and the ladybugs... were at annie's ladybug picnic


Sunday, 20 or so of Annie's little friends and cousins came over to celebrate her birthday. We also invited along about 4500 ladybug friends (although I think half were dead). It was a very hot day so we made the best of it, adults under the sun tent, drinking beer and playing bean bags and kids cooling off on dueling slip-n-slides and swinging on swings and playing with the ladybugs. It was a great day. Here are some pictures.

The decorations


Jars of Ladybugs



Making wings and antennae


The cake


ladybug,ladybug, fly away home!


cooling off on the slip-n-slides


handfuls of ladybugs


yummy cake and year full of wishes

Today My Annie is 4!


Four years ago today I became a mother. There is nothing in the world that has compared to that moment. There is no one else in the world like Annie. As I was looking through pictures for this blog entry I noticed the enormous smile on her face, over and over again. Annie is a kid who smiles, and it is not a small grin, it is a smile that consumes her and takes you along for the ride. She relishes in every moment of the day. This is the child that rolled over at 3 1/2 weeks, yes, 3 1/2 weeks.
She has been called sassy, independent, confident, beautiful, striking, happy, creative, the terrorist, spunky and a list of names I will not own up to knowing. I often try to think of a word or two to describe her and I can't, she is just Annie.
Because she is my first child I am constantly amazed at what she is capable of. She has always been a keen observer of things and feelings and will tell you exactly how she feels. She loves books and stories and songs and dancing. She is silly and serious.
Mostly what she has been is a teacher. She has led me down this wonderful, frustrating and joyous path of motherhood and shown such patience with me. She stuck around while I fumbled with keeping her swaddled and her first baths. She often knew when she had pushed me just enough and then relented. She always rewarded me with smiles, giggles and snuggles, the best rewards and that first murmur of "mama" was a gift from the wisest of teachers. From Annie I have learned patience, independence, willfullness and strength. I have experienced pain, physical and emotional, sadness and heartbreak. She has brought me more joy, compasssion, pleasure and happiness than any one person deserves. Mostly though, she has taught me love, that unconditional love I always heard of in religion class. The love that is benevolent and all consuming. The love that takes away the pain, turns the sadness to joy, and heals the broken heart. The love that makes you cry because they got their first real bicycle or want to tell the world that they call grasshoppers hopgrassers. Four years ago today Annie was born and gave me the most precious gift, the gift of a mother's love. Happy birthday to my little slice of heaven and please stop growing up.

Reading too many damn blogs


My friend Sara commented today on my lack of blog posts of late. Yes, I haven't been posting as often as I like. I have a few excuses
1. Everytime I get on the computer Madison dumps something out, or pees on the floor, or must sit on my lap and type along with me.
2. It's spring and time is better spent outside.
3. I have been working more.
4. Due to all of the above it is really hard to have a cohernt thought.
and the number one reason...
5. I spend all my blog writing time reading everyone elses blogs. Going from here to there and everywhere else. I love this internet thing but for an information junkie it is so damn dangerous.

The other things keeping me busy are Annie's 4th birthday this Monday with a party on Sunday. We are having a ladybug picnic for 16 or so kids and we also invited 4500 (yep, you read that right) ladybugs to come over and play with the kids. They will also be making ladybug wings, hats and assorted other ladybug fun. All in 90 degree heat. Also, on the to do list is the garden. We got some of the veggies planted, I did a few planters with annuals and have gone a bit mad with seeds. There was entirely to much open space in the yard and seeds seemed the cheapest may to fill it up. Let's hope they all grow. Thank goodness for all the rain.

Maddie seems to think that the whole planting thing is not a one time deal. She keeps pulling up all the plants and replanting them. Annie doesn't want to plant anything she just wants to walk around in my newly fluffed up dirt and feel the dirt in her toes and hands. At least they are true to themselves. I have so much trouble balancing the side of me that knows their explorations will lead to a love a gardening with the side of me that yearns to grow giant succulent tomatoes and crisp beans. As always with me the let them explore side wins. Here are some pictures... and the cute little smock Maddie is wearing is my May submission for Tie One On.


See more pictures by clicking this link...(a fun new toy)
View slideshow

Mama Says Om Theme: Nature


As spring began I started to clean out my little potting shed in the garage. The shed had been jam-packed with stuff that was shoved in as autumns' chill came last year.
I found a nice roll of batting that must have been tossed in last summer or the summer before. (I think it was for Maddies baby quilt that was never made.) I noticed that someone was nibbling around at the plastic and pulling out some of the batting.
As I dug through the shed I found a bird house that I had gotten at a plant auction. It was tossed in the shed after we moved into this house. I thought it would be nice to put out by the playhouse. As I was carrying it to the backyard I noticed that some of the batting had made it's way inside.
I looked a bit closer thinking that this must have been where that mouse had made its' home. Much to my surprise the little mouse poked his head out at me. a fieldmouse
I was so startled by the tiny little mouse, I dropped the birdhouse and went running to my husband, such a little girlie girl.

