Sunday, December 11, 2011

Just keep stitching

I've been working on Eleri's Christmas stocking, almost every day, for the past several weeks. Usually it's just an hour or two after the kids have gone to bed, but sometimes I can get them to play together long enough to let me get a little bit done during the day. It's coming along! I should actually be able to finish it before Christmas. Probably. Hopefully.

I've also been knocked flat a bit this weekend with some kind of nasty bug I picked up from the germ-riddled weasels. So huh-freaking-zzah to that. I suppose it's better to be sick on the weekend when Tom's around to help with the kids, though. And with any luck, I'll be on the mend again soon.

Otherwise, lots more of the same around here. Oh, I set up a Twitter account for Eleri (check it out in the sidebar), since she's getting more talkative and hilarious, and not just repeating things that she hears. Soren continues to be a happy, happy lad at school. We're all excited about our upcoming trip to New York for Christmas.

All right, dinner time. Have a good one, all.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Soren Guest Post (the third)

Busy busy around here lately. But things are finally calming down again and I should be back to posting stuff here and on Flickr soon. For now, here's another guest post by the lad.

* * * * *

Can you type what I say?

Um. Leo is soft. Uhhhh. Uhh. Um. Huh. Ha. I should say...oh! I am going to say...Tom's at work, and we're at home. And, I'll say that again. Haaaah. Daddy's at work. And we're at home. And Ellie and Susan and Soren are at home. And, this car is so beautiful...that I wanted to have it! Because...it's my favorite toy. And Ellie's favorite toy. And...it's...a...Christmas thing! What I...borrowed, from the store. Because I just had a Thanksgiving. I got that for Thanksgiving. And Christmas. And December. And November and December. Uh, and September and October. And January. And February. I need you to do upper case letters.

OKAY NOW YOU TYPE...NOW THAT'S BIG! AND THOSE ONES ARE BIG! AND THOSE LETTERS ARE BIG! AND I NEED THAT SCREEN TO BE A LITTLE BIGGER. A LITTLE MORE BIGGER.

Should I play with your iPod? Try again in 4 minutes. (reading the screen of the iPod, which El had disabled) Someone wants me to blow the whistle. *blows train whistle* Are you...don't need a train!

I need...you...to...uh...get the screen a little longer. Now that button, and that button, uh, should get a little longer.

Mmmmmmm. Why do you have so many Ms on the screen? Mommy? What should you do? Hmm. Maybe...you get all those words a little off that screen. And read Soren Book.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

What once was lost

About a month ago, I lost my wedding ring. It was a completely stupid, mundane, if befuddling sort of thing. I had gone riding in the morning. Took my rings off to ride, as I always do. Put them back on before driving home. Got home. Did a huge overhaul cleaning of our bedroom closet, which involved tossing out a huge garbage bag of junk that had accumulated in there. Finished up, looked down at my hands, noticed my ring was missing. And it isn't all that loose on me right now, so the idea that it would just slip off my hand and I wouldn't notice is a little unbelievable. I was a little afraid it had gotten somehow yanked off my finger with the garbage bag when I was throwing that away, but I still held out hope that it would turn up eventually. Almost every time I went into that closet (it's a small walk-in) over the past month, I've looked around a bit for it. No luck. I'd of course switched my other ring to my left hand, but it still feels really off-balance to only have a ring on one hand when you're accustomed to wearing them on both hands. I also tend to fiddle with my right-hand ring as a nervous habit, so that naked finger was another constant reminder. It really bummed me out.

Last night, Tom was looking for his iPod (which had gone missing after the kids had been playing with it...this happens from time to time, but we were having a tougher than usual time locating it). Out of desperation, he lifted up the couch to look underneath it.

"Oh. There's your ring."

I thought he was kidding. I scoffed, even. But indeed, he had found it! How in the hell it got from our bedroom closet out to the living room and underneath the couch - or how it even fell off my finger in the first place - is beyond me. But what a relief to have it back!

And then Tom found his iPod in a bin on a shelf this morning. So all's well that ends well. :)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving :)

Today started early. Like, before sun-up early, for me. Jenny left well before 5AM, planning to catch a 6:30 bus from Union Station in DC. Her plan was to bike to the local metro station and take the train into the city. We checked WMATA last night, and figured out when she would have to be there. Absolutely nothing on the website indicated in any way that the metro stations would all be closed for the holiday early this morning. Which they were.

By some miracle, I actually heard my phone (just set to vibrate, and sitting on a shelf all the way across the house from our bedroom) when Jenny called at about 5:25 for rescuing. She'd biked to two different metro stations, both of which were closed. (Weirdly, the escalators were turned on. Nice waste of energy there, WMATA.) This is precisely the sort of thing that tends to happen to me when I'm traveling - or, you know, trying to get anywhere with a time limit - so it was actually kind of a pleasant change to be the one coming to the rescue rather than the one desperately trying to fight the fates and get wherever on time.

Happily, we made it in time, and all was well. And I got to say one last bon voyage, which was nice. I'm glad it all worked out. And it gave me a super early jump start on the day - maybe a bit earlier than I would have wanted, but I can't really complain. ;)

After lazing around for several hours, I headed down to the pool to get some pre-feasting exercise. I ended up swimming just over a mile! Somehow I found myself in a rhythm and just kind of kept going. Of course, I had super wobbly legs when I finally stopped and got out of the pool - no great surprise - but I still felt pretty good about the whole thing.

We were invited over to Heather's house for Thanksgiving, where we had deep-fried turkey for the second year in a row. So tasty. Tom made the side dishes we were asked to bring (mashed potatoes & brussels sprouts). He confited garlic in olive oil & spices and added that to the potatoes. There were yams, parsnips, carrots, stuffing with two kinds of bread, cranberry sauce, apple sauce, and FIVE DIFFERENT PIES (apple, banana cream, bourbon-chocolate-pecan, blueberry, and pumpkin). It was quite the feast. It's always lovely to visit with friends, especially over a big, delicious meal. The kids were not exactly well-behaved at dinner (grr), but they were pretty cute and good the rest of the time. Soren adores Heather and consistently makes comments that sound an awful lot like he's trying to make a pass at her. A memorable one from one of our previous dinners: "Heather! Want to go inside the house and...do stuff?" Hehe. Eleri was also a lot more talkative this time than the last time we were over there, so that's always fun. Less fun was her screaming meltdown at dinner over not being able to play peekaboo with the tablecloth, but that's another story. ;)

And now we're home, and they're asleep, and I'm going to roll myself into bed and hopefully enjoy a bit of a lie-in tomorrow. Poor Tom has to work, but he ought to get out early.

Happy Thanksgiving, one and all!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Bye Jenny :(

Hard to believe Jenny's spent nearly 3 weeks with us! It's gone by really quickly, and we've all enjoyed having her around. She's heading out early tomorrow morning and will be continuing (somewhat sporadically) to blog about her travels - you can follow along here.

Yesterday Eleri was sounding quite a bit better, so we braved a trek through the rain to the zoo in the morning to check out the Small Mammal and Ape Houses. It was pretty neat. Those were the two houses I still hadn't been inside, so it was cool to finally get to see them. There were lots of interesting critters in the Mammal House (tamarins, mole rats, elephant-nosed shrews, meerkats, an armadillo, and many more), though the kids were a little manic and more interested in running down the corridors than looking at everything. Ah well. The gorillas were also pretty amazing to see, in the Ape House. One of them was right up against the window the whole time we were there, face-to-face with us. It was really something.

This afternoon we went to the American History Museum. Jenny wanted to check out the First Ladies exhibit (which had been closed the last time she'd gone to the museum), so the kids & I hung out in the little interactive kid zone/play area while she did that. It was a blustery walk to the museum & back to the car, but fortunately not rainy. We managed to score a parking space right on Constitution Avenue, so we had a nice stroll along the edge of the Mall. (Well, there was more hustle than a stroll implies, but you get the picture.) I hate to say it, but even with all the holiday traffic, it was kind of nice to just drive into the city rather than deal with the whole production that is taking the metro with the kids. Not so very environmentally friendly of me, but oh well.

Tom got out of work early for the holiday weekend and made delicious orzo with salsa cruda for dinner. Yum. I managed to drag myself to the gym afterward (Hey ML! I'm up to a mile and a half on the erg, clocking just over 12 minutes! I'm sure that's actually pretty pathetic, but it's quite a step up from where I started, just a couple months ago).

Anyway. The kids were super sweet saying goodbye to Jenny tonight before bed. They're going to miss her (we all will), but I know we'll all look forward to reading about her travels. She's off to New Zealand next month; I'm so jealous! It's been great getting to know her better, and I know we'll stay in touch.

Another Soren guest post

Handing over the keyboard to the lad this morning. Here goes.

* * * *

*YUYUYUYUYUYUYUYUYUYUYUYUYUYUYUYUYUYUYUYUYUYUYUYUYUYUYUYUYUYUYUYUYUYUYUYUYUYUYUYUYUYUYUYUYUYUYUYUYUYUM

* * * *

This has been another Soren guest post. Have a lovely day.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Round & round it goes

So, Eleri gave her cold to Soren. She got better while he descended into Snotland. Now he's on the mend and Eleri is back to hacking and being a snot faucet. Oy. I forsee a long and disgusting winter ahead of us.

Anyway.

Let's see, weekend. The weekend went by really fast. Did a bunch of chores, watched some television, generally took it easy. Sunday evening Jenny watched the kids again so Tom & I could go have another dinner together. Two dinners out in two weeks! We are incredibly fortunate.

Soren's liking his swim lessons and getting more comfortable with the water each time. Eleri would desperately like to take lessons too, but I'm having trouble finding any that are scheduled at a reasonable time. Might just have to wait until Spring, but try to take her to the pool here more often in the meantime.

Oh, I forgot about Friday. On Friday, Soren's class had a little music performance and cookie reception at the end of the school day. It was super cute, all the little dudes & dudettes sitting and singing Thanksgiving songs. Afterward, I let Eleri out of the stroller, and she enjoyed the heck out of herself, playing in the classroom. I took some video, which I will eventually get around to uploading.

