Saturday, March 18, 2017

Winter at home

Time machine to go back to Daddy's birthday 

Serious about drawing a stegosaurus 

Eliza Jane was quite charmed by getting dirty in the garden

Learning to ride without training wheels 

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I worked with Ben on this masterpiece over a few weeks this winter. 

Spring cleaning and peanuts 

fort making 


A Spring Break visit from Grandmommy and Granddad. 

Most of the pics this time of Eliza Jane and her granddad. 

fun with shaving cream after supper 

Winter outings

Watercolors at the Wetlands --a perfect after school treat 

Winter camping at Meridian State Park with our camping buddies 

Ben loves "nature hikes" in the park--I think this was a day off from school.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

A Snowy Christmas in NY

Ben and Liza played for hours in a fresh layer of snow mid-week. 

The family told me there was "not much" snow on the ground before we arrived.
The Texans had a different perspective : ) 

First thing Ben did out of the car from the airport was
build a snowman. 

We even managed a little sledding in the "not much" snow. 

And then there was Christmas! 

Everything carefully arranged for Santa and his reindeer 

Eliza really upped her coloring and drawing game during quiet times
with her grammy. 

Riding the Polar Express with cousin Jack the day after Christmas. 

Meeting Santa at the north pole 

My favorite day--JB and I got to explore by ourselves and
found this wonderful foot path at Lake Minnewaska. 

Tubing at Mt. Peter. There's not much cuter than a 3 year old in a snow suit.
She pulled that tube up the hill and went down dozens of times.  

And sledding at the school hill during a snow storm 

Cozy cousin time. Unc Bunk knows what to do. 

And crazy cousin time 

What a funny guy 

Oldest and youngest cousins 

And a stop at the Liberty science center with grandpa before our evening
flight back to Texas. That's Eliza inside the infinity walk--a giant structure
that looks like it is suspended in the middle of the museum. 

Bouldering at the science center. Amazing place. 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Cozy scenes

Sometimes lessons stick and sometimes they just don't. The lesson about not calling for mom across the house or yard if it's not an emergency is a particularly difficult one. And even if we used glue to get the kids to stay in their chairs at meal time, they would probably just walk off with the chairs attached. But somehow Benjamin has somehow managed to hold onto the rather difficult lesson that sometimes hard things are more fun than easy things. He will repeat this to himself when we are working on something hard. Not that he is always able to stick to it, but the idea is there and it seems to appeal to him. 

A long hike is one of those hard-but-fun things
The lesson about effort is one that I am constantly learning as an adult, of course, too. And maybe as I get older, I'm more selective about where I want to put my effort--what challenges I want to take on. Hosting a big meal at our house is a challenge that both Jb and I find really gratifying.  Although it is a lot of work, we have grown to really enjoy hosting Thanksgiving in our home, which we've done for the last three years. At the end of Thanksgiving day, around 11 at night, after pie, games, and a still-pretty-messy kitchen, JB concluded that it went well and that we did a good job of making it seem effortless. I just about collapsed on the floor. 

But it's true. We are getting better at all the planning ahead that needs to happen to make food from scratch and still enjoy the day. It also helps that Rosa (Eliza's Friday babysitter) and her husband have joined us each time--Rosa contributes mightily to the Thanksgiving feast. This year we were so happy to welcome Heidi, a friend from grad school, and her family and a few college students. 

And now, here are some cozy scenes that did not involve a lot of planning, forethought, or effort. Or maybe they are just seemingly without effort. It's actually a least-favorite chore to keep the couch in the next photo in an even semi-respectable state of clean : )  And think of all the work Ben has done in the last year to be able to curl up on the couch by himself with a chapter book (I know!). I do also have to plan ahead to get books like that from our weekly(ish) trip to the library. 

And even the kind of play that Eliza and Ben are doing below--painting, building with blocks, pretend with a box--are a work of the imagination as it interacts with things in their world. At the Montessori school Ben goes to, things that look like toys--lots of blocks and interactive materials--are very deliberately called "works." Good preparation, I hope, for finding gratification in the much harder challenges that they are sure to face as they grow. 

I love Eliza's face when she is focusing on her work.

Focused on her work again.
It was so sunny and quiet on this particular afternoon while Ben was at school.

Blocks are still some of her favorite toys (works?).