BlogHer Reviewer

MeKate's got a new Etsy store. Gorgeous paintings!

A dear friend is selling ADORABLE handknit baby clothes. If you're in the market, have a look!

free counters

Small Things 9-27-13

3 year old cake

1.  Birthday party went well.  Henry got to run around with 5 of his favorite friends, eat cake & ice cream, and after they left and the excitement was over–there were more presents to open!  Henry has just realized that birthdays are fantastic cake-eating, crazy running, sandbox-playing, loot-grabbing days, and that he likes birthdays a lot.  Especially his, and he’d like to know when he can have another.  “Am I still 3, Mommy?” Is a question I’m hearing an awful lot these days.

2.  Preschool.  Oh yeah.  (Oh no).  First day went great, only he got tired by the end of the school day (which is his typical naptime, so no surprise there.) Second day, there were tears all day, off & on, though he seemed ok when I picked him up.  The night before the third day, he hardly slept at all–having burst into spontaneous tears over dinner when he realized that the next day was a school day.  Third day, he went nuts when the aide came to walk him from the car.  I had to carry him in, and he had to be held back when I left–with him shrieking, “Mama, don’t leave me! Don’t go away without me, Mommy!  Please don’t leave me!”  I made the teacher let him keep Real Bunny, and she called about 20 minutes in to let us know that he was sitting with the aide, reading books & eating apples.

And weirdly, when I came to pick him up, he was good.  “I was a brave boy today, Mommy.  Let’s go get ice cream.”  Well, I’d thought of an ice cream bribe if he didn’t cry at school, but hadn’t really thought he’d internalized that promised reward.  And there certainly had been tears.  But he also seemed to be trying to brave his way through it–and I’m a big believer in ‘fake it til you make it’ in most things, and especially in things requiring courage.  So we rewarded his ‘bravery’ with ice cream after dinner, and we took our time getting home & getting to nap, stopping to watch some construction at a nearby store, buying some frozen peas and mac & cheese for lunch, etc.  He had a great day for the rest of the day, which is good.  But I’m dreading Tuesday almost as much as he is.

And he is so damned apprehensive about next week that it breaks my heart.  I found a copy of The Kissing Hand to read to him–a book he’d read before and not been too interested in.  Figured it was timely and so gentle and sweet he’d like it.  But he realized what it was about and just froze up–like he was afraid I was going to drive him to school with only a kiss on his palm for comfort that instant.  He’s scared, and he doesn’t like it, and he’s worrying about it way more than I’d hoped.

And some of it is just that he’s had constant one-on-one attention since he was born and he doesn’t like having to share the adults in the room.  Some of that is that he’s very attached to me and it’s hard being away from the giver of hugs and snuggles and giggles.  Some of it is that he is, by nature, a sensitive kid and he’ s constantly worried that people he doesn’t know well are angry with him–especially when they’re telling him to do things differently from how he’s trying to do them.  Some of it is some learned bratty behavior stemming from the injury & attendant frustration when it doesn’t work/teachers not really realizing how little strength/control he has with that hand.  Some of it is frustration from being suddenly enrolled in school & OT four days a week.  And some of it is, as I feared, from starting school later than the rest of his class and not knowing the things they already know.

“I don’t know any of the words to any of the songs, Mommy.  I just don’t know what is happening!”

*sigh*

And the hand.  The damned hand.

On his second day, his teachers sent home the materials for him to make a craft–along with a note saying, “Henry just didn’t want to do this.  See if he’ll be more willing at home.”  The craft was ripping up red & yellow & green construction paper & then gluing it to the outline of an apple.  He saw that I had the construction paper & got really excited, so I handed it to him & then I watched him try desperately to grip  it tightly enough to rip a piece off with his other hand.  He let it fall to the ground and turned his back.  So I held the paper & let him rip with his good hand, and we had a blast doing the craft together ‘as a team’.  And it showed me that they didn’t spend quite enough time figuring out what was going on–he was actually desperate to do the craft just like the other kids, but he couldn’t.  And once he realized he couldn’t, he got cranky about it.  And then he said he didn’t want to do it because that’s the way this kid works–sour grapes isn’t even the word for it.  So I sent a note of my own back, reminding them that he has no feeling or gripping ability with his thumb & first two fingers, and might they please give him some additional help when the group project is something that he is not physically capable of doing unassisted.

