Saturday, October 29, 2016

On the Record: Riker at Seven

Several years ago I started a tradition of interviewing the kids on their birthdays. By asking the children the same questions every year, we'll be able to see how their personalities and interests change (or stay the same).

Riker has just turned seven and this is his fifth birthday interview.



What are you going to be when you grow up?
A train engineer.

What’s that going to be like?
Well, I suppose it's gonna be like steering a train and having passengers and controlling all the gadgets.

What are your favorite toys?
My new toys. Battleship, the Millennium Falcon and the science kit and the thing that daddy got me, the robot kit.

What is your favorite food?
My favorite food is tacos because I love their juice.

Who are your best friends?
Marco, Gabby, Ellie, Christian, Chris, Audrey and Tate.

What makes you happy?
Mama makes me happy when I hug her and she hugs me.

What makes you sad?
I don't know. Um, last night when I had bad dreams.

When you dream at night, what do you dream about?
Well, not the bad dream but I usually dream about going to school and trying to make more friends, and well a lot of other stuff.

What do you like to do with Daddy?
I like to build my kit with him.

What do you like to do with Mama?
Do the birthday interview. Hug you.

What’s your favorite color?
My favorite color is red and green.

What’s your favorite book?
My favorite book is The Chocolate Touch.

What does Daddy do during the day?
Usually he uses his computer. He goes to work also, I suppose.

What does Mama do during the day?
She goes to work and makes us breakfast, makes us lunch, makes us dinner, almost every day.

What do you do during the day?
Well, I go to school and have a nice day.

What do you want to learn or do before you turn eight?
Well, making the clay heart is my goal. It's coming up this year!


***

You can read Riker's interviews from previous years here:
On the Record: Riker at Six
On the Record: Riker at Five
On the Record: Riker at Four
On the Record: Riker at Three

I've shamelessly pilfered the interview idea and the questions from my friend Lauren over at Sparkling Adventures, You can read the birthday interviews of her four darling daughters here.


Monday, September 26, 2016

On the Record: Ari at Five

Several years ago I started a tradition of interviewing the kids on their birthdays. By asking the children the same questions every year, we'll be able to see how their personalities and interests change (or stay the same).

Ari has just turned five and this is his third birthday interview.




What are you going to be when you grow up?
Garbage truck driver.

What’s that going to be like?
Driving a garbage truck (turns pretend steering wheel with his hands).

What are your favorite toys?
Light sabers.

What is your favorite food?
(Whispers) Can it be treats? Candy and quesadillas.

Who are your best friends?
Gavin and Edward. My class.

What makes you happy?
Getting new toys.

What makes you sad?
When people be rude.

When you dream at night, what do you dream about?
Light sabers.

What do you like to do with Daddy?
Play with him. Fox and chicken. Remember that one game where you run around with a fox trying to get you? Can we play that later today?

What do you like to do with Mama?
Play with her. Fox and chicken!

What’s your favorite color?
Blue.

What’s your favorite book?
Star Wars. The Bucket Book. And Spiderman.

What does Daddy do during the day?
Work on my cake.

What does Mama do during the day?
Do things. Working at an office.

What do you do during the day?
Play. Sometimes outside, sometimes inside, sometimes in my bedroom, sometimes in mama's room, sometimes in Riker's. Sometimes I watch screens. I go to different houses too, that I know. I do go hunting for things that I might like.

What do you want to learn or do before you turn six?
Make things. Everything. And when I'm six, I'm doing the same.

***

You can read Ari's interviews from previous years here:

On the Record: Ari at Four

On the Record: Ari at Three

I've shamelessly pilfered the interview idea and the questions from my friend Lauren over at Sparkling Adventures. You can read the birthday interviews of her four darling daughters here.


Saturday, September 03, 2016

Moments Noticed: Our Job



It's not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world.
It's our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.
- L.R. Knost


Friday, September 02, 2016

Moments Noticed: Patience



I beg you, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.
- Rainer Maria Rilke

Thursday, September 01, 2016

DIY Wooden Growth Chart Ruler

I've finished a project I've been meaning to do for ages!

For years I've been admiring wooden growth charts for both their portability and classy simplicity. Turns out the project wasn't that hard to do, was pretty inexpensive and looks awesome if I do say so myself!

Here's how I did it.

I had Brian cut a high quality pine board to 6' tall and 8" wide. I sanded it thoroughly, applied a coat of wood pre-conditioner, sanded again and then put on a coat of Miniwax Golden Pecan stain.

Then I used a pencil and clear quilting rulers to put a mark every one inch. I started my numbering at six inches as I wanted to mount the board off the floor. I followed the markings of a traditional ruler and made quarter, half and foot marks varying lengths. Next I printed the numbers one to six in Century Schoolbook 200 point font on regular printer paper. Then I gently etched these numbers into the wood by pressing through the paper with a mechanical pencil around the edges of the numbers.

Next, I used a black acrylic paint marker to trace over the pencil lines and etched letters. I taped the edge of the quilt ruler with painters tape to save clean up time later.



Once that was all done, I took the board outside and sprayed the whole thing with a couple coats of protective satin polyurethane.

Here's the final product!


And here's a close up of the hand painted lines and numbers.


To mount the ruler we used four extra large 3M Command Strips to hang the board precisely six inches up from the floor.

