June 5, 2014

The Swing

This crazy swing is the best purchase I ever made.  It hangs from one of our giant oaks. I can push 4 kids on it at once.  It spins and swings.  Somehow the rule became that whoever is facing me can talk to me.  I learn more about what is on my kids' minds this way than anyway else.    

January 2, 2014

Handsome Men with Bow-ties


While doing some errands last week, I said to Dagny that we were going to stop at a little diner to have some lunch.  She tried to think of what a little diner would look like.  She then asked me hopefully if there would be handsome men with bow-ties.

November 29, 2013

Moms Vs. Oaks

Mike's mom came to visit and rented us a gas-powered-backpack-leaf-blower to help with the mountains of leaves in our yard.  Mike manned the fire while us moms battled the oaks.

November 3, 2013

An Ever-changing Path

At any moment, our lives can change.  My Dad's did a couple years ago.  Then last month, he packed his car and drove across the country, Oregon to Florida.  He had one of my old paintings in his trunk that was titled "Lonesome".  He's sitting on a beach now, with a completely different life ahead of him.  I am impressed with his courage.  Life changes, we just need to embrace a new path.

October 1, 2013

Fancy Toads

Overheard while Nolan and his friends were looking at two toads they caught...
"Okay guys, now we just need two tiny top-hats and some tape."

July 26, 2013

There's an Earwig in my Playdoh

It has been a very rainy, hot Summer.  This must be earwig weather, because they are everywhere, even in playdoh.  So gross.

July 19, 2013

The Spirit of Gram and Papa

My mother (Gram) and step father (Papa) visited this Summer, and as always, filled our house with their lively spirit.  Nolan and I both got guitar lessons from Papa.  I miss hearing my step father's music and my mother's silly laughing.  It's good to have lessons from the young at heart.

June 24, 2013

Daybreak in Back of the Car


Mike's car was in the shop, so I had to drive him to the train at 4:38am.  My plan was to make up the back of the car like a bed, silently carry the kids into the car where they would continue to sleep the whole way and then go right back to bed at home.  A mom can dream, right?  Turns out riding freely in the back of the car is way too thrilling to waste on sleeping.

June 17, 2013

Check and Check

In the same week I got my ECE certification, I was offered a job.  Teaching preschool, just like I wanted when I started.  Could it be that things are finally settled?

Garden Ninja


June 2, 2013

Moon Lightning

We've had a lot of thunderstorms lately, with some awesome lightning.  After deep contemplation, Dagny asked me if lightning gets zapped from of the moon.  Of course that makes sense, I love how her brain works!

May 26, 2013

Zippy the Chipmunk

A chipmunk has moved into the drain pipe in our back yard.  He also spends time in the hollowed out part of a nearby tree.  Dagny named him Zippy.  Nolan and I took a look inside his tree hoping to catch a look at his home life.  

May 17, 2013

Where Nature Dominates

Our neighbor has a tree growing through their house.  I thought it was peculiar until this Spring when the tree bloomed punk-rock neon pink flowers, like an umbrella over their slate-blue house.  This is clearly a tree to build a house around.
In the city, architecture dominates over nature...but here in the county, nature has the upper hand.

May 3, 2013

Spring Surprises

We moved here at the end on the Summer and the yard had been neglected for a couple years, so we have no idea what is growing.  Everything has been cleaned up and starting to bloom...so we get new surprises every day.  Like this little Magnolia tree, it's so pretty.  We've also discovered lilac, peony, rose, and raspberry bushes.  

April 27, 2013

Beautiful Dream

I recently had a dream that I was riding a bicycle and white fluffy clouds floated over me, dropped strings for me to catch and then transformed into giant white geese.  I also recently finished the final round of work for my my additional teacher certification, so I am thinking the dream is related.

January 21, 2013

Pinewood Fever

The night Nolan got his block of wood to prepare for the Cub Scouts Pinewood Derby, I said that we could work on it in the morning.  At 5:57am, I awoke to noises downstairs.  This is the scene that I found.  Really.  The table had been clear the night before.  I'm not sure what he was planning for that giant saw.   

January 19, 2013

Chipmunk Bush


While looking out at our frosty backyard, I said to Dagny, "We should plant a butterfly bush in the Spring." To this Dagny replied, "And also a chipmunk bush, because they are so cute."

January 11, 2013

Ice Skating

We were surprised to find that people ice skate on the lake once it freezes.  It never occurred to me.  I don't know how to skate and neither do Mike or the kids.  It looks like fun though so we got skates and have been trying to teach ourselves.  Luckily for us, there is a small wooded island by our house that hides us while we fall down.  Try to spot us in the picture! 

December 16, 2012

Haircut Shock

I had my hair cut short this week, I've been thinking about it for awhile but I didn't tell anyone.  Upon seeing me, Dagny cried inconsolably and refused to look at me.  Nolan was aghast, and tried to politely tell me he liked it better before.  I like it...but mothers are not supposed to change.  But, like all change, they will get used to it and then it will seem normal.    

December 9, 2012

Leaf Burning Mania

We have 22 white oak trees around our house.  The leaves had been piling up all Fall.  The guy who mows our lawn promised me that after the last leaf fell, he'd come with a magical leaf vacuum and take them all away.  But he stood me up, there is no such magic.  Now it's just me, a metal rake, and a match.   

November 27, 2012

The Search for Mike's Chair

 
Mike broke a vertebrae in his spine 2 months ago while playing tennis.  PAINFUL.  This past week his mom came out to visit for Thanksgiving.  She saw how much pain he was in and offered to buy him a comfortable chair.  This began a week long search for such a chair.  It took our combined brain power, time and commitment...but we found a chair.  It's coming this Friday.


