Happy Halloween

I started writing while Pat was out with Jack and Casey getting treats but then they came home. Jack said, “I got a million pieces Mommy!” He also managed to throw the word ‘tremendous’ into his chatter today – “Daddy got a ‘mendous hit!” This school is teaching him amazing things. Or more likely Caillou, Little Einsteins and the Backyardigans. TV can be educational!
Anyway, Jack was a ghost and Casey was a giraffe, for a little while. It was almost 80 degrees out, so the giraffe jacket got a little warm.
I’ve never seen someone so excited to be a ghost as Jack was. I got some sheets and tried to make a decent ghost costume. Two times in a row, I cut the hole for his head way too big. I tried to turn the pillowcase into part of his costume too. That didn’t turn out well at all. It really shouldn’t be that hard to make a ghost costume, but I was trying to make sure his head wasn’t covered and he could get his arms out. Pat bought some white hair paint and white face makeup and that solved the problem. Jack finally felt like a scary ghost once he put it on and then we safety pinned the sheet so it wouldn’t fall off him. He then spent the next 20 minutes running around being scary.
Strangely enough, my kids ended their Halloween festivities this evening with an apple. After some candy, Jack claimed that was still really hungry. I figured he was only hungry for candy and was surprised when he took me up on my offer of an apple. As for me though, I’m about to dig into their candy.
Last night we went to a Halloween party at the Little Gym and Jack was Batman. I convinced him that it would be too hard to tumble in his ghost costume. Casey was a doctor for a few minutes until she reverted back to cute little girl.
Tomorrow we’re heading to the zoo in costume also. I think Jack has decided he wants to be the giraffe so he can meet up with his giraffe friends. No shortage of costumes here, that’s for sure.
We carved pumpkins yesterday too. “We” being Pat and I. Jack could only be convinced to scoop out the goop one time and that’s about all the interest he had in pumpkin carving. Once it was carved though, he really like seeing it with the candle inside. Pat carved the Phillies logo in his pumpkin, also known as Jack’s pumpkin. I carved a traditional Jack’o’lantern that turned out terrible…it’s been a few years. All the features were too small and it didn’t light up well at all.
And on a final note, Nerds just aren’t as good as they were 20 years ago.
Here are some Halloween pictures…

First Day of School

Jack started a little class at the rec center today. It’s an hour and a half on Tuesdays and Thursdays for the next month. After the success of The Little Gym, I thought he would enjoy the classroom too.
When I was at the dentist last week, the hygienist asked me if he was excited about starting school. To which I responded, “Oh, I haven’t even told him yet.” It’s better right now to not hype things up too much before they happen…or I’ll be asked over and over when it’s time to start school.
This morning though, when I finally started talking about school, he got very excited. He talked about school from breakfast until we left the house. He jabbered on and on about what he thought he would do there and if they would have the same things as The Little Gym and if they would play with little balls. When I got his backpack out to put his snack in, he was convinced that he needed to put a bunch of toys in there to take to school. He asked if he was going to go on the bus, but then said that he knew he had to be a bigger boy to go on the bus. He was so confident about what he thought school was all about.
But then, he also thought this would be a good way to show up on his first day:
I dropped him off with very little fanfare. The teacher got out some blocks and he started playing and barely looked up at me as we left. Casey and I headed to the gym where they missed Jack being there with Casey. When we went to pick him up, he told me that he wanted to stay longer. And…he got homework! I knew they said it started early, but 3 year old homework??? Actually, I’m looking forward to getting a box and going around with him tomorrow to find things that start with the letter “b.”
On Thursday, Casey & I have a toddler gym class while Jack is in school. I’m looking forward to that time with Casey.
I’m not sure if I’m downplaying this big day for Jack (and me) or not. I mean, I didn’t even think about his first day of school clothes until this morning! I guess I didn’t think it was a huge deal since it’s not really a preschool…just a rec center program. But, it really was the first classroom experience for him and I dropped him off like any other preschool. This was the day where I hoped that the manners that I taught him (read – repeated over and over and over) made him a pleasant, courteous little boy in class. The teacher said he did great and I guess that is the validation that I needed. That and the fact that he really liked his class. Other than that, I don’t really know what he did for an hour and a half but all that matters what that he enjoyed it.
The first day of school pictures aren’t that great because he only wanted to say “Cheese!” if he was wearing a crown. But he was pretty serious about putting his backpack on…and then hiding when I tried to take a good shot.


Jack and Casey have a new way to drive me nuts. First, I will speak sternly (or yell…which is very seldom of course) at one of them, or express my frustration or exasperation at something they have done. Then, Jack will look at me and start chirping, “Happy? Happy? Happy? Are you happy, Mommy?”

