Sunday, December 13, 2009

Lincoln turns 2/aka...(Doo)

Happy Birthday Lincoln!
We had a great day celebrating Lincoln. It's so fun to watch him start to understand this whole birthday thing. He was so excited to open each present and got very good at "Mine!","Mine!" He's defenitely 2- and defenitely a quick learner in a house full of older siblings.

Lincoln loves animals and knows them all. He is fascinated by books or pictures of animals, but his favorite animal-hands down- is a horse. He's been saying "horse" for months now. So when we asked him what he wanted his birthday cake to be he promptly answered, "HORSE!" Of course. Thus the funny green cake, the awful attempt at a fence, and every plastic horse in the house. He LOVED it! Me, not so much, but he was one happy boy.
Here he is with his own little MP3 player-complete with headphones. Such a fun gift!
Funny little jumper... (this was hop-scotch on Thanksgiving day)

and bustin' a move- Hilarious!

One of the traditions in our house is that at breakfast on the morning of someone's birthday we all take turns going around the table saying what we love most about that person. It's one of my favorite little traditions-I hope it sticks. As we went around the table for Lincoln this year the comments were unanimous- "I love Lincoln because he can always make me happy." This is absolutely so true. Lincoln was sent to our family to keep us happy- to make us smile- to keep things light- and to always remind us that there are so many things to be happy about. He's our little happy gift. And for me, he reminds me every day that there is a higher plan for each of our lives and that the higher plan is ALWAYS better.
We love our little Lincoln.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A beautiful day in the neighborhood!

It was 65 degrees TODAY in the North Country. As soon as I figured that the thermometer wasn't broken I threw jackets on the boys (which they promptly threw off...because it was so HOT!) and headed outside. I finally got all the leaves and dead plants cleaned out of all my flower beds and the yard mostly ready for snow-cause I know it's coming. Jamison and Lincoln ate lunch out on the trampoline and Jamison suggested that after school we should all go to the beach. Oh, I love my little North Country kids that think 65 is balmy!!
It felt SO good to be outside and to be warm again. And it was just what I needed since I have procrastinated the yard work for too long. Thank Mother Nature for throwing this "yard work procrastinator" a line.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween !
(Ben and I got a good laugh from the fact that the carved pumpkins seemed to be a perfect representation of their creators.)

A pirate, a ninja, a knight in shining armor, and Nancy Drew (plus a few extras). As you can tell-it was COLD- and the kids were sure that I was the meanest mom on the block making them put so many clothes on-it made their costumes "all puffy". But considering the fact that the flu is currently making it's sweep through our house I felt pretty generous in letting them go out at all- I think more like, nicest mom! They had a great time.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Ben's Birthday

Happy Birthday Ben!!

I am one VERY lucky lady. Yep-they're ALL mine!

Even Lincoln had practiced singing for dad.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Day with Dad

This past Saturday there was a district wide Relief Society Enrichment that was a full day event so Ben was left with the kid watch. Now on my typical "kid watch" day I get about as creative and exciting as some cleaning and organizing, followed by a good long nap for everyone, and maybe a quick bike ride. Not dad... he took the kids to hike a mountain. Wow! There are lots of reasons that Dad is the preferred parent but this one is right up there with ice cream after every meal. They had a great day! (And so did I!)

Friday, September 11, 2009

First Day of School

Such excitement for the first day of school! Even Jamison gets a 1/2 day in the Pre-K program. The kids are having a great time and it's good to be back into the "swing" of school. (We did have an extra friend with us-the more the merrier.)

Emmy and Mrs. Caruso- 4th grade.

Clayton-1st grade means homework mom!!.

Jamison is all smiles for Pre-K.

And Lincoln was just plain tired after all of this- ME TOO!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Home Improvement-AARRGGHH!

The house is finally painted!


