Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Photos From A Pumpkin Farm

On Tuesday (yesterday) Capt. Adorable's preschool had a field trip to a local pumpkin farm.
First a walk in the little corn maze (not half as wonderful as the experience we had in the moon lit corn maze in Tennessee). But still pretty fun.

Oooh, a fallen corn stalk. Must put this to right.

Hey, check out that orange pumpkin in the foreground on the right.

Yep, it is partially rotten! Perfect for manual exploration! (My sweet MIL suggested that this photo indicates he will be an abdominal surgeon, haha!)

Climbing down from the cart with the big pumpkins. He needed a little help.

Into the hay pit we go. Of course there my little sweet darling turned out to be That Kid--you know, the one who throws hay in everyone else's face? Yeah. I took him out and we had a talk.

Walking to the car to get our snack, we see that the tractor pulling the hay cart (with bales covered in burlap--terribly civilized, unlike the Tennessee hayride where we sat right on the hay bales!).

Does this photo really need an explanation? :)

Boy with a basket the teacher brought. All the kids took a turn carrying it.

Maybe it wasn't Tennessee, but it sure was fun!

Drive Home

Captain Adorable and I returned from a long, hard drive home on Monday night. With adults only in the car it is about an eight hour drive. Usually it is about ten hours with my little guy because we take more frequent (and longer) breaks. On Monday, however, it took almost twelve hours! It was a difficult drive because Capt. Adorable was very sad (very, very sad) to leave Tennessee. We had a lot of stops and a lot of requests for stops. Sigh. Next time I need to bring books again (did not have any this time, duh) and maybe try to get some audio books for him. I did have videos for him but they were short and I can't stop every 45 minutes to switch DVDs (though that is essentially what I ended up doing, ugh.

When we got home at 9:30 Monday night Capt Adorable was asleep. I carried him to bed and thought about how gorgeous he is. Then I went back down stairs and unpacked the car and carried the suitcase upstairs (difficult for me with my still subpar arm). And fed and watered the cats and all the other stuff that had to get taken care of. Sometimes I wish I were the child. ;)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Leaves, Short Cuts, and More!

Captain Adorable and I are in Tennessee, visiting my dear parents for a week. We've had so many wonderful, fun adventures it is hard to remember them all, much less write about them! So far I helped my mom with the continuing work on the straw bale house by sculpting leaves (made of clay, well, really render which is a mixture of clay, sand, water, straw, and a few other things) on one of the walls of the living room. Last visit I helped by sculpting trees, so it was nice to finish them off with leaves this time. Tomorrow I plan to finish up some leaves in the bedroom.

Of course the leaves on the trees outside are gorgeous too! (But were beautiful in Maryland as well.)

Captain Adorable has been having more and more fun on the daily walks my parents take and has become enamored of short cuts. Of course his short cuts are not shorter at all, but are really more explorations into places off the path. :)

Today we went to a local fall festival. There was pumpkin decorating, a pony ride, a hot dog with mustard and ketchup, lots of old friends (hi! had no idea you were reading my blog, but glad to hear you are!), and more. Whew I am tired!

OK, time to go help mom cook dinner. More later and hopefully pics next time too.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Finally Found

Several months ago I misplaced my engagement ring. It has been lost for probably six months now. I have a very specific memory of the moment I lost it. I was in the kitchen, preparing to cook something or do something that would make my hands wet. I have a particularly wide engagement ring and so getting water under it can be unpleasant. I often have to remove it and dry underneath to be comfortable (though perhaps that problem is over now...more on that later). I was going to put the ring on the ring holder in the little fold down thingy below the sink but decided not to because I never put it there. I put it in the other place, knowing that it would be safe.

Unfortunately, I could not remember where the safe place was. I have looked and looked and looked for this ring. I've spent hours going through the minutiae in the drawers of the kitchen, wet bar, and butler's pantry. No ring. When our wedding anniversary rolled around I became more disturbed and sad and frustrated, wanting to have it and wear it again. Another few hours searching and again disappointment.

This evening I was cold and put on a bathrobe I have not worn in a few months. A thick, warm, fleece bathrobe. At one point I stood up to look for the television remote (which is still missing), put my hands in my pockets and there I felt my sought-after ring! There was jumping and joy on my part (but not too loud since Capt. Adorable is in bed) and Capt. Obvious was quite pleased to see it and hold it again too.

I am so happy to have this little object back!!! Here's a photo of it I took soon after my then-fiance and now-husband gave it to me, eight years, six months, and nine days ago.
Seriously happy.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Three Ways To Play

This morning a neighbor and her son dropped by on a quick errand that ended up in a much longer conversation (we were talking about the foyer facelift). Capt. Adorable had a nice little unexpected play time with her son (who is 5). Then we went (extremely late but better than not at all) to our friends' house for a scheduled play date. We had a great time, went for a nice long walk/bike ride and hit two playgrounds! This evening he biked (and I ran behind) to another neighbor's house to play with a group of kids, ranging in age from 5 to 9. Captain Adorable is quite a social guy!

In between all that we went to the local home store and bought 5 paint samples for the foyer, worked on the egg carton alligator (today was glueing and embellishment), watched Zaboomafoo, cooked and ate dinner, and read books for 45 minutes.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Letters On The Chalkboard

Here's the more detailed version of the blog I wrote a few days ago, Capt. Adorable and I were on the porch; he was drawing on his chalkboard and I was reading. He had already painted a picture and was not interested in more painting, but went to play with the chalkboard. He called me over, "Look Mama, I made a T." I came to look and indeed, there was a T. I was quite impressed, but did not want to make a too-big reaction. He then wrote an O, which was cool of course but he's been doing that for ages now--since he was 22-24 months? Then he wrote what he told me was an A but it was clearly an H and I gently corrected him. He agreed, then wrote an X; then made a straight line which he told me was the number 1. These letters and the number were so very clear and confidently done! Inside I was jumping up and down! I texted Capt. Obvious immediately. I thought Capt. Adorable must have learned this at preschool.

