Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Bathtub

I have avoided tub crayons because of the mess that they create. But about two months ago I gave in and bought them. Lily enjoys them more than Jamison but they both like them enough to argue over who is drawing on what portion of the tub.

This is what the tub looks like after bathtime. This is one happy bathtub. It loves having little kids play in it.

Three princesses holding hands. I've been asked to not clean this portion of the tub. Part of me wants to acquiesce but then the other part of me says that's gross.

The crayons are actually easier to clean off the tub then I thought they would be so that was a pleasant surprise. Another pleasant surprise was that Jamison hasn't attempted to eat them.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Apparently the couch and chairs were not adequate seating.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Small Things

Jamison loves watching the ants. And he would love to squish them and smoosh their homes, too, if I let him.

Yes, he is still wearing his bicycle helmet. I promise that he just got off his trike and that I'm not making him wear the thing all the time. Although it would be a very wise decision on my part if I did decide to protect his cranium.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Man and Dog

Tulip is a basset hound who knows she is not human....but she has also convinced herself that she is not a dog.

Ever since we brought her home in September 2000 she has slept like this in our bed. She doesn't curl up at the end of the bed. If she curls up at all it's on Brian's pillow. Which, he absolutely loves.

And when we kick Tulip off the bed and into her doggie bed? The LOOK that we get. As if we are insulting her but she will comply because she is so above arguing with us.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

May Flowers

For those of you who would like an update on our potted plants, here is a picture from two days ago. From left to right, Lily (not potted), marigolds, tomatoes, morning glorys, and carrots. The oregano should have been on the right but it was blown off the porch during a very windy evening. Lily was considerate enough to fill the pot with just plain mulch...which I chucked in the mulch pile later when she wasn't looking.

Our annuals this year are impatiens, specifically the Super Sonic White New Guinea Impatiens and...

Sonic Deep Red New Guinea Impatiens. The Super Sonic have slightly larger petals. When we planted these impatiens two years ago they spread so nicely and made a thick, colorful border along our walkway.

Here is the walkway border pre-mulching and planting. We also put a mixture of flowers in the window boxes on the garage. One of the flowers is the Angelface in wedgewood blue. The other two that we put in the boxes didn't have little identifier tags so I have no idea what they are. But they're pretty.

So then the workers started shoveling the mulch for the flower beds. In addition to the walkway we have two perennial beds, a lily of the valley bed, and a bed that has some bushes along the house. That's a lot of mulch and a lot of shoveling.

When Jamison first saw this pile of mulch in our driveway he made a dive to climb to the top of it. There was absolutely no hesitation in this attempt. Lily, on the other hand, squealed "oooo what is that dirt doing in the driveway?", her tone one of utter disgust.

She did eventually want to help. She dressed for the occasion in a skirt and t-shirt. When I asked her why she chose that for yard work she replied it was because there was a flower on the skirt. duh, mama.

You will notice that Brian's car is parked oddly in the street. That's not just because of the mulch. It's also because our driveway is on a slight incline and Jamison likes to glide his tricycle down the driveway into the road (if I'm not standing at the end of the driveway to catch him). I'd rather him slam into a parked car than a moving one. Naturally, once I came up with a plan to thwart him he decided to stop his trike three feet before the end of the driveway. Hopefully he'll continue to stop three feet before the street even when the car is moved; but I doubt it.

So Brian put mulch on the walkway bed and laid out the flowers in the proper order.

Please excuse my appearance. Since I knew I was going to be getting dirty I didn't shower or do my hair. But I've been trying to get more pictures of me with my kids. So yes, I look gross, but I hope they will appreciate the memories when they're older.

I don't know what Jamie thought was so funny but I love when he laughs like this.

After the flowers were planted Lily's job was to carefully water them.

Jamie got very interested in the water. He wanted that hose very badly. Last year, during the summer, Lily tortured Jamison with the hose. He would walk in the house with a saggy diaper ad clothes plastered to his body. I am desperately hoping this year he will drench her with the hose. It's called karma sweetie.

I intervened and asked her to share the hose with Jamie. She did it but, with arms akimbo, did not approve of it.

Not much later Jamison decided he didn't want to wear shoes anymore. Since Brian had put fertilizer on the grass a few days before, Jamison had to wear shoes. Meltdown ensued and we had to go inside. After two timeouts his frustration got swept away with the river of snot from his nose and we all cuddled while watching Sesame Street.

It took Brian about three hours to spread the mulch around but the final product looks fresh and clean.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Read Any Good Books Lately?

