Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Because

Because the weather was warm.  Because the Bradford Pears just started to bloom.  Because the smell of early Spring was upon us.  Because Rory lounged on the porch swing for the first time.  Because Rory was smiling at one of his favorite faces (Finnan's).  And because I want to remember this particular moment, dimples and all. 




In this picture, you can see the brown speck in Rory's right eye (on the left side).

Goodnight, T-Rex

Naps have become virtually non-existent for Finnan and Jude.  I don't mind.  On days when I want to be out and about, it gives me the freedom to do so.  On days when I want to stay home, I still enforce rest time.  For rest time, I still go through the motions of putting them to bed.  But when my footsteps fade away down the stairs, the fun begins.  A while ago, Finnan started creating "stories" for the two of them.  Initially, the "stories" would be shows with their stuffed animals as characters.  More recently the boys have become characters in these scenarios as well.  Last week, after about two hours in their room they ran down stairs to tell me they had been to the moon.  They told me about their rocket ship and their journey (during which they drank juice and took naps).  They put on space suits and even stomped around on the moon's surface.  

They are typically not quiet during rest time, so I hear a lot of what happens.  As long as they are getting along, I will let them get away with just about anything.  Well, except when they decided to take their beds apart and pull the mattresses on the floor.  Or the time when they decided it was a good idea to pour water into their tunnel.  But even then, while I have to disapprove, I am not mad because they are cooperating and truly being "best brothers."  It is amusing though as soon as they hear my footsteps coming upstairs, they stop and whisper, "Hide! Hide!" and cuddle up together in one of their beds while hiding their faces.  

Today, I wasn't feeling well, so I told them I was going to try to nap as well.  Jude then insisted on sleeping with me.  He also insisted on bringing his menagerie.  So along came giraffe, baby giraffe, monkey, Elmo and T-Rex.  As soon as we got settled, he sat up and started "making a story."  I could not convince him to move his story upstairs or abandon his story all together, so we compromised.  His story had to be about putting his animals to sleep.  At first there was some discussion amongst the animals regarding friendships.  Then, one by one, T-Rex took each of his buddies in his toothy grin and put them to bed.  When it was finally T-Rex's turn, Jude whispered, "Goodnight, T-Rex," settled down next to me, took my hand in his and slowly drifted off to sleep.  

Instead of sleeping myself, I watched him.  Just months ago, this blond-haired, chubby-cheeked boy was my baby.  It was nice to be reminded that he still is.              

A new season

This weekend kicked off our new season at the neighborhood garden.  The group had originally planned to work from 9-12 on Saturday, but everyone was excited and ready to get the garden going and most people stayed until about 3 with some continuing to work until 5:30.  The morning started off cold, but the sun broke through and it turned out to be a perfect day.  

We had to start by clearing last year's plot of weeds and weed guard.  The boys were thrilled to see that their best bud, Christian and his family joined the garden this year.  The three of them came ready to work (and play).  




After the plot was cleared, we needed to add more dirt, re-till, and re-distribute the beds.  Last year the beds were too close together and with the growth of all the plants it quickly turned into a jungle.



We had some issues with our tiller, so everyone got in a line and mixed in the dirt and other fertilizers with shovels.


I thought I had come prepared to work as well.  I remembered Rory's favorite bouncy chair and hoped that he would settle in a watch.  Unfortunately, I was unable to put him down.  He took one brief nap in the Ergo but then I spent the rest of the time bouncing and pacifying him.  I did make myself useful by running to Publix with Shelly to buy everyone lunch.  I also tried to document the day (although one-handed).


While we were eating lunch, the boys continued to work on the rows.


And then, decided that the garden would make a wonderful dinosaur land.  Below is a picture of a stand-off between Stegosaurus, Brachiosaurus and T-Rex.


In addition to prepping our original bed, we also put some lettuce, sugar-snap pea, and beet plants (that had been started in Monica's greenhouse) along with some other seeds in the ground.  We also tilled (we ended up renting one from Home Depot) a second large plot and a small children's plot to accomodate the increased membership and new plants.

I finally called it quits and took the boys home at 3.  All four of us were exhausted.  (I feel bad because I just watched the process, but really, bouncing a two month old for 6 hours is hard work, too!)  Atticus helped finish the tilling and did not make it home until 4:30.  (And, he is now at the chiropractor for the second time this week.)

