Friday, June 22, 2012

Daddy Day

That's what Wiggle called Father's Day.

It was a day punctuated by minis. We started the day with mini chocolate babkas that I made (with smittenkitchen's recipe). Wiggle presented C with his gifts he made at school - a footprint bookmark and a painted paperweight, and his gifts from us - a wallet and a trilobite keychain I made, but Wiggle thought of.

Bountiful babkas

Then it was off to mini golf. 
Check out this dedicated daddy
Checking out Daddy's putter
Putting is serious business
Really serious business
Do you like my Elmo backpack?
Crossing to the "back" nine
After nap, we went to the pool to cool off and goof around.

Then we grilled fajitas. Chicken fajitas with all the fixin's which we ate on the patio on a glorious warm and beautiful evening.
Check out this grill master
He ate three fully stuffed tortillas with "everything!"
After dinner the usual bedtime routine with plenty of Daddy-Wiggle story time.

Buster was listening intently too
Some before bedtime brother snuggles

A relaxed, easy, fun day. A very good "Daddy Day" from my perspective, and I believe that C will back me up on it.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

My Incredible Boys

So, I'm going to be a crazy mom for a moment and brag about my boys. They are, of course, always wonderful, but to today - oh boy!

Buster said "hello." I know, I know. It doesn't sound remotely believable, but he did, he said it clear as day. Actually, he said a breathy, "hellllooooo" then grinned a big grin at me, and then refused to say anything for a few minutes.

He has been stringing syllables together for a few weeks "abagagada" and the like, and he has said "dada" a few times. He only said it around C at first, so I didn't really believe him when he told me about it, but then I heard it one night - "da-da" and then again, and a third time. There was no mistaking it. So I assure you, I know what I heard today.

Don't misunderstand me, I do not think that he deliberately said "dada" to C to identify or name him, but instead repeated the same syllables that we have been making at him for weeks. C tends to favor "dadada" for some reason or another, so Buster strung two da's together.

And the same for "hello." We say hello a lot to him and he managed to string those two syllables together today, and got mad positive feedback for it, I might add. Still it was one of those things where I looked around my empty family room and thought "there's no one here to hear this! No one is going to believe me." But then I remembered that I don't really care whether other people believe, I'm his mother and I'm sticking by my story. My little boy is just amazing.

And then there is Wiggle. Wiggle who took the New Yorker to bed with him today for his nap. I was laughing aloud at a couple of the cartoons in the latest issue, and Wiggle asked to see them and now he carries it around and laughs at everything in it, the ads, the cartoons, the drawings. I think he thinks it's MAD magazine or something. It's pretty adorable.

Also, he is swimming. Like full on swimming. Last week, he still didn't like to put his head under water, and today he was jumping off the edge in the deep end and swimming.

It all started about a week ago when he told me he wants to go off the diving board, and I told him he couldn't because he had to pass a swim test given by the life guards to show that he could swim to the wall from the middle of the pool. He took it as a challenge, when I merely meant it as a statement of current fact. The same day he mastered kicking with a kickboard all on his own. The next day we went swimming, he started putting his head underwater and moving his arms and legs around. The next day he was swimming under water for short distances for one breath. Today, he jumped off the edge, swam with his face in the water, and was able to take one or two breaths. I have not done anything to facilitate him other than be near him in case he needs help and cheer him on. I am in just in awe.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Austerity Measures

You may remember that I posted about making a budget in the fall. Well, that only sort of happened. I mean I started it and all that, but then the holidays happened and there were all of these one time/seasonal purchases which made it harder for me to look at our current budget and predict or plan for our future spending habits, and then I had Buster and sitting down with bills and receipts and computer screens just didn't enter the equation for awhile.

But then I had Buster, and...

I know it sounds like I'm repeating myself, but I'm not. Really. I didn't get back to the budgeting because I was otherwise occupied with an infant, but that not-so-little infant also started my anxiety gears turning and that anxiety started to roll downhill toward the rushing river below that is our finances. I kept trying to get hold, and it kept rushing past my open hand. That probably sounds a little dramatic, but that's what sleep deprivation and a crying baby will do to you.

