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Ok.. so I meant to type "End of the month" for the subject.. but it came out "End of the mother".. hmmm.. I think that might mean that I've had enough of November and all of the loveliness that has come with it. Bring on the snow!

December will be filled will holiday preparations and celebrations, visits from family, a certain red head's 2nd birthday, memories of that certain red head's arrival 2 years ago.. presents. It's a good thing. Hopefully work will be less stressful and Shiela will stop coughing before her mom gets here. Hopefully Ben's sleep schedule will go back to normal (he's still up... and he's been sleeping until 10am.. the stupid anti-seizure meds do a number on him.. ugh!)..

The good news for all of YOU is that NaBloPoMo is FINALLY OVER. I enjoy blogging and most of the time was ok with posting at least once a day.. but it really is tough when you don't feel like struggling with your virus-ridden home computer on a weekend. Things changed from me staying up until after midnight on 11/1 to publish my first NaBloPoMo post to last night when I realized shortly before midnight that I had forgotten all about it just in time to grab my cell phone and send in a short post... I may take a few days off!

I gave up on the thankful crap.. that whole idea that I was going to post something each day that I'm thankful for. It turns out that I'm still thankful for my family, which was my first idea... but I guess I haven't taken the time to smell the roses lately because I forgot I was supposed to be thinking about being thankful.

At the moment, I'm thankful for good friends, a sleeping baby, and ice cream.. OH.. and Ben's binky. We're entering the final stretch.. stay tuned for posts from a frantic mom (or moms) trying to break the binky habit! yikes! I think I'm looking forward to potty training more than this!

Seriously.. it's just too much.

I swear.. my internal calendar is all out of wack. I have a seriously hard time believing that Thanksgiving is over and we're in the home stretch toward Ben's birthday and Christmas.

The days leading up to Thanksgiving were less than fun. The baby was sicker than he's ever been (well.. I joke about it.. but it was definitely the highest his fever ever got and then you throw in the anti-seizure meds which make him walk around like a 34" tall drunk.. it's a rockin' time.). The little dude is better now.. *whew* We're recovering.. *whew*

We stayed at home for turkey this year.. it was actually incredibly enjoyable. We slept in.. didn't drive ANYWHERE.. enjoyed the Macy's parade on TV (ben liked the marching bands).. had a great turkey dinner (the turkey was from a local farm and was bleepin' delicious.. crazy good.. i didn't know turkey could be that good..).. we capped it off with a nice walk around the neighborhood with Ben all bundled up in the quilt that his great-grandmother made for him. Benji went to bed and Shiela and I busted out the pumpkin and blueberry pies.. awesome.

Oh.. and Benjamin absolutely LOVES egg nog!

ok.. the little dude has learned that Thomas the Train also lives on the computer.. so I have hit my limit of "mom only on the computer" time.


This chain of emails was sent between my wife and my sister prior to last Thanksgiving. They were trying to plan.

11/19/07 (Shiela)


between the guitar hero marathon and hauling things out of your mom's house, we never got a chance to discuss the meal like we'd planned. so without further adieu ...

your mom was reading saturday's paper and it had some recipes in it that were interesting - one in particular that i'd like to try if you think it would be ok. it's for corn pudding baked in a pumpkin shell. it reminds me of the corn stuff that Chi-Chi's used to serve .. even jen liked that. what do you think? if no one eats it, maybe it will serve as visual interest .. :)

i'm game to cook whatever ... i believe all the deserts have been planned .. i.e., i heard your mom ask ash & jen what pies they want and gathered that she'll bring a blueberry cream cheese and pumpkin and ash said she's making an apple.

we can do things as traditional or un-traditional as you'd like. i like to mix things up a little (see note above re: corn pudding in a pumpkin).. but that's my adventurous personality peeking through *laff* ... me ... adventurous ... *LAFF*

i mentioned making butternut squash soup and your mom almost fell out of her chair exclaiming "Yes!" .. but i believe she & I were the only ones to touch it when i served dinner at our place a couple years ago. It's super yummy, but only if you like squash.

oh, btw, i have a tendency to try and feed armies during holiday meals so you can rein me in at Any time here ...

and don't let your mom tell you that i have no idea how to make mashed potatoes ... i'm a texan, it's a staple where i'm from ... along with the gravy ... but for some reason, after the spinach ball appetizers, homemade cranberry dipping sauce, orange-glazed turkey and butternut squash soup ... i, #1 used BABY red potatoes (which are like baby rattlesnakes who are more poisonous than their parents, in that they contain a TON of starch - ever mix flour and water??) and, #2 i forgot the damn things AFTER i drained the water from them and ended up making a wonderful, stretchy glue. however, if you feel that after suggesting baked corn in a pumpkin, that i may be a little too whacked to handle the potatoes, i will understand.

so .. jen and i plan to drive down on wednesday night so i will be available to help start this thang as early as you'd like (jen informed me that we weren't allowed to have the meal for anything but lunch ... something about your mom getting pissed off at the illicks or something ... for serving at 4 .. *shrug*) anyway, i'll be there!

i was hoping that maybe we could do something fun, too ... like crafty stuff ... maybe make stuff with the kids ... fingerpaint with ben ... well .. not WITH ben but let him fingerpaint, too ... i realize we'll have to compete with guitar hero .. but maybe?

okeedokee ... your turn


11/19/07 (Beck)

You absolutely kill me…

Ok- so this is what I have on deck- turkey-lovely 14 pounder- hope I don't %^&* it up- mashed potatos (no prob- I got those covered)-corn/green beans stuffing (w/sausage)- rolls.

Anything else you wanna do is perfectly fine with me. Mom is doing the pie- ash wants to do an apple pie- I've never done one myself- so that should be a treat (make the crust from scratch????? She said something about buying yeast that doesn't have to rise for 24 hours before- she's gonna have to come with me to the store LOL).

You are so funny…

And we should f with them all and have dinner at 9am….


BTW- I will have bud lites waiting for Wednesday night…. That will be EVEN more FUN- half %^&*-faced. Ha ha ha ha ha ha hah ahahhah

I'm all for the craft thing- I will threaten adam that he has to do it and have fun or he can't play x-box 360.
You kill me…. I just read your email again.

Back atcha-babe- make me laugh again. LOL

11/20/07 (Shiela)


bud lites sound simply ambrosial .. especially after working all week, trying to get in a couple loads of laundry so our jeans aren't standing up in the corner, packing the car so i can fit a WAGON in it when we return, and attempting to keep the boy strapped in his carseat for 2 hours (hopefully it will only be 2 hours - damn holiday traffic).

Re: the crust-from-scratch thing .. Ash is talking about quick rising yeast ... kinda like 1 minute oatmeal ... but yeast (it'll be on the baking aisle). A little secret: put a couple Pillsbury readymade pie crusts in your basket without her seeing so if things get ugly (and believe me, crust can get Very ugly), you'll be the ultimate hero when you whip out the Pillsbury. The best part is, no one has to be the wiser.

btw, the readymade stuff is in the freezer aisle in a box ... easily hidden by the stoffer's family-size turkey dinner in a box. (just a contingency plan)

i will try and think of some cool crafty stuff .. i'm just feeling creative lately and haven't had a chance to sit down and do anything about it. jen has been trying to make a box thingy to cover the radiator in the livingroom and i've been moving her plywood all over the apartment ... it's fun to watch her drag it back out again ... *grin*

i'm going to attempt the corn pudding thing and bring a salad. and i will help with the turkey if you'd like. did you want to do anything special with it?



I have big plans for my turkeyday post. Given that the week has sucked so... all I've got for you today is a quick hello.

The child WILL sleep!

The big guy is currently thinking about taking a nap. He's in his crib, with a truck.. he doesn't look tired at all. He's going to rest because Mommy needs to rest.. hopefully he'll actually sleep for a bit.

Did I mention that the truck is a Builder Bob toy that talks.. it actually whines.. because THAT is what every parent needs.. a whining toy truck.

Anyway.. things are going better today.. the light of day will do that. Ben slept well last night and his temp didn't climb back up too high with the Motrin and Tylenol. No seizures! This morning, he slept until almost 10am.. if I had been able to sleep at all, that would have been nice. He did just fine... I had nightmares about work and hospitals and vampires (I really need to finish the Twilight series)..

Did I mention that I changed the battery in my keyboard and it is STILL not working right? UGH. I have one of those old-fashioned keyboards that actually has a cord.. I wonder where that wound up?

OK.. So Ben and I went to see his pediatrician, Dr Pangburn, a bit before noon today. Keep in mind that the ER sent him home last night with a relatively clean bill of health.. clean chest xray, no ear infection, no infection at all really, and just a high temp that was probably a virus. Yeah.

So Dr Pangburn, who I will refer to as House for the remainder of his post because Pangburn is too hard to type on a broken keyboard, came in and looked Ben over. Ben is a total pro at going to the doctors. He knows how all of the equipment works and he even will talk to the doctor. Crazy for a kid who isn't two yet.

It turns out that he, in fact, DOES have an ear infection. He also still has an eye infection and his sinuses are spewing out a colorful array of snot. Somehow the ER doctor missed this. *roll eyes*

In the end, we have a name for it. It's hippo-something-fluenza. Well.. that's what it sounds like anyway.

I have to go do a binky search and rescue.. brb.

Little dude just isn't going to sleep.. he's playing my little backpack guitar.. that requires adult supervision. We've got some superduper antibiotics and he'll hopefully be back to himself in a day or so. If we can get through this evening without a seizure, we should be in the clear.. *cross fingers*

That was the high point for his temp (hopefully forever). We just got back from the ER. Ben's temp jumped over 105 degrees around 9pm. We took him in by ambulance. It sucked, but he was a trooper. Chest xrays and bloodwork came back ok.. so we know he isn't brewing an infection. Damned viruses. We are "happy" to report that we dodged this one without a seizure. Hope that trend continues. His temp was down to 100.9 when he was discharged about a half hour ago. He's singing right now. Not exactly how we hoped to spend our Sunday night.. but I'm glad that his temp is down at least for now. *cross fingers* The alarm is set for 3am, when he's due for his next tylenol and anti-seizure meds. I'll be crashing on the twin bed in his room tonight. Party in Ben's room.. 2am!

Yep.. that's i degrees Fahrenheit. Mr. Benjamin is a little toaster oven tonight. When he woke up from his nap this afternoon, he had one pink cheek. That's never good. We were down at my sister's house in CT. The original plan was to get the kids' pictures taken this afternoon, but that plan bit the dust when Ben started looking .. well.. pink... and snotty.

After a hit of Motrin.. he was back on his game and we had a nice day playing with his cousins before heading back home. We almost made it.

We go to Natick on the Mass Pike before seeing that Ben's fever was jumping up. We got to the rest stop and got him his next hit of Motrin and his seizure meds before continuing on our way home. The 103.4 temp is an hour AFTER the Motrin.. that doesn't bode well for tonight.

That's all you're going to get from me tonight because my wireless keyboard's battery is low and it skips every other letter that I type..

This is wat t would look ike it I didn't edit absolutely every line of what I type.

Anywho.. Shiela is sick too.. so wish us luck!

Blogging on the weekend is challenging...

One of my loyal readers is thinking about naming his future blog in the same refreshing approach that I used to name this blog...

I won't tell you what that stands for, but it starts with "A" and ends with "Two Moms And A Baby Blog"!

Hey Moo... We totally have to find a way to get our kids together to play. The more I learn about Grayson, the more similarities I see between him and Ben. The drum thing is over the top! Shiela and I have been talking about getting Ben a drum set. Losely talking about it, given that 1. we can't afford it and 2. it's a drum set for a 2 year old.. seriously. Seriously! It's hard not to when he gets such a kick out of it (and he's SO good)!

This is our current trap set...

It's called Finger Drums and I've had it for about a year on my desk at work. Ben saw it last Friday when he and Shiela came to pick me up and he hasn't put it down since. I have to get take a video to share! I think we may be visiting the local Pottery Barn Kids too! (we'll be sure to bring our own sticks!)

In other news.. do you have Tub Drums? This is one of Ben's all time favorite tub toys. The drums also double as good buckets to dump water over his head to wash soap off. :)

Well.. it may be a long winter. Or a cold one.. for a certain red headed toddler that I know and love. We've never had trouble with jackets in the past.. last year was a breeze. This year.. we HATE wearing our jacket! I can't blame him.. it is bulky and somewhat irritating. I felt a bit hypocritical last night when I was fighting him to get him into his jacket while mine was bunched up on the floor boards in the car.

Anyway.. I digress..

I've been trying to figure out a way to make wearing a winter jacket a bit more appealing. He doesn't have to like it.. but it would be nice if we could avoid an all out temper tantrum when he just SEES the jacket.

Attempt #1

We are going to pick up a Thomas the Train embroidered patch to sew or iron-on his jacket. It may be wishful thinking.. but maybe, just maybe, this will do the trick. I'll let you all know!

So.. I've about had it with this NaBloPoMo thing.. I just like saying the word. I'm irritated at the idea of "having" to post when I just don't feel like posting. When I blog, it makes me think of the camera that I don't have.

On that note.. I'm selling a brand new Nikon S550 digital camera complete with original packing, manual, cables, software, etc. It's "plum" (i.e. the color). It's a great camera that would be perfect for 99.9% of the population.. but I'm a snob and the processor just isn't what I was hoping for. I'm back to using my old Canon, which has its issues (like how the lens cover gets stuck half open).. digital processing capabilities of this old 2 megapixel camera still serve me well. The new Nikon is a 10 megapixel with all of the bells and whistles and I'm selling it for $175. If you're interested.. leave a comment with your contact info or send me an email or something.. I'm desperately trying to sell it so that I'll have a little extra Christmas money this year. I used it about 5 times and took about a few dozen photos.. I'll have to see if I can find some to link to..

anywho... that's as exciting as things get for me today. I need fish tacos from Ixtapa.. it's the sauce man...

I wonder if a time will come where I don't celebrate Ben's monthly "birthday". The big guy is 23 months old today. I can't believe that in just a month, he'll be TWO. Crazy!

This was taken last November (07):

What could be better than sitting in a Rubbermaid tub full of Thomas and Friends engines and trucks..

This morning was one for the record books. It could have been much worse if I was a single parent.. but thankfully, Shiela and I can tag-team it once in a while.

Ben woke up at about 4am. He did this yesterday too, but he went right back to sleep after a quick hug. Today.. he was up. Shiela got up with him (THANK GOD). I can't say that I slept well from 4am - 7am.. but I did nod off a few times. At 7, Shiela called in from the other room saying that she had to start getting ready. I took the pillow off of my head and mumbled something about "bring him in here".

