June 29, 2008

Remember last year when Little Red was learning to speak?  Boy was I embarassed that he taught a few of his friends the word truck but couldn’t yet make the “tr-” blend and used an “f” instead.  When he grew out of it I thought I was free for a while from hearing foul language.  After all, the worst words Paul and I use are “crap” and “gosh” and we’ve really limited those around the sponge.  (And we spell when we say things like “I was an i-d-i-o-t.”)

Out of the blue, in the garden section at Target yesterday Little Red starting yelling something quite disturbing for all on the second floor to hear.  Acting quickly I thought of a reasonable substitute for the words he was saying but didn’t understand.  “Are you saying fun kit?”  As what he was really saying had no meaning to him he went along with my suggestion, but continued yelling it.  I calmly explained that when he did that it sounded a lot like a bad word that we don’t say.  We didn’t want people to hear him and think he’s a bad boy.  I’m not sure what all I said but he stopped, and I haven’t heard it since.

whew!  (for now)



June 28, 2008

There’s something really neat about growing up in nature — you develop a connection with the land.  Growing up I always had a really strong sense of where our food originated, the importance of reduce-reuse-recycle, and animal protection.  I felt very centered in the world and I fully understood that I was a small speck on a massive, complex organism that deserved my respect.  My first love was the Yukon, and while other puppy romances fade faster than memories I still swoon at photos of tree-covered hills with wild rivers cutting through.

I’d be there now, really, if I didn’t love Paul even more than the Yukon.  Good thing he’s an outdoorsy.  His parents live in the Garden of Eden and he dreams of being able to move there so we can always enjoy what Michigan has to offer.

Somewhere along the path of our collective life we’ve been so consumed with reaching stability in career, finances, family, that we’ve lost touch with nature.  We try to take our sons out on walks and talk about what they see, but more often than not it’s a lesson in municipal infrastructure than nature.  (Let’s face it, there are just a lot more garbage/recycling/police/fire/streetsweeper/mail trucks in the big city than opportunities to talk about the circle of life.)

We’re collecting stuff for a camping trip.  It’s okay for us to live in a very urban setting as long as we also make time for the boys to know the world under the concrete under their feet.  I’m working toward teaching the boys not just about how a city runs, but how the world works.  We have an orange tree that will [hopefully] bloom this winter, and we’re planning some fruit picking adventures.  I feel like if I can just get them in the woods near a stream, then I can ensure that part of my world will be transferred to them.  Every once in a while it hits me how desperately I need them to connect with nature.  This morning I saw pictures of the Yukon — it isn’t glamourous, but suddenly I remember how much I love that rugged, wild world.

Could he be any cuter?

June 22, 2008

After church today Andrea pulled me aside in the hall.  She just had to tell me about class today.

“We were talking about feelings and Little Red said, “sometimes Boy Blue is sad and I help Mummy by making him feel better.” ”


Lately he has also been replying “of course” to most of my requests. 

Quick Update for the Casual Observer

June 21, 2008

For those of you not a part of my day-to-day, I won’t make you go back and read April and May to put things together:

Aiden is a little boy we babysit in the day while he’s on the waitlist for daycare.  He’s been coming since May 1st and I hope we can continue this for a while!  The days are long and I’m very tired but he’s a good baby, the boys really really love him, and I really like having some money coming in (–and going straight out again, of course.  sigh.)

He is to-the-day nine months younger than my little Boy Blue, but he’s a big bruiser.  At 4 months he was equal in weight to Boy Blue on his birthday, and now I’m fairly certain he has surpassed my lightweight.  When I have the two of them in the double stroller, although they look nothing alike, I get a lot of comments about the “twins.”  (although to be fair, I also get twin comments when it’s Little Red and Boy Blue.  People are stupid.) 

We still make excursions out of the house, and I’ve even ventured to Trader Joe’s with all three boys although usually I save the grocery shopping for Saturday mornings.  Having Aiden does represent a significant change in our lifestyle, we are staying home more and I’m not going out on my long walks.  But it’s summer and I was going to hibernate anyway, so I don’t feel it’s a loss.

Sorry for the confusion — no I did not suddenly have another baby.  But I did try to trick a friend into thinking I did, when we caught up with them at Travel Town last week.  Funny!

