Friday, October 29, 2010


I haven't made Halloween cookies in far too many years. Like, 10 years, I think. There was no way another year was going by without them, especially since Joseph is in preschool. They're going to regret making me a room parent.

I baked up a family of friendly ghosts:

and a gaggle of goofy mummies:

as well as a pumpkin patch personalized for Joseph's preschool class and teachers:

All packaged up and ready for the Halloween party today:

But one little guy didn't quite make it....

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sing it with me:



in French, chat,


In Spanish, el gato

in a sombrero.

I present to you, The Cat in the Hat:

And his trick-or-treat bag:

This year's labor of love! Always a tough call to make in choosing a costume, but Joseph was SO excited as he saw it coming along and hugged me the second he put it on. Didn't start it until we got back from California, so I worked like crazy to get it done in a little over a week just in time for "Boo at the Zoo" last Sunday night. It was warm that night so we left the hood down, but it still works. The costume was a pretty bit hit too, with every few minutes someone yelling out, "Look! The Cat in the Hat!" And Joseph would look, not realizing they were pointing at him!

Three more Halloween parties to hit this weekend, so there'll be lots more pics to come, I'm sure.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Crazy, but true: this is my 500th Alton Boys blog post! To think, something I started (begrudgingly) a little over 3 years ago just to be able to more easily share pictures of our baby boy has turned into one of my favorite pastimes. So on this momentous post I should share some of the most important pictures of said baby boy we've gotten recently, Joseph's 1st official school pictures.

They do 3 poses for each kid.
This is the one the photographer or school must like the most, since they gave us a little tote bag with this picture on it. Cute, but not crazy about the hunchback.

This is the one Joseph looks at and says, "Look, I broke my tooth." So clearly, not my favorite. And it makes him look like he's in 1st grade. I'm not ready for that yet!

This one is just perfect. Cute and goofy at the same time, just what a school portrait should be!

Should be a cinch to order some prints from the photographer.
But after 500 posts, am I ever going to get around to printing this blog?!?!
(Hey, has anyone tried yet? Let me know how you did it and if you liked it. Thanks!)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Great Pumpkin Patch

One of our favorite new books for the season is "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown." When we went to the fall festival at Butler's Orchard yesterday, it was so fun to see a pumpkin patch with Linus waiting for the big gourd.

So many fun activities, but of course the best was the hayride out to the pumpkin patch itself.

That's one great pumpkin!
Dream big, son, dream big.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

More Muir

You can't really go to the West Coast without dipping your toes into the Pacific Ocean at least once, can you? Having spent one of our earlier days at Muir woods, we spent our last day at Muir Beach, a small, rocky patch of shoreline that our friends recommended.

Ah, those friends! Did I mention that they are our best friends in the whole world? I could have done without another trip to San Francisco had it not been to see them and their wonderful, gorgeous family. Lance and Rodney, who chauffeured us around, cooked for us, planned for us, entertained us, and doted on our boy like he was one of their own.

Rodney and Lance




and Adam.

Dear, sweet Adam, who within minutes of getting to the beach got knocked down by Carl (the dog, not me) and hurt his arm, necessitating a trip to Urgent Care and a splint. Not a happy camper, but what a trooper.

Some parting shots:

And that, very sadly, brings us to the end of our fantastic trip. Sad to leave such a beautiful place, sad to leave such good friends behind. But happily they'll be heading east this summer to vacation with us on Cape Cod!

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Great Discovery

We're always on the lookout for a fun kids' museum for Joe Joe no matter where we go, and in Marin we didn't need to look very far. The Bay Area Discovery Museum was right there in the same complex as our hotel, so we walked right on over. There's tons of hands on exhibits filling more former military buildings - like a huge train setup, mini wharf with fishing boat, and a whole room full of water tables.

Most impressive was the outdoor "Lookout Cove" area, a 2&1/2 acre "bay-in-miniature." There were sea caves, an authentic fishing boat to climb on, a giant shipwreck, and even a scaled down version of the Golden Gate bridge under construction (while the real one loomed in the distance). Kinda hard to appreciate all that in one little picture!

Throughout the area was the Lookout Trail featuring fun and kid-friendly art. Loved the willow sculpture! Everything was just so natural.

And everywhere you went on the trail, you think "Wow, this is a great view of the bridge!"

Until really, you finally get tired of taking pictures of a bridge.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Golden Boys

Need I remind you of the stupendous location of our hotel in Marin, right at the base of the Golden Gate bridge? Lance was able to join us one day to hike up the trails in the Headlands to one of the abandoned military fortresses that put you above the level of bridge, which I didn't know was possible. He brought along the dogs, Betty, and my namesake, Carl - yeah, the runty mutt (who is charming and adorable).

Along the way I took in some of the gorgeous scenery. Brent mostly carried Joseph.

The views from up there were breathtaking!

We brought along a picnic lunch and just reveled in the beauty.
Some interesting tidbits from Fodor's guidebook:
It's a suspension bridge that's meant to withstand winds of >100mph by swaying up to almost 28 feet.
It's one of the world's most popular suicide platforms.
It's orange. I must be colorblind - I seriously always thought it was red!