Saturday, May 18, 2013

Some stuff

Today, I discovered a trail of small ants coming into my house from my back door, and I discovered that our air conditioner decided to stop working properly (and there is a puddle under the condenser unit outside...I think it's the condenser, and then the compressor is in the attic? I don't know), and I strained my hamstring.  So we are having Papa John's for dinner, and Mike is out getting a new filter for the a/c to see if that helps it at all, and he took the three awake children with him because he is amazing like that.  And we went to the farmer's market this morning, which was fairly fun.  The kids' favorite part of going to the farmers' market is when we stop by the big ball afterwards that spins on a bed of water when you push it.  Needless to say, the girls both got soaked, because, hey, what's more fun than getting really really wet and playing in a bunch of water when it's 90 outside and you've been stuck in a stroller for the previous hour?  Nothing, that's what.  Well, maybe some popsicles and some water to drink would have made that more fun, and some towels to dry off with a bit afterwards...

I have been doing a small bit of yard work lately.  I mowed the lawn, and discovered that most of our summer lawn is dead (which I kind of already pretty much knew).  I used my wonderful telescoping tree trimmer to cut a bunch of dead branches off our trees.  I did not immediately clean up the dead branches I cut down, so over the next several days, the boys had lots of fun whacking the branches against each other and breaking them into hundreds of tiny branch pieces which are much harder to clean up, but at least they've been having a lot of fun and have not whacked each other with the branches at all.

Last night, the boys got out of bed several times, and I sent them back to their room with not-so-dire warnings to please stay in their beds.  A little while later, I heard some yelling from their room, so I went in the hallway to listen and figure out what was going on.  I heard Aiden yelling, "In the galaxy! In the whole world! In all the planets! On the moon!"  I have no idea what he was pretending, but whatever it was, it was awesome.

Two nights ago, Mike had a "camping sleepover" with the boys in the family room.  They stayed up late, and woke up early, and generally had a fantastic time I think.  I got to have a nice relaxing evening in my room.

As lovely and funny as my children are, some times they are also cranky and demanding and sometimes I need something else to do other than mommying to keep myself from going completely crazy and just yelling at everybody all day.  So, I decided I should finally teach myself calculus, and sat down with my book I got awhile ago, and discovered a few pages in that I didn't remember what logs were.  At that point, I decided perhaps a general math-refresher-course would be a good idea, so I am going through all the math categories on Khan Academy and am learning lots of neat stuff, and re-learning a few things that I had completely forgotten, and remembering how to do other things that I only vaguely remembered.  I am almost through the Arithmetic and Pre-Algebra section.  The only thing I have not liked so much was the unit on rates with the quiz full of word-problems of the following variety:

Tommy travels an average speed of 20mph on the train, and then travels an average speed of 15mph on his bike, and he travels 50 miles total over 3 hours (I am making this up so the math probably doesn't work at all on this problem!), so how many minutes (or miles, or whatever) did he ride his bike for?

And the videos before that quiz don't really explain how to solve that problem, and the hints show the formula to use to solve it, but they don't explain how you get to that formula, or where all the units go, etc., and it's very frustrating.  Similarly there were problems like the following:

If it takes 9 people 5 hours to paint 11 walls, how long will it take 5 people to paint 27 walls?

And the hints again show the formula, but not how they got to that formula, which wasn't explained in the videos at all either, and was, again, frustrating.

But I've liked everything else.  We'll see how I feel after I get through the algebra section.

I've also been playing a lot of Draw Something on my phone over the past year or so.  It is a fun game. Here is a random picture I drew in it recently:


The End

P.S. Upcoming soon will be posts about Aiden's birthday, and my birthday/Mother's Day/anniversary, etc.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Catch-up

Playing a bit of catch-up on posting during nap time today.

Let's see, in no particular order:

Thanksgiving was nice, I made yummy pies and some weird stuffing. Christmas was wonderful.  My brother and sister and brother-in-law all came to visit us for several days, which we absolutely loved.  I made the kids lots of presents, some of which turned out really well (like the dress-up box), and some of which didn't turn out so well (hallway house held up by tension rods that haven't stood up to my kids just trying to go through the doorway).

Mike and I did absolutely nothing for New Year's.  3 King's Day was pretty uneventful as well.  Mike was sneaky and bought me roses for Valentine's Day.  We had a weekend getaway to Tucson this past weekend, and my in-laws watched the kids for us.  We ate some good food, had some good times and some bad times, and discovered astro-photography (especially moon photography) is really, really fun.  Also, I desperately want a telescope now.  Recommended things to do in Tucson: go to the Flandrau Science Center's free star watching nights with their 16" telescope (details can be found online), drive around Saguaro National Park, drive up towards Mt. Lemmon and admire some of the beautiful views, eat at Feast and get the Crispy Duck Salad, eat at Planet of the Crepes and get pretty much anything.  Take lots of scenic photos.

