31 May 2011

A Bowl of Sun

 It has been so dreadfully gloomy here for so very long. And by long, I mean since last November. The sun taunts us every now and then, but just won't show up with any conviction. Yesterday, we had some glorious sun breaks that streamed through the hallway skylight and I curled up in a sunny spot on the carpet like a heat-seeking kitty. My kids didn't seem to think anything of my behavior as they would just hurdle over me without question.

But today, alas, it is gray and cold and drippy once more. Sometimes you just have to pretend your way to a sunny experience. This fresh pineapple is mighty helpful in my attempts.

Is it naughty that I'm hiding the pineapple in the back of the fridge so I can eat it all myself? Desperate times call for desperate measures.

28 May 2011

Brain-Powered Curiosity

Ever since the children were babies, we've had a loose "no batteries" rule. What does this mean? That by and large, we want them to provide the juice that powers the play.

Now, do they ever watch movies? We love our DVD player and the controllable entertainment options it provides. Robin Hood, Andy Griffith, Princess Bride, and Swiss Family Robinson are in current high-rotation. Do they ever play video games? Well, not much, but Carmen SanDiego, Typing Instructor, and Tetris-esque games are known to entrance the children (setting the kitchen timer is a must!). Do they have any motorized toys? Yes, we love the remote-controlled airplane Peter received for his birthday last year.

So you see, it's a "loose" rule. But the effort to steer the children towards interactive, kid-powered play has really paid off for us. They will build a city out of blocks, read mounds of books, piece together puzzles, sail on zip-lines and rope swings, bake cookies, learn to draw unicorns, dig holes that could swallow a grown man, kick balls, ride bikes, launch rockets that threaten the federal air-space laws, and just be plain ol' curious.

If you ask me, childhood curiosity is a beautiful thing.

26 May 2011

The Lazy-Gal Guide to Planning a Girl's Night

Want to plan the easiest girl-night ever? Send out an e-vite (love these!) to your gal-pals and tell them bring all their old magazines they don't want any more for a swap as well as a treat or drink to share. Done.

An hour before arrival, toss all the random clutter into a pile on the doormat for the children to put away and promise a popsicle if they can get it done in under 15 minutes (You know they will!).  While the child labor is underway, do a quick wipe-down of counters and bathrooms and a speed vacuum and you are ready to go. Remember, your girlfriends don't really care if your house looks perfect, so don't sweat it! (In fact, they'll probably be relieved that your house looks like theirs ... lived in!)

Once the girls arrive, eat frequently, gab incessantly, and be sure everyone goes home with a new-to-them stack of magazines to read when they need a break from productivity. Because we all know, sometimes we'd just rather eat a cookie and read about the 9-day plan to blast back-fat by lifting 28 oz cans of diced tomatoes than fold the laundry. Am I right?

Girls night x Magazine swap = A Good Plan

How About Some Cheese With That Ham?

Here we have my Mother's Day photos, courtesy of Pops. Do you ever look at snapshots and think, "One day, these are gonna' be knee-slappin' hi-larious." Sometimes photos capture personality down to the calm compliance, the twisty face, and the cowboy-boot-glamour pose. 

Sweet merciful heavens. Peter, growing up with these girls is gonna' prepare you for somethin'. I'm not sure what, but you'll be ready. Just stay the course, son, stay the course ...

23 May 2011

With Much Anticipation

 On Thursdays we do date nights, switching kids and switching parents so everyone gets plenty of turns. One of the best routines we've ever instituted in our family.

Last Thursday, Lucette and Pops went out for their date. Lucette always likes to dress up for her evenings out. Flouncy dresses are good for skipping and one can never be too overdressed to get frozen yogurt with the main man in one's life.

The adoration abounds.

12 May 2011

Doctor's Orders

Taking an imposed break due to some persistent back/neck issues. Apparently hunching over computer screens and mousing all the day long isn't helping anything.

Don't cry for me, Argentina. I'll be fine. Just going to cool my computer jets for awhile and do funky exercises with giant neon colored rubber bands.

