Saturday, October 25, 2008

Soccer Superstar

Today was Seamus' first-ever soccer class! The anticipation has been building for weeks. Nanny even purchased him a special soccer backpack to hold his "gear" - which at this point included not much more than a water bottle and bag of crackers (which I specifically put in there just so he would have something to carry around!) Nonetheless, he was very excited and thrilled beyond belief to finally get out on the field.

Doing warm-ups with the rest of the class

Stretching with Daddy

Like father, like son

He's a I hear David Beckham calling?

Perfecting the "soccer stance"

Now of course he cannot wait until next week's class. We are hoping that soccer is a sport he'll be able to stick with for as long as he wants (minus the headbutting, of course!) I wouldn't mind if he could "bend it like Beckham" long as I get to be Posh Mommy Spice!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tag, I'm It

Okay, here we go...

10 Years Ago, I...
1. Had just started my senior year of high school
2. Drove an awesome '94 silver Jetta
3. Worked as a waitress at the Troy Country Club
4. Was Student Council president
5. Had started completeing college applications

5 Things on Today's (Tomorrow's) To-Do List
1. Stop at Dunkin Donuts for Munchkins
2. Teach two IT training classes
3. Go grocery shopping...finally
4. Start a couple of my 97 loads of laundry
5. Iron kids' clothes (Yes, I am a freak, I iron them all.)

5 Things I Would Do If I Were A Millionaire
1. Buy a huge piece of land so my hubby could build our dream home
2. Take a Mediterranean cruise
3. Pay off college loans
4. Pay off my parents' house
5. Invest it...according to Devon

5 Places I Have Lived
1. 43 Donegal Ave (pre-marriage)
2. 10 Munro Ct (engaged)
3. 397 First St (engaged, then married)
4. 1671 Oneida St (post-wedding)
5. 21 Ahern Ave (currently)

I tag Jen W., Trisha, Mandy, Jennifer G. and Mike, 'cause I know he loves these things. (Just kidding.) Keep the ball rolling, folks!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Family Traditions and More Fall Fun

Every year over Columbus Day weekend, we travel with my parents and two sisters to Manchester, Vermont for a day trip. When I was a baby, the tradition was started when my parents sat me on a rickety wooden fence outside of the Jelly Mill, a huge gift shop and restaurant, and snapped my picture. I was about 18 or 19 months old. Now every single year since then, we have returned to the same wooden fence and taken pictures, starting with me, then with me and my sister Chelsea, and then with the two of us plus our youngest sister Ashley. In our younger days, we would also go apple-picking while in VT, so we have always referred to this day as our "apple-picking trip." We still call it that, although now a more appropriate name would be "shopping at the outlets and watching football in a bar trip." It has been so awesome continuing this tradition with my kids!

Here's Seamus on his first apple-picking trip...

And his second...
His third, and Grace's first...(could NOT get both children to look at the camera!)

And our most recent! (Kim, does Gigi's dress look familiar?) We are getting nervous because some of the fence is rotting away, so we didn't sit on it this year, we stood in front of it.

A couple family shots. Pay no attention to my hair, I attempted to trim my own bangs. Yeah, don't they teach you not to do that in like, kindergarten? Did I seriously think I was exempt from that rule??

I really wanted to scan in some of the old pics with my sisters and I, but I didn't feel it was fair to subject you to so much bad hair in one post. So I'll save that treat for another day :-)

Here's a cute video from this weekend, visiting our friends the Weissers! The kids had a blast playing in this giant pile of leaves. I feel so cool now with my video-upload skills.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Patriotic Tune

Here's a little video for you, of Seamus singing his favorite song from school, "God Bless America," complete with flag. Even Grace joins in. Enjoy the shouting match at the end :-)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Seamus' First Field Trip

Today I got to join Seamus and his class on their first field trip to the apple orchard! We had a fabulous time. The huge thrill of the day was getting to ride a school bus to the orchard. As the kids came off the bus, all of us parents swarmed the bus like the paparazzi trying to snap a shot of the Jolie-Pitt kids.

Here is Seamus with his adorable friend she cute as a button or what?

This is Seamus' class, the "Blue" and "Yellow" Rooms. See Seamus holding his hands up to his eyes? He's mimicking the two dozen moms and dads who are all holding up cameras and snapping away!

Sometimes I truly don't realize how much smaller he is than the other kids!

These boys are the Three Amigos! I used to take care of Jack and Ethan before they all started school, and they have been buddies since birth.

He ate an apple! He ate an apple! Well, he took one bite after he saw the other kids do it, then handed it over to Mommy, who gladly scarfed it down.

The other highlight of the cider donuts!

Picking a pumpkin in the "pumpkin patch"...which was really a bunch of small pumpkins yanked from their vines and tossed into a little roped off area for the kids to "pick." Luckily, at three years old, this is still relatively exciting.

