Friday, April 19, 2013

Opal 15-18 weeks

 She still likes swaddle sacks and mitty pajamas
Hi there smiley Woogalina!
My stripey baby girl Buddha
Bustin' out the unicorn Robeez for the first time - a bit too big yet, but the swan onesie is just right!
Someone is entering the baby golden days!  While breaking Mommy's arm from demanding to be constantly held!  I do have to admit, though, that while I complain about never getting a rest and having most of my meals spiced with desparate baby whining, most of me feels happy and honored and special that this sweet moogie oogie is so attached to me! 

I'm trying to figure out whether her eyes are going to stay blue.  Based on looking back at her brothers' pictures at this age, the two bigs had definitely started to turn brown by this age.  Blue-eyed Zeb's eyes were a little darker than hers but also bluer.  Her's are starting to get very light in the middle, even lighter than Zeb's were at this age, but they're kinda more gray than blue.  When she was born she was so dark and hairy I thought, there's no way this kid is going to have blue eyes.  Now as they've been getting lighter I've started to get attached to the idea that they'll be blue.  But our pediatrician keeps making cryptic comments about her eyes that make me think she thinks they're going to be light brown or hazel.  I wonder, do we have our first hazel-eyed kid, what with Daddy having hazel eyes?  Meh, I still hope they turn out blue!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Hasta luego, snack in a bag

Today was a very sad day for me and Wolfie.  A day of disappointment and unrealized dreams. 

Shortly after I resumed schlepping to school duties last month, with all the trees and shrubs still winter bare, I noticed something gross in a long row of bushes across the street from the horse farm on Butler Pike.  It was a large ziploc bag, stuffed with a mysterious orange snack-based substance and hanging pregnantly from one of the bare branches.  I can't remember the first time I saw it.  Perhaps I commented to Woog, perhaps not. 

But as the days passed and still the snack remained, I usually tried to point it out.  I could never figure out what, exactly, was in the bag.  First I thought it was Cheez Its, then Apple Jacks, then maybe Doritos or something.  Whatever it was, it captured Wolfie's imagination, much like a cup in a tree at the Broad Axe intersection did a few years ago when Eli was still going to preschool.  Yet he never managed to actually spot it.  I always pointed it out too late, forgetting until the last second that the bushes were approaching.

So today, after a few days of not thinking about it, I said to Wolfie as soon as we set out "today you're going to see that snack in a bag in a dead old bush!"  So I concentrated on getting my bearings long before getting into the proximity of the bush, and he was primed and ready to see that rotten old snack in a bag.  Sadly, though, we discovered the bushes in full leaf and the snack in a bag long gone and, as far as I can tell, unseen by Woogish eyes.

A song for the snack in a bag, sung to the tune of Zeb-favorite Frosty the Snowman:

Snacky the bag
Was a plastic bag of food
And it hung there in that dead old bush
Until someone had it removed

There must have been some rotten food
In that gross bag that we found
'Cuz when we ate up that old snack
We barfed it back up on the ground

And that's what I do with my days.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Springtime idylls

Autumn and spring are obviously the best seasons for enjoying the outdoors (if your enjoyment is based solely on comfortable temperatures and tree and shrubbery displays like mine is, not like some seasonal sport or something), but around here these between seasons can be totally unpredictable and sometimes practically non-existant.  Autumn starts late most years.  Sometimes there's none of it at all in September and it can switch back and forth during October to the point where the spring flowers get confused and come out.  But it always eventually starts and looks like itself with the crisp air and colorful leaves. 

Spring, though, is much less reliable.  Usually it spends the first quarter being winter, the last quarter being summer, and the time in between changing between the two while raining.  Actual pleasantly warm sunny spring days in the sixties and low seventies are so random that when they actually happen, you feel like a chump if you don't get outside and enjoy it for as long as possible.