I emailed the teacher to find out if they were practicing writing. The next day he wrote another T with his finger on the carpet. He made the center line first, then one side of the top bar and then the other side. Once I saw that I knew he had not learned it in school because in school they teach you to make the center line and then cross it in one step. Or they did when I was in school. ;) This morning the teacher and I had a long chat in which she told me that they were not doing writing, but that he was one of the few kids in the 3-4 class to ever explore the writing center (but he's not there everyday or anything). She also told me that this was developmentally right on time. And of course I looked it up for myself and he is indeed right on the button, developmentally speaking. (So, not a super genius to anyone but his parents and maybe grandparents.)

But I'm still excited!

Respect and Accept

Recently a friend of mine called to tell me some news which made me think, again, about helping others with cancer. She called to tell me that her mother had just been diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. She was calling to talk, mainly; to confide in and ask for help from the one person who would understand. At first of course I recommended second opinions and not making any fast decisions. Then as I listened more to my friend, I understood that her mother would not be seeking any of that. She is one of those people who just do what the doctor says (her words).

You may remember an incident that I wrote about in this blog; I really wanted to help a young woman who had been diagnosed with colon cancer and she did not want my help. It was very difficult for me to take. I shed tears and agonized for quite a while. But this experience prompted me to change my advice to my friend and I told her that whatever happens, she must remember that this is her mother's cancer and these are her mother's decisions. Yes, she should do the research and the reading so that she can help if asked, but that she should try to accept what her mother chooses because these are her mother's choices to make. Sometimes (maybe most of the time) the most help one can give is to listen and respect, not to rush in and save the day.

(Oh, and pay for a house cleaning service. Absolutely key!)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Foyer Facelift In Progress

We have been in our new house for almost a year now (about eleven and a half months). This house needs lots of cosmetic work (the paint colors the former owners chose were all dark and dark and more dark) and some more serious stuff too, sigh but that's another story.

Since we've moved in, we have (and when I say "we," I really mean my dear dedicated Captain Obvious) been fixing and painting room by room, making it much more attractive. Right now the foyer is getting a facelift. Here is a before picture. You see both grey and white on the walls now; neither of those will be the final color. The grey is the color the previous owners chose.
We had the front door replaced a few months ago (water damage and also it was UGLY). Here is a photo of the old door followed by one of the new door.

Now we are working on the rest of the room. First the drippy ceiling (acoustic? patterned? I don't know what it is called, but it is not attractive!) get sanded. This does not make it completely flat, but it is flat enough. Once painted white, (it was painted beige? or was it just dirty?) the now much flatter texture is almost invisible. Because of the sanding, everyone working in the room has to wear eye, nose, and ear protection. Here's a pic of Captain Obvious after sanding; here he has removed his protective wear.

We are also removing the old tile floor and replacing it with a cork floating floor. Here is Captain Adorable in his protective gear and hard at work.

I worked on sanding the banister. Of course I was (as usual) the one holding the camera, so here's a pic of my hand.

Capt. Obvious is working hard on all the preparation required before painting the walls. (The previous owner of the house used a paint brush, not a roller, to paint the walls! and he was the sloppiest painter in the world. Nasty paint drips everywhere! The drips have to be sanded down the the dents have to be filled in.) I am working on picking out a paint color. This is very difficult since there are so many criteria that have to be accounted for. First, both adults in our family have to like it. Second, it has to go with the door and the floor. Third, it has to go with the paint of the hall, the dining room, and the playroom, since all those rooms are visible from the foyer. Fourth, it has to go well with the rooms upstairs since one of the walls of the foyer extends into the upstairs hall. So in order to pick paint for the foyer I have to pick paint for the entire house! Not an easy task. I've put a lot of thought into it already.

And no, white is not an option. :P

And yes, I am aware that I could have worse problems than picking the perfect paint color!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

He Likes It

I guess I wrote about the introduction of preschool into our lives but I have not followed up yet. Captain Adorable likes preschool. He no longer complains about going to school on school days. In fact, he finds it difficult to eat breakfast because he is so excited about going! When we arrive I have trouble keeping up with him as he power walks from the car to the door of the school. He is excited to see his teacher and her assistant. He has one particular friend, but seems to like all his classmates.

I do not know whether this is related or not, but this afternoon we were outside on the porch together (beautiful weather today!) and he bgan writing letters on his chalkboard. Now, he has been writing the letter O for a loooong time (O is for Opa!), but he has never written any others. Today he wrote a T, then summoned me to have a look. While I stood next to him, he quickly wrote an O, then an H, and then an X! And also the number 1! Could this be something they are doing in school? If so, COOL!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Help From A Friend

Under the down comforter, I cannot sleep.

I can and do think of many people and events. I review things I should not review because I need to sleep. I listen to my son snore from his room, which adjoins mine; the french doors between are always open. My husband sleeps alone in the guest room, both to avoid my snot-induced snores and to spare me his. Yet without his comfortable slow breathing I cannot fall asleep.

I stick my hand out from under the covers and brush my index and middle fingers together. A faint sound in our big house. I am calling my friend, my big furry cat Trout. A few minutes wait and he jumps onto the bed. He seems a bit grumpy; has probably been woken up by my call, quieter than a whisper though it was. And my dear cat lies down next to me and purrs.

And purrs. And purrs.

His purr is a delicate silken courderouy. The sound is accompanied by a barely perceptible (or perhaps imagined?) vibration through the mattress, the touch calming me. A sound to calm and comfort me. I melt into sleep.