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Journal Key:

Green = Steve | George = navy | Janet = Purple | Evelyn = Black

9/13/12 (Thursday)

Miss Grace told me that she was very amused today when she was working on getting Owen to share a toy nicely with a littler kid. He kept edging the toy away while she talked, not making eye contact. When she started coming over, he started to dance, hoping to distract her by being cute.

Owen has been playing with my ID lately in the car. He likes to wear the necklace and find my picture. Today, though, he wanted my phone. Really, I asked? Who did he want to call? He wanted to call Grace.

He and I have been having some trouble when we stop at Lindeneau to get Cara. Owen has been declaring that he'll wait in the car. Today, because he wasn't a good listener, I did not let him bring along the book he'd wanted to carry. He put up a fuss, but I got him to be quiet by suggesting that surely he wouldn't want Miss Doreen, Cara's teacher, to see him cry.

At home, Owen decided he wanted a snack. He wanted some of "Cara's cereal." When Cara came along, he told her, "I want some of your cereal!" He meant the Count Chocula that Steve bought himself, which the kids have taken to (thank goodness it's seasonal!). Cara went to get him some, and soon Owen came out of the kitchen wailing, carrying a bowl. Cara had said no to him. She had said that he had to have his snack in one bowl, not two. I feel bad about overruling her, but I did. He had his share of the Count Chocula divided into two bowls.

9/15/12 (Saturday)

Grandpapa and I took the kids out to Pennsylvania for the weekend! We arrived at John and Theresa's house around four, after a long but peaceful drive. Both kids immediately wanted to watch Puss in Boots. Instead, Cara played outside with her jump rope and the two new hula hoops I'd grabbed for the kids at the dollar store. Owen and I, since he was feeling very delicate after waking up from his too-short car nap, took the stroller and headed down the mountain to visit livestock.

We walked down to the horse pasture by Jackie's house, but the horses were all down by the barn. When they saw us, a few of them came out into the main pasture. "They're coming to see us!" cried Owen. Alas, they never came past halfway. Owen had revived, though, and we were able to go back to the house and be civilized.

I was very glad I'd bought the hula hoops. We'd brought two balls, as well, but we never really did much with those. It was definitely good that Cara had brought her jump rope. Mainly Owen played with it while she had both hoops. He can't jump, of course, but he liked to wrap it around himself and run around, trailing rope after him. Sometime's he'd just go walking around, with the rope dragging from one of his feet. It was one of those situations where perhaps one is not really a fan of what the child is doing, but, on the other hand, he's happy and occupied. Weirdly, he did not fall down. He didn't have much he could do with his hula hoop. I showed him that he could stand in the middle and hold it up and run around pretending it was a spaceship. We went spaceshipping around the house; he was very interested in the garage, which he insisted was "a big house."

Cara, in the meantime, actually played with her jump rope a lot when Owen didn't have it. She's getting the hang of the thing. "Mommy!" she said, "I just jump roped all the way to 100--by tens!" She would bring the rope with us when we went for walks, terrifying Theresa, who was convinced she was about to be hit by the rope.

Theresa, coming to walk on the right of Owen and me: I'm just going to go over here, to be safe.

Cara, moving over to the right and jumping along: Me, too! I want to be safe.

She's also a good hula hooper. (My theory is that I could still do it, if I had a bigger hoop.) She likes rolling them, too. Grandpapa showed her a cool trick: he can flick the hoop through the air so that it lands a few yards in front of him, and it'll roll back to him! Cara worked on this and can sort of do it, too.

When it was my turn with both hoops, I held them up for Owen to walk through, like a little dog show.

9/16/12 (Sunday)

We had a slow, relaxed morning. The kids slept until six thirty, and I found out that it takes over twenty minutes to read our entire Little Critter anthology. Downstairs, we watched movies, sat around in cuddly pajamas, and had fresh blueberry muffins for breakfast.

