Froggy Concealment

First of all, the drive from Philly to Maine is really long, even if there aren’t kids in the car. Actually, if we just had to get to Maine, it would have been a much shorter day. But once we get to the Maine border, we continue on for about 6 hours. Jack and Casey were really good in the car and I only had to yell at Jack once for kicking my seat. We were at about hour 9 at that point.

It started to get foggy about an hour from the cottage and Jack thought it was “really spooky when it’s froggy out.” It’s now 11am and the fog is finally lifting and revealing the gorgeous view from the cottage.

We’ve already made our first trip down to the beach and I wish I had a camera with me. Unfortunately the path down to the beach is a little difficult right now and I could barely get Jack and Casey down there without falling. I may have made a poor choice in footwear to make that a little more difficult.

I dipped my toe in the river and thought it was a little chilly…almost numbing if I had kept it in there much longer. Dad has a weather station here that has all sorts of weather data but apparently not a water temperature. Oh and by the way, the air temp was only 58F. Anyway, Jack and Casey had no problem with the water and waded right in. I might have put bathing suits on them had I thought they were going to get in so deep.

After Jack’s shorts were hanging off him, he decided he didn’t need them any more and off they came. And what Jack does, so must Casey do. Next, Jack decided he needed to pee in the river so off came his underwear. Then his shirt was a little wet so he took that off too. I managed to keep the rest of Casey’s clothes on. She was getting a little tired and cold by then. After Jack threw rocks to his heart’s content, we headed back up to the house. Watching him scamper across the beach in his birthday suit was priceless. Thank goodness for the concealment of the fog. The beauty of this area is that probably no one would have seen him anyway, except for the seagulls to whom Casey spent several minutes waving.

On the way back up to the cottage, Jack said, “Why is this hill so big?” A very good question…one that I probably thought every time I walked up it when I was a kid. Some things never change.

Travelling, Travelling

Last night we started our summer vacation and trip to Maine. Unfortunately, Pat had a last minute schedule change and wasn’t able to make the drive to Philly with us.

Nevertheless, I loaded up the mini-van with 2 kids and a dog and headed north. I made a nice little place for Tugger to lay down in the back and instead she spent all of her time right under Jack’s feet. The new Dora movie was a hit for Jack and he was occupied with that for a couple hours. Casey appreciated the box of toys I prepared for her and enjoyed throwing them all on the floor.

I fielded many questions from Jack, including, “Why does corn get stuck in your teeth when you eat it?” and “Why can’t you just push the ‘faster’ button so we can get there faster?” and a succession of “Where are we now?” asked every 2 seconds for about 5 minutes.

About 45 minutes from Nana’s house we thought we could outrun a thunder storm, but we ran into a bit of traffic. Instead we watched the lightning show and listened to the thunder while going 20 mph. I tried to explain to Tugger that a car is the safest place to be in a thunderstorm, but she still got herself all worked up. Inevitably, Jack asked “Why is the car safe?” and I mumbled something about rubber wheels and changed the subject.

We made it to Nana’s in about 6 1/2 but it was actually a pretty pleasant ride. Hopefully it will be just as pleasant during the 10+ hrs to Maine.


I started writing a post about a day in the life of Jack but it was really tiring me out to try to relive it and write it all down. Instead, I’m just going to write a few of the funny things he’s said over the last couple days.

On Monday, we were playing with a new toy that his cousin Joey brought over. There were some cobwebs in it because it had been in the garage, so I asked him if we should “clean it up a little bit.” He responded, “No, we should clean it all up.”
Today we went to the pharmacy to pick up a refill and he said, “We need to take a number and have a seat Mommy.” Luckily we didn’t need to because it was just a refill but he took a seat anyway, for the 2 minutes that we were there.
He really likes to try the things we are growing in our little container garden. So far he’s had a pepper and some strawberries. He asked if he could try some basil the other day and decided that he likes it. During breakfast yesterday, he jumped out of his seat, told me he needed some basil and then went outside to get himself a piece. He also brought me a piece. I ended up leaving mine near the computer. When Pat was sitting at the computer later, Jack told him he could have it. Pat asked him if it was a leaf – “No Daddy, it’s not a leaf, it’s basil. You can eat it.” I just stood in the kitchen and laughed.
Casey adds a few new words to her repertoire every day. And they all sound so cute. She’s caught on to the magic word a lot better than Jack has. If I ask Jack what the magic word is, before he can even get it out of his mouth, Casey is smiling and saying “pease, pease.” Then Jack usually informs us that Casey is a big girl now.

