I realize we’re almost halfway into the month of June, but I did say something in my last post about pictures from Memorial Weekend. Had a swell time, starting with Saturday when we took advantage of a village yard sale in Sackets Harbor. We sold Liam’s old play pen, two chest of drawers, two air conditioners, an old stereo set, an old t.v. and a bunch of other non or rarely used items in our home. We made a pretty penny ($140!) and had a nice time sitting out in the warm shade, hanging with family.
The good weather continued on Sunday. Liam spent the morning digging for insects, one of his favorite new past times. Later that night, we had a bonfire and introduced Liam to the delightful American tradition of burning…I mean cooking marshmallow’s and making smores. He was very taken with the idea at first, but seemed to prefer the idea of the “un-smore”, whereby one simply eats all the smore ingredients separately (and in large quantities).
On Memorial Day we took a road trip to Saranac Lake, located in the Adirondacks. My mom, a Norwegian World War II Naval Historian, had uncovered some research about a graveyard in the Saranac Lake area where several Norwegian seaman had been burried (several of them had contracted tuberculosis while crossing, some were treated in a sanatorium in the Adirondacks were they later died). The beauty of the Saranac Lake area is good reason alone to call our trip a success, but I feel the visit to the grave site brought an extra element of meaning to the day. I feel thankful for mom’s knowledge of this. These small pockets of local history reveal powerful stories and I applaud her efforts to expose them on her ever growing website. You can read more about the Norwegian sailors on here.
The heat has finally broken, at least long enough to let a rainy thunderstorm come through. The grey skies make the house dark, a welcomed effect since it seems to be tricking Loki into sleeping longer than usual. I’m up, showered, make-up on, all ready for work. The house is almost too quiet for my liking. My feet rest on a brand new coffee table that we picked up at a quaint antique store in the historic district of Saranac Lake over the weekend. We’ve never had a coffee table. Well, that’s not true actually, we did have one coffee table, when newly wed. It was a “Wal-Mart” piece I bought for my apartment while in college. But when Chani was a puppy she chewed on the corners and deeming it unfit for presentation, we moved it into our sun room where it became more of a storage shelf for our dogs toys and garden tools. So, this coffee table is kind of a big thing for me. It’s a real, bonafide coffee table. I feel fit for adulthood now for sure. Now, if I can only figure out an appropriate centerpiece to put on it, perhaps I’ll feel just as fit for inviting friends over for tea and crumpets.
I’m almost afraid to write anymore. Since surely Liam will be tossing in his bed by now. I’m sure it’s only a matter of minutes before I hear his little voice calling me to come and help him carry his three silky blankets, and four stuffed animals which absolutely must escort him into the living room where we’ll spend the next hour sitting on the couch watching Scooby-Doo on Netflix. During this time, my concentration for writing anything serious will be lost. I’ll have trouble fitting words together in the right order because all I can think about is how to make the next hour with my son last and make it absent of any arguments about how he shouldn’t be climbing on our brand new coffee table, and mostly definitely how he shouldn’t be jumping on the coffee table from the couch. At some point I’ll scramble across the kitchen floor in various directions trying to find a lunch to bring to work, a bag to put my running clothes in, and of course, my keys and “don’t forget you’re phone!”. I’ll give Mike his quick kiss for the morning. Liam will run up for one last hug. Then off I go. Another day begins. Another day I am thankful for all of it.
P.S. I have pictures to show from this weekend, will post later. Great time! Great weather! Awesomeness!
It’s been a busy past few months, mostly with work related stuff, but there’s also been a lot of activity going on at home. We recently “greened” our house. We have a new water heater and furnace, and insulation in our walls. Actually, we were very surprised to discover that our house had no insulation. Mike, while playing hide-and-seek with Liam one day, jumped behind our bed and accidentally knocked a hole in the wall behind him. Curious about the draft coming from the hole, he stuck a stretched wire hanger through hoping to run into the insulation..but the wire hanger just kept going. Given that we live in one of the coldest regions of Northern New York, not having insulation is kind of a major issue. It certainly explains why I spent the past two winters bundled up on the couch under three blanks with a heating bad.
