Sunday, November 17, 2013


One of my biggest fears about venturing into this mysterious land of three children has been the impact that a littlest sibling will have on the two oldest ones. 

They may squabble and compete and shove each other now and then, but ultimately they have always been two peas in a pod. They share a room, they share games, they share memories. 

This new little one will be "the baby" for quite awhile, and I know their relationship will only get stronger while they are the "big kids".  I know they'll teach their little sister all the best games and share all the memories of things she was not around for.  

Having a first and a second child were a non-decisions. Having a third child has felt like, during this pregnancy at least, one of the weightiest decisions I (we) have ever made. I won't know for at least a month, probably years to come, how this new dynamic will play out. But I pray every day that we will simply have that much more love, that many more sibling memories and friendships, and that we will be merely adding facets to our family diamond. I know this will be true, and yet I also pray that Amy and William will never lose the closeness that they have right now. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Friday, again

Wow, that was a week that flew by, my goodness. I've been peppy and energized for most of this week, feeling in-control and while I still can't ever seem to get anything done, it has been a good week. But today was damp and overcast and I caught the tiny sniffle the kids had earlier in the week so I'm tired and fresh out of positive attitude. In an effort to conclude the day in a happy state of mind, I bring you a short selection of pictures of moments from our week. Then I shall feel better, right?

Here I attempt to catch Amy in a candid moment. She was speechifying about something as usual, I sat on the floor pretending to check email. 

We were all very excited to have a frost on the ground Thursday morning. So pretty! I actually had to scrape the car when we left for school, 30 minutes before grabbing this picture. 

I never thought I would, but I did. That up there is one giant box of Christmas tree on its way home. I'm in a "no fuss" mood this season, combined with a "I want my tree up from now till January" mood, combined with a "I don't want to find a hundred insects hatching from my tree and leaving sap on my ornaments and crawling across the living room floor the day after Christmas" mood (that happened last year). So I took the plunge and spent the bucks... tomorrow's project will be assembly. I have never in my life had a tree up before Thanksgiving. I feel like such a rebel. 
PS - Don't know what I'd do without the van - it fits everything! 

Speaking of trees, William is totally smitten with this little magnolia outside Amy's school. He calls it his Baby Tree, and whenever we come and go from the front entrance he has to spend some time loving it. 

This scene occurred this afternoon, about one o'clock, after a half hour of playing when he should have been resting, and only minutes after a loud and whiny request to go play outside. 

I love Amy's ability to draw figures in motion. She's started making a lot of observations lately along the lines of "so and so [at school] has SUCH nice handwriting/draws SUCH nice pictures, etc". Of course I think she does a fabulous job at all of it, too, but it brought to mind just how vivid those feelings are for little kids, and how I too can remember my own early school days and how everyone in class knew each other's handwriting, or drawing style and made comparisons for better or worse.  

In an effort to salvage what threatened to be an afternoon/evening of tired, cranky, bad moods on all of our parts, the three of us came up with the idea of early baths and a pajama party, complete with dinner in the living room watching The Nutcracker . Much fun, but still tired. See above. 

And that folks, is all I've got. I have plans for something like this: 

with a side of television for the next hour or so. Here's hoping we all find ourselves refreshed and recharged by the end of the weekend. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Decluttering Corners, One

I have a bit of a confession to make: I am addicted to HGTV and their prime time home renovation and house-hunting shows. However, as much as I enjoy the content I usually can't stand the people - often younger than me and horrendously picky and stuck-up in their idea of what makes a livable house. Whenever we get the chance to actually buy a home, I promise I won't be that picky. 

Anyway, watch these shows enough and you find certain buzzwords common throughout, things like "modern kitchen" and "open concept."

Now, our current house is what I would definitely term "open concept." The kitchen looks right into the eating area and living room. Convenient for watching the kids while making dinner and never being far from the action, but absolutely killer when it comes to visual clutter. Everything is seen all the time from everywhere. I'm finding more and more that even though I keep a reasonably neat and mostly organized house, I am getting really tired of looking at all our stuff, all the time. 

So I have begun a crusade to reduce visual clutter wherever I can. I started today with the side of our fridge. It occurred to me way after the fact that I might make a theme/blog series/challenge to myself out of this, and to that end I would have been better off with a Before picture, but oh well. 

