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, February 25, 2013

Guerrilla Swing

We are incredibly, absolutely, amazingly lucky to live with our backyard bordering a beautiful public park.  We are the last house that backs on to it, so it is quiet and very few people come down to our little end corner.  Our house also has a gate in the fence, so it is convenient to send the kids not only to the back yard, but to the climbing trees and grassy area in the park beyond.

(Looking out from our yard to the park.)

Around the end of the deck, to our gate out.  

For a long time now, the trees in the park have been calling out to me that they need a tree swing.  They would be perfect.  But I know that it is public property.  I know how cities have become paranoid about people putting up "dangerous" things.  

So I decided we needed a Guerrilla Swing, something the kids could easily put up and take down by themselves, something low cost.  Dadam and I got to work and we came up with a double-d-ring rope system, with a board for a seat.  Easy to put up, easy to take down.  And it works beautifully!  

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Chag Purim

This year the theme for Purim at the synagogue was "The Wizard of Oz." As usual, we waited until the last minute to get our costumes ready.  The girls came up with costume ideas very easily, as I had made a witch costume for Halloween and there are always lots of workable dress-up-dresses hanging around.  In short order they were the Wicked Witch (PrincessE), Dorothy (Lu-Lu), the Good Witch (Noodle).  This left The Boy-Child to be costumed.  There was a lot of back and forth.  And possibly a little frustration on the part of some un-named parental units.  But in the end, we decided the Cowardly Lion was doable and acceptable.

PrincessE as The Wicked Witch

Lu-Lu as Dorothy

The Boy-Child as the Cowardly Lion

(We made the "mane" and shirt.  I'm going to post a tutorial for it, as it was not too difficult and turned out *so cute*!)

Noodle as The Good Witch

I think they make some pretty darn adorable characters!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

FlowerE Birthday Cake

PrincessE wanted a flower birthday cake.  In the shape of a flower, not just drawn on.  I wasn't entirely sure how I wanted to do this and then GranEde came up with a brilliant idea.  We used some small bowls we had and made little individual cakes, so it was more like a cake sculpture 

It was so fun to have a collaborative effort.  Dadam, GranEde, GranDude and I all had a hand in the cake.  And it turned out so cute!!  

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Elevenses or Preteen Already?

Dear PrincessE,

Or should that be PrincessY?  We moved back to the US and your teacher at the public school is Jewish.  On the first day she did roll call and you responded that you'd like to be called "E---" and she said "Can I call you by your given name?  It's a beautiful name."  So here you are called by your given, Hebrew name; whereas in the UK at the Jewish Day school you were known by your American-ized nickname.

What a funny situation.  And I think it sums up a transformation we've seen in you since arriving back in the US. You have come back, experienced being different, struggled a bit, found some friends of the supportive-also-different type, and come through to the other side having made a happy and secure place for yourself at your school.  Dadam and I are so proud.  Many adults struggle with creating their own happiness when times are hard and here you are, eleven years old(!), empowered and making the choice to be happy and fulfilled.  You regularly volunteer in Noodle's Kindergarten class, doing errands, filing, and helping with art projects during your recess time.  You also do volunteer work in your own class, when the teacher has things you can do around the class.  But you also take time to play and enjoy being a kid.  You have got friends in all different social "strata" and I think you talk about playing with a different group of students every day.  You are doing what is right for you and not being penned in by the "group" mentality.  I love seeing you make your own way.

Once again, you have made a challenging adjustment and come out just fine on the other side.  You've adapted to the different demands of the academics here, chosen to play the clarinet and been accepted to the advanced ensemble in your first year of playing, and made lots of friends and connections.  I know that I've said this before, but you amaze me with your adaptability and your strength.

Eleven is going to bring us lots and lots of changes.  Middle school(!!), which I am more than slightly nervous about (and I know you are too!) and all those issues are right around the corner.  Hormones have already started giving us a sneak peek with some out-of-the-blue roller-coaster-highs-and-lows and I have a feeling it's going to get worse before it gets better.  Dadam and I are still working on our take-a-deep-breath-and-calm-down-before-responding parenting skills.  It's difficult not to get wrapped up when you get ramped up, but we are working on it.  And you are working on all sorts of skills too; the ability to mind your own business, to not argue, to deal with your frustration and anger constructively, we're all learning during this growing up time.  We're under no illusions that you'll learn these things over night, we're aware that adolescence is a years-long transition, but I believe that we have an amazing, strong foundation.  And I believe, with all my heart, that we'll make it through okay.

