Sunday, April 28, 2013

Raising Little Heroes

 For most of my adult life, I have been searching for ways to contribute to society in a meaningful way.  Although I’d tried many avenues, I never felt like I was doing enough.  In addition, I have this wish for my children: that they will grow into compassionate adults who know everything and everyone is connected and we should all be doing our best to take care of each other and the world in which we live.  As my children were growing before my very eyes, I was all too aware of the fact that I wasn’t doing anything tangible to help make this wish come true because I was waiting to have more time, more money and more energy.  Then one day I realized I didn’t want to be teaching my kids that being generous is something you do when it’s convenient for you.  What if we never felt financially secure?  I decided to stop waiting and asked some friends if they felt the same way.

We started as a handful of families, coming together once a month to take on a project we could do for little to no money.  We baked homemade goodies for our local firefighters during the summer when Colorado was suffering from seemingly endless wildfires, we made blankets for children in need and we helped the local food bank with their annual food drive.  Word quickly spread around our city about what we were doing and I suddenly started getting emails from people I’d never met and from all walks of life asking to be a part of our group.  The response was overwhelmingly enthusiastic as our little group grew from 11 families to 60 in 2 weeks.  We now offer projects in 3 major areas of interest:  Human, Environmental and Animal.

One of the things I feel most proud of is the exposure we are providing for our kids in the beginning of their lives.  We know it’s much easier to learn to play a musical instrument or speak another language if you are immersed in that world when you are young.   I believe this principle also applies to what our Raising Little Heroes families are trying to accomplish.  Our hope is that if we do these things regularly with our children from the time they are born, these values we so cherish will be woven into the fabric of their life journey into adulthood.

Raising Little Heroes also offers a community building aspect often lost in this age of technology.  There is a peacefulness that comes with knowing your neighbors and having a group of people to get together with once in a while who share your interests.  Raising Little Heroes tackles great, kid-friendly projects while fostering a sense of belonging and knowledge of community.  It’s good for the kids, but also positively impacts the adults by igniting a passion for volunteer work while creating community and social connections.  What better way to light the fire than to contribute to society knowing you are setting a great example for your kids as you do so?

We offer unique opportunities as often as we can.  We know each person is able to give back in different ways.  For some, giving money is easiest and most fulfilling while for others giving time is more satisfying and doable.  We strive to find projects at little to no cost and if they do involve money we work hard to make it possible for all families to participate regardless of their financial situation.  Each piece is equally important and helpful and we want to encourage families to participate in any way they wish.

So, whether it’s the 8 year old who is helping pull weeds at our adopted park or the 2 year old who draws a cheerful picture for a family affected by a natural disaster; the infant who inspires her parents to get out there and do something to help make this world a better place or the parent who holds a new mother’s baby so that mother can take 10  minutes to sort food donations; or, the pregnant soon to be first time mother, who lovingly makes a blanket for a baby in the NICU while chatting with other parents about what’s ahead for her on the new journey she’s about to embark on.  There is something for all of us, a way to contribute regardless of how much.  Join us in our efforts to help strengthen our community in hopes of raising compassionate, caring little heroes. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

My friend Katie

This post is part of Water For People's #ChangeTheWorld campaign

Meet my outstanding friend, Katie. 

Katie is, quite possibly, the most friendly, kind and generous person I've ever known.  I feel grateful to be able to consider her a friend.  She is a devoted mother, raising her 3 girls (and another little one on the way) with her heart and soul.  She has a passion for connecting with people and greets every new face with a smile and an acceptance that I can't quite describe.

Katie grew up in Grass Valley, California (Northern California) but when she was in high school, she and her family took frequent summer trips to Portland, Oregon.  Ever since those trips to Portland, she has been particularly drawn to those less fortunate than herself.  During that time, she spent time with old family friends Lynn and Dan Griffith, who had started an organization in Portland called "Blanket Coverage" that goes around the city at night, literally covering people sleeping outside in the cold with blankets.  They are not striving to change "the system", only to give those people who are cold and lonely some warmth and compassion.  Watching and working with this selfless devotion, seeing how Lynn and Dan value people and the individual in every walk of life, left an impression on Katie that has never left her.  After high school, she went to Wheaton to study Anthropology with the goal of working overseas, focusing on cross-cultural relations and working with the poor.

Like Lynn and Dan, Katie is drawn to grassroots stuff as opposed to larger, established organizations.  Connecting to people on a relational, individual level is what moves and motivates Katie.  She feels that all levels of work and commitment are invaluable and that each of us has unique strengths and visions that need to be respected in order for the big picture of change to occur, and that her place in this picture is at the most intimate, human level.

