Halloween Recap

Halloween 2022 is now behind us. The day started with me and the kids getting our flu shots. I, of course, waited until the last possible minute to get mine for work.

As we drove home, one of the neighbors had put up a HUGE inflatable pumpkin. Ella saw it from the window, and despite the fact that it was raining, insisted that we go down to look at it. Thankfully, it was only a couple houses away. When she got up close to it, she couldn’t believe how big it was!

Sam took last night off from work and we were all able to walk the neighborhood to trick or treat last night. Trick or Treating in our city started at 5pm. We had napped late in the afternoon and by the time we had dinner, we didn’t get out in the neighborhood until around 5:30.

Despite it being a bit misty, the temperatures weren’t too bad. Last year, it was SO cold I brought Ella home early. This year, she was gung ho to do the whole neighborhood – and she had a BLAST!

This was the busiest Halloween I’ve seen in our neighborhood. There were kids of all ages, too! I loved seeing the families who dressed up together. One of our neighborhood families dressed as characters from the Wizard of Oz. It was awesome.

Ella wanted to go to every house! She loved seeing the pumpkins lit up and all of the costumes. What was really sweet was that there were neighbors who recognized us from our daily walks and they would give her extra candy.

We did let Andrew venture out on foot once or twice, but he was running all over the place, so we wound up having to put in back in the stroller. He didn’t seem to mind, however, as that is where much of the candy was …

I was impressed that the kids did the entire neighborhood! When we got home, we took Andrew’s costume off because it had chocolate all over it!! We got in the car and drove to Sam’s mom and dad’s. They had special treats for them when we arrived.

It was almost 8 when we got there and on the drive we talked about how foggy it was! It was truly spooky. It wasn’t that foggy by our house, but it was crazy foggy on the way to her folks. Perfect for Halloween. The fog lasted well into the morning, as a friend posted this picture of downtown Detroit:

When we finally left Sam’s folks to head home, we both decided we were hungry. I veered off the diet as the only thing open was McDonalds. The kids had chicken nuggets, Sam had a Big Mac, and I grabbed a Filet of Fish Sandwich. It was probably not the best thing to eat that late, and probably explains the weird dreams I had, but overall, the day was a great one with the family!

Throwback Thursday

I promised my buddy Max a “happy” post, since the last few were sad in nature. When I opened up the Blog “Reader,” I saw a prompt from Maggie at From Cave Walls. I thought this would be a good way to feature a “happier” topic.

This week’s prompt is: Costumes

1. Did you celebrate Halloween? If so, what was your most memorable costume?

Yes, as kids we certainly did. As I recently blogged about here (https://nostalgicitalian.com/2022/10/23/ghosts-of-halloween-past/), I found myself having issues remembering many of the costumes I wore. I have a few that I recall from some parties – doctor, Caesar, 80’s rocker, monk, but nothing out of the ordinary.

2. As a child, did you like pretending you were someone else? Did you create costumes with things around the house?

As a child, I remember pretending to be many people: Batman, Random Spy Guy, Rosco P. Coltrane from the Dukes of Hazzard and so many more! Rosco was the only one I had a “costume” for – I had a cowboy hat and a badge.

My brother and I were creative. One time we took these old boxes and made hats out of them. They are insanely stupid.

3. When was the last time you dressed in a costume? What was the reason?

The last time I dressed in a true “costume” was a few years ago. Sam and I went to a Halloween party as Popeye and Olive Oyl!

I love that picture of us. Sam’s mom made her Olive Oyl outfit.

4. Did you ever attend Mardi Gras, Carnival or any other festival with masks or costumes? Did you wear a mask or costume?

No – Maybe someday.

5. Were you ever in a play (school or otherwise) that required a costume? If so, who were you?

I’ve mentioned it in passing before, but yes, I was in a play in Elementary School called The Runaway Snowman. I was the snowman. His name may have been Happy or something, I can’t recall. There was a costume that I pulled over my head and stuffed with pillows. They painted my face and gave me a hat. The photos still make me laugh because I look so ridiculous.

6. Do you participate in cosplay or go to Comic Conventions?

I have a few friends who do cosplay stuff, but I never have. I have never been to a Comic Convention either, but it seems like they always seem to have cool celebrities there that you can meet and take pictures with. I might go if there was a chance to see someone like that.

7. What character from movies, comics, or plays has the best costume?

I always thought Zorro had a cool costume.

