Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Summer Vacation: Day 8

Alas, all good things must come to an end, and so it was with summer vacation with Daddy Jane and Grandpa Mel.

After packing and leaving the hotel, during which Helios helpfully wheeled out the luggage he shared with Hesperos, the family went to the local Denny's to meet Daddy Jane and Grandpa Mel for brunch and make our final farewells.

Although it looks quite like a routine brunch here, it was punctuated by visits to the restroom approximately every 10 minutes as Helios announced to the entire restaurant, "I need to go POTTY!" Sometimes he would put the phrase to music, occasionally telling us exactly what he needed to do in the restroom. While the format of a blog doesn't lend itself to notating music, you can share in a small part of our dining experience if you imagine the tune of "Happy Birthday" but with the words instead of, "I need to go potty, I need to go potty, I need to go water yucky, I need to go potty." When he wasn't rushing back-and-forth to the restroom, he was busy building bridges and trains with creamers and cutlery, before becoming bored with that activity and comparing teeth with Grandpa Mel.

Hesperos, on the other hand, eschewed such frivolities and simply kicked back on Daddy Jane's lap while munching on a handy spoon. He wasn't much for talking that day, preferring instead to enjoy what may have been the last few moments of attention that was totally devoted on him and his accomplishments, however minute. Does he eat a bite of applesauce? He's such a good eater! Does he lunge for a cup of scalding hot coffee? He's so fast! Does he drool incessantly and cough up a fur ball? He's just the cutest thing ever! Does he make a dirty diaper? He's...going back to Mommy and Daddy. Yes, even the love of grandparents has its limits. (Although we count our blessings that at least Hesperos doesn't sing about the substance that issues from his nether regions.)

After brunch, we all made our farewells to the sadness of all, but particularly for Daddy Jane and Grandpa Mel. We trundled ourselves off to the airport to make the 10-hour flight home. Once in the plane, Helios was mellow and fell asleep quickly. Daddy slumped over and took a snooze. Mommy read another excruciatingly dry book. And Hesperos just giggled at it all.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Summer Vacation: Day 7

Part of our summer vacation included a planned visit to what Daddy Jane called the "Please Touch Me" museum. We were fairly sure that the museum was intended to have lots of things a child could play with and touch, but we couldn't escape the feeling that the name invoked thoughts of Michael Jackson's Neverland. It is, in fact, named the "Please Touch" Museum, and there was, comfortingly, no trace of the Gloved Wonder to be found.

The museum is two stories of activities for children of about 6 and younger, including a "grocery store", farm, treehouse, and family kitchen, all appropriately pint-sized. Elsewhere, there a flamingo-and-chipmunk croquet game (from Alice's Wonderland), a two-story slide, and a fishing pond. To the left is a picture of Helios doing some grocery shopping in the supermarket. After he filled the cart, he went to the checkout stand where Mommy played cashier. In a manner that is surely intended to prepare us for his teenage years, Helios turned to Daddy and said, "I need money, Daddy! Get out your wallet!"

Hesperos had a good time at the play farm on site where stuffed livestock and plastic produce can be found. Apparently, he developed a liking for plastic turnips in his course around the farm area, which may feature prominently in a future meal. Hesperos started to get pretty cuddly with the resident sheep, too, taking a bite or two out of its hopefully-recently-cleaned ear.

After checking out what it's like to be Farmer Hesperos, it was time to see what the finer style of life was like during a visit to Alice's Wonderland. Hesperos enjoyed tea time with the March Hare and Mad Hatter, but upsetting a few teapots along the way.

While Hesperos was supping, Helios was at the other end of the building doing his Bob the Builder imitation as he nailed planks to the side of a treehouse and connected some water pipes. Occasionally other children would run around the treehouse, trying to help. It got a little tense at one point because some other tow-headed youngster thought he could help out with the hammer but a single scowl from Hesperos let him know that his contractor's license was no good in this town. Daddy Jane was apparently the only helper Helios could tolerate, probably because she was cast in the role of "adoring fan."

Later on, Helios tried out his transportation-related skills. First, he pretended to pump gas in a wooden vehicle. This was true fantasy because Helios lives in the People's Socialist Republic of the Pacific where pumping your own gas isn't allowed (supposedly due to a fire law, although it's probably because the state is trying to preserve minimum-wage, no-value-added jobs). Afterward, he tried his hands at driving a SEPTA train car where his vertically challenged little body was quite incapable of seeing out the window while keeping his feet on the pedals.

