Sunday, July 28, 2013

On Roadtripping and 90th Birthdays

So, we up and drove to Texas last week for my grandpa's 90th birthday and it actually went really well.  The boys are officially roadtripping masters and we've managed to find the perfect audiobook/toy/real book/snack/break-and-run-around-in-circles ratio for excellent car behavior.....and by excellent I mean that there were no periods of extended screaming nor were there any toys/books/food thrown at the back of my head--you can't have too high of standards when you're in the car for seventeen hours.  Each way.  Apparently, while my children are crazy, strap them down into car seats and they're magically well behaved for hours upon hours.

It was two full days of driving for three days of visiting, but totally worth it.

And since there is pretty much nothing more amazing than watching your ninety year old grandfather play with his great grandsons I took plenty of pictures.  You are welcome.

I tried to get a good one of all the boys with their great grandpa and was only mildly successful.....

This next one is my favorite and the one we ultimately printed and framed for a birthday present solely based on the ridiculousness that is John Michael......

I'm strong to the finich 
Cause I eats me spinach. 
I'm Popeye the Sailor Man.

toot toot

I know, I know, mommy's not funny......

In addition to birthday festivities we also took the boys on their first miniature golf excursion.

David clearly needs to work on his form.....or we need to get him signed up for preschool field hockey......

I'm really glad we were able to get out there and be with my grandpa on such a special day but I'm also really, really......really, really.......tired.........

Friday, July 19, 2013

On Feeding Raccoons.....

Has he learned his lesson?

No, no he has not.

He maintains that since he has now had a rabies vaccine, he is immune.

Well, maybe the dog food will convince them to stop eating my tomatoes.......

.......and baby raccoons are a little cute.....until they bite the hand that feeds them that is........

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Five Favorites For Your Listening Pleasure......

As we're fast approaching yet another marathon road trip, I thought I'd share some of our favorite audiobooks of the summer for your auto-listening pleasure:

We've been checking out exorbitant amounts of audiobooks from our local library lately.  For someone who has spent a significant amount of driving time listening to all of the Harry Potter audiobooks (over, and over, and over) you would think it would have occurred to me sooner to try out other books that the children could also listen to.  I thought it would be a disaster but they had been doing so well without dvd players that I thought I'd give it a go.  To my surprise/delight, the boys' car behavior turned out to be so much better when we were listening to a good story--maybe because it takes more mental energy than just watching a dvd or staring out of the window or asking me eleventy-billion questions and not listening to the answers?

I'd like to say that I'm a good mom and that I turn off the books when the children inevitably fall asleep......but these are good enough that I totally keep listening anyway.....


We've been through the entire Chronicles of Narnia series albeit in a completely random order consisting mostly of grabbing whichever one happened to be at the library that day until we got through them all.  The boys didn't seem to mind.  I really liked these ones:   The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Magician's Nephew, The Horse and His Boy, Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Silver Chair, The Last Battle but Aunt Kate said she listened to this radio theatre version and it was amazing so I think I see it in our near future too :)


I also loved this particular reading of A Little Princess.  After listening to a bridge-jump-inducing version of Ella Enchanted* that David picked out because it had a picture of a princess on the cover, I realized that the person reading the book is just as important as the story itself, and also that little girls with whiny voices can make a slightly annoying book completely excruciating.

I also realized that I must never have actually read this as a little girl and my whole knowledge of the story was apparently based on the Shirley Temple movie. Spoiler Alert:  the book is not the same as the movie, there is no desperate hospital searching, Ms. Crewe doesn't meet the queen, there is no happy reunion with her father, and I can't believe I'm just now finding this out.


Three Tales of My Father's Dragon.  This was not my favorite, but the boys loved it and it wasn't bad....or long :)  


The Adventures of Peter Rabbit.  This is where our audiobook bender began. If your kids aren't used to audiobooks this is probably a great place to start--the stories are short and.....wonderful.  Unless your kids hate Beatrix Potter in which case....I'm so sad for you.....and maybe, try the dragon stories. 


Peter Pan.  The boys loved this because, well, because it was all about Peter Pan.  I loved this because it is read by Jim Dale, of Harry Potter audiobook fame.  There's just something so comforting to me in his voice and in this recording he is just perfect.  I tried to listen to Return to the Hundred Acre Wood solely because it was read by him and I had to abandon it--the voices sounded so much like several of the Harry Potter characters' voices that it creeped me out and the whole thing felt wrong.  (I'm sure it would be a lovely audiobook though for anyone who didn't already associate the voices of Pooh, Piglet and the gang with those of known Death  Eaters.)  

Well those are our current favorites and I've got a new giant pile waiting for our next roadtripping adventure which I'm not dreading as much now that I've got something to distract the kids and myself with....and also because I've got a husband coming with me on this one :)

And since this has turned into a list of five things I guess I might as well try my hand at linking up with the ladies at Moxie Wife--better late than never, right?

*I don't recommend listening to Ella Enchanted with your obstinate four year old who is too smart for his own good.  He may begin telling you that he will no longer be obedient because he has now learned that obedience is a curse and you will have to have multiple discussions about why being forced to obey is bad but choosing to obey is good all of which begs the question did he really think he was being obedient before?