Master Bedroom

I missed the Master Bedroom portion of Show Us Where You Live Friday at Kelly’s Korner Blog but I wanted to post some pictures of my bedroom now that I’ve improved it a bit. Sorry I don’t have any before pictures, but it was just boring.
I got the duvet cover for my birthday and have been trying to decorate the bedroom with it as inspiration. The fact that it has about every color in the rainbow in it is pretty helpful. (I do have 2 shams but we were having guests and I had to give up a pillow for a few nights.) I made the headboard to match the duvet cover…my first big crafty home improvement project. We had a headboard and footboard that came with our furniture set but I got bruises from running into the footboard on almost a weekly basis. We decided to get rid of them ie put them in Pat’s closet until I do something with them. I wanted an upholstered headboard and found a website to tell me how to make my own. Overall, it was probably about $75…a good $450 cheaper than the one I had my eye on in Pottery Barn.

About a month ago, we moved a little bit of furniture around and this TV stand ended up in our room. It obviously needed a much bigger TV than the one we already had and Pat just happened to see some ads on Craig’s List for flatscreen TVs. This one fit perfectly. The picture of the flower in the corner is from my sister for my birthday. It’s the first thing I’ve hung on the wall in this room and I think it goes perfect there.

I still need to find a few items for my dresser, a few more things for the walls and maybe some taller lamps. Then there’s a whole bathroom with a lot of empty wall space that is just waiting for me to get my plan together.

From Sick to Silly

On Sunday, I was getting over some kind of stomach bug that made me miserable all Saturday night. Unfortunately, Pat had duty on the ship and there was nothing I could do but try to get through the day with the kids. I’ve always known that being sick and still being Mommy was not going to be fun. Pat having duty on a Sunday is never a lot of fun either. And then they both happened at the same time.
The TV was a pretty decent babysitter, at least for a few hours. I learned that Casey could probably play by herself all day and still be happy. (I’m not sure she even noticed the TV.) Jack, on the other hand, asked me every five minutes if I was still sick. I was able to keep him occupied with the TV and with a stack of Saltine crackers which became his breakfast, snack and lunch. We kind of had the same diet that day.
By the time I started to feel better and be up for more than 5 minutes at a time, Jack had become starved for attention and had quite an aversion to sharing with his sister. It was a really, really long afternoon and I can’t remember the last time I looked at the clock or checked Facebook so often.
By Monday, I was fine and Jack was a new person too. The things that have come out of his mouth this week are so amusing…
“Mommy, can we play outside for a little bit and watch the tomatoes grow?”
“Don’t bother me Mommy, I’m reading.”
When Casey wanted some of Jack’s snack, he told her, “They’re in my belly now Casey. You can’t get them.” He wasn’t being smug about it, just stating the facts and letting her know where they went.
To Jack, anything that makes him different right now is a good thing. Yesterday, we played with the paint out on the deck. He painted his hands and then he wanted me to paint his toenails. I obliged, gave him blue toenails and then told him that usually boys don’t paint their toenails. His response was, “But I can do it.” He just thought that made it/him even more special.
He also thinks that the headband he is wearing in this picture is pretty special. I let him wear one to the gym a few days ago and he was very proud. It’s not my favorite accessory for him, but who am I to mess with his unique sense of 3-year-old fashion. And it was functional too, I suppose…keeping the sweat out of his face during his intense workout in the childcare area. He’s seen me wear one to the gym and he thinks that they shrink to fit his head…”It got small enough for me to wear too.”
The blob of Play-Doh that you see with various pencils sticking out of it is Jack’s birthday cake creation. It’s for when he is five – that’s why there are so many “candles.” He worked very hard on it, crafting it over the course of about half an hour. And he never stopped talking the whole time. “This is my birthday cake…this is going to be a really big cake…this color is going to go in here too…Casey, this is my birthday cake and you can have the cans when I empty them…this is a really good cake…it doesn’t have any eggs in it…it looks like my lemon cake but it doesn’t have any eggs…” And on and on and on. At least he was entertaining himself.
But that blob of Play-Doh…it kills me. All those colors mixed together cannot be unseparated into their own color-coded cans and that doesn’t sit well with the organized, perfectionist part of me. I’ve actually tried to separate them. But, it does make clean up a little faster to just throw them in cans and it doesn’t phase Jack in the least so I have let it go. Future cakes will just be a bigger cornucopia of Play-Doh color.
I leave you with a picture of Casey, who is just happy to play with all the cans that the Play-Doh came in, trying to get a little piece of Play-Doh to nibble.

