Sunday, June 27, 2010

A day at the zoo

Friday morning, Crystal, Simone, and Everett joined me, Liam, and River on a trip to the Tulsa Zoo.

It was quite an adventure, but we had a great day. Let's just say Crystal and I were definitely outnumbered by our little people.

We brought the double jogging stroller, the Ergo carrier, and Crystal's Bjorn.

Liam and Simone rode in the stroller.
And then they walked (and Crystal and I worked on our patience since every rock, curb, and mound of any kind needed to be jumped on) while River and Everett had a turn.
I can't get over this picture. My mom says it looks like they are sitting between the two love gods... I could easily see this on the wedding invitation Crystal and I are not-so-secretly hoping for in a couple decades or so.
More sweetness.
We finished the afternoon with a wholesome lunch at Wholefoods.
I have to say, spending the day at the zoo with four kids under three, with only a few meltdowns along the way, is definitely empowering. It was a good day.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Liam has been sleeping WITHOUT HIS PACIFIER since Tuesday. It has conveniently been missing (on my dresser) since the nap when we couldn't find the thing, and he eventually went to sleep without it.

I think the paci may find its way into the trash by tomorrow...

summer swimming

Liam has spent this week going from one swimming pool to the next:

Monday - swimming with Simone

Tuesday - swimming at home with me and River

Wednesday - swimming with Sage and Claire

Today - more swimming at our place

He is slowly warming up (or cooling down, perhaps) to the idea of actually playing in the water instead of just splashing from the outside.

Of course, I only have pictures from Monday. The camera battery is just about dead, and I haven't made it all the way upstairs to grab the charger, which has been hanging out on my dresser since we unpacked from our Destin trip... I know, that's lame.

But here is some swimming pool cuteness from Monday at least.

Simone in the water
Liam out of the water
Liam encouraging Simone to destroy things: chalk soup anyone?
It wasn't long after this picture that Liam realized that his shorts were wet, stripped them off, and happily splashed around naked for a bit.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


We lived without air conditioning yesterday.

The indoor temperature hovered at a balmy 92 degrees for the majority of the day.

We spent the morning in Wal-Mart just for their air conditioning, and came home with lemons for lemonade, strawberries for popsicles, and a kiddie pool for the backyard.

When I put Liam down for his nap, he looked at me and said, Turn heater off, Mama.

It was hot enough that both boys napped for over 4 hours !!! which gave me plenty of time to lounge on the couch, utterly miserable and overheated. I know, that's pathetic. My neighbor Trish has been living without a.c. all summer, and it wasn't too long ago that everyone everywhere lived without the benefit of air conditioning.

I have a new respect for the people who tough it out more gracefully than I, but I am also quite pleased to have our house back down to a comfortable 78.

Monday, June 21, 2010

seasonally speaking

Gabriel and I recently listened to an audio recording of Barbara Kingsolver's Animal Vegetable Miracle. I had read the book back when it was first published, told Gabriel all about it, and began to seek out more local goods because of it.

But when we listened to it together a few months ago, what struck me most was the idea that eating what is locally available teaches greater lessons than just the ecological ones: learning to eat seasonally is learning to wait. To eat and live seasonally is to embrace change, waiting out the long cold months, working through the changing seasons.

Life is not always baskets of strawberries and bushels of tomatoes.

My family has been going through a long and difficult season for nearly two years now, the details of which are too convoluted, too dark and murky, too sensitive to delve into in this space. We have been in this awkward limbo for what seems like forever, and it's hard to imagine resolution for my parent's marriage, my sister's struggles, and all of our grief.

So, we're in this season. Learning to live within it has been a challenge. I find myself sinking deep into my own family: my precious boys, my beautiful husband. I cope with each click of my knitting needles. With each yard of fabric. With each loaf of bread. With each plant I coax out of the soil and water and prune and harvest. I'm dealing.

