Thursday, October 30, 2008

Preschool Halloween Parade

Today was Audrey's Halloween parade/party at preschool. I'm sure I'll post some pics in the next few days of Audrey and Carter and all their little friends trick or treating, but here's a sneak peek of Audrey's costume. I love this costume. It's not very "creative" but I didn't have to do anything but buy it on clearance two days after Halloween last year! Plus it's warm, and she can get it off in a jiffy if necessary!

Who knew that a cat and unicorn would be such great friends! :)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Hooray for New Hairdos!

You know, when I first found out that the squirmy being inside my belly was a little girl, I dreamed of all the little girl stuff I would enjoy ... pretty dresses, princesses, coloring books, shopping together, baking yummy stuff together, and last but not least - creating cute hairstyles with bows and ribbons and curling irons with my little lady.

Well, some of those dreams have come true. Audrey loves anything arts and crafts, dresses up like a princess, enjoys helping me bake (ok, she likes licking bowls, but she'll come around ...), but the hair thing.... let's just say that she has been less than enthusiastic about letting me touch her hair. It had gotten to the point where I just totally gave up trying to coerce her into letting me style it. Even running a comb through it would elicit sounds of screeching that most women only make while in labor or something. Argh. So I had resigned myself to having the girl who just wore a headband every day. I was tired of the fight, although I would look at Audrey's friend Kaitlyn's hair and sigh. Her mom Kelly is a hair stylist, and Kaitlyn always has good hair. Audrey's hair often looked like a nest, but what could I do? I figured some day she would give a hoot about her hair style. Just not right now.

Fast forward to Wednesday night. Audrey had "picture day" at school on Thursday and after carefully navigating the "what outfit to wear" discussion, I said "so, do you just want to wear a headband tomorrow?" Then I said tentatively "you know, you're hair is long enough now, we could try braids ... Emma wears cute braids, Kessa wears cute braids, Kaitlyn wears cute braids..." Audrey perked up, so I said - "I could just try them out now if you want?"

She actually let me do it. And got more and more excited as I showed them to her. Even Chad came in and said "Those braids look really cute Audrey!" (Although with Audrey you have to be careful about the compliments, too many compliments make her suspicious!) By the end she said excitedly "I want to wear braids tomorrow for my picture!" I tried not to whoop for joy out loud. :) So ... she wore braids in her hair for her school picture. [Although all morning I thought to myself - I hope those braids are staying in! She has that fine, thin hair like her momma ...]

So now braids are the hairdo du jour in this house. Guess what she wanted again today? Braids. I should be careful what I wish for... now we'll probably have to get up ten minutes earlier every day just to put braids in ... well, I'm just happy for the change. But I now wonder what her next hairdo obsession will be ...

Of course Audrey can't pose for a camera without making a face these days ...

Best buds coloring together (and Audrey making her bro laugh his head off)

Just because he's so cute too! :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


So. Over the past couple weeks I have been emailing (via facebook, my new favorite addiciton, I mean, WEBSITE) with an old friend from high school, Kris. We have been talking about having a high school reunion. Believe it or not (it's hard for me to believe!), next year it will be 20 years since we graduated from Plumstead Christian School in 1989 .... 20 years. Our class has never had a reunion. But now, in the age of facebook and the internet, it just seems much more feasible that we could find many of our former classmates. As it is, I have found about 10 of our 58 former classmates just on facebook.

HOWEVER, I have a few problems.
1. My partner in crime, Kris, lives in British Columbia, CANADA. As in, the province between Washington State and Alaska. Pretty far away to be helping me much with the planning here. Although, I do have a couple friends from high school in the area who could help ...

2. Although facebook and the infamous "google search" are helpful, there are still those who will be hard to find ... especially those who have married names like "Amy Smith" .... you couldn't find me on the internet if you wanted to...

