Tuesday, August 28, 2012

This and that

This and that

I can't decide if I'm just unusually boring lately or if this is a typical late-summer blogging funk. It is the lazy days for me…too hot and buggy to do anything outside, summer camps have ended at work but school field trips haven't started, even our swimming lessons are taking a two-week break. Time for some bullet points and pictures, yes? Yes.

Audrey II

I planted snake gourd for fun and then it took over the whole front of the garden and pissed me off. I mean, seriously:

I started to trim them back two Saturdays ago and then decided nope, not doing this anymore. I ripped them all out and once I started pulling six-foot-long roots out from under the fence, I figured this was the right decision. This was a full-on hostile takeover. I swear, as long as I shall live, no more experimental gourds.


One of Nico's little buddies had a fire station birthday party this past Friday evening. The party was from 6 - 8 pm so I was kind of worried, but it actually went really well. First they had a firefighter in full turnout come in to visit to show the kids that they shouldn't be scared. Nico was having none of it and turned to me after just a few minutes and loudly announced, "Go back in the car. Want to get back in the car!" He calmed down after the firefighter took off his helmet and mask, though he remained skeptical. Next they had another firefighter visit wearing a dalmatian mascot head and much to my surprise, Nico actually liked him. He wouldn't go meet him up close, but once the mascot left, N kept asking "Where the fire dog?" After the fire dog we went downstairs to see the trucks and then we got to go for a fire engine ride. Nico was not sure at first, but he ended up loving it and we got to go twice. Definitely going in the books as a success. He's such a watch-and-wait kind of kid - he's a lot like me, really - so getting him to try new things is always a challenge. I never want to be that mom who's forcing her kid to go on rides that terrify him, for example, but I also don't want him to miss out on stuff he will genuinely like because he's hesitant to try. It's always such a great feeling when I figure out just the right amount to push and Nico gets to enjoy the results.

We also went to the huge local pool with fancy spray park this past Sunday. We had a free pass leftover from MB's company picnic back in June and Nico's still free, so he and I spent the morning there. After we battled through the eating-breakfast fit, the sunscreen fit, and the getting-dressed fit. Once we got out of the house, though, he was really great and we had a pretty wonderful time. He's a stormy one, my boy, but at least his tempests tend to pass quickly. Oh, and how I wish I had a photo of him in the actual pool. I'm a pretty low-key non-hovery mom most of the time, but I'm sure at the pool I look like a lunatic. I had Nico in a rash guard, a sun hat, and his Puddle Jumper. It was like the summer equivalent of the younger brother's snow gear in A Christmas Story. I'll take the pool side-eye as it comes, though…we may be low-key but we do not dick around with sun protection in this pale, pale family.


I don't know if it's because I'm reading YA fiction or because not blogging gives me lots of time, but I've continued my late summer trend of ripping through books. We took seven books back to the library yesterday and they were all mine. Recent reads and quick impressions:

( 1 ) Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake (sequel to Anna Dressed in Blood) - good though not as good as the first. Not as fast-paced or high-action and not as creepy overall, though one scene late in the book was seriously freaking me out. I like how the author resolved the story and while I don't think you NEED to read this one, I don't think it will diminish anyone's pleasant feelings about the first book.

( 2 ) Paper Towns by John Green - Really good, extremely well-written. It's hard to find books with strong, realistic, non-irritating teenage characters, but he nails it. This one was almost as good as The Fault in Our Stars, but that one is going to be really, really hard to match. I'm already looking forward to reading another John Green book.

( 3 ) Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr - extremely solid, another well-written YA book with a teenage protagonist that never grates or gets shrill. Didn't love it as much as How to Save a Life but it's solid and I'll be looking for more of her books, too.

Brief baby-growing report

Still pregnant, but still not feeling very pregnant. Looking more fat than maternal, unfortunately. Eating an embarrassing quantity of Arby's roast beef sandwiches and Kix cereal. Grateful that things have been really, really boring so far.

Reading:  The Down and Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids by Helen Olsson

Playing:  the Brave soundtrack


  1. We planted almost the perfect number of butternut squashes last year: we were just a few squashes short. So this year, we more than doubled it. Dur. They are TAKING OVER OUR LIVES.

  2. Squash mistake solidarity! I planted four zucchini which turned out to be two too many, so we were initially overrun. Then all four shriveled up and died. I think the squash are just messing with me.

  3. That "Chicks dig me" shirt is the best thing ever.

    Also, I'm laughing over "We do not dick around with sun protection in this pale, pale family" and your food combo of roast beef sandwiches and Kix. :)

  4. I don't blame you for the overprotection from the sun. My brother-in-law and my 2 nephews are redheads and they don't take any chances. We tease that the boys are so pale you can see all their veins and capillaries, but I think it's smart.

    I also plan to read whatever John Green books I can get from the library.

  5. According to MacGyver's firefighter training, the recommendation for the last twenty years is to begin in street clothes and don the gear in plain sight. Scares the kids less that way. Who was this guy?