Snippets of Summer Part Two

  • We did some other fun things in Nasvhille, as well, including going to the drive in to see Inside Out.
The back of the Pilot is the site of much summer fun this year

The back of the Pilot is the site of much summer fun this year

 

My view

My view

Drive In Selfie

Drive In Selfie

Craig was there too - snoozing

Craig was there too – snoozing

  • We went to a huge park and splash park
Spinning on the merry go round

Spinning on the merry go round

This is all the farther he got

This is all the farther he got

As usual, it took some courage for Jack to get down the slide, but eventually he conquered his fear

As usual, it took some courage for Jack to get down the slide, but eventually he conquered his fear

Liam, meanwhile, was going down headfirst in no time

Liam, meanwhile, was going down headfirst in no time

  • Once the splash park eventually opened, we had a sort of great time.  However, this splash park allows no running, horseplay, climbing, toys, buckets, or other objects.  It is gated and locked and two lifeguards are stationed at all times.   I mean, like, what??  I got over my annoyance and helped the lifeguards police the 5 year olds from running and horseplay, all the while muttering my disgust.
Kids were not permitted to lean on this strawberry, lest it count as "climbing"

Kids were not permitted to lean on this strawberry, lest it count as “climbing”

My boys are the ones in the rash guards.

My boys are the ones in the rash guards.

  • We went to the zoo.
Nana and the boys

Nana and the boys

Looking at the fish

Looking at the fish

Craig is always piled in with the big kids, thinks he's one of them

Craig is always piled in with the big kids, thinks he’s one of them

Jack begged me to take a picture of every single animal we saw.  Every.  Single.  One.

Jack begged me to take a picture of every single animal we saw. Every. Single. One.

The petting zoo was my favorite.  Baby plus baby goats!  Augh!

The petting zoo was my favorite. Baby plus baby goats! Augh!

Craig was very gentle

Craig was very gentle

Checking out Jack's favorite animal, the "Gomodo dragon" (Komodo)

Checking out Jack’s favorite animal, the “Gomodo dragon” (Komodo)

Craig gets his face wiped after soft serv bliss

Craig gets his face wiped after soft serv bliss

  • And I’ll throw in a few more miscellaneous pix, for fun.  Many of these are of Craig – he’s the slowest, and easiest to catch with a camera:
Sitting on the riding mower

Sitting on the riding mower

Reading the funnies

Reading the funnies

Cooking out for supper

Cooking out for supper

 

 

Pretty porch

Pretty porch

getting up the nerve to go in the splash pad

getting up the nerve to go in the splash pad

Playing by himself

Playing by himself

Buddies

Buddies

Buddies, take two

Buddies, take two

Reading with Nana

Reading with Nana

Posted in Jack, Liam, Parents and Siblings and Cousins, Oh My!, Tex | Leave a comment

Snippets of Summer

My boys

My boys

  • To honor Lachlan and Grandfather, we decided to plant a tree in our yard.  The boys and I went to a garden center and after much perusing, selected a plum tree, along with a few bushes to plant around it and our willow.  The boys were thrilled to observe the singularly novel act of Daddy driving our vehicle across the backyard grass to the fence line opposite the driveway, where we backed the car in close and then pulled out various landscaping bits and bobs from the trunk.  The Professor and I labored to pull up much of the landscaping around the existing willow, extend the bed, line it with large cement blocks, dig holes for the tree and bushes, etc. etc.  The boys flitted about, largely in our way, and then we ‘let’ them all 3 of them get in the back of the Pilot, with the gate down but the back window flipped up, radio blaring.  They were basically caged in while we finished in peace.  Jack, sipping a juice box as he surveyed his father and I in our labor, declared it the ‘best day ever’ and also said he just loved doing hard work.’
Boys plus plum tree, on our way home from the garden center.  No pix of the finished product, sadly.

Boys plus plum tree, on our way home from the garden center. No pix of the finished project, sadly.

  • In a surprise last-minute visit, my sister and her husband – freshly deposited in their brand new Texas home, which is much closer to us than their former Ohio home – came on over to Alabama for the weekend.  They waded with the boys in our backyard wading pool, took them to a splash pad, went with us to a Boy Scout end-of-year shrimp boil and a birthday part at Chuck E. Cheese . . . they were good sports, and we loved having them!
My sister came to visit and was promptly, and permanently, draped in boys

My sister came to visit and was promptly, and perpetually, draped in boys

Sister + Husband gamely attended a kid birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese.  Note poor Baby's face - he spent a night with a mosquito.  He looks bad, but you shoulda seen the mosquito.

Sister + Husband gamely attended a kid birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. Note poor Baby’s face – he spent a night with a mosquito. He looks bad, but you shoulda seen the mosquito.

