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  • Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

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    mud

    One evening about a month ago I was on the side yard garden taking photos. The light was getting good over there, a mix of darks and lights from the filtered evening sun, and I had been filling up one of Forest’s watering cans for him to water plants, or as what usually happens, his feet. Letting him play solo, in eye and ear shot, for a few minutes I wandered around the garden. When I came back to see what he was doing I found him making a muddy mess in a half filled planter that wasn’t being used by the potting bench. It was nearing bath time so I let him be, going to town with the mud and water and in general having a grand ol’ time!

    The light continued to be good so I messed around with settings to see what I could come up with as he played. It reminded me of some of the mud pies I would make as a kid his age, where I played in a sand box near an old playhouse in the house I lived in from birth to 5 year old.

    This kid is the best! In that second to last photo he is showing you an ‘icicle’—aka: triangle.

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    Forest and I are here at home this morning and I’m listening to a PBS cartoon and some eggs boiling before we head off in 30 minutes for a doctors appointment. Some inconsolable crying resulting in Forest finally telling me that his ears were hurting this morning at 6am. *sigh* Last September for his 2 year checkup at the pediatrician, the doctor was fairly certain one of his ear tubes had fallen out. Now I wonder if the other one is out and we’re back into ear infection territory. After some Tylenol was administered and some cuddling on the couch he is now acting like everything is normal but I know kids are a lot more happy-go-lucky when they are not feeling well, so off to the doctor we will go just to see what is going on.

    The last six or eight weeks Chris has been working on and off over on Bolivar peninsula for a beach renourishment project. It is a close enough project that Forest and I could drive down there for the weekend when Chris was working so we’ve spent a few weekends doing some beach related activities down that direction. I’ve not spent a ton of time on Bolivar despite living in Galveston for four years in college so it was interesting to see that area a little more. If you recall, Bolivar was obliterated by Hurricane Ike back in 2008. On Mother’s Day we ate at a restaurant near Rollover Pass that had a photo showing how it was the only building that was still standing in the vicinity after the hurricane. Pretty surreal!

    This growing out of toddler and entering little kid phase of life is pretty great for the most part and one of those items is going to the beach. Forest loves the beach and has been having fun playing in the surf zone, building sand castles, and looking for shells and sea glass. I definitely see him boogie boarding and maybe surfing in some distant (really, not so far distant—-*sobs*) future.

    The black you see in some of the photos appears to be a beach stabilization project gone wrong. Bolivar peninsula is highly eroding—hence beach renourishment—and it was rather ugly seeing that plastic coming up off the sand.

    An interesting article from Texas Monthly: My Frail Island

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    Six weeks have almost gone by since I took most of these photos. I’m so far behind but spending evenings outside is a good reason to be behind, right?

    After dinner we hoof it outside, where we wander the yard or head to the vegetable or flower garden to inspect what’s going on. These days it is almost a necessity to drop by the vegetable garden because there is undoubtably something to be picked, even if it is a handful of cherry tomatoes. Sometimes we head out to a spot in the yard that I know something interesting is going on, such as when we had the orange dog caterpillars on the citrus, or if if there are monarchs on the milkweed. Some days we just putter, other days are more productive work in the garden. Lately Chris and Forest have been able to fish together; Forest has been able to sit still and follow directions on the dock and they will sit out there for a bit and fish, with Forest even reeling in some fishes.

    It’s overcast tonight and drizzled earlier but I’m not expecting much in the way of rain, though I wish it would because we need it. The overcastness at least makes me feel less guilty about staying indoors sometimes, which is one reason I wish it would rain at least once a week around here! When it is bright and sunny it is easy to feel like you should be heading outside to enjoy the sunshine.

    Despite all of that, it really is good that we are spending so much time outside and Forest is really getting to know plants and some animals. The other night we spotted a gray treefrog hanging out on a blackberry cane. Gray treefrogs are around but not nearly as common as their frog cousins the green treefrogs. Of course Forest looked for it the following night and I had to explain to him that I didn’t know where the frog went to. One day we watched a pileated woodpecker working on one of the dead pine trees in our neighbor’s yard and that kept him entertained for a little while.

    Soon we will be turning the sprinkler on and filling up the little paddling pool (I can’t write those last few words without chuckling over a certain scene from Bridget Jones’ Diary!) for Forest to play in when the temperatures start soaring. Those days aren’t far away—I’m pretty much to the point where I’m going to have to shower when I do any lunch time gardening!

