Sunday, November 27, 2011


Seven! Can you believe it? G is SEVEN today. After my asthma boy had a rough two weeks of being sick, he felt *just* better enough for his birthday overnight at a local hotel this weekend. We went swimming, sat in the hot tub, watched a movie in bed, and went out to dinner. We came back last night and were home today for his birthday. While he is still on the mend, he had a fun birthday full of family and lots of love.

Seven years have flown. G is such a gentle, creative and yet funny guy. I think it can be challenging to be A's younger brother - but G has such a fierce and protective spirit and takes good care of his brother when he is having a rough time. Everything he does involves his big brother, and yet he is still intensely independent and a very unique kid. Every moment of life is big and exciting and fun to him.

I love him more than anything and look forward to the next seven years (14?!?!?!). Happy Birthday sweet boy.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

on the oval.

About twice a year we get a special opportunity. We get to skate at the Pettit. The Pettit is one of only a dozen or so indoor 400-meter ovals in the world, and is an official US Olympic training facility. An interesting tidbit is that the Pettit is the only sea-level indoor oval in the US for training, so it is a key facility for athletes who will compete in the 2014 Olympics as the oval in Russia will also be at sea level (Did you know you skate faster in higher elevations than sea level? Higher altitudes have less air density - something like a 3% reduction for every 1,000 feet - which makes for less aerodynamic drag and faster speeds in skiing and skating!). All very exciting for my guys. Very exciting. ;)

Yesterday was the day. It takes some time to get the feet and ankles into the groove, but by the end of the time both boys are on the go. I cannot ice skate with my herniated discs in my back, but my husband Brice loves it and always takes a vacation day to come and skate with his boys. I get to watch and take lots of photos!

G made it around the oval a few times (400 meters may not sound so big, but it is HUGE!) and A whizzed around many more. Super fun day (and only a few blisters)!

Friday, November 11, 2011

clay gift tags.

The gift making craftiness has begun. It is time for list making, gathering supplies, and making. The boys love making things too. One of the things we started this week is gift tags. We change it up from year to year, and this year decided to make some using air dry clay. It is a really simple process and the variations and possibilities are really endless.

For this first round we rolled out air dry clay fairly thinly and G picked out some stamps. Using a napkin ring (it was the perfect size we needed - you can also use cookie cutters of any shape you like) we cut out circles.

G then took a skewer and pierced a hole in the top of each one. He then stamped them. He did one batch that he stamped "a gift for you" and he added some little embellishments with other stamps around the edge for texture. Stamp words, names, designs, whatever you want.

We let them dry for 2 days. The first day they dried stamp up. We then flipped them over to dry a bit on back too.

You can use them as is - the white clay looks nice. Or, you can paint. We wanted an earthy look to go with some of our tea blend gifts, so we squirt a dab of gold acrylic paint on each disc, made sure the paint was in the sunken stamped areas, and then gently brushed/rubbed with a sponge brush to remove most of the paint from the surface (don't forget the back and edges), leaving the low lying words filled with darker paint. G finished a few dozen happily painting and brushing. Let dry. They look earthy and beautiful and are great for hand made gifts.

You can insert ribbon, raffia or twine through the hole and tie onto your gift. You can leave more generic or you can use the back of the disc to write a name (a paint pen works great). We are planning on making a few more batches of them since they look so nice - some that are long and skinny with stamped names going down the front, as well as a few other shapes/variations with stamps (snowflake, leaf, star). Love it!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

first snow.

Ah, first snow. We look forward to it every year. The anticipation and wondering when it will finally come. The air smells different. The birds huddle up in the bushes. The light changes.

Today we finally had first snow. Just enough to play in, build mini-snow people, throw around and do a few snow angels. Just enough to pull out the coats and snow pants and boots. Just enough to lay the garden down. Just enough to come in cold and wet with rosy cheeks and drink warm elderberry lemonade. Just enough to let us know winter is coming.

It will warm up enough to melt and we won't have anything stick for a few more weeks at least. But today was just enough.

Bon Hiver!

Saturday, November 05, 2011

snake day.

Snake Day is looked forward to year after year in this house. The boys ask how many more days until Snake Day, and count them down for the last few months. We leave early so we can be there the minute it opens, before the crowd. We spend hours circling around again and again.

While G loves visiting the snakes, he then likes to wander the museum. A, on the other hand, wants to stay in the room with the snakes (and turtles, alligators, lizards, etc.) all day. He doesn't want to leave. Or visit other parts of the museum. This year his recent intense phobia of the dark means he could only go in the bright areas of the museum - which is about 10% of it. He tried, but ended up covering his ears, looking down, and refusing to step deep into the dark hallways full of the exhibits. So we visited a few things (butterflies!), but spent hour upon hour with the snakes! A loves their calm quiet, G likes their silky feel.

So we begin the countdown to the next Snake Day. 364 days to go!