Tuesday, June 30, 2009

K & O Choice Quotes from Recent Days

Overheard the other day, both boys outside on the deck, me inside the kitchen-- Owen, to Kyle: "Kyle, we're on something right now you know! We're really on something!!! Right now!!! We're actually on a real planet!!!!!"

A couple days ago Kyle said to me, matter of factly, "Space is pretty far. But outer space is farther."
The other night during dinner Braydon and I were talking about one of my students. This student comes from a very disadvantaged background. In the course of the conversation I said something along the lines of, "He's just had such a tough life." Later during dinner, out of the blue, Kyle, deep in thought, says out loud, "I don't have a tough life." And then he turned to me and Braydon, "Because I'm with you!"
A few days ago Owen was playing with Meera. She's not 100% stable standing and sometimes still falls over for no real apparent reason. She toppled over and Owen lifted her back up to a standing position. He then turned and said to me, truly relieved, "That was a close call!-- but look!-- she's still alive!!!"
A few days ago, in the car, alone with the three kids, listening to Dixie Chicks (by special request from Owen)... Kyle, Owen, and I were all singing along to the song (Meera bobbing her head in her carseat)... Kyle: "Come on Mommy!!! Show me what you've got!!!!!!!"
K & O were riding bikes outside while I was cleaning up in the kitchen. They came in for what was, from all outside appearances, a potty break. They were both in the bathroom for a while. I heard them talking, but didn't pay attention to what they were saying. I heard a flush. But instead of heading right back out to play as they usually do, instead they both came to me in the kitchen (which was my first indicator that something was up). Holding hands (which was my second indicator that something was up), they both looked straight up at me~~
Kyle: Mom, we need to tell you something.
Heather: Ok?
Owen: I just flushed a worm down the toilet.
H: Really?
(both nodding)
H: Kyle, is it true? Did your brother flush a worm down the toilet?
K: Yes, he did that.
H: Ok, thank you for telling me. But, do not do that again.
O: Ok. But that was my second time.
H: Really? When was the first time?
O: Well, it is a long story.
H: Ok, tell me.
O: Well, it was when it was raining. And there were lots of worms. And I had one. And I lied to my Papi.
H: Ok?
O: I was holding the worm in my hand. And I told my Papi I wouldn't bring it inside. But I did bring it inside.
H: Ok?
O: And I kept him inside. And then he almost died. And then I flushed him down the toilet so my Papi wouldn't find out about it.
H: Ok, thank you for telling me. But, do not do that again.
O: Ok, I won't.
Kyle has recently been semi-obsessed with the sequence of schooling and the years of educational trajectories. He knows that kids move from one grade to the next each year, that after 12th grade is "college," that both Braydon and I went to "graduate school" after college, etc. The other day he announced, "I am definitely going to go to graduate school after college. It is going to be graduate school for baseball playing. It is going to be a graduate school with a really good baseball field."
Owen, in a moment of deep thought: "Mommy, I think I know why I act up at bedtime." "Oh," I said, "why?" "O.k.," says Owen, "this is the first part. There are many chapters. Chapter one is that I don't want the day to end. Chapter two is that I don't like going to bed. The third chapter is that I just want to stay down here watching Mommy and Papi clean up. The fourth chapter is that I want to play outside in the dark. The fifth chapter is that I really don't like going to bed. And the last chapter is that I don't like it when the day ends because I only like it when it starts all again in the morning."
Another day I went to check on the boys during their 'Rest Hour.' When I went into Owen's room I found him sitting calmly in his rocking chair in deep, pensive thought. When he saw me he looked up and said, "Mommy, I've been thinking! I thought of something nice to do for you! It is to just behave!"
One night at bedtime-- Kyle: "Mommy, did you know that before I was born, when I was in heaven, I was thinking about you?" "No," I said, "I didn't know that. What were you thinking about?" "I was wishing that you would be my mommy. I was wishing my mommy would have your color skin and your color eyes and be named Heather."
I've noticed that the boys have just recently begun using "white" and "black" to name the racial groups. Previously they never did this (they always used "your color" as their words for the skin color of Braydon and I, and "brown" for people with skin like them). But that is now changing. They will now sometimes announce, for example, "She's black, like us!" (Owen said this in Carrabbas restaurant a few weeks ago, very loudly, right in front of our server who happened to be black.) The other day when we were out in the yard Kyle said, "Mom I just saw a butterfly! It was your color and Meera's color! It was white!"
A week or so ago we were talking about 'favorites' and the boys were listing their favorites in various categories (clothes, books, etc.). I said, "What's your favorite fruit?" Owen said, "Carrabbas pasta." I said, "That's not a fruit!" He said, "Yeah, I know, but I couldn't decide between pomegranates and peaches so I said Carrabbas pasta."
The other night I called the boys to the table for dinner. When Owen approached the table he saw that we were having fish, rice, carrots, and broccoli (many 5 year old boys worst nightmare). With complete and utter genuine sincerity and enthusiasm, he jumped into his chair and exclaimed, "THIS IS THE BEST SUPPER I EVER SAW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
The boys are, and have always been, very aware of all sorts of different kinds of families. They have friends with two moms, they have friends with two dads, etc., etc., etc. They have been known to fight with kids at school defending gay marriage rights, etc., etc., etc. Owen has often expressed his wish that he had "two dads." (Interestingly, we don't even call Braydon 'dad' we call him 'papi.') Anyway, the other night at bedtime-- Owen: "Mommy, I really wish I had two dads. I wish you could be a dad with my dad. That would mean you wouldn't have breasts, but that's o.k., because I really want two dads. I do like you though. You're beautiful. I just wish you were a dad."
Owen, the other day, after one of his frequent comedic getting-dressed episodes, delightfully appears downstairs and proclaims with enthusiasm, "Look! I have on five shirts!! And no underpants!!!"
Owen, one morning while he was watching me getting dressed: "Mommy, why do you always wear underpants on your breasts?"

