Monday, November 29, 2010

Black Friday

We had a lunch the day after Thanksgiving so more family and friends could come to see Joseph, and Mom asked me to make a cake for the occasion. I decided on something that could be made all at once, didn't need a separate icing, and could be transported from DC to NJ without help from the crew from "Cake Boss." And so:

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake

(chocolate cookie crust, chocolate cheesecake, covered in chocolate ganache)
Thank you, Martha Stewart!

Joseph was much more civilized than with the pumpkin pie and used a fork.

Earlier that morning we also had plans to meet for breakfast with Uncle Mike and "the kids," my niece and nephew who were spending the holiday with their dad.

Michael was a good sport dragging his 15 year old self out of bed for 9am. There was a free meal involved.

You'll notice my niece Sami is conspicuously absent from the photos. She thought shopping with some cousins on Black Friday was a better plan than seeing her dear old uncles and adorable cousin. Can't really blame a 13 year old for that call. But then the cousins changed the plans on her, and she decided instead to stay home and sleep in.

Now she's getting coal for Christmas. Black, black coal.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

What exit?

As I mentioned, we drove to New Jersey to spend Thanksgiving with my family. (Hey, does anyone not from the mid-Atlantic states to get that title?). Joseph had been so excited to see Grammy & Grandpa!

It's the 1st time in about 10 years we decided to brave the insane traffic along 95N to head home for the holiday, and the 1st time in more than 3 years we were all together for a meal. Thankful that we managed to get along for a little while and that there was actually way less traffic than we imagined. And thanks to Brent for taking this pic - would much rather you'd been in it.

Joseph had no interest in the actual feast which happened immediately following his nap, but he was happy to read Thomas books all by himself while we dined.

Then someone mentioned dessert, and he rallied. While I was reaching to get him a fork, he just picked up his whole slice of pumpkin pie and rammed it in his mouth!

Mom wanted to take care of the whole meal, but I couldn't skip a year making Brent's favorite, the caramel pecan tart.

Always glad to pour my heart & soul into making something for someone who I know is always thankful for me, no matter what. The feeling's mutual, hon.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Wacky Weather

We drove to NJ for Thanksgiving on Wednesday, arriving at Grammy & Grandpa's house on a lovely, crisp fall day.

But the very next day.......

....we found ourselves out in our first snow of the season!

Monday, November 22, 2010

"The Feast"

They have been talking about "The Feast" since day 1 of preschool. Something to look forward to for Thanksgiving, another party for the kids to enjoy. All the parents had to sign up for an item to provide. I signed up for dessert. Duh. Okay, I wrote my name in for two desserts. I showed restraint. There were 3 spaces.

Shocking, there are still people out there who have never heard of cake balls. How is that possible? It is my personal responsibility to make sure everyone gets to try one. Red velvet, of course. Only the best for Joe Joe's class.

Since it was Thanksgiving I also made pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.

Mini cupcakes for the little squirts. Same size as the cake balls! So cute!

But there was so much batter that I made some regular sized ones for the teachers and parents too.

So I sent in 4 dozen cake balls, about 4 dozen mini cupcakes, and a dozen and a 1/2 regular cupcakes too. (Oh, and at the last minute found out no one was providing turkey, so I sent pigs in blankets made with turkey franks.) For a class of 12 kids.

And the platters came home empty.
Wish I could have gone, but that darned real job of mine gets in the way.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Cloud Formations

We were at the park yesterday racing around the tennis courts on his tricycle when Joseph stops dead in his tracks at points at the sky.

"That looks like an alligator tail!"

I'm seeing it with him. Long, bumpy, narrowing at the end. We just so happen to be reading "The Three Little Cajun Pigs" where the wolf is replaced by an alligator, and he whacks the houses down with his tail instead of huffing & puffing. Perfect.

"And look, that looks like a dinosaur!"

Yep. I get it too.
What do you see?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Construction Zone

There it is, literally steps from the Judiciary Square Metro station, one of the toddler wonders of our nation's capitol: The National Building Museum, an absolutely awesome free place to play. Missy and I decided it would be a great place to meet for our play date on Thursday. Not sure if Joseph loves the kids' Building Zone or the Metro ride there more.

So many good pictures of two 3 year old boys actually sharing and playing well together, it was hard to limit them.

Will got in on the action too. He knows a good thing when he sees it.

Really cute house under construction that the kids cannot stay out of. Nothing inside but 2 chairs and 3 light switches - hours of fun to be had!

There's nothing more gratifying in my life than knowing that I made sure Joseph enjoyed every waking minute of his day. Thanks to our best friends for making sure that happened today!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cirque du Scary

Anybody freaked out by clowns? Mimes? Dancing mime clowns?
I'm not, but it's the 1st thing I thought when we walked into Brent's office holiday party on Saturday.

(Yes, a "holiday" party before Thanksgiving!) The party itself was called "Cirque du Dance," which made no sense until the second the doors opened and these people were all over you. Crazy! But really fun! I got to spend time with all of B's colleagues that I hear about, especially Joe and Martina. These 3 make up the Kaiser Pediatrics "Big Cheese" trifecta who lead their respective departments in DC, Baltimore, & Northern Virginia.

