Evening Interogation

“If you happen to have read another book about Christopher Robin…”

The opening lines of our well loved, well read copy of Winnie the Pooh. The five of us lay crowded on our queen sized bed in the sweltering heat of a ninety degree night.  We’re beginning a new bedtime story, having just finished The Wind in the Willows.

For some reason, this particular evening, Kinsley persistently insisted that I was going to be the one to read the night time story.  I never read the night time story, but when you’re three, it seems to be crucial to see how much you can rock the boat without consequence.

Dan starts with the introduction.  He always starts with the introduction.  He  gets to the part where Christopher Robin ran into the arms of the brown and furry bear named Winnie, and Kinsley interrupts….

“Papa?  How do people poke all that hair into man’s arms?”

This requires a long conversations, involving many topics.  Finally, the reading recommences.  Dan reads a few more sentences, getting all the way to the part where small, squeaky voice of Piglet interrupts the author’s explanation of Things to ask why so much is being said about Pooh, and so little about Piglet.  Kinsley interjects…

“Why does Piglet talk like a baby?”

By this time, both Sophie and Truxton are sleeping.  Dan reads a bit more.  Just about the time that Pooh is making his grand entrance down the stairs on the back of his head, Kinsley remembers the part where…

“He [whoever “he” is] falls down on his knees, ’cause he is scared of monsters, and his Mama tells him that he can watch ‘that’ show.” And, by the way – “How did Pooh get prickeldy things in his back?”



This is a fairly typical tableau of one of our regular morning activities.

Eric and his kids often load my girls (including all “wedding”/”mothering” paraphernalia) into the double stroller and take a brisk morning walk.

The walk is interrupted by multiple stops for flower collecting, or shrieks from the girls as they direct their cousins to pick this or that blooming plant.

Inevitably, upon their return home, I am “surprised” by flowering weeds, presented with glowing faces and grimy fists .

some springish things

  • Invite the neighbors you always intend to have over to dinner for a spring brunch on a rainy Saturday.  Embrace the spring showers by using bright umbrellas and rubber boots as decor.  Fill the tables with pretty watering cans and mis-matched pots of flowers.
  • Use a bit of vinegar to give your dull, wintery tresses a shine.  If you add a few drops of an essential oil, it helps to mask the vinegar odor.  I’ve been doing lately, and it really has made a huge difference in my hair.
  • Wear a pretty, feminine hat.  I’ve admired this one from Urban Outfitters, because it has that vintage feel that I love so much.
  • Drink plenty of water.  It’s a good habit to have established by the time summer heat strikes, and I find that it makes a huge difference in the health of my skin.
  • Take a family outing to pick berries.  I have the most wonderful memories of picking strawberries in early June.
  • Weed the garden with your children.  It’s amazing what even toddlers are capable of, and it gives them an early appreciation for classifying plant life.
  • Clean out the car.  That way when it’s 90* and you load the family, at least you won’t have to smell stale snacks and stray diapers.
  • Our family uses a Aromatherapy Diffuser for the car.  I am in the process of writing an entire post on this little gadget, and with ideas for motion sickness, etc.
  • Eat as seasonably as possible.  It’s almost certain to be better for your pocket book, as well as for your health.
  • Take the children on a picnic.  My girls were enthralled to dine on a bowl of tortilla chips in the yard, the other day.
  • Clear one bookshelf.  Anywhere – just one will do.   Sit and look at it, and wait for inspiration to strike.  It’s amazing what one clear surface can free your brain up to do.  It’s therapeutic, I tell you.
  • Smell irises.  And, if at all possible, a baby’s head.
  • Hang out the laundry.  It forces you to acquire some vitamin D, gives the children some time to exercise, and saves energy.
  • Dust the blinds, wash the windows, and for goodness sakes – open them up and let a breeze through your house.  No more stale winter air!
  • Skip rocks.  This is best done with your husband at sunset!

A sad day.


Today was a very sad day at Gentlewood Cottage. Through an unfortunate accident, Lyle met his maker today. If fish meet their maker.


The accident involved Kinsley removing Lyle from his comfortable home to examine him – unbeknownst to us. By the time Aunt Paula happened upon the scene, it was too late for Lyle.

It was pretty traumatic once Kinsley had comprehended that Lyle was dead. She wasn’t able to grasp what had happened, until I told her that Lyle had depended on us to feed him everyday, and watch him swimming in his nice bowl. Then she went into the living room and looked into the fishbowl – then began to cry.


She wailed for a long while for him, wishing that she could feed him again, and not wanting to bury him – but after a while, she gave in and led the funeral procession, with Lyle in his tiny casket in her hand.


She chose a spot under the clothesline, and after Glen dug the grave, Papa said a few words about Lyle’s life, and she carefully placed the Altoid casket into the hole.