Sunday Late Afternoon

Monday, June 29, 2009

F-S Family Visits for a Double Twin Weekend

All I keep thinking is, "Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other's gold." If truth be told I do think some of my newer-found friends are pure gold. But it is also true, for sure, that old friends are something in their own league. There's just nothing like it. Ben and I go way back to the start of grad school. Together we've been through coursework and research assistantships and dissertations and job markets and tenure track jobs and tenure and now the-good-life-post-tenure (and all that goes with it). And along the way we've also been through "real life" too -- dating and engagements and weddings and marriage and babies (and all that goes with it). Amazingly, we find that here we both are with twins. So now we have that in common too. It is special to have twin family friends... especially ones you were friends with even pre-twins. It makes for a good weekend. They came up from Delaware and we had a great time. Making it extra super special was the fact that this was Anna and Robin's first time swimming!!! Kyle and Owen loved having another set of twins around. And Meera was thrilled with her new friends! Even more excitement around here with two sets of twins running us ragged! It was intense, but really good. The photo above is of the double twins in the baby pool. And here's Meera strutting her stuff after a long afternoon nap:
And here's the very large pitcher of sangria that we drank down after we got all five kiddos to bed:

Friday, June 26, 2009

Week 2 Was Much Better Than Week 1

Seriously, I have no idea why I continue to do "art" with these boys. I cannot tell you how much I wish my boys would be into it. But, seriously, they are so not into it. And yet still, I plod forward. They don't resist doing the stuff-- they actually like doing it once they're engaged (and it isn't hard to engage them). But they are just so not Artists. It is one of those things where you kinda just have to be there-- but take it from me: they are all about the mess, the experience of it all, and sooooo not about the actual art or outcome. Oh sure, yes, yes, yes, that's what it is all about: the means, not the end. Blah, blah, blah. I know, I know. But seriously, they have absolutely zero interest in fine-tuning their skills whatsoever. It is still 100% about the sensory experience, and 0% about the visual creation. They still cannot color in the lines -- and could not care any less. They still only rarely do anything but scribble -- and don't even try to make up any explanation for what they've "drawn." They'll choose their bikes over a craft any day of the week. And at birthday parties where a "craft project" is on the agenda (so far, always girls' parties), my boys run in the opposite direction as fast as the Birthday Girl's Mom pulls out the craft bin. Their arts and crafts projects look absolutely no different now, at age just barely 5, than they did when they were just barely 2. Seriously, they are just not the artsy-crafty types. I am hoping that I'll get that with Meera, because I'm losing hope that I'll ever have anything even remotely close with either of her brothers. Anyway... this morning during Meera's nap we got out paint (because I'm just that insane). Braydon always thinks I'm absolutely crazy for doing anything like this with them. And, as usual, it took me about 5 times as much time to clean it up as it did for them to do it. But man, did they enjoy it for the moment. And that was just one of the many moments that made Week 2 of Summer (2nd week that the boys have been out of school) soooo much better than Week 1.

