Wednesday, September 28, 2011

When Big Brother is Away...

....Andrew will play...

With his trains...

All day long!

Whether we're inside and he's using one of his track sets, or outside in the sandbox or driveway or by the stream, he's got those trains (or others!) with him.  To say the boy is obsessed is an understatement.  Just a few minutes ago I barely averted a minor meltdown when I informed that we could not go see Thomas because Thomas was back home on Sodor, not at the train station where we saw - and Rode! - him this summer and last summer.  He will also request to watch any number of Thomas DVD's we have.  I tell ya, it's all Thomas, all the time around here!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Fallish Days

Today is one of the first real "Fallish" days we've had this year.  We woke up to temps in the 40's, and it's been sunny and breezy all day.  It's not even quite 60 out there yet.  Andrew and I spent quite a bit of time outside this morning.  He immediately headed to the sandbox with his trains, where he occupied himself for a good half hour, while I sat nearby shivering in the shade, despite wearing my favorite fall jacket.  It's quite breezy out there, so you really need that sun to keep warm. (James even announced this morning that maybe he should have worn mittens!) But I just LOVE this time of year!  I can't wait for the leaves to change color.  We even got our first small pumpkins from the CSA already a few weeks ago.

I also harvested a nice bunch of veggies from the garden this morning. Andrew helped by picking broccoli leaves and eating them. This is one of the rare instances where my kids like a real food (i.e. not a processed "kid food") that I just do not!  I enjoy broccoli, but those leaves I can just do without!  However, after a little googling I read that the small, young leaves can be compared to collard greens, which I do like when cooked, so maybe I'll give them a try. But back to my harvest.  I was happy to pick quite a few tomatoes (I only have six plants because we get quite a few from the CSA), some broccoli florets, a couple pickling cukes and some green beans.  Enough to fill a Zappos box about the size of 2 shoe boxes.
There used to be a lot more green beans, but Andrew ate quite a few of them while we sat on the front steps.  I'm not complaining!  We're having some family over for James' birthday tomorrow, so I'll make good use of those tomatoes.  When I don't have immediate use for the tomatoes, I've been making big batches of sauce in my 8 quart slow cooker.  In addition to the tomatoes, I add in any zucchini (shhhh...that's my little secret) and peppers we haven't eaten, plus usually a couple cans of crushed tomatoes.  And of course there are some herbs and garlic to round out the flavor. If I have onions on hand, I'll slice up one or two and put those in as well.  And some times I add a touch sugar depending on how sweet the vegetables are.  Since my boys (all three!) don't like chunky vegetables in their sauce, I just whip out my immersion blender after it's been in the crock pot all day and blend it up.  You'd really never know the zucchini is in there.  Currently I have about 8 quarts of the sauce in my freezer!

All this talk of veggies and sauce is making me HUNGRY!  So time to go whip up some lunch for Andrew and myself!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

My "Little" Preschooler

Andrew started preschool this week - two mornings (3 hours each) per week.  Today was his second day.  This is his first experience with any on-going time away from me.  He'd been to drop-in day care a handful of times last year, and this past summer he did 2 weeks of  "summer enrichment" classes.   But now, he gets to go for the whole school year!  And let me tell ya - he is READY!  He's been so sad that he doesn't get to go to school, or ride the bus, with James, but when I remind he gets to go to his own school, he perks right up!  And when I drop him off, he barely even stops what he's doing to say good bye.

So here he is on Tuesday morning, all set to go!

Washing his hands when we got to school:

He immediately went for the cars they had set out:

And playing well with another little boy:

This is the same preschool James went to for 3 years.  I'm actually a little sad that Andrew will only get to go for two (James "missed" the cutoff for kindergarten when he was 5, so he did preK here as well).  We absolutely love this school, which is run by a church but is not a religious education.  Andrew is doing quite well there so far - even seems to be listening to the teachers and sitting for circle time!  So, I guess our little boy really is growing up.  And on that note, I will leave you with the BRILLIANT knock-knock joke he told me yesterday!

Knock, Knock!
Who's there?
Banana who?
(at which time he proceeded to giggle with delight at his own humor! don't you just LOVE 3 year-olds?  I certainly do!)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Six Years Ago...

On this day, six years ago, I became a Mother.  After an induction process that started at approximately 7:00PM on a Friday night, James was born at 12:31am on a Tuesday morning (No, no typo there. I really was stuck on Labor and Delivery for that long!).  To my sweet James, I say Thank You!  For being the smiling, happy, friendly, chatty, inquisitive, cute (even though you think cute is for babies), funny, energetic, charming, smart person that you are.  You have changed our lives in ways I just could not imagine. I love you more than I could ever express with words.  Hopefully my actions so far have sufficed.