And they were obviously better about that on Thursday–offering him a brush to use during painting when they realized that fingerpainting was too stimulating for his left hand.  (He’s also got a whole new slew of sensory issues to deal with as the nerves heal.  Yay.)

And a much-anticipated visit with my parents was canceled at the last minute when my mom fell at home.  He keeps asking if today is the day they’re coming, and we keep explaining that they’re not, and unfortunately I think we spent so much time building up this visit for him to look forward to, that our explanations are just not sinking in.

It’s been a hard couple of weeks for the little guy.

3.  On the positive side, a friend of his from playgroup is in his preschool class and his mother and I are going to start walking on Thursdays while the kiddos are in school.  I like the little girl and I like her mom, and it’s nice to have some mom-time to look forward to each week.  She just lost a pregnancy at 17 weeks due to hyperemesis gravidarum.  My heart just broke for her, and I reached out and I’m so glad I did.  She’s someone who might become a real friend, and I’m delighted.

4.  We’re still harvesting tomatoes.  Lots and lots.   The quality isn’t as high as it was in the middle of August, but damn– garden tomatoes in the last few days of September?  Unheard of!

5.  It’s my anniversary today.  I’ve been married 5 years to the most wonderful man I’ve ever known.  If we have 55 more years together it won’t be enough.

He went out to ‘run errands’ and came back with a bunch of beautiful flowers for me.  We went out to dinner at the local ‘fancy’ Italian place.  Had some decent food and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.  Now we’re home, hanging out in the library and generally having a lovely evening.  Life is good, and as the wee one adjusts to his new big boy routine, it will get even better.  (Or so I hope.  Life may be pretty much perfect, but having to calmly walk away while my son is screaming for me not to leave him?  That’s pretty horrible.  I’d like that to get better please.  And soon.)

 

 

 

Three.

Three years old.

Three years ago my world filled with more joy than I ever could have imagined–and I have a good imagination! I figured it’d be awfully darned wonderful to have a child around to love, but really?  I had no idea.

Henry, you are a delight.  You amaze me with your compassion and your kindness, your silly jokes and your intensity.  You are such a little person–no, you’re a big person temporarily trapped in a small body.  So much personality; it’s no wonder you’re growing by leaps & bounds–it’s just an attempt to contain it all.

I have to tell you–everyone warned me about ‘Two’.  “Two is hard,” they told me.  “Tantrums.  Potty training.  Inappropriate aggression.  Picky eating.  You’ll hate it.”

Hah.  I loved two.  As did you.  Last night when we were talking about the importance of today’s anniversary you thought a moment, then rather plaintively said, “But Mommy, I like being two.”  I know you did, kiddo.  You wore ‘two’ like a superhero cape, all bright primary colors and trying to fly.  You were very happy or you were very sad.  You learned about moods.  I learned how important it is to keep you well-rested & topped up with food!  Frustration is hard for you, as is the fear that someone is angry with you.  Which I understand, so we have an agreement now that I will be super-clear if I’m getting angry so you won’t have to guess if I’m teasing or really angry.  It’s helped, as has talking through different responses you could give if someone says ‘something’ to you.

You want sharks to be nice.  You want tigers to merely be misunderstood.  You’re pretty sure Cruella Deville is a very nice lady who’s just dressing up for Halloween.  In a perfect Henry world, there would be no mean people or animals or bad situations anywhere.  Actually, that sounds pretty good, that perfect Henry world.  Can I live there too for a while longer?

And yeah, there was the shattered elbow.  Boy did that ever suck, eh?  But we’re getting over it.  And as soon as that damned cast came off, you were back to your sunny, easy-going self, so one-handedness?  It’s not so bad.  Not as bad as sleeplessness, apparently.  Speaking of the Year of the Elbow, you think your therapists are splendidly nice ladies who just like to take you swimming and play with nifty toys.  You still get frustrated when something doesn’t yield easily to The Good Hand’s solo efforts, but sometimes I’ll look over and see you concentrating like mad, your tongue peeking out from between your teeth as you grip a lego or a pen lid or some other recalcitrant small toy in The Not-so-Good Hand.  And then I’ll realize that it’s. coming. along.  Slowly but surely, we’re getting you back to the land of two-handedness.

