Thursday, May 27, 2010

Celebration Day.

Five keeps getting bigger. And we're only a month and a day into five. Today Alla graduated from preschool. I spent every minute of the day mesmerized by her, taking it all in so I can remember this very special day. When we walked in, the kids' self-portraits and signatures were up on the wall. I asked Alla later why her name was now "Alta," but she huffed at me and said that second l has arms. Duh. They entered in a line, which Alla later told me was a little embarrassing, and then the celebration began, singing, dancing, and then they each got a diploma and memory binder.
After refreshments they all got busy with the preschool version of signing yearbooks - signing graduation teddy bears. Let me tell you, this took some explaining but once they got it, they went around to each other with their skinny Crayola markers and kind of stood in front of each other until the exchange happened. Then onto the next classmate.
I watched her at dinnertime and just ended up staring. She's pretty, smart, funny, quiet and loud, thoughtful, kind.
Thankfully it's only preschool graduation, but it's still graduation. I felt a little bit of what summer is to a kid after a big milestone year, work done, a gift or two bestowed, congratulations given, and a whole entire summer of nothing to do lying ahead of her.
We are so proud of you, little girl. I love that summer stretches long before us with hot days and sunshine. Love yous.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A new favorite.

There are a handful of summer toys that stick around year after year - bikes, shovels and pails, sand tables and sand boxes, the blue pool, scooters. This is the new one to add to that list, and I know this because next spring when all at once the kids have nothing but jeans and fleece to wear and are begging to get out the spring box, they'll remember there are also spring toys, and they'll start begging Daddy to get them down from the attic. And these are just the faces they'll make when it's rediscovered.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Ten on Tuesday.

1. Alla asked me yesterday if I grew up at the same time as Uncle John. Yes, except for those two and a half blissful years before he was born. I went on to explain how it was kind of like with her and Fisher. I was two and a half when Uncle John was born, just like she was two and a half when Fisher was born. So then she asked if I got to hold him when he was born, and I said I thought so. I asked her if she remembered holding Fisher in the hospital, to which she replied, Sure I do. I don't know how she still has that memory, but oh I hope she has it forever.

2. It's been too long since I rotated toys around here. Kind of on my to-do list. One simple example: moved the train tracks from the downstairs toy box to a basket in the kids' room and now he plays with it every chance he gets.

3. Hello, summer. We're on our third day of 90-plus degree heat. Yesterday the kiddos played in the little blue pool in the backyard, Carter and Canton joined in, and all of a sudden there was some made-up follow the leader game involving running through the pool. The sun goes down in the backyard, and as much as I wanted to made a mad dash for my camera, boy I couldn't tear myself from them, from their pure joyous laughter.

4. That said, I may casually place my camera near the sliding glass door today. The pool water is already warming up, and I've promised sprinklers.

5. Two baby birds flew away yesterday. The second was perched on the deck this morning. She eventually flew off but left us a nice big poop on the railing. Sweet.

6. The last baby bird appears to be smaller and seems to be hanging out in the nest a bit longer.

7. Thursday is Alla's preschool graduation.

8. Read Lift right this minute. Go request it from your local library. So wonderful. And, only 83 pages. You can finish it in a naptime, or before bed.

9. New Jack Johnson June 1st!

10. Is it nearly Memorial Day? Bring on the barbeques and the eating on the lawn.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


It was a pirate birthday for Daddy this year (who is now the same age as me so he can shut it), so when the kiddos told him to 'walk thee plank' in their best pirate voices, he got right to it. Which meant, open your presents right this minute, Daddy.

And they were eager to help.
Later in the day our big surprise arrived - Daddy's new bike! I'm not sure who was more excited, Alla or Daddy, but one thing's for sure, and that's how proud I am of her for keeping that giant secret for several days.
Happy birthday, Ron! We love you so much and we're so glad your birthday fell on a weekend this year so we could celebrate it with you!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Just emerging.

We seem to be in the middle of a busy week, in which I consequently have a mish-mash of photos on my camera, all from different days, different doings. But I did find this gem, the first iris to bloom in three years. See, I planted this bunch of irises three Mays ago, when Alla was just two and we were celebrating our first spring in Minnesota, watching the ground to see what would emerge. These were extras from the garden of a friend of a friend, and of course since I planted them in May they wouldn't bloom until the following year, but then they didn't, nor the year after that. But suddenly this year, when Alla is just five, we have noticed the stalks shoot up with purple at the ends, and we are excited. Spring is exciting.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday Five.

