Sunday, May 31, 2015

All Aboard

We decided that at long last we would take Owen – a train lover – on his very first train ride, and then we made the mistake of telling him this a few days before the ride.  It turns out that toddlers, like pug dogs, do not understand the future tense.  And Owen apparently thinks “tomorrow” means in a few minutes.  So there was much anticipation for the trip, yet also a bit of angst and tears.

Sunday finally arrived, however, and we went to the station to take the train into center city Philadelphia.  Owen was very excited, and very cute on the train.  He sat in between us and observed away.  He was a little upset when the conductor took Sean’s ticket, and this resulted in multiple exclamations for the rest of the ride about how “The doctor took my ticket!”  So we wizened up on the way back and had Owen give the ticket to the conductor, so he wouldn’t feel like he was being robbed.

Once in the city we kept the activities to a minimum, and first had a cookie at Reading Terminal Market:

And then we walked a mile or so to a playground, where Owen had a good time swinging and going on a rope merry-go-round.

It was a short morning excursion but a good one!  Owen is ready for his next commute.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

I Was Grumpy

Owen is going through a bit of a “willful” phase…or perhaps it is just the terrible two and a halfs.  It’s certainly not as bad as it could be, and in general he is a happy fellow, but in the past two weeks he seems often to want to do the opposite of what we suggest, even if what we suggest is normally something he’d love.  And then god forbid I insist we get dressed in the morning, even though that is something that we of course always do, and pretty much at the same time daily.  This morning I ignored his rantings and ravings and tried to get him dressed, until halfway through his mood changed on a dime and he asked for a “mommy hug” and then all was okay.

If he hasn’t napped, he is often grumpy in the car when he and Sean pick me up after work:  he’ll turn his head away from me and grunt when I talk to him.  He did this yesterday, but then a few minutes after we were in the house, he was back to cheerful, and cheerfully proclaimed, “I was grumpy in the car!”  Yes, Owen, you were.

I’m assuming it is just a phase and that it will soon end.  He still will immediately answer “I cahn’t and I won’t!” if we ask him if he has to go potty.  And then after a few minutes of dancing around – obviously having to go – he will say, “I have to go to the potty right away!  Right away!”  And then we do and he does.

His favorite word seems to be “disgusting” said “dee-gusting”.  Many things in our house, apparently, are dee-gusting, from the half eaten bowl of catfood to an ant on the floor.

Last night we went out on the porch during an odd thunder rainstorm to see if there was a rainbow, since the sun was also out.  (There was, but just a faint one!)  Anyway, Owen was running up and down the length of the porch and after twenty minutes or so I was trying to herd him back in without making it seem like it was my suggestion.  I asked him if he wanted to go play with his trucks and cars, or read books, and he said he wanted to stay out on the porch, because “It’s bootiful out here.”  Well okay then.  Hard to argue with that.

We’ve been doing a lot of reading, at long last!  There are still some books he will immediately turn his nose up at, but we are now reading relatively wordy books that he will be obsessed with for four or so days until moving on to the next one.  Right now he is all about “Caps For Sale,” “Be-Bim-Bop,” and “Hop on Pop”.  Before that it was “Doctor Ted,” “Go Dog Go,” and “Hazel’s Amazing Mother”.  I’m looking forward to seeing what it will be next!  (Although I also admit to hiding certain books in his bookshelf that I can’t bear to read again, like “8 Monkeys Jumping On The Bed” and “Your Turn Doctor.”  I figure it's a parent's prerogative!)

Thursday, May 21, 2015


Over the past few months, Owen’s language skills have really accelerated.  He talks non-stop, from the minute he wakes up in the morning to a good hour after we put him into bed.  He’s really funny too – or at least his parents and nanny find him so!  J

He’s not so much a “Why?” kid (at least not yet).  His questions are “What’s that?” and “What are you doing?” And answering either of those questions will not get him to stop asking, especially if we are doing something new – then he wants to hear the answer over and over.

He makes his toys talk to each other too, and will often force us to hold a toy and engage in play conversation (my friend calls this kind of interaction “floorplay”). 

We’ve started toilet training, and whenever we ask Owen if he has to go to the potty, he immediately exclaims, “I cahn’t and I won’t!”  (For some reason, perhaps Peppa Pig or Thomas,, Owen says “can’t” with an English accent.)  I have taken to replying “You must and you shall!”  So it sounds a lot like a Victorian soap opera in our house.

I was putting on Owen’s jacket yesterday and it was his yellow one which he hadn’t worn in a while.  He looked down at it and said,  “Oh!  It’s Yellow Owen!”  Then later when we were outside he started to run and said, “Yellow Owen Running!”  And for the rest of the day it was all Yellow Owen this and Yellow Owen that.

After a long day of Owen care, Sean went upstairs for 15 minutes of peace and quiet before Owen’s bathtime.  When Owen asked where Daddy was, and I told him, Owen queried, “Can I go up and have some peace and quiet too?”  I told him no, that would defeat the purpose.