3. What the heck do you do at a high school reunion? I don't want to stand around in uncomfortable clothes with everyone trying to act like they have it all together ... I'd rather keep it real. But I would want it to be fun too ... but I don't feel like I'm a fun party planner type person....

4. The other major problem is ... umm, well, I don't want to be in charge of it. Yeah, I guess that's a problem.

SO. My question to any readers out there is: Have you been to a reunion? What did you do at your "reunion"? What did you like about it or not like about it? I am looking for your help here so anything you could add would be great ...

Thanks in advance!!

PS - Sure wish I could post some old pics from my high school days ... but I don't have a scanner or the right technology to do so! You would, like, totally LOVE my big 80's hair and "totally awesome to the max" clothing!! EEK!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Crazy Carter

Lately, Carter has a thing with sunglasses. Here he is yesterday, trying on Chad's sunglasses.

Here he is today, trying on Audrey's sunglasses ...
He has also made off with my real glasses and I had trouble finding them. I even had to root through the garbage to make sure he hadn't thrown them out ... so now I keep them out of reach. (I also have to hide my contacts because he has lost one of those as well. Grr.)

Last night we gave Carter a bath. Chad got him in his jammies and he was playing a bit before bed. We hadn't emptied the water out of the tub, because Audrey was getting in soon after him, and rather than refill the tub, we just have both kids use the same bath water (and hope that Carter didn't pee in the bathtub ...) Anyhow, at one point, I heard a thud come from the bathroom, and then a splash. When I went to see what happened, this is what I saw:

I think he was reaching for a toy and fell in. That or he just really wanted to play in the water more! The funniest thing to me is that he didn't cry or yell out or anything. Just sat up in the water and started playing! :) What a crazy kid.

Fun with Grandpa

This past week, we had a visit from Chad's dad, aka "Grandpa," who was in town for a conference. We didn't have a lot of time together, but the time we did have was lots of fun. The kids really enjoyed having Grandpa here!

Audrey & Carter having fun playing with Grandpa.

On Friday, Chad took the day off and we went to the Strasburg Railroad out near Lancaster.

Grandpa & Carter next to the steam engine

Taking a ride in the coach car

Carter & Daddy

Me & Carter, who is more interested in an apple than a photo op.

It was a fun day. I'd love to go back to the railroad when the kids are older and would enjoy it more fully (and when I can go through the gift shop without holding a wiggly toddler who just wants to run around). We did have a broken ornament incident in the gift shop but Carter was not to blame. However, this was a great teaching opportunity for Audrey. We had to go to the gift shop worker and explain what happened, apologize, and pay for the broken item. Don't think she'll be touching stuff in stores for awhile now ...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Chad is glad ...

.... that for once his wife will watch baseball with him!

The Phillies are in the World Series!! Go Phils!

"The Phillie Phanatic" for those of you who have no clue what this green thing in shoes is!

Monday, October 13, 2008

A BUSY weekend!! But fun ... :)

We had a very busy weekend. On Saturday I took Audrey & Carter to a birthday party while Chad got the house ready for an overnight visit from his Uncle Bob. HOW, you may ask, did we manage to house an overnight visitor in our torn-apart basement? Especially since this is what it looked like only a few weeks ago:

Well, Chad has been busy. And while the basement is not finished, a good amount of work has been completed and this is where it stands now:
Coming along, don't you think?

And this is our downstairs bathroom now. I don't know if we have a "before" picture, but suffice it to say: This bathroom was ugly with a capital "U".

We had a fun Saturday evening with Chad's family: Uncle Bob (in from NC), Uncle Jim & Aunt Sherry (in from Delaware), his cousin Nicole, and his cousin Deanna (w/ husband Matt & kids Olivia and Owen). Deanna & Matt live here in Phoenixville and hosted our get-together! The kids had a great time running around like banshees. (Except for Carter, who was pretty much sick with a cold. Poor Carter!)

