Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Harry Potter

Last night it was JD’s turn to get Ian ready for bed. We try to take turns because if one of us does it for too long he gets very upset if the routine changes. I was fooling around on the computer, or reading, or something when I heard JD reading a story and Ian singing random songs and generally making noise.

I went to the door to figure out what the heck was going on – Ian is usually very quiet during story time – and saw the cutest thing. The two boys were cuddled up together. JD was valiantly trying to read Ian the first chapter of Harry Potter and Ian, being a typical 3 year old, was creating a sound track to make up for the lack of pictures.

JD announced it a “spectacular fail” after he had finished tucking Ian in, but I think it was an excellent idea. He’s tried it a couple times and I know one of these times it will stick and become one of Ian’s favorite memories. Even if it doesn’t stick it will still be one of MY favorite memories.

Update: He's sticking to it! He's been doing 2 or 3 pages a night, which apparently is Ian's limit. If he keeps at it we may have a HP costume next year instead of an evil Star Wars character... who knows?

Update 2: I found this picture from the first time JD read Harry Potter to Ian. Awwwww. Ian was a little quieter the first time around. JD ran out of voice before Ian ran out of patience. Hopefully we will get back to that someday soon.


New England weather is always odd, but this weekend it went right past odd and into bizarre.

Usually we have a reasonably nice, crisp September and October, with maybe a little Indian Summer thrown in. Then November and December are wet, cold, and miserable. January we might actually see some snow. February it snows. March it snows and sleets. April we usually get one last hurrah snow storm before it turns back to cold, wet, and miserable which lasts through the beginning of June.

This year wet cold and miserable lasted almost until August, then we had a month of summer, beautiful September weather, and… snow in October?

Friday and Sunday we got snow flurries. Sunday some of it actually accumulated. Very, very strange. We celebrated by running to Target to get Ian a winter hat and gloves. We are still missing snow boots so hopefully we do not get any further freaky weather until after Evelyn is born.

I have a sneaking suspicion that I may have jinxed myself by announcing happily that I was glad I would be on maternity leave during the first snow falls so I did not have to deal with the insane traffic. Ick.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

While the cat’s away…

The mice will… do absolutely nothing.

So here we are, day 5 sans Ian. What have we accomplished? Absolutely nothing! I am not really sure why that is.

Actually, I have a few guesses.
  1. We are staying at work longer.

  2. We are playing video games. Usually the rule is no games until after Ian is asleep. But with Ian away… and the Mirkwood beta conveniently released this week… well.

  3. I am lazy tired. A few days this week I have simply gone to bed really early rather than accomplish anything. Or I've taken a nap, waking up just in time to… play more play video games.

JD has been much better than me. He has washed dishes and thrown out trash. Kept the cats alive. Stuff like that. I have slowly let our bedroom be eaten by piles of clean and dirty clothes. Yipe.

When I was pregnant with Ian I kept waiting for the “nesting” instinct to kick in and make me into a total cleanliness genius. I was sure that all the sudden I would get the urge to vacuum and mop and dust and rub down door knobs with Lysol wipes. My clothes would be ironed and my hair would be just so. I would channel the Martha. No such luck.

Instead I pretty much felt then what I am feeling now… large, slow, and grumpy. And in desperate need of motivation. And what do you know? My mom is coming to stay the night this weekend.

*alarm klaxon sounds*

Breakout the hazmat suits and the SoftScrub! Incoming mom!!!!! OMFG I need to go grocery shopping and clean the fridge! What do you mean we are out of Clorox Cleanup???!!!one!!

Or, at least, that is what my mind is usually screaming at this point. Right now all I can seem to manage is a half-hearted “Mom… coming... @#$%.”

I am actually pondering whether all those dirty clothes will fit under my bed… and do the clean ones really need to be folded before I stuff them in random drawers? Maybe I can accidentally total my car and avoid having to shovel out the toxic waste. I am a little afraid it has been breeding in the back seat.

Hopefully the panic will hit soon and I will go into psycho self-preservation cleaning mode. I have gone into that zone occasionally and it works for short periods of time. But usually there are vast amounts of caffeine or alcohol involved dammit.

