F4 - Zoobilee Zoo

Friday, July 31, 2009

Wow, I haven't played along with Friday Foto Finish Fiesta in so long - but I am today. Be sure to visit Candid Carrie to see who else is playing. I also mentioned our zoo visit on Tuesday - make sure you don't miss the beginning of our fun. Here are some pics from the rest of our fun day!

Seriously, what's funnier than forcing crying babies to get their picture taken inside a flower?


TWO for TWOS-Day - Gal Pals

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Noone is actually hosting Two for Tuesday today since Debi and Deanna are busy - but I'm playing along anyway for the fun of it. A few weeks ago we went to the Philadelphia Zoo with my BFF and her 1 year old Mackenzie. I forgot my camera, but my friend Christina got LOTS of great pics. I'm going to share some more on Thursday - but for now - here's some snapshots of our dynamic duo - Mackenzie and Katie.
It was amazing to me that I actually got Katie to wear shorts other than stretchy-cotton. I think the fact that we were going to see the elephants for the last time (the last 2 finally moved to the Pittsburgh Zoo) and the fact that the shorts luckily didn't have a zipper and snap that I got her to actually wear khaki material shorts.
Not sure if you noticed, but apparently Katie was worried she'd be hounded by paparazzi - hence the disguising sunglasses and too-small-for-her sunhat. Fortunate for her, the only paparazzi was her Aunt Chris. Unfortunate for her, we could see through her disguise and we still took her picture all day long.


Three Little Monkeys

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Katie sure loves Max and Ellie!

(We love their mom, too, who was so nice to bring Katie and Timmy presents from her business trip to England!)


This Little Piggy Went to the Market

Thursday, July 23, 2009

After a certain car ride with Katie this week, I began to wonder why we glamorize farm animals to our small children. From children's songs like Old McDonald (which in Katie's version also includes french fries..e-i-e-i-ooo) to toys like the See 'N Say (this is a cow..Moooooo). We teach our kids early on what all the animals say and if they're lucky they may even have a farm animal book or two. The very lucky may even get to visit farm animals at a petting zoo or 4-H fair (which incidentally, we may be going to this weekend - the above pics are from our visit there in 2007).

Katie has always loved animals. She has been very delayed in speech, but could say every single animal sound very early. She is thrilled to see them at the zoo and gets so excited when we pass a farm. Incidentally, she also LOVES meat...of all kinds. It kind of makes conversations like this a little awkward:

On our way to speech lessons, we happen to pass a butcher shop. For some reason, next to the butcher shop there is a large pasture which usually contains goats and sheep. Recently there have been loads of baby goats and they've been so adorable! Katie loves to point them out to me when we go by. On our way to speech this past Monday the pasture was completely empty and I pondered out loud..."that's weird, I wonder where all the animals are"...I mean, really, they don't butcher the goats and sheep, do they?!?!? Although somewhat unrelated, I thought explaining what the butcher does might make a good "lesson" for Katie. Honestly, I really don't know what I was thinking.

Me: I'm not sure why the goats are all gone Katie. But you know, that is a butcher shop. The butcher cuts up some animals like pigs and cows so that we can buy them and eat them (or something else equally scary and inappropriate to tell a 4-year-old).

Katie: (horrified) But mommy, why they cut up the animals?

Me: Oh honey, the animals aren't alive anymore - it doesn't hurt them (praying that I don't have to go into "that" conversation, too...why did I open up this can of worms?!?) Sweetheart, people eat some animals.

Katie: Not horsies.

Me: No, not horsies (this is just an introductory conversation, after all). We do eat pigs and cows and chicken though.

Katie: (as if I'm the dumbest person in the world) MOM, people do NOT eat animals.

Me: (annoyed now that she thinks she's smarter than me) Honey, the sausage and ham you eat comes from a pig and hamburgers and meat balls are parts of cows.

Katie: No, mom, it's not.

