Monday, October 31, 2011

Trick or Treat!

I suppose my trick is that I am actually writing a post. It's been longer than a week, and for me, that's way too long. But I have lots of treats, in the form of Halloween pictures from our Trick or Treating this evening.

The costumes this year were as follows: Nick was the Itsy-Bitsy Spider, and Henry was the Very Hungry Caterpillar. Yes, Nick is chewing on one of his eight legs. Both boys loved going outside to demand candy from all of our generous neighbors.

Nicholas insisted he was a scary spider, so we had him give us his scary look. This is what he did.  :)

Nick loved his scary costume, but he loved the candy more. We let him eat more than usual. Honestly, we don't keep it in the house, so when it's around it is a huge temptation for all of us. Nick is still sticky.

Henry wasn't into the candy, but he loved watching all of the kids running around in the brightly colored costumes.

After we got home, Henry hung around a little bit, reveling in his alter ego. He ate like a hungry caterpillar, too, and had his first taste of pears.

Today I read an awesome book with my students. It's called Night of the Gargoyles, by Eve Bunting and David Wiesner. I read it to my 1st and 3rd graders, with different purposes. There are so many awesome words in this book. So I brought it home to share with Nick. Grandma Toni read it twice to the boys.

Although I think I prefer Halloween on a weekend, this one turned out pretty nice. Greg got the chance to go with us (he got off work early) and we all went out together as a family.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Just A Small Dose of Adorableness

I'm swamped this week, but I figured I'd give you two pictures containing gratuitous cuteness. First, here's Henry playing with toys. He adores playing with toys.

Next, here is my baby naked on our new living room rug. Yup, I censored him. 

I have many, many fall and pumpkin-related pictures to show, and stories to share. Hopefully I can do that later this week. For now, just revel in the cuteness. And pardon the messed up photos. I think my camera lens is dirty and I can't figure out how to fix it. Drool got on it and I tried to wipe it off and now the lens is all smeary. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Signs of Growing Up

Everyday my Nicholas is becoming more of a little boy and less of a toddler. Soon I won't even be able to blame anything on the fact that "he is only two." Here are some recent signs I've noticed that my baby is growing up:

1. Creative Play. Nick has all-out conversations with all of his toys, and he role-plays things that have happened using his cars. The other day he had his cars all go to lap sit at the library, and he admonished them for running around and being "too loud cars."

2. Counting. Nick is starting to understand the concept, and though he can only count with one to one correspondence on a hit or miss basis, he's been getting more hits than misses lately. Point in case: Friday evening he says to me, "Mommy, I want raspberries. Put them in the purple bowl. One, two, three, four, five raspberries in my bowl." Then, he counted them to make sure I wasn't cheating him on the raspberries. Maybe it was just coincidence that he counted them correctly, but I was excited. I can't help it--I'm an elementary school teacher.

3. Coordination. Nick is starting to be able to put on and take off his clothing and shoes, to a point. I have to confess that I have spent very little time on this. Our babysitter is a stickler for teaching things step-by-step, and I admire her ability to patiently explain every step of putting on a sock, and then wait and talk through his impatience. It takes Nick forever to do this, but I love that he is learning how.

4. Letter recognition. On my way back from Iowa a few weeks ago, Nick started identifying letters on street signs. He also knows many stores simply by their signs, though I'm sure the distinctive color and shape of the signs have more to do with it than actual reading skills.  "Mommy, look! T is for Target. Are we going to go in there and go shopping? The "t" says "t" and T is for Toni!" (This is from Monday, I believe.)

5. Storytelling. Nick has started retelling lots of the books we read him, and he even memorizes some of the words. We let him take books to bed with him, and even though it's pretty dark in there, one night this week I could hear him quoting from this book he loves, "Edna." It's part of a poem (Recuerda, by Edna St. Vincent Milay), and he loves the way this poem sounds. Nick likes the line, "We were very tired. We were very merry. We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry."

6. Stinky feet. This is definitely a little boy sign. You know how babies and even toddlers always have that cute little kid smell? Nick is no longer one of them. Except for right after his bath, Nick smells like an amalgamation of crayons, dirt, kid sweat, and fresh air. It's not actually a bad smell, but it shows that he's not a baby anymore.

7. My son is a backseat driver. He's always telling me that the light is red and it is not my turn. Then he tells me that the light is green so I should go. Pretty soon he'll be commenting on my following distance or the no-turn-on-red sign. Perhaps.

