Friday, January 31, 2014

Piper’s Hair

Piper and I love her hair.  She comes up with extravagant hairstyles and either does them herself, or explains to me what to do. 

She calls this one “cutie” (did herself).  I call it cutie, too!



This one is “curly cutie” and I’ve done this one for her three days in a row!



I like how she accessorizes!


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Mama Bear with Her Cubs


I was working alone with Kyla when my other cubs found me vulnerable to attack.  Or snuggling.  Either way, I get a back ache!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Taking My Own Animals to the Zoo

A day off?  Grab some extra kids and go to the zoo all day!

Piper brought a friend,

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…as did Kyla.

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Wesley is simultaneously friend and baby to all the girls.

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As usual, we spent more time playing than seeing animals.  They were all a bit tired after 5 hours!


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Classic “I’m not getting my way and I’m not pleased with any of you” Piper.

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Classic “This is how I do it” Wesley.

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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Going on a Bear Hunt

No bears, but I caught this wildlife on the camera!003

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Wesley Turns Four, Part II

I’m a bit proud of “doing” all of Wesley’s birthday all in one day, and actually on his birthday.  We had the family over for hamburgers and cake after a relaxing afternoon playing with his “his” Parker after the snowball party.

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Wesley, we drive each other crazy and I love you desperately.  You are a force of nature and you really are super-duper.

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We all love this guy, even though he really can’t be found in his own bed at 2am.

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Done with and Threes!

Wesley is officially 4 years old and so far, it’s going pretty well.  It’s still a struggle to convince him to at least wear underwear, and to sleep all night in his own bed, but tantrums are way down.

To celebrate, he had four friends over for this 4th.  We had an indoor snowball fight the grown-ups pretended to have fun pelting each other.  It was really just for the kids. Yep.



Everyone knows that dragons and superheroes are extra good at snowball fights.



And never turn your back on a fairy princess! 


Uh, oh.  How did those two conquer the fortress?



Piper is driving the get-away car…with a special passenger!




Looks like we had a change of plans..and drivers!


Who are those masked mauraders? They look really cool. 



Remember, this is strictly for the kids.




For lunch, we spiked the hotdogs. 



My kids can’t eat an apple without smearing their faces, so cupcakes present extra delight.





And, clearly, Cecily didn’t read my blogpost about choosing the table over my children.  Luckily, she’s cute enough to do this with impunity.  Once.



Well, Happy Birthday, Son!  It’s been a perfect party.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Count Down

Less than 48 hours until Sherlock!  I welcomed back Downton a few weeks ago, but I would choose Sherlock any day.

For fellow fans—did you see the mini-episode setting up Season 3?  It’s only 7 minutes long, and worth watching twice.


Many happy returns!


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Wesley, as the youngest, does get dragged around on behind the Mama Engine sometimes.  Today, we were at school early to do a photographic project with the kindergartners, before volunteering in the library, then off to Kyla’s classroom to read during lunch before picking Piper up at the end of her half day. 

He may have gotten a little bored standing around in the cold this morning as I worked on getting good pictures of other students.  He may have actually wandered so far off (yes, without me noticing) that someone brought him back saying he was all the way in the parking lot, which for us, is a good chunk towards home.  Luckily, he curled up into himself and just looked photogenic the rest of the shoot.  And since I lost my camera weeks ago, it was nice to get a non-fuzzy shot of him.

This what we got of Piper today:Piper 1

I’ll show you the whole project when it’s done!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Should Have Raised Them in a Barn

I will have to tease my in-laws for a moment, because after a week’s visit, they left this morning. And the sun shone and the skies were blue….for the first time in over a week.  My poor MIL, who has spent most of her life in southern California and Brasil, was a tiny bit cold the whole time.  That is, she was only a tiny bit cold while wearing three regular layers and a bathrobe over those layers.  Perhaps I do need to turn my heat up when we have guests…

But a warmish, sunny afternoon in mid-January!?!  You bet the kids and I were outside.  I dug out half of the worm bin and Kyla loaded up her garden with worm castings.  Piper took out tupperware, cut holes with a sharp knife in the lid, sliced carrots (“with a sharp knife, Mama, and I used a cutting board!”  “That’s nice, honey, now I don’t have to choose between you or my table.”) and made a new cozy home for the chosen worms outside our front door.  Yes, our worm bin is also right outside our front door, but Piper’s worms are special worms.  She sorted through many worms to find the smallest and cutest, and then ran a petting farm for her siblings with lots of rules about putting tired worms down and gently picking up a new worm.  Wesley fell in line with Piper and marveled over cute worms before going inside, cutting up carrots for the worms without washing his hands or using a cutting board.   Gross, yes, and it makes the kitchen table’s argument stronger for being the one I keep.  Sorry, Wes.

