Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Play Doh

Tyler's most favorite things to do is play with play doh.  Chad was always very self entertaining at this age which would allow me to get occasional tasks done.  However, when Tyler came along, he wanted to be constantly entertained.  Puzzles, coloring, even a movie won't hold his attention for long.  But play doh . . . he can play for a good hour.  Given, there is a million little pieces on the floor, and all the colors are mixed, which drives me crazy!  But he loves it!  After lunch the other day, he asked if he could play with play doh and I consented.  He worked quietly for quite a while and then I noticed this . . .
 Do you see it?  It took me a minute but then I got it.  It is an Angry Birds set up.  See the little birds on the left.  Then the boxes and the pigs inside each one.  I smiled at his creativity.  Usually, he just makes cookies for each of us to eat.  This was really thinking outside the box. 
Here he is with his creation.  He's so proud! 

Thursday, September 22, 2011


I always look forward to this time of year . . . that is until it arrives.  Fall is such a BUSY time of year around here.  As though transitioning from the end of summer to the start of a new school year weren't enough, we have to throw in harvest time as well. 

I've always planted a garden.  As a little girl, our garden was enormous.  It spanned the entire length of our back yard and was probably 20 feet deep.  I remember dreading the work involved in its upkeep.  But when I got married, it is a tradition that Dave and I continued on.  And yes, it is still a lot of work.  Our garden is much smaller than the one I grew up with, but it is still plenty large, and we are always looking for new places where we can plant more.  Several years ago, we planted an apple tree and a peach tree.  I had my doubts that either would produce much, but this year is our first crop.  We have about 45 apples (they are beautiful) and we had 5 peaches.  They were the most delicious peaches I have ever eaten.  We also have raspberry bushes that produced about 3 1/2 flats this summer.  It's a good feeling to be self sustaining.  So, where does the love-hate relationship come in? 

 This does it for me!  Canning is a TON of work.  And just when I think it is done, a neighbor will bring over more things that need preserved.  (Not that I don't appreciate their generosity.  Thank you neighbors!)  This week, it is peaches and pears.  I have one bushel of peaches done, and two bushels of pears still to do.  It is not one of those things that I can just do in between whatever else is going on in our day.  It must be committed to until the end or the fruit will go brown.  And so they sit, waiting for Greyson's nap, or Dave to be home in the evening to help once the boys are in bed.  And when it's all done, there is a great feeling of accomplishment (and a very sticky floor to clean up). 
 Here is one of our turning pumpkins.  We have four this year (two large and two small).  And below is one of our sunflowers.  They did better last year than this, but I love their beauty. 
I did discover some ways that I can involve my boys in this years canning.  Canning is so all consuming that I often feel like I am neglecting my kiddos in the process.  So, this year, I have been placing the cut fruit into a bowl rather than directly into the jars.  Then, the boys can take the fruit from the bowl and place it into the jars.  (I know, it's one more step, but it keeps them feeling like they are helping.)  I also have Tyler count out how many jars we need and pick out the lids to match the jar size (small mouth or large mouth).  Chad is great at using the magnet to get the lids from the hot water and putting them and a ring on each jar.  Tyler even helped me chop the cucumbers and onions for our relish (using a food processor, he pushed the 'on' button).  He told me, "Mom, I'm the chopper and the stirrer.  Your the nothin'."  I guess my part of the work went unnoticed.  Such is is life of a mom.  Oh well. 
And so to those of you who are with me on this quest, happy harvest.  This too shall pass. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Remembering Summer

Even though it was just a few weeks ago, it feels like summer ended years ago.  There was so much that I never got around to posting.  I just had to share a few more. 

 This seems to be how I find my kitchen quite often these days.  About a year ago, I got so tired of lifting my kids onto my kitchen counter so that they could reach the cereal to pick their kind that I moved all the cereal to the bottom shelf in my pantry.  Up until now, I thought it was a wise move.  These days, Greyson is so mobile and whether he just ate or not, he automatically wanders over to the pantry and pulls out a box of cereal.  I thought it was so darling that my other two boys had joined him in his munching. 
 This is on a camping trip earlier this summer.  We have a campground that we love which is just about 25 minutes away.  I love that we can go on a day after work and still enjoy the weekend.  It is well maintained and has a fun little stream running through it for the boys to float boats in.  However, I made the mistake this trip of heading up on my own before Dave got home from work.  I was worried that if we all waited for him to get off before going up together, we would be there too late and our kids would be grumpy and hungry.  So, I brilliantly decided to go up early, get dinner going, let the boys play,etc. and Dave would come up and join us a bit later. 
Never again! 
It was insanity.  To top it off, I brought the dog (a big dog) so I was trying to chase down my older two boys while pushing Greyson in the stroller and holding the dog's leash in one hand as she dragged me down the road.  It was HOT!  And Greyson was miserable without any place for respite from the sun.  Dinner got a little over done.  And needless to say, by the time Dave got there, I was ready to pack up and go home. 
The boys "making ice cream" with their bikes.  I used to do that!  Did you?
 We didn't.  We stayed and had a great time.  I just need to remember that I can't do it all alone.  Next time, we'll wait for Dave. 
One last one . . .  The boys asked me they could do a lemonade stand one day.  I used to love doing lemonade stands as a little girl.  The boys made the signs (well, Tyler traced the letter that I had penciled in) and helped me mix up the lemonade.  We made cookies.  They got it all set up.  I always worry for fear no one will come and they'll feel so sad.  It was slow at first, but these two boys made over $15 at their lemonade sale.  One neighbor gave Chad a $5 bill to buy the whole plate of cookies.  He didn't even know what to do.  He came in and asked if it was alright if she bought the whole plate of cookies.  Then once she left, he came running in to show me the $5 bill.  He was so excited!  They even had to move the table under a tree at one point to avoid the rain (more like sprinkles) but it didn't dampen their spirits.  Lots of fun!

I sure love childhood.  Simple pleasures and wonderful memories.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

They're Off!

School's back in!  I can't believe how grown up they are getting! 
 Chad is in 1st grade this year.  Wow!  That sounds unbelievable even as I write it.  This will be the first year that someone else has influence over him for more of the day than I do.  Every day.  This morning, he headed for the bus.  As we stepped outside, he said that he thought he might want a jacket.  My initial thought was "No, you're going to be late.  You'll be fine."  But, I didn't say what I thought.  After hum-hawing for a few seconds, I ran back in and got his jacket.  It would have been such a silly thing to argue about.  He had walked to the corner by the time I had gotten back out.  I handed him the jacket and he immediately started running.  I didn't know it but he must have seen that the bus was already there.  He ran the whole 200 yards or so to the bus stop.  I don't know how to describe what goes through a mother's mind as she watches her child.  I just kept thinking, "please don't fall" and then to the bus driver (as though he could read my mind) "please don't leave him"  and I couldn't help but wonder what Chad was thinking.  Was he mad that he was late? Was he worried he'd be teased?  Or left?  Did he wonder how I'd react if he missed the bus?  He made it.  He never even looked back.  But there is something about how independent he seemed to me this morning.  It felt like he was trying to say to me, "Mom, I'm growing up." 

This backpack was SO heavy!  He could hardly
 stand with it on. 


 Tyler started preschool this year.  Since it is at his own home and I am the teacher, it probably doesn't feel quite the same.  My biggest worry was whether he'd share all of "his" things or not.  He did pretty well.   I remember when Chad started preschool, I thought he looked so tiny the first day I dropped him off.  Funny thing, I can't help but think Tyler is so grown-up now that he is in preschool. 

We went to the park today after lunch.  I actually had a totally open schedule and I thought, "why not?"  I have not always been the best at taking opportunities like that.  When Chad was little, I was working.  And up until recently, I've worked pretty full time from home.  It is hard when your work is in your home to ever "turn off the switch".  If I ever had an open schedule, I could always work.  I am trying so much harder to savor these moments when my kids are little.  Pushing Greyson on the swing, I couldn't help but smile and laugh with his little giggles.  And Tyler wanted me to push him higher and higher.  We went down the slides and tried out the merry-go-round.  And the stars in their eyes told me that those moments mattered to them.  

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