Friday, June 29, 2012

Clean Plate Club

Dinner tonight was just so pretty I had to take a picture.  We spent two hours out in 100 degree heat pooling-it-up with our neighbors, which was awesome, but coming inside with two hungry kids at 6:00 and nothing planned for dinner makes for a moment of panic.  I remained calm and chanelled my inner Martha, and whipped up the above in less than 15 minutes. Really nothing special, just wagon wheel pasta with butter, scrambled eggs, frozen brocolli, cottage cheese, and a chopped tomato from our garden.  I worried that this might go over like a lead balloon, generating too many questions about why we were having eggs with pasta and vegetables instead of pancakes.  But my hungry hungry hippos gobbled it ALL up, and I was a very pleased Mommy.

The M&M cookies for dessert didn't hurt either.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Home Days

It took a couple of weeks for us ALL to get over one of the nastier colds to circulate our family, and as a result it's been a pretty quiet time for us. We have been out and about, here and there, but there has also been a lot of this: 




Around here, if we are not planning any errands or other outings for the day, we say "It's going to be a Home-Day!" Sometimes too much time at home can get a little... close.. but overall it is our favorite place to be. And especially when we are all feeling better. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A Brief Getaway, in Pictures


As I was putting together pictures for this post it occurred to me that we have been visiting/vacationing on this beautiful island for twenty years now. I love this place. And I am so happy my kids do, too. 

Friday, June 8, 2012


William's "big" birthday present this year was really something for all of us to experience - a butterfly house and the caterpillars to go with it. I have wanted to raise butterflies ever since we did so as a class in first grade. There are few school experiences that I remember so clearly as our classroom box of caterpillars, and setting the resulting butterflies free in the woods at the edge of the school lawn.

It was just as thrilling 22 years later.  My caterpillars came from here, though I ordered the first round from amazon and the caterpillars arrived... well... very much not alive. So I returned them and ordered directly from the Insect Lore website and this time all five caterpillars were quite well, despite a few hours in the hot mailbox before we got home to rescue them.

They crawled around and munched their little green food goo and grew and grew for a few days before they spun into their chrysalises. And seriously, I have to find me a grown-up book on butterfly metamorphosis, because even after watching it happen, I am still incredulous. One moment the caterpillars are just hanging there, the next they are all encased in their little shell. Crazy. And there were two who couldn't seem to make it to the top of the jar, and I thought they had just given up and died on the bottom of the jar, but incredibly they too formed their chrysalises.

And then just over a week after that first transformation, they crawled out one at a time, over a 24 hour period, and poof... five beautiful Painted Lady butterflies.

I had planned to "keep" them for a few days, but once the cats noticed them it quickly became clear that these would not do as pets, so we set them free later that day.  Two flew far, far away right away, two took their time and dawdled around the garden, and one was a little gimpy and posed for some pictures.  The kids were delighted, as were my mom and I.

And if I can get all deep for a minute: watching this whole process unfold had some serious implications for my faith.  Now, I am sure I am not the first one to notice this analogy, so bear with me.  Those silly little caterpillars, just crawling around and eating, doing their pre-programmed little job here on earth.  Then for reasons that they surely do not understand they are paralyzed, upside down, and wrapped up in their own hard skin.  For a week they do not move or eat or drink.  Do they think?  Do they wonder what is happening?  Does the caterpillar who got caught in his own silk and trapped in the goo think he has failed?  Does he think he will die? And yet, all during this week of immobile solitude every cell in their body is being transformed, until suddenly they are told "it is time" and they crawl out of their little tombs to discover that they are no longer earth-bound caterpillars - they have WINGS and can FLY.  What a world is available to them now!

I really think God made butterflies to show us exactly what He has in store for us.  We are only caterpillars right now.  Happy caterpillars, but caterpillars just the same.  Wow.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Twinkle Toes

Please excuse a brief bit of gushing in this post. Amy had her first "dance recital" today and I am VERY proud of her. The Little Gym really does it right; they schedule each class to a 30 minute block, all the girls come in and perform their two numbers (one tap, one ballet), twice each, then get a medal and a group picture and then are sent home.  No endlessly endless marathon dance company recitals like the ones I participated in that are, honestly, torturous for the audience who must sit through 3 hours of other people's kids dancing.  Phew. This was better.


Miss Amy started dance class back here, and hit a bit of a rough patch about three weeks in - she had a couple of huge meltdowns over the whole experience, for reasons we could never quite figure out.  I let her sit out a couple of weeks but then talked her into trying it "just one more time," to at least finish on a positive note, and from that class on she was just fine and LOVED it.

I have no plans on making a dancer or a gymnast out of her, but did feel strongly that this was a good thing for my girl who has had no other peer/away-from-mommy class experience.  I will mark this one in the WIN column for my mommy-judgement, because the last few months have indeed done wonders for her confidence.

So my girl did all her dances with a smile on her face today and I am super-pleased for her.  She can be a tough cookie to figure out, and I worried just a little that she might freak out again about the whole experience.  She might be the only 4-year-old girl I know who really didn't want to wear the tutu.  But she did and did so happily and danced her heart out.

Huge props to her teacher, who did an admirable job of guiding a group of girls, age 2.5 to 5.5 through all these skills, and always with a smile and encouraging word.  I likened it to herding cats, but she is a master.

And perhaps the sweetest part of all was after it was all done, and William simply couldn't stop hugging Amy.  Real, sweet, unprompted, sister-loving hugs.  It was too much.  AND after all that, Amy decided she wants to give William her "I'm a Star at the Little Gym" medal, because "he is always so good about watching my classes".  Who is this girl and what did she do with Amy?

She has her last class this week, during which she'll show off her gymnastics skills.  I'm excited for that, too, and happy to call this whole first-dance-class thing a good experience.