Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Yellow Winton Flyer

The boys and I had a busy weekend. It started off on Friday when we went school shopping and out to dinner with some wonderful friends. We went to this great little British place in Bennington VT. One of our closest friends is from Wales. She introduced us to mushy peas, HP sauce, chocolate buttons, and Chip Butty.

Yes I was hesitant to taste but everything was delicious. Aidan is a particular fan of the Chip Butty. French fries on a buttered roll. It's a 7 year old's dinner dream!!!

Saturday we set off to Tanglewood with some more fabulous friends for movie night with John Williams and the Boston Pops. I had been looking forward to this performance all summer. I worked at Tanglewood while I was in college and it's one of my favorite places in the Berkshires. We had a wonderful night. The sky was clear and the stars were shining bright. Thankfully the people sitting in front of us had a huge candelabra. It made finding our spot, after trips to the bathroom, a lot less difficult!!

Morgan Freeman was the guest speaker. I could listen to his voice all day. Especially with the Boston Pops accompanying it.

Mr. Freeman began telling a story. A story that I now realize is from a book, The Rievers, by William Faulkner. The story, which I will not tell as well, talks of a boy living in Mississippi in the early 1900's. His grandfather buys a beautiful yellow car. This car is the desire of the people living in the small town. The grandfather entrusts the young boy to watch his car and make sure it is safe. The boy is filled with temptation and ends up taking the car for a drive. This car is a yellow Winton Flyer.

I cried while I listened to the story. I cried because I was happy and because I was sad. I cried because my grandfather is Winton. I cried because Joe knew and quietly told our kids the story of the car and my grandfather.

My Papa was named after this obscure car. His father was friends with the man who designed and made the Winton. Connor is named after his great-grandfather. His full name is Connor Winton. I can only hope that tradition will carry on and Connor will give a future child the name Winton.

Listening to Morgan Freeman brought me great joy. I'm a skeptic at a lot of things but especially thinking that loved ones in heaven watch over us. In my extended family I am the minority. I have aunts that see butterflies and think it's the presence of my Papa. Other relatives see pennies lying on the ground and immediately think they are pennies from heaven. But in that moment I knew that my grandfather continues to be with us.

I suppose I will never look at pennies on the ground or butterflies quite the same way. But I feel a great reassurance in knowing that my Papa has "met" his great-grandsons!

Tanglewood at dusk

Me and my wonderful boys!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Little Blue & Little Yellow

Connor's favorite color is yellow. When we go to the library to pick out books, we try to find books that are yellow. Our new favorite author is Leo Lionni. When I saw he wrote a book titled, "Little Blue And Little Yellow" I knew we had to read it. It was an awesome read!! The kids loved it!!! And it taught Connor that we can mix colors to make new ones.

We sat outside this afternoon mixing together blue paint and yellow paint. The proof is all over Connor's hands, arms, and legs. Yellow & blue does make green!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Danielle and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

I love reading this book to my kids. I love it even more when it's about Alexander's day. Not about my own day.

The day started off at 4am when Connor wet his bed. We've been trying to have him make it through the night without a diaper. He's good for a 3 day streak and day 4 is always a failure. You would think I would learn to put a mattress pad under his sheet. But I haven't learned yet. So at 4am I was scrubbing the mattress, praying that it doesn't smell like urine.

I was pretty restless after that. I attempted to go back to bed but sharing a bed with Connor and Joe does not make for a pleasant sleep environment.

I decided to make the kids french toast for breakfast. They like it when I cut them into long strips and they can dip those into the syrup. Just as I was pouring the syrup into individual bowls the phone rang. The caller ID showed that the call was coming from the Town Of Cheshire. Interesting since I don't know anyone that lives in Cheshire. It was Joe calling from the police station letting me know my car was being towed. Apparently I never re-registered my car.

I won't go on about the rest of the terrible, horrible, bad things that happened. I'll move forward to the positive parts of the day.

The boys wanted to go to the library for a drum performance. They were both hopeful that they would have the chance to play the drums. The performer was awesome!! He did a great job keeping the kids attention and making everyone feel good. And sure enough we were able to practice our talents at drumming on a ngoma drum. I loved watching the expression on the faces of Aidan & Connor and seeing how excited they were as they tapped away. It made the rest of the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day seem not so bad.

Well until Aidan told me that he wants to take drum lessons......

Monday, August 15, 2011

Rainy Days & Mondays

Don't they always get you down? They do for me. Today was especially tough being both a Monday and a rainy day! Although I hate to complain. We've had a fantastic summer so far. The weather has been wonderful!! We've been fortunate enough to spend lots of time swimming at my in-law's house and playing at a lot of parks!

But as Karen Carpenter bellowed "hanging around with nothing to do but frown, rainy days & Monday's always get me down."

I thrive on having lots of things to do. I enjoy being busy. I especially love when I am planning things. Planning parties, vacations, recipes, activities for the kids, arts & crafts. I love to come up with ideas and plan out how I am going to carry them through. Seeing the finished product makes me feel great!!

I work part time for a non profit agency. Over the weekend we had a bake sale and car wash to raise money for the kids we work for.

