Thursday, May 28, 2009

Monumental day

Let it be known that on this day in history, Henry rolled over!

Henry is home with me today. Teething/illness related screaming got him the boot from school. I'm getting work done and balancing his needs. I wouldn't want to do this every day, but it's not been awful. I did have to officially take an official 1/2 day, but time with the little guy and making sure he's getting all the one on one time that he needs makes it worth it.

He and I were in the living room on the floor just now. His motivator is not me, or the dogs, or any of his toys, or even food (which is saying something for this 23 pounder). He rolled so he could crawl after an envelope.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Emptying pockets of random

We had a minivacation that started Wednesday afternoon and ended Monday. We hit the road and an hour into the trip, Willa started to vomit. Optimistically, I chalked it up to car sickness. Turns out, we were 2 adults, 2 kids, and 2 dogs on a trip with a rather sociable flu-bug. There was no fun. Wait, there was 2 minutes of fun that involved a watermelon (and if I don't post about that later in the week - with photos- bug me about it). This little bug danced from Willa to me, and then to Henry, and somehow got to Jim on Mackinac Island before getting to my mom and then my dad.

The silver lining was that when the kids were sleeping or otherwise engaged, I got to read a book. From one cover to another in a few days. I haven't done that in a very long time. I read the Kite Runner. It did to my psyche what starting an exercise regime does to a physical body. It was painful to read, but important. It's a wonderfully heartbreaking story. Read it.

Changing the subject to a few random points:

Mr. Sinki = smarty pants. Check this out: 6 classes down in his Master's program, and dude's got a 4.0 GPA. I'm so proud of Jim.

I spent some time yesterday reading through the 2006 posts just to see how our lives were when Willa was Henry's age. Turns out we're kind of reliving late November of 2006 in the sleep department. Some other quick calculations show that Henry and Willa were the same age when first teeth showed up and when they became mobile by crawling.

Grand Rapids probably went to bed with a bottle of wine (I don't know... GR pals, is GR a wine city? beer? the hard stuff?) last night after a very tough day. Before the sun came up, a GR landmark restaurant burned down. And then a very large water main downtown broke, closing the street. [Dear Amway: that will teach you! Trying to keep the public from gazing at your fireworks show...] And then the food court at Woodland mall had a small fire that made the mall close down for a while. And I won't post a link there...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I will love her and squeeze her and call her...

Starfley Cawmer.

That is what Willa has named her stuffed pink monkey. When I asked if it had a name, she looked at me like I was crazy for not knowing, kind of... "where have you been, mom?!" and she very matter of factly told me:

"Oh, her name is Starfley Cawmer."

Do not say "Calmer" or she rolls her eyes.

She also has a monkey named Eyebrows (because he has eyebrows) and a horse named Salad.


Monday, May 18, 2009

he said, he said, he said, she said...

"These woods are so dense. You know, they drop SEALS in the woods for training."
"Somewhere way back there is an antenna that 100 feet long. The ELF is for transmitting to submarines."
"And if you hike through the woods and over a few dunes, there are nudist beaches."

"So you spent a lot of time up here in high school?"
"Late high school and early college."
"Mmmm hmmmm...."
"Well, not that I don't believe any of what you're saying, but you absolutely sound like a high school version of Jim: covert military training, 100 foot long antenna, nudists..."
"HA- oh, shut up."

Trees to the left of us, Lake Michigan to the right...

