Posts Tagged ‘Catelyn’

For some reason, I got really excited about Halloween this year. As in, wanted to make my own costume, go to parties and go trick-or-treating with my friend Sarah J. and her kids. It all started with a blog post from years ago, back before I knew how to star and tag posts in Google Reader so I could find things again later. Someone had posted a photo of a little kid (pre-toddler?) dressed up as a Viking, and manohman do I wish I could find it to share with you here.

[This is about as close as a Google search is going to get me.] The fur boots! Oh my goodness.

This cuteness + [Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series + HBO’s True Blood (hello, Eric Northman)]+ a weird and sudden desire to learn to sew and crochet + a friend’s blonde haired, blue eyed almost 3-year-old = a very Viking Halloween.

I started by getting Mom involved. She taught me to sew, and we made faux fur vests and boots for Caleb and I. Then, Mom showed me how to take a single, long strip of faux leather and place darts around it in order to make a belt, which I hung three-inch wide strips of the same material from to make a leather skirt. I ripped apart an old leather belt of mine to add some extra ornamentation to the skirt. During a lunch break one day at work, Sarah S-E taught me how to crochet, and I started making both a child and adult size Viking hat. Finally, Mom and I made red velvet mummy cupcakes and candy finger bone pretzels.


My friend Jill hosted the First Annual Haunted Barn party. I managed to borrow the majority of the decorations from a guy I used to pet-sit for, as he used to throw an elaborate haunted house every year (unfortunately he stopped creating the haunted houses right about the time I started dog-sitting, so I never got to attend one). Aimee came as an Amish Girl, and her costume won a prize! Sarah J. was a beautiful Butterfly, and Mom came as Brunnehilde the Green (M&M). Sean and Liz dressed up as Daddy Warbucks and Annie, in the most awesome inappropriate pairs costume ever! It was very cold that night (some parts of Maryland got snow!), but we had a great time and huddled around the space heaters when necessary.




On the actual All Hallows Eve, I went trick-or-treating with Sarah J. and her kids, Catelyn the Butterfly and Caleb the Viking. Nene and Mom were there too, as well as Sarah’s friends and their kids, Bat Girl (Nadia) and Bumblebee the Transformer (Nathan). The biggest challenge of the evening was getting Caleb into his costume, but once he was in it, he loved the attention (and the candy)! We wandered from house to house down Nene’s family-friendly neighborhood, laughing at the kids’ squeals when something was scary and playing “red light-green light” when they’d run too far ahead. The adults reminisced about how different Halloween is from when we were little, and the kids tried to make more room for “good” candy by dumping all of the “yucky” candy on the adults!



I was really proud of the way that the costumes turned out, and was glad I decided to channel the spooky spirit this year! All around, this was a Halloween filled with more treats than tricks!


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July 20 – 23

Those of you who know me well are aware of the fact that I’m not necessarily what you would call a “kid person.” Babies freak me out with their fold-in-half floppiness and my Type A personality quietly freaks out when I watch kids try to feed themselves. I haven’t been around a lot of children, either, so I don’t know what behavior is acceptable because hey, they’re kids and which behavior means that it’s time to reinforce the yes, ma’am line.

This aversion to the mini-people is somewhat unfortunate, because as a 32-year-old I’ve entered a particular time in life where everyone around me is breeding. Above all except my family members, I ::heart:: my friends, and think of them as part of my extended family. Which means, inevitably, that I’m going to have to get used to — and learn to like — children. Lots of children.


Lucky for me, I got to start off nice and slow. Sarah J. had Catelyn almost five years ago, and Caleb followed about two years after that. I got to warm up to the concept of holding a floppy baby slowly, putting my energies into knitting baby bunny hats and a baby blanket that took me a freakishly long time (two years!) to complete. I’ve now experienced the sit-there-and-stare-at-the-newborn stage, the nothing-will-make-him-shut-up-except-holding-him-and-walking stage, the baby-discovers-that-it-can-make-sounds-and-faces-that-make-you-laugh stage, the cuddle-bug stage, the I-only-love-Mommy stage, the “no” stage (my least favorite), the I-can-do-it-all-by-myself stage, the look-at-me! stage, and the we-love-Auntijen! stage (a personal favorite).

So when Steph had her first baby, I drove down south to visit her and Kolter and to meet little Kale. He was so new at that point, that he basically ate, created stinky diaper art and slept. He didn’t cry much, and stayed in a pretty good mood as we shuttled him all around in the southern heat, in and out of cars, car seats and strollers. Look ma, I even held him:

Fast forward a year, and Steph announces that it’s her turn to visit. Yippee! I was super-stoked to hear this, and quickly marked off several days in my calendar. Then I realized: 18 months = toddler. In my house. Admittedly, I went into a maelstrom of baby-proofing that may or may not have been accompanied by several nightmares (did I unplug the paper shredder?!) and a small heart attack. Sarah J. recognized the signs of distress and let me borrow a high chair along with a basket of noisy toys and board books. Aimee gifted me with a baggie full of outlet plugs. Thus prepared, I eagerly awaited the arrival of my friend and her kid. This kid:

Turns out, I needn’t have worried so much. Kale is one awesome little boy, and he listens to his Momma. (I never heard Steph get to the count of “… Two…”; “One…” seemed to do the trick!) After getting the two of them settled into the guest room, Kale promptly found my stuffed kitty cat, Orion, and proceeded to carry him around and give him kisses. Despite the fact that he was teething in his molars, Kale proved to be a relatively cheerful and happy-go-lucky kid who loves fruit and orange food above everything else. He was quick to break into a wide smile and warmed up to me quickly. I’m happy to report that I got hugs and a kiss by the end of day one.