Now if there is one thing I do really well it is bake! I love mixing flour and spices while the mixer is blending together the sugars and butter. The smells in the kitchen while the cupcakes are rising brings a smile to my face. I play loud music and dance around the kitchen while I'm baking. I can vividly envision my imaginary bakery, Danielle's Delights. Warm gold tones and purples cover the walls. Throughout the bakery there is the faint smell of cinnamon and nutmeg.

But I digress.

I had offered to make some baked goods for the bake sale. My mind was turning with all the new recipes I had planned on making. Along with a few of the older, well loved, ones. When it came down to it, my mind planned faster then I actually had time for. I was working Wednesday through Saturday. This left very little time for the actual baking. I ended up making one favorite and one new recipe. The new recipe may now be the favorite.

So on this rainy Monday, with no baking left to do, I tried my best to keep the boys entertained. We visited Grandma Pat, went to the library, and did some grocery shopping. But in my mind, I'm thinking ahead to the holidays, with lots of delicious ideas dancing in my head.

The "old" favorite. Cookies & Cream Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting.

The "new" favorite. Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting. (FYI- there were none of these remaining at the end of the bake sale! So yummy!!!)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Interview With Aidan & Connor

When Aidan was 4 I asked him these questions. I had gotten this idea from another person's blog. The answers made me laugh out loud and I thought it was a great idea!! It definitely did not disappoint!! Kids have some pretty funny things to say! Connor is close to turning 4 and I thought it would be great to have his answers to the same set of questions.

An Interview With Aidan (From Jan. 9, 2008)
An Interview With Connor (From Aug. 14, 2011)

1. What is something mom always says?
A: I love you
C: Go to your room

2. What makes mom happy?
A: ME- (with big smile!)
C: when I give her a hug and kiss

3. What makes mom sad?
A: When I break something
C: When she had to play at work

4. How does your mom make you laugh?
A: when she does the windshield wipers jokes
C: when she talks in a funny voice

5. What was your mom like as a child?
A: had long hair
C: she liked to play in sand

6. How old is your mom?
A: I don't know- 15?
C: puts up 4 fingers- changes his mind and puts up 5 fingers

7. How tall is your mom?
A: (makes me stand against wall) 22
C: really high

8. What is her favorite thing to do?
A: to make stuff like jewlery stuff.
C: run around with me

9. What does your mom do when you're not around?
A: gets sad a little bit
C: she tries to find me

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
A: for church meetings
C: dancing

11. What is your mom really good at?
A: playing sports
C: playing tag

12.. What is your mom not very good at?
A: driving
C: playing Red Rover

13. What does your mom do for her job?
A: paper stuff and she clips stuff and she works with the crazy kids
C: her job is to get the mail

14. What is your mom's favorite food?
A: lasagna and mushrooms
C: peanut butter and jelly

15. What makes you proud of your mom?
A: when she wins cool stuff like Red Sox tickets.
C: when she gives me hugs and kisses

16. If your mom were on TV, who would she be?
A: Mickey Mouse
C: Danielle

17. What do you and your mom do together?
A: play together
C: play inside and at the park

18. How are you and your mom the same?
A: because we're both white and hairy
C: both like to get hugs and kisses

19. How are you and your mom different?
A: we have different color eyes
C: I don't know

20. How do you know your mom loves you?
A: because we cuddle together
C: because she gives me lots of hugs and kisses

21. Where is your mom's favorite place to go?
A: to the mall
C: work

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Doggie Doctor

Our dog, Rayo, has his yearly veterinarian visit today. I can't help but think back to the first time I brought Rayo to the vet, by myself, with 2 small children. Connor was close to 10 months and Aidan was 4. We had recently moved back to Pittsfield and I was still in my 'super mom' phase, convinced I could do anything and everything!

When I leave the house with the kids to complete specific tasks, I talk to them about what we are doing and the behavior I expect from them while we are out. Aidan and I spoke about bringing Rayo to the doctor and how I needed him to be an especially good boy. It would be no easy task taking Rayo to the vet with a 10 month old. Rayo is very scared of baby carriages and will not walk near one. This meant I had to carry Connor while holding onto Rayo's leash. At this point Connor was way too heavy to carry in his car seat!!!

As I have mentioned before Aidan is a very inquisitive child. This trip was no different when it came to his questions. He was very curious to know what types of animals the vet cared for. I explained to him that vets take care of all animals and we would probably see lots of dogs and cats. Aidan was worried about horses being there, but I assured him that vets would go to the barn to see any large animals.

Our visit was fairly uneventful. As Rayo typically does, he peed on the floor. But he handled his shots well and was more then ready to go when the appointment had finished.

As I wrote out the check, I heard whimpering from behind me followed by outraged yelling and tears. I turned around to see Aidan having a complete temper tantrum. I knelt down to ask him what was going on. Unfortunately it took awhile for me to understand Aidan between the tears and the yelling and that only added to his frustrations. Finally he very clearly and very loudly yelled " I AM NOT LEAVING. I HAVE NOT SEEN ANY MONKEYS YET!!!!"

Thankfully the receptionist was very helpful and brought Rayo out to the car for me while I carried a confused Connor and a very very angry Aidan. As I buckled him into the car seat I made a mental note, the vet does not take care of all animals. The vet only takes care of dogs and cats.