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.