Some Average Days Around the RMT House (and ‘Hood)

A lot of people ask me (and quite frequently), “How do you keep going and go out to so many places with T all of the time?!” My standard response to that usually is something like, “We have to leave the house by 10 a.m. daily otherwise T will destroy it,” or, “If you had as active of a kid as I do, then you would understand.” But the truth is that we still leave room in our days for a decent deal of down-time around the house and neighborhood. OK, a lot. After all, C didn’t spend all that time on the front yard in vain, nor can we keep go-go-going all the time either (no, not even T).

Kickin' back, T style. While we've done a lot this summer, T's also watched an inordinate amount of television. Tons, actually.

Kickin’ back, T style. While we’ve done a lot out of the house together this summer, T’s also watched an inordinate amount of television. Tons, actually.

So other than watch gobs of TV, what is it around here that we did to pass the time on those slower summer days?

T walking Remy the Cat in 2009. Even back at the ripe age of 1-1/2 T started to learn what it means to be a great neighbor.

T walking Remy the Cat in 2009. Even back at the ripe age of 1-1/2 T started to learn what it means to be a great neighbor.

T walking the cat over Thanksgiving 2012 while we house-sat for our neighbor, friend, and Auntie. We are blessed to have such great neighbors, both in the human and feline department.

T walking the cat over Thanksgiving 2012 while we house-sat for our neighbor, friend, and Auntie. We are blessed to have such great neighbors, both in the human and feline department.

For starters, we have great neighbors. T’s “Auntie K” lives next door, and he often goes over there to help walk the cat, water plants, or just hang out. Yes, I said walk the cat. It’s awesome and something that this particular kitty really appreciates having been a former stray that Auntie K took indoors and off the street years ago. For many years now, T’s been a great kitty sitter and neighbor and friend to Auntie K (and she to him and all of us).

Our neighbor Bill gave T a ride on his electric cart this summer for the first time. Just days after this, his wife Margaret passed away from congestive heart failure (she was 91 years young). We will miss her very much.

Our neighbor Bill gave T a ride on his electric cart this summer for the first time. Just a few days after this photo was taken, his wife Margaret passed away from congestive heart failure (she was 91 years young). We will miss her very much.

T with his friend and our neighbor. These two have grown up together (she just turned five this month).

T with his friend and our neighbor. These two have grown up together (she just turned five this month).

Impromptu lightsaber battles is what having a neighbor kid friend is all about.

An impromptu light-saber battle is just one reason having a kid-friend around the corner rocks.

We also have other neighbors who just stop by to say hi or to play whenever the mood strikes. T enjoys these visits as well, as do we. Very much.

Two friends all dressed up and goofing around is what summer's all about.

Two friends all dressed up and goofing around is what summer’s all about.

T enjoys a dinner date with his friend as we enjoyed an evening with ours nearby.

T enjoys a dinner date with his friend as we enjoyed a dinner party with ours at the big-kids table across the yard.

The kids always provide a great source of entertainment... all summer long.

The kids always provide a great source of entertainment… all summer long.

Along with having great neighbors, we have a great group of friends here in Long Beach. Since they don’t live too far away we’re able to get together and hang out on special occasions or for no reason at all. And now that the front yard’s complete we’ve been able to entertain more often and on shorter notice. The visits less-planned always seem to be the best of the bunch, too.

C threw together these pizzas and grilled them on the BBQ one night for dinner. So, SO yummy!

C threw together these pizzas and grilled them on the BBQ one night for dinner. One is a “cheeseburger” pizza (complete with ketchup as the sauce) and the other is a zucchini, olive, Parmesan, and feta pizza. So, SO yummy!

Another way C keeps us full and happy is by trying out new recipes. Here, he's de-boned an entire chicken and stuffed it with spinach, breadcrumbs, and cheese (all inspired by Jacques Pepin).

Another way C keeps us full and happy is by trying out new recipes. Here, he’s deboned an entire chicken and is stuffing it with spinach, breadcrumbs, and cheese (all inspired by Jacques Pepin).

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The finished dish: Ballottine of Chicken with Spinach Filling.

The finished dish: Ballotine of Chicken with Spinach Filling.

While the dish may not be exactly as Jacques prepares it, C made quite the tasty dish!

While the dish may not be exactly as Jacques prepares it, it was still pretty darn close to the visual inspiration and tasted excellent. C’s deboned two more chickens since also.

C and T planted this garden together in June.

C and T planted this garden together in the front yard at the start of summer.

The front yard garden consists of tomatoes, zucchini, squash, carrots, and pumpkins.

The front yard garden consists of tomatoes, basil, zucchini, squash, carrots, and pumpkins.

Two months later, here's the garden. While it's growing steady, we haven't had a bountiful harvest other than a few squash, a couple of tomatoes, and a pile of basil. If you need basil, please let me know.

Two months later, here’s the garden. While it’s growing steady, we planted late so we haven’t had a bountiful harvest other than a few squash, a couple of tomatoes, and a pile of basil. If you need basil, please let me know.

First carrot! Yeah, they need a little more time. Patience, T!

First carrot! Yeah, they need a little more time. Patience, Officer T!