Me: Well, where do you think it comes from?

Katie: The refrigerator.

Me: (realizing I should have never started this conversation). Oh ok. Well you are right about that. You do eat chickens, though.

Katie: Ohhh, oh yeah.

Me: You know we also eat fish and crabs and lobsters. Some people even eat frogs and turtles.

Katie: Not me, I don't eat fish.

And then we seguewayed into where we get milk from and whether horsies drink milk. Luckily for the meat industry, I'm not too worried that she'll become a vegetarian anytime soon because she doesn't eat vegetables either.


Way Back and Wordful Wednesday - The Time We Lost Lucky

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

First off, I mentioned on Monday that I was going to share the conversation I had with Katie about what the butcher does, but that's going to have to wait until tomorrow. Today, I'm guest posting over at Who Says 8 is Enough? for my sister-in-law Debi while she takes some time to pack up for her big move to PA. In my guest post, I mention the fact that both Debi and I have way too many pets. I'm sure she's probably mentioned hers before and I wrote about all of my pets here. But what I have never shared is the story about the day we lost poor Lucky.

On a Saturday back in November 0f 2005 we were at my mom's for dinner and got home sometime around 5pm. Back then, Lucky was our only dog and when we got home Chris let him out into the backyard. Katie was 4 months old at the time and, as is typical, we were probably at least a little sleep deprived at the time. When it came time for us to turn in at about 11pm I asked Chris if he had let the dog in and he said, yeah, I think so. I thought, well that's weird - he's usually in here (in the office) hanging out with us. So, doubting my husband (as any normal wife would do), I went to the backyard to call him in anyway. He definately was not out back. I called Chris and said he didn't come in, but I didn't see him in the house. We walked through the entire house calling him, just in case. Then we went to the back yard and front yard and called him. We finally came to the conclusion that he must have run out the front door while we were bringing stuff in from the car earlier that evening.

The weirdest part about the entire situation was that Lucky is an awesome dog. He did run out the front door sometimes, but usually just to be with us or to try to hop into our cars. Even if he did take the occasional joyrun around a few houses, he was always back soon and waited on the front porch to be let back in. We felt terrible because we hadn't even realized he was gone. We didn't know if he had tried to come back and then left because the door was closed or whether he wasn't himself due to growing pains with the new baby in the house.

With Katie asleep, we had to take turns looking for Lucky. In the pitch black, we took turns driving around our neighborhood and around about 6 surrounding neighborhoods with a flood light and calling his name. We got out of the car around the wooded areas and called for him. We probably kept this up until about 2-3am. I actually had to be out of the house early the next day because I was going up to NYC with my sister and niece to see the Christmas Spectacular Show at Radio City Music Hall. It was my first "day away" since having Katie. I got up around 7am and went out looking for him for about a half hour before I absolutely had to get home to start getting ready. I quickly made up some "Lost Dog" posters with the picture up above. Chris called his sister and his friend to come down so one person could help him look for Lucky while the other stayed home with Katie. They put up signs at the Shoprite, the McDonald's, and on telephone poles. We called the police, the ASPCA, and local animal shelters.

In the late afternoon, maybe around 3pm, my BFF's husband stopped over to borrow a folding table we had stored in our basement. Our basement is open to the rest of our house. Sort of like a bilevel house, our staircase comes from upstairs, meets at the first floor landing, and continues to the basement - except that the first floor isn't just a landing and is our main floor. Well, like this actually - the bannister on the left is the staircase down.

The basement is a big open living space with a back storage area. Do you see where I'm going with this? So, Eric, my BFF's hubby opens the door to the back storage area, comes up the stairs with the table and Lucky, and oblivious to what we had gone through for almost 15 hours asks Chris, "Why was Lucky locked in the back room of the basement?"

