Saturday, August 29, 2009

There Goes a Monster Truck

Tucker LOVES the monster truck video we checked out of the library. He still has a relatively high fever (thankfully it topped out at 103.5 yesterday, so not scary high), which means that the little guy is tired and a bit cranky and needs some entertaining.

Toddlers aren't super good at lying down and resting when they're sick, so we let Tucker watch lots of videos when he's not up to snuff.

Unfortunately, the only video he will let us play for him is the same monster truck video, over and over again. Yesterday he watched it at least three times, and today he's working on his third time right now. I think I've memorized Monster Truck Driver Dave and Monster Truck Driver Becky's lines.

He shows no signs of getting bored of it. He is sitting over there smiling, with just rapt attention. I, on the other hand....

Thursday, August 27, 2009

More wedding pics

This gives a bit more of the flavor of the day.

In other news, we are now safely back in Virginia. It feels good to be home... but at dinnertime Tucker felt pretty warm: 102.3 fever. Argh! Probably just adjusting to the hot weather??? Riiight.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Here's the only picture that has emerged thus far of the wedding (and Tucker having finished his ring mission)... I'm sure more will follow, but as you can tell it was a gorgeous setting.

Tucker has been involved in lots of very important pursuits since the wedding at GoGo's house, like learning how to make his stuffed monkey sing "If you're happy and you know it" and stuffing his pacifier in the monkey's mouth (which opens and closes to the song).

He also has been telling us all about what his little friend in Charlottesville is doing. John hung out with us a few times in the past couple weeks, and according to Tucker he is accompanying us on this trip. We hear each day that John is sleeping, that John has a truck, and more.

Other than that, Tucker has been enjoying being the center of attention. My dad's family was around until yesterday, and Tucker really liked having about 10 people to order around, who for the most part listened to him. (His parents don't think his commands are quite as cute!)

There is an enormous amount of junk food around, and I think he manages to go whole days on vacation without eating much real food. It will be a tough transition to go home tomorrow!

I know, there's been a disappointing lack of pictures on this blog lately... hopefully we will get a working camera soon!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Wedding highlights

Tucker made it down the aisle.

It's risky to have a ring bearer who is not quite 2, but Tucker was a champ and willingly rolled down the aisle at my brother's wedding this weekend, and successfully delivered the (real) rings. He even willingly wore his tuxedo for almost four hours. Wow.

I was too busy making sure we made it to the ceremony in one piece to keep track of a camera, but I know other people took pics of him, so we'll eventually have the evidence.

Of course, the real highlight was that Mike and Kat got married--but I wasn't in nearly as much suspense about whether that would happen as I was about the ring bearer's performance. :)

The weather did throw them some curves, like raining so hard there was a foot of standing water on the road the afternoon of the rehearsal dinner. But the rain held off for the three hours before the ceremony, and the skies didn't let loose until the bride and groom had recessed (I think the rest of the wedding party got a little wet...).

Other adversity included my cousin Steve's almost 40-hour saga getting to the wedding. A family member had bought his plane ticket, so the credit card name was not in his own name--and he got flagged for potential fraud. But the ticket counters were so backed up, and he had to wait in three different lines that by the time his ticket was striaghtened out the door to his flight had closed. No rehearsal dinner for Steve.

But the story gets even worse. It was a red eye flight, so his only option was to go home and come back in 6 hours for the first flight out in the morning. That went off without a hitch, and he got to Dulles with plenty of time for his connection to Burlington. Of course, it was raining cats and dogs in Burlington so the flight there was delayed an hour. They finally boarded, only to be informed when the flight's doors were closed that Burlington's runways were still closed and they just had to wait. The flight to Burlington is only about an hour... they held Steve's flight on the ground in Dulles for THREE hours, before giving up and letting them disembark. By this time, two flights to Burlington had been cancelled and there were 120 Burlington passengers in line at the ticket counter with one representative.

Steve spent two hours in line before confirming that no flights were available to either Burlington or Albany in the next day, at which time he took a taxi to the Amtrak station and had about an hour to kill before a 3 am train ride to Albany. Of course, his connection in NY was delayed and then due to track flooding the train slowed to a top speed of 20 mph for a chunk of the journey.

He did make it to the wedding, though. :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Austin is a busy guy

According to Tucker, Austin drives:
...every ambulance we see
...every bus we see
...every tractor
...every tractor trailer, and
...every pickup truck.

