Monthly Archives: July 2014

Circus Fun!

A few weeks ago, I saw that the circus was coming to town. Since Tony and I went back in 2006, I’ve wanted to go again, but have been waiting until William is old enough to enjoy it.

We got there early, they open the gates 90 minutes before show time so you can see all their animals. William was enthralled with the elephants. The big cats were behind two fences and netting, understandably given that they were like 5 feet away from us, but made it hard to really see them. They had 2 kangaroos, a pig and the usual assortment of goats and dogs.

When the show started, their ringmaster came out and, whoa!!, he is incredibly talented and his singing voice is astonishing. I was so very impressed by him that I actually took the time to look up who he is and find out a bit about the man. Andre McClain is his name, and here’s his bio according to the Ringling Bros. website (link). The internet yielded (among other things) that he’s a newlywed, he married his wife (also a circus performer) at a surprise circus wedding, and that he’s a multi-talented rancher and has been with the circus since 2003, only recently taking up the reins as ringmaster. So cool.

William enjoyed most of it, like the elephants, the big cats, the trapeze show and the gymnastics floor show. I guess the only part he really didn’t care for was the motorcycles in a cage. He said that was too loud and spent most of that time in Tony’s arms with his ears covered. Although, apparently it wasn’t so loud that he couldn’t fall asleep and take a surprise hour long nap. Thankfully, the bulk of his nap fell over the intermission and when he woke up, he was surprised to see the pig and dog show that was happening.

One of the funniest parts was a clown who came out and balanced on the wall in front of us, and then proceeded to walk on that wall all the way around the stadium in his big ass clown shoes. Of course, he did it during intermission when my arms were full of a sleeping William (so no pictures). The other funny part was when the motorcycle on a wire came out with a trapeze artist underneath him and he was right above us. Surprised, William jumped and then said, “What the heck are they doing up there?”

Of course, we did the souvenir picture… we had to. So we could do the comparison picture.

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Filed under Entertainment can be Expensive, I have Family, I Stimulate the Economy

Back Yard Fairy Garden

We’ve been spending a lot of time in our tiny back yard working on our fairy garden. I’ve been refreshing and repainting my long-time fairy residents (some of which are over 12 years old), and adding some new things, too. It’s so earthy and fulfilling to work with dirt, and with the addition of the fairy accessories, adds a little bit of magic, as well.

We have a farm/cottage (in a vintage wheelbarrow), a bird sanctuary (in a pot), a gardening area (in a pot), a playground and water fountain area (in a vintage wheelbarrow), and a treehouse garden (in another pot). My long time dragon resident has suddenly found himself guarding not only my sweet violet plant, but a treasure chest, too. My long time unicorn is lazily keeping watch over it all. I keep coming up with other ideas, so I expect more of my plants will be sporting “fairy” additions, too.

I’m collecting feathers for our bird sanctuary… anyone have any feathers you want to send my way?? ha

Yesterday, we spent the morning in the back yard together, I was working on making a miniature tree swing. I found a piece of scrap wood and grabbed my drill gun (safely tying my hair back so it didn’t get stuck in the motor) and drilled two tiny holes in the aged branch of my rosemary plant… a plant that I’m patiently waiting for it to come back to life. Let me tell you, rosemary wood is super hard to drill through! I then went over to my “new” vintage wheelbarrow (that I’m currently setting up) and drilled a couple holes in it for drainage.

When I was done, I set the drill aside and started threading the plant wire through the holes to hang the tree swing. I heard William talking to himself, and I turned to look at him. He had picked up my drill and was carrying it away. I came alongside him and asked him, “What do you need the drill for?” He bent down to pick up one of several leaves he had collected, apparently waiting for me to get done with my drill so he could use it and said, “I need to drill a hole in my leaf.” So we set his leaf down and, holding his hand and guiding the drill, “we” proceeded to “drill” a hole in it. Several other leaves needed holes, too, apparently.

I have plans to make a teeter totter and some monkey bars to the playground of our fairy garden. As well as a pool, and maybe a beach/sand area. Oh, and William loves the tiny swing I made. He even helped the fairy dog up so he could swing on it.

It really is something we’re doing together… William loves playing with the little fairy animals and was beyond thrilled when he came out one morning and saw the little house set up, with a wishing well… he said, “It’s a little town!” Tony has been an immense help, bringing home to two vintage wheelbarrows and drilling holes in awkward places, and giving his opinions on various things. I love that this has become a family project… and that we’re just enjoying the process of creating it together.

