Thursday, June 28, 2012

Parks and Rec

Our trip to VA continues to go swimmingly, never with enough hours to see all the people and do all the things we want to do.  However *knock on wood* both kids are at great ages to travel.  Catherine's still easy going enough to chill out in the backpack a lot and is pretty happy crawling over, under, around and on anything.  Meanwhile Matthew's excited by just about everything.  I had a lot of anxiety about this trip (and I certainly miss James and Montana like crazy) but I'm glad we came for the length we did as the kids are just soaking it up.  The other day Mas took us to Burke Lake and both kids were pretty jazzed about the train:

 This boy kills me!
As does this goober, who has been very proficient at "raspberries" all week.  Don't worry Facebook friends, this was the face. . .
 a few seconds before this awesomeness to be kept for the future suitors:
 In addition to the train, Matthew finally had a successful carousel ride.  In his words "the horses are scary.  maybe fall off" so he chose this very safe lion and was pretty happy:
In addition to raspberries, Catherine's rediscovered her bellybutton which is good because I need all the help I can get picking the dirt out of it:
We had some of James' cousins over for dinner and Matthew thought cousin Connor was the bee's knees.  He was pretty enamoured:
 And the boys had a great time just being boys:
After a very exciting dinner, both kids settled down with snuggles and books from Pas:

The next day the kids and I ran some necessary errands and Matthew finally got to have this nectarine he'd been coveting for snack for a few days (I know, life's super exciting around here!):
 Catherine meanwhile exhausted herself emptying Uncle Ed's shelves of dishes before falling asleep:
The excitement didn't end there as the kids played with Pas on the floor:

 But Matthew eventually convinced Pas a walk down to the park was in order.  Matthew's weird about new shoes and basically all sensations regarding his feet (he gets it from Amma I think) including going barefoot pretty much anywhere.  I've unleashed a monster now that he's more than happy to get his feet/sandals super muddy AND went barefoot in the mulch.  We're all about the tiny victories in this house:
 Then it was a quick stop off at the playground where Catherine immediately headed toward the abacus:

And in Matthew's love-hate relationship with the swing we're back to love:
It's amazing how much can change in the 2 years since I last remember taking Matthew down to that park:
Matthew had been trying to wear the hat from the picture above all week and though it was too big 2 years ago, it's too small now so Mas got him an awesome upgrade (pictured below).

The park excitement didn't end near the stream as we got to spend the day with Uncle John today.  First we headed over to check out the construction at Tyson's.  Matthew could have stayed and watched all day:

Afterwards, Matthew chose to go back to the "cars" park that we had gone to Monday with a friend.  Uncle John helped him to use the awesome ramp:
 And needless to say:
 The boy was hooked:
 Catherine meanwhile got super dirty crawling the sand, but loved the rocking horse.
 Funny story - when we were at that same park on Monday with a friend we kept running into another mom/nanny who kept fussing about with Catherine.  The first time she lightly brushed the sand off Catherine's face, the second time she tried a little harder and the third time she took it upon herself to go across the park to get a wet wipe and gave Catherine a seemingly head-to-toe wipe down.  She left without saying anything, but she probably wasn't headed off to nominate me for mother of the year :-)

After our most recent visit we decided it was time for Matthew to experience a slurpee so Uncle John treated us.  I maybe should have gotten Catherine her own as she was pretty jazzed about mine!
 I also learned something new about my super-mild-mannered-wouldn't-hurt-a-flea husband when I found his "Book About Me".  I guess I'm now warned :-)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Otter Chaos

After pulling up all my favorite shots since the last time I blogged (which has been a while), these next few might be the best to describe what has happened in the last week and a half.  Yes, that's my naked baby enjoying hot dogs over the fire pit (this was the day we set up our new grill so I'm still not sure why we had a fire pit) and trying to feed June who kept sneaking over:
 "Not Me?!?!"
 while her brother polishes off 7 slices of watermelon while wearing his pajamas and snowboots:
 And two siblings being all cute:
 And cuter:
 And then less cute:
 And then chaos ensues:

