Friday, November 22, 2013

Toothless Joe

It took about a week, but we've successfully gone from a wiggle to a hole.  Tonight, as we were leaving the house, A wiggled his tooth right out in a bloody mess.

I don't think I've ever seen him so proud!
Looks painful to me.
In case it's not clear, he lost the front center on our right.  The front center on the left is being pushed to the center by the clearly protruding permanent tooth. 

I recorded this in his incredibly blank in so many spots baby book, and mentioned to him that now that he grew all his teeth, he gets to lose them all, or something like that.  This, of course, led to his wanting to see himself as a teeny tiny baby and comparing how small he was then; this photo got an "I was so cute."

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

End of summer fun

Here's a post I just found that never posted!  Oops.

This week, E filled his whole potty chart,  earning a special treat (a big one...I wss thinking Sesame Place).  M said he was taking us somewhere that was a surprise!
We ended up going on our first family trip to Hershey.
It was a fun filled, incredibly frustrating day.
We hit no traffic until a long line to get into the park.  We followed parking signs, bearing left because the signs said "RV Show" to the right.  First mistake.  This took us to Chocolate World, where we were told parking is closer but double the price (I guess this happens a lot since we were given directions from here to the real lot.)  We turned around and followed these directions.  Second mistake.  Because (maybe) of the RV Show, we hit more traffic; it took an hour in total from the first park traffic we hit.  We were now hungry and frustrated.
Hershey allows kids on way more thrilling rides than other places we've been (the boardwalk namely).  E could go on all the kiddie rides and some rides considered adult elsewhere:
A could even go on an upside down roller coaster, which he's been asking about all summer.  He refused, preferring the tradituonal kiddie rides (though he did gp on the runaway train style ride his brother went on).
For the first time, we did Parent Swap so we could go on a big coaster too.  It always seemed unfair to make the boys stand In a long line to not even do a ride, but the boys were great in the line and doing this turned my mood around a ton.
But the comedy of errors wasn't over.  We had to eat.  We (foolishly, in hindsight) left the park for dinner.  Red Robin looked packed so we went to a smaller restaurant in town.  I called ahead to ask about the wait and put our name on the list, which did absolutely nothing.  After waiting 50 minutes, we took our hungry boys for drive thru.
But, despite all this, we had a great family day at a new theme park!

Ziggle Review and Stories

We've had so much fun playing with the Ziggle we received to try out from House Party, that I just wanted to share some of our videos.

(I thought he was taking a picture, not video)

Here's the boys, getting clever on how to stop fighting over the Ziggle:

(If that video had continued, you'd have seen their favorite thing to do with the toy:  crash into their toys in the living room)

And here's what I thought of it in my review for Chatterbox:
We have predominantly used this inside the house on hardwood floors.  The kids zoom through our open floor plan.  They've tried it as singles (which usually results in arguing or a parent having to set a timer) or sometimes they work as a team to get the thing going in a totally wild manner.

Mom tried it out to serious giggles for all; it was so much fun that I can understand why the kids fight over the Ziggle.

It was pretty easy to put together, though one of the caps has fallen out a few times (perhaps because of the repeated banging on the door moulding it has taken as corners are taken too narrowly...  serious fun sometimes requires makes some serious damage!).

I can't say enough good things about this toy.  It makes me want to have a home with a flat outdoor surface; this would get so much use without the previously mentioned moulding damage!  I love that this accomodates both our boys (it's listed for ages 3-8) and will do so for a really long time.

And here you can see why and where our moulding is getting damaged!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Counting man!

Look what E can do!  This evening.  

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A, age SIX! Twenty Questions

Last year, I asked A some questions.  Heres the same questions, with a few diferent answers!

