn't wait for it to be over, and to hear those magic words, "husband and wife."

The last eight years have been full of a variety of challenges and excitement. I can't wait to share many many more years together.

Happy anniversary, baby - I love you!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Best Shot Monday - hydrangeas

I love hydrangeas. They remind me of all of the beautiful ones we saw on our honeymoon in Nantucket - almost 8 years ago! This is the first summer of the 3 we have been in this house that we have successfully managed to get our hydrangeas to grow and flourish (and not get eaten by deer).

This one was in the backyard when we bought the house. Brian accidentally mowed over it the first year trying to clear out brush. The next year the deer ate it, so no flowers. This year it is a vibrant purpley-pink brightening up the corner of my shade garden.

This is one we bought this spring. It is a lovely pink - Merritt's Pink I believe. It has been flowering quite prolifically.

And the more traditional Nikko blue hydrangea. How can anyone resist the beauty of these flowers?

Check in with Melody at Slurping Life for more wonderful Best Shot Monday pictures. Tracey will be back next week!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Happy Fourth of July

We certainly hope everyone had as much fun on the fourth as we did. We spent much of the day getting ready for our friends - primarily preparing food. Brian smoked salmon, chicken, and ribs which is an all day affair. I made panzanella, a sweet and spicy cucumber salad, dessert, and the kids helped by shucking the corn.

We proudly flew our new flag. Our old one was badly faded, and our flagpole desperately needed replacing. We also bought 5 small flags that are decorating our front walkway. As we made our way through the store to purchase them, the kids waved them in the air, and loudly cheered, "Go Hokies" much to the amusement of the other patrons. Eventually I convinced them instead to chant, "U-S-A! U-S-A!"

After everyone had stuffed themselves, and we'd all been dampened a bit by the rain, the dads brought out the fireworks. Claire was a big fan.

Some of the children preferred to watch Noggin.

So from our tired family to yours - a very happy fourth of July!