Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Some Things We Made, and Playdates

The first picture is how we made the decorations for the glass jar lantern (the third picture). The boys used watercolors and I cut the shapes out of their paintings. Unfortunately, for my taste, they like painting with water as much as or more than painting with paint, so the colors are not very vibrant. Xander was excited to see the finished result. It is now our centerpiece. I got the idea from the latest Parenting magazine.

In the second picture, Nick is drawing to music.

We've had a lot of fun playdates recently. Ms. Amy and Owen came over a week or two ago and played with us, mainly cars and books. Right up our alley. She brought a box of the yummiest cookies ever from a local shop. I don't even think they lasted to the next day.

Xander met another neighbor boy (actually a nephew of our neighbors here for a summer visit) and soon, when their basketball hoop is up, he is invited to play whenever he wants. Apparently there are also basketball-playing lessons included from the 11-year-old boy. Erik helped try to get their hoop attached to their roof all weekend. So did another neighbor. The final conclusion was that they needed to go back to the store to get another part. Erik got a six-pack out of it, plus a piece of wood he needed for the bunk beds, plus a GPS for me! I am probably the world's worst navigator.

On Sunday, Erik took Xander to another boy's birthday party at Austin's Park 'n Pizza. He drove a junior go-kart and played arcade games and had a blast.

Today we went to our new friends' house, the ones we met at swim lessons. Xander had so much fun that tears were shed. That is not sarcastic. When things get too fun and exciting, there is usually a little bit of waterworks. I love how the children seem to get along so well: a boy almost six years old, Xander at five, a girl four and a half years old, Nick at just over two years old, and their toddler who is almost two years old. They have two dogs and two pet rats and Xander and Nick loved all of them. Their mom was worried I would be freaked out but I told her I used to have two pet rats myself. Xander was very interested to hear about this. He now wants six pets: a guinea pig, a turtle, two dogs, and two rats. Erik will (not) be enthused.

There is a chance Great-Grandma and Grandma Lucy will come visit in about a month. This is a very exciting prospect!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Our Life Is Fun

On Wednesday, Erik and Nick played tumbling:

Later that night, I cut Xander's hair (poor boy, it took over an hour and one nick on the ear):

to me, he looks so old these days...but look at his cheeks! still very young.

The haircut worked out fine when it was done, except I don't like the style. It's a very '90s wedge cut. At least it is out of his eyes and one of the better jobs I have done on his hair.

Here he is after the haircut:

Earlier, Aunt Johanna gave him this awesome present, along with a couple of others:

Sometimes Big Boys Need a Nap, Too

Thursday, July 21, 2011

"I Want to Be Everything!"

Xander just told me he wants to be everything!

He wants to be a ninja, a paleontologist, and a warrior.

When I asked if there was anything else, he said, "I want to be a acrobat, too."

Yep, that comprises just about everything.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Swim Lessons 2011 Pictures

Today was Xander's last day of swim lessons in Pike/Eel this year. He accomplished most of the objectives, but next time he takes lessons he will still be in Pike/Eel. Probably more Eel than Pike at that point. :)

waiting for his lesson to start

standing by Ms. Mackenzie

far, far away, he is leaning forward to paddle in the pool

getting back up on the step

about to float on his back with his teacher

just put his face under to swim forward (didn't like it but was proud of himself)

one of his friends

his best swim lesson friend, her brother

there he is, talking of course

coming down the green slide!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Day (or Two) in Pictures

He's having fun with his stuffed animals

More fun

Summertime Movie Marathon to beat the heat: that's why this photo is so dark; we were hiding from the sun

Fine motor skills and yummy yogurt! (I helped)

Ribbet! Playing frogs on lily pads

Nick trying to leap like a frog - he'll get there

Traffic jam on the lily pads!

Xander's making his own path, of course

Destruction (of anything) is fun!

Xander wanted to remember how his toys were set up before he cleaned them for the night

Note: This is where the bad guys lay dead

More important set-up notes for the next day

If I Can Keep Myself Awake...

One of the funniest things Nick does (I think) is try to stay awake while watching TV on a day when he needs more sleep. He has lately been teething and not sleeping well at all.

I finally found the magic solution (for this situation, at least) in children's Advil. I had been giving him children's Tylenol and it barely made a dent in his pain. As soon as I took the children to the store to buy some Advil and his first dose had a chance to do its work, I had my cute, affectionate, funny little guy back. What a relief!

So he had a solid night's sleep last night and that always makes him extra drowsy. His body is ready to make him catch up on lost sleep. Right now he is sitting in front of the TV with Xander, blinking like crazy and scowling as if the sun were in his eyes. It's a half-smile, half-scowl, because after all, what he is doing is more enjoyable than taking another nap.

Let me see if I can show you.

These photos are not nearly as funny as the real thing. Oh, well. I have put him in bed so we'll see what happens.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Pooltime Adventures

Xander made a good friend at swim lessons today. This new friend's family group consisted of himself (probably over five years old), a sister (probably about four years old), a little brother (23 months old), and his mother and grandmother. We found ourselves often together when we played in the pool after lessons.

