October 29, 2012

my sick soldier.

Did everyone have a nice weekend?
Today I'm hunkered down with a sick little boy and a baby who is trying to steal his drinks and pull off his blankets. Poor soldier. A good day to be sick, I suppose, as we await the approaching high winds and flooding.

October 25, 2012


My little Halloween sweet!

October 21, 2012

a slight misunderstanding.

One of the perks of being a first grader is Teddy gets to check out books from the school library to take home.  Last week my floppy haired boy hopped off the bus proudly holding his latest "pick" into the air.  It was Diary of a Wimpy Kid. 
 
"Mom, look what I got at the library today!" he said as he ran up to me on the sidewalk.  A slight departure of the usual non-fiction books about tanks and wars and soldiers, I thought.  This is good.
 
 
That night as I put the boys to bed Teddy asked me, "Mom, how do you spell diarreah?"  This question is not unusual at all and I don't even hesitate in responding.  Bodily functions are a daily topic of discussion, as is spelling things.
 
I had to think for a second, though.  "Uh, okay d-i-a-r-e . . . no wait . . . d-i-a-r-r . . . um . . . hold on a second."  The visual learner that I am, I had to write it out in the air with my finger.  "D-i-a-r-r-e-a-h."
 
Then I looked at Teddy who (with a confused look on his face) said, "No, that's not right." 
 
"It's not?" I asked.
 
"No," he said, "my book says it's spelled d-i-a-r-y." 
 
And all these years he thought it was Diarreah of a Wimpy Kid.  Oh, T-Bear.  But you know, that kid does look like he needs a bathroom, doesn't he?

October 19, 2012

murford the cat.

I have a stuffed animal from my childhood, Murford, which is ironic considering how much I loathe stuffed animals.  Murford is a cat which is equally ironic since I have opinions about cats too.  But there is something special about my Murford.  In fact, he's more than special to the boys.  To the boys he is fascinating.  It's fascinating for them to imagine that their old mom was once a little girl!  A little girl who played with toys!  CAN YOU EVEN IMAGINE THIS?  They have asked me so many questions about him.  Mom, did you sleep with Murford?  Did you take Murford to school?  Where did you get Murford?  How old were you?  On and on and on.
 
The other day I heard the boys arguing in their bedroom.  I went in there and Teddy was in a tizzy because he made a bed for Murford (complete with a baby blanket and little pillow) and George messed it all up.  I told them that Murford was probably scared because when I was little he never, never, never, NEVER saw children fighting!  (Scratching, hair pulling, eyeball gouging and general threats of death and destruction, maybe.)
 
A couple of hours later I made the kids lunch, sat it on the table and then left the kitchen to put the baby (the teeny, tiny itty bitty baby who was just born yesterday . . . okay, maybe not) down for a nap.  When I came back downstairs I saw this:
 
 
Murford had his own place at the table.  Complete with camo thermos, of course.

October 18, 2012

i am a princess.

Have you seen the Disney promo, I am a Princess?  It struck a cord with me as I was just talking with a neighbor recently about princess costumes.  The school her children attend does not allow princess (or any other gender specific) costumes to be worn to their annual Halloween party.  I know this isn't just at this particular school, it's a trend all over and I can't help but find it, well, sad.  Make believe is so valuable to a child's development.  Shouldn't it be okay to tell our children - our daughters - that they can do anything they want in life?  And that they can do it all with a little beauty and grace too?  It's not about the glitz and glam and foo-foo.  It's about empowering our girls to feel confident on the inside (and the outside) and to ultimately be kind, generous, loyal and serving to others.

Isn't that what a princess can embody?
 
What do you think?
 

October 17, 2012

knee deep in a chocolate mess.



I can't decide whether or not Caroline liked the Trader Joe's Halloween cookies.
Hmmm . . .
 

October 16, 2012

sweet pea's purple party.

 
Sweet Caroline turned one!


We had a "purple party" to celebrate her special day.
 
 
Purple!
 
 
And a little pink too.
 
 
This party was a little different than the dinosaurs and baseball and camo and monsters and SpongeBob parties from earlier days.
 
 
The purple poofs wouldn't have coordinated too well with
Teddy's green and brown camo soldier party, don't you think?
 
 
Caroline received many lovely gifts, but of course the boxes were her favorites.
 
 
Her first birthday cake!
 
 
It was George's 1/2 birthday, and he helped her blow out the candle.
Her first piece of cake!  She didn't know what to do with it.
Say cheese!
Hey, slide a little of that cake over here.  Help a cousin out!
 
 
Caroline asked her cousins why so many people were screaming. 
Owen explained that was just grandma trying to sing.
Caroline wasn't so sure.
 
 
At the end of the night I found Caroline studying a map.
She told me she was planning her escape.
I asked if I could go too.
She told me to clean up the purple party decorations and crawled away.

October 13, 2012

baby's 1st birthday.

Today our baby girl becomes a 1 year old!
She is a crawling, cruising, peek-a-booing, waving, babbling, joy of a little girl.
I'll post pictures of her "Purple Party" soon!
 
Photo by Kathy Wolfe

October 11, 2012

how to make a pittsburgh pirates pierogi costume.


I was asked (again!) the other day by someone who wanted to know how I made the boys' Oliver Onion and Sauerkraut Saul pierogi costumes.  I made these a few years ago, back when I vowed that I would never buy a Halloween costume.  Homemade all the way baby!  Yeah, well, that lasted 2 minutes.  So for the crafty folks like I once was, here's a tutorial to help you make a costume for the little Pirates fan in your life!
 
