Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas Day!

What a lovely, wild, Christmas Day! Neil began our day at 6 a.m..

Here's a little slideshow until I get a moment to write.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Big Mood

Not much to this, but it was just too funny to not mention that when Henry got up this morning he came into the kitchen announcing that he was in a BIG mood. Whatever that means. Geez these guys are so funny sometimes.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Giving Thanks

It's not that nothing has been happening around here since Halloween, just a lack of some quiet moments to try to record at least some of it. Seems like everyone was sick with a little something the whole month of November--not enough to really to really bring us to a halt--just a couple of rounds of antibiotics, some cough meds, and a various assortment of cold remedies. For now though, thankfully, all are well. And, another BIG thing--Neil is officially off the oxygen as of our November 20th appointment with Dr. Colvin.

I had a great trip with my boys to visit Marian, Tom, and Alley in Hattiesburg. Such an easy trip from Tuscaloosa and so comforting to have a sister so close. And, so wonderful to hear Marian preach and watch these boys with their aunt, uncle, and cousin.

Nice Thanksgiving in Tunica (see above picture). Mama's presence sure was missed but I'm sure that she helped Susan and me in spirit to get the feast on the table. Richard had a nice outing to the Tunica museums (Tunica and River) with John, Jacob, Parker and Henry. Neil and I had a great outing at the John Deere store where I heard lots of "Mama look." We had a really nice visit in Oxford on the return trip with a saunter around the Square, lunch/picnic from Bottletree Bakery, and a leisurely stroll around Rowan Oak--trying our best to get these boys to cooperate for a Christmas picture.

Gearing up for Christmas now. We now have a tree in the living room and as of tonight it has lots of big fat colored lights and a box full of ornaments. I didn't want to fill it too full of ornaments too soon because I have a feeling that Henry and Neil are about to come home from Rise with a pile of them. So nice to sit down at the end of the evening and look at a Christmas tree.

Parker's guitar playing has really taken off. He has a new teacher who goes above and beyond and has taken a real interest in his playing. Tonight I requested "O Holy Night" for Christmas. I feel certain he'll come up with it beautifully. I can hardly wait.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween at the Arboretum

Until last night, I thought the only way for children to have a real Halloween was to trick or treat around the block. I'll have to say, I really missed seeing some of our neighbors (I've even thought of dressing everyone up again and going for visits this nice Sunday afternoon). But, Halloween at the Arboretum was just enchanting! A drive into the woods with woodsy creatures, nice lights, nothing scary, Irish music, and happy children was just lovely. Parker dressed as a hippie, Neil as a bear, Henry as a monkey--with an old beaver poncho thrown over it at the last minute due to the cool night, Mom with a little $2 witch hat from the grocery, and Dad as a Sox fan. Happy children are a wonderful thing.

P.S. Took Henry and Neil to trick or treat Miss Barbara and Mr.and Mrs. Barksdale this evening.

Now, our Halloween is complete.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Hip, Hip, HOORAY!

Neil and I made a trip to visit Dr. Colvin this week in Birmingham. We waited patiently for Dr. Colvin to finish the echocadiogram and to hear his assessment. These only take about five minutes, but Dr. Colvin doesn't say much during the echo, so it seems much longer and I just always hope that the news will be good. This time it was outstanding! Neil's right ventricular pressure is now normal, we can come off of the nighttime oxygen, and he can now fly with out oxygen!

I have had so many emotions for past 3 years and 11 months leaving the Hillman Building. This time as we walked down that long hall, I was just holding my baby as he gave me one of his knock out smiles and floating above it all. Joy and thanksgivng! That was just it.

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Day at the Arboretum

The great thing about this shot is that Henry is the photographer. Look closely and you'll see the remote control in his hand.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Blood, (No) Sleep, and Tears

Three a.m. Sunday morning and I'm in the best sleep of the night, sleeping beside Henry. I hear a big nose blow and then a request for a tissue. I reach on the table beside me and hand Henry a tissue, never opening my eyes. A few minutes later, I open my eyes and Henry is sitting up in the bed and I can see blood on the sheets. I turn the light on and Henry's face, hands, shirt, pants, feet and everything around him are covered in blood. Richard (who later said it looked like the scene of a splatterpunk film) comes running in to check on all the commotion and very carefully gets Henry to the bathroom, trying his best to avoid splattering blood on the new yellow chair and ottoman in the nursery. They made it successfully to the bathroom where I realize that Richard missed his calling as an EMT. Very calmly, he soothes Henry who is blowing his nose, crying and saying,"look at all that blood." I, who have never had a nose bleed, run warm water on a washcloth to hold on his upper lip to stop the bleeding. Dad, who has had many nose bleeds as a child, reminds me that it's cold water that we need. By this time Neil is wide awake, standing in his crib crying. Have I mentioned that it is 3 a.m. and we are doing all this in our sleep! I head back to the nursery to try to clean up and calm Neil. Not just sheets, but a comforter, a blanket, pillows, EVERYTHING is splattered in blood!

I can hear Richard continuing to calm Henry "You're doing great Henry, I think it has stopped." Wait, don't blow again. " It starts again. This goes on for what seems like all night--but I guess it was really only about 15 minutes. Finally things quiet down. Henry settles onto a crib mattress with Dad on the floor beside him. Neil would have nothing less than being in the bed with Mom. I think by 4 a.m. we were all sound asleep again.

Sunday morning, Henry awakens and says, "I didn't like that nose bleed." We get our coffee (bow) and ask him to tread lightly for awhile so that heaven forbid, that doesn't happen again. By Sunday afternoon, Henry complains of an ear ache. Thankfully we have those numbing drops that helped him make it until Monday when he was diagnosed with an ear infection. On Amoxicillin now and all is fine. And while at the doctor, for better or worse, Henry was the first of us to get the H1N1 flu mist vaccine. At the moment, all is well.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Mother Hen and Other Stories

I feel like a mother hen with all my chicks gathered 'round. Parker started at the new Tuscaloosa Magnet Middle School for 8th grade, and Neil and Henry are now BOTH at the RISE School at UA. All are within walking distance of our house. What a dream! And, they are all very happy!

The opening available at RISE for Henry was in the 4 year old room (Neil is in the 3). Henry told me last night that he hugs and kisses Neil when he meets him in the hallway. Henry has been so excited about this that one night he named everyone he could possibly think of that he has ever known and talked about having a celebration party with BBQ hot dogs, BBQ pizza, BBQ turnip greens, etc... I think he was still naming people and BBQ'd items when I finally fell asleep. Needless to say it is wonderful to have them in one place.

Dad and Parker have completed the backyard play structure and it is fabulous. Dad spent MUCH of his time securing everything for safety. We tried our best to think like Henry and Neil would. Well, after about a day, Neil discovered that he could climb all the way to the top, get to the slide, raise his hands above his head, hold on to the beam above him, pull his legs up and swing like a little monkey! Terrifying! He does this with one of his beautiful, big smiles on his face. Thankfully, Mom can quickly climb the nearby tree and get to him! So much for trying to stay ahead of these guys. They get us every time!

