Tuesday, October 28, 2014

All Decked Out

Though we just got the caps put on the rail yesterday, and the gate installed today, our new deck has been finished enough for some amount of use since right before the weekend. It's been a big hit, and thanks to the weather, we've had plenty of chances to give it a try.

As it turns out, it's a great spot to hang out with Abby after lunch to let her burn off some energy, and she's all too happy to return to it in the late afternoon with her siblings after they wake from their nap. As for me, I'm never going to be a huge fan of the outdoors, but I'm much happier on the deck than I ever was in the yard, and I've been pretty excited to have a good excuse to whip out my camera again.

Of course, in doing so I was quickly reminded that having too much sunlight is often even harder to work with than having not enough.

This was especially true given our particular circumstances, with very bright patches of sunlight and small, sparse patches of shade, which Abby would move in and out of with ease. Even more tricky were those spots which seemed to contain both attributes.

Somehow, I still managed a few good shots of her. A couple of hours later, I had a second chance with all three of the children while the sun sat just a bit lower in the sky.

 The light was less intense, which was helpful, but I had a new challenge: lots and lots of motion.

Thankfully, I found a quiet moment or two to take advantage of in the midst of it.

However, to catch them at each one, I generally had to move just as fast.

But no complaints here, when I finally have such a nice big deck to do so on.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Mobile Moments, 10/20-10/26

I've hardly had time to consider much beyond the deck construction this week, which progressed swiftly as the days passed. However, I did make an effort to keep up with the pictures, so I'll let them go ahead and speak for me now.

This one got missed a couple of weeks ago, but it was too good for me not to slip in somewhere.
The hardworking contractors in our backyard started off the week laying down planks...
... And taking down hideous barriers. (Yay!)
Abby observed much of it with a watchful eye.
Next came the trimming.
As for us, we were busy pulling out sleepers to stay warm in the cooler evenings. I've decided they are my new favorite thing about Fall.
Not only can Mia climb up on the futon by herself now, she knows what to use it for.
It's a favorite spot for her, snuggled up next to Mama.
Of course, it's a favorite for them all, so sometimes there's no space for Mama left.
Up next on the deck came the beginnings of the rail.
Basic rail completed.
And now for the pickets.
The almost-finished product (still needs beams along the top of the rail and a gate at the top of the stairs).
Our first satisfied customer.
Happy faces all around on our first group outing.
Out-squatting Daddy.
Story time with Mima.

Overheard this week:

Between Tom and Abby

T: "What did the men do today?"
A: "Work."
T: "What did they work on?"
A: "The deck."
T: "What part of the deck?"
A: "The new part."
T: "What did they do to the new part?"
A: "Worked on it."

A: "I want to break this book."
T: "Anyone who breaks a book will not get to pick the bedtime story for a week."
A: "Daddy, this is no time for joking!"


"Woah. Abby made tunnel."


"No way!"

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Mobile Moments, 10/13-10/19

I've been slacking off this week, it's true. However, there have been a lot of things going on to occupy my time, and my mind. Family-visiting, party planning, Halloween preparing, and deck-building have all taken precedence for my attention over blogging, and I suppose that's the way that it should be.

Bonding with Papa.
Where's Abby?
Staring out through our hideous sliding door accessory for one of the very last mornings because...
... On Wednesday, deck construction finally began!
Thursday was rained out, but on Friday came the footings. On Monday: the joists.
Aunt Lisa makes word puzzles twice as fun.

Overheard this week:


In response to compliments Tom received on the leg of lamb that he roasted: "The lamb is so tender because we caught it and killed it and cooked it." (Cue some amusement mixed with slight guilt and horror on my part at the casualness with which she stated it.)

Between Tom and Abby

Shopping at Trader Joe's
A: "We could get some fruit."
T: "What should we get?"
A: "We should get some red grapes. And we can get some green grapes."
T: "Well, which one should we get?"
A: "We can get them both."


"All done."
"Take bath."
"Pull pants down."
"Not me!"
"See bad guys!" (While watching Mulan, to which Abby responds, "Yes, Michael. Those are the bad guys!")


"Green, pink, purple"
"Bless you."
"I sorry."
"Party time!"

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Mobile Moments, 10/6-10/12

No sooner had we settled into Fall and the ever-cooler weather than the Sickies reared their ugly heads again. I keep thinking it's the worst thing in the world to have a sick child, until I then have two sick children, and now- of course- it's almost always three at nearly the same time. Days are full of snot and crankiness, and nights are perilous, particularly if I make the mistake (as I did last night) of bringing one of my poor sad snifflers into bed with me. The result was a completely sleepless night for both Michael and myself as he proceeded to prove to me that he could, indeed, remain in constant motion for hours at a time- in the middle of the night, no less.

The week didn't start off so horribly, however. Though it feels now like we've all been sick forever, my own cold has only just barely given hints of setting in, and Michael moved beyond occasional coughing only last night. On the previous Friday, when I took Amelia in for her 18-month physical, in fact, she was happy and healthy as can be (well, as happy as is possible when she is short her one and only nap).

