Sunday, May 31, 2015

5/31/15 - Day 151 - Birthday Buddies

One of Nathan's classmates had a birthday party today.  It was an interesting party. When Nathan first got there, he was like a scared turtle stuck in his shell. He knew several kids there, but was acting so shy and sad. He wouldn't play with anybody and was just really grumpy. He acted like this until his best friend finally showed up. Once A. arrived my shy turtle boy just chucked that shell away and was the kid I know.  Playing with everyone, playful, excited, silly.  I don't know why, but I'm glad he was able to finally enjoy the party.  Here's a shot of Nathan and his friend on a cool water bounce house.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

5/30/15 - Day 150 - Reflection

I had a photo session that required me to bring out my reflectors. The kids saw that reflector lying there and decided it made a great toy. The had so much fun folding that thing up and then tossing it so that it would pop open mid air.

Friday, May 29, 2015

5/29/15 - Day 149 - Tidy

We've been working hard at this KonMari stuff for a while now, and it's finally starting to pay off. This corner is a vast improvement over what it was a few weeks previously. KonMari is a messy process....lots of piles of lots of stuff all over the place as you sort through everything in your house. It's great to finally be seeing some positive changes in our home.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

5/28/15 - Day 148 - Homework

Today James said he wanted to do homework like Nathan. Luckily, he figured coloring was the same as homework. I bet you're really surprised to see that James chose to color pictures of trains.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

5/27/15 - Day 147 - Swinger

We sometimes like to play in the playground at Nathan's school when we go pick Nathan up. Today was great because it seemed like James was starting to get the idea of swinging, kicking his legs and leaning and everything!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

5/26/15 - Day 146 - Joy Unsparked

I wore one of my joy sparking skirts today. I felt so joyful and happy as I walked around the grocery store today....until I caught the bottom of my skirt in the wheel of the grocery cart and ripped this hole in the skirt. UGH!

Monday, May 25, 2015

5/25/15 - Day 145 - Gymnastics at the Park

Nathan has been doing gymnastics for a while now. Dennis, who we adore, took over as coach when we moved to the Monday class. Well, he's moving on from the Monday class and wanted to have one more class time with the boys. This Monday was a holiday so there was no regular gymnastics at the gym, so Dennis volunteered to do a class with the boys at the park. It was just so incredibly generous. Dennis is the kind of coach you dream for...kind, knowledgeable, helpful, selfless, and always working to become better himself.  The boys had such a great time.  We'll miss Dennis as a coach so much!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

5/24/15 - Day 144 - Sentimental

We're not really to sentimental in our KonMari adventure yet, but this poster that I have long loved has been sitting in the boy's closet for years now.  The frame broken, and no place to put it. I kept it for so long mostly because of the message written on the back. I decided, why not photograph it and then let it go. So, now, here it is. Remembered.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

5/23/15 - Day 143 - CORDS!

We've gotten to the electronics category in our KonMari adventure. We decided to go ahead and make a sub category of cords. Check out all of these cords! No wonder we could never find the one we were looking for.



Friday, May 22, 2015

5/22/15 - Day 142 - Family Dinner

Looking at the pictures I know this is one of those rare weeknights where we ate dinner as a family.  I took a couple of photographs commemorating the event, but this one is the cutest.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

5/21/15 - Day 141 - Wet

Rosie's Crazy.  She was just sitting there on the edge of the tub as her tail dropped into the water. I guess I shouldn't be too surprised as this is coming from the same cat who sleeps in the sink. Somebody should probably tell Rosie that cat's don't like water. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

5/20/15 - Day 140 - Spitfire Grill

I remember eating here at the Spitfire Grill with the kids tonight, but I don't remember why we were at this Santa Monica Airport restaurant. I didn't work on Wednesdays at the time.  I can only think that perhaps I had a PS Arts event that night and took the kids...then we took the family out to eat afterwards. I don't really know...but that sounds pretty plausible.'s the picture Nathan colored as we were waiting for our food.  He wanted me to take a picture of it, so I did.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

5/19/15 - Day 139 - New Mug Shot

Here is one of the new joy sparking dishes we purchased for my Mother's Day present. I love them!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

5/17/15 - Day 137 - Alexa

Meet our home personal assistant Alexa. She's useful for turning lights on and off, spelling words for Nathan, adding items to the grocery list, and making music. The future is now.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

5/16/15 - Day 136 - Peek a Boo!

