Friday, December 26, 2008

As promised, I return bearing photos. I think I will start at the end and work backward with photos and comments. The way we create a distinct birthday celebration for our Christmas baby is to gather Christmas Eve with Grandma and Grandpa and exchange all family presents. Then Santa's loot arrives on Christmas morning (once again, I was able to persuade Edward that Santa would come while we were at church so we managed to get to 8:30 mass.) Then we play all morning, have lunch, and take naps. After naps, Christmas is over and it's ALL birthday! Edward asked for pasta for his birthday dinner and chocolate for his cake. I stood in the cake mix aisle with him earlier in the week showing him all the choices and even allowing for chocolate cake, suggesting other kinds of frosting. Nothing doing. It was chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. Later in the week, I learned that it was also supposed to have a red car and a number 3 candle, so that required a separate trip to the store.

He really had cake on his mind all afternoon. I don't think he fully realized until his pasta was in front of him that we weren't actually having cake for dinner, but after dinner. While playing with Grandma and Grandpa before dinner, he was serving "cake" at the new table they got the boys for Christmas.

Here's a video of Edward with his birthday present from Mom and Dad. Too much snow for outdoor use, but the basement is an acceptable practice area. He'll be ready to hit the neighborhood sidewalks come spring.

Christmas morning was a bit fragmented since Daniel was beyond ready for a nap by the time we got home from church. He went straight from his car seat to his crib, barely cracking an eyelid and stayed asleep for nearly two hours. In the meantime, Edward dove in to see if Santa was listening regarding a certain request for train tracks and train cars. Man, that Santa really has it covered!
By the time Daniel woke up, Edward was more than ready to assist. We also dove into the stacks from far-flung aunts, uncles and cousins. Each new discovery was more thrilling than the last. Cars, trucks, games, puzzles and books--oh my!
As noted previously, we spent Christmas Eve at Grandma and Grandpa's, which started the whole celebration off with a bang. Daniel enjoyed his first ham so much I had to go back for more in his bowl before I even started my own serving. He also was quite fond of the homemade mac&cheese. However, after fully shovelling it in for about five minutes, he discovered the greater joy of dropping the pieces off his tray with an "Uh oh!" Luckily we had remembered to put a towel under his chair before we started! Edward discovered the joy of Jell-O with marshmallows. Grandma had this treat in individual bowls. Edward scooped up his marshmallows, then worked on the Jell-O for a while before asking for more marshmallows. Lucky for him, Grandpa Softtouch still had a few left and handed them over. (Side note: this morning, Edward was talking about Jell-O and "mushrooms" so he's still working on the marshmallow addition to his vocabulary.)

After dinner it was time for presents, including the table seen above. Here is Daniel with the favorite toy of the evening (Edward now battles for possession.)

So I have learned that the key to the once-a-year gift extravaganza that is a holiday birthday is to quickly stash away some items to be carefully doled out in the coming months as an antidote to boredom or a quick reward (bribe?) as needed. It's getting harder to pull this off as Edward gets older because he wants to open not only the wrapping, but also the package of every gift immediately. Still, we have managed to spirit away a portion of the week's bounty and will be ever grateful to all who have shared Christmas and birthday with us as these items resurface throughout the coming year.

Not to be forgotten in the holiday hoopla, we should report that Edward sailed through his three-year well-child check, mightily impressing his doctor with his vocabulary and conversational skills. He is now almost 33 pounds and 36 inches tall, which is about average for weight, but a little on the short side. Sorry buddy--looks like those Geraghty tall genes have passed you by. The best part of the exam for me was the little robe they gave Edward to wear after changing out of his clothes. So cute! For a look at how far we've come in the last year, I turn your attention to this gem of a video that had me laughing 'til I nearly cried at the memory.
Merry Christmas from all the Kenyons! We've had quite the whirlwind celebration and one more gathering coming up on Sunday. We're having trouble with the concept of naps today so I may get interrupted and have to continue later.

We did not send Christmas cards this year and although I have heard several friends refer to this as an "environmental" decision, I can't truly claim that as an honorable excuse. We just didn't quite get around to it. We did manage the simultaneous cleanliness required for this photo, but couldn't quite sync the smiles. Photo credit to my dad on this one. He and my mom and my sister Nora visited last Saturday/Sunday for the beginning of our Christmas/Birthday Extravaganza 2008.

