Monday, March 30, 2015

Friday, March 27, 2015

Recent Round-Up

A few miscellaneous photos from the last couple of weeks...

At the end of our cherished annual visit from Aunt Shanny. (Praying for you, Shan!)
(That was also the day Esme had her awful muscle spasm. Note the pillow on the couch. She was only recently sitting up when we took this shot.)

Meg asked me to take this picture of the waterfowl and post it. The drab, wintery water's not much to look at, but our shadows are kind of cool!

Meg after a leftover (non dairy!) smoothie popsicle:

And me with my post-nap sleepyhead:
On days when Graham wakes up tired, sometimes I get some treasured cuddle time with him when all he wants is to be as close and as warm and as still as possible. I wonder if I will remember in three, four, ten, twenty years what it feels like to have a drowsy bundle of boy burrowing into my shoulder. I do hope so. Perhaps this picture will help.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

A Miserable Day in Eczema Land

Graham's calves, ankles, and feet have been lousy lately, but this week there was a particularly itchy, red, and raw day. Staring down at his legs as he scratched, Graham aptly summarized: "My skin is grumpy."

And at a different moment, showing me his flaky, red-flecked feet, quoth he: "I have blood. I need a blood sticker." I thought that was a pretty cute way of saying band-aid.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Playground Smiles

From our lovely 60° days earlier this week...


Wednesday, March 18, 2015



These two are such pals. They can make some astonishing messes together, no doubt, but I thank the Lord they are such good pals. May it ever be so. (Just the friends part, not the messes.)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

This Week's Craze


Everyone here is playing with paper cups this week. Stacking them, throwing them, knocking them down, leaving them all over the kitchen floor so we stumble over them... the possibilities go on and on!

Monday, March 16, 2015

How to Induce Bright Pink Vomiting and Other Genius Parenting Skills You Won't Find Anywhere Else

This is the time of year when Dave works an insane number of hours to get ready for our church youth group's musical. Our family is grateful to have the opportunity to support this production, but... we miss Daddy a lot. And despite the newly beautiful weather and the chance to be outdoors more lately, we were feeling a little cooped up today. Since yesterday Esme woke up with a painful muscle spasm in her neck and it rendered her immobile, we weren't able to make it to church. So today I wanted to plan a small but fun outing for the kids. Cheer all of us up, get us out and about, bring smiles, make memories.

We drove over to one of our favorite playgrounds and enjoyed the swings, the slides, and the sunshine. Then, all sneaky Mama, I drove toward home but passed right by our neighborhood. "Where are we going??" the kids demanded, instantly on to me. Minutes later, we arrived at Baskin Robbins, where we had a gift card. Ice cream for Meg, Matthew and Esme, iced black coffee for me, and a smoothie for Graham.

Graham is our allergic baby. Meg has celiac and can have no gluten, but Graham is basically allergic to everything else, including dairy. Now, I know that they put frozen yogurt in the smoothies at these places. I know that. "But," I reason, "he's always been ok with smoothies in the past." We used to get him smoothies at Panera while traveling (before I realized they contained dairy), and the worst that ever happened was a little rash around his mouth. So come today, a smoothie totally seemed like a better option than ice cream. And Graham loved it. "Maybe he's grown out of his dairy allergy, as people keep saying he will," I thought.

Fast forward 30 minutes. We're home, we're getting the mail and opening it, some neighbors drop by to sell us Girl Scout cookies. Graham goes upstairs to get his pajamas on. (Probably his fourth set of clothes today--boy still loves his clothes with a passion.) The next time I see him, he's standing at the top of the stairs clad only in a diaper and swim goggles and looking bewildered. There's some kind of gooey pink stuff dripping from his hand. And... wait. It's on his diaper too. It's sprayed on the walls on either side of him. It's bright pink smoothie-puke. Graham has projectile vomited all the way down our carpeted stairs, right to the very bottom step.

It is at this moment that I remember in vivid detail the last time we got Graham a smoothie while on the road. He threw up all over himself and his car seat, and we had to clean it up with baby wipes. I remember exactly where we pulled off and how long it took us to find the highway again after the stop. I even remember the huge Panera with the cool loft where we got that smoothie and how someone complimented me on my dress as I went up the stairs. I remember how patient the cashier was as I placed our complicated order, requesting gluten-free prep on this and no mayo on that. In short, I now remember everything about this incident that I needed to remember--that I really, really should have remembered--an hour ago.