Can't believe we actually finished this's been 4 years in the coming and we finally did it. (ok-so we still have a few touch-ups to do). It would never have happened without the push from our parents and of course, Brian Snee! You were amazing-many, many thanks.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The King and I-Pykles style

We did it! We made it through another crazy Pykles family adventure. And a few days later I think we are actually very glad that we had this experience together.
This summer our community theatre did a production of The King and I. We tried out back in March and we really hoped that we would all make it in so that we could have the theatre experience as a family again. It was a bit of a scary experience because of the professional nature of the whole thing. The director is straight from NYC and comes here each summer to direct these shows because he is so impressed with the local talent-much of it linked with the school of music. So it was no small miracle when he accepted the whole family. (minus little Lincoln who was just too young). Ben was asked to play 2 roles- the ship captain, and Sir Ramsey, the British diplomat and the kids and I were royal children and wife. This was the perfect situation for our family because given our roles Ben and I were never on stage together except for one 5 min. scene and because of that we were able to always have Lincoln with us-being watched by one or the other of us. That relieved a lot of stress for us and truly made it a family experience. It ended up being TONS of work-a practice nearly every night since the second week in June and many days we found ourselves questioning why we had taken on such a big commitment. But... what a wonderful experience we had. The things we felt our kids gained-from the confidence, to the musical training, to the wonderful people we met-and then to be able to be on stage together (I suppose there will always be a soft spot for theatre for Ben and I). It will be something that we never forget.
The transformation to be Siamese was quite the process each night-spray tanning, black hair, and crazy eye makeup. Most nights it took close to an hour to get hair and makeup done for myself and the kids. Then... take it off each night and start all over again the next night. It was exhausting but the kids loved it!

I was so proud of my kids for seeing this through. It wasn't easy but it was so much fun and they were so good and patient. Jamison was the youngest child in the cast by 2 years and every night when he walked out on stage all by himself to meet the King there was an audible sigh. He was so little and small, but he did just what he was supposed to do and he did it every single night-just right. I was one proud mamma.
Great memories, great experience, great people , etc. etc. etc!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Weekend Canoeing

We took the kids canoeing this past weekend. Oh boy! How many kids can you fit in a canoe?... AND not tip it over in the middle of the lake. It ended up being really fun but once again I've gained a greater appreciation for my own parents and what the words "family outing"/"family vacation" REALLY mean to a mom and dad.
NEVER a dull moment around here. And just for the record-we were in the water!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Jamison turns 4


Jamers turned 4 this week.  Can't believe how quickly the years seem to be flying by us. His birthday was busy day as we were getting Dad ready to leave out of town again but we invited some neighbor kids over for cake and ice cream and some back yard baseball with his new baseball equipment.  Happy Birthday to my little buddy.

4 yr. old memories of Jamison:
  • "Mom, do I get to still be 4 tomorrow?" (me=Yeah, for a whole year.) "YESSSSS!"-complete with arm pump.
  • "Hey mom-this is my blue jet birthday, OK?"
  • "Hey mom-pretty good job on the cake.  You did good."-said with all the casualness of the guy next door. (Thanks son)
  • Marshmellow mouth Jamison
  • Jamison is the most independent child (except for when he's not).  He can totally take care of himself and often gets very frustrated when we step in and mess things up.
  • Jamison is ALWAYS cheerful. He wakes up cheerful-he greets you with a smile and a hug every day is an adventure. It takes a lot to get him upset or angry.  He goes with the flow amazingly and is cheerful about anything and everything.   He asks me a lot during the day "What can I do now?"  As long as I give him an idea he's good to go.
  • Jamison's best friend is his big brother Clayton.  I hope it is always this way.
  • Jamison is the self-designated protector and translator for Lincoln.        When he's not doing this he's making sure to toughen Lincoln up with a good dose of brotherly torturing.
  • Jamison gives the best hugs-there is nothing small or gentle about them but they are full of him!  

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Quick Update

A few updates on the kids: The 2 little boys keep me entertained-ALL day. This morning we received a fun package from Grammy-but never mind what was in it (thanks Grammy!)-they just wanted the box for high flying adventures! Complete with goggles!

