Saturday, October 31, 2009

And the Wild Things roared their terrible roars...

...gnashed their terrible teeth, rolled their terrible eyes
and showed their terrible claws...

But Max tamed them with a magic trick of staring into all their yellow eyes without blinking once...and they were frightened and called him the most wild thing of all...

pssst...thanks, Mr. Sendak! You're the best!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Holy Smokes! Another M!

Attending pre-k has been nothing but a positive experience for Jacob. He. Loves. It. And he's learning--and excited about learning. He's recognizing more and more words each day. Yesterday he typed out his name on the computer...and this afternoon he blew me away when he wrote his name on a card. He's all about letter recognition and wanting to know what that spells and what does that spell...and that? What does that spell?

Earlier Jacob was showing me all of the candy he received at the school's pumpkin party today and there was a bag of mini m&m's...something he really doesn't get a lot of. Not real big on candy around here. But I went ahead and let him enjoy them. And he notices that one of the candies has the letter "m" on it. And another. Then all of the sudden...Holy Smokes! Another "m"!

Holy smokes! I love that kid.

There's a church down the street that holds "Trunk or Treat" every year. It's a lot of and enjoyable. Jango Fett and Kitty were ready to go.

I'm a sucker for pictures of my children walking with their dad. There's just something about the image that gets to me...little hands held safe and secure in a large protective one. Makes my heart thump.

Kokoo (my mom) came in and spent the afternoon and evening with us. It's a delight to have them on this side of the ocean for a while...getting to share moments like this. And I get to enjoy the evening and take pictures. Kyleigh was unsure of all of the strangers but she quickly warmed to the idea of treats filling her bucket.

The pictures simply do not do justice to how cute and adorable this cat costume was. I may have to subject my children to a dreaded photo shoot just to get decent pictures on them in their costumes.

Neither of them fought an early bedtime this evening. It's been a long week...month. Sean is working off duty tonight, planning on being home by 2 or 3 but these things rarely work out the way we plan. That's okay. Because we have nothing planned for tomorrow. No one has school to rush off to. No appointments. No obligations to be anywhere or do anything. The local children's museum has a Halloween thing in the late afternoon/early evening. We may go. We may not. I'm content to not have a plan. Right now? I do have a plan...and it involves a book, my bed and an early night for myself.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Oh, nevermind...

She looks plenty healthy to me...or maybe it's just in comparison to the company she keeps...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

There's a light...

I think I'm seeing a light at the end of this tunnel of sickness that's plagued us the past two weeks. Jacob went back to school today (after kicking my butt in Candyland for two days straight! I swear that boy cheats.) Sean went back to work yesterday. And Kyleigh chased the dog around the house with her baby stroller. Yep. They're all on the mend.

Saw the doctor today for Kyleigh's two year well baby visit. Once again my girl wowed her doctor with her development and vocabulary. Once again she weighed in tiny and petite. Once again the doctor told me not to fret over her being underweight (now measuring in the 5th percentile). Once again I asked the doctor how long had she known me because apparently we just met...of course I'm going to fret. And open up the floor for advice on how to go about getting a picky eater to actually, well, eat.

Monday, October 26, 2009

I think I showered today...

Sean, just a bit ago..."Did you know you had your shirt on inside out?"


Me..."I did not."


Tag hanging out in back. Tag on the side. It's a snap shirt with pockets in the front. One should have noticed.

I only dragged myself and the 2-year-old out into public once today. A trip to Michael's. To pick up a black t-shirt for Jacob's pilgrim costume. That was supposed to go to school with him this morning.

Oh...side note...want to spin Sean up really fast? Ask him about his native American son playing the part of a pilgrim. It's fun. Lots of laughs.

After the week that was and now with all family members sick (when a 4-year-old pushes aside his grilled cheese sandwich and says that he just wants a little rest--he's Sick) I'm lucky I remembered to brush my teeth this morning. An inside out shirt? At least I was wearing one.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Something about this time of year...crunchy leaves, mild days, cool nights, apple cider in the air, fresh baked something...

I remember an afternoon exactly two years ago...someone had just enjoyed her lunch al fresco...

So hard to believe this tiny little bundle (we-have-no-clothes-to-fit-you) has morphed into the font of bottomless energy...a delightful and fearless two-year-old...

(thanks Donia for the picture!)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Saturday evening thoughts...

I'm mulling over the past week in my head. Determining what parts I can get away with discussing here. Odds are pretty slim my mother-in-law will never stumble across this, but I still need to be mindful of my words. I can say that no one got their feelings hurt this week...or at least not to the degree where they were looking for earlier flights out...again. We'll call that progress.