While Helios was scampering around like an endangered rabbit, Hesperos was winding down, spending the last half hour or so of the day simply looking at the good looking baby in the mirror and practicing standing on his own two feet.

The day ended with the obligatory visit to the museum gift store that is conveniently placed between the attractions and the exit, and concluded with two very sleepy boys passed out in the backseat of the car dreaming, no doubt, of being little adults.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Summer Vacation: Day 6

Memorial Day brought Daddy Jane's family from near and slightly further away over to their home where the boys had a chance to meet their more extended family, all of which Hesperos met for the first time. This afforded a great opportunity for each boy to try out all of his own tricks on a new (and fawning) audience. Hesperos again wiggled his diapered bottom as he did his one-armed zombie crawl across the room and giggled enchantingly when tickled. Helios, upon prompting from Daddy Jane, spelled each word from his internal catalogue, dimpling appropriately to the applause.

Hesperos helped beat the heat by keeping his head wet and hair spiky. Meanwhile, Helios did "suicide runs" down the hill toward the creek behind Grandpa Mel's and Daddy Jane's backyard, daring Daddy and Uncle Scooter to chase him.

Again, luckily for Mommy and Daddy, there was a whole new cast of characters (Daddy's cousins) who were too young to have children of their own but old enough to enjoy playing with Helios and Hesperos, allowing Mommy to play a game of Scrabble (lost to Daddy's youngest cousin, Jamie, but beating out cousin Humphrey with his double-degree in architecture) and Daddy to hang out and enjoy a beer with his brothers.

Thanks to the generosity of the boys' Great Aunt Agnes and Uncle Bob, and Great Aunt Beverley and Uncle Humphrey Sr., Helios and Hesperos were showered with little gifts, including books, outfits, and, to Helios' delight, a large-sized tractor puzzle. Great Aunt Agnes helped him piece it together and then, for some inexplicable reason, pretended to blow at the camera for reasons unremembered. The tractor puzzle is still so enjoyed, Helios often tries to sleep with it (inside its box) at night.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Summer Vacation: Day 5

In observance of Memorial Day, the family turned out in its (more or less) family best to honor Grandpa Mel and Uncle Agrippa, both who have served in the U.S. Army. A special service for the military was given the local church where little flags were handed out. This inspired much flag-waving and many (thwarted) opportunities to poke out eyeballs, big and small.

Afterward, we went out onto the church lawn to allow Daddy Jane and Grandpa Mel to show off their grandchildren. Of course, this was all done under the guise of admiring the weather and sharing tidings of good health. (Imagine the conversation: "Well, hi! How are you? We haven't seen you in so long! Oh, have you met my grandson? Let him spell for you.") Be assured that there were no suave transitions into this conversation. The poor, hapless parishioners were helpless and surrounded by over-exuberant grandparents.

The picture shown here is one of about 75 taken during the two hours we were at church. This picture was particularly chosen out of sheer malovence because more than 75 pictures were taken and not a single one came out. The children were better looking at the camera than the adults and Daddy was the least attentive. So, this is the one that gets published.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Summer Vacation: Day 4

If you're a 2-year-old little boy, how do you spell "vacation"? T-R-A-I-N-S.
Day 4 of summer vacation was spent going to Pennsylvania Dutch country where we took a 30-minute ride on a steam engine, perused the train gift store (or ran through it like rioting chimpanzees, depending on who you were), and viewed the locomotive museum. Whereas some of us find museums to be only slightly less yawn-inducing than attending a lecture on the history of the umlaut or reading a book about the patent history of the paperclip (the latter of which, by the way, Mommy just read), apparently train museums are the legal version of crack-cocaine to little boys.

Upon boarding the steam engine, we all promptly took our seats. Nothing, from Hesperos' perspective, is complete unless it has been christened by his drool. Consequently, to Mommy's horror, Hesperos, at first opportunity, latched onto the seat that has hosted the backs of thousands of tourists (shudder) and decided to chomp on its plush goodness. Helios, oblivious to germs, people, food, or, in fact, anything at all, echoed the train whistle at every opportunity shouting "choo-choo!" While Hesperos was passed from lap-to-lap, including a visit to Uncle Agrippa's lap (Uncle Agrippa apparently has a fascination with chubby babies, although we drew the line at comments about cankles and large thighs), Helios practically bounced from side to side of the passenger car in order to admire the train from all possible angles.

