Sunday, October 15, 2017

Pumpkin Patch

It was a beautiful day for a trip to the pumpkin patch. With temperatures in the high 70s, it barely felt like Fall, but you'll get no complaints from me.

As we've done the last couple of years, we chose to visit Shenot Farm.

We browsed the patch and each of the kids chose a pumpkin. Sarah had been talking all day about finding a perfectly round one, and she did!

We got back to the general store at the farm just as it was starting to sprinkle.

Between the birthday party yesterday, and the pumpkin patch today, I am worn out. Man, this 40 thing. . .

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Emmy's Ninth Birthday

My little pumpkin is growing up. She seems like a nine year old though so I won't say it snuck up on me, nor will I wonder where the years have gone.

We invited Grandma and Pop-Pop, Aunt Kathy and Uncle Ron, Auntie Em and Uncle Joe, and Anthony and William. This may have been the best party I've ever pulled off, and I planned it all in about 24 hours.

Emmy had wanted a rainbow ice cream cake from Dairy Queen, and so I ran with that theme. 

At the last possible moment, we ran to Target and they had a blue tablecloth with rainbows all over it. Perfection. 

I found a recipe for a layered rainbow jello dessert, and not only did it look amazing, it was delicious. I followed the directions and it came together flawlessly. I made a layered fruit salad, and we did a veggie tray as well. I tried to incorporate as many different colors into the food as I could.

My mom had made the BBQ ham, and my sister brought a pumpkin spice cake, both delicious and enjoyed by all.

This party came together so easily, but more importantly, Emmy loved it.

As the party was getting started, I mentioned our thermostat had been acting up and Joe and my dad installed a new one for us. We knew it was failing so we already had a thermostat on hand as a replacement.

It was another gorgeous, summer-like day so the kids even had a chance to play outside for awhile.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

1000 Books Before Kindergarten (updated)

I'm not the best at recording every book we read to Seth, and many get read multiple times, but here's an updated list:

