Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Last night we had a storm. Here's what I saw from my backyard (behind the safety of my sliding glass door because THERE ARE ALL SORTS OF BUGS out there and I'm not an idiot.):

Neat, huh?

Today we were back to hot, sunny weather. Complete with Simpsons' clouds. I'm pretty sure that's the technical name for them.

I KNOW it's a cumulus cloud. Geez. I know because when I googled Simpsons' cloud just now my magical computer told me so.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Weather Lesson, Taught by Iowa

A couple of days ago we were standing in the backyard, watching a storm come in:

Kind of amazing, isn't it?

Storms in Iowa don't mess around. The storms that we're used to seeing in California are pretty lazy in comparison. I've learned a lot about storm personalities since moving to Iowa.

California Storm: It doesn't really roll in, it's just kind of there when you wake up in the morning. It's kind of cloudy and kind of rainy. And maybe a little cold. Like 50 degrees. Because it's probably the dead of winter. It's the same 50 degrees that used to send me scurrying to get my slipper socks. And a blanket and a chip clip. To make a slanket. You got something to say?

Iowa Storm: Runs in with its arms open wide like it's the baddest mf-er in all the land. Yelling, "Waz up, Bitches!" and covers the entire blue sky with dark clouds in 2 minutes flat. Seriously. And it doesn't care if it's winter or not. Winter, summer, it's all pretty much the same amount of suffering. Stifling heat. Freezing cold. And no, I don't think 50 is freezing cold anymore. Iowa winters have cured me of that. Especially ones like this:

Do you see what we suffer through here? Okay, really I took that picture two days ago. When it was 80. I totally made James turn the car around when I saw that sign so that I could take a picture of it and you would feel sorry for me. But it really does feel that cold in the winter here. I mean it!


I love our summer storms. I love that it can be hot and raining. I love that the lightning is sometimes so continuous that it's like a strobe light. I love that the thunder can be so loud that it shakes the house like an earthquake. I love that I have a basement because of these storms. I don't love that sometimes the storms bring tornadoes and destruction, of course, but I do appreciate their strength. The rain and wind and hail and more wind. And the ability for them to change the temperature from 80 to 60 in a matter of minutes. It's all so amazing.

Peyton used to love these storms. He knows how to turn on the emergency weather radio when it beeps to warn us of a storm. He knows how to click on the online weather maps on the computer. He knows that a yellow box over an area means a thunderstorm watch and a red box means a tornado watch. Like this (taken just a few minutes ago):

Peyton used to love it. But sometime after he and James started watching Storm Chasers things changed. Now every little thing he sees in the sky worries him because it must be a tornado.

So as we're watching the storm come in, Peyton looks across the street, through the trees and houses, and asks, in a fearful voice, "Is that a tornado?" And James and I both answer, "No," before/as we turn around to see what he's looking at.

Do you see what he was looking at? Let me give you a close-up:

Technically, no matter what, we're right. Because a tornado isn't a tornado until it touches the ground. Before that, it's just a funnel cloud. See, you learn all sorts of stuff living in Iowa.

And really, it was probably just the way one cloud was angled as it covered up another cloud. Maybe? I'm not sure. We didn't hear anything about a tornado the next day. But it is interesting. Iowa weather is always interesting.

And here's what the sky looked like the next morning:

Neat, huh?

We're moving back to California in a about a week. I will miss a lot about Iowa. Summer storms are way up on that list.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Father's Day Frame

Last year, I saw this on the Martha Stewart site, and I knew we needed to try it out. But I also knew I wanted to change it up a little. For example, Martha Stewart's template says Dad. Peyton and Ella still say Daddy, so I wanted their frame to reflect their perfect little kid-ness. And I wanted them to color the frame to make it extra personal. I love how it turned out.

Do you want to make one, too? It's easy!

For this project, you will need:
Card Stock
6 Paperclips

You can make your own letters, or you can use these. Just drag them to your desktop and print them onto card stock in whatever size you like.

Have your kids color each letter before you cut them out. Then trim your pictures a little bit larger than the openings and tape them into place behind the frame. For this set, I cut the opening of the A a little bit bigger to fit the picture. Then I outlined it again with black marker.

Overlap the letters and glue or tape them together at the back. I backed ours with cardboard, but you really don't need to. Then, open up your paperclips. Attach the small part of each paperclip to the bottom of the back of the frame. For this one, I used glue dots and they worked out fine, but tape will work too.

Sit it up on the paperclips and you're done!

Cute as can be!

This is last year's version. Ella colored the first D and then was tired of it, so Peyton colored the rest of the letters. I did the cutting and the glue-dotting, but they helped supervise. They were so proud!

But! They are even more proud of this year's version. Because this year they kicked me out of all the major decision making.

They colored:

And they cut.
And they decided on the pictures.
And Peyton DID NOT want me to cut out the middle of the A to make it bigger like last year.
And they DID NOT want me to outline the letters with black marker.
And they wanted BLUE on the back. Because DADDY LOVES BLUE!
For goodness sake.

This year Ella did the first two Ds before she got sick of it. Luckily, Peyton loves to color, so he was more than willing to pick up the slack.

The only thing they let me do was cut out said blue.
And attach the paper clips. With TAPE! No glue dots! Geez!

But then we covered the tape with red hearts. And then they each wrote a little something on red paper to match the hearts.
And YOU KNOW they love this year's frame! Especially since I let them boss me around a little bit when we made it. What could be better?

Happy Father's Day!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

You, Alright? I Learned It By Watching You!

Here's the scoop: We're pretty good about not swearing in front of the kids. Disregard this post. Anyway, for the most part they believe that "stupid" and "hate" and "Oh my God" are bad words.

As in,
"Mommy! So and so naughtiest kid at school said a bad word! He said 'stupid'!"

As in,
"Mommy! Jimmy Johnson (Ella's invisible friend) pushed me! And he says ALL the bad words like 'stupid' and 'hate' and 'Oh my God.'"
"Ella, why do you hang out with Jimmy Johnson if he's so naughty?"
"Mommy, I have NO idea."

And I would like to take this moment to thank Nemo for teaching them the word, "hate." You know what I'm talking about right? You do if your kids have forced you to watch Nemo 54 gazillion times. It's when Nemo's dad tells him not to go past the drop off and so Nemo whispers, "I hate you," right before he does it anyway. For a while Ella was saying it all the time. Lunchtime: "I hate strawberry jelly!" Naptime: "I hate my room!" Bathtime: "I hate shampoo!" Super awesome. Thank you Pixar. And Disney. I can always count on you.

Anyway, I'm taking down the paper wall in the basement because we're moving. Good bye, paper wall, I will miss you!

Peyton is hanging out with me, building with his Lincoln Logs.

"Mommy, how many days until we move back to Caniforna?" (Both of my kids say California exactly like that. It's adorable.)

"About twenty. Are you excited?"


"And you and Ella will probably share a room for a while. That will be cool."

"Yeah! SUCKAS!"

Suckas? As in Mr. T? Long pause. Because I already know the answer to:

"Hey Peyton, where did you learn that word?"

Huge smile. "You!"


I'm so proud.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Dear Iowa, David Bowie called...

And he wants his magical snow creature back.

What the hell, Iowa. Sometimes you are just strange.

But, I have to say, I'll take seeing this wanna-be moth on my back door to this monstrosity any time. *shiver*


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