Category Archives: Brynne

A Birthday for Brynnie-the-Pooh

You are eight!
Isn’t that great?
Grandma is the best when it comes to exploding cakes with real sugared pansies.
I don’t even try to compete.

And Barbara from the kitchen made Brynne a fairy house.  How cool is that?  She bought the little basket, rocks, fairies, then planted real plants.  I thought, oh my goodness, she knows exactly what my little girl wants.  I was a little jealous my presents weren’t as cool or creative 🙂
Idea totally stolen from Shawni, but it’s hard to beat how cheesy mine was.  Brynne loved it because she loves cheese as much as her mother.
A foggy birthday morning, sent to school with braids and alligator boots.

And then the sun came out and she waited and waited for Daddy to come home to his birthday girl.

Yea!  Daddy is home.  Can I have my presents now?

Of all the things she got, you know what her favorite was?  
Her scriptures.
We are Mormon, and at 8-years-old, you can be baptized.  Sometimes I don’t like to write about this on my blog because I think people don’t understand or they won’t be nice but sometimes I think I should write about it more because we should all understand each other more.  It’s been in the media so much, sometimes great stories but often, not.  And I wonder how any journalist with any credentials can get away with the things they print.  Tangent.  Back to nice day with birthday girl.
It was fun to talk about baptism the last few months with Brynne.  It was fun to take her to a Catholic Mass with our friends in Rhode Island.  I loved it.  The sermon was great, the music was fun, made me want to clap-my-hands for all the Jesus lovin’.  I want to expose to my children to all different religions.  How can we decide without seeing other choices?  We talked about what baptism really is, what it means to “take upon you the name of Christ,” how we treat others, what is truth?  In our family we give each child a set of their own scriptures, The Bible and The Book of Mormon, so they can read for themselves.
The other day Paige looked up at me in amazement and said, “We’re Mormon?!!” 
Brynne deliberated many weeks on what exactly she wanted her scriptures to look like, deciding on which color, what size, button up or not?

And then she thumbed through them carefully by herself, admiring the thin paper and indexed tabs. Of all the good books, these are the ones I hope she loves best.

And then she wanted blueberry pie.  I even made the crust.  I know, I know, I’ll modestly accept the Mother-of-the-Year-Award.
The very day after Brynne’s perfect birthday, her brand new pet fish flopped over and died.  There was great sobbing.  All I could think was, thank goodness it didn’t die on her birthday!  As a show of camaraderie, Paige’s fish died the day after that.  This I understood, with her Darla-like love for “Violent.”  Thankfully, Cope still had her fish and gave it to Brynne, You can have mine.  I don’t really want it.  So eloquently said…but we were happy because Brynne was.  All was well again.

Love you, Brynne.
The other day Gregor and I were listening to a song on the radio – that one that everyone’s singing – This is crazy, here’s my number, so call me maybe.  It’s so catchy I’m even annoying my children.  We heard the singer’s interview on NPR and she said the lyrics, I missed you before I met you, were about her boyfriend and I thought about my husband, how true that line is, and about my children.  
Brynne.  I missed you before I met you…you were not a surprise…I had to fight for you, girl! xoxo.

Where’s the Pineapple?

Oh there it is…

Taken off the counter by Brynne and assembled into a lovely centerpiece on the living room floor.  “A Pineapple and Company,” featuring a candle (stolen off the counter), a glass rabbit, a plastic dog house and wagon.  All assembled on a plaid doll house skirt.  I’m thinking I should let her be in charge of interior design around here.


a day in the life

“What did you do today?” Brynne will often ask me, anxiously, after she gets off the school bus…An ordinary day…
Paige is learning her letters.  She likes to draw on the chalkboard.  But letters get old after awhile.  The best part is erasing with her hands.

Sometimes I try to fix things…like this topiary lamp.  This could very well be the last crafty thing I ever made.  It was for the girl’s room.  It is broken.  The shade sits wobbly atop the light bulb from constantly falling over due to a wobbly base I could never get quite right.  There is a burn spot on the inside that gives me nightmares of a fire.  I do not think it’s fixable.  It sits on top of the dryer as I go back and forth about what to do…It’s so hard to toss, but I fear this is what must be.

Brynne fakes illness so she can stay home with me.  Actually, she really was sick.  I took the kids to school and left her to sleep.  When I got back home I found a note on the stairs.  Lovely.

As the end of the school day approaches, piles of soccer gear starts piling up by the door.  I have many bags to remember.  Many smelly socks, shoes, and water bottles.

Other piles get piled as I continue to purge…yes, even the beloved books.  I tried using but the most they would pay was $1.49.  Donations here we come.

