Thursday, December 23, 2010

Twas the Weekend Before Christmas

Last week I posted on Facebook that the kids were starting to ask if they could open just one present, "Pleeeease, just one present Mommy!"  I think we were all in luck because we headed to Ocean City to celebrate Christmas with Pat's family and we all got to open some presents.

We had a great weekend in Ocean City with Pat's parents and brothers/sisters-in-law and the quickly expanding brood of grandchildren - 5 kids and Jack is the oldest.  Naptimes and any semblance of a good diet quickly went out the window.

On Friday evening, the oldest kids got to open their presents from Pop Pop.  Jack got the latest and greatest Hess truck and claimed, "It's just what I wanted because it's a truck aircraft carrier!"  It was a Hess tractor trailer truck with a jet that could fly off the back.  He also melted some hearts when he said, "My Pop Pop is the best Pop Pop!"

The kids got to go swimming on Saturday morning and then there were a few impatient moments before it was time to open some presents.  I think all the kids loved their new presents and were happily playing with them most of the afternoon.  We then headed out for a tour of lights at a local park.  We got to ride along in a tram car and see all the lights.  Casey was especially excited when she saw some pink Christmas lights - "It's my favorite color!!!"  She really said it so that it required 3 exclamation points.  She was also excited to see lights in Jack's favorite color.  

We also went to see Santa.  Jack had been talking about going to see Santa and sitting on his lap since Thanksgiving.  This was the year he was going to tell Santa what he wanted and not be afraid to sit on his lap. We were going to get a great picture of all the grandkids on Santa's lap.  Casey looked like she was amazed by him as we moved forward in line.  She just stared at him like she couldn't wait for her turn.

All talk.  No action.  Jack backed out at the last minute and I think that made Casey back out.  So there is a lovely picture of the 3 youngest grandkids, but no Jack and Casey.  In the end, Casey ran up and told him that she wanted a baby dolly but no sitting on the lap and no picture.  It's a good thing Bob the Elf is here to let Santa know what Jack and Casey want for Christmas.  Maybe next year Santa.

On Sunday I hosted brunch and then the guys watched the Eagles game.  Pat's Mom and I loaded the kids into the car and headed up to Philly before game was over but we apparently missed some ridiculously joyous reactions when the Eagles won at the last second.  We were happy because our guys were happy.  And I'd like to leave it like that...a happy ending to a great weekend.  But in the minivan, things were about to get ugly.  Jack got sick - all over himself and his carseat.  And he continued to get sick all the way to Philly.  We had no buckets handy, but Pat's mom was resourceful and we had some blankets.

Jack is a trooper though.  Between "getting the yuckies out" into a blanket, he chatted with us like there was nothing wrong.  He also said, "Casey likes to put her head in this blanket" right after he threw up into her blanket.  We assured him (and her) that the washing machine would work its wonders before anyone else touched that blanket.  He was also very interested in a car fire that held us in traffic for a bit.  After we finally got to Philly, he went straight into the house and sat on the couch.  When we asked what he was doing, he said he was waiting for the news to come on so he could find out what happened to that car.

Jack was fine after that car trip, but then Casey was sick the next day.  She seemed to have recovered and then got sick in her carseat on the way back to Virginia.  The silver lining is that they both have clean carseats now.  And I'm still amazed at how they were both such good kids for being sick the way they were.  A yucky ending to our great weekend, but it doesn't diminish any of the great memories we made at our Ocean City Christmas.    

Casey loved holding the babies!

Jack too!

Adorable babies!

Watching Nana opening a present.

Jack unwrapping his new Hot Wheels track

Casey loves her new baby.

Jack & Daddy at dinner

Bad picture, but we're both smiling

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Getting Ready for Christmas 2010

I've been going a little crazy trying to get all my Christmas projects done this month.  I'm almost there!  I wanted to have everything done by tomorrow so I can relax and enjoy the next week or so.  The house is decorated, most of the presents are wrapped, Christmas dinner is planned, it's fairly clean around here and most of my crafty Christmas gifts are made.

