Archive for May, 2008

May flowers, again

May 29, 2008

I started the month with flowers, and now that we are almost at the end, I’ve got more flowers.

All those April and May showers were good for something! Photographer Stacy hosts a weekly roundup of photos, Theme Thursdays, and this week the theme is flowers. Check over there for her gorgeous flowers and see what her readers came up with this week.

It was hard to decide just what to post, because I have no shortage of photos in this area—these subjects can’t run away, just twist in the wind a little! (Click on the photos to see them larger.)

This is one of the crab apples in my front yard, now gone by. I love that delicious moment before they burst into full bloom. Each year I wish that the blossoms would be as intensely pink as the buds, but then I find the snowy blossoms delightful, too.

Getting lost in a jungle of crab apple.

The defining colors of spring, in my opinion.

Detail of Siberian iris.

What I just learned is called mountain bluet, though I have always called it perennial cornflower.

And a last look at the lilacs, soon to be gone by.

What’s blooming in your world today? Post a link to your flower photos in the comments at Stacy’s, and let me know you did!

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Feeling fun and funky

May 27, 2008

Having fun altering reality with these super funky (at least for me) vintagey, color burst and sepia Photoshop actions by lovely and amazing photographers Laura Pearce and Ree of Pioneer Woman.

Thank you for sharing them!

It takes an ice cream outing to get these two to stop moving.

What’s your favorite funky foto technique?

Sweet

May 26, 2008

Love this one. It is a photo of mother and daughter from daughter’s two-year-old party a few weeks ago. This party, actually:

Mom is a professional photographer, so the technical errors on this one might make her cringe, but maybe the tenderness factor might override some of the mistakes. Daughter is a professional two-year-old and though she is a cuddly girl, I always see her on the move, so I love this sweet moment of stillness.

Hope you are having a wonderful Memorial Day weekend, we are–now get back outside and enjoy this beautiful weather! Or take your laptop outside and go check out some more shots at Best Shot Monday.

Ginger turtles!

May 22, 2008

The sweet, endearing mispronunciations of childhood might be one of my favorite parts of parenting. The mistakes are so earnest, yet so fleeting. I can barely stand it when the proper pronunciation actually emerges, because it is such a clear reminder of how fast the time passes. As soon as the whole household has gotten used to saying eeebeeeance (ambulance) and hornich (sandwich, according to our now nine-year-old friend Lydia at one time), the word suddenly and sadly becomes clear, and they have taken another microstep away from childhood.

Last week Henry shed the second nickname he had bestowed upon his buddies Gabby and Olivia. They were once Baggy and La La, and out of the blue last week, Henry announced we’d be going to Olivia’s house. “La La’s house?” I asked, hopefully. “OLIVIA’S house,” he replied, firmly, with a clear attitude of “Can’t you say it right, lady? ” (Baggy is the same one who tagged Henry “Heiney” at the age of two, so it only seemed fair that he would come up with something good for her.) Marfa (Martha) and Camel (Campbell)? Sorry–he’s not going to be corrected by me!

But we still have some of the best ones ahead of us. Henry is steadfast in his belief that a zebra is a WEEBRA! And it is almost criminal to hear the word he shouts when he spots the fox that occasionally makes an early morning detour through our yard.

And while Will might never say eebeeance again, he has picked up a habit you won’t catch me correcting, of saying knifES and mouthES, pronouncing the plural just as it’s written. And I’m not sure what I love more: that my not yet four-year-old son knows what ginger is, or that he refers to the plastic “Ninja Turtle” that he has befriended in his child care setting as a Ginger Turtle.

So the first one out there that corrects him will have ME to reckon with. Me and a whole platoon of Ginger Turtles.

Come on, warm my heart–what are the kids in your life mispronouncing these days, or what are your favorite ones from their past?

The weekend in photos

May 21, 2008

Looking over the photos of the weekend, I have a soundtrack in my head of “Pomp and Circumstance” mixed with, oh, pick an early 90s song, “Mr. Wendell?” Reunions are revered by some, reviled by others, but good, bad or lovely, they provide an unrivaled experience—to go back to a place that knew you before you were the person you are today, and probably had a hand in shaping that person.

It’s not that you go back and actually do much quality catching up. Even without children hugging my ankles I seemed to be incapable of focusing long enough to have real conversations with any one person, because all the faces in front of me were an irresistible buffet to sample from all weekend long. But the details I heard, astounding triumphs over some of the toughest challenges that life can deliver, made me want to learn more and pick up the phone for that real conversation long before another reunion comes along.

I went to a very old New England (no way, really? you’ll say when you see the photos of brick and ivy) college steeped in history and tradition, and I think it is only now that I understand how much each of us is part of the fabric of the institution. It is our collective experience, our memories and, of course, our photos 🙂 that sustain the traditions, and I feel so lucky to be a part of it.

Thank you, Mom and Dad. I think I am just now beginning to truly appreciate the incredible gift I received that sunny September day in 1989—the opportunity for this experience.

