Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Shots behind "the Shot"

All of this:

(My favorite of the "outtakes", I actually love this one, it's so our life right now!)

All for these:


Merry Christmas Everyone!

Monday, December 7, 2009

'Tis the Season

For fun in the snow...

Of Merry music...
(Check out some great holiday tunes here)

For time together...

Of creating, cooking, and crafting...

We will return to our regularly scheduled programming at a later date. :)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Answers...and our own photos

Ok, here are the answers from last time:

The Questions:

1. What is your first name? Elizabeth
2. What is your favorite food? Cheese
3. What high school did you go to? I was homeschooled
4. What is your favorite color? Blue
5. Who is your celebrity crush? I don't have one...and for some reason when I searched "celebrity crush" the picture I used came up...random, but somehow charming
6. Favorite drink? Proof that I'm uninteresting, it really and truly is water.
7. Dream vacation? Iguazu Falls on the Border of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. Maybe we'll actually get to do this for our sabbatical! (YAY!!!)
8. Favorite dessert? Cheesecake
9. What you want to be when you grow up? How do you even answer this question. I searched for "complete"
10. What do you love most in life? My family
11. One Word to describe you. Loyal
12. Your flickr name: Most random of the whole bunch...I use James' flickr account and his user name is the really original "James Slager" and lo and behold, for some reason when you type that into search, the photo I posted is the only one that comes up and I can't figure out how it relates at all to anything with "james" or "slager"

How'd you do? Did you guess them right?

And because I've been having a lot of fun with the collage-maker and because I absolutely love these shots we've taken over the past year, and since posts with no pictures can be boring,here is a collage I made the other day:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Just For Fun

It's a drippy gray day here, with not a whole lot going on (well, except Lydia may be coming down with something. *fingers-crossed* Hopefully not!)

Sooo, I stumbled on this little Flickr game today. As an aside, if you've never visited Flickr, go now. Wow, I love me some good photographs and even if I devoted my life to the process, I wouldn't have time to find them all on Flickr. If only I took pictures like that!

Anyway, I spent way too much of naptime doing this, but it was fun. Here's my picture:

And here are the credits: 1. Elizabeth Cady Stanton House at Night, 2. Meant To Be Dinner: Cheese Board, 3. Home Office, 4. TRue BLue BaBy i LoVe You!!!, 5. Mind Your Manners 1954, 6. macro water drop, 7. Cataratas del IguazĂș 002 / Iguassu Falls 002, 8. Chocolate Chip Cheesecake with Raspberries, 9. .freedom., 10. My brother and his family, 11. Hill of Loyal, Perth and Kinross, 12. e-flux video rental opens at Carpenter Center, Boston

Here are the rules:
a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image. (You can choose between interesting, recent, and relevant)
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd's mosaic maker).

The Questions:

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One Word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name.

Can you guess my answers from the pictures???
Stay tuned, I'll post the answers in the next couple of days. Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Singing the Lunchtime Blues

Lunch is becoming the bane of my existence! Ok, so that's overly dramatic, but really, I feel like I have a pretty good handle on dinner ideas and breakfast is always the same, but what on earth should I feed my kids for lunch day after day.

It seems that they'd prefer to have a "favorite" every day, but you can only have mac 'n cheese or hot dogs so often with out having to turn in your mom card. Grilled cheese is also a hit, and while potentially healthier than the previous two, it's still not a nutritional goldmine.

Lunchmeats are always so salty and full of preservatives, etc. and expensive to boot, so we don't usually have them in the house since the kids only eat them once in a while even when they're around. And, it seems that by the time we return from whatever the morning activity was, I don't have the time or energy to make a whole new meal from scratch and the kids want food NOW!

I like leftovers just fine, but many times there aren't enough for all four of us, and even if there are, the kids usually won't go for something from a previous dinner the second time around. Further complicating the matter, Joshua has a peanut allergy, so all forms of peanut containing/contaminated foods are out as well...

