Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Home Anniversary.

Today marks four years in our home. Four years is the longest we've been anywhere, and I think it's safe to say we've established this as our home. I would bet lots of money that we'll be living in this house for a long, long time.
(Close-up of the new house color - Ron's finished painting the front. He's painting our house this summer! He's awesome. Here's what it looked like the year we moved in.)

When we first moved in four years ago, we definitely thought that by now we'd have started to think about where to move next. For a more permanent home (bigger, newer, fancier). As in, this will do for now but not forever.
It's funny how things change. We don't have a big house, or a very new house, or anything really that spectacular. But what we do have is a house that in four years has turned into our home. I could go on and on about the events and moments that have made that happen, and most of them would have to do with my children, because what I've realized is that they really do make this home for me. This is the only home they have ever known, and there is something magic about that. I am giddy thinking about them coming home from college to sleep under this very roof, watching their own kids maneuver the very steps they slid down backwards (should we just leave the baby gates up?), crowd around the same dining room table that I've been eating at since I was some single-digit age.

I am sentimental. I am not all that patient, but have learned that over time we turn this house into just what we want. Over time, we call on this house to do different things for us, we live in it differently. The play areas of the toddler days will be the hang-out spots for the teenagers to come.

And when they are both gone off on their own, this is all the house I want, and these walls hold the memories that will sustain me until they come home again.

This is what our home looks like today.
I'm sitting on this chair now. I love the print of Monterey I found at Goodwill.To my left across the room is this vignette atop our wine bar. I got the orchid for my birthday this year, the white vase was my grandmother's, the box is a treasure of Ron's from my parent's travels abroad. At times I notice it has disappeared from that spot and will find it next to Alla's bed, full of beads or rubber balls.
One of my favorite walls in the house, over the playroom bed.
I could not be without the gallery we installed in the hallway, you see it right when you enter the front door and get closer as you walk up the steps.
When you live in a smallish space, you have to get creative with organization. This is the best idea I've ever borrowed from Katie! I think having it actually inspires the artists in them.
A watercolor from Fisher.
Alla's drawing of me, and those are not curls she gave me, but tangles. She told me so.An Alla watercolor of a castle.

Children have a way of prettying things up. Alla made me this 'necklace' for my book/magazine basket and I think it might be there forever.
This little nook in our room houses a vanity that is quite ugly and dated, but highly functional. There's a mirror on half the wall, an out of reach cabinet for medicines, and a lower linen cabinet.

I left it unadorned for quite awhile but then decided to pretty it up, and now the space makes me smile every time I come into our room. There's an art print by Amy Rice, a photo Ron took of Fisher in my belly, and an early Alla watercolor.
A close-up of the Amy Rice artwork. It's printed on a page of poetry by e.e. cummings.

The house has its quirks. Things that need fixing, painting, re-doing. But it's ours, it's home. I love dreaming here, staring out at the walls and imagining what they'll become.

Friday, June 25, 2010

27 months.

By the end of the summer, Fisher will be two and a half. Hard to believe it was three summers ago he started growing in my belly. Hard, because when I look at this picture, he is still so much a baby. He is a wonderful two-year-old, truly.
At twenty-seven months, he is adventurous, stubborn, strong-willed, sweet, scrumptious, serious, playful, determined, smart, adorable, short-tempered. I could go on.
He love Mighty Machines, has favorite episodes - The Construction Site, At the Rock Quarry, Dusty and Vacuum Vic, A320, Putt-Putt. I could go on. Can I watch a show?
His favorite day of the week is Tuesday, Trash Truck Day. Next week will be recycling, too. That will make him twice as happy.
He loves to drive his tractor.
He loves heavy machinery.
He loves Lovey, Glo-worm, and lately the two Elmos, too. (But I'm making him tuck them in next to him on the floor, with the yellow blanket, the one we used to swaddle Alla.)
He loves cell phones, computers, anything electronic, really, and the more off-limits, the better.
His little sentences amaze me. I love how he says "I cannot" instead of using the shorter, "I can't." My dad tells me I was a big fan of the latter, probably around this age.
He lights up when Daddy gets home, saying "Daddy come home! Daddy come home!" He runs to his car, opens the door, and gets in to help pull into the driveway.
He likes to go to his room and put himself in a time-out, to pout.
He also likes to slam the door.
Today he had an allergic reaction to a cat and ended up with a hugely swollen left eye. 8mLs of Benadryl later and he was falling asleep at the lunch table.
He is loved, very very loved.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Beginnings of summer.