Must… fold… clothes…


Bella Claire Baby

So next on my totally girl-crazy wish list is one of the amazing bodysuit/bloomer sets from Bella Claire Baby who I found on Etsy.com. Can you tell I am addicted to Etsy?

When I was little I swore never to dress up any baby girl of mine in girly stuff OR in pink. No pink, no way. Yeah, right.

Sometime in the last, oh, 10 years or so I started the typical mooning over pink things in stores and dreaming of princess dresses. I started to regress to that earlier time… before adolescent grunge and fledgling feminism… back to a time where I loved princesses and fairies and a dream dress was one with tulle. Oh yes…. I remember.

When my sister had Sophia I was in 7th heaven. And now, finally, I have my own little girl to live vicariously through. *rubs hands evilly*

These bodysuits caught my eye quite a while ago and now, with Evie on the way, I am looking at my calendar and planning what occasion to buy one for. First day of school? Picture day? Maybe arrange for a family portrait with my sister’s family and put Evie and Sophia in matching outfits? Oooooo

MANY thanks to Kerry from Bella Claire Baby for allowing me to rave about her designs here, and post up a picture!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Apple picking (10/4/09)

(Click on the pictures to see a bigger version)

Despite having lived in the Northeast all my life, I have never been apple picking. A classic Northeastern activity. We planned to go last year but were stricken with a nasty strep throat attack that hit the whole family.

This year Mims arranged a trip for all of us (Me, Ian, Mom, Mims, Tommy, James, and Sophia) to Honeypot Hill, in Stow MA. I had the rather na├»ve belief that we would go to someone’s little farm, pick some apples, have a picnic lunch, and go home. Sorta like picking out a Christmas tree.

The first clue that it was not going to be like that were the people directing traffic into the (multiple) parking areas. There were hundreds of people there to pick apples and generally enjoy themselves, and the whole thing was run with the efficiency and cheerful professionalism of Disney World. It was wild.

The first place we parked was at the ‘farm store’ which was located right next to the Barnyard Animals and the Hedge Maze. There was a man there directing traffic through the parking lot (and believe me, he was needed – parking lot drivers are crazy). He was about 70 years old and actually managed to get us all packed in while maintaining his cool AND his friendly smile. I was deeply appreciative. Five minutes spent in the parking lot and I was already wide-eyed and slightly panicked.

Despite having to serve hundreds of people, the farm store managed to maintain a homey country store feel. I bought some cider, some honey sticks, and some apple butter (YUM). They also had free samples of some of the apples and Oh. My. God. The honey crisp apples were amazing. I’ve been fantasizing about them ever since.

After we escaped the store we went to see the barnyard animals. They had a lot of goats who played on a two-story climbing structure. I don’t think they were mountain goats – all goats must just have a natural ability to climb. For 25 cents you could get a little hand full of feed which the goats would eat right out of your hand. The boys LOVED it.

They also had bunnies, piglets, and chickens – but the goats were the most impressive. After running around like crazies, we finally herded the boys back to the car and drove to the next parking lot for the actual apple picking.

Ian and I managed to get a prime parking spot and walked over to the ticket shed to buy our medium bag for apples and our tickets for the hay ride. The line moved quickly, but even so I was ready for a sit down after standing still for so long. It is odd but I can walk for miles or sit for long periods of time but standing still kills me. My back hurts, my legs hurt, and baby belly starts attracting immense amounts of gravity.

So after we got our stuff I herded Ian over to some picnic tables to have a sit down… where he immediately announced he had to go potty. So back we went to the porta potty near the ticket shed which (natch) was out of toilet paper.

This was Ian’s first experience with a porta potty and he was SO FUNNY. After locking us in the tiny space I turned around to see him staring into the potty with total horror. He looked up at me with his mouth and his eyes wide open and couldn’t say a word. He was speechless. The porta potty was actually very clean, but the fact that the potty didn’t flush and you could see everything… just sitting there… unflushed… it blew his mind.