After six years of competitive swimming Parker thought he'd enjoy a break--and he has. We have loved having him here in the evenings. He wanted more time to play tennis and has joined the Fall USTA team. He has been a part of the Cross Country Team at his school and has enjoyed that. The meets are held in beautiful areas (Arboretum and Sokol Park) and it's nice to see all these children out in the fresh air. As of two weeks ago, Parker started guitar lessons with Tommy Sorrell and is soaking it up. It's amazing what a child does with a musical instrument when it's their idea.

That catches me up to this week. The "piggy flu" as Parker calls it or the "flying swu" as Henry calls it has hit. Parker tested negative but Dr. Pettit says that "clinically" he has it and has been out of school all week. He appears to have had a mild case compared to some I've heard. Neil and Henry are running wide open on Tamiflu to try to prevent it. Richard and I are hoping for the best and taking our C and Zinc.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Hot, wet and mad

Well, we're approaching the end of summer and what a summer it has been. Everyone in our house over the age of four is ready for a break from the heat and humidity, but we've had a blast and have really enjoyed the fact that Neil has been so very healthy. He has had a wonderfully normal summer for a little boy - swimming, walking in the woods, playing in the back yard, etc. No hospitalizations, no illness more serious than a cold, nothing beyond routine medical checkups. Just learning new things and playing and being a little boy.

We are always amused if somewhat exhausted by the different stages of development in our house. As Irene said this morning, everyone is in a different place. Neil is moving along at his own sweet pace, experiencing life's adventures in his own way. Henry is I guess what you would call a typical 3 1/2 year old, if a bit more "strong-willed" than some. Parker is definitely a teenager now. Irene was watching Mary Poppins with Henry last night while Parker was in his room playing "Sunshine of Your Love," and Neil was running around with his cars trying to impart to others some of his passion for the various models - "Look! Look!"

Another "Henryism" cracked us up this morning when apparently Parker gave him a look he didn't care for. "If you look mad at me, I'll look mad back at you!"

Lucy is nearing recovery thanks be to God, and we all look forward to not having to keep her separated from Willie in order to preserve her stitches. What an ordeal this has been - a solid argument for male pets. We love her, though, Parker more than any of the boys maybe, while Neil has a special fondness for Willie (WiWee!, as he says).

I finally finished the tree platform and it was with great satisfaction that I watched Neil and Henry climb up and slide down, climb up and slide down, climb up.... We'll be adding a few refinements as we see what sorts of things they want to do with it, but for now it seems to be a hit.

Friday, September 4, 2009

18 Years, nightmares (unrelated) and other stuff

Wrote the beginnings of this a couple of nights ago and forgot to post it. So for the record:

Tonight my best girl and I had a date to celebrate our 18 years together. The intrepid Zach and Rebekah agreed to keep the twins while we went to DePalmas for dinner. We rode around for a little while and talked, then while waiting for a table we saw the Polhemus sisters I had lived next to forty odd years ago, and we were ultimately given a pleasant booth against the wall where we had a lovely meal together. Even a few minutes together is such a rare thing for us nowadays, and three hours was just splendid.

Parker came to me first thing one morning recently to tell me about his nightmare. He said he dreamed that he had come into my room in the night to say Dad I hate to wake you to tell you the bad news, to which I responded something like What is it, someone's blood pressure or cholesterol? Yes, he said, the Sox traded Youkilis (their first baseman, one of his favorites) because his cholesterol was too high. I was reminded of how dreams tell us so much of what is on a person's mind - in this case baseball as the backdrop and his awareness of conversations Mom and I have about things like my medical checkup.

I've been renovating the treehouse the last several days, a minor repair turning as such things tend to do into a major project. As Parker said, Just think, all this started with the removal of a little rot in the roof. Several days later I'm still working on it and probably have a few days ahead of me. Having a little trouble getting the steps right, and this is the sort of thing that slows a project down. The devil is indeed in the details. I think it will be worth it ultimately, and the yard looks better already.

I'm taking Lucy to be spayed in the morning. We debated whether to postpone this given the extra work load with the twins out of school for at least the next two days due to what Henry calls the flyin swu. No one in our house has been hit yet, but it's definitely in the schools, so we're being extra cautious. Anyway, Lucy is supposed to be calm for the next week or so after this procedure, which should be interesting, but we decided that the effort of keeping her still outweighs what we would have to deal with should she come into heat.

So another installment in the saga of the Evans clan. Tired now, going to bed.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Whipped Cream and Other Delights

You may think I'm about to write about my love of the Herb Alpert album. No, much better.

Some things happen around here that draw me to write on this blog mostly for my sanity and a little time out.

This morning I've been going from room to room attempting to clean up the tornado debris that appears to be all over our house. At one point I walk though the living room and notice that Henry in playing nicely under the big quilt on the big red chair. I see him a little later with what looks like milk on his chin. I ask about it and he says, "it's shaving cream." I say, "you need to get a napkin and wipe it off" - dismissing the fact that he may have been in the bathroom into the shaving cream--thinking, well, I'll get to that mess later. So, about maybe 2 hours later, I notice that there is a huge can of Whipped Cream lying on the big red chair--and several dissolved blobs of it on the chair. There you have it. Henry under the quilt with a huge can of Whipped Cream. Ok, I feel better now. I'm laughing -wasn't at the beginning of this.

Other delights of the day:
  • Neil saying "go" and getting one shoe out of the shoe pocket and putting it on.
  • Henry pulling out the whole roll of dental floss--Mom slowly winding it all back in.
  • Neil saying Willie in a really cute sort of way-"Wiwi."
  • Henry putting shaving cream on his chin, getting to Mom's razor, and coming out of the bathroom saying, "I just had to get that beard off."
  • Henry and Neil taking a bath with Mary Poppins. Henry said her hair really needed washing.
  • And, a really BIG DELIGHT: Dad and Parker have been in the backyard all day remodeling the tree house! We are all SO excited!
P.S. I really do love Herb Alpert's "Whipped Cream and Other Delights."

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Summer from the 4th on...

Whew! I am sitting here tonight thinking about how much we've packed into this summer and how far behind I've gotten on blogging. And, thinking about how wonderful it is that I'm behind on the blogging because these boys are ALL running wide open!

Everyone was well by the time we left for the coast trip on July 6th. Our friends Pat and Annabel shared their lovely home with us and we soaked up everything there--the beach, the bay, bicycle rides on the canals, Souvenir City, golf with the pirates, go carts, boiled shrimp. Had good visits with our Rowe cousins and cousin Patty.

We returned to a much cooler house than the day we left. And, a happy hamburger-eating Willie. Turns out that old Willie did his job by not letting anyone in the yard, including our nice AC man--that is until he went home and had his wife make homemade hamburgers. Mr. Hayes had no problem the rest of the week after he paid his hamburger fee at the gate.