Supplies needed:
felt (various colors depending on the pierogi)
ribbon (I used white)
white fabric paint
felt glue
paperboard (from an old cereal box, etc.)
toilet paper roll
fiberfill
needle and thread or sewing machine

 
Start by cutting 4 pieces of light brown felt into the desired shape of a pierogi.  The shape should resemble a letter D.  Two pieces will be for the the front of the costume, and the other two pieces are for the back.  Then sew two of the pieces together, leaving a little opening to stuff with fiberfill to give it a puffy look, like this:
 
 
Then sew it shut.  Do this to the other two pieces of felt.
 
 
Next, attach two strips of black felt to the tops of the two pierogis.  This will become the "straps" that will lay across the shoulders holding the costume in place.  I used my sewing maching to make a stitch along the edges of the straps with white thread to give it a more finished look.  This isn't necessary.  Remember, I used to be crafty.  Now?  Not so much.
 
 
Also, use any ribbon you might have laying around to make ties on the sides of the costume.  This will help keep the costume in place. 
 
 
Then it's the fun part - designing!  Here is a close up of my Oliver Onion.  I used felt, felt glue and white fabric paint.  I reinforced the baseball cap and brim with paperboard.
 
 
I also cut out a toilet paper roll to reinforce the nose.
 
 
Here is a close up of Oliver's tie.
If you make a Jalapeno Hannah don't forget her hoop earrings and purse, and of course, Cheese Chester would need his big yellow cap.
 
 
When you're done you should have something that looks like this.  You can see in the picture above how I tied the sides together with the ribbon in a bow.
 
 
This is the back of the costume.  I didn't decorate the backs at all.
 
 
 When the boys wore these on Halloween night I had them wear all black clothing underneath, along with their Pirates baseball caps.  They loved wearing them, and we received so many compliments!
 
Well, I hope I inspired some Pirates fans, but now I need to get back to my online search for COOL BOYS (remember?) costumes.

October 10, 2012

beibamboo part two.

 
Another beautiful photo of Caroline taken by Kathy Wolfe for Beibamboo.

weekend trip.

My precious goobers and I at the historic Summit Inn in the Laurel Highlands.  We went fishing and caving (an interesting thing to do with a baby in a sling!) and ate lots and lots of delicious food.  Pictures coming soon!

October 6, 2012

scream.

Because it's Saturday morning at 10AM and Kevin and the boys are at hockey practice and I won't see them again until 2PM, and because I just realized I have exactly 8,800 pictures stored on my laptop, and because I think the world of my faithful readers, and because none of this together in one long sentence makes any sense, I will leave you with this:


You can blame Teddy for any nightmares this may have caused you.

October 5, 2012

gettysburg.


We took a weekend trip to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania a few weeks ago.  Gettysburg is such a quaint little town full of shops and restaurants and ghost tour after ghost tour after ghost tour, and of course, the battlefield.  Let's not forget that Teddy thinks he is a soldier, so his interest in Civil War history runs deep.

 
We did a driving tour of the battlefield and Kevin read aloud every single word of a very thorough pamphlet we picked up from the park service visitor's center.  The three boys seemed to understand it all, but I started to get confused about who was where and when and then what happened.  But I did noticed this:

 
Seriously, though, it all is truly incredible when you think about everything that happened in Gettysburg.  Such brave men!  And to battle each other face to face, hand to hand, eye to eye.  So brave.

 
The battlefield grounds are maintained by the National Park Service, and the visitor's center is fairly new and just full of information and memorabilia.  Here are the boys checking out the guns.

 
The name Jenny Wade was stuck in my head as the only civilian killed during the battle.  I mentioned this to Kevin and he looked into it and found the house where she died.  She was 20 years old and cooking in her sister's kitchen when bullets came flying right through the house.  She died immediately.  You can still see the bullet holes in the side door of the house.

 
We stayed at the Eisenhower Inn located right next to the battlefield.  Staying there took me back in time . . . but not exactly a time period in which I would like to visit . . . particularly the 1970s.  However, despite the time warp, the pool was located just outside of our room.  The boys ran back and forth and back and forth for hours.  You would have thought we were in Disney World.  They loved it so we were happy.  Kevin and I kept our negative comments about the decor to ourselves.


While we were there the boys got their National Park Service Passports stamped.  You can buy a passport at any park gift shop, and whenever you visit a National Park you can get it stamped.  I think it makes for a nice keepsake for kids to keep track of all the interesting parks they've been to.  There are so many National Parks that I hope to see in my lifetime!  This is what the passports look like:
 
 
Inside is a map of the US which is broken down into regions with every park listed as well as a little information on each one. 
 
 
You just flip to the region you want and then place your stamp!
 
 

 
 On our way home from our trip we visited the Flight 93 Memorial.  This was our second time, and the memorial is really coming together beautifully as a sacred place to honor those heroes.  It's so hard and maybe not even really productive to think about all the "what ifs" in life.  But wow, this one lives within me.  Things like this make you want to be a better person, like the heroes named on this wall:

 
We have another little weekend trip coming up next week.  This time we're going to check out a French and Indian War battlefield, Ft. Necessity, get our stamps, and stay overnight at another inevitably questionable locale. 

It's okay, though, right?  The beauty is kids don't know the difference!