The Yard

As badly as I would like to move, things are not going well enough that we can do that. So, instead, we’ve been working hard to try and make this place more livable. That includes leveling out our crazy, crazy yard. Anyone who has visited us knows that the ups and downs and drop-offs are anything but baby friendly!

We recently began our search for dirt again. Over the years we’ve managed to get a truckload here, a truckload there. I asked a friend about a guy she knew, but he wanted $10 a yard . . . WAY too much for us, considering how much we had to fill in. Irving went out one day to the shop and ended up passing a house where they were digging. He stopped and asked if they had a place to take the dirt and they said they’d give it to him for $2.50 a pickup load. Sold.

Within a few hours, the in-laws’ driveway was piled high with dirt. They were less than impressed. We got the whole family out to help . . . Dominic sat in his high chair, I shoveled and Irving hauled wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow full of dirt to our yard. The big boys “helped” shovel and ran around a lot.

After three days and a lot of blisters, we finally ran out of dirt. Just in the nick of time, since the yard was full. Then came the tedious task of leveling it all out. We realized, a little too late, that Irving had overdone it with the dirt hauling and we were now over the level we needed. Not a problem, the extra went to filling in the alley that runs down the side of the main property. We ended up hiring a couple of his female cousins to help us with the leveling and concrete. Most of the yard will now be concrete, except a piece in front of the living room which will be grass. The idea is that it will be easier to clean concrete and keep kids from getting so sick. Unfortunately, the dog has already arrived to christen the new dirt and so we also need to build a gate very soon.

At this point, we have the yard all leveled out. There will be four different levels in the end, to allow for drainage. This afternoon, we go buy concrete and sand and gravel to start pouring concrete tomorrow morning. I can’t wait! It will be so much easier to keep the house clean if there isn’t dirt everywhere.

Here’s our side yard, before and after:

filling in the yard

This is the first time we can really use the door since that room was built nearly 8 years ago! That area will all be filled with concrete and turned into a little container vegetable garden.

Dominic Turns One

We celebrated Dominic’s birthday today. He was pretty darn thrilled with the whole affair. I made him a fish cake, since he loves our goldfish and the fish in books.

fish cake

The inside was blue with yellow polka-dots! I didn’t think it was going to turn out, but it was pretty neat. Even Dominic noticed the dots.

polka-dot cake

He ate a LOT of cake, asking for more after the first slice was neatly eaten. Yes, neatly. There was no cake covered baby to take photos of . . . he ate it all and only had a little blue icing around his mouth and on his hands.

His gift was a toolbench that lights up and makes noise. It’s the perfect height for him to use standing up and he pushes it around the house as a walker. Dominic isn’t the only one interested in the toy, though!

After cake and gift, we are headed off to get some errands run and a replacement phone for Irving because his was stolen yesterday.

One Year Old

One year ago today, about this time, I was waiting nervously in my hospital room to be wheeled up to the OR for my C-section. By 1:30 pm, Dominic Cruz was screaming at the world and letting everyone know that he was pretty darn unhappy to be pulled from his cozy womb.

Happy birthday, Dominic!

At one year, he is:

- Climbing, climbing, CLIMBING! I even have photos of him up on the computer desk. Which he can reach since he can now climb onto armchairs and the sofa alone.

- Getting picky about food. He won’t let you put just anything in his mouth, he has to look at it first. This does not stop him from shoving dust bunnies in his mouth if he thinks you’re coming to take them away, though.

- Listening better. We can tell him not to go outside and he’ll scoot right to the veeeeery edge of the doorway and sit crosslegged there and wait for someone to come pick him up.

- Skipping naps. Like his oldest brother, Dominic is a firm believer in being awake at all times. He usually only naps once during the day now, instead of twice. Nevermind that this makes him a very grumpy little boy come 5 pm, he WILL stay up to see what is going on in the world.

- Eating by himself. With utensils! Well, not really. He refused to eat his breakfast the other day until he had a fork like everyone else. He worked very hard to scoop up eggs with the fork. When that didn’t work, he tried putting a piece of egg on it with the other hand. It fell off, so he shoved it in his mouth with his hand and repeated the process for three eggs.

- Growing. He’s outgrown nearly everything and we had to go shopping again recently.

- Talking better. Irving was away playing a procession and all day, Dominic was asking, “Where’s mi papa? Where’s mi papa?”

New words:

- Butt (yay for big brothers!)
- Poop
- Yes (he usually only says “si”)

Kids Say the Darndest Things: Episode 57

Irving was cleaning the house and then decided to bathe the kids.
Irving: “Ok, Dante, when Dorian’s done in the tub, it’s your turn to bathe.”
Dante: “Why do you have to clean EVERYTHING?!”
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Dante: “I’m not going to burp in your face, Mama. Because that would be really disgusting.”
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Dorian: “You should go pee, Dante.”
Dante: “It’s ok, it went back up.”
Dorian: “Yeah, but I’ve had that and it goes back up . . . but then it comes back down and you pee your underwear. You should really just go to the bathroom now.”
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Dominic was fussing in the car.
Me: “What is going on with the baby?”
Dorian: “I’m not sure. Oh wait, he just talked. He said, ‘Vomit’ so I guess he’s carsick.”
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The boys were playing a zoo game on the computer.
Dante: “Why did you kill the lion, Dorian? That’s not cool!”
Dorian: “I didn’t kill him! He was just brushing his hair and then boom, he was dead.”
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Dorian: “I was playing taxi with Domi and I asked where he wanted to go. He said ‘home’ so I brought him to the door and put him out of the taxi (a box) and he was so happy!”
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Dante: “Does this food have vegetables in it?”
Me: “Yes.”
Dante: “Why does EVERYTHING have vegetables in it?”
Me: “Because they’re good for you. And you don’t eat meat, so there’s not a lot of options here.”

Science Experiments

We try to start every day with a science experiment or art project. This helps the boys get into school mode and keeps things exciting. It’s fun for me, too! Here are a few of the experiments we’ve done since the beginning of school.

Naked Eggs
We put an egg in vinegar and left it for a couple of days and the shell dissolved.

naked egg

Baking Soda Cookie Sheet
I gave them a cookie sheet covered in baking soda and then let them drip colored vinegar onto it. We also tried some lime juice to see if other acids have the same effect.

baking soda experiment

We’ve also done mold gardens, but I don’t have final pics of those yet. We also got a microscope and have been looking at a lot of things under it. It’s not a great one and has no base (we found it at the paca), but it works! When my sister comes down, I hope to get a better one.

Destruction Mode

When Dante was a baby, we called him “The Destroyer.” This was due to the fact that pretty much anything he touched, he wrecked. He was amazing! He could destroy things that no one would ever dream a baby could take apart.

He has officially lost that title as of yesterday. I was getting lunch going while Dominic sorted through CD cases and when I turned around . . . .

destruction baby

A Saturday Morning Project

It’s been boring for the kids to be cooped up in our tiny space. Since they can’t go to the other house to play anymore, their running around room has been severely limited. So, today we built them a house in the lower yard by my bedroom. We had a ton of beer crates that a bar gave us and they’ve just been sitting out in the front of the house, waiting to be taken to the recycling depot. This may have been a better use for them.

beer crate house

This was pretty simple, since we had two walls already. We just made a space that was 3 crates by 3 crates and left one crate width of space for the door. A sheet draped over the top made the roof. The boys put pieces of wood inside for the floor and covered it with burlap and set up their kitchen next door. Presto! Everyone is happy to hang out here now, even Zanelle who has been trying to convince us to let the boys play at her house again.