Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
The Kamienski Family gives the Santa Train a big "thumbs up" (minus the Santa) !
Sunday, December 28, 2008
The Christmas of 2008 is Benjamin's year to feel this way. It started when I was shopping in early December and Santa must have been on a break and was headed back to the "set-up" North Pole in the middle of the mall. I motioned to Benjamin to check out Santa and I knew right away this was the year. My usually friendly son gave Santa a look that said, "don't think of coming too close big man." But in my optimistic parenting mind I thought, "maybe this will pass."
A little more than two weeks before Christmas, we booked a ride on the Santa Train at the Whippany Rail Museum. My thought was in a setting that Benjamin enjoys maybe he would warm up to Jolly Ole' Saint Nick. Wrong. While Benjamin didn't kick and scream like I have seen other children meltdown when faced by with being put in the arms of Santa, he did hide his head and cling to me.
So family and friends this is it, this is Benjamin's 2008 picture (see above) with Santa. I did admit to my Mom I felt bad that I didn't get the traditional mall photo with Santa and Benjamin. Maybe I should have tried but the thought of standing in a LONG line only to be disappointed and aggravated at the end didn't seem to be fun for anyone involved. My Mom agreed, "why torture him Jennifer?" Of course, there is always 2009 but I still love this picture because it has my favorite boy in it. Sorry Santa maybe next year.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Yes, I am getting older and yes I would have loved the gift of Botox for my birthday but I also think I am getting wiser (think is the operative word in the sentence). I realize now it isn't about the gifts (while the gifts are still cool) having such incredible family and friends to share it with are what makes birthday's special. Thank you to all my friends and family for making me feel so special each year and every day of the year.
Monday, December 15, 2008
When we got there, we realized we wouldn't be chopping down any trees. I guess I misread but that seemed to ok with the Wally and Ben. Going early to pick up a tree, we got the pick of the liter -- a rather tall, shaped like a triangle, douglas fir. Benjamin was happy, Wally was happy and I was happy with the choice (I've been known to cry with a bad tree choice). What usually takes us about 15 minutes or more to pick out a tree, take about a minute. Our tree was the first we looked at that day. The bird folk said they would tie the tree to the car while we enjoyed the activities.
Our first stop, to check out the hawk. We had to keep a bit of a distance out of fear of Benjamin trying to pet the bird, but we got the great picture below. Next, we made a bird feeder and ornaments (no pictures but the feeder is in a tree outside and the ornament is on the tree inside). Following the craft projects, we headed in for cocoa and apple juice. And it doesn't end there, after the refreshments, Benjamin got his face painted for the first time with who else but Frosty! Finally, Benjamin got to pet a few snakes all this when getting a Christmas tree.
For the past 100 years, Santa has arrived in Morristown on the roof of Century 21 (the former Macy's) then brought down to the adoring masses via a fire truck. This year, the Kamienski Family members were present for his arrival. While Wally and I cheered, Benjamin was looking to head back in doors where it was a bit warmer. I don't really blame him - it was mighty chilly out that night. Ben seemed to be more interested in the fire truck than the big guy in the red suit. Having gauged his level of interest, we decided not to wait in a long line to see him but rather go to visit Santa when the crowds died down. (P.S. We still haven't visited Santa in The Green -- maybe this weekend).
After giving our names, Wally and I were "released". We were then given "the speech" of how they have to consider all calls like this serious, blah, blah, blah.
Now, I was scared. What if there was a murderer in the neighborhood wielding a knife? Wally decided to wait until they checked the situation out with the neighbor that called in the false claim. Turns out we have a senile old woman living next door who claims that she saw a child be harmed in our residence. Good to know we have a crazy lady living next door -- who thinks we are harming children.
If that wasn't enough, Wally went to start the Saab this morning and it wouldn't start. Happy Monday to The Kamienski Family!
Today more than 100 New Jersey bloggers have banded together to help raise awareness of the Community Food Bank of New Jersey, which is in dire need of our help.
Here's what you can do to help:Make a monetary contribution: Visit http://www.njfoodbank.org/. Donate food: Drop off a bag of food at your local food pantry. Click here to find a food pantry near you: http://www.sefan.org/. Organize a food drive: We can help explain the logistics of starting a food drive. Just call 908-355-FOOD. Help "Check Out Hunger:" Look for the "Check Out Hunger" coupons at your local supermarket and donate. No donation is too small! Remember the reason for the season!
