Monday, October 18, 2010

Fall Family Fun: What a Great Weekend

This weekend was one of those weekends that makes me think there is a little bit of superpower dust in the hormonal and emotional changes that create and sustain a mama. Because somehow, we got to the end of Sunday afternoon and we had accomplished all the mundane gotta-get-it-done stuff we usually have to do on our two days off, plus a boatload more stuff that was just. plain. fun.

Family fun in a way we’ve never experienced before, because we’ve never had a rough-and-tumble, now-prefers-walking-to-crawling 14.5 month old before.

Saturday saw a visit to the church for the annual fall chicken barbeque and to check out the recently revamped church nursery. Which is really, really neat. Cayden loved the new-to-him toys, although he did drive Mama nuts by removing the shelf liner from every toy cubby before sitting down to play with any toys.

Then came the chicken. Mmmm, the chicken. Cayden ate more of my lunch than I did, right down to sucking the bones clean of meat. And then he got a special treat: a pumpkin, chocolate chip cookie for dessert. Although he was decidedly unhappy when lunch and dessert were over, and he threw a back-arching tantrum right in Fellowship Hall, insistent we shove more food down his gullet. But since he had eaten half a baked potato, 4 oz. of applesauce, part of a bun and an entire quarter of a chicken before his cookie, we decided to endure his tantrum and remove him from the table so as to avoid the overeating vomit we are sometimes blessed with, when too much dinner is consumed too quickly, then we’re not quite careful enough when removing the porker from the bathtub and consequently bend his legs too far at the hips and he pukes all over his bath towel.

I know, the joys of parenting a good eater.

Then Saturday afternoon saw Brian fishing and me scrapping, before we visited with Lauren and Jeff after Cayden’s bedtime to watch the Phillies.

Since the weather couldn’t be more perfect Sunday, we decided to daytrip it – to State College! Shorty’s first trip to Penn State.

First stop, Nittany Lion Shrine. For a few shots so that I have options from which to choose when Cayden is the coordinator of the class gift during his senior year at Penn State, and the Penn Stater alumni magazine features a message from him to alumni, along with a photo of him as a senior, posing with the Nittany Lion. Because there’s always a “my first photo with the Nittany Lion!” insert on those photos. Phew, now we’re prepared for that scenario.

Then we walked around downtown and on campus, doing as a family the things we never have time to do on football weekends. Checked out the Hintz Family Alumni Center, which unfortunately was closed, since there was no football game this weekend. But the brick walk and the grounds are be-you-ti-ful! Gorgeous flower gardens featuring every color of the rainbow – even in October! – and the absolute best part of our day: a water pond with super-dooper friendly ducks! OK, maybe they were just super-dooper hungry, but whatever. Those things gobbled up half of Cayden’s penguin crackers (cannibals), and gave us all a ton of laughs and squeals.

And then on to Old Main, for some leaf-playing, sidewalk-walking and stair-climbing. And then some more back arching tantrums, when I wouldn’t let Cayden re-scale all the granite steps to the front doors of Old Main, after he had done it once already. What can I say, we were late for lunch, and we were fighting a losing battle with a hungry kid.

Only wrinkle in our PSU daytrip was leaving Cayden’s lunch on the counter in the laundry room, so we had to improvise when we got to The Deli. He did great with his kids-cup of water and ribbed plastic straw, but Mama and Daddy kind of shit the bed in ordering lunch for Junior. The retards we are, we searched all over the regular menu for kids options, not finding any. So we ordered him a $6 bowl of matzo ball soup, which had far less carrots, chicken and flavor than the menu promised. Our college kid waiter must have thought we were nuts. The noodles were a hit for Shorty, but they didn’t suffice, so again he ate a good portion of my lunch, a chicken quesadilla.

Oh, and then we found the kids menu. You know, at the top of the placemat provided to Cayden along with a handful of crayons for coloring on said PLACEMAT MENU. Hello, first-time parents who don’t take their child out to restaurants for fear of public tantrums or food-throwing. What a rip, once we realized that for $4 we could have gotten Cayden a much better lunch: mini cheeseburger, mini fish-n-chips, mini soft tacos, pasta or grilled cheese, each with a side of apple slices. Oh well, live and learn.

By then it was about time for Cayden’s afternoon nap, so we returned to the car and headed home for an afternoon of more walking and exploring around the yard and newly finished deck!

And on top of all that excitement, somehow laundry and diapers and winter squash roasting and carrot steaming and floor swiffing and carpet vacuuming and baseboard dusting and lunch-making and work-week-wardrobe preparing and grocery buying were accomplished, to boot.

See, I told you it was superhero dust.

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