Friday, September 29, 2006

This Little Piggy Went To Market...

....and got her first pair of shoes:

Basket O' Babies

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Bon Appetit

Today for lunch I served apple wedges with peanut butter, assorted cheese slices, and some saltine crackers. Not long after sitting down to eat, Dylan asked me, "Mommy, did we already run the dishwasher?"

"Yes", I answered. "Remember we did the dishes together last night?"

"Oh, good", he replied enthusiastically. "Then my cutter is clean!"

Confused at this point, I said "Your....what?!" as he opened the knives-and-all-other-sharp-objects drawer.

He triumphantly held up an ancient pastry cutter, one with a fluted wheel at one end and an orange plastic handle at the other. To be honest, I'm not even sure where it came from, but of late, it is Dylan's kitchen utensil of choice.

He sat back down and with a few spins of the wheel created some artistic little pieces of cheese.

Need I mention that Food Network is one of his favorite TV stations?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Which Disney Princess Are You?

You can take this quiz to find out!

Apparantly I am most like Cinderella.

It must be in the genes!

(Check out Danielle Bean for further discussion of Disney's princesses.)

More Fall Fun

Have I mentioned how much I love fall?

This morning the kids and I made these super easy, super cool crayons, using varying shades of yellows, oranges, and reds. Once they were set, we collected some leaves from the backyard and created these colorful leaf rubbings.

What a great way to spend the morning!

Monday, September 25, 2006

How's That For Timing?

By late yesterday afternoon, after indulging in a few too many fried green tomatoes over the weekend, the air in our house felt thick with the heavy scent of...grease.

It was quite unpleasant, let me tell you.

So instead of enjoying my typical Sunday afternoon nap, the one I've really come to rely on before going in to work, I found myself instead performing one of my least favorite household tasks: window duty.

I knew a good airing out was in order and so with myself on the inside and Darren on the outside of our house, we made our way from window to window, tightening screens, sweeping away cobwebs, wiping out tracks, and cleaning the glass. With our ceiling fans on high and new Glade Plug-Ins adorning every accessible outlet, it wasn't long before our home was restored to its usual pleasant self.

And I was never as happy to have done the dreaded deed as I was today, when our trusty old air conditioner decided to call it quits. We may be nearing the end of September, but here in the Land of Enchantment it still gets dreadfully hot during the day (at one point this afternoon reaching 88 degrees in our living room).

We've had those windows wide open all day long today, with fans working overtime. But really, I have to say: despite the heat, there was something quite comfortable about having those nice clean windows open to the fresh autumn air outside. So much so, in fact, that when Darren offered to call and arrange for someone to come out tomorrow morning for a look at the problem, I asked him to wait instead until Thursday, when he'll be home from his business trip.

I only hope that by tomorrow evening, I won't be regretting that decision!

A New Look

I finally relented after months of hearing Dylan say, "Mommy, I wish you'd cut your hair short again like you used to have it."

Now...why didn't I do this at the beginning of summer?

I suppose this was inevitable...

Me: What the heck is wrong with this DVD player?! Why does it keep skipping to the next chapter when I'm just trying to skip to the next scene?

Dylan: Because, Mommy. You keep pushing that button. You're supposed to push this button.

Me: Oh. (Of course!)

Saturday, September 23, 2006

It's Official

Fall is finally here!

Today we made some beautiful "stained glass" leaves, (we hung ours above the kids bean plants in the kitchen window), baked some yummy pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, and tonight after Mass we'll be enjoying our first green chile stew of the season.

I wonder...could it really get much better than this?

Friday, September 22, 2006

Rub-A-Dub-Dub, Three Kids In A Tub

Still Celebrating

What's better than having leftover birthday cake for breakfast?

Enjoying it in the very cool tent that was Grandpa's gift to you!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

To My Big Five Year Old Boy

Last night before tucking you into bed, we talked about all the cool things that happened to you while you were four:

You became a big brother for the second time.

You sat on Santa's lap at Mommy's work and you weren't even scared!

You learned how to read, how to write, and how to draw an amazing Buzz Lightyear.

You got your first bike, your first swingset, and you learned how to swim.

You bravely tried some really amazing big boy rides when we went to Wonderland in Amarillo.

You enjoyed every minute of your first experience at the theater when you went to see the movie "Cars" with Daddy.

You discovered the internet and would spend many happy hours online, if only Mommy didn't set such stingy time limits.

You brought boundless love and cheer to every single day of the past year.

