Sunday, November 3, 2019

On Hallowtide


My Halloween pictures aren't late, I just had to wait for the whole Hallowtide to be over :)

This year we kicked off the festivities with trick-or-treating around the neighborhood.  And since we chose our neighborhood mainly for the giant wooded lot sizes it was a lot of walking to get to each house.  Half the kids gave up early and were escorted home while I took the truly serious candy hunters on the full neighborhood loop.  We had two matching Pikachus and an Ash Ketchum, a Link, a butterfly, and a dragon who changed his mind at the last minute and transformed himself into a wizard.  This is why our five and under crowd almost exclusively make their costumes on the day of Halloween by rummaging through the costume box. 

Fickle.  That's what they are.

Now, it's difficult enough to get a decent picture of six kids at once on any given regular day--trying to do it right before the most spectacularly candy filled night of the year is just impossible.  I tried, but this was the best shot of the disappointing bunch.  And the only picture I got of wizard Christopher was blurry.  He was actually a much cuter wizard than he was a giant three year old who squeezed himself into an 18-24 month sized dragon costume but I was not going to argue with a crazed red headed toddler who decided he was definitely going to wear a tiny costume.  I pick my battles more carefully than that. 

I'm fairly anti Pokemon as a rule, mostly because I dislike adults marketing things to children that they then need to collect indefinitely.  I mean, the tagline is literally "gotta catch 'em all."  Anyway, there was pretty much zero chance I was going to give the franchise my dollars by buying actual Pokemon costumes from the store so they can continue to convince my children that they will never be able to be happy until they have indeed caught them all.  But when your nine year old desperately wants to have a matching costume with his baby brother you kind of need to make that happen, yes?  I found some yellow shirts and hats and attached tails and ears and Henry could not have been more excited.  The delight was palpable with every shake of his lightning bolt tail.  The yellows weren't all exactly Pikachu yellow, but I suppose we found the silver lining of the boys' color deficient status because Henry totally couldn't tell that the yellows didn't match. 

They were pretty much the cutest thing I've ever seen.  Well, beside Margaret and her pipe cleaner antennae. 


No one wanted to dress up as saints the next day for the All Saints Day mass but we did get donuts at the local donut shop which were very festive and delicious.  What could a bunch of children hyped up on a dragon hoard of candy need but to top themselves off with sugary baked goods?  A feast day is a feast day so...... 

On All Souls Day we met up with some friends at a nearby Catholic cemetery to pray for the souls of the dead and then, since we have family buried nearby, we swung by that cemetery afterwards to pray there as well.  We hadn't ever done this before but the children did surprisingly well.  Our friend printed out prayer cards with the Eternal Rest prayer on one side and a place to write the names of the people you want to remember this month on the other and everyone was as reverent as could be expected for their various ages.  Meaning that Christopher was minimally reverent.  The fact that we brought soul cakes to trade with each other afterwards might have helped keep everyone on track as well. 

It was really a great three days.  Now we just need to make a plan to get rid of the giant stash of candy.  In the past we've bought most of it back from the children--paying by the ounce--and then disappeared the candy by taking it in to Chris' office.  This year no one wanted to sell. 

Touché children.  Touché.  

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

On Turning Five and Growing Up Too Quickly

I took Margaret outside on her birthday for a bit of a photo shoot last week and looking back through the pictures I can't help but feel that my little girl has sprouted into a not so little girl overnight and that I really need her to slow herself down.

She had a lovely day and was showered with presents from family members near and far. 

Those included a new pink bike with no training wheels because she decided that she was pretty sure she already knew how to ride a bike last month and jumped on her brother's bike and took off down the driveway with no problems.  I think her success was a combination of years of balance biking and the fact that she has no fear of anything.  She did request that her bike have a seat for her baby dolls though, so I guess I'll save my real birthday meltdown for when she thinks she's too old for things like not taking her babies everywhere she goes. 

She finished off the day with a pink raspberry cake that we baked together, complete with pink icing, pink filling, pink sprinkles, and pink candles.  She loved the aesthetics of the cake--but she did not love the taste of the cake.  I told her that maybe next year she should not choose her recipes based solely on the color but that maybe she should take into account the actual flavors and choose something she would actually like to eat.  I suppose we'll see which instinct is stronger--her desire for pink, or her desire for treats she really likes. 