In the wee hours of 9/13/2005

8:00 am, 9/13/2011, on Andrew's first day of preschool

Friday, September 9, 2011

I've Been Wondering...

From time to time, when I'm doing a mindless or tedious task such as loading the dishwasher, my mind begins to wander and I come up with some very deep and important questions about life.  Here are some recent ones.

Why does the word vacuum have two u's?  Why isn't it spelled vacume?

Why won't the freezer pack for the snack size container I bought for James' lunch box freeze, yet the sandwich size one freezes no problem?

Back in primitive times, what did pregnant women crave?  There was no chocolate, or salty chips, or pickles and ice cream.  Did they crave berries? Raw meat?  Leaves? (Smart alecs need not comment on this one. It is not a hint about anything!)

Why must so many foods that taste good be so bad for you?

Why is the sky blue? (Sorry...I have young children and have been asked this question.  I just had to throw it in there)

Why are kids so fascinated with water?  I know that very young children are pretty much fascinated by anything, but water is one they continue to love. Any one with kids and a water table knows what I'm talking about!

Why did I wait until I had children to start drinking that magic elixir known as coffee?

When will I get to stop buying diapers?  (note to those who know me...if Andrew has the same problem as James, just go ahead an book me a room at a psychiatric institution)

Is there a cookbook buyers anonymous?

Why are some people naturally organized at home, while I am...well....NOT?

Why is Andrew always the kid that gets the dirtiest?

Why are our kids ready to grow up so much sooner than we are ready to admit it?

How do I get rid of that border around the picture?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

"I Had a Great Day Today"

So today was the day - James' first day of kindergarten!  Can you see the slight bit of anticipation and excitement in his face as we waited for the bus? (It was we took the car instead of walking the short distance to the bus stop)

 He was so excited he left his back pack in the car when the bus arrived (thankfully, Mom here was actually with it enough to notice).  Here he is as we said goodbye just before the door closed.  His bus driver's  name is Herb...I liked him immediately. 

While I thought for sure I'd be bawling my eyes out the minute he hopped on that bus, it didn't happen.  He was so excited and happy, I couldn't help but be just as excited and happy as he was.  And then when I got back in the car I had to soothe poor Andrew, who was quite sad the he did not get to go on the bus nor go to school.  But after some reassurance that he will go to school soon too (preschool 2 mornings per week starting next week) he calmed down pretty quickly.  Then we drove to Dunkin Donuts so I could get a giant coffee, and the tears (mine) came just about as I turned into the parking lot.  But they weren't so bad.  No bloodshot eyes, puffy eyelids, or stuffy nose to be seen.  But first born is now a kindergartner!

After I got my caffeine fix, we had to head to the orthopaedic surgeon's office so I could get my stitches out.There was an accident on the highway going the other direction, but it still messed up my route.  So we had to go the back roads, but I got there just in the nick of wait.  See, I wasn't the only one that got stuck in traffic. Ah well, these things happen.  Stitches are out, wrist is functioning well for one week post-op, and I go back in October for another follow up with the surgeon himself (today was with a PA). Then I will schedule surgery on my right wrist - woohoo!

The rest of the day was spent wondering just how much anxiety is normal for a mother on her oldest child's first day of Kindergarten.  Should I really have butterflies in my stomach all day?  I also managed to convince Andrew to give me a few extra hugs by pouting my bottom lip.  We played together a bit but he seemed to want to play by himself mostly today.

At 3:00, we got our jackets on and walked up the street to the bus stop.  And waited a solid 20 minutes for the bus to arrive.  I knew that is about when it would arrive since school doesn't even get out until 3:00, but you have to allow for extra time when dealing with a stubborn 3 year old!  Today he was cooperative though, so we were early and waited.  When the bus finally arrived we greeted James at the door (school rules..kindergartners must have a parent/older sibling there in order to get off the bus).  His first words, even before "hi" were "I had a great day today!" and they were accompanied by his huge grin I love!  You can't ask for more than that as a parent, can you?

When we arrived home, he immediately wanted to play angry birds on my ipod.  But I insisted that he actually talk to me first!  And then he just could not stop!  He had so much to tell me, I can't remember it all and it's not even been 2 hours yet.  Highlights include: chocolate milk at lunch (no more chocolate pudding with his lunch!), seeing a couple of kids he already knew at recess and on the way to the library, and having a cubby with his own supplies that include a box of crayons and pair of scissors. He seemed slightly disappointed that during free time they have to choose a station and stick with it (at least that's how I interpreted his lightening fast chatter). BUT..they did get to use two toys, so I guess that made it all OK.

