Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas to All!

Dear  Friends!
We hope this note finds you well!  We continue to thrive in upstate New York: HandyMan pastoring, me working from home and being Mom, MMan and GGirl growing and changing by the day.

HandyMan has had a bit more time this year to develop his musical interests in composing and soon recording with a friend.    GGirl started school and is attending a full day preschool program and loves every minute of it!  MMan started walking and that lasted about 30 minutes before he took off running and hasn’t slowed down since!  I have an interest in all-things-natural for our home and has put my bits of free time into learning more.

2014 will start with an adventure as HandyMan will spend 17 days in Ethopia in February.  He is traveling as part of a partnership team with 6 others  through our regional church organization.  He’s excited.  I'm nervous. We’d appreciate your prayers.

This year, our friendships have grown deeper.  Our family is healthy and our children a rich source of reflection by the minute.  Rich Blessings to you in 2014!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Seeing The Future

From tonight's phone call with daddy, I got a glimpse at a much more grow up GGirl!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Homework Creativity

Homework for preschool is pretty basic, as it should be.  GGirl has a check mark list that we do each night with her that involves working on her ABC's, writing her name and reading stories.  She knows her ABC's and can identify and write upper and lower case so homework is usually an exercise in mastery.  Some nights, sitting and writing is a good option. Other nights she has a bit more energy that we need to work with.  With puzzle pieces spread along stairs so that Mman can't get at them,  she has great fun matching her upper and lowercase letters while running up and down the stairs.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Fashion Leverage

I have a very strong willed daughter.  I learned soon after she began expressing fashion choices that letting her pick her own clothes on days when it really  didn't matter gave me leverage in the days it did. Today, I'm building up leverage.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Binkie Addicts

Both of my children required multiple binkies to sooth themselves.  Usually one in the mouth and one in the hand. MMan is taking it to a new level.  Truth be told, I think its more to work in his molars than to suck.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Fun Times

MMan is changing so fast and is becoming quite the little personality.  He wants to do everything the rest of us do: no more eating with his fingers, food goes on forks and spoons.  He has a great Spiderman move he uses when he wants out of the tub:  think both feet and fingertips on the edge of the tub.  Because of his lightning quick movements, there are no photos.  He has recently taken a liking to music and will motion for us to turn music on, climb on the ottoman and start bopping.  If it's live music, dancing on the floor will work too.

He is now regularly signing to communicate. Eat, drink, change, more, please and all-done come fluently and he is quite proud of his progress.

His  smiles light up the day! 

GGirl is also maturing in leaps and bounds.   She loves school and riding the bus.  The first couple weeks of school she did not like to ride the Headstart bus in the morning.  "I hate it!" she would exclaim and after investigation, it was because there were shoulder harnesses she did not like.  But, when they decorated the bus for fall and put her name on a pumpkin on the wall, that changed everything!  The grin that lights up her face when she gets off the bus is priceless.

In the evenings we snuggle a little longer, linger over bedtime stories and enjoy earlier bedtimes.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Ravioli Night

http://m.allrecipes.com/recipe/213131/homemade-four-cheese-ravioliLast night was ravioli night at our house.   A friend came over to play and we cooked up a pretty yummy meal.  I have pasta rollers for my Kitchen Aid, a small ravioli press that [is supposed to] make 12 small raviolis and a large Pampered Chef press and cut thingie intended for sandwiches, but worked awesome for extra-large raviolis!

GGirl helped too-she did a great job helping to mix up the cheese filling and licking off the cream cheese wrapper.  Some of the ravioli [mostly the ones that failed to seal correctly] were baked in sauce and held their integrity surprisingly well. Others were boiled and smothered with fresh sauce.  And for dessert, we had some just filled with ricotta and cream cheese.  We fried those up and topped them with homemade jam and powdered sugar for dessert.   Mmmmmm.  Crispy,  cheesy, fruity goodness!

