Monday, June 29, 2009
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Please note I am NOT exaggerating any of these.
This is just a reminder to me--and anybody else--that your kids pick up everything, even if you think they're not listening. Read on:
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When Liesl dropped plastic Easter eggs all over the floor, Ava was naturally curious and wanted to investigate. Liesl didn’t want Ava into the eggs on the floor, so she asked me in an exasperated tone: “Mommy, would you handle Ava, please?”
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In the bathtub—Liesl takes up a washcloth and starts scrubbing her behind:
Mommy: “What are you doing?”
Liesl: “I’m washing my butt.”
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At the breakfast table. Liesl suddenly lifts her right foot up into her lap, hugs it, and tells it, tenderly, “I love you, foot.” *smooch*
(Yes, she kissed her own foot.)
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As the girls were eating lunch, and I was preparing mine—which I usually eat after the girls are down for naps, so I can savor the peace and quiet—Liesl asked me:
Liesl: “What are you making, Mommy?”
Mommy: “Cucumber tea sandwiches for my lunch.”
Liesl: “I don’t like cucumber tea sandwiches.”
Mommy: “You’ve never actually had cucumber tea sandwiches.”
Liesl: “Well, I’m a kid, so I have had cucumber tea sandwiches, and I don’t like them.”
(Note from her mother--she's really never had them. That will change soon.)
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On our way home from Thursday morning Bible study:
Mommy: “We’re going to stop and buy some fruit.”
Liesl: “Oh, good. I like fruit. It makes me poop.”
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While I was playing with the girls on their new play structure:
Mommy: “I’m going to go down the slide.”
Liesl: “But I thought your butt was too big.”
(Contrary to what these conversations may infer, we really don’t encourage the use of the word “butt” in our house.)
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When I was rushing the children out the door to an early morning doctor’s appointment, for which I was going to be late:
Mommy, slightly crabby: “Let’s go, girls, hurry up!”
Liesl, excitedly: “Is it time to rock ‘n roll, Mommy?!?”
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When leaving in the morning for one of my theater rehearsals:
Liesl: “But Mommy, we didn’t practice violin!”
Mommy: “We can’t do it this morning, Liesl, because Mommy has to work. We’ll practice violin tonight.”
Liesl (with thunderous disapproval): “Well, Miss Sharon will not be happy to hear this.”
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After using the potty in the morning, Liesl pulled her pajama pants up over her bare bottom:
Mommy: “Liesl, don’t you want to put some undies on first?”
Liesl: “Nope. I’m goin’ commando.”
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Going for a walk in our neighborhood, and passing by the home of friends of ours, who have a little boy Liesl’s age and who is one of her best friends:
Liesl, excitedly: “Are we going to Ethan’s house?”
Mommy: (Seeing no cars in their driveway) “I don’t think Ethan’s home.”
Liesl, deflated: “Oh. Bummer.”
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When Tom was taking my wilted Mother’s Day bouquet out to the compost bin:
Liesl: “What are you doing with Mommy’s flowers?”
Tom: “I’m composting them, they’re past their prime.”
Liesl (somewhat sadly): “But…summer is still pretty!”
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While I was sorting and folding clean laundry:
Liesl: “Mommy, you really need a new bra.”
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While we 3 girls were driving somewhere, and somebody cut me off:
Mommy (kind of sarcastic): “Nice turn signal, you bun-brain.”
Liesl (also sarcastic): “Yeah. Dude. They’re standard in every car.”
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Helping Mommy make summertime goodies (in this case, a helluvalotta hummus)...
Ice juicies for a cool treat...
Using over-thought engineering tactics to remove offensive shrubbery from the yard...
Other tiny visitors...
Sandals, breezy sundresses, and outdoor weddings at the park...
Vacation Bible School...
Making new friends...
Mommy's sun hat...
Sisterly love, which comes easier when not cooped up indoors...
Summer. What could be better?
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
After playing "Twinkle Theme," she did Variation A, which is four 1/16th notes followed by two staccato 1/8th notes. The piano CD we play with usually plays four bars as an intro; for some reason, our pianist only did two and then gave Liesl the downbeat to come in. Liesl immediately looked a bit confused, stumbled a bit...then she got this incredibly cute, stubborn look on her face that said, "Hell with it, if nobody else knows what they're doing, I'll just show 'em." And off she went. It took every ounce of my will power not to bust out laughing at the determination on her tiny face. Such tenacity! (...and, oh yeah, she's THREE.)
I had so much fun playing in the chamber music group last month that I asked Sharon if I could do a duet with someone. I thought maybe her or another adult student in the studio, but instead...we picked out Tom.
And did I say this was "everyone's" violin recital? Why, yes I did. So, some of you might ask...where's Ava? Well, about 30 seconds into that clip, both Tom and I start smiling while we're playing...it's because Ava wandered up on stage to be with us, and wove in and out of our legs as we performed. Yeah, that's pretty much how it works out at home, too. Listen carefully, and you'll hear her giggling right before we start grinning. The kid thinks violin study is as normal to our family as eating, breathing, and sleeping.
