Saturday, April 28, 2012
Last night I got to go riding for the first time since Easter. Yay! Twas nice to get back in the saddle again, and Vanya was a pretty good boy.
This morning I went to Zumba class, then hurried home so we could all rush out again. We headed to DC to check out the big Science and Engineering Festival. It was quite cool, and would have been super awesome if it weren't so damned crowded. There were a ton of very kid-friendly, hands-on exhibits and demonstrations. One of the highlights for Soren was a full size Magic School Bus; there was even a lady dressed up as Ms. Frizzle. Unfortunately, the line to actually get inside the school bus was insanely long, but it was still cool from the outside. The other big excitement for the lad was a chance to see Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage - the Mythbusters! - in person. They were giving a talk on one of the stages. I wasn't too surprised that there were too many people there for us to get a very good view, but I was bummed that we couldn't really hear much of anything either. So the kids (sitting on our shoulders) got to see them for a little bit, and then we took off. It's possible Soren and Eleri were more excited about getting to ride the metro than they were about the actual science expo, but that's okay too. ;)
In the evening, we took the weasels over to A's house and got to go have a dinner date. We went to Big Buns in Arlington, which, despite sounding like a specialty strip club, is actually a burger place. The burgers were pretty good, but sadly overcooked. BGR and Ray's Hellburger still serve up the best burgers in the area, I think. But dinner out is dinner out, and we had a nice time.
Soren & Eleri have developed a liking for the Bree Sharp song "America." It's pretty funny to hear them singing the chorus ("Ah-ooooooooooh America!"), and of course they ask to listen to it over and over. Better than Barney's Greatest Hits, for sure.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
After the big earning of the ice cream cone, her discipline slipped for a few days, so even though we've had her new sticker chart set up since Saturday, she was finally able to put her first sticker on it today. She's on the board! I hope this will be sufficiently motivating for her to keep trying. Fingers crossed!
So. Remember those jackhammers I was complaining about yesterday? They were back again this morning, no great surprise. So when my friend Carlota asked if we wanted to meet her & her kids for breakfast, we all got dressed & out of the house in record time to escape the godawful noise. Soren wasn't seeming quite himself upon waking, and sure enough, a few sips into his apple juice at Panera...yaaaaaack. Right there on the table. Poor kid. The kicker is that he'd been completely fine the whole day yesterday! Probably could have gone to school, no problem. Oy. Anyway, he was all right for the rest of this morning. Not his usual boisterous self, but not miserable either. We made a quick run to the store for some Pedialyte, and then I stopped at Carlota's house to pick up some paints I'd left there (intending to maybe chill with the kids at home this afternoon and do some painting to keep them entertained). We got back home just minutes before the jackhammerers went on lunch break, so we had a good 45 minutes of blissful silence. During which time Soren perked up and was back to his usual self again, as if nothing had happened. He was fine for the rest of the day.
So now I'm a little scared to send him to school tomorrow, since mornings seem to be his most fragile time, but keeping him home another day also seems like a silly choice. He'll probably be just fine. I'll have to see how he's acting first thing in the morning and make a decision then. Really hoping he wakes up bright eyed and bushy tailed.
Monday, April 23, 2012
I began a slow descent into headcold crumminess on, I think, Thursday morning. By Saturday I was too congested to attempt Zumba. I did take Eleri out in the afternoon for ice cream & erranding, and we did some major rearrangement of the kids' room (ditched Eleri's bed, put her mattress under Soren's loft bed, pseudo-bunk-bed-style, got a bunch of new drawers & bins for their toys). El & I also went to the international grocery store in search of some Indian spices so we could make butter chicken for dinner. It was rather a bit hotter than I expected, but still pretty tasty. And as I told Tom, at least it cleared out my sinuses a bit.
Saturday night I took some Tylenol PM and basically blocked out the world until after 9am Sunday morning.