If you are not from Michigan, or if you've never been close to a Michigander (old school! Whatever "Michiganians"....) you may not be familiar with the travelling state map. Hence the photo I've lovingly posted here for your reference
The Sinkis packed up and headed north for the weekend. Mama Sinki (that would be me) had a work program in Petoskey - marked by the blue diamond above - and I brought the clan. While packing, Mama Sinki thought of her lovely son who eats his fruits and veggies well, but not so daintily yet, and packed double the clothes necessary for a one night trip.
We got to the fabulous Holiday Inn Express on Friday evening. Pushed by Willa's enthusiasm, we were in the pool moments after checking in. Willa was a fish. Henry was... a screeching, stretching, kicking fish.
The program on Saturday morning went wonderfully (pat on back).
After the program we loaded up and headed out. Papa Sinki had a wild look in his eye and suggested we not go home that evening. So... road trip! We took 2 lane highways from Petoskey to Traverse City to Sleeping Bear Dunes (purple smiley face). It was a chilly day and windy, so we opted out of hiking up the dunes with a 3 year old and a hefty infant. Instead we drove the scenic road in the National Park. We got out for a moment and walked to a dune lookout. Lake Michigan was beautiful for the minute we could bear to be in the cold wind.
As we drove we played "eye spy" with Willa. There was no guessing, just exclaiming, and the most often spied and declared item was forsythia. Toward the end of the game, she was chanting and then mumbling "I spy a forsythia." When she was silent, I turned to see her totally asleep. Jim and I talked and talked and talked.
Red barns and trillium carpeted woods. Twists, gentle curves and hills... Visions of tourism encouraging "Yes Michigan!" This state we live in? Gorgeous. We saw cows, chickens, horses, sheep, a llama, deer, turkey. When we had to stop the car so I could nurse Henry a man on a bicycle asked Jim if we needed help. And then we watched him walk his bike up a long, steep hill.
Henry and Willa entertained each other in the back by making noises at each other. In a few years, I know they will be much less entertained by each other, but will still be making noises...
They were such good kids, especially considering how long they were strapped in the car.
We landed in Manistee (yellow moon) Saturday night and found dinner and a place to stay. Again a pool. Again smiling kids.
In the morning, Henry had his first waffle and shared about 1/2 of it with the floor of the Days Inn. We got on the road again (no pool in the morning. "Sorry Willa, someone pooped in the pool, and it's closed." Motherhood has made me a liar. She immediately blamed Henry.).
Manistee to Ludington where we enjoyed the beach from behind the windshield at the city park while the kids slept. We stopped at a produce shop and I bought still sandy asparagus and flavored honey sticks.
Ludington to Pentwater where I opened my eyes from a little nap when I heard Jim say, "I drove to Pentwater to show my family this view and everyone is sleeping." I think I said, "it's nice!" and closed my eyes again.
Pentwater to Little Sable Point (orange sun)where we all got out to walk over the dune and stretch a little. Willa and I put our feet in Lake Michigan. It was cold. I fed Henry on a sand dune, gazing at the Lake and then at Willa and Jim who were hunting for ladybugs. Serene (unless you were a ladybug).
From there in search of lunch. We wound up at Turks (Jim where were we?) a very sweet little place that you should visit if you're ever in _____ (Jim?).
From lunch to Leonard Street all the way home.
It was a pretty awesome weekend. Soon, we'll be headed north again to Mackinac Island (pink starbust). Where we'll be able to experience a deepening green and spring flowers unfurling all over again. For that, we'll remember the camera.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Chapter 4 in the handbook for teen pregnancy prevention

I am feeling like the poster child for the reason several industrialized countries give new mothers a year of maternity leave. In other words, I'm kinda of an exhausted mess.
Today. Today the little feeling of messhood has a big ole magnifying glass over it. I promise, I'm all right, but geez...
Last night during her bath Willa looked at me after laughing while floating in the water and said, "my ear hurts." At 2am, I finally got her to sleep. Between those times she cried and yelled. She wanted go lie down with me upstairs in her bed. We'd get to her bed, and she "needed" to be downstairs on the couch. Or in mom and dad's bed.
I did not sleep much the night before (thanks, teething).
I was worn down and pretty much willing to let Willa have what ever it took to quiet her down and get her comfortable. Watching Annie on the couch with me? Sure. Telling her stories about my pet chicken? Okay, 1 am is a good time for that. Rocking, head stroking... Hey, who wants ice cream?! Just kidding, there was no ice cream...
She would not let Jim comfort her. So, he worked to get Henry back to sleep after Willa's wails woke him.
Finally, after holding her very close and shushing her for 20 minutes, she fell asleep in my arms.
I felt my muscles relax, laid her in bed with Jim and went to the couch. My head hit a pillow.
And then Henry woke up.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Five years ago, I went to hear Gullah music at Grand Valley. It was a fun night that reinvigorated my appreciation for live music and other cultures, and the weight of history. In between the music and the after concert milkshakes with Heather, I met Jim.

Jim, who said I should share more about the SEED school here. Okay...