Fifteen freaking hours...no accidents, no barking, and happy as can be when he was let out. We have no idea how he got closed in there. It is a regular wall with a regular door. How does a dog close a door behind itself...and not bark for FIFTEEN HOURS?!?! Fifteen hours of calling his name, first throughout the house and then in the yard, but with someone always in the house. This is the same dog who barks the second he is closed in the bedroom if we're going out of the house. I guess he was fine because he knew he wasn't alone or didn't realize he was a moron who closed himself in there and somehow thought he was in trouble. I don't really know how he would react if he was in trouble because he never gets in trouble - well, except me yelling at him all the time to STOP barking. I guess he found his voice after that experience.

So, that's the story of the time we lost Lucky. Stop by Twinfatuation to see who else is playing along for Way-Back Wednesday and 7 Clown Circus to find out who is playing along for Wordful Wednesday.


20 Questions

Monday, July 20, 2009

The only thing worse than a chatterbox 4-year-old who asks tons of questions is having a chatterbox 4-year-old who asks tons of questions and is difficult to understand. We usually wind up playing 20 questions everytime we have a conversation in the car...Can you use another word Katie? Is it a person? What sound does it start with? That being said, we do have some pretty interesting conversations while driving. The four-year-old mind never ceases to crack me up.

Last week (on the way to Little Gym class that has recently moved buildings)

Katie: Mom, how do they do that?
Me: Do what?
Katie: Move eveythin?
Me: Huh?
Katie: Move eveythin?
Me: Oh, they packed all the equipment up in boxes.They packed all the boxes into a big truck and then they drove it all to the new building and unpacked it.
Katie: But, moooom - how the gymnastics teachers get there?
Me: (laughing) Katie, they get in their cars and they drive to the new building. Katie, the gymnastics teachers don't live at the Little Gym. After our class is done, they go home to their house. This is just where they work.
Katie: Oh, where their houses, mommy..............

Today (still not ready to let go of our conversation from last week)

Katie: But, mom - how they move it all?

(Yes, this question just pops up out of nowhere and because I'm supermom I know just what she's talking about...I then repeat everything I told her last week)

Katie: But how they move the buildings?

P.S. I hate, hate, hate the new location. Among other things, they have "wisely" faced the gym so that the gym front (where we watch the kids from) faces the open store front window and instead of seeing our kids, now all we see is glare from outside. I am actually so annoyed by this that as the first of our gymnastic friends to see the new gym I sent out a big whine to my group of gymnastics mommy friends, to which my friend Cyndi replied...Come on, Julie, tell us how you really feel. Lol! Yes, I hate it. It may be time to make a change if they don't get some blinds up by the end of the summer.

Oh and in addition to explaining about the move again today, I also gave Katie a lesson on what the butcher does. I think I'll save that story for tomorrow, though.


Yes, I'm ashamed.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Yesterday I met my sister for a playdate at Ikea. Yup, you heard me. First we ate lunch. Chris actually met us, too, since he was working nearby for the day. Then we signed the big kids into the indoor playground (complete with ball pit, rock climbing, tv's, and child caretakers) for 1 hour. Timmy and I headed off to shop while my sister finished up some end of the school year paperwork by herself in the cafeteria.
So, what exactly am I ashamed about? Well, I knew it would happen eventually, but I am ashamed at my weakness for staying away from Ikea. My last shopping experience there (back in March - when I took the above pictures) was without question the worst experience of my life...well, the aftermath was anyway. But still, I went back. Hey, I'm addicted to shopping my daughter loves to play there. What am I supposed to do?

After my last shopping experience, I posted this at the Secret Spineless Whine blog:

I was actually brought to tears today...seriously...because I was so angry after I got off the phone with an IKEA customer service rep.

I still can't start blogging all the details yet because I start to hyperventilate, but eventually I'll provide all the gory details.
(Sorry, this never actually happened because I got sidetracked with life.)

