Tag Archives: update

What’s Up With Us?


On a Wednesday park playdate, our friends were running behind so Ara agreed to pose for a few pictures. I love that her ‘smile’ is so weird when I point a camera at her. Hilarious girl.


We’ve already had a few days over 100F here so our park play dates may soon become swimming play dates. Ara passed the YMCA swim test a couple months ago and is now considered an independent swimmer. Because of her age I’m still required to be beside her in the pool, which I would be anyway. She gets to wear the ‘big kid’ colored swim bracelet and if we happen to go to a YMCA with a pool slide, she can go down it! These are important things!


I’ve only ever seen this bird at Reid Park, and every time I do I wonder what the heck it is! Does it look lost? Does it think this shallow artificial lake is the ocean? I love it’s one long head feather and super intense red eye.


We recently enjoyed a bounce house Birthday Party. Watching the kids so occupied and happy (and in no danger of drowning) I started to think that’s the way to go. Of course Ara’s Birthday is in August, which means it will be WAY TOO HOT to bounce outside. Something to think (bounce) on though. I was just wondering when the grown-up bounce time was, I think I could have some serious fun in there!

The perennial issue at Birthday parties.. the artificially colored cake. I told her she could scrape off the red part pretty easily. Which she did.. she scooped it cleanly off with a spoon, straight into her mouth. And she looked pretty please with herself about it too. I let her make her own choice there. Usually she chooses not to eat artificial colors, sometimes the temptation is too great. I do know for a fact, if I forbid her to eat them, she would ALWAYS eat them when I wasn’t looking. I occasionally remind her that she gets the ‘crazies’ and ‘laughing mouth’ when she eats artificial colors and that she should be aware and use her self control. Those might not sound like bad things but they are basically our code for out-of-control Ara. As she gotten older she seems more capable of handling herself. It’s still a challenge though. Plus, they’re gross.


Our weekly trips to the library have involved lots of deep sea information. We are fascinated with Sperm Whales and Giant Squid at the moment. Did you know that more people have been to the moon that the deepest part of the ocean? There are whole eco systems down there that never see an ounce of sunlight. I could go on and on, Ara and I can’t get enough of BBC documentaries about it! Alex surprised us with the Deep Ocean Blue Planet and the entire Planet Earth series. I love the movies but one of my (secret) favorite things about it is that we watch them over and over and I get so sleepy. It’s the combination of the smell of Ara, the soothing voice of the documentary and BAM I get the greatest mini-naps ever! Don’t tell anyone, ok?


We’ve had some creative lego moments waiting for gymnastics class to start at the YMCA.


Our planter and aquaponics gardening efforts are still going well. This grasshopper is thankful to us. He was so nice to let me take zillions of photos of him, we let him hop off happily on his way. We are a no-kill garden so far. Although I wouldn’t mind if some ladybugs happened to want to eat all of our aphids.


Pretty, our live Christmas tree was decorated in mini flowers so that Ara’s dinosaurs could have a Christmas in May.


Now that I look at the picture I guess it was a dino/sea mammal Christmas.

IMG_2038 The herbivores seemed especially joyous.

And, that’s it for this GIANT update on our daily comings and goings!

Artificial Color Update


I haven’t talked about our journey to cut artificial colors lately so I thought I’d write an update. 

Cutting out artificial colors hasn’t been the challenge I initially thought it would. 

Drink-wise We were always of the mind that Ara only needed water and milk (we’ve since cut out cows milk) to drink.  Very rarely offering juice.  When we offer juice now, we stick to 100% juice, mostly just orange juice.


As far as snacks, Ara is old enough now that she can grab a piece of fruit when she feels hungry.  We don’t restrict her and the system works great.  I hope this relationship with food and the idea that she knows when she needs a snack or not will help her have normal healthy eating habits’ in the long run. 


I think Bento making has helped make eating a home made lunch more attractive. 

Ara would rather have a bento than a Happy Meal! 

Yeah, I know. 

It’s a freaking 2011 miracle! 


For breakfast we used to buy cereals with colors.  I just stopped buying cereal at all for almost a year to force us out of that habit.  We do have cereal on occasion now, but only the healthy stuff.  No more FruitLoops (not to be confused with fluteloops) or Kix!  I usually offer Ara a breakfast bar, fruit, or cereal with fruit.  She’s forgotten the days of sugary cereal so there are no fights, just a choice of things she likes. 

