Tuesday, May 18, 2010

From this... To this...

My house smells so good right now - every room is filled with the sweet aroma of fresh strawberries.

The final product of jam and Martha Stewart strawberry cupcakes did not come without lots of spills, messes, and even two minor temper tantrums (from me). The first occurred when Baby C grabbed a handfull of sugar with a soaking wet hand, then managed to wipe the sugary goop all over herself, and the chair, and the floor. The second tantrum was in reaction to finding Baby C had finger painted the kitchen floor with softened butter. My back had been turned for just a few minutes as I was washing and cutting the strawberries.

It was a day with one step forward, and two big messy steps back.

But by the afternoon, the messes were cleaned up. And all that remained were the treats.
The kids wanted jam on bread for their after school snack. And our family devoured the strawberry cupcakes after dinner.

Sure, I could wait until Baby C is old enough to attempt such grand cooking projects (or I could be smart and do my baking/jam making when she's napping), but life is too short to postpone such sweetness...right?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Strawberry Garden

Ahh, to pick strawberries from our backyard garden on a cool spring evening... After all the waiting. After counting the blossoms, then counting the hard green berries...they were finally ready.

Ahh, to eat strawberries right off the vine...literally:

Ahh, to let the sweet juice dribble down our chins...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Nothing warms my heart more than the sound of giggles coming from upstairs. I tiptoe up the stairs and peek in the room to find these two playing together. Who would have guessed that a ten year old and a 20 month old could be such good friends? Something else that warms my heart (and puts my previous venting blog into perspective)...this link sent to me by a friend. I'm singing a different tune and counting my blessings...


I'm not a happy, positive person by nature. I'm actually very much the opposite (just ask those people who really, really know me). This blog, in fact, is one of my attempts to focus on the good, as a mental, emotional exercise.

But as much as I try to keep the negativity at bay, sometimes the it comes crawling through. And most often, it rears its ugly head most fiercely when it comes to material things.

So let me just grumble and vent and get it over with.

In the past month, I've had three close friends take their families on Disney vacations. And I've had two good friends contract to have their basements refinished. Am I happy for them? Yes. Absolutely. But man, I wish we could do the same. Instead, we've had to change our summer vacation plans because we can't afford what I thought we could. And not only are we no where near being able to refinish our basement, we can't keep up with basic home repairs.

I look around me and I see a lot of affluence. Vacations. Granite. Beautiful homes. Big kitchens. Nice cars. Did I mention vacations?

So why is there such an inequality, why such a discrepancy? My husband works hard, long hours. And I guess I feel like we should have more perks...or specifically, a great vacation and a nice home.

Can you tell I'm feeling very sorry for myself? And for this entry, I'll allow myself this moment of pity, this moment of grumbling, this moment of bitterness. Then when I push publish, I'll try to lock up all the negativity and go about my day.

Breakfast dishes, here I come...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Highs and Lows of Motherhood

A three-generation mother's day gift... Tickets to Mary Poppins in July!

Meya will be sitting between her grandma and me in the nosebleed section of the Kennedy Center. We're already counting down the days (72 days to go).

The rest of mother's day was full of highs and lows.
High: I got to sleep in.
Low: Until 7:42AM.
High: My husband and kids made me a delicious breakfast.
Low: Baby C insisted on sitting right next to me and then right on my lap - sticky fingers, strawberry stains, and dropped food.
High: The kids and I snuggled on the couch to read some of our favorite books.
Low: Baby C played drums on the books with measuring spoons...while we read them.
High: The kids sang a darling mother's day song in church.
Low: I spent the second half of sacrament meeting walking the halls with Baby C who was cranky because she'd had too short a nap.
High: My husband bought me a griddle for Mother's Day (pancakes for breakfast this week!).
Low: I didn't get the Gucci perfume I asked for.
High: Handmade notes, paper-mache necklaces, hugs, and kisses.
Low: They are growing up much too fast.
Highs and Lows...a day realistically reflecting my mothering experience.
To all mom's who enjoy the highs and survive the lows, Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

One Room Schoolhouse

Last week we pulled out the pioneer costumes, wrapped our lunches in wax paper, packed them in a basket, and stepped back in time. Madi's 4th grade class visited Waterford's one room schoolhouse for a field trip. The schoolhouse opened in 1866 by the local Quakers to help educate the African-American population. It was a functioning school for almost 100 years and is now used for historic re-enactments.
Each student in Madi's class assumed a new identity for the morning - a historical person who actually attended the school. Madi was Catherine, a 16 year old, who worked as a cook and caretaker of 4 young children.

With authentic slates and wax chalk, primary readers, and real quill and ink pens, the class was immersed in re-living history. The original floor boards creaked with our steps. The desks seats were worn smooth. The morning sunlight poured in from the tall windows.

Recess was held outside under the shade of oak trees. We played tug-of-war, jump rope, and a game with wooden hoops and sticks.

Back in time. Present time. A wonderful time spent with Madi.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Piano Lessons

In January, Madi started taking piano lessons from a new teacher. The teacher came highly recommended, and we actually had to schedule an "audition" with her. Madi had taken piano lessons for three years and had some great teachers. But we sensed she was on the cusp of needing some expert training...something more to really challenge her and push her to be a better pianist. She was accepted into the program, and we now drive 1/2 hour each way to the hour-long weekly lessons.
It worked. In the last three months Madi has gone from a "beginner" student who I had to beg to practice, to a diligent, motivated musician. She graduated from her Lesson 3 book ahead of schedule and was given her first authentic classical piece to learn and memorize this week. Bach's Minuet in G.

T-man has also started piano lessons. We found a good beginning teacher, and he is making great progress. He mastered "Indian Song" last week - a huge accomplishment since it involves chords with the left hand in addition to melody on the right hand.

This morning, as I worked on my Sunday lessons, Madi and T-man serenaded us on the piano. Madi played through her favorite songs from her Lesson 3 book and completed the first page of Bach's minuet. Truman plunked away with his lively "Indian Song."

I've always had this vision of my children learning to play the piano. Piano lessons were one of the best gifts my parents gave me. There is no other sport or musical instrument that I have used or enjoyed more. And I'm so pleased that Madi and T-man are well on their way...