Saturday, November 1, 2014

No whine on Halloween!

If your concern is that we're all going to forget a bevy of these children's memories because I blog annually, you're probably right.
But! I'll be damned if we forget a single Halloween moment!
To kick things off and show you how mature and refined we've become since I last blogged, check this: Candy trading didn't take place until the morning after Trick-or-Treat!
Prep, as you know, started ages ago. This year, Patrick and Elliott were ultra-dedicated to the gutting part of pumpkin-carving. At least one of them (Elliott) LOVES roasted pumpkin seeds, but at this point, Patrick was convinced he loved them, too.
Patrick's design and finished product--
Aaaaaaaaand Elliott's--
(Don't you worry. That's a plastic knife from the play kitchen.)
God bless Patrick. We had quality one-on-one time working on creating his costume. These are the memories we'll remember forever.
I know, I know. Enough with the touchy-feely, lovey-dovey stuff. Here. This photo of a hungry lion will snap you right outta that!
Well, HOW ELSE would you dress for your errands when it's October 31st??!
(P.S. Pictured here is the lovely little lady James and I babysit. She's pretty cute, but let's be honest. She's just a prop in my never-ending photo shoots.)
As you may have heard, this was the first year Riley was an only dog for Halloween. (Rest in peace, Tragus!) To brighten her spirits, I decided she should be included in the fun.
As it turns out, Riley was less than thrilled. But her brothers loved it!
This was the moment when she looked right through me, as if to ask, "What did I do to deserve this? What, Mom?" (Sorry, girl. But you look supercute, AND you have the same size neck as Pete! NOW we know!)
I didn't torture Riley past that point, so I moved on to the human subjects. Here, in his first real trick-or-treat appearance, is James as Cookie Monster! (Obviously, he carried a cookie jar that said, "but me like candy too.")
And THIS is why I love Halloween!
Here's the exact moment when Cookie Monster noticed the giant chocolate chip cookie approaching. Look at that crazed glint in his eye!
Patrick's "help me" sign was a last-minute (but crucial) addition to his costume. The mixing bowl as a candy catcher was Patrick's idea. :)
COOK-IE!!! Um, mum, mum, yum...
Ah, yes. There IS another kid living here! Thank you for remembering.
Elliott approached me a month or more ago and asked if he'd be allowed to go trick-or-treating with friends this year. Had it already come to this?! I'm already out of the creative equation?? The answer, basically, is yes. So, I said he could, but I challenged his group of pals to come up with a group costume. They agreed.
This is the result.
If I have to spell it right out for you (dummy), he's Percy Jackson, son of Poseidon and star of a literary series these little brainiacs love. Each of the four kids picked a character. But the funniest part? Elliott rejected the first wig I bought and insisted on the one you see above. Then, by the time he met up with his friends, he got self-conscious and didn't want to look silly. He lost the wig entirely once the lady friends entered the party!
Nevermind that the only other boy volunteered to be the Cyclops. Wrap your arm around the girls!
But look at me getting ahead of myself!
Pre-T-or-T, our awesome neighbors hosted their annual potluck dinner party. I made this and promptly told anyone who'd listen it was the cutest thing I'd ever made! You should make one, too. It was easy, but even children were impressed. (Whoa.)
Here's a majority of costumed kids on our street. Don't you love it??
I caught James, just after he dropped half his hot dog, lifted somebody's purple pumpkin and was out. Ding-dong, candy, got it. See ya, Mom!
Since Elliott was too cool for us, I joined a couple of other parents with Patrick, James and two other second-graders. And if you're thinking, "My, but it looks wet and freezing and miserable," you would be entirely right.
But the haul was great. Elliott had A BLAST with his friends, even watching the Percy Jackson movie after trick-or-treating! Patrick did great, too, and his costume held up surprisingly well in the weather conditions that seem to be our new norm. James lasted longer than any of us imagined and fared pretty well, even if he was saying, "Trick-or-treat! Fank you!" to the driveways, long before he got to most doors...
Details. Those are just nit-picky details.
It was an awesome Halloween 2014! :D

Friday, November 1, 2013

It rained on my Halloween parade. (Yes, just mine.)

