Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Spring is coming (more evidence)

A February game of croquet (with Lubbock-style grass :)

Jordan and the kids are outside playing croquet - a follow up activity after our kitchen floor mini movie ('Up' in Portuguese) and pizza party. (I eat breakfast on our dining room floor every morning too, because it's much easier to sit beside Porter on the floor than to hold him at the table :)

Jordan also took the kids for a bikeride to Lee's for his lunchbreak today (a late Tuesday flowers errand), and on another walk/bikeride after work too!

We never know quite what to do with ourselves when it's too cold for adventuring, so now we are just loving these warm days!!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Spring is coming

2 cute kiddos, Spring 2011
The last few days Ellie and Owen have been chanting again and again, "Spring is coming! Spring is coming!" And it certainly feels true! Tiny little green shoots are making their way up in our front planter, the grass is snow-free (I still can't believe this! Our neighbor was out mowing his lawn today - so crazy!), the kids have played outside for 3 days in a row (without jackets!), we've taken a few family walks, and our thermostat almost hit 6o degrees. Whoa. These are exciting days :)

Saturday, February 22, 2014

'preschool time'

(A rare official 'school time' activity)

I thought for Ellie's last year of preschool time, we'd be doing something very structured and well planned with daily learning objectives, art projects, a nice mix of group/independent work...

we haven't :)

and it's been just fine. Preschool this year has been reading stories while I feed Porter, and listening to Ellie read stories back to me. Or making lunch while we talk about 'What would happen if...' Math questions while I do her hair in the mornings, "What if it were 6:41? How many minutes would you have before bedtime?" An occasional real 'school time' activity where Ellie pretends she's 6 and usually plans a great 'show and tell' and we do some little activity or game. More often, it is practicing fractions while we bake muffins,  answering "How do you spell..." questions while she writes sweet notes at the kids craft table,  some Portuguese practice (from Ellie, "Let's pretend we live in Brazil and we have to say all the words that we know in português"), playing Zingo or doing puzzles with Owen, and on the spot 'homework' while Landon works on his after school checklist. 

I was reminded of the funnyness of our school time yesterday when Ellie brought me a paper plate and asked me to make her homework. And I fielded questions from Owen and Landon,  juggled Porter from knee to knee, trading places back and forth with my pencil and plate while Ellie closed her eyes in front of me waiting for the homework surprise and  I made that plate into a two-sided, draw-a-sun worksheet. One side with a 10 in the middle and math questions around the edges: draw a line to the equations that equal 10. The other side had 'ing' in the middle and Ellie drew a line to the letters or letter combinations around the edge that could make words - bring, king, thing... 

Most of all, Ellie just loves to be close to Mom. Yesterday morning Porter took a great nap and I took the chance to clean out the laundry room. Ellie followed close behind as I took trips around the house putting things away. "I love to be with my mãe" she said "We could play hide and seek and you could be the hider and I would always find you!" And truly, wherever I am during the day, little Ellie  will find me. I'm grateful for these days when she is so happy just to be close by.

Friday, February 21, 2014

A Fond Farewell

An Animoto clad Porter, 6 months old and happy

Jordan almost didn't work at Animoto. A tech recruiter had sent him their way, and after a round of interviews, I'd tried to convince Jordan not to worry about finishing up the programming samples they'd given him since we were most definitely not planning on a move to New York.  But he did finish those problems and he wowed them enough that they decided to try out remote work and offered him a job. Jordan's dream of working from home came true and he jumped in, excited as can be.  They flew out our family (of 3!) and while Jordan met the team for the first time,  I explored the mile-square city of Hoboken and enjoyed a few NYC sights with 2-year-old Landon and his trusty monkey pack. And so began our new adventurous life with Animoto... a path that we never would have imagined for ourselves and one we have felt again and again so grateful for.

And now, after an intense round of applications and interviews,  a new adventure awaits. In just a couple of weeks Jordan will start his new job at Bonobos. Another great NYC company and we hope another new and wonderful journey for our family.

from Jordan's farewell response to the company
When Animoto hired me I felt like the luckiest person in the world.  Now, five and half years later, I still feel that way. :)  Animoto has changed my life in a million wonderful ways and of course "Animoto" means all of you!  I don't know if I've ever met anyone who has been as happy in their job as I have in mine, and that's because of how patient, kind, helpful, and brilliant you all are. 
Thank you all for putting up with a guy who has at times worked out of a treehouse. ;)  From phone conferences, to "JordanTV", to Google Hangouts, I so appreciate everyone's willingness to go the extra mile to make Animoto feel like home even from 2,000 miles away.  And thank you in particular to Brad, Jason, Stevie and Tom for founding a company with a culture that has been as awesome as its product.  I wouldn't hesitate for a minute to recommend Animoto to anyone looking for a fantastic place to work and I know you will all keep it that way. 
My family and I will continue to be loyal Animoto users, so please keep the stream of great improvements rolling in!  Also, my parents still live in the SF Bay Area and my next job is still in New York so expect some visits from me every now and then! :D 
Thanks again for everything and please do keep in touch. 


