Friday, January 28, 2011

Library time!

Yesterday Pete asked me in his 2 y/o voice if we could go to the 'twain libary.' How could I say no? You know, alot of times, I don't want to do these things. I am busy. Stressed. Have a sore belly or aching head post-flu. And so on. But, I remind myself that this is their childhood. That I have to toughen up and do these things, as much as I can. This is what it is about. They will remember these fun times. And, once I force myself out the door, I am always so so so glad we did. Seems like alot of effort at times, but in the end, that just melts away, and I am thankful for the moment, savoring every little memory we are creating. 
So, yesterday, I dragged myself and the three kids into the car, braved the snow, and headed out to the 'twain libary.' This is the library in the neighboring town. And, I have to admit that this library kinda irks me. Everyone says that they have the best storytime, hands down. But, I wouldn't know it. You have to sign up for it in advance, and after more than a year of living here, I have yet to make the list. I am always a day late, so the list is always full.  A little birdy told me that the librarian calls a select few before she even posts the list, which really really irked me. I don't know, maybe this is just my insecurities, but I almost think this whole signing up business is to keep disorganized mamas like me outta storytime. They know I will never show up on day 1 of sign ups. Aw well, no biggee...I will find zen over this storytime drama...someday...anyhow, here are my sweet kids, playing and reading to their hearts content at the 'twain libary.'
This is why they call it the 'twain libary.'

Jude is really acting like a big boy lately...he was crazy about the trains too.

Then he was on the move. There were lotsa cool things to check out. 

So, there is this doll house. Joe gives the boys a jokingly hard time about playing with it. He will ask them, "did you play with the doll house?" Sometimes they will flat out deny it. But, no, most often, they will refuse to answer, crack a big smile and just giggle. 

Pete...I am not sure what he was thinking when he put the dolls in the tub like that. Weird.

Paul...pretty basic stuff...He puts dolls to bed. They all took a nap I guess. 

Both boys told me the grandpa was missing. Poor grandma dollhouse doll. 

Then, there was reading, of course.

Pete picked this one out. Really Pete? Really? Why this one? I cannot read it without crying...lucky for me just as I was tearing up, Pete lost interest, whew!

There was plenty of cuteness too.

And then a little of this. Nasty Pete! Stop! Gross! Wait a you think this is why I can't get on the gosh darnit library storytime list? Ugh!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

It is so cold here...

You know, I am still in awe of it all. This snow. This snow that sticks around for months and months and months. They plow the road, and for 6 months, you have a big pile of snow on the side of the roads, maybe 2 feet high, maybe 4 feet high. In some parking lots, you have piles way taller than me. And it just sits there, for what seems like forever.  It does. not. melt. It gets a little dirtier everyday, though. Black snow. The river outside my house is frozen, covered in snow. That's crazy to me. I think we are getting used to the temps. 30 feels nice-cardigan weather. 20 is cold. Jacket weather. Anything below 0 hurts. You better cover your hands. And, this is what I learned, the hard way. Here, you really have to warm your car up. You just have to. So, I do. And, I don't normally bundle the baby up too much because we trek from a warm house to a warm car pretty quickly. Well, the other day, a -0 day, I turned the car on, but I failed to turn the heat on. We got in the car, but it was not warm. Halfway to school, my hands were burning, and the baby was screaming. His hands were as cold as mine, I imagine. :( Poor baby. I don't have a pair of baby mitts for him. So, I quickly cast some stitches on. He needs them here. 
I think the one thing I will never get used to is the sky. It is dark and grey, so so often. I have to use my highest iso(1600), and I still have to use low ss or underexpose at times, outside! Outside.

No matter how many times it fails, this kid will not stop trying to ride this in the snow. I don't think he is used to this stuff, either. 

And one more of my b-day boy. His preschool is so sweet...yesterday he got a crown, a sticker he assured his brother was 'rare' because it was sparkly(this was hotly contested by Joey), an alligator toy, and some candy. :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Still alive!

