Thursday, June 30, 2011

Brilliant Play

I often find myself forcing Kristina to play.

It's not that she lacks for ample toys or imagination to use with them, but rather that she LOVES to interact with people and would happily spend her whole life in a small group of peers chasing each other around and equates playing by herself to punishment.

But yesterday I made a BRILLIANT discovery.

It was one of those "Eureka!" moments where the world suddenly became a little clearer and I almost had a true glimmer of understanding of how to be a parent.

You see, yesterday instead of asking her to go play with her toys while I put laundry away like usual, I specifically asked her to go pick up the Legos.

Adrianna has been going through quite the dumping phase, and her favoritest bucket of all to dump out with it's loud clattering and colorful splatter is the large Lego bin.

Needless to say, I've been doing pretty much nothing besides picking up Legos the last two weeks, and was more than happy to assign the task to my otherwise unoccupied preschooler when I remembered that she's supposed to be doing more to help around the house.

(You know, attempting to reduce my waiting on her hand and foot as she is nearly four and occasionally competent in her own right.)

((But only occasionally, and it's like pulling teeth to get her to do something she doesn't fancy doing at the time.))

But in place of picking up the Legos as I had asked, she sat down and started getting out the wooden blocks to play with instead.

Had I told her to go build with her blocks, she certainly would have been coming into her bedroom every three seconds asking for me to play with her.

(Or to help her catch an ant, like she did that morning.....)

But no, instead she was procrastinating doing the assigned chore by PLAYING with her TOYS.

This was very exciting.

Until, of course, half an hour later when the entire floor was covered with Legos, wooden blocks, and the entire continents of the toy holding bookcase Adrianna had completely emptied while her sister had been building a castle.

But hey, I got the laundry put away in record time and with NO interference, which is a pretty big miracle all in of itself, so perhaps the clean up chore awaiting me was worth it.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Job Achievement: Level One

It took 6 months and some serious personal compromises, but I did it.

I got a job.

(And not even as a stripper!) 

I have to admit, I'm rather surprised by my own lack of excitement about it, which probably says something about how much I feel I am sacrificing ideals of where I wanted to be going to be going here. But here seems to be where I need to go right now, as a seasonal part time employ at Target doing shelf stocking job which pays a marginal hourly wage.

It's not exactly the vision I had of getting a career together, nor anywhere near a pay grade to facilitate financial independence, but it IS employment and subsequent personal income with benefits.

And, as I was eyeballing the office and three higher level people I interviewed with today, Target is a company which could potentially lead to a job above inventory with the right promotions.

So perhaps, it could go somewhere, eventually... 

But today I just need to focus on getting some portion of a wardrobe of red shirts and khakis.

And who knows, maybe something big will still come together some day.

Or alternatively, I have already passed my career peak, and can look forward to spending the next 30 or 40 years scrapping by in a service industry job which doesn't give a damn about my college degree.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Birthday Party Ponderance

Kristina has spent the last two Saturdays attending the birthday parties of her two closest preschool buddies, and the weekend before those celebrating mine.

Which mean that in addition to ingesting copious amounts of cake the past few weeks, she has also been giving birthdays a lot of serious thought.

Mostly, who she wants to invite to her birthday party.


I guess that means she's having a birthday party come August.

Gee, it's almost July, shouldn't someone be organizing this shin dig and agonizing over which overpriced party favors to get?

Oh right, that someone would be me.

I put on a fairly big show for her last birthday, with lots of planning and food (and being stood up by half the guests).
It was just like this. But with balloons.

I stressed and agonized about getting the perfect party theme together. I spent ridiculous amounts of time searching out all the perfectly coordinated tableware and party favors. I ordered the perfect chocolate cake with personalized frosted ponies. I sacrificed my flesh to the torrent of early morning mosquitoes to get pastel balloons tied up all over the backyard.

I totally pulled of the suburban mommy coordinated birthday affair down to a T.

This year, I'm just not feeling it.

I'm sure I could get mildly excited about picking out girly themed paper plates if I were to actually go browse one of the party stores.

I could even go out on a limb and ask Kristina which ones she would want.

But I'm not eager to host much of anything these days.

I've been considering a nice hosting cop-out option, like having her party at the zoo or children's museum where I will simply pay money and then a nice crew of minimal wage staff people take care of everything AND entertain the children.

But those things aren't the cheapest, and there isn't exactly a plethora of cash floating around these days.