I awoke to discover Tom had some sort of stomach bug. A nasty one. He'd been up for hours already, completely miserable, and was in no condition to take Soren to soccer class. Eleri & I still forged ahead to her swimming lesson. She's no longer loving it quite as much as she did those first couple of weeks; mostly she objects to having to be on her back and gets pretty cranky after that part of the class. Oh well. Only two weeks left.
Poor Tom was pretty much out of it all day. I was still feeling crappy with my congested head, so it was a very low-key rest of the day. Dozing on the couch, maybe watching some TV, while the kids played. Soren was extraordinarily bummed that he didn't get to go anywhere all day, and I think that may have contributed to some not so great behavior later in the evening. Tom & I switched kids for bedtime, so that meant I was putting Eleri to bed for the first time in a while. And I completely failed. She's normally well asleep by about 8:20, and it was after 9:00 by the time I finally got her down. Bah.
And then around 1am this morning, Soren came padding into our room. I told him to go back to bed. He told me he couldn't because he'd spat on his hand. I didn't know what the heck he was on about, assumed he'd drooled or something, led him back to bed. At which point I discovered he'd puked all over his pillow. And his hand. Poor little dude. Got him cleaned up and re-settled on the couch, and he & I slept there for a little while. Fearing he'd caught whatever it was that Tom had yesterday, I kept him home from school this morning, even though he seems completely fine. Better a little disappointment and stir craziness at home than getting a call at 9:15 telling me he'd yarfed on a classmate.
And now it seems the apartment above ours is having some sort of renovation done, because someone has been jackhammering directly over my head for the last hour. This is just too much awesome for one day. I think I'm going to try my luck with these stir crazy little gits and go run a couple of errands.
Update: The jackhammering wasn't coming from overhead; it was coming from the parking garage. Way to go on the extreme conductivity of sound there, concrete! They kept at it until 4pm. It was awesome.
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Thursday, April 19, 2012
After a particularly rough morning on Monday, I sat her down and told her that if she could really buckle down, concentrate, and make it through the rest of the week accident-free, she would be rewarded with an ice cream cone on Saturday. I've been saying for a while that we just need to find her "currency" (Soren's was little yogurt biscotti cookies from Trader Joe's). Potty training has long since stopped being interesting to her, and she doesn't seem to particularly care if she doesn't make it to the bathroom in time. But that one little conversation just might have done it. I think after this weekend maybe she'll get a sticker chart again. Every accident-free day she'll earn a sticker, and when she fills the chart (30 days or something) she'll get some kind of awesome prize of her choosing. Hopefully that will be sufficient incentive to get over the hump and into the realm of the Fully Potty Trained. Fingers crossed!
Sunday, April 15, 2012
"I'll give you three chances, and if you don't behave, I'll turn you into a goon!"
"What?! No, no, no, Mommy. Not a goon. He gets turned into a duck."
Indeed, every time Soren sings the song, the field-mouse-bopping bunny (they did retain the violence of the song, it seems) is horribly chagrined to discover he's become a duck by the end. I find this strange. What's so objectionable about "goon"? And how does turning a rabbit into a duck teach him a lesson about leaving defenseless field mice alone? It's one thing to punish wicked behavior with an outward manifestation of inner wickedness, but simple prey-animal-to-prey-animal transfiguration? Doesn't track.
I will admit that it is entirely possible that I'm overthinking this whole thing. But anyway.
Yesterday Soren adapted the lyrics to make up his own silly verse.
Little Zumba foo foo
Getting some exercise
Leaving at 5 o'clock
So it can see its family
No goons there, but the kid is definitely a goof. ;)
Friday, April 13, 2012
And just like any other (school) morning, Soren kept up a steady stream of chatter from the back seat while I tried to catch bits of Morning Edition on the radio. We got to school - a few minutes late - and made a last trip to the bathroom before getting the lad signed in for the morning. Eleri sidled up to one of Soren's teachers and tried to join in with the other kids at morning table time while I helped Soren get his backpack and sweater hung up. He hesitated a minute when I asked if he wanted to remove his sweater, and then gave one big involuntary shudder when he took it off.
