Monday, October 27, 2008

Bowle's Farm

Well, we finally made it to the corn maze! I've been putting it off, partly because it costs $10 per person, but I knew I wanted to go. Its a big deal around here and the thing is HUGE! Check out this picture.

This year's maze is a picture of one of the lighthouses around here...not sure where exactly it is. Anyway, we only did half of the maze because we had the kids with us. They had a great time and we only got a little lost. I think it would be fun to go in there by myself and just run around as fast as I could to try and find a way out. I might even like running if I could do it in a corn maze! ha!

They also had tons of stuff set up for the kids. In the end, we decided it was worth the $10. There was a wagon ride pulled by a tractor that Jasmine was terrified of. She nearly pulled her collar off trying to run away from it. They also had a barrel train that the boys rode, a "corn box" instead of a sand box, a petting farm with pigs, sheep, goats and bunnies and a couple of straw mazes for the kids. After we had our fun, the boys explored the pumpkin patch in search of the perfect specimen. There were quite a few green pumpkins which I've never seen before. Max wanted a green pumpkin but Nolen didn't. We settled for what Nolen called, "The biggest pumpkin ever!"

Super Rainy Saturday

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

My Little Monkey

So, my child who for a long time seemed to be afraid of anything, wrestling with other kids, sports in general....has started climbing trees like he's a monkey! He cracks me up! He climbs until I ask him to climb down because he's making me nervous! Luckily its the smallest of the three trees in our side yard! What will I do when he starts trying to climb the Oak tree???
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Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Brothers Who Play Together...

...pass out together! Last night we were lazy parents and let the boys fall asleep watching cartoons in our bed. When we went upstairs to move them to their own room, this is what we found! How sweet is that?
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Frighteningly Delicious!

In a moment of Halloween weakness, I bought a box of awesome cookie cutters at Michaels the other day. Only later did I stop to think that someone (probably me) was actually going to have to bake! Oh the horror! Lucky for Max and Nolen, they have an awesome Grammy that enjoys baking and decorating cookies! Hooray, I'm off the hook! Tara remembers how much I like making cut out cookies. hehe The boys got to help Grammy make and decorate cookies on Friday night. They had a blast and each ate more than their share of spooky treats!

Let the season of sugar begin!
I don't really let the kids have too many sweets. Most nights they don't get dessert. Lollipops are reserved for trips to the grocery store in an attempt to keep them still in the cart. And cookies and ice cream and consumed mainly by me after the kids are in bed. Thank goodness for Jazzercise! However, there is a annual social conspiracy that tries to make my kids into overweight little people with tooth decay...its traditionally referred to as "The Holiday Season." It starts about this time every year with Halloween. The kids get treats from Boo Bags in the neighborhood, parties at school and of course trick or treating. This candy accumulates on the top of my refridgerator and taunts my little people daily. Eventually, I comb through it and throw away all of the mary janes, bit-o-honies, and mike and ikes and save only the chocolate, nerds and laffy taffy. This pile is still on my fridge from last year. Next comes Thanksgiving, which is now just Christmas Season Part I. From November 1st through Turkey Day, we all start ramping up for Christmas as if 4 weeks won't be enough time to consume cookies, candy canes and santa shaped marshmellow filled chocolates. Ii am personally a sucker for any candy wrapped in special holiday colors. The kids collect candy from school parties, Santa visits, Christmas parties, stockings, and packages from family members. My purse becomes something of a collection point for all of the sugar being distributed. I can't tell you how many half eaten, half wrapped sticky candy canes with receipts stuck to them I pull out of my purse each January. And what kind of mother would I be if I didn't bake Christmas cookies??? So after we make it through Christmas, January is spent attempting to dispose of the menagerie of sugar orally. Finally I reach my breaking point and decide to toss it ALL (Again, except the chocolate...even if it was from Halloween. You never know when you might run out of good chocolate and have to resort to old Halloween candy. Because a Melissa without chocolate is a monster!). So on January 31st we have an entire 24 hour period without nasty candy taunting us. Finally, the kids eat their first piece of fruit in three months! (Just kidding! Sheesh!) On February 1st they start convulsing from sugar withdrawls...luckily we've reached Valentines Month (its no long Valentine's Day, its become a month long love affair). Did you know that ALL Valentines in school now come with candy? And not just a random heart shaped lollipop...we get packages of M&Ms, candy bars and treat bags filled with candy frome every kid in the class! Its as bad as Halloween. The tub of candy on the refridgerator makes an encore appearance. We are now five months into the "Season of Sugar" and we still have Easter to get through. Anway, you get the idea...just think Easter Bunny visits, Easter Egg hunt at school, Easter Egg hunt at church, Easter Egg hunt on Easter, Easter party at school, marshmallow peeps, chocolate bunnies from each grandparent, Easter basket...this takes us through May...hey look, its Spring! Maybe this is just how we cope with winter. All I know is, I'm going upstairs to brush my teeth!