Back after a bit, Friends.

10 May 2011

Scenes From a Rainbow Party

Our Lucette considers herself to be a burgeoning artist. We happily encourage the notion. And naturally, as this was her birthday party year (we one do every other year), we began to plan a shin-dig that could incorporate all of her loves. Drawing, painting, rainbows and unicorns.

She was busy drawing original pieces for the party a solid week before the actual date. They were taped up about the house and were a lovely accent against all of the rainbow balloon bouquets we had chosen for festive decoration.

We ordered a tin of rainbow crayons as a party gift for each of the girls and used them as balloon anchors. (Notice the "No. 8" at the top? So appropriate for an 8th birthday.)

 And once the ladies began to arrive we had canvas for each and a plethora of paints, glitter glaze, and brushes to choose from. The only requirement? There must be a rainbow somewhere on your painting. They were most happy to oblige. I kept them fueled with skittles ... a rainbow of fruit flavor, as you surely know.

 Once completed they were in need of some true refreshments. Punch and rainbow fruit kebabs for starters. And to top it off?

 A slice of rainbow cake. All of the gasps and squeals that ensued once I sliced into the seemingly benign white cake was all the reward I needed. (It's a simple concept, but it took for-ehva'!)

I love you, my sweet girl. You are a rainbow to my days and sparkle to my heart.

One of Our Beauties Turns Eight

 Yesterday, our beautiful Lucette turned eight. It was lovely to share Mother's Day with one of the people who make the day truly special.

 We had breakfast in bed together and then did a little present opening. Miss Lucette found a pair of shiny pink cowboy boots awaiting her. I almost ordered her the brown, as they would surely go with everything. And then I remembered being eight ... and I knew pink was the ticket.

And she was happy. And so were we. It's a big love-fest around here. Aren't we blessed.

06 May 2011

Preparing the Rainbow Day

Jane is helping me with the last touches for Lucette's rainbow birthday party today. Rainbows and sparkles are just so pleasing, aren't they?

More details to come ...

Paired Up

While elbow deep in birthday cake madness (Lucette has a party tomorrow!), I heard giggles from outside.

A pair of chairs, a pair of Garfield comic books, and a pair of girls. Makes for a good afternoon.

04 May 2011

The Storefront is Set

A Wee Morning Wedding

 It's cliche, I know, but ... I have a thing for the Royals. As a girl, I stayed up in the wee hours to watch Princess Diana get married. I was truly captivated.

 At the time, my Aunt Mary was living in England and would send me little bits of British memorabilia. The books on Diana and Sarah Ferguson's weddings were my most favorites. (I can't help but wonder if they will make a companion book on William and Kate. Dear British readers ... will you keep your eye out for me??)

I particularly loved the back page in each book where there was the official family photo with a key to indicate who was who. And oh, those hats! I believe, actually, that my favorite belonged to the Queen Mother. (That's her on the left in the seafoam green.)

So, while everyone has been rolling their eyes this past month over all of the royal who-ha, I've been secretly thrilled. The anticipation was delicious. What would her dress look like?

Last Thursday night, I set two alarms. One for 1:50am and one for 2:00am. Just in case. I was going to watch William and Kate. In the early morning darkness, I watched Princes William and Harry and various guests arrive and marveled at the stunning transformation of Westminster Abbey. The trees! Inside! And remembered how I once sat for a church service in that very same place, about 20 feet from where the Queen herself was now seated. Sweet giddy-ness!

And right before Kate was due for her appearance, I woke my own girls up. We cuddled up with tea and cookies and took it all in. The soon-to-be princess? Stunning. Her dress? Sheer perfection. We watched every minute until they drove off in their carriage before tucking ourselves back in bed. 

Felt like a bit of a midnight secret ... just for us girls.

02 May 2011

Clever Lucette

At first glance, it's just a sweet little white arrangement. Upon further inspection ... surprise! A camellia hides in wait.

Clever Lucette.