Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Rather Serious Fellow

I think I've said that Henry can be a rather serious fellow, at least on camera. I have such a hard time getting Henry to smile and laugh on camera. Off-camera, he's a regular ham. But it is very rare that I'm able to capture a grin. I did get a nice one yesterday, though.


I tried to get Henry to giggle for me on camera all day today, with no real luck. It was pretty funny, because he'd be laughing and smiling and looking all adorable, but as soon as that camera came out, this is the look I would get:

We even tried having Greg fly him around and talk to him while I used my camera to videotape. Still cute, but not as adorable as when Henry starts laughing.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Time With My Guys

This week was really crazy for me, so I didn't get to see much of these guys.

I had to work until past their bedtimes two nights in a row. So despite the fact that I have lesson plans to write, tutoring to do, graduate school papers to grade, bills to pay, and I'm under a writing deadline (chapter is due in a week and a half), I'm absolutely determined to spend a lot of time with my boys this weekend. I've noticed that since having Henry, I really need to be mindful during my time with my sons. So I spend an hour or two truly being with them and interacting genuinely. Then I do what I need to do, with a smile on my face.

When I got home today, I put on a DVD called "Letter Factory." It's a somewhat cheesy cartoon all about the sounds letters make. I'm not actively teaching Nick to read, but I figured it couldn't hurt for him to watch the video. He's started asking for it lately, and today, quite awhile after we had watched the video, just randomly, he told me, "Mommy, your name makes the "mmm" sound. M is for mommy!"

Henry is developing, too. We stopped swaddling him a few weeks ago. He can hold things now--see him holding the measuring spoon? He's wearing 3-6 month pants. Henry's onesies are still the 0-3 month size, but he's tall enough that the smaller pants fit him like capri pants, which are not stylish for little boys.  He is drooling like crazy and trying to chew on his fingers, my fingers, and anything he can get his hands on lately. (With the exception of a binky. He does not like binkies.) Isn't it way too early for him to be teething?

Nick and I sang songs this evening and we spent almost an hour reading stories together. Henry sat on my lap and watched, too. One of the books we read was on body parts, so every time they referred to a body part (like an elbow, for example), Nick found his elbow, then my elbow, and finally Henry's elbow. Of course, when we got to the head, Nick decided to bonk his little brother on the noggin, but he's still learning about "gentle touches." Thankfully, Henry is a pretty forgiving little man.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Nearly Wordless Wednesday

Here are the two brothers building together.    : )

Monday, September 19, 2011

Greenery, Fresh Air, and Piles of Paper

That's what is in my classroom, anyway. Since most of my plants have been divided at least once (if not two or three times), greenery is everywhere. (So are piles of paper and random clutter, but that's a quirky part of my personality. Or an annoying part, if you ask my husband.)

The air in my classroom, however, is far fresher than most. I knew that plants produced oxygen, and that indoor environments benefitted from the addition of different kinds of plants. But what I didn't know was how certain plants actually eliminate toxins from the air. I just knew that my asthma has been better since working in this environment. The air also feels and smells better to me, even in the winter when the building is closed up.

Last week, Melissa Arteaga-Marti from Costa Farms emailed me a link to their new magazine, "Growing Style." Here is the link: Please check it out if you have a chance; there are some really good articles about indoor vertical gardening and the healing powers of plants.

My favorite article was the one called, "The Air in There," which discusses different kinds of houseplants and the indoor pollutants they help get rid of, depending on how many you have. My classroom and home are both filled with houseplants, and I add new ones frequently. After reading this article, I'm thinking I will need to search for some anthuriums and goldon pothos. Oh, and several orchids for my bedroom.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Up at the Farm

Last weekend, we took the boys up to Northern Wisconsin for a memorial service for Greg's grandmother. She passed away last February, but the family waited until her birthday weekend to have a graveside service. It was a great way to remember her--far more positive and uplifting of a remembrance than most. 

Anyhow, Nick is well past the point of parallel play and is desperate to interact with other kids. He was absolutely elated when he saw that his cousins were at the farm to play with him. I do believe that Nick thought they were there specifically to entertain him. He kept asking for his cousin Lukas by saying, "Where is that boy?" Why does he like his cousins so much? (I believe they're 2nd cousins, actually, since their parents are Greg's 1st cousins. Is that how this works?)

Cousins make us laugh. (Nick was the one laughing. I'm aware that Henry is looking somewhat dour.)

Nick and his cousin Lukas enjoyed swinging golf clubs at one another. they haven't learned to play, but they were pretty good at whacking things.

Cousins with lots of energy can go swimming even if there's no water. A big field will work!

Henry and Nick also got to spend time with their Grandma Linda and Grandpa Jay. See Henry's relaxed smile?

Cousin Gracie absolutely loved holding Henry. She fed him bottles, helped me change him, and cuddled him for literally hours. 

It was a great weekend for the kids, though it was pretty exhausting with all of the traveling. Do I look tired?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Nearly Wordless Wednesday

Take two $0.75 balloons, blow up and add two rambunctious cousins. What do you get? Utter joy. At least, that is, until one of the balloons pops.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Thing About Long Car Trips. . .

. . . is that you usually end up eating in the car. When we started our long journey last Friday night, we went through the drivethrough at Portillo's. There's nothing like hot dogs and cheese fries to start off a 5 hour journey in a rented minivan.

The other thing about car trips with kids is that they tend to sleep while the vehicle is moving. Grandma Toni and Aunt Sarah went with us on our journey north, and that meant each child had a treasured relative to wait on him hand and foot. (At least as much as is possible while squished into a minivan packed to the ceiling with the various accoutrements of infancy and toddlerhood.)