Previously this side of the fridge was sort of my vertical office. Every important (and unimportant) business card or post-it with phone number, take out menus (which we never use), school info, multiple calendars, etc, was ALL clipped here somewhere. Most of it overlapping. It was one of those spaces that you just sort of accept because you are so used to looking at it. But today I took it on. 

I copied over all the relevant phone numbers and contact info onto one sheet, written neatly with different colored pens, in hopes that any adult in my house who needed the information <cough, Don> would find it easily. I threw out all the little bits of paper, rubber-banded the business cards and stuck them in the junk drawer (which will be my next project), and whittled down the remaining info to what was truly most important to have quick and easy access to. All that remains is phone list, grocery white-board (which only says Lucky Charms at the moment, oops), upcoming appointments, year-at-a-glance calendar, and school calendar/information. Trust me, it looks a million times better than it did. 

There is more work to do, just on the fridge alone - case in point, jumbo onions, candle, and confiscated toys all collecting dust up top. I really do hope that by focusing on small areas I can continue this simplifying throughout the house, enough to really make a visual difference, not just a temporary clean-up. 

This was a very long post about a very small topic. Thanks for reading, it keeps me honest. 

Oh, and on a totally different note, my Amy turned SIX this Wednesday - crazy! Will try to post some pictures and share about our day sometime very soon. Till then!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Ice Skating Love

What was the hardest part about going ice skating with two small children while 7+ months pregnant? 

Lacing up my own skates. 

Otherwise it was a fantastic afternoon, this re-start of what I hope can be an ongoing family activity for us all. (Would it be weird to push a baby stroller on the ice?? Is that allowed?)

I took the kids twice last February, and wrote about it briefly here. Then it got warm and though this particular rink is open year-round there still seems to me something seasonal about the activity. So we haven't been skating in about 8 months. 

Amy totally rocked it today - gaining much more confidence, a willingness to fall and get up again, and scooting along mostly unaided. She was very pleased. William was a bit more nervous than before, and could have done better had he tried something other than having me hold him by his armpits the whole time. But he's only three. 

Amy is the age I was when I started ice skating. I never got more serious than a few winters' worth of lessons (Basic 2, I think) and many more winters' worth of public skating on Wednesday afternoons with my mom and brother. And that was the good stuff. 

Nothing has changed about ice skating in all that time, and I think that's what makes me so happy to do it now. The ice feels the same, the rink looks the same, even smells the same as the one I skated at growing up. They play oldies music (and I can only hope Christmas carols when the time gets near). And the Zamboni provides just as much of a thrill as ever. 

I am not a sport person, nor am I an after-school-activity type of mommy. But I do think we will make this a part of our weekly or bi-weekly routine for as much of the season as we can. It felt like home. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Happy Turtle Day

Today's addition to the list of assorted critters we have observed or captured in and around our yard is this handsome male box turtle. He was marching through our front garden when we left for school this morning (a distraction which almost made us late). William and I found him not too far away when we returned, and turtle-napped him for a day of captivity until Amy got home and we released him. 

The kids of course wanted to keep him as a pet but a brief bit of research corroborated my hunch that the turtle would not be too happy about that. I'm not really sure where this fellow came from - coincidentally William and I spotted him yesterday, at the park across the street (I am only assuming it is the same individual -  I've never seen a turtle around here at all). He would have crossed the road to get to our house this morning. And today was mower/weed-whacker day, so I justified his captivity knowing that he was safe from the big machines. We released him in a different part of the woods behind the house, away from the road and other homes. I hope he does okay - I also read that these turtles can be get stressed and disoriented if they are far from their usual area. Still, I can't imagine that the busy road he was headed for was what he had in mind either. (And in case you were wondering - eye color and shell shape confirm that he was indeed a he.) 

The cats found him almost as amusing as the kids did when we let him walk through the grass a bit, and he showed off his best box turtle hinged-shell disappearing act if they got too close.  

It is always refreshing to turn the calendar to a new month. October was busy, and I'm sure November will fill up too but for now the page is clean (and only one more month till baby month!). Happy November 1st, and Happy Turtle Day.