Winter never lasts forever, but it may go on longer still. I'm learning to embrace it for what it is. What God is allowing it to be.

This embracing of the seasons, the wrapping one's self in the moment, is how we are meant to live. I think this is what drew me to the Episcopal church. What continues to draw me. The repetition of the liturgy, flowing and ebbing through the year, respecting the seasons and changes. Honoring them.

Right now is where I am supposed to be. Praise be to God.

so much shouting, so much laughter

This post is part of Suzannah's ShoutLaughLove blog carnival over at So Much Shouting So Much Laughter.

mary mary quite contrary

Here's how my garden grows:
lots and lots of peaches

water lily
russian kale
mesclun lettuce mix
past its prime and trying to flower...
a watermelon sprout
flowers on the potato plant
promises of tomato goodness
ruby chard
and gigantic earthworms to keep it all going

just because they're cute

Need I say more?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day

We're both still trying to figure out how to handle two kids at once. Some days are super fun and easy. Others are full of temper tantrums, whining, and lots of squirming (from us and from Liam...).

Through all of the ups and downs and running around, Gabriel is proving himself to be a fantastic Daddy. Liam adores him and wants to be just like him. River gives him the special Daddy stare and plenty of big baby smiles.

And it's all a lot more fun when they are wearing matching shirts.
I used Simplicity 3852, a father-son shirt pattern that also included a romper variation for the littlest one. The fabric is just Absolutely Cotton, a basic quilting cotton from Hancock's Fabric. All of the buttons came from my mother-in-law's vintage button stash she generously passed along for my sewing habit.

And despite the last two weeks of nap times that I devoted to this project, I was still up late last night finishing them for the big day. I couldn't have finished without the full of day of sewing plus the extra hands for sewing buttons that my mom very generously gave... Thanks, Mom.

Liam loves to wear Daddy shirts (anything with a collar).
We call this the disappearing baby act
Happy Father's Day, Gabriel.
We love you.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Brad Pitt?

While holding River the other day, Crystal said,

You know, River kind of looks like Brad Pitt.

I kind of think I maybe can see it if I really use my imagination.

But the person he is looking more and more like is himself. I don't think I have ever seen a cuter River James.

And just for fun, here is Liam at 7 weeks.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

still working on that toilet training...

Liam has been doing better and better with the potty training.

My mom got him some Elmo underwear, and of course he loves them and wants to keep them dry.

And then Gabriel showed him the special access pocket in the front, and Liam is excited to pee out the hole... which he has been doing for the past couple of days.

We're finally getting there... that wonderful place where I don't have to change diapers for two all day.

But then, yesterday, Liam was playing with my stock pot where I store the lids to all of the saucepans (a favorite toy since he learned to scoot around on his own); next thing I know, he is standing up, peeing directly into the pot, a look of complete satisfaction on his face.

I let him finish his business, and then calmly (and with a straight face) explained that it's yucky to pee into the dishes, and if he ever did it again he'd get a big spank.

OK, Mama.

And then he went and played with his train set.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I've got a new way to walk

I hadn't planned to get a double stroller.

They are just too cumbersome, besides the fact that I really prefer to wear River in the fantastic Ergo Baby Carrier my in-laws gifted us with (I'll save all my gushing over how it has changed my life for another post...).

But when Crystal offered us a double jogging stroller someone had kindly passed along to her family, and they didn't expect to use it, I couldn't say no.

We are a one-car family, which is great most of the time. Gabriel has a long commute to work, but he is able to carpool with a fellow Siloam-ian, so I get to have the car every other week. On the off weeks, I usually get around town by foot. In our small town, I can easily walk to the library, several parks, historic downtown, the post office, and my favorite thrift stores. With those basics covered, the only real obstacle is the weather.

Gabriel and I tried out the new jogger with an after-dinner stroll.
And both boys were comfy.
And now it'll be even easier to get the two little guys where we need to go. Thanks, Grays.

