Saturday, October 31, 2009


Graham, Anna and Emily jumped in leaf piles on Halloween Morning. Rain was in the forecast, brought in by a warm wind. It felt a lot like Mary Poppins weather to me.

I think Jim and I enjoyed the leaf pile as much as the kids. I mean really, how often to you get to jump into a pile of crackly (dry) leaves and just laugh?

Here's some action footage:

From the inside of the leaf pile, I shot some video of the clouds passing overhead. Which morphed into one of our favorite pretend games-- Ice Cream Shop. The smile on this kid melts my heart every time.

Jack O'Lanterns

We continued our annual pumpkin carving tradition with the Harters. I tried to convince the girls they'll need to come home for this fun even when they're in college. Emily was a pushover, but Anna told me she'd have to think about it :).

Graham's level of involvement certainly increased from years past. It's hard to believe he was such a little lump just last year and now he's right in the middle of it all. I threatened the carvers that we're going to stick him to a chair with duct tape, or switch to butter knives next year.

It took a few tries to get a pic of all the kids. I was still only partially successful.

One of the more memorable events of the evening was filming Anna's debut in her self-directed movie. Enjoy:

Monday, October 26, 2009

Graham, 2 years

Graham's 29 pounds, and 35 3/8" tall.

He now spends 2 mornings a week at school. Graham can identify about 20 letters in the alphabet and amazes us daily with his new words, new physical feats, and most of all his sense of humor. His favorite games include hiding and yelling, Surprise! This little kid cracks us up.

He enjoys riding bike with Daddy and playing make believe games, like serving us pretend ice cream. Every night before sleeping we snuggle and read books. Two year olds are lots of fun.

Click here for a photo retrospective of the last 3 months.

Robot Birthday

It seems the end of October slipped away from us. We'll catch up the blog eventually...

Saturday October 24th, we trekked to Norwich to celebrate Graham's 2nd birthday with all his pals (and lots of extended family, too). We decided a late morning get together would be much more in tune with our nap schedule than mid afternoon. (And I hope no one was too upset about all the pre-lunch sugar.) We hadn't been to Kids' Kingdom since before he was walking, so this trip was a whole new adventure.

Last year's sock monkey theme was so much fun we decided we'd do a self-designed theme again this year and settled on robots. (Fingers crossed we'll get to pick at least one more year before Graham demands Transformers or some other over-commercialized nonsense!)

Jim created a cool papier mache balloon holder (above) and I silk screened robot t-shirts for all the kids.

I also made a robot birthday cake complete with mini donut appendages and a lollipop antenna held together with (a pound and a half of) butter cream frosting.

Graham barely stopped long enough to blow out his candles before he was back on the run.

Here's video of the kids playing:

And a few snapshots of the revellers:

Thanks to everyone who helped us celebrate!

Pizza Party

As if the Robot Extravaganza wasn't enough excitement for one day, we came home for a special visit with Gramma Strolin! After a little down time, the Tourtellottes joined us for a special birthday dinner at Pizzaland.

Here Graham shows he doesn't harbor any hard feelings that Aunt Abby and Uncle Jason doused him with water:

And it just wasn't possible to get a pic with him and Amanda without a finger being stuck you know where...

I have to say Dad looks awfully dapper here. Nice haircut (and the shirt is cute, too!)

My 3 favorite guys:

Back home, we all indulged in some delicious Grandma Grace's chocolate cake.

Uncle Ethan and Graham had lots of fun making music into the wee hours. If it looks like Graham is about to fall over in the video, it's because even the chocolate frosting wasn't enough to help him catch his third wind :).

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Little Libras

We celebrated another special birthday in October. Anna is officially 9. It seems that Libras may come by dramatic flair naturally:

Graham enjoyed getting crazy with the big kids.

It was fun to watch him try to keep up . My favorite clips are where he feels the disco inferno groove, and when he decides it's time to eat:

And he also had some quality (quieter) time with his old pal, Killer. That cat will put up with just about anything.

They say imitation is the highest form of flattery:

King for a Day

Graham had a surprise waiting for him at daycare Monday. The teachers made him this special Birthday crown and they served cake after lunch. It's good to be King!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Second Verse, Same As The First

It's official! Graham is two. While the big party isn't until next week, we had a nice afternoon on Sunday opening presents with Grandma and Paul. The ukulele was a big hit.

