Sunday, December 28, 2008

it finally came...

Our christmas was lovely, zany, quiet, sunny...I hope yours was much of the same!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Gallery Thursday on Tuesday

This drawing came about one morning when I was ducking into the kitchen closet to get something and WHACKED my head on the door jamb.  I was struck dumb and in alarm Eliza started to draw and in the midst of my stumbling about clutching my head she said "Mama, come here come here and look!" and when I finally made it over there, she had drawn the bottom bit - the part with the large square body flying through the air, which made me laugh pretty hard through my tears, and she sat back with a relieved smile and said "I knew it would make you laugh".  The rest of it is a mystery to me - I mean, why do I have SUCH a square body (I know, it's winter and I'm rarely without at least one large sweater...) and all of those poised young ladies (in their OWN ROOMS - another post perhaps) look so shapely and fine???

This one was scribbled off one evening when E was quite mad at me for something - I think one particular struggle finally resulted in not joining A and I for night-time reading and she was really really mad at me. I wonder if I'm the one on the right - you know, the one with the bad teeth and bushy eyebrows?
And this one is from Ani, and is totally unrelated to the one above - I don't think she's even seen it, as it is buried in one of Eliza's many notebooks. I LOVE watching the drawings progress...

busy busy busy

does your house look like this right now?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

the sun never says...

All this time
The sun never says to the earth,
"You owe

What happens
With a love like that.
It lights the

Our solstice dawned bright and sunny, so we bundled up and went to one of our favorite places to hike (forgetting that this was a *bonus* weekend for deer-hunting...luckily our girls were getted up in their usual bright colors and we made lots of noise...).  Then we made pumpkin muffins (they're yellow, like the sun, see?), decorated our gingerbread house (ooh, this was painful. why do I never remember that I need one of my very own? the scene was vaguely reminiscent of the French and Saunders' crafty moms skit), and finished our balloon lanterns. WHEW.  We are all coming down from a great visit with dan's folks - they indulged the girls with hours of reading, tea parties, coloring, singing...we are already feeling a little lonely without their company. I am hoping that "lonely" becomes "peaceful" as the week progresses, and that we enjoy our Christmas here with our little family. 

Happy Solstice, friends...the sun is coming back!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

snowed in!

catching up from last week...a table full of sudoku and serious coloring...
fun with shaving...
and yes, snowed in (I know - we got about an inch. yowza.)...

Monday, December 15, 2008

yuletide guests

toenails have been painted blue...snuggling has commenced...the grandparents have arrived!  
on the agenda for the week is holing up for the storm that followed them from Wisconsin (this means cribbage, lots of stories on the couch, and a cycling through the board games) and hoping Eliza's holiday play doesn't get cancelled. and maybe a date with Dan...


E: my name is Shahiro, and I'm from Japan.
A: ok. I'm from PeterPan.
E: well, if your name is Wendy, you could be from Peter Pan.
A: (long pause) well, ok, I'll be Wendy.

(Dan thinks there might be a paper in there somewhere...always thinking, that one.)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Friday, December 12, 2008

Gallery Thursday

For some reason it is taking to upload photos right now, so I will leave you with just this juicy piece:  I can only assume they are the wicked stepsisters, since the girls have been glued to a version of Cinderella featuring Julie Andrews from the 1950'2, written by Rogers and Hammerstein, and which is perfectly perfectly AWFUL.  Enjoy.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

as bad as the kids...

My Gramma Eliza used to get a little perturbed at those of her children* and grandchildren who found it amusing to add miscellaneous visitors to her creche every Christmas. I can respect that visiting giant squirrels and various Hummel figures might feel kind of sacrilegious, but for me it was like the more the merrier, right? Well, we put out our olive wood creche from Bethlehem this week, and the girls love playing with it, concocting long stories about where everyone is going to sleep and why there seems to be a pig joining the wise men. Eliza even found a camel at the thrift store and bought it with her own 25 cents to join the melee.  Now, I knew it wouldn't take long for our cat, Charlie, to find the tempting little pieces and take them on field trips around the living room, but I was still chagrined to hear Dan exclaim that the baby Jesus was missing!  It was only a moment before he found him on the floor nearby, though his manger piece is still MIA.  However, Dan made sure to place a newly appointed bodyguard in the stable.  His name is Homey.

