Saturday, May 31, 2008

survival skills

I say survival skills only because I have ZERO experience with container gardening... so these plants have survival skills!
Above: Strawberry blooms everywhere!
Below: Broccoli literally grows overnight. This plant is getting huge!

Below: there are 4 pepper pods on there - the white blooms have already fallen off and the tiny peppers are emerging.

Below: Tomato blooms - we have 3 blooms right now, this is an Early Girl plant - so sometime this month we should see tomatoes!

Below: This is eggplant - we have 2 growing, they're both about this size. I've never personally grown eggplant - so I don't know what to expect quite yet!

Below: One of our two squash plants; this one is resurrected. Last week I didn't' think it would make it. We used organic vegetable food spikes after we saw the first blooms, and now its back again! Hopefully it will survive. I think this weekend I will buy one squash plant in case the ones we grew ourselves don't make it.

I didn't photo the onions, basil, lavender, or zucchini.. but they're growing too! I'm starting to see little brown spots on leaves, and some of the leaves look nibbled on by critters. We're trying not to use any chemicals, and doing our best to grow these with store purchased organic soil, compost, etc., so I read in a locally printed magazine that lady bugs actually eat aphids, immature white flies, spider mites and other bad bugs. You can actually purchase lady bugs at a local nursery - the chances of them sticking around are pretty good in a garden atmosphere. I'm going to check this out if I keep seeing this critter evidence on my plants!

Friday, May 30, 2008


You can't buy this at Toys R Us. Here's our recipe for this one!
ingredients are: boy, grass, dirt (in our case, erroded back yard), water, shoes are optional
add in a little laughter, stir in some imagination
Play until tired, dirty, muddy, and happy. You're not done unless it's in your hair.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Old Salem

Ezra went on an all day field trip with the entire 4th grade today. He brought home some freshly baked bread goods that he bought with his (his own, not ours!) money for us. He also bought a handmade leather pouch to hold change/money and a tiny rose quartz sample. He learned alot about how things worked in the 'old times' as he put it. How many were unable to read and visual cues were used to indicate places of business, such as the barber shop pole, and a fake gun over a gunsmith's door. They were able to see living conditions of the past that included no A/C and no electric heat - instead it was open windows for cooling, and wood burning stoves for heat. He visited a shoe shop where childrens shoes were made of leather; and learned tons about how things worked without all of the modern technology. He had a blast!! He took a disposable camera, once we develop those photos, I'll post them!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

recipe sharing

I frequent a few blogs of friends and/or family and it's always exciting when I read a new recipe posted on one of their blogs; so I wanted to take their cue and share recipes from time to time. (Amy - I'm going to try to make your latest recipe this weekend!)

This one is for the veggie lovers:
Ratatouille (just like the movie!)
This recipe originates from the southern Provencal region of France, and contains a healthy spread of mixed vegetables – eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes and green peppers – that are sautéed and then roasted with herbs. The sautéing and consequent browning brings out the sweetness in the vegetables, and so may appeal to the taste buds of your children. If you’re thinking, “Not for my kids!” go with the extra incentive of showing them the Pixar movie before serving.
Throw it together with some grilled chicken. It is just as good served cold the next day.

Ingredients (Serves 5)

4 oz Zucchini
4 oz Eggplant
4 oz Onions
1 Green Pepper
1 Clove Garlic
8 oz Tomatoes (canned may be used if necessary)
1 ½ oz Olive oil (more if needed)
¼ cup Parsley, chopped
1 Bay leaf
Good Pinch Thyme
To taste Salt
To taste Pepper

Prepare the vegetables: Cut the zucchini into ½-inch slices. Peel the eggplant and cut into large dice (3/4 inch square). Slice the onions. Remove the cores and the seeds of the peppers and cut into 1-inch dice. Chop the garlic. Peel and seed the tomatoes and cut into large dice. Leave canned tomatoes whole; they will break up during cooking.
Sauté the zucchini in a little of the olive oil until it is about half cooked. Remove from pan. Sauté the eggplant in olive oil until half cooked. Remove from pan. Sauté the onions and peppers until half cooked. Add the garlic and sauté another minute.
Combine all vegetables and seasonings in a heavy saucepan. Cover and cook in a slow oven (325 degrees) for about 25-30 minutes until vegetables are tender but still firm. If the vegetables are too juicy, cook uncovered on a range top for a few minutes to reduce. Be careful not to scorch the vegetables on the bottom. Adjust seasonings. Serve hot or cold.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


This week had been full of firsts, with new words/sentences, new things learned, etc. I'm glad to have caught Jesse's fun time w/ bubbles on video for a few seconds! He had so much fun doing this by himself!! The video quality is poor because I took this one with my cellphone. Notice at the end he puts the wrong end in the bubble solution - normally we'd panic (possible toxic yucky stuff) but these bubbles came from Gymboree, they're safe if swallowed! We bought them at the Gymboree Jesse was attending during this school year.

