Monday, November 10, 2014

A Spooky Recap

I have to admit, I don't mind mowing the grass nearly as much as I thought I would now that it's part of my weekly routine. It gives me a chance to listen to my headphones and be out in the yard.

The same cannot be said about my feelings on raking leaves. Luckily it only lasts for a few weeks of the year but I find it to be a loathsome task.

Mulching the Leaves

I was happy that I sprung for the mulching mower last spring. It turns a task I hate into a task I don't mind. My simply mowing the leaves I don't have to rake and I can convince myself that it's helping the lawn by creating a natural fertilizer out of finely chopped leaves.

There's probably some science to back that up.

Playing in the Leaves

Playing in the Leaves

The front yard was a little more of an ordeal but the Bubses enjoyed it immensely as they frolicked in the piles of leaves taller than they are.

Trunk or Treat

We participated in yet another year of Trunk or Treat which they oddly changed to Trick or Trunk this year.

Eating at Trunk or Treat

They boys had way more fun this year. This was due in part to the fact that it was about 30 degrees warmer than last year but also because they were a little more mobile and able to make three or four trips to the buffet line to bulk up on chilli.

Thrilled at the Zoo

The following morning we went to Boo at the Zoo. Despite this horrible picture they seemed to have a pretty good time.

Merry Go Round

They also got their first ride on a Merry Go Round with Mummy and Grandma.

Elliott Playing the "Violin"

At home Elliott continued to work on his new activity in which he plays a "violin" using a rolling pin and a set of kitchen tongs as the bow.

Story Time with Grandpa

Nana and Grandpa came on Wednesday and were immediately put to work on story duty. First up was Harry the Monster, a book from my childhood collection.

North American Summer Trip Beer Haul

They also brought up the beer haul from our North American Road Trip last summer.

At the Puppet Show

On Thursday night we went to a puppet show downtown with the boys, followed by a trip to Lou Malnati's for dinner.

Conductor Martin

Halloween Parade

The next morning they had a Halloween parade at school where Jen went with my parents and unfortunately, like all events like this, had them relive the trauma of drop off twice in one day!

Daddy and Sherlocks on Halloween

That night we all went out Trick or Treating. We did 3 houses in Jen's parents' neighborhood, then 4 houses in our neighborhood. Afterward I felt like we'd Trick or Treated across seven states and thousands of miles. It didn't help that it was ice cold with 40 mile per hour wind gusts.

Jack O Lantern

We carved a late pumpkin that night and they were immediately obsessed with it.

Before the Shave

After the Shave

I also shaved for Movember, the first time since they've been born. We let them watch. They were fine with it unlike the time my father shaved when I was little and I wouldn't talk to him for days.

Storytime with Nana

Over the weekend Nana read a mess of Storybots with them which they love to a degree that cannot be measured.

Supervising Grandpa

After that my dad worked on fixing some electrical outlets while Elliott supervised.

Before the Haircut

Then, looking at them, we found that we had to take advantage of this moment to get them haircuts.

Car Ride After Haircut

Car Ride After Haircut

This went shockingly well as they were able to play on the slide and all the toy cars in the place. The only sore point was when I dropped off Mummy on the way home for a yoga class and they did not approve.

Strange Birthday Cake

That night, after a delicious meal of dynamites, I got a birthday cake with a stegosaurus and cocktail umbrellas. This was entirely planned and had nothing to do with the fact that we couldn't find the birthday candles.

Plans

On my birthday we mapped out plans to build some QRD diffusers for the basement studio. This involved cutting 1,048 individual lengths of 2x2.

Dad at Work

My father brought a mitre saw. I wasn't sure that was necessary until we cut our first ten pieces. That is the point I would have gone out and purchased a mitre saw had he not brought his.

Cut Wood for QRD Diffusers

With all the wood cut now all I need to do is sand, glue, paint, and mount them to the wall. I'm thinking it should be finished by the time the boys are in college which, coincidentally is probably when I'll have the time to actually use this basement studio.

Sound Absorption Panels

We also quickly slapped together some sound absorption panels by building some frames and mounting some rockwool insulation to them.

