"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." ~e e cummings

Saturday, June 23, 2012

home: part 1

We're here! We made it! 

We're one week into our new home and it feels like home. We've started to find our way around our new little town...we checked out our new grocery store: it's five minutes away, which is awesome, but it doesn't carry all of Evan's (and, maybe in the future, Molly's) dairy-free essentials. We'll still have to go "into town" (as they say here) once a week or so for those, but to have a place to pick up a forgotten ingredient or a last-minute quick dinner will be so nice. 

The library is cute and tiny and adorable and staffed by, literally, the nicest librarians I have ever met. It's also way too small to meet the needs of this growing community. As it is, they have to hold their children's programs at the local elementary school. They're breaking ground on a new, larger, more state-of-the-art library next week, but in the meantime, I can't wait to spend a morning a week at this little old former train station.

We haven't found our favorite parks, yet. Too hot this week to take Molly (me) out much, but I'm starting to make a list of places I've found on the internet and spots recommended by our new neighbors. I don't think we'll have any trouble at all filling our summer with new adventures.

But for now...we're staying in a lot, entertaining ourselves with just-unpacked-so-feels-new-again toys while we settle into our nest....

View of main living area:

Living room


With lots of floor space for big (and long) puzzles:

Kitchen


Dining area

First dinner in our new house!

Random Aside: Molly loves her exersaucer! 

And her bumbo!

The HexBugs babysit while I make dinner.

My new ART CABINET!! LOVE this!!

Main floor Playroom

Playroom storage (be still my heart!)

Front office...

...with a window that seems to have been created JUST to view these mountains

Front Porch (with the same amazing view)

Before dinner on the third day, we went for a walk in our new neighborhood. The boys had already discovered the Walking Trail ("in the enchanted forest," according to Max) when they went exploring with Mom Mom and Pop. So they lead the way...




We found, according to Evan, a Minnow Nursery. We watched the little fishies swim for a bit....and then Max started throwing rocks in the creek.


I love that we have this so close to our house. Growing up, there was a creek in our neighborhood that we used to spend HOURS in...totally unsupervised, of course. It was just up the street but felt miles away. One of the older boys in the neighborhood used to tell us little kids to watch out for the "quicksand" by the fallen tree. We dared each other to walk through the drainage tunnel that allowed the creek to trickle along beneath the paved path. My best friend and I found a secret place in those woods that was Ours and we even gave it a code name, which will not be revealed here. Because she reads this blog and we made a promise.

My boys and girl will have a place like that. A place that feels miles away and exciting and maybe just a little dangerous. And they'll go on adventures on their own and with their friends while I wait for them on our front porch...or chat with our neighbors on the sidewalk that lines our street.

Pinch me.

Lesson Learned:
Other noteworthy news of the week:
**There are four, FOUR, rising kindergartners on our street. I now have high hopes that Evan just might ride that school bus. Fingers crossed for positive peer pressure...

**Sam and the boys went golfing this afternoon. While Molls and I had some girl time at home. I think this should be a weekly event. Sam is more than happy to oblige.

**Max will be starting PRESCHOOL! We got the call on Friday that a spot opened up for him. I'm so excited for him...he's so ready. It'll be good for me, too, to have two mornings a week with just my baby girl...but it's crazy how starting preschool this time around feels SO DIFFERENT than when Evan started. There's a readiness there with Max that wasn't there for Evan (due to personality, yes, but also birth order: Max gets to hear all about Evan's exciting day at pick-up. He can't wait to have his own teachers, make his own projects, and find his own friends...), but I'm different now, too. It's easier to let go a little. But I'll still get misty when I say goodbye....or think about it too much...[sniff].

**While we've had our not-so-fine moments (like that time in Target when Max KICKED ME when I refused to buy him almonds at check-out. Yup. He really did. Online shopping from now on, I suppose. Or that time, when all hell was breaking loose here, so I told the kids (in a less than pleasant voice) that I wanted to go somewhere very far away all by myself until people decided they were ready to treat me nicely.) the kids are doing really, really well with all of these Big Changes. I need to keep reminding myself of how much they're dealing with so I can muster more patience than I showed the other day. Either that, or I need to send them down to the basement more often.

**Oh, and yes. Basement? Where have you been all my life? When the boys are down there playing, I can hear them enough to know when I should intervene ("Max, this time try to stand way up HERE!") but not so well that their Piratey Ninja voices interrupt my nice peaceful lunch with my smiley baby girl. When I finished my lunch, I went down to check on them. They had emptied out every puzzle piece, crayon, book, card, letter tile, and foam sticker into a pile under their slide. Evan was applying his 1,475th piece of scotch tape to an empty box. "Whatcha doing, guys?" I wondered. "It's a wedding!" Evan declared, in his Piratey Ninja voice. "I'm getting married!" sang Max. "Congratulations!" I said. And then Evan's box boat was all taped up and ready to set sail, Max's "luggage" was all packed beneath the slide, and they were ready for the ceremony to start. They held hands and danced while singing "Wedding! Wedding! Wedding!" At the end, Max married "Jo Jo." It was a beautiful wedding. I love you, Basement.

