Friday, November 29, 2013

NaPhoPoMo: Days 26, 27, 28

Day 26: Mythbusters in Boise


Okay, I admit, I cheated on this one. I wasn’t actually in attendance at the Mythbusters night, but four of my family were.  We are big fans of the show, so it was lots of fun for the kids to see the guys in person, doing their crazy experiments.  I was at home lounging in front of the TV, reading to my toddler while my six year old played on the Wii.  I’m sure Mythbusters was way more fun, but considering how hard it is to keep little people quiet and seated, I figured we’d be better off staying home.


Day 27: Angry Birds: Star Wars


It cracks me up that my kids have as much fun, if not more, playing Angry Birds with blocks and action figures as they do playing the game on the phone or tablet.  I am so crazy-pleased about it, it’s ridiculous.  Many moons ago, in an effort to thwart the digital deluge, I bought a huge set of wooden blocks (complete with architectural pieces like onion domes and Doric columns!) for the kids to play with. They have seen plenty of use, but in the last year or so, they’d been abandoned for more technologically splashy toys.  Imagine my delight when the kids started blending technology with old-school toys.  It’s the best of both worlds.


Day 28: Thanksgiving


Clearly, the important parts of the meal are the pie and the beverage (which happens to be sparkling cider, folks.)  Thanksgiving was marvelously low key this year. We didn’t go anywhere, nor did we invite anyone over—so the stress of trying to get the feast ready by a certain time and put the house in “company condition” was nil. 

My baby had been up barfing and feverish the night before, so I was dragging all Thanksgiving Day.  Preparing our feast took forever, and by the time it was ready, I was too tired to eat.  I nibbled a little and then went to take a nap.  Some friends brought us two pumpkin pies, so I didn’t have to make dessert.

We spent the day watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, followed by the Westminster Dog Show.  After we ate (and after my nap) we set up the Christmas tree and turned on the house Christmas lights.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Day 25: Garden Plot with House and Flamingos


Look at that lovely garden plot! My hubby is an avid gardener and I’m an avid encourager, so between the two of us, he does all the work to produce lots of delicious, well—produce.  We are slow to get to gardening since we moved here and are finally ready to take it on again.  I look forward to December and January, where we plan what we’d like to plant in the spring. (Read: I tell my dear man my crazy ideas—kohlrabi! Eggplant! Artichokes! Sunflower fort!  and he figures out where to put it all!)

We are so blessed to have this place---I get up every day and can’t believe how lucky I am to live where I do—a place that feels homey and laid-back and has some great quirks that crack me up: Coyotes howling in the neighborhood each night? Check. Train whistles at 2 AM, an abandoned turn of the century school and car graveyard down the street, our own “eternal sunrise” from the security lights at the prison a few miles away? Check-check-checkety-check! I don’t suppose everyone would like it out here, but it fits us.

Oh, and for the icing on the proverbial cake—we added a flock of plastic flamingos this summer, because what’s a yard without gaudy lawn ornaments?

NaPhoPoMo: Unicorns, castles, movie magic, and birthdays!

Day 20: A real live unicorn, asleep in her natural habitat.

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When I was about 9 years old,  I tried to convince a younger friend that I had a flying unicorn.  I even went so far as to cut feathers from a hot pink feather duster and bring a few over as evidence.  My friend was totally convinced, but her mother was horrified at my tall tale and chewed me out for lying to my friend and told me I was no longer welcome in their home.  Well, guess what, folks?  I give you a real, live, flying unicorn at rest.  BAM.  Take that, grumpy, unimaginative mom-lady.

Day 21: “Have fun storming the castle!”


In our homeschool co-op, I teach a humanities class and our focus this semester has been on medieval history, music, art, and architecture.  After teaching the kids about different kinds of castles and castle defenses, I gave them an assignment to make model castles.  I was impressed at their ingenuity—there were castles made of Legos, paper plates, cardboard, rice krispy treats, and candy.


Day 22: Movie Night: Catching Fire


Now that we have children old enough to baby-sit, my hubby and have gone on a dating SPREE! We LOVE to get out with each other.  We are big cinema fans, so dinner and a movie is our go-to night out.  I suppose it’s cliché, but it works for us—we catch up with each other over dinner, snicker through the previews, and settle in with chocolate, popcorn, and sodas for the movie. 

This night was a little different—we ate dinner IN the theater.  It’s a fancy-schmancy place in town where you can actually order gourmet food (complete with gourmet prices!) and eat during the film. 

We look really cute here, but I kind of wish I’d taken pictures of our food.  Alas, by the time we were served, the house lights were down and the previews had started.

Day 23 and 24: Surprise Un-birthday Party


In our family, birthdays are typically celebrated just with the family, but on key years (6, 8, 12, 16, and 18) each child gets to have a “friend” party.  Last year, when Gloria turned eight, we kept trying to schedule a party and it just never happened.  Gloria took it in stride, but her siblings were up in arms over it.  The two oldest kids hatched a plan to throw a surprise party for their little sister and hounded me for over a YEAR to get it done. 