The Gymboree’s Bubble Oodles seemed a little on the expensive side, $6.00 for a 4oz bottle, a 5 hole pipe and little round dish that you can poor the bubbles in and when finished you can store the pipe and bottle there too. But after using them, I see their value for lots and lots of bubble fun that lasts and lasts!
For us these bubbles really are better then any other bubble solution you can pick up at any toy store. One little bottle lasts a couple of months or longer (I've found that they last longer if you wash the little bubble pipe after each use). I learned after the first few times to pour a very small amount into the container. I pour a thin layer of the liquid only, and we can then blow hundreds of bubbles for a good 10 minutes. The don't stain clothing, they actually don't pop when they land which allows little ones to go pop them! They're also made of a sugar solution which is totally kid friendly if they try to catch one on their tongue... or in our case, put the solution dipped pipe in their mouth! HA!

Monday, May 26, 2008

who does that?

Who mows their grass from 9pm until 10pm? Well, our neighbors do. They did it tonight, and this isn't the first time for this interesting ordeal. There should be some neighborhood covenant against that. A super loud push mower at 10pm isn't my idea of peaceful. I'd feel a little less like complaining had it not been for the fact that they were home all day Saturday, Sunday and today.

It didn't stress me out, just more annoying then anything... but this cartoon is so funny to me - I thought it was worth posting!

no school today!

Memorial Day was a beautiful day. We started off the morning early and headed out in the back yard to play at about 830am. The neighbors came over, and we spent the better part of the morning/mid-afternoon outdoors playing with the kids and water guns. I was able to read while he kids were playing, and when Jonathon came out around 945 I came in to work for an hour or so. We put up the little tent that we have and they had fun hanging out in there like it was a fort. Cowboys and indians has become the thing with the boys, and Tia (neighbor) had fun playing tic-tac-toe with Jonathon and I inbetween having watergun battles with the boys! Tia and Xavier helped water the plants with water guns, they're watching our veggies grow and love to see the new blooms when they come over.
Ezra hung out at the neighbors house for about 2 hours during Jesse's nap after lunch while I worked and it was a quite productive day!! After lunch, naps, and work, we took a trip to Sonic (our new favorite family treat on weekends) for happy hour and grabbed a slushie, we headed over to mimi and papaw's house for a little visit. Jesse managed to leave with a nice shiney lump on his forehead! That's the tradition among toddlers, right?

Above - the boys are having fun with pretend battles!

Above - taking a break from playing, relaxing in the fort.
Above - They stood there and talked for a while, about toddler stuff.
Above - Tia is playing tic-tac-toe with me... no one won this particular match.
Above - Xavier is excited to play, he's wearing Ezra's cowboy hat. Xavier is 3.
Above - Ezra is done with being candid and wants to hide out in the fort!

In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep it simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don't try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present.

~Tao Te Ching

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Saturday/Sunday Stuff

Saturday morning Jesse had another haircut. We get his hair cut about each 4 weeks, I swear he has miracle grow for shampoo! Usually the hair cut is torture, even though we go to SnipIts for kids. The last two haircuts there's been a new girl to do it and she's been a little pushy with the electric clippers and we (Jesse and I) prefer it old school.... just plain old scissors! So this time we requested an appointment (usually we do walk ins) with Jessie.... she's the toddler whisperer of haircuts! She did his first haircut ever and is so patient and so good with kids. So who cried this time? ME! A tear of pride rolled down my face as he walked in like a big boy, told her 'haircut, ok!' and sat right down and waited patiently as she trimmed his mophead. He looked like a 4 year old sitting there all still and calm. The boy beside him was 2 and having a full blown panic attack (like Jesse USUALLY does) and all he said was 'he's so sad' to me over and over. After the haircut was done, he took his animal crackers that Miss Jessie gave him and his fun pass over to the special hair cut prize machine and earned his little frog toy! Not one tear shed by him today... but I cried because I was so proud! Well, that and I am torn between loving that he's growing independent and yet I selfishly feel sad that he's growing out of baby stuff!