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Friday, October 17, 2008

LES Fall Carnival

Last night was the fall carnival at Nolen's school. I wasn't looking forward to it, but the boys (and Edward and I) had a blast! It was so fun to watch the boys get so excited about spending their tickets to play games. Max went through the haunted house twice. Nolen didn't want to go at all...probably because I took him to the extra scary one at Fort Rucker last year. oops. This one was tamer but Max still jumped and screamed each time a gobblin or ghoul jumped out at him. He loved it...and will probably be my little thrill seeker! (uh-oh!)
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The gym was equipped with lots of cool carnival games...throwing a football through a hoop, basketball, throwing rubber chickens, etc. but the boys liked the games for younger kids better. They played this one twice...

And they dug for buried treasures twice too.

They also had people doing face painting and spraying hair color in kids' hair. The face painting was really well done. I saw some great dinosaurs, sharks, butterflies and Spidermen. I don't think the boys would have liked it very much and the line was long, so we skipped that. (I put temporary tattoos on them for the fourth of July and Nolen had to be convinced that it was ok. He really didn't want it.) Overall, the LES PTA did a great job with the fall carnival. We also got to meet some of Nolen's friends from his class and their parents. I'm so glad Nolen has such a great school. He is really lucky and is really enjoying it!

Hey Nolen, is that your girlfriend?
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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

My First Trip to Washington D.C.

OK, so it wasn't MY first trip but it was my first trip in six years and the boys' first trip! They had a blast. I think Nolen even understands that Washington D.C. is a special city because the president lives there. Nolen had the day off from school (parent teacher conferences) and with the Columbus Day holiday I was hoping there might be less traffic because of all the federal jobs that would be off for the day, so it was a good chance to try our little adventure! We drove up to the Metro station to park only finding the Metro station took me about 30 minutes of driving around in circles. I gave myself a tour of SE D.C. which I wouldn't highly recommend. I DID get a beautiful view of downtown when I came over a hill on the Suitland Pkwy. I drove onto Anacostia Naval Base and said hi to some sailors...then made it back down to my original hunting area...Southern Ave and S. Capitol St. I finally found A Metro station, although it was not the one I was intending to find. In all of my excitement and relief that this trip would not be a total bust, I failed to double check WHICH Metro station it was (although at this point, I still thought I had found Branch Ave). We made it to the National Zoo which was a lot of walking for the boys and a lot of fun. They were more interested in fallen leaves, escalators, riding the subway and the educational displays at the zoo than in the actual animals. We did spend awhile watching the Fishing Cat. He is the size of a big house cat, with leopard spots and he stands at the waters edge trying to catch fish. We also watched a sloth bear, some lazy otters, and a clouded leopard.

I've always enjoyed the challenge of finding my way around a new city while on vacation and I had fun with it again yesterday. About ten minutes in however, it occurred to me that for the first time ever, I was doing this with two children and no other adults. That was a little weird. We did fine. I will be sure to plan better next time or take along another adult. The kids were very patient through my confusion and of course, well behaved at the zoo and on the trains. I always tell them that the reason we get to do such fun things is because they are so good. I'm a lucky mama!

Walking onto the train like pros! It was fun to tell them all about the trains going both ways, the different color lines, making sure we catch the right train, standing back from the edge of the platform, standing on the right side of the escalator so that people can walk past us...and Nolen told me at one point, "Its a good thing I like riding subway trains!"
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Monday, October 13, 2008

Weekend Warriors

After a rough start to the weekend (I was very grumpy Friday night and Saturday morning for no particular reason) we managed to have a wonderful, relaxing, family weekend! Southern Maryland is full of bays, rivers and creeks and we hadn't taken much time to explore them with the kids yet. They have played at Ms. Jean's house which is on the Potomac River, but we hadn't visited any other water feature. So, on Saturday we packed a picnic lunch and went over to the Navy Recreation Area on Solomon's Island. The Rec Area is about 20 minutes from our house and its on the Patuxent River. They have a huge campground complete with yurts and cabins, a swimming pool, playground, huge fishing pier, and I would assume boat rentals somewhere. Anyhoo, it was a gorgeous day with warm sunshine and cool breeze. The boys had a blast playing and Max could hardly keep his eyes open on the way home!

My boys eating lunch.

Swinging with Dad. Notice the red tree behind them.

Max's turn.

Throwing stuff into the Patuxent River.

Max was a heartbeat away from sitting down and building a sandcastle! He was digging a hole and letting the waves fill it up with water. He called it "making a flood." Lately he has been really thinking about stuff. He might turn out to be my little scientist!

No weekend trip is complete without ice cream! We stopped at the Doo Dah Deli by our house on the way home. Max chose vanilla ice cream with gummy bears which is only appealing to people who still have all of their baby teeth. And Nolen chose vanilla with sprinkles.

If you know Max, then you know he is a good eater. He didn't let one drop of that ice cream go to waste!