We've received many boxes this week and the tree has a healthy sprinkling of presents under it.  I pull the presents out of the boxes and they place them under the tree.  Jack and Casey love when boxes come and continually ask, "Is it for me?  Is it for me?" when they hear the doorbell ring.  Which reminds me of a funny story - One day when we were coming into our neighborhood Jack said, "Mommy, I just saw a No Trucks sign!  But that's funny...because how is the UPS man supposed to come in our neighborhood?"  I had to try to explain that they didn't want just any trucks barreling through our neighborhood but that the UPS truck was allowed.  I think he was relieved.

Today, Jack and Casey started begging to be able to open just one present.  It's fun to see them so excited...I remember begging to be able to open "just one" present when I was little.  I have even been tempted to peek into some of the bags this year, but I've been good.

And now for a random picture that I've been meaning to post:

This is Jack in his turkey costume!  When I was getting some things ready on Thanksgiving Eve, he found this brown bag sitting on the counter and asked if he could have it to make a craft.  A few minutes of hard work later and he donned his turkey costume.  If it looks like it's greasy, it is...I had originally put the popcorn in it for the popcorn turkey at Jack's school Thanksgiving party and realized that it was a little greasy.  I switched the bag right before the party.  I think it just makes it look more like a real turkey...right?

And back to Christmas things.  On Sunday, we went to the Children's Christmas Party hosted by Pat's ship.  Unfortunately, Pat was stuck on the ship working, but Jack, Casey and I managed to have a great time.  There were 3 craft tables and since Jack hasn't met a craft he didn't like yet, he had a great time.  We decorated Christmas cards with stickers, made snowflake ornaments for the tree and made snowman photo frames.  The kids also got presents.  Jack got some cars, colored pencils, a notepad and some Beanie babies.  Casey got two dolls and she loves them so much.  They were so good at this party and we had a great time!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Facebook Status Updates

Pat had duty today.  And even though I usually talk to him at the end of duty days, my thoughts end up as facebook status entries in my head instead of things I tell my husband at the end of the day.  Mostly they don't ever become status updates for a variety of reasons - I'm not near my phone or computer, I don't think anyone would really care about it or it's not really that interesting or it would have been too wordy to explain it all.  But I figured today if I put them all into a blog post, it would be little snippets of my day.  So here's what I might have posted:

8:50am - Why does it seem like everyone is late for dropping their kids off at school and early for picking them up?  I'd rather be the opposite and get a few extra minutes.  (Although I'm usually early for both.)

10am - Casey saw a man in the commissary who looked just like Santa - he had a red jacket and red hat on with a long white beard.  When he talked to her, her mouth just dropped open in shock.  It was the best reaction.  She didn't know Santa has a military ID.

10:30am - Quadruple whammy at the grocery store - diapers, wipes, toilet paper, and paper towels!

12:15pm - Jack said that he played knights and princesses at school today.  Then he said, "Casey you're always a princess!"  And she said, "Uh huh.  Yes I am."

1:30pm - I'm making homemade bread.

2pm - Jack can sometimes be way too crafty for me, as in wants to make elaborate crafts way too often.  I just gave him an egg carton and he has been cutting, taping, looking for cardboard and other crafty things while talking to himself me for half an hour trying to make a cow.  He thought the egg carton looked like it would work well for a cow's udder.

2:30pm - Holy Chatterbox!  Jack won't stop talking.  I've had to put Ruby and Max on to get a break.

3pm - Casey's not into napping today.  Time for some Dora now.

4pm - Might as well make some gingerbread men as requested by Jack.  I warned him that they have to go in the fridge before they become "men" so hopefully there are no meltdowns.

4:45pm - Started picking up all of the random construction paper/wrapping paper around the house and decided we should make festive paper chains.  It required a lot more work for me than I thought it would but Jack thought it was awesome.  He said, "Don't bother us Casey - we're working on an experiment."  We hung it from the mantle as Jack wanted.

5:30pm - My new go to meal when Pat is gone will be baked potatoes with broccoli, blue cheese and cheddar cheese.  Maybe some bacon next time, but that would add more work.  So yummy.

6pm - My new game is "How many toys can we pick up in 5 min?"  Jack thinks it fun and can't believe we can clean most of it up in 5 min.  Of course it helps when you don't hear the buzzer go off.

8:30pm - The bread is finally baking...2 hrs of rising turned into 4ish.

9pm - I'm baking bread and making a quilt.  Maybe later I'll sweep my dirt floors and you can call me Laura Ingalls.

10pm - Mmmm!  Warm bread fresh from the oven.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

How To Be A Preschool Party Planner

Or at least how I plan a preschool party.

