27 June 2007

an Evan update

I've finally figured out the cause of Evan's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality: he's a Gemini! It's so clear now.

"Gemini...is dual-natured, elusive, complex and contradictory. On the one hand it produces the virtue of versatility, and on the other the vices of two-facedness and flightiness. ... they demand attention, admiration, and the spending on them of time, energy and money, throwing tantrums if they don't get what they want... they take danger no more seriously than anything else."

It's so Evan! Okay, so I don't really believe in astrology, and there are plenty of things in that description that I didn't quote that don't describe Evan. But I can't help thinking it would be nice to have a solid explanation for his personality, because otherwise the only thing I can come up with is that he's a nutcase. Or a toddler. Hard to tell at this point.

This is the kid who snuggled in bed with me all morning and then, minutes later, screamed at me for talking to him. This is the kid who, when asked to stop hitting or kicking or biting his brother, will look at you with the saddest expression ever and say in a tiny, pathetic voice, "But I want to hit/kick/bite James," as if I'm doing Evan the greatest injustice in the world by asking him to refrain from inflicting harm on others. This is the kid who cowered in my arms when faced with the sprinkler yesterday, and then inexplicably tried to leap out of my arms to charge the sprinkler, all fear suddenly erased.

We have managed to cut down on some of the tantrums, but he still has a strong will and a fiery spirit that I think are never going to disappear. I just hope that in time we'll learn to channel his passions into constructive expressions instead of the destructive ones he's exploring now.

In other news, he's got a gigantic bruise next to his right eye where he fell and hit something -- nobody knows what, because no one saw him hurt himself. Over the last several days it's gone from shades of gray to purple, blue, green, and now a sickly yellow. This is why I included the part about not taking danger seriously in the quote above -- I imagine he probably dove head-first into something, or lost his balance trying to climb something dangerous. He has no concept of safety or self-control, and is constantly giving me reminders to never, ever leave him unsupervised, even for a minute.


24 June 2007

99 things

So do you all remember the 101 Things in 1001 Days challenge that I was going to try to complete? Well, I'm nowhere near completing it, but I am proud to announce that I'm almost done writing the list. Yep, yesterday I managed to get up to 99 items. Some of them are kind of lame, some of them are actually going to be a challenge, and a good quarter of the list involves things I want to do before I leave Rochester, which gives me a pretty short window in which to do them. I didn't anticipate what a challenge it would be to just write the list itself, so even getting to 99 feels like an accomplishment, even with all the lame things on it.

But the exciting news is that I've already completed 3 of the things on my list!

  • #1: Buy suits for the boys for my sister's wedding. You've all seen the photo evidence. Done! (And that is a good example of one of the lame items on my list.)
  • #10: Take my children camping this summer. Done!
  • #40: Have a yard sale before moving. Done! (Back in May, but I can't link it because I never wrote about it on the blog for some reason.)

That's two percent! And three more items will be completed soon: clean out all of our old junk before moving, move out of this apartment, and play in a frisbee league in spring and summer. Again, the first two of those are lame items that I was going to have to do anyway, but it is hard to come up with 101 things to do.

Which is where you come in, friends. Anyone want to make some suggestions of something I should do in the next couple of years? Something random, something realistic that I might actually be able to do, something creative, something challenging? Just not something too lame -- I've come up with enough of those on my own. I'm open to pretty much anything. Two more items! That's all I need! And actually, if I get enough interesting suggestions, I might replace something boring that's already on the list.

So, fire away!


22 June 2007

friday photos

Last weekend, kind of at the last minute, we decided to go camping. We went to beautiful Letchworth State Park and did some hiking, saw some waterfalls, and did a lot of playing in the river. This was Evan's first camping trip, and aside from crying "I WAN' GO HOOOOOME!!" for about half an hour after sunset on Saturday night, he did really well. Much like James at the same age, Evan's favorite camping activity was throwing rocks in the water. In fact, that was still James' favorite activity too.

