Thursday, June 18, 2015

When the Rain Comes

In the past three weeks we may have had two days where it did not rain. There have, however, been plenty of brief periods where we've been able to get the boys outside to tire them out before nap or bed.

Bird that Flew Into Our Window

One day, while sheltering from the rain we heard a loud noise bang against the window. We couldn't figure out what it was until I went outside the next day and found this poor little guy in the mulch beneath the window. I quickly discarded of the evidence before the boys could start asking questions. Strangely, they still talk about the noise that hit the window. At this age they are captivated by the strangest most inconsequential events.

Ice Cream Buddies

Ice cream has become a near daily ritual after eating dinner. It may sometimes be a battle to get them to eat their dinner but the prospect of a full cone or bowl of ice cream generally motivates them to make good choices and enjoy the sweet, sweet reward.

Sprinkler Fun

One one extremely hot day we set up the sprinkler for them. Last year I did the same but both of them were borderline offended by the action. They hated everything about it and cried. This year had quite a different result and, basically, they look for the opportunity every day. One day they even ran into the sprinkler fully clothed while Jen attempted to water the garden.

We haven't put the sprinkler on in weeks since the ground is saturated to the point that we have giant puddles in the grass.

Best Buds at the Zoo

Grandad with Elliott and Evelyn

A couple of weeks ago we were going to go to the annual Cavalcade of Planes. We went last year and had a blast.

Unfortunately we found out about ten minutes before we were about to leave that it had been canceled. Apparently they posted something on their Facebook page about canceling it a few months ago but even after having lunch there several times a month for the past six months we never saw any notification about it.

After dealing with Martin's breakdown and telling him about the "nasty men" who "took the planes away" we made different plans and went to the zoo and had lunch in the park.

Martin and Michel Dancing

Grandad's friend, Michel, was also visiting again so Martin got a chance to do a fun dance with him.

They've also become obsessed with knights and swords so we've been trying to find any sorts of activities we can that feature such things. They've become big fans of the movie "Justin and the Knights of Valour" and quote it liberally while they fence with their rapiers and cutlasses.

Rainy Anniversary Grilled Sirloin with Sea Scallops, Boiled Potatoes, and Zucchini

It also rained on our anniversary so I grilled in the rain and we had a nice dinner with the boys inside.

Elliott's Watermelon Feast

They have packed down tremendous amounts of watermelon in the hours leading up to dinner in the past weeks, a holdover from last year when I had to feed them watermelon just to keep them calm on the late walk home from daycare. Now that Jen works from home things are much more relaxed and she actually has a chance to see them for more than thirty minutes a day during the week.

Buddies on the Hammock

I also installed a new hammock and the boys had a great time lounging around in it after filling their bellies with watermelon.

Martin with Squirt Guns

We busted out some squirt guns for the boys and Evelyn and though we've convinced them all that they have varying favorite colors Martin has still been somewhat of a hoarder.

Ice Cream Disaster

A continued tradition is that anytime Auntie comes over we get ice cream. They usually have ice cream when she doesn't come over too but they just get a lot more when she's around.

First Strawberries of the Season

The first strawberries in our strawberry patch have begun coming in and the boys have had a blast picking them and then yelling at the bugs whenever they find one that has been compromised.

Wild Coyote Sign

We went for a hike at a nearby trail where they warned of wild coyotes.

Parts of the trail were flooded and the most dangerous creatures we came across were the crawfish scurrying by. They boys both had a cautious fascination with them and now do crawfish impersonations any chance they get. It looks a lot more like a Richard Nixon impression though. They're like adorable little impeached presidents.

The Mysterious Cities of Gold

We've begun showing the boys The Mysterious Cities of Gold, one of my favorite childhood cartoons. I didn't know if they'd care for it but they are fascinated and sit quietly on the floor watching the entire episode without a peep. Martin was a little afraid of the costume that Tao wears in one of the earlier episodes and has had some bad dreams about it but after I convinced him that Tao was a nice boy and not scary he seems to be doing a little better.

I gave Martin his first guitar lesson last night, practicing playing a single note, and he took to it quickly. He woke up this morning and picked up the guitar and rehashed the lesson right away. I have no idea how to teach a two-year-old (or any age person) how to play guitar, but if he continues to remain interested I suppose I can keep showing him a few things until he needs a real teacher.

