Sunday, November 27, 2011

What's grosser than gross?

Ms. Amy asked if we were available to play one fair-weathered Tuesday.  We knew we wanted to be outside.  First, we tried to find the model airplanes at Valley Forge, but they weren't flying that day.  Then we tried to watch the planes land at Wings Field while we ate a picnic lunch, but the airfield is under construction.  Ms. Amy had a stroke of genius when she realized how close we were to Morris Arboretum!  So we headed there and it was the perfect move.  Lots of climbing and exploring and splashing in fountains and make believe barbecues with our friends.  I didn't have to break up one fight or hear one unkind word.  I love days like that.  If I'm being honest, though, there were 2 things I wish hadn't happened.  Nothing very bad . . . just gross.

1.  We found a stream and immediately the 4 - 4 year olds, 1- 3 year old and 1 - 1 year old wanted to dip their tootsies.  It was almost 70 degrees and November, how could we say no?  Shoes were thrown, socks were stripped, pants hiked up and in went 12 little feet.  Here's the thing though.  It still was November in the Northeast.  So even though, the air was warm, the water was not.  And S couldn't hold it together anymore.  As soon as her big toe touched that ice cold water, she peed her pants.  "Just a little!  I still gotta go, Mommy!  Run me to a bathroom!"  I scooped her up in my arms, barefoot and soaked, yelled to Ms. Amy to watch my other 2 bathing beauties and took off running to a bathroom.  By the time I found one, S told me she no longer had to go.  For she had already gone.  On my shirt. 

2.  We stopped to eat lunch at a gazebo overlooking a gently sloping hill.  After we ate, the kids ran off to experiment with 4 different types of flying machines that the Salad and I had brought along for everybody.  Once we were through with those, the kiddos took to the hills, throwing themselves down with reckless abandon.  Gathering speed and bowling each other over like pins in an alley.  They laughed and shouted and rolled over and over.  Right through goose poop. 
On the drive home, I realized it was just another day that I somehow wound up with one or all of us covered in poop and pee.  I guess it could be worse . . . or maybe not.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Too close for comfort.

The third day of school, S came home and told me that she had invited a girl named Gina to our birthday party.  It mattered not to S that it was September, that her birthday isn't until February and that we don't have an official party planned. 

She told me she had given Gina directions to our house.  I asked her to recount those directions and here were her exact words,

"Turn out of the school driveway and head down toward the Blue Route.  Turn this way (motioning right) until you pass the police station.  Turn this way (motioning left) until you see our neighborhood.  Turn into our neighborhood and when you see our van in the driveway, you are here!" 

Pretty close, pretty darn close, little lady.

Friday, November 25, 2011

October Collage

* While R was away for work, the Salad and I visited Pumpkinland at Linvilla with Jeba, Dave, their 2 funny girls and the rest of Southeastern PA.  At lunch, Jeba commented on how independent the Salad was.  Seth's mom mentioned it to me the day before.  And while I love that they are independent it makes me wonder if it's a trait they have learned out of necessity.  You know, "No, M!  I'm watching S try to untangle herself from that extension cord!  You'll have to slice your own apple!"

* We had a sleep over at Aunt Jo's to pass the time while R was in Las Vegas.  Aunt Jo and Uncle Pat thought they'd surprise the Salad with a bonfire to roast marshmellows.  A and M thought it was the best thing since sliced bread, S was petrified - hiding behind patio furniture, waving her marshmellow at the fire shouting, "Turn it off!"  Also of note, they have a dog.  Their dog loves eating socks.  He proved this by sneaking into my bedroom and scarfing down S's purple sock while I was in the bathroom.  Thankfully, the Salad has tiny socks, ifyouknowhatImean.

* Ms. Amy sent this link to M, 'cause she thought he'd like to decorate his pumpkin with hardware.  The boy likes his tools.  He thought it was awesomely "cool."  His turned out a bit more like something from a horror movie, but that's OK because it is Halloween and all.
* I turned our sensory rice bin into a Halloween bin of fright, full of Mr. Potatohead body parts and rubber bugs. 

* R and I went to the Fall Festival at the Salad's preschool.  They loved showing us around the playground, saying hello to all their friends, talking to their teachers.  I loved seeing the Salad take ownership of their school.  They seemed so . . . proud.

* It was an unseasonably mild fall, so we spent a lot of time outdoors - biking with our friends, riding draft horses at the Zoo, climbing tree houses at Tyler Arboretum, and exploring Valley Forge park to find the Signal Seekers with Poppy, Grammy and Ian.

* We went to a Halloween Parade in Media.  Girl Scout troops, dance squads and firemen threw tons of candy to the Salad.  M is very observant and shouted at the Boy Scout who paused throwing for a minute to munch on a Snickers that "He's supposed to be throwing the candy, not eating the candy."  4 year olds really hold you accountable, I tell ya.