You love your books, and it seems like you’re ‘this close’ to reading them on your own, but you’ve been there for a few months now, so maybe it’s just a fond mama idea.  But I do love coming in in the morning and seeing you ‘reading’ books–piles of books–to all your critters.  You’ve started spreading your affections about a bit amongst the stuffed toys.  You’re still clutching Real in the middle of the night when I check on you, but as often as not, another toy gets pride of place next to you in the car, or in your fort.  Trains aren’t so important anymore, although the recent acquisition of “Kelly the Tow Train” has you practically giddy with glee.  But I suspect that’s just because for you right now, it’s all construction vehicles all the time.  I never knew so much about CAT vehicles.  I never wanted to know so much about them.  But it’s cool to see you developing your own interests and dragging us all along with you.  For you, I have learned to be excited by the sight of a tower crane or a bulldozer on the side of the highway.  If that’s not true mama-love, I don’t know what is.

You are compassionate and kind.  You’re shy now, which you weren’t a year ago, but you’re easily won over by people who aren’t too insistent.  You bring toys to your friends when they’re crying.  You share with babies.  You talk a lot about rescuing animals and people.  You make plans for how to keep your smaller friends safe from bigger, slightly more rambunctious friends or dangerous situations.  Your sweetness eases so many of my fears for you.  You are a charming boy.

And you are a big boy now–big enough that it’s sometimes tough to snuggle you on my lap, arms and legs tucked underneath, the way you crave, but you’re still my Snuggle Puppy.  You’ll always be my Silly Monster.  I love you not to the moon and back, but to the stars and back “because, Mommy, the stars are much farther away.”  So they are, kiddo.  As far away as the edge of the Universe and back, that’s how much and how long and how far I love you.

Being your mommy is more fun every day.  I am the luckiest woman in the world to have you for a son and your daddy for a husband.  Life is so very good these days that it’s hard to believe it’s our real life, that this is the life you’ll grow up knowing and–I hope–loving as much as I do.  Tomorrow is the first day of school, with all its attendant joys and sorrows.  Teachers, friends, a life separate from Mommy as your life has never been before.  I’m so proud of you, so eager to watch you navigate your way through this world.

IMG_0728

And honestly, I can’t wait to see what “Three” brings!

Small Things 9-16-13

1. Hen woke up sobbing last night. He’s had a cold, so when I rushed in, I tried to soothe him: “It’s ok! I know it’s scary when you cough and wake up, but it’s ok!”

“No mommy. I was reading The Best Word Book Ever to Real but all the words were gone!” (TBWBE is a Richard Scarry picture ‘dictionary’ that Hen adores.). And so it looks like we’ve certainly instilled a love of books, but now they’re figuring in the kiddo’s general anxiety dreams. Not so great. (But also pretty funny, I thought).

2. Hen’s first actual OT appointment was there–first appointment without mom in the room.  And he did…great.  No problem.  He went with her, did what he was asked to do, came back, told me all about it as we drove home.  So…easy.

And honestly, these next weeks are going to be crazed enough that two 45 minute blocks a week where I can just sit back in the waiting room and read a book?  Much needed break!  So glad I had a new book loaded up on my Kindle from the Brooklyn trip!

3.  When was lovely.  Hen’s cold got better–though he’s still hacking up a storm.  And he slept well.  And we were able to see a friend in Manhattan as well as grandbaby, which was awesome.  Hen got to see his sisters and brothers (in law) and it was good to have a bit of a shake up in our routine, just to shake us out of it a bit.

And we ate yummy Colombian food (well, I did, anyway.  Street stand.) and Italian food, and drank yummy Sicilian wine.  And Henry & I got to enjoy (hah) the subways on a Saturday.  (Much walking, mucho exhausted Henry and therefore mucho exhausted mommy arms…)

And it was good.  Really really good to get home.