8. Think of scary or horror movies. Which character’s costume and/or make up was the most frightening? Was it the costume alone, or the movie itself which made it frightening?

I don’t watch a lot of scary movies, at least modern ones. It’s really hard for me to say. I remember Darth Vader freaking me out as a kid. I couldn’t sleep for a few days because he was so scary to me.

9. Have you ever visited historic places where the staff wears period costumes? If so, where was it?

Greenfield Village in Dearborn, MI has many people dressed in period costumes, as does the fort at Mackinac Island. I’m hoping to visit Philadelphia, Gettysburg, or some of the towns connected with the country’s independence and perhaps see some reenactments.

10. Have you ever attended a Broadway or Off Broadway or Community Theatre production with great costumes? Leave a clip or photo here of your favorite.

Yes. One time I saw a Chorus Line (which I hated). My dad took my wife and I to see the Phantom of the Opera, which was fantastic. The one I was most impressed with, though was Wicked. I took my wife to see it in Detroit. It was really a good story with good music. It is one of my favorite date nights.

Ghosts of Halloween Past

A few years back, I wrote a blog about those terrible Halloween costumes we used to wear as kids. You know, the one with the plastic masks with the holes in them? The masks with that cheap rubber band that always broke? Remember those? Here is a link to that blog as a refresher for you:

There was a Trunk or Treat close to our house recently and I could see all the kids dressed up in their Halloween costumes. I tried to remember what I had dressed up as for Halloween as a kid and I really cannot remember. So I pulled out a hard drive which contains a bunch of photo scans from my dad. I figured if my folks had taken any pictures of us in costumes, they’d be on that drive.

What I found was that there were next to none on this drive. There were a couple, which I will share, but nothing from when we were really young. I guess my parents must have thought those costumes with the cheap masks and slits for eyes were not photo worthy. The only ones they took pictures of were when we did something out of the ordinary.

One year my brother and I wanted to be vampires or something. So my dad bought the make up and such and the result was … less than steller.

We don’t even have capes! I dunno, this get up stumps me. My dad tried to make me look like Sir Graves Ghastly, who was a local horror movie host on TV. I think that he did a good job, but without the rest of the vampire ensemble, people had to wonder who they heck we were!

Sir Graves Ghastly. We met him once at a mall appearance. He was very cool and everyone asked him to do his “laugh.”

Another year I went out as Oliver Hardy of Laurel and Hardy.

I’m sure this also made no sense to people answering the door because my brother dressed up as a woman. Perhaps Mr. Hardy had a date? I suppose I could have been mistaken for Charlie Chaplin, but my body shape was more Hardy than Chaplin!

The only other Halloween picture I have is from my Sophomore year of high school. The band had a Halloween party at some barn as I recall and we all went to it. I didn’t know what to go as, and decided on going as a clown. I threw on a pair of pajama pants over my jeans, one of my dad’s old shirts, an awful sport coat, clown wig, hat and tie, and added a huge horn. It was ridiculous!

This is just a guess, but that year at the annual Band Banquet, I won the Mock Elections for “Band Clown.” I am sure that this outfit played a part in that win. It was cool to win that award every year I was in band.

While this wasn’t necessarily Halloween, one of the other photos of my “in costume” that came up was one that I used when I worked at 94.5 The Moose. I used to take song lyrics and read them behind some classical music and called it a “Dramatic Reading.” It was a silly chance to “overact.”

The first reading I did was Gretchen Wilson’s Redneck Woman. Imagine classical music playing with me dramatically saying, “Victoria Secret. There’s stuff’s real nice. But I can buy the same damn thing on a Walmart shelf – half price!” It was utter stupidity. To promote it on the website, they took this picture:

HA! I’m such an idiot!

I suppose it is probably better that there are no pictures of me in those cheap costumes. I remember I was always overweight and the pants always seemed to rip before we were done Trick or Treating. And half the time, the thing that held the mask on broke after three or four blocks and wound up in the bottom of the Trick or Treat bag or pillowcase anyway.

As silly as these are, they are fun to look back at!

Chicken Heart

I was driving home from work this morning and I was listening to some old time radio shows. Suspense has always been a favorite of mine. Around Halloween, Radio Classics on Sirius XM starts playing some classic “spooky” radio shows. One of the shows that almost always gets played is from Arch Obler’s “Lights Out” – Chicken Heart.

