Jane at gymnastics

Over the summer Jane told me she'd like to try gymnastics, so we signed her up and she started in the fall.

She LOVES it!

Yesterday was "camera day" when parents are allowed to come into the gym and take pictures. It was dark in there and she was moving quickly, so you'll have to excuse the "grainyness" of the pictures (I'm still hoping to get a fast lens one day.)

 Pay no attention to this "photobombing child" who was running for her turn!


 I'd kind of like to do this myself -
bouncing down the length of the trampoline doing straddle jumps ...

... then landing in the giant foam pit.

Pivot turns on the beam.

Even as she falls, she smiles.

Handstands on the beam.

Looking at those long, lanky legs I realized that even though I am the shortest of my siblings - I must be a "carrier" of height because she definitely gets those from my side of the family!


Article of Faith Stars

Back in January the Primary President issued a challenge to the senior primary kids in our ward to memorize all 13 Articles of Faith. Junior primary children could also do it if they wished, but it was not a challenge given to them. Once they had they could earn a prize - a box containing 13 star shaped, yellow frosted sugar cookies.

We had several older kids do it throughout the year. One other girl in Jacob's class finished at the end of November and Jacob and Jane finished last week - just in the nick of time. Jane was the only junior primary child to pass them off.

I was the presidency member who made the treat boxes each time, so I was so pleased to be able to make the final two for Jacob & Jane. So proud of them!


Sandy Hook: "Evil did not win."

One year ago Rick had just left to take Emily to an away swim meet for 2 days. Jacob was home sick, resting on the couch & watching TV. I was in the kitchen working on holiday baking. My phone rang, and it was my sister in law Mindy. She had seen the news and was calling to see if my kids were OK. I didn't know what she was talking about. She sobbed out the words ... and by the end of the call I was in tears too.

Having Jacob at home, I did not turn on the TV, but rather searched on my phone, horrified and heartbroken, trying not to have any visible reaction that would alert Jacob to the situation.
The only one of my children in school that day was my little Jane. My 1st grader - just the same age as those lost, in a school just like theirs, in a town just like theirs. I stifled sobs and fought the urge to rush up to the school and carry her home. Safe with me.

As a mother, every single time I have thought of the victims of Sandy Hook in the year since, tears have welled up in my eyes. I cannot begin to imagine the pain the families feel.

The Parker's are in my Stake and spoke at the adult session of our  Stake Conference this fall. I was touched by their testimony and am absolutely humbled by their faith.

This video is so encouraging. My absolute favorite part is -

"God allowed others to kill His Son. He allows for us all to make our own choices, good and bad. Because that's the only way good can be in us - is if we freely choose it over all else."

The families of Sandy Hook victims did not want a memorial but asked that people give acts of kindness & service instead. I am trying hard to fulfill that wish and allowing the good to lift my spirit.


Snow Day

So, the kids had their first snow day of the year today. They had a 90 minute delay yesterday. It's ridiculous what they call a snow day for here - and usually it's before a single flake has even fallen. At least this snow day actually had some snow! Honestly, I don't mind a snow day because I love an extra day with my kids - it's the days they tack onto the end of the year to make up for it that kills me!

The chickens weren't quite sure what to make of it. The snow stuck to the outside of their pen and made a little snow house for them.

We didn't get that much but they still had fun playing in the backyard.

Jane & Ciara made a snowman they (naturally) named "Olaf."

They built him on a sled, so he would be portable, which was brilliant.

Then when they finished playing with him, they "parked" him in the lacrosse goal to protect him until they wanted to play with him again.

Jacob & the neighbor boys sledded for hours.
I did go out and remind them not to make their jump heading into the tree or large boulders!

Love this kid SO much!

I was supposed to have a Primary Presidency meeting in the morning but with the snow day (and one of the ladies throwing up toddlers) we decided to do a phone conference instead. The kids went out to play and I got on my call. Two hours later when our meeting was finished the kids were outside still playing happily and I realized "This is it! Part of being in the sweet spot." They are old enough to really entertain themselves outside for a good length of time in the snow! We are past the days of gearing them up and them coming back in 15 minutes later - only to want to go back out 30 minutes after that.

Life is pretty good. Especially on a snow day.



Rick called me just before Thanksgiving.