Her response? "He won't stay.." I grumbled something like "I know".. ::grumble::

Surprisingly, Ben snuggled right in. He had his bink, we put Thomas on, and he was asleep before the end of the episode. Snoring.

Around 7:45, I dragged myself out of bed.. actually.. I vaulted and did a kung-fu move trying to get to the alarm clock before it woke up Ben. He didn't budge.. binky half-hanging out of his mouth. Snoring.

I took a shower and got ready for work.. then packed up my things and packed a lunch for Ben.. it was now 8:15 and he was still out cold. Snoring.

I decided to put his pink eye meds on his eyes while he was sleeping instead of having to battle him when he was awake. I smeared some of the cream on each eye.. he rolled over.. put his bink back in his mouth.. and kept sleeping. Snoring.

It was a tough debate.. I was very tempted to grab the next Twilight book (i finished book 2 last night) and read a few chapters while letting him wake up on his own. The responsible adult in me made the decision, knowing that I had a stack of things waiting for me at work along with a meeting downtown today.

I woke him up.


Bad move.

Stupid Mommy.

Ben proceeded to SCREAM his little red head off for the next 20 minutes. Not just scream. He screamed and thrashed and gagged and hit and... well, you get the idea. It wasn't pretty. My peaceful little angel of a child.. yeah. not.

So I quietly sang the ABC song while changing his diaper.. trying to hold his lanky little body so I could put his new diaper on.. easier said than done. The whole time he was shrieking and yanking at whatever I was trying to do. If I was trying to take off a shirt.. he was trying to pull it on. If I was trying to put on a shirt.. he was trying to pull it off.

A B C D E F Geeee....

I managed to get him completely dressed. Quite thankful that I had already packed up his lunch and that all of our things were stacked by the door. I picked up the puddle of a child, who proceeded to wipe snot and tears all over my sweater, and tried to carry him into the living room without either knocking his noggin against a doorframe by accident or tripping.

H I J K Elemenohpeeee...

I put his jacket on. It was about 24 degrees outside. I put his hat on. He hit the ceiling. The hat. He went nuts. I told him he didn't have to wear the hat, but he had to wear the jacket. He was still going nuts. I took the hat off of him.. he yelled and tried to put it back on. I tried to help him put it back on.. he yelled and threw it.

Q R S....

I put my laptop bag over one shoulder and his diaper bag over the other shoulder (after putting on my own jacket and making a big show out of not screaming when MY jacket was put on me.. yeah.. like that helped). I threw him over my shoulder picked him up and grabbed his backpack and stumbled to the door. As I was trying to get the two of us out of the door without dropping anything, the cat made his move.. there is nothing that an indoor cat loves more than the brief escape into the stairwell.. it's almost like getting all the way outside, but not as scary.

T U V...

I was making up my own curse words at this point. Ben was still screaming and gagging. I had closed the door trying to block the cat in and the little crap bag made it out just before I closed it. Unfortunately, my keys were buried in my jacket pocket under the boy and behind a laptop bag. I had to put all of our bags down (and a screaming baby.. who proceeded to lay on his back on the floor and kick at me) so I could dig out my keys and open the front door. At this point, the cat was worried about the screaming child, so he actually came back up the stairs by himself. I threw him inside.

W X...

Before closing the door again, I remembered that I hadn't grabbed my cell phone. I scooped up the baby, went inside.. put him down on the couch, where he proceeded to reach for anything he could grab and throw across the room while kicking his feet.. and ran around looking for my cell phone. No dice. I gave up.. to hell with the phone.. it's never charged anyway!

Y Zeeeeee.....

I scooped the baby back up.. ducked before being hit by a flying remote control.. and headed back for the door. I had the boy hanging from one arm.. flailing... and our bags dragging behind us as I stumbled down the stairs and around the house to the car. There was ice on the driveway. Lovely.

In the car.. I put El Jarabe Tapatio on "repeat" (mexican hat dance) and started to sing "I love you.. you love me.. " from Barney... The screaming kicked up a notch.. as did the gagging and heaving and coughing. Just a half hour earlier I was sitting on the edge of the bed watching this peaceful baby sleep. and snore.

We got to daycare and stumbled in. All three of the women come rushing over. Ruth said something in spanish in a sing-songy voice and Ben reached for her. He gave her a big hug and then proceeded to give me the silent treatment. I explained the morning asking her to call me if he doesn't settle down and also filled her in on the pink eye thing (turns out another kid had it too.. go figure).. and then headed out the door.

I sat in the car.. it was silent. I turned the key.. turned off the stereo.. and slowly backed out of their driveway. All of a sudden there is this roar from the back seat.. it's followed by "I know I'm every hippos dream" in a raspy electronic voice.

It repeated every time we hit a bump.. all the way to work. A little plastic hippo from a McDonald's happy meal saying "I know I'm every hippos dream" over and over again.

I need a nap.

Here is an update from my sister, Becky.



I digress….


So- ok- because my teeth are ground to dust right now- and I really am trying to take a breath and not blow a blood vessel….I put them up yesterday. Ok, Ok…for those of you keeping track- it’s been more than a month and a half of the known mouse issue.

So let’s fast forward to tonight. I’ve just been Christmas shopping. It’s 9pm- I’m tired- I am 12/16ths of the way through the final book of the twilight series (coincidentally I began reading on October 1). I was hoping to keep my eyes open long enough to read a chapter since I have been passing out early each night lately.

So I walk through the door- the cat (my fearless hunter) is meowing- crap I forgot dry food. SORRY ZEKIE. He looks a bit odd- but I figured he was pissed about the food. Meow Meow Meow.

For those faint at heart- please stop reading.

I get changed- cozy in my jams- come out and see something strange that immediately catches my attention on the floor.

I think my heart actually might have stopped as I processed what I saw. I didn’t fully understand of course. Because I had to call Jen Alt for that to happen.

On the floor….upSIDE down was a glue trap.

Now, please understand. I did not put these in my kitchen cabinets (where I previously kept the other traps). I put these in the basement- up along the studs that run along the ceiling.


So I am on the phone with Jen processing why it could be there (a) and how it fell so that the cat could get it (b) and how the HELL he didn’t have any of it on him (c).

When she says- well there can’t be one on there- it would be partially lifted off the floor- it wouldn’t be flat.

Good point……

So carefully….i reach over…

And lift it

Actually you can’t really even call it lifting it- I TIPPED it so that I could see under it.






Honestly zeke- did you have to???? So he finished his WET cat food- licking his chops and I kicked him outside.

I SUPPOSE it could have been worse……(it could have been on my bed).


There is nothing better for an almost-23-month-old than to make a fort by throwing an old bed sheet over the kitchen table. Actually.. it's pretty fun for a 34 year old too..

Ok.. so I'm only blogging to keep up with my NaBloMoPo requirements for posting once a day in November.. I'm all proud of myself for making it this far (even though my friends are now picking on me for posting 3+ times a day.. oh well!)

i have no time to blog tonight.. i must read.. i'm almost finished with book 2 of the Twilight series.. good times man.. good times.

i had a raucous time with snickollet and gio last night.. we partied like it was 1999. actually.. we partied like 3 mothers of very young children.. we had trouble staying awake until midnight. Oops!

in other news.. ben has pink eye. *SCREAM* the good news is that after just one application of his antibiotic eye ointment, his eyes look SO much better.. whew! now if i can just avoid getting it myself.. the last time this happened, i landed in the hospital in isolation getting a spinal tap and an mri.. good times.. good times...

