Sunday, June 3, 2018

In the back yard

It's pretty much summer out here now, which sadly means that I get to spend every Saturday mowing the lawn. It's tough work, but the kids get really excited to see the short grass and run around on it. I'm not wild about going back outside into the 10,000% humidity and battling swarms of mosquitos, but it makes them happy, so we do it.

Here's Marty barely able to contain himself on the grass.

In case you're wondering, yes, those are teal and black sandals, and yes, they are awesome.

He loved running around and grabbing everything he could find. He wasn't content to stay near the house, either. In the blink of an eye, he was gone, all the way out as far as he could go.

Edie likes running around, too, but she's starting to prefer activities that are a little more focused. After a couple of minutes, she asked me if we could blow bubbles.

Well, sure.

She's not particularly talented at blowing bubbles, but it doesn't lessen her enjoyment. After a few subpar bubble excursions, she stopped blowing and started waving the wand around in the air. It worked pretty well, which gave both kids a lot of bubbles to stomp on.

When they aren't running around on the short grass, they're running around like maniacs inside and stealing all of my possessions. Nearly every day, as soon as I get home from work, Marty runs up to me, yells "dada!", and swipes my shoes once I get them off. Here he is wearing my shoes and as little else as he was allowed.

Looks pretty much just like me, if I may say so myself.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Memorial Day

Every year, our church holds a Memorial Day picnic. Everyone looks forward to it, there's always too much food, and all the kids get to run around on the playground at the state park. It's great!

This year was no exception, except that there was a light drizzle falling the whole time. Fortunately, that didn't affect the amount of food that was there.

Edie found the plate of tomato slices that were there to be put on burgers. She didn't really see the need for anything else, so she just loaded up her plate full of tomato slices and called it a day. (Okay, that's not strictly true. She got a bunch of cookies, too.)

Marty chose a different approach and found a Klondike bar, which he ate with great enthusiasm.

The rain kept falling all afternoon, which kept most of us huddled under the pavilion, but didn't dampen the kids' spirits at all. Edie ran out into the rain and played cornhole with some other kids. She kept running over to me to provide updates on how her team is doing. "The team is winning!" "The team is still in the lead!" "The team hit me with the beanbag!"

Marty also played out in the rain, but didn't really seem bothered with rules or any sort of organization at all. Instead, he found a big muddy puddle by the side of the pavilion and wallowed in it for about an hour, much the same as a prize pig might.

He's absolutely soaked and filthy in this picture, but it's difficult to tell. His shorts were just a little bit too big for him, too, so most of the people at the picnic were watching him and casting bets on when the pants would completely fall off.

They never did, but boy, did they come close.

His diaper, as you may be able to notice, is almost completely brown because of how much he was sitting in the mud. He was thoroughly disgusting. He was also the star of the picnic. Everyone loved watching him frolic around, and many people commented on how much they loved his "SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE" shirt, which Tamsen made for him, because of course she did.

All told, we had a great time, and both kids were very sad when we had to go home.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

On the couch

We watch maybe a little more TV than we ought to, but dang it, the kids can be so cute when they're sitting around watching TV. Take the girl, for instance. When she's not screaming about how we need to be watching Paw Patrol Play-Doh videos right now, she can flash a winning smile with the best of them.

Marty doesn't tend to smile much while watching TV, but he does sit very placidly on the couch and mumble "Peppa, Peppa" to himself while watching, well, mostly Peppa Pig.

Marty is getting better and better about talking, which is alternately fun and bizarre. It's nice to be able to ask him if he does or does not want to eat something rather than guessing and having him scream at us. Earlier this week, though, he was throwing everything on the ground, and rather than asking whether or not he wanted to eat specific foods, I just threw up my hands and said, "Marty, what do you want?" He quickly responded, "black girls!"

Now, in retrospect, I'm pretty sure he meant to say "pretzels," which we have and he eats often, but this was much funnier, so we went with it. And even better, my co-worker, who is a single black woman, told me that she was indeed available. Wedding bells soon!

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Mother's Day

Our little town here in Tennessee is famous for strawberries, and we make a point every year to go to our favorite strawberry patch and pick as much as we can to prepare for the year ahead. This year was Edie's fifth trip (she's been every year she's been alive), so she's an old pro. She knew exactly which berries to go for and did a pretty good job filling up her bucket.

This year was Marty's second trip, and his first in which he was permitted outside of a stroller. He had absolutely no idea what he was doing, which suited him just fine. Edie told me before we left that her job would be to keep Marty from getting "tangled," which turned out to be pretty prescient. He spent a lot of time ignoring the strawberries and climbing through as many plants as he could. Unfortunately, it turns out that he's either allergic to strawberries or the plants and leaves, because he had a pretty swollen face by the time we were all finished.

Astute readers may notice that he's wearing new boots in this picture. Tamsen got tired of him swiping Edie's boots every chance he got and just bought him some boots of his own. They arrived earlier this week, and once they did, he took them out of the box, put them carefully on his feet, looked up at Tamsen, and distinctly said, "DA-yum!"

Little man loves his boots.

Today is Mother's Day, and we celebrated by letting Mama sleep for a while and then being kind enough to snuggle for a bit after she got up. Here she is cuddling with the boy.