4.  This is birthday week.  Birthday on Wednesday.  First day of school on Thursday.  Party on Friday.  Two days of baking.  A sleepless night for Henry Mommy the night before school starts.  (Although, seriously, the kiddo walked off with his therapist today with no problem, and did just great during his appointment.  Maybe I’m worried for nothing!) Party preparation (including much praying for dry warm weather for Saturday, because really, 10 toddlers inside to amuse for 2 or 3 hours?  No thanks!) and then a new routine.  I’m going to wait a week or two to see if my 2 x 3-hour blocks of kid-free time per week magically evaporate, or if I can start my OWN schooltime routine of going to the gym again.  It’s so easy to just get sucked into other stuff, that I want to be realistic about it.  But it would be so very nice to be able to do that a couple of times a week.  Strange to be looking forward to reclaiming a bit of my old life even as I’m mourning the end of our all-mommy/Henry all-the-time time.

5.  Still harvesting tomatoes.  Lots and lots of tomatoes.  I think I’ll try to run a batch of salsa tomorrow with the last straggler Roma tomatoes & see how that works out for me.  My freezer is full, I have such marvelous plans for next year’s garden…we’ll see how that works out!

 

Small Things 9-11-13

1.  100+ degrees today.  What?

The fantastic weather made it–of course–the ideal day for canning tomato sauce!  Yeah, not so much, but I ran out of room in the freezer, and if I’d let my sauce tomato harvest spoil I’d’ve hated myself.  I got 12 pints of sauce (each of which is the basis for one ‘spaghetti-type’ meal) from about 3 bushels (or so? I suppose I should have measured!) of tomatoes.  I might be able to get another recipe out of the tomatoes if this weather holds–I’m thinking of trying a peach salsa that I love..

But in the meantime?  We had spaghetti for dinner in a red sauce that The Boy raved about, I enjoyed, and that involved absolutely no cans.  Which is sort of cool.  This year, I’m just freezing my sauce, but next year I’ll do it right and test for pH & can them up proper in a waterbath.  Very exciting to be taking control of one more staple foodstuff around here!

2.  Hen’s sick.  Because, yeah, we’re about to go visit my granddaughter.  Like he’s gotten every time we’ve gone to visit her!  If this fever isn’t gone tomorrow, then he & I will be stuck at home while The Boy goes down.  Sniff.  Not that I’d want him to stay home too, but we’d all been looking forward to this Brooklyn trip & I’ll be sorry to miss it.  And sorrier to be at home with a fussy cranky baby and no relief for the weekend.

3.  OT appointment at the rehab place that’s 15 minutes (as opposed to 1:45) away went well, and they have a warm-water pool, so Hen will be doing 2 sessions a week–one on land & one in the water.  He is delighted with this prospect, though he doesn’t yet quite fully understand, I think, what this means for his routine.  Instead of lounging around the house in the mornings it’s going to be:

  • Monday=OT
  • Tuesday=School
  • Wednesday=OT
  • Thursday=School
  • Friday=Library
  • Saturday=Swim lessons

And how the hell is our life so scheduled all of a sudden?  Ah well.  Hoping that the OT is over fairly soon and then we’ll be back to our usual calmness.  He’s using his hand a bit more.  Enough that I’m reassured that there is ongoing progress, but not enough that I’m at all happy.  (If that makes sense.)  This weekend, we took him to York, ME’s amusement park, which is pretty much designed for kids his size, and he had a blast.  Bumper cars and a baby roller coaster that didn’t even scare me (though he was pretty white-knuckled!) and a carousel, and a mirror house, and lots of round&round rides–helicopters and bees and boats and trains.  Plus he got to try cotton candy.  Heaven for a 3-year-old!  Sadly, this next weekend is their last for the year, or we’d be going regularly.  Best of all, he climbed (over and over again) a rope ladder/net thing with both hands, which was wonderful to see.

4.  Hen has apparently decided that he is the boss of the English language, not the other way around.  While he does–thank goodness!–eschew anything so vulgar as ‘aint’, he sees no reason why ‘am not’ should not be contracted to ‘amn’t’.  My little Scotsman!  I think it’s hilarious and marvelous and rather cool that he rediscovered this old usage, so I’m letting it stand.

