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Archive for June, 2011

Check-in time has once again come and gone and here I am, in a mad scramble to throw something quickly together before the imaginary Blogging Bureau of Investigation comes to get me at midnight on July 1st because god knows they are obsessively tracking my Very Important goals as they are paramount to absolutely, positively no one.

To tell you the truth there are some very good reasons the goal check-ins have been sparse and/or non-existent the last two months. Bill and I had hoped to start looking for houses early this spring but when that didn’t work out we sat down and talked about what was important to us individually, as a couple and as a family when looking for our next place to live. Roughly two weeks after we moved in to this place we’ve been ready to move out and have since gone back and forth about whether to move back into the city or stay in our current community. There are huge draws to staying here {suburban schools! Lawns! Familiarity! More house for our money! And most importantly, family at our fingertips.} and, for me in particular, huge negatives {White people as far’s the eye can see. Then some more white people! Running into people from your past who make your skin crawl with icky memories. Feeling stuck in the same town you grew up in. And most importantly: MOTHERFUCKING GODDAMN GAS PRICES.} Bill will always work in Minneapolis, as it’s a huge advertising hub- so that’s not going to change. He spends a ton of time in the car each day, especially in the winter when shitty weather can pretty much guarantee a 2 hour trip to work and almost as long back. He’s tired of it. I’m tired of it. And so we’ve mostly agreed that moving to the city is the best option. It doesn’t hurt that we actually really like it there. {Plus I’m grossly over-simplifying our thought process on this as it’s not actually the point of this post. When the time comes, it will be very clearly laid out if what we’re hoping for comes to pass. And if life has taught me anything, that means we have about a 50/50 chance.}

So. If we assume that this move is our eventual reality then it made us think pretty hard about some other plans we had for our family in the coming years and we had to make some adjustments. Adjustments that we’re both scared and excited for. Adjustments that make a lot of my goals this year sort of moot. So I’m following Sara’s genius move and reworking my goal list. {And I hope you know that when I say  “re-working”, I mean cheating and pretending some of these goals never existed in the first place.

Here goes!

1. Learn the ins and outs of my new camera lens.

This one is fairly completed so I’m kicking it off. I now use this as my go-to lens and am pretty happy with the results. Here’s some photographic evidence that I can take semi-in-focus pictures with it to prove I’m not a lying liar pants:

Truth? I borrowed the nail polish I bought for Keaton. I have no shame.

Roots, reflections, river.

A growing weed...

Growing like a weed.

2. Take a DSLR workshop online or through comm ed.

DONE. I took my second class earlier this month with a friend where we learned how to take a lot of great shots while dying of heat stroke as it was 102 degrees with 807% humidity. They didn’t advertise the survivalist portion in the course catalog which was maybe a little disappointing but if I can take pictures in those conditions then I think I’m doing OK. I’m unsure if I’ll take any more classes this year. Some shots I got:

3. Run/walk/crawl a formal 5K.

I… really don’t think I’ll be doing this this year. I still plan on running to stay healthy but I don’t see it culminating in any sort of organized race. I suppose it’s possible but right now it’s not in the revised plan. Do take note that if it DOES happen I will pretend I never took this goal off the list and brag relentlessly over making it my bitch. For now though? GONE.

4. Make a decision about faith and what church is right for us.

After a lot of thought and some research into some other faiths, I’ve decided that right now I’m going to just stick with raising the kids Catholic through their 1st communion. I’ve struggled so much with this over the last few months and what I’ve decided is that I’m not at all what one would call a “True Believer” in the Christian faith, however I think there is a wealth of valuable ideals to be gleaned from it and right now I’m OK with sticking with this community for my kids’ sake. However at home we will be teaching our kids that our family doesn’t really {and by “really” I mean AT ALL} subscribe to the nasty, exclusive and downright disturbing stance that the Catholic and many other Christian faiths take on the majority of the earth’s population. Things may change on this as I’m still digging around on how exactly we’ll present these things to the kids. At 5 and 3, obviously explanations need to be kept concise and simple, but for the most part we’re DONE here. Or really more like, PACIFIED until further energy can be expended.

