Saturday, April 30, 2011

They're ALIVE!!!!




garlic chives

Friday, April 29, 2011

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Firsts: bike edition

I tried to be as inconspicuous as possible but the grin kept sneaking back onto my face.

It's a really ugly little bike. The colors are faded from the thousands of tiny bums that rotate in and out of the seat. The handle bars are something out of a germophobic parent's nightmare. If you look closely you can see the surface slightly wriggling. And the lack of ANY bells or stickers or buttons to push clearly identifies it as being from the early to mid 1990s.

Still, it's the only bike at the rec center and that makes it the most sought after toy among the 2-3 year old set at Open Gym. Sometimes there are tears.

It had been in the possession of an older little boy for most of the morning. We threw the ball around for a bit and Owen took a turn on the rocking police carboat. He kept an eye on it though and when it was free began his slow walk over. Owen never runs full force toward the object of his desire. He keeps it slow and looks around to see if any other kids are making a move at the same time. Not one for trouble, he tends to defer to more agressive kids, regardless of size.

This time he's unchallenged. It's a light day and most of the kids are early walkers - not yet interested in going fast.

As usual he begins to push himself around a la Fred Flinstone. And after a bit, as usual, I recommend giving the pedals a try. No pressure or anything but they really do help you go faster.

Something clicked and I could see the shock on his face as his feet actually started moving in sync with the bike. Push, push, push....pedalpedalpedalpedal. Push, push, push...pedalpedalpedalpedalpedal.

I kept my surprise in check and played it cool with one quick "There you go!" so as not to scare off the moment (or the other parents).

But as he sped off to the other side of the gym I couldn't quite stop the smile from spreading itself across my face.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Either this girl thinks my phone is funny or she already knows how to smile for the camera.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Baking and Breaking Bread

A post about effort. The picture above looks like bread but don't be fooled. What you are looking at is pure effort in bread form.

I've been attempting to expand myself in various directions lately. Trying to buy less and make more is one objective. It's better for us: financially, health-wise, environmentally, skill building-wise (i.e. patience building wise). It helps me learn to respect the effort that goes into the things we use/consume/want. It helps me to teach my children to embrace hard work, to be informed consumers, to understand that quick doesn't always equal good. Plus, it feels good to know that you did it. And it's empowering to learn how possible it is to DO most things.

Today it was bread. 4:30 pm found me dumping flour, eggs, butter, water, salt and yeast into the bread machine. Jon was grilling and we needed hot dog and hamburger buns.

Yes - it took longer. Yes - they weren't the same texture as store bought buns. They had flat bottoms and were a little too big. And shaped oddly.

But - they had a total of seven ingredients (8 if you count love) and were Fresh. They weren't shipped from Illinois and were only touched by one person before we ate them. I have only myself to blame if they taste horrible or contain multi-syllable stabilizers or fillers.

Effort. Let's be honest: the bread machine expended the most physical effort. My contribution was the mental effort, the shift to think, "we can do this". The push to get up and just do it. The refusal to just accept 'normal'. I'm a big proponent of not accepting something as truth or good just because our culture defines it as 'normal'.

This is my little plug to try. Try not to be afraid of effort. It might not be baking bread. It might be trying not to take the 'shortcut' at work, even though your boss holds you to a deadline. It might be reading the whole book - not the cliff notes. Thinking the thought for yourself...not taking the easy route of agreeing with what all your friends say. Staying strong when your kids demand fries an offering green beans instead - every single time.

Don't give in to the easy. Put in the effort. Because the long term benefit will far outweigh the momentary sweat.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Family Photos - Living Color

Together: Everly thinks Owen is hilarious. No matter what he's doing she'll laugh at him.



Sweet: Ahhhhh!! Why do I want to eat her up so badly?? You are worth every spit up mess, darling.

Thanks Gbenga.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Family Photos - Black and White

A few days ago Jon and I opened up the images that Gbenga sent us from our shoot. There were hundreds and about every 3 or so there would be ooooing and ahhhing or an enthusiastic "I love that one!"

Maybe it's because we've known Gbenga for years and feel a real, true kinship with him. It's probably that and a mix of his natural skill but, and I've said this before, he manages to capture us. The little threads of life that normally would only be seen by our family as we weave in and out of normal life. I feel almost as if I touched the images they would pop and you'd be able to smell the moment - the pure love, the excitement about our journey, the hilarity built on years of (usually stupid) inside jokes, the frustration of being two, the comfort of family, the tiredness of babies, the care of siblings.