Gwen is finally walking around all the time now.  She goes slowly, and is still a little wobbly, but she's getting steadily better and seems to enjoy it.  Chloe has begun waddle-running, which is always funny. They are starting to try to say specific words sometimes, banana, thank you, bye-bye, hi, cracker, grandma (or grandpa), go, etc.  Their hair is slowly getting longer and lighter.  Caleb's hair is finally thick on most of his head, though he still has a high forehead.  Aiden likes his hair to be a little long and messy.

Aiden is all registered for kindergarten next year (I believe it's full-day).  He's been taking a little guitar class for little kids at the rec center, which I think he's starting to enjoy.  Caleb is looking forward to starting preschool this next year.  It will be interesting for me to be at home with just the girls a couple of times a week.

It's been an abnormally cold winter.  We got hail last week, and various places around the valley got snow.  There were a lot of car accidents, because nobody here knows how to drive in the snow.  I am hoping it will stay a little warmer for a while now (and hold off on getting really hot for a while too) so the kids can play outside lots, as it's their favorite thing to do, plus it wears them out! Bonus.

I am turning 30 this year.  If you have any fantastic ideas of what to do to celebrate, let me know.

And...time's up.  Gotta get the kids in the car and go get Aiden from preschool.  More another time, I suppose.

Happy 3rd Birthday, Caleb!

I'm only a month and a half late with this post...oh well.


Caleb, at age three, is becoming more independent all the time.  He likes trying to do things all by himself.  He is at that stage though where he still craves some amount of dependency and help.  It's a balancing act trying to figure it out sometimes, but it's getting easier.


He's slightly above average in size for his age, at 35.5 lbs and 38" tall.  He seems very large to me, perhaps because Aiden was so skinny at that age, and Caleb is a little sturdier.  He's leaned out a lot over the past year though, and no longer has the little round tummy he had when he was 2.  We are working, slowly, on potty training.  He is capable of using the potty, he just doesn't want to most of the time and would rather just wear his pull-ups.


Caleb is really excited at the prospect of attending preschool at the end of this summer.  He knows almost all of his letters (and is very good at recognizing them, and constantly surprises me by pointing out various letters out of the blue), and is learning how to count to ten fairly well, though he still can't count actual objects with any sort of accuracy (that, in my experience, takes a much longer time to learn than just reciting the numbers or recognizing them in print).  He's very good at his colors and shapes now.

He talks in complete sentences most of the time now, and makes up elaborate pretend play for his hands or for some of our action figures or cars.  He doesn't enunciate very well, so he's still rather hard to understand for most people (including me when he's upset, since he doesn't enunciate at all when he's frustrated over something).  He makes up funny little stories for his hands all the time that they act out, mostly involving dialogue between them as they climb up and fall off of things.  They are generally brothers, and one of them usually saves the other.  Caleb still adores Aiden, though he is starting to assert his independence from him a bit as well, and will refuse to participate when Aiden tries to force him to play one game when Caleb wants to play something else, or play by himself, instead.  They get along well most of the time though, and play together all day.  It will be a big change for both of them, I think, when Aiden starts full-day Kindergarten and Caleb starts preschool.



Caleb loves music, and frequently tries to sing along with the songs in the shows and movies we watch (and does quite a good job at it), and loves trying to play instruments and dancing (which still just involves running around in circles).  He still likes to have things 'just so' when he goes to bed, with his animals lined up just right, and his blanket not crumpled on top of him.  It's probably nice to have a bit of order after the chaos of most of our days.  He doesn't usually nap anymore, though he will fall asleep on the couch occasionally in the afternoons after we've played outside a lot in the mornings.  He adores nursery, and is having no problems whatsoever with Gwen and Chloe being in there with him now.

He is getting better at playing with them, now that they can both walk, which translates to he occasionally will share something with them, and sometimes likes to try to make them laugh by making funny noises, but he still doesn't like them to touch him generally, and refuses to show them how to play with different toys.  He likes saying, "I can't" if I ask him to do something he doesn't want to.  He loves pointing out, "It's morning, Mommy!" as soon as the sun starts coming up every day.  He likes trying to help me cook, and he and Aiden both like to help mop the floor with the kid-sized string mops they got for 3 Kings' Day this year.  His favorite drawing activity is tracing his hand on a piece of paper, which he can do by himself now.

Generally, he's happy and fun to be around (though if you ask him if he's happy, he'll usually reply by suddenly becoming downcast and declaring, "No, I'm sad.") His favorite color is the colors of whatever he is interacting with at that moment.  His favorite show is still Fresh Beat Band.  He really likes Cars, and Here Come the 123's, as far as movies go at the moment.  Sometimes he plays with our baby dolls and will make little beds for them and put them to sleep and carry them around or push them in the stroller if they are "awake". His favorite food is probably peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cut into triangular quarters.  He eats a lot in the mornings and afternoons and then isn't much interested in dinner.


We tried going to the snow up in Flagstaff one day a couple of weeks ago.  He hated the cold and wanted to get back in the car after just a couple of minutes.  I think he felt personally affronted that anything could feel so cold.  It hailed last week, and he refused to go out and play in it, even bundled up in warm clothes.  It's somewhat entertaining.

It will be fun to see how he changes over the upcoming year.