5. Get a freaking haircut already you hippie.

I did this! And am no longer scared to go back to get it cut again so, DONE. {Aww, I’m all grownsup!}

6. Drink water.

I will keep this one on the list as it’s a good reminder. I find that I fall off periodically but then when I see that check in time is coming I double down and get things going again. Way to keep me fearful, BBI.

7. Go on a debt diet from Jan-March.

This goal has been completely revised in the last month. Putting ourselves on and STICKING TO a monthly budget is absolutely necessary if we want to move back out to the city, or just stay afloat in general financial terms. I recently came up with a workable budget that although is absolutely NO FREAKING FUN WHATSOEVER, will hopefully be a huge help in getting us out of this place down the road. So the new goal is now: FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD AND HOLY, STICK TO THE GODDAMN BUDGET. I personally think the all-caps will be a huge help in our adherence.

8. Find a workable routine to manage my free time during naps and preschool.

The thing with this goal was that it is way too vague and in our family? Something that changes. So I will outline a new goal, specifically made for the summer months when Rowan is home, and revise when the fall comes.

9. Say I love you more. I LOVE YOU, INTERNET! {Just practicing. This one’s going to be really hard for me.}

You know what I’ve found? It’s really hard to fight who you are and I’m just not an I Love You type of person. However I don’t want to hide behind my fear of the dreaded iloveyous so I’m keeping this on here as a reminder that I should probably get over myself, or at the very least learn to show affection in some sort of tangible way as apparently lovingly applied punches to the arm don’t count, WHATEVER, BILL.

10. Be a diaper-free household by June 30th.

HA. Haha. This did not happen. Unture, I guess- it did happen… it just didn’t work. What I’ve found through our 3 separate attempts to night train Keaton is that he is not the sort of kid who pees in his sleep, wakes up and then is so horrified that he, his blanky, bed and pillows are soaked in urine that he calls for assistance. He’s the sort of kid who pees in his sleep, wakes up, takes note of his soggy circumstances, says something probably like “whateves” or “eh” and falls contentedly back to sleep wherein this cycle repeats itself 2-3 more times during the night so by the time morning comes things aren’t just wet but sopping. The last attempt made was early on in the spring so I half-heartedly thought I’d give it one last go starting last weekend so I could meet my completely arbitrary goal date but then I remembered that in a few short weeks we are going on vacation and even if he finally trains I’ll be biting my nails every night that he’d have an accident and I’m sorry but my selfish idea of vacation does not include changing sheets twice a night.

So. Revised goal will be a new arbitrary goal date of: Be a diaper free household by November 1st.

11. Eat more raw food every day.

Good goal to keep mostly because it’s helped along immensely by the fact that the kids’ swimming lessons are close to a Trader Joe’s and that the CSA we joined is finally up and running.

12. Complete a 7 day cleanse.

Done and I will most likely NOT be doing another one, so Buh-bye.

13. Say ‘thank you’ more often.

I fully understand how terrible this sounds but I am going to thank this goal to go the fuck away.

14. Knit something.

HA!

I’m still keeping it though. I know I will fail. Why do I do this to myself? Because it’s funny. Almost as funny as me actually knitting something.

15. Decorate this damn place already. I’m TERRIBLE at colors and putting rooms together. Someone offer to help me and I promise I’ll number 13 your ass.

We did enough this spring to make me relatively happy with where things are at. We never painted anything other than our bedroom and bathroom but I’m just really OK with this right now. Plus we talked about maybe doing another room swap later this year or early next, so I want to wait until I know where we’ll be before any more decorating takes place.

16. Be a nuk-free household by February 28th.

Done. Goodbye, goal.

17. Read for the love of God. Find a better balance of fiction and non-fiction.

This has been the most fun of all my goals and has definitely motivated me to read more. This last month I read only two books, Little Bee by Chris Cleave (giant recommend!)  and Amy Tan’s The Bonesetter’s Daughter, aside from Bill and I re-reading Harry Potter 7 out loud to freshen things up before the last film releases next month {pathetic fan-girl tears!}.  I do need to shake up my balance of fic vs. non-fic but I tend to read pretty light fare in the summers so expect to see this goal stay but don’t expect a better balance until at least fall. As if you care, but still, there it is.

18. Get core in shape for the spring running.

Um… I’m so over my core. And over this goal. See ya, sucker.

