Love Train

My local tourist train ends the season with their Pumpkin Trains. They have four trips, two on Saturday and again on Sunday, where the focus is not on the train or the rails or what this group of volunteers are doing to preserve them (which is massive). This weekend instead is all about the kids.

The Pumpkin Trains on the Downeast Scenic Railroad were this past weekend, and Grammy and Grampy got to accompany our Granddaughter (and her Dad) on their first ever ride on a train. Because I have always been a train fan, our daughter has been on several tourist train rides before, as well as on an Amtrak train during our epic cross country vacation trip.

Saturday was cold and wet, but the kids didn’t seem to mind. Because of the wet and damp weather, the train was longer than normal. They added their new acquisition, a converted combination car, which had been part of another tourist train. They had just finished the refurbish project, and were using the seating to make room for folks as they knew nobody would want to be in the open air car. We were part of those riding in the new car during its inaugural weekend.

Because of the extra length of the train, they also added their second engine to the back of the train. Normally the train goes down the track as far as they can to a runaround section, where they can switch the engine to the other end of the train to pull the train back all the way to the train yard, where they have a “wye” that they use to change the trains direction to head back to the station area. With the extra car and engine, they could not use the wye.

They had extra volunteers this weekend for the Pumpkin Train, not only for the extra car and engine, but also at the pumpkin patch.

at the pumpkin patch
at the pumpkin patch
Now, being as my granddaughter is only two, she didn’t exactly understand most of what was happening. Her Mom said she was more excited when she was on a plane. When we got to the pumpkin patch, she didn’t understand the concept of actually picking a pumpkin. In fact, she didn’t even want to touch them, as she kept saying that they were all wet. But finally, a pumpkin was chosen, and back on the train we went.

During the rest of the trip, the kids were given their choice of several foam sticker sheets to decorate their pumpkin. With Mom and Dads help, our granddaughter put together a very nice looking pumpkin. On it was a bat, with eyebrows and really big eyes. I think it even had a belly button.

One of the most important things that happened during the train ride was when she stood up on the seat, turned around, and started talking with the people in the seat behind us. It was the first time that she had ever done anything like that. While a minor milestone, it was nice to see her grow more as a person. Especially as in about two months she will become an older sister.

Being the oldest sibling comes with major responsibilities. You must show your younger sibling what to do, and how to not get caught doing things you shouldn’t be doing.

How to drive a car down the driveway and into the ditch when Mom isn’t looking. Yeah, I did that. 🙂

How to talk to strangers, and when to run away to safety.

And while it’s normal for siblings to fight tooth and nail with each other, family will always stick up for each other. Pick on baby brother, and suddenly you will have to deal with big sister. And her attitude. And if necessary, her right hook.

Family is love. Learning to share that love as the family grows will be my granddaughters first major life lesson.

Join hands. It’s a love train.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Guess who I got to have fun with this past weekend?

Saturday, my wife and I were invited up to spend some quality time with our daughter and two-year-old granddaughter. Seems that hubby/daddy happened to be spending the weekend with several members of his side of the family, out on the ATV trails.

Now, I don’t know if this trip was planned around our states hunting schedule or not, but if it was the timing was great. Hunting season hasn’t started yet, unless you’re in a specially designated area hunting for deer with bow and arrows, or you’re hunting for bears with dogs. Or bait. And no, the dogs can not be used as bait.

But with our granddaughter being just a bit too young, and our daughter being due in December, they were both home. And possibly just a bit bored. So, with the added bonus of having supper with them (not that we needed a food bribe to come visit, of course!), off we went.

When we arrived, we found our granddaughter sitting on the kitchen counter, with her feet in the sink, splashing about in about an inch of soapy water. She had a cup in each hand, which she would use to pour the sink water from one cup to the other, then back into the sink and all over her legs, all the while laughing and giggling and having a grand old time.

It didn’t take long for Grampy and Grammy to be playing along with her. She found it fascinating that if she poured water into my cupped hands, the water stayed in my hands, until she put the cup under my hands and commanded that the water go back into her cup. Suddenly, the water disappeared, and then when I moved my hands, the water was magically back in her cup!

When Mommy and Grammy went to sit and talk at the dining room table, of course she wanted them to come back and play. That is, until Grampy dumped some water on her legs.

She and I played for about an hour or so, and we didn’t really make too much of a mess.

After supper, we all decorated a Halloween sun-catcher. You know, the ones at the dollar store that come with four different paint colors. Designed for use by those ages three and up.

That nights lesson was that you should not open all four paint cups at the same time for a two-year-old. Even one who is as smart as a whip as my granddaughter is. All four colors mixed together turned her ghost into a gray blob. She did manage to keep almost every drop of paint off the table.

By bedtime, she was tired and just a little bit cranky, but she still joyfully gave Grammy and I hugs and kisses. Multiple times. And when we finally left, she willingly headed upstairs with Mommy. And unless I hear otherwise, I will believe that she was a little angel for the rest of the night.

girls selfie
girls selfie
Sunday, my 10-year-old granddaughter and her BFF cohort in crime were together, talking and making noise around 9 AM. The subject? Boys.

I didn’t hear the entire conversation, but I did hear just enough to know that I, and their parents, had nothing to worry about. Yet.

After her BFF returned home, we went to go have lunch. We actually walked to a nearby restaurant, because she decided that she wanted to. Something about needing exercise. I didn’t mind, because we got to chat about anything and everything that came to her head while we walked.

When we got there, I ordered a sandwich and she ordered a salad without croutons, which I got to tease her about when our meals took a little too long to arrive. She wouldn’t believe me that it takes extra time to take the croutons out of a salad.

We talked all through lunch, and then continued when we walked to the local pet store, where she of course wanted me to buy her a bird. Then a Bearded Dragon. Then a mouse. Then a gerbil. Then … well, you get the picture.

What she really wanted to see was a hedgehog, but that was at the other pet store across town. So we started heading that way, past the restaurant we had just eaten at. Then, reality set in (or her feet were tired), so we headed home. Talking all the way. Having fun.

As they both grow up, I will miss these days with my granddaughters. Because girls just wanna have fun. That’s all they really want.