1. The baby robins hatched! I am torn between making them leave the nest alone so Mama Robin can feed them, and letting them go peek in between the slats on the deck at those little fluffy chirpies. Especially since Fisher has learned from his big sister to say that they are 'doh-ble' in his own most adorable voice.
2. The kiddos helped make my Mother's Day super sweet, Alla taking my breakfast order and Fisher coming to snuggle with me. I was smitten with how he put his tiny hand on my face; he was smitten by Daddy capturing the moment.3. So I turned the camera around because after I snap the photo he always says, "May I see it, pweese pweese pweese?"

4. The sun is shining today! This is glorious because it's been raining since Monday night. After lunch the kids and I sat on the deck to soak up some vitamin D, and Alla said that the day was just perfect and beautiful.

5. When Fisher wants you to explain something to him, he says, "What's x mean?" For example, last night we were reading a book and there was a kindergartener wearing a smock in the book, so he said, "What's a smock mean?" He looks at me deeply, he desperately needs to know this little piece of information so he can understand the big picture.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Kindergarten is creeping up.

I think about it everyday, in part becase we won't find out until late summer whether she's going to attend morning or afternoon kindergarten. I thought at first that I would rather her go in the morning, like she's been used to doing the past four years. I thought that would help her be most successful.
But I've started to think that perhaps an afternoon classroom might be better, for Fisher's sake. I mean, if she's gone all morning, and he's napping all afternoon, they won't see each other til four o'clock!
Who will torment him? Make up games to play with him? Race with him?
That would be a long day without his Awa-Bawa.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Seize the day.

After dinner, every single day, Daddy gives the kids a bath, then we get them lotioned up, get Fisher his shot, and both into jammies. They each pick a book that one of us reads to them, and then we sing them the bedtime song, give them each a sippy cup of water, tuck them in, give them enough loves to last the night, and blow kisses as we close the door.

Last Tuesday, while Alla was at school, I took Fisher on a run, which looped around the pond, where we spotted newly hatched baby ducks. I was entranced, but of course Fisher was much more interested in the giant lawnmower being used to cut the grass at the adjacent park.
When we picked up Alla we stopped by the pond on our way home, so she could see. I'm pretty sure that it doesn't take too long for little quack-quacks to learn how to fly, so I figured we'd better go right away.
At dinner, she told Daddy that she wanted to show him, too, so we postponed our evening routine to head over to the pond for the third time that day.
When we got out of the car the wind immediately picked up and Fisher held on as though he worried he might blow away. I carried Alla on the walk from the parking lot toe the pond, so she wouldn't blow away, of course.

We made it to the baby ducks to show Daddy and gawk over them once more and then quickly made it back to the car (before we blew away) so we could drive back home and resume the evening routine.
I'm a stickler for routine. But that evening, I was glad we followed our daughter's suggestion and headed out for a change. Those baby ducks have places to go.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Ten on Tuesday.

1. I know at least a few of you tried my favorite oatmeal recipe. Awhile ago, I thought for sure my oatmeal-loving son would also love it. Turns out, no way does he like his oatmeal chunky. So, for those of you who like it smooth, here's Fisher's Oatmeal Recipe: 1/2 cup oats mixed with 1/2 cup soymilk and 1/4 applesauce, plus a sprinkle of cinnamon. Microwave for 2 minutes, stir, then microwave for 30 seconds more. I pop in an ice cube or two to help it cool and thin out. It's quite enjoyable for him to hunt for the ice cube in there as it melts. And in case you need a carb count, that's 32.5 grams of carbohydrates.

2. Ron gave me the most wonderful Mother's Day, starting with breakfast in bed. I did not feel the slightest bit guilty staying put until almost noon, either!

3. I thought the day was winding down after we put the kids to bed, but then he had one more surprise for me - a vanilla-lemon curd-white chocolate cupcake from Salty Tart, plus a half dozen macaroons on the side! Amazing.

4. I finished The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (sad), and am on to the new Anna Quindlen. It's been a long time since I read anything by her, and I'd forgotten how enjoyable she is to read. I'm not even a hundred pages in, and just completely wrapped up in this fictional family.

