Monday, May 31, 2010

Home Sweet . . . wait, where are we?

When we were buying a new garbage disposal (disposer? apparently, both is correct) at Sears today, the lady asked for our address. I guess even the smallest appliance requires endless amounts of personal information. Anyway, I watched as Marty hesitated with finding the "right" answer. Do we give the address of the house we are currently camped out in, but won't be living in for a year? Maybe we give the address of the house where the new disposal will be placed but hopefully won't be ours for long? Or how about the address of the corporate apartment in Connecticut where our credit card statement is sent, and where we must grudgingly return after this hiatus? Put them all in a hat and see which is pulled out?

This kind of confusion has been happening all week. "Hey honey, I'm going to go clean the cabinets." At which house? Because, of course the cabinets in both houses need cleaning. My tip: don't close and move into a house and prepare another house for the market at the same time. Cleaning two sets of cabinets (and bathrooms and floors and kitchens) is no fun. Or at Lowe's, "That plant would look good on the porch at home." Which home? The one we're trying to stage or the one we are moving all our stuff to? Add to this confusion the presence of my mother, who wants to buy an outdoor riding toy or wagon for Oliver to use "at home." She means at her home, where we're headed next, but also to use when we return to our new home next year. Let me digress to emphasize that her presence has not at all been confusing, but quite the opposite as she has kept me sane through all this craziness.

So, I guess we must play the cliche game and say that it's true . . . home is where the heart is. Amidst all the chaos and the stress of this past week, I found a little peace yesterday, and was reminded of what makes a house a home. Here is my heart:

My boys playing basketball with the ball Oliver got Dad for an early Father's Day gift, because our new house has a basketball goal. 

Oliver has the moves! Too bad he doesn't have the height!

Testing the sprinkler system.

Wet fun on a hot (almost) summer day!

Hey, why are my clothes all wet?

Who cares about wet clothes, let's play basketball again!

 Home, sweet home.

Happy naked boy eating strawberries in his chairplane.

Life is good. Nevermind that we had to buy a garbage disposal for a house we aren't going to live in. Or a new washer and dryer for the house we'll live in next year because the ones the previous owner's left smelled like mold. Or that the bushes all along one side of our old house died and had to be dug out and replaced at great unexpected expense. Or that the highest gutter on the new house is plugged up and full of stagnant water and must be fixed. Or that the a/c in the new house died the day of the closing, the hottest day of the year. Or that we still have to move, paint, put in new countertops in the old house, and clean before we can put out a for sale sign. All by Sunday. No problem. Life is good because there are strawberries and sprinklers and basketball. And smiles like those. And a house to come home to.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Photo Friday--First Sunburn

I feel horrible. I have damaged my child.

We went for a walk and to the playground yesterday. I had forgotten my sunscreen, but borrowed my friend's. I put it on maybe 5 minutes after we started walking, but we were at the playground for a long time. He hates getting stuff put on his face, so he struggled a lot and so I probably didn't get it on well, and then I never re-applied. It was a really sunny day.

It didn't really look bad last night, but when he woke up this morning--at 5:45 a.m.--he was batting at his ears like they were annoying him, and his cheeks were bright red. Let the permanent sun damage begin! It looks worse in person :-((

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Saturday Drive

We are always on the lookout for interesting things to do on the weekends, especially when the weather is nice. We can't always make the big trips to places like Philly and NYC; that takes a lot of energy with a toddler. We knew this weekend was supposed to be gorgeous, so we scoured the websites and newspapers for some fun outdoor activity. In the end, we vetoed Mystic (omg . . . $30 per person to get into the Aquarium? and about the same to get into the Seaport?!). We vetoed a bird walk at a state park (would the other participants be annoyed by us bringing a toddler along? Would he scare the birds away?). And we vetoed a baseball game (first pitch at 1:00? uhm, naptime!).

Feeling frustrated with indecision, we finally chose to go simple. And you know what? Simple is often best. We found two book sales in two nearby towns. We love a good book sale, and they seem to be rampant in Connecticut! Nothing beats a dollar book. Or better yet, when I took 4 childrens books up to the cashier at one of the sales, the woman said, "Oh, whatever you want to donate, maybe fifty cents?" Don't tell Marty, but I gave her a dollar. It was 4 books, and I love to support local libraries!

We figured we'd find a park or somewhere for Oliver to play in one of the towns, so we could be in the sunshine. Happily, there was a park with baby geese next to the second book sale, so the boys got to run around while I spent more time browsing the books. Marty had found a lunch possibility online, a diner dating back to the 50s that got great reviews. Sometimes we find these places online or from Food Network shows and they disappoint in reality. Fritz's Snack Bar, in Oxford, lived up to the reviews. Great place, great food, so-so service, but we weren't in a hurry. I had a delicious turkey melt, Oliver had an apparently amazing hot dog and lots of pickles, and Marty had a reuben, a strawberry shake, french fries, and a waffle. He hadn't eaten breakfast, and he did share his fries with Oliver. I wish you could have seen Oliver eating this lunch. He slowly but surely ate everything, stuffing it in, and just when you thought he was done, he'd eat some more. Every once in a while, he'd lean back in his chair like an old man, as if willing his food to digest so he could make room for the rest. Every time we'd ask, "All done?" we'd get a resounding "No!"

