Monday, May 18, 2015

Esotonia 2, Ship Design By Nathan

Nathan has been on a ship kick these days. Not just ships but ships of history. Like every little kid goes through a Titanic stage, except he takes it one step farther and gets a wee bit obsessed about all the ships, all the sister ships, all the sinkings, all the survivals, all the war usage, all the drydock construction, all the measurements, all the facts, OBSESSED (so unlike him, I know) (hahahahahaaaaaa *wipes tear*).


So anyway, almost every day he has a newly constructed ship to show us. The Titanic, the Olympic, the Britannic (those are officially the only three I can name, so I am stopping now). He builds them from Legos, or from paper, or from whatever he can find in the recycling bin.


(You think I am kidding, but I am absolutely not.)

He has taken to jotting down his ship design ideas on scraps of paper, and putting them in a shoe box for safe keeping. He has labeled said box "ship designs" and

OKAY WAIT CAN I JUST STOP RIGHT HERE AND SAY I CANNOT WITH THIS KID. Picture a million laugh-cry emojis in a row. He delights me. There is no one else like him.

There are pieces of paper like this literally all over our house. 

Anyway. Okay so his box of ship design ideas started to seem a little risky, and he wanted to put his ideas down somewhere where they would be safe from baby sisters and baby cousins, so he asked me to open up his files where he wrote his blogs before, and some school reports and such (google drive), so I showed him how and he typed up his ideas, and he would like them to be a blog post too.

(I think he thinks he has a blog. Um no. But I told him I would make it a blog post here.)

So I present, without further comment, Nathan's ship design of the Esotonia 2.



Please ask me no questions, I know nothing.

Wait that's not true. I do know that when I am invited to sail on this completed ship, I'm for sure going in third class because I want the wings.

If you have five minutes of your life that you don't mind never getting back, he also fancies himself a rising YouTube star (I don't even know, y'all) and you can hear him talk about a boat he made of legos. It is exactly what it sounds like. Except with a dropped camera and a broken lego and instructions to look at something else while he fixes it. He's basically a professional, is what I'm saying.


(If you can't see the embedded video, click here to watch on YouTube.)

"Bye, boat lovaaaaaahs."

Friday, May 15, 2015

Spring, it Sprang

Where did spring go? It took forever and a day to get here, and now summer is basically upon us. School will be out in a few weeks, and we are in the throes of the end-of-the-year stuff: concerts, recitals, school events, forever and ever amen.

Mark and I went out last weekend to celebrate the 18th (that's ten plus eight, EIGHTEENTH) (!!!!) anniversary of our first date, back when we were sixteen. We were dumb naive teenagers, and we cringe now at thinking we knew what the heck we were getting ourselves into, yet also really really happy that we did. It's so fun to remember the very beginning, and feel happy and grateful about where we are now.

Nathan and Anneliese, waiting for their school rides together. Anneliese is so tall for her age, and Nathan is still so tiny, and I get asked now more than ever if they are twins. Anneliese can't wait til next year when she can finally (finally!) get on the bus with Nathan.
Yes, I know Nathan needs a haircut. No, I do not know why wearing your instrument on your back and your backpack on your front is a Thing, but among the second grade orchestra set, it indeed is.

Anneliese sang in a little concert at preschool, and she was a cow, and she is officially the cutest singing cow that ever sang.

And! The preschool did a big Letterland Day, to have fun with the reading and writing curriculum they use (which is very cool, if you care about linguistics and pedagogy), and each kid got to dress up as a letter character from the Letterland world (haaaaaa I say "got to" like I wasn't cussing up a storm about having to come up with a costume in the last weeks of school... I totally was, make no mistake).

ANYWAY she chose to be Annie Apple, and she was the only one in the whole preschool, and everyone clapped for her. I have no idea if she loved or hated that, but she was hella cute. And this is the part where I pat myself for an illegal download from a google image shirt, reversed onto iron transfer paper and an etsy hat. Costume! May! Super cute! Whatever!

Moving on.

We are also in the throes of All The Baseball.

Okay so baseball is a pain, y'all. It's too many times a week, with lots of rain schedule changes, and not much notice, and it's the busiest time of the year. Whyyyyyyyy. I mean, Nathan likes it and Mark loves it so we go, and we cheer, and I absolutely love to see him having fun. But make no mistake, it's a pain.

Charlotte (who wears this outfit every Tuesday, because I do their laundry on Mondays and she is obsessed with this outfit and mostly only cares that I do her laundry so she can wear it, and does at the soonest moment it is clean every week) has taken to eating toast with me in the mornings.
I used to guard my toast and coffee time as my own alone time, but on days when it's just her at home (well, while Ali is napping), it's sweet to have a snack together. I sort of love it. It has been a good school year of Tuesday and Thursday mornings with her.