I'm using an extra fine point black acrylic paint pen to write in the boys names and dates as they grow. Since we've moved around so much, I've had to fill in whatever heights I could find from various forms and medical reports to date. From now on I plan to just measure each boy on his birthday for consistency.

So pleased it's finished and I'm hoping it's a treasure for years to come!


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Moments Noticed: Ordinary Life



Extraordinary moments often masquerade as ordinary life. 
- Dr. Laura Markham

FYI Dr. Laura Markham is my go to parenting expert. Her website, weekly newsletter and Facebook page are invaluable.


Monday, August 29, 2016

Moments Noticed: Priorities



A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was,
the sort of house I lived in,
or the kind of car I drove…
but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child. 
- Forest E. Witcraft


Sunday, August 28, 2016

Moments Noticed: A Walk



I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, 
for going out, I found, was really going in.
- John Muir


Saturday, August 27, 2016

Moments Noticed: The Little Things

Today I'm returning to my Moments Noticed series which I launched back in April and then promptly abandoned. In this series I'll be pairing some of my best photographs with my favorite quotes. This honey bee on a lavendar flower was taken in one of our Canberra gardens. I love that you can even see the pollen baskets on the bee's hind legs.


“To those who have not yet learned
the secret of true happiness, 
begin now to study the little things 
in your own backyard.”
- George Washington Carver
American botanist (1864-1943)


Friday, August 26, 2016

Little Rock Lodge

This year's annual McMillin getaway took us to Little Rock Lodge in central Ohio. We had a week of relaxing and eating delicious meals on a rural property in Amish country.

This year we opted for matching shirts that said REST, RELAX, REPEAT in an outline of Ohio. These were much less labor intensive than last year's tie-dye extravaganza! Here's our family photo.


Kid shenanigans captured during set up.


Our stay included visits from a variety of furred and feathered critters including this white peacock.


A friendly cat that Sophia really wanted to love on but needed a little guidance!


Dave, Leah, Lynne, Barbara and Jan in our giant kitchen. As usual, each family planned one evening meal so we could eat communally.


Cousins on the play set.


How many cousins can you fit on a single swing?



Sophia the intrepid explorer.


There was a robin's nest in the rafters of the porch so were able to watch the mama bring frequent meals to the nestlings.


Hungry mouths!

  
Riker and Edward


Cael


By the end of the week, the fledglings had taken their first flight. Snapped a quick photo while this one figured out what to do next.


Another great holiday with a great bunch of people!


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Aussie Zoo Adventure

Last month we spent a really fun evening at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. My sister-in-law is a nurse at Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital so she was able to get all of us passes for a special evening event catering to kids with ongoing health issues. The zoo pulled out all the stops and offered free carousel rides, gave out free ice cream and cotton candy and brought out all of the interactive animal exhibits. So awesome!

Ari loved the carousel and rode several times.


Up close and personal with a barred owl.



We adore the Australian Adventure and so it was one of our first stops.


Inside the homestead we enjoyed wandering through the rooms stocked with Australian staples but also find it a bit funny that things as ordinary as Arnott's Biscuits, Keen mustard and other common staples are part of a tourist exhibit!


A kookaburra comes out to visit. While we were admiring the kingfisher, a sulphur crested cockatoo was screeching in the background and I was instantly transported to a Canberra woodland at dusk and had to think for a moment to remember where I really was!



The boys got to feed nectar to rainbow lorikeets.


Moving on from the land Down Under, the kids had the unique opportunity to feed lettuce leaves to the giraffes.





Good times!


Monday, August 22, 2016

Ari's First Day of Kindergarten

I just sent my baby off to Kindergarten!






So many new things coming your way today my darling! I hope you have a wonderful day!



Sunday, August 21, 2016

Family Time

After saying farewell to our dear Joan in NY, we were pleased to have Ross visit us in Cleveland so that we could take him under our collective wings and prop him up with some much needed love and support.

It's always very special to hear the older generation share family stories while the youger ones get into mischief and create the stories that they will go on to share with the next generation.

Some photos from our time with Ross and extended family.

Penny, Lynne, Leah, Dave, Jan, Keith, Carl and Ross


Edward and Riker give Papa Ross squeezes.


Edward shares a silly secret.


Sophia getting cuter every day.


Riker and Ari at a family cookout.


Teagan paints Riker's face as Gecko from PJ Masks.



Friday, August 19, 2016

Eagle's Nest and an Aussie Guest

Back in May we received a visit from one of our oldest and dearest Aussie friends, Chris. This was his second time visiting us in the US and since we were the first stop on his itinerary, we let him sleep in and had a very relaxed few days together.

We had heard that there was a bald eagle nesting in the Metropark just a couple miles from our house, so we decided to head off for a walk one day to see if we could catch a glimpse.

Ari on the towpath trail.


A Canada goose with chicks in the canal.


The boys love when Chris visits! Extra attention!


Spring wildflowers in bloom.


Gorgeous boy.


We did spot the bald eagle and the three chicks but even with our super zoom lens it was hard to get a good shot.


Tired boy gets a lift.


Chris and Riker


Stopping to splash in the river.


Ari takes a break and flashes one of his reserved smiles.


Thanks for swinging past Cleveland Chris! Always great to see you!

Speaking of guests, we're on track for annual visits from Australian friends. Who's next?