I usually respond to that with, “No, I’m not happy. Casey just dumped all her food on the floor.” Or whatever the case may be. Jack goes back to chirping, “Happy? Happy? Happy? Why aren’t you happy, Mommy?” Then Casey starts in with her repetition of the word happy. I wish I could describe exactly how they say it, but I guess “chirping” is the best description.
It irritates me when they start doing it but by the time they are both repeating “Happy?” over and over again, all I can do is start smiling and start to laugh at them. And then I really am happy again. The 3 year old and 20 month old have won again. It’s amazing that they can take my bad mood and change it so easily. I’m not sure if it’s very perceptive of them or just a fun game. Probably more of a fun game…they seem to take great pleasure in saying the word happy over and over again.
It’s kind of like how you’re supposed to smile when you’re not in a good mood and it will start to make you happy. Jack & Casey’s twist on it is that they can just be completely annoying and say the word happy over and over again and it will in turn make other people happy. Maybe we could start charging other people for “Happy?” therapy.

Pumpkin Day

On Saturday, we headed out to the pumpkin patch. It was a grey, overcast day with temps in the 50s which was a big change from previous pumpkin days. In the past, Jack has worn swim trunks on our pumpkin day.
We went to the same farm where I picked strawberries earlier this year. There was a cute little store with a bakery in the back selling all kinds of delicious pumpkin flavored goods. We headed out behind the store for the corn maze first.
It was actually my first corn maze. We were given a set of 10 questions about corn with multiple choice answers to help us navigate the maze – at each junction the paths were lettered and we just had to pick the right letter. We know very little about corn because we found ourselves down several dead ends. We let Jack go check them out for us and let us know if it was a dead end. Probably the funniest part of the maze was a deer head mounted near the path. It scared the crap out of Pat.
After the maze the kids played in a little play area. It looked like the ideal place to have a big party some evening. There were games for the kids and adults, hay bales to sit on and hot apple cider brewing. At 11am, we were the only people there. The kids had a good time playing around in a sand box.
We bought a 1/2 gallon of cider, a pumpkin muffin and a pumpkin cupcake to snack on at the cute little shop. Then we went to the pumpkin patch and on a hay ride. Jack kept looking at pumpkins and saying, “Nope, that’s not the one.” Finally, he said, “There it is! It was waiting for me the whole time.” It was pretty cute in itself, but I found it funnier knowing that he took that line straight from a book we had read a few weeks earlier.
After Bill and Ben, the Belgian Work Horses, took us on a little ride, we headed home. Jack insisted that the pumpkin be in his lap on the way home. Oh, and after he found the one that was “waiting for him” he ended up giving it to Casey and decided he needed a bigger one with less green on it.
I took a ton of pictures and it turns out that I really like all of them. The pictures themselves could tell the story. However, I just picked some of my favorites for on here and I’ll put the rest on Shutterfly soon.

Hitting the streets

Yesterday afternoon was kind of gloomy – looked like it might rain again. I figured we would play inside for the afternoon and I would start dinner early since it needed to cook in the oven for a while. However, our new friend stopped by to see if the kids wanted to play.

I think I’m going to call her the neighborhood social director. She is the 9 year old girl from across the street. We’ve been living here for over a year now and I’ve been watching her play with every kid in the neighborhood except for mine. She is always riding her bike around the block to see who is out playing. One street corner is practically a gold mine for her – 8 kids in one house. I’ve seen her there a lot and even at the house behind us. But never at our house.
A few weeks ago, she finally stopped by our house to meet our kids and play with them. I was starting to feel a little left out. Strangely, she decided to stop by when Pat was out in the yard playing with them. He came in the house to let me know that the kids had a new friend.
So yesterday the social director stopped by to see if Jack and Casey could come out to play. Which means that Mommy needs to go out and play. I would be comfortable if Jack went out to play with her by himself, but Casey is a full time job. She has a renewed affinity for the street. She realized that the slope at the bottom of our driveway is a lot of fun to ride down on her tricycle. So into the street she goes. Then she likes to drive over to the corner and play around on the curb and slope there. While I would prefer that she play in the driveway, there is a benefit to living between two cul-de-sacs. I keep my eye on her and down the street for cars but I let her play.
Luckily, it was warmer outside than I thought. The social director told us that she was going to get the kids from next door and bring them to our house to play in the driveway. She brought them over and also brought their soccer ball and net. They had never been to our house to play…they are a little older and it just seemed like we were never outside at the same time they were.
Thus began Jack’s first experience with team sports. They divided into teams of two to play soccer – one goalie and one player per team. Jack was a little confused as to how to get the ball at first. He just wanted to take turns and didn’t understand he had to try to kick the ball past a defender. He also refused to be goalie for a few minutes but when threatened to go inside, he came around.
From soccer they moved onto golf. Since they were taking turns, Jack enjoyed the game. We have a little putting green and they were all trying to hit it in the hole.
Finally they moved on to hockey and this is where Jack really shined. He had already kind of figured out how to play the game with other kids and he really had a great time trying to get the puck into the goal and playing goalie. And as his proud mother, I thought he did a great job as a goalie considering he was playing against a 4 year old, a 5 year old and a 9 year old.
I didn’t really mean to turn this into such a long story, but the overall point of it was that I felt like I watched him grow up before my eyes in that hour. He went from begging Mommy & Daddy to play hockey in the house to playing street hockey with the neighborhood kids. And I had a little vision of what it will be like in a couple of years when he and Casey are just out playing in the cul-de-sac with the other kids while I make dinner. Sometimes it’s hard to imagine that when you’re putting the shoes back on Casey’s feet for the 5th time (because it really wasn’t that warm out) or chasing her down the street for the 15th time. The apple-rum pork chops never made it into the oven, but I had a lot better time watching my kids make new friends and new memories.

