The Pool in February

 

Yesterday was unseasonably warm–even for Texas. When it’s 82 degrees and sunny, sometimes a four-year-old just can’t be convinced that it’s still too cold to play in the pool. So, I decided to quit trying to convince him and just let him figure it out for himself.

At first I didn’t bother bringing my big camera out, but I did manage to get a few with my phone. He never would admit that it was too cold, and he actually played in the water longer than I thought he would. But eventually he decided to get out and “let the water warm up in the sun.”

Meanwhile, his tractor needed a bath. Since he parked it in a perfect place to snap a few pictures, I brought out my camera.

That water was so dang cold, but he didn’t mind a bit.

Little brother loved watching–at least after he forgave big brother for splashing him with a cannonball.

Personal space is overrated.

They both have a pretty high tolerance for what I might consider irritating. I’m learning to just leave them alone and try not to intervene unless needed. I guess they’re just acting like brothers.

Oh, and just to keep it real: The party ended a few minutes after that last shot when Tice nailed me in the chest with a golf ball. Luckily it was me and not his brother–or my camera!

–Natalie

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Playroom Progress :: The Shelf

It’s been a while since I mentioned the playroom! We’ve been using and enjoying it, but it’s not finished. The piano still stands. BUT, there is progress! The Shelf that I’ve long waited to rescue is now out of the rat building—I mean the red building.

This gem was part of the stash of old goodies that came with the house when we bought it 10 years ago. Along with some old windows and other random architectural pieces, it was stored away in a shed in the backyard.

In the shot below (from 2008), you can see it back in the corner. In addition to it being hard to get to, it’s also been a high-rise rat condo for many years, which, of course, has made it easy to procrastinate its revival. Harper has serious issues with mice, rats, or anything that resembles them, so he has had no interest in my ideas for anything in that building–unless it involved blindly throwing rat poison inside.

I had made my plans clear to replace the piano with the unique shelf ever since we started the playroom, but I don’t like to nag. I think it was the stacks of toys with no home in there that finally inspired him to help me pull it from its smelly resting place.

As soon as we got it out, he looked at me and said, “You’re going to get rid of it, right?”

Nope. Not getting rid of it.

My goal was to just get rid of the rat smell before bringing it into our house. Amazingly, even though the stench inside the building is overwhelming, the top board is the only part that I can smell, and that was immediately after removing it from the building. It’s been airing out under our carport for over a week now, so we’ll see if that has helped. If not, it should be pretty easy to replace one board before I paint it.

I love imagining the past life of old treasures like this. I think it might have been used for nesting boxes in the red building. Before that–maybe in the Schmid Brothers Building/Savital Grocery, which is now the Ant Street Inn. (This house belonged to the Schmid family.) Anyway, it’s fun to think about its history.

There are lots of long nails protruding, formerly used to hang or display who-knows-what.

I love the pointed scallops (is there a word for that style?). And the tapered shape of the shelf with its deeper base makes it more interesting.

This shot really shows how nasty that top shelf is. Sorry. I know it’s gross. I’ve rejuvenated lots of old barn-stored furniture in the past, but that top shelf is the worst one I’ve attempted. Let me know if you have any suggestions. I know it’s going to be worth the effort!

–Natalie

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Playing and Entertaining

Since the blackout curtains are usually drawn, I don’t often take pictures in the boys’ room. But when we do let in the light, it’s one of my favorite rooms. It has windows on three sides, so there’s plenty of natural light.

No matter which room we’re in, Tice is usually very attentive to his little brother. He likes to make sure he has a toy (or three) or some source of entertainment.

In the middle of playing while Tice had his dad’s attention, he brought his brother the TV and wound it up in the rocking chair.

It’s very thoughtful, but he doesn’t realize that little brother is often just content to watch him playing. He is pretty interesting, after all.

He’s wearing his safety glasses. Often.

I use my phone camera so much that I don’t have as many slice-of-life photos with my big camera anymore. I’m trying to be better about that this year. I was so good about documenting the early days with Tice, and I love to look back at the photos. The phone pics are fine, but it’s really nice to have them organized all in one place. Because the thought of trying to organize all the pictures together is just too much. Am I right?

Happy weekend!

–Natalie

 

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Growing Boys

When Tice was our only child, I would hope and pray that another one would eventually be part of our story. If up to me, two and a half years apart would have been a great age difference. My siblings and I are all about two years apart, and it seemed perfect. But when that two year mark passed and Harper still wasn’t ready, I quit hoping for perfect timing and just prayed for any timing.

Now that we are blessed with boys that are three and a half years apart, I realize that it’s just perfect–for us. In fact, I think any age difference can be perfect. The closer in age they are, the more they can play together (and fight together). The farther apart they are, the more the older one(s) can help. We’re kind-of in the middle of all of that. Tice is so helpful but also still close enough in age that they’ll eventually be able to play together some. We’ve been able to avoid jealousy issues (especially at home–he’s a little more possessive of Bebe and Papa’s attention, though).

Tice is a big four-year-old now, and Slade turned seven months today. Here’s a little slice of life from last weekend. The sun had graced us, and after eight days of cold dreary gray, we enjoyed every second of sunshine.

Is it just me, or does Tice look so big here? When did my toddler become so much of a big boy?

“Look, Mommy! He’s sitting!”

He’s just now starting to sit some, but it doesn’t last long.

This is an outtake, but it’s one of my favorite shots because it shows my assistants in action. Tice is so gentle and instinctive about helping with his little brother. Sure, he sometimes gives Slade a snot hair-do or takes a toy out of his hands, but I’m sure that even those things are done with love. Right?

So, the one decent shot I got of Slade, he’s grabbing himself. Oh, well. He’s still cute. I love the light hitting his crazy patch of hair. That hair is always standing straight up, and it’s just about one of my favorite things in the world right now.

We’re supposed to see the sun this weekend, too, so we can’t wait to get back outside! Have a great weekend!

–Natalie

 

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A Yard Full of Toys

Since Harper and I were married so long before plunging into parenthood, we definitely got used to having the place to ourselves. We spent most of our free time and money working on the house and the yard, and I loved having a picture-worthy landscape, even if it was only from certain angles. One of the things that I dreaded about eventually becoming parents was the inevitable toy takeover of our home, and especially the yard. Everyone knows it goes with the territory. Some families do a better job of hiding the clutter, but it’s usually visible at our house. We used to be sticklers about putting up all the outside toys before coming inside, but as the collection grew, it became harder to enforce. Especially since we usually head inside without much warning because one of the boys needs to poop/have a diaper change, someone makes a bad choice, the baby wakes up, etc… And now, of course, there are the big toys–the trampoline, playset, teeter-totter, Jeep–the things that are always in the picture. They make the yard more fun, but I’d be lying if I said they don’t bother me when they’re in the background of most pictures. When I found the playground Jeep and metal slide at a local second-hand store, I even wanted to keep them rusty so they wouldn’t stand out so much in pictures. Of course, Harper and Tice wanted to paint them to make them look new. We ended up compromising: the Jeep is bright blue; the slide remains unpainted.

Like everything in life, you take the good with the bad. This stage is beautiful and fleeting. One day, I’ll have my yard back, but I’ll miss the boys being back there all the time.

One day, I’ll get rid of the retro aluminum chairs, but I’ll miss carrying them effortlessly around the yard to watch the kids go from one activity to the next.

For now, I’ll accept and embrace all the kid gear. I have two really good reasons.

hide-and-seek with Bebe

And sometimes, I’m lucky enough to get a shot without all the background toys.

–Natalie

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