Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Problem With Being a Lazy Gardener. . .

. . . is that eventually you have to clean up the spaces that have become infiltrated with weeds and grass. My time had come. Henry and I bought a small wheelbarrow to help us move all of the dirt, soil, and mulch.

I have spent most of my free time during the last few weeks gardening. This includes about six hours of each day during Memorial Day weekend. I am sore and utterly exhausted, but exhilarated by the amount of work Greg and I were able to get done.

First of all, we turned this:

into this:

Then, we tore out all of the things we didn't like on either side of the driveway, and now it looks like this:


Last spring, I was getting ready to have Henry, and I did only minimal gardening. Then, once summer arrived, I'm afraid I did very little outside other than lounge around the backyard watching Nick play and snuggling with the baby. I never did get caught up in the fall, and we ended up just letting everything pile up. That made for double the work this year.

Gardening, however, is good exercise, and it is satisfying in a way that few things are, at least to me. I love battling the elements, be they weeds,drought, poor soil, or those nasty earwigs, and conquering them enough to get plants to grow.

I do love that feeling of "I did that!" that I get when I'm gardening. Then there's the issue of preventing Henry from eating wood chips. But that, I'm afraid, is another issue entirely. I am winning that battle, too, though. At least thus far.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

A Stay-at-Home Daddy

My husband is a very brave man. He might lock every door in the house (even our bedroom door) at night, turn the weather channel on every time there's thunder (just in case a tornado is headed our way), and refuse to drive over the speed limit, but the man has some serious cojones.

A few months ago, Greg became a full-time daddy. Our daycare costs became so prohibitive that one of us had to make a change. Since Greg had been pondering going into private practice for some time, he decided to leave his full-time supervisor position for a part-time therapist's position. 

So now what does Greg do with his days? He takes two boys to the Arboretum and the Zoo. He pushes a stroller. He changes diapers (one day I believe he had seven poopy diapers--eek!) and prepares bottles. He gives time-outs (pretty often, actually) and hugs (even more often).

From what I hear, Greg struggles with time management (don't we all), discipline, and the stress that comes from two children needing completely different things, both at the same time. He isn't very good at multi-tasking, but he's still managed to handle both kids with aplomb.

Taking two kids to the zoo by himself? That's bravery right there.

I have to admit, sometimes I'm a little jealous of all the time Greg gets to spend with the boys. A part of me feels sad when I go off to work even though I love my jobs and am really invested in my career. I missed Henry's first steps (though he hasn't repeated them since) and Nick is turning into more of a person everyday. I feel a little twinge sometimes when the boys want Daddy instead of Mommy.  I really like our new arrangement, though.

I know that the boys are getting the best care possible. I probably have more patience in the evenings because I haven't been dealing with them all day. Plus, Greg cooks dinner regularly, so we're all eating a little more gourmet.

I think Greg is adjusting well. He likes to read art books with Nick, and play peek-a-boo with Henry. He even takes the kids grocery shopping with him. Three days per week, in the parking lot of my school, right at four o'clock, we trade places. Greg heads off to work, and I take over for the evening.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Henry is a strong baby!

He has figured out how to push the baby cage across the lawn. Henry can go 20-30 feet while pushing this thing. He's a strong little man.

Here's a video of his attempted escape. Henry is a pretty determined baby.

Monday, May 21, 2012

I had a hot date tonight. . .

. . . with not one but two handsome gentlemen. The hostess told me how lucky I was to have two smiling young men escorting me to my evening dinner.

I took them out to play after school and before we knew it, we were hungry and it was too late to go home for dinner. Plus, I had a taste for bread sticks. This bread stick craving apparently runs in the family.

We went to the Olive Garden. Did you know they pour wine samples there? I can't ever have a whole glass, but they poured me a nice sample of Rosato for free. Best of all, I only had to buy one dinner. The portions were so huge I fed all three of us and brought a bag home just from one dinner. The boys were surprisingly well-behaved. Henry ate everything he could get his baby hands on--especially the asparagus. I thought it was overdone, but he ate all of it!

This probably won't be my last date with these two adorable guys.  :)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Now Henry Can Bite

A few weeks ago Henry's first tooth popped out. It was very hard to see for a long time, but now it's unmistakable. My baby can bite.

Can you see it there, right behind his lower lip? This is the first time I've been able to get evidence of that tooth. Henry hides it like it is a secret. He sure can use it, though. He ate pork tenderloin, black beans, and green beans tonight, and that little tooth got a workout.

Watch your fingers from now on--Henry's ready to bite!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Impromptu Picnic

I love spring weather. Lately Nick and Henry and I have been spending our evenings outside. I spend a lot of time stopping Henry from eating wood chips, but the fresh air is good for all of us. Sometimes we even eat outside.

