Thursday, June 30, 2011

Reality Check

The last few posts have been incredibly sweet and blissful, and in large part, life has been pretty blissful around here lately. In the original spirit of the blog, though, I thought a little dose of reality was in order...

I don't know if it's motherhood or finishing a dissertation or teaching a semester course in six weeks (because it clearly cannot have anything to do with age), but my memory is slipping--exponentially. Tuesday nights and Wednesday mornings are doozies around here. We have ballet Tuesday night, and Issa has water day and show and tell at school on Wednesdays. Getting all of that together can be rocky. This week, show and tell was about the Fourth of July, and Issa wanted to take this:
It's a rather huge bow that we use to decorate the wagon for the annual parade. Great idea! The only problem was it was still in storage in the top of my craft cabinet. Bless her heart, she reminded me roughly twenty million times--all of which were horrible. I just can't drive and get the bow. When I tucked her in, she reminded me again, and I promised it would be in the show and tell spot by the door when she woke up...and then I forgot.

I was just about to drift off to sleep, and I remembered the bow. I got out of bed and dug it up. Mission accomplished. I no more than got back in bed when I realized I forgot to lock the front door. Up I went again...door locked...back in bed. Dishwasher...I forgot to start it. Back up...soap in...back in bed. When I woke up yesterday, I realized I had neglected to actually press start. Oops.

It's the little things, but if I could just remember them all at once it would really save me a few trips up and down the stairs.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Nine Years Ago...

Nine years ago today I married the man of my dreams. It was truly one of the most perfect days of my life; everything went as planned, everyone was relaxed, and all the people we loved were around us. Truly a celebration.

In honor of my engineer husband, I thought I would compile the numbers of our nine years of marriage (this is a real stretch for this English major):

3286 days of marriage (I even remembered the Leap Days),
939 left-over nights (about a twice a week you just need to clean out the fridge),
469 trips to the grocery store,
108 lazy weekends (one weekend a month you just need to do nothing),
36 trips back to Ohio,
11 employers between us (some simultaneously),
8 redecorating projects,
5 cars,
3 moves (two apartments and then the house),
2 fabulous children, and
1 amazing life together.

I love you, sweetheart, and here's to many, many happy returns of the day.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Best Daddy Ever

See this man...
I didn't think that I could love him more than I did nine years ago (tomorrow) when I married him. Then I saw him become a daddy, and I fell even harder.

He may scare me half to death when he does this:

And my heart may temporarily stop when he does this:

But my heart melts when I see moments like this:

You may remember that we got a pool this weekend. Well...there is not one level spot in our yard. So, Daddy is using some reclaimed wood from the garage project to build a deck for the pool to sit on. (The boards actually came with the house; we think they are extra fence boards.)
The deck will allow us to fill the pool all the way, which makes him a hero to the kids.

What I love, though, is watching him teach both kids how to build. He lets them check the level and the tape measure. Issa even got to use the driver to put in a few screws. It would probably take half the time without help, but he wants both kids to know how to build and repair things on their own. He shows them the plans he makes, and he talks them through what he's doing. As a mama, it especially melts my heart when he's working with Issa. There is just something wonderful about watching him empower our girl--especially since he doesn't even realize he's doing it. Yep...I love this man--head over heels.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Too Busy Splashing

We had a super fun summer weekend! We decided to put a little pool in our backyard this summer. It's a step up from the little inflatable pool we had last year, and I think it is going to be huge summer fun. We took our first swim yesterday, but there are no pictures--too much fun to be had. What I do have is pictures of the set up. Issa was in charge of the last phase: filling the pool. The hilarity happened before that, though.
When the process began, the kids were right in the thick of things helping...

...but Daddy soon decided he really didn't need that much help. Cue the jumpoleen. The kids still love bouncing in there, and Daddy found the set up much easier as a solo mission.

The other picture I am missing is the dirty look I got from Daddy every time I took a picture of the process.

I love these boys! Evan was watching Issa fill the pool, and Daddy was engineering in his head. He is in the process of building a platform for the pool. I'm sure there will be pictures next weekend!

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Today has been a whirlwind of little projects and setting up the pool in the backyard (which we will finish tomorrow--post to follow). a couple of hilarious moments from the day:
I swear it's just steamed milk, but I find him drinking out of a giant coffee mug hysterical.


Look at that little bundle of fabulousness! It's clearly what everyone should wear out to get pool supplies.

