Monday, October 31, 2011

Carving (and a little bit of drilling)

I have been so busy with our costumes and prep work for our preschool party today that I thought I was going to run out of time to carve some decent pumpkins this year. I never got around to searching for new patterns so the designs were chosen by Brent and Joseph from pages left over from the last few years' books. I had to bang these out last night since I'd be working all day today. Luckily I had a good little helper so it went a lot faster than I thought it would. (No, seriously, he was a great pumpkin guts scraper!)

Plus, when short on time, bring out the big guns! Drilling holes make quick work of all the little intricate details. Believe it or not, the inspiration for using power tools came from the one and only Martha Stewart herself. Joseph thought it was totally cool.

So here they are, in the nick of time, "The Owl" and "The Spooky Tree."

Saturday, October 29, 2011

When Animals Attack

Joseph started talking about his costume for Halloween this year the day after Halloween last year. All I heard was cowboy, cowboy, cowboy. But the boy knows nothing of cowboys. He briefly considered being a dinosaur after his big dino birthday bash. When patterns went on sale, I bought ones for both a cowboy and a dinosaur, just in case. He briefly mentioned wanting to be the Cat in the Hat again, but that costume has got to be 2 sizes too small by now. One day we were looking at a catalogue and he saw a costume that he thought was pretty cool, and I agreed wholeheartedly. But huh, no one makes a pattern for such a costume. It took quite a bit of trial and error to turn a dinosaur into this, but in true Project Runway fashion, I finally "made it work."

Hard to tell from that 1st angle what it is, but here is Joseph as a GREAT. WHITE. SHARK!

He just loves his tail and will hardly let go of it, to the point I'm concerned he's just going to rip it right off. And he thinks those rows of teeth are pretty darn scary. He's been hoping I dress up as a fish, and he chases me around the house until he catches me and sinks his teeth in.

I decided in the end to be a little more trendy with my costume than shark bait, and also decided to throw in a costume for Brent as well. Perhaps no less frightening than a shark attack is one from a band of Angry Birds.

Though really, does Brent look all that angry? None-the-less, people seemed to get a kick out of our costumes at a party today, and we'll see how it goes when we're out and about on Halloween itself. Chances are you'd survive an visit from this little shark. His sight line is frequently obstructed by a design flaw I ran out of time to fix.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Very Merry Unbirthday!

All it took this morning was Joseph finding a party hat from Julia & Sara's birthday for him to decide we needed to have a celebration right away. He even went and chose a present and asked me to wrap it for him. So when he went upstairs to help Papa feed the cats, I ran with it. Of course he had forgotten all about it 10 minutes later, so it turned out to be a surprise party.

What present did he choose for himself? Trains. No surprise there.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Best Little Family in Texas

Oh, I have been remiss in blogging this past week. Blame it a certain toddler's father's tireless efforts at making a very cool halloween costume in addition to the usual excuses. Here are a few last photos from our Texas trip - the main point of which was spending time with our awesome family. We were welcomed, as always, with open arms....and this time with a colorful banner!

It is just bliss to be able to spend time with Aunt Suthern, Uncle Glenn, their new dog Gumbo, and cousins Ashton and Leyton (who got an early birthday surprise thanks to our visit).

Joseph would do anything as long as it involved spending time with his cousins, even technically doing nothing.

It is always a dream seeing all the boys with their grandparents. It's impossible to feel any more love than when Mimi and Poppy are around!

As an added bonus we got to see the extended family too, with Brent's cousin Heidi and her kids too. If only Hollie could have made it as well. I guess we have a reason to go back!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pumpkin Patch

So bummed that our preschool field trip was cancelled due to weather last week and so disappointed that it wouldn't be rescheduled, a few of the other parents and I decided to take the kids to the pumpkin patch after school today. We packed lunches, picked up the kids, and headed straight out to Homestead Farms.

Who knew there was so much fun to be had with hay? And I should mention we didn't actually go on a hay ride - they only run on weekends - so they just had fun with the actual hay itself, Andrew and Joseph throwing it, Ania and Eugenie jumping in it.

It was a short and fun walk out to the pumpkin patch, checking out the pond, crossing little bridges, and running in the fields. Joe Joe picked out 1 pumpkin for himself and 1 for his teacher since she didn't get to come with us.

Right before leaving, a quick wagon ride just because.

And lastly, a random request: "Daddy, can you take a picture of this?"

Absolutely. Anything to make my little pumpkin happy!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Race for a Cause

Along with a few thousand other people, I participated in the Acumen Solutions "Race for a Cause" 8K yesterday. Upon registration you indicate which non-profit organization out of 10 you'd like your registration fees to benefit. Naturally I chose MCCP - the Medical Care for Children Partnership Foundation, which provides medical and dental services to underserved children in Fairfax County. I may have been influenced by my partner, who sits on the board of directors of this wonderful organization.

Also I've really just wanted to see how I perform in an actual race rather than just running for exercise. I know I can run. I even know I can run an 8K pretty well. But I had no idea how I'd do when I was being timed and compared to other runners. A LOT of other runners.

So I tied on my very first "chip" which electronically tracked me and recorded my results.

On my own I'd probably run 8K in 40 minutes, averaging an 8 minute mile. But my finish time was 37:28.6! I averaged 7:33 minute miles. Not too shabby for my first time out. I finished 78 out of the 300 men than ran, 9th "in my age group" (ouch, that hurts). If you include the 18 women out of 382 that bested my time, I overall placed 96 out of 682 runners. No prizes, but:

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Highlights of San Antonio

With only 1 full day to spend in San Antonio, we made sure to see the biggest attractions. We spent the majority of the morning and early afternoon at SeaWorld, then drove downtown to see the Alamo, and spent the evening on the Riverwalk and having dinner.

OK, so now I can say I "remember the Alamo," and I'm amused that it has hours. Glad we made it in time.

We took one of the boat tours on the Riverwalk and really enjoyed learning about the history of the San Antonio River. Great Mexican dinner at Mi Tierra, which everyone we knew recommended, then a great stroll through the city back to the car, looking very pretty at night.

I'm sure the real highlight of San Antonio for Joseph was making s'mores at the hotel after dinner. Sure, the Hyatt Hill Country Resort & Spa had a lot to offer, from a lazy river and beach, several pools, a playground, a nice nature trail (which subbed as a running trail for me), but with a kid you can't beat flaming marshmallows and melted chocolate easily.

Thanks, San Antonio. We had a great day!