Sunday, December 28, 2008

Happy anniversary to me

Happy First Anniversary to Peanuts and Pumpkins!
(Can you tell they are excited about it?!?)

It's a bit hard to believe, but today marks my first anniversary of this blog. It's a bit funny to me that prior to one year ago, I never thought about whether parts of my life were"blog-worthy," and I certainly didn't have the creative outlet that I have found through blogging. A few years ago, I thought the word "blog" itself was a bit strange, and I falsely assumed that the people who had them must be somewhat self-important. I have since embraced term and the other blogs which I frequent have brought me both laughter and friendship throughout this past year.

So, in honor of my anniversary, I would like to thank each and every one of you who visit my blog. Whether you ended up here on accident, you read habitually and never comment, or you are one of my faithful commenters, please leave a comment if you are reading this. According to my Stat Counter, there are more visitors here than there are commenters, which is okay by me. I used to be a "lurker" myself and rarely commented on the blogs I read until I felt comfortable. But now is your chance! Let me know you were here and how you got here (if you remember). Feel free to also comment about anything else you want. Just comment! And if you have a blog, I promise to visit and comment, too. Let's see if you can beat the highest record of comments I have had on any one post: 13. I know you can! I have faith in my readers. :) And if you are a blog novice like I used to be, never fear. I have instructions on how to comment here.

Now let the comments begin! (And the thanks will most certainly follow!)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

My Christmas Chipmunk

For your viewing pleasure, here is Pumpkin imitating a famous chipmunk. He is feeling much better now, thank you very much.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

'Twas the Night Before Christmas Eve*

*unfortunately, this is a true story

'Twas the night before Christmas Eve
When all through our house
Many creatures were still stirring
Daddy even caught a mouse. (Eeew!)

Little Pumpkin was sent home early
From his family daycare
And Daddy hoped that Mommy
Soon would be there.

For while the children were napping
All snug in their beds
Evidence of Pumpkin's illness
Was there on his threads.

On his clothing, his mittens
His coat and his cap,
We knew the stomach bug
Had lived way past his nap.

We tried to offer light food
When he wanted to eat
But he said it tasted funny
Even his very favorite treat.

After a bath and some books
Bedtime drew near
I sang him his lullaby
And said, "I love you, my dear."

A few hours later
I heard sad toddler chatter
I jumped up from giftwrapping
To see what was the matter.

Pumpkin sat up in his crib
And he started to cry
He had gotten sick once again
The poor little guy.

When I finally decided
To get to into my bed
I was feeling uneasy
"So much to do," I said.

But at four in the morning
I flew to the bathroom door
All of the sudden it just hit me
Thank goodness for linoleum floor.

I had to write lesson plans
Since I couldn't go to work
And Eric got a mop
While I felt like a jerk.

I'm no good with stomach bugs
The sight makes me faint
One more reason I am grateful
I married a true saint.

And I heard Eric exclaim
As he walked out of sight,
"I'm sleeping in the guest room,
Until you're all right!"

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Surprise! It's not your birthday...

Tim, Eric, Rick, and Ray

So, speaking of my husband (well, we were -- last week, anyway), I would never want you to think that I didn't bring my A-game for his big milestone day. I wanted to surprise him, but having thrown him a surprise 30th birthday party, I really didn't want to do the same kind of thing. Plus, we have two little children now, so I was not about to have a party here while they attempted to sleep. So I had to come up with something original, special, and out of the house. Not an extremely easy feat, I promise you.

It all started clicking when Eric saw that one of his very favorite comedians would be performing in our area late September. I told him I would take him to dinner and buy the tickets for him as an early birthday present and that I would ask his mom (a.k.a. Gemma) to babysit. As far as he knew, that was his big birthday bash. But he was wrong.

