Friday, August 26, 2011

Finley and Charlotte

Seeing Finley and Charlotte run around and laugh together is on my current top ten list of favorite things...see for yourself!

I'm sure it's hard to totally "capture" their experience, but trust me--it was pure joy. Drumlin Farm is always fun, but even more so with a good friend to share it with! Finley had a good time with Charlotte, I had a good time with Gabi, and baby Joey seemed to enjoy himself as well. A good way to start off a weekend that may keep us locked up indoors...batten down the hatches, here comes Irene!

Daddy Days

Dan and Finley had some quality time together this week as Dan took of Tuesday and Wednesday to be with Finley while Beth was on vacation and I was teaching my summer science class.

Dan took lots of pictures with his camera and his phone and I've finally uploaded them all. He didn't have time to write this post himself, but here's a photographic recap of their time together. I can't remember in what order things happened, so I just grouped the photos as best I could :)

Who knew that getting the propane refilled at the BBQ Barn would be so fun?
Finley even grilled up a burger for his dad.
The Arlington Fire Station was quite inviting and Finley got the royal treatment.
Much to Dan's embarrassment, when the firefighter asked Finley where he was going in the fire truck, Finley said "shopping." Ha! That's my boy! Whenever he "goes" anywhere, it's either shopping or work...I'm glad he chose the former in his big fancy red truck!

On Wednesday, they rode the subway downtown.
At South Station, Finley checked out the Acela and go to hop in the driver's seat of the commuter rail train!
Apparently, Finley got a little spooked when the conductor showed him how the whistle worked, but other than that he thought it was cool I bet he wondered why there wasn't a wheel to steer...but then it was off to the Common and the big playground...
And into the Frog Pond!
Not bad, Mr. Mom, not bad at all.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Finley's Aunt Caitlin

My kid sister, Caitlin, had to work really hard to see Finley this weekend. She got stranded at the Newark airport for hours on Friday, only to go back home to Manhattan and return before dawn to fly up to Boston. She saw him for a little bit Saturday morning and then after her camp reunion in NH, came back down on Sunday only to have him nap for over three hours and miss see each other completely. Ug. Thankfully, in Finley's case, her flight home was delayed and she turned her rental car around to hang out with us for another couple hours. He woke up when she called to say she was coming back and by the time she arrived, he was ready to play. He hadn't seen Aunt Caitlin in about two months, but you would not have known it! His "KK" (since Caitlin at Beth's house is called KK) got right down on the floor and the two had a blast.

Finley showed her how he likes to snuggle with his penguins on his blanket and pretend to go to sleep.
But things got goofy from there!
Finley with Arty and Caitlin with Agent P, it was a good old fashioned wrestling match! Then, Aunt Caitlin showed Finley how these flightless birds could fly and they both fly them around a bit before crashing into each other.
Finley was so silly and energetic with her, despite Dan and I both being in the room! Unheard of! The girl's got a gift :)

They tried out the racing ramp and built some block towers before heading out to the sandbox with Dan while I got dinner ready.
Caitlin took some pictures, too, so if she sends me them I will add them ASAP. Voila:
One of my favorite things to see if Finley bonding with people that are special to me and yesterday was quite awesome in that regard.

See you soon, Aunt KK! We love you!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Jobby Jobs

As far as jobs for parents, Finley is pretty lucky. His dad is a construction manager who gets to work on big job sites with all sorts of awesome cranes, trucks, and such. His mom is a preschool teacher who has a room full of toddler and kid friendly toys. Yesterday, the three of us went over to my school so Dan could remove a chalkboard and install a whiteboard (welcome to the 21st century Bowen school) for me.

After "helping" Dan with the project, (don't worry, that "dru-driver" he's carrying is totally toddler safe)
Finley saw the play kitchen and went to town, making pizza, baking muffins, and selling his goods for a price.
He also fed the baby in the highchair with four bottles of "mook" and then took it on a walk around the classroom. The funniest part was when he put the sun shade down and said to the baby, "sunny," which is just what I tell Finley when I want to get the sun out of his eyes when he is in the stroller.
He's not quite old enough for me to bring him there so I can get work done on my own, but I think we're getting there. Plus, with a huge construction project going on down the street, Finley got to watch a front loader in action for a while with Dan as I finished up in my classroom. The best of both his parents' worlds :)

A Wonderful Combination

On a particularly warm day last week, I picked up Finley from Beth's and asked her where the best place nearby for I-C-E C-R-E-A-M might be and she said there was a neat shop attached to the commuter rail station just a short drive from her house where you can watch trains come through. Wow! Ice cream AND trains?? Finley might implode from excitement, so we headed right over.