Parker has loved the two trips with the Natural History Museum. Tubing and caving. I think I would be a nervous wreck if I'd been on the caving trip --bats and squeezing through very small spaces. Hearing more and more from Parker on the guitar. In addition to "Blowin' in the Wind," we now have "Locomotive Breath," "Stand by Me," and "Lodi." Neil has finished up his first year at Rise and will move up to the 3 year old class in a couple of weeks. Really good year for him there. The new word of the week is "happy." He loves to say it and we love to hear it. Henry so proudly "washed" the new soap Farmer Sue gave him at the Farmer's Marker yesterday. He was standing at the sink with me yesterday doing very well washing the okra, squash, and corn until I looked over and he was pouring dish detergent all over them. We had lots of good, clean vegetables for dinner last night. Dad has enjoyed some good walks this Summer with Willie and Lucy. They are quite a sight--7lb. Lucy and 70 lb. Willie. I promise to get a picture of this soon.

All the boys have loved the University pool this Summer and Henry and Neil are both much bolder in the water.

The end July we had a great trip to Tunica. Granddaddy, Aunt Susan, Rachel greeted us upon arrival in our beloved Oxford which was very special. Uncle John cooked wonderful burgers for our spontaneous cookout with lots of "the other Dulaneys."
Aunt Susan suited us all up in Japanese yukatas from her recent trip to Japan.

Aunt Marian, Uncle Tom, and Alley are en route back to the South as I write to make their new home in Hattiesburg. We are looking forward to Amtracking it between here and there!
Welcome home!

A little funny dream I had night before last. Neil was holding my hand and he was holding a balloon (helium) with a string attached. I let go of his hand and he floated up--just like Winnie the Pooh trying to be a rain cloud. I panicked. How in the heck was I going to get him down? I spend a lot of time trying to fatten him up. Maybe I'm a bit anxious about that?!!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Fireworks on the 4th!

Henry has an ear infection and isn’t sleeping, Neil has fluid on his ears, Parker has a cough that sounds consumptive, I found a nail in the front tire of the van and Parker discovered the windshield has a big crack. To top it all off the air conditioning literally had a meltdown. We had smelled smoke outside the nursery window Friday night and called the fire department; they insisted it was just someone burning leaves and left. Our heating and air guy came out yesterday afternoon to figure out why the house was 90 degrees and climbing and immediately located the source of the smoke smell the fireman said they had detected as soon as they pulled into the neighborhood; the inside of the compressor was charred black. Irene is getting a migraine and I'm grumpy as hell.

We thank God, though, for all we have and the knowledge that none of this ultimately defines us. Really, we were able to send Irene and the boys to a motel last night for a little respite, friends have given us a house at the beach for a week (with air conditioning!), we have an awesome HVAC guy who came out on the 4th and who can replace the system while we're gone, we can all reasonably expect to regain our health, we love each other and have friends and family who love us. We know that in fact, "all will be well."

But holy cow what a 4th of July!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Zippity Do Dah

My oh my oh what a couple of weeks! My 27th high school reunion in Tunica, Mississippi, doctors appointments and a nasty Summer virus with fever and coughing that has gone through the family in this order over the past two weeks: Dad, JP , Henry, Neil, Mom. We're hoping we are all well before a trip to Gulf Shores on Monday the 6th.

The reunion was fabulous. About half of our class of 30 showed up. Henry and Neil were wonderful escorts (Dad and Parker staying home to recuperate from the D.C. trip) and by FAR the youngest children there. Good planning, I'll have to say to be such an old mother with such young children. Most of my classmates at least have one or more children in college and seemed to feel no burden in helping with Henry and Neil. So good for me to go and do this.

On Tuesday of this week I took all three boys with me to Birmingham for Neil's eye check up. I was a bit anxious about this as I always am when I take Neil to a doctor. On the way up, I was just trying to imagine how I was going to get him to keep a pair of spectacles on should he need them. I was thinking, okay, he has worn O2, surely he can do this, especially if it helps. I had even gone in the optical shop to look at the possibilities. The doctor did the exam with just about zero comment as he looked and I'm bracing myself for the worst. He finishes and says, "Well, he doesn't need glasses, he's a little farsighted which is normal at this age, come back in a year." We stopped by the Galleria for a celebratory ride on the merry-go-round. I'd post a nice picture of that but all I had for a camera was my cell phone.

On Wednesday Henry had his teeth cleaned for the first time and it went more smoothly than I ever could have dreamed. He jumped right into the chair, all smiles, and did everything he was asked. No cavities. We came home and I think he brushed his teeth about five times before bedtime with his new Sponge Bob toothpaste.

Parker has renewed his interest in playing the guitar this Summer and I can't tell you how wonderful it is to hear strumming coming from his room. When I returned from Tunica, he just about had Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind" down pat. Maybe by the end of the Summer he'll have the harmonica added!

We made it by the Canterbury Farmer's Market this afternoon. I just love this every Thursday afternoon. Not sure if I get more excited about the wonderful iced coffee or the great fresh produce!

Looking forward to a quiet 4th with high hopes that everyone will be well by Monday morning.

Monday, June 22, 2009

DC with JP

Parker's class took a trip to DC this past year and I had asked him to wait and let me show him around. I love traveling with him and figured that having lived there for several years and visited a few times since then I would be able to show him things he would never see on a class trip. Here's the account in outline. Pretty tedious reading for anyone else I would think, but I wanted some record of the trip and this seemed a reasonable place for it.

Saturday June 13th. Boarded the train at 1:00, went straight to our roomette and settled in, exploring the 6 1/2 by 3 1/2 feet that would be home for the next 19 hours. Meals are included in the fare when you book a sleeper so before long we headed to the dining car. Parker has a real fondness for BBQ pork and enjoyed their pulled pork sandwich. I had their shrimp and grits, which was certainly edible but a reminder that train food is just a notch or two up from what is served on planes. It is a pleasant experience nonetheless if you have reasonable expectations.

Sunday the 14th. Arrived in DC very close to the scheduled 10:15, hauled our bags down the escalator to the Metro, fumbled for a minute with the farecard machine and plopped down for another, much shorter, train ride to the Woodley Park stop. There was a brief comic moment as we strolled across the Calvert Street bridge when I realized I didn't know where we were going; I know the area so well and had been so casual about getting to the Kalorama Guest House that I hadn't bothered to bring the address. Fortunately Mom was home and after a quick call we found that we were a few doors away. We settled into our wonderful room - almost a suite - showered, changed clothes, and by noon we were out to see the city.