These kids, sometimes they're pretty alright. Marty concluded this touching moment by pouring his water bottle all over some library books, though, so sometimes they aren't so alright.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Sing it with me: All by myself, don't wanna be, all by myself, anymore...

Sam is out of town for his brother's graduation, so it's up to me to report on the doings of our kids this week. Faced with four days of solo parenting I was prepared to enter power-saver parenting mode, you know, where you let your kids do and eat and destroy whatever they want because it would take too much energy to consistently parent them? Then I was reminded that we had library books due on Saturday. And I couldn't just drive up, drop them off, and drive away, because Edie has certain expectations for Library Saturdays, all because Sam is a "good parent."

So I took both the kids to the library.

Marty found a giant stuffed dog to play with, as well as a book of Peppa Pig stories. He's a boy of few words (gum, mama, dada, done) but he knows who Peppa is and will point to the TV and say "Peppa!" quite clearly. So this book was quite a get, or so I thought until I realized I would have to read all the stories in a British accent. (My accent started out pretty good, then I slowly drifted into a Cary Grant impersonation that was hard to recover from.)

Edie picked out a few books, then found an iPad with Sesame Street games on it, and after that I wasn't sure I was going to be able to get her to leave. 

Marty this week:
1. Has enjoyed eating watermelon and pizza rolls
2. Has decided he doesn't want to hold my hand when walking to the car
3. Has been peeing through everything. So much laundry, so so much.
4. Has been dressing up. Every time I turn around he's wearing somebody else's shoes, or a silly hat.

Edie this week:
1. Has become very competitive about eating. I blame her "dinner winner" treasure map plate. She doesn't like it if I finish my meal before her. She'll look at my empty plate and tell me "You're not a winner! You are second!" I tell her it's not a contest*, but she disagrees.
2. Has been Teacher's Helper at school. She's coming out of her shell a bit, and apparently has a knack for telling the other kids what they're supposed to be doing.
3. Has been wearing her ducky boots rain or shine. Mostly because if they're not on her feet, Marty's got his grubby hands on them.
4. Has been getting ready for bed as quickly as possible so she can have two stories instead of one. She especially likes to make sure that she and Marty are wearing matching pajamas.

Last but not least, please enjoy my April video roundup:

*Seriously, I could eat this kid under the table**, no contest.
**But I won't, because the floor is sticky under there.

Sunday, April 29, 2018


A few months ago, Edie put some small toys in a cup, tapped a stick on it, pulled them back out, and said, "ta da!" Tamsen got a video of it and sent it to my mom, thinking it was cute. We didn't know it at the time, but it started a parade of magic trick videos going back and forth.

My parents have been having a great time recording silly magic tricks and sending them to us for the kids to watch. Here's an example of one they called "Magic Marty."

Marty really likes this one. Edie likes it okay, but since she doesn't appear in this one, she usually skips over it in favor of something that features her a little more prominently, like this one.

She adores this one, enough so that a few days ago, she assembled a few cups (or things she was calling cups, anyway), lined them up on the floor, and did her best to reproduce the video. I sent that to my parents, which triggered another avalanche of magic videos. Here's a video of Edie watching one of them.

You may be wondering where Marty is in all of this. Fear not! The boy is still around, cramming as much in his mouth as he possibly can. It's a lot!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Back yard

This last weekend our internet went out, forcing us to enjoy each other's company and explore entertainment options other than watching Peppa Pig videos. Tamsen had recently picked up some bocce balls at a moving sale, and since Edie had seen them in the garage and was literally unable to stop talking about them, we got them out and gave them a try.

Edie had, well, a ball.

We explained the rules of the game to her, and that was all good and well, but she really just wanted to throw the balls around and declare herself the winner, no matter where her balls landed. She was probably playing a different game than we were.

She did her best to play with Marty, too. She's an explainer, just like her dad, so she relished getting to tell Marty how to play the game and how to throw his balls.

But if Edie was playing a different game than the rest of us, Marty was even a step further removed. He just wanted to waddle around the yard carrying his balls. He did a good job of it, too!

After a while of that, he put them down and started wandering around the yard in search of other things to play with. He found the statue of the Virgin Mary that the previous owners of our house left behind and did his best to make friends.

After that, he tried to ride Edie's tricycle down the porch stairs until Tamsen stopped him and let him wander around the yard.

His legs are too short to really do anything with the pedals, but he's not really that bothered around "riding" the tricycle. He just wants to sit on it, scoot around, and maybe stick the handlebars in his mouth. You know, regular stuff.

A few days earlier, Edie got a kite from Amazon that she had been begging for, and since the wind had picked up a little, we went outside to test it out. We have a lot of tall trees surrounding the yard, so it was tricky getting the kite to stay up until we could get it up over the trees, at which point it was ready to fly to the moon.

It was Edie's first time really properly flying a kite, and she was hooked.

Let me tell you, that kite was high.

Lucky for her, I really like to fly kites, too, so I'm sure we'll have plenty more chances to test it out over the summer.

Spending this much time in the back yard made us stop and think what it is that we spend so much time doing when we have the internet up. Is it really worth watching one more video or spending a few more minutes aimlessly browsing Twitter when we could be creating memories like this? Yes, of course it's worth it. YouTube isn't going to watch itself, people.