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Journal Key:

Green = Steve | George = navy | Janet = Purple | Evelyn = Black

6/5/14 (Thursday)

I had to work late, so Steve picked up both kids. We all got home at the same time. We've gotten back to a pattern we were following in the fall: Thursday is leftover night. Since we'd had tacos, I made nachos. I'd just gotten them into the oven when Owen decided that what he wanted for dinner was a taco. I offered nachos. He doesn't eat nachos. He wandered off. He wandered back. He wanted a taco. I couldn't give him a taco. I could give him chip tacos. That sounded good. When the chip tacos came out of the oven, Owen was willing to eat them.

After dinner, since it was fairly early and nice out, we had ice cream cones outside. It may have been Owen's first cone, but he ate it like a pro. Afterwards, I proposed a walk.

Me: Who wants to go for a walk?

Cara and Owen: ME!!!

Soon . . .

Owen: I think I'll stay home with Daddy.

Daddy: I was going to go.

Owen: Someone has to stay home with me!

Me: No one is staying home. You can decide which direction we walk in.

Owen: Yes! Because I am the leader!!!

And he was.

6/8/14 (Sunday)

We had a lovely weekend. On Friday night, we got the kids into the Loefflers' pool. Well, the big kids got all the way in; Owen hung out on the stairs. He kept himself busy "fishing," looking at bugs, and trying to get the others to pay attention to him. He also got out and used a bucket to wet the sidewalk all along the length of the pool, working dilligently.

On Saturday we went down to see Grandmom and Grandpop. We went to an event at a local park where Cara got to go in a bounce house and Owen got to chicken out. It was probably a good thing, because there was a big wall that he'd have had to climb to get out. We got ice cream from an ice cream truck, though, and Cara got a bow and arrow (which we have all enjoyed). Owen found a kid table at a display set up by a day care center, and he settled in and colored a picture. It was a flower and a bee. He colored the flower, and I had to do the bee. He requested that I add a drawing of a "woman, far away, waiting for the bee," but then he got distracted.

Saturday night, the kids slept over in Middletown.

We have plans for next week. Cara wants to do some kind of gardening project; she has left her gardening book here so I can study it and choose an activity. Owen wants a picnic at Marine Park; we were there today to see a replica of a 17th century ship, and he would gladly have sat right there on the grass, under a tree - in fact, he wanted to return there once we had purchased lunch. So, next week.

This visit included a hike to DQ (I forgot they had already had ice cream - oops), a hilarious (as always) pillow fight, lots of coloring - Owen is very intent on staying within the lines, and we had quite a chat about it on the way to DQ - and some painting, where our focus was what happens when we mix colors. At Marine Park, Owen was unsure at first whether he wanted to board the tiny ship, but he was brave. We stood at the rail together, gazing across the water; he was very hopeful that he could see New York. Cara could put the ship into some historical perspective - after Columbus, before there was a United States, or even colonies - and she got to practice ramming stuff into the tiny cannon.

Sunday afternoon, we all went down to the North Brunswick Youth Sports Festival and met up with Shannon, Linda, and the twins for six hours (!!) of fun.

Some highlights:

While we ladies watched the three girls go on some very scary rides, Steve took Owen on a ride, having seen other little kids and parents getting onto it. It was a mini-Himalaya, and there was a big winter scene behind it, with several polar bears weating coats and snow pants, ice skating and sledding. The ride, however, was fast! Owen loved it. I took him back to it (well, he took me) and we went on, got off, and went right back around to the entrance to go again.

Owen and Steve also discovered the pig racing. There were three races in each show, with different types of pigs. When Owen and I were reunited, he told me all about the pig races. He described the pigs. He described the track. It went on and on.

Another thing Owen really liked was playing games. He fished in a little pool and pulled out a shark: he won a fairly large (cheap) plastic car. He threw a basketball nowhere near a hoop and won a very shiny (cheap) plastic trumpet. He picked up a rubber duck from a pool and won a (cheap) plastic pirate dagger and eye patch. The trumpet is identical, I think, to one he won last year. It makes noise, but Owen is unable to work it. He tries: he sticks the entire mouthpiece into his mouth. He had me open the pirate kit while we were eating, and he did run around with his eye patch on, bransishing his dagger and making pirate noises (to Linda's delight) for a while.

We watched the animal show. Owen liked sitting on the bleachers, but he was not particularly attentive. Somehow, it was not as attractive as the pig races. After the show, though, the kids were able to actually feed a tiger. Each of them got to hold out a long stick with a piece of meat at the end and poke it through the bars. Owen reports that the stick was very heavy. He managed it, though!

