Sunday, September 28, 2014

Glasses Girl

Meg has been waiting patiently for a long time to get glasses. It was probably nearly a year ago that she started telling us she had trouble reading things at a distance. I forgot and forgot to schedule an appointment, and then when I finally called the ophthalmologist, there was a three-month waiting list.

But now the wait is finally over, and guess what? Meg is sooooo excited (Who, Meg? Excited??) to have her cute new glasses.

Doesn't she look great?

She's only slightly nearsighted and doesn't need to wear them all the time, but for now she's enjoying them so much that she only takes them off for outside play and sleep.

Glasses Too

Hello, Cutie Pie!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Well, this is poignant.

The Fledgling

So, art thou feathered, art thou flown,
Thou naked thing?--and canst alone
Upon the unsolid summer air
Sustain thyself, and prosper there?

Shall I no more with anxious note
Advise thee through the happy day,
Thrusting the worm into thy throat,
Bearing thine excrement away?

Alas, I think I see thee yet,
Perched on the windy parapet,
Defer thy flight a moment still
To clean thy wing with careful bill.

And thou art feathered, thou art flown;
And hast a project of thine own.

-Edna St. Vincent Millay

Friday, September 26, 2014

A Diaper-Change Conversation with Graham

Graham: You not change my diaper.

Me: (Unfolding a fresh Luvs) I don't?

Graham: Yeah.

Me: Mommy doesn't change your diapers???

Graham: Nope.

Me: Who changes your diapers then?

Graham: Nana.

Me: Aww. You little punk.

Graham: Aww. I not a punk. I not Es.

Me: You're not?

Graham: No. I not Esme. I not a punkin'.

Me: (Kiss/tickle attack)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

First Co-Op

Last week our co-op gathered for our first lessons of the school year. It's our third year with the same three other families (fourth year with one!). We love, love, love these folks and are so grateful to share school life with them. Look at all these great kiddos!
photo (4)
It was lovely to do show-and-tell with the students and hear them enthusiastically share some of their summer memories. They have all grown up and learned so much. When we did our first show-and-tell together two autumns ago, some were so shy they couldn't fully participate, and some (like Esme) were barely old enough to speak in complete sentences.

My friend Christine, who took the group shot above, also snapped this one of all the girlies with our latest addition: Baby E!
photo (5)
They were all quite smitten and spent the first few minutes after her arrival sitting quietly around her car seat, staring and cooing and asking questions of the lucky big sister. (This was a pretty big deal--normally most of these girls tend toward the rowdy side.) In just a few months, it'll be deja vu all over again when Baby C arrives to help the boys fight back against the overwhelming current of femininity.

We're using our twice-monthly meetings to study art and science together, as we did last year. It's so much less daunting to approach projects and experiments as a big group, with more mama hands to make the work lighter! The kids are already excited about tackling physics, and we moms were very happy to find Meet the Masters art curriculum.

All aboard for another year of learning, fun and fellowship! Here we go...

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Around School

Phonics with Elsa, I mean, Esme. (Doing school in costume is way up there on the "Perks of Homeschooling" list.)

Math practice with Matthew. (Recognize that Superman wristband, Papa Don?)

Handwriting with Meg.

And... Graham, who sometimes prefers working under his desk.

Or nowhere near it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Conquering the Magnum

This weekend Dave and I flew to Ohio to join Dave's family at Cedar Point, "The Roller Coaster Capital of the World!" Our mission? To experience the Magnum XL-200, a coaster that Dad, Dacia and David failed to ride (due to a now fabled--and somewhat debated--set of circumstances) on a visit to the park some 25 years ago.

I'm happy to report that our quest was successful. Though I have to say, one of my favorite moments of the day was when Dad, who had been very chatty as we stood in line, suddenly rounded a corner and caught sight of the Magnum's first big hill. And it was pretty big. "Is that it?" he asked, sounding shocked. We assured him that it was, and after that Dad waited out the rest of the line in near silence.

I should also mention that I was badly distracted during our ride. I mean, this ride was supposed to be it, the whole reason we came, the long-deferred denouement of a family legend spanning several decades. Dad, Jan, Dave, Dacia and I were together, we were lined up in our rows like an army poised to march. Our car approached; we were ready to board, to tackle and tame this beast as a team! But at the last moment, Dacia was unable to ride in the same car as the rest of us due to some kind of malfunction with the seats in her row. It felt like a bad joke as we glided off, casting backward glances at Dacia, unflappable, who waved and smiled cheerfully. She ended up in the car after ours, right behind a guy who rode with his arms up all the way. Blast and double blast.

I was also distracted with worry about Dad, who seemed grim as the ride took off. Were we all completely nuts even to attempt this?

But in the end, victory was ours.

Don't we look victorious?

After slaying Magnum, we set out to enjoy the rest of the day. And we did.