Finley wasn't so sure about what we were up to when we pulled up, but when I asked him if he wanted ice cream, he was psyched and basically pulled me across the parking lot. Turns out their speciality was soft serve, which worked just wonderfully. I handed Finley his swirled vanilla cone and he said, "lick?" and I said, "yes!" He saw the painted wooden sign for the train and asked, "choo-choo?" and I said, "Let's go sit on the bench and wait for a choo-choo." He obliged and walked over while taking short breaks to stop and lick/bite his ice cream, which gave him a lovely, white goatee by the time we sat down.
As Finley licked away, pointing at the tracks and looking around, it occurred to me that I probably should have looked at the commuter train's schedule because at 4pm on a weekday, we could have been waiting a long time to see a train. Oops.
Thankfully, after about ten minutes, we heard the train's whistle and soon the train was coming right to us! Thank you God of the Railway :) Not long after hearing the whistle, Finley caught a glimpse of the commuter train and if you look closely, you can look at his cheeks to tell how big he's smiling.
Finley loved watching the train pull in, but thankfully did not completely neglect his melting ice cream. He even discovered the deliciousness of eating the cone this time.
He yells out "people!" when he saw them getting on and off the train and then I think he thought we might be getting on, so he scooted closer to me. I heard from another person at the station that you can hop on the train and get off at the next stop and back on the next train for a return trip all for free ... I think we've found a great after daycare activity when it's hot out or when one of us is in need of ice cream and choo-choos after a hard day.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Spy Pond Rock Toss

After loading and unloading pebbles in the "gravel" pit with a front loader and a dump truck at the Spy Pond playground last night (Saturday) before dinner, Finley wasn't quite finished with his geologic excursion and found more rocks down by the pond. He found one and asked me, "frow it?" So I said, "yes, you can throw it into the water" and away he went!
He is still throwing quite oddly, underhand but with his palm facing down grasping the rock, but he got some good distance and some great splashes. The best part was it was all his idea and I got to sit back, watch, and take pictures. Occasionally, he needed help finding rocks but otherwise he was in his own world.

Blueberries for Finley and Eliot

Remember that story, Blueberries for Sal? It's always been one of my favorites and yesterday, we acted out the story with our friends Lisa (Lee-sha), Sangwha (Wah), and Eliot (A-yot) at Honey Pot Hill. Thankfully, we skipped the bear scene from the story and just stuck with grown-ups picking berries and plunking them into boxes while toddlers ate their fill. The blueberries were plentiful and delicious (tart, not sweet). We got a tip to head to the back end of the patch and spent most of our time there.
Finley and Eliot were super excited to see all the blueberries and happily carried their moms' boxes around snacking on more than a few.
Here's a shot of Finley's first taste of freshly picked blueberries.
Just as another blueberry-picking mom had told us when we arrived, after about 10 minutes the kids will get their fill and then you can actually make progress filling up your container.
They were in berry heaven and had fun wandering around the two rows we were in. After a thorough lesson from me about which blueberries where for picking (the big blue ones) and those that had to be left on the bush (the purple or green baby ones), Finley eventually figured it out and was picking some himself. He would pick one, hold it up and yell "biggie! eat?" and if I approved, he would stuff it in his mouth. While his color knowledge is still questionable, perhaps blue has made an impact on him this weekend! He was really a lot of fun to pick with, he was so interested in the whole process and the scenery around him (plus a couple of planes flew over which was awesome).

We were probably picking for close to an hour and had a sweet pile of blueberries to show for it, not to mention lots of blueberries in our bellies and our very purple fingers. Here is Finley and I's 2 Quart box filled to the brim.
Not bad, right? After picking, we checked out some of the farm animals and went into the farm store. I got Finley an "early" apple to eat on the way home, which he gnawed on successfully. However, the main plot of the ride home (30+ min) was having Sangwha in the backseat between the two carseats keeping both kids from falling asleep. She worked overtime and did everything from talking to singing to tickling to eventually just poking them. Good work and mission accomplished since we were able to put them down at our house for real naps.