I became familiar with the Chicken Heart as a kid, but it wasn’t because of the show. I knew it as a classic comedy bit from Bill Cosby’s 1966 Wonderfulness Album.

This, along with many other Cosby albums, was something that my dad and I used to listen to all the time. In Cosby’s bit, he talks about being left home while his parents went out. He was supposed to stay in his room, but he would leave the room and listen to scary shows on the radio. He used the Chicken Heart as his example.

The original bit from Lights Out is only about 8 minutes long. Honestly, it’s not that scary. It’s actually kind of silly. Cosby, however, takes the bit and makes it hilarious. As someone who was more familiar with the Cosby version, when I heard the original on Sirius XM, I remember thinking, “Wow! That was really the premise for a show!!”

There is some uncertainty as to the date of the original broadcast, some say 1937 and some say 1938. Here for your listening pleasure is Chicken Heart from Lights Out ….

Now, compare it with the much funnier version as presented by Bill Cosby…

As I listened back to this bit before writing this post, it made me think of all the great comedy albums we used to listen to growing up. So many laughs ….

Zoo Boo ’22

Yesterday was the perfect fall day, although chilly. We have a membership to the Children’s Zoo and knew that around Halloween they did Zoo Boo. Originally, we had planned to take the kids up one weekend. However, with all that’s gone on in the past week, and with the colder temperatures, Sam suggested just taking Ella for some one-on-one time. It was going to be too cold for me to take Andrew.

I packed up the stroller and put it in the car. Packed a bag for her and I, and we took the short trip up I 75 to the zoo. The colder temperatures kept some of the animals indoors and not out on exhibit, but that didn’t seem to matter. The zoo was bustling with all kinds of parents and children- some in costume and some not.

All along the walkways of the zoo are little areas that people can decorate for various seasons and such. There were so many wonderful little Halloween displays. There were many pumpkins, ghosts, mums, sunflowers, all dressed up in Fall colors.

When we walked in, Ella was handed a trick or treat bag for a lot of the various stops and games throughout the zoo that day. We were only a few feet into the zoo and she heard the trains whistle and took off because she wanted to go and ride the train.

The train was already out riding along the tracks, and the line for the next train ride had already started to form. Very close to the train depot was a little traveling coffee truck. I decided to go over and get a coffee to warm me up, and Ella asked for some lemonade.

After our train ride, LOL wanted to go and play on the little playground. She wanted to go down the slide, and wanted me to as well! I joked and said that I didn’t think that my butt would fit on the slide. (Earlier last week we had stopped at a park, and Sam got on a swing and Ella had told her she was proud that her butt fit into the swing!) When I slid down she was at the bottom of the slide to greet me saying, “Yay, daddy! Your butt fitted the slide!” Then she asked to go down again!!

After visiting the prairie dogs, the otters, the wolves, and the alligator, Ella wanted to ride the carousel. She was talking about in on the ride there. She was going to ride on the bunny (there are actually 2 of them, thank goodness). As soon as the opened the gate for us to get on the ride, she was looking for the bunny. No other kid was on it yet, so she claimed it for her ow.

After riding the carousel twice, she asked to go home. On my way out, she said, “I wanna see the animals again.” Thankfully, we hadn’t walked out yet. We walked back through and she played a few games that were set up along the way and in one of the tents. She won some stuffed pumpkin looking guy and a lamb, which she loves.

After walking through again, I was glad she didn’t fight me when I said it was time to go home and warm up. As we walked outside, we once again passed by two bear sculptures that were donated to the zoo. They are pretty awesome. The won awards at ArtPrize. You can read about them here:


Ella wanted to stand by the big brown bear and she started roaring like a bear! It was so cute!

There has been so much going on in our lives that getting away for a bit to share some fun with Ella was nice. I missed having the rest of the family there, though.

I hope to get the whole family out together for an outing before fall gives way to winter.

It only took like 26 different pictures to get one where we were both looking at the camera!

Haunted Hits

I have DJ’d countless Halloween parties. This year I had to turn down one of my favorite ones. For the past few years a local daycare throws a big party and kids and their parents dress up in costumes and it is always a blast. Due to my current work schedule, I was just not able to be there this year.

I always had to have a variety of “haunted” hits to play at these parties. In case you are looking for musical ideas for your Halloween party, here is a starter list.