It all started last week when Austin was away for a couple of nights at a conference, and I checked a book out of the library entitled "Drive." The book is about Daddy who goes to work really early in the morning to drive his tractor trailer. It shows a sleeping boy when Daddy leaves, and then Daddy comes home and they play baseball together. Well, Tucker identified with the book. Each time we read it, he points to the little blonde haired boy and says "Tucker" and each page he points to the man and says "Dada" (well, that or "hat" because he loves hats and the man wears one...).

It's like the mystery has been solved for Tucker about what Dada does all day: drive big trucks. So now that he knows that, he spends his time in the car showing me all the vehicles that Austin is driving.

In other Tucker news, Tucker has taken recently to wearing Ducky on his head. I'm not sure how it started, but now he really enjoys wearing Ducky like a hat and it's a minor tragedy each time Ducky falls off.

Yesterday was an exciting day because the UPS truck brought Tucker a package. He is going to be good at opening birthday presents this year, because he couldn't wait to get inside to find a pair of crocs from Henny and PaPa. Austin has a pair of crocs, so Tucker was beside himself to have the same type of shoes. And the box they came in were cool, and Ducky spent a lot of time going into and out of the box.

We are leaving on Thursday for my brother's wedding in Vermont, and Tucker informs us every day that we're going to go on an airplane to see GoGo. He is REALLY excited about the whole thing.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


Austin and I do pretty well with communication, but occasionally one of us really misses something. Here's a case in point.

A month or more ago Austin set up a mini-reunion with some college friends in DC for tomorrow. He wasn't sure if families were invited, but I said that Tucker and I might come along anyway and just hang out in DC that day while he was busy.

A couple weeks later I told him that we probably wouldn't accompany him to DC. I was thinking: it doesn't make sense for T. and I to go to DC just to hang out by ourselves that day. He heard: I don't want to go to DC even if families are invited.

Fast forward till this afternoon when it emerges that 1) families ARE invited and 2) he doesn't think I want to go and 3) has tried not to bring it up and pressure me and 4) I have totally missed the invite and would love to go.

The only obstacle to all this is that now I've scheduled three appointments for Sunday afternoon.

All are rescheduled now, so all's well that ends well. But it does make me wonder how much gets missed in day to day conversation....

Friday, August 14, 2009

The dog ate the gutter... really

We had some of the gutters on our house replaced today in the hopes of actually being able to keep the water out of our basement, and out of the wall in our bedroom. (They even found and patched a hole in the roof that was so big they could stick their finger through it!)

So, it was one of those necessary but not fun projects. Until Ben decided to have some fun.

Apparently one of the guys was on the roof, and the other guy was holding a downspout when they heard the gutter machine turn on in reverse and start chewing up some of the gutter material they had brought. They turned around and a very surprised Ben was turning tail and running from the machine. It turns out he managed to turn on the gutter machine with his nose! It was not a completely simple switch, so this is quite the accomplishment. The workmen were shocked... in all their years on the job the worst havoc a dog has wreaked (till now) was running away with their hammer.

Thankfully, Ben's antics only ripped up 3' of gutter, and they were able to finish the job today with inches to spare.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

You know you need to clean the car when...

...Your son continually asks for the half-eaten muffin on the floor of the car that he threw there several days ago.

I actually did clean the car yesterday, but apparently the muffin had hung around long enough in the car that now whenever we go anywhere Tucker points to where it was and asks for "muff."

Dear son, muffins aren't supposed to live in cars. Love, Mom

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

New Talents

Tucker took a nap at Henny and PaPa's yesterday. During naptime over there, he often falls asleep with one of them in the room, either napping on the adjacent bed or working on the computer.

Yesterday, Helen watched while Tucker attempted to suspend two Duckies by their tags, pinched between his big toe and next toe, one Duck for each foot. I don't think he quite was able to do one duck per foot before he fell asleep, though I'm impressed with his ambitions.

He's in his crib now, supposedly napping but still making noise... I think I know what he's doing instead of sleeping. :)

In other Ducky news, he has taken to giving Ducky to us to help us... like this weekend on our hike, Austin was going up a steep hill and told Tucker it was hard, so Tucker gave him Ducky to hold while he climbed it. Such a sensitive little guy.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Baking soda subsitutions

Today I decided to make a big batch of waffles so we could have frozen waffles in our fridge all week, in addition to a great Sunday breakfast. The only problem was that we were running low on baking supplies, so I had to scramble a bit to substitute for whole wheat flour (ground up oats to make oat flour), and we were also completely out of baking powder. Having a vague recollection that baking soda isn't as strong as baking powder, I decided to wing the substitution and put in a heaping tablespoon of baking soda for every 3 teaspoons of baking powder the recipe called for. Problem solved.