Last night, we met up with our friends Barb and her daughter, Anna, to attend a little holiday shindig at a local mall. We really had a blast. The time we got to spend with our friends was wonderful. The little show the mall put on was cute.. although it reminded me a bit of this:

I have some absolutely wonderful pictures of Benjamin and Anna playing together. These two have been friends "forever". They are finally getting old enough to really play with one another. It was great. Of course.. the card reader on my laptop is crapping out, so I'll have to upload those pictures the hard way tomorrow. I promise to share!

Ok.. so we weren't talking about trucks. After the rally, I took Shiela over to see my newest infatuation...

I pink puffy heart this truck...

The weather could have been better this morning. We woke up to a steady rain. It's always a bit of a debate whether to brave the elements with Ben. By lunchtime, the rain had slowed to a sporadic sprinkle. After a failed attempt at a nap for Benjamin, we packed up and headed out. We drove downtown instead of taking the train. I can only take so much humanity.

When we came out of the parking garage, the rain picked up. Ben thought it was hysterical. Of course.. he was on my back in his carrier with shiela holding our umbrella over him while she and i were getting soaked. Ben thought this was great fun! We took cover in the McDonald's down near Quincy Market.. along with half the city. Again with the humanity.

At 1:30, we decided to chance the weather (or start heading to the car). When we got outside, we found that the rain had stopped. The clouds were still threatening, but for the moment, we were dry. We headed across the street to City Hall.

As we walked up the hundred or so stairs to the side of the building, I reminded Shiela how we "got domestic partnered" there several years ago. I needed to go on Shiela's medical insurance at the time and so we "tied the knot". It wasn't the most romantic event of our lives. We met at City Hall.. filled out some paperwork and wrote a check for about $60. We swore under oath that we were who we were and that we were a couple. Whatever. We got a piece of paper and it was enough to add me to Shiela's insurance (we won't talk about how we get penalized during tax time because of the "extra income").

A lot of people think that as long as same-sex couples are given the same legal rights as heterosexual couples, that this is equal and fair. I honestly used to be one of them. Prior to MA becoming the first state to legally allow gay couples to wed, I remember hoping for civil unions to be allowed in other states besides Vermont. I honestly hadn't really thought about it.

When the Supreme Court of MA ruled that denying marriage to same-sex couples was unconstitutional, things changed. Shiela and I talked about the option of getting married at this point and decided that we didn't want to "jump on the bandwagon" and that we'd rather wait until the legal issues were a little more stable and understandable.

There came a point, shortly after we started trying to conceive Ben, that we changed our minds. It was during a trip to Connecticut to visit my family. We often have our best conversations during the 2 hour drive to and from CT. We got onto the subject of marriage and before you knew it, we were coming up with ideas for the celebration.

Neither of us are ones to like to have attention drawn to us. I've long thought that a wedding was a horrible way to spend 40 grand. What is worse than getting into uncomfortable clothing and making nice with relatives and friends who you barely know.. blah blah blah. Of course.. this all changed once I got into the swing of it all. We planned a day that was fitting for us. Our ceremony was at the Meeting House of Storrowton Village, at the Big E fairgrounds. Our reception was at my parent's house in Windsor Locks. I even wore a dress. It was a hoot.

Let me tell you. The experience that day was a wedding and we got married. Those words are how I feel about the day and the commitment. I didn't realize until that day just how important the word "marriage" was for us. I can tell you.. the emotions that we felt on the day we were married were quite different from those that we felt when we got "domestic partnershipped".

Today, there was a National Protest against Proposition 8. The law that California just voted on which makes gay marriage illegal again in California. The difference between this and all of the other states who have passed similar laws is that there are already thousands of couples who are married. What happens to them? The Attorney General of California has said that he would not support any action to negate existing marriages. The Terminator Governor Schwarzenegger has also spoken out in support of gay marriage. Who knows how this will all play out.

We went to the Boston rally against Prop 8 this afternoon. It was an inspiring atmosphere. There were thousands of people of all backgrounds coming together in support of gay marriage. There were families, like ours, who were able to participate in such an event while feeling 100% safe. This is a luxury that we often taken for granted. I'm sure that in some areas of the country, there were rallies that had more than the 3 or four anti-gay-marriage protesters.

We had a good day. Ben thought that it was great fun to cheer along with the crowd.

First of all.. we're not in the market for a new car. I never am. Really.


Let's forget about the time that I impulse-bought a pickup.

I'm in Love.. capital "L" Love.. I saw a truck on Monday when Ben and I were out at the park (NOT the garbage truck) and I've been dreaming about it ever since. I need to go find out more about it.

In the meantime.. I stumbled across this little vehicle that I thought Shiela might go for:

It's a Knight XV.

[for those of you who haven't had the pleasure of being around Shiela lately.. she has turned into a ranting maniac who stops at intersections and points at passing vehicles while muttering about *&$% &(*&% SUV's... it seems that more SUVs are back on the road now that the next depression has hit gas prices have dropped.. it's making her twitch.. purchasing a truck will be a hard sell even though we're floating on monday right now.. OH YEAH.. that's not us...]

You'd have to pay VERY close attention to have any clue what I've been up to this week. I've been a horrible blogger.. which you all have obviously seen. I just haven't felt like it. I also have been quite busy both at work and at home.

Well.. busy isn't the right word. I've been reading the Twilight series. I finished the first book in a whirlwind 3 days where i just threw breadcrumbs at ben and hoped for a good rain to give him a nice shower. I took a night off and then started in on the second book. I've been much more disciplined this time around.. I let myself read in the car while we're waiting for Shiela's train, or in the evening after Ben goes to bed.. and during my lunch at work. I also am refusing to stay up until 1am each night. As a result, this book is slower going.. I'm only about halfway through and I feel a bit more sane.

Since I haven't felt like blogging, above and beyond leaving enough of a post to qualify for meeting my NaBloPoMo requirements.. there have been a number of cute things that Ben has done that I haven't blogged about.

The theme is "Almost 2"

On Saturday, Shiela and I will attend a rally in City Hall Plaza in downtown Boston to join in the national protest against Prop 8.

National Protest Against Prop 8

Thanks for getting me hooked on this, Lebrun-Stepsis!

Live TV : Ustream

ha! I'm cracking up.. my mom just left a comment on my blog from earlier that started with "omg".. awesome! One of these days, she will bust out a "wtf"..

Anywho.. I redeemed my MOTY status earlier.

We got all bundled up and headed out to the park. I had stumbled across a new park recently that I wanted to check out. It even has a skate park.. my nephew will be psyched. Anyway.. It took us like a half hour to get all of our layers on and pack up the diaper bag and get down to the car and into the carseat and the correct mariachi music playing on the cd player before we finally headed out for the 5 minute drive to the park.

Just as we were getting there, a trash truck was pulling in. Now.. this wasn't the big ol' honkin garbage trucks that go around for the weekly pickup.. this was a mini-city-trash-truck. It was also bright yellow and it happened to park right next to our car.