The scariest thing? We've gone out 3 times in 3 weeks. And gotten babysitters. We haven't gone out 3 times in 3 years! Thanks Mimi and Tasha for taking good care of Joseph.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Loving leaves

What a fun time of year!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Finger

For a few weeks now someone has randomly started pointing at things a little differently than he did before.

Might not be terribly noticeable in the above picture. The effect always depends on the angle you're viewing it from.

Friday, November 12, 2010

I believe in miracles!

Just after Halloween we sat down to another family dinner, and yet again Joseph took one look at the peas he was offered and said he wouldn't try them because "they're nasty."

Now, Joseph's always been a great eater, but veggies have never been his strong point. He loves his sweet potatoes and squash, but everything else has to be slightly disguised (think spinach ravioli, vegetable lasagna, stuffed pepper, eggplant parmesan....mmmm, eggplant parm).

So that very night I told him that he never had to eat another vegetable, but he would also never get another piece of his Halloween candy until he did. And I went so far as to say he could eat a bite of an Almond Joy for every forkful of peas that made it down his throat.

And it worked.
Peas...coconut & chocolate...peas....coconut & get the idea.

Since then he's been eating bowlfuls of peas, carrots, and O.M.G....even green beans. This child has not touched a green bean in about 2 years. I'm buying broccoli tomorrow.

The beauty is that now he actually just eats the veggies and doesn't expect a treat every time. But c'mon, the green beans earned him a lollipop for sure.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Worth every penny!

Joseph was riding his tricycle up and down the sidewalk yesterday and suddenly stopped and said, "There's my name!" I looked down and saw that some kids had been drawing with chalk but had to tell him, "Sorry, hon, you're name isn't Angela." He insisted it was his name, got off his trike, and pointed to a letter, saying "See, that's me!" And then I realized that this particular girl spells her name A-N-J-E-L-A, and he was pointing at the "J." Cool, he's starting to recognize letters. He couldn't do that when school started.

Then he did this:

I'm liking this preschool, a lot!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What's the draw?

What is it about Louisiana that keeps making our good friends move back there? First Jessica, then Angie, and now.....say it isn't so.....Elisabeth and Larry too.

At least we got to see them one last time and send them off properly. But that doesn't make up for the fact that we'll miss them dearly. No more 4ths of July on E. Nelson Street in Alexandria. No more Mama, Chow Chow, Reggie, and Duke. No more crazy stories about screen doors in the bed or a chicken in a jug.

Life will never be the same.

And New Orleans isn't gonna know what hit them!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

J Dub & Sy Sy

Although we cherish our Thursday play dates with Jack, we still miss our old Thursday morning music class. We made some great friends there and just don't get to see them often enough anymore. So when potentially faced with nothing to do Saturday morning while Brent had to work, we were thrilled when one of the old group suggested we get our boys together.

We met up with Julie, Jon William and his little brother Simon at a local park and had the most lovely morning. The boys were instant friends again and couldn't have cared less that it was pretty chilly. We stayed in the sun and kept them moving. Part of the fun was playing with all the dogs that were around.

But I don't care how much fun JT had, we're not getting a dog. Picking up that nasty dog saliva-coated ball a million times? No way, Jose.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Greased Lightening

Everyone I know with a boy over 2 (fine, okay, some girls too) has been sucked into the cult of Disney/PIXAR's "Cars." We have at least 7 different versions of the main character in our living room as well as most of the supporting cast. We frequently (um, daily? sometimes hourly) hear Joseph booming "I am Lightening McQueen, THE FAMOUS RACE CAR!!!" as well as his catchphrase, "I. Am. SPEED!.....KA-CHOW!!!"

Jack, a relative latecomer to the phenomenon, who at times surpasses Joseph's interest and enthusiasm in all things McQueen, was fortunate enough to actually be Lightening himself for Halloween. We never got to see the costume firsthand until our play date this week.

Yes, we know all the other cars by name, from The King to Chick Hicks, Mater, Sally, Doc, and Ramone to name a few. Not that they matter. Did you hear Missy say another Lightening McQueen quote? "I eat losers for breakfast." Love that one!

The boys actually did share the costume amazingly well, each taking a few laps around the basement and willingly swapping. No losers here!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Tall Drink of Water

If you didn't already know, how old would you guess these kids are?

From left to right: 5, 3, 1?

Well, that's their clothes sizes.....

But as you all know, Jack and Joe are both 3, and Jack there in the middle is the elder by 2 months.

Shorty on the end is baby Will who's already one!

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Seussical Halloween

I just might have forgotten to mention that I loved Joseph's costume so much that I made a simpler version for myself to wear to work out of some leftover fleece and a black sweatshirt. He never did wear the hood for very long, but it looks cute in the picture above. And how c.u.t.e. are those tails?!

It was so great to have Mimi and Gran Gran in town for the holiday. He (well, we) loves them so much and wanted to spend every minute with them.

Since JT and I were cats, I decided our pumpkins should be carved with cats too. I'm so happy with how they turned out. It's always dicey.

Ready for more c.u.t.e? Another cat - Benjamin as a lion - and his enthusiastic parents in the Halloween spirit!

Trick-or-treating action shots:

And while we were out having fun, sweet Gran Gran manned the fort at home and handed out our candy.

She sat there in our doorway reading while waiting for the kids to come. Talk about cute!