Later in the afternoon, we went to the park. The days have been getting colder (and wet, more and more often), but the park is always popular, even if a few extra layers of clothes are required. ;)

Ugh, poor Eleri. She keeps waking herself up, crying a bit, going back to sleep, repeating the cycle. I suspect it's going to be a rough night. Perhaps I ought to get off the computer and try to rest while I can.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Greetings from the TB ward

So much for my "post every day this month" plan. I've also fallen way behind (like, four or five days!) on my daily kid pictures. Oh well. I'm ready to just call this week a wash and try to get back on track next week.

It's been a bit plague-y around here. Eleri was sick last week, and then of course Soren caught it. Lots of snot, and lots of hacking. His cough was about at its worst on Monday, though fortunately it's improved since then. Tuesday we were home almost all day, with one brief library trip to keep the madness at bay. Yesterday and today were rainy days, so we're going on four days with no playground excursions or time spent running around outside for either of the kids. It's not a huge surprise that they're becoming maniacs.

Yesterday (Wednesday), I ran a 5k on the treadmill in the evening, the first one under 30:00 in a while (just 40 seconds under, but I'll take it). This morning Jenny and the kids and I drove through the drizzle up to Annapolis, where it was cold and very quiet, but neat. It's an interesting historical site, with quite a few original buildings from the 17th, 18th & 19th centuries. Soren desperately wanted to go on a boat, any boat, or a raft, or a dinghy, or pleasepleaseplease that boat over there? I had something of a death grip on his hand as we walked along by the waterfront, where there was of course not a guard rail in sight. We walked and walked, got some tasty crepes for lunch, and were back home by early afternoon.

I left Soren and Jenny to play at home and took Eleri back out with me to do some grocery shopping. She's gotten so much grabbier at the store, and I made the mistake of parking her too close to the pasta sauces while I was looking for noodles. Crash! I was lucky she only managed to knock down one jar, but ugh. Not our finest moment. She fell asleep on the drive home, stayed asleep through being transferred to the stroller in the blustery 42 degree afternoon, and then continued sleeping in the stroller for almost another hour, while I made dinner and Soren played not very quietly in the same room. Tired girl!

I went and rode Vanya this evening. It was another really chilly night at the barn, but we had a good ride. Vanya's an interesting horse in that he is not shy about letting me know when I'm pissing him off (usually by getting into a tug of war with his mouth), so he's helping me remember to ride with softer hands even when I don't have an instructor there to remind me. It's not ideal, because of course I should be good enough to not piss him off in the first place, but at least I'm not likely to continue making the same mistakes all the time.

Anyway, that's about all I've got for now. Yawn. Off to bed.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Double feature

Since I yet again didn't get a post up yesterday, I'll do a double post today.

Date Night! Huzzah!

Yesterday, Jenny headed into DC to check out some museums & see the sights. Soren had swim class in the morning, and then after lunch Tom and the kids watched a soccer game while I had some glorious time to myself. I picked up this book (about drawing) from the library several weeks ago, since I have been interested in improving my drawing ability for a while now. So I took advantage of my available quiet time to work through the book a bit. I discovered a heretofore unrealized affinity for drawing with a charcoal pencil. (It's really fun!) After an hour or so, I worked on Eleri's stocking for a little while. It's coming along - slowly, but I think I'll just barely get it done in time for Christmas - and I'm enjoying it. Jenny returned from her outing, I went to exercise at the gym, and then Tom & I got to go out for dinner by ourselves while Jenny watched the kids! Yay! It was really nice. (I mean, duh, of course it was nice.) Tasty food, tasty beers, good times. (And no loud live music.) ;)

It's all happening at the zoo

We had a lazy morning. After lunch, Tom took the kids to do the grocery shopping, and then after they got back, we all went to the zoo! Tom hadn't been yet (we just never seem to get around to it on the weekends), so he enjoyed it. It was chilly, so a lot of the animals were hiding indoors. We got to see one of the elephants pretty close-up (she was breaking apart and eating a pumpkin), and one of the pandas was making laps around the indoor panda habitat. Eleri was super excited about the panda; every time the it came into view she would shout, "HI Panda!" and give a huge grin. It was adorable. Sadly, we didn't realize until too late that all the buildings close early this time of year, so we missed out on the Small Mammal, Ape, Invertebrate & Reptile Houses. Oh well. We will have to return again soon. They had set up most of the Zoo Lights displays, and I'd really like to check that out this year.

We were really hungry by the time we headed home, so we decided to pick up pizzas for dinner. Nom nom nom.

And with that, another weekend's in the books. Tomorrow it's back to work, school, and routine.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Frigid Horse-a-palooza

It was a cold and windy day today! Brr! Happily, Tom was able to accompany us for preschool drop-off this morning. It was nice for him to get to see Soren in his element at school. Then he did some grocery shopping while I took Eleri to her class. She was even more clingy than usual during the running-around parts, but she really loves the singing and coloring. And bubbles. And when the teacher handed out stickers at the end of class, Eleri said a nice and clear "thank you," which may have been the first time the teacher's heard her say anything.

We came home, Tom started chili in the crock pot, and then I went back to pick up Soren. Lunch, a bit of downtime playing with the kiddos, and then in the afternoon I took Jenny along to the barn. Well, barnS. First we went to exercise N's horses. It hadn't gotten any warmer by afternoon, but at least it wasn't quite as windy out at the barn. Then we went to the other barn for my lesson. Where it was even colder. My teeth were actually chattering when I was waiting to mount. At least once I was on the horse I warmed up fairly quickly. There were eight people in my lesson tonight (eight!) which is really a lot for the little indoor arena. Everyone did a fairly impressive job maintaining spacing and not killing each other.

Anyway, it was the most horsing I've done in a long while (lunge one horse and ride two, back to back to back), and it was pretty fun despite the cold. Tom's chili and cornbread were a most welcome delight when we returned home for dinner. And then he made stuffed puff pastries for dessert. Hell yeah.

All right, off to bed.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Eleri and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Poor Eleri.

The "terrible twos" have been flirting with the idea of making an appearance for a little while now. She's been getting progressively more touchy about things, more insistent about the things she wants, less willing to share or take turns, and demonstratively disappointed when things don't go her way. It's the nature of toddlerhood, I realize. However, knowing it's coming - and knowing it's perfectly normal - doesn't really make it any more pleasant.

Yesterday morning we packed a lunch and metroed into the city to check out the Textile Museum. It was a brisk day, with rain clouds threatening to make things more interesting for us. We were somewhat prepared for the weather (sweaters plus rain coats, but no gloves or hats, which would have been nice), and it was at least toasty warm the whole way in on the train.

We located the Textile Museum, which is kind of on the edge of Embassy Row, so we got to see a few embassies and neat flags on our way. Once inside the (not especially stroller-friendly) building, we'd spent maybe five minutes looking at the first exhibit when I noticed that El had removed one shoe and sock. DC has a somewhat inane rule/law/ordinance/whatever about requiring shoes in all public buildings, even on little kids. And there was a guard right in the corner of the room, getting ready to come over and give me a talking-to about the lass's newly naked foot. So I tried calmly explaining to Eleri that she had to have her sock and shoe back on, which led to her kicking and flailing in the stroller, escalating to a 10 or 15 minute long meltdown. During which I wrestled her sock and shoe back on, wheeled her out into a corner by the staircase, started trying to remove her sweater (because at this point she'd worked herself up so much she was getting overwarm), which pissed her off anew, tried to abandon sweater removal, to which she also objected, hauled her upstairs to the kid-friendly "learning zone," and tried distracting her with all the things to touch and play with. All the while I also tried all the "magical tantrum-halting" tricks (validating her feelings, asking her to calm down and use her words, yada yada), none of which seemed to do much of anything. Eventually she managed to calm down, and actually seemed to enjoy herself for a short while, scribbling on graph paper, arranging magnets, feeling different textiles and generally tooling around the big open room.

There was actually not a lot to the museum. Two or three rooms of displays, plus the "learning zone" room. There were some interesting things to see (neat woven art of Central Africa, some very detailed embroidery) but I guess I just expected there to be a bit more to the place. Oh well. At least we were through it fairly quickly, and then we headed across the street to a park for lunch. It was not exactly picnic weather, but we hunkered down and chowed our food, and then the kids played at a playground for a little while. There was a group of kids there (they were old enough that they should have been in school, so I'm guessing it was some sort of homeschool group), and none of them wanted to play with Soren. Poor guy. He kept asking me where the other 3 year-olds were. ("I need 3 year-olds!") He eventually deigned to play with Eleri, and soon we were on our way again, endeavoring to get out of the cold for a bit.

We took refuge in a Starbucks just as it was starting to rain. We got the weasels a kids' hot chocolate (so, not too hot) to share, and they were not nearly as impressed by it as I expected. Eleri seemed to like it all right, but Soren kept making faces after each sip. (Yes, I tried it, and it was definitely not overly warm.) Oh well. The cold and rain scared us off from doing any further adventuring through the city, so we got back on the train and headed homeward. We did some grocery shopping, and it was really only mid-afternoon by the time we got back to the apartment.

Almost immediately upon arrival, Eleri had another sobbing meltdown (I think this one was provoked by having to take off her shoes and/or coat), and it again took a loooooong time to calm her. Soren, thankfully, was able to help Jenny in the kitchen with dinner prep, and by all reports was incredibly well-behaved and helpful. So huzzah, little lad. Eleri, meanwhile, continued to cry the cries of one with a broken heart, while I snuggled her on my lap. I'm not sure what else to do. I obviously don't want to encourage the tantrums, but it feels callous to just ignore her until she decides to calm down. I don't think quiet hugs are a bridge too far, in this case.

There was at least one more meltdown before bedtime, and another at bedtime. She ended up getting so worked up she needed to be rocked to sleep. (And again today for a nap, and rocked to calm tonight at for bed, though I was able to set her down awake this time at least.) I feel for her - it's tough to discover that life's unfair - but holy crap is the drama tiresome.

