Mommy, once again, is totally behind and I’m not even talking about how late I am posting about Christmas and kiddo birthdays, but it’s supposed to be cold and rainy the next couple of days so Mommy is on total lock down until everything is up to date, including Christmas, albeit in April. However, there’s a lot of ground to cover for the past few weeks, so, now is as good a time as any to start. . .
Life has been crazy the past few weeks, but the main diversion from writing about the amazing family I have has been the beautiful weather we’ve been experiencing and the awesome time we’ve had just being a family. From the revival of family movie weekends to just exploring our beautiful property, life has been full and relatively illness free. Lil Miss did have yet another double ear infection a few weeks ago and both of the kiddos are recovering from yet another round of the common cold, but we’re really trying to just jump into having Spring Fever. We’ve been cooped up for months and we’ve been ready to take flight. For Mommy this has meant satisfying the growing desire to dig in the dirt and finally achieve the goal of starting a vegetable garden.
For weeks now, even before the weather turned favorable, Mommy and Jack have been hauling landscaping debris from one section of the yard to another. We’ve been clearing land to make way for bigger and better things. With over half an acre of long neglected landscaping, there’s been plenty to clear. So, rain or shine, as long as Lil Miss was snoozing, we were outside, moving logs, limbs, vines, rocks, bricks, dirt, leaves, steel poles, and even long abandoned tent poles from the 1970′s. We spread mulch, and evened out grounds that Daddy tilled over. As Jack put it, we were farming. It was a lot of hard work and at times Jack preferred to have his attention occupied by the throwing of rocks or even an old metal bowl we found that he pretended was an airplane as he hurled it through the air, but in the end, our land clearing tasks were completed in record time. Mommy even managed to dig out a large steel post that was anchored with copious amounts of cement. It just felt good to be outside and it felt even better to be insanely and noticeably industrious.
A few weekends ago, Daddy dismantled a sixty year old shed that was a moment from caving in and the preferred home for many a wasp. In addition to dismantling the shed, Daddy spent a great deal of time, cutting down diseased trees, hauling debris to the landfill, hauling scrap metal items to the recycler, and removing a long passed useful dog run. All of this has been with the intention and plan of putting in a large wooden swing set for the kiddos in the far back corner of our property.
We want the kiddos to have a safe and special spot to go and play that is as far away from the street as possible. Mommy and Daddy want Jack and Beezy to have a backyard that offers everything you might want from a backyard if you’re a pintsize occupant. They already have plenty of grass to run around on, a lot of great asphalt for sidewalk masterpieces, and lot of nature to explore, but the list of fun that we have planned over time makes Mommy and Daddy feel like kids in a candy store. From a large play structure to a sandbox, the basics are relatively easy to acquire, but Mommy has plans of a small cement racetrack for Hotwheels, a tree house, and a playhouse. Oh, if only time and money were endless resources, the amazing stuff we could achieve for the ultimate in backyard fun. But, one project at a time. . .
So, while the backyard has a long way to go and we’re still in the throes of getting everything into shape, we’re doing our best to focus on the things we can do right now. For Mommy that has meant organizing a vegetable garden and for Daddy that has meant clearing out an excess of evergreen for a chicken coup and planting everything from rose bushes to fruit trees. Yes, Mommy said chicken coup. We’re a vegan family who has decided to raise chickens. Daddy decided his would be a fun activity for the whole family after seeing the supplies on sale at a local farm supply store. So, we are now urban farmers to nth degree. Jack was quite excited to learn of our new family members and proudly showed his excitement by donning a hat Daddy was given for making such a sizeable purchase during the store’s grand opening.
Little Man was also a huge fan of the chicken coup Daddy assembled. He pretended to be a “cheechin”, clucking in, out, and all about the coup.
The little chicks are still too young to be easily differentiated. However, of the two black ones, one chick has a white toe. Mommy has named this chick, Bernice, Bernie for short because I’ve always thought that seemed like an appropriate name for a hen. When asked what we should name the other chicks, Jack responded that both of the white chicks should be named Fluffel and both of the black chicks should carry the same moniker of Bernie. We’ll wait till they’re a little older and broach the naming of the hens once more.
Mommy is on board with this because I really do like the chicks, we have 2 white and 2 black, and I think it will be nice for the kiddos to understand how food should be acquired.