19. Go to at least one B&B this year.

This most likely won’t happen this year either. Which is sad but sometimes you have to sacrifice for the greater good. I’m very, very sad to see this goal go but know one day we’ll be back in a position to make a habit out of B&Bing.

20. Go back to Tetagouche. Take kids.

We’re very tentatively planning this for August. It sort of depends on how well we stick to our budget which is going to be directly affected by our cabin vacation in July and the slew of family birthdays we have in August, including Rowan’s. The biggest factor will be whether we decide to have a kid/friend party for her as we already spend a lot on the big family luau and her gifts. Even with cutting way down on our present budget, it will still be too much to throw two parties and go on a mini-trip as well. So we’re going to try and make some decisions about this by mid-July…here’s hoping.

21. Keep up a weekly to-do list.

Since I do this regularly, I  don’t really see a need to keep the goal on the list…. so DONE.

22. Keep my reactions to disappointment in check.

I tried. I really did. I’m a reactor. That’s how I process. Maybe that’s a cop-out but for now I’m fine with cop-outs. GONE.

23. Remember to model myself, the behavior I expect from my kids.

One of the things… okay, maybe the ONLY thing I took out of The Happiness Project is that goals need to be concrete, defined and attainable, not vague and wishy-washy. This goal is vague and wishy-washy so it’s being hereby ejected.

24. Purchase bed sets for the kids.

DONE! I WIN #24!

25. Start free-writing again. On paper.

Starting next week I am going to pick one day each week, most likely Mondays but it doesn’t have to be carved in stone, to go to the library in the evening for 1 hour armed only with a journal and a pen. This is going to be really good for me. If my dumb-ass follows through.

26. Make this the last full year in this house.

This is the biggest disappointment of all. The most obvious take-away from Bill and I’s re-working of our family goals was that we’d most likely need to stay where we’re at for at least two more years. This isn’t written in stone, miracle’s do happen!  But for now we’ve sort of resigned ourselves that it makes the most sense for us to be right here. Again, the details to this decision will come later as this giant mother of a post is already long enough, but we’re really mostly at peace with this and ready for what comes next.

I will post my revised goal list hopefully by the end of the week but, you know, maybe not until next week because the holiday weekend means I have a date or three with the beach, my paglers and some gin and tonics.

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I didn’t mean to take two weeks off but as it turns out I pretty much spent all last week {and now this week!} in the freaking car. Which yeah, brand new car! Exciting to drive! Look at me! But NO. I’m already sick of the car. Between errands, dentist appointments, playdates, and library trips in the morning and driving to my mom’s and back so Keaton can spend the afternoon napping there and summer dance for Rowan every afternoon, I’m really REALLY, ready to officially start summer next week when we have exactly NOTHING scheduled. As in NOT ONE THING. As in we will all be spending the first three quarters of the day in our pajamas and or swimsuits.

Things I should have documented in the last couple of weeks but didn’t because I’m pretty sure the surgeon general has a rule about posting to one’s blog when operating a motor vehicle. {Also I have taken not one picture for the above stated reason, for I am nothing if not a law abiding safety conscious citizen. Also: Lazy.}

* Keaton had his very first dentist appointment this week. I had a doctor’s appointment so Bill got to take both kids and he reported that Keaton opened his mouth big and wide and did awesome. When the dentist asked Keaton how many teeth he had, he counted “one!” for the upper set and “two!” for the lower set. Dentist: “Don’t you think you maybe have more than two teeth?” Keaton, “Um…no.” You may not be surprised to learn that the next day I ran out and purchased Keaton some preschool number and letter workbooks because…how should I put this delicately… that boy? Could use a little help.

