Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween 2007

Here's some pictures from our fun night of trick or treating. I spend too much time reading other blogs tonight to be able to write much on my own, but I figured I could get a few shots posted from our night.

Here's our pumpkins. Not as fancy as last year's attempts, but definitely much quicker doing it this way.

Catherine dressed up as a cheerleader. She was very enthusiastic with her pom-poms at first and also very unwilling to put on a nice long sleeve shirt that would keep her warm. So yes, she went out sleeveless! For some reason sneakers were bothering her so we had a little battle over that and I really drew the line at letting her go out without shoes. So I bribed her with the prospect of candy. Never fails.

Ella gladly put on her butterfly costume (ok, it's more like a fairy, but the headband/antennae push it towards butterfly) a few times today. I imagine she'll be wearing it again sometime soon.

I couldn't pass up a chance to post a picture of Ella looking directly at the camera, smiling, with both eyes open. Honestly, a minor miracle.

One of these things is not like the other!
You have to give Renee props for letting it all hang out! (And I mean that only in that she's showing her belly. Renee obviously has the pregnancy glow that I was never blessed with in my pregnancies!) Doesn't it look like she's really holding a pumpkin? (Again, I have to make sure you all know it's not really a pumpkin but her belly. My mom wanted me to send this picture on to Mike and Sharon (due in January) b/c they'd get a kick out of it. I said that I thought they would see it on the blog but she wasn't sure they would know that Renee wasn't holding a pumpkin. So you never know. And now you do! ) Hard to believe she's almost 9 months pregnant (aside from the pumpkin, er, belly)!
Sorry about all those additional parentheses.

A few friends came over to do a little trick or treating on our block. We have Ella the fairy butterfly, Nolan the puppy, Wyatt as Bob the Builder and Catherine the cheerleader!

It was a fun night and we always enjoying seeing our neighbors and staying out late with the kids. We drove around to some friends' houses as well and got some special treats to finish off the evening. So now we have two pumpkins full of candy that I am supposed to hide before I go up to bed. But not before I sneak just one more snickers.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Traveling Traveling

So we're leaving in less than 48 hours for a wonderful 10 hour drive to Asheville North Carolina. Because when isn't 10 hours in the car with two young children wonderful? We're doing the trip down in two shifts so it shouldn't be too bad, but driving back in one shot on Sunday after a long weekend with most likely not alot of sleep should be just lovely.

It's been awhile since we've taken a trip this long. Hmm....I think it was the last time we drove to NC over three years ago. Any tips or ideas for making the trip more manageable for the kids would be oh-so-greatly appreciated!!! And quickly please - like I said we have less than 48 hours before departure!

Also today I realized that I have no books lined up for the trip. That goes to prove how busy things have been because typically I would have checked books out of the library in advance and had at least three or four lined up. At LEAST three or four. And at the moment I have none. Not one. When I told Matt of this potential disaster he rattled off the titles or two or three books he's been wanting me to read. My response is a long car trip with kids is not the time for me to explore deep theological issues - I need stories and characters and plot. well as traveling tips with kids I would love some book recommendations. PRONTO!!! If you're wavering between travel tips for kids or book recommendations - go with book recommendations! Both would be great though....

Just so you know my husband likes to drive and gets carsick when anyone else drives. And he doesn't really enjoy mindless chatter while driving. So unless I'm going to be sitting in the way back watching Dora with the kids (please no! it will be hard enough just listening to it) I need something to entertain me, therefore my need for books is justified!.

Hopefully I'll have some entertaining stories to share when we get home!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Trip to Otts

So I know that it's pretty amazing that I am posting these pictures the very day they were taken. Less than three hours after we experienced the Mountain of Mums (our name for it) you too can experience it as well!
Today we took the kids up to Ott's Nursery to check out the Mountain of Mums (again, not sure if they have something they call it officially. I was also referring to it as the Flower Tower. Whatever you call it, it's pretty cool!). The flowers were in full bloom and just gorgeous. Below is just one of the twenty shots I took of just flowers.

We walked to the top of the mountain. Catherine, for some reason, but not necessarily suprisingly, was scared.

