27 September 2008

Pirate party

We just got back from one of the best birthday parties EVER! It was pirate-themed and both boys had an amazing time!

Pirate party 1

Pirate party 2

Pirate party 3

Ah, man! I did it again! I took more photos of A1 than of A2! Here are 2 compensatory shots of A2 making mud and doing that twirly-whirly thing with his arms:



24 September 2008

A trip to the lake

What happened to my crafting blog? When I decided to blow the boys' anonymity out of the water by posting their photos, I really went to town! Now it seems every post is about them--and sure, I technically crafted them, but still!?! I had originally intended to have this space all to myself so that all of the family stuff would be relegated to our family website. I suppose it's just the natural order of things that I eat, sleep, and breathe my kids. They are in every stitch I sew and every project I attack with my trusty hot glue gun.

But next month is going to be different! I've noticed that I would rather post photos of the boys and find it so gratifying that I don't feel the need to post projects--which itself means I don't have to account for finishing current projects. And that makes for a grumpy mama! So beginning in October, I'm going to try very, very hard to post photos of the boys on every other entry so that I still feel the push to create more neat stuff, or at least make more observations on the world around me instead of merely allowing this to be the dumping ground for my camera card.

Oh well. October's not here yet so I get to show these photos! Yay!

Here is A2 staring at the ducks. Just staring. It was odd.


Three peacocks happened by. Yes. I also see only two in this photo.


He stared at them too.


But then he suddenly realized it was more fun to chase them! Flightless birds are a hoot.


So there! An entire post dedicated to my second born munchkin, equipped with multiple photos. I'm on to way to making up for the fact that he has half of the number of photos his big brother did by the end of his first year.

18 September 2008

Always together

A1 may have had an alternate reality of being an only child for his 1st 2 years, but A2 only knows what it's like to have his big brother as a constant companion. They're together inside the house...

together inside the house

...and outside the house.

together outside the house

They hang out with each other at the zoo...

together at the zoo

...at the farmers' market....

together at the farmers' market

...and the museum.

together at the museum

Sometimes it's mundane like sharing a little snack...

together snacking

...or playing at the park...

together at the park

...and sometimes it's special like the annual International Street Fest.

together at the street fest

But all this togetherness came to an end this week when A1 went to preschool. I took A2 to the mall play structure, the zoo, and a really engaging storytime at the local library. But it seems that A2 doesn't quite know what to do with himself when he's without his big brother. The poor fella is downright despondent!

together no more

15 September 2008

Fountain play

Before school starts this week for A1, I thought I'd give the boys a final taste of summer. I actually had a hard time getting them into the car since they were having so much fun together in the backyard.

before school 1

Once they were there, the fountain hadn't started yet and we had to wait a bit.

before school 2

before school 3

But soon enough, A2 was totally getting into the swing of things.

before school 4

And even though A1 tends to take a little longer to warm up to new situations...

before school 5

...it's usually not long before they're both having a blast!

before school 6

14 September 2008

Mid-autumn festival

It's the 15th day of the eighth month on the lunar calendar...do you know where your rice paper lanterns and specialty pastries are?

I have fair recollections of parading through the streets as a child with my candlelit lantern (hmm...quite the fire hazard!), but what I remember far more vividly were the mooncakes and porcine pastries filled with sweetened bean paste. I'd nip off the snout first and then the curly tail, followed by the little ears! Okay, it sounds macabre, but if you think about how little kids in the States methodically maul their chocolate Easter bunnies, it's not so grotesque!

like chocolate bunnies

13 September 2008

Open House at work

James' company puts on a spectacular annual carnival of free rides, games, crafts, and food as well as guided tours. I think the boys especially liked playing in the emergency vehicles--A1 preferred the SWAT truck, but A2 really liked the fire engine. One of my favorite moments was the cute astronaut and moonscape photo op.

open house

12 September 2008

Dream a little dream...

A1 gives you permission to sprawl out on a bed of shaded grass and daydream.

daydream 1

He appreciates the conundrum that daydreaming requires a surprising amount of focus.

daydream 2

11 September 2008

First day of preschool

Every 9/11, our MOMS Club chapter visits the local firehouse in remembrance and appreciation, but we weren't able to attend today because it was A1's first day of preschool. Parents were required to stay for the entire 2.5 hour session so it felt like an extended Parent & Toddler class for both of us. A1 had an awfully good time even though he was initially disappointed that he would not see his Parent & Toddler teacher from last year.

And then this evening, we gathered at the park for Back to School Night, fit with dinner, balloon animals, face painting, and a magician. Needless to say, a good time was had by all.

back to school 1

back to school 2

back to school 3

So now my concern is the drop off for next Tuesday, when I actually have to leave him at preschool all by himself. My guess is that he will have a blast while I will peer through the fence from outside the yard until I'm forced to drive away tearfully.

10 September 2008

Ball pool cover

A little before A2 was born, we created a ball pit using an inflatable pool and a gazillion balls. A1, pictured here at almost 2 years of age, loved it!

ball pool 1

ball pool 2

ball pool 3

And though he was initially terrified, A2 eventually learned to enjoy the ball pool just as much as his brother enjoyed it.

ball pool 4

But I needed a way to keep it keep it tidy looking when not in use. So I sewed (used the serger for the entire project) a cover. It was an embarrassingly simple project. Hmm...so simple that it looks like I just draped a giant muslin sheet over the whole darn thing. But I promise, it's an actual sewing project. I had to multiply by pi and everything!

ball pool cover

To be fair, since the number of A1's photos far exceed that of his brother's, here is a gratuitous shot of A2 with a ridiculously cute expression.

ridiculous expression

07 September 2008

learn to swim by Rob & Kathy McKay

The full title of this book is learn to swim: Step-by-step water confidence and safety skills for babies and young children. And what the title lacks in brevity, it certainly makes up in accuracy!

Overall, I found this book helpful, well-organized, and very visually appealing with labeled photos, numbered lists, and color coding. The text is divided into three separate sections to address the introduction of baby swimming, water confidence, and unaided swimming; and within the latter two categories are sub-stages. Rather than having rigid lesson plans, there are allowances for the different needs and preferences of children, including older beginners (i.e. 3- and 4-year-olds). I love the no-tears, highly adaptive, positive teaching methods of this book and would definitely recommend it.

06 September 2008

A little synchronicity, please

Just a single picture where both boys are looking at the camera and smiling...that's all I'm asking!


Clearly, I'm asking for WAY too much. Oh well, I suppose there's nothing wrong with individual photos of them.





05 September 2008

Construction fabric

A1 picked out the fabric and I had no idea what would become of it when I brought it home. For a while, he was carrying it around with him and laying it on himself to look at the different trucks. We had so many construction conversations from this single yard of fabric! So, I thought I might preserve it as a single piece and turn into a lap quilt, but I opted instead for a tote bag and matching zippered pouch:

construction tote

construction zippered pouch

I find that A1 is particularly enamored of those projects for which he personally selects the fabric.

04 September 2008

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

I very much enjoyed this lighthearted, wonderfully patriotic look into Botswana but certainly never would have selected such a piece for myself had it not been for our book club. It took me a while to shift gears from the usual dark fare to which I'm strangely drawn and, thus, very well accustomed. I found myself suspicious of the tidy ending to each of the cases, as though there were some as yet unforeseen misfortune creeping around the corner. In fact, what made me the most uneasy was my own comfort and sense of familiarity when reading the one dark spot in the book, regarding a violent, failed marriage. So for me, this was an interesting literary journey in that it taught me to trust in peace and joy and neither dwell on nor expect misery. And really, should that be the way life is lived?