Of course the week of their visit would coincide with a freaking wave of heat and humidity, so going to the pool became one of the top destinations. Steph had been missing her proximity to the Chesapeake Bay, so one afternoon I picked up a half bushel of crabs and we headed over to my parent’s house for a crab feast in the cool basement. I wish I had taken a picture of Kale, next to my Mom, sitting on Dad’s western saddle stool. Later, Kale made all of us laugh (and then jump to his rescue) by sitting on the edge of the kitty litter box, threatening to topple over backward.

One day we took Kale over to Sarah J.’s house for a play date complete with kiddie pool, a pop-up tunnel and a picnic on the living room floor. He was enamored with Scout, their Weimaraner, and was very patient and sweet with Miss Kitty, who even let him pet her while she laid in her window seat one evening. Kale even busted out with several new words on his trip to Maryland, including “Jen” and “Scout.”

Saturday came way too soon, and as I helped Steph pack up Kale’s toys from the living room floor I realized, I was sad to see them go. I was enjoying interacting with Kale and watching him warm up to me, and I was treasuring those moments where he was asleep and Steph and I could curl up on the couch and gossip.

I know Kale probably won’t remember his first trip to Maryland, but I doubt I’ll ever forget the first time that I survived having a toddler in my house!

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The joy found in baking scrumptious treats is stretched wide and toothy on the faces of those loved ones with whom you share the yumminess! Last night I made pumpkin cinnamon rolls (from scratch!) for dessert to share with my favorite family of four, the Joneses!

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It was a gorgeous September day — perfect for piggyback races on the boardwalk at Solomons…

climbing trees…

questioning the “right of way” on a playground slide…

challenging the rules of hop scotch…

getting into the swing of things…

learning about weights and leverage…

defying gravity…

All in all, it was a perfect day for hanging out with three of my favorite people — Sarah, Catelyn and Caleb!

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On Friday, October 2, I went on a field trip up to the Natural History Museum in D.C. with Sarah J. and her kids, Catelyn and Caleb. Our destination? The Butterfly Pavilion, part of the Butterflies + Plants: Parners in Evolution exhibit. I’ve wanted to go for at least two years now, and Sarah and I will take any good excuse to hang out with one another (even though she had taken Catelyn before)!


Turns out, butterflies are just scary, flying bugs to an almost three-year-old who doesn’t have an inch-thick pane of glass between her and those insects, and after several minutes of “No thank you! They bite me! No thank you, Momma! No!” Sarah escorted the distraught redhead out of the pavilion and I stayed behind a few minutes longer to capture a handful of photographs.


Shortly after my companions left the pavilion, a butterfly landed on my shoulder. “It means luck when they do that,” said one of the butterfly attendants. I couldn’t get a picture of it, but no fear — I soon had a little friend decide that my thigh made a great resting place, and he (or she) allowed me to walk around for at least five minutes while it hung on, and I was incredibly careful not to lean that thigh against the low wall for balance when composing other images!


A butterfly attendant helped me to encourage my little buddy to find a new perch without touching his (or her) delicate wings, and I emerged from the warm and humid pavilion to find a naturally faux-hawked Caleb getting a snack of rice cereal while sitting in his stroller, and a now-calm Catelyn happily nibbling away at her Froot Loops necklace.

2133_Caleb 2137_Catelyn

We wandered back into the main halls of the Natural History Museum, when Catelyn declared that she wanted to see the dinosaurs. Caleb and I hung out on a lower level, checking out the T-Rex and other bones, big and small, while Sarah and Catelyn explored upstairs. When we joined back up, I took a family photo of Sarah and her kids in front of the T-Rex. The camera’s flash (necessary in the dark room) lit up their faces, but unfortunately it also put the background (and the dinosaurs) in a dark fog — so I cropped the image on the important parts:


At roughly the end of a near-three-year-old’s attention span, and with our stomachs starting to rumble, we headed back onto the streets of DC and jumped on the Metro. Our next destination was Clarendon, where we were meeting Sarah’s brother — Uncle Will — and his girlfriend Amy for dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. We had a yummy dinner followed by a scrumptious dessert, and the kids were fast asleep in their car seats before we even drove out of the city… a wonderful day that ended with a chance for Sarah and I to talk uninterrupted the whole way home.

Now that’s what I call a perfect day!

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Beach thoughts


As soon as they arrived they walked
side-by-side through the wet sand
leaving paw prints for us to follow.



His five-month-old happy feet danced
in the splish-splash of salt water —
He’s only happy when he’s moving.


She played in the sun and water
and made pies of sand for us to eat
all with a dollop of grape jelly in her top.

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21st century kids

They say let sleeping dogs lie, but they obviously don’t live with a two-year old.


A two-year-old loves new technology, especially when it involves touch screens and bright colors.


Such wonderful, amazing things — these toys the grown-ups call “iTouch” or “iPod” — must not be experienced alone. And a two-year-old will think nothing of interrupting a well-deserved nap to explain the various menus and functions of Apple products to her canine best friend.


In the end, the only way for an adult to rescue his/her device from the crevasse between the couch cushions (and from doggie drool) is to distract said two-year-old with a toy pony which she will name “Horsey,” followed immedately by “Happy.”


A special thanks to Catelyn Jones and her pal, Scout, for illustrating this important tutorial on dogs, children and Apple products.

Disclaimer: This post not sponsored by Apple, although I’d be open to negotiate a little deal. Call me.

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