Camping in yard


via PicsArt Photo Studio


At the dentist


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via PicsArt Photo Studio

Stephanie in the car


via PicsArt Photo Studio

Random photo effects


I know nothing about photography, but I like gadgets. So I have been having fun with an app called picsart and needed a way to easily get my experiments to my computer. WordPress was one choice, so here I am, posting stuff I think is fun, but nobody else cares about. Yay!
via PicsArt Photo Studio

Stephanie’s Birthday Present for her Mom

Stephanie loves birthdays.  She loves her own the most, of course, but she just loves celebrating people’s birthdays.  As a highly verbal 4-year old, it’s really wonderful to get to understand how she thinks about these things.  Today is Erin’s Birthday (Happy Birthday, Girling!!), and I started to talk to Stephanie about it a few weeks ago.

“Well,” she started, “I want two presents from me, and two presents from Brendan.  One present from me in a bag, one from Brendan in a bag.  One present from me wrapped with paper, and one present from Brendan wrapped in paper.”  She was very concerned with how the present opening process would go, and I just think that is adorable.

I told her a week ago that we’d be going shopping for presents this last weekend, which happened on Saturday.  In the morning, I told her what we were doing and asked her to think of some things that she thinks Mama would really like to get for her birthday.  She said okay, but based on past experience (Mother’s day) I didn’t really expect her to think about it all that hard.  She grabbed her small doodle pro on the way out the door.

As we were driving, she piped up from the back seat “Do you know what makes the shhhhh sound?”  Followed several minutes later by “What makes the zzzzzz sound?”  While I was changing Brendan on the ferry she asked Erin “What makes the ‘uh’ sound in books?”

After we dropped Erin off at a Starbucks to work, Stephanie said “Okay, I have my list.”  I asked her what was on it, and she said “I have Books, Dishes, and Pants, but I didn’t write the D in dishes,” she giggled with fervor that she had left off the d.  She was writing her list in the car by trying to sound out the words.  I just was blown away, as I always am, by her.

So the shopping trip went off without a hitch, we ate dinner, then I took the kids to the bookstore.  As soon as we went in Stephanie protested that she didn’t want to get Mama a book.  I asked if she wanted to go to the dishes store and she said “Yes, that’s on my list.”  We went into JC Penney and she browsed the kitchen stuff with an intensity that I can’t even muster while shopping, then she finally picked out two presents from her and two presents from Brendan, ultimately deciding that the 4 presents would be from each of them together.f

She ended up getting a new pot holder (“because the pink one with polka dots has a hole in it!”), a reusable travel coffee cup, and a matching set of mugs and plates with shopping themed fancy-dressed women on them with wholesome messages like “Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it does buy diamonds!” and so forth.

I hate to say it, but I fear that the kids’ presents were far better than mine for her this year, but so it goes.  Happy Birthday, Girling!

Potato Masher and a Whisk

I sat down to paint with Stephanie yesterday.  Stephanie always wants to paint.  I actually really like painting with her, but when I am watching both children, I cannot devote the attention on the painting as I need to to ensure that paint does not end up on the table, carpet, dog, or wherever else she fancies it; while at the same time making sure that Brendan is not imperiling himself…too badly at least.**  But this time, Stephanie and I were alone, so I agreed to it.

**One of Brendan’s favorite things to do now is to drag whatever will give him added height so he can look at things from a new, taller vantage point.  Usually this involves dragging our little footstool to all of the windows and staring.  But sometimes it means trying to stand on his rolling dinosaur, or climbing the bookshelf, or some other less safe activity.**

No less than 2 seconds after I said yes, she had gone to my closet to get a paint shirt (one of my old t-shirts), gathered all of the paints and several stacks of paper.  She was set.  We were painting for about 5 minutes when she paused for a second, got up, and headed to the kitchen.  She announced without hesitation, and in the serious way she talks about most of her business, “I need the potato masher and a whisk.”

Here is where my internal battle begins.  It doesn’t last long, but my first thought was: “You know I’m just going to have to wash that shit later, right?”**  That thought was quickly replaced by the more reasonable: “That seems a little nutty, let’s just stick to brushes.”  What Stephanie got from me, however, was: “Okay, what do you have in mind?”

**I swear more in my head than I do in real life.**

It is nearly every day that Stephanie surprises me with some interesting idea of something to play, some new way to use a common household item, or something else completely off the wall.  I wonder if at the age of four she even has a filter, or if the ideas pop in and she’s like “Okay, let’s try it!”  I’m way more of the let’s try it mindset than the “that’s too messy, silly, dangerous” mindset, but it’s not always my first instinct.  I hope she’s able to keep that innovative instinct and that I don’t do anything to discourage it.

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