Like a model; last day as a 5 year old!
Compare to last year's height!
1. What is your favorite color? Red
2. What is your favorite toy? My Transformers
3. What is your favorite fruit? strawberries
4. What is your favorite tv show? Octonauts
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? "Peanut Butter and Jelly; Shocker."
6. What is your favorite outfit? Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles shirt
7. What is your favorite game? Chess
8. What is your favorite snack? Munchkins
9. What is your favorite animal? Cheetah
10. What is your favorite song? Laurie (Berkner)
11. What is your favorite book? Captain Underpants
12. Who is your best friend? Brennan
13. What is your favorite cereal? Kix
14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Practice Soccer
15. What is your favorite drink? Juice
16. What is your favorite holiday? Birthday
17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Nothing.  Oh yeah, I take books and kiki
18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Pancakes
19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? Pizza
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? A Ninja

Thought it would be a good idea to record his signature at this point; hope this doesn't result in privacy issues after so many years of calling him "A"!

Sadly, it's the  most low key birthday EVER; M is working and we have to stay home because E is learning how to use the potty.  We are doing absolutely nothing.  We do plan to go to an amusement park for A's birthday, once this potty thing is under control, but who knows when that will be.  We also celebrated by getting Dunkin Donuts for breakfast; a first, I believe (not that they haven't HAD DD, but we've never gotten them as breakfast at home that I can recall)

We did have a few of A's school friends over for a birthday party on Saturday.  It was a drop off party and we just pulled out the pools and got some water cannons and had a ton of fun.

At 6 years old, A is kind yet bossy to his brother.  He takes great care of him, but loses patience with E's inability to share.  He loves baseball and soccer; we signed him up for karate due to his excitement about it (he chose his summer sport) but when he learned he'd have to choose between karate and soccer in the fall, he stopped wanting to go.  His reading amazes me; he is excited to read and says whatever he can read on signs, notes, etc.  He often guesses based on the first letter of a word (Sasha might be read as Santa, for example), but overall, it's really impressive.  He still needs afternoon naps, but almost always resists them.

A few weeks ago, we went to the beach and he tried Boogie boarding.  He was so excited about it, but today told me he doesn't want to do it anymore.  He also said he doesn't want to go to the beach anymore.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Birthday Stuff!

Being horrible at keeping up with this has been hard for me.  So, I took a note from Google's commercials and instead sent E a birthday email.  Here's what I wrote:

Dear E,

How is it possible that you are almost three?  
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You have been so good about learning to use the potty!  You stay dry almost all day, and USUALLY will go sit on the potty when we tell you it's time.  This weekend, you sat on a public toilet without your special seat for the first time (with lots of help from me!)  We just need to work on... well... number 2.  (Sorry to be gross and embarrassing).

Yesterday was your first swimming class in the pool without me.  I was so nervous that you would freak out, but no.  You went right in and seemed to have a great time.  I caught your eye in the door (I have to sit in the lobby) and you had a big smile on your face.  This isn't the best photo I'm sure, but it's what's handy.
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Your language has EXPLODED in recent weeks.  You are so much easier to understand, but I love the little "E-isms" like how you say "What's that noisy" instead of noise, or "I got dressed beoutyou" instead of without you.

I've attached a video of you running around in the morning from April 7.  You've taken a liking to waking up early.  I usually wake you around 6am to get ready for school, but last week you started waking around 5:30.  It got pretty annoying when you were up at 5am on Sunday morning.  Luckily you slept in a little bit today so Daddy and I were able to get ready without too much trouble.

You make me so proud.  You are such a great helper, always wanting to help with cleaning or cooking, or just doing whatever I ask of you (as long as it's not putting away your toys; this one is a struggle, I think, because you don't know where things belong).  You have a great sense of humor and are a total show off/ham.  You love to give hugs and kisses and are very generous and usually are a great sharer.

I'm so happy to know you!

For his actual birthday, E posed for this picture:

We went to the Dish Cafe for breakfast:

And then we went to another friend's birthday party!

We had a really fun day!!

But things got REALLY special yesterday for E's THIRD birthday monster bash!

I'll add those to a slideshow soon!

Thursday, March 7, 2013


This weekend, old friends came over to hang out with the boys.  They asked A what he likes to do.  A swimmer, our friend asked him how he likes swimming, and he replied that he likes it a lot.  I was flabbergasted, but he really is starting to come around to it.  He does not jump into the pool still, but as he gets better and stronger with the actual swimming, he seems to enjoy it more.