5. Yesterday, Alla had a Toys R Us giftcard (well, the three dollar off card they mail you for your birthday) burning a hole in her wallet, plus four crisp dollar bills, so we left the house after breakfast for the most dreaded toy store on the planet. She had made a 'list,' which I hoped was small cause there isn't a lot to buy for seven dollars at that store. The only thing on the list was lip gloss, because she's been infatuated with the roller ball kind since having a playdate with Olivia a few months ago. She was just hoping TRU would have a pack of them. They didn't have the roller ball kind, but she's quite enamored with the mega-pack of Lip Smackers she chose instead. Now she's asking Fisher and I and Daddy what kind we want, and telling us how they have to stay in the container they came in, and all facing the same way all the time.

6. Mother's Day was just beautiful here, sunny, 60, blue skies, puffy clouds. I took Alla for a long walk in the jogger after lunch. The weather has taken a turn for the worse, however, and it is now in the upper 40s, and a classic rainy day.

7. The registration papers for Alla to ride the bus are sitting on the kitchen counter.

8. Alla is not so interested in learning to ride her bike without training wheels (which is a bummer since she threw the training wheels away a couple months ago), but she's in love with her new scooter!

9. I am most successful at laundry when I follow the Communal Hamper Method, which means that I stash a laundry basket in my closet and as the day goes along fill it up with all the dirty dish towels, napkins, jammies, running clothes, washcloths, jeans, everything. Then when the kids go to bed, I wash that load. In the morning I dry it, and at naptime I fold it. I'm still working on the putting it away part.

10. Fisher is beyond me scooping the avocado out onto his plate for him. Now I just halve it, score it, and hand it to him with a spoon.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Firetruck shenanigans.

Let's face it, babies are super cute but they don't do much. I think it's safe to say that Alla's been waiting for the day when she would have an acceptable playmate.

Lately she's inventing games that they can enjoy together.

Like this one: Turn the firetruck around so they can trick-ride it together.

All the while singing some song from Dragon Tales, Singing makes the work go by, work go by, work go by, Singing makes the work go by, While you're singing. Which Fisher interprets as, Wok-go-bok.

Whatever. I'm just glad they have each other and their made-up games to go along with their screaming at each other. It's all about balance.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Happy Mother's Day, Moms!

Happy Mother's Day from my heart to yours! I hope it's wonderful and relaxing and full of love.
I am so lucky to be the mom of these two delightful children that I love so so much, and to have a mother who loves us all with her very big heart. Happy Mother's Day, Mom :)

Friday, May 07, 2010

Friday Five.

1. My daughter is utterly excited for Mother's Day. She spends her moments before sleep each night making up new Mother's Day songs. They are all amazing.

2. Friday Night Lights starts tonight!
3. Did anyone know there were alraedy four episodes of Army Wives? I've watched two online. Love that show.
4. Alla had her 5-year-old check-up yesterday. She's 46 pounds and 45 inches, almost an inch a pound! That girl can SCREAM her way through shots. And when I say scream, I mean out-of-body experience screaming, hitting, and, deep breath, I even got bit. Happy Mother's Day to me.
5. Despite the warm March and April we had, May has shaped up to be really chilly, and we're supposed to wake up to 33 degrees on Sunday morning. I just hope that Mama Robin has enough post-pregnancy body fat to keep those four eggies warm!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

A few things: Fisher.

Fisher now realizes that his big sister gets to do fun stuff when he goes down for his nap, like watch her show. Somehow he's talked me into letting him come down to "turn on Alla's show," as he says, and even watching the theme song to whatever it is she picks for the day. Usually it's Dinosaur Train - he's digging the theme song for that show and gets a kick out of the conductor.

He loves baby food veggies - you know, those plastic rectangular containers. Something about the shape of them, I guess. (Maybe I should start pureeing again, and just freeze in those little containers?) The kid likes very little (if anything?) that is green, so if he wants a plastic container of vegetables for a snack then have at it, Mister.

One of the teachers in the class we go to on Thursdays, Ms. Leanne, brought Fisher a special gift today, a cloth bag with three books about various trucks. He carried it around calling it his library bag. I was touched that she thought of him, wherever she found the books.

