Monthly Archives: May 2009

The Reston Zoo

IMG_2437Today Susannah and I took our kids to the Reston Zoo.  Susannah has been there a few times before but it was our first time.  It was great!  Susannah drove, so we loaded all four kids into her Toyota and trekked the 45 minutes out the suburban “zoo”.  It was really fun but sort of a crack up.  I guess it is more like a petting zoo.  They have different small exhibits of monkeys, reptiles, birds, tortoises etc, but the highlight is a large barn with multiple pens of goats and sheep that you can feed.  There is also a “safari” ride through a small field to look at camels, zebras, ostriches, buffalo and some cattle from India.  This is where it gets amusing.  The safari ride is a tractor pulled trailer.  The tractor is a big attraction for our boysIMG_2438 and the ride part was fine.  The funny part is that you get pulled around a small field that is bordered by home developments where people’s yards back up to the “zoo”.  Don’t mind us, we are taking a safari in your back yard!  It was killing me.

The safari was fine but the best part of the day was feeding the animals and the boys taking pony rides.  As previously described, Jack LOVES goats.  I mean he really loves goats.  Susannah and I both bought huge buckets of feed and a baby bottle of milk for the boys to feed the goats and sheep.  Oh, my gosh.  Those two boys couldn’t have been more adorable feeding the animals.  They were entertained the majority of our trip by trying to get the babies to drink the bottles and the bigger animals to eatIMG_2447 the feed out of their buckets and hands.  The cutest part is that Jack really try to endear himself to the animals.  At any given moment you would hear him talking to each goat or lamb.  When we first got there, he was trying to figure out their names.  “What’s your name?  I’m Jack, what’s your name?”  followed by “Mom, I’m trying to get their names!”  Later both he and Ian were calling “Here baby, here baby.  Here’IMG_2455s your milk.”  And then they started to feed the animals handfuls of the feed.  Jack sort of stuck his hand out to individual goats and tried to really feed one particular animal at a time.  Ian on the other hand, would get a handful of feed then sort of toss it at a group of animals.  Both got the results they were looking for– lots of goats and sheep trying to eat all their food up!  Susannah and I were both mesmerized by a pregnant goat that looked like she could burst at any moment.  We both kept trying to get a good photo of that poor Mama.  Talk about your baby being transverse.  It looked like the baby was lying sideways in the most uncomfortable position!  Makes me thankful that my babies are proportionally much smaller than a goat’s!

IMG_2461At the end of the day the boys each took a ride on a pony named Shellie.  They were so tired but they enjoyed their rides.  Jack was pretty into the pony and the saddle.  He seemed very proud to be riding.  Ian liked the pony too, but he was more interested in watchiIMG_2468ng the riding lawnmower in the nearby grass and the tractor that passed by.  Machinery is so much more interesting than pony rides!

As usual, Garrett and Isla were pretty chill.  They ate, they drank, they rode in strollers and got carried in various baby-wearing paraphernalia.  We’re lucky to have second children that just like to go with the flow.  The Reston Zoo was a great way to spend a warm spring day!



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Bradley Babies Playdate

IMG_2411Last week our friend Michelle (and Bradley teacher) hosted a playdate for a few of us former Bradley Mommies.  We were supposed to meet up at a local farm, but it had rained so much that Michelle was kind enough to host all of us at her house instead of schlepping all of our kiddos through the mud. 

The weather was perfect, so we played at Michelle’s house.  We ate lunch together and the kids played on the patio.  It was great to catch up a little bit and see how much all of our kids have grown.  About the time all the kids were starting to break down, we walked across the street to the local fire station and took a tour.  It was a perfect outing.  One of the firefighters showed us the station and one of the trucks.  The kids each had the chance to sit in one of the seats on the fire truck.  They flashed the lights for us on the truck and then one of the other trucks came back from a call.  We lined all the kids up on a bench and they got a center stage viewing of the truck backing into the station.  Then they gave each of the kids a fire helmet and coloring book.  It was great.  For a minute I wished we lived across the street from the fire station.  We would be regular visitors for sure!  Then I remembered how annoying it is to get woke up by sirens every night and I’m pretty thankful we don’t live across the street from a fire station!   None the less, we had a great time catching up with old friends!

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IMG_2420Our little man is 10 1/2 months and changing quickly, so I thought I would give the official Garrett update.  I think G is weighing somewhere around 18lbs. and I have no idea how tall he is.  He is finally starting to fill out a little bit.  If you look closely you might even be able to imagine a little chub on him!  He is still so skinny but now he doesn’t look like he might break.  He just looks super tiny to be crawling around madly, pulling up to things and attempting to walk.