Much revelry and of course, presents ensued. An unexpected highlight was this toy Chicago Police car with working lights and siren. Gram claims she didn't notice this feature when she bought it on a whim. Suffice to say, we have become adept at the quick kick under the sofa to give this car a rest. No worries about it being lost. It never takes long for Ed to wonder where it went! On the birthday side of this celebration were many, many tools, including a battery-powered light-up drill from Aunt Nora. This visit also resulted in several new books and puzzles to discover and explore. That plus lots of time to snuggle, chat, and enjoy whatever make-believe world that Edward happened to be concocting at the moment, made for an enjoyable weekend. The only downside was that Gram didn't get to take Ed out on his sled due to sub-zero conditions.

This really was the year that Edward grasped the concept of gifts and birthdays. I'm not holy enough to have attempted to explain the true Christmas story. Anyone who has spent any time with Edward can only begin to imagine the number of unanswerable questions this would produce. A day after we brought some presents to school for each class and each teacher, I was trying to instill in Edward how nice it is to give gifts, not just receive them. "Remember yesterday when we brought a present to your class and to Kate? Wasn't that fun?" I gently reminded on the way to school. "Yeah, I like to give presents. I'm the present man. I'm the pres-i-dent," he intoned. And then, since he is quite the politically savvy toddler, he continued, "President Barack" momentary quiet while pondering. "President Edward Jesse Kenyon!" No, I did not drive off the road.

Another conversational gem came on our way home from Christmas Eve with John's parents. All week at school people had been wishing Edward a happy birthday since many were not going to be there the whole week. We started talking on Monday about how Thursday would be his birthday. He's been talking about "in December when it's my birthday and I'm three" since about September. So while driving I said, "Edward, do you know what tomorrow is?"

"No, it's Thursday, it's your birthday. And it's Christmas."
"On the SAME DAY?!?!?!"
"That's right, on the same day."


I think it probably loses something in the blog translation, but it was definitely one for the ages.

Our photo editing program is on the fritz at the moment, and I don't have any more photos ready for posting so I'm going to stop with a promise to continue later tonight or tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

We took the boys to see Santa on Saturday afternoon and had a nice chat. I think I've said this every year, but it bears repeating: the Santa at Sycamore Mall in Iowa City is fabulous. He's so friendly--jolly even--has real whiskers and doesn't scare kids, at least not ours. There is never a line to wait in and they let you take your own pictures. Talk about the Christmas spirit! When Santa asked Ed what he wants for Christmas, Ed exclaimed, "A PRESENT!!" Stifling a laugh, he then tried to coax something more specific and elicited (as coached) "Some tracks and train cars for my wooden train." He had an extended chat with Ed about the various characters in Thomas the Tank Engine and even knew a few we'd never heard of. It is safe to say Edward is definitely into Christmas this year.

Walking through the mall toward our dinner destination (pizza) Edward found this train and immediately clambered up. He had the other customers giggling down the aisles as he shouted "choo choo!" Daniel got in on the action as well. They didn't know it accepted coins and we didn't point that out. Their enthusiasm was not dimmed. We only got Ed out for dinner by promising to return on the way back to the car. Then we only got him out by trying to psyche him up for going to buy a Christmas tree. That was almost a disaster as we got to the one tree lot in town to find it closed (6:15 on a Saturday.) Possibly for the best though because the few remaining trees looked pretty forlorn. We ended up at Menards the next day and found a nice thin one that doesn't overwhelm the room. Now the challenge is keeping the ornaments in place. The lower branches are filled with unbreakables (some left from when John was Ed's age) but fragility is still an issue for the tree itself as needles are dropping quite rapidly.

We had a bit of a warm spell over the weekend that melted all our snow and Ed's snowman. But never fear, three more inches fell today. We went out Saturday morning to burn off some energy. It wasn't quite as warm as we expected--Sunday ended up being the better day at 55 degrees early before the bottom fell out and an evening sleet storm ensued. But we had a fun trip to the park as you can see from Ed's expression in the swing. I'm posting this blurry photo of Daniel to show that despite his stoic expression in other shots, he really did have a good time. The blur is indicative of his constant motion.