It's been a rough week wherein Matthew has spent most of the week in pajamas and snowboots (don't ask) and Catherine's been ultra clingy.  Turned out that the kiddos picked up pink eye and Catherine's still having ear troubles.  I put the family on self-imposed house arrest so they'd recover before the big trip.  Working 2 full days a week instead of a mix of half days and full days has been great for me - except then it means that when the kids get sick I miss 50% of my work week.  With just Matthew I could bring him into the office and he'd sit in the corner for while I knocked out my most pressing to-dos.  With Catherine and Matthew in my office, it's chaos that knows no bounds.  Much like the rest of my days, something cute and aww-inducing like this:

 Turns into this in a matter of seconds:
(because there's nothing better than animals and puns)

However, we survived the week, leaving James at home with a messy but quiet house and my bringing my boisterous pair into other people's clean houses.  You'd think that I would have been completely packed and ready to go on our trip with all that extra time at home and staying away from work and friends but the kids were a hot mess AND they both really enjoy taking things out of containers.

 Oh yeah, and my alma mater blew up in a whirlwind of disappointment and stupidity, so I of course created a twitter account solely to stalk the news stories and the bajillions of wahoos wittier and more insightful than I am adding in commentary, which didn't help my productivity levels at all.  Even though I probably packed 5 or 6 times that week I didn't have much to show for it.  Matthew however, was pretty jazzed about the trip all week.  We counted the nights until the trip. One particular day he emerged from nap triumphantly announcing: "2 nights and go on the airplane.  No sleep on the airplane."  I won't lie, I had second thoughts about the whole trip after this declaration.  The night before we left James asked Matthew to put some toys in his backpack to bring with us.  Matthew saw this as a challenge and after fitting in as much play food as possible, he went back to the toy bin for smaller animals to squeeze in.  Once he finished with those he headed back for his flat blocks and any other small things. Well played son.  Well played.
 Once I had repacked both their bags and mine (eliminating most of Matthew's trove and finding all the things that Catherine had relocated) we were ready to roll.  I have to commend United Airlines for their flight staff on both flights.  One stewardess on each of the flights offered to walk me to my next gate and help me out and all were very attentive and helpful during the flights.  We had gotten up around 4:30am that day.  By the end of the first flight Catherine was ready to crash:
 Matthew however stayed true to his promise of no naps on the airplane.   Somehow (okay not somehow, with the quieting powers of the iPad) he did not get labeled as a terrorist on our flight and managed to charm the flight attendants enough that they fought over who got to help me by walking him off the flight and then offering him wings and a trip in the cockpit.  I truthfully thought this was a no-no since 9/11 but when I was highly encouraged by the flight attendants to take pictures, I obliged.
 When we got to town the monkeys were pretty jazzed to see Uncle Matt:
 And jazzed to see Mas and Pas.  Matthew got some good reading in before his non-napping self crashed:
 And then he work up ready to head to the C&O Canal for a boat trip through the locks.  He hung out with Mas and Pas:
 While I had this monkey on my back:
 After our boat trip we took a walk down the footpath.  It was a nice day (which is me being generous because it's crazy humid here and probably only going to get worse) and it was good to get out for a walk.  Between traffic, crowds and harried people I often only get to experience the worst parts of the general DC area and growing up in the shadows of the Wind Rivers, Rocky Mountains and Tetons I'm kind of a snob about "amazing" outdoor places, but Great Falls is definitely a gem (and lest I give it a bad name, these are not the "great" falls but are just a bit upstream.  This part may not be "great" but between the foliage, river and fantastic bike path it's definitely not too shabby).
Once we released the monkey from her backpack confines, she went wild climbing up and down the picnic table, which was apparently needed so she could do some headbutting with Pas:

 As if that wasn't enough fun for the day, I had made reservations at the nature center where I used to work for a presentation on Chesapeake Bay critters.  Matthew was on the verge of losing it from another no-nap day but kept it together for the most part.  The presenter had the animals in an aquarium which he then projected up on a video screen.  Matthew found the crab hilarious:
 But put on his serious face as well.
I spent most of the presentation wrangling Mrs. No-Nap-in-the-Car Catherine but it was definitely worth it.  (And yes, I do believe her no nap stance is either directly or indirectly Matthew's fault.  On that same car trip Matthew was "teaching" Catherine different ways to "raspberry" and she was practically taking notes).  We had a fantastic day with Mas and Pas and are looking forward to a great week with friends and family.

Five on Friday

1.  Look at these winter white legs out enjoying the sunshine at the dino park.  Spring has FINALLY sprung! These boys went from winter di...