*Bill and I marked 7 years in our marriage. We like to celebrate our anniversary but the number is sort of lost on us. We’ve been together since January 2000 and knew within a year or so that we were pretty much a sealed deal so the number attached to this or any other particular year hasn’t been that important. Don’t get me wrong~ I’ll still expect a big deal to be made of the milestone years but mostly because I like presents and fancy dinners. And trips to Greece. {DID YOU GET THAT LAST ONE, HONEY?}

* We’re also over half-way done with re-watching season one of Lost. It’s probably not right to be so wrapped up in something I’ve already seen three times but as we approach the end of the season last night I found  myself grabbing Bill’s arm and exclaiming “Oh my God! Soon we’ll get to see BEN again. Aaaaahhhmmmm so excited!!!!!!” Bill rolled his eyes and gave me a sweet little pat on the head. I know, Internet. Something’s wrong with me. I have to say that 2004 Lost still holds up in 2011 and the only character that bothers me more this time around is Michael. I always thought they gave the Michael/Walt storyline a shitty ending but seriously? I never really noticed that he says “Man” every third word in season one and I AM SO SICK OF THAT SHIT, MAN. Needless to say, now I’m pretty at peace with what happened on the freighter.

*Keaton has always favored sitting down while peeing which, yeah, he spends most of his days with females so it just made sense. I would remind him every once in a while that he had the option of standing up but he always politely refused. However, something this week made him change his mind and he’s been standing up regularly. He normally goes to the bathroom unsupervised and it didn’t occur to me to maybe offer him a little help perfecting his aim, other than a half-hearted, “Get it in the toilet, pal”. Until one day I walked in and…THE HORROR. He’s aiming the steady stream up against the lifted toilet lid, wiggling his little butt and giggling as his pee cascades down. “Keaton! What are you DOING?!” Of course I startled him so it should come to no surprise to anyone other than my dumb-ass, that he turned to face me mid-pee, narrowly missing my feet. “Making a waterfall, mom! Pretty cool, huh?” Um. Not cool, son. Very NOT COOL. I was not wholly aware, and until very recently neither was Keaton, of how awesome little boys regard making their pee bend to their whim. It’s humorous, yes, but also messy. And did I mention EW? Because EW.

And on that note? I’m off to dance. But it’s the last one for maybe a very long while so hopefully I’ll be back up and throwing words at you next week. Have a great weekend, Internet!

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After dropping you off in your classroom on your last day of Kindergarten, the walk down the long, narrow hallway seemed harder than usual. By walking out the doors of the building and away from you, letting you go about whatever business the last day of Kindergarten entails, I was somehow allowing you to grow up, to grow further apart from me. I’m not going to lie, my pace was slow, my steps measured, and I picked up your brother who did his part to comfort me by snuggling his head on my shoulder. But out we came and if life has taught me anything it’s that it stops for no man, no woman, even if that woman is a mother who is a weepy mess of nostalgia for a girl who’s legs have all of a sudden gotten too long.

I came home, determined to follow routine, and made my way upstairs to pick up after our whirlwind morning. In a heap on the floor lay Woobie, rumpled and sad looking, though I suppose he is a stuffed being so it’s possible the sad part is just me projecting my pushy human feelings on the poor thing. My favorite part of Woobie is that he doesn’t have a threaded on smile, like so many other kids’ loveys, seeming to always feel just how you feel~ for Woobo is nothing if not the epitome of empathy. I scooped him up, lifted him to my face and took a slow deep breath in, taking in his scent, your scent, mimicking your own actions when you find him at the end of a long day.

This chubby, little pink penguin with the brown eyes and the yellow beak, attached to a mini security blanket, belonged to a baby I once knew. A baby who would not go to sleep without him tucked firmly under her chin, rubbing the silky tag along the side of her pudgy cheeks.

Woobie was then passed on to a toddler who took him with her on all of her adventures, from daycare, to trips to the zoo, to the hospital to meet her baby brother for the first time. When you would fall or get hurt you wouldn’t run to me for comfort, but to Woobie, who you would rub on whatever was injured, repeating tearily, “Woobie will make it better.” And you know what? He always did.

Then you became preschoolers together, at first he was clutched tightly in your hand as you entered the little school, then as days went on, carefully placed in your backpack {with his head sticking out so he could breath, of course!}, then he kept your carseat warm while you were off learning new things until finally you forgot him one day and you didn’t even notice until you saw him upon your return, scooping him up for a long, apologetic snuggle.After years of Woobie’s tag being rubbed up against your cheek, or methodically between your thumb and pointer finger, his tag started to deteriorate. When you noticed this you cried for Woobie’s lost appendage but made a solemn oath to Woobs and what was left of his tag, “I promise I won’t rub your tag anymore Woobie. I don’t want it to disappear.” And then you kissed his cheek.