After we left there we went and picked up a used train table that I found on a local want ad posting. It was a steal of a find, and in great condition. Fortunately we saved all of Ezra's Thomas the Tank Engine toys from when he was a toddler, and he had TONS! We have track, special buildings and people, and lots and lots of the trains! We go to the Little Choo Choo Shop sometimes as a special trip, just like we did with Ezra. They have a special kids train room and after visiting there and Books A Million's train table, we decided it would be nice to find a used table. So we did, and it was a wake up surprise after Jesse's nap. After a good cleaning of the table and all track and trains, Ezra and I spent a little time in putting the track together. Honestly, we haven't really seen much of Jesse since. We have to go check on him. Entertainment like nothing we've seen so far!! Ezra enjoys helping and hanging out with him at the train table... brings back old memories of building tracks with Ezra. Now Ezra can share that knowledge and joy of a famaliar interest with Jesse.

So with the race traffic, race crowd and over all race chaos - we snuck down the back roads to one of our favorite get aways. We feed the geese and had a blast outdoors!

Sunday.... My nephew is in town today for the race, so I decided to meet up with him and give him the rest of his birthday gift. He turned 16 on May 23. Mike would be SO proud of him! He earned his drivers license and is one proud guy!!! I actually ventured back out into the mess of traffic right at noon to drop off something else to him and realized why it is that we go out of our way to stay as FAR away from the traffic as possible. I was fortunate, I was going away from the track and yet I still managed to sit at a standstill for about 30 minutes before getting to move! We ran a few errands and then ended up at home outdoors with the neighbor's 8 year old and 3 year old playing in our yard with water guns. That was TONS of fun for the kids, and they had lots of fun squirting Jonathon. I was reading off and on while they played, it has been such nice weather this weekend. The youngest boys (Jesse and Xavier are toddlers) enjoyed watering the plants for me by taking turns with the water hose or the water guns. HA!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

What's going on?

answer: Not much really - lately I've spent more time staring at the birds with my kids, going on walks and talking together, and making our family schedule work as best we can to invlove more together time. It's been an adjustment, but we think we've managed well so far. I'm only working during downtimes, and that works best for both the family and the companies I work for. Jonathon gets home at dinner, and spends all time with us until the kids go to bed, and then some nights he does freelance work. So far so good. I'm fairly sure that my family knows I work - but I don't think it interrupts the importance of my staying home with our kids and that is where I personally don't want to lose sight.

I've been working on 'life books' for the kids, and am going out this week to buy craft supplies in and together with the kids we will construct each of them their very own 'treasure box'. Ezra will do his own by himself, but Jesse will need a little help! Their treasure boxes can be under their beds, or in their favorite place to hang out in the house - and they can put whatever they want in it so that it's always there for them. The book I just finished reading has given me lots of wonderful and natural ideas on how to have a more imaginative and creative home for our kids. Everyone (including grownups) need magic and imaginative surroundings. So I've been working diligently on getting the necessary supplies on order to have more available to them. Kids learn from play, and ironically I learn from watching them learn!! It reminds me of how simple things really should be - instead of making things so complex. This goes for most every avenue of my life, including friendships, creativity, and so on. It's very important for me to leave a legacy for my kids - one that shows compassion, creativity, open mindedness and thoughtfulness. Lately I've tried to make sure that both kids see that no matter how 'busy' I am, I make time for them individually and together, I make time for my friendships, make time for myself, and make sure that our family time isn't on the back burner to life's 'busy stuff'. It's doable on most days! I've been inspired, and I'm going through a growing spurt with that inspiration.

We're most of our time outside of the house - not necessarily going on a trip in the car (who can afford that all the time, right?!?) but more things outdoors. Leaving room for neighbors to come over, friendships to grow, and interaction. We've had our eyes opened alot lately, and we realize that even though we have room to grow as parents - that we're not doing a bad job after just a bit of observation with other kids right here practically in our own back yard. So we're not perfect, we don't do everything by the 'book'. I do notice that we're beginning to reap the rewards of teaching our kids good values. Like when our neighbor's 16 year old daughter, who watches her younger siblings, invited Ezra over for play and hangout time for a while and when we walked over to tell him it was time for dinner the 16 year old came to the door and said in a very matter of fact tone "I'll trade you both of my sisters for him." She said he was well behaved and played nicely with them. It's just nice to know that he's also interested in doing the right thing when we're not looking! Though this isn't always the case and we know it, we haven't met a kid who is perfect yet! These moments make us proud none the less. Also, whenever Jesse receives a 'treat' he will immediately say 'oh Ezra' and want to get one for Ezra! He's sharing so well (for now), and that's a great thing.... that should last about 20 more minutes (he's 2)... HA!

The video below is of Jesse getting sticker belly. He's been loving stickers lately and wants to wear them on his belly. This was right before nap and he was being a goofball! Later I found out that he has a skin sensitivity to the adhesive backing of the stickers.