There were a few pretty cute photos from today, but this one has to be my favorite. Just a snap of Rich and James playing a game of Peek a Boo! Look at the joy on that face!

Friday, May 15, 2015

5/15/15 - Day 135 - Talented

It's finally come! Nathan's school's talent show! Nathan worked hard learning his song and I'm so proud of how well he did when it came time to sing for that big crowd.

This is Nathan's favorite part of the song...the high note near the end.  "Tell me WHE - EN!"  I love how he closed his eyes with feeling for this part. 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

5/13/15 - Day 133 - Home With James

There are a bunch of cute photographs from today. Just everyday at home with James stuff.  I'm including because it's cute, the other because it documents.

James loves helping vacuum the kitchen floor almost as much as he enjoys making the mess needing vacuuming. There is a bandage on James's leg here.  That bandage is an attempt to get some very bad eczema turned severe wound to heal.  This is the bought of eczema that caused us to stop putting James's sleepy shoes on at night...a year and a half early.

Just because it's so cute. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

5/12/15 - Day 132 - Atypical

I hate that I don't really know what's going on here. The facts: Photo taken on a Tuesday at 4:06pm. Nathan is shirtless. Nathan is asleep.  On the sofa.  This is all very bizarre.  I'd think that maybe this was a sick day, but I didn't post anything about it on Facebook, so I can't be sure. There aren't enough photographs around this to clue me in. (There's one of Rich shirtless and one of the spice tins as well as a video of Nathan and James practicing his song for the Talent show...both boys shirtless. Wonder if I was shirtless.) Maybe he was just abnormally tired? Maybe he was sad having had a difficult time with homework and cried himself to sleep. I just don't remember. Any of those things are plausible.

But, it doesn't really matter. The only thing that matters is that he is beautiful, he is peaceful, and I love him.

Ah! After a little more digging, I can see that I took a photograph of some toys we would be donating, the photograph taken at 12:34pm. That means I wasn't at work. That means that Nathan was most likely home sick. Phew! Mystery solved.

Monday, May 11, 2015

5/11/15 - Day 131 - Running in the Halls

This is a terrible picture, but at somepoint during this project I decided that accepting the fact that sometimes (maybe even frequently) the pictures would be terrible is better than abandoning the project. So, although this photo is awful, it still serves the purpose of capturing the moment.

What you're seeing here is the madness of James running as fast as he possibly can while we wait as Nathan is in gymnastics class. When I started taking Nathan to gymnastics on Monday nights it was difficult. James was so hard to manage, he loved to run all around and I did everything I could to keep him contained. I told him he was allowed to run as long as there were no people walking in the hallway.  He actually did a pretty good job following that rule.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

5/10/15 - Day 130 - Happy Mother's Day

We normally go out for Mother's day photos of me and the boys every year, but didn't do that this year for some reason. I actually don't remember what we did today.  I THINK we went to Ikea to look for some new flatware (the thing I wanted for Mother's day).  But I can't be sure.  I do remember that Nathan gave me these little flowers that he made at school.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

5/9/2015 - Day 129 - Rushing By

I took the boys out to the street behind our complex today for a little scootering time. Thought it would be a good opportunity to work on my skill at capturing a subject in motion. It's so hard, but Nathan was happy to let me work on it over and over and over again. This is the best of the bunch from that day.