I think Daniel took the previous update (in which I said I would not yet classify him as truly walking) as a personal challenge. The very next day he was up and around and has only improved since then. He still topples over quite a bit, but he is definitely toddling around on his own. He doesn't like shoes, but finds our floors a bit slippery, leading to some crash landings. Other times he just gets over-confident and thinks he can run like Edward. Then his trajectory carries him forward to a big belly flop. Perhaps related to this, I can report that his first word is, "Uh oh!" (Does that count as a word?) I think so, since he's using it in the right context. For example: he might take his cup, hold it over the edge of his tray, drop it and say, "Uh oh!" This can be repeated to hilarity as many times as the cup is retrieved (which is not as many as he would like and many many more than we would.)

And finally, since it's less than 10 days to Christmas and we still have not jump started the Christmas card process, here's another potential contender. Our across-the-street neighbor saw us packing up for our outing on Saturday and came over insisting that we had to take a picture. We snapped one of the boys, but he said, "No, all of you! This is what neighbors are for!" Apparently in this neighborhood, neighbors are also for snow-blowing, as our next-door neighbor cleared not only our sidewalk, but also our driveway this evening! Cookies will be forthcoming in hopes of continuing this lovely tradition!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Here's Daniel at 11 months. I'm sneaking this one in under the wire--no more convenient excuses (moving, homework, etc.) for missing birthday posts. He is improving his upright movement, though I still wouldn't say he's truly walking. He definitely realizes he's much faster on all fours so after putting in some effort on his feet he generally drops to his knees and speeds toward his goal. Generally, this is the two steps from our living room to front hall. He has learned to turn himself around to go down on his belly and takes every opportunity to practice/show off. To my great amusement, he sometimes turns himself more than 90 degrees and ends up backing up parallel to the stairs. He gets quite mad when he realizes he is not progressing as intended.

Another fun new skill is bringing us books to read. It is interesting to see him grab a book and then attempt to carry it while crawling toward us. Often he ends up with a knee on the book and then can't figure out why he can't move forward while holding it in his hand. Once he arrives at a seated parent, we take the book while he turns around to plop himself in a waiting lap. It's very fun. He seems mildly aware of the "reading" aspect of this adventure, but is much more interested in the "page turning" aspect.

Another "Daniel-ism" we find amusing is that if he's in his high chair and we walk away, even for just a moment (say, to get a paper towel to clean up his latest meal mess) he twists himself around to watch from the opening in the back of his high chair. The rest of the time in the high chair is not so fun these days. He is strongly resisting any attempts at spoon feeding, and "strongly" includes swatting at the spoon as it approaches, arching his back, turning his face away and grunting unappreciatively. However, he is not yet skilled enough at self feeding that we feel confident that enough is going in his mouth, as opposed to down his shirt, into the chair or on the floor. I guess he won't starve. I just need to recall those early finger foods from Edward's first year and stock up.

Here's a museum photo I forgot to post last time. I think it's still worthy, even out of context.

And in case we don't get around to an actual Christmas card this year, here's an appropriate shot that John captured in the process of getting the monthly birthday shot above. We love the expressions on their faces and if you look in the background you'll see Will's memory tree, lit once again this year. Our boys.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

In the last post John shared the first snow adventure of the new season. I provided the photos, which were taken from the warmth and comfort of our library, which conveniently has a large window facing the back yard.

I got my turn on Wednesday though. We got about two inches of fresh snow during the day and by the time the boys woke up from naps it was prime time for snow play time. It was quite a process to get all three of us ready to go at the same time without leaving either of the boys fully bundled too long inside, thus growing sweaty before heading out to the cold. Daniel wasn't too keen on the boots, but his limited snowsuit mobility worked to my advantage as he could not attempt to crawl up the stairs while I was finishing the bundling process. All told, I believe we were outside for slightly longer than it took to get ready to go out, so I count that as a success. Daniel spent the whole time in the sled and I pulled him up and down the snowy sidewalks. I forgot to give Edward his good, waterproof mittens, and his daily-wear (i.e. cheap so I don't care if he happens to lose one at daycare) fleece mittens got soaked when he started burrowing in the front yard. He also got snow up his sleeve in this maneuver and started shrieking, "It's cold! It's cold!" To warm up, Edward had his first cup of "hot" (read: lukewarm) chocolate and deemed it delicious.

