Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Beware brownies before noon

Day 84

Day 174

Playgroup was celebrating all the June birthdays today, so there were snacks and treats and juice for the kiddos. In the summertime though, playgroup tends to meet a bit earlier, so as to beat the heat; this resulted in the consumption of sugary goodies before lunchtime, which is usually not on the agenda for Sir. I'm lucky he didn't go wild with the tray of baked goods and was actually quite content to chow down some grapes, but he did manage to sneak 2 brownies before I could stop him. He ran around for almost 3 hours though, so at least he burned off a fair bit of energy before we headed home for lunch.

There was, of course, the inevitable sugar crash, which ended up manifesting as Soren passing out on the couch while I was putting Eleri down for her late afternoon (5pm) nap. I'd given him my iPod to play with while I dealt with the girlo; I found and downloaded an amusing vocab app, which he's been enjoying today. I worried it might be beyond him (you have to drag letter tiles up to spell out a word), but he caught on really quickly. Pretty slick little learning tool! He played that til he got drowsy, then I guess switched over to YouTube and attempted to watch a video. When I put Eleri down and retrieved the 'pod from the sleeping boy, he was in the process of trying to email some random video to a couple of gibberish email addresses. (Side note: If you ever receive a link to a YouTube video from me and have absolutely no idea what possessed me to send you such a thing, it was probably Soren who did the sending.)

Even though it was late, I went ahead and let him nap on the couch for 45 minutes. Poor choice, as always. Bedtime is currently much more of a struggle than normal (sorry, Tom).

Tomorrow we get to deal with fixing/replacing a tire on our car. That ought to be fun! Dunno how I ended up with a slow leak in one of the tires - I didn't see anything stuck in the tire itself, though that doesn't mean much - but I've got one. Additional side note: Since when does it cost money to put air in your tires at a gas station? Seventy-five cents to run the compressor for, I don't know, two minutes, maybe three. There was a sign on the compressor touting "FREE PRESSURE CHECK!"...yeah, through the in-line gauge. Gee, thanks. It occurs to me that the gauge would work even if the compressor were not running, but I'm hard-pressed to come up with a scenario in which you'd be likely to check your tire pressure and not add any air.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tuesday afternoon is never-ending

Day 83

Day 173

When I was getting Eleri dressed this morning, I put a bib on her since she's been kind of a drool monster lately. Soren didn't want to miss out on this marvelous fashion accessory and insisted on digging a bib out of Eleri's drawer for himself. As you can see, he chose a pink one with a kitty cat on it.

We went over to A's house in the afternoon. The boys played outside with A's water table, thoroughly drenching themselves. At one point they started drinking the water (freshly refilled by A's mom) out of whatever cups and vessels were handy. A's mom had brought clean water out to the table in a big stock pot, which was then set down next to the table. Soren busied himself getting water in cups and then pouring it into the pot, and when he'd accumulated half an inch or so of water, he picked up the (enormous, compared to him) stock pot and proceeded to drink out of it like a cup. I wish I'd had my camera.

When Tom got home from work this evening, he was kicking the soccer ball around the living room, Soren chasing behind giggling uncontrollably. At one point, the ball rolled over to where Eleri was sitting in her purple chair, and she got all excited and started kicking at it & reaching for it. It was super cute. She entertained herself pretty happily with the ball while I was getting dinner together. I settled her facing the corner, with the ball in front of her, so it wouldn't roll out of reach, and Soren was sure I'd put her in time-out. Heh. Kind of hard to explain that one, since he's not allowed any toys in time-out.

A couple of Soren gems from today:

"Scaffolding needs hugs!"
"I'm not homing." (In response to me saying, "Come on, let's go home.")

I think there was a third, but I can't remember what it was. I should write these things down when they happen. ;)

Seriously? No nap after all that? I'm hosed.

Day 82

Day 172

Monday morning Soren decided 6:40 was a pretty fine time to wake up. The only good thing I can say about that is at least he didn't immediately leap out of bed and start making mischief. Well, and that 6:40 is later than...some even more unreasonably early hour. (So, there are two good things I can say.) Nevertheless, 6:40 is early, and I hoped I might luck out and get an afternoon nap out of the boy as a result.

The ramp up to the past week's temperature zenith was complete; yesterday we saw high 90s with enough humidity to make it hard to step outside without breaking a sweat. I say this not in my usual moaning-about-summer-weather fashion, but as further evidence that Soren should have been exhausted by the afternoon.

We were starting a new class at the rec center yesterday. Soren's buddy A was starting a different class, running at the same time as Soren's. A's mom suggested we meet at the playground before class, so the boys could do their running around before it got miserably hot. The rec center playgrounds are shaded, and there was an intermittent breeze, so it wasn't unbearable, but the boys still worked up a pretty good sweat with all their running around.

