thoughts on baking

tyler came home this week with a request for me to make some sort of baked good for his band party. my old stand-by for school treats are brownies (from scratch). tyler had also requested the same, so it worked out.

usually, i make it with tyler assisting in some capacity. however, this time around i decided to turn the tables. since he has had plenty of experience helping me bake, why not allow him to do it himself? i literally did nothing except stir. but that was only for about 60 seconds at most. once he was on a roll, he insisted on doing everything himself. even the stirring (usually his arm gets "tired" after a brief stir and i end up completing that task).

i was merely a guide.

i only gave suggestions when he asked for them, and i allowed him to discover his own baking methods-keeping mine to myself. sometimes it's hard to let-go and allow your child to do something on his own, even if it's something as trivial as baking. and it's difficult to resist the temptation of making your child do something your way. sometimes there are many roads that lead to the same destination. likewise, a child's own method of doing something may not be the parent's way. it may not even always be the most effective method, but it yields the same result. the best way for a child to learn is to try it. even if they fail. then try again.

and the end result...

delicious, moist, chocolaty brownies (he did not come home with any left over).


a glimpse into ohio's history

within the north chagrin reservation, set back in a spacious field, sits squire's castle. it's actually not a castle at all, but in fact a gatekeeper's home built in the 1890s for feargus b. squire's future country estate. unfortunately, squire's plan to build a summer home never fully materialized. he sold the property in 1922, and the cleveland metroparks purchased the property in 1925.

legend has it that mrs. squire died in the gatekeeper's home and her spirit still haunts the castle [insert spooky music here]. but we didn't see anything except for some old firewood in the fireplace and some grafitti on the walls.

following our visit to squire's castle, we took a explored the woods surrounding the area. there are plenty of man-made trails there for walkers, joggers and horse riders. and no shortage of poison ivy either.


sunday evening was spent enjoying a delicious meal from the grill and playing some intense games of croquet. though the wee ones did not participate in the croquet fun, they did enjoy the freedom of roaming in the backyard playing in the mini house, chalk drawing, and cramming into emma's school bus. no one was able to beat, todd, the reigning croquet champion. not even aaron and jon's combined forces deterred him from finishing a winner.

fun with chemistry

the next david beckham

soccer is the sport of choice for tyler at the moment. of course, his most favorite athlete is the very well-known david beckham, who left his home country to play for the l.a. galaxies. these photos are from saturday's double-header.


fire station tour

our friday morning was primarily spent touring the fire station near our house. there were plenty of things to see at the station, and we gleaned plenty of information from our wonderful tour guide.

what were some things we learned from captain collins?
  • the aerial ladder stretches up to 150 feet.
  • all incoming firefighters in the cities surrounding cleveland are required to be certified paramedics (though this is not a requirement in cleveland proper).
  • firefighters do not require a CDL to drive the trucks.
  • it takes firefighters approximately 60 seconds from the time they're notified of an emergency to the time they depart from the station.
  • they purchase and prepare their own food during the times they reside at the station.
  • children under 80 lbs. should not be placed in the front passenger seat, because if the airbag is deployed the force can severely harm or possibly kill the child.
  • their kitchen is immaculate and certainly MUCH cleaner than mine. sadly, no one accepted my offer to come over and clean my kitchen.

school bus!

thanks to tyler's friend, daniel, for giving this school bus to emma! i had to drag her out of there so that she could take her nap. she absolutely loves it. and the whole bus folds flat for easy storage. this is a fantastic indoor play area, especially for times when it's too cold and rainy to play outside.

our weekend house guests


thursday play group

this week, our thursday play group met at the nature & science center due to chilly weather conditions outside. emma began hissing like a snake the second we pulled into the parking lot. we've only been to the center 4 times, but she knows what's waiting for her inside the building. snakes. and lizards, and fish, and turtles. the advantage about being in a more confined area is that the mamas are able to converse more with each other without having to leave mid-sentence every 5 minutes to reel in their children.

