Monday, December 2, 2013

Operation Dino December

Maybe you've heard about the couple and their post about Dinovember. If you haven't, the couple told their kids that toy dinosaurs come to life at night in November.

Here's a link to what they do.

Well, honestly to me it's a creative take on Elf on the Shelf. And if you haven't heard of THAT...

Here's that link too.

For those of you too lazy to click the links, the elf tells Santa what the kid has been up to and every night finds a new place to sit. Basically, it comes to life at night and moves around.

We looked into the Elf on the Shelf, but I think they are kind of creepy. And I think the Dinovember ideas are really cool, but way more effort than I want to put into a little holiday magic.But then I had this conversation with Billy:

"You know in December dinosaurs come to life at night and get into trouble."

"Mommy," [serious face] "dinosaurs aren't real. They can't come to life because they are just toys. Duh."

He's three. When did he get this jaded?

Well, that was the start of Operation Dino December. This, of course, required a background story.

December is Christmastime. And every December all of the toys come to life at night, waiting for Santa's arrival. This happens because Santa is magical, and his magic spreads out to all toys when it's close to Christmas. They wait for his return, and in the morning they turn back into just toys in the same place where you left them. (Think Toy Story or Doc McStuffins). But the dinosaurs- they are the most ill-behaved of all of the toys. And you never know what they will get into.

 "Uh, huh. Mommy."

But look what happened last night...

 The dinos got into Billy's blocks and built a tower. And by the look on his face you would have thought it was Christmas morning. Maybe they really are magical.

Friday, November 22, 2013

A Thousand Bobs

I've been trying to foster a sense of imagination in Billy, but I haven't had much success so far. He's great at remembering small details and loves learning facts, but making up stuff seems such a foreign concept to him. "You can make up your own story...really?" Yes really.

It often sounds like he's got a great imagination. "The gates are going to close and lock you in and the guard will march in front and keep you from escaping!" Sounds imaginative. He's actually regurgitating some footage of the changing of the guard in front of Buckingham Palace.

And while it's great that he can recall all of these minute facts that he's picked up along the way, it's not fostering his true imagination. He's not making up stories.

So, at bedtime when it was too late to sit down to read (maybe because someone was procrastinating about putting his jammies on) I told him we would make up our own story.

"We can do that?"

Yes we can. First, we need a character. Who should our character be?

"A monster! Rawr!"

And what's the monster's name?


This is a Daddy thing. Daddy calls everything Bob. We'll let that one pass.

Soon I get him to describe Bob and talk about what Bob likes to do. "He's red and orange and blue. He likes to jump. He has teeny tiny eyes and a teeny tiny nose and really big feet. He has purple horns." Then he goes on to tell me that Bob eats trees and he lives in the trees where he is too afraid to climb down to the ground. He finishes up and I tell him the story is over and it's bedtime.

"But what about the other Bob?"

How many Bobs are there?

"A thousand!" He doesn't know what that means- just a big number to him.

And so it's begun. Now he wants to hear stories about the thousand Monster Bobs. Each one is named Bob. Some are girls, some boys. Some big, some small, some scary and some silly. So far I'm at 7 Bobs. I've got a long way to go...

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

First buttons

That's a picture of a car, not buttons.

True, true.

But I didn't think to take a picture of the buttons, so bear with me. Above you see Billy in a coat. He's actually been wearing that coat since his first birthday (can you believe it?) and it's one of his favorites. It has 3 buttons down the front.

And on Sunday, he buttoned every one of them. By himself.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

First Chapter Book

Billy has decided that he would like to read a long book. It was kind of a foreign concept to him that books without pictures exist and that people would read them for fun.

The whole idea came from Harry Potter. Well, not from Harry himself or from his movies, but from the book sitting on the shelf. The cover has brightly colored pictures and embossing and it caught Billy's eye. He asked me to read it to him, but he soon learned that it was not what he expected and he asked me to stop.

A few weeks later (last week) we were at Grandma's and he saw some books on the shelf in my old room. He wanted to know what they were, so I told him. I have a collection of children's classics- Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, Treasure Island, etc. These are not the Disney versions, but the original stories by the original authors. He looked through the collection and picked one to read.

He picked Peter Pan.

I was not surprised or shocked that he picked Peter. After all, he wanted to be Jake from Jake and the Neverland Pirates for Halloween and he continues to obsess over all things pirate.

So last week we began reading Peter Pan, one chapter at a time. Not every night, but more like every other night.

Here is Billy reading chapter 3 (well, looking at it for the photo op):

Home With Apple

Apple is the class mascot.

Two weeks ago I wrote about Billy being the Star Student for his class that week.

Here is that post.

Well, Star Student actually goes on for 2 weeks. Not only did we have to do everything in the above post for the start of Star Student period, but I also had to provide the Star Student Snack and we had to take Apple home for the weekend.


Billy wanted jello to be his Star Student Snack. Red jello. Do you know how much red dye is in one packet of jello? Did you know you can dye your entire kitchen bright red just by spilling one already mixed but not yet congealed packet all over you kitchen. Yes, I do actually know you only need one packet to create a massacre scene in your kitchen.


