Sunday, November 8, 2015

The rest of April

I'm going to catch up; I'm determined. I have to go all the way back to April to do it though, back when the trees were as barren as they are now, but instead of the forest being covered in crunchy leaves, it was covered in the bright green shoots of early skunk cabbage.

On one such day, Jacob helped Eric move a few plants around the yard.

When the wheelbarrow stayed put for an extended period of time, he perched on the bridge to read a Foxfire book that we'd pulled out of the mailbox that morning--a thank you present from Grammy for daddy.

On another one of these nice April days, we strolled down to the stream, still freezing cold from winter, and Hannah stripped off her shoes and tights and strode in.

Jacob followed her lead. Kids are crazy.

I want to stress that it wasn't that warm, but I suppose it's all relative, and the winter was bitter cold by my standards (anything that drops to the single digits, let alone staying there for days at a time, is too cold in my book), so 40s and 50s did feel pretty amazing.

 I think this one was taken at the park near their school...that's all I have to say about that.

I find myself taking shots of this section of the stream frequently. I'm not sure what the attraction is, but in this one I think I was admiring the way those stinky skunk cabbages greened up a sea of brown.

The thorn bushes were the next plants to show up to the green party.  

I'm not sure I made this clear, but this post is just the rest of April--everything after Jacob's birthday party. I want to stress again that it was definitely not bathing suit and sprinkler season, but the kids disagreed, so I set up the sprinkler. Hannah put on a bathing suit, and Jacob merely discarded his drawers. Their wardrobe choices (or lack thereof) often leave me chuckling.

They wanted to eat dinner outside, so I carried out the little table and their bowls of soup, and they enjoyed a half-naked meal on the front porch.

The weather seriously warmed up after that, so much so that we felt compelled to get ice cream--our first ice cream trip of the season. It's days like those that make us miss living in walking distance to The Charmery. With that off the table, we headed over to Stone Mill Bakery and drooled over the gelato section for an indescribably long period until finally deciding on a little bit of everything.

On some days warmer weather means ice cream, and on other days it means campfires and 'smores; that's just how we roll.

Our friends Brody and Addison came over toward the end of the month to climb tress and catch frogs.

During the catching frogs part, I broke my foot. I was walking down the steps into the concrete pond, and I rolled my left foot and crushed my fifth metatarsal. It's called a dancer's fracture because it's commonly done while dancing around on point shoes. The second most common group of people to break this bone are uncoordinated moms attempting to catch toads. So, I rolled it in a pair of sneakers that have just the slightest amount of a sole (this is why I don't wear heels people!); it was just enough to roll off of. I rolled it while I was stepping down so I landed on it with all my weight. I heard a crunch and and knew instantly that I'd broken it, but I was also in denial. I'm not sure if that makes sense...Have you ever known something for certain while simultaneously being in denial of that same fact that you were certain of?  This was the situation. 

I couldn't put any pressure at all on it so in between piggie-back rides from Eric, I hopped on one foot and then resorted to a sort of three-legged downward dog hop. That's how I was getting around the next morning when I decided to go to the doctor. Hobbling around in a boot for the next 6 weeks sucked but was significantly better than the three-legged down dog hop. After the boot, I was put in a tie-up brace for another 6 weeks. That took me up to mid-July, at which point I happily bared my bare feet for the rest of the summer.

After a long winter of terrible home haircuts, I broke down and took Joy to a groomer for a proper trim. My instructions were simple: take it all off, or at least as much as possible. A dog that small with hair that long running around these woods meant that we all spent way more time grooming her than we did grooming ourselves, so I said to skip the fancy face fluff and make it functional. It's amazing how much a haircut can change up your look!!

At the end of April I took Hannah to the Hippodrome to see Wicked. She'd been begging to see it since I went with my mom when she was 3, and to calm her freakout at the time, I promised her I'd take her next time Wicked came to Baltimore. I almost bailed when I saw ticket prices, but I ended up keeping my promise. This was our pre-show photo shoot.

Jacob photo-bombed this one.

I was quickly reprimanded after snapping this shot of Hannah inside the theater. Apparently there is a pretty strict no-pictures-in-the-theater-EVER rule.

Pictures outside of the theater are just fine though.

This is where I make an abrupt transition from Broadway to deer carcasses and the dogs who eat them. One day while putzing around the woods without me, Joy led Eric and the kids to a pile of mostly picked over deer bones. She managed to dislocate a leg and attempted to carry it off, but Eric swiped it and threw it into the bushes. He then got distracted, but she did not. She found the leg and carried it up to the house where she spent the day gnawing on it. I find the image of a tiny fluffy dog like that chewing on a deer bone hysterical, but if it's too gruesome for you, my sincerest apologies.

