Friday, November 12, 2010

A Picture Recap

The Richmond Children's Museum:

I wanted to stay in this shadow room and play and try to get some cool pictures, but no one would cooperate.

Driving the ambulance.

These little sticks were really fun. We spent a long time building with them.

Hermine Granger (I'm bummed I didn't take a picture of her on the night of the school carnival - we took the time to really give her frizzy hair and she looked so cute.)

Jedi Knights.

Our witches brew tradition lives on.

One day I will actually put some effort into grown-up costumes. This year I rummaged in the costume box and threw this on while the guests were literally walking in the door and my dad happened to have the leather get-up (came with a bike he recently bought). Our kids were just confused and kept asking who we were supposed to be. A nerd and a biker didn't impress.

Miss Smarty Pants:

And this is a terrible picture, but it is Gwen being recognized at last month's school board meeting for earning perfect 600's on her standardized tests last year. Of course, I hate those stupid tests and all they stand for, but I'm still proud of my girl. There were lots of kids recognized for getting a 600 on one or two sections but she was the only one in her school to get a perfect score on the whole thing.

And no post would be complete without some Grace pics:

Making all the kids laugh by sucking on her toes.

Enjoying a smoothie.

Josie needs a lick too.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

a few things

1. Friday was Jared’s birthday! He’s 29 ;). I love him like crazy.Jared

2. My kids started school this week. I won’t lie, on Tuesday I found myself humming It’s the most wonderful time of the year and when the bus pulled away I did a little dance. Jared was appalled, he was feeling sentimental about kids growing up but that is just proof that he isn’t home much. :)

The big morning:P1010316P1010310 P1010311 P1010312 Just relax and give me a NORMAL smile – impossible:P1010305

I am craving routine and order and I love new beginnings but I do miss those rascals from time to time throughout my day. Luckily, I still have rascal #4 to keep me company.

P1010288Does it look like she took this of herself? I just found it on the camera.  P1010300 Such a good rascally face.

3. The garden is all but dead. I can’t believe that it didn’t rain all summer! I still have a good crop of sweet potatoes to dig up, and I did get enough tomatoes in the last couple weeks for this:P1010286

I love canning, now I am on the hunt for cheap apples for applebutter & sauce. 

4. I have been listening to the same album now for weeks; Matt Kearny’s City of Black & White. I don’t keep up with cool, new artists but I am so happy when I happen upon something I really love. Download it and think of me, you will love it.

5. I went on my first run/walk/run in years. Felt so good and so bad. I am not converted to the gospel of exercise yet but I want to be. More than the pain it’s the time – I really hate the time that it takes out of my day! Once I start feeling the payoff I’m sure I’ll remember that it’s worth it.

6. My first action item after the kids went back to school was to do a house “walk-through”. I went through each room of our house and made a list of all the projects that needed to be done in each. Curtains to be sewn, walls repainted, pictures hung, shelves built… I filled two and a half pages of notebook paper. I do love a good list :).

Sunday, August 22, 2010

growing up

Yesterday Gwen wrote me a note. This is what it said:

Sometimes I feel too much is expected of me and I want to be little again. Sometimes I remember I am little, you treat me too old. Please treat me younger, I have too much responsibility.
Love, Gwen

I laid in bed thinking about it for a long time. It is sad and true and funny all at the same time. I thought about life and work and how they are inseparable, but not void of joy. And about how growing up is hard. I thought about how she doesn't have too much responsibility but I am too critical. I thought about other notes she has written me, namely this one and how this was a marked improvement. Maybe I am getting better? Maybe she is growing up and becoming more articulate. Ultimately, I decided I would also like to write someone a note that says "I have too much responsibility. I want to be little again." Who should I write it to?

As a side note, she wrote me another note today that said:

Mom, I love you and love writing you notes. Sometimes it is easier to tell the paper. I hope we keep writing notes to talk. Gwen

Sweet girl. As long as my eyes aren't x'ed out and I haven't been shot in the heart with an arrow I'm okay with the notes.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Today the kids and I hiked (4 miles! with Grace on my back) at Ivy Creek. A few fun photos:

Anyone identify those guys? Freaky.

And we made these bird feeders when we got home. I hate messy crafts and this one was so messy. But, I try to be a good mom and do them sometimes.

Back Creek Cabin

This week our family turned 11. To celebrate Jared and I spent last weekend at a little cabin in the mountains. I really fell in love with our little cabin and can't wait to go back. I want to take my kids to play in the creek and get the owners to give us a tour of their "sugarhouse" where they make maple syrup. I have to add the link to the cabin so you can appreciate how darling it is. You must click through the photos here. We spent the whole weekend doing NOTHING and we loved every minute of it.

Happy Anniversary to us! We are totally not old enough to married for 11 years.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A few pictures of our summer so far...

sunset & horses before the firework show

early harvest from my garden

Gwen on a horseback ride with her Dad

kale, anyone?

my favorite

friendly summertime game of battleship

how Grace feels about swim meets

Noah at sunset

Gwen at the beach

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Staycation by JP

I am making a guest blog post.  I figure the name of the blog is pelofam so I think I should be allowed to post now and again.  This last week was my vacation.  It has been about 8 months since my last planned time off, so it was much needed and much enjoyed.  We started with a day at Kings Dominion with cousins.  Which I have to say is the best coaster theme park I have been to in my life.  People often don’t believe me that Richmond VA would have the best coasters in the world but they do.  Just check out this video of the new Intimidator 305 one of only 2 Gigacoasters in the country.  Another great reason to come visit.

Now of course we took our kids so I didn’t get to ride this ride, but next year if Noah is tall enough, we are totally going to ride it.  P1010148

The next fun vacationing plan of the week was a campout with my boys.  I love to camp and haven’t been camping since I moved back to VA so this was the highlight of my week.  Now I had to find a place with some water since the temps have been hitting the 90s and unlike camping in the mountains of Utah, there isn’t a huge temperature change here.  So we went to a favorite spot Lake Sherando that has a great swimming beach and a lake for fishing.  Of course I am a terrible fisherman but I decided that I would try and help my boys learn to fish.  It was a hot campout, but we had a great time.


P1010173 P1010171 P1010168 P1010167

We did have success catching some sunfish but nothing edible.  


The boys were great helpers, we had a great time and we will definitely do it again as soon as we can.P1010181 Wed we had our usual swim meet which was as fun as standing in 90 degree weather for 3 hours so you can watch your kid swim for 3 minutes total can be.P1010136 But Noah looks cool with his swim team shorts on.P1010138 And Gwen didn’t drown during her 50M freestyle even though there were some moments of doubt.

Friday was a swim day at Shenandoah Crossings (were we put all our guests that come visit us, check out the video)

Overall, a great staycation.  MA and I even fit in a date on Friday night when we had dinner in the Dome room of the Rotunda at UVA.

Friday, June 4, 2010

close call

Yesterday as I was rushing around the house getting dinner (okay it was take-out) and the kids ready for a babysitter to come so I could go to 3.5 hours of meetings for my church responsibilities, Grace climbed onto the couch (a new accomplishment) and got her self tangled in the cord from the roman shade. I could hear her making an odd noise as I walked down the steps and when I got to her she was turning purple. As I rocked her and helped her to calm down, I felt like I was the one strangling.

I've been lucky to not have very many close calls in my 9 years as a mom. I was seriously in some sort of shock. The babysitter showed up soon after and I walked through instructions and settled everyone in and left. I almost didn't go, I wanted to send the babysitter home and sit on the couch and hug and kiss Grace for the rest of the night. But, she was done being hugged and kissed and had already forgotten what all the fuss was about so I left. But that feeling has still not left me.

And the feeling is sort of like this: not panicky or sad or guilty or anxious, but calm and resolute and determined to lay my head on my pillow at the end of everyday with the knowledge that I did my very best, and that it was a little better than yesterday's best. I won't be unrealistic and say I will never again yell (because, I don't like it, but I raise my voice everyday and it will be a hard habit to break) or grab someone's arm too tight, or nag about something trivial, but I am sure as heck going to try. And play a little more, not for hours and hours, but just a few concentrated minutes now and then. And sprinkle in some more compliments and more hugs and more eye-contact-I-love-yous. And you better believe I will be wrapping up those shade cords way out of reach.

So if this was a wake up call for a mom who needed to step it up - I'm awake. Please, no more close calls.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010



Jared told me recently about some article he read about a mother who won a mother of the year award (the fact that Jared read this article, remembered so many details, and told me about it makes me worried). Anyway, mother-of-the-year has a “system” that he tried to tell me about, but I tuned him out (I mean, what IS he trying to tell me?!). Something about spiritual, educational, physical, musical experiences for each of her many children each day. Lately, I have been contemplating summer and I’ve read a bunch of blog posts by moms who are full of amazing ideas. Setting up “school” at home for the summer. Or a new letter/number for everyday of the summer with corresponding foods, etc… Or cute ways to display your goals for the summer.

Flashback for a second… I remember being a kid on summer break: I am bored, I play outside, I tease my brother and sister, I bug my mom, I read, I go back outside. Maybe we go to the lake and swim now and then or to the library.

Another flashback, but make it say, 100 years ago. What would a mother of four children think about summertime? Is she coming up with a theme for each week complete with a list of books to check out at the library and a corresponding field trip? I doubt it. She has work to do. Feeding, cleaning, teaching, loving – not just in her family, but her church and community families too. Funny, I have all those things to do too. Sure, the microwave and washing machine lighten my load, but the world seems in need of more loving and teaching these days so I think we balance out.

I know there are moms out there who have “systems” and love them, but let it be known that I am not in the running for mother of the year. I think that we make life harder for ourselves by inventing “systems” and placing new and extra expectations on ourselves. After a lot of thought on our summer plans, the verdict is… freedom! For the kids: freedom from homework and bus rides, freedom to play outside all day or curl up with a book all day, freedom to be bored.  For me: freedom from someone else’s idea of a great summer, freedom to make my kids entertain themselves without me scheduling our every hour, freedom to focus on the basics of my job as mother, freedom to have fun with my kids doing whatever we feel like doing (or not).

PS – notice the cute apron I’m wearing in this random picture of me. My Aunt Martha made them for the ladies in the family for Mother’s day and I love mine.