Thursday, July 31, 2014

Bits and Pieces: July

July has been filled with visits to family, picnics at the park, birthday parties, cookouts, bike rides, trips to the zoo, dips in the pool, and, most importantly, beer. Kidding!

Hard day.
I had the greatest foodie weekend ever in mid-July. My mom was visiting, so of course we needed to have two ladies-only brunches. Psycho Suzi's and W.A. Frost were more than happy to oblige, as was Ben, who stayed home with the kids. Actually, I don't know if he was happy about this or not, but he didn't complain. That same weekend I got to go out for drinks! With friends! In Minneapolis! A friend was visiting from Philadelphia, so of course I had to go, because I hardly ever see her. Right? We sat outside at The Lowbrow, and I felt very hip and trendy, though I looked neither hip nor trendy. I cannot express how nice it was to eat these delicious meals without having children a). crawling on me, b). asking me for things, or c.) throwing Cheerios all over the restaurant (ahem, Christopher).


We took the kids to Highland Fest, the local neighborhood festival, last weekend. Clare loved the bouncy houses, and because there was no line, she got to bounce for quite some time. Christopher loved the ride in the double stroller. He later feel asleep. So it was a good day for him, too.

On the way home, we stopped at Dairy Queen. Clare decided to try to "drink" her ice cream, pouring it all over her lap and the stroller. She was up much too late, probably due to all the sugar. But hey, what is summer without a little melted ice cream in your lap, right?


We spent the 4th of July in Evansville with my parents, my grandmother, and my brother. It was lovely, and Clare even managed to make it through the parade without having a nervous breakdown. The secret to her new-found courage? Parade candy, of course.

I love the small town 4th. Like last year, we ditched the kids at home and went to the fireworks. And the beer tent. It was great. The kids and I stayed with my parents through the following week. We spent a lot of time watching cooking shows and the World Cup, but also made it to the park, the pool and the zoo. I was able to take advantage of grandparents and uncles who were willing to babysit, and have a girls night out with friends AND a trip to Concerts on the Square. It was a nice visit.

Historical Note: this slide is a famous Madison landmark. I have a picture of myself going down it when I was about four. If I was on top of things I would have found it and scanned it in to put here. I am not on top of things.
So, on to August. Here is a preview for you: we are going to attempt a family camping trip. Where we will sleep in a tent. With two small children. I also plan to eat my weight in sweet corn.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Since Clare turned 3, she has decided it is time to test everything, especially my patience. Six months ago I wrote a post about her bad behavior. She was doing a lot better for awhile, but on her birthday the switch flipped. Back to brat.

I should say this: she is generally a really good kid. She is funny and smart and creative. There are just these moments, though. And they are daily.

Last week she ran away from me at the park. Luckily, a friend was there to hold Christopher while I tracked her down. When I told Clare I would have had to leave Christopher alone if my friend hadn't been there, she was chastened. It didn't last long, though. As I was putting her in her car seat she had another tantrum, and kicked me in the face. (She was not trying to hurt me. She was just flailing everywhere.)

She is not subtle about it, either. Today she said, "I am not going to listen to you." Just outright said it. So she knows what she is doing. She knows I know what she is doing. And she uses the snottiest tone of voice. Where do they get that? I don't talk to her that way.

I've tried time outs. I've tried counting (which I hate. I don't do it in public). I take things away: books, TV, dessert. Ben talks to her at night about listening to me.

She is fighting her naps. She is exhausted, but refuses to sleep. I try quiet time. That works, for about 15 minutes. She NEEDS her nap. I NEED her nap. Right now she is in her room crying, and has been for the past 40 minutes. She has some stamina, I'll give her that.

The professionals talk about how children go through stages of equilibrium and disequilibrium as they pass through different developmental stages. We are definitely in disequilibrium right now. Hopefully by the time she is 3 and a half the switch will be flipped back the other way.

Until then, I'll count my blessings that she hasn't figured out how to open her bedroom door, so I can shut her in there.

Speaking of figuring things out:

Yep, he realized he can escape the play room. We are in trouble now.

Thursday, July 17, 2014


At the end of June, we traveled to southwestern Minnesota to visit Pipestone, a small town at the edge of the prairie. Have you ever been to the prairie? It is wild - long grasses blowing in the wind like waves on the ocean. Weather you can see coming in from miles away - huge, dark clouds building higher and higher, bolts of lightening crashing to the ground. Then, suddenly, the sun breaking through, bright and hot. The storms never actually got near us, though, just threatened us from the distance.

This was our first vacation together, just the four of us. Traveling with small children is never going to be relaxing, but I didn't realize how hard it would be to be in one hotel room. There was a lot of this going on in the middle of the day:

At night, when the kids finally fell asleep, Ben and I opened a bottle of wine and sat in bed with our tablets. It was all we could do - we didn't dare turn on the lights.

We visited Pipestone National Monument. If you're not familiar with it, the national park is a sacred site for Native Americans, and is still used as a rock quarry for people to mine the red pipestone used to make peace pipes. It is a beautiful place.

Christopher was really into it, too.

We had fun, though, our little family. Hikes, pizza, the hotel pool, the public pool in Pipestone (Clare kept screaming that she was SO EXCITED to be at the pool), and a diner with the best pumpkin pie in the WORLD. It was a good trip.

Yeah, I don't know how Christopher slept like that either.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Nine Months

Okay, I know he's not really saying Mama, but it sounds like he is. And it is especially heart wrenching when he is crying while saying, "Mamamamama!" He also says "ooh," a lot, especially when he sees something new or interesting - and just about everything he sees is new or interesting to him.

His favorite book is "Goodnight Moon." He smiles from ear to ear when I pull it out to read to him before bed. He studies the pages carefully, and turns to grin at me, like he's thinking, "Wow, I can't believe I get to look at this!" Babies are funny.

He crawls, but not much. He gets up on his hands and knees and rocks back and forth, and drags himself across the floor toward his toys. His preferred method of movement is rolling. He rolls and rolls and rolls.

Clare is taking a music class, and Christopher gets in on the action, too. He dances. He plays a drum. He stares in awe at the music teacher.

He gets very upset when something is taken away from him, but if it is immediately replaced with something else he is content. He is never sad for long. He does scream at the top of his lungs if he is not getting the attention he wants when he wants it, though. It is piercing.

He is a hearty eater. A very hearty eater. That boy enjoys his food. I've started cooking for him regularly, because we go through so many packets of food. So many.

We're going to be at my parents' house for the Fourth again this year. Clare has already refused to attend the parade, but I think I am going to take Christopher. He can "ooh" all he wants.