My husband rarely gets to see his best friends from high school and college since we don't live near them. All of them are scattered around several different states. That goes for his younger brother as well; he is the captain of a ship, so he is always traveling. We hardly ever get to see any or all of them, so to have them in the same place at the same time to celebrate Eric's big day with us would just be a wonderful gift, right? So, I invited all of them to meet us at the restaurant and come to the show with us. And after all, I was trying to do something memorable for his big day. Original? Check. Special? Check. Out of the house? Check.

I wish you could have seen his face when he saw his best out-of-town friends and his brother yell, "Surprise!" when we came into the restaurant. Especially since it was over two months until his actual birthday. But hey, that's a minor detail, I figured. Besides, getting everyone together in December would have proven to be much more difficult. So, surprise, Honey! It's your birthday party two months early. No wonder he never suspected a thing.

All of us at dinner
(Yes, I am making another rare appearance on my own blog.)

The show was one of the funniest I think I have ever seen. You may not know who Patton Oswalt is by name, but you may know him from television shows such as "The King of Queens" and from his voice-over work as the main character, Remy, in the children's film, Ratatouille.

Patton Oswalt

I had contacted the manager of the theater months in advance to set up a "meet and greet" with Patton, and after explaining the special night I had planned for Eric, she seemed on board to try and make that happen. My directions were to find Ms. Very Important by the stage right ushers when I got there to learn if Patton had agreed to meet with us. The manager seemed optimistic when she called earlier that afternoon, so I admit that my hopes were high. So you can imagine that I was a bit annoyed when Ms. Very Important said that Patton wasn't feeling well, but he would sign a program for Eric. Boo! I was truly disappointed and figured he was blowing us off because we were lowly Delaware peons. No, it turns out that he was so sick that at times he joked that he was coughing up different lifeforms. He even took his medication on stage because "it was time." By this time, he had totally gained my respect back even though he wouldn't see us; I was surprised that anyone would continue on with a show who was that obviously ill. And anyway, serious flu germs weren't on the list of items I had planned to get Eric for his birthday.

Outside of the theater

So, there you have it, folks. This was my big tribute to my wonderful husband's 40th birthday evening. Yeah, I am posting this a little late. But since I surprised him two months early, now that I am writing about it two months later makes it all even out, don't you think?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Flashback Friday: Christmas 2006

We parents all know the drill. Sometime in November, we find the perfect matching or coordinating outfits (or -- depending on your level of perfectionism -- the perfect outfit that is currently not in the dirty laundry) for our little ones, and then we proceed to act like complete idiots. And by we, I of course mean the fathers of the family. At least that's the drill in this family; I am the picture-taker and my husband is the smile-maker. However, I had only had to acquire "the perfect holiday picture" with one toddler before the one below. I realized I would have my work cut out for me with a three and a half-year-old and an eight month-old, but I had no idea. Most of the pics of Pumpkin had his ubiquitous drool dripping down his chin. And Peanut had no problem showing his boredom at the entire process after just a few shots. After this attempt, we did seek professional [photography] help. But I'm sure my husband would have agreed to professional help of the other persuasion if he heard me utter, "Just one more shot, Honey" while he continued his best monkey impression for shot #82.

Below is the cream of the crop from 2006. And frankly, after looking through all of the "rejects," I had no idea how increasingly difficult it would become to get good shots when they became their current ages of two and a half and five and a half. Even the ones we vetoed back in the below shoot look fairly decent next to the ridiculous faces Peanut has now decided are more fun, and the drool of Pumpkin's yesteryear has now been replaced by a constant runny nose (which is even less forgivable when captured on film). But thank heaven for matching sweaters and hats. Those outfits really do make all of the frustration of getting a semi-respectable picture worth the hassle.

Did you get a Christmas picture of your family or children this year? I'd love to hear about it. And by the way, those of you with more than two children who send a Christmas photo where all children are looking in the same direction immediately get my vote for sainthood.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Flashback Friday: My Hubby

Look at that cute little baby face. Today is a big day for that little boy below; it is his birthday. And it's not just any birthday. It's a milestone birthday. Most people would never believe it if I told them how old he is. I mean, look at that sweetheart. How old could he possibly be?