Sometimes I get a cleaning bug.  The ones in red are worth $1.  Think any of them have been done by any of the children?  September’s value is “Peaceability.”  I feel more peace with “clean.”

I’m trying to do a cleaning project every morning with Paige.  The pantry was one such  goal.

Paige loves to wash with water, soap, and a scrub brush.  We often do our chores in our pajamas and do not change until we absolutely have to.

We took everything out, washed and vacuumed the shelves, then lined them with contact paper.

Paige greatly enjoyed organizing the meds.  And she didn’t eat any of them.

Ah…so much better.

We like to take walks.  We went up the hill to see the water buffalo, the new puppy Reuben, and pick apples from the apple orchard.  I made an effort and changed out of my pajama pants.  Paige can get away with a bundle and  her rain boots.  Everything is more fun when you bring a little basket for treasures.  She is finally getting old enough to sometimes go without a stroller.  She will walk…but still asks to be carried.
Eventually we must get dressed.  At least three different outfits.  And pose for pictures for Mama.  Our first year growing sunflowers.  Fall has arrived in New England.  Colors will be begin popping soon.  When the sun shines, it is glorious.

Brynne likes to do dishes too so we saved some for her.  The three oldest have 2 dish nights a week.  “This is so fun!” Brynne often says with the water going full blast.  Cope and Nelson no longer say this…enjoy them while they’re young.
An ordinary day is sometimes the best kind.

Brynne’s Animal Daycare

The other day Brynne discovered a bird nest in a tree.  She begged me to get it down.  Thinking it was an old one, I lifted it up and quickly put it down – it was full of baby birds!  Very new babies.
Oh no, I thought, I’ve disturbed the nest! Luckily, I was wearing gardening gloves.  I carefully put the nest back in the tree and prayed mama bird would come back.

Everyday we checked on the birds.  “Should we feed them worms?” Brynne asked anxiously.  “What if the mama doesn’t come back?”  She was near tears with this thought.  “Don’t worry,” I said, “Mama always comes back.” I didn’t tell her I was worried too.
But she did come back and the babies grew and grew.  And now they’ve flown away.  Whew.  Disaster averted, Brynne can rest easy, and I don’t have to raise baby birds.

Brynne is pretty fearless with things that crawl and go bump in the day and night.  She loves to catch fish, tadpoles, frogs, bugs, butterflies, and would love a pet mouse.

A little salamander.
Brynne’s attitude is the exact opposite of Paige’s.  Paige screams when she sees a fly in the car or if there is a hair in the bathtub.  But she does love cats and dogs.  Cope wants a horse, a guinea pig, and a rabbit.  What does mama say?  No.  Four children and one dog.  It’s good.  I haven’t even missed our chickens all that much.
With three more days of school left, I’m sure Brynne will be collecting more animals to try to bring home. 

When Brynne is Bored

…She likes to take lots of pictures.  “Mommy, pose!” she says.

But mostly Brynne likes this willing subject…

After these shots I had to take the camera away.  We were starting to be disruptive to those around us actually trying to listen!  At this time of year there are sooooo many events to sit through.  Brynne finds a way to entertain herself and those around her.  Maybe she needs her own camera?

7 is the Magic Number!

Another Brynnie birthday come and gone…
The friend party, with the help from a karate-chopping brother, a “Russian Spy”sister and friend, and a happy little tag-along.  The rain held off…thank you thank you…

They thought the throwing of the rose petals was rather fabulous

B gets a fabulous hand-made hula hoop – the best hoop I’ve ever used!  It’s so much fun.  Thanks Annie and Sasha!

First Brynne wanted a cherry pie so I bought the ingredients.  Then she changed her mind and wanted an ice-cream cake.  After perusing the ice-cream cake aisle at the store, I decided to make one myself.  I chopped ice-cream sandwiches for an outside crust.

It would be better with some sort of crust-like bottom.  Or half-way cooked Nestle’s Toll House Cookies, no?

The birthday girl requested Daddy’s gnocchi chicken soup.  Grandma also brought shrimp and pasta.  Yum.

B screamed when her American Girl was unwrapped – a great surprise.  She had to pay for half of it and has saved all her hard-earned piano money since November.  She barely made the deadline and didn’t think the beloved doll would arrive in time.  It was the best reaction.
The ice-cream cake was a hit…but must be eaten quicky!

B channels Mulan and holds the beloved Josephina.  She hasn’t let it out of her sight since.
We love this girl so much…happy birthday Brynnie the pooh!

40 Degree Blip & No School

Brynne came home from school and was SO excited – a week of vacation!
A 1st grader, this girl loves loves loves to write.  She got out the chalk and shared the joy all over the frozen driveway.  But it was 40 degrees so we we were ALL happy.

She even got Paige in the spirit of things.  It was “Beach Day” at school which is why Brynne is wearing capris.