There are few things that can catch a toddler's attention like a bright yellow trash truck. There was NO chance that I'd talk him out of checking it out completely. Funny thing was that Ben wasn't the only kid who was impressed by this wonderful (and smelly) truck.. all of the kids on the playground started cheering and pulling at their parent's/nanny's sleeves trying to go see the truck up close. I don't think I've seen that much excitement over an ice cream truck in july.

The garbage dudes were nice.. they obviously got a kick out of their hero status from the munchkin's on the playground. one of them even had a bright scarf on and put on a little "show" for all of the kids every time they smushed up a new batch of trash.


The smell that was wafting from this machine was really too much to handle. To make it worse.. the inside part of the truck that you could see (where the trash gets smushed) was well.. beYOND disgusting. I was breathing through my mouth and keeping my eyes away from the sludge while trying to sound upbeat for the little dude who was SO IMPRESSED by this event that I obviously planned for him.

All was good in his toddler world.

Until the truck left.


It just left. (after a half hour of trash shows for little kids)

Ben went nuts. Absolute meltdown. He was crushed. Sobbing. Snots everywhere. Totally no-bones.. I had to try to hold this puddle of a child and try to distract him from the rumble of the truck as it drove away (slowly.. ugh!).

Nothing worked.. after bumbling around trying to pour him into different play ground equipment.. I asked him if he wanted to go home for his nap. He looks up at me with big old alligator tears in his eyes and snot running around his binky and says "yeah.." with a little smile.

I can't exactly say that this was one of those mornings that I'll always remember fondly. Maybe someday I'll look back and think "wow.. those were the days". Right now I'm just trying to forget the smell of that truck and empty all of the tissues out of my pockets so that we'll have a fresh start when naptime is over.

That said.. it's naptime and I'm going to knock back another chapter of Twilight. I'm still loving the story and characters, but I'm a little nervous about it all. I've been reading it since Saturday and both Saturday night and Sunday night I woke up having nightmares. That's pretty new for me.. the dreams aren't like horrible horrible.. but just a little wacked and enough for me to wake up less than rested. Go figure... maybe I should take a nap instead of reading...

I may have to get creative to earn a MOTY (Mother of the Year) award today.. It's Monday.. I'm home with my beautiful child (who just hit me) and I was just bit in the shoulder AND the cheek by my lovely cat (don't ask how he got to my cheek)..

CRAP.. he's now eating Shiela's leaves... crap..

Ok.. I saved the dried tree leaves that my crafty wife collected for some sort of art project with Ben. The cat may get sold to gypsies today.

Anywho.. the boy is currently sitting on the couch eating pancakes (yes.. on the couch) while watching Thomas the Train. I'm blogging.

Actually.. I've been running back and forth between the little dude, who keeps making loud requests like "WA-WA" (milk) and random screeching intended to get me to fast-forward through the commercials on TV. Yeah.. not.

I guess it's time to get going for the day. It has taken me 20 minutes to write this one post.. crazy.

This is why.. as soon as I sit down.. I've been bombarded with toddler requests..

1. "MA-MA!!! guh-guh (thomas)" (during a commercial)

I finally sit back at the computer and I hear:

2. "ALL-DONE!!!" ::pause:: "MORE!!" ::pause:: "WA-WA!!"

I peek around the corner and say.. "how do you ask?" Big blue eyes stare back at me and he signs "more" and "please" and then picks up his tippy cup.

I sit back down.

3. "UH-ohhh...!" ::pause:: ::scream:: (toddler frustration after getting stuck sitting on his own sock)

I sit back down.

4. "MA-MA!!! guh-guh (thomas)" (another commercial)

Between that and the cat..

Awwww... he just signed "dance" and started doing the mexican hat dance.. there's a total reason children are cute.. :)

Crap.. he just sneezed all over the remote control.. gotta go!

Ok.. we've officially watched the Thomas sing-a-long TOO many times (IN A ROW!)

We're down in CT and having a nice relaxing weekend. Unfortunately, Ben has a nasty cold and is a bit of grumpy gills. To top it off he's coughing and snarfing and blowing snots everywhere and UGH.. blech.

I can't really complain though.. in the grand scheme of colds, this one has been pretty mild. No fever or anything. :)

I have nothing to blog about..

I'm TOTALLY hooked on Twilight and I just started the book yesterday. It's totally my speed.. lots of fluff, but fun fluff and anything with vampires and teens already is ahead of the bunch. I was up until 1am last night reading and then crashed only to wake up at 5am after having a dream that I was part of the story and then I couldn't remember what parts of the story I read in the book and what parts I made up in my head. I took the liberty of deleting all memories that had me going to school with the Cullins.

Other than that.. nothing really interesting today.. maybe later!

To answer a few questions from my comments:

Mom: Yeah.. Jaaym is coming to visit in December for the little dude's birthday. We're hoping for a good ol' nor'easter to show her what new england winters are like.

Tegan: I just played around with one of Ben's halloween pictures in photoshop. :)

Gio: I really need to introduce you to shiela.. remind me to tell you why. :)

Snick: Story the little dudes are sick.. Ben is too.. must have been all of those square-dancers!

Whatacard: I'll let you know as soon as I finish Twilight.. have you read all 4 books? I'm a total sucker for vampire fluff.

Jaaym: I talked to mother nature.. we're going to get 3 feet of snow while you're here.. it's going to be GREAT!

OMG Y'all.


my mom just sent me this pic from Kentucky....

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Well.. my sister's computer is fried beyond the point where I can just whirl together some of my techno-magic and install a driver and fix the whole darned thing. Nope.. it's a hardware problem.. you know how I solve hardware problems? I buy a new computer. This isn't the most cost effective approach since the problem can probably be fixed by replacing the video card.. but heck.. this is the perfect opportunity to buy a mac. In other words.. I haven't been helpful. I *did* stay up until 12am last night working on it though.. that should count for something.

I also figured out why my sister hasn't caught her mouse. She has a rat trap. The little mouse dude could break-dance on the trap and not trip it.. and I think it does. My guess is that you could find a video clip on youtube that the mousies cousin louie uploaded of jerry doing a reverse olie. Of course.. we forgot our little version of her trap at home.. so we're not helping on that front either!

We are, however, having a very nice and relaxing weekend. Ben is having a blast playing with his cousin hero, Adam. We hit a bit of a bump in the road last night around 3am, when Ben woke up with the croup. Crapper! There's nothing quite like that barky cough. I remember it well.. I practically lived with the croup and strep throat for the first 14 years of my life.

Anyway.. Ben went right back to sleep, but he was whistling and barking when he'd breathe, so needless to say, I didn't get much sleep. I made up for it earlier today when I took a 3-hour nap with the little dude..

Ok.. so I just started reading Twilight. I'm excited about getting into some solid young adult bubblegum vampire fluff!

traffic on the Mass Pike on a friday evening sucks less with Thomas the Train playing on the portable DVD player!

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I finally uploaded this video clip from last weekend at the farm. This is Riley falling asleep at the dinner table just before we all started heading home.. what a cutie! You can hear Maddie saying "Ya-Ya" near the end, too..

Snick.. the file is huge so i haven't figured out how to email it to you yet.. I may post it on flickr and give you permission to download it. I'll figure that out and let you know. ;)

Time passes far too quickly. In just under a month and a half, Ben will be turning 2 years old. I sent out the first batch of electronic invitations to his party earlier today with the email addresses that I had on hand. It's going to be a rocking good time.. we're going the evite route this year to be conservative. It's also because we suck at sending mass mailings in the real mail.

