Wednesday, September 26, 2012


I love fall. I'm not going to lie. The cooler temperatures. The changing leaves. Sweaters. Boots. I love it all. But then again, there are things about every season that I love too. I think what I love most about fall, is that it's nature's way of preparing itself for the dormancy and chill of winter before the rebirth of spring. It makes me think about some of the things we do around here, in our own lives, to prepare for the cold months ahead. Things like staying outside as long as we can, keeping the windows open, canning spaghetti sauce from the last of the summer's tomatoes, adding more soups to our weekly menu, growing our lists of books to read and movies to watch when we can't go outside.

This fall has brought some change too (don't you love the leaves above on my neighbor's tree). C started preschool last week. It's her last year. She goes for a half day, every day. This means One Ordinary Dad and B get a lot of one-on-one time.

She is reading. She is starting to understand simple addition. She is learning so much. Like the leaves changing colors, my sweet girl is changing too and will this time next year, will be a kindergartener.

B is changing too. He talks. A lot. He tries so hard to repeat everything you say. He loves book like his sister. Unlike his sister, he is into everything. Every drawer and cabinet and shelf at his level has either been emptied or emptied and then refilled with things that won't hurt him-- plastic plates, strainers, the salad spinner, junk mail. More than just about anything, my boy loves to be outside.

One Ordinary Dad is settling back into the stay-at-home parent life again. He is also back working at the beer distributor where he worked last holiday season. At that point in our lives, we could only handle his working on a temporary basis as the hours were different and we felt like passing ships. Now, the hours are better, he gets to work at something he enjoys, and we get a little extra spending money.

Which means Mommy gets some solo time with the kiddos every evening. Which is why I haven't spent as much time online updating this blog, Facebook, etc. To be honest though, I feel like I'm kind of "over" social media right now. Not in a permanent way. But, I've been having more face to face conversations and long phone calls with friends. When One Ordinary Dad is home and the kids are in bed, we've been working our way through The West Wing on DVD (I think neither of us was mature enough to care about a TV drama when it was actually on TV-- that period of our lives was consumed by Survivor, Friends, American Idol, and Seinfeld). Or we talk. Or read (and we're geeks and read parts of books and articles aloud to one another when we find them entertaining or thought-provoking). We used to sit side by side, sort of watching TV, sort of scrolling through our phones. Not so much now. It was a change that happened subtly. And one we didn't even realize was happening until we talked about it today.

Yes, I'll still update here. Yes, I still manage to scroll through Facebook once a day or so. And yes, thanks to Google Reader and Flipboard, I'm staying current with all of your blogs. But my own updates here and elsewhere are sometimes spaced far apart, the space in between filled with dance class, and reading (to the kids and my own books for me), teaching, walking, running (I'm easing back in), yoga (I've got a pretty regular at-home practice going on right now in addition to my once a week class, coffee, and conversation. It's wonderful, friends.

And I'll come right out and say it-- while everything isn't sunshine and rainbows every day, we're just at a good place right now. The changes are doing us all some good, subtle though they mostly have been-- a book picked up one night and read by a 4 year old is 5 books she can read by the end of the week; a toddler vocabulary of 20 words expands to several dozen in a matter of weeks; the fall decorations are up in the house; the Halloween shirts for the kids are purchased; dance classes have started; we're preferring warm cookies to cold ice cream for dessert. We all feel well (despite the colds and allergies that crop up this time of year), we're blessed with rest each night, we're happy most days, and well, we're just plain happy with where God has us in this season of life right now. boy LOVES that Mickey is on his shirt. :-) Yes, "Mickey" is one of his words.

So happy fall to you all. Enjoy the cooler weather. The changing leaves. And if fall brings a change or two to you, may it be a blessed one.

~One Ordinary Mom :-)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Dear Zoo

Dear Zoo,
It was a hot summer here, with most days at 90 or above. I'm not complaining, but it usually meant that we preferred the pool or air-conditioned venues like the museum over you.
 But lately, the weather has been a little cooler, sometimes not getting above 80. This week we even have some days where we won't reach 70. Bring it, fall. Apparently the cool temperature gave everyone the same idea, as the guy at the entrance told us at last count they had 9000 people there. It really didn't feel that crowded though.
 We started off with the train-- a favorite of C and B.
I know he's not smiling above, but B really does like the train. He looked like this before we boarded:
After that, we went to play with the Galapagos Turtles. B couldn't wait to see them and C thought it was cool that they were four years old, just like her.  
A statue near the turtles shows how big they will be-- this is life-size, fully grown! That's a lot of turtle!
We stopped to see a few more favorites on our way to get some ice cream.
The new Cat Canyon is pretty cool. The kids both loved seeing the sleepy Snow Leopard.  
Finally, we headed to see the Lorikeets. Miss C has been a fan of these birds since we took a trip in June 2011 to the Pittsburgh Aviary and three of them landed on her arms. Because these birds don't have a scheduled feeding time, it's hit or miss if they'll actually eat the nectar in your cup. In Pittsburgh, they had special times that they could be fed, which meant they flocked to you. One did land on Mommy's shoulder and hung out on her back for a while. Another one thought B's finger was food. B didn't cry, but was definitely startled.
We missed you, zoo. And I'm sure we'll be back for more fun now that we don't have to sweat walking up and down your hills.

