Thursday, October 30, 2008

'Twas the Night Before Halloween!

While we were out trick-or-treating last year, one of the houses in our neighborhood had awesome pumpkins! They were so big that Tyler could have crawled into them and had room to spare! That was when I decided that I would try and grow our own this year. Needless to say, it was a learning process that I will continue on next year. We did manage to grow 3 good size pumpkins, but nowhere near as large as I had thought (our neighbors made it look so easy!). In order to supplement the Halloween decorations this year, I purchased 2 more to decorate with. However, I did not intend for the squirrels to eat them, nor was I aware that they did! One night last week I went out and pushed the half eaten pumpkins to the side and decided that the ones we grew would have to be enough for this year. But.....

Tyler asked me on Monday this week when we were going to make a Jack-o-lantern. I was a bit surprised, but not so much that I got kind of excited that he wanted to carve a pumpkin! We have not carved a pumpkin in years and for anyone who knows how I am with a knife in my hand, they understand why!

In order to satisfy Tyler's curiosity about "making" Jack-o-lantern, I decided that I would go for it this year and carve a pumpkin. In order to make sure I was going to walk away with all 10 fingers, I purchased a pumpkin carving kit. After all, how hard could it be? I failed to see the bigger picture, though.... We didn't have a good sized pumpkin anymore and how was Tyler going to react to sticking his hands into the inside of the pumpkin and digging out the insides?

One thing at a time. I went to 3 different stores yesterday before I found a pumpkin and this is what I brought home:

I managed to cut the top (or the "hat" as Tyler calls it!) without any problems... maybe. It seems it didn't want to come out!
Maybe I should have known then that carving pumpkins was going to be a lot more work than I thought! The closest Tyler got to cleaning out the pumpkin was trying on the "hat" and calling himself a Ty-o-lantern!

Tyler did, however, catch this shot of me preparing to trace my very intricate picture into the pumpkin in order to carve it. Ty chose a picture of a cat... that "easy" and "safe" pumpkin carving kit? Um, not so much. Half way through me tracing the design on the outside of the pumpkin, I ripped it off and went with the traditional face....

The finished product!

(I still have 10 fingers and no sutures! Our Jack-o-lantern is sitting by the door waiting until tomorrow night when I will put him outside and sacrifice him to squirrels!)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


This past Saturday marked a momentous occasion, in this dad's life anyway. There are certain milestones that children have, crawling, walking, talking and that's just a few. On this rainy Saturday night on Long Island three generations of hockey fans enjoyed a game in a place that has seen numerous championships and Hall of Fame players. For many years I have been anxiously awaiting the time that I can bring my son to an Islander game at the Nassau Coliseum, like my dad did for me for so often.

On the days leading up to the game I would remember the excitement of knowing I was going to another Islander game with dad. Last week I experienced that same excitement. Our routine, well the one that I requested anyway when I was young, was to get there for the pre-game warm-ups. I had to be one of the first people in the building so I could get right against the glass and stare at my heroes in awe. This time, not only did I share it with my dad, but I got to enjoy it with my son as well.

The Islanders were down by 2 goals late in the third period after trailing the whole game and made a serious charge but fell just short. The game had it all, 7 goals total, a penalty shot, and a couple of fights and some hard hits. Below, is the scoreboard halfway through the third period.

As I mentioned earlier, we did get there in time for warm-ups. However, Papa and I had a tough time getting Tyler down any lower. The music was a little loud and he is slightly overwhelmed with the surroundings to this point. In the background, the Islanders are warming up.

Daddy and Ty get a picture together after the first period. We had great seats and you couldn't beat the company.
Take a look at that smile. Looks like someone has settled in quite nicely. Absolutely priceless! Can't wait until the next one. Maybe we'll invite mommy...maybe.

The aforementioned three generations of hockey fan.

*Boys Night Out

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sneak Peak!