To make a long story short...they are thieves. They charged me for 5 large containers instead of 1 large and 4 small...difference of 16 lousy dollars. I called as soon as I got home and saw that my receipt was wrong (which I never even actually do, but decided to because my sister was charged for 2 of something she only bought 1 of). This is an item that I specifically told the cashier that I had different size items of and to please UNSTACK them and make sure to ring them up individually.

And what was the wonderful reaction of customer service today (the short version...trust me...) - they reviewed the security footage (I'm sure) and that I did in FACT buy 5 large containers and they would NOT credit me the difference.

PLEASE tell me how is this possible when I am sitting at home with ONE large container and FOUR small ones?!?!?

When I told him that they stacked exactly the same way - that they would never be able to tell the difference on the security footage (that I KNOW they didn't watch), I was informed that I was wrong - they do NOT stack together the same way.

So...I am a thief AND I'm performing magic tricks at home...oh GOD, I'm starting to hyperventilate again....

After speaking to the customer service rep's supervisor a few days later, I did eventually get credited for the $16. She still swore up and down that they did review security footage. It's funny, in their cafeteria they have signs about how the customers need to clear their own plates in order for them to continue to offer low prices. Imagine how much cheaper everything would be if they didn't have to take the time to review video camera surveillance everytime someone called to explain that they were jipped. On the other hand, I guess that time is counterbalanced from the money they try (and probably succeed many times) from stealing from their customers.

In case anyone from Ikea market research is reading this - yes, it takes exactly 4 months for a customer to recover from being ripped off, lied to, and repeatedly called a liar (yes, I know he didn't call me "a liar", as the rep repeatedly told me, but how exactly is that different from being told repeatedly that what you are saying is not true because they have video to prove it?)

All's well that ends well, I suppose. I got some new kid plates and bowls, started on my Christmas shopping for the kids, and got a great new shelf to store the baby toys in Timmy's new play area.


Makes My Monday! Family Fun and Precious Moments

Monday, July 13, 2009

This past Saturday, the whole crew went to Dutch Wonderland: my family, my mom and step-dad, my sister and her family, and my brother and his friend (and her son). We don't all get together for group trips too often and I love spending time with my family.
Paige, Katie, Adam, and Ethan (and yes, Katie is taller than the boys who are 11 months older than her!)

Timmy was excited to start his day, even if his crocheted hat was making his head sweat buckets and had to be taken off soon after we snapped some pictures. I, for one, don't understand the concept of sweater material for summer clothing, but it was too darn cute to not put him in.

After eating lunch and being a happy boy in his stroller for quite some time, we tortured him by letting him stretch out and crawl around in WATER....ahhhh! I'm beginning to learn that tired Timmy and water do not mix well.
Katie had no such trouble, though.

After lots of rides and the waterpark area we dried off to enjoy a diving show.

After a relaxing boat ride, my mom led us to one of her favorite spots: the swan that she used to climb in for a family photo with all of her brothers and sisters when she was a little girl.

The whole crew minus Matt (who broke away from us...we were too cool for him) and my step-dad (who was taking the picture).

Mom and Jim with the grandkids

Then something really sweet and special happened...one of those moments that you want to wrap up and always remember. We went over to the Indian Wishing Log to make wishes. Katie took her turn and concentrated really hard to think of her wish...
and then, she animatedly and so sweetly told us her wish...

She wished that everyone would be her friend and that (this part gets tricky because I couldn't really understand what she was saying and asked her to repeat herself a few times and I think she may have changed what she said)" A - all of her friends would have family, B-all of her friends would be her family, C-something to that effect. Either way, it was so adorable to hear her tell us such a heartfelt wish.

We finished up the day with a yummy, yummy family style Amish meal at the Plain and Fancy Farm. The entire day and especially Katie's wish Makes My Monday.

PS - Once again, I was late in celebrating Timmy's monthly milestone, so it just got done but backdated to Friday. If you missed it, you can find it here.


