Saturday, January 26, 2008

Potluck and parties

Last weekend we had a potluck birthday party for a good friend of mine, Allison's, birthday. We invited several families over and everyone brought a vegan dish. I made a chocolate cake. Most families were vegetarians and all agreed the food was amazing. There were about 11 kids, 3 babies, and 7 couples--lots of people eating and playing in one house. The kids kept themselves busy between the playroom and the girls room. They also put on a show starring Ellen as little red riding hood and Daniel as the big bad wolf. Some of the other kids had parts like woodcutter, sound effects, grandmother, and narrator. Four of the girls spent the night at our house for a sleep over.
Playing dress up.

The food table at the beginning of the night.

The little red riding hood show was done totally by the kids. Daniel was just told what to do! He was a great wolf pretending to be grandmother:)

Pillow fight. Daniel on the bottom.
Getting ready for bed. Two 3 year olds, two 5 year olds, a 6 year old and an 8 year old.

So last night the girls spent the night at their (sisters Bryanna, Rose, and Sylvia) house. It was the first time Arianna has ever stayed away over night. I was nervous. I have had thoughts over the years that I couldn't wait till the days they were old enough to spend the night with friends and give us the night off. But when the time came I really missed them. It felt very different in the house. We enjoyed it though. We used a gift card to go see a movie, had dinner alone, and then woke up to a quiet house. I went to get them this morning around 10:30. They had a wonderful time and didn't even want to come home. I appreciate having them home even more now:) At least that's the way I feel today.

These next pictures are from the girls' taking pictures of themselves. I love uploading pictures when they've had the camera. It's fun to see things from their perspective.

This last shot is of our papermaking project. We got a kit from Mimi for Christmas. We mixed up old paper in the blender with some water, added some dried flowers, poured the pulp over a screen then basically just let it dry. We ironed them out a little to speed up the drying process so this is the girls seeing the paper for the first time. After letting the paper dry we used it for Arianna's birthday invitations. She'll be turning 5 on February 9.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


We saw Uncle Stephen (Daniel's brother) for a day in Clt. this past weekend. He flew in from Los Angeles where he has been living. We miss him a bunch and enjoyed spending the little bit of time we were able to with him. He made Cali sound pretty exciting with all the same day snowboarding and surfing. What a life. Anna (dan's sister) lives in charlotte so she stopped by for a visit too.

winter gardening

We are in a very experimental phase in gardening right now. We have barely kept alive some seedlings inside the house under a grow light. Our lettuce and greens made it through some very cold and freezing days outside under some clear plastic cover. They are alive but not growing much. Our most recent move was to locate some free mulch from a tree trimmer. We contacted them recently and they gladly dropped off a huge load that was already steaming hot with decay. Daniel and the girls have been wheeling it down one load at a time and we will now let it sit and try and monitor the composting process by managing moisture content and adding whatever other food we have to encourage microbial life.

Here is a picture of the heap. We did not even know this was a possibility until recently but we are certainly thankful that our local tree guy was willing to dump this stuff. For you gardeners and/or landscapers who have the space it may be worth looking into this arrangement in your local area if you need mulch for beds or want material for composting.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Backyard Art . . . isn't it beautiful

Daniel took the TV outside and smashed it in. Then we all got out the paints and started making the TV beautiful. What a great family project. I don't think I need to explain why we did it. Most of you already know how we feel about media and advertising. I believe we waste way too much time with it on. It's so tempting to plop down in front of it when you are tired from life. But why are we so tired? Why don't we have the energy to do the things we really want to do? Maybe if we weren't staying up late watching the tv we wouldn't be tired the next day:)

We won't be missing much since we didn't watch it much. But I think we (Daniel and I)feel a little relieved to have it out of the house. The girls haven't even really noticed. And I think it's a nice piece of art for the backyard!
"American children and adolescents spend 22 to 28 hours per week viewing television, more than any other activity except sleeping. By the age of 70 they will have spent 7 to 10 years of their lives watching TV."
-- The Kaiser Family Foundation

I don't want to get to be 70 years old and regret the 7-10 years I spent watching tv when I could have been spending time with the kids, developing friendships, playing outside, or reading good books.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Friends and Family in NC and TN

The week after New Year's we took a short trip to visit our good friends in Durham. The Morrisons moved to Durham from Boone at the end of last summer so that Scott could attend UNC for his Doctorate. This was the first time we've seen their new house. They prepared wonderful food for us and the kids played non-stop even though it was freezing outside. After the kids went to bed at night we stayed up late by the fire just talking and laughing.
The kids all got scooters for Christmas.
Daniel and Kalen. Daniel is a great playmate and these kids just love him.

Good friends.
Me, Anna and Brayden.
Scott's special reading time before bed.

We drove through Boone and into Mountain City to visit Mimi and BB for a few days. It had snowed the day before so the kids got to play in what they thought was "tons" of snow. I guess they forgot what a real snow looks like.:) There was just a little left in the shady spots but it was enough for them to make snow balls and throw them at each other. We also visited a hands on museum in Johnson City.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The Story of Stuff (click to see video)

This video has been forwarded to me from 2 different people. "It is a clear, simple, and yet devastating indictment of our current consumer habits," says Daniel. This woman spent 10 years traveling and researching where our stuff comes from and where it goes. Even if the statistics are only partially accurate they should encourage us to rethink how our need for stuff impacts the world. And it's entertaining to boot.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year

We went to a potluck new year's eve party last night. Daniel set off the traditional fireworks while the girls watched. They love the sparklers too. We all drank and ate and had a great time. We had to go home around 11pm when finally even Ellen could hardly hold her head up she was so tired. Here they are waiting for the bang.

As always, here's the greatest dad! Daniel is the adult to play with the kids at most functions and they love him for it! Here he is reading a story right after a huge wrestling match.

Today we went to our normal playgroup. We meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays for hours of free play at the park. For the past few weeks the kids have been bringing their bikes. They were all having such a good time today and I just happened to have my camera.

bike crew

Playgroup at Rosewood park every week.