Yes, I'll admit, I did break down and call Braydon at work today when I was very close to the edge of a nervous breakdown because they were making me looooooooooooose myyyyyyyyyyyyy miiiiiiiiiiiiiiind. But I am proud to say that I remained (relatively) calm, only yelled once (although, it was, I'll admit, at the top of my lungs), and did not cry at all (although I did come very, very close). But really, these boys are challenging. Imagine a roukus all-day-and-all-night party with your best friend in the world.... but with the energy turned up to a degree to which you cannot imagine (unless you know my boys) and the volume on max the entire time and the 5-year-old-good-and-bad just going-going-going to the nth degree. A constant non-stop back-and-forth ricochet of energy. Imagine that. That is, in a nutshell, life with Kyle and Owen. That can make a Mom go nuts pretty quick.

Luckily I have my Meera Grace to keep me grounded. That girl is soothing to frayed nerves. Seriously, she is so very very easy and mellow and happy and content. Like, all the time. Even when she's teathing. From what I can tell, she is loving having her brothers out of school. And she's loving blueberries right now too.

In addition to two very fun playdates (one yesterday, one today), we have had lots of time playing at home, a visit to the Frenchtown Playground, loads of baseball and bike-riding, some cooking, and, of course, lotsa smoothie making (and drinking):
Life is back on track around here, and we're a-o.k. as we head into the weekend.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The End of Formula

We've gradually been moving Meera to milk over the past month. And tonight we finished off our very last container of baby formula. It makes me want to weep. :(

1st Swimming Lesson of the Season

Calvin came for the 1st swimming lesson of the season today!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

5 Year Check Up & Tylenol All Around

Today K & O had their 5-Year-Old Dr. Check Ups. I have posted about their amazing pediatrician before, and what a huge role she played in helping K & O to medically thrive in their first year home... so I won't go into detail here... but suffice it to say that, once again, Dr. Aleks' eyes were welled up with tears as she looked them over. More than once she looked at me, with her tears about to spill over, saying, "But Heather, do you remember?" All I can do is nod. Yes, I remember. The boys are so healthy now. But yes, we remember.

Here are the 5-Year-Old stats:
Kyle: 3'10'', 52 pounds, hovering over the 95th percentile for both height and weight
Owen: 3'11.5'', 50 pounds, 95th percentile for weight and way off the chart for height

They were amazingly good at the doctor's office (shockingly so). However, we had an extreme situation when Owen went berserk upon hearing that they each needed four shots (yes, four shots each). He went absolutely nuts when the army of nurses flooded the small examining room (yes, army-- four nurses; 2 nurses for each boy; 1 nurse for each arm; each nurse carrying 2 shots -- it really was quite dramatic). They were well-intentioned (thinking they'd swoop in, and quickly do the dirty deed, then swoop out). But it back-fired in a big way for Owen... who went crazy kicking and bucking and flailing his arms and crying hysterically and screaming "NO SHOTS! NO SHOTS! NO SHOTS! LET ME OUT OF HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Kyle, on the other hand, cool as a cucumber was "excited!" (his own quote) about it all and "couldn't wait for the shots!" He sat on Dr. Aleks lap still and stoic, watching closely while the nurses shot him up x4. This proved nothing to Owen. He watched, and then conversed with Kyle about it, and we thought we were in the clear, but then, just as the nurses began their approach, he resumed his fit of rage. He actually tried to bolt and I had to physically restrain him (which, let me tell you, is not easy to do). It was a bad scene. Trying to keep him in the room (and then, on my lap) was a major workout; I was breaking out in a serious sweat; and all the while I'm trying to calmly and gently tell him, "Owen, it is ok, I am here, shots help you stay healthy," etc. Finally we (me and Dr. Aleks) just had to hold him on my lap while the nurses did their thing. He didn't even know they had done the shots after they had. When I said, "It is all done baby, it is over." he looked up at me and said/screamed "GOOD! NO SHOTS! NO SHOTS!!!!!!" I said, "But you got the shots! They already did it. It is done now. I held you the whole time. It is over." And he was stunned and in awe that it "Oh?! It didn't even hurt." Within two seconds he was his normal, jovial self and Dr. Aleks told me she was "prescribing" me a "couple of drinks tonight!!!!" I think the whole entire office staff is probably having a couple of drinks tonight after the ordeal. But all is well that ends well. Owen then proceeded to go through the rest of the check up like the sweet little boy that he can be (when he's not causing a major scene). As we were leaving Kyle announced to Dr. Aleks that when he grows up he wants to be "a nurse! who gives shots!!!" Hmmmm....????? Anyway, I took it upon myself to reward them greatly for their shot-getting with treats of their choice on the ride home... First, frozen custard with rainbow sprinkles from Rita's (Owen's chocolate in a cone, of course; Kyle's vanilla in a cup, of course):
Then, pizza slices ("plain cheese!!") from Rocco's:
When we got home they had running races in the front yard while Meera practiced walking. The boys were complaining that their arms hurt where they had gotten the shots (no doubt!), so they got Tylenol before bed. And Little Miss is in the midst of sprouting a big 'ole molar (big, and just breaking through the surface of the gums), and is in serious pain... so she got Tylenol before bed too. Tylenol all around! and they're now sleeping soundly.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Crash and Burn