As much as I hate this record, you have to play Bobby “Boris” Pickett

You’ve also gotta play Michael Jackson’s Thriller. (Love Vincent Price’s narration in this!)

A personal favorite is from the Classics IV – Spooky

I always loved Jumpin’ Gene Simmons version of Haunted House

A favorite of the kids – This Is Halloween from The Nightmare Before Christmas

Speaking of nightmares, DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince offer up Nightmare on My Street

A great one from The Eagles – Witchy Woman

Kid Rock sampled this one for All Summer Long – Werewolves of London from Warren Zevon

You gotta play Clap for the Wolfman from the Guess Who

How about the silly song called The Blob by The Five Blobs?

The Hocus Pocus movie brought this one back, but the original is the best version – I Put a Spell On You by Screaming Jay Hawkins

How about some Rockwell? Somebody’s Watching Me

Be careful who you run around with …. Van Halen – Runnin’ With the Devil

Another favorite of mine – Santana – Black Magic Woman

It’s a very rare occurrence to have a full moon on Halloween, but this song works all year round. Bad Moon Rising – CCR

The moon causes the Shadows in the Night – Pat Benatar

Beware of the walking dead …. Zombie by the Cranberries

Another overplayed Halloween Song – The Purple People Eater – Sheb Wooley

I suppose you have to play Ray Parker Jr. – Ghostbusters

Going back to the 50’s for a couple crazy songs …

The Mummy from Bob McFadden and Dor

From Chipmunk creator David Seville – The Witch Doctor

Grab a bite with a vampire – Dinner With Drac from John Zacherle

Three Devilish songs now –

Devil with the Blue Dress – Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels

Sympathy for the Devil – The Rolling Stones

A classic from The Charlie Daniels Band – The Devil Went Down to Georgia

Alice Cooper did this one in Wayne’s World – Feed My Frankenstein

Speaking of Frankenstein – how about the Edgar Winter classic instrumental..

Need some cowbell?? Don’t Fear The Reaper – Blue Oyster Cult

A song I have blogged about in the past – Superstition – Stevie Wonder

Demons – Imagine Dragons

Trick or Treat … I Want Candy – Bow Wow Wow

Another 80’s flashback … Dead Man’s Party – Oingo Boingo

Lots of requests for Enter Sandman – Metallica

All good lists need a cut from Frank Sinatra – Witchcraft

I’ve never really understood how this is a Halloween song, but everyone wants to do the Time Warp from the Rocky Horror Picture Show

From another film (Rain Man) The Delta Rhythm Boys -sing about Dem Bones

Now, some kid favorites which had me searching YouTube a lot ….

Spooky Scary Skeletons

I sang this in music class when I was in elementary school and kids are still singing it today – Witches Brew

Then you can fill in with various Theme songs from films and TV …

Scooby Doo

Tales From The Crypt

The Twilight Zone

The Munsters

The Addams Family

The X-Files


So what did I forget?

The Scary Classic You’ve Never Heard

Now that it is October, many bloggers (and folks on social media) are posting their favorite scary books or favorite scary movies as a tie in to Halloween. I thought I would offer up something better.

Think about books versus movies for just a second. To me, the book is always going to be scarier than the movie. The reason for this is that the book requires you to use your imagination. You and I can read the same description of a monster or alien an each have a very different picture of them in our minds. Now, with that in mind, I offer you up one of the greatest and scariest things I have ever heard …

Old time radio was full of great shows with wonderful stories. Those shows included The Mysterious Traveler, Lights Out, Inner Sanctum, and Suspense. On December 5, 1946 Suspense aired an episode that is consistently referred to as one of the most terrifying programs broadcast during the “golden age” of radio. The program was entitled “The House in Cypress Canyon.”

The episode was written by Robert L. Richards and produced by William Spear. Wikipedia offers the entire story, but for this blog I will only offer up a tease as to not give it away. I will also present a link so that you can listen to the show in its entirety.

From Wikipedia: The plot is presented as a story within a story framed by a meeting between detective Sam (played by Howard Duff) and a friend who has discovered the manuscript regarding the mysterious house. After a brief introduction, the narrative shifts to the story presented in the manuscript.