While I'm often frustrated with his behavior (you'll notice I have consistently avoided the entire topic of potty training), I am usually pleased with his growth. I'm a little wistful that his baby years are mostly behind him, but it is so nice to have actual conversations with him. I'm torn between feelings of pride and regret. Regardless, I think Nick, sometime recently, has crossed the line and is officially a little boy, even if he won't be three for another month.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Raking Leaves with Grandpa and Making Chili with Grandma

Nick loves to be a helper. Last weekend I took the boys up to my mom's house for the day so that Greg could paint our living room. (More on that another day. But yes, it's finally painted.)

I dressed both boys in what I call "Grandpa shirts." That's because all of their Grandpas wear button-up shirts. I told Nick he had to wear his new brown boots because they were "leaf-raking boots."

He loved raking the leaves and hiding in them. Grandpa Ray buried Nick in a whole pile of fall leaves. We put Henry on top of the pile, but he wasn't sure what to think. I bet those leaves felt weird.

Nick was terribly excited, and he loved raking the leaves. Last year, we bought him his own little rake, and Nick brought it with to "help."  The weather was cool, but not too chilly. I'm hoping we get similar weather this coming weekend. I love the way the boys look in their matching flannel shirts.

Speaking of "helping," Nick helped stir the chili, which was our lunch. I'm sure he would've helped even more if Grandma Linda would've let him.

I'm so glad I took a break from writing my chapter to focus on the boys and enjoy a day with my family. Every minute with these little guys is worth it.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Michigan Beaches and Vineyards Galore

I am dreaming of beaches, nice weather, and good wine this weekend as the weather gets cooler.

Last month I had the opportunity for a ladies' getaway to St. Joe, Michigan. The weather was surprisingly warm, and I had a final taste of summer. Along with three of my lady friends, I had a weekend of sleeping in, girl talk, and good wine. We visited vineyards and sampled lots of different kinds of wine and grapes.

I found wine I liked at every place we visited, and I went home with nearly a case of wine. Now I wish I had bought more, because there are only a few bottles left. There's nothing like drinking wine that was made just feet from where you're standing. I think we ended up visiting four or five vineyards, and all of them were excellent. My favorite one was called Karma Vista. They had this white wine called "Starry, Starry Night." It was so good I wish I'd bought four or five bottles. They also had a red wine called "Watusi Red." It tasted like grape jam. Yum. 

Wine grapes taste very different from the grapes you buy at the store. We sampled a few from each vineyard. I was amazed at how different each kind of grape tasted. 

My friends and I also spent a lot of time at the beach. The weather was gorgeous and the town of St. Joseph was just amazing. 

I love the way sand feels between your toes. I haven't visited a real (ocean) beach in years, but this one in Michigan is about as good as it gets without a plane trip. The sand was so soft. I love walking right where the water meets the land. The water was ice cold, but it felt great between my toes. Walking on the beach is great exercise, too.

I'm so glad I was able to go on this weekend getaway. Oh, and the next time I go to this part of Michigan, I'm leaving enough room in the trunk for a few cases of wine.   :)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Shaved Kitty Cats?

Have I ever mentioned that I'm allergic to cats? Greg and I have three, despite my allergy. I got Sebastian the day I graduated with my bachelor's degree, and adopted Molly one year later. Tubby is our third cat, and he was Greg's kitty before he met me. It is quite strange, though, that my two cats are somewhat messy, just like me, and Greg's cat is meticulously neat.

That's why I had Molly and Sebastian shaved. Both of them now look quite silly. Here's Nick petting Molly. She is only half-shaved because she fights to the death to prevent anyone from coming near her with a razor.

Sebastian is my long-haired kitty. He is rather fat and has trouble grooming himself. I do believe he's much happier naked, although he looks quite silly.

Check out Sebastian's puffball of a tail. My sister's friend Stephanie did the bathing and shaving, and my sister helped. Both of them looked like they'd been through a war when it was all over. And indeed they had. I'm not sure who won in the end, but both kitties are now clean, shaved, and fresh-smelling. I've noticed in the last few days that I don't have tumbleweeds of cat hair on my hardwood floors, and the couches are missing the thick layer of cat fur that is the norm around here.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Four Months Old!

Henry is four months old, and he tried baby oatmeal this afternoon for the first time.  He loved it.

Here are Henry's updated statistics from the doctor today:

Height: 24 1/4 inches (25th percentile)
Weight: 14 pounds, 11 ounces (45th percentile)
Head Circumference: 41 cm. (19th percentile)

The doctor is pleased with his growth, and suggested that we start him on cereal right away. She said not to wait, even though he's not feeling too well, because the cereal might cheer him up. It did!

Henry opened his mouth up just like a little bird.

Everyone in our home is now sick. Nick, while over the croup, still has a very bad lingering cold. Greg has a sinus infection and a bad cough. Henry has an upper respiratory infection that the doctor says isn't the croup. . . yet. We will wait to see if it turns into a barking cough.