Our home backs up to a field and creek. There is a small lake across the street. Great blue heron, a red tailed hawk, kingfisher and giant snapping turtles all live out my back door. It is one of the reasons I love my house. I can walk to the movies and grocery store and still hear the baying of coyotes at night.
After the little mouse incident I kept thinking about how clever that little mouse was. We have a cat the spends lots of time in the garage (by choice) and the mouse found the perfect place; inaccessible to the cat, batting at the ready, and I believe there was a bag of thistle seed in the shed. It struck me how opportunistic the little mouse was.
As we encroach more and more on natural habitats the animals are finding more opportunities to make use mankind for survival. We had sparrows nesting in a wreath on our door, bunnies take up residence under decks and coyotes may make a meal of unwitting pets. Nature was once thought of as that thing out there.... but today, more often than not it is that thing right out our back door or living in the garage. I think about this fact as I work on my garden or plan activities for the girls. Our bird feeder attracts red winged blackbirds (name Christy by Annie) and gold finch ("yellow berd, mama"-Madison).We plant sunflower, coneflower and bronze fennel for birds and butterflies, we provide opportunities for interaction with the nature that is out our back door. I hope you too find a bit of nature out your back door and provide some opportunities for nature to find you.


a belated mother's day and smocks...


I wanted to post a quick note to wish everyone a belated Happy Mother's Day. I worked all weekend and didn't get a chance to send my wishes to everyone. I hope all the moms got some much deserved tlc and r & r. I was treated to a lovely breakfast, some beautiful handmade cards, my first kid written "happy mother's day" and a sesame street puzzle and Disney Princess Memory Game ( i asked dan to let the girls pick out my presents).
One of the most amazing things that happened after becoming a mother was looking at annie and feeling all this amazing amount of love for her. More love than I ever realized existed in me or anywhere in the world. One day I looked at her and then my parents and realized that they also love me this much. It really changed how I felt about my parents, but also how I felt about myself, how lucky I am to be loved that much.
Just a little belated mother's day thought for you all. Give your kids a big hug and kiss and the call your mom and dad and thank them for loving you!

On the crafting front the May Tie One On theme is smocks you can wear out. Here are some links to inspiration:

It appears the links all went to main page so just click around.







And not really an apron but check these out..(these are little arm sleeves to keep your shirt up when doing dishes. I will try to fix the link later)

and anyone read this?

MMM, I think I need to stop now.

the juiciest peach...


Originally uploaded by marytree.

This has always been a favorite picture of mine. This is me, at 20 years old, with four friends. This picture was taken in Wyoming on our way California to see the Grateful Dead in San Francisco. We all took off for 2 weeks driving my little toyota tercel and a vw bus. Before we made it to the show we were going to stay at a place called Butano state park on the California coast not far from san francisco. The directions the park ranger gave led us up a 2 lane winding road. There were fruit trees and horse farms, and after driving through Nebraska and Iowa it was paradise. We drove past Alice's restaurant and stopped at a little farmstand in Pescadero. They had peaches the size of a 16" softball. Now, growing up in Illinois we were used to getting maybe a baseball sized peach and out of all the peaches in a summer maybe one or two was juicey and sweet. Usually, they were mealy and hard. These California peaches were lush with fuzz so soft it was hard to take the first bite. But take that bite we did and they were the juiciest, loveliest peaches I had ever had. I can still taste the sweetness of them and feel the juice dribbling down my chin.
I often think about those peaches and going back to that little farmstand on the winding road. I remember my hair blowing in the california breeze, the smell of citrus and seashore, the giant redwood trees that made you feel so small and your life so young. Mostly, I remember feeling free. Having the kids, a husband, a dog and cat makes feeling free sometimes a distant memory, but on those days when I roll down the windows and look in my rearview mirror and see Annie and Maddie's hair blowing in the wind, the wild look of freedom in their eyes, I too feel free. And when I buy those first peaches of the summer and we sit on the kitchen floor and take the first bite, and sweet juice flows down our chins I think of the day when my two girls will experience those first flushes of freedom and I hope they have such great friends to share it with.

Mama Says Om theme: Juicy

Dresses, Communions and Painting


Saturday we had a first communion for my beautiful niece sofia. She is such a doll and I had to miss the big event. My hubby brought home some pics and this is the best one....


Amy please send me more if you can.

I had this cute dress almost done for annie and decided at 9:30 that Maddie had to have a matching dress. Dan had to leave at 11:00 for the event so I sewed furiously and finished just in the nick of time. I think they look pretty darn cute. Not bad for about an hour. (ignore the hanging threads).