I volunteered to plan Jack's preschool Thanksgiving party.  The instructions for the party planning parents are "Parties begin at 10:30 and run smoothly with a story, finger foods, a craft and a game."

The original volunteer was unable to plan the party and I had seen the Halloween party and how it flowed, so I decided I could jump in and plan a great Thanksgiving party.

About two and a half weeks before the party, I started to browse the internet for ideas.  I thought I had it figured out pretty well.  I went to Jack's teacher and told her my plan.  Then I walked away and felt like my plan was only the start of a plan.

I think preschool teachers have a huge cache of ideas just in their heads.  Meanwhile all my ideas came from hours of searching the internet.  She started talking about making a teepee out of pvc pipes and how much the kids would like that.  The "finger foods" turned into more of a lunch.  She said we could go out to the playground for the game or move into a bigger room and that it would be great if it was something physical.  I think she said something about a high ropes endurance course.  Maybe.  Oh, and maybe some Thanksgiving music while you're at it.  I'm sure the library will have something.

So I did a little more planning.  Added some more food to my menu.  Decided I needed some help making all that food.  Couldn't decide what to actually ask other parents to bring.  Finally sent a note home asking for some food contributions.  Messed up when I put the notes in the lunchbox and not everyone got the notes.  Didn't want to ask parents to help at the last minute.  Ended up making all the food myself anyway.

For a week, it felt like I did nothing but prepare for this party.  Pat laughed at me.  I merely pushed by him to get the scissors to make crafty things.  The night before this party, my kitchen looked like this:

Something on every bit of counter space, a frozen pizza for dinner and obviously that was a great time to get some mopping done too.

Finally, it was time for the show.  And I think it went well although I'm happy I don't have to do another one until Easter.  (Probably should start planning that now.)

Turkey headbands - I cut out strips of paper to wrap around their heads, turkey heads, eyes, beaks, and feathers.  Probably should have made a model for the kids to copy but I just told them to do what they wanted to.

Pin the feather on the turkey - I created a turkey out of posterboard and cut out a feather for everyone

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Roll - I got this idea from a website called One Charming Party...give two kids each a broom and a pumpkin and see who can roll the pumpkin to the other side of the room faster.  The kids loved it and asked to do it over and over.

Ritz crackers with cream cheese or pumpkin butter spread with chow mein noodles on top to look like a turkey track
Turkey roll-ups
Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches
Pumpkin Butter Sandwiches
Pumpkin Pie Pudding
Cranberry Oatmeal Bars

And finally, the part that got the most oohs and aahs, the turkey!
Another fabulous idea from One Charming Party...

Brown paper bags, filled with popcorn, scrunched up a little, placed in a roasting pan to look like a turkey.  I started off snack time by telling the kids that first we were going to carve the turkey.  Jack kept saying, "But I don't like turkey.  I don't like turkey!"  I told him I was pretty sure he would like this one.

I think the kids all had fun based on the decibel level in the classroom.  I came home, put Jack in front of the computer playing Sesame Street games and took a nap.  I couldn't even bear to think of preparing a Thanksgiving dinner or really doing anything except recovering.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Jack's Missile Defense

Jack is very interested in missiles these last few days.  I can't really remember what might have been the catalyst for this.  He keeps asking to look at pictures of missiles on the internet and wants to know what they are doing.  I explain as much as I can, from what I know and what I'm reading about the picture.

I just built him a missile out of a couple pieces of construction paper.  He's happily playing with it along with a Lego airplane and a plastic box.

"Mommy, do you know who Berker is?"

"No, Jack, I don't.  Who is he?"

"He's the pilot of this airplane and just shot the missile out of it."

"Oh, okay."

The plastic box is his aircraft carrier.  He's moved on to a bigger one because it's easier for the plane to take off and land.

"Mommy, do you know what a surgent is?"

"No, I don't Jack.  What does it do?"

"It helps the planes take off from the ship.  It gives them a surge."

"Like the catapult?"

"No, it's a surgent."

"Where did you learn about surgents?"

"I just know it."

Next question.

"Mommy, do you know what this missile is going to shoot?"


"Think about it first Mommy, don't just say it.  You can think about it."

