More of a Trick than a Treat

Monday, October 31, 2011 1 comment
The kids are super excited about Halloween despite the recent events. There was no school today and the town has put a curfew out for this evening. No children out after dark because of the downed trees and power lines. We just had our first trick or treaters at 3 p.m. and they weren't little, little kids either.

I took advantage of having both kids at home today by draping a white sheet and taking some photos of them in their Halloween costumes.

Chloe keeps asking when it will be time to go trick or treating. She is so excited and I am worried that it could be a giant disappointment since many around us are still without power.

It does seem like it will be an early night since there will be no ringing of the doorbell after dark. Good thing that Cars 2 was just released today and I have it on DVD!!

Have a happy and safe Halloween!


Sunday, October 30, 2011 No comments
Isn't it still fall? What's this white stuff falling from the sky? What started out as a laugh--snow in October became a nightmare.

The snow wasn't a total surprise. Weathermen in the NYC area said that we would get 3-6" of snow but that it wouldn't stick to the roadways. They were wrong. The snow came and fell fast. It was a white out and it was wet, heavy snow that stuck to the trees and caused many to topple over into power lines, houses and roadways.

Chloe had a swim meet about 20 miles away on Saturday. I kissed her goodbye and loaded her on the bus with the rest of the swim team just as the snow began to fall. Matt was in W. Virginia racing for the weekend and he had my SUV. I had the 911 turbo. I don't care what the clever P*orsche commercial says about it being all-wheel drive and a "snowmobile", it's not.

I headed out to watch Chloe swim and as soon as I got on the highway I knew it was bad. I called our Y and asked if the swim meet had been canceled and the bus turned around. It hadn't. Cut to the chase...I was in super freak out mode. Cars were sliding all over the highway, trees were falling on the highway and it was quickly becoming bumper cars as people were crashing into one another. I made the decision to turn around after a tree fell into a road blocking any further progression. It wasn't until 2.5 hours after Chloe left on the bus that I received a call that she was ok and the swim meet was canceled (duh). I wasn't back home yet so I headed to the Y to wait for Chloe's bus.

Chloe and I made it back to our house safely, despite dodging the fallen trees and downed power lines, to discover our power was out. I made dinner by flashlight---thank goodness for gas stoves! It was getting cold in the house since we had no heat and we made a fire in the fireplace. The kids played on the iPad until it ran out of battery power and then we broke out the cards. It was a nice evening until the house filled with smoke and the fire department showed up. It was  nice to know that our security system can still call for help even when the power is out. We had three firemen (in the yellow firetruck!) and a police officer wandering our house checking the carbon monoxide levels (which were ok) and debating why our chimney wasn't drafting. After an hour of debate, they threw a D*uraflame on the fire to make it burn hot and all was well. Until they showedd up an hour later---it was just to check in and see we were still doing ok. Yea, we live in a nice town where firefighters come by to check in.

We slept under lots of covers listening to the tunes of police cars heading to downed power lines and the "chirp chirp" of all of our safety devices alerting us that the battery power was low. All was right with the world Sunday as the snow began to melt and our power returned about 24 hours after it went off. Matt returned safely later in the evening.

A fall landscape covered in snow.

I inadvertently took this picture of myself while I was trying to answer the phone hoping it was one of the swim coaches to tell me Chloe was ok. You can see the amount of snow falling from the window.

The kids eating and playing in front of the fire.

The fire that cause us so much grief.

Oliver in the dark.

Chloe in the dark.
Many are still without power and school will be closed on Halloween. Chloe's school has two trees down in the front, one on the power line. This is not a Halloween we will soon forget.

Next Time Bring a RED Firetruck

Tuesday, October 25, 2011 No comments
The fire department came to Oliver's pre-school today. It was a day for Oliver to attend but the teacher invited us to come anyway. Oliver loves all types of big trucks and I knew he would like the fire trucks. But, there was some confusion.

Oliver thought they brought a school bus. He kept insisting it was a school bus, "Look Momma, bus!". Who brings a yellow fire truck to a pre-school?

Later, we were running an errand and a school bus passed us. Oliver insisted it was a fire truck!

Photo(s) of the Day

Thursday, October 20, 2011 No comments
Playing with his trains. This boy loves his train table and disassembling the train tracks. As you can see, this isn't his train table but part of the train table that he removed. 