Further farm news: Immediately after confirming an, ahem, altering appointment for both kittens this morning, odd sounds came from down the hallway.   I fear Rosie has been violated.  They are not even 5 months old, so I hoped getting them taken care of before the end of the month would be fine.  I just became a really strong advocate for pro-choice, because you know what I choose?  Nope, it’s not more kittens.  And, yes, Rosie and Timmy are siblings.

A few weeks ago, Kyla asked enough questions that she now knows quite a bit about sex and mating, so she was quite interested in seeing a live demonstration today.  However, I had to tell her that the kittens needed a little time apart from each other instead.  Yeah, like quiet time.

I try to call our place an estate, but that might be just an uppity way to say I’m raising my kids in a barn. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

I Swear, No One’s Getting Out of Here Unscathed

We had a dinner guest last Sunday, so Piper and Wes gave him their royal treatment.


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And who gets all this special attention?  Papa Jim, of course!

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Jim knows to come over on Sunday evenings because that’s when Dwayne’s in charge of dinner.  We’d go broke if he cooked every night, but wow!  My man can cook!


And Wesley must be getting less critical of who he gropes.  He alternated putting his hand then his head under Dwayne’s shirt.  Yep, Babe, I feel your pain.  Do you feel mine?

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And poor Timmy got to go for a car ride courtesy of Piper Taxi.  Whether he wanted to or not, it appears. 

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Saturday, January 4, 2014

2014 Booklist

It’s January 4th, and I only have 3 titles so far, so I’m probably not going to get through 365 books this year.  Dwayne sent me, myself, and I to the cabin for a few days of alone time, and for 24 hours, I got to read my latest obsession, the first book in a trilogy of an author I really enjoy (#1 on the list).  Happy holidays to me!


3) Read Right: Coaching Your Child to Excellence in Reading by Dee Tadlock.  I picked up this book on the recommendation on a chance encounter who (3 degrees of separation) knew that Garfield HS in Seattle used this program for its struggling readers.  When I began this, I had to vent in a document I called “Read Right notes—Stupid things it says that make me angry”.  I did read the whole thing because it turned my brain (and a lot of my graduate work) on its head….pardon the pun.  I’ll be gnawing on this information for a while, but I will give the author a D for unprofessional writing. 

2) As Texas Goes...: How the Lone Star State Hijacked the American Agenda, by Gail Collins.  I’m not sure exactly why the title appealed to me.  Maybe I need a boost in feeling Superior in Seattle while laughing at Texas, but it was a really fun audio-read.  First it gave an insightful historical perspective of what being a Texan means, from the Alamo to the Empty Spaces paradigm.  Then it gave several examples from financial deregulation, education, business, and global warming that “as Texas goes…so goes the nation.”  I think the author began in earnest to be fair and even-handed, but by the end of the book, you could tell she was rolling her eyes.  I’ll read more by her and try not to have nightmares about Texan presidents.

1) Theft of Swords, Vol. 1 of Riyria Revelations, by Michael J. Sullivan.  Some of the final books I read and loved in 2013 were two prequels of a fantasy adventure genre.  So I was really excited when the 650-page first volume of the actual trilogy came in just before Dwayne sent me to the cabin for a few days.  I read it in less than 24 hours in a overstuffed leather chair in front of a cozy fireplace.  It was the perfect book to read in the perfect setting.  Think of it as a book along the same style as The Princess Bride, but one you would never read aloud to your children.  (It’s a tad bit violent with magical dragon-weapons eating people gruesomely.)  This books sets a high standard for fun reads for the rest of this year.  Luckily, I have two more extra-thick volumes of this series to go.


As always, red denotes nonfiction.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

It’s 2014—Time to Unload Extra Brain Cells

Some of you like to use up extra cells on New Years Eve, but I save my brain cell murder for New Years Day.  Yep, it’s Polar Bear Jump day! 

I went over to the island today (solo) to go swimming at Double Bluff beach.  I met some friends there, but I really wanted the T-shirt.

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See—there’s sun today!  (It’s always sunnier on the island.)

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Before (the one time of the year this bikini gets to see daylight):

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