Wednesday, May 30, 2012

And nary a water shot to be found

We went to Citygarden this past Saturday after being thwarted by Tilles (no water jet action until noon!). It actually worked out great. We were there early, so it wasn't too terribly crowded, and there were plenty of shady spots where Charlie and I could kick back while Mary Clare ran through the sprinklers and braved the stepping stones in the wading pool.

Much to Chip's delight, I forgot my camera—both cameras, actually—so I was stuck using my iPhone. The quality isn't great, but the photos are, of course, cute and funny. 

Because these are my kids, and everything they do is cute and funny. Sigh. Such is the mentality of a mother currently smitten with her offspring.

 [enjoying the action from the safety of the sidelines]

  [a blanket in the shade is even better]

  [no one is looking at the camera and it is particularly grainy, but I still consider this a good shot]

  [table for one]

  [lunch was good]

 [hey, mind if i hold on?]

[he's slightly scared, she's smiling for all she's worth]

Told you they were cute. And funny.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Kisses in the grass

While the distractions were plenty and perfect photos were hard to come by, I did snag some cute photos during our red, white and blue photo shoot.

 [someone is a crazy good stander]

 [someone is a stinker of a big sister]

 [someone forgot to wake the baby]

Sleepy, sneaky, whatever. You can feel like the love, right?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Happy Memorial Day


This Memorial Day, we fly our flag, wear our red, white and blue, and say thank you to all who served in the past, and those who continue to keep us safe.

As always, a special thanks to Chip's cousin Alexander, who serves in the U.S. Army, and is currently back in the States studying at the Captain's Career Course.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A cherry of a post

Sherri and the kiddos recently went on a cherry-picking expedition at their friend Christy and Gareth's house. While the Joneses picked away, Christy's neighbor snapped away and snagged some pretty cute photos.

Brennan was only too happy to clamber up into the tree to pick the fruit, with or without Sherri's assistance. Alexandra, however, stuck close to Sherri.

But that was before Sherri fed her one of the tart cherries.

I don't know why she would do that to you, either, Baby Alex. What a meanie. But it did make for a cute photo.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

If it's May, those must be Christmas pajamas

Mary Clare was almost a year old when she wore these babies, so you better believe when Charlie hit size 12 month sleepers, I busted out these red snowman beauties for him as well.

The poor boy hardly gets any new clothes (save for the custom-made clothes from Nana Thole), so why would pajamas be any different? I do at least draw the line at putting him in girl pajamas. Or at least Chip does. I would probably be okay with it. (Because, sigh, what a beautiful little girl he would make!)

But back to the pajamas and not about me cross dressing our infant son.

Clearance pajamas from Children's Place have never been so loved as they are between the Jones and Lindh cousins. They are cut nice and narrow, have zippers instead of snaps and wash well. However, Sherri and I determined that three kids is about the max for the Children's Place pajamas. Alexandra busted through the foot of a pair that both Brennan and Mary Clare wore, and hanging in Charlie's closet are a few pairs worn by all four kids that I am confident you can almost see through. But it's summer, so it's best to wear cool, lightweight clothing, yes? Even if the pattern would have you think otherwise.

Friday, May 18, 2012


The other day, Chip was telling me that I don't have nearly enough online addictions. He was, sweet man that he is, concerned that I wasn't spending nearly enough time on email, on Facebook, on this blog. For him, the more social networking I do, the better. Plugged in time is quality partner and parent time in his book.

So I was only too happy to oblige when he suggested that I start using that Instagram account I set up when I got my iPhone a year ago. And now I am addicted. Just as he had hoped. So if your child or significant other also prefers that you spend more time with your computer or phone than you do with them, well, then, gosh darned it, you should get on Instagram as well.

I'm @debbiethole in case you want even more kid, dog and booze shots than you already get on Team Botanical. These have cool sepia effects and whatnot, so yes, it's totally different. See you there, fellow app addicts. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Oh, wonderful water table

This water table has stood the test of time. Or at least the test of three families and five children.

It was built by our good friend Anne Fleming's dad, Howard Jeffrie, for his favorite granddaughter and our favorite tween, Clare. After Clare outgrew the table, it went to the Muschick girls, Molly and Megan. Now that Megan is ready to start Kindgergarten (!) it was time for the water table to move along to the next set of kiddos. Mary Clare and Charlie were only too happy to inherit the table. 

[holy heck, that's real water in there]

The beauty of this baby is in the simplicity of its design. It's a varnished wooden frame sized to hold a standard plastic storage bin. There are two caster wheels on the front, so it is easy to scoot around, even when there is a water-filled tub on top. 

I bought two tubs, thinking that we could fill one with sand and one with water, but decided that a wobbly baby + a water table might not mix, so we filled both with water and Charlie partook of the water table action, sans table.

[no need for the table part of a water table]

[a splashing good time]

Oh, and remember how I said the beauty of this table is the simplicity of its design? I lied. The beauty of this baby is the fact that it kept both Charlie and Mary Clare entertained for an hour. Now that is solid design. 

I tip my hat to you, Mr. Jeffrie. Well done, sir. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Charlie, eleven months

Charlie, you little stinker. You are keeping us on our toes.

Charlie is everywhere these days, and when he moves, he moves fast. He crawls at breakneck speed, pushes everything and anything around the room, takes his sister (!) for rides his Radio Flyer walker wagon and now crawls up stairs. Quickly. He also pops up to a standing position and will hang out there for awhile before gracefully lowering himself to the floor. It's like having our very own prairie dog.