Friday, May 23, 2008

what was she thinking?!?!?

We realize that we're at the mercy of others when our child is in public school; we realize we have other options... those options are private school or home school. Right now, for our family - the option we utilize is in our opinion the best fit for our child's needs. We sought out the school he goes to very carefully, they're an IB school with credible teachers in his class. We made major changes in our lives in order to allow my staying home with the kids, and this change includes commuting to a school that is a 45 minute one way trip 4 times a day. We have a school option that is less then 2 miles away - but the reverse discrimination and the poor school scores are not a turn on for us. After all of the public school hoopla, after all of the 'diversity' complaints and issues - why is it that this day and time we haven't 'got it' yet as a nation? Teachers are important - this includes teachers of all kinds, parents, preschool, daycare, homeschoolers, college, church, anyone who is 'teaching' is trusted as a role model to our children. It's been a priority of mine to remember that these role models are still human and therefore will often slip up ... and today I gave up on my reasoning. A teacher told our child to 'shut up'. We're enraged. At the same time she told him to 'shut up' he returned with a disrespectful tone in talking (interesting effect huh?). HE got disciplined, WE followed through on a fitting consequence at home. In life, we're often going to be treated poorly - this does not give us an excuse to do it back. As an adult, the teacher should know that she's modeling good citizenship and good character to a student and she should do everything in her power to avoid this type of irrational and ignorant behavior. As a parent, I realize that this is what we're up against with public school. As a mom - I'm enraged and appalled. As a 31 year old adult, I wanted to go give her a piece of my mind. But I think that would be tacky, and a little ignorant.

What did I do? I called then next person in charge and calmly placed a complaint. I also explained that if she treats our child with resentment as a result of MY complaint then I will go to the next person in the chain of command. I have no reason to believe he was lying, because he was so off the cuff in mentioning it. "What did you do today?" I asked him, and he replied, " math, IB class, music, recess, before lunch I got into a little fuss with one of my classmates and Mrs. _____ told me to 'shut up' then I talked back to her and lost points, I had mexican for lunch, and then we played dodgeball outside in the afternoon when we were done with testing." We've never had this happen, and this is NOT his regular f/t teacher - it's a teacher assistant (apparently a bitter one). I don't feel we'll face this again this year; and thankfully we've made reality a part of our parenting and he understands that even grownups mess up. It still makes us frustrated that someone we're to trust to encourage, and teach our child has given this example in how to handle a situation. We have some thinking to do this summer about school in general. What we plan to think about is what will be best for our family NEXT year.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

family time

Each night we walk after dinner, as a family. Sometimes these walks include bug hunting, scavenger hunting for collectibles, and sometimes they're just walks where we simply enjoy the weather without even hardly talking. We've been enjoying the beautiful San Diego type weather we've had lately, and have become spoiled to it. Jesse doesn't want to stroll in his stroller at all - he walks right along with us, 1/2 mile to 1 mile each evening chasing Ezra. Both boys just laugh the entire time and have fun playing 'catch me if you can'. Childrens' laughter is contagious, often we'll see people out in their yards and they'll hear the kids coming and laughing and they can't help but stop and smile - of course Jesse has to say 'hey, what u doin?' to each person he meets. It really does almost feel like time stands still for kids, and it makes us grown ups stop and realize that the hustle and bustle of the day isn't really what matters most, it's not that dinner was served on time, or even that you got that last errand ran just in time - it's precious moments of simplicity with each other that makes our day worthwhile.
Sometimes we carry our camera along on our walks, it's not everyday that the sky is so beautiful. Jonathon took these photos of the clouds and the the sunlight last night on our walk. It was nice to just breath in the sunshine... I wish it was 80 degrees every day!!

The top photo was taken facing sunlight, so turning it into a black and white made it so pretty to me!

Yep - they're just clouds. It doesn't take much to entertain my brain - the sky was flawless.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

way to go!

Wow - Ezra did terrific on his 4th grade writing test! He scored a level 3!!! Way to go Ezra!!

