"Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of. but do it in private
and wash your hands afterwards." --Robert Heinlein.

We've moved!

For the next two years (Summer 2014-Summer 2016) I'll be blogging our family's adventures in China at www.chinesemileposts.wordpress.com

Thursday, April 28, 2011


My middlest turns seven today.
Buddy - 9 days old

Buddy spent all yesterday trying to convince me that it was his birthday. Or that "birthday eve" should be celebrated by opening all presents that involve Legos.

Buddy - 7

Happy Birthday!

Happy 10th Anniversary!

I think this was a few weeks before we were engaged.  Approx. January 2001.  California.

April 24, 2011.  Virginia.

Happy Anniversary!
He points out to me on a fairly regular basis 
that I made a huge mistake in marrying him, 
but I still argue that it wasn't a mistake.  
He doesn't believe in there being 
one person that's your perfect match, 
but I do, and he's mine.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What I Wore Today

I'm slightly amused by bloggers who capture their outfit each day (or ever).  Mainly I'm amused because I have no style whatsoever, so it would be humorous for me to try a similar post.  For instance (without photos, sorry) I spent the first part of today wearing yellow capri pajama pants (that I actually love) and a stained, old, white v-neck t-shirt.  Then I showered and changed into a tan shirt and a dark brown skirt.  Then I took out the trash (wearing gray flip flops from Old Navy) and the skirt was blowing around in the wind a bit much for my comfort and I changed into denim Bermuda shorts (and an ugly brown belt because Jed makes fun of people that don't wear belts).  Can Bermuda shorts be denim?  So, I'm back to my "t-shirt and jeans" and I guess I'm okay with that.  It's always one of those things that is someday.  Someday I'll buy a new wardrobe.  And it will be fashionable and make me look fabulous.  And I'll buy lots of trendy accessories.  And shoes to go with every outfit.  And a bag to either match (or not match, depending on the current style).  While I'm at it, I'll also chop my hair short and go to the salon every six weeks to keep it looking good.  Someday.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Oufits

I was going to make Princess Sparkley this skirt, but wanted to use some fabric I already owned (trying to thin down my massive collection of fabrics) and I didn't own an entire yard of any one fabric.  Nor am I handy enough to attempt a patchwork (of sorts) skirt.  So I found this pattern and it was super easy (and I even did the more complicated version).  You'll recognize the fabric (the inside of the cherry blossom skirt is the polka dot fabric on top of this skirt) from last year's Cherry Blossom Festival bubble skirt, that never quite worked right for PS's height and skinniness. 

I have a hard time convincing Buddy or Little Guy to wear a sweater vest... ever, plus I couldn't find one in brown.  But I LOVE them.  And I knew pink was definitely out.  So I headed to Old Navy and found Buddy a nice dark brown polo shirt.  I was hoping they'd have a similar one in the toddler sizes, they didn't (quite).  So then I was hoping that the extra small in Buddy's sizes would work for Little Guy, but they didn't have an extra small (and I think it would have been way too big anyway).  I looked around at a few other stores and saw nothing.  (Until after I made the tie and I looked again at Target and found a brown and white striped polo shirt.)  A friend on Facebook had linked to this little boy tie tutorial last week, but it involves some sewing by hand (I am only a passable seamstress with a machine, but by hand, I sew like a 6 year old).  Today, after failing at finding a 3T/4T brown polo, I decided to sew a tiny tie for Little Guy.  I did some research, and found this tutorial, which was perfect for me.  He often claims pink as his favorite color (although at the store when I held up a pink polo shirt, he told me he wouldn't wear it because "pink is for girls"), so I told him the pink dots were Easter eggs, and that seemed to assure him that this tie was cool.

The tie.


Princess Sparkley asked why Jed and I ever match them.  So we tried this year.
The skirt.

Happy Easter!

