Tuesday, June 26, 2012

March merriment

Presenting Luke and Eleanor in their (former) natural habitat! In no particular order, here are some of my favorite memories from March in our old house. There were so many cute March pics when I uploaded them last weekend that I have to share a couple here.

- Blanket nests and a new car seat box.

- After a hot walk home from the playground on a particularly warm spring day, we made smoothies. It seems Eleanor thought this was a combination snack and body painting activity…

- Color mixing with water, food coloring, an ice tray, and a medicine dropper was a big hit. What pretty colors Luke mixed up! I was amazed, especially for a boy who loves to swirl his water colors into a dreary brown.

- Luke’s truck deposited rocks on the words that I called out. He did great with this and there are so many terrific beginning reading games out there. Maybe Nika will make Luke a little flashcard book like I remember her using to teach Luke’s uncles to read!

- A little Carolina fan donned her March Madness gear and had to accessorize. What a girlie-girl she is!

- Garbage truck deliveries in the middle of the living room. This game (and its variants) is a long-standing favorite of Luke’s but not of Mommy’s! He loves to gather items from all over the house and heap them on his truck, which is also known as a couch, someone’s bed, or the middle of the floor. Then we drive to all sorts of places (most often Grandma & Grandpa or Nika & Papi’s houses) and unload and reload our truckload. He relishes this game so, and loves for me to play it with him, I just need to find a way to work in my organizational tasks so it doesn’t drive me quite so crazy. As it is, it feels like I’m picking up, but instead of leaving things more organized they just end up more jumbled!

- Playdough creations outside on a chilly morning. We’ve since been on a homemade playdough kick, with this jello playdough recipe.

- Helping Daddy with yard work. Oh how we all love that wolf hat! But I don’t think it will fit this winter, sigh!

- And it wouldn’t be spring without some photo shoots at the Gardens!

Thanks for backtracking to March with us! More March pics here, and hopefully I’ll be back soon with real-time updates. Tonight we took a walk around our new neighborhood, with our eyes peeled for wildlife. Luke had a piece of paper and a hole punch so he could record each bunny sighting. We filled the paper with bunny punches and also saw three deer crossing the road! Eleanor laughed and pointed with delight and Luke was sure they were looking for their baby ‘deers’. I’m thinking of printing our own punch card with pics of different local wildlife so that Luke and Eleanor can learn to identify animals and stay entertained. Anything to get them in the stroller for a relaxing after dinner walk! 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Farewell K.C.!

It was bittersweet last weekend when we moved the remaining items from our old house. We were preparing for the big day this past week when we signed our first house baby over to a new owner.

It was sad to say good-bye to the house and yard that we had poured so much work into fixing up and renovating. It was Erik’s and my collaborative design endeavor, a sort of multi-year creative project of sweat, tears, and pride. But even more precious are the memories that the house holds of so many family firsts. Bringing Luke home from the hospital and giving him his first home tour together. Lying newborn Eleanor on the rug and calling Luke to come over to really meet his sister for the first time. First steps, first solid foods, first words, and so many other tender moments are layered into the house’s history with us. It was not without tears that we packed up her contents and bid her farewell!

But enough with the bitter, sniff!, let’s focus on the sweet…

- Getting two offers and lots of showings the first weekend she was on the market. Our closing was less than a month after the house was listed, so we’re back to one house even before the first mortgage payment on our new house is due. It was gratifying to see other people appreciate the work we’d put into her and such a blessing to have everything play out smoothly!! Special thanks goes to our wonderful realtor friend Christa and her office for taking such good care of us.

- Knowing that we won’t have to maintain two houses any longer. We enjoy home projects, but one house is plenty for us to handle! Plus spending afternoons repairing a house that you don’t live in and are trying to keep in pristine condition is a bad combination with two little troublemakers. You end up with them out in the garage playing with ‘toys’ like these.

- Renting a U-Haul truck again. Last night, a week after the move-out, Luke included in his bedtime prayer, “thank you God that Luke got to ride in a U-Haul truck…”

- Getting our furniture back. It had been over a month since we’d eaten at our kitchen table or slept in a bed! Camping-style living in our new house had its charm but we were ready for the moved-all-the-way-in chapter.

- How much Luke loves his new house. After the closing (during which he and Eleanor were remarkably well-behaved, I’m not sure what came over them but we need to find a way to tap into that on a regular basis!), Luke asked Erik why he gave the title lady the keys to the KC house. After Erik explained, Luke seemed a little sad but just mildly. He remains head-over-heels about everything pertaining to our new house which makes the move much easier on his sentimental mommy.

- And last but not least, the smaller scope of stage 2 of the move made it less overwhelmingly chaotic and afforded me the opportunity to snap some pics of my darling moving men…

Stage 1 took place on Mother’s Day weekend. Stage 2’s timing was just with the second U-Haul rental and final move-out happening on Father’s Day of course! So our gifts were straightforward this year. I got a new house for Mother’s Day and Erik got his bed back for Father’s Day!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

April & May: A photo review

April and May were the milestone months of finding our new house, buying it, and moving in. But before diving into moving pics or our mega-gallery of Easter photos, here’s a 1 to 10 round-up of the little landmarks for our junior movers.

First love: Eleanor’s ‘baby’ gets a smooch. Our girlie’s love for dirt and trucks doesn’t dampen her faithful affection for her baby.

