Thursday, October 31, 2013

Pre-Halloween fun


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Cousins and...


Critz Pumpkin Farm

Halloween cookie making and decorating. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Sunday, September 29, 2013

My 4 year old nater tot

Dear Natey,

I wrote most of this shortly after you turned 4, over a month ago. I wanted to add some more to it, so I took a break. Then your Gam (my mom) died unexpectedly. So it took me until now to finish. I'll just add a few updates.  We will talk about Gam another time. I want to write a long, long list of all the wonderful things that I'd like you to remember about her. But for now, let's talk about you...

You're 4 years old now! Somehow you seem so big, but still so small, at the same time. The last year has brought quite a lot of changes for you development wise. I don't know what the big fuss about the "terrible 2s" is about. You were incredibly easy as a 2 year old. This last year has been far more challenging and I've really had to work on my patience. You're testing me more than ever, but more than that, there is a more intense emotional aspect to your reactions that weren't present before. You can be incredibly sweet and cuddly in one minute and wildly upset the next. We've seen some interesting changes in your personality. Yet many things, like a lot of your interests, have remained the same. 

While you are capable of lots of things, you still want my help. I try to encourage you to do things on your own as much as possible, especially when I know you already have the ability. Sometimes it's tough for me to figure out when it's a "battle" that needs to be picked. I want you to be self sufficient, but encouraging it leads to a lot of conflict sometimes. You're very strong-willed, so sometimes I need to back off and do things when you're ready. Other times I need to nudge quite a bit. We said good-bye to diapers this year. Woo hoo! You now can go into the bathroom all by yourself, take care of business (well, not all business by yourself yet) and wash your hands. You get dressed by yourself, but still want me to lay your clothes out in a particular way. You can put your shoes on yourself, but the act of putting on your sneakers can often be quite traumatic. Those tongues are out to get you, I know.

Where you once would rush right into social situations, you are now much more cautious. Transitions are met with suspicion and anxiety. But then you usually adapt pretty quickly once we just get over that hump of change. For example, you had a hard time starting summer camp this year, since it meant leaving the comfort of your known classroom and teacher. You've been going to this school since you were two years old, yet you cried hysterically when I dropped you off the first day of camp. I know that many parents have to leave their sobbing babies at school and daycare. I'm one of many. But that day was heartbreaking for me, since you've NEVER cried at school before. The teacher pulled your little octopus arms off me, and I looked at your red, crumpled face and I just had to go. I had to leave you. I felt like someone punched me in the stomach. I know one day you'll be all grown up and won't even remember that day, but I know I'll never forget it. Of course, by the third day of camp you had a slew of friends and barely gave me a second glace as I said good-bye. 

You didn't want to go into the pool the first day we joined either. It took an hour of watching the others before you decided to give it a try. Now it's hard to get you out of the pool. 

You had a lot of "firsts" this year including your first school field trip. I had my accompanying first day long heart attack. You went to so many great places and had a lot of great adventures, like puppet shows, mini golf, the police station, museums. I took you to your first play. You're now a big fan of live theater and want to go to more. You watched your first full movie, Cinderella, and quickly became obsessed.

I'm nervous about your first day of pre-K coming up, mostly because you have voiced your apprehension. You'll be going to a new school and don't have any friends in your class (that we know of). The days will also be much longer. I know you'll adjust quickly, but that first week will likely be rough. I just hate seeing you nervous and sad. Update: School has been going wonderfully! You had two "old" friends in the class and have made many new ones. You've been excited about going every day and I've been thrilled! There were no tears and the only adjustment has been at home. You're exhausted from your new schedule and have been quite cranky these first few weeks. But I think we've finally turned a corner and you're getting used to it. 

You still love performing. Your U2 concerts, which once monopolized your days, now only have once a month at most. Instead, you prefer to make up your own songs and/or dance on anything resembling a stage. 

Your favorite things to do now involves pretend play. Most of the time you either want to dress up like a super hero and act out crime fighting scenarios (I am always cast as the villain) or play with little figurines (Star Wars, doll house, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, castle guys). I was really lamenting this turn in play, especially since there was so much focus on "bad" guys doing "bad" things. But then I realized that we don't need to be boxed into those conventional roles. So now Darth Vader attends dance parties at Luke Skywalker's house and Darth Maul brings the s'mores to all slumber parties on the Millennium Falcon. I don't have pictures of those parties. But here is a random picture of you in a box:


Another big change in interest has been the change from books to storytelling. While we still go to the library regularly and still read every day, you much prefer a made up story. Your favorites are "Chi Eekway" stories which revolve around the Papanoida family of Star Wars. Chi Eekway is the mom, Baron is the dad and Blue Blue and Pinky are the son and daughter. Obviously the two children with the horrible names are the ones I created. Oh and we also added "Barker" the dog. Sadly, I don't take after GG and lack little imagination in the story telling department. Luckily, you are more than satisfied when the Papanoida family does all of the things that YOU do - go on trips to the museum or to a play. They have birthdays and celebrate Christmas, just like you. Every story ends with Blue Blue and Pinky going to sleep and sleeping the whole night.  