I guess this pic of the guys in the Japanese Elm by the driveway is the last one I took in that's that! As the weather turns colder and darker, I'll see if I can post more pics of us enjoying the weather getting warmer and brighter.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Little Big Man Turns 2! Celebrations, frogs, and family photo lineup

As is the standard in our house, Jacob had a 3-day birthday celebration with three gifts spread out throughout. He opened Hannah's present right after breakfast on his actual birthday. This was the longest that I could convince her to wait to give it to him. She got him a Lightning McQueen die cast car and Mater to match. His grannah and granpah had gotten him a Cars book for Christmas that he was obsessed with, so we figured the actual cars would be a big hit.

First he unwrapped Lightning. His reaction was hysterical. He was literally shocked, like he couldn't believe his eyes that these things had jumped off the page of a book. His jaw dropped and he walked away from us, turning his back and staring seriously at Lighting, still in the package.

Then he unwrapped Mater, and with the shock worn off, he went straight into excitement mode. Mater is his favorite. When him and Hannah play cars, he only ever gives her Lightning to play with. Mater he keeps for himself.

He carried those cars around all day that day, except into the kids room at the gym. After hanging his coat in our locker, he carefully put the cars down on the floor of the locker before trotting off to the kids room. I don't know if he was concerned about losing them or having to share, but he was serious about having me lock them up.

Normally we stretch the presents out with one for each day for three days, but Eric and I were as excited as Hannah to give him ours, so we handed it over that afternoon. We bought him a set of child-sized real tools. There's a shovel, a trowel, a leaf rake, a garden rake, a hoe, and gardening gloves. Both kids have gotten a lot of use out of them this year and are currently digging "the world's largest hole" in our front yard. Fortunately we are not in the running for "the world's nicest lawn," so we're okay with things like random holes and unmowed patches (Hannah's experiment inspired by this book). 

They got right to work digging in the big pile of mulch that dad had picked up the day before. (If you're wondering, the little girl in purple is one of Hannah's school friends).

After dinner we struck up a fire and stuffed our faces with birthday 'smores. I think this may become a family a tradition...

We didn't have anything to give him the next day since we'd doubled up on his actual birthday, but his birthday was back in full swing the following day, Saturday. My family came down for a mash-up birthday-egg-hunt party. Our new yard is awesome for egg hunts!

I conned the cousins into posing for a post-egg hunt picture.

Then I conned them into sticking around for a few more minutes so I could get grammy in the frame. When my mom's birthday rolled around this year I thought some sort of a photo memorabilia would be a nice present and was shocked to learn that I have few photos of her with the kids, and the ones I do have are not particularly good. Apparently I am too busy talking when we hang out to take pictures, so, for to make future holidays and birthdays easier, I'm trying to balance my talking with picture taking.

After a pizza lunch, we broke out the cake. Strawberry shortcake. Jacob was clearly thrilled.

Then grammy gave him her present, and the kids took turn racing cars down the wooden slopes.

My aunt and uncle came for the day as well, and since I again realized that I rarely, if ever, take photos of the important adults in our lives, I made sure to corner them before they left and pull my kids into the shot as well.

While Jacob and Mason napped, Hannah and Clay and the daddies pulled toads out of the pool and carried them down the stream.

Their eggs are so cool!

After about an hour, Mason was out there catching frogs with the big kids.

By this point Clay had tired immensely of my constant request for him to stop having fun and smile for another pictures. He hit his limit for snap-happy aunt Terri!

They even caught two mating frogs, and in spite of the children's fascination, those frogs kept right on mating. I get it that animals aren't modest, but it still seems like being picked up and carried around would be a bit of a mood killer.

They spent the afternoon catching and releasing toads, climbing, and playing by the stream.

Then we found some salamanders under a log.

Shortly after his big birthday celebration, Jacob went in for his 2-year checkup. I haven't been as good about posting his milestones and measurements and all that jazz like I was with Hannah, but since I happen to have left the measurement paper that the pediatrician sent me home with right here by my computer for the last few months, here they are: on April 9, he weight 29.5 lbs and was 34.5 in. tall. That puts him in the 68th percentile for weight and 61st for height, so, he's pretty average in size.

As for milestones, he's always been very communicative, having picked up sign language early on and then quickly taken to creating his own signs. He started talking a lot more after his second birthday too, which is similar to Hannah, but where she was mostly pretty quiet and uncommunicative until her mouth could form the words clearly, Jacob has been babbling and signing for quite some time. He's leaving the house in underwear most days, but we still have diaper days as well, and our underwear days are rarely over without a few wardrobe changes. He definitely fits the stereotype of boy more so than Hannah with his love of cars and construction equipment and "hi ya" chopping/hitting....Of course, he also enjoys rocking Hannah's baby to sleep and will say "aww" when he sees a cute baby animal, so hopefully he's getting a balanced upbringing.

And now, for my favorite tradition, one I have totally sucked at keeping up with Jacob, here's the whole fam at age 2:


Eric is actually only about 18 months in that picture, but his face is hard to see in the one I have of him at 2 (it's on Hannah's 2-year birthday post if you want to see it).

Disclaimer: I'm so tired and eager to cross this off my to do list that I'm not going to read it again to edit...this is never a good idea, but I'm doing it anyway. Don't judge please.