This week has been end of grade testing, and each day he's felt pretty confident that he's done well. He's come a long way! We're so proud for him!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

mama drama and some fun outdoors

Drama = Yesterday I went back to have my eye's re-examined. It's not unusual that the unusual is my problem. I didn't know that having an astigmatism could cause such havoc! I learned alot in my second visit, and re-exam. Earlier in the week I received my glasses that I was super excited to get; I haven't had back up glasses worth a flip in 10 years and as a result I wear my contacts ALL the time and even sleep in them (gasp) nightly. Recently I scratched my cornea and found myself in much need of back up glasses... I was so excited to get them because it meant not worrying about wearing one contact if I had a problem. My prescription is a high minus prescription (-8.50 in contacts) and I knew this would mean thicker lenses in glasses, so I asked for the thinnest they had to offer and they still look thick. I picked them up right before they closed, so instead of taking my contacts out and trying them out they allowed me to make sure the ear adjustments were ok and let me leave with them. I came home and I put them on, and within 5 minutes was physically sick - everything I looked at had an arched/bent look to it. It was almost as if I had stepped into the wacky house at the fair in front of the wacky mirror. There were sharp colors around everything I looked at, and my depth perception was completely awkward. So after a very informative re-check it seems that my astigmatism has worsened, it explains headaches, my constant squinting when trying to focus on fine details (even with great prescription lenses at the correct power) and the blurs I see at different distances. ARGH! I go back a third time this week to try some newer toric lenses and they're going to try to do some other type of lens for my eye glasses and see if it helps. Fingers are crossed - my vision is wretched without glasses/contacts!

Enough about me.... HA! We spent the day outdoors until the storm came... here's a few pics of the boys playing at the park.

Ezra's shirt says "Give me some of your tots!" Cracks me up.
Hanging out in the tunnel while daddy takes pictures...
We stopped at Sonic again - 2 days in a row for happy hour!! The boys split a small fry at the park.
What is he up to?
Gosh - they both have their sneaky eyes ..... these boys!

Saturday, May 17, 2008


I've been in a lull lately; life in general has been soothing, moving along like the water in busy river. There's been the occasional rough water here and there in the past 2 weeks, but nothing to unbearable. I've been getting a schedule set for myself with the new job I took on, making sure that it doesn't interfere with my family time - that was, after all, the sole reason for my working from home. My schedule is flexible, because we have kids - it requires nothing less then flexibility. I've been second guessing myself on taking on more - but it's really been a few tweaks here and there to accommodate the additional workload.

The kids are great, Ezra is looking forward to summer, swimming, and relaxing. Next week he has end of grade testing, and the school year comes to a close only 2 weeks later! He has a field trip to Old Salem to observe living history with his IB class to follow up on their recent study unit in human movement. Their latest study unit in IB is 'choices' this is a wide range of study, anything from healthy food choices, to healthy behavior choices. He's come home to tell us all about calories, carbs, saturated fat, and why it's bad for you - and which ones are good for you.... as well as telling us about doing independent study groups in class and being given dialogue that puts them in a situation where they're forced to make a 'right or wrong' choice when it comes to doing the right thing. His IB teacher has left a lasting impression on him - and we're grateful to her, she's a wonderful teacher! Ezra's become quite the student, this coming from a boy who once despised going to class!

Jesse is growing leaps and bounds, changing every day it seems. He's becoming more of a talker, until now he's really been a 'doer' not a talker. Doing alot of hands on activities, building, stacking, organizing, observing, and figuring out how things work, etc., he learned to count by rote several months ago and it seems like each day he adds numbers. I was reading about the different developmental stages of learning numbers (I read too much sometimes, HA) and it seems like one-to-one correspondence has become a daily counting routine for him. He counts cars, balls, blocks, even grapes! He'll line them up, or put them in groups, and count them - point and touch and count. We can tell him to bring 'two socks' and he will, or get 'two snacks' and he'll get two - so that he can give one to Ezra, he loves to share with his brother! It is just interesting to us to watch him learn and understand. I guess I am partial to finding this such an amazing feat because I never experienced this with Ezra. When Ezra came into my life he was 3, and had already been through most of this development... so indulge the first time mommy 'wow that's neat' attitude I have, and honestly - I pray that I never take it for granted with a 'so what, all kids do that at one point or another' attitude. I've met too many moms in mommy groups who have the 'so what' attitude - that careless approach is bothersome to me personally, because to the little one accomplishing it, it's a real victory! The human mind amazes me, learning amazes me. Children are absorbent little learners.

Jonathon is working his f/t job and also doing alot of freelance at home. With the price of gas going through the roof - and my travel each day with school commute being right at 3 hours in the car total - we really are trying to be mindful with our money. Extra income is always a benefit. It's depressing to pay 50.00 two times a week in gas, and this doesn't even count Jonathon's commute! The freelance work he's doing helps accomodate that so we're fortunate! We're managing, but not enjoying the hike in gas at all. Politics - I'll stay away from that blog post....

