Random April Pics

These two are pretty good at entertaining themselves. Ben has his own opinions, but he is still happy to follow Evie’s lead sometimes in search of fun. And food. Usually in the way of fruit.

This is on one of the walking paths near our house, just as things are starting to bloom. That may be one of the few things I’ll miss about this neighborhood when we leave: all the outdoor paths.

This is after I got my first COVID vaccine; we all went to the vaccination site then picked up some lunch and headed to a nearby park to eat. Unfortunately, it was a bit cold, so we piled in the back of the Subaru and ate in there, then walked around.

Ben really loves to ride his scooter, and he’s getting pretty good at it! He doesn’t quite zoom off, but he is able to balance one foot on the thing while moving himself forward with the other, mostly managing to steer himself in a straight line. Something he also does is say “new battery?” every time something doesn’t work or, I don’t know, for fun. Because he’s inspecting his scooter as you see here, but after these moments, he comes up to me and says “new battery?” And in response I essentially give him a low five and he goes back and puts the new battery in. And occasionally he’ll need more than one or four, and he’ll need additional new ones after a few moments of fiddling.

We went to Sky Meadow State Park for Easter and explored their historical farm site (or something like that), where the visitor’s center is, as well as chickens. This is just a preview of what’s to come. I don’t know if you can tell, but Ben has a huge grin on his face as he chases after that poor bird.

It was a pretty nice day and we found a place to eat lunch overlooking areas of the park.

While we were exploring some of the old buildings, James snuck a picture. You can tell we all have different emotions about that.

Finally, the chickens. There was a pay for feed thing, so we did that a few times and both kids got a huge kick out of it. Ben would slowly extend his hand, giggle as they got the food, quickly drop the rest on the ground, and then go back for more. Evie was only cautious at first, until she knew it wouldn’t hurt, and then she was giving out food to all the chickens she could get to.

Random March Pics

We live near the berm between the main road and our neighborhood, and the kids like to run atop it and climb on the rocks and run around the trees to find sticks and bugs. In this one, Ben is finding some flowers off of which to blow the petals.

As an incentive for Evie to learn when to share her stories in her class, her teacher asked that we create a reward chart for good sharing behavior and if she earns 4 stars in a week, she gets a reward of her choice (within reason). This particular picture is when we made cupcakes and a few different frostings (really just mascarpone, powdered sugar, and heavy whipping cream as a base, and then we added different flavored jellies/jams) and Ben has decided that the best way to eat it is to lick off the frosting. And I don’t think he actually ate the cupcake bit in the end.

This is just a random picture Ben wanted me to take while we snuggled on the bed.

The one outside is the first super nice day of the year, and we took our French bread pizzas outside to enjoy the weather.

So, I don’t know if you can tell, but there is a bug -fly?- on the ceiling. If you make a straight line from, let’s say the Chewy box on the floor, you’ll find a black speck. Ben saw it and said “I got it!” and grabbed the stool. His expression here is one of “ugh!” when he realized he couldn’t quite reach it. Right after this one, he climbed down, grabbed a towel, climbed back up the stool, and started waving the towel around, to no effect.

Ben and Words

Ben definitely has developed at his own pace, independent of how Evie did at and around his age, and it’s been, in a lot of ways, a great way to force us to notice and enjoy his own uniqueness. It’s great to see his own personality develop and come though, along with his own sense of humor. I think the thing we most enjoy is listening to him talk, in part because he’ll say the most surprising things and we’ll be like “when did you learn that word?!”

Some phrases in constant rotation:

“Dump truck!” and “Bigger dump truck!” He says this whenever he hears the distinct sound large trucks make and goes from one side of the house to the other to catch a glimpse of this elusive beast. The bigger dump truck bit refers to our waste management company upgrading either their recycling or waste trucks to the automated, larger ones.

“Mail truck” or “Cindy!” This is all interchangeable with UPS, FEDEX, USPS, and Amazon. Cindy is the name of our main mail carrier, with whom Evie likes to talk, and Ben generally assumes that she delivers all mail, regardless of the vehicle.

“Beautiful day.” This one is relatively recent and he said this for the first time completely out of the blue on an actual beautiful day. He says it so sweetly with his little toddler speech where he doesn’t really pronounce the T and it makes a beautiful day even better.

“What is that?” The first time he said this, he was climbing onto the couch, facing away from me, and music began playing from Evie’s school computer on the other side of the house, and he stopped what he was doing, looked back at me, and said, “What. Is. That?!” “I don’t know,” I replied. “Music,” he said confidently, and then abandoned the couch to run over to the the dining table to watch whatever was going on with Evie’s class.

“No time!” This is his general response when he doesn’t want to do something or he’s unhappy for whatever reason (whether injury or otherwise). This kid is, apparently, booked to the brim because he never has time for anything. James thinks he might be trying to tell us something, like the kid can see into the future, but that seems awfully terrifying, so I like to think he just has back to back meetings.