A few of my favorites from the weekend.

Classmates, the rest are up on our class Flickr pool. Enjoy–I did!



What May showers brought

May 19, 2008

You’ve heard me gripe about all the rainy days we’ve had of late.

You won’t hear me complain about these beauties that have finally emerged.

Lilacs, May 2008

I haven’t downloaded a single photo from my college reunion yet, but I can tell you that:

A) It was wonderful.

B) I had the best of both worlds, because H&W came with Dad for a brief visit to meet some of the far-flung friends, and then went home.

C) The sun came out and stayed out.

D) I saw wonderful friends of a lifetime that live way too far away.

E) Henry ended up in his first time out after all. (I wasn’t there to see it, but apparently 30 seconds on the Naughty Step netted a sheepish and remorseful “sorrrrrrrry!”)

And, I came home to this view:

It’s good to be home.

For more Best Shot Monday, click here.

Time out!

May 16, 2008

Henry in self-mandated “time out.” And yes, we call that the naughty step, because who doesn’t get their best child-rearing tactics from reality TV. The blue stool is his own touch.

A FEW THINGS ABOUT YESTERDAY

A) Henry sobbed for the entire 11-minute drive home from swimming lessons, because I didn’t wait long enough (like til he turned five) for him to mature enough to buckle his own buckle on his car seat. Even though I gave him ample time to practice and explained why he couldn’t ride home working on his buckle. “Henry’s turn! Henry’s turn!”

B) Henry sobbed dramatically over I can’t remember what, but it lasted a good 10 minutes and was highlighted by a repeating loop of him hurling himself into my arms and then running away. And tearfully reporting, “Henry’s turn! Henry’s turn!”

C) Will had a juice box with his lunch at nursery school as a Special Treat (Will usually takes his favorite Sigg bottle with cars with water for lunch) and then at snack had juice and milk. Having had a few Special Treats in the past few months, I am now seeing a pattern—juice does something v. bizarre to his bladder, and he Can’t. Make. It. To. The. Potty. In. Time!

This was all just a long buildup to saying my almost-four-year-old wet himself FOUR times yesterday afternoon, with three more near misses. We both finally agreed that, “All the pee MUST be gone by now, right Mom?”

D) Henry put himself in “time out” and then sobbed mightily when I suggested it was over and time to go upstairs for bed. (Henry has never had a time out, but likes to throw himself dramatically on the Naughty Step and declare “Time out!” Just you wait, Henry.)

E) When changing Henry for bed, he insisted on sitting on the potty, and then cried when, after five minutes of hopping up and down and no business, I suggested it was time for his diaper and pajamas. He’s getting very good at this two-year-old stuff and, as I remind him, he is only 23 months.

A FEW THINGS ABOUT TODAY

A) I’m leaving for my college reunion.

B) Alone.

C) Mommy’s having a time out.

I will miss you terribly, boys, but you will have a great time with Daddy.

Give him a break, will you? Because he has to live with the knowledge that NO ONE WILL BE WAKING ME UP AT 5:30 IN THE MORNING FOR TWO DAYS IN A ROW.

Wayback Wednesday

May 14, 2008

My 15th college reunion is coming up this weekend, and as a class officer doing the behind-the-scenes preparations, I’ve had my head squarely stuck in the late 80s and early 90s. You know, listening to my (thanks, Jess!) “Eighties Child” mix tape now on iTunes, reminiscing on our class blog and adding to our class Flickr pool of RIDICULOUS photos. And it wasn’t even that long ago. Yeesh.

So, in as a place holder for of some of those embarrassing photos I promised you for your generous March of Dimes donations (and I WILL post those next week, really!), today I give you this brief peek of my college years.

In the interest of full disclosure, these photos are specifically chosen for some of the people who read this blog regularly AND happen to be in some of those photos. For the rest of you, enjoy and DON’T ACT LIKE YOU DIDN’T WEAR LAURA ASHLEY DRESSES, TOO.

Who needs a handbag when you have an attempt at cleavage? You do see what we have stuck in there, right? Oh, and like our matching curls and matching pearls? Off to a formal dance, I think this was 1991 or 1992. I also think I may have had a bubble skirt on the bottom of that dress.

Michelle, I hope you are reading today, this one is for you! 🙂 Nice decor, eh? NOT MINE

Our senior formal dance. The flowers are blinding me.

I had to find different people to pose with–fewer flowers.

Sorry for the double post, Sarah, but I love this photo!

Easter weekend, senior year of college. These visitors were trying to distract me from my organic chemistry woes. They succeeded—I haven’t used organic chemistry since.

Oh Rebecca, can’t wait to see you this weekend!

First one to find me gets a prize! (No fair if you were in the photo with me.)

Wish you were coming this weekend, Anne! And p.s., can we all please admire how skinny my arms used to be?

From our senior week White Glove Brunch. I wonder what they wear now that Laura Ashley is out of business!