Monday, June 14, 2010


It's strange to think that just over 3 years ago none of these little people were here.

Instead, it was just me, Gabriel, Crystal, and Micah in this place on Friday nights with good food and the latest episode of Lost.

Things have changed a bit since then, but it's hard to imagine life any other way. These four are bound to be friends.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

a bit too sweet

Liam is turning into a very nurturing big brother.

Whenever River drops his pacifier, Liam tries to put it back into his mouth, and when River is crying, Liam will gently pat his back or his head and say it's ok, River, it's ok.

He has always been a sweet boy, but never showed much interest in stuffed toys or dolls, and certainly didn't seem especially sensitive to others feelings. So his attentiveness to River's needs has come as a big pleasant surprise. Well, most of the time.

I was just now in the kitchen with both boys. River was lying on a blanket on the floor, and Liam was beside him, sucking on a lollipop. Next thing I know, the lollipop is in River's mouth, and Liam is saying Here you go, River in the sweetest little voice.

I had to explain that lollipops are a special treat just for big boys like Liam, and he didn't need to share with River. Ok, Mama.

And River just kept smacking his lips at that unexpected taste. I definitely didn't plan for him to get that first taste of sugar at 6 weeks...

River Dancing

Throughout the summer, there is live folk music at the park in downtown Siloam Springs on the second Saturday of each month. Last summer, I realized that listening to this folksy music on a hot humid night and swatting away the bugs, all the while reclining on a blanket, has made me appreciate living in Arkansas a teensy bit more. Rejoicing in these little things that have made Arkansans happy for generations somehow makes me feel more connected to this place. So, yesterday evening we walked down to enjoy the festivities.

River particularly liked the music, and he was grooving to the rhythms. Feast your eyes on some River dancing:

Liam enjoyed the music, too, but he especially liked making friends and mooching some of their food. They were kind enough to share their bananas.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Fun with Everett

Yesterday morning, we went to Fayetteville to visit with Crystal, Simone, and Everett. Spending a morning with such a dear friend does wonders. And our kids enjoy each other's company, too.

Everett and River are 4 months apart, just like Simone and Liam, but the size difference isn't quite as noticeable as it was for their oldser siblings (Oh, Simone, those legs of yours...)
Yep, I'll think they'll be friends.

Monday, June 7, 2010

and one more Destin post...

As much as we played in the sun and the water, that wasn't all that we did in Destin.

Gabriel carried two cranky toddlers for our stressful-so-tired-but-we-have-to-buy-groceries shopping trip.
Liam practiced coloring with Grace and Aunt Carolyn.
We walked around the harbor and saw big boats and fish in the water...
and we saw more fish out of the water...
Saturday morning, we packed up the car and headed home. The oil spill wasn't supposed to reach Destin until Sunday, but as we drove along the coast, we were able to see the effects as nearby as Pensacola, and even more so once we got into Mobile, AL. It's so sad to think about the devastation the spill will cause, not only for the wildlife, but also for the economy in Destin (and all of the gulf...). Destin is such a charming beach town. Not so touristy that it's overkill, but it's hard to imagine Destin without the tourists to support it. Not to mention the fishing industry. Ugh. So so sad.
Since there is no direct highway from Destin back to Siloam Springs, we took the quickest route which meant a series of meandering country highways through Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas.
With more "presents" to keep him entertained, lots of sleep to catch up on, and a tummy full of Krispy Kremes (a very special treat), Liam was a fantastic traveler.
And, apparently, Gabriel has a huge fascination with capitol buildings. We have been married for nearly 7 years, and somehow I never knew this about him. Marriage is full of surprises.
So we stopped to see the Mississippi Capitol building in Jackson.
Where the boys admired a cannon.
And Liam didn't want to seize a picture opportunity...
Then it was back into the car
Until we made it to Little Rock. Another capitol building.
I never thought that being in Arkansas could be such a relief, but after a 17 hour drive, it feels wonderfully like home.