Anyway. Since I'm not willing or able to just give her whatever she wants at all times, there will undoubtedly be more meltdowns in the coming days and weeks. I hope not months. We'll get through it, of course. Not much choice.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Guest Post by Soren

I'm just going to take dictation for Soren for a few minutes. Let's see where this goes.

* * * * *

What are you writing? Can I help you do your blog post? You should write about me falling in the parking lot and hurting my head. On January. (whispering) January, February, March, April, May, June, July.

Now my question is gonna be...um...that on December I'm going to fall and hurt my head on the um, uh, the TV! Break my head on the TV. Because it's very sharp! The TV. Is very sharp.

Now I'll say...that...I'm...a squirrel! Dressed up, as a...ocean! I mean, or a...plane?! Can I have a fire hat? So that I can put out the fires? A real one!

Can I have a camera? Please? To take a picture of you.

I would like to write the blog post with you. I'm going to type whatever you say. Whatever Ellie says.

(Taking over typing.)

Hi SOREN. LEEO IS SoFT.

(That took about 10 minutes. He's really amused by holding down the keys and then saying things like, "Oh no! That's too many Fs!" I'm resuming typing control.)

A control tower radio can tell that cars can stay off the runway. And only planes can go on the runway. Baggage trains can move the baggage around, so that they can put it in the plane. (Who drives the baggage train?) Uh, workers. I mean two workers of the airport. I'm gonna push the little dot (period).

Can you type what I say? Can you give me a push the caps lock...do you want to get upper case or lower case letters? Okay, caps lock...now it's off. Now lower case letters.

Um, oh gums! (He means vitamins, which Tom just brought over.) Can you let me push one button?

t

Let's talk about...a fire engine. That it has a big ladder. And also firefighters go in it. Nothing else. I want to only talk about it. Sometimes they go in the midnight...and June-July are nights...and also February, March, April, May, June, July are nights. Yes, it's night for all those months. On November and December are nights too!

(Misc. noises and sound effects.)

Can I, uh, what were you typing? What's that? Why were you typing that? I like to (make sound effects).

Yes, we're about done. Can I have some yogurt? Uh, I mean, can I have...can I push a button? One button. Called...would you like upper case letters or lower case letters?

g

We're about done? No, we're ABOUT done. I'd like four stuff to say. I mean, I want five minutes. My five stuff.

1) A fire engine has a ladder.

2) A mail truck has mail.

3) A truck with a fire hose can spray stuff out.

4) A truck with deliveries can deliver stuff to people. Like cans, to play with. And little stuffs to cook with. And nothing else.

5) A thing that crashes into another car...has...broken a car! Let's push the dot.

* * * * *

Well that was fun. ;) Good night, all.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

This & That

I'm not going to lie. Having English Jenny around is a little like having a Mary Poppins, without the singing.

(Actually, it's not that much like it. But the thought has crossed my mind on more than one occasion, when she's playing with the kids. What can I say? You all know I am easily amused.)

Eleri is getting more and more talkative every day. I need to video her more often. Or, you know, at all. (Bad mommy.)

We had A over for a little while today. I took all the kids to the playground, where Soren & A spent a good 20 minutes playing some sort of rescue game that involved running up and down the play structure stairs over, and over, and over, and over again. Any game that requires that much exertion is a fantastic game, as far as I'm concerned. Of course, it meant that the boys were a little extra whiny when it was time to head home for lunch, but they're whiny regardless of when we leave. I'll take a bit of extra whining in exchange for a reduced level of maniacal running around in the afternoon.

Then again, I was yet again barely able to handle Soren's constant stream of noise and inane questions this afternoon ("Why does that stop sign say stop on it?" et cetera). Grr. I realize that's more my problem than his, but I think the fact that he was worn out from the morning's running around made him a bit more verbally manic, if that makes any sense. Surely there's got to be a perfect balance to be found somewhere, but I certainly haven't found it yet. ;)

He is really thrilled to be getting back to school tomorrow though. So I'm glad about that.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Out & About

Since there was no school today, we met A and his mom at Fort Ward Park late in the morning. We were joined by another family we know, and the kids ran themselves in circles for about two hours. Then we continued on our way to give Jenny a brief tour of Old Town. We parked down by the waterfront and checked out The Torpedo Factory, which is one of the local art galleries. It's actually made up of a bunch of individual stalls, each housing one or two artists' workspace and small shop. It's kind of a neat setup. And yes, the name comes from the fact that the building housing the gallery was indeed originally a manufacturing facility for torpedoes, mostly for WWII. (Neat summary of the building's history here.)

Both the kids were rather entertained by the big free-for-all chalk wall right at the Torpedo Factory's entrance. Eleri was at a bit of a disadvantage, sitting in the stroller, but she scribbled gamely for a bit and then decided she'd like to try tasting the chalk instead. (It was quickly deemed "asgusting.") Continuing on into the gallery itself, Soren of course wanted badly to touch everything and kind of flop around, which is not precisely the best practice in the stalls housing glass sculptures or $4500 original paintings. He was genuinely interested in a lot of it, though, which I'm glad about. He just needs a setting more agreeable to his tactile 3 y.o. nature.

We did make it through all 3 floors though. Soren was maybe the most excited about the elevator, which was huge and contained several big rolling carts. Hehe. After we finished our tour, we continued on our way and walked through several blocks of Old Town. It's about as historical as things get, architecturally, around here, so it's always neat to wander and look around. We fully tuckered out both kids, though. Even though Eleri didn't have to do any walking, I guess she'd worn herself out at the park, because she passed out in the stroller on the way to the car. Soren nodded off before we were halfway home. Hehe. It's always kind of nice when silence falls over the back seat of the car. ;)

I know I haven't been posting pictures here lately, but I have still been taking them (almost) every day. One of these days I'll get caught up with posting again. One thing at a time, for now.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Feastination

As per usual, we had a ton of food at Max & Agnes's house. We ordered dinner from Nando's Peri Peri (a Portuguese chicken place), and everything was delicious. We got chicken in three different flavors, mashed potatoes, corn, butternut squash, peas, coleslaw, and pita slices with red pepper dip. Plus, Alice had brought over a pumpkin pie, so we all had a bit of that for dessert. I'm glad I did so much at the gym this morning in preparation. ;)

On the way to the city, we got on the freeway just as a secret service convoy was driving past. I think that's maybe the first time I've seen a full-on convoy (including multiple big black SUVs with the rear windows rolled down to reveal heavily armed dudes) since we've lived here. So that was amusing. I'll have to check the news and see if the president had an event in southern-Northern Virginia this afternoon. Hehe.

I'm feeling the time change this evening. Definitely ready for bed, despite the relatively early hour on the clock. Soren doesn't have school tomorrow (teacher in-service day...boo), so we'll have to come up with something entertaining to do.

Puddle of failsauce

Heh. Well, I'd say a few days in a row of blogging is at least an improvement over my posting frequency of late.

We've got a house guest for a little while - Jenny - a friend of Marcy's from England. She's in the middle of a bike tour of the US and is spending some time in DC, checking out the sights. The kids are already very big fans of hers, and we've had a nice time visiting in the evenings (hence the couple-day posting failure).

Friday we did end up staying at the playground for about an hour after Soren's school day was over. So that was good. The kiddos had a nice time running and playing. Soren especially loves playing with the kids in the two 4 y.o. classes (they stay an hour later than the 3 y.o.s, so they're out at the playground after Soren's class gets released), so he was extra happy about the opportunity to do that. Our guest arrived later in the afternoon, and then I went to my riding lesson. It was a cold evening! Brr. Decent lesson though, so that was good.

Yesterday was quite a busy one. Soren had soccer in the morning, followed up by swimming, and then we all went to a birthday party for one of his preschool friends. Jenny made us a fabulous lasagna dinner, which Eleri polished off with her usual gusto. She'd been eating less well while she was a bit under the weather, but the past few days she's been back to her usual level of gustatory enthusiasm.

Today the kids woke us up at their normal hour. Minus one, of course, because we've reverted to standard time. So we were all up and at em at 7 rather than 8. I remember when the Fall time change meant sleeping an extra hour that first morning. Now it just means we get our morning chores done an hour early. ;) I dealt with the laundry, went to the gym (ran 20 minutes, rowed 10, ran 10 more, total of 5k running and 2k rowing), all before lunchtime! After lunch, we took the kids to the park, where they ran and ran. Now we're getting ready to have dinner with Max, Agnes & Alice, giving Jenny her first glimpse of DC proper. Should be a fun evening. :)

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Blogger ate my homework

I wrote a post late last night - and then another one - on my iPod. Blogger hiccuped both times I went to publish, and I was too tired for a third attempt. I'll get something more substantive posted a little later today.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Grumblegrumble

Today was not particularly worth blogging about. I woke up with no patience and it just went downhill from there, with the whining and the not listening and the maniacal (albeit happy) screaming while I was on the phone. (The kids were screaming, not me. Just in case that wasn't clear.) The tiny bright spot of the day was that the kids were snot-free....well, sufficiently snot-lite....so we were able to meet some friends at the playground late in the afternoon. Eleri fell asleep in the car when we were about 5 minutes away, so I sat with her while Soren - literally - ran around in circles with A for a good 20 minutes. He was SO happy. I eventually woke Eleri up, and though it took her a bit of time to decide she could tolerate being awake, she eventually had a grand time playing too.

It's pretty unpleasant being so short of temper all day long. I'm hoping for better things tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Two days into November

Not a lot to write about Tuesday. Laundry, brief excursion to the park, dinner, swimming. I will say, of our trip to the park, that the kids were incredibly cute playing together so nicely. We hung out for about an hour and had the place to ourselves. I'm sure Soren would have preferred to have some more company, but sometimes it's awfully convenient to have a ready-made playmate. Eleri was enthusiastically following along with all of Soren's firefighter games. They were running together back & forth across the basketball court. At one point they were (giggling all the while) collecting sticks and putting them in a big pile.