This weekend was a gorgeous spring weekend.  The weather was great and the the flowering trees are really taking off.  Didn't get enough of my to-do list done but better than that, spent plenty of time outside.  Saturday we took a walk to the "Whole Foods Playground" (a nearby park so named because the green and brown colors reminded Eli of the Whole Foods logo).  Here are all my peeps in front of a neighbor's forsythia bush:

Gettin friggity fresh with it on the corner:

Then once we got to the actual playground, we were only there a short time before tiny Miss Rumbleguts pooped all out her tutu all over my lap.  Not very ladylike!  Here we are under a tree secretly covered in liquid dookie, on my way to walking home with her:

The next day I woke up and said (okay, whined) "Why can't we ever randomly do something fun?!"  Nic said what about the zoo since we are members, but uch, between the guaranteed two hours of sitting in traffic on 76 and then finding parking on a gorgeous weekend day, and also I think the new children's zoo opened that weekend.  It was probably like Mardi Gras in the quarter, but with slighly less of a vomitty odor in the air.  Then I called Sally who randomly had an awesome idea - meeting up at the Grounds for Sculpture in Trenton:  Way easier to get to, and way cooler too.  It was like walking through someone's creepy dreams, but with more peacocks!  It took a little while to finally find Sally and Leo after we got there.  While we were waiting, the boys climbed all over these rusty circle things:

Mmmm, tetanus.
Then Zeb picked up a petrified dog turd to show me, and I only got mildly freaked out, good job me.  The kids climbed around some more:
and Nic tried calling Sally:

but we still couldn't find each other.  So we stood around a little bit:

then Eli found an innocent lady enjoying the sunshine and decided to wreck her day:

The middles found one of the peacocks nearby.  I love peacocks.  I might no longer be the animal-crazy girl I was back in the day when I had the dogs and the cat and the parrot and the lizard and the rats etc and dreamed of someday owning goats and exotic livestock, but if and when we someday have a big house with some land, I definitely want some peacocks wandering the grounds.  They seem pretty low-maintanence.  Nic, take note - peacocks!  Anyway, the peacock let Wolfie and Zeb get unbelievably close:

Then, after more waiting:

Where are you, Aunt Sally?

Sally popped up!

And Leo, of course:

Together, we wandered through the Forest of the Subconscious:

which ended in a box Sally described as being ripped straight from her own dreams:

Zeb suddenly felt less safe around Aunt Sally

Zeb found another creep reading a book:

Famous works of art were contemplated:


Perhaps not famous but definitely contemplative
We took a rest at a table set with a meal by a pond, but only one of us actually ate:
Full, mommy!
Zeb used his ogre skills to find an ogre-licious dinner:

And Aunt Sally continued to disguise her favoritism:

Nope, can't tell who she likes the best at all, especially considering most of the "Zeb POV" shots were actually taken by Aunt Sally
Then we found a poker game that needed another player, and the boys tried to secretly imbibe:

Right after this Wolfie and I spotted a white peacock, but it disappeared around a corner before Leo could see it.  He tried to track it down without success.  Then we headed for the parking lot, briefly examining a robot dude on the way:

Yes, that is what you think it is
Then, mere moments after parting with Sally and Leo and driving away, who did we spot but the elusive white peacock on top of a building!
Eeeyoy! (That's what sound peacocks make)

We tried calling Sally and Leo to tell them, but they didn't pick up.  Dang!  Anyway, a great time was had by all, and I'd definitely recommend the place!  Gotta go do the steps!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Getting out with the kiddlez

Now that spring is here I've been getting out on my own a lot more.  And by "on my own," I mean with various cohorts of my offspring, of course.  There are several ways to group our kids - the bigs and the littles, the "brackets" and the middles, the evens and the odds (or the Teej-models and the Woog-models since Zeb is relatively Eli-ish and Opal is definitely Wolf-like), and of course the boys and the baby girl.  There are also various reasons for breaking them up and taking them out in the aforementioned groups - bigs are easiest for one parent to take into public for medium-length errands (like going to stores other than the grocery store when you pretty much know what you need or doing something big-centric like haircuts or shoe shopping); middles are the best to send off somewhere when we want to/need to do something without kids interrupting;  any group not including Zeb is the easiest in the car.  Of course I've taken just the baby out plenty by myself, at first mostly just to the doctor or whatever, but lately I've been taking her to the grocery store and out to get food as well.  As long as you maintain eye contact at least half the time, she's cool.