Friday, June 12, 2009
I also try to refrain from having people over at our house for any reason. Most of my mommy friends understand when the laundry is spread out on the floors of three rooms, in four different phases of washing/folding/sorting, and that our living room has pretty much transformed into a music practice room with instruments and music stands and sheet music and rosin and other violin paraphernalia everywhere (so watch where you step, and don't even think about sitting on the couch--that's for the violins). But even with the most understanding of friends and visitors, I don't want to even have to blink an eye at my domestic chaos on my day "off." Sometimes we must schedule something on Friday, but believe me, it is never my first choice.
Within 2.4 minutes of waking up each morning, Liesl usually asks, "Where are we going today?" or "Are friends coming over today?" ("Friends," to Liesl, means company of any kind: a playgroup of kids, some of my adult friends coming over for tea, Jehovah's Witnesses ignoring our 'no soliciting' sign and knocking to save our souls, or the dishwasher repairman. Really, everybody is Liesl's friend.) Both girls dearly love to go out, and I always enjoy it too...but sometimes Mommy needs a day where nobody will care if she's dressed like a ragamuffin, and doesn't need to go through the slightly complicated load-up-the-van-and-lock-up-the-house-while-keeping-two-tiny-kids-safe-and-alive-with-minimal-screaming routine.
Today wraps up a few very busy weeks of social activities. Last week on Tuesday, we hosted our vegan/allergy-friendly potluck. The following weekend, a group of my Bible study ladies came over for a potluck dinner in our backyard. It was an opportunity for fellowship with some of the ladies who have not been able to attend our Thursday morning group for a while due to full-time jobs or other daytime activities. Last Monday, my parents brought my wonderful (if not a tad rambunctious) nephews out to my house to play with their cousins. And yesterday evening, last but definitely not least, I hosted a coupon class, where a local woman who appears to be acquiring a cult following works the coupons and sales--and I mean works the coupons and sales, people--to save about 800% on her grocery bills each week. And no, I'm not exaggerating or joking.
Add all this into the usual weekly jaunts--Bible study on Thursday mornings, violin lessons on Wednesday mornings, appointments, grocery store trips (with two tiny kids both wanting to ride the penny pony, Meijer becomes an event, believe me), library trips, music class, playgroups, Mom's club outings, and whathaveyou--and Mommy needs a day "off." I am POOPED. I get up, make Tom's coffee and breakfast, pack his lunch, and get him out the door; and then I plop my arse back in bed and snooze until the inevitable
So while I was typing this post, Liesl has asked, in between Miss Spider's Tea Party and The Cat in the Hat, "Where are we going today? Are friends coming over? What are we doing today?" (Nowhere. No. Nothing's on the books at the moment.) Today is Mommy's day "off."
In another half hour, I guess I'll have to feed them breakfast. And then, tackle the laundry. Yup, it's my day "off." Yee-ha.
My sister's children also take music lessons and classes. An all-cousin band: Alex, 12, on alto sax; Zach, 7, on the piano; Liesl, 3, on the violin. Oh, it was a delightful musical experience, all right.
Oh, what the hell. Let's do one more silly picture.
Ava's contribution to just about every social gathering.
The boys and girls together were enjoying themselves tremendously, but it was raining and we had to stay inside. My house was in serious danger of being trashed, so Grammie and Papa treated everyone to a few hours at Jungle Java. (Bless you, Mom and Dad.) Here you see Liesl, Alex's behind, and some random kid's behind.
The "Toddler Safari" area. Ava must've gone down this slide 432 times.
My 64 year-old mother proving that Jungle Java isn't just for kids.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
(That is, until the weeds come in. Oh, crud.)
Close-up of Tom's outstanding planning job. He measured, cut, and laid out the the landscaping fabric. We are hoping it will last several years. Weeding will be minimal this year. What a great guy.
My mature vermicomposting bin, before I harvested the castings and sorted the worms.
Those pots contain two kinds of ornamental peppers: Medusa and Black Pearl. Even though Tom started these seeds the same time as the other varieties, they are still tiny plants, which is normal for these varities. They are so cool. The peppers they produce are edible...but they're too pretty to eat.
More pictures soon...we have many flower beds planted!
Monday, June 8, 2009
However...in order for one to post a video taken from a camcorder, one must be at least slightly adept in the process of transferring the video, editing it, and, in the case of YouTube, shrinking it to an acceptable size. I do not qualify for that "adept" category. (If I told you how much raw footage I have of Liesl as a baby on those tiny videotapes around the house, you'd probably laugh.) I have software and the manual...I just need about 12 hours of uninterrupted time to sit down and figure them out. That's a tall order with a 3 year-old and a 1 year-old in the house.
At any rate, I played in the second violin section and performed the Mozart Trio in D Major, K. 439b. The surprise was that I started practicing this piece with 12 other musicians--including our teacher--in chamber music rehearsals for an hour and a half every week, starting last January--just 4 months after I had started violin lessons for myself.
So after 3 months of
All in all, I am pretty proud of myself. I played clarinet and piano as a child and young adult, and I played them well--but not brilliantly. But the violin in comparison is a much harder instrument to learn. It was even harder to learn with two tiny children running around at my feet,
So I know I'll get the video up on YouTube. Someday. Like, before I'm 85.
One my buddies in Miss Sharon's studio, Ann. She is 11 and is a very talented violinist. She also has one of the nicest, brightest, funniest personalities I've ever seen in an 11 year-old.
She is heading to Interlochen's advanced violin program this summer...we hope to visit her there over a weekend.
Liesl hanging out with her buddy Claire, the other 3 year-old in Miss Sharon's studio.