Tonight after bath time we had a visitor-- the UPS man! I never thought I would see Tyler so excited to hear the doorbell or see a brown box. He delivered our order from the Disney Store.... Our smart 4-year-old knew exactly what was in the box-- his Halloween costume (aka: red Jungle Fury Power Ranger-- just as requested! He asked to try it on (I was as excited as he was to see him in it!). We put it on him, he struck a pose and I snapped the camera! Look at the big smile on his face!

Monday, October 20, 2008


A few weeks ago we went out to eat at the "La Cucina de Hampden House" to celebrate my new job. It was such a nice night out that we decided to eat outside. As we were all talking and enjoying our food, we were approached by a photographer who asked if he could take our picture for the local newspaper, "The Wilbraham-Hampden Times". We of course said yes! A few weeks went by and we looked every Thursday for our picture and we never saw it. Then, at soccer practice one day, someone walked up to us and said "I saw your picture in the paper!" I was so shocked and surprised (and kind of upset that we didn't find it!). The next week in the mail, we received a laminated copy of it from our local State Representative, Angelo Pupulo! The even cooler part was that it came out in the October 2 edition-- Tyler's 4th birthday! Here is our picture and the link to the paper!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

McCray's Farm

Today we went to McCray's Farm in Hadley, Massachusetts. We had never been to this farm, but we had heard a lot about it from other people and thought that we would check it out. They had miniature golf, a petting zoo, homemade ice cream, tractors rides, and a huge pumpkin patch. We did play any golf, and it was a very crisp Fall day, so we opted out of the ice cream tasting, but we did file those activities in the back of our heads for when the weather turns warmer out again!

We walked around the petting zoo for a long time. Tyler had a great time petting the rabbits and watching the goats play. He also loved looking at the ducks. At one end of the petting zoo area, there was an old tractor that Tyler took a turn sitting on. He looked right at home behind the wheel! I am sure that he secretly wished it really worked!
After wandering through the petting zoo, we got in line for the tractor ride to the pumpkin patch. We made sure to get some hot chocolates and coffee for the ride into the fields, and thank goodness we did! Their pumpkin patches were on a hillside and the wind was blowing hard at times! It was a really beautiful view, though. The leaves are near peak here and the skies were clear of clouds. In the distance, you could see the hillsides of trees and all the colors on display. Because we already had pumpkins at home, we took the time in the pumpkin patch to look around at the really big ones and to take some pictures.

When we arrived back at the farm stand, we picked out some small pumpkins and gourds for the inside of the house. Tyler helped pick them out and asked if he could get one. He picked out the smallest one there was and calls it his "Baby Pumpkin". Very cute!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A day at the park!

This weekend was absolutely beautiful. A great Fall weekend-- temperatures in the high 60's/low 70's, sunshine, and near peak foliage. I decided that Sunday would be a great day for Tyler and I to get out and spend some time together outside and for Frank to spend some "guy" time on his own.

After lunch, Tyler and I headed out to Forest Park, in Springfield. Once inside the park, we headed straight for the zoo! Although we lived in Springfield for many years, we never made it into the zoo. On days that we had planned on going, it would rain and on nice days, we always had plans! Not today! Tyler and I bought out tickets and headed straight for the exhibits!

One of the first exhibits we saw were the monkeys. At first they were difficult to find, but then, true to monkey form, they started showing off. I guess they recognized that Tyler was one of them and he needed to learn a few tricks from the pros! After the monkeys tired of swinging around, we moved onto the Cougars- very scary creatures! Even though they were nice and relaxed on their rocks, I was not relaxed when Tyler started to make his way into a better viewing position!

