Archive for October, 2009

Scrumpy Abby

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Tonight we made a trip to Wally World (otherwise known as Walmart) to get candy for Halloween and try to get me stuff for my Halloween costume. My co-workers and I are doing 101 Dalmatians. I was looking for a white hoodie and white sweat pants. No luck on either. Grrr! Anyways, on the way over to Wally World Abby said, “I’m scrumpy Abby.” She then took her bulldozer car and started to scrape her face with the shovel end like it was a razor and said, “I scrape it.” Sorry about the quality of the pictures they were taken with a cell phone while Dave was trying to drive.

scrumpy abby 2

scrumpy abby 1

Embracing the Princesses

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At first I was reluctant. I didn’t want Abby becoming too commercialized and only wanting items with Disney Princesses on them. I wanted her to accept things that were just generic, but alas I have succumbed to it. She loves it. She has been watching the movies and now has a Cinderella doll, princess jammies, and a princess bedding set. She is still willing to play with anything that looks like a princess, it doesn’t have to be only Disney princesses. She also loves to sing like Ariel.  She will walk around singing, “Aaaah, aaaah,” just like Ariel does when the sea witch takes her voice. She will tell you, “I am Ariel and you are flounder.” Or she will say, “Sing like Ariel,” and you must sing. She also knows all the main princesses by name and sight (Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Ariel, and Belle.) She also knows Tinkerbell, but I don’t consider her to be princess. She is a pixie.

This morning, we spent most of the morning playing with her Little People castle. She wanted the prince and princess to dance together and hold hands. It was so much fun. She has grown so much in the past year. She can now play creatively with toys and interact with them. The two dolls would talk to each other and she would move them around the castle. I, of course, had to play the prince, because Abby wanted the princess.

Also, during this playtime with the castle, she got out the picnic bench for the dolls. She said there were bugs around it. I asked her what kind and at first she said pink bugs, but then she changed it to bees. She said we had to get them away and spray them. It is great when kids use their own memories to play make believe. About a month ago we went to South Park for a picnic lunch and we tried several times to sit at picnic tables there. No luck. We ended up eating in our car because the bees kept following us. We had said at that time we wished we had bug spray to get them to leave. What a memory she has!


It only takes 88 keys to unlock the world

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Growing up attending public school in America, when I was in fourth grade, I was given the grand opportunity to try out various musical instruments (of the wind variety; you had the option of trying stringed instruments starting in third grade, but I was not interested in those at the time.)  I headed to the elementary school library where the local music teacher, and some assistants, had an array of instruments lined up around the room.  I remember my mom being there, and I believe it may have been after school or on a weekend.

My older sister played the clarinet, so I tried the clarinet.  I made a passable sound out of it, and my fingers reached the keys in an appropriate manner such that I wouldn’t have any trouble learning to play it.  My older brother played the trumpet, so I tried the trumpet.  I made a passable sound out of it, and was granted the opportunity to learn it, should I so desire. I think I tried the flute for the heck of it, but I was not very good at making any sounds out of it, and quickly lost interest in trying.  My mom and I were discussing if I might want to try the clarinet or trumpet, when I noticed the music teacher helping someone try another instrument.  One I hadn’t noticed before.  One that I did not recognize.  One that was just being offered to the beginning students for the first time in my school district.  “I want to try that!,” I said to my mom.  We approached the teacher, and with a smile on her face, she showed us all the features of the instrument and told us it was a baritone horn.  I tried the baritone, and made a passable sound out of it.  Something about it struck a chord in me, and I was hooked.  “I want to play this!”

Turns out, the instrument I really learned to play was the euphonium.  I honked on it through elementary school.  I played melodies with it through middle school.  In high school, I began to create music from the beast that was formerly called “the whale” by my friends.  By this time, I was gaining respect for my skills and was surprised when someone complimented me on my tone one day.  I always played (and played and played) because I really, truly loved it.  I still love it.  Music is my art.  It moves me, and I feel it within my bones, with the beats of my heart, and with every breath I take.  I lose myself in music, and step away from the everyday world into a world of pure feeling, fantasy, and happiness.  I never did it for anyone else; it was always for me.

I want to give that opportunity to my children, should they want to take advantage of it.

Today, a piano lives in our house.  It will most likely stay there forever.  I searched through Craigslist time and again and often found pianos people were giving away for free.  We finally got things arranged in our life to take advantage of such an offer, so I recently inquired about a few, and decided on one to go see and try.  We liked it, and decided to take it.

