Friday, November 13, 2015

Life Lately

I have really been slacking big time when it comes to blogging. I guess I have felt repetitive when it comes to posting on Facebook and Instagram. Photos can be rather self-explanatory, but I won't always flip through old photos online to remember who we were.

A lot of happened lately. Simple things. Big things.

We traveled through fall still embracing warmth for the most part--and I am so glad. Chris has been taking lots of photos of our gardens. The tropical plants are doing great and thriving with the warmth. They are at a peak of sorts with all of spring and summer's growth. In fact, in one neighborhood, the gardener cut down his banana trees in anticipation of the cold. Here's the thing:  it has been so warm that they grew back! I love it! At the same time, the leaves around town have definitely turned and are falling. Our pool is disgusting. Yes, we have not covered it yet because we have been so busy and haven't had a moment without the kids around to cover it. So, I've been dipping the net in to get out a reasonable amount of leaves. Not much luck.

The leaves and cool water have attracted frogs, I think, in search of a place to hibernate. While playing outside, the boys and I rescued frogs on two different occasions. We put them in a plastic critter box and released them at a neighborhood pond.

I've tried to take advantage of nice days outside and played with the boys in our amazing new treehouse. I have been promising Eliot a treehouse since we moved in over two and a half years ago. We found an awesome local company that builds custom playsets, and it was way less than anything else I had found and about the price of us building it ourselves. So, that is the boys' birthday and Christmas presents for the year (or two. or three). The boys have had fun piling leaves at the end of the slide and crashing into them.

Somewhere in there, we all got sick. We all took turns feeling crummy, but fortunately it didn't last long. Then I somehow caught it again.... I was so sick that I didn't even take the boys trick-or-treating on Halloween. I just hid in bed while Chris took them around the neighborhood. Jack almost slept through Halloween, but I woke him up and helped get them dressed as Jedis. Chris said they did good and that Jack really got the concept of taking candy and saying thanks. Well, he said "bye" with a sucker hanging out of his mouth, but it's the thought that counts. Ha. I kind of hate Halloween because my kids go bonkers about candy. I rarely let them have candy, so on Halloween, it's nuts around here. Fortunately, they got really picky (they would only eat Starbursts, M&Ms, and Smartees), so it's pretty much all gone.

A couple of days after Halloween, it was time to head to Lynchburg for Chris's dissertation defense! We had been looking forward to this trip for a long time, but since I was sick, we had to post-pone the trip by a day and didn't do much on our "list". We hoped to climb some mountains, see some friends, visit some family, drive by our old house, and more. And as we were packing to go out of town, I realized I was breaking out in a rash on my hands and feet! I thought maybe the rash was hives, but as time went on, they formed into blisters. I ignored it the best I could and pushed on. We were able to go to a park when we got in town, swam in the hotel pool, and then the next day I took the boys around campus with my boss while Chris defended his dissertation. So, we did see SOME mountains. And Chris passed! He was officially called a doctor. Afterward, we headed to his boss's office to talk for a little bit, but Jack was so ready for a nap and we were all hungry. We just walked back to the car and drove home. The next day, I went to the doctor and it turned out to be hand, foot, and mouth disease! It's a virus that mostly just toddlers get, so I'm sure I got it from the kids, but, man, it was crazy. I STILL have it on my hands a little--12 days later--but it doesn't hurt anymore.

Since we've returned home, we've kept pretty busy still. Soccer is over; Eliot started swim lessons. Eliot and Jack have kept busy building train tracks. We went to the zoo on a particularly warm day. We played putt-putt too, which Eliot was great at and Jack was stoked to throw his ball and hit things with his club. Cool... In October, we went to Jamestown for a day trip. The other night, we went to see Wild Kratts live, which is a pretty big deal because it's their favorite show ever and we never go to movies. Both boys did awesome! In the day-to-day, it feels like nothing is going on, but when I look back, we have made some awesome memories.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

A Boy's Life: Fall

We hold onto summer as long as we can, but the gardens seem to hit their peak in October. They have been growing since summer and the first frost hasn't come to bite the bananas, cannas, and elephant ears yet. The weeds are not growing as quickly, but the leaves slowly clutter the yard--and clog the pool.

I love playing in the yard with the boys. The bananas tower over them as they weave in between the plants. It must feel like a jungle to them. Recently, I fulfilled my two-year promise to them and had a treehouse built (for their birthday and Christmas presents for the next year or so). It is the stuff of dreams, and we've all had a blast climbing the ladder and sharing picnics in the house and rushing down the slide. I know they'll love it for years to come. Chris even put a chair on the deck up there to sit while doing work.

Lately, Chris has been using the camera more and taking lots of photos. He's doing great, and it has reminded me to take pictures too.

It's hard to believe that we just have a few more weeks left of soccer season for Eliot. He's done a great job on the field and I am amazed by how big in looks in photos. For the first half of the season, Eliot grew disappointed if he didn't "win" a game (score a goal), but I tried to keep reminding him that it's all for fun and about teamwork. If his team gets a goal, then HE gets a goal too, but the league doesn't even keep score at this age. He grew so discouraged by teammates stealing his ball (it is just peewee soccer, afterall) that he said he wanted to quit. I told him he had to finish the season, but could sit spring soccer out. Just agreeing to that somehow changed his attitude or something because his approach completely changed. Instead of pouting when he lost the ball, he'd keep up with the group. He clapped whenever anyone scored a goal. And then he starting scoring each game too, which really helped.

And Jack will be old enough for soccer next fall.... We might wait until the spring season for him so he's a little old. I'll just have to see how he is at that point, but he is so eager to get to play too.