Home, sweet home.

Friday, June 15, 2012

preschool diaries: the graduate

He did it.


Unlike a certain will-remain-unnamed Uncle (JACK!!)....Evan successfully completed Preschool. And what a journey it has been. From the first day he stepped into his three-year-old preschool classroom and fell asleep/looked through "hand binoculars" to the day, in (practically) DECEMBER, when he finally started to interact with the other kids and play at the Centers, to starting at a new school the following year, making his first True Friends, and, ultimately, to Loving School....This kid has been through a lot these past two years, and that little boy whose bag was nearly as big as he was two years ago...


...and even that Bigger Boy, who was a little unsure about heading back to the classroom in the fall...



...are almost unrecognizable in this grown-up, I Can Do It kindergartner.


There were some bumps along the way, but he's learned a lot (and taught a lot...can you believe that some of those kids in his class thought that dinosaurs lived 100 years ago? He couldn't. And can you believe that some kids didn't know what camouflage meant? He giggled when he retold the story about one little girl thinking it meant "a good sleeper." I told him, "Well, I bet she could teach YOU a lot about other things!" To which he responded, "Not animals, though. I'm what you would call an Animal Expert." Yup. He's going to be trouble in the big school. Apologies to his future teachers and classmates.).

I'm proud of his social development.
I'm proud of his fine motor development.
I'm proud of the way he chooses what he wants to share with us about his day away from us.
I'm proud of the way he bounds into the classroom after we've said our Goodbyes, but still lets me give him a kiss.
I'm proud of the way he tells Max all about the Best Parts of school...letting that positive anticipation build for his little brother.
I'm proud of him for, at many times, being the brave one between the two of us...and for being the first one to let go.

Lesson Learned:
I HAVE A KINDERGARTNER. WHA?????

Sunday, June 10, 2012

maxisms

Aside from on my friends' blogs, I typically don't enjoy reading other people's Kids Say the Darnedest Things posts because I don't find strangers' children to be as adorable or hilarious as my own. So if you don't happen to find my Maxwell as irresistibly cute and funny as I do, just go ahead and stop reading here.

For the rest of you, here's what you've been missing (because you already know that he thinks my chicken tacos taste "double genius" and you've seen the "I love Lola" video on facebook...):

Max curses. When he's frustrated or something isn't working for him as it should, he lets the expletives fly. Luckily, because he hasn't ever heard any real curse words, his Truck Driver Mouth is rated G:
"Oh, pickles!"
"Pogo! Pogo! Pogo!"
"Hey-ya, hoo hoo!"
"You froofy thing!"
...and my personal favorite:
"Oh, brish-o-brash!"

***

Today, while "reading" what I'd written on one of the many boxes cluttering his play space:
"K-I-T-C-H-E-N...BOX!...hmmmm? The H must be silent."

***

In the car:
Max: "So can I marry Katie?"
Me: "Nope, she's your aunt. You'll marry someone who's not already in our family."
"Like Uncle Mike, Brennan's Daddy, Uncle Mike?"
"No, because he's in our family already, too. He's married to Aunt Katie."
"Oh. How about Big Uncle Mike?"
"No. He's in our family, too. He's your Uncle."
"Oh, because he's Uncle Mike?"
"Yup."
"Can I marry Lauren? She's not an uncle."
"She's not, but she's your cousin. You'll marry a friend. Your best friend. You'll love someone so much that you'll want that person to be in your family. So you'll get married."
"Ohhhhhhhhhh! I get it!"
"Good!"
"Like Pop? Can I marry Pop?"
[Me, banging head on steering wheel.] "Want to listen to music?"

***

Evan: "I wish I had three arms."
Max, thoughtfully: "Hmmm. Yeah. I wish I had fifteen penises."

***

After his nap the other day:
"I want to keep my comfy pants on. Not my jeans. They're too jeany-ish. HA! jeany-ish! I meant to say that!"

***

After "kissing" Molly:
"Ha! I just blew blackberry kisses on her cheek!"
"You mean raspberry kisses."
"No. BLACKberry kisses. I call it 'ever I want. Blackberry. Mmmmm. Blackberries. I want blackberries with my lunch today. Is it lunch now? I'm hungry. And I want Pirate Booty with lunch. HA! Booty! Watch me shake my booty! HAHA! Watch me do the hiney dance! HAHA! HINEY!!"

***

"Mommy, let's chit chat."
"Sure. What do you want to chat about?"
"Ohhhhhh, you know. Chattery stuff. Like chitter chatter. HAHA! Chitter Chatter! I meant to say that!"

***

While on our way to school the other day, we saw a new, strange machine at the work site. It's a wood chipper, but the boys didn't know that yet. They were guessing what it would be used for...

Evan: I think it's a pavement spreader. The gravel goes down that conveyor belt, gets mixed with asphalt, and comes out the back chute as hot, new pavement.
Max (without missing a beat): I think it's a donut machine. It makes delicious donuts for the workmen to eat for snack when they take a break. Mmmmmm. Donuts. I want mine with pink and sprinkles.