“1. 2. 8. 9. 8. 4.” This is a string of numbers he’s begun putting together. For the longest time, his favorite number was 4, but he’s begun to understand that there are others out there and that, perhaps, there’s an order to them. Sometimes it seems like he can count to 4 or 5, but other times, I don’t know. In my vivid imagination, this, too, is the start of a terrifying story, so we’ll go with James’ assumption that these are lotto numbers.

Random February Pics

Ben combined his markers with his feet and made a masterpiece. Good thing I get the washable kind. So… naps. Ben is so over them, but he will succumb to sleep on the occasional walk. And while he’s slowly getting into Snow as Fun, he supports James’ driveway clearing efforts wholeheartedly.

Evie has started playing this game where she’s a librarian and we are all patrons who must come check out some books. And when we check them back in, she is… diligent… in making sure they are clean and had been well taken care of.

James has been adding pockets to his pj pants that are missing those elements and he’s getting so good at it! He is also such a good sport when I give him the fabric to use and the print and color are really more for my amusement than anything else. Also, here’s a picture of Evie and James snuggling while watching something.

Random January Pics

More snow! Evie and James had a snowball fight with the side of the house, and Ben was skeptical of the white, cold stuff falling from the sky, so he observed the weather from the garage. Eventually, James got him on a sled, but, as you can see, Ben still didn’t appreciate the cold, wet stuff now hitting him in the face, even after seeing how pro Evie is at taking the sled up the hill and coming down, ready to throw snow balls at people. Once the snow stopped falling, though, Ben did get into snow ball throwing (though not making), and from then on, assumed snow ball fights were on the agenda whenever there was snow… or the possibility of going outside.

What Ben did enjoy, though, was coming inside to the lovely, warm fire, hot cocoa, and warmed chocolate chip cupcakes (Evie and I made the cupcakes a day or so before).

Evie’s Birthday

Evie turned 7! Normally, we try to go to a museum of her choice -or one we know she’d like (natural history and aquariums are always winners), but this year we stayed home for obvious reasons.

We started the day with French toast:

The main event was a tea party, as per requested. I made 2 types of mini scones, a handful of different sandwiches, cheddar and chive biscuits, and a few different cookies. And of course, a teapot of black tea, with sugar cubes and cream to add.

Afterward we opened presents, and while she enjoyed all of them, one was a pretty big hit with her (and the rest of us) for weeks afterward.

Dinner was spaghetti and meatballs, her most favorite food (sometimes tied with ramen, but often barely edging out the dish), and after some waffling, she settled on a strawberry cake with strawberry frosting.

Random December Pics

James Promoted to Lt. Col!

We thought we’d just let it pass since, you know, the Pandemic, but Col. Rondeau volunteered to come by and perform the oath and say some words, so we were able to have a little something. We held it outdoors to be as safe as we could, considering how little we could respect social distancing for this, and it was not as cold as it could have been, but it was rainy, so that was a bummer. We also had the laptop out so family and friends could watch via Google Meet, and we had the larger desktop monitor out so James could see that support system… but most people seemed to be camera shy, which was unfortunate.

I had a prenatal appointment that same day and had to scoot, so we didn’t get all of us in a picture! But we did get pictures of the family in pieces.

The main thing James wanted was potatoes gratin, and he consented to a ham to go with it… and we discovered that Ben LOVES ham. So much that he went from Evie to James and back SEVERAL times to eat their scraps. So yay! I have someone who will back me up when I want ham.

Christmas

I like to split up presents and food so we can all enjoy everything, especially gifts. Here are the kids digging through their stockings in their adorable Christmas Morning PJs because I also, apparently, have made this a thing as well.

We always have to get some family pictures in, and testing the placement and settings has become a game in itself.

We ate early dinner so we could have dessert early enough for the kids to burn off some of the sugar…

And opened presents with enough time to help them burn off that sugar and to play with and forget about some of the gifts before going to bed. Though that green thing in the last picture is still in play. It’s supposed to encourage creative play, and boy does it. They can step on it, spin in it, wear it and look like a green-helmeted Dark Helmet, argue over it -so much fun.

Hatteras, North Carolina

We have discovered how much we enjoy being away from home over Thanksgiving. If we were able to get together with family and or friends, that would be one thing -because it’s no fun to cook a ton of food for so few people, and THE WHOLE POINT of Thanksgiving is to have a ton of food options and eat yourself into a coma! I will fight anyone who tries to tell me it’s about the Pilgrims and the Native Americans or a time to be thankful blah blah blah. Nope. Turkey and sides. I will allow for parades. … Where was I? Yeah -traveling. We take advantage of the Armed Forces Vacation Club (AFVC) to book cheaper places that are relatively empty of people. And this year, that made even more sense.

We went down to the Outer Banks last year, but stayed in Kitty Hawk. Hatteras is still on the Outer Banks, but farther south. There were very few people and we were able to avoid those who were there, and we did the vast majority of our grocery shopping at home so we didn’t have to venture out except for a couple things we found we needed once we got there (one of which was antacids for me to help, at least a little, with all-day sickness).

We didn’t do a whole lot while we were there -the point was really to get away from our house, but still socially isolate.

We had a full kitchen, which is generally what we try to get when we use the AFVC, so we cooked daily, to include Thanksgiving. I even made super quick apple turnovers-ish.