Friday, March 30, 2012

Mow Thinking

I had to mow yesterday. Let that sink in for a minute. I had to March...and it took me three hours because it was so long. Sigh.

I digress. Last summer, I needed mowing. Of course, I needed to mow so I wouldn't get a nasty-gram from the HOA. I needed the mowing to think, though. It was when I ran through transcripts and observations in my head. Coding. Looking for counter-evidence. Pulling together themes. The noise of the mower drowned out any other sound, and the repetition of walking back and forth mindlessly cleared my head to do some of my best thinking. I could come back in, compile files, and write. It was a gift.

Yesterday, I fired up the mower, settled in to the familiar hum and pattern, and my mind went blank. Just blank. No transcripts. No code. No counter-evidence. It was...odd. I'm in a bizarre transition in my career between doc student and full-fledged academic. I have a a few projects in the works and articles in process, but I have a feeling that nothing will ever quite compare with the intensity of the dissertation...and I'm not sure how I feel about that.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Officially Spring

Now it's officially spring:
The children gathered a big bouquet of clover yesterday, and it had to go in a champagne flute. It's fancy clover....and I wouldn't trade it for a dozen roses.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Those would be Issa's dirty socks balled up and shoved under her hutch. The first time I saw socks here, I assumed it was a fluke. The second time, I assumed it was a coincidence. This morning, I am having to embrace the reality that the girl child has lost all her good sense. There will be a conversation tonight...and I'm bracing myself for the explanation.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Daddy's Home

Daddy's home! There was much rejoicing and celebrating around here yesterday. We went to dinner, stopped at the store to pick up ice cream, and just generally caught up with each other last night. But this was the highlight:
You are seeing that correctly. Daddy brought Evan home a real boomerang. (He also brought each kiddo an Australian stuffed animal and Issa and I opals; we are spoiled.) Daddy knows how to throw boomerang! Ten years of marriage and I had no idea. Our yard is a little short, though, so we are questing for a big field to perfect our skills.

Issa came pretty close last night:

Evan did not come close but he had a blast:

I am quite certain this whole boomerang thing is going to end badly at least once, but we'll see! I almost got a boomerang to the head, but almost doesn't count...or so I've been told.

Brad and I had an interesting conversation last night. We both agree we are infinitely more productive when the other is not there. I also know I am a more fun mom when he is gone; I plan something extraordinary every day. More than that, I know I am exhausted when he comes home.

We also know that although we make fabulous memories apart and get a little more work accomplished, we would much rather be together. I'm okay with Daddy being the fun one. I'm okay needing one extra day to finish the grading. We're a good team, and we are all much happier when we're together. I'm grateful for the space to appreciate that, but I hope I don't get ten days worth of space again anytime soon.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Easter House

The leprechauns were officially evicted this weekend. The green and gold has been replaced with chicks and bunnies! My two favorite decorators were all over it:
Evan thought putting chicks on a house was just hilarious:

Issa was very focused on making her side just perfect:

Evan's finished side:

I had to help Evan with the bunnies. The first bunny met an untimely end; when Evan went to push it on the house, its little head popped right off.

Issa's finished side:

She did this all by herself! I did get to do the ridge line, though.

I think it looks much better nestled in with the bunnies:

Do you notice something missing? The little bunnies on the chimney had to come off. Apparently my children inherited my sense of spatial relations. The bunnies would not fit in the we ate them.

Have I mentioned how much we love this little house?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Breakfast with the Bunny

We got to have breakfast with the Easter Bunny yesterday!
They were pretty excited! It was at California Pizza Kitchen, and if anyone gets the chance to go to one of these, go! It was so well-organized, and the kids are still talking about. We walked in, and the kids were greeted with goody bags and little pizza boxes to decorate with crayons. They served breakfast pizzas (which were really good!) and fruit. But the highlight, the highlight was the Bunny!

We went with Shelby and Crystal:

Shelby was not so sure about the bunny. (Sorry about the tiny pics--free downloads from CPK.)

My two, however, were in love:

I thought Evan was going to knock the bunny over he was so excited:

Even Mom got to get a picture with the bunny:
And since he's coming home today, I can talk about it here now. (I'm paranoid like that.) We missed Daddy at the breakfast! He has been in Australia for ten days...Australia...ten days. You read that correctly. He got to go for work, but we have really missed him!