Before this week I hadn't done much with just the littles, though, beyond driving home from dropping off Wolfie at school in the morning.  But seeing as how it's going to be just me and the littles at home for most of the day during the week for a good long while since Zeb is still a long way off from preschool, I know I've got to start learning how to get out and get stuff done with the two of them.  I mean, I know I can do it.  I used to go out with Eli and Wolfie all the time when Wolfie was a baby, and Wolfie and Zeb when Zeb was a baby, too.  But Zeb is only two years and one month older than Opal, so it's a little harder than it was with three years apart Wolfie and baby Zeb.  And while Eli and Wolfie were only two and a half years apart, I didn't start going out by myself with the two of them until Wolfie was close to six months old and Eli was three since before that we were living in Florida where not only did Nic work way close to home so he was home every day at quarter after four and ate lunch at the apartment with me, we didn't even have a second car so I had to wait for Nic to be home to go anywhere, and then you might as well go together. 

Anyway, point is this time it's a little harder and taking me a little longer.  But Monday I took Zeb and Opal out on an errand by myself for the first time.  We went to Target, mostly because we needed beans and they're the only ones that carry black beans in the organic BPA-free paranoia brand that I like, but also because it's fun to wander around and I don't think it's possible to not get a bunch of stuff you weren't planning on getting whenever you go there.  I got a small bunch of clothes for Opal and Zeb despite saying I'd go through everybody's drawers and weed out the outgrown crap so I'd know what everyone needed before doing that.  Opal definitely needs stuff since for some reason even though she's right around the 50th% for size, the month-based sizing in baby clothes is notoriously not grounded in reality.  Both littles were surprisingly good.  Other than Zeb getting his finger tied into his twirling knot at the back of his head again, it was a great success.

The next day I took the littles on a walk by myself.  I'd done this once before, with Zeb in the crust-Maclaren and Opal strapped to my chest in the Bjorn, and that was quite an aerobics session.  It was unseasonaby warm and gorgeous earlier this week (way to go straight from winter to summer again, Philadelphia region), so this time instead of breaking my back with the Bjorn, I decided to take the Bugaboo plus skateboard on a solo mission.  I was worried about Zeb trying to make a break for it, but he held on the whole time.  Maybe it was just too hot to run away. 

A few days before that, last Sunday actually, I took the bigs shoe shopping since their shoes are all shot.  I'm not a fan of the predominately white/gray boy sneaker with lots of complicated piping ugliness that you find at most stores.  We favor bold crazy shoes (gosh I wish they still sold those jellybean Vans we got twice a few years ago) or traditional brand man shoes (like Timberlands or Sperry Topsiders) for boys, both categories found at Journeyz Kidz. 

One of my all-time favorite Wolfie pics, featuring the jellybean shoes
The salesman was a young guy, very "The Situation"esque but without that weird weathered Robert DeNiro thing The Sitch has going on.  He was impressed with our willingness to walk on the wild side, or at least acted that way, which was nice.  I remember when we bought Wolfie's rainbow leopard vans last year, the salesgirl seemed hesitant to let me buy them.  But this guy got it, he actually read my mind from before and said it was like Redfoo style from LMFAO.  Not that I'm trying to have my kids emulate that, but it's just an example of ridiculous male rainbow peacockery being stylish.  So take that, salesgirl from last year whose opinion I'm only guessing.  Anyway, Eli got some crazy colorful skate shoes (thankfully the styles are deflating again after a few years of most of the stock looking like pumped up clown shoes) and Wolfie got blue zebra vans, which I'm semi-regretting since they tend to get beat-up looking fast, but they don't fall apart that fast and anyway it's almost summer and he'll get new shoes in the fall.
On the way home, we were treated to a rare and always hilarious site - a clown in full costume and makeup driving the car next to us at a stoplight.  Actually, I was able to deduce the clown's identity based on her vanity plate, which I thought sounded familiar, and I looked her up online.  It's Judy Tudy, the "Mommy Clown!"  Whatever the hell that means.