"Geez buddy, are you okay? Are you cold?"
"No. I'm fine!"
And off he went to play with playdough. I warned his teachers that his arms were still a little sore from getting vaccinated yesterday (foreshadowing!) but that he seemed fine otherwise. Good day to all, collect the El, head out for Friday coffee shop time.
I was about 20 minutes into my mocha (tomato & cheddar quiche having been rapidly dispatched shortly after arrival) when I got a buzz on my phone indicating I had a message. It hadn't rung, but the cell signal is quite weak in the coffee shop, so it must have skipped straight to voice mail. The message was from Soren's teacher.
Soren had, apparently, started shivering right after I'd left him, an had spent the next 20 or so minutes huddled on the lap of one of his teachers. Mrs. W didn't think he was necessarily sick, but also didn't think he was up to actually participating in class; she said he probably needed to spend the morning snuggled up on the couch.
Fortunately, my friend Carlota & I have our Friday coffee date at a place less than 5 minutes from the school, so I was able to leave Eleri with her and quickly go retrieve Soren. Poor dude had barely made it 40 minutes into his school day. When I got there, he was sitting at a table with Miss L, huddled and shivering, while the rest of the class had circle time. He looked utterly miserable, dull-eyed, so incredibly not himself. Nothing like the kid I'd left there half an hour earlier. And even as I picked him up and he melted into my arms, his eyes filled with tears as he told me he couldn't possibly miss playtime with his classmates. Poor little dude.
I carried him out to the car, told him we had to go pick up Eleri from the coffee shop, asked if there was anything he wanted to eat or drink. His voice was tiny, asking if I thought they would have any apple juice. I assured him they would and got him a bottle while I collected El and chugged the rest of my coffee. Of course, cold apple juice just made him shiver worse, *and* Eleri chose that moment to have a huge pee accident all over the floor, so I had Soren hold his hands on my warm coffee mug while I cleaned up the lass.
Carlota could also see the obvious difference in Soren, despite his insistence that he felt just fine, really, and needed to be taken back to school. At the suggestion that he should go home and nap all day, he gave kind of a disgusted, "No I won't!" I'm not sure how, but his forehead and chest were hot, while his nose and hands were freezing. We booked it out of there as soon as I got Eleri changed, and headed for home, where I promised him snuggles and Mythbusters.
El, for her part, was pretty good about the whole "chilling out on the couch" plan. She was wiggly at first, yes, but eventually she found some toys to play with and let me snuggle with the little sicky. Who promptly passed out midway through the episode and took a nice little nap.
Poor Soren. Ever since his first round of vaccinations as a little baby, he's always been susceptible to fevers as a reaction. Last year (or maybe the year before?) he got violent chills and spiked a 103 degree fever a couple of hours after getting his flu shot. This time though, he seemed 100% normal until something like 18 hours later, at which point he just went down like a ton of bricks. It's so strange.
Fortunately, the restorative powers of the Mythbusters (and yes, probably the nap as well...and the Motrin I'd given him when we got home) managed to perk him back up. He ate some lunch and started returning to himself by degrees rather quickly thereafter. By mid-afternoon he was begging to go to the park. I didn't think that was the smartest move, but I compromised and invited some friends over to hang out and help us finally start our indoor seeds. The kids had a great time planting and playing, and the moms had a nice visit too.
Modulo a dinnertime meltdown from Miss Ells (who ended up passing out on Tom after managing only half a bite of food), it was a pretty good rest of the day. Soren went to bed tired, and a little later than usual, but seeming generally okay. I'm hopeful that things will go a lot better for the little dude tomorrow.
Thursday, April 12, 2012
The first place we were running late to was the library. I've taken Soren twice now to the 3-5yo story time, which he thinks is pretty awesome because there are no parents allowed. Yes, parents are welcome to set up camp right outside the reading room for that half hour (and many do), but the kids are in there with the librarian by themselves. I bring the stroller, plunk Eleri in it with the iPod, and go browse books for myself until story time is over.