We strolled down "U" Street through the Shaw neighborhood (once known as Black Broadway), right on First Street and down past S.O.M.E. and Isaiah House, over to North Capitol and down to the Capitol Building which I thought was a fitting place to start. My plan was to spend the first couple of days doing all the things we would have to do outside in case the weather turned ugly. So around the capitol and down the the length of The Mall past the Washington Monument, through the new WWII Memorial, past the reflecting pool and to the Lincoln Memorial. Then the Vietnam Memorial (for me the most moving monument in the city) and back the other direction to the White House, first to the South lawn, then around to the North side and Lafayette Park. According to Wikipedia, Lafayette Park "has been used as a racetrack, a graveyard, a zoo, a slave market, an encampment for soldiers during the War of 1812, and many political protests and celebrations." Concepcion Picciotto must surely hold some record for political protests here or anywhere else, as she continues her now 27 year long vigil in protest of U.S. policies. Then back up through Dupont Circle and back to our rooms for another shower. Another brief stroll through Adams Morgan for dinner at El Tamarindo Salvadoran restaurant.

Monday the 15th. We walked down Kalorama Road and Belmont past a number of embassies, including the very impressive Embassy of Oman, and onto the trail through Rock Creek Park. We followed this into Georgetown where we picked up the C&O Canal and walked to Thompson Boat Center to rent a couple of bikes. We took these out the towpath through Georgetown a bit when we decided it would be interesting to visit Roosevelt Island, an 88 acre refuge in the Potomac River. So across the Key Bridge, over to the island and around, stops for photos and a chat with another visitor who had seen a deer, then back across to the towpath where we rode West for a couple of miles.

Before long we decided the canal and towpath scenery wasn't changing much so we turned around and rode back through Georgetown and around to the Tidal Basin. We found a shady bench overlooking the basin with the Washington Monument in the background and ate the sandwiches we had brought along. We then strolled around the relaxing and quite beautiful FDR Memorial and then around to the Jefferson Memorial. (Interestingly, the water around the basin was very near the walkway, and Parker had asked what happens if the level rises. We found out when we left the FDR Memorial; the sidewalk is covered with water and you have to take another route a few yards higher up. A park service sign indicates they're looking for a permanent solution, and I couldn't help wondering how no one had foreseen this problem.) We climbed up and paid our homage to Jefferson, then resumed our ride around the basin, made a second visit to the Washington Monument and back to Thompson Boat Center via "M" Street.

After returning our bikes we walked to Metro Center where we took the train to Brookland and walked up to the largest Catholic church in the Americas. After an hour or so strolling through the basilica we were very hungry and very thirsty and headed over to Colonel Brooks Tavern, a Brookland/Catholic U. institution for at least thirty years and a great stop for a beer and a burger (or a root beer and a burger if you're 13). Now fat and happy we walked up to the old Brookland Hardware just to see what hardware stores were once like. Sadly, there aren't many like this one around anymore, with hardly room to walk through the isles and stuff stacked from floor to ceiling. I caught a glimpse of the cellar through an open door and wondered if the main store is like this what in the world do they keep down there. Anyway, we made our way back to the Metro stop and caught the train back to Dupont Circle. We got off and walked up Connecticut Av past the Washington Hilton, site of John Hinckley's 1981 failed assasination attempt, then on up the hill to our rooms. Whew!

Tuesday the 16th. More beautiful weather, sunny skies and relatively cool. We stopped for sandwich ingredients at the Metro K Market and strolled down 17th Street toward the Mall. We took a quick tour through the Museum of American History and then headed over to the Holocaust Museum, where we spent an intense two and a half hours. I'm not sure what to say about this experience except that I had been through it soon after it opened in 1993, I think, and it has stuck with me ever since. I expect it to be with Parker for a long, long time. You have to wonder what goes through the mind of someone like James Von Brunn.

We were a little subdued (stunned?) leaving there and strolled across the Mall, re-visited the Museum of American History, and then made our way through the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden (where I was reminded once again of my age when I found that Parker had never seen and thus could not identify a typewriter eraser), and up to two of our favorite museums in DC, which share a gorgeous building between 7th and 9th and "F" and "G" NW - the American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery. One thing I remembered from a previous visit to the American Art Museum was Edward Hopper's People in the Sun and I wanted to show it to Parker. I'm not sure what it is about this piece except that it reminds me of an image I've seen of a group of witnesses to an atomic test, sitting in deck chairs with goggles waiting for the show. Anyway, it was not on exhibit in the main galleries, which led to our serendipitous discovery of the Luce Foundation Center where it was "stored" along with hundreds of other marvels.

After a wonderful couple of hours there we walked over to Chinatown, caught the train to Woodley Park, strolled (dragged?) across the Calvert Street bridge and down 18th to Meskerem to introduce Parker to Ethiopian cuisine. We ordered their Meskerem Messob, "a dazzling array of beef, chicken, and lamb with vegetarian dishes." Parker was a trooper as always and said he enjoyed it, though I couldn't help noticing that his appetite was satisfied rather quickly. Burgers or pizza tomorrow night I was thinking. We walked around the corner to the Metro K to get JP a Haagen Dazs bar, then home to collapse.

Wednesday the 17th. National Gallery West to East. What a gorgeous space, with the Calders hanging in the East Building and the breathtaking architecture throughout. I tried doing a little art history instruction going through the collection chronologically, though this proved impractical for a couple of reasons. For one thing there is just too much to go through at anything less than a trot. And after an hour or so of this it became apparent that Parker really prefers modern art, so we sort of moved on to the things he seemed to enjoy most, saving the art history for a later date.

From the National Gallery we moved to the Museum of the American Indian. We were struck by the architecture and landscaping as we approached the building, and the collection itself was just marvelous, describing and illustrating the history and culture of the indigenous peoples of the Americas. A persistent theme throughout was the struggle of Native Americans to maintain their identity within the predominant Western culture, trying to preserve their languages and traditions against all odds. Parker especially enjoyed the cafeteria, which is unlike any museum cafe I had ever seen, offering foods by region prepared using the methods and favored ingredients of native Americans.

Next stop, the Air and Space Museum. This is great fun to walk through, looking at all the planes and rockets and such, though honestly to me anyway after the headiness of some of the other museums it seemed a bit like Disneyland. Anyway, we enjoyed a leisurely a walk through and headed back up to Chinatown to see about something for supper.

After last night's Ethiopian though, Parker really wanted something domestic, so we took the train home and went to Millie and Al's for Pizza and beer (and lemonade). I told the bartender that twenty years ago they made a mean pizza and he assured me this was still the case. He was right, it turned out, and Parker thoroughly enjoyed it. It didn't hurt that they had simultaneous games between the Nationals and the Yankees and the Red Sox and the Marlins, and that not only were the Sox winning but the Nationals were beating the Yankees. Very fun.

Thursday June 18th. Our first stop was the Hirshhorn, a collection housed like so many of the Smitsonian collections in a structure that is a work of art itself. My personal favorite here was the "Strange Bodies" exhibit which included Ron Mueck's "Big Man," which I found fascinating. Parker on the other hand absolutely hated this piece, proving that there is no accounting for taste. After that we visited the Postal Museum, which far surpassed our expectations. Much of what you learn at these museums is momentous and some is merely interesting trivia. Falling into the latter category is the fact that Charles Lindbergh's nickname "Lucky Lindy" came from his two succesful bailouts from Postal Service aircraft in the early days of Air Mail.