So, also. I made a bowl for Charlotte; our church gives us these little stone thumbprint things to mark faith occasions (baptism, Bible reading, confirmation, communion, etc) and there is always this brunch event when the kids are three, where the parents make little bowls for them to collect said "milestones" as the years come. We have one for Anneliese (with a rainbow imprinted in the bottom), and Nathan's is a blue hand-me-down pottery bowl that Another Nathan made at Montreat, since we missed the bowl making when he was three. Anyway! So I made Charlotte's, and then I put it in the oven, per instruction, at like 200 degrees for four hours, except I actually cooked it like twenty hours, and it's totally burned.
It's supposed to be... white.

I really wanted to toss it and start over, but she saw it, and she thinks it's SUPPOSED to be this color, and, well, now what do I do? So we are keeping it. And at every faith milestone we will remember the story of the time I miraculously didn't burn the house down. *sigh*

In other less serious milestones, there is a new Princess Charlotte! And when I told Charlotte there was a new princess Charlotte, a real one, she insisted that she was the real one, and promptly made herself a dot-art crown from her dot-art book, and wore it grocery shopping. Soooo... she sure told me?

And on that note, this is where I make a bloggity plea that anyone who wants to send any Princess Charlotte kitsch my way, I totally definitely want it.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

To Feel Like a Real Mom

It's funny how pushing out a baby, and handling three children all day every day, and knowing in the ins and outs of car seats and diapers and the odd truth of how your kid throwing up or pooping on you somehow isn't as gross as anyone else's vom or poop -- none of those make me feel quite as much like a Real Mom as homemade jewelry that looks super homemade yet I actually don't mind wearing in public.

Or being subjected to the public reading of a survey of your kid's impressions of you.

Or a coffee date with a sweet boy who produces a card with a poem inside, and it's actually the best poem ever written, which is just a pure objective fact.

Or a fancy* mother's day tea party brunch while sitting in a chair approximately an eighth the size of mah ass.

*very loose definition

I roll my eyes at it all, but somehow it does make me feel like a Real Mom.

Also here is a picture with Charlotte because my lands, I'm not That Mom who would leave one kid out. Simmer down with the pearl clutching.

Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Beach Week 2015

Here, have some pictures from the beach. This will be our last spring Bumgarner beach week -- with school schedules all varying between the cousins, we are moving it to August next year. More reliable for warm weather, and a schedule that doesn't rely on spring break, which is different for all the cousins in different school systems. This house at Holden Beach has been really good to us over the years, and for our last April trip, the weather was spot-on perfect.







Reading on the beach means he is a child after my own heart.

We have reached a magical age where they play together and don't get sand on me,
and don't... need me. So I can close my eyes and the beach is relaxing again.
WE MADE IT.


Hey Nathan Y U look like a teenager?

Charlotte talked Brad and Marija's ears off, but what are rocking chairs for?

These two are still cousin besties.

Nathan would only allow himself to be buried in sand
if Uncle Sean suggested it. No one else. No one.

Mark was helping the kids see the dolphin he spotted.
But let's be honest, all I was thinking was *dat ass*

Just kidding, I love him more than life itself.
(Not kidding though, with the ass, I mean.)

I taught him the selfie art of LOOKING AT THE DOT.



This trip is seriously one of the best things we do every year. Thank you, Dad. For real. We love it and we love the time together and we love you.   <3 p="">

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Why I Can't Blog

You know how sometimes there's this big chunk of bullsh!t in your life that isn't bloggable (or in my case, several not-major-but-still-unbloggable-bullsh!ts) and because you can't blog about that, but it's IN your life, and it COLORS your life, you can't seem to blog about anything ELSE in your life either?

Nothing major happened. Swearsies.

I just have ongoing Stuff (annoyances, not even real stressors) (but that still aren't fit for public consumption) (although YOU, yes you, I will email you anything you want to know, I love a good vent or rant) and being too venty on the internet seems rude, but not mentioning it seems dishonest, and I used to do a great job (to me) (if I say so myself) (brushes shoulders) of treading that line just fine, and balancing it well, and I'm not sure I'm good at it anymore.

Anyway, lest this sound like the blog version of vague-booking (it's not! NOTHING BAD HAPPENED, I'm just crazy busy* and easily annoyed, apparently), I will stop. And just say hi.

I just wrote a (fun) ranty email and it made me miss blogging. So, hi.

I am getting caught up. It will be bland, because.

Three months is the longest I've gone without blogging. I have so many things started and half-written but waiting on pictures or complete sentences or lots of deleting of profanity (or deletion altogether). But maybe I can get back to normal.

