About Us

There are four of Them: three girls and one boy, little stair-steps all. There are two of Us: best friends, co-parents and truly in love. The Six of us have epic adventures full of laughter and love, occasionally containing tears, but always together.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Now He Is Four

Happy Birthday, Isaac! Here is the birthday boy with his birthday cake. He asked for a pirate ship birthday cake and so we whipped one up! Actually, it was tons of fun and Adam and I had a great time doing it. (More closeup pics in a bit.) Isaac had a great day today. He woke up and asked me if it was his birthday and we responded by singing to him. We got ready and went to school. At lunchtime the whole family came, bringing Chipotle and books to donate to his class in honor of his birthday. We read one of the books to the class and got to eat lunch with them. Then we sang happy birthday and had a special birthday treat. What fun! We had a nice afternoon and then after Daddy got home Isaac opened his birthday presents. Boy did he rake it in!!! ; ) He loved all of his gifts and it is totally adorable how he wants to play with each thing immediately after he opens it. Adam and I gave him a three wheeled scooter and he was riding around and around on it. What a kick!

The funniest part of the whole day was that the pirate toys I put on the cake were a runaway hit. They were even more exciting than eating the cake itself, I do believe. I purchased three pirates to put on the cake.

They came with a little cannon that has cannonballs that actually fire! The kids were so excited about playing with the pirates that they each had a few bites of cake and then were desperate to get down so they could play with them! Anyway, here's a picture of the whole cake.

I have to say that I was petrified when Isaac was born. I did not want a boy child. I wanted Elie to have a sister. People around me (you know who you are) kept trying to prepare me for the possibility of a boy and I would have none of it. His delivery was so quick, hard work, but very quick. And there he was, a little read-headed boy child, waiting for me to love him. I always loved him, but in the beginning I didn't really like that he was a boy. He was such a difficult baby, screaming for hours on end, refusing solid food until he weaned, refusing to be cajoled into anything. Then I had mother's guilt for feeling like I didn't love him properly in the beginning. But for a long while now, I've seen his place in our family and loved it. Boys are different, but they are also little human beings, learning and experiencing. Isaac is everything that a boy should be; sweet, funny, smart and adorable! I can only hope that Adam and I can help him grow into a sensitive, smart, funny man. Happy Birthday, Isaac, you will always be my special boy!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Mother Nature Comes to Call

(A picture of our watermelon/pepper enclosure.)
This summer, for the first time, we planted three different kinds of food bearing plants. It was really a grand experiment. I really expected nothing but some green plants that were fun to look at. The way I saw it, if they actually bore fruit (or veggies) it would be an added bonus. So we planted tomatoes, green peppers and watermelons. I am happy to report that all three types of plant have given us fantastic dividends. Not only have we been able to eat (well, we've eaten peppers and tomatoes, the watermelons are still growing) but we've also witnessed some very interesting insect life. But first some pictures of our harvest/current growth: These are the munchkins we grew. Didn't they turn out nicely? Okay, okay, it's the peppers that are hiding in the munchkins' hands that are of interest. And the pepper plant is still producing. The green peppers are delicious and the kids LOVE to eat them for snack. Elie got to use a sharp knife and cut one up, all by herself, the other day. Sometimes I forget how big she is and how she needs to start learning about doing these things. Anyhoo, on to more pictures.
This is a picture of our *big* watermelon. It is about the size of a cantaloupe. We are VERY excited and I get daily reports from the children about its size. Actually, what I get are reports of its existence. They charge up to the screen door and yell, "Mom, you HAVE to come here RIGHT NOW and look at this!!!!!" Then we all march out to the watermelon enclosure and peek at our watermelon. One of the children will ask if it is ripe yet and I'll shake my head and say, "I don't think so." This happens at least once every other day or so. There is one other watermelon and it is about the size of a largish grapefruit. That one also gets the same attention and excitement. I find it difficult not to be excited when I see how excited they are about the whole situation. Growing food is just sooooo cool and tons of fun!

It can also be quite educational. Last week I noticed a green tomato had been nibbled on. I was a little bummed, but we all realized that we share the planet and so we could stand to share some unripe tomatoes. Then I found something that I identified as excrement, but I couldn't identify what type of living being it came from. Finally, a few days ago we noticed this guy, hanging out and devouring our tomato plant:
This is a tomato horn worm. His head is at the bottom and from his bottom there is a large horn. Tomato horn worms DEVOUR tomato plants. However, Mother Nature does have a sense of justice. The white tubes on the back of the worm are pupa - wasp larva to be exact. When the wasps hatch, they then devour the horn worm. Cool, eh? Thank goodness for google, it made giving that entomology lesson much, MUCH easier.

In addition to finding interesting bugs on our plants, we've found some really cool animals in the backyard. After mowing the other day we found this beautiful turtle:

He was hanging out chewing the freshly mown grass. The kids came out and touched him, which was really cool. Then the next week we found a snake! Actually, Elie found the snake. She was swinging in the backyard and then I heard her scream bloody murder and then she was on the deck, hollering and screaming about how she had seen a snake. I was doubtful that was what she had seen, but I headed out in to the backyard (after/while being admonished to be VERY careful and not touch the snake by my safety officers aka children) to check it out. There it was, gliding along in the grass, a bright green snake. It was wholly uninterested in me and so I called all the kids out to look at it closer. We then went inside and googled it to discover it was a smooth green snake (yes, really, couldn't they have come up w/a better name??) and that it is non-poisonous and eats insects. We haven't seen it since, but there are lots of holes in the trees and yard where it could be living. I hope we see it again, it'd be nice to let the kids see it again.