El (who slept until nearly 9:00 this morning, and in her own bed no less) pitched a nice little hissy fit there in the library, so we ended up having to hide out in the bathroom for a while. Good times. I was really hoping she'd be in a better mood today due to the extra sleep, and for a while in the morning she did seem all mellow & chill, but 'twas not to last. Ah well.
We returned home for lunch, and then the kids had doctor appointments in the afternoon. I sat down on the couch to read for a bit after lunch, lost track of time because the kids were playing so nicely together, and suddenly we were off and running (late, of course) to the doc's. We may have walked through the door there riiiiight at the appointment time. Whew.
Eleri was in for a re-check of the fluid in her ears (all clear!), and Soren of course had his 4 year-old well child visit. It was amusing; since they were both being seen by the doctor, both of them got weighed. Soren now only outweighs Eleri by about 7 pounds! I think he's gained all of 4 pounds in the whole last year. (For the record, he's 37 lbs and 41.5 inches tall.)
Soren was a superstar through his whole appointment. When it came time for inoculations, of which he needed 3, he gave a rather indignant "Ouch!" with each one, but didn't cry. He's quite pleased to know he doesn't have to have any more now until he's 10. I got him a soft serve cone from McDonald's afterward, as a treat for being so well-behaved. (Eleri got to try a few licks, as her behavior was also quite good, but getting one's ears checked isn't quite on par with getting vaccinated.)
We tried to return home, but found the front gate of our complex blocked and our building surrounded by police cars. There had been a couple of them parked there as we'd left for the doctor's office, but they appeared to have multiplied in our absence. There were also a couple of big tactical-looking panel trucks, and an ambulance. Plus at least 2 or 3 cops on motorcycles. A call to the Resident Services office revealed only a vague report of a "disturbance on the fourth floor," and supposedly we were free to go ahead inside if we wanted. It seemed like an awful lot of law enforcement personnel for a mere "disturbance" to me, and the panel trucks definitely gave me pause. ("What the hell, are there *hostage negotiations* going on in there?") So we turned tail and set out to kill some time, grab a little snack, hopefully return when the situation had been resolved.
When we came back an hour later, there seemed to be even more cop card there. I texted some friends about our predicament, not at all fishing for a dinner invitation, but happy to accept the one that did arrive. Particularly since Tom was going to be stuck at work late again. The kids were overjoyed to get an impromptu dinner with their buddy C, and by the time Tom got home, there was only one police car parked outside. Not sure what that was all about, but whatever.
And tomorrow we wrap up another week! Funny, it felt like a tough slog getting to Wednesday, and now here it is nearly the weekend again. Go figure.
Sunday, April 08, 2012
I hopped off for a minute to pick some flowers for later identification. Nice view though, huh? That's the Potomac in the background.
Soren spent most of the day playing with his new birthday gifts. He got a couple of real Lego kits (up til now we've just had the much larger Duplo blocks), and I helped him build an airplane using one of the kits.
Actually, that's not true. He helped me build the airplane. And by "helped" I mostly mean "supervised." ;) No, he did help me a lot at the beginning, but it was a complicated build, and pretty soon he was just way more interested in ferrying the Legos from place to place with his dump truck. But then he played with the plane after I finished it. I really don't remember Legos being quite so complex when we were kids. This kit has a lot of really tiny odd-shaped pieces, which of course makes for nicely detailed creations (when you follow the step-by-step instructions), but I think it can also be a bit overwhelming. Fun, though, playing with real Legos for an hour or something. If we can keep them from getting just scattered far and wide, and thereafter, lodged in Tom's and my bare feet, I suspect they'll provide lots of amusement, particularly when it's too hot to go anywhere this summer.