Getting hungry we walked up to Zorbas near Dupont Circle for a supper of Souvlaki and Yero. After our meal we walked back down to the Circle where there was a street musician playing acoustic guitar and singing his heart out. We sat for a couple of minutes and realized he was actually good. Really good. I told Parker I've heard a lot of street musicians who I wish had an off switch, but this guy had talent as well as spirit. His version of Sympathy for the Devil was better than the Stones. Locomotive Breath was better than Jethro Tull. And all on acoustic guitar. We stayed for over an hour, tipping enough that as we left I told him I was going to go broke listening to him. We both enjoyed this immensely and Parker absolutely loved it.

Friday the 19th. Our first stop of the day was the Washington Historical Society housed in an old Carnegie Library. The collection was focused on the history of African Americans in DC, though there was also an exhibit commemorating the Lincoln bicentennial. Maybe the most interesting thing there was a huge (maybe 20 by 20) satellite image of the District that we walked around on for quite a while trying to locate various landmarks.

We then made our way to the National Building Museum, probably my personal favorite after the Museum of American Art. The building is very unassuming (ugly?) on the outside but magnificent inside. We joined a tour that was just about to start and learned a great deal form lovely older lady serving as docent. The building was originally constructed to house the Pension Bureau, and its grandeur is no doubt attributable to the fact that pensions after the Civil War accounted for one third of the federal budget - to me a staggering figure. Anyway, an agency responsible for adminstering a program that size would, I guess, justify generous accommodations. Over the next century or so the building was occupied by various agencies, most recently the General Accounting Office, I think. Our tour guide showed us photos with office cubicles covering the floor of the of the great hall; the beautiful old fountain in the center of the hall had been covered by boards. At some point (1970s I think) the GAO needed more room and wanted to raze this magnificent old structure in order to make room for something newer and larger. A group of preservationists and architects managed to save it, however, and it was restored to it's former glory. We finished our formal tour and lingered another hour or so, enjoying coffee and juice and scones in the cafe, and just soaking it in.

From the Building Museum we made our way around to the Koshland Science Museum where payed $8.00 to get in. This was the only museum we paid to get into the entire trip and it turned out to be the only dud.

From there we took the green line out to Nationals Park and I got a picture of JP wearing his Red Sox cap in from of the big Nationals sign. They were playing the Blue Jays that night but we were tired and decided against spending the money to watch the worst team in major league baseball (despite their earlier defeat of the Yankees). Good thing too since the game went 13 innings until about 11:00pm. We took the train back up to "U" Street so Parker could experience the famous Ben's Chili Bowl. He seemd to enjoy his chili dog, and my small bowl of chili was pretty yummy. We strolled back up toward Adams Morgan past Meridian Hill (aka Malcolm X) Park to the Potter's House book store. From there we stopped at a CVS so I could get a sewing kit to repair my rapidly deteriorating backpack. Then on around to Idle Time Books, an old and in my mind marvelous used book store where Parker read books on music and I sewed up my backpack. Home, shower, back to Metro K for groceries and back home. Pooped.

Saturday the 20th. Capitol Building tour. Through the tunnel to the Library of Congress. Mad search for a souvenir for Neil. Huff puff. Hop on train.

Sunday 21 June 2009. Home.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Summertime, and the livin' is easy...

Henry, Neil, Willie, Lucy and I have had a full week. (I don't mention Kipoo the cat because she has made herself scarce since Lucy arrived). From talking to Richard, it sounds like they have done just about everything it is possible to do in D.C. and have had a fabulous trip. I am hoping that when they rest up, one of them will post of their adventures. As I write they are on the train, probably asleep somewhere between here and there. We are all ready for a reunion tomorrow. All week, several times a day, Henry has said something like, "I really miss my Dad, I just don't know when I am ever going to see him again." And, I know they are both ready for Parker to be home.

The little boys and I have played hard this week and had good visits with friends. We've spent a lot of time in the backyard with a constant water activity to go with the heat. Neil as you can see in the above picture made his own personal pool out of Willie's water bucket. Both boys (and Mom) have been covered from head to toe with mud--the result each day of emptying the little plastic baby pool. Poor little white Lucy has been a nice shade of brown most afternoons.

Henry spent his mornings at Calvary Baptist Church VBS where the report was that he had been a "perfect angel." On the way home one morning, from the back seat he says, "Mom!, God walked on water!!!" Neil enjoyed his mornings at Rise where he has worked all week on wonderful Father's Day gifts. I think Dad is going to love the picture of him dressed in a suit, complete with tie. And I have loved having a bit of morning time to myself to run a million errands and have a some really nice swims.

Looking forward to a joyous Father's Day tomorrow. I know I am thinking about my sweet Daddy.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Dad and JP catch the train to D.C.

I dropped Richard and Parker off at the Tuscaloosa train station today at noon. After many rounds of hugs and kisses we finally left them there to wait on the train which was running a bit behind. They should arrive in D.C. tomorrow morning. I've talked with them several times today as they rumble down the tracks and they are loving it. They were served shrimp and grits and BBQ for their noon meal and were awaiting there turn to go for dinner. Parker was on the top bunk of their 6'x3' sleeper, listening to his ipod. And Dad I'm sure is excited about showing Parker a city he knows well.

Henry, Neil, Lucy, and I stayed in the backyard today for about 3 hours playing and staking tomatoes--which by the way are looking very hopeful.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Loving Lucy

Arriving home Wednesday from Tunica had all the anticipation of Christmas morning. Everyone was mostly happy the whole trip back, knowing there would be an adorable puppy awaiting us in addition to Dad. Dad was so excited about the moment that we kept everyone in the house (by the hardest) for 30 minutes until he arrived home from work at 5:05. Out the back door we ran to see this tiny dog (by far the smallest I've ever been the owner of--and not to get much bigger). A running and chasing frenzy took place and soon they were all settled in the grass for a few moments to record the event. She is just adorable, I'll have to say. I was just a tad concerned about adding to the chaos, but so far, it looks pretty good. She is sleeping soundly as I write, in the crate beside Dad's bed and so far sleeps through the entire night.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Introducing Lucy

Mom should know better than to leave me here alone for several days. I get really lonely and just can't stand the quiet. Lucy is the result of this latest abandonment.

Actually, while Willie is a wonderful dog, he isn't terribly playful, and as big as he is we don't really want him to be too rambunctious. I thought the twins were at the right age to have a puppy, saw this litter of "squirrel dog stock" in the paper, and she was just too cute to pass up.

She's been terrific so far and we have high hopes for her. She has taken readily to a crate and slept in it by my bed without so much as a whimper from 10pm last night until I got up this morning. She's very quiet as long as there's someone around, but she doesn't like being left alone. I've built a pen for times when we have to leave the house since she's so tiny and could easily find a way out of the yard (or heaven forbid get on Willie's last nerve), and I'm working on a dog house to go with it.