So now, many months later, I have actually done the work and made the budget. The verdict is in, and there will indeed have to be changes.

Budgeting is scary; well, budgeting when you don't have a lot of money is scary. It's not like we're going to be out on the street anytime soon, but we do need to be careful. With a second child, buying a house, me being home full-time, and going back to school, we definitely have to be careful. Careful is fine, careful can be good even, once I see how it all works out, but right now it's still a little scary. The thing about budgeting for every penny is that, well, there are no pennies left at the end of the budgeting. It feels weird when your goal is zero.

I have planned modestly for saving for purchases and car repairs, vacations, restaurants, even parking costs, which we don't regularly have. So zero is fine because it includes everything, even some contingencies, but it still feels wrong. I want slop in the system, but I can't have any slop until I am sure we can afford slop, and I'm not sure that we can for the next few years at least. After that I will go back to work and there will be more breathing room financially or at least that's the idea.

For now I will count pennies and try to remember that not having money in my pocket is fine as long as I know where it is.
Wiggle has the picnic bug. Luckily picnics are fun and free!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Lavender Farm

On Saturday we went to a farm to pick lavender. I know, it's pretty random, but there was a livingsocial deal and I thought it sounded fun and like it would smell good. It was and it did.

The farm itself was pretty small; I have seen pictures of lavender farms in Oregon or Washington where whole fields were purple and bushy, but this was just a few rows of plants between a couple of family houses and a little shop.
Fragrant lavender rows
But the lavender was still very pretty and smelled wonderful. We only took a few pictures because the sun was unforgiving.
Wiggle and me and lavender and cars
 Plus, we packed a picnic and there was a wonderful shady spot to eat.
Wiggle sprinted for the playhouse that was hidden in the shade of the tree.
We enjoyed our chicken salad sandwiches and then lounged around for a bit while Wiggle played in the little house that even had a front porch and a little porch swing. 

Buster spent most of the time talking to Elmo and giving us big grins.
He has a lot to say to Elmo.
Some of his grins are sly.
There is no family pic because Wiggle decided to wrap up the lunch by running away when we told him it was time to leave (with ample warning and an offer of a last ride on the bouncy horse before we packed up). He went up onto the second story porch of the farmer's house and then tried to hide under patio furniture. 

We made a rapid exit. 

How quickly things turn from pleasant to petulant with a toddler. A good day nonetheless.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Slip Slidin' Away

I wish the title of this post was about some water fun that involved sliding, but alas instead it is about the fleetingness of summer. Of course, there has been fun in the water too, and strawberry picking, and grilling, and chasing lightening bugs in the dark, but it just all feels like it is going so fast. Too fast.
I remember when summer seemed like an endless stretch of time that lollygagged out in front of you, and fall was merely a distant point on the horizon. But now with two kids, a husband who's research schedule goes into high gear in the summertime, and a house and lawn that need extra tending in months with good weather, I feel like I spend my days grasping around trying to get my bearings while my eye is fixed firmly to a telescope. Needless to say, I have a nasty case of vertigo most days.

Let me take this evening to try to cover at least one of the iconic summer moments we have already experienced -

We went strawberry picking.

On the Wednesday before Wiggle's last day of school, we piled into the car, even though the forecast threatened rain, and drove an hour straight west to a bare bones strawberry farm. The weather held out, the location was absolutely charming, and the strawberries were delicious. Wiggle's favorite food right now is strawberries, so he was in hog heaven. I think we all were a little.
Heading into the fields
Showing Daddy a specimen
Giving Buster a snack break
No leaf went unturned
This kid knows how to channel Norman Rockwell
Pure joy
Picking strawberries is serious business
Two of my favorite guys
Looking satisfied with the haul
The haul
A long overdue family photo

That's all for now. In order to keep the slipping at bay, I have to try to balance my time between living these moments and recording them, and right now I'm going to choose to rest up to live some more of them tomorrow.