In case you are wondering, she's holding her imaginary toy poodle because we won't let her have a real one--because we clearly need more critters around here!

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Best Way to Wake Up

No picture today. I wanted to capture an truly sweet moment this morning.

I had to get up early for an optometrist appointment, and I was lying in bed after the alarm went off trying to convince myself to get in the shower. I am so glad I didn't rush out of bed. Moments later, I heard Issa's sweet voice coming from Evan's room:

"Morning, Evan. Time to get up. Give me a hug. Now remember," in her best motherly voice, "Mommy and Daddy are going out on a date tonight, but they will come back. Miss Torre is coming, and we're going to make pizza and play games and go to the park and we will have fun. And I will be here with you, so you don't have to worry."

"Why?" in his best five syllable why.

"Because I love you, and I'll make sure you have fun. And Mommy and Daddy will come back."


"Because they love us. They just need a boring dinner."


"They don't really like balloons or crayons with dinner."


"Evan, no more whys. It's breakfast time. Come on, buddy. Let's check on the frogs."

So sweet. She is such a little mommy--love her to pieces.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Year in Review

Each year, I put together a slide show after the kids' birthdays. It really is a Year in Review, and it's amazing to see how much they grow in one year. Yesterday, I did Evan's. My little guy went from baby... big boy...

It is amazing to see what a difference a year makes. I love watching the highlights of the year and the major milestones. As I watched, though, I realized there are so many moments that just can't be captured in a photograph. Those are the moments that are in my memory--the moments that I hope to capture in some small way here on this blog. In that spirit, I thought I would do a mental photograph year in review for my boy here today.

For Evan:

Your love for dogs is immense. You can spot one from a mile away and life must stop until we have all admired the dog. Really, your love for animals is amazing. I love taking you to the museum. A typical conversation: "Evan, see the lemurs." "MOM! LEMURS!" This conversation must be repeated for every animal. When you can pet an animal, you are so gentle and so kind. I really wonder if you will be a vet someday.

In a similar vein, I have learned more about trucks this year than I ever imagined. Unfortunately, I only know the names that you have given them: circle trucks (tankers), round and round trucks (cement trucks), front loaders (anything with something on the front), tower trucks (cranes--because Issa thinks they look like the Eiffel Tower). I can also spot a motorcycle from miles away.

Your ability to make "why" a five syllable word is uncanny.

Your fascination with pockets is alarming. I never know what I am going to find in there. The beetle was about more than I could take. Please empty your pockets outside. And do not put living things in them--ever.

I miss your baby hair. The sweet curls and faux hawk have been replaced by a crazy series of cowlicks. I promise I will always have gel for you when you get bigger. It's the best we will be able to do. That being said, I don't think you will really care. You seem to like your hair a little on the wild side.

You are the least ferocious dinosaur I have ever met. You may pull your arms up like a T-rex, skrinkle your face up, and roar, but those ornery eyes make me laugh every time. The more I laugh, the more you roar until you dissolve into giggles. You are my very favorite dinosaur.

You know how to make me laugh and get yourself out of trouble. When you know I am about to be frustrated, you cock your little head to the side, point your finger at me with your palm up, and say, "Mommy." It's a mirror image of what I was about to do, and that crazy little ornery face, which is beyond description, dissolves the frustration. This could be trouble later.

I love watching you pull your little chicken wings up when you run. Enough said.

There is nothing better than your huge belly laugh--the one that makes you throw your head back. When you can't laugh anymore, the sigh that follows is so sweet. Pure abandon. Never lose that.

You are fearless--sometimes more fearless than I would like. I post-poned scheduling our family picture until you didn't have a bruise on your head. I eventually gave up. Your life is a series of adventures, and sometimes you get bumped along the way. It doesn't phase you, and I hope it never will. (Although, please be careful. You are the only Evan I've got.)

Your smile is a full body, whole room experience. You smile from the tips of your toes to the top of your head, and I can't help but to smile with you. It's a gift, sweet boy.

Sometimes, when I am sitting by myself, you will walk over and put your arm around my shoulder. I can't help flashing forward years from now, when I am old and grey, and you come to visit. I hope you will still sit beside me, your arm around my shoulder. I will want to hear about your adventures, but there is also something magic in just sitting quietly. Just being.

I love you, little man, more than you will ever know.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Nothing Better

I wish you could hear this picture. The giggling would make you giggle along. See those little feet on my coat rack?