When everyone was ready, which was later than you would think, partly because we watched Animal Crackers (Cara's really into the Marx Brothers--we watched Night at the Opera Saturday night), we got into two cars and went down to the lake at Greenwood Furnace. It wasn't that warm, so we were really heading for the playground. Of course, Cara went wading and ended up pretty soaked. We got Owen's shoes off, but he objected strenuously to the wet, cold sand and we had to backtrack.

The playground had some nice platforms for Owen to climb up and play pretend on. I suggested that he was in a castle. The other adults in the party felt that, since there were bars, he was probably in jail. Eventually, it turned out he was blasting off in a spaceship. There was a slide, which he tried a little.

There were two big-kid swings. I took Owen on one, which was pretty rough on my elbows! He loved it, though. When I couldn't take it anymore, but he still wanted more, I let him sit on the swing himself. He held on like a big boy; it was really cute! I pushed him gently, and he swung. After a few minutes he saw a dog doing something exciting, pointed, and fell off. He was upset, but he really wanted to get right back on. After that, he was fine. He actually pointed at something else and didn't fall. I noticed that he was sort of shifting his weight back and forth, as I had done when I was holding him. I tried to show him how to pump, just to introduce the concept. It turns out it's hard to kick both feet at the same time!

After lunch we got Owen to take a nap. Waking up again was hard, but soon we all took a walk down to see the horses and Jackie and Genn. We were hoping for hummingbirds, which apparently have been plentiful. You have to be quiet and stand still to see them, so soon I took Owen off exploring in the garden. We did a lot of walking around purposefully, with the jump rope trailing after us.

Of course, we went to see the horses. They came to see us! Owen was delighted. He really wanted them to come over, but then he leaned as far from them as he could. With some encouragement, he did pat one briefly. He said some things about the horses not eating him. We found some weeds that were out of reach and picked them for the horses, who were happy to eat them. Cara ripped up grass and held that out to them in her palm. Sometimes she'd give up and throw it down in front of them, where it neatly blended in with the grass they were eating. Jackie and Genn picked some carrots and we broke those up and fed them to the horses, who crunched away. Grandpapa fed a horse! Cara fed them a lot, and I did some, but Owen wasn't up for it this time.

He loved seeing them. We went back again while everyone else had a garden tour. That was definintely his favorite thing. Of course, throwing acorns off Jackie's porch was fun, too.

9/17/12 (Monday)

Aunt Theresa made waffles for breakfast! They were good, and Owen only ate half of his, so I got the rest.

Grandpapa had an appointment, so we had to leave bright and early. Owen was awake for around three hours in the car, which was tough. He ended up with about eighteen little guys in his seat with him. Luckily, Uncle John had made a trip all the way to the grocery store instead of to the nearby (as in seven miles nearby) dollar store to get milk on Saturday so that he could pick up some of the chocolate chip cookies Cara liked. When the kids got too antsy in the back seat, I could cookie them.

Owen slept for the last 45 minutes or so, so waking up was hard. Plus, we were home but Daddy was at work! After we'd gotten back to emotional equilibrium, we went out for groceries. I'm not sure why I let Owen pick things out in the Farmer's Market; some of the things he wanted are probably not awesome. The baby green grapes do not look too good to me. He's going to have to eat them, though!

At ShopRite, Cara was delighted and Owen was somewhat alarmed by the lobsters.

He alarmed me by experimenting with different ways to sit in the shopping cart, without his legs sticking through the holes. My current plan is to avoid putting him in carts for a while, in hopes that he will forget.

We were all very happy when Daddy got home!

After a post-dinner pillow fight, Steve got Owen down to the bathroom. For a potty prize Owen got two new Little Guys. I returned after the bath. Steve was wrapping Owen up in a towel, while Cara asked who one of the new little guys was. Owen was unhappy about the towel-wrapping; he protested that he wanted to "be a princess." Steve got him to tell Cara who his new toy was: "flashlight guy." It's the Flash. It had taken a while to convince Owen that the Flash was not Captain America, to whom he bears a certain resemblance. (The other guy he got was Hawkman, but he didn't have any identity problems with Hawkman.)