You've recently begun to be more concerned with your hair and clothes, though your style is still completely your own.  (Which I LOVE!)  You are aware some girls "like" boys and some boys "like" girls, but you are not at all interested in that game.  But you still love to play on the swings, dig in the sand and play school with Lu-Lu and Noodle.  The pendulum has begun to swing.

For your birthday this year you elected not to have a party.  You asked if GranEde and GranDude could come down and we went camping as a family.  It was fantastic.   We played on the beach and hiked and spent time with one another.  The whole weekend was so much fun.  You are so grounded in our family and our closeness is something I treasure every day.

PrincessE, I wish that I could take away whatever grey days you'll face in the next year.  I wish I could clean the way of interactions that leave you feeling low and unsure of yourself, I wish I could protect you from the "mean girls" that might be out there.  But I know that's not the way life works.  I can't make middle school an easy transition and really, I'm not sure I should want to.  It's the challenges you make it through, on your own with help from us, that will set you up for success in your life ahead.  And I see that you have found the power to make your own happiness, a power that will keep you strong your whole life through.

So my birthday wish for you this year is that you never loose sight of how powerful you are.  You are strong, you are beautiful, you are intelligent and you are amazing and all of those parts of you come together in a person who I am lucky to know and even luckier to have as my daughter.

I love you, PrincessE.  Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Kitchen Safety

Knives are dangerous.  Kids in the kitchen are scary.  These two things together make parenting a nervous adventure!  We've been expanding kitchen skills as the kids seem a) responsible enough to handle and b) as they desire.  The Boy-child and PrincessE have been using knives for a couple years now, to chop small vegetables and cut cheese and bread.  We've mostly avoided injury.

Until now.

Sunday afternoon The Boy-child was trying to get the plastic cover off a large brick of cheese, by using the knife he was planning on using to cut the cheese.  This is something we've reviewed before, but he was hungry and in a hurry.  Holding the plastic with his left hand, he sliced the packaging and also managed to cut open his middle finger.

I had my back to him and I heard him say, "Mom, I've cut myself."  Oh he was calm.  But when I turned around and saw him, bloody finger being held by the other hand, I knew it was bad.  We put the cut under some cold water and wrapped it with a clean towel.  When I had a chance to look at it, my suspicions were confirmed.  He had a cut that was halfway around his finger, nail to pad.  It was really unpleasant.  At this point, I was struggling to keep myself under control.  I really just wanted to cry with Noodle who was standing in the middle of the kitchen floor, clutching her face, saying "I'm scared."

Me too, kiddo.  Me too.

I swallowed hard and held it together.  The Boy-child and I sat down, me holding his finger and keeping pressure on it, while Dadam tried to figure out where we should go for help.  We didn't even know where to take him!  I felt like urgent care might be quicker than the ER, so Dadam made appropriate insurance phone calls to be sure we were covered for urgent care.

Our conversation about who was taking him went like this:

Me - (out loud)You should take him.  (mentally:  I nearly threw up when I was rinsing his finger and I know that they are going to stitch this puppy and I don't know if I can hold it together.)

Him - You should take him.

Me - You should take him. (mentally:  Dude, I don't think you understand.  We have an audience, so I can't tell you that I'm afraid I'm going to loose my shit when they stitch him up.  I'm afraid I can't do this.)

Him - I think you should take him.  But I can take him.  Do you want me to take him?  I'll take him.

Me - Uh.  Never mind.  I'll take him.   (mentally:  You can do this.  You're The Mom.)

(When we got home and had the post-game analysis, I discovered that Dadam had no clue I was feeling so upset.  He felt like I would do a better job advocating with the medical staff, which is probably true and I do appreciate his vote of confidence.  But at the time I wanted to just run away and hide.)

Off to Urgent Care, we waited for an hour, they looked at it and put in three stitches.  That child sure doesn't mess around.  That was one large slice.  The most painful part was when they washed it with the iodine stuff.  The numbing injection wasn't great either, but once that part was over we chatted about Harry Potter while the Doc did the stitching.

The Boy-child's doing fine now.  He's a bit hampered by not being allowed to be his usual wild and crazy physical self, but it's just for a couple weeks and then he'll be right back to normal.  It will be a wild scar though.

And I did it.  Shew.