He loves baseball, though.  I can't even explain how I know that, but I'm certain he does.  It's something he just gravitates to and enjoys.

But I was shocked when we were discussing his sports selections for the spring.  He's already registered for baseball, so there wasn't a question there, but he was adamant that he wants to play basketball.  I'm pretty sure this comes from outside forces; his teacher coaches basketball and one of his friends apparently "loooooves basketball!  And football!"  Poor kid, though, the basketball class does not work well with our family's schedule, so maybe next time kid.

When offered his choices, E chose yoga.  Again, I was shocked.  This would be his first alone without a parent class, and M and I are not sure how it will go.  I believe this was A's first alone without a parent class (there are really few of these, for the kids of working parents at least, for three year olds) and it did not go well.

Next session, he will be going into a without Mom class in the pool as well.  Although it's technically a 4-5 year old class, his current teacher is willing to take him in her class since he's doing so well.  Last week, she took him away from me to see how he would do.  He did OK, but was having a rough day of not feeling so well.  Even with me, he did not really participate in the class, so I was pretty surprised he went with her at all.

Saturday, February 16, 2013


I have been in the process of re-organizing my Photobucket account, hoping to keep things in date order in some way.  I'm also running out of space, so I've been deleting duplicates, and it looks as though I've deleted or moved stuff posted to this blog.  Awesome.

So, to add to the very long list of projects to do, is to update all the photos that are now blank.

Which will probably never happen.

Sorry, future A and E, hoping to find great photos to go along with the stories.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is a really big deal when you're in Elementary or Pre-School.

For school, A was charged with decorating a heart for the class bulletin board.  He chose to use this foam robot we made last Valentine's Day, crayons, and pom poms to decorate his heart, and was thrilled at Daddy's idea to make an arrow through the heart.

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E brought home lots and lots of projects.  Here's one of them, about which he said, "look what I made!"

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For the classmates and E's teachers, we made Valentines:

 photo IMG_20130210_122952_zps688a6e28.jpg  photo IMG_20130210_122657_zpsbb3770f4.jpg

..but SOMEONE played with and lost a bouncey ball, so we instead made Hogs and Kisses for A's teachers:

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 I tried to make them a special lunch...
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but A didn't eat his, saying "I don't like peppers!"

Speaking of lunch, A told M he HAD to make me lunch for Valentine's Day, and he did.  I didn't take a picture, but I had a heart shaped grilled cheese sandwich, grape tomatoes, babybel cheese, and yogurt.  When A told me what he asked Daddy to do, he said the lunch was supposed to be a firetruck shooting water all over the sandwich.

I hope you had a wonderful and fun Valentine's Day too!

Saturday, December 8, 2012


As you no doubt know, Superstorm Sandy came to seriously mess up Nj and Ny at the end of October.

We have so much for which to be thankful in the storms wake-our home was undamaged, unlike many of our neighbors our power outtage was brief, and our parents and their homes are safe.

Of course the same is not true for many in our state; my hometown as well as much of the area I still call home has many uninhabitable homes (primary homes in most cases; while there was certainly damage to second homes and those of the rich, a lot of the devastation hit those with nowhere else to go) and the same is true in the town and area where M works.

We spoke with A about what happened; he now calls the red weather symbol for hurricane "Sandy" and seems to appreciate that there are kids like him who lost all their toys and books.  He donated a small amount of things on my first donation trip to Manahawkin but more importantly took two trips with his Dad and me to help.

Our first trip was disappointing from a helping standpoint; we arrived at noon and after some organization and directions happened, folks got on buses to distribute donations.  The problem for us was that we had to get E from school by 430 and the bus return time made that impossible.  But, we'd brought another carload of donations and supported a small restaurant in Atlantic Highlands in the process.

Since the boys were out of school longer than me, they went to volunteer again, this time organizing supplies at M's school.  A even got his picture on a school bulletin board!  He made friends with two of M's students, one of whom is becoming a penpal to him!

I feel there is so much more we could be doing, but childcare for E creates issues.  We plan to go to M's school again next week to help, and hopefully we can go down to the LBI area over winter break while E is in school.