We discovered his toy police car behind the couch...where he hid it. The kids are very into hiding their favorite toys so his/her sibling will not play with it. **Sigh**

The Pre-Bike

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 No comments
Its raining which doesn't make for a very good day to unveil Oliver's new pre-bicycle. I've been researching Christmas gifts for the kids this year. Oliver & Chloe both love to go outside and ride their bikes but Oliver's tricycle has seen better days. In my research I came across a recommendation that tricycles actually make learning to ride a regular bicycle harder. The theory is that children don't learn to balance on a tricycle. If you teach a child balance first then riding a bicycle is easy---all they have to learn is to pedal. And, it looks like a big kid bike, which Oliver is all about. So, I lept ahead and ordered a pre-bicycle for Oliver. If we gave it to him at Christmas, chances are that he wouldn't get to ride it until the end of March. I was going to save it for Christmas, but I figured getting a bicycle on a rainy day in fall is better than unwrapping it on the frozen tundra that can be winter in the northeast.

Oliver was very excited to put together the bike. However, he wasn't as excited once he got on it. It will take time...I hope.

Here's a video of Oliver's reaction. And in case you don't want to be deafened by a 28 month-old, a general summary is this--Oliver has an unnatural fear that Flash the dog is going to eat the bicycle. He thinks his bike is cute like a puppy but he would rather play with his cars or watch Max & Ruby.

A Crafty Day

Saturday, October 15, 2011 3 comments
Matt had to work today which meant I on-duty with both kids. Chloe had plans. I had plans. Mine involved laundry, sweeping and mopping. Our plans were two very different plans. Chloe's plans won out. We had great fun.

We made a thank-you video to BeBe and PaPaw for the Halloween goodies our postman brought to our house today. The kids had lots of fun playing with the splat balls, funny eyeglasses and blow-up Halloween balls.

Chloe and I made our first loaf of white bread in the bread machine. Turned out great. I was the only one who wanted to eat any.

We had lunch from our local deli. Its across the street from Chloe's school and she asks to go there everyday. Even Oliver has gotten in on the asking. He calls the place, "Candy". "Go Candy, Moma?" he asks when we go to pick up Chloe from school.  Yes, they have strategically located all the candy about 3 feet off the ground at kids eye level. There is no escaping the candy.

Our final project for the day was the mason jar pumpkins. Southern Living magazine featured these in their last issue. They called them Jar o'Lanterns and they were right--lots less mess--and Chloe declared they were lots more fun. Thanks to Hurrican Irene, there is a pumpkin shortage in the northeast and what pumpkins are for sale are expensive. We made 11 mason jar pumpkins for about $10, which is the price I paid for one real medium-sized pumpkin last week. I have yet to spray paint the lids black but here's a photo essay of our handy work.

I bought some orange spray paint at the hardware store. I already had the mason jars.

I squirted some orange paint and Chloe finished it off. We found it was easiest if she sprayed the paint into the jar while I held and turned the jar. You get an even coating.

Chloe's lips are blue from some of the candy she got at the deli. It looks like she is already dressed for Halloween.

We used a paint pen to paint the faces on the jars.

Some of the finished jars on the front steps.

A jar all lit up. This is with a real candle inside but I have the LED light in the outside jars.

The Lunchroom Craze

Wednesday, October 12, 2011 No comments
Chloe has been asking and asking for a certain food item to take to school for lunch. Her friend, Ava, had some and Chloe tried it and loved it.

I thought she was kidding at first. Really? Seaweed? After we bought it, she ate an entire pack. Shoveled it right into her mouth like it was candy. She loves it. I'm not complaining as long as she doesn't make me eat anymore. I tried it.  I put on a good face, "MMMMMM, I see why you like it. That's good!" but really it tastes like your licking a fish--salty, fishy and a bit oily. Not for me. But for her, yes!

How's Your Morning Going?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011 No comments
I am awakened at 6 a.m. to the melodious sounds of my toddler screaming “Mommy!” and I am pretty certain that it is too early for that toddler to be awake because they didn’t nap yesterday and then they didn’t fall asleep until 2 hours past their usual bedtime.

I roll over to get out of bed and discover that no, that's not my husband next to me, I hear him in the shower, it's my older child asleep next to me. She somehow managed to sneak her way into our bed in the night. I get out of bed, get the cranky toddler out of his crib and I am already thinking about all the stuff that I have to accomplish today, like the school fundraiser I got guilted into being in charge of that starts next week and I haven’t done a thing to prepare for it, the piles of laundry waiting to be washed and folded, on top of the regular activities of the day.

