Sunday, August 28, 2011

It Can Reach The Piglett?

The Fiery One and I have really been enjoying our girly mornings together. Last week we went wild and decided to alter a yummy plum bread recipe and make it into peach muffins instead - a pretty big risk for me. The muffins ended up stuck fast to the pan, but the pieces we pulled out were mighty tasty. Els was the official peach taster during this project and she did a swell job. She even left just enough fruit for the muffins. (PS - The plum bread is delicious but tends not to get done in the middle ... one of the reasons for making the switch to a muffin tin.)

Another morning we spent walking the isles of Costco. Phil has decided Costco's official motto should be "It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time." I think of it as I strain my back unloading giant flats of Gatorade and 12-pound sacks of raisins. And I seem to be going through a phase where every time I go out shopping I think to myself, "Hmmm, I do believe we're out of toilet cleaner" and grab a couple bottles. So, naturally, I find myself dragging a 10-pack of Lysol toilet gel around the house only to find every cabinet loaded down with the Clorox toilet gel I was compelled to buy last time.

Anyway, while I was there I noticed they were selling Carter's footed fleece pajamas in both 3T and 5T (yes, my girl is already growing out of her 2T clothes!), and The Precious had recently been talking about how excited he was going to be to wear footed whambones again. I don't know why they thrill his soul so, but he wore the feet right out of the ones I finally tracked down in 4T last year. So I grabbed a pair for each of them. Elsbeth had to hold hers all through the store and in the car on the way home, and Andrew went nutty nuts when he saw them after school. My two children spend the entire Georgia August afternoon gleefully tearing around the house in fleece footed pajamas with sweaty heads and rosy cheeks. Andrew and I had a bit of a battle over whether or not he was wearing them to sleep, but I won in the end because I'm bigger and pretty committed to him not having a heat stroke.

Speaking of weird kids, I think Elsbeth may have gotten the Fisher Crazy Gene like her mother before her. I believe she and I are going to share the same odd sense of humor and random wackiness - whoo hoo! A small sampling:

During snack time at the zoo: "Mommy, I want you to take a picture of me eating my pretzels." OK, no problem.

A couple days ago in the kitchen: She declares she and Minnie Mouse must sing the ABC song together upside down. Alrighty then.

She says hilarious things all the time which I kick myself for not writing down. She regularly fixes me tea and treats in her little kitchen and beams when Andrew includes her in his games (the most recent favorite, playing bears in a kitchen-chair-and-blanket bear cave that come running out to feast on Mommy's legs until she tickles them and sends them shrieking back to their hideout).

And ... drum roll please ... she is now sleeping in a big girl bed! We made the switch this weekend and she has been so excited about it. Here she is all set for night night sleepy time on Saturday night:

She's done so well. There's a little built-in rail, so I haven't had the fun of hunting for her in the middle of the night like I did Andrew. Tonight I heard something strange after putting her down and discovered she'd reached under her bed and pulled up the toy baskets stored there. She was waist-deep in blocks and Lego's having grand old time. I think I'll find another spot for those. Other than that, the transition has been perfect. And adorable.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Um...So...It Isn't The Cutest Alpaca Ever? With His Little Toofies?

As if life could be improved upon after Chuck E Cheese and miniature golf, Andrew has decided earthly joy has now peaked with the arrival of kindergarten. There he is above, posing at the end of his first day (Wednesday) with Mrs. Funk and his freshly decorated gingerbread man.

That morning he skipped down the stairs at 7 o'clock on the dot, ready for a bowl of cereal and anxious to put on the new belt we got as part of his uniform. He didn't want any help getting ready (I found a belt with a magnetic clap - glory be!) and I was so delighted when he ran into the kitchen like this:

Oh my. Oh my oh my oh my. So cute, my heart nearly burst. We decided to try to the shirt the other way, just so we could take in all our options, and ultimately felt having the buttons in the front might be handy. By 7:36 we were walking down Lula Street, backpack securely fastened, lunch box tucked inside containing a granola bar, Mandarin oranges and some cranberry juice, Elsbeth contentedly riding along in the jogging stroller.

I knew he'd be a little timid going in, but he actually did better than I thought! I love this precious, anxious little face trying to smile for a picture before I left, but not quite able to get one out over the butterflies:

Elsbeth and I had a low key morning of kitchen clean-up, bed-making, and some story time thrown in for a little spice. I must have looked at the clock 80 times. He really isn't gone all that long - I pick him up at noon - but after 5 years of him as my constant shadow, it was just so very strange not to have him there!

When Els and I showed up to get him, he was sitting outside in the hallway with all his classmates waiting to go, and I'm happy to report that he shrieked with glee to see me. Before I left him in the morning, I told him to try to remember everything he did because I was going to be so excited to hear all about it. After the grin and happy shriek and his wild delight to show me his gingerbread craft, I was waiting for a bubbly report on our walk home. As soon as we exited the building, I smiled at him at said, "So, how was it?" His little face got all serious and he looked down and replied, "Well, I don't know." My worried eyebrows appeared. "Did you not like school?" I asked. His face brightened again straight away. "Oh yes! It was great! I'm just not sure if I remember everything." :-)

Let me just say how thrilled beyond words I am to have his sweet little school that offers a 4-day-a-week, 3.5 hour-a-day kindergarten THAT WE CAN WALK TO! I'm a little obsessed with the walking, I have to confess. It's just over a mile and uphill most of the way there and sometimes Andrew feels the need to say things like, "You know, if we had driven, we'd be there by now" or pitch himself in the grass to rest ...