BUT, i'll take a day outside any day...as long as the weather is pleasant and sunny.


fashion pioneer

aaron came across this snazzy t-shirt at a skate shop almost 3 years ago while we were bumming around our hood. we loved the t-shirt so much that we even made a couple of purchases for our friends out west so that we could share our fabulous discovery with them.

reading the paper today, we found that the very same shirt (along with other pro-cleveland shirts) have become so popular that it made it on the weekly it-list of style and fashion. the initial reaction was one of panic and dread. dread because now more and more people will know about them. panic because our own sense of originality will be lost among a sea of people who choose uniformity over individuality....joking! REALLY. who would have guessed that aaron would be SO fashion forward? so much in fact that he could very well be one of the pioneers? i think it's great to support local businesses like the folks who make these shirts. and if the newspaper can encourage and mobilize the public to support that "buy local" mentality makes it even better.

hello baby

congratulations to our friends adam and amy on the birth of their 2nd child: addison joseph.

d.a.r.e. - to keep kids off drugs

congratulations to our d.a.r.e. graduate. he got to shake hands with the mayor and scored a t-shirt too.


art walk

as tyler spent saturday with gram and pap, the three of us decided to check out the lakewood art walk. it was our first time going, so we weren't sure what to expect. there wasn't much to see when we went. perhaps if he had gone a little earlier, there would have been more out there. after some time walking the streets, we decided to pop into bela dubby for some much needed refreshments. settling on a red vintage couch, we sipped our cold brews (excluding emma, though she did try to sneak a sip!) as we watched an indie-folk type band (i can't recall their name) perform. emma seemed to enjoy the show, indicating her song preference by wiggling her bum. we didn't stay for the whole show, because our stomachs got the better of us. we ended the evening with a delicious meal at thai hut, and a pleasant walk home.

last dance

friday night we attended tyler's very last elementary school dance. it was very difficult to catch him busting a move. he mostly preferred watching rather than participating. he didn't even want to crank dat soulja boy (yoooouuuuu!).

play that funky music

we had quite an enjoyable time attending tyler's band concert last thursday evening. the band members were made up of all the 5th graders in the district, so it was quite a large group. the kids did a great job performing, and it sounded better than we expected (not that we were expecting it to sound terrible). emma enjoyed every moment and kept asking for more music, each time they stopped playing.

here are 2 excerpts from the performance.


play group

emma and i headed over the park this morning to meet up for cross point's first organized play group. though it was quite chilly, there was plenty of sun to go around.

with her growing sense of independence, emma insisted that she do everything "self."

"can mommy help push you in the swing?"

"no. self." [wiggling frantically to get the swing to move]

then comes the "aargghhhh, uhhhh, grrrr" because she can't swing by herself yet. i then attempt to push her, on the sly, only to be caught (aww, nuts!).

"uhhh...nooooo....self!" [more wiggling]

"okay, self. you're doing it yourself." i resign to the fact that there's no helping her. but i do manage to get her going, secretly, without her noticing. and baby is happy once more.


new and improved

the kids and youth section of the library is finally open!

tyler went there yesterday to do homework in the homework room. they also offer a free program called homework er for school age kids. he really enjoys going to the library, and he seems to like the independence from doing homework in a place that he picks out on his own.

then there is also an impressive learning space called the librainium, created by the burgeon group, for young kids to explore. so many things to touch, feel and do. emma loved it.

still more construction to be completed, but the finished "product" is just beyond the horizon.


mother's day

today, we dedicated our daughter to god at church, promising to bring her up (and tyler too) according to his word. what a perfect start to mother's day. then, i received a wonderful and encouraging home-made card from tyler. his words helped me realize that the small things i do for him that i think are often taken for granted are in fact noticed and remembered. i also received a creative haiku card from my dear husband, who sometimes doesn't even need to use words to tell me how much he cares. amazing.

when i was younger, i remember asking my mom, "what do you want for mother's day?"

every year it was the same answer, "just your love and affection."

doesn't help me much does it? but now i understand. because on mother's day that's all i want from my children (and husband). not stuff to substitute for their love and affection. just their love and affection. that's enough for me.

to all the mamas i know: may you be showered with love and affection, today and everyday!


mini road trip

after teaching this morning, my dear family picked me up from work and we jetted down to mamaw's house for a visit. ed and shannon were there with their 2 kiddies, geddy and sophia, who are just about 5 months older than emma. the weather was pleasant. we spent most of the afternoon outside eating home pizza and enjoying each other's company.

