Monday, November 30, 2009

The apple doesn't fall far.

When my sister and I were young, my mom, like most mothers at that time, was the stay-at-home kind. I always remember her being involved in some art or craft project at home or at church. From sewing us matching outfits or crazy stuffed animals (i.e. Frank, the long-legged, green-haired guy), to decorating beautiful Easter eggs or making her own Christmas cards, my mom seemed to have an endless amount of creative energy. Pancakes were never the standard issue round shape in our house...they were animal shaped. Bananas in my lunchbox weren't plain yellow like everyone else's...they had faces drawn on the skins. On special occasions those bananas would even emerge from my lunchbox wearing accessories (i.e. a small pink Barbie comb tied to the stem made for a very glamorous fruit lady--so very funny to me now--not quite so funny back then!) When I started brown-bagging my lunch, there was always a picture drawn on the outside of the bag--one day a miniature Susan was swimming with sharks, the next she was holding onto a single balloon and floating through the air. My mom was bursting with creative energy and she always seemed to find some way to express it. As a kid, I thought she was trying to annoy me. As an adult, I realize she was surviving motherhood. When you're home all day with little people, you can begin to lose yourself in the everydayness of the job. Finding opportunities to laugh and be creative helps you remember who you are, helps you keep a sense of humor about things, and helps to keep things in perspective. I don't make animal pancakes for my kids (yet), but many of my snacks have faces and/or talk with thick accents. For now, my boys find this knee-slapping funny. And thank God for that. It's a life saver for all of us :)

P.S. Mom, thank you. I love you and your creative energy.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

More reasons to give thanks.

This past Sunday I had the pleasure of meeting my good friends Kori, Dave and Max Colangelo at McConnell's Mill and nearby Cheeseman's Farm to take some family pictures. It was an absolutely gorgeous day to be outside...60-ish degrees and blue skies...the kind of day you wish would last a week. Just perfect. The Colangelos are wonderful guinea pigs - up for anything (as in, 'Dave, run as fast as you can back and forth in the field to see what Max's reaction is' and 'okay, now climb through those tall weeds and let's see what the light looks like'). On top of being open to public humiliation, they are down-right good people and even better friends. Here are some of my favorite shots from the morning - I had to leave out the wonderful family pictures in case they are needed for the Christmas card - can't spoil the surprise, right!?

Kori and Max.

Kori has a sweet habit of holding Dave's hand like this.

I'm a sucker for chubby cheeks!

I wish I had a video of Dave throwing Max into the air - Max LOVES this game. Heck, I love this game!!!

Future gent.

View from Mama's shoulders

I love watching the interaction between Dave, Kori and Max. Their joy is contagious!

Walking down the lane at Cheeseman's Farm.

Covered bridge by the mill.

Thanks for the fun day, you guys! And to everyone else, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Sam recently asked me,

"Mom, someday when you're a little boy,
will you love monster trucks?"

I said, "Definitely."

And I will love lining all 178 of my Matchbox cars across the floor...

...just because.

And I will love eating Crush Cups...

...because what's better than slurping your yogurt?

And I will use a spoon...

...only as a last resort.

And I won't waste a napkin...

...because I can lick my lips clean just like the dogs do.

I can't wait to be a little boy someday!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Great day to be alive.

Today was a spectacular day in Western PA, a true gift from the weather gods. We are not used to this kind of sunny, warm day in November, so you can imagine it was a great day to be out and about. Sam and I spent some quality time with a few hundred poinsettias at our favorite local greenhouse (Weingartner's, of course!). And as we do most evenings, we all headed up to the new house to check on the day's progress. Tonight's sunset was an absolute show stopper. What a nice, nice way to end the day.

What screams Christmas louder than poinsettias and gigantic tree ornaments?

A cool yard ornament for viney things to grown on.

Poinsettias, poinsettias, everywhere!!

I adore this old spigot.

Another enormous Christmas tree bulb!

This is a shot looking down a stack of water pipes at the house. The sun was just setting so it cast a cool light inside the pipes. I think this picture would look so great blown up and mounted somewhere in the new house....once we have walls to hang it on, that is.

Can you believe this sunset? Even the geese were thrown off by it!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

House moments.

Here are a few pictures from the house site earlier today.

I asked Will to hug his little brother. He did, but then quickly yanked Sam's hood back, almost choking him. Close enough.

I love these dormers. I don't know why but they make me smile everytime I look at them.

They remind me of happy pumpkin eyes...or little dog houses lined up perfectly on the roof. I had no idea I liked those things either, but I guess I'm learning something about myself today.

This picture makes me smile...Sam followed by 'him's best friend', Daddy.

Dave and his dad Jim exchange words about the house:

Jim: Concrete?
Dave: Wednesday.
Jim: Doors?
Dave: Ordered.
Jim: Good.
Dave: Yup.
Jim: Leaving?
Dave: Now.
Jim: Bye.
Dave: Yup.


So I set my kids up today. I told them we were going on a mouse hunt in the field by the new house. They went crazy, totally believing me until Will saw me grab my camera and he said, "Mom, I know you just want to take pictures." I just smiled and sent them out into the tall weeds. Here are some shots from the hunt.

Will was the first out into the field with a stick and an old basket (city kids...who catches a mouse with that!)

Will quickly changed his mouse catching strategy after deciding that a stick was not going to do the job. He figured he could instead lure the rodent into his basket if he made it a comfy bed of weeds, leaves and grass.

Will was very pleased with the looks of his mouse trap.

Sam optimistically headed out with an old bucket (no stick) to find a little critter for himself...

...but then collapsed into a pile of weeds and tears within minutes
(did I mention he missed his afternoon nap two days in a row?)

Will quickly seized the opportunity to torture his little brother by yelling every few minutes, "Sam, come quick! Here's a mouse!" As expected, Sam ran (stumbled) through the weeds to see Will's catch, but (surprise) the mouse was gone by the time Sam made it.
Big brothers are such jerks.

Desperate times...the only way I could get Sam to laugh again was to pretend that his runny nose was totally grossing me out. Of course, this lead to an all-out nature blow fest (why do boys think this is so funny.)

Success! Sam can't stop laughing.

Will, seeing that his powers of torture have faded, headed back to the truck.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


This is a snapshot of Sam saying the blessing before lunch today. This is what he says:
God is great.
Let us food.
I want to be sure to remember moments like this, phrases he says, expressions he makes because he'll never be this little again. When he says things like, "Him's my best friend" or yells to the dog, 'C'mere, little fella', I just want to freeze him...or squeeze him...into a tiny, little jar so he doesn't get any bigger. These are the moments I love having a little kid in my life. He is just so funny. He is just so three. And I am just so blessed.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Laying low.

Well, just when I think we are over the hump, back from the dead, feeling up to par...we are forced to slow down again. Apparently we have been wonderful hosts to whatever virus has been circulating through our house, because the darned thing just won't leave us. I woke up with no voice this morning, which is so weird for me. Our morning routine often involves a lot of yelling on my part. 'Brush your teeth!' 'Grab your lunch!' 'Where's your bookbag?' 'Please stop hitting your brother!' 'There are only so many places your shoes could be' and 'You're going to miss the bus!' are common loud statements I make by 8am. Today was different. We all whispered. And you know what? It was so nice. I had no idea how calm my morning could be when I couldn't yell. Anyway, we will spend the remainder of the day talking quietly and laying low. It's really not a bad way to start the week.