My Uncle Mark and his sister Lisa were passing through Atlanta on their way to more home renovation projects in Florida and stopped in to visit for the night.  It was so nice to visit with them and they treated us to a dinner at Figo.  Thank goodness, I did not have to cook!

Though it was frustrating to me that I could not help at the garden, I am very excited to see everything in motion again.  It looks like in a few weeks, I will be able to make my daily stop by the garden to pick up a few lettuce leaves for our dinner salad.  And with all of the other garden members so committed, our earlier start date, and lessons learned from last year, I know we will have even a better season.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Jude "reads" to Rory

Jude has been enjoying the reemergence of the "baby" books.  When I am nursing Rory or playing with him on the floor he will bring book after book for me to read to him.  These are the Sandra Boynton books, "That's not my..." series (or any book with soft things to touch), cloth books, and his favorite, even when he was a little(r) one, "Dear Zoo."  He has started reciting a lot of these books to himself when I don't have a free hand.  This morning, I asked him to read "Dear Zoo" for the camera.

video

Monday, February 20, 2012

Grandma Ople

I don't know who Grandma Ople is, but I will always remember her name.  She has the best apple pie recipe.  Her recipe has become a staple in our home.  Here is "Apple Pie by Grandma Ople" from allrecipes.com:

Ingredients

  • 1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 8 Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored and sliced


Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add water, white sugar and brown sugar, and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature and let simmer.
  2. Place the bottom crust in your pan. Fill with apples, mounded slightly. Cover with a lattice work crust. Gently pour the sugar and butter liquid over the crust. Pour slowly so that it does not run off.
  3. Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Continue baking for 35 to 45 minutes, until apples are soft.


The only thing we change about this recipe is the type of apples.  Granny smiths seem to be the one type of apple that does not make an appearance in our house.

Normally, we bake on cold or rainy days.  Today was neither, but when I went to the kitchen this afternoon and the sweetest treat I could find was a bottle of Reisling.  My craving for something sweet was so intense, I considered opening the bottle for far too long, considering it was 3 o'clock in the afternoon.  Fortunately, we had a box of apples and, now, an afternoon activity.  When the boys woke up from their naps, we got to work.  

Peeling.

Chopping.

Very intensely chopping.

Preparing the lattice crust.


Making sure that "This is good for you?"

And then giddily posing with the final product.

Instead of mixing the apples with sugar and cinnamon, the apples in Grandma Ople's pie are put into the crust plain.  Then a hot butter-sugar mixture is poured over the lattice crust.  This seeps through the crust to soak the apples, but also creates a bakery perfect, butter-sugar crust.  Right out of the oven, it's goodness is right up there with a hot glazed Krispy Kreme.  Yum.  

And as an aside, I have to post a picture of Finnan.  One day, maybe he will see this and thank me for being such a patient and composed mother despite some of his intense (to put it nicely) moods.  Particularly after he has awoken from a nap....


Lovely, huh?  It was even better with his tone.  Luckily, he cleaned up his act and he was able to stay downstairs and help us with the crust.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Rory at 2 months



I can't help but smiling when I look at my baby boy and he can't seem to help smiling back at me.  That is how our days go.  He loves his vibrating chair that we set up wherever we are.  From his throne he can watch over us and flash smiles while we bustle about around him.  He also loves play time on a blanket in his room.  Unlike my other two boys, he seems to prefer just hanging out staring at us rather than the play mat.  So, while the boys are at school or asleep we spend our free time that way.  He also really enjoys interacting with the mirror on his changing table.  I was able to sneak in a few pictures last week:



Recently, he has been looking a lot like Finnan as a baby.  Sometimes the resemblance almost takes my breath away, as it will bring back flashbacks of Finnan in a certain situation or outfit.  While he looks like Finnan, he seems to have a more social personality.  Like Jude, he is easily doles out smiles to all those around him.  When carried, he prefers to be held facing out and I am always getting reports of him smiling.  This may be why he has struggled with his car seat and Ergo carrier.  However, he has gotten much better with both and neither seem to be too much of an issue anymore.

Over the past couple of weeks I have been piddling with schedules for Rory.  It turns out, both Rory and I are happier without a plan.  I may have had a night sleeping breakthrough this week.  I let him fall asleep whenever he needs to, but I wake him up to nurse between 10 and 11 when I go to sleep.  With this new pattern, I have had two nights in a row with only one wake-up.

