Thanks for letting me stroll down our pumpkin patch memory lane.
It is fun documenting these old memories and going through non-digital photo albums.
In anticipation of the 2006 Halloween Holiday, I wanted to flash back on costumes over the years too. Rather than starting from Sam's first Halloween, since my last post was a bit heavy, I wanted to share photos from later that month and continue the story of our 2003 Halloween.
I don't remember the exact date, but sometime between the pumpkin patch and Halloween, I was offered and accepted a job as a media supervisor with JWTSC in Chicago.
It still wasn't a job that was in-line with my spirit but it was going to pay me enough to support myself and Sam in Chicago. It would take us to a new city; allow a new start with new opportunities and new people. I would meet (and fall in love almost immediately with) Cameron Maddux.
But I didn't know all of that yet on this Halloween day. On this day, we were reveling in the company of our friends in Des Moines.
Jon and his mom, Amy Jo lived across the hall from us for two years. Amy Jo was a single mom too. The boys' temperaments were so similar that they played together incredibly well. It was wonderful for them to be able to wander across the hall in their pjs and see if their friend was available to play.
It was awesome for Amy Jo and me too. We were able to empathize with one another and offer support and encouragement.
If I needed to run to the store quickly and didn't want to have to drag Sam out of the house, I'd check to see what was happening next door and often, Sam could just hang out until I got back and vice versa.
We've recently reconnected with them and heard about how Amy Jo is in a long-term relationship and even has a new daughter.
We are anxiously awaiting updated photos and wanted to share these with them.
We had many adventures with Jon and Amy Jo. One time I took the boys to the pet store and came home with two hamsters and one cage. The idea was that they could share them, passing the cage and the hamsters back and forth between our homes.
The hamsters didn't really cooperate. They would bite which hurt. They were rewarded for this behavior by being dropped and set free.
(I'm not sure how much time I spent, tearing the place apart looking for an escaped hamster but it was plenty.) They were penalized for this behavior by being held too tightly and chased by cats.
They made a mess, spreading wood chips everywhere. No one liked cleaning up after them and Amy Jo said they stank. I think we had them about a week before we took them back to the pet store and begged them to keep them.
Speaking of cats, our cats liked to be outside then too. Often, we let them out on our balcony. They would jump onto the entryway of the door between our apartments, using it as a bridge over to Amy and Jon's balcony and back.
At some point, Jon decided he needed a black and white cat like Sam's cat. They got a black and white cat. They talked about names and Amy had some good ideas but Jon insisted that his cat be named Dixie like Sam's cat. So they had their Dixie and our Dixie became, "Big, Fat Dixie."
Sam and I used to go to educational programs at Saylorville Lake. One time, we went to one on Frogging. We hiked around a pond at night with a flashlight to no avail. While they were singing all around us, we didn't see a frog one. Until, we were leaving and these bigger boys (probably about Sam's age now) held up a huge frog they had caught. We stopped for a closer look and they said we could keep it. Without stopping to think what that would mean for the frog, we jumped at the chance. We were thrilled to have some time with this impressive creature.
We brought him home in whatever container we had with us. The next day, we bought a frog habitat, did some research and started feeding him live crickets from the pet store.
The first time we fed him, he ate all of the crickets in a flash. It was quite impressive. Then, somehow, the cats got the lid off the habitat (or he hopped and knocked it loose) and the frog escaped. We couldn't find him anywhere. I was afraid the cats had eaten him but since I couldn't find even a trace of him, I hoped he'd turn up alive. Eventually, he did. Our friend, Noah found him behind the couch.
We cleaned him up and put him back in the tank. We kept buying crickets but at some point, he stopped eating them. The last time, we fed him, he just let the cricket hop on his head and didn't do a thing. He was starting to look a little yellow too. We decided it was time to take the frog home.
At first, the boys didn't want to give the frog up but I compared him to ET saying how even though ET loved Eliot, he couldn't stay with him because he missed his family and friends back home and how he being away from home was making him sick. They agreed that we should take the frog home.
We drove back out to the place we'd found him and let him go. As soon as he hopped into the water, he gave a massive kick and was gone.
We loved having these guys as neighbors and do miss them greatly.