August 30, 2011

Stormy Weathered

How did you all make out after Irene? I am happy to report that we suffered nothing more than slightly bored and stir-crazy children. Well, that, and the achy joints Mr. Forty-two Roads and I sustained after I insisted that the tornado warnings meant we had to all sleep downstairs on full-size the blowup mattress (translation: the kids slept on it while we tried to doze around them... that thing is definitely too small to sleep four). We didn't even lose power. I had to resort to showing the kids online pics of submerged cars to show what a hurricane could theoretically have done to explain what all the fuss was about.

And now, it's back to the old routine. Phew and yay all around.

As we walked around the city surveying the hurricane damage, we managed to annoy Lara into the following conversation:

L: If you do that one more time, I'm going to call someone to take me into a different family!
A: (trying really hard not to laugh) Really? What family would you go to?
L: I'd go to a family in China.
A: But you don't speak Chinese.
L: I'd learn it - they'd teach me.
A: But daddy and I would be so sad if you weren't with us... We'd miss you!
L: (thinks about this for a couple of seconds) Oh, I was just joking.

August 29, 2011

New Portrait

Posed portraits don't always work, but this one came out wonderfully! I think it's because Ashley's parents are so relaxed and natural in their pose.

August 20, 2011

Color Correction

My new favorite tool? A paintbrush. Slowly, slowly, but surely, I've been redoing the walls in our little house, and I'm here to show you the master bedroom and bathroom redos. No paintings on the walls yet, no final decor decisions, but still - that paint change makes a HUGE difference. It's just crazy how transformative it is. Oh, and also, these pics will show the newly redone floor - we took it from a faded yellow to a medium brown that came out fantastic.

So - the bedroom before:

Bedroom now:

Master bath before (that yellow was on the walls and the ceiling too):

Master bath now (with wall shelves I installed):

And, in unrelated news, the kids:

August 10, 2011

Dispatches from the Crazy Hat Parade

Last year's hat parade was an entirely school-run affair, where the kids made rather identical-looking (and thus not particularly crazy when viewed en masse) hats. This year? It was changed into a family challenge, which rocks, because while I love doing art projects with the kids, I love it even more when I don't have to come up with every tiny detail of each project. Some parameters are always nice, is what I'm saying.

Anyhoo, after discussing various potential shapes and forms, and settling on a crown-like effect, we stopped mincing words and got down to business. Or rather, Lara got down to business, as she basically put this whole thing together by herself:

What's that equal?

Jakey isn't the art-projectiest toddler out there. (No, seriously, he actively avoids participating in the school art stuff. I'm just happy the teachers are low-key about it.) Still, hat day is hat day, so we whipped him up a little takeoff on one of those folded newspaper boat hats:

The end result of his look (Project Runway, here I come):

Crazy hat kids, striking a pose:

August 4, 2011

Rocking Out

To the delight of all, the arboretum is yet again doing its annual series of kid music concerts! We had a total blast as we joined the crowd of... well, dozens, I guess... to boogie to the fun sounds of the most instruction-oriented band I've ever seen. Seriously, they had every single bar of every song choreographed, and kept aggressively urging for everyone to dance in a very specific way.

Were Lara and Jakey feeling the aggressive instruction? Not so much. It's not like we're raising them to be such huge iconoclasts or anything, but both of them have always had a healthy skepticism of groupthink. Here, Lara dances to a song in which it was imperative to "Get up! Everyone up! Now jump three times! Clap four times! Hands on your head! Jump two times!":

And here is Jakey before and after the band leader demanded for everyone to form groups of "one, two, or more family groups! Come on, hold hands!". He mostly danced at a safe distance of at least 10 feet from his core family group.

But still, when the guy yelled out, "Anyone with babies, hold them tight!", Lara happily exclaimed, "I have a baby!" and ran over to hug him. Love it.

August 1, 2011


You guys, I know, I know. I totally disappeared, and honestly? There's not really a particularly trenchant reason for it. Just - summer stuff. Lots of playing outside with water, which doesn't always mix with camera equipment in a relaxing way. But I have definitely been missing this space... so yeah, let's get on that, shall we, little miss forty-two roads?

Oh, that face up top? That's Jakey's "Angry Bad Guy" face. Usually made while loudly declaiming, "Ang'y! Bad! Guy!" and punching any nearby surface for emphasis. (Partial disclosure - sometimes that surface is a parent. Full disclosure - we should probably sternly say "no hitting" or something in response, but we usually just laugh at the hilarity. Mixed signals, shmixed shmignals.) Incidentally, the favorite bad guy of the moment is the little apoplectic chef from "Ratatouille", which Jakey calls "the bad guy movie".

On another front, project "BFF siblings" is progressing nicely. Is it odd to be trying to socially engineer this rather than just letting nature take whatever course it will? Well, maybe it's because I'm an only child, so my approach to this is necessarily from an outsider perspective, but my sense is that fake-it-till-you-make-it works for all sorts of situations in life. So if, say, sharing with your sibling isn't your strong suit, mommy institutes mandatory sharing of treats. Sure, there'll eventually be two cookies for two kids, but you'll get them one at a time and will have to break each in half and give half away. Or, for example, if you constantly demand that only mommy fetch you things on long car trips, you will instead ask your sibling for them nicely or not get to play with them at all. So far, a little bit of this kind of armchair psychological trickery seems to really have created a baseline of cooperative, affectionate, concerned, and helpful behavior... but of course all baselines are made to be overstepped.

So, how's your summer been going? Any social programming going on at your house?