Eleri's been enjoying the new toys as well. She has been...difficult, lately. Potty training success varies wildly, still. She'll have two or three great days in a row, and then it's back to accident city. And the new leading cause of accidents is the refusal to try & pee when prompted. The vociferous refusal. A simple, "Okay everyone, let's all go potty before we leave the house," devolves rapidly into an all-out screaming, flailing meltdown. It's...super fun. In case I haven't mentioned it, I am really ready to be done with the whole potty training thing. And the terrible twos thing, also. That'd be nice.
Fortunately our interactions are not universally negative. We have some good snuggles and play some fun games, sometimes. She doesn't seem to hate me, despite the fact that I am an evil monster who tortures her daily with elimination requests. I suppose that's something.
All right. The day's early start is catching up with me, so I'm going to get some shut-eye. Happy Easter to those who celebrated it today (we didn't do a single Easter-related thing, given all the birthday activity yesterday). Good night!
Saturday, April 07, 2012
Enough with the navel gazing. It was a heck of a day today.
Soren woke up to the first few of his presents. Tom made chocolate chip pancakes for everyone while I skipped out to Zumba for an hour. (Gotta burn those calories, work off birthday cupcakes in advance, doncha know?) Then in the afternoon, it was off to the long-awaited, much-anticipated birthday party. This was the first year we've done a real party, so it was quite the to-do. Most of his preschool classmates were in attendance, plus a few other buddies we hang out with outside of school.
We started out in the soft play room at the rec center. Good gracious it gets loud in there with 12 screeching four year-olds, a couple of older siblings, plus three 2 year-olds. Very...very loud. But they had a great time and ran around like maniacs for a full hour.
Then we went outside for snacks and the aforementioned birthday cupcakes. Everyone scamped about on the playground for another hour. Soren got to try out his new scooter, which he graciously shared with his friends. Everyone, by all accounts, had a lovely time.
And then the presents. Fortunately, at this age, there is no expectation of a grand gift opening right there at the party, so we got to ferry the mountain of gifts back home and open them after dinner. It was quite the haul. I think even Soren was a little overwhelmed, pleased though he was. (And he was *very* pleased.) He got a lot of cool stuff.
Dinner was pizza, courtesy of Papa John. We enjoyed the rare (these days) treat of eating in the living room and watching some TV ("Unchained Reaction"). After gifts, it was time for books and bed. I'm hoping they both...heck, we all...sleep well tonight.
Happy birthday, Soren. I love the heck out of you, little man.
Thursday, April 05, 2012
Yesterday morning, we did our usual Wednesday walking, but since Spring Break means both K and I had two kids in tow, instead of one apiece, we met at her house and did our walk outside. (She has two double strollers, you see.) She also lives less than a mile from Lake Accotink Park, which has a lovely, wide, paved walking path through the woods, so we made our way over there. The path is bordered by lily of the valley and some pretty blue flower I didn't recognize. It was quiet out, except for the birds. Not yet muggy and hideous. It was a super nice walk.
After we finished walking, we were going to let the kids play on the playground for a bit, but some workers were laying down new mulch. They were spraying the mulch on the playground with a huge, fat hose. I'd never seen such a thing. Needless to say, the playground was closed, so we headed back to K's house and let the kids play there a little while. Then I took my weasels out to lunch at the new Noodles & Co (it's a chain, but I'd never eaten in one). While we were there, A's mom invited us to join them out at the rec center. So we did our grocering, then headed over to meet them & play some more.
In the evening, it was pony time for me. It's been staying light until about 7:30, so there was plenty of time for a trail ride with N. I hadn't been out on the trail in almost six weeks, and a lot has changed! Most of the muddy parts have dried up now, and the thick blanket of green undergrowth makes it look like we're riding through some sort of fairy forest. And like the walking path at Lake Accotink Park, there are pretty flowers everywhere. The only downside is the exploding gnat population; we were riding through clouds of them at several points, mostly down by the river. But it's a small price to pay for such a beautiful ride. Plus, with the ground so much drier, we were able to do a lot more trottingand cantering, plus a couple of (controlled) gallops, so we were able to cover a lot more ground in less time and get a really good ride in before the sun went down. It was a perfect way to wind down the day.