    What do evenings look like for you right now?

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    It’s been awhile since my brother’s clan spent some time at our house but last weekend they all arrived for a wonderful, fun-filled weekend. Oh, we’re getting to a good intersection in this cousin relationship between the three kids, particularly between Grayson and Forest. Those two had a ball playing together, though sometimes I think the love went more one direction with Forest being enamored with Grayson. Poor Forest is just a little too small for real rough housing and playing hard so he had a hard time keeping up with Grayson. And I think we’re going to really have to dig into getting swimming lessons accomplished this summer so Forest can hang out on the dock more; the kid likes being on the dock and wanted to do what the big kids were doing (hanging over the side, fishing, etc.) but he doesn’t know how to swim yet.

    Little Zoe is now a tween and apparently reading thicker, more complicated chapter books than I envisioned her reading. She was reading this cat fantasy novel and joked that next thing she was going to be reading Clan of the Cave Bear or Game of Thrones! Ok, maybe not, but Harry Potter is not but a year away for her.

    The kids got a kick out of painting, as per usual. Zoe and Grayson usually visit my studio but as I rarely even visit my studio it is an awful mess and not really suitable for visitors. I set us up on the picnic table in the backyard, complete with a plastic table cloth, and the three of them went to town with finger paints. I had bought a few wooden pieces they could paint, their first name initials and dinosaur figures for Grayson and Forest and an owl for Zoe, and brought out the large pad of paper Forest uses to color or put stickers on. It was a great way to chill out for an hour outside and still be a little messy.

    You can see in some of the photos how buddy-buddy Grayson and Forest were, with Forest really looking up to Grayson as his big friend and helper. I think Grayson liked being in that position, too. We all played in the garden a bit, scoping out what was growing. Carrots, snap peas, and strawberries were eaten straight out of the garden. Everyone played hard on Saturday because Sunday was supposed to being severe thunderstorms. Those didn’t appear too heavily until right after lunch and even so, they weren’t bad at our house. The worst developed to our north and east.

    As always, it wasn’t long enough and it was really quiet in the house when they all left, even with Forest in the house! I’m hoping these three can get together a few more times this summer!

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    Every evening we venture out to the garden to see which strawberries have ripened enough to pick. I usually get an idea of what we need to get when I go through the garden at lunchtime, so when dinner is over and Forest is ready, we get a bowl (or sometimes a plant container) to hold our berry haul. Last night Forest picked out the biggest and ripest of the bunch and chowed down on it, leaving just a little bit of the tip when he was done. This kid eats his berries backwards, from the stem side first!

    Once strawberry season is over it will be snap pea season, bean season, tomato season, and onward throughout the summer. Which means picking something in the garden most nights from here on out!

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    Forest is getting better as talking now, speaking short sentences and saying adorable words and phrases. The way he now says yes, with a little grin, makes me want to nibble his little cheekies as he cackles away. Succinctly saying yes instead of no when he was meaning yes has become more common over the last six weeks. When he says no he usually means no these days. And he will tell you “Don’t want!” if he really doesn’t want!

    But the sweetest is when he says Momma to me and in particular when he starts picking flowers from the yard and bringing them to me. Here Momma as he hands me oxalis, crow poison, and Japanese hawkweed flowers. I just want to bundle him up and tuck him in my pocket to keep there forever. He also likes to say Eat it Momma as he holds out a dripping spoonful of baked beans or a bitten off piece of chicken nugget, to which I reply back that he should eat it and I’m good with my own plate of food. Occasionally I’ll indulge him if it is something he hasn’t already eaten off of or made disgusting. Toddlers are messy eaters, you know?

    Soon he will be speaking even more clearly and the baby words will be gone. I’m doing my best to capture some of it on video so I can listen to it later.

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    Last weekend I finally got around to making cookies with Forest. He’s become more and more interested in watching us do stuff in the kitchen and I figured it was about time he got a little more involved. I’ve had him mix batter in bowls before with my help but this was the first time we’ve done cut-out cookies. He’s a Play-Doh loving toddler so he’s already familiar with making snakes and balls with that and I have little cookie cutters for him to use with the Doh as well but he hasn’t quite gotten the process down yet. I totally forgot to take photos mid-process so I have after-the-fact photos instead. Needless to say, we made a slight mess but Forest had a ton of fun and really enjoyed eating a few cookies! We don’t give him a ton of sweets but he could easily turn into a Cookie Monster if we let him!

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    “Whoa! Big Boat!” – Forest

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