Also this week, we visited the Children's Museum with Grandma and Grandpa. Daniel is finally old enough to explore a bit and had lots of fun with the vegetable bins in the grocery store. Then he discovered the carts and walked around like a bumper car, changing direction every time he crashed into one of the food shelves. He also was quite fond of the slide in the farm room, especially the five stairs he got to climb to reach it. It was a two-person operation though, with one person behind him on the stairs and another to catch him at the bottom of the slide, so hooray for grandparents!

And for tonight's moment of hilarity: I was folding laundry in the bedroom while John was helping Edward get ready for bed. Edward asked why babies cry, and John explained that they cry because they can't talk to tell us what they need.

"If you're hungry, you can say, 'Daddy I want a fruit bar,' but babies just cry when they're hungry," John said.

"Harry's crying," Edward said, referring to his baby doll. "He's hungry. I will feed him with my milk thing in my belly."

"Oh, your 'milk thing in your belly,'" John replied, trying to mask his horror.

"Yeah, I'm a pretend girl."

Editors note: John didn't realize until after he'd written the previous post that he was logged into Blogger as me.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Today was our first measurable snow of the winter, which means grudgingly heading outside to shovel (for me) or looking outside in giddy anticipation (for Edward). He was excited at the prospect of going out to make a snowman, but was able to temper that urge long enough to go to church.

Once he was home, he quickly got suited up: snow pants, boots, coat, mittens and hat. Properly attired, we headed out to run around. I suggested we just run around like crazy people and flop in the snow, but Edward was having none of it: "No," he said, politely but firmly as he shook his head.

My suggestion to build a snowman was met more favorably. Of course, part of this stems from the fact that Edward doesn't actually have to do much with the building. It's my back aching as I stoop to roll the three big snowballs that make it up, but the end result was worth it. Edward did help with the vital task of packing snow between the pieces to keep it in place. Unfortunately, I built the first snowman at a bad tilt, so no amount of packing kept him from crashing to the ground as we headed out in search of an arm-worthy stick. Snowman 2.0 was much more sound, and was deemed a success. Edward decided after Mary snapped this photo that the snowman needed a mouth. We made one out of a stick. He then said it needed teeth. I wondered how we'd pull that off, but it was easier than I feared: Edward picked up some snow and smacked the snowman in the mouth. "There are his teeth!" he exclaimed.

Next it was on to sledding. Our yard has a bit of a slope to it, so I could get him going pretty fast headed that way. But that meant lugging him up that slight slope to do it all over again. Strangely, he didn't tire of this as quickly as I did.

Our other pursuits included trying to smack a tree with a stick so snow on the limbs would fall on Edward (much like in one of his current favorite books, Snowy Day) though this proved difficult, and to smack the snowman with his plastic hoe in an attempt to knock it down because "it was a bad one."

Meanwhile, Daniel has been a bit under the weather, battling pink eye yet again. That hasn't kept him from his normal rambunctiousness, however, as you can see from this shot. Before the onset of that, he was happily playing with his brother at Grandma and Grandpa's. Ed has a four-wheel bike there that he likes to ride on, and Daniel decided he either wanted to push Ed along or hitch a ride... or maybe a bit of both. Ed starts by "fixing" his bike and changing the tires. Then Daniel joins in the fun:

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Daniel is getting more bold with his walking now and has the bruises and scrapes to prove it. When I picked him up from daycare today he had an "incident report," which is just an official documentation of any injury that happens during the day. He's bumped his head crawling over his teacher. I didn't even notice the bruise because it is just one of many. They said he hardly even cried. I guess when you fall that many times per day you get tough quickly. Here he is on Sunday morning fending off Edward's destablizing efforts and walking across the room to me:

We had a busy weekend with a trip to visit Great Grandma and Grandpa in Chariton. Daniel slept through both legs of the trip despite Edward's running commentary through the outbound trip (more than two hours!) So much to see--cows, horses, sheep, trucks, even a little snow in the fields, though luckily none on the road. We are glad not to be traveling any further than across town for our Thanksgiving. Even though we'd love to see friends and family, there simply is no easy way to take a road trip with two small children.

