Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Woodford Cedar Run

On Friday at the Garden State Discovery Museum I learned that we can get in free at Woodford Cedar Run with our museum membership. Cedar Run is a Wildlife Refuge founded in 1957. They have a rehab hospital that takes in various injured and sick local wildlife and rehabilitate these animals to release them back into the wild. Some animals obviously can't be returned to the wild so they become residents of the facility and are used for learning purposes and environmental education. They now have 184 wooded acres surrounding Cedar Run lake. Beautiful location.

Yesterday morning (Monday) I decided to check it out with Jason. I didn't know what to expect, as the last time I was there was probably 20-25 years ago with girl scouts. They have some learning-type activities inside the building, probably more suited to Tyler. However Jason did like the room with the snakes and turtle. After then we went outside, and being that it had gotten quite chilly, we opted to skip the hike and instead just cross the bridge to the area with the animals. We saw some fun animals such as hawks, bald eagles, various birds, deer, geese, and even a skunk that a volunteer had outside of the hospital for a little playtime. We also saw some actually wild animals roaming around freely like squirrels, various birds, turkeys, turkey vultures, guinea fowl, geese, ducks, and even a deer. It was a nice morning and I think we'll be back another time with Tyler as well to teach him about the wonderful work they do there and learn a little and have fun in the process.

Monday, November 8, 2010

my little yellow belt

No idea what I did on Saturday, which is sad because I'm constantly blogging about things that happened weeks ago yet Saturday was only 2 days ago. I know we played with the pup, Alex and Tyler played, I took a short nap after that long night with the pup, and I did some laundry. Clearly I must have done SOMETHING else, right? I have no clue.

On Sunday we had Ty's first belt ceremony. It was at Lake Pine Community Center and it was for all of the kids at the studio. Me, being completely new to the karate scene, had really no idea what to expect. For one, it was way longer than I expected, but it was also pretty darn interesting. The kids did their "performances" (for lack of a better word) getting progressively more difficult as the higher belts showed their skills. The black belts were fascinating with their jumping, sparring, and board breaking. I also learned that Tyler's instructor (Master Robert Turley) and especially the other school's instructor (GrandMaster Ken MacKenzie) are quite well known in the world of karate. GrandMaster MacKenzie was trained by the same man who trained Bruce Lee. He is very high in rank in the Tae Kwon-Do world and the only westerner with the prestigious 9th Degree Blackbelt in the art of Sin Moo Hapkido. Pretty cool stuff. Anyway, eventually it was time for the belt ceremony. They had the new blackbelts help to tie the new yellow belts on the students. Unfortunately the kid that tied Ty's belt did a pretty poor job, which actually worked in our favor. I went to ask an older student for help in re-tying it and Master Turley immediately walked over and tied Ty's belt for him and then lifted him in the air by his new belt. Tyler was beaming the whole time. So cute!

My mom asked Ty if he wanted to go celebrate with lunch and he picked McDonald's. So much for my month of no fast food. Only made it 7 days. So sad. But myself, Jason, Ty and my mom had a nice lunch.

Back at home Jason napped and Alex came over and he and Ty played outside for a while and then inside. Eventually he went home and we had a nice dinner before getting to bed early (to try to recover from the whole daylight savings time thing).

Sunday, November 7, 2010

November, already?

Tyler had school on Monday, followed by his building club after school. Jason and I and Bella walked up to get him afterwards and he looked miserable. Got him home and sure enough, Tyler had a fever. He was complaining of a sore throat and a tummy ache. So, again, instead of the gym for us we were home with sickie. Poor thing.

On Tuesday I would have kept Tyler home due to his fever the prior night but school was actually already closed due to an inservice. Instead we had a low-key morning eating dry cereal in front of the TV and doing some reading.

Jason should have had OT in the morning but I had called to tell his therapist about Tyler and she chose to cancel. In the afternoon Ty watched a movie in his room (a rare treat) while Jason had OT (his therapist had chosen not to cancel)

I felt bad cause a little boy a few houses away, Alex, who is in Tyler's grade, came by to see if Ty could play. He's never had a friend show up to play so I was disappointed that I had to tell him Ty was sick. However by that evening, when he was fever-free for 24+ hours we did hang out at Beth and Erich's for a bit and then Ty had karate. Poor Jason is bored out of his mind with Karate and I ended up driving around the parking lot with a crying Jason after having to drag him out of there literally kicking and screaming because he couldn't be quiet and wanted to participate.

Wednesday Tyler had school and was healthy enough to go back, thankfully. After school Alex came by again (yeah for Tyler) and they had a little playdate. I was thrilled to see Tyler play really nicely, especially with another boy. Again my plans to go to the gym and kids fit were cancelled because I didn't want to give up on Tyler's playdate opportunity. Instead Alex stayed for dinner and they made plans to have playdates each day of the upcoming long weekend. How cute.

Thursday was the start of our long 4-day weekend, thanks to NJ teacher's convention (where my mom was attending in Atlantic City). Alex was over by 10:00am and the boys played all morning, ate lunch, and played most of the afternoon (including waking Jason up from his nap). Eventually we had to send him home so we could pick up Hannah for their library program. I had hoped to take them to the playground afterwards but it was pouring rain (as it had been all day) so we just came home and they had a brief amount of time to play before eating pancakes, dropping Hannah back off at home, and getting to Karate.

