April 30, 2009

See how they grow

I am amazed continually at how fast the Craunlets are growing up, and the ever relentlessness of the never-stopping passing of time. We have an annual tradition of visiting a dear friend of ours who now lives in Cincinnati. In a Castle. And two years ago, I took some fun photographs of our then little spit-fire Bella. This year, I reshot some of those same photos, for comparison. Bella is still a spit fire, only she has doubled in age. 
The Scarlet Oaks Castle, Cincinnati.

Seems a little more serious this year; red paint now, and no cheery flowers.
Bella attempts to open the massive Castle doors, to no avail--either attempt.

Nate decides to give the door a try; Bella over his shoulder.

Bella at play on the castle grounds. 

I held a teeny tiny little human last night, and was perplexed with wonder. Our babies were once so small, and so quickly, they are no longer babes. How amazing this journey is; amidst the constant hard work, the days are chocked full of surprise and play.

April 29, 2009

and Nate

These days, Nate is seconds behind his big sister. For a while there, I thought Nate might have thought his name was actually and Nate, as he added that quip onto the end of every sentence. For instance, if I were to suggest we all go upstairs, by remarking: let's all go upstairs, Nate would quickly insert and Nate, as if to reconfirm that indeed he intended to be a part of the let's. 
I honestly cannot believe how fast the little guy is growing up. So, amidst planning a birthday party for Bella's imaginary friend Sippy, [not joking] we are thinking of getting Nate this desk, in blue. Pure yummy, and most importantly, will play nice next to Bella's.

April 27, 2009

Picture Pages, Picture Pages

Time to get your Picture Pages / Time to get your crayons / And your Pencils! / Picture Pages, Picture Pages / Open up your Picture Pages...

All this to announce that our picture pages have been refreshed. I hear there have been numerous complaints about seeing the Craunlets playing with sticks for nearly two months now. So, feast on these, and see what Team Craun has been doing.

April Showers, no, make that sunshine...

After all my whining about Spring, summer weather has graced us this weekend. And today the temperatures are soaring in the upper eighties [nearly ninety] with an amazingly cool breeze. The Magnolia blooms have come and gone. And the first round of tulips have faded. Now in our front garden, we are enjoying the young Red Bud, and our two little Barberry bushes. 

We entertained a friend on Sunday afternoon for a Team Craun Home + Garden tour. we noshed on guacamole and Corona's with lime, and dreamed of our landscaping and home restoration plans. The sunshine and good company was so inspiring.

Today we have been skipping and frolicking through our front yard with "naked legs" [as Bella refers to her tights-less ensemble] and playing with our sidewalk chalk. This afternoon, we hope to do a little gardening, and purchase the beginnings of the fairy garden.

April 23, 2009

Thursday...it's a holiday!!

Today is my day off. A play-at-home day with the Craunlets. We have been rocking out to they Might be Giants 1-2-3's this week. And this song, yep. exactly my sentiments. Work is the last thing on my mind. Listen and look here

Around 26 seconds, just after the kid zips himself up in the tent in the living room...he is found the next day chucking gummy bears into his mouth whilst laying on the couch. Dreamy way to spend the day if you ask me.

April 21, 2009

Pretty sure the playroom needs this

Um, YUM. I am certain that our playroom would jump for joy if it had this. The play room; the one I dream about. That magical space I am sure can be some sort of modern home office, art studio and modern kids schoolroom. hmmm. Anyway, this huge map tapestry -- we needs it. surely. 

April 18, 2009

more irrationalities

Certainly, I should learn how to sew. Or sew straight, and follow a pattern, rather. Because nearly every room in my home needs curtains. And I got a sweet deal on this small stack of fabric. Hello lovely dark chocolate drapes in the master bedroom, and warm wheat canvas heavy linen in the dining room, and yummy avocado diamond textile in the kitchen...we would surely love to meet you.