Here's the thing. I love Halloween. I love it! I love that anything is possible, and that trick-or-treat becomes a walking display of creativity and imagination. It's not about flaunting how many gifts got passed or how fancy your house is. Halloween is just fun. And ya know what? We dealt with crappy, cold, rainy weather last year. Two years in a row puts me in a foul mood. 
But, it was just me. Everyone else had a blast!
(Everyone but James, that is. But I expected him to wear a costume, and that'll tick anybody off.)
So, here's a rundown of our Halloween 2013!
First, the punkins. We created and carved with some great friends ("like we allllllllllllllways do," as one Kindergarten participant said). That's Elliott's on the left, Patrick's hybrid of carving and Mr. Potato Head pirate on the right, and little James in the middle. Ohhhhh, maybe NEXT year we'll carve yours, buddy?  :[] 

Don't even try to say Elliott was a vampire. Clearly he was Count Dracula, which he kept pronouncing "Dra-CU-la" and then would get mad that 1. You thought he was just a lowly vampire, and 2. He said it wrong again.

As you well know, it can be hard to get willing volunteers when you vant to suck someone's blood, so in a stroke of genius, he doubled as a Red Cross Volunteer! (Ahhh, I love Halloween! The bucket says, "GIVE BLOOD. (or candy)"

Don't even tell me you aren't in love with King Patrick. The one-size-fits-most crown instantly fell like a necklace, so I pulled out the wig he wore as a Mad Scientist a couple of years back. It beefed up his head to keep the crown on and looked ridiculous (in a ridiculously adorable kinda way). It was itchy, and he hated it, but he toughed it out for Mom's unbearable love of this holiday. What a trooper!
It's possible he was motivated by his bucket, although I really think he would've been happy with gold pieces OR sugary treats. They're both tops in his book.  
The boys begged to go out on their own this year, and, well. WHO ARE WE to stand in the way of their budding independence?! Especially when it's cold, windy and raining! OK, boys. You win!
So, that left Pete and me home to drink wine, pass out candy to the revelers and wrestle James into Thee Cutest Costume He Couldn't Stand--

He's an owl! This here head would've made a world of difference, but there was just no. way. he was agreeing to it. (I wasn't joking about two adults wrestling a beast of a baby into this getup!)

James relaxed when he could get outside--only losers stay inside during the coolest outdoor party--and the rain helped his hair blend right into the costume. teehee!
I can't even tell you how many people guessed he was a turkey! They're laughing WITH you, kiddo. Swear! 
There was all kinds of talk about postponing trick-or-treat to avoid the storms, but you know what? These boys were completely undeterred! Just LOOK at Patrick, returning home after only lapping our own street. He's 103 percent happy!

Can you SEE how wet his shirt is?? I was so ticked at the weather gods, but Patrick was GOOD.
Elliott, too! I mean, I know he still has his angry eyebrows on, but other than that, he's GOOD!
Then, as soon as we realized our neighbor's house was not on fire and that the kind firefighters were instead rolling around the 'hood, handing out candy to even-more-elated kids, the night got better still!
The boys got right back to their sorting, trading and consuming, bouncing around the house with jittery, sugary happiness. At one point, James tried to get in on the serious candy sort business, but Elliott quickly shooed him away with a, "James, no! This is my life's work! ...OK, I guess it's my night's work..., but NO!"

Poor kid.

Your parents don't carve your runt pumpkin. They squeezed you into some padded turkey. AND your brothers won't even give you a pity piece of candy! How about a bag of pretzels, huh? Does THAT help?
Happy Crappy Halloween 2013, everybody!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Feelin' groovy


Slow down, you move too fast,
You got to make the morning last.

And also, Mama is so excited, she can't get you in focus fast enough!

He's finally WALKING!!!

