This boy is not afraid to rock a good costume. His feather fan was tucked into his waistband, but you can’t see it.
We busted out the kiddie pool last weekend. Ada loves this thing (almost as much as she loves to be naked), but the big kids are getting a little too big for it. Might have to get them one of the bigger ones with a slide for the summer, although I like how this one is so compact. Harper played lifeguard on the porch railing, and called “break” every few minutes. She was not happy that they refused to get out of the pool for break!
I took some final pictures of the basement last week (when it was clean, for once), now that we have it pretty much set up. We are LOVING IT and spend tons of time down there. The kids are finally used to going down to play by themselves, and Roman, in particular, is happy to spend hours playing with his “boy stuff” in the basement. The laundry room is still a work in progress, so I’ll spare you the details.
The “rules” were established by Harper and I after several incidents on our freshly-installed (and not yet fully paid for) carpet. Harper does still have an art station down there, but is limited to crayons and colored pencils for the most part. Honestly she wasn’t the one causing the problem, it was her friends! I guess we allow her more access to art supplies than most kids, but she knows how strict I am about messes and she is usually very careful with her projects.
Our kids are super into dress ups. Daddy installed four Ikea racks of hooks low on the wall (and in studs), but instead of putting all 5 hooks on each rack, just did every other one (3 per rack). This made more room for some of the bulkier costumes and hats. The kids love having their costumes visible and readily accessible for their frequent wardrobe changes, and Portman and I love how easy it is to clean up!
Roman’s “boy stuff.” The only new thing we bought for the basement was the toy storage thing for all of his trucks, pirates, and smaller toys. He likes being able to see everything and plays with them constantly. Although I’m usually a purger, not a purchaser, I’m happy to buy it if it means he will enjoy his toys so much! The office/guest room is finally in order. We had to put a king size bed in there because the queen size box spring wouldn’t fit down the stairs. It worked out better, though, because now YaYa and Pop Pop can sleep comfortably at our house (they are not queen-size sleepers!) They’ve already given it two thumbs up and are very happy with the accommodations.
Daddy has his home office in a corner of the room and has been very good about keeping it neat and tidy. It’s a super quiet place for him to work from home and he has been enjoying it. We’ve also been loving the extra bedroom for the early morning hours with Ada (our early riser). Daddy passes out on the bed for another few minutes while she watches some cartoons, and the big kids join them as they wake up.
Harper had her first ever piano recital last Sunday! She has been taking lessons from a “real teacher” (not mommy) for a couple of months, and she is really enjoying it. So far piano seems to be a good activity for her. She likes practicing, for the most part (although sometimes we aren’t good about it) and she is picking it up quickly. This week she started reading notes on the staff for the first time, so it’s about to get a little more tricky for her!
For her recital she played two songs from her piano book. She is on her second book already – it only took her about 3 weeks to breeze through the first one, although much of it was review of what I had already worked on with her. Her songs were very short, but she played them perfectly and did the cutest bow at the end! We have a video of it that I will have to post later (on Daddy’s phone).
Pre-recital and Ms. Jamie showing her the big piano when we first arrived:
Playing for the crowd:
We are so proud of her and just hope that she continues to enjoy it! Now that she is taking “real lessons,” we’ve made the tough decision to say goodbye to Daddy’s old piano. It is in pretty bad shape and will cost a lot to fix it. Harper (and Roman and Ada, when they are ready) needs something more sound to learn on, so yesterday YaYa’s piano was delivered to our house! It needs tuning, but is a better instrument for Harper’s needs. However, we are now in possession of TWO pianos that only Harper plays… anyone want a free antique!?
Today is the last day of preschool for the year! Here are Harper and Roman geared up for one last day of fun:
They have both had such a wonderful year at preschool, and I cannot express how much Portman and I both love their school! If it went through 6th grade, we wouldn’t hesitate to send them. They have the most loving teachers and it has been such a great experience for the whole family. Roman’s teacher this year (and Harper’s last year) is in her 38th year of teaching preschool – can you believe it?!
This has been an emotional week for me because Harper graduates from preschool tomorrow and is off to kindergarten in the fall. I’ve seriously debated home schooling her because I just don’t want to be away from her for that long! But, she is ready for kindergarten (even though she’s just as nervous as I am), her school is small and we were very impressed at orientation, and I think in the end it will work out great. I just need to get used to my baby growing up!
Harper on her first day of preschool in September, 2009. She was a “Penguin” in the Tues/Thurs 2-year-old class:
In the car on the way home from school today… boys are so easy!
Me: “Hey guys, I’m going to Target tomorrow and I need to know what you want for the car ride to the beach. It’s going to be a really long drive.” (me, thinking snacks, coloring, etc)
Harper: “I want My Little Ponies with brushes so I can brush their hair, maybe a doll to ride on them, a Little Mermaid swim suit and a Little Mermaid towel that turns into a backpack like Ada’s Dora towel, some new markers…” (she kept going)
Roman: “I just want my Lightning McQueen shades and my towel.”
Me: “Roman, you don’t want anything else? What about some snacks for the car?”