Well, I'll give you some hints: He is old enough to be married with two children. No help? Okay, he grew up playing Atari, he listened to AC/DC as a teenager, and he still loves the television show, M*A*S*H. He is also older than I am (sorry, Hon, I had to throw that in there). But it doesn't matter; he still has that cute baby face all these years later. I picture us walking hand in hand when we're in our eighties and people thinking I caught myself a younger man.

So go ahead and leave a comment and guess how old my wonderful husband is today. And if you wanna give him a birthday present, visit his blog and leave him a comment, too. I'm sure that would make his big day even better!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Define "gift"...

Since it is now the gift-giving season, I thought I would share with you a gift I recently received in the mail. Remember when you were a teenager and all of the mail came for your parents? Remember how exciting it was to get a real, honest-to-God letter addressed to you? Or better yet, a surprise package with your name on it in the midst of all those credit card statements and junk mail for your dad? That's how I felt when I found this adorable addition to my own bill-filled mailbox. It did not have a company name on the return label -- simply an address. But it came in such a cute floral and polka-dotted box that I felt sort of silly because I was so anxious to see what was inside.

I really should have known better. But after all, I am an optimist. I try not to be cynical. I should have noticed that symbolically colored dot in the exclamation point. But I didn't. I just curiously opened the package, awaiting my surprise and the fitting gift just for me.

And what a cute play on words! I'm always up for a good pun. Fit to be tried! Hey, that's punny, right? So, what is this surprise that I can try? New shampoo? Body lotion? Cute miracle trouser socks that will make my feet hurt less at the end of each day? I opened the package with anticipation. are kidding, right?!?!? THIS is what passes as a "gift" these days? I mean, I know that times are tough, but seriously? Hmmph. Well, I guess I won't be re-gifting this one. All I know is it truly is better to give than to receive.

And just in case you are feeling like you just can't find that perfect present for someone, you will know that -- unless you give the one pictured above -- your gift-giving efforts are bound to be more appreciated than this "gift" was.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Flashback Friday: Thanksgiving

I decided to start a new feature on my blog that I will deem "Flashback Friday." I am a sentimental soul at heart who loves to reminisce by looking at old pictures, so I decided it might be fun to include some of those past memories here. I can't guarantee I will add a new post each and every Friday, but I can tell you that if the responses are positive, I will most certainly try. So with that, I bring to you my very first entry in this new category.

Peanut the Pilgrim, age 3, with preschool turkey art

Pumpkin the Turkey, age 8 months

Hope everyone had a blessed Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pumpkin's fitting obsession

UPDATE: Check out the first comment for this post. I was FLOORED. The author of the Spookley book and writer of the film described in the post below, Joe Troiano, found my blog. Talk about making someone's week!

ORIGINAL POST: Don't break it to my pumpkin that most people only read and sing about pumpkins in October. He and his brother became very attached to a movie called Spookley the Square Pumpkin earlier this fall and continued to watch it all through the Halloween season and into late November.

It's a predictable but cute story of a little square pumpkin who is teased because of his shape but ultimately teaches everyone that it's good to be different (remind anyone of a well-known red-nosed reindeer story?). It is based on the book of the same name, and the lonely extra on the DVD is a reading of the story, page by page. So, when I found the book for a steal (just $1.00!), I knew my little ones would be excited.

I didn't anticipate, however, what a fan little Pumpkin had become. He wanted all Spookley, all the time. No other television viewing was allowed. The book needed to be read over and over ad nauseum to satisfy his thirst for Spookley. And each reading of the story needed to be followed by a serenade of the "The Spookley Song." Yes, the movie is a musical (and the music is actually tolerable until about the 857th time). The cutest song of the bunch is a melancholy little tune called "If I Was Round" in which Spookley sings: "If I was round/ I would be/More like them/And less like me/And maybe I/Would have a friend/If I was round/If I was more like them." (Hearing Pumpkin sing every line of that one nearly melted my heart.) But I knew this obsession needed to be curtailed when Pumpkin decided he would sleep with his Spookley book, open to his favorite pages.