In other news, C starts her first full week of school this week. She's going for a half day, every day this year. Last week she had two partial days, but the full five days starts tomorrow. I still can't believe that next year she'll be in kindergarten.

~One Ordinary Mom

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Impromptu Living Room Redo

Our couch cost us about $600 and we bought it 9 years ago. It's still in pretty good shape-- sturdy. If I had known we were going to start our family as early as we did, I probably would've opted out of the cream-color though. However, I think we bought our first slipcover for our couch after the cat hacked up one too many hairballs on it and our dog's muddy paw prints ravaged it, which was all still BC (before children).

Anyway, slipcover #2 came about a couple of years ago, right before B's birth, I think. Today I noticed that it probably couldn't stand another run through the washing machine and that elbow grease and upholstery cleaner weren't going to get a couple of stains out. I pretty much refuse to buy a new couch until we can either a.) be sure that our kids won't puke, spill, color, put muddy feet on it or b.) afford to buy one that's leather or some other easy to wipe clean material. So it was off to Home Goods to get another slipcover. I had every intention of getting another cream colored one, or maybe tan. I ended up giving my living room a mini-makeover.

People, this was not intended to be my Sunday afternoon. And because it wasn't my intention, I didn't take any before pictures. So bear with me. Here's a cell phone pic from several months ago that shows the color of slipcover #2, which is pretty much the color of the original couch.
The gray curtains came with the house. We chose the light-ish green walls. For whatever reason, I decided to go with a black slipcover. I think I figured that it would hide stains and dirt better. Plus, in the picture below, you can kind of see a chair on the right, under the window, that looks green and white. It's actually a quilt covering a black chair. My train of thought at Home Goods was that we could take the quilt off the chair (that quilt has been used as a slipcover for roughly six years) so that the couch would match.
 That only left one problem-- the Extorp chair from Ikea that is directly behind B. Luckily, they make a black slipcover for that and so I ended up making an extra trip to Ikea to get it. I mean, you might as well go all the way, right? And a pink, green, and white plaid didn't exactly go with the new color scheme. Besides, it meant C got to play in Small-Land (childcare while you shop). I bought a few other things besides slipcovers though. I got two zebra-print pillows, an LED candle lantern, a magazine rack, and a chair for B. The result?
 (Sorry, I'm lazy, pics are from my phone, so the lighting is a bit off). Below is another view.
 The gray curtains look better. The lantern in the corner gives the room a little evening ambiance. It flickers like a real candle. We already had a hook in the ceiling (sidenote: the people that owned this house BEFORE the people we bought it from were huge into plants-- we have ceiling hooks in a couple of rooms and a potting/planting shed in back of our garage). The magazine rack is a blessing. We can't keep our magazines out on the coffee table like we did BC, but throwing them in a bin somewhere B can't reach also means that One Ordinary Dad and I forget about them and end up not reading them. Now, they're convenient for us and out of lil' man's grasp (lantern, pillows, and rack also from Home Goods).

B's little black Kritter chair (from Ikea) fits right in with the Cracker Barrel rocker my parents got C when she was not quite 2. I'm really loving the black and white theme. I also went ahead and did our mantle up for fall.
 So what do you think?
We're all about impromptu in our family anyway. Thursday after school, we had an impromptu ice cream date.
 Saturday we had a little impromptu family yoga.
 And impromptu snuggle/love fests are always in style around here.
It wasn't too shabby of a Sunday. And if you'll excuse me, I'm off to curl up on my "new" couch and catch up on my magazine reading.

~One Ordinary Mom :-)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

I Have Awesome Friends

I have awesome friends.

Like Emily. Who is so passionate about fighting human trafficking that she started a company to empower those who have been rescued from that horrible business. Click here to see her on our local news this morning. And check her website often because she has some awesome new products that are about to launch and that will be exclusive to Stop Traffick Fashion. I've seen the jewelry and the new shirts. They're pretty awesome!

Like Lady Lazarus. I've known her in real life since middle school. We lived in the same neighborhood growing up, rode the bus together, survived band camp together, acted in high school drama productions together, you get the idea. Anyway...I always watch shows like "The Biggest Loser" or Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition" and think, "well, yeah, anyone can lose that much weight when they have a nutritionist, dietician, coach, personal trainer, etc. But Lady Lazarus has done it. She's lost over 100 pounds (and counting) with her own will power. And she's living to blog about it.

Like Mama Marchand. I've known her since high school. Yes, Lady Lazarus, Mama Marchand, and I all hail from the same town. She just reopened her Etsy shop and is finally getting the chance to live her dream as a SAHM (a job I realized I was totally NOT cut out for after an extended maternity leave when B was born). One Ordinary Dad got me a necklace from her shop for our anniversary and I get compliments on it every time I wear it. B likes it because it has a bird on it. He points and says, "Tweet, tweet." Be still my mama heart.

I have awesome friends. Go give 'em some love.

~One Ordinary Mom

P.S. For the folks at home-- I have awesome kids!
C is legit reading. Stay tuned for a post about that. We started her on the Bob Books Set One. We don't read them aloud to her first; she sounds all of the words out on her own. So far, girlfriend can read the first 3. She is so proud. We are so proud. Even B is so proud (he's a pretty captive audience given that they're short, simple books).