It is so exciting to go through this journey with him.  Though as many parents feel, I'm also a little sad that he is growing up so fast and I won't be there for as much of his life as I used to be.  For now, I will send him off to school in the morning with anticipation, and anxiously await his arrival home to hear all he has to tell of his adventures that day.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Random Ramblings

HI!  My name is Jean, and I'm a terrible blogger. Altogether now: "Hi Jean!"  Why am I a terrible blogger?  Because I get these ideas in my head of how I SHOULD write, instead of just writing what I WANT to write.  And I constantly compare myself to other blogs I read and admire, and think to myself "my posts will never be as good as their posts, so why bother?" So then I let 5 months go by without any posts at all. But somewhere inside I know they don't have to be as "Good" as those other posts.  I need to write whatever I want to write, or what I NEED to write.  So...let's give this here blog another shot!

  • I had endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release surgery on my left hand/wrist on Monday.  WOW - what a difference it has made!  And what a quick recovery!  At this point, I still have to be careful about lifting, or putting pressure on it, but aside from that I pretty much have full use.  And he did the stitches internally, so the incision which is about 1/2 inch long on my wrist crease, will be barely noticeable.  GOD BLESS MODERN MEDICINE!!  If you are considering the surgery, and your surgeon does it endoscopically, I HIGHLY recommend it!  I will have my right hand done soon.
  • Spell check does not like "endoscopically" but none of the suggestions are right either, so I'm leaving it that way.
  • They gave me an IV antibiotic during the surgery.  Last night and this morning I ate yogurt.  Yes, those two points are related. Sigh...
  • My garden was kind of experimental this year, since we bought a share in the CSA again and get all the standard stuff from them.  Here's a run down on what worked, and what didn't.
    Heirloom Tomatoes - doing well.  We've got red, pink and orangey-yellow tomatoes, all producing decent amounts.
    Kohlrabi (white and purple) - grew well.  But I'm not crazy about it, so I won't grow it again. Glad I tried it though.
    Broccoli - got off to a slow start, but now it's doing great!  I've got some that I need to steam and put in the freezer
    Brussels Sprouts - looks like they'll be a dud.  There are some little nubs on the stalks, but they've been there forever and they're not really doing much, plus looks like the head won't be tight if they do continue to grow.
    Garlic - another dud.  They didn't bulb up. The cloves that I planted (that I got from Gurney's) got slightly bigger, but that's about it.  I'm guessing our soil isn't loose enough.
    Watermelon Radishes - yet another dud.  Once again, the soil must not be loose enough.  They tried to grow above the ground.  It's not working out so well.
    Herbs - Rosemary, Italian Oregano, Sage and Spearmint.  All growing beautifully - I should  probably try and actually cook with them.
    Rattlesnake Pole Beans - Producing well.  Wish I had planted more.
    Cucumbers (Bush crop and pickling) - doing alright, but not abundant.
  • James starts Kindergarten on Tuesday.  Full day.  I am not quite ready for this - but he sure is! If you hear some sobs at about 8:10am  (Eastern time zone!), that will be me.
  • Andrew will start preschool on the 13th (two mornings per week).  We're BOTH ready for that!
  • I had a significant birthday in July.  I had a hard time with it.  Still not used to telling people my age.  But I had a blast in NYC with my sister-in-law a few weeks later when we went to see Rock of Ages on Broadway.  FUN show, especially for this child of the 80's.
  • I finally decided I had too much gray hair for my liking (I started getting them when I was 18 - there are PLENTY!) and now go regularly to get it cut and colored.  Even had some blond highlights put in this summer - fun!  But of COURSE now that I'm finally going regularly to get my hair done, and found a stylist that I really like (i.e. she doesn't try and push all the expensive hair crap on me), she accepted a job another salon that is a little far for me.  So the owner of the salon will be doing my hair now. She seems nice - hopefully she won't be too pushy with the "Product".
  • I haven't done a grocery shopping trip since August 6th.  We get our veggies from the CSA, I've been to the local farm store for fruits, to a dairy farm for some milk, and Jeremy has picked up a few things here and there at the grocery store.  Plus we have a good pantry and stocked freezer, so no need for any big shopping trips.  But now it is time.  We're out of some staples, like rice.  So today, I will clip my coupons and make my list, then head on over to Market Basket.  I'm not excited.
  • That's it for now.  Thanks for reading, and hopefully I'll have more here soon!