Later we visited the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania (yawn) where Helios gleefully wound his way around engines of all sizes and ages, demonstrating spritely interest reminiscent of his uncles the first time they saw the bar waitresses at The Library in Tempe, AZ. Hesperos was more pragmatic in his appreciation, confining his tastes to a well-placed chomp or two on a book about the Little Red Caboose.

At the end of the day, in spite of massive sensory overload and not a single nap, both boys were still going strong, albeit with glazed and glassy faces. Without question, this was the day to end all days and quite possibly the highlight of their summer.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Summer Vacation: Day 3

Day 3 was spent mainly outside in the muggy but pleasantly sunny and warm northeastern summer. Helios and Hesperos probably saw more sun during this one trip than they have their entire time living in the Pacific Northwest which was good for them, but left the adults scrambling for sunscreen to protect the kids' fair-skinned pudginess.

Daddy Jane brought out the bubble kit and made beautifully large bubbles that Helios then ran around and popped. Alas, when Helios tried to make his own bubbles, the soap blended in with little boy spittle as he couldn't quite get down how to blow air out while keeping the gooey stuff in. Little unsuccesses at bubble creating did not dampen his enthusiasm though as he ran around demanding, "more bubbles, more bubbles, MORE ROUND BUBBLES!" Daddy Jane laughed with Helios until the time a minor catastrophe threatened when Grandpa Mel called Daddy Jane "Granny." With the speed of Hesperos when he tries to sneak away one of Helios' toys, Daddy Jane pertly replied that "old ladies are called Granny. I am Daddy Jane." Grandpa Mel wisely refrained from further name-calling for a while.

Meanwhile, Hesperos hung out and watched the excitement from his perch on Grandpa Mel's hip, peering thoughtfully at what his big brother was doing. Hesperos is a pretty mellow little guy who, in his laid back fashion, doesn't see what all the fuss is about. It's not that he doesn't care; it's just that everything makes this boy happy, including kisses from Grandpa Mel with his ticklish mustache.

Later on that evening, the adoration continued when Uncle Scooter and his girlfriend Mavis showed up to play with the boys for a while. Helios took advantage of Mavis' friendliness by cornering her on the couch and making her read book after book to him. By turns cute, coy, and demanding, Helios managed to get Mavis to read no fewer than five Dr. Seuss books, including the tongue-twisting "Fox in Socks" and "Oh! Say Can You Say!" Every time Mavis dared to pause in her oration, Helios would turn and say, "read more books, please!" Politely, Mavis acquiesced although her patience might've started to wear thin (understandably) when at the end Helios was reading along with her, saying, "No, read it THIS way!"

On the other side of the room, Uncle Scooter played with Hesperos, sportingly tolerant of baby drool, tickling him until he chortled like a happy turtle. Meanwhile, Mommy and Daddy enjoyed one of the rare luxuries afforded to all young parents: Not having to watch their children for a bit while they're being played with by relatives they see less often.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Summer Vacation: Day 2

Ah, me! What summer vacation is complete without a ride on your very own train?

That's right. Daddy Jane and Grandpa Mel got a little crazy about a two years ago with the birth of their first grandchild. (Truth be told, we doubted Grandpa Mel's sanity when he shaved his head ... how can you shave away nothing?) So, during one of their earlier bouts of insanity, Daddy Jane and Grandpa Mel bought a child's size battery-powered Thomas the Tank Engine complete with track in the shape of an eight. Keep in mind that an "8" on its side is the sign for infinity. This is meaningful because a 2-year-old boy can be on a battery-powered train for an infinite length of time without being bored. Oh, yes, did I fail to mention that the Thomas train is musical? No summer vacation is complete unless you're ready to pierce your brain through your aural cavity with a red-hot poker at the electronic strains of the Thomas the Tank Engine theme song.

Sadly, no red-hot pokers were available.

Anyway, I digress.