This morning, we dropped Soren at school and then did our Wednesday walking. It was pretty brisk out when we started, but it warmed up reasonably fast. Soren had a good day at school, but Eleri was rockin' the green snot a bit, so we skipped the playground again. I'll be glad when we can hang out and play after school once more (and I have no doubt the kids will be glad too). Poor El, despite still being a bit under the weather, desperately wants to run and play and wipe her snotty nose on everything. She's on the mend though, so I'm really hopeful that by Friday they'll get to hang out at the rec center playground.

In the evening I got to go back out to the barn and ride Vanya. I sure do like being able to do that on a regular basis. There's a lot this horse can teach me, and it's a lot of fun in the process. :)

* * * * *

Just a bit more from the annals of Eleri cuteness. When she's playing peekaboo, she says, "Wheeeere's Mommy? There it is! Mommy." Similarly, when she's looking for something..."There it is! Book." or "There it is! Leo." And, in the same vein, she also says, "I see it! Doggie." or "I see it! Daddy." I'm not sure where she picked up this particular construction, but it's adorable.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Happy Halloween!

And happy November! As is my sporadic custom, I have once again fiddled with the blog template. Just color & font changes this time. When I was in the dorms at college, I rearranged my room at least once per term; it's less reasonable to rearrange a whole apartment without a really good reason, so now I just tweak my blog design when I'm feeling that itch to change everything around. ;)

Anyway.

Yesterday, as you know, was Halloween. Soren had a parade and party at school, so Eleri and I stuck around for the first half of the morning to watch and take pictures. The lass is still not feeling super great, but she was an incredibly good sport to just chill in the stroller the whole time, in costume no less (one minor meltdown, quite a bit of distraction-by-ipod). She was wearing the puppy dog suit Soren wore last year. Soren was delighted by all of the Halloween goings-on. This was the first year he really picked out his own costume. The decision process went something like this:

"Firefighter! Ooh, no, UPS man. No, a pilot! No! A mailman. Yeah, a mailman! No, maybe I want to be a pilot after all. Yes, definitely pilot. Pilot!"

(Paraphrased, of course, and condensed...we were looking at costumes online, and he more or less wanted to be everything the first time he saw it...hehe. But he started with firefighter, and in the end it came down to a decision between mailman and pilot.)

Anyway. It was very much a DIY costume situation, since we kind of waited til the last minute, and of course the pilot costumes in his size were only available online, and the shipping cost almost as much as the costume itself. So instead we found a pilot hat for $9 and free shipping (thanks, Amazon Prime!), and you already know about the making of the epaulets.


The preschool parade was just about as cute as you could imagine, and Soren was thrilled to show off his outfit. The parents were invited into the classroom afterward, for a couple of songs, and then about half of us stuck around to help with the games. Carnival-style stuff at a toddler level, pretty danged adorable. And then they all got to dance around on a tarp, stomping saltine crackers underfoot to the accompaniment of "The Monster Mash." They got goodie bags and got to go trick-or-treating through the front offices of the rec center. It was very exciting.

After school, we took it way easy so Eleri could get some rest. She ended up actually taking a nap and slept for a good 2 hours. Soren watched some Fireman Sam while I worked on putting together this plush alphabet for Eleri. It's a bit of a cross-country joint craft project between myself and FarmerMegan; I cut out all the squares and drew the letters, and now I'm going to mail them to Meg, who will do the sewing and then mail them back to me. Fun! Eleri was still asleep by the time I'd finished, so Soren & I put together the little $1 wooden sailboat kit we'd picked up at the craft store last week. It was messy (there was painting involved) but he seemed to enjoy himself.

Tom got home and finished cooking the dinner I'd started, while I went to the gym. Run, row, run, blagh. Very tiring, but a good workout. After dinner, Soren & I went trick-or-treating in our building while Tom & Eleri stayed home to hand out candy. We only went to 3 floors, but there was a surprising lack of participation among residents. (People here indicate willingness to have trick-or-treaters by hanging an orange flyer on their door, and ours was the only orange flyer on our entire floor.) But it was just enough trick-or-treating for a little dude, and then we came back home and handed out candy to other kids. Soren stepped up as primary candy distributor, still wearing his own costume, so that was very cute. At one point, a group of middle-school boys came by, and they were all oohing and aahing at Soren. One of them said, "Aw, you're so cute! You don't have to give me any candy. Here! I'll give you some candy!" and reached into his bag to put a pack of M&Ms in our bowl. Which was strange, but kind of adorable at the same time. Not your standard early-teen boy behavior.

Miraculously, we managed to keep our kids from ingesting a ton of sugar right before bed (they actually only had one piece of candy each) but there was still a bit of the whole spin-up-and-melt-down thing happening. Not too much, happily. And then they both slept really well all night. ;)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Jiggity Jig

Home again! I am really glad Tom insisted we come back on a Saturday so we'd have a day to recover before jumping back into our routine. Last Sunday we did just that - sleep in, lounge around in pjs, catch up on Tivo, do our grocery shopping. I'm back on the meal-planning bandwagon, so I'm hoping I can stay organized and make things a little easier for myself. Also back on the exercise bandwagon, so I swam some laps in the afternoon.

Monday it was back to work for Tom and back to preschool for Soren. The lad was thrilled to get back to his class. So happy to see his teachers and friends, excited just to be back in his classroom. It's adorable. After school we went to A's house to visit and play. The boys were of course very happy to see each other, and even Eleri was jazzed to see A. (He, on the other hand, is not quite sure what to make of her, most of the time.) We visited for a few hours, then went home to make dinner. In the evening I ran & rowed (on the treadmill & rowing machine, respectively).

Tuesday I got my act together as far as getting all the vacation laundry (and some pre-vacation laundry) done & put away. Dishes, cleaning, general chores around the house. We ran a couple of errands & hit the library to replenish our supply of Signing Time DVDs for the kiddos. They sure do love their Signing Time...er...time...in the afternoons. After dinner I did some more lap swimming.

Wednesday! School and mall walk. Except that it was another gorgeous morning, so we walked at the park instead. Eleri was starting to come down with a little post-vacation cold (no doubt the result of trying to put the ENTIRE AIRPORT in her MOUTH), so we didn't play too long at the playground. After we picked up Soren, though, her nose seemed to have dried up quite a bit, so we stayed at the rec center playground where Soren played and played with A and another of their friends from the Zoom Around the Room class they took months and months ago. They had a good time. Eleri was wiped out afterward, so she took a nap while Soren & I made pizzas for dinner. When Tom got home, I went to the barn to go exercise Vanya for N. It was a weirdly foggy night, with big patches of mist hovering just above the ground. Made for kind of a neat and spooky drive out & home. N happened to also be out at the barn, tending to her other horse, and she was able to give me a neat exercise to work on with Vanya. I had a really nice ride. Yay!

Thursday I did more cleaning around the apartment while the kids chilled out with some Signing Time. Soren probably could have done with a bunch of gallivanting at the park, but Eleri was still not feeling so hot. Plus, she had been up for a while in the middle of the night, so she and I were both pretty tired. We finally made it out of the house late in the afternoon for a grocery run, but by evening, I was too whooped to exercise. Boo.

Friday I got some sad news. My great-aunt Julie had passed away overnight. Funny, brash, always ready with a wink and a story, she was in a class all by herself. Here she is at her 80th birthday party with her life-size Brett Favre cutout (she was ever the sports fan):


Hers was, at least, as peaceful a passing as you could hope for (in her sleep, happily ensconced in her favorite flannel doggie pajamas), after a long and very full life. I'll miss her, but I know she wouldn't want me to be too sad.

We ran some errands after picking Soren up from school on Friday. It started getting chilly this week, and I realized that most of Soren's long sleeved shirts are not exactly too small, but they don't really provide adequate coverage for the cooler temperatures. So we went shopping for some shirts in the next size up. We also picked up some things from the craft store to put the finishing touches on his Halloween costume. He wanted to be a pilot (of the airline variety), which was conveniently quite easy to put together. He already had the black slacks, white shirt, black tie from the suit we bought him last year (it still fits), and I picked up a pilot hat for him. All he needed were some epaulets for his shirt, so I got stuff to make them. They're the wrong color - traditionally the epaulets are black with yellow stripes, and his are going to be yellow with silver stripes - but I don't think anyone will notice or mind. ;) The best part is that all the talk of epaulets has implanted the word firmly into his vocabulary, and it's pretty hilarious to hear a 3 year old say, "Do you like my beautiful epaulets?" Hehehe.

In the evening I had my weekly riding lesson out at the other barn. Which made ride #2 for the week. And I got to go on a nice long trail ride with N again this morning (Sunday). Lots of horsing this week! Hurrah!

I don't have a ton to say about Saturday (I was a lazy bum for most of the day, though I did go out briefly in the afternoon to get my hair cut), but Tom did say that Soren was way more engaged in his soccer class this week. He played the whole time, whereas up til now he'd been getting bored about halfway through and just kind of dribbling the ball off by himself. I'm glad he seems to be enjoying the class. :)
One last thing and then I swear I'm done (because, holy crap, it is late and I need to go to bed!). November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Basically, if you decide to take on the challenge, you're supposed to write X number of words/pages every single day, and at the end of the month - bam! - you have a novel. I've been completely intrigued by this idea for several years now and would someday like to do it but, alas, I fear I have too many irons in the fire this month, what with trying to get Eleri's Christmas stocking finished, plus some other projects that I'll be writing about later. But! I'm going to embrace the spirit of NaNoWriMo and try (very hard) to make a point of blogging every day in November, even if it's just a sentence or two, in an attempt to get myself back into the routine of writing here way more regularly than I've managed these past few months. So you can (hopefully!) look forward to that. :)

All right! To bed. Have a good night, all.

Vacation Blogging (Part 3)

Hi! We've been back home for over a week now. Have you checked out the pictures I've been posting to Flickr? Because if not, you should do that. There are lots of good ones. I am a bit more than halfway done with getting everything processed and uploaded.

