Notes from a 12 Hour Car Ride

1.  Maybe I should have planned the trip a couple weeks earlier to coincide with the Obama’s Maine vacation.  I would happily have flown with the dog and maybe have saved the Obamas the flak over having a separate jet fly their dog to Bar Harbor.  It would have been the dog, Jack, Casey and me.  Much more fiscally responsible.

2.  I listened to Glenn Beck for 3 hours.  That might be a bit much, even for a conservative.

3.  On another talk radio show, I heard about a book wherein the author blames most of the world’s problems on air conditioning.  I just tried to search for it on the internet but didn’t find it.  It’s interesting to think about how things would be different without air conditioning, but I’m not quite ready to blame the world’s ills on it.

4.  Jack only asked how much longer about 4 times.  And he didn’t start until about 5 hours out. 

5.  Casey is not interested in a clipboard with a carrying case for crayons, markers, paper etc.  She took the stickers and markers out, gave the clipboard to me and then the crayons ended up all over the floor.  Poor move on my part to give her stickers that she couldn’t peel off the paper.  She kept handing them to me.

6.  Jack said that we would know we were in Maine when we saw the horses.  I still don’t know what horses he was talking about.  I was really hoping he’d surprise me and point out some horses that I had forgotten about.  As we got closer to the cottage he said he would show them to me, but all of a sudden (or 12 hours later) the trip was over.

7.   Jack thought it was always winter in Maine.  I was wishing for a globe or map to help explain how it’s still summer, but not Virginia summer.

8.  Hearing Casey try to pronounce Connecticut and Massachusetts helped pass a couple minutes of the trip more amusingly.

9.  Rice Krispie Squares are a good dinner…right? 

10.  Despite the fact that it’s 6 hours of driving once we reach the Maine border, it still feels like we’re on the home stretch once we cross the Piscataqua River.

My Little Artist

Yesterday as I was running in and out of the house to pack the car and dealing with a feverish Casey, Jack proclaimed that he would like to do a craft. Yes, that would be helpful…maybe you could include some glitter in that craft.

He proceeded to get a huge roll of white paper out and started trying to cut a piece off it for himself. I intervened and helped out with that while trying to convince Casey to take some Tylenol.
> The next thing I heard from Jack was, “Mommy! This paper is driving me crazy!”. It was rolling up on him while he was trying to color. We solved that problem with a little tape. The picture above is what he came up with.
> I love it! I think it's better than my stick figures. It's probably something only a parent can be proud of but I just love the little details. The five fingers on the ends of those stick arms, the little round ears on their heads (he told me he almost forgot them) and all that pretty hair on top of my head. I'm the pink one at the top and the smaller version of me (to the left) is when I was a baby. Jack drew himself in dark blue/purple, Casey in light blue and Pat is on the far left in a yellow color.
> I asked if he would leave it on the table for Daddy while we were gone so it would be like we were sitting there eating with him but he had already decided it was for Nana. It came up to the shore with us and is now proudly displayed on the fridge. It makes me smile just to look at it.
> And now I guess Pat can have his phone with him while he's eating and enjoy the electronic version instead. Yay for technology…for being able to write a blog on a phone about a picture of a picture that I took with a phone.

Heading North

Jack , Casey and I left Virginia this morning for the first leg of our trip that will eventually land (drive) us in Maine. This is what I left for Pat to eat…

(imagine picture of empty fridge that I don’t know how to upload from my iPhone)

We joined a crowd of similarly outfitted SUVs and minivans with bike racks, cargo racks and interiors filled to the brim as we drove up the eastern shore. 2 1/2 hours to Ocean City was short compared to our upcoming Philly to eastern Maine leg. Jack began asking the age old question of “How much longer?” but also included “I’m really not happy that we’re not there yet”. When I told him we could sing some songs to make it pass faster he all of a sudden found the movie interesting again.

