30 March 2007

friday photos

If you were to come to our house, this would greet you on our front stoop.

James, on a recent trip to the cool playground.

Evan, riding Clifford the Big Red Dog.

Evan in a playground tunnel.

Evan, in the infamous spaceship box.

Crocuses in my garden! At least I think they're crocuses. I'm not a botanist.


29 March 2007

baby's first knock-knock joke

Evan told his first ever knock-knock joke today. And his second! (Of course, you need to imagine this all in a sweet little baby voice, without pronouncing Rs or Ls.)

E: Knock knock!
Me: Who's there?
E; Toilet!
Me: Toilet who?
E: Toilet bathroom!

And then:

E: Knock knock!
Me: Who's there?
E: Toilet bathroom!
Me: Toilet bathroom who?
E: Toilet bathroom in your pocket!

And that's where I put an end to it. Probably my least favorite thing about having a second child is that everything is accelerated. He's making up knock-knock jokes before he's two! (And they're about as good as the ones James made up when he learned about knock-knock jokes when he was three or so.) But he's also picking up on the dreaded "bathroom talk" (as they call it at James' school, where it is very popular, perhaps because it is so sternly frowned upon) before he's two. That's not something we need.

But, you know what? I laughed. Because, as the mother of two boys, I can't not think bathroom humor is funny at least some of the time, because otherwise I'd go nuts.

By the way, today is, so far, a much better day than yesterday.


28 March 2007

101 things in 1001 days (part one)

Okay, it's been a whopper of a "My Kids are Driving Me Crazy" day (I made a third child cry today! How evil am I to expect a preschooler to carry his own sweatshirt?!?! Oh, the tragedy!), but I feel like I've been really negative on the blog lately, so I want to switch gears here and write something positive for a change.

From the blog Get Rich Slowly, I found an interesting meme: make a list of 101 things to accomplish in 1001 days (roughly 2.75 years), and try to achieve them. I've been mulling it over in my mind for the last couple of days, trying to decide if I really feel ambitious enough to take on a challenge like this -- it'll be hard enough to even think of 101 goals in the first place, much less actually complete all of them! But then I thought, it's so rare these days that I actually challenge myself (instead of being challenged, in both good and bad ways, by various small children) -- why not give it a try? Worst case scenario: I don't finish everything (though I will surely finish some things. I've got almost three years, after all). Best case scenario: I accomplish 101 things! And I think it would be really exciting if I could do that.

I don't have a whole list worked out yet, but I'll post it in sections as I think of things. They won't all be monumental challenges; some will likely be pretty mundane. Some will be short term, some will be long term, some will be difficult, some will be easy. We'll see what I can do. To begin with, here are my first 10 goals.

1. I will buy suits for the boys for my sister's wedding. (This will be done by the end of May, or I'll be in trouble.)
2. I will toilet train Evan. (Three years should be enough time, no?)
3. I will knit another Christmas stocking, so my boys can each have one. (To be completed before Christmas 2007.)
4. I will bake a cheesecake. (I have never done this, even though I love cheesecake. I've just never had an occasion.)
5. I will clean out the basement (and the rest of the house) and either sell our things at a yard sale, donate things to James' nursery school's garage sale, donate to the Salvation Army, or throw away the worst of it. (Hopefully in the next couple of months.)
6. I will grow tomatoes and eat them. (And hopefully other delicious things, too, once I have the space.)
7. I will move out of our current apartment to go live somewhere else. (Lack of details aside, this will hopefully happen in 2007.)
8. I will register James for kindergarten. (In April, once we find out about extending our lease here.)
9. I will play in a frisbee league this spring and summer (and fall if we still live here then). (I will do this even though it scares me because I am ridiculously out of shape.)
10. I will take my children camping this summer.

Anyone want to try it with me? Anyone have any suggestions for things you think I should try to do?


what does it take to get fired from this job?

The events of this morning have made it clear to me that, if this were a paying job, I'd have either quit or been fired by now, because I am really not that good at this stay-at-home parenting thing.

This morning, I'm babysitting for a friend's son while James is at school. Currently my baby is on the floor screaming for orange juice, because he's not interested in the water I'm offering him. The only reason that the boy I'm sitting for is no longer crying is because I turned on the TV to shut the kids up. I make children cry! I make children cry because I will not give them orange juice when they turn up their noses at the drink I've already gotten them, and because I will not return them to their mothers an hour before the scheduled time. I have never heard so much crying! The kid I'm sitting for has a pair of lungs to rival Evan's, and that's saying something.

