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, May 31, 2010

Camp Tipi

Yesterday we went on a caching hike. We came to a cache that was hidden in a clearing. In the clearing someone had made a frame for a tipi out of sticks. It had clearly been used because there were remnaints of a fire.

Down at the bottom of the wilds of our garden, there are loads of branches and detritus. Today we decided to put them to good use and make some tipis of our own!!

I had some old sheets and, after we rescued a wide assortment of sticks from the nettles and bramble, we made two tipis.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

What Happens When....

In our house, the kids are responsible for clearing their places after meals. This is what happens when they want to be creative when putting their dishes in the sink:

Fort SittingRoom

Busy on a Sunday morning. Couches are good for so much more than sitting!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Birthday Cakes!

I recently realized that I hadn't posted pictures of the kiddos birthday cakes from the last year!  I'll have to make sure I do it in closer proximity to the birthdays next year.  Dadam and I made all of them, except Leila's which was made by GranEde, GranDude and me.
Isaac wanted an "american football cake".  So we made a field with one endzone for the Cowboys and the other for the Broncos.

Elie wanted a rainforest cake with a waterfall.  I experimented with making fondant and it really didn't turn out well.  It was really, really soft.  We had to resort to two-dimensional shapes which we stuck to the sides of the cake. 

For weeks before her birthday Leila was telling us that she wanted a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and chocolate flowers.  At least she knew what she wanted, right?  So we experimented with marshmallow fondant and made it chocolate.  GranEde made some very cute decorations to go on top.

Talia's order was simple; a princess castle cake.  I had bought this castle set to make a cake for Elie and while it doesn't really score any points for amazing cake creativity, it works well and isn't prohibitively time consuming.  She wanted pink, but we could only find red and blue sugar sprinkles.  So it's a bit multicolored. 

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Dear Talia,

It's sort of funny to me that you are only turning five today.  I suppose that I stopped thinking of you as four when you started full-time school in the fall.  It was difficult for me to think about a four year old going to school all day, having dressed themselves in their uniform in the morning, buying lunch and learning to read and write.  So in my mind, you've been five since September.  But here you are anyway, actually turning five!

I think this year has been an amazingly easy transition for you. You have handled all the changes with your quiet, nothing-really-phases-me attitude.  Your teachers speak of your incredible kindness and ability to play with most any of the children in the class.  You are cheery and pleasant.  I have heard over and over what a delight you are.  You have also made amazing strides in reading and maths.  I think there is very little you enjoy more than reciting the addition facts that you have memorized.  Your reading is amazing, not only have you grasped the fundamentals of reading very quickly, but you have naturally incorporated expression and interpretation.

I must immodestly say, that none of this comes as any surprise to me.  You do not like being in trouble and will do just about anything to avoid the discomfort of a confrontation.  Subsequently, you mostly stay out of trouble.  Of course, you have also figured out that if you fly low on the radar, you can get away with a fair amount.  Your quiet demeanor hides a multitude of crafty ideas and I know you do your fair share of mixing up trouble.

But you are not malicious and you love to play with your siblings.  You also love a good cuddle and a good book.  Running and screaming are also favorite pastimes of yours, which contrast greatly with your private personality.  You are eager to help and pitch in willingly (except when it is time to put your clothes away in your drawers). 

I am always mindful of the fact that you have a very quiet streak.  I try not to allow you to become the missing middle.  Making sure that you have time and space to speak your mind, share about your day and ask your questions has become something we have to work even harder on and I hope we are doing an alright job. 

You are learning to ride your two wheeler and doing a great job.  I know you are tired of sitting in the bike trailer with Leila; you are ready to be out and seeing the world on your own terms.  This year has seen some amazing advances for you in terms of bodily awareness, although you continue to have a tendency to careen into stationary objects and trip over nothing.

I love how you sing quietly to yourself.  I love how you smile.  I love your questions (when you get some room to ask them).  I love how your blue eyes sparkle.  I love listening to you read signs we drive by.  I love watching you run, full tilt, arms wide.  I love you. 

Happy Birthday, MissyLuLu. 
I love you!

1st Picture of the Day

Talia got to open her presents after breakfast this morning.  She was so excited.  One of the presents she got was a set of beads for making necklaces and bracelets.  Of course, she had to open them and make some jewelry immediately.  But being the sweet and kind child that she is, she asked if we could bring up some of her other sets of beads so that everyone could share.  Oh, they were all so busy.  And my heart was bursting with pride at my five year old who was sharing her brand-new-birthday present. 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Picture of the Day

It's always important for your pinky to stick out. It's very lady-like!

(Yes, she usually holds her hand this way.)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Canal Side Caching

This afternoon we took a bike/hike along a canal that runs down in the valley that our house sits above. I think it took us longer to get the cars and stroller into the van, than it did for us to drive down there! (Note to self: we NEED a bike carrier for the car!)

It was a very grey and blustery day, but the grass was green and the scenery was beautiful. We saw several canal boats, most of which looked as though they were being lived on, and lots of cows and horses.

We also did a canal-side series of caches, which was fun and had a 100% success rate (always a good thing).

Talia still isn't quite to total independence on the bike yet, so an adult gets their daily excercise by running next to her and giving some help. At one point, Dadam was behind with Leila and I was ahead with the others. We stopped near a field where some horses were grazing. As we sat down to watch them, one of the females came over and stuck her head on to the embankment where we were sitting. She smelled us all, we kept our fingers to ourselves, and then she stood and nibbled the grass all around where we were.

We saw fishermen and cows. And threw dandelions in the canal It was a fabulous afternoon outing!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Faux Pas

There are relatively few school buses here. Some high schools have them, but not everyone does and I don't think they are paid for with public funds. It's expected that kids will either walk to school or be driven. We definitely live too far to walk right now and so I do the school run.

Typically we arrive at school and have to park down the street a ways from the entrance. The kids really like to run ahead, but they all know that they *must* wait for me to catch up (I'm poky because I walk with Leila) before they can cross the street. The main section of side walk (or pavement as it is called here) is long-ish. So the Bigs are often standing around and waiting for the dawdler and I to catch up. They are typically fairly low-key, staring at all the interactions around them and taking it all in. Meanwhile, adults are streaming out of the school grounds having already dropped off their children.

On a recent morning, Elie, Isaac and Talia ran ahead quite fast. Leila and I were almost caught up to them, when a father of Talia's classmate stopped me and said, "I'm quite worried about those three on the corner. They look a bit sad and lost. I hope their mum catches up soon."

Because I'm not right in the head, I thought he was pulling my leg. He and I have spoken before and I thought for sure he would have recognized Talia in the group of three sad children. So I said, "Oh yeah, I'll bet she finds them soon." I wasn't being sarcastic, just a bit tounge in cheek.

Then I realized he was serious.

And I said, "Oh! Those three?" (Why did I say that? Of course he was talking about those three, they are the only three kids standing on the street corner!) "Uh, yeah. They're mine. I mean, I'm their mom."

Poor, poor man was so embarassed. He put his head down a bit and hurried away. I felt simply awful! A day or so later, I saw his wife and made mention of the whole situation. She and I had a laugh and I apologized profusely.

He hasn't spoken to me since.

Monday, May 3, 2010


Ta- da! Neither one of these is the best photography ever. I'll have to stop being lazy and get a nice shot with the "good" camera!