And then he belonged to a big girl Kindergartner. And we had a very serious talk about what Woobie would do during all the long hours you were at school. You decided that Woobie would be too lonely all day without you. We made a rule that he could go with you but had to stay snug inside your backpack so he wouldn’t get lost. I pictured you reaching in for your lunch box but pulling him out instead for a quick sniff, it was a security for me as well as you that he was there if you needed him.

In time you decided Woobie wasn’t happy being stuck in a bag all day so we decided he would go to Woobie School, where I promised to drop him off every morning after dropping you off.  You would remind me in a hushed tone so he couldn’t hear “Mom, Woobie School is on my bed. Don’t forget to pick him up first at the end of the day so he’s in the car when you come get me.” “I promise,” I assured you.

When I pick you up this afternoon Woobie will change hands again. He will belong to a Kindergarten graduate. A First Grader. Part of me can’t help but wonder if ol’ Woobo’s days are numbered. If by next fall you won’t seek comfort in him when mama just isn’t enough. If you will be too grown up to include him in your nightly dreams. If he’ll be replaced by a damn Barbie doll or Bieber replica {::SHUDDER::}. I find myself bargaining with no one in particular, that you please love this silly stuffed penguin for all time.

Last night I sneaked in to checked on you, while you were still a Kindergartner. You lay on your side, with your legs curled up and there, tucked tightly under your chin was Woobie. And in that moment I felt safe from the future. Safe from First Graders. Safe from grown up Rowan. And wow. I needed that. Thank you, Woobie.

Your First day of Kindergarten...

 

...And your last. We're so proud of you Rowan J.

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Keaton, Sir! Last weekend you turned three and a half and I know mama promised you she’d drop the monthly check-ins when you turned three, since you are now officially a Big Giant Boy,  but I do feel I need to dedicate a post to you and all the awesome that you are. {Mostly, anyway. Part of you is kind of an asshole right now but you’re my little asshole and I love you. Normally I don’t really love assholes though so consider yourself pretty special.}

Let’s get the bad part out of the way first, shall we? Your mother, your stupid, stupid mother, somehow thought she had beaten The Three. In the months after you turned, I waited all quiet-like, pretending to read a book or tie my shoes, but what I was really doing was waiting for Three to rear its ugly head. I was, maybe not prepared- as part of Three is the unpredictability of which child you are going to get at any given moment, The Sweet One or The Jerk, but I had steeled myself for it. It was not if but when, and I was going in to battle ready. And then…The Three never came. You remained {for the most part} sweet. And polite. And easy-going. And malleable. And able to put your shoes on without using the phrases “NO! LIFE’S NOT FAIR!”, “I CAN’T, MY FINGERS FELL OFF!” or “YOU DO IT.” {That last one’s the least dramatic but the most infuriating, BTW.}

So you know what I did? I got lazy. After months and months of The Three being a no show I got comfortable. After all! It might just be easy with you~ you’ve always been a pretty even-tempered kid…maybe you wouldn’t turn on me. Rowan caught The Three at 14 months and it lasted until almost 5 and a half so maybe the universe was taking pity on me! I’d put in my time, right? RIGHT?

Wrong.

The Motherfucking Three caught up with us about a month ago and has settled its hooks firmly into you. One minute you were sweetly playing with your cars and when I denied you a second fruit snack, you through a fit. Huh, I thought. That was weird. I sat you on the step for a time out and then The Three came right out of your mouth and hurled itself at my chest. With a furrowed brow and tightly crossed arms it said, “I don’t love you very much anymore, Mama.”

What the…?

And then I knew. And I felt played by that stupid Three. Tricked. I gave you no reaction but a firm look and a promise to give the fruit snacks away to nice little boys {even though my heart was all sad face emoticon} but I knew any reasoning I tried was futile and five weeks later we’re still waiting it out. At least your Threes are mostly about whining, testing and pouting and less about Extreme XXL Competitive Tantruming like your sister’s were. Still. To say I don’t like them very much would be a solid, terrible understatement and you have 3 more days to figure it out because then summer will be here at last and The Three is NOT INVITED TO SUMMER, SON.