Check out these sobering facts:
- More than 35 million Americans, including 12 million children, either live with or are on the verge of hunger. - USDA, Household Food Security in the United States, 2006
- The number of families coming to churches and food banks trying to get help to feed their families has increased approximately 20 percent. - National Anti-Hunger Organizations, 2008 Blueprint to End Hunger
- According to a recent survey, 6 percent of Americans said they or someone in their immediate family has gone to bed hungry in the past month because they could not afford enough food. - 2008 Hormel Hunger Survey
- One out of every five New Jersey families does not earn enough to afford the basic necessities – housing, food and child care – although 85 percent of these households have at least one family member who is working. – Poverty Research Institute, June 2008
- In New Jersey alone, an estimated 250,000 new clients will be seeking sustenance this year from the state’s food banks. – “No Food on the table,” By Judy Peet, The Star-Ledger, Oct. 23, 2008
- At the Community FoodBank of New Jersey (CFBNJ), requests for food have gone up 30 percent, but donations are down by 25 percent. - CFBNJ
- Warehouse shelves that are typically stocked with food are bare and supplies have gotten so low that, for the first time in its 25 year history, the food bank is developing a rationing mechanism. - CFBNJ
Help a family today!
Here is the full list of participating Bloggers for “We Can’t Let This Bank Fail” campaign. Visit their blogs and show some love.
1) JerseyBites2) RedBankGreen.com3) Jersey Girl Cooks4) Simply Sable5) John and Lisa are eating in South Jersey6) Padma's Kitchen7) Chefdruck8) Life Lightly Salted9) My Italian Grandmother10) Cook Appeal11) Crotchety Old Man Yells at Cars12) Mommy Vents13) This Full House14) Paper Bridges15) Motherhood Avenue16) The Kamienski Chronicles 17) Down the Shore with Jen 18) Fits and Giggles19) House Hubbies Home Cooking20) Nourish Ourselves21) Partybluprints.com22) Tommyeats.com 23) Off the broiler 24) Mrs. Mo’s New Jersey Baby 25) IamNotaChef.com 26) SimplyBeer.com 27) HistoryGeek.com28) Savy Source Newark29) Momlogic New Jersey 30) SurvivingNJ.com/blog31) SurvivingNJ.blogspot.com32) JerseyGirlGuide.com 33) Best of Roxy34) Citizen Mom.net35) Lynetteradio.com36) Jersey Beat 37) Pop Vulture Phil38) JerseySmarts.com39) LongBeachIslandSummers.com40) WildwoodSummers.com 41) Mike Halfacres Blog 42) Somerset08873 43) Family, Friends and Food44) KateSpot.com45) NewJerseyMomsBlog.com46) JCRegister.com47) New Jersey Real Estate Report48) Riverviewobserver.com49) More Monmouth Musings50) Man of Infirmity51) Another Delco Guy in South Jersey52) SweetNicks.com53) Average Noone54) Cleary’s Notebook55) Welcome to my Planet56) The Center of New Jersey Life57) Sharon’s Food Blog58) Morristown, Chatham, Summit, and Madison NJ Real Estate59) Midtown Direct Real Estate News60) New Jersey Real Estate 61) BlowUpRadio.com62) LazlosDen.com63) The Ridgewood Blog64) Book a Week with Jen65) Banannie66) Cartoongoddess.com67) Matawan Advocate68) Take Back the Kitchen69) The Joy of Toast70) Route 5571) Montclair Kids.com72) SaveJersey73) Stompbox74) Joe the Blogger75) Environmental Republican76) Stacey Snacks77) Subversive Garden78) New Jersey Pathfinder79) Cooking With Friends Blog80) Triple Venti81) Read All About It82) Rich Lee on Media83) Likelihood of Success84) Cape Cuisine85) The Business At Hand86) NewJerseyTaxRevolution87) Figmentations88) MiddletownMike89) Caviar and Codfish90) A Day in the Life91) Mack’s Journey Through Life92) Alice’s Restaurant93) Tiger Hawk94)Politics Patrol, The Bob Ingle Blog95) The Food Chain96) Henson’s Hell97) Cranbury Conservative98) Baristanet99) New Jersey: Politics Unusual100) Jersey Shore Blog101) Plainfield Today102) Beacon Bulletin103) Journal Square Jersey City 07306
Saturday, December 13, 2008
We picked up my Mom at around 7:45 and made our way into NYC. We parked right on 42nd street and started to make the journey through the masses to our building. While my heart was still beating rapidly thinking we were not going to make it again, we had no problems whatsoever! We met the Valentin Family again in front of the building and made our way up. And this year, it was PACKED! We found a not so crowded office that Benjamin could squeeze by the window and watch the parade go by. As I was preparing to take a picture of Benjamin by the window, I noticed my battery was dead so sorry no pictures to accompany this blog (you will all just have to visual the moment). I wasn't sure how he was going to react to the parade if he would get bored in a minute or two but he actually watched the parade and helped point various details out to me including spotting Cookie Monster in a window of a float (the kid has good eyes).