Then she cried some more.


Then Marme and Grandma both called with their condolences.


As we were headed into the house, she asked Dan if he could read the book Lorenzo the Fish “in honor of Lyle”. Those were her words, by the way.


And so they did. She asked if Lyle had brothers and sisters and a mom and dad. Dan told her that Lyle had been pretty much alone in the world, and she wanted to know if it was because he was a little baby…


Goodbye Lyle. Thanks for being a good fish.



The Nester has had a few really great posts lately on decorating with what you have, and making each room in your home a place that you really do want to be. Her series “Ten Minutes to a Room You Love” has been good, but for some reason I found her Tablescape Tutorial especially inspiring.


It’s the perfect little task for a highly pregnant mama to do on her due date. I feel like I’m getting something done, and still managing to expend very little energy.


It also is a perfect way to showcase a few of my very favorite items, like this little wooden sandpiper that Dan’s dad gave me for Christmas. His parents give the best gifts!

The new arrangement also brings the proper attention to one of Kinsley’s favorite things:\


This is Lyle Maxwell The Kindly Fish. He is a gift from Marme and Grandad, and my grandparents. They also are amazingly talented gift givers. Of course, Kinsley did hint very blatantly (she suggested that it might have been a more appropriate Valentine’s Day gift than a balloon).


As you can probably tell, Kinsley named Lyle. She says that when we say “goodnight” to him, we have to say “Goodnight, Lyle Maxwell!” When we say “good morning”, we only have to say “Good morning, Lyle!” But when we leave, then we say “Goodbye, Lyle Maxwell the Kindly Fish!” I once messed it all up, and when Kinsley gently corrected me, I told her I was sorry. She said “That’s fine, Mama. Just don’t let it happen again.”

So, back to the decorating. I need a few opinions, here.

Arrangment (1)a:


Arrangement (1)b:

Or none of the above?


Arrangement (2)a:


Arrangement (2)b:

Or, no plant there at all?


What should I do to finish it off?


(photo credit – pasotraspaso)

A few evenings ago, we were all piled on the couch, Dan reading The Wind In The Willows aloud to us, and me knitting happily, when I heard a scurry of activity across the living room. I looked up in time to see a large-ish mouse slipping and skidding on our smooth laminate floor, and around the corner into the guest room (won’t that make you feel welcome at our home?). I shouted (the obvious)…

“A mouse!”

Dan got up to see if he could find any trace of the rodent, and then went about re-setting the traps. We thought we had won the war (in our house, anyway) against mice a while back, but alas, not so.

Kinsley followed along behind Dan rather dreamily, watching the traps being set, then wandered back into the living room.

“Mama, I wish that we had the kind of mouse that stood on it’s back legs and talked. Then I could call it Stuart Little, and you could like it.”

Want to guess what cook the girls and I are reading at nap times these days?

hours of fun


I snagged this probably incomplete deck of Snoopy playing cards, for ten cents at the thrift shop a while back. I put them away for a moment of desperation. The time came, recently.

Kinsley loves card games, and can spend lots of time playing her own versions of them. Her favorite is Liar. Her version of the game involves lining all the cards up into a “long train”. It takes her a while to do this to her satisfaction.

After playing with her cards the other day, she gathered them all up and handed them to Dan, saying: “Papa, can you put these away where I can’t reach them, so that I don’t lose them?”

Recent Kinsleyisms


Kinsley: Mama, I wrote on my blog, a long time ago, that children don’t like to eat vegetables!


Sophie: In Heaven, there won’t be any Hippos.
Kinsley: No, there won’t be any hippos, but there will be elephants. But not African elephants, just India elephants.


Kinsley: Is God bad, or good?
Mama: He is very good, in fact, He is perfect, and He is the only reason we even know what is good…
Kinsley: Well, does God kill people, or not?


Kinsley: Well, I couldn’t go live in Heaven right now, because once this house falls apart, then we have to go live in the house at Granddad’s office.


Kinsley: Oh, Sophie, I have so much to teach you… ’bout riding bikes, and how to pedal, and building houses and stuff..

Snow. And Plans.


It was almost too much for the girls to bear when I drew back the curtains in the living room to show then the lovely large snow flakes blowing by outside. They started making plans at the rate of about a thousand per minute…


They would make a snow man. They would sled.


They could make snow ice cream. They could drink the snow, if we ran out of water.


They would make snowballs to put in the freezer so that they could have snow when the snow was all gone.


Which made Kinsley think of summer. Which made her think of plans for a summer day, again. She and Papa must play baseball at the park. And football. And they should wear the new hoodies which Uncle Zion gave them when they play football. And they needed a special hat with a fence for their faces, for baseball. And for football. And patches on their knees for baseball. And a bat, and a ball, and a glove. And we could store it all in the basement so we will be ready for summer.