This has been going on for 30 minutes now.  His missiles are coming out of submarines, airplanes, ships and big places underground.  He has definitely been absorbing what I'm telling him.  Welcome to Jack's world.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

What the Future Holds

Jack:  Mommy, Casey and I are going to get married when we get older.

Casey:  Yeah, and I'm going to be a princess when I'm married.

Jack:  Don't you want to be a ballerina when you get older, Casey?

Casey:  Yeah, I'm going to be a ballerine

Jack:  I can be a firefighter and Casey can be a ballerina.

Casey:  I want to be a ballerine

Jack:  ah, Casey, ballerin - ah!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Christmas Catalogs

"Oh, a new vaccuum" says Jack as he looks at the computer screen where I'm actually looking at steam mops.  I tell him it's a steam mop to clean the floors.  "I think I should probably ask Santa for one of those for Christmas too.  But...maybe in a smaller size for me."

The Christmas catalogs are arriving daily and Jack has a lot things that he wants from Santa.  He has been pouring over them and with a little assistance from some commercials he has seen on TV he thinks he has a pretty good idea of what he would like.  Just a few things from each page usually.  As he is looking through the magazines for the first time he'll say, "Mommy!  You're not going to believe this...come look at what's on this page."  That's pretty much for every page.   But he's so serious about it, like I'm really not going to believe it.

After looking at the back page of the Target catalog, he said, "Casey is going to want those princesses and I want this [garage] and one of these [nerf guns] but I want it in blue because blue is my favorite color and I saw a blue one in here somewhere else."  When I asked him what he might do with a nerf gun, he said he would shoot it in the backyard.  I'm not sure Santa is going to be able to pull that one off this year.

This week I feel like Jack has been growing up before my eyes.  He seems taller and seems to be talking more maturely.  I just keep looking at him and wondering when he got so big.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Casey's New Boots

How cute is Casey in this outfit?  She had the dress on but the tights were still in the wash, trying to recover from getting trampled on during a rush to get Halloween candy.  Then I pulled out the new boots.  Daddy thought she was so cute that he took her outside to get a photo shoot.  I ran out with my camera and I think these are some of my favorite pictures of her.  Later Pat and Casey went on a date to the mall and Pat said there were some older girls in line who couldn't get over how cute she looked and the fact that she had those cute boots on.  I might be a little proud of myself for having purchased the cute dress and boots but it's really the model who makes them look so good.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween 2010

We had a great Halloween weekend, but super busy!  It started off on Friday morning with Jack's class Halloween party.  Casey and I attended and the kids all enjoyed ghost shaped sandwiches, fruit, spider cupcakes, crafts, a story and a fun game.  It was cute seeing everyone in costume although I thought it was funnier watching the little kids in costumes tumble out of their cars in the drop off line.  We spotted another dragon right in front of us.

Oh yes, Jack was a dragon and Casey was a princess.  Since I bought Casey her costume, she's been asking to wear it but I had to hold off because I knew it wasn't quite durable enough to take on and off many times for dress up.  So on Friday morning, she was so excited to wear it and Jack was excited to be a dragon and it just started my day off right!  Casey was also introduced to tights to keep her little legs warm.  She's worn them before but I know she doesn't remember.

On Friday afternoon, we had a birthday party to go to at Color Me Mine, a pottery painting studio.  Jack had gotten a little warm in his dragon costume at his school party, so he opted not to wear his.  However, Casey wasn't missing out on another chance to wear hers.  Jack and the princess got to paint little pottery pumpkins.  I was a little concerned when Jack didn't pick out any orange to put in his paint tray, but eventually Casey got some and the poor little pumpkin got a little bit of it's real color.  Jack was pretty disappointed that he couldn't take his pumpkin home.  Wasn't too concerned about the whole baking and glazing process the pottery has to go through.  He wanted his craft!

On Saturday morning we headed to the zoo for Zoo Boo.  Different businesses hand out candy as the kids trick or treat around the zoo.  Sounds very cute and the line of cars to get there indicates that a lot of people thought it was great.  But, the cynical me notes that we paid money to trick or treat at the zoo for not very good candy and didn't even see any animals.  The kids had a good time though and don't really have a preference for "good" candy yet - it's all good to them.

There was a community picnic on Saturday afternoon where the kids bounced off a lot of their candy energy in the bounce house and had a great time.  I volunteered to help clean up after which meant that I came home with a car full of leftovers.  That was probably my main clean up function - try to take some of these leftovers so they don't go to waste.