Who let me be a stay-at-home parent, anyway? I'm not qualified. My house is constantly a mess; my five-year-old is still not registered for kindergarten (I got the paperwork in December); I cannot for the life of me convince my toddler to eat a single vegetable, even those he once loved; I bribe children with video games and television; and now, this morning, I had two children, one of whom is not even mine, screaming at me for different reasons, while the other mothers on the playground looked on with pitying smiles.

It has been a rough morning.


27 March 2007


I think I forgot to mention that I survived as a single parent last week while Greg was out of town. I mean, obviously I survived. But it actually went a lot more smoothly than it ever has before. I can't decide if it's because my kids are getting better, or I'm getting better. Probably a little bit of both. I think some of the credit should also be given to the video games I rented just for the occasion. I don't like my kids to play a lot of video or computer games -- I think I'm more permissive about it than other parents we know, but less permissive than Greg -- but sometimes, when you know you have four full days ahead of you of full-time, solo parenting, letting your Star Wars-obsessed kids geek out to a Star Wars Legos video game (which is the second-cutest video game ever made, right behind Viva Pinatas) seems like a necessary thing to do. Besides, the games are going back to the store this afternoon, so I can return to my stinginess about child gaming and not feel so guilty.

In other news, yesterday the friendly UPS man delivered the bridesmaid's dress I'll be wearing in my sister's wedding in May. I was excited to get the package, but then dismayed and disappointed to take it out of the box and try it on, because it's at least two sizes too big. I wasn't expecting it to be perfect, because we ordered the dresses online without being fitted for them, and I am relieved that it doesn't make me look fat, as I had feared it would, but according to the sizing of this dress, someone with my waist size (which nearly fits) should have breasts each the size of her own head (and to say that I don't is probably the biggest understatement I've ever written). Ah, but now I have alterations to look forward to. Although, maybe I should just forget about continuing to lose my baby weight (I know he's almost two. I'm lazy!) and just try to grow into this monstrosity of a dress! Or... not. Not really.

My boys were excited about the dress delivery as well, not because they care about bridesmaid's dresses, but because it came in a box! Can you believe it?!?! A BOX! A box that's big enough for only one of them to sit in at a time and thus has provoked several screaming matches about whose turn it is! To sit! In the BOX! Oh, sorry, did I say box? I meant spaceship.

Okay, I didn't really have much to say today, but I thought that I've been neglecting the blog enough lately, so a short and mostly pointless update will have to do.


26 March 2007

signs of spring

Tulips and crocuses are almost blooming in my garden. On Saturday we had the first thunderstorm of the season. Yesterday I took the boys to a nature center to learn about making maple syrup and maple sugar. Huge flocks of geese are daily flying overhead, returning north in their migration.

This is my favorite time of year. Just when winter has gotten to be too long, too dark, too isolating, things start to thaw and grow. Sunshine, flowers, birds, rain... it's not very green yet, but it will be. Soon.

Of course, there's always the possibility of a surprise April (or even May) snowstorm (or ice storm), but I'm counting on global warming to carry us straight through to summer this year, with no setbacks. I am so ready for spring to be here.


16 March 2007

friday photo

Sorry, faithful readers, only one Friday photo today. It was the only one I took this week, because all of a sudden, for no good reason, I decided to start my spring cleaning, so I've been busy. Blogging may be light for a while -- we're going out of town this weekend, to my mom's. I could blog while I'm there -- my mom has finally joined the 21st century and has gotten not only internet access, but also a computer that was manufactured sometime after 1985 -- but I probably won't. Then as soon as we get back, Greg is leaving on a trip for work, so I'll be single parenting for most of next week.
This week's photo is an art project James made -- a representation of his brother:

Have a good weekend!


13 March 2007

happy birthday to greg

Yesterday was Greg's birthday. He's 28 now, which makes him thismuch closer to being Old. I didn't write anything yesterday, because I spent too much time thinking about what I could possibly write. How can words accurately describe a man who is equal parts genius and ridiculous; who is the best father to my sons I could have ever hoped for; who makes me laugh every day, even when I'm crying; who builds models of solar panels out of Legos; who can outcook me every time without so much as glancing at a recipe; who mended the lining on his childhood baby blanket for James to have; who sings and dances and invents and creates and cooks and tells stories and otherwise makes life so much fun?

Characteristically, I will take the lazy way out -- but it's no less true for not being wordy. All I can think to say is that there's no one else with whom I'd rather be sharing my life and raising my children, no one else with whom I'd rather spend time, no one else whom I trust more in this world. We've been together six and a half years and it's never been boring. I love him, and I'm thankful to have him in my life, and now I will present photographic evidence to demonstrate things I love about Greg:

Happy birthday, Greg. :)


09 March 2007

friday photos

All Evan this week, because I haven't taken any photos of James in a while. Also, I feel a little guilty complaining so much about Evan lately that I thought I should balance it out with a little positive attention, because he is very cute when he's not being a terror.

