Monday, August 31, 2015


We are teetering right on the brink of too much togetherness, but for every squabbley moment that makes the start of school next week seem oh-so-necessary, there are many more that make me wish summer could carry on forever. 

I love, love, love watching these three grow together and seeing their relationships with each other individually and as a threesome develop so marvelously. And what fun it will be to watch them with number four in the mix. 

Three months to go! 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Making Cakes

Caroline has found a lovely little activity lately. It started a couple of weeks ago when she pulled out the mini muffin pan after I had just put it away, and she wanted to make her own cupcakes. I'm not even sure now whether using the sprinkles was my idea or hers, but she spent the better part of 15 minutes carefully shaking out these chunky sprinkles to make her own "cakes". Since then this activity has been rerun a number of times, with a few variations. 

One night after dinner it was ice cubes with the sprinkles. And somehow, no clothes. 

Back at it the next morning with water, sprinkles, and a spoon. 

And then again, on the stool this time, mixing in some oats. 

There's a bit of a mess to clean up, but it is confined to the counter. I don't mind if she eats a couple of sprinkles along the way, and the "real" materials make this incredibly appealing to her. And every time this game gets a solid 15 minutes of silent, serious focus. It has been such a winner that I just had to share. 

We've been doing lots of other projects lately, with varying degrees of mess and success, and I'll try to collect those into a post soon, too. I've also got a mental list of things I'm looking forward to doing just one on one with C once the other two are back in school. Fun times all around! 

Thursday, August 20, 2015


I believe it is quite worth noting that today D and I celebrate ten years of marriage! Like many of our anniversaries, we are apart today and I'm missing him bunches but it has still been great fun to remember the joy and excitement and total happiness of that day, and to reflect on all the life that has been accomplished since then. Five states and almost four children and a million little moments in between. He is my best buddy ever and I thank God everyday that I get to be married to him. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Wrapping Up the Catching Up

Okay, as I suspected, a ten-part catch-up series just doesn't work if one still doesn't blog more than once a week, so I'll just toss up the remaining pictures from our trip that were worth highlighting and then we can all move on. Yay. 

My dad took the big kids to watch the July 4th fireworks in town - they were thrilled and I was so grateful that he really wanted to do it because C would not have managed it, or managed bedtime without me. It all worked out. 

We had one really awesome, gully-washer thunderstorm early in our trip. Just after dinner. Amy old enough now to Not Be Scared. William still quite nervous. Caroline just made the best "oh!" face with each rumble. Then we all watched the rain. I love the kids' red shirts in this picture. Amy's pre-haircut ponytail-and-flowers do. And the glasses which she took a brief interest in wearing again after hanging out with her cool older cousin (my cousin) who wears glasses. And Caroline in her dress...with those curls... Oh man.  

And the next day, her on her little bug scooter with the too-big helmet...

This scooter activity definitely did not require a helmet, but of course she wanted it anyway. 

Big kids with fresh haircuts, sorting Pokemon cards: boy... And my girls: 

And an awesome last-minute project that my mom thought up: 

We added their initials and the date to these hand-print stepping stones for the garden. 

Near the end of the trip, William followed me around outside with the camera, taking pictures of all the flowers and trees and such, "so that you'll remember what your home looks like, Mommy". THAT certainly got me a little misty about leaving. 

I don't think I'll ever forget, but I sure am glad to have freshened up the memory bank with a whole month of very special time with my kiddos and my parents, home. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Current Events

Okay, three catch-up posts done, a couple more to do, don't know if I'll make it to ten, that was perhaps a bit ambitious. In the meantime, lest I get further behind, here are a few moments and thoughts from the last few days, organized by child. 

I took the kiddos to the playground at their school on Friday. C couldn't get enough of hanging from these rather high bars. I stepped back to snap this pic with time to spare before she wanted down. 

Later that day all the kids got involved in this incredibly long game of restaurant, and C was just killing me with her little apron and notebook, just like the big kids. She's in the middle of a huge language explosion, suddenly repeating everything she hears, forming more real words for things, and happily giving far more verbal clues about what is on her mind. Prior to this we were in a few weeks of huge aggravation, as her cognitive skills took a giant leap forward before the verbal set caught up and she was really frustrated all the time. Always how it goes! We also switched her to a toddler bed this weekend which seems to be going well enough. 

