Monday, October 31, 2011


The sound of rustling wrappers, Snoopy, and will you trade me your nerds for my gum?

Cold, stiff fingers make it hard to open chocolate bars.

"What does Starburst mean, anyway mama? It's not shaped like a star, but it is yellow." -Sylvie

My favorite Halloween tradition is that my husband sneaks a rock into the kids' candy buckets. When we get home, we turn on It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and they sort through their loot. Usually around the time in the show when Charlie Brown keeps getting rocks, they notice their own rocks. There is much shouting and laughing and pretend indignation. Bee says, "Who keeps giving us rocks! It's probably somebody who gives out a handful of candy, and the rock is hidden inside."

I'm off to rejoin the sugar feast.

My son wore that bee costume when he was just 2 years old.
She wanted
to try it out for the night.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Green Belt and a Funny Thing

My kid is now a green belt!

He was incredibly nervous beforehand, which meant that his relief and joy when he accomplished it were also incredible.

Grampy came to watch the test. I was surprised to see him, because he'd had a long, busy day fixing his combine and harvesting. But there he was, and after the test he took us out to celebrate at Walter's favorite place.

We got him a new uniform too, and he is quite pleased with it.

On the drive home, Sylvia said a very funny thing. "Do you remember one time when I was asleep and I got unsleeped?"



Friday, October 28, 2011

Need Anything?

I stepped out of the shower this morning, and within 5 minutes I had heard all of the following things:

"I'm still hungry, can I have toast with butter?"

"I want apple slices with peanut butter."

"Can we practice my tae kwon do in the new room?"

"Where's dada?"

"Tie this on me, it's a fancy dress."

"Where's my toast?"

"Are you ready for the tae kwon do yet?"

"He won't stop saying boo!"

"I need a pony tail!"

"Untie my dress."

"I want apple slices with peanut butter too."

"Help me spread out this blankie."

I'm pleased to say that within 15 minutes, I got dressed, extracted please from both kids, and took care of all the things on the above list. If that's any sign of how productive my day will be, I'll take it. If it's any sign of how needy my kids will be today, can I drop them off at your house?


Thursday, October 27, 2011


We have had the best weather here the last week! Sunny blue skies, warm but not hot. Today it is rainy, which is nice too because we're sipping hot drinks and watching tv under blankets.

But last weekend we carved our pumpkins. Just look at the sun we had!

"I'll carve this baby one."

I love how he held his pumpkin with his feet.

She drew the face before cutting. Dada did the carving for her,
but he cut it exactly as she drew it.

Bee loved her jack-o-lantern so much that he took a picture.

For some reason, I'm sort of trick-or-treating obsessed this year. I've been searching for every event I can find that will give us candy. It's not that I like the kids to have a ton of candy, but they are just so pleased by it all. They loved the zoo event. They only got 8 pieces of candy each, but there was no disappointment. Earlier this week we went to the local university campus to trick-or-treat, and Sylvie reached into a bowl and pulled out a Gobstopper. She said, "Look what I got!!!!" I said, "Wow, what is it?" She gleefully said, "I don't know!" She was so thoroughly impressed by it. Later, she got a Hershey's kiss, and pulled out the paper from the foil and said, "Read my price." She meant fortune. How cute is that? I read it, and it said kisses kisses kisses, so I gave her some kisses and she was delighted. Best fortune ever. Then there's Walter, who is so careful with his candy. He sorts it and saves it and attaches memories to it. "Remember when I thought Skittles were M&Ms?" "Remember when I ate my Halloween candy at Christmas and saved my stocking candy until Easter?"

If I find out about a trick-or-treat event, we're going. There are 3 more things this weekend. Maybe I'm overdoing it, but I can't pass up that cuteness.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Beautiful Mess

Last week was busy--for 9 days in a row I had stuff going on and too much to do. So on Sunday I made the plan that I wasn't going to do any work. I didn't wash a single dish or pick up a single toy. It seems that skipping just one day can result in a disastrous mess in my house.