 Well, we took Apple home for the weekend and Billy had to drag this large stuff dog around with him and then keep a journal of it. The weather didn't cooperate or we would have also gone for a hike or out to a farm. And being silly, we totally forgot to drag the stuffed dog along to a birthday party on Sunday. Oh well. Here are some pictures of Billy's adventures with Apple:

learning bird calls
in a wigwam
climbing on logs
going for a Sunday drive

First Cup of Tea

This actually happened last week, but I've been so busy I haven't been able to blog.

Billy got a cold and had a sore throat. He's never had hot tea before because 1.) he doesn't like hot drinks (like hot chocolate) 2.) he doesn't like cold tea 3.) caffeine.

Well, I happened to have some caffeine free tea on hand and seeing as the only decent cure for a sore throat is a cup of hot tea with honey and lemon, that's just what he got. It was an orange spice tea. I didn't make it particularly hot, but warm enough to help his throat. He got it in an actual tea cup with the saucer (even though I usually drink my tea in a mug).

So what did he think? He liked it. Mostly because of the honey.

A few days later he asked for another cup of tea and was excited to drink it. With honey, of course.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

November 6, 2013 ~ No Shoes, No Coat? You're Still Going to School

This morning Billy woke up early and decided to use his time wisely by poking me in the ear. I opted to send him off to the living room to watch cartoons and let me sleep at least until my alarm went off.

Bad idea.

He wouldn't leave the cartoons to get ready for school when it was time. I turned off the boob tube, but that only brought out the hellion, loving little demon that he is.

He threw himself on the sofa, tucked his feet under himself and simply refused to put on shoes. "I'm not wearing shoes. I'm not going to school. I'm staying home and watching cartoons. Just leave me here!"

I threatened to take him to school without shoes.

He decided to test me.

I attempted to wrap him in his coat, which he protested. Again, he was testing me.

He thought he was calling my bluff, but little did he know that I was serious. I picked him up and carried him out to the car, without shoes, without a coat. Don't worry! I put those items in his school bag. Wouldn't want him to be the ragamuffin at school.

He cried about being shoeless, but refused to let me put them on his feet. So, I buckled him in and off we went to school.

About half way there he realized he was cold. Perhaps, that would be because mornings in November are quite chilly. It was, in fact, fairly mild this morning, but chilly enough that his little t-shirt wasn't enough. I had a blanket for him but he didn't want i. He cried for me to take him home so I could put his coat on. No way, kiddo. I know that ploy and we're not going home.

By the time we got to school he acquiesced about the shoes, grumbling the whole time and insisting that I carry him. Well, at least I got him into shoes.

That's right, kiddo. You don't want to wear your shoes or coat? You're still going to school. You'll just go to school barefoot and cold.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

November 5, 2013 ~ Star Student

This week Billy is the Star Student in his class. This is a thing they do in his preschool. He has to provide a "gift" to each of his classmates. (Really? Because we all need 18 little toys throughout the school year plus the added expense.) The also have to answer questions, color signs and print out photos.

Let me rephrase that... "I" have to buy toys for his class, write out his answers after forcing him to somehow answer 20 questions, bribe him to color the signs and then print and cut out photos for him. Thanks, Teach!

First up, the "gift". Now, he came home from school last week with a pencil. But the week before he came home with a Hot Wheel. I prattled off a list of cheap items- pencils, temp tattoos, stickers... Nope. He wanted to get his friends Hot Wheels.

The only problem with this was when I came home from the store with 4 packs of Hot Wheels he suddenly didn't want to give them over to his friends. He wanted to keep them all. Can you blame him?

Then there's the questionaire. What's your favorite movie, what are your hobbies, where do you like to travel, what do you want to be when you grow up? Those are some big questions for a 3 year old. The answers? Beauty and the Beast, camping and watching movies, Rushmore, and a butterfly. There were actually twenty questions, but you get the idea.

And he had to "write" the answer on a piece of paper and then decorate it. Really? He can't write. And the decorating? Who's really going to do that?

Bring on the pictures. This isn't like the old days of flipping through booklets of photos. Nope. Everything is digital these days. And because it's digital I have a LOT of photos. 3000 from 2013 alone. That's a lot of sifting. I opted instead to open Facebook and scroll through my big album, which has only 200 photos instead of 3000.

Here are some of his selections of photos he wanted to share with his friends:

He also included two photos of him with Santa, but I don't have them here. And I realize that he didn't include photos with some of his favorite people, but he was digging through a facebook album looking at random photos. He did not want to include any pictures of the beach, Disneyworld or his guitar. Go figure.

Monday, November 4, 2013

SMN Thanksgiving Project - Please Help

So, I follow a couple of other blogs. Maybe you've heard of this one particular blog: Scary Mommy.

Well, she has a charity. Her charity provides Thanksgiving meals to families that otherwise can't afford to feed their families. Can you imagine not being able to feed your kids? Can you imagine being hungry on Thanksgiving?

If you've got a few spare dollars in your pocket, there are currently 240 families waitlisted for help.