Kind of hard to explain what we were doing, but it was a time-honored college tradition.

Hope you enjoyed the peek back at 1992-93–and be thankful you aren’t wearing a Laura Ashley dress, white pumps and nude panty hose today!

NOTE: I did NOT ever wear the white pumps and hose. Some people in that era did.

I JUST NEED TO MAKE THAT CRYSTAL CLEAR.

Parts and pieces

May 12, 2008

Sometimes I can’t decide

if I love all the individual

parts and pieces of them

more, or if it’s the

whole delicious whole that I love the most.

For more Best Shot Monday, click here.

Food Friday: Chicken and Corn Chowder

May 9, 2008

It’s about the fortieth rainy Friday in a row today, and while I greet rain with enthusiasm for the green growth it represents, I would greet it with slightly more enthusiasm if it fell on a day when I wasn’t home. With two boys. Inside.

It isn’t just rainy, either, it’s rainy and chilly. Like so chilly that I just dug a pair of fleece socks out of the winter clothes box that I was about to put in the basement.

So imagine my delight when this recipe showed up in my inbox this week from my dear friend Sarah. I haven’t made it yet, but it sounds wonderful and if my husband will just bring home the bacon (heh, heh) then I am off to the races and making this tonight. (Or tomorrow, depending on when the husband gets home. Because nothing, not even sweet, ever-loving BACON will get me to a grocery store with my two again after a trip we took this week. I’ll spare you the details, but I will say that just when I thought I had everything under control I hear, “Ummmm, ma’am, YOUR KID…?” and turn to see Henry with one leg balanced on the edge of the cart and his three remaining limbs on a large wire display rack featuring two-pound bags of Twizzlers, and now him, too. One more second and he would have been clinging to the rack like a monkey, four feet in the air. And all I could think was, “Seriously, you were making that kind of getaway for Twizzlers? I would have held out for chocolate.”

ANYWAY. THE RECIPE.

(Recipe courtesy of Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast: Weeknights)

Sarah says:

i found that it was not all that fast and took me almost 2 hours to make instead of the 30 mins they promised. i suppose if you bought pre-chopped vegetables it would only take 30 mins. or maybe i am just a slow chopper.


Chicken and Corn Chowder

* Bacon, 4 slices chopped

* Red Bell Pepper, 1 large, seeded and chopped (I had only 1/2 an orange pepper so I used that)

* Fresh or frozen corn kernels, 4 cups

* 3/4 lb Yukon gold potatoes (i used 12 small red potatoes)

* Chicken Broth, 3 cups

* Dry White Wine, 1/2 cup

* Skinless Boneless Chicken Thighs, 3/4 lbs cut into 1/2 inch chunks

* Green Onions, 6, white and pale green parts thinly sliced (I used a medium yellow onion, minced)

* Fresh Thyme, 3 tablespoons (I used the dregs of my container of dried thyme and then some rosemary)

* Half and Half, 2 1/2 cups (i couldn’t deal with the idea of that much half and half, so i used 1 cup half and half and 1 1/5 cups 2% milk)

* Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper to taste

1. Cook the bacon.
In a saucepan over medium heat, fry the bacon until crisp, about 5 minutes (takes longer than 5 minutes, and use a LARGE saucepan because I misread medium heat as medium saucepan and had to switch pots halfway through). Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 3 tablespoons of the drippings.

2. Cook the vegetables and chicken.
Add bell pepper, corn, and potatoes to the same pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the peppers are just softened and the corn and potatoes are slightly tinged with gold, 4-5 minutes. (I added the onions at the point as well). Add the broth and wine, bring to a boil, cover, and cook until the potatoes are almost tender, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken and cook, covered, until opaque throughout, 5-7 minutes.

3.Finish the Chowder
Stir in the green onions, thyme and half and half. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, reduce heatto medium-low, and cook, uncovered, until heated through, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle the chowder into bowls, sprinkle with the bacon, and serve.

Sarah didn’t say how many it serves, but I’m guessing that it will comfortably serve 6-8, especially with a loaf of Easy French Bread. So if you are Michelle Duggar, the Arkansas mother now pregnant with her 18th child, you’ll probably want to triple that. And as Sarah says, think there are any “J”names left?

What are you having for dinner tonight? Because if that bacon doesn’t come home soon, I’m going to need some ideas.

As promised

May 7, 2008

A while back I asked if you thought it would be wrong to encourage ill-mannered behavior that I am ultimately going to abolish if I can encourage it just long enough to get it on video?

I did, and I did.

I think I gave it a little too much buildup, but it felt like a good day’s work when I got that on tape, strategically timed when Will was at nursery school so that he didn’t hear me encouraging Henry to say, well, watch and see.*

I won’t say it, because “we don’t say those words.” You’ll just have to watch.

*What word did you THINK I meant? Honestly!

helloooooooo?

May 6, 2008

Yes, still here, actually.

Just not HERE very much this week.

But I definitely have a treat for you tomorrow.

I PROMISE.