Uncle Bob brought his balloon-making equipment that he had used on a mission trip to Romania. He made Audrey a whole butterfly balloon "outfit" and left the balloon stuff for us to enjoy. I took a crash course in balloon animal making and put my newfound knowledge to immediate use (kind of!) as you'll see further down. :)

While everyone went to church Sunday morning, I took Carter (who was too germy to go to church) to Valley Forge Park for a nice long walk in the BEAUTIFUL 70 degree fall weather.

On Sunday afternoon, we went to our 2nd "annual" neighborhood fall party, hosted by our neighbors, the Zinks! We all had a great time. Thank you Brian & Karen!

As you can see, we definitely live in Eagles country ...

I brought the balloon stuff to the party. The kids were all excited until I proceeded to pop just about every balloon I tried to make into an animal! :( Fortunately, Julie has some experience with balloon animal making. She quickly became the balloon artist, while I just blew the balloons up for her. As one little girl (who will remain nameless) said: "Ask Miss Julie to make your animal; Miss Amy pops them all!" :)

Audrey & Emma eating yummy treats. There were LOTS of yummy treats. I don't think many kids ate dinner last night ...

Audrey & her decorated pumpkin.

Carter & Daddy. Carter enjoyed the treats too. They were all on a table RIGHT at his level, so every time I turned around, he was stuffing something else into his mouth ...

Chad gave some of the kids a "hay ride".

The non-haunted haunted house.

The whole group with their pumpkins :) Aren't they an adorable bunch (okay, minus Chad and Brian, aren't they an adorable bunch???)

Hmmm ... more evidence of cupcake snatching...

Making a scarecrow


Carter's favorite use for the hay ...

In summary: A great weekend with family and friends.

But I am now officially pooped...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Another good read

I love a good read, and some of the books I read are just what I call "fluffy fun" books. But I particularly enjoy books that also teach me something, especially about how others in the world live. This past week I read A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier. If you are fretting over the turn of events in the stock market, read this book. You will realize how darn good you have it, even if your 401K took a nosedive over the past few weeks... some books just put things in perspective for you.

Here is a copy of a review from Publishers Weekly:

From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. This absorbing account by a young man who, as a boy of 12, gets swept up in Sierra Leone's civil war goes beyond even the best journalistic efforts in revealing the life and mind of a child abducted into the horrors of warfare. Beah's harrowing journey transforms him overnight from a child enthralled by American hip-hop music and dance to an internal refugee bereft of family, wandering from village to village in a country grown deeply divided by the indiscriminate atrocities of unruly, sociopathic rebel and army forces. Beah then finds himself in the army—in a drug-filled life of casual mass slaughter that lasts until he is 15, when he's brought to a rehabilitation center sponsored by UNICEF and partnering NGOs. The process marks out Beah as a gifted spokesman for the center's work after his "repatriation" to civilian life in the capital, where he lives with his family and a distant uncle. When the war finally engulfs the capital, it sends 17-year-old Beah fleeing again, this time to the U.S., where he now lives. (Beah graduated from Oberlin College in 2004.) Told in clear, accessible language by a young writer with a gifted literary voice, this memoir seems destined to become a classic firsthand account of war and the ongoing plight of child soldiers in conflicts worldwide. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

I cannot even fathom what it must be like to live in a country torn apart by civil war. I cannot even imagine what it would be like to be separated from my children. I cannot even understand the horror of watching people die, running for my life, hiding from rebels, etc. It makes me so sad for every mother who has endured this kind of awful tragedy. It makes me cry for those children who wander around terrified and lost from their parents and families.

For me, reading a book like this one leads me to be so grateful for the peace we have here in the US. It also renders most of what I deem to be "tragic" as really ... not so bad after all. If you read it (or have read it), tell me what you think.