We made it safely only to be seriously scared by some crazy wind as we left the pool this evening. The black clouds were rolling in and the wind was picking up when we decided to head back to the condo. About 50 yards down the street from the pool we heard screaming, loud banging noises and felt the wind pick up. Looking back was like a scene from a movie where you can physically see the wind because of all the debris. Umbrellas
from the pool started flying through the air and we grabbed the kids off their bikes and started running. At one point we saw one of the umbrellas flying through the sky 3 stories up. I guess it was only a few rogue gusts that caused all the commotion but it was scary for a few minutes. But I survived to tell about it. And blogging from the iPhone is not for the faint hearted either.

Toy of the Month – July 2010

An empty box and a jump rope.  That’s all.  Oh, and a good helping of imagination.

We’ve had a white box similar to this since before Jack was born.  It has been great for storing toys.  It’s got wheels so I can throw all the toys in it and then wheel it back into the cabinet.  And then the kids can pull it out the next morning and dump everything back out.  The white one used to have cars and trucks in it until this year when it became the bin for all things girlie…9 pairs of high heeled princess shoes, 2 tutus and headbands, 7 baby dolls and all their accessories.

A few times I looked for another one of those white bins but all I could find was the laundry sized one.  Then, a couple weeks ago in the mecca of Target, I found them in the kids storage aisle, but in pink and blue!  At the time, I had Casey with me and she swayed me to buy pink.  She wanted to get out of the shopping cart and pull that little bin all the way to the front of the store to checkout.  She would have pulled it out to the parking lot and sat with it on her lap if I had let her.

Now, Jack and Casey both had a bin to pull around and they quickly became cars…or trains…or beds with addition of some blankies…or intricate games requiring you to throw quarters through the holes.  They’ve spent hours playing in them.  The jump rope can pull the car or become a lasso when the cowboys come in town or be a seatbelt during car races.  It’s amazing to see what comes out of their minds.

Last night, on another trip to Target, I bought the blue one too.  I’m going to use them on our upcoming trip but then I have grand plans for organization when I get home.

Jack got up this morning and instead of coming into our bedroom, he headed downstairs.  Apparently after getting himself an apple, he went straight to the blue bin and transferred his “seat belt” from the old car to the new one.

The Beginning

I started my family blog Capturing the Days in Feb 2009 to try to document our family life and the funny (or not so funny) moments of being a mom.  Then, I started finding friends who had blogs.  From there, I clicked on links to blogs that they read and more links to more blogs and found a whole new world of interesting people and stories on the internet.

I discovered wonderful crafty and decorating blogs…very creative and inspirational people.  I found decorating tips and organizing tips and ways to decorate and be creative while still being thrifty.  And amazing tutorials for sewing just about anything.  I was inspired and decided to try a couple crafts and pulled out the sewing machine for the first time in 8 years.

Somehow, I stumbled across the Moda Bake Shop and found a whole new world of crafts – beautiful fabric and great tutorials for using that fabric.  I decided my next project would be a quilt.  I had a new niece about to be born and decided my first quilt would be for her.  I found out what the theme of her nursery was and found some fabric to match…and started creating my first quilt.

I blogged about the first quilt on my family blog but since then I have created a couple more, with plans for even more.  And now I will blog about my quilts from here.

I have a blogroll of quilting blogs that I read and what these women can create with more kids and jobs and  way more things to do than me, is amazing.  That’s just to say that progress on here may be a lot slower at times than other quilting blogs, but I will be enjoying the process and sharing what I’ve created when I’m ready.

Zoo Camp

Today Jack started Zoo Camp.  It’s a week long camp at the zoo from 9-12 every morning and the theme is A, B and on to Z:  From Antelopes to Zebras, the Zoo ABCs.

The day started off as poorly as it could, for Jack anyway.  He was up late last night and before he went to bed, he said, “I want to sleep in later than Casey tomorrow.  So don’t wake me up.  I want to sleep.”  I said okay and went along with this, figuring he’d be up at 6am.  He rarely sleeps later than Casey.  However,  I had to wake up both Jack and Casey in order to get to zoo camp by 9am.