The story begins a few days before Christmas. James (Robert Taylor) and Ellen (Cathy Lewis), married seven years and having recently relocated to California for the husband’s engineering job, move into a hastily finished rental house in a development that was started before the war. Dusty furniture and creaky hinges seem to be the only problems with the place at first glance. But the very night they move in, the two hear inhuman cries in the night, and find blood oozing out from under a closet door they can’t open.

My dad introduced us to old radio shows. He would buy them on cassette or rent them from the public library. Before they started airing them on a local radio station at night, we’d grab our cassette layer and listen to them. I remember my dad, my brother and I sitting on the floor with pillows and blankets when we first heard The House in Cypress Canyon. Thankfully, we listened to it one afternoon during a weekend. Of course, the show played over and over in my mind that night at bedtime! It creeped me out!

To this day, it remains the ONE radio show that freaked me out and still does. Set aside a half hour. Grab your headphones, turn down the lights, and enjoy the episode that only aired once, but was enough to rank as one of the scariest shows to ever air on radio.

Here is The House in Cypress Canyon:

Let me know what you thought of the show?

2021 – What a Year!

At midnight tonight, we’ll start a brand new year – 2022. Some have compared a new year to a book. The book with 365 blank pages – one for each day – and said that the book is ours to write. There is truth to that.

As I looked back over my “book” entitled “2021,” I see that (despite the pandemic and all the crap that came with it) I really did have a good year. Bear with me, he’s the recap:


January started with some snow. It actually looks like we should be getting snow again this week. Ella absolutely loved being outside in the snow. It was fun to watch her try to figure out just what all the white stuff was. Today, when she sees it, she get’s excited and yells, “Snow! Snow!”

In mid-January, we scratched our heads and wondered just how Ella was 11 months old! I mean, it seemed like she was just born!

The pressure was on as we closed in on her first birthday. With Covid, we weren’t quite sure if we’d even be able to have a party for her.


As we got closer to Ella’s birthday, Sam was just not feeling right. 3 days before Ella’s birthday, we found out that baby #2 was on the way!

This took us both completely by surprise! There was great excitement all over again. The hardest part was keeping it a secret…

Ella’s first birthday was a fun and busy day. We ditched the pink blocks and marked the birthday with a HUGE number “1” balloon. This was followed by a trip to the Sea Life Aquarium, the Build a Bear place, and cake at Nana’s house.

We were glad to be able to get some professional “1st Birthday” pictures, too!


In March we got our first look at the baby we now know as Andrew/AJ and announced Ella’s promotion to big sister.

Ella also got her first haircut

March also consisted of many walks around the neighborhood and stops at the park.


Big brother, Dante’ turned 19 this month! Before that, Easter fell on my mom’s birthday. We got Ella all dressed up in her Easter dress, stopped at the cemetery to visit grandma on her birthday and then went to Nana’s for an Easter Egg hunt!

Ella is so very blessed to have wonderful people in her life. Aunt Margaret is one of them! (She will kill me for posting this picture, but I just love this!!) She and cousin Marissa came to visit and the highlight was watching them read books together.

We also found out the baby’s gender, but that wouldn’t be revealed until May.


Birthday’s have never really bothered me, mostly because I opt for the Jack Benny attitude and say that I am stuck at 39. However, in reality I turned 51. 30 was big. 40 was tough. 50 a bit hard to swallow. Over 50? Well…..I examine my own mortality every day.

The month started warm enough that Ella got to spend lots of time in her sandbox and pool.

We revealed that Ella was having a baby brother and got another look at him on an ultrasound.

Ella and I worked on a special project for Sam for Mother’s Day and we got to visit the Detroit Zoo.

May also brought Ella her first taste of corn on the cob!


My second oldest boy celebrated his 14th birthday in June. We got to spend Father’s Day together by visiting Crossroads Village. They had a Classic Car Show there and we walked the village and rode the train. It was such a great day with my kids!

It was SO hot that day!!! By the end of it all, Ella was physically exhausted. June was a hot month and we did get to get out and enjoy walks in the park and a day at the splash pad.


By July, Sam was 5 months pregnant and was so sick. The pregnancy was a rough one on her. The heat didn’t help things. Despite that, the middle of summer was packed full of amazing things and our family had loads of fun.

We celebrated America’s Birthday, Ella had her first visit to the public library and bowled for the first time, and we all visited the Saginaw Children’s Zoo.


