Archive for March, 2008

imagine that

This scrumptious quote came in one of my birthday cards this past week and I have to share it with you:

“I do not think the resemblance between the Christian and the merely imaginative experience is accidental. I think that all things, in their way, reflect heavenly truth, the imagination not the least.”

–C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy

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The following contains photographs of a potentially disturbing nature. Please be assured that no small children were seriously harmed during the taking of these photographs.

Here is HungryMan doing his pre-sledding warm-up, primarily comprised of decapitating today’s snowman.


Once properly stretched, he loaded the family in our car and drove to the hill of his sledding legends.


“Was this your hill when you were little, Daddy”

“Yes, but I think it was bigger back then.”


“What are you doing Daddy?”

“Well little girl, I’m turning this sledding hill up to eleven.”

After a few short runs, HungryMan grew dissatisfied with the smooth flight down the hill. Determined to give Ava the experience that he remembered, HungryMan fortified the sledding hill with a ski jump.


“Whoopeee! Yes. Yes. Yes!”


“Again! We gotta do that again!”

Nate is a firm believer in what doesn’t kill you is fun.


“But Daddy, is it safe?”

“No it’s not safe, it’s dangerous!”


“Hang on Ava!”


“This. Is. Awesome!”


Whoopsie daisies”



“We’re still good.”

Last time I checked “Stop, Drop, and Roll” did not involve snow or MY three-year-old.


“Oh sweetie, did you get some snow in your face?”

It’s kind of like the log ride minus the log and safety features. Apparently HungryMan is looking for a new title, how about DangerMan?

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When I mentioned the refreshing nature of white space yesterday, this isn’t exactly what I had in mind.


But then again, I grew up here.

So what do you possibly do with a world of white?


First you have to do a lot of this:


Then you go and search for the famed hill of your daddy’s childhood.


Ready. Set. Go!



In Minnesota, it’s not just harsh weather, but harsh conditions. Three-year-olds must carry their own sleds up the steep hills.


Even when the snow is up to their knees. Uff-da!


Oh, but look at the rewards.


(Don’t let the picture fool you, this girl flies.)



Yes and wonderful in every wintry way (wait…wasn’t yesterday the first day of spring).

Lest you think that sledding with daddy is anything short of an adventure, ask yourself how the snow got on top of Ava’s hat. Oh, and check back tomorrow.

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look friends, no pile


Hurray, the pile has met the same fate as the snow.

Oh, just look at that all that clean open space.

And I promise there was absolutely no stashing involved. The books are returned. The mail is sent. The packages are ready. The artwork is sorted. The necessary has been filed. The unnecessary has been recycled.

And I even managed to shut the cupboards before snapping a picture.

Who knew white space could be so refreshing?

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When I first started this post (before WordPress lost several of my drafts) I intended it to be a funny story about Ava and how she is learning about life through books. Now it’s a not-so-funny story about how I’m learning through Ava and her books about life.

Take a quick gander over at the side bar at the recently published posts. There are literally three times that number of posts in the draft section of my blog and would be more if WordPress hadn’t decided to shave off a few. And that’s just blog writing projects. I have creative writing projects, crafty projects, house remodeling projects, organizational projects, cleaning projects, correspondence– I’m up to my ears in projects. And frankly I’m not making a whole lot of progress. I am, however, continually coming up with new ideas for new projects as if this is helpful. When the balance of the ideas starts to tip strongly to the uncompleted side, my mood starts to slide in the downward direction.

And this heap, well it’s about to send me into the depths of despair.

(Please note the open drawers and cupboard–one of my many endearing qualities, just ask Nate.)

Actually, I hid the pile in a Steve Madden shopping bag two weeks ago. Someone must have added a couple packets of yeast, because it doubled in size and is now taking up an entire place setting at my dining room table. Talk about an unwelcome guest.


Oh it’s hideous. A couple of weeks ago, my friend Christa asked other moms to share pictures of their messes in attempt to dispel the myths of perfectionism. There it is, Christa. Not that this is shocking as this blog is open source chronicle of my imperfections.

Somewhere in this heap is the medical bill and the lawn service bill that Nate asked me to mail ten days ago. There are stickers in there for the daily job chart I was going to make Ava months ago. There is also a library book I needed to return yesterday as well as the embroidery floss needed to complete the baby gift I still haven’t mailed. If you look closely you will see an ad that expired on Valentine’s Day. I probably don’t need to state that we are passed the midway mark in March. And taking up the bulk of the mess are heaps and heaps of Ava’s art projects.