And I amn’t sorry for it, either.

5.  At a playdate yesterday, he heard the other mommy naming ‘cymbals’ to her kid while reading a book.  Last night, after he won a round of Candy Land, he demanded applause, demonstrating: “Cymbals!”  Granted, his clapping cymbals was rather zen-like ie: the sound of one hand, since he barely patted the one palm with the other.  But since he’s been reluctant to so much as touch his bad palm, I gave him the applause he wanted–even if it wasn’t for winning a board game.

 

 

Small Things 9-7-13

1.  Hen’s OT evaluation went well in that he responded well to the therapist, (mostly) did what she asked, and generally thought that going somewhere to play fun games with nice ladies beat hell out of the other appointments we’ve been to in that hospital!  He was so scared in the car, and I finally winkled it out of him, what he was worried about–he thought that maybe we were going back for more silver nitrate, or maybe having pins put back in (or taken out).  Once I explained in detail just what would probably be happening, he relaxed enough to really make me realize how worried he’d been.  Poor kiddo.

Bad news is that she thinks he should really be doing OT 2ce a week.  Good news is that she thinks the outpatient services at the very nearby rehab hospital will be just fine–saving us 6 hours in the car each week.  So he’s going in for THAT evaluation next week and will, we hope, end up going there instead of Boston for future OT appointments.

2.  The library program for big kids started this week, and it was kind of wonderful.  He was definitely higher energy than the little girls in the program, but since the theme of the week was ‘let’s move!’ it worked out just fine. His full-body response to the librarian’s “Who knows how to move their body?” was emphatic and hilarious and involved much dancing, stomping and spinning.  He had a marvelous time, even when a well-meaning mother sort of harangued him for not holding the parachute tightly enough with both hands when he kept dropping it with his left hand.  (ugh).  But it’s good.  AND it’s a program where, if the kid’s happy & well-settled in, a parent can walk away and go check out books in the adult room.  OMG the luxury!  Someday!

3.  He also started swim classes today, and although I feared the cold water would be a problem, he came through it great.  And then took a 3 hour nap.  And went to bed a bit early.  Tired kiddo.

4.  Wore slippers today.  Drank mint tea.  Noticed that the neighbor’s glorious maple tree is already leaning in to glory–red tipped leaves are already here!  I pulled down the corn stalks.  I harvested gallons of tomatoes–I missed harvesting yesterday in the rush to clean for dinner guests–and generally, it just felt like the beginning of fall.  Wow.  Where did the summer go?  Oh yeah.  Blur of sleepless nights & miserable days.  I remember…

Sort of.

5.  Hen has discovered ‘the concept of the fort’ and no movable furniture in our house is safe from being appropriated and turned into walls.  Afghans make fantastic walls, and cushions spread outside the walls?  Those make up his patio.  I honestly could not walk through his playroom/our TV room today because there was such an elaborate/crazy-wonderful fort adventure going on in there.  And then we went for a walk and he showed me the under-the-tree ‘fort’ that he and daddy discovered on a previous walk–an old pine tree with branches bent down to the ground–a well-trodden path leading into the interior…  Yeah, I think I’m understanding the roots (so to speak) of the current obsession.

But I get it and I’m happy to encourage it.  Forts are fun.  I’m quite sure that my early interest in forts morphed into my later love of building structures, and my still-existent love of small houses, travel trailers, tents, etc.  He could do worse.

Which is also, kind of our motto these days.  He’s using his hand a bit more since the OT appointment.  He still really intensely dislikes being encouraged–however gently–to use it for something specific.  But if he realizes he can do something (like take off his socks) with his left hand, he is very proud.  As are we all.  His moods have improved steadily.  He’s still quick to frustration when he’s tired or hungry, but breakdowns aren’t everyday occurrences anymore, and for that I am very very grateful.