8 Months Old - Mr. Busy Boy

Friday, July 10, 2009

Timmy's first sailor suit, handmade by his Grandma Bouf (who happened to be in the Navy)

I mentioned it at 6 months - this boy is trouble! Faster than the speed of light, he will crawl to get wherever he should not be: the cat food, the cat water bowl, towards the top of the steps...cackling the entire way. It doesn't help that even if I close him in a room, his sister sneaks the door open for him and beckons him out. The more difficult he makes it for us to dress him, the funnier he thinks it is. Ironically, he does understand "No!" now, but everytime he hears it he stops, looks over and gives me the most innocent smile as if to say "Who, me?"Keeping him focused to nurse is becoming more and more of a problem and unfortunately he seems to be making it up for it with nightime feedings.

I got myself up, you don't really expect me to walk out too, do ya?...maybe next month.
Speaking of eating, with 7 teeth now, he loves to munch on cheerios and still loves his puffed rice snacks. He's through his meats and is eating chunkier foods. He's also doing really well drinking from a straw and a sippy cup. I usually hold the cup for him, but once in a while he gets it in all by himself. He loves to pull himself up to standing and can even climb a few steps.

Sitting inside the excersaucer is for babies, it's like so last month!
He seems to take after his big sister in loving rides. He's been on a carousel a few times now and has completely bypassed the non-moving horsies. He's known exactly how to hold on from his first ride. He even rode the big slide at Dutch Wonderland this weekend.
I swear I usually smile on the carousel, but it was the end of the day and I was soooo tired!

Please ignore the whale holding me! It's all about me anyway, isn't it?
He went on his first trip to the beach this past week. He eventually realized that he loved to crawl around in the sand, but HATED the water - a suprise since he loves to swim in the pool and usually loves his bath.

Hee, hee, hee...I know I'm doing something bad, so it's soooo funny!
Why does the water keep ruining my fun?

He absolutely loves our many outings to the Philadelphia Zoo. No matter how tired he is, he is perfectly content to be pushed around in his stroller. Unfortunately, it doesn't ever put him to sleep like most babies since he is too afraid to miss a thing.

I love being outside!
This month has been a busy month for our busy boy!


TWO for TWOS-Day - From my stockpile of recent pics

Monday, July 6, 2009

I was looking for some quick "Two-some" pics to play along with Two for Tuesday (being hosted at Who Says 8 is Enough? for now) and I couldn't decide between these two. This is Katie on her last day of school with her cousin Paige. We had Paige overnight because she got done school a few days before my sister (who is a teacher). Katie has a bit of an unhealthy obsession with Paige. Thank goodness Paige doesn't have a rabbit. In all honesty, I had to share this picture because I love the dress that Katie is wearing :) And then there's the little bros. Timmy and one of Paige's younger brothers Adam (who is a twin). My sister and I are amazed at how much our kids seem to resemble one another with their light hair. I have very dark hair and she has dark strawberry blonde hair. Timmy and Adam even have the same hair color AND eye color...a greenish hazel. (Although Ethan is the only one who shares the Dougherty shaped face that both Katie and Timmy seem to have).

Adam LOVES Timmy!!!! This picture was from the twins' pre-school graduation. (Breathe...don't have a fashion heart attack...he didn't really wear that tie.)

Oh ok, I guess I can't show just 2 of my sisters 3 kids, so here are all 3 boys together (Ethan, Timmy, and Adam). I need someone to start a meme for "Threes", I always seem to have lots of good trio pics.

So, pre-K for Ethan and Adam in the fall and Year 2 of Pre-K for Katie. God help the Kindergartens of South Jersey as all three will be beginning together in 2010. Thank goodness they will at least be in different districts. Not sure many schools could handle THREE doses of our bloodline.