Maybe, some day, this studio will be finished. I'm thinking a basement studio will vastly increase the value of the house if we decide to sell.

I like to lie to myself.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A New Day

Fall has come upon us but I've been hanging on to our walks to day care and our walks home.

Morning Fall Walk with Waffles

Some mornings we've needed the aid of a blanket while they eat their waffles. It gives them time to ease into their day care dropoff and it gives me one of the only opportunities I get to accomplish anything even resembling physical fitness.

Bedtime

Jen finished up her old job. Here she is on one of her last nights, getting home about five minutes before the boys had to go to sleep when it is already pitch black outside. She has gone from a job which required her to commute four hours a day to one that requires her to commute zero hours a day. The result this week has been being able to spend more than 30 minutes a day with the boys, most of which was spent forcibly waking and dressing them in the morning then dropping them off at day care as they screamed and cried so that she could catch her train.

We've also been able to have dinner together almost every night with the boys, something that we only ever enjoyed maybe once a week previously.

Additionally I don't have to rush home from work, pick them up, and get them fed and rush them upstairs to get ready for bed, again while they kicked and cried.

So, overall, life has become infinitely more enjoyable for Jen, me, and especially for the boys.

It is the dawn of a new day.

Martin Studying the Masters

Martin has become obsessed with "the big guitar" which he likes to strum while he watches blues on the TV. Here he is studying Albert King's technique. This is why we will need to get small guitars for them soon since he is not exactly gentle with "the big guitar."


They also like to continually hone their harmonica skills.

Pumpkin Scoopers

They helped me in making the first stuffed pumpkin of the year mostly by fighting over who got to do the majority of the scooping.

Making Ketchup

We used up the remainder of our tomatoes were finally used up in many dishes including this homemade ketchup which we now need to work on finding a use for.

Martin's "Mark Knopfler" Back Scratch

Martin came home from day care with some nasty scratches on his back. When I asked who did it he said, "Daddy." I asked again and he gave me the name of his teacher. I asked Elliott and he said it was one of the girls in their class. I asked Martin if it was the girl who scratched him. He said no. I asked again and he said, "Mark Knoplop." By which he means Mark Knopfler.

It all makes so much more sense now.

Cousins and Pumpkins

We went on our first pumpkin picking adventure of the year only to have this be the best out of the six hundred pictures we attempted to get of the three kids together. As with our apple picking adventure, the kids mostly only wanted to go in the bouncy house.

Martin Hugging Our Pumpkin

Back home our pumpkin continues to grow despite Elliott's best attempts to stomp all over it and tear apart the leaves and vine. Martin is a little more tender with it.

Halloween Decorating

Despite being home a bit late I was able to get the boys to help me with a little Halloween decorating outside the house. This mostly consisted of them tryin to steal the cat and tear the hay bales apart.

Spaghetti Con Pomodoro Verdi

With the remaining green tomatoes from the vines I was able to make this spaghetti con pomodoro verdi which was shockingly easy to make and quite tasty.

The Table of Many Chairs

Canadian Thanksgiving rolled around and, after having to skip last year, we were able to host it for the first time at the new place. It's a bit of a novelty being able to offer everyone a table to sit on rather than the Thanksgivings of the past where most people had to sit on the floor.

Out of all the chairs, we only had three or four that matched, the rest were a weird assortment of whatever we could find lying around the house. In the coming years hopefully we'll be able to step our chair game up.

Canadian Thanksgiving Dinner

It also helped to have a long banquet setup on the counter.

Jen's Mum Thinks She's Crazy

And it also helped that Jen's mother made this face at her.



The boys enjoyed going outside to play this weird game where they leaned into a giant ceramic pot and yelled something indecipherable that sounds like, "Daya Doo Doo Doo!"



And we've been able to play in the leaves which has been great fun.

Studio Work

I have even squeaked out a few hours a week to work on my insane home studio project where I have this crazy notion that if I have enough time to actually build a recording studio in our basement that I will somehow have enough time to actually use it when I'm done.

The Great Pumpkin

We decided to watch It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown with the boys for the first time the other night when they began identifying all the characters. "That's snoopy!" "That's Charlie Brown!" "That's Lucy!"