Katie moved to Boulder in 2006 with her family, and felt a need to reach out to the homeless population of nearly 900 individuals.  About a year after their move to a new city, and while pregnant with her third child (Ruthie), Katie, her husband Mitch and their two young girls (Josie and Anna) started reaching out by making dinner and taking it to people who looked hungry.  It wasn't uncommon for the small family to make a big pot of soup, load it into their red wagon and walk down the Boulder Creek Path, sharing warm food and friendly conversation.  They didn't do this once a winter or here and there, they did it consistently with the intention of getting to know people and proving that they could be depended upon.  Not just for food, but for connection, respect and friendship.  Over the years, these relationships have allowed Katie and her family to more easily see the specific needs of specific individuals and they now provide support on even deeper, more rich levels.  Recently, Katie and her family were able to provide temporary shelter for a pregnant, homeless friend.  They took her in at the end of her pregnancy, offering their home as a peaceful setting for a midwife assisted birth and fed and nourished her in the first week of her new life with her baby.  After their friend and her new baby left their home, Katie worked together with a system of supporters to provide meals for the new mother for a time after the birth.  They continue to communicate on a regular basis and provide emotional support whenever needed.  Katie knows that she would not have been able to provide this comfort for her friend if she hadn't taken the time to get to know the homeless community intimately.

One morning over a cup of tea, I asked Katie a lot of questions about her inclusion of her young children in her work (Now ages 7, 6 and 4).  I think that many of us, despite our best intentions, shy away from approaching the homeless because we fear them.  We hear many stories about drug abuse and violence and those stories are hard to ignore, especially when we have our precious children in tow.  If we are hesitant as adult individuals, add in the protective instincts we have for our children and there's not much more we can muster other than the sporadic donation of spare change.  The truth is though, that drug abuse and violence exist in almost all circles.  The key to steering clear of dangerous situations is knowledge and familiarity and getting to know people is the best way to gain that.  She stressed to me that this knowledge and familiarity is not something that happens overnight, but that small steps in a specific direction lead to trust and fears (on both sides) eventually breaking down.   While she acknowledges that she stays vigilant:  telling the kids to stick close by her, always having an eye on them, keeping her ears and eyes open for signals to whisk the kids away at any given moment and being sure to stay in public places where there is a strong police presence, Katie maintains that she almost always feels safe and protected while spending time with her homeless friends.  She and her family are such a constant presence that a number of her homeless friends are able to let her know of possible dangers before she even has a chance to sense anything.  In many cases, they are her first protection.

Many parents might choose to focus on the influences children in this situation are exposed to.  Katie admitted that she probably has a higher threshold for things like swearing, for instance, but I specifically asked her if she worries about the exposure to the drug culture, since it is something that I know many of us worry about.  She said that mostly, the kids don't even notice the colorful language (or use it themselves) and consequences of drug addiction but that if and when they do, Katie and Mitch are sure to talk it all through carefully with the girls at home.  Through these conversations, it has become clear to Katie that the kids don't idealize the drug culture but see the pain surrounding it, which leads to sympathy and a natural inclination to exercise compassion.

This approach is certainly not for all of us but for those like Katie who deeply believe in the importance of human connection it is extremely meaningful.  For Katie, it is not only significant for her own individual life journey but for her parenting journey as well.  She sees and hears the results of her work every day through her girls.  They end each day with a prayer for those friends who do not have a roof over their heads or a guaranteed meal.  She proudly watches them take on time consuming tasks at the shelter without being asked and swims in the warmth of their smiles and giggles while sharing a meal with people who would otherwise be alone.  These are just some of the many reasons she never questions the work she is doing.

If you would like to join Katie in her efforts, she encourages and reminds you to start small.  If you feel compelled to get to know a group of people, but are feeling nervous she suggests just sitting and observing for a few weeks.  Get to know the culture, the tendencies, the possible dangers and the needs before approaching and when you do approach, go with someone who is familiar with the culture.  Volunteer to serve a meal and then go back...again and again and again.  Watch and listen.  Be kind and reserve judgment.

Katie is the volunteer coordinator for BOHO (Boulder Outreach for Homeless Overflow) here in Boulder, which provides shelter throughout the winter months (Emergency Warming Centers) at various congregations around the city.  Although their focus is on shelter, most nights there is also food to share, which is either donated by the congregations or provided by an organization called FEED (Friends Encouraging Eating Daily).  FEED provides food at the BOHO warming centers whenever possible, and they also offer Saturday meals (at noon) during the summer months by the main branch of the Boulder Public Library.. If you are interested in volunteering with BOHO or FEED, you can email Katie directly for information.

