Tuesday, November 9, 2010


I'm going to start this blog by bragging. Just a little.  I guess you might just call it reporting, but I might not "report" as much if it wasn't positive.  Last week Nick and I met with Willa's teacher for our first official Parent-Teacher Conference.  I was kind of nervous, but not too much, as the one comment I had already heard from Mrs. O'Conner was "Willa is a crack-up!".  It seems Willa is doing very well and more importantly her teacher really likes her.  She called her "delightful" and "fun to be with".  Willa is one of those kids that can be frustrating for those who demand a bit more control in their lives than, let say, me.  So I am very relieved that her first teacher appreciates the happy-go-lucky, eager-beaver, goof that is my daughter.  I hope future teachers will be as positive. She did comment that Willa is a wiggler, but she is improving and seems to understand her limitations as far as that is concerned.  Her academic work is right on, so no concerns there.

This weekend I spent trying to read a book that had completely sucked me in.  You know, one of those mysteries with great characters and interesting setting.  Can't say it transcended it's genre, but it was a page turner.  That said, my kids spent a lot of time playing with their dad.

I really like seeing them all play together.  With me it is book reading, project doing, puzzle-making or toy based: stuff that is kind of low-key and creative with certain rules and structure.  With Dad it is different: more physical with random made-up games and scenarios (and so still creative).   In the pictures below, they were playing a game where the giraffe and crocodile puppets were defending their turf from encroaching children.  The kids were taking turns between the puppets and being the sneaker. 
Here's Dad playing while watching soccer on the computer!

Willa tries to sneak into the lair of the giraffe and crocodile.

I don't think the giraffe is attacking here, but perhaps.  Yes, she has chocolate milk on her face (not the giraffe, Willa).

Can't leave out pic of Lego Star Wars play.  Nick looks like a Jawa.
Of course there is also the beloved Lego video games.  I think Nick and Willa finished Star Wars the other day.

I did take time off from my book on Sunday to go outside with the kids.  Saturday morning the English honor society from Westsfield State came to our yard and raked leaves as a fundraiser.  We didn't have them bagged as we want to use it as mulch/compost, leaving a large pile of leaves in the side yard just perfect for jumping into!

I guess they got hot because they took off their coats.  I was cold, as usual.  Perhaps I should have jumped with them.  They had a great time and brought their friends from next door over to jump later in the day.  I think even the 9 and 11 year old got into it.

I finished my book yesterday and I'm kind of relieved to get back to my life.  I guess I shouldn't read those kind of books until the kids grow up.  I'll have a lot of reading to look forward to! 

It is getting colder and we had our first itty-bitty amount of snow Sunday night.  I think our outdoor adventures are going to be fewer as winter comes on.  We'll have to commit to some indoor adventures from now on.  We all enjoy getting out and seeing new things and I like writing about them.

As you can see, all is good here with us, though, we miss you.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


We started this weekend with kids-birthday-party craziness.  Cal's birthday is Halloween, but rather than have all the holiday insanity packed into one day, I decided to spread it out over the weekend and had his party on Saturday.  Before the party, Nick and I ran around cleaning, getting snacks and balloons, decorating etc.  Cal fell asleep in the car!  We had to wake him up when his guests started to arrive. 

The party was a whirlwind! Ten kids six and under (most were 3), and a couple of older kids, plus parents and baby siblings attended.  I had three activities planned including cupcakes and thought that would fill two hours.  I was sadly mistaken. For some reason, I thought because they are so young, it would take them longer to do things, but no. Because they are young, their attention span is very short. Duh. We made monster masks, then had a pumpkin hunt outside.  Both were fun, just short, together taking a half an hour. So, I went ahead with cupcakes and Happy Birthday song, all of which took another half hour.  That left an hour to fill. 


Birthday Boy

Nice face!
These are the only pictures taken by our camera that day that weren't blurry (well, too blurry anyway).  And I didn't even take the last two.  I was too busy running around.

As for what to do with the last hour of the party, I took suggestions.  "Why didn't you just let them play with toys?" you ask?  Well, the moments between activities when they defaulted to that were incredibly chaotic and crazy.  I felt I need to exercise a little control.

Nick's sister mentioned a game they played at her daughter's party which consisted of dancing during the music and freezing when it stopped.  The kids enjoyed that for two songs.  Then I felt the tide turning again.  Next, Nick brought out Hullabaloo, a game that involves following instructions to move to different shaped, colored, and be-pictured pads.  It's fun and easy.  They enjoyed that for a while but when I next looked, there were only two kids playing.  Then one of the three year olds wanted to play Duck, Duck, Goose.  Yay!  Some of them had no idea how to play and none of the Geese wanted to catch the Gooser.  There was a lot of running all over the place, but they were having fun, so who cares!  Finally, Willa mentioned going outside, which was a brilliant suggestion because the kids ran around chasing each other, played with the trike, wagon, etc., and drew on our vast driveway with chalk.  Everyone was happy and I finally relaxed! 

When the kid party was over, the family party raged on.  Well, raged might be overstating it.  I collapsed into a chair with a glass of wine and let Nick take over (it was mostly his friends and family).  Thankfully he was totally amenable.  I had a lovely evening in my chair with my wine, letting Nick bring me food.  The kids happily messed up the house with Cal's birthday gifts and played with their cousin.  I was so exhausted, I can't remember what happened after everyone left.  Seriously, I'm sure it had nothing to do with the wine.

 Sunday we slept in (as much as kids would let us).  We cleaned up the leftover mess and then Nick made yummy french toast.  We let Cal open a couple of presents that remained unopened from the day before.  One was a long tube with 70, yes 70, little cars.  Not my favorite gift of the year.  We now need something to contain this traffic jam.  Cal was ecstatic. 

Nick escaped to work and Emily came over.  The kids spent the afternoon playing with Cal's new Play Doh Puppies Playset.  If you aren't familiar with this (and who is, really), it is a puppy whose Play Doh hair and tongue grow and who has molds for little puppies on her (I guess, right?) belly.  She also has molds for toys and treats all over her body.  The kids love it; I think it is kind of weird.   

I spent the afternoon carving our jack o' lantern.  I drew lots of faces until I landed on an owl.  Emily volunteered to scoop and did a great job getting out lots of goopy innards.  Willa was excited, but then grossed out. 

The masterpiece

I have to say, I really like this jack o' lantern and it wasn't terribly hard to carve. 

We sent Emily home to eat and get ready for the big event and then she and her mother met us back here.

Dorothy and Super Cal (he has a mask, but didn't want to wear it)

and a witch from next door.

We went out for about 45 minutes and then it got too cold for everyone.  We had our first freeze that night, so we weren't just being wimpy.  The kids got more than enough loot and came home cold and tired, but happy.

It was a crazy, fun weekend.  We missed you, though.