The Lip

Little Guy has been Mr. Grump as of late.  But even in all of his grumpiness, I still love seeing his little bottom lip stick out when he's so sad.  He's trying not to laugh here (because he's really grumpy), but I'm trying to get a picture of his lip and it makes him giggle, even though he's still grumpy and very mad at me.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Perfect Eggs

This may be a little late for those of you who are on the ball and already boiled your Easter eggs for dyeing.  Me, I just realized this morning that we need to dye them tonight or tomorrow morning and frantically hard boiled some eggs this morning.  The second pot of eggs, I totally forgot to go back and check to lower their temperature once they started boiling.  Luckily, making hard boiled eggs is not my specialty, and a couple of Christmases ago Jed got me this Egg-Perfect Egg-Timer.  This thing is awesome.  When I ran into the kitchen to find my second pot of eggs boiling frantically and the egg-timer dark all the way to the middle (meaning: hard boiled) I was worried that this batch of eggs was going to be all gray yolked and gross.  It wasn't!  It was perfect.  I love this thing.  Even when I forget to pay attention, it worked (which may have been a fluke, but I'm saying it was magic).

Buy it here

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Neighborhood Hangout

Growing up, I was one of very few kids on a cul-de-sac with, at the time, four homes (now six).  My parents and siblings always told fun stories about the house we lived in before (that we moved from when I was 2 1/2) and how it was the neighborhood hang out for all the kids on the street.  It always sounded fun and I blissfully imagined growing up and having my home be the neighborhood hang out.  It's not.  And I'm actually very very happy that it's not.

Why aren't we the neighborhood hangout:

1.  We aren't very outgoing people.  So we don't actually know most of our neighbors past "hello."
2.  We live in a mild ghetto (can I coin that phrase?) so the second my kids step outside, they are bombarded with kids whispering "ask your mom if you can bring your bike out," "do you have any chalk?," etc.  Then they borrow said bike and my kids aren't sure what to do about it.  Little Guy takes his tricycle out and refuses to get off it because there's a herd of toddlers/preschoolers hovering over him. 
3.  I'm not really a fan of kids.  I know.  I know.  I have three.  I like my kids.  And I like some other people's kids.  And I tolerate some kids.  But in general, I don't really like kids.  So, having them all swarm and take advantage of my more timid (probably a downside of homeschooling) kids who just want to be liked, doesn't make me happy.  And they swear.  I'm pretty sure when I walked past a group of 8-11 year olds yesterday, one of them was saying some sort of "not it" rhyme that involved the F-word.  Nice.
4.  There's a certain group of 8-10 year old boys that the second my kids walk outside, they make my kids "it" in a game of tag or hide and seek.  This is how it goes.  "Can you count to 20?  Okay, you're it."  And they run away, leaving my kids, who don't want to play, in the dust, forced to retreat back inside so they don't get in trouble for not counting.
5.  When we come in for dinner, usually right around 5, we tend to leave the door open with the screen closed.  But if we do that, a bunch of kids are starring in our screen while we eat dinner. 
6.  There are certain parents in the neighborhood that are on the ball and if their kids are outside, they are keeping an eye on them.  I tend to be at the computer, near the front window, or out on our step.  Other parents just let their kids roam free for hours on end with no knowledge of how poorly behaved they are.

This is all of course worse than normal this week because it's Spring Break for our local school district.  I know I have friends whose houses are sort of the neighborhood hangout.  Do you enjoy this?  I don't think I would mind if it was my kids' actual friends.  Or perhaps if I knew their parents.  But as is, I'm happy to stay out of the mix.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Don't Dress Your Little Girls Like Tramps

This is an excellent article, unfortunately, I'm afraid the parents who need to read it, won't even stop to think for a moment it applies to them, if they see it at all.