My closest friend there was Nancy, a woman from NYC who was a little younger than me. When the kids went home on Friday nights, we would sit in the common areas on couches and try to figure out how to improve the way the school worked. We tried to figure out how to reach the snotty 7th grade girls who wouldn't let go of their protective shells. We laughed about how the nearly 100% African American, very urban DC student population reacted to being "guided" by me - a white girl from Michigan. I'm pretty sure they thought I nearly Amish. Nancy and I got through the DC sniper together. We presented united fronts to our bosses and the girls who thought they were our bosses. We encouraged each other nearly every day. Because we needed to (I've mentioned we were both in charge of twelve 7th grade girls when they weren't in the classroom, right?). We drank wine. Because we needed to.

Nancy and I were together in suburban DC for a day out with other friends/coworkers/people we put up with because we were all in battle together. She was a shopper. Wait, she was a Shopper. I? Am not. We had gone to what felt like our 80th store when I protested. "I am tired of shopping! Let's do something else."
"Amy," said my friend who was raised on concrete and bus fumes, "I would go into the woods for you. If you said, 'lets look at just one more tree' I would do that for you. Now, we're going into this Banana Republic, and you're going to like it."
And she probably would have, despite her fear of any bug and disdain for soil or... nature.

Speaking of nature... the bunnies have left the nest. They were grown, and now it's time for them to move on. Like any self respecting pseudo parent, I am quickly changing their bedroom into a den.

I planted a wisteria vine and basil last night. My Mother's Day/in honor of Henry Plum Tree needs to be planted this evening. I'm excited because it's beautiful and symbolic and we might get fruit.

How's that for tangental?
Jim -> Nancy -> bunnies -> garden?

Sweet Jim, who would have guessed 5 years ago that we'd create this?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Daycare pick up conversations...

"Henry is going to start visiting the older infant room."
Silence from me.

"Willa's in the corner over there. She's at 'the doctors having babies'."
"How many this time, Willa?"
She proudly hold up 10 fingers.
"Well, maybe we'll get a reality television show..."


Last year in an effort to quell the strawberry patch raiding chipmunks and rabbits, Jim made a cage of chicken wire and surrounded our plants.
On Saturday I did my house walkabout, inspecting the progress of all of our plants. I did a double take in the strawberry patch. There, behind the cage (again built to keep out critters), was a nest with several adorable baby bunnies.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

On the move

Between point A and point B is a flash, and his name is Henry. The fella is getting around in two ways. First, he slithers along on his belly, elbows pulling him along. Second, he sits upright and bumps along on his behind. He moves centimeters at a time, but gets there. I hope to get a movie to share here.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Inside and out

We're fine. I haven't posted here since Tuesday, which made my mom wonder who in the house was sick. There is no sick. There is only teething, and sunshine, and bubbles, and "who is making dinner tonight?" Also? Where did the last few weeks of April go?

We had a great weekend. I planted about... ten thousand zillion peonies (probably closer to 20). A woman on my "mom's board" agreed to swap some tomato seedlings for those. While I planted, Willa did her part by plucking all of the worms out of the newly dug soil and carried them around. She thinks they're cute. She'd lovingly place them on her pillow at night if we'd let her. The kid shrieks if she sees a spider in the house and will bolt if there's an ant, but she dotes on worms.

We had an adventure this weekend: a few hours at Blanford Nature Center where we saw frogs and turtles and a snake. We were out on a trail when Willa announced she needed to go to the bathroom. I am hoping that she has stopped telling people, "I got to go potty [deep breath in and eyes wide] in THE WOODS!"

Henry's tooth #2 has finally broken through the gums. He is getting around on his own now, one centimeter at a time. I set him down on the floor in front of the full length mirror on Saturday while I brushed my teeth. From the other side of the wall, I heard a clunk and then a Henry giggle. I peeked around the doorway to see him licking the wall. I put him back in the middle of the hallway and watched as he hopped on his bottom toward the wall.

Jim and I spent a good portion of the weekend doing yard work and dreaming about an ideal design. A small platform deck under the maple tree? Some wood chips there? Leveling out the pile of grass clippings and leaves and composted produce? Vinca vine where the grass won't grow? Transplanting more of the lily of the valley?

I'm going to need some new work gloves.

I noticed a pair of cardinals over the weekend, spending some time on the front porch. Turns out, they're nesting in our huge pine tree. No sign of rabbit nests yet, but I'm sure they'll come.