Once again, Owen likes the fun house. We went through one that had a glass maze on the first floor and fun house mirrors upstairs. We spent a lot of time with those mirrors. The exit was a very steep, fast spiral slide. The first time through, we got out unscathed. Later, the girls took Owen through. He went down the slide by himself, fell over, banged his face a little bit (no marks) and was very upset until he was comforted by an ice cream sandwich. Before he was done with the ice cream, he was ready to go back. I got to finish the ice cream, but then I had to take him back in. Fortunately, he was too short for the more intense one next door. We went back to our old favorite. The mirrors were extra exciting. I took Owen down the slide on my lap again, fell over, and scraped my knee and elbow. No blood, but I'm wearing a band aid.

It was getting late. We decided everybody could have one last ride. Steve took Owen back to see the polar bears. The three girls went on the hang-gliding ride again, and rode all three abreast, their arms out like Superman. After the polar bears, Owen and Steve found that there were going to be more pig races. Could we stay? The girls were already on a second last ride, so, yes. We watched the pigs again. Well, Owen was done after one race. He was pulling on my arm. He wanted to go on the Ferris wheel. It was dark, and the lights were on. We went.

Poor Cara was exhausted; she dragged herself along. Owen was full of energy. He loved the Ferris wheel; he loved looking down and seeing all of the little people and things. He could see the pig track. He could see the polar bears. It was like a tiny village! He was a very happy boy.

We were definitely ready to go home, though. "I am very tired," Owen explained, as we got into the car, "because I was having so much fun." I had explained to him, as we waited for the Ferris wheel, that, because he had stayed out so late, he would only get one book tonight. We got home, took a quick shower, and read one book. Then he climbed into bed. He was still asleep, the next morning, when I left.

6/9/14 (Monday)

For the second week in a row, Monday was taco night. In Highland Park, I told Owen what was for dinner. He was excited. "Mommy," he said, "if you say that word again . . . " I wasn't sure what word he meant, really. I'd said a lot of words. What had annoyed him? He sounded quite threatening. "If you say that word again, I am going to eat a taco!" Um, was the word "taco"?

He squealed and started running.

He did, as promised, eat a taco.

6/10/14 (Tuesday)

Owen and I took Cara to dance and then had an adventure. We had errands to do: we had to go to the bank, and then we had to stop at Target. We needed to buy gas, and we were going to Barnes and Noble. Owen had brought a coloring book to school, and he was very invested in the page he was working on. At some point, he revealed that he was hoping to go into the dance studio and color. Well, I wondered, would he like to go back there and color instead of going to Barnes and Noble? Yes, he would. Hooray!

We actually spent our time at Target. I made him a very happy boy by buying him a new coloring book, a box of superhero-themed crayons, some apple juice, and some popcorn. We sat at the cafe in Target for an hour, coloring together. It was a lovely afternoon.

I tried introducing Owen to the concept of a bookmark. He has trouble finding his page after his coloring book has closed. Unfortunately, the bookmark I tried fell out.

It was leftover night, and Steve worked late. Owen and Cara and I watched Wreck-it Ralph and relaxed. Owen, who spent the afternoon alternating between being lovely and being snarky, had decided by that time that he really really wanted to wrassle with me and snuggle with me and basically do everything with me. In Parenting Mistake Number 3,489,572,934,857, I let him find out that it's gross if he throws his dirty underwear in my face. Therefore, it is very funny and he must do it as often as possible. There's still hope that he'll forget.

6/11/14 (Wednesday)

This was another afternoon of adventure. Owen and I took Cara to get her hair cut at Sweet and Sassy. It was Owen's first time there. There were some nice, cushy benches for us to sit on and color. We colored in Owen's Ironman coloring book, which he got yesterday. I mainly work on making really ugly backgrounds, while Owen colors guys. He chooses bizarre colors. Today, his guy's face and neck were bright red. "The red makes it look like his neck is bleeding," said Owen, conversationally. How nice.

I've really been impressed by his coloring, really. I've even seen him put a careful strip of color along the edge of an area before he colors it, the way grown-ups do.

We took a trip to the bathroom. As we left, Owen noticed that there was some glitter on the floor. And more glitter. And more glitter. It's a very glittery place, I explained.

After the haircut, we had some spare time. We walked over to Five Below. I'm on a quest for good coloring books. Target doesn't have them. I don't think Barnes and Noble does. Neither does Five Below. They did have a Ninja Turtles coloring book, though. Now, so do we.

We were meeting Heather and Camilla at Attillio's for pizza. They had chosen our favorite table! Owen sat and colored, of course, but he also ate almost his whole slice of pizza. Steve joined us. The girls went out to play tag on the sidewalk. We adults finished up, and then we had to pry Owen away from his coloring to go and get frozen yogurt.

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