I was so interested in learning about the civil wars in Africa that I have moved on to the book What Is the What by Dave Eggers. This is a novel, but it is based on the real-life story of the Lost Boys of Sudan. I'm only part way through this one, but so far, I'd recommend it too.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Apples, apples everywhere

Again this fall we were off to the apple orchard for some apple picking fun! This year we invited our new friends, Rand & Kaylee Wagner (and their boys Brendan and Wyatt) to come with us. They recently moved to the area from Phoenix, Arizona, and Rand is the new outreach pastor at our church, Grace Valley Fellowship. We are so glad they are here and are enjoying getting to know them better. As usual, we had a great time, and we savored the fall weather, the fellowship, and of course, eating the apples.

Carter, eating his first of many apples

Audrey picks a few. She could actually reach them this year!

The fam

This picture cracks me up. The expressions on Brendan & Wyatt's faces is priceless!
They weren't too sure about caterpillars, but Audrey was trying to show them that they were fuzzy and fun!

After lunch we checked out the farm animals. Carter was most fascinated by all the chickens, but here he is checking out a horse.

Apples = $15.
Cider = $3
Sleeping child = Priceless!

Today Audrey and I decided to use up some of the apples by making caramel apples (next is muffins and applesauce and apple crisp ... MMM!)

Finished product!

I love this time of year, and as my friend Karen said in her blog, one of the great things about having your own family is the joy of creating your own traditions. For us, every fall includes apple-picking, and I look forward to the fun we'll have each year!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Bad Mommy

Can I just start today over? I'm tired, Audrey falls apart every time she's frustrated or doesn't get her way, Carter is leaving a path of destruction everywhere he goes, and thus, I am impatient and yelling and not too pleasant to be around. I want a do-over. Or what do they call it in golf? A mulligan? Yes, that's what I want, a mulligan for today.

Forgive me kids, I am certainly not reflecting God's love and kindness toward you today... :(

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Shopping adventures

Okay ... this is a really shallow post.

I found a new favorite store today ... drumroll please ... SUPER-WALMART! Well, at least the new Super-Walmart in King of Prussia. There are many Super-Walmarts that are not so thrilling (I'm sure we've all been in those ...), but this one is shiny and new, with big wide aisles and everything a stay-at-home mom like me could want! I even think I may start doing my grocery shopping there. The prices were good and my last trip to my usual grocery store entailed a 30 minute wait to check out. (I'm not kidding on that one. Try standing in line with a 20 month old for 30 minutes and you will know what hell is like ...)

You can tell it's a new store because every single employee said hi to me, I was asked if I needed help loading my stuff into the car, and someone even came and took my cart (while apologizing for startling me). GREAT customer service, at least for now. But I'll take it!

One other funny detail that I personally found hilarious: In the family bathroom there is the usual toilet, and next to it is a little toilet for little kids (ie, one foot off the ground)! I personally don't know if the little potty is a great thing or a terrible thing. All I could picture is Carter splashing around in it! But he was good and refrained from doing so. He was much more interested in pulling toilet paper off the roll and throwing it in the big toilet ... AARGH.

Happy shopping everyone! :)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

More side effects?

Last night I was up in the night with Audrey. Four times in the span of an hour, not that I was counting or anything ... but I do have to let Chad know how much he "owes me" the next day for all my lack of sleep suffering ...

In the past week, Audrey has woken up in the night on probably 3 or 4 nights. "I have to go to the bathroom." "I heard a funny noise." "My foot is hurting." etc. This is my child that almost never wakes up once she's asleep. Last night she also mentioned that she had a hard time falling asleep as well. So I'm not sure what's up, but after a little research, I think it could be another side effect of her meds. I'm giving it the month until her next appointment so that I can go to the doctor with my documented observations, and so that I can truly say that I feel it is a side effect, and not just weird five year old behavior. If you think about it, say a prayer for us that we would have wisdom about this. I know it is a small thing in the scope of things, but I want to do the best thing for Audrey.

Change of subject here ... but Carter is learning to identify some letters! I think it's kind of funny that the two he recognizes are "X" and "O" - aka kisses and hugs!! :) Fitting for my affectionate little boy.