Friday, December 28, 2012

Grammy Says...

Kellie: Mom, why do you have a tambourine in your car?

Mom: I wanted to play the tambourine along with the songs on the radio.

Erin and Kellie: (chuckling)

Mom: What?

Miriam: I don't think she's joking.

Mom: Why is it so funny?

Erin, Miriam, and Kellie: ROFL

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Brightening My Day Today

Am I the only one who gets emotional watching flash mobs? There's just something so joyful about them. This one is a classic:


I can't get enough of this talk from Elder M. Russell Ballard. Whether you're Christian or not, it's worth a read.

"Imagine what good we can do in the world if we all join together, united as followers of Christ, anxiously and busily responding to the needs of others and serving those around us—our families, our friends, our neighbors, our fellow citizens....What would be the cumulative effect of millions of small, compassionate acts performed daily by us because of our heartfelt Christian love for others? Over time this would have a transformative effect upon all of our Heavenly Father’s children through the extension of His love to them through us. Our troubled world needs this love of Christ today more than ever, and it will need it even more in the years ahead..."


waiting for the buswaiting for the bus

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Things That Warmed My Heart Today

This song from Over the Rhine




Life Is Precious from Blogging Vanities

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Spread a Little Love


I had a conversation with a friend recently about why I don't watch the news. Well, Friday is why: Something like this happens, and it's sensationalized and analyzed and talked about over and over and over again, and I start to feel afraid and hopeless and helpless, and I despair for mankind and life feels so heavy.

I don't need to be reminded how bad people can be. I want to wake up every day believing that people at their core are good. I need to believe that there is more goodness in the world than evil.

I have some posts half-written in my drafts folder: Rylan's birthday, bike stuff, Christmas prep, yada yada yada. What feels appropriate to me right now, here on this blog in the week leading up to Christmas, is to spread a little love, and I want to invite you to do the same. If you have a blog, please share a story, a quote, a video, a song, anything that reminds you that people are more good than bad. If you don't have a blog, facebook will do. Even twitter. Let's flood the internet with love and kindness and charity.

Here's my start:

A few years ago, I wrote down the following experience that I had early one morning at a Dunkin Donuts:
"A few months ago, Michael needed a ride to work really early in the morning, and the only way I could get my sleepy boys to put on shoes and head out to the car was to promise them some donuts. You'd think they'd be grateful for the treat, but as typical three- and four-year-olds, they spent the morning fighting and complaining, and by the time we were settled at a table in Dunkin Donuts, I was pretty frazzled. It was 8:00 in the morning, and the day was not looking good.

"And then a nice gentleman at the next table started teasing my boys and making them laugh. He showed us pictures of his twin grandkids and told us some jokes. In short, he brightened the morning.

"I left Dunkin Donuts feeling truly grateful for the kindness of a man that I will never see again."
All these years later, I still often think about that man and the favor he did for me. He's the type of person I want to be like - not someone so cocooned in their own life and troubles that they miss the opportunity to help another person, but someone who's always willing to share a little happiness

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Beginnings and Endings

The day after my family went home after Thanksgiving, Cole came into my room (after he was supposed to be in bed) and said, "Mom. Can we talk about beginnings and endings?"

I said, "I have no idea what you're talking about."

He said in a quivering voice, "Endings - like when people have to go home and you start to miss them. And beginnings - like when you have to go back to school. I don't like beginnings or endings."

My sweet, sensitive little boy, I know what you mean...

Thanksgiving 2012
The kid's table
Thanksgiving 2012
Thanksgiving 2012
Nearly grown-up Ashton
Thanksgiving 2012
Kellie and Josh seem to be having a competition that involves popping into other people's photos.
Thanksgiving 2012
Alex spent the night at my house. He was miserable without his Mommy and Daddy, and spent the whole night facing the door.
Thanksgiving 2012
We went to Pullen Park to try to get some family photos. Half of Raleigh had the same idea, and some members of my family get really grumpy in crowds. Trying to lighten the mood, Eli decided to slide down a hill of leaves. It was awesome, so he did it again on another hill. Unfortunately, the leaves on that hill were covering up a bunch of rocks that tore off a good chunk of his knee. Good family memories!