After a special ham and mac and cheese dinner, we broke out the candles. I was going to skip cake in favor of ice cream (his favorite), but Grandma thought otherwise and made homemade pumpkin spice cupcakes with chocolate chips. They were heavenly.
Our funny little guy couldn't get past all the singing. We performed no less than 8 encores. Much different from last year, when the Happy Birthday song drove him to tears! This is a super long one, but adorable. Keep a look out for the cross-eyed, "Oh No!"

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pancakes and Ice Cream

We continued the "Big Breakfast on your Birthday" tradition at one of our local ice creameries. "The Pie in the Sky" not only had a delicious all you can eat pancake breakfast (with sausage!), they also opened the cooler to give the Birthday boy a scoop of their home made vanilla on the side!

Add some playdate friends, a few board games, and a little extra sausage, and you have an excellent way to start your big day.

After sharing some leftovers with Scout who was waiting patiently in the car, we played in the pumpkin patch awhile before heading home to rest up for the rest of the day.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

I scream, you scream...

we all scream for- KRISPY KREME!

On our recent road trip to PA, we made a quick pit stop to stretch our legs and ruin our diets.

Graham enjoyed the hats more than the actual donuts, but as for me, the experience has unfortunately triggered a long repressed sugar lust, and I've been struggling to adhere to my strict dietary regimen ever since. Curse you Krispy Kreme and all your deliciousness!

Boys Day Out PA Style

While Melissa and Rebecca did the office thing, the men in the family took an unofficial Father-Son outing to the Delaware Museum of Natural History, followed by lunch at Jimmy John's, one of my favorite PA eateries.

The bones of the giant dinosaurs were impressive, and they had several interactive play stations that succeeded in keeping the boys attention for awhile.

The coral reef display was built into the floor, and it was really funny to see Graham brave the walk across it. In fact he had to hold my hand to do so, and if I let go he'd run to the "shallow" side of the glass along the wall to cross over.

Snack time was the only chance I could get to get a shot of everyone together. I have truly not done the blogging of this visit justice and apologize for the lack of photographic content, but with all the chaos of 3 kids running amok I was lucky to get the few shots I did.

Phil makes it look so easy.

And what, you may ask, was Graham's favorite item in the museum? The dinosaurs? The amazing variety of stuffed beasts? The giant bronze statue of a 6 foot dung beetle rolling his dung? Noooo.... It was this-

Uncle Ted

Who would have guessed that he was a hide and seek expert from way back?

Farm Fresh

After many trips back to the drawing board, "Gumdrop" (so named for the shape of his head) is finally finished and ready to taunt the neighborhood. Of all the displays I've done since we moved here, this one has gone through more design changes than any of them. In fact, the only part of the entire display that remains true to the original idea is the can that has been beautifully painted by Melissa, who also gets credit for selecting and carving the head. (Thanks Love!)
Here's a short video of it in action. Sorry if the camera's a bit shaky. I had to move around a bit while recording to trigger the motion detector.

I've also set up the twins from last year's Terror Totter on the porch to help set the mood.

Just like last year's display, this year's has been set up just in time for what may be the first snowfall of the season. I'm hoping the can will provide at least a little protection, but I guess we'll just have to wait and see!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Waffles and Puppets

Brewery Ommegang celebrated another birthday with Waffles, Puppets and of course Beer. The Horseshoe Lounge Playboys provided the music-- we kept missing them all summer and it was great to finally hear them play.

They were toe-tapping good!

The puppets also scored big with the two and under set. This bird's feet were attached to the puppeter's feet so he worked his way through the crowd to amuse and delight.

Outside the entertainment tent there was corral with Alpacas. The smallest was only a month or so old. Graham was delighted and even gave it a kiss.

Here he practices a new word:

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Apples and Cider

Paul got a cider press for his birthday last year so we headed out to the farm to help with the tasty (and sticky) project. The result was delicious!

There was also a little drama, like when I thought we were going to lose a gallon all over the floor. :) Enjoy the show: