Thursday, July 24, 2008

My own small syllogist

I was just reading something on Aristotle this morning over coffee and it dredged up all of these repressed memories of my mandatory philosophy courses during undergrad at St. A's. Among many other things, Aristotle came up with the idea of syllogisms, or logical arguments. I never took Formal Logic in school (yes, it was an actual course) but we did have to do a lot of proofs in other classes (I remain, to this day, the only Biology major who took every class Professor O'Rourke ever taught in Philosophy. This was less because I loved philosophy and more because I loved O'Rourke, but that's a story for another day.) At any rate... the most famous syllogism is simply: Men are mortal. Socrates is a man. Therefore, Socrates is mortal. You get the idea...

Well, yesterday, we're driving home from the movie theater and Colin says: "You know that song about the alphabet, Mama?" (They Might Be Giants have a number of great kids' CDs and Here Come the ABCs is one of our favorites. One of the songs is about what all the letters eat. For instance, my favorite line (for obvious reasons): "F is far too fussy and only eats with fancy wine; G eats only gourmet but never can decide")

At any rate, there are also the lyrics "E eats everything" and then we find out in a surprise ending: "But Z eats Es!!"

Colin must have been mulling this over for ages because we've haven't listened to that CD in at least a month. He suddenly spouts out: "Mama, if E eats EVERYTHING, then E must eat the Z before Z can eat it. So the Z CAN'T eat Es!!!"

Sometimes, he scares us. They Might Be Giants recently came out with Here Come the 123s but I'm thinking I'll hold off on that until I can educate myself in higher math...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Merry Messes

We did an inordinate number of projects this week, probably because the house is still in post-vacation disarray and the worse it is, the more I try to hide from it. My procrastination has led me to do a number of things, none of which includes removing the suitcases from the dining room, but does include such productivity as: 1) leaving the house as often as possible for playing, swimming and theater-going. Two kids' feature films in a week is a record around here. Wall-E sent me into the throes of depression but the kids are super-into robots so they loved it. Kung Fu Panda was amusing and cute, but as I type, the boys are kung-fuing each other and the poor dog. I don't know which is better, in the long run. 2) coercing the boys into helping me reorganize my bedroom closet which no one will ever see except me and 3) distracting the kids (and myself) with treats, crafts and activities. (Colin just stopped by to ask me if I was "uploading some new pictures?" . What do you imagine four year olds will be able to query about by the time he has his own sons?)

Crazyhorse learned how to climb on the couch. And up on the BACK of the couch. Joy. At least I generally know where to find him now.

We had fun making and sailing popsicle stick boats in the water table. That is, until Hurricane Eamon soaked their paper sails and capsized them. In my quest not to be thwarted by an evil one-year-old, I smartened up and cut the new sails from a Craisins bag that we'd just emptied and the water-proof sails proved to be much more sea-worthy!

Eater of amphibians.

I, I, I... I don't even know what to say. That's Liam.
In the water table. At least he waited until it was dry.

Here's Colin and Liam with their friend "girl Sam" as they call her who spent a day here playing, baking and trying to shake the entire contents of our sandbox out of her hair. (Thank God I only have boys. Seriously. I thought I missed the whole fun girl clothes thing. But that is more than made up for by the ease of buzz-cuts. Can you imagine me doing someone else's hair everyday? I barely do my own.)

The big boys played a game of Trouble (how fitting) with their cousin Emme last week so you can imagine their glee when I found the same game of Trouble at the swap-shed. They live for the swap-shed and all of its "cool stuff" and I try to give away as much as their old crap as I can so it evens out. At any rate, the game came minus all of its pieces so the kids woke me up bright and early the next day to beg me to find some substitute. All I could come up with was jellybeans which sent them into ecstasies (and a sugar high). It is SO easy to please these boys!