The only complaint camefrom MMan when I served HIS ravioli onto MY plate to cool.  He shoved his plate at me and made it known that I had put them on the wrong plate and that he wanted them NOW.  He even signed a "please".

I used these  as base recipes, but with creative cooking, I tend to wander from the recipe.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Will Sign for Whipped Cream

We have been trying to do basic signs with MMan for communication since he isn't really talking yet.  Signs for more, please, sleep, milk and drink have all been introduced and used with some frequency.  But over time it seems that little MMan has discovered that he doesn't really have to communicate to get most of what he wants.  Yes, he has trained us well.  And it worked until lunch today.

I was eating a piece of pie with whipped cream.  MMan did his usual squawk and point.  I demonstrated the 'more' sign.  He mimicked,  I gave him a bite.  Within three bites, he was signing more AND please with broad, look-what-I-can-do grins.

Now if only he would communicate what he got into, leaving his face looking like this:

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


Summer came to an end and September took off, full speed ahead.  GGirl started Pre-K and she loves it.  She is making new friends and some of her favorite things are the tricycle s and dress-up clothes. Shelikes riding the big bus home and on HandyMan's day off, weather and schedule permitting, he picks her up on the bike.  They are a sight to be seen around town.  MMan is off and running, quite literally.  He also woke up this weekend needing his 18-month clothes.  Sometimes kids really do grow overnight.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Egg Carton Creativity

We have a stack of egg cartons with our toys.  We finish off a dozen eggs and the carton goes on the stack.  A carton rips, it goes to recycling or the burn pile.  Friends need cartons for eggs, we pass sone along.  Such is the circle of life of the egg cartons in our house.

The stash with the toys has been part of many hours of imaginary play for GGirl.  They are great for constructing cities and towers.  They make great trains and cars. The uses are only limited by the imagination of a 4-year-old.

This morning after I put MMan down for a nap, I was invited to campfire-complete with logs to sit on and imaginary sticks with marshmallows!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Our Last Day of Summer

It is September 4th and our last day of summer.   The sun is shining, there's a gentle breeze and it's just beautiful out.  We caught some outsidetime after MMan's nap. Tomatoes and sunflowers were ready for the picking.  MMan was loving his snack.  He even sat his tomato in the playhouse window so he could open the door and go in.  Then picked it up and startrs sucking on it again.

Tomorrow summer ends and GGirl starts afternoon Pre-K.  She is so excited and so ready that I can't help be excited for her and for the new routine that is coming my way.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Punch Buggy Purple

Today was our Sitster's birthday.  She introduced GGirl to the Punch Buggy game, which was followed by the Bruiser Criuser game.  No one is safe from the slugs that come when those two types of vehicles are sighted.

For her birthday, it only seemed fitting to give her a punch buggy. The base was layered icecream cake with coffee and chocolate icecream.  The car was carved out of chocolate cake and butter cream frosting. 

After looking at a lot of other folks VW Bug cakes [that look much more professional], here's how it's done by an amateur:

Start with a round cake and cut it in half for two semi-circles.  Fuse them together with butter cream frosting just like you would a layer cake.  If I were doing it again, I would chill the cake thoroughly at this point.  Stand the cake up in the flat edge.  Carve out the windshield and hood.  Carve away a little along the bottom to give the appearance of aome clearance.   Frost that Buggy.  I you happen realize that you have no idea how to do the windows, and all of your frosting is, say-purple, throw some cocoa powder in some of the leftover frosting and call them "tinted windows."  Open up two chocolate sandwich cookies and throw them on for wheels and voila!  A VW Punch Bug Cake.

Serve it up to your favorite almost-seventeen-year-old with a slug in the arm and enjoy a yummy treat!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Sacrificing Some Garden...

...for some peace & quiet.  Hey, sometimes a Mama's got to do what a Mama's gotta do.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Enough Already!

It seems that the summer bugs are running rampant in our family: fever, stomach bugs, viruses, migranes, allergy/colds.  You name it, we've been fighting it.  For the last 6 weeks, it seems like as soon as it looks like we are all well, someone wakes up sporting some new symptom.  It's really getting old!