Garrett finally loves food.  He is actually turning into a super eater.  Last night he apparently ate as much macaroni and cheese as his brother did for dinner.  (Shalan is in town, so we had a girl’s night out and Daddy hung with the boys!)  G’s favorite foods right now are any kind of beans, cheerios, baby mum mum rice crackers, blueberries, avocado and really anything he wants to try.  His word for food is nana.  I think it is because the first thing I really told him the name of when we started attempting solids was banana, so now he calls all food nana.  It is so cute because if he thinks someone is eating and not sharing with him, then he’ll start yelling “Nana, Nana”.  In addition to eating well, Garrett has mastered the straw cup, a regular sippy cup and holding his own bottle.  The latter is a new development because we are currently having a rough nursing patch.  It’s not really a nursing issue, it is just that I got poison ivy again and had to go on steroids that necessitate me pumping and dumping my breast milk.  Meanwhile, Garrett gets no nursing and has to be supplemented by formula and the little bit of stored breast milk I had.  Hopefully, his love for food won’t dissuade him from returning to nursing in a week when I’m off of the meds!

IMG_2465Garrett has a few discernable words.  He clearly says Mama, Dada, D Dog (for Denver), Ack (for Jack) and Nana for any food.  I’ve been signing to him a little and he definitely gets it but hasn’t really signed back much.  When I ask him if he wants milk and use the sign, he smiles and generally then pats my sternum.  He doesn’t actually sign for milk but he clearly understands that the sign corresponds to nursing.  He also pats my sternum anytime he wants to nurse.  (Which is killing me right now because I have to refuse him.  It is really hard to turn down your baby when they ask, especially if you have been feeding on demand for 10 1/2 months!)  I sign for eat, drink, more and all done.  Occasionally G will sign all done, but that is it.  I’m pretty much tapped out on the signs, so I need to learn more so I can teach him more.

Garrett has really hit a fun age.  He is crawling everywhere, pulling up to everything and really starting to toddle.  Yesterday he was basically standing up in the middle of the floor on his own.  He would crawl over to someone, gently touch their leg and then start standing up.  If he got wobbly, he would grab on for balance but if he didn’t have to then he would just stand up and look around.  He kept reaching for my hand and then trying to walk to something across the room by just using me for a little balance.  He also is starting to really try to walk between furniture.  Jack walked at 11 months on the nose, so we’ll see if G is on the same track.  He is certainly gaining his confidence!  Garrett is totally into following Jack.  He wants to do everything his big brother does and basically terrorizes Jack by following him.  Jack is trying to be patient and is getting much better at sharing with Garrett or trading toys when G has something of Jack’s.  Of course, G’s favorite toys so far are the ones that Jack loves.  A popular toy for the boys to fight over right now is a Lightning McQueen car of Jack’s that you can shake to make it move and talk.  Both of them love it and both of them freak out when the other is playing with it.  So far, G loves cars too.  I’m not sure if that is because it is the main toy of interest for Jack or if G actually just likes cars.  Time will tell!

Garrett is starting to have his own friends.  He is big enough now to interact with the other babies that are similar in age.  Up to this point when we have play dates, they are really for Jack and his friends.  Recently though, it seems that the babies are enjoying each others company.  Garrett’s “best friends” right now are Isaac, Isla and Ginny.  Isaac is IMG_2380Amelia’s little brother.  He is about 2 1/2 months older than Garrett (ironically Amelia is about 2 months older than Jack).  We meet up with Amelia and Isaac pretty often to go to the park, often times at Aldersgate where we go to church and where our older kids go to pre-school.  Garrett and Isaac love to dig in the sand.  Okay, let’s be honest they really just eat the sand.  We spend the majority of our time digging sand, sticks and leaves out of their mouths.  The rest of the time the two of them crawl madly after their older siblings in an attempt to be big kids!  IMG_2435Isla is Ian’s little sister.  Isla is about 3 months younger than Garrett (again, Ian is about  3 1/2 months younger than Jack).  Garrett and Isla are super funny together.  First off, G is super skinny and tiny and Isla is a total chunker.  She is that adorable baby that you just want to squeeze all over because she has the cute chubby thighs and is kind of rolly polly.  They couldn’t be more opposite body types.  Both are very smiley though, so they seem to smile and giggle a lot when they are together.  Isla just started crawling recently, so Garrett still sort of runs her over when they are on the move.  However, I think she’ll be keeping up very well in the next few weeks.  Garrett loves Isla and is always trying to snuggle her and kiss her.  He also like to torment her by taking her pacifier.  We are going to watch Isla for a week in the beginning of June, so I’m sure we will soon have all kinds of funny stories about the two of them.  Ginny is Revie’s little sister and she is about a month younger than G (Revie and Jack’s Birthdays are one day apart).  Ginny also just started crawling.  We get to see Ginny a few times a week now at Stroller Strides.  I’m super excited about this since Jessica is one of my favorite Mommy friends and we weren’t seeing her nearly enough.  Garrett and Ginny are pretty mellow together.  Mostly Garrett torments Ginny by taking her food.  He is always trying to get a hold of whatever she may be eating.  Garrett and Ginny are also kindred spirits because they both have really bad acid reflux.  Jess and I have been trading sleeping horror stories for the past 9 months.  We both agree that sleeping in 45 minute increments is enough to cause maternal psychosis…or at least a lot of crabbiness!