As Summer drew to a close, we continued to squeeze as much into it as we could. I got to spend a perfect day doing a daddy daughter picnic, my name was finally on the board at the Corner Cone for a free ice cream, Ella spent lots of time drawing with crayons, and our stress levels were through the roof as we took Ella in for her ear tube surgery. We also got another peak at AJ and had a visit from my brother.


Fall! My favorite season of all. I was glad to be able to get together with Margaret, Walt and my buddy Chris at Margaret’s house. Since she’s already mad at the one picture I posted, I’ll just share the one she told me I could share. Hopefully, that makes things a little better….

We always love going to get pumpkins and decorating the front of the house for fall. Ella seemed to like it, too.

Ella and I also got to take one last trip to the Saginaw Zoo before it closed for the season. It was a great day for us, and Sam actually got to relax a bit.


We had been told more than once that there was a possibility that the baby would come before his due date. He held out almost until the date! Just two days before he was born, Ella and I got to go outside and enjoy the fall colors.

On October 11th, AJ entered the world. I watched in awe as my son was born and all the pride of being a daddy again filled my soul. We weren’t sure how Ella would handle it, but she welcomed him with open arms.

They still did not have a photographer at the hospital, so we went to JC Penney to have some newborn pictures taken. AJ looks spiffy in his outfit!

While this wasn’t Ella’s first Halloween, it was the first real Trick or Treating adventure for her. She was happy that big brother was there to walk with her. AJ was obviously way too young to attempt to go out this year.


Fall walks are among my favorites. I love looking at the colors. Ella and I took many fall walks and there were many instances where she’d just play in a pile of leaves! AJ kept us all busy and so it was just Ella and I making the trip to Bronner’s to get his ornament for the Christmas tree. We enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving at home and got the house ready for Christmas.


The final month of the year brought many happy memories. Professional Christmas pictures, my annual reading of Dickens, AJ turned 2 months old, a visit from Papa and Grandma, Christmas Eve with my boys, Holiday lights at Crossroads, our first Christmas as a family of four, and the anticipation of a brand new year.

Blog highlights included my entries to the 2021 Song Draft, salutes to Soupy Sales, my grandpa, and Ernie Harwell, a guest blog from my pal Max, silly blogs about hats and Bernie Sanders’ mittens, fishing memories, my favorite Twilight Zone episodes, and a blog about an amazing cartoon Dog Dad.

There were many sad moments in 2021. I lost classmates and friends to cancer, heart disease, and of course, Covid. If the past two years have taught me anything, it is that life is precious and another day is not promised. You never know when it will be the “last picture,” the “last phone call,” or the “last visit.” It takes me make to that quote that my band director wrote on the grease board my senior year. I have quoted it many times. “Live every day as if it were your last. Someday, you’ll be right.”

Life is too short. Live. Laugh. Love.

As we welcome 2022, I pray that it is a good year for all of us. May we find it full of happiness and good health. May God bless you and yours in the upcoming year.

Get ready. The Book of 2022 awaits. Grab your pen and turn to page (January) 1.

Back to the Grind …

Back to Work …

After three weeks off work, tonight I have to return to the grind. I was lucky to be able to take some time off to be with Sam and the kids. While showering yesterday, I realized that the time I’d be home was coming to an end. Sam joked that I was probably happy to be able to get away from the crying and craziness, but that isn’t true. I know that I am going to miss them and want to be home instead.

I am looking forward to getting back into “the norm”. Things have been “on hold” for a few weeks while I’ve been home. I’m behind on my Bible reading, my classes, and other things, but know that once I am back into the swing of things, I’ll get everything caught up.

One thing about being back at work that will be nice – lack of snacks. Over the past three weeks, I feel like I was always eating! Potato chips, cookies, fast food, and candy seemed to be everywhere. I am glad to be back at work where I have a packed lunch and a bit more control of what I am eating.


Our baby boy has kept us VERY busy. We took him to the ENT to discuss his lip tie and tongue tie. While in the office he snipped both (which freaked us both out – because they literally just clip them with scissors!) and he has been doing much better. Sam and I discussed things and we’ve decided that he will eventually go to all formula. He has no trouble with bottles and is sleeping much better. He still has the GERD, so he will be on meds to help with that.

Sam has all her pictures saved on her iCloud. She found picture of Ella and took a picture of AJ and they could be twins. It’s really amazing how much he is starting to look more and more like her as a baby.

Ella on top. AJ on bottom. Both about the same age.

