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.
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.)
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?!).
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.
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.
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: 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.
The Times has a “fasincating article on the rise of recalls on Chinese-made toys”:http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/19/business/worldbusiness/19toys.html 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”:http://www.quakerranter.org/a_linguistic_guide_to_the_twoyear_old.php. 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”:http://www.nemours.org (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”:http://flickr.com/photos/martin_kelley/18477191/in/photostream/. 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.
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.
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”:http://www.thegreenacresfarm.com/ 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”:http://www.rrmuseumpa.org/, “trains”:http://www.strasburgrailroad.com/ and “trains”:http://www.nttmuseum.org/, then drool over “trains”:http://www.etrainshop.com/, “trains”:http://www.ttstation.com/, “trains”:https://www.rrmuseumpa.org/cgi/Whistle_Stop_Shop/rrmuseumpa-store.cgi and “trains”:http://www.strasburgrailroadstore.com/ (we haven’t seen “trains”:http://www.redcaboosemotel.com/ or “trains”:http://www.choochoobarn.com/ up close yet). Pictures from around the B&B “are here”:http://flickr.com/photos/martin_kelley/tags/mountjoy/; strangely we forgot the cameras on our steam-powered outings so you’ll have to “look at old pics”:http://flickr.com/search/?q=strasburg&w=84169004%40N00. Here’s a shot of the kids on top of the playhouse barn’s slide: