Saturday, August 27, 2016

Piper is 5!

Today we are celebrating 5 years of Piper!  She is a totally fun kid who loves stories, animals, taking fashion risks, and playing with her sister.  We're so proud of her for going to school all day and working so hard.  Here are her answers to her birthday interview, which are not that different from last years' answers.  (Just for fun, here's the interviews for 4, 3, and 2.)

Favorite food: Fried Okra

Favorite animal: "Every kind of big cat.  But my most favorite one is a lion."

Favorite show: Paw Patrol

Favorite book: Immi's Gift

Favorite song: New Annie Songs

What do you want to be when you grow up?  "I don't know yet."

Where do you want to live when you grow up?  "Somewhere, wait, somewhere with lots of animals."

Favorite thing to play: Puppy Park

Favorite Color: "I'll tell you my least favorite, because I have lots. Black."

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


Sitting on the porch at the beginning of a thunderstorm. I LOVE rain with a love that has been passed down through a couple generations. Somehow this summer has often felt like a big to-do list, and right now I'm ignoring the list and making myself sit for just a few minutes.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

what we're loving now {June 2016}

Here's what we were into in June:
*posting late because of internet problems

Making headbands! - My friend Stephanie came over several times this month so I could help her learn to sew.  I haven't sewn in FOREVER and this reminded me that it's fun!  I made myself two cute headbands using this tutorial.

Animal Hair Salon - The girls like beautifying jungle animals with this free app.  I think it's a little weird, but they take turns happily.

Visiting Nana, Dadder, and Uncle Mattie- Since Matt was gone to Asia for almost two weeks, the girls and I went to visit my family for a few days.  My brother is living with my parents while he goes to school, so it was extra fun to be together.  In the pic, we went to a farm to buy a bag of fresh peaches and eat peach ice cream. Yum.

Smoothies - I've long put spinach and shredded carrots into smoothies, but this month I found out that you can put frozen okra into a smoothie with cocoa powder and it totally disappears into the chocolately-ness.

Blackberries and fireflies - summer essentials, both currently available in our yard!

Currently Reading: Founding Mothers by Cokie Roberts.  Inspired by listening to the Hamilton soundtrack and celebrating The Fourth of July.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Sandbridge 2016

Our annual family beach trip was so great, as usual.  We had amazing weather and did some fun things that are possible now that the girls are older, like driving down to the Outer Banks and seeing the wild horses and riding the Ferris Wheel at the Virginia Beach Boardwalk. (I don't have pictures of that though!)

We went on a tour to see the wild horses down in Corolla, NC
More wild horses
Matt and the girls made a giant castle!
Sand Angel

Adding to GrandNana's shell garden

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

What we're loving now (May 2016)

Summer Break! - That's right.  May has come to an end, the girls have been out of school for a couple of weeks and I do not have to be at work everyday (although I still have some tasks to finish up).  We are enjoying sleeping in a bit and lots of play.  For a loose schedule, I came up with some helpful alliteration - Breakfast and Bible Story, Lunch and Learning time, and Snack and Silent Reading.  We have these tent poles in our day that so far are helping.  I'm still figuring out how to not run our tiny dish washer 2-3 times a day (oh, dining hall, I miss you!) and how to not be overwhelmed by the shoes, toys, and papers strewn all over the house.

Mystery Garden and Frozen Uno - Mystery Garden was handed down to us a year or two ago, but now we are really into it.  It's actually a pretty level playing field - Piper is really good at it!  Dassa brought Frozen Uno when she came to visit and Cadence is super into it.  She even strategizes against you and will slap you with a Draw 4 card faster than I thought possible.

Princess in Black by Shannon and Dean Hale - I read about this fun, easy chapter book and knew it was perfect for Cadence.  I've enjoyed Shannon Hale's books for older kids and adults and the idea of a princess who is also a superhero was very appealing.  Sure enough, when she returned from camping with Nana and Dadder, she read the whole thing immediately.  We've got the next two on hold at the library.