Hi, I'm Pumpkin, and I am reading my favorite pages of Spookley.

Wanna see?

Here, get a good look!

After a while, I started enthusiastically encouraging other books so that he could enjoy other stories, too. But I had to include the video I filmed of him one night after reading the book when he sang every word of "The Spookley Song," complete with key changes and (his added) background vocals. Now that the ritual has ended, I have to admit, I kind of miss it. Then again, there's always next year.

And now, ladies and gentlemen (are there any gentlemen out there?), here is my pumpkin, singing about another pumpkin (with translations below).

The Spookley Song

He's so odd he won't fit in, look at Spookley, look at him

Spookley the square pumpkin

All the pumpkins in the patch are nice and round, we all match

Look at Spookley, look at him, Spookley the square pumpkin

Every time in every town the pumpkins they pick are nice and round

That's true it happens every year, the best will get picked

(I guess you'll stay here)

Look at Spookley, look at him, he's so odd he won't fit in

Look at Spookley, look at him, Spookley the square pumpkin

I can't help the way I am, I wish I could look more like them

It's hard to fit in when you've found, you're a square and the world is round


Look, look, look, look (he's so rectangular)

Look, look, look, look (he's so triangular)

Look at Spookley, look at him, Spookley the square

Look at Spookley (so rectangular)

He's so odd (he's so triangular)

Look at Spookley, look at him

Spookley, Spookley, Spookley, Spookley

Spookley the square pumpkin!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Root for me!

Okay, the odds of me winning a contest from a blog that a bazillion people read a day is slim to none. But hey, I am an optimist at heart. So excuse me while I take this opportunity to link to MckMama's blog so that I can enter her contest. It could benefit my awesome readers as well; up for grabs is a shiny new blog header (and I sure would love that!) and some camera extras (although I'm not sure if they would fit on my Kodak EasyShare, otherwise known as my Cheesy K-Easy, but I would be game). Wouldn't it be nice to see a pretty new blog header the next time you click over here and also see some prettier pics of my peanut and pumpkin? Well, if you agree, cross your fingers for me!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

If You Give a Mom a Blog...

...she'll want to post something like this on it. One of my friends sent me this mommy's ode to the storybook staple, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff. If you know this favorite story, I think you will find it cute; I also appreciated the children's ages (which are coincidentally the same as my own boys' ages). Rather than fill up anyone's inboxes, I figured it would be more appreciated here. Enjoy!

If You Give a Mom a Muffin
by Kathy Fictorie

If you give a mom a muffin, she'll want a cup of coffee to go with it.
She'll pour herself some.
Her two-year-old will spill the coffee.
She'll wipe it up.
Wiping the floor, she will find dirty socks.
She'll remember she has to do laundry.
When she puts the laundry in the washer, she'll trip over boots and bump into the freezer.
Bumping into the freezer will remind her she has to plan supper.
She will get out a pound of hamburger.
She'll look for her cookbook. (101 Things to Make With a Pound of Hamburger.)
The cookbook is sitting under a pile of mail.
She will see the phone bill, which is due tomorrow.
She will look for her checkbook.
The checkbook is in her purse that is being dumped out by her two-year-old.
She'll smell something funny.
She'll change the two-year-old.
While she is changing the two-year-old, the phone will ring.
Her five-year-old will answer and hang up.
She'll remember that she wants to phone a friend to come for coffee.
Thinking of coffee will remind her that she was going to have a cup.
She will pour herself some.
And chances are, if she has a cup of coffee, her kids will have eaten the muffin that went with it.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


...I see you!

Is there really anything more fun than making a fort with your brother out of a blanket, couch cushions, and a yard stick?

If there is, these little buggers wouldn't know it.

