Monday, June 25, 2012

Timmy at 11 months

I love the way babies communicate in the months before they learn how to talk.  We are always putting little thought bubbles over his head, and guessing the words that go with his sounds, expressions, and increasingly expressive gestures.  I find myself providing the 'voice of Timmy' all the time as he goes about his business, to the amusement of his sisters.  "No, Mama, I will not be giving you kisses at this time."  Crawls to the doorstop.  "I shall do something even better.  I shall play you a song."  (Because if Timmy could talk, he would of course say 'shall.':)

Timmy waves and points.  When he's excited about something, he flaps his arms and legs and shouts.  Every evening I say, "Timmy, bathtime!" and I sign "bath."  His eyes get big and he pumps his arms up and down rapidly in an approximation of the bath sign, before taking off after us to the bathroom.  "Yay, it's bathtime!  I LOVE bathtime!"  You can hear the slap-slap-slap of his hands on the tile has he crawls to the bathroom as fast as he can.
He still gets around most of the time by crawling, but he has begun to cruise too, most often around the kitchen table, grabbing onto the bench and chairs.  He forages for the food he and the girls drop during mealtimes.  He doesn't appreciate the food on his tray nearly as much as the tasty prizes he finds later on the floor -- even though they are usually exactly the same thing.

He is a busy boy.  Sometimes as we sit in the glider rocker to nurse, he'll squirm out of my arms.  I set him down on the floor and he crawls to the door and opens it.  Then, with one last little grin back at me, he's off to find his sisters.  Or the toilet.  Or the plantation blinds.
What?  I was just cleaning up for you.
Sometimes when we're playing on the floor, he gives me hugs and pats me on the back.  There's nothing better than the feel of those plump arms encircling my neck and his cheek against mine.  

He finally gave me a kiss a few days ago.  After his sister gave him a goodbye kiss for nap, he made a smacking sound afterward, like he was practicing.  I said, "Can Mama have a kiss?"  I was holding him on my hip.  He did not pucker up, but he obligingly offered me his face as he smiled with his eyes half-closed.  Ah.. I just want to bottle up all this sweetness and save it for when he turns, say, 10 or 12. 

He loves when we go to the pool, which is nearly every day.  He crawls around, splashes, and sometimes just lays on his belly kicking his legs in the 0 to 3 foot section.  Sometimes he "walks" himself around on his hands while the rest of his body floats.  He's figuring out his limit as far as how deep he can go, but sometimes he forgets.  I wonder if I were to leave him alone for a few seconds, would he start to dogpaddle his way around like a puppy?  I probably won't ever find out, because I can't stand to watch him sink even for a second.
I love watching his little mind at work.  He's so simple and uncomplicated at this stage.  He just needs food, sleep and love.  In return he fills our lives with so much happiness.

I will leave you with this video of Timmy and me singing a duet.  I had only intended to make him laugh by singing to him the way I had only moments before; but once I turned on the camera, he surprised me by singing back.  You have to listen all the way through, as painful as it is to hear me try to imitate Paul Robeson.  You can thank Tim for this.  When I'm reading bible stories to the kids at bedtime, he sings loudly and slowly in the background, "Let my people go..."  Now look what he's started!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Tim's sister Sam put this together, and I think it is one of the cutest Father's Day gift ideas ever.  These are all the Massachusetts cousins, from left to right:  Sam's girls Juliana and Alexa; Annie, Timmy and Delaney; and Kathy's girls Sofia and Natalie.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Here are just some things I've been thinking about and wanted to share, in no order whatsoever.