Roman: “Nope, just my shades and my towel. I think my shades are in the basement. I’ll find them.”
This morning I took a little video of Ada playing. Ada wakes up way too early and is ready to go from the moment her petite little feet hit the floor. Yesterday Portman and I were talking about how at 24 months, she doesn’t talk as much as Harper and Roman did at that age (or as clearly, I should say), but she is WAY more active and coordinated than either of them were. She can jump on the trampoline two-footed (Harper didn’t figure this out until she was nearly 4!), do a somersault (self-taught, trust me I didn’t teach her that), and she literally never stops moving. She is exhausting, but we just can’t get enough of her – she cracks us up! I can’t wait to get her into gymnastics or something physical – she is going to need it!
This is just a snapshot of a normal day with Ada, aka Potada, aka Tada-Tot, aka Taders:
Yesterday I came home from running some errands to find Ada still down for a nap, Daddy asleep on the couch, and the big kids up to this:
Roman: “We’re having a feast and Daddy is sick. It was her idea.”
Me: “Well at least it looks pretty healthy.”
Harper: “Well we also made ice cream cones, and we were wondering if maybe a grown up wants the carrots?”
The evidence was in the kitchen… at least they were self-sufficient, and honest!
Today for lunch they decided to “go on an adventure.” They’ve been doing this a lot lately, and it always involves packing their backpacks with an elaborate array of unrelated stuff. Today was no exception. Harper’s backpack held their lunch (salmon burgers, strawberries, a thermos of lemonade, plates, cups and forks – all packed on their own); Roman’s held a dinosaur, a blue duck, a My Little Pony and a Buzz Lightyear flashlight. He also had a pirate sword tucked into his waistband. They hiked (and biked, in Harper’s case) this all out into the field with a picnic blanket and proceeded to eat lunch. I love these two, and am so thankful that almost 4 years later they are still the best of friends!
I whipped up this little delight tonight, and holy smokes was it delicious. I wanted to make Martha Stewart’s blueberry cobbler recipe, but didn’t have enough blueberries. Mix in a few little changes and this is what I ended up with. As an added bonus, it took less than 10 minutes to assemble! All of my taste-testers said the strawberries were their favorite part, and I have to agree. YUM.
- 3 cups (1.5 pints) blueberries
- 1 1/2 cups strawberries (slice the larger ones in half)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- Juice from 1 whole lemon
- 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup rolled oats (or chopped nuts, such as almonds)
- 1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 350°. Mix blueberries, strawberries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and salt in a bowl. Pour into an 8-inch square baking dish.
Stir together flour, oats, coconut, baking powder, and salt. Cream butter and sugar in a mixer until light and fluffy. Stir in dry ingredients on low speed.
Sprinkle topping evenly over filling. Bake until bubbling in center and brown on top, about 50 min to 1 hour (my oven is on the hot side and took 50 min). Let cool for 30 minutes before serving.
We have our veggie garden up and growing, but decided to take a new approach this year. Last year Portman and the kids constructed one of those Home Depot garden kits and we planted everything in the ground. It started off great, but little did we know that we have have lots of critters and deer in our yard who love to eat vegetable gardens! By the end of the summer, we had only one zucchini plant left from the 12 or so veggie and herb plants that we started with.
This year we decided to try container gardening. We have a double-decker porch, and we hardly ever use the top deck (and we don’t really let the kids up there because we’re worried about them climbing). We bought a bunch of large plastic containers from Home Depot (they were cheaper than the terracotta ones), tons of potting soil, and gave it a whirl. So far the plants are doing great up there. They get a full day’s worth of direct sunlight, we’ve had a lot of rain lately, and they are just thriving!
Two kinds of tomatoes (started from seedling), yellow squash (seedling) and sweet peas (started from seeds we got for free!) The sweet peas took off and yesterday Roman and I constructed a lattice using garden rope and some 1×2′s for the peas to climb. It’s an okay solution, but next year I would use something more sturdy (we had to tie the ends of it to the porch railings to support it!)
Based on my internet research, the only thing you can’t grow in a container is cucumbers, and we love our cuc’s. Roman and I planted 10 cucumber plants from seeds in the in-ground garden, and 8 of them are doing well. The seedlings have come up, and I’ve noticed them getting a little bigger in the last few days. We will have to build a trellis for these, as well as some sort of critter protection system! The back two sections of the garden are empty right now. I’m thinking about planting wildflowers in them since Harper loves to pick bouquets for me – maybe it will keep her out of my flower beds!
The last thing we planted (and I don’t have photos) is herbs – tons of them. I love growing fresh herbs, and it’s so easy. Portman mounted four 24-inch window boxes along the lower porch railing in direct sunlight. I planted mint (it gets its own box since it is highly invasive), parsley and rosemary, 2 sweet basil plants, 2 cilantro plants, Thai basil and thyme. The mint, parsley and rosemary all survive the winter and come back every year. I suspect that thyme will as well, but this is the first year I have planted it. Basil, cilantro and Thai basil all have to be replanted every year. Most of the herbs are doing great and growing like trees. The basil likes warmer weather and hasn’t taken off yet, but I’ve never had a problem growing it!