As we kept walking, we were seeing Peacocks freely roaming the zoo confines! It was so cool to be able to see them up close. Tyler was very good with them, and made sure that he had quiet, gentle feet so he didn't scare them away.
At the rabbit exhibit, one of the zoo keepers took a baby bunny out and asked Tyler if he would like to pet him. Tyler jumped at the chance and even "bunny-talked" to him while he was petting! It was so cute. Tyler said at the end of the day that the bunnies were his favorite animal to see. They had all kinds! The one pictured here is a Domesticated Bunny, and there were Giant Rabbits (bigger than our cat!), and Lion Haired Rabbits (big and fluffy) as well. As we made our way through the zoo, we spotted pigs, cows, kangaroos, camels, lemurs, and a spotted leopard. We also found the zoo gift shop where you could buy food to feed to the animals. I was a bit leery about this idea (I can remember being slimed a lot of times in the petting zoo!). Tyler had a blast throwing the crackers into different exhibits. One of the best ones was the camel/alpaca house. The camel was not shy about begging for food and followed Tyler until he threw in a cracker. However, the camel paled in comparison to the goats who really had no problem begging! At first, Tyler made sure that both goats got a cracker, but then....
Their mommies, and daddies, and grandmas, and grandpas also started begging! We had to walk away when the brown goat started to really make attempts at climbing the fence!

After we left the zoo, we found our way to the train depot. We had to wait, so Tyler ran off for the playground! He had a blast on all of the slides and climbers!
When the train finally arrived, Tyler picked out the front seat! He was so excited to take a ride.
The train conductor even offered to take a picture of the two of us. The train took us through the park, past the pool, ice rink, and ball fields. It was such a nice ride. We could see all the trees and their leaves changing colors, and the beautiful Fall landscape!
When the train ride was over, we stopped for a bit to smell the roses-- literally! On the way to our car, we passed the Rose Gardens. Amazingly enough (although you can't tell from this picture) there were still roses in bloom! There were people picnicking, and laying around on blankets. Made us wish we had planned to have a snack there! Tyler had to settle for taking a few quick runs under the pergolas!
Overall, it was a great day. Unfortunately for Frank, his Dolphins took one under the chin, but he enjoyed his daddy time on football Sunday! After spending this time outside today, it makes me hope that next weekend is another beautiful Fall weekend and we can head out on another adventure!

Fall soccer!

For the past few weeks, Tyler has been playing "Tot Soccer" for the town of Somers, Connecticut. It has been a lot of fun and a great way for him to get out and run off some energy! I have been very impressed by his great skills-- he is able to dribble the ball, weave in and out of players, and kick the ball from great distance. What makes it even better, is that there are a lot of kids in the class that he knows and that he looks forward to seeing... Unfortunately, the class is only 4 sessions long, and the season is half over!

Tyler listening intently as his coaches tell them all what the plan is for the next drill. The coaches (two high school soccer players) really do a nice job during the practices! (Tyler is the one with his hands on his hips by the girl in pink.)
Dribbling the ball inside the cones....
I can not believe how big he is! He does a great job of listening to his coaches. Frank and I have learned the trick of getting him to listen to other people (we are still working on Ty listening to us....). We refer to everyone as "coach". He immediately talks to them and puts them on a pedestal! Shoot, score!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Great Pumpkins!

We have waited all summer to see what all of our hard work would bring us! It was so much fun to say to Tyler "Do you want to go pumpkin picking?" and walk right outside the house! We were lucky enough to grow three pumpkins-- not bad for novice gardeners! As you can see from the pictures, one of the pumpkins was still a bit on the green side. I guess we had a bit too much rain this summer and that is why the pumpkin crops are not entirely ripe yet! We didn't mind and we can't wait to grow some again next year!

This was our first pumpkin to grow. Do you see the size of the leaves? They are huge! The plant grew up, around, and though most of the bush that Tyler is standing by!

Our bounty! See you next year, Pumpkin Patch!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Tyler's Birthday Weekend!

On Thursday, Tyler turned four years old. We are so excited that our little guy is growing so big! When he awoke on Thursday, Daddy and Mommy prepared a special breakfast for him to eat before school! It was a birthday Pop-tart (chocolate chip flavor)! Tyler made a wish and blew out his candle. At school on Thursday, they made vanilla cupcakes with sprinkles.