The area has been invaded by race fans - we can hear the roar of nascar cars rounding the track. It's safe to say that we're staying far away from there! I must admit I totally LOVE seeing fighter jets fly so low over my house that you can see the pilots!! But in avoiding traffic, drunks, and overall chaos, today we went to the park, stopped by Sonic for happy hour on drinks (ha - sounds like adult beverages huh? we had slushies) and then came home and grilled out while the neighborhood kids played in our sprinkler with our kids! It was a good day - and a most beautiful day for outdoor play!

Mystery Plant: Does anyone know what kind of bush this is? It smells like honeysuckle, but the blooms aren't as large. I planted them 3 years ago and this is the first year of bloom - they're growing large! I have 4 of them in our yard and everyone compliments the sweet smell. They're tiny white blooms with lots of greenery.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Run Easy

Today Ezra had the 6 minute fitness run at school. He said it was a piece of cake! He had been feeling a little anxious about it until recently. The best part of the run was after he finished there were icee pops for refreshments! I think he was more excited about the bottled waters we sent for the class. What is it about bottled water that is so interesting when it's kid sized? Novelty I suppose.

Next week, on to EOG's!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

weekend wrap-up

Not much posting lately; I've been journaling in MS Word and intending to clean it up, shorten it, and send it here... but that hasn't actually happened! So here's my weekend in review in short:

  • Friday - Jesse broadened the numbers he can count up to - we're pretty proud for him. He had Gymboree class today and the theme of the class was 'cars' and every possible thing to do with them. Driving, noises, pretend to be in one, etc. His favorite part is Gymbo the clown song - we want we want gymbo (to the tune of we will we will rock you!) the words to the song go right along with the original song... very creative and fun toddler rock.

  • Ezra is preparing for the 6 minute run at school and seems to have a much better approach to it now! We're letting him practice on the treadmill. At first he thought six minutes of full on running would be torture, but now it's no biggie since he can see how quickly it actually goes by!

  • Saturday - was a pretty busy day, I had an eye exam (yes, on Saturday) and bought my first pair of glasses (new frames, etc) in 10 years! My contact prescription went from -6.75 to -8.50 in 2 years time. That's NOT encouraging, but oh well - I needed the exam. I hadn't been to an eye exam since I was prego w/ Jesse. My last eye glasses prescription was from 10 years ago, so I have not had any reliable back up glasses and that's been no good! Happy Mothers Day to me - new glasses. Seems silly, but honestly - that's what was important to me; that and a steak dinner. We NEVER eat steak. Literally we eat steak about 4 times a year. I had a 5 oz. filet, enjoyed it with my in-laws for Mothers Day.

  • Sunday - Ezra and Jesse gave me handmade crafts and lots of sweetness through the day. We had Krispy Kreme donuts as a treat. I managed to get in a nap (this NEVER happens - wooohoo - Mothers Day MIRACLE!) We went to the mall together; and after that we picked up something for dinner. There was a no cooking rule for me for the day. We did make it home just before this storm that produced these funnel clouds came right over us. Fortunately we avoided it - as we left the Lowes Motor Speedway area we actually could see these clouds and the funnel formation over the interstate area.

Funnel Cloud in Cabarrus County near LMS
Funnel cloud near interstate, Cabarrus County.
Baseball size hail, varius parts of Mecklenburg and Cabarrus County received anything from quarter sized to these babies.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


A friend sent me this, and I had to post it.
This is honestly how I feel some days!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


I feel that I am being superficial in my thoughts, but something really bugged me today. I can't say that it 'bugged' me without explaining that it is my personal opinion and I just wish they didn't have to be home alone. I realize that their situations may not allow for their parents to always be home; I realize they may be fully independent and trustworthy. But I also realize how many convicted sex offenders live within a 25 mile radius - and those are the ones that have been caught. I'm not naive and I don't think they should be sheltered or put in a glass box. My parents allowed us to stay home alone at times, but it was usually when my brother Mike was 16 or older - and help was never less then across the street at the church my dad pastored and the neighbors 2 houses away always knew we were there alone and were close family friends.

I find it interesting that on my street alone there's such a diversity of parenting/homeschooling/and lifestyles. I guess it really makes my eyes open to how different we all really are. I appreciate more my own ability to be home with my kids and this still allows Ezra the freedom to go to the neighborhood friend's houses without handholding or being escorted over. It's just more fitting for our family this way - and for that I'm grateful. I still toy with the idea that my thought process here is somewhat superficial, although that's not my intent at all. It's more that I'd love to ask questions, figure out and understand beyond the obvious - but then that would be nosey!