And then comes the logistical pain of details like inviting all her friends that live up here in the mountains and the zoo being over an hour drive away in the big and intimidating city.

So then I started really trying to use my creative problem solving skills (I think I used to have some pretty good ones. Like, back when I got sleep and was actually required to have reasonable cognitive function on a regular basis), and to come up with something to do that wouldn't require the more traditional house hosting by me and would also be local and maybe even sorta cheap economical.

There is a horse place we drive by every time we go into town that advertises trail rides, and Kristina has asked a couple of times to going horse back riding recently.

Of course, she also hasn't been on a horse in a year and a half..... and who knows if any of her little preschool friends have ever been riding........

Ok, maybe horseback riding is a risky venture for a four year old's birthday.

But wait, what about the mountain carousel?! Kristina was very excited about riding the carousel in DC a few weeks back, surely that excitement could somehow be incorporated into a birthday party! 

*strokes imaginary goatee thoughtfully*

I wonder if I can find carousel themed paper plates.....

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Mountain Child

I have been drilling Kristina for years on what to do if she can't find me (aka 'gets lost'), repeating over and over again that she is to find SOMEONE (soldier, another mommy or daddy, policeman) and to show them her ID bracelet.

She has yet to get actually lost, mostly thanks to my awesome parenting cross-airport sprinting skills, but I'm fairly confident she knows the deal at this point.

But now we live in mountains.

Not just near the mountains mind you, but rather nestled IN them off a small dirt road right up against a national forest with minimal neighbors. 

And that means I've been working on a new set of childhood survival skills with her.

Now if she gets lost, she is to find a rock to sit on or a tree to stand next to and STAY THERE. This is a particularly hard one for her, since she isn't exactly a child gifted in the art of sitting still, but it's also huge for being able to find her should she ever be misplaced in the woods.

I've also been discussing what forest rangers are, and keep meaning to try to and find some kid program put on by them so she can meet a few and get a better idea of who these fabled finders of lost children really are.

And then we get to the animal survival skills.

I actually remember when they taught us this back in my kindergarten year up here in these very same mountains, and while I go over it with her I keep coming to the comically bad realization that my child is so lunch should she ever actually encounter a mountain lion.

But just in case, I keep repeating that she is to make herself as big as possible using sticks if readily available. She is to back away slowly and NOT to run.

And to think untasty thoughts.

Ok, I don't actually tell her that last part. But it'd probably be about as helpful as the official instructions at decreasing her snackiness appearance.

Should the furry friend be a bear (like she'd actually be able to correctly identify these things in a crises situation), she is to pretend to be asleep. And this instruction includes sub-instructions over her needing to NOT pretend to snore and to NOT wiggle all about like she does at bedtime.

I kinda suspect a better approach might be to tell children to always have a snickers bar in their pocket and then to throw it to the bear for a distraction while they make their escape. But then I suppose there might be complications with the bear being attracted to the pocketed snickers bar in the first place.

Yep, just keep thinking untasty thoughts....

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Adventures in Telluride: Hula-Hooping Hippies

The first day of the festival I spent most of time starring in wonder at the medley of people surrounding us.

Coming from the Boulder area, I was totally expecting the hippies in some quantity and barely blinked at the assorted dirty dreadlocks passing by.

(I'm still sticking with my assertion that white people just shouldn't wear dreadlocks, even if some of them seemed very like very nice people.)

But these Telluride hippies were at another level altogether.

They were hula-hooping hippies. 

My introduction to them came on the bus ride into the festival the first day. She came sprinting up the hill from the campground hollering for the bus to stop, with an armful of hula-hoops bouncing along slung over her arm.

After managing to catch the bus, she chose the seat right in front of me. I offered to help hold the hula-hoops upright in the aisle as she shrugged out of her hippie satchel and sat down. At which point she appeared to completely forget about their existence and left me holding them while she gazed out the window and began chatting about hats to the unfortunately hatted gal in the seat with her.

When the advice of someone sitting near me to "accidentally let the damn things bump into her" failed to get her attention back to the hula-hoops, I resigned myself to being the lame pushover 'nice' hula-hoop holder for the bus ride while other neighboring individuals debated whether she was merely very high or had been indulging in boomers (mushrooms) already as well.

