It’s Friday.
It’s been a rough week.
And not just for me it sounds like…

so I’m offering up this lovely little animated gif I found over on from me too you.
She makes all kinds of these enchanting little things. Aren’t they fantastic?
And remember, there’s nothing so awful that a cocktail, on a back porch, under a canopy of swaying lights can’t help to cure.
I made more.
I can’t help myself
Since I’ve been on a bit of a quilting binge lately, I have very little to show for myself except the insistence that I’ve been working lately. Enter these little guys, who can be finished en masse in a single evening. So satisfying.

A Superman and an Incredible Hulk and a Spiderman came off the production line the other evening as well, but I could not pry them from my son’s hands long enough to get a decent picture.

I’m taking that as a compliment.

Did you know… When we got back in the car after leaving Jill’s house last Thursday, Sophie screwed up her face all confused and concentrating-y asked me “Why did you say ‘I love you’ to Jill??”  (because i did. I tossed it back over my shoulder as I was herding everyone out the front door, like I always do, automatically, without hardly thinking about it any more.)
And so I had to explain to Sophie…and then repeat it multiple times for Isabelle & Baz to hear (because they are of an age where they like nothing better than to hear stories from when I was a kid) That I said it because I had, in fact, known all of those girls for nearly as long as I could remember back. I explained that they’d been my friends since I was Sophie’s age! (four) And they all gasped and said “No Way!”
I had to explain that Jill & I attended Rainbow Learning Land preschool together and that we were the only two girls in our entire class (a fact we take great pride in, by the way). I explained that Stephanie and I were cheerleaders together when were just a little older than Isabelle. That we wore white sweaters with green appliqued Ms on them, and kelly green and white pleated skirts and side ponytails together on Saturdays when our  brothers played football and soccer. I explained that Karrie & I ran back in the neighborhoods together for track practice in high school, and that she was my first non-family member roommate, and that we lived together in college and burnt popcorn and green plastic plates together; and had unnatural obsessions with foreign college soccer team members together.
I had to explain that I said “I love you” to these girls that night, and every time I talked to them on the phone or in person, for the exact same reason that I said it to their Uncle Tony or their Aunt Jane or their Uncle Vinny. I said it because those girls are my family, but it was a special kind of family that I got to choose for myself…
And then it dissolved into discussion about families and different kinds of families and that the important thing about a family was love…and then Sebastian mentioned one of his friends had two mommies and how did that work? …and well…it all just sort of deteriorated from there.
But anyway.
Point being.
Love you guys.



It’s hard to breathe today, for my heart seizing up at the idea of change.

I could have gone on happily like this for years. I could have gone on like this forever: This comfortable, pressure-free give and take of a relationship. This thing that didn’t require me to be anything for anybody but what I was…this thing that just let me be for someone. Hovering around you and near you so close that it almost appeared that we were touching, the way a pair of dragonflies dance when the heat rolls off summer sidewalks in waves. There but not there. Easy. Comfortable. Hovering.

It’s sharp, this pain, like when you stub your toe on the corner of a piece of furniture. Like when you rub antibacterial over a papercut. It’s the sharp pain before the ache sets in and settles in. And I still have months. I’m almost looking forward to the ache, just to take the edge off this. It’s too sharp today. Too hard to take it all in. Too big a concept that you’ll not be here.

So today I’m allowing myself the sharpness.

And three packs of peanut butter M&Ms.

Okay. No. 
No. It’s not done.
I procrastinate with the best of them.
I finished a dress, two quilts, and one skirt this month, but I still haven’t stitched the freaking bucket hat together. *sigh*. There are just not enough hours.

However, last night I watched Sucker Punch (which is wonderfully awful) and notched all my pattern pieces…so that tonight I can stitch this baby together and squeak this sew-along in just under the wire.
Sometimes a deadline is just what I need to get my butt in gear.
Thanks a little gray for getting me motivated. I needed it at the end of this month!

Also? For being so patient?
You get Zombies.
You’re Welcome.

Someone please take not of his precise copy-editing notation there…one top of the Z. I did NOT teach him that…and I might have hugged him and swung him around the kitchen when I saw it. He was SO confused.

Our weekends seem to by flying by these days.
No sooner do we settle into the routine of lazy mornings and action packed afternoons, than it’s already time to layout our clothes for the Monday Morning Races.
This weekend was no exception. It was exhausting, but in the best kind of way.
We bounced from birthday parties to concerts to parks for two full days.
Saturday saw us at Holliday Park in the early morning. And it was nice, after battling traffic on Meridian and then again on Spring Mill for nearly an hour combined, to let the kids just run. Holliday Park is amazing, by the way. I’d never been to this sweet little IndyParks gem, tucked back in behind Meridian on the near-northside. It has graduated playsets for all ages and a slew of things to climb on, under and around.