What do your kids (or you) like to build?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Ghosts of Costumes Past

I told you that last year's costumes were an incredible feat. And I wasn't kidding! Peanut wanted to be Dash from The Incredibles and he wanted Pumpkin to be baby Jack-Jack. I ordered his costume from The Disney Store Online according to his measurements, and I found a Jack-Jack costume on ebay. A few weeks later, they both arrived, just in time for Halloween. Of course, I wanted Peanut to try his on before the big day. Uh-oh. He was swimming in it. I looked at the measurements and size on the package. Yup, just as I had ordered it. But I wondered how in the world would a boy his size fit in this costume without another boy his size in there, too. So, I called The Disney Store and explained that their measurements were really off, and I needed a Dash costume in five days. Guess what? They rushed a new (smaller) Dash costume to us -- for free -- and told me to keep the too-big Dash costume. I was pretty impressed with their costumer service. I guess the big mouse doesn't want any mad mommies out there. We used hair mousse to make Peanut's hair look swept back like Dash's, and we used it to make a point with Pumpkin's hair to look like Jack-Jack's. We had some issues getting good pics, but here is the final product:

Dash and Jack-Jack from The Incredibles, 2007

And, just for fun, here are all of the other previous costumes my boys have donned in years past:

Peanut as Pablo from The Backyardigans, 2006

Pumpkin as himself, 2006

Peanut as Simba from The Lion King, 2005

Peanut as Winnie the Pooh, 2004

Peanut as a puppy, 2003

Halloween will probably always be my least favorite day of the year. But these little boys of mine all dressed up in their sweet costumes certainly help me to smile.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I love both peanut and plain...

Well, what else could be as sweet as plain and peanut m&ms? Neither of our boys actually eat very much candy, but when they do, m&ms are the candy of choice (although I prefer the Minis for our mini; I am well aware of the possible choking hazards). And you might remember this post which showed our entire family as m&ms. So, when I found a great deal on the yellow m&m costume and asked Peanut what he thought of the idea, he was thrilled. And I am happy that -- for the second year in a row -- Peanut has wanted to partner with his brother with their costumes.

But before the big night of trick-or-treating, we attended Peanut's kindergarten Halloween Parade. It was a big deal; even the high school band marched around the circle with them. Many of the kids' costumes were creative, and there weren't many duplicates (and no other m&ms). It took both Mommy and Daddy screaming full blast to get Peanut to look for this picture, but we were definitely not the only crazy overzealous parents there. Besides, no one really knows us at this school yet (but we didn't have any offers of friendship after our screaming, either).

In a strange twist, it was actually Peanut who wanted to come home first from our night of going door-to-door. Pumpkin was having a blast and wasn't even afraid of some of the scary scenes some of our neighbors created (although he did voice his disapproval of the googly eye glasses given out at one house in lieu of candy that Peanut is holding in the picture below). The funniest image of the evening was watching Pumpkin attempting to grab handfuls of candy from the nice neighbors' bowls when they offered with his huge rubber gloves on. Peanut ditched his gloves earlier, but Pumpkin was determined to complete the look while in public.

I have to admit that I will be excited if we can accomplish another brotherly costume choice next year. I am sure that there won't be many years left where they will want to choose a costume together since next year, Pumpkin might actually have a say.

But since I didn't have this blog this time last year, anyone care to guess the brotherly duo my boys represented in 2007? All I can tell you is that it was an incredible feat!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Power of Prayer

First, I want to say a heartfelt thank you to all of you who expressed your kindness after reading my last post. I truly appreciated your genuine thoughts and prayers during what is always a difficult time for me and my family.

Secondly, I just wanted to update you on a previous post. Once told her baby would most certainly die of a heart condition, MckMama's baby boy was born last week -- with no signs of his previous believed-to-be-fatal heart failure. The doctors are all scratching their heads, but she isn't. She believes it might have something to do with the fact that she has had 1,595,304 visits to her blog and that she has 1187 loyal blog followers who all united in prayer for her family. It truly is a MckMiracle!