  • Friday 5:30 a.m., we wake up to Meera puking
  • which set into motion a whole series of events
  • which ultimately led to one of our classic J-M Family "Crash and Burns"
  • not the first Crash and Burn
  • and surely (unfortunately) not the last Crash and Burn
  • but a bad one nonetheless.
  • Mid-morning the decision was made to cancel our plans for that night... a night with new friends that we had all been really looking forward to
  • the boys were pissed
  • by noon the baby vomit had ceased
  • and the baby diarrhea had begun
  • a precious "Mommy Day" (as opposed to "Margie Day") was on the rocks
  • the proclamation of an extremely rare treat, "Lunch in front of a video!!!!" managed to help for a little while
  • little while = length of the movie Happy Feet
  • afternoon consisted of: clingy sad lethargic baby + needy annoying fighting-for-attention boys + unshowered flustered 5th-outfit-change-of-the-day (vomit, diarrhea everywhere) Mommy
  • honestly, I do not recall what happened Friday night (oh wait! yes, I just remembered as I was typing that! we had a fight when Braydon got home from work, we administered tylenol to feverish Meera, we got the kids to bed, did the dishes, Braydon started in on loads and loads of vomitish diarrheaish laundry, I Cloroxed the entire house, we got take out, we watched a movie {or, more accurately: Braydon watched a movie while I fell asleep sitting upright on the couch})
  • Saturday a.m. we were determined to pull it together to make it to a birthday party of a friend of the boys (felt we needed to come through with something for them to make up for the fact that they had been truly neglected for the past 24 hours)
  • Little Miss seemed on the mend, so we geared up
  • and got ourselves out of the house
  • for the b-day party, which was another in a string of very varied, very interesting b-day parties we find ourselves attending on the double-twin-twin-b-day-party-circuit
  • big blow out that night at bedtime for Owen. "big blow out" does not do it justice. it took the owen-bedtime-battles to a whole new level.
  • and then... later Saturday night... wham!... the flu bug... back with a vengeance... this time... the dreaded...
  • Mommy very sick.
  • nothing is worse for a Mommy than having her babies sick. But nothing is worse for the family than having Mommy sick. Nothing.
  • and within hours, what had been just hanging on by a thread, quickly came apart at the seams. the whole house of cards tumbling down.
  • by the wee hours of the morning on Sunday there was nothing left to be expunged from the Mama's body
  • Sunday was bad. Very, very bad.
  • Father's Day was a complete bust. A complete bust.
  • Somehow, (it is all a blur), on Sunday morning, three new Brooks Brother's shirts were presented to Papi by three loving children. Other than that, there was nada.
  • Just lots of sleeping on the part of Mommy.
  • And Papi trying to hold it together.
  • Which is hard for the Papi to do.
  • 1 baby still trying to get better (still yucky diapers, still barely eating)
  • 2 boys fending for themselves and starving for attention
  • The "high" of the day for Sunday, for all four of us (Meera doesn't count since she can't talk) was that Kyle and Owen got a brief 10-minute-respite from the blah; they got to ride on Pat's lawnmower late that afternoon. The "low" for all four of us was "the whole rest of the day." Nice. Not a "low" you want to have very often.
  • Sunday night was an even bigger than big blow out at bedtime for Owen (we thought it couldn't get any worse than it had the night before, but alas, as usual, Owen proved us wrong and Sunday night was even worse). We vowed to take our creative strategies for peaceful bedtimes to a whole new level. We vowed we'd work on that as soon as Mama regained her strength (still had not eaten anything and had only drank 2 cans of ginger ale up until that point).
  • Monday Margie arrived at 8:30 a.m. The first relief troops in four days of struggle. Mama ate toast. And napped. Papi tried to work.
  • In our spare time we cross our fingers and sent up prayers with hopes that nobody else in our house gets the belly bug.
  • Monday night dinner we re-grouped with a semi-"real" meal for the first time since Thursday.
  • And Owen went to bed more peacefully than ever. Seriously.
  • And Braydon and I watched Jon and Kate (Plus 8) crumble before our very eyes.
  • And yes, the statistics are true (I've done some research; and I'm pretty good at research), for parents raising twins the divorce rate is two to three times higher than the average divorce rate.
  • It is just a lot.
  • And we crash and burn sometimes.
  • And the whole world feels like it is tumbling down. We're reminded that this house of cards we keep piled up is oh-so-fragile. And suddenly, we see so clearly, that this thread that holds it all together is extremely thin. We crash and burn. Especially when it is Mommy out of commission. Because all those balls I'm keeping in the air just fall.
  • But luckily (hopefully) it is just for a relatively short while. And we'll pick up the pieces. And put it all together again. And I'll feed attention to our kids. And fuel them with affection. And go to the grocery store. And Braydon will finish up the laundry. And we will buy more Clorox. And then the crash and burn will be behind us. And we'll forget about it. Until the next bad episode of the Crash and Burn.
  • Luckily most days are better.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Quote of the Day