Finley and I made blueberry pancakes this morning (too bad that only called for like 20 blueberries) and will make blueberry muffins tonight. We also gave some to Charlotte and Gabi after our trip to the children's museum this morning. So many more to eat, good thing Dan likes them because it will save us a trip to the farmers' market this week to stock up on summer fruit!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Fun with Daddy

We've tried to go to a few summer league games this summer and Finley's been quite a trooper mostly enjoying himself and getting to stay up late. I snapped this photo a few weeks ago but forgot to post it.
Finley loves being outside and tossing frisbees around. We keep trying to teach him how to put his hands out to catch it, but he'd rather toss it and fetch it himself (which is easier for us I guess). He likes seeing familiar faces and checking out everyone's water bottles. One week, he was throwing around his beloved "yell-ball" which is a ratty old tennis ball and he caught it when Tali threw it to him (to our shock and awe). Now, if he has the tennis ball he assumes Tali must not be too far off. Tali=yellow ball. He tries hard to resist picking up the endzone cones, but often can't...maybe next year he'll "respect the lines." Maybe next year we'll have to tether him to a tree so he doesn't run off to the playground nearby, which for now he thinks is "closed" during frisbee games. Ah, toddler logic.

Since Dan is flying out to Seattle this afternoon for frisbee, he took Finley to a Daddy Dinner at Friendly's last night and texted me the most adorable picture with the caption asking, "Guess who's a member of the clean plate club?"
Yep, Finley! Apparently after only having eyes for his french fries until they were all gone, he devoured his chicken strips. They had a great time and hopefully all that Daddy love will carry him through the next few days :) He has said his name like twenty times so far today!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Ice Cream, Finally

While we are in the final month of summer, I am finally feeling like we are in the swing of the season. Lots of outside time, laid back mornings, farmers' markets, playing frisbee, throwing the ball around the yard, digging in the sandbox, etc. Finley even enjoyed himself in the rain during our frisbee game on Tuesday night. He and Eliot were happy as clams chasing each other around despite the precipitation (aside from when both Dan and I went on the field at the same time and he cried).

Wednesday, we continued our carefree summer ways and went with the Rosenbergs to a concert on the lawn in Natick Center, just a few miles from their house. Gabi, Dave, Charlotte, and Baby Joey invited us to their weekly ritual and since Dan was running a track workout, we jumped at the chance. After romping around their backyard for a while (watching two kids chase a giant pink ball is priceless), we piled in our cars and drove over despite threatening clouds. We met up with two other families and spread out our blankets just in time to notice the sign saying that concert was moved to an indoor location. Ug. However, all the kids were too busy running around and having fun to care so we decided to skip the music and have our pizza picnic there anyway. We moved into the gazebo as it started to drizzle and Dave arrived to eight patiently waiting kids and their parents (they were being patient, I kid you not). Well, eight counts Joey and while he would probably have loved a slice, he's still on a liquid diet.

Finley has never been a good "on the road" eater, but I figured some "monkey see, monkey do" would help and so I sat him right next to Charlotte. She dove into her slice like a pro, but Finley was unhappy about the whole situation. I ate some, too, to tempt him. Nope. He kept asking for more from the pizza box, but then didn't want any from his plate. Hm. I tore it into small pieces and away he went! Duh, Mommy.
He LOVED it. He ate a lot and rubbed his pizza covered hands everywhere, literally. On his shirt, his shorts, his shins, his face, the top of his head, and even the back of his head and neck. Can you see the greased up hair in the next shot? Better than Dep!
When everyone had eaten their fill, we hosed them off and it was back onto the grass for more running and general wild, carefree behavior. I continue to be amazed (and perplexed) that Finley won't go into a different room of our house without me, but will chase after a friend into the great outdoors with little regard for my location. Awesome to watch, though, truly a pleasure. Dave and I chatted for a while watching Charlotte, her friend Sophie, and Finley and agreed how wonderful it was to see them all get along like real little people. I thought we were going to be headed home, but then someone suggested getting ice cream from a little shop on the corner. I like ice cream, but Finley's never thought much of it. I know, what an odd kid that doesn't like pasta or ice cream but requests cooked carrots at every meal.

Turns out, Finley was thrilled to have his very own ice cream cone and licked it like a pro (after I showed him what a "lick" is).
He went to town and despite all the drips and stickiness, he kept with it. I "helped" out every few minutes, but he was more than happy to share it with me. He thought it was great eating ice cream outside with Charlotte and her friend. Whenever he said "ice cream" it came out more like "elephant" but it was a good effort.
He also enjoyed having ice cream with Dave nearby, every once in a while he'd look over to him, point, and say, "Dave." Finley's really great with names and today was no different.
Watching him navigate his first cone was more than entertaining and I tried to get some good video footage of it, but there was always something that ruined it (a dog walking by that attracted a lot of attention from our ice cream eaters, a teenager biking by yelling "idiot" in the background, etc.). This one is a one second video, seriously, but it was hysterical because Finley held up his cone a few times saying "cheers" to his playmates and was always greeted with another cone to clink with his. Here are he and Charlotte toasting their good fortune :)
Pizza, ice cream, and great friends means life is good! Cheers!