Hunger is a real problem, and it's not just a problem for far away African children. There are children starving right here in our own backyards. Please help.


When I was in Ireland, I had the opportunity to walk through the western countryside. It's a bucolic setting. But between those rolling green hills are dilapidated houses, petrified potato ridges, and marks of where the Great Potato Famine decimated the Irish population. I stood in a house, roof gone, overgrown with weeds, where a whole family starved to death together. I stood by a lake where an entire village drowned in a flood, too weak from hunger to escape the rising waters in a storm.

Hunger in America isn't like that. There are no monuments to the fallen from hunger. There aren't gaunt eyes of round-bellied children for a camera op. No, it's families struggling, too proud to tell their friends and families and coworkers, but desperate enough to ask for help so they don't have to watch their kids go hungry.

November 4, 2013 ~ Fall Weekend

For fun Grandma and I took Billy out to a farm to go apple picking. Sigh, no apple picking. So, Billy got to pick those apples right out of the barrel in the farm stand. You do what you've got to do. It worked out. He had fun.

They had a petting zoo and he didn't want to leave. He made friends with a goat and a donkey (yes, they were following him around). But, eventually we did have to go get lunch. He cried, he begged to stay with his new friends. I enticed him away with ice cream.

We ran into family at the restaurant and had a lovely lunch and then got some more veggies and pies after lunch. Billy picked a "pickle". (Ok, it was still a cucumber, but he was calling it a pickle). I bought him the pickle and then he saw the honey sticks and flipped a lid over wanting to trade the pickle (that he had already licked) for the honey sticks. Despite the tantrum, he ended up falling asleep cuddling the cucumber in the car.

On Sunday, the first really cold day, he refused to get out of his pajamas. We stayed inside, ate apples and watched football. It was a lovely fall day to be cuddly warm inside.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween 2013

Toddler Rules for Halloween:

1.  You will wear the costume I bought you. I don't care if you loved it last week and hate it this week. You'll love it and you'll wear it.

2. You cannot eat the candy in the bowl to pass out to trick-or-treaters (until after Halloween). If you want candy, you have to go trick-or-treating.

3. You will not be carried. If your feet are tired, it's time to go home.

4. Your pumpkin will not be carried. If it's too heavy (aka full of candy loot) then it's time to go home.

5. You cannot eat spaghetti in your costume.

6. Bedtime is still bedtime, regardless of how much candy you've eaten.

Halloween has been a week long event, but really it started the night before with pumpkin carving. Billy got very excited about the prospect of getting to draw a face on a pumpkin and then cut it out. Just to be sure, I didn't cut open his pumpkin first, but he was gung ho and ready to chop up his pumpkin too. Above, he's using his toy knife to help me carve.

He had a special visitor on Halloween for trick-or-treating. PeePop!

PeePop walked around the neighborhood with us. Billy went dressed as Jake, from Jake and the Neverland Pirates. This guy:
He picked it, hated it, refused to wear it, came home from school with it on and refused to take it off. It's a love/hate relationship. The wig that came with it didn't fit and he got freaked out by the shoe covers, so let's just go with "pirate".

At first he was timid about walking up to random houses and knocking. But halfway through the evening I was told (by him) to wait at the end of the walk with the other parents. Yep, I was sent to the parent corner. He could do it himself.

I did offer to carry his pumpkin up the hill, but he was not interested- his loot, he wasn't letting go. (Okay, PeePop was allowed to carry it for a little while, but not me).

Did he have fun?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What do you want to be when you grow up?

When I was little I wanted to be a ballerina or a scuba diver. What does Billy want to be when he grows up, you ask?

A butterfly.

Yes, that is his actual answer. So, there you have it folks.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

October 23, 2013 ~ I am a People

For most of his life I have referred to Billy with the pet name "Billy Goat." I mean, not all of the time, but when I feel like using a pet name, that's my go-to.

Back in September we had the opportunity to go to the State Fair, where Billy got to get up close and personal with some billy goats. He was not a fan. And a few weeks ago we went to a farm that had goats, still not a fan.

So, this morning when I said, "Hey there, Billy Goat!" he was thoroughly offended.

"Mommy, I'm not a goat."

I tried to reason with him. I tried to explain what a term of endearment was (besides an award-winning movie). I tried to explain that pet names were special.

"No, Mommy. I am a people. I am not a goat. I am not an animal. Don't call me an animal."

Okay. Never mind the semantics that humans actually are animals- I got what he was saying. And for the first time, he was truly offended. His voice was calm, his tone serious and his expression said it all, "I am a people."

Time to find a new pet name...

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Our Big Camping Adventure

My blog has been eerily silent, but that's because I'm too busy between work and life to catch up. Nevertheless, I will try to post at least twice a week.

We had a very big camping trip planned for last weekend. It was supposed to take place in Shenandoah National Park. Now, if you don't live under a rock, you realize that the government shutdown means that the park is closed. And so are the campgrounds. In fact, so is the road through the area.

While an inconvenience, this was by far nothing like what others are suffering from with the shutdown- being unpaid and out of work. But that's another story.