There was a day camp group on the playground while we were there. At one point, their counselor/teacher/leader called everyone over to get some water. I looked up to see Soren patiently standing in line with the rest of the (older) kids. Hehe. I went over to retrieve him; the woman asked me if he was allowed to have some, and when I said yes she gave him a cup of water which he gratefully downed. Well, he drank most of it and then decided it would be fun to stick his filthy hands in the remaining water. Aaaand this is why his exposure to open-top cups is usually limited.

We went inside for the class, which is called "Zoom around the Room." It's held in the soft play room, which is full of big foam blocks and slides and tunnels. There's also a ball pit. In this class, there's half an hour of free play, and then 15 minutes of songs and such. No crafts, no need to sit still. Soren was just about as happy as it's possible to be. He ran and climbed and slid and jumped and crawled and tumbled, all with a big grin on his face. He waited his turn to climb down the little wishing well thing. He followed directions really well; during song and circle time, the instructor got out a parachute and told all of the kids to go fetch 2 balls each out of the ball pit so we could bounce them on the parachute, and Soren dutifully ran over and fetched two balls, setting them on the parachute like he was supposed to. It was pretty great.

When class was over, he wanted to go back to the playground (no great surprise) but it was lunch time, and I was hungry, and we were headed into the hottest part of the day. So home we went, and lunched, and I was sure I'd be able to get him down for a nap. I was wrong. It didn't help that I had a heck of a time getting Eleri to fall - and then stay - asleep, but I don't think I'd have had any luck even if she'd been more cooperative. The afternoon devolved into one of those really trying days, with both kids seemingly ganging up to tread on my very last nerve. Sigh. It's got to be a pretty rough day for me to be really excited about getting to go running after Tom gets home. We did have a pretty kick-ass thunderstorm, which breezed in and out in the span of about half an hour, crashing and pouring and cooling things down considerably. That was nice.

And then Tom got home, and I did go run, and Tom made a delicious dinner of steak burritos, and the evening was better than the afternoon. Soren fell asleep pretty easily at bedtime (again, no great surprise), and I slept better than I have been, lately. All told, I'd say we're looking at a net positive on the day, starting the week out pretty nicely. :)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Yep, another weekend


Day 80

Day 170

A pretty mellow weekend around here, again. Too warm to do much outside the apartment, though the worst of the Saturday heat was kind enough to hold off until after my riding lesson in the morning. The instructor dragged a hose out to the arena and multi-tasked, teaching the class while keeping the dust at bay. We were warned that she'd spray us if she didn't like how we were riding (an empty threat), and I tried to come up with a good Silence of the Lambs joke - something to do with "get[ting] the hose again" - to fit the situation but failed. Ah well. Mid-way through the lesson she had us come over one at a time so she could hose down the horses' chests so they'd be more comfortable. It worked out pretty well.

Back home, I watched with Tom while the U.S. lost their game, which was a bummer. I still don't know anything like enough about soccer to offer any sort of analysis. Tom said something about weak central defense.


Day 81

Day 171

Chores, errands & Tivo rounded out the rest of the weekend. One amusing thing to relate from Sunday is something Tom told me after he & Soren got back from the erranding. While they were at PetSmart, they took some time to wander and look at the various critters. When they paused in front of the lizard cages, Soren said, "Dinosaurs!" Hehehe.

Eleri's gone back to pursuing the art of the raspberry. She's never quite taken to it the way Soren did, but she's definitely become more interested in the last few days. Cute.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Time for another Eleri video

Day 79

Day 169

Tom took a vacation day on Friday. Unfortunately, it was just too hot for us to get up the motivation to go anywhere, but that meant we had a nice, relaxing day at home.

I haven't got all that much to say about the day, so here's a video for you to enjoy. In response to several requests, I've attempted to capture lots of Eleri's little noises.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Happy birthday to me

Day 78

Day 168

Thursday morning it topped 80 degrees by 10am, so playgroup met at the library instead of the park. Soren was incredibly well behaved, happy enough to be playing with toys and running around with his friends inside the meeting room. Yay!

We hung around at home for the rest of the day, Soren playing with toys, Eleri napping off & on, me playing with the sweet new iTouch Tom got me for my birthday. :) Sushi for dinner topped off a nice, relaxing day. And now I begin my 30th year. Seriously, 29 years old? When did that happen?

(Um, yesterday. What, are you senile already?)

In the evening, Eleri was having some tummy time on our bed, and she was doing little baby push ups. More accurately, she was doing a cobra yoga pose. Stretch up tall for a couple of seconds, relax, repeat. That upper body's going to be super strong in no time!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Be afraid, Tea Partiers

Because what's more frightening than an NPR-listening 2 year old? That's right, we're raising yet another Academic Librul Elitist.

(Full disclosure: other things that have been identified this week as "spells Soren" include F-L-O-W-E-R-S, U.-S.-M-A-I-L and E-L-E-R-I. Hehe.)

Edited to Add:
For the heck of it, I sent the first part of that video to Kojo Nnamdi, hoping he'd maybe get a kick out of it. I was very amused to receive this emailed reply from him this evening.

Hi Susan,

Many thanks for sending us the video.