Anyway.. it's hard not to do some reminiscing.. Thanksgiving of 2006 was right around when my pregnancy started to tank. Looking forward into the holiday season, it's hard not to replay the story of Ben's arrival and his first few days over and over in my head. How "perfect" is it that he was discharged from the NICU on Christmas Morning? He's not old enough to hate that story yet.. but trust me.. by the time he's 8 or 9, he'll be like "mo-OHM.. stop telling that story... *whine*"

When Benjamin was exactly 1 year old, we had his handprints and footprints taken at Salt March Pottery in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. It's a bit of a haul from the Boston area, but they also have appointments in a number of the ISIS Maternity stores. We opted to drive down to the actual shop in Dartmouth because we wanted to get his prints done on his actual birthday (yes.. i'm OCD).

I can't say enough about the absolutely INCREDIBLE craftmanship, customer service and the overall WOW factor that we walked away from this experience with. We had a little brute of a 1 year old who WOULD NOT help out in ANY WAY.. if you want to get him to open his hand.. that little fist would clamp shut like a vise and whenever you touched his legs he'd start kicking fiercely. I didn't think there was any chance that we'd be able to get good prints.

When we arrived at the store for our appointment, they had two slabs of clay already prepared for us. The artist (and I'm irritated that I can't remember her name.. she was great!) was completely at ease with working with our ACTIVE baby to the point where she made it look easy. He watched intently as she pressed his little fingers and toes into the clay. Incredible. After the prints were cast, we then selected some stamps and the color scheme for two pallets and headed on our way. The crew at Salt Marsh went on to paint and fire the pieces and they shipped them to our home a few weeks later.

We haven't really done anything with these prints. They have sat safely in their boxes. We had thoughts of hanging them up or presenting them somehow.. but it just never seems to happen.

A few days ago, Benjamin had been home sick and was going a little stir crazy by early evening. For some reason, the subject of the pottery came up. I went and pulled out one of the prints and brought it out for Ben to check out. I could NOT believe how big his little hands and feet looked next to the prints from just last year.

Procrastination is the key..

It's almost noon and I'm still half asleep. Luckily, my to-do list is in reasonable control today. My non-work related to-do list includes several things this weekend.

1. go to CT with the other mom and the baby
2. possibly visit my gram, who gave the nursing home the boot and is finally back in her own home.
3. possibly see my dad
4. catch at least one mouse. my sister sucks at it. i have to give her credit.. she doesn't want to get the snap traps and is therefore trying to catch the dumb thing. Of course.. she's not as cool at it as we are.. we caught Jerry in just a few hours. The mousie in my sister's house is just playing with her. He likes to snag the goodies without tripping the trap and doesn't realize that his days are numbered if he doesn't take the bait and go move to someone else's basement..
5. figure out why my sister's computer is crashing after a few minutes of operation.. it IS fun to listen to her talk about how frusterated she is about it though..
6. figure out how to keep up with NaBloPoMo when I'm staying in a place with a computer that doesn't work. I may have to do a mobile post.. which means I have to figure out how to do that again... and I have to charge my cell phone..

Well.. i'm bored of making a list.

Hopefully I'll get my formatting back to being semi-respectable. The funny part is that my blog readership has skyrocketed this week for some reason.. i guess it is all the meaningless posts and the horrible formatting.. my hit count has more than doubled from last week.. crazy. I guess my readers like chaos.

Today I'm thankful that my presentation is over.. now I will get a massive headache..

(btw.. yes.. i messed with the photo but didn't fix the whole layout issue thingy.. I'm starting to agree with WhatACard.. I should just put a blurb at the top saying that my blog is compatible with Firefox only! Then I'd be good. Now I have to figure out why microsoft doesn't like how i have my margins defined.. urgh!

(i'm not sure if the headache is from the tension relief of making it through the presentation or if it's from the vast amounts of chocolate that I ate from the snack table shortly following my presentation...)

So.. the web page formatting looks fine in Firefox.. but not in Internet Explorer. Doh! I hate CSS.. what ever happened to good ol' happy simple HTML 1?

... especially on days where someone who hates talking to people has to stand up and give a lecture in front of.. well.. too many. Luckily, my talk is early in our seminar this year so I can get it out of the way.. Remind me to stop volunteering for these types of things!

In other news.. I am fully aware of how wacked my background is. beautiful baby.. but the formatting is wacked. My monitor is huge and it works fine on that computer, but I need to fix things so that the text doesn't hang over the photo. I'll hopefully get that done later when I'm trying to detox after the lecture.

Further.. I'm never going to Burger King again. I stopped for a breakfast "sandwich" this morning and put the bag onto a pad of paper on my desk for all of 5 minutes before i emptied the bag and threw it out. It left a grease stain that's approximately 2" by 4" that wept through TWELVE sheets of notepaper. That's some serious friggin grease! I'm going to have to tell them to put the trans fat back into their tater tots.. not only do they taste better, but the grease is more manageable!

Is it 3pm yet?

I'm easily inspired by the little red headed dude.. I have the superman pic as my background on my work computer now and was staring at it and poof.. decided that I wanted to see my baby as my background. I have a bit of formatting work to do, but I think I'm onto something (of course.. i'll change my mind within minutes...)

have i mentioned that the Ghost Hunters Reveal show is on tonite on SciFI at 9PM? It's a new hour long show dedicated to summarizing the 7 hour live show that they aired on Halloween.. you remember.. the one that freaked me the hell out! We're still sleeping with the lights on!

Yes.. I'll be watching.. :)

Let me know what you think about my layout change.. i have to rethink my "banner" because it is too busy now, but i love that pic of ben in the grass.. so we'll see..

Note the lack of graphical interest on my site. I enjoyed my patriotic background while it lasted.. but now I'm in the mood for something a bit more "me".. and yet, i have no ideas. I thought it would be more inspiring (irritating) if I left the layout simple and essentially blank so that my artistic inspirations can flourish.

yeah.. whatever.. i just have to find a background that isn't stupid looking or i have to make my own (also hoping to avoid having it stupid looking).

So for day 5 of NaBloPoMo.. I'm thankful for simple blog layouts..

[in other news.. the boy now has the plague.. he had a bit of a delayed reaction, but he either just now came down with his own version of the bug that shiela and i had last week or he picked up a new bug that has him cleaning out our diaper and desitin supply and being a hitting scream machine. Of course.. that backfired on him (and us) last night when he tried to hit shiela and instead bonked his binky against his own nose, which then started bleeding again.. damn!]

I sure am moody!

I'm extremely bummed today. This is not how I wanted to feel. Obama won.. this is what I've been "fasting and praying for" (well.. not really.. I've been eating a lot of chocolate over it). I should be able to party like it's 1999..

but no.. not for me.. not today..

Proposition 8, in California, appears to have passed by a fairly large margin (I believe the count is 54% Yes to 48% No with 95% of precincts reporting as of this morning.) For those of you who haven't sat down with a lawyer to discuss the pros and cons and challenges of same-sex marriage.. let's forget the moral argument crap. The bottom line at this point is that there are a lot of families who have entered into a legally binding agreement and there is no clear cut plan for how their marriages will be handled. Will they be negated? Has that ever happened in history (I know that answer.. NOPE). The fact that an issue clearly relating to descrimination was put on a public ballot is mortifying. That's why we have a legislature. I don't care if all of the kids are jumping off the bridge.. the correct action would be to keep your feet on the ground. How is it that if 54% of the voting population in California believe that gay people not only shouldn't marry, but shouldn't be allowed to breathe the same air as heterosexual couples.. how is it that they get to make a decision for the entire population?

