Saturday, May 30, 2015

Toads and Peonies and Plenty of Mud

We spent quite a bit of time outside last weekend. The beds on either side of our driveway had become overgrown with weeds, so we had to reclaim them for ourselves. The boys, um, helped.

I believe I spread ten bags of mulch last weekend. The battle with the clover-like weed is going to take quite a few bags more, but this year Greg and I are determined to prevail.

Nick helped me pick out all of the flowers, and he planted a few, too. I let him use the hose until he kept spraying me with it.

Considering that this patch of ground was completely covered with weeds two weeks ago, I think it looks pretty darned good.

Little boys sure don't mind getting covered in dirt, mulch, and water! They also don't mind toads. Greg found a few living under the viney weeds near our screened-in porch while we were all working outside.

We played with the toads for a few minutes, and then let the poor things go near the pond. Living so close to two active little boys might not be a good residential decision for these guys.

It's the end of May, and the peonies are here! At least they were all this week--I'm not sure how they'll fare after the rain and colder weather this weekend.

I'm hoping that we have at least a few more nice days before the full heat of summer comes. I love those days when it's warm but not too hot. Usually those days happen during the few days we have blooming peonies.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Countdown to Summer

Well, it's coming. Summer, that is. I for one, am ready, though my school year goes until the second week of June. (Thank you, cold weather days.) The boys will be done after next week, though.

Don't they look ready for summer?

We spent much of the day today outside. In Illinois, we only get maybe 10 days each year when it is sunny and in the 70s. We wanted to take full advantage!

Yes, Henry is lying in the background, pretending to be asleep.

Nick was using the snow shovel to kill dandelions. He had the shovel in his hand for maybe 2 minutes before he accidentally walloped Henry and gave him a scratch on the cheek. Sigh.

I'm rather proud of this peony picture. 

The peonies in front of our house are another sign of summer approaching. Every year, they bloom right around the end of school and the beginning of summer. They're looking really ready now.

I had the boys at my school the other day as I was doing some work in the school garden. Sadly, the cold weather and a rather evil bunny rabbit have wreaked havoc on our plantings. I can see him out my classroom window, chomping happily away on the carefully raised leaves.  Henry drew me this sun on the board, though, which cheered me up somewhat.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Embracing the Crazy

Spring is such a busy time of year. Everything is growing, including my kids.

This guy is wearing clothes Nick wore last summer. They're 2.5 years apart!

I just realized that I haven't posted since May 2nd. Not surprising, I suppose, since this month has been so crazy. This month I'm teaching two evening graduate school classes each week in addition to my regular job, plus sporadic tutoring as well.

Nick dressed himself, including an old pair of my glasses, his purse, and a pair of Mardi Gras beads.

Today I tried to get caught up on a lot of errands, and my two "helpers" came along for the ride. Their patience wasn't horrible, despite the fact that we got stuck in the Meijer for over two hours, partly due to my huge shopping list and partly due to a very heavy downpour that delayed our departure. I found sandals for both boys, and brokered a quite intense argument over what kind of Oreos we should get.

I'm usually too cheap to buy rainboots, much to Henry's despair.

After our shopping I treated them to a fancy lunch at the Meijer counter, with a donut treat for dessert. I made a serious error, however, when I told them they could pick out "anything they wanted" from the donut area.

These were the messiest donuts in the whole world. The frosting was insanely drippy and bright.

Much of the reason I keep a blog is to have some sort of record of my family's life. I want to remember what this part of parenthood is like, years from now when they're teenagers and I'm worried for other reasons. I want to remember the good, the bad, and the crazy. Today was crazy, but I embraced the crazy and just went with it.

Seriously, you could give these donuts to the children of your worst enemy with only a single napkin.

In addition to our regular shopping, I dropped off 9 bags and two boxes of donations to Goodwill. We also went in and looked around. Nick has been asking for "man shirts" lately, and since he needed new shirts anyway we picked out a few button downs with front pockets, plus a Batman shirt for Henry and a couple pairs of shorts for Nick. Apparently a pocket on a shirt makes it a "man shirt," at least to Nick. Who knew? At the Goodwill, I often let them pick out a toy. Today Nick picked out a dry erase board and Henry found a magic wand that lit up.

I also somehow managed to do 7 loads of laundry, start switching out the winter and summer clothes, make a loaf of bread, and do several hours of grading and lesson planning. I even made time for an extra-long storytime tonight. Nick asked to read a story about the Titanic, and I tried to gloss over the parts that might cause nightmares. Let's hope it works.

I think I need to embrace the crazy more often. It didn't turn out half-bad.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Let's Go Fly a Kite!

Ahh, spring is finally here. This weekend, it was time for the Go Fly a Kite Festival in Wheaton. We've been before, in 2012 and 2014, but this year my mom joined us for the kite flying fun.

Nick and his grandma, flying his tie-dyed kite. Oh, and a Henry photobomb. 

The weather today was gorgeous--so nice and sunny, in fact, that I ended up with a rather unattractive sunburn. Ahh, well. The fresh air and warm wind was worth it. 

Henry chose a kitty cat kite. He liked it at first, then the unraveling string scared him and it took him a bit to get back in the game. 

Henry and I had lots of nonsensical conversations about his kitty kite "chasing" a bird kite and running from a dog kite. 

Nick just wanted his kite to go higher and higher. We all got a kick out of this octopus kite, which was actually quite huge. It was being flown from behind the pavillion, so it was a giant.

Can you still see the slight tinge of pink in Henry's hair? 

The kites flew pretty well at this park; there was plenty of wind. However, there was some major frustration this evening when we tried to replicate the easy flying in our side yard. I think we'll have to try again in a nice big park without so many trees. 

In addition to flying our own kites, we got to watch the experts fly in several kite ballets. I have no idea how they don't get their lines tangled. 

The naps after this event were long, proving that running around with kites is good exercise. I'm hoping for more gorgeous weather in our spring weekends to come.