A New Hockey Friend

Now that Jack has mastered his bike, I guess it’s time to move on to something new!  Pat bought him roller blades on Sunday and he is doing pretty well with them.

A few weeks ago, Jack started playing street hockey with C, the boy next door.  He is 8 and just started in a hockey program at the local ice rink not too long ago.  One day he saw Jack out with his net and hockey stick and they have been playing street hockey since then.  C upped the ante last week though when he came out in roller blades.  I think Jack started asking for them after that, but it’s also possible that Pat may have been the one to suggest it to Jack.

Jack calls C his “hockey best friend.”  I heard him saying that across the cul-de-sac last week when they were trying to divide up into teams when there was a group of kids out that day.  Jack said, “I’m going to be on C’s team because he’s my hockey best friend.”  He doesn’t quite get that the two kids who play a lot of hockey probably should be on separate teams to make it even!

It’s been cute to watch Jack’s friendship blossom with C.  C came over last week to tell us when his next hockey game was in case we could get to it.  Then at church C came out in the aisle to wave to us, or Jack really.  After practice for the Christmas program, Jack walked out with C and then told me, “C and I were talking about when we’re going to play hockey next.”  It sounded so grown up – Jack was making plans with someone and I wasn’t needed.

This weekend, I let Jack go out in the cul-de-sac by himself and play with C all afternoon.  I kept an eye on them out the window.  They played hockey and then moved on to baseball and then Jack came in to get the pool noodle lightsabers and they had a pretty epic battle out there.  This is exactly the kind of neighborhood relationships I hoped my kids would make some day.  I want them to be able to be outside playing with all the other kids.

Jack now spends his afternoons asking me when C will be home so they can play hockey.  Today the poor kid waited 5 hours.  He was in his roller blades the whole time.  Occasionally he would skate around a little bit or play with Casey.  But mostly he sat on the curb, waiting.  Then C had to do his homework when he got home and finally…finally, he came out to play.  The sad part is after all that waiting they only  had about 30 minutes before it got dark.  I think they made the most of it though.

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2011 Pumpkin Patch Adventures

Yesterday was a busy day!  We started with soccer pictures, soccer game and then headed to the pumpkin patch.  This was our fifth annual trip to the pumpkin patch with the kids and our third to this farm, although it’s set up a little differently every year.

We met up with our friend Michelle and Little J and Little P.

We started by searching for the perfect pumpkins to bring home.  The farm a wheelbarrow we borrowed for our many pounds of pumpkin and the kids had fun searching and pushing the wheelbarrow.  Casey was the first to find hers.  But Jack was really looking for the perfect pumpkin.  His standards are pretty high.  It has to be taller than Casey’s but still nice and round and perfectly orange.  And he doesn’t really want anyone else finding it for him.  He wants one that he found so he can decide on its perfection.

Little J supervises as Pat cuts his pumpkin from the vine

I think we arrived at peak pumpkin picking time because there was a little bit of a wait to weigh and purchase our pumpkins.  While we were waiting, the kids got to shell and jar their own popcorn with a 100 year old shelling machine.  They were very serious about their work!  Jack got to carry the jar and he was not interested in letting Daddy take it to the car before the hayride.  We haven’t tried the popcorn yet but I think that’s in the plan for this week.

Our last adventure was a horse-drawn hayride.  The horses were Belgian work horses and they are the strongest breed (of 128) horses in the world.  It was a nice ride.  Michelle stayed back with Little P and was afraid that J might be a little shy and scared on the hayride.  It turns out that he was very interested in asking the driver questions and had no problem piping up with an, “Excuse me!!  Why did the horses just run?” or “Excuse me!!  Why do the horses have bells on them?”  He was so funny and cute.

Great picture except the sun and the camera weren’t getting along

It was a gorgeous day to get pumpkins and the kids are proud to see their pumpkins on the front steps.  Now they’re trying to figure out how to carve some sort of Star Wars picture into the pumpkins.

Tomorrow we have the school field trip…more pumpkin adventures to come!

Adventures in Babysitting

On Thursday, a good friend of mine headed to the hospital to have her third baby while her 3 and 2 year old boys came over here to hang out with us.  My sister was in town, so we managed to keep the ratio of children to adults at 2:1 but it was still quite a busy afternoon!  Between the four kids, I’m pretty sure every toy got some personal attention even if it was only for a few seconds until another, better, more fun toy was spotted.  We played inside, outside in the backyard and outside in the front yard and I think we wore them down.  Well, I know that they wore us down at least.  When Pat got home from work, he was a big help too.

As luck would have it, macaroni & cheese was already on my menu, so we had kid friendly food ready to go.  I don’t think I would have done bathtime with 4 kids had they not all been sweaty from playing outside, but I thought it was kind of required.  I didn’t want to send dirty kids along to meet their newest sibling.  We loaded them into the huge bathtub in the master bathroom and Pat went down the line of kids and shampooed them all up.

Since the baby wasn’t born yet, our big playdate turned into their first sleepover.  Jack was really excited about it.  He’s watched a few shows where there are sleepovers so he thought he was ready to have his own.  And he has bunk beds in his room, so there was plenty of bed space.  However, I really wasn’t sure that I was going to get them all to fall asleep in there.  Jack usually sleeps with his lights on, unlike just about every other child.  His friends wanted the light off, Jack wanted the light on…hmmm.  I finally ran downstairs and got Jack his flashlight.  Which he obviously should have had anyway for his sleepover…isn’t that kind of a requirement?  Jack also had his Thomas “map” which is a pamphlet with pictures of Thomas the Train and all his friends.  He just likes to “read” it and needed some light for that.

I left the room for a few minutes and came back to find all 3 boys in the bottom bunk looking at the map, studying the trains and train sets.  They were discussing which trains they had and which ones they wanted and it was really cute.  But it was still bedtime so I sent one back to the top bunk and told them to go to sleep and left again.  I repeated that whole process a couple times and then said it was time for the map to go away.  Then there were a few trips to the potty.  Finally, I sat in the room with them (in the dark) and told them to be quiet and to lay down and go to sleep about 30 times.  And finally, they all did!  And it was only 8:30.  I left to the sweet sound of 3 little boys snoring.

It was quiet all through the night.  I heard them start talking at about 6:30 and I checked on them 15 minutes later.  As soon as I opened the door, they were off to the races…gotta get to the toys and start playing.

The boys’ dad arrived mid-morning with the exciting news that they have a new baby sister!  I was thrilled to find out it was a girl and I’m looking forward to meeting her soon.

So, I’d say it was a pretty successful sleepover.  I think they’re a little young to realize that you’re supposed to try to stay up late and drive the parents crazy.  Which is good because I know they need their sleep and I certainly needed mine!

Here’s a picture of them all playing in the big sand pit at the playground a couple weeks ago…