Every 4 years at the kids school they have the Lawrence Ave. Olympic games. It's a lot like Track and Field Day that I was used to growing up- but here each class gets to represent a country of their choice and then they participate in "olympic events" for a day with their grade. These are pictures of the Opening Ceremonies which were absolutely fantastic. I was seriously so impressed. The kids all marched in a parade with their class-decked out in matching T-shirts, country garb, carrying the flag-and marched from their school through town ending up at the stadium at the high school for a parade of countries, Olympic oath and pledge, a speech from the mayor which officially opened the games, and the lighting of the olympic torch with runners bringing the lighted torch into the stadium. It was so cool and the kids loved it. I loved it! Both Emmy and Clayton got to hold the flag for their classes-a great memory for them both. This week we'll go watch them compete.

The 2 little boys and I have been having a lot of fun days in the garden-trying to finish up the spring preps. The boys have been patient with a lot of long mornings- Friday morning I decided to take a break for a minute from gardening and take them for a little bike ride. About 5 minutes in I looked back and they were both fast asleep.

I rode for about an hour and they both stayed snuggled and sleeping behind me-it was a great morning. They're keeping me young.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Gettin' Lazy!

The entire month of May has blown past us and I find myself gearing up for summer. The kids have just 3 weeks of school left and they're getting anxious to be done. The wonderful news is that we will be STAYING PUT this summer. Ben has a couple of trips for work but the kids and I plan on going nowhere! Hooray. Our past summers are typically lots of travels-usually out west, which is no small journey. We're looking forward to days at the beach, gardening, bike rides, name it-just no long trips in the car. Grandma Pykles was with us for much of the month of May and it was so fun to have her around. She did loads of gardening and helped us get so much under control.
Thanks Grandma!

A quick look at the last month begs the question: Where has the time gone?

Perhaps in a self-reflective way of answering my own question I have felt a great need for us to slow our lives down a little. I'm not quite sure how yet, but lately I have felt that we're bordering on craziness...too many nights of wolfing down dinner, rushing to the next activity or meeting, stressing the kids out with "hurry, hurry, hurry!"- and too little time spent laughing together, talking with each other, and remembering why we like each other. We're all on the cranky side and patience has been short. To me-all indicators that somewhere we got a little out of balance.Maybe summer will be the answer-but a review of our priorities has given me some much needed clarity. I'm afraid we've been missing the best part of this journey and I'm committed to doing better in the coming months. So, here's to the "lazy days of summer" from a mom who will do her best to make sure they're a little more LAZY!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wearing a new hat

Tonight was the first night of T-Ball for the boys and everyone was so excited. Jamison asked me all day long if it was time for baseball yet. About 30 min. before practice Ben called and let me know he would not be able to come home because of some things that had come up at work, so I tightened my bootstraps and prepared myself for a night of running back and forth between 2 different fields. It happens-no biggie. Ha.
When we got there I sent Emmy and Clayton to find out which team he was on and wait for instructions of where to go while I helped Jamison find his team and get settled. Just as I was walking Jamison to his team I see Emmy and Clayton running toward me yelling something and completely white-faced. When they were finally within earshot I hear them yelling, "MOM-you're the coach, you're the coach!" WHAT! Convinced that there was no possible way that I could be the coach since I had only signed up to be a parent volunteer at the concession stand, I got Jamison settled, left him with another parent-friend, and went to figure things out. As we approached the office I hear the guy in charge yelling..."and here's your coach Orange team, Mr. and Mrs. Pykles (read Mrs. Pickles of course)". Again, WHAT!! 10 little kids, mitts in hand, parents at their side all turn around to find...ME. It was one of those "fight or flight" moments and since the team stood between me and my car I decided it was time to put on the coach hat and coach some baseball. WHAT!!! I quickly sent Emmy to go watch Jamison play for the rest of the night and with little Lincoln on my hip I led 10 6 year olds out to the field for our first practice. 50 minutes later I sent them all home with a team yell and smiling faces and wondered how in the world I had ever pulled that off. But I had.
And they will be back next week expecting Mr. and Mrs. Pickles to coach them again. But this time WE'LL be ready (hopefully).
Lesson learned- NEVER,EVER,EVER check the concession volunteer box. Apparently because no one else checks anything, here in Potsdam it's code for COACH. And they don't even let you know beforehand so as not to spoil the secret code.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Happy Easter

We had a great Easter day. The YSA's were with us for the day and the kids love that.

