Saturday, May 23, 2015

Countdown to Summer

Well, it's coming. Summer, that is. I for one, am ready, though my school year goes until the second week of June. (Thank you, cold weather days.) The boys will be done after next week, though.

Don't they look ready for summer?

We spent much of the day today outside. In Illinois, we only get maybe 10 days each year when it is sunny and in the 70s. We wanted to take full advantage!

Yes, Henry is lying in the background, pretending to be asleep.

Nick was using the snow shovel to kill dandelions. He had the shovel in his hand for maybe 2 minutes before he accidentally walloped Henry and gave him a scratch on the cheek. Sigh.

I'm rather proud of this peony picture. 

The peonies in front of our house are another sign of summer approaching. Every year, they bloom right around the end of school and the beginning of summer. They're looking really ready now.

I had the boys at my school the other day as I was doing some work in the school garden. Sadly, the cold weather and a rather evil bunny rabbit have wreaked havoc on our plantings. I can see him out my classroom window, chomping happily away on the carefully raised leaves.  Henry drew me this sun on the board, though, which cheered me up somewhat.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Embracing the Crazy

Spring is such a busy time of year. Everything is growing, including my kids.

This guy is wearing clothes Nick wore last summer. They're 2.5 years apart!

I just realized that I haven't posted since May 2nd. Not surprising, I suppose, since this month has been so crazy. This month I'm teaching two evening graduate school classes each week in addition to my regular job, plus sporadic tutoring as well.

Nick dressed himself, including an old pair of my glasses, his purse, and a pair of Mardi Gras beads.

Today I tried to get caught up on a lot of errands, and my two "helpers" came along for the ride. Their patience wasn't horrible, despite the fact that we got stuck in the Meijer for over two hours, partly due to my huge shopping list and partly due to a very heavy downpour that delayed our departure. I found sandals for both boys, and brokered a quite intense argument over what kind of Oreos we should get.

I'm usually too cheap to buy rainboots, much to Henry's despair.

After our shopping I treated them to a fancy lunch at the Meijer counter, with a donut treat for dessert. I made a serious error, however, when I told them they could pick out "anything they wanted" from the donut area.

These were the messiest donuts in the whole world. The frosting was insanely drippy and bright.

Much of the reason I keep a blog is to have some sort of record of my family's life. I want to remember what this part of parenthood is like, years from now when they're teenagers and I'm worried for other reasons. I want to remember the good, the bad, and the crazy. Today was crazy, but I embraced the crazy and just went with it.

Seriously, you could give these donuts to the children of your worst enemy with only a single napkin.

In addition to our regular shopping, I dropped off 9 bags and two boxes of donations to Goodwill. We also went in and looked around. Nick has been asking for "man shirts" lately, and since he needed new shirts anyway we picked out a few button downs with front pockets, plus a Batman shirt for Henry and a couple pairs of shorts for Nick. Apparently a pocket on a shirt makes it a "man shirt," at least to Nick. Who knew? At the Goodwill, I often let them pick out a toy. Today Nick picked out a dry erase board and Henry found a magic wand that lit up.

I also somehow managed to do 7 loads of laundry, start switching out the winter and summer clothes, make a loaf of bread, and do several hours of grading and lesson planning. I even made time for an extra-long storytime tonight. Nick asked to read a story about the Titanic, and I tried to gloss over the parts that might cause nightmares. Let's hope it works.

I think I need to embrace the crazy more often. It didn't turn out half-bad.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Let's Go Fly a Kite!

Ahh, spring is finally here. This weekend, it was time for the Go Fly a Kite Festival in Wheaton. We've been before, in 2012 and 2014, but this year my mom joined us for the kite flying fun.

Nick and his grandma, flying his tie-dyed kite. Oh, and a Henry photobomb. 

The weather today was gorgeous--so nice and sunny, in fact, that I ended up with a rather unattractive sunburn. Ahh, well. The fresh air and warm wind was worth it. 

Henry chose a kitty cat kite. He liked it at first, then the unraveling string scared him and it took him a bit to get back in the game. 

Henry and I had lots of nonsensical conversations about his kitty kite "chasing" a bird kite and running from a dog kite. 

Nick just wanted his kite to go higher and higher. We all got a kick out of this octopus kite, which was actually quite huge. It was being flown from behind the pavillion, so it was a giant.

Can you still see the slight tinge of pink in Henry's hair? 