She and her sister also stayed at a hotel this time around...we were already full up with Sean's brother and 2-year-old nephew. I'm sure the extra space helped with the tolerance. That and the fact that last trip I was dealing with a 2-month-old, a meltdown prone 2-year-old and a husband who was either not home or sleeping. Yeah...I didn't have a whole lot left in the way of tolerance or patience.

And so...our wild and wacky week ends with two cases of pink eye and one sick husband. But I still have chocolate cake left. And a quiet house.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The one about the cake...

I think it's more Ingrained than Genetic. My mom did her best to make our birthday cakes amazing. She even took a Wilton's decorating class before we moved to Tanzania.

There were three of us that shared this train foster brother, Michael, some other kid I don't remember and myself. As you can see, I was quite in awe.

My 6th birthday was a joint labor of love Lego dad made the marshmallow blocks and my mom did the rest.

Out of all of the cakes my mom created, this one from my 9th birthday is probably my favorite. Hefty Smurf complete with a little heart tattoo on his arm (yes, that's Melanie D, Kathryn R. and Ruthanne B. in the picture for those of you who are looking and thinking you recognize them).

So then along come my own children. And I want them to have those same feelings of most definitely being Someone Special on their birthday. Besides, it's a lot of fun being able to create and see my ideas come to fruition. It's certainly not something I would ever do for someone else and get paid for it. I once painted a watercolor on commission and it was one of the most stressful experiences of my creative life. I
am making a cake for a friend's 4-year-old in a couple of weeks but I'm doing it because she's my friend and I offered. The only guide lines I have from the Birthday Boy is chocolate and cars. I've got one or two ideas brewing.

For those's a back and front picture of the Monkey Cake. The pink, the arms, legs and tail are marshmallow fondant--so unbelievably easy to make and work with! The rest is chocolate buttercream. Hershey's cocoa powder comes in the perfect shade of Monkey Fur brown! I used Wilton's Cuddly Bear stand up cake pan, trimmed off non-monkey parts and repositioned the ears. When I brought Kyleigh down the stairs after her nap she saw the cake and started making monkey noises. She very much approved! Pound cake for the monkey and chocolate fudge cake for the rest--yummy.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Last night Sean and I welcomed (okay, I welcomed and Sean tolerated) our immediate family in it's entirety into our home. Sean's mom, aunt, brother and nephew are here for a few days. My parents are actually in the country and in town so they joined us. As did my sister and her family of five. Friends also stopped by to enjoy the festivities and mayhem. All in all we had six little ones ages four and under and thirteen "grown ups" and three teenagers. All in my house. And they all feasted on smoked brisket, roasted potatoes, green salad, fruit salad and homemade bread. Oh, and monkey cake. There was also a separate lemon pie (provided by my mom) to celebrate the three "grown ups" who turn 40 this year...yes, Donia, I know--your birthday isn't until January. Whatever.

It's been a good week. Jacob and Kyleigh have thoroughly enjoyed their cousin Iain. Montana is just a little too far away to make these visits frequent. But it's been over two years and that's just too long.

Kyleigh and Iain had a breakfast picnic and watched "Winnie Pooh" yesterday morning.

Enjoying a ride on her "motorcycle"...a delightful 2nd-hand store find!

Jacob cheesing it up for the camera...I love this little person!

Cousins and Uncle Chris playing up on the non-tree tree house. Mother Nature has graced us with a week of fabulous weather!

Everyone flies out at various times tomorrow. Sean has the next few days off. I think a nap is in order.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

One little monkey justed turned 2!

Some parents plan big parties with clowns and ponies...

Our kiddos? They get to play with the police truck lights...

So not sharing her new toy with her brother...

Someone decided it was about time my daughter acquired girl toys...and by the look on her face she was delighted!

And then there was monkeys were harmed in the making of this cake!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Bon Jovi apron...check
John Prine serenading...check
Power tools...check

Oh,'s a good day to bake birthday cakes!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Chair Eats Cat... this not-so-dramatic and slowly (it does involve a cat after all) developing story of furniture karmic payback...
And I find myself questioning my judgment in the natural colored slip cover...for a black and white kitty to nap on. Whatever. At least it's washable.

the true poet...

Her rendition left me speechless and not just a little homesick...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Where I'm from...

I am from sunny days and cool nights, a land of two seasons,
from Cadbury chocolate,
homemade bread and Sears’ catalog attire.

