Saturday, May 18, 2013

Piano Recital

Here are excessively long videos of my kids' piano recital. Unless you're a doting aunt or grandparent, it's probably not super interesting. However, there ARE a few doting aunts running around, so...
The sound like a tea kettle half-way through her Beethoven piece is the piano movers-- they take their lessons in a piano store!

I'm sad we didn't get a picture of Elliott's grin when he was done.  So proud!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Kinda, Sorta, Almost Land Barons!

That's the big news around here. We have a contract to buy 7 acres of semi-wooded bliss about five miles north of our current location. It has to be subdivided and lawyered up, so for the next several months we can just draw increasingly elaborate house plans, realize the true cost of said house plan, resign ourselves to living in a double wide for the next thirty year, and then design another house. And spend all laundry-folding time and scrubbing-floor time and staring-out-the-window time thinking about THE LAND and THE HOUSE.

You know how, in all the cute house magazines, the lady sketches her house plan on a cocktail napkin, and a year later, she's moving into that elegant house? Well, obviously, her husband was not a builder. Then the cocktail napkin would have lots of subtractions, and she would hear mutterings about "really important measurements are in multiples of four" or "that window would add $10,000 to the cost" or "there's no way you can put the sink there because of hall clearances" and "blah, blah, blah, blah". Actually, Evan and I have pretty similar ideas about the kind of house we would like to build. Unfortunately, there is still the reality that we have expensive tastes. Not extravagant tastes, just too expensive for our actual budget. Oh, well, I've heard they've really done a lot with double wides lately.

Saturday morning, we skipped out on the mounds of summer clothing that still needed to be folded and put away in drawers, and the winter clothes that were seemingly permanently encamped on the guest room beds, and headed out for Suburban Fun. (I should be clear-- *I* skipped out on the clothes. I doubt it entered much into Evan's calculations for the day.)

We headed up to a state park we'd never been to, about half an hour north of us.  Gorgeous trees, and almost empty of human beans!  Except for our cute little peanuts.

Admiring the tall trees.  At least the people who figured out what Daddy is pointing out.  Lincoln is definitely not getting it.

Lovely-ish trillium.

Evan relaxing.  ("See?" my brain says.  "We really need a large front porch.  And adorable wood rockers.  And maybe a swing.")

The playground.

The twirly seat.

It's pretty much a perpetual motion machine.  Perfect for dizziefying children.

Which is why Evan had to go over and help Elliott off.  The first time.  The second time, Elliott tried to do it himself, did a face plant in the mulch, and bent his thumbnail back.  Tears ensued.

Pigtails always in motion.

Nice swings.  ("Hey, we could have some nice swings hanging off some of our beautiful trees at The Land!")

Then, down to the shore line.  (By a highly precarious, definitely unauthorized path.)

Watching his skipping stone go.
This video was shot after Evan announced he had found The Perfect Skipping Stone of the Day.  Naturally, I wanted to get the amazing event on video.  Yeah, he was humbled pretty thoroughly.

Lincoln searching for the perfect rock.

The scenic skyline.  Take THAT, Manhattan.

Another cute stone skimmer.

We should be able to incorporate these beautiful stones in our house somewhere.

Flirting with waves.

Some water-tumbled concrete!

 I was questioning whether the first rock was really concrete, until I saw this second piece, rebar still intact.  We saw later that there had been a sea-wall built in the 1930s, so it's probably remnants from that.

 Doesn't my new camera make all pictures purty?

Even the picture of my poor widdle son's hurt thumb.  This thumb was good for about 45 minutes of sniffles and sobs.

It's a shame Rilla hates being in front of the camera.

Rilla making a cairn.

Kids getting in place to pose with Evan's cairn.

Elliott is "smiling through the tears."  Poor pathetic little boy.

Check this out!  An actual payphone!

It's so quaint and iconic.

This, too, is iconic, but it's hard to carry a portable hydrant, so it's still relevant.

Isn't the spring green just wonderful?

Every Vaughan kid will have to say, at least twice a spring, "Nature's first green is gold, its hardest hue to hold."  I'm glad we had a poetry-spouting Mommy.

The injured boyo, getting a pity piggyback.

What are these green plants?  I remember playing with them in Delaware.  Tyler and I would pick them, and set up a store in what would later become Mom and Dad's bedroom.  We'd separate the stem from the rest of it, and sell pig's tails (the stem) and something else I can't remember.  Cabbage, maybe?  It's seems like it made less sense than that.

Tree stump photo op.

I still need to learn to meter the light better with this camera.

See?  Back-to-back shots where the light varies quite a bit.

My flaming redhead.

Lincoln's favorite perch.

Taking a "shortcut" back to the van.

On the way home, we naturally had to stop in to tromp around The Land.  Here's the corpses of old, old trees, probably felled by the power company.


We WILL save this maple tree, even if the dirt guy has to use silver teaspoons to dig the foundation.

An odd lichen-y lump.  There's several of them scattered around.

There is an old four-wheeler trail heading back into the property.

Some sort of everygreen-y vine that covers the ground.  (I need one of my Paul Smith graduate relatives to come visit and sort me out here!)

There's an open area in the back.

Very sandy, not much grows.

Viney things across the path again.

We have our own stone wall!  Swoon!

It needs a bit of sprucing up, but still!  A stone wall!

There's several old tiers lining the little ridge at the back of the property.  I wish I knew what they had been used for.

Elliott, running for the ridge.

Can't you just picture a Jersey cow, a few pigs, a goat, some chickens, wandering through here?

Yeah, neither can Evan.

Evan can, however, imagine all the maple syrup waiting to be tapped in the abundant sugar maples.

Teaching the kids Maple Sugar Love.

Yet another unidentified tree!

So, that's what's happening in this neck of the woods.

(Woods!  We have woods!!)