The nice part about eating outside is the easy clean up. For this meal, we ate leftover ravioli, which can be truly messy when eaten inside. A picnic made this dinner delightful. I just picked up the blanket and shook it out, then hosed off the kids. No mess, one plate for clean-up, and two happy children.

Henry loves having his freedom. Though he adores eating, the high chair is pretty restrictive for him. I am impressed with how far he can crawl in just a few seconds.

I worry whenever I put Henry in shorts, because his little knees get so red. Often I just give in and put him in pants so he can explore without harming those adorable baby knees. During our picnic, Henry especially liked being able to eat while crawling around and stealing food from our plates. Bread is currently his favorite thing to steal.

Nick has been wanting to "help" with yard work during the last few weeks. Using his special little-kid scissors, he trims the grass by hand.

What a helper!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Fun With Plaster, or A Mother's Day Project

Since having kids, I've tried to do something creative for a Mother's Day present. Last year Nick and I made plant stakes, and the year before that we painted pots. This year, I wanted to get Henry involved, too. I decided that we'd make garden stepping stones for my mom and Greg's mom.

Yes, this involves mixing plaster, and no, I am not entirely sane. I did let my three-year-old help mix the plaster. Nick loved it.

I was going to document the whole process, but then Henry started crawling towards the wet plaster, so I put away my phone camera and proceeded to baby-chase. This is how they turned out. My original intention had been do do their hands, and that worked fine for Nick. Henry, however, refused to cooperate, and instead of holding his hand straight, grabbed the plaster every time I tried to press his hand down. So I used his little foot instead.

Nick did all the decoration, though I carved the '12 in the corner to commemorate the year. Nick also poured an entire box of glitter on each stone. I love this picture of my mom and Henry. She just looks so proud of Nick and Henry's "hard work," while Henry looks a little confused in a typical Henry way.

In other news, my mother's day was pretty good. I started off with a mani-pedi, then had to tutor for several hours before dinner at my mom's. Greg got me a gift certificate for a massage at the Herrington Inn and Spa in Geneva. His anniversary gift will be a night at the Inn for our 4th wedding anniversary in a few weeks.

Friday, May 11, 2012

I hope next week will be better. . .

How could it not, with this face to cheer me up?

We could use some cheering up this week. It's been a doozy. Saturday night, Greg had to have an emergency appendectomy. He's doing better now, but has been in pain and unable to care for the kids all week. I had to take three days off of work to care for him and the boys. 

On Wednesday, when Greg was just starting to heal, our cat, Sebastian, came staggering up the stairs, crying in pain. I couldn't figure out what was wrong, so I took him to the vet. His temperature was really low, and he couldn't feel things at all in his back end. Sebastian's system was just shutting down, and the doctor wasn't sure what was causing it. He suspected cancer of some kind, since Sebastian had recently lost a lot of weight. There wasn't anything the doctor could do to help him, and we had to have him put to sleep. Poor kitty. Here's a picture of him with me back in 2006. 

I got Sebastian on the day I graduated college in 2000, and we're all a little sad around here now that he's gone. 

I realized tonight that I haven't blogged in ten days. I suppose with all that's gone on here, it's understandable. I'm really hoping that next week will be better. After the week I've had, I could use a nice, relaxing week with nothing traumatic happening. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Conversations with Nicholas: A Trip to the Bank

Last night while the boys were playing cars, Nick kept running past me. I asked where he was going. “To the bank!” he said. He was pretending to drive around and then he stopped and peeked over the arm of the couch, talking to an imaginary person and holding an orange cylindrical block. He made whooshing sounds and held up the block towards the ceiling. 

Here’s what I heard, in a rather loud but clearly polite voice:
“Hello. I need a checking deposit slip, please. Oh, and do you have any lollipops?” and then, a few seconds later, “Thank you very much!” Then, in another, higher voice. "Have a great day!" 

The reason this is hilarious is because it was said in exactly the same tone as my husband uses when speaking in drive-through windows. I’m pretty sure Nick is quoting him exactly. I believe the cylindrical block is meant to represent the tube used to send over the checks. 

Greg is a therapist and often gets copay checks from clients, so he goes through the window at the bank several times per week. Nick has obviously picked up on the "script" for such interactions.

Here's my conversation with Nick about what he was doing:

Mommy: So Nick, why does Daddy go to the bank?
Nick: We went to the other bank.
Mommy: Why?
Nick: Because that's where daddy can go to get his check done. 
And he gets a lollipop for me. And I like it. 
Mommy: Do you think you will go to the bank someday?
Nick: Yeah. This is the bank. 
Mommy: How do you get the lollipops?
Nick: It goes in a big hole. And then Daddy opens it out of the hole. And then I can eat it. Inside there is people inside there. They work. And Whoosh! They take the lollipop and it goes WAY up in the sky. 

. . . and this has been, Conversations with Nicholas.