Mom, wanna come visit for Mother's Day weekend? Because we could really use a visit, and a sewer extraordinaire. 

April 16, 2009

Because the Craunlet's reorganized my recipes

I bought these. and I can't wait for them to arrive. 

Dave and I have quite similar -- and then at moments, starkly different parenting styles and approaches. Take for instance: helping in the kitchen.

I tend to carefully orchestrate small tasks for the Craunlets to do in which they feel included in the kitchen task at hand. These roles have no impact on the final outcome, but seem like they do, which is key to keep the preschooler engaged and committed. For instance, the very important "pre-wash" of the mixing beaters after I am finished with them. It's an important job to get all of that gooey chocolate batter out of the crevices of those suckers. The dishwasher doesn't stand a fair chance without their assistance here. But, does this affect the outcome of the brownies; or worst, the organization of the kitchen? Absolutely not. I don't have the time or patience for that kind of help.

Dave, on the other hand, gives them all out freedom and adventure in the kitchen. He lets them cook too. They are set up at the kitchen island with replica's of everything he has. It's cute, really. and they love him for it. The chaos. The mess. Their own utensils? yep. Mixing bowls? you bet. Measuring spoons and cups? Again, yes. And lastly, my entire box of recipes? WHO THINKS THIS IS A GOOD IDEA??

Arguably, Dave has noted that the container has seemed a bit disheveled as of late. And this whole recipe affair started as a small distraction for a once just-Bella in the kitchen. She would carefully select one recipe, and make butter while sitting on the counter top. Well, little brother is in the kitchen now. That makes a toddler boy, and a preschool girl, a small team of trouble. A partnership that doesn't discuss and carefully draw a single recipe from the box. Rather, one that competes to find the best pictures, hold the most cards, and then wrestle to monopolize the now empty box.

April 13, 2009

yawn, stretch, roll over, repeat.

I usually ring in the week with a monday morning anxiety attack. I don't know why. It's hardly monday's fault for having to start off the week. This week I woke up armed with just enough gumption and apathy, to trick myself into not worrying in the week. And it has worked like a charm.

We baked and feasted on buttery flakey croissants this morning. Ran a casual errand, where we picked up some sugary cereals along with the rest of the items we  needed. Came home to enjoy second breakfast. We played, stamped, and made cards for our imaginary friends with our new markers. Then we filled ourselves with cheese ravioli's for lunch, after eating chocolate peanut butter eggs for elevensies. And then, the most glorious hours of the day: nap time.

And I thought, why the heck not. And I lay myself down to a little snooze as well. After all, the week has so many days left...why get all stressed out trying to tackle the impossible today? A couple hours later, we are finding ourselves eating chocolate bunnies and editing Easter photos. We are also looking forward to our dinner plans out. More yummy food, the theme of the day, paired with rest. Maybe residual mood from the relaxing holiday weekend.

Our Fairy Garden Easter baskets turned out snappy...I was so pleased. Now to just get the Spring planting all planned and purchased. I love the toadstools, we got these ceramic beauties at the Garden center. We gathered our stones from the water's edge in Vermilion. Our sunflowers are ready to go into the earth outside, I think they will surround and frame the garden. 

We had a lovely quiet sunny weekend and Easter morning. Saturday afternoon we dyed eggs, and then enjoyed an evening of conversation and sweet nibbles with great friends. Sunday, The kids woke up to little plastic bunnies containing clues to start off a small scavenger hunt for their baskets. 6 eggie clues later, they discovered their Easter outfits and gardening tools, nestled into their hiding baskets. Pictured below, is Nate's and then Bella's. 

April 9, 2009

Under the Weather

All this longing for Spring and then suddenly, I get unexpectedly knocked over with the most bizarre combination of symptoms and ailments. I am so exhausted, I spend 4+ days and nights in bed, on the couch and dozing in the chair. My neck hurts, my back too. My throat swells nearly shut. And did I mention that I was too tired to even hold my head up? Delusional about the day or time, and surprised to see the kids occasionally, as they came in for goodnight hugs and kisses. It is what day, and bedtime already? 