Out of the mouths of Jack & Casey

“The passengers are waiting here because they’re waiting for the hookers,” Jack said yesterday as we were standing on the street corner in front of our house. I said, “Okay, Jack” and then returned to keeping an eye out for cars as my children played near the street. A few minutes later, I realized what had just come out of his mouth.

“Jack, what did you say the passengers are waiting for?” I asked.
“The hookers, Mommy.” And thankfully he pointed to the back of his train (also known as a Cozy Coupe or plain old “car” on other days). That may not clear it up for you but I finally understood what he was talking about.
In Jack’s world, he was driving the train engine and in order to take on passengers, he needed to add some passenger cars. In order to add passenger cars, he needed some “hookers,” otherwise known as couplings. Just pure coincidence that we were standing on a street corner at the time of this discussion.
Casey is actually speaking full sentences now although they are pretty hard to understand. She says, “I want to color,” or “I’m hungry,” or whatever else Jack is also saying. Somehow she manages to say whole sentences using only a couple of syllables.
I bought an abridged version of Cinderella for Casey at the bookstore a few weeks ago. It’s one of her new favorite books although I think Jack likes it even more. We read it in Casey’s room and then we take it into Jack’s room and read it there again. When we read it to Casey, she points to Cinderella on every page and says, “Mommy!” And that kind of makes my night.
That was going to be the end of my entry, but Jack just came out of his bedroom with his Legos and said, “I need you to take these away now so I can go to sleep.” He gave them to me, climbed into his bed and shut his eyes. Night night.

Please Keep Your Hands to Yourself!

I think maybe my short term memory has gotten shorter. This morning, I took Jack and Casey to the commissary with me, like I do every week. I think I was even looking forward to it a little bit…maybe because I had a good week of meals planned and was looking forward to getting everything. But as soon as I put the kids in the car cart I started looking forward to it being over.

Casey would not keep her hands to herself. Even as I was physically restraining her from touching Jack, she was trying anyway. As soon as I would let go of her (you know, to push the cart), she was touching him again, or biting him or pulling on his shirt or touching his steering wheel. It was pretty miserable. At one point I told Casey (in a pretty good-natured voice) that I was about to sell her to somebody in the store. Jack piped up with, “Why do you want to sell her Mommy?” It’s good that it was an empty aisle. And strangely, I probably would have ended up selling her to a man because the commissary was strangely full of men this morning. About 75% men. Must be a weird Columbus Day thing. Which reminds me that we didn’t do a single thing to celebrate.
Anyway, we got all our groceries. I didn’t even have to turn around and get forgotten items from my list, which is good since I probably wouldn’t have bothered with anything that required more time in the aisles.
We came home and I attempted to put groceries away, make lunch and make a Lego car for Jack. The groceries and the lunch suffered as I worked on the Lego car. It was Jack’s present for wearing underwear to bed for the first time and staying dry all night. I had held off giving it to him earlier in the morning because we were busy running around but I couldn’t keep him waiting any longer.
Finally I got some food (I wouldn’t call it lunch) into the kids and the car together and we headed up for naptime just a few minutes late. They both slept great and I got some things done around the house.
And here is where my short term memory failed me. I thought it would be a great idea to go to Target after naptime??? It was raining out and I had some gifts that I needed to buy…so no time like the present. And while Target presented different challenges than the commissary, it was no easier. Casey’s on her own agenda and wants to go where Casey wants to go…not where Mommy or even Jack want to go. And while I got birthday gifts and Christmas gifts at the same time and the trip was successful, there’s got to be an easier way! Now that I’m thinking about it, the easier way is called “online shopping” but that requires a little more forethought for shipping times than what I had this week.
And in conclusion, we’re done our major excursions for the week. We might not leave the house again except to go to the gym, where someone else gets to chase my children.

