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.
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.
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.
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!
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. :)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. ;)
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.
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.
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.