I grabbed a few coworkers at lunchtime, we rented a truck, picked it up, and brought it home today.  Endless thanks to my coworkers that suffered through the rain, excessive traffic, and empty bellies to lift a piano up onto a truck, back down, and then carry it up a hill to my back door!  I bought them lunch, but enough thanks can’t be given for their very willing help.  Thanks, guys!

Granted, it needs tuned, but seems to be in good shape otherwise.  Now we can expand our children’s knowledge and grant them more opportunities to experience the creation of music.  I truly believe music to be a wonderful thing and have played several instruments and have sung in several choirs and other groups over the years to release my love for it.

Here’s hoping we all enjoy the music for years to come! (And that I can successfully learn to tune a piano after one professional tuning!)


Trax Farms

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We have now been to Trax Farms 2 weekends in row and can’t get enough. Yes it is insanely crowded, but it is also so much fun for the kids. I can’t believe it is Oct. 18th and we have all our Halloween decorations up and our pumpkins bought. We are usually those people who are decorating for Halloween, and definitely carving the pumpkin, the day of Halloween. This year I strive to do better. So far so good with the decorations and since Halloween is a Saturday this year I think we will wait until the day of to carve the pumpkin. Nothing like fresh baked pumpkin seeds to munch on while handing out candy. I just hope the weather gets a little warmer for trick or treating.

Anyways, back to our time at Trax Farms…

We went the first weekend of October with our best friends from Kentucky. It is Dave’s college roommate and his family. We spent several hours at Trax Farms with 4 kids in tow. It was great! The kids really liked feeding the animals in the petting zoo. Abby probably could have spent all afternoon in there. She fed a goat a bottle and a miniature horse seeds. Some of those animals are so aggressive when it comes to the food. You have to be careful they don’t knock your kid over getting to the food. I kept having to push several goats and sheep away. They seem to be the most aggressive along with the llamas, but more on the llamas later. After feeding the animals we made our way over to the pumpkins and the food area. Too many good smelling choices. Lots of local favorites…kettle corn, pulled pork sandwiches, funnel cake, and much much more. It was hard to chose what to eat, but we all found something we liked to munch on. It was way too cold to eat outside though, so we made our way inside to one of those tables. It was a mess inside. Of course everyone wanted to be inside so you had to dive at a table the moment anyone stood up. We successfully were able to obtain a table big enough for both our families and then sit down to enjoy our food. After food we went into the store to get apples and the best cider ever. After wrangling the kids to keep them from breaking anything we went over to get the apples. I love how they have samples of all the different kinds of apples. It makes it really easy to figure out what you like and don’t like when you can taste them before hand. We ended up picking out a variety of apples in order to make apple pie (jonagolds, golden delicious, and jonathans). After eating and picking out apples, we headed back outside to get the pumpkins. We picked out 3 small pumpkins to paint and 2 pumpkins to carve (one large and one medium one). I can’t wait to carve them with Abby. This is the first year I think she will really get into it and want to help. It was a great day, though tiring.

We then loved the experience so much we repeated it the next weekend with my mom and sister. My sister works for a school in Rochester, NY so she had Columbus day off. My mom (who is retired) and sister came down for the weekend of Oct. 10th. We again waited until Sunday to travel to Trax Farms. I think it is a little less crowded on Sundays especially if you get there right when it opens at 10am (animals don’t arrive until 11am). Since the animals weren’t there when we arrived, we were able to get Abby to try other activities they have at Trax. We went into the corn bin. It is pretty much a giant sandbox, but instead of sand it had dried corn kernels. Abby made corn angels and just love touching it and walking through it. She even took her shoes off to feel the corn more on her feet. I think we spent about 20 minutes in there. It cost a $1.00 per kid, but they give you a stamp so you can come back in anytime during the day. They also had a hay jump, tricycle course, bungee jump, rock climbing wall, and couple of the blow up bouncy things and a blow up slide. After playing in the corn bin we got in line to ride the little train. They have a small train with about 6 cars on it for the kids to ride. They also have a hay ride for the whole family. Abby patiently waited in line for her turn to get on. There was a little boy behind us that Abby kept looking at. Every time she would look at him he would shake his head no. Abby would then turn to me and say, “he said no.” I asked her what he was saying no to and she said that he was saying no she couldn’t ride the train. I assured her she would get a turn. As we got closer Abby decided she wanted to ride in the red car. Luckily when it was our turn the other people ahead of us picked other color cars. Abby got to ride in her red car. She looked like she had so much fun. We again had lunch there, purchased more apples and cider and got 2 more little pumpkins. Abby saw white pumpkins and was so fascinated by them we bought 2 very small ones for her. She ended up taking one to school this past Friday in her treasure box to share with her friends. Another great weekend!