Monthly Archives: March 2016

birthday surprise

We are living the birthday month strong right now.  Evva’s birthday is followed exactly 2 weeks later by Anne’s birthday, which is followed exactly 3 weeks later by my birthday.  Mine, of course, is not quite as important at this time of life as theirs – and quite right.  I am consulted on themes, fun activities, and cake flavors for weeks, maybe months for their birthdays.  This year, Anne overwhelmed herself thinking about the party plans.  Should she do this activity or that?  Sleep over or not?  Which games?  Which friends? She finally turned to me and said, “I want a surprise party”.  This put all the decisions in our court.  William thought she would most like to have a stereotypical surprise party where everyone hides and jumps out to yell “Surprise!!” when the birthday person arrives.  We would invite lots of her friends, have a few games, cake, presents, and playtime.

So, that’s what we did.  Anne knew there was going to be a party, but we played it down a lot and wouldn’t talk about it.  Her friends were good about not giving it away either.  William took her, Evva, and a friend horseback riding, and all the guests arrived.  Everyone hid, then jumped out with “Surprise!” when Anne walked in the house.  She was shocked and surprised and very happy.  William had set up a treasure hunt which sent the group of 21 children racing through the damp, cold weather for about a half mile, looking for clues to get back to the treasure.  It was fun to see them all running through the gray day in their brightly colored jackets, laughing (and then panting as they had to go up yet another hill).  Then, we had a doughnut eating contest.  A race to try an eat a doughnut that is hanging from a string without using your hands.  It is very tricky!  And, hilarious – which is the point, I think!

I made Anne a lemon cake with raspberry icing (which is what I will make myself for my birthday – so good).   Some sweet friends had brought over streamers and balloons before the party. Present opening was fun – with lots of books and arts/craft supplies.  Her group of friends are really wonderful – fun and kind – and Anne loves them.  Anne said this birthday was her favorite, and I was so glad.



spring forward






in the garden

garden  helper

broccoli sprouts


Spring has definitely sprung here in the last week.  We’ve had warm weather, trees and flowers are blooming, birds are singing, frog eggs are hatching.  We planted peas, carrots, spinach, and beets in the garden.  I finished pruning the blueberries, and have been spreading mulch and weeding during free moments.  We ate baby kale and collard sprouts from the winter garden last night.

Hythe brought home some frog eggs from a little fountain outside of someone’s house a few weeks ago.  They hatched after a few days and it was fun to see the little tadpoles wriggle out of their eggs.  He has been very protective of the tadpoles, and sometimes reads to them.  He’s been having me boil lettuce “for 15 minutes, mom” to feed the tadpoles.  I have no idea if that is really a food that tadpoles eat, but they are all still alive and growing.  I don’t know what kind of frog/toad they are, but we’ll see soon, I hope.  Everyone has enjoyed watching them grow.

Anne’s birthday is on the first day of spring which currently looks as if it will be cold and rainy (maybe even snowy).  She’s been quite down about the irony of spring weather – actually quite outraged that spring would do something so unpleasant on the first day of the season and her birthday, no less!

And, the time change threw us off this week.  I’ve been forgetful and harried, and the children have been tired. We started the week off by showing up to church an hour late, completely forgetting about the time change.  And, I’ve ended the week completely forgetting about driving carpool to school and the volunteer work I was supposed to do this morning (which I did, but showed up an hour late!).

But, spring is so beautiful.  I feel a little affronted, like Anne, that we will have cold rain (and snow?) this weekend, but it is spring, and spring weather is fickle.  Surely we have to have some of that coldness and rain mixed in with the sun and warmth.  It will keep things beautiful and growing.



birthday girl

sorting hat



broomstick relay

Evva turned 9 this week, and we had a Harry Potter themed birthday party for her, which I think might have been her favorite birthday party yet.  It was pretty laid back, but we all have fun planning the activities.  We had a sorting hat which actually talked (through the phone hidden under the stool), wand decorating, a broom stick relay, potions making, and tea leaf reading.  There was a good mix of structured Harry Potter things to do and lots of free time to play on swings, climb trees, and giggle. And, the weather was perfect.

birthday girl

Evva got a stuffed polar bear (her favorite animal) and roller blades from us.  She (and Hythe) have been getting around the house on wheels lately, and it is pretty funny.  It might help them with working on household chores if they can roller blade to set the table or pick up toys.

A few days later, we went to the library where Hythe found a selection of horse books.  He checked them out and really wanted to give them to Evva as his birthday present to her. He wrapped them up and presented them to her when she got home from soccer practice.  He was so excited to have a present to give her, and it was very sweet to see him being so thoughtful of his sister.  Evva loved the books, and didn’t mind at all that they had to be returned in 3 weeks.  Cute, sweet, and funny!



h and e





cutting wood




tree walking

cuttingcutting wood

A few large oak trees came down in the last 6 months in the woods back of our house.  William went up there last weekend to start bucking up the trees for firewood.  The logs on those long straight trunks were too nice to cut up for now, so he just cut the tops for the most part.  He took the boys, who quickly scrambled up on the logs and though the brush, playing.  Another benefit of leaving much of the trees in the woods, is that now, the kids have a new favorite place to go and play outside.  The day was beautiful and at a warm 60 degrees.  I went for a hike while the children played and William worked, but I brought my camera to capture some of the wood fun (and work) and green mossy-ness of the woods.

I kind of like the smell of a 2 stroke engine.  I like watching William weld a chainsaw and maul with ease and skill.  I also love the smell of freshly cut red oak.  Sometimes, I will just smell the cut end of logs just to smell that uncommon, fleeting, woody-ketchupy scent. So, this was a pretty perfect day in that I got great sensory experiences.  It is those moments that are easy to forget – those simple things that are not momentous or memorable, but are simple pleasures of life that are precious and ephemeral.  Maybe that I why I like this blog.  So that I can remember those little things with words and pictures.