Friday was Daddy AND Uncle Mikey's birthday so we baked a lot. Daddy got a big white carrot cake and Uncle Mikey got matching cupcakes. I set the boys loose with frosting and my new cake decorating set and they went to town adding layer upon layer of dots, leaves and flowers to adorn the tops. Mostly we were just happy that we got Colin to eat one as he is not known for trying new things (especially with the dreaded carrots in them). I figure, carrot cake this week is only one (okay, several) steps away from plain carrots next week!

Eamon having fun painting just like a big boy.

Liam has been OBSESSED with butterflies lately. He chases them for hours in the yard and spends his nights trying to save all the moths that get trapped in the house. Though I think all this insectia has come at a price: he asks every night before I leave his room: "Are these two windows closed? You SURE????" Even with temps over 90 this week, he sleeps in full-length pajamas and insists we close his windows so that "bugs can't get me." He had less-anxious fun making these coffee filter butterflies. They don't flutter around your bed in the dark and you can float them down the stairs and no one gets hurt!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Cape Codders

Uncle Mark and Auntie Megan were generous enough to invite us down to the Cape for a few days which we were thrilled to take them up on. (Who, in their right minds, invites a family of three crazy boys to their rental house? Well, I never said they were in their right minds, but they were very kind to ask and we really appreciate it, thanks again, guys!) I forgot to take pictures for almost the entire time, but we had a lot of fun and despite the boys' early rising, we got some welcome relaxation in too. Mostly, the boys loved the beach, especially early in the morning when we were the only ones there and they could collect shells and rocks to their hearts content. They also enjoyed their first-ever game of Adventure Golf (who can resist Pirate Coves and Treasure Chests and large, metal clubs with which to beat your brothers?) and a lot of dinners out in restaurants. We spent a rainy day in Hyannis where we discovered over lunch that Eamon prefers broccoli to pizza and where Colin and Liam decided that reading maps was one of the best activities ever! Two cartographers in the making, I guess. Lots of ice cream and sand in every crevice finished off our trip and the boys were thrilled to get some time in with Baby Jake. Scratch that.... Colin and Liam were thrilled. Eamon shrieked with indignation every single time Chris or I touched Baby Jake and reminded us in no uncertain terms that HE is our baby and that's that! He is still being a Mama's Boy since our return which is driving me nuts but I'm trying to enjoy all the extra cuddling while it lasts (since he's attached to me at all times now, I really have no choice).

Three boys-os loving the beach. They really have NO fear of the water these days and even Eamon charged right into the surf over and over again.

Baby Jake chillin' on the beach.

Who me? A Mama's boy?

They traded in their shovels and tried their hand at bocci for a while.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Back home, briefly.

Eamon before his big boy haircut, when he was still my baby, sob!

Eamon after his first buzz cut. Looking ridiculously like his brother Liam (and yes, I did bribe him with a lollipop. He has a TON of hair and it took me forever to get it all off, okay!??!)

Liam colored INSIDE the lines for the first time and was SO proud of it!

Colin shows off the "real" pyramids we made after he learned how to write his name in hieroglyphics (photo of that coming soon!). Silly Mama thought it would be SUCH a great idea to dip the pyramids in glue and then roll them in the sandbox to make them AUTHENTIC. They were authentic, and my floors are authentically sandy to prove it.

Mountain Boys

I'm already two vacations behind, so you can imagine what a busy few weeks we've had! Christopher was away at a conference at Dartmouth so I took the boys up to meet him for a long weekend. And boy, did we pack a lot of stuff into three measly days!

Things started slowly on Day 1 when I tried to take the kids to the New England Transportation Museum...only to find out it was in the process of moving that week. Luckily there was an old train for them to play on AND they had fun picking up brochures for a million other adventures that we set out on instead!

The first was a trek up to the Vermont Teddy Bear Company where we toured the factory and Colin got to cuddle with a giant friend!

Liam tries to make bear tracks. Those might be big enough for Grampy to find on one of his legendary bear hunts!