Martin Snuggling Josephine Before Bed

Elliott Snuggling Josephine Before Bed

Before bed the highlight has been snuggling baby Josephine before saying goodnight. The lowlight is Martin yelling, "I have to pee and poop!" the second the lights are turned off then Elliott following suit. They don't actually have to use the bathroom. This actually translates as, "I wish to stall the bedtime process at any cost!"

After this is done Martin has taken to saying, "Daddy, I have to tell you something!"

When I say, "What's that, Buddy?" He says, "Ummm. Ummm. Ummm."

This lasts about five or ten minutes until he finally gives up.

All in all bedtime has gotten much, much better lately. They've been much more agreeable. There's rarely been any crying. The only thing has been that sometimes they are a bit hyper and wild, and they try all sorts of stalling tactics.

I'm so glad that phase is coming to a close. Life has been infinitely better with this change.

Pride cometh before the fall.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Meat with Bones

Ah, June, a month many associate with summer fun, grilling, and sunny weather. This June, as most, starts with temperatures in the forties and is ushered in by soaking rain. We were married, seven years ago, in early June and it was 59 degrees two days before our wedding. Of course it was 96 on the day of our wedding, but the 59 degree was more typical.

Martin, Elliott, and Evelyn Swinging at the Bouncy Park

As my paternity leave wrapped up we took the kids to a brand new park which they have dubbed the "jumping park" because of its cushy, springy ground made out of recycled tires. It also features an extremely dangerous rock-climbing wall which means I have to scale it behind the kids to make sure they don't fall and bounce their skulls on the soft rubber ground.

Martin's Chicken Wing Triumph

We had chicken legs one night on the grill and Martin became obsessed. When we went out to eat the next night he asked our server if they had chicken legs. Chicken wings were an adequate substitute. Also, he and Elliott were obsessed with the fact that there was a mosquito in Grandpa's water and asked to see it no fewer than twenty times over the course of the meal.

Elliott Eating Stripey Cheese

Elliott went on a special Mummy-Son shopping trip and found a new obsession as well: stripey cheese.

Morning Fun with Nana and Grandpa

The last few mornings with Nana and Grandpa were filled with pajamas, Storybots, and puzzles with Grandpa.

Elliott Weeding with Grandpa

Elliott helped Grandpa weed an enormous swath of garden, a task which has been the back burner so long I was pretty much ready to give up and allow the Creeping Charlie to take over our entire yard and maybe just sell our house and move.

Making Crumpets

I made a batch of homemade crumpets to try to satiate the boys' crumpet obsession. They liked them okay, but even though they were ten times more delicious than storebought I think they still prefer the ones out of a package.

Grandfathers Throwing Back Some Aperitruffe

Jen lost her mind and brought out all sorts of booze for our rainy Memorial Day barbecue including some Aperitruffe, a liqueur we'd purchased at a market in Dieulefit, France. We've been slowly tricking dinner guests into taking small sips of it over the years and our fathers were the latest victims. Jen thought I was crazy for purchasing this seven years ago but it has easily earned its worth through conversation and grimaces since then.

Watermelon at the Kids Table

The next night we had all the leftovers and were able to enjoy a bit more of the weather outside.

Saying Goodbye to Nana and Grandpa

Sadly, Nana and Grandpa had to leave but they will be back soon enough for the upcoming birthday bonanza that is the three cousins' birthdays.

Naked Stair Buddies

The nightly showering ritual has become a bare-assed nightmare with the boys running like insane lunatics around the entire second floor of our house. It's a miracle we are able to get through it each night. Well, most nights. Some nights we don't survive.

Elliott Playing Recorder in the Studio

The other night, Jen left the door to the basement open and the boys' quickly picked up on this and took over my studio, trying to break the guitars of mine that they haven't yet broken. Martin desperately wanted to play a bass and Elliott quickly figured out how to equal his father in skill on the recorder.

Heather and Josephine

Our friends from New York came to visit on Sunday morning and meet the baby. We had a quick brunch before they had to leave and I had to go to work.

Playing with Friends

It was a very cold day so we had to stay inside and Martin and Elliott got to attack them with their swords. Not only do the swords work as a monster deterrent but they also work as a helpful aid in greeting friends.

I love a tool with multiple uses.