Breaking News: Katie is FOUR!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Katie’s excitement has been building up for a while, now. A lover of birthday parties, she began the countdown around January when the string of our friends’ fourth birthdays began. When I say a “lover of birthdays”, I don’t mean just a kid who enjoys going to parties and having her own…it is her favorite subject and her favorite game to play. Whether she’s playing with her Melissa and Doug birthday cake set, playing with her Little People birthday set, stealing Timmy’s baby/christening gift bags to “make me presents,” or singing “Happy Birthday” just because, it’s clear that Katie loves a good birthday party.

Her 4th birthday has been a common topic in our bedtime chats. I’ve regularly begged her not to get bigger and to stay 3 forever and she always seriously told me, “No mommy, I HAVE to be 4. I have to get big. I need to be big so I can have a baby in my belly…10 babies.” She already has her entire life planned out. She is going “to be a doctor so she can help all the sick kids who need help to get better.” She plans to marry her Daddy when she is a grown-up…or maybe her cousin Adam.
Everything is “so cool” now…and “awesome”. Barbies have taken over our home! I’ve tried to put that off for awhile now. For the last 6 months, everytime we have been in Target and I have taken her over to the toys to complete my bribe for her good behaviour, she has begged for Barbies. I’ve said no for a while because she has a great Fisher Price Twin-Time doll house with just about every piece of furniture made and I didn’t want her to stop playing with that already. But, I gave in last week. Her first Barbie was a veterinarian Barbie….and between her birthday party presents and using some of the gift certificates she got for her birthday she now has 4 Barbies, a Barbie mermaid falls/swing, and a Barbie house.

Katie continues to be a great big sister. She loves Timmy as much as the first time she saw him and has adjusted wonderfully. She still goes to gymnastics classes at the Little Gym and is taking her first dance class this summer. She is really excited to start soccer this fall. She loves school and has already cried herself to sleep twice because she’s so sad that she doesn’t get to see her teachers during summer break and she “misses them so much.”

Katie is still on an anti-vegetable kick although she did gag down some broccoli last night (in exchange for a popsicle) and didn’t realize when I snuck some shredded carrot into her beef and macaroni the other day. Her favorite food is “meat”, particularly mini hotdogs/corndogs, chicken nuggets, and lunchmeat. Her favorite tv shows are all things Nick Jr, but she also has some PBS favorites like Martha Speaks, Clifford, Curious George, Wordgirl, and Sid the Science Kid. Just a year ago, she would watch nothing except Playhouse Disney! She had a Max and Ruby birthday party this past Saturday. She loves to play Memory, Hide and Seek, and Duck, Duck, Goose. She has moved on from her long-time obsession with “blue” and has altogether changed her favorite color to pink.

We’re having an issue with clothes and after our Disney trip this past April, Katie refuses to wear any form of jeans or any shorts/pants that have a zipper. So nice that this happened AFTER I bought all her spring and summer clothes. She still LOVES rides (the bigger and scarier the better!) and after her first trip to Sahara Sams, a local indoor water park, about a month ago, it’s all she talks about.(It’s painful because we drive past it twice a week to go to speech class.) For her birthday today, just she and I are going to go to the rides and outdoor Water Park at Clementon Lake Park. She is pretty lucky because her height has always allowed her to go on the “thrill rides” she prefers. She is about 43/44 inches right now and about 48 lbs. Thank goodness we have a pool because she has been in it every day since the weather has warmed up and she swims like a fish (well, a fish that wears swimmies).

So, the countdown began and yesterday I kept telling her things like, Katie this is the last time you will be 3, the last time you will wake up as a 3 year old, the last time you will go to night-night as a 3 year old and she was thrilled. This morning she rushed into my bedroom like it was Christmas morning proud to exclaim, “Mom, I’m FOUR years old!!!!” I was afraid she might be a little disappointed because from some conversations we’ve had, I was afraid she thought she was going to wake up as a grown up. And although she’s not “grown”, I miss my baby! I can handle four, though. Now five…I don’t even want to think about that, yet. I need a year to prepare myself…

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