The Pumpkins Barely Made it Out Alive!

After our arduous trek through the wilderness to obtain our Halloween pumpkins we came home with the intent of butchering the little dudes. We set them out on the table to admire our amazing gourd-picking skills and began mentally sketching out the perfect faces.

“Whatddya think kids?” Jer asked, butchering tools in hand. This is his forte. There’s something very parentally satisfying about carving your kid’s pumpkins. It’s a feat that somehow manages to both satisfy his “manly” side and fulfill one of his annual obligations to perform dad things, i.e. cutting down the Christmas tree, pulling a sled through arctic conditions, managing a kite in 30 mph winds, hooking up the slip ‘n slide and setting off fireworks. Carving pumpkins fits right in that list.

After much thought and consideration Avery answered, “I want mine to be a happy face with long eyelashes.”

“Sounds like a good plan, Av,” I answered. “How about you Jack?”

I could almost see the thoughts rushing through the little man’s already overworked brain and could only imagine the flashes of creativity he would soon be burdening his father with.

“Um, I fink I want a really scary looking one. Wike a mean one. But nice,” Jack explained.

“A really scary, mean but nice pumpkin?” I asked.

“No! A ghost one,” he said.

Oh, here we go.

A pumpkin ghost?” Jer asked.

“I said a ghost dat’s a pumpkin. Wike a Halloween one,” he said, completely exasperated with my holiday ignorance.

“O-o-okay,” I said.

“You know, wike Michael Jackson. Wike friller nights.” For those who aren’t currently versed in Jack-speak that roughly translates to, “You know, like Michael Jackson. Like Thriller nights.”

“Let me get this straight. You want your pumpkin carved like a ghost with a mean face but a nice personality in the style of Thriller?” I asked.

“Yep,” he answered.

A mean pumpkin with *a nice* personality. Yeah. That’s going to be easy.

Jer prepped his knife, sleeves went up andthen chaos ensued. The good kind.

As you can plainly see, Jack ended up with a very standard Jack o’ Lantern. This would be due to his quickly waning patience level and his father’s inability to successfully effect the King of Pop. I somehow managed to convince my son that his pumpkin although joyful in his facial expression was actually very sinister in spirit. It worked.

Halloween draws near and our pumpkins are ready to greet the trick-or-treaters. Here’s hoping I’m as ready as they are.

Happy Friday!


To the Pumpkin Patch!

This past Sunday my family partook of one of the most popular American holiday pasttimes…braving the pumpkin patch. Sure, this tradition centers on picking out pumpkins to be carved and/or decorated, providing beautiful backdrops for family pictures and offering a wholesome community experience but it also pays tribute to other, slightly less picturesque traits. The kind people don’t want to talk about. The kind that are on the hush-hush list. And me, being ever truthful am happy to divulge this information.

I’ll start with 1) paying exorbitant pumpkin prices for the experience of trudging out into vine-slicked fields adorned with rotting gourd carcasses, 2) constantly picking up tripping children while risking the ruination of those adorably cute but horrendously uncomfortable polka-dot rainboots, 3) starring in unflattering outdoor pictures (see below) despite numerous “don’t you take that picture” looks at the photographer and 4) being the unwilling party to the infinite breakdowns of various toddlers who should be at home taking naps and whose parents should be at home drinking large quantities of Riesling.

But, all that being said, we make the same trip every year in a desperate attempt at tradition and, well, because the kids like it so much. This year was no exception.

Once we reached our local pumpkin growers, we boarded the rickety old steps of a trailer being pulled by what at first glance appeared to be a tractor from World War 2, and headed down the windy path to find the pumpkin of our dreams.

The tractor drove us through the farm and unloaded us right in front of a field o’ pumpkins. Avery looked on excitedly, doing a little mental planning to determine the best route for finding the holy grail of Jack o’ Lanterns.

Jack, well, he had questions.

“Are these all the punkins?” he asked, looking around him at literallyhundreds of pumpkins.

“These are it, buddy,” I answered. When did this kid get such a discerning eye for quality winter squash?

