Thursday, June 30, 2011

First person


I recently read in a friend's blog post that her doctor asked her daughter to draw a picture of a person at her 4 year well visit.  We do a lot of art in our house, but I never give the kids any direction and since they do not go to a traditional preschool, they do not do any formal or guided projects.  So, this morning, I was curious and I asked Finnan to draw a picture of a person.

He started off with a head, body, and arms.  Then he started on the giant structure on the person's back.  I asked him what that was.  

"It's a backpack.  I am drawing a backpack."
"Oh, I see."
"Now, it's a robot.  This [the horizontal structure in between the body and legs] makes the robot strong.  Did you know that I am very strong, too?"

He went on the draw the legs as well as a circular structure emerging from the robot's arms.  Apparently that was for water to shoot through.  Oh.  I guess he doesn't lack for creativity.  He definitely gets that from his dad.

Toast


Sleeping in is without a doubt the number one thing I miss about being childless.  We have done many things over the past three years to try to delay waking up in the morning.  Most of them involved getting the kids to sleep later.  However, since sharing a room together, all of our gains in promoting later wake up times have been lost.  But, we still delay emerging from bed as much as possible.  Finnan and Jude come cuddle with us for a while, but inevitably they get hungry.  Yesterday, Finnan requested breakfast and we both mumbled something about being out there in a minute and then rolled over.  A few minutes later, I heard the sound of the toaster clicking down...then the sound of the toaster clicking up...then Finnan ran into our room, "I made toast!  I made toast!  All by myself!"  And he did.  He climbed up on the counter, got the bread out of the bag on top of the microwave, slid the toaster out and made toast.  He was thrilled and we were thrilled.  Immediately after his proclamation of accomplishment he said, "I need butter."  Hmmm...I guess we will have to make sure the butter is on the lowest shelf of the fridge from now on.  

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The river farm


It is no wonder the kids can never wait to get to the river farm.  Finnan asks constantly whether his friends (cousins) will be there.  Jude wants to see Paw-Paw.  They both talk about the beach and the boats.  Then, when we get there, there always seems to be so much more.

We spent the last week visiting Atticus' family at the farm.  We stayed at the cottage overlooking the river with a private beach and calm waters in which to play.  Both Finnan and Jude loved the sand.  I think Finnan could have worked on sand castles and other creations all day.  Luckily, he had many of his wonderful cousins helping him.  The boys also both took many rides on the kayak and went out on the sailboat (something I would not recommend doing with a two year old).  They also spent many hours in the pool, in the large fields, and creating Lincoln Log buildings with the farm's enormous collection.  They picked and ate mulberries and raspberries, and discovered lightning bugs.  Really, they just played and played, taking only quick breaks to devour food before they played again.

Finnan was attached to his cousins Rory, Michael, Mary Pat and Eric, while Jude was most often seen being held by Paw-Paw (with his 1 year old cousin Madeline being held on the other side).

Jude loved the kayak.  Or maybe he was just taking every opportunity to get one-on-one time with Paw-Paw.

Jude getting ready for his sail boat ride.  While Atticus and I were out with him the boat tilted a bit causing me to have to grab his arm to keep him on the boat.  He cried out of fear much of the way back.

One of the sand castles.

Learning how to do a drippy-drop castle.

Paw-Paw and Honey stayed with the boys one night.  Paw-Paw surprised them with donuts in the morning. ..and a few other mornings as well.  A couple of months ago Finnan suggested we go to Paw-Paw's grocery store so we could get donuts.  I just let him keep thinking our grocery stores don't have them.

Someone enjoyed his donuts.

Mulberry stained face.

Practicing on the beach with a homemade tee, stick bat and ball that washed up on shore.

Posing while picking raspberries.

Eating the raspberries.




Friday, June 17, 2011

Baby birds


I have always heard that human newborns are the neediest.  While I will be the first to agree that, yes, human babies can not do anything for themselves, I no longer think they deserve the title of neediest baby.  A bird decided to make her nest in the window box outside of our bedroom window.  This window box is also right next to our deck, so we have been following her progress over the past weeks closely.  She made a cave-like nest in the box and then laid six eggs over the course of several days.  It was hard to get a good view of the eggs because she was in there most of the time.  Then a few days ago the eggs started hatching, one at a time.  Now, as far as I can tell all of the eggs have hatched and despite the birds' tiny size, it is one crowded nest.  The birds seem to be able to barely move, have no feathers, only occasionally open their eyes, and don't make any sounds (yet).  To be honest, I have been a bit worried for their well-being.  But their mama has been restless.  Since we first went out into the backyard this morning around 8 until around 7 she has been going in and out of the nest delivering food.