It's really nice to be able to give the kids a backyard to explore, nature to see and experience and fresh fruit and veggies that we grew. Mother Nature is welcome here anytime!!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Another First Day!

On Monday I sent Isaac off to his first day of school. Here he is looking so grown up. Isaac's first day was a less dramatic transition than Elie's. Last year he went to the same school, just three days. And it's the same program that Elie went through for two years, so we are very comfortable there. We know the director and all of the admin people. It is at our synagogue, so we are there quite a bit outside of school. I was a bit nervous for the first day though, but not for what I would describe as usual reasons. Isaac is a kiddo who likes "The Plan". He likes to make plans (or have plans announced) and then follow through with them. Now when I say *likes* I mean that if The Plan doesn't work out (for whatever reason) he tends to meltdown/have issues. So, Isaac decided that The Plan for this school year would be that he would have the same teacher that Elie had last year. Elie was a monkey....so Isaac was going to be a monky. Elie had Morah D.....Isaac was going to have Morah D. (As an aside, "morah" means "teacher" in hebrew.) And I think that Isaac repeated The Plan every single time that school came up the whole summer. I knew that Isaac most likely would NOT be a monkey because I had requested he have a different teacher. It wasn't because Elie had a bad year, in fact, she had a wonderful year. However, Morah D made me, as the parent, crazy. I really did not want to deal with her another year.

A week before school started we got our teacher assignments and Isaac was NOT a monkey....he was going to be a frog. And not only was he a frog, but he had the NEW teacher Morah T. All was not going according to The Plan. When we went for meet the teacher and see your classroom day, he would not even go IN the classroom. He even started to cry! I was really at a loss and tried to engage him and be sensitive to the difficulty changing, while not pandering to him. We struggled through the meet and see and went home. He declared several times, though only to me, that he would go to school but "he was not excited to be a froggy." Although to other people he said he was excited for school. I was sure that we were going to have tears and drama the first day. I talked with him about giving Morah T a chance and about how much fun being a froggy was going to be. We drove up on the first day, he declared he wanted to go to drop off line, and out he went making a beeline for the door. He didn't blink! I was so proud of him. And he had a great day. He is LOVING school and having a great time.

I was sure that he was going to meltdown and he didn't. It seems that he, too, has grown up in ways that I could not see. He is the youngest in his class, just turning four this year when his classmates will, for the most part, turn five. I have been doubtful that he will be ready for kindergarten next year, but for the first time I'm starting to see that he probably will be ready. We were out on the playground yesterday after school and I saw him running around with his friends. I realized that he's not a baby anymore and he's not even a toddler. He's really growing into a little boy. Look Mom, I'm a real boy! Proving everyday that he's growing to take on the world, happy and excited even when it doesn't follow The Plan.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

First Day of Kindergarten!!!

Oh my goodness. Today I sent Miss Elie on the school bus for the Very First Time. Here's how she looked before we sent her. She got all dressed up in her new shoes and a new outfit. She looked so grown up. We went out for the bus and waited. When it came, she walked across the street, around the front of the bus and got right on. I don't think she even looked back. Yes, there were some tears on my part. And Talia did not understand that Elie had gotten on the bus and wasn't coming home until later. She kept asking where Elie was and was a bit upset when we walked back to the house and Elie wasn't with us. The four of us had a nice quiet morning; playing outside and reading. Then all of a sudden it was time to go out and pick up Elie from the bus. And it felt mostly normal.

When we came inside she was crying because the little boy she happened to be sitting next to had not been able to get off the bus because his mommy had not been there to get him. "Eric was crying because his mommy was not there. He said he thought maybe she was out shopping." She was so very upset because Eric was so upset. I told her that they would take him back to school and they would call his mommy on her cell phone and she would go to the school and get him. When I explained what would happen, she calmed down. Then she let little bits of description about her day fall out, trailing around and describing activities and experiences. Somethings she would get halfway through and stop "We said the pledge of allegiance, but it was shorter. I'm not sure, I don't know." And other things she explained in great detail, "First you pull one side out and then you pull out the other side. Then you take two opposite corners and pull them gently and then the other two opposite corners. That makes a just right, perfect hole to put a straw in! I can't quite make a small hole yet, but I'm learning. I'm learning." She is excited and ready. Tomorrow holds all sorts of new adventures and experiences. There are people to meet, places to go, lots and lots of information to hoover up and store forever.

However, I'm still feeling sort of ambivalent, laid back and anxious about school and Kindergarten for Elie. One part of my mind is saying, "Kids are their jobs. They get paid to take care of children and teach them. I haven't heard one bad thing about that school during the two and a half years we've been here. It's not such a big deal for my oldest to be going to kindergarten. It's the natural progression of life. She's ready." The other part of my mind is sitting and crying, shell shocked at how fast the last five years of my life have blown past me. "This is my big girl! She's not ready to be out there without me!!! How will I know what she's been exposed to? How will I know what she's seeing, experiencing and learning? I know she knows what the right thing to do is, but will the world do the right thing to/for her? Have I done enough to get her ready for all this? I'm not ready for all this!"

So there it is. Like most of life's transitions I find myself completely taken unawares. Even though, since the moment she was born, she's been moving away from me. And I know that we've got many more, much bigger transitions to go through, but seeing her walk away from me and get on that big yellow school bus is a transition that has taken me by surprise with its bittersweet taste. She is so big. Does she need me? Oh wait, there's the small, warm hand in mine, the gaze upwards from her large brown doe eyes, and a hug, a kiss - there she goes, off into the great big world. Off on the big yellow school bus.....