  • We threw Liam a fifth birthday party – an afternoon splash party in our backyard.  Jack didn’t get a party this year, so we let him invite a friend or two to Liam’s.  I have a few of the actual party itself, but they have other people’s kids in them, and I feel leery of posting . . . so you get mostly decorations.  We had a slip and slide, a wading pool, a water table, a sprinkler, and buckets full of water and watering cans and little buckets and that sort of thing.  The kids had a blast, the parents ate nothing, and so we had party snacks to eat up for days.
Birthday!

Birthday!

Splash party, ready to go

Splash party, ready to go

Smiley attendee

Smiley attendee

Basket o' towels

Basket o’ towels

Nominally a Skylanders party

Nominally a Skylanders party

Party!

Party food that no one ate!

Craig had a great time at big brother's party

Craig had a great time at big brother’s party

  • We took a trip up to Nashville to Nana’s to visit, while daddy was out of town.
Race track buildin'

Race track buildin’

Lazy boys watching toons in Grandpa Doc's LaZ Boy

Lazy boys watching toons in Grandpa Doc’s LaZ Boy

  • While at Nana’s, my dad had to have unexpected foot surgery in a hurry, so I ended up taking a day off so Mom could take him to the hospital (I normally work out of my firm’s local office up here).  Instead of trying to work with three kids in my hair, I just decided to make up the time on the weekend, and take the day completely off (checking email of course, always always).  And I took them berry picking.  I have literally wanted to take these kids berry picking for three years, but never been able to go.  When we finally got this chance, it was perfect.  It was overcast and breezy, dry (no mud), and the place was delightful, as were the proprietors.  Craig loves blueberries – he’ll eat a full clamshell in one sitting.  So when he twigged that the berries actually grew on bushes, and he could reach them and pick them and eat as many as his chubby dimpled hands could grab – well, let’s say I paid for a whole extra pound when we were done.  Let’s also say that the diaper situation since then has been, in a word, vile.  But that’s the price you pay for an engaged, happy one year old at the berry picking farm.
On the farm!  The lady who took our picture told me she'd had three girls, and always wanted a boy.  Funny how it works out!

On the farm! The lady who took our picture told me she’d had three girls, and always wanted a boy. Funny how it works out!

My little minions

My little minions

The boys were methodical, filling their buckets to the top.

The boys were methodical, filling their buckets to the top.

Craig's focus was on stuffing his face

Craig’s focus remained on stuffing his face

 

It's every one-year-old for himself

It’s every one-year-old for himself

He was in heaven

He was in heaven

I made a blackberry pie, two blueberry pies, and blueberry muffins with our spoils.

I made a blackberry pie, two blueberry pies, and blueberry muffins with our spoils.

Posted in Holidays and Celebrations | Leave a comment

Checking In!

It’s been nearly a month!  We’re still here, still doing just fine, just very busy of late.  I have a number of draft posts that I started but never got the chance to finish.  Liam had a birthday, we planted a tree, we’ve had a couple of Blue Apron meals, my youngest sister and her husband came to visit. . . I will write about all of these things (I hope) once I get the chance.  I’ve also done some meal planning and discovered a new tasty meal – these healthy burrito bowls!  Try it out.  I recommend the sliced black olives as a garnish.  Yessssss.

Hope you’re all well.  I have an early meeting so this is all I can manage today, but I am officially getting myself back in the swing of writing here!

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Saturday Early Morning Meal Planning

I had the strangest dreams last night.  I was helping a laboring woman get to the hospital – and then suddenly she shrunk and was inside a chicken egg I carried, and she birthed a miniscule baby along with a gush of yellow egg yolk.  I could not fish the baby out of the yolk and get it breathing, I tried all different ways, but it was too tiny to get on the tip of my finger.  So I carried the whole egg up a terrifying staircase, trying to get help.  It was not so much a staircase as a teetering, extremely tall obstacle course, where I had to climb and clamber and occasionally leap over chasms that yielded a thousand foot drop below.  At the top of the staircase was a door that opened onto a window-ledge on the outside of a tall building on top of a mountain that I could not get down from, and I just stood there, clinging to the side of the building and still holding onto this cracked egg with the tiny baby and mother inside, not knowing what to do.  I often dream of tall sets of stairs, like in a parking garage or the fire stairs in a tall office building, and they are pretty much impassable and yet I have to get to the top.  Symbolism much?