Of course it was pretty cold at the top (you Everest) so Ella and I had to snuggle to keep warm. Those are Matt's flowing locks in the picture as well.
So of course we had to take advantage of a great photo opportunity and get some pictures of the girls surrounded by flowers.

Notice how loving they look. They're holding hands. In a few seconds Ella starts to wrestle Catherine.

After our outdoor adventures we checked out Ott's greenhouse which was really amazing. I mean people pay almost $20/person to go to Longwood Gardens. This was like a poor man's Longwood Gardens. "Like" as in similar, but not quite equal. Please don't think I am dissing Longwood - it is pretty amazing, just not something I can do while trying to save money for Christmas
There were so many interesting plants to check out. Jerusalem Cherries, Crown of Thorns, Lemon Trees, probably a hundred varieties of cactus - some that were bigger than us and others as small as my thumb. And of course my favorite....Ornamental Peppers

Who knew? I should have posted a closer shot because they were so cool - really looked like mini peppers. Because that's what they are.

Then we went through a tropical area where we could walk up stairs surrounded by plants and look into a small pool of fish. The final shot below is back at the bottom checking out the fish again. I had to include it because it's so rare to get a shot of Ella smiling at the camera and standing still.

We finished off the day by heading to a park where the kids could play in a sand pit and then walk down and play at the edge of the Perkiomen Creek. We all threw rocks in the river and Matt showed off by skipping rocks (I was impresed at least, the kids barely noticed). No one got hit in the head with a rock so overall it was quite a successful outing. Hope you enjoyed the pictures.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Hi ya'll

I wish I had another interesting (I guess that might be pushing it a bit) to share, but it's just been another week of copy with this apparent phase that Ella is going through which results in lots of whining, fussing and back talking. The last post I described it as a mood, but after a week straight of it I think we've moved into a phase.

I had something totally different in mind to post tonight. But that would have involved stringing together coherent sentences and that would require a train of thought - just don't think I have it in me. We're having a Young Life bonfire tonight and the kids are all out back playing charades and having fun. After putting Ella and Catherine to bed I slipped out to the back yard to talk to Matt and one of the girls said "awwwww - you're in your pj's!". Yep, it was 8:30, a bunch of teenagers were in my backyard and I was in my pjs (which, thanks to Renee, were very cute and not all embarrassing.) with my glasses on. I imagine some of those kids were thinking ".....hmmm, get married and have kids???? if this is what it does to you, not so sure I'm interested." That's what having two kids has done to me. Instead of being outside socializing (again, it's teenagers and I'm not actively leading YL anymore, so it's not totally pathetic) I would rather be inside in my comfy jamies, lounging on the couch. Anyone with me on that?

So basically you all (and by all I mean ALL ten of you - for whom I am very grateful!) get to read bits of randomness from our household.

In list format to help me concentrate.

1. I recently posted on fall TV. So to update, so far I am enjoying Chuck and Pushing Daisies - both entertaining and fun in very different ways. I tried Bionic Woman, but I'm just not sure I'll stick with it. Another show that kind of pulled me in (I seriously tried to resist) is Dirty Sexy Money. The main character sets the tone for the show and makes it compelling. As for returning shows I've been pleasantly surprised by Grey's Anatomy and hope it continues to improve over last season. I've been loving The Office and of course "PB&J" but I feel like the hour long episodes have been dragging a bit and some of the jokes are a bit broad and not as subtle (Michael in the lake, going back for the gift basket -really those are the two main things). I'm ready for 30 minutes episodes where I want more at the end. Friday Night Lghts just premiered last Friday and was wonderful. There were a couple of lines in it that were hysterical and a couple of points that had me close to tears. It's just that good.

So what shows have you enjoyed these past few weeks? Which ones have let you down? I'd love to hear from you...

2. What I'm reading: Peace Like a River by Leif Enger. I've heard good things about this book for awhile and just picked it up today and already find it very intriguing. Ok, I posted that picture from Amazon and wanted to make sure you know you can't really look inside. From my sight at least. On Amazon you can go right ahead and look inside.