I only want to show a few here but I could bombard you for days.

These are a few of the black and white shots.


Journey: in it together.

Intent: This is Owen.

Love: Father and son. Maybe my favorite shot?

Joy: We only do this once. Might as well love it. (and these three make that easy)

We don't get paid for fact, we pay him! And just in case you want to pay him too...Describe Photography.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

At the Park with Owen

We went up to Baltimore to visit a friend a few weekends ago and took the kids to Patterson Park. It was an old favorite destination and I think Owen remembered his way around pretty quickly.

This was pretty much all I saw of him the whole time:

Shots of him, from behind, going full speed.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Back 40

A few weeks ago Owen and I planted a few variaties of herbs for our back-deck garden attempt. It's more a learning experience than anything, for him and me. That's what I tell myself whenever the little delicate starter cups get knocked over or spilled. I say 'whenever' because this has become a frequent occurrence. I'll be surprised if anything grows to harvestability.

But I'm using it as a chance to talk to Owen about how plants grow. He'll see the pots and proudly declare that a tiny seed grows into a MIGHDY TWEE! I'm working on drawing parallels between that tree and his little life and spirit. It doesn't always feel like he understands that obedience, worship and all the other things that go into personal watered-ness are as crucial to his development as water and sun are to plants - but I know that it's sinking in, somewhere. Children just understand. (That and I rely heavily on grace to impart truths beyond my poor teaching skills.)

I'm also learning. Mostly that starting an herb garden is kind of expensive. Seeds are cheap but dirt and planters are kinda more than I figured. We'll probably break even next year. I'm taking this year as a bit more of a toe dip into 'real' gardening. (Real = more work than putting a few tomato plants in the backyard.) Next year I'm planning on becoming these people (my new favorite blog) and fulfilling my dream of living on a small farm and making catsup from my own garden.

Sigh, one day.

Until then I'll try my best to keep the one spindly little garlic chive plant from getting pulled out or overwatered, or swept off the porch, or smelled to death.

You can do it little sprout!!! We're all pulling for you!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sunday, April 17, 2011


She's got me. Completely.

Jon and I were talking the other day about how we love our children. I mentioned that you hear all the time that people worry about loving their second child as much as their first - but are relieved when their 'heart expands' to accomodate a new life.

Yes, but no.

I was ready for that heart-doubling feeling. And it is true that my heart was captured the moment I held Ever to my chest for the first time, seconds after she was born. To be fair though - it was captured before I ever laid eyes on her. A bond was forged during those months of carrying her wiggly little body in mine. Little by little as I got to know her, felt her gentle stretches, prayed for her, discerned her spirit, I developed a deep love for my daughter.

That love continues to expand rapidly. She has her father's crooked smile that melts my heart. She lights up the room when she's happy, which is often. She giggles when I tickle her and crinkles up her eyes when she sees me. All the little moments that make up our day together add to my love for her.

So it's not exactly like my heart doubled in size- there wasn't an instantaneous, sudden change. It's more like I've been given the chance to grow a new love - starting the moment I saw that extra line on the pregnancy test. Maybe even before.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

4 Happy Months!

If Ever isn't her usual sunbeam self in these pictures it's because I was trying to get a shot of her without her legs all scrunched up...and she got tired of me trying. (It's about continuity, baby, sheesh.)

Look at the fuzz growing on top of her head! It's hair!! Owen was a glowing, shiny bald at four months so this is quite unexpected.

At four months, Ever is:
  • the light of my life. It's not all just mama blabber either - this girl is seriously sugary sweet.
  • still sleeping 75% of the day away.
  • in love with her fingers (looking at, eating, grabbing things with) and has a newfound awe of her toes.
  • all smiles for her brother and actually laughs at him (even when he's growling at her).
  • easy to take for granted. She's so happy in her swing that I've been feeling a little guilty about the lack of attention she sometimes misses. I definitely have been implementing more purposeful engagement times with her.
  • Loves singing - being sung too and singing to us. It's a little hard on the ears right now - usually high pitched (the higher the better) squeals - but she's so proud of herself when she gets out a few notes.
  • Is starting to be able to sit up with a little support and roll over! (not always at the same time either.)

My favorite daily ritual is snuggling at bedtime. She is serious about cuddling and it always ends my day on a happy note.

Thanks for indulging my gushy side.