I've disinfected,  pushed vitamins, homeopathic remedies and natural options.  We've been through antibiotics, prescriptions and OTCs.  And yet, *insert coughing fit here* we are still under the weather. 

I was the hold out.  It wasn't until the end of week 4 that I got sick, but it was a doozie, and 3 days into it, HandyMan left for the week.  Thanks to a lot of help from my friends, I made it through the week.  Just as I got well, MMan started the cycle again with a runny nose...and here we go again *sniffle, sneeze*.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

"My name is Chubby..."

A few weeks ago HandyMan spent many hours on a bus with a bunch of high school students.  At one point when I called him, he was being pulled away for a game of Chubby Bunny.  The Chubby Bunny game I knew involved lots of marshmallows and usually gets messy-he assured me that this was not the same game and gave me a brief overview and it got lost in the minutia of the day.

Fast forward to this afternoon.   I'm sitting on the footstool in our playroom and GGirl comes up to me, with flat hands squishes my cheeks towards my mouth and says "Mommy!  Say 'My name is Chubby Bunny.'"  Apparently HandyMan or one of the teens from the trip taught GGirl the Chubby Bunny game.  She went on with other lyrical lines, but in between laughter and trying to repeat my lines, my mind went back a -ahem- few years to my grandparents house and my cousins teaching me a similar game about Chubby and his motorcycle.

While the new version is a cleaned up rhyme, it is still fun and brought some good laughs to this Mama and the 4 and a half year old.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Look Mommy!

On this rainy afternoon GGirl is watching movies and MMan was playing happily in the play room.  I was enjoying the quiet and reading when MMan toddles around the side of the couch, very proud of himself.  His look very clearly conveyed "look Mama, I know what it's for and I put it on myself!"  

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The View From Here

This was my view around 7 am this morning as I hiked back towards our cabin from the laundry room.  MMan was awake and ready for yhe day, tagging along in the backpack.   I had deposited a pukey sleeping bag in the washer .  Last night was the second night in as many weeks that a good portion of the night was spent comforting ill children.  At least HandyMan was around to help with this one.  

Now my view includes a large iced coffee and a 4 year old who feels well enough to want to do everything, but Mama knows otherwise.  Sick kids at camp are no fun.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Camp Mondays

After morning chapel and class time, Monday was a picture perfect day on the lake.  I discovered that our baby moniter would reach right down to the edge of the beach.  I kept an eye in GGirl and an ear on MMan while he napped and enjoyed the beautiful day.

GGirl has always enjoyed water, but gas not been a fan of water in her face or going under water.  All that changed the first day with inflatable water wings.  She was all over the shallow end of the beach, getting her face in the water, going under.  It was awesome to watch her confidence build.  She even went out in the deeper water with me, swimming in her own.

HandyMan made it to camp late on Monday afternoon and jumped right in alongside our activities.  It is so good to have him back!  Last night he did T-shirt painting with GGirl.  It was taken by the staff to dry.  I can't wait to see their finished creation. 

I'm enjoying little snippets of reading time, life-building conversations, and the peaceful setting for our week. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Watching Tractors

We are spending a week away.  We are at Pilgrim Pines: a wonderful retreat center in Southern New Hampshire.  While I sit on the porch of our cabin, GGirl has conned Mr. B into supervising her adventures across the road.  He has shadowed her to the swings, basketball courts and kicked the soccer ball around.  Then the tractor came to the beach and that instantly caught GGirl's attention.  She sat on the bench with Mr. B watching for 10 minutes as the tractor raked the beach.  Then it was back to the playground.

You can take the girl out of the country ...

Monday, July 8, 2013

MMan @ 1 Year Old

Stretched out at 31.5 inches long and floating in at 20.7 lbs, MMan was deemed healthy and on track by our pediatrician this morning.  He has cut all 16 of his of baby teeth and will eat anything!  As a bonus, his iron levels were perfect as well so no nasty supplements like we had to do with GGirl!

