Tuesday, May 28, 2013


It's been a lovely spring thus far.  Can I say it enough how wonderful it is to be able to pile out the door without even putting on shoes and socks?  {Well -- until last week when it was just plain rainy...  But it seems the sun is back!}

Some of what we've been up to since spring has sprung...

01 ... a quick stop for three rides at the carnival
02 ... whitney's farm is a favorite for spring, summer and fall alike
03 ... owen was surprisingly brave!  (and bob was unsurprisingly brave)
04 ... first ice cream outing of the season, and owen's first solo cone!
05 ... when bob sees a kid on the circle riding or scooting he's sure to rush out and tag along
06 ... i dare you to bounce on a trampoline and not laugh
07 ... after much begging from bob - a family trip to the golf course
08 ... these boys love helmets and anything with wheels
09 ... hard to watch your baby sit in a mud puddle, but boys need to be boys
10 ... i've been known to disappear outside to be found blowing giant bubbles alone.  so relaxing.
11 ... boys and their balls.  enough said.
12 ... any park, every park.
13 ... bob will say, "mom, there's still a little bit of pretty light left.  want to go outside?"  yeppers.
14 ... exploring everywhere.  climbing everything.  talking to everybody.
15 ... third thursdays - a fun way to get out and grab a treat, hear some live music, and meet some interesting pittsfield characters.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

why angie's boblog?

I was here at aka Bailey thirty seconds ago (B's a high school friend of mine).  Bailey asks, how'd you come up with your blog name?  Well, Bailey -- that there's a timely question.  Because Sunday is the Netflix release of the new season of Arrested Development!!  We've been waiting for this for -- literally -- three years or something.  What the heck does that have to do with my blog, you ask?

For those who may not have been cool enough to pick up on this, here you go:

That there plus the name of my firstborn and his being the whole point of my writings equaled "angie's boblog."  Funny though -- I thought the pronunciation "bob-log" was obvious, but when I first started about three years ago {first post ever here} our families would say, Oh, I love your bo-blog!  Which made Ben and me laugh because our son's name is Bob for goodnessake!

But anyway... that's that.  So tell me -- are you looking forward to the new AD season as much as we are?!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

reading lately

some of what we've been reading lately...

for the pups:

Global Babies -- a favorite of Owen's, a favorite of Bob's at this age.  babies love babies, simple as that.  and what a beautiful way to introduce our littlest ones to different cultures.

One Year Devotions for Preschoolers -- we read these most days at lunch.  bob loves them and usually begs me to read a few extras each day.  every entry has a brief vignette, a Bible verse, and a two-line rhyming prayer.  all very simple and sweet, with focus on loving Jesus, being a good friend, beginning to understand God.  no scary stories or frightening illustrations, just good points for preschoolers to think about.

The Amazing Adventures of Bumblebee Boy -- picked this one up at the library last week and we've read it a hundred times since.  a great story about (not) playing with a younger sibling, whose name happens to be owen!  bob loves all things superhero, so of course he loves it.  he reads owen's lines in his Owie voice; cutest thing ever -- except when Owie grins and points at "himself" on the pages.

for me:

The Alchemist -- okay, I can't believe I just finally got around to reading this (and only because ben picked it off the shelf first!)  at jasmine's bequesting (I know that's not a word but i think it is) I borrowed it from kara approximately 8-10 years ago.  and i wish i had read it way back then because it is amazing.  so good.  i could provide you with a hundred quotations to go along with my assessment, but i'll refrain.  if you're the only person besides me who hasn't read this yet, you need to.

Letters to a Young Poet -- as soon as i finished the alchemist i needed to read this one.  i've read it several times already and each time it speaks to me.  another must, as far as i'm concerned -- and not just for poets.  rilke's words on sadness, on solitude, on God: profound.

The Mister Rogers Parenting Resource Book -- it's actually two books in one: The Mister Rogers Parenting Book (Helping to Understand Your Young Child) and Mister Rogers' Playtime (Encourage Your Child to Create, Explore, and Pretend with Dozens of Easy to Do Activities).  I picked this up at a library book sale when Bob was a baby and recently pulled it off the shelf to read.  The first half is great -- with an emphasis on understanding and appreciating and working with your child instead of just getting them to comply with your demands.  While Rogers' words are clearly rooted in the soil of unconditional parenting, he is much less confrontational about it than say, Alfie Kohn.  It's a very reader friendly book, with short digestible chapters.  The second half is filled with simple activities -- some are great ideas and some I know my son in particular has no interest in whatsoever.

so that's that.  any good reads lately?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

don't cry over spilled milk.

