Monday, December 31, 2012


As the end of another year draws to a close, I like to take time to reflect on the year that's passed and to envision the one that lies ahead.  As the kids are asleep in their beds and what's left of 2012 can be counted in minutes, I'm going to take the opportunity to do just that while the moment presents itself.

2012 was the first full year where we've been a family of four and this realization leads me to reflect on all the things I am grateful for.  I am honored to have such a beautiful and lively little family, a wonderful husband, a supportive and loving extended family and some of the most incredible friends I could imagine.  I am grateful for all the things Brian and I have worked so hard to accomplish which allow us to live our lives in a manner we choose.  I'm grateful to have had extended time off to spend with my children in the early months and years of their lives and I'm so thankful that Brian was able to take fourteen months off to be at home for the first year of Ari's life.  We have had an absolutely incredible year full of quality family time and we were fortunate to be able to spend nearly seven months in the US visiting the people most important to us.  Finally, I'm grateful that Brian has landed another contract in his field which will allow him to maintain his skills and that I am able to return part time to a job that I love.  With some very difficult decisions behind us (for the time being anyway), we are now able to relax knowing where we will be for the next year.

I don't often make resolutions to accompany the new year but starting next month I plan to carve out some time to think critically about where I'm at and where I'm going and how I can get there while taking good care of myself and my family in the process.  So many possibilities.

Here's to a great 2012 and to a 2013 that I hope will be even better! 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

On the Record: Riker at Three

My friend Lauren over at Sparkling Adventures has a tradition of interviewing her children on their birthdays.  By asking the same questions year after year, she's able to see how their personalities and interests change. I liked this idea so much that I've decided to start doing an annual interview with my own children and since she's already come up with such good questions that capture a moment in time so nicely, I'm taking the liberty of borrowing those too - thanks for the inspiration Lauren.

What are you going to be when you grow up?
I don't want to be anything.  I want to be only a doctor to fix the chickens when they are sick.  Alright mama?

What’s that going to be like?
I don't know. 

What are your favorite toys?
Mm, playing with my trains on the choo choo train mat.  I like it. 

What is your favorite food?

Who are your best friends?
Grandma Betty.

What makes you happy?
Mm, you.

What makes you sad?

When you dream at night, what do you dream about?
Eating chocolate coins.

What do you like to do with Daddy?
Play trains with him.

What do you like to do with Mama?
Play with trains with you too.
What’s your favorite color?

What’s your favorite book?
Humpty Dumpty.

What does Daddy do during the day?
Play trains with me.

What does Mama do during the day?
Play trains with me.

What do you do during the day?
Play trains.  A big one.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


Thanks to Kathryn Dwan for this great photo!

Monday, December 24, 2012

New Friends

There are two other families with children here on our little cul-de-sac and Riker has become fast friends with a four year old boy named Narayan who lives across the street.  He's such a lovely little guy - thoughtful, creative, mild mannered and polite - and he's perfectly happy to play with Riker even though he's a year younger.  They talk about each other all the time and several times a week we find ourselves going back and forth between the two houses so the boys can play trains, dig in the sandbox, check on the chickens or trade a special toy.  Which is great because it means we've acquired new friends too!

Riker and Narayan help to wash his family's car. Which is of course great fun for all ages as it means splashing in the bubbles!

Narayan likes to come over for a visit after his day at child care. When he arrives home, he doesn't even want to go into his own house before setting off to see Riker.

The boys favorite activity is playing with Narayan's extensive train sets and Riker always comes home with a new borrowed engine.

 It's great fun when all of the kids on the street are out at the same time.  Above, Riker and Narayan in the back make silly faces with Xanthe and her brother Lewis.

When the foursome grew tired of riding their bicycles, they made their way to Narayan's sand box and tunneled, poured, mounded and dug until it started to rain and everyone retired to their own bathtubs.

It's been great fun getting to know our neighbors and even more so having children of the same ages. If it weren't for Riker and Ari, we'd certainly have met our neightbors by now, but we'd never have spent this much time with them enjoying each others company!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Hiding Spots

Having now found toys stashed in the microwave, blender, oven and washing machine, we've learned to inspect our appliances for any unexpected inhabitants before using them!

Ari finds a less than ideal home for a camera.

And when they're not squirreling toys away, kids seem to love to hide themselves in small and cozy spaces like baskets and cardboard boxes. Above, Ari explores the bottom shelf of the pantry (which, with no doors to protect the contents, is left permanently empty for obvious reasons).

Which reminds me of how Riker loved to explore the cupboards as well.  This photo, from about twelve months old, was taken during Grandma Betty's visit to Australia.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


I've seen lots of photos of children who've fallen asleep in odd places.  And I've heard lots of stories of children who actually lie down and sleep when they feel tired.  Unless my children are strapped into a carseat or a bike trailer, they're pretty unlikely to willingly lie themselves down for a rest anywhere.  Riker gave up his afternoon nap quite some time ago and while Ari still has a long afternoon sleep, he usually requires some coaxing to get there.  So imagine my surprise when he dozed off in his highchair, not once, but twice last week!

Both days, I had tried to put him down for a nap three times before he finally fell asleep in his high chair in the late afternoon and then slept for nearly three hours (after being moved to his bed). 

A valiant effort at keeping up with his brother, but Ari finally succumbs to sleep in a rather odd spot!

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Toddler Activity Bag Swap

My mother's group recently organized a toddler activity bag swap.  Each mother was tasked with choosing a craft that would be self-contained, transportable, inexpensive and easy to make and then replicating it nine times. Earlier this week we met and swapped bags and each of us went home with a bonanza of activities to be pulled out in moments of need.

Pasta Stringing

Button Snake

Mini Reversible Felt Board

Popsicle Stick Puzzle

Lacing Cards

Build a House

Homemade Playdough

Many of our ideas and instructions for recreating them can be found HERE.

Big thanks to Jess, Ali, Amber, Annabelle, Alison and Karin for putting in such an amazing effort and creating such fun crafts!