Both kids eat fruits and veggies pretty well, but I'm at a loss for what to serve as a "main-course" at lunch. So what am I missing?? Someone must have more or better ideas on what to feed to small children for lunch five days a week that is quick, yet still reasonably healthy and economical! Or, do the rest of you struggle with this for yourself or your kids too??? Hit me with your best ideas, I'm all ears!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Halloween 09

The day of the year Joshua's been looking forward to most since his birthday has finally come, and gone just as quickly.
Here are a few pictures of my little cuties all ready to go get CANDY!!!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Four Months

It's been a little more than four months since we moved into our new house. Typing that I can hardly believe it--it feels both like yesterday and like it was years ago all at once. But, four months it has been and we've been busy trying to put our touch on the house. I think we've succeeded, I think we've completed most of our short-term projects, although there is always a seemingly endless list of things we'd like to do "someday."
Somewhat surprisingly, given how clueless we felt when we first become homeowners four years ago, we've found we really enjoy doing a lot of do-it-yourself improvements and doing them together.

We're also still right on the fence between the hand-me-down/early-garage-sale-era styles of furnishing and starting to buy pieces that we hope to have long term and which represent our own style and preferences.
All in good time, but for now we're doing the best we can with what we have and trying to make responsible, economical, and resource-conscious decisions about what to keep, what to replace, and what we can "remake" in order to use things we already have, but love them more. (For example, we just got new slipcovers for our living room couches, since they're both still comfortable, usable couches, but the upholstery has seen better days...)

I was going to post before and after photos here, but blogger isn't cooperating with me and photos recently and I'm running out of time, so for now I'll post links to online photo albums, both before and after. Check them out!
After: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2030084&id=178201571&l=06f31aef04

And, just because she's too cute, and I really like how this picture turned out, here's Lydia while she was playing in the leaves yesterday...

Friday, October 9, 2009


We were part of a community supported agriculture (CSA) program again this year (our 2nd year, but with a new provider) at a local farm and we've just loved it. Our kids are so excited to get our box every week and see what's in it, and Joshua's been looking forward to the pumpkin party the farm was hosting for weeks.Last Sunday was the appointed day, so we headed off to Evansville to get our pumpkins and show the kids the farm. As an added bonus, the farm owners had decided to open the farm up for a gleaning as well. Basically, all of the crops that were finished with harvest for the year (and a couple that weren't) were opened up to the CSA members and your family could take home what you'd like to use/freeze or otherwise enjoy. So much fun! We picked cucumbers, red peppers, green beans, watermelon, tomatoes, carrots and broccoli in addition to our pumpkins. We could have picked a couple others, but somehow summer squash and zucchini just have never charmed any of us so extras weren't desired.

I guess this cool, moist, but not overly-wet summer was great for production and since it hasn't yet frosted in most of southern wisconsin the produce was still good for the taking. An overabundance, what a blessing--so different from our experience with CSA last year where crops were scarce. The frost is supposed to come tonight and with it the official end of the 2009 harvest season here in Wisconsin, but one we've truly enjoyed!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Just wanted to say a quick welcome to this guy:

Pipp joined our family about two months ago and he's been a great source of entertainment for the kiddos. Joshua very carefully monitors all things he does because "otherwise he might DIE."

After the tragic suicide of Michael we also invested in a new (to us) mini-acquarium with a COVER, hopefully preventing the same fate from meeting Mr. Pipp.

Welcome, little blue Pipp, we hope you'll stay with us for a very long fishy life!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

No More Diapers! (Sort-of)

**Edited to add, I've known for a while that I've lost much of my mental accuity with the arrival of kids, but this is a new low. I realized while talking to someone this morning that Lydia is 21 months old today, not 22, like my original post indicated. Watch out, next thing you know I'll refer to them by each other's names...**

Without further ado I'll take this opportunity to make an announcement I hope I don't regret and have to take back soon: Lydia is potty-trained! She's been in underwear for probably 6 weeks or so now, but I've been hesitating to make it "official" since I've been sure the moment I did she would regress and refuse to use the toilet for the next year or so. But, she's even gotten to the point where she'll take herself to the bathroom and do her business when she feels the call, so I think we've reached the point of no return. *Fingers-crossed*

We're not really even close to being dry overnight most nights and I still put her in a pull-up at naptime because she tends to wake up and play quietly and happily in her bed for upwards of half and hour before I hear her. Since she's in a crib, unless I hear her right away, she can't get out so she has an accident if nature calls during her playtime. So, we're probably 50-50% as far as dryness until I get her up from her nap. She'll still only be 21 months-old on Thursday, so she's now greatly exceeded my wildest imaginations for when she'd be potty-trained so I can take months (years) of only diapering at night at this point!