Maybe you can already sense this, but I have a tremendous amount of respect for Katie and the work she does.  Although our passions lie in different areas, her devotion to hers inspires me to focus and work harder for the things I believe in deep in my heart.  Thank you for everything you do, Katie.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

CrAzY CoLoRaDo

If you are friends with me on Facebook, no doubt you are really tired of my snow picture posts and believe me, so am I.  Every time it snows I tell myself to resist the urge to take a picture and post it but I can't resist--it's baffling!  I know that historically, March and April are Colorado's snowiest months but still...I also know that all of this Spring snowfall will help with the drought (although I read we are still not out of the woods in that regard, despite the weekly dumps this month), but STILL....we did have a very pleasant winter at our house, but at the tail end here it seems we've all developed cabin fever.  I think we got that taste of Spring when it started warming up and just didn't want to put our coats and shoes back on and keep the doors closed.  Owen has turned into a stereotypical 2 1/2 year old boy seemingly overnight.  Yes, I'm aware that I've said this before but I'm finding that, similar to when Zoe was in this stage, it seems to get worse and wor--I  mean, more and more magical, enlightening, humbling, hilarious, torturous, confusing, character building and typical every month or so.  Some days I swear if I could just go 10 minutes without hearing Zoe say "O-WEN!!!" from the other room, or come running to me crying because he's pulled her hair, hit her, knocked her carefully constructed set up of "buddies" over, stolen her musical instrument or is copying everything she is saying I could add years to my life.  I cannot wait until we can open the doors and let the little bugger run around hitting trees with sticks and pulling the grass instead of taking that pent up energy out on our poor defeated bodies and souls. *sigh*

Today, I realized that this last snowfall might very well be our last for the year and I've been horrible about taking the kids sledding.  It's not really my fault because taking them sledding can be pretty torturous.  Zoe likes to sled if she's in a good mood, but Owen is at a stage in which many things make him nervous and sledding has been one of those things this year.  It was hard enough when Nathan and I took them together once so I never ever ever found the energy to give it a try on my own.  Today was so  beautiful though and since our sledding hill is pretty much right across the street from us, I decided to give it one last go.  I figured if it didn't work out, at least it was warm enough to not have to add being freezing cold on top of it all.  I can say that I'm glad we tried it, but I also have to admit that it was almost a total  bust.  I say almost because Zoe went down a few times and Owen and I successfully went down together once.  When I tried to get him to go down again though, he threw a fit and refused to believe me when I reminded him that just 3 minutes before, he had gone down the hill  laughing hysterically and yelling "YAHOOOOO!".  Zoe starting whining "I'm tired of walking" after run #3 so we officially bagged it and played at the playground for a bit before heading home.  Oh well!  Hopefully, winter is now thoroughly convinced that I've done my best to enjoy it and will give us a break for a few months.

Scott Carpenter, aka "The Rocketship" Park

I have a picture of Zoe doing this from when we first moved here.  Crazy.

I don't know what you call these things...they make your voice sound kind of tinny when you sit  between them and talk

If nothing else, the venture out helped with the cabin fever problem.  We seemed to get along a bit better than we have been after getting back.  The kids picked out a bag of marshmallows at the grocery store yesterday for their treat this week, so today after lunch they built some stuff with toothpicks and marshmallows.  Zoe seemed to vaguely remember doing this a couple of years ago  because she quietly said a couple  of times: "Wow,  we haven't done this in a really long time..." which is weird to me.
Owen made a ballerina and was asking it all kinds of kooky questions before munching the marshmallows off the toothpicks..."Bowahweena?  Weah is da paint?  Oh! Sank you!" munch  Huh?  Weirdo

Zoe made this!  I was really proud of her, although she "hates" it because it didn't look exactly like the one I'd made as a model for her.  I think she finally started believing me after the 3rd or so time I explained that this is a difficult skill to master and this was really awesome for her first attempt.  That kid is really going places, I think!
The forecast is looking pretty perfect for the next week or so, so we are all excited.  Thanks for the lovely time, Boulder Winter!  On to Boulder Spring and Summer!  Hooray!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Thursday Potlucks!