Small Things 9-3-13

1.  Hen refuses to use his right hand.  I know, I know–that’s why he’s going to OT, (and his first appointment is tomorrow.)  But it breaks my heart looking back over photos of the summer, and seeing him in June, swinging from rings and bars at the gym, climbing ladders, swimming, doing all the stuff a 3 year old loves to do.  And the contrast with subdued Henry-in-September scares me to pieces.  Right now all the things he should be figuring out how to do, he’s refusing to even try.  Getting dressed?  Hah.  Eating unassisted?  Hah.  Going in to the potty by himself?  Hah.  Even playing–he’s on a hair-trigger for frustration, and it is so upsetting to wonder if he’s getting any of this function back, or if we really need to be preparing him for life with a semi-serious disability.  We’ve started him up in swim lessons again, not progressing him toward actual swimming, but going back a level–since the cold water seems to irritate his hand, but being in the water is probably one of the best exercises for him.

And even the things he could do, he won’t do.  And when he does do something (ie: because I’m being ‘mean’ and not letting him ride a scooter without two hands on the handlebars for balance) with his right arm, he’ll go back into ‘it hurts, it really hurts’ as soon as he stops.  And I don’t know if it really is pain, or if it’s just (just!) nerve discomfort, or if it’s simply that it’s beyond frustrating and my physical little boy doesn’t know how else to express how awful it is not to be able to do things that he knows he ought to be able to do again.

And I just hatehatehate that he has to deal with this.  And I hate that school will be harder because of it.  First day of school for all the other kids today, and I can’t actually bring myself to say that it’s for the best he’s at home, but it’s not the worst thing that he’s got a couple more weeks at home to–oh, how I hope!–get a little more comfortable in his body.

2.  Smelled (and tasted!) wild grapes on my run this noon.  Possibly the most deliriously wonderful scent in the world.  I let the jogging thing totally go while we were on the no-sleep program this summer, and I’m paying for it.  Not quite like starting over, but I’m certainly not where I was in June. Ah well.  I’m back to it and hoping to get the fitness back a bit quicker this time.

3.  Huge rainstorm last night knocked over a whole row of sauce tomatoes.  Ack!  I tied them up again, but I think I might have lost a lot of green tomatoes.  We’ll see.  It feels like we’re getting an early fall despite the last few days’ brutal heat/humidity combo.  I’m not counting on all these tomatoes ripening, which is a shame!  Of course, my freezer is quickly approaching ‘full’, and our countertop is already there, so it’s debatable if we could use any more, but still–I’m greedy.  I planted ’em, I watered/cared for/staked (repeatedly) them up.  I want to harvest ’em & eat ’em!

4.  On that level, I’m really happy that my father-in-law got to see the garden at its best.  I think last week was probably the peak & it’s all downhill from here.  He’s probably the only one in the family who thinks about his garden as much as I think about mine, so it was good for my ego to have him admire my garden!  And the corn’s over now, and the tomatoes are looking raggedy, the zucchini’s flopping over, and the cukes have finally dried up.  Tomatoe leaves are starting to brown & die off; and really, it’s amazing how quickly it’s starting to wind down.

5.  Hen got super frustrated yesterday when he couldn’t figure out how to open a zipped-up lunch bag (shaped like a dump truck, OMG the cute.) and cried.  Nellie ignored him.  Mattie, however, came running over, meowing, and climbed up on his lap and purred at him until he stopped crying and started playing with her instead.  Honestly, she’s such a good dog!

 

Small Things 8-28-13

1.  Camp was a blast.  Hen caught frogs, went swimming, went for canoe rides, and played with little (big!) boys.  They didn’t realize quite how young he is, because he’s tall & verbal, and they played with him for a good long while before they figured out they’d been conned into ‘playing with a baby’.  Eery chance he got, he ran off with groups of big kids without a backward glance at his stodgy old parents; and I was encouraged for what this will mean for school, as well as wistful for what it will mean for me.

Even as I’m actively working to assure it, it will be hard when I’m no longer a witness to the entirety of this little person’s world.

2.  OT appointment set up.  We’ve convinced him that he can use his good three fingers to hold Real Bunny (who does, of course, have magical healing powers) but instead of using his hand more, Hen is adapting to life as a tri-ped.  So on to the professionals for help.  Hoping he can get a bit more function back before school starts, because it’s going to be hard for him if he can’t do what the other kids can do.

