Sunday, March 27, 2011
It's been a week since we got back after a long winter up north, in the snowy coldness and desolation of New York (ok, I am exaggerating the desolation part, but just a little bit).
Getting back was pretty amazing. The weather couldn't have been better - 70+ degrees and sunny. The drawback - weeds in the front yard were chest-high (ok, exaggerating again, but not by much). Plus the lawn mower wouldn't start. So I pulled what I could by hand and let the rest grow. By my estimates we've got a couple more weeks before the city fines us.
While in the yard, I was making grand plans (as usual) for growing all sorts of delicious and beautiful things. I planted one bed of spring greens, radishes, swiss chard and some other odds and ends. Then picked up dahlia tubers at Lowe's, totally on a whim and planted them in the second bed. Also planted some peas into the middle of the third bed. And then I started thinking about all the other awesome goodness - a fig tree, a plum tree, a few blueberry bushes in between, a peony to the right of the fig tree, some lingonberries by the window... Plus finally edging the drive-way side of the yard with brick... Thankfully the weather turned cold and rainy so I could catch a breath.
Which turned me onto an indoor project - M's room. Yes, I'm repainting it since M wants it to be all about Cosmos, what else. Which means, of course, that all those crazy shelves we've attached to the walls had to come down. And all the picture frames. Which meant lots and lots of holes to fill. Which meant no going back on the repainting idea. So I've been painting this one room since Friday. Granted it's a huge room and even has knee walls which are a huge pain, especially for someone short like myself.
M helped me quite a bit with one of the walls. He got so into it that he even painted a bit of the window trim. I didn't notice it in time... Oh well... My paint job isn't perfect either. In some places it looks as if I was painting under influence. But the important thing is it's getting done and looking good.
Other than gardening and painting, I also started working out at the gym. The horrible winter of not moving much, not doing much, and eating delicious freshly baked bread left its mark on me - 10 extra pounds. So I'm at the gym 3 days a week now working them off because I don't want to spend money on all new summer clothes (I hate clothes shopping).
Chris is hopping around on his crutches and trying to help me whenever he can. And I try to run interferance so he could just sit down, put his leg up and rest. And he complains that he's bored to death. And then he makes delicious crepes for breakfast and bakes bread in the evenings.
M is doing great. He ends up working on whatever I work, but not really helping. Like today I was fixing dinner so he wanted to do the same. He started making some kind of salad with pieces of cucumber, salt, pepper and cinnamon. Then he said it was going to be "Butter Barrel" candy (something he picked up from a Mercy Watson CD). So he asked me for some butter. I gave him a small piece which he proceeded to cut into tiny pieces one of which he put into the bowl with the other ingredients. The bowl then went into a microwave (don't worry, under my expert supervision). The rest of the butter was left all over the kitchen, including on the floor.
All this keeps me plenty busy so I don't have time to even take pictures - very unusual for me. So this is a post with no pictures in it, sorry... I finish painting the room this week and get my camera out, I promise.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
There was also a huge change in how he built them. He used to ask me for help balancing the blocks or even coming up with design ideas. But lately he's been building completely on his own. Which obviously makes me very happy and proud.
Now the only thing he asks from me is to take his picture next to his latest creation.
The weather cleared up some. Even though it still remained very cold, at least the snow melted. It started to feel like spring! Change in the weather meant that M and Grandpa could finally launch some real rockets. You can imagine the excitement!
No snow meant that we could finally go to a playground. Sure, there was mud all over the place, but that just upped the fun factor. Except on the first day when it was so cold that after about 20 minutes M asked me if we could go home already.
In our last week in NY we spent quite a lot of time in the backyard. M got to sit in Grandpa's new airplane! And check out the first greens in Grandma's veggie garden. We also played soccer with this huge dirty mostly deflated Chuck E. Cheese-themed ball. Even Grandpa got in on the action.
We also built this structure (above) from a playhouse someone junked and Grandpa picked up months ago. Do you know what this is? Nope, it's not a house or a castle. And it's not a rocket or a space station or a space shuttle.
Ok, I'm going to tell you - it's a ship. A regular ocean-going ship. M was the captain and I was both the crew and the passengers. My responsibilities were few and consisted mostly of saying "Ay Ay, Captain!". The captain, on the other hand, stayed very busy making snacks and coffee in the galley, appearing on the deck only to fight sharks.
Back indoors we did a couple of projects. I came up with one after seeing this idea on a couple of blogs. This is an art-science project since it combines painting with pendulum action. The set up is very simple - a funnel suspended from a broomstick and filled with paint. It got pretty messy, but M was really into it (and he still doesn't like messing with paint). In fact, he chose the colors and operated the pendulum. He then got into mixing colors with a stirring stick.
The second project was M's own invention. He actually got so into it that he was at it for almost 2 hours straight and then continued on and off for the next couple of days. The setup was much more elaborate and included a printer paper box, some leftover cardboard (from building our hexbug habitat), a large pot, an old broken tripod, lots of sticks, pinecones, and pieces of wood and a space heater (set on low for safety). So what do you think this whole thing is? Ok, I'm going to tell you right away 'cause you won't guess in a million years. Ready? It's a machine for making rainbow-colored hay from ground lunar stones (which explains the moon on the floor in the backgroud). At least it was that on Day 1. On Day 2 the setup was simplified a bit and became a bonfire so we could all warm ourselves up.
In between all this fun we also managed to make it to Brighton Beach. I promised myself not to get M more Russian books this time (I bought him a ton in the last few weeks). But you know me - I can't resist good books. And the ones I saw at the Kids' World store were fantastic. Plus Grandpa insisted on footing the bill. So M got about 6-7 more books, including an awesome Encyclopedia of Space Exploration, this time - in Russian. Then I went to the bookstore for grownups and bought a few more books, this time - for myself, mostly about Russian history and language.
And then it was time to pack and leave. We had to get a mini-van to fit all the stuff we were taking with us even though I left quite a few books and toys and most our winter clothes in the attic. But in all fairness, we had 3 adults, a child, a cat and a pair of crutches to fit into the car. Why 3 adults? My brother volunteered to help us with the move back (I told ya last year - he is (mostly) an angel). And now we're finally back home! Well, we've actually been back for almost a week already, but that's another story.