Post Weekend Week

E was a such a silly kid at dinner on Monday. Laughing and dive bombing with hugs and such so I took a break with him upstairs where he could get his energy out for a moment. Also, it hurts to get a fierce hug from a lunatic 2 year old who has raced across the room with arms wide open to crash into you. 

The boys slept in their tent fort that night. Eventually. C set it up with all the things they needed for their little house: laundry bin, clock, suitcase, lots of pillows, blankets, water bottle, and hand sanitizer. Then they fell asleep listening to Frog and Toad on C’s old, old phone. 

They are always sweeter when they are sleeping. ;)

Yesterday we had moremoremore rain (yay?) and since there was no thunder or lightning and my kids were filthy, the boys were sent outside to play. No need for baths! ;)

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C experimented with throwing his umbrella up in the air and watching it float down. Until part of it broke and he decided to stop. Then he grabbed E’s umbrella, much to E’s chagrin, and went to his room to calm down alone and dry and change.

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E and I stayed out and splashed in the warm puddles.

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It was so hot and then it rained so much that steam started rising from the ground when the rain stopped.

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C finally came out dressed in his “fancy clothes” and E insisted he follow suite and we all go to Geema’s house. Also, I was sick of my darling children so we did, we got dressed in our fancy clothes and went to my mom’s house.

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Michigan and Chicago Vacation 2015

The end of June we went to southern Lake Michigan and Chicago for our family vacation. We arrived at our rental house on Father’s Day and quickly unloaded a few things into the house then changed and dashed to the beach. Here E practiced his wading game where he’d cling to an adult’s hand, happily chant “deeper, deeper, deeper” and then dash out of the water when it was to deep for him.

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Also, he got to spend time with his favorite uncle. We shared the house with J’s parents, brother, sister, BIL, 3 nephews and nieces.

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J went golfing with his dad and BIL while the rest of us went to Warren State Park. We climbed up this giant dune. Well, the kids and the uncle J climbed, I struggled and crawled while dragging my 40 pound two year old along….. It took many, many MINUTES. (I’m trying to cut down on exaggerating). I needed many more muscles than I did possessed.

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This was the view from eh top. See that tiny path all the way down? THAT’S HOW FAR I HIKED UP WITH MY 40 POUND KID. IN THE SAND. I knew I should have brought the baby carrier…..

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The view from the top. Lake Michigan is the small blue horizon in the background.

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Watching C and his cousin G climb another dune as we head toward the lake.

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Then we ate lunch at the beach concession stand because we were preeeetty hungry and thirsty from our impromptu hike. Also, must remember to not leave the house an hour before lunch with 2 granola bars and 1 tiny water bottle for the 6 people that went up the dune…. Finally, energy replenished, we hiked through the woods and back to the vehicles. E was very whiney (to say the least) and I carried him much of the way, alternating with making him walk while he very loudly complained.

On our way back to the house. Both boys wanted to make silly faces for the camera.

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C and cousin G playing with legos. So glad the cousins got to play so much. :)

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The Michigan house!

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Watching the street in front of the house be paved.

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Cousin I had several of these action figures and the boys enjoyed playing with them.

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Sunset! With a 4 year old!

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It was so romantic for J and I….. But not really. E fell asleep early this night so he stayed at the house.

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The last vacation we went on with C’s and E’s cousins we took a Cousin Picture where none of them had pants on. So of course we had to do that again this year but since they are all 3 years older, we let them keep their pants this time. Or rather, they weren’t all wandering around half naked so it worked out pretty well. Here’s the silly shot! E didn’t like sitting between people.

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We left Michigan after 5 days and moved on to Chicago! Here are E, J, Uncle J, and C, waiting for the train.

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The boys loved public transportation! E was a bit silent and serious to begin with while C burst with glee from the start. E later insisted we sit in the back row every time we rode a bus.

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Our first day in Chicago was rainy but it was pretty fun walking around with umbrellas.  We went to Navy Pier since we needed indoor entertainment and walked outside at the end of the pier. Here you see J looking wistfully back toward the Chicago skyline. ;)

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More looking.

