Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Ten on Tuesday.

1. An adorable girl with an adorable new smile, after losing her first top tooth Sunday morning.(Thanks to her lovely father, who gladly knocked it out - kidding! Kind of.) 2. So that it may be noted for the posterity, this is how the Ice Cream Sundaes on Sunday tradition began. Fisher "bought" a coupon with his Halloween candy, entitling the entire family to ice cream sundaes, and he hounded me for months to get to it, already. So one Sunday Alla came with me to Target to get all the right sundae stuff and that night we dug into our first Sunday sundaes, and because they were so delicious, we decided every Sunday would be a good day for sundaes.

3. It is so warm today, Fisher and I went for a run and stopped at the park (to firefight) before lunch.

4. Since it's the last day of the month I am feeling very pressed to finish the book I'm reading. In other book-related news, Ron is going to be taking an Air Force class via correspondence, and has therefore declared the first hour after kid bedtime "reading hour," so he can dedicate himself to completing the class well before the allotted time. I am giddy just thinking of all the extra books I will get to read because of my studious husband.

5. Two days away from February 2nd, and I am realizing that I was too late requesting Brownie Groundhog and the February Fox, but this book is so delightful that we will read it anyway, just as soon as our name comes up.

6. I imagine Alla is having a delightful day at school today because it was "Lily Day," which her teacher would better explain as bring a stuffed animal, healthy snack, and good book to read-Day.

7. Tonight I'm looking forward to making and eating Sausage and Spinach Risotto, thanks to Amy! I'm thinking some variation on breakfast egg muffins for the leftover sausage.

8. The kids will be happy to hear that we have coconut oil again, so we can make popcorn. They were not a fan of popcorn made with "plain" oil.

9. Usually at this point, I have a full fall/wardrobe stockpiled for each kid for next year. I'm not too worried about Alla, she's finally reached the point where she can wear things for a couple years. But Fisher is already growing out of his 4T shirts, and would look better in 5T now, so what size does that make him next fall?

10. Sadly, a new hole has appeared in a pair of jeans that I've already had mended once. The hole has worn through directly above the stitched patch the tailor put in. So I'm going to have to be on the lookout for a major GAP coupon to replace them.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Ten on Tuesday.

1. Yesterday morning the kids and I listened to a live webcast of the Caldecott, Newberry, and 16 other book awards. Then I requested all the ones we hadn't read from the library. I am giddy.

2. Saturday we had a date night in, and went with Trader Joe's fondue - microwaveable! The fondue, lots of dippers, and then their chocolate lava cakes for dessert - awesome, easy dinner date.

3. We also watched Ides of March, which we both enjoyed.

4. We actually got a few inches of snow yesterday morning, and both Fisher and I were delighted to go out and shovel and play in it.

5. Have I yet mentioned Fisher's love (obsession?) of Battleship? He gets to watch one show everyday, but since he fell in love with Battleship (on the iPad), he's traded that show for two games of Battleship. Every single day.

6. The kid also loves him some Chobani, now that he can eat dairy. Halleluiah!

7. One more love of Fisher's - he has many - steel cut oats for lunch. (Me, too.)

8. At the beginning of the year, the kids in Alla's class were all given a reading sheet to track the books and individual chapters of longer books that they read over the course of the school year. They were asked to set a monthly goal for themselves, by looking at the sheet to see how far they wanted to get (how many prizes they wanted to earn!). Alla wanted to get almost to the end, about 550 books/chapters, to the Teacher for a Day prize. As of yesterday she surpassed that goal, completed the sheet, and today RAN out of school at the end of the day, so excited to tell me she got a NEW sheet to start on, with new prizes!

9. The downside of her reading is that while she can set seemingly impossible goals for herself, and reach them, she cannot seem to grasp the concept of limits, which means that we will sometimes find her wide awake, reading at ten o'clock, two-plus hours after bedtime. And then she is exhausted the next day.

10. Fisher has made it through the letter S in the preschool book I made him in September. When Alla was in her first year of preschool they did a letter each week, which is the only way I knew he was capable of doing that, too. He looks so much littler to me than she did, but I don't want to be guilty of not challenging him, too, just because he's my baby. I'm so glad we started working on letters because I am so amazed at how just a little exposure each day, just a little practice, has led to noticeable improvement in his pencil grip and letter formation.

11. Bonus! It's a short week for us, since Alla has school tomorrow and then a four-day weekend. Oh how we love long weekends around here!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Books of 2011.

I love to read. I read a lot more than I used to think I had time for. I read everyday, or the day feels off. I'm always looking forward to the next book I'm going to read, because I almost always know what I'm going to read next. So I thought I'd share what I read last year, and highlight the best reads of the bunch. In no particular order:

Sarah's Key
Turtle in Paradis
In Zanesville
Bigger Than a Breadbox
*Okay For Now
Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter
Bossy Pants
Secret Daughter
*Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy
One Day
One Crazy Summer
Maine
Junonia
The Wednesday Wars
The Girl Who Fell From the Sky
15 Minutes Outside
*These Is My words
*My Father's Dragon (trilogy)
*The Penderwicks at Point Mouette
*Cutting for Stone
*Moon Over Manifest
You Know When The Men Are Gone
Let's Take The Long Way Home
Vice
The Art of Racing In The Rain
Belong to Me
*Penny Dreadful
Organized Simplicity
Love Walked In
Zeitoun
NurtureShock
*The Passage
Left Neglected

And, of those titles, these nine stood out (also starred above). Here's to a great year of reading!