Sunny Rainy Saturday

Today was supposed to be our community picnic. I volunteered to help set up, hoping I could actually be helpful with Jack and Casey in tow. We arrived just on time for setup. Also arriving with us were huge black rain clouds. Instead of helping with setup, we ended up picking up all the kids’ games that were already out and putting them away before the rain could destroy them.

I thought it would be a good idea to wear a cute skirt for the party. The wind also thought it was fun to blow it around every which way, including up a couple of times. The wind was also blowing some of the game balls down the street. I asked Jack to run after them and pick them up. A minute later I looked around could not find him. I couldn’t imagine where he had gone. Maybe I just didn’t see him and he was behind a table. Nope. It was only a matter of about 30 seconds but it was starting to worry me. Then, he comes running out from behind one of the houses. He had chased the balls all the way into a backyard. I was actually pretty proud of him for chasing them so far…and relieved that he was in my sight again.
At this point, the wind really picked up and rain was about to start. I quickly loaded the kids back into the stroller and pulled the plastic cover down over them. Just as we started walking again, it started raining. And then it rained harder. And then it rained even harder. I thought the kids were staying dry but I forgot to cover one spot and rain was coming in behind their heads. I was jogging but it was into the wind and I was wearing a skirt and crocs. I was trying not to break my foot again but also trying to get home as quickly as possible.
When we got home I was soaked all the way through and the kids were wet enough that they needed new clothes too. Jack tried to take off his shorts without taking his shoes off first and apparently he found that a little difficult. I was upstairs changing, closing all the windows and cleaning up all the rain that had come in the house. I could hear him whining and carrying on, but I thought I’d let him work it out himself. When I came down to help Jack, he was laying flat on the floor at the foot of the stairs, in his Elmo undies with his shorts around his ankles and his shoes still on. I wish I had a picture.
Anyway, it was an adventurous 15 minutes. I couldn’t help but laugh the whole way home as it poured on me. One of our neighbors was driving by and offered me a ride but at that point, I was already wet and it didn’t really matter. I’m hoping they’ll have the picnic next weekend and Pat will be able to join us but we’ll check it out later this afternoon and see if they decided to start over again after the rain went through. It figures that it was only a half hour rain event.


Casey was a little bugger this afternoon. She screamed a lot for what seemed to be no good reason. I think she is teething because she keeps putting her shirt in her mouth and chewing on it. It was feeling like a long afternoon, especially since she woke up early from her nap. But we played outside and we went for a walk and finally it was dinner time.

And at dinner time, to my immense satisfaction, Casey ate chicken! Casey ate sweet potatoes! She also had some pasta but that’s something she will normally eat and not worthy of an exclamation point. The only reason we had the pasta was because I knew I couldn’t convince Jack to eat chicken or sweet potatoes. I tried to get him to eat sweet potatoes by putting some brown sugar on top, but he tried to eat just the sugar.
In simply eating some vegetables and some chicken, Casey more than made up for her afternoon of screaming. It also helps that she and Jack were pretty good while I was making dinner. They were sitting out on the deck each reading a book. Well, they don’t actually know how to read, but they were at least looking at pictures and being quiet. At some point, Casey’s reading turned into ripping pages apart, but at least it was a book that I had gotten for a dollar.
After dinner, we headed outside to play for a few more minutes and enjoy the gorgeous weather. It is so cute watching your babies push their babies around in strollers. Jack pushes an umbrella stroller around with his doll, alternately named Sam and Timmy, while Casey pushes a doll-sized stroller around with Grace. We were circling around the cul-de-sacs and suddenly it seemed like every kid in the neighborhood was with us. All of them were older than Jack and Casey. Jack was excited to play with the big kids and Casey was just happy to watch. It was pretty amusing watching Jack try to chase around the big kids pushing a stroller with a doll. He thought he was cool though and learned some new sound effects from the older boys (who were playing with swords). And I learned that I’m kind of glad he’s not quite a big kid yet.

Out to Sea

Pat got underway today for a little over a week. Before heading too far out to sea, they stopped and practiced dropping their anchor. I took the kids to Fort Story where we had a great view of this. I wanted to try to give Jack a better understanding of what it meant that Daddy was underway or at sea. He liked that he could see the ship but kept asking me if it could come closer and put the bridge over, meaning the gangway. We spent a delightful hour watching the ship and playing around the rocks. The kids were great and the weather was great. There were also dolphins jumping around all over the place. Some were probably only 20 ft out in the water from where we were standing. And the best is that Jack was the first to see them – “I just saw a dolphin jump Mommy!” This afternoon Jack asked several times if we could go back to where we saw Daddy’s ship. I might take them back see the lighthouses there some day soon because we had such a good time today.

I have no idea what they were looking at, but it was pretty cute.