Rory had his two-month check-up today.  He is now 10lbs 10oz (25 percentile) and 23.5 inches long (50-75th percentile).  He was vaccinated against eight diseases (3 shots and one by mouth).  As the doctor was leaving he reminded me to make Rory's 4 month appointment and mentioned the different things he could be doing by then.  In the past that would have excited me.  Now, I wish I could keep things just the way they are.  Time truly does go by too fast.

Below is a video of him watching the jack-in-the-box for the second time.  The first time he giggled.  Although I did not catch a giggle the second time, I found his reaction amusing.  (Atticus and I have been trying to get his giggle on video but apparently one thing he definitely does not find funny is being videotaped.)

video

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A trip to the bike park

Since Friday, our house has been overtaken by a stomach bug.  Another one.  Every day, I thought one of them would be better, then the symptoms would return and they would both be fever-laden on the sofa and rushing to the bathroom.  Yesterday morning, they both seemed miserable, again.  Another trip to the zoo was cancelled and they settled down for a movie.  Around noon, the boys seemed to perk up and couldn't bear to spend the day inside.  It was too beautiful.  My mom, who is in town for the week, and I loaded the kids and the bikes into the car and headed to the bike park (well, first we headed to the fabric store, then since we survived that with three boys, headed to the park). 

With Decatur schools out for the week, the park was booming.  Kids sped around the trails on all sorts of wheels.  A boy, who was about ten, befriended Finnan, continually enticing him to race (something my competitive boy can never turn down).  With training wheels, on a bike that was a couple of feet shorter, Finnan didn't have a chance, but he kept meeting his "new friend" again at the starting line.  Finnan was thrilled when the older boy then tried to teach him new tricks- like how to ride with your feet resting on the handle bars.  Awesome.

After more riding and some playing on the playground the boys noticed some other children playing down by the creek.  I can never say no to natural exploration, so off we went to play in the creek.  


We started off on a bear hunt.


Then Finnan decided to act like a beaver and create a dam.


With Weggi's help, He was successful in slowing the flow a little bit and creating a bit of a pond.


While the beaver was at work, Jude went hunting for fossils.  He had a great find- a "HUGE" fossil from a T-Rex!  He loaded it up in the basket on his tricycle and added it to his growing fossil collection on our front porch.


I only intended to be at the park for a few minutes.  I knew the boys needed their rest.  But sometimes, the day is too beautiful and the imaginations are too hard at work to even consider packing up early.  And it always helps when the baby is contently bouncing in the Ergo.  By the time we got home, it was already dinner time.  They had missed their naps and hadn't eaten lunch.  Finnan was on the verge of a major meltdown.  I got some rice into him and he curled up and fell asleep on the sofa.  Ultimately though, I don't know if it was the sunshine or the microbes in the creek, but for the first time in almost a week, they both slept through the night and woke up happy and energetic. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

My afternoon



Last week, Jude decided to stop napping.  And, unfortunately, he does not yet have the same respect for a prolonged rest time as Finnan does.  By Thursday, I was worn out and for some reason, I had to have a milkshake.  So, we went to get Chick-fil-a milkshakes for the first time in over a year (for some reason the thought of having a milkshake during my pregnancy turned my stomach).  A cookies-and-cream for me, vanilla for Finnan, and strawberry for Jude.

From the back seat, I heard requests for the toy park, but since I deemed it my afternoon we headed to watch the chickens and play in sand box at the Oakhurst Community Garden. It turns out they can't cause any trouble while slurping down milkshake, so it was actually a quiet and relaxing afternoon.  And an unexpected surprise- Atticus was home early.  Just in time for the milkshakes to kick in.        

The mama sway

Today, in the midst of other errands, I spied a Trader Joe's.  I was with Shelly, so she stayed in the car with Rory while I ran in to get a few of my Trader Joe's favorites.  As I was standing in line, I realized I was cradling my groceries rocking them back and forth and gently tapping them on the bottom.  I was doing the mama sway with my pre-cut butternut squash, grass-fed beef hot dogs and roasted red pepper hummus.  The funniest part- even after I realized I was doing this, I couldn't stop.

But who can blame me for dreaming about holding this sweetheart...