27 September 2007

Going Hiking

Today, the kids and I took a lovely fall hike. The Moms in Madison group is organizing Tyke Hikes now that we have the lovely fall weather. Today, we met up with other moms and little ones and took a walk through the University of Wisconsin Arboretum. We walked around the edge of the restored prairie and then took the path back through the middle of the prairie. I forgot my camera in the car when we got there, but managed to snap a couple of pics from the parking lot before the wee ones completely lost patiences with me. There were lots of gorgeous fall flowers:

And here you can see the pretty rust color of the big and little bluestem in the prairie (just past the parked cars):

We also got to see lots of cool buggies and animals, including several furry black and brown caterpillars, a slug, and a frog. We also got to examine all kinds of leaves and sticks and grass and rocks up close and personal. But probably the best part was getting to hang out with "fends"...some adult conversation for mama and some flesh and blood friends for Bug and Bean to hang out with (as opposed to our usual invisible animal friends).

Unfortunately, after our lovely, relaxing walk, I had some run-ins with a couple of my arch-nemeses: the "special people to whom the rules don't apply." First, a disclaimer: I am delighted to share the road with bikers. I wish more people rode bikes and left their cars at home. I have nothing at all against bikers. Unless they are jerks. Then jerkness trumps bicyclist. There were a couple of bikers that had a very casual relationship with the actual rules of the road that I did my best to not run over, but one in particular irked me. The road through the arboretum is quite winding, so I just drove slowly to stay behind this bicyclist for a while until there was a long enough straight section so I could pull over into the other lane to pass him. Well, the way is clear and I pull into the opposing traffic lane and start to speed up to pass him and the dimbulb decides that he needs to be riding smack along the dotted yellow line. So I slow down again and resign myself to following him. A few minutes later we get back into another curvy, winding section of the road and this guy suddenly discovers that I am behind him and starts waving me around. Since I want to give him plenty of room (and hopefully, thereby minimize my urge to flatten him), I am waiting until I can see far enough ahead on the road to pass safely. Meanwhile, he is making increasingly larger and more enthusiastic gestures that he wants me to pass, as if he is starting to get ticked off because I'm not passing quickly enough. I doubt he realizes how lucky he is to be upright rather than a big smudge on the road. In general, it is not wise to irritate the bejesus out of a hormonal post-partum mama with a wailing 3½ week old baby in the back seat (since we were driving too slowly to lull him to sleep...the motion of the car usually puts him right out, assuming we are going more than 10 mph). I'm just sayin'...

Fortunately, the mood swings go in both directions, so by the time we were done with lunch, the nice walk and lovely weather won out over the bad bicyclists.

24 September 2007

More Fall Fun!

Okay, first off, a confession: I am pathetic. On my laptop, I had a drive that I could pop my photo card into and download photos. Now, with the desktop, I have a little USB card reader. Unfortunately, I have to unplug the printer from the USB port to use the card reader, so that one hugetastic extra step (yes, that was said with eyes rolling) means I take forever to finally get photos downloaded and blogged about. So, this is a catch-up post...


On Thursday morning, the kids and I went apple picking at Eplegaarden, which is just south of us. We picked Haralson, Cortland, Jonnee, and Redmax apples. A total of 14 pounds...the orchard has a $10 minimum for self-pick and at $0.75 per pound, that is around 13 pounds. While I completely understand it from a business point of view, the minimum is kind of a pain from a mom-of-apple-pickers-with-short-attention-spans point of view.

After apple picking, we posed for "How Tall This Fall" pictures, since this would be a fun annual activity.

Since then, we have been enjoying raw apples for snacks as well as an apple crisp on Saturday and an apple pie on Sunday. I was planning on making a bunch of applesauce to freeze, but I'm not sure we have enough apples left! We may need to make a second trip this fall!