We saw thousands -- and I'm not exaggerating -- of teeny-weeny little frogs all over the riverbanks. You'd walk along the sand and every step you took would send a dozen frogs hopping out of your path. They were very easy to catch, though:

Roasting hot dogs over a campfire -- there is very little that tastes better than this:

Evan, hiking, in a rare moment when he was not begging to be carried:

James posing on a bridge:

James playing by the river. Notice the rock cliffs; apparently Letchworth is known as the "Grand Canyon of the East":

We also took a lot of pretty nature photos -- butterflies, wildflowers, frogs. It was really nice to just get away and not think about stupid frustrating apartment hunting for a couple of days. We all really enjoyed ourselves -- hopefully we'll get to do it again soon.


21 June 2007


No, my success has nothing to do with apartment hunting. Stupid, frustrating, endless apartment hunting is not nearing success. No, this is about something much more important.

Yep, that's bread. But it's not just any bread. This is butternut oatmeal bread, which I baked myself, and it also happens to be the best loaf of bread I've ever baked.

I've been trying for years to bake a good loaf of bread. And when I say good, I mean edible. It's always been too dry, too moist, too dense, or too hard. I could get a good flavor but I never managed a good texture.

But now, with this recipe, and also with a few tips from a bread-baking friend of mine, I have produced a delicious loaf of home-baked bread.

Now if only I could find an apartment, I'd be truly happy.


19 June 2007

the moving situation

Notes from Melissa and Samay about my last post made me realize that I never actually explained our moving situation on the blog (or to my friends, for that matter. Sorry!). So here it is:

Greg is finishing the sixth year of his PhD work. We have lived in student housing for those six years. There is a six year time limit for student housing. Greg expects that he has another six months or so until he completes his PhD. We applied for an extension to remain in student housing for those six months. We were denied because they don't really care about our inconveniences, not when there's a waiting list a mile long for student housing. Therefore we have to look for a new apartment for our last six months here.

Then, Greg will be a doctor (not in the medical sense, of course, but I fully intend to refer to him as such) and he will score a sweet job in some idyllic place and we will move far away and live happily ever after. That's the plan, anyway.

So yeah, it sucks, getting kicked out of our wonderful apartment that we've loved pretty much without reservation for six years. To move into somewhere else where it won't even make sense to unpack everything because soon enough we'll be out again. And have I mentioned how ridiculously difficult it is to find a six-month lease? We have found ONE place that will give us a six-month lease, for $100 more per month. Sweeeet. Greg thinks subletting is a good idea; I'm skeptical.

Nevertheless, we will figure this out, because we have two months and one week until we have to be out of here. I'm just hoping we figure this out sooner rather than later.


18 June 2007

in which i use Too Many Capital Letters

So have I mentioned how much I hate apartment hunting? Because I do. I really, really hate it. I don't think I can possibly stress enough how tired I am of this. Would you like to hear all about it? I thought you might.

You may have noticed my lack of blogging lately. I'm spending a lot of time on Craigslist these days, and on pretty much any other local rental website I can find. I also scour the rental ads in the papers, and pick up the free real estate booklets from teh grocery store. I am getting to be a pro at scanning the ads; however, there's not much out there that meets our criteria. Here are our criteria:

  • 2-3 bedrooms
  • storage space
  • within our budget (i.e., pretty frickin' cheap)
  • in a semi-decent neighborhood
  • near a semi-decent school
  • willing to give a short-term lease

Does that sound impossible to you? It didn't sound impossible to me when we started looking, but apparently I'm pretty naive. The one thing we really can't compromise at all is the price we can afford to pay, so we're being forced to revise all of the rest of our standards. Like, it goes without saying that we won't be living in the Beautiful Amazing Pricey Suburb, which means that James will not be going to kindergarten in one of the best school districts in the country, but instead will be going to whichever underfunded city school still has room. We won't even be living in one of the Cool Urban-by-Choice Artsy Neighborhoods. No, we'll probably end up in the Pretty Decent Neighborhood, But Don't Go Too Far North (Or East, Or West) Or It Gets Sketchy Neighborhood.