1. All Day Long with Jesus, by Matt Anderson
2. On the Night You Were Born, by Nancy Tillman
3. A Big Guy Took My Ball, by Mo Willems
4. Me and My Mom, by Alison Ritchie
5. Spot Goes to the Beach, by Eric Hill
6. One More Swim, by Caroline Pitcher and Jenny Jones
7. How Do Dinosaurs Play with Their Friends, by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague
8. Oh, the Places You'll Go, by Dr. Seuss
9. Hic-Hic-Hiccup, by Warner Brothers Looney Tunes
10. Sid the Squid, Underwater Adventures, by N/A
11. Elmo Loves You, by Sarah Albee
12. Today I Feel Silly: And Other Moods that Make My Day, by Jamie Lee Curtis
13. Baby Animals, Gyo Fujikawa
14. Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown
15. George and Martha Best of Friends, by James Marshall
16. George and Martha, by James Marshall
17. Peter's Chair, by Ezra Jack Keats
18. Tell Me Again about the Night I was Born, by Jamie Lee Curtis
19. Once Upon an Alphabet, by Oliver Jeffers
20. Five Silly Turkeys, by Salina Yoon
21. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle
22. The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats
23. Happy Pig Day, by Mo Willems
24. Waiting is not Easy, by Mo Willems
25. Elephants Cannot Dance, by Mo Willems
26. The Grouchy Ladybug, by Eric Carle
27. Seven Hungry Babies, by Candace Fleming
28. And Then Comes Halloween, by Tom Brenner
29. Careful, Santa, by Julie Sykes
30. Pumpkin Jack, by Will Hubbell
31. Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me, by Eric Carle
32. Splat the Cat and the Hotshot, by Rob Scotton
33. Hi, Cat!, by Ezra Jack Keats
34. Black and Bittern was the Night, by Robert Heidbreder
35. The Birthday Cat, by Lesley Anne Ivory
36. A Woggle of Witches, by Adrienne Adams
37. Halloween Is. . ., by Gail Gibbons
38. Moby-Dick, by Jennifer Adams (Baby Lit series)
39. Sheep in a Jeep, by Nancy Shaw
40. But Not the Hippopotamus, by Sandra Boynton
41. Good Night Mr Darcy, by Kate Coombs
42. Ten Tiny Toes, by Caroline Jayne Church
43. Where is Baby's Belly Button, by Karen Katz
44. Bear Snores On, by Karma Wilson
45. I Love You Through and Through, by Bernadette Rosetti Shustak
46. Harold and the Purple Crayon, by Crockett Johnson
47. A Christmas Carol, by Jennifer Adams (Baby Lit series)
48. My Little Miracle, by J. Beck and J. Croydon
49. Pumpkin Light, by David Ray
50. I Am Going, by Mo Willems
51. Quack, Daisy, Quack, by Jane Simmons
52. Where's Spot, by Eric Hill
53. Glasses for D.W., by Marc Brown
54. Miss Nelson is Missing, by Harry Allard
55. I Will Surprise My Friend, by Mo Willems
56. Bunny Fairy Tales (Ruby and Max)
57. Twas the Night Before Christmas (Clement C. Moore)
58. Christmas Angels (Claire Freedman)
59. Llama Llama Holiday Drama (Anna Dewdney)
60. Baby's First Christmas (Tomie dePaola)
61. Llama Llama Jingle Bells (Anna Dewdney)
62. Llama Llama Mad at Mama (Anna Dewdney)
63. Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Steven Kellogg
64. The Story of the Easter Bunny (Katherine Tegen)
65. How Spider Saved Easter (Robert Kraus)
66. Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, by Mo Willems
67. Flight School, by Lita Judge
68. Jack and the Toddler, by Sindy McKay
69. The Leprechaun's Gold, by Pamela Duncan Edwards
70. Easter Engines (Thomas the Tank Engine)
71. Little Bea, Daniel Roode
72. Where's Spot, Eric Hill
73. The Difference Between Babies and Cookies, Mary Elizabeth Hanson
74. Giraffes Can't Dance
75. Little Miss Birthday
76. Clifford and the Big Parade, Norman Bridwell
77. There's a Fly Guy in my Soup, Tedd Arnold
78. The Best Mouse Cookie, Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond
79. The Night Before Mother's Day, Natasha Wing
80. Panda Big and Panda Small, Jane Cabrera
81. Olivia in Venice, by Ian Falconer
82. The Bible for Little Ones, by the Magnificat
83. The School House (Lost Puppies Series), Sesame Street
84. Hand Hand Fingers Thumb, by Al Perkins
85. Estelle Takes a Bath, by Jill Esbaum
86. Benny Goodman & Teddy Wilson, by Lesa Cline-Ransome
87. When Stravinsky Met Nijinsky, by Lauren Stringer
88. Polar the Titanic Bear, by Daisy Corning Stone Seddens
89. The Thank You Book, Mo Willems
90. Good-bye Diaper, by Patricia Geis
91. Blankie, by Leslie Patricelli
92. Watch Me Throw the Ball, by Mo Williams
93. Pumpkin Day, Pumpkin Night, by Anne F Rockwell
94. Splish, Splash Baby, by Karen Katz
95. Curious George Goes to the Costume Party
96. Christmas in the Chicken Coop, by Felicia Bond
97. Moonlight: the Halloween Cat, by Cynthia Rylant
98. Max's Bedtime, by Rosemary Wells
99. My New Friend is so Fun, by Mo Willems
100. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, by Laura Joffe Numeroff
101. Trick Arrr Treat, by Leslie Kimmelman
102. We're Off to Find the Witch's House, by Mr. Krieb
103. The Pumpkin Fair, by Eve Bunting
104. And Then Comes Halloween, by Tom Brenner
105. We are in a Book, by Mo Willems
106. Today I Will Fly, by Mo Willems 
107. My Friend is Sad, by Moe Willems
108. Trick or Treat on Milton Street, by Lisa Bullard
109. Ten Little Monkeys Trick or Treat,  by Eileen Christelow
110. Broommates, by Margie Palatini
111. The Story of Gettysburg, by Patricia Pingry
112. The Spooky Wheels on the Bus, by Elizabeth J Mills
113. I Love My New Toy, by Mo Willems
114. Ten Creepy Monsters, by Carey Armstrong-Ellis
115. Nuts to You, Lois Ehlert
116. By the Light of the Halloween Moon, by Caroline Stutson
117. Too Many Pumpkins, by Linda White
118. Clifford's First Snow Day, by Norman Bridwell
119. You're Getting a Baby Brother, by Sheila Sweeny HigginsonA 
120. Do Your Ears Hang Low, by Caroline Jayne Church
121. Still a Gorilla, by Kim Norman
122. Eek! It's Halloween (Bear in the Big Blue House)
123. Shoeless Joe and Black Betsy, by Phil Bildner

