Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Back at the Mawr

Monday morning I took Matthew on a fieldtrip back to Bryn Mawr College.  I graduated 10 years ago in May and I still miss it.  This year Bryn Mawr is celebrating it's 125th anniversay.  As a part of the celebration the college sent out a request for former students to come and read letters written by students from the early years of the college and to contribute their own observations of their first years at Bryn Mawr. 
I met BMC junior Mae Carleson in the archives and sat down to decipher the handwriting of a woman who attended Bryn Mawr from 1925-1929.  The letters were written to her parents.  The notes were hilarious and sweet and silly and strangly similar and yet completely different from my own experiences at Bryn Mawr.  I felt like I was reading one of those guilty pleasure kinds of novels.  But more about that later...
Anyway, the walk across campus was absolutely delicious.  My first ever time experiencing a real fall was at Bryn Mawr.  Where I grew up there was a two week period when the leaves turned brown and fell off.  I had actually thought that it was an overexaggeration that leaves change colors other than brown.  Anyway, on Monday the campus was already painted in reds and golds and oranges.  There was a thick carpet of leaves on Merion Green and the view over the playing fields with the multihued trees somehow seemed to glow.  It transported me back to freshman year- except for the baby on my hip.  I am still kicking myself for forgetting my camera. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

happy tears

I just received the following email from the homeroom mom for James' class:

"Hi Erin:
I have sat in the writers workshop twice now and both times I've had your son in my group. I wanted to tell you that your son is such a sweet, mannerly little boy and is very intelligent. He does AMAZING with the writers workshop. You should be proud!
Just wanted to tell you that! :)
J. E.  :) "
I think I can die happy now!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

costumes, costumes, costumes

For Halloween this year James was planning on trading off with a couple of costumes he has already worn.  Samuel wasn't sure what he wanted to be this year but he was pretty sure it was going to be a Star Wars somebody- for the 4th year.  So I pulled up the Party City website last night to let them look through costumes.  They saw some adult costumes from the Lord of the Rings movies and decided that they definitely needed to be Legolas (Sam) and Aragorn (James).  John introduced the boys to Lord of the Rings about a month ago when I was out with some friends.  He figured that as long as he fast forwarded through the scary parts it was perfectly ok to show the movies to our 5 and 7 year olds.  Sigh.
Anyway, since then the boys have chosen their favorite characters and we play Lord of the Rings now (The boys as listed above, John is Gandalf, I am Aowyn and Matthew is Gimli), alternating with our usual Star Wars and the latest craze, Harry Potter, makebelieve.
I told them I didn't think that they made kids sized LOTR costumes but that I would check.  Lo and Behold!
You can find almost anything on Amazon.  I could not believe that they actually had kids costumes for these movies!  So John and I ended up spending more than we normally would for costumes for the boys.  But we know that like some of their previous costumes, these will get A LOT of use before and after as well as during Halloween.
The bad news?  No baby sized Gimli costumes for Matthew!  LOL!
Sam and  James really wanted John and I to get costumes so that we could dress up as a family.  John just couldn't stomach the wig and beard for the Gandalf costume and they don't make any Aowyn costumes for me- although they do have a really cool Arwen costume, but who in their right mind pays over $70 for a Halloween costume?

Friday, October 15, 2010

the trouble with cars...

So Wednesday morning I woke up groggy and tired and really wanting a shower, however, I also woke up late and I had to get the big boys on their buses and on their way to school and I had to get my house cleaned up so my fantastic friend who volunteered to watch Matthew for the morning (so I could go on a fieldtrip with Sam's class) would not think we live in a pig sty.  So needless to say a shower wasn't in the cards for me.
The morning was great- had a wonderful time with Samuel on his field trip- will blog about it soon if I have the time- and everything went well getting home and thanking my friend and getting James and Matthew some lunch.  Then the day went seriously downhill.
The plan was to run some errands, ending up at the grocery store and then hurrying home to see if Matthew would take a second nap so I could fit in a quick shower.  John and I had plans to go out to dinner with his office that night and I really felt disgusting at this point.
Anyway, we finished the errands and the grocery store with no major problems but as I went to start my van it did not start.  There was a young couple (decked out in black with multiple facial piercings) who were parked diagonally from me who witnessed the whole non-starting thing. They offered to try jump starting the van for me.  They were incredibly sweet and helpful, especially when they realized that it wasn't going to work and I was stranded at the grocery store with two kids.  Luckily, I was at the Acme in Ridley Park just a short walk from John's office.  I pulled out the stroller, stuck Matthew in it, grabbed James' hand and began the longer-than-I-thought-it-was walk to see Daddy.  After hanging around the office for a while, hoping John could take a quick break and drive us down to try jumping the van again (yeah, right),  we headed home to pick up Sam who had gotten off the bus at this point and was hanging out with the neighbors.
I pack James and Matthew up in John's mustang, drive home, pick up Sam from the neighbor's house, grab some food for the kids and James' soccer stuff (just in case we can actually make it to his 5:30 practice) and head back out the door to pick up John from work and try to get my van working.  We make it 3/4 of the way back to John's office and... his car shuts off.  I manage to coast onto the shoulder before it stops completely and after frantically trying to restart the car I take a look at the gas gauge- empty.  My sense of humor with the whole car situation is fading rapidly.  I call John.  After sitting on hold for 10 minutes, the boys fighting (Sam and James) and screaming (Matthew) providing me with background noise, he picks up. 