She's going to kill me for this at some point, but it's just too funny not to share...she begged for a "bwa" to go with her undies!
21 months going on 21 years?
So, during the daytime at least, we're done with diapers until we decide to take the plunge and start trying for #3!

It's one of those moments where it would be really nice to pat yourself on the back and pride yourself on your great parenting training/techniques, but looking back at PTing both kids I realize that it's totally and completely not about me. No matter how much I wanted, planned, or was indifferent to potty-training when they were ready they "got it". I'll be honest, I was actually quite hesitant and even almost resistant to starting with Lydia when began asking/wanting to use the potty a couple of months ago. I figured it would just mean more work for me and that she had at least another 6-18 months before she'd really put all the pieces together. I mean, I thought Joshua was pretty early and he was 2 1/2. We'd started at the same age with Joshua and it was months-and-months of up and down, excitement and misery, success and failure, and in the end, once I'd pretty much decided to stop trying, it suddenly just clicked and he was doing it. So, I'd told myself I wasn't even going to try this time around, I'd just wait for her to do it on her own. And now she has, and I'm shaking my head, feeling even less like I have any sort of "formula" for potty training a child.

Lastly, I know there are many of you, my mommy-friends, out there who have kids that are still working on (or not even interested in) the potty training thing and they're the same age as mine. I've actually hesitated to write this post for that reason too, I really, really don't want this to sound like "my kids are so advanced and talented" or make you feel any more pressure than I know we moms already put on ourselves when we want something really badly.

Know that I feel the same pressure, not in our family's case with potty training, but with so many other things in regards to being a "good" mom. I've decided to just put the "she's potty-trained story" out there because I'm really proud of Lydia and I'm really happy with how this aspect of our family is going right now, but it's not in any way intended to be a "I'm really good at this" type of post.

If there's one thing I've learned and re-learned, and will definitely still be learning years from now, it's that I don't have all the answers or any sort of fool-proof plan for parenting my kids and I probably never will. I'm just doing the best I can with the kids I have and sometimes that exceeds my expectations and sometimes I wonder if what I'm doing is working at all. I'm happy to share what's worked for us, but it's just that, what worked for us and it may or may not be the same in your family... I love this bond of motherhood, but I hate that I so easily and quickly compare myself to others and feel badly about myself and my parenting if someone else is having a seemingly easier time than I or not struggling with something that has me repeatedly in tears. I know that "having it all together" is usually a facade and yet I fall for it nearly every time.

Basically this has been a really long and rambling way of saying, I want to strive for greater openness and honestly about both my successes and struggles. I so greatly admire people who are "real" and yet I struggle with wanting to try to look good, because maybe then others will buy it and then so can I. I don't want to feel that way, I want to share the experiences that make me joyful without having to apologize in case they might make you feel badly and I want to be open about the things that frustrate me without trying so hard to maintain an image, knowing that my friends will be there to empathize and support me. So this is me, calling all of us to a greater community--one where we know we don't have it all together and we give grace to others knowing that they don't either--anyone care to join me?

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Three Chef-kateers!

All of you with little people in your life that want to be just like you need to get this book. Buy, borrow, or rent, just hurry, winter is coming, do it now!

A friend and I are doing a pre-school swap this semester since we both have kids who won't start kindergarten for two more years--we wanted them to get the fun and exposure to pre-school, but with a more relaxed and flexible schedule and without the pre-school cost and committment.

For the month of September we've been studying food. Where it grows, how it grows, why we should eat a balanced diet, and yes, cooking. We went to the library and looked for books the kids could read to go along with our theme, field trips, etc. There are a lot more books on the topic in the picture-book/early reader section than I would have imagined, and we came away with a dozen or so on various topics. My favorite has to be the book I mentioned at the top of the post. It's called Salad People and it's a picture cookbook with recipes even pre-schoolers can make largely themselves. Obviously each recipe has "adult-only" jobs, but after the intro page and written recipe there are step-by-step picture instructions as well.
It was my turn to host the kids, so we made a little menu, grocery shopped for the items we needed, and then it was cooking time. I was really impressed by how well everybody listened and how patient they were in waiting. Our menu: granola, focaccia bread, and cream of tomato soup. I'd be willing to guess there are a large number of adults who haven't cooked these items from "scratch" but with the instructions in this book they really were easy enough that two 3-year-olds (and a one-year-old who thinks she's three, of course) did it. :) No food tastes better than food you made yourself!