People, I have never thought of myself as a saver, yet I have so much trouble throwing away Ava’s art. It’s ridiculous, but that’s another post.

Suffice it to say, this pile is driving me to write about it, not actually fix it, but write about it.

So let’s see if we (or just I) can learn from Ava and her recent life lesson.

A few weeks ago, I was in the kitchen slicing apples when I heard a little voice in Ava’s room say, “I’m down in the dumps. I’m down in the dumps….I’m down in the dumps!”

I walked toward her room and found her standing the midst of tutus, undershirts, plastic ponies, glitter wands, pink bottles, lacing cards, and pocket-sized princesses. “Blah! I’m down in the dumps.”

“You’re down in the dumps?”

“Yep, like Toad,” she said picking her Frog and Toad book out of heap.

She explained the state of her room (as though it wasn’t obvious) and how it was just like Toad’s room. We talked about how upsetting it was to have a messy room and that it wasn’t fun to play or sleep in a mess. We reviewed the story together, how Toad didn’t want to clean his room, but he couldn’t enjoy himself knowing that he would have to clean it later.

“Maybe if I put away all my jammies,” she said echoing Toad’s line, “I won’t have to do it later, will I?”

“No, you won’t.”

She starting sorting the matching tops and bottoms out of the heap and stuck them in their drawer.

“And if I pick up all my books, I won’t have to it later, right?”

“Right,” I said, as I helped her put her books on her shelf.

“If I pick up all my barrettes and tails now, then I wouldn’t have to later, will I?”

“No, you won’t.”

And with the hope of clean room set out before her, Ava cheerfully put away all the things in her room with increasing expectation and excitement. As though she was sent forth as a continual object lesson, she demonstrated how to tackle a project one piece at a time. In what seemed like merely moments, Ava was twirling around a delightfully organized room.

“Now, tomorrow I can take life easy,” Ava said throwing her arms up and landing on her bean bag.

I should hope so, you are only three.

As for me, well I still have the pile. Let’s see if I can put this lesson to practice.

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was covering our grass with a fresh fleece of snow.

I’m not sure how they managed it, but every spring-hopeful branch was wrapped in white.

Here’s a view of our neighbors back yard which Ava claims is Mr. Mcgregor’s garden.


She loves to watch our neighbor working in there and makes up stories about the bunnies who try to eat his plants. I once told my neighbor this, but he had never heard of Mr. Mcgregor or Peter Rabbit. How is this possible? The man is nearly fifty. Surely mothers read to their children then.

This mama is all about divulging into the world of talking ducks and sewing mice, as well as the foolery of irksome leprechauns.

“Their just nasty!” Ava proclaimed when she saw the chairs on top of the dining table. “Oh, I don’t like those horrible leprechauns.” Then she spied a little green shamrock sticking out of the basket pyramid and and another on the floor behind her. “Oh look what they left me,” she said racing to find another one. “Aren’t they so nice?”


Ava refused to wear green all day because she had apparently snuggled with one of leprechauns the previous night and he told her that if she didn’t wear any green that day he would give her all his gold. He was a pink and white leprechaun and by her description looked like a square.

I told her that perhaps her leprechaun wouldn’t pinch her, but what about all the other leprechaun’s. She threw up her arms at the absurdity of my question and responded, “Well mama, he told all his friends not to pinch me.”

Square or not, this leprechaun’s clearly has connections.

Thus began the day long parade of white and pink ensembles as her closet has an seemingly endless supply of white and pink. After much effort and deliberation, she finally settled on bright red tank top and a “leopard-chaun skirt, paired appropriately with “pot of gold shoes.”


She spent her day clacking her shoes on the hardwood floors and re-hiding the shamrocks, which meant I spent my day hunting for the bits of green paper I cut out late last night and listening to her tap out the morse code for “we need to get out of this HOUSE!”

I made not one, but several plans for outings. Each time we would get close to leaving, I would look out the window, see the snow, and start to pout. Clearly, I am an outstanding role model.

Finally in desperation, I stuck our dinner in the oven, shoved us both in our coats, and threw open the door to the not-so-bitter cold. Ava ran back up the stairs to retrieve a pair of green socks just in case the leprechauns outside our house weren’t of the Good ‘n Plenty variety.

We set off in our matching Uggs for the pond across the street. As we were stomping out our frustrations in the slush that is our sidewalk, I heard a sound that I hadn’t heard in nearly five months.

“Wait Ava, wait,” I said attempting to silence her boots and identify the familiar, yet nearly forgotten sound. “Ducks! I hear ducks.”

