Tuesday, June 22, 2010

We finally had an afternoon free of storms, so what did we do? Headed out in search of water. Play water that is--Iowa City's first splashpad, which opened a few weeks ago. The kids had an absolute blast, but were torn between the water and the adjacent playground.
(Style note: John does NOT approve of my hat selection. It was $1 at the second hand store and it dries quickly. What can I say.)They resolved the dilemma by migrating freely between the two. It seemed this was a common approach, but it was a bit difficult for me as they didn't always coordinate their shifting attentions. I'm on heightened alert after a missing child scare on Sunday.

Edward got lost in the after-church crowd. It was only about 5 minutes, but very scary for all involved. There was an outdoor reception for our departing priest. Edward knew there would be treats and was making a beeline for the food table. Our friend who sits with us most weeks and is legally blind (though still with some vision) was having trouble in the transition from dark church to bright sunlight and couldn't see where the priest was to say good-bye. I took a moment to guide her and when I was done, Edward was nowhere to be seen.

Keep in mind that our church is crowded so probably 100-150 people were milling about. I looked all over and didn't see him. A friend of mine saw me with just Daniel, and could tell without my saying anything that I was getting frantic. She grabbed Daniel so I could keep looking. She also went back into church to see if he'd gone back. Another friend headed for the church basement. Nothing. I even lifted the tablecloth on the food table to see if he'd decided to hide under there. Nada.


Then I saw another woman (grandma-ish age) leading him back toward me. I recognized her, but don't know her. She'd found him alone and asked if he was lost. He told her he thought I'd left without him, and she asked my name and what color our car was. Then she took him across to the parking lot to look for me. He later said he thought he had seen me walking toward the parking lot. At some point, he told her he wanted to go back, so they did and that's when we found each other. (I know she had good intentions, but I'm wondering why she thought a parent would simply leave without a four-year-old child? If she'd stayed where she found him, it all would have ended much sooner.)

Of course we both started bawling as I'm squeezing him as hard as I could. I thanked the woman and we ran to find our other friends to let them know the search was over. And it turned out he'd never gotten his treat, so we went back to the food table and had a bite of danish and a glass of juice to calm down. He actually was not as upset as I would have expected. It definitely took me longer to regain composure than it did him!

So we had a lot of short talks the rest of the day about why we always insist on holding hands in crowded places and that the best thing is to stay right where you are when you realize you can't find Mom or Dad. If someone offers to help you ask them to wait with you. (We tried a little practice at home later in the evening, but it wasn't very realistic.)

Needless to say, at this Sunday's departing priest reception (both of our priests have been transferred simultaneously--great management, Archdiocese!) all hands will be held tightly!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

We're at the end of a solid week of rain and looking forward to a sunny Wednesday. Today was the most dramatic of this series of rainy days with two inches in an hour this morning (around 11 a.m.) that caused flash flooding. It wasn't near our house, but unfortunately, John got caught out in it. He was leaving a meeting and thought his umbrella would suffice for the two blocks he had to walk to his car. Not so. He reported that water was flowing over every curb and there simply was no way to walk around puddles. He ended up soaked from head to toe and had to come home to change before heading back to work. On his way home he had to detour around a road that was covered in water. It's all gone now, but was an eerie reminder of this time two years ago.

On one of the rainy afternoons, I decided a new distraction was needed and brought out an easel we'd had stashed in the basement. This was one some friends had given us when they packed up the house their kids had grown up in and left town to retire in Colorado. We also have one that was a Christmas gift from Grandma and Grandpa, but that one wasn't assembled yet. Besides, I thought, it has two sides--chalk and whiteboard. Surely they can share, right? Well, theoretically, yes. But it seemed that as soon as one would move to one side the other only wanted that side. Then when I'd do too good a sales job in attempting to convince one to try the other side and they'd both want it. Another complication was that we only had one dry erase marker. Plenty of chalk, but of course once there was only one of something, they both had to have it.