Also on Thursday, we went to Farmer's Market and bought the fixin's for this:

That's fresh mozzarella from Farmer Johns' (where we also get our squeaky curd for snacking) and fresh tomatoes and basil from other vendors. Add a little salt, pepper, olive oil, and vinegar and voila! Of course, Thursday night supper ended up being an exercise in contrasts. We had the classy, wholesome tomato, mozzarella, and basil salad with chili mac (macaroni, Hormel's chili and Velveeta...the ultimate in class and nutrition).


On Friday, Mama had a hard time waking up, and discovered that while she was dozing, Bug got hold of the digital camera and took a whole bunch of picture. They are actually fairly entertaining to see what captures his attention, but I thought this was the coolest of the bunch:

I have no clue what it is. It shall remain one of the great mysteries.

We did our regular library run on Friday afternoon, so stacks and stacks of more books to read! One group of books of note that we have discovered are a couple of easy reader non-fiction: Pebble Books and Pebble Plus Books. We discovered a whole slew of Pebble Plus animal books on the shelves at the branch library about bugs and ocean animals and have been putting more on hold since then. They are short (approximately 100 words) and have great pictures, so we can read a whole stack in one sitting and after we have read them several times, Bug can "read" them to himself by looking at the pictures and remembering the text. Right now, we have a bunch of books out (and on hold) about seasons, fall activities, and getting ready for winter. They have a whole bunch of beginning science, social studies, health, and animal books. They should keep us entertained for a while!


Saturday, the kids decided that they need to express their creative side. Bug specifically requested cutting and gluing, so we got out some construction paper, scissors and glue. Bug made a trio of monsters:

And Bean went a bit more free-form:

We ended our Saturday cheering on the Hawkeyes, who were here playing in Wisconsin. It was on network TV, so we actually got to see the game. BB wasn't given a choice of who to cheer for. With Kitty Daddy's coworkers trying to dress him in Badger red, we had to counteract!

The first half was as good as a game could be with no noticeable offense on either team, but we ended up losing. *sigh*

14 September 2007

Falling for Fall!!!

Last weekend we went for a drive and saw soybeans turning color and some corn being harvested and my will to live finally returned. Today is glorious fall weather. The thermometer is sitting at 55°F and there is a *frost warning* for tonight! I am loving it!

Baby Brother's Y-chromosome is certainly shining through...he eats like a truck driver, belches like a frat boy, and swears like a sailor. Oh wait...that was KittyDaddy when our little man managed to launch a poop from the changing table into the drawer with the diapering supplies (creams, Snappis, extra washcloths, etc.). You would think that by kid #3, he would have figured out the whole drape a clean diaper over things to catch a misfire. Oh well, I didn't laugh at him (well, not too much).

BB has also mastered the art of dining supported by the Boppy pillow, so I have been getting some knitting time in! I am starting to accumulate some finished except for weaving in ends things, so I need to get weaving and posting some FOs. One is the little hat I made to match the MDK baby kimono. I actually finished it before BB arrived and even remembered to take it to the hospital, but discovered that I had neglected to weave in ends. It worked out okay, though, since even though it looked too small to fit anything human, it was huge on BB. It will serve him this winter! I have also nearly finished one blanket square for Ms. Knitingale's Miner Blanket Project and am halfway through a second. My lace shawl is feeling a little bit too intellectually challenging for my sleep-deprived brain, but now that the weather is feeling fallish, the thought of curling up with the shawl will probably draw me back to it. I am on the last chart before the edging, so the end is in sight!

10 September 2007

It's Official...A Very Soggy Summer!

Courtesy of the National Weather Service...

Public Information Statement

Statement as of 2:18 PM CDT on September 10, 2007

... August 2007 was the wettest August on record for Madison...
... August 2007 was the wettest calendar month ever for Madison...
... Meteorological Summer 2007 was the wettest Summer ever for

For the month of August 2007... 15.18 inches of rain fell at Truax
field in Madison. This smashed the previous record rainfall for
August... which was 9.49 inches... set back in 1980.

The 15.18 inches for August 2007 also smashed the record for the
wettest calendar month ever in Madison... which was 10.93
inches... set back in July 1950.

