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!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

What a beautiful fall weekend we had! Crisp mornings turned into warm (but not hot) afternoons. We spent time outside and ate meals on the screen porch. And best of all, I did NO homework! After the Thursday midterm I gave myself the weekend off. Back to the grindstone this week though. Lots of reading to do in preparation for the second half (six more weeks) of class.

Saturday morning we went to the apple orchard, which is always a fun activity. Last year it was too muddy to ride the tractor/wagon out to the trees, but Ed didn't care and had fun climbing on the wagon. This year it was perfect weather so we jumped on for the ride. Edward was particularly tickled when we "drove in the water" over a shallow creek. John bravely carried Daniel in the backpack--all 22 pounds of him. Edward had learned a new apple song at school this week. I took a video of him singing it under an apple tree, but I forgot that videos don't work vertically, so if I post it you'll have to watch sideways.

Daniel found it all a bit exhausting and fell asleep slumped over John's shoulder. He remained asleep even during the loud, bumpy wagon ride back to the main house to pay for the apples and pick up a couple of delicious, warm apple turn-overs for our snack. But he woke up again once we sat down to eat (food is a high priority in his life, although this particular treat will have to wait until next year.) Note to self: comb hair in advance of potential opportunity for cute photo with your kids!

In other weekend activities, John finished painting the basement floor. With that plus the completion of the grading outside (including new sod on Friday) our basement is now actually usable. Nothing fancy, but not a damp, stinky cave anymore. We also managed to install new curtain rods and hang curtains in the boys' rooms. No more blankets draped over the half-broken old rods--woo hoo!

Between the new curtains (aka dark rooms) and a morning full of a visit from Gram and PopPop, both boys slept from 1 to 4 p.m. today, leaving John and me the luxury of a bit of afternoon rest and reading.