The Sixties and The Seventies - Matt and I have been enjoying these CNN documentary series on Netflix and learning a lot about the decades before we were born.  We've finished The Seventies and we're watching The Sixties right now.  The one about the JFK assassination may have sent us down some conspiracy theory rabbit holes...

Popples - Speaking of Netflix, apparently reboots of shows/toys from my childhood are popular, and Netflix has a series about Popples.  Piper came home from the camping trip obsessed with my old Popples nightgown (I've had to stop her from wearing it on outings!) and Cadence remembered seeing the show on her recommended list, so now we're 4 episdoes in.  It's zany fun about friendship.

Charmkins - These are also an 80s throwback.  I had a lot of these tiny, adorable, wearable toys and while Cadence has played with them in the past, now she LOVES them.  Doesn't want to put them away.  We found the half hour TV movie on Youtube a few weeks ago too.  Thank goodness for my mom who can't throw anything beloved away.  (But she did let me sell all of my My Little Ponies at a yard sale.)

Crockpot sweet potatoes - This couldn't be easier, so you're welcome.  No need to turn on the oven in the summer if a crockpot is handy.

Monday, April 18, 2016

And now we are raising caterpillars...

Meet Spike, Edie, Annie, Sadie, and Beau. If we do this right, we will have some painted lady butterflies in a few weeks.

Friday, April 01, 2016

what we're loving now {March 2016}

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe - I got the idea to read out loud a little to Cadence on the bus when I am the afternoon parent chaperone.  I enjoy my current job, but I miss the magic of read-a-loud we all enjoyed back when I was doing storytimes in public libraries.  I did not expect how much the other kids would get excited about the story too.  Narnia! Narnia! We only have a few more pages to go, and then we have to pick the next book I'll read to them.  Cadence and Piper want to have a Narnia birthday party this year, and that will lead you down a wonderful Pinterest rabbit hole, let me tell you.  (I had a hard time keeping my composure when I read the passage below before Easter.)

Odd Squad - I felt like this live action PBS kids show would really appeal to the girls (two secret agent kids seek to solve odd problems with math), and they finally got into it on our way back from Virginia at the end of spring break.  It's math (Cadence's favorite school subject) and offbeat humor (Piper's life).  Matt and I giggled some too.

Ramona and Beezus - We picked this up from the public library on a whim for our family movie night and loved it.  It's a sweet adaptation of several of the Beverly Cleary Ramona books.

My Noonday Cow Horn Earrings - Matt and Piper got me these for Christmas, and I've been wearing them, well, A LOT.  I get a lot of compliments - in fact, I wore them today. I love Noonday Collection and its support of third world artisans.

Happy April!

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

What we're loving now {February 2016}

Some of the things we enjoyed in the month of February:

Rainbow Magic Fairies books - Cadence has been reading these for her independent reading homework each night for a couple weeks now.  There are fairies, and jewels, and some girls who become friends with the fairies, and she loves them.

A Chef's Life - I watch this PBS show on my Kindle when I run on the elliptical in our garage.  (Which I don't do as much as I should, so I'm still in season 1).  It follows chef Vivian Howard and her restaurant in the eastern North Carolina town where she grew up and swore she'd never return.  Each episode focuses on a quintessential Southern ingredient (sweet potatoes, rice, collards) and she visits farms and family friends while also using the ingredient in her restaurant.  Part reality show about running a business, part cooking show with recipes and demos, and part homage to life in the South, it's really fun.

Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids by Laura Markham and Parenting the Wholehearted Child by Jeannie Cunnion - God's been doing some work on my mama heart, rooting out my desires for perfection and control that come out in unfortunate ways.  I finished the first book last week and am currently reading  Cunnion's.  I'm not sure I agree with everything, but the focus in both books on connection and grace is very helpful to me.  I've been thinking about how misbehavior can signal a need for love and connection and an opportunity to deal with big feelings.  I think this is so often true not just of my girls, but the "big kids" that I work with.  Some of the most negative and unruly students are in need of someone to notice them and build a connection.

1969 Mustang Grande - After almost 6 years as a one car family, Matt bought a classic car for a hard-to-argue-with low price.  He's excited.  Whatever.