They belong to these two cute kiddos. Evan went to hide in the coats because I was trying to take a picture of him being cute. Issa decided it looked like fun. I'm not entirely sure what creates the magic inside coats, but there is something magic. I can remember hiding with my sister in Gram's coats. We would slide open the door, climb inside, and giggle. Now, my kids have found that magic in the corner of our kitchen.

I know I mentioned last week that my kids are magic, but the bond that this brother and sister have is beyond magic--truly a wondrous thing. I love watching them play. I love when they laugh so hard they literally throw their heads back. I love hearing Issa teach Evan how to do something, and I love watching Evan comfort Issa when she thinks she's injured. They may squabble, but more than anything they love each other--the kind of love that is palpable and heart-warming and so very real. I didn't think I could love either of these angels any more than the moment they were placed in my arms for the first time, but watching them instinctively love each other so deeply made me fall even harder and learn to love even more deeply.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Here is Issa's bed all turned down (yes, the sheets virtually glow in the dark--her pick)...
...and here is Evan's...

I finished the turn-down service--complete with mints on the pillows--about two in the afternoon yesterday. I also laid out their clothes for today, placed their pajamas on the feet of the beds, and laid out all of the non-refrigerated ingredients for tacos. Can you tell I was feeling a bit guilty?

I started teaching my summer class last night. It's Education in Society, which is a love of mine. It's also my first graduate level class, which is really exciting. Class last night was amazing. I have 12 teachers in my class, and they were open and insightful. We asked big questions, and we'll spend the next six weeks asking even more. It was wonderful.

Then I rushed to my car to call the kids and say goodnight. It's a poor substitute for hugs and good night snuggles. I need a duplicator; I need to be in two places at the same time. I know I am so blessed to have a job I love and a family to come home to every day. I tuck my kids in six nights a week--something I know many parents long for. It's one of those tensions that has no easy answer. So I'll tuck them in a little tighter tonight, and I'll turn their beds down again next week. And I'll rest easy in the knowledge that they know I love them--always--no matter what.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

We had a great weekend, although it may not have been a traditional Father's Day. We did the Dad-picked breakfast and dinner. He was awoken with handmade cards and gifts (most of which he could identify). But...then our weekend took a shift from the traditional. Per Daddy's request, our garage exploded...
...and everything moved outside... be sorted. We moved into our home before children, and "stuff" has just been crammed where it can fit. This weekend, we made our garage fit our stuff.

The kids were big helpers! They are so excited to have two shelves that are just for their outside toys.

And there were only a few nerve-wracking moments for Mom. This was one of them:
Yep...that's Daddy on top of the shelves hanging the chairs. The finished product is incredible, though. Everything is grouped, and things we use often are easily accessible. We trashed a lot, and I will be headed to Goodwill this afternoon.

Brad is ready to take on projects in his new space.

And the kids are ready to play.

Happy Father's Day to the love of my life and the best daddy a kid could ask for.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Yes, folks, that is a completely yellow dissertation timeline. Yes, folks, I submitted draft one of my dissertation yesterday. Yes, folks, I am elated!

I'm a long way from completely finished, but this is a huge milestone. My advisor will now read the draft and make (I'm sure) way more comments than I would like. There will be multiple revisions before I defend in the fall. But for now, I am basking in the glow of all the yellow.

Friday, June 17, 2011

My Little Readers

Yesterday was library day. Have I mentioned that I love our library's summer reading program? We have always been big readers around here, but this has taken it to new level.

See this girl right here...
...she is READING--as in actually reading the words on the page all by herself. We had been dabbling in reading, but now she is taking off. She read an entire page by herself this week--four whole sentences. I cried. She looked at me like I was crazy and said, "Turn the page. We need to see what happens to the cats."

See this boy...

...he asks to sit and read. He actually sits for long books. This is a small miracle for my boy who has two speeds: running and asleep. I love that he must carry his own bag. It is so heavy, and he walks so slowly, but he does it. And he is proud. And I am proud.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


My children are magic. They know how to make me laugh--sometimes even when I don't want to. Their smiles brighten any room, and occassionally I hear little lines of wisdom that make me wonder how I have missed that all my life.

Last night, they were really magic. They were "poofing" away a dragon. Issa was using magic spells, that must be sung, to chase away the dragon.

Evan prefers roaring while emphatically waving his wand...

...this kid cracks me up...