She's still in our bedroom, alas, since we are short on upstairs bedrooms and only living here another year. Baby will be joining us in this room, too, oh my! Some day a Don and I will have our own room again and it will be AMAZING. But for now she's got her cozy Caroline corner and it's all good. It really is a pretty big room. This is also the first time we've ever used a toddler bed; A and W each went straight to a twin around age two, but because of space and her age we figured this would be a good interim step to free up the crib. 

Moving on...

Pokemon in the afternoon is still where it is at. Even C watches for a few minutes before she goes up for a nap. Here she got all snugly with William -too cute! 

Pokemon trainer by day, reading machine by night: Amy plowed through the last three Harry Potter books this summer, and after her completion of number seven last night, she declared that today would be a Harry Potter party. She and W cooked up all sorts of complicated games all day long. She also added up the total pages of all seven books, which was 4,102. I do believe that is more than I have read in any single calendar year. Ever.  

And my William, who seems to have escaped the camera lately, is in a bit of a transition-land right now.  He had a tearful meltdown over the weekend, upon realization that he would be going to kindergarten, like, this year. He cried through half his swim lesson today because he "missed me" (I was right there, translation of this was dislike of the noisy group lesson instead of the semi-private lessons he enjoyed over the winter). But OY! He's getting so big and capable and yet so fragile and clingy. I've been toying with he idea of homeschooling JUST him, because after all, it is only kindergarten, he's only going to be there for three hours a day anyway, and it would save a load of money, and aggravation of bucking him up for it each day. BUT, on the other hand, it is only three hours a day, he could use the structure, and I know he'd do fine once he got in the swing. I dunno, you know me and the homeschool subject... Thoughts? 

Anyway, this is getting long. I'll finish with two last pics from Saturday: the red rock crab D brought home from a kayak outting and the flour footprints C left on her chair after helping me make pizza dough. 

I think that covers it for now. Will check back soon with a few more back-posts! 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Little House

...built by my daddy...

...and tucked perfectly into the Big Woods of the backyard. It is possible I was even more charmed by it than they were. 

Thursday, August 6, 2015


My parents remodeled their kitchen two years ago, and it is hard to imagine what it used to be like, before this bar and the openness and sunshine of two rooms made one. I treasured these sunny mornings, on a good many of which I got to spend a few extra minutes with just Caroline and my mom, while the other two still looked like this: 

But of course they were never really very far behind: 

Morning sunshine, with all my sunshines. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Catching Up, in Ten Parts

When I was a kid, there were huge "raspberry" bushes growing about halfway down the backyard. We could fill a basket every afternoon with these sweet little berries. Most of the bushes have long been cleared, but a few persistent vines still push their way out from the edges of the woods. These became very popular with Caroline as we walked around the yard, and I was always a little relieved that each day there would be only a dozen or so ripe berries to pick, otherwise I think she would have stood there all day, eating until she turned into a berry. 

Someone once told us these were "wine berries," but I don't know if that is right either. But whatever they are, their tangy sweetness and the fuzzy, sticky little flowers among prickly vines are all potent reminders of my own younger summers, and I'm glad these plants have stuck around long enough to bring back those memories. 


I hate slacking off on the blog, because the funny thing is that life just keeps happening, and the topics to cover keep piling up while the older, yet important-to-remember stuff gets more distant... and there is almost no way to recover. Then there is the picture problem: Caroline has developed a rather ugly obsession with the ol' iPhone, such that any glimpse of it, like me taking a quick picture, results in her totally abandoning whatever she was doing nicely in favor of throwing a tantrum about not getting to hold the phone. As a result, I thought I had very few pictures from our whole trip, but somehow there are still some 200 mediocre shots (many taken by Amy and William) that represent some of the moments and memories I'd like to blog about. Urg! 

Which is all a long, whiney way of saying that I'm going to attempt a summer debrief in ten small posts, with maybe just a picture or two each. I hope that, for my own sake at least that will help recapture all the joy of our CT visit.