The kites flew pretty well at this park; there was plenty of wind. However, there was some major frustration this evening when we tried to replicate the easy flying in our side yard. I think we'll have to try again in a nice big park without so many trees. 

In addition to flying our own kites, we got to watch the experts fly in several kite ballets. I have no idea how they don't get their lines tangled. 

The naps after this event were long, proving that running around with kites is good exercise. I'm hoping for more gorgeous weather in our spring weekends to come. 


Saturday, April 25, 2015

Easter Pictures

Here are the pictures from our Easter. . . a few weeks late. We had nice warm weather for the annual Easter Egg Hunt.

This year the egg hunting was over relatively quickly. Henry and Nick must be getting better at this; they were little boys on a mission.

This year, the eggs were packed with non-meltable treats. Still delicious, though.

Henry was surprised to find cash in one of his eggs! We took it to the store the next week, and I tried to explain the concept of cash to him. I think I need to stop using my debit card so much, because Henry didn't get why they wouldn't give him the money back after we bought his light saber. (After all, they hand you back your card, so why not dollar bills?)

Chocolate bunnies were very popular for both boys. Telling them they couldn't eat the whole bunny in one sitting, though? That didn't go over so well.

What?! I can't eat the whole thing? Why not?

Grandma Toni brought cool new balls for the boys to play with.

Nick had a great time playing basketball with his Uncle Justin.


Henry preferred sitting on his new ball.

Grandma Linda supervised a few art projects. She even had a glue stick!

It was a nice Easter, overall. I wish we'd had that kind of weather this weekend.

We even got a few nice family shots in before going home, though it took many, many takes to get both of them smiling and (sort of) looking at the camera.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Tale of Henry and His New Crocs

Today Nick and I were out shopping for shoes, and he came across the coolest shoes ever: Star Wars Crocs. I ended up buying a pair for him and a pair for Henry, thanks to some old Kohl's cash I'd forgotten about. Nick liked the shoes quite a bit, and we decided to surpise Henry with his shoes. Henry got really, really excited.

When I said it was time to go to bed, he said, "I am going to sleep with the box. Then, tomorrow, I am going to wear my new crocs, because they're shoes. And, um, you wear them on your feet." Yup Henry, you do. I told him it would be fine to wear them tomorrow. When I went in to tuck him in, this is what I found.

A few minutes ago, Henry came downstairs to get a sippy cup of water. He carried the box of crocs under his arm. It was pretty funny to see him trying to balance the box and his cup of water.

Ahh, the simple joy of Crocs in a box.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Dyeing Everything But the Easter Eggs

One messy Easter tradition that my kids love is dyeing Easter Eggs. Every year, we spill dye on the kitchen table and color a few dozen eggs. (Here's 2013.) This year, though, I bought a kit that promised "no spill." We were optimistic.

I also bought brown eggs this year instead of white. Whoopsie.

I didn't even think about it until they were ready to be dyed. Oh, and the no-spill kit? I should've read the reviews.

There were spills. Actually, I think there were more spills than when I just used cups.

We pretty much used a whole roll of paper towels to clean up the "spills."

Besides the mess, though, the boys had a fun time. They chose to bedazzle the eggs with glitter and sequins. Because, of course, eggs can always use more sparkle.

The brown eggs didn't take the dye as well, but they were definitely colored. I may use white eggs again next year, though. Plus, I'll skip the "no-spill" system.

Either way, we ended up with a lot of eggs to eat. Nick adores hard-boiled eggs. Henry, not so much.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Hippity-Hop Easter Egg Hunt

Happy Easter! Yesterday I took the boys to the Hippity-Hop Easter Egg Hunt down in Shorewood. It's at a retirement community, and they have all kinds of things for the kids to do. It was quite crowded, but the Easter Bunny himself came by to see the boys while they waited in line to get in.

Now, the egg hunt itself was a bit crazy. It actually reminded me of the start of the Hunger Games. As they waited for the hunt to start, the kids were sizing one another up and figuring out their strategy. When "Go!" was shouted, chaos reined for about a minute and a half, at which point all the eggs were gone.

Besides the, er, extra-competitive egg hunt, there was also a caricature artist. Nick was especially interested in his special pens and markers.

What do you think? Does it look like them?

There were also balloons and a wagon ride. . .

. . . with real horses.

But the highlight of the event was, of course, a visit with the Easter Bunny. The gentleman and lady next to the bunny himself were voted the Easter King and Queen. They handed out yummy suckers to the boys after their turn on the fuzzy lap.

More about our Easter (and our Spring Break, too!) later this week.