Friday, December 7, 2012


I am so incredibly proud of A after meeting for a teacher conference last night!  He seems to be the perfect student, and his teacher remarked that he wishes he had a class full of A's.  He is proficiently reading "C" level books and is work on "D" level (the teacher said kindergarten starts at "A" level and 1st grade starts at "E" level) books.  His behavior is top notch; he is always happy to help the teacher or classmates, he is incredibly polite, and is always trying to challenge himself.

When I mentioned to the teacher that we have been hearing a lot of "I don't want to go to school," he seemed flabbergasted and said he's not seeing it at all--A is smiley from start to finish and embraces learning.  I'm hoping this is just an adjustment thing or that he picked it up from another kid and is using it in his morning tiredness.

He's excited about the Book It program, for which he has to read 16 books a month (piece-a-cake!) and draw a picture/write a sentence about one of the stories.  Here's one he drew for November; the sentence was written without any help and says "Boot and Shoe sleep in the same bed."

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

So long!

It has really been too long since I've posted!  Working has been crazy combined with the breakfast and lunch planning.

The boys are back to swimming class (well, starting in Es case).  A is doing well but is still hesitant but does well and says he's having fun.  Meanwhile, E LOVES it.  He is such a good listener on the way and gets so excited when he sees the gym.  He loves to jump in and is so willing to try in the pool.

A has transitioned to kindergarten easily and takes pleasure and pride in doing his homework.  His writing and drawing have gotten so much better in the past month.

E is also doing well in his new school.  He was having stone aggression issues a few weeks ago but had been doing better and is now getting good reports.

Things here have been busy and hectic but lots of fun!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Back to School

 Like so many other kids across the state, today was A's first day of school!

Backing up a day, though, yesterday was E's first day of school!

I was super nervous, since this was his first time in a new school but also because it was his first time being in school without A.  I was nervous for pretty much no reason!  He gets dropped off in a multipurpose room and has a blast playing with the toys for a few minutes with A while I drop off his things and then does his thing after we leave.

A went back to his old daycare center and had a good time being the big guy there.

Today, we dropped off E at his school successfully and then headed over to A's friend's house.  For some strange reason, the elementary school doesn't have before care for the first week of school and we had to find alternate arrangements.  It seems to have worked really well; A went to school with his buddy and they transitioned easily.

Showing off his mohawk.

Showing off his rocket booster shirt.

Thumbs up for Kindergarten!
Since A did thumbs up, E had to do something too.

My budding shutterbug had to take my picture.

We usually have a hard time getting out of A what he did during the day.  On the drive home, though, I asked all kinds of questions and found out that:

  • he sat on chairs and on the floor.
  • his teacher read a story, something about "I'm ready to be in kindergarten"
  • the classroom isn't very colorful, but the alphabet is across the top of the wall with animals that go along with the letters.
  • he only remembered one kid's name
  • he met the principal, but doesn't remember her name
  • he went to the gym and has 2 male gym teachers
  • he practiced fire drills (which was good because there was a real fire alarm with real firetrucks!)
  • he saw his buddy in the hall and gave him a high five
  • his buddy has a booster seat without a back
  • he ate his lunch but didn't drink his water (it was in his backpack so he didn't realize to take it to the cafeteria)
  • he ate lunch in the cafeteria
It was a great day for him, and he had a lot of fun!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Family Vacation Day 4--Toronto!

Our plan was to do Toronto on Monday, so, uh, we did Toronto on Monday.  Sick of big breakfasts, we went to the little grocery store across the street and picked up some danishes and drank the milk I had the foresight to bring from home.  In need of coffee (and not really wanting to go through the effort of brewing it in the house and then having to clean it), I went to a little coffee shop down the street for some.

We breezed across the border this time, which allowed the border agent to ask us more questions (though at least she did it with a smile; I still think the second agent we met the other day was a word that rhymes with stick).