I am LOUSY at planning parties that require more brain power than throwing some money at the indoor playground for the kids to run around at, so I finally told the kids that if they wanted to put on a surprise party, they could—but they had to be in charge of it all.  It was quite the learning experience for all of us.


With 11 and 13 year olds as party planners, you can imagine it was a little haphazard.  In fact, though the guests arrived on time, I was still madly dashing home from the store with some last minute supplies.  The big kids entertained, and my friend Stacey was gracious enough to stick around when she brought her daughters over.  Stacey orchestrated the decorating, the table setting, and keeping the chaos contained until I arrived.  (Thank you, dear friend!) The cake still needed to be decorated, and the guest of honor still needed to arrive!  Gloria was about an hour late to her own party, but it all turned out okay!  The kids played hide and seek, jumped on the trampoline, decorated T-shirts, and did the cake and presents thing.  I’m so glad these girls were so easily entertained!

NaPhoPoMo Blitz: Late night antics, a belated birthday, grandparents, and Giant Space Squids

Day 16: Late night attempt at selfies


Went out late one night with my friend Beth, to blow off some steam and have a good laugh.  We laughed so hard I couldn’t keep the camera steady.  This is the ONLY shot that didn’t come out blurry. (And of course, the ONLY shot where my hair was up and wonky. Just, whatever.)  Look at Beth’s gorgeous smile!  She’s a riot!   


Day 17:  Belated Birthday Fun!


My middle daughter turned 9 in October and sadly, I was out of town on her special day.  Here we are making up for it in November (better late than never???)—I took her out on a lunch date and a trip to the mall.  I can’t believe she’s old enough to LIKE the mall. Hold me!

Day 18: Visiting Grandma and Grandpa


Our weekly date with our “adopted” grandparents is a huge treat for us.  Usually, I only have the two littlest kids with me, because I visit while the big kids are at piano lessons.  This week, piano lessons were cancelled, so all of us converged on the grands. We come in like a tornado and leave the same way.  I worry that we are too much for these good people, but they always hug and kiss us and exclaim “Leaving already?” when we have to go. They spoil us rotten, letting the kids raid their candy and cookie jars and run all over the house, and sharing with me whatever goodies they’ve found at the store or cooked up for themselves.  They have a big toy bin FULL of battery powered NOISY toys that the kids turn on all at once.  We adults try to talk over the noise, but sometimes we are drowned out by the kids’ antics and we just watch them and laugh. 

Day 19: Giant Space Squids at Play

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Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, children donning sleeping bags  became transformed into Evil Giant Space Squids, bent on conquering the universe. Their method of attack: bouncing across the unstable surfaces of earth.

NaPhoPoMo Blitz: I know, I know.

This month got away from me, but I’m determined to get it all in: So……

Day 13:  That’s the Biggest Pile of …


Horse manure. For to amend the soil for our garden next season.  A rancher friend gladly donated the piles and piles of stuff.  And another friend brought a spreader---SO glad I didn’t have to get involved!

Day 14: Duct Tape, Fashion Accessory for the Nudity Inclined Toddler.


This adorable little person learned how to dress and undress herself.  Un-diapering makes her feel so proud.  About time to potty train, I think…..

Day 15: In Which I give the six year old the camera to play with during the science fair.

Perhaps photo-journalism is in his future? He also seems drawn to portraiture….

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

NaPhoPoMo Blitz

I’ve taken pictures each day—just haven’t posted them.  Catching up:

Day 9: Dancing Queen


A friend of mine invited me out for a night on the town—after dinner at a hole-in-the-wall Chinese place that is now my most favorite restaurant ever, we went to a dance performance.  It was phenomenal, and I wish I’d been allowed to take pictures.  Alas,  you’ll have to settle for a shot of me dancing at (not ON, thankyouverymuch) our table—at a local hot spot after the performance.  We went out for dessert at the Barbacoa Grill in Boise.  The food was incredible, and the music was awesome and pounding away—put a good beat on and I can’t help but move.  My friend posted this pic on Facebook and we got a little carried away in the commentary.  Oh dear.  Good times.


Day 10: What does the Fox Trot Say?


My kids love comics.  They are especially taken with Calvin and Hobbes and quote the print cartoons like other people quote movies. But--  they have just discovered Fox Trot, and the hilarity has increased manifold, because the Fox family has similar dynamics to our own.


Day 11: Pensive


I have a standing weekly appointment with a friend of mine—I drop my kids at piano lessons and head over to her place to shoot the breeze for an hour and a half.  On this day, my friend was babysitting her three great granddaughters. Two of the girls were running around, playing hide and seek, but eight year old Aleena was sitting by herself, absently plunking away at a toy keyboard, looking a little weary of the goings-on of her sisters.  When I tried to engage her in conversation, she just sighed as if she had a lot on her mind and went back to her keyboard.  A minute after I took this photo, one of her sisters ran in and tapped her on the shoulder, shouting “Tag, you’re it!” Aleena quickly set down the keyboard and dashed away in pursuit.