He still gets cranky, but he is starting to take time to look around. He’s more and more alert every day.

Great Neighbors

I don’t recall if I blogged about it, but this summer a neighbor had posted on the neighborhood Facebook page that they needed someone to mow their lawn. I reached out and said I would help. She asked whether I had children and explained that I had two sons from my previous marriage, a daughter with my wife and one on the way. She asked if I knew what we were having and at the time I knew it was a boy.

Last week, Sam was on the couch breastfeeding and there was a knock on the side door. She freaked out, because the couch is right by the door! She asked if I was expecting anyone and I told her I was not. When I opened the door, it was the lady whose lawn I mowed. She asked if I remembered her and I told her I did. She told me that she wanted to drop something by for the baby. She had a little gift bag and handed it to me. Ella was standing there saying “Hi” and “Bye Bye,” so the visit was cut very short. I felt bad because I couldn’t even introduce her to my wife.

Anyway, she made a beautiful sweater for AJ. I can’t even begin to imagine how much work goes into something like this, but it is so nice. I can’t wait to get a picture of him in it to send to her.

Halloween Weekend

For Halloween, we had to make sure to let AJ wear his “My First Halloween” onesie. Ella happened to be wearing her Halloween dress, so we snapped a few pictures of them.

As I began this paragraph, I started to write “my youngest son came over…” I realize that I can’t say that anymore, because now AJ is my youngest son!

Anyway, my second born son came over for Halloween weekend. I picked him up on Saturday and he stayed Sunday night to trick or treat. He brought a bag with two or three costume ideas. He decided to go as “an old man.” As he trick or treated, he told people who asked that he was “my dad when he was younger!” That got quite a few laughs.

Prior to trick or treating, I took Ella on a walk around the neighborhood. I had to stop and get a picture of one tree, because it was just breathtaking. So much color to it.

Ella had her first round of Trick or Treating and didn’t quite get what to do. She went as a ladybug and was so cute. At the first house, I got her out of the wagon, handed the bag to her and she walked up to our neighbor. I told her to say “Trick or treat” and hold open her bag. Once the neighbor started to put the candy in the bag, she dropped the bag and grabbed the candy from them! It was quite funny.

We walked just our street with Ella and then took her home. She didn’t get her afternoon nap, so she was getting pretty tired anyway. I then drove Dimitri around the rest of the neighborhood. I was glad we drove, because it got very windy and very chilly as the night went on. My aunt had some things for the kids and actually found us while we were out trick or treating. She stopped by when we got home and got to see them.

Because he had school the next day, I had to take my son back home. My oldest son had gone out trick or treating with his friends and was at his friend’s house. The house is pretty close to ours, so I met them there and he took his brother home. By the time I got home that night, I was in bed and fast asleep!

As far as weekends are concerned, it was a good one! It’s always nice to get to see all of my kids and spend time with my family!

The “Overlap”

We are now three days from Christmas. Remember back in October when folks were all up in arms about people putting Christmas stuff up? I remember blogging about how this year we could use some happiness and approved of the “early” holiday cheer.

I was reminded of a cartoon which shows up every year (in some form or another):

I was reminded of the holiday “overlap” after reading one of the blogs I follow. The blog’s author, Beth, posted it here:

Personally, I have yet to walk into a store that has the Valentine’s stuff out, but I know that come December 26th, it will start showing up! I don’t know about you, but I don’t even start thinking about Valentine’s day until mid-January or early February.

I’ve never really understood the reason to rush a holiday? A month in advance is plenty. Now, Christmas may be a little different in that some people start saving money for Christmas as early as January (yes, 12 months early!). I know plenty of people who Christmas shop all year long. I would think that of all the holidays, Christmas is probably the biggest, at least where gift giving is concerned. Every one is buying gifts for someone.

I’ve never received an Easter Gift bigger than a basket with candy, a Labor Day surprise, a Fourth of July gift, or even a President’s Day gift. The only times I receive a gift is my birthday, my anniversary, and Christmas. Still, the retail stores are quick to usher in the next holiday even before one is over! I don’t get it.

In commenting back and forth with Beth, she brought up a good point. Why don’t they just have “Holiday” stores. One store – with everything you need for every holiday? At least you could walk in there and not wonder “Why is the Halloween stuff out in April?!” You’d expect it to be!

Thanks Beth, for the inspiration. I’m off to buy Valentines…..