Aunt Sarah sat next to baby Henry and fed him a bottle. This was why we rented a minivan, so that someone could stick a bottle in Henry's mouth when he got hungry. It worked like a charm. Soon, he fell asleep, and before long, both of my boys were completely out. They slept most of the way, and we arrived at our hotel room before midnight.

But the other thing about long car trips is that when little boys sleep for five hours in the car, they think it's morning time when we try to go to bed at the hotel. Henry, for example, kept Greg and I awake most of the night. We turned out the lights, settled down, and then Henry started cooing. He was wide awake, ready to play, and happy as a clam. All. Night.

A similar situation happened on the way back, and Henry kept me up from about 2 a.m. to 6 a.m., my prime sleeping times. So that is why I'm exhausted today.

The thing about long car trips is that they are exhausting.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Three Months Old!

I can't believe it! Three months ago today my little man Henry was born. Just look at him now. . .

Now that he's old enough, Henry can sit in the bumbo seat. I just pulled it out of the basement yesterday, and Henry took to it right away. He can also hold small objects in his hands, coo, laugh, and push up.  He actually loves to do baby push-ups.

My boy is turning into a little person. I am a very proud mama.  :)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Septemberfest 2011

I adore cool, sunny weather, and we've had an abundance of those days lately. Perfect carousel-riding weather.

Last Sunday, we went up to G.G.'s house for Schaumburg's Septemberfest. We last took Nick to this festival in 2009, when he was still a baby. My, has he grown. Until Sunday, however, he had not tried cotton candy.

That situation was quickly rectified, and Nick is now an expert on this sweet treat. Poor Henry wasn't old enough for cotton candy, so he had an alternate treat.

Nick absolutely adored all of the rides. He does not, however, grasp the concept of "all done," and every time it was time to leave a ride, bouncy house, ferris wheel, or other such things, a loud and terrible fit ensued. I can understand why--rides are such fun! This, I believe was Nick's first ferris wheel ride. He went with Grandpa Ray and Grandma Linda, and begged for more.

Both boys enjoyed the carnival and craft fair, but I think Nick's favorite thing was the bouncy house. He absolutely would not come out. We had to bribe him with a cupcake--if we hadn't thought of that, I'm sure he still would be there, bouncing happily away.

We were pretty tired on Sunday, for various reasons. Greg caught up on his sleep while we were visiting with G.G. I forgot how much fun Septemberfest can be--we'll have to make sure to go next year. I will have to remember to bring something to bribe Nick with so he doesn't stay forever.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Nearly Wordless Wednesday

The last of the Milwaukee pictures, from our day at the Milwaukee Art Museum.

Monday, September 5, 2011

. . . and then it rained!

On Saturday, Nick and Henry and I were invited over to my friend Patty's house to go swimming. Nick was super-excited. He loves the water, and we haven't been to a real pool in ages.


Nick had a swimsuit and an ample supply of swim diapers, but I hadn't thought to get anything for Henry. So before we could go swimming, I had to make a trip to Walmart for some essentials: swim diapers for Henry, sunscreen (one for me and one for the boys), a swim vest for Nick to help him float, and a bathing suit for Henry. $50 later, we were ready.


Henry, unfortunately, was not pleased with the way he looked in his new baby speedo. It was the only kind of baby bathing suit I could find in his size. Personally, I think that the baby years are one of the only times a speedo is attractive on a man.


Taking young children to the pool is quite the undertaking. I had to carefully douse both of them with sunscreen, ensure that they had hats at the ready, and double-check the fit of their swim diapers. (Nobody wants a Caddyshack moment, especially not when it's your kid causing the problem.) Henry liked his hat better than the speedo. However, as we approached the pool, it started drizzling and thunder was heard overhead. We decided to wait, because this pool has a rule that 30 minutes after thunder is heard, the pool can reopen.

However, the thunder foreshadowed a downpour, as it often does. Nick didn't seem to mind the showers--he ran around and invited himself to a small gathering a few tables away. Greg and I are rather shy individuals, so it's interesting how gregarious our son is--he has never met a stranger. Nick played in the downpour while we sat under an umbrella and waited.


Lightening soon followed the rain, though, and pretty soon it was a severe thunderstorm situation. We went back to the house and watched a cartoon. Poor Henry never got to christen his speedo, but he still had a great time. Oh, and Nick? He has a great time anywhere he can find new items to play with, the more dangerous, the better for him.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Potting Soil, Sunshine, and Tummy Time

The problem with houseplants is that once you figure out how not to kill them, they start reproducing. Soon, they need to be divided. This was my dilemma last weekend. I had about twelve plants that were overcrowded and needed splitting. Thankfully, flowerpots were on deep clearance at Target, and the weather was gorgeous.

While Nick was napping, Henry and I headed outside for some serious plant work.

I've been trying to put Henry on his tummy as much as possible when it's not nighttime, because the back of his head is getting somewhat flat. Henry, helpfully, generally enjoys being on his tummy, and he can even turn from his tummy to his back, when he is in the mood.

Henry had quite a nap in the shade, though I had to keep dragging his blanket further towards the tree as the sun changed positions. I was out in the front yard for at least 4 hours.

Here is the work while in progress. My young helper is our next-door-neighbor, who graciously offered to help with re potting, fertilizing, cleaning off the brown leaves, and watering the plants so they didn't go into shock.

I bet that counted as a workout. Some of my plants that I brought home from school in June have split two times now. I have a few plants that split into three or even four new plants. I'm rather proud of how they turned out.