Friday, April 29, 2011

no such thing as last place

Lucy's first upstairs? She's the winner!
Lucy's last upstairs? Still the winner!

Me: posting last: winner! winner! winner!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

easter: the aftermath

I like Easter. As a Christian, it's an astounding holiday. As a churchgoer, I like Ash Wednesday better (fewer people, and the service is usually a little more focused on God then proving how cool the church is to all of the visitors).
Howver, I've not done much easter celebrating (kid-style) since I was a kid. So:

We decorated eggs with cousins and hid them around our yard-away-from-home on Sunday:
Lucy had fun finding them.

And then we had two dozen hard boiled eggs and a three hour drive ahead of us.
I hate waste, but we threw away a lot of eggs. Those I could, I ate and I saved the shells. Which I put into a baggie.
Then, we made a little collage this morning. Which brings me to my question:
That little rubbery skin that makes the shell stick together? What is that exactly? Will it rot if you attach it to paper with glue? Or is it benign?
The collages were fun, but not terribly beautiful. Eggshell (with or without the rubbery skin) is not easy to work with.
And now Easter is over, except for some strawberry/Easter baskets and some toffee.
Next year, I'm hoping to have the chance to go to all of the Lenten/Holy Week services, and get more into the Easter service. So that I can have my egg dyeing and my contemplation too.

Monday, April 25, 2011

home home home home home

We came home.
The trip was lovely: lizards and friendly cats, family dinners and cousins decorating eggs together, our first easter egg hunt, and gospel music to celebrate the Christ; living in a house decorated in warm, rich earth tones (instead of beige and white), live oak trees and long walks to the library, wading in a creek bed, lots of mud pies, bath times to warm toes, and many meals on a picnic table at sunset.

But. We're home. The air is softer here, close to the ocean, and the girls spent an hour at their play house, just enjoying the flowers newly dusting the ground. I did a load of laundry and went grocery shopping, sorted mail, and laid on our carpet. I made plans with friends, and anticipate (longingly) an early bedtime.

Home, home home. Lovely as our sojourn was, we are home.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


I've never thought of a chicken as a lovely bird. Obviously, I've been blind. And it's not just because my girl is holding one.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

music appreciation

Being that we're in a small town for a while, the radio options are limited. I usually listen to NPR, but no reception. So: yesterday on a longish drive, I turned on the classical station.

Usually, Lucy tells me to turn down NPR, so when she told me to turn it up, I did.

We listened to various pieces I wasn't familiar with. I asked her what each piece made her feel, what instruments she recognized. She liked the more classical stuff, and did not like a contemporary piano quartet piece. I told her a story (vaguely Firebird-esque) to another piece that was slightly lyric and spooky.

Not once did either of us get sick of it.

When we get home, I might start listening to classical, and not just the news. Less fighting, more soul. For both of us.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

no, really, it's a science project.

"Mom?" said Lucy. "Pumpkins rot, right?"
"Yes, honey."
"What doesn't rot?"
"Do you have any guesses?" (I'm thinking: all those dried fruits you eat endlessly?)
"Well, I think pears don't."
"Pears don't rot?"
"You think we should test that out?"
"Yeah. We'll get a pear and leave it out, and see if it doesn't rot."

So if you come over to our house and see a rotting pear, that's why.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

makes perfect sense

Julia: Ba-ba.
Me: You wanted berries?
Julia: Da. (yes)
Me: Not now. It's time to brush teeth.
Julia: (Nodding.) Ba-ba!
Me: You ready to brush?
Julia: (Nodding.) Ba-ba!
Me: Can you say brush?
Julia: Ba!
Me: Can you say tooth?
Julia: Ba!
Me: Look at you, you big talker!

Saturday, April 16, 2011


I've been having another doubting moment with homeschooling lately. Lucy again asked to go to kindergarten: please please please may I go to kindergarten, and said she didn't want more special mama time and did not like her sister, or being at home, and everything she was saying was right, and we were wrong and nananana she wasn't listening any more.

It was a real confidence booster.

I feel for the girl. It sounds like she wants to go because big kids go to kindergarten (no not all of the big kids we know go, but apparently the ones that count do). Also, she just wants to.

I know it frustrated me immensely as a child when I didn't have a choice, or a say. Ironically, that's one of my reasons for homeschooling, because so often school is all about doing things because other people think they're important.

So: it's a dilemma. Here's a place where my child is calling out for choice, and I don't want to give it to her.

We'll try it, we'll make something work.

But it's funny, the argument, and her lack of enthusiasm for our days has left me questioning the whole endeavor. Perhaps if I were more trained, less of a messed-up person, more perfect in some way, I could guide her more ably. I don't think being trained or perfect would prevent her from wanting to go to school, mind you. I don't think that's about me as much.
Or: Is she really learning anything? is this time as rich for her as I'm thinking it is? Is she bored with our life? Is she longing to escape?


