Thursday, October 11, 2012


Last Friday was Jaylinne's first class field trip, and I was lucky enough to be able to go along! Being that it was almost Halloween, the class got to go to Pumpkinland, which is just down the road from her school. Growing up just down the street from Pumpkinland, I was very familiar with it. I used to LOVE it when I was a kid! Let's be honest, I still do ;) Every month out of the year besides October, Pumpkinland is known as the Vineyard Garden Center. It's a greenhouse that has been WELL taken care of over the years. However, when October rolls around each year, it turns into a hotspot of halloween activities! Having known about the field trip for what seems like an eternity, Jaylinne was more than ready to go Friday afternoon!

 Once we got to school, I was assigned my group: Jaylinne, Kyler, and Aiden. I won't lie, I was a little intimidated, as I only have one child. Having to be responsible for 3 children was...well...three times as hard! However, I was familiar with all of the kids in her class, and I knew they are all very well behaved, so the nervousness disappeared fairly quickly!

Kyler, Jaylinne, and Aiden
 Because Pumpkinland was so close to the school, everyone was just walking there. You have to cross Geneva Road, therefore we were all holding hands. Kyler seemed to be the shy one of the group. He turned a bright shade of red when he learned he had to hold my hand. The horror! Aiden made it very clear he didn't want to hold Kyler's hand, or my hand...however, he had no qualms with scooping up Jaylinne's hand ;) So off we went...

L to R: Jaylinne, Andy, Aiden, Aliyah, Ashlyn, Lupita, Andrea, Brooke, Ryan, Mason, Sylvia, Kyler, Emma, Keisel, Landon, Marley, and Fabian.

L to R: Ryan, Brooke, Mason, Andy, Emma, Aiden, Jaylinne, Victoria, Lupita, Sylvia, Andrea, Ashlyn, Marley, Aliyah, Kyler, Fabian, Keisel, Landon
Upon Arrival, Ms. Rougeau had the kids get in a group for a couple of class pictures. I was so glad she did this! I was worrying how in the world I was going to get all these kids in the same place, at the same time, long enough to take a picture! They turned out pretty great!

After we snapped a few pictures, we separated into our groups and headed for the corn maze. It started off really well! Aiden even forgot that just minutes prior, he all but refused to hold Kyler's hand. So far so good for Mrs. Sanders! Along the way, Aiden loved finding ears of corn that had fallen from the stalk. He even found one he dubbed cool enough to bring home with him! I think he might have the "photography bug," he kept pointing out things he wanted me to take pictures of, then got a kick out of being able to look at them :)

Aiden showing off his corn. "My mom is going to cook this for me!!"

One of Aiden's requests :) This kid loves him some corn!

I decided it was Kyler's turn to take the lead, so we all followed him for a few minutes. As he was walking, I noticed he was singing ever-so-quietly. I let him continue, as I was trying to figure out what song he was singing, but I couldn't tell. After a few minutes I told him he was a good singer...and he blushed like I've never seen anyone blush before! I asked him who his favorite singer was, and his response was, "...Me." Priceless. Perfect answer! I hope that remains his answer throughout his lifetime :)

Kyler leading the way and singing his little heart out
Even though it was October, it was pretty hot outside. This corn maze was giving us a run for our money! Although it was lots of fun at the beginning, the kids were done. We each took turns leading the way, but every way we went seemed to be another dead end! Right about that time, I began to panic. This is my first field trip! I simply cannot get lost in this corn maze! I am ill-prepared, I don't have nearly enough supplies for a venture such as this! Oh my goodness, I'm going to have to send up smoke signals for Search and Rescue! But somehow, by the grace of God, we made it through the corn maze in one piece :)

After the corn maze, there is a place for taking pictures. Yes please! It was hot outside, the kids were dusty, and they just wanted to get to the playground. They were good sports and humored me :)

Finally, we made it to the playground. There was even a petting zoo with goats and bunnies! There were also ducks, peacocks, and chickens there, but apparently they don't like to be touched ;) There was a goat standing on platform, looking down at all the kids. Both Aiden and Kyler climbed on top of the playground, proclaiming to be "King of the mountain..."

This guy WAS NOT impressed. The kids just kept playing and looking at the animals... 

What I am dying to know is: Which one is Jimbo, which one is Jambo, and for the love of God, which one is Jon?!

I asked Tipsy, but her lips were sealed ;)    
At one point, Andy got his knee stuck between the wooden slats on the playground. His mom was there to help him out of that pickle with only minimal tears shed.