I rinse my boy's hands, pop him in the bathtub, and dose him with Benadryl. I spend the next hour scrubbing carpet, checking to see how Graham's allergic reaction is progressing, and feeling like a terrible, horrible, no-good, very-bad Mama. Here I wanted to bless my kids and I end up making one of them sick. I should have known better; I did know better! I even thought about having him try the one dairy-free ice cream option they had, but I thought the flavor sounded nasty. Bad Mama! Bad! Bad!

There is no moral to this story. I'm not really a bad Mama... usually. I am a fallible creature who is prone to lapses in judgment (among other failings). Today I made a mistake. I will surely make many more. God was very merciful and helped Graham through his allergic reaction. We didn't have to to use the EpiPen. We didn't have to go the ER.

But I won't get any more smoothies for Graham. And I hope never again to have to scrub every single tread of my carpeted stairs.

My Little Patriots

In history we've been studying the American Revolution and the founding of our nation. It's been super. Meg and Matthew have been doing more independent study to supplement what we do together, and they have flourished in that.

We brought home from the library a cool book, Projects About the American Revolution. Meg and Matthew both had to read it and choose a project to complete. As it happened, they both chose headwear.

Meg in her mobcap and Matthew in his tri-corner hat:

And Esme, who was at that moment clad as a mermaid (don't even get me started on Ariel's kind of revolution), getting in on the photo action:

We also made parchment paper, though it barely looks aged at all in this shot.

Another cool thing is that we found this cartoon series, Liberty's Kids, on YouTube. It's the Revolution (starting with the Boston Tea Party) as seen through the eyes of three (fictional) young people who always seem to be at the right place at the right time and get to meet everyone from Ben Franklin to Phillis Wheatley, the poet and slave. It's fairly detailed, engages the real questions of that day, and is quite well done overall. I gladly recommend it!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

One Last Post for Today


We love you, Dacia!

Graham to God

I don't remember anymore what had just happened, but recently, God helped us through something at home, and I said out loud as I walked through the hall, "Praise the Lord!"

And Graham, following behind me a few paces, added his own words of worship:

"I love you so much, God. And I enjoy you in your heart."


"I mean, in my heart."

And a Field Trip Pic From Back in February

Early in February, Dave took Meg, Matthew, and Esme for his first ever solo field trip. They hopped on the Metro and whisked off to the American Art Museum with some of our fellow home schooling families. My friend Christine took this picture while they were there:

photo (12)

This shot was not only cute but significant, because we had just finished studying Georgia O'Keefe in our co-op art class. That day everyone got to see not one, but two of O'Keefe's works live and in person! The kids were excited to recognize her style and subject matter, and we moms (even those of us who weren't there) were all geeked out. It's just too cool when God lines life up like that.

Maryland Science Center Fieldtrip


Here are some pictures from a recent field trip to Baltimore. It was fun, because Meg, Matthew and Esme had a little chemistry workshop to attend for the first hour (the shot above is Esme and her lab buddy), so I got to take Graham upstairs to the Kids' Room and enjoy rare one-on-one with my littlest!



Then the big kids joined us in the same area.





Later on we took a quick spin around some other areas of the Center, but the kids were fading, and we had to get back home for their choir practice. Or, as it turned out, we had to drive around the highways and byways of Maryland fighting the GPS to reroute us around the toll road, which made us late to choir practice. But anyway! This was a great field trip regardless. In fact, Graham watched over my shoulder as I prepared to post this, and said wistfully, "I wish we could go back to the buseum."

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

This Picture Alone is Worth the Price of the New Phone

I could never capture this moment before, because I never have a camera on my person when I'm pulling someone out of the tub! Ah, but that phone sitting in my back pocket now...

How I love a cuddly, damp, towel-wrapped cutie grinning at me in the mirror after a bath.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

A (Brief) Tale of Woe

Esme wrote this short story last week, completely on her own. The illustrations kill me. She really manages to convey dismay and distress in the body language of her characters!

I'm including her captions below with punctuation added, but the spelling and capitalization are hers.

I have a Flat tier
(I think this is the title page.)

One day My tier was Flat. My Daddy had a Flat tier too. it is hot tobay.

Then Momy cam in. "I have a Flat tier too!"

That's it. That's the whole story. Gritty, sweaty, bleak--a stark portrayal of the times when life just dogpiles on top of you. That's the kind of story teller Esme is.

Or it could just be that "flat" was one of her spelling words last week.