I’m constantly amazed how true-to-life the nickname “Monkey” is when The Munchkins all get anywhere near a playground. I ought to be more nervous than I am to see them scramble hand over hand to the top of a spindly rope structure. But I remember being that age and hoisting myself up to the top of the monkey bars, just to sit & survey. It was the greatest feeling there, on top of the world. You felt invincible, and not so self-conscious of yourself to think that you even could fall at that age. So I bit my tongue these days when I see Mr. Man shimmy to the top of something or the Biz swing upside down from just her knees. They’re kids. It’s what they do.

By two o’clock we were kicking our heels in the East Gardens at the Central Library downtown. Kidlets swarmed the grassy knoll and parents sort of lolled in the shaded areas beyond, all eagerly awaiting the circus-style punk marching band Mucca Pazza. The band, in its entirety is a 30-person collaboration. Mucca Pazza, in Italian translates to “Crazy Cow” which I suppose is an apt description as any, allowing for the fac that “Most amazingly awesome band I’ve ever seen live” probably does not translate so prettily. It was a mashup of covers and classical and marches and original compositions supported by all the expected instruments of a marching band and then some (see also: electic ukelele?!) and accompanied by a score of hyped up gymnasts/cheerleaders. It defies explanation really.

The show started out in the gardens, then formed a parade of band + spectators out around the building, up the steps of the main entry and INTO THE LIBRARY. Where, instead of being shushed, the band played raucously to a crowd of hundreds in the atrium. They marched in and around and through the crowd, like some giant, drunken conga line; each loop and whorl bringing them closer to a new wide-eyed kid, arms outstretched just to touch the hems of their uniforms.
They were amazing musicians and spectacularly entertaining. I may  have dug it even more than The Munchkins, if that’s possible. Man you should have seen the Monkey rocking out. It was a sight to behold. Hips swinging, hair flying, hands and arms and legs akimbo…

And Mr. Man, social butterfly, that he is becoming, instantly found four additional kidlets from his class at school to go sit with. His growing independence kills me; the show that the four of them provided was almost as good as the band down front. The pointing and giggling and animated discussions happening across the aisle spoke to their appreciation not just of the band, but also to their burgeoning need for peer interaction. Will I ever be ready for him to choose them over me? Too late I suppose…it’s starting. Better make my peace with it now!

 The group’s energy was a palpable thing, and by the end of the show I was exhausted from just watching. I can’t imagine playing and marching and dancing and climbing and interacting to the degree they did for as long as they did.  It was amazing. Period. If they come to your corner of  the world? Go.
photo credit ~ I am NOT this good but this captures the action SO much better than my version

 But the fun didn’t stop there, oh no.

Sunday held a dearth of activity to keep us happy and suffiently worn out and off each others nerves, so we created some. We headed allllll the way out to Avon to the Washington Township Park to the new SplashPad they’d built. Now I remember Avon Park as a fairly new park, devoid of much playground equipment with plenty of hills for sledding, from when I was a kid. Let me tell you, it. has. changed. The play equipment nearly met the kids’ new Holliday-Park standard.

We packed a picnic and a blanket and lunched right there in the park in a nice little shady spot between the tire swings and the picnic benches.

 (We’re a big fan of Bugles. We put them on our fingers and wave at each other, then eat them one by one)

 And, after we’d eaten and played a bit, we ventured on down the hill to the Splashpad. It’s hidden back quite a ways, and was tricky to find the first time. But it’s such a great little secret that we’ll be back for sure. There were only a few kids there, and it was divided in half – splashpad vs. dry climbing equipment – by a double row of comfy benches and some picnic tables: A perfect for parents to park themselves.

 I parked myself for a good two and a half hours while The Munchkins exhausted themselves. Each had found multiple little ones their own age to pal around with. It’s good for them, Mr. Man especially I think, to have other kids to interact with. And I find myself alternately beaming with pride and smothering giggles at the way I spy them acting with their peers. 
Isabelle can be bossy and overbearing to her siblings sometimes, but this just translates into motherly when she encounters a small brood she can adopt in public places. Squiring them safely from one end of the playground to the other; pushing swings and assisting with monkey-bar crossings.
And Mr. Man is always drawn to the kids that brought footballs or soccer balls. He always manages to get himself adopted by other families…
…which is fine, because I usually find myself feeding all the strays that The Monkey brings my way: cajoling them into friendship with promises of snacks or tricks her mom can do, then clubbing them and keeping them like a little caveman; dragging and ordering them about the place to play this game or that.

