Saturday, October 29, 2011

worst. blogger. ever.

I’ll admit it – I am my father’s daughter. Neither of us like the end of the summer – we spend most of September sighing, tut at the sun as it goes down earlier and earlier and flat-out refuse to put the shorts away. 

This year, however, I think I was okay saying goodbye to the short-lived season. For those not keeping score (or who I haven’t shared with), we had a pretty rough run since my last post:
1.     Cappy had a bad stroke and was at Tufts (she is home recovering now though!)
2.     Some ill-fated man T-boned Tony, yes, with the twins in the car, and totaled our minivan (thankfully he had insurance though and we got a Nissan Versa)
3.     The computer crashed (lost our music and files, but on the plus side, I still have all the photos! I know, you were worried…)
4.     Tony broke his arm (but, no surgery required and he’ll get the cast off in November)
5.     Bits of other drab-ness including me dropping my Simmons course, insane bills, selling the printing presses, etc.

  
October seems to be kinder to us. In the first, there is Halloween candy about. And, I’m sorry to say to all of you, I have the cutest and sweetest kids ever. They make all the bad literally melt away (I know, that sounds so silly, doesn’t it? But it’s the truth). You know what else makes October better (besides Inspector Lewis)?  Pumpkins. And. Tractors. Especially when they come together. We have an absolute embarrassment of pumpkins around the house. Our favorite pumpkin-marks-the-dot farm is Flo’s in Rutland (pick up some of her fresh eggs while you’re there). We’ve gone on…I don’t think I can admit how many tractor rides so far. Suffice to say a lot. I just can’t get over the way Henry and Sophia respond. They are destined to be farmers.
We have ‘processed’ quite a few of the pumpkins already too – made pumpkin breads, muffins, cheesecake, bisque and the kids absolutely love the seeds. Besides the pumpkins we have also been working on words. Henry and Sophia talk. All. The. Time. (And I actually understand like 90% of it!) – Naturally, some words get jumbled – and homophones are a pretty big problem (things you never think of, actually). Just the other day we were making bread and, per usual, Henry and Sophia were on their chair-perches watching and helping where needed.


Me: Henry? Can you put some of that flour here (gesturing towards the counter)?
Henry: Flower? 
Me: Yes, flour.
Henry: (pulls a zinnia out of its vase and puts it down where the bread is supposed to go)
Me: ...
(I’m doing this story no justice, but it was extremely enlightening)
 

Or several weeks ago we were making a tomatillo sauce and the twins, still on their perches, were helping ‘sort’ the ingredients. Until I noticed something was missing. 


Me: Guys? Where is the hot pepper?

Henry and Sophia: Pepper? Pepper? Piper?!

Me: No, (panic starting to set in) not Piper (Piper is their cousin’s name) PEPPER. Where is the hot jalapeno PEPPER.

Henry and Sophia: Piper! Yay Piper! *Applause*

(This continued until Sophia finally showed me that she had it clutched in her little fist when I was on the verge of hysteria). 


I will try not to be as delinquent in posting (Halloween is coming yes? And you need to see my horrific attempts at their costumes? Yes?) 


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

a new house

Good news! Very recently we signed papers on a house. It was quite exciting. Granted, it was from craiglist, didn't have windows and was only one room.

But it had a solid roof and I could fit it in the Jeep and drive it across the city with just a bungee cord.

[N.B. I actually had Sophia "sign" paper with crayons to simulate the house-buying-rite-of-passage - I thought it would be a fun exercise. She pretty much left her mark all over the sheets in a variety of 'colors!' and I had to admire her for her technique]

Isn't it lovely?! It has a mail slot, fabulous mid-century ranch decor, a eat-in kitchen and a doorbell (that doesn't work).

And what home could be complete without moving furniture in-and-out of it?


Sometimes, I am stunned by how much my children are like me. Why have a house at all when you are just going to sit outside it all the time? Sigh.