Staying Out Late

I just shut, locked and dead bolted my front door. I may have to write that every night after walking the dog so I can hold myself accountable. There may have been another incident with Tugger and the front door. And I mean that literally because I’m not even sure if anything happened.

Here are the facts…
1. I was sick most of the day Sunday, pretty sure I had locked the door earlier, and so I stumbled up to bed. Didn’t give it another thought.
2. Watched The Next Food Network Star, realized I was starving, made emergency bag of popcorn and finally fell into deep heavy sleep of exhaustion.
3. Dog woke me up at 5am with some strange noises. Sounded like she was excited about something. I immediately pictured the front door open and her running out of the house. Didn’t hear any wind so I decided that hadn’t happened and went back to sleep.
4. At 7:30am, found the front door blown open a couple feet. Sighed a huge sigh at the prospect of hunting down my dog again. Fed Jack his breakfast and went upstairs to put some shoes on, wondering whether I should drive around in my car to try to find her.
4. Neighborhood looks so calm and quiet. No one is out. I peered out the window for several minutes trying to seeing Tugger running around.
5. Thought I should go yell for her and offer her breakfast in hopes that she would come running but then decided I would check the guest room instead, just to make sure that she wasn’t sleeping in there.
6. Intense relief when I found her passed out on the bed. She could barely open one eye to acknowledge me she was so tired.
7. Tugger slept all day long…she barely moved. Acted like she’d been running for maybe hours.
So…I suspect that she may have gone out for a nice run under the cover of darkness and just let herself back in through the front door, which was still open. And maybe I’ll just leave the door open for her next time and that will be the trick to getting her back inside. It’s worth a few extra bugs and the AC working a little harder if I don’t spend hours chasing the dog around the neighborhood. Because I’m just going to face the fact that even though she is in no way an escape artist, she will eventually get out again. But I will once again vow not to let it happen.
Anyone who has read my blog knows that Tugger has already gotten out a few times in the past, like on this day in May and this day in May. But, to be honest, I didn’t even post about a day recently where she got out twice in one day. And right after I finally got her back in, Animal Control drove by. That could be a story for another day…or not.
Looking on the brighter side of things, it was an escape-free June. And we’re sending her to Matt & Kelly’s during our upcoming vacation. Good luck to them. The ironic thing is that she didn’t get out as much until she got her own backyard in which she can run around at any time. Then again, there weren’t any three year olds who were able to open doors and crates either.
I also just added a picture of Tugger on the side, since she stars in so many of these posts. I thought it best to go with a really cute one of her with Jack as a baby. Despite her desire to run free as often as possible, she really is a great dog and she has always been wonderful with the kids, even in the days when Jack thought it was great recreation to hit her often with a hockey stick.

Growing Up?

After only a few days away during my trip to Maine, Jack and Casey really seemed to grow up. Jack informed me that he now needs reading glasses when he reads. And Casey tried to give up napping. While Jack’s new Thomas the Train sunreading glasses don’t really bother me, the lack of napping was not making me happy.

Casey has generally been pretty easy to put down for a nap. Put her in the crib, give her a kiss and tell her to have a good nap. She also wakes up pretty easily, often playing in her crib for a while before she even cries. But after I got back from my trip, she started screaming as soon as she saw the crib. After I put her in the crib, she threw all her pacifiers on the floor and just screamed and screamed.

I thought maybe she was starting to drop one of her naps, but she was still acting tired. I was baffled as to why she seemed scared of her crib. I mentioned to Pat one night that maybe she thought that if she went to sleep, I wouldn’t be here when she woke up because I had been gone for those 2 days. He quickly dismissed it as a somewhat ludicrus thought. But…I think maybe I was right. Now that I’ve been home for almost a week and gotten her out of her crib every day, she’s back to my sweet napping girl.

So, I guess it’s nice to be missed. And while I wouldn’t mind if she drops that first nap, because it’s probably about time, I’d prefer it not to involve screaming at the sight of the crib.