Luckily, we were able to scramble and book another campground. It's one I have been to before, so I knew it would work for our group. It wasn't going to be the same trip, but at least we had a place to camp. The big hitch was that we had a group of hikers planning to hike the Appalachian Trail, which of course wasn't possible with the shutdown. Not that you can't still hike it, but the website with the info on it is shut down, as are many of the trail heads (because they are on park land).

The first night the hikers (Daddy included) hiked up to the ridge and spent the night under the stars. Billy and I stayed with another friend back at base camp. The campground was practically deserted that day (it wasn't the weekend). We had a lovely dinner made by ye olde Applebees- you didn't think we were going to cook over the fire with only two adults and a Billy, did you? We scrounged enough wood for a fire that night post dinner and had a very nice night in camp.

There were, of course, the animals. At first I thought the sound I was hearing was dogs. Nope. Not dogs. A bobcat- made more than one. Also, bats overhead. Yes, those too. Lots of them. We had a bobcat come through camp in the middle of the night as well- I could hear it calling from just a little bit away from my tent.

The next morning more friends arrived. We had three family groups and some others. Three kids as well- Billy, another boy, and a toddling baby girl.

The weather was perfect. It was unseasonably warm during the days and same at night, so no winter chill ever set it. The last time I was in this camp ground. I woke up to ice on the ground- same weekend, just a different year. We were able to go swimming in the mountain lake and not freeze- an odd thing for October.

We had lots of fun with friends hanging out in camp, eating camp food and exploring this private wilderness. Here are some pictures from our adventure:

Monday, September 30, 2013

The BIG Three

That's right folks. Can't call him two- that's through. Well past one- that's done. Now he's three-yippee!

He started his birthday weekend with a trip to Urban Pirates. That's a tourist attraction in the harbor designed for kids. It's a "pirate ship" although it has a motor, and the go out into the harbor. A bad pirate in a run-about chases them and they get to squirt him with water cannons. They also get to dress up, sing pirate songs and say Aargh! a lot.

I bought tickets for Billy and Cub to go with their dads and have the full pirate experience. Billy liked it, but I'm pretty sure he liked his party more.

The next day we had Billy's friends and some immediate family over for a party and cake. Billy and his friends got to dress like pirates.

Captain Dogbeard had been sailing his ship, the Jolly Minnow, in our back yard the night before when it was shipwrecked. He needed a few willing pirates to join his crew and help him recover his treasure that had been scattered all through the yard. The pirates had to hunt down doubloons and big jewels. They also found Dogbeard's treasure box filled with sugary loot.

This is the Jolly Minnow. She's listing a little to port...

The pirates also got to pin the flag on the treasure map and generally run amuck.

The pirates feasted on cake and goodies (the cheese curls were a big hit as were the veggie straws).

Then the friends had to leave, but Cub and the twins stuck around for a pizza dinner and some serious meltdowns. (We had some pooped pirated on our hands).

And that was Billy's big pirate weekend.

Happy Birthday lil man!

Monday, September 23, 2013

September 20, 2013 ~ What Makes the World Go 'Round?

Yeah, I'm out of order. Don't mind me. (This post is after the post for the 21st.)

Billy earned his first dollar. This is his allowance. He has one chore he has to do twice daily- feed the dog. I, however, take pity on the dog and often feed him again (when Billy shorthands him) or feed him in lieu of Billy so that Buddy gets fed on time.

But anyway, Billy was successful enough this week so he earned a whole dollar. (Don't go spending it all in one place, kid).

Daddy handed it over, "Here's your buck!"

Billy fondled it for awhile.

Go put your cash somewhere safe, okay? Daddy said. "Cash? Daddy, it's a dollar. Doll-ar."

Daddy laughed and then launched himself into a list of other words that mean money. "Buck, cash, bread, dough, moolah..." the list went on.

Billy was a little confused, but went with it. He was too busy admiring his dollar.

Then Daddy decided to move on to phrases about money.

"Hey, Billy. What makes the world go 'round?"

Without looking up and without skipping a beat Billy replied, "the sun."

Daddy laughed and scratched his head. "Well, you're exactly right!" It wasn't what he was looking for, but it was the right answer.

And that would be Billy schooling Daddy.

September 21, 2013 ~ You Should Get Married

Billy, Grandma and I were shopping in a cake store. We were looking for birthday stuff, but most of the shop was wedding cake stuff. Billy was asking about all of the wedding things. Then he moved on to weddings.

Mommy, you should get married.

I already am married. Who do you think I'm married to?

I dunno. Who?


Daddy? Why? (and not the sweet why, but a more loaded "...why?!?"

So I could have you.

[Looks confused]

Later, I told this story to Daddy. He thought it was terribly funny.

Daddy: Hey, Billy... who should Mommy marry?

Billy: Miss A.

Me (aside to Daddy): Well, that's legal in this state now.

Me: Billy, who should Daddy marry?

Billy: Mommy, of course!

I think we need to work on this concept a little. ;)

Is That Where Butterflies Come From?

When I get busy my blog suffers, and I have been as busy as ever. Let's face it, I'm so far behind we won't bother really with catching up.

Here is a conversation from last week:

Billy needed to use the potty. Normally, he requests privacy, but on this day he wanted me to sit with him. It was a long sit. He wanted to talk about bugs vs. bugs. And by that I mean germs vs bugs.

Are germs bugs like grasshoppers and flies?

No. We call them bugs, but really they are germs, not bugs like the ones outside.

Are they germy bugs?


Are they like catepillars?

No. they are so tiny you can't even see them.

Do they go in my mouth?


They go down into my belly?


They come out my butt?


Then do they turn into butterflies?

Um, no. Tiny. VERY tiny. Look at my hand. It's covered in germs. (I hope not). Can you see any? You need a microscope to see them.

The thing you sing into?

No. That's a microphone.

Oh. Can I see them?

With a microscope.

And they're inside me?

Yes. There's good germs and bad germs. The good germs are like little workers. They help you. They help make the food you eat into energy. They are what make your poop smell. And they fight the bad germs. Bad germs are like a cold or flu. They go in our mouths and make us sick. That's why we wash our hands- they get on our hands and then into our mouths.

[Looks confused]

Remember two weeks ago when you had an ear infection? A bad germ got in your ear and made you sick.

And the good germs gave me a check up?

Um... the good germs tried to chase it away. But they needed some help, so you had to take medicine.

So the good germs gave me a check up and said I needed medicine to make the bad germ go away? That's why I drank up all of my medicine and it was yummy. (Let's not dicuss the daily medicine-taking battle from that).



Thursday, September 12, 2013

September 11, 2013 ~ The Scary One

I should probably write some sentimental piece about the anniversary of this day, but I'm not. Please read last year's if you would like some sentiment.

Last year's post

After dinner with PeePop, Billy and I were watching Little Einsteins. Grandma had given me a flyer for a local Halloween shop. I was looking through it, trying to find any decent costumes that Billy might like so I could show them to him. He wanted to look too, and was surprisingly distracted from one of his favorite shows.

Immediately, he pointed at Ironman and said he wanted to be that. I asked, "do you know who that is?" No, he didn't. But Ironman is cool looking.

He wasn't impressed with the small assortment of little kid costumes. Mickey? No thanks. Monster? Is is pink? No. Jake and the Neverland Pirates? Nah.

Okay. He doesn't really know "characters" so looking at poor costume representations of cartoons he doesn't know, turns out to be not so helpful.

Then I turned the page. Scary adult costumes. It was the undead page. (You laugh, but they really had a whole spread of undead/zombie costumes.)

"Mommy, this one is scary." He pointed to a particularly lifelike zombie costume. Yes, it was very cool and very scary.

I went to turn the page, "Let's look at something not so scary."

"No, I want to look at it. I like scary."


You'd think he'd have nightmares or something. But he didn't. He just really liked the zombie costume.

September 10, 2013 ~ The Scariest Sound in the World

There I was, sleeping soundly in my bed in the middle of the night, all cuddled up under a blanket and comfortable.

Suddenly... the loudest bang came from the other room followed by a blood curdling scream.

I didn't have to chase Daddy into the other room. I knew what it was. I waited as the screaming continued. Billy had fallen out of bed and hit the wood floor while sound asleep.

Daddy got him to settle down and go back to bed- shockingly. I thought he wouldn't want to go back into his own bed, but he did.

I got up every now and again to rouse him and make sure he was okay. Which, he was.

In the morning he had a big ole bonk on his forehead, not colored yet, but definitely a bump. We tested his memory and his ability to name things, concerned about a concussion. It's hard to tell when a two year old is loopy versus just being a silly two year old. But, his eyes were dilating just fine and his recall was perfect, so we figured he was fine.

And he is. He's got a bruise that I hope will vanish before his birthday, and it's sore. But he's fine otherwise.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

September 9, 2013 ~ A Big Weekend

We had a big weekend, which included a party at the shore.

It's always hustle and bustle getting ready for a party and this was no different. I had planned on heading to the shore Friday night, but life got in the way and Billy and I didn't make it down until naptime on Saturday. Daddy was even later than that, trying to get his homework done before the big party.

Of course, he no-napped. I tried, but there's just too much to see and do to bother with napping.

He got to play with a friend that he sees rarely and play in the yard with the boats and the animals. We went for a nature walk with the boys and the ladies. I can now proudly spot poison ivy, which is prolific along the driveway- and never used to be.

 The party got into full swing at dinner time.

I, however, had been talked into a fishing demonstration. Who knew that I would be giving fishing lessons? Let's be honest, catching fish in the river isn't all that hard.

The boys "supervised". I didn't want the 3 little boys to either fight over the one small fishing pole, or to be injured by hooks, sinkers, or flopping fish.

I caught a variety, including croakers, spot and perch. I got to show the boys (and the adults) how croakers make noise and give them a quick fish anatomy lesson. I guess I'm just used to being around the river, so it's second nature to me- croakers croak. Fun to catch and toss back.

There was also the lesson about baiting the hook and showing everyone what grass shrimp look like. Lucky that we have abundant, easy to catch bait around.

Billy is quickly becoming used to the river too. He takes all of it in stride, already familiar with the rules around the water.

I have to admit, as hostess I didn't spend too much time with Billy. He was playing with the other kids, and hanging out with some of his favorite adults.

Especially, when I cleaned two fish. The younger crowd were kept well away from the docks, while I had a crowd of onlookers for the gutting of fish, and even talked a friend into cleaning the second fish.

It's definitely an eye-opener when you're used to fish from the supermarket or a restaurant where it no longer resembles the animal. It's entirely different to clean the fish yourself and then cook it and eat it. I think I may have scarred a few people with that experience.


Sunday was more of the same. It was an overnight party, so the crowd was still there in the morning. In the afternoon a few of us took Billy, the last kid at the party, down to the point for swimming. Although it had been a warm day, it unfortunately was turning cold. But we skipped rocks and made a castle in the sand.

And by the time we drove home Billy had passed out from all of the fun and slept through dinner, all the way to morning.

Friday, September 6, 2013

I'm behind again... Beaches, Burning Boats and Spanish Pirates


I'm totally behind again. Let's see... what happened this week?

Well, last weekend (that would be Labor Day weekend) Billy and I went to visit PeePop. Nana was away and Uncle Alex is back in school, so it was just the three of us (and Daddy wanted to go to the Grand Prix).

On Saturday we went to the beach. Billy quickly remembered how much he loved the beach the last time. Unlike before, when we sat on 5th Street, we opted to sit on 11th where the beach is much nicer and the waves crash with a greater distance so there is a lot more shallow water (5th Street suffers from the big waves crashing up close to the beach from beach replenishment).

Billy liked the water so much better this time because there were the smaller waves that he could stand in and have them break over him, while the bigger waves were further out. I, of course, kept a firm hand on him. The rip currents were fairly strong. He wanted to play in the water all day long.

He also got to build his first sand castle. Well, I built it and he played with it. Then he tore it down, which is probably the best part of a sand castle for a little boy. We discovered that he hates having sandy hands, an inevitable thing at the beach.

We also were able to dig up some big sand crabs for him to see. The beach replenishment has destroyed the ecosystem at the beach. When I was little you could dig a small hole and find lots of sand crabs. And with each wave you could see lots of brightly colored, tiny clams wash up and then quickly bury themselves into the sand. We had to work to find just a couple of crabs and clams.

When it was getting time to head home we saw a deep sea fishing boat out on the ocean billowing smoke. It was right in front of us and drifting toward shore. It was soon apparent that the boat was on fire. Soon, the smoke enveloped the whole boat. Other boats came to help, but couldn't get too close. Not only was there fear of an explosion, but the wind had quicked up and the seas were rough and wild. The boat on fire was pitching and rolling dangerously in the waves. After a long wait the fire boat made it out of the bay to the ocean where we wear and began spraying jets of water on the burning boat. It took awhile, but they finally got the fire subdued and were taking the boat back to the bay.

We left then, if being way past nap time and the excitement was over. But what we missed was that the boat only made it to 5th Street (remember, we were on 11). The Coast Guard was trying to hook up a tow line when a rogue wave swamped the boat and sank it immediately. The news reported that the couple on board had made it safely over to another boat prior to the Coast Guard's arrival, so at least everyone was safe.

The next day we headed back to the beach, but this time we weren't playing in the sand. We wanted to check out this:

This is El Galeon Andalucia from Spain. She's a replica (obviously) of the old Spanish ships that would have discovered Florida. And if ever anything looked like a pirate ship to Billy, this would be it. He loved it and didn't want to leave.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

From Sea to Plate: A Life Lesson

There comes the day for every person when they realize that the food on their plate is not some magical meat that the grocery store poofed into existence, but really comes from an animal.

For Billy, that lesson came with fishing.

It was a drizzly morning, but Billy wanted to try his hand at fishing again. We were playing hookie from work and school (with permission, of course). I went out and collected some grass shrimp for bait for us to fish from the dock and brought out Billy's rod and a rod for myself.

It was quickly apparent that the rod I had borrowed was the wrong rig, so I put it away and just used Billy's little 2ft Mickey Mouse fishing pole. I baited the hook for him and tossed it into the water.

After only a few minutes a baby rockfish jumped on the hook. I put it in a bucket for Billy to look at and dropped the line back into the water with more bait. Just as it hit bottom another bite! I reeled in a spot this time. Two small fish for Billy's bucket.

He was getting bored before, but having realized we were on the fish, he wanted to keep fishing. And a minute later we had another bite! But that one jumped the line once we pulled it out of the water. Oh well.

Back into the water for the line and after a short wait the line gave a good tug. That poor little rod bent over from the weight. I reeled in a nice looking perch. And a big one (to Billy).

It was too big for the bucket (it was a small bucket) but he wanted to go show Grandma. And he was really excited to eat the fish. So, we took the bucket with the two small fish and the net with the big fish up to the house to show grandma.