We rectified the situation over the weekend, purchasing more markers and assembling the other easel. Then they started begging to paint. We really tried to deflect, but rain, rain, rain. Inside with dwindling entertainment options, we told them they could paint after naps on Sunday. They had an absolute blast, and it wasn't as messy as I'd feared. Don't get me wrong, it was MESSY, but the paint wiped easily from all surfaces and skin.

As John noted, they are proponents of the "more is best" school and just piled the paint on. He tried to show them how to scrape the brush on the edge of the cup before brushing on the paper to no avail. Daniel's paper actually disintegrated right at eye level, even as we encouraged him to "paint higher" and use the whole sheet. We hung them "to dry" on our back porch, but it was so humid that they were still sopping wet four hours later. With more rain expected overnight, we brought them in and hung on the kitchen wall behind our table. This is certainly not most people's idea of interior decorating, but we're not that particular.

As noted previously, we spent Memorial Day weekend in Evanston with my parents and were also able to see three of my five siblings. Nora lives in Chicago, Ann and family were planning to come down for a day to celebrate her Katherine's 4th bday, but the real surprise was that my brother P.J. was in town for a professional meeting and held over an extra day to go to a Cubs game. It was great to see him, though the boys demanded to know where Sean was. I was bummed that a deadline for my class meant I had to do homework Friday night instead of hanging out with the adults after putting the kids to bed.

Daniel slept in a real bed for the first time--bottom bunk of the ancestral bunk beds that still grace one bedroom of my parents' home. He fell out despite our creation of a blanket berm under the fitted sheet. But it's not far off the floor so he didn't get hurt. As part of my parents' process of cleaning out the house, they're planning to give us a mattress and box spring that will become Edward's bed and we'll move Edward's twin to Daniel's room. I do like being able to confine him, especially as he's taken to having almighty tantrums recently, but I know it's time to say good-bye to the crib (which will convert to the head- and footboards for Edward's bed.)

When my sister's family came down from Milwaukee, her older two girls brought their bikes. Katherine's was brand new from her birthday that week, but she still graciously shared with Edward who was thrilled to race up and down with Maggie. We'd brought our helmets, but didn't have room for the bikes.
Daniel and Abby shared a snack on the picnic blanket. Daniel was highly amused by Abby's preferred method of locomotion and began to imitate her. Even now, he'll sometimes drop to the floor and scoot along saying, "I'm 'cooting like Abby!"
Much to John's dismay, I am currently sharing a childhood favorite, "Mary Poppins" with the boys. Daniel doesn't really pay attention to TV (though he did like the scene with the animated penguins serving tea while they're "in the chalk drawing") but Edward is fascinated. It's so fun to watch his face light up at the magic. No babysitter will ever live up to his new expectations. We also started another "big kid" activity with Edward of reading one chapter a night from a longer story. It's hard to know how much he's gleaning, but he asks a lot of questions and remembers from one night to the next what happened, so I think it's going well. Plus it gives us some relief from reading the SAME favorite books night after night! We're reading Beverly Cleary's "The Mouse and the Motorcycle."

And speaking of motorcycles and other two-wheeled vehicles, our boys have started not only pointing them out while we're driving, but also calling out "bad choice!" if the rider happens not to be wearing a helmet and "good choice!" if the rider is properly protected. Edward even chastised one of the college students who works part time at the daycare after we saw him leaving helmet-less on his moped one afternoon. The next day he said to me, "Edward busted me for not wearing my helmet." He claimed he'd left it at home when dashing out in a rush. Edward bought it, but will be on the look out in the future.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

No time for a full post, but here are a couple of pictures to tide you over. During our Memorial Day trip to Evanston, we took an after-dinner trip to the beach. We avoided the crowds and the strongest sun this way. I assumed the water would be icy (childhood memories of leg-numbing waters) but it actually was tolerable to stand in. The air temp was only in the 60s so this may have contributed to the water feeling warmer. Still didn't think I'd want to fully submerge as others were doing. The boys didn't let their lack of swimsuits deter them. Slowly, slowly that waterline crept up their shorts. They had an absolute blast.