This boy made a point of asking Xander if he would be at swim lessons on Monday. He was also confused by Xander's name, to the point that he asked if Xander was a boy or a girl.

Xander simply said, "Boy."

Then Xander ran after him to ask if he could come over and play at our house sometime. Xander and I are working on memorizing my cell phone number and he's got the first several digits down. So he told this boy, after inviting him over, that our phone number was 904.

The other boy's mother and grandmother and I had a pretty good "awwwwwwww" and laugh about their overtures of friendship.

The lifeguard almost jumped into the pool to save Nick today. We were in the wading end. Actually, I hadn't found it necessary to get in the pool yet, but I did have my suit on. Nick decided to walk and walk and walk and walk into the deeper end. By the time I realized he wasn't going to stop, despite getting a bit of a worried look on his face, the lifeguard had gotten ready to jump off her lifeguard stand to rescue him! I was close enough to beat her to it.

The child proceeded to do the same thing twice (this time with me a centimeter behind him) until I put him on the splash pad.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Swim Lesson Fatigue

I asked Xander, "What do you think of your swim lessons now?" It was his third day today.

He said, "Too many."

It feels blazing hot today. I don't know if it's just because we were out in it more or not. says it's only 93 degrees. I canceled playing outside today and we are watching a movie (actually, Nick is in bed playing because he was too fussy and unhappy out here).

It is their aunt Leslie's birthday today as well as their cousin Foster's. Time to get on the phone!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Big Day

Xander had his first day of swim lessons at the YMCA this morning. He had a great time! I stayed far away on the pool deck, like they recommend, so that the children and instructors can focus on each other. I did see all the things he did: being pulled on a floating bar, getting floated on his back, kicking, using an arm-stroke with a floaty around his waist, sliding down the last part of the pool slide and getting his face wet!

I noticed that after the first exercise, they started doing Xander first with the new exercises. In my mind, that was because he is so enthusiastic about new experiences with other children and adults and so would be a good role model. He loved his first swim lesson.

Much more surprising to me was how well Nick did in Child Watch. He is more cautious. Although he is friendly, open, and fun-loving after he gets used to an idea, he is not happy (usually) about a new thing until he has those few minutes or days to get used to it. For the last few days, I had tried to explain what would be happening there, but it is impossible to say what he understood about my talks. When I dropped him off, he saw two little boys walking through the door to the children's watch room by themselves, so he just followed! I was amazed. Then he whimpered when he got through and reconsidered. The woman on duty offered him the snack I had sent with him, and I imagine that kept him happy for a while. When we came to pick him up, he was calmly playing outside with the other toddlers. No one was carrying him around and he wasn't crying. Fantastic! I hope he continues to like it as we go every day for the next two days. The pool is not open to the public when swim lessons start, so it would be very hard to watch him on the pool deck while Xander has his lesson.

This afternoon we are going to the house of one of my online friends! I know her well in an online sense but have never met her or her husband or son face to face. They moved last week to Austin. She is pregnant. Their furniture is delayed so they have almost nothing until this Friday. So, we are bringing over a little bit of food and utensils and meeting them this afternoon! I am excited. Nick has proved on three different occasions with over three different toddlers that he can play nicely with others. I have high hopes.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Buying His Own Toy

Oh, happy day! Xander saved $10 over the course of six or so weeks (some of that earned by doing odd jobs around the house) so that he could buy a Pharaoh's Quest Lego set. We all went to Target to see him make his saved-for purchase. He was excited the whole time, but by the time we got to the cash register, he was jumping up and down.

Jumping up, he said, "Hi!" to the Target associate. They had a bit of a conversation about the product.

We explained that he had been saving his money for a while to buy this toy. At this point, Xander was literally shaking.

Here are a couple of pictures from when we got home:

Meanwhile, Nick was eating (of course), playing with our Dinosaur Train printables, and gathering up his beloved Winnie the Pooh stuffed animals. He loves them.

He is not OVERLY nurturing with them, though:

Sunday, July 3, 2011


I have to add another funny from Xander's snack. He likes to check pieces of popcorn while eating them, and when he finds the right one, he says, "I ate a brain-head, I ate a brain-head," in sing-song.

Am I too indulgent a parent? Do I laugh at things that other people do not find funny?

Yes. Yes.

Chef In the Making?

I am considering starting a blog about Xander's culinary creations! Seriously considering? I'm not sure yet. But he has shown an obvious flair for silly creations in the kitchen and, although the nutritional benefit is not always good, something in me wants to encourage this creative streak.

Right now he is eating another of his creations: graham crackers spread with (local) honey and topped with farmer's market kettle corn.

Friday, July 1, 2011

I Owe You

Yesterday Nick responded to Xander's, "I love you, Nick," for the first time. He said, "I owe you, Xander," or some sort of equivalent. Xander was very happy. (He even forgot that the day before he had told me that he didn't love Nick anymore, ever.)

Today Nick pronounced the statement his milk. Upon waking, he saw me pouring his milk and made a happy exclamation. I said, "You love milk, don't you?" He said, as clearly as anyone, "I LOVE milk!"