Monday, November 30, 2009

Too tired for a full update, but we had a lovely Thanksgiving weekend with only one day of travel (to Chariton, Iowa to visit John's grandparents, cousins, aunt, etc.)

Here's a recent story and (unrelated) photo for each boy:

John and I had versions of this conversation with Daniel separately tonight and each wanted to be the one to tell the other how cute it was.

D: It's dark
J/M: Yes, it is dark, Daniel.
D: Sun go ni-night?
J/M: Yes, the sun is going ni-night now.
D: Sun have paci?
J/M: (**guffaw**) well, sure, maybe the sun has a paci... (pacifier, an essential ingredient for a good night's sleep.)

P.S. Daniel loves to wear other people's shoes. These boats belong to Uncle Joe.

Getting Edward to sit still for dinner lately has been quite a challenge. He was getting dangerously close to tipping himself over with the booster seat on the chair, so we took it off. (Truth be told, we were also annoyed that he kept buckling himself in and therefore could not get down on his own. Oh, how foolish we were.) So we have these battles over keeping him in the chair and keeping the food-to-mouth cycle going. If he and Daniel start exchanging goofy phrases and giggles, it's all over.

Last night after a long day of travel and fun with cousins plus only a 20 minute car nap for Daniel (he was exhausted but somehow did not sleep for the two-hour return trip to Iowa City) even our paltry dinner of peanut butter sandwich for D and grilled cheese for E turned into a zoo. I finally declared Daniel to be done (he was just mashing it around his plate) and took him up to bed.

John stayed with Edward and tried to get him to calm down to finish eating. At one point, in desperation, John said, "Edward, why don't you just NOT TALK for a few minutes." Edward, stricken, replied, "But I LOVE to talk!" Indeed.

Side note that tonight's dinner ended with Edward's plate being dumped in the garbage after he was sent away three times with instructions to return only if he calmed down and decided he was hungry. However, he was as good as he's ever been during Thanksgiving dinner at Grandma and Grandpa's. Perhaps it had something to do with being told six hours in advance that if he misbehaved he would not receive his much anticipated pumpkin pie.

If I thought it would work, I would serve pumpkin pie every night.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My first Wednesday night free since late August--time to catch up on my blogging! Or at least make an attempt. I started gathering the photos and realized just how far behind I really was.

Our window project was a success. We went from this:
To this:
In just a little over a week. From the inside, it looked like this:
And this:
Of those four windows you see in the original exterior, only three were in the bedroom. The one to the far left in the picture was actually in our closet, which must have been created sometime after the original construction. Since we had to change the shape of the opening anyway (the originals did not meet egress for BR) and we were not eager to pay for an unnecessary closet window, we decided to replace with just two windows and close off the openings on either end. I don't have an "after" interior shot to share as we have only a makeshift window covering at this point. We just left part of the old curtain rod and threw up a set of curtains we used to have in Edward's bedroom at the old house. Perfect length, though if they were to be a permanent fixture, we'd need more width for the proper draping effect. For now, they are doing just fine, though it's even harder to wake up on these dark mornings now that we have bedroom curtains!

After that, we had a visit from Gram and PopPop, that exhausted Daniel so much he almost fell asleep pushing his "lawn mower" around the back yard.This was doubly dangerous as Ed was taking batting practice at the time. He hadn't had the tee out for a while and suddenly was having great success at hitting some long ones.Later in the week, we dutifully carved our jack-o-lantern. It was just barely warm enough to make this a porch activity--thank goodness we kept that mess out of the kitchen! Ed was not too enthusiastic about scrubbing it before we began, but did enjoy the scooping. When I asked him if he wanted circle or triangle eyes, he replied, "Rectangle!" Hence the unorthodox design. Daniel wasn't too interested in the whole endeavor, but he did help wipe down at the end.
Halloween itself was a trying experience this year. I thought the Saturday holiday would be better--no rushing around at the end of the day trying to have dinner and trick-or-treat in the short window between John getting home and the boys' bedtime. However, with the whole day of anticipation, I think it all just spiraled out of control. With these weeks distance, I can't even quite describe the emotions, but there was quite a bit of defiance throughout the day and more than our fair share of time-outs. Edward also had his first in-store screaming meltdown, including sprawling on the floor at Menards because the people who walked in just ahead of us took the only available "vehicle cart." (Those annoying shopping carts with the molded plastic truck and steering wheel for kids.) I had to take him out of the store kicking and screaming and hold him tight while speaking softly until he could bring himself back under control. Combine that with the end of daylight savings time that same weekend, and it was definitely one of those times we were more than happy to go back to work Monday.

The kids had fun trick-or-treating through the neighborhood. I fear that this will not be a staple of their childhood though, as very few houses had lights on to welcome the kids. We left a bucket of candy on our porch while we were out and some was gone when we got back, but other than that, only two other groups rang our bell the whole night. Apparently everyone takes their kids to the mall because it's safer. I suppose that's true, but it's so antiseptic, and who needs to spend more time at the mall? We really like the opportunity to see our neighbors, and those who leave the lights on seem genuinely pleased to see the kids all dressed up. Maybe we'll have a revival in coming years. It's not like we're living in some dangerous urban war zone!

Edward was a firefighter again (I asked him about a month in advance what he wanted to be and he looked at me like I had two heads: "A firefighter." Like there's any other option? Fine with me--same costume, no hassle.) Daniel was a giraffe in a costume borrowed from cousins. This truly did delight all those who saw him. Something about that tight hood around those chubby cheeks and the dangling tail as he walked away.

Speaking of Menards, we were there to pick up materials for a home improvement project--kid level coat hooks at the front door. John had a bit more "help" than he needed, strictly speaking, but accomplished the mission, striking a blow for order in our front hall. Edward is actually very conscientious about hanging his own coat. Daniel doesn't quite have the hang of it, but at least holds his coat up to the hook in an attempt. Ed feels its very important for every hook to be used so in addition to two winter and two fall jackets, we sometimes find unusual objects hanging there, including the occasional shoe.

The weekend after Halloween was shockingly warm for Iowa November--in the 70s. We spent a lot of time out in the yard and Edward even busted out the shorts for one last hurrah.
But we've settled into a cool, rainy pattern now so this is the preferred attire:
I don't have a picture of it yet, but Edward is now the proud owner/wearer of a couple of footie sleepers with the arrival of the latest cousin hand-me-downs. It's amazing how much more eager he is to get dressed, when I offer the opportunity to wear the "new Sean clothes." In addition to the sleepers (which he would wear 24/7 if allowed) a favorite is a Lightning McQueen (from Cars) sweatshirt that has sound effects in the pocket. The push of a button creates a revving, roaring car sound. He loves it!

He's wearing it here while "reading" with Aunt Peggy. This is a relatively new book, which he has memorized and loves to show off his reading skills. The boys were quite pleased to wake up from naps on Monday to find a visitor--especially one bearing gifts of books and trucks! It was fun to share time together and have dinner, though not quite the relaxing, reflective evening gathering Aunt Peggy is accustomed to!

One last picture--quintessential fall.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I promise a real update soon (class ends tomorrow night--woo hoo!)

This afternoon, the boys discovered the joy of pulling all the cushions off the couch to romp and play. I discovered that this activity is nearly as much fun to observe as an adult as it was to participate in with my siblings back in the day.