On Friday we drove on out to Cherry Hill to hit the shoe warehouse. I will never, and I repeat NEVER, bring two boys to a shoe warehouse again. Not fun at all. Never even got to try on a pair of shoes, but did visit many aisles while chasing my 2-year-old. Luckily we had plans to meet up with Sherri and her 4 girls to go to the Garden State Discovery Museum, which is right next door. The kids had a great time and I don't think there was one meltdown or issue despite there being 6 kids between the 2 of us. We even got to see a cute production of Charlotte's Web followed by a picnic lunch. And we were happy to celebrate Hannah's 7th birthday that day!

Eventually I couldn't keep Jason any longer from his nap, so Sherri generously offered to keep Tyler with her while I brought Jason home. Jason of course fell asleep 10 minutes before I got home. I planned on letting him sleep in the car while I quick let the dog out, but he woke up and started cheering "yeah" while clapping the second the car turned off. LOL.

Sherri brought the kids to the Sand Stand after their trip, which Ty was thrilled about. That night was pretty low-key and Alex was back over to play with Tyler.

That night both of my parents were in AC so I had my first night alone with Bella. It did not go well. I'm not sure if she was upset she wasn't in the room with my parents or was bothered by Jason whining and tossing and turning over the monitor, but she was up crying during the night and had accidents in her crate. I was out walking her in the middle of the night and up way too early. Not fun.

Halloween, finally

Yes, after a multitude of Halloween-themed posts, we've finally reached Halloween itself (and only a week late). Being a Sunday Halloween day was actually pretty uneventful. We did dress Bella up in her butterfly costume, which she was less than enthused about. It lasted about 4 minutes.

Shortly after 3:00 (designated start time for trick-or-treating in town) we went out with my mom to trick-or-treat at our neighbors the Morrone's. That way my mom could see the boys in costume doing their thing. I put Jason in a different costume this time, Dumbo, also courtesy of Maria. Figured it was plusher and would be warmer in the chilly air.

Afterwards we made our way over to Sherri's house and met up with a group of her friends to trick-or-treat. We started out with some food and a bonfire and then made our way around the neighborhood with wagons, strollers, coolers, and red cups. Tyler had fun staying ahead with some other parents and a bunch of his friends. Jason obviously was back with me. He was too busy concentrating on eating candy to actually trick-or-treat at regular intervals. He maybe his every 5th house, which was really the pace we needed to catch up with the older kids who were going to every house. I must say, I was slightly disappointed, because despite my urging otherwise he typically would only grab dum-dum lollipops, skittles, or M&Ms if given the option. Clearly I would preferred he take some chocolate for ME! Also, if someone told him to take another piece or tried to give him more he would throw a fit and insisted on only one piece per house. I must teach this child a thing or two. LOL. We didn't trick or treat for a tremendously long time, as Tyler reported he wanted to go back home, which shocked me (lo and behold he had a fever the next day, so he obviously probably wasn't feeling well).

We came home and got in the car to go trick-or-treat and visit with my grandparents and then to Jim & Cara's. Came home, ate Chinese food, and watched Ty hand out candy. All in all, a very nice BUSY Halloween season. Bring on November!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Halloween acitvities, round 3

Early Saturday I got Ty ready for soccer and sent him off with my parents to his last game/tournament at Ultimate Soccer in Berlin. Meanwhile I got Jason in his costume AGAIN to go to the Halloween party at Vaughn Hall. He wasn't sure what to make of it all, but did try a few games, participated in my craft, and of course begged for candy.

We quick drove over to meet my parents to watch the second half of Ty's last soccer game/tournament. He seemed to at least be trying and my parents reported that he actually made contact with the ball twice earlier in the game. Afterwards they had hotdogs and got their trophies. So, as for me and Tyler, we're both thrilled for the end of soccer. He is reporting that he'll never play again. Oh well, at least he stuck it out til the end of the season (well, I pretty much made him).

After soccer we head across the street to Taco Bell for lunch. On the way home I decided to stop at A.C. Moore with the boys to pick up a Halloween craft. I was under the silly assumption that one could still grab a Halloween craft but I was informed that they completely sold out 3 weeks prior. They said I should by my Christmas crafts now. However we lucked out with some nice clearance stuff as well as various Halloween-themed tables around the store. The boys made trick-or-treat bags, decorated cookies, and got little goodie bags. A good trip!

After getting home I had literally about 5 minutes to put Jason down for a nap before heading out to Shawnee for Safe Trick-of-Treating with Tyler. He loved getting the candy and playing all the games. Very cute event.

After a very brief time at home we head on over to Mom and John's for dinner. They were babysitting Carli and Olivia, and I was thrilled to finally get a chance to see Olivia again. What a cutie! Eventually we were joined by Dottie and Mike as well as Bobby (John's son) and his wife. We had a nice dinner and Halloween-themed dessert.

After our meal we all (minus Dottie, Mike, and Olivia) drove over to the Medford Halloween parade. Mom and John had already brought chairs and saved us spots earlier in the day. They have a great place for us to park, so we got easily to our spots. We had about an hour to kill before the parade started, but the boys were easily entertained by the light up gadgets John bought for them, as well as soft pretzels and hot chocolate. Eventually my friend Amy found us and she sat and her two youngest kids came to sit with us. The parade got started and everyone had a ball. The older kids were probably mostly entertained by the throwing of the candy, as expected. Jason, however, thought the whole thing was fascinating. He waved at the people, danced to the music, asked for "mooh" (more), and also ate candy. He had a blast and showed no signs of being tired from being up past his bedtime.