No, the flu did not kill me, although I felt that way Sunday, lol. I don't have too many pics to post, but here are a few. :)
Joe took the boys to the movies. I stayed home and felt icky. After Joe combed Pete's hair, I had to take a pic of the back of Pete's head. I don't know how much longer these wavy locks will hold their spring-I keep thinking he will outgrow them. That he will wake up with flat hair one day. So, I am always snapping pics of these waves. They are just so cute. :) 

Paul turned 5. Cannot believe it. Where does time go? :( I reminisced all weekend about his birth. My tiny baby wrapped in a cushy cashmere sweater mama knit him. My surprise at how different he looked from Joey, with his dark hair and dark eyes and dark skin. When a nurse started to take Paul away for some routine nursery thing, Joey said, "Hey bring me back my Paul." 

The other day I took this random pic of this spot in our mudroom. I love this window. The evergreen outside it, the way light hits it. It is a pretty window. Our know, before I moved here, where you have black gritty muddy snow for half the year, I always thought a mudroom was just a nice pottery-barn type room that is wonderful for organization but not really necessary. Oh, lemme tell you, here, it is in fact necessary. This room is covered in black mud and salt pellets. We have 4 boot racks out there filled with wet snowy muddy boots, every day. Now, I am not sure how people live without such a room! Anyhow, here is this window that makes me smile. Below it is a bench to a table we no longer use, newspapers that need to make it to the recycle bins in town, a bumbo that is neglected now, and yet another potted rosemary plant that died in the pot. 

Speaking of all those newspapers...we read the wsj. I love that paper. Joe and I are opposites in alot of ways, and this is one of them:  I read the sections he does not read, he reads the sections I do not read. So, we can brief each other, and between the two of us, the paper is fully read. lol And, I get opinionated and cannot hold my tongue, or pen, so I have had 4 letters to the editor published, so far. lol And, well, as sad and pathetic as this sounds, that alone makes me feel like my brain has not turned to stay-at-home-mush afterall. lol Anyhow, this is all a big ramble to talk about what Joey and I saw in the paper the other day. There was an article about environmental policies and the poor. I did not read it(too sick, I usually read this section), so I cannot tell you about that. Anyhow, there was a picture of impoverished children in India, gathering bundles and bundles of sticks to burn for heat. The picture really grabbed me. The work they were doing, the shabby clothes, boys unabashed to wear girly sweaters in last decade's style, etc. It was a powerful picture. So, I showed Joey. I am always trying to teach these kids about these sort of things. To be thankful for what we have, to understand what it means to truly be poor, how people live in other places, etc. So, I am showing him this picture, asking him to point out all these things he sees, talking about how different their life is from ours, impressing upon him the poverty, struggle. He then looks at this little boy and asks...
"why is he smiling?" 
And, my heart just drops. It is a good question. But sad. So, I start telling him how your joy, your inner joy, is just not dependent on money or stuff. Yeah, these kids have a hard life compared to my kids, but do they have joy? Sure. We all do. I want my kids to remember this. To know this. It is hard in a consumer culture sometimes. Anyhow, this sweet boy above, despite it all, is a real lesson for us all. Find joy in your life, no matter the circumstances. It is there. :)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Crazy. Babywearing. Mama

In case ya'll didn't know, I am just as fanatic about babywearing as photography. Have not blogged about it, cause well, our babywearing days are sporadic and few and far in between. Sad. Seems that my last two babies have been a little too independent and demanded out of my wraps as soon as they hit the sit-up age. :( Still, I steal some moments here or there.
 Jude, flashed out in a torso carry in our selendang from HUGS.