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C asked me to take his picture here and didn’t realize the wind had blown his precious umbrella up. ;)

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Family picture!

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Finally we made it back the condo we rented and plopped down with pizza and Netflix. What a long day!

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The next day was clear and beautiful! We set out late due to several setbacks (melting down kid, house keys dropped in sewer drain, etc). And then 30 minutes into our journey to Garfield Conservatory everyone got hungry and grouchy so we stopped for pizza (again).

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At Garfield finally!! E liked this little spot in the children’s garden; he called it his garage.

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C spent much of his time looking for carnivorous plants.

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And later he hunted for tadpoles in this mangrove pond.

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E delighted in dashing through the splashes coming from this waterfall.

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C did eventually find the insect eating plants. They were a little out of his reach unfortunately! Also, he enjoyed exploring the outdoor children’s area.

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C liiked spraying the water bottles and getting water to come from tiny pipes.

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The view to the east as we left Garfield.

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We grabbed some coffee and tea (another hunger induced meltdown from C) (E was napping in the baby carrier so he was pretty happy) then headed to Millenium Park. There was an amazing play area here and the boys really went crazy exploring it. C liked the round swing and E loved the slides. We even returned there after dinner (pizza AGAIN!) and played way too long.

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The view on our walk to dinner.

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After much playing, we took the train back to our north side condo and finally headed back home at 11:00 pm. There was a stop for coffee around midnight where we discussed and debated (for way too long) whether we should power through or stop at a hotel. Eventually we kept going (ahem, J and J did, I couldn’t stay awake the whole drive back!) and made it home by 4:00 am. It was a bit exhausting but SUCH a fun week!

Thursday

Thursday morning started like a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Here you see both boys teary on the couch, preparing to eat a snack, read books, then head to the library. Everyone cried at some point this morning. So it goes.

C found ornaments in our garage sale stuff and gathered them with glee. He piled them on the counter and chose which he would hang on and outside tree, then told me on his way out: Mama, can you do me a favor please? When I get back, I expect all these ornaments to be hanged around the house. Now get to work on that. 

We used thumdtacks and cork board to have swell time. C made a Link shield, E made a double sided platform. 

C has been writing numbers a lot lately. Well, copying numbers. Here he wanted to put prices on the garage sale items. Also, our garage sale has been delayed by rain until next weekend. Sigh.

C said: Look Mama, I have so much money! I’m rich!   Hehehehe. He has $13. I’ve been reading how to teach kids (4 and 2 year olds) financial skills and we decided to start giving C a $2 paycheck to teach him how to handle his own money. So far it’s helped him decide buying french fries and water would be w waste of time, to leave various thrilling toys in a store, and to spend on mainly chewing gum. 4 year old life priorities and all. ;) Also, he’s very eager to buy gifts for cousins using his own money and gave $1 to a cousin to put in Father’s Day card she made at our house. So he’s still generous but is learning to temper the spending. 

E and I played with people and “amimals”. Here he repeatedly threatened to “lawn tractored me down” until all the little people were lying helpless on the table. It was a tragedy for sure and it’s only his general sweetness that assures me he will indeed NOT become a rampant murderer.  

C made me this picture: It’s you Mama, and a heart because I love you. Awwwwwwww.  

Then he took his little easel outside for some inspiration (staring at the side of our house) and tongue biting concentration.

E joined him with The Tractor and all the perished people who miraculously recovered.   

Then I thawed and cooked dinner (gourmet!!!) and C prepared a space outside for a picnic, complete with hats to keep the blinding sun out of our eyes, diving suits (bathing suits), and a nearby wading pool. Dinner was quickly eaten and then the pool was soon splashed empty of water. Water hose was turned on next and half an hour later both boys were soaked. It was 70 degrees outside and not at all sunny…..

Monday

We keep finding these stag beetles around the house (the other day, J found one in the house and casually showed it to me when I came downstairs in the morning). We all enjoy examining the creatures but I have a certain fear now, of stepping on one while walking in the kitchen barefoot. Oh the insects we encounter on our little edge of “wilderness”…

The boys made funny faces for this picture then laughed and laughed at their facial expressions. C insisted he looked like a pirate.