Bus hippie is girl on the right in the white top/striped skirt.
She did, eventually, remember about the hula-hoops as we made our approach to town, and thanked me for holding them while returning them to her care. And then completely didn't notice other people getting onto the bus and needing climb through the hoops just to get to the seats farther back at the stops in town as she continued to discuss the merits of straw head wear with her (undoubtedly regretting wearing a hat at this point) hatted seat mate.

And then at the festival there were whole groups of hula-hooping hippies scattered around the place! I had no idea this was such a popular thing to do!

Also, hula-hoops appear to be MUCH more fascinating when one is in a slightly altered state of consciences.

Or so I'm assuming from their numerous hours spent playing with a plastic circle.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Random and Whiney Blogpost for Today? I Think Yes...

So this whole unemployment/job searching/chronic stress over lack of job/no money thing is starting to turn into a nasty black callous on my soul.

Optimism for life is being slowly but surely sucked out of me with the overwhelming goal and focus of every waking second (and some sleeping ones too, thanks to me only ever having dreams of horrible job interviews and changing poopy diapers) has turned into getting a stupid job.

Plus I'm still operating on long term minimal sleep thanks to Adrianna's midnight adventures and Kristina's love of waking at times in the morning that begin with the number 5. 

But instead of continuing to whine at you for another few paragraphs since I can't think of anything exciting (or like, unwhiney) to actually say, I'll just upload a cute video of the girls banging on the patio table.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Adventures in Telluride: Gondola Ride

When I was scouting out the Tellluride Bluegrass Festival website, there was a section about a pre-concert concert going on the night before the festival started at the neighboring town of Mountain Village.

Which could be reached through the free gondola ride. 

Gondola ride??

I was fully envisioning the boats from Venice gliding along through a hidden mountain lake that I had never heard of.

Admittedly, this did seem a bit far fetched as the Colorado mountains are not exactly renowned for large shallow lakes with Venetian inspired island villages in the middle.

But Wikipedia totally agreed with me on what a gondola was! So I was all set for my pole propelled boat ride over to Mountain Village, and only a teensy bit disappointed when there was no lake.

Turns out there are TWO types of gondolas.

The first flat bottomed boat version, that Wikipedia knows all about, and the second enclosed-ski-lift-going-up-the-side-of-a-mountain version which appears to be fairly common around ski resorts in Colorado and Canada according to Google.

(When I searched for "mountain gondola" on Wikipedia, all it came up with was asking me if I meant "mountain gorilla". Wikifail.)

However, the ride going up the side of the mountain was pretty cool in it's own right.

The mountains surrounding the valley Telluride is in are full of overpriced vacation condo clusters small ski resort towns which are all connected in a huge gondola circle, where you take the gondola run in it's enclosed loop from one village to the next.

We did not go all the way around, but it certainly looked like it could be a neat thing to do. And really lent a certain feel of "Colorado Disneyland" to the little towns with the ride going right through the middle of them.

Fun side note: Oprah used to have a place up in Mountain Village before it was sold and demolition-ed, and now they just have vacation homes for Tom Cruise and Jerry Springer.

Or at least that was the celebrity claim to fame bestowed on us during a gondola ride from a local teen with presumably ridiculously wealthy parents since his family lived in Mountain Village year round.

And yes, the kids DO take the gondola ride down the mountain to go to school.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Baby Eats

Every parent has an epic potty story, and every parent also has a pretty epic "My child just ate WHAT?" story.

Sometimes they're even directly related or parts of the same story!

I have seen food eaten off the bottom of shoes (although, miraculously, not my child on that one), Kristina has licked the car's left rear tire and eaten a french fry off the truck stop bathroom floor. Adrianna has eaten a glue stick, playdough, crayons, and that stuff made of sticky styrofoam balls (and then pooped rainbow colored styrofoam balls for the following week).

Both girls have ingested horrifying large healthy quantities of sand, dirt, and mud, along with the occasional pine cone or dandelion. 

Yep, just another day in the life of toddlers.

So what is the most outrageous or unbelievable (or even just down right nasty) thing YOUR child has eaten?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Abondoning My Children (For Music!)

This past week I had the amazing opportunity to attend the Telluride Bluegrass Festival.

And it was AWESOME!!

Admittedly, doing so required abandoning the girls on my folks for 6 days. And they just barely survived.

(The girls seem to have handled it quite well, though.)

But it was such an unbelievable experience!

The venue is just gorgeous and unsurpassed, with both our campground and the concert stage nestled in these beautiful valleys up just under 9,000 feet in the Colorado Rockies.