I'm pretty sure that last sentence didn't make sense, but I think you get my drift. We will be settling.

We've looked at a few places so far, and they have universally been either Too Expensive, or Too Small. Sometimes both. Correction: there was one place that's neither Too Expensive nor Too Small, but Very Far Away, which kind of equates to Too Expensive in time and transportation costs. Given all of that, we will probably end up with Too Small. That should be fun. You know, with the two growing, energetic, rambunctious boys and all.

I just keep telling myself that this will only be for six months. No matter where we end up living, no matter which school James ends up in, no matter whether I have to drive Greg to school every day, no matter what kind of freaky neighbors we end up with, no matter how small the apartment, it's only for six months. Six months. We can live with anything for just six months, right?

And then we start the apartment hunting all over again.


05 June 2007

two years

Today is Evan's second birthday. My second baby, my little blonde cherub, my whirling dervish, my snuggly child, my banshee, my unpredictable, uncontrollable, charming, loving, darling baby boy.

I feel like, in many ways, this has been the Evan Blog, chronicling his growth and development as well as my challenges and difficulties in raising a child so much like me in some ways, so I won't write much. It's hard for me to put this love for him into words anyway.

We had a small birthday party on Sunday, for which I made a Totoro cake:

Evan's very excited about a new sand digger from Aunt Kim and Uncle Jon:

And he's already been having a lot of fun with the caterpillar tunnel Aunt Ren and Uncle Mike gave him:

And here are the boys enjoying a new book from Grandma:

It's hard to believe we're at two years already. In some ways it feels like the time has just flown by, but in other ways it seems we've only just begun.

Happy birthday, Evan!


04 June 2007


My five-and-a-half-year-old has a LOOSE TOOTH.

I don't know what it is about this development, but I am suddenly feeling incredibly old. Yet I'm also really excited for him. I remember really liking losing my teeth as a kid, what with all the tooth-wiggling and the tongue-playing and the gaping holes. So this is fun. About four times a day we have the following conversation:

Me: James, how's that tooth?!
James: Wigglier!

And then he will usually run over to wiggle the tooth for me, and show me just how wiggly it is now.

He's also coming up with all of these crazy scenarios, like "What if I'm playing outside and I fall on my face and my tooth falls out and I swallow it?" And after hearing stories from my mom and Greg he's slightly afraid to eat anything crunchy. But clearly, despite these worries, a loose tooth is still a very cool thing.

For me, this is another one of those "My little boy is growing up!!!" moments. I was just not ready for this to happen so soon. He's only five! I mean, first it's a loose tooth, next he's in kindergarten, and pretty soon (to borrow from Ryan) he'll be getting his driver's license and leaving for college, and why doesn't anyone ever tell you that childhood goes by so quickly?!?!

Prepare yourselves for pictures of the gaping tooth-hole -- possibly even in time for this week's Friday photos!


01 June 2007

friday photos

Okay, I know I suck at this blogging thing lately. But instead of making excuses for myself, I will post photos!

I got all dolled up for my sister's wedding:

And my baby looked pretty angelic (and actually behaved pretty well too! No screaming during the ceremony! Well, we didn't end up having him in the church during the ceremony, but still! No screaming from the cemetery outside to disrupt the ceremony! Good job, kid!):

My handsome boys at a second wedding last weekend -- they clean up real good, huh?:

Back to the first wedding. James was in love with my sister all day, and can you blame him?:

This is how James spent much of the reception:

And this is how Evan ended up:

A shot of the wedding party (I'm next to the bride):

And a shot of my beautiful sister and my new brother-in-law:

We had a great weekend -- the weddings were lovely, the receptions were lots of fun, the weather was gorgeous, and my kids more or less behaved. Also, I got to dance with Greg! One dance, but still fun. Couldn't ask for more.

Okay, well, I would have liked more dancing with Greg, but other than that it was a pretty stellar weekend.