So yesterday, I got up and went downstairs to make breakfast. On the counter was a note from my husband.

"Our living room is a playground. It looks beautiful. Sit and look at the things and think of what it all means."

My heart.

I do that sometimes, but I didn't know that he did too. I think he wanted to reassure me that it's okay, that this is the stage of life we're in and that he cherishes it too. The upside down farm toys, the Lego machine, the hairbrush by the baby doll, the two whistles side by side on the end table.

Beautiful mess.


Monday, October 10, 2011

For 8, He Wanted Cranes

About 3 years ago we got a picture book called Lissie's Friends. It's about a girl who has the skill of folding origami and the imagination to see her creations as friends. In the back of the book there are instructions for making a paper crane. For 3 years, every time we read that book, my son would want us to try to make a paper crane.

Those instructions were crap.

(Yes, that means all my attempts at a crane ended up looking like wadded paper.)

So finally I looked up instructions on Youtube. I figured out that crane, and suddenly my kid decided he wanted an origami birthday party, and for his cake to be shaped like a crane!


When it comes to the kids' birthday cakes, I go a little nuts. I am certainly not a professional cake maker, but I really have fun creating what they ask me to make. So I dove in and this is what I made:

He was happy, so I was too. After all that, learning to fold all those origami figures (especially the owl) was much harder than making the cakes. But it's fun to have a new skill.


Friday, October 7, 2011

Trip To The Farm

Let me tell you about a field trip we took on Wednesday. It was with a homeschool group that we joined but haven't been involved with as much as I want. A local farm has one day a year when they open up to the public and invite volunteers to show cool things to kids. It was a 15 minute drive there, and of course as soon as we got in the van the kids started saying they're thirsty. Do you know kids like that? I think my kids are camels and they think they must fill their humps in the car as if they won't be able to drink when they exit. As soon as they buckle up, they must have water. My car is full of water bottles. Anyway.

Now, I grew up on a farm. My kids visit a farm every time they see their grampy. They love farms but I wasn't expecting too much.


The volunteers made this field trip terrific! There were tables and tables set up with (usually) grandmas and grandpas sitting behind them, eager to tell the kids about bees and eggs and pelts and herbs and cornmeal and composting.

Holding a chick.

I always enjoy watching blacksmiths work. This guy told us
lots of stories from when he first started out. He said he
burned himself 3 times his first day.

Hayride with popcorn.

Eggs--from ostrich to hummingbird

She liked sorting the apples.

Carving some limestone

You know we love picnics, and a picnic on a tree stump is
even better.


Saturday, October 1, 2011


My son is 8 years old today. I won't even say how it doesn't seem possible and that he is still my baby because I think you all know that.

Right now he's at tae kwon do because the instructor puts on a funny hat and holds the birthday kid upside down while the rest of the class sings.

The cakes are on the table, the snacks are waiting in the fridge. The balloons are hung, the house is clean, the toys the kids always fight over are hidden.

This afternoon people will come to celebrate my boy, and I'm taking a moment to just think about him and be thankful.

Here are some things about him:

-LEGOS! He will do Legos for 8 hours a day. He got a new semi truck set today, and had it put together in an hour. He has a mathematical brain that is good with patterns and he thinks of great things to build. He really loves symmetry in his Lego structures.

-Speaking of symmetry, he told me yesterday that there were an odd number of icons on the computer and it bothered him, so he deleted one. Ha! I don't know which one it was...

-He appreciates the simple things in life, and I appreciate that. His dad finished his bunk bed ladder yesterday, and you'd have thought the kid won the lottery. I am grateful for his sense of thankfulness.

-He is still a snuggly kid, thank God. He is not yet too old to hug and smooch and cuddle and sit on my lap.

-When I get to the end of a chapter in a book we're reading, if there's a cliffhanger, he will scream. He will beg me to continue and writhe around. Thus, I pause our reading and put the bookmark in during the more boring parts.

-Suddenly he doesn't like hot dogs anymore.

There is more, but he's home now so I'm going to go.