Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Clean Up

Our home is a five year old birthday wasteland today. There are gift bags littered about the living room. Lucy got into some tissue paper and tore it up, little tiny pieces of confettied tissue paper are strewn about. Gifts lay where they were last played with. There are dishes to be done. Dinner for 9 is cleaned up incrementally. Decorations to take down. Generally speaking our house was trashed yesterday and now it is time that I clean up.

Please enjoy this photo of Lucy while I set to work.


Monday, September 29, 2014

Cordelia Turns Five

Here it is. Today she turns five. Seems like a big milestone, she is shrugging off the last bit of babyhood and taking that first bold step into full blown childhood. How did we get here? Oh my how time has flown by with this amazing little girl. And, she is so much more than a little girl. Cordelia is so very bright. She is reading and writing and making art. She is full of unbridled passion which is mostly a fantastic trait; she is learning how to make that passion work for her and trying her hardest to harness those big feelings she has.

cordelia

Cordelia is so very loving. I seriously don't know a sweeter spirit. She loves very deeply and she will let you know it. Most days she tells me no fewer than 50 times how thankful she is to be my daughter or how lucky she is to have such a great family. She does this with everyone she loves! We certainly didn't train her to be this way, it's just Cordelia.

She is so funny. So funny. Her quirky sense of humor is always making us laugh. Oh, and her laugh is just this magical sound that can bring a smile to the most somber of faces.

She loves fashion and plans outfits for each and every day.

Cordelia is an amazing big sister. She always works to include Elise, holding her hand, teaching her sister. I often sit back in wonder at these two sisters and thank the heavens for this sweet bond that is developing.

Cordelia turned us into parents and every single day that has passed since the moment she has entered this world has been a gift to us. We love her completely, all that she is.Happy birthday to our big five year old!

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We actually celebrated her birthday on Saturday with a party for friends. The first friends on her list were her three preschool teachers who were so very kind to show up on their day off! She also invited many friends that she has acquired over the five years she has been on this planet. Since we can never really gauge how big these things will be (one kid + parent(s) + siblings) we decided to keep it rather mellow. We put out all of the fun stuff we had and planned one organized activity. The result was no fuss and a nice fall afternoon.

 We watched as she played and enjoyed a crazy backyard party. She did manage two dresses for one party.

waiting for party
Waiting for the guests to arrive.

sign
Eric made a sign to keep kids off of the stairs and Cordelia proudly walked each guest by the sign.

cake
She requested a purple cake and I was happy to oblige.

blowing out candle
Blowing out her candle

cutting cake
Cutting the cake

cake
Cake

darah
Sarah is awesome and the world should know this.

pinata
Cordelia with the pinata.

elise pinata
Elise taking a whack at the pinata.

laura and dad
My father and our good friend/super amazing human/ borrowed sister Laura.

mom and elise
My mother and Elise. My mom helped with Elise for the whole party, so I could hostess more easily...not that she had a choice, Elise (and Cordelia) adores my mother!

eric
Eric

dad with the girls
My dad with the girls. He is an amazing grandfather.

cordelia and sadie
Cordelia and  Sadie


Later today the family will be over to celebrate with her favorite meal vegan pigs in a blanket. Should be a fantastic day for a wonderful girl.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sunday Quote: Innocence


When we are children we seldom think of the future. This innocence leaves us free to enjoy as few adults can. 
~Patrick Rothfuss

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Teepee Painting

The other day I was hanging out in the back yard with the girls. They can play together back there all afternoon. Often times their play involves running back and forth from the bench to the teepee and then to their little slide thing. They giggle a lot. Sometimes there are monsters chasing them. Sometimes there is a tornado coming. Mostly though, they are princesses (yep, it is impossible to avoid Princess play) and they have many kingdoms to watch over.

I absolutely adore this time. I step back and let them be kids. Honestly this is one of the best parts of parenthood, watching your kids play and create and enjoy each other.

Generally now I am not wanted or needed during these times. I just work on the yard, paint, rake leaves, whatever. I only intervene when requested. The other afternoon was one such time. The girls were a bit bored/hungry/cranky. I pulled out some paints and handed them over to each girl and let them paint all over  their teepee. Instant distraction!


Cordelia had a game plan. Elise just went crazy!


A good hour was burned as they painted on their awesome teepee. For the record we have gotten so much use out of this simple teepee. I highly recommend that you try one.


Cordelia wrote me a message,"Love Mom."


Nice afternoon distraction.


Have a beautiful Saturday. 




Friday, September 26, 2014

Phone Photo Friday

We have had such a lovely week here in Wyoming. The weather has been gorgeous with golden afternoons. I hope you have had a lovely week as well. Please enjoy my weekly phone photo dump.


Last Friday the girls, my mother, and I drove to Gillette to see family. We stayed the night with my grandma Grace and had a lovely time visiting with my aunt Tina and cousin Stephanie.


Cordelia had a great time, but she totally crashed the following afternoon.


Elise and I


Eric and Elise, waiting for Cordelia.


Cordelia in the backyard.


Betty Sprinkles 


Playing at a new park.



Cool and casual with my shades on indoors.


Tree in the backyard. I was trying to take a picture of the squirrel that Cordelia has named Frisbee.


Nap.





Thursday, September 25, 2014

Best Friends

So this adorable friendship has really taken off. The cuteness is constant and nearly unbearable! Lucy and Betty both seek each other out and play all throughout the day! Lucy is wild and bold, Betty is gentle and goofy. They are good together!









Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Coconut Cookies

Cookies! Need I say more? Probably not, but I will anyway. This recipe is another moved over from Rooted Vegan.

Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Coconut Cookies by rootedvegan.com

I didn't know how to bake at all before 2009. What happened in 2009? Well, I found out I was pregnant. I realized that, as a mother of a vegan kid, I would need to learn to bake. You see every time my children go to non-vegan birthday parties I am able to bring along some amazing cupcakes, cakes, cookies, treats, whatever. I always check with the parents first, as a courtesy and they are generally grateful for extra food. My kids get to eat junk food like the rest of them and feel normal, plus I am often asked for recipes---spreading the vegan word!

Now I am unstoppable, people on diets have requested that I stop bringing delicious cookies to their homes as they cannot resist my treats. OK more for me and mine!

Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Coconut Cookies by rootedvegan.com

2 1/2 c flour
3 tsp EnerG Egg Replacer combined with 4 T warm water
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c brown sugar
1/2 c cugar
1 c vegan margarine
1 c quick oats
1/2 c raisins
1/2 c shredded sweetened coconut flakes

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
2. In a large bowl combine the flour, baking soda, powder, salt, cinnamon.
3. In a separate bowl combine the Ener G Egg Replacer mixture, vanilla, margarine. Cream in the sugars.
4. Combine the margarine mixture and flour mixture.Mix completely.
5. Add the oats, mix. Add the raisins, mix, Add the coconut, mix.
6. Place rounded spoonfuls (I use a soup spoon) onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden.
Makes 3-4 dozen depending upon the size of the spoon.
Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Cultivating Kindness

 cloud

A few months back I was in a store and the check out lady was being very difficult. Normally I just shrug off this type of behavior as the product of something that happened in the person's day and move on with my life. Unfortunately I was also having a rough day and I wasn't my best self. Don't get me wrong, I didn't make a scene or throw a fit, that's not me. I was, however, sarcastic and clearly annoyed. I left the store angry with her, angry with myself. I stewed about it for ages. Initially I was just super upset with the woman (what she did is really of no consequence though), but I began to wonder why-if she was in the wrong- was I feeling so terrible for days after the event. Eventually my head cleared enough of the emotional debris that clutters a tense moment. I reminded myself that I had no way to control that woman and her bad attitude. The only control I have is my reaction and that day my reaction was sarcasm, the lamest reaction to have. Clearly not a great revelation, but a good reminder.

Slowly I have let that moment pass into my memory as a learning experience. Well, that is until last week when I spotted the woman and her young daughter at a thrift store. My initial reaction was a desperate need to escape any contact with her. Then I thought about how long I had pondered this encounter. I felt bad for losing my cool and forgetting that she has her own problems, which had clearly spilled over into my world.  I took a deep breath and  with my two girls in the shopping cart I walked right over to her. I was most certainly prepared for a second dose of her bad attitude, but I needed to get something out there. I took a deep breath and said, "A few months ago I went through your line and I was not my best self. It has been bothering me ever since and I am sorry." 

She looked surprised. She smiled. She said, "No big deal." And that was that. She didn't return the apology and that was fine, I didn't want her apology.  I just needed to move past my moment of negativity. Our daughters spoke for a moment. Her daughter was four, close in age to Cordelia, but she clearly had some sort of disability. I looked at that woman and smiled, wishing her a nice day and then we left. My heart was a bit lighter. I got the instant reminder that each person is fighting their own battle, and that is something I can't afford to forget.

Cordelia asked me about the experience and I explained in simple terms what had happened. I want my girls to see that it is OK to make mistakes and to just move forward, growing beyond them. If I teach my children nothing else in this life I do hope that I am able to teach them the importance of simple kindness. I want them to see me do my very best to be kind and I want them to follow suit. To that end our family has started a new practice. Every night at dinner we are sharing something kind that we did for another, this isn't a brag moment, just a way to keep our family focused. Cordelia really understands and is excited. Elise kind of gets the idea at age two. So with her Eric and I will help her recall something she has done like helping me cook dinner or putting away her toys or giving her grandpa a big hug.We know that at the end of the day we will be asked to report something small that we did for another, a compliment, a door held, whatever. Hopefully this will help us all to remember that kindness is important every day. This is also a way that we can give our children positive feedback for their good deeds, however small they may be.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Elise's First Ride

Elise is our adventurous child. She is ready to try most anything and she is fairly confident that she can do anything that anyone else can do. Never mind the fact that she weighs in at 22 lbs and is only two years old.

Yesterday at dinner Eric mentioned that Elise is probably ready to try the tricycle. She absolutely lost her mind when he brought it up; she was so far beyond excited. So obviously we had to follow through. Eric pulled the dusty covered pink and purple tricycle from the back of the garage where it has been waiting since Cordelia graduated to her big girl bike. The tricycle had originally been a second birthday gift to Cordelia, now she was so pleased to pass it down to her little sister.

Elise first bike ride
Don't worry her helmet will be properly adjusted, nobody send me an angry email!

Elise hopped on like a pro and was so ready to go. She got the concept of peddling. Elise was pretty sure that she should be able to go out on her own, but her father was closely watching...thankfully, as she was definitely in "go" mode. Steering the tricycle was certainly not on the top of her list.

Elise first bike ride

Cordelia rode up ahead, battling the ridiculously poufy dress that she insisted on wearing.

Sisters on the go. How will we ever keep up?

sisters

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sunday Quote: Second Spring


Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.
~Albert Camus

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Up Close and Personal

Cordelia

Sisters

Elise

Bumblebee

Betty

Lucy
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