IMG_2329Dinner is usually the meal that’s the most challenging.  We like to eat out.  Sad but true.  Eating at home is obviously the best choice for your health and wallet.  But eating out is more fun!  Room for improvement for sure. 

For Holiday’s and Birthday parties we try to stick to our additive ban but it doesn’t always go smoothly.  Even last week, the helpers at the YMCA gave Ara some fruit snacks, which she ate.  It happens.  We don’t make a big deal about it.  I talk to Ara about recognizing foods that have colors and our standing deal is that I will trade her a lollypop from my purse for any candy someone gives her.  It works, most of the time. 


So there you are, if you were curious about our walk on the color-free side.

I found a Bento-Box-Car!


I’m a blog slacker.  Or a slackog…  Will you forgive me internet?  What?  You didn’t notice I was gone?  Well, thanks a lot! 

I’m sick this weekend.  Meaning I am forced to stop painting, scraping, cleaning, and unpacking and sit here catching up on my blog reading.  I actually had to read my own blog to remember where I’d left off in our lives. 

Ara News:

Ara is still having a hard time at school.  She is trying hard to be like the other girls in her class.  She talks about how they dress and do their hair.  Which is hard to see, I love her unique style so much.  The bigger issue has been how she treated her friends.  Going through the move she had a lot of anger and frustration.  Which she took out on her classmates.  She would do things like cut in line to the drinking fountain and steal a seat someone was about to sit in.  She turned her friends into enemies and now they’ve all banded together against her.  It’s now the norm for me to see her alone on the play yard when I pick her up.  Alex has been dropping her off and on Friday as they walked in a frenemy shot Ara a dirty look and he could see the tears in her eyes.  Who knew the social structure of kindergarten could be so complex and hurtful?  I feel guilty for putting her through this big change at the beginning of the school year and for not scheduling any play dates with her new friends.  We’ve been so busy and half the time I’m so embarrassed by my work clothes and the paint on my hands that I high tail it out of there as fast as possible. 


I have painted my kitchen into a useable space (almost).  I still have no cabinet doors or drawers but that’s ok for now.  At least I unpacked the boxes and can now find pans and silverware.  I am still perplexed about the teeny tiny black ants that refuse to be bothered with my ant bait.  I refuse to spray poison on them but I might try some boric acid on the wall where I think they’re coming in.  Bleh, bugs. 

My Grandpa came in to drywall Ara’s bathroom last week and had an accident.  We were over at the old house when my Mom got a call from my Grandpa.  He had been standing on a bucket in the bathtub when it slipped.  He hit the side of the tub and fell into it.  When he called he’d been bleeding and trapped in the tub for a while already.  We dropped everything and rushed over.  He needed 11 stitches.  It could have been much worse.  I’m so grateful to my family for all of the help they’ve given us.  This project has been a thousand times more work and time than we estimated and I just can’t imagine where we would be without all of the help!  I feel like I can’t say ‘thank you’ enough but as soon as I clean that oven I will say it with baked goods! 


I haven’t made a bento in so long I think I’ve forgotten how.  At least I unpacked my boxes, that’s a start!   I’m excited that I have room for my bento supplies, though.  They no longer have to live in the bottom cabinet stuffed in so tightly there is an avalanche every time the door opens.  I DID see a very exciting license plate the other night after a flute club rehearsal…Photo0724

I’m so curious about the person who drives this Bento-BOX of a car!  I wonder if there’s someone in the flute club who makes bento?!  Exciting! 

Camera News

I’ve unpacked almost all the boxes and my camera has not turned up.  I guess it’s time to accept that I lost it.  This makes me so sad.  I absolutely love taking pictures (like you didn’t know that right?).  I’ve been using my phone to take pictures but it’s a poor substitute.  I can either load up on film for Alex’s SLR camera or I can start a saving jar for a new digital camera.  It’s pretty low on the priority list right now.  After Ara’s bathroom, and new countertops for the kitchen.  So I don’t expect I will have another camera any time soon.  Oh man, what will I do during the holidays?!  Anyway, I apologize for all the blurry photos I’ve posted so far and I future-apologize for all the rest.  I’ll miss my old camera friend. 


Last Friday I left my camera in my Mom’s bag at the swimming pool. I miss it! That is the reason I have been posting “phone” pictures all weekend. So I apologize for the poor quality. A and I had a really nice talk last night and we spent some quality time together. Unfortunately, that means that we got less than 4 hours of sleep (again). So this weekend has been wonderful and sleepless at the same time! It’s 10:30pm now and I think it’s bed time. Joe school tomorrow.

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