It's funny, because you previously had quite the extensive imaginary family - Boran, Tour, Four, Toof and Corn. They were a part of our daily lives, but now we hardly hear about them.  One day you surprised me by telling me Corn had died. She was 2 last year, but this year, apparently died after a full life at 99.  Time flies.

A new big interest is building machines out of legos. You also really enjoy photography. Here is picture you took of your machines:

One of the many things I love about you is that you are still young enough to wear ridiculous hats in public and not be the least bit self conscious. This is awesome. Here are a couple of examples:

You are still incredibly funny and bright. You're full of energy and are incredibly cute. You've been asking for a lot of hugs and cuddling time lately and I am happy to oblige. I love you more than tongue can tell.


Sunday, August 11, 2013


I can't believe this little guy is 4 already!  I love you Natey. Letter to follow. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Planting Fields Arboreteum

After years of passing by the sign and wanting to go, we finally made it to Planting Fields Arboreteum. The grounds are gorgeous.

Surprisingly, Nate really loved traipsing around Coe Hall.

We liked it so much we went back for a puppet show. It was supposed to be outside, but they chose to host in a tiny hot room due to the extreme heat. Nate didn't seem to mind. Singing pigs trump claustrophobia. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

This is the face...

that Nate makes when he wants to make me laugh. He often employs it seconds after annoying me. He's a smart boy. It's a very effective tool.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Philly and The Please Touch Museum

We went to Philadelphia recently for the night. It was the first time for Nate and me.  Nate really enjoyed swimming in the hotel pool and staying up late. But he needed his coffee the next morning. Obviously.

The Please Touch Museum was awesome. These few pictures don't do it justice. Nate's favorite part was being a shoe salesman. Can't say I blame him. That navy blazer was sweet. 

Saturday, July 13, 2013


We're all about super heroes and villains over here. This is Two-Face.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Preschool love

Nate started summer "camp" last week, which means that there are now a lot of new kids in his class.

Although he has maintained for the past year that his good friend Allison is the most "beautiful girl in school," he has taken interest in a new friend. Out of nowhere, he made an announcement on Monday:

Mom, I'm going to marry the one with the ponytail.

Oh yeah? What's her name?

I forget.

Love. Who needs names?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


Our one and only strawberry...


After picking it, Nate decided he didn't want to eat it. So I did the honors. Delicious!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Cradle of Aviation Museum 2013

Nate has been home all week, as he's in between school and summer camp. It was Wednesday before I realized we needed to stop staying home and start doing some fun things. So we went back to one of our favorite museums, the Cradle of Aviation.

Inside the museum is another awesome museum, The Firefighters Museum. Nate is super into pretend play, so we spent a LONG time driving to the fire, putting it out, driving back from the fire, rinse and repeat. 

We visited the helicopter and thankfully, none of the sweet old men docents stopped by to tell Nate how to operate it. Nate doesn't take kindly to strangers right now.

Some day I'll have a chance to read and learn about the exhibits. Someday.

But for now, it's way more important that we play Han and Chewie in every cockpit that we can get into.

Nate was pretty impressed with the astronaut and moon landing exhibits.

I believe he said, "That's AMAZING!" when he saw this.

In the little playroom. His record was 4 feet, but of course I didn't catch that one.

We stopped at Nunley's Carousel after the museum. I asked him where he wanted to go and he chose the second seat of a little carriage rather than a horse or lion. I was pretty psyched, since I'm old and get dizzy now. But after a minute I realized that the people in front of us were the ONLY other people on the Carousel. And we sat immediately behind them. Like in the same structure. Who does that? We do, apparently. I was horrified. But not enough to move.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

My funny guy

Saturday, June 1, 2013


Friday, May 24, 2013

Searching for bugs!

One of Nate's new favorite past-times...

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Independent play

Nate has never excelled at playing by himself. Whether nature or nuture (or a bit of both), he tends to prefer the company of others. (Entertain me constantly, Mom!) But finally... FINALLY... He has been playing by himself for long stretches. It took lots of cheap toxic toys. Toys with blasters and guns.  So big ideal fail. But I think it's worth it. Thank you STAR WARS!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Gamathon 2013

We miss you!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Self sufficient

Over the past 3 1/2 years, I've come to realize that kids go from really needing your help to just thinking they need it. That transition seems to happen so suddenly and before I know it, I've created a habit where Nate wants my help, but he doesn't actually need it. Since the whole point is to nurture and teach Nate to be self sufficient at some point, I realized a few months ago that he should really be getting himself dressed. There was some resistance at first, but now he does a great job with very little push back. He's proud of himself and it saves me some time too. Win, win. Except when he comes out like this...

Monday, April 29, 2013

Arrrr, Natey!

Only the toughest pirates wear monkey pajamas

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Ecofest 2013 at Clark Botanic Gardens

This weekend we enjoyed our spring tradition of exploring dark tunnels and petting big snakes to the sound of drums beating, beating in the distance...

Monday, April 15, 2013

The only little girl in the family

This little pumpkin turns two today. Happy birthday Alice!
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