I really like the back. I think I need one to match. Maybe not pink gingham with flowers.

While Dan and the girls were at the party, I started working on painting the playhouse. We finished on saturday and the girls helped a bit, okay, in truth they didn't really help they got paint everywhere and gave Dan the opportunity to point out that I was nuts. Anyhow, here are some pictures of the girls painting and the almost finished playhouse. It is a bit bright. Please let me know if you would kill me if I was your neighbor and you had to stare at this.

maddiepainting anniepainting
anniecleaningup cleaningup


Hope you have a great colorful day and look for something juicy next.

Corners of My Home



This is a corner of Maddie's room. I love this spot, especially at night when she needs to be rocked. It is a peacful little place where I get some one on one time with Madison. The glider is a "seen better days" hand me down but it seems to work for us. I wanted to take a picture of this spot because Madison is growing so fast. I am not sure we will be able to sit there and rock for much longer, it makes me so sad. I sat, in this same chair, in our other house rocking annie for much of her 1st two years. As much as I hate to hear the middle of the night or 10 p.m. scream from her room I always find it so peaceful to sit her on my lap and start rocking. There is nothing for me to do in this spot except love her. Sometimes it seems you need permission to just sit and smell the freshly washed babies hair. Maddie's tired thing is pulling her hair, so as I sit there rocking her she pulls and twists her hair and I listen to her breath and wait for her little hand to fall to her side, knowing that she is asleep. I always stay a bit longer closing my own eyes a enjoying every moment of her in this quiet state in the peaceful little corner of her room.

my not so perfect life...and why to pay attention to infomercials.


I have been at this little blog thing for almost 2 months and I must say I am really enjoying myself. I get to record snippets of our lives and share them with all of you and hopefully the girls one day. I have had 3 comments from friends and family who read this about how nice and happy and wonderful our life looks when they read this. That is what makes this so fun. I get to forget about all the challenging stuff that goes on each day (such as the 15 minute tantrum Madison is throwing right now because she can't have a glass of milk) and relate all the fun stuff, creative stuff and moments when I feel I am doing my best mothering. (Note that I usually only update 1 or 2 times a week- maybe more "best mothering" is in order.) So, I thought I would share a bit of today with you all.
(still throwing a tantrum over milk)


This is what I found when I came downstairs today after 5 minutes of leaving Madison alone. She had dumped half a bottle of soy sauce and lots of ketchup all over my carpet. My first thought was "I guess we'll have to get those hardwood floors" and then I realized why those guys on infomercials are always pouring soy sauce and ketchup on the carpets-THEY HAVE A 2 YEAR OLD. My handy-dandy bissel did a pretty good job but I really had better things to do with my time and I really wanted to blog about the great day we had with our friends sara, annie, alice and josie on arbor day and not about SOY SAUCE.

Here are a few pics of the day-if you live in the chicagoland area you should check out the morton arb.

Arbor Day

Have a wonderful not so perfect day.

May Day, Granola and Aprons


I had to work all weekend so this morning our house was in quite a state. My dear hubby does a great job with laundry and picking up and he made dinners yesterday, but things always seem out of whack when he is in charge. (sorry sweetie) Given the mixed up toys and baskets of laundry I decided to forgo cleaning monday and do these things instead.....

Make Granola

Of course, the girls wanted to help so it ended up all over. That gave them a chance to use the shark to clean up while the granola baked. Maddie enjoyed hers in a cup of yogurt. Yummy. I used the recipe found here, but omitted the coconut and sesame seeds. We also added dried cranberries. I might add some vanilla next time.

Make and Deliver May Day Flowers to Emma

We made some paper flowers and paper hats to celebrate May Day. We walked down the street to deliver to Annie's friend Emma. Annie had a bit of a meltdown on the way over, but, we recoverd in time to hang them on the door and say hello to cutie Emma.

Why yes, Annie is wearing a t-shirt created with a freezer paper stencil. It took about 10 minutes from start to finish, plus drying time. I think we will be making more of these, lots more. Interested check out this and this.

Make an Apron for April Tie One On

The theme was yellow and white. I'm calling it a Pocket Full of Posies. I am pleased with the way it came out, it is very cheerful and the vase is a little pocket perfect for lipstick or gloss. I didn't have much luck with the ruffled edge. Glad I'm not that into ruffles.
I am pleased to announce that this cheery little number will soon be gracing my fabulous sister-in-law Amy as she bakes away for St. Ed's bake sales. She is such a great friend and always is there for me with a ear to listen and a hand to help. She deserves a bit of sunshine in her kitchen. (Amy-I'll send it with Dan on Saturday)