Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fall Leaves

Can I jump now?
How do you get through this?
I found a leaf!!
I love you thiiiiiiiisssss much!

Raking leaves is a workout beyond workouts. That is, of course, if you've raked them 20 times to allow for all the turns for jumping. After school we decided to rake all those rogue leaves blowing into our neighbors' yards and making us look bad. Just as soon as I'd get them all into a nice big pile the wind would up and swoop them away, back into the wrong yard. Cold, but sweaty--weird how that happens--I busted out the camera and just let the boys dump their little bodies into the piles to make leaf angels. They came out sooo cute! We haven't had the four seasons in forever and so this is nice to experience all the changing leaves and the crisp weather. I love the leaves so much it takes my breath away every morning when I pull out of the neighborhood. The streets are lined with trees that look like they are on fire with different hues of oranges and reds and yellows. So beautiful!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Indiana Jones and Zoo Keeper's Map

We visited the National Zoo in Washington DC this year for Boo at the Zoo. We are members and we visit frequently. So frequently, in fact, that Mason has literally memorized the map and most of the animals' locations. I know this because he recites it to me nightly and incessantly. Mason is our animal lover. He has decided that he wants to be a zoo keeper when he grows up and so naturally that's what he wanted to dress up as for Halloween. Of course, this was his second choice as all the youth sized C3PO costumes are sold-out nationwide and Mommy wasn't going to make a gold lame droid costume for fear it would turn into something out of Austin Powers or the 70's. Nope, we'll stick to choice #2. When we showed up and stood in that "No way!" "You've got to be kidding me!" line to get into Boo at the Zoo, the boys were so happy. The line didn't matter. They kept shouting out "Iron Man" "Woody!" "Clone Trooper" Looking at all the costumes was such a great time passer and the line moved quickly. We got in, got our treat bags and set off for the first station. It took us 2 hours to get from one end of the trail to the other stopping at the different stations to hold open their bags. Ethan would just look at them with a blank look, down in the bag, back up at them, so he would ultimately get 2 treats from each station. I think he was doing it on purpose. Such a con artist! There was a lot of work put into the festivities and we had so much fun. I even forgot about my headache while we were there. Back at the car 3 hours later, we put their sticky bodies into their jammies and tucked them into their car seats with a treat for the ride home. No tricks for us at the zoo!

A Marathon to See the Pecks

When Heather gave me a call early on in the week to say that she and Brian would be in town for the weekend I was so excited. Brian would be running in the Marine Corps Marathon in DC on Sunday and they wanted to meet up. Being the non-runner I am I'm thinking to myself "we'll get a sitter, go out for lunch and a beer and then maybe Heather and I can go get our toes done or something!" In my own little bubble of ignorant bliss I happily agree to meet with them 'at some point' on Sunday. Well, I'm not even going to go into the previous weekend blah because it's just that: blah. I will say that when I did not go to sleep as usual on Saturday night, but spent it very uncomfortably hunched in a fetal-like position on the floor because of various side effects of merely being a woman (how much of a man do I sound like here???) and a migraine increasing in strength by the second, I knew Sunday was going to be bad. And...it was. But it's amazing what you'll do for the ones you love. Heather is one of my closest friends and I was not going to miss seeing her even if I had to bring a barf bag and a seeing eye dog. So I brought a sandwich baggie and Matt. We shoved the boys in the car and took off for the races. We got to some very crowded and blocked off streets but we found a spot right near the Smithsonian Castle and waited for the call. Knowing it was stressful, loud, crowded and everything else, we decided to grab some lunch and see some of the beautiful sights of downtown in the fall. Gorgeous! And beautiful sunny skies. The boys found a squirrel that would have very happily hopped up into their arms if I hadn't thrown myself between them. "He looks really cute and fuzzy guys, but he's a wild animal and he might have rabies!" I say. Crushed, they back away. Brian and Heather finally did pop up out of the very crowded and stinky, or so I heard, subway and we hugged and caught up from 3 months or so. Then we parted ways, promising to get together again soon. This time I hope it's longer and it's not spent on a park bench with only a port-a-potty for relief. We love you and miss you Pecks!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Maaaaaaakin Cookieeeeeees....