It could have been located a little closer to ME in those Colorado Rockies, but a road trip really helped round out the camping/jamming/concert viewing experience. And by round out, I mean 'make sure the trip is as complex and crazy as possible.'

The views were just spectacular all around, from the quaint and ridiculously overpriced resort town of Telluride itself to the gondola ride up the side of the mountain (to the even more ridiculously overpriced ski resort of Mountain Village) to the views from the passingly pungent porta-potty row.

And the music!! So many incredible artists and bands.... I don't even know where to start!

The Decemberists, Yonder Mountain String Band, Emmylou Harris, The Head and The Heart, Mumford and Sons, Cornmeal, The Infamous String Dusters, Sarah McLachlan, Bela Fleck and The Flecktones, Jerry Douglas, Old Crow Medicine Show, Punch Brothers, Edgar Meyer, Trampled by Turtles.

They were all just incredible to see on stage.

We got a delightful dose of Colorado weather for the trip as well, with everything from scorching sun to snow over the course of the weekend.

But the experience of seeing the bands totally made up for the sunburns and rain.

(And it almost even made up for the snow.)


 Mumford and Sons, The Cave.

In the rain at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, June 19th 2011.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Group Interview

Last week I had an interview for a position as a Staff Probation Officer with the City and County of Denver.

I had already made it through the testing round with a passing score, which I was very happy with as I had found the test to be much harder than any of the others I've taken thus far.

(Although it may have just been that the test required a functioning brain to complete, and I've grown so accustomed to leaving mine on screen saver that the need to have sharpened analytical thinking skills seemed harsh.)

And next came the Group Interview.

It was a bit strange, as neither I nor anyone else in that room (nor anyone else who I've mentioned doing this to, for that matter) has ever heard of an interview process quite like it.

There were 10 candidates there, and we were divided into two groups.
It was like this. But with more people. And no doughnuts.

After a little intro by the Chief and the introduction of the other half dozen Senior Parole Officers who were going to be interviewing us, we started in on the first group exercise.

The first exercise required us to come up with a new name for "Parole Officer", and it encouraged the combining of words to make something truly unique. 

My group eventually settled on MotiCater, a combination of motivator and educator, although I had also suggested Mentisour as a combination of mentor and resource (plus it had a really cool dinosaur sound to it, and brought about visions of a cute little icon of a brontosaurs as a logo on business cards) which the group was not particularly impressed by.

It was remarkably similar to some group assignments I had back in high school, and came complete with rainbow markers and big poster sized pieces of paper to stick up on the wall with our final creation.

(I helped by making it purdy. I'm sure they were all very impressed by my mad doodling skills.)

The interviewers kept walking around the room, observing and listening to us, hurriedly writing down notes.

It was a bit intimidating, as I have no idea what exactly there were looking for beyond everyone having equal participation.

But so it passed.

Then we had a short break where the interviewers all closeted themselves off in another room, undoubtedly discussing our merits thus far. And upon their return our groups were shuffled around.

(Sadly, I never did get to work with the really friendly woman I was chatting with in the waiting room. I liked her a lot. But then, I usually like most people who smile welcoming at me.)

Another (much less fun) exercise outlining a plan to straighten out a faltering parole case followed, with more presentation and questions to answer afterwards. And more big pieces of paper to make pretty with outlines on them.

After some more information about the program at hand, formal disclosure about the grant funding of it, and a comment by one of the interviewers about the unit being close knit and not taking themselves to seriously (it gave me great hope, as she had been watching out group and laughed at my name suggestion/dinosaur comparison back in the first exercise), we were given a final individual exercise.

We were to write up a history of what had transpired in the interview that day.

I was a bit surprised by the other people at my table, the assignment was on an 8x10 sheet of paper with the instructions at the top and an imposed limit of the lined space provided on the front and we had 15 minutes to do it in.

The second the Chief said "Begin", everyone else began frantically scribbling out notes and outlines on scrap paper.

After a brief moment of surprise at their behavoir, I simply took a minute to think through what needed to be said, and then it down. It didn't take up the whole space (although my hand writing is certainly smaller than some of the other women's) much less the back that some of them spilled onto (tsk tsk, not reading the instructions very well now are we?), and I was the first one done writing.

And I'm substantially more worried about how I did without spell check than about whether what I wrote was decent.

