Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Zucchini Days of Summer

With July here Josephine was not going to daycare a few times a week for short days. The initial drop offs, predictably, were not smash hits with her. She calmed quickly as we left but seemed unimpressed with her peers. After all, she is used to mixing it up with three and four-year-olds. What was up with this group of children the same size as her?

Getting Ready for School

Welcome Josie

Nonetheless, she attended school bravely and allowed her mother to have a whopping four hours to get her work done. This was still nowhere near the amount of time she actually required but a vast improvement over no time at all, short naps, or most commonly after everyone is asleep.

Knock Knolls Late Night Pokewalk

Before my parents left we were able to enjoy a few late night pokewalks. We went on a wonderful late night stroll through a nearby park and enjoyed a nice sunset in between catching imaginary creatures with our cell phones.

New Playset

Seeing the joy on my childrens' faces as they play in their newly constructed playset still does not make it worth the hassel of putting it together. If they didn't love it as much as they do I'm pretty sure I would resent them for the rest of their lives.

Zucchini Carbonara

The zucchini harvest has been unbearably large, as normal. We've enjoyed (or at least tolerated) zucchini at every meal. One dish was this zucchini carbonara that turned out pretty great.

Safety First

Josephine has enjoyed Nana's rocking chair. Mostly she's enjoyed standing in it and getting a reaction from her parents.

Martin's Pikachu

Martin has been obsessed with sculpting things out of Play-Doh. One creation was this Pikachu.

Zucchini Cakes with Yogurt Sauce

Jen made zucchini cakes with yogurt sauce one night while I was at work. The children enjoyed them enough so that there were none waiting for me when I got home, a stark departure from most zucchini-based dinners we've made lately.

Timber Ridge Getaway

We surprised the kids with an overnight trip to an indoor/outdoor waterpark which was a huge hit.

Timber Ridge Getaway

Thankfully they had a blast inside, outside, and at the arcade.

Timber Ridge Getaway

It was a ton of fun. The boys are pretty good in the water now but supervising Josephine to make sure she doesn't drown is a fulltime, extremely stressful job.

Snoozin' and Readin'

The boys checked out some books from the library. Elliott picked this seemingly harmless book featuring two children on it dressed like superheroes. We thought nothing of him reading it all the time. One night while I was cleaning up I flipped through the book and discovered it was a graphic novel intended for teens or adults. I learned this by flipping to a part where one of the characters puts on a gas mask and kills his own mother.

Note: pay better attention to what they're checking out of the library.

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

The only vegetable just as plentiful as the zucchini has been the tomato crop. Tomatoes are a little easier to use and Jen made a delicious tomato sauce by roasting them in the oven.

Zucchini Fritters

Jen also made zucchini fritters which we served with a summer vegetable boil with ham to use up most of what we were backing up on.

Elliott Shaving in Tub

Elliott has enjoyed Martin's gift perhaps more than Martin and has been regularly shaving in the tub although sometimes he leaves the shaving cream out and Josephine eats it.

Bike Ride at Lake Carleton

Jen was away for a business trip so I took the boys on a bike ride at the park. Martin, who I realize had never really encountered a hill, took off down a steep hill, and went through an underpass as I chased after him. While I ran toward the tunnel he was approaching I had visions of broken limbs but I came to find him startled, but perfectly balanced on his bike having steered clear of any danger. For the rest of the ride he took all hills extremely gingerly.

Last Photo Before Elliott Disappeared

We also went to the Arboretum. I took this photo of the boys before looking around twenty seconds later to find Elliott was missing. It was a long five minutes before I finally found him. My knees are still a little weak just thinking about it. Luckily the Arboretum serves beer and I had, perhaps for only the second time in my life, a beer before 12:00 PM.

Buried at the Beach

When Jen returned we took the kids to the beach where they both requested to be buried and they wore themselves down leaping into the pool at least one hundred times.

Post Beach Movie Time

After swim class and the beach I let them watch a movie on the iPad to wind down. It was perhaps the smoothest bedtime in ages.

Grilled Zucchini with Basil Balsamic Dressing and Feta

More zucchini. Grilled with basil balsamic marinade and feta cheese.

Primate House

We also went to the zoo and I got to see the primate house for the first time which was pretty impressive. Josephine was mesmerized by the monkeys leaping around.

Sandwich Creme

Josie learned a new word, "Cook!" She chants it regularly every night after dinner until I give her a cookie. She then wanders around eating it and leaving surprisingly few crumbs throughout the house.


The boys got medals for soccer. They were already obsessed with medals from pretty much every book and story ever. They think a mayor's main responsibility is handing out medals. That's silly because everyone knows a mayor's main responsibility is cutting ribbons with comically large scissors.

Goodbye Letters to Teachers

As the summer draws to a close at school they made some nice notes for their teachers and gave them to them at their last day before Pre-K.

Cousins Sleepover

Another milestone was their first cousins sleepover. The nighttime chaos was no greater than normal and, surprisingly, they all went to bed with fairly little incident.

Renaissance Faire (2016)

Renaissance Faire (2016)

We took our second annual trip to the Renaissance Faire. What a difference a year makes. The fact that it was twenty degrees cooler probably also had something to do with it.

Renaissance Faire (2016)

Renaissance Faire (2016)

We got the jousting in time this year and they were so excited. Every night since then they have grabbed anything they can to make knight costumes and lances. They say to do calming things for your children before bed. What could be more calming than a few rounds of jousting?