Rick: "Don't be mad" he said.
"And don't tell me it was a waste of money, or that I should have checked with you first."
Me: What did you do?"
Rick: "I bought an iRobot."

Seriously! I told him those things never work and it was a waste of money and this is what happens when he is bored & online.

It arrived and Rick excitedly charged up the battery and got it going. He tried washing with it too. Then he re-charged the battery and used it again.
Guess what? I LOVE it. The "wash" setting is pretty much useless but as a Swiffer - it is amazing! We used the cloths it came with at first but I wasn't cycling through washing them fast enough, so now we have switched to disposable Swiffer cloths.
It is a wonder at picking up all the dog hair. I pretty much keep it going non-stop. As soon as it's recharged, I set it up again, even while we sleep.

A few days later Jane said something about looking for "Lucky." 

Me; Who's Lucky?
J: The floor robot. I named him Lucky.
Me; Why Lucky?
J: Because you weren't sure you were going to like him, so he was Lucky to get the job.

Having Lucky around sure makes it easier to have Millie around.
Welcome to the family, Lucky!


Last Day of School 2012 / 2013

I usually meet my kids off the bus on the last day of school and take pictures of them getting off. This year all 3 kids went straight home with friends. I guess it's just a sign of them growing up (sigh.)

The Mom's of Jacob & Jane's play dates both were kind enough to send me pictures.

Jacob went for FroYo with his buddy Jack before heading to play.

Jane & Nora with the school yearbook. Love these cute friends.

I also usually get the backpacks and lunch boxes right into the washing machine and cleaned and packed away on the last day too - but our washing machine is broken and we are waiting for part. Teaching me flexibility, I suppose.

Welcome summer - we have been anxiously waiting for you!



It has been pouring rain for several days. When I took the kids to school Friday morning I told them that I was 99% sure that soccer practice would be cancelled and 99% sure that the Cub Scout Camping trip would be cancelled but that meant I was 99% sure we could go out to dinner as a family and go see the new movie "Epic".

I was right - everything was cancelled that day and it was still bucketing down when the kids got home from school. I checked on movie times and we arranged to meet Rick at P.F Chang's for dinner. We had a great time out as a family & seeing the movie.

We arrived home around 9pm. It was still pouring and pitch black outside. J&J had fallen asleep in the car on the way home. I asked Emily to take Millie out and Rick to take Jacob & I would take Jane. We all hurried into the house, we got the Little's settled into bed and then Em into bed too. I am Em's lacrosse team manager and we had a CONNY Tournament the following day at Yale. The rain had necessitated a bunch of changes to the fields available and game schedule, so I spent a little while sending out e-mails and updates to the team. I cleaned up a little bit downstairs and headed to the bathroom to brush my teeth. Rick called out from bed "Did you check on the chicks?" "Why" I asked. He replied that he could hear a lot of squawking. I ran downstairs and grabbed a flashlight on my way. We had moved them into the garage a few days earlier. They were getting so stinky in my office. They had the brooder lamp still outside, and I had put a mesh net over the brooder box to keep them from hopping out. The weather was getting warmer and the garage is warmer than outside, so I figured they'd be fine.

As I opened the door to the garage, I noticed the net was off. Then I saw that the big garage door had been left open. Oh no, I thought, they got out. I looked in the brooder and there were NO chicks. Rick had followed me downstairs and I heard him ominously say "Tania ...." I looked around and saw that he was pointing to blood and feathers on the garage floor. My heart sank! I ran into the rain and searched around in the dark with the flashlight. I couldn't see anything. Honestly, I don't know what I was expecting to find. Would I have wrestled a chick from a fox or raccoon??

I headed back into the garage and we found Brooke hiding behind the garage shelves. We caught her and put her back in the box. I searched under the cars and behind everything with the flashlight hoping to find more but to no avail. We made sure the garage was secure and went to bed where I sobbed and sobbed. I knew the kids would be devastated in the morning and dreaded breaking their hearts. I felt awful that we had stewardship over those poor little chicks and had let them down. What an awful way to die! We thought it was probably raccoons. We didn't think a fox would be brazen enough to enter the garage. I was mad at Rick and blamed him for not closing the garage door down (he swore he had.) It was a sad night.