You know, this is funny, but babywearing is alot like photography to me. You have to learn alot, watch tutes, and practice. And, just like photography, your carriers can cost hundreds of dollars or just a few bucks. Nicer carriers make for more ease of use and more comfortable carrying at times(I have a few didymos wraps, I'm not gonna lie), but the cheaper ones, in able hands, will get the job done just fine(I use my 20 buck selendang or African Kanga as much as my didymos and girasol wraps).  Anyhow, over the years, to spread the babywearing love, I have made a few vids. These are my favorites:

Can you carry a newborn on your back? Your BACK? You bet. You can also carry a fat baby or toddler on your back. ;)

Can you nurse your baby in a wrap? Sure. 

What about those traditional torso carries, can I do that realistically? Sure. Once my baby is more toddler-ish, I use the torso carry a ton. Really!

I hope you enjoy these or find them useful. I had to disable comments on the youtube page. I hated to do that, but I just had to. For starters, I was terrible about responding to comments. Logging into youtube is not something I do often, so I would have comments I did not respond too for months. I felt so very rude. But, most of all, youtube is a huge community, with alot of weird people. I got some seriously whacked out comments. Because I was bad about logging on, all these weird comments would just sit there for months! lol I wanted to keep these vids up, because I have gotten the most heartfelt thanks from mamas learning to babywear(and this is why I swallowed by big fat butt postpartum pride and made them), but I could not manage the comments, so I disabled them. Now, I am great about checking blog comments, so please, anyone out there that has ANY questions about these, ask me here! I will respond. :)
And, to learn everything and anything you wanna know about babywearing, visit

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Go fish!

The flu has made its way through this house. Well, almost. I have it, and I assume Joe is next. But the kids are on the mend. The upside is that Joey and Paul were home from school, and they played a fantastic game of go-fish. :) It was a real competition. 
And, this week's project 52 was 'marbles.' I have to admit I was not all that inspired by the marbles. But, I finally got a pic I liked. lol 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

nakey babies...

We finally got a cabinet for the TV...Jude was playing with the cords, and I could not resist snapping his chubby little cuteness.

I had to snap a bath pic of know, he is almost 3, but he is so small for his age...he is still very much a baby to me. 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Super Pete!!!

Pete threw a cape on, starting running around the house yelling, "Super Pete!" So, I grabbed a chair, slid it in front of a window, grabbed my camera, and had Super Pete sit down for an interview. 
 Me: "Who is this Super Pete?
Pete: (pointing to self) "ME. I'm Super Pete."
Paul runs in camera left, Pete glances at him as Paul tries to tell Pete who Super Pete is.
Me: "Pete, look at mommy. Smile for me." (Pete smiles).
Me: "Okay, tell me who is Super Pete again?"
Pete: (pointing to self smiling) "Me I'm Super Pete."
Later on, Dad says, "Lets go on a family adventure!" Woooo-hooo! Family adventures consist of getting in the car(usually not getting out either), grabbing milkshakes, and driving somewhere, to check something out. Yesterday, we checked out the coal plant. Wow look at that plume!

