Christmas Morning!


For me, Christmas morning is magic.  It's a time be thankful for all our blessings (both big and small), to cherish family, and to celebrate the joy, wonder, and innocence of children.  I had the good fortune of watching the magic unfold for my little boy, who at 6 a.m., woke Mommy and Daddy out of a sound sleep to  go downstairs and see if Santa came...

Reindeer cookies (we made) for Santa...

Santa left gifts and a fully assembled motorized train track. 

Between the new track (and the existing train table), there's not too much space to sit :)

Enjoying the new train!

The infamous cash register (to his left).

Could this be a Leap Pad?

This year Santa left stocking stuffers too!

A Hot Wheels Mystery Machine...just like the one in Scooby Doo.

A quick photo break...

Another small train called the Santa Express.

Checking out the wheels of his small train.

Some more Christmas magic...

Santa left a dusting of snow!
This year was all about trains.  In fact the cash register and the Leap Pad (among other toys) came in a distant third and forth place to the choo choo trains Lewie received.  He's been playing with both his new trains nonstop except for when we take a break to watch The Polar Express (which has now been seen six or seven times) since the first viewing before Thanksgiving.

In the spirit of Christmas and The Polar Express, I do believe in Christmas magic...the bell still rings in this house!

To those who are grieving this Christmas--especially our beloved neighbors in Newtown--my thoughts and prayers are with you now and will forever remain in my mind and in my heart. May God embrace you and your families and never let go...

The Santa Express


Last Sunday, Little Lewie and I had reservations to go on "The Santa Express."  Since he's such a huge Polar Express fan, I knew he would be excited to go on a real choo choo train.  Even more, the train cars were from the early 1920's, so the ride felt even more authentic to the movie.

We rode with another little friend and his mom and had the joy of meeting Santa, Mrs. Claus, and even one of Santa's helpers.  The ride was fun, and we had a few funny moments to throw into the mix too.

At some point during the middle of the train ride, my son said he had to go pee pee.  Trains from the 1920's do not have bathrooms, and so we had ourselves a dilemma.  When the train stopped to turn around and go back in its original direction, I pounced on one of the conductors.

" son has to go to the bathroom.  Is there anyway he can just whizz off the back of the train car?"

Mrs. Claus herself halted the train and escorted us to a place where Lewie could exit the train...There was no shyness there, he was done emptying his bladder in a few seconds flat.  Problem solved.

On the way back, one of the conductors came onto the loud speaker and told us that we wouldn't be able to go up the hill and cross the dam that day.  "The rain is making the rails very slippery, and the wheels keep on flipping."

My girlfriend and I looked at each other and laughed.  "That's okay by me," she said relieved.  "I'd prefer not to go up on a dam anyways."  I couldn't agree more.

Picture of the train crossing the dam in good weather!
At the end of the trip, we went into the train station to listen to some Christmas music and check out their gift shop.  Lewie was enthralled with the motorized trains they had on display, so I never had a chance to look at their shop.  My friend, on the other hand, went and bought a simple toy train that her son picked out.

During the entire ride home, my son whined, "I want that toy train.  I want his toy."  The boys kept sharing it back and forth, but I had to keep reminding Lewie when his turn was taking a little too long.

After a special, fun-filled day on the train, Lewie's final comment to me was, " I don't want Santa to bring a cash register anymore; I want that toy train."  Ugghhh.  It looks like I'll be going back to the train station today (since it's only open on the weekends) to get the same little $6 choo choo train for him...  Santa's job is not easy; he needs a raise.

Us on the train...(It almost looks like we're on a school bus...)

Lewie and Santa...

Santa exiting the car...

The train station and gift shoppe.

The boys enjoying the moving toy trains.

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The Polar Express


I've said it many times before, but I'll say it again: I LOVE AGE FOUR.   Over the past few weeks, I've been trying to keep a log of all the funny, sweet, unique, and cute things my little boy has said, but I have to admit, it's been difficult;  these days it seems like everything that comes out of his mouth is cute...

Today, I'd like to share my favorites...

Looking at each other in the mirror.
Me:  "We've got the same noses, Lewie."
Him:  "Yes, but mine has polka-dots."  (Of course, he means that he has freckles.)