For dinner on Thursday night, Tyler wanted to go eat at Joe's place. When we got to Mountain View (aka Joe's place), we made a trip to see who was working in the kitchen and found T.J. and Ricky working the grill that night. Tyler got birthday High Fives from both guys (fellow hockey players) and we found a table inside. We ordered our food and when it came, Tyler found a "Happy Birthday" Flag in his chicken fingers! He was so excited! After Ty was done with his chicken fingers, he ordered some birthday ice cream-- vanilla with sprinkles! Yummy!

On the way home, we explained to Tyler that he had to go on a treasure hunt at home to find his birthday presents. Before we left for dinner, Frank laid out four clues for Tyler that would lead him to his big surprise! He quickly got into the game and did a great job of thinking each clue through. After he was done finding all four of the clues, they led him to his...
New bike! You can see by the picture that he was super-excited to have his own big boy bike! He also opened up Star Wars: Clone Wars toys and had a blast playing until bed time that night. He knew he had better get his rest because the next day Conor and Skylar were coming with Aunt Laurette and Uncle Jim! We used Friday night to prepare for the big party on Saturday!
We asked Tyler what kind of birthday he wanted this year. After a lot of discussion, we opted to have a dinosaur-themed party right in our own home. The invites read: Tyler-o-saurus is turning 4 years old and we are planning a din-o-mite party! Make tracks to 4 Brookside Circle, Wilbraham, October 4, 2008. For games, Bronto-BBQ, Dino-cake!
The kids all had a great time playing games that we had planned and running around the yard. We played Pin the Horn on the Triceratops...
We colored in dinosaur coloring books...
And went on a Dinosaur egg hunt!
In between playing games, the kids ate yummy food and...
Played tackle football! It was a gorgeous Fall day and we were outside until the sun started to go down. Frank barbecued carnivore hamburgers on the grill for the parents to eat at the "Build your own Burger bar" and the kids feasted on a herbivore cheese pizza!
Inside the house we opened gifts. Once again, Tyler was spoiled rotten by everyone! He got lots of dinosaur goodies, Legos, a huge fire truck, and a huge...
dinosaur! I was able to put Spike the Ultra Dinosaur together very quickly, which was a great thing! All the kids were dying to take a turn with Spike and his remote control and Tyler made sure the everyone got a turn with him.At the end of the night, we had cake and ice cream. It was so cute to watch Tyler be the center of attention with his friends around- he was all smiles! He was so excited to have a piece of dinosaur cake, complete with M&M decorations!
Overall, it was a very successful party and all the kids left happy and tired! Tyler will be sleeping good tonight and we will start resting up for number 5 next year! Happy Birthday, Ty!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Happy Birthday, Handsome!

Dear Tyler,

Happy birthday, Handsome! Four years ago tonight, at 10:55 P.M. you entered this world! Little did we know how much it would really change! Daddy and I love every minute we are around you and look forward to every minute that we spend with you in the years to come!

Tyler, age 2 months
Being your mommy and daddy has changed our lives in the best of ways! It is one of the greatest things that has ever happened to us and we would never trade it for anything. Trying to describe how much we love you is impossible.

Tyler, age 9 months

You are one of the most generous, kind, caring kids we have ever met. When we walk into school and you see the babies, you always make sure that you great them and you are so gentle with them! Over that past few weeks, you have matured into a wonderful preschooler who will be a delight to any teacher in the years to come.

Tyler, age 2 years

Some of the things that we have enjoyed most together are: reading books in bed at night, our special "talk" time about the day, watching sports on the T.V., playing hockey in the kitchen, and special cuddle time in bed on the weekends. This past year you got your first stitches (and glue!), started skating lessons, saw lots of dinosaurs at the museum, traveled to Florida, Wisconsin, Indiana, and New York, and grew pumpkins in the garden.

Tyler, age 3 years

I hope that you continue to have the great imagination, independence, and kindness that you have been building on for years to come. I know that someday you will be the person you strive to be and that all of your dreams will come true. You are loved by so many people and I know you love them all as well!

Tyler, age 3 1/2 years

Happy birthday, Tyler! We love you and hope that all your dreams come true!


Mommy and Daddy