So that is the long winded update on Garrett.  He is happy, healthy and growing bigger every day.  His meds are great, he eats like a horse even though it doesn’t show, and he is finally down to waking only twice a night.  What more could a Mama ask for in a nearly 11 month old?!  Oh, and I almost forgot his newest talent.  This morning I changed his diaper and was getting ready to put his clothes on for the day.  I needed to wash my hands before I got him dressed, so I stuck him in his crib to play.  He seemed like he was ready to go to sleep, so I just let him lay down and figured I’d dress him when he woke up later.  I went on about getting things ready for our day out and about 15 minutes later I thought I heard him playing in his crib.  Mother’s intuition kicked in and I decided to peer through the crack in the door.  Yep, he was standing in his crib bare ass naked, holding the rungs and laughing.  Guess I won’t be sitting him anywhere in only a diaper anymore.  Gotta love it when they can take their diaper off before 11 months old!

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IMG_2372It finally stopped raining a little last Friday afternoon, so Jack and I headed outside to play.  I promised Jack we would buy him a Little Tykes car this summer, so a few weeks ago we picked one up for a great price at Marshall’s.  With the good weather, we brought out his tricycle, the car and the sidewalk chalk.  He kept himself entertained all afternoon long.

The highlight of playing outside is that we have had a huge hatch of caterpillars.  They are everywhere around our house and the next door neighbors.  One ended up on my arm (still unsure how this happened) and so I showed it to Jack.  He loved it and wanted to hold it.  He spent at least the next hour holding the caterpillar and building “tracks” for it to climb on.  His tracks were composed of a box of sidewalk chalk, individuals pieces of chalk and some sticks occasionally.  He patiently put the caterpillar on the tracks and “helped” it move along. IMG_2370

At one point I told him to hold it in his hand to show me so I could take a picture of it.  Oh my goodness, I could barely keep from laughing.  Jack picked up the caterpillar and he almost dropped it.  Then he picked it up and dangled it from one end, looked up at me and said “This caterpillar is a wiggleous wormous!”  He finally got his new pet to settle down in the palm of his hand and then he very seriously said “Smile Mr. Caterpillar, Mommy is taking out picture.”  He turned to me and asked “Mommy, did you get him smiling? Was he looking at the IMG_2368camera?!”  It was so sweet and cute!

Thankfully we have had a yard full of caterpillars, so when Jack “loves” one to death– literally– we are able to find a new one quickly.  I can’t wait to teach him how to catch worms (a favorite pasttime of my childhood!).  Oh, all the fun we have to come catching slimy creatures and playin’ in the mud!

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Brashear , originally uploaded by mgianchetta.

Here is a great video Travis took of Donald Brashear playing with our kids during Caps practice. Only he and Schultz were left on the ice. Brashear shot pucks at the boards and glass near the boys and then skated up to them several times. It was awesome!

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Capitals Practice

img_2337Over New Years we took Jack to a Caps practice and he really enjoyed it.  Ever since he has been begging to go back to watch practice and to try to get Ovechkin to sign his jersey.  Travis has been super busy the past few weeks and hasn’t been able to spend as much time with boys as he would like, so last night he decided we would take the boys to the Caps practice this morning.  The Caps usually post their practice schedule on-line, but today it didn’t say one way or the other if they were practicing.  We decided to take our chances and head on over.