Since Halloween is just around the bend and I thought my life could use just a tad bit more chaos in it, the boys and I decided to make Halloween-themed cookies. The cookies were a spice cookie, but you couldn't tell there was even anything underneath when they were finished. They piled on the frosting and the sprinkles and sugar: you name they used it. Matt walked in just as Ethan was putting on the finishing touches to one of the bats. He stood in the doorway and bellowed " ET! You weren't hired to install a golf course in the dining room. You're decorating cookies." What a pooper! Still in his uniform, Matt busted out the vacuum and started hoovering under the kids' chairs and fussing over the amount of sugar and frosting on the new white carpets so we helped clean up to keep Daddy's blood pressure down.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Pumpkin patch or county fair?

Belvedere Plantation with Mason's class was fun but so crazy I thought I had taken a wrong turn at the county fair. There were literally thousands of children there with their classes. The hay ride was more like Nascar Hay Ride on two wheels since Mr. Farmer had to get 10,000 children out to the pumpkin patch and back in 5 hours! I was not prepared for that kind of chaos!
I was not prepared for children beyond the womb. My first pregnancy was , for the sake of comparison, blissful. I suffered a minimal amount of nausea in the morning which was easily assuaged with those tiny little oyster crackers I love to put in my soup. I always wondered why they were called oyster crackers and not just soup crackers. As a first time mom, a term I would very soon come to loathe, I adjusted a lot of things in my life to create a more healthy, safe, loving environment for my baby. I got the most expensive car seat and stroller combo because the reviews insisted. I cut out all alcohol despite a very strange hankering for beer, of all things. I even limited myself to ONE cup of coffee a day. Yeah! Me! One cup. Makes me shiver just thinking about that one now. I got him boutique clothing and chemical free shampoo and stopped coloring my hair. Okay, okay. After 7 months I figured he was cooked and besides sporting my lovely set of braces I was going to be next year's tree topper if I didn't get this gray covered up. So...I slipped. I had my bags packed and was ready to go to the hospital at any moment. The woman at the birthing class assured me that I would definitely go early. No doubt about it. I can't tell you how many times I was asked if I was having twins. Granted, living in Japan with some of the teeniest women ever was no place for a balloon like me to be bobbing around. At 5'0 I'm not tall so you can imagine an almost 8 pounder shoved into my 100 frame. By month 8 1/2 I wasn't prepared for my maternity pants to not fit my rear. I wasn't prepared for my belly button to be visible beneath ALL my clothing. Who is prepared for that?? Band-Aids don't work, by the way. They just pop off under all that pressure. I wasn't prepared for all the discomfort and false alarms and dents in your legs that stay there for days from so much water retention. I wasn't prepared for all the pushing. I wasn't prepared for my husband to "grab a sandwich" while he left me clinging to a pillar in the hospital hallway in labor agony and then later fall asleep in the recliner. I wasn't prepared for the salad tongs to be used to pull my son out because of maternal exhaustion and I just couldn't push anymore.
I wasn't prepared for the most wonderful experience in my life. To hold that baby and touch his nose and count his toes and fingers is something I will never forget.
I wasn't prepared for the second baby either, but in different ways. I was past blissful, but still very happy and content. I knew at least a little of what I was getting into. My water breaking at the movie theater was a bit unnerving. Labor for only 7 hours wasn't bad and he didn't go into the NICU AND I didn't hemorrhage and stay in the hospital for 5 days. It was great!
I'm not prepared for the hold my boys have on my life. They teach me so much every day and they have no idea. Their love for me is unconditional and it is the greatest feeling in the world. I am so unprepared for them to leave.

Dinos, Giraffes and the Mall...Oh My!

Mason was in school and Matt had the day off for studying so we packed up and headed out to DC for the day: just the three of us. OK so Matt wasn't "studying" per say, but it was educational. For instance, in the dinosaur section of the Museum of Natural History, the Tyrannasaurus Rex skull is about as long as Ethan's arms when he spreads them way out. In the Mammal section, you are so close to a giraffe it's as if you can reach out and pet its head. Just don't get too close to the hippo next to it. When it yawns and shows its teeth it's a bit intimidating. Standing on the entrance steps can make you look really big or really small depending on where the camera is angled. Days alone with Ethan are very far and few between for us and we had so much fun! He'll make up the studying later!