Your son (what is his name?) is clearly a well informed young man, not to mention handsome and perceptive. He fits the profile of the demographic group that listens to the show regularly. No doubt he turned you on to the show. Please express my sincere appreciation to him.

Also, if it is at all possible, we'd love to get a copy of the video that does not reveal any of your personal information. It would make an excellent instruction video for parents, and for young people from pre-school through college.

As you know by now, I am given to exaggeration.

Seriously Susan, I really appreciate your interest in the show, and hope we can get a copy of the video. And thanks for listening.

Kojo Nnamdi

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A little bit of this, a little bit of that

Day 77

Day 167

Around 4:00 this morning, Soren woke up bawling and made his way into our bedroom. When he had recovered himself enough to speak, he told Tom, "I flop down in the pool. I scary." (By which he meant "scared.") Which I think officially makes this the first instance when he's been able to verbalize a nightmare. I feel bad for the little guy, but it's interesting, nonetheless.

Our mall walk today was canceled because everyone else was either out of town, sick or otherwise engaged. So poor Tom, whom I'd more or less assured 2 hours of kid-free quiet time to rest his back on the couch while watching the soccer game, was graced with our company instead. Yeah, I could have taken the kids out of his way, but I was happy about the opportunity to watch the game live, myself. Eleri, at least, went down for her nap just as it was beginning, so there was just the elder scraeling to contend with. And what a soccer game! Infuriating and excruciating and exhilarating in turn. I'm glad I got to watch it.

Eleri's slipped a little in her ability to settle herself, which is a bit less convenient than before but not entirely unexpected. She still wakes up happy more often than not, and that is a wonderful thing. Another wonderful thing is that she's started to gently grab at our faces when we're holding her. It's darling.

One more day of high 90s, and then it's supposed to storm and cool off (ever so slightly) again. I was talking to my sister yesterday evening, guessing that even though it's a good 20 degrees cooler here than where she lives, it's definitely more humid. I guessed the humidity to be in the high 30s, maybe 40%. This was not correct, however. Right now it's 9:30pm, 86 degrees with 73% humidity. Heh.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Mashing these two together because, eh, I feel like it!

Day 75

Day 165

After her epic stretches of sleep on Friday and Saturday nights, Eleri was up twice in the night on Sunday. Which is pretty much what I expected would happen. And still nothing to complain about!

Monday was another hot day. Because I'm the smartest person alive, I decided to work on chores in the morning and then go out to run errands in the afternoon. Go me. While we were out & about, the first place we went was a craft supply store. Soren was doing his usual, "Whazzat? Whazzat?" routine as we passed the first few racks of craft project kits, which contained supplies to make little wooden door hanger things and tiny "stained glass" window decorative dealiedoos. A large number of these were religious-themed, so my reply to Soren's question was something along the lines of, "Birds. Teddy bears. Jesus." At which point he just started repeating, "Jesus Christ! Jesus Christ!" Ah, Mommy's little blasphemer...heh heh heh. I tried to divert him with, "No, we're not having any cheesy fries today." It didn't really work. I have really got to find another "I AM VERY EXASPERATED RIGHT NOW" phrase to use, because apparently under my breath is not subtle enough for Mr. Bionic Ears.

Making our way through the store was slow-going at times, because he kept asking to stop and count things. ("Count fishes? Count guitars? Count letters?") There were almost always five of everything, regardless of how many there *actually* were. Hehe.

One of the books I got for Soren from the library was Gray Rabbit's 1, 2, 3. In the book, Gray Rabbit finds some clay and fashions a bunch of critters out of it (1 wiggly, squiggly worm, 2 chattering, clattering toucans, etc.). When the book gets to 9, it's 9 spotted, dotted bugs. While we were out shopping on Monday, Soren kept pointing out things and declaring them to be "spotted, dotted." We saw spotted, dotted iPods in Best Buy and spotted, dotted cookies in Trader Joe's and spotted, dotted flower decals in the craft store. Such a goof ball, that boy.

Several people stopped to admire Eleri and ask how old "he" was. Yeah, so she was wearing red & blue, and she's been mistaken for a boy a bit more since I trimmed her side curls. It doesn't really bother me. It's not as though people recoil in horror when I say that she is five months old; they don't think she's adorable as a little boy but some sort of hideous specimen as a little girl.

Day 76

Day 166

Today was yet another scorcher. We took Tom to the doctor in the morning so he could get his achy back examined, and then invited A and his mom over to play in the pool. Unfortunately (having never had occasion to use the pool during the middle of a weekday) I failed to realize that both the outdoor and indoor pools don't open until 1pm, so we had to kill a bit of time on the playground and then come back inside to drink some more water and wait. When we headed out the second time though, the boys had lots of fun. A's been taking swimming classes at the rec center, so he was all about paddling around and blowing bubbles in the water. Soren was pretty happy to splash around and play with the foam pool noodles, but at one point he lost his footing in the (18" deep) water and tipped over. Unable to get purchase with either his hands or his feet, he floundered for a second or two with his face in the water until I picked him up. He was, understandably, very startled and cried just a tiny bit, his little heart racing. Poor little guy. But he recovered quickly, and though he was considerably more cautious thereafter, he still seemed to have a great time.