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Twelve on the 12th.

This is what we were doing on the 12th:

Snuggling with Mama
tickling Alla's hand
loving the new coffee maker
in 10 degrees.

Playing Battleship
playing Cariboo
capturing still-dimpled hands
and big brown eyes.

Doing homework
handing over the camera
one game of Yahtzee
before stories.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Ten on Tuesday.

1. This morning, when I'm encouraging Fisher to "Come on," he shouts back, "I was come on-ing!" Got it, Buddy.

2. One of the sweetest birthday gifts I received was a playlist made for me by my husband. I've been making them for the kids since their first birthdays, and last year made one for Ron. Waking up to my very own 81 songs was touching indeed. My husband rocks.

3. I finally ordered some snowboots last week, which arrived on a snowless doorstep. My husband also got me snowshoes for my birthday, so let's just say some snow would be nice. Not a couple inches but a major snowfall.

4. The family headed to Silverwood Park yesterday for a fun Okee Dokee Brothers concert!

5. Ron and I had date night for my birthday over the weekend (thanks Mom and Bob!), and we ate a delicious fireside dinner, had a bottle of wine, and then headed to the movie theatre to see The Descendants. Lovely evening.

6. Alla and I started in on the second Boxcar Children book - serious willing suspension of disbelief here. I mean, they are just going to live on an island for the summer?

7. I finally made myself a hair appointment! This weekend, I'm getting myself cleaned up.

8. As a kid, I loved me some Hawaiian bread, and as adults, Ron and I used to make french toast with it. When oh when will they make gluten-free Hawaiian bread?

9. Our delightful friends brought these flowers over on my birthday, and they have made friends with my new little birdie.10. My daughter worked so hard on these gorgeous beads to hang from my ceiling. You should have seen her face, she saved her gift for last. Love that girl.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Welcome to the new Six Thirty-Seven!

The ol' blog has been around for just over six years now, so I thought it might be time for a bright, sunny facelift.

I remember being nervous to start this blog journey, worried that it would become the sole documentation of our lives. Firstly, six years later that couldn't be further from the truth because as we all know, children practically call on us to record, photograph, collect and jot down.

Second, even if that were now the case, I'm thinking it wouldn't be such a bad thing. Here is everything. More than just a glimpse into our lives since these two came along. Here we have funny and frustrating, sad and silly, small, big, pretty, ugly, and awesome. It's all here.

I'm so glad I did it.

I'm so glad I have proof in words and photos of all the crazy loveliness that has ensued with our two. Like of Fisher's recent obsession with ipad Battleship, and how Alla will sometimes succumb to his catchy excitement, particularly when, on a warm January evening, she has fallen on the snowless driveway, skinned her knee, and needs her brother's snuggles.

Today I'm celebrating thirty-five years, and I like this place. I would love to go back to moments in the past, too many to list, but here is a good place to hang out, and I feel super lucky to have a collection of words and photos together from the last six years, with a wide open space for more of that to come.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Ten on Tuesday.

1. Holy weather - we took the jogger out yesterday and stopped at the park. I'm sure I'm not the only one wondering if it's really January.

2. Fisher was gifted A Sick Day for Amos McGee for Christmas, and I'm so glad we now have it in our collection. We of course checked it out from the library several times last year, and I hadn't forgotten how truly charming it is.

3. I must get to Michael's soon, as there is a slew of new kid art that needs framing.

4. Last night for dinner I threw together some leftover pasta and handfuls of cheese. I greased a muffin tin, tossed in a tablespoon of seasoned (salt, garlic powder, cayenne) crushed Chex, topped each muffin cup with 1/4 cup of the pasta/cheese mix, 1 teaspoon of the seasoned, crushed Chex, and drizzled with olive oil. Baked at 375 for about 18 minutes, and had my very own version of Giada's Mac n Cheese Muffins that absolutely everyone loved!

5. I was gifted the most fabulous pair of red slippers for Christmas, after my last pair, a two dollar sale find at Old Navy, got its umpteenth hole and made my husband very embarrassed. The new slippers were worn every waking moment starting Christmas Day, and somehow the stitching on the top of the right one came loose, so in true Lands End style they took them back and shipped me a new pair, which arrived today, just at the very moment I was wishing I had them to warm my tootsies.

6. Currently reading: Falling Together.

7. Is it really "Down-tn" Abbey, or are we allowed to say "DownTOWN Abbey?"

8. Yesterday I registered Fisher for next year's preschool - his last year of preschool. I don't get it, he seems like such a baby, so my littler at this age than Alla seemed. How will be be doing kindergarten round-up this time next year?