Last night I re-organized some of our kitchen cupboards and got rid of a whole bunch of Kyle and Owen's kitchenware that they've outgrown (sippy cups, plastic cups with spill-proof lids, etc.). I had bought a bunch of new glass and plastic cups to replace the "little kid" stuff and while the boys were sleeping last night I had set it all up on the bottom shelf of one of the cupboards. Today I was showing them all of this, and explaining to them that from now on they will get their cups from here, and showing them that Meera's "baby stuff" is there, etc., etc., etc. They get very excited about anything like this. And this whole 'out-with-the-old-in-with-the-new'/cupboard-re-org was oh-so-thrilling for them. (absolutely no sarcasm there; seriously-- they are just absolutely beyond thrilled with things like this). Of course, right away, they wanted to "try out" one of the new "big boy" "real glass" cups so they each pulled one out of their "new" shelf area and pranced off to fill them with water. As Kyle strutted off with glass cup in hand I heard him announce giddily to himself: "We're five years old now -- and my life is all changing!!!"

Summer Schedule

Cereal for breakfast this morning, sans the "hurry-up-and-eat-eat-eat-we-don't-want-you-to-be-late-for-school"-thing:
(Meera woke up with her bruises not looking too bad)

Thursdays and Fridays this summer I'm going to be home with the bambinos (Margie is doing a M-T-W schedule with us for the summer). This means I'm busting by bum-bum to squeeze two days of work in around all the edges (late nights working, frantic checking of email during boys' "Rest Hour", coffee required at 4:30 p.m. to get me through the night shift, constant paranoia that important things are falling through the cracks, ETC.), but... and this is a big but... I'll be able to be with them a lot this summer and that is worth it. I'm sure some day when this is all behind me I'll be glad I grinned and beared it and tolerated the work-home-imbalance stress in exchange for the big chunks of quality time it provided for really being engaged with my babies. One positive to all of this is that I've always been someone who can focus pretty well and be in the moment (usually)... so... when I'm home with my threesome, I'm really with them. And when I'm working, I'm really working. I know that for a lot of people that is extremely challenging (if not impossible). So, I'm really grateful that I just so happen to have the ability to really do that (mostly) o.k. most of the time. Anyway, this is our first week of the summer schedule, so today was my first Thursday at home. And it rained very hard all day long. A cold raw ugly rain. Lovely. (that was sarcasm). The only time I was inspired to take a photo was this morning, during Meera's nap, when the boys did puzzles and ate bananas on the kitchen floor. Something about it just struck me as something I want to remember. It wasn't a blissful moment or anything. But it was just very 'normal' and grounded and easy. And if you can't be outside riding bikes barefoot on a summer day, then puzzles and bananas on the kitchen floor has to be just about the next best thing.
Soon we'll be all settled in to a summer routine. But right now it still feels brand new. And I've got to admit, it feels like a big exhale after a long year.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Poor Baby

