Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween Dumbo Style

After watching Dumbo....again.....David decided that we should dress up John Michael as Dumbo for Halloween......after finding a $3 slightly too large baby elephant costume at the consignment store I decided to make his dream a reality.

Well, not the whole dream.  I'm pretty sure David's dream also included flinging his littlest brother out of a window and trying to catch him in a cup of water.  I'm such a party pooper.

We borrowed our neighbor's firefighter costumes and I made a bow tie and little hat for John Michael along with Timothy Q. Mouse who obviously needed to come along for the ride as well :)

Including the bulk pack of clown noses I bought on Amazon I think I spent about $6 total.  Yay for Halloween thriftiness!

I wasn't going to do the whole burning building thing, but this morning, in a sudden fit of Halloween spirit, I told the boys we could make it after all.  They were super excited about it......and then really disappointed because I wouldn't also make them cardboard sides for their wagon to turn it into a fire engine.

Ah, gratitude.

I'll let you take a guess at how long those clown noses stayed on.

Chris told everyone at work that he was in the clear and that I didn't possibly have enough energy to make the building today.  He was super surprised to find it waiting for him when he got home from work!

Don't you just love husbands who are good sports :)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Some Halloween Preparations

We've been collecting these (hickory?) nuts from around the neighborhood with the aim of using them in some sort of fall decorating since Chris accused me of ruining the boys' childhoods by failing to put up any Fall decor at all.  I still maintain that putting up Fall decorations when it is still in the 80's outside and there is not a tree bursting with beautiful colored leaves to be seen (other than green that is) just seems wrong and also silly.  

My idea was to crack them open and use the outer shells for making little toothpick sail boats and then string up the inner nuts in a garland.  That's Fallish right?  Did I mention Chris also wants all of our Fall decorations to be free?  Well, cracking these beasts was easier said than done my friends....even with bashing them repeatedly with hammers over the course of three days David and I only managed to break open half of what we collected.

Luckily, half turned out to be just enough to make a not too sad garland.

I will say though, that breaking nuts open with hammers is good work for rambunctious boys.  Not that I have any of those. 

I'm not generally a seasonal arts and crafter with the kids since they bore easily with crafts in general and I dislike putting a lot of effort into setting up something for them to make that I will ultimately throw in the trashcan......but this year I thought I'd try not to ruin the boys childhood memories by having a big gaping hole in the area of pumpkin crafting when I saw this idea for watercolor jack-o-lanterns.

They turned out really well and added that extra something special to our sad-ish nut garland.

It wouldn't really be Halloween though without some actual jack-o-lantern carving.  We waited until last weekend and bought the pumpkins for three dollars a piece at the commissary in the sad leftover pumpkin section.  There aren't any real pumpkin-patches round these parts since our climate is inhospitable to pumpkin growing so I didn't feel too bad skipping the trip to the pumpkins-lined-up-on-the-side-of-the-busy-road-masquerading-as-pumpkins-growing-in-a-patch establishment.  The children didn't seem to mind.

This year instead of me having to do the majority of the carving, we let the kids go to town with the drill, which turned out to be really fun.

David decided that he also wanted to carve his so this was his first year mastering the art of the tiny pumpkin saw.  He did a pretty good job carving his, um.....sideways bat?  He also drew the face for the big jack-o-lantern which he insisted needed to be really scary.

We've never been mere pumpkin painters here.  In the past even if the kids couldn't actually carve their own pumpkins I persevered and made them have there own pumpkin and at least attempt to help scoop guts.

Messy?  Yes.

Time consuming?  Yes.

But it's also the only way to get the pumpkin seeds which is really the only reason we go through all of this rigmarole anyway  :)

Well, I hope all your Halloween preparations are going as swimmingly as ours.  Now I've got to go put some finishing touches on our makeshift, Aunt Courtney had a baby and didn't buy us fancy costumes this year costumes :)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

That House....

I think we are really and truly becoming that house in our neighborhood:

It's a good thing we are the most tucked away house on the entire base because this is what I got when I asked Chris to rig up a clothes line in the backyard to try to bleach out my diapers.  Classy.

He accomplished this early one morning while simultaneously wearing the baby and ensuring the oldest two boys stayed alive and quiet while I stayed asleep.  It's not every man who can see a problem and attack the problem with manly man straps, all while babywearing.  He's definitely a keeper, that multi-talented husband of mine.