Parker, it turns out, is as excited about this little girl as anybody else and it was he who came up with what we think is the perfect name. I can't wait for them to meet her when they get home this evening, and Willie, who has been the unwilling focus of her attention since Sunday, will be very happy to get some relief.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Neil locked in the van

Irene called me this morning 15 minutes before a "mandatory meeting" at the library to say that she had a serious problem and that I needed to come home immediately - something about locking Neil in the car and herself out of the house. I literally ran out of the library and pushed my little 18 year old truck to it's limits, running all of the lights along the way, disregarding the horns and fingers and rehearsing my response to the blue lights I expected at any time, deciding the best thing would be to keep moving and explain everything when we got home.

I slid up in front of the house where Irene was talking to Neil through the window of the van and Henry was sitting restlessly in the driveway. Fortunately it was a relatively cool day and I wasn't too worried about Neil's physical well being, but I nonetheless rushed into the house, got the spare key and ran back to the van. I opened the door to find Neil sitting there smiling serenely, as if to ask, "So what's all the fuss? What's the big deal?"

A little addendum by Mom: I buckled both babes in their carseats and ran back to lock the front door. Returning to the van I find Henry had unbuckled and was climbing all over the front seat - just barely missing my full cup of nice hot coffee. I put my purse and keys down on the seat, catch Henry, go around to the other side to put him back in his carseat and the door shuts. Somehow the doors are locked! Neil's locked in and we're locked out, as I stare at my keys on the seat. I call Richard who gets here faster than I knew possible!! Neil was very entertained by pee-pie! (how the heck do you spell that - you know what I mean - peek-a-boo).

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Yea! It's Summer!

No one (except Dad) had to be anywhere before 8am this morning, for that matter not even by noon! Summer is here and we all slept late. Parker gave us a freshly mown lawn about 10am and everyone was either barefoot or as you can see in Henry's case, stripped down to nothing. Neil enjoyed a wagon of clean water and was not the least bit bothered by how cold it was. Water, mud, and an outside shower was a continuous cycle this morning. Just great.

I even got a little weeding done in the garden and am hopeful that if these beautiful little green tomatoes can survive Henry (maybe after biting into a green one and spitting it out, they'll be safe) and the squirrels, we'll have ripe red ones soon. Willie even seemed to be smiling about the start of Summer 2009, licking up the remains of Henry's popsicle and just hanging out and being one of the boys.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Madness

Another nutty weekend with Evans boys. Henry thought one of the fresh green muscadine vines on the back porch looked like a promising swing and I reminded him that it wouldn't hold his weight and he would undoubtedly hurt himself. "That's OK," he says, "I'm tough." Later in the day he falls in the parking lot across the street and skins one knee and the palm of one hand so slightly that the abrasions are barely visible. He runs screaming into the yard ahead of Mom, sounding as though he had just suffered a compound fracture or perhaps cracked a couple of ribs. Not just a little whimpering cry, but an inconsolable howling that went on for minutes. I'm tempted to remind him that it's OK, you're tough.

Meanwhile Neil the water lover has discovered his own personal, mobile pool. We had left the wagon out in the rain so that it had several inches of water in it. Neil loves this wagon anyway and goes to it when nothing else in the yard will do. Imagine his delight when he finds that his favorite toy is full of his favorite element. He splashes around in it for a while, sort of stirring the water, then decides what the heck and climbs in. Now he has the satisfaction of pulling the wagon to different locations around the yard as the sun or his whims lead him, thus enjoying diverse views from his pool. We normally dump the water out after a rain, but I think we may have to rethink this and just change it periodically.

And Parker God bless him has been studying for final exams. What perverse bureaucratic mind arranged for 7th graders to take final exams the two days after a holiday weekend? I've been encouraging him to finish strong, to finish like Mine That Bird, his response being "Yeh, finish like a castrated horse." Despite this apparent lack of appreciation for the beauty of thoroughbred racing, I'm sure he'll do fine.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Playdough concoctions

It started as normal playdough play with cutting, making shapes, rolling out shapes, etc..., then Henry gets a big soup pot out and puts small pieces of blue playdough in it. I leave the kitchen for a few minutes and return to see Henry pouring Ovaltine into the big pot. I retrieve the Ovaltine container and chalk what got poured in up to lost. He begins to stir with a big wooden spoon singing a little song "chocolate, chocolate" (with a Spanish accent). Something I think he may have heard on a Dora the Explorer show. I relax and begin to just watch in amusement. He is thrilled with the concoction which begins to resemble clumping cat litter - well sort of, you know what I mean. I have to put the brakes on this when he beings to taste the "chocolate" he has made.

Side note: I made granola this morning which always makes a little bit of a mess in the oven. Did you know that playdough is just great for cleaning up those messy little pieces of granola?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Fun and more fun...

Up until now, I could pretty much count on at least one of of these boys not being a dare devil. Henry wanted to help with the dusting today and got a bit carried away and began to work on the light fixture (not that it didn't need some attention). Neil soon joined him buffing the table in his sock feet. The above scene is what I found when I peaked into the dining room while mopping the kitchen. What could I do but grab the camera and then give my lecture on how unsafe standing on tables can be. (Evelyn, this leads me to believe the dusting idea won't go over here!) No wonder I'm finding a few more gray hairs.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Bright Side of the Road

So wonderful to spend the rainy weekend watching movies, emptying every toy container, staking tomato plants in the pouring rain, hitting some wiffle balls in the parking lot, watching the Sox, and then, with a culmination of the day's activities running wildly around the house dodging balled socks being thrown. And for the finale--Neil and Henry blowing on my belly with Neil just doubled over laughing.

Then, today, a wild Saturday morning with everyone eating different breakfasts at different times and dancing to Van Morrison's "Bright Side of the Road" (well, Parker was trying to sleep). What a fitting song for it all. "From the dark end of the street to the bright side of the road...and time seems to go by so fast in the twinkling of an eye." Such a fabulous song. I am so aware of the changes of the last 3 years and how far we have all come.

I've been blogging in my head all weekend and I'm sure have lost the majority of it. Only now is there a peaceful (peace filled) moment with the the wee boys sleeping and the big ones gone to see Star Trek. I've had a great bath and am ready to go again.

Friday, May 15, 2009


I am really enjoying watching Parker follow baseball; he is developing a love of the game that could serve as the foundation of a life-long passion. He has a good understanding of how the game works and a terrific memory for particulars about individual players and even what happened in specific games. He is a faithful follower of his Sox, watching the games when he can, checking the box scores every morning if he missed the game the night before, and offering trenchant commentary for the benefit of the rest of us.

If anything he tends to be a bit too emotionally involved, and I'm trying to encourage him to think not just in terms of the final score but to enjoy the game itself, to exult in a victory but shrug off the defeats. Admittedly this is not always easy, and I too feel the heartbreak of a 5-4 loss in the 12th when we had the bases loaded, one out and Pedroia at the plate. He strikes out and Papi steps up to tap a little grounder out in front of him for out three, allowing the Angels to score the winning run in the bottom of the inning. Yes, that hurts, but what matters is that these guys were all playing terrific baseball, and I want Parker to learn that enjoying the game is the point, not just the final outcome. It's sort of a metaphor for life isn't it?

