Vera's singing is cracking me up lately. I think it may come from watching this video a couple times?


*los examenes

Ben takes his comprehensive exams tomorrow!!! As in this is the culmination of these five years of studying. I meant to take a picture of the hundreds of books he's read, but I'm sure you can imagine them. Ben is most definitely the most determined, hard-working, perseverant person I know and I am so proud of him for getting to this point!! We'll find out next week whether he's passed, but I'm sure I'll know tomorrow when he comes home with a big triumphant smile :)

*one and three-quarters

I just met a little girl who said she was three and three-quarters - remember when those fractions were so important? Well Vera is officially one and three-quarters today. She is amazing us every day with her new words and ideas and mind-workings. It seems just in the past week she's really started saying fluid two-word 'sentences' - instead of daddy.bye.go, it's bye bye, Daddy! Mommy, come! Ubba, We-ah's! [that is "Vera's Bunny" :)]. Her most repeated phrases are 'sit down', 'lay down', 'like it', 'mmmmm good!' and 'cook!'

She also seems to be growing up a bit in her play, and acts like that child who wants this here and that there and you do this while I do this [know what I mean?]. She's really into lining up all her chairs down on the floor and making me or Stella or anyone else sit and say chugga chugga choo choo with her. I feel bad when her little friends aren't interested in her game :) We had fun the other night as she made Bunny, Monkey and Mommy all "lay down!" with his or her own book:



One thing I remember from my bit of Montessori reading is the idea of not breaking "the flow." When your child is absorbed in something: lining up blocks, taking a lid on-and-off, reciting her abc's or sitting on the bottom step of the stairs coloring quietly on her own [that's what we're doing now :) ], don't interrupt to say, "wow, good job! whatcha doing? oohh look at that." Don't break the flow of their concentration. Sometimes I forget, and the moment I say something the magic is broken and she moves on to something else. It's so fun to stand by quietly myself and just watch her little brain working..


Vera rediscovered this summer hat and sparkly tutu and put them on first thing yesterday morning. Also happened to be wearing the only clean pair of jammies whose feet had to be cut out as she grew. I couldn't keep from laughing - and taking pictures.

[Bunny had gone 'poopoo' and needed a clean diaper]

[here Bunny is wearing size 2T jammies (the favorite "purples") and Vera is showing us her toes..]





In case you were wondering, Vera is again taking naps! I think it was day 9 of the strike that she cried for a whole hour before falling asleep [for a measly 30 min.]. The next day she cried just a minute and slept an hour. Yesterday 2 hours! Also she hasn't cried at bedtime 3 nights in a row [this is huge, it was really upsetting to both of us :( ]. I basically have had the philosophy throughout these episodes [of not napping, not eating, only wanting milk in a bottle, only wearing socks if they're pink...] to stick to the routine. Of course with a little flexibility [hard to define, but you know what I mean?] and lots of love, but I stick to it. I continue to offer her vegetables, ignore the pleas [with an exception or two] for the bottle, and continue to put her down for her nap. Eventually things settle back and she forgets that it was all such a big deal. If any of you momma friends need advice on that front [or any other], don't hesitate to email or call! Cause I'm like an expert at this* :)

*[kidding, in case you can't read the sarcasm via the screen...]

*I ♥ tulips

I love them. They're so clean looking, so bright and cheery - and proof that winter is passed. I have fond memories of them all over our garden growing up, of seeing them at Queen Anne Thriftway + Pike's Place during college, of visiting the Tulip-fest with Tamara, and now of having my very own little collection. Each fall here I've bought a handful at the last farmer's market and every Spring get to enjoy that many more! This year I need to get some red ones and yellow ones.

**my cousin suggested the other day of giving bulbs as a housewarming gift.. what a great idea...**



Vera's diapers were starting to get a little.... stinky and stained.. so we went out this morning to hang them in the bright, hot sun. I made a makeshift clothesline over the vegetable garden while Vera and Stella dug in the dirt, picked dandelions and sometimes helped by handing me clothespins. I sprayed lemon juice on the stains and they hung all day in the sun - when I took them down they definitely looked a little whiter and brighter. I love the homeyness of clothes on the line. However, does anyone know how to get line-dried clothes to feel soft? Do I have to put them all in the dryer for a bit afterwards?

...and these are the beginnings of beets!


*el vuelo

I just liked these pictures from our traveling days, and thought I'd share. How do you like the sling picture - kind of SouleMama, eh? I really do love using a sling for airports - I usually am maneuvering the whole thing by myself, and a stroller just doesn't work when you also have to wheel a suitcase and a carseat. Plus it's fun and you get to snuggle with your baby :)

I should count how many times I've flown solo with Vera - I'd say at least.... 10 - maybe more. When she was tiny, it was easy to just nurse her to sleep. The worst was when she was about 9 months old - seriously not fun. I probably ran out of my bag of 'tricks' before we even took off and she was screaming to get down and crawl down the aisle. It really got better at a little over a year, once she knew what an airplane was and could point out things and generally just understand more. I think that flight we spent a good hour pointing out every cat and dog in the sky mall magazine [a very good resource for traveling with a child!].
This time, on the way up, it could not have been more perfect. She was so well-behaved, happy and excited to be on an airplane - and then even more excited to be on the shuttle to get the car. The flight home, however, was potentially awful - right at naptime, but she would not fall asleep! I prayed and prayed for her to just close her eyes.. instead God sent 3 angelic flight attendants to entertain us at the back of the plane :) She finally fell asleep literally as we landed and I got to carry the limpest, most deadest weight imaginable all the way to baggage. Anyway.. sorry this is probably the most boring post ever. Would you like me to detail each and every flight we've taken together? :)

*parte final

We got to spend our last day and a half with my cousin Beth and her sweet, growing little family. Vera and Pierce had some fun running around, rolling on the floor and turning some circles. Bathtime was pretty cute too, though I didn't have my camera. Nothing like cousin or sibling baths :) Vera was really tired of traveling by this time though, and the morning we left I was about done with her myself :) Pierce was an adorable, easy-going host and it was so great to see them play together - we'll have to go back and stay there at the beginning of the trip...