So, when we left off, it was Monday evening in Grants Pass. Tuesday was our last day there. We made our way to Tom's parents' house after breakfast. Grandma had the day off work, so she got another full day with the kiddos. Tom's parents have a big German Shepard (Cheeba) and three little dogs (Brindle, Scooter & Franklin). The little dogs spend a lot of the day outside, but when they came in for dinner, Scooter made his way over to where the kids & I were sitting. Eleri was fascinated by Scooter, pointing excitedly at his "tails" (his ears, actually), and exclaiming, "Hi Gooster!" She wanted desperately to give him hugs, but he was not as enthusiastic about receiving them as Leo is. It was quite the silly little scene. In the early afternoon, Tom & I took turns going out to get some exercise (he went jogging through the neighborhood around the library, I went back to the hotel & ran on the treadmill), and in the later afternoon we all went back over to Riverside Park to play some more. We rounded out the day by picking up some pizzas and going over to Tom's sister's house for dinner so the cousins could visit and spend a little more time together.

Wednesday morning, we packed up and headed northward. Eleri, who can be a champion car sleeper under the right conditions, was passed out before we reached Canyonville. First stop was Eugene, to visit Tom's other sister. She has a very sweet dog, Pearl, whom Eleri also tried to call "Gooster" at first. We hung out a bit and then got some lunch (tasty burgers...it was kind of a burgerrific vacation). Then we were off again, onward to Corvallis to visit with the Cachews and get some quality running-around time in for the wee weasels. M & B's little one is adorable and had the best time at the park, riding on the swings with her daddy. Her delighted little giggles were super cute. Too soon, it was time to move on, north to my parents' house in Tualatin. Dinner, little bit of visiting & playing, bedtime. I'm always a little amazed how exhausting it is to travel. Just sitting in a car for much of the day wouldn't be that draining, you'd think, but it somehow is. Go figure.

Thursday I got some quality girl time with FarmerMegan (sushi lunch, home for a bit, then back out to go shopping), while Tom, Mom & Yaya played with the kids. My dad took - and passed! - his licensing exam to become a pharmacy tech, which was fantastic. In the evening, my parents fed & hung out with the kids while Tom, Megan & I went out for dinner. It's nice to have some grownup time with your friends. :)

Friday we would get a fair bit more grownup time. In the morning, Megan, Tom, Dad & I went over to Threat Dynamics shooting range, where we met up with Marcy. Threat Dynamics (for those who don't want to bother clicking the link) is a different sort of shooting range. They use modified Glock pistols that "shoot" compressed air instead of bullets. The guns have perhaps a bit less recoil than a standard 9mm, but they still have some. Anyway. The super cool thing about shooting without ammo is that you can safely do all kinds of things you couldn't do at a regular range. Like shooting while walking forward or backward, shooting faster than the standard one-shot-per-second, or shooting with a bunch of your buddies all together, without divided lanes. (Oh, and no sore thumb from reloading ammo!) The five of us had a great time. :) Everyone did really well, and it was just a ton of fun.

Next we picked up the kids, dropped off Dad, and made our way into the city for lunch with our other friend S and her two kiddos. We ate at a Persian buffet place, then walked down to Ben & Jerry's in search of some Schweddy Balls. WHICH THEY DIDN'T HAVE. (It had apparently not been released on the West Coast yet.) Curses. But, we had some ice cream anyway, so it wasn't a total loss. After ice cream and a bit more walking around, S took her kids home, Tom & I took our kids back to Grandma & Grandpa's, and we all reconvened back in Portland for some more walking and eating. Browsing at Powell's, hike down to Voodoo Doughnuts ("The magic is in the hole!"), pause down by the waterfront, then a bunch more walking back & forth trying to figure out where to eat dinner, finally ending up at Dragonfish. It was really great to visit with everyone and have some grownup time. Plus, any day that includes a maple-bacon bar from Voodoo is a damn good day. As an added bonus, my parents had already put the kids to bed by the time we got home. It was great!

Alas, our vacation had come to an end. Saturday we were up and out, making our way back home. Our flights were, thankfully, uneventful (no repeat of the double-meltdown from the Phoenix-to-Seattle flight), and though it was after 11pm by the time we finally dragged our weary selves through the door of our apartment, we were at least able to sleep in a bit the next morning. The cats were quite happy to see us, and Eleri was overjoyed to see Leo, flinging herself onto him for a hug. Hehe.

Vacation complete! Coming up next: a brief recap of the past week.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Vacation Blogging (Part 2)

Here we are in Oregon! But I'll back up first.

At last update, we were headed over to Mary Laura's place. She treated us to pizza, salad & beer, and some good company. Soren was totally fascinated by her rowing machine; both the kids were, really, but Soren did some good rowing. The next morning, we went over to the university to see ML's lab and check out the campus. ASU is pretty (even if Phoenix is too damned hot) and we had a nice time wandering about. Soren and Eleri were both very excited to see the rattlesnakes in the Life Sciences building. Snakes in terrariums, not just slithering through the halls. ;)

After our campus tour, we made our way over to In-N-Out burger for some delicious, delicious burgers. Mmm. Hadn't eaten In-N-Out since we moved away from California. For a fast food joint, those are some damn tasty burgers.

That evening, the kids hung out with Grandma & Grandpa, so we could go out to dinner with Amy & Jeff. They took us to Delux Burger for even more tasty burgers, fries & beer. Nothing wrong with that! Sadly, we had to make it an early night, because it would be an eeeeeaaaaarly morning the next day.

3:20am, the alarm clock went off, and we were up and on our way to the airport for our 6am flight. We did a bit of driving around in circles, trying to get the rental car returned after stopping to fill the gas tank - the combination of one-way streets and no-turn lanes were enough to send us around the block a couple of times at least - and then insufficiently clear signage at the rental car place led us off on yet another detour. But! At last we made it and were on our way.

To the wrong terminal (because I'd forgotten that we were not on the same airline we'd taken to Phoenix). So we had to hop another shuttle bus, which took us on a nice tour through economy parking before depositing us in the correct terminal. Now we were about an hour before our flight, but we got checked in fairly quickly and made our way to security. That's when the real fun started.

The woman checking IDs and boarding passes was apparently oblivious to the long line developing at her station, because she was taking her sweet time gabbing with each and every person. We finally got past her and into the line for x-ray screening. They have one of those full-body scanners at the Phoenix airport, so it took a long time to get everyone through that, one at a time, especially when people are idiots who can't follow directions. We, however, were waved through the standard metal detector, since we were traveling with the wee scraelings.

However.

There was some commotion when our bags were in the x-ray machine. The TSA agents hustled us all over to a table and brought our carry-ons over for a manual check. Turns out we'd completely forgotten about half a bottle of juice and half a bottle of water we'd left in the bottom of Soren's backpack. Whoops. They were also apparently suspicious of items in Tom's backpack, which turned out to be...books. It's true that he had quite a few in there, but for crying out loud.

So after the emptying, repacking, and re-x-raying of our bags, we had to hustle to our gate, where our flight was already starting to board. We did not have time to get another drink for the kiddos, and not long after we got settled aboard the plane, Soren (who had watched the TSA agents confiscate his orange juice) started whining about being thirsty. Eleri, meanwhile, was mad about being made to sit still. The situation devolved into a double-meltdown, with both kids bawling. Super fun times. The flight attendants came by with an offer to reseat us (apparently with the futile hope that we'd bother fewer people with the yelling if we were in the back of the plane) but when we explained that Soren was just upset about losing his juice, they were more than happy to bring him something to drink. Fortunately, that calmed him down, and Eleri chilled out soon after. They were both asleep before takeoff. Super early mornings are rough!

They ended up sleeping almost the whole way to Seattle, which worked out great. Nice peaceful trip, for the most part. We flew right over the Grand Canyon, which was cool to see. Too hazy for decent pictures, unfortunately, even if I'd been able to get out my camera (I couldn't, with Eleri sleeping on me, but 'twas no matter). When we got to Seattle, we were able to meet up with none other than Soren's bestest buddy A and his parents! They were on their way back to VA after visiting grandparents. It was pretty cute, watching the boys run around together for a few minutes. A's look of shock to discover Soren there was pretty hilarious. Soren, on the other hand, was happy to see A, but not nearly as surprised as you might expect, to find his buddy suddenly there at an airport all the way across the country.

One more short flight, and we arrived in Oregon. Ah, beautiful southern Oregon. Tom's parents met us at the airport. Grandma hung out with the kids & me while Tom & his dad went to get the rental car. A short drive to Grants Pass followed, where we got checked into our hotel, got some lunch, and spent the rest of the day visiting with Grandma & Grandpa.

Yesterday we did some more visiting. The kids got to hang out with their cousins for most of the day, which was great. This morning we took the kids to Riverside Park so they could do some running around. Grandma had to work today, but Grandpa accompanied us to lunch, where we got to visit with Caitlin for a little while. Lots more playing with Grandpa for the rest of the afternoon, and now we're getting ready to have some dinner.

It's been a great trip so far. :) I'm taking lots of pictures; unfortunately I won't be able to upload them until we get home, but the wait will be worth it.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Vacation blogging!

If you were to ask Soren, he would tell you that we woke up in the middle of the night to leave for our trip. He's not too far off; it certainly was still dark out when we got up to catch the 6:30 metro shuttle. It was to be a very long day.

Getting to the airport was happily uneventful. Everything was running on time, so we were soon aboard our plane. We were fortunate to be able to trade seats with people and all sit together on both flights, which was helpful. Eleri was able to switch laps at will and even sit with Soren on his seat for a little while, which worked out way better than having to be confined to one seat with one parent. She wasn't completely without complaints, but things went way, way better than I had feared. Yay!

We made great time to Denver and actually landed so early that they didn't have a gate available for us. So we sat on the tarmac for a while. It wasn't too hideously long, but it was long enough for Eleri to fall asleep. Whoops. It was probably for the best, but she ended up staying asleep all through deplaning and most of lunch. We eventually had to wake her up to eat. ;) Then we were delayed almost an extra hour while they made some repairs to our next plane. We made many, many trips up & down the moving walkways so the kids could burn some energy. Eleri was pretty darned cute, just trotting along down the middle of the walkway. Hehe.