I think it could go either way :)

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

On Having a Teddy Bear Picnic

 I suppose it's bound to happen that birthday parties dwindle the more children you have, especially when the last three's birthdays are so close together.  Margaret managed to get all the way to five without a party that wasn't just cousins coming over.  Granted, in our family a cousins-only party can be a fairly large affair--especially if you are used to children's birthday parties involving intricate party games, expensive goody bags, and one friend per year of your life--which is not really how we roll :)

So I did what any practical mother of many would do and threw one party to cover them all and invited everyone we know with children who we thought would be interested and all of our old friends who live at our new duty station that we haven't seen for years.  If you've been keeping up with us over the years you know that we kind of have an invite first, plan later party mentality and this was no different. The day before our friend asked how many kids were coming and I realized that I didn't actually know.  I went home, did some quick calculations (30!), panicked, and ran out for emergency juice box and potato chip rations because we clearly did not have enough. 

I think the party was a success! 

At the very least we did not run out of food. 

We have a soft spot in our hearts for teddy bears which was passed down from Chris' grandmother, along with a not insubstantial collection of her bears.  I've been hoping to throw a teddy bear picnic party for years and this was obviously the perfect occasion since it involved basically throwing some quilts on the ground and artfully arranging teddy bears about the place and then, you know, providing a picnic supper. 

The one request I had from the children who can speak, was for a pinata.  That pinnacle of all birthday party activities.  This was my first attempt at a paper maché pinata and it was cute but not nearly as sturdy as my regular cardboard creations.  It only took three kids to bring it down from the hook (I had my suspicions about being a very weak spot before we started).  Oh well!  The kids got the candy out which is what they really wanted anyway. 

The kids all had fun playing in the yard and the grown-ups all got to catch up and chat and now the little ones can't say they've never had a party.  I call that a win-win-win :)

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

On Turning Three and Giant Fire Engines

We are over halfway through our fall birthday marathon of Saint Andrew novena babies.  It gets pretty intense here for about three weeks.  Also, I don't think I'll be praying that particular novena for a while--or you know, ever again. 

Christopher asked for an ice-cream cake, which I have never actually attempted before, but I'm here to oblige.  I used this recipe and it turned out pretty well--I think I may have let the ice cream soften too much though because there were some freezer burn type ice crystals in it but none of the children seemed to notice.

I wish you all could have experienced the pure joy that was Christopher as he opened each and every one of his gifts.  Leading up to the big day if you asked him what he wanted for his birthday he would reply that he just wanted "two pwe-sents."  If only we could all be so grateful and contented! 

His biggest thrill was the unveiling of the giant fire engine I found at the local thrift store for five dollars.  He actually found it in my van a few weeks ago and I caught him carrying it proudly into the house chanting, "a fire twuck for me!" which was quite a feat as it's just about as big as he is.  We took it away and told him that I had actually bought the fire truck of his dreams for some other little boy which was slightly traumatic but as you can see from his expression was more than made up for when he found out that the truck really was for him.

Hopefully year three will still be full of all his joy and excitement....and maybe a little less full of all of his scathingly brilliant ideas. 

Moms are allowed to hope for things like that right?

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

On Turning One and Recreating Memories

We celebrated Timmy's very first birthday at home with some delicious cake that I really shouldn't have sampled since I'm still trying to avoid eating everything that makes life worth living in an effort to fend off migraine attacks.   It really was delicious though--especially the icing. 

I took copious amounts of pictures to commemorate the occasion with the evening light streaming in and making his little head glow while he played with his new toy and licked his new book.  Later that night, however, when I attempted to load all my beautiful pictures onto my computer I realized that I hadn't actually had my memory stick in my camera and there were, in fact, zero birthday pictures. 

Well, you can't have zero birthday pictures from your sixth child's first birthday.  Maybe their third birthday or their eleventh, but certainly not their first.  That's the sort of childhood trauma that keeps the therapists in business.  So I did what any self-respecting mother would do and recreated the birthday festivities the next day, with the one quarter cake remnant positioned just so in the frame so as to appear fully intact. 

Timmy didn't mind having another go at the cake and hopefully these fake memories will suffice to ward off any feelings of neglect later on in his teenage years. 

Hopefully :) 
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