9. Alla and I went for a brisk walk yesterday - and by brisk I mean fast not chilly, she is quite a fast walker-skipper and even I have a hard time keeping up with her little legs! - and she found two live caterpillars and a beat-up old firetruck toy left by a neighbor who had moved away (she made her little brother very happy). Neither of these things would have been found in an ordinary snowy January!

10. Three days til I'm another year older!

Friday, January 06, 2012

Two new things.

One kid with a fresh new haircut.Or, as he told the haircut lady, just a trim. What he's telling me in this picture is, pretty hair!And one kid with a brand-new bike from Grandma. It was a perfect year to get a bike for Christmas in Minnesota - the roads are clear and the air is warm. This might be the first winter we've ever biked!Happy weekend!

Thursday, January 05, 2012

One more story.

One more 2011 story to share, a short outing from just before Thanksgiving, when, on a warm, snow-less afternoon we rode up the street to the stream.
Without ticks or mosquitoes to worry me, I let them roam free, exploring off the paved path. As this was the most freedom they have ever had out there in the "woods," without snow to even everything out, Alla soon decided to venture out on a lone fallen branch to see if she could make it across.Leaving little brother on a tree by himself. I was close enough to shout to him not to follow her. Alla did make it across, and I was happy to see her proud of this feat.So she crossed the stream, did a little happy dance, then went around to do it again.Unfortunately she found little brother stuck in that tree, blocking her way across the stream. No, she did not push him or try to pull him free, he managed to fall in all by himself, which is just so very three. Unfortunately for me, I had just put away my camera and was giving them the ol' five minute warning. But it's not a real stretch to see how that little boy went from stuck in the tree to stuck in the muck. He sobbed himself most of the way home, while Alla and I laughed our heads off.

I was pretty happy to get this one, though, before Fisher was wet. Love those two.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

A Christmas Story.

We hoped and hoped, but by Christmas Eve we had given up on a white Christmas, so after pizza with Nana and Pappi we settled the kiddos into their new jammies and a movie: Kung Fu Panda 2. Alla asked me just about every five minutes to check and see where Santa was (we were tracking him all day with the NORAD app - ah, technology today!). You gotta love Christmas Eve, when the kiddos will basically go to bed whenever you tell them Santa is approaching. Christmas Day we were fully prepared for a six a.m. wake-up, but lo and behold, my own eyes popped open at seven and wondered when I'd hear the pittter patter of little feet! I started to wonder if Nana and Pappi would arrive, bleary-eyed, before the kids even awoke, when, at 7:30 they came bounding out, Fisher looking like he could have really used an extra hour, thankyouverymuchbigsister.

To say the morning was chaotic is putting it very very lightly. I had big plans for coffee to be ready and scones warm from the oven awaiting my mom and Bob but alas and alack that was a bit delayed by such goodness as a fairy all the way from Ireland! You'd have thought she was really flying the way Alla held her prized fairy. We also had the joy of seeing the delight on Fisher's face at Santa bringing him a new Dusty-Vacuum Vic (although he now tells us he didn't want a new Dusty-Vacuum Vic, just a new Vacuum Vic, and I have to remind him just to be grateful because surely Santa did his best seeing as how there isn't likely an entire wing at the North Pole Toy Factory dedicated to making sewer trucks for little boys to play with). At some point I instituted a mandatory break time so that we could all put some food in our mouths (by that point, the scones were fresh from the oven and delicious) and suck down some coffee. Truth be told, when I took this one of the kids, the wrapping paper picture tradition that goes back to my own childhood, the adults had yet to open a single present. But if you know anything at all about me, it's that I like to delay present-opening myself, because once they're open, that's it, no more 'til next year. So waiting until after scones and coffee and then casserole and putting kids' toys together and cleaning up boxes and paper and packaging - that was just my style.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Ten on Tuesday.

1. Happy New Year! I still have a few 2011 posts to share, but we'll just move right along for today, into 2012.

2. I woke up on New Year's Day and after thanking God for the blessings in my life, I started thinking about all of the books I want to read in 2012!

3. While parked outside of Alla's school this afternoon I saw a group of teenagers walk past our car wearing sweatshirts. It was 28 degrees. And breezy. Every single one of them was wearing a sweatshirt. And looked cold. There is no way that a sweatshirt was the right choice for today's weather.

4. Please let my kids not be dumb teenagers. Let them wear jackets, hats, mittens, and boots.

5. We have a teensy amount of snow on the ground now but it will likely be gone by the weekend. This is highly unusual for Minnesota, especially with less than three official months left of winter.

6. I thought I'd have to break my self-imposed wine fast this evening after spending two hours at the table with Alla on a single word search for her homework. Goodness that girl hates her weekly word search. I'm pretty sure she's convinced the words will just jump out in flashing letters at her.

7. The mama and kids of this house haven't had haircuts since September. At least one of us is in dire need.

8. So much to look forward to in 2012 - hello, Summer Olympics! I remember thinking in 2008, Wow, Alla will be seven during the next Olympics. And here we are in the year she'll turn seven, and my baby who slept during the entire last Olympics will be older than she was then. Time is a strange thing.

9. Fisher started a new session of swimming today and had a grand time.

10. So glad Parenthood is back on!