Today all three of the J-M bambinos got owies. Meera's was by far the worst. The boys got theirs from a massive scooter collision (scrapes and bruises on their knees and legs and elbows and arms... what else is new? scrapes and bruises on their knees and legs and elbows and arms are a daily occurrence for those two). Meera got hers from trying to learn to walk. And scrapes and bruises are definitely not a daily occurrence for her. She was standing up on her own, holding onto my legs, as we were standing in the driveway saying goodbye to Margie at the end of the day. And then she fell. Hard. Smack on the side of her face onto the pavement. We heard her head hit the ground and it sounded bad. And it was bad. This stuff is bound to happen when you're learning to walk. And this is just the first of many scrapes and bruises, I'm sure. But still... poor baby. And I felt terrible that I wasn't watching more closely to catch her when she fell (and the boys did not help with that; they berated me for the entire time she was crying). Anyway, this photo was taken shortly after the fall. It looked worse and worse as the evening progressed. To the point where when we were washing her face after dinner it was not clear what was bruises and what was blueberry stains. I'm not at all looking forward to the looks of it when she wakes up in the morning. Poor baby.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Photo from Saturday Evening

MorFar & Owen Grilling in the Rain

1st Mother-Daughter Day

On Sunday while the boys were having the TIME OF THEIR LIVES (at the Red Sox game in Philly with my dad and Braydon), big things were happening here at home too. First of all, I just have to mention, it was sooooooo quiet. It is so quiet without K & O here. So very, very quiet. But the big deal was that with them all gone for the day, Meera and I had our first opportunity for a real Mother-Daughter Day. My mom and I have always had these from time to time over the years. I love them at age 36 as much as I did when I was 16. And I really want Meera to be able to have those kind of days too--- for my mom and I these days mean things like pedicures and having coffee and going out to lunch and maybe to a movie or to a concert. Often they involve a new pair of shoes. They always involve food. They are days that don't necessarily have a big agenda (although they might); the only priority is some time together alone. Of course over the past year Meera and I have spent a lot of time alone. But Sunday was our first real Mother-Daughter Day. Our first stop (and only real agenda item) was to get her 1-Year-Old-Portrait taken. We went and had it done, and it was a huge success. The photos are adorable. She was, in true Meera form, a perfect angel for the portrait-taking-session (when is she not a perfect angel?!? she's so completely absolutely ridiculously angelic that is is surreal). Next we went out to lunch together (we shared a chicken souvlaki pita with tziki sauce; we both loved it). And then we strolled around in and out of shops-- including a shoe store for a new pair of shoes for her (the sandals she's wearing in photo below), coffee for me, and some other things we are keeping between us (note: part of Mother-Daughter Days is that you don't necessarily divulge the whole truth about all of the purchases you might have made to the men of the household). Anyway, we had a very, very good time. Such a good time that she fell asleep in the car on the way home. I took this picture just as I was carrying her into the house:

It was a sweet day that ended with her current favorite meal for supper (strawberries, cheese, brown rice, and a jar of Earth's Best Spinach & Potatoes... the only baby food still remaining in her life-- she still loves the stuff), then a leisurely bath, before I rocked her to sleep for the night (something I don't do every night but was happy to do that night as we had the whole house, all quiet and peaceful, all to ourselves). I am hopeful that we'll have many Mother-Daughter Days in the years to come. I'll be grateful for each and every one.

(There is something about the two photos below -- both taken very early this past spring -- that make me feel as if I can almost see glimpses of who Meera will become in the future)

Monday, June 15, 2009

First Major League Baseball Game: Go Sox!

It was a momentus Sunday in the J-M household. Mor Far came down and took the boys to their first Major League Baseball game. And not just any old MLB game - but a Red Sox Game. They played the Phillies in Inter-league play at Citizen's Park in Philadelphia. It was a gorgeous spring day for the 4 guys (me, Mor Far, K & O) to go down for 1:30 first pitch.

In addition to the completely unobstructed view (section 307 is so unobstructed it's actually higher that foul ball pole), we had hot dogs, drinks (the boys had Sprite), and, of course, cotton candy. Later we also had ice cream. Baseball does not get better than that!