9/18/12 (Tuesday)

At YBR today, one of the teachers traced the kids' hands in pen, adding the nails and little lines for the knuckles. She also drew little faces for them. Owen scribbled his paper enthusiastically with orange, but then he took a red crayon and carefully gave a little scribble on each finger for his nails! On his right hand, some are blue. It's the best coloring I've ever seen him do.

It was a rainy day, so Cara brought her umbrella. It's not great having an umbrella in the back seat. There was some sort of fracas.

Owen: Mommy, Cara hit me with . . . that, and then she said sorry to me!

Me: Weeeeeell, then she did what she was supposed to do. Good job, Cara!

Owen: Good job, Cara!

Steve worked late, and we had a lazy evening. Well, the kids had a lazy evening, while I cooked a lot. Cara chose what we watched first. She picked Monkey Business, which is NOT the Marx Brothers' best work. Miraculously, Owen was amused by it. Half an hour in, the dvd player restarted it somehow and I decided it was Owen's turn to pick what went on. They watched A Scooby Doo Halloween. After that, I decided it was my turn to pick. Phineas and Ferb. Then, with Cara's turn, more Marx Brothers.

They did not spend all of this time sitting and watching. Periodically, they would come traipsing through the kitchen. A few times they thundered through, Cara chasing Owen with her hair brush. She caught him when he climbed up the couch and started up the outside of the stairs, and she brushed his hair there. I was delighted.

I meant to be all nice to Steve, who finally got home around seven thirty, but he ended up putting Owen to bed while I cooked and worked on laundry. I ran into Owen in the hall, when he came scooting out of his room, pushing a tractor. Hawk Man was driving, while the Flash was sleeping in the back. I asked for a hug good night. "Here, Mommy," said Owen. "You play with this, while I read books. I close the door for you." And he went into his room with his daddy and closed the door.

9/19/12 (Wednesday)

It's pretty ironic for me to write a journal tonight, given how little time I've had to spend with my children lately. Well, we do have the mornings. But this morning, for instance, Owen slept very late. Cara I thought was sleeping late also, but when I came downstairs I found her sitting in the kitchen, in her pajamas, reading a book at the table. I love to find her reading places.

Owen generally wakes up and wants to go and play with guys, but we don't have a lot of time for that on a weekday morning. Fortunately he was perfectly amenable to switching gears and watching TV this morning. Like many children in his age group, he is incredibly indecisive. We started with Spider-Man, at my suggestion, which quickly changed to He-Man, and then once the TV was actually on we ended up at Dinosaur Train. Dinosaur Train is not my favorite television show--there are some basic logic issues that bother me more than they should--and it shouldn't really be in Cara's age range, but they both enjoyed it.

I got the usual "where are we going?" question from Owen as we took off in the car. He has a somewhat strange relationship with the women at Cara's before-care program at the elementary school. He gives them a big smile as we're walking to the door, and he very often waves and says "bye" as we leave, but while we're inside the building he tries very hard to turn away and hide. I can't really put him down, because then he has to turn around and stick himself up against my legs, which makes it very hard to walk.

At Yellow Brick Road we have another morning routine. We go to put his lunch box in the fridge, each taking a different path. Most of the time he tries to get there before me. We split up again when we leave the kitchen, and he really enjoys the moment when we nearly collide at the intersection of doorways.

Tonight was playdate. I got home late (again) and the kids were quite crazy. Cushions were off the couches, stuffed animals were being thrown, furniture was being climbed on, there were many loud thumps, and Owen was out in the middle of it. I felt that if I paid too much attention to it, I would have to step in and act in some kind of administrative capacity. So I stayed in the kitchen and ate dinner.

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