Every evening the neighbors convene in someone's yard. Last night, we were the lucky winners. There was Joe and his daughter Katie, our next door neighbors Stephanie and Russ with their daughter Sarah (6) and son Daniel (1), our closest friends on the block, Jeff and Lara (from Miami, holla) and their son Logan (almost 3) and big Katie is standing there holding the yellow ball. Its so nice to hang out and let the kids run around. We have a great neighborhood! Ed did an excellent job finding this place!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


I couldn't take the terra cotta kitchen anymore. Its a nice color, but its not me at all. I had a hard time deciding what color to paint it because all I could see was orange. After many hours (ok, not hours but maybe one full hour) staring at paint chips in Lowe's while holding my formica samples, I finally decided on...Betsy Ross Green (or something like that). I wanted to find a sage green color that wasn't too dark. I didn't want to walk in and think, "GREEN KITCHEN", but rather, "what a nice relaxing kitchen, it feels so peaceful I want to stand here for hours even if it means cooking and cleaning." Haha!

And of course, since I spent the entire day from 9 til 5 taping, spackling, sanding, painting, second coating, cutting in, un-taping, cleaning countertops and re-organizing the kitchen...I wasn't about to cook dinner for the kiddos. Thank you Ronald McDonald for being my chef (can you call it that???) for the day. Nolen was playing on the play place and ran up and asked me if I would take his picture with the clown on the bench. Too funny! He also asked me later if I would take another picture of him kissing the clown. I politely declined.

And here is the finished product! I absolutely love it! I think this color really looks great with the cabinets and countertop! Even the appliances look great with it. I am so happy I finally tackled this one! Hooray!

The funny thing is, it is surprisingly close to the color of our kitchen in Alabama! I did not see that one coming! It is more subdued or muted than our other kitchen and the paint chip didn't look anything like this. Its so weird how different colors look when you actually get them on the wall. I love it anyway though! I've now painted 4 rooms in this house...boys' room, living room, dining room, and kitchen! Hooray! Up next...its a toss up...I need to paint the basement so we can move on to installing a large kitchen counter style white desk along one wall. I also want to paint over the last remaining beige areas of the first floor but that involves going all the way up the stairs which is another all day project. Also on the "paint me soon" list is our yellow bedroom. Its a fine color, but it needs to be repainted regardless and yellow doesn't match with our brown and blue "decor". I don't know where this painting spree is coming from. I have never painted so much in my life! At least my technique seems to be improving!
The boys in our dining room in Alabama. It was the only picture of the green that I could find.
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Fun Filled Weekend at Home

We stayed close to home this weekend and even though we didn't do much, we seemed to keep busy. Saturday morning I taught Jazzercise and made yet another Lowe's trip - we're doing our part to support the economy! Saturday afternoon we went over to the Lara and Jeff's house for her baby shower. The boys love to play with her little boy Logan who will turn three this month. We had a great time at the party...the men sat around outside drinking beers and talking about farts - I'm not kidding, that really happened. And the girls sat up on the deck talking about kids, vacuums and irons, and the best way to remove a ketchup stain. OK, not really, we just chit chatted. hehe

Safety First! Always were your helmet when you're riding a motorcycle, even if it is on rockers!

I love how the neighborhood kids run around together. This is Logna's play set but he's not in the picture. He was probably upstairs with Gigi (a little 4 year old girl in the neighborhood). Spencer is the boy on the swing thing. We bought our house from him, well, his mom and dad! Jadyn (sp?) is six and he's standing next to Nolen. And the beer bottles are left from the men. I promise the kids didn't drink any beer!

The baby shower morphed into a fire pit event. Ed and Evan are splitting wood and Max is helping to carry it upstairs!

Ed finally got the fire going with Jason's help. I won't tell what happened BEFORE this!
A nice fire! My contribution was the smore's fixin's. I don't want to know how many marshmellows the boys ate that night! Nolen was roasting five at a time! Also, Logan has a sandbox and the boys spent several hours in it. They manage to fill up beer bottles with sand and use a corn cob pipe that belonged to one of the guys as a shovel (and lost it but it was found later). I knew the boys were sandy but we didn't walk home til about 9 o'clock so there was no way I was going to give them baths. Let's just say they fell asleep in my bed while I was reading a book to them and I had to wash all of our sandy sheets the next day!

We considered going to Ikea or the National Zoo on Sunday but we got an even better surprise! A visit from Grammy and Aunt Dale! Grammy still isn't feeling well but hopefully something will turn up in the tests that are being run this week. We didn't tell the boys that Grammy and Dale were coming so they had a fun surprise! Dale missed her calling as a Kindergarten teacher! She has so much patience and I love listening to her explain things to the boys. She is the opposite of Nolen's first preschool teacher that talked to him so fast he would just stand there staring at her like she had two heads. And of course, since Grammy was in town, Ed and I hit the BWB for dinner! Woop woop! Thanks for visiting Grammy and Aunt Dale!