He asks me each morning, Where Daddy go? And I tell him, Daddy went to work. And he says, Daddy get the money? Yes, buddy, Daddy get the money.

Fisher has learned that good manners will get you everywhere, so he says "May I" about 150 times a day. May I hab Daddy keys-es pweese? May I eat it? May I hab some milk pweese?

One thing that does not change with my son is his Lovey, and he had you all stumped. That Lovey was found in the crisper. Yes, in the refrigerator. I said to him, Fisher don't you ever do that again. Lovey does not go in the fridge. Lovey goes with you or in bed. So far Lovey has remained in one of those two places.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Ten on Tuesday.

1. A wonderful robin put up a nest under our deck one morning (yes, she was starting it when we left for school, and when we returned 3 hours later it was a complete nest!). I think it was on Earth Day. She stuck pretty close to it, and we could practically see the eggs pushing against her big belly. She then proceeded to lay one egg a day for four days! Now we are all super excited to see Mama Robin's babies. We haven't had a nest here since the summer Alla was two.

2. I have the new Anna Quindlen waiting for me at the library. So that means I have to finish The Boy in the Striped Pajamas!

3. The kiddos slept til 8:15 yesterday. Whoa. I puposely woke them up this morning so they'd see Daddy before he went off to work.

4. Saturday Fisher woke me up with this sweetness: "May I hab some bwefast pweese?"

5. Speaking of breakfast, lately I'm obsessed with my old stand-by recipe for oatmeal: dice up an apple, drizzle some maple syrup over and microwave for 2 minutes. Then add 1/2 cup oats and 3/4 cup water. Stir and microwave for 2 more minutes. Take it out and stir in a spoonful of brown sugar. That's it! Well, I like to top it with a hefty dallop of plain yogurt, too. And then spend the rest of the day waiting til the next breakfast so I can have it again.

6. One of Alla's special birthday gifts was a coupon book. Oh my heavens, I'd forgotten how well loved a coupon book is to a little girl. All sorts of good stuff in there, like getting an ice cream with Daddy and staying up an extra thirty minutes. The rule is you can only use one a day.

7. Guess how she used those extra thirty minutes the night she cashed it in? To give me a massage! I swear. Gobs of lotion and all. She even wrapped up my feet in washcloths when she was done to let the lotion soak in before I went to bed. Love my girl.

8. Another coupon was for a walk with Mommy after dinner. I've mentioned how much I love to walk with her. I've also mentioned this to her, and might have suggested that she needn't have a coupon next time it strikes her fancy to take a walk with her Mama.

9. I finally got around to finding out who went home last week on Idol. Poor Siobhan. Ron liked to call her See-oh-bahn. I liked her.

10. Last night we had a Lovey Crisis, as in Couldn't Find Lovey For Thirty Minutes*. At bedtime. I was going out of my mind, not only because I knew my son would not be able to sleep without it, but because I realized I am just as attached to that thing as he. One day he'll ditch it and I'll probably secretly stash it under my pillow hoping the baby boy smell of him never wears off.

*I'll give you an extra vote for Mom of the Year if you can guess where my son hid said Lovey.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

She's been five now, for a week.

So I thought I'd recount her fifth birthday.Her birthday fell on a Monday, so she had a birthday Muffin Tin Monday. Then Fisher took a nap and my favorite part of the day came next: I took her for a long walk. We held hands the entire way. We chit-chatted, as she would say. I will always remember it as my favorite part of her fifth birthday.
A few special gifts for the birthday girl. We outfitted her bike with a bell and a basket. We're hoping this inspires her to learn how to ride it (since she threw away her training wheels a couple months ago). So far, no joy.
Nana + Pappi got her a new scooter.
Two of the bigger kids on the block took her for an inaugural ride around the block.
We came in to open presents, and I loved how she looked at every page of the two books we got her. Every page!
She later told me that her favorite gift was this lip stuff from Nana + Pappi. Great.
Probably the best part was just having them here for the big FIVE!
Daddy hooked her up with a special gift - this secret basket that operates on a pulley system in the playroom. To store all her secret stuff. Well, secret stuff that's not too heavy. Like the coupon book we stuffed in there.
We love you, big five-year-old. Enjoy your next 51 weeks!