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Filed under Best Husband, Entertainment can be Cheap, I have Family, Our Kid is Cute

Early Morning Swim.

This year, instead of swimming late in the evening like I have in years past, I’ve been doing early morning swims.  There is nothing I don’t like about early morning swims, actually.  The only part that’s challenging is the getting out of bed part of it.

I lure myself with the promise of sluicing through the water, that feeling where the water is actually warmer than the air outside of the pool.  I never know if it’s going to be a dewy morning, the type that leaves drops of water on the flowers and spider webs… I love those types of mornings.  Sometimes some of the flowers are still sleeping from the night, just barely opening as I make my wake back home.  Sometimes a bird or two will come sit at the side of the pool, or up on the fence.  It’s like finding presents from nature all over the place.

It’s rare, but sometimes I have an interesting sky as the sun rises higher and higher, too.  I really appreciate mornings like that, but often I’ll get one morning like that and the next morning the sun just comes up and there’s nothing all that spectacular about it, except that’s doing what it’s supposed to do.

Maybe one day I’ll keep a waterproof camera on the side of the pool to take pictures of the cloud formations above me while I do my backstrokes.   This morning, for example, I saw a teddy bear with his arms crossed over his chest giving himself a hug, then I looked a few laps later and a sly fox laughing had taken form, and then a few minutes later an enormous Great Dane was running as he looked sideways at the Earth.  All in the clouds.

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Filed under Mermaid Envy

Letter to our 31 month old

Dear William,

On July 8th, 2014, you turned 2 years 7 months old.

STATS:

You are 39.5 inches tall and weigh 38.12 pounds. Another growth spurt has happened since last month and you grew another 1/2 inch. This growth spurt has placed you well over the specifications of your car seat in its rear facing position, and we’ve had to forward face you in my car now. Sadly, I will miss having your undivided attention as we drive around together, as you’re now enthralled with everything that’s happening in front of us.

One of your two front teeth has gone gray… likely a result of a fall on the entry way tile a couple weeks ago. The dentist said just to watch the gums for infection and brush well.

SPEECH:

Intentional mispronunciations:
You say “nurgets” for nuggets. “I would like some chicken nurgets, please?”
You say “frowgy” for froggy.”
You say “big ol’ chicken” for rotisserie chickens.

Unintentional mispronuciations:
You say “lellow” for yellow.
You say “Photosynpethesis” for “Photosynthesis”

NURSING/FOOD:
You have begun to eat lettuce over the last couple months. Salads used to be the “safe” thing I could eat in front of you without you begging food off me. That is no longer the case.

Out of my nut mix, or “mommy’s snacky mix” (as you call it), you have begun to show a preference for pistachios, digging through them all and deigning others to the pistachios. You will eat the others if there are no pistachios to be had, but you definitely prefer to eat them first.

You have started eating tomatoes thanks to our neighbor, Nichole, who is growing a tomato plant on her front stoop. You never cared for them before, but she offered you one, fresh off the vine, and you ate it. I wisely held my tongue, figuring it would come half eaten out of your mouth, but it didn’t. And now, anytime she offers, you meekly hold her hand, walk over, pick one and eat it. I am so glad I didn’t say anything. You still don’t eat commercial tomatoes, but that’s fine. Fresh off the vine is the way to go.

Nursing continues to be a blessing to both of us, and I’m ever so grateful for the regrouping time that it provides us.

SLEEP & HEALTH:
There has been a definite shift in your sleep this month. Your naps are shortening and you are waking on your own around 3pm, and your overnight sleep is lengthening, sometimes going back to sleep after our morning nursing at 6:30am, and waking later at 7:30 or 8:30am. We’ve been able to tell you, and you understand, that if you don’t take a nap, we can’t go out and play together as a family in the evening. For example, when we were at LegoLand this past weekend, I told you that you needed to take a nap so we could go out and look at MiniLand. By golly, if you didn’t force yourself to nurse nap for an hour in the midst of chaos and heat right there in the waterpark. I was amazed at you.

On the flip side, you’ve had a couple of wakes in the middle of the night, I think because you’re having bad dreams. One morning in particular, through your sobs you told me, “I didn’t get the toy.” There was no help for that sort of sobbing sadness but to nurse. I’ll tell you, though, that I wish for you that the rest of your life were that uncomplicated. You’ve also been requesting on a regular basis that we leave your bedroom door open. Also, because it’s been so hot lately, and we don’t run the air conditioner at night, we’ve been running 3 or 4 fans in your room, in strategic places for maximized indirect air flow…. we’ve also been leaving your window open. I always feel a major sense of achievement when your room reaches 70° in the morning, down from the 80° temperature it was when I put you to bed the night before.