We had a super time, and can't wait to go back and do it again with Daddy and Grace!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Veggie Tales

I was extremely excited recently to discover a copy of the kids' cookbook, Deceptively Delicious, at our local Christmas Tree Shop. You've probably heard of it, Jessica Seinfeld wrote it and it shows you how to hide veggie purees in everyday kid food. I had been eyeballing this book for a long time, because I am the parent of possibly the pickiest eater of all time. Seamus, my sweet little man, has the capacity to turn mealtime into a battlefield. He will eat the following items without gagging and throwing up on the table:
1. Goldfish crackers
2. Yogurt
3. Grapes
4. Bananas
5. Grilled cheese
6. Mac & cheese (very occasionally)
7. Applesauce
8. Peanut butter and jelly

(Here we are out to dinner at our favorite Japanese Hibachi. Seamus is dining, very elegantly with chopsticks, on cut up purple grapes.)

So you can see we have a problem. We beg. We plead. We bribe him with M&Ms. (we know, it's bad, we're already hiding from the Parent Police.) If we can persuade him to take a bite of a non-listed item, he truly will make himself gag and vomit. Then he'll say, "Uh oh, I spit." Spit? Kid, if this was only spit we were dealing with, Mommy's head would probably not be spinning around. Seriously, like I need to deal with that during the chaos of dinnertime??

All of his doctors could really care less. He's healthy, he'll grow out of it, they say. But it's still a huge pain in the neck. My hubby and I love food, he loves to cook (notice I said "he"), and we are always trying new things. We want our kids to be the same way. Grace will eat just about anything, Seamus is usually happy just eating air.

So I bought this cookbook, read through it and became very inspired. I hit up my awesome grocery store (no kids, so they let me back inside) and stocked up on gorgeous carrots, butternut squash, cauliflower, sweet potatoes and zucchini. I broke out my mini food processor and spent the afternoon pureeing away, freezing my veggies in mini-muffin pans and carefully labeling them and storing them away.

I tried it out that evening with regular Kraft mac & cheese. No, I didn't make the homemade mac & cheese from the actual steps, people. I'm working up to that. I mixed some butternut squash puree into the mac just before serving it to the kids. Same color, no texture difference. I sat down at the table and held my breath as I watched them dig in. They each took a bite and...nothing.

Nothing! They didn't notice a thing! Hallelujah, my son was not only eating real food, but he was eating a vegetable. I was literally snickering with glee behind my hands.

When he finished his typical 5 - 7 bites of his meal, I praised him for eating so well and said to him, "Seamus, you know what? You just ate a butternut squash!"

To which he replied, "Whaz a budda-nut skash?" Oh, the satisfaction.

So I wanted to share with you a recipe from this book, hopefully Jessica Seinfeld won't mind. And if I'm breaking some kind of copyright law, oh well, I guess they'll get me when the Parent Police haul me in.

Peanut Butter and Banana Muffins
1 c packed light brown sugar
1/2 c peanut butter
1/2 c carrot or cauliflower puree (I used cauliflower)
1/2 c banana puree
1 large egg white
1 c whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Mix 1/2 c brown sugar with peanut butter, banana puree, veg puree, and egg white. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add dry mixture to the peanut butter mixture and stir to combine. Add remaining 1/2 c brown sugar and stir once or twice.
Divide batter among 12 muffin cups and bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean.

These are soooo yummy, especially if you love peanut butter like I do! Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Apple Festival

I've been trying desperately to upload a video, but I apparently really suck at that, so here's some pictures of my cute kids from our fun day at the Apple Festival to tide you over until I figure out the video thing!

Check out these cowpokes!

Feeding some adorable goats

Taking a ride on the extremely over-priced kiddie train operated by a greasy old man in dirty sweatpants who desperately needed to say no to crack...(sorry, no pic, you'll have to just imagine him in your mind!)

Here they are holding hands (of their own free will!) Go ahead and give that a big ol' AWW!

Hopefully be back soon with a video!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Grocery Store Hijinks

I am in love with my grocery store. I love my Hannaford so much, that I actually used to do my shopping at midnight when I got out of work, just so I could relax and spend more time there. There was just something fantastic about being there with no one around but the slightly scary shelf-stocking guys (I overheard a couple of them talking one night about how they'd recently been sprung from jail) and the blasting satellite radio with awesome tunes from the 90's (I could totally rock out in the cereal aisle if I wanted...which I may have done...once...) And the lone checkout guy, who I knew was probably working this dreaded shift to avoid annoying moms like me, who insist on bringing 87 coupons and pull all the gallons of milk out of the cooler looking for the one with latest expiration date.