I had already showered and prepared everything for camp.  I put their cereal in plastic bags for the car.  Water bottles, hats, suntan lotion, shoes…everything was in the car and ready to go.  Everything except Jack.  He didn’t want to get out of bed, he didn’t want to get dressed, he wanted to eat breakfast at home, he didn’t want to go to zoo camp.  I *patiently* got him dressed and into the car, even bringing the requested bowls so he could have his cereal in a bowl.  (They forgo the milk with their cereal anyway.)  But oh, I didn’t have a spoon for him and this was so traumatizing that he wanted me to go back to the house and get him one.  I did not.  Crying ensued.

I had an Odwalla Bar that interested him and he started eating that and then started eating his cereal.  Except he wasn’t finished with his cereal by the time we got to the zoo and he was soooo hungry.  We had a few minutes to spare so he was able to finish his cereal while I slathered on sunscreen.

We met Mr. Street, Jack’s teacher – that’s his first name and it’s his real name and he mentioned it a couple times.  Jack prefers, “the man.”   When it was time for me to leave and for Jack to go into the classroom, he didn’t want to let go of my hand.  I don’t know who felt more awkward, Jack or I, as I dragged him into the classroom.  The other boys and girls were introducing themselves.  I finally convinced Jack to go take a seat.  I heard him introduce himself – his name was Jack and it started with J.  And then he didn’t look back so Casey & I snuck out the door.  I felt horrible and wondered if I should stick around, but I figured he would be alright.

Casey and I went grocery shopping and it was so nice with only one child.  Normally she is the problem-causer in the grocery cart, but with no one else to hit or lay on or bite, she was delightful.  We zipped through the store in no time and it was a nice glimpse of the future, when Jack is in school.

I checked my phone more than I ever do, just in case there was a phone call about Jack but the lines were quiet.  We headed back to the zoo to see what the verdict was going to be about zoo camp.  I was so glad to see the big grin on his face when he saw me waiting for him…the big grin that meant he’d had a good time and had so many things to show me and tell me.  And he’s looking forward to going back tomorrow!  

Beach and Pool Days

The rest of our vacation was spent in Ocean City, Maryland.  Pat’s parents bought a great beach condo in a really great community…pools, beach, interactive fountains and bar within walking distance.
Strangely enough, we had to drag the kids out of the house every day.  At one point I recall yelling, “Why do I have to force you guys to have fun?” as I struggled to get them in bathing suits and cover them with sunscreen.  Every time we asked Jack what he wanted to do, he said, “I think I just want to stay here and play.”  I don’t know what the attachment to the condo was.  It makes me wonder if I should just throw away all the toys except for a couple of boxes now that we’re home.  The few toys we had at the beach house seemed to entertain them for hours. 
But when we did finally get out of the house and enjoy the outdoors, the kids had a great time.  They preferred the beach to the pool this week.  The beach is on the bay side and is very shallow…we’re not even sure where the drop off is since we’ve never seen any adults in water above their waists.  Jack and Casey brought their plastic boat and digger into the water and played and played and played.  Casey really enjoyed jumping around and splashing in the water and yelling, “I’m swimming!” while she had her hands reaching the sand.  Jack would put his life jacket on and swim around.  He also enjoyed being picked up by his life jacket straps and then tossed in the water (by Pat, not me).
Casey’s other love, besides the water, was her bike.  She finally learned to petal and every time we went somewhere on Sunset Island, she rode her bike.  She’s not very good at driving in a straight line, but I think it will come.  (Then again, my sister never did get the hang of looking behind her without driving her bike into a ditch.)
One day when Jack was probably a little bit overtired, Pat mentioned the possibility of going fishing.  Jack latched onto this idea with all that he had…there was no room in his head for thoughts that didn’t involve fishing and most of those thoughts were vocalized as well.  He talked about fishing incessantly until we finally bought fishing rods.  When I tried to talk to him about fishing and how it might take some time to catch a fish, he blew me off and insisted that he already knew how to fish and knew how it would go.  Instead of a bedtime story, Pat read him the instructions on the back of the fishing rod that night.  
Finally, while Casey napped one day, Pat took Jack fishing.  The children’s Spongebob and Barbie fishing rods were a bust and ended up back at the store but somehow they caught a catfish…or a flounder.  Whatever Jack wants to call it.  And I think Jack was happy.  Happy enough that he wanted to go again on a rainy day.
We had a such a relaxing and enjoyable time on our vacation that none of us wanted to come home.  We did just about everything you associate with summer and the beach, and more…ice cream (multiple nights), ferris wheels, swimming in the pool, swimming at the beach, building sand castles, watching weigh-ins for the tuna tournament, eating yummy food, biking on the boardwalk, biking around Sunset Island, fishing, fishing in the rain, and more.