*Uncle Johnny, this means YOU

Monday, December 8, 2008

winter and music

There are many things I am grateful for with Dan home, but one of the best parts is having more music in our days.  The girls and I make a good bit on our own, but Dan's presence adds more variety and skill to the mix!  The girls are also showing more interest in giving the various instruments that are now visiting the downstairs more often (rather than being sequestered in their cases in the study) a serious try, which secretly thrills us of course.  The uke, the violin, and the banjo have joined the piano in the corner, and though it is difficult to convince anika that not every instrument needs to be played while marching triumphantly around the room, it is fun to have them at the ready for when the mood strikes.

We have also been snow and cold-bound (I know, we are such light-weights, and winter has not truly begun...), which means a lot of pent-up energy.  Eliza's brilliant solution to a case of the crazies is to don one of eleven leotards (we counted today, during a hot dispute over who got to wear what) and get funky...


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Dutch As Usuable

Ah, Anika. You are so very very three.  And while it is so easy for me to list the parts of "three" that I am really ready to move on from (and I am exhibiting GREAT will-power in refraining from listing them here), there are so many things about you at three that I hope will linger long after you become four...your insistance on being called anything but Anika: Persephone, Guinevere, Lily Louise, Laura Thistle Mary Ingalls, Giselle, China Rose Bud and Mae. The way you say "dutch" instead of "just", in spite of being one of the most articulate people I know (and this does not just include the preschool crowd. This girl is precise and eloquent!), and how the word "usual" just eludes you, though you continue to try to use it "as usuable".  From the moment you could talk you have narrated your every move, and this has grown to elaborate proportions, as your "every move" leads you frequently into lengthy fairy tales.  A guest at our Thanksgiving table, who does not spend a lot of time with children, remarked that you are such a little person! And while part of me thought that was an odd thing to say, it is true that you are remarkably you, and you seem to have no desire to be anything but dutch you.  You are not the pleaser, the performer, the joiner. You are stubborn and unyielding, certain and rarely remorseful, challenging and charming...and while I find these qualities frustrating many times a day, I know they will serve you well as you grow into being ever more you.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Gallery Thursday

Eliza draws. A lot...

Sunday, November 30, 2008

what she sees

Giving Thanks for Friends!

We were really fortunate this holiday to have friends from Richmond visiting us! There is nothing like having people you love visit your home to make it feel even more like home.  Even with the wild card of four kids in one house, we all had a wonderful time, and said good-bye with full hearts and some big sighs on Eliza's part. Both girls talk a lot about "our Virginia house" and Ani quite adamantly told me last night that she has a plan to run away to Nancy's house...I was not surprised.

So here we have Henry and Eliza,

Papa on turkey duty

Fancy Nancy with her amazing pumpkin cheesecake

Adventures with face paints gone amok
and some peaceful moments with Jim...

Saturday, November 29, 2008


wow, three weeks? i'm sorry - maybe i'm not cut out for this blogging thing. well, i'll do my best.  let's say the first 2 weeks were spent holding my breath while dan finished his first quarter of school.  this last was spent breathing in deeply the luxury of having him around again.

welcome home, papa!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Sick House

Yes, so we've been sick this week - not the stomach flu this time, but a cold that has us girls sneezing and snotty, and they have been coughing something awful (how Dan is avoiding this, I am not sure, though he does start to exhibit some pretty super-human tendencies during the crunch weeks at school. what this probably means is that Nov 21 he will wake up with every germ he has so far managed to avoid...).  It has also put me in a fairly foul mood.  But we have learned of a couple of new home remedies for cold ailments that I thought I would share with you all...

Garlic.  I know you know it, but really. Garlic.  Now, I don't have a whole lot of luck with feeding the girls raw garlic.  I make hummous and ambrosia, but they can tell if there is more garlic than usual and the gig is up and I am left with a lot of food to eat.  So my friend Melanie suggested trying what their family does for night coughs and colds: tie some to your feet. NO KIDDING. So we did! I'm always game for a little folk-remedy, as they are usually the ones that yield the best results, and besides, who doesn't like to play with food? Eliza was a champ and let me wrap some gauze around her foot, holding several pieces of minced garlic to her sole, and enclosing it all in socks.  Ani would have nothing of it, so I made a little "lotion" by soaking freshly minced garlic in olive oil for an hour or so and then rubbing it on the bottoms of her feet. And yes, wear socks!! I also read online that an adult can put whole cloves between their toes overnight and it really works on bronchitis and chest colds. Can I tell you how fabulous our bedroom smells right now?!??