“I don’t wike these kind,” he said.

“Why? They’re just your standard pumpkin, Jack.”

“I want an awive one. These are dead,” he explained.

“Jackie, they’re not dead. They’re just not attached to any vines. So we can take ‘em home with us,” I said.

“Humph,” he answered, looking around. “They wook dead to me.”

Attempting to avoid a rapidly approaching bulging neck vein, I checked in with Avery, who in true perfect first child fashion had already located and claimed her pumpkin, with nary a complaint about them being dead. I love this girl.

“Nice pumpkin, Ave,” I said.

“Thanks! I think it’s the most perfect one here!” she answered with a big smile on her beautiful little face.

“I think you’re right! Any issues with it being dead?” I asked.

“Huh?” she responds.

“Exactly,” I said, shaking my head.

I looked back over at Jack who was still very unsatisfied.

“So, what do you think?” I asked.

“Um, these are all too big. I can’t even carry ‘em,” he answered.

I looked around me, and had to admit he was right. There were no Jack-sized pumpkins in sight and I knew he’d been wanting a small one for weeks now. I remembered seeing a bin full of the pint-sized gourds at the weigh station where we loaded the trailer.

“Hey, Jack? They have some back at the place where we got on the trailer. Do you want to pick one out up there?”

“Hmmm…that sounds like a great idea!” he answered, excitement playing across his sweet-yet-so-frustrating face.

So back on the trailer we went, each with our own perfect pumpkin and Jack patiently awaiting his. Once we got back to the stand he rushed over to the pumpkin bin, coincidentally looking much like the one at Walmart I had steered him away from last week, the one priced at approximately half of the farm stand price. Lovely.

Eureka! The perfect Jack-sized pumpkin. We were all able to go home feeling satisfied with both our pumpkin picks and our choice to support our local farmers. And tonight, we carve. I have a sneaking suspicion that Jack will liken this part of the tradition to a brutal torture of his new best friend. Wish us luck.


A “Typical” Morning…

In order to understand me a tiny bit better (which I’m quite sure you’ve been dying to do) I thought I would lay out for you a “typical” morning in our little suburban household. Now, understand, I have one second grader who attends public school and one four year-old who attends preschool two days a week. The following schedule depicts those two lovely days a week where Jack (the preschooler) actually detaches from my hip.

6:00 a.m. Alarm shrills. I hit the Snooze button and roll back over in bed.

6:05 a.m. Alarm shrills a second time. I curse and hit the Snooze button and roll back over in bed.

6:10 a.m. Alarm shrills a third time. I curse emphatically and roll over to hit the Snooze button only to be met by a tiny little person with swollen morning lips standing beside my bed demanding breakfast. When asked why he’s already out of bed I am answered with, “Your alarm woke me up. Now get me breakfast.” Why don’t I learn?

6:15 – 7:00 a.m. Field numerous questions from four year-old ranging from “Why do my ears have holes in them?” to “Is my winkadoo going to get any bigger when I grow up?’ As much as I stress the early hour, nothing dissuades my little man from hammering me with inquiries.

6:15 – 7:00 a.m. Pray for 7:30 (the point in time Jer takes Jack to school, thereby forcibly detaching him from my hip) to get here.

7:00 a.m. Wake Avery up from blissful slumber.

7:01 a.m. Thank God for blessing me with such a sweet little lady who hardly ever complains about anything I ask her to do.

7:01 1/2 a.m. Quickly thank God for blessing me with Jack, too.

7:05 – 7:15 a.m. Serve breakfast while convincing Jack that he does, indeed, have to carry a backpack to school even though he doesn’t check out books from the library like his sister. Remind Jack that I do not have to, in fact, make him a lunch to take to school as he is home each day by 10:45 a.m.

7:15 – 7:20 a.m. Remind Jack that he is most definitely required to brush his teeth even though he didn’t eat any dessert yet. And, no, we never have dessert after breakfast.

7:21 a.m. Thank God for blessing me with Avery.

