Monday, March 29, 2010

Easter Sunday tradition

When Jacob was one year old, I decided to make father and son bow ties for major holidays (Easter, Father's Day, Fourth of July, Christmas). Little did I realize that it would take some serious sewing to keep this tradition rolling, with the quick succession of sons we've had! It's special to me, though, so we've been consistent with our holiday bow tie tradition. (And we've been able to reuse several ties--I'm certainly not making twenty a year!) These photos crack me up:
Easter 2005:
Easter 2006:
Easter 2007:
Easter 2008:
Easter 2009 (when we had the cousins over--the best bow tie line-up ever!):
Easter 2010 (They're still sporting the 2008 ties--thank heaven for elastic! Adam, I'm sorry that I haven't made you an Easter tie yet. Next time, sweet boy!):
Boys, thanks for indulging me. Please don't ever grow too old, independent, or self-concious for this! Love you.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

House hunting

Last weekend Eric, Adam, and I flew to Wisconsin to find a home. Adam took it easy on his first flight:
(Can't you just hear him piping up with, "Excuse me ma'am, a ginger ale please? And may I have the whole can?" He looks like a frequent flyer, all relaxed in his chair!)

Eric's mom, armed with real estate expertise to the gills, met us there and we all set to work. After the first two days, we'd seen many homes--some beautiful, but no real deals. Feeling a little frantic, Sally and I drove around past nightfall scouring the neighborhoods for "for sale" signs--certainly there was some non-MLS-listed gem that we could find! But there wasn't.

The next morning (and the last day of our trip!), some anxiety and prayers later, we were driving a favorite neighborhood when we spotted this:
It hadn't even come up in our searches because it was listed as a three bedroom (we only searched for four). But with an office and "extra room," it's PLENTY of space for us. And we bought it from a builder, who was able to give us a lot more house (and yard!) for the money. What a blessing!

When I called Jacob to tell him about it, he asked about the school:
A: I saw the school. The kids look really nice. 
J: What kind of kids are there?
A: All kinds! I saw them running around playing tag!
J: What kind of tag? Dinosaur tag?
A: I don't know. Maybe. Maybe you could teach them dinosaur tag if they don't know.
J: What color hair do they have?
A: All colors! They looked great! And there's a huge playground!
J: Are there swings?
A: Well, it looked like it had everything.
J: Yes, but are there swings?

(We drove back to the school later on and looked to confirm that there were swings. There were. Phew. I called to report.)
A: Hi Jacob, this is Mom. There are swings. Lots of them!
J: OK. I have to go. Bye, Mom. Make sure that the house is one that you love. And find one that is for medium money.

I do love the home! And I feel like we were blessed with a great deal. It's not finished yet,

but it will be by the summer. In the meantime, I am searching for deals and ideas on all things home: window treatments, outdoor play units, storage systems, and more! Let me know if you're especially clever about these sorts of things (I'm not). 

Monday, March 15, 2010

Rainy day Regatta

8 a.m. Faced with a rainy day ahead of us, the kids and I begin a boat-building project.  
12 noon We work through lunch, snacking as we go, and begin testing some of the vessels:
3 p.m. After almost a full day of building, the kids christen their creations "Little Aloha," "Zip Zip," "The BIG Henry," and half a dozen more:
4:30 p.m. We head out to the creek and set up our dry dock.
4:45 p.m. We launch boats, catch worms, and watch the roaring creek.
Michael calls it all "delicious:"
video
5:45 p.m. We head home, straight for the bathtub, which we fill to capacity with the four kids and their favorite boats!
7:30 p.m. Everyone's all cleaned up and ready for a favorite dinner: chicken nuggets, broccoli, and noodles.
(Too much) later: After such a fun day, everyone sleeps soundly!

Bins

A couple years ago I started to label toy bins like this:
Functional, but not very cute. (Fisher Price, I hereby apologize for my lame drawing of a "Little People" guy.) Enter Jen, armed with her vinyl-cutting machine and endless creativity, and you have this:
and this:

and this:
and, my favorite, this!
OK, I think that you get the picture(s). No one could be more excited. Well, except maybe these guys, who struck these poses when I asked them how they liked their new bins. (Dramatic?)
Jen, you are the best thing since vinyl. THANKS!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Peeking out into spring

Last Saturday was so balmy that the kids and I decided to go on a field trip. We packed a lunch, the wagon, and a few destination ideas. We ended up at the Museum of Natural History, where the boys first poked around with magnifying glasses in the Discovery Room: 
Here they shake hands with "Mr. Bones."
Then of course we visited the dinosaur room, where Michael looked up and loudly proclaimed, "Mom! That Triceratops is BIG!" Well said.

Afterwards we walked down 14th Street, eating orange slices and listening to the street musicians (the favorite: a drummer with a drum set comprised of some buckets and a grocery cart "cymbal"). We meandered past the Washington Monument 
and across the Mall so that we could take pictures of the Capitol. And that's when the kids started saying, "Aw Mom, we should have gone to Grandma and Grandpa's house instead." I really had wanted to go to another museum, but I could see that no one else was interested, at that moment anyway, in the history of our postal system. So I told them that if they smiled for one last picture, we could go to Grandma and Grandpa's. One, two, three, American cheese!
(When I took this picture, a photographer from Continental Airlines's inflight magazine was photographing me, hoping to use it on a feature on family travel in the capital. About a dozen others also took pictures of us throughout the day. Apparently, we're also a tourist attraction. Nice.)

We ended up going to my family's house for dinner, the movie Where the Wild Things Are, and, when it got too late to drive home, a sleepover. We missed Eric, who was working and studying all day, but we'll catch him next time. It's going to be a beautiful spring.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Who's Got Talent?

During the first week of January, our boys auditioned for the elementary school talent show. They sang "Daddy's Homecoming" while Eric accompanied on the clarinet. C-U-T-E, right? After we found out that we had made the cut (I'm not sure that it was a very big cut, but we were satisfied nonetheless!), we practiced nightly for four weeks. As the talent show approached, however, so did the barrage of snowstorms. The show was postponed for three weeks--and so we continued to practice.

After the seventh week of rehearsing this song (nearly) every night, we had depleted an entire Costco bag of M&M incentives (10 candies per boy per run-through--it was a lot of counting). The boys got new matching shoes, slacks, shirts, ties, and haircuts--we were ready! Then on the day of the dress rehearsal, Jacob brought home this note:  
(For those of you rusty on your kindergartenese, "taint sowe is cansold" = "talent show is cancelled." And isn't the artwork a hoot? Jacob writes me letters every day during quiet time--yesterday he wrote "to Mom," then all the numbers from zero to 100, then "thanks for playing with me." It makes my day to find these notes! But I digress...back to the story.) Sure enough, it had been rescheduled again! This time, however, the show was rescheduled for the weekend that Eric and I have planned to look at homes in Wisconsin. So I emailed the coordinator and let her know that we can't be there.
We couldn't let all that effort end without a celebration, however, so we invited my family over for our own little night o' talent. We had pizza and ice cream sundaes,
games and goofiness, 
and of course the performance, which turned out to be slightly sillier than some of our better practice sessions, but I love the video anyway:
video
It was probably even better this way--we didn't need to arrive early, dress up, or worry about a little tumble off the bench. Plus, the boys had a room full of adoring fans, and isn't that just what we all need?