At long last, we were able to board and be on our way to Phoenix. All the running around at the airport must have done something, because Soren nodded off while we were waiting for our turn to take off. Eleri kept petting him and trying to give him some of her water. It was quite adorable. :)

Upon landing, we got our rental car & made our way to my sister's house. Soren bounded out of the car, excited to see my parents. Eleri, despite having not seen my dad in a full year, apparently recognized well enough him from Skype, since she immediately gave him a big hug. So sweet. Before too long, it was time to head out again.

One of the reasons we chose this week to come here is that last night was the world premiere of the documentary Mitchell 20. The documentary features my sister and 20 of her colleagues from the school where she used to teach 4th grade. (Yes, I can do simple addition. Despite the title, there were actually 21 teachers featured in the film.) One teacher, who had achieved National Board Certification herself, encouraged 20 of her coworkers to attempt the same, which is no small challenge, as it turns out. So after a long day of traveling, I left a very tired Tom with the kids and went out with my parents, sister, and brother-in-law to watch the film. (In case you didn't know, I have a pretty great husband.)

The movie was really quite interesting. I won't do it justice with a description, so you should just click the link above and check out the trailer. These teachers did an amazing thing, and I'm super proud of my sister and her colleagues.

My parents offered, as we were returning home, to hang out with the kiddos in the morning when they woke up, so Tom & I could get a little extra sleep. So when Soren woke me up this morning, I took a glance at the time and took him downstairs to visit. I was a little surprised by how dark it was outside at 7am, but I didn't give it a ton of thought. I was pretty tired. ;) I came back upstairs but didn't end up falling back to sleep, so when Eleri woke up about an hour later, we both went back downstairs.

Thirty more minutes passed, with the kids and my parents happily playing together. At that point, my mom handed me her iPhone to show me something, and I noticed the clock at the top read...5:30. Augh! My iPod was still set to Eastern time, and I had taken Soren downstairs to my folks at FOUR IN THE FRIGGIN MORNING! Daughter of the year, right here, that's me. They assured me it was fine, they were happy to have some extra time with the wee weasels, but I still felt pretty bad about it.

So it's been another long day so far for all of us. ;) We did take the kids over to a fun indoor trampoline place and then had a tasty lunch at the Chinese Cultural Center. Since then we've just been lounging at home, and tonight, Tom & the kids & I will be going to Mary Laura's for dinner. I am hopeful that the little rascals will sleep rather a bit later tomorrow morning. ;)

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Someday I'll learn to blog again

Until then, though, here are some more snippets of cuteness.

Eleri frequently leaves the first 's' off words that start with a blended s-consonant sound. So she says Soren just fine (well, "Sowen") and 'sh' words well enough, but sneakers and spicy snacks are "neakers" and "picy nacks." She also softens the 't' in words starting with 'st,' which is how she ends up sometimes shouting excitedly about "My dick!" at the playground or "Dickers!" in the craft store. Hehehe.

* * * * *

The way Eleri asks questions cracks me up. She peaks in the middle, with the rest of her query almost added as an afterthought.

"What's THAT?! Sound."
"Read THIS?! Book."
"Where DADDY?! Go."

Hehe.

* * * * *

Soren is enjoying the heck out of preschool. He's been making all kinds of cute little art projects, and he's so proud of them. Tomorrow he's the class VIP (Very Important Preschooler), which means he gets to bring snack for everyone and something for show & tell. Also, he gets to be the line leader when they go to the gym or playground or wherever as a group. He is very excited. It's adorable.

* * * * *

It's become something of a routine for us to watch a Signing Time DVD (or two) in the afternoons. Eleri's still on the one-nap-per-week schedule (slightly modified this week, as she's been a little under the weather) so it seems to benefit everyone to have some chill-out time after lunch. Both kids are learning lots of signs, which is great. Soren's taken to asking me, "What's the sign for [insert object of interest]?" and when I say I don't know, he wants to look it up online.

* * * * *

We leave in a little less than a week for our vacation. Soren's super excited about the trip, keeps talking about it, keeps asking if we're leaving tomorrow, etc. I'm not looking especially forward to the long plane rides with Eleri (she's at kind of a tough age for the whole "sitting still for extended periods of time" thing) so hopefully it won't be too bad. Fingers crossed!

* * * * *

As always, even if I've been letting my blogging slip, I've kept up with the daily photos (mostly...I miss one day every now and again, but I just take pictures the next morning and call it good), so check out Flickr for all the latest. :) Eventually I will get my act back together with the blog. Probably. ;)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Holy crap. A video?!

I have a video backlog developing again. Stuff from this summer that I haven't processed. And it's occurred to me that I haven't been nearly good enough about recording Eleri and all her cuteness at this age. But here's a little something.

Reading with Eleri:


(Usually she'll make it all the way through both books, but the camera was more than a little distracting. Still, better than nothing.)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

More Snippets

I thought of some more things I wanted to write about!

Remember when I said we'd gotten a bunch of rain a couple of weeks back? It was actually several days in a row of rain. Ever since we got caught out in a rainstorm at the park with A and his mom, Soren has been begging to go outside again and play in the rain. So I finally relented, put the kids in swimsuits, and took them over to the big patio area by the condo complex's community center. They splashed and giggled and had themselves a grand old time.

* * * * *
This past Thursday, we checked out a new (to us) park over in Annandale, since we had some errands to run over that way. Unbeknownst to me, they have a farmers' market at this park, on Thursday mornings as it turns out. I had no idea, so we ran our errands first and ended up arriving just as the market vendors were packing up to leave. Might try to check it out this week though. :)

When we got to the park, there were lots of signs indicating the way to the pavilions, athletic fields/courts, amphitheater, even the dog park, but not a one for the playground. I took a guess and headed in one direction, eventually spying a play structure through the trees. It was all I could do to convince the kids to eat some lunch before going to play, but they gave it a decent effort. When we made our way over to the playground, I was a little surprised. I'd just read, that morning, a fairly recent review of this park, touting in particular the nice, relatively new "tot lot." This playground, however, sported one kind of crummy play structure, on a bed of muddy mulch littered with garbage, surrounded by a broken fence. Not exactly the stuff of glowing reviews. But it was a beautiful day and the kids seemed to be having a fine enough time, so we hung out a bit.

Eventually I coaxed them away by suggesting we check out the big multi-use field. There were some kids kicking a soccer ball around, so we went to see if they'd want to play. Oh man, did my kids have fun tearing around the huge field! It was pretty cute. Soren, of course, made friends instantly, and Eleri just kind of followed the rest of the kids around for a while before finding a ball of her own to kick about.

While on the field, I just so happened to look over and notice...there was another playground! Much newer, by the look of it, so we trucked over to check it out. Eleri (as is her custom) immediately asked to play on the swings, while Soren explored. He came back and did some swinging, then took off again and declared he wanted to go up the big cylindrical climbing wall thing. I told him to go ahead and try; it was 7 or 8 feet tall and I didn't expect him to be able to make it to the top by himself.

Ha. Ha. Ha.

He scooted up the side like a little monkey. I ran over to spot him as he neared the top, and he was proud as could be once he got up there. It was a little tricky helping him figure out how to get down, but we both managed. By that point I got Eleri out of the swing and we all explored a bit more before Soren declared himself in need of a potty break. So we made our way to the bathroom and then headed home.

* * * * *
Last Tuesday, we were also at a park. (We do that a lot.) There was a little boy there who had brought some of his Transformer toys. Not being well versed in the Transformers universe, Soren kept trying to make Optimus Prime the bad guy. Hehe. The other little boy was all bewildered. "No! That Op'mus Prime. Not bad guy."

* * * * *
Eleri's been continuing along on the one-nap-per-week plan. Last week she skipped Thursday but melted down when we were on our way to pick up Soren from preschool on Friday. Passed out in the car, then stayed asleep on my back for another 20 minutes or so. It wasn't that much of a nap though - perhaps not enough to fill her weekly quota - and she took another one on Saturday. The new norm has taken some getting used to (two kids awake all afternoon), but it's been pretty great to have drama-free bedtimes for the most part. Drama-light, at least. ;)

During the day, she gets a little overcooked sometimes, which is not a huge surprise. A little chill-out/reset time in her bed has been pretty effective though, so that's good. She even asks for it sometimes, on the rare occasion that even she realizes she's getting overwhelmed. "Bed? Water? Johnson? Lie down?"

* * * * *
I shouldn't be too surprised, since she hears it from Soren several thousand times a day, but Eleri has already started with the "why"s. Not as much as Soren does, of course. And not about every little thing. Mostly so far, it's just if she's told "no." I don't remember Soren asking why he couldn't have or do something, just getting upset. It is, at once, a source of both amusement and chagrin, for me. Hehe.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Snippets

Some miscellaneous, possibly non-chronological tidbits from life around here of late.

Soren was never really into stuffed animals as a wee babe. He would play with them sometimes, but it's only been in the past maybe 6 months or so that he's developed any sort of affinity for a particular one. But now he's got 2 pals that he snuggles to sleep just about every night. Meet Zebra Ear and Pointy Tail.


The Zeebs, chillin'


He was shocked, when I showed him this picture recently, to realize that he'd had Pointy Tail around since he was tiny.

Eleri, on the other hand, has already found herself a favorite stuffed friend. She's become attached to a bear that (I think) was sent to us by Tom's grandparents. Bedtime or quiet time, she's not likely to be without him.



One morning last week, the kids & I were slowly getting the day started. We were all sitting on my bed, and Soren was saying how excited he was that Zebra Ear would get to come to preschool with him for show & tell. Out of curiosity (and not really expecting an answer), I turned to Eleri, who was snuggling her bear.

Me: Ellie, what's your bear's name?
El: (without missing a beat) Johnson.
Me: (chuckling a little) Your bear's name is Johnson?
El: Yeah.

And so now we have a pony named Zebra Ear, a puppy named Pointy Tail, and a bear named Johnson.

* * * * *
Soren started preschool last week! Monday was just a 45 minute "open house" session. He got to meet his teachers & classmates, get accustomed to the layout of the classroom, and sampled the wide variety of awesome toys therein. The parents hung around (mostly to ask questions, get last-minute paperwork turned in, snap photos), but Soren hardly noticed my presence. He was completely in his element and happy as a clam. It was pretty great.