My neighbors to the right's youngest daughter is 9, she is in 4th grade and she comes home at 2pm, gets off of the bus and lets herself into the house. To be there alone until sometimes as late as 630pm. Half of the time I catch myself peeping out of the blinds if I'm in the room to make sure no strange cars are in the driveway. My neighbors across the street have 2 kids, 10 and 7. Both are alone from 7am until the bus arrives at 8:15 am (school starts at 9:15 in the city) and then alone again from the time the bus drops them back off until 5:30pm.

I actually looked up 'latch key kid' and found an article about laws - North Carolina's laws are very vague: There is no age specified by law that a child can be left alone (this includes alone in the home OR in the car!) in North Carolina. Parents and caretakers must look at the child's maturity, the safety of the community, and access to emergency assistance. A child may be mature enough to stay alone, but not to care for younger siblings. If you are concerned that a child is left alone and is unsafe, call your county department of social services. However in Texas, for example, the law covering “abandoning or endangering a child,” a person commits an offense if they have custody, care or control of a child younger than 15 years, and intentionally leaves the child in any place under circumstances that expose the child to an unreasonable risk. It is the position of Child Protective Services that a school age child may be left in the home alone if he or she has the mental and physical ability to react in an emergency situation.

But who decides what's an unreasonable risk? I mean, if the house were to catch fire or suddenly be burglarized while a mental and physically able child is inside, does the law then turn to the fire or burglary as an unreasonable risk? It seems so touchy.

I guess reading some books recently on being a closer family unit, allowing our kids to be kids as often as possible, spending time together - real time, has made me feel sad for these kids somehow. They come over here, like tonight, and sit with us and talk with us, play and hang out. I had a realization after becoming more aware of my surroundings in this neighborhood, (we've lived in this neighborhood for 5 years now, and I'm just now curious enough to get to know my neighbors!)a few houses up from us is a family who has work from home parents and they home school their children - the "latchkey" kids tend to be at our house or theirs on a regular, almost daily basis. It can't be that we're that interesting, I often go to bed at night wondering if they're just craving the 'family' atmosphere. They have great parents, super nice people, and it's clear that they work very hard to support their families - I just wish there was a way for them to have a little more time together.

Monday, May 5, 2008


Beneath this headstone is my brother's final resting place. It becomes reality when I type that, when I say that, or even when I grab my phone to call him and realize - I can never do that again. I'm still dealing with my grief - and it's moment to moment. There are happy moments, angry moments, sad moments, and bitter moments. Tearful moments, memorable moments, peaceful moments and some moments that feel as if my heart is being ripped from my very chest because I want nothing more then to hear his voice and hear him say 'love ya' or hear his laughter once more. I'm grateful that I have a voicemail on my phone that I check regularly - there's something almost humbling about hearing it. It still seems unreal to me that nine months ago (tomorrow it will be) a phone call changed our lives. Not even 3 hours prior I had talked with him. The first phone call I received wasn't that he had passed away, it was Renee calling me like she had the prior 3 times he had these allergic reactions - because Mike had told her to always call me, more for her comfort and so she wouldn't feel alone in the situation. We talked, she assumed things would go as they always did and he'd eventually be fine. But that was not the case.
I recently went back through some of our emails to each other - I'm pretty obsessive about saving all emails in individual folders so that I can refer back to them if I forget something. This has been a tremendous help in my grief process. I laugh, I cry and sometimes I do both. My relationship with my brother was unique; sometimes I think we shared too much info after reading the emails! No matter the subject, we talked about it and laughed together. Out of all of the emails my favorites are ones of Mike bragging on his kids. Nicholas and his girlfriends. Haleigh and her ball games. Oh and the swimming pool that he was so proud of but could never seem to keep it from turning the slightest color of green no matter how much he treated the water! That was our last email - he was going to go to 'man chores' and work on the pool on August 6, 2007.
One of the things he and I would talk about was pictures. I take alot, but he didn't. I would always ask for him to send pictures of the kids, of him and Renee, of the house, etc. And eventually he'd send me 2 or 3 here and there. Each time the subject came up, he'd tell me "I don't take alot of pictures, I keep my memories in my mind and in my heart, that's where they're the most real to me. Pictures are nice, but memories are better" He had a special way of handling things, a different approach on raising his kids then most, and a uniqueness about him that I believe can never be found in another person. When ordering the headstone, Renee called me and she and I discussed whether or not to have his photo put on it; and after thinking it over it just didn't seem to fit the way he'd want things. I think the headstone says it all.
Forever on our minds; Always in our hearts.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

digging in the dirt

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From top to bottom are squash, zucchini, strawberries, onions, lavender, basil, eggplant, and a pepper plant. Today we transplanted a few things from indoor growth to outdoor containers. I still have green beans, okra, oregano, broccoli and a tomato plant to transplant - we may do that tomorrow. I never figured out the mystery plant - I'm hoping it will continue to grow and eventually it will be obvious.