Friday, May 8, 2015

5/8/15 - Day 128 - Push Towards Independence

James is naturally very independent, but not for all things. Here we're trying to get James to undress himself. As I sit here in January of 2016 writing this, I can tell you that this is still a struggle.  But on this day it was funny and cute.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

5/6/15 - Day 126 - Trains in the Park

Some years ago I took Nathan to Runaround Park with the wooden trains and some toys and captured some adorable photos. Since James can be so difficult to photograph I thought I'd try to replicate the situation of that day to get some cute portraits of James.  James, train nut that he is, thought that was a great idea. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

5/5/15 - Day 125 - Trading for Cards

The great Marie Kondo clean out of 2015 is consuming our life right now.  We just finished the kids toys. I was really worried about how to tackle the toys thinking that there was no way the kids were going to want to get rid of, I devised a system where Nathan would shop for his toys. My thinking was that if he would buy it again then it still sparked joy for him. We thought we would give him enough money to buy back all of his toys, and for each toy he got rid of he'd get a certain amount of money (depending on how large the toy was).  In the end I paid by the pound because it was just way too difficult to count all those toys and do all that complicated math. 

This plan worked great! Nathan gleefully tossed aside no longer played with toys in exchange for some well desired, cold, hard cash! Nathan took his money and traded up over 70 pounds of toys for this little tin of Pokemon cards. That is what I call a win win.

I don't have a photo of the discarded toys.  You'll just have to imagine what over 70 pounds of toys looks like. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

5/4/15 - Day 124 - Spicy

Marie Kondo tells you to get everything off your kitchen counters. Well...I don't think that's something that would suit our lifestyle, but I did look to remove everything from the counters that I could. One of the things I thought I could get off the counter was my spice rack. Enter Pinterest and this stroke of genius. I took some cheap tins, hot glued strong tiny magnets to the bottom and filled them with spices. Since this photograph I printed some more attractive labels for the front of these. It's working out wonderfully well, though I'd love to put them on the wall instead of the fridge....perhaps someday.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

5/3/15 - Day 123 - Mount Linens

The KonMari efforts continue. Today we tackled linens. We gathered all of the blankets and sheets from all over the house and piled them up. It made quite the mountain. The children made it their mission to conquer the great Mt. Linens.  They played in that pile for quite a long time. At the end of the day, that mountain was decimated and our house was cleared of the excess.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

5/2/15 - Day 122 - ESCAPE!

Today was great fun.  Our friend Tara always comes up with the most enjoyable activities to celebrate her Birthday each year. This year she took a bunch of her friends to Escape Room LA.

 Escape Room is a real life escape game where you get locked into a room and have to race the clock while trying to figure out how to get out of the room  by solving puzzles and looking for clues. It's so fun. I was excited and not at all worried that I would be able to escape the room as long as I was on Rich's team. I was sure that Tara would keep us together that I didn't think I'd have to do much at all. I mean, this is pretty much the stuff Rich has done for fun as long as I've known him. An appreciation for ciphers and logic puzzles is one of the foundations of our relationship.

Well, Tara decided to make the teams boy girl. YIKES! There goes the idea that I wasn't going to have to do much. Fortunately, Rich has trained me well and I was in a room with some pretty darn smart ladies. It was just so fun and exciting. In the end, the girls team made it out...with just about 30 seconds to spare. It was so to open that door as the buzzer counted down the last seconds!  We were sure we'd won the boys vs girls competition, until we saw the boys!

Wouldn't you know it, the boys not only managed to escape their room, but they also broke the time record for their room. I don't know if the boys even knew they had a ringer in the group. As I write this post in January of 2016 - a full 8 months after we were locked in - the boy's record of 44 minutes still stands. Rich is pretty proud of that...and so am I!

Friday, May 1, 2015

5/1/15 - Day 121 - Hall of the Mountain King

At work I am doing my "Music Tells a Story" unit. One of my favorite lessons is for the piece In the Hall of the Mountain king. There are several things you can do with this one, but for my 3rd graders we listen to the music, I tell a slightly altered version the story of Peer Gynt, then we act out the music having each student pretend to be a troll and chasing Peer Gynt out of the troll for each statement of the theme. It's so much fun! We round out the activity by listing to the music a few more times while the students create trolls out of some green playdough I made.  The kids made some excellent trolls this year. I love this lesson, it combines so many things, music appreciation, how music can be used to tell a story, exploration of musical form, understanding of musical theme, movement, and visual art. It's chock full of learning!