And now if you'll excuse me, my inner coaster-lover and critic needs out for a moment. We didn't fit in a ton of rides, but of those we hit, my husband loved the Millennium Force most. Though that first impossibly high hill is totally unforgettable, overall I found Millennium too fast to enjoy. All I could really think about was the fact that it was so fast it made my eyes water and my nose run. I guess I'm just not a speed fiend.

My favorite ride of the day by far was the Gatekeeper, a soaring "wing" coaster that dips and twists and rushes smoothly between sky and lake like a massive eagle. Man, I could have ridden that thing about 16 more times. Here's my beautiful sister-in-law, my handsome hubster and me waiting in line for Gatekeeper. (Ahhh, take me back!)
Cedar Point 1

Better than the rides was the time to talk and laugh in the car, over meals (Brick Oven Bistro two nights in a row, baby!), at night in our motel, and in line as we waited (and waited, and waited) for rides. It was the first time I've had a without-kids visit with Dad, Jan, or Dacia since we had kids.

Dad and Jan, thanks again for taking us along for a most memorable ride. Cross that one off the list, Dad, and onto the next! We love y'all so much.
Cedar Point 2

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Our First Soup of the Season


Oh, how I love fall, and oh, how I love to make soup! Yesterday morning it was 48° where we live, and the temps are hanging out in the 70's most daytimes this week. Perfect. Bring it on.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

"Mommy, I have a bowf!"

I don't know if "bowf" is some confusion-born hybrid of bow and both, or if Graham just thinks that bow has an f at the end. Either way, he was very proud of his bowf.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Esme's Fifth Birthday: Home Highlights

The day after the Frozen party was Esme's actual birthday. We kept it super simple, with a Daddy/Esme date in the afternoon, Esme's choice of mac 'n' cheese for dinner, and homemade ice cream and presents before bed.

Graham understands the presents thing all too well now; he was ready and waiting to help Esme with her unwrapping. (Actually he all but unwrapped one solo before we even started.)

Matthew was our resident card-reader.

Thank you, Aunty Shanny!

Everyone very intent on the cool card from Papa Don and JanJan:

Meg and Matthew's gift was this musical, snow-globe tipped Elsa wand.

They got big hugs for that.


And her special gift from Mommy and Daddy:



Whatever it is, she likes it!

P1240420 Elsa dress!

Queen Elsa attended by her loyal handmaiden and manservant:

Happy Birthday, sweet and silly girl! You are greatly loved and cherished!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Matthew's Seventh Birthday: Lego Party

Matthew's and Esme's birthdays are just six days apart. That's why yesterday we found ourselves throwing a party for the second Sunday afternoon in a row. This one was an at-home affair, and the theme was Legos.

We set up a projector in the school room so everyone could watch The Lego Movie big screen style. We watched the first half...

...then we gathered in the living room to split into teams for our competitive Lego building game.

Dave explains the rules. (He talks with his hands.)

And they're off!

On the left, Team 1, with Matthew at the helm.

And on the right, the worthy competitors of Team 2.

The two teams worked together to build identical Lego Creator sets. Each person had 90 seconds to build as much of the set as he could, then the next person took his turn. The team to complete the set first won the round. Since the set could be built three different ways, we were able to do multiple rounds... Team 1 took the first round, and everyone was eager for more. Team 2 won the second round, by which time it was clear that the attention-span window was closing fast. So Dave declared a tie and distributed prizes to all. There were no arguments there!

Cake time! For Matthew's Lego cake, I took the plunge into the world of fondant for the first time. I didn't have the guts to cover the whole cake in fondant (and buttercream is so much tastier, honestly), but I used it for all of the decorations, and I was pretty happy with how it turned out.


It's a far, far cry from some of the dazzling professional Lego cakes out there, but it's not too bad for a novice, right? Everything was edible except for the mini-figure standing on the pyramid in front. (My hat is off to anyone who does cakes for a living. My, WHAT time-consuming and painstaking work!)

I even found some Lego candles at the grocery store!

"Happy birthday, dear Matthew..."

He conquered the candles so fast we missed the shot.

Happy cake-eating peoples.

Happy jello-eating person. (#allergictoeverything)

Time for presents... Legos!!!


Our big old ugly chair actually kind of lends itself to gift-opening, doesn't it?

A thank-you hug.

Yay, more Legos!

Apparently, this one required closer inspection...

Everyone huddled around as Luke explained what he had drawn in his special birthday picture for Matthew.

I'm not sure what Graham is doing here. Maybe "I'm a Little Teapot"?

After presents, we watched the second half of the movie, and then it was time for goodbyes. Cleaning up the kitchen after everyone departed, I asked Matthew, "Did you like your party?"

"Yes," he said unhesitatingly. "I loved it. But I love Mommy more than my party." The words came unstudied and matter-of-fact, totally sincere.

And, oh my heart, what a good, good way to say hello to your eighth year, speaking those kind and loving words. Our Matthew Ian: how we love you. And don't you ever, ever forget it.