Thursday, October 29, 2009

End of an era....

We knew it was coming. He had been getting closer and closer, but yesterday it happened.

Luke called his brother Max.

I never thought that Max was a tough name to say, but Luke clearly thought differently. Over the last year, he has addressed his brother in a number of ways.

First, Max was "My" (or Mai, perhaps). Max was so thrilled to be having Luke finally call him anything that he answered. Even delighted in being called My. Luke was so proud that he could get his big brother's attention that we all started to call Max "My" whenever we talked to Luke.

About 4 months ago, things shifted. Luke decided to give Max's names another shot. This time he got an actual name - "Mike". In fact, he says Mike so clearly that other people think that's Max's real name. The daycare lady even says, "Goodbye, Mike" every day when we pick up Luke. Again, Dan and I have often found ourselves calling our oldest child "Mike".

But yesterday as the boys are chasing each other around the house, I hear it.

"Max! Max!" Luke actually called him by his name. And clearly enough that Max turned around, stopped still, and stared.

"What did you call me?"


And that was it. The end of "My" and "Mike". I'll miss them.

I can't believe my baby is getting so big.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Wishing for different....

Oh my. Tonight was one of those "fall down the rabbit hole" kinds of nights. The kind where I start out reading my favorite friendly blogs, and end up feeling woefully inadequate and desperate for a life realignment.

It starts so simply. I head over to The Artful Parent - a spot full of great manageable ideas for playing at art with young children. And today she has shared a delightful interview that introduced me to Quince and Quire. A poet and crafter and mother - oh holy triumvirate! Seriously? Can one person have so much wonderful talent and delight in their days? Wow. And that she talks about one of my student's father's books? Very cool.

Then it's a hop from there to cloth napkin tutorials and Sew, Mama, Sew's month of stash busting and delightful tutorials. Drool. Bookmark. Drool. Repeat.

Ok, back to blog reading. Sew Liberated's delightful Montessori ways and SouleMama's knitting. All amazing.

And here I sit. Frustrated.

I'm wishing for a life full of days with my children crafting and learning and sharing the world in a way that seems true and authentic. I wonder how they all manage to make it work and I can't. Or won't. Truth be told, they are all incredibly talented women who are capitalizing on their talents to provide(or supplement) for their families. I'm sure there are things about their lifestyles that wouldn't agree with me. But days filled with art and beauty and togetherness all shown through the lenses of talented photographers sure are appealing.

Now, believe me, I know I've got it good. A job that I really enjoy, fantastic kiddos, an amazing husband, and a house that is beginning to feel like home. But I have my nights when living on an acre backing up to a beautiful forest or ocean shore where I spend my days making art with the boys sounds like the most amazing bliss.

What can I do? Carve out a few rows of knitting here as a reward for a stack of graded papers. Make tissue paper pumpkins and "crayon stained glass" leaves with the boys in the 30 minutes between dinner and bed. Day trips to the beach, and weekends where we try our best to take advantage of the seasons. Most of the time, it's enough.

But then there are nights like tonight....

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sick kiddo....

Add us to the list. The list that everyone I know with kids has been on. That's right - the SICK LIST.

At this point we are hopefully on the tail-end of it, but it's been a rough couple of weeks. A couple of weeks ago I had a little cold. Then while we were at the coast crabbing with my parents, both Max and Luke came down with it. For Max, it was a couple of days of not feeling good - low fever, coughing, one throw-up.

For Luke it has been another thing entirely. He has now been sick for most of two weeks. He stayed home for a whole week, felt better over the weekend, and then was down and out again by the end of this week. It's the fever that was the most concerning - 105 degrees for a day or two. Dan took him into the pediatrician's office where he was swabbed for H1N1. The test came back negative and the conclusion was that it was just a bad bug. Now he's got the runny nose and hacking cough.

It's so tough when little ones are under the weather. All you want to do is make it better. And seriously - more than an hour and a half of consecutive sleep sounds pretty good, too. But I can't complain. There are so many out there feeling so much worse. I hope you all aren't among them!