I promise that my next post will include Halloween costumes and two sweet little boys. Any guesses what they were? I'll give you a hint: I would love some right now!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Uncle Ken

Me and my brother, Ken 1974

(UPDATE: See the bottom of this post)

I have hosted this blog for ten months now, and I usually try to keep my topics fairly upbeat and lighthearted. But I can't deny what is in my heart right now, and I want this blog to be honest. Anyone who knows me also knows the one topic I rarely discuss but that always shapes my perspective on life. Friends send me cards around this time of year -- those real, true friends who never forget no matter how hectic their lives are. And it is so important to me that they still remember. Especially since this event happened exactly twenty years ago on Halloween.

I was one of those girls who needed a boyfriend or I questioned my self-worth. So silly to think of now, but I am being honest. In seventh grade, I met a boy named Blaine* who I thought was the equivalent of heaven on earth. And in a shocking twist, despite my total insecurity, he became my first boyfriend in eighth grade. I was smitten with him as only a young teenage girl can be, and this first love lasted well into my high school years. Only it didn't last that long for him. We had a strange on-again, off-again sort of relationship. But during one of our on-again moments, I came back from a short vacation to my grandparents to the phone ringing. It was my friend, Hannah.* She called to tell me that I should brace myself because something happened while I was away. Blaine was now off the market. His girlfriend? None other than Hannah herself, gleeful to tell me of her apparent victory.
* Names have been changed to protect the guilty.

I hit the lowest point I can remember in high school. I had known many of my friends since nursery school, and I couldn't believe that a "friend" or a boyfriend who I thought was so amazing could be so completely disloyal. And the best part was that I got to watch them hand in hand, smooching, and Hannah deliberately eyeing me while she pulled Blaine closer. I felt like I was starring in a really bad remake of a John Hughes film. And while I can make fun of myself at how much I allowed my self-esteem suffer over a ridiculous high school romance, it really felt like the end of the world to me. I started to think terrible thoughts, and those thoughts consumed me.

Ken and me, 1984

What pulled me out of my rock bottom existence? Well, I had friends that didn't give up on me, despite how miserable I was. But my brother and a few of his football friends really helped the most. My brother, Ken, and I didn't usually discuss the nitty-gritty details of our respective boyfriends or girlfriends, but one day, Ken sat down and asked what was going on with Blaine. We were receiving endless hang-up phone calls night after night, and it was driving all of my family members crazy (remember, it was pre-Caller ID). I told Ken that I thought it was Hannah, and then explained the chain of events. In his big brother way, he was furious that a) Blaine would break my heart -- again, and b) that my "friend" made me question so many of my values. To get even, Ken -- a towering 6'3," 200-pound football player whose build was so muscular that the arms on his shirts didn't fit -- walked me down the hallway to one of my classes every day. When Blaine crossed our path, Ken and his football friends would make snide remarks or step in his way. I know; it wasn't very nice, but I appreciated them sticking up for me and my fallen self-respect so much. And speaking of respect, Ken was extremely well-respected by both his peers and his teachers, not only for his athletic talents, but for his unbelievable SAT scores and his famously witty (albeit goofy) sense of humor. He was honor society president and graduated at the top of his class with a scholarship to an extremely competitive college. In my mind, he personified success. He had everything, and even when we had our typical sibling squabbles, I was so proud he was my brother.

Fast forward a few years to Halloween night of my first semester in college, many hours from home. I came back from choir and band rehearsals to my phone ringing as I opened the door. I didn't make it inside in time to answer, but I listed to my answering machine and had several messages from campus security. OH NO! I thought. I knew what had happened. During one of their routine freshman room checks, they had found my toaster. We had been warned that such items were strictly off-limits and that they would be confiscated and the owners would receive appropriate punishment. I was certain I would have to beg them to allow me to stay in college and not expel me. What would my parents think??? Just then, a friend came by as the phone rang again. It was security again, and they needed me to report to their office immediately. I convinced my friend to accompany me for moral support.

When I got there, I met two security guards who escorted me in another room where my resident advisor (whom I had talked to about twice) was sitting. I was handed the phone.

I still wish it was the toaster.