Time has been flying.  We are already a week into June, and this summer will be over before we know it, at this rate.  Tim and I have decided against a big vacation this year, after a lot of talking and Tim's our inability to commit to anything.  But I'm OK with it now.  He'll still be taking several days of leave over the next couple of months.  I have to say in all honesty that this is turning into one of the best summers ever.  We joined the Y, and I take the kids there every morning that it's nice, and pack a lunch.  They have a 0 to 3 foot section, and the kids have so much fun.  It is hassle-free for me.  I know once the summer camp starts up, we'll be sharing it with many more kids, but we'll deal with it.  It's a great way to spend a morning.  Then Annie and Timmy are all tired out for their nap, and Delaney continues to chatter a mile a minute and ask me what we're doing this afternoon or tomorrow morning, and remind me to invite her friend Jonathan for dinner, and on and on and on.  On weekends, there are so many things to do as a family around here.  We've been doing a lot of walking downtown and going to free events there.

I don't know what it is lately.. maybe it's the gorgeous weather we've been having, or all these magazines and catalogs that come to our door, but Tim and I both keep getting crazy notions.  We'll drive past someone towing a boat and say, "Let's get a boat."  I'll remind him that we need a friend with a boat instead, and he'll say, "We'll never have that friend because you scare people away.  We need to be those people with the boat!"  Every time Tim sees a Harley, he wants one.  I remind him that we now have another car payment on a brand-spanking new car, no less.  (It sure was nice for those two weeks we had the other family car paid off.  RIP, old Traverse!  That will teach us to buy a new car AND pay it off.  That ought to teach us not to buy new at all, but that's a whole different topic.)

Then, the other day, I was flipping through the newest issue of Family Fun magazine, and there was an article about pop-up campers.  The author bought an 8-year-old one from a friend for $1500.  It looked a lot like the one we used to camp in when I was little, except bigger, nicer, newer, and with a lot more screens than I remember ours having.  The author described it as so fun and simple -- you hitch it to the back of your car, go wherever you want, and wa-la, it's a vacation.  The only difficulty, she said, was backing it into the campsite between the electricity and water hookups.  When I saw the picture of the camper sitting next to a lake at sunset, and you could see the sky through all the windows, I gasped.  There was the happy family sitting next to it in adirondack chairs around a fire, and I thought, that could be us!  And a camper is so much more practical and obtainable than a boat!

I got on Craigslist, and looked at all the listings for pop-up campers.  There were all kinds, anywhere from 10 to 20 years old, and usually people were asking for a couple thousand dollars for them.  I laughed at one of the ads.  The owner said it had been in their family since 1985 (so it was already used!), and they wanted $1500 for it.  It looked exactly like the one my parents had forever ago.  $1500?  Are you kidding?  Nobody is going to buy your stinky, smelly, moldy old camper from 1985 for that much.  Not when you get can get a newer nicer one that doesn't smell like 30-year-old smoke and stale pee.  (You'd better believe any camper we want to buy will undergo an inspection -- a sniff test to tell us if we need to run away now, then a closer one where we look for mold, bed bugs, cracks, holes, and anything else we can think of.)