The fireflies are back. I really want to try and photograph some this year.

Monday, June 21, 2010

It's a little long

I kept the video a bit long so you can see his process through a few times & see how consistent he is. But you won't really be missing anything after the first iteration, so you can stop if you've had enough. At any rate, he's a funny one!

Fried things and Father's Day


Day 73

Day 163

Saturday was hot. Summer'd been kind of teasing us up to this point, giving us a few warm and muggy days, followed by some cooler ones, with some thunder storms thrown in for good measure. This weekend, though, Summer apparently decided it was time to put up or shut up, since temperatures jumped up into the 90s and are expected to stay there at least for the forseeable future.

Because of the heat, my riding instructor opted to take us on a trail ride, since it's about 15 degrees cooler in the woods than in the arena. It was a nice ride, and I even got to hop the pony I was on over a couple of tiny logs. I wouldn't mind getting to do more of that!

I re-made the mint lime quinoa salad Friday night, with a slight adjustment in method. Instead of chopping up all the ingredients by hand, I threw everything in the food processor and basically made a sauce, which I mixed into the quinoa. Then I put the salad in the fridge overnight. It came out really well!

Saturday evening we went over to A's house for dinner, where the menfolk deep fried a duck, some chicken legs, and some Pillsbury biscuits. These we ate with the quinoa salad, and it was quite the tasty feast! Before dinner, Soren & A ran around through the sprinkler in the backyard. Ah, the perks of summertime.

Day 74

Day 164

Eleri was a sleep champion this weekend. She slept all night, Friday and Saturday. And I'm not just talking the "through the night" infant metric of five or so hours. Friday night she slept for 9 1/2 hours, and Saturday night she slept for over 10! I can think of only one, maaaaybe two times when Soren's ever slept that long. And she's not sick, just growing! (And napping a fair bit less during the day, of late.)

So Sunday was, of course, Father's Day. Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there, not least my own! :) Tom got to celebrate it with lots & lots of World Cup soccer watching. Eleri & I ventured out into the hot day to pick up groceries and Chipotle for lunch while the boys stayed home and vegetated.

In the evening, Eleri managed to wriggle her way up on to her hands and knees for one brief moment, before crashing forward and landing on her nose. I'm not ready for her to be crawling yet! Unfortunately, I don't think I've got much say in the matter.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Football Friday

Day 72

Day 162

Friday morning was a nail-biter of a World Cup game for the U.S. team. I wasn't planning on watching, since I was recording the game for Tom anyway, and we'd be watching it after he got home from work. But I turned on the TV to experiment with the audio settings (apparently, if you have a frequency-specific equalizer, you can dampen the buzz of the vuvuzela horns by reducing the volume at 465 Hz and, I think, 240 Hz, or thereabouts) and got sucked into the game. So we ended up watching the first half before we left for the rec center playground. Even though Soren's rec center class is over, A still has a Friday morning class there, and Soren really looks forward to their weekly scamp-around-the-playground buddy time.

So we went, and I found the game on ESPN radio and listened some more. There was still half an hour left when I shut it off, and the U.S. was behind Slovenia, 2 goals to 1. In order to keep from spoiling the ending, I was careful about avoiding news and Facebook for the remainder of the day. Which made it immediately clear how often I usually check updates on Facebook. Yeesh.

Anyway, the U.S. ended up coming back and scoring a second goal, ending the game at 2-2. The second goal was scored by Michael Bradley, who is the son of the coach, Bob Bradley. Some TV announcer made the comment that Michael Bradley gave his dad such a great Father's Day gift. Without missing a beat, Tom said, "Yeah, a tie." Ha!

Moving on from soccer (and back a bit to the morning), Soren & A had their usual oodles of fun chasing each other around at the rec center. At one point, they were intentionally pushing the big tire swing such that it would swing back and nearly knock them over. Then one of them got on the regular swing and the other stood close enough to get bumped repeatedly. They thought these were excellent games and laughed gleefully all the while. Dorks. ;)

That's about all I've got for Friday. This week's video will probably be the making of the corn cakes, but I didn't do any video editing this weekend, so look for it sometime tomorrow.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Day 71

Day 161

Fort Ward Park in Alexandria apparently has a neat little Civil War museum, but we just went there for the playground today. It's shaded, and Soren & A had a great time chasing each other around for an hour or so. (They probably would have both been happy to stay longer, but we had to get back home.)

Soren was spun up like some kind of dervish nearly all day today. I'm not sure what that was all about. But he didn't stop flailing and squealing and making clucking noises until he was in his bed with the lights off. And even then it took some time for the madness to die down. I would have hypothesized he'd somehow gotten crack sprinkled on his pizza at dinnertime, only he'd been wild all day long.

