18 July 2016

Kids of Summer

This one gives great big smiles, but he's shy for the camera.  (Also, he hates the outdoors, making his life very difficult this summer.  He's happiest lying on my bed in the air conditioning.)

One day I left him in his carrier when we came home from an outing and while I was unpacking the car, the bigger kids gave him some toys.  Ellen is fanatical about ensuring that he always gets his time with that monkey.

A boy in a strawberry cut-out wearing his cousin Tooie's shirt.

Hiking.  The Bairn loves it.  Ellen asks if it's over yet so she can eat a picnic.


But she enjoys the sights along the way.

The Bairn was determined to catch a fish at this nature playground, but all either of the kids got was a water skeeter.

The mud kitchen made up for the lack of fish.

Saturday was a family reunion.  The kids were thrilled by the potluck dessert selection and the abundant juice selection that elderly relatives kept offering them.  I cut Ellen off after 2 cupcakes and 2 juice boxes but she still threw up all over my lap (and on the baby brother sitting there).

We've had a new baby for every family reunion we've attended.  It makes us very popular with the older generations.

Ellen and a distant cousin (they have the same great-great-grandfather).  When I ask Ellen to smile, she makes fake dimples in her cheeks with her fingers.  I don't know why.  She has real ones.

08 July 2016

Neighbo(u)rs

Back in the spring, Steve found an old play structure for free and he and his dad picked it up and set it up in our backyard for our kids.  I was thrilled.  The kids were thrilled.  The neighbor kids, it turns out, were thrilled.

Behind us, there is a four-plex rental property.  The people who live there are nice.  Recently a man and his two daughters, a 7-year-old and a 5-year-old moved in.  The Bairn calls them "The Friends" and loves them dearly even though they're mostly feral and kind of jerkfaces.  I arbitrate at least 5 altercations between The Friends and my kids every hour that they're outside on our play structure together.  While they're over, The Friends sometimes help themselves to the strawberries in my garden before throwing sand at my kids and taunting them with promises of the various treats in the fast food meals they carry over with them.  We have a rule that The Friends can't be in our yard unless someone from our family is outside too.  I claim that this is to ensure that if anyone gets hurt, an adult will be nearby to help, but it's as much about the frequency with which I see those girls dancing on the top of their dad's car--I wouldn't like a repeat at my house.

I'd really like to be the kindly neighbor who loves all the troubled children and invites them in for cookies and long talks, but I'm actually the grouchy neighbor yelling, "Hey, you kids, get off my grass!"

Picking strawberries at a farm down the road, since the neighbors are eating all the ones we're growing.

30 June 2016

Baby's First Camping Trip

Last weekend we went camping with Steve's family at Fundy National Park in New Brunswick.  At one point, I mentioned to Steve that it's a good thing we're not vain.  He didn't know what I was talking about, but of course I was talking about the fact that he was very happily wearing black business socks with shorts and flip-up sunglasses with his Piggly Wiggly t-shirt and I was wandering around in a giant floppy hat with 25 more pounds of baby weight to lose, as you will see.

Baby's first camping trip.  The nice thing about taking a 2-month-old camping is that you rarely have to wash dishes, because you're always breastfeeding.

We stayed in oTENTiks, which are more or less cabins.  The Bairn insisted on bringing his favorite library book with him, and Grammie very obligingly sat on the top bunk (The Bairn claimed it was 3 stories high) and read with him.

We took a little hike and Papa thrilled The Bairn by letting him carry the binoculars the whole way.

Grammie, Cousin Lexi, The Bairn (with binoculars!), and Ellen resting on the hike.

Steve took our two older kids canoeing while I stayed on shore with the wee one, chatting with the man renting out the canoes and watching his grandson remove dead mice from the back of a kayak.  Apparently, The Bairn spent quite a bit of time crying because he was worried about capsizing and "didn't have swimming lessons yet" and also didn't want to get his "adventure shoes" wet.

This one spent a lot of time admonishing the squirrels to do her bidding.  They did not.

13 June 2016

Peppa Panties

My mom sent Ellen some Peppa Pig panties so we can potty train her and only have one child in diapers again.  Ellen has been seriously opposed to the idea, but she really loves Peppa Pig and smarties, our other bribe, so we started this new project yesterday.  Potty training is not my favorite, especially potty training someone who yells at me a lot that she needs some chocolate just for wearing underwear adorned with a cheery television character.  Ellen has really upped the irritation factor, though, by acquiring Satan's own telephone toy at a yard sale Saturday and playing the songs on it all day long.  She only got it because she used her own money, otherwise I would not have allowed a talking toy that meows (or barks!) four songs in rotation again again again.  Nothing makes me happier than cleaning up wet Peppa panties to the sound of a cat singing 'Row, Row, Row Your Boat.'



Also, I was reading my sister's old blog (yes, it WOULD be nice if she still blogged), and this post just about killed me.  It made my day.

09 June 2016

Baby Dear

Brothers chatting (right before The Bairn bopped Nate on the head with that pipe cleaner and then made him wear it as a mustache).

I was talking to the baby the other night and suddenly remembered this poem that my mom used to quote when speaking to infants.  Steve found some of the lines a bit much (he doesn't think Natey's cheek is like a warm white rose), but I like it.  There's something nice about the thought that people have always spoken to their babies this way and felt they were a gift.  I especially like the last line.  

Where Did You Come From, Baby Dear?

by George MacDonald

Where did you come from, baby dear?
Out of the everywhere into here.

Where did you get your eyes so blue?
Out of the sky as I came through.

What makes the light in them sparkle and spin?
Some of the starry spikes left in.

Where did you get that little tear?
I found it waiting when I got here.

What makes your forehead so smooth and high?
A soft hand stroked it as I went by.

What makes your cheek like a warm white rose?
I saw something better than anyone knows.

Whence that three-cornered smile of bliss?
Three angels gave me at once a kiss.

Where did you get this pearly ear?
God spoke, and it came out to hear.

Where did you get those arms and hands?
Love made itself into hooks and bands.

Feet, whence did you come, you darling things?
From the same box as the cherubs' wings.

How did they all just come to be you?
God thought about me, and so I grew.

But how did you come to us, you dear?
God thought about you, and so I am here.

01 June 2016

What We're Doing

Note: I think we'll call this new baby Nate on the blog.

So this is what's been going on with three kids.

Steve got his ham radio license.  He's absolutely evangelical about ham radio.  He and the kids listen to the wake-up net every morning.  To me, it sounds like eavesdropping on an old folks home, but Steve likes it.

Nate turned one month old.  He's usually very content.  Except when he's not.

He likes to make his lips really small.  He's also, surprisingly, good at standing on our laps and taking a pacifier.  He's getting adorable fat rolls already.  He hates baths and I mostly forget to give them to him, so he smells a bit like cheese.

We've been getting out of the house more the last two weeks, which makes everyone happier, but doesn't stop Ellen's truly impressive screaming and whining.

Today we had a picnic at this park.

I promised the kids we'd come back with Steve so they could spend way more time chucking rocks into the water and running back and forth across the bridge.  Welcome, welcome, summertime.

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