At least we're close enough that she can borrow a cup of sugar. That is, if I'll share.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

being up close

Even though it is the middle of Summer, and rather hot, we spend a lot of time…in the same space. Henry and Sophia love books – but they love different ones. At the same time. And need assistance with them. So typically I have both twins balanced on each of my knees and holding a copy of Let’s look at Tractors! in one hand and Big Red Barn in the other (my thumbs are excellent page turners)
 



In the morning, they each like to sit on a hip while we walk around the yard (and my neighbors look on horrified – we kind of look like a three-headed monster). Taking laundry down from the clothesline is a task involving six hands and when we lay out a picnic blanket, I quickly realize that a dishtowel really would have done the trick. 


  


We are literally on top of each other. All the time.

This includes the dog (who comes into our bathroom during bath-time too). I’ve complained to Tony “we have 900-square feet in this house. Why must the five of us (four people and a dog) always be in the same 1-square foot of it?”
 
It really should come as no surprise that picture-taking has taken on new these challenges. But reviewing the past few weeks’ snaps makes me appreciate them all the more. My attempts at trying to shoo them away from the lens “play over there and let me take your picture!” quickly deteriorates. And as you see, they’re filling the entire frame.





So that is what this blog-post is featuring. Lots of close-ups, so maybe you can appreciate the intense and wonderful intimacy that is my every waking hour. 

And see that there’s no such thing as two close.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sorry to have kept you waiting for so long...



As I am drafting this, Henry is sitting on my lap and waving to the uploaded pictures on the screen (saying Hi!) - its quite adorable. He also likes to sit in front of the computer and identify pictures of himself as they roll by on a slideshow we have uploaded (HEN-ee and SIS-ta). 
NB I apologize for being tardy in updates on the twins. They have been exceedingly curious lately and harder to capture on camera than the Loch Ness Monster. But I have a treat - I did manage to Sophia in her natural state(s) - imitating and cooking. Both equally charming.
I likely have the most uninteresting closet in the world - and yet Sophia likes to take it apart (particularly my shoes). The other day she unearthed my silver slip-ons and walked around the yard with them on.
She did better than I do in them:
video
  At the beginning of summer, my mom brought over a wee set of Adirondack chairs with a matching red table. The chairs have become a fixture in our daily outdoor activities (and are light enough for H and S to pick up and transport around the yard).

They move them into the pool so they can sit and soak their feet (and eat their homemade strawberry ice creams with berries that we picked). Oh yes, and we move the slide in too. And once we moved in a pack and play (okay, that would be absurd). But I am amazed daily by how inventive they are.

Speaking of being inventive, we made a watermelon cupcake (one large one and several smaller ones). Sophia is particularly fond of the kitchen (and has, on more than one occasion pushed a kitchen chair up to the counter, climbed on top and watched as I did everything from cutting up a piece of celery to drying a dish). She is a grade-A stirrer. And chocolate chip taster. 


The results of baking day? Not bad.
Are you noticing a theme here (besides the fact that Henry and Sophia spend more time not-clothed than clothed?) Yeah - the chairs.
The chairs are a huge hit. And on the move again. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

sprinkler


I guess at any age, sprinklers are exciting. Several weeks ago it was very hot and so I brought the kids to Home Depot to chill out (they are very much into home improvement, tools, rakes, lawn equipment, perennials, non-perennials-turned-annuals, seeds, wood, paint and people in orange aprons). Its a large "That!" fest. And some charming customer service rep brought them each over a red ballon duct taped onto a paint-stick-stirrer. And it had AC. So it was like going to an amusement park only way cheaper and you can leave with a sprinkler and no one gets sick. 


This was also before I found out that swim diapers extend past infancy (!). H & S are wearing their regular out-and-about diapers as they could not wait to see the new toy (and bring the lawn mower over too for a look). NB the lawn mower has become a fixture in our daily activities. We have to "show" it everything. It even tries to make it into the bathtub and encroach on bedtime. 


Henry held the sprinkler for Sophia (I must admit, I pat myself on the back when I see this shot - as both I and the camera managed to stay dry - not to mention I got the shutter speed just where I wanted it!)