We are so lucky to live where we live..Boulder yes, but  more specifically, Family Housing.  When we were planning our move out here, Nathan and I had a hard time deciding whether to live in Family Housing or find a place of our own.  It was a very difficult decision, but I'm so grateful for the one we finally settled on.  We are surrounded by families who are in the exact same position as we are..difficult working hours, temporary living situations, living off loans and raising small children.  Our apartment is one of several in a square with a nice green lawn in the middle and as our kids have gotten older and we've all gotten to know one another better and better, we've ended up with something pretty unique and amazing.  I can't tell you how often we all end up stumbling out onto our shared green space and decide to share a picnic lunch and play the afternoon away.  We have a whole year left here but I can't help but become really sentimental, knowing that this spring/summer will be our last to share these cozy days with our neighbors.

A couple of weeks ago, on one of these spontaneous cozy afternoons my neighbors and I decided to officially pronounce Thursdays "Potluck Thursdays" and meet outside around dinnertime to share the dinner hour.  After we planned it and put it on our calendars, I came across GenerationOn's most recent campaign to combat childhood hunger in America, What Will You Bring To The Table?  It struck a chord with me because we recently watched the film A Place At The Table and I can't stop thinking about it.  GenerationOn is offering a tangible way for communities and families to contribute to fighting this problem and I felt determined to take part in it, and knew my neighbors would feel the same way.  So, after taking action by contacting my local Representatives through the film's website I emailed my neighbors about the GenerationOn campaign and they, as predicted were all on board.   We decided to add to our potluck by calling it a food drive as well, and we all brought some food to be donated to Emergency Family Assistance Association (EFAA) here in Boulder.  After the potluck..just before I started writing this actually, I went to the What Will You Bring To The Table? website and entered our information.  I had previously thought that I had to blog about it, but all I had to do was describe our potluck simply, how much food we generated and included a couple of pictures (just because I had them--you don't need to include pictures to participate).  The food we generated (30lbs) will be matched by sponsors in the form of meals for hungry kids (25 meals!) throughout the United States.  This is a national campaign so anyone can participate and in many ways so I encourage you to check out the site for ideas and inspiration.  We plan to bring food donations to each of our April Thursday potlucks (the campaign ends at the end of this month) so I will be able to enter our project 3 times. 

  • In the U.S., more than 1 in 5 kids don’t know where their next meal is coming from.
  • Food insecurity affects families in every county of each state in the United States.
  • Three out of 5 teachers say they regularly see students come to class hungry.
  • There are almost 17 million kids in the United States experiencing hunger throughout the year. That’s more than the combined populations of New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago.
Kooky cuties

Big girl

My backyard mama am I going to miss these ladies when we go!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

This Homemaker's Trifecta

I think I've told you part of this before, so I'm sorry if I'm repeating myself.  I'm a little tired from staying up pretty much all night with Owen the night before last.  He woke up coughing badly at 2:30am and couldn't go back to sleep...literally.  We snoozed from 6-6:45am but that was it for the night--hello, newborn days flashback!  I don't know if it goes this way for everyone, but usually I'm fine the next day (not totally but you know what I mean) and it really hits me the day after that (that would be today) and Owen is the same.  So yeah....he and I are a little cranky and dazed today...

Anyway, back to the point:  One of my New Years' resolutions was to cook more.  I knew that, thanks to my friend Jenny, I had this awesome Whole Food Kitchen Workshop on the horizon and I was hoping I could really dive into it with gusto.  Then, Zoe and I went to Heritage Days at Walker Ranch where we learned about the way people lived back when they didn't have fridges, fancy ovens and supermarkets.  None of it was news to me, but somehow going there with Zoe and relearning it through her eyes inspired me to put a little more effort into the food our family eats.  If you read my blog regularly, you are probably well aware of my total disinterest in cooking and preparing food.  I didn't always feel that way..I used to cook a bit but I've never been able to say that I really love cooking.  Proper nutrition is important and interesting to me, but I've always looked for ways to eat and feed my kids well without having to spend too much time preparing food.   Before the workshop started, I took advantage of my motivation from going to the ranch to start making sandwich bread, which is something I've always been interested in doing but totally intimidated by.  I tried a few recipes but have finally settled on this one, sometimes substituting the walnuts with hempseed, chia seeds or both (depending on what I happen to have at the time).  Zoe doesn't like it but since Owen and I (and sometimes Nathan) use it daily instead of store bought bread we are having to put it on the grocery list less often.  I went to Costco and stocked up on the ingredients I know I'm using regularly for that so I have been feeling good about the money we are saving there.