Happy birthday, my precious son. I can hardly wait to see what this new year has in store for you!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Baby Doll

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Oh, Thank Goodness

I've been home pre-schooling Dylan in an unofficial capacity for about three weeks now, and I have to say: this whole process has been very enlightening, for him and me! We're not really doing anything we haven't done before (with the exception of the "Who Am I?" workbook series that I'm working on with both Dylan and Caitlyn, and which we all really love), but it seems that as soon as I added just a touch of structure to our every day learning, I began worrying all the time: Am I doing too much? Not enough? Am I pushing him too hard? Too soon, too fast?

But then I read these inspiring words by Melissa Wiley, and I breathed a huge sigh of relief. She says, in part:

There's no need to rush into early academics; in fact, I think it's a downright bad idea. Childhood is being shortened and children are being pushed into scholarly performance at ages ever more tender: six years old, five, four, even three. A Newsweek cover article asked recently, "Are kids getting pushed too fast, too soon?" The answer for many children in this country is emphatically yes. They're being pushed into Reading, Writing, and 'Rithmetic when they ought to be playing Red Rover. A young child's "curriculum" should be mud, paint, acorns, and dough.

Yes! This is exactly what I've been needing to hear! No longer will I worry if every day does not find us sitting down in a tidy, dedicated learning area with straightforward, uninterrupted lessons. Instead of waiting for Meghan's morning nap and hoping and praying that she actually stays asleep long enough for me to work on some meaningful lessons with Dylan, I think we'll instead continue with what we were doing best all along: snuggling on the sofa with our Bob books; writing stories in which Dylan asks more often than not, "Mom, how do we spell _____?" ; building thinking skills by playing games such as Candyland, Briarpatch card games, and the maze workbooks Dylan so enjoys; and enjoying learning in the context that every new day presents us.

Maybe next year will find us ready to dive into structure. But for now, it's all fun and games.

Friday, September 15, 2006

He of Little Faith

In our home, following our traditional prayer before meals, we each offer a spontaneous, individual prayer of thanksgiving, too. Tonight, as I said "...and thank you for my wonderful husband and this delicious dinner he has prepared for us...", Dylan interrupted, "But mom, you haven't even tasted it yet!"

Trust me, sweetie...Daddy's eggplant parmesan is always the best!

(And tonight's was no exception!)

Now That's Love

I recognize that some children have, even need, their "lovies"...a threadbare old blanket, a well loved bear--one kid I used to babysit when I was a teenager would carry around one of his mom's soft flannel nightgowns.

Dylan cherishes a Buzz Lightyear Pull-Up.

I only wish I were kidding.

He hasn't even worn a Pull-Up since he was three years old, but he has managed to hold on to this last remaining one for over a year. It periodically gets shoved to the back of his underwear drawer, only to surface, much to my chagrin, at the most unexpected times. He's been carrying it around, tattered and worn, for the past week, and when I try to discreetly "put it away", he protests, "But Mom, I love Buzz Lightyear!"

Today, though, I witnessed the most perfect example of totally selfless love:

Recognizing that Meghan needed a diaper change, I laid her down and asked Dylan if he would please be a big boy and bring me a diaper and wipes for his baby sister. I left the room for a second to get some Desitin and when I came back in, he had set his Buzz Lightyear Pull-Up beside her and said, "Here, Mom, I thought Meghan could use this because I know how much she loves Buzz Lightyear, too".

Tears stung my eyes as I answered, "Thanks, sweetie, but I think she's still just a little too small for Buzz yet...why don't you hold on to him for just a little while longer?"

A Thought for Today

If you work hard enough and fast enough, the bone deep fatigue you'd so love to succumb to will never have a chance to catch up with you.

All I wanted to do when I got home from work this morning was sleep, but since that wasn't entirely feasible (okay, it wasn't at all feasible, seeing as how Darren was on his way out the door to work practically the moment I walked in), I decided the best way to keep from falling fast asleep was to stay busy.

It's only 1:30, and so far I've managed to vacuum the entire house (stopping periodically to dismantle the hose which becomes completely clogged with carpet fuzz--I love my new carpet, but really, how long will I have to do this?!); wash all the closet doors (mirrors, covered top to bottom with smudgy little handprints); reorganize Meghan's chest of drawers (no small feat, considering the fact that there were still some size 0-3 month clothes hiding in there, which is just downright embarrassing since she will be 9 months old in two days...and not to mention all the little burp cloths, receiving blankets, and cute hooded towels she hasn't used in months that for some reason I just couldn't bring myself to pack away until today). And I even prepared a gourmet lunch for the kids and I. (Well, I guess that would only be true if you consider PB&J "gourmet").

Now I'm off to bake some cookies with the kids, and hopefully... hopefully...they'll be ready for a nap by the time we're done.