Thursday's kind of becoming pizza night, since it's one of my nights to cook, and it seems like a really easily reheatable (or portable) dinner for Tom to eat on soccer game nights. Soren was excited to reprise his role as Chief Sprinkler of Pizza Toppings, helping me out while Eleri took her evening nap. After Tom left for his game, Soren and I watched the premiere episode of Top Chef: D.C.. Soren's name for Top Chef is "Diners," after we spent the last few weeks watching Top Chef Masters; at the end of each challenge, the chefs have their dishes rated by the judges and "the diners" (whom they serve at whatever event they're cooking for). The phrase Soren picked up from this show is, "The diners gave you...three stars," which he likes to say apropos of nothing throughout the day. It's pretty cute. Anyway, about halfway through the episode tonight, Soren declared, "No more Diners. Go play, go kick ball." I don't think I need to worry toooo much about him becoming a television zombie. Though he'd probably sit and watch several hours of Dora the Explorer if I let him. ;)

I have had 3 people approach me in the past week to ask about the Ergo carrier I've been borrowing from A's mom. Plus another handful of people in the couple of months I've had it. I can say after hauling Eleri around in it as much as I do, I like it a lot. I liked the Baby Bjorn a lot when I used it with Soren, but it seemed less comfortable this time around. I like that the Ergo spreads out Eleri's weight across my shoulders and lower back, compared with how the Bjorn centers everything between my shoulder blades. I don't like that I don't have the option of letting Eleri face out toward the world (or Soren, when he's sitting in the shopping cart) with the Ergo, or the fact that I can't strap it on myself one-handed after I've already picked her up. I love the little sun shade that's attached to the Ergo, and the fact that I can easily nurse her without taking her out of the carrier or even having to stop and sit down. I've nursed her in the grocery store, walking through the mall, sitting at the park, and while I won't get into the apparently RAGING CONTROVERSIAL ISSUE that is public breastfeeding, I'll say that the sun shade allows for a level of discretion that's comfortable for me and doesn't require me to deal with blankets and the like. I'm definitely a fan.

Just a quick thought

Some nights I'm much too sleepy. I meet Eleri's 3am grunts and mewlings with a combination of dread and exasperation born of exhaustion. Then there are nights like tonight, when she catches my sleep cycle just right, and 3am feels like 5am, and I'm delighted to discover upon waking to feed her that I'll have two extra hours of sleep coming my way when we're done. These are the nights when I really enjoy the nursing, and the subsequent cuddling to burp her, when she falls back asleep against my shoulder.

I'll miss this when she's older.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bits of Wednesday*

*Not, like, finely minced Wednesday Addams. What kind of sicko do you take me for?

Day 70

Day 160

Soren was great at the mall play area again this week. I don't want to say "we've turned a corner" because I know the very words will probably unleash a karmic bitch-slap and I'll be back to chasing him away from the escalators next week. But! We've totally turned a corner. He wasn't thrilled when it was time to leave, but on balance he behaved extremely well.

At one point, though, he took off his socks. He carried one sock over to me, and I asked him to go retrieve the other one from where he'd left it on the floor. Before he could get back to the sock, however, another little boy picked it up and started flinging it all around, while Soren chased after him, grinning and giggling like it was the best game ever. (The other boy eventually tired of the game, and Soren was able to reclaim his sock.)

While Soren played, Eleri practiced standing, drooling all the while with a big ol grin on her face. Soren came over a few times to give her hugs, which she was happy to receive.

In the car to run errands after mall time, the Kojo Nnamdi show came on NPR. Soren piped up from the back seat, "It's the Koj-amdi Show!" Hilarious and adorable.

Driving through the parking lot at BJ's, I had my eye on the available "Shoppers with Infants" parking space. I started down the aisle and put my blinker on when another car turned up the aisle toward me, signaling my intent to park in the open space. The driver of the other car (whom we'll call GHOB for Gray-Haired Old Biddy) immediately put on her blinker as well and swung into the space without so much as a pause. And she sure as hell didn't have any infants in her car. Upon seeing the sign and realizing her egregious error, GHOB backed out and parked in another open space...directly across the aisle from the "Shoppers with Infants" space. Seriously? You had to be a jerk and steal the space for which I was clearly signaling when there was a nearly identical one right across the aisle? Give me a break.

In the grocery store, we were accosted by CGSE (Crazy Grocery Store Employee), who made a big show of asking Soren if she could take Eleri home with her. Soren didn't seem to be at all sure what she was going on about, but correctly guessed that he was being asked a question and responded with, "Yeah." As we were leaving, CGSE was talking to one of her co-workers and pointed us out, saying, "That's the little boy who said I could have his sister!" I gave a chuckle and replied, "Yes, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to veto that one." She laughed and asked if she could at least be Grandma. Sure, lady. Sure.

(Lest you think I'm being uncharitable, I do realize she was just trying to be friendly. But she was too touchy with Soren, putting her hand on his shoulder and head, and I just wasn't really in the mood to deal with the crazy.)