Until I tried the first waffle and found that it was inedible, with that baking soda-salt taste. Yuck. Keep in mind I tripled the recipe and was not about to let all that go to waste (as well as our breakfast).

So what's a gal to do? Basically I just added more of everything, especially the things that could mask the taste (sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, pumpkin, banana)... and then added more of everything again, until the waffles were fine (though if you looked for it, you could notice the baking soda aftertaste).

If you start with a tripled recipe, and then add more of everything to make it edible, what do you get? A LOT of waffles. To be exact, we fed four people this morning and still have 21 waffles in our freezer.

P.S. Even the salty trial waffles got put to good use as frozen dog treats....

Saturday, August 8, 2009

What lies beneath...

I think I've mentioned that our house is constantly full of surprises. Let me tell you about this weekend's two newest surprises:

1) Mystery smell. We have a mystery smell that Austin claims started earlier this week, but I didn't smell until yesterday. Austin says it started outside, but I first smelled it on the loveseat in the sunroom, and then near the refrigerator. No, I'm not talking about a good smell. I think we have a dead animal somewhere. But the funny this is the smell is diffuse and wafts here and there and we can't quite pin it down. Austin asked "how long could a dead animal smell? A week?" Let's hope so....

2) Bees, wasps, and hornets, oh my! Austin is in the process of scraping the side of our house that is most in need of a fresh coat of paint. It also happens to be the side of our house with a lot of wasps, and bees, and who knows what other stinging insects. Austin makes me very nervous on a tall ladder, scraping paint, with all these stinging insects around (one of them got in his shoe the other night while he was on the ladder). Yes, we're trying to kill them, but they have nested in the actual siding of our house, and it's difficult to get wasp spray up into siding at the right angle to kill a wasp. Today the situation got even worse when Austin took a break from the scraping to begin repairing the laundry room window which involved removing the casing to actually take the window out, only to find that the wasps were living inside the wall there and started flying into the house. The vacuum is currently sitting in the laundry room, waiting to suck up the errant wasps still wandering through.....

That's it for news around Midway Farm tonight... I'm not sure I can take too much more excitement like this!

White Rock Falls Trail

We haven't been hiking very much this year, partly out of concern with how long Tucker would be willing to ride in the backpack now that he prefers to walk. This weekend we decided it was time, so we found a great hike off the Blue Ridge Parkway starting at Slacks Overlook (which actually didn't have a view). It was a great time, though if it had been a half mile shorter it would've been even better. :)

Tucker turned out to be an enthusiastic hiker today, though our plan to tire him out before putting him in the backpack didn't work very well. We hadn't thought through that Tucker's coordination would be no match for a rocky trail with lots of roots. Poor guy has a scraped up nose from a succession of falls that abbreviated his walking attempt and landed him in the backpack for the duration.

The highlight of the trail was when it went into a natural ampitheater with a small waterfall that fell at least 10 feet over the rocks. Other highlights of our trip included when Tucker saw Ben eating grass and leaned down to pretend to eat a fern. Tucker got very excited about finding each blaze on the tree (and touching it) and soon ducky and pacifier were also enjoying the game. We also passed a bunch of blueberry bushes with some ripe fruit on it (yummy!).

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Coming into the 21st century

I workout at the local YMCA, and am always careful to lock everything up and not leave things around. It's a friendly place, but I remember that one time as a kid that my mom's keys got stolen at our YMCA in Vermont.

Anyway, I like to jog on the treadmill and then lift weights, but it means I have a great music player hanging around while I lift, and it's a pain to have to move it every time I move stations (there are three separate, connecting rooms that make up the weight room). I usually end up carrying it, and leave nothing to chance.

When I say "music player," I actually mean a Sony sports walkman. Yes, a walkman. One that plays cassette tapes. It still looks shiny and yellow and black and REALLY nice. I think of it as really nice, as a really desirable object to steal, if stealing was your thing.

It dawned on me the other day what an anachronism that walkman is. If it was stolen, who could it possibly be resold to? Realistically, it is probably one of those things a thief would laugh at (that, or wonder what it was).

In other news from the YMCA, I had a bizarre interaction with a nice elderly lady in the locker room. This woman goes regularly to "Happy Ducks" the senior aquatics class that meets at just the time I always end up working out. We have a nice routine of smiling at each other and saying "have a nice day." Well, out of the blue she came up to me and asked if I liked jokes. I said that I did. And then she proceeded to tell me the dirtiest joke I've heard in several years. I would share it, just to express how bizarre the whole thing was, but the joke is really not fit to be repeated. I'm still not sure what I make of it, except that I think she wanted to impress or befriend me????