Thursday, July 4, 2013


Last weekend, on a whim in the grocery store, I picked up the Dora the Explorer buble bucket.  GGirl loves Dora and all things pink and purple.  MMan has recently discovered bubbles.  So, my diacolical mommy brain saw a perfect combination.  Plus, its a non-spill contraption that actually works and does not result in bubble soap getting spilled by little hands with developing coordination skills.  So we had a nice bit of family time in theback yard to try it out!

Shopping Lists & Boomerangs

GGirl has caught on to the household procedure of adding things to my shopping list.  HandyMan asks me to get something on the next shopping trip, I ask him to put it on the shopping list.  Now GGirl has begin to realize that if she wants something, it needs to be on the shopping list.  This is how things like "boomerang" end up on my shopping list under shortening.

Swim Lessons

The county YMCA offers swim lessons at a park near us in the summer.  GGirl has just finished up her first sesson of lessons.  She did great and made progress with getting her face in the water.  This is one of the things that she dislikes the most, which makes things like showers and hair washing a constant battle.  She ended up with one-on-one lessons and had a great time.  Almost as much fun as she had playing in the sand before and after lessons.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Beginner Checkers

Somewhere recently, GGirl picked up that there was a game out there called "checkers" and learning how to play became her fixation.   So, I entered 2013 and downloaded an app.  With one  and two player options she can play against me or the Android.  The spaces that are legal moves light up.  We will have to find a board and chips so she can experience the triumphant demand of "king me!"

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Look Who's One!

On Monday we celebrated MMan's first birthday.  He is a strong little guy who would rather climb than walk and has mastered a very entertaining bear crawl.  He is often happy playing on his own, out of the grasps of his ever loving, always moving sister.  Water and the outdoors prove to be favorites.  If it can be chewed, it is a favorite toy and we have yet to introduce a food that he won't eat. 

His birthday was his first experience with a cupcake of his own, and after he got over his disbelief, he had no problem making that special treat disappear!  We had friends with us for dinner and Granny and Granddad in on Skype.  Modern technology can be so fun!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Sprinkler Fun

Yesterday was a great summery day: hot, humid and great for playing in the water.  I started with MMan in the playpen with some water in a bin to play with.  I said play in the water, he heard play in the water!  I'm re-thinking my position on another kiddie pool for the summer. After a bit it was sprinklers for everyone.

On Top of Mt. Table

MMan is a climber.  He shows amazing amounts of strength, but just won't walk.  This weekend we were at a picnic and he climbed from the ground level all the way to the top of the picnic table.  He was determined and kept going until he got there, with a lot of spotting.  And at the top of Mt Table, all he got was a cracker.  Later he got the watermelon!

Saturday, June 22, 2013


I distinctly being on a mission, last June, to get my strawberries picked and frozen and jam made before MMan made his arrival.  Little did I know that I would have plenty of time!  This year June completely got away from me and while I thought about berries a couple times, it wasn't until HandyMan pinned it on the calendar that we went for our annual haul of strawberries.  Sittster and GGirl had some fun with the flowers and it was much easier picking with MMan in the stroller, not a full term pregnancy!

Celebrating Summer: Parks & Carousels

The end of this week has finally brought some summer-like weather and it has been beautiful!  On Thursday we gathered up Sittster and headed out for an outting.  Caked in sun-block, we hit the park.  The playground is much more fun (for me) with a one-to-one ratio for tracking the kids.  So Sittster chased GGirl around while I tracked MMan.   45 minutes of running, climbing, swinging and chasing wore just about everyone out.  After a couple errands we went to one of the local carousels for a ride before heading home.  It was MMan's first ride and he was too tired to be impressed.  Quite the fun afternoon!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Scenes from The Backyard

This week finally brought some nice weather. We enjoyed being able to spend some time playing outside and exploring the world outside our back door.  MMan enjoys his little play area, his Buddy, not so much.  He wanted to be out digging with GGirl!