Food is something you pull out of the ground or comes from animals you care for and not from a disgusting factory farm system. While we strongly believe in the health benefits of a vegan lifestyle, we also are strongly opposed to supporting a system that torturing animals, raping the earth, and keeps people sick because it’s more profitable. Neither Daddy nor Mommy grew up with a huge understanding about food, which I think is pretty normal for people from our generation. We were raised by the baby-boomer generation, which was just a hop skip and a leap away from a generation that lived off the land. The only preservatives used were natural and people understood the benefit of a victory garden. No one really examined what the price of convenience truly was when our parent’s generation starting partaking of boxed meals and genetically modified crops. Daddy and Mommy are dedicated to turning that around for ourselves and our kiddos. But, Mommy digresses. . .
So, we’re going to be urban farmers, at least that’s the plan. So, while Daddy’s four chicks are thriving under our stairs until their big enough to be moved to their cozy coup, Mommy wishes she could say the same for her vegetable garden. My victory garden appears to be a bit of an oxymoron. Due to a sudden and unpredicted cold snap last Friday, Mommy’s prematurely planted seedlings appear to be in failing health. I’ve been covering them with sheets and plastic at night, in hopes that I can carry them into warmer weather, thus allowing me to nurse them back to life. Daddy thinks I’m in denial, especially as I’m checking four different weather forecasts every few hours. Time will tell if I’ll be successful, but I suppose worst case scenario I will have to procure new seedlings when the weather turns more favorable. Lesson learned.
Yes, we’ve all fallen victim to the deceitful ways of early Spring weather. The weather was absolutely gorgeous over Spring Break. The temperatures were in the upper 60′s and lower 70′s and it seemed that the biggest hurdle we had to face was convincing Lil Miss that walking outside wasn’t a scary endeavor. The first few times Mommy attempted to roam the grounds with Beezy, she just looked up at me with a quivering lower lip before desperately grabbing at me and begging to be picked up. Fortunately, this odd fear of the grass eventually gave way to curiosity and a sense of achievement during our Easter egg hunt on Easter morning. Then, suddenly, everything turned cold and we’ve been forced back into cold weather garb until the Spring winds change yet again. However, on days that we’re not planning on going anywhere, Mommy does indulge in letting Beezy walk around the house in warm weather clothing, hopeful her cuteness with coerce the winds into changing sooner.
Mommy is very thankful that it was relatively warm and inviting outside during Spring Break and for Easter. While Daddy still had to work for most of his time off of school, we still had a nice four day weekend full of beautiful weather. On Saturday, before Easter, Nana and Grandad stopped by to give their kiddos their Easter goodies. They gave each of the kids a super cute Easter outfit and lots of super yummy treats. Mommy couldn’t wait to put Lil Miss into her darling little Easter dress and she was more than happy to parade around and show off just how pretty she is.
Easter Sunday was a lot of fun. Mommy made some super duper yummy pancakes with fresh strawberry syrup for breakfast. Then, a little later, after Bee’s nap, Mommy dressed the kiddos up in their new outfits and we went for an Easter egg hunt. . .
Jack was sharply on point as he darted out of the house to uncover all of the eggs the Easter Bunny had hidden all over our yard. They were brightly colored plastic eggs full of yummy treats and Little Man zeroed in on each one with increasing enthusiasm.
Lil Miss wasn’t quite as keen on the egg hunt. For starters, she really only wanted to be held by Mommy, which made recording the event for posterity a little difficult. Eventually, once she was used to being outside with Mommy, Daddy, and Jack in close proximity and having blast, Mommy put Beezy on the grass and gave her some time to warm up to the idea of walking around.
Once Lil Miss gained her confidence on the uneven ground, she was determined to walk the circuit as many times as possible, holding Mommy’s hand of course. So, as she held tight to my index finger, we walked around as Jack located the last remaining eggs. Eventually, we made our way to the patio where the kiddos dove into their goody baskets left by the beloved Easter Bunny. They weren’t baskets, per se, but rather little gardening bags with age appropriate gardening tools for each. Additionally, Jack received a super neat magnifying glass for discovering all things tiny and Beezy received a Bee shaped watering can for helping Mommy water flowers.
Jack was a huge fan of the magnifying glass. Upon the immediate discovering of it’s awesome powers, he began to explore the back yard and look for tiny bugs. He instantly became engrossed in the various worlds at his finger tips, just waiting to be discovered by a 4 year old boy. . .
Of course, Jack’s interest in the great outdoors quickly evaporated oncehe realized he had a basket full of yummy treats. His attention shifted from tiny bugs and new surfaces to brightly colored peeps and their tasty texture. Fortunately, Daddy was there to capture the magical moment as it unfolded. . .