THINGS WE DID/PLACES WE WENT:
06/14 – LegoLand and their waterpark (you went down the red slide by yourself)
06/21 – breakfast with Grace and family at Ruby’s
06/21 – attended retirement party for your father’s former band teacher
06/22 – attended Sunday school for the first time at my church
06/25 – went to the airport to watch planes take off and land with Grandma D.
06/25 – went to my work for my lunch time
06/26 – visit to the ocean
07/02 – visit to the ocean
07/04 – our city’s 4th of July parade AND FIREWORKS!! (You loved the fireworks this year, and waved at all the cars in the parade!)
07/06 – family time with your grandparents
07/07 – Legoland and their waterpark (you went down the tube slide by yourself!!!!)

Recurring events:
Library story time (Mondays and Wednesdays)
Taking a break from music class this month.

THINGS I WANT TO REMEMBER:

William: I want to watch Cars?
Tony: Nooooo, we watched Cars yesterday.
William: I know! I want to watch Mater’s Tales.
Tony: Noooo, we’re not watching anything right now.
William, standing around the corner from us: Oh! I want to watch Star Wars.
Pause, while Tony and I look at each other with shocked faces, and then,
William, in a high pitched voice, with Tony as a 1 second delay echo, “Whaaaaaat? What did you say?”

We’ve continued with our “Operation: Leave the House in the Morning” by allowing you to watch Rachel and the TreeSchoolers. You adore Rachel (from Signing Time) and, best of all, you learn so much from her. I even learn stuff from her! We are big fans of Signing Time in this house. One of the episodes address bugs, another addresses weather and the last one teaches about plants. One of the characters in the show is easily frightened by things, and the other characters rally around and help him learn about stuff. Now you can be heard to say, “I’m not scared of that, it’s just bugs.” “Or it’s just thunder. There’s no need to be scared.”

On the off days, however, we’ve let you watch Frosty or Mater’s Tales. One morning, daddy had already queued everything up when we came downstairs. All that was on the screen was a brownish box with “Start” on it, no pictures, nothing and you said, That’s Mater the Tales!” I set you on the couch and leaned in to kiss you goodbye and you were doing the head dodge to try to see around me. I got my kiss and “I love you,” and then daddy leaned in to kiss you and you said, “Go away, mommy and daddy. Go away!” Suffice it to say, we now severely limit your access to Mater’s Tall Tales to viewing maybe once every couple weeks.

How sweet it is when you see a baby, you affect a high-pitched voice and say, “Awwww, it’s a little baby!”

You have a renewed love of your belly button this month and often will raise your shirt and ask for a kiss or zerbert. Even more sweet, though, is you will sometimes walk up and kiss my belly button.

We told you we were going to get dinner. You replied, “Let’s get ice cream first!”

Got a text from my mom one day that I needed to call you about a confession about candy. Turns out you had found my huge box of chocolate that your father gave me for Mother’s day. Apparently, knocked it to the floor and had sampled one of the pieces. You were walking toward Grandma saying, “Mmmmmm, this is SO good!” Later that night when I got home, I had a piece of chocolate. You were sitting on my lap and started sniffing loudly, and then said, “Are you eating chocolate, mommy?”

William: Wanna go on the freeway?
Daddy: What’s on the freeway?
William: Trucks!

Eating at Chick-Fil-A, we asked you what is in your tummy? Your prompt response was, “Ketchup and chicken!” And then, you said, “I want a strawberry milkshake?” We were hemming and hawing, you turned and ran up to the cashier and ordered it with two pleases! “Please, may I have a strawberry milkshake, please?”

Upon hearing a sound that sounds like a toy being thrown, I ask, “What was that? Did you throw your car?” You immediately reply, “He is racing right now!” As you sling the car across the room. A verbal avoidance maneuver.

Slinging your cars through the dirt, I ask, “What’s going on?” You reply, “They’re racing in the dirt!” I clarify, “Like Doc Hudson?” You enthusiastically rejoin, “Yes!”

Daddy makes Froggy play peek-a-boo after bathtime… then, one night, daddy stopped before you wanted him to, so you hopped off my lap and started making Froggy play peek-a-boo with yourself.