124. A Visit to Grandma's, by Nancy L. Carlson
125. Turkey Pox, by Laura Halse Anderson
126. Over the River and Through the Wood, by Lydia Maria Child
127.The Thanksgiving Door, by Debby Atwell
128. A Turkey for Thanksgiving, by Eve Bunting
129. Arthur's Thanksgiving, by Marc Brown
130. The Potty Train, by David Hochman
131. Caillou Potty Time
132. Prince of the Potty, by Nora Gaydos
133. Little Kids at Play
134. Snowflake Kisses and Gingerbread Smiles, by Toni Trent Parker
135. The Sun, by Melanie Chrismer
136. Jupiter, by Thomas K Adamson
137. Sun, by Gregory L. Vogt
138. A Christmas Carol, (illustrated) by Brett Helquist
139. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
140. Thomas the Tank Engine, Step 1
141. Caillou Goes Potty
142. Eggs 1, 2, 3 Who Will the Baby be?, by Janet Halfmann
143. Iron Horses, by Verla Kay
144.The Pigeon Wants a Puppy, by Mo Willems
145. Grumpy Bird, by Jeremy Tankard
146. Covered Wagons, Bumpy Trails, by Verla Kay
147. There is a Bird on Your Head, by Mo Willems

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Baby Shower

Today I went to a baby shower for a friend I met through St. Ursula's. She is pregnant with twin boys and has two older children, daughters, who are 8 and 4.

It was wonderful to get together with all of these moms and former teachers from St. Ursula. Our families may be scattered at schools all over the North Hills, but we have ties that bind.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Hydref Festival

Hydref means "Autumn" in Welsh, and the nearby
Depreciation Lands Museum hosted a fall (Hydref) festival today.

We took Seth as an alternative to Franklin's Applefest. It was just the right size for a two year old. There were goats, a chicken, and a bunny for him to see.

The little girl in the picture to the left, spoke to him as we were walking past and he stopped. She showed him how to grind corn into meal, although I'm sure he wondered just what the heck he was doing.

The highlight for me was the 225 year old Conestoga wagon on display outside the general store. It was so easy to picture wagons such as this making the trek cross country along the Oregon Trail. If I was excited to see the wagon ruts in Wyoming before, I am even moreso now.

The interpreter in the General Store made it a point to say that driving a wagon to Allegheny City, Pittsburgh's current North Side neighborhood took a full day so a trip to civilization and back was a two day adventure. Now it would take you roughly 40 minutes, outside of rush hour.

We decided to have lunch at the Tavern, and we tasted homemade soups, breads, cookies, and other treats. The quartet below was playing while we ate, and a couple in period clothing was dancing.


The grounds are shared with an old cemetery that Sal and I enjoyed walking through - some markers were from the very early 1800s, which is interesting because the depreciation lands weren't even settled until after the Revolutionary War. Those settlers weren't in the area very long before they died.

I'm looking forward to bringing the girls here at the end of the month. The museum hosts lantern tours that are appropriate for school age children. Stay tuned for more about that.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Mandalay Bay Massacre

Just last week we received the photo book / journal I had ordered detailing our summer trip out West. We were re-living all the fun we had and things we saw, and then the mass shooting at Mandalay Bay happened.

I felt so many emotions, but mostly sadness that evil is everywhere.

Like us, everyone at that concert was just enjoying their time in Las Vegas. The concert was probably just one item on an itinerary of various sites to see or experiences to enjoy.

I cannot believe this is the world in which my children are growing up.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

That's it, Fort Pitt

As promised, I'm back to blogging. Look at me, two days in a row.

Today we went to Fort Pitt for RADical days, meaning it was free admission. This is a place I've been wanting to take Sal, and I thought it might be interesting to the girls as well. I think it grabbed Emmy's attention, maybe not Sarah's so much, although she did admit to liking the arts and crafts projects.

They learned about wampum and made bracelets and necklaces with leather and plastic beads, white for peace and purple to symbolize power. These were two common colors among Native Americans.

The kids decorated paper flags, and Emmy is shown with hers in front of Heinz Field at The Point.

We also practiced engraving (on the far right), an art form typically seen on powder horns from early America.

After touring the museum, we hung out at Point State Park on this gorgeous sunny Sunday. I'd forgotten how special this area is to the city of Pittsburgh.