Driving in
M was excited about going to the Hockey Hall of Fame.  I initially found it on the Disney Family Fun website, where it was listed as great to do with toddlers and school aged kids (apparently I read that wrong, as it now says good for preteens and teens--oops), so I figured I'd be entertained too.  Fortunately, M and A really enjoyed the museum, but unfortunately, E and I were sort of bored.  Don't get me wrong, it was super cool to see all the memorabilia and learn about some of the stories (this one in particular was super interesting to me), but for me, I think I'd have preferred to do something else on the list.

Patrick Roy in the same case as Bernie Parent of the Flyers?  They knew I was coming.

By the time we finished with the museum, it was time for lunch.  We checked out this place called Marche, which is right outside the hall of fame's exit.  It was a really cool cafeteria style restaurant, but it took the idea of a cafeteria and combined it with a market--food was fresh and fairly healthful, not to mention delicious.  Prices were reasonable and portions were HUGE.  Why exactly do we not have any of these in the US?

After lunch, we headed to our third Hard Rock Cafe.  Because we did not get data on our cell phones, we took the Tom Tom with us.  Our Tom Tom is notorious for not behaving, so it is of no surprise that we trekked up and down Bay Street three or four times trying to figure out where we were supposed to be going (should this happen to you, look at the directions; they'll be right, though the GPS may not know exactly where you are).

When A saw me snapping pictures on the drive in with the P&S, he wanted to take some too.  Instead, I told him he could take a picture of the very first Canadian flag he saw when we got out of the car.  Since we parked in a deck below the Hockey Hall of Fame, the first one he saw was after lunch, on said trek up and down Bay Street.

I thought the blend of architecture was amazing.  Here's an example of the very modern architecture, but there's lots of examples of some very old stuff in the city too (old, of course, being subjective; I believe they were from the mid 19th century).
We noticed that, in Toronto, people smoke a lot more than we are used to.  The European influence on their culture was really apparent to me in terms of style and also in the smoking.  I found this so interesting.

As I said, we trekked a lot on the way to and from our three destinations.  We got to see some interesting things, like this sculpture, Immigrant Family.  Of course, A wanted to have his picture taken.

I noticed several street signs like this one on our walk around town; I don't know if it was promotion for the movie or something else, but it sure was neato.  (Yes, I just said neato.  I didn't say nifty, which came to mind as an alternative).

From the Hard Rock, we headed to the CN Tower.  After waiting in quite a line to pay, we were told there was a 40 minute wait.  No problem, we said.  An hour and 45 minutes later, when we got to the elevator to go up, we were two very tired parents from chasing and entertaining two very bored little boys.
There's construction all over at the base of the CN Tower; they are building an aquarium for future visitors.

We only saw one Mountie on our trip; he was nice enough to take a photo with the boyos.
Waiting in line is boring; looking out a window at weeds is exciting, especially when you're parents have said you'll be seeing cool stuff out of windows.

I am not a nearly skilled enough photographer to make this work, but that's our feet on the glass floor of the CN Tower.  My leg is at 6 o'clock, M is to my left, E's two feet are at noon, and A's foot is between E's foot and mine.

I had a mixed review of the Tower.  I really wasn't all that impressed, probably because I was so put off by the long long line but really, while it was cool, it was expensive and not all that impressive.  The elevator ride (super fast up something like 150 floors) was cool, and the boys enjoyed looking out the windows and the floor window!  I had a minor panic attack when we reached the top, totally expecting a Tower of Terror elevator moment (yes, I realize I was not strapped in and that I was not at an amusement park, but I almost screamed as I waited a second for the drop).

In short, we had a great time (though frustrating with the lack of directions) in Toronto, but one day is definitely not enough time.  I am bummed we didn't make it to the Royal Ontario Museum or the Ontario Science Centre, not only because I would have enjoyed it, but also because I know the kids would have as well and they might not enjoy it as much at an older age.  M was also disappointed we didn't make it to a ball game (crossing a field off our list of baseball field visiting); I vetoed the idea because there was so little time to explore the city and so many things we wanted to do.  So, next time we go to Toronto, we'll need to go for TWO days and see everything we want to see!

Surprisingly, not sleeping boys photo from this day.  What was I thinking????

One more day, and it's a travel day....