Mini Man Cave

For some time, Stephanie and I have been talking about shifting the use of space in the house. We feel that each room (except upstairs) is not quite right. It is partly a legacy of having bought (or inherited) furniture for a larger house. But also because we have, frankly, been in survival mode due to the demands of the kids and my lack of energy.

But that is slowly changing, and so the house is too!  Last weekend I assembled some new shelving for the basement, we moved the TV and brought furniture from ‘the bump-out’ next to the kitchen into the basement. It was weird at first, but it’s really growing on us now:  

And, it’s much more functional for a family movie night than the two mis-matched chairs we had down there before!

We also rearranged the living room:

  
The sofa is rotated so the back is to the bookshelves, and we moved Stephanie’s secretary in there as well.

 The boys (like cats) are testing things out for us. :)
Not sure it’s quite right yet – I am definitely still trying to get used to the secretary behind the sofa. But it is great to have it out of the dining room, and we used the move as an opportunity to get rid of a bunch of junk we had stored in there.   

That was yesterday! So far today I have spent a bunch of time re-organizing the bump-out with the kids Legos, moved the TV and gaming system from the basement, and generally turning the room into a mini man cave:  Except for the lack of adult seating, I love it! And I hope they will too. 

I still have to finish putting the basement back together – especially the areas where Stephanie and I bead and sew, respectively.

Last up will be the office. I love that space – it gets wonderful light, and there are huge surface areas to spread out.  The only heartache for me is giving up the shelves we had in there. I know the space will be more open, but it’s always hard for me to part with books (even if they were just relocated to the basement!).  With Stephanie relocating her desk to the living room, I can’t wait to shift around the furniture and make a really great workspace for myself!  With both the kids in school full time, I hope I may even be able to work at home occasionally.

We’ll see … end of summer (and the start of school) feels like it is just around the corner.  So we’ll know soon enough. 

Full

We left home on Thursday morning and we’ve been in Connecticut for less than two days. But what a full couple of days it has been!  Here is a quick summary in pictures.

When we arrived we were welcomed by beautifully made beds and fresh cut flowers, in the Mimi tradition:

IMG_0011

Mimi has just returned from a trip to France, where she was at the (very unexpected) funeral for her older sister.  Needless to say, our hearts have been heavy with the news, which comes just a year after my grandmother in France passed away, and two years after my cousin passed.  Needless to say, our hearts have been full, and we’re all the more appreciative for the time together as a family.

After dropping off our belongings, the kids raced up into the woods to check on the lean-to (aka The Fort) to see if it was still intact:

IMG_0029

 

And then, they wanted help from Papi to create swords and signage in his shop:

IMG_0022
There was lots of running back and forth!

IMG_0064

In spite of being super excited, the boys were willing to be still momentarily and smile for a few pictures (two very unusual things, especially in combination):

IMG_0033

IMG_0036

IMG_0043

The one up above is one of my new very favorite pictures of the boys. It has been so long since I was able to get a good one of both of them smiling!

Here is a close up on the signage (with The Fort in the background) in case you didn’t get a chance to appreciate it:

IMG_0054

While the kids were running back and forth with Stephanie and another adult, I realized that my dad had purchased a few books in preparation for our visit:

IMG_0078

IMG_0082

Seriously Papi?!

The day wound down with lots of yummy food (which almost goes without saying!). The boys played with their Legos, and then Papi and Wynn played a new puzzle game called Katamino:

IMG_0074

Today started with a trip to check on The Fort (of course).  So far, all is well:

IMG_0148

Wynn learned how to play with pencils that turn into watercolors:

IMG_0099

And did a little coloring with Papi:

IMG_0105

Wynn was really excited about his new sword:

IMG_0087

He got knighted by Papi (Sir Wynn! Sir Wynn!) for slaying a dragon and saving the kingdom.