... but it's just so fabulous! And Friday we stopped by Mr. Ruling's place on the way home to get eggs from his chickens and had scrambled eggs for lunch. It's been a good week. (Except for all the poop on Friday, but I won't soil this post with reality.)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

It's Not In My Nature To Be Mysterious, But I Can't Talk About It, And I Can't Talk About Why

It happened this past Saturday. My boy is a whole handful of fingers now. The big cinco. And he starts KINDERGARTEN NEXT WEDNESDAY! This is a whole lot of bigness to take in during one 10-day period.

We decided this year to just make his day just a fun day with us. No official party, just 12-hours during which we pretty much catered to his every whim. He seemed OK with that. His morning started with a bang - orange frosted cinnamon rolls!

Then his first present: A giant National Geographic wall map of the world. For months he's been very interested in locating any new place being discussed, but he's been limited to searching on a little stuffed globe his Nina gave him when he was two. It was time to move on.

After breakfast the family took a trip up I-85 to the Mayfield Dairy Plant. I've been wanting to take him there for about a year. They do tours at this plant and I just knew he was going to be mesmerized by all the bottling machinery and dairy processing. In reality, however, the tour was really lame. A video. Then you look through a couple of windows at some vats where they pasteurize milk (nothing in motion). You look through another window at a truck hooked up to a hose. The grand finale: Another video. But we got the kids some ice cream at the end and they got to take a picture by a giant cow in the baking sun, so it wasn't a total loss.

After chugging back down I-85 for a while, enjoying the a/c and listening to Neil Diamond, we went out for pizza at Antico, pretty much the most awesome pizza you will ever experience in your whole life. And they import their cheese from buffaloes in Italy, and we're pretty sure if you're a cheese producing buffalo in Italy, you're probably pretty happy. I mean, who'd bother a buffalo anywhere? Not me. And if you're a human who gets to live in Italy, you must be so amazingly happy just to be there they you wouldn't ever consider abusing a buffalo, would you? And that's just one other reason we love Antico. For the happy buffaloes.

Here's Andrew with his best pal, Mickey, watching pizza dough being tossed up in the air while awaiting our own margherita pie. Mickey is a constant fixture under Andrew's arm these days. I couldn't find Andrew today when trying to get everybody in the car for a market run, and that's because he was upstairs bandaging Mickey's arm. He had apparently suffered quite the abrasion playing with sidewalk chalk this morning on the driveway.

After pizza, we stopped home long enough to leave Daddy with a resting little sister, and The Precious and I headed out to Chuck E Cheese. Only the love of a mother for her son. And then, only on his birthday. I got a Sprite and 25 tokens and that $8.50 bought one birthday boy an hour's worth of glee. The highlight was when Andrew hit the jackpot on the Monster Truck game and 200 tickets came flying out!

And I had been just pondering all these "games" and their "jackpots" and was pretty sure that no one had ever landed a jackpot in Chuck E Cheese in all this history of the world. The tickets kept coming out for so long that Andrew started to get pretty stressed about it. But in the end, all those tickets bought him a bag of cotton candy and he couldn't wait to get home and tell Dad all about his big win.

We got home and had birthday cupcakes, strawberry with butter cream frosting per his request. I took a little video of us singing to him, and our quirky little man didn't let us down.

After cupcakes, there were more presents (his own alarm clock, a board game and a Hard Hat Harry video all about garbage and recycling (whoo hoo!). Then it was off with Mommy again for supper at McDonald's (french fries and apple slices ... please don't call the supper police) then miniature golf at this awesome little place only 10 miles away that I just found out existed.

Speaking of golf, My Precious just loves watching golf. Very weird. Phil is actually taking the day off on Monday to take Andrew to a practice round of the PGA Tour! And we think he's going to enjoy it! And he's now just wild over putt putt and can't wait 'til he's old enough to go smack the ball as hard as he can at a real course. A while back my father graciously gave us some child-size clubs that were my brother Andrew's when he was little, so in another couple years I hope my own Andrew will be big enough (and still interested enough) to enjoy them. Snif.

And here's a fun story .... I was recently giving Elsbeth a bath when I realized that the kids' toilet was due for it's bi-annual cleaning. I squirted some soap in and was leaving it to do something important when Andrew saw it and asked to help. I decided a big 5-year-old might be able to handle such an important chore, so he ran off after the brush. After several minutes of him scrubbing away with me giving minimal instruction from my comfortable perch by the tub, I told him he was doing a fantastic job and all I needed to do was show him how to squirt the cleaner in and he could take over potty cleansing duty for the house. He was delighted and replied with glee, "Yes! I could do it all by myself and you could go read a book!"

That's my boy.

Happiest of happy birthdays to you, The Cutest Boy In The World!