Also, my kids have a nasty habit of getting sick anytime we're around my family. This time it was Rylan, who developed a horrible cough. Thankfully, he waited to share his germs until after the holiday, but over the past week, first Michael, then me, and now Eli have picked it up. I am now making it my goal in life to celebrate a Thanksgiving without any illness.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Cappy (Not Crappy) Birthday

The theme for Cole's birthday party this year was unofficially "Kirby."

For those not obsessed with video games, Kirby is a character in several Nintendo games and an anime TV series. He's a tiny pink blob that can inhale and swallow his enemies, thereby absorbing their abilities. He lives in a place called Cappy Town, inhabited by the Cappies and ruled over by Kirby's enemy King Dedede.

Cole asked for Kirby's Return to Dreamland Wii game for his birthday. Then he asked for a Kirby cake. Then he decided to rent a Kirby video for his party. Then all of a sudden, it was an Everything Kirby Birthday.

Cole's 9th B-day

If I really wanted to be good at decorating cakes, I would either need to make a lot more cakes or start making a test-run cake. Once again, the idea I had in my head for how to make the requested-theme cake did not work out as planned.
  • Taste = 9 stars (Michael said it was too sweet)
  • Resemblance to Kirby = 10 stars (if I do say so myself)
  • Execution of Cake-Decorating Idea = 2 stars (and a big pink mess)
Cole's 9th B-day

Obligatory blowing out the candles photo...

Cole's 9th B-day

Awesome best friend...

Cole at Nine Years Old
  • favorite color: green
  • favorite food: kadu
  • favorite dessert: chocolate three-layer cake
  • favorite thing to do: play on his GameBoy
  • favorite video game: Kirby's Return to Dreamland
  • favorite subject in school: computer lab
  • favorite book series: Percy Jackson

Monday, November 26, 2012

Music Lessons: Sufjan Stevens

Sufjan Stevens' music ranges from "blow my mind" to "killing my ears." He's a crazy talented musician who likes to experiment with instrumentation, style, and (lately) auto-tune. His last album (Age of Adz) appeared on all sorts of Album of the Year lists in 2010; I tried my best to like it, but man, it is some weird music. On the other hand, Michigan and Illinoise are two of my favorite albums of all time.

But where Sufjan Stevens really shines is at Christmas. His five-disc boxed set Songs for Christmas is the best collection of holiday music I've ever heard, and you can quote me on that. Thanksgiving is over, the holiday season has officially started, and I can break out the Sufjan Stevens' Christmas album without annoying certain other members of this household who don't appreciate Christmas music year round.

And now, as if five discs weren't enough, he just released a new boxed set of Christmas music with five more discs. Three more hours of Sufjan Stevens' Christmas music!

For the next week or so, you can stream the new album at NPR, and here's a taste of the songs from the old album:


Monday, November 19, 2012

Me at 34

I want to be the type of person who buys nice things because (generally speaking) nice things are better for people, the planet, and the kind of economy I want to support. I want heirloom-quality furniture, ethically-made jewelry, and organic clothing. I want shoes that last longer than one season. I want to support local artists and artisans.

We are in a financial position where I can afford some of these things. Not everything I want all at once, but slowly, gradually, over time, as things need to be replaced, I can afford to upgrade to the better model.

Except that I have a problem. I am not the type of person who can own nice things. I'd like to be able to blame it on my children, and to some extent, they are part of the problem. But mostly, it's not them, it's me.

I started to list all the things I have broken or ruined in the past couple of years, but it was too sad and embarrassing. You'd think being 34 and a real grown-up that I would have grown out of it by now, but sadly no. This very morning in fact, I spaced out and boiled dry my 2-quart All Clad pot and then spent the better part of my morning scrubbing off the burn marks with an abrasive cleanser that earns an F from the Environmental Working Group. Now it's a much uglier version of itself (and no longer says All Clad on the bottom). This pot was supposed to be an investment that I could pass on to my kids...

I suppose the lesson I've learned is that if I want nice things, I better buy them off of craigslist

Speaking of being 34, I decided the other night at the Pinback show that I need to dye my hair blue. I've always wanted to, and folks, I'm 34 years old. Next year I'm going to have a job and will need to look all professional. I only have so much time left. What do you think - yea or nay on the blue hair?