I did have the thought that keeping the blog may have helped with that ability to just write. Although for the record, I never could manage outlines in school either. When they were assigned as a "turn it in" assignment, I would always just write the paper and then go back through and make an outline off of it.

However, the strangeness of the group interview wasn't quite over yet.

They started pulling us off one by one to the other room, where they then posed the question "If hired, who would you want to be hired with you?"

Ah crap, names! Umm, let me see here, that blond woman next to me was pretty good, was her name Amy? Or maybe that was the name of the one on the other side of me... uh.... oh wait, the guy was named Matt! That'll work, right? I suppose "because I could remember his name" isn't the BEST reason to want to work with someone. But hey, there's probably worse ones. Right?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Local Plug: Chainsaw Art

One of the very cool and unique aspects of Nederland is the local artists.

From the people who make a garden in the snow of knitted flowers in front of the library, to those whose musical talent fills the beer tents at Frozen Dead Guy Days, the small mountain town is bursting with creativity of a very special flavor.

One of my favorites though is the guy who does Chainsaw Art.

You can hear him most nice days hard at work, and are welcome to go visit his home and workshop (just follow the noise of the chainsaw through town) during the High Peaks Art Festival June 25th and 26th, which, incidentally, is also when Kristina's preschool is having their annual fundraiser and Turtle Float. Have you bought raffle tickets for that yet? There's still time!

He has done many big pieces for the town, including the large bear in front of the mining museum in town and the Frozen Dead Guy Day skeleton (which is not up right now, check back next March). 

And even one of the girls favorite stops outside, our very cute welcome bear.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Friday, June 17, 2011

Single Mama Travels

I have gotten quite a lot of practice on traveling across the country by myself with my small children in tow.

And I am going to share with you the best secret (or three) for success in this matter ever.

You ready for it? It's a big one....

Bungee cords.

Yep. Can't possibly do air travel without them.

You see, as a solo adult with small children in tow, you will at best have one hand to pull luggage with and one hand to push a stroller.

And that is while assuming your child(ren) is being cooperative and agreeably sitting in their stroller and not insisting on being held (at which point you start pushing your stroller with your left hip and right elbow and hoping you don't have to turn much). 

So it is absolutely imperative that you can easily and quickly strap your ridiculous quantities of "necessities" together. No really, just keep piling and strapping onto a wheeled base piece, it'll be fine.

I also suggest taking a moment to stare at your mountain of supplies and wonder how the hunter-gatherers possibly managed to survive.

The other key point I utilize frequently is dredging up and borrowing as much stuff as you possibly can from the destination you are going to.

Nearly everyone with a baby has a portacrib these days. Borrow somebody else's and save yourself the pain of strapping yours on top of your already high piled suitcase sculpture if at all possible.

Also, will you be flying back to see the grandparents 3 or more times a year? If you can't bum them off friends/neighbors/family, suggest investing into car seats THEY can keep at THEIR house. A baseline car seat is $60 at Target, and a booster is only $20. Believe me, it can be well worth every penny not to need to physically bring yours with you every trip.

And if you don't believe me about that you obviously have not tried to travel by yourself with luggage for a week and two or more small children. It's not a pretty sight. Any possible way to lighten to the load is worth a substantial amount as you nearly collapse from hauling 300 lbs of crap across miles of airport.

(Although, just for the record, you CAN check car seats at the counter for free still (along with strollers) or at the gate. You can also bring them onto the plane and strap your child into it if they have their own seat. You know, if weren't already trying to carry enough down that cramped airplane aisle.)

The final (and quite possibly most crucial) aspect of our airline travel is M&Ms. Nothing (and I do mean nothing) works as quickly and efficiently to deter a building meltdown crises as bringing out a baggie of colorful chocolate pieces. Except for perhaps some favorite cookies. (Psst, it even works for babies, but don't tell them I told you that, everyone knows babies shouldn't get chocolate, especially not as a bribe to keep quiet and still on an airplane.)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Questions for my Children

Dear children, you are amazing little creatures. But sometimes you puzzle me....

Why must you sit together and then fight?
No really, I put you in separate chairs or on opposite sides of the couch, and three seconds later you two are snuggled closer than horny teenagers in the back of a movie theater. And then about three seconds after that one of you is annoying the other one and them both of you start screeching. So I stick you back in your separate seats, only to again find the pair of you nestled back on top of each other mere moments later. And then one of you starts pulling hair or stealing toys. Again.

