Dreaming of Spring

In order to help me through this last dragging-on of Winter, I am trying to surround myself with Spring in whatever way I can. My lovely flower in the kitchen is one of my most cherished mood-lifters at the moment. My whole family has gotten the biggest kick out of watching this monster grow. It’s amazing, isn’t it, science and plants and growing and life?

Flower.

Top View.

And speaking of science and plants and growing and life, Rudy Mae’s 2nd birthday is right around the corner. I am having quite a difficult time with this. I never experienced this with the boys, I was always super excited at every age change, but I always knew there was the possibility of more children along the way somewhere. I think now that I know Rudy is our last, I am having a much harder time dealing with her growing up. She is getting so incredibly smart, and so silly (I love it!), and so loving, and so beautiful. I am excited to see the little person she’s becoming, for sure, but I just want to keep her my baby for just a while longer.

Waiting.

Cue nee!

Play Group.

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A Brief Warm-up

Taking full advantage of the oddly warm weather yesterday, Rudy Mae and I ventured out for a (wet and mucky) walk. She was so happy to be out of the house in fresh air, as was I. We really had a lovely time.

Spikey

Happy.

Leaves.

Please hurry, Spring.

In The Trash

Wood and nails.

We passed by a garbage can topped with naily wood while on a walk a little ways back. I know it’s not too cold to go out for walks now, but it’s just not as comfortable as when it’s a bit warmer. This photograph makes me long for spring.

Farewell, Autumn

Autumn is by far my absolute favorite season of the year and it always seems like it comes and goes in a blink. Winter holds on way too long, and Summer and Spring usually last their standard 3 month window. But Autumn, you tricky little fella, you tease us all with a sweet sampling of your glory and then vanish within weeks to be quickly replaced with Winter, my most dreaded of all. I love the holidays, and I don’t mind the snow aesthetically, but living far away from family I really loathe driving home on the winter roads for the holidays, and between Caleab’s family and mine, we have many many trips up north that must be driven in winter.

This morning I woke up and what did I find but snow. Now I realize that much of this crazy weather is from ‘Sandy’, but it just does not seem to me that autumn will be back, save for a few days sprinkled here or there. I guess this means I should put my holiday boots on and jump right in. Farewell, beloved Autumn. You will be missed.

Dirty Walks Part One

Caleab and I have arranged our work schedules so that we have a few less hours than your typical 80 hour pay period but this way, one of us is always home with Rudy Mae and we do not have to have anybody or any place watch her. This was very important to us and so we were willing to lose a few hours and work completely opposite schedules to make it happen. One of the toughest parts about this is how Caleab and I don’t get to see each other very much. We make the most of it and still keep our love alive and kicking, and of course as much as it hurts, the old line “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” is quite true. Once in a while we will get a special treat like yesterday, where he was off due to the holiday and I did not have to go in until 830p.

Of course, though, this heat is being stubbornly absurd and we had to work around that. Once again, we tried for a ‘beat-the-heat’ morning walk, which did not really beat anything since it was sweltering already. We still loved every second of it, maybe especially because Caleab and I got to do the walk together with Rudy, and more so for her, maybe especially because she got to play in the dirt, one of her newest loves.

Waiting on the porch for Dad to come out.

The sunglasses arm pinched her little finger.

Trying to master the porch stairs, with my help.

Let’s go!

Father/daughter.

The area Rudy decided to make our play place.

Dirt, rocks, twigs, leaves, bugs, etc.

Rudy is very particular with her kisses. Ask her for one, there is a high chance you will not get one. Wait for her to kiss you on her own, and it makes you want to cry with love.

Dig, dig, dig, explore, share, learn.

She was very intently studying every piece of nature she picked up.

Dirty, pebble-y little knees.

She was very excited to show her dad something, whatever it was she was holding.

I don’t even remember what I was saying, but I was talking to Caleab and said the word “cute” about something, and once I said “cute” she did this tilt-her-head and smile softly thing; I was dying laughing! What a ham!

Leaves and twigs were still abundant on the ground from our recent storms.

We were trying to wrangle her into the shade to be as cool as possible, which didn’t work very well. She likes to walk where SHE wants.

