Saturday, October 31, 2009

Rocking Out

Please excuse the snorting-- I couldn't help it!

Visiting Jamestown Settlement with some new friends

Being in charge of play group for our ward has turned out to be a really fun thing. I never went last year because it was hard to work it when Luke was still taking 2 naps a day. Plus, before he could walk he had a hard time interacting with other kids. He mostly just got overwhelmed and cried. So this year has been great for both of us.

Luke and I have met a lot of new people. Like the Meyers. On Tuesday of this week, Kari (the mom) and I made plans to go to Jamestown Settlement with the kids. Luke and Bixente (pronounced Bee-shan-tay) had a blast running around together. Sebastian (Kari's youngest) had fun watching them. Unfortunately I only pulled out the camera when they were playing in the Indian canoe, but that was probably their favorite thing anyway. We can't wait to meet up with them again.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The "Women" in Luke's Life

"The engagement between them is of a peculiar kind. From their infancy, they have been intended for each other. It was the favorite wish of his mother, as well as of hers."
-- Lady Catherine, from Pride and Prejudice

Luke has been subject to several of these wishes, at least on the mother of the daughter's side. I am always happy to go along with any such plotting, the first of which I think I started speculating first.

This is Luke and Kara. I should have more pictures of them together, but most of the pictures are on Jared's computer because this computer didn't exist when Luke and Kara were always together. Kara is the daughter of our best friends who still live in Utah. They went to the same baby-sitter and as we were with the Peats at least once a week and often more, they hung out. Naturally Callie and I started the whole "Wouldn't it be cool if they got married some day?" kind of talk.

When we first moved to Virginia, Luke didn't hang out with any girls, so Kara's place in his heart was pretty secure. But then we met the Beans who have a daughter named Emiline.

Uh Oh. Did Luke's heart change objects?

He seems pretty enraptured...

Hayley really does have her "secret" wish that they will get married some day. She even wants to use the first picture of Luke and Emiline together on their wedding invitation. I'm cool with that, and I was even ready to order the invitations until.... Dum Dum Dum

I started watching Esme on Mondays and Wednesdays about a month ago. Heather (Esme's mom) is starting to build up her hopes. Will Esme end up with the brown eyed handsome man? I have to say that it looks like she's in the lead.

Apart from stealing her toys, Luke dotes on her. Her tries to rock her. Her brings Esme her binkie. He talks to her. He laughs at her. And he shows off for her.

On Monday he was cuddling next to her.

And he even patted her tush.

I think we have a winner.

But don't give up just yet, Emiline. You live close enough to fight for his heart. Just keep shining your baby blues and sharing your slide with Luke, and he might forget all about Esme. Ha Ha Ha

Man's Best Friend...

is really his blankie

Monday, October 26, 2009

How I'm Feeling Lately

Let's See How Smart You Are

I was in charge of the games at this year's witches night out. We played charades/ catch phrase. Kathleen taught us all how to play Mafia. I was the last Mafia member killed, so the townspeople won. I guess I'm not cut out for a life of crime. But anyway, the thing that took me the longest to prepare was a Halloween trivia quiz. The winner won a pumpkin and carving tool. Let's see how smart all of you who couldn't come are. Answers will be posted in 3 days.


1. Complete this Superstition: If you stare into a mirror at midnight on Halloween, you will see what?

a. Death

b. Bloody Mary

c. Your future spouse

2. A black cat was believed to be which of the following?

a. A witch’s familiar

b. The devil

c. A demon

3. The term Halloween is shortened from which name?

a. All Hallow’s Eve

b. All Saints Day

c. All Soul’s Day

4. Why did the ancient Celts believe October 31st was a dangerous day?

a. The boundary between the living and the dead dissolved, and the dead became dangerous to the living

b. Satan was given free reign on October 31st each year

c. The new year and the old year would fight a battle on that day in which the old year recruited help from the dead

5. Which was the first wrapped penny candy?

a. Peppermint disc

b. Werther’s caramel

c. Tootsie Roll

6. When did Halloween first gain popularity in the United States?

a. During the influx of Irish immigrants during the Potato Famine of 1846

b. During the period of Scottish history when the Jacobites were banned to the Americas (starting in 1716)

c. With the English settlement at Jamestown

7. What does the word “witch” mean?

a. Evil one

b. Wicked one

c. Wise one

8. Why does a witch commonly appear with a black cat?

a. For companionship

b. For spell casting

c. For protection

9. Jack o’lanterns were originally made from what?

a. radishes

b. eggplant

c. potatoes

10. Complete this superstition: If you hear someone’s footsteps following you on Halloween night, you shouldn’t turn around or else, what?

