Thursday, June 26, 2008

What We're Up To

So, here's how you'll find us these days:
Me and Andrew seem to spend a lot of time together. Here he is in his "peanut shell". :)

Joshua can often be found spelling train names with his alphabet books (only one of each letter though...makes for challenging spelling!) or just playing with his trains.
Caleb is once again doing lots of puzzles. Here he and Philip and working on a 1000 piece-er

Hines Family 0, Squirrels 7

Ah, time to post on something which has caused me much distress and annoyance: the local squirrels. Our trial with them (or one in particular, I think) began last summer. We had planted our annual tomato plants, but unfortunately we planted them late and so they only produced about 7 tomatoes all summer. Not a very good investment. Well, it became an even worse investment when about 5 of the tomatoes were absconded with by squirrels. I would see them running off with our tomato...sitting on the fence post while taking a few bites and then tossing the rest aside. Infuriating. So I told Philip that any garden this year was his deal...I was done feeding the squirrels....we'll come back to that.

Fast forward to March of this year. The two boys were outside eating peanut butter sandwiches for lunch. Apparently, Joshua left about 1/2 of his sandwich unattended while playing about 10 feet away. I hear a shriek from outside and run out to discover that a squirrel has swiped his PB&J! He discarded it in a bush as he ran for his life once I appeared. Then, a few weeks later the boys had cheeseburgers. They were still traumatized by the sandwich-snatching event, but I assured them that as long as they didn't leave their burgers unattended, the squirrel would not pose a problem. Wrong. The brazen little thing got within several feet of them while they were eating...twice! As you can imagine, lunch was finished in the house.

Then, two wee
ks ago we made 3 pine cone bird feeders as a fun Father's Day gift (thanks Randalls!). This was a pine cone covered in peanut butter and rolled in birdseed. Sounds like paradise for a squirrel, doesn't it? Well, I was afraid that would be the case, but decided to give it a shot anyway. So, hung the first from a tree = We got a lot of rain and then it disappeared overnight to an unknown demise. Hung the second from the same tree = squirrel bait. Hung the last one on a hook suctioned to our kitchen window and I came downstairs the next morning to find this:

Yes, the little twerp climbed up the screen to reach the prize! And he brought a friend along too! In disgust I went out and took the pine cone and tossed it in the trash in the house. If I ever hang another peanut butter pine cone, you'd better believe it will be laced with something "special". :)

So, as I mentioned, Philip was in charge of the gardening this year, and of course he planted tomatoes. We've now reached the end of June and the tomatoes are once again growing and getting ripe. So far, the squirrel has nabbed one ripe cherry tomato off the deck plant, which was of course surrounded on several sides by wire and and yesterday he was spotted with the largest green tomato off the plants by the garage, which are not currently "protected". Philip was tempted to add an electric charge to the wire he's going to put around them...but alas, we have little children running around.

If you have any creative suggestions on how to get rid this little terrorist...please do share.

The Play-By-Play

Joshua enjoys giving us the play-by-play on activity from Andrew. If they are around each other, expect to hear something like this....multiple times.

"Hey Mommy, his arm just moved!"
"Hey Mommy, his hand just moved!"
"Mommy, his hand just touched me!"
"Mommy, the baby is sleeping because his eyes are closed"
"He's just making noise?"
"Mommy, Andrew is crying so he needs his pacifier"
"It's ok, it's ok, it's ok"
"Mommy, the baby is crying so you need to go get him out of his bed"
"Mommy, he's crying. He needs to eat or a diaper change" and on he goes...

Anyway, yesterday was really funny. I, admittedly, call Andrew all kinds of "baby names." Yesterday, we were getting back in the car and Andrew was howling. While I was buckling Joshua in, he looks over and Andrew and says, "It's ok, Sweetie-cakes". :) LOL.

Andrew, AKA, Sweetie-Cakes at 1 Month

Monday, June 9, 2008

40 Pictures

Ever since around the time that Joshua was born, we had have a terrible time getting Caleb to smile for pictures. Now he will sometimes try, but his trying generally involves him making a not very smiley face and looking in any direction except towards the camera. It is really tough to get him looking....decent. Grr... Anyway, I really wanted to get a nice picture of the three boys for Father's Day, so yesterday we dressed the boys alike and gave it a shot (no pun intended). Caleb had been given about three days warning that this photoshoot was going to occur in an attempt to make the process go smoother. No such luck. We took about 40 shots (thank goodness for digital cameras!) and this was the best we got. How's the song go? "Two out of three ain't bad." Oh well...maybe next year.