While Jack was enjoying his treats and exploring the world with the gifts the Easter Bunny had left for him, Mommy and Beezy were happy to snuggle and just enjoy the moment. Jack trounced and Mommy showed Lil Miss her fun new gardening tools. A few days later, Lil Miss joined Mommy outside in the garden where she used her fancy new trowel to move some dirt around. And when Mommy says this, I mean she basically used her trowel as a spoon to taste dirt, but hey, that’s what exploring is all about. So, while that specific application of her tools wasn’t what was intended, she certainly had the spirit of the gift down.
The rest of the early afternoon was spent just enjoying the beautiful weather with the kiddos. Daddy planted our three rose bushes and Mommy and Beezy walked around the front yard for a while. Jack enjoyed hopping around like a “ra ra rabbit” and bouncing back and forth between Mommy and helping Daddy. It was the perfect way to spend our Easter egg hunt.
The rest of the day was spent as we spend most holidays, as a family, enjoying each other’s company. There were lots of little moments, like when Beezy decided to make a vegan Easter egg by stuffing her lunch in a plastic egg or when Jack and Daddy spent time with Jack coloring Angry Bird stickers and taking turns writing out the letters of the alphabet.
Holidays are always very nice, but they’re especially nice when they can be spent cuddling up to you favorite people and hidden away from the rest of the world. We love getting together with extended family and friends, but spending time just the four of us is the bread and butter of our lives and we wouldn’t change it for anything.
Between urban farming and Easter we’ve been pretty busy around here, but there’s been a million other little moments in between and since. Not all moments are awesome, but most are. Mommy would love to say that she’s the perfect mommy and I’m capable of weathering any and all situations, but some days I just feel like I’m on fire. The house feels like it’s the middle of Summer, even if the thermostat is set to 65, and I just need a moment to breathe. This isn’t because the kiddos are awful or I’m awful, but simply because we’re all off our game. Mommy feels inundated with demands and requests while engulfed by a never ending “To Do” list. However, I’ve really been working on getting myself to just relinquish a little bit of my need for things to be “done”. I know they never will be done and honestly, this whole thing is about the ride, not the destination. It’s through this process that I do my best to focus on those million little moments that make us smile and be ok with the feeling that parenting can sometimes be tantamount to conducting a symphony with your hair on fire. I believe the phrase is, “grace under fire” and that is precisely what I pray for, along with endless patience and appreciation, every moment of every day.
However, here are some of the awesome moments that just remind me why I love my kiddos so much and why, even if I do feel completely engulfed by flames, I wouldn’t trade my life in for anything in the world. . .
Jack adores his little sister, most of the time. He loves to make her laugh and he thinks it’s awesome that she will chase after him and has no qualms about wrestling around on the ground. He’s also pretty impressed with her no fear approach to climbing on and dismounting from various pieces of furniture. Lil Miss, when her height allows, will climb onto a couch or a chair, triumphantly jump up and down, and then kamikaze herself onto the floor. Nary a tear is shed. This fearless approach to adventure and life in general is extremely pleasing to Jack. While he may be 4 and Beezy is only a few weeks shy of her 16 month birthday, she can hold her own with the best of ‘em.
So many days are filled with the sounds of Jack’s feet scurrying around the house with “Ooo ooo! Beezy!!” being called out in a high pitched tone followed by Bee’s unsteady, but determined toes in hot pursuit yelling “Aaaaah!” and both laughing as if they had discovered the most fun that could be had in the world.
When they aren’t chasing each other down, they’re busy dancing together, whether be to the tunes Mommy has filling the air or some electronic melody from one of their toys. Bee bounces up and down like a little Jack in the box, her mouth wide open with smile that can barely be contained by her face and Jack twirls to the beat of his drum. He only stops to cheer on his little sister with common phrases like, “Yah Beezy!” and “Beezy, you crazy.” All said with a smile on top of the background melody of childhood giggles.
Of course, dancing and foot pursuits aren’t the only form of sibling entertainment. Little Man does his best to school his little sister in the ways of the world. For example, over the weekend, Jack did his best to show Bee how to sort shapes using our shape sorting toy cookie jar. She did quite well and was ever so pleased with herself when she managed to squeeze the circular cookie into the correct hole, but alas, Jack couldn’t figure out why she wasn’t as adept at the other shapes. So, while he attempted to coach her into sorting out the heart, star, triangle, and square shapes, Lil Miss was perfectly content to stick to shape she already mastered.