On the other end of the phone was my mom. I was very confused. I don't remember the conversation. I only remember the news.

My big brother had committed suicide.

I still can't say that -- or write that -- without tears. My world was shattered. Twenty years later, my feelings are not much different. My childhood hero and my only sibling is gone. How could he have helped me through my own depression, yet never told anyone about his own? My family and I have been deprived of so many moments we should have shared. Every milestone is difficult to achieve without him: my college graduation, my first teaching job, my marriage, and, of course, my children. My husband would have bonded with him over Monty Python, horror films, and 80s heavy metal. And my boys would have loved their Uncle Ken, his silly jokes, his made-up songs, and his infectious laugh more than I can imagine.

After every store puts away their back-to-school merchandise, I dread the constant reminders of the day that is looming. And turning the calendar over to October year after year has never gotten any easier. I often wonder if it would be less ominous if Ken's death had not occurred on Halloween. The anniversary of anyone's death is difficult, yet every year, when the leaves begin to turn, I am met with an increasing supply of ghosts, skeletons, and dead creatures seemingly reminding me of the day that is quickly approaching. But this year is even harder. Ken took his life when he was twenty. This year marks the twentieth anniversary of his death. That means that after this Halloween, with each day that passes, the amount of time Ken has been gone will outweigh the days Ken spent here on earth. I have difficulty writing that, too.

If you saw my last post, there is evidence that I have come a long way. Before having children, I would have never even considered donning my doorstep with pumpkins or any festive decorations -- most certainly not a ghost. But my needs take a backseat to my little boys' needs, and I understand the childhood excitement and anticipation of Halloween. But my Halloween will never be a "happy" one. It will always be a reminder of the loss of all that once was and all that could have been.

And Big Brother, you would have made a terrific Uncle Ken.

And I still love you more than words can tell.

To read more about my brother, Ken, you are invited to visit his memory blog here.
UPDATE: You can also read my anniversary post on Ken's memory blog here, which includes the story of the original song I wrote about him when I was eighteen, which you can listen to here.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Pumpkinland (May contain added Peanuts)

We went to the most kid-friendly orchard recently to pick out some pumpkins with the boys. One of my friends suggested it, and she was right! There was so much to do and see:

Peanut loved the painted pumpkins. He picked a small one for himself and a miniature pumpkin for his little pumpkin of a brother.
This was a corn husk tee pee. The boys enjoyed running endless circles in it. Our apologies to the nice family who was just trying to capture a serene moment with their own children in the tee pee while our children attempted to crash their photo-op.
Yes, of course I dressed my own pumpkin in a pumpkin outfit. What you can't see is the best part; the hood has a green leaf with a stem at the top. Pumpkin flatly refused to wear the hood, despite the cold wind that day. I guess there is only so much a mommy can get away with in the boys' cute department.
They also had several of these wooden cut-outs which were a big hit...
...with all three of my favorite boys.

Then we paid a whopping fee (!!!) for each of us to go through the hay bale maze. It's for little kids, so how hard could it be? We stopped asking this question after running into the same two families over and over again. I think we were in there for a good forty minutes when we decided to go out the entrance because we were afraid we would end up sleeping in the maze that night. With a few cheers and claps when we exited the entrance, the kids were none the wiser.

Another great part of this orchard was this adorable playground with wooden apple carts, tractors, and castles to climb and play in. Don't ask how fast Peanut got to the top of this castle and how long it took him to get down. Apparently, I passed on my fear of heights and inability to slide down fireman poles.

Even our lunch was entertaining. They had numerous choices of foods and snacks, and we were serenaded by a band as the kids marveled at this juggling clown on stilts.

Oh, and there is one piece of evidence that I was there, too. But every pic of me and the boys turns out like this. Hello...the camera is over here, guys.
When we got home, Peanut wanted to decorate the house with pumpkins and the silly ghost he picked out. (The painted pumpkins are decorating the dining room.)

It was a great time! I can't wait to go for Easter when they change Pumpkinland into.....Bunnyland! :)