Day 2 of vacation was spent first by having lunch at Grandpa Mel's favorite local hang-out where he dines regularly with Great-grandpa Horton and Great-grandma Gertrude. Hesperos got to meet his (only) great-grandparents for the first time, and we all enjoyed seeing Daddy's cousin Viviann and her two children, who all generously bestowed upon the boys their first batch of toys for the week, including two charming stuffed bears (named Helios and Hesperos, appropriately), truck and train puzzles, and an apparently edible caterpillar. Luckily, Mommy's concerns about her babies ingesting toxic chemicals were managed by Cousin Viviann and the great-grandparents providing toys made with natural coloring agents. We were a full table of children, finger-food, and adults who couldn't get a word in edgewise even if we'd wanted.

Later, our day was spent at Daddy Jane's and Grandpa Mel's where two little boys heard how wonderful, handsome, smart, lively, funny, and, in Hesperos's case, large they are. While Helios heard the story of Goldilocks and The Three Little Bears from Grandpa, Hesperos did his gimpy "zombie crawl" around Daddy Jane's and Grandpa Mel's home. Unfortunately, no pictures of Hesperos on this day are available but rest assured he was tickled and laughed like the Pillsbury Dough Boy on command throughout the day.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Summer Vacation: Day 1

Although the weather in the Pacific Northwest tries to belie this fact, most people in the northern hemisphere acknowledge that with Memorial Day enters summer vacation. The Willowbottom family got a jump start recently on our first family trip with Hesperos out of mommy's tummy. We picked the kids up from daycare and bundled them into the car. Needless to say, Helios was nearly at his wit's end with excitement at the prospect of visiting Grandma ("Daddy Jane") and Grandpa.

Helios and Hesperos are both veteran airline passengers with four airline trips each. That and the abundant snacks and entertainment surely explains why they were so good on the airplane. There was no childish seat kicking here -- although there was drool aplenty from Hesperos along with piercing shrieks of delight from Helios, as he shouted "airplane! airplane! airplane, Mama, airplane!" in pitches that would make dogs howl, glass break, and a soprano envious.

The secrets, we've learned, to a good cross-continental family vacation are these:
  1. Bring lots of dry snacks. Crackers, dried fruit, cereal, etc. are relatively easy to clean up and you can apply the "five-second rule" to them in the event of spillage.
  2. Bring your own blankets. Baby fleece is softer and prettier than airline blankets, plus I know for a fact that one was used (not by us) as a baby changing pad. So, need I say cleaner?
  3. iPod, iPod, iPod. Helios looked like a computer geek in the making with his eyes glued to the video iPod while he watched Disney's "Cars." Although he wasn't very interested for more than 30 minutes (it was only cars, after all, not trains), that was 30 minutes of relative quietude.
  4. Triamenic. Hopefully no one from Child Protective Services will read this, but it really is a good idea to dope your kids up a little bit before a flight. I know what you're thinking. I know! Hey, I don't even take aspirin. But, their little ears suffer with the pressure and taking a light decongestant before a flight helps with that. The fact that it helps put them to sleep is just a little bonus.
  5. Booze. Ideally, the adults should tip back a shot or two in the airport lounge. While you're at it, buy a cocktail for the pilot. He's had a rough day and probably needs it. (Just kidding!).

The 10-hour cross-national flight (plus 3-hour time change) resulted in us arriving at the hotel around 3am. Helios was just energetic enough to run through the hotel, turn on all the faucets, and jump on the bed before passing out.

Friday, May 11, 2007

A Booty Call

I don't know about everyone else, but my experience is that all boys like it. It's firm, round, very accessible, and whets an appetite for something more. You notice it's plump shapliness from across the room. When holding it, all a boy wants to do is sink his little teeth into it and go chomp. Enjoying it together is a bonding experience. Yes, nothing quite beats a nice, sweet piece of Veggie Booty.

If you thought something else was going to be written here, then you need to find a different blog.

Helios and Hesperos are huge fans of Robert's American Gourmet Veggie Booty. This is a (somewhat) healthy snack of rice and corn puffs blended with spinach, kale, cabbage, and carrot. They're naturally tinged green and uncomfortably bring to the forefront an immediate reaction that is reminiscent of how Sam's victim felt in the epic, tell-all biography, Green Eggs and Ham. But, like Sam's victim learned, snacking on something green isn't necessarily all that bad and neither are these (although who wants spinach/corn breath?). They're a favorite snack for the kidlets, and always illicit a rivulet of drool and clamoring for "green popcorn" whenever they're seen.

