Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Paige has entered an especially cute are some new words:
sorry, shoe, go, cracker, no, hi, ball, & book. I would type how they sound, because she does not pronounce them that precisely, but I'm not that clever. Here she is climbing up on "Rose" And here she is playing with the rats and spiders (we have them to make our house scarier...per Ashlee's request) and giving me her camera face. Tonight we were watching a little TV - Chris was laying on the floor so Ashlee brought him a couple of pillows. A few seconds later, Paige brought him a pillow too and planted a big smooch right on him. That was the first time she has given a kiss without us coaching her. Of course it was for him. She also says Dada all the time, still no Mama. She's just so fun...

Joe the Plumber

Two years ago I called maintenance to have them fix a drippy faucet in the girls bathroom. The plumber came and told me how to turn the faucet off correctly. It continued to drip, I never called back. When Chris got home this last time he decided to fix it. Gallons and gallons and gallons of water have dripped down the drain - just doing our part for the environment. (Do you love the pink tile?) He fixed it! But, when he went to the maintenance office to get the part, the plumber (who came to our house and told me that the problem was the way we turned the faucet off) told Christopher that he needed a whole new mechanism because the old ones didn't work and had to be re-engineered. WHAT? Just a little sexism for you. I turn it off wrong, he needs a brand new faucet.

She's so stylish!

Today I asked the girls to get a couple of chores done while Chris and I were cleaning out behind the fridge and the stove. Here is what Maggie wore while vacuming. These shoes are mine, but I have never worn them... I never wear heels... I bought them hurriedly to go with an outfit for CAY's squadron Christmas Dinner a couple of years ago, but I didn't even wear them that night. I keep them in the closet though in case I ever decide to be brave. I'm sure they're out of style...they almost fit Maggie. Maybe she can keep them...Maybe you feel more like doing housework if you look pretty.
She didn't want me to take the picture, but I told her one day she would be glad to have a picture of this.

Carving they are, waiting to be carved...notice the rot spot on the one in the center. I'm pretty sure that was there when we brought it home - oops.
CAY and his helper, Paige - she was really into the messy part, she even tried to eat it a couple of times.Ashlee getting ready to carve....All lit up - we kept them in the kitchen last night because it was so cold.

Finished product!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Pumpkin Patch

Yesterday we went to an Orchard/Pumpkin patch. We intended to pick apples, pumpkins and fall raspberries. But the orchards that were still picking were at another location and the raspberries were picked through. So, we just picked pumpkins and treats (mixed with a few veggies) from their farm store. This picture is on our way out, Maggie is still working on her treat. I have always thought that m&m's on a caramel apple would kind of ruin the whole caramel apple thing, but after tasting hers, I have to say it is YUMMY! The rest of us had some apple cider doughnuts that were delicious - lots of people were stopping by just to pick up some of those.Our first year here, we went to a pumpkin patch where you actually cut your pumpkins off the vine, but they are closed this year. Every other patch seems to do it this way - plowed field with pumpkins spread around. Have I mentioned how happy we are to have Christopher home? We are really happy.
The reason I included this one is because people always say how much Maggie looks like her dad. I have always seen a resemblance, but in this picture, with just their faces, I realize HOW MUCH Maggie looks like her dad.
One of my gripes about New Jersey and from what I have seen, much of the East Coast, is how much everything costs. Most pumpkin patches this time of year have hay rides, corn mazes, pumpkin painting etc... But it all costs extra - $5 for the corn maze, $2 to paint a pumpkin etc...Many pumpkin patches are quite a distance from where you park, so you must ride the wagon out to the pumpkin patch to pick your pumpkin. They charge for that also, and not 50 cents, more like $2.50 per person. That's one of the things I like about this particular place: the corn maze, the kids animal barn, all the extras, are free. (Even the pumpkin painting - if you buy the pumpkin you paint.)
This last shot is of Paige chasing/being chased by the guinea hens.

Sleepy Hollow

After Ashlee's soccer game on Saturday, we headed north to visit the Hudson Valley - it is a really beautiful part of New York and just 2 1/2 hours away. The leaves up there are a little bit ahead of us . We had planned on visiting the Great Jack o'Lantern Blaze, but the tickets were sold out. So, we played outside, got dinner, went swimming at the hotel and went to bed. I love this picture - Ashlee is dancing, Paige is saying "two, tree" (her version of one, two, three) and "weeee" as she walks all over the rock, Maggie is heading down the rock, doing her own thing. On Sunday, we went to church, went to a park to play -
And then went somewhere scary....
Washington Irving, author of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," built a home in the Hudson Valley and there is actually a village called Sleepy Hollow there. So, on one of the Historic Farms - Phillipsburg Manor - they have "Sleepy Hollow Nights!" They had a story teller to tell us all "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and other haunted buildings.
The real attraction is the headless horseman,who rides in the night at Phillipsburg Manor. The girls loved it and weren't scared even a little. It was really fun. But, if we are here next year, we are booking early to be sure and see the Great Jack O'lantern Blaze.


Christopher made it home on Saturday morning at around 3:00 am!!! We are sooooo happy.
Also, doesn't he look skinny? This was taken at around 7:30 am - Maggie and Ashlee woke up at about 6:15, they were so excited to see him. Paige only needed about 40 minutes to warm up to him - now he is her favorite.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Liberty Science Center

On Monday, we headed north to go to the Liberty Science Center - I am a little embarrassed that we have been here for over 3 years and haven't made it there yet. We tend to go south rather than north... here is a view of part of NYC from the observation deck. We were just across the Hudson River. It's still pretty green - but the leaves are turning more and more. Here is Maggie looking through one of those magnifying things on the deck with the Statue of Liberty behind her.
I love this girl....
One of their exhibits was called sky scrapers - super cool. They had two pieces of the World Trade Center on display. This is a beam that was in one of the buildings - completely bent in half.
In other news, we are giddy with anticipation to have our Papa Bear home again - latest word is Friday night!!!! Maggie woke up singing "Daddy's coming home tomorrow, doo da, doo da" And Ashlee spent her time before school this morning making him a card and a poster. I suggested a girls weekend (Me and the two older girls) for Andrew's wedding, Maggie was all for it, but Ashlee stoutly refuses to leave her daddy home alone.