Eventually the office got way to warm and our group made our way downstairs to the street, Wally put Benjamin up on his shoulders to get a better view of the action. Ben yelled with excitement each time a new balloon passed. At one point, he did want to get down and run around but with Mom, Dad, Grandma and Aunt Kristi around he wasn't getting a step away from the circle we formed around him.
We headed back up after Michael saw the Pokemon balloon. We also didn't want to miss the visit from Santa. As we settled in upstairs, the arrival of Santa was announced and we headed to the elevator banks to greet him but the joint was crammed with wall to wall kids. I made my way up with Ben in my arms as close as possible. As we waited for Ben's gift, I guess Ben got, literally, tired of waiting because in the midst of the mayhem he fell asleep.
Benjamin slept but woke up while waiting for our car but was pleasantly surprised to see a new dump truck gift from Santa. We all piled in the car and headed back to Jersey every one having enjoyed the parade. What a difference a year makes!
Saturday, December 6, 2008
We headed in and made our way up to the new (well pretty new about 2 years old) children's section of the library. As soon as we entered, he yelled BOOKS! While Benjamin does watch his share of television, I have created a balanced environment for him which includes reading him LOTS of books. Benjamin is read so many books he actually asks for books by name now including "ni-ght ni-ght oon" or better known as Goodnight Moon.
After yelling books, he began running around the library. At that point, I had to try to contain the level of excitment. So I asked him to use his inside voice, which I'm not sure he gets the concept yet, and asked him to pick out a book with Mommy so we could read a new story at the library. He wasn't digging the books Mommy picked out so I asked him what book he wanted to read and he told me, "cow books ba-ba." So we started our search for some cow books but trying to look for a cow book while trying to control a toddler was nearly impossible. My solution, of course, ask the librarian. Benjamin and I went to the librarian and I asked Benjamin to tell the librarian what he was looking for and he told her too, "cow books." And cow books, we got! From Click, Click Moo to No Milk!, the librarians were able to find us a wonderful selection of cow books to read. Armed with a pile of books, we got a library card and checked out. It was then I realized why people carry around book totes. How was I going to get six hard covered books home (without a stroller) and Ben? While it was probably the toughest one block I have ever walked, balancing books and a child in my arms (oh yes and purse), we made it home safe and sound. Ready to read our books!
Benjamin has fallen so in love with his library books I am afraid to return them but the beauty of the library is that there are whole new set of adventures waiting to be discovered. While he will miss his cow friends and asks for them by name now (I may have to buy Click, Click Moo), he'll learn to love a new set of friends. Maybe it will be pigs this time?
Around the same time the tree was dying, Wally and I were struggling to have a baby. The corner of the yard wasn't the only empty place for us at that time. When we finally received the news that we were indeed having a child, we knew how we wanted to commemorate the occasion, we would plant a tree for our first born -- new life for new life.
Just like Benjamin, who was only a small peanut when we brought him home, Ben's tree barely reached the top of the fence now it soars. This fall, we took a picture of Benjamin with his tree and I was in awe of both. Our Benjamin is now a little man becoming a funny, loving soul. While our tree is something that brings us beauty and wonder in our yard -- my how they have grown.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
What are the chances that I will shortly be reading a blog entitled: “A lot to be Thankful For…”
- Looking at ben enjoying stuffing and how much you love stuffing
- Your mom sharing the secret baker recipe for gravy
- Your dad showing walter how to carve the turkey
- How ben loves stuffing and how cute it is that he calls it tuffing!
- Thankful that JB is back from iraq
- Seeing your son with Walter watching football – the two most important men in your life
- And then … I cried.
- Boo boo boo…
Why the anger?
And most know this already because I had to shout out to the world, but my post on telling white lies to Benjamin was picked up for syndication:
If you get a chance stop by the blog and check out some of the other fantastic writers!