Every few months of so I have to clean out the bookshelf in my bedroom. It pains me to move some of the books because they were so good to me....but if I don't clean out the bookshelf, one night it will topple over onto me in my sleep and I'll be smothered.

There are a large number of books that I always keep there ready to read when I need them. A few of them are classics - the Anne of Green Gables series (although I really only re-read 2 or 3 of the series), my Jane Austen collection, Little Women, East of Eden, The Bell Jar (I read this almost annually - I feel such a connection with this crazy woman), and Wuthering Heights. There are other classics that I keep in the spare bedroom bookcase and I have to grab some of those occasionally too - A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, The Little House on the Prairie series, My Antonia, For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Fountainhead (I am one with Ayn Rand but I have to distance myself so I don't become too much like her), Gone With the Wind, and Anne Rice's vampire books.

I need the books in my bedroom bookshelf to stay close to me. I may only open them up once or twice a year but I look at the books everyday and they remind me of the time that I read them and the story or message in each one. Here are some non-classic books and authors that I highly recommend. Most are contemporary but written about history. Also, I cannot claim that all of these books are 100% pure and moral - not that they are vulgar but I think you know what I mean.


Isabel Allende - Ines of My Soul and Daughter of Fortune - she makes me want to live in Peru.

Tracy Chevalier - Girl with a Pearl Earring, The Virgin Blue, Falling Angels, The Lady and the Unicorn - she's just a great historical storyteller

Philippa Gregory - I read about three of her books and then made the mistake of assuming that all her books must be as good. I was so very wrong - stay away from the Wideacre series. I suggest The Other Boleyn Girl and The Queen's Fool. These books are great if you like the Tudor age. She is historically accurate and weaves a nice story into the era.

Allison Weir - This author is not for everyone because she mainly writes non-fiction about British royals from the 12-17th century. That's my cup of tea but it bores most everyone else. (Another book that I keep close to me is my bed is The Mammoth Book of British Kings and Queens. It's 800 pages of lists of rulers with brief descriptions starting in the year 100BC).

Edward Rutherford - His books are historical but his stories are enthralling! Historical fiction has gotten trashed by others genres but his books are fantastic. I have read every single one (there are about 8) and highly recommend all of them.

Mark Kurlansky - this is an odd choice for me since his books are non-fiction with a singular topic. I have read three of his books and enjoyed them all but Salt is my favorite. It's the history of salt. No joke. 449 pages of salt. The two other books I read were Cod (about....cod. as in, the fish) and The Big Oyster. Oddly, the Big Oyster isn't all about oysters, it's also about the history of New York City and how oysters played a roll in it's growth. The subtitle is History on the Half Shell, which always gives me a chuckle.


The Red Leather Diary - if you think your grandmother lived a quiet life, read this book.

Gilead - a somber book from an elderly father to his very young son.

The Pillars of the Earth and World Without End - two books that take place in the 12th century. The only thing I didn't like about either book was that even though they were set in the 1100's, the people talk and act as if they are living in 2009.

The Monsters of Templeton - Come visit me and I'll take you to Cooperstown!

The Red Tent - FICTIONAL story of Dinah

The Historian - Set in present day but they have to solve a mystery from the 15th century. Similar to...

Possession - but not exactly like The Historian.

The Zookeepers Wife - How Polish zookeepers hid Jews during WW2 in their zoo. True story.

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius - only for those of us who grew up in the 90's. It's a very gen-X book. I found it amusing. I only recently read it, so it's on my mind, I'm not sure how long it will remain on my list of recommendations.

The Dud Avocado - The 1950's version of Bridget Jones.


Year of Wonders

The Painted Kiss

Robbing the Bees

The Distant Land of My Father

People of the Book

I would LOVE to hear what some of you all are reading now or some of your favorite books. I always need something new to read and I am always open to different books, even if they aren't typically what I am attracted to. Currently I'm reading Liar's Poker about 1980's Wall Street so you never know what I might find interesting. Let me know what you recommend!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Trying to Garden

Our house is in an older neighborhood and so we have a lot of trees. So many trees that our house is perpetually in the dark. Since we've moved in I wanted to grow a little garden but since we barely get any sun I've had to settle for smaller flower beds.

This year I decided to try something different. Our front porch gets plenty of sun but brick is not an easy agent to grow seeds. But flower pots! They can contain dirt and seeds and produce flowers, herbs, and veggies!

We decided on tomatoes, carrots, marigolds (they grow fast for impatient children), morning glorys, and oregano.