Ready mom?  Get a picture!  Ready, set, Go!


While the girls frolicked, I chipped away at the ice.  See?  There is a little path for you so you don’t fall and conk your head.
We had a week of school vacation, lots of fun was had, and then it snowed and the skies delivered freezing rain Sunday night.  Another day off from school!  The porch is now completely covered again and we have MOUNDS of snow of either side of the driveway.  Did I mention how much we love Mr. Goody?
The kids were very ecstatic.  Except Nelson who walked around the house like Eeyore…”We’re going to be in school until July!”
This could be true.

Brynne & Paige in the Snow

Although we’ve had a little breather this week, the last few weeks there has been record amounts of the white stuff.  Nelson predicts he’ll be going to school until the 4th of July.  We are already headed into late June.
I love how much kids love snow.  They are so excited to get out there whereas I have to be dragged out to play.  Once I’m out I remember how much fun it is.

Posing.  So much practice in front on the camera.

Sliding down the giant mountain of snow while we wait outside the elementary school for Cope.

Playing in the snow doesn’t always end well.  Suddenly the baby realizes how cold her hands are.  And hats?  Who needs a hat?  Paigey does.

Mmmm…a little snack


Brynne is about to lose that tooth.  It’s hanging.  She asks me every single day if I’ll pull it out.
More posing

Now it’s time for Brynne’s first ski lesson.  Right in the backyard.

There she goes!

You can’t see the buried skis under the snow – there was so much powder!  The knee angle causes me pain.  It was hilarious watching her try to stand up.

Then Brynne decides to try out Nelson’s sledding jump.  That’s what I love about this girl
I tried to pull her up the hill but she’s getting so heavy!

Parked and ready for another day.
Cope, going to feed the chickens:  see pitcher of water and annoyed look on face 🙂 
This of course was when we had chickens to feed.  Chicken in kitchen is getting a new home today (hallelujah).
Hope you’re enjoying the magical world of snow too.

Chicken in the Kitchen

One of my least favorite jobs in the winter, especially a particularly freezing cold snow day is to wade through knee-high snow drifts with a pitcher full of water to feed chickens.

But what’s even worse is wading through knee-high snow drifts, finally making it to the coop, and finding dead chickens.  Yes, I’m sorry, it’s true.  How could this be?  The coop door was shut tight! There was no possible way a giant animal came calling.  No this killer was the small innocuous-looking furball named The Weasel.  I saw it on the rafters but didn’t make the connection – how could this tiny animal kill my chickens?

I tromped up to the house, paced back and forth wondering what to do.  Call Gregor?  Please come home and get them?  Wait til he got home?  Oh, I really really really don’t like dead things.  I’m not really an animal person.  Really.  I just pretend to be on this blog.  So I went back down and The Weasel had killed two more chickens!  At this point Cope (it was a snow day) chimed in to tell she had read about weasels.  They kill for fun.  They don’t even want to eat the chicken.  Just like that, for a little bit of fun, The Weasel had wiped out our entire flock.  
Except for one.  The last remaining chicken was perched on a ladder, trembling in fear.  What do I do with one chicken?  If I left it, it would surely die.  I contemplated doing just this.  I could wash my hands of it and pretend it flew away to live in Florida.  Happy and content.  But that darn weasel was lurking.

The kids came down with me and tried to catch The Weasel.  We brought Tenny down and he tried his darndest to catch it too but it was crafty and sly and kept slithering down holes it had made in the coop.  So we decided we could only do one thing.

Brynne grabbed that chicken and brought it into the house.  I got the kennel.

Our new pet
It was kindof fun at first.  But chickens have a reputation for being messy.  And smelly.  When we cleaned the kennel it walked around the kitchen.  Paige tried to catch it.

But she was kindof scared.

She tried tip-toeing…
Finally Brynne caught the chicken for her by grabbing its tail feathers

The novelty has worn wore off and now we just had a chicken in the kitchen.
And now I want the chicken OUT of my kitchen.  It is driving me crazy.  It is messy and stinky and has been warned that the garage is going to be its new home.  Poor chicken.  It has laid an egg for me everyday though.  This chicken needs a coop.  She needs some nice friends.  Or maybe you’d like your own chicken in the kitchen?  Free delivery. 

What did we do with the deceased?  I bribed Brynne with a treat if she would “help” me.  I held the black garbage bag open and looked away.  With no hesitation she grabbed each one by their feet and dumped them right in.  1, 2, 3, 4.  Done.  I did not think about what I was carrying all the way through the knee-deep snow drifts.  It was heavy.  With some chicken claws poking through the bag.  Ew!

Will we ever have chickens again?  I just can’t answer that question yet.