***

"The color of love is purple."
"Oh yeah?
"Yeah. It's all purpley and lovey."

Lesson Learned:
Maxwell. Max whose favorite color is pink. Max who wants to drive a Food Truck when he grows up. Max who still holds my ears, puts his forehead against mine, smiles with his eyes and responds, "Okay," when I tell him I love him. My imaginative, colorful, descriptive, little lovey with a potty mouth. I just love him.

Monday, June 4, 2012

CamWow!

Okay, so we all know that everybody who's anybody is using Instagram. I am, too, for the record. It's amazing. But do you want to know which camera app is even way more fun and hilarious than Instagram? It's CamWow. (Or, as the boys call it based on the icon of the app...Rainbow Camera.) Take a look at some of the fun we've been having, then go download it for yourself. And no, this is not a sponsored post...the app is free...











Daddy!


 Molly likes to play while she sleeps...


The aunts, uncles, and cousins got in on the act, too.





But the winning shot, so far, was taken by (and of) Max... 


Lesson Learned:
It's all the hilarity of FunHouse Mirrors without all the creepiness of Carnies. (With apologies to the non-creepy Carnies out there, of course.)

Friday, June 1, 2012

treasure hunters

Evan and Max are hoarders collectors. They do not inherit this trait from me. I am a purger. I have consolidated all of the relics and mementos from my pre-husband-and-children life into one half-full bin that I keep in the attic. Everything else--old photos, certificates, once-important letters, trophies...okay, trophy--has found it's unceremonial end in the trash during one or another post-high school move. For the not-so-old, not-so-useless stuff, there's Goodwill.

My husband, on the other hand, while he may not think of himself as a "collector," collects. While sorting, packing, and purging over the last few weeks in preparation for the move, I uncovered his own attic stash....not only did I find his childhood collection of basketball trading cards, but also his baseball card "commons" (cards worth nothing), which were in boxes marked for a previous yard sale...a yard sale, for the record, which must have been pre-me (because this was the first I've seen of them...obviously, or they would have been gone loooooonnng ago). And then....there were more: hundreds, HUNDREDS, of Garbage Pail Kid cards. Oy. And that was just the first bin.

So, I shouldn't be surprised to find neatly organized Things covering every surface in my boys' rooms. Some of their Things are Very Special: found treasures like sparkly rocks, yearned-for treasures like matchbox cars that they bought with their Own Money, or Special Gift treasures like the real (dead) seahorse Great Mom Mom sent from Florida. Others are totally random, like the yellow fork and knife from our plastic dish set that is up in Evan's room and comprise a portion of his "Ninja Tools." Still others are Objects My Brother Can't Touch And I Can Say He Can't Because It's Part Of My Very Special Collection.

While a lifelong lover of Things, Evan has been slowly amassing his official collection over the last 18 months or so. Carefully curating his Things as his interests evolve over time, Evan's things each have a special place on his shelf according to a secret hierarchy that I can't begin to understand. If I try to replace an item for him, Evan will sigh and say, "Let me just do it, Mom. It goes like this," as he shifts it to the left 1/8 of an inch. Max, on the other hand, has a less sentimental approach to his Collection. If he likes it, it goes to his room. If it's a Buddy, it goes into his Buddy Bin or crib. If it's a Special Thing, onto his shelf. To be honest, I wasn't really so sure he even cared so much about what was going into his room so long as he was, like his Big Brother, Collecting.

I underestimated him.

This morning, he and Evan were Travelers. They packed their bags (sand pails, really) and headed out on grand adventures while I packed boxes in anticipation of our real life Grand Adventure. I knew that some of their Special Thing Collectibles made it into their pails, but so did other random toys like Fisher-Price Little People and wooden nuts and bolts.

At naptime, as Max picked out books and Molly cooed on her blanket on the floor, I noticed that Max's book shelf top was completely clean. "Max, where's all of your stuff?"

"[Gasp!] They were all packed up for my trip with Evan! Imma go get 'em."

I followed him into the (completely destroyed, toy-strewn) playroom and watched him very carefully survey the pile. He filled his sand pail with a few select items from amid the dumped-toy-bin melee: an orange engine from a Thomas the Tank Engine train set, Batman, a polar bear cub, a shell sent to him from Florida by Great Mom Mom, a plastic screwdriver, a squishy lizard, and four paint brushes. He brought the pail back to his room and, very particularly, arranged his collection on his shelf.

He stood back and looked at it, with furrowed brow, not quite pleased with what he saw.

"The astronaut!" he declared, before running out of his room once more.

As he placed the tiny, plastic astronaut among the other treasures, he said, "There. All my Special Things are back where they belong."


Lesson Learned:
To the future spouses of my boys: Better start paring down your own Special Things now. My boys are going to take up all of the attic space with theirs. It's not my fault--blame their Dad. But now, I need to go figure out what to do with the random golf club, baseball bat, motorcycle helmet, and paper shredder that, for some reason, are still up in our attic.