Travis drove separately from me and the kids, so he could work later on.  I was trying to get out the door to be at practice by 10:30am when it should have started.  Of course things never go as planned and we didn’t get on the road until after 10:30am.  When we got there practice was starting to wind down a bit.  This was actually good because Jack doesn’t have a ton of patience, so watching for 20 minutes or so was kind of ideal.  He was super excited to see the players.  We were pointing different players out to him and he was cheering when they were taking shooting practice.  He got so excited when they made “GOALS” even though there wasn’t even a goalie in net most of the time.  He was loving it.  Garrett had just taken a little cat nap, so he was in good spirits too.img_2340

Slowly the players started to dwindle off to the locker room.  After a while only Brashear and Schultz were still on the ice.  I guess if you get suspended and scratched multiple games, your best bet is to put a little extra effort out on the ice at practice!  Anyway…Jack was still really enjoying watching Brashear shoot at our end of the ice.  I told him he could get down and stand at the glass.  He loved that!  Garrett saw Jack was at the glass and started wiggling to get down too.  Trav stood G up at the glass too and Garrett went crazy!  He started squealing and tapping the glass.  Both boys were so excited.  All of their excitement peaked Brashear’s attention and he started watching them.  Then he skated past them and gave ’em a little glance.  He must of thought they were pretty cute because he went across the ice and shot a puck into the glass right between the boys.  Then he skated over and started to play with them.  He ended up shooting pucks to the boards by them and then skating up to them a few times.  They were so excited!  Jack just kept saying “Donald Brashear is shooting pucks, Daddy!” and “Donald Brashear is playing with me and Brother!”  I’ve always liked Brashear, but if ever I img_2346had a doubt about him, today proved he can be a pretty good guy.  He didn’t have to engage our kids.  He truly enjoyed them and made their day!

As if that wasn’t enough excitement for the day, we decided to stick around to see if we could catch any of the players.  We wasted some time in the pro-shop and then just hung out around the door where the players exit.  (I know, we were hockey groupies!  I won’t tell you what we called the girls in high school that stalked the hockey players!)  We waited a long time– I’m guessing an hour or so.  We let the kids run around.  Jack wanted to see Ovechkin’s car, so Travis took him over to it.  Apparently he REALLY wanted hisimg_2352 picture with Ovie’s car, so he posed a bit for the photo shoot!  We caught glimpses of a few players going to grab food, but no one came out.  When we were just about to give up and call it a day, some of the players started to come out.  Theodore came out first with a pretty sheepish look on his face.  I felt bad for him, no one really acknowledged him so I said Hi.  He smiled half apologetically and said Hello.  A few minutes later we could see Mike Green was coming so we told Jack to walk up to him when he came out and tell him that he had a faux hawk like him.  Jack was all smiles and at first was a little embarrassed, but then he saw other people walking up to Green so he ran up to him.  Jack said something like “look at my hair hawk”.  He was so excited he couldn’t even get it out.  But Green saw him and bent down, gave him a high five and said “Hey little buddy, look at you.”  Jack was really excited then.  Of course, we didn’t have the camera ready.  Doh!  We waited a few minutes and Semin and Laich came out– not together but one shortly afteimg_2353r the other.  Then the payday…Ovechkin came out.  Jack and Travis went up to him (along with a mob of others) and as Ovechkin signed something for another person, Trav asked if he could sign Jack’s jersey he was wearing.  Ovechkin said yes and bent down and signed Jack’s jersey.  I don’t think Jack could have had a better morning.  Ever since the season ticket holder party at the beginning of the year, Jack has been wanting Ovechkin to sign his jersey.  All the way home he reminded me that “Ovechkin signed my jersey, Mom.”

So a morning at Caps practice paid off.  We got to see some of the players, we got Ovechkin’s signature and best of all Brashear played with our kids.  Wow!  For a hockey loving family like us, it doesn’t get much better than that!

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Jack’s Girlfriends

Apparently Jack has two girlfriends at school.  A few days ago we were all driving in the car and he announced to me and Travis that some girls have bad hair but not his girls, his girls have good hair.  After dinner tonight he told Travis (I was nursing G and wasn’t privy to this conversation) that he wanted to go to lunch bunch after school with Allison & Amelia.  He said he was going to call them and tell them to go to lunch bunch with him and then he told Travis that Mommy needed to call Allison & Amelia’s Mommies and tell them that they needed to go to lunch bunch together.  After that we were in the car and Jack was jabbering away about getting presents for his friends Ian and Isla when we were on vacation.  He became very concerned because we didn’t get presents for his girlfriends.  When we asked who his girlfriends were he said “You know, my girlfriends Allison & Amelia.  We need to get presents for them and my girlfriends need to get me presents because I didn’t get any presents.”  Then he went on to tell us how his girlfriends have good hair.  Some girls have bad hair but his girlfriends have good hair.  And on and on he went about his girlfriends.  He was absolutely cracking us up.  Already he has girlfriends…not one girlfriend but two AND they have good hair.  Who knew all this was so important to a 2 1/2 year old?!

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