This isn't up for comments or anything.. I'm not a debater. I just wanted to let it be known that my heart goes out to all of the families who have young children who are going to be so hurt by this. Can you imagine being told that it's illegal for your parents to love one another?


I occasionally check google to see how people are finding my web site. Today I was visited by someone who found this blog by googling "dystonia blue baby". Anyone who even has to type those words deserves a hug.

For those of you who are like "dys-what?".. dystonia is not a learning disorder. dystonia is a neurologic movement disorder characterized by sustained muscle contractions, resulting in repetitive, involuntary, twisting or writhing movements and unusual postures or positioning.

As you may remember, I'm now off of the meds that I had been on for anxiety and had been on for years to treat my own dystonia. My dystonia is focal and it affects my facial muscles and tongue. I have been putting off calling my neurologist for a check-up.. I haven't been taking anything specifically for the dystonia since well before Ben (all of those meds are no-nos while pregnant or trying to get pregnant).. needless to say, it has been a bit of a shock to try to "get used to" the pain that is caused by the muscle spasms. I don't remember it hurting this much before.. maybe it didn't.. or maybe i had built up a tolerance that i wasn't aware of. who knows.

I do know that dystonia is miserable.. i used to "joke" that i never got anything that killed me.. just things that made me miserable.. between the dystonia and the colitis.. i'm screwed. i don't joke about that anymore.

lord.. I probably missed my window with the "dystonia blue baby" visitor.. but if you happen to check back to this site.. I'm thinking about you and while I can't really offer any specific words of wisdom, I completely "get" how worrisome it would be to have this on your mind. I hope to god that whatever is misfiring in my brain is not something that could get passed on to my son.

I probably shouldn't be very proud of myself.. :) The old algebra chops aren't too rusty after all! Now if I could just remember differential equations!

You Passed 8th Grade Math

Congratulations, you got 10/10 correct!

Ok.. both moms of Two Moms and a Baby voted this morning. The baby came along for the ride although he didn't like the idea of waiting in line. I'm thankful that it's finally Election Day.. I've had it with this political season. I'm hopeful that the results of the election will be a landslide so that we do not spend another few weeks discussing "dimpled chads"...

Yesterday, Ben and I went to the library in the afternoon after his nap. He brought his pink baby stroller (one of those toy ones). It caused a stir at the library. At one point, he was running full throttle, curls bouncing, while screaming at the top of his lungs.. following him were 3 other toddlers.. also screaming.. all trying to get the stroller. It was quite the scene. The other moms were luckily very funny about it.. it was hard not to laugh at the chaos.

I can't wait for tomorrow to be over with. I'm SO tired of thinking about this election.. talk about beating a dead horse. Instead of writing about my political views at this juncture.. I decided to opt for brevity and just provide a few links.

VOTE TOMORROW!! Remember.. you can't complain afterwards if you don't vote.. If you have any questions regarding your voting options, go to Vote411.

We're not just voting for the president. It would be a shame if you walk into the voting booth tomorrow and had NO CLUE what or who you are voting for. For those of us in Massachusetts, check out the state's voting information page. You can enter your address and you'll learn where you are supposed to vote and you'll find information on who is running and what Ballot questions are on the table. We have all heard the "Vote No on 1" commercials and many of us have defaced people's lawn signs (not me, of course).. but did you also know that marijuana law and greyhound racing were also on our state ballot this year? (as an aside.. I am SO glad that same-sex marriage is not on the MA Ballot this year.. my thoughts and yes.. prayers.. are with all of the families in California who have been dealing with their lives being front and center in the media.. ugh..)

That's it for me on the subject.. I changed my blog background to reflect the stars and stripes.. but other than that.. the best you'll get out of me regarding politics is some links to Tina Fey.

Today is November 3, 2008. I've made it a whole three days into NaBloPoMo without missing a post. Rock me Amadeus! Today, I'm thankful that none of my faithful readers realized that I didn't share something that I was thankful for yesterday. This is why I didn't go with a huge theme or anything for NaBloPoMo.. I figured something simple like listing something that I'm thankful for each day would be a no brainer. Obviously.. I have no brain.

I had an "excuse" planned if anyone mentioned my lack of thanks in yesterday's post. I would draw their attention to the sentence where I said how lucky we were to have a child who sleeps well. That's SORT OF like saying you're thankful for something. I sure am thankful we have a baby who regularly sleeps until 8-8:30 a.m. That means that now that Daylight Savings Time is over, he's getting up at 7-7:30 a.m. We have friends with little ones who are getting up at 4 a.m. this week. That wouldn't work for this mom!

The challenge today was keeping Ben up as long as possible. He usually goes in for his nap around 11-11:30 and sleeps until about 1 or 2. He was ready for his nap at like 9:30 this morning.. doh! I managed to stretch things out a bit and kept him up until almost 10:30 a.m. The cool part is that I can now watch The View uninterupted.. yay! I love to watch Whoopie bully the blond.

OMG.. I want a Palin 2012 T-shirt! Actually.. I'd go with Fey 2012!

By popular demand..

We spent the weekend at East Hill Farm with some friends, some toddlers, and about 70 square-dancing senior citizens. We had an absolute blast and if wishes were horses (what does that mean, anyway?).. we'd be buying a farm near Monadnock Mountain.

We had planned to meet up with Snickollet/Ya-Yas at about 8:45 a.m. on Saturday morning. That didn't exactly go as planned. Yes, I know.. big surprise. I was up until about 1:30 a.m. on Saturday watching friggin Ghost Hunters.. scaring myself silly. I finally gave up and woke Shiela up so we could go to bed (with all of the lights on). I was ALMOST asleep at about 2:30 a.m. when Ben started babbling in his room. Babbling quickly turned to fussing which turned to screeching. The following 3 hours are a bit fuzzy, but I know that it involved some time in moms' bed, some time with mom and ben on the twin bed in Ben's room.. and some time twitching and trying to open the damned Advil container to minimize the damage that several handfuls of chocolate and no sleep was having on my head. Somewhere around 4:30-5:30... Ben fell asleep.

Shiela ended up calling Snick to let her know that we would be meeting them at the farm. oops!

We piled into the car and had a lovely drive up to Troy, NH. When we got there, we knew that the weekend would be a hit. Ben was giggling and jumping before we even got out of the "parking lot". We checked in.. got a tour, where we caught up with Snick and crew, and then went on a hayride.

There were a number of things that I loved about this place. Aside from the fact that we were out in a beautiful area during a beautiful time of year and all that jazz.. the place had no cell service. This would normally make me twitch.. but every once in a while it is REALLY nice to just unplug. There weren't even phones in the room. It was like camping on a cruise. Hard to explain. They fed us constantly and it was all inclusive.. but get this.. when we went outside after dark.. you could see these lights in the sky.. and they weren't planes! stars, i tell ya! stars! ...and cows!

