Saturday, November 15, 2008

Halloween Week 2008

Whew! I did it! Somehow. Jason missed Halloween AGAIN (poor guy) and I had to sort out this seemingly simple holiday alone.

The week started with the nursing home trip, which I loved and am eternally grateful to my children for behaving. Dylan was kind enough to forgo his Batman costume for the fireman costume, which was a huge sacrifice.
The Littles also had Halloween parties and arriving at school with the correct party items I signed up to bring always warms my heart. They also have a costume parade and sing Halloween songs as a group. Many younger kids fell apart and wouldn't participate so I was extremely proud of Lyvia. She hung in there the whole time even though she would have preferred to bail out and into my lap like some other kids.
At the big kids school they can dress as something out of a book. Jon didn't participate (not cool in 4th grade) and Lindsay took a non-fiction book about gymnastics and wore a gymnastics outfit.

We also had to carve our pumpkins this week, which is just too funny AND tough. I limited us to two pumpkins (instead of one each like the kids wanted.) At the time, that was because we were at the pumpkin patch and really I had my hands so full I wasn't sure how to get all the kids, friends, flowers, and pumpkins back to the car. Wisely, we didn't get our jack-o-lanterns made before Jason left for India (because of the Texas heat, carved pumpkins have a very short life.) So, I was in charge of fitting four kids, two pumpkins, lots of knives and lots of ideas into a tight schedule. With their good attitudes, we got it done. The funny thing is to watch them design the pumpkin faces. There were a couple of good ideas in there, but I am not capable of rendering their designs perfectly.

I finally started sharing with them that all we can really do is bring our ideas to the pumpkin and then the pumpkin will let us know what kind of face it really wants. By the way, no pumpkin at my house wants a heart shaped nose. Sorry Lindsay.

I would carve a bit and attempt to do something along the lines of their picture. Either my hang ups or dull knives meant a design change needed to be made so I let them know I was listening to the pumpkin and would do as it wished. They bought it.

The best part was the lighting of the pumpkins. They went kid crazy in the cool air and it probably looked like a Wicca meeting in my front yard as they spun, cartwheeled and flipped around. We also made our Boo bags and they ran around in the dark dropping them at doorsteps, ringing doorbells and running away since the giver is not supposed to be known.
A few days later it was Halloween night! I just don't know how to get four kids dressed and decorated close enough to the departure time to sit for photos and be ready to join the neighbors. I'm always worried that I'll have to listen to them beg to leave for an hour. Of course you also have to first feed them dinner and finishing stashing all the junk gathered by your front door so it looks clean enough to the people coming by later for candy.

Of course we couldn't find all of Lindsay's costume because I put it in some cleaver place so that it wouldn't get misplaced before Halloween. She was a good sport about improvising her rock star costume. I happened to have some colored hair spray (doesn't everyone?) and she loved her wild hair. Jonathan's costume was some creepy cloak with a chest plate that looked like ribs and was hooked up with tubes to blood. He could squeeze it and blood would move...I don't was perfectly gross for a nine year old and he loved it. Dylan went back to his Batman costume that he wears non-stop throughout the year. It was Jonathan's costume years ago and is barely staying together. I will be eternally grateful that he didn't put up too much of a fight about wearing that fireman costume to the nursing home.

Lyvia was still a cute butterfly, but you won't get to see proof of any of these costumes because I missed Halloween pics. It was really dark and I was still fixing hair as we started to march down the street with the neighbors.

Jonathan and a gang of boys went off by themselves. Three hours later, when I drove around to find them, they couldn't even walk the block back to the house. Their legs and feet were completely worn out. Ah, finally they had to really work to bring in the mother lode of candy. And it was a mother lode. Fifteen and one half pounds of candy came back to my house. What a night.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Don't have a clue

The Littles keep getting in trouble for this and that mischief. Problem is, I really don't have a clue who is to blame. They have gotten into the horrid habit of immediately blaming each other for whatever trouble I have found.

Lindsay's money was missing last night and a chorus of "Dylan did it! Lyvi did it!" started before we even got the entire accusation out of our mouth. I still am not sure exactly which one should be charged for that crime.

This morning Lyvia proudly showed me her baby, which is covered in ink stamps. Moments after seeing my face she blamed Dylan and Dylan blamed Lindsay! Dylan just looks guilty with his little grin, but I think I won this one. I asked Lyvia, "Why did you put stamps on your baby?" She started in with her multi-use "cuz" statement, but rapidly (really, too rapidly for a two-year-old) caught on and switched to, "No, Dylan did it."

I'll take her momentary blunder as proof of her guilt, but goodness she is so good at being naughty.

Off to rescue the baby from living her life as a tattoo artist reject.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

I think a lot of people wish they could do this right now.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Lindsay and Jonathan got to vote for the president at school today. Jon is hook, line and sinker for Obama, but Lindsay said she just couldn't decide and wanted to vote for both.
My finger kept going back and forth and I couldn't decide because
I wanted to vote for both of them.
So who did you finally vote for?
Well, McCain has four boys, three girls, four dogs and a cat.
How can you NOT vote for THAT!?!
Happy Election Day!

p.s. Dylan said he would vote for "RockObama."

Monday, November 03, 2008

Moments from My Day

I woke up and thanked the heavens above that Lyvia slept soundly through the night. At one point the little ice cube did crawl over to me and got under the covers, which is uncommon for her. She snuggled in tight and close. When she is still, this is yummy.

Dylan started his day by wanting to call his daddy. I explained that I needed to figure out what time it was to make sure daddy might actually be able to talk. I told him it might be night time since daddy is on the other side of the world. When I called, Jason was in a meeting so I asked him to call us back when he could. Dylan asked, "Did you hear any crickets?" Uh... "Why would I hear crickets," I asked. "To tell if it is night time or not!" Where in the world did he learn this?

My brother arrived from Japan the night before so Dylan, Lyvia and I picked him up at his hotel and took him to get his rental car. During lunch we learned that there might be a wedding in his future!

Next I picked up Oliver from the new groomers and paid more for his haircut than I do mine. Thank goodness they pretty much buzzed him off to the skin.

Then things turned into a bit of blur, but it included whiny kids who wouldn't give me a moment of peace and who messed up faster than I could pick up.

Jonathan and Lindsay came home from school and did a might fine job of practicing their instruments, telling me about their day and then quickly disappearing into the neighborhood.

Lyvia attempted to take a nap, but I quickly woke her up and visited the park with the Littles. Dinner was a compilation of everything they keep rejecting. It is too funny to watch them barter things around -- germs just don't exist in our house.

Lyvia got yanked out of the bathtub early since yet AGAIN she squeezed a bottle of shampoo into the tub. Honestly, she can't resist this and eating outside the kitchen.

At some point we all ended up on one twin bed. I was reading books to Lindsay and Dylan. Lyvia likes to hold her own book and do her own thing. Jonathan must have needed some family time since he was also there reading his own book. I finally realized that the noise next to me was Lyvia repeating everything I read. She kept doing it with a grin on her face. What a little trickster. I'm sure you had to be there, but we ended up laughing so hard that Dylan, Lindsay, Jonathan and I had tears streaming down our face.

The last book we read was Going On a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury. In this version, the family arrives in a cave and there is a bear! They then run all the way back home, upstairs and under the covers. It is such a cute little story and fun to swishy swishy and squelch squerch to and fro, but Dylan always wants me to skip from the cave to the family jumping under the covers together. It just cracks me up that this cute little tale scares the begeebers out of him.

Dylan always crashes at night, which is so welcome and endearing. Lindsay has to carry on 10 more conversations with me before she is settled. Lyvia is horrid about going to bed and now none of her siblings will sleep in the same room with her anymore (she won't stop talking.) With Jason out of town, I've just let her go get into my bed each night. Tonight, after Jonathan and I worked on some of his homework, he went to "bed". I just found him also in my bed so I guess I'll have to carve out a spot for myself.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Reach Out

I love, love, love visiting nursing homes with my children. Even my shiest kids break out and participate in handing out whatever goodie or decoration we bring. A Baylor alum group met at a nursing home near me to spread some Halloween cheer so we beelined over there, too.

There is a bit of a dance involved when I try to communicate with people in these homes. I don't know what kind of interaction they are interested in or how they are feeling. I don't want to presume that everyone thinks preschoolers toddling around are a thing of joy. Some people love the visitors, others don't seem interested and I'm sure some are delighted inside, but because of that aging process, you just can't tell from their faces or words that they are actually happy or receptive. This poor group got stuck with us (our singing wasn't fabulous) since they were all arriving and waiting for lunch. All you can do is show up and hope that you did make a difference in someones day. Also, don't think they didn't let me know how frustrating it was to have to come in every day and never know how long they will have to wait until their lunch is served! I'm sure it is maddening to loose all control.

The biggest surprise for me was this neat guy. He seems to carry around a packet of laminated photos and information about the ship he served on in World War II. Dylan stuck to him like glue and carried on quite a conversation as he was shown picture after picture. The gentleman even explained his jobs on the ship and where he worked on it. I wonder what feelings brought him to the point of needing to carry around this part of his history with him, however, I love that we were there for him to share those memories with us.

I'm Officially Jealous

Jason's hotel perched on a cliff

Jason's pics from Tirandrum, India

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Camera Free

Completely out of character, but I took my kids to a picnic at a park after Jonathan's football game and did NOT get my camera out of the car. What was I thinking?

If I had my camera, I would have snapped a picture as they climbed the embankment that leads to I-35. They were close enough to the cars zooming by at 65 mph that my heart might have stopped a couple of times. They loved it.

I would have taken a picture of them as Jonathan waded in the water of the creek and scaled the infamous round rock. I would have stepped back a bit and snapped a shot of all of them dancing around the rocky "flats" that are smoothly carved by erosion. It is where my mom's family would come for picnic outings 50+ years ago.

It would have been great to capture Lindsay and Lyvia carefully wading over to the round rock. Lyvia wore her "baby soup" today because she just knew she would be swimming. That hadn't been in the plans, but she was joyfully vindicated and so proud of herself for sticking to her guns about what she considered appropriate football watching wear. Lindsay took such good care of her as they got closer and closer to their goal.

Dylan stayed on the shore to show me how fast the minnows "zagged" when he put his finger in the water. He couldn't wrap his mind around charging into the cold water and making his way to the rock. Instead, he found plenty to do perched on the edge of the rock as he dipped his squishy toddler hands into the water. What a sweet picture they would be.

It is heart warming to watch siblings help one another and that is just what Jonathan and Lindsay did when all three arrived at the rock. The made and executed a plan to help Lyvi scale the side. Lindsay leaned over the rock and grabbed Lyvi's hands. Jonathan gave her a boost from below. Hopefully they will always remember to help each other out. All three were smiling on top of "their" round rock -- that would have been a picture.

On the way back, they found more areas to explore. Even Dylan became brave enough to wade from rocky shelf to rock shelf.

I didn't have a camera today, but I think they'll still remember their mom taking them on this impromptu picnic at the park.