picking pumpkins...or the day my two became best friends

Saturday, October 26, 2013

You know those days where you sit on the couch at the end of the day, and the kids are sleeping in their rooms, and you're pretty sure time did something screwy and the day was actually 30 hours long and not 24? (Pardon the run-on...my degree was in communications, not English.) Today was one of those days. 

The morning started off by taking S to the farmer's market and running some errands while we were out.  While in the car, I asked her if she knew where we were going. She said, "Car. Popeye? Tetas?" We've been talking about our trip to Texas next month, and I've had to remind her a few times that we can't drive to Texas right now. It was cute thought. (Oh, and Popeye is what she calls her Poppy that lives in Texas.)

So we got to the store, and for some reason, some people just rub S the wrong way, and today we met one of those people. S had been perfectly happy until one saleslady wanted to touch her and play with her. 

"She must be hungry, " she said when S started whimpering and covering her eyes.
"No, I don't think so. She's just shy sometimes."
"Huh. You don't get out much then do you?"
"We get out every single day. Every. Day."
I love when strangers assume things about my parenting.

Anyway...we still had to run to the post office and I wasn't sure how S would manage since she was going on twenty minutes of straight sobbing. It wasn't the angry-whiny cry. It was the "I'm really uncomfortable and sorta scared, mama" cry. I was able to distract her by having her point out letters that we saw. This girl is all about her letters lately and she is getting so good! Then she got sad again and I told her we would go home soon and see Dada. She then said, "Gaco?" I assured her that yes, we would see Pato, too. Finally, we got home and we told her she could help us get Pato from his room. She ran in yelling, "Gaco! Gaco!" She loves her brother so so much. 
We then hopped in our car, and took the ferry over to Surry to pick some pumpkins. It was suuuper windy and I actually thought one of my kids was going to get blown over. We all survived, and the only person who fell over was J, but that wasn't from the wind. He just falls a lot. I call him Mr.Bump.
As soon as we got out of the car, we just let these two run wild. They loved getting dirty and S definitely got pumpkin guts all over her boots. I think I also caught J poking at some guts, too.
And the moment C and I agreed these two had definitely become best friends:
I am lucky.

***

P.S. Pato had his first taste of ice cream today. It was a hit! (And that was the quietest I've seen S in a while. No time to talk. Just eat!)

iphone dump

Monday, October 21, 2013





a muffin and a lesson

Reason #289 why we don't give this girl sweets: she would want them all the time! We made pumpkin muffins together a couple of mornings ago, and this girl was so excited to eat one that she ate half the wrapper. Did not even flinch.

In other news...
Yesterday was my first time ever teaching primary at church. I teach five year olds, and after just one day together, I can already tell I'll most likely learn more from them than they from me. (Sorry, parents. You probably thought your kids were going to learn something from me. You've been fooled.)

So, yesterday we were talking about how we should do our best to serve others. We talked about how when we do nice things for others, it makes us feel good. Or as one girl put it, nice, good, AND warm. I told them the story of the Good Samaritan, and I had the class act it out. To see the faces of of the kids acting out the parts of the priest and the Levite totally got to me. I had to remind them that those two people did not help the injured man, and I could see in their faces that they so badly wanted to help. They didn't need me to teach them that helping others is what we should do. They knew that already. 

Later on in the lesson I gave them different scenarios and asked them what was the right thing to do in each. I asked them what they would do if a new neighbor moved in from another country, and they were lonely because they did not speak English very well. One little boy said, "Oh! I know! Maybe we could try to learn how to speak THEIR language!" How absolutely great is that?! He didn't say, "Let's teach them to speak English better." (Which, I think is a fine answer, as well.) But, instead, he suggested learning more about the other person. 

My El Salvadoran grandmother has lived in this country for over thirty years. Her English is very broken, even after taking English classes. She is uncomfortable in public when only English is spoken. But, like many, she has been expected to "just learn the language." There are so many non-Spanish speaking people missing out knowing this great lady because of the language barrier. So, excuse my boldness, but why don't we go out and just learn another language. I know there are millions who would really appreciate that. And hearing that little boy's answer yesterday gave me hope for the future, and for the present. I am grateful for parents who teach and set good examples for their children. You are raising GOOD people.

I hope and pray that I can do my best to raise such good people, too. 

A little dose of Vitamin J.

Sunday, October 20, 2013



You can never have too much of it, after all.