As he's swinging, "Mommy, the sun is following me."

While looking outside at the fog, "Today's going to be a froggie day."

While taking a bath...
Him:  "Mommy, is this my knee shoulder?"
Me:  "No, it's your elbow."

While at CVS Pharmacy, pointing to a toy cash register.  (Thank you CVS for including a lovely toy section)
Him:  "Mommy, can I have this?"
Me:  "I don't have the money to buy it right now.  Why don't you tell Santa that you want it?"
Him:  "Okay, but what if Santa forgets?"

Last week, he developed a very new fascination with The Polar Express.  Starting on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, Lewie found the movie, still in its original packaging, and asked in he could see it.  (To be honest, it was given to us as a present, but I forgot about it.)  I knew the picture of the train must have fascinated him, but I didn't think he'd actually sit (or stay awake) for the entire movie.  Well, let me just say that he did both.  My little boy, who had preschool the next day, stayed awake until 11 p.m. watching the movie!

I probably should have insisted that he go to bed, but I was just amazed at how this movie captured his complete and total attention; he was mesmerized!  The very next day, he asked if he could see it again and so it was played again and again during the Thanksgiving Day holiday.  Then my aunt decided to buy him the soundtrack, and now if he isn't watching the movie, then he's listening to the music in the car over and over again.  For those of you who are fans (or have children that are fans), his favorite songs are "The Polar Express" and "Hot Chocolate"--I  captured a video of him dancing to his favorite songs before bed.

Yesterday we went to the mall, and Lewie saw Santa.  In previous years, he could care less, but this time, he wanted to meet Santa.  He wanted to tell him all about The Polar Express.  I wasn't planning on having his holiday pictures taken so soon, but hey, when there's an opportunity, especially with kids, you have to take it when it comes.

We met Santa, and sure enough, he told him about watching The Polar Express.   When Santa asked him what he wanted for Christmas, Lewie answered confidently, "a cash register."  I don't know many boys that ask for a cash register for Christmas, but mine did.  I couldn't help but to laugh out loud.  I sure hope CVS still has it...after all, Santa can't "forget."



Today I will be traveling to Delaware to spend cherished memories with our little extended family.  (We don't have many family members left, and so these holidays are especially important for us.)

In the meantime, I feel incredibly grateful today.  Grateful for my little boy, grateful for my husband, grateful for my mom, grateful for my aunts, uncles, and cousins, grateful for my friends, and grateful from my blogging friends.  Even more, I'm thankful for God--for his love, patience, and guidance (even when times in life get incredibly difficult and scattered).

On this very beautiful holiday, I will be sure to take time to count my many blessings, and I'll be sure to remind Lewie too.   My glass is not half empty; it's overflowing.

Thank you all for being such wonderful friends and inspirations for me. 


Much to be thankful for...Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

Swing High Little One!


This weekend, my little boy achieved yet another milestone.  Yes, he can pump his feet and swing all by himself!  Over the years, I've watched many milestones...his first bites of solid food, his first steps, his first bath, his first art project, etc. etc.  However, this milestone of being able to swing all by himself will always be near and dear to my heart.

You see, I've been pushing my little boy on the swings for the past four years, and over the past year, I knew that he was starting to develop the concept of pumping his feet; he just didn't have the confidence to do it on his own.  Well, this week we spent several days practicing.  Every time he swung up, I would tell him to push his legs out. Once he swung them out, I would tap the bottom of his feet and tell him to push his legs back.

"Great job, Lewie!  Keep pushing those feet out!  Keep pushing them out!  Remember, out and in...out and in!"  I'd praise him over and over for a job well done, and amazingly, he kept swinging higher and higher with very little of my effort.  At this point, I knew he was doing it, but he didn't realize it.  He still thought I was the one helping him by tapping his feet.

On Sunday, my mom, aunt, and I were out raking the leaves, and Little Lewie ran for the swings. "Mommy, can you push me?" he asked again and again.  My mom pushed him a few times, and then the unthinkable happened...he started pumping his feet, and before we all knew it, he was swinging higher and higher.

"Look Mommy.  Look!"  Lewie shouted.  "I'm doing it all by myself!"