The other day when I went in to get Owen out of his crib in the morning:
Owen:  Mommy was that you coughing in your room?
Me:  Yes
Owen:  Oh.  That was scary!
Me: --

Friday, May 15, 2015

Our Cherry Tree

One of my favorite things about our house is the old cherry tree in the front.  It's a great tree, and at this time of year it is magnificent.  For five or more days it is a blaze of pink, and then all of a sudden it is half pink flowers, half green leaves, and then the petals fall and the leaves take over.

Here's the beginning of the pink:

And here's the middle:

Here's the tree as viewed from our second floor:

And up close:

Here's the tree with some azaleas beginning to bloom underneath:

And here is Owen enjoying the falling of the petals:

Spring fever!

Spring in Philadelphia

One of the good things about where I work in Philadelphia is that I can walk to get lunch at Whole Foods on occasion, and to get there I can take the tiny cobbled streets which are from Ben Franklin's time.  They are really narrow -- I guess just the right width for a horse and buggy -- and the row houses on either side are mostly the original houses that were there too.  At this time of year, a lot of the little streets have a canopy of pink flowers:

Actually, these two pictures are from a street that has paved over the cobbles.  The street that the house with the red door at the end is on, however, is a cobbled one.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

O Mighty Huntress!

One of us has a lot to sing about!

Last Sunday, I was playing up in my bedroom with Owen, when Miss Posy Fern strutted into the room...holding a mouse!  Ugh!  Owen and I quickly made our escape and called for Sean (one funny thing is that now when Owen sees a bug in the house he'll call, "Sean!" instead of Daddy).  Sean got Posy to drop her trophy and it turned out that she had both caught and killed a poor wee mousie, despite the fact that Posy only has one fang and a couple of other teeth the size of a pinhead.  Not to mention the fact that with all her heavy breathing, she is hardly stealthy!  But catch a mouse she did and she was very, very proud.

Meanwhile, Mr. Missed Opportunity was snoozing in the sunporch while all the carnage was occurring.  Embarrassing!

I let Posy catch this one to boost her confidence:

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Several Generations of Haircuts

Owen had not had a haircut since November, during which he was most upset, although came out looking quite handsome at the end.  But his hair was getting shaggy and monklike again:

So on a Sunday, we went to a nearby cuttery and Owen had professional haircut #2.  And it was amazing what a difference six months made!  Owen sat in the chair by himself, and didn't mind the yellow cape they put on, and he kept looking at himself in the mirror while the woman cut his hair, and smiling -- he liked what he saw.  He didn't like the electric clippers she used at the end of the cut to trim above his ears, but until that point he was quite a trooper.

I didn't get a picture of him in the chair, alas!, because I was holding his hand underneath his cape.  But here he is at home immediately afterwards, still enjoying the lollipop they gave him at the shop:

I was moving files from an old filing system into a new cabinet the other day, and came across this picture of me getting my haircut when I was about 2 and a half.  Owen looks like me!

And then I found this picture of my niece, Josie, getting her hair done by a pal.  There's also a resemblance!

At the very least, it works as a kind of diagram of Our Family in Bowl Cuts.

Friday, May 8, 2015


The woman who lived in our house before us was quite a gardener.  On the day we closed, she took me around the backyard and showed me some of her plants, including a large rhubarb plant and an elderberry bush.  The elderberry bush was hit hard by the ice storm of 2014, and we need to trim it way back, but it is still producing fruit, which I "let" the birds have (although I do keep reading about all the wonderful nutrients found in elderberries so maybe this year I shall try to snag some berries before the birds eat them all).

I had great plans for the rhubarb, most of which involved a wonderful recipe I have for rhubarb bread pudding, but each year the rhubarb would come and go and I would do nothing [hangs head].  But not this year!

We all went out to the yard yesterday afternoon and I had my gardening gloves with me and decided it was time to pick rhubarb!

Here is what I picked.  Not bad for what is just one plant!

Owen is photobombing my rhubarb picture:

And here is the plant after I had done the picking -- still a lot left!  Owen always called this plant "Mommy's lettuce."

And here's what I picked before I cut off the poisonous leaves.  I decided to do that outside, since Plum eats any greens he can find, and I didn't want to have to rush to the vet...

Owen was a big helper while making the rhubarb.  He got Very Mad when I took the rhubarb to cook it, but then I gave him the trimmed off ends to play with and he sat there for a good 40 minutes putting them in the cup and then the pot and stirring and whatnot.

Here's the rhubarb before I cooked it.  7 cups!  I decided I would make it into a rhubarb sauce like my mother always does, since I didn't have the ingredients for the bread pudding.

And here is the finished product, after chilling in the fridge overnight.  I had a bowl for breakfast and it was delicious!  Owen wouldn't try any...yet.