I was on the phone with my mom when Tom got home from work today, so she can confirm the cuteness of what transpired. Upon seeing her dad walk through the door, Eleri started keening like a pterodactyl or a baby eagle or something cutely screechy. She was utterly delighted to see him. It was about as heartwarming as could be.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Like a (broken) record baby

Day 69

Day 159

Playgroup was canceled this morning due to threat of rain. And even though it didn't actually rain today, conditions at River Farm were likely extremely muddy after yesterday's downpour, so it's probably just as well we didn't go. Unfortunately, inertia is harder to come by as the day progresses, so despite my best intentions we never made it out of the house to some alternate play venue in the afternoon. And Eleri took only a very short nap in the morning and then nothing until 4:30! So it wasn't exactly the smoothest day ever, with two whiny, stir-crazy, non-napping children.

However, there's something I've been meaning to write about for a while, so our lack of exciting adventures for the day provides me with just the opportunity I've been waiting for.

I don't know about Tom, but there is really nothing that makes me feel more like a parent than hearing my kid call me Mommy. I know, this is kind of an obvious one, but it ended up striking me more than I anticipated. When I got pregnant with Soren, I was the only one in the group of co-workers with whom I usually socialized who was even close to having children. As a result, the nickname Mama was quickly bestowed upon me, and I got used to hearing it, long before Soren started addressing me as anything besides "Bwaaah."

Sentimental. Cute. Still not the thing I was going to write about. Merely a lead-up to this:

The thing that second most makes me feel like a parent is when I hear myself repeating "Mommy phrases" over and over and over (and over) every day. Such gems as -

"That's not food."
"That's not a toy."
"What are you eating?"
"Sit on your bum."
"Did you poop?"
"Gentle with Leo!"
"Gentle with Eleri!"
"Get down from there."
"Put that back."
"I said sit on your bum!"
"That's not yours."
"Water is for drinking, not spilling."
"On your bum!"

You get the picture.

I exaggerate, of course, for comedic effect. There are also lots of "C'mere, give me a hug"s and "Good job!"s and "Thank you for being such a good helper!"s. And probably the very most frequent thing I say, most days, is "What's what?" or "What do you think it is?" (in response to Soren's near constant refrain of "Whazzat?!").

What about you? Parents or not, what do you find yourself saying again and again?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Miscellaneous Monday

Day 68

Day 158

Eleri had her first haircut today. I decided the frizzy side curls just had to go, especially since the humidity is just making them frizzier and frizzier. She's still got the two-toned look going on, as her new hair is coming in very light and her original issue hair is brown, but she looks a little less crazy. I wasn't quite able to finish up because she started getting wiggly, but perhaps while she's napping tomorrow I can get the rest of it. I'm thinking about leaving the little poofy nest at her crown though. I'm not so much opposed to her looking like a troll doll, but those curlies at her temples were starting to bug me. I know, I know, she's a baby, and a girl to boot, so I should just leave her hair alone. It shouldn't matter if she looks completely unkempt, but I can't help fussing over it.

We had some ridiculously fortuitous timing while we were out grocering this afternoon. Soren (who had flatly refused to nap at home) of course fell asleep once we were underway in the car. This worked out pretty well because Eleri was hungry once we got to the store, so I was able to feed her while Soren napped. After we finished our shopping and got back in the car to come home, I'd no sooner backed out of the parking space when it started to rain. It continued to rain, quite heavily, while we drove home. I anticipated having to sit in the car a good while after we got back, waiting for the downpour to abate, but it stopped just minutes after we parked in front of our building. Pretty good!

It continued to rain, furiously and sporadically, over the course of the evening. At one point, while I was jogging on the treadmill at the gym, there was another cloudburst that sent all the lifeguards working the outdoor pool scurrying indoors, which was a pretty funny sight.

Soren's been pulling all of his (clean) diapers out of the diaper drawer and lining them up neatly on the floor. It's pretty funny. We've been making him practice counting as he walks across them like pond stones. He's getting a bit better at the counting, though he still tends to skip either 4 or 5. I said, offhand, to Tom yesterday that we should teach Soren Greek letters next. I was mostly joking, but Tom thought this was a great idea, though he rightly supposed we ought to teach him his lower case English letters first. Hehe.

Today Soren was having conversations on his toy phone. He ended many of them with, "Okay, catch you later, bye!" Guess he's been paying attention when I'm on the phone. ;)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

It's pronounced keen-wah, not kin-noah


Day 66

Day 156

Ah, lovely Saturday, with its four glorious kid-free hours (for me) in the morning and its horsing and its Chipotle for lunch and (this week) its World Cup soccer-watching. There were only two of us in my riding lesson this time, so N had us practice some skills on the longe line. We worked on transitions (walk to trot, trot to walk, walk to canter, canter to trot), just using our body position, without reins or stirrups to help us out. It's been a good long while since I did exercises like those, and though I was a bit rusty, I think I did all right. The trickiest exercise was doing trot to walk transitions while rotating our arms like a windmill, which was supposed to get us to use our seat independently. But it's definitely tough to concentrate on maintaining a rhythmic arm motion when the rest of your body wants to be still.