November 17, 2012

You Say Banana, I say Bonona

Me:   Dagny, get that dirty banana peel off of your hair!
Dagny:   But MOM, I am a beautiful princess...watch me dance.

November 16, 2012

Mike's Feathered Children

There is a tall pole in our backyard with a collection of bird feeders.  It was in sorry shape when we moved in, but Mike has taken it upon himself to fix it up and consistently provide birdseed to the birds.  We all love to watch the birds.  But Mike really loves those birds. 
Strangely, the middle peanut feeder has recently disappeared.  A human would have to climb a ladder to get it...so our best guess is a squirrel somehow made off with it. 

November 1, 2012

Pumpkin Eating Dinosaur

My mother and step-dad visited us this week.  We spent a chilly Fall day at Goebbert's Farm.  Our favorite attraction was the pumpkin-eating mechanical dinosaur.  A man hidden in a shed controlled the dinosaur like a giant claw game, making it pick up pumpkins and crush them with it's monstrous metal teeth.     

October 25, 2012

Nolan Has Found His People

The goals, the badges, the uniform, the survival skills, the comradery.  He's read the handbook front to back several times.  If ever there was a group well-suited to Nolan, it's the Cub Scouts.

October 19, 2012

R.I.P., Little Chipmunk

Dagny and I were playing in the back yard with some neighbor friends, when a giant hawk dropped from the sky onto an unsuspecting chipmunk, just feet away from us.  The hawk then proceeded to eat his catch RIGHT IN FRONT OF US.  Yuck!

October 4, 2012

Water Towers


A lot of the towns out in this part of Illinois have gigantic, looming white water towers.  Like modern, puffy, white, space-ghosts that contrast the rolling green hills and lush trees.  They look a bit like the knobby wooden handles on a toddler puzzle, each town being a piece in the puzzle. 

September 8, 2012

Down the Rabbit Hole

About a month ago, our family left our apartment in Chicago and moved into our own house in beautiful Tower Lakes.  We managed to get all of our belongings into the house and have slowly been sorting things out.  What an insane process! 
So many changes.  Wildlife, a lake, a yard, new schools, commuter rails.  It's all sinking in...I truely love it.

July 29, 2012

Stranded at the Beach

We spent last week on vacation at Cape Cod with Mike's family.  One day Dagny and I got locked out of the house with nothing but a bucket of sand toys.  So we camped out on the beach, got really dirty, and took a little nap.  

May 27, 2012

Dagny in the Zone

It is sidewalk chalk season.  This year Dagny has thrown herself into the medium.  Her world narrows to a chubby piece of chalk and a bumpy sidewalk surface.  She'll sprawl out and draw her lines, back and forth, until her knuckles bleed.  I think we may have another artist in the family.

May 8, 2012

Supermoon Surrealism


This past week we experienced a supermoon.  I am guessing the supermoon caused the freak hailstorm we had in the middle of the night.  The hail hit our windows and caused cracks in our kitchen skylight and also caused Nolan to get up and start sleepwalking around the apartment.

April 19, 2012

Gram's Magic Jellybeans

My mother came to visit the week before Easter.  She brought some magic jellybeans and planted them with Nolan and Dagny before she left.  On Easter morning, we discovered that they had grown into giant lollipops!

April 7, 2012

Pop Rocks Moment of Zen


A couple weeks ago, we had a string of hot days in the middle of March.  One of those days we spent every possible minute outside soaking it up.  The sun was going down, and we finished off the day with a bag of Pop Rocks.  It was Dagny's first time.  She just stuck the whole bag on her tongue.

March 11, 2012

I'm Back

Last week I finished my last night class.  I walked out to the cold, dark campus and thought about throwing all my papers up into the air.  Being DONE with something is so sweet. 

January 11, 2012

CooCoo For Cocoa

Santa brought Nolan a new pet for Christmas.  It is a baby bearded dragon, Nolan named him Cocoa.  He is a very charming little lizard and we are all smitten with him.  Along with Cocoa, we also care for 20 or so crickets each week.  They have the grim fate of being Cocoa's breakfast.

December 28, 2011

The Coat Wars

I dedicate this to all the parents out there engaged in a coat war.  Stay strong.  It's a long winter.

December 16, 2011

Penny Masters


Mike and Nolan have started a penny mining business together.  They buy pennies from the bank, sort them for copper (1982 and earlier) and then sell them on Ebay.  They have a fascinating machine that sorts the pennies and it is worthy of it's own blog entry.  They asked me to make a logo for their business, that is what this illustration is. 

December 4, 2011

Radish Roses

This is another illustrated recipe contest entry.  The contest was to make a healthy holiday recipe.  You can see the full sized version on the They Draw & Cook website
I had fun cutting up lots of radishes for research!  Dagny was intrigued, so  included a black-haired version of her in the picture.

November 26, 2011

Telephone-pole-saurus

Lately when Dagny is eating at the kitchen table, she covers her eyes and says,
"Me scared, the dinosaur is roaring at me." 
From her chair she can see into Mike's office.  I didn't see any dinosaurs in there.  Then a couple days ago I was walking into the office and noticed the telephone pole outside the window.   

November 19, 2011

New Star Chinese

I used to love eating at restaurants, someday I will again.  But right now we are a family of four picky eaters with different tastes and the youngest one refuses to sit while eating. 
Once in awhile we find a place that works.  Last weekend while coming home from the zoo we stopped for Chinese food and everyone was happy.  It was an overall awesome day.