Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Half-Year Update

Wow, where has time gone? Seems like just yesterday I was writing the November update, and here we are - 6 months later and ready for another one!

So where are we? Pretty much the same as we were in November, and sometimes, that's a good thing. Not to say that change isn't good, but occasionally, you need a little steadiness in your life, a little status quo to maintain sanity.

On that note, we'll start with Mark this time. He always winds up last on the list probably because he has the least change of all of us on a regular basis, but these days, he's busier than ever since Spring is finally here! Mark is busy planning and planting. He put in a ton of onion plants - enough that if they all come up and yield onions, we'll be selling them (or rather paying people to take them) on the street corners. He's also buying annuals and planning the vegetable beds, and already has a few veggies bought - we're just waiting for mid-May to put them in, because around here, that's usually when the threat of frost is officially gone. Add to that list cutting the grass, getting out the patio furniture, tearing out old landscaping and putting in new, mulching all the beds, everywhere, keeping the deer off the flowers, planning a windowsill scraping and painting "party" (with me as the only invited guest), and a shed-cleaning out party (again, a small party, at that), and add in the usual chores of helping out with the kids, keeping this place shipshape, and always, always, doing all our mail, financial stuff and bills, and you've got one busy guy, but one very appreciated guy. Really not sure what I'd do without him!

Next, we have Matthew. Matthew is almost 3 - he'll have his birthday in late June. My previous fears of him never talking were unfounded, and been replaced by the fear that no one will ever understand a word the kid says but maybe me, Mark and Grandma. He's the poster-child for garbled speech. But it's getting better, and we'll let the doctor decide when and if he needs some kind of help. Matthew is kind of a brute. He barrels his way through life, knocking over pretty much anything in his path, his path to whatever he has on his mind. He is also extremely vocal about his needs and wants, and these vocalizations tend to escalate rather obnoxiously until he figures out he's not going to get his way. Then he goes and has a tantrum or tosses a toy. And then he gets to see his friend the Naughty Corner. Did I say Terrible Two's back in November? I sure did. Still there. Waiting for three. Hope it magically changes! But what can I say - he's cute as a button and loves to snuggle, loves to read books and color and play with rocks - anywhere, anytime. He also loves animals and music and sports. He adores his big brother, follows him around, repeats everything Jonathan says, including sneezing and one time, he even mimicked Jonathan when Jonathan tripped and fell on the steps. If I hadn't been concerned for Jonathan's welfare, I think I would have wet myself laughing - he even made the same grunt noise as he fell as Jonathan involuntarily did.

Much to Jonathan's misery. Jonathan loves his little brother, no doubt, but Jonathan also loves his independence, his privacy, and his toys. And he particularly hates it when one of his toys gets broken or goes missing, courtesy of Matthew. But that's what little brothers are for, I guess. Anyway, Jonathan is now 5 years, 2 months, going on about 12. He is almost finished his first year of "school" - his pre-k ends at the end of May. He'll be off to kindergarten full-time in the Fall, and I'm not sure how I'm going to stand it. I said this about pre-k, too, but that was only 3 days a week for half a day. I can't imagine life without my big boy all day, everyday. If you ask me, schools get the best of your children. Early in the day when they're sharp and clever and happy and well-rested. Then, the school sends them home to you - tired, cranky, hungry...thanks a lot. Anyway, more in the Fall on that one I guess. Jonathan is a pretty studious one. Although he loves the great outdoors, riding his bike and going to the playground, his mind is always pre-occupied with some scientific or numerical notion - he counts things he sees, comments about shapes of leaves and the position of the sun in the sky, plays with a calculator in his spare time (Mommy, did you know that 45 plus 51 equals 96?!!!), and is obssessed with learning the states, their location, their capitals, their nicknames and their size ranking. He's really growing up - he can dress and undress himself (when he puts his mind to it!) although he sometimes needs help with a particularly difficult button or a shirt that's tough to get over his head. After most meals, he'll clear away his dishes, putting them in the dishwasher or sink, without even being asked. And saints preserve us, he is finally tasting and eating a wider variety of foods. Thanks to a little strong-arming from us, plus what seems to be a newfound curiousity (or maybe from just watching his school friends eat different foods at lunchtimes in school), he is finally coming around in that department. A few nights a week, I'll still make his favorite, noodles with butter, but other nights, he must at least try what we're eating, or if I truly don't think he'll like it, I'll make him a hot dog or a quesadilla or a peanut butter sandwich. I certainly don't expect him to eat tossed salads with chicken, feta and avocado, but that happens to be one of me and Mark's you gotta do what you gotta do!

As for me - not much change here. Busy, as usual, busy at home, busy with the kids, busy with the part-time job, keeping up the house, busy with the flute and various choirs. Had an opportunity to join the local performance band, but had to turn that one down - just not enough hours in the day, and flute committments already take up enough family time; I just don't want to add any more right now. I'm looking forward to summer and the freedom it brings, the warm weather, the windows open, playing with the kids in the pool and summer hikes and bikes. Not to mention one of my absolute favorite things: the farmer's market! Fresh produce is coming, and I can't wait!

So that's us, for this half-year, anyway. Like I said, not much going on, but I'll take it. We have our jobs, we have our home and we have enough leftover to have fun. Right about now, that means the world to me!

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