Are we there yet?

Jack has an ability to ask really difficult questions in the car when we’re out and about. For the life of me I can’t figure out how to answer them. Even if I do answer them, another “Why?” is sure to follow.

He is starting to recognize places and knows where we are going for the most part. That knowledge apparently inspires his quest to know more…
Jack: This is the way to Rita’s, Mommy. Why is this the way to Rita’s?
Me: This is the shortest way to get there and it’s the way the road goes Jack.
Jack: Why?
I can’t answer that. Maybe I could delve into something about city planners and roads. Or something about horse trails from a long long time ago. But I really don’t know the history of these roads well enough for that. I end up not answering him or repeating myself.
Jack is also interested in where all the other cars are going.
Jack: Where is that car going Mommy?
Me: They’re probably going to work.
Jack: No, they’re not.
Me: Yeah, I think they are.
Jack: No, they’re on the same road as us, so they’re going to the gym too.
Me (in my head or sometimes out loud): Well why did you ask me if you already know where they’re going?
On another day, he asked me what I was doing and I told him that I was speeding up to get in front of a truck (a dump truck). That opened a whole new can of worms.
Jack: What truck Mommy?
Me: The one behind us Jack.
Jack: Where is it going Mommy?
Me: He’s going back to work.
Jack: No, he’s going home.
Me: It’s the middle of the day…he’s probably going back to work.
Jack: No, he’s going home. He has a little boy at home who is 3 too. He’s going home because he is going to take his little boy to the Little Gym.
Jack wins again. But I have to love the imagination he has.

Before & After

I have a few improvements to my kitchen that I would like to make…sometime in the near future. I’m thinking about a tile backsplash to add a little pop of color and maybe some paint. I’ve only been thinking about it for six months and I think I’ve figured out what I want to do. The hardest part has been choosing a color. I know that I want a glass subway tile…just want to get the color right.
Now I’m pretty sure about the color, but I haven’t made any more progress. Pat mentioned that I should get some material to cover a bench seat that we have in the breakfast nook. I thought that was about the last thing I was going to do in my kitchen…until we decided to have 35 people over and it looked like this…

First of all, I should mention that the bench was a great bargain at only $12 at a Christmas Tree Shop. It required a few holes redrilled to put it together and a lot of extra swearing on Pat’s part, but I know he was very proud of his bargain and his handiwork. It currently holds a bin of baseball hats, one bin for Casey’s shoes and coats and one for Jack’s.
Most of the grime and dirt is from Tugger. The bench is behind Casey’s chair at the table which is also where Tugger hangs out during meal times, waiting for Casey to drop her a few dinnertime treats. While Tugger is waiting for any stray food, she slobbers and as she circles around Casey’s chair she transfers the slobber to the bench.
The orange on the bench is a decorating touch from Casey and her use of an orange marker. We keep those up high now.
So, two days before the Hail & Farewell, I ran out to Hancock Fabrics and found some great fabric. I think it may have cost a few cents more than the actual bench. So now…I love the look of the bench and the whole corner and I even think I’ve figured out what color to do the tiles in…kind of an apple green. Don’t hold your breath for the pictures of that project though.
Anyway, here is the after.
And now I’ve written a whole post about a bench. And I could probably right more but I won’t bore you any more.

Dinner for 30

Yesterday we hosted a Hail & Farewell at our house. All of Pat’s fellow officers came to “hail” the new members just arriving on the ship and to say “farewell” to those who are leaving. We figured that attendance would be around 30…in reality it was probably a little more. It’s one thing to think about the amount of food that is required to 30 people…it’s a whole other thing to actually see 30 people standing in your house. The food doesn’t take up quite as much space as 30 people, three-quarters of them men.

But think about the food I did, for about a week straight. I started cooking on Sunday and making lists and thinking about lists and cleaning and thinking about where I should place all the food. I thought a pasta bar would be a fairy easy way to feed a large amount of people. I thought that until half an hour before everyone arrived and it seemed that none of the water would boil. Eventually it did, and no one went hungry. In fact, I had way too much food.
Pat really had me stressed out about how much food 30 people could eat. He mentioned the enormous amounts of food necessary for spaghetti feeds for his hockey team in college. He encouraged me to get 6 lb of spaghetti and 6 lb of penne at Sam’s Club. I doubled the meat sauce recipe. I quadrupled a roasted red pepper cream sauce recipe, sending Pat to the store at the last minute for more red peppers so I could do the second double batch. I tripled a batch of grilled veggies…half of which I had to roast because when I went to turn the grill on, an hour-long downpour started.
Currently residing in my fridge/freezer and pantry are:
1 batch of meat sauce
A double batch of roasted red pepper sauce
About 2/3 of the vegetables
Assorted leftover desserts
A whole jar of Sam’s Club bruschetta mix (already made about 60 slices of bruschetta with the first jar)
6 lb of penne
3 lb of spaghetti
I guess I should have another large group of people over here soon. Pat informed me that pasta doesn’t go bad. After the pasta extravaganza of last night, Jack decided he would like pasta for dinner tonight. Well lucky him…we just had a little bit on hand. I turned some grilled peppers into a pepper & goat cheese quesadilla because I couldn’t quite cope with more pasta. However, I will do my best to take care of all these pesky desserts lying around.