The 22.69 inches that fell during meteorological Summer of
2007... the months of June... July... and August... was also the wettest
ever in Madison. The previous wettest meteorological Summer in
Madison was 21.58 inches... set back in 1993.

Below is the list of the top 5 wettest calendar months in Madison...

1... 15.18 inches... **aug 2007**
2... 10.93 inches... Jul 1950
3... 10.84 inches... may 2004
4... 10.69 inches... Sep 1915
5... 10.34 inches... Sep 1941

Below is the list of the top 10 wettest meteorological Summers in

1... 22.69 inches... **2007**
2... 21.58 inches... 1993
3... 21.21 inches... 1880
4... 19.86 inches... 1950
5... 19.20 inches... 1883
6... 18.82 inches... 1885
7... 18.30 inches... 1884
8... 17.29 inches... 1882
9... 16.86 inches... 1981
10... 16.41 inches... 1952

Weather records have been kept in Madison since 1871.
The one little irony here that I would like to point out is that during the wettest meteorological summer of record, we spent a good chunk of the summer in official drought conditions, while the second wettest meteorological summer was in 1993 when the entire upper Midwest was under water.

08 September 2007

Super Siblings

Bug and Bean are still completely enamored of their new baby brother. When they came to the hospital to visit on Tuesday, they each had their first turn getting to hold Baby Brother in the rocking chair. Bean was completely transfixed:

Bug thought it was pretty neat, too, but wasn't nearly as impressed as Bean. That was probably fortunate as Bean was already begging for her second turn holding Baby Brother the whole time Bug was taking his turn!

Tonight, we were running a couple of errands and the last errand was at Walgreens, just a few blocks from home. Baby Brother was starting to make time-to-eat noises and since the weather is finally pleasant again, we decided that Kitty Daddy would go in by himself and then walk home, while the kids and I drove straight home for Baby Brother's chow time. As we pulled out of the parking lot, BB decided that he had been patient long enough and started crying in earnest. Miss Bean held his hand while Mr. Bug sang "Rock-a-Bye Baby" the whole rest of the way home. Awwwwwww. BB wasn't much impressed, but Mama sure thought it was sweet!

The only big sibling trauma so far has been having to go home and leave Mama at the hospital for two nights, especially for my sensitive Bug. Somewhere along the line, Bug had asked for an explanation of the pain scale pictures on the wall:

When it was getting close to time for them to leave on Tuesday evening, Bug was feeling very sad (and overexcited and overtired and everything else), so he tearfully climbed up on my lap on the rocking chair for a few last moments of Mama time. While we were rocking and discussing that I would be home the next day and that I would miss him too, he told me that he was feeling like #10 on the picture. Fortunately, the next morning, when they all came to take me home, he pulled me to the side and confided that he was feeling like #0 again. That's my Bug...all or none, perfectly okay or full-scale tragedy.

06 September 2007

A Finished Object!

And, if I do say so myself, this one turned out pretty cute! But first, a progress photo from 6 days before "casting off":

Not quite so cute yet, but it did lead to this picture of Bean showing off her "Beebee Bruddah" belly:

And, why yes, those are Hello Kitty underpants peeking out from her shorts. She has been peeing in the potty on and off and wearing underpants on some days and diapers on others (which she can take off to pee on the potty if she decides to). We have been letting her completely take the lead for now (for obvious reasons).

Anyway, on Monday (why, yes it REALLY was Labor Day), we got to meet this little fella:

He arrived a 6:27 pm on Monday 9/3, weighing in a 7 lb, 8 oz and measuring 20 inches. Both Bug and Bean are quite taken by Baby Brother. When Bean was born, Bug took one look at his new little sister, wasn't too impressed, grabbed me by the hand and conveyed in 22-month-old Bug-speak that we could leave the newbie, but it was time for Mama to come home. In contrast, Bean was quite insistent that we bring Baby Brother home!

His own web-page is right here. The password is my last name.