An Autumnal Halloween

Butterfly Genus Theodorableus Butterfly Genus Francis Captured butterflies

The Bat­sto Vil­lage Hal­loween party wasn’t quite so much fun this year: their web­site didn’t men­tion that most activ­i­ties ended part-way through the after­noon so that the orga­niz­ers could sit in front of the old houses giv­ing out candy. We arrived on the late side so no face paint­ing or pony rides for the boys but­ter­flies. We still had fun in the first really autumn day of the sea­son and Bat­sto was look­ing more bucolic than ever. More pic­tures (includ­ing some of the cool gear­ing in the old Bat­sto grist­mill) over on yesterday’s Flickr page.

Right: rare video footage of a Genus Fran­cis­cus But­ter­fly in migration.

Butterfly Love

Butterfly Love
The town parade was post­poned by rain again last night but as the but­ter­fly boys were all dressed up we ducked into our favorite pizza shop for some moz­zarella sticks and a slice of bruchetta-topped tomato pie. We got out with­out inflict­ing any major struc­tural dam­age or phys­i­cal injury, though Theo was only a twist or two away from destroy­ing one of their neon signs. Rumor has it that the parade will hap­pen next Tues­day though if the weather coop­er­ates we should have pic­tures of the Bat­sto Vil­lage hal­loween before that (last year’s pics).

(Still work­ing on get­ting com­ments and Twit­ter to show up properly.)

Railroad & farm weekend in Lancaster

Our only full-group shot, outside Strasburg RR
This week­end we took off for a fam­ily trip to Lan­caster County, Pennsylvania–Julie and me, the kids and my mother Liz. I won’t have time to do a long blog post, but high­lights were the Ver­dant View farm B&B (link) where we stayed; the Stras­burg Rail­road (link) whose line runs through the farm’s back­yard, the Choo Barn model rail­way (link); and the amaz­ing Cherry Crest Farm (link) with its corn maze and its sim­ple games for kids of all ages (who knew you could have so much fun with a hill and a piece of burlap?!).

See the See the photo set on Flickr for more pic­tures and sto­ries. Every shot is mapped, with links.

Large photo: Fam­ily at Stras­burg RR: Mar­tin, Liz, Theo, Julie, Fran­cis. Below: Julie and the kids walk­ing through fields at farm, Fran­cis play­ing kung-fu with the farm dog, Theo run­ning in ter­ror from said dog, Engine 90 ready to pull out.
Verdant View's verdant views
Verdant View Farm dogs
Verdant View Farm dogs

Scenes from a birthdays party: Theo (4) & Francis (2)

Scenes from a birthdays party: Theo (4) & Francis (2)

Pho­tos clock­wise: Theo blows out the birth­day ice cream cake’s “4” can­dle; kids hud­dle around when box opens to reveal Thomas the Tank Engine related toy; inde­pen­dent Fran­cis sur­veys the scene; cousin M. plays pat­ty­cake with Pop­pop while her mom looks on.

Scenes from a birthdays party: Theo (4) & Francis (2)
Scenes from birthdays party

Pictures from Birthdays Party

Yummy eats en route to Ohio

Yummy eats en route to Ohio
More back blog­ging from our Ohio trip, this photo from a vegan eatery a few miles off a rural Penn­syl­va­nia turn­pike exit. Prices were steep and the home­made non-dairy ice cream serv­ings small but we ate every­thing from our plates.

Photo: Vegan food & messy boy at Maggie’s Mer­can­tile off exit 91 of the Penna Turn­pike, an hour or so east of Pitts­burgh. Enlarged photo.

The Young Conservative

The Young Conservative
Fran­cis on the cover of the mock magazine.

Photo: A new pub­li­ca­tion of the Neo Post Con­ver­gent Dia­per Set. An irony I have to point out is that I’ve agreed to have the boys raised Catholic, the faith to which Julie returned after eleven years with Friends. Can I help it if the kids look so dern pho­to­genic in front of Quaker meet­ing­houses? Enlarged photo.

Lead-painted toys? Aye-Yeash!

Trains & MessesThe Times has a “fas­in­cat­ing arti­cle on the rise of recalls on Chinese-made toys”: over the last few years. Two of our kid’s “Thomas and Friends” wooden trains are part of the lat­est recall because of lead paint. We’ve long pre­ferred the metal Thomas trains since 21-month old Fran­cis chews on the wooden ones and gnaws their paint off.
We learned about the lead painted Thomas’s on the same day that our fam­ily doc­tor told us that it was offi­cially time to become con­cerned with Francis’s slow speech devel­op­ment. When Theo was just a lit­tle older than Fran­cis is now we put together a “dic­tio­nary of his vocabulary”: Fran­cis makes cute sounds and seems bright and curi­ous but he’s not even got­ten out a con­sis­tent _mama_ or _papa_ and we haven’t been able to fig­ure out a mean­ing for his most com­mon word (Aye–YEASH). He’s got an appoint­ment six months from now with spe­cial­ists at Wilmington’s “Nemours”: (that’s how backed up they are!).
We’re not blam­ing the trains–the lead ones we had were rel­a­tively unpop­u­lar and have few signs of wear. And we’re not pan­ick­ing. My mother brushes off all con­cern with the assured dec­la­ra­tion that kids learn to talk at lots of dif­fer­ent ages. She could cer­tainly be right of course: our doc­tor sent us to Nemours for Theo with the worry that he “had a big head”: If Fran­cis does turn out to be a lit­tle “slow,” well then we’ll just take that as another les­son plan God has for us.

Some gratuitious family pics

In the What a Dif­fer­ence a Year Makes (or Doesn’t) Depart­ment:
Julie took the kids out to South Jersey’s fabled Sto­ry­book­land last week.The fun­ni­est dis­cov­ery were the pic­tures that matched those from Theo’s class trip last year.
|Theo's class trip to Storybookland|Theo returns to Storybook Land|
|Theo's class trip to Storybookland|Storybookland 2007|
|Theo's class trip to Storybookland|Storybookland Return 2007|
We all went together on a fam­ily trip this week­end to reac­quaint our­selves with one another: our sched­ules haven’t been sync­ing well lately. Julie picked a “farm B&B”: out in Lan­caster County full of chick­ens and goats and an easy com­mute to Stras­burg PA, a good place for those who like to look at “trains”:, “trains”: and “trains”:, then drool over “trains”:, “trains”:, “trains”: and “trains”: (we haven’t seen “trains”: or “trains”: up close yet). Pic­tures from around the B&B “are here”:; strangely we for­got the cam­eras on our steam-powered out­ings so you’ll have to “look at old pics”: Here’s a shot of the kids on top of the play­house barn’s slide:
Trip to Lancaster Co. B&B