3. This should have been number one because I'm very excited about it. But this list is not in order according to priority or importance or excitement level. Anyway, tomorrow Matt and I are going to see Shane and Shane and Bebo Norman in concert. So excited! I've been waiting for their (Shane and Shane) new album to come out and hoped to have it beforehand so I could really enjoy the concert but Matt insisted that we wait and buy it there. I guess our concert preferences are different - I like to be pretty familar with the album that the band is most likely going to be playing from before I go. Matt....not so much. How about you? Do you have an opinion?

4. Preschool does not really cost $_/month. It cost $_/month plus field trips and school pictures and fundraisers and special snack days. I was not prepared for this at all. I should have been warned. Feeling very thankful right now that we went with the cheaper, I mean, lower costing, preschool.

5. Tomorrow is Ella's school picture. I am struggling over which package to buy. I wouldn't mind having some wallets to give people and 5X7's for grandparents to proudly display. The problem is what if it's not a good picture. I mean, this is her first time I have no clue if she'll smile sweetly or give a big goofy pirate grin. As much as I love the pirate grin I'm not sure I want 16 wallets of it. Who wants to bet that we'll get 16 wallets with a beautiful pirate face?

Well five is enough for tonight. Next time I'll have to tell you about the two southern women whose blogs I stumbled upon and now love and I've even listened to their podcast. Afterwards I say ya'll alot.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I felt like MacGyver

Admist the chaos of sickness (Matt) and grumpiness and disobedience (Ella) we had a moment of fun. It doesn't take much, but I definitely needed something to get Ella out of the funk that had taken over her all day and was making me miserable.
The night before I had taken them to a the Dollar Store to let them each pick out a "treat". Catherine's treat was a little Disney caleidoscope - I think Ella persuaded her to get it so she could play with it. Catherine wasn't too interested in it. In fact she basically threw it out the car door when we got home. It promptly rolled into the drain right outside our house - see below picture.

That drain has become the resting place of many items from the deMontaigne van. Because there is just the slightest bit of an incline at this point in the road, when I open the large door to the van - things tend to just roll right out. I can't tell you how many times we've almost lost the car keys to the drain - usually a result of someone tossing them from the house to someone else at the car or from one side of the car, over the roof, to the other. Yes we are that lazy. And don't assume it's me that's not catching the keys - I'm probably the one throwing it very badly. We even lost one of Catherine's shoes. I meant to try and retrieve it but it rained that night and got washed away. I guess that answers the question of why I am so interested in the weather forecast - it's how I know if I need to do a drain retrieval right away or if it can wait until later.
Anyway - back on track. Ella was so upset about the loss of Catherine's toy. Catherine didn't care a bit. It really put Ella back in the bad mood she had been in all day that had been relieved by getting out of the house and of course a treat from the store. She wanted her daddy to come and get it out of the drain. Of course Matt was still getting over the stomach flu (again.) and not really up to figuring a way to get a cylindrical tube that was stuck 2 feet below a heavy metal grate.
We went to bed and assured Ella we would take care of it the next day. Of course Matt was still exhausted and since he had not been with the miserable Ella all day, getting the caliedoscope was not high on his priority list. But for me, I knew something had to happen to make Ella forget that she was miserable and grumpy and basically driving me insane for the second day in a row (None of this behavior was a result of the missing toy- just the normal cycles of Ella's moods).
I announced with confidence that mommy would get the toy from the drain - I could save the day! I couldn't lift the grate off the drain, but I could rig up something that would allow me to pull the toy up. Right. Did I mention that it was a cylindrical tube? With nothing to hook onto or snag. Well thankfully a friend had dropped their sunglasses in the drain a few weeks ago and we undid a wire got hanger and I was able to hook onto them and pull them up. Piece of cake. I decided the coat hanger trick might be our best option this time around, but I covered the end in packaging tape and bent the middle of the hanger at an angle to try and get underneath the toy.
What a lovely shot, I know. Anyway - as I was doing this I kept thinking to myself that this had to work, because if it didn't I will have made Ella's mood worse by reminding her of the lost toy. And what do you know - it worked. The tape stuck and we pulled the beloved toy out of it's prison. We cheered and high fived and jumped up in down in delight.

And then she played with it for about 30 seconds!

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