Sleepy Hollow

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Before heading back home to VA, we took the kids (and my youngest brother) to Sleepy Hollow. It was fun to explore the cemetery at the Old Dutch church and I think the kids thought it was one giant playground. They loved running around and squeezing in between headstones. We were probably the most irreverent ones there, so I would like to make a public apology on their behalf. 

I am so very sorry my kids trampled all over your graves. They sure did enjoy themselves. So...ya know...thanks for that. 
American flags were placed next to graves of Revolutionary War veterans.
While the leaves were not at their peak, the weather was crisp enough to make up for the lack of color. I would love to go back again at night someday for the full spooky effect. 
I should mention that the headless horseman bridge was a bit of a letdown. Did anyone ever watch the headless horseman episode of "Are You Afraid of the Dark?" Well, let's just say THAT bridge was a lot cooler and Nickelodeon set my expectations way too high. P.S. That show was the bomb. P.S.S "The bomb" is not part of my regular vocabulary but I have to make exceptions for 90's tween shows. 
Oh, and if the day couldn't get any better, we got Shake Shack on the way home. I will challenge anyone who says any other burger is better. Because it's not. If I weren't already married I would probably marry a Shackburger. I told my brother to give me his best Shakeshake selfie and I got this. Well, no. I got another one, but this was the best shot. The other one had "too-cool-teenage-boy" written all over it.

forever young

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Two days ago, it was the International Day of the Girl. I'm a bit late because I felt there was so much I wanted to say. About my dreams for this girl of mine and what I hope she will learn. As I listened to C sing her one of her favorite songs before her nap today, I realized Bob Dylan had already said everything my heart felt.  And this song is especially special to our family because we listened to it over and over again while I was pregnant with her. It was the song we played in the car when we brought both our babies home from the hospital. My heart still aches a happy ache every single time I hear it because I hope and pray every single day that my children know just how much I love them. I need them to know that. I need them to know that I want the world for them, and I know they were born to do great things. 
May God bless and keep you always. May your wishes all come true.
May you always do for others and let others do for you.
May you build a ladder to the stars and climb on every rung.
May you stay forever young.
May you grow up to be righteous. May you grow up to be true.
May you always know the truth and see the lights surrounding you.
May you always be courageous, stand upright and be strong.
May you stay forever young.
May your hands always be busy, may your feet always be swift.
May you have a strong foundation when the winds of changes shift.
May your heart always be joyful, may your song always be sung.
May you stay forever young.
Forever young, forever young.
May you stay forever young.

picking some apples

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

My kids love apples. Give them an apple and they will be happy (and quiet) for awhile. So, when my brother (who is a senior in high school) asked if he could play hooky so we could take the kids to go apple picking I gave him my full sisterly permission to skip school. Oh, and my mom said it was fine, too. 
We drove to Hill View Farms, which is about fifteen minutes from my parents home in New Jersey. Before I go on....anyone who sneers and says New Jersey is an ugly state cleaaaarly has no idea what they are talking about. I would think twice before trusting such a naysayer. ever.again. Anyway...yes. The weather was beautiful, the sun was out and S was in a great mood following an awesome play date with her friend, Penny. They played and held hands and it felt so good for this mama to see her little girl make a friend. 
Yeah, that's my mom. She's a babe, huh? Doesn't look a day over thirty.
S and her school-skippin uncle.
So, when we got to the orchard, S was overjoyed to be in apple heaven. She didn't quite understand the apple picking part, but had the "throw it in the basket" part down. J wasn't too sure about the tall grasses, and pretty much wanted to be held. No matter. He had three adults more than willing too. (Sigh... It's so good to be around family.) 
What was neat about this farm is that they also had chickens walking around as well as peacocks. J looked at them intently and S made sure they didn't get too close. She is not an animal person (unless they are a safe distance away) and it will be interesting to see how J turns out. 
Anyone else think I look like a beekeeper here? One hundred percent not offended if you think so because I one hundred percent agree.
We all went home feeling tired, but the good kind. And, of course, in addition to the deliciously perfect apples, we came home with apple cider, doughnuts (I hear they are good....I'm not a doughnut person...as much as I try over and over again) and pumpkin butter. Ah. Fall! Fall. Fall. I love ya. 
No idea what my mom's doing in this picture, but we're just going to go with it.
Really wishing Dada could have joined us, but we have a fun day trip planned for when he returns. 

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