7:21 1/2 a.m. Follow-up prayer adding Jack.

7:22-7:29 a.m. Pray for 7:30 to get here…fast.

7:30 a.m. TOUCHDOWN! Jack’s out the door with his dad (after a flurry of hair brushing, finding the socks Jack decided to put on the dog, putting shoes on, removing the Pop Tart from Jack’s sweatshirt pockets that he thought he would bring for his own personal “snack time” and convincing him, again, he does not have any library books.)

7:31 a.m. Close the front door behind Jack and Jer, lean against it and breathe a sigh of relief.

7:31-7:50 a.m. Spend a stress-free twenty minutes with Avery before she leaves for the school bus.

7:51 a.m. Rush to find “twelve objects that have two syllables” that Avery forgot she was supposed to bring to school that day.

7:52 a.m. Thank God that Jack is not yet required to bring objects from home to school. Thank God for Jack’s sweet little face.

7:53 – 10:40 Revel in the almost three hours of freedom before I have to pick up my little man from preschool. Unfortunately, at this stage in my life, “reveling” currently consists of laundry, kitchen clean-up, wiping urine from the toilet seat and cleaning crayon off the vinyl flooring. But, there’s something to be said for completing the above-listed tasks without a four year-old asking you to explain why dogs need eyeballs.

10:40 a.m. Rush to pick up Jack from preschool, realizing how much I actually miss his sweet little face when he’s gone.

10:50 a.m. Wonder why I was in such a hurry to pick him up.

10:51 – 1:00 p.m. Tend to Jack’s every need, praying for naptime.

1:01 p.m. Collapse in exhaustion on the couch, turn on “Quints by Surprise” and thank God for my life.

1:02 p.m. Snooze.

Well, there you have it, a glimpse into Jack’s preschool mornings. The other three days of the school week are much the same, without the three hours of freedom, and consisting of more winkadoo questions and general Jack-induced chaos. I realize I only have two kids. I realize I am not up against chaos at mass proportions. I realize that others may have itwayharder than I do. But, being that this is my blog, it’s my prerogative to vent. And, trust that if I have any inclination to expand my family exponentially thereby inflaming my already chaotic situation, you and TLC will be the first to know.

Happy Monday!


Please tell me you haven’t forgotten about me…

Just a little visual reminder why I drink Rum...

Okay. So, I’ve been a little missing-in-action lately. I have no real solid excuse other than the fact that I’ve had laundry up the wazoo, a voluntarily working-from-home husband who still refuses to occasionally drive his computer-savvy arse to the office thereby refusing to afford me fleeting moments of freedom from staring at the back of his head all day, a 7 year-old who has decided that she’s not really “in” to having a clean bedroom and an almost 4 year-old son who has adopted “But, mom, I wanna be a good boy” as his catchall phrase.

In other words, I’ve been a little busy. And if I’ve learned anything over the last 7 years as a mother I have learned that when I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed I need to let some things go. If even for a bit.

I’ve certainly let things go in the past when feeling the pressure o’ life creeping up my back. Unfortunately, those “things” have typically been comprised of diet plans and workout routines. But this time, in my forever quest for a healthier me, I have been sticking to nightly dates with my walking shoes and back episodes of Gilmore Girls, and have had to let The Suburban Life slide on to my drastically under-utilized back burner.

But, I’m back now and hoping to keep up with posting my random musings with a little more frequency. I definitely notice an increase in unpleasant domestic relations with every decrease in blog posts (and I’m pretty sure my hubby Jer would agree.) Blog writing has become a very therapeutic outlet for me and my wayward thoughts and without that outlet I tend to leak a bit of sarcasm at unnecessary moments. I’m working on it. No one likes a spontaneous leaker. Or any leaker for that matter. Moving on.

It being Friday, I would like to wish everyone a fantastic weekend. We have what could possibly be the very last of our bright and sunny days coming up and it might just motivate me to do something outdoorsy. Like hiking. Or yardwork.

Oh. Who am I kidding?

Happy Friday!