That feeling of accomplishment financially as well as the simple "I feel good about making something from scratch" satisfaction got me motivated to read about other simple ways to save money through the food we buy.  In my search, I found people saying over and over again that the 3 best ways to save money at the grocery store were to make your own bread (check!  woohoo!), use cooked (dried) beans instead of canned and make your own yogurt.  There are a ton of other good reasons to do these things, including improved nutritional value which is also great, but my main inspiration to master these things was to save money.  I was intimidated by all three though (well, not the bread anymore!) and wasn't sure I could do it.  I'd tried cooking beans before here in CO but was convinced that it was impossible at this high altitude without buying a pressure cooker, which I felt would be defeating the purpose of saving money.  Making yogurt sounded great in theory to me but again, as far as I knew, you either had to buy an expensive machine (which I'd heard wouldn't make enough to serve our yogurt crazy family anyway) or use a seemingly kooky, outside of the box approach that I was sure I would do wrong and cause our family to contract some life threatening form of food poisoning.

I decided to investigate the bean situation first, posing the question on Facebook (always a good idea, folks) and immediately got very promising feedback from many CO friends.  I went right out and bought some dried beans and took the advice of most of my friends by soaking them overnight (in lots of water), draining and rinsing and then throwing them in the crockpot (again, with plenty of water) and cooking on high for 6-8 hours.  Couldn't have been easier!  I actually cooked WAY too many chick peas this first time (ended up with 15 cups--whoops!) so stocked my freezer and have been making hummus and roasted chick peas galore.  I have to play around with how to season them because I've heard conflicting reports about when it's okay to add salt so for now my beans are bland but I'll get there.  It's been so nice to have a hummus sandwich for lunch knowing that I made the bread AND the hummus!

This victory gave me the confidence to start figuring out the last and possibly most intimidating (for me) challenge: homemade yogurt.  Internet searches only left me feeling confused and unclear about how to do it without a yogurt maker and I was convinced that if I tried to figure it out myself I'd definitely poison my entire family.  So, I mentioned it to my friend Katie (homemaker extraordinaire) who thankfully offered to have me over to her house for a lesson.  Like many things, this turned out to be so simple in practice, once you get the confidence to just try it, that it's almost funny that I waited so long to figure it out.  I'm not including a link because although I think most of them give great explanations, they all seem slightly different to me, which was what was confusing me so much.  So, I'm just doing what Katie told me to do because she is awesome.  My first batch failed because I had to transport it home from Katie's house and the temperature got screwed up...the second batch failed for some reason but this third batch worked!  Truthfully, the second batch may have worked but I didn't realized at the time that the homemade stuff doesn't turn out as thick as the store bought kind so I had thrown it out thinking it hadn't worked (should have called Katie like I did this third time).

Here is Katie's (and now mine--yay!) homemade yogurt system:

What you need:
-1 quart milk (can use skim, 1%, 2% or whole--whatever floats your boat)
-1/4 cup plain yogurt (again whatever kind you want but after you do this once, you just save a bit from the batch you made for the next batch)
-glass jar big enough to hold all of that
-candy thermometer (found at grocery store for under $5)

-pour milk into saucepan and set the burner on 3 or 4 (med low)
-heat milk gently until it gets to between 105-115 degrees..I've settled on shooting for 110 degrees or so (make sure the end of the thermometer isn't resting on the bottom of the either have to hold it up or clip it to the side of the pan if it has a clip on it)
-whisk in yogurt
-pour into glass jar and put the cap on loosely
-place into your oven with the light on (don't turn oven on, just the light)
-let sit in there for about 10 hours (I've been doing it overnight)
-taste a bit of it to be sure it has that tangy yogurt taste and put it in the fridge

That's it!  Easy peasy!  If you don't have an oven light, you can do an internet search for different ideas about how to keep the temperature the jar is sitting in at 100 degrees..Katie said she's read all manner of creative ideas including sitting it on warm speakers and crock pots filled with water.  The thing to remember is that if the milk/yogurt combo gets to above 120 degrees it kills the cultures in the yogurt and if it cools off too much (I think below 105 but I'm not sure) it just won't turn into yogurt.  I also have to play around with adding flavor but for now I'm happy to just add honey or maple syrup to my bowl.