Me:  "YOUR car ran out of gas!!!"
John:  (not sure whether to laugh or not) "Really?  Oh no.  Ok, I will ummm....I'll walk over to the corner gas station and get a gas can and walk up to get you."
Me:  "You'll walk???  You are more than a mile away"  (Boys screaming louder in the background- at this point Sam and James are hitting each other and screaming) "That will take forever!"
John:  (safely in his office and getting a little frustrated with my craziness) "Well, what do you want me to do?!"
Erin:  "I'll call your mom and see if she is home."

I  try both Tip's cell phone and home phone and no answer.  I call John back

Erin:  (no hello or anything)  "Your mom didn't answer!"
John:  "I talked to my dad, he is on his way to pick me up and then we will come and get you."

The next 20 minutes seemed like hours.  I got the boys to calm down by feeding them some of the snacks I had brought ( a serious NO NO in Daddy's car).  He he he!  Sad, but I got a little pleasure out of breaking that particular rule.
Once John and his dad showed up and put gas in the car we were on our way to a gas station to put some more fuel in the tank- despite John thinking it was not necessary,  (What does he think cars run on anyway?) then on to resussitate the van.
No luck getting the van started.  I ended up calling a tow truck (it was 5:15 at this point and I had to give up the idea of getting James to soccer) who assured me he would be there in 20 minutes.  45 minutes later he showed up and loaded my sad, sad van onto the flatbed (a process Sam and James thought was AWESOME) and took it to our mechanic.  As he pulled away Matthew had a perplexed look on his face.  You could tell he was wondering, "Where are they taking my ride?"

We ended up getting home at 6:25pm.  Just enough time to nurse the baby, throw on whatever skirt I had that was clean and wrinkle-free and still be 20 minutes late for the dinner with John's office.  Dinner was fun and they all had a good (sympathetic) laugh about the car situation. 

As for my shower- I finally got one at 10:30pm. 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

14 months- where did the time go???

Matthew hit the fourteen month mark today!  Where did the last year go?  Honestly, it seems like he was just born. 
I gotta say, this kid is hilarious.  He woke up early this morning and his fussing woke up his big brothers.  I was playing with him on the floor in his room but as soon as he heard a sound from his brothers' room he crawled over to the door, used the doorstop to pull it open, crawled into the hallway and pushed his way into his brothers' room so he could play with them.  He also often tries to climb into the bathtub with them even when he is fully dressed.  He just thinks he's one of the big boys.
This stage of development is so fun.  He loves to mimic whatever we do.  At dinner we clap hands and pound on the table and make Indian noises and kissing noises just so we can watch him do it too.
Yesterday we went to Linvilla Orchards with James' friend Gracie and her family.  Matthew insisted on walking around the entire playground (holding onto both my hands) and then went crazy climbing on the toy train.  He wanted to follow James through the maze too, but I put the kibosh on that.

Matthew also excels at driving me crazy.  He is so fast at getting around that I spend most of my day trying to keep up with him and cleaning up the path of destruction he leaves in his wake.  His favorite activities include pulling DVDs and books off the shelves, pulling the Tupperware out of the cupboards and scattering them through the house, throwing things down the stairs from the kitchen, crawling down after them and then precariously climbing back up the stairs with the object in one hand so he can do it again.  He also loves to throw a ball and chase after it and to full on body slam James if he happens to be sitting or laying on the floor.  I think John may finally have his wrestler!  I can't wait to see what the next few months bring!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

heads, shoulders, knees...

So my wonderful in-laws bought Matthew this cute toy puppy for his birthday.  It sings songs and talks and lights up and is generally a perfect toy for a one year old- with only one glaringly major flaw:  it does not sing a complete song. 

For example, its' version of the alphabet song goes like this:

You keep waiting hoping that it will spout off the rest of the letters but, alas, no.
The songs programed into this toy are actually well orchestrated and on the surprisingly-less-than-annoying side of things.  It sounds like the makers of the toy must have originally planned to use the complete songs and then at some point changed their minds.  There is an abrupt cut off at the end (or rather in the middle) of each song.  Matthew loves music and whenever he hears music he starts waving his arms and nodding his head and has a huge smile on his face.  Which is one reason why this bothers me so much (don't even get me started on the lack of musical resolution).  So he is just getting into the music when it shuts off.

If you are looking for a toy such as this for your favorite one year old, try the LeapFrog version.  If this is Baby Tad is anything like the version my in-laws got for Samuel six years ago, this will do the same fun things as the fisher-price puppy AND it will play songs completely through.

In the meantime...

"Head, shoulders, knees and toes"...

Who needs "eyes, ears, mouth and nose" anyway?