Thankfully, the day after our fight, I suggested building a treehouse for her fairy dolls. We got her started with bark and sticks and leaves and such, and now there's a fort with escalators and beds and banquet halls. (No, not fancy, just imagined). It's lovely, and rich, and we're going on three days of her going out there to work on it and play.

Something is going right, even if everything isn't.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

meow meow

A friendly neighborhood cat visited today, and Julia really connected the name, the sign, and the sound she made.
Once it left, she started wandering around, asking for the cat. Except she didn't use the name, or the sign.
"Meow, meow?" she'd say. "Meow meow?"
Might have to buy a cat, just so I can hear this more often.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


When Julia doesn't want to do something (get in the car, the stroller, or go to bed), she flings her arms around me and holds on for dear life. Sometimes she throws in some kisses.
Clever. Very clever.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

mixed together

Julia is a spicy little meatball, in the words of her grandfather. She reaches for the salsa, likes her chicken with plenty of garlic, and dips her finger in chili oil, coughs, and then reaches for more.
She also says yes like a German: "Da."
She honors her forebears, that one.

Monday, April 11, 2011

orange spider

I saw you again today. How are you so orange? How do you move so quickly? Are you an aphid, or an arachnid.
So many questions, and all for something so small.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

pros and cons

Weighing the pluses and minuses of downsizing for a month:

Plus: less laundry! Minus: Fewer clothes. When I'm cold. And wouldn't mind a coat.

Minus: Less space. Children underfoot. Plus: When I sweep, it takes five minutes.

Plus: More outside space. Minus: More skinned knees (gravel=ouch).

Plus: Fewer toys = less mess to clean up. Plus: Kids seem happy with the ones we have. Plus: They play outside anyway.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

our adventure today

eating lunch in the clearing created by oak leaves, attempting to climb said oak, and watching bluejays cavort through the tree's crown. Also exciting: wind blowing through the eucalyptus leaves far, far above us.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

an adventure

So we did it. We packed up our car, hired a housesitter, drove north, and are staying in my husband's home town for the month of April. We rented a small (lovely) house out among some trees, and are living a pared down existence for a few weeks close to my in-laws and Lucy's cousins.

We left behind toys and clothes and extra rooms, and are making do with:
-three rooms, total (though it's a pretty spacious smallness).
-one very large backyard
-crayons, watercolors, paper
-potholder loom
-fairy dolls
-scissors, tape, glue
-pail, shovel
-as many books as we can get from the library

So far, so good. I think the play has been more involved than average with 1% of our toys and supplies. Shall I do another purge when we get home?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

treasures...for those who are looking

Easter is a approaching. Last year, no easter basket, no easter crafts.
This year, I'm thinking ahead. So when we got some strawberries that came in little green mesh plastic baskets, I pounced.
I saved them. Then I bought some yarn at the thrift store.
I told Lucy we were going to weave. She grabbed the supplies, ran into the bedroom, shut the door, and was gone for about a half hour.
If this were a craft blog, the result would not look like a plastic strawberry basket with yarn on it. However, this is not a craft blog. This is a blog that is all about enjoying four-year-olds and how much fun they can have with things like yarn and recycled strawberry baskets.
We shall do more weaving tomorrow, methinks.

Monday, April 4, 2011

tree friend

We've gotten kind of friendly with a local oak tree. Here's what I've seen:
Tiny bright orange spiders speeding over wood,
Little green caterpillars descending from branches on thin strings of silk,
Acorns bored through with those same little caterpillars,
Feathery flowers like chenille stems littering the ground,
The green heart of the acorn, waxy and oblong,
Little oaklings (encinitas) popping up with acorns tethered to their roots.

Ah, tree. Thank you for befriending us.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

happy in a box

At the farmer's market: three pints of strawberries, or two pints of strawberries plus one pint of blueberries for a dollar more.
Happy plus blueberries for just one dollar?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

let's try for a different kind of exciting

1. The sudden unexplained crying in the library. When explained, it turns out that the oldest's mild cough/runny nose is now a full-blown ear infection. That does not initially respond to Tylenol, rest, or even offers of toast with jam.
2. Trying out a new-to-us trampoline, I gently bounce the younger one while holding her hands. Once! (laughter) Twice! (laughter) Three times! (A scream, falling over, then crying, also pointing to her leg and saying ouch)
This was followed by more crying, and when it starts, a limp. A newly walking child should not have a limp. It should not be allowed, especially when it is My Fault.

A few doses of Tylenol later, also after some sleep and a call to my nurse sister-in-law, and the excitement seems to be over. Hopefully for a few days.