There are three times of day that Jack and Bee have the most fun: before Jack goes to school, dinner time, and before bed, but after bath time. For some reason, these three times of day are ripe with silly shenanigans. Dinner time is especially interesting. Whether Jack is helping Bee eat her dinner, squeaking toys in her ear, or just making funny faces at her to make her smile. Jack is quite the fan of having a captive audience and you can’t really get more captive than a kiddo strapped down in a booster seat.
Of course, Mommy’s favorite time of day for silly shenanigans is after bath time. I love seeing the kiddos all cleaned up from the day’s dirt and grime sporting their cute pjs. This is especially true for Beezy. Since outgrowing her fuzzy footy pjs, she’s been wearing Jack’s old pjs from when he was her age. So, she bops around the house wearing some oldies, but goodies, like robot pjs, alien pjs, and puppy pjs. She simply looks too cute for words, especially when her hair has the right amount of mayhem to it.
Of course, Jack is super adorable in his pjs as well. While all of the clothes Mommy and Daddy buy him are super comfy, he always seems right at home and at ease when he’s all “cozy” wearing his cozy, aka fuzzy/fluffy, pjs. While goofing around one night, Jack was quite insistent that Mommy take a picture of him as a robot. Earlier in the day I had given Jack a bunch of pipe cleaners and our metal colander and I told him to have fun. The result was Jack building a robot. Meaning, he made a robot hat and when he put it on, he became a robot. He even stuck his arms out in a rigid manner and moved them up and down as if he didn’t have joints. He’s such an imaginative little guy and one of my favorite things in the world is to see and hear where his creativity will take him.
The kiddos also spend a great deal of time building when they’re in pjs. Jack enjoys building expansive and very impressive wooden block cities, while together, they enjoy putting together and taking apart Duplo masterpieces. . .
While all of the memories are amazing, my favorite pj clad moment took place in the kitchen one evening following some of the very same activities described above. Mommy was in the kitchen cleaning up and the kiddos had moved their play together time to the space beneath my feet, which is also quite common. Then, out of nowhere, Jack hugged Bee from behind and said, “I love you Beezy!”. It makes Mommy’s eyes well up with tears of joy just thinking about it. They are such loving kiddos and Jack is simply the best big brother in the world. And just when I think he couldn’t possibly be more awesome at his big brother duties, he proves me wrong. As a Mommy, nothing could make me any prouder than to have two kiddos who love each other so much and genuinely enjoy each other.
Of course, bed time doesn’t always go this smoothly and the kiddos don’t always get along. As much as they enjoy each other and love playing with one another, there are times when they each need a little alone time or one on one time with Mommy without the other one’s attention grabbing ways. Of course, they rarely have these alone time/quiet time tendencies at the same time. It’s in these moments that the kiddos have their sibling squabbles. Either Bee wants to play with Jack and he just wants to be left alone to watch a show or Beezy just wants to sit and explore a toy without a whole lot of hubbub and Jack is hell bent on making as much noise as possible. These are experiences and feelings that Mommy and Daddy can certainly appreciate and relate to.
One of Bee’s favorite ways to spend her quiet time is checking out books. Mommy, in an attempt to encourage reading and book exploration, created a reading nook for the kiddos in the living room. I have their book sling, a selection of Bee proof books, and a cozy and soft spot to sit or lay down. This is one of Bee’s favorite places to be.
Jack’s idea of quiet down time usually involves watching a show, sometimes with some cuddling thrown in. Jack’s favorite shows as of late are Spiderman, Godzilla, The Aquabats Super Show, Adventure Time, Transformers: Rescue Bots. PBS specials they aren’t, but Jack still enjoys a good episode of Sesame Street, even if he won’t admit it. Fortunately, in recent weeks, down time has also been incorporated in family movie time. A few weekends ago we watched Wreck It Ralph and this past weekend we watched Lilo and Stitch. It’s been a while since we’ve been able to engage in family movie time, but as Daddy gets better and being able to balance school and family, we’re able to pick our family traditions back up. Resuming important family traditions makes everyone super happy, but it’s also super nice when we get special cuddles with Jack.