And all entertaining calls for good food, right? Lucky for all of us, C is inspired in many creative ways. Whether having seen a late-night re-run of Jacques Pepin or just having glimpsed what’s on hand in the leftover department, C always manages to keep us well-fed and friends somewhat impressed with the things he comes up with, however culinary and/or casual the dish. Some of our eats also are starting to come from our front yard garden – yum!

The inspiration: A box of Gorilla Munch.

My inspiration: A box of Gorilla Munch.

The actuality: A very happy and satisfied T.

The result: A very happy and satisfied T.

How do I get inspired in the kitchen, other than when I’m baking, you ask? Yep, a cereal box. Hey, it was something T requested for breakfast one summer morning, and it was most definitely something I was more than happy to do for him (and something I knew I couldn’t screw up too badly either!).

T wanted to get into this suitcase and have C pull him around. Sometimes that's all it takes to keep a kid happy, RMT'ers!

T wanted to get into this suitcase and have C pull him around. Sometimes that’s all it takes to keep a kid happy, RMT’ers!

One day T woke up and told me he had to make a red crab with the wax from his Babybel cheeses. OK, T, we can do that! Red wrapping on the box: Me. The rest: T.

One day this summer, T woke up and told me he had to make a red crab with the wax from his Babybel cheese. OK, T, we can do that! Red wrapping around the box: Me. The rest (tape, crab claws, and tape work): All T.

Over the weekend, T made a Bat-cave, a baseball diamond (complete with dugouts, backstops, and bases), and something else I can't remember right now. The cups are for when he needs to fire his foam dart gun at-will at something other than the furniture, windows, and doors. Yep, this is T's world!

Over the weekend, T made a Batcave, a baseball diamond for his Batman figures (complete with dugouts, backstop, and bases), and other assorted cardboard playthings. The cups are for when he needs to fire his foam dart gun at-will at something other than the furniture, windows, and doors. Yep, this is T’s world!

One of T's LEGO creations.

One of T’s LEGO creations. I forget exactly what it is in this picture as T kept changing it up daily for about two weeks running.

T showing off his LEGO "Star Wars bad guy hideout."

T showing off his LEGO “Star Wars bad guy hideout.” Look for the kit in stores this holiday season (OK, not really as it’s a T original).

Hmm, what else do we do for fun? Oh yeah, we play! Of course we play. We play imaginative games, do random crafts, and build LEGOs. T loves creating whenever he gets the chance, and I love that most of it is all T’s ideas. It’s not because I’m not that much for arts and crafts (because I’m not), but it’s because I want these moments to be  him-spired with only assistance as-requested from C or myself. It’s through that sort of independent play that T will become more independent himself and in turn, more self-confident and able to take on more and more skills and tasks as he learns, grows, and matures. These free-play times are also a space where he can set the rules and run the show (within reason, of course… keep those LEGOs out of the walkway, T!).

T's first visit to the eye doctor was unremarkable, thank goodness! But he sure loved all the gadgets and the chair.

T’s first visit to the eye doctor was unremarkable, thank goodness! But he sure loved all the gadgets and the chair.

At the dermatologist, T got to try on the magnification glasses the doctor would use to examine his skin and moles. There was also another great chair to ride up and down in here, too.

At the dermatologist, T got to try on the magnification glasses the doctor would use to examine his skin and moles. There was also another great chair to ride up and down in here, too.

Not sure why T's hiding before his visit with the dentist. This was his fifth or sixth visit (I've actually stopped counting), and it was cavity-free (again)!

Not sure why T’s hiding before his visit with the dentist. This was his fifth or sixth visit (I’ve actually stopped counting), and it was cavity-free (again)!

But sometimes there’s more than just fun and games to be had around the house; sometimes the doctor calls, and unfortunately, they aren’t house calls. Now that T is on the school calendar, I’ve tried to schedule a great deal of his doctor’s appointments during the last couple of months while he’s been on summer break. With that, T made his first visits to the eye doctor and dermatologist (he has my fair skin and hair, and a few rogue moles have appeared), and he had his routine check-up and cleaning with the dentist. The great news is all check-ups checked out. Happy summer indeed!

We (minus T) "Sharknado'ed"... did you, RMT'ers?

We (minus T) “Sharknado’ed”… did you, RMT’ers?

C scooted as T biked for the first time on the street this summer.

C scooted nearby as T biked for the first time on the street this summer.

All that biking called for some R&R in the pool. Cheers, boys!

All that biking called for some R&R in the pool. Cheers, boys!

Of course, no time around the house is complete without a healthy dose of vegging out. That might mean bad TV, a beer on the front porch (and in a baby pool for extra points), and/or a nap on the couch. Cheers, and good night!

Even some of our more relaxing days tired T out this summer.

Even some of our more relaxing days tired T out this summer.

Enjoy these last days of summer 2013, RMT’ers. I know many kids have already returned to a new school year, and T goes back to school two weeks from today. Where did the lazy days of summer go?! However long, short, busy, and or relaxing your time together was, I hope you all had a wonderful summer break! I will be taking some time off here at RMT to lap up every last drop of summer break… see you after Labor Day!

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