My Beamish Brood

My Beamish Brood

Thursday, August 22, 2013

I Want To Ride My Bicycle

We took advantage of a beautiful evening last week to check out a bike path by the river. Max has taken a major jump in his biking ability this summer; he plugged away like a pro while I strolled along behind him with Audrey. The only problems came when he noticed how beautiful the scenery was ("Mom! It looks just like a jungle! Doesn't it look exactly like a jungle?!") and rolled straight off the path into the brush. No harm done; in fact, I think he might have done it on purpose at least once, to give him an excuse to briefly explore on foot. It worked out fine, because Lucian and Dad were slowly making their way behind us. That kid has some perseverance and determination, let me tell you! His bike was not made for distance, and his training wheels are getting a little lopsided in their old age. But he kept it up the best that he could with the help of his Daddy.

Poor little Audrey had to sit in a stroller while her big brothers wore awesome helmets and pedaled these super cool wheeled contraptions. She kept her eyes glued on whichever brother was in front of her, and if we happened to take the lead she would crane her neck to get another glimpse of those wheels! So when we stopped at a scenic overlook to take in the view, she would have none of it until she got to take a spin too.

The boys thought it was a hoot seeing their little sis on a bike, and I think that girl would have ridden all the way back to the car if Daddy's back could have handled it!

We got back to the car about five minutes after the mosquitoes came out in force... one moment we were fine and the next we were surrounded by a cloud of hungry buzzing bugs. Ick. But besides that slight hiccup, we had a great time! (And boy... do I have some cute kids or what?)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013



Lately it has been the bane of my existence. What is it about kids and tape? Not just for securing paper to paper anymore, I am finding this stuff on every surface imaginable! Recently Max taped a line of coins onto the table, using at least one piece of tape per coin, plus a long strip covering the whole mess. You can imagine how long that one took us to clean up. Another favorite spot is the rug. That one started when we measured how far they could jump from the couch, marking their distance with a piece of tape. It has blossomed into something completely different since then. I am constantly picking tape off our hard floors, Audrey's high chair, seat backs, books, windows... just when I think I've hidden the tape dispensers all out of reach, they find another.

On very special occasions, they root out the duct tape, and oh boy do we have fun then! Trying to clean that gray goop off of anything is almost as bad as trying to clean the remains of a sticker off of a washed-and-dried t-shirt. (Yes, I just did that recently. I was successful, but I may have permanently damaged my brain in the process)

The latest "Tape-Aspenser" adventure happened when Lucian attempted to block off both entrances to the kitchen with Scotch Tape. After a few fruitless attempts, he decided to move a chair into the doorway and cover it with tape, stringing pieces from the door frame to the chair. Audrey even joined in the fun! And I was left with a mess of a chair that sat in our entryway for almost a week because I couldn't bear the thought of all that picking and peeling.

The thing is, though, I watched him do it. He was so intent and engaged, I couldn't bear myself to make him stop, even though I knew what my future held if I let him continue. But I am in the process of making some rules about proper tape usage (i.e. "A roll of tape is not a single-use item" and "If you cover your toy in sixteen layers of tape, it is not my responsibility to set it free"). Hopefully I'll figure out a balance between letting Lucian have his fun and letting me keep my sanity. I do not like finding my cupboards taped shut when I go to make dinner. Spoons are much more difficult to use (and wash) when they are taped to forks or knives. Tape hurts when it is being peeled out of one's hair. But if he wants to spend an hour covering a folding chair in Scotch tape, more power to him.

Thursday, August 8, 2013


Lemonade! Get your ice cold lemonade! And while you're at it, why not have the in-house artist draw your caricature for you? And best of all, the whole shebang is free! All donations go to Feed My Starving Children (not my starving children personally, as one customer thought!)

 Last Friday was a beautiful day for a lemonade stand. Hot enough (until the sun went down) to entice people to buy lemonade, but cool enough in the shade that we were completely comfortable. We set up our stand during the Smith Avenue Art Crawl, hoping to attract some of the increased foot traffic near our house. Turns out, the foot traffic really didn't increase at all... but we live on a busy road so there's always someone walking by anyways.

Max ended up with four caricature customers, a decent handful of lemonade customers, and a lot of donations. He was determined to give his wares away for free, so my dad (knowing that people want to be generous toward a five-year-old in a Peter Pan costume) suggested donating to Feed My Starving Children, since Max recently packed meals there with our church group. He jumped on that idea, and now we are very excited to deliver our neighborhood's donations!

While the whole project was spearheaded by Max, the other two helped out however they could. Audrey tried to eat markers and grab red plastic cups (she was obsessed with them!) Lucian was the ice-scooper... and often the lemonade pourer, since his big brother had a bit of trouble staying on task when there was a new conversation partner standing right in front of him! We had to train Max not to chase people down the street when they turned down the offer of lemonade. Oy. 

Friday evening was so successful that we set things up again Saturday afternoon. My parents came up to have their caricature drawn, and Max put his all into that one. My dad was wearing a hat, but his caricature had to have a stubbly bald head. Of course. And Grandma's hair had some killer volume!

Attention spans were a little shorter on Saturday; we stayed open for only about an hour before making our own visit to the Art Crawl. All in all, though, I would say it was an awfully successful venture! It was a lot of work, and don't ask me to do it again soon, but I think I might have even had some fun too!

Drawing a caricature of Daddy

Parading with signs, advertising to the passing cars

Saturday, August 3, 2013

What I Do

About a month ago, I had the experience of a lifetime recording an album of my brother's original music with our band Oak Ribbons. I don't talk about our music very much on this blog, in part because I don't want to sound like I'm self-promoting, but also that I sometimes feel a little guilty that I enjoy making music so much, when it doesn't involve my kids at all. It's not that I have a problem being away from my kids; on the contrary, I'll take a night off any time it's offered! The difference, I think, is that music is something very fulfilling for me, and I have trouble feeling so fulfilled in anything that doesn't involve my family. I'm a mom, isn't being a mom enough?

During this recording weekend I made an important realization. What I learned is probably something every other mother already knows, but I'll share it anyways: There is a difference between who I am and what I do. I am a wife, a mother, and a child of God. That is my identity. That is who I am. But I also play violin, sing, write, read. That is what I love to do. Music is not who I am, but it is what I do. And it's ok to love what I do.

We spent the weekend and recorded in this house
Audrey was a tagalong for the entire process
Each room had a unique sound, and the engineers put a lot of thought into the setup for every song
My cheeks were sore from smiling by the end of the weekend!
I totally look like I know what I'm doing...