the three little cousins really hit it off, especially after emma shared her teddy grahams with the twins. how can you not make a friend when food is involved? sophia was especially fond of tyler and liked to follow him around. tyler did a great job keeping an eye on the little ones, and was always sure to rope them back in if they strayed too far. there was plenty of open space to roam and explore, and i think all the kids really enjoyed that.

there was so much room in fact that aaron and tyler decided to do this little number a couple of times.

and finally, proof that kids don't need anything fancy to keep them happy. just a land rover with leather seats, and plenty of opportunity to climb around.

bunches of flowers

friday we went to the library's family weekend wonder program again, but this time ben and gram came along. the theme was body talk so they read a couple of books involving body parts and movement, and learned to sign the happy birthday song. i have to say, the craft this week was mostly my handy-work since it involved a lot of cutting and pasting. nonetheless, emma was still very proud of what she "made."


more sibling sillies

when the sun begins to set, the sillies come out!

sometimes technology is not so good

what's up with this? i briefly looked through the 60 page list of products, and there's a lot of antibacterial items that contain the nano-silver along with a couple of items from sharper image. when technology turns into risky business, potentially harming us and the environment, then i say scrap it.

one more blurb. this one is about whole foods. i think aaron will appreciate this one. now there's finally more reasons (aside from 1 rude employee and that they sell a lot of over-priced stuff) NOT to shop at whole foods.


seattle connection

2 seattle connections in 1 week.

1. yesterday, a friend of mine set-up a meeting with another gal who she found was from the seattle area. like me, she has a 10 year old boy and an 18 mos. old daughter, and the family moved here for her husband's job. we hit it off, and enjoyed reminiscing about the emerald city. since living here, i haven't met anyone else who had relocated here from seattle so it's pretty neat to find someone with the same connection.

2. this saturday, studio 11 is offering a workshop with kt neihoff which i would love to take. neihoff is a fairly well-known choreographer in seattle, co-founded velocity dance center, and artistic director of lingo dance theater. i've only taken her class once, but have taken a number of classes at velocity while i was in seattle. i missed her company's performance at cpt, but hopefully they'll return again. it sounds like she has connections in the cleveland area.

monkey see, monkey do

after watching mama vacuum, here is emma doing the same. not only is she enjoying herself "playing" vacuum, she is developing her hand-eye coordination and learning some essential life skills. plus, once she has mastered the art of vacuuming, i won't have to do it anymore.


love and laundry detergent

i've known aaron for 7 years. we know each other like the back of our own hands. or so we thought...

i grew up using liquid laundry detergent, and it wasn't until i married aaron that i switched to powder. why? because he used powder. every time we ran out, i would go and buy more powder detergent because that's what i thought he preferred. you see, i was doing it out of love, even though i personally preferred liquid. years passed and i kept buying more powder detergent. until today. in my attempt to be a more frugal shopper, i decided to make the switch back to my beloved liquid detergent, because it was a dollar cheaper than using the powder. in my head, i had already planned an argument for the liquid detergent in case aaron disagreed with my decision. it turns out the argument was not necessary. today, we discovered that both of us preferred liquid. he had used powder only because it was what his roommate bought-LOL!. we never said anything to each other, because both of us thought the other preferred the powder. and to think that something so trivial as laundry detergent would be a symbol of our love for each other. how romantic.


indians baseball

after a few days of rain, the weather was perfect for a day out to progressive field. the family, including aunt corrie, aunt jenna and uncle jon, took the train downtown and met up with other cross pointers to watch the indians battle it out against the kansas city royals. emma seemed fascinated with the train ride, enjoying the scenery go by. being her first baseball game, emma did better than we expected. of course, there were lots of things to look at, and plenty of people she knew who helped keep her occupied. i gave her a brief play-by-play to help her understand the game better, but i don't think it all quite sunk in. we took a 6th inning walk-break to find the play area so emma could burn off some energy. since it was kid's day today, tyler and emma both got free indians t-shirts. i'll help emma wear hers for now.

on other non-baseball related news, tyler shared one of his memory verses in front of everybody in church today. we are so very proud of him.
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