Friday, June 29, 2012

Just the Pics

Is it bad if I write a post where I don't really write anything?

2012 06 24_0462_edited-1

Because, at this moment, I don't have much to say. At least, I don't have much time to say what I would like to say, nor the pictures to go with it. 

Swing away!

So this post is just the pics from a lovely day spent with family, celebrating the birthdays of two adorable nieces.

2012 06 24_0479_edited-1

This amazing swing in my sister-in-law's backyard cried out to me, begging me to set a cute child on it, capture it on film (well, actually, on an SD card) and then show it off to the world (hopefully my little corner of the blogosphere will do). 

The big, big, big swing

And I was happy to oblige.

Swing with flare

Happy swing. Happy Clara. Happy Colleen.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Sweet Life


I am a mess of contradictions.

2012 06 20_0458_edited-1

I love slow-paced days with lots of book reading, stopping to smell the flowers and giving the kids plenty of time for imaginative play. I also am task driven and work best--and seem to be happiest--when I check off all the items on my to-do list and keep my family to some semblance of a schedule. At the same time, I'm a terribly untidy person and hate housework (or at least I hate doing it with the kids around, it's not so bad if I'm left alone to focus) so I struggle with the daily tasks (even though they are on my task list) required to keep our home from being declared a trash dump instead of a habitation fit for human beings.

2012 06 20_0416_edited-1
The result is that I focus too much on my task list without actually getting much done, I feel guilty about taking time to read or to gaze at the wonders in my own garden, and I am constantly annoyed by the the rooms of my home being littered with child-created debris.

All that introduction establishes the importance of the following statement: This week I took the time to watch the thunderstorms roll in--I so love a good summer thunderstorm--and allowed the kids romp and play in the puddles for as long as they wanted... and I did not feel guilty about the untended task list for a single second.

2012 06 20_0425_edited-1

Life is a constant push/pull between what is important and what is urgent, between what I want to do and what I think I should be doing. And, frankly, I find it mentally exhausting.

2012 06 20_0429_edited-1

But for this one day there was no interior debating or counting how many tasks were left undone.

The Puddle Run

We just had some good, old-fashioned (guilt-free) fun.

Friday, June 15, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday vol. 16

--- 1 ---

Captured. We went on a Cub Scout family campout a few months ago at a gorgeous state park with almost perfect weather and I took an appallingly few number of pictures. I guess we were too busy enjoying the moment.

2012 04 24_9686_edited-1

I did manage manage to get one picture of the resident 10-year-old camera hater. Eric had to trick him to get into photo range with a request for "special help" planning the weekend's scavenger hunt. I think the resulting action shot of my husband and son and Jonathan's best bud (wearing the coon skin cap) is kind of fun.

2012 04 24_9539_edited-1

They look so serious--as if they were planning their next away mission. 
--- 2 ---

Toddler piety. During the sign of peace at mass last Sunday, Clara turned to Eric, stuck out her little hand and said, "Dee dee dih doo, Daddy." Translated as: "Peace be with you, Daddy."

At the end of prayers with the kids last night Clara piped up with, "Dod dess baby dawls. Dod dess daddies." Translated as: "God bless baby dolls. God bless daddies."

Can there be anything cuter?

--- 3 ---

A new favorite blog. You must go check out Bobbi's Revolution of Love blog if you have not already. This sweet mom of four has been blogging for 9(!) years and I just love her style. She's smart, funny, honest and inspiring and she blogs about movies, organizing, parenting, books... so many of the things that I love.

--- 4 ---

Fantastic books. I've been on a roll lately. Book after book that I've read over the last few months has been a home run. Here are a few quick thoughts on my recent faves.

Wish You Were Here by Amy Welborn: Sad, inspiring, hard, beautiful, hopeful, made me a more empathetic person.

The Scent of Water by Elizabeth Goudge: Lovely, refreshing, thought-provoking, an explosion of imagery.

The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt: The way all YA fiction should be, funny, smart, respectful, touching.

The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen: More fantastic YA fiction, skillfully written, engaging, inspiring, made me cry (in a good way).

A Damsel in Distress by P.G. Wodehouse: My first experience with P.G. Wodehouse, hilarious, fun, a great summer read.

--- 5 ---

In awe. I'm am continually amazed at the number and beauty of the state parks within an easy drive of the Houston area. I grew up in semi-arid west Texas where the only things to see for miles around were yuccas, tumbleweeds and oil pump jacks. Though, I have to admit, we did boast some amazing sunsets.

What we did not have was this:

2012 05 13_9956_edited-1

A living map complete with oceans and continents.

Nor this:

2012 05 13_9947_edited-1

An alligator eying us from a mere few feet away. And, no, there were not any fences or barriers of any kind between us and the alligator.

Nor this:

2012 05 13_0019_edited-1

A mysterious substance that is strangely available in large quantities.

It's called water.

If you're ever in the area, go check out Brazos Bend State Park just minutes southwest of Houston. It's too beautiful to be missed. 

--- 6 ---

Garden serendipity. I actually took my camera out the other day. I've only done so about 3 times in the last six weeks. (All the pictures I've taken in that time period are in this particular post. Pathetic.) Every time I follow through with picking up my camera and pushing the shutter release button a few times I mentally lambast myself for not doing so more often. Because if I did, I'd capture more serendipitous photos like this:


And this:

2012 06 09_0198_edited-1

While this last pic is far from perfect (not tack sharp, my 24mm lens was not ideal in this situation, the background is not exactly beautiful or interesting), it captured a neat moment.

--- 7 ---

Where to start? I am very curious about the authors G.K. Chesterton and Flannery O'Connor. I see people quoting them, alluding to them, referencing their works all the time, but I've never read anything by either one of these authors. The problem is that I don't know where to start. Any recommendations?

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Recipe for a Happy Summer Afternoon

I totally stole this idea. Margaret of Minnesota Mom posted about it several years ago. She totally stole the idea from someone else. You totally have permission to steal it from me. And the cycle goes on...

The ingredients are simple and I bet you already have them around your house.

- Dish soap
- Water
- A shallow pan (or two or more, depending on the number of rug-rats in your household)
- Straws
- Someone with a lot of air to expel

2012 06 09_0149_edited-1

(I'm guessing that you can devise the what to do with the ingredients from seeing the above picture.)

This activity easily entertained children of both genders ranging from the age of 2 to 10 for an hour or two (though not continously).

2012 06 09_0171_edited-1

After Clara got a real life lesson on the necessity of blowing through the straw rather than sucking, she wasn't too keen on trying to create the bubbles herself. Luckily her older siblings were generally happy to oblige, as was her mother.


And a fun, bickering-free afternoon was enjoyed by all.