..definitely excited about the baby! it made me really nervous, but she did great..

..sweet baby Paige - we were so happy to meet her!..


*parte dos

We also got to spend a couple days with Julie and Eva!!! It was so much fun - just about the cutest little mama/daughter pair you can imagine :) Vera had a hard time as the week went on going to bed late, meeting all sorts of new people + places, so she sadly wasn't quite herself. I could tell though that these two girls love to play and be silly and would be the cutest little friends. Julie started things off well by letting Vera help make chocolate chip cookies on the floor - making as big or little a mess as she wished. When Eva got up from her nap, they stood at the little table dipping warm cookies in milk.. I wish I didn't forget the camera that day!!! I'm pretty sure I can remember in my head the picture of those two cuties with chocolate smeared all over their cheeks :) Vera also warmed up a bit playing in Eva's adorable cardboard house as well as ring-around-the-rosies outside. Shoot, why can't we live by all our friends?

... how cute is this little face?? she really knows when you're taking her picture :) ...

... I suggested they held hands.. a little awkward and forced, but still cute :) ...

... see here for a similar picture exactly a year ago ...

*parte uno

As always, it was so good to be in Seattle!! I knew a highlight for me was going to be seeing Vera interacting with her cousins and it was. What a lucky little girl she is to have such fun, sweet, happy cousins too - and me the lucky Auntie :) Obviously I took a million pictures over the week [and also obviously few to none of the adults..], so here's part 1:

... teaching Vera to dance ...

... walking home from the bus stop : a daily highlight ...

... sidewalk chalk! I have to get some ...

... Marie and Vera got to spend quality time while the big kids were at school ...

.... I loved how she looked up to Tyler!! He played this little letter computer game with her and she'd look up for his approval. she'd also go stand in his doorway and hold up the game while he was doing homework. soooo cute :) ...


*He is risen!!

1 Peter 1:1-4 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade...

We had a wonderful wonderful Easter. The kind of service at church where you can't sing the hymns because you keep getting choked up.

We did let a little traditional secular Easter in too of course :) Yesterday we went to pet the baby animals at a local ranch-supply store. I kind of regret not buying one of the bunnies - can you imagine her extreme excitement waking up to a baby bunny hopping around the living room?! Or my extreme excitement? Anyway, today before church we hunted Easter "eggies" in the front yard with our next-door neighbors - Vera had so much fun!! I decided to save the dress I'd made for another time, because I wanted her to wear the jacket and bonnet that I wore when I was one and a half. She looked just adorable in it and surprisingly kept the bonnet on the whole time. I didn't realize my camera was on a weird setting and the pictures didn't turn out as well as I'd like :(


[Easter Sunday 1981]

Tomorrow we're headed off to Seattle!!! ICANTWAIT. I wish Ben could go, but he's going to take advantage of a week of toddler-free studying - his comprehensive exams are at the end of the month.



Last weekend a friend and I went to hear Richard Louv speak at our library. He's the author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder, which I haven't read but am definitely going to at some point this summer. I've always held memories of my childhood very dear. Memories of exploring every inch of our neighborhood with our BFFs .. the field across the street next to the witch's house [poor lady, she just didn't want us in her yard] with the mysterious fenced off spring; another empty lot with a fantastic climbing treewhere we played Little House in the Big Woods-style, someone always pretending that a bear ate her leg; the big pine tree that created it's own enclosed and secret fort; every nook formed by the roots of the huge cottonwoods and the wonderful crunch you could get riding your bike over the fallen cotton seeds, my mom's garden beds that provided wealths of plants and flowers to dissect and inspect... all this not even to mention the Ranch [which -if you know me- know to be, well, one of the most special-to-me places in the world]. Anyway, I so value my nature/exploration/outside-centered childhood and have always been sad at the 'changing of the times' that seems to say my children just won't be able have that independent, nature-steeped experience that I did [which was already a far cry from both my parents' ranch upbringings!].

[Sigh. I just interuppted writing this to check CNN which I should NOT have done. Lead story about a little California girl killed one afternoon hopping from friend's house to friend's house. How incredibly sad and sickeningly horrible. I can never get these stories out of my mind. Louv talked how one big problem with kids getting outside these days is the parents' fears of such things. He actually said abductions are down in past years, and the majority of them are actually by family members or acquaintances. The media repeats these stories (like I just read!) over and over and gets them forefront in our minds.]

So what do we do?? I know Ben and I will have no problem getting our kids up onto hiking trails and playing in the creeks, but what about the independent neighborhood roaming that I remember so fondly? Is the danger really that much bigger or is it that we are hyper-informed to every single tragic event that happens now? I don't really know the answer..

Geez, I need to turn my thoughts back around [I hate the news!].. On a more positive note, I've been making it a point in the last week to visit some of the more natural parts of our park - let Vera (+Stella) collect leaves and dandelions, sit under the cottonwoods, look for baby ducks, etc. It's really been calming and peaceful. What's more, when I took these pictures the other day, Vera firmly told me "no", that I was "all done" with both camera and phone! Apparently she wanted a bit of pure nature too :)


*we love these guys!

...and missed them while they were gone!! they're all so grown up now - calling each other by name, playing together and all. looking forward to a fun summer.


...Vera loooves her animal friends...