Friday, July 12, 2013

A Big Boy Room

You may recall that I lost the Bunk Bed Battle of 2013 and the boys' beds are officially much higher than I would prefer but their father is thrilled.  I did get a minor revenge victory when I informed Chris that if we were going to bunk the beds we really needed to put them right where the forward facing book shelves were hanging so the shelves were all going to have to be moved.  So......that's something.  

Well, the room was finally clean enough to take a couple of pictures of, and apparently Aunt Kate hasn't been the recipient of one of David's facetime bedroom tours and was dying to know just what we did*,'re welcome.......

The After:

I can't get a picture of the whole room at once so I'll have to spin you around.  Here we have the beds, one dresser full of clothes and another full of know, the necessities.......

Grandpa's medals are now out of storage and proudly displayed.

With all of the added floor space we were able to move all the toys out of the living room and into their new home.  Of course most of them are still dragged back out to the living room daily but, you win some, you lose some.  Who can fault my sweet boys for wanting to play where mommy is?  :)

On the other side of the room we moved the rest of the toys and the bookshelves to make a kind of reading/lego nook in front of the window......

For a more accurate picture of the room, imagine this area except with all of the books on the floor covering a pile of cars with a thin layer of legos underneath--clear ones, the kind that are invisible to the naked eye but not to the naked foot.  Also there is at least one child standing on top of that dresser about to fling himself onto all of the bedding in the room that has been piled on the floor to form a "nest" next to the naked bed.

Looking at these pictures, I'm thinking I really should just choose a pair of curtains from my giant curtain pile in the linen closet already and get them hung up......I'm sure I'll get around to that one of these days..........

And for the grand finale, we've got this wall-o-closets that takes up one whole side of the room.  One side of the closet houses extra toys and the boys' memory boxes.

The other side houses our play kitchen and one crazy faced child........

And, that's about it.  I apologize if you've been underwhelmed :)

I suppose it still has a bit of a nautical feel although I'm totally over making "themed" rooms and have moved on to "putting things in the children's rooms that they won't hate in five years and want me to replace."  I'm thinking it's a better way to go--for my sanity and my wallet.

*I'm totally exaggerating, Aunt Kate was only mildly interested.  I'm just an internet over-sharer.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

On Being a Spectacle

Sometimes my children make a spectacle of themselves for all the wrong reasons.  This day, however, we were a spectacle of cuteness only and I think we brought a little amusement to the lives of all the passing motorists.  

Don't mind me, I'm just taking a walk to the pier with Peter Pan and a half dressed dinosaur.......

I told David that he would be too hot in his outfit of choice but I was quickly informed that he had to wear the pants or no one would believe he was the real Peter Pan.

I couldn't resist an "I told you so" when we reached the pier and he was unsuccessfully trying to will his pants into becoming the shorts he left behind.

I generally don't pick battles on clothing choices unless we're going to mass.  I mean, they have such a limited number of years before 'pantsless dinosaur' goes from being a spectacle of cuteness to a spectacle of inappropriateness that may or may not involve police intervention.....

Enjoy it while you can my little dinosaur :)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Little Cardboard Constructing

The great (and also sad) thing about living on base is that everyone is always moving.

When our next door neighbors moved last month, their packers left behind two unused stacks of 'glass pack' which pretty much amounts to a huge pile of giant single pieces of pristine cardboard and endless possibilities :)  As soon as I saw them drag it to their recycling pile I dragged it back to my garage because I'm classy like that.

When our new neighbors arrived they brought out several big boxes of toys that they were getting rid of and thought our boys might enjoy.  I didn't let the boys see into those boxes though and we walked away with only a set of Cars cars because in addition to being classy I'm also very, very mean.  When presented with the box of cars David announced in ecstasy that he had been waiting for these for his entire life, every past birthday, Christmas and Easter.  Wow.  All these years and I had no idea.  To his credit they are the really nice die cast ones and apparently our neighbor had pretty much all of them including the Mack Truck and I'm also pretty sure we would never have purchased them for him ourselves.

Well, what to do when you have a brand new box of cars and a garage full of cardboard?

Chris was not nearly as impressed as I had expected him to be when he got home from work and found us putting the finishing touches on this.  He said it was because he just expects me to make things like this now.  I think it may have had more to do with the fact that I was so focused on building that I forgot to make dinner.......

The elevator is....well.....nonfunctional.....but if you hold it by the bottom as you pull it up your car probably won't go careening down the elevator shaft.......

The boys love it.  Even my tiniest one.


John Michael while I was taking pictures of the garage:

John Michael when I came back from the kitchen:

And so it begins.......

Monday, July 8, 2013

A Tiny Table

Chris woke up yesterday and decided that he wanted to build the boys a little picnic table.

So he did......

He used these plans from Ana White for the basic idea but we used the last of our river wood to build the top and benches so Chris altered the dimensions a smidge to fit what we had.  The riverside is too overgrown now to find more wood on our scavenger hunts so we'll have to wait until fall for any more found-wood projects.

I think the table turned out pretty cute and it wasn't too difficult either (says the woman who only watched this process unfold).  We can't quite decide what to do now though--leave it as is and let the base weather to match the top or maybe paint the base white?  Chris says he kind of likes it the way it is.  David is upset that we used "old" wood on it when clearly we should have used "new" wood since "new" is obviously better than "old."  Henry is fairly indifferent and John Michael thinks it's wonderful--okay, I'm just assuming here, but he's such a delightful baby I'm fairly certain he would agree with me on this one.

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