Eucalyptus.  My mother-in-law turned me on to this one 2 years ago when she gave me eucalyptus essential oil for christmas, and told me it had helped her ward off several colds that winter.  It's great!! I have cut up a few receiving blankets for nose-wipes, and I put a few drops on one of those, tuck it into a pajama sleeve, or lay next to the head of a sleeping child and within seconds the breathing is eased.  Again, a great aroma for the night-time bedroom! (The jury is out on the garlic-eucalyptus combo)

Heavenly Cold Elixir.  This is a mild version of what all Green Cat Cafe (RIP) customers in Seattle knew as the "ginger blast".  Cut about an inch of fresh ginger (mine is sort of fresh - I keep a big hunk in the freezer) and grate or chop finely.  Throw in a thermos.  Add the juice of one squeezed lemon and loads of honey (lemon is high in vitamin C, and both are known to boost the immune system), fill with boiling water, and let sit for a while.  Then pour through a strainer (or through your thermos top, if that's how it works) and enjoy feeling better!! You can also add garlic, cayenne, or any other miracle herb or plant you know of.

There you have it!! We also do our best to avoid processed sugar and other processed foods, and drink lots of water and tea, and to wear enough clothing (HA!!).  What do you do to keep healthy during this time of year?

The Stick Hous

I went to volunteer at the gardens last week, leaving Dan and the girls for a precious hour and a half.  I off-handedly mentioned how neat I thought this idea for a house made of sticks from the Earthways book was, and when I got home, look what was waiting for me!
It is definitely a work in progress, and our neighbors cut down a tree yesterday (we watched the process for a couple of hours from the safety of our kitchen!), so we have a load of branches and stumps in the back to add to it.  The weaving is so much fun, and it feels really sturdy.  I wasn't sure the girls would take to it, as it seemed Dan and I were doing all the work, but as you can see they have...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Week of Halloween

I will try to not get backlogged with posts like I have been - the stories become a little out of focus and I run out of steam quickly...but here are a few bits of our last couple of weeks:
Ani and I getting ready to head across the street to the Haunted Hallway (what really happened: Eliza and Dan went to see "City Lights" at the theater uptown and had to leave midway through because E started to vomit. So, E and I hunkered down and went to bed while Dan took A on 3 hayrides in the dark.); what the next day looked like (listening to books on tape, drawing, crochet and sorting paint chips. oh, and I locked us in the bedroom, meaning I had to crawl out the window and hail a neighbor to come inside and unlock another window so we could get out.  I felt dumb dumb dumb, but he was great, AND he fixed the door so it won't happen again!);

bake sale #2 (now, wouldn't you want to buy from these girls??);
Our friends Jamie, Chris and Herron came over to trick-or-treat on thursday night, which is when Athens does this. I guess it makes way for the debauchery of the campus-wide party that happens all weekend? (I'll let Dan post on that - he walked through it all to get home late Saturday night and it sounded pretty interesting...) Anyway, just before heading out, Dan threw on a tutu and we lent Chris wings, and I tell you, I think this is what they should do to blow off steam at the end of the week - stroll around Athens dressed just like this, keeping the streets safe (all you Seattlites - think "Q Patrol" gone casual).  I glanced down the street at one point, while sitting on our stoop handing out candy, and there they were, very manly, and deep in manly discussion, the girls nowhere to be seen (having run far ahead for more more more candy!), with their tutu and wings. 

And then there was Halloween. And my husband. I am so glad I got a picture of this. I am a little bummed that my costume was somehow not documented - I meant to have E take a picture of me.  She and I spent the whole afternoon sewing little rolls of "smarties" candies to the fronts of the legs of some overalls, and I wore a very large crown, and went as "Princess Smartie-pants". ha ha ha.  She has a knack and patience for sewing that amazes me, and Anika showed great restraint in not eating all the Smarties before they made it onto my pants...