Sympathy From A 3 Year Old

The other day I was feeling awful. AWFUL. I had a horrible headache and just felt exhausted (turns out I was actually sick with some kind of infection, but didn't know this at the time). I was sitting with Joshua holding my head and he asked me what was wrong. Here's how the conversation went:

Joshua: what's wrong, mommy?
Me: I don't feel good, Joshua
J: Your head hurts?
M: Yes, I have a headache and I feel awful
J: Why?
M: Because I didn't get enough sleep last night
J: Why not?
M: Because I have to feed Andrew during the night
J: Oh
M: In fact, last night I fed him four times while you were sleeping, and so I didn't get enough sleep
J: (look of sympathy on his face, shaking his head, brow furrowed) Oh...that's TERRIBLE.

Anyway, his reaction was just kinda funny. I needed a laugh then too. :)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Storm

We had a very heavy storm come through the DC metro area this afternoon around 3:00. Trees, telephone poles and power lines were down all over the place. Philip only saw one working stop light on his 12 mile (very slow!!) drive home from work. We lost power at the house for almost four hours...and boy does losing power remind you of all the things we rely on electricity for! But the most exciting thing that happened was in our backyard. The boys and I heard a strange sound during the heavy winds and looked outside to see this:

A tree in our neighbor's yard

Our neighbor's tree in our yard!

We are very fortunate it fell where it did...and amazingly, there was no damage done! We are so thankful for God's protection. Philip and our neighbors made quick work of removing it and getting it on the curb...hopefully for pick up tomorrow. What a way to get to know your neighbors!

Monday, June 2, 2008


I just love success in the kitchen! This weekend I made a cake for a friend's daughter. It was my third time making a design like this, but I think this one may be my favorite. Isn't it just too cute!! If I had a girl, she'd be getting this cake for her birthday....but I don't, and somehow I don't think the boys would appreciate it! LOL. Now, if only making this cake had fulfilled my need to "bake" for the week...but it didn't. I'm feeling the urge!! My KitchenAid is calling my name....can. not. resist. the. pull. of the KitchenAid!!

Moving Up In The World

Now that Joshua is 3, he is finally ready and interested in riding the tricycle. This meant that we needed something else for Caleb...something bigger. :) So, last week Philip got the bike box out of the garage and worked on assembling it. Turns out Mom was required to "Read the directions" (LOL), but eventually it got put together and Caleb was appreciative of Philip's efforts ("I'm so proud of you, Daddy!, he said). So, off to the cul-de-sac they went. It took Caleb a couple tries to get the hang of pedaling and, of course, the bike has training wheels for now, but he caught on fast and by the end of the week was zooming like a pro. He says he likes the bike better than the trike because it has brakes and he can stop. :)

Joshua enjoyed "racing" his trains down the driveway while the bike assembly occurred.

Andrew (13 days) was unimpressed by all the excitement.

The Andrew "Fire Swamp"

*If the subject of infant diaper changes is unpleasant to you, feel free to skip this post!*

I have decided that the sight of Philip standing over Andrew on the changing table makes Andrew's little output system go crazy. CRAZY. As in, it just keeps on coming. For some reason, this doesn
't happen when I change him. Only Philip. Ever seen the movie "The Princess Bride"? (ok, who hasn't?!) Remember the quick sand, fire swamp, ROUSes? Well, it seems Andrew has invented his own version of the fire swamp. In the movie, Westley discovers the key to surviving the fire swamp is the hissing sound that occurs right before the flames burst out. So, one must simply listen for the hiss and then move out of the way. Andrew has apparently applied this principle in the poop department. I thought I had observed a pattern where there was a popping sound...followed a few seconds later by output. Yesterday, Philip was changing him and as usual, was dealing with lots of poop and the familiar popping sound occurred. Then nothing happened and I thought "I guess I was wrong about the correlation". Then about 10 seconds later...major explosion. I laughed so hard I cried. And then laughed and cried some more. Poor Philip. This seriously only happens to him. But at least Andrew warns us!

How could anything this cute make such a mess?? :)
Andrew at 3 weeks