Particularly special was seeing Jacoby Elsbury (the boys current favorite player) steal second, and then in the same play, on an error, steal 3rd. Then seeing Big Papi too - what a treat! Sadly, though the Sox were up 5 to nothing in the 4th, they crashed and burned and ended 11-6. But, the boys did not care one iota - and have been "playing Red Sox" here at home every second since then. The latest thing is that they say a Phillies player catch a pop-fly against the wall - so the couch in our living room is "the wall" and they "catch the ball" and then flip over the wall to indicate how big a catch it really is. Yahoo!

Citizen's Bank park is a great place, and although very very white, was also very friendly to our family. I love the layout and design of the place. They have captured the feel of an old park, and made it very accessible and easy to enjoy. Very nice.

Kyle relished hearing the play-by-play Mor Far gave for every pitch for the entire 3.5 hours. That kid really sat there and absorbed the whole thing. Mor Far reported that everytime he would say something (eg: Base on Balls) Kyle would prompt "Morr Far, what's Base on Ball" and he would answer, which would lead to more questions, which would led to more questions. And now, we're hearing it all come back out in discussions with Kyle.

Owen loved seeing the players swing and hit. He was frustrated that he couldn't be a Red Sox right now. And he loved walking around the park with Papi when the game felt a little slow. We got to tour the whole thing and interact with lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of people. Who all loved to interact with him.

After the game, we hit our favorite Carrabba's and the boys had their normal penne with alfredo.
What an incredible experience. The perfect way to have your first MLB game. Kyle is now dead-set on going to Fenway! Watch out Red Sox, here we come!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Two Vitamin Men & Brian Mow the Lawn

This was the scene in our yard Wednesday when I arrived home from work. I pulled in the driveway laughing out loud in my car. What a hoot! And what the neighbors must think! (click to enlarge)

Two notes:

  1. The boys have absolutely no idea what Spider Man is. The year they were 3, their Christmas present from Braydon and I was a huge box of dress-up clothes. Included in it were a bunch of Halloween costumes that I had bought on clearance after Halloween that fall, including two Spider Man costumes. I knew they'd love the costumes, even though I knew they had absolutely no clue what Spider Man was. They did love those costumes (because they are slick, close-fitting, whole-body costumes... what's not to love?!), and those costumes have gotten a lot of use! One day, at a playdate at a friend's house that same winter, they saw a toy Spider Man and recognized it from their costumes. They noticed their friend referring to it as "Spider Man," but they interpreted what they heard as "Vitamin Man." Since then, a year-and-a-half-later, they still --cluelessly-- call Spider Man "Vitamin Man." Whenever they wear the costumes they run around saying, "I'm Vitamin Man!" And of course, we have never corrected them.
  2. The boys continue to be fascinated (verging on obsessed) with mowing. The toy lawnmowers that we bought them the summer they were 2 are still two of their most-loved toys (they pretend to mow almost daily...even in the depths of winter). They also continue to be fascinated (verging on obsessed) with our lawncare guys. Our lawn is huge and we made a decision when we were deciding whether or not to buy this house that we would have to factor in lawncare if we were to do it. It would take Braydon all weekend to mow, and we don't want to prioritize our time that way. We did buy the house, and we've had someone mow ever since. But the boys wish wish wish that Braydon did the mowing. And they've always been absolutely enthralled with whoever else does mow. We are on our 4th lawncare guy (the first one triple and quadruple billed us on multiple occassions and we believe that although he claimed "it was his wife's mistake" it was actually on purpose; the second one sometimes didn't show up because he was sometimes in jail [seriously]; and the third one just didn't do the work he was supposed to do way too often). The latest in our lawncare guys is Brian. The boys, of course, love him. And so far --knock on wood-- he is working out great. He seems to take the two responsibilities that he has here seriously: #1) to act appropriately as hero/role model/BIG MAN --at least while he's on our property-- as K & O follow him around endlessly for the entire time he's here, and #2) to mow our lawn. I can only imagine the stories he must tell about us at the bar at the end of the day. But at least while he's here he seems to take it in stride while scenes like the one above play out.