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Betrayed, again, by the squash

It is time for our squash to die. It is WAAAY past time for them to die, actually. What summer squash is still looking chipper into August in Virginia? I've been telling myself that it is dying, but the problem is that when I go into the garden it is still there, and it seems so wasteful not to harvest what's there.

There were 11 squash sitting on my counter from a few days ago until today when I gave a bunch to the chickens (that had gotten past their prime from their counter-sitting), and shredded the rest (14 cups worth) for muffins and more frozen squash.

But then, I went to the garden, and what was there? Nine more summer squash. Argh!!!

I refuse to freeze any more squash, absolutely refuse. Austin refuses to take the squash with him to a men's group meeting tomorrow morning at church (he claims no one will want them... I'm not sure I care). I think the only option now is a box at the end of our road and a "FREE SQUASH" sign.


That is the proper pronunciation of "truck," according to Tucker. It is a very guttural word, often exclaimed at top volume. He is also very into repeating my name and Austin's name ad nauseum: mamamamamamamama... it seems like he just likes noise to narrate his day (and get our attention, of course).

In other news, we went on a family stroll after dinner and Tucker introduced Austin to his favorite planting at the end of our neighbors' driveway. I'm not sure what the aesthetic appeal is, but the little guy squeals with delight when he sees this particular group of shrubs and small trees with some mulch in between. He runs as fast as he can around the planting about five times, and shakes one of the very small tree trunks with all his might.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

You win some, you lose some

I'm not complaining about my son's big-picture napping habits, but once in awhile we run into a very bad day. This week I've gotten spoiled with a succession of really nice almost 3 hour naps. But then out of the blue will pop up a no-nap day, and the result is not pretty.

No-nap days happen in one of two ways. The first way is if he falls asleep in the car on the way home from a morning excursion. Even if he's out for only 5 minutes, that may kill any afternoon nap. He wakes up and acts like a wild man until I wrestle him into his crib at 2 pm, and then he sings and reads and plays with trucks until I let him out at least an hour and a half later. I go to extreme lengths to prevent him falling asleep in the car. Today I kept opening the sunroof of my car on the interstate and even waved his toys in the wind through the roof to keep him awake.

The second kind of no-nap day is worse; it comes when I find him sprawled out lying on the kitchen floor with his duck and his pacifier around lunchtime, and put him in his crib without even a struggle. And then for no reason at all he just doesn't sleep. He talks, and talks, and talks... there is nothing like the sinking feeling of realizing that his nap is just not occurring. I go up every 45 minutes to make sure a dirty diaper isn't keeping him awake, but after about an hour and a half or even two hours, what's there to do but get the boy up? It is a sad day when I pick him up at 2 pm, no nap, and face at least four hours till bedtime.

All of this is to say that I think I have an irrational sense of entitlement to naptime.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sunday night dinner

Austin and I have settled into a fabulous routine for Sunday night dinner: we each pick our favorite throw-together meal that the other person hates.

Austin has salmon cakes made from that ridiculously gross canned salmon (you know, the kind that has the bones in it that are supposedly edible).

I have macaroni and cheese, though not the real stuff. Mine is a modified kind that involves mostly cottage cheese and egg and is highlighted by a little cheddar and parmesan. It also takes about five minutes to make, not counting the time to boil the pasta.

The smell of either of our dinners is enough to make the other person have to hold their nose just walking into the kitchen. It is quite a trial being married to someone who won't eat cheese or anything creamy, and I'm afraid Austin thinks the same thing about me and fish.

The only problem with our dinners is that Tucker can't eat either meal. (No fish until age three, and a milk/egg allergy). I'm hoping that he'll be declared milk/egg allergy free soon and will turn into my little mac and cheese buddy.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Pumpkin the poodle

In April, Tucker had a run-in with a miniature poodle that was overly enthusiastic about getting to know him. For at least six weeks he was petrified of all dogs other than Ben.

Today, we were in the same store again, and the same poodle came out to greet Tucker with its very bouncy, enthusiastic yap. It was terrifying (to him). Tucker was clinging to me like a little monkey with his legs scissor pinching my waist so that it would not be humanly possible to put him down.

He was not interested in me making friends with the poodle, so we went to a different part of the store and he was fine. On the way out, the poodle was curled up on a chair and I decided to try overcoming-poodle-fears again. I started talking to Tucker about the poodle, but his interest didn't really pick up until I told him the poodle's name was Pumpkin. He loves pumpkins right now. He points them out to me in the garden, and on the front steps. He started pointing at the dog and saying "Pumpkin!" and then bent down and pet him (okay, it was more like trying to poke Pumpkin's nose). I was amazed.