Sunday, January 16, 2011


This past week has been crazy. Just crazy. I feel so blessed, more than ever. I am not sure where to start. Well, first...let me say this. I know this blog is totally open, so whatever I say, whatever private things I share, some stranger may read. I know. So, no, I don't share *everything* because there are things so very special and personal to my family, it is *just* for us. I don't think anyone reading cares about that too much. lol I say this because...well, most things I share are pretty light hearted. I have never had a "should I mention this in my blog" moment. But, I did this past week. And, even though there are some things that should not be on the blogosphere, I came to the conclusion that this is not one of them. Why? Well, for starters, this blog is also a way for me to chronicle our family history. I fully intend on printing it out into one of those little books you can order. I imagine 4 big grown men, maybe their wives and kids too, pouring over it with a nice glass of wine, at my house of course, many many thanksgivings from now...and what I want to write about...well, it is something that I cannot pretend did not happen, nor should I. It is nothing to hide. Most importantly, when one big grown man in particular is reading this someday, I want him to know how thankful I am for him, and I want him to know that this whole thing, well, 'it ain't no thing but a chicken wing'(I will explain that in a sec). That it is not hard on me, that it is okay, no big deal. I am just thankful he is healthy.
So, here it goes...last week Joey he had a seizure. Yes, a seizure. No worries, he is fine! Thank God. Turns out, he has childhood epilepsy. And you know what? No big deal! In our family, when something is no big deal, we say, "Hey, it ain't no thang but a chicken wang." I know, weird...I am not sure where we got that from or who started it. But, we say it alot. Like when a toddler spills a big glass of milk and starts to tear up, we say this, and it stops the tears, every time. Anyhow, no, I am not being flippant about it. I am thankful it is nothing more serious. It could have been. Many families do not have the luxury of saying that, God Bless them. I am thankful for each and every minute of every day that I get to continue to call him my son.
This is just a bump, the most tiniest of bumps, in a very fulfilled and joyful life.
Joey is pure joy to us. We don't deserve him.
 Sometimes I find gifts from him around my room. Like last night, I go to check on the baby, and I see he has left me a candy cane on my door. He does this alot. When I wake up, he will giggle and ask me, "did you find anything under your pillow or on your dresser or on your doorknob?" This morning I also found out he placed a starbust candy from his stocking under my pillow. And, this is one of the reasons I continuously call him my sweet boy.
I am so thankful for him, and I praise God that it is *just* this and nothing else more serious. So, I will pray that he is healed, that he outgrows it. But, before I ask that, and after I ask that, I thank God for his very life. We are so blessed.

Then, a few days later ...okay let me remember the exact date for record keeping, January the14th, this baby...

Went from taking a step or two to...drum roll...walking all the way across the room.
 And no, really no, it never ever gets old. I have experienced this 4x now, and every single time, I shriek and clap my hands and hug the baby. It is just so adorable, those first steps, and it fills you with bursting pride, I cannot describe.

Later that day, I snuck away with Jude up to my bedroom for a little photo shoot...I am trying to understand and use window light. It seems to be more complicated than I thought. Anyhow, sometimes I will sneak off with the baby like this and 5 minutes later, I will return, Joe will start to ask where I was but then see the camera and baby and say, "oh, okay."  These are grainy as all get out, but I love them all the same...I captured this curious adorable baby, and that is what is about...although I do worry how they will look in print. lol

Still rolling along with my macro project 52. Here is my last week's project...broccoli. Which happens to be one of the ONLY vegetables Joe and the kids boring is that(this is a big debate in our house...)?

When I picked Paul up on Friday, he excitedly waved this at me. He told me he has made $100, so now he can buy the death star. And, he is totally 100% serious.
It says 'Paul' on it. Just a few things...
1. He wrote 100 backwards, so it may be 1 cent or 1 dollar...
2. When he showed it to Joey, he did not initially tell him it would not work because it is fake, no, he told him that some things cost $1,000.00 dollars, so it may not be enough...
3. The Lego Death Star cost $400.00...
4. It is not legal tender, but we have not had the heart to tell him, so he is holding onto it.
Too funny.

I took these of Pete a week ago...he loves having 'white coffee'(heated up milk with sugar in a coffee cup) with me(I drink real coffee, obviously). He was so cute, I had to snap a few.
 When he was done and wanted down, I said no. I told him he was so cute, I wanted him on my counter forever. He protested and almost teared up! Did he really think I would leave him up there forever? 2-year olds crack me up. So I let the adorable counter accessory down, and off he ran. *sigh* I will take the cute moments when I can.

Friday night, Paul gets this idea...
To make platypus slippers and tape them to his feet. He then got annoyed they were not working like he thought they would...cause, you know, they are PAPER. Cute though.

And it has been snowy and cold, and I am always in awe of what snow and ice does.

Sometimes I edit a photo then re-edit it after seeing some issues I missed. This year, my goal is to fine tune my editing skills and find my style...I feel like my pics are cornucopia of diff styles...I want to be more consistent and nail down techniques. Anyhow, here is my re-edit of my sweet boy. 

Have a great week-enjoy your family, your friends, your kids...I know I will!!! ;)