Lately the way to get Edward to do things he thinks he doesn't want to do is to challenge him to be "the first." Refusing to get in the car? Let's see who can get his buckles on first, Daniel or Edward. "Edward," he screams and races to his seat. Not interested in taking a nap despite barely being able to stay awake on the drive home from school? Let's see who can get upstairs first, Daniel or Edward. "Edward," he calls as he bounds upstairs and into his bed. Manipulative? Yes. Fostering unhealthy sibling competition? Perhaps. But it gets the job done with at least one-third fewer tears and fights, which has to be good for something.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Here's some video that should have gone with the last post, but I didn't get around to editing until today. I finished my class for the semester on Thursday (did you hear the hallelujah chorus?) and have just spent my first Saturday afternoon in 12 weeks free of any external obligation. The boys cooperated by taking simultaneous naps. I believe John has joined them in slumber. I've been reading, answering email, and prepping these videos for your viewing pleasure.

Daniel is perilously close to walking. He frequently lets go of whatever he is holding on to and stands unaided until he realizes what he's doing. Then he plops down. But this week, he also has been willing to take one or one-and-a-half steps toward the outstretched arms of a waiting parent.

I believe this is a bit of foreshadowing of my life as mom of two boys. I am sure this is quite tame compared to what is to come. At this point we can still laugh. I may have to watch it in a few years when they're at each other's throats.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Daniel is 10 months old today--wow, picture and post on the actual birthday! Who said second kids get the shaft? Latest developments include a few attempts at standing without holding onto anything (generally resulting in a plop to butt within seconds), attempting to feed himself by shoving his hand in his mouth to explore the texture of food that has been spooned in, and displaying his true hillbilly roots with three upper teeth and a gap. Combined with his new snorting sound it makes for quite a comical picture--if only we could capture it. Stay tuned (or come visit in person!)

For a historical perspective, check this out. I swear this was not planned, but I'm guessing no one will believe me.

I will try to post a new video soon. No time now to piece together various snippets. Finance final is Thursday--that light at the end of the tunnel is getting bright!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Halloween was a great success by all accounts--or at least by all that matter, which in this case is just one: Edward's. He loved it! The firefighter costume was a huge hit and has been worn daily since then. (Not all day, but let's just say it has seen action.) My office had trick-or-treating from 4 to 5 so we went down and paraded around with all of my co-workers' kids. Then we stopped to see some of our old neighbors who remembered Edward as a pumpkin and said Daniel was just as cute. By this time he wasn't too keen on getting in and out of the costume every time we had to get back in the car. But it was only once more.

We came home and had dinner before heading out in our own neighborhood. We met some neighbors who had "glow sticks" for their kids and they shared two with Edward--a HUGE hit! (He slept with them.) Edward walked for about two blocks and back. We had to carry Daniel as lots of our neighbors have steps up to the front door, so not stroller accessible.

We convinced Ed to come home by telling him that we had to give candy to kids that came to our house. (I showed him our basket of tootsie rolls and smarties before we left.) When we got home he was immediately digging in his bucket, appearing to be trying to grab as much as he could with both hands. We were both telling him he could have ONE piece before bed, but he kept digging. Frustrated that he wasn't listening, I became more forceful. "Edward! You can not have all that candy now. Pick one piece!"

"No, Mommy!" he replied, holding up a pile of candy in his hands. "These are for the other kids!"

He had misunderstood and thought we had to go home to give HIS candy out at our door! We explained again about the basket we had for the other kids, and he happily put all of his back in the pumpkin and picked a bag of peanut M&Ms. (Actually, his first selection was something that looked like an eyeball, but we were pretty sure it was a jawbreaker, so we had a bowl at the ready for him to spit it out when he realized he couldn't chew it.) We didn't end up having many trick-or-treaters at our house and we don't think we missed many while we were out. I guess our street is not a hot spot.

