30 July 2012

in which she discovers what is missing


i finally hung my ampersand. oddly, it looks much more imposing in person than in this photo. it is making me think that perhaps i need to make an even larger ampersand for that wall. you do realize that in my head i am double-dog-daring myself to do just that. i mean it is not as though i have eleventy billion other things in need of getting done. right?

my reason for babbling on today is to tell you that a cardboard letter a  has joined my wee ampersand. i found it in the dollar spot section of target a few weeks back.

every time i see them together i think something is missing. something like...

... this!


27 July 2012

mama don't take my kodachrome


growing up, i would occasionally be allowed to go through my father's camera collection. he kept them in a box, high in his closet. i loved seeing them, hearing their stories, & fiddling with their bits. i imagine he kept them out of sight to avoid too much fiddling. i also imagine that this began my love of old cameras.

one stop on our road-trip was to visit my brother, his family, & our father. words cannot explain how much i loved being with all of them. living so far away has always been hard on me, doubly so since my mother's passing.

as i was filling a bin with some of my mother's books, my father asked if i wanted his cameras. i had planned on asking if he would bring them out, but only because i longed to see them. to get to take them home with me was something beyond my wildest imaginings.

the cameras were the first thing unpacked upon returning home. i fiddled with each & every bit i could find.

then set about making a place for them; high enough to keep the most little of us from fiddling.

the two not-so-little were threatened with bodily harm asked to refrain from fiddling.

this guy is my favorite.


ps :: i do know what each camera is, so if you are curious, feel free to ask. (the two large cases hold movie cameras.)
pps :: you can thank my father for getting that song stuck in your head. mama don't take my kodachrome away-ay-ay...

23 July 2012

we built this city...


our first outing in washington was, of course, to the famous pike place. we did not brave the absurdly long queue at the original starbucks, but i can now say that i have at least been there.

when next we ventured into town we took the underground tour of seattle. i definitely recommend this. warning: no strollers. i snapped many photos, but it was quite dim below ground.

where it was not dim:

downtown seattle has some pretty buildings.

this photo i took upon arriving home. we detoured through hollywood, so i could play tourist with my camera. this building is the highland towers apartments, smack in the middle of hollywood. little bit of belfrytrivia: in our pre-parents days we nearly lived there. just before signing, we opted for a cute little duplex elsewhere instead.


20 July 2012

les fleurs

we had a wonderful time seeing new places, & old loved ones. between manlyman, thehobbit, & myself we took about eleventy billion photos. in looking back through my photos i see that i was drawn (loved ones aside) to flowers & buildings. here is a sampling of les fleurs:

1-6 were taken in seattle & snohomish, washington. (yes, i know one of those is a salmonberry, not a flower. shhh.)

7-12 were taken in eugene, oregon. (i was happy to see that my mother's pink roses were being cared for.)

13 was taken somewhere in central california.

i miss the people & places already, but it is wonderful to be back at home.

04 July 2012

kids be trippin'

photo :: property of getty images
as promised, here are the things i have packed in my magic bag of tricks. originally i was going to share only what i have planned to keep elfling occupied on the long trip, but then i thought perhaps those with a teen would appreciate what i have for thehobbit. so, without further ado, i bring you the following:

i spy bottle - see yesterday's post.

window art - the above photo says it all. i know elfling will want to draw on the windows of he sees his brother doing it, so this activity is only to happen when he-who-can-not-yet-reach-windows is alseep.

busy wallet - what toddler doesn't love going through mama's wallet? luckily i had a large passport wallet that i forgot to donate to the thrift shop. old greeting cards were cut into the shape of credit cards, i added a few sheets of not-yet-seen stickers in lieu of dollar bills, & slipped in an old checkbook. 

blue painter's tape - this is a brilliant idea. because it peels off easily, & leaves no residue behind, it is the perfect thing to occupy a stir-crazy toddler. elfling can rip off pieces, & stick it anywhere he can reach! seriously brilliant. a friend also informed me that we could use the tape to cover outlets at the hotels. (note :: my toddler would be lured by the bright blue on the wall, so we'll just leave the outlets naked, & keep an eye on him.)

lap desk - a sturdy surface for writing, drawing, stickering, etc.

luddites, close your eyes.

fifi - my plan is to move my unnecessary apps to the could, & fill fifi with new ones for elfling. i have found some fabulous free ones: a kaleidoscope, veggie tales game, interactive books, etc. thus far the only app i have purchased was this. the typewriter keys are not as large as i thought they would be, but elfling's fingers are tiny, so that's ok.

portable dvd player - ours proved indispensable on that train trip 2 years back, so will definitely accompany us this time around. i hope to only pop in a movie as a last resort, but whatever makes the trip easier for elfing is fine by me. as i said yesterday, he does not enjoy being in the car for more than an hour - two days is asking a lot.

i-touch - thehobbit has filled his with new music - his very own road-trip soundtrack :)

ok luddites, you can open them.

new things - for elfling i bought a few board books ($1 used book shop), drawing pad, gel pens, japanese coloring books, flash light, & hamish. the most expensive thing was hamish at $8.50. everything else was $2 or under. i have split the items into two piles; one for the ride up, the other for the ride back. (note :: no, elfling has not seen brave. he is much too young.)
thehobbit only wanted new music, & a journal. teens are easy to entertain.

audio books - this will be our first road-trip without any. with a teen & a toddler in the same vehicle, finding an appropriate book became too much of a hassle. i thought i'd mention audio books anyway, for those who had never considered them. you'd be amazed at how quickly the miles fly past when you're listening to a book. 

that is all i have planned to entertain & distract. hopefully everything will be a huge success. i'll let you know how it went; shall i?

edited to add :: everything was a hit! if i could only choose two things from above, i would go with the dvd player (for obvious reasons), & the painter's tape. every person in the family played with the tape. we made pictures on the lap-desk, wrote words on the windows, stuck pieces wherever we felt like, & manlyman hung long strips all over the backseat's ceiling. when he cracked a window, the  strips went wild! eventually they all came loose, flying everywhere, but that's was fun too. one thing i had not packed to be played with; but was a hit with elfling; was thehobbit's hand-cranked flashlight. that shall definitely accompany us on future trips. 

03 July 2012

i spy a road-trip!


thebelfries are hitting the road - woo & hoo, baby!

because the smallest of us is not a fan of being in the car for longer than an hour, i had to come up with a bag of tricks to occupy him. the first thing i made was this i spy bottle. he fell in love with one at a friend's house, so i knew we needed one for our holiday.

i bought the water bottle at my beloved japanese $2 store (for $4, don't ask), the bag of rice at the 99c store, & gathered the miniatures from around thebelfry, with most coming from our borrowers' house. definitely an affordable diy.

originally i had planned to use only things found in nature (stones, acorns, shells, etc), but i left the gathering until the last minute. ah well.

it is hard to tell in the above photo, but the dark rectangle is a miniature book. an actual flip-the-pages book!

if you have never played with an i spy bottle before: when you turn or gently shake the bottle, the rice shifts. as it does, the items within are revealed, as others are hidden. in addition to the things seen in these photos there are, buttons, shells, miniature toys, & even a teensy plastic buddha hidden in the rice-y depths. hours of fun! i hope.

tomorrow i'll tell you what other fabulous tricks i have planned :)

02 July 2012

quite pretty


elfling's mud-pie kitchen sits beneath a sweet little privet tree. the dappled sunlight it creates makes for a perfect play area, which is exactly why i chose the spot.

whilst we were outside yesterday morn; enjoying bougainvillea soup; i wondered how pretty would it be to have ribbons hanging from the privet's branches. 

quite pretty.

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