After we did our business and escaped the porta potty the rest of the family had caught up. While Mims, Tommy, and James braved the porta potty we had a long discussion about which apples we wanted, where we needed to go to get them, and how we would get there.

Actually most of the discussion was spent staring at each other blankly, hoping someone would make an intelligent suggestion. The kids were hyper and the adults were dazed and confused. The parallels to a Disney trip were growing.

We finally decided to walk up to the nearest orchard and upon arriving immediately decided we didn’t want these apples – we wanted the ones that were farthest away. By that time Sophia was fast asleep in her stroller so Mims and Tommy decided to load me, Mom, and the boys on the hay ride while they walked to the correct orchard.

Again, I had naively thought the hay ride was going to be a fun little ride around a field somewhere, but actually it was a disguised mode of transportation. It made stops at the store and at each orchard where you could get off, do your stuff, get back on, and ride to the next area. Half a dozen hayride tractors and trailers circled the farm at all times in a farm version of the Disney monorail.

There was much hilarity maneuvering me down onto the hay bales that served as seats. By the time we had circled the ENTIRE farm to get to the correct orchard (it probably would have taken 5 minutes to walk cross-wise to the orchard) I was ready to hit Mims with a mean set of snake eyes for loading me onto this stupid ride. Fortunately for her she wasn’t there yet (they had stopped at the car) and I had to content myself with sitting on the grass and convincing the boys to eat some of their PB&J sandwiches and drink their juice boxes.

The day before it had rained heavily and the morning had been gray and cloudy. As we sat in the orchard the sky cleared and it became blue and beautiful. And hot! We really could not have asked for a better day, especially after such a wet beginning.

Mims, Tommy, and Sophia caught up to us and we finally moved on to our ultimate destination: the apple orchard!

Five minutes later, our bags were full. Huh.

We walked to the top of the orchard for the heck of it and picked some apples to munch on.

The sheer size of most of the apples was amazing. We found a few that would definitely take three people to finish a single apple. The rows were pretty well picked over, but there were a few areas that were roped off and the trees were completely laden with apples. I had been a little surprised that the apple trees were so short – not at all like the huge trees I had imagined. After I saw them buckling under the weight of all the apples I understood why.

After we filled our bags and munched some apples we made our way back to the hayride. I gave Mims and Mom the scare of their lives by throwing myself down the final hill and doing an extremely ungraceful somersault in an attempt to not land on my belly. I was fine except for a very muddy pair of pants and an extremely red face, but it took a while for Mom’s hair to stop standing on end.

The hayride back to the lot was a lot shorter and we decided to simply walk from there to the store instead of hoping back on the hay ride. I was confident about my walking ability at the beginning, but the hill did me in and I was VERY glad to reach the store and sit at the picnic tables.

Tommy brought their car back to the store lot and unloaded the picnic lunch. By that time it tasted like the best food we had ever had. Earlier we had bought cider to drink, but after eating three huge apples each we pretty much just looked at it sadly and thought about future bowel movements. Eventually we moved the cider to another table to act as bait for the gazillion yellow jackets that had homed in on us.

The boys ate (sorta) and ran around looking at the farm animals again. Then we hit the hedge maze. I am SO GLAD that Tommy went with us otherwise we may have never seen the boys again. Going through the maze was a series of stop and go as the boys ran ahead and Tommy made them stop and wait for me to puff my way to them.

I thought there would be tears when I accidentally belly-checked a young girl into the hedge as I came around a corner, but she ran off before I could gasp out my apologies. I did a lot of gasping. Whoever heard of a hedge maze built on the side of a hill?

We found the center finally, touched the flag pole, and then stop and go’d our way back to the entrance. I must have had a certain look in my eyes because Tommy sent me on ahead while he took the boys through the tunnel maze.

And then… finally… it was time to go home. Sadly, my car was still in the other lot. We gave hugs and kisses and saw the others on their way, and then Ian and I trekked back to the hay ride. No way was I attempting that hill again. In fact, on the way up the slight hill to the hay ride I made Ian let me lean on his shoulders. Passersby thought it was cute when he kept yelling “You’re breaking me!”