Back at home, we watched the U.S. manage to tie England in their first match of this World Cup. Tim Howard, our goal keeper, made some pretty impressive saves to keep England from outscoring us. (She said, as though she had any authority on the subject.)

After the game I gave Soren a haircut. He's funny; he calls the clippers the "hair vacuum," since they make a noise similar to the vacuum cleaner. Goof ball.


Day 67

Day 157

Today we had plans to go over to Chris & Sarah's for lunch, and I made a quinoa salad with lime & mint. I've never made quinoa before, and I managed to overcook it a bit, so it was a tad mushy but still tasted pretty good. Tom asked on our way out the door if I'd remembered to check their address, to plug into our GPS, and I said (all confidently), "Nah, it's fine, I know how to get there." It's one of those things I'm usually pretty good at; go somewhere a couple of times, and the directions are plotted on the virtual map in my head, as long as it's not toooo complicated. Famous last words.

I took a wrong turn, knew immediately it was wrong, but figured I could adjust our route accordingly and still end up approximately where we needed to go. 'Twas not to be, unfortunately. I got us all turned around, straying much further north and west than we had to be, eventually having to backtrack all the way back to the freeway and essentially start over. So that was fun. I got it right, eventually, but we were half an hour late. Soren fell asleep in the car while we tried to find our way, and Eleri (oh thank you Eleri, seriously) cooed happily all the while. It would have been even more stressful and frustrating if she'd been screaming and fussing. Fortunately, our friends didn't seem to mind our tardiness too much, and we had a very nice picnic lunch and visit. Soren laughed and laughed and laughed watching their cat perform some very acrobatic leaps to get his little mouse toys.

Chores, shopping, reset to start another week in the morning.

Eleri at 5 months

(or thereabouts)

Musical credit: "Rise and Shine" by The Cardigans

Hey-la, hey-la, my husband's back*

Day 65

Day 155

*This is not to suggest I had any harrassers nosing around here while Tom was away.

Friday! Whooooo! We made it!

In the morning we went to Soren's final ABCs and 123s class at the rec center. Over the 9 week session, he made some modest gains in the areas of arts & crafts participation and...well...that's about all, really. By this last class, he still wanted to run around during story time, pulling things off tables (scissors! staplers! open container of paint!) and getting into cupboards & cabinets. Eleri seemed more interested in the stories and songs than he did. I was moderately amused that the class instructor, who until yesterday never really made a point of calling the kids by their names, apparently thought Soren's name was Steven. Which is, you know, closer than the little girl she was calling Abby, whose name is actually...Chloe. Hehe. I don't blame her a bit for getting confused. She teaches I don't know how many classes a day, sees these kids for about 40 minutes a week, and spends those 40 minutes setting up craft projects, reading stories and leading sing-alongs. I still had to chuckle, nonetheless.

"Steven" was finally really feeling better Friday, or must've been, as it was the first day in almost 2 weeks that he didn't take a nap in the afternoon. Rats. I was really hoping he'd keep up with the napping even after he got over his cold. Oh well.

Both of the kids were really glad to see Tom when he got home. Eleri was especially hilarious. She stared at him with big saucer eyes, wiggling and squirming until he sat down on the couch and I passed her to him, then busting out an enormous grin while she sat on his lap. It was incredibly sweet. Soren couldn't stop asking, "Take a bus, Dad-dad?" He loves watching for Tom's bus in the afternoon and knows that's how he gets his dad back home after work. Cute.

This week's video is still on its way. Editing is tough to do when there's World Cup soccer on to distract you. ;)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Snot, Sun & Sushi

Day 64

Day 154

Thursday morning we went to playgroup. I almost skipped it because poor Eleri, who has taken over as the reigning monarch of Snotistan, was pretty grouchy and uncomfortable. But I figured she'd be able to sleep whether we stayed home or went out, and at least at playgroup she'd have the added benefit of being out in the fresh air. So Soren got to run around with his friends, and Eleri took a nap on my lap. She was feeling better when she woke up and sat there, smiling and babbling at all the goings on, kicking her legs as if to say, "C'mon! Let me run around with the big kids. I want to have fun, too!"

For dinner, I ordered myself some sushi from Yamazato. I've got to say, I sure do love living in a world where I can make a phone call and delicious sushi shows up at my door less than an hour later.

Soren's funny at bedtime, wanting to share his water with his stuffed animals. Sometimes he tries to nurse his teddy bear, since he sees me do that with Eleri before she goes to sleep. Hehe.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Single Momming It

Day 63

Day 153

Living where we do, I'm acquainted with quite a few military families through the playgroup. Dealing with both kids on my own for a few days while Tom's away at a conference has nothing on the women whose husbands are away on deployment for months and months and months. I'm not even going to begin to pretend my situation is anything like theirs, or that of any of the other long-term single parents out there. I know I'm incredibly lucky to have such a supportive and helpful child rearing partner. The above post title is just me being glib. Glib, I say!