IMG_0094

“Mama, Papi is making that part up!” ‘That’s ok Wynn, it’s a cool story!”  And then he had a fierce battle with Mommy (because she is way more fun than Mama):

IMG_0089

After lunch, Wynn did some more painting:

IMG_0159

And he made some beautiful new creations:

IMG_0168

Meanwhile, Papi and Auden took apart some electronics to learn what was inside, and Auden learned about electricity, too:

IMG_0154

IMG_0179

Before dinner we decided to spend a little more time outdoors.  Aunt Erika played some freestyle badminton with the boys.  And then Stephanie led us on a tour around the fields:

IMG_0113

Along the way we had a second sighting of a female turkey!  Stephanie and Wynn were a little freaked out that she was going to attack us:

IMG_0122

In the end, though, our circuit was uneventful. Which is not to say the day itself was uneventful … there were a few critical moments I did NOT catch on film (I know, hard to believe given how many pictures I took!).

The first was when Auden was helping Stephanie look for a long stick that she could use for swordfighting. He managed to disrupt a wasp or yellowjacket nest, and got stung on his left temple. He whacked it and it fell into his hand, but Stephanie was screaming at him to run because he had four more swarming around his head.  At bathtime tonight, Auden was covered with scrapes, scratches, and other bugbites – he’s just a little worse for wear.

During Wynn’s bath I discovered two ticks burrowing into his skin. I will admit that freaked me out way more than the bee incident, mainly because Lyme is a known recursor for autoimmune diseases, and I want to do everything I can to save my kids from the living hell I’ve been through in the past few years.  And seeing a bug halfway into his skin was absolutely foul.  Thank goodness we did baths tonight!  I smothered the two ticks with rubbing alcohol and pulled them out with tweezers. But I am going to be freaked out for days; I really hope we don’t have to put him on antibiotics.

I don’t know about you, but all that activity made me tired.  It was fun, but let’s hope that Independence Day is a wee bit less eventful – it was a very full day.

Harry Potter

I was in Philadelphia for work this week, so I felt compelled to snuggle the boys at bedtime on Friday. I fell asleep snuggling Wynn, and when I woke up at 10:30 pm, Auden was still awake and reading the first Harry Potter book.  I made him go to bed early last night, but this morning when he woke up, the first thing he said was “Harry is getting ready to go down the trap door”, and promptly sat down to read.

IMG_3192

Just a few pages left! I love watching him turn into a bookworm.  :)

Trophy!

Wynn has his last week of T-ball, and he came home with a trophy. Stephanie said he was just over the moon – so excited and proud.  Evidently that’s still the case, because it’s been a week and he’s been sleeping with it next to his bed since he brought it home.

IMG_2922

It was amazing to see him learn and grow in the short six week season.  It’s hard to believe that school and extracurriculars are almost over  … and they’ll be at camp in a blink!

Wynn’s alphabet quilt

Wynn brought his Alphabet Quilt home from school this week. I love this project – I remember appreciating Auden’s quilt when he brought it home two years ago!  So, here is Wynn’s, along with a little movie of him describing the words he chose for each letter:

And a scan of his quilt:

alphabet quilt

It’s hard to believe he’s headed to first grade in the Fall!

Bug basics

In the past few weeks, Auden has talked more about what he is learning in school than he has in a long time. He is really into learning about insects at the moment!  Among other things, Auden would tell you, insects can be distinguished by their antennae, the fact they have six legs, and their compound eyes (which have thousands of tiny lenses).  And their lifecycle always starts out as a tiny egg (more on that below).

Auden’s second grade teacher gave each of the students a mealworm that he is supposed to be observing (which I think is disgusting, but he absolutely loves it).  His mealworm is supposed to eat cornmeal or oatmeal.  Auden’s only eats oatmeal, and right now it’s his first (apparently very active larvae), which will molt until it turns into a pupa.  After that, apparently you wait about two weeks, and the pupa emerges into an adult darkling beetle.  It’s a pretty darn cool science experiment for second grade, don’t you think?

On the days when I’ve picked him up at school he has been spouting bug facts.  Here is one of his observation sheets:

Bug basics Bug basics2

Here are some pictures of his little book about the lifecycle of ladybugs:

IMG_2972

IMG_2973

And the back cover:

IMG_2971

Now if we could just get Stephanie to overcome her fear of spiders (which are not insects, by the way, because all insects have six legs, and spiders have eight).  You never know when that little tidbit might come in handy!  :)

Sad Wynn

Here is a little picture that Wynn drew yesterday, while he was trying to guilt Stephanie into playing Connect 4.  Not sure why he drew Auden with horns … maybe because the boys are both getting a little shaggy-headed (and ready for summer hairycuts)!

sad wynn