I am from rain at midnight on a tin roof, crows in the morning.
I am from mango trees and the Jacaranda in full lavender bloom,
Lake Victoria ablaze with the rising sun
and the tepid waters of the Indian ocean.
I am from crowded holiday tables and laughing out loud, from preachers
and missionaries and 2nd generation Navy “Mac”.
I am from prayers at mealtime and hugs at the airport.
From Girls have to know how to change their car’s oil too and Easy on the throttle.
I am from women who pray and men who cry.
And from those who have called down angels.
I'm from the shores of Scotland and the homeport of Blackbeard.
I am from samosas and collard greens. I am unsweet tea in the land of sweet.
From a hobo train ride home for Christmas,
motorcycle rides across the dusty savannah,
and the tenacity to never accept “I can’t” and “that's impossible”.
I am sea trunks in the attic, old black barrels untouched in 20 years,
our own National Archives, pictures lining the hallway
and roots that span the oceans and continents.

psst...where are you from? Unleash the poet within...I double dog dare you!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Worn out...please move along...

Numerous walks around the not-quite-a-mile kid's run course for this morning's Childrens Hospital 10k/5k event, lunging traffic cones and signs and corralling a small army of volunteers has made me painfully and acutely aware of One Thing...

My "I-have-two-small-yet-highly-active-children-and-a-two-story-house" exercise/work out routine is grossly...Inadequate.

Friday, October 9, 2009

the year that was and other stuff...

Remember that scene in the movie Notting Hill where Hugh Grant's character is walking through Portabello market, walking through the seasons? Bill Withers singing in the background...ain't no sunshine when she's's not warm when she's away...

The scene is a good description of how I feel just now...only without the sorrowful dejectedness. This past spring I started walking (figuratively) and now I look around me and it's fall. Already. Where did spring and summer go? What all have I missed over the past several months when, with so much going on, I had to remind myself to breathe?

It's been a long year--in so many ways, yet at the same time blessed beyond merit. A landmark year.

This weekend marks the final race event of the season. Of course then we start planning for next year. But this time around I won't be the rookie. And while I feel like this is the job I've spent most of my adult life training for, it hasn't been without it's frustrations and stresses. However, having spent a good deal of time over the past nine months basically building my own training manual, I have a feeling planning and executing next year's race season will go much smoother--even though we are adding a fifth Little-Big Adventure (adult/child team triathlon). Then there's the bit about the woman who signs my paychecks being pregnant and due next summer. We've basically cleared the month of June but I'm sure my job description is about to morph into Take Over Whatever Needs to be Done so Baby can be fed. I can handle that.

So here it is Fall again. My baby girl has a birthday right around the corner. She refuses to listen to our kind request to not grow so fast. Halloween costumes are just about done. There are a couple of pumpkins on the front steps...more will follow, I'm sure. Jacob's class enjoyed their first field trip--though to his great disappointment he didn't get to ride the bus since his dad had the audacity to volunteer as a chaperon and drove our car. But they have a trip to the pumpkin patch in a couple of weeks and we promised him he could ride the bus then.

Sean's off again to another school next week. At least this time it's only for a week and he'll only be a couple hours away. I have some things to catch up on--obligations made that have been pushed to the back of the line--enough to keep me busy for the week. And then his family is descending for a visit. That's always fun. One can always hope for a drama free week.

Due to this and that I've realized I won't be able to join friends on the Appalachian Trail for this year's Cancer Takes A Hike. I'm sad about that. I miss my friend and I was looking forward to the time on the trail to just Be.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Honesty...such a lonely word...

I once had a complete stranger ask my opinion on something--we were all sitting around waiting in a service station and he was chatting about his beliefs regarding what happens when we die. Who in the world chitchats about that with strangers? You know, other than bloggers? answer of "I think it's a whacked out theory and theologically unsound" offended him. I know. Some people can be so sensitive. So, yeah...sometimes I think I need to dial back the honesty.

Even though there have been times I've been too honest in my opinions I've never been hateful in my comments on others blogs. That's a behavior I simply do not understand and yet, numerous bloggers have been plagued with "trolls" lately. Apparently I'm either too boring, not worth the effort or my "troll repellent" has been most effective since they've all stayed away.

The blog community is just that--a community. There are ones I've met out here whom I value as friends. Others? Meh...not so much and I no longer waste my time. One such valued friend created this award--and since, apparently, my honesty has yet to offend her she passed it on. Thanks, Momma Val! You're the best--honest!

May we always value and treasure honesty over false words and empty flattery.