So Tom left for his 3-day conference Tuesday night after the kids were in bed. He had a few hours' drive ahead of him, so the smart course of action was to drive up the night before and beat the traffic. Wednesday was pretty much like any other day until the evening rolled around. We went stroller walking at the mall. It was raining outside, so the indoor play area was absolutely lousy with small children. Since Soren is juuuuust over his nasty cold, I opted not to stick around and let him play in the giant petri dish after we were done walking.

After lunch, I put Eleri down for a nap in her crib, and then Soren & I fell asleep on the couch. The three of us slept for 3+ hours! Talk about eating up a chunk of your day. I was so worried that bedtime was going to be a horrible battle and was really surprised (and glad!) that it didn't take hours and hours for Soren to settle down and fall asleep.

Before bedtime, we got to video chat with Tom a little bit, which was nice. Soren, who has gotten used to watching for Tom's bus in the afternoon, kept asking, "Daddy take a bus?" Aw. We miss him, but we'll have him back here on Friday, and it's nice to see him online in the meantime.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Fun at the farm & Five months old

Day 62

Day 152

What a day! Old Mine Ranch was a definite win. Soren got to see a bunch of animals (goats, ponies, chickens, turkeys, peacocks, donkeys, llamas & sheep). He got to feed the goats. He got to play on a big plastic culvert pipe slide. He got to go on a mini-train ride and sit on an old tractor. He got to jump and frolic in a bouncy house. And he got to ride a pony.

How awesome is that?! He did great, and totally seemed to enjoy himself. I couldn't be much prouder.

It was an absolutely gorgeous day, to boot. Nice and sunny, but not too hot. Unfortunately, I forgot I'd brought the sunscreen in the house; as a result, I was unable to find the sunscreen anywhere in the car, so we had to do without. Soren, surprisingly, did okay. My shoulders, neck & chest, however, look like a damned tomato. Whee!

I took quite a few pictures at the farm (no great surprise), and they're up on Flickr. Alas, as is frequently the case, I have none of Eleri at the farm, since she spent the whole time chilling in the pouch, where it's really tough to get a good picture of her with the 50mm lens. (If only I had Go-Go-Gadget arms...) I did, however, get a bunch of her showing off her strong back muscles in the evening at home. Here's a quick comparison of the two at 5 months old.

There's no denying it. We've got some damn cute kids.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Aaaaaand corn cakes

Day 61

Day 151

It occurred to me a little while ago that Eleri is certainly big enough now to fit in one of our favorite Baby Soren outfits: the Oregon onesie. This morning, I finally got around to digging it out and putting it on her. A photo comparison was the obvious next step. I got a kick out of putting these two next to each other:

And there are also some funny similarities, here:

Look at the eyes and the hands, especially. And I know Eleri's head looks huge compared to Soren's, but while I think it may be legitimately a bit larger, the focal length is obviously not the same on the two pictures. In any event, amusing!

I'll preface this next story by reminding you of Soren's fondness for the band Pomplamoose, and in particular, their covers of "Single Ladies" and "Mrs. Robinson." At the end of the video for Mrs. Robinson, the band members (Nataly Dawn and Jack Conte) are playing some sort of improv game. I'm not completely clear on the rules of the game, but it involves naming foods, and I think whoever gets stumped first and can't think of a food to name is the loser. Anyway, the very end of the video has Jack, the winner, saying, "Aaaand corn cakes," which Soren finds highly entertaining. He's been known to repeat the phrase from time to time, for no apparent reason.

So today, I'd just put Eleri down for her morning nap and returned to find Soren playing quietly in his room. He seemed to have a very clear and detailed game he was playing, and it soon became apparent to me that he was...making corn cakes. It was a pretty elaborate process, too. First he'd go over to his (hollow) pool noodle, from which he collected some pretend extruded substance. (Masa, maybe?) Then he'd take it over to the space under his bed, which I guess was his microwave or toaster oven, do some sort of clicking pattern with the latch that used to hold the drop side for the crib, wait a few moments, say, "Ding!" and retrieve the corn cakes from their cooking space. He played this game, with slight variations to serve up "hot juice" (which is what I called the spiced apple cider I drank nearly every day this winter), for at least a solid 20 minutes, making corn cakes for himself, for me, and for Leo. It was hilarious.

In the evening he helped make pizza, for real. We went outside to the basil plant on the balcony (my basil from seed is coming in pretty nicely, but it's still quite tiny, so Tom brought home a basil plant from the store this weekend), and he helped me pick some leaves. I had him count out three, and then three more, as he picked them. Back in the kitchen, he watched while I spread out the dough and covered it with sauce, picking up flour off the pan to taste, then got to help sprinkle the cheese and toppings on. I figured it had a chance of either being a super fun activity for him or a complete disaster, and I'm happy to report there were no burned arms or splats of uncooked pizzas hitting the floor. Pretty cool!

All in all, a pretty good day, and hopefully the last one we'll spend entirely at home this week. Playgroup tomorrow is meeting at Old Mine Ranch, which looks awesome. (Their website is not very good, but scroll down a ways to see the fun stuff they have to offer.) Should be exciting!