a. You will see a ghost

b. You will meet death

c. You will be cursed by a witch

11. Who is the predicted most popular couple costume for 2009?

a. Barack and Michelle Obama

b. Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger

c. Edward Cullen and Bella Swan

12. Why would people originally dress up on October 31st?

a. to honor the dead

b. to hide from evil spirits

c. To scare off demons

13. The name jack-o-lantern can be traced back to the Irish legend about whom?

a. Farmer Jack

b. Lazy Jack

c. Stingy Jack

14. The first person to successfully retrieve an apple (when bobbing for apples) would…

a. Be the next to marry

b. Have good fortune in the new year

c. Be blessed with fertility

15. What does the name Dracula mean?

a. Evil one

b. Devil’s son

c. Blood drinker

16. What year did the Halloween novelty song “Monster Mash” reach number one on the Billboard charts?

a. 1962

b. 1965

c. 1967

17. Which singer from our past has a Halloween birthday?

a. Vanilla Ice

b. Cyndi Lauper

c. M.C. Hammer

2nd Annual Witches Night Out

Witches night out was a tradition started by a good friend, Kelly Crawford, last year. We had so much fun that we wanted to do it again. Hence making it a tradition. So Hayley, myself, Katy, and Kelly organized another one for this year.

What is a witches night out? First and foremost: an excuse to get together and eat fattening food and talk. Secondly: a hat decorating contest. Obviously Hayley knows how to go all out.

It was actually a little more complicated to put together than we originally thought. Mostly because of this:

Hayley broke her foot last week and isn't supposed to put ANY pressure on it. That made cleaning and decorating a little bit harder. Luckily, the fact that she was an invalid gave me plenty of opportunity to hang out at her house last week which made for at least 10 X the adult conversation that I usually have. It was awesome! And Luke and her daughter Emiline play really well together. Luke was happy to have so much interaction with a friend.

Hayley's husband, Greg

Greg got thrown into all kinds of errands for us. An hour before the party started, Katy called to say they couldn't find any bowls. So Greg was sent out to rescue us. As soon as he got back, we were ordering him around to hang up our tissue paper decorations. And periodically throughout the evening he would be called out to become photographer. He was a great sport.

And the evening was so much fun!

The decorations were beautiful.

The food was yummy.

And the witches were fantastic!
And then it was time to vote on the best hat. I was really hoping to get a prize because I had spent over 8 hours on my hat. I know it doesn't look like I spent that much time on it, but each piece was hand stitched on. And since I never sew, I'm really slow. I was really proud of my hat because it's the first thing I've EVER made that I a) started b) finished and c) did all by myself without any help.

Yay! I won first prize!
Hayley made the box that Kelly is holding and the wreath that I won. The wreath is made out of Lindt truffles. It's pretty much the coolest thing that I'd ever seen. I hung it on our door, but Jared took it off because he said someone will steal it. So I'm looking for a good place to hang it inside.

Okay, first years. Who's going to carry on this tradition when we're gone?

Friday, October 23, 2009

I wasn't lying...

I think some of you (hmm hmm-- Beans!) thought I was perhaps exaggerating about Luke's A/C obsession. Well, I've been over to the Bean's house several times this week and EVERY DAY Luke made a break for their neighbor's A/C unit. Once he tried to run straight through a bush because he could hear a unit turn on. This morning, he ran out of the house ahead of me. I was picturing him dashing into the street. Luckily, he was happily distracted by a heaven placed A/C. So you see? It really is an OBSESSION.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What do you do in a washing machine?

Bus! Bus!

Sometimes I just can't format the way I want to. I wanted the explanation to go above the video, but oh well.

Luke's favorite song is "The Wheels on the Bus." He will pull out his Wheels on the Bus book and sing short words: "bus, bus, bus" and "swish, swish, swish." When I sing the song for him, he gets very excited. And sometimes he dances along.

Luke LOVES the school bus. He recognizes sounds really well (as described in A/C post above). He has associated that jerky/ farty sound that big trucks make when they stop with the school bus. When he hears it stop in front of our apartment each morning, he yells "Bus! Bus!" and runs to the window. The same thing happens in the afternoon when we are home.

The highlight of each day

Monday, October 19, 2009


In the past I have written about "obsessions." In those posts, I used the term lightly. If I were to say that Luke has an obsession with A/C units, however, I don't think it would be an over exaggeration. I can no longer take him to our complex playground. He spends practically the ENTIRE time escaping to run over to the units.

Exhibit A: the first time he escaped

Exhibit B: the second time he escaped

Exhibit C: the time I got fed up and took him home

Yes, I knew that this would happen. I purposely brought the camera so I could blog about it.

But seriously it's getting a bit dangerous. 2 weeks ago, Luke disappeared twice while at play groups. Both times I was frantically running around the house and looking in the front yard. But where was Luke? Trying to see the fan on the A/C unit. So I made a mental note to always look there first. And then I made another mental note to watch him every single mili-second so that he'll never disappear from my sight.

He likes the units because he likes to see the fans spin when they come on. He has made a connection between the sound and the spinning. Behind our building is a walkway between 3 units, each unit having 10 apartments. That makes 30 A/C units within running distance. Luke is in A/C heaven. And he can actually pinpoint the exact unit that just came on. He'll run straight to it.

On the upside, his obsession caused him to master the word "Up." I wouldn't pick him up to see the fans unless he said it. So now he uses "Up" quite frequently. In fact, he thinks it's a magic word that gives him anything he wants.

Monday, October 12, 2009


Jared is on fall break today and tomorrow. Of course, he won't use either day for vacationing, especially since the whole policy program will be at a conference in DC Tuesday-Thursday. But having a day without classes in which he can do nothing but study freed up our week-end so we could finally go camping! I was too nervous to try camping in our small 3 man tent with Luke. I wanted to be able to close him in (fit in a pack n' play), so we found a cabin at a KOA near Lexington. Hence the "camping" as there are some people (like my brothers) who would swear that camping isn't camping unless you have to bury your own excrement and escape showers for a few days.

Despite the fact that I despise companies who can't spell, the KOA was really nice.

This is what our cabin looked like. I forgot to take a picture of our actual cabin.

Hey! Who are these people on our porch?!

Oh, right. Another internet picture.

Friday morning we got up bright and early, finished packing, and headed out. We got to our cabin about 12:30 pm, had lunch and then headed out for adventure. We were originally planning to spend all day hiking around Shenandoah Natural Park, but it wasn't as close to our campground as we originally thought and on our way to, we saw a sign that said (something) Lake National Park. Oooo. A lake. That sounded fun too, so that's where we went.

We took a hike through beautiful woods.

Luke actually loved the backpack (which I found at a consignment shop for $25!), but he rarely cooperates for pictures.

And we went to the lake. Even though it's October, it was around 80 degrees outside. The water was really chilly, but it felt good in the sun. For those of you who aren't grandparents, you'll have to excuse the crazy number of Luke lake pictures. There were too many cute ones!

From here we headed over to the Natural Bridge (see next post) and then home for dinner. Our campfire was somewhat not what a campfire usually is because Luke wouldn't leave it alone. So no family bonding around the fire. Luke and I played in the cabin while Jared made our tinfoil dinners and hotdogs and then we ate inside. Luke went to bed early and Jared and I read on the porch. It was so, so fun to have a whole day to do nothing but play.

Natural Bridge, VA

Since we stayed in Natural Bridge, VA we had to go see the natural bridge, right? Unfortunately this beautiful display of Mother Nature's talent was somehow privately (or businessly) owned. So people could charge exorbitant prices for other people to see it. But it was awesome all the same. To get to the bridge, one walks down a flight of stairs and past a Toy Museum that was included in the ticket price. I went to the bathroom while Jared and Luke took a peek in the museum. Apparently they had every Star Wars figurine ever created. Outside the doors, there was a flight of stairs that led to a pretty path which opened to this:

This picture was taken in honor of my dad who would always pose one of us kids for pictures like this. We would sit (somewhat willingly) while he fiddled with his camera for five minutes by which time our smile looked pained but we were usually too small in the picture to really tell. Here's to the memories, Dad!

But seriously, isn't the bridge beautiful?

This was on the same path, but obviously not the bridge
(at least I don't think so)

Farther down the path, past the bridge was a small reconstructed Indian village as well as beautiful scenery. When passing over a small wooden bridge, we could see a stream that was seen through the crevice of a rock. Crevice is the wrong word. It was a whole that someone had dynamited out of the rock so they could find the river (I guess it was bigger then) and locate it's source as well as where it empties. Neither was ever found. Jared and I speculate that it's because the river flows directly downward as it is most likely feeding the River Styx.

I wanted to go back the next day because we could have gone to their cheap version of a wax museum (also included in the price of the ticket), but it was raining and Luke was having a hard time. So we headed home.

Before it had started raining, though, we went to a little park in Lexington, VA. Luke was happy to run around. He had been cooped up in our cabin for quite a while in the morning because he is somewhat dangerous to himself when there isn't plenty of running space. He'll run into the road, try to rip license plates off of cars (usually our car thank goodness) and chase big and somewhat viscous looking dogs. Of course, the cabin wasn't that much better as the first night Luke fell off the bed, walked into the desk, walked into a wall, slammed his head against the bed post, and fell off the picnic table outside. "Camping" with Luke is definitely adventurous.

Luke has a few obsessions right now. One of them is trying to distinguish between cars, busses, and trucks. He was positive that this one was a truck. He kept shouting it over and over getting louder and louder. People probably thought he had Tourette Syndrome. In any case, he didn't want to leave it.

Mooning over the truck

Trying to get the Truck

And then it was time to distract him again. Distracting Luke is a favorite game of ours as the only time he's still is when he's asleep or feeling very sick.

Looking at the river

DaDa stopping Luke from jumping in the river

Time for ANOTHER distraction

Ah! Perfect! Rotten fruit

Such a fun trip!