This photo is fuzzy, but I had to share it because he looks like a vampire and it cracks me up:

The next two photos show what happens when a baby wakes up at the crack of dawn every day -- he falls asleep mid-morning in random places and doesn't wake up again...

...even if you transport him from the car to the house and lay him on the stairs to remove his outdoor clothes:

Now I'm wondering whether I can really keep this up as a regular feature, because these photos are kind of boring. Maybe I should just make my children do more ridiculous things for the sake of cute photos for the blog.


07 March 2007

my children are driving me insane

Okay, I really don't want this to turn into the "My Children Are Driving Me Insane" blog, but it's hard to avoid it on the days when you would sell your children on the black market for enough cash to get a full body massage and a meal cooked by someone else. Someday, I will return to writing Posts With Substance, but today is not that day. Today, my children are driving me insane.

To be fair, I should specify that it is Evan driving me insane. I do get annoyed with James crying that Evan is hitting him or biting him, but Evan is ultimately the source of those problems. And Evan... what can I really say that will fully impress upon my readers the horrors of living with a toddler deep in the throes of the terrible twos, one who is prone to screaming, hitting and biting, one who wakes at ungoldy hours of the morning, piercing the darkness with banshee-like wails?

Most mornings we have the first screaming fit before 8am. What makes him scream? Well, your guess is as good as mine. It changes day to day. For example, today he asked me for a banana. Okay, I said, and got him a banana. Then: "NOOO!!! I want baby banana!" Okay, I said, and found the smallest banana I could find. "This baby banana?" "NOOO!!! I want baby banana!!!" Okay, I said, and asked him to show me which was the baby banana. At this he threw his head back and started crying. "NOOO!!! I want magic baby!"

Whatever that means.

Then there are the times he starts screaming and crying for no reason, at least no reason you can determine. At least three times a day we have the following conversation:

Me: Evan, what's wrong?
Evan: I cryin'.
Me: Why are you crying?
Evan: I sad.
Me: Why are you sad?
Evan: I cryin'.
Me: Why are you crying?
Evan: I sad.

Etcetera, etcetera.

Today I'm far more tired than usual, due to being jolted into consciousness before 7am by lots of shrieking. Evan is clearly overtired as well, and when the two of us are both overtired it does not make for a pleasant day for anyone. James was so easy in this regard -- always so good-natured -- that I'm still figuring out how to deal with a child who is so much more like myself (ie, moody and cranky). So please indulge my self-pitying complaining post -- if you've read this far I congratulate you -- and one day we will return to our regularly scheduled blogging, when I will write about interesting things.


06 March 2007

i'm so spoiled

Yesterday, James went home from nursery school with a friend of his to play for the afternoon, and this afternoon, he is at some kind of preschooler gym class with another friend. Combine that with the long naps Evan has been taking lately (because he's been waking up at 6am) and I've been having a good time the last couple of days.

And -- you're not going to believe this -- I haven't been completely lazy the entire time! When left to my own devices, I occasionally spend my time doing something worthwhile. Observe:

I made pillowcases! (Hey, Mom! I used my sewing machine!) I guess I don't completely fail in domesticity after all. Our couch pillows were getting worn and ratty, so yesterday I bought fabric and made pillowcases for our hideous old pillows. (Because, remember, instead of fixing things, I cover them up. Much less effort that way.)

So, I'm awfully pleased with myself. It only took a couple of hours without the kids shrieking and climbing on me to actually accomplish something. Amazing. Of course, today I'm getting a couple of hours to myself again and so far I've spent most of my free time on LibraryThing, updating my library, and next I'm planning to upload and sort a bunch of photos, but still, those are accomplishments. Not important ones, but I've spent plenty of time in my life doing much less productive things.

It is just so nice to have time to myself. I don't think I can stress that enough. And I will be sad tomorrow when I have to be with both of my kids all day long again. But hey, we only have seven months until kindergarten! I'm starting to look forward to that.


02 March 2007

friday photos

I think I'm going to make Friday photos into a regular feature. I had to do it today because my kids are being so whiny and obnoxious and disagreeable that I needed to remember that they can be very cute and charming when they want to be, and therefore I should refrain from throttling them.

Evan peering through binoculars with lens caps on.

James demonstrating a headstand

Evan in butterfly wings (by the way, he is wearing James' turtleneck over his own dinosaur pajamas. This is what happens on the rare occasions Evan cares what he wears -- he is adamant about looking ridiculous.)

Found James sleeping like this when I went in to check on him last night before I went to bed -- he's snuggled at the foot of his bed with all of his pillows, blankets and sleeping bag. Wouldn't be surprised if there were some stuffed animal hidden away in there as well.