Wednesday, May 28, 2014

mini getaway

 Back in February, Brian and I had a weekend away planned for my birthday.  We had planned for a B&B stay in the Missouri wine country.  Which is certainly less inspiring than California wine country, but suitably close and convenient.  And if you know me at all, you know my favorite type of wine is suitably close and convenient!  But Rowan came down with a viral rash and was just feeling pretty yuck, so we postponed.  And it was probably a good idea since things look a bit more green and floral this time of year.
 The grounds of the wineries were lovelier than I expected, and the tours of the cellars was downright delightful.  At the risk of shocking you, my favorite part was the actual tasting.  Which is why I don't have any pictures of that part, besides a quick selfie from my phone.
 The cellars were covered in black spots where portabella mushrooms were grown in lieu of casks of wine during prohibition.
 The town was quaint and pretty, but it also felt empty, which was surprising for Memorial Day weekend.  But we enjoyed the quiet away from the kiddos for a couple of days.  Brian still managed to make friends everywhere we went, despite the thin crowds.  He's such a social guy, and is so friendly and curious about other people, while I tend to take a while to warm up to others.  He balances me out so well, and getting away together was a great reminder of just how much I need him around.
 We ate good food, drank decent wine, and reconnected on our quick trip away.  You can't really ask for more on a weekend trip.  Brian even found a dog or two to love on.
If you ever find yourself in the middle of Missouri, Hermann is a great little German town just to the west of St. Louis.  But if you're listening, Army, a duty station near Napa wouldn't go unappreciated.  Just saying.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

our guest, polyphemus

At the risk of turning this blog post into a nature lecture, let me tell you all about this little caterpillar we found last Fall.  Brian and the kiddos found him crawling around the wood pile.  He was a bright spring green with little red knobs.  Brian thought he was a Cecropia caterpillar, perhaps, but we didn't look into it much.  We brought him inside, stuck some leaves and stick, and poked holes in the lid.  I then gave Mr. Caterpillar the side eye all day, thinking I should just let him back out.  But overnight he decided to spin a silky threaded cocoon, and so I let him be.  We stuck his homey jar atop our fridge and I forgot all about him.  And then in March, I took him down, and doubtful that he was still going to make it, I took the lid off the jar and put him out on the deck.  We would drain the rainwater occasionally, and his cocoon home got some snow once in a while as our winter dragged on into April. And I just doubted his survival for some reason.  But nature knows what she was doing, even with all our clumsy interventions.  

Last week my father-in-law noticed the moth squeezing out of the cocoon, and he helped him out of his home for us all to see.  We marveled and watched as his wings s l o w l y unfurled and dried in the breeze.  We confirmed that he was a male Polyphemus moth, and I was pleasantly surprised at how long the kiddos watched him.  And he hung out on our deck all day long, hanging out his wings to dry.  And the next morning, he was gone, off to find a pretty young female Polyphemus moth.  
 Here's the nature lecture, if you're interested: The Polyphemus Moth is named after the Greek cyclops because of the eye-like markings on his wings.  This guy stubbornly kept his wings shut, though.  After they emerge from the cocoons, they have vestigial mouths, which means they do not eat.  So their life as a moth lasts roughly a week.  The males (like our guy) have the beautiful fern-like antenna that detect pheromones sent out by the females.  HOW COOL IS THAT?   They fly miles to find a mates, and while the females spend their short life span laying eggs on leaves, they males get around, mating with as many females as he can find.  I guess that's one answer to the question, "What would you do if you only had a week to live?"
It's been a week, so this guy is probably gone.  But for a whole day he really captivated our little family.  And we learned so much about a species that I had no knowledge about before, and I learned about him right along with Fletcher and Rowan.  That's one of my favorite parts of parenting.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

last day

 Last Friday was the last day of school for Fletcher and Rowan.  Yessss, very very early.  It's hitting me now just how early.  That's ok.  We like our adventures and summer trips, so we're pretty excited about all the summer has to hold.
Fletcher is consistant from the beginning of the year in what he wants to be when he grows up.  He made me guess, and when I was guessing all the wrong answers, he said, "I'll give you a hint.  They drive Army tanks."  Ohhhh, an Army guy!  Just don't let him know that Brian has never driven a tank himself... He's always been in the passenger seat, ha!  
Rowan changed things up from when she said she wanted to be a banjo player and drive a car.  She said she wanted to be a regular Mama that stitches (*tears*).  I love that our kiddos want to be exactly like us when they grow up.  I'm relishing it now, because next year it could be astronauts or jockeys.  You just never know with my kids.
And here's a flash back to the beginning of the school year.