Wednesday was the first "real" day of class. Starting at the regular time. Which was half an hour earlier than the open house day started. Which I knew. And yet somehow, I got the open house start time stuck in my head. (Dun dun duuuuuun...)

Soren was up early and super jazzed. He came to wake me up and said, "Mommy! It's time for [name of his preschool class]! I am so....so....happy." If that ain't enough to put a s mile on your face first thing in the morning, I don't know what is. He picked out an outfit, ate some breakfast, and tolerated having his picture taken with his backpack on. We eventually left the apartment with (I thought) tons of time to spare, made our way slowly outside to the car, lingered on the grass to take some more pictures, then headed to school. I let him take his time in the bathroom before class, not bothering to hustle him because I still thought we were early. There was a brief moment of "hmm, I would have expected a lot more people around, especially on the first day" but it's not like there was no one else milling about. Just not as many as I would have thought. It was not until we were sauntering over to his classroom that it occurred to me.

Holy shit. We are not 10 minutes early, we're 20 minutes late! AUGH!

*headslap*

I was actually completely mortified and really upset about it at the time, even though his teachers were totally sweet and understanding, and all the kids were still having their morning free play time when we got there, so it's not like we walked in during the middle of circle time or anything. I don't think Soren really noticed our tardiness. But oh man, I felt just awful. Total and complete MomFail moment. And it's not as though I didn't know perfectly well what time school started. The information was just overwritten in my brain that day. So very lame.

Fortunately, the lad had an awesome first day...and then another great day on Friday. This morning was school again, and he seems to be totally into it. I'm so glad! :)

* * * * *
A couple of weeks ago, I was talking to a friend on the phone, bemoaning the fact that our jalapeno plants - which we planted in the spring - had not yet produced any flowers or fruit, despite seeming to be healthy and green and growing well. The very next day, this happened.


So we may yet have some peppers after all!

* * * * *
Eleri's getting to be very fond of books and is starting to recite parts of her favorites. She'll finish all the sentences in The Carrot Seed and can identify most of what's going on in Oh My, Oh My, Oh Dinosaurs. She's also way into songs. Itsy Bitsy Spider, Old MacDonald and the ABCs are current favorites, along with the 3 Little Monkeys rhyme.
Three little monkeys swingin' in the tree
Teasin' Mr. Alligator, "Can't catch me!"
Along comes Mr. Alligator, quiet as can be
And SNAPS that monkey right out of the tree!
Morbid, but she loves it, and does all the little hand motions that go along with it. ;)

* * * * *
El's started using full sentences every once in a while. Some recent adorable ones: "Mommy/Daddy/Soren/Leo...eh AH you?" (where are you), "I love you!" and "Don't...go...'fout...me!"

* * * * *
I got Soren a first grade level easy reader book from the library (this one). He read the whole thing, by himself, with only a tiny bit of assistance. And this was before we'd read it to him, so it wasn't that he just had it memorized. Pretty cool.

This is the sort of thing I would feel like an asshole talking about in public (out loud), but somehow I feel like less of a jerkface braggy parent writing it on my blog. Which, I concede, may be a misconception on my part. But everyone who reads here knows me well enough, I hope, to know I'm just proud of him and a little blown away and mostly just recording stuff like this for posterity. :)

* * * * *
Ever since we moved here, there's been construction work happening on the Beltway. (I suspect Beltway construction is really just an unending phenomenon.) Much of this work has been the building of a sound wall. There's one house along the side of the freeway that I figure must have quite the story behind it.


I call it the "Hell no, we won't go" house. It must take a very special brand of persistence to refuse (I'm assuming they were offered) a buyout from the city/state, when the result is not only putting up with months of loud construction - literally just outside your window - but then years of loud, unbuffered freeway traffic noise.

* * * * *
The reason I was able to take the above photo is that, while I was on my way to my riding lesson this past Friday, there was horrendous traffic on the Beltway. Horrendous. It usually takes me 25-30 minutes to get to the barn, door to door. This Friday? It took me an hour and ten. Which resulted in me arriving 23 minutes into my half hour lesson. Grrrrrrr! I was extremely frustrated. The instructor kindly took pity on me (I wasn't the only one who was late that day, but I was the only one who basically missed the lesson due to tardiness), and let me come back on Saturday to ride in a different class.

The previous week, we'd had a ton of rain...I mean a LOT...the day before my lesson day. I didn't know if the barn would be open, but there was nothing about a closure on the website, and no one returned my call asking if we were still having classes. So I went ahead and showed up. And arrived to find a "CLOSED" sign hanging on the gate. So that was awesome. This Saturday, then, was my first ride in a couple of weeks. It went pretty well. I was in a class with 4 teenagers and felt like kind of an old fogey. Hehe. It was okay though.

* * * * *
All right! That's enough for now, I think. More again soon, I promise.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Catching up again

I think I'm going to break this into two posts, one just photos and one just text (since I can't remember precisely which of my little stories goes with which day).


Day 151


Day 240


Day 152 / Day 241


Day 153


Day 242


Day 154


Day 243


Day 155


Day 244


Day 156


Day 245


Day 157


Day 246


Day 158


Day 247


Day 159


Day 248


Day 160


Day 249


Day 161


Day 250

Thursday, September 08, 2011

And then, on the seventh day, she napped once more

After a week of napless days, Eleri finally had herself a 2.5 hour snooze this afternoon. I'd taken the kiddos out to play in the rain in the late morning, and they frolicked and stomped and splashed and giggled. We picked up some lunch and brought it back home, and as we ate, Eleri's head got heavier and heavier, and she started rubbing her eyes more and more. I decided to put her in bed just to have a bit of rest, and she ended up falling all the way asleep. Huzzah!

Of course, then she was wide awake at bedtime tonight and didn't finally conk out until after 9:30. Criminy. We can't win.

We have had a whole lot of rain here this week. After the lass woke up from her nap in the afternoon, the 3 of us suited up in rain gear and braved a trip to the grocery store. We were nearly soaked clean through just getting to the car. The thunder boomed and crashed outside the whole time we were shopping, and there were a couple of scarily close crackly flashes of lightning as we were getting back to the car afterward. Yikes! We made it home safely though and hunkered down for the evening.

Well, almost. I did skip out for a quick run before dinner. I was really hungry, so I wanted to just get 2 miles done as quickly as I could feasibly manage, and I ended up beating my personal best time for that distance, finishing up in 18:23! As much as I dislike running (I'll admit, it's growing more tolerable) it's always gratifying to beat a speed or distance record.

All right. Off to bed. Photos from the last few days will hopefully go up tomorrow.

30DOB #16

Day 16: Share your favorite recipe.

It's not possible to pick just one, but here's a recent favorite. It's for roast chicken and is basically the only way I'll make roast chicken again. ;) I found it here, on AllRecipes, but I'll copy it below as well.

Ingredients
  • one chicken (obviously)
  • 1/2 c. white wine or chicken broth (I actually used double this, about 1/2 cup of each)
  • 1 lime wedge (or some lime juice)
  • 2 garlic cloves (I used some crushed garlic)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • thyme (one or two sprigs fresh, or a pinch dried)
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
The recipe also calls for apple juice/sherry and cornstarch, in order to make a gravy from the drippings, but I didn't do that. I did, however add:
  • butter
  • crumbled bacon
  • salt

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
2. Rinse chicken, pat dry. Put some bits of butter & crumbled bacon under the skin of the chicken in several places. Place chicken breast up on a rack in a roasting pan.
3. In a bowl, combine half the white wine/chicken broth, lime wedge/juice, garlic, thyme & bay leaf. Pour mixture into the cavity of the chicken.
4. Pour the remainder of the white wine/broth into the bottom of the roasting pan.
5. Sprinkle paprika (and salt) on the chicken & tent loosely with foil.
6. Bake chicken for 45 minutes, basting occasionally. Add more liquid to the roasting pan as it evaporates.
7. After 45 minutes, remove the foil & bake until the juices run clear (about another 35-45 min).
8. If desired, make a gravy out of the pan drippings & some apple juice or sherry, thickened with cornstarch. But this chicken was so succulent & delicious that I don't think a gravy would even be necessary.

And there you have it! Scrumptious roast chicken in just a couple of hours.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Way behind again

Ugh, sorry. I've accrued a huge posting backlog yet again. I wouldn't even bother detailing each and every day, except that we've been quite busy this past week and a half, and there have been some fun (and some less fun) moments I'd like to record. So here goes.


Day 138


Day 227

Wednesday! Mall walk in the morning, and then we went to a house cleaning "party" with the playgroup. One of the moms is on hospital bedrest, pregnant with twins, so the group rallied to get the nursery set up and help tend to laundry and such. It was a nice thought, but the execution was somewhat lacking. A houseful of wild children, ripping apart a room after you've just finished organizing it, provided a rather frustrating impediment to progress. Next time, we'll have to corral them all at someone else's house.



Day 139


Day 228

Thursday we invited A and his mom over to play at the park behind our complex. The weather forecast predicted we'd get some rain in the afternoon, but it showed up several hours early, drenching us while we were still at the park. At first, A's mom and I herded the kids under one of the picnic shelters, but they kept venturing out until we decided to just let them run free. They had the best time, giddily scamping through the rain. They were soon soaked clean through, but happy little campers. Eleri slept extra well that afternoon.



Day 140 / Day 229

Friday we ran a bunch of errands in the morning. I decided to do one of my exercise DVDs while Eleri napped in the afternoon. Soren tried to cardio kick along with me, which was pretty cute and funny. In the evening, I went back to Shadybrook Stables for my evaluation ride. (That link goes to the "Meet the Horses" page. I was assigned Gypsy to ride.) I went ahead and signed up for a 10-week session, so I'll be riding there for a while. I think it'll be good enough. The drive's definitely not bad, and while the class is not especially challenging, it should be all right. Plus, if I can do my riding on Friday evenings, we'll have the whole weekend free for other stuff. Whee!