Where the Wild Things Are

June 21, 2008

We’ve completed an entire round of Phreeley Fridays (as I like to call them, but they are formally known as pajama parties so the kids don’t feel like we’re ditching them for date night.)  It was a total success and we have started the rotation again.

We celebrated solstice by hosting the mosh pit at our place.  (and I was babysitting random extras all afternoon, too.  It really was the longest day!  haha, but good)

We’re in the middle of a heat wave so I asked Paul to bring home pizza.  He complied, willingly — how often do I come up with the suggestion of paying for food instead of making it?  But seriously, after watching 5 kids all afternoon with only an hour and a half break before I had 5 kids again, and with it still 100 degrees by suppertime, there was no way I was cooking, cleaning, or even thinking of turning on the oven.

Once the kids were over I left Paul with the younger ones, Logan and Boy Blue, and I took the 3-year olds (excuse me, Kyra just had a birthday) into the kitchen to make no-bake chocolate macaroons.  -so easy!  recipe at bottom.  And they played and played and played.

When Paul and I could stand the noise no longer, we turned on the movies.  Tonight’s double feature began with The Jungle Book and was followed by Horton Hears a Who*.  Miraculously, by 10 pm Boy Blue was in his bed and the older four were sitting quietly on the couch.  If we had just a couple more minutes before the parents came back I think I might have been asleep.  The kids all had to be carried out in the arms of their parents, and were sad to leave.  Whew!  another success, and now we have two date nights of our own on the calendar!


*You’re right, it is to early for Horton to be out on video yet.  There are benefits to living in LA.  One of our friends lent us a screener.  😀


No-Bake Chocolate Macaroons

Combine and set aside:

3 cups of oats

1 cup of shredded coconut

1 tsp of salt

5 Tbsp of cocoa powder

Boil together:

2 cups of sugar

1/2 cup of milk

1/2 cup of butter

Remove from heat and add 1 Tbsp of vanilla extract

Combine wet and dry ingredients together.  Drop by spoonful onto wax paper.  Chill in fridge.

Thee in Transition

June 20, 2008

Little Red stood at the top of the stairs one night after bedtime calling Daddy.  When Paul came around the corner he saw that the little man had taken off his nighttime diaper (which was still dry) and put his pjs back on.  He stood there ceremoniously holding the diaper and announced that he was not wearing nighttime diapers anymore.  End of story.  (Well, mostly, he was dry all that week but has had accidents since then.  It’s now been a month and a half and I think we’ve got the liquid cut-off-time figured out for optimal success.)

Boy Blue, who popped out six teeth at about four months old, is finally pushing through the rest of his teeth.  All.  At.  Once.  I think we just might run out of teething tablets.

Aiden has figured out that he loves his daytime brothers so much that sometimes he won’t even nap.  We’ve got a pretty good groove, and things aren’t usually really bad.  Since he started coming he has learned to roll back to front (which he does the instant you put him on his back,) can spent extended time on his tummy and pivot around to toys, and is learning how to sit.  It’s very exciting.  He’ll be six months next week and it’s so fun to watch him develop.  He can drink from a sippy cup with the stopper taken out, but is learning to suck and I’m confident that we’ll have him on a normal sippy cup (and by extension, he could take a bottle) before too long.

A Little Piece of Peace

June 19, 2008

I know I go all over the place with my rants on so many ridiculous things about California.  I don’t take back any of those things, but I’m compelled to go on the record as saying that there are a lot of things I really like about living here.  I’m still not-so-secretly hoping that we’ll settle in Seattle or anyplace less hot than here, but in the meantime I’m actually quite happy here.

I have the opportunity to make a little money while staying home with the boys.  It’s very hard work and it’s not a lot of money, but it feels so good to befinally improving our family’s finances.  It’ll be a while before we’ve undone all the damage that living here has caused, but just knowing we’re on the path is a very good thing.

We have amazing friends.  While we’ve had good friends everywhere I feel like we have the best support networks (more than one!!!) here than anywhere.  They are so uplifting and inspiring. 

I think we’ve settled on the kindergarten program in which we will enroll Little Red, next year.  I have to wait to do the school tour in September, when school starts up again but Jen and I are already planning on being the first two people on the list when enrollment opens in March.

There is so much going on these days, but LIFE IS GOOD.