And from the view of my nearly floor-to-ceiling windows adjacent to my bed -- I see it is SNOWING. A LOT.

Is this what they call Spring Fever? 
It feels inches from death.

Burying and threatening to wipe out all of my Spring blooms, like a practical joke, April Fools Day I guess, the holiday I hadn't made preparations for. Having not been sick in 3+ years, we had to do extensive searching to simply remember who my doctor is, so I could make an appointment.

And today, after this 6 day hiatus-from-life, I am finally enjoying the warmth of the sun, awake. And I am trying my darndest to undo all the chaos + clutter the household accumulated. We have been organizing and playing the "putting it away" game all day. Spring Cleaning, if I dare to suggest it might finally be Spring here.

April 2, 2009

Spring Kisses

This season's first tulip opened up in the afternoon sun. 

Oh the sweet first kiss of spring.
I love this glorious bed of tulips.

April 1, 2009

Rocks and other presents

Mailing rocks. And other brown paper packages tied up with strings. Absolute nostalgia. The joy of packaging. The love of mailing. Putting parcels in the post. The thrill of sending and delivering a beautiful surprise.

I have been finding myself both shipping and hand delivering a variety of treasures this week. And in the process, learning and living through many a life lessons with the preschooler. My favorite ensued on Tuesday’s postal run.

The four year old refused to carry an oversized box of air. She wanted the small bubble wrap pillow that her baby brother was holding. I insist she help; rise to the occasion. We are each responsible for a package. Each parcel a reasonable partner to our respective abilities to lift and carry.

So I drew a line in the soil. Pick this up, or you will wait in the car whilst little brother and mommy go into the present store [code for post office in the Team Craun vernacular]. So exhausted of this endless battle of  the will. And it’s jealous and selfish demands. I knew those words would be difficult [even impossible] to keep.

We talk the whole way to the present store, after the river of tears dissipates. How she chose to disobey. She was presented with a choice. Choice has consequence. She is figuring it all out. Discussing the choose-your-own adventure plot twists the afternoon could have taken. And she is understanding her choice.

Arriving to the post office just after 4 pm, I realize I have slightly more than a small problem on my hands. One cannot park their car in eyeshot of the huge storefront windows between 4 and 6 pm, due to the traffic patterns of rush hour.

So I consider entertaining a conversation with the disappointed but understanding 4 year old that is expecting to wait in the car, carrying no presents into the post office. I was writing my speech about traffic laws, and safety. Not wanting to leave my child in a locked car, in a parking lot far out of eye sight, in an adjacent urban parking lot.

And magic. As I put the car in park. I hear this quiet sweet voice, a melodic: I am so sorry mommy.

Thank God. A way out. I let her know that I forgive her, and that she may come into the post office, and help carry her parcel to the front desk. And we all parade in with our packages.

Waiting in line, the kids spot a spilled pile of postal insurance forms, and offer to pick them all up from under the counter. Strangers comment about how well behaved they are, as they fight with each other trying to pick up more papers than the other. I thank them for helping, for being good citizens [something we talk about a lot in our neighborhood whilst on walks] And they are beaming as they hand them to the postal worker.

This picking up. Being good citizens at only two and four years old. Helping.

I am absolutely amazed that Bella has pulled an entire emotional 180 from when we were leaving for the present store. And she is somehow older and more compassionate, when moments ago she was selfishly falling to pieces on our front porch over the prospect of lugging a nearly empty package to the car.

And the postal worker pulls two lollipops from her drawer, she asks my permission, and I grant it.  She holds them out to the Craunlets, reaching over the tall counter. She thanks them for being helpful.

Thank you for helping. 

Bella grins ear-to-ear. Rewarded.

These are the tender moments that refine us both. Us all, rather…all of us that share this life experience whilst mailing rocks and other presents.


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