We had fruit skewers one afternoon with lunch, and you were calling them “fruit towers”

For the past two months you’ve been pulling your hair and Telling me you need a haircut, that your hair is too long. I finally got you a haircut on July 3rd.  It’s the second time we’ve  used this discount hair cut place and, even though there’s no fancy seats to sit in for you or a movie to watch, you just sit there and look around.

You call the tall, narrow evergreen trees “green bean trees.” You started doing that in Hawaii last August, and I was surprised to hear you say that again.

Trimming my sago palm in the back yard, you grabbed one of the fronds and started waving it up and down, saying “God, God, God!” Apparently, you though it was Palm Sunday!

You were eating car snacks and handing me the mangos, I would say, “No, those are yours!” Then you would hand me a banana chip, and I would say “Thank you.” Then you said, “Mommy’s being patient!” as I waited for you to hand me banana chips.

Then, the box of snacks kept sliding down your lap, and I kept putting them back up, only to glance over and realize you were doing it on purpose. I started laughing. You said, “I put it that way… it makes mommy laugh!”

Driving home from the beach, we took a side street home that has a tunnel. Your father and I were conversing about the person’s driving skills who was in front of us. A minute after we got through the tunnel, you piped up and said, “Daddy? You forgot to honk!”

You spilled water down your shirt and said, “I made a BIG waterfall!”

At the 4th of July parade, you kept asking for food, and all I had was your snack bag. I kept offering to take you home and give you lunch, and you kept replying, “No, thank you, mommy, there are more cars coming!” You didn’t want to miss any of the cars in the parade!

Driving through the parking lot where we parked for the 4th of July Parade a couple days later, you exclaimed, “We’re going to the parade! We’re almost there!”

One evening, you were talking to your father about a Winnie the Pooh book you’d read that day. You were really concerned about Piglet being scared about hearing knocking on the bed. Daddy told you we (mommy, daddy, grandma) were all there to protect you… and then you shared that the knocking on the bed was just a tree branch, that it won’t hurt you and you don’t have to be scared.

One evening over the long holiday weekend, you said “I know what we can do!” “We can go to the Spectrum and get food!” We get there and you said, “Now I want to go get food with the red motorcycle! And see Grace and Mia” Except Grace and Mia (his godmother and her daughter) weren’t there. Funny kid, remembered where we’d had breakfast a couple weeks ago with them.

A project we’re sort of doing together is a fairy garden in our backyard. I’ve had fairy statues for years and years, but for some reason never thought to create little gardens for them. It’s coming together beautifully and it’s a joy to have you be a part of it.

One of the short stories on the Cars movie is called the One Man Band. We went to Sprouts the other day and there was a man playing a violin, with his wife and daughter who was about your age. They were holding a sign that said they were homeless and needed food or money to buy food. It was such a hot day and people were driving by and handing them water, or a popsicle for their daughter as he continued to play his beautiful songs on the violin. You asked me for a coin to give him and, then you walked up and put it in his violin case. You hesitated, though, and I could see it coming together in your mind like in the movie… although in the movie, the girl doesn’t ever give them the coin.

In your bathtub I gave you some small bottles that used to hold your bath paints. They are easily squeezable and if you fill them with water and squeeze them quickly, water shoots out. You told me one night, “Mommy, do you want to see something funny?” And then you proceeded to show me how to shoot water out of those bottles.

You’ve started to love to splash us in the pool, or in the water when we’re at LegoLand, or at the ocean. You think it’s so very funny. And your comfort level in the water is growing by leaps and bounds… one evening you surprised us by hand-walking the side of the pool.  And you wanted us to help you jump in from the side.  In response to this new found confidence, we purchased you a PFD and are continuing to work with you on your swimming skills.

And then there was tonight, as your father and I finished your bedtime prayers. You latched to nurse to sleep, and then proceeded to unlatch repeatedly to add to your prayer. Thank you God for bugs. Thank you God for sand… for water… for Walmart… for fruits and vegetables… strawberries… thank you for bananas… for Froggy… for light… for Jesus… for Target and big trucks. And as things came to your mind you would unlatch and pray with a thankful heart for them. After some time passed, you stopped unlatching and drifted off to sleep.

I pray that you always have such a thankful heart for the simple things. For one truth that always stands is that when you count your blessings daily, life’s hardships have a way of diminishing to a manageable level.

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Love, Momma

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Filed under Best Husband, I have Family, Letter to William, Our Kid is Cute