These pictures show them hunkering together to share a little bit of the "green gold" which they greedily hoard to themselves. Helios is a relatively delicate eater who joyfully pops one in at a time in rapid-fire sequence. Hesperos isn't nearly as dexterous or playful yet -- at only nine months, his eating practices are strictly utilitarian -- so he ham-fists 3-4 pieces into his mouth simultaneously. After feasting, Hesperos toppled over like a Weeble (actually, Weebles wobble but they don't fall down, but just go with me on this anyway) and proceeded to drop Veggie Booty on his belly and giggle as it fell. Helios, on the other hand, decided to flirt with the camera and drape himself in chain links (that he hasn't been interested in since he was 16 months...until Hesperos started chasing after them).

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

A Reader Is Born

Ah, me...what can be better than lolling about, reading a book in your spare time? Why, doing it naked and on satin, of course!

Here, Hesperos is enjoying the finer things in life pursuing his favorite activity, that being naked on his green satin Winnie-the-Pooh blanket (a birth gift from Aunt Tiffany that narrowly missed being confiscated for Mommy's bed). He particularly enjoys lying on the blanket on his back and then wiggling around to get full satiny goodness.

Hesperos presently enjoys several of Helios' once-favorite books, in this picture, Caillou: Tell Me What. What is surprising is that Hesperos for a change is not eating the book but instead flipping through the pages and flaps and looking at the images. Perhaps his normal paper-eating exuberance is being tempered by the simultaneously calming-yet-scintillating experience of cool polyester satin on chubby flesh. But, we prefer to think of this as his first entry into being a reading enthusiast like his brother and Mommy.

Helios Visits the Hospital

After probably more than two dozen ear infections in his short 2+ years, Mommy and Daddy finally broke down and took Helios to have ear tubes inserted. It was a tough call and involved much consulting with the family doctor (Daddy's aunt Pollyana), reading, and so forth. So, bright and early one Monday morning (quite early, since we had to be at the hospital by 6am for prep), Helios and Mommy checked into the hospital. Possibly the hardest part of the entire experience was telling Helios that he couldn't have any water, juice, or Os (Cheerios) on the drive, since he needed to be there with an empty stomach.

We arrived at the hospital with a little smattering of applause from Helios who recognized it as the "baby store" where we got little brother Hesperos. For anyone wondering, yes, Helios has asked for "more Hesperos, more Hesperos come home!" No, there won't be any more. Helios will just need to get a dog, cat, gerbil, hamster, or boa constrictor to satisfy his big brother desires.

After checking in, Helios got down to his underpants and socks and was garbed in a gown of his choosing, blue with sea creatures (preferable to the one with green dinosaurs). It delightfully matched his blue fleece jacket, which he models here for your viewing pleasure. Notice how the dark blue embroidery around the zipper complements the stenciling of the sea creatures and the iris of Helios' eyes. Oh, wait...that's another blog.

Helios was given a liquid sedative which made him a little sleepy. He was then wrapped in a heated blanket and taken back to the operating room, carried by the anesthesiologist. The two tubes were inserted, and he was then taken to a recovery room where he slept for another 45 minutes without the aid of anaesthesia. The medical staff were quite impressed that he was out for about 90 minutes and didn't wet his underwear (they recommend diapers for the operation up to 4 years old). The nurses kept trying to wake him up but he was probably enjoying the snooze. It took Mommy suggesting that they offer him food and orange juice. Surprise, surprise, he woke up immediately.

Upon returning to the prep room, Helios chilled for a little bit before he developed the shakes and started crying. He got over that within about 20 minutes and then we proceeded back to the car where Helios feasted on orange juice, veggie bacon, Cheerios, and toaster waffle before going to daycare.

The unfortunate side note is that in the mere two weeks since Helios got his ear tubes, he already has had one ear infection. But, we hope to see more improvement in the weeks to come. The next step is ear replacement surgery.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Helios = Cat, Hesperos = Dog

There's a joke that's been floating around the Internet for some time now about dogs and cats, supposedly an excerpt from their diaries. Here's a little sample of it below, but the whole thing can be read here:

The Dog's Diary
8:00 am - Dog food! My favorite thing!

9:30 am - A car ride! My favorite thing!

9:40 am - A walk in the park! My favorite thing!

10:30 am - Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!