Day 141


Day 230

Hurricane! First a rare earthquake hit the region earlier in the week, and then on Saturday we were due to get a visit from Hurricane Irene. Fortunately, we're far enough inland here that, while we got a fair bit of wind and rain, there wasn't any major flooding or damage. Some areas of Maryland and DC had widespread (and long-lasting) power outages, but we were quite lucky. The kids were a little stir crazy from being inside all day, but overall we fared just fine.

I started work on Eleri's Christmas stocking in the afternoon. It's a needlepoint pattern, and I discovered pretty quickly that it would be easier if I had some sort of frame on which to mount the fabric while I was working. I asked Tom if he thought he could build me a scroll frame; handy man that he is (and always glad to have a project), he made a run to the hardware store and set to work. It took a couple of days to finish, but I'm really pleased with it. :)



Day 142


Day 231

Sunday? I don't really remember if we did much of note during the day. Tom ran some errands and came home with a cute little collapsible soccer goal for the kids. After dinner, Tom set up an obstacle course in the living room for Soren, who ran through it something like 15 times in a row. He had a grand old time.



Day 143


Day 232

Monday again! We went to the park in the morning with A and his mom and brought along our new soccer goal. Soren wanted to wear his football jersey because it has a number on it - and he insisted that he needed to have a number on his shirt if he was going to be a goalkeeper - but the jersey was in the laundry. He was bummed out, but I told him I'd tape a number on whatever other shirt he wanted to wear. He even got to pick his number that way! He thought that was awesome, and we soon headed to the park with his new #4 shirt.

The last time we'd been to this particular park was on A's second birthday, back in March of last year, so it had been quite a while. The play structure that seemed so huge and scary then was no big deal this time around. (Weirdly, it didn't even seem that scary for Eleri to play on it, though she mostly stuck to the smaller one and the swings anyhow.) The kids played and played, and then we came on home.



Day 144 / Day 233

Tuesday morning I dropped the kids at A's house and took Leo in for another vet appointment. It took a couple of hours, but they were actually able to examine him this time. They also sedated him and took a cell sample from the mass on his chest. (Benign fatty tumor! No need for surgery. Huzzah!) Home again, Eleri took a late-ish nap and was then up for something like 2 hours in the middle of the night. Grrrr. After an hour and a half, I gave up and let Tom take over, fleeing to the couch in an attempt to get some sleep. At which point Soren woke up and wouldn't resettle. Eventually everyone got back to sleep, but it was a crummy night for all.



Day 145


Day 234

Wednesday morning was the special breed of awful that arises when you haven't had enough sleep. Ugh. I was determined to get Eleri napping WAY earlier that day, so we rushed through our post-mall-walk lunch and raced home. She was passed out by 12:30. Progress! After many days of having to wake her up after 2 hours - since she was sleeping so late in the afternoon - it was nice to just let her sleep til she woke up (a whole half hour longer than she'd been getting to nap). She was up by 3:00, and we headed out the door again. I wanted to run the little weasels around outside some more in the afternoon, since it wasn't as hideously hot as it had been. Plus, I hoped we'd avoid a repeat of Tuesday night's happy fun times if they were nicely exhausted. We actually had a great time at the playground. The kids were both in rather infectiously good moods, and I'd had the foresight to bring along the camera, so I got some fun pictures.

Also, as Wednesday was the last day of the month, I added the morning's 2 mile mall walk with the rest of my logged runs & walks for August and came up with a grand total of...39.99 miles for the month! Up from 27.5 miles in July. Sweet! I'm feeling pretty proud about that. Just gotta keep at it. :)

Everyone slept a lot better on Wednesday night. Thank goodness.



Day 146


Day 235

Thursday morning we returned to River Farm. It was a humid day, so everyone was quite sweaty and thirsty after running amok. Naptime wasn't quite as early as Wednesday (got her down by 1:30 instead of 12:30), but it was still better than it'd been. I was feeling pretty good about the new schedule. Even if it meant we had to book it home from our morning activities a little earlier than before, it would be worth it if Eleri slept better at night. I was foolishly optimistic that we'd figured things out for the time being.

(Foreshadowing.)

That evening I decided to swim laps rather than run on the treadmill. I did 600 yds (alternating breast stroke and crawl every length), and then relaxed in the hot tub a while. Ahh. I was good & tired afterward.



Day 147


Day 236

Friday was the last weekday of the season for the train & carousel at Burke Lake Park to be running. So we took advantage of the opportunity to go one last time. Eleri had been up early, and by mid-morning she was exceedingly fragile. There was quite the crowd there (not a huge surprise, everyone else had the same idea we did about the train & carousel), so we had to wait for both rides. El was not amused. We waited long enough at the carousel that she refused to stay on the horse, insisting on sitting on one of the little stationary critters instead. (Which was a shame, as she'd gotten SUCH a kick out of the horse last time. Oh well.) But once the carousel & train started moving, she was pretty happy with the rides. I was sure it would be another early nap day for her, but 12:30 came and went. Then 1:30, then 2:30, then 4:30. How she was staying awake at this point was utterly beyond me, but stay awake she did. All the way to bedtime.

And thus began the Era of No Naps.

As I'm writing this post, it is now 7:40pm on Monday. Eleri has just gone to bed, after being awake all day. She hasn't had a nap since Thursday. What the what?

I will admit, bedtime has been much easier. AND, in a stroke of cleverness, Tom & I decided to try switching her back to the little crib, which we'd moved just out of our room and into the little dressing area by our closets. And for the past 3 nights, she has stayed abed all night long. We've heard her rolling and repositioning from time to time, but she has thus far been able to resettle herself every time.

Now, I know better than to think this will last. Probably just by writing this down now, I've cursed us to another difficult night tonight. But man. It's been kind of nice not to get kicked in the head all night long. Now, there have been some difficult moments in the middle of the day of course. Fairly melty times, when I've been sure she needed a nap. But I've put her in her bed with some water, left her alone, and 20 minutes later, I hear her babbling away happily in there. I give her another 10 minutes, then heave a sigh and go retrieve her, and she's been smiley and pleasant once more. So there will still be quiet times, and I'm sure there will be days when she'll nap again. I remember Soren went on about a 2 week nap strike when he was a bit older than this, a couple of months before he gave up naps for good.

So the writing's on the wall. We are very possibly approaching the end of naps. I'm not ready for it, but I guess it does make things easier in a way, if we never have to rush home from things. Still. *whimper* It will take some adjustment - for all of us, but mostly for me. ;)

On to happier topics, and returning to Friday. Well, let's back up a tiny bit further, to Wednesday afternoon. After we left the playground, we went a-grocering, and I decided on a whim to pick up some oxtails. I'd been wanting to try making them for a while, but I hadn't gotten around to it. So this was to be the week. And on Friday morning, before we left for Burke Lake Park, I seared up those oxtails and stuck them in the crock pot with some red wine, garlic, thyme, a splash of chicken broth and a couple of bay leaves. I let that stew all day. Later in the afternoon, I sauteed some pearl onions & mushrooms with butter & a bit more wine, and I added those to the crock pot. (I was following a recipe for beef burgundy.) That cooked all together for another couple of hours, and then Tom & the kids got to eat after I left for my riding lesson.

I rode Gypsy again, and it went pretty well. He has kind of a rough canter, but he's otherwise pretty good. This instructor focuses a lot more on the specifics of rider position than N, probably because this is a lower level class, and position is more important when you're trying to get the basics down. But it means that I get told a lot about my right shoulder being lower than my left (it's like that way when I'm standing on the ground, too), or my balance being just a bit more in one seat bone than the other. It's all well and good, but it can feel a little nitpicky. I don't want to sound like I'm complaining. I'm just trying to articulate the differences in teaching style that I'm noticing so far. One's not necessarily better or worse than the other, just different.

I was starving when I got home, so it was with great gusto that I tucked into the oxtail burgundy stew. It was quite delicious. Definitely a win. Glad I've got another 2 pounds of oxtail in the freezer. ;)



Day 148


Day 237

Saturday we had a birthday party to attend in the afternoon. It was a water-themed event (kiddie pools and sprinklers in the backyard), and all the kids had a soggy good time. As you already know, Eleri declined to take a nap that day, but she was in reasonably good spirits and recovered from her overtired melty moments with 15 or 20 minutes of quiet time in her bed.

There was a UO football game on in the evening, but we won't talk about that.



Day 149


Day 238

Sunday there was some erranding, as per usual. Tom went to the hardware store to get supplies for yet another project (that'll get its own post, when it's done). I got back to the gym for the first time since Tuesday and busted out a 5k on the treadmill in 29:19. Go me! The kids & I went for a walk to pick up Subway for lunch. Well, Soren & I walked, and I pushed Eleri in the stroller. The sandwichery is just 3/4 of a mile from home, so it wasn't a bad walk, and Eleri aaaaaaaalmost fell asleep on the way there. I mean, she was basically out, but when I reclined the stroller back, she woke up & rallied, staying awake the rest of the way there & all the way home. Ah well. Soren was a trooper; it's not a long walk, but there's a substantial hill on the way, and it was another muggy day. He was tired, but he trucked on without (too much) complaint.

After the kids went to bed, Tom & I watched Sucker Punch. It was very strange. There were some neat CGI effects, but the storytelling was sloppy (things in the main fantasy story didn't line up with things from the frame story); just a very weird flick overall.



Day 150 / Day 239

Caught up! Can you believe it? Monday once more. Huzzah for 3-day weekends. I ran another 5k in the morning (28:48 this time) and did a bunch of laundry & some cleaning while Tom took the kids to run errands. As we headed into afternoon #4 with no nap from Eleri, I sat them both in front of one of the Signing Time DVDs we got from the library earlier in the week. That's what they're watching in the photo above. Soren's signing "train." Signing Time is probably going to be a lifesaver for the afternoons if the nap strike continues. I don't mind Eleri watching it, and they both seem to love it, so if it means I'll still get half an hour of quiet(ish) time, I'll take it. Soren's picking up the signs pretty quickly, and Eleri's learned a few as well. It's neat.

Bedtime came a bit early for the lass tonight, but I'm hoping it doesn't translate to a super early wakeup time tomorrow morning. Fingers crossed.