I know I will be.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Farm Fresh Fun

After Mass on Sunday, we took the kids out to a local farm where you can pick your own vegetables for a ridiculously low price per pound. It was great! We loaded our baskets with tomatoes, green beans, cucumbers, eggplant, squash, and green chile. Dylan was thrilled beyond belief to find and pick his very own pumpkins (on which he promptly drew faces upon arriving home). It was hot, Meghan slept in her stroller the entire time, and all the rest of us got a little sunburned, but it was well worth it. I can't wait to go again next weekend!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Never Forget

Saturday, September 09, 2006

They're So Easily Amused

I was lying on the living room floor surrounded by a diverse assortment of toys this morning while the kids were playing nearby. But it didn't take long for them to agree on what was, by far, the most fascinating and entertaining game:

Playing with the "wrinkly", stretchy belly skin exposed between the hem of Mommy's shirt and the waistband of her jeans.

It's nice to know that those unsightly folds are so appreciated by the sources of their origin!

The Good Wife's Guide

Call me old fashioned, (or just plain crazy), but I actually found this "article", e-mailed to me in jest by my soon-to-be step-dad, to be both practical and inspiring.

But I have to say...I will draw the line at removing Darren's shoes for him when he comes home from work.

(Sorry, sweetie.)

Friday, September 08, 2006

Happy Birthday, Mary!

Lord God, the day of our salvation dawned when the Blessed Virgin gave birth to your Son. As we celebrate her nativity grant us your grace and your peace. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

A Girl of Few Words

Meghan is a total mama's girl.

I don't mind saying this, because from the time they were born, Dylan and Caitlyn have been entirely devoted to Darren. (Well, almost entirely.)

But not my Meghan. Oh, no. This is a girl who will practically lunge out of Darren's arms when she sees me walk into a room, her entire body wiggling with delight, eyes alight with absolute adoration. It's a real sight to behold!

I love it.

Unlike Dylan and Caitlyn's infancies, during which time I was working three twelve hour night shifts a week and sleeping for long portions of the day, I have been here with Meghan every minute of every day. I savor every smile, every coo, every drooly "kiss". I celebrate every milestone ahievement as though she's the most brilliant baby in the world.

So it was with stunned silence that Darren and I stared at each other last night when Meghan proudly spoke her first word:


(And then, of course, we laughed and applauded, because really, she just may well be the most brilliant baby in the world.)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

You know it's been a bad day...

...when going to bed before nine is the best part of it.


Monday, September 04, 2006

Some Rainy Day Fun

With no sun in sight and our backyard a saturated mess, we were all feeling a little restless and out of sorts by mid-morning. When Dylan and Caitlyn began taking turns jumping off the living room sofa, I knew it was time to take some serious action. I ransacked some cabinets and triumphantly engaged the kids in a quiet, goal oriented task: noodle necklaces. The kids had lunch while the pasta was drying, and then decorated their colored noodles with markers. They loved the finished products; I loved the process of achieving them.

Gray Day

I've been trying not to let the incessant rain we've been having dampen my enthusiasm for this weekend. With cautious optimism on Saturday morning, we loaded up the van and embarked on a scenic trip to a neighboring community for their annual apple festival. It was something we were all really looking forward to, but with a steady downpour and water rushing down both sides of the main street, we decided not to even stop. There truly was joy in the journey, however, as the morning and surroundings were breathtakingly beautiful--low clouds drifting in and around the mountains, vibrant greenery and cheerful wildflowers scattered along the highway, and time together, just "being" together. We had lunch at a Dairy Queen which was a real treat for all of us, and lazed around at home the rest of the day.

Yesterday I was thrilled to spend some time with my best friend, who lives about an hour away and who I haven't seen in a couple of months. We enjoyed a delicious lunch, lively, uninterrupted conversation, some frivolous shopping, and dessert and coffee at Starbucks. What better way to spend a gray dreary day?

This rain, though, is relentless...and by the time yesterday evening rolled around, my mood was beginning to reflect the melancholy gray that's been surrounding us all weekend. I put on a happy face, went to work, and was actually having a perfectly splendid time until my attention was brought to the tragic death of the "Crocodile Hunter", Steve Irwin. I was shocked and dismayed to learn of the loss of this man who always seemed, to me, larger than life; I grieved for his wife and two small children, who are now facing the rest of their lives without him.

Those grays will be lingering for just a while longer this morning.

Friday, September 01, 2006

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year


September is here at last!

I feel those long hot days of summer winding down, and with joyful anticipation I'm looking ahead to everything good that's just around the corner...local festivals that we enjoy every year, Dylan's birthday later this month, Caitlyn's birthday and Halloween in October, Thanksgiving in November, and finally, December, when we'll celebrate Meghan's first birthday, our wedding anniversary, my mom's birthday, and Christmas!

Life is so good.

I did a happy dance in the kitchen this morning as I turned the calandar page!