Sesame Place Take 3

Last Tuesday, Pat and I took the kids to Sesame Place.  It was our third year there and it has been a completely different experience each time.  This year it was really hot and we spent most of our time in the water park area.

We meandered down the lazy river and then played with some spraying water.  The Count’s Splash Castle was a big hit.  The waterslides were the perfect size for the kids to go down by themselves.  And honestly, they were the perfect size and speed for me too.

Jack was looking forward to going on the rope/obstacle course.  He went up there with Pat and I played in another area with Casey for a while.  There is a huge net that you can climb on but then there are tunnels that only a kid can crawl through.  Jack wanted to go through there and Pat told him where he would be waiting.  Jack said, “How will I get ahold of you?  Should I call you on your cell phone?”  Pat told me this later and I thought it was hilarious.

Jack had some funny ideas about what he had done at Sesame Place when he was a baby.  He kept saying he wanted to go on the ride he went to when he was a baby.  He studied the map and studied a little more and looked around and finally decided it was a big white waterslide that he had gone on.

I certainly didn’t take him on this ride the first year we went (he was 2 and Casey was 5 months) and neither did his Nana.  This waterslide had a huge “raft” that the whole family can go on and then it spins around and around within the slide as the slide itself loops around a couple times.  The last section is a huge, fast drop to the bottom.  So we all went on it to “relive” Jack’s memory.  And he still thinks it is the ride he went on when he was a baby.  I may have cried like a baby as we spun around a few too many times but that was definitely my first time on that ride.

We watched the parade in the afternoon and fought with a lot of of people to get down the Count’s slides a couple more times and then headed home.  On our way out, we caught up with Bert and Ernie.  Jack was brave this year and actually went up to them to shake their hands.  He wasn’t so interested in Oscar, but Casey was.


Family in Philly

We are back from our vacation to Ocean City and Philly!  It was a great week…Jack said it best when he said, “I had too much fun here and I don’t want to go home.”  But home we are, and I’ve already been productive…sewing two buttons back on a uniform shirt.

We started our vacation last Saturday and drove to Ocean City that evening.  We spent the night at the beach house and then played at the beach in the morning.  We drove to Philly at nap time and spent the afternoon at Matt and Kelly’s house.

On Monday, while we waited for Jack & Casey’s new cousin Charlotte (and family) to arrive in Philly, I tried to take some pictures of a quilt I made for Kelly’s baby shower.  If I were to ask Jack and Casey to sit down and smile so I could take their picture, they wouldn’t do it.  But since I was trying to take a picture of the quilt, they were completely in my way and wanted to smile for pictures.  At least I got a few cute pictures of them together and smiling.

We also went to a local park to try to entertain Jack and Casey while we waited.  Jack wasn’t so happy about that because he wanted to go to a different playground and he seems to be pretty stubborn lately about what he wants.  He warmed up to the location once we got there but it was an overly whiny ride to the park.  We played on some playground equipment for a while and then headed down to throw some rocks.  Casey found some mud and somehow it was oozing through her toes.
We arrived back at the house just before Mitch, Jenny, Chase and Charlotte arrived.  Charlotte is three weeks old and she was a hit with Jack and Casey.  Casey gave her lots of kisses and then Chase and Jack joined in to love on her.
After naptime, it was time for ice cream at the Farm!  
Then bath time and story time with Nana…

And that was only one day of our vacation.  The kids had a great time playing together and we were all glad to meet Charlotte.  It doesn’t take long to forget how to hold a newborn.  Nor did it make me want one, but it’s fun to hold one when you know you can give her back.  And when she’s so cute.