Eventually, he did finish, and we left the diner. I figured we might just head home for naps, but Marty thought Oliver had eaten so much he'd be in a food coma in no time, so we might as well just take a drive, let him sleep, and we could enjoy the back road scenery. Sure enough, he was asleep within minutes. So we told the GPS to avoid all highways, and drove north toward Kent Falls State Park, not sure if we'd go all the way there, but just see how it went. I remember taking Sunday drives with my grandparents as a kid. Driving around just for the sake of looking. Kind of unheard of anymore, with high gas prices, traffic, and busy lives. Well this was a lovely Saturday drive. We drove through Waterbury, Middlebury, Woodbury, Southbury, Washington, Warren, probably another -bury, and other little towns I can't remember. The towns were small and lovely, we saw many beautiful old houses along the way. This is a drive I know certain family members would enjoy when they come to visit, so Marty saved the route on Google for me so we can do it again.

After the GPS made us go on a steep, scary, single lane back road to the State Park (we told it to avoid highways!), we thankfully found a house with a driveway to turn around and head back to a highway, and the main entrance. Don't want to do that again. I hate scary roads like that! Oliver had conveniently awoken from his nap while we were on the scary road (I was only screaming in my head, I swear!), so we decided to check it out. Kent Falls State Park was very beautiful and peaceful, and not very crowded for such a nice day. Would be a great place to bring a picnic, or even cook out. They had lots of picnic tables and grills. I imagine it gets pretty crowded in the summer though. Maybe on a nice fall day when the leaves are turning.

Some photos from our visit (from the point and shoot, we hadn't brought the Nikon):

Taking time to stop and point at flowers.

Nature is pretty!

Heading toward the Falls.

"I will not pose for pictures!"

Marty and Oliver heading up the steep stairs that go up the hill beside the Falls. Yes, that made mommy nervous. Look at those pebbles underfoot! Look at the steepness of that hill!

Coming back down again, thankfully unharmed. Oliver loved the ride, he was laughing and urging Daddy on!

Oliver loved this little covered bridge. He went through it again, and again . . .

and again and again! Marty has 4 fingers up showing 4 times so far. He must have gone back and forth at least several dozen times total.

Hi mom!

Studying the babbling brook that ran underneath the bridge.

and again!

Then we played peek-a-boo around the gate. Again and again . . .

Where's mommy?

and again and again.

Needless to say, Oliver liked Kent Falls State Park, as did we. We wanted to drive a different way back, and went through Kent, which had a lot of little shops and antique stores, very cute. Looks like another good place to bring family when they visit. On both routes, there were numerous historic houses and Inns, it's just amazing to drive by a house that has the date "1737" on a plaque by the door! Not a museum either, just a house that some family lives in. Things like that are everywhere. It's old here! 

This drive gave me a lot of confidence for our upcoming trip to the Midwest. I'll be doing some driving alone with him, which I was a little worried about. But he loves being in the car, staring out the window, looking for his latest favorite thing: "street sign!" Ok, so he's a little weird, but hey, whatever keeps him happy! 

So what began as a "What do you want to do?" "I don't know, what do you want to do" kind of morning, turned into a very pleasant and relaxing day. Something to remember on the next boring weekend!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Photo Friday--Shhhhhhhhhhhhh!

I know, you think this is sooooo adorable! What a cutie, falling asleep in his high chair while coloring! Right? WRONG!!! He's not always the angel he appears. This was on Mother's Day, 20 minutes after I brought him back downstairs after not napping at all, but babbling, then crying, in his crib for over an hour (the babbling, not the crying). He'd been on a "nap strike" for days, and mommy was not happy about it. He'd been having tantrums all day and needed his sleep! And mommy needed a break on Mother's Day!

So we came downstairs, and after a few minutes more of good tantrums he asked to color. So while he was busy, Marty & I were on the couch looking on his computer at restaurants, trying to decide where to go for my Mother's Day dinner. After a while, I realized he must be really into his coloring, because he was so quiet. When I got up to take him upstairs to change for dinner, I turned around and this is what I found. Yes, I admit, my first thought was "Oh, how adorable!" But my second thought was, "Asleep??? You're asleep??? Now?? But we have to leave for dinner now! Why didn't you nap when you were supposed to?!"

He only slept about 15 hilarious minutes, during which he struggled to keep his big noggin up. He'd lift it up, eyes still closed, but it would just fall right back down again. Yes, we should have gotten it on videotape! Unfortunately, it wasn't a regenerative sleep, except to generate more tantrums, so dinner out was postponed for a night and we dug around in the kitchen for some dinner. Yes, he had an early bedtime. And I am happy to report, the nap strike appears to have ended, as he has slept the past 4 days! Hooray!!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

Getting a two year old to pose with the sign he (we) made is fun!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Beach

Saturday was gorgeous, so we had our first beach day of the year! We went to Westport this time, and it still shocks me that you have to pay to get on the beach. The first place we tried cost $40!!! We ended up at a nearby state park, for $15, which is still ridiculous for the short amount of time that you can stay at the beach with a toddler. Oh well, it was nice and relaxing anyway.

Let's see if you can guess what Oliver's favorite thing to do at the beach was . . .

If you guessed digging in the sand with his shovel and buckets, you are correct!!!

But we also went to collect shells and rocks . . . 

And check out the water for a minute.

But not for long. We had important digging to do.

Ok, maybe a round of ABCs.

Now back to digging. You got a problem with that?

I'm very serious about my digging. Dad understands.