Crossings and Cooties

Jack woke up a little earlier than Casey from naptime today so we had a little time to kill, just Jack and I.

He played with his trains for a little bit and I tried to read a book. He interrupted me every 5 seconds with a new question or to inform me that the coaches were ready for passengers. I quickly gave up on the reading. He has a bunch of wooden signs to go with his train set – Stop Sign, Do Not Enter, etc. For a long time, the Do Not Enter sign was his favorite one. He used to ask me over and over what it meant and any time we saw one on the street, he would get excited about it. Apparently, he has a new favorite. He saw a Railroad Crossing sign at a friend’s house a few days ago and today he told me he was “just going to wait for it.” When I asked him what he meant by that, he said he was going to wait for Santa to bring it for Christmas.
I’m actually glad that he thought of Santa on his own. Lately when he tells me that he wants a new toy, I tell him that he should ask Santa in a few months. His response has been, “No, we can just go to the store and get one.” He says it in a tone that implies I am completely ridiculous for asking Santa when it would be much quicker to just go to a store.
Anyway, a few seconds after telling me he was going to wait for the railroad crossing sign, he realized that he had an almost life-size one standing in the corner. It’s a piggy bank that makes train noises when you insert coins. I told him that we shouldn’t put any money in it right now because the noise might wake Casey. It’s really loud. Jack didn’t take so well to this idea. He dramatically drove one of his trains off the track and onto the floor. He starting crying… because the trains obviously needed that signal or the railways would just be mayhem. We eventually compromised and shut the door to the room so he could make the signal noise without waking Casey. All was right on the Island of Sodor again.
Eventually we moved on to playing the Cootie Bug game. When Jack got games for his birthday, I was looking forward to playing them with him. Then I actually tried to play with him. He’s not much for the rules. I think I explained to him dozens of times that it’s not where the die lands but the number on the top. We played two games of Cootie and he finally figured it out…and beat me both times fair and square! Anyway, the best part of the whole game was that he kept saying we need to “roll the dough” instead of “roll the dice.”

True Stories of the Highway Patrol…or not

Jack is becoming quite a story teller. He’s getting very good at explaining what happened during the day to Pat when he comes home from work. But he’s also got a very good imagination and some of his stories aren’t exactly what you’d call “true.”

For instance, he told me that Daddy’s car got hit by a couple of others cars. Daddy’s car was fine but the other people had to get new ones. It was a him and a her, not a her and a her. But they got new cars. Pat verified that this story was not true.
Today, Jack dressed up as Batman (so I knew this wasn’t a real story.) He told me that he didn’t want to wear the mask because he had to save the world over and over again. I asked him why he didn’t want to wear the mask. He explained that he couldn’t save the world with a scary mask on and also that it was hard to breathe with the mask on.
Thankfully, he’s taking a break from saving the world and has gone to bed with a minimal amount of coming out of his bedroom. And I’m going to go watch The Office season premiere.

Monkey See Monkey Do…

There is no other way to describe Casey right now. Mostly she does whatever Jack does. She tries to say what he says and she tries to do what he does. But she also tries to do the same things that I am doing. I realized I have to think a little bit about what I’m doing when I was scratching Tugger’s belly with a hockey stick. Casey thought she should do the same thing but it wasn’t quite so gentle. At least she’s not chasing Tugger around and whacking him with the hockey stick like Jack did when he was her age.

It’s also interesting to see the differences in the way Jack and Casey “learn.” When Jack learned to talk, we would continually ask him to say a word. We would repeat it over and over again until I thought I was driving him crazy because I was certainly driving myself crazy. And eventually he would carefully say it, as if making sure that he was saying it correctly. I had never seen a child learn to talk and my expectation of how they did it was a little different from the way Jack learned.
When you ask Casey to say a word, she just goes for it – she says whatever she thinks might sound like what you just asked her. Hence yogurt becomes “yo-yo,” blueberries become “boo-boo” and pizza was “pee-pee” for a while. This was more in line with how I thought kids learned to talk. I didn’t realize there could be such a difference until Casey came along.
It will be interesting to see how this translates as they get older and go to school. When we started going to the library for story time, Jack wouldn’t join in for any of the interactive songs. He just sat and watched for the longest time. Finally, about 2 months passed and he got comfortable with the words and the actions and he started joining the group more.
This week, Jack started classes at The Little Gym. I was worried that he wouldn’t listen to the teachers and would be running around crazy (like a couple others). Instead he sat outside the circle and just watched and tried to figure it out. I could see him trying to process it all and make sure he had it right before he tried it. This bit of his personality is so interesting for me to watch. He loved his class and can’t wait to go back next week. I’m glad that even though he’s not in school yet, he has this little bit of time where he learns to listen to a teacher and how to act in a classroom type setting…and yet he gets a lot of energy out too!