Henry's regular well visit was today, but it turned into a sick visit because Henry started running a fever yesterday afternoon, and has had low grade fevers ever since. Last night he was up to 101.5, and the poor guy just wants to be held. He's also coughing and has a bad runny nose. I stayed home with the boys today because Henry's fever was too high to go to daycare.

I am sick, too, but mommies don't get time to take care of themselves. I did pop over to my G.P. to get checked out, and I have bronchitis and the beginnings of a sinus infection. They take this stuff seriously with me because I have asthma and a history of allergies and chronic bronchitis, so I'm on about seven prescription and non-prescription medications for my various illnesses. I'm taking a nebulizer treatment as I type this, in fact.

But even as I wheeze, I am smiling, because check out this video.

I absolutely love seeing my two boys together like this. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Henry is contemplating the economic situation and brainstorming solutions. That, or he's working on a poop.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Do I hear a seal? Nope, it's just Nick.

Nick sounds like a seal this week because he's getting over the croup. He's been coughing since Sunday, and it is much worse at night. This picture is from Saturday, before the croup hit. We really thought he just had a cold or allergies. It's that time of year.

On Tuesday night, however, Nick started barking like a seal. He also had a low-grade fever. Grandma Toni took him to the pediatrician, who immediately identified his cough as the croup. Apparently, our doctor even called in her assistant so she could listen to Nick's cough. I guess it's one of those things you can identify just by sound, and she wanted the assistant to hear it in real life.  The doctor said we shouldn't be too worried because this is very common and Nick is doing well.

The good news is that Nick doesn't seem to be in too much discomfort. We've given him Advil or Tylenol when he's complained or been running a fever, but he hasn't had any since Wednesday. He also doesn't really sound like a seal anymore. His cough is very productive, but he's not coughing very often and he is running around quite a bit. 

The bad news is that he's suffering from what happens to little kids when they're feeling slightly better after an illness, but still aren't in tip-top shape. Nick, you see, has been quite a pain in the, er, neck today. 

He started out the day by throwing his shoe at me because we were out of bananas. Then he threw a screaming fit because I opened the refrigerator door to get his milk instead of letting him do it. At nap time, I had to throw him over my shoulder like a sack of potatoes to get him in bed. He screamed for 25 minutes straight before passing out. I know how it feels to be sick, so I'm trying to have sympathy for him. Trying being the operative term here. 

Here's hoping that Nick wakes up in tip top shape tomorrow.   :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

My Wallpaper Removal Expert

Does anyone need wallpaper removed? I have a short laborer who does decent work, though he makes quite a mess.  Greg finally finished taking down the wallpaper in our living room today, and Nick decided he would help. My nearly-three-year-old can now take down wallpaper with the best of them.

He started out using a spatula and spreading water on the wall. Then, when he figured out that he wasn't actually taking down any wallpaper, he got mad and moved to the stairs. I showed him how to strip the floral wallpaper, and he went to town on it.

So if you'd like some wallpaper removed, just let me know. He can only do the stuff below waist level, but he has mastered the art of wallpaper removal. The only problem is that I'm worried he'll just randomly try to remove other people's wallpaper.  ;)   So beware if we come to your house. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Conversations with Henry

My baby boy is growing up. Henry rolled over from back to front last night. Greg put him down on his back, but when he woke up this morning, he was happily snoozing on his tummy.

This chunky monkey is now wearing the 3-6 month size and he has adorable rolls of tummy fat. He also slept through the night last night, which he has not been doing regularly, until this point. Let's hope he is starting a trend. Greg said that maybe he'll turn over on his tummy every night, and then he'll sleep all the way through.

Henry is also interacting with us more. He likes to repeat the noises we make, and he thinks Nick is fascinating. While I was sauteing some vegetables for minestrone soup this evening, Henry suddenly became quite the conversationalist.

I love to see Nick and Henry playing together. Today Nick brought Henry one of his cars, so he could "play" too. It made me smile really big to see Nick being such a thoughtful big brother. Henry grinned up at him and tried to grip the toy car.     :)

Saturday, October 1, 2011


Nick loves bacon. Whenever he smells it he goes crazy. Point in case:

Not sure if you can totally understand Nick-ese, so I'll explain. Nick was yelling out the window to the boys playing across the way. (Who, by the way, couldn't hear him because the window was closed.) He was saying, "The bacon is for Nick. You can't have my bacon!" Then he was demanding that I give him bacon NOW, even though I was still cooking it. That's when I grabbed my camera, because I thought he was being pretty cute. 

Things have been pretty nuts around here, but I figured I'd take a few minutes and tell you about one funny event in a nice, relaxing Saturday morning.  :)