Off to make a little house...we are keeping busy until Dad gets home!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Bunnies Abound

We decorated for Easter yesterday! I love hauling out these decorations, remembering where each bunny came from and retelling the stories. They ended up in very different spots this year. Issa had a lot more ideas, and I'm very proud of my type-A self for rolling with her!

There are bunnies on the mantel:
The big brown one was made by Gram. In the past, it sat on her cart, but Issa wanted it where we would see it more. I'm okay with that.

Bunnies around the little house:

The little white bunnies belonged to Granddaddy, and I love them. The rest of my family is a little unsure of their pink eyes, though.

There are bunnies in the entryway:

Bunnies on the wine rack:

Bunnies on the piano:

Bunnies in Issa's room:

I love the Easter basket paired with Taylor--too funny.

Bunnies in Evan's room:

And a huge basket of eggs on the table:

I really want you to notice the art table. The angels are still singing--and Issa even painted yesterday!

There are more bunnies about, but I think you get the idea. very favorite bunnies:

We are off to see the Easter Bunny this morning! Enjoy the weekend, y'all!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Love: A List

Yesterday was a fairly unremarkable day, but there were so very many moments that I just loved:

1. I love our Meineke. I have a general aversion to all things mechanical. Mechanics make me cry; car repair places make me anxious. When Brad discovered this one, he promised I could take the cars there, too. I was skeptical...very skeptical. Now, I am in love. It helps that the service manager could be my Uncle Todd's twin. They look and sound identical, and I trust him implicitly. When he starts to talk and I glaze over, he smiles and says, "Got it. I'll just do what I would do for my wife's car." Love him. And...they are always saving me money! A definite bonus. (I was there yesterday because the handle to the parking break fell off. They are only charging me for the part--$24--because it is so easy to put on. Love them!)

2. I love that Issa loves Journey. After school, she wanted to clean up her art able (Hallelujah Amen!), and she cranked up Journey while we did it. It was blissful.

3. I love that Evan snuggled on my lap for all of ballet's class. It was Parent Observation week, so we actually got to sit in the room. It was mommy heaven. I got to watch my girl dance while snuggling my boy. Ahhh...

4. I love that Evan now wants Issa to tuck him in. Apparently she knows just how the vroom vroom blanket should go.

5. I love that when I checked on Issa on my way to bed, she stirred just enough to whisper, "I love you so much, Mommy." I love you, too, baby girl.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Life in the 'Burbs

Every once in a while, I have a good laugh at my own expense. You see...I live in the suburbs, and at some points, I find myself being "that mom." You know: the one who totally over-reacts to what can only be considered a first world problem. Oh yeah...I did that last night.

It was just the kids and I for dinner, so we were making our trek to McDonald's and their Playland. I am not really a fan of either, but the kids love it--more for the novelty than anything else. We only go when it's just the three of us, and it softens the blow of dinner without Dad.

Well...we pull in the parking lot, and I see the horrible words: "Lobby closed. Drive-thru only." Curses! Why did no one ask me if this was a convenient time to redo the restaurant? The kiddos had their little taste buddies all set for chicken nuggets, and they were ready to climb the highest tower. Crud! (Although those were not the words that were running through my head.)

I broke the news to two very disappointed kids and scrambled to come up with plan b. Got it! We'll take our Happy Meals to the big park, the one we never go to because parking is a pain in the neck. Oh two decide they want to go to the brown park. So...we drive to the park in our neighborhood, park, and use the emergency blanket in the van as a picnic blanket. We were back on track. (It was at this point that I cracked up because clearly this is really no. big. deal. It was also at this point that I was sitting on the ground at the park literally laughing out loud at the absurdity of my evening and reaction.)

And really, this is what matters:
And yes...when the voice in the drive-up asked if we wanted to add any $1 McFlurries, I said we'll take three...and we ate them with dinner....and the sun still came up this morning. Miracles happen.

And Evan, well he decided it was more fun to stand to eat at the park:

Oh, well. I did draw the line when he asked if he could lick his spilled ice cream off the bench. Disgusting! Issa and I both screamed, "NO!" It must have been emphatic enough because he didn't even try.