We've never showed them anything with the Peanuts before. We may have watched the Christmas special last year but there's no way they'd remember it. I'm afraid to ask day care if they read books about the Peanuts because if the answer is no it will be even more alarming than it already is.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

"I DO MYSEEEELF!"

There have been major changes in the last week.

The Bushes (Before)

The Bushes (After)

Our bushes (which actually were transplanted on the same day without an "after" pic) have been accentuated with some delightful mums. They show off the colors of the season even though it's been in the 80s and it's taken about $50 worth of water daily to keep them alive.


The end of September kicked off with some Halloween-themed books such as this one, narrated by Elliott, the heir apparent to Vincent Price.


The boys have taken an enormous, and sudden, interest in Blues music. After dabbling in the Bach's Brandenburg Concertos they have traveled through the centuries to land on the late work of Albert King and Stevie Ray Vaughn. Their grandfathers will be very happy to hear this.

Big Boy Beds

On Monday we started them off in their big boy beds. While they didn't sleep the entire night they did make it through the night the following evening. Getting them to bed was something I didn't think could possibly get any harder (read: worse) but apparently I was mistaken. Hopefully this will become a little less painful with time. We have child-proofing tools in place so that it doesn't become the horror that poor Norwegian mother had to deal with.

Fire in the Neighborhood!

Later the same night, when I returned home from work, I was dismayed to find my neighbor's house on fire. This is taken from our back yard. Thankfully no one was hurt and, despite at least four fire engines, the damage to the house seems minimal from the outside.

Elliott Puts on Rain Coat By Himself

Elliott's independence grows daily. He and his brother want to do everything "BY MYSEEEELF!" The thing is that they really, really stink at doing most things. This means instead of it taken four seconds to put on their pajamas it can sometimes take up to fifteen minutes. That's fifteen minutes of precious time that I'm not really willing to give up at this very moment.

The picture of him beaming above is because he put on his rain coat all by himself. Who knew that the hood should ideally be positioned directly by the wearer's buttocks?

I can only imagine what getting them into their Halloween costumes will be like this year.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Walk Home

Since our return home from our North American tour life has returned to a normal state. Aside from another bout with the dreaded Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease things have been good.

The Bushes (Before)

With some help we were able the affront to horticulture that was our front shrubs.

Green Earth Institute CSA 2014

We harvested many more vegetables form our garden.

Elliott With His Unhappy Eating Face

We made lots of fresh tomato sauce which, despite the look on his face, Elliott has enjoyed quite a lot.

Martin Helps Daddy on "Garbage-Q"

Martin has assisted me on the "Garbage-Q" which is how he now refers to the barbecue.

Cousins Dinner Time

We babysat Evelyn for a weekend.

CSA Pickup

We picked up a lot more vegetables from our farm share.


And, the cousins enjoyed eating huge amounts of ice cream.

Recently the boys have not wanted to sit in their stroller for their walk home from daycare. They would much rather walk by themselves, or as they would angrily yell it, "I do myself!"

This has turned a normally enjoyable 10-minute walk into a 45 minute odyssey complete with picking flowers, trying to walk into our neighbors' yards, not wanting to hold my hand while crossing the street, and sometimes wanting to be carried the rest of the way.

Stalling the Daycare Departure

It all begins with stalling as we try to leave daycare. They recently set up a book fair at our day care which means they continually try to take books from the shelves and read them in the entryway before leaving.

The Walk Home

Then, as we walk along a busy street, they try to pick flowers, plants, and large sticks up to carry with them on the way home.

The Walk Home

They try to sit down on tree stumps to take a break.

Elliott Gives Up on Walk Home

And, on occasion, Elliott just lies down on his belly on the sidewalk and refuses to follow me home.

This week marks the one year anniversary of our move to Illinois. It's hard to believe it's been that long since we said goodbye to New York.

It will be nice to not have to spend all of this fall looking for and moving into a new house. Maybe we'll even get more than a ten day lead up to Christmas to mentally prepare the boys (and ourselves) for the festivities at hand.

Hooray for the holidays!