Saturday, January 29, 2011

It's Hard To Take Pictures of Toothless Dinosaurs

Dino Claws!

Here He Comes!

Ro's Gap Toothed Smile

But I did eventually manage to get that toothless smile on camera. The tooth fairy is becoming very familiar with our house!

Thursday, January 27, 2011


For Christmas Rowan received a volcano kit from Grammie Krista and Papa Gary. We just got around to making it last weekend, and it was of course a huge hit!

Painting the Volcano

Painting the Volcano II

January 20111

Volcano Eruption V

It was not quite the fiery explosion I was expecting from the picture on the front of the box.


In Rowan's mind however, it is perfect. Especially nice is that with just baking soda and vinegar for the lava, he can make his volcano erupt over and over again. Thanks so much, Grammie and Papa!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Green Beans and Lettuce

January 2011

Muriel Serious

I'm pretty sure she's the sweetest two year old around--chapped lips, chapped cheeks, crusty nose, attitude, and all. Her language has really taken off the past couple months. I hear a lot of "What that for, Mama?" and "Why, Mama?" I really need to try and get her little voice recorded. Sometimes I wonder if she's really related to Rowan and Niamh. On Saturday the only thing she ate for dinner was green beans and pile after pile of plain shredded lettuce. Yum.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Chocolate Pie For All

Chocolate Pie

Happy National Pie Day! Okay, I'm not really that on top of things. Nor do I really care that much that it's National Pie Day, as much as I love pie. But I happened to see it mentioned on Facebook as I was preparing to write this post, and thought it was a mildy interesting coincidence.

Anyway, In summer of 2001 Pat and I discovered one of our favorite desserts in the May/June issue of Cook's Illustrated. Their chocolate cream pie became something we made for many, many special and not-so-special occasions. After Niamh was old enough to care if she was eating the same dessert as us or not we stopped making it very often because of the eggs. But then (!!!!) a week or so ago I saw a vanilla pudding post on Smitten Kitchen which led me over to her chocolate pudding and chocolate pudding pie recipes. Both eggless! I don't know why it never occurred to me that puddings can be made without eggs.

I made the pudding straight away, but waited until Pat returned from his latest business trip before making the pie. I ended up using the crust recipe from CI (slightly adapted), and the pudding from SK. The pie turned out really great, but Pat and I both agreed that it didn't seem quite as chocolate-y as the CI custard/pudding recipe. I think next time I'll add the chocolate according the the CI recipe.

All in all, thumbs up. It was the perfect addition to movie night on Friday. And we're thrilled to be able to make our favorite (one of, that is) dessert again!

Movie Night Pile Up
clearly, not everyone was riveted by Astro Boy

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Instagram Experimentation

little tiger

I've been playing around this past week with a new photo app called Instagram. I love the filters, but I'm not sure about many other aspects of it. It does not save photos at full resolution, which is a huge downside since I like to print out iPhone photos. The photos do look great on the screen though, so I'll print one or two out just to see how less than full resolution photos look. It's supposed to be a great way to share pictures easily and interact with other photographers by posting your photo simultaneously to many different places besides Instagram. It was fine for Flickr. But when the thumbnail posted to your Facebook wall is clicked on you are rerouted to an Instagram site, instead of the photograph simply being enlarged. And between Flickr, Facebook, and this blog do I really need another place to keep up with?

In looking at other people's photos I notice that there are indeed a bizarre number of cat shots. Also quite a few photos that I'm skeptical were taken with an iPhone. Such as fairly close and detailed moon shots, as well as pictures with a lot of bokeh. Of course there's no iPhone-only rule, but in a photo app like that one kind of expects to be looking only at iPhone photography.

In spite of all that I'm going to give it another couple of weeks. I'm @emilyfrances for anyone who wants to experiment with me.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Eagles In Socks

Three Eagles in Socks BW

The kids went outside to play this morning and when I looked out the kitchen window a bit later I noticed that nobody had their shoes on anymore. Yes, it is mid-January. Yes, there is still some snow on the ground (can you see it by the fence?). No, it was not above fifty degrees. My first instinct was to open the door and order them to get their shoes on immediately. But they they were running back and forth so joyously I instead opened the door to take a picture. When they saw me they said "Look Mama, we're eagles!"

A little bit later they tried to convince me that it was perfect weather for getting in their swimsuits and running through the sprinkler. "We want to be fresh and cool!" "It would be like a bath outside!" There were some very sad faces when they realized no amount of reasoning was going to convince me say yes.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mean Old Bear

Summer Sunrise in Colorado
summer sunrise in Colorado

Rowan (screaming at me):

"You are mean, mean, MEAN, like a mean old bear!"

Hmmm...maybe old photos from the summer where everything looks peaceful with help give me some zen today. I hope the worst thing he ever calls me is a mean old bear. No? Well, as long as I'm looking at summer sunrises, I might as well indulge other wishful thoughts.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Neevie-roo's Turn

Sweet Neevie-roo

Niamh, a few months back, said a few things which I wrote down in order to not forget:

"I wish the moon would fly down to us in the car so I could hold him."