Lastly, here's what Michael made for my "birthday cake:"

S'more Pie!!!!
toasting the marshmallow

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Music Lessons: Pinback

Michael and I are going to see this band tonight. What I like about Pinback is how they take simple melodies and riffs and weave them together to create an intricate, full sound. I'm curious to see how that will translate to a live performance.

Want more? The boys and I like to "car dance" to Pinback's song Good to Sea.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012


The dance teacher at the boys' school waved us down at carpool one morning a few weeks ago. "I just wanted to say, do you know what a great dancer Eli is?"

Michael and I looked at each other. Really? Our Eli? Apparently if you combine the genes of two people with zero dance talent, you can still end up with a child who's got some moves.


Today, Michael and I verified Eli's dance skills at his Zumbatomic dance recital. This was one of those days when I wished I had a video camera. Or at the very least remembered to bring my real camera. You'll have to take my word for it that the kid's got rhythm.

(But don't expect to see him break out his dance moves for you anytime soon. We are, afterall, talking about Eli.)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Oh, Halloween

I could rant for a very long time about everything I dislike about Halloween, but I'm restraining myself. Let's get straight to the photos, shall we?

Halloween 2012Halloween 2012

For the ward trunk-or-treat, Eli went as Mario and Rylan went as Batman. Rylan's costume was borrowed from a friend, and folks, that is the way to do it.

Halloween 2012Halloween 2012

Pumpkin-carving has become Michael's domain. This year, Rylan requested a Cars theme.

Halloween 2012Halloween 2012Halloween 2012

Cole attended a birthday on the night of the trunk-or-treat, so this year we had to do trick-or-treat as well. Eli switched to Luigi and Cole took over the Mario costume. This is the first year we've ever done traditional trick-or-treating with the boys, and I discovered that I much prefer it to trunk-or-treating. Seems like the kids should have to work for their candy.

For anyone scouring the internet for a cheap and easy way to make Mario and Luigi costumes:
  • Green and red t-shirts are store bought.
  • Mustaches came from the party store.
  • The "M" on the red hat is white felt with an "M" cut out of it. We couldn't find a green hat anywhere so had to improvise.
  • The bib part of the "overalls" are the butt side of old jeans. The straps are from the leg part of the old jeans. Tuck the bibs into a real pair of jeans and cinch with a belt, and you can't tell that they're not really connected.
  • I sewed the gloves out of an old white t-shirt.
We have now entered the Peters Family Band Season of Insanity. Next Up...Erin's birthday!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

What We Did On Our Day Off

Many people with allergies hate the spring, but for me it's fall. I'm allergic to things that are dying.

My allergies get especially bad after a rain, and when you add in that overcast days make me SAD and that my body can't handle temperatures colder than 70 degrees, you can see why over the past few days, I've spent much more than my allotted eight hours asleep. I totally get why bears hibernate.

On Tuesday night before we got in bed, I checked the weather, which promised to be cold and overcast all day. I said, "I think I'll skip exercising the rest of the week, and maybe on Monday, the sun will have come out and I can feel motivation to do stuff again."

Then lo and behold, I woke up yesterday morning to sunshine. It was the universe speaking to me, and what it said was, "Get thee outside."

Lake BensonLake BensonLake BensonLake Benson

Sometimes my kids ask me why we can't live in the suburbs like everyone else. When we visit friends in Cary and Apex and North Raleigh, I covet their big and beautiful and less expensive homes, but I don't covet the suburbs. A lot of people love them, but they are not for me.

Except for Garner. I love the park in Garner, and when we are there, I daydream about buying a house in the neighborhood beside the park, and sometimes I even check out the house prices. What is so great about this park is the lake, and the mile long mostly flat trail, and the shade structure covering the playground, and the huge field. Lake Benson is the only park where my kids spend as much time climbing trees and collecting sticks and rolling in the grass as they do sliding down the slide and swinging on the swings.

Most days when the universe tells me to get outside, it is to Lake Benson that we head. It's not the closest park to our house, but it is our favorite and our best.

(P.S. What is so hilarious about the pictures in this post is that two out of three of the boys still have on their bike helmets.)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

New (to us) Furniture

new furniture

 We got new couches off of craigslist. We are now ready for company.

(Apparently, I like the color burnt orange so much that I've decorated my living room with a burnt orange rug, blanket, pillows, painting, candle, grassy decoration, and now - thanks to some friends - a burnt orange jacket for Eli. Also, coincidentally, my front door is burnt orange.)

