Monday, September 27, 2010

Pretzels, And The End of the Garden

So happy to have Chris home today, his last day off for a while.  We took full advantage, brunch with friends, putting the garden to bed for winter and making pretzels.  The boys have been getting along unusually well.  I'm trying not to focus on the fact that October is quickly approaching which means q4 on-call for Chris.  Luckily we also have Halloween, Mattie's birthday and lots of baked goods to forward to.

Worker bees.

They were gobbled up pretty much right away.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Frog Catchers

Went on our regular walk with the neighbors to the Metropark where I like to go to pretend exercise.  The kids bike ahead and Ann and I hang back with Danny in the stroller.  Matthew is able to keep up pretty well on his like-a-bike.  We usually come around a bend in the path to find the bikes abandoned and the kids exploring something or someplace they've found.  Today we stopped for a snack by the river and the kids went crazy finding slow, ready-to-hibernate frogs.  They were slow enough for Matthew to catch them, which he found so thrilling that his hands shook.  Joe accidentally dropped one on Danny which Danny found very upsetting and after that he decided he would enjoy frogs from a distance.  There were so many good pictures, here are just a few...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Apple Talking

I finally bought an apple machine after wanting one for years.  Matthew loves it even more than I expected and peels at least two apples a day.  I'm going to set it up permanently for the season so he can use it whenever he wants to and we're planning on apple picking soon, so there'll be plenty of opportunity.  I see a lot of apple sauce in our future.  

I love this thing.  It works so smoothly and every time Matthew uses it, EVERY TIME, he says:  "Are you ready apple?  Yup, I'm ready!"

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Berry Picking

I couldn't believe it when I saw Chris' car coming down the driveway at 3:30 today!  His neonatal resuscitation blah-bibitty-blah-blah thing got out early.  I think we used the bonus time wisely, I quickly ran to the farmer's market for more beets (there were none so I got cukes instead,) and then when Danny woke up, we were off to pick raspberries.
Everyone's ready to go.
I love it that Danny asked for a bucket too.  I think he put in three berries.
Little Danny picking.

We now have 10 jars of raspberry jam!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Canning: Not as hard as you would think.

Chris had the weekend off and so I entered "CAN TOMATOES" on the calendar.  The boys took down the garden as this was probably one of the last warm weekends this year.  It was a very wholesome two days and I'm glad we made the most of Chris' days off (it was a real treat to have him for two days, IN A ROW!)  Canning provided a nice rhythm for the day and we went back and forth from the garden to packing tomatoes, although Joe lost interest in canning pretty quickly.  The boys were mostly interested in seeing what they could pick up with the jar grabber.  I thought they would like cramming the tomatoes in the jar, but oh well.
60 Pounds of tomatoes from the Ann Arbor farmer's market.
Army of mason jars.
The set-up.

Danny discovered a love for wheel barrows.
I am hoping to take the boys raspberry picking this week if their colds improve and would like to take another stab at raspberry jam.  Tomorrow, BEETS!  And maybe a trip to the hardware store to get Danny a kid-sized wheelbarrow.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Why Yes, I DO Live in a One Bedroom Apartment...

...That is why Danny sleeps in a laundry room (Thank God there is a laundry room).  We recently took down the shelves that were above his crib and made an effort to make it more bedroomy and less I-guess-we-can-stick-the-baby-in-here-ish.
You might not even know this is the laundry room!
I put up some of Joe's artwork from last year's Kindergarten and the counting bird cards I got when Joe was a baby.

I finally had the energy to put up this "curtain" when my mom was here (I had been wanting to put it up for a long time.)

What's behind the curtain?  Laundry of course, this is a laundry room after all.

We have to do the best with what we have, and I think this is the best we can do for now.  It's a good lesson for the boys.  Plus, I think it looks quite sweet.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Bedtime Overhaul

Last month I realized that bedtime had been sucking really hard.  It was rushed, tense and hectic, often involving tears.  The first step I took to address this was my own attitude.  Why does bedtime have to suck?  Why can't it be a lovely part of the day that everyone enjoys, looks forward to even?  (I admit to looking forward to bedtime, but for the wrong reasons.)  I personally enjoy going to bed; when I've reached the point in the evening when I decide to turn in, put on cozy pajamas, get into my cozy bed, read something that I've been looking forward to reading.  It should, and can, be that way for the boys too!  So I started putting a positive spin on the bedtime tasks.  Instead of "put your jammies on NOW, this is the last time I am going to ask." I've been saying (and believing, because you can't fake it with these guys,) "Oh yes!  It's going to feel so good to put on those cozy jammies!" and instead of, "It's time to get in bed, HURRY!" it's been, "Oooooh!  It's going to feel so good to snuggle up in bed after such a busy day."  After about a week of "The Change", I can't say they share the exact same sentiment, but they really do seem less resistant to bedtime.  Last week Joe and I had this exchange:
Me:  It's almost time to get ready for bed.
Joe:  I hate going to bed.
Me:  But it's so cozy and we get to have story time!
Joe:  Welllll...  I do like that part.

Another thing I did was make bedtime bags (from The Creative Family):

I got the super cute cloud flannel sheet for a dollar on my Super Saturday Thrift Store Outing with my awesome neighbor, Ann, and the ribbon was left-over from Joe's birthday.

The book says they "help ease the transition to bedtime" and the boys have really liked them.  I put their pajamas in there right out of the dryer and they choose a bedtime book sometime during the day, put it in their bag and it's there waiting for them when bedtime comes.  Matthew in particular likes the anticipation of getting to read the book he has chosen.  Plus, no more, "Are there any jammies in the drawer?  Are there any in the clean laundry pile?  ARE THEY ALL DIRTY???"  Now, they just reach in and there they are!
I also clipped some children's poems about bedtime, nighttime, sleeping etc to a ribbon and hung that in the bathroom.  I read them during toothbrushing and I think they get us in the mood.
The last thing I do of course, is try to start as early as possible, 6:15 even.  It's been going well, so much better than a month ago.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Calder Dairy

The big excitement this week was the quart of chocolate milk I ordered from the dairy as a surprise for the boys.  It was waiting on the porch when we got home from dropping Joe at school and Matthew and I had to "practice using our patience" while we waited for Joe to be home so we could share it together.  I was a moment that made me glad we try to make the boys life as simple and boring as possible.  They were so excited!



Saturday, September 11, 2010