* Ms. Carol hosted playgroup's Halloween party this year, complete with glow in the dark chalk, a black light room, and magic potion to drink.  We were sent home with glow in the dark scorpions, which twice now I have stumbled upon glowing in the bottom of the Salad's closet.  Dang it if they don't get me every time.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanks and Giving

My sweet little family has so much to be thankful for.  We have great friends, amazing family, and a hardworking daddy who enables me to stay home to play with my cute Salad.  We have a beautiful house, a swing set in a big yard and lots of fun toys.  Many days we live an idyllic life.  And I want the Salad to know.  So in this month of November, we've been talking about how we have so much and there are other kids who don't have as much, some adults who don't have anything, some people who work hard and deserve thanks.  So we started 4 weeks of Thanks and Giving.  Each week in November, the Salad donated something to someone who was in need or deserved thanks. 

The first week, we brought our Halloween candy (not all of it!) to a local dentist who sends it to our hardworking troops.  M was beyond excited that we were sending something to "real army guys".  In exchange, the dentist gave them new toothbrushes, which they used to clean the tires of my van.  It made me thankful for my 3 person army of willing helpers. 

Week two found us sorting our toys and gathering a big bin of them to donate to our library.  We adore our super cute, super spunky librarian Ms. Julianne.  This week, when we went to story time, the Salad was amazed that we got to "visit" with our old toys.  I am grateful for a fantastic local library system that has provided hours of free enjoyment for the last 3 years.

The third week of November, we gathered a huge bag of non perishable food for a boy scout troop collecting food for a local food bank.  Even though I had explained who the food was for, I heard M say to the girls, "The boy scouts just came to pick up the food for the peoples who don't like to go to the grocery store!"  I am thankful for a husband who likes to grocery shop as a family, even though I say I'd rather do it alone.

This last week of November will find us donating our old winter coats to Greater Philadelphia Cares.  I chose that charity in honor of an old friend who passed away 3 years ago, who gave her time to this noble cause.  I am thankful for friends, new and old.    

Monday, November 21, 2011

Who is that in the hat?

I love the fall in the northeast.  The season makes the scorching summers and blizzardy winters worth living here.  I won't do it justice in words.  There's a crispness you feel when you first open the door in the morning.  I spend the days pointing out red trees that inspire me to repaint rooms in our house.  Orange trees that look perfect against the blue skies.  Yellow trees that look like they are on fire. There's a distinct smell of burning leaves most evenings.  The stars always seem more clear.

This fall the weather was particularly gorgeous, perhaps trying to make up for short changing our summer vacation with a hurricane?  I digress.

One beautiful Monday in November, Daddy stayed home from work.  We decided to hike Newlin Grist Mill.  Perfect scenery.  Sweatshirt and jeans weather. Well-behaved Salad.  Throw Daddy in the mix and it stands out as one of my most favorite days ever.
Wait!  Is that R?  In a picture?  On my blog?  See?  He exists.  And he's around quite a bit.  But he's camera shy, people.  And if I showed his face on the blog, I'd have to kill you.  Kidding.  Kidding.  Kinda.

Anyway, we hunted for frogs, tried to catch tadpoles with our bare hands, threw stuff over the waterfall to see where it would end up, watched the fish literally jump out of the water to eat the bread we were throwing to the ducks, climbed trees, skipped rocks and waded in the water. 

In what could have been a sad ending to the day, M slipped on wet rocks, fell into ice cold water and bumped his bottom on the way down.  Luckily, I foresaw just such a thing happening and had brought along a change of clothes for each of them.  Problem diverted.  Whew.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Bedtime for Bozos

M has a sweet soul.  He calls me back into the room multiple times after our good night routine of books, prayers, rousing rendition of "I've been Working on the Railroad", tuck ins and kisses.  He doesn't want water.  He doesn't want to use the bathroom.  He wants "one more kiss and hug, because he just loves my kisses and hugs the best."  Usually as I am pulling the door closed after this round of kisses and hugs, he says quickly "Mommy?  Best friends forever." 
The thought that a day will come that I don't hear those sweet words makes me panicky.  That very thought gives me the same physical sensation you get when you realize you've misplaced a kid, or that cut may actually need stitches.  You know that feeling?  A little light-headed, giant lump in your throat, tightening of stomach muscles, weak knees?  You feel that too, right?  Don't you?

That last paragraph may be my cry for help.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Halloween 5.0

Every year Halloween gets a little easier.  This year, we actually made it to more than 6 houses.  Though, if I had my way we would have visited our 6 neighbors that we know and gone home to root through our loot.  But, we have new friends that have moved in up the street and we walked with them.  And they have an 8 year old who knows the finer points of trick or treating.

1. Move fast.
2. Hit as many houses as you can.

So we made it to about 20 houses.  But that wasn't the only difference.  No one complained about their costumes.  No one asked me to carry them.  No one was nervous about the dark.  Until we came upon a house with a graveyard on the lawn, smoke rising from a cauldron and a mechanical zombie writhing on the driveway.  That set us back a bit.
But they gathered up their courage and pressed on.  Big Salad.