In any case, he is loving the game and it is a joy to see.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!!!

Ward, Johnnie and Johnnie's sister Sistah, ever faithful friends that they are, kept all three boys last night so that Irene and I could go on a date. It is rare that we have more than a few minutes to talk without interruption, and it was the most wonderful treat to sit down for a meal, actually attend to one another, then go for a quiet ride, just the two of us. Just delightful. I had been concerned about leaving the boys with them for so long, fearing the worst when we returned - all of the caregivers lying exhausted on the floor, the house in shambles, and the boys climbing the curtains and hanging from the chandelier. In fact, no one looked too bad, we didn't see any signs of destruction, and the report was that the boys (one in particular though we won't name any names) were quite well behaved. Now, if only this were the case at home. We are so grateful for the steadfast love and generosity these folks have shown us.

Mom and Neil and I had a few minutes together this morning to thank Mom for her hard work and motherly devotion. Henry woke up and gave Mom a happy Mother's Day hug, Parker helped his brothers sign Mom's card, and now we're all taking Mom to church to thank God for her (and pray for her health and strength).

Friday, May 8, 2009

Problem, Need Help

Neil has now discovered that he can climb to the top of the dining room table. Mom was in the kitchen and stepped around into the dining room to find him sitting happily in the center of the table, which of course seems a bit of a precarious position. Then again this evening she went in to see what he was up to, and there he sat. What the heck do we do about this new skill?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Storms, Scones, Naps, and Zambia

The day began as usual with everyone scurrying around with morning activity. Dad and Parker head off at 7:30 a.m.. I make Henry a second breakfast (actually he grabs a yogurt out of the fridge) after he refuses to touch the fried egg I made for him stating, "I don't like eggs anymore." Neil has his usual morning yogurt.

I put my swim suit on, eager to get to the Aquatic Center for my morning swim, dress both babes --Henry wearing big boy underwear for the second day in row, grab my coffee, get Neil to the car, come back to get Henry who is finishing an episode of "Blue's Clues" and standing up striping from the waist down stating "this is all wet." So, change Henry quickly, get out to the car and receive phone call from Richard letting me know bad weather (tornadoes) are expected for the morning. Plan B: take Neil to school (he's 1/2 mile away in a really secure building), keep Henry home (his school is on Skyland Blvd, the tornado magnet in Tuscaloosa), skip the swim, and I end up with my suit on until noon!

My friend Dara and I decide by 10:45 that she can still come over and give me the Mary Kay pampering session. Before she arrives, Henry and I get out the "Children's Cookbook from Around the World" and decide to make blueberry scones. Fun time with flour everywhere. During my pampering session, Henry takes full advantage and eats two huge round scones. By 11:45, I decide to run get Neil so at least both of my little chicks can be under my wings for their naps and in case there are more afternoon storms. We all head to the backyard for a while since the sun is now shining. Ok, by 1:30, we are all sound asleep. I awaken at 2:00, refreshed and make a french press (to make myself even more refreshed). At 2:30, Henry comes barrelling through the house crying "I need a blueberry scone." I say, "let's have a healthy snack of apple and cheese," to which he replies, "no!" I suggest that maybe he is still a little sleepy and he says "yes" and plops back on his bed for another hour and a half!

Neil awakens happily at 3pm and we enjoy some good sofa time laughing and drinking some milk. At 4pm, Neil decided that Henry had been asleep long enough and climbed up on the bed and awakened him.

Good play time with all the boys and Dad in the backyard this evening ( have yet to see more storms). Neil and I sat on the deck practicing saying "Pa" for Parker over and over. I just loved watching his sweet little smile each time. Parker and Dad whacked baseballs and Henry ran his first bases. Parker came in and made the flag of Zambia-- the beginning of a huge project on this country. We currently have friends there in the Peace Corps, so hopefully he will really become interested and have fun with it (see our link to "Travels with Trevor").

At bedtime, Henry fell (fairly gently) out of the bed onto his bottom and ran through the house shouting "Dad, kiss my bottom!" Parker chimes in, "I'll hug your Republican elephant if you will kiss my Democratic ."

Are all families this crazy???

P.S. Neil ate a generous helping (for him) of Mom's mashed potatoes, which made her very happy and will make him very big and fat someday.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Proud Mama

I watched my sweet son Parker proudly tonight as he was inducted into the National Junior Honor Society at Rock Quarry Middle. He amazes me with his academic excellence. He does this completely on his own most of the time, asking for very little help, completing his assignments in utter chaos, with little apparent anxiety.

Today he was greatly rewarded for his 12 hours of work on his bridge. It stood the test of a five gallon bucket of water and 27 books--more than any of the others. It even supported the weight of his approximately 200 pound science teacher, Mr. Denton.

How we love you JP.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

It's Sunday Night Already?!

Off to the Farmer's market Saturday morning where among other things Henry could get a new bar of soap to replace the one he's carried around for the last year but which he informed us on the way is now "broken." Greens and fresh eggs and other good stuff too. Mom shopped, Neil and Henry ran amok, Dad chased the twins, and Parker slept.

Home to a yummy breakfast where Mom cooked eggs three different ways - poached, omelet, and scrambled - then a day of yard work. Mom, Parker, and Henry had a date at Canterbury in the evening, where Henry was uncharacteristically an absolute angel, while Dad lounged in the backyard watching Neil explore.

Neil now follows Henry in walking to the car when we're going somewhere. A study in contrasts, Henry goes barreling out the door, runs down the steps and down the sidewalk, commenting on the flowers and birds and smells and neighbors and whatever on the way, while Neil, ever cautious, holds carefully to the railing and takes one step at at time until he gets to the sidewalk, at which point he does pick up considerable speed and makes his way to the van where Henry is already in and digging around for a toy, unless he's gotten distracted along the way and set off in another direction (as he did a couple of days ago when he actually made it all the way to a neighbor's house and ran in before Mom could retrieve him).

Sunday morning Mom took the wee boys to Canterbury and then for a ride while Dad and Parker worked on a popsicle stick bridge (for 12 hours or so). Mom and the boys then attempted a nap though Henry, after tossing and turning a while, put an end to that dream with the announcement that "Mom, I just can't take a nap today." Henry wore big boy underwear all day without incident; Hooray! We had an afternoon folk concert in the living room featuring Mom on guitar and Henry on vocals (though Henry did take a brief turn on the guitar), with sparkling renditions of Michael Row the Boat Ashore, I've Been Working on the Railroad, Day is Done, Oh Do You Know the Muffin Man, etc. And after having new batteries in his keyboard Neil provided backup until his improvisation proved too much for the group's more traditional guitarist.

After the concert Mom used up more of her fresh eggs on a delicious salmon quiche (recipes for some of these things forthcoming I promise).