I should also note, that this Halloween has to be one of the warmest ever. It was in the 70s--we didn't even need jackets!

Here's a funny picture of Daniel's "toothy" grin. However, it does not show that in the last week, three of his top four teeth have poked through. These three are not all in a row, as one of the top middle teeth has yet to appear. As you can imagine, this makes quite a goofy, gap-tooth grin. Orthodontists of Iowa City may start lining up for our business any day now.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I can't believe the peanut gallery is letting me get away with more than a week between posts! Perhaps my constant whining about my finance class eating up all my free time is garnering some sympathy. Only three more Thursdays--woo hoo!

Last weekend, my sister and her girls visited and we all went swimming in their hotel pool. We'd had fun with this in Minneapolis, but John didn't get to go because he was at the rehearsal dinner for the wedding. He was looking forward to the energetic swimmers I'd described. Unfortunately, the water in this pool was very cold, which did not encourage much in the way of leisurely lounging, floating, splashing, etc. Daniel was the only one who seemed unbothered...perhaps due to his tremendous insulation?

Over the weekend, I took the boys to the park and then for a walk along a new trail that leads from the park along a creek. There are houses backing up to the new trail, not all of which have fences (though I imagine the increased foot traffic will lead to a booming fence business in this neighborhood!) One of the houses had a play set in the back yard, and as we walked by Edward shouted, "I want to play in that park!" I tried to explain the difference between a park and a back yard, but it was lost on him. Playground equipment=place I must stop to explore. Period.

We have friends who swear that a back yard play set is the single best purchase they have ever made for their kids--worth every penny. I can definitely see that. Still, it's a lot of pennies. We'll have to see how things look in the spring.

In the meantime, Edward is very into imaginative play. Some fire fighters visited his daycare with their truck two weeks ago and all we've been hearing about since then is "Firefighter Jason." For a while now, Edward has used his baseball cap turned backward as a fire hat, but after this visit, he further enhanced the costume by pulling the adjustable part down over his face as the "mask." I got him a fire fighter costume for Halloween, but I'm almost reluctant to give him the actual hat, for fear of stifling this creative/pretend impulse.

Daniel is also into exploration, although on a smaller scale. At the park, he likes to see how many leaves and/or wood chips he can get in his mouth before I notice (usually not more than one!) However, when confronted with actual food items on a tray in front of him, his instinct is to pick them up and squish them in his hands. This has happened with pears and spaghetti in the last couple of days, though apparently he did successfully feed himself pancakes this morning at school.

Another very sad story in our local news this morning. A two-year-old boy has died and his mother and brother injured. Not many details are being released, but there are some indications that the mother may be the culprit. I thought the name seemed familiar when I read the paper this morning, but it wasn't until later in the day that I realized why. It's the name just above ours on the attendance registry at our daycare. The little boy was in Edward's class. Edward, who is quite enthralled with names, has never mentioned him to me, possibly because he only comes two afternoons a week, and since Edward leaves shortly after noon, they only have lunch time together. Still, the teachers are quite upset by it all, and understandably so. Such a terrible tragedy.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Even though it's a week late, this photo captures Daniel at nine months: smiling, clapping, forehead bruise, food-stained shirt, pants popping, and barefoot (better traction for learning to walk.) Yes, I finally broke down and put the walker in the upright position and he's been charging around ever since. He still forgets sometimes that he has to move both of his feet or that he has to hold on. He is also learning to wave and likes to turn to wave after he has walked past me. That sometimes causes a balance problem. (See video below.)

At his official weigh-in and check up yesterday, he tipped the scales at 23.3 pounds and measured 29 inches, 87th and 77th percentiles, respectively. His head is creeping up there at 18 inches, 69th percentile.

Sadly, his rapid expansion means he pretty much missed the opportunity to wear these green overalls, my favorites. By the time it was cool enough to wear them late last month, he was popping the crotch snaps at every move. He is close to outgrowing most of the 12-month wardrobe his brother accumulated.

In other news, it seems that the construction phase of our new house transition is now complete. The final coat of paint went on the living room ceiling this morning as we closed the three-day project that morphed into seven weeks. This eliminates our final excuses for the boxes that remain packed in the living room and library so that may be a weekend project. Maybe we'll also get some pictures hung on the walls!

