Wednesday, November 24, 2010

There's a teenager in the house...

Hard to believe, but 13 yesterday. This child who made us wait for days, then came with a rush overnight. Our Buddha burrito boy, who in many ways cemented our family. He's wonderful, and continues to surprise, bless, challenge, amuse, and impress daily.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Brother love

Christmas 2002

This photo at Tiny Muses reminded me of a Christmas photo from 8 years ago. Most of the time, it seems that my boys embody the best of friends/worst of enemies dynamic. It's nice to remember those tender moments between them.


Christmas 2007

Picture book love

"I really love this book." states Charlie Brown today.

Saint George and the Dragon by Margaret Hodges

I'm so glad. I'm so glad to have our picture books loved on by yet another boy.

Friday, November 19, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment} - "A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember." See

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The 8th Birthday - Nerf Edition

It's always risky planning a November birthday party outside, but we lucked out, and other than feeling a tad bit brisk, Charlie Brown had a wonderful 8th birthday party at one of our local parks. It was definitely better than having it at the house, which the boys had originally proposed. (Eight-year-olds, armed with Nerf guns, inside -- did they think I was crazy??)

I'm generally not great with theme parties, but I think we pulled this one off fairly well. I'm glad that not every possible children's theme has its own aisle at the Party Pig, but it meant that we had to come up with our own way to coordinate food, decorations, etc. We purchased simple blue and orange plates, napkins, and utensils and went with blue and orange snack foods since it was an afternoon party. Cheese cubes, carrots and tangerines balanced out the sugar from the blue jello jigglers and fruit roll-ups. Some blue and orange Capri Suns and a beautiful cake topped with strawberries and peaches from Mr. Natural rounded out the dining options.

Blue and orange bandanas wrapped around little Nerf pistols served as party favors, and the bandanas did double duty, serving as markers to divide the teams for battle. Unfortunately many of the party favor pistols were duds, but all the kids and adults who played were great about sharing the Nerf guns we'd brought from home.

Thanks to my amazingly talented and generous friend, Dreena, we brought our new hula hoops to distract and entertain anyone who didn't want to engage in warfare.

Blessed with beautiful weather, great friends and family, and a very charming birthday boy who was showered with presents that were perfect for him, we had a grand time!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

waterfalls, whirligigs, snap circuits and such

Trying to catch up I've got my posts all out of order. But before the whirlwind that was October, we had the whirlwind that was September, which involved getting used to some new school scheduling routines and a little bit of travel as well, both in town and out.
We had a wonderful visit from my oldest brother and sister-in-law. They're big hikers, and we managed to hit both McKinney Falls and Pedernales state parks all in one day. They inspired us to head back out to McKinney Falls one school day and do some school work there and play around with our cameras.

We also headed to Fort Worth for Lyman to attend a conference. We had the decadent experience of my brother agreeing to take the boys for a couple of nights. With Lyman and I having some time to ourselves, snuck out for our perfect geeky date of a movie, "The American," and a bookstore visit. We also had a great meal at Ferre Ristaurante e Bar.

Saturday morning found us open to enjoy the free museum day in Fort Worth, despite the morning downpour. My brother was a better sport than I was about spending our entire time at the Science and Nature Museum. (In my defense, he gets to go to the Kimball and Amon Carter and the Botanical Museum way more than I do.) There are pictures of me on the spinning thing, but my children seem incapable of mentioning that a) my love handles might not be showing up to my best advantage and b) I look like the wicked witch of the west and might want to consider brushing my hair when they are taking photos of me. So those photos will remain unpublished.

Never let it be said that my children aren't having an enriched childhood.

Crazy October 2010

Octobers are traditionally busy months for our family. Last year we kept things a little under control by not getting caught up in the fall mountain bike racing season. This year, not having a toddler with us, (our foster daughter went home in June) we committed to participating in as many of the races as we could. It made for a wonderful, crazy fall!

In October alone I traveled with the boys to 3 out of town races. Of the two other weekends in October, we did an in town fun bike ride on one weekend and Halloween fell on the other. Needless to say little got done around the house and my fall vegetable garden remains only in my mind.

We started off October in Abilene. I was really excited to check out the yurts at Abilene State Park. The boys and I loved it. I'm a fairly intrepid car camping tent camper, but having traveled so much this summer, and being so wimpy about the slightest hint of cool weather, being able to arrive and simply unload food and clothes into an existing structure was downright luxurious.

We had a great time. We saw deer, armadillos, sunrises and sunsets, went on hikes and rode our bikes. The boys' primary and most engrossing activity consisted of sharpening sticks and slaying prickly pear. It truly kept them busy for hours. We definitely want to revist the park in the summer when the pool is open, and definitely stay in the yurts again. (One of our friends checked out the yurts more recently. They were not as impressed with the park itself, but she's got some amazing photos you should check out.)

Abilene has a great biking community, and I heartily recommend VT Bike Stuff if you're in need of emergency repairs. They also happen to be on the road into town from the state park.

The next weekend we were home and tackled the Round Rock Outlaw Ride. Lyman had done this ride 2 years ago and enjoyed it, and kept telling me that it was relatively flat. I'll just say that a flat road can have subtle inclines on a bike that are not noticeable in a car... Bike Monkey and I signed up for the 40 mile ride and decided to tackle the 50 once we got going, and Lyman road the 63 mile route.
Thirty miles in I wondered what I was thinking tacking 10 extra miles on and was thoroughly convinced the claim that the rest stops were 10 miles apart could not possibly be true. I have to say many thanks to Lyman for encouraging me to ride, Bike Monkey for babysitting me until we rejoined his dad, and the really nice man and his wife who were riding with their two kids in tag-alongs who stopped and helped me with a flat early in the ride.

Midway through the month we headed to Huntsville State Park. I really wanted to camp there, but I had failed to reserve a campsite in time so we ended staying at a motel with bike team teammates. We had a great time eating and socializing around the pool with Bike Monkey's bike team.
The following week, with very little turnaround time, we headed up to see my folks for a few days then on to Ruston, Louisiana, for yet another bike race. We had traveled to Ruston the first year Bike Monkey started racing. It's quite a haul, but is really beautiful, and worth the drive. Attendance is lower at this race, because of the drive, but both boys had a great time playing with their friends and racing in the piney woods. The pond, ducks, and changing fall colors were all just gravy.

Thanks to good caravaning company, the long drive home didn't even seem so overwhelming, and we got to see a gorgeous evening sky.

Finally we wrapped up with Halloween. Thankfully Lyman took charge of decorating the house, and our good friend invited us over to carve pumpkins at her house. She went above and beyond with creative decorating and dinner ideas for the party.

All the kids' pumpkins turned out great, but my children did have to be told that next year their jack-o-lanterns could not be carved as to suggest bullet holes. (I swear we're peace loving people!)

Hope everyone else is having a great fall!