...just look at that face... these kids to pieces! I think they truly are magic.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wondrous Person

I love this ballet bag for two reasons. First, Issa loves ballet, and she loves carrying her very sparkly bag into the studio. Second, and more selfishly, when this bag comes out it means I get to not only watch my daughter have a wonderful time in ballet but I also get 45 minutes of uninterrupted girl talk with my friend, a truly wondrous thing.

You may remember a few months ago when I posted that I had become friends with the mom of one of Issa's friends. She truly is a wondrous person and an answered prayer. Having a friend who is also juggling work and home, who puts her kids first, and who can be brutally honest about how frustrating that can be is such a blessing. We've had two weeks off from ballet, and we were both about ready to explode with news and questions for each other last night. She is such a source of encouragement, and I am so grateful she has become a part of our lives. And I'm especially grateful that we are scheduling a mom date for next week.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I'm Not an Engineer

I am not an engineer; my husband is. However, yesterday I had to do a little engineering in the garden. Issa planted a tomato plant in this little basket this spring, and I swear the tag said it was a bush variety. Clearly, the tag lied. Until yesterday, this poor tomato was hanging to the ground and looking very sad. I suppose I was trying to will it into turning into a bush variety, but when that didn't work I decided I actually needed to do something.

I had a tomato cage, so I took it out to the pot. The cage was wider than the pot. Bummer. Thankfully, it is the kind where all the supports can snap off. So...I snapped them all off and shoved the three posts into the pot. Then I started putting connectors towards the top to make a cage. The only problem was the pot seemed a little tipsy. So...I used some of the connectors to attach it to the shepherd's hook.

It's not pretty, but it's functional! The plant looks much happier, too! That being said, I think I'll stick to the social sciences.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Day I Lost My Mind...

Yes...this is a very dead butterfly. Issa found it in the backyard on graduation day, but I thought it needed a post all its own.

Issa and Evan were playing in the backyard, and she found this butterfly. Needless to say, she was very sad. She brought it inside, and a bizarre conversation about what we should do next began.

I took a entomology course in college, so Brad thought we should pin it. It was too dead for pinning, though, so that wasn't going to work.

Issa wanted to keep it, but that seemed like a horrible idea!

So...what we decided to do was take a picture. I put wax paper on the counter, and we photographed the butterfly. Then, Issa thought we should bury it. So, I found a shoe box and we wrapped it in the wax paper and put it in the box.

Then Daddy vetoed the burial, fearing it would set a precedent.

So we put it on the front porch. It was the next idea Issa had, and I was running out of ideas. While we were on the porch, Issa decided that the butterfly's family would probably come for it over night.

And they did! The next morning Issa found an empty shoe box on the porch. I might have lost my mind.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


I am pouting today. Nana and Papa had to leave this morning. You see, I have been thoroughly spoiled while they were here.

See this mailbox post...
...Papa fixed it this week. The mailbox was starting to separate from the post.

See these trees...

Papa pruned them this week. Now I can mow under them without doing the limbo.

See this cabinet...

...and this one...

...Nana helped me totally reorganize my kitchen.

See this drawer...

...Papa fixed it. The front was separating from the sides.

You may remember the art table...

Nana helped Issa and I organize it...

...and her art drawers.

And you may remember Papa and Daddy did some work on the swing set last weekend. They finished it yesterday...

...a new ladder and a canopy.

While I am beyond grateful for the help with all the projects, the help with the laundry and cooking, adventures to the museum, and dinners around the Triangle, I am more than anything grateful for ten days filled with memories: Mom laughing until tears ran down her face at Evan being a dinosaur, Papa setting up a train track in Evan's room, a ballet recital, a preschool graduation, conversations over morning and evening coffee, and too many cakes and cupcakes. I loved sharing our every day chaos and watching the kids get some extended time with their Nana and Papa. Tomorrow, I will be blissfully happy, basking in the memories, but today I am giving myself permission to pout and miss them more than words can say.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Morning at the Museum

We headed back to the Life and Science Museum yesterday, and this time we remembered a camera! The kids wanted to show Nana and Papa the inside of the museum, and we had a blast.
Issa in all of her cuteness...

And Evan in all of his! Who needs blocks when you have a table to play on?

We got there right as the inside animals were being fed...perfect timing! Papa got an up close look at our owl friend.

The kids loved the rock exhibit yesterday, which was a first.

Issa sent several balls down the chute in the play area...

And Evan had fun sending balls through the loops!

It was a great morning! Today is our last day with Nana and Papa here. I am preparing to be in a serious funk tomorrow. It's been a great week, and we will miss them terribly!