And on a related note, does anyone else have problems with stained diapers?  Mine never seem to come out of the wash looking clean--smelling clean sure, looking clean not so much.  I'd love to hear everyone's cloth diaper laundering tips--I don't like to google anything related to cloth diapering in general because I always seem to end up more confused than when I began :)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Fun With Fairies

There's not a whole lot of things the boys want to do that I'm actually interested in doing......that sounded bad*, but really, they don't even like to color!  Dig in the dirt, build castles, hit each other in the face with swords, yes--sit nicely and color for more than 2.45 minutes, no.  So when David expressed an interest in something that I too am interested in I jumped on the opportunity :)

He wanted to make a fairy house, so make a fairy house we did......... 

First we gathered up some nature treasures and then we (read I) hot glued them to an oatmeal canister that I cut a door into--we ended up mostly just using bark off of one of our trees and a lot of sticks.  Then we made a door out of popsicle sticks with a brass button for a door knob.

The big boys stayed busy hunting for sticks for the roof.  The baby stayed busy attempting to eat every leaf and rock in sight.  Don't worry, I'm pretty sure he only actually ate one leaf.  Well, I think it was a leaf anyway.......

We even made a little ladder and a swing for the fairies.  Fairies love to swing.

David loves his fairy house.  Well not enough to make sure he brings it in under the covered patio at night so it doesn't get rained on but that's pretty much standard here and it's only mildly water logged.....


Our backyard is a leeeetle out of control right now.  We pushed our rock pit over to the sides and filled it in with sand.  I personally don't recommend putting this much sand right next to your patio without so much as a patch of grass to walk through to stop the sand from going straight from the sand pit into your home but we don't have a lot of options living on base so I'll just have to up my level of sweeping.......or lower my cleanliness standards :)

We've pretty much just given over the whole back patio/yard to the children--when you want to encourage good old fashioned outdoor play you've got to make sacrifices somewhere I suppose......

Maybe one day we'll have land enough of our own to put the children's imaginative play a little further from the house.  Until then......

.....I guess we'll just keep on being that house in the neighborhood........

In the mean time, I hope the boys will continue with their interest in fairies--it's so fun (for me)!  Last week at dinner Henry turned to David conspiratorially and whispered that there were no such things as fairies in this world.  David replied that you have to believe in fairies so Henry turned back to me and said "oh, then I do believe." Peter Pan would be proud.

If only all their disagreements could be solved so peaceably!

If the interest is still there by Christmas time, I think one of these fairy doors may be in order....they're so much more water resistant than oatmeal containers :)

*I still do all the things they are interested in even if I don't like them--well, maybe not hit them in the face with swords.......

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Things We Leave Undone

It's finally cool enough for us to walk to mass again without giving up and laying down on the side of the road while Chris runs home for the car and an emergency pick up.  And by "cool enough" I most certainly do not mean that Fall has arrived, that probably won't happen until late December--I guess I should say it's just less hot now.  If you would like to serenade me with a tiny violin for the burden I bear of living in a semi-tropical paradise without seasonal changes, now would be a good time--I'm sure my husband would love to do a duet........

Anyway, last week walking to mass meant that we passed by an older lady who was experiencing car trouble and I nudged Chris to go and see if he could help her.  She thought her car had broken down--it turned out she just needed to put her car in park so that she could unstick her keys and start her ignition, which would have been funny if Chris hadn't also had to fix a similar 'problem' for me in the past.  She was so grateful, and I was so happy that we stopped and didn't just pass her by on our way to something that seemed more important.

Well, during mass Father read this poem during his homily and I was even more grateful:

The Sin of Omission
It isn't the thing you do, dear,
It's the thing you leave undone
That gives you a bit of a heartache
At setting of the sun.
The tender work forgotten,
The letter you did not write,
The flowers you did not send, dear,
Are your haunting ghosts at night.

The stone you might have lifted
Out of a brother's way;
The bit of heartsome counsel
You were hurried too much to say;
The loving touch of the hand, dear,
The gentle, winning tone
Which you had no time nor thought for
With troubles enough of your own.

Those little acts of kindness
So easily out of mind,
Those chances to be angels
Which we poor mortals find -
They come in night and silence,
Each sad, reproachful wraith,
When hope is faint and flagging,
And a chill has fallen on faith.

For life is all too short, dear,
And sorrow is all to great,
To suffer our slow compassion
That tarries until too late:
And it isn't the thing you do, dear,
It's the thing you leave undone
Which gives you a bit of heartache
At the setting of the sun. 

Margaret Elizabeth Sangster
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