June 21, 2010

Happy Summer Solstice!

A Happy Summer Solstice to you all! And anniversary for those of you celebrating one of those today. We made the most of the year's longest day and acted like we had extra time too. Many things were done.

Our plans for a celebratory bonfire were squashed by a summer thunderstorm, accompanied by the blare of our tornado siren advising us to seek shelter. We have a whole summer ahead of us for more chances to make that happen. Summer is always a welcome season at our house, we're fans of summer produce, pool/beach days and of course - ice cream.

Nikki McClure's Mama is it Summer Yet?

Wishing you all an enjoyable summer!

June 17, 2010


We're eight pounds of strawberries richer than we were this morning. Piper, Calder and I went to the strawberry patch this morning!

We're fortunate to have an organic u-pick farm close to us. I wanted to take pictures in the patch but thought I should acknowledge my limits - carrying limits that is. I had Calder on my back already and hoped to be leaving with a berry heavy tray and thought the camera would just be an 'unnecessary' burden. No need to worry, as we loaded into the car Piper said to me, 'we'll come back'. I agree!

Piper had a red mouth, hands and streaks down both arms from running juices by the time we loaded into the car to head home. In the beginning she ate half of what I picked. Slightly frustrating. But she slowed as we went on and we came home with a nearly full tray.

I stood at the sink cleaning, hulling and putting up the berries until the soles of my feet hurt, my hands stained red. I was happy for it. Pleased because of the joy my current work would bring to my family later in the year. Smoothies in December or strawberry shortcake in March. Grateful that my mom did this for our family and gave me the itch to do the same for mine. I remember the giddiness I had last year as I filled the top shelf of my pantry with jars. The jars with their pretty contents stacked neatly in rows, beautiful. The same feeling I had when I would go into the cellar of my childhood home. Or when I, just this winter, discovered the cellar in my parents' farm. All that lovingly put up food in one place warms my heart.

I've decided not to make jam this year as I have in past years. We still have over a dozen jars left from last year. I think that will more than tide us over till next strawberry season. Instead I've frozen them for whatever strikes our fancy later. Now that my freezer is free of breast milk I have the room. For now we'll enjoy fresh berries with our meals and snacks.

June 15, 2010

New Orleans: Vol 2

I thought New Orleans - despite the heat/humidity, was so fun. Maybe I'm easily amused or what I'd rather think is that I was enjoying this vacation through the eyes of my two year old. I think we had the opportunity to do some things that brought simple pleasures to our days.

We took a few street car rides. These amazingly cute, bright red, clean and well-kept trolleys that you could ride for $1.25. It took Olly and I a bit of convincing for Piper to be excited about her first ride. But when she finally saw it coming down the track towards us she was giddy with excitement and ran up and down the platform. She even had her picture taken with some Asian tourists - they liked her blond hair.

We went to a spectacular aquarium right on the Mississippi River. We got to watch and learn how they feed the penguins. Olly got to touch a sting ray, or two, or three. There was a huge Gulf themed tank that was in part sponsored by BP! Anyone else find that ironic!? I took a picture of the sign but as I was sharing pictures with Zac my SD card went on the fritz.

Calder and Piper sneaking a quick kiss between exhibits.

Possibly my favorite excursion: the ferry ride. We took the free ferry across the river to the island of Algiers. We intended to go on the walking tour and see the site of the slave trade but weren't able to get our hands on the tour map that was promised on the ferry. Instead we walked around a bit, had some lunch and rode the ferry back - riding in the air conditioned compartment this time.

One day towards the end of our trip, we went took a horse (mule really) drawn carriage ride of the French Quarter. Piper didn't take her eyes off Shine, the mule. We learned quite a bit about the history and all the celebs that live/lived in the area which we could have done without. Our tour guide showed us all the great spots to eat. We wished we had taken the tour early on and saved ourselves from our daily search for a good place to have dinner.

Well that's it folks. The highlights of our trip. We're settling back into our regular routine and doing a lot of pretending to take more airplane rides. Keeping in practice for next time I suppose.

June 14, 2010

New Orleans: Vol 1

We're home. Safe and sound. What a time we had. Zac and I had a brief visit to New Orleans about five years ago. We still enjoyed all the French inspired architecture. This time was a different experience, however. Zac had a conference to attend for the better part of our week days. And a focus on the family friendly attractions was necessary this trip. We found many, more than we expected.

I guess we all underestimated the heat of New Orleans in June. It was HOT and HUMID! You felt it the moment you set foot out the door. We joked of all the water weight we were losing, but not sure we ever became accustom to the always sweaty feeling.

Again, we felt blessed to have one of my sisters traveling with us. So nice for me to not have to spend all my days on vacation alone with two littles. We also felt blessed to have a suite to stay in. The separate bedroom was wonderful for getting the usual nap and bed times accomplished. Key to avoiding the lack of sleep melt downs from our little lady.

This was possibly the least planned trip we've taken so far. Life was a bit busy prior to our departure so planning activities were pushed back time and again. Yet this was possibly our most active trip and great fun was had all by all.

I've decided, for my sake, to post some of our pictures in multiple posts. Save picture overload.

: : Our lay over in Chicago, the two first time fliers - Olly and Calder, with our seasoned flier and a large dinosaur statue : :

: : Jackson Square - With cathedral and statue of our 7th president, Andrew Jackson : :

: : On the terrace between Jackson Square and the Mississippi River. Zac and I have a picture in the same spot from our first visit : :

: : On our walk to the French Market Piper found a nice lady to pose with and pretended to eat fruit from her basket. Don't touch - she was hot! : :

: : Piper meets the pigeons and our bird lover worked hard to identify them for the rest of the trip : :

: : Sweet Calder adapted nicely to taking a hot nap in the stroller or on my back in the mei tei : :

: : We like to seek out the children's museums where ever we go. How lucky for us that this one was two, yes two, blocks from our hotel! Piper tried to talk us into going there on three separate occasions : :

June 02, 2010

Where We've Been

So where have we been? We spent our long holiday weekend finishing our to-do list of house projects. We were working on a dead line this time. Tuesday was a big day for us.

We've listed our home for sale! The time has come for this little family to move on (pun intended) from our home. We've finally outgrown our humble home. Its hard to actually leave, as we thought it would be. This is our first home, we grew up here - bought it when we were 22 and 23, where we began our family - right here in the dining room, and grew our family into four. We've enjoyed many happy times in this home, and a few sad ones. Countless hours of our sweat, hard work and love have gone into making this house our home. Its a strange feeling to see all this life we've lived here reduced to a couple of sentences and a bunch of pictures. This home will forever hold a dear place in our hearts.

We now focus on a busy weekend and week to come. Littles and I will be off Friday to attend one of my sister's high school graduation. Hard to think this happened for me 11 years ago now! Then bring said sister home with. All five of us will leave early Saturday morning to catch a flight to a little vacation and a little work (for Zac).

Till then, enjoy your days.