Parents, don't dress your girls like tramps  By LZ Granderson, CNN Contributor 


I love this part: 

I don't care how popular Lil' Wayne is, my son knows I would break both of his legs long before I would allow him to walk out of the house with his pants falling off his butt. Such a stance doesn't always makes me popular -- and the house does get tense from time to time -- but I'm his father, not his friend.
Friends bow to peer pressure. Parents say, "No, and that's the end of it."
The way I see it, my son can go to therapy later if my strict rules have scarred him. But I have peace knowing he'll be able to afford therapy as an adult because I didn't allow him to wear or do whatever he wanted as a kid.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Easter Crafts

from here

from here

from here

from here
from here
from here
from here
from here
from here
from here

from here

Past Easter crafts I've blogged about here.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Ratings for Recently Read

Stolen from my Goodreads page so you can see how many stars I gave some of the recent books I've read:


 I've been complaining to Jed for months about how I wish Blogger had a simple way to click "like", similar to Facebook's.  It turns out they did.  So I added it for all you readers who never comment... hint hint hint.

Friday, April 08, 2011

The Greatest Sugar Cookie: Cookie 8

To practice "cake" decorating, which was what we were supposed to be doing for homeschool art a couple weeks ago, we decorated sugar cookie eggs last night.  My frosting didn't turn out the right consistency  for frosting with (apparently I need to work on my ability to make a good frosting), but we gave it a shot anyway.

 Recipe from Your Homebased Mom here
(The purple frosting is her glaze recipe, the other colors are her frosting recipe.)

Review: Basically, I feel like all the sugar cookie recipes I've tried, except the first one, have been pretty good.  This wasn't fabulous, but it was a good sugar cookie.  It needs to chill for four hours, but luckily I noticed that in the recipe and planned ahead (this isn't always the case with me and previewing a recipe).  I told Jed I thought these were good, but not great.  He argued that they were very tasty.  The kids loved them.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Waiting to be read aloud

I have this mental list of books to read aloud to the kids (and by kids, I'm talking about Buddy (almost 7) and Princess Sparkley (8 1/2), not Little Guy (3)).  And the list just keeps getting longer and longer.

We are a little more than halfway through with this:

Next up:


Monday, April 04, 2011

Why Three Year Olds Are Awesome

They say stuff like this:

"Is it windy enough to blow away a three year old?"

"Is a potty called a toilet?"

"Never mind, it was just a BIG FAT TOOT!"

When, on a hike, Jed (carrying Little Guy in a backpack) fell up to his thighs into a stream, Little Guy hollered out very earnestly, "My pants almost got wet!  And my boots!"

Little Guy: "Why are we walking here?"
Me: "For a fun hike in nature."
Little Guy: "Are we going to see lions?"
Me: "No." 
Little Guy: "Why not?"
Me: "Lions are only in Africa."
But it actually seemed like he was disappointed that we wouldn't be encountering any lions.

While he and I were falling desperately far behind in a one mile kids' fun run that my sister-in-law's neighborhood organized.
Little Guy: "We lost all those kids."
A little bit later.
Little Guy: "Those kids lost us."

While he's pretending to be a dog, he sits down for a snack of applesauce.  He proceeds to try to lick the applesauce out of the little cup, but can't figure out how to do that without dipping his chin into the applesauce.  I explain to him that he needs to use his spoon.  He explains to be that he's Snoopy.  I explain to him that Snoopy seems like the type of dog who is probably very talented and can use his hands.  He agrees and tells me, "Yeah, he uses his top paws like they are hands!"

Weekend Recovery

The cousins, hanging out on the Robert E. Lee Monument waiting to cheer the racers.

Cheering for Grandpa (in blue)

We're recovering from a weekend in Richmond where Jed, his sister, brother-in-law and dad ran in the Monument Ave. 10K.  I woke up this morning realizing I have about a billion things to do today. 

- Two laundry baskets full of laundry
- Repair Buddy's dresser drawer that had a bottom fall out as I was packing for our trip
- Pay rent
- Pay a stack of bills
- Pick up library books on hold one town over
- Grocery shop
- Charge the camera battery
-  Piano practice (the kids are way behind after a weekend off)
- School
- Plan out the homeschool week
- Make banana bread
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