Anyhow, I no longer work the evening shift, so my moonlit shopping excursions have come to a halt. And you know what that means...Shopping With Kids. Everyone knows Shopping With Kids is like running up and down the aisles with a ticking time bomb in your cart. It takes a clear head, calm nerves, and occasionally some personal protective equipment. Our grocery has some neat perks like racecar shopping carts and free cookies in the bakery, so it's a pretty sweet outing, and the mere mention of the grocery store has my kids struggling to get their shoes and coats on to get out the door. They love going, still not sure why, since the thrill usually wears off at about Aisle 4 when they've finished their free cookie and start filling the cart with eighteen varieties of Dijon mustard.

So we had this little event unfold earlier this week, while taking a family trip (first mistake) to the Hannaford. It was Devon's week to cook dinner and he needed to gather his ingredients, and quite frankly, I don't trust him to go alone. I could send him to the store with a shopping list that is alphabetized, color-coded, arranged by aisle and food group on an Excel spreadsheet, and yet he would still manage to buy the wrong things. I would have on the list an item such as a jar of Smucker's Sugar Free Strawberry Jam. My adorable husband would buy Welch's Strawberry Jelly in a squeeze bottle, because in his mind, the two items are basically the same thing. Many of you probably understand that bringing your husband along to the grocery store is really no different than Shopping With Kids. When you get to the checkout counter and start unloading your stash, you begin pulling out items that you know for certain weren't on your list. You look suspiciously at your hubby, who is gazing nonchalantly at the newest US Weekly, and then at your kids, who by now are hanging upside down out of their racecar harnesses, singing "Happy Birthday" at the top of their lungs.

Wasabi mustard? Devon, and his weirdo sandwich fillings.

Grey Poupon, creamy AND whole grain variety...thanks, kids.

Double-Stuf Oreos? Hmm, could be any one of them.

A two-pound bag of candy corn?? Oh wait a minute...maybe that's mine...

So our massive cartful of groceries is now teetering precariously on the conveyor belt. I whip out my coupons and my reusable shopping bags, feeling pretty good that we are in the homestretch and survived the trip with no major catastrophes. Then suddenly I hear a splat. One of my delicious Weight Watchers Amaretto Cheesecake yogurts has apparently leaped to its death off the conveyor and splattered all over the floor. (I guess it decided that perishing was preferable to coming home with us.) They called the cleanup crew, I'm apologizing (for what? For not using my Spidey skills and jumping over the racecar to snatch the container out of mid-air?), Seamus is now sobbing because he spotted the Oreos and wants them RIGHT NOW, and in the midst of this, no one is watching Grace, who decides that she is going to help us pack the rest of the groceries. My big helper! My dainty little princess picks up in her bare hands a gallon of skim milk (she is freakishly strong) in an effort to get it in the cart...and drops it. Yup. A gallon. Of milk. All. over. the. floor. I look at the poor front-end manager who had already rushed over for the yogurt incident, and I almost laugh and cry at the same time, saying, "You're not going to believe what just happened."

Hey, at least the cleaning crew was already right there. Did I mention how much I love Hannaford? Hannaford rocks. Love you guys. Please let us come back.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Helping Hands

It's really wonderful when the kids like helping around the house. Grace, for instance, has been on an "I help Mommy" kick. While I love her enthusiasm for housework, it does take some creativity to come up with little tasks for her to do, while I get the actual chore done. Last night I was in the kitchen folding laundry. Here comes Gigi, "I help you Mommy, I help you!" She proceeds to take the folded stack of dishtowels and unfold each one, laying it very smoothly over the arm of the couch. No prob, I can re-fold. I hand her a stack of baby washcloths.

"Here Gigi, can you take these into the bathroom?"
She runs off, I go back to folding, and of the sudden we hear the toilet lid slam. I look at my husband and groan. She comes running back, yelling "I did it, I did it!"
Oh, she's such a good helper. She put the washcloths the toilet. Sigh.

And here she is with four pairs of Devon's (clean, I promise) boxer briefs around her neck.

I just wanted to share a fun and easy project with all of you. I did these with the kids a while back, and they loved it. Rachael Ray had Rosie O'Donnell on her show in the spring, and they made dough out of a cup of flour, a half-cup of salt, and half-cup of warm water. Knead it together until it reaches a good doughy texture, and then let your kids have fun with it. I helped the kids shape the dough into circles, and then made impressions of their handprints. I used a toothpick to write their name and the date around the edge.
You can make bowls, animals, whatever you like. When finished creating, bake your pieces on a cookie sheet at 200 degrees for about 2 hours. When cool, they can be painted with acrylic paint. Here's Seamus showing off his handprint, he painted it red.

Just a warning, although these will look like gigantic, soft sugar cookies, do not eat! Here's Grace after she gave her "cookie" a lick...yuck!
I love looking at their little hands every day perched above my sink. And I'm sure many of you can agree...there's just nothing cuter than an achon handprint!