so:  Bob spilled a cup of milk at the table this morning (we have this struggle lately: he wants a grown up cup, not a sippy cup, but he's... rambunctious... and he spills his milk.  often.  it can be infuriating.)  when it happens i usually repeat to myself, 'don't cry over spilled milk' and keep calm.  but sometimes, you know, like after you've urged him over and over to please just drink his milk and he still hasn't and then it spills everywhere, there is a temptation to just lose it and really make the boy feel the rage, to rant that he will never again use a grown up cup until he is in fact an actual grown up!  but today, despite the stars being aligned for a meltdown, I held back.  as I scooped him quickly from his milk-sogged seat he said, "I'm really, really sorry.  It was a.. really.. good accident!"  I had to laugh and couldn't stop.  "What?  Why are you laughing?! ... Heh, heh.  I love you, Mommy."  And then I knew for sure that I'd been right in holding back.  Because the relationship is more important than a mess.  Strike that.  The relationship is most important.  So, I clean up some milk still chuckling, and then pour a little more into his glass.  "Okay, Bub, but you're not off the hook here.  Stand here and drink all this milk up until it's gone."  Enter the beginning of another breakdown from Bob because the two ounces I poured are sooooo much.  (I'm not the milk nazi or anything, it's just that Bob is tiny and I've decided I need to start making him finish his glass of milk, that's all.)  Again, I easily could have lost it on him.  Seriously, more crying!!??  But instead I quickly hushed him and said, "Hey, Bob, remember when you just spilled that milk but I didn't throw a fit and I stayed happy because I love you?  Could you respect me the same way and just drink your milk?"  And he wiped his face with his hands and pulled it together and drank up all his milk.  and it felt good, because he felt loved the entire time, and I felt lovable the entire time, and the situation worked out positively for both of us, and maybe he learned just a bit more empathy and patience, and so did I.  Intimidation may be an effective tactic for getting children to comply, but not to learn.  When we yell at our children because they aren't doing something we want them to when we want them to or they've just done something we didn't like, we sound exactly like the three year old who screams because we won't let him skip dinner to play.  or when we moan, "why are you whining!?"  yep, that's adult whining.

and that's all she wrote.

Monday, May 13, 2013

on mother's day

being a mom is simply beautiful.  
a dream come true, really.
a dream from the time when i received my very first cabbage patch doll and returned the birth certificate with pride.
a dream from the times of my relentless feeding and diaper changing of baby alive.
a dream from the times when i had twelve imaginary kids with names and personalities who were all mine to take care of.
a dream from the times when i played house with my little next door neighbor and pretended he was my baby.
a dream from the years i spent nannying countless babies and children and falling in love with so many of them.
a dream from the moments i held my baby nieces and nephew and saw glimpses of their future cousins in their eyes.

it's planted in us from the very beginning i think -- this need to be a mama, this need to mother.  this need to love deeply and fully, and to care for another and put them first.  i have lots of friends who aren't mamas to their own babies, but still they are some of the best mamas i know.  mamas to me and so many others.  feeding, clothing, waking, lifting, hugging, talking, listening.  i hope i've mothered them back, but i fear i've fallen short as a friend these days.  partly because i'm just so focused on my family -- on these little people who seem to need me every minute.

nothing, nothing in this world could be more precious to me than these little ones of mine.  nothing matters like this, this chance to teach these little souls the way they should go.

and i feel so lucky to be the mom of these boys.  to me, they are completely awesome and perfect and they amaze me every single day.  i love filling journal pages and blog posts with their little bits and pieces -- because i want to remember their little selves, but also because i want them to remember their little selves.  i don't want them to forget this feeling of wonder that is childhood or this simple and total love they have for me or the way i so fiercely love them.  i want them to remember how much they love each other and know where they began together.

i'm thankful every single day for this beautiful summer season of motherhood.  i want to be my best for my boys and to soak every drop of them up.

that said, i want to extend myself a bit this year.  to use what i've learned as a mom to be a better mama to my friends, to my mom, to my grandmothers, to my nieces.  {and to ease owen off the boob to make that more possible!}

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Dear Pupper: on your birthday 3.5

Dear Pupper,

Yesterday, on your three and a half year birthday...

It was a gloomy, rainy day.  After all the sunshine and playing hard outside lately, it was actually nice to have a day off to just stay in our pajamas.  You'll never argue with that.

You woke up before me and Owen, and stalked us while we slept.  As far as I could tell, you did some snuggling and dressed yourself up in a winter hat and gloves "costume."  Eventually you cajoled me out of bed.

We left Owen sleeping and went into your room to count all the money in your piggy bank: $25.68.  Then we put all the money back in.

I let you wake Owen up with puppy kisses and you guys snuggled in my bed for a bit.

You ate breakfast -- oatmeal with maple syrup and nuts -- while we watched an episode of Mr. Rogers. (From 1986, a visit to a playground under construction.)

I put your blankie in the wash, after much much much sadness and convincing.  I tried to sneak it in -- it was hidden amongst Owen's sheets in my arms -- but you saw the bundle of bed laundry and freaked out.  "What are you doing?  Is blankie...?"  But you don't even finish the question because you're off running to your bed to check.  And then came the panic and screaming.  But eventually, you were okay; I let you put blankie into the machine which helped (you are otherwise never allowed in the basement).  Then...