The boys and I were outside at 945am - Ezra is not an outdoor boy, so he was in and out alot. He prefers to build lego's and bring them to me after he's completed a new project. While Ezra built 4 'pod-racers' from Lego's, Jesse did something new. Literally from 945am until 11:15am Jesse sat in front of two containers of soil with a toddler trowel and shovel. First he helped me put rock in the bottoms of each container with his shovel. He did this 100% on his own! I didn't do a thing, I read a book!! I dumped the soil into the containers and when I saw how interested he was in the dirt, I didn't plant anything in them, instead he sat quietly and transferred dirt from one side to another. For 1.5 hours he played with dirt, rocks, and shovels. His socks are black from soil, his hands and legs were filthy, and the driveway was speckled with toddler dirt droppings all over the place. None of that mattered - what mattered is that he discovered! He enjoyed himself; both boys did. Ezra kept coming out and saying he couldn't believe how much Jesse liked dirt; I reminded Ezra he was digging on his own in Lego's! Both boys like to dig. I found myself oddly surprised because a doctor recently handed me a developmental checklist that said "2-2.5 years old - Can focus on one activity for 6-8 minutes at a time". No problems there :).

We spent the entire morning outside until nap time, then after nap we had lunch and headed out to the airport overlook to watch planes land. It was a beautiful day - I wish for more days like today. 80 degrees, a nice breeze, and my family outdoors enjoying ourselves.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Saturday at sunrise

I absolutely want to scratch my eyes out love it when I wake up to the sound of a toilet flushing... at 6am. Ezra is our early riser, he always has been. I can't complain about that, most of the time he does well at respecting other people sleeping. Especially before the sun even comes up. HA! My rule is I'm not getting up until the sun I lay there in bed this morning thinking Jesse would be up around 7am. Nope. He slept until 7:45am. So I went back to sleep :) Happy Mommy! We're all usually up around 8am on weekends, so both boys were up around then and we started our day (while daddy slept in from working until 3am on freelance work).

We spent the morning outdoors, playing in the sprinklers for a few minutes and hitting the ball with the bat some. Then mid-afternoon after our trip to the park, our yard became the neighborhood hangout while we were grilling out. I could sit and watch children of all ages play for hours - their interactions, differences, and laughter. Jesse didn't know what to think, the older kids were playing with him too!

I noticed on one of my errand runs today that there were alot of people in the neighborhood doing landscape touch ups or re-do's that looked wonderful. This of course made have the itch to plant even more. HA. I could kill a cactus really, but I think we've decided to change up our front landscape all together. We've lived here 5 years and had the same shrubbery that the house came with at purchase. I am going to Christy's Nursery this week to pick out some goodies! I'm even thinking I may hunt for a small decorative wooden wheel barrow to allow some planted flowers to run in it. I'm really just interested in adding a little color and new greenery.

Tomorrow is supposed to be a beautiful day - maybe we'll be out of the house again enjoying the not so hot weather while it lasts!!

do the math

This is very interesting; I read a blog post on a green website I now love (thanks Amy) and I completed the fill in form to find out my LILI. This isn't the average calculator; I found it interesting the different suggestions given to change things for my household. Some seemed cost worthy. With the calculator you can find out your carbon footprint along with how much energy and water your house uses and how much trash you produce. I know I can't save the world; I can do my part in my house though, within reason.

do the math, what's your LILI?

This is very interesting; I read a blog post on a green website I now love (thanks Amy) and I completed the fill in form to find out my LILI. This isn't the average calculator; I found it interesting the different suggestions given to change things for my household. Some seemed cost worthy. With the calculator you can find out your carbon footprint along with how much energy and water your house uses and how much trash you produce. I know I can't save the world; I can do my part in my house though, within reason.

do the math, what's your LILI?

This is very interesting; I read a blog post on a green website I now love (thanks Amy) and I completed the fill in form to find out my LILI. This isn't the average calculator; I found it interesting the different suggestions given to change things for my household. Some seemed cost worthy. With the calculator you can find out your carbon footprint along with how much energy and water your house uses and how much trash you produce. I know I can't save the world; I can do my part in my house though, within reason.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Gymboree Fun

Jesse had fun during this morning's gym class!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Gardening tips from Jesse

Tip #1 - when you plant stuff, plant it where mommy waters and near the sun - so it can grow.

He must feel left out - Ezra has plants, mommy has plants - so now.... Jesse has plants :)