I am sure that when I think of summer ten, twenty years from now, I'll think of it more as a feeling. Not a series of events but a feeling of how it all mashed up together and felt day to day.
And I'll be glad to have lots of images of these little people because ten, twenty years from now, they surely won't be so little. And these images will form their earliest summer memories, too.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


The hours run away from me, the days are their longest now yet they seem short. They are full: sleeping in, iced coffee, breakfast by ten is good, a morning run, playing outside as long as Mom will allow, swinging, pushing, riding tractor and bike, checking on the garden, napping, washing diapers, getting dinner prepped, heading to soccer, heading to swimming, dining al fresco, batches of granola eaten warm, listening to kiddos chatting and singing in their beds after eight, reading in bed, falling asleep way too late.

Yesterday at three it was 95. Today at the same time, it wasn't even 70.

Alla is pro on her bike, I love it.

We're almost done with Harry Potter.

I'm reading When You Reach Me.

Ron's in love with his iPad.

Fisher won't share his tractor, bicycle (he makes sure to call it by its full name), lawnmower, or ride-on piece of crap with anyone.

Ron's training for a 10K. Tomorrow he runs eight.

He's also painting the house. It looks wonderful.

We're thoroughly enjoying summer. I have some pictures on my camera. But I'm too busy enjoying summer to plug the camera into my computer!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Happy Father's Day to the Best.

We think he's the best there is, and today we hope he feels all of our love. In honor of his special day, Alla has answered the Daddy questionnaire for 2010. I just love these pictures of Ron in his early days of being a father to each of them.
1. What is something Daddy always says to you?
He tells me I’m a pro

2. What makes Daddy happy?

3. What makes Daddy sad?
When I don’t listen

4. How does Daddy make you laugh?
Tickle me

5. What was Daddy like as a child?
To run around

6. How old is Daddy?

7. How tall is Daddy?
This big

8. What is his favorite thing to do?
Play with Alla and Fisher and eat donuts

9. What does Daddy do when you're not around?
Play video games

10. If Daddy becomes famous, what will it be for?

11. What is your Daddy really good at?
Building stuff – Lego stuff.

12. What is Daddy not very good at?

13. What does Daddy do for a job?
Work. Draw stuff.

14. What is Daddy’s favorite food?

15. What makes you proud of Daddy?
He fixes stuff.

16. If Daddy was a cartoon character, who would he be?
Adam Lambert

17. What do you and Daddy do together?
Have fun!

18. How are you and Daddy the same?
We both have brown skin.

19. How are you and Daddy different?
We don’t [both] have pokey hair.

20. How do you know Daddy loves you?
Because he hugs me.

21. What does Daddy like most about Mommy?
Mommy’s sneezes. I like how he says, “Oh, J.J., what is
wrong with you?!”

22. Where is your dad's favorite place to go?
With me!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Fridays are for...

...extra morning snuggles
...Daddy coming home early
...still being in jammies at 4:00 (I'm not saying who)
...finishing up Father's Day art
...not having to go anywhere
...grilling a hamburger for lunch
...changing the sheets on everyone's beds
...looking forward to having friends over for pizza
...realizing you have whipping cream and strawberries in the fridge for dessert
...and deciding to bake a cake to go with
...watching The Red Balloon, twice
...reading The Dinosaurs Are Back, and It's All Your Fault, Edward!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Ten on Tuesday.

1. Another mama robin has set up camp in the exact same spot as the previous mama. It's as if they compared notes mid-air someplace, and this new mama just had her eyes on this perfect spot. We can't wait to see how many eggs she lays!

2. As I snuggled with Alla tonight, she smelled of a mix of chlorine and shampoo and just her. Ah, summer.

3. She started swim class tonight. Twice a week for four weeks. She's as fearless in the pool as she is on her bike.

4. Apparently I didn't get the email about monsoon season here in Minnesota.

5. The rains did let up this morning, however, so we could go for a Mama run/Alla bike. Goodness gracious that girl works me out.

6. I love watching Army Wives online.

7. Aside from that, I am not missing television this summer.

8. We are 174 pages into Harry Potter. Alla is loving it.

9. Fisher's new favorite: Miss Bindergarten!

10. Alla's new haircut is so her.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Summer adventures: Firestation.

I would say our first adventure of the summer, though it was technically the day before Alla's preschool graduation, was a local firestation. Another mom organized it, and the kids were super excited to see it all. We pass a firestation every single day ont he way to Alla's preschool, and it is always a special treat when a truck is actually out, so to go inside one and see them up close was very cool.
The fire chief's truck got called out on a flashing-lights emergency when we were there (but were back as we were leaving), and Fisher was very concerned with that, kept asking when they'd come back.
Both kids got fire hats, both refused to wear them. They had no trouble ringing the bell, though.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Here's another first.