Calm After the Storm

On Friday evening, our area got pounded by a storm that left many (though not us, thank heavens) without power, trees down, structural damage, the works. Just 48 hours later, another storm came rolling through that was very similar in rage. So many people still had not had their power restored from Friday, and then the new storm added even more problems. Caleab’s friend’s house was still out of power from Friday, and then thanks to Sunday’s wild weather, their neighbor’s tree fell into their yard, tearing off their gutter, ripping out their cable and blocking their car in. Our lights flickered a few times during Sunday’s storm and I got a knotty stomach each time, but our power persevered. I am incredibly grateful that we did not experience even a fraction of hardships as theirs. I was also grateful for the 30 degree drop in temperature in just minutes. As soon as the storm passed, in my excitement about the cool weather, I suggested that we go for a stroller-walk with Rudy Mae. Within minutes, we were on our way. Rudy had an absolute blast, as did Caleab and I.

The road to and from our place.

The sun was shining and so we were, when just a few minutes before, it was black as night.

I love how wooded our village feels.

What the heck is that?

This bush looked like fireworks going off; quite appropriate for the upcoming holiday.

On one of the street corners of our walk.

Still wet leaves enjoying the cool breeze.

She kept turning around telling Caleab and I all about the birds (mostly) and other things she was viewing and exploring on our walk.

Another street corner.

This twisted wood was so rich brown and beautiful; this photograph just does not do it justice.

The little leaf was holding onto the raindrop and refused to let go.

The top of one of those cement corner posts, covered with moss, bugs, and sunshine.

Bright and smooth: an extreme contrast to the rest of our walk.

So many leaves, twigs, pods, etc, were blown out of the trees during the storms.

The storm did not push this sign over, it’s always like this, I just liked how it looked.

The roads, sidewalks, and ground was completely littered with debris. Mostly it was much bigger sticks and branches. I did not think about that factor when I thought a stroller-walk would be fun. It was quite the obstacle course and full of stroller-pop-a-wheelies.

Headed around the corner towards home.

I said, “Phwew, all done!” and Rudy said “Ahh Duh!”, in that sing-song way. She says that when I’m reading her a book, too. Before we’re even at the end, she’ll close the book and say “Ahh Duhh!”

Free as a Bird

On Sunday morning, Rudy Mae and I woke up before everyone. We ate a delicious breakfast and as soon as we were done, I could tell she was ready and rarin’ to go. We got dressed, brushed our teeth (a current obsession of hers), grabbed jackets and a camera, and went outside for a walk. Outside walks are a new thing to Rudy Mae. She has been walking for about two months now, but had a vendetta with shoes for the longest time (which I am just fine with- I have never had any of my children in shoes until they were steady walkers and we needed to walk in a public place or the likes. I feel like bare feet is the best way for them to learn). And if you know our outdoors area here, it is riddled with pine needles, twigs, soggy grass and an entire assortment of other maladies that she did not enjoy walking on with bare feet. Then one day, out of the blue, she picked up a shoe and demanded it be put on. Now she does not ever want to come back indoors.

Rudy Mae looking at the birds.

Time to get going.

So very happy to be out on a walk!

Sharing the pinecone with her mama.

Sharing the pine cone with her mama.

It was such a beautiful morning.

As we went around the block, Rudy Mae was intrigued by what seemed to be a garage sale and helped herself up into the driveway. As I went to retrieve her, I saw a family that we know from our local library’s play group that Rudy Mae goes to on Thursday afternoons. We said our hellos and when I joked about Rudy just walking into people’s yards, they laughed, “Well this is the one she should go to! This lady is giving tons of stuff away for free!” I immediately began to have an internal struggle! “Free?! Go look, Erica!” “You are constantly trying to reduce at home and get down to bare essentials- GO HOME!” “But maybe Rudy Mae might find a little book or something…” In the end, Free won, and we walking into the garage. We found some pretty awesome treasures.

It was hard not to go nuts and take all the books!

This sealed the deal to go look inside: the first thing I came across was a box set of the small, hardcover Beatrix Potter books. I grew up on those and although we have a complete treasury in one big book for Roo, it is just not the same as having the little individuals.

There was tons of these old puzzles, but we only grabbed two.

An old Fisher Price “Western World’, basking in the sun.

Wooden toys.

A little wood crate filled with wood planes, trucks, cars, etc. Trees, stop lights and road signs completed the set.

These little people did not necessarily go with Western World, but the lady just hand-picked a few out of a box filled with them.

Rudy Mae helped me wash her new little dishes. It’s a shame I did not get a close up of them. I’ll have to do that some time. In any case, they were those little Tupperwear play dishes from my childhood.

Cup cleaned? I think I’ll drink, then!

Beautiful, thick fabric I am contemplating using as a table cloth.

Caleab and Rudy Mae on our back porch cleaning up Western World.

Now that Western World is all clean, it’s time to play!

“Howdy Partner!”