Second bite! I almost cried when I saw the nasty bite Luke’s tummy suffered in Sunday School one morning. Ouch!

Third load for the heavy machinery: Luke and Eleanor help us spruce up the yard before putting our house on the market.

Fourth annual spring snowball show: We all love the profusion of white blooms on the snowball verbena bush at our old house.

Fifth lap around the yard: Eleanor takes her first spin on the balance bike.

Sixth catch in under an hour: despite my abhorrence for the bug kingdom, Luke doesn’t hesitate to grab them by the legs and drop them in his bug house. He’s sure to add plenty of dead leaves to keep them well fed.

Seventh… heaven? Playtime in the mountain-view truckyard at our new house.

Eight: The number of ‘eyes’ in the tub with two new pairs of goggles.

Nine: The number of minutes before Luke started crying when we took our first dip in the pool. (I think it was due to a combination of chilly water and Daddy’s swimming enthusiasm.)

Ten: The score we give our two olympic pool step splashers.

Thanks for backtracking to April and May with us! More pics in our galleries here and here.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Tough week in March

I wrote this post months ago, but then I hit my blogging hiatus and it got stuck in my drafts folder. So I thought I’d post it now, better late than never, right?


What a week we’ve had! Luke started it off with his first ear infection, which kept him in this state for longer than I’ve seen before.

Antibiotics did the trick, but not before this happened.

As I was sneaking in at 4 am to pull his blankets back on, he started to stir. Not wanting to be seen, I dashed for the door. But the camping tent that had been a playtime hit twelve hours earlier tangled with my toes and brought me falling down. My sleepy haze didn’t make for a graceful landing.

Thankfully, I just broke a small bone in my foot and I might only have to wear the boot for two weeks, no more than four probably. And it hardly hurts now, the boot just makes sitting and kneeling on the floor with L & E a little awkward. Erik thought we better take a photo highlighting my new footwear with a portrait pose.

Poor Eleanor joined the mayhem by catching Luke’s RSV virus and running a scary fever for three days. It was so persistent that we were dosing her with acetaminophen and ibuprofen concurrently to keep it at safe level. Finally the fever broke and she just has a little congestion that’s still clearing.

With one injury, two illnesses, and some big work deadlines for Erik, we watched more kids TV on Netflix than I care to admit. Of course there was Curious George for Luke, and Ella has developed a favorite too. Fish! as she calls it with its fun Bible songs and underwater scenes. We also watched Classical Baby, which I recommend for its varied music and artistic animation, and other soothing selections to lull L and E to sleep on the couch.

As the week progressed our house became more and more of a disaster. Erik described it this way: “If a team of burglars wanted to rob us, the first one would enter and turn around to leave saying, “Guys, we’re too late. The place has already been hit.”

Hopefully today we get the upper hand on the clutter and the laundry, though Eleanor seems to have come down with yet another sickness last night. A stomach bug of course!

But our everyday woes of the week paled next to the news we received on Monday night. Erik’s grandmother, who everyone calls Yaya (Greek for grandma), passed away. We will dearly miss how she delighted in her great-grandchildren, the merry twinkle in her eye, the thoughtful crafty gifts she made, her partiality to all things Grecian, and her love for her family. We miss you Yaya!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The casa campaign

I know Luke and Eleanor have at least a couple adoring fans who have missed their stardom on this blog these past few months. I’m sorry to have been such a poor publicist! We’re slowly restoring equilibrium after an in-town move. It sounds so fun and simple – find a pretty house, load up a uhaul, and put our old house on the market. Well, maybe that doesn’t sound super simple, but it doesn’t sound like an almost year-long, all-consuming task! But I can report, that at least in our case, it has taken far more time and focus than I’d ever envisioned. Some of that is due to the fact that we pursued several distressed properties which are more complicated to buy, much of it is due to our general indecisiveness and need to research everything, and then there’s the challenge of our in-house troublemakers. Maybe I’ll post some of our house-buying adventure over the next few weeks, but in the meantime I thought I’d write up a few recent Luke and Eleanor quotes before they slip out of the mushiness of my still-not-completely-moved-in-and-can’t-find-anything mind. Interspersed you’ll find some pics I snapped on a rare rainy afternoon at our new house. Meet the raincoat troupe of ‘Wild Oak’!

Me: Is she all wet? Luke, why is Eleanor all wet?

Luke: Now I playing FIREMAN!!

{In the tub}

Luke: I a water lion.

Eleanor: Rrrraaawwwhhhh!!!!

{Luke greeted me with, “Good morning honey!” one morning, then later that day he said…}

Luke: You know why I call you honey?

Me: No, why do you call me honey?

Luke: I call you honey because you so sweet to me!

Luke’s favorite pool activity is skimming: bugs for closer examination (ew!) and flowers to give to his mommy (aw!).

Me: Luke, what’s that truck on your shirt called? {Labeled a combat tank.}

Luke: A street sweeper!

{Sometimes, lying in bed at night, Luke nervously considers scary animals and wants to discuss them with me.}

Luke: Coyotes have big eyes, big ears, and big teeth. {Pause.} Reindeers no have big teeth. And horses. {Pause.} They just have tongues.

{The next morning}

Luke: I love my new house.

Me: What do you love about it?

Luke: It protects me from bears and lions!

The dreamy view from our back door. No bears or lions in sight!