All in all a marvelous weekend with much to give thanks for.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Visit to our family Friendly Dermatologist

Took all three boys to Dr. Luther Richardson's office at 4:15 today for Parker's recheck (plantars warts and adolescent acne). Thank goodness the waiting room had cleared out and our dear, dear friend Burdette came to run herd with us--I mean visit with us. Never has there been a more tolerant office. The twins were everywhere, with Henry even checking out the snacks in the kitchen area since at the last visit he was served cake and watermelon. Parker, I'm sure was thanking his lucky stars they called him back to his room within 10 minutes. Dr. Richardson was kind enough to take a glance at Henry's dry scalp and recommended Neutrogena Shampoo Anti-Residue--which worked wonders tonight!

Came home and played a bit in the backyard, had a feeding frenzy of leftovers, took baths, read books. Had an interesting moment with Neil in which he took full advantage of having no diaper after his bath and decided to take care of business standing by the bed in the nursery. I glanced over at him (while putting on Henry's pj's) just in time to leap across the room and catch the deposit in my hand and run to the toilet with it. Whew! Seems like I vaguely remember doing that with Henry about a year ago.

We finally got around to subscribing to MLB online so that Parker could watch his beloved Sox. The first game he got to see the Rays nearly had a no hitter and ultimately shellacked the Sox 13-0. Dad wants a refund.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Little boys, a big boy, and honeysuckle

Yesterday afternoon (April 28, 2009)

What a whirlwind of backyard activity. I head outside with Henry and Neil so Parker can have some peace and quiet to get his work done. I have never seen Henry and Neil so busy in the backyard at the same time as today! Henry discovers he can climb up the slide, turn around and come back down--while Neil is heading up the steps and down the slide on his belly. At one point Henry says, " Mom, can you climb up the slide?" I say "sure." I do so, only to look behind me to see Neil trying to come up at the bottom of the slide. I'm stuck. What could I do but throw one leg over the piece of wood at the top of the slide and come down the steps. (I've tried going down the slide before and the 45 year old hips are a wee little wide.)

Then, on to a red wagon ride to our honeysuckle crop where Henry insists only the yellow ones are any good. Neil, is sitting patiently while Henry snacks on the blossoms--dodging the WWI bugle that Henry occasionally picks up to blow while in the wagon.

Out comes Parker with bat and ball (plastic I must add) ready for Mom to throw a few. With attention divided by three now, I do my best to keep everyone safe and happy. Parker, my ever-patient child, waits in between throws while I chase a baby. Neil decides to head for the tree house ladder. He can now easily get to the fourth rung very quickly, repeating "up, up" as he goes. Henry settles into the sandbox for a few sweet moments. Parker whacks the ball, keeping an eye out for his brothers with me.

Henry and Neil have an outside shower together, complete with Dad's shaving cream.

What tremendous joy to have them happy and healthy.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Typical Morning

Our house from 6:15 to about 7:30 in the mornings is not so much a three ring circus as a circus stampede. JP sets his alarm (most nights) and gets up first, heading straight to the shower. That usually wakes Irene or me, and one of us gets the coffee started, trying to be quiet to keep from waking the twins. Occasionally we'll try to sit down for a few minutes to chat or read the headlines, but that rarely works for long anyway and just makes us late. Once the twins are up, we shift into high gear, trying to meet everyone's needs while maintaining some semblance of order. Diapers, breakfast, clean up the breakfast mess, wash faces, get dressed, pick up, crisis du jour (e.g. Henry running down the hall bare-bottomed saying he's done with the potty and ready to be wiped), feed Willie, get everyone packed for the day, huff puff, sign paperwork of some sort that Parker forgot to show us last night, book and lunch bags, frantic search for something inevitably misplaced (glasses, keys, shoes...), hugs and kisses all around at least once and usually a couple of times to make sure no one missed anything, goodbyes as Parker and I head to the car (bye bye! says Neil, waving furiously), a trip back in for something we forgot, hugs and kisses all around once more, and finally JP and I are off, leaving Mom with the final preparations and to get Neil to RISE and Henry to AIDB.

Regarding schools, we had thought Henry would be going to RISE with Neil next term, but things didn't work out and we're actually sort of relieved, thinking that while the program is perfect for Neil, Henry really probably needs Mom more. He'll still have the option of the AIDB program whenever Mom needs a morning for errands or whatever, but mostly he'll be with her. Parker will be at the magnet school a few hundred yards away, which should help lower the intensity of the mornings at least a touch.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Lake Lurleen

What a fun, nutty day. The weather is gorgeous, warm and breezy, not too hot, and we decided this morning to take all three boys to Lake Lurleen for a fishing trip. We stopped along the way to get crickets - 100 for $3.00, such a deal - and worms. The proprietor spotted us right away as mere worm drowners rather than real fisher folk and was clearly amused by us.

Mom actually thought we might catch a fish, though Dad knew that once we opened the doors to the van the fish would vacate that end of the lake. We had fun dodging hooks and chasing crickets all the same, and spotted a couple of nice size fish who had hung around to see what all the commotion was about but had better sense than to actually bite anything we offered.

When we wore out on this we moved on to the beach, much to Neil's satisfaction and largely in fact at his insistence; he just was going to get in the water one way or another and the beach seemed a better option than the muddy (and probably snaky) banks around the fishing pier. Anyway, we waded around here for a while, reminding each other that though Henry has no fear of the water it wouldn't take much for him to go under.

Before long everyone was hungry and thirsty and we moved on once more to a table under the trees and enjoyed the picnic Mom had packed for us. After lunch we waded around in this (muddy and probably snaky) area, took a few pictures and packed for home in order to get the boys and Mom down for a little nap and get Parker to his tennis match.


Post script. The remaining worms (most of them) are now happily improving the soil in our garden, while the crickets were released to serenade us in the evenings (though a few, I fear, fell prey to birds in the process). A fitting end to an early summer day.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


I'm in a big mood today. 12-12-09

Henry the day before his haircut. "Mom, I want iddy biddy hair like Daddy's."

Did you have a good day today Henry? We had a great day today, Mom, and we couldn't have done it without you.

Mom you are really naked.

I don't like my gross crayons from the gross man at the grocery store.

Henry comes running in first thing in the morning, Look who's awake! [himself]

To Mom while eating lunch today, Mom, I wish skunks would not put their tails up. 5-1-09

I'm so exciting.

I'm so upset that my toe hurts.

I'm big for that. [i.e., big enough]

They are friends of me too. [Parker and Jake]

April 17, 2011

We'll just home school him. (in response to the answer to the question of why Parker will be gone in three more years, i.e. college)

When someone comes around that corner I'll scare the tuna salad out of them.

How do you spell "f" he asks. We admit we're stumped. "Ef" he says.

Another Day in Paradise

Henry to me the other day: “Mom, my penis has grown big! I’m getting bigger. Now it’s grown little again.” It occurs to me that I should be keeping track of this sort of thing. We blogged about Neil's experiences when he was in the hospital so much, but hey, these guys are so much more than that and there are so many things I want to keep track of for myself, whether anyone else sees them or not. What better way than a blog?