And now for the good, of which there has thankfully been plenty of over the last six months. You had a pretty easy going spring schedule. After soccer was finished every evening was free so you just had toddler class and preschool. You spent a ton of time with both your grandmas and your dad while I was busy hauling your sister around to dance stuff and somewhere in that time, out of necessity or just through the natural ebb and flow, you’ve become a much more independent bugger. You get yourself undressed most mornings and make a solid effort of trying to dress yourself. You pull your bag of cars down and play on your bed while I tame your sister’s hair in the morning. You sneak into the snack cupboard and stealthily open the fruit snacks by yourself, and then guiltily hold up the empty package to me when I come down the stairs, asking “can I have these?”.

Things I’ve learned about you this spring:

You no longer fit in the baby swing, even if I try to shove you in for nostalgic purposes.

You are so much more adventurous on playground equipment, climbing the big kid structures with ease, and jumping off precariously high surfaces, not caring one wink that you are giving your mother small heart attacks by the dozen.

You like to get a good running start before hitting the ball off the tee. Exhibit A:

You are a champion bubble blower and prefer to blow rather than pop.

You get really confused that tomorrow never seems to come. At bedtime you ask if it will be tomorrow when you wake up, and I assure you it will be. When I go to get you up in the morning you shout “Yay! It’s tomorrow!” only to have your know-it-all sister inform you that it is in fact NOT tomorrow but today again. I promise someday this will make sense, sir.

Your imaginary play scope has gotten wider, though you still always want to play it with a car.

You love Love LOVE to get your nails painted. And I’m so sorry those mean Kindergarten boys tried to make fun of you but the way you stood your ground with a Dude-they’re-painted-nails,-why-you-gotta-be-a-hater? attitude was pretty awesome.

You finished your first year of preschool which was awesome. This year was all about socialization and separation from mama which you have definitely mastered so I am excited for the fall at your new school when hopefully you can learn that you don’t count the alphabet and that K is not the first number of your name, which although hilarious to us, seems to draw some funny stares from other people. This is new territory for me because I never had to teach Rowan much of anything. She has a great memory which helped her learn letters and their sounds pretty much on her own and because she is a cognitively driven sort of kid, she picked it up fast. You on the other hand don’t have much of an interest in any letter other than K and even still don’t care much about the alphabet as a whole. You can count to 20 but you couldn’t identify any number higher than 5 when written down and you know what? I would have freaked out if you were my first born, wondering if I’d somehow failed you and I’d be searching google for some learning disability to label you with but thankfully you’re my second born and you know what? Call me lazy, but I think this whole number and letter thing will probably sort itself out sometime in the next year. If not, rest assured google will be there waiting for me with open arms.

Budders, your legs are lean and stretch down to the pedals of not a trike, but a bonafide big boy bike. Your arms, sans any trace of baby pudge, reach to pull you up to higher heights, then curl themselves around, flexed tight, with a balled fist to show how strong you are, a proud smile on your face. Though they still do when you deem it fit, those same arms don’t wrap themselves around me quite as much as they once did. Your a big three and a half year old now and you know what? You got this. We love you, old pal.

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Listen. I know this is a painful process, especially if you’re like me and tend to clean out your garage once every four years, but I’ve come up with a fool-proof plan of attack that will get the job done in no time flat.

Step One: Some jobs are just too big for one person. Why not ask your significant other to help pitch in? Make an exciting sales pitch about splitting the garage down the middle~ He’ll do his side, you’ll do yours. Easy-peasey. Win-win. Yada-yada etc..

Step Two: {And this is crucial} Do your side first.

Step Three: Be harsh. Do you really need that old entertainment center? NO. Are you ever going to rollerblade again? Probably not. Is 5 strollers too many? YES.

Know what's important. Of course you will still need to hold on to that LotR movie cutout! It just wouldn't feel like home without Gimli and Legolas there to greet you when you pull into the garage.

Step Four: After removing all clutter from your side, sweep up the 4 years worth of leaves, seeds, dirt, and random ickiness, proceed to scream then stomp the shit out of that giant millipede when it crawls out of your dust pile, and finally…

Wow! What a difference! No heavy boxes precariously balanced up to the ceiling just waiting to take you out if you accidentally shut the car door too hard. No sea of extension cords waiting to entrap you. No sharp metal objects threatening to shear off your toes. Good job, you!