I woke with a start at 5:15, shivering because the Professor stole all the covers (we are blessed to have a king bed, but only a full duvet cover, so we often fight over it, unless I remember to bring my own blanket).  Out I came, to the front room, to putter around and be alone for a while before the boys wake up and we have chaos til 8 pm.  I never used to be an early morning person, though here lately I’ve been waking up with a start at 4 am, sweaty and anxious about meeting all my deadlines at work.   I try to go back to sleep if it’s before 5am, but if it’s 5 or later, I get up and savor the quiet in my own house.  There are so few hours of the day where I can be left alone – I am constantly interrupted by partners needing something, or by children, or on particularly heinous days, by both.  The only time I can get any flow to my thinking and doing is in these wee quiet pre-dawn hours.  So, voila!  Morning person.

We have a long weekend ahead of us, and although I have work to do I plan to put it aside for most of the weekend and just be with the boys.  (And do the work of the house, which is not a negligible amount of work, of course.)  We have iffy plans with various local families to hang out at some point, though nothing definite.  I am grateful for the opportunity to re-charge, at least as much as these boys (especially the one year old) allow rest and re-charge – which is not much.  

Craig is at that stage where, at any moment, I might find a pair of socks stuffed inside a cup in the Tupperware drawer, several mismatched shoes under my pillow, and I’m always finding his big brothers’ Skylanders toys in the pantry, inside boxes of crackers or cereal.  Fishing in my purse for my wallet at a restaurant or grocery counter usually yields some kind of fun surprise – sometimes the surprise is a small toy or item of clothing shoved in there by chubby hands, and sometimes the surprise is that the wallet isn’t in there, and when I get home I’ll find it under the couch or sitting on top of a downstairs toilet.  He is in the redistribution phase of life.  If he is awake, the Professor and/or I are up and chasing him.  Very occasionally, he and the big boys will go upstairs to their room, and we have some quiet.  Otherwise, though, the Professor and I both enjoy the heck out of Craig, and also LIVE FOR NAPTIME.

Here is the meal plan for this week.   Some summer fun – grilling, pasta salads, fresh veg and fruit  . . . I love summer cooking.

Creamy spinach tomato tortellini

Stuffed zucchini – but with turkey

Sticky sesame sorghum chicken kebabs with grilled corn on the cob and watermelon

Turkey and pepper lasagna (left overs – made this last week and froze)

Two blue apron meals: crispy chicken cutlets with sugar snap pea and radish salad, and seared salmon with asparagus-new potato hash

 

Posted in Domestic Bliss | 1 Comment

School’s Out For Summer

Yesterday was the boys’ last day of school – it ended a week of mid-day parties and awards ceremonies and parades, all the Last Week of School pomp and circumstance.  At his awards ceremony earlier in the week, Jack received the A/B honor roll and a character award.  He grinned bashfully when his name was called, then did a little flailing dance and made a weird face.  It perfectly illustrated the battle between immaturity and grace that his seven year old self is experiencing.  A partner was mad at me for being late on an internal deadline, but I’m so glad I went to his awards ceremony anyway.  Jack saw that I was there.  The wolf that grows is the one you feed, right?

The Professor and I took turns attending the various events.  I caught the midday first grade ice cream party on Thursday, he did pickup duty for early release Friday, and a church party on Friday afternoon.  I grabbed the little boys at their end of year party later on Friday afternoon, and instead of going back to work, I took them home and set up the sprinkler in the backyard.  We sat on the porch and ate Nilla wafers, and the boys ran around in their swimsuits.  Full of cookies, we skipped dinner.  The sun didn’t set til nearly eight o’clock.

Craig was being a pill, so we gave him a bottle and put him to bed right at 7pm.  I read him his favorite books – Roadwork, and The Going to Bed Book.  I finish one, he hands me the other.  I finish that one, he hands me the first one.  He loves when we lay down on our backs and read – I hold the book in the air above our heads, and he points to the pictures.  Sometimes he will get bossy and yank it out of my hands, then hold it upside down and turn the pages and speak baby nonsense, ‘reading’ it to me.

So we did this a while and then I put him in his bed with his Baby (a singing gloworm my mother bought), and came downstairs.   The Professor and I lounged in the front room, reading magazines, and the boys played with their toys in the living room.  At 8:00 we realized it was pretty late, and we reluctantly got up to roust the boys and herd them up to bed.  We found them on the couch, lying lengthwise together, head to foot, like two inverted teardrops, like a yin-yang symbol, sound asleep.  Liam’s graduation balloon was floating above them, the end of the string brushing across their little boy hips.  They still had their glasses on.  We each took a boy – the Professor took Liam and I carried Jack up to bed, and it was so hard to do that I thought about the last time I will hold him.  It’s a day that’s coming soon – he is almost more than I can lift at this point.  

Summer has begun.  

Posted in Domestic Bliss, Jack, Liam, Tex | Leave a comment