We scrambled to the edge of the pond and sure enough there were two duck couples on the pond. On the pond, not in the pond as the pond was frozen.


This by far has to be been the cruelest trick of St. Patrick’s Day.

The two green heads were waddling about the ice poking their webbed feet on the cold surface trying to find a bit of free water. One of the lady ducks was hanging her beak in despair, while the other one was loudly lamenting their poor plight. Apparently gender stereotypes transcend humans.

After sizing up the sorry situation, Ava raced down the hill waving her hands like a flight director and shouting, “Over there! You have to go to the other pond over there. There’ s another pond over across that way. You need to go over there.” She stood there waving her arms in attempt to encourage the wayward ducks to go to the other pond, which was most likely as frozen as this one.

Disgusted with the ducks unwillingness to fly east, she walked back up to me to discuss Plan B.

“Mama, we need to go back to the house to get some warm water.”

“What for?”

“So they can swim”

“In the warm water”

“Mama…so we can put the warm water in the pond and then they can swim.”

“You want to melt the ice with warm water?”

Of course she did as well as get a large supply of bread and cracker crumbs to feed the “homeless” ducks.

I hurried my little Beatrix Potter home in hopes of retrieving said supplies. By the time we rounded the last corner she was so engrossed in on our leap frog version of tag that she forgot about the poor ducks and their bitter abode. Plus I was beginning to suspect that our dinner might be done cooking.

Precision, it’s not my forte.

Sure enough, the smells of a hot tamale pie met us at the door. We slipped off our wet boots and coats, hurried up the stairs, and mashed up some avocados just in time to meet Hungry Man with a bowl of green green guacamole.

Marching around the pond while the oven heated up our dinner was by far the best trick of the day.

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I got out of bed tonight to get a glass of water only to discover that the pesky little leprechauns had already worked their mischief.


How tiny little men with pointed noses were able to move our kitchen island is beyond me. Apparently they thought the Sous Chef needed a chopping station at her height.

Of course, logic seems irrelevant when you survey the rest of the house. You probably have to have been in our home to truly assess the damage captured in these pictures. Here is dining table in the living room


and the strange basket pyramind in the dining room.


They moved Ava’s rug and table into the hallway. Perhaps to make room for the havoc that wreaked in there. I would have snapped a picture for you, but I didn’t want to wake her (or scare you).


And no picture was left right side up.


I’m not sure I’m going to get much sleep tonight knowing these irksome little creatures are running around.

Here’s hoping they left a pot of gold.

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who knew?

Inspired by the combined craftiness and cleverness of several friends, I finally pulled up my hand-me-down sewing machine from the dusty basement. After setting it up by the sunniest window in the house, I hunted down the fabric I bought nearly nine months ago for a March baby. It’s March and that little babe is scheduled to make an appearance this Monday, so it was high time to pull out the pins and put my foot to the petal.

The only problem was I haven’t sewed in years. I took my friend’s sewing machine when she moved to Manhattan five years ago with the very best intentions. Other than sewing incense cedar on eighty Christmas cards three years ago, I have not used the machine. The pile of mending that is stationed next to it should be relabeled the pile of doom or the pile of things-that-will-sit-here-until-they-are-thrown-away.

Thanks to this:


the intense 4-H training I received as a young girl, and my handy stitch-ripper, I managed to sew, resew, and resew again my way through the entire project.

I’m saving the pictures of my not-so-perfect baby gift until it has actually been gifted to the baby. I, however, do have pictures of Ava’s newest kerchief:


After finishing the present yesterday, I hadn’t had my fill of sewing. Ava was quite dismayed that the present wasn’t for her and if you haven’t noticed, I’m becoming increasingly obsessed with head scarves. After Ava went to bed, I took some extra fabric, a bit of elastic and voila:


I was so pleased with myself that I brought it to Ava in bed. She was delighted and asked to sleep with all her kerchiefs.

When I peeked in on her before I went to bed, I found that she had converted all her scarves into sleep sacks for her smallest stuffed animals.

She’s a considerate little gypsy girl.
P.S. I don’t know when that booklet was printed, but for anyone who thinks girls’ clothes are immodest now, please take a closer look at that little girl’s dress. Really, a pair of tights or at least matching bloomers would be in order.

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sugar bandit

“Mama, did you go in my room?”


“Don’t go in my room, okay Mama.”

“Why don’t you want me to go in your room, Ava?”

“Well, you can go in my room, but don’t look behind the door.”


“Well, ’cause there’s no sugar behind the door.”


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Meet sweet Amanda,


Ava’s new cousin.


Isn’t she lovely?

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