Step Five: Donate what you can. Throw away what you can. And the rest?

Goes on the other side. Not your problem anymore! YOU HAD A DEAL. A totally binding deal.

Your welcome.

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This week was suppose to be my last serene week of both kids in school. A time to enjoy the peace and quiet of an empty house, the delights of which I won’t experience again until September. I had lots of nostalgic posts crafted in my brain about the year, its struggles, its successes and while I still hope to write those when I get 4 seconds or so to myself, for now I’m just going to throw a bunch of pictures of last weekend at you and run the other way. But know I really wanted to bore you with words much, much more and that I love you, Internet.

Last week Keaton and his good buddy Rex found a teeny tiny baby turtle at the park. Who knew reptiles could be so stinkin' cute?

We so wanted to bring it home to show Rowan and then release it into our pond which is home to lots of painted turtles, but some random lady came up to us and although she didn't have a badge, she fancied herself the turtle police and told us the turtle didn't need a mom {...?} and it was against the rules of the park to take him. The park is on Preserve land so we did let him go but seriously? I have the best memories of catching frogs, toads, minnows and turtles as a kid. We'd keep them well fed in a bucket for a few days then release them in a safe habitat. It was an awesome way to learn about and to respect animals. Things are so different now and while most of the time that's a good thing, sometimes it makes me sad.

Our next stop was the River Walk at William O'Brien state park. I think this is a wild violet- there are a ton of different purple wild flowers in bloom right now.

This is the best kid-friendly hike in our area because it's flat, with woods on one side and the river on the other- lots to see for little ones! Plus at the end there is a little area for the kids to take their shoes off and wade in the water only this year it was all flooded over which confused Keaton to no end. Still though, they had an awesome time. One of my favorite things is to see the backs of my kids as they run down the trail exploring.

Family toenail painting {except Bill who for some reason adamantly refused our invitation to join in several times}. Every time I ask Rowan if I can paint her nails she declines and Keaton comes running so I thought I'd better at least get some boy colors, right? I even got Rowan to try some!

On saturday the weather forecast was finally where it needed to be so the butterflies could be released. They had been MORE than ready for a week and the kids were excited to give them their freedom. {And PS I don't know what is up with Keaton's smile lately. He looks so cute until I ask him to look at the camera and then he screws his face up all funny. Honestly I think he does it just to mess with me.}

On the edge and then…
Free! There is a butterfly garden in the cemetery and the info the butterflies came with said that they stick pretty close to where they are released so we’re hoping we can catch a glimpse of 1 or 2 when we visit Grandpa in the next couple of weeks.
After the butterflies we went to another state park, and you can thank my dead camera battery for the lack of pictures of that. {No seriously, thank it- this post is already ridiculous with pictures.} After that hike we went to Bill’s parents’ for dinner and a bonfire where many many marshmallows were consumed.
The kids loved running around and helping Grandpa Rick with the fire.
This will be good training for when Bill and I make them responsible for all the landscaping and lawn maintenance when we finally get a yard.
Smoke monster, schmoke monster- Keaton’s not scared.
And look! Gratuitous photo of Bill to prove he’s still alive and handsome as ever.
And a full day of hiking and rolling in stinky nature stuff made for one happy Luna Mae, who is 78.2 percent ears and the rest tongue.
And finally we rounded out our memorial day activities, celebrating the birth of a teenager. I was sososo awkward at 13 but this girl seems to have skipped that stage. JERK. I was 17 when Jorie was born and WOW I feel really old right now…
Not as old as this guy though. Good luck with that teenager, Deps! {And for those of you unaware- this is how your teenager will look at you anytime you open your mouth from this moment on, for the next 7 years, with or without the option of varying degrees of eyeroll. Related? I have 7 years to save for junior high boarding school in Switzerland.}

Whew! I’m done photographically assaulting you for now. We bought a car yesterday and I am henceforth banished to our garage for the next 785 hours in an attempt to clean it out so both of our vehicles fit snugly inside. If you don’t hear from me within a week, it is safe to assume that I was probably murdered in a collective effort by the Dave Matthews posters, papazon chair and 17 cantankerous volumes of Norton’s literary anthologies as I try to make room for our purchase and rid the garage from the relics of my old collegiate self. Wish me luck?

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