"You are, Lewie.  You are.  I'm so proud of you!  Mommy's so proud of you!"

For the next forty minutes, my family and I continued to rake the yard while Lewie pumped and pumped and swung higher and higher.  I've been a proud Mamma before all of this, but that day I gloated.  With a little bit of my time, patience, and praise, I helped my little boy develop the confidence to swing!  I've been a part of many milestones, but this is one that I can call my very own accomplishment too.   Swing high, Little Lewie.  Swing high!

Little Lewie's first cradle "swing."

Before Lewie knew how to pose for pictures... (park in Prospect, CT)

Swinging in three feet of snow during the winter of 2010.

A "little" snow never stopped anyone...especially him.

Swinging at the park in Litchfield, CT during the summer of 2011.

I told him I'd push him real high if he just smiled for the camera...  I bribe all the time :)

My little boy's first time on a "big kid's" swing.  (This is the backyard of our friend's house.)

My last picture of him on the swings...Now it's hard because he's a moving target!

The Halloween Mystery...


This Halloween, Little Lewie and I dressed up as Scooby and Velma and went off in our "Mystery Machine" to find clues.  (Actually, our mission was to find candy...but you know...)

This year, hands down, we had the best Halloween.  All day Lewie referred to me as Velma instead of Mommy, and I got to be his trusty sidekick that every once and a while replenished him with a "Scooby Snack."  In the morning, we took off in our "Mystery Machine" to preschool where he had a chance to march in a Halloween parade with all his other little friends.  Later that evening, we went out trick-or-treating in our neighborhood where we received tons of compliments.  One little boy (around five or six) came up to me, and said:  "Excuse me.  Are you that kid's mom?  Could you tell him that I love his costume?"  By far, that was the best compliment of the night!

The Friday after Halloween, we dressed up one more time to visit my mom's place of work.  There, Lewie received some more Halloween candy and had a chance to entertain everyone as Scooby.  (I still remember the very first year I brought him over to visit as a pumpkin--that very first year he was only two months-old!)

Besides the compliments, the very best part of the night was watching Lewie go from house to house with joy.  A few times I caught him singing the Scooby Doo song as we walked.  He was so excited to be his favorite cartoon character.  (To be honest, I enjoyed dressing up as Velma too because I loved watching Scooby Doo mysteries as a kid!)

Well Scooby, we had a great Halloween.  Our next mystery will be guessing what costume we want to wear for next year...

Scooby and Velma at preschool.

A profile of Scooby in the costume parade.

Scooby and his antics!

Scooby and Gramy at her work.

One more picture of the Mystery Machine Crew.

My College Kid (at age four)


Okay, I like dressing my kid in college T-shirts.  I figure if I start early, he'll come to expect and look forward to attending college one day.  Still, let me not rush his childhood.  In fact, I don't want him growing older any time soon.  Age four is such an adorable age, and oh my gosh...I find that I want to just squeeze my little boy all the time because he's so cute.  (Is this normal?)

My belated first day of school picture.

I can already see the "college boy" in him!

Today I want to make a list of all the fun moments I've been having with him lately.  Age four is just the best!

1) Hide-and-Go-Seek--My little boy loves playing hide-and-seek, especially right after his bath.  Once I get him in his pj's, he tells me to close my eyes and count to ten while he hides under the covers.  Then when it's my turn, I'm instructed to hide under the covers.

2.  My Good Little Boy--I told Lewie he's a good boy.  He thought about it for a minute, and then said, "Daddy's a good boy too.  We're both good boys because we're both Lewies."  I laughed, "Well, of course, if you're both named Lewie, then you must both be good boys."

3.  Lewie's Office--Lewie insists that he goes to work and that he has an office too.  When I bring him to my office, he likes to sit in my seat and pretend to answer important phone calls.  I should just let him do the work, right?

4.  Lewie's Keys--Whenever Lewie leaves to go to school, go on a play date, or accompany me on errands, he always brings his pretend keys and pretend cell phone.  On other days, he also brings his pretend credit card, his camera, and even my purse.  In his little world, he drives, he buys things, and he's got a very busy social life.  Of course, since he's absentminded like me, he's always losing his keys too.  I find that I'm now in charge of keeping track of his keys and cell phone in addition to mine.