Pretty sure Fletcher grew a foot taller!  And Rowan may have, too.  Next stop, kindergarten for Fletcher and the older preschool class for Rowan.  Here's hoping for a long lazy summer with lots of time to enjoy these kiddos while they're still "little kids."

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Yesterday was Rowan's birthday.  She's 4 years old!  How does this happen so quickly?  One minute they are tiny babes in my arms, and the next minute they are blowing out four candles on their birthday cake.  I remember when Fletcher was born, my mother-in-law warned me.  She told me that one day you'll be holding your son in your arms, and the next day you'll be holding your son's son.  I can see now how those years can slip through your fingers so quickly.  It makes my head spin to think how the years have flown since Fletcher was born!
 We had a small party for Rowan, and invited family friends instead of "school friends."  I just love those types of parties so much.  The kind where you look around and don't have to wonder what that kid's name is, or passing out goodie bags full of candy after big helpings of cake and ice cream.  We didn't make the children gather around to watch Rowan open the presents.  I didn't have games planned, and there were no official activities.   I didn't even gather everyone to watch her blow out the candles, I just brought out the cake and started singing, and everyone just joined in.  It was relaxed, and fun for everyone.  I wish I could get away with these kind of parties for the rest of their childhood!  Maybe I can, maybe I can.

Rowan let me take a few pictures of her on her birthday yesterday.  I bribed her with promises to pick as many purple iris as her little heart desired.
 She's a spunky one, this girl.  She gives me a run for my money every day, and challenges nearly everything I say.  She's a limit pusher.  Her nickname is "Cheeky" for those reasons.  She adores flowers, especially the purple hued variety.  Picking weedy bouquets is her favorite.  She loves to dress up, preferably as a princess.  She loves to wear dresses, but is just fine with a hand-me-down Star Wars shirt.  Her favorite foods include pizza, every kind of fruit, yogurt, and pasta with meatballs.  She tolerates most vegetables, but really dislikes carrots.  She likes broccoli a lot.  She much prefers almond milk to cow's milk.  Purple is her favorite color, but pink and yellow are pretty nice.  She colors and paints the most beautiful pictures.  She draws me A LOT.  She begs me to let her stitch with me every time.  She frustrates Fletcher to no end, but he also loves her, and I'm always so impressed with how well they can play together.  Sometimes.  She prefers Mama to read her nighttime books and tuck her into bed, but that could change any day now.   She loves to help in the kitchen, whether I'm cooking, baking, or just cleaning up.  She loves makeup, nail polish, and jewelry, but will let a caterpillar crawl up her arm, dig in the dirt, and kick a ball around.  She is constantly humming and singing (currently the Frozen soundtrack- oy!) and the day she goes to ballet/tap class is her favorite day of the week.  She is begging for a puppy, but would be happy (for now) with a fish that she could name "Precious Smart Leafy Eats."  She's the best neck hugger around, and when she smiles at you it's like the clouds parting on a rainy day.
 She's my best girl.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


Last Saturday was our 11 year wedding anniversary!  I can't believe how quickly the years stream by.  I know I say it all the time, but I'm pretty sure I'll look back on my 30's and wonder where the heck they went.  Days spent cooking, cleaning after littles (getting bigger), school drop offs and pickups, overflowing laundry baskets, and carving out time with the kiddos make the days feel so long.  But the years are short, my friends!  These short years have been the best, though, and every bump and bend in our marriage has just made it stronger.  The early days of surprise and learning about each other have made way to a softer, more love-worn knowing of each other.  And that's what makes this marriage my soft place to land.   It's been a blessed 11 years.  It hasn't always been easy, and sometimes life has really battered our souls.  But we've been lucky to have each other.  Here's to many more years of hardship and happiness, pain and joy, loss and love, and the wisdom to see the beauty in it all.

Monday, May 5, 2014


Oh guys.  My hands are *almost* numb from all the stitching going on around here.  I'm wrapping up and sending out the last of my Mother's Day orders tomorrow, and then maybe, just maybe I'll have some time for this here blog.  Maybe.  No promises, as always!

 Here are a few of my latest treasures added to the shop.  Busy hands make for a happy heart, I really believe that.  May is promising to keep me busy with the end of school, our anniversary, Rowan's birthday, Mother's Day... and a million other little things.  And keeping busy will be good for me in the month that Cormac was due.  His absence is deeply, deeply felt in our life.