The level of excitement and sense of accomplishment are so high, I'm actually convinced I've never had a kid or witnessed his first steps before. Elliott and Patrick WHO? Right??! Maybe it's just that I've never before lugged a medicine ball around, waiting for it to sprout legs and move on its own.
At any rate, we are feelin' very groovy indeed!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Itty bitty baby

James is worried.
He's heard about the prevailing parental "wisdom" that says it's unhealthy to compare kids.
Here's the thing: He just wants to save you the trouble.
Spoiler alert! My baby's bigger than your baby!  :P
We went to the pediatrician today, and well, you know how this is gonna go. James is a handful of days into his 15th month and he weighs nearly 30 pounds. I mean, ho-lee mother of giant babies! (That's me!) Twenty-nine pounds, four ounces. That's nearly two pounds for every month of life. (By that weight rate, I should be a svelte 814 pounds. Back to the kitchen I go!)
The silly nurse tried to say he was 32.5 inches long, but as the doc said, "I don't think he's shrinking." (He was 33 inches at the one-year check-up.)
If you're tracking his stats at home, he's been off the top of the growth charts since his ninth month. So, basically, I don't know what set of curves you've been marking.
Oh, and if you thought I'd have walking news with this post, you're gonna hafta wait a little longer. Coordinating the limbs of a giant in an upright manner is actually an engineering feat we've yet to master.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Everybody be cool

We have three bipeds!
First, let's back up a few days.
As you know, school started. When we all survived and even emerged unscathed, we went out to celebrate--
And so far, so good! Elliott's only complaint is that real homework has yet to begin. Patrick's one gripe is that I give him too much food for lunch and snack time.
(Anyone else hear the voice over from A Christmas Story saying, "Every family has a kid who won't eat."?)
Anyway. Two big boys in school all the live-long day gives James and me plenty o' play time.
One game he loves is Fakeout. It can be with food or toys, but it goes like this: With sincerity, he extends his arm..., and then rips the offering right back. Or shovels into his mouth, if there's any chance it might be edible. That's it! It always looks so sweet to start, though...
But the child can't play Indian giver ALL day, so he's been working on... (drumroll, please): STANDING!
Ohhhhhhhhh yeah.
He'll be 15 months in a couple of days, and that's been the magical walking age for our boys... so hang right on the edge of your seat...! Maybe, just maybe, a big skill announcement will be coming soon!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Exploring first-day emotions

In case you hadn't heard, a little thing called SCHOOL has started!
Emotions this morning were, uhhh, mixed.
First up, Elliott:
I feel funny talking about it, so there's a good chance you don't know his big news: He's a grade skipper. Yes. By peer comparison, he was young before and now..., he's younger. But dangit if this kid wasn't clamoring to start fourth grade the day after second grade ended! His world domination plans include working very hard in fourth grade and then seeing if he can skip fifth.
(Please pray for me.)
Next up, Patrick:

I call this morning's portrait, "Ready but Reticent."
I could SWEAR I bought clothes that were appropriately sized, but here he is, the poor little peanut, swimming in back-to-school gear.
Really, I know he's going to be great in first grade! He reads slowly, but like a patient little champ, and his fine motor and math skills are really coming along. He also scored big when his close buddy, his fiance-to-be and his beloved Kindergarten teacher jumped to first grade with him. (Line forms here to love Paddy, people!)
So, here they are, our big boys with their very different personalities, on School Day No. 1!  

James, as you might guess, is thrilled to have mom all to himself and, just on the other side of the glass/prison bars of Hell, he was more than happy to grant a little extra photo time this a.m. "Mamaaaa! You said it was just the two of us all day, and you've been out there 14 seconds already!!"
See that? He recovered!
(These two photos are actually from the other day, but I didn't want to end on that tortured soul above.)
Mr. Jamie James is far from school-age, but his girth might fool the average preschool teacher. He's a hefty 28 pounds, crawls like his diaper's on fire and only takes a step when he thinks you're still holding his hands. (He promptly drops to the floor once he gets wise to the trick.) He'll be 15 months at the end of August, when we'll head on over to that doc's office to see if we can't break her scale.
P.S. Pete--who's not pictured, even though HE just had HIS first day of school!--can probably relate to every one of the emotions listed here.
Here's to a GREAT 2013-14, everybody!