Playdoh Leonardo

Martin has continue his sculpting by making Ninja Turtles and showing them to me.

Surprise Playdough Michaelangelo in My Bed

He also sometimes sneaks up and leaves them right on the side of my bed and, unfortunately, I roll over onto them.

Daycare Dropoff - Mixed Emotions

Josie's first days of day care are still a bit of a mixed bag of emotions. Mixed in that her brothers love it and she hates it. She does warm up to it fairly quickly but she now is able to determine earlier and earlier that we are taking her. She does not take kindly to this daily betrayal.

"Family Band" Audience

Last night we did "Family Band" which is a common activity before bed where the boys stand on their beds and sing along to Dire Straits songs. First, Elliott arranges the audience on the floor and has us sit down.

"Family Band"

Second, they turn off the lights and sing into their sippy cups while jumping on their beds. Josie got into the action by dancing for the entirety of their show and screaming when it was time for her to stop.

Our summer activity list is nearly complete. I feel we've probably made more progress on it this year than in nearly any other year in the past. Certainly better than before we had kids. It doesn't come without a cost and that cost is in pretty much all of our bodies hurting all of the time and in it taking ten minutes to get out of bed in the morning.

I really thought that was going to start up a lot later than this.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Birthday Party Go!

The summer birthday season is in full swing, starting with Jen.

Afternoon Tea Party

Jen was able to have a birthday tea party with the kids in the backyard complete with teacup cupcakes made by grandma.

Tour de France Biscuits

Part of the summer birthday season is the traditional cream cheese biscuits to celebrate the start of the Tour de France.

Morning Art Time

Morning art class has continued to be a big hit to start off the day, particularly when it can delay the already lengthy task of getting them out the door for schooll.

Josephine took her first steps and has not slowed down since.

Ribfest 2016 and Fireworks

On July 4th we took the boys to Ribfest. For Jen and I this was our first trip back in about ten years. If we'd been prepared we would have spent the last ten years saving our money since 2006 to soften the financial impact of the four of us spending a few hours there.

Ribfest 2016 and Fireworks

Ribfest 2016 and Fireworks

Ribfest 2016 and Fireworks

Ribfest 2016 and Fireworks

Ribfest 2016 and Fireworks

Ribfest 2016 and Fireworks

At the end of the day the rides, the food, and the fireworks were enough to knock the boys out in a way I don't think we've ever seen. I roughly removed them from their seat and dropped them into their beds and they didn't even flinch. Elliott did protest in his sleep for about a second yelling, "I want to go home!" This was picking up from an hour previously when he whined this for a few minutes before passing out in his stroller.

On the boys' birthday morning they got a few small gifts and the kickoff for the birthday weekend was underway.

Birthday Breakfast

We took the boys out for breakfast (and ice cream) for their birthday. There the staff sang a song for the boys after which Elliott proclaimed, "That was a silly birthday song." Then we went to the children's museum and returned home for a fun day.

Playset Assembly

Fun until the assembly of their play set commenced.

Playset Assembly

We knew that assembly would be required.

Playset Assembly

But we had no idea what we were in for.

Pokemon Go with Martin

You may have heard that a little game called Pokemon Go was released. What started as a chance install of a harmless free app turned into a weekend dominated by the new game. Apparently we were not alone.

Martin with Leonardo and Auntie Lisa

Auntie Lisa was able to join our insane nightly bedtime ritual for several nights, bearing witness to the raging brushfire that is our nightly bedtime routine.

Fourth Birthday Party

Fourth Birthday Party

Fourth Birthday Party

Their fourth birthday party was a hit. They got tons of great presents, including Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots, a gift Elliott asked for despite the fact that we're not entirely sure where he ever heard of it.

Josie Brushing for First Time

Josie brushed her teeth for the first time on their birthday despite the fact that her terrible parents have done everything they can to ignore her dental hygiene. I simply looked over and she'd climbed a stool, grabbed one of the boys' toothbrushes, and started mimicking her brothers.

Her brothers, apparently, are better role models than we are.

Birthday Day After Toys

Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots

Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots

Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots

The following day could not have been better for the boys as they played with all of their new toys all over the house. Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots was a popular items throughout the day and in every nook and cranny of our house and yard.

Pokemon Go Children

After 2-3 days Evelyn had her birthday party and the parks and streets were lousy with gaggles of children playing Pokemon Go. Every day there are more and more groups of children wandering the streets and parks that are normally devoid of activity.

The adults tend to travel alone and don't make eye contact when crossing each other on a narrow pathway behind a library where one poorly place Poke Stop is located even though they both know damn well what the other is doing there.

Captain Awesome Capes with Auntie Lisa

The next Day Auntie Lisa had to go back home but spent a full day with the kids, first painting their new awesome capes with them.

Final Stages of Playset

After four days of work the playset was finally completed and ready to be unveiled to the world.

Playset Inauguration

The children spent most of the time we were building the playset either trying to help or trying to use the play set while we were drilling holes and attaching pieces.

The completion was marked with an elaborate ribbon cutting ceremony followed by five minutes of playing by the children.

Pokemon Go Weekend

Pokemon Go Weekend

Pokemon Go Weekend

Pokemon Go Weekend

Just enough time to catch a few Pokemon before getting the children to bed. Then sneaking out while they're asleep to hit up a couple of Poke Stops.

Those Pokemon aren't going to catch themselves!