My suspicions were right - she's been around since I was a kid.  Stuff like "Mommy Clowns" and other incredibly dorky toddler-centric stuff is exactly the kind of thing that made me laugh with derision as a kid, so I guess it shouldn't be a surprise that the bigs love to teasingly laugh at Zeb's toddlerhood so much.  Poor Zeb, I'm glad at least he's a pleasant-natured gigantor.

Today it's back to being cold and drizzly, appropriate for mid-April.  I kept Woog home from preschool for no reason since it had been quite a while since I'd done that, and he and Zeb have been keeping each other busy.  Wolfie has rediscovered the Waldo books he loved during last summer's travels, and they both watched The Little Mermaid while I used the time during Opal's longest non-Mommy-attached nap ever to write this and start writing the long-procrastinated birth story for Miss Four Months Old Today. 


Friday, April 5, 2013

Quick spring break pics, one week later

I know I've said this a time or two before, but things have been hectic around here!  Opal decided to start waking up in the middle of the night again and has been super clingy (she had been reliably napping without me holding her at least once a day for like half an hour, but the past week not so much) so I haven't had time to update.  So now that she's sleeping and Zeb is Mickey Mouse Clubhousing, I'll just do a quick couple of words and pics about last week's spring break, otherwise it's going to be summer break before I get another chance!

The first weekend of spring break, Eli had a birthday party and the middles went to visit Aunt Lizzy at the nature center where she volunteers.  It looked like this:


Then Monday, the first real day of spring break, was a gorgeous sunshiny spring day!  Oh wait, no it wasn't:

"It's like Cabo up in here!" - nobody ever
Legos were played with for hours at a time, pajamas were worn all day every day, and one brother hugged another brother willingly:

Then Wednesday, after I took Wolfie and Eli to get some overdue haircuts and soft pretzels,  Daddy took Mommy and Opal to Annapolis just to get away for the night to somewhere we'd never been.  The hotel room had a beautiful bay view:

And a smooshy little baby squirmer:

We ate giant soy and dairy free crabcakes (from a Man vs. Food vetted restaurant) in our room and drank some embarassing drinks (iced tea vodka and cherry vodka based) in the jacuzzi.  Then the next day we walked around some:

Then we bought the boys some souveniers and went home.  Big boys enjoying those souveniers:

In fact, Eli brought that moustache to school this week, put it on and called himself "Uncle Eli."  I couldn't be prouder.

It got nicer later in the week, so we took a family walk to the playground.  I was feeling guilty about almost never using my "Xmas present" Moby wrap, so instead of putting Opal in the Bugaboo with Zeb on the skateboard, we took Zeb in the crusty old sunscreen-stained Maclaren and I wore Opal in the Moby.  Here we are outside the house at the start of the walk, demonstrating how hard it is to get a decent picture of four kids at one time:

Then once we got to the playground, playground action shots:

Opal finally but only briefly asleep in the Moby:

And then Easter happened!  Legos and candy were received by the boys.  I was limited to Peeps and some grainy gross good storebrand jellybeans (though the Peeps may not be on the menu anymore since after this week's baby poo doc appointment I'm now off eggs and marshmallows sometimes have them).  Notice in this shot of the Easter baskets how we still have our sparkly non-denominational winter-themed twig display out due to laziness/preoccupation:

Of course that's a lot better than many folks in this area who still have wreaths and lights up.  One person down the street had a wreath up AND Easter decorations.  It's like, why wouldn't you take that opportunity to put the wreath away?  Adorable egg hunters:


Opal and I also visited my friend Amy, who was in town with her adorable toddler daughter and husband and dog visiting her parents for Passover.  It was awesome to catch up, especially with her mom who I hadn't seen in forever!  And to spend some time with a NICE doggie for a change (sorry Brumby, you know you're the worst). 

And now I've gotta go relieve Grandpa Teddy of stroller rolling duty, as this post has actually taken two breaks to write!  In other news, Opal found her toes this week.  I'll have to upload those pics another time!