The hay ride was nice. Me and Ian had some snuggle time and joked with our fellow riders about various things we had done that day. We rode all the way to the lot and I thanked the parking gods that we had such a great spot.

And then we drove home.

Ian was fast asleep before the car left the lot.

So apple picking was an experience. Not the experience I was expecting but definitely fun. I think there was only one tearful breakdown (by one of the kids, not me), which was pretty good considering the length of time we were there and the hot sun. I’ll definitely go back next year. With a stroller. And a husband to carry the apples. *grin*

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Baby shower!

Last week my coworkers got together and threw me a surprise baby shower. I was EXTREMELY surprised – both because it is still early and because you don’t usually get a shower for your second child.

My boss got me all riled up with talk about some process improvements we are doing at work and then led me to the conference room for a meeting. I barged right in and had a moment of absolute horror since there were about 15 people in the room. I had interrupted a BIG meeting. Then I saw the cakes and for a moment was even more horrified… I had interrupted someone’s PARTY.

So, okay. I am a moron. I finally got it when they all yelled SURPRISE and laughed at me.

The cakes were gorgeous. One lemon chiffon (YUM) with the most beautiful baby shower decorations. One chocolate cake with the hard chocolate coating. I am still eating the leftovers of that one a week later. I think it will take care of any chocolate cravings for the rest of my pregnancy. They were both awesome.

I got a ton of cool loot, including a crib set, several outfits, blankets, and toys, and some relaxing bath stuff for mommy (which I have already put to good use).

Now I have to figure out how to merge the girl and boy decorations in the kids’ bedroom into a cohesive whole. Pink is so CUTE, but it is also so PINK. Mixing that with the more mellow yellows and greens of Ian’s bedroom might be a challenge.

I think I can probably get my sister to come over and do it for me if I make the puppy-dog eyes.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


<----- What I look like now.

I had a moment today when I realized how thoroughly I had crossed into Mom territory. I absolutely could not WAIT until Evelyn gets old enough that I can tease and scold her for all the things she did to me in the womb.

B-Day minus 6 weeks and I am already counting my grudges. *grin*

A month or so ago I described to one of my male coworkers (much to his horror) that when Evie moves it looks like I am smuggling ferrets under my shirt.

It was a joke, but I seem to have jinxed myself because more and more she does move around like a little ferret. And at her active time (around 4am) it feels like several ferrets fighting for supremacy in there.

I don’t know how else to describe it – she scrambles. Or maybe she was severe restless leg syndrome. Either way, the rare times I am awake during this time I usually have my hand over my stomach so I can rub her back and tickle the occasional foot that wanders into my grasp.

Her acrobatics don’t hurt. Sometimes they are a little uncomfortable because when she really sticks her legs out I can practically feel myself adding stretch marks. But mostly they are ticklish and make me realize… wow. There really is a person in there. Or possibly several ferrets.

This morning Ian crawled into bed with us at around 5am. I pulled him under the covers, held onto him so that he wouldn’t fall off the edge, and promptly fell back to sleep. Evie did not, however, and was still scrambling around. Since Ian was wrapped around my tummy he got to enjoy the full show and I woke occasionally when he would giggle or stick a cold hand against my stomach to feel her move around.

What I will look like in a few weeks ------------->

At one point he laughed so hard I groggily cracked open my lids. His blue eyes were about an inch away from mine and he put one hand on my cheek. “She’s funny!” he told me. I laughed too, flipped him over so that he was between me and JD and no longer in imminent danger of being kicked off the bed by his little sister, and went back to sleep.

Later this morning I had a very pleasant image of teasing a 10 year old Evie about her 4am psychotic exercises in the womb. Moments like this, however, usually have faded away by that time and I was a little sad that she would not get to experience… well, herself. And how much we enjoy her already. Then it hit me. Duh. That is what this blog is for!

I hope you all enjoy the stories as much as I am sure adolescent Ian and Evie will hate them! I will try and add them as they occur. Some of them might be TMI (too much information) but I really want to capture them so I can remember and use them to torment my children later in life.

It’s just how I roll! *grin*