She's measuring 32.6" tall now, which puts her in the 74th percentile for height, and weighing in at 27 lbs, 6 oz (93rd percentile for weight). No real surprise to discover as I've noted more than once that she's larger than average but a little smaller than her sister was at the same age. What did manage to surprise me, however (though it shouldn't have, after going through this with Michael), was the variety of questions I had to figure out how to answer on the questionnaire that now comes standard with the 18-month appointment.

I was even more baffled this time around by the question concerning whether or not she could turn her spoon to keep the food from falling out before it reached her mouth, having seen Michael just barely master that skill in the last couple of months. But- hey- of all the skills for my kids to be way ahead in, I guess I'm fine with that one not being one of them.

However, beyond finding myself mystified by the questions themselves, I've been further perplexed by some of  the tests I'm expected to involve my very young child in to get at the answers to them. This is my second experience with the same questionnaire (they didn't hand them out back when I had just Abby), but it seems I've gotten no better at coaxing certain actions out of a young toddler that they certainly might have been capable of doing if only they'd had any interest in participating in the silly tasks I set forth for them to attempt. Got any advice for me on how to make a toddler want to try kicking a ball when she'd much rather wander the room with her older sister's toys clutched in each hand?

Yeah, I went ahead and checked "not yet" for the question concerning whether she could lift her foot to kick a ball as opposed to simply walking into it (because can she? maybe, but will she? definitely not), and moved on. I'm hoping this horrible cold that currently has a hold of most of my household will swiftly do the same. I didn't get a whole lot of candid shots taken this week in the precious time I had before we all started dropping like flies, but if you're feeling cheated you can always revisit the bouncy house photos I finally got around to editing and posting late this week.

I've gotta love it when Abby takes over story time (with her awesome memory for books) so I can take a few more moments to wake myself up in the morning before engaging in anything even remotely mentally taxing.
Not sure what possessed me any of the six times that I attempted this (three for each side) but eventually I managed something resembling little braids, which she fairly quickly destroyed anyway.
What happens when you build a tower taller than yourself? Then you can't see your brother on the other side!
Peek-a-boo! Now I see you!
Livin' large and lookin' cool.

Overheard this week:


Randomly musing while seated on the potty: "If they made toilet paper in a different color, I wouldn't mind that at all."


"Read one more, Abby."


"Strawberry, carrot, cereal, flying baby"

Between Mia and Tom

Looking at their reflection in the mirror
T: "Who's that?"
M: "Mia.!"
T: "And who's that? Can you say Dada?"
M: " Mama. No."

Friday, October 10, 2014

Belated Birthday Bash Bouncy Broodings

This post has been nearly three weeks in coming. Like so many before it, I almost let this collection of pictures slip past the blog due first to time constraints, then to a total memory lapse of ever having created it, and then to time constraints once again. It seems I never can settle into a time and space to write and edit anymore.

However, I was determined to get these to press, late as they are, and not least because the brainstorming I've done in trying to creatively introduce them led me to busting out that tongue-twister you now see above. I'm pretty fond of these pictures, which makes me want to share them, I learned a few things in the process of capturing them, and perhaps most of all, I've found it to be more important than ever now to prove to myself whenever I can that I still can.

So here they are, the nine(ish) things I learned the day my children braved a birthday party bouncy castle (and the pictures I took in the meantime):

1. Sometimes it takes thirty minutes of contemplative observation on the entrance ramp before one can muster up the courage to go inside. Only now I wish I'd taken some pictures of my little Michael as he lay on his belly, watching the older children jump and squeal.

2. If your big sister finally decides it's time to give it a try, that really can be all it takes to get you to follow her.

3. It still stings every time I wreck a good shot because I didn't have the settings quite right yet (though the below one came out kind of cool-looking, anyway, I suppose).

4. A shutter speed of 250 is not quite sufficient to handle the near-constant bouncing of young children, who bounce courtesy of the surface they are on even when they're sitting still (but I somehow managed to get enough decent shots to share anyway).


5. Once your children enter a bouncy house, they are not so easily coaxed back out of it again.


 6. Direct sunlight really is tough to work around (or through).

7. There are some rare instances in which it's actually easier to keep up with my busy little guy than my oldest daughter (she got the bouncy part down).

8. This was one wonderful instance in which my youngest daughter made it easiest of all (no bouncy castles for her just yet, but she's proof that tricycles can be fun even if you don't know how to use them). Also, natural light (especially on white clothing) exposes so much more than I'm ever prepared for it to- she still looks a little blown out even after adjusting the exposure down a bit.


9. No matter whether I got all of the shots I truly wanted, I am grateful for the memories I recorded all the same. Hopefully someday, my kids will be too.

*10. Sometimes the hardest thing about about creating a picture post is getting the images to look the way you want on the page. After messing with this one too many times and still failing, I now officially give up. I think you can enjoy the shots even if they're not spaced perfectly, no?