Every time one of the boys gets sick and need to stay home, Dan and I have to have the "Who will stay home" discussion. Work loads are weighed, meetings compared, and sick leave evaluated. And one of us stays. But I can't tell you how thankful we are to both work in jobs that provide us with some paid sick leave. Because the one thing we don't have to discuss is how we will afford to stay home with our sick child. We don't have to dip into our savings, or push the kids to go to school ill. It is something I wish for everyone and has become one of my personal political crusades. Because we are all healthier when parents can keep sick kids home.

Ok, better go. There are noses that need wiping.....again.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Weekend fun....

With Dan and I back at work, we have been working really hard at making our weekends count. This has meant one day of work/errands/housecleaning, and one day of playing as a family. We've been working hard at taking advantage of the fun seasonal activities happening around us. So here are just a few shots from the last couple of weeks.

1. Oktoberfest at Mt. Angel
For years I have heard about the great Oktoberfest celebration in Mt. Angel. But for one reason or another, I always seem to miss it. This year we were all over it. We went on Sunday and loved eating our way around the different booths and hanging out in the beer hall listening to a great polka band. Both boys had a great time, and the weather was perfect. It made me miss Salzburg in a way that I haven't in a while, but if I couldn't be in Munich for the real Oktoberfest, Mt. Angel was a pretty decent substitute.

2. Apple Orchards and Waterfalls
This last weekend we went to Kiyokawa Orchards for our "annual" apple picking trip. Dan and I first went picking 5 years ago when we were visiting my sister and brother-in-law in Ottawa. We had so much fun with them that we wanted to go again. Last year we took the boys up to Parkdale and enjoyed picking about 20 lbs. of apples. While the weather didn't cooperate quite as well this year, and the variety we wanted most were pretty picked over, we still had a good time. On the way home we took the historic highway along the gorge so we could see the waterfalls. The boys loved it, and we enjoyed the time together.

This weekend we are headed to the coast for a weekend of crabbing with my parents! It should be a great time - and you know I'll report back with lots of pics. (Maybe by the swelling in Max's nose will be mostly gone - he's already way past it. Thanks for your concern!)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

We knew it was coming...

Our first ER trip, that is.

Let's face it. I've got two very active boys who play hard all the time, and don't have the common sense to know what will hurt them. So far we've gotten away with scrapes, cuts, goose eggs and bruises too numerous to count, and one bad fall out of a camper. Many times I've worried that someone is ready to report us at any time for the abuse these two appear to have suffered. But so far, none of it neede more than, time, love, and a band-aid.

Until this morning.

I was washing the sheets to our bed, so all of the covers were in a pile next to the footboard. Dan and I were getting ready to take food to a friend with a new baby, and Max and Luke were playing on the bed. All was proceeding as normal until a blood-curdling scream erupted from my oldest child. Even that is not unusual in the slightest. What was unusual was the a large amount of swelling right between his eyes. It turns out that he was trying to climb up on the bed using the comforter as a step stool. He slipped, and crashed face-first on the foot board of the bed. Within seconds of his fall, the deep blue swelling appeared and my heart lurched. It was hard to tell where it all was starting, and I feared a broken nose. (Although, looking back, I realize that that would have been accompanied by a large amount of bleeding, most likely.)

Dan and I did the thing that all parents do - one held Max while the other hopped on Google while dialing the pediatrician. Both suggested that an ER trip was in order, so off we went.

By the time we arrived at the hospital, Max was acting as perky as ever, and said that it didn't hurt that bad. We decided to have him seen anyway, just to make sure. With the help of very kind Nurse Chris and fantastic Dr. Trueworthy (seriously his name!), Max got the all clear. The verdict? A badly bruised frontal head bone. An inch lower and we would have had a majorly broken nose, but we lucked out. Since he had no loss of consciousness, no nausea, no alteration of his personality (other than the fact that he was sweeter than usual), we were free to go without any further treatment.

Over the next few days Max will have some swelling, and more bruising. The poor little bridge of his nose resembles a Klingon, and I'm sure we'll see a lovely rainbow of colors as the bruising heals. But in about the smoothest way possible, he broke us into the world of the ER.

Hopefully it's a world we don't become too familiar with over the next few years. That's one frequent flier card I don't want.