Then C tried out his version of Crazy Eyes while displaying his magnetic tangram creation.   

Rainy Day

It’s been raining a lot lately (yay!) but in general we have thunderstorms, not just rain showers. Today brought a multitude of delightful showers and the boys took full advantage of it. I did too, weeding and dealing with the garden. ;) 

The “big grown up kid”.   

The “tiny grown up kid”.   

The tiny one with his mouth filled with air and his brain filled with thoughts.   

The wind just kept blowing in new clouds that let their rain lose on us!  

Of course crocodile play ensued. 

And later the boys turned to playing with the hose, soap on the sidewalk, the little pool, PVC pipes, and making rivers in the mulch of the flowerbed.   

Then it was time to clean up and wash off before the ever-present chiggers devoured us. After baths, C cleaned the floor that he marketed on last night. His eagerness to scrub the rug was very refreshing!  

And he stain sprayed and washed the sheets.   

This was followed by much “playing pretend”. We do this a lot around here since it is E’s deepest passion. C tends to spend half his time building and half his time playing. E spends all his time urging us to pay attention and just focus on playing. He is never quite as happy as when he’s found a companion to join him in his little worlds. Our characters in yesterday’s play were: Person (who E also referred to as Guy), Willet and Zazu, Thomas Bad Guy, Doctor (a very useful character with all the injuries sustained in the playing), and Oobie Zoobie. 

This Week

These kids on Monday. C quite absorbed in lego building. E happily involved in dissecting electronics, something he turns to fairly often now. I’m not sure WHY E’s interest here surprises me. Maybe because he’s highly imaginative and I associate the mechanical pursuits with C’s “grounded in reality” pursuits? Because the pliers don’t end u talking to the wires and parts they are working on? It’s not completely typical for E to enjoy this kind of thing, but I’m quite happy to have the tools and materials out for him. It’s a good example of how I shouldn’t put my kids in a  box (obviously) and exposing them to a wide variety of things will help them be self aware and true to who they are. 

 

I caught C sleeping this way the other night. Moving back into bed must have been too much effort for his tired brain. ;)

 

C claimed a partitioned box I found at a garage sale last weekend. He made it his sewing box and put everything sewing related into its perfect area. Then he stared fondly at it for a while.   

 

While E busily sorted through creatures and helped them express the thoughts in their little plastic heads. 

Later in the morning we found a giant moth outside our back door. E was worried and went back inside to watch, C was cautious but delighted. Later C remarked about its “eyes” and I pulled out this photo so we could marvel at how creatures camouflage themselves or have defense mechanisms to frighten away predators. 

 

Then we went a bunch of places. C happily ate while walking, exploring, and dancing. E happily sipped his very special “root b-beer” then ate a little, sitting the whole time.

 

Last night C had trouble falling asleep again (I think he needs a later bedtime?) and he decided to fall asleep in my bed. During one of his “I need a cuddle, Mama” calls I found he’d drawn on the sheet and carpet. Sigh. He explained it this way: “The sheet was just plain white and boring so I made it beautiful!”.  

Parties and Fun

C and E both really enjoy parties. Setting them up, making things look symmetrical  and appealing, and then serving all the people they can drag to their event. ;)  

C and J after a birthday party.  

E, C, and Uncle J at the museum enjoying another tea party.   

Both boys strike a pose under an arch we built.   

C during an art lesson that involved tracing tangram shapes.   

The Days

It’s been a little chilly around here the last few days so the boys have been tending to stay inside. C set up a store for us and some visiting friends. Our choice of products were “rocks and clams” and when it was time to make a purchase, he’d give us money out of his cash register to pay HIM. ;)

 

E played lots with his little person Guy (seen upside down in his hands) and my toy animal Raquel the Raccoon.   