Speaking of being missed…my mother-in-law was really concerned about Tugger while I was gone because she was just moping around and didn’t seem herself. Looks like even the dog missed me as she was back to her usual self after I got home. It was kind of nice to know she missed me. When Pat is gone she goes to the door every night and looks for him to come home and kind of mopes around all evening. It gets worse the longer he is gone…and I get mad at her because I’m the one who gives her food and treats and takes her for walks, whether Pat is here or not. So it’s good to see that she misses me too when I’m gone.

Simply Patsy

A week ago today, I flew home to Maine to go to a funeral for my cousin Patsy. She was a special woman who touched a whole town and beyond in her own special way. I’m so glad that I was able to go home to celebrate her life and to be with my family. Little snapshots of the day will always stay with me – the church with every pew full of people with tears in their eyes…the first four rows full of family, choking back tears but strong in solidarity…the strength of a 15 year old niece speaking so beautifully of her Nannie…love, laughter & selflessness…Doreen & Lawrence playing “Oh When the Saints” on their clarinet and tuba…the country song that brought everyone to tears again…the cottage – the same as ever but missing some of its heart and soul. I was proud to be with my family and tears come to my eyes just thinking of what a special person she was to so many people.

Birthday, Part II

We had a birthday party for Jack on the 4th and invited all his friends. Unfortunately, many were out of town and then 2 of the 3 families that were left ended up having some version of hand, foot and mouth disease. (Not to be confused with hoof and mouth, which apparently applies more to cattle than to small children.)

But, Nana, Pop-pop, Uncle Matt and Aunt Kelly were in town, so we had a great party anyway. After driving to three different stores for Thomas the Train related decorations, I was having a Thomas party whether we had guests or not. Jack was thrilled with the little sign I got that said Happy Birthday and had Thomas on it. But he was even more thrilled when the balloons arrived…the balloons that were almost forgotten.
At around 9am, I said out loud that we couldn’t forget the balloons. I’m pretty sure no one was listening though, or maybe I mumbled, as I have a tendency to do so. Either way, it was more of a reminder to myself to remind someone else to get them at noon. At 2:30pm, I was reading Jack stories and we came to the “B” page in his alphabet book. Luckily there was a Big Blue Balloon on that page which jolted me to action. Pat had gone out to the store so I frantically called him and asked him to run and get the balloons. As for what happened in the parking lot when one Thomas balloon floated away…Pat tells it best. But I believe it involved a few grown adults chasing the balloon through a parking lot.
Jack’s face when a dozen balloons came in the door was priceless. He then spent about an hour playing with them…moving them around, handing them to different people – just part of a typical day for the “balloon man.”
After our guests arrived we had a great time eating and Jack, Warner and Casey had a great time running around the backyard, building houses in the sandbox, splashing in the pool and eating cake. And this time the birthday boy enjoyed his cake!

Fire-Seared Antipasto Platter, 7 Layer Taco Dip, Watermelon & Feta Salad and Fruit Tray

Some serious sandbox play

Strawberry cake from a box, homemade buttercream frosting, edible picture of Thomas purchased on ebay

Jack Turns 3

Jack turned 3 today.  To be honest, I wouldn’t say the time has flown by but I think that’s okay.  Countless times, I’ve heard the advice to enjoy them while they’re little…and I’m definitely enjoying Jack.  He has put a lot of smiles on my face in three years and it just keeps getting better.  
Motherhood doesn’t have much in the way of validation on a day to day basis.  But today kind of makes up for that.  I loved seeing how excited he was by the presents that I picked out.  It’s a great feeling when you know what to give him to elicit that kind of joy and excitement.  In fact, he even told me earlier today, “This makes me happy, Mommy…and excited too.”  What more could you ask for?
Jack spent most of the day in awe that he was actually 3.  He kept saying, “I’m 3?”  
And now, I’m going to go crazy and add some pictures AND video.   

Just in case he didn’t tell you that he’s 3, we duct taped the number to his shirt so everyone would know.  I think he transferred it to his pajamas for the night.  

A top hat so Jack can pretend to be Sir Topham Hatt…or a magician…or whatever else he comes up with.

 The cake is a lemon cake called Nathan’s Lemon Cake, which he saw in one of my Cooking Light magazines and told me he wanted for his birthday.  I’m proud of the finished product which looks almost exactly like the magazine picture and I thought it tasted pretty good.  The birthday boy wasn’t a big fan of it.  Luckily he had new trains to distract him and another cake coming up for his party (which will come out of a box).


How can you not love a kid who watches a show before bed in just a top hat?