Amazingly the dog and the kids have showed great restraint in going too close to the babies.  In fact, the mama is probably most concerned with me (and I just keep checking on them because I am sincerely concerned about the babies).  Below are some pictures of the babies and the mama.  The last picture is a painting by Jude.  We were watching the birds while the boys were painting.  Typically, they have a tendency to cover every last square inch of the paper with paint.  But, I asked Jude if he wanted to paint a picture of the baby birds.  He said, "No, mama bird" and he went up and painted just that.  I think you will still find that painting in my house 50 years from now.




Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Today's harvest


Since tilling and planting a couple of months ago, our "neighborly garden" has taken off.  Literally every day a bounty such as the stash above can be picked from the garden.  Right now, five families are contributing to the garden and each family has an assigned picking day.  And the garden really needs to be picked every day.   In most cases, the more you pick, the more the plants will produce.  In addition to picking the whole garden on our assigned day, we have also been able to go over a couple of times a week for fresh lettuce and other add-ins for salad.  Right now every thing you see above is producing profusely, while the tomato, okra, beets, carrot and melon plants are still gearing up.   Almost all of our vegetables now come from the garden and I have been able to completely stop ordering from the weekly CSA (community supported agriculture).

Even though I know there are other people working on the garden, at this point we never see anyone over there.  It seems like our own private garden.  In some ways this is a shame, as I always assumed that a community garden would have more community, but it also has its benefits.  I never feel pressured to be at the garden at a certain time; and when I just want to be there with my kids, I can be.  I am sure there will be an influx of community once we switch to fall plants.  We are, however, so grateful for the help of the neighbors, particularly Monica who has provided a ton of expertise and saved us from much research and I am sure many wrong turns.  Whenever I am picking at the garden, someone will always stop in their car to say how nice the garden looks.  It has been very rewarding to work with a few neighbors, make the neighborhood look nicer, and to be able to eat so wonderfully.

Here are some more pictures from the garden:


Tomatoes

Snow peas

Cucumber plant

The boys playing with Christian in the "cave."  We hope we convinced Christian to join the garden next year :)



Saturday, June 4, 2011

T-ball


I can no longer question it.  Finnan was meant to play ball.  I have written before about Finnan's love for baseball.  He will spend hours playing in the backyard and intently focuses on any level game he is watching.  So, a couple of months ago, without much thought, I signed him up for the Decatur YMCA Tiny T-Ball league.  Then, I started second guessing myself.  For the past couple of weeks, he has seemed to become more reserved, preferring to spend time with me and Jude rather than social activities. I didn't want to show up to T-ball and feel like I was forcing him to participate.  And how can 3 and 4 year olds play T-ball anyway?

I am thankful that Atticus convinced me to keep him signed up and today Finnan became a Dodger.  The Dodgers had a 9:00 am game versus the Angels this morning.  As we were getting ready, Finnan continually questioned what his coach and other teammates were doing in the hours leading up to the game.  During our five minute ride to the field, he insisted on hearing every detail of what the field would be like and needed numerous updates regarding how close we were.  Needless to say, the boy was excited.  Finnan was the first team member to arrive at Renfroe Middle School's fields this morning and he immediately started practicing with the metal (yikes!) bats they had placed out at the field.  When more of the Dodgers arrived, Jude started to feel left out, so I took him to play in a large sand pile at the other end of the field while Atticus stayed with Finnan.  Before the game, it looked like all of the Dodgers practiced hitting, running the bases, and throwing/catching.  Jude and I came back to watch the "game."  The game consisted of every child batting once.  Once the child hit the ball, he/she would be encouraged to run to the correct base and the fielding team would make some attempt to secure the ball and direct it toward first base.  Finnan had a great hit- the only one to go to the "outfield" and also fielded the ball once.  He needed a lot of encouragement to round the bases correctly and managed to slide into home, but about 5 feet away from home plate.  The game ended with a cheer, a line-up of high-fives and a Capri-Sun.

Finnan had a blast.  You could tell he has been studying "real" baseball players.  While he was in the field he would get into a squat stance looking very serious.  He did a great job listening and waiting his turn.  There were kids on the team who did shy away from the game, but he was definitely not one of them.  He was so eager to participate and be part of the team.  I felt like I could feel his confidence growing while he was out there.  I even feel like this confidence extended to the rest of the afternoon.  We went to the pool and he spent about two hours swimming between the wall and either Atticus or me about 6 feet away in the deep end (previously he had been very scared of the deep end)!

I am so proud of Finnan.  As a mother, I have kept him pretty close.  I almost feel like this is one of his first steps beyond my realm and it is exciting and scary at the same time.  It is thrilling to see the boy that you have put your heart and soul into grow and develop his own interests and loves, but frightening to know that his world is slipping out of your control.  Atticus and I love that both our boys seem to have athletic tendencies and hope to encourage that throughout their lives.  However, we were surprised and a bit discouraged by some of the "stuff" we saw involved in 3 and 4 year old games: kids with cleats, bat bags, special baseball socks.  Unfortunately, it does not seem that the games are going to stay pure and basic for long.