Sunday, January 24, 2016

Snowzilla or Blizzard: 2016

Some memories of our 2016 blizzard, so far.....

We spent most of it sitting in the front window, watching, or playing games....
(turns out M's pretty good at Monopoly Deal - or really lucky)

reading Harry Potter, aloud to the whole family, or solo, when everyone else has gone to bed.....

baking... This is M's breadstick.  Can you tell what it is?  We also have made cinnamon rolls and zepolli (Italian doughnuts) so far.  The hunkering down seems to call for baking.

making crazy bets....
(His dad offered him a penny per second to stand in the snow barefoot.  He thought it would be easy.  He lasted 18 seconds -- and only to beat S's 14 second record.)  

and making other videos, which I have to figure out how to download, since I haven't blogged for so long!

The light was awesome this morning, but I didn't get great photos of it.  We measured, after it settled, and got between 17-31" in various places, not counting the drifts against the house. In the back, last night:

I think we were a little sheltered from the wind because across the street, our neighbors have huge drifts and roofs threatening avalanche.

This morning, they mostly wanted to sled in the back and build snow caves instead of digging us out, but right now, the boys are enthusiastically shoveling our neighbor's driveway, so my heart is happy.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

It's Great to be 8!

Our S turned eight last month and was baptized today!  

* Still says a few of his own words, such as "tooken" instead of taken.  I will be sad when those disappear completely.

* Loves math.  It's still his favorite subject, but he did a seminar on archaeology last fall and I think that was his favorite one last year.  

* Finally learned to trust himself riding his bike a few weeks ago and he adores it.  Sometimes, I have to double-check he's made it home from school because he heads straight to the garage for his bike.

* Still loves his cars.  We have so many Matchbox cars, it's embarrassing, but I've tried to pare down the collection, and he knows them all!  

* He loves real cars, too.  Sometimes, he'll make a chart with makes of cars and sit in our front window and mark which cars drive by.  C made him a version on the computer, so now he takes it when we drive places and keeps track of which cars we see.  Future statistician?

* Had a long term sub in his second grade class because his teacher had a baby, and he adored her.  It was so cute.  He even got up the courage to invite Mrs. Ryerson to his baptism.

* Actually asks if he can help weed.  He really likes helping in the yard and hearing about the different plants and how they grow.  I still miss having him around in the spring to help me during the day.  

* Is very precise.  He has a set routine for jobs/getting ready for school and has it timed to the minute.  Now that he has his own watch, he times everything.

* He still loves geography, too.  When he's angry, he'll start naming all the countries in South America, then North America, and on and on until he calms down.  Once, he got halfway through Asia before he was himself again.  Nothing gets him out of a serious funk faster than me intentionally misnaming a country.  :)

Saturday, June 6, 2015


The end of spring soccer at last!  I don't know why the spring season seems to drag, but there it is.

S was not on board with it this time around.  He resisted going to practices and even for games, he said the only thing he liked about it was the snack at the end. :)  He improved dramatically this year, though.  He is so short still and some of those other kids are fast and tall and intimidating, but by the last game, he wasn't so afraid to run at the ball and actually take it from the other boys sometimes.  I was proud of him.  He did great at defense and liked being goalie a lot.  He said it was so he didn't have to run so much.  :)

(I couldn't find a picture of him playing, but here he is with pink eye and the pen he got at the dr's office!)

J just devoured it all.  He loves everything about soccer:  being on a team and making new friends, working hard and pushing his skills to new levels, running, competing, studying strategy.  When he plays, he gives it everything he has.  I love that about him.  He worked SO HARD this year, and his team had a rough spring season.  After winning nearly every game in the fall, they lost every game in the spring - by a lot.  J is so fast, he did a great job taking the ball down the field and passing to teammates so they could score.  He probably assisted in 80-90% of their goals.

But he really wanted to score.  He tried and tried and came close so many times.  Then their final game, everything came together.  The boys were all there, and they all played together.  Their defense was tough (finally!) and they scored 2 goals pretty quickly.  Then, with only 2-3 minutes left in the game, J got the ball and moved right down the middle, kicked it hard and arced it right over the goalie's head.  It was the perfect goal.  I might have cried.  He was so happy.  We didn't record it because G's battery died, but you know what?  I'm glad I was just watching and not worrying about a screen because now his moment of triumph is emblazoned in my memory.

I can't believe I just wrote a whole post about soccer.  Me!  The things motherhood makes you do.  :)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Princess Leia

M is obsessed with Star Wars these days.  Black still comes in handy because she can be Darth Vader, but she really loves Princess Leia - with good reason!  If she's going to like a princess, Leia is a good choice.  :)

The problem for me is the hair.  Leia has amazing hair, and M has gone from wanting nothing done with her hair to wanting Leia buns or braids.  The only thing that saves me is her imagination which takes this:

and turns it into this:

Here, half-finished Hoth braids (she only has so much patience for braiding....) 

becomes this:

And even this....

which really looks nothing like Leia's throne room hair...

was acceptable.  Whew.  Unfortunately, The Return of the Jedi is next on our viewing list and that will give me a whole slew of other hairstyles for her to request.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Spring Break

Today, we hiked the Appalachian Trail. 
Not the whole thing, naturally, but a part within fairly easy reach.  The boys have been asking about it, so we took a day of spring break to give it a go.  We decided to do a two-day trip with it, so yesterday, we drove up to the Catoctin Mountain Zoo to see a jaguar.

Mostly I thought the zoo was a disappointment.  With the late spring, most of the animals weren't even in their cages, but the kids got to feed deer and goats and alpacas, which S really loved.  Others had mixed feelings about it, especially J after one of the alpacas sneezed on him.  :)

But they did see the jaguar sunning himself in a warm corner and Bengal tigers doing the same.  There was an Amur leopard who woke up and walked around and chased his tail which they loved.  They liked the arctic wolves pacing around their cages too.  All in all, they enjoyed it, so it was a success.

We drove over to Cunningham Falls for a picnic (in the car, since the wind was pretty brisk) and a hike.

We checked into our hotel, drove around Hagerstown for a little while and saw the Jonathan Hager house (c. 1739) from the outside and introduced them to Singing In The Rain.  :)

This morning, we tried the Discovery Center in town.  M especially liked it, but S like the Titanic model and the Cessna you could "fly" yourself.  J liked the dinosaurs.  C had fun with the vision exhibit.

Then the Appalachian Trail.  The boys and G did maybe 3-4 miles, but once we reached the summit, M was done.  We played there for a while, waiting while the boys walked on to Annapolis Rock, but soon decided to start walking back on our own, and it was delightful.  Downhill helped her mood a lot and being able to go as slow as she wanted also helped.  

J especially wants to explore and go as far and as fast as possible, so breaking into two groups worked out pretty well.

Do you know, most hikers on the trail are so nice?  You can tell which ones are serious about it and experienced and they are so friendly.  It's almost like not being on the east coast.  :) 

Ta-da!  We definitely want to go again, maybe do a day trip or two this summer when there are actually leaves on the trees.  :)

Monday, March 9, 2015

M turns 5

No, I haven't actually forgotten about this blog - though it might seem that way.....  In my absence, M turned five.  FIVE!  I don't know how that happened because last time I looked, she was a baby in my arms.

Some random details about my youngest:

Favorite color:  Black  (of course, if pressed, she will say she loves all the colors)
Favorite book:  The Princess in Black, by Shannon Hale
Favorite animal:  black jaguar (if pressed, again, she will say she loves all the animals)

Are you sensing a theme here?  She wears black as often as my laundry schedule will allow and I have to admit, it's very useful for lots of pretending.  Besides the jaguar, she can be a crook, Lindsay Sterling (see her favorite video here), Darth Vader, Toothless, or now, the Princess in Black.

Favorite foods:  hummus and pretzels and goldfish (these foods sustain life for her) and anything chocolaty

At preschool, she said she wants to be a vet so she can take care of animals, and at home, sometimes she'll say a zookeeper, but when I asked her this weekend, she wouldn't commit and said, "I really just want to be an animal.  I wish I was a black jaguar cub."  A few weeks ago, she told me we needed to fix our dam (the one the kids built in the backyard) so that the fairies will come to our yard and turn her into a real animal.  :)

She likes to be with people so much, she can't fall asleep on her own.

After every bath, she has to wrap up in her towel and pretend to hatch from an egg.  And we have to pretend we think she's really a rock.  :)

She loves the Wild Kratts.

She likes to pick out songs on the piano.  She's figured out the Star Wars theme and the Mission Impossible theme and a few others.  She really wants to learn the violin, too.

When she prays, she asks that bad people will be good and that the poor and the hungry will have what they need.  I get a little weepy every time.

For her birthday, her brothers all made her gifts.  Two made different police badges for her pretending, and the other made a batch of play dough.  She was thrilled.

She was also very excited to get a larger Lego set for her birthday, just like her brothers.  Not Lego Friends because she can tell those are just for girls.

 She can hardly wait for kindergarten, but I personally am enjoying her littleness while I can.  How long can you wear a black mask to the store and get away with it?  Not long enough.