Thursday, January 7, 2016

Sports and Swings

I stumbled across these images the other day and thought at first about how much these two amazing little people have changed. But then I realized how much they have stayed the same. Charlie has always been happiest on a court or a ball field with a bat or ball in his hands. Charlie's favorite parks were the ones with a tennis or basketball court nearby. I usually kept a bat and ball in the trunk of my car and on a nice day we would stop at a park on the way home from work.

And from day one, Izzy has been content to go with the flow and follow along - she only needed her fingers and some space to explore.

And as brothers do, they take their sisters things just because they can.

Barely walking, not talking, and she could tell her brother what she wanted. My hat please!

Not that he would listen...

That look! I have seen this exact look a million times on my now almost 5-year-old girl.

Another day, another empty court...

Even if I forgot a bat and ball, Charlie would find a way to play. On this day, it was with Izzy's stuffed bear.

These days he wears a football uniform, helmet and mouth guard 24/7 - always ready should anyone want to throw the football around. Game on.

And some days, we would drag Charlie away from the court so this happy little girl could swing.

Oh my, were they ever this little?

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

School Daze

School took off in a flurry and we're moving at mach speed in only the second week of September. First grade has been a much easier adjustment than Kindergarten (love our teacher!), so of course we had to put Izzy in a new school to keep it complicated. New schedules, new drop offs and pick ups - even dress codes we have to pay attention to (no jewelry or finger nail polish - so sad for Iz!). Her new school is Montessori and we love it. But every time I walk in the building I feel as if I shouldn't touch anything for fear of moving something out of place. Wow, what a system! Oh, and construction delayed the start of her school year, which is really not cool. But we have a part-time nanny who has continued from the summer and she is amazing! She saved us from the construction-schedule debacle. We are looking into adopting her very soon.

Today we had First Grade Lunch on the Lawn with Charlie. This is not a friendly event for working parents. Lunch starts at 10:50 (No wonder he is starving every day after school!!) and ends at 11:15, so the whole day is thrown by this 25 minute parent involvement activity. It was a lovely day and we parked ourselves on a blanket in the grass and watched Charlie eat his lunch and roll around with his classmates. Lunch with these goofballs made for a pleasant Wednesday, no doubt.

Of course, some of you might say this lawn event was one better skipped by said working parents. But judging by the attendance at this event, you would have to say all the first grade kids in Charlie's school must have two stay-at-home parents, or absolutely every parent comes no matter what. So there you have it. 

Now I'm off to the store to buy ingredients for the 2 dozen cookies I said I'd bring to Friday's Open House for Izzy's school (at a favorable time for working parents in the evening, hooray!). It is imperative that I impress the new parents with my dedication to my child by baking my best, from-scratch, chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. Some folks never learn...

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Back to School!

How can it possibly be that time of year again?! Summer went way too fast. We have two half days of school and one full day this week, so I'm pretending this isn't really it, the end of Summer. We've had a good Summer and I want it to last and last. I also want time to slow down as C and Iz are growing up way too fast! First grade and Pre-K this year, doesn't seem possible!

Both Charlie and I were a bit nervous, but we put on our brave faces and only a hint of tears surfaced for both of us. Ryan and I walked him into the building and Charlie held our hands. One of these days he won't want to hold our hands, won't need us to walk him inside and to his classroom.

The teachers had written all over the sidewalks of the school with chalk, things like "It's a Great Day to be a Dragon!" and "New Friends" "Smile" "Learn." And my favorite, "Hug Your Mom!"

I know Charlie will be just fine. He will learn, thrive, grow and make new friends. But there is a part of me that doesn't want him to go, that wants him to stay right next to me, safe and sound and in my sight. I imagine I'll feel this way with every first day of school, even when he stands a head taller than me and my hand is the smaller of the two.

Adventure awaits!

Click here for pictures from our first day last year -  proof of how much they've grown up in one year!

Monday, June 8, 2015

How does your garden grow?

I've never had a green thumb and I've never met a house plant I couldn't kill off, but I am really enjoying my vegetable garden this year. Last year was our garden's rookie year and while we had some cucumbers and peppers and a few cherry tomatoes towards the end of the summer, that was about it. Squirrels got all our tomatoes, some things never grew, and I had no idea what I was doing.

In year 2 we've made significant improvements, including going with a Square Foot Garden approach. We also put a wire net around the bed to keep the rabbits and squirrels out, and so far it seems to be working. I did a little research into companion planting (which plants grow well next to each other and which don't) and focused on planting things we like to eat and that would be fun for the kids to watch grow. I did not start seeds indoors or anything like that, so some plants like carrots (Charlie's favorite!) are slow to grow and harvest. I planted many of the vegetables from seeds this year, something that really intimidated me last year, but saves a ton of money. Plant seeds are so inexpensive compared to buying starter plants. With the crazy amount of rain we've had over the last month, the garden is growing like mad!

In a square foot garden, each square (divided here by string) contains a different vegetable. It is amazing how much you can grow using this approach. The garden bed is 4' x 8'. 32 squares!

The swiss chard looks amazing, so pretty!

I started this lettuce from seeds and I'm pretty excited about how well it is growing.

The snap peas (above) have overgrown their trellis and I need to brace them up again. I had no idea they would grow taller than I am! These are really fun for the kids to just pick off the vine and eat.

Izzy helped me pull up a radish to see if they are ready to pick. Not yet!

Our first tiny tomato!

This weekend's harvest of swiss chard, lettuce and kale. I love growing my own greens. 

I'm learning more every week (last week I had to go after some bugs on my tomato plants with some soapy water) and am really enjoying the process. I'm still trying to figure out which vegetables need additional feeding and how often. I am using this really cool app called Plant It! to help me figure it all out. 

Now if June will just usher in more sunshine and less rain, my garden and I will be very happy.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Another season in the books

Another season of playing and coaching soccer has come and gone. We had a lot of fun with this group of boys. They are really learning to play!

And guess who has a new pink soccer ball? After 3 years of tagging along to all of Charlie's practices, next fall Iz will get a team of her own! Watch out.

Note: Photo credits to Corie English.

Monday, March 16, 2015


We had a fabulous trip to California! How I wish we were still on the beach...

Thursday, March 12, 2015

To be six!!

In true Charlie style, we celebrated his birthday with much jumping, running and playing this year. He invited some school friends to Pump It Up, and that we did.

Who doesn't want to be King for a day??

Little sister had fun at this party too!

We had another celebration with family and one of Janelle's amazing cakes...legos this time! She had to make each of the legos using a small mold - it turned out great!

This year Charlie's birthday was on Super Bowl Sunday - just as it was the day he was born. Seems like so very long ago!

 Papa gave all the kids harmonicas to finish off the festivities. Happy Birthday sweet Charlie!