M whispered to me before bed on Halloween that next year, he'd like to be a STOP sign. 

If I start working on it now, can I convince my girls to be YIELD and RAILROAD CROSSING signs?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tie dye edition

Several weeks ago, the weather finally cooperated and I was able to invite our playgroup over to tie dye some clothes.  I spread out cardboard on the lawn and gathered supplies before our guests arrived.  Thankfully, the families staggered in and there wasn't a mad rush on the the 13 bottles of dye. 
The lures of the swing set and dirt to dig in was strong, so as soon as my Salad was through dyeing their shirts and socks, they ran off to play with their friends.  There was an impromptu pomegranate and veggie straw party in the clubhouse and a high energy Frisbee game on the front lawn.  There were tongue tattoos and a perfectly timed street sweeper drive-by.

As we were saying our good byes, I heard this conversation between Colin and A.  Though, A was sitting on the ground, drawing hearts with Peter, seemingly not hearing what Colin was saying.

"A, I really like you.  I had fun playing with you today. Remember my name. Here. Let's have a hug, OK?"  She must have been listening though, because she dutifully stood up with outstretched arms for that hug.  But poor Peter's finger got stomped on in the throes of 4 year old passion.

 Even in the great outdoors, there's not enough room for 3 sets of triplets and a family with 3 children under 4.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Better late than never

Original Post written on September 26, 2011

It was beautiful late summer / early fall day.  Grammy called just after 8:00 AM with excellent news.  She and Poppy both had the day off!  It hardly ever happens that way, so we quickly formulated a plan to visit the Academy of Natural Sciences.  It had been a while since the Salad had visited and our love of all things Dinosaur grows stronger each day. 

I knew it was going to be a great day when we found a metered parking space right outside the front door of the museum. Score!

We spent the majority of our time in the children's section of the museum.  We were the only visitors at the time, so we got a lot of individual attention.  We got to pet the giant rabbit as many times as we wanted, the volunteer helped the Salad do a scavenger hunt, they brought the special baby centipedes out from the back for us to meet, we held the GIANT Madagascar hissing cockroach.  When I say "we" here I mean the Salad.  I choose not to hold the bugs.  I didn't let them see me squirm when they held them either.  Not even when S pointed out the teeny tiny mites on the back of the cockroach. 

When lunch time rolled around, A asked if we could eat outside.  One of the best things about the museum is it's location.  Right off Logan Circle, facing the Art Museum, the Franklin Institute, the Free Library of Philadelphia, the historic Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul, next door to Moore College of Art and Design.  I couldn't ask for better scenery to teach the Salad a little about the City of Brotherly Love while we munched sandwiches and grapes by Swann Memorial Fountain.
We dipped our hands in the cool water and fed bits of PB&J to pigeons.  We threw pennies and made wishes.

The nicest thing about having Grammy and Poppy along was that there were extra hands to hold when the Salad asked if they could walk around the whole fountain on the ledge, so I didn't have to worry about one of them tumbling into the water.  Well, I didn't worry too much.

As a side note, crossing the Benjamin Franklin Parkway here is absolutely treacherous.  You wait for the light to flash to the people walking signal and then IMMEDIATELY it gives you 15 seconds to get across the street.  It doesn't care of you have 3 small children mesmerized by the fountain, or the smoke rising from the cathedral, or the lunch truck full of potato chips!

Focus, Salad!  Focus!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Birds vs. Bees

As much as I like to think R and I are raising daughters who have had ample opportunity to play with "boy" toys and even more so gender neutral toys, somewhere around the age of 3, they found pink and princesses and all things "sugar and spice" and never looked back.  Though, my girls still like to get dirty and will hold any bug they happen upon, they would choose a skirt over pants any day of the week.  I think (and I am by no means an expert) that girls tend to be a bit more outgoing and social and so make friends more easily than boys.  I have heard a conversation that goes something like this more than 5 times in the last month alone.

A or S:  "Hi!  My name is (insert name here)!
New girl:  "Hi!"
A or S:  "Do you like ballerinas/unicorns/fairies?"
New girl: "Yes!"
A or S: "Do you want to be best friends?"
New girl: "OK!" and they run off holding hands

Boys on the other hand (at least my boy) don't seem to realize that you can ask another little person something to start a conversation.  M kinda sits near another boy at school, builds blocks near him and without making eye contact may add a new building to the other kid's city. 

But occasionally, I will catch a sweet moment between M and another boy  Like at Jazzy, Melyssa and Melodee's 5th birthday party.  I saw Peter and M, heads together, feeding the giant goldfish cookie crumbs (with Miss Danette's permission) and giggling over the color of fish poop.
"Snakes and snails and puppy dog tails" indeed.