Update: I should have included this funny story about these couches...I'd been watching Craigslist for awhile, looking for the right couches. When I saw these, I contacted the seller, who replied back with an email address that was in my contacts already. It turned out to be a girl I'd met a few times at book club. Such a weird and funny coincidence!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Invasion of the Hipsters

Did you know that we live in the cool part of Raleigh? Do you know how you tell if you're in the cool part of Raleigh? Count the number of men with skinny jeans, beards, and dark-rimmed glasses and the number of women with top-knots, vintage dresses, and dark-rimmed glasses. Dark-rimmed glasses are very important. Even if you don't need glasses, you cannot be cool without dark-rimmed glasses. Plus, everyone rides a bike. That makes us cool.

Every year, some of our neighbors put together a little festival. The first year they had it was the first year we lived here, so we've gotten to see it grow every year from a pretty pathetic block party to a gathering of hipsters, including local artists, local bands, local restaurants, and (new this year) local bike shops.

Do you mind if I add a little rant here? It seems to me that if you're going to block off a whole street for a day to have a party, then that party should cater to the people who actually live on that street. And while our street is home to quite a few 20-something hipsters, it is also home to an ever-growing number of young families with young children who are not interested in locally handmade jewelry or vegan cupcakes.

Still, we try to go for an hour or two every year. It's an important reminder of how uncool we are.

Cooke St CarnivalCooke St CarnivalCooke St CarnivalCooke St CarnivalCooke St CarnivalCooke St Carnival

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Lately in Instagram

root beeron the busbugfestMarblesmarblesmarblespiratesdinner and a moviehomeworkplay group at PetSmarttae kwon do at librarytae kwon do at library

1. Our local Ace Hardware has a new display of sodas. There are about 20 kinds, and probably half of them are different brands of root beer. My first thought was, "Who knew there were so many kinds of root beer in the world?" My second thought was, "A challenge!" Rylan and I are slowly making our way through all 20 sodas.

2. On the bus.

3. The sign behind Cole says, "The average person unknowingly consumes a pound of bugs each year."

4-6. Rylan and I have been killing a lot of time at Marbles lately.

7. Our neighborhood has been invaded by pirates.

8. Eli and I went on a date to the Raleighwood Cinema Grill, a theatre that combines the dinner and a movie experience.

9. Our table at the end of a typical day.

10. Whoever arranged the playgroup at PetSmart, I love you! We had so much fun!

11-12. We walked into the library on Saturday, and the librarian said, "Are you here for the tae kwon do class?" I was like, What?! Tae kwon do at the library? Holy smokes, it was the best thing ever!!! Cole and Eli each broke a board with their bare hand.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Music Lessons: A Fine Frenzy

I really like A Fine Frenzy. She's on my list of Top Five Desert Island Singer/Songwriters. She sings that one song that you used to think was pretty but then everyone kept playing it everywhere and now you'd rather not listen to it at all (or maybe that's just me). Regardless, I still like her. She has a new album out, and her first single is catchy and fun but doesn't sound like everything else, and that's just what I like about A Fine Frenzy.

Michael's description of her music: "I think it's nice. It's just not my thing." What does he know?


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Eli Says...

I was watching The Office while folding laundry. Eli passed through the livingroom during a scene where Michael Scott was talking to the camera. Eli said, "Is he the bad guy?"

I said, "No, he's not a bad guy."

Later, Dwight was talking to the camera. Eli said, "Is he the bad guy?"

I said, "No, he's not a bad guy."

Then Jim came on the screen. Eli said, "Is he the bad guy?"

I said, "Eli, there are no bad guys in this show."

Eli said, "Then what's the point?"

Monday, October 8, 2012

Go, Hoosiers!

Cole and Eli are playing soccer this year. Their team is called the Hoosiers.


So far, their team has only lost one game. It was the one game I didn't get to attend. I think that must mean I'm their good luck charm or something.


Or you could credit the hard work, determination, and talent of the kids on their team. You know, whatever. (They're a pretty great bunch.)


Eli likes to play goalie.


He's pretty good at it.


But we still see a lot of this when the ball is on the other side of the field:


Rylan hates soccer because his momma keeps saying, "No, you cannot play on my phone. You're supposed to be cheering for your brothers."

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