And Saturday continued...we got a babysitter and went out to Homearama and dinner.  Homearama was a builder showcase of 10 new homes in an up and coming area.  We love to walk through the homes and get ideas as they are all beautifully furnished and highly decorated.  I actually like to pretend I'm moving into these homes and try to figure out where our furniture is going to go.  That might be taking it a little further than most people.

And then Sunday...dinner at a friend's house before trick or treating.  We were treated to a great Halloween feast and the best dessert I've had in a long time - Pumpkin Whoopie Pies.  So yummy.  Jack and Casey were excited to get to the trick or treating though.  Pat took them through our neighborhood and I stayed home to hand out candy.  They came back dragging their bags because they were so heavy from the candy!  They got home and we had a few more trick or treaters.  Jack said, "I want some more customers to come so I can give them this candy."  He gave out our last two pieces of candy to some customers and we called it a night!  And a weekend!

 And now I'm going to wield the power of the candy controller for the next month.  Won't eat your dinner?  No candy.  Won't stop fighting?  No candy.  In fact, I just told Jack that if he didn't go to bed he wouldn't get any candy tomorrow.  And it worked.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pumpkin Patch 2010

Today was Jack's first class trip.  Each parent brought their own child(ren) so it wasn't as much of a teacher controlled group as it was parent controlled.  We headed to Hunt Club Farm for a hayride, petting zoo and to pick out a pumpkin.  Casey came along too.

Jack told me last night that we were going to have to get up early and eat our breakfast quickly and brush our teeth quickly so we could get to the pumpkin patch on time.  We did have to leave the house a little earlier than normal but with Casey waking up well before the hour of 7 lately (another post entirely) there was no fear of being late.  In fact, she watched a show, ate her breakfast and then went upstairs to wake up Jack despite directions to the contrary.  Even though I was pretty sure I wasn't going to oversleep, I woke up 4 or 5 times during the night to check the time so we wouldn't be late for Jack's big pumpkin day.

Jack wanted to wear his cowboy hat to the farm.  I was a little reluctant to let him at first, mostly because I figured I would be carrying it around instead of him.  But, since we won't be heading to the ranch any time soon, what better place to wear his cowboy hat than to the farm.

I was looking forward to seeing Jack interact with his classmates.  He's been talking about his friend M. since school started and I thought they would have a great time together.  However, as we were gathering at the farm, the girls in Jack's class all got together and started talking and running around and the boys clung to their mothers.

The hayride wasn't so great for the kids.  We put most of the kids in the middle of the wagon and then realized that they couldn't see anything because all the adults were sitting around them on the outside.  We were all squished in there so there wasn't any room to switch places.  They got to see the horses and the lady who talked all about pumpkins and gourds so they were happy enough.

Then we were off to the petting zoo and playground.  First they ran to the top of the haystack and had a great time jumping around in there.  Then we went to visit some chickens and goats.  Jack loved the goats. He could pet them through the fence and he thought they really liked him.  He kept showing me the best way to pet them.  They all had cute little nametags on and the ones that Jack liked best were named Jack and Jill.  Yeah, the goats had cute nametags.  Anyway.

We did a class picture and a little more haystack climbing and it was off to pick a pumpkin.  Jack kept telling me how he was going to pick the best pumpkin and he had all sorts of criteria for the ultimate pumpkin.  As soon as we got to the pumpkin corner, he said, "That's the one!"  I thought the search was going to take much longer than a quarter of a second, but I guess fate intervened to prevent a long, drawn out pumpkin selection process.

Most of the school left after picking pumpkins.  Casey was so cute and really wanted to show her pumpkin to Jack's teacher so she went over and showed her.  I think Casey thinks Miss H. is her teacher too.  Casey had been begging to go on the playground back near the petting zoo so we headed over there for a little longer.  Jack wanted to hang out with the goats a little longer too.

We finished our trip with me telling the kids that we weren't buying any big pumpkins today.  10 or so times.  I also told Jack that we could not plant his pumpkin seeds today.  5 or so times.  We wandered through the big pumpkins, tried to get some pictures with them and then headed home.

It was a fun trip but I might as well have taken them by myself for all that Jack interacted with his class.  At least he sat nicely for a picture with his class!