Everyone is awake now. I am making breakfasts and school lunch and I remember I am out of coffee and dog food. I didn’t get to go purchase those items yesterday because my child had a HUGE tantrum/crying fit because I wouldn’t take her on a bike ride after I took her apple picking, then to gymnastics, and then to dinner at her favorite restaurant. I am startled from my thoughts by a screaming match over control of the iPad, which was only placed within their reach because it was being charged.

After separating the two kids, plugging the iPad back in and feeding the dogs and children I go to place the checks I wrote for Brownie dues and another school fundraiser (headed by some other sucker) into my daughter’s school backpack only to discover a letter from the teacher. It seems my daughter hasn’t been completing all her homework and has been doing a sloppy job. Oh, and it seems my daughter is forgetful, because she conveniently forgot to give me this note on Friday.

I speak with my daughter about the incomplete homework where I am told some lengthy story about how she didn’t get to finish it or forgot or something to that effect and when she realized at school the next day she tried to finish it BUT would you believe her teacher wouldn’t let her finish it in class? Yes, yes I can believe it. Then we have a discussion on why homework is called HOMEwork and how she’s barking up the wrong tree for sympathy lest she forgot that prior to her arrival I was a public school teacher. Few excuses make it by me and I wasn’t buying what she was trying to sell.

I send her up to her room to get dressed for the day only to hear her shriek and that I need to come to her room immediately. She's going into some hyperventilation hysteria. I arrive at her room to find that one of her fish has died. We have a burial in the bathroom. She's over the hyperventilation hysteria in two second and she tells me she has to be honest and is thankful it wasn't the other fish, the one that she actually named and has survived for two years.

I then proceed to coax her into wearing the outfit I placed out for her. She doesn't like it. She doesn't want to wear Capri pants--have I forgotten she doesn't like Capri pants! Forget she picked these Capri pants out herself. Can't she change her mind? NO, no she can't.

She gets dressed. She comes out of her room wearing the Capri pants, bright pink tie-dyed socks and her black high top sneakers.. "This looks stupid!" she tells exclaims. Yes, yes it does, I think silently to myself. "No it doesn't," I tell her as I gather up and attempt to stuff the overflowing pile of dirty clothes back in to her laundry hamper so I can carry it downstairs to wash. While she is watching me do this, she tells me, “You know, sometimes I knowingly put clean clothes into the dirty clothes pile because I don’t want to put them away.” Thanks for the honesty.

I go to get myself dressed and while doing so the toddler squeezes himself into my too tiny closet and drops the giant, heavy toy he’s also crammed into the small space onto my big toe, cracking my toe nail. I scream in pain, which startles my toddler, who begins to cry. I feel terrible at frightening him and then assess whether I should attend to the crying toddler or to my bleeding toe?

I proceed to calm the toddler, forgetting my toe which is getting blood on the wood floors and dress the toddler. I then dress myself while the now calm toddler goes back into my closet and starts playing “dress up” with my jewelry. I hear the distinct sound of small beads hit the wood floor, which is still spotted with blood from my toe. I discover my toddler has broken a necklace and hundreds of tiny beads are all over my bedroom and closet floor. My toddler then tries to show me the broken necklace and attempts to take a few steps towards me over the hundreds of tiny beads on the floor only to slip, fall and hit his head on the footboard of the bed. He's crying again. I calm him. I throw whatever on and try to get my older child out the door and to school on time. Forget the blood and beads on the bedroom floor.

As I head out the door, my oldest child tells me she’s thirsty and can she have a drink? I’m also attempting to put shoes on the toddler, who is still upset from his fall and is telling me, “I don’t like shoes!”. He throws himself on the ground- kicking and thrashing. I get my oldest a drink of milk, I scoop up my toddler and his shoes and I head out the door to wrangle a screaming toddler into his car seat.

School drop off goes without a hitch but my toddler is still crying, now exclaiming he doesn't like his sister going to school. I head to the grocery store to pick up the needed fair trade Ethiopian coffee. I make it into the grocery store, find my needed item and head to the checkout. There are two lanes open. One is express and one is the regular check-out line. Both lines have women in them with massive amounts in their shopping carts. I stand in the regular check-out line only to be asked by the cashier to go to the express lane because it will be faster. I comply.