I have always said I like Autumn best of all. But this Spring, if it lasts more than a few weeks, just may give my favorite season a run for its money.
Tuesday, April 03, 2012
Eleri insisted on wearing Soren's bright red "Big Guy" t-shirt today. I pick my battles, and that one was not worth fighting, despite what the other parents at the park may have thought of me. ;)
We had another day free of potty-related accidents! After a disastrous bit of backsliding a couple of weeks ago, she's improving again. More importantly, she's starting - every once in a while - to tell ME that she needs to use the bathroom. (Most of the time it's still me reminding her to go.) Hopefully that means it's all about to click into place here pretty soon. Fingers crossed.
Soren's getting very excited about his birthday, coming up on Saturday. We're making preparations for his party, and he talks all the time about how he'll be 4 soon. It's pretty cute. A lot of the time, too, if he doesn't want to do something, he'll tell us, "I'll do it when I'm 4. Not right now." Goof ball.
Monday, April 02, 2012
This has been my position ever since I first heard of veganism (or "advanced vegetarianism," as I sometimes think of it). Forever foregoing any animal product - not just meat but milk, eggs, cheese, ice cream, and did I mention cheese? - is perhaps noble, but I just can't see myself maintaining that level of nobility for the rest of my life. For one thing, it's difficult to find things to eat outside the home, aside from specialty restaurants. Sure, it's getting easier these days, especially in metropolitan areas, but even vegetarian items on most menus include some form of dairy. Beyond the logistical difficulties, though, I just like cheese. And, you know, steaks. I didn't really miss eating meat all that much, during my several years as a vegetarian, but I think I'd probably miss it more now. Older and more set in my ways and all that.
Given the title of this post, however, I suspect you can likely divine there's a big "but" coming.
Last week I went to the doctor for my first physical in about 5 years. It was time. As she was asking me basic questions about my diet & exercise, she came to the subject of calcium, and whether I was getting enough of it.
"Well, I don't drink milk, but I do like cheese." (I may have actually said "love.")
"I see. We'll definitely be checking your cholesterol then."
Pre-kids, I had some elevated cholesterol levels. Particularly in college, when I was a vegetarian and eating lots and lots of (wait for it) cheese. Then I had a few years when I got to stop thinking about it. Cholesterol, as it happens, is vital for building brains in utero, so pregnancy meant a little hiatus from that particular worry. Post-kids, however, I fully expected to get a call from the lab after my bloodwork, chastising me for cultivating plaque colonies in my vascular system.
The doctor asked if I was ever getting my protein from non-animal sources (beans, lentils, soy, etc.), and I said yes. But it later occured to me that even on those occasions that we have a vegetarian dinner, there's almost always at least some butter or sour cream involved. Still anticipating that call from the lab, I decided to take some preliminary steps toward a cholesterol-lowering regimen. I went to the library and checked out a couple of vegan cookbooks.
My thinking was this: a complete transformation to a full-time vegan lifestyle is not realistically sustainable for me, or my family, but occasional veganism? That we can do. I decided to dedicate a couple of nights a week to trying out some vegan recipes at dinnertime.
Tom initially scoffed at my plan, but the two dinners I made last week were actually very tasty. Healthy, low in calories, yet reasonably filling. I've got a bunch more recipes tagged to try in the coming weeks, despite the fact that...
...my bloodwork came back totally fine. No elevated cholesterol (guess I have the little weasels to thank for that). Huzzah! I do still like the idea of cruelty-free eating on a more regular basis, though, so we're going to stick with it at least for the time being. I don't see anything wrong with continuing to eat meat and cheese and eggs, but I also don't see anything wrong with reducing our consumption of those things, even just in a small way. And if we can do so without feeling utterly deprived, all the better.
The cookbook I checked out is called Appetite for Reduction, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. (I actually got two, but I ended up not liking the other one and returned it the next day.) I'll post about some of the recipes in a few days.