We played Duplos and made a giant tree house for the zoo animals.

I pitched some indoor baseballs to you and Owen.

You played some Wii Fit Plus and Excite Truck, with Owen pretending to play along.

We had lunch: peanut butter and jelly with grapes on the stem.  You ate super fast and asked, "Is bwankie dwy yet!?"

It was.  I washed you up and took you to pee and read you one book ("What Kind of Truck?") and snuggled you in for your rest.  "See you in the other mornin'," you said.  And you went right to sleep.

A solid three hours later...

You woke up and went straight to the bathroom to pee all by yourself.

You rode your tricycle for a bit, and tried to get Owen to wear his bike helmet.

But -- Owen woke up a little grumpy, so I gave him some nursies and turned on a little Fireman Sam to help him wake up.

You played fireman with "ropes" to slide down (the strings that you and Owen have pulled from dad's and my sweatshirts).  {"Hey, mom, do you know if I could tie this onto here possibly so I could slide down the rope?"}

You played "tiny stuff" at the kitchen table while Owie started his supper.

It was time for your supper; you loved it, but didn't eat it all.  Not until later on.  {Steak with mushrooms and onions, rice, and carrots with lots of butter.  "Mom, can I have these mushrooms every day?  I'll have one with my peanut butter and jelly."}

I went to a dinner with Grandmother; you stayed home to play with Dad and Owie, and I don't know exactly what you did but it seems to have involved throwing every ball we own around the living room.

I came home and put Owen to sleep.

Then I read you one book -- The Berenstain Bears and the Bad Dream (one of your faves, not mine) -- and tucked you in and said our prayers and sang you a song and told you how very very much I love you and kissed you two dozen times and said, "goodnight, my love," as I snuck quietly out of your room.

And that was the day you were exactly three and a half.  I checked in on you again before I went to bed, but just as of last week I've stopped taking you to pee in the night, so I didn't wake you.

The only photos I took were of morning snuggle, and your face managed to avoid the camera!  Still, a cute showing of your brotherly love.

Other quotes from the day:

Bob:  "Mom, look how big this shirt is."
Mom:  "Yeah, I think it's gonna be too big for you now."
Bob:  "You have to just cut some of it off so it's littler."

"Mom, Pupper doesn't know that Wooden is his best fwiend."

Bob and Dad are looking at a clay handprint of Ben's dad's.
Bob:  "But I know he's killed."
Dad:  "He's not killed; he's dead."
Bob:  "Oh.  But who shot him with the gun?"

oh, dear... xoxo, love you so.

{Two and a half.}

Friday, May 3, 2013

Life as it should be.

Spring has been shunning us here in Massachusetts it seems.  Until -- this week!  Finally, life is as it should be for two young boys and their mama.

These are the moments when I feel my "mom best"; sitting back, watching the pups explore the elements.  Getting wet, digging their hands and toes into the dirt, feeling the hot sun on their backs, quietly doing their own thing, then coming back together to laugh.  I set it up for them and then say, do your thing!  Nothing fancy necessary; just water in a couple of shallow tubs with measuring cups and funnels (I retired our rainbow rice sensory box for this purpose, dumped the rice into a plastic bag to save for later) and a "dirt box" (we haven't even gotten sand yet but no matter, it's just dirtier!) and a chalk board.  Simple fun.  They come to me with their discoveries and hurts, and in between the joys of enjoying my boys(!?), I might even get to read a page or two out of my book.

And this here is also what I'd call 'Mr. Rogers' parenting, with an emphasis on using basic materials to create and pretend, spending time outside, cooperating (not competing) with others, doing activities for which there is no "right" or "wrong" way.

{They start out fully clothed, I promise, but neither can resist their nudist urges for long.}

{Linking up here!}

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

a weekend away

We went away to visit Ben's mom in CT this weekend.  It was our first hotel stay in a while, and Pupper was super excited for the trip.  The boy loves hotels -- a cord phone to play with, a miniature fridge and microwave, a huge bed to sleep in -- those are the makings of a luxury vacation to a three year old.

the photos:
1.  packing helpers
2.  i've learned that the key to a successful hotel stay with tiny people in tow is plenty of nutritious snacks (my pups need their breakfast straight away and mini muffins from the continental breakfast don't really make for the best morning).  the 7am feast: nuts, popcorn, apple, carrot, and pepper slices, cheese cubes, Kix, a banana, and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
3.  bob transplanting a bush
4.  grandma's playground
5.  lunch from a puppy bowl
6.  cuteness of hotel bed sharing = worth the lost sleep
7.  sand + water table = filthy but happy boys
8.  hamburger + fries + fruit = slightly less filthy but just as happy boys
9+10.  napping on the drive home
11.  me + my love

Here's to a successful weekend away and seeing people we love!
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