And Dad came home shortly afterwards. H & S showed him the lawn mower (again) and the sprinkler and three of them shared an ice cream sandwich. 


Ooops, I mean four. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

ice cream...


On Sunday I took out the ice cream maker and made Henry and Sophia the most incredible vanilla ice cream. We used whole cream from Cooper's (a local dairy) and my friend Christine's homemade vanilla extract. I more-or-less put the recipe below.

They had a dizzying time watching it in the ice cream maker going around...and around. 


It wasn't until last night that we actually served it. Ice cream a la one-year-olds is a commitment requisite of pre-messy clothes, outdoor space which can be hosed down and an ample post-cone bath-soak. So conditions were good last night and we were a-go. As Tony and I are somewhat insane (in a non-collateral sort of way) we made it into a production with the wagon, and even opened up the kitchen window and "served" H & S. They were hesitant at first...

 But clearly it was a hit; now comes the quest to find smaller sugar cones.



Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream for Two Beans

2 eggs (pasturized)
2/3 cup sugar 
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
2 tsp the world's-best-vanilla-extract

Whisk eggs in a bowl and slowly add sugar; continue whisking until your hand hurts or it looks whisked. Add other ingredients. Put in ice cream maker. Put ice cream maker on the floor so kids can look in and scream for ice cream (which they will do). Put in freezer. Serve through open window. Clean up. Like a lot.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

signs of Spring

I know – I took an entire month off of sharing stories of two of the happiest kids ever. I apologize. I had this vision in my head that as Henry and Sophia got older, they would be more independent and find me less entertaining leaving me loads of time to just write about them and observe them in their natural habitat. 

Instead they are interested in absolutely everything I do. So outside of work, hygiene and being endlessly fascinating, I have had little time to blog. And no free arms. Mea culpa. Mea culpa!

So while the twins are sleeping and work is done for now, I am going to post a few much-overdo pictures (with more to come shortly). And then fall asleep on the keyboard.

As a note - aside from me being interesting, they also have become acutely aware of the camera – so many pictures I take of them are when they are looking away. Because when they face me? They are attacking the lens. 



My contemplative little man has been helping water the plants, and then he walks with both hands behind his back. No really. He does. 



We bought one bubble lawn mower - but quickly realized we needed two (Henry hogged it). The laughable thing? Henry now hogs both of them (he has two working arms you know). 
I refuse to get a third.


I feel like these pictures are Henry-heavy - but how could I resist this? He loves Mama's (pronounced every so softly) piano. And his rough-and-tough truck underneath.


Ah yes, there is my other child. I forgot I had two.


 And one of my favorite sights? Two wee suits hanging up on the clothesline. 
*sigh*

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Easter (in pictures)


In this year's Easter basket? H and S got their first box of crayons (sniff, sniff) - sun hats, watering cans, a strawberry plant (which I put into the ground for them and they run up to and scream "Oh!") homemade coloring books, a children's text on the Saints and?

Spill-proof bubbles (speaking of Saints). Have you seen these things? Absolutely incredible. They. Don't. Spill. Like ever. And they have handles. When you are 1, life doesn't get any better. Especially when you're mother doesn't make you wear your Easter dress all day. Actually? Just wear the tights for a few hours. And we'll call it a truce.
We had our own egg hunt in the back yard after the 7:30 Mass. Sophia showed the bubble wand around. And Henry?
Climbed in the basket.


The official formal-wear pictures were less-smiley than bubbles. But they're still edible, aren't they?

 (Yup).

 (Answer's still yup).

(Yup - still yup - her dress was from a consignment shop - isn't it lovely?!).

You get the picture - they are cute. Period. In addition to bubbles, Easter eggs, filled with crackers, was a perfectly appropriate task for a 1-year-old. We may be doing them until September in the backyard.   

 

There was this fabulous combination of surprise paired with violence when Henry and Sophia discovered there was something inside and they smashed them on the concrete. But we won't show you that - instead you can see the adorable baby, delicately removing the eggs from her basket.