Big smiles=large amounts of sugar

It only took 1 or 2 eggs for Lincoln to figure this whole Easter thing out: find the egg, shake it to see if it's got the goods, throw the egg on the floor to get to the goods, eat the candy as fast as you possible can, find another EGG!
I guess hidden chocolate could lead me to tearing the house apart too!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Lessons in Syrup

So the funny thing about maple syrup is that the effort/ return ratio is NOT equal. Not even in the littlest way. In order to get 1 gallon of syrup you have to have 40 gallons (yep, you read that right!) of sap. We knew this going into it but I don't think we really understand what 40 gallons of anything looked like.
After 3 weeks of collecting sap and a freezer FULL of sap we needed to find a solution-and fast. I talked to as many people as I could about how to process the stuff and the more I heard the less I wanted to go through the process. Suffice it to say when people start saying things like: "It's takes days of watching it for hours-sometimes day and night.." and "I ruined my entire kitchen plus every pot I owned boiling it down..", you know you have gotten in over your head.

So being the city slicker that I am, I decided to call the High School who runs a sugar shack (there are so many reasons to have the syrup in a shack of it's own) and asked if I could donate about 30 gallons of maple sap in exchange for whatever amount of syrup they could make from it. They were very kind-took all of my sap-and even gave me a beautiful 1/2 gallon of syrup in exchange. The kids were a little disappointed that our syrup wasn't made from OUR sap but I walked away feeling VERY proud of myself, vowing to savor every last bite of pancakes from now on, and wondering what adventure we'd find ourselves in next.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Haircut time

So that first haircut of all the baby hair is always a little traumatic for me. I guess it's just one more sign that they're growing up too quickly. It seemed particularly hard with Lincoln's hair because I love his white blondness. But it was time-he was always tugging at it, it was constantly full of food, and it hung right in his eyes.

(Check out the pose!)

So off it came! And since I can really only do one haircut-he got the Pykles' boys "DO"!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Sugaring (This is for you Donna!)

We are making another attempt at embracing the North Country this spring and have tapped our maple tree. My mother-in-law got us started with the info. when she was out visiting this fall and has kept us fed with wonderful information about how to do this. So today the conditions were perfect-a hard freeze at night but warming above freezing during the day-we put in three taps and our 'fancy' buckets, and presto! Maple sap.
Of course the hard part is yet to come-the filtering, boiling down, and storing-but we'll keep you updated.
For now we're just watching it like a newborn (wondering if maybe we're too easily entertained), feeling pretty proud of our little backyard tree, and considering ourselves just a bit more 'local'.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Monday morning

Last night right before bed Lincoln tripped and smacked his chin on a stool and bit a big hole in his tongue. We're talking-big hole! There was all kinds of blood and tears and pain. (We did take pictures which I will not post because they are GRUESOME!) After great debate and a phone call to Ethan we decided that since there was nothing to do for a gashed tongue we would just watch it ourselves and keep ice etc. going. But it defenitely made for a long night for Lincoln- topped with his usual early morning rising of 5:15. Why so early, I'll never know.
By about 9:30 this morning after all the morning craziness of everyone else he started to get extra crabby. I was nearing the end of sorting mounds of laundry so I just gave him his bottle hoping to get him through the last five minutes of my job until I could put him down. I guess by now he's figured out that waiting for Mom to finish can be very discouraging, so he promptly laid down and next thing I knew he was fast asleep amongst piles of dirty clothes. Now I'm just wondering if there's room for me down there and if anyone would notice if I took a quick one too!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Emmy's Essay

This week Emmalyn was chosen to represent her 3rd grade class at a school assembly by reading an essay she wrote about "Tolerance and Diversity". I tried downloading the video clip of her reading but it was just too big-so a few quotes from her will have to do.
"Tolerance means accepting and Diversity means different, so together they mean accepting others that are different...You should just accept people the way they are because they can't change that they are different from could just give a friendly smile. A smile helps me when I am sad...I think people should try to be more tolerant and diverse every day."

Needless to say we were proud parents.