We got a few quotes from various insulation installation type businesses in town but decided to settle on Green Homes America. They provided us with a free energy efficiency assessment. It also helped that we qualified for various tax credits which ultimately made it that much more affordable. Here are the good Green Home folks doing the final energy efficiency assessment after everything had been installed. They also gave us a snazzy little “my home is green” certificate so we can boast to all our friends how much less our carbon footprint is than theirs.
In other news, Liam took two trips to the emergency room within a span of one week. In each case, his condition turned out to be nothing serious. In fact, I’m very glad his initial ER experience went so well for him. There were no needles or other torturous instruments involved. The only thing he had to do was pee in a cup, take an x-ray of his stomach and eat an orange flavored popsicle without vomiting it back up. When asked, he recalls the experience with enthusiasm, much like he would recall a trip to the water park or zoo.
Speaking of zoos, we had our first visit of the Spring season this past weekend. I was very excited to see the three wolf cubs again, who were born at the end of the summer last year. They’re all grown-up and so very beautiful! Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of them, but I did snap a shot of this beautiful wild turkey.
I have all kinds of projects planned for the summer, all of which I will explain in detail soon! First to come is a major clean out of our house and a big village yard sale!
Back in January I came across a Zenhabit’s post about creating 6 habits that you want to change/adopt for the new year. I’ve been quietly committing to this method since then, although I haven’t quite followed all the rules the way the method dictates. For example, you’re supposed to break each habit up into eight steps (seriously..some habits will require more steps, others less). There’s also another part concerning “public accountability” and how announcing your progress via blogs and such will help keep you on track. I”m sure this is true, but I’m kind of an introvert so this part is tricky for me. I doubt I’m going to be sharing all my habits publicly with that amount of detail.
I will, however, share my first habit change which was adopting a running/workout regime, specifically being able to run for thirty minutes without walking. I used to run regularly in Oklahoma but after moving here, whether it was the stress, lack of time, cold weather or maybe a combination of all, I stopped and became increasingly out of shape. When I tried to get back into running again this past summer I was rather depressed to discover that I wasn’t able to run for any real length of time without stopping and needing to walk. So, habit numero uno was declared and I set out to find some kind of regular running regime that would help me accomplish this goal. I discovered the Couch-to-5k running program online and two months later I finally managed a 30 minute run without stopping. It feels really good to get back into running again. I’ve also started playing racquetball with my dad…wow, that’s some good exercise right there.
So, now that habit number one is accomplished, I’m supposed to spend the next eight weeks trying to adopt another new habit. I’ve decided to focus this time on developing my craft skills, specifically sewing…even more specifically, making my own clothes. I’ve created a couple of creations so far, including yet another crayon roll which was supposed to be a gift for my niece but I’m not entirely happy with the outcome, at least not the inside of the crayon roll which is full of crooked sewing lines. I’m sure little Sydney could care less whether her aunt can sew a straight line but I tend to be little bit of a perfectionist with these things so she’ll have to wait for the next one.
Here’s to fun new habits!
I’ve always been a big fan of onesies. They’re the perfect comfort clothing for kids, in my opinion. But most onesies are white which inevitably means “stains” in a major way, especially when you have a kid that loves blueberries as much as Liam. So, I’d read some websites where people had stained their kids’ onesies darker colors so the stains would show too bad. I bought some RIT, usually located in the detergent section of most grocery stores. Probably not really the most environmentally friendly dye but the homemade version called for soda ash, not something I found to be readily available. I stained all of Liam’s long sleeved onesies and to my delight, they came out quite well! Although, I’m waiting to see how the fare the next few washes, and whether they might fade. Regardless, is was a super easy way to repurpose some of his clothes.
Parenting is no easy task, and I definitely had a rough time of it last week. There are times when I can remain as patient as a tree in winter with Liam and other times when I see no other option then to stomp my feet and shake my finger at him in the same manner a three year old would. It’s even harder when out in public. After finishing up with grocery shopping yesterday, Liam flat refused to get back into his car seat. Not a big deal when he’s a small limber 1 year old but when he’s a stubborn three year old…? I spent five minutes chasing him around and inside the car before getting him seated. What’s worse is when you know there are other people looking at you, some probably thinking “well, if you would just give him a good spanking then he wouldn’t act that way”. Despite my own insecurities as a parent, I will never be convinced of the effectiveness of spanking as a form of discipline, however, I feel constantly haunted by whispered voices behind me expressing that perspective. I’m trying so hard to let that go because I know the notion of my child’s behaviour reflecting badly on me as a parent is the very thing that leads me to parent according to other people’s philosophies rather than my own, or the one that my husband and I have agreed on together.