3.  Garden’s producing like gangbusters.  Serious sweet corn.  Serious tomatoes.  My inlaws are visiting, and it’s been fun being able to feed everyone from the garden!

4.  Hen’s gotten obsessed with a puzzle of the U.S.  The amazing thing to me is that he recognizes the shapes of the majority of the states, and can do about 70% of the puzzle by himself.  Naming the states as he goes.  Kiddo definitely needs more stimulation than I’m giving him!  And I know he’ll love school, and I’m excited that he’s so excited about meeting new kids and making new friends.  Hearing him walk up to strangers at camp and say, “What’s your name? I’m Henry!” was pretty awe inspiring.  He’s really his own little person now.

5.  School orientation is tomorrow.  Gulp.  And September will be a blur of traveling, the first day of school, birthdays, and ‘autumn’ stuff.  Hay rides.  Apple picking.  Summer is on the way out.  Where did this year go?

Oh yeah, and we’re still picking blueberries.

Small Things 8-22-13

1.  Sweet corn from the garden (a first for me) six varieties of heirloom tomatoes (including our first azoyschka of the year) and a mess of cooked shrimp with homemade cocktail sauce from our local fish store.  Followed by the best zucchini cake ever.

I’m in garden-season heaven.

And here’s the recipe for the cake, because, honestly, if you have an extra zucchini lying around (and even if you have to go to the store right now to buy one so you have an extra, it’s worth making immediately:

Erin’s Chocolate Zucchini Bread

3 eggs
2 C sugar
1 C vegetable oil
1 TB vanilla extract
2+ C shredded zucchini (I just put in everything from a medium-large garden zucchini)
2 C flour
1 TB cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 C cocoa powder
6 oz (1 C chocolate chips)

350*  Beat eggs til frothy–I used a hand mixer.  Beat in 2 C sugar, 1 C oil, 1 TB vanilla.  Beat til thick/well mixed.  Stir in shredded zucchini.  In separate bowl, mix the dries.  Mix in.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Pour into 2 oiled & floured 8 x 4.5 x 3″ loaf pans.  Bake 50 mins – 1 hr.  Until knife inserted in center of loaf comes out clean.  Let cool in pan 10 minutes, then invert, tip out of pan & let cool completely.

Oh.  My.  Goodness.

2.  Off to camp tomorrow.  I’m at least as excited as The Boy (whose summer camp it was) or Hen.  Camp!  Camp!  Camp!

3.  Did I mention we’re still harvesting large quantities of blueberries?  This is insane.  It’s late August!  Might be a bit of a bummer year for tomatoes, locally speaking, (I have something like 3000 green sauce tomatoes just waiting for a bit more sunshine to actually, you know, ripen!)  but the blueberry harvest is rocking my world.

4.  Hen had a blast at Playgroup today.  I found him with another boy in the farthest-away room, lying on their sides, happily playing with cars together/next to each other.  It was very cool.

5.  Hen’s been putting weight on his bad hand/arm.  Still not offering to use those fingers for anything other than twitching, but he’s realizing that the elbow really doesn’t hurt anymore, and that’s a good thing.  I really hate for him to have to go through this, but I’m starting to think it’ll be ok.  In his own sweet time.

And, on that same level, my goodness but I’m enjoying the good nights we’ve been having since the cast came off last week.  Nights have gotten steadily better and better, mornings have evened out, and really, the daytimes are so much better too, now that we’re neither of us punchy with sleep deprivation.  Tantrums–gone.  Whininess–all but gone.  Happy, sunny kid–so glad to have you back!

Happy, sunny self–good to see you again, too.  The doom and gloom was getting hard to take, even (especially) internally.

 

Small Things 8-21-13

1.  Water restriction is off!  He gets to go swimming this weekend!  And, he didn’t even need the silver nitrate reapplied.  Woohoo!  Now if we can just get him to start using his hand again, we’ll be all set…

2.  Hot today, so I’m hoping that it jumpstarts the tomatoes that have been languishing on the vine out in our garden.  Of course, we’re going to be away, ‘camping’, this weekend, so it’ll probably just make them all ripen on Saturday while we’re away, so we’ll return to a mess o’ squishy tomatoes on Sunday night.