And when I asked her to please stop growing:

"If I stay four years old I will never get to have a birthday and everyone else will die and then there will be nobody to cook me dinner."

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Dinner Questions

Rowan, last night at dinner:

"Do they speak English in Hawaii?"

I had barely finished answering this question, when it was followed by:
"How does the Easter Bunny move...or walk?"

Then, a little later (after worrying a bit, for the one thousandth time, if the Easter Bunny comes to the United States):
"Do bats hibernate or do they come out every night?"

"Where is heaven?"
When I said that nobody knows he said
"Maybe the computer can tell us where heaven is."

Monday, January 10, 2011

Even Suburbia Is Pretty When It Snows

Berry & Popcorn Garland

The kids and I made this garland for the birds and squirrels mid-December, and I was totally disgusted to come back from our trip to see that not one berry or kernel of popcorn had been touched. Anyway, it snowed quite a bit yesterday which was fun for the children, but has me worried about driving the next couple of days.

Rowan in the Snow

Niamh in the Snow

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Breaking His Mama's Heart

Rowan's Family

Rowan adores the desk that is under the new loft bed we got for him when we moved back to the States. It's almost always very messy, strewn with things like pencils, markers, coloring books, stickers, prizes from school, tooth fairy dust in a baggie, and lots and lots of airplane and train tickets that he's collected from various travelers. Every time I try and talk him into tossing a few of the tickets he protests so strongly that I can't help but relent and let him keep them.

The newest addition to his desk is the family photo we sent with him on his first day of kindergarten. It came back home this week in his Friday folder, and when he saw it he immediately wanted to put it up in his room. But he said that it made him sad to look at it because he never wants to leave us. He's been talking about going away to college off and on this past week. I'm not sure what has prompted it. Maybe Toy Story 3, which the kids got for Christmas. Maybe saying goodbye to our families after the holidays were over. Maybe something else entirely. At any rate, it's been on his mind. Yesterday morning he came quietly downstairs with his alleegah in his hand and told me again that looking at the family picture makes him so sad because he loves me so much and never wants to leave. As he leaned into my shoulder his eyes filled with tears and I'm pretty sure my heart broke.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Winter Morning at Lake Loveland

Niamh Throwing Dirt
Tomorrow it's supposed to get pretty cold for a few days, so I figured today would be a good day to get the kids out of the house for a bit. The lake is pretty well frozen over, and there were even people out in the middle of it, but I was too nervous to let the kids go out much further than Niamh is in the above photo. It's been warmish the past couple days and I couldn't stop thinking about books I'd read as a child where someone would go through the ice on a frozen lake/pond.

There was a lot of this:

Muriel Jumping on the Lake

Which of course led to some of this:
Slippery Ice

But I don't think it bothered them much.
rowan in the middle of loveland lake

We even spotted some wildlife on the other side of the street. As we were watching the big flock of geese/ducks/birds a man came up to me and excitedly showed me the wood duck he spotted which he hadn't seen in years. I'm afraid it was lost on me, but I figured I had better take a picture for Bumpa.

Wood Duck

The kids were much more excited about the fat, round squirrel who was scampering through the snow and up the trees. We saw ducks and geese all the time at the lake in Morges, but I don't think we ever once saw a squirrel, which still seems strange to me.

A Squirrel!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Home Sweet Home

Flying from Porland, OR to Denver on a Clear Winters Day
It was an unusually clear day on Sunday when we flew out of Portland, OR on our way back to Colorado. There were four peaks visible which we think (but are not certain) are: Hood, St. Helens, Rainier, and Adams.

Well, I'm not so sure about the sweet part of the title, as we were all pretty sad to leave the Pacific Northwest, but it is nice to be back in our own space after two weeks of travelling. We spent Christmas day and the week before with my whole family at my older sister's house near Portland. The day after Christmas we headed up to Washington where we rented a house in West Seattle for the week and got to visit with Pat's family in Tacoma and our friends in Seattle. There were of course a few bumps (we may or may not have brought some sort of 24 hour stomach bug with us to Portland), but overall it was a really great trip.

It's been kind of crazy since we got back with trying to get the house organized again (Christmas stuff is still up and it's driving me crazy!), a bunch of appointments on Monday, and then me having minor dental surgery yesterday. I now have a shiny new front tooth to replace the one I ran into a parking meter with when I was eight years old. I never thought I'd say this, but, please--no. more. ice cream.

Anyway, so for now here are a few very random iPhone photos. Will hopefully be getting to the others this week!

Smooches for Ila B.
Niamh & her new cousin Ila

Disgruntled Ila B.
Disgruntled Ila B.

Train Around the Tree at the Pittock Mansion
Christmas tree at the Pittock Mansion

Christmas at the Pittock Mansion
Another Christmas scene at the Pittock Mansion

Seattle Bound!
To Seattle!!!

Muriel at the Museum of Flight
Muriel at the Museum of Flight

Muriel and her new BFF, Jay
While in Seattle Muriel attached herself to our friend Jay

Headed into the Harry Potter Exhibit
Waiting to get into the Harry Potter Exhibit at the Pacific Science Center