With all the running around the kids did, it was time for a snack!  All in all, I'd have to go out on a limb and say that besides a few hiccups, our first field trip was a success! And it only cost me one pinched nerve in my back :)    

Friday, October 5, 2012

Number 27

I remember when I was just about the age that Jaylinne is now, I had to learn the hard way that living where we did, losing our four-legged friends was not a rare occurrence. We had a gray miniature schnauser, named Bert. He wasn't what you would call an old dog, but he was no puppy either. It seemed like no matter how hard you tried to keep 'em in, they were trying equally as hard to get out and run around! Unfortunately, Bert is the first Geneva Road casualty that I can remember. Being so young, I didn't fully understand the situation. I knew that I couldn't see my dog anymore, and I didn't get to say goodbye. As it would anyone, that made me sad. My Grannie, God rest her soul, tried to soften the blow for my sister and I the best she knew how: explaining that Bert would now be in heaven. She really got the point across when she took us to see the movie, "All Dogs Go To Heaven." Being that it all happened around Christmas time, she even sent us a Christmas card...from Bert! Doggie Heaven sounded like a party! :) It was just a few small gestures, however it made an impact on our lives.

I am very thankful for this lesson, as I was able to use it on my own Daughter. Yesterday was a pretty rough day for me and my family. We had to make the decision of putting one of our four-legged friends, Arnie, out of his misery. Let me give you a little bit of history about Arnie:

He has been part of our family for 15 years. We got him, as a "puppy," as soon as he was old enough to be away from his Momma. You'll notice I use the term puppy loosely. You see, Arnie was a Bernese Mountain Dog- or in lamens terms, big as hell. From a young age, he was what you'd call a runner. If he needed to get somewhere, he was running. The Forrest Gump of the dog world, if you will. He loved to run so much, in fact, that on more than a few occasions, he had to be picked him up from the pound. He had to be sprung from the klink so many times, they even had a name for him: number 27. Much to our surprise, we also learned the hard way that he was a digger. A runner...and a digger?! A moment of silence is in order for the elaborate gardens and the Halloween decorations throughout the neighborhood that fell victim to Ol' Number 27... ;) No one is more sorry about those than him.

Given his size and stature, people were often afraid of him and thought he was mean right off the bat. However, he was quite the anomaly. He wouldn't hurt a fly. In fact, he was even afraid of mice! The other dogs that were in our family were chihuahuas. In the real world, the biggest dog is usually king. Not this time- bless his heart, he was afraid of the chihuahuas too!

He loved people, but most of all, he loved kids. Being a mother myself, I would- for lack of a better term- shit frisbees, if I saw a dog of his size coming towards my child. Hell, let's be real here, if a dog his size that I wasn't familiar with came towards me, I would panic. But he had a special way with kids. No matter how excited he got when they were around, he always knew to be gentle, and keep his paws on the floor. And he was definitely not one to be stingy with his kisses.

Here he is with Baby Dalys. Always so gentle :)

So you can imagine how hard it was for us to make this decision. He was old. He had cancerous tumors. He had trouble walking. Although it made each of us sad, we knew it was time. It was the humane thing to do. Rather than take him to an unfamiliar place, and leave him alone, we decided it was best if it was done at home. That's where he would be most comfortable, and more importantly, he could be surrounded by the people who loved him. Ryan and I decided to break the news to Jaylinne so she could say her goodbyes. Although she was very sad at first, and there were lots of tears shed, she wanted to go play with him one last time.

Catching a little snooze on a nice fall day.

So we stopped at McDonalds, got a Happy Meal for Arnie, and made our way down to my mom and dad's house. When we got there, Jaylinne gave him the biggest hug she could, and told him she loved him. In an effort to console my mom, who was crying, Jaylinne said to her, "It's OK, Grandma. Even though we won't get to see him everyday, we still get to see him in our memories." At that moment, I felt a sense of peace. I was grateful the talk we had with her earlier stuck :) It was a good day. It was a beautiful day outside, we all got to spend time with him reminiscing, and he even got to eat a happy meal! Which was soon followed by a slice of pizza he was able to swipe from Dayne and Dalys. Again, no one was more sorry about that than him ;) Although I was heartbroken, I knew I had to be strong. For Arnie. So when the time came, his head was resting in my lap and I comforted him the best way I knew how, while my dad did the same and held onto his paw. I'm very thankful that when he went, he went surrounded by his family, and could feel how much he was loved. Here's to hoping that all dogs, really do indeed, go to Heaven.

See you on the other side, Number 27. We'll sure miss you.