Jamison helped with two pots and then he was done. I thought he'd love the dirt -and he did- but he lost interest when I wouldn't allow him to throw it and smoosh his face in it.

Apparently he was ready for a bike ride.

But I convinced him it was more fun to play in the car. He's contained in there, at least.
BY THE WAY, this is off topic but does anyone have any suggestions for how to neatly keep grocery bags? If you look at the floor of the passenger side, that's where I keep my bags. It's messy, but I need them there in order to remember them when I go into the store. Our store is helpful in that they have a huge sign on their door reminding all of us to bring our bags in but I don't really like dragging the kids into the supermarket only to realize I have to go back out to the car to get my bags. Can anyone help me?

And while Lily and I were still gently planting seeds and talking about how God plants seeds in us too, etc...Jamie was digging for bugs in my flower bed. A few days ago I had found a caterpillar in that spot and he kept returning to it hoping to see it again.

In the end, they seeds were planted and they are getting plenty of sun and water. We already see tiny green leaves for the carrots, marigolds, and morning glorys. I thought this would be a fun little activity but the kids are so excited to look at the growing progress every morning before school. It's given me opportunities to talk to them about God and science. And hopefully, the kids will eat the carrots and tomatoes.

Friday, May 1, 2009


Last week dad and I had a trade show in Phoenix. I had never been to Phoenix before so I was excited about going someplace new but, on the other hand, I was leaving my family for five days. Our flight left at 5:45am on Saturday and I didn't get home until 5:15pm on Wednesday.

One of the things I was looking forward to was meeting up with the Webber family. Dennis and Linda Webber worked with the Albany church when I was in my mother's womb and left when I was about a year old.

We attended church with the Webbers on Sunday and it was so nice to see them again. I had seen Linda before when I was at Harding but that was over ten years ago. They had brought two of their granddaughters to church - little Ava was not very interested in getting her picture taken.

That night I went out to dinner with their daughter, Megan. We've been friends since we were one although we haven't been in the same city for any extended period of time. We were both at Harding briefly and thanks to facebook, we've been able to keep in touch. We talked for about three hours and if we lived closer I know we'd be even better friends.

As we were flying into Phoenix I was trying to figure out the lay of the land. I have a thing for maps and geography so my nose was pressed to the plane window on our approach. Phoenix is obviously in a valley but it was so wide and flat and the mountains were so bare. It's hard to say it's beautiful. I think the better word is captivating.
Even though I basically memorized the map of Phoenix I still needed something more. I felt like I was missing something. So dad and I took a hot air balloon ride to get a birds eye view of the area.

I've never been in a hot air balloon before and they're not joking - it's hot.

We woke up at 4:15am in order for them to pick us up at 5:15am. Take off was at 6am. There were four balloons full of people. Each balloon held about 8 people plus the captain. Our captain was Patrick and he was great. He was a great tour guide, pilot, and he even did scientific experiments.

Phoenix is that blip in the background of the picture. There is a little bit of white in the background - that's downtown Phoenix. We were way up north so that we wouldn't interfere with incoming and outgoing flights from the airport.

This was about 7000 feet. That was when I realized that I didn't have any protective gear on and that I was standing in a wicker basket kept afloat by a lot of vinyl. But dad was cool with that.

I loved the look of the dry riverbeds. Captain Patrick said that there were always chances that they could fill up but they rarely did. Phoenix being a desert and all, that kinda made sense.

In this picture, I like how you can see the grid work of civilization next to the natural formation of the mountains. What amazed me most when we were flying was that there were these bigger-than-hills but smaller-than-mountains right in the middle of a neighborhood. So different from what I'm used to looking at.

They look so easy to hike. Part of me says, sure! I can do that. And then the other part of me says - it's 101*, you can barely walk to the convention hall.

Those dots in the sky are the other hot air balloons.

As we were landing I could see the cactus better. Captain Patrick said that a cactus doesn't grow an arm until it's about 50-100 years old.

So that makes this cactus around 75 years old. Think of all the history this one has seen! We passed one by the highway that was estimated to be over 300 years old. I wanted to take a picture of that one but we were driving too fast. That cactus has seen the Native Americans, Spanish explorers, cowboys, silver miners, and the influx of people who settled here after WW2.

When we landed we were a little too close to a fence. The ground crew (in purple) needed passenger assistance with moving the basket full of people so dad hopped out and helped push.

If hot air balloon rides weren't so pricey I think I'd do this more often. It gives a different perspective of an area. And while I don't feel like I got to see everything I wanted to see in Phoenix I was satisfied for that trip.