3.  I’m about to go attempt to make zucchini bread.  Wish me better luck than the coconut cake luck.

4.  Hen’s discovering a newfound appreciation of music.  These long trips to the doctor have been hard on him because they tend to happen at naptime, so the trip home is after he’s stressed, exhausted, and too wound up to just slip asleep.  So he fusses.  Unless I put on the radio.  Doesn’t seem to matter much what I play, but he especially likes it if I KNOW the song and can sing along.  I think he had no idea that there were better songs in the world than ‘All the Pretty Little Horses’, which, granted, is all kinds of bedtime awesome, but not so exciting as Johnny Cash’s ‘Ring of Fire’.

And of course, nothing is as wonderful as ‘I Never Fail to Deliver the Mail’, but then, how could it be?

5.  Hen’s started giving rather aggressive kisses.  “Neckbreakers” I call them, because he’s decided that a love as big as his can only be expressed properly by grinding his face into mine.   And really?  He’s strong.  It hurts my neck even when I do get my (admittedly large & in the way) nose out of the way. *sigh*  So we’re starting in with the formal ‘how to kiss nicely’ etiquette at a much earlier age than I ever expected.  Hard to ask my son not to kiss me, though, so I’ll settle for just a wee bit less force behind them!  Now if I can just train him out of the ‘launch himself at Mama from across the room for a hug.’

Again, how do you say no to a expression of happiness that’s so big it needs a running start to properly express?  I am very very lucky.  And my cheekbone has almost completely healed already.

 

Small Things 8-20-13

1.  Sleep.  I really really like it.  I’ve actually been getting some.  Wow.

Turns out, I can pretty much predict if Hen’s going to let me sleep get some sleep by noticing if I have to go put him back in his bed at about 11pm.  If he’s wandered around the room and fallen asleep in his chair or on the floor?  Bingo.  Good night’s sleep.  Otherwise? ie: if he’s still snoozing in bed where most of us prefer to rest?  Forget it.  Wake-up city.

Here’s hoping for another wandering, totally sleep-filled night.

2.  Today is a day brought to you by doctor appointments.  Rather, it’s bracketed by doctor appointments.  One yesterday to use silver nitrate to cauterize the ugly pin wound, and then again tomorrow to check on it & probably reapply the SN.  Ugh.  But better than him having an open, weeping wound on his elbow for the foreseeable future.  He’s also on antibiotics to ward off any possibility of a bone infection.  Ugh.  Today brought to you by doctor appointments + liquid medicine.

But at least he’s sleeping.  And if the nasty stuff does what it’s supposed to, he might even be able to swim by the end of the week when we go camping.

3.  Harvested another 4-5 cups of blueberries this morning.  We seem to be running weeks & weeks behind on pretty much all our crops.  Except for zucchini.  Zucchini is burying us right on time.  Anyone have a fabulous zucchini recipe they’d like to share with the group?  I think it’s almost time to start making zucchini bread.  At least that will freeze.

4.  Henry is eagerly anticipating both Halloween and wintertime.  Halloween because–duh–candy.  Plus I’ve promised to find or make him a bunny suit.  Wintertime he’s excited about not because of Christmas, but because he wants it to be cold outside so he can play in the snow.  We’ll see how that plays out, but I’ll be delighted if it’s true.

5.  We took Hen for a hike on Saturday to a little overlook in the teensy town forest that The Boy discovered one day.  A pond with railroad tracks on the other side.  Cool & picturesque (& safe, even if you’re a 3 year old boy).  We walked out to the pond, Hen happily admiring flowers and grasshoppers, twigs-shaped-like-wrenches (that he used to ‘cut down trees for logging trucks’) and turtles & frogs once we reached the pond.  Then–joy!–a train actually came by on the tracks, which we weren’t even hoping for.  We heard a whistle in the next town over and made him wait.  And when it blasted past, you’d’ve thought we handed him the moon.  And then, after it had gone by, he wanted to wait for the next one.  “It might be hours,” we told him.  “Oh no.  I think it will happen very very soon.”  It didn’t, but he waited longer than I would have thought.  Operation “Make a Hiker out of Henry” has succeeded.  He wants to go for another walk next weekend.