You'd think she were five months instead of five years, with all these new things she's learning and doing. She's been telling me for months that she wants a haircut. Short. Deep inhale from the mama with extensions. Just kidding. I started to think back on my own hair adventures growing up. My mom didn't seem to have a problem marching me to Supercuts when in second grade I figured a perm was in order. Nor did she (that I remember) take issue with my two-inch Aquanetted bangs all through junior high. I've had it super short and super long, and actually didn't even consider (that I remember) coloring it til a summer of swimming in college had bleached it blonde. So, the lesson = it's just hair. Be normal about it, and your daughter will, too. That's the thought, at least.

So, I snapped a quick 'before' shot, marched her on over to my own hairdresser, and got super excited for her. Mostly because I knew she'd look so cute, but also partly because I was impressed with her nonchalance about it. It's just hair.And all I've been able to tell her today when she steps into the room is I love you because she just looks so cute and so free! Now, little girl, if I hear one word about wanting to straighten your hair in later years, I will probably not handle that as well. Just a heads-up.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Ten on Tuesday.

1. This deserves its own post, but seeing as I have no photos to accompany it YET, I'll just go ahead and announce it here: ALLA LEARNED TO RIDE HER BIKE! NO TRAINING WHEELS!

2. Consequently, we went for a Mommy run/Alla bike on Monday morning, with a stop at the park on the way home.

3. And a three and a half mile ride Sunday night, just the two of us. So fun.

4. At dinner Alla requested Adam Lambert, and Fisher said, "Rock out" when the first song came on. Three songs later, he's singing Whaddya want from me?

5. Tonight I asked Fisher if he could tell me Daddy's name, and he said, "Babe." Ha!

6. We had a wonderful rainy day today, which forced us to spend the whole day inside. We read books before breakfast, built a giant train track, vacuumed, painted, built Minneapolis-St. Paul with wood blocks, watched Dinosaur Train, napped (one of us), worked out, created a new piece of art, read Harry Potter, and Alla read a few little books on her own!

7. Alla started soccer last night. Soccer is exclusively taking place at "our" park this summer, which means we'll be riding our bikes there every Monday night. Like last night.

8. No more TV shows for the summer - egads!

9. I have lined up tons of books for myself at the library, and they should be ready every fifteen days, but first, I'm fifty pages away from finally finishing A Long Way Gone.

10. An image of summer. The short-lived cherry season is here!

Monday, June 07, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday - al fresco!

We hope you are getting to enjoy your muffin tins outside today!
We sure are!

Friday, June 04, 2010


One afternoon this week, at 4:45, this is what you kids were doing. Fisher: train tracks in your room.Alla: little tiny Lego pieces in the dining room.Just building, just creating, just playing. I love you two.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Ten on Tuesday.

1. Today is June first. Really, June? Slow down, warm weather.

2. June first means the first day of Half-Price Books summer reading program, which we did last year. It's almost as fun for me to have an excuse to go there just so I can browse the books, too. They should really consider a summer reading program for grown-ups, too.

3. The best way to kick off a summer reading program is to begin a book you're really going to spend some time with, and that means a chapter book. Since Alla is now five, I think she's ready for Harry Potter! Well, the first one anyway.

4. Fisher thinks it's great to say whatever Alla says, even though he mostly doesn't know what he's saying. His latest retorts are, "Not fay-ir" and "Stop copping me" (stop copying me), the meaning of which he really hasn't a clue. But it's cute. Especially since those sayings are accompanied by his duck (pout) face.

5. After lunch today, Fisher requested "tahkwhat, pweese!" I think he's going to love chocolate as much as the rest of this family.

6. We're now dining outdoors more than we are indoors.

7. Our kids gave us the best treat on Memorial Day - they slept in until 8:30!!!!

8. This morning was total popsicle weather, now it's overcast and windy. Must get some popsicles for the next popsicle-weather day.

9. Some across-the-street neighbors are moving to Japan this month, and while we are saddened by that (they have school-age kids that my kids enjoy), we are also super bummed that there doesn't appear to be a new crop of children moving into the house. Hello, can a five year old girl please move onto our street?

10. Fisher is starting to tell stories like Alla does. (I'm sure he learned it from her, she's a pro.) I hear him setting up the train tracks and instead of just train whistles and choo-choos, I hear a whole narration going on, and as I stand nearby to listen undetected, I cannot help smile at how their imaginations unfold. But I also sigh just a little at how fast it all happened. Two years ago I was holding a newborn, two years from now he'll be a full-fledged preschooler closer to kindergarten than crawling and cooing.