We released the two small fish back into the river.

The big fish, though, we were going to eat. So I took it down to the dock to clean it and Billy waited in the house.

Here's the fish:

Inside, Billy was telling Grandma how he was going to take the fish to school today to show all of his friends. Had I known this at the time, I probably would have spared the fish and let Billy release him off of the dock, because the only way this fish was going to school was in a lunch bag.

In the farm house in the living room is a very large mounted sail fish. Once it was the world record. It's big, and it's mounted to the wall. I think Billy thought that he was going to get a mounted fish like "Sebastian" from this little perch. No such luck, kid.

When I came back into the house with the filet it was not what he was expecting. But, he was interested in seeing me cook it. So I tossed it in the frying pan with a little breading.

He wanted to watch it frizzle and was still very excited by the process. But then I put it on a plate. His expression says it all:

The "idea" of eating the fish was great until he sat down and was expected to actually EAT the fish. He picked up one bite, licked it, and declared that he no longer liked to eat fish. He formerly liked fish sticks, tunafish and other forms of fish. But never before had the fish just been swimming and flopping around before his eyes.

It's not an easy lesson to learn, from sea to hook to pan to plate. I think maybe next time we'll just toss 'em back, at least for awhile. Now he wants to try crabbing... Oh, Lord.

Monday, August 26, 2013

August 26, 2013 ~ Fish and Fair

Billy has been hoping to use his fishing rod to go fishing. We tried when camping, but it's hard to catch fish without bait. So, we were at Grandma's and I brought the fishing rod for Billy's first "real" fishing experience.

First, you need bait.

Mommy, to the rescue. I got a net and went hunting for grass shrimp. Billy, of course, wanted to join me, but I asked him to stay inside while I hunted for bait. I came away with a fair catch of grass shrimp for my efforts.

Then Billy, Daddy and myself went out onto the long dock to go fishing. I handed Daddy the net with the shrimp for him to bait the hook. When one jumped in a last ditch escape effort, Daddy freaked- only for a moment. He had never seen grass shrimp before.

That's okay. I'm used to baiting hooks with grass shrimp.

We got the two hooks on Billy's line baited. Then it was time to wait. Billy wanted to play with the rod- no go- can't feel the fish bite if you are playing with it. Then he wanted to hold the net- no go- there's bait in it. He did end up playing with the net and losing the rest of the bait.

BUT... not before we caught a, ahem, fish...

Okay, it's barely a fish. But we caught it together.

After fishing (and a much needed nap) we went to the State Fair.

We rode the ferris wheel in the background of this picture. Billy REALLY wanted to try the ferris wheel. He got scared for a bit when we first got on, since it's a big wheel, but liked it anyway. He really wanted to ride the Crazy Bus. He squealed with delight through the whole ride. Let's not forget the merry-go-round or flying elephants. Although, by far his favorite was the bus. He would have stayed all night to ride the rides, but we did have to go to bed at some point.

He also got to see lots of newborn farm animals- piglets, chicks, ducklings, calves. He opted not to pet them, although he could have if he wanted to. We tried out some fair food, played some fair games and won a light saber, and looked at the quilts and vegetables in the 4H pavilion.

We also got him honey sticks. He danced for joy after getting to have one. He wanted another, but he'd had enough sugar. And we did have to leave.

He cried on the way home. He didn't want to leave. He wanted to stay at the fair forever and ever. It was that much fun.

Friday, August 23, 2013

August 22, 2013 ~ Ravens (in person)!!!

Okay, normally Thursday is Drawn In Thursdays, but since we had something special going on I'm just going to post about that.

Billy got to attend his first ever football game. Okay, so the Ravens lost. I mean, got trampled. I mean, played like they've never played before. (Literally, like they've never thrown a football before). But, we had a good time anyway.

Things Billy liked (in no particular order):

The fireworks (they were too loud, though)
The band (horns are shiny)
The music (let's dance!)
The flippy seats (because they flip, of course)
PeePop's peach iced tea (ooh, yummy)
French fries with ketchup (do I really need to explain?)
The giant flags (You know, the ones that they run across the field after a touchdown?)
Purple soap (Because everything the Ravens do is purple, duh)
The helicopter (ooh, it flies)
The overhead camera and wires (engineering, it's cool, okay?)
The helmets (they're for safety, Mom)

And the thing Billy enjoyed most at the game?

The cheerleaders. (Well, he is a boy...)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

August 20, 2013 ~ Picnic Table

Billy got a new picnic table (new to us, anyway).

He was so thrilled to have it that he insisted on eating dinner at his new table. He can't wait to invite Cub over so they can sit together at the table.

Humorously, he kept telling me that he didn't need a tent over his table. He's referring back to our camping trip where we strung up a tarp over the picnic tables (because it rained the whole time). Nope, no tent over this table.

August 19, 2013 ~ Cold Summer

Well, we had a busy weekend, but I have to admit that it feels like a bit of a waste of a decent summer day not to be at the beach or the pool, but it's just been too cold. We haven't been in the pool since the start of August, and now the month is over.