The big boys loved the factory tour, especially the "bear hospital" where they learned all the terrible things that can befall furry friends. Like being melted under a lightbulb, dried in the dryer, caught up in the lawn mower and many more. Colin memorized a litany of bear-related maladies to wow Daddy with when we met up!

Here's my two big teddies. (Eamon was trapped in the stroller and his favorite part of the Factory was when I mollified him with golfish crackers and raisins)

There was a strangely alluring silo just waiting to be explored.

Inside it was FILLED to the top with chalk names and drawings. The boys added their own signatures, but it left me wondering... how exactly DID people get chalk all the way up to the roof?

No trip to Vermont would be complete without a stop at the Ben & Jerry's factory! We took a tour and the boys guzzled down the ice cream of the day: Cake Batter (with chocolate frosting in it, heaven for the Baker Boys!)

Here is a very satiated boy. And with that camouflage shirt on, you can HARDLY see the ridiculous mess he made of himself!

Day 2 started out a little better as Daddy joined in the fun and we found this very bizarre antique toy place. Of course, it had the requisite train which cost a ridiculous amount of money for what it was, but hey, I HAD promised the boys some transportation! And it was in the same complex as a great farmer's diner with amazing home-made bacon and jam so the grown-ups didn't have anything to complain about either!

Some old school, yet still-functional, rides.

Who knew pigs could be so fast?

Our next stop was the Simon Pearce glass-blowing factory. They also make hand-made pottery and had an area for the kids to try their own little hands at fashioning something out of clay.

The boys were enamored with the glass-blowers and stayed still through at least four wine-glasses being made. By the end, they knew all the steps and could PROBABLY have done it themselves. You know, if we let them play with molten glass and ovens...

Colin at the Waterfall at Simon Pearce where we enjoyed a posh and lovely meal (while Liam joyously slept and Eamon stuffed himself with delicious home-made biscuits)

When it became too tiresome to keep their hands off the glass (and too stressful for us to keep them away from the glass), we mosyed on over to the Montshire Science Museum where the kids could touch anything they liked! Including a cool hot air balloon exhibit.

Liam got a ride on the working hovercraft.

And discovers the "magic" of airflow and nurf balls!

Eamon was thrilled to get out of the stroller and have some fun of his own. Mostly by commandeering all of the golf balls in one exhibit so no one else could use them!

Mr. Cogsworth

Bubbles are always a big hit!

The bigger, the better!

As usual, it became clear that all that is needed to keep the boys happy is a pool and some time to swim in it! We could have stayed home and visited Grammy and Grampy and they would have been just as happy!

Day 3 began our trek home which we hoped to do in quick fashion, but the boys had seen a brochure for SantaLand on Day 1 and we decided to stop and check it out. How to describe SantaLand? Kitschy would be a nice way. Also, decrepit, overpriced, tedious and run-down would work. But the kids loved it and the couple who owns it were quite nice and very pleasant.

Here's Colin showing that we'd found the fifth of 12 elves hidden around the park, this one tucked into Santa's boot. We never did find the last two, but it will be a warm day in the North Pole before we go back and try again...

The boys did have fun on the rides and since it was hot as Hades and threatening to storm, there were scant other people there to get in their way!

The big slide was fun, though only two of the shutes actually were fast enough to get them all the way to the bottom!

Engineer Colin directs the way to the train.

One of the only neat things that Chris and I could figure about the whole place were the giant frogs hanging about the pond.

I made all of my boys stop off at the King Arthur Flour store which was a crazy thrill for me. I drool over the catalog all the time and we bought some fun baking supplies. And, we inadvertently tied our trip into our MagicTreehouse books, when we found out upon returning home that Morgan le Fey is going to be central to the books and she just happens to be KING ARTHUR'S SISTER! Good thing Mama forced all of her big and little boys to go see him!

And better yet, it's a good things we bought a mini donut pan there to make yummy baked donut treats!! I wouldn't exactly call them "healthy" but at least they're not fried and they are soooo cute!