I sent Tim the link for one that was from 1999, I think, and they were asking for $2300.  After a couple hours he replied, "Where did that come from?"  A little while later, he emailed me his own link, and wrote: "We had something like that too, growing up.. Dream bigger, honey."  I clicked on the link, and of course it was a honking RV that cost $150,000.  Tim always wants the thing that costs a fortune.  We discussed a little more, and now we are seriously thinking about buying a used pop-up camper.  This morning, I was looking at another magazine, and there was an ad for one, complete with beautiful sunset picture.  A sign!  A sign that I need to stop looking at magazines and catalogs, and getting ideas that I didn't have before, and was happy anyway!  I don't want to rush into it, but this is summer moving season, people are going to be looking to get rid of things, and we are going to be looking to acquire.
We are planning Delaney's birthday party.  It is going to be on July 8, and we have reserved the pavilion next to the pool at the Y.  I have no idea how it's going to go, and if it will be fun or just hectic and crazy.  It is the best I could come up with.  It's most likely going to be hot, and I didn't want to be inviting all Delaney's preschool friends to our house, where we'd likely be cooped up inside.  There is the option of setting up a slip & slide in the backyard, and grilling burgers and hot dogs on the deck.  But the owners of our house, after talking about it all spring long and getting estimates, seem to be in no hurry to re-stain the deck.  It looks like crap.  The backyard is kind of a wilderness anyway, with no fence, and ant mounds keep popping up from time to time.  The lawn is mowed and it's not horrible, but Tim and I don't feel comfortable with it, so I needed to seek out other venues for the party.  There weren't many options.  New Bern Gymnastics can be rented out for a party, and they have a ball pit and some other things for kids to bounce around on.  But it's cavernous and gloomy, and not what I envision a summer birthday party to be.  That's really about it in this area.  Then I learned you can have a pool party at the Y, and Delaney was excited about that.  I hope it's not awkward and weird, and that Delaney has fun.  We've already ordered the invitations.  
Due to the fact that we live about 10 to 15 minutes from anywhere, we spend a lot of money on gas.  It cost $321 to put gas in our family car, a Chevy Traverse, in March.  I use that month as an example, because it was a typical month of me schlepping Delaney to and from preschool, making weekly trips to the commissary, and no vacations or trips.  On the weekends, we drive around a lot too.  In an effort to conserve fuel while we can, I have made a pledge to myself to make one trip a day during the week.  No matter where I drive, it's at least 10 minutes away, so I can't cheat.  Or I can, but I'm cheating myself.  

It's incredibly hard to hold myself to this.  Our one trip lately has been the Y, and if we go there, I am definitely not making any other stops.  We are dressed for the pool and that's it.  If I go to the commissary, then I'm done driving for the day, and it hasn't even been anywhere fun.  It is very easy to come up with an excuse for why this day, whatever it is, has to be the exception to the rule.  I've had to get creative with ways to battle boredom in the afternoons, since our outings are almost always in the morning, when the kids are at their most well-rested best.  One thing we do is the "laundromat game" on the back deck.  I put a pot of soapy water out there, and the girls "wash" little towels and miniature clothes, and pin them on a little clothesline we have set up.  That keeps them busy for a good 20 minutes.  Afternoons are LONG.  I also enlist their help in putting real laundry away.  Delaney is good about that, and Annie was until she recently regressed back to being a pouty two-year-old.  (I won't go into that here.)

We take more walks and have the girls ride bikes or play in the yard as long as the weather is nice.  If it's too hot or rainy, we do more coloring painting or crafts, and read more books.  A blogger that I follow regularly, began reading chapter books to her kids for about a half hour at a time every day.  She does it every morning no matter what, and they love it.  I was surprised that a five-year-old would be interested in hearing the Little House or Boxcar Children books read to her, but she says kids can understand a lot more than we give them credit for.  So that is something I'd like to implement around here.

It seems like all my ideas only take me so far, and then Tim calls to tell me he's going to be late again, and I'm like, 'Ugh.'  

And naptime's over.  If you've hung in there with me this far, I'm done!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Girls' room update

I've realized lately that I haven't posted an update about the girls' room since Annie moved in with Delaney.  This is my favorite room in the house, so I decided I'd better record it for posterity (if such a thing is possible with Blogger).

We haven't made any major changes to it since it became solely Delaney's room soon after we moved in almost two years ago.  We moved Annie in there right before Tim deployed last March.  At first she was in a crib, but we don't have any pictures of that.  She was in the crib until Karen converted it to a toddler bed when she visited last June.  Then, soon after Tim came back this past February, he set up the other twin bed for her, and here's how it all looks now.  These pictures stink, but they're the best I could do.
Normally, two pink robes are hanging up, but one seems to be missing.
"Mr. Clock" -- My Tot Clock -- deserves a post of its own.  I love that thing.
This pretty little girls' room is the scene of a lot of shenanigans.  We also read stories in here every naptime and bedtime.  Just looking around this room makes me smile.

And there you have it, Delaney and Annie's room, at least for the next year or so!