5.  I Make You a Big Deal--Lewie's always making deals with us. (Is this a good thing?)  When I drop him off at school, he tells me if he wants Gramy, Daddy, or me to pick him up.  The other day, Lewie made me a "big deal:"  "Mommy, when you pick me up, you need to bring me a chocolate treat."

6.  Lewie's Sister--Lewie insists he has a sister.  He's always talking to her on the phone or texting her, which leads me to believe she's an "older sister."  I suppose she's like an imaginary friend.  Of course, in this case, she's an imaginary relative that he "loves very much."

7.  Manners--Lewie is very polite.  He remembers his please and thank you's.  The other day as we were leaving preschool, he yelled out to his teacher, "Take care Miss Taylor."

8.  Empathy--Last weekend Lewie's ear was hurting him, and I started to get emotional after seeing my little boy so sick.  He looked at me and said, "Don't worry Mommy.  I'll feel better tomorrow."

9.  Favorites--Lewie's concerned about playing favorites, (I guess it's part of him having empathy) and so he never wants anyone to feel left out.  When he tells us that he loves us, he always pipes in, "I love Mommy and Daddy and Gramy too."

I suppose I could spend the whole day writing about his cuteness.  All I can say is that I love this age...he's quite the chatterbox, travel buddy, and comedian.  Using his very own words, Lewie: "I love you.  You're my best friend."

Savoring the Fall


The fall is such a beautiful time of year, but it's also so short.  From the minute September arrives, I feel like the clock is ticking to get in as many country fairs, hayrides, and farm visits for apple picking and pumpkin picking as soon as possible.  The race, of course, is to beat those cold November days when the leaves have officially fallen off the trees and the wind feels like it has the ability to go right through you.

This is how I'm feeling on this lovely 14th day of October... Yesterday, it felt like the wind and the winter chill had already beat me to the finish line.  Still, we bundled ourselves up and made the most of the day.  Last weekend, I went on a canoeing trip with an old friend from work, and I learned about a beautiful farm and vineyard called Rosedale in Simsbury, CT.  After our canoe trip, the guide led us to a 350 year-old tree.  "This tree is the largest in Connecticut and also the largest in New England," he told the group,  "It's a miracle it survived. After all, when the early Colonial settlers inhabited our state, they turned all our forests into farmland.  We have more forests and trees today, than we had back then."

Well, after having an amazing time last weekend, I knew I was going to take my mom and my little guy on the same trip again this weekend, minus the canoeing (although I do look forward to the day when I can take my little buy on a canoe or kayak trip).  We packed our bags and headed back north to Simsbury... When we arrived at the farm, we bought some hot apple cider and chocolate chip cookies, took a hayride, and then purchased a few, yummy baked goods to enjoy for the week.  Next, we went to see the famous 350 year-old tree, and then we stopped at a lunch place in Collinsville called the LaSalle Market and Deli.   I love this market because they have toys and board games you can play with while you're having something to eat.  (The only downside is that Lewie gets so caught up playing with the toys that it's hard to convince him to eat!)

We ended the day with a quick trip to Target (hey, we always need to fit in errands when we can) and hurried home to put little guy to bed.  After a long, brisk day, we were certainly tired but happy we could fit in another fall adventure.  The time is going by way too quickly; I only hope that we'll have a chance to enjoy a few more fall weekends before the November chill creeps around the corner...

Getting ready for our canoe trip last weekend.

My friend Sue and I stopping at Rosedale Farm for a bite to eat after the canoe trip.

The adorable farm market.

The calm, tranquil Farmington River.

More of the river...we did get hung up a few times, but at least we never tipped over!

My mom and Little Lewie enjoying the farm.

Lewie and me by the old-fashioned tractor.

Hayride anyone?  (I love how they used comforters to protect our butts from the hay...)

The pumpkin patch...

More of the beautiful farm...

The winery and shop with lots of baked goodies.

The miracle tree.

Checking out the tree.

Proof I was there...

My mom hugging the tree...(to see how wide it actually is...)

Playing with fun toys at LaSalle's Market.  Much more fun than eating a hot dog!