12:00 pm - Milk bones! My favorite thing!

The Cat's Diary
Day 983 of my captivity. My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength.

The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape. In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet. Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates my capabilities. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a "good little hunter" I am. Evil people!!
Anyone who has spent much time with the boys would probably agree that Hesperos is the dog and Helios is the cat.

Hesperos's Diary:
6:15 am - Ooh, nursing! My favorite thing!

7:00 am - You're changing my diaper? I love you! Oooh, those wet wipes look so delicious!

7:15 am - Yay, a drive into daycare for the next 45 minutes! That makes me so happy! Daddy is cursing at the other drivers. It makes me giggle! Helios is staring at my toy because he wants to wrench it from me. Here, Helios, have my toy! Oh, look...feet! My favorite thing!

8:00 am - Daycare, you say? The next 9 hours in a room with a bunch of other babies, none of whom who are as happy as I am? Yay, my favorite thing!

8:30 am - Diaper change! My favorite thing!

8:45 am - Oooh, green beans for snack. My favorite thing!

9:15 am - My face is getting scrubbed. My favorite thing!

10:00 am - Crawling! My favorite thing!

10:30 am - Napping! My favorite thin...zzzzzzzzzzzz....!

Helios's Diary:
Day 880. Every day is a new exercise in agony. Today I was warm and ensconced in blankets when the parental unit who calls herself "Mama" wrenched me from my warm cocoon and forced me into clothing. We walk to this torture unit called "the potty" where I take great satisfaction in leaving behind remnants of the unworthy meal they fed me last night. It never fails. No matter how stinky and disgusting I make it, that harpy of a woman and the oaf who is called "Daddy" continue to prattle on about how proud they are of me. Do they have no sense?

Later, I allow them to garb me in clothing befitting my station as an engineer-in-training: jeans and a Thomas the Tank Engine shirt. They mutter some incantation about "putting left foot in, taking the left foot out, shaking it all about." What does this mean? Must learn this strange voodoo they sing.

Ah, yes. Time for the car which the Daddy-oaf has warmed pleasantly for me. At least he has done something correctly. I'm lifted into my chair and pinned in by belt straps. No matter how much I examine them, I can't yet figure out how to break free. Will continue to contemplate. Meanwhile, that drooling buffoon who they tell me is my brother continues to stare at me while gnawing a teether. Strange. I never noticed that teether before. Give it to me! That's mine. MAMA! THAT'S MY TEETHER! Ah, yes. Clearly recognizing my superior intelligence, the cheerful imp hands over the teether. Mmmm...HEY! There's drool on this. Disgusting! No, no, I didn't say take it away. I'll still keep it. Now, drive, Daddy-oaf, drive my chariot.

Helios the Builder and His Helpful Sidekick, Hesperos

A few days ago, we completed (yet another) home improvement/remodeling project. Generally, we try to do projects on the sly when the children are otherwise occupied (preferably asleep) to save ourselves from persistent offers of help or the ferreting away of tools. However, we thought this pantry remodel would be quick so we dared to do it during normal waking hours.

Helios, in the role of Bob the Builder, was ever present. We bought him his own set of play tools for Christmas 2005 but he eschews those. We suspect he's not interested in them because we don't produce any squeals of alarm when he wields his plastic screwdriver in the air wildly. We try to give him little jobs as we can, generally involving bagging screws and picking up debris. But, he's no fool and he's rarely satisified with that for long before he goes for the big guns (meaning the drill, of course).

Hesperos, on the other hand, is characteristically "chilled" and is literally just kicking back while everyone else works. Briefly he was interested in getting into all of the pantry items that were temporarily sitting on the floor while we worked but then something shiny caught his eye (one of Helios' coveted trains that Hesperos would've never had the opportunity to even breathe on had his brother been paying attention) and he quickly abandoned his effort to cause pantry mischief in favor of mischief of another kind ... specifically causing his brother anxiety. ("No, Hesperos, no! *finger shake* My trains! Naughty Hesperos!")

And here's the bonus picture for the day, since I couldn't think of a story to weave around it. In between improvement projects, children must be fed (and napped). So, while Hesperos was trapped in his high chair during a project pause, Helios took the opportunity to give his little brother kisses and tickle his knees. Hesperos responded in kind by trying to fit in a few grabs of Helios' hair.