Oh and also I had some teal dyed into my hair, because a Lady of a Certain Age needs to have more fun in her ponytail, amiright? Here, a picture:



(*If you look at my Goodreads list you will see I'm obviously not that busy. But please no comments about how it "must be nice" to have so much time to read because just no.)

Monday, April 13, 2015

Anneliese, 5 1/2, Forever Please

Anneliese is five and a half now; she is rainbows and awkward giggles and big feelings and learning to read and sweaty snuggles and tangled hair and love notes and art projects and sillies and earnestness and questions and green peppers and sparkles and sad tears and sleepovers and constant singing and baking and capital letters written backwards. She is... everything.

"When I drink Sprite and then burp with my mouth closed, it sort of makes my nose feel sparkly inside!"

"If I had a dog, I would name it Silent."

"Did you choose my birthday to be in October because of all the pretty colored leaves?"

"You can't even see the sun because of all the clouds! This is the worst day of my life!"

"I wish there were never such a thing called winter!" (On a day when it was 55 and sunny.)

She is upset on days when she doesn't think she is wearing enough colors. She insists that her favorite fruit is coconuts. In the plural, always. She still towers over the other kids in her class. She sings wrong lyrics to every song on the radio, but consistently, because she memorizes what she thinks she hears insanely fast. She is the free spirit counterpart to balance Nathan's seriousness; they still adore and cling to each other in ways that amaze us, because to be honest we don't understand it. She is a thoughtful and profound little thinker. She approaches the world by assuming that everything is out to delight her, and it usually does. She sits in her feelings well, whether they are high or low. She cries and withdraws when she is sad. She invites everyone in the world in when she is happy. She is wonderful.

My feelings about FIVE FOREVER continue, if you're curious. Five is so great. And halfway through five deserves half a pineapple-coconut pound cake, two flowers planted into a gift bag, and a huge grin.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Alleluia! And Eggs!

We had our nephew Liam for Easter weekend this year, in preparation for taking him with us to Bumgarner beach week - which means we had FOUR kids up and ready before the earliest service, which is a new record for us!

And when I say us, I mean Mark, because... I did nothing. That's not true. I spent a lot of time blow drying my hair and brushing it one hundred times or whatever. Anyway. Mark did it, he gets the credit, he is a rock star, and they all looked adorable.

My kids, being kids of a choir mom, are among the first children at church every week. On Easter, that means getting to put the first flowers on the cross. Basically every year.

We usually have to go back after the later services and Sunday school hour to see it fully flowered, but I sort of like it empty like this, mostly wire, only a few flowers. It seems the most appropriate for the chilly wee hours before everybody gets all He Is Risen excited, yknow?

I also took Nathan and Anneliese to the Easter Vigil last night (a first!) and that was really great.

Nathan got to ring a bell as we all processed from the courtyard into the sanctuary.

(Liam and Charlotte stayed home with Marky, since they - the babies, not Mark - were on the verge of Easter breakdowns. It's a late service for three-year-olds.)

And then we got to the beach and did the traditional egg hunt, except without my sister to make it happen (SAD FACE WE MISSED HER), which means I did, which means Nathan did most of the hiding work, because I'm either really lazy or really smart.

But it was a hit anyway, and now it's time for the beach! Happy Easter! Alleluia!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Things I Am Crabby About

Happy April! I am crabby.

1.) I don't know if it's a cold or allergies or what, but my head is killing me and I am sneezy and this is terrible timing for going to the beach next week.

2.) It is still cold out. It's getting ridiculous. I cannot remember a winter that lingered this long. We are back to life, back to reality, spring break is over, yet it somehow isn't spring yet. Spring, you suck, and you're over a month late, and I'm pissed at you.

3.) This morning in preschool chapel, they celebrated Easter. IN THE MIDDLE OF HOLY WEEK. There are still crushed palms on the floor that have been poignant and achy (appropriately so) for the Lent services all week; I don't want to watch kids doing a choreographed hallelujah cheer in the middle of Holy Week. I mean what? Why not wait until next week? It'll be actual Eastertide then. Today would have been much more appropriate to do a lesson around the Last Supper, or even the Hosanna parade from Palm Sunday (since they were on spring break last week). Not Easter. Not yet. We are doing ourselves and our kids a disservice when we cheapen church for them. TELL THEM THE WHOLE STORY. (Hi I have officially become a curmudgeon.)

4.) Delta changed my schedule home from the Blathering in Seattle in a few weeks (my connection between Salt Lake City and Atlanta is now a misconnect) and that's a normal thing they're totally allowed to do, and they don't owe me any particular connection points, and I certainly didn't pay to stop in SLC for any amount of time, and I had to look on the timetables and then use a million search filters to force the website to offer me that option anyway, because the schedule is terrible, but I WANTED the stop in Salt Lake City (hi I am a worker-of-the-system), because I had an hours-long layover and dinner plans with Liz. And now I don't get that. And it's not the end of the world, but: CRABBY. (Mostly sad.)