In other news, just last week Mommy took Lil Miss back to the doctor because she has her fourth double ear infection in as many months. Her lack of sleep translates into a lack of sleep for Mommy and Daddy. Her fluid filled ears translate into challenges hearing and result in challenges speaking. And one of the associated challenges with it all is getting Lil Miss off her bottle. We had been waiting for her to be better, but every time we turn around, she has another cold and another ear infection. This time around, after the antibiotics had a chance to kick in and she had some relief, we pulled the bottle cold turkey. Since Monday, Bee has been bottle free although she’s none too pleased about it. She cries and cries at nap and bed times in protest and the past two nights she’s woken up twice and cried for a substantial amount of time. She’s quite stubborn and insistent things be her way, but according to the doctor, the worst thing she can do is eventually tire herself out from crying and go to sleep. While we don’t like the sound of our little one crying, it helps knowing that if we don’t do it this way, she’ll potentially end up with another ear infection causing her even more pain and challenges. It’s up to Mommy and Daddy to be strong ones and do what’s best, even in the face of extreme discontent and lack of adequate sleep.
Yes, it’s a mixed bag around here. You can never be too sure what you’re going to get, but you can be certain it’s going to be memorable. The good, the bad, the incredibly off the wall, all of it resides within our home. We face challenges on a daily basis. However, regardless of the challenge, it helps Mommy to think about Jack. He started off as our little guy who couldn’t/didn’t speak. He through tantrums out of frustration because he couldn’t make himself understood and Mommy and Daddy both ached for the time that he would tell us he loved us. Now, not only does Little Man talk, he says the most awesome things. Here are a few of our favorite Jackisms. . .
- “Mommy do wrong.” or “Daddy do wrong.” There certainly aren’t any illusions of parental infallibility in our house.
“Jack, how are you?” “So, so, so happ-ee!!” *bounce, bounce, bounce* We love that when you ask him how he is, he doesn’t respond with the traditional “fine”, but with an honest and enthusiastic answer involving his entire body.
“Ka-ka-kangaroo!” This is usually said as he’s jumping around the house and with a very excited and out of breath voice. It’s one of the portions to his speech therapy alphabet phonics. He’s up to “U” for umbrella bird, but the joy on his face and in his voice when he does kangaroo is simply precious.
“Can I get a little help here?” We’re not sure where this one came from, but suddenly Jack, when in need of assistance started saying this phrase. It took us by surprise and always makes us smile.
“Ha ha! That’s a knee slapper!” Jack loves to tell knock knock jokes and he loves to point out when he thinks things are funny. However, when something is amusing, but doesn’t quite elicit an impromptu laugh, Jack responds with this. Of course, most of the time it’s in response to his own jokes.
“That’s cool!” One day, suddenly things that Jack liked were cool and he ever so coolly started expressing this.
“See you after wunch!” We aren’t sure if Jack completely understands what lunch is, but every time he says goodbye, he says, “See you after wunch!”. It’s super cute.
“Let me help!” Whenever Mommy or Daddy are engaged in an activity that Jack thinks looks interesting, he perks up and offers to help. While his helpful nature is incredibly sweet, this demand to be helpful usually comes with the stipulation that help will only be given if Jack is able to do something he thinks is cool.
“Sun up Mommy.” It’s no secret that Mommy loves her sleep and that Daddy is usually out of bed before Mommy. In fact, Jack is usually out of bed before all of us. Mommy sets up a cup of juice and yogurt in the fridge for her to grab when comes upstairs and I leave out breakfast place setting for him at the kitchen table with his Birds. So, when Jack sees that Daddy is awake, one of the first things that Jack does once Daddy hops in the shower is to come into our bedroom to inform me that the sun is in fact up and it’s time for me to get out of bed and get dressed. On mornings that I’m particularly sluggish, he even points out where I can find my clothes.
“They’re my friends!” When discussing his classmates or people he really likes or even seem similar to him, Jack refers to them as his friends. Jack is such a great kid that it’s no wonder he considers everyone to be his friend. He even has a buddy on the bus who sits behind him named Jeremy who likes to “pet” his head. When asked about this, Jack said, “Jeremy my friend! He pet my head. He loves me!”
Jack’s vocabulary and ability to express himself has grown leaps and bounds, but Mommy and Daddy both simply love that he calls us Mommy and Daddy. It will always be the greatest sound in the entire world and completely worth the wait. So, when Mommy is having a hard day because Beezy’s chosen means of communicating is to screech at the top of her lungs or because Jack is hell bent on testing every boundary and family rule we have, I just remember how far we’ve come and know there’s no distance we can’t travel together as family.