Monday, October 13, 2008

We took a family trip to Minneapolis this weekend for the wedding of one of John's best friends from high school. John was an usher so we knew it would have to be a Friday to Sunday trip, so we asked if Grandma and Grandpa would like to come along for fun with the boys by day and babysitting by night so we could attend the wedding. It was lots of fun, but I really don't recommend 600 miles in the car with an infant and a toddler over the course of three days!

We went to the Minnesota Children's Museum on Saturday morning--what a great place! We didn't even see half of it in the two hours we were there. Ed was so tired afterward that the only way we got him to stay awake for the car ride back to the hotel was reminding him that his Subway lunch came with a cookie! After he ate his sandwich and cookie he took a three-and-a-half hour nap! Daniel also slept, allowing me a nap that got me through the late evening.

We had fun at the wedding with friends we don't get to see very often. It's sort of a glimpse into John's high-school self to see him with this group.

On Sunday morning, we went to the zoo in St. Paul--a very nice place for young children. It's not too big, so you can see most or all if it in just an hour or two. Also, it's kind of an "old school" zoo with relatively small enclosures. Animal lovers would probably be horrified, but it's nice that the kids can actually see the animals relatively close up.

We do have a bone to pick with the good people of the Twin Cities, however, as our Saturday cross-town travels were majorly complicated by the fact that I-94 (the primary route through town) was closed for "re-striping" and there was no information for non-locals on how to get around. No advance road signs warning of the closure (just lots of backed up traffic) and no detour signs posted at the closed road. We would have been completely lost without the GPS in John's parents' car. They programmed it to get to the museum using only streets, not highways, and we made it, though the whole thing took more than twice as long as it should have.

Perhaps it was that time stuck in traffic (so many cars!) that influenced Edward's pronunciation of our destination. We had told him we were in Minneapolis and he thought that was too hard to say. So we broke it up for him "mini" "apple" "iss." He tried that out and got his mouth around it pretty well, but it later morphed so that when we were on the road out of town he asked, "Are we leaving 'so-many-apple-iss'?"

On the way back home we stopped in Des Moines to see good friends who we hadn't seen in FAR too long. We actually didn't even attempt to remember the last time we were together because it was too depressing. Life is just so busy. Their second daughter is the same age as Ed so it was fun to see them play together. Daniel just crawled around trying to keep up with them and stopping for the occasional bite of grass or leaves. We put the kids in their pajamas for the drive home and Daniel conked out immediately. Edward, however, talked pretty much non-stop for the approximately 100 minute trip. Mostly about the moon, which was nearly full in a mostly clear sky. At one point when clouds were over the moon, he was frustrated that he couldn't see it. We told him that we had to wait for the wind to blow the clouds away. He decided that the trees had something to do with the wind, so he said, "Hey, trees, listen. I have an idea. Blow the clouds, or I'm going to be mad.... Blow! Blow!" When the clouds eventually moved, he said, "Thanks, trees!" It's a wonder John didn't drive off the road!

Which brings us to today. Daycare was closed for teacher training and since we knew we'd be getting back late last night we planned the day off. We raked the back yard in the morning and by afternoon you could hardly tell, except for the leaf piles, which the boys had fun playing in. Again, Daniel thought this was a good opportunity for snacking, so we had to watch carefully.

We are only a few days away from the end of construction on our new house. (At least the end of what we knew had to be done immediately!) The roof leak was FINALLY fixed (fourth time was the charm) by putting some sort of chemical sealer on the chimney bricks. The workers were putting the ceiling back when we left on Friday. It was such a treat to come home to an in-tact living room! Now just a few more trips to paint/texture and that will be done. Our basement waterproofing was finished today (the work in the crawl space, which was phase two of the exterior seen here two weeks ago.) Also today, after more than a year in storage, John's pool table finally arrived in our basement. His parents gave it to us when they moved last summer and we hadn't had a place for it until now. He played his first games tonight and reports that it's a bit tight, but will work with minor modifications.

I'm supposed to be doing homework right now. We'll see what I can accomplish before I fall asleep. Only five more classes to go until I can say good-bye to finance!