P.S. to this post... Thursday (the day after the photo was taken) as Margie was getting ready to go home she told me that she was having a problem that day with Owen spitting. Spitting?!?! Yes, spitting. She said that he had been spitting on the ground left and right, that she had to tell him multiple times not to do it, and that he had kept on doing it despite the fact that she had repeatedly told him that it was "disgusting." Owen, standing right there in the driveway with us as Margie was telling me this, then proceeded to spit onto the ground right in front of us to demonstrate. "OH MY GOSH!!!! OWEN?!?!" I said... and then something along the lines of, "WHAT THE HECK DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING?!!! WHERE THE HECK DID YOU LEARN THAT FROM?????" With a look of sheer innocence on his face, he looked me right in the eyes and said, "That's what Brian does Mommy." Well, that cleared it up instantly. I turned to Margie and said, "Brian is the mowing guy." "Ohhhhhhhhhh..." she said, relieved to finally understand what was at the root of it, "it's chew!!!!" "No," said Owen, "it's spit!!!!!" "Whatever it is," I said, "it is not o.k.," and then he rode off on his bike and nobody has seen him spit since. I'm sure Brian will hear all about it from Owen when he comes to mow next week.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Last Day of School

summer = grilling BBQ chicken

Today was K & O's last day of school. It is hard for them to end the year. Very hard. They love school. LOVE SCHOOL. Today they were both very sad, weepy, emotionally in turmoil. (Owen cried a river, and Kyle even threw up...twice... today --he was that upset). Oh how they'll miss their teachers, their classrooms, their school, their daily play with their friends. Oh how sad it is to end the school year. Oh how in love with their Waldorf School they are (and for the time being at least, if they are this happy and thriving and self-confident and assured and rooted with it, then we are surely sticking with it). They got through their little year-closing-ceremonies ok. And Owen managed to have one last hurrah in the school playground creek (the mud-covered clothes are currently being soaked by our home's Laundry Master, Braydon). Braydon is looking forward to a summer-long break from that creek that causes so many laundry problems. I am looking forward to a summer-long break from that darn school-lunch-making routine five nights a week. And as much as they don't fully realize it now, the boys are in store for a splendid childhood summer. And since today was, afterall, the last day of school, tomorrow is, therefor, our official First Day of Summer. So, yet another era ends and a new one begins. As I say to the boys every single night as I'm tucking them into bed: "Today is all done, and tomorrow is a new day."

Thursday, June 11, 2009

This Post Has No Title V

(For other posts in this series, click here and here.)

This happened a few weeks ago, but it keeps sitting in my mind. So, I'm going to blog about it.

I was out alone with Kyle and Owen on a gorgeous Saturday morning. We were doing some errands and we were having a great time. We stopped at our favorite gardening center, Bucks Country Gardens. It is a beautiful, fun place to visit with the boys. They love looking at all the flowers, the fountains, the pond, etc. And the plants there are spectacular. We were there for quite awhile. The place was relatively empty and we had fun roaming around feeling like we virtually had the grounds to ourselves. We took our time picking out two big potted plants -- one for Kyle and one for Owen. The plants were identical, of course (because if it were up to K & O they would still have everything --down to the socks on their feet-- be identical... but that is a whole other story). Anyway, we had gone to the register, I had paid for the plants, and we were walking through the place to leave. Kyle was right ahead of me, carrying his plant. Owen was right behind me, carrying his plant. We had almost made it to the parking lot when I hear, behind me, a man's voice, kind of loudly, saying/shouting, "Hey, little boy! Little boy!" I turned around and saw that Owen, who obviously heard it too, had stopped just a few feet behind me to turn around to see what was going on. A young man who was clearly an employee there (he was dressed in the Bucks Country Gardens employee t-shirt), was running out of his office, toward Owen, still shouting to him, "Little boy! Wait! Little boy!" I was standing there as I watched my Owen, sweet little boy that he is, standing there doing his best to be careful with his big potted plant, with his back to me, waiting to see what this man wanted. As the guy approached he glanced at me, we made eye contact for a second, and then, to Owen he said, "Are you lost?" Owen, surely confused, didn't respond. The man repeated it, "Are you lost?" I heard Owen say, "No." The man said, pointedly, "Well, then, are you o.k.?" Owen said, "Yes." And then the man said, "Well, where is your mommy???" Owen turned slightly to nod toward me and said, "She's right there." I quickly put my hand on Owen's shoulder, and, for lack of anything better to say at the moment, simply said, "I am his mommy" to the guy, and then led Owen and Kyle to the car to go home.

Go Sox!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

New Trick

Tonight, as we were getting ready for dinner, it was brought to our attention that the boys can now do this:

(Kyle in first picture, Owen in second)