We started the weekend hanging out with friends. Which is never a waste. Billy got to visit with Cub. Which goes as well as you would expect it to with two toddlers. They behaved, they misbehaved together, they misbehaved apart, then we all went home.

But we had fun, so that's what counts.

Sunday we were going to go hiking, but the rains came and washed away our plans. In the afternoon Billy and Daddy went to visit Grandpa (not to be confused with PeePop).

PeePop tells me his name is written P-Pop. Makes me think of J-Pop, which isn't bad, it's just not a name I associate with the wizened and wise. I will continue to write PeePop until Billy learns to write and decides for himself. He invented the name, after all.

And, unfortunately, it's been so cold we've been inside most of the time. Not that it's really that cold, but it's not summerlike weather. Billy dressed himself Saturday morning. This is what he came up with:

He looks unhappy, but that's only because it was early and he didn't want his picture taken. And yes, that's a wool winter hat on his head. And a fleece.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

August 15, 2013 ~ Magic Magnets

For the longest time Billy has had fun with his fridge magnets. He knew they only worked on the fridge, but he never really tested why.

Suddenly, today he decided to see what would happen if he tried his magnets on his toys. He found they stuck to his tin whistle.

He was entertained for the rest of the night with his magical magnets that stick to metal:

Thursday, August 15, 2013

August 14, 2013 ~ Been Sick

Sorry to not have posted, but I've been sick with the flu. It's been a hell of a ride, but I'm back on my feet.

Suffice it to say, I've been avoiding Billy and my family to help prevent the spread of it. I'll be back tomorrow with more Billy tales, but until then, here's a photo from hiking last weekend:

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Drawn In Thursdays #71

Click to Enlarge
A true story from last week.

August 7, 2013 ~ Lice

Billy doesn't have lice (we hope). But someone in his class does. They never say which kid, which in a way is good, but I feel like I need to be even more concerned and vigilant if it's a friend. Billy tells me it's his best friend from school. Crap.

Not that I can fully trust what he says, he is only two after all.

But I'm going to assume he's right and go from there.

I honestly don't remember having lice, if I ever did. I have always had long hair- longer when I was a kid. I haven't asked Grandma yet, but I'm guessing I never had lice. I know it's common and not a big deal except as a contagion and annoyance, but I have no experience with these little suckers.

Chiggers? Ticks? Mosquitoes? Malaria-carrying mosquitoes? Yes, I have experience with all of those (no, I haven't had malaria but I can tell you horror stories about the preventative medication).

Now lice.

So the first thing I did was send Daddy off to the store to buy chemicals. And then I washed all of the sheets. I checked Billy's hair, but just wasn't sure.

When Daddy came home with the kit I went through Billy's hair with the fine-toothed comb. Not really seeing anything. Phew! But, I just feel like they are lurking. And I itch just thinking about it.

So, I went to my Mommy resources for help. I olive oiled Billy's hair per recommendation and sent him off to bed that way. Fingers crossed that those little suckers really do hate olive oil.

Monday, August 5, 2013

August 8, 2013 ~ How 'Bout Dem Os?

Saturday was a rainy day, so we spent it extra quiet at home in prep for Sunday.

I've been teaching Billy about baseball. All week. Because I got ticket to the Orioles game.

We sang the song over and over. (You know the one- the 7th Inning Stretch song... "Take Me Out to the Ballgame.) He likes the singing part.

We talked about the colors that the Orioles wear. Orange, of course.

We reviewed how the game works. Three strikes and you're out!

Then he asked if he got to play baseball WITH the Orioles. Sorry, no. He was very disappointed. What was the point in going, if he didn't get to play too?

Sunday morning he wanted to wear his Ravens shirt. "But, Mommy. I like the Ravens. I want to wear purple. Not orange. Ravens, Mommy. RAVENS." Hmm. Apparently, winning the Superbowl seems to have stuck with him. Well, yay- but football season doesn't start for another two weeks, so...

I made him wear orange. I wore orange. Daddy... he doesn't do that 'dress for the game' thing and wore red and white. Ok, Nationals fan. We get it. At least he didn't wear his Nationals hat.

So, then we went to the game. At naptime. (Now, I know what you're thinking. Are you crazy? The game is during naptime? He's two!)

We started out with Daddy going to get treats. He was gone for a whole inning and came back with sugar, sugar, some more sugar, and Old Bay fries. Okay, well, at least for the fries. Billy ate all of the sugar and then bounced off of the walls.

Billy then decided that he knew how to play baseball and wanted to go play with the men out on the field. Um, maybe in a few years. When you're a baseball pro or something.

He'd had enough sugar that I had to restrain him from trying to run off and into the stadium of people to track down Daddy, who'd gone for more treats.

So I made him promise to behave in order to get ice cream. "Okay, Mommy."

We made it to the 7th Inning Stretch for the singing. He was so excited about that part and got up to dance.

Then, having (sort of) behaved and the game probably going to the other team, we opted to head out. We did lose (oh well) but we beat the traffic.

Billy got his ice cream and then skipped the whole way out of the park.