So, as you can probably guess I'm feeling very accomplished and satisfied.  By no means do I think that these three things are things that everyone should  being doing in their own homes but they became important for me to tackle so I'm feeling kind of awesome about it.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Spring Break/Easter

It's always an adjustment getting back to reality after a great holiday break around here and this time is no exception.  We had such a nice, long, luxurious Spring Break because Nathan didn't have to work one second of it.  We had considered going on a little trip, but we went on a couple of Family Housing Family Week excursions instead.  Technically, I had to work 2 of them (we offer activities/outings all week during Spring Break for residents....discounted tickets, free bus's pretty great), but both were things we like to do anyway if we have the cash for them (which we haven't lately) so it was pretty perfect.  On Monday, we went to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and Thursday, the Denver Zoo.

Highlights from the Nature and Science Museum:  1)  Upon entering the space room, Zoe excitedly saying to me, "Ooooo Mommy!  I want to go over there and learn some facts!!"  2)  Realizing that the last time we were there, Owen was only about 6 months old so all of this cool stuff was totally new to him  3)  Realizing that Zoe is old enough to actually appreciate hearing me read some of the info about the displays...and can actually read some of them herself  4)  Zoe learning to tie her shoes on the bus ride home

Highlights from the Zoo:  1)  The new elephant home there is BEAUTIFUL.  If you live nearby and haven't seen it, you should check it out  2)  The weather was absolutely perfect.  A tad chilly when we got there clearing to sun and warmth by the time we left  3)  We timed it perfectly and got to see everything including Zoe's favorite at the moment (polar bear--had a hard time moving on..she was so in love) and Owen's too (hippo--he sang "Hippopotamus Rock" to it) and ride the carousel.  We had to rush through the monkey section but the kids were wiped by then anyway so could  barely lift their heads to look at them.

Zoe felt really inspired to draw when we got home and shocked me with this beautiful drawing of an elephant (and it's hay there hanging from a rope):

The rest of the week was filled with fun around the apartment (and one day on Pearl Street).  Some days were lazy, some productive...if you ask me, the week was a perfect balance of fun and relaxation, not to mention snow and sun:
First official day of Spring Break

We had to create our own sun during the first part of the week

We got together with some neighbors for an egg dying party...

...and then dove into our own traditional Easter weekend the next day.  We've become pretty sentimental about the traditions we've started in our little family of four.  We seem to add a bit of detail every year, and always cherish the time together.
Getting the baskets ready for the Easter Bunny

Impromptu family spring cleaning..totally "springified" our patio and we are all PUMPED about it.

..and back to eating on the patio!  Hooray!

I tried something new this year:  Easter Bunny rolls.  I substituted butter for the shortening and rosemary (ground in a coffee grinder) for the celery seed.  They were yummy but just because I'm a big believer in telling the WHOLE truth...this was the 1st sheet...


...and 3rd. Yeah...this happened  because a) I was taking too long shaping the bunnies, so the dough started to dry, b)  I was anxious to hang out with Nathan and the kids outside while they colored eggs and c)  I was bored with it.  Who cares?   My motto is, "It doesn't matter what it looks like, just as long as it tastes good".  Really, this is my motto--I didn't just make it up after this bunny incident.
See?  All mixed together they just look like warm, buttery rolls.   They all tasted the same going down!

Getting ready to plant jelly beans.  Did you know that if you plant them the day before Easter, they grow into something else fun?

Don't forget to water them!


Writing a note to the Easter Bunny.  Telling him where he can hide the eggs, in true Zoe fashion.
All set!
I told you!  Magic jelly beans!

First hint for the basket hunt.
Owen was old enough to have his own hunt this year (this clue, in case you're wondering...I know you are, is telling him to look on the bottom shelf of our bookcase)

Frog on bike

The spoils

Ode to my Mom

Zoe got jax in her basket this year.  I got cat's cradle.  She's now obsessed with both and I'm having major flashbacks.

Painting nails with new glitter polish
We even got started on some gardening this week (crazy considering those first photos I showed you, right?  Crazy Colorado)

We switched garden plots this year, and when Zoe and I went out to take stock we were a little disappointed to see the mess we'd these photos, please notice Zoe's acting skillz.  We are going for a progression thing...stay tuned as the season rolls along...
After our first day of  work..a liiiittle better...
Both kids came out with me on Easter Sunday while Nathan went to the gym and quietly worked and hung out for TWO AND  A HALF HOURS.  I was amazed.  I have a good feeling about our plot this year.  New spot, better soil (we're told) and older, more patient kids.  Zoe in particular is a work horse.  There have been at least a few times when I've wanted to call it quits and she makes us stay until we're done with what we set out to do.
End of 2nd day!  Soil turned, weeds pulled!  We're on our way, folks!