Day 12: Like Mother, Like Daughter


If you read my other blog, or have anything to do with me on Facebook, you know that I train in Krav Maga.  I’ve been telling my daughter for awhile now that I want her to train as well.  She has seen me come home with bruises and hasn’t been keen on joining me, but the other day she surprised me by telling me she wanted to try a class.  I was as pleased as I was shocked.  I grinned like a goof the entire drive to class, so pleased to finally get to share this with my baby girl. (This is us goofing off after class.)

She had a good time—even if she got a little green in the gills from pushing herself too hard during the warm up.  She sat out for a few minutes but joined back in for knee strikes and bar-arm chokes.  She’s feisty!

I am so proud.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

NaPhoPoMo 2013, Day 5: Babies Don’t Keep, 11/5/13

“The cleaning and scrubbing will wait ‘til tomorrow

For children grow up, I’ve learned to my sorrow.

So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.

I’m rocking my baby, and babies don’t keep.”


Apparently, for me, sleep “will wait ‘til tomorrow” as well, because my baby girl (who is not really a baby anymore at two years old!) woke up at the crack of ugly this morning. She was calling “Mommy, I hold you!” which is her way of saying she wants me to cuddle her.  I stumbled, bleary-eyed to her room and scooped her up, bringing her back to my bed.

She promptly curled my hair around her fingers and fell  back to sleep.  As I snuggled her, breathing in the smell of her hair and stroking her pudgy toddler cheek, I couldn’t help feeling wistful.  She is most likely my last baby.  This is hard for me, because I don’t feel ready to be done with this stage of life, and it’s so quickly flying by.  

Sometimes I wish life had a pause button, but since it does not, and knowing that this is likely the last time I’ll get to snuggle and hold a little tiny person as the MOM, I’ve learned to savor this stage of my daughter’s life.

There’s no hurry to grow up, baby, no hurry at all.

Monday, November 4, 2013

NaPhoPoMo 2013, Day 4: Stillness, 11/4/13


Tonight, I came home from my Krav Maga class to find the house dark and quiet—an unusual phenomenon at 10:00 PM.  (We are night owls.)  This is where I dropped my gear before I headed into the kitchen to find something to eat.  When I wandered back through, I noticed the flickering light of the candle (don’t worry—it’s not real—it’s battery operated. No fire danger here!) and the way my duffel was placed underneath it, almost like an offering placed at an altar. 

I don’t know who would want an offering of sweaty gym gear, but I liked the quiet stillness in the house after a busy day and an intense evening—and even more, I like the promise of getting to do it all over again tomorrow.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

NaPhoPoMo: National Photo Posting Month

The brainchild of Karen Walrond, NaPhoPoMo is a month long event in which you post at least one photo a day on your blog and share with the folks you know.  It’s a reason to stop and look up, look around, and document it.  I got on board a day late, and am only now figuring out how to link up to everything (because I’m so technologically delayed. Please forgive.) At any rate, it’s been kind of fun—reminds me of a mini-version of the 365 self-portrait thing I did a couple or three years back.  Only shorter and with a LOT less pressure.

Here are my first three days of photos (which I posted on Facebook and am now posting here—just to get with the program.)

Day 1: Night at the Ballet, 11/1/13

My friend, Vanessa, and I went to the ballet.   I hadn’t been to a ballet performance in a few years (the last one being a Czech performance of The Phantom of the Opera, in Prague, in 2009.  Good times.) The ballet Vanessa and I attended was called The American Program---all the choreography was done by Americans or created IN America, for American dancers.  I don’t know much about ballet, but after reading watching the performance and reading the program, I’m very intrigued by ballet and the different styles (who knew there were different styles of ballet? That is so cool!)  Anyway, Vanessa and I enjoyed the evening very much—it was an excuse to get all gussied up and feel like we were getting some culture.



Day 2: Impromptu Tea Party with the Kids, 11/2/13

My nine year old has a tea set that we picked up for her at a restaurant supply store last year.  She LOVES having little tea parties.  We had just finished a discussion on why we don’t allow sleepovers and she was feeling a little bummed that I’m such a strict parent about that.  A tea party is not a sleepover, but she seemed mollified when I suggested we use Twizzlers for straws and eat Halloween candy as part of our “high tea.”  (So much for teatime etiquette and tradition!)  Her brothers were happy to oblige (because there was candy.)  We served wild berry herbal tea and the kids dunked Jolly Ranchers into the tea to sweeten it.  Can you say sugar coma?




Day 3: Singing Time in Primary, 11/3/13

I teach Sunday School, and sometimes it’s really boring.  The best part of the day is “Singing Time,” when the kids get to learn and practice worship and Sunday School songs.  Today, the kids got a little silly—we were singing songs about Thanksgiving and Christmas (in preparation for the Christmas program.)  I love this bunch of people—they are silly and serious and precious (but mostly silly.  They crack me up!)