Why is my food always better than yours?
I give you butter on your pasta and me sauce, you eat mine. I give you sauce and me butter, you eat mine. I give you butter and me butter, and you eat mine. And then you decide to return the food sharing favor later by attempting to force your slightly soggy gold fish into my mouth. Thanks kid, but next time can I just eat my lunch from my plate without your stealing fingers or demands for bites constantly interrupting?

Why must you accompany me into the bathroom?
Really, ours don't even have windows in them. I can't escape. At best all I can do is lock the door, which is not a valid reason to fling yourself to the floor and sob inconsolably about how Mommy wouldn't let you into the bathroom with her. I know this is hard to understand, as you love carrying on long and involved conversations during your bathroom visits with me, but sometimes grown-ups just want two minutes to pee in peace. You know, without an audience or small person trying to climb into their lap or unroll the toilet paper or making comments about it being smelly or wanting to see the results or arguing over who gets to flush. I know, adults are really weird.

Why do you only sleep in on the days we need to get out the door early?
Our schedule is pretty lax, many days you could sleep past 8 and it wouldn't matter. So how come on the mornings when Mommy would love to sleep in a little you are all up by 5:30 while on the days when I need you up and dressed I have to pry you from your nest of blankets? I keep hearing that this will straighten out some by the time you are teenagers, but I'm not sure if I can make it 10 more years before I get to sleep past dawn on occasionally.

Why must you throw everything?
Food, clothes, rocks, toys, sand. Anything you can pick up you like to throw. WHY? Why is it so hard to just hand me the shirt you "can't" put on, instead of chucking it at from across the room? We go through this on a daily basis, but apparently sleep erases all memories of preferred behavior (and yet, not Mommy's newest chocolate hiding place).

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Cousinly Outakes

So there are many cute pictures of the little (and even a few of the big) cousins playing together, which I have every intention of posting more from over the next little bit.

But the outtakes are way more fun.

Caleb (far right with navy stripes) had JUST smacked Adrianna in the head (note LauraJean's arm rushing in to save my child as I continued to snap pictures).

Even better, his big sister Grace (third in from the right, also wearing navy stripes) protectively grabbed onto Adrianna while attempting to shove Caleb away. 

Kristina and Quinn are oblivious to all of it (including us trying to take their picture) because the baby had just joined them. And babies are awesome.

Jamie needed a close and personal look at his work on Edna the Pig. 

Eric says:
"You cannot take my pig. No, this is my pig. I don't care if you're an old man. And my uncle. It's mine. MINE. My pig.

I was attempting to take a picture of the girls looking all purdy in their dresses after church.

It didn't go well.

In addition to the camera settings being off (and me not noticing) my children *cough KRISTINA cough* were a little less than cooperative.

Another attempt to capture adorableness post-church.

Which instead just managed to capture Adrianna spontaneously falling over backwards.

(Why yes, she almost 18 months and has been walking almost half her life and sitting for longer and really should be beyond the spontaneously falling over stage, thank you for asking.)

 I'm actually not entirely sure what all happened to cause this one, but it's a poor quality photo capturing an adorable little smile of Adrianna's in the kitchen.

I suspect Kristina may have taken it from the view and framing. Apparently she'd be going for the anti-headless approach when photographing her sister.

 I'm not entirely sure what was going on in this one either, but I thought Kristina holding the axe while attending to Quinn was mildly amusing with the restrained Adrianna and cluster of unconcerned adults in the back ground.

Adrianna REALLY like Quinn's little green stroller, and spent much time hanging out in it all on her own accord.

Holly using the zappy bug racket while wearing Kristina's hat with Adrianna crying strong objection to her not sharing. Good times, good times indeed.


 Now if only I could ethically use it on my children...

And then there are some pictures that just capture such a seen of unbridled childhood chaos...

I was also impressed by Tim's ability to focus on reading his book while the unbridled childhood chaos spilled onto the couch next to him. 

There really should be a limit to how many "slightly less than flattering" pictures of one person I can post.

Too bad there isn't.

Sorry Holly, you just look so cute and silly holding your nose and your coffee.

And Adrianna is making off with the computer. With lazer shooting eyes.

I ALMOST captured the sweetest picture of LauraJean and nephew Caleb outside in the garden.

Then Caleb moved his big head in the way.

But look, doesn't LauraJean have pretty hair??

And some days I think the adults had more fun playing together than the kids did.