We saw this idea for an art project at and decided to try it last weekend. These pictures speak volumes about the girls temperaments - the one on the left is Maggie's. She was happy to be doing a project, but also wanted to get it done. Ashlee's is the one on the right - three panels, each background a different blend of colors, I am always interested in what they come up with...

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Guess who is coming home this week (maybe) ?
This is an old picture from Paige's birthday. The picture I really wanted to post was one that Maggie found of him on my cell phone, but I can't find the wire to connect it to the computer... She showed it to me while we were driving and I laughed and laughed. In it he is making some goofy face - and as I looked at it, it seems like it was on the way home from Stake Conference - last year I guess and he is probably fake crying/whining about something. It made me miss him so much - he can almost always get me to laugh, even when I am really mad at him or some other thing. I can't wait for him to be home. So, in honor of him being home in seven days, here are seven things about him...
1. He hates feet...he won't wear sandals in public...and no matter how much I beg for a foot rub, he won't touch them. I stopped asking years ago.
2. He thinks that he can load the dishwasher better than you. And by you I mean anyone else on the planet.
3. In the summer he will go outside just to watch the sprinkler - if it has any kind of mechanism. I often think it's such a good thing that they don't make dishwashers with clear glass fronts - he could waste a lot of time watching the water cycle through. He might even try to scientifically prove his theory about supreme dishwasher loading skills.
4. He is really good at playing make believe games with the girls.
5. He has a really difficult time throwing things away. In the garage there are papers (tests, quizzes, HOMEWORK, etc..) to document every year of his college experience.
6. Justin Timberlake is on his I-Pod - he claims not to know for sure how it got there, but there it is. Weird....
7. He is coming home in 7 days - although for my sake, I hope it is in 5 - I foolishly booked a hotel through priceline (non-refundable, but real cheap) for Saturday Night (the day after he is supposed to be home, but you know, AF plans change all the time and AF planes break all the time) because I want to go here!
And, even with all those silly things, he is really the best, best, best, best and we are all very anxious to see him SOON.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

She Says Mama!

If you know me well, you know that sometimes I can work myself into a dither worrying about my kids - not usually about the big picture, but about some little thing that I think that they should or should not be doing. The development questionnaires that you are required to fill out at well-baby check ups only make this tendency stronger. I have been waiting, wondering, worrying about the day that Paige will say "mama" and mean it and the other day, she finally, finally, did!!!!!!!!!

Just not to me.... to the baby doll...which she calls baby when she's not holding it. This baby doll laughs, sighs, makes sucking and sleeping noises, cries and says mama! As Paige was holding it the other day, the baby laughed and said "mama" to which Paige replied "mama." And now when she picks the baby up, she almost always says, "mama" ... but still not to me or even about me. I'll forgive her one day.

And, on a completely unrelated note, we finally found a chore system I can work with. I saw this on some random blog this summer. Each stick has one job - the girls have to do 2 jobs every day after school, weekends free. I love it and they love it! I'm just not a chart kind of girl. At the end of the week, we put all the sticks back in and start over.

And speaking of blog - stalking. This week, I came across a blog that talked about doing a photo class where students took pictures for a "Week in the Life" project - everyday pictures that chronicled what their everyday life was like for a week. This idea is so appealing to me that I am going to do it next week and if I like it, I'll plan on doing one every few months. That's what I want to remember, (along with big things like trips, birthdays, etc...) how my life looked and felt everyday. The park where we go to play while the girls are in piano, sleepy mornings, homework, etc... I think the thing that appeals the most, is it's so obvious how to document it. One week - one album of those pictures and explanations. Anyway... I am looking forward to it.

Just What I needed

I look forward to General Conference every year - it is such a renewing experience if I prepare correctly. Some years I prepare better than others....Today, we decided to stay home to watch, and I have to say that I got so much more out of both sessions than I could have hoped by going to the church. I used to insist that I would bring my kids to all 4 sessions at a church if we lived in a place where they broadcast it in a building. Once again, I am eating my words. I am going to go tomorrow for one of the sessions, since it's Sunday. But, today home was just the ticket. I was struck by so many talks, but Elder Neil Anderson's was just what I needed... I am so thankful that I was able to listen, really listen to it. Anyway, I was looking for a youtube snippet of the children's choir that sang today. That's one more reason that I believe in a God of miracles...getting all those wiggly kids to sit still for 2 hours of conference and sing so beautifully. I wonder if they smuggled in word searches and bingo papers etc... for those children?

Here are some pictures:

#1 This one we'll call "who me? what? What candy? What are you talking about?"

Seconds earlier there had been a definite candy bar size lump in her cheek.

#2 "Mom, can we play make-up? It's hard to see Paige's face, but she had blush smeared all down her nose and cheeks. She follows her sisters around almost every minute they are home.

#3 "Bah bye" Picture, if you will, Ashlee getting ready to walk out the door. Paige goes running and finds Ash's lunch box, picks it up, slides it down her arm to hang on her elbow, starts walking away and saying "bah-bye" to mom as she tries to leave with her sister. It is very cute, even if I am the mom. Look at that earnest face.Also, frequently when I get the camera out, Paige makes this face. I'm sorry, but I just can't get enough!