More and more sounds are coming out every day, but of course they are of the da-da variety, with nary a ma-ma to be heard. He makes this sweet little thh-thh-thh noise in the mornings when I am changing him, and laughs when I mimic him. Charlie also loves it when we cough, sneeze or try to scare him. There is a ridiculous amount of fake sneezing and coughing going on over here, because let me tell you, the belly laugh we get in return is well worth the germs we are spreading. 

Charlie's still wearing anything from a 3-6 month pants to 12 month outfits, although judging by the way his legs were dangling over the edge of his car seat, I think we will be out of those 3-6 month pants soon enough. Speaking of car seats, he now hates to be in his. It's a total wrestling/bribery/distraction circus trying to get him into his seat each morning. Once he's there, he's fine, but the big boy car seats we ordered last week can't get her soon enough.

The great table food experiment of '12 rages on, with Charlie proving to us that babies are indeed fickle creatures. Chicken, peas, blueberries, strawberries, bananas, grapes, ham, pear, scrambled eggs, cheese, sweet potatoes, noodles ... he loves you, he loves you not. So every dinner I dice up a little of this, a little of that, and he and his four teeth give it a go. And once that night's favorite is no longer on his tray, he squawks until Chip replenishes the supply. I'd call him the little dictator if his sister didn't already lay claim to that title.

While he's growing faster than I would like, Charlie is not above a good snuggle. Many nights I wait for him to fall asleep in my arms just so I can stare at those sweet little lips and curly wisps of hair. And when I carry him upstairs, he burrows into my shoulder and sighs. And I melt.

Check out the full April photo set and measly May set and see the sweetness for yourself. You shan't be disappointed.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Double the love

Happy mother's day to the amazing Mom Thole, who is not only quite possibly the world's best mother, but an amazing grandmother. If Mary Clare and Charlie inherit just a fraction of her kindness, talent and commitment to serving others, well, I will be one proud parent. 

And speaking of proud parents, it goes without saying that I am immensely proud to call these two my very own. Motherhood is truly something special, and it doesn't escape me how fortunate I am to spend every day with Mary Clare and Charlie.

I wish all of the mothers in our lives a happy day filled with handmade cards, painted rocks and fierce hugs. Enjoy the day. You know you earned it.

Friday, May 11, 2012


Dear Charlie's Hair,

As you begin to make your appearance on his round little head, please do not muscle the soft little curls out of the way. I am enamored with those little round wisps, and love how they pop up when it is humid outside. The fat sausage curl on top is my favorite. I could play with it for hours.

Chip had adorable curls as a small boy, and I think GCL4 would look just as good with blonde curls as GCL3 looked with his brown curls.

So, please, take my request to heart. For I am in love with the curls.


The Mom with Stick-Straight Hair

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The pup photo shoot

Buddy, Buddy, Buddy. Sweet, patient (except at meal time) Buddy.

Our dear old Lab rarely gets the attention he deserves, and he rarely, if ever, gets any camera time.  Gone are the days when he used to be my best subject. Now I'm usually trying not to trip over him as I take pictures of the kiddos.

So when I went to order pictures for a family photo collage for Mary Clare's classroom, I wasn't all that surprised to find that the best photo I had of the old boy predated Mary Clare. I decided that I could do better than a four-year-old photo, so on Saturday I set out to take some new pictures of Buddy while the kids napped.

It was rough going at first. We were in the front yard, so there were countless distractions, and it was hotter than all get out, so he was panting like crazy. Which isn't such a good look. He finally calmed down, and after a few too many Gene Simmons-like tongue shots, I finally wised up and shouted "Treat!" right before snapping. Worked like a charm. I even managed to get one of our beloved head cock.

Oh, Buddy. We may not say it nearly enough, but we do love you so. Your fine photo on Mary Clare's family photo collage will make her the envy of her classmates.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Trike it, you'll like it

Two weekends ago (I know, I know) we went to the St. Gerard Majella trike-a-thon, to benefit their new preschool. Our good friend Kara Lydon was in charge of the inaugural event, which was a rousing success. Face painting, trike riding and a bubble bus ...what more could the short set want in an event?

We spent most of the two-hour event wrangling kids, but I did manage to fire off a few shots before the great race. The race, of course, was a complete hoot. More like a toddler demolition derby with parents running interference and offering apologies and encouragement at every turn.

 the knees just clear the handle bars

 getting prepped by her pit crew

working hard to take delaney
I don't know if it's the fact that she was on a too-small trike or what, but Mary Clare was a total daredevil. The course was set on a slight hill. She would pedal for all she was worth to get up it, and then at the top, she would take off, careen down and around, and coast as far as she could up to the top. You know it's bad when dads—dads of boys, I might add—stop in their tracks and say, "Whoa!" and then immediately look around to see who in the hell is going to pick up this kid when she inevitably crashes.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Easter highlights

Since Easter was April 8, I'm going to go ahead and post our Easter photos on May 8. There is a method, my friends. And there are a lot of photos.

post-easter egg hunt photo with great grandma thole -- who just turned 94, i might add

pushing for all he's worth

intense egg coloring with nana thole

squeezing in a quick pre-church stroll

the easter bunny came

delighted by the cinderella cell phone

looking good in the neighborhood

reading, complete with sunglasses in hand

squinting and shadows make for the perfect family photo



content with his one egg

egg hunt, take two, begins

the wind is messing up her game

alex gets after it

questioning the need for all the photos

mary clare and baby alex

alex helps herself

mary clare and charlie

brennan and alexandra

made by nana, natch

good aunts give ukuleles

and john deere sticker books

Told you there were a lot.