I spent most of last week yelling at my son. In fact, his life and mine together could be best understood by reading David Shannon’s No, David. I was saying “no”, “stop”, “quit” so many times that I’m pretty sure those words didn’t register with him by the end of the week. There was finally a break yesterday, after the whole car seat incident happened and I layed into him once again, sending him into a time-out once we got home. We were supposed to make peanut butter cookies together and I had told him that we weren’t going to do it anymore because he had behaved so badly in the car. I listened to him cry in his room for almost ten minutes while I tried to gather my wits and do some dishes. It finally occurred to me that the whole week had felt like a tug-of-war event. The harder I would pull one way the harder still he would pull the other. Something had to give and I decided it was going to be me. I was the adult after all.
So I went into his room and rocked him in his rocking chair. I decided to try another method that I had been using before, about “making good choices”, trying to explain to him that he alone can choose his behavior. Trying again to explain what good behavior is, what bad behavior is, desperately hoping he could see the difference but wondering the whole time whether all this reasoning was just going over his head. I would say “do you understand?” and he would say “yeah” with his head nodding and eyes bright. Eventually I decided more talking was just going to make things more frustrating for us both so I asked him if he wanted to make some peanut butter cookies and he said yes and off we went. I had been on edge so much the whole week, just waiting for the next tantrum to come, that there was a tremendous sense of peace to the rest of the night once I stopped “pulling” so hard in my direction.
After his shower, while I was drying him off he tapped me on my forehead in the funny little way that he does sometimes, and said “Mommy, I want to make good choices and be good”. I guess something got through to him.
I’m not sure what I like most about long weekends. The extra day off is good but so is coming back to work and knowing there’s only four instead of five days until the next weekend. Score.
Kicked the weekend off on Friday with some me and Liam time, painting scary monster men and octopuses while Mike worked a DJ gig at a high school outside of Syracuse. This was kind of a special creative time for us because for the first time, Liam showed some interest in trying to paint an actual bodied person. I’ve painted the basic stick figures for him in the past but he’s always been more interested in mixing colors on the page or some cases “painting landscapes”. Which is totally fine with me, but I guess that got a bit boring because this time he actually asked me to show him how to paint a man, which quickly morphed into “scary monster men” and “otopus”.
Saturday was a super filled fun day. Started out with breakfast at Tin Pan Galley with Mofa, then a walk down to the frozen lake at Sackets Harbor. Liam was pretty fascinated with the fact that he was actually “walking on water”. We stopped and chatted with a couple who were ice fishing on the lake. They were kind enough to entertain our curious questions about the sport and showed Liam some of their catch.
We headed back before our toes froze and I spent the rest of the afternoon helping my mom unpack boxes in her newly renovated office. My parents are having they’re basement finished, which is where my mom’s office is located. I envy her this space so much and already have plans to spend every Friday night at her place doing crafts. Unpacking her craft room is also generally a lot of fun because of all the creative crafty things she keeps, not to mention fascinating historical books (which she uses to research material for her website).
Mike and I decided to do our Valentines thing on Saturday night. We used to get into the whole Valentine’s thing a little more when we were in college. I can remember organizing a treasure hunt for him once that culminated in a night at a resort hotel on Tybee Island. Good times. But eventually, real bonafide adulthood came a long and ever since we’ve been forced to choose which holiday’s we’re going to spend money on and how much. Valentines sort of falls into the “more for the kids and candy companies” category for me anyway, but hey, I will use any excuse to go out with the hubby. So Saturday night, we sent Liam off to the grandparents and headed to the movies. We watched Wolfman. Yes, I know. A movie about an unfortunate man struck with lycanthropy is not exactly the most romantic movie at the box office right now, but two hours of popcorn chomping and snuggling on Mike’s arm during the scary parts was more than good for me.
Sunday and Monday were spent trying to relax, clean house and doing some crafts. I’ve been trying very hard to learn how to use my sewing machine. Monday I finally finished a crayon roll for Liam. I don’t have a picture of it but you can check these out to kind of get the idea I was going for. The only difference between mine and the ones on Etsy is that the ones on Etsy are much better and their creators can sew in a straight line. ðŸ™‚