5.) The stupid B key on my stupid computer still doesn't work, and that makes it hard to type an all-caps word like CRABBY.

6.) There is a general underlying assumption about my time: that I am around, available, and at everyone's disposal, to schedule (or unschedule) things for me, and even at the last minute it's assumed that's fine. I, uh... I exist outside of what People need me for. I am not a public commodity. And yes this is cryptic because Some Of The People Who Do This are reading here, and I am too chicken sh!t (and exhausted) (and passive aggressive, apparently) to address it directly, I just need to be pissy about it and vent for a second. I feel gross and taken for granted. (If you think you might be Some People -- check yoself. Whether it's about me or any other stay-at-home-parent you know. Our time is not "free time" or "available time" unless you PLAN and ASK. End rant.)

6.) April Fool's Day makes the whole internet annoying. Pranks are annoying to me anyway (#teamRoss) and half of what people post are not even pranks or April Fool's jokes. Saying something that isn't true? Not a prank. Shut up. It's annoying. (And companies who need to make their ads and promos into jokes are even worse than the general population.)

7.) Nathan gifted Anneliese one of the clay boat hulls he had carefully molded for his science project (the project is done now), and she broke it into a million tiny pieces and put it in a ziplock bag. And then looked at me confused when I told her it isn't really nice to break something someone gives you, especially if they made it. She was all, "why? he gave it to me so it's mine." How can kids be so wonderful and have such awful moments? (Not singling out Anneliese, either. Charlotte has been tantruming in the pre-dawn hours every day for the last week, and Nathan took a huge amount of nagging to do said science project in the first place. IT'S NOT MY PROBLEM I DON'T WANT TO MANAGE IT.)


(I got lost in the Wal-Mart parking lot a few weeks ago -- yes really, shut up, it was more complicated than it sounds but I don't care enough about explaining myself to explain myself -- but then I found this bright scarf, and it came in a 2-pack but I threw the other one away immediately, so anyway at least I have a relatively pretty $3 scarf? Whatever.)

Next week will be 75 and we will be at the beach and life will be less annoying right?

Monday, March 30, 2015

And Then March Happened, Apparently

That thing where you are months behind so you just post a lot of random thoughts, because people like that better than carefully crafted themed posts anyway right? Hi, welcome to the March (waaaaaay later than March) edition of I Don't Even Know What This Post is About.

Okay so the most important thing is that my sister had a baby! After a pregnancy lasting forty weeks plus four months (she is a dolphin, you didn't know?) (ask me how I know about gestation length of dolphins anyway *side eye*Nathan*) she delivered her third son (yes THIRD) (yes, her oldest is Charlotte's age) (yes, she would accept any of your prayers for sanity) and anyway, meet my newest nephew Everett! He is perfect.


Also! Ali turned one! ONE! I can't believe it's been a year. I love her so much.

The weather got warm and the girls had been asking Mark to plant something, so he took them to pick out flowers and some veggie seeds, and he pulled some dying shrubs out of an area near the pool, and they turned that space into a little garden.
The girls are totally taken with it. (Nathan too, although mostly he is too cool to act like it.)

Oh! Speaking of cool ("cool") Nathan also did a weather project where he needed to write a report including a media/visual component about some weather phenomenon. He chose monsoons. He did a good job researching and writing the paper, and then he made a little video to show why monsoons can damage houses even if you put plastic on your roof, like some people in monsoon-prone areas have to do.

I'm not sure this video actually proves anything, other than he likes to build with legos (and make videos), but it still tickles me. You know you want to see it. Right?



Another random Nathan thing, from the grocery store one night: "Hey this is the same kind of bread Jesus ate! You can tell by the shape!"
(Pretty good endorsement for Kroger, yes? JESUS HIMSELF ETC ETC.)

Hmmmm I... have no idea what else happened in March. Let's look at some pictures.

Anneliese, wearing a lot of colors, and not one but two headbands, including one with a donut on it, because obviously:

Me with all the kids, taking a walk on the greenway, proving once again that it is difficult to get very many people to look at the camera at once:

Charlotte, looking half teenager and half baby:

Perfectly reasonable outfits for a Target run:

And! Marky made me a brownie in a skillet one night when I had a random hankering, and he sort of made it up from a boxed mix, and then he throw ice cream on top, and it was delicious. You know how some things are just exactly what you had a taste for, except even a little bit better? He wins everything.

We ate it on the couch in front of Netflix, because we are good at being grownups.