I broke the news to the kids as soon as they woke up. I didn't want them to go outside and see that only 1 was there. They were really upset and there were more tears. Emily said that Dad HAD closed down the garage but as she was coming in with Millie, the dog had run under the closing door & the sensor had made it go back up. She hadn't thought it was a big deal and had just come inside.

She went outside to see Brooke and burst back in through the mudroom door calling "MOM, OPAL IS ALIVE!!!"
We rushed to the garage to see that Opal was indeed in the garage and hiding under one of the cars. I carefully backed one out, then we shooed her and backed out the other & we caught her and put her back in with Brooke. I have no idea where that little chick was hiding. I had searched all over the night before.I was thinking she might have even huddled somewhere outside and then come back in that morning when I opened the door. Wherever she was hiding, I am sure glad she was there!

A hard lesson in having animals learned by us all. Emily was the most upset, so I left it up to her to decide if she wanted to replace them right away or wait until next Spring. She said we could get new chicks ... so on we go.

Here are a few pics I took days before "the tragedy."





Another One Bites the Dust.

I was so sad to see Jane's baby teeth go. So much more so than my other kids. I think being the youngest makes all of her lasts so final - my very last time EVER that I will nurse, the very last time EVER, that I will have a kid in pre-school, the very last time EVER to have a baby tooth smile in our house.....  I LOVE sweet little baby teeth smiles.

I took Jacob to the doctor this afternoon and left Jane playing and swimming at the neighbors. When I got home she ran to show me that another had fallen out.

Two little windows for her tongue to poke through.

This is what I get for saying "Open your mouth and show me the gap." Goofy girl.

 She's still gorgeous!

From the Garden

I didn't get around to thinning my strawberries this year. I am planning on adding a whole bunch of raised beds. For a multitude of reasons, the beds I thought would be done in April, are still not even started. Life is too busy! Sigh. Anyway, I was going to thin the strawberries as I moved them to the new beds. Since I kept thinking that was imminent ....

Now we have LOTS of strawberries and I think we will probably pick at least this many each day for a good while. I knew they wouldn't be large, due to my neglect but hoped they would at least be good. They are very juicy and sweet and after a quick rinse are perfect for topping cereal or adding to a salad and you can't beat picking them at the peak of ripeness and eating them within minutes.



I haven't been to any of Jacob's baseball games this season. Since Emily's lacrosse usually conflicts and I am the lacrosse team manager, I have always been at lacrosse during baseball. Today was the lacrosse jamboree - a crazy busy day for lacrosse with 36 visiting teams and Emily's team playing 4 games. Surprisingly, but they happened to have a break after their first game and Jacob also just happened to be playing on the field just over from where Emily played, so I managed to get over to his game.

He was the Catcher when I arrived.

I don't know that baseball is really going to be Jacob's sport. He's not the most attentive kid in the world and there's just not enough action for him in baseball. He likes when he's up at bat but that is such a minimal part of the overall game. He just can't pay attention when he's in the outfield - there's just nothing happening out there most of the time. Rick would like him to play a couple more seasons to be sure he has a good understanding of the game (it is after all "America's pastime") but he's already done a few years of T-ball and baseball last year. Not sure he'll be up for it again next year.

 Could he look any more bored here?

He spent most of his time making lines and swirl shapes in the sand with his cleats. After calling out "Jacob, watch the game" or "Jacob, pay attention" a dozen or so times, I found myself 1/2 wishing the ball would hit him in the head to teach him a lesson!

 Finally the ball did come his way and he threw it back with great gusto!

Then it was his turn at bat. He dragged the bat out behind him.
Seriously, what is with him and playing in the sand?

 He gave it a pretty solid hit on the first pitch.

 Watching him run the bases was the most attention I'd seen him play all game and very cute.

The "slide" into home plate was clearly his favorite.
No wonder those pants come home filthy every week.

Love this boy!


New York Botanic Gardens

We are frequent visitors at the New York Botanic Gardens but I have only been once without my kids - with Corinne to see the train show about 4 or 5 years ago ... or maybe I did have one or two of them and they were in a stroller, I can't remember!

I went today without them for a class I am taking and it was divine.



Then it started to rain, so we went into the Conservatory for their current exhibit.


If it hadn't been pouring, I would have gone outside to get some better pictures of these great and weird sculptures they had. They made me think of Ents!

 In the name of good parenting I'll keep taking the kids but I'm definitely going there again by myself!