Wednesday, October 15, 2014


My wee girl is now four years old. She's spunky, sharp as a tack, loving, fierce, and curious. I love how she plays with insects, sings and sings, and talks the day away making up little stories. Oh the stories that go and go. Any two things become her characters, safety pins, crayons, grains of rice, they all get assigned roles and talk to each other quite dramatically. And the blurred line between make believe and reality always shows when she narrates herself through everyday activities.

"Mommy where are my shoes, I asked?"

"I don't want any carrots, I declared walking away from the table."

Her birthday was full of heavy rain and dark clouds, but my little sunshine didn't care a bit. She had everything she requested, just mommy, dada, brother, and chocolate cake, perhaps not in that order. We played, read stories, ate her favorite foods (black beans and more black beans), and watched a movie.

Doug carved out a fairy house from a pumpkin the night before that was waiting for her in the morning. I saw one just like it on Pinterest and left him to make it happen. He did a fabulous job, way better than I would have managed. And she was over the moon thrilled!

And Zach came  up with the idea of taking cicada wings (yeah we did just happen to have some laying around) and covering them in glitter and tape and leaving them out for her as fairy wings.

Once the rain stopped, we went for a little walk.

And we asked her what she wanted to do. "Mommy, I want to see something I have never seen before!" I love that idea! With only a couple of hours of daylight left, we bailed out the dinghy and hopped in for a ride into town to watch the Sailboat Show breakdown. So many boats moving around to oooh and ahhh at,. It was a mini adventure, just like her.

Happy Birthday Naia!


Sunday, October 05, 2014

Is it time now?

She knows the date, recites it dutifully when strangers ask. October 13. But time and dates and months are totally abstract to a 3 year old. What's not abstract are the signs in nature around us. She knows the change means it's coming. She opened the door this week and looked out across the creek at the trees on the far shore.

"The leaves are changing color! The leaves are colors now, they're turning red and orange and yellow. Is it my happy birthday now?"

Soon, baby girl, it's coming so soon.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Just a bag full

The night before we had a talk. On the drive up I warned him once again. One small bag, I said. No wheelbarrows, no huge baskets full, nothing more than we can eat and use in a few days. Deal?

Past years when we go apple picking the boy child in particular picks and picks with the enthusiasm of a paid day laborer. But the thing is, aside from maybe a few sliced apples with peanut butter, he's not really an apple kid. He won't eat apple pie. He won't touch applesauce. He's not fond of apple butter. So why on earth are we picking all of these apples?  So I set a limit. And you know what? He listened.

We enjoyed the day walking the farm with friends, picking some tomatoes too. We talked to the animals and soaked in the sunshine.

And at the end of the day we had a small, reasonable bag of apples. Many were eaten, a handful were baked and filled with ice cream. Some were made into candles. We weren't drowning in apples. It was simple and reasonable and a perfect way to welcome fall.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Dear September

Each day is full of sunshine, and lacking humidity. The days aren't too long or too short. The beaches are empty. The parks are quiet. The creeks and rivers are bustling as those who love the water try to get in as much time on the briny blue before the freeze sets in.  I look around and people seem quiet. Everyone seems to be staring into the sunshine, breathing deep, and saying thank you September.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

little museums

When Zach was 3 or 4 years old, we used to head to the museums all the time. He has the sort of temperament where he would just hold my hand, walk along anywhere, and soak it all in. I would always invite friends to come along and bring their little ones and I was often met with long stares and heavy sighs. Friends would say they dreaded bringing their little ones to museums because all they wanted to do was run and climb and yell and it was lost on them. I didn't get it back then.  Now I totally do.

Now I have that child. The one who I dread bringing to museums because she just wants to run and climb. But I still also have the child who loves going to museums and always bemoans, "Mom we never get to go anymore!"

We've ventured into DC to go to the Smithsonians a handful of times since Naia arrived. And truthfully, it's orchestrated chaos. Usually the excitement of the metro ride wears her down before we even get there.

It's crowded even mid-week. Everything is behind glass. And it's so spread out that little feet quickly tire out. It's an amazing resource, but not the idea place to spend the day with a 3 year old.

It's so easy just to gravitate to the big (free) Smithsonian museums so close by.  But lately I have been seeking out smaller museums. Smaller museums don't have the draw of being free, but they are almost always more little kid friendly. Finding places where the kids are allowed to touch, and feel, and interact makes all the difference.

The Anne Marie Sculpture Garden was the perfect little place for a kid friendly museum experience. This month there was a really fabulous exhibit on wool embroidery needle work made by common British sailors that made my big kid happy.

And there was plenty of hands on, colorful, not behind glass things for my little one to explore. Books to look through, recognizable things with a new life, bits to glue and paint, and outdoor space too. Even art you can climb on!

And suddenly it's not so terrible bringing them to the museum anymore.
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