Thursday, February 27, 2014

Fern's First Haircut

On Monday Jenny came over and gave Fern her first haircut. She trimmed the back to make it look even and full. We are transitioning from baby mullet to a little bob cut. Before:

Daniel happened to be here and distracted her with pictures on his phone. I panicked, took pictures, and didn't breath for the two minutes that it took. It turned out super cute and she is so proud of her haircut. If you see her then you can comment on it, but not too much because she gets embarrassed. What a sweet little girl! After:

Because nostalgia-Burl's first haircut

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Tennessee Igloo

A good snow is like Halloween in that it gives the power of the roads back to pedestrians and brings neighbors out of their homes, together. If the snow is deep enough, it takes the neighborhood and erases the boundaries of my yard-street-your yard and everyone is playing freely all over the place. That was the picture of our neighborhood two weeks ago. We received six inches of snow, which is the most snow that I've seen here in the last twenty years. Yee-haw.

Inspired equally by a neighbor who tried this a few years ago and our homeboy Curious George, Burl and I formed some plans to build an igloo. As the night snow fell, we let the kids build a snowman with neighbors right before bedtime. Jammies and all. Therefore, snowman was crossed off our list. The next morning, we woke up and swallowed breakfast and started working in the front yard before eight o'clock. 

For a few hours it was a huge event. My brothers came over, Jenny walked by, the neighborhood kids helped (even rolling over snowman body parts to help our efforts), and John got to stay home for a bit. The only person that didn't help was Fern. That poor girl did not like the snow. She spent the ENTIRE morning in the house by herself. Mainly she just watched happily from the window, but every time someone checked on her she was giggling and content. Introverts are swag like that.

Eventually the efforts dwindled down to Burl, Daniel, and myself. I made a pirate flag for the top, and while Daniel went to the neighbor's house to build them their own igloo, I decorated it. Tacky and homey. 

We were very proud of our first igloo. We plastered pictures of it across social media and patted ourselves on the back. The next day my uber-in-shape brother and I were in pain. I hurt in places that I didn't know could hurt, but it's hard work crawling through a two foot opening and digging out a 3'x6' tunnel.
Miners, I feel you. 

The igloo stood proud for four days through 60 degree temperatures, and we were pleased. We each have mental plans on how to improve our fortress for the next snow. There's a trend now, and snowmen are out. Igloos are the new black. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Front Yard Crazy

In the front yard, we all act like crazy children being released from the prison we call Winter. It was just an hour or so, but we made the most of our playtime. 

Photo credit to Burl, and we can't stop laughing at this action shot. 

Another picture by Burl, look closely you can see him in my sunglasses. 

Money in the bank.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Family Valentine's Day 2014

For Valentine's Day, we stayed home and had a family party. We moved our dinner spot from the kitchen to the dining room, lit some candles, hung some old decorations, let the kids drink pink ginger ale from wine glasses, and had real dessert. It was nothing extravagant, but in our children's eyes it was a legit part. 

Of course, they knew that they were going to get a few little presents, which added to the excitement. They each got a new book (Burl's book & the cutest book for Fern), stickers, and some candy hearts. I also got them some goldfish that were dead by morning, but that's a story in itself. They were not phased by our loss and ecstatic about their candy hearts. We call that a wonderful, exciting Valentine around our house. 

Good to the last drop.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

This Week's Menu

I lost 7 pounds in 48 hours. Praise the Lord Almighty for recovery from the stomach bug. I'm about 90% better. John made biscuits for dinner, so that number probably increased a little bit. For the rest of the week, here's what I'm making:

Roasted cauliflower, green beans with Lauren's sauce, baked potatoes
Black beans and rice with all the trimmings

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Grandma Polly & Sledding

If you know me half well, then you know that I have a fierce love and devotion for My Grandma Polly. In honor of her birthday this week, I wanted to share a part of our recent phone conversation. Mainly, I want to write it out before I forget because it's so special great awesome.

March 2011

I called to talk about the snow and share our sledding experience. She started telling me about the last time she went sledding. About five years ago, she went out at dark and climbed the hill beside her house and went down two blocks of hills, having the best time. When I laughed and asked more questions, she had the answers. one was with her.
...everyone was trying to stay warm in their house probably watching ole' granny sledding. was the wooden and metal sled in her basement.
...she just went one time.
...really-five years ago.

Like any story she tells me lately, I soak it up. I paint the picture of what's happening in my head, and I try to absorb it. That's what I did here, until I started thinking logically. She's turning 88, so five years ago she was 83. She wears sweaters in the summer because she gets cold. She's still healthy, but she's too fragile for sledding the hills that she's talking about. Then it hit me: this didn't happen. I know she's sled the hills when she's younger, but there is no way that she did this five years ago. This is the first time that this is really happened. She really believes something that didn't happen. Obviously, part of me is sad, because I have to lose her a little bit more now as she slips into older age. 

But, part of me can't be too sad when it comes to Grandma Polly. Because if this is her aging and losing it, then it's the best kind of way to lose it. I'll listen all day to your crazy adventures that you're not having in your 80s. I figure that these are my genes and when I get older, I'm going to be telling wild unimaginable tales too. And I think that is marvelous. I'm so proud to be her granddaughter.  

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Write On The Walls Revamp

My winter activites are pretty limited: find random things for the kids to do, complain about winter, promise myself to do all kinds of fun things when it warms up, and work on some house projects. The dining room is my latest victim. It's a good space, but it has felt cramped for a while. I've been running ways in my head to maximize the space to make it work better.

I told John that I wanted to paint it, and he was on board. The only condition he gave me was that I had to do that on my own time. That was a house project that I could do with the kids. Since we are third generation do-it-yourself-ers raising the fourth generation, that didn't scare me-it excited me.

 First we had to fill some cracks in the plaster. I let Burl do a portion of this, and I did the rest. This was a blind-leading-the-blind thing situation, as I barely know what to do. Squeeze, fill, dry, repeat if necessary. Burl loved this and it was our own version of homeschooling. 

While I got started on the with the primer, I let the kids draw on the walls. I view coloring on walls like I do kids cutting their own hair: it's a parenting right of passage and I love when it happens. Since the kids have already sneaked in some wall coloring, I figured that they would like to have full access. 

This was the best idea in the history of DIY projects with toddlers. They stayed extremely busy, and I scored some major cool mom points. 

During their naps, I finished up the rest of the priming. They joined me after their naps with a pretzel picnic snack with their baby and teddy. John and I have found that toddlers can make our DIY projects more lively and exciting. It's times like these where we ask each other, "could you even imagined this five years ago?" With squinty-eye smiles and borderline jazz hands, we always say "no, we never could have dreamed it." 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Hanging On The Counter

This girl is cool as a cucumber, but given the right circumstances she can bust a move. She requires the perfect balance of alone time to try new things / praise for doing well / but not too much praise to embarrass her.

For a month now, Fern has been hanging on edge of the counter. As her confidence grew and she got the right amount of attention, she's turned it into a full blown routine.

If she only knew that girls put on frilly costumes and makeup to compete in such activities, then I don't think she would ever leave the kitchen. She's so proud of herself.