"Mom! Look at how high I can reach!" says Owen
Jordan had a whirlwind interviewing trip at the beginning of the month - to NYC for back to back interview days with two companies, then to California for more... after a long week, we were super excited to welcome him back home. While he was gone, we worked on a Valentines surprise for him - whenever someone did something really great or helpful we'd write it down on a heart and tape it up on the wall (our entire kitchen wall is still covered with these sweet reminders :)

(Really, this was much more for me than for Jordan. He was grateful to see how much the kids had worked to be good for me, but much more than that, this helped me remember to  focus on all of the great things - no matter how small - that were happening, even when things were feeling hard. )

Ellie especially worked super hard to be a cheerful helper to Mom to earn those hearts, with her magic words of the week in answer to my requests, "Of course!"

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Funny Babies

'funny babies'
Ellie and Owen love to play funny babies -- I  haven't yet figured out quite how the rules of the game go, but it usually involves laying down on the floor next to Porter and lots of giggles. (Ellie warned Owen just before her birthday that when she turned 5, she wouldn't be able to play any more and he'd have to just play with Porter... fortunately for him, sometimes she forgets :)

We had a long week with Jordan traveling for interviews. But sweet days too. Hard and good and happy and lonely and precious and man, my body is tired from shoveling snow and from holding little Porter days.

Oh, these little ones are so full of life and energy and laughter and noise and feelings... I love them so.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Home Offices

Jordan has been working from home for almost 6 years now... I thought it would be fun to document some of his home offices with a little Animoto. He is loving his new 'office shed' and the days full of sunshine, even in January and February!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Just a few fun pics

'Let's go fly a kite!' Ellie made this kite and asked me to hang it for her (her homemade kite spent a few days flying inside, but left Ellie wishing for Spring and real kite flying :)

These boys do a great job taking care of our family!
Tonight as we were finishing dinner, Landon was racing in and out (soon with Ellie and Owen joining in) making himself 'rootbeer floats!' (cups full of snow to eat with a spoon :)
A fun 'preschool time' activity - the kids rolled the dice and whatever number they rolled, they got to add that many m&ms to that chocolate chip cookie. So fun.

Happy bubble blowers and an amazingly beautiful January day

And just look at that smile! :)

we live in a beautiful place/our snow loving boy

view out our window a few weeks ago

It seems crazy to say, but we've really had a lovely winter.  It snowed so little in January that we could actually see the grass - and all over the place! (Crazy, I know - in Logan!) And we had tons of blue sky days too which kept me feeling happy.  I think what helped us the most was that Porter has us sticking close to home so we really weren't trying to go out and adventure - that meant that the inversion didn't bother us much and our house was plenty warm, so we hardly noticed the temperature outside! :)

February has brought lots of snow though (making up for lost time!) and happily so. It started snowing early yesterday morning and I don't think it has stopped since.  I asked Landon for some help with shoveling before school today and he headed straight outside (and yes, we had a conversation starting something like "Don't you think you might want some warm pants... or a jacket...?

An amazing helper

Also, something that always makes me smile -- Landon's school is awesome at having all of the sidewalks and walkways neatly cleared before the kids get dropped off in the morning. But no matter where I drop him off, Landon always makes his way to the front door through the snow. Even if it's a straight shot on the front walk, he'll go out of his way to walk through the snow instead of on the shoveled ground -  This funny snow loving boy!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

something to share

an Ellie ipod pic in my favorite post run/walk stretching spot (just before Porter was born)
Just before Porter was born, I came across a few of the sweetest and truest blogs written about new babies and new mommas and being grateful for the evidence of motherhood that our bodies carry after our little ones join the world.  I've felt again and again what a gift it was to find these words and to have this reminder over the past few months, so I wanted to share.

            I've been wondering for weeks now why I feel a little bit sad every time someone compliments me and I think the reason is wrapped up in the common comment, "You don't even look like you had a baby!"  I want to respond, "But I have had a baby!"  I carried her in this meadow of a body for nine months.  She stretched me and rested her sweet head against my ribs.  We listened to each other late at night and tried to learn what the world would offer the two of us.  She moved her little legs when I lay still and in the end she came wailing into the world through the same c-section incision her brother did, and it was sacred.  I am not eager to erase the evidence of that for the sake of looking awesome.

(Go read the rest here)

        I will probably never look or feel quite the same again and that's exactly as it should be. I'm not the same. Bearing children has brought me a wealth of insight and experience I wouldn't trade for the skinniest pair of jeans.

(and read all of this article here )


At a roundabout picnic this summer

These two are sure great buddies. They're having quiet time together downstairs today and playing dress up (I've been hearing this conversation for the last few minutes while I work on taxes upstairs)

Ellie: Do you want to be Firestar?
Owen: No!
Ellie: Do you want to be a fairy princess?
Owen: Noooooooo!!!