It gives me a chance to peek into what their lives must be like at school, when I’m not around to shepherd them into proper behavior. And, if I’m quick and quiet about it, I get small little glimpses of what they’re growing into. Isabelle, with that bossy, motherly instinct always taking care of other before herself.

Sebastian: not a trace of self-consciousness about him, is brave in society, and eager to engage others one-on-one and in a group…

And Sophia, gregarious and outgoing to a fault, she puts new faces at ease instantly with her openness and joy. She shares selflessly (even when something might not be hers to share…) and is quick to defend a new friend.

What can initially seem like a lost-cause weekend; its 48 hours stretching out into infinity when you wake up to arguing kidlets Saturday morning before 6am, can so quickly turn into manageable blocks of time when you remember they need to get out just as much as you do. I so often forget that I get on their nerves just as much as they get on mine some days. And it bears remembering that oftentimes just a change of scenery is all it takes to restore order to the chaos of a weekend…

There may be nothing better than breakfast on the back patio of a Sunday Morning.
Steaming mugs of coffee, one after the other.
Thick slabs of warm oatmeal bread, fresh from the oven, slathered in real butter. The air just crisp enough, just early enough, to want a sweatshirt. Sliding glass door open so I can hear the news, and then the machine gun bursts of arguing over the remote, and then strains of cartoon title sequence music floating out…

Okay. I’ve been seeing these little guys all over the place for a while now.
See: here, here, and here
Awesome, right?

And since The Munchkins are more likely to play with the cardboard box a new toy comes in than the new toy itself, I thought these low-tech little guys would appeal to them.
And they did…in a BIG WAY…

I found the little wooden peg people at Hobby Lobby for a whopping $2.99. And I had a handful of acrylics just lying about the place already. Throw in a couple of new paint pens for detailing (because they were on sale, kiddies!) and some cheapie paintbrushes I yanked from The Monkey’s watercolors and I was set to go…
I started off laying down a “face” base of skin tone paint.

From there I did hair, then body color.
Acrylics tend to dry pretty quickly, and the wood just soaks it right up. Two coats minimum on everything worked well to my tastes. Harken back to kindergarten art classes, gang. Paint your light colors first…then dark…then the details last.

I used the paint pens for detailing. And mostly I just screwed around with them while watching Lover Boy on dvd (because 80s movies are, let’s be honest here, essentially 85% of my movie collection. Who wants extra anchovies?!!)

So there you are, a Tutorial-ish for something that does not require one.
Also, here’s my favorite from last night.

…Because I think I’m

 It’s funny, damnit! It is!~

The end of summer happens so slowly around here that you hardly notice that it’s come.
One minute we’re splashing poolside for days on end, and the next there’s a sharp bite in the air and dew on your car when you trudge out to it in the morning.

Still, we eke out every last bit of summer we can.
Monday, thanks to the bossman, we hosted a work function at Victory Field. And, because it seemed prudent to do so, I dragged l’enfants along. Okay, technically Rob dragged them along… Regardless. It was a perfect late summer night for a baseball game.

 With the exception of last year, a summer ball game is one tradition we haven’t lost sight of. It’s one of those annual events the kids really look forward to us all doing together. It’s important for them to see that we all still function well in a group…even when some of us spill Mountain Dew all over the picnic blanket…and I’m not talking about the kids here…ahem.

 And, to top it all off?
The Indians Won!

oh…and here’s one of me with Rowdy…who I quite literally chased down to get this photo.
Sorry, Rowdy.

This is my sister.
So’s This…
And this…
And this…
Today is Jane’s  birthday!
Everyone say Happy Birthday, Jane!!!
It’s times like birthdays and holidays that I wish we didn’t live so far away…
She’s got one of those laughs that’s just contagious.
You know the kind that I mean, right? You can probably  hear it a mile away and it instantly gets you to grinning. She’s independent and adventurous, so much more than I am, and I’ve always admired that in her. She was never afraid to set out as a little thing, red rucksack full of a paper bag lunch and paper and crayons for map making, into the woods for an entire afternoon. She was equally up for it, as an adult, hopping from country to country before finally settling in a completely gorgeous corner of Vermont (Stowe - see the mountains below?).
She was always the neat to my messy; the organized to my chaotic. It never worked so well when we were sharing rooms, or spilling cans of paint onto orange carpet, but I wouldn’t have it any other way…

Love You, Janers…
Happy Birthday!

Hmmm…How did THIS ONE get in here?