Friday, October 17, 2014

APPLE PICKING!




We did it!! It was raining as we drove up but I'll take a rainy, foggy, muddy trip to the orchard over the supermarket any day.  Something about being on top of that mountain, plucking them apples off the trees and smelling the wet soil makes those apples tastes soooo dang good.  Apple picking is my favorite thing to do in the fall, and it makes me doubly happy to share that experience with Sloane!

It is so startling to look back to just last year, (this was her third time!), not just because we look slightly different but because I can see how much my frame of mind is changing. I like each year better and better as it goes... Isn't that something !

Piiiccctures!!!

































we.love.apples.



We ended that day, as all fall days should end, with a campfire.



Tuesday, October 14, 2014

THE WONDERFUL, MAGICAL WORLD OF SLOANE




What is it about these weeks! I'm dragging, hard, through the work day and doing the thing where I am looking forward to the next weekend starting on Monday.  Each day, I feel the need to gather up the endurance of a long-distance runner...Heyo Wednesday. 

Last weekend, we finally got around to doing the thing that I love most about fall - apple picking! I'll post more pictures about that later (when I get my replacement charger in the mail because Rusty ate through mine, so my laptop, along with all my photos, are in slumber until a new charger revives it. RIP charger, RIP $80.)







For now, I wanted to share some wonderful things happening in the world of Sloane. After eyeballing and gifting it around, I finally got myself the "One Line a Day: A Five-Year Memory Book", and I've been using it to jot down quick recordings of observations having to do with Sloane's adventures.

Here are a few selections, for your reading pleasure:

She says she is going to tell me a story and proceeds to simply list anything and everything she can think of and see around her: "Trees, sheep, Rusty, ball, deer, table, chairs...."

The next day, a development! She yells, "I story!", and then proceeds to scrunch her face up as she launches into her 'story' and I catch a few recognizable words here and there: "vroom...up there... fast.. no cry...all together."






It's bedtime and she climbs into the rocking chair with a book and surreptitiously, naturally, slips her hand into her front pocket and pulls out an imaginary morsel of food and slips it in her mouth, before opening the book to read.

I start saying bedtime prayers and she interjects with, "pray for cow, goats and pony."

After I close the door, I can hear her singing songs ("wheels on the bus") to her chosen stuffed animal of the night.





As soon as she hears me starting to unload the dishwasher, she runs over and asks to help. "Mom, this goes in there?" picking up a spoon and motioning to the utensil drawer. "Yes, it does." "Oh, okay!" She deftly puts each item away in the drawer, while on tip toes. 

"Mom, I squeezed orange juice at school!" 
"Oh nice! Wait, real or pretend?" I ask, not knowing if she knows the word.
"Pretend....Michael ate orange, Ms. Melinda said, 'No eat orange.' It's pretend!" 




Somewhere along the line, she started calling me "mom" in regular conversation. "Mom, I can't reach it!" It makes her sound so much older than she is. But when she wants to be comforted, when she sees me walk through the door to pick her up at daycare, it's still: "Mommy!" 

"I am so happy to see you Sloane!" I say, giving her a big squeeze. She beams back at me, understanding, and her face says, "Oh! I am loved."

There are plenty of times when she wants to be contrary, but I am constantly amazed by how well she listens, how much she understands, how much she wants to be on good terms with us, and how much she trusts us. I treasure this.


Monday, October 13, 2014

WHAT KIDS AROUND THE WORLD EAT FOR BREAKFAST



I love breakfast. Not only for its food but because it's the first meal. Everything is still new, and you are hungry for all the right reasons. Unencumbered by distractions and armed with the knowledge that this will be your fuel to get the whole thing started in the first place, you go forth! 

I remember visiting Korea often as a kid and noticing that breakfast was just as diverse and savory as the other meals of the day. They don't make a distinction between breakfast food and lunch and dinner, so it is common to have the usual dishes of tofu or seaweed soup, rice and little side dishes of pickled vegetables, and sometimes fish or other meats, when you first wake up. 

I took a few weeks traveling Eastern Europe a year after college and loved taking note of how each place did breakfast. Pastries - elaborate pastries- definitely have their place, but I was more intrigued by breakfasts that included fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, olives, thick yogurt and a hearty chunk of bread. 

When I was studying abroad in England a few years after that, the breakfast that they served at the school there became something I looked forward to everyday: baked beans, cooked tomatoes, sausage or ham, a piece of toast and milky tea. 

I find pleasure in introducing different kinds of foods to Sloane, so most of these dishes are things that we have tried together for breakfast (or just in general). No surprise then, that I was so excited to look through this fascinating article over at the New York Times about what kids around the world eat for breakfast. The article highlights breakfast, but the piece is actually about how tastes and preferences are shaped by the culture around us.  I liked being able to see the food laid out for each country (and the photos of the kids are adorable, too) and it was further inspiration about how to approach my favorite meal of the day. I've included some photos from the article below, but you should click over there to see further details. 


Brazil


Istanbul


Paris


Malawi


Tokyo


Iceland




Friday, October 10, 2014

MAKING IT THROUGH THE WEEK (AND HEY, WE MADE IT!)



This is the week that felt like a month. I walked out of work each day feeling like I had just survived a natural disaster: eyes glazed, limp arms, hungry - you get the picture.  And each day we have a myriad of things to do in the evening, but after Monday and Tuesday, when we realized what kind of week this was (all of our phone calls started with a big sigh, and then, "so....we survived"), we designated that Wednesday evening would be our haven. At least for an hour, before the rush of bed time and the insistence of the to-do list set in, we would build a little fire, roast hot dogs, and just sit with each other. 



And we did just that. 




P.S. Don't be surprised by the abundance of fire pit photos you may or may not see here on the blog. It's my favorite thing right now. 




We are all so relieved to be at the end of this week; here's to hoping this weekend goes nice and slow...and with eyeballs wide open! 



Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A FIRE PIT COMES INTO OUR LIVES




...yes, a fire pit!!! 

But first, a bird feeder.  We finally put up the glorious bird feeder that we made a couple of weeks ago at Simone's birthday party. It was exciting! We've been checking it every day since.






After we put up this hunk of a treat for the birds and deer of our neighborhood, I showed Sloane the fire pit that I had made while she was napping. 



Ta-da! It's your very basic run of the mill fire pit, but I am terribly proud of it because I made it all by myself. Ken was more than willing to help, but he had a project of his own in the garage and with only a few free hours in the afternoon, i rolled up my sleeves and got to work.  I hauled 14 cement blocks from the car to the backyard, dug a hole about one feet deep and three feet wide,  placed the cement blocks around the hole, and then filled the bottom of it with marble rocks. Not a bad set up for $30 and two hours of work. 


I love a hundred things about a contained fire and I'm relieved that having this pit means several fireside moments these next few months. Fire-gazing, fancy smore combinations, hot dog on a stick, clothes seeping with the smell of campfire - bring it on!



Important lessons in fire safety.






At this moment, she breathed out a, "wooww!"


Our backyard looks like a campsite!


And then our friends came over...and we broke it in with marshmallows. Watching the tots rejoice as they roasted their marshmallows over the pit did me a world of good and reinforced my belief in humanity and hard work, and all that.