More Bedtime Drama

It’s hard to motivate myself to write a blog after the bedtime war every night. A couple of nights ago, I told him to get in bed and go to sleep about 50 times. He just kept getting up and opening his door and smirking at me. I would try to ignore him and calmly put him back to bed. It was not easy. I told him I was going to put him in time out the next day for one minute for every time I shut the door. That didn’t work. And I didn’t fall through on it because trying to keep him in time out for 20 minutes would have become an hour ordeal as I would have to keep returning him to his timeout spot.

The silver lining in the cloud (the cloud being the fact that he can now defeat the childproof lock on his door) is that he can let himself out of his bedroom after he wakes up from his nap. Today I think he played for about 45 minutes while Casey and I continued our naps. I heard him playing with some of his books down in the playroom and then he came down to see if I was awake yet. I asked him what he had been doing and he said, “I was just reading some books to Tugger.”
Other than the bedtime struggles, we had a pretty busy Labor Day weekend. Pat’s brother got married in Philly and my parents drove down from Maine to help babysit. Jack was in the wedding as the ring bearer and he did a great job. He loved getting ready with all the guys, although he was a little intimated with all the girls in their pretty dresses. When it was time to walk down the aisle, he got very serious and walked very slowly and did such a good job. My parents were watching Casey…there was no way she was going to stay still in a pew for any longer than 2.5 seconds.
Here are some pictures…mostly from after the wedding and before the reception when Casey and Chase joined the fun.

And for the record, I’ve been upstairs 5 times in the middle of this post to put Jack back to bed and he is now yelling from his bedroom.

Hockey Helmet

Last week, Casey dropped her morning nap and started napping only once a day. And I found myself with so much more time on my hands. I was able to workout for more than 30 minutes at the gym without trying to rush back to the house and get lunch ready and fit in naptime. I was also able to shower at the gym so I didn’t waste any precious naptime minutes doing that. We went grocery shopping, got the car detailed, went to Farmer’s markets and playgrounds and we did a little shopping. I was finally able to stop by a couple of thrift stores that I have wanted to check out for a while.

I have been reading a lot of blogs where people decorate and make rooms look amazing with some really inexpensive thrift store finds, usually improved with a can of spray paint. It inspired me to try to find some of my own deals but I didn’t really have the time until now.
On Friday, Jack, Casey and I headed into the CHKD Thrift store to see what we could find. The kids found a train table that they really enjoyed. It had the train tracks glued on there and Jack was a little disappointed that he didn’t have his trains with him. We might not have left the store if he’d brought Molly along. (Molly is his special train, a reward for making the move from pooping in his underwear to using the potty.) Anyway, I didn’t really see anything that jumped out at me.
We got to the meager toy section and the kids were poking around on the shelves. Casey pulled a car out and pushed it around the floor. Jack found some lacrosse sticks and wanted to know what they were. And then…Jack found a hockey helmet.
At first glance, it was just a hockey helmet that I was pretty sure would be too big for him. Then I took a second look at it. It was in really good shape and looked like a youth helmet. I’m not even sure it had been worn before. I couldn’t tell what size it was, but it was certified until 2011. I was wondering if Jack’s head would fit into this helmet before 2011. Then, I saw the price – $2.98. Whether he would ever wear this helmet in any sort of real hockey action no longer needed consideration.
Jack has turned my socks, his socks, wooden blocks, slippers, and plastic bags into hockey skates. He has turned train pieces, bean bags, McDonald’s toys and golf balls into hockey pucks. Our hardwood floors are ice. Diego and Nemo push toys are Zambonis. And every time he plays hockey, he straps a pretend helmet onto his head (and anyone who is playing with him).
Buy the child a 3 dollar helmet whether it fits or not!
So, we left the store with Jack’s first hockey helmet resting soundly on his head. He claimed that it fit and was very excited because, “Now I don’t have to wear a pretend helmet anymore.” As we were walking to the car, Jack tripped and fell on his knees on the concrete sidewalk. His already scraped up knee was ripped open again and he was actually bleeding quite a bit. I got him into the car and started to try to clean it up, at which point he told me, “Mommy, my knee really hurts but I didn’t hurt my head at all because I had my helmet on.”
I didn’t have the heart to tell him that he might have noticed the uneven pavement and not tripped if he wasn’t wearing a hockey helmet that was too big.