Ok.. our "room" had several rooms, in fact. We were on the second floor of an old farmhouse. We had our own porch that was screened in and then two big rooms with plenty of seating area and lots of drawers and cabinets for an inquiring 22 month old. The bathroom was HUGE (and VERY clean.. i love the farm thing and all.. but seriously.. i'm a city girl. i really prefer not to "rough it"..)

Ben really enjoyed the full length mirrors. I, unfortunately, had just come off of an evening where I watched 6.5 hours of Ghost Hunters and I admit.. the mirrors creeped me out a bit. I put that aside and just pretended that they weren't there.

This morning, we woke up at about 8 a.m. With the time change, that made it 7.. we're SO lucky to have a child that sleeps so well (um.. except when we dupe him full of candy and run around in costumes and then expect him to settle down and sleep.. pah!). Anywho.. Ben snuggled up with his tippy of "wa-wa" (milk), a blanket and a truck. It you look close.. you'll see that his angelic little face ran into a bit of bad luck on Saturday. It actually ran right into the pavement. The little dude tripped while running on the basketball court (why does a farm have a hoop, anyway!) and went sliding on his face across the asphalt. Fun. Bloody nose.. road rash on his forehead.. good times.

We met up with the Ya-Yas (Maddie and Riley) and crew in the dining room where we had a wonderful breakfast of chocolate chip pancakes (no.. not for Ben.. for ME!!!) and oatmeal and a banana and yogurt and an omelet and scrambled eggs (that came from the chickens in the barn!). It was all "family style" and felt sort of like yelling "hey ma.. i want pancakes.." and then getting a pile of pancakes.. Fun!

When we finished up at breakfast, Ben, Shiela and I took a bag of day-old bread out to feed some of the animals. Ben REALLY enjoyed feeding the goats. This is the only photo that I got because we were too busy making sure that the goals weren't going to bite him or something.. we watch America's Funniest Videos, afterall.. we KNOW what can happen! Luckily, aside from the basketball court incident.. the weekend was accident and incident free!

This weekend the farm hosted an annual convention of square dancers. The kids absolutely LOVED watching the dancing. As a result of the scheduling, there wasn't a ton of families there.. needless to say, the 4 children under the age of 2.5 made quite the impression with the 50+ senior citizens. At one point, about 8 women were calling "Benjamin" in sing-songy voices while trying to snap a photo of Ben.. it weirded him out. I don't blame him. The good thing was that he could easily outrun any of them. We basically had the run of the place and it was nice having the time, and space, for Ben to explore and run. The picture below.. hard to see.. he's the blue thing down near the end of the animal pens.

After breakfast we all split up for a bit with the older kids going for pony rides and we headed back to our room for a little rest. We met back up with the rest of our herd of toddlers at lunchtime, where they were serving a Turkey Dinner. Seriously. How wonderful is this place!?! I was tempted to ask if I could join the family. Anyway.. they fed us well...

[we had another little girl with us, but I am pretty rabid about not posting pictures without getting specific permission first.. trust me.. she was a cutie!]

The weekend was a great success and we plan to visit the farm again (possibly with all of our belongings and two cats in tow.) The wonderful turkey dinner put all four toddlers well past their naptime. Meltdowns were imminent. After Riley fell asleep sitting up in his highchair, our friends decided to head home. We stuck around for some desert (yum!) and then packed up into the car and started our drive home. Ben was asleep within about 5 minutes and I was asleep shortly thereafter.

Ben was VERY happy to get home. He ran around the house checking to be sure his toys were all in the correct spots and wasted no time finding the remote control to ask for Thomas. Since he went the weekend with no Thomas.. we snuggled up on the couch to watch an episode!

Benjamin had a scrambled egg for dinner. We "picked" one egg from the hen house while we were at the farm. We had planned to get.. oh.. i don't know.. more like 2 or 3, but we hit the barn right after breakfast and all of the square-dancers had already snagged most of the eggs! Here is our egg...

And yes... I microwaved it.

First of all.. I'd like to announce the kickoff of NaBloPoMo. I'll be taking part in the National Blog Posting Month. In short, I'll be posting at least once a day for the month of November. I don't have a "plan" or a "theme" for the month.. aside from posting about two moms and a baby.. but I always do that. The one idea I had was that I'd like to include a note each day telling something that I am thankful for. This should get interesting as we get close to Thanksgiving (thankful for turkey and stuffing) and the Day after Thanksgiving (thankful for SHOPPING MALLS)!

For my first post, I wanted to share a bit about our Halloween. For those who know me.. you know that I HEART HALLOWEEN. I love everything about it.. always have. I love autumn.. I love the cool and crisp air. I love the sound of dried leaves blowing around. I love watching spooky movies. I love Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin. Take all that, put on a costume and go ask strangers for candy and you got yourself a Holiday! I don't know why we don't get the day off from work..

To set the stage.. I'm sitting in the living room.. late on Halloween night into the early hours of November 1. We are watching Ghost Hunters Live on SciFi. AWESOME. I actually yelped at one point and am fairly sure that the lights will stay on in our home tonight. They are having 7 hours broadcast live from Fort Delaware. Shiela is asleep in the rocker and Ben is sound asleep in his crib. I've been downloading pictures from my camera to the computer and then uploading those pictures to flickr and now I'm going to do my best to remember what we did prior to my sugar-induced haze.

Since Halloween fell on a Friday this year, Shiela was able to stay home with Benjamin for the day. After Ben woke up from his nap, I met them at home to drop off the trusty minivan. I had a bit of a camera soap opera that I didn't really blog about.. needless to say, I'm back to my trusty Canon and the photos that I got tonight reminded me why I love that little thing.

We stumbled onto the Superman costume for Ben. We had other ideas, but the Superman costume was cute and made from a soft material. We thought it would be good for daycare, but had plans to do something else for "the real costume". Whatever that means. It turned out that Ben knew EXACTLY what to do with the cape.. it seems that they run around with capes on at daycare. When we tried the costume on him, he put his arms up and started running around the house. That was that.. Ben is superman.

After I finished up at work, we drove over to a local park that was having a Halloween "Party" for kids. There were lots of kids of all ages, but I'd say the most kids were in the pre-school range. It turned out to be a great hit. Ben got to play on the slides with his superman cape on.

While the lighting of the photo below is all sorts of weird, it gives a cool perspective on the park. I was standing on the playscape looking down at Ben and the families that were gathering and getting ready to go trick-or-treating.

After a few more times down the slide.. and some dancing (check the pic below..great footwork for a 22 month old!).. we were ready to go trick-or-treating!

It only took two Reese's Peanut Butter Cups for Ben to catch on to this whole Halloween thing. It wasn't long before he was trucking from house to house.

We went to about 8 to 10 homes. Ben was so very sweet. He was SO excited. He would sign "thank you" to each person that offered us candy and at the last house he even said "happy" after I said "Happy Halloween" to the homeowner.

This was also Shiela's first time trick-or-treating. She was very hesitant to start out with but soon found out that this was community fun and that everyone was being closely watched by their parents and it was safe. I'm glad she got to share her first trick-or-treating experience with her son. The pic below is quickly becoming a favorite of mine!

As we were walking to the car, Ben was chewing on a wrapped Almond Joy bar. It didn't take long before he got through the wrapper and found some chocolate. I unwrapped it for him. He chatted and giggled his way through his first candy bar.

All in all.. it was a very exciting and enjoyable evening.

Now.. if anyone is still reading...

November 1, 2008. I am thankful for my family.