And to add to the evening, McDonald's threw me one more curve ball:

Why do Happy Meal toys need assembly? And why does it take twenty minutes to put stickers A-P on a tiny little car? But I did it:

And the brown park never disappoints:

Issa loves walking the balance beams. The slide makes an awesome ramp for trucks, too:

And this smile:

And this smile:

Well...I'd say it was a perfect plan b...maybe even better than plan a.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Creativity in Bloom

For the first time, Issa brought a friend home from school yesterday. These two girls are off to big things:
They had such a fun time! They are such creative girls, and they both love all forms of art. They played dress up, but they made their own dresses with blankets and clothes pins (although I am highly unreasonable and wouldn't let them wear it to the park), crafted on the deck, and arranged flowers.

The highlight: I pulled off pink popcorn. When I asked what they wanted for snack, Issa's friend announced she would like pink popcorn. Hmmmm. A little jello sprinkled on popcorn did the trick--super fun! Apparently, this was a first. I assumed she must have had it at her house; her mom was very surprised. Ah....small things.

The bummer: the flower arrangement had stowaways. As in ants. As in oodles of ants crawling around my mantle. Thankfully, I caught it quickly, took the arrangement outside, and went to town squishing. Never a dull moment around here, folks.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Issa's Spring

We spent some time working in the front yard again after dinner yesterday. Today may be the official first day of spring, but it is in full bloom at our house!

Issa has a bulb garden, and her tulips bloomed yesterday:

They are beautiful, and when Issa asked to use my camera to capture them I couldn't say no. That one picture turned into a photo essay on Issa's spring.

The pink blossoms on our trees:

This insane face on her brother: I have no idea what is going on there! He's crazy.

The white blossoms against the house:

Evan's basketball that barely leaves his hands:

I swear the kid would sleep with it if I would let him.

Evan's motorcycle shirt:

Eventually he will outgrow this shirt, and there will be much gnashing of teeth. Please ignore the stains of unknown origin. They are invisible to him, and he loves the shirt too much to get rid of it before the seams give out.

Tumbler, who follows Issa around outside, enjoying the spring with her:

And my very favorite:

How cool is that shot?! Issa set it up all by herself, and I love her toes on the edge, too. What makes it even more perfect is we found the shot still set up when we left for school this morning. Oops.

Once upon a time, in a kingdom not very far away, I probably would have deleted most of these pictures. (I see that basketball plenty!) Now, I see them as a window into Issa's world. A glimpse of what she sees. I realized I only photograph what I think is important; this is what is important to Issa. I love slowing down and seeing the world through her eyes.

Happy spring, y'all! I hope you really see a few more blooms today.

Monday, March 19, 2012


I have been invaded:
It may look like an innocent picture of Thomas, but it is hanging in my laundry room--my last bastion. The kids made it yesterday, and it appeared on my wall while I was carrying the first load upstairs. It's official: the children's artwork is taking over my house.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Luck of the Irish

First and foremost, we must have the luckiest yard in the world. Look what Issa found yesterday:
It is, in fact, a five leafed clover! She also found one with four leaves. She was beside herself.

We also had a very successful shoe shopping excursion! Shoe shopping is, in general, a nightmare. Issa has long, narrow feet and eccentric tastes. Evan has balls on the end of his legs. This always leads to trouble.

When we walked in, we got a new clerk, who was excellent! She did ask if they were siblings, though, since their feet are polar opposites!

Issa wears a 13 now, and she chose these very sparkly shoes:
She calls them twinkle toes:

She also took those pictures herself.

Poor Evan had troubles. He wears a ten now, and he desperately wanted a pair of Darth Mal shoes. They looked like he was eating your leg, and Evan was in love. Unfortunately, his little feet just could not fit in that pair. Thankfully, the clerk picked up on Evan's style:

Alligator shoes!

The green on the heels lights up, too. Evan is in love!

That, my friends, is why we love Striderite...and how the luck of the Irish was with us yesterday.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

The leprechauns came! We were a little worried because they usually come when we are at work and school; this is the first time we have seen a Saturday St. Patrick's Day. But...those tricky leprechauns came while we were sleeping!

They had been hiding in the little house above the television, and then they hopped all over:
They hopped right into the kitchen:

And they left shamrock biscuits with green jelly for breakfast:

Then, they hopped right upstairs:

They bounced right down the hall:

And into every bedroom:

They piled all the kids' green toys in their room, and they hopped right out our window. They are very tricky!

Issa was so excited when she woke up! I love her curls in the morning:

The biscuits were declared delicious:

Happy St. Patrick's Day! May the luck of the Irish be with you!