 

C picked more carrots. We went out this morning and there was a small pile of wilted ones that he admitted he picked yesterday. Also, C is going through a phase of coming to understand lies and truth. He has started to lie every day but when calmly asked “Is that a lie or a truth?” he will smile sheepishly and respond “A lie”. Then I thank him for finally being honest, deal quickly with the action that promoted him to lie, and we all move on. He’s trying to grasp jokes too, assuming they are lies so now I give him 3 choices: Is that a truth, lie, or joke? Sometimes we have to delve into the feeling behind the joke, if it is a fun for everyone joke or a tricky and manipulative joke and how the latter is not acceptable. Nuances with 4 year olds….

 

Our garden is pretty much finally planted.   

 

C and I played Go Fish. Here is C, learning to hold his cards in one hand for The Very First Time. It was fascinating to watch him silently do this, a sweet and small moment that will never quite happen again.   

 

Selfie with the morning cuddle boys. :)  

 

Love this silly face. :)  

 

Swimming at my sister’s. The water was so cold but C and his cousins B and L couldn’t resist! Also, it’s a bit nerve-wracking to have my 2 year old E around a pool….  

Normal Around Here

Sometimes I think what we do here is normal but then I glance at the pictures I’m about to write about. Then I realize it’s not. ;) Because children, what is “normal” for them anyway?!?

We went to a little lake beach nearby on Wednesday and I didn’t manage to take a picture of the fun the boys had. But C happily repeated it for me on dry ground later that afternoon. Here he is pretending to be a crocodile, just as he and his friends did in the water. 

 

And this is his seastar (on land) impression. 

What my family was doing Saturday morning. C swinging (his current favorite), J fixing a broken arm on a chair, and E pedaling his bicycle. 

Later, much to his deep sadness, E’s foot got stuck behind his pedal. It took a slathering of olive oil, some tears, and lots of tugging for it to break free. You can see in this picture (by the chub of his cheeks and flop of his arm) that he’s clearly given up on life. Don’t worry though, after a quick cuddle and the dreaded the oil being wiped off his foot, he regained his normal joy for life and quickly drove away. :)

 

And later the kids fell asleep like this. Always like this. C on his side, sometimes with blankets on and sometimes not. E on his back with the blankets pulled up no matter how much he sweats. 95% of the time THIS is how I find them when I kiss them before I go to bed. Except the cleanliness, I mostly don’t find it this clean. 

 

Then they are up and ready to go the next day, making pancakes and playing hard. :)  

Biking

Last night we had a little time before bed and the kids automatically went back outside to grab their bikes. 

C has been a dedicated biker since he was 1. We gave him a balance bike for Christmas before he turned 1.5 and it became his favorite pastime for me to push him through the house (since his feet couldn’t touch the ground). By 2 he was riding it alone. At 3 we got him a pedal bike which he on and off tried without training wheels but mostly loved for its stability. Then at 3.5 he took off riding it without training wheels and has continued zooming. I would prefer he call this the zenith of his biking career though he has his sights set on a motorcycle…..

E loves this tricycle so much. :) He’s been a happy machine pusher from day one: walkers, strollers, toys. He loved to push them in the house around and around. And if C happened to get to his current favorite toy first, he’ll shriek bloody murder. Still does actually….. The tricycle was claimed as his this spring when his legs were long enough to touch the ground. He pedals and scoots that thing around the driveway, his little feet scampering in a light and practiced fashion so that he never bumps the pedals or wheels anymore. He likes us to push him on the training wheels bike or sometimes the balance bike but always, always naturally makes a beeline for this tricycle. 

Occasionally he crashes. They both do. And they seem to know how to land, stop for a moment, then climb back up to riding. I guess you have to know how to land when a handlebar could impale you. ;)

They ride around and around this corner of the driveway. “Try following me!” C cries and when you do get behind him in line, he laughs and turns “Now I’m going this way, you aren’t following me!”. Because him being on the other half of a circle means the follower is going the opposite direction. ;)

And then they go to the farther reaches of the driveway because the zooming fast factor is better there. 

 

Gotta love these happy little bikers. :) With marker and pen art on their bodies…..

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