The express lane is next to the automatic door, which leads to the very busy parking lot. The toddler, who I didn’t put in a shopping cart (why bother? I was only getting 1 thing, coffee beans) thinks this is great fun to pop in and out of the door. I check the sign in the checkout lane. It clearly says “Express Lane: maximum 10 items” above it. I check the number of items in the ladies shopping cart in front of me. Way over 10 items. I roll my eyes and chase the toddler who has managed to stand outside the exit door which has automatically closed on him, shutting him outside. I re-enter to find a man, with 3 items has taken my place in line. “Sorry, I was in line,” I say. He rolls his eyes at me and goes to the other check-out lane. That cashier is done now. He doesn’t send the man with three items to the express lane, like he did me, he begins checking him out. I continue standing in line, attempting to hold on to my toddler, who doesn’t like being held. He wants to play with the automatic door. The man with three items is done. He walks past my lane and out the automatic door.

I wait for the lady with too many items to be in the express lane to finally be done. AT LAST! The cashier tells her the total--she takes out her checkbook! WHO GETS IN THE EXPRESS LANE WITH A MASSIVE AMOUNT OF ITEMS, KNOWS THEY ARE WRITING A CHECK AND THEN DOESN’T WRITE IT WHILE THEY ARE WAITING TO BE CHECKED OUT? AT LEAST I COULD HAVE WRITTEN OUT “TRADER JOE’S” WHILE I WAS WAITING!!!!! Forget that, WHO WRITES A CHECK ANYMORE? GET A DEBIT CARD! The lady then asks the cashier for a pen. I feel an aneurism coming on.

The cashier looks for a pen. “Oh wait,” the lady says, “I’ll pay cash.” I feel the twitch in my eye and the veins beginning to burst.

Finally, it’s my turn. The cashier smiles at me and my wriggly toddler who is trying his best to scratch my eyes out because he wants to play with that automatic door right by the express lane checkout. “Does your son want some stickers?” the cashier asks. “NO!” I say a little too loud, “my son wants you to ring up the one item his mom has so he can get out of here!” I say. I feel bad for being rude, but I’m annoyed and I have scratch marks on my face now, though I successfully averted the aneurism and all I wanted was their whole bean, fair trade Ethiopian coffee.

I make it out. My toddler is highly annoyed. I rethink whether I am going to stop at the pet food store. “Can he make another stop?” I wonder. Let’s give it a try. I arrive at the pet food store. I make it in the door. My toddler sits on the floor. Refuses to go further. I scoop him up, he's covered in snot from so many tantrums today. I'm not even going to attempt cleaning him up. Don't even think about it. I just turn around, I head back to the car. I go home with only the coffee.

Will try again later, maybe. I begin thinking of items I have at home to make homemade dog food as I look at the clock in the car. It’s only 9:15 a.m.

Is it too early for nap time?


Monday, October 10, 2011 No comments
The kids were out of school today for Columbus Day so we took advantage of the summer-like weather to take part in a fall tradition—apple picking. It was a gorgeous day, perfect for spending it outdoors with friends.

The apple orchard in NY state. The leaves are starting to change colors. It was a beautiful day.
The apples were hard to find at first. They had been picked over. Then, we looked up. The apples were high in the trees. We were determined. We broke some rules--but we got our apples!

Where are the apples? Most were rotting on the ground. None were within easy picking reach so we had to get creative.

There were no apple picking poles so we had to go to where the apples were. Alex climbs in the tree.

Chloe, Alex and Ben reach for the apples at the top of the tree.

Somebody didn't like apple picking. Oliver was bothered by the squished apples on the ground and the bees surrounding them. He thought it was messy. He doesn't like messes he didn't make.

Maria made everything better. She held Oliver while Mommy was "reaching" for some apples.

An apple!!

Surveying the bounty. We picked $75 in apples!

Friends in the pumpkin patch!

Referral-Versary: Two Years Ago Today--The Call

Sunday, October 09, 2011 No comments
We got "the call" two years ago today. It was a Friday afternoon and Chloe and I were playing. I almost didn't answer the phone!

The 80s are Back

Friday, October 07, 2011 No comments
This just opened at our local mall....
This was a favorite of me and my high school pals in 1989. They're back. It made me laugh and smile as I thought of high school and making a run for yogurt. Yogurt--how 80s. And then I laughed again because I spotted TCBY as I was walking out of the mall, putting my latest purchase on my face--

Ray-Ban Aviators. How 80s indeed!!