Saturday, November 01, 2008

It's November! That's Scary!

Other things that scare and dismay me...
I could not find the flour tortillas that I bought for Wednesday night's dinner. Turns out they were "hiding" on the kitchen counter.
Maria wore the same pumpkin outfit I made for William's first Halloween, 17 years ago! Where does the time go?!
We didn't have a fraction of the trick-or-treaters that we've had in years past. Now I am trapped in a house with 4 pounds of unclaimed chocolates!

Now for the stuff that bolsters and delights me...

Alex dressed as Dexter from "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow." He planned this one for months and months.
With his thrift shop threads, a little hair gel and his retro ray gun, he was good to go. When the boys insisted I watch the movie, I should have known I would enjoy it, because
they are good judges of what I like, and I like good CG, and imaginative storytelling... like the kind you can find in a Hayao Miyazaki release. As I said before, Dexter is a good fit for Alex... those 2 inventive and morally courageous guys are a lot alike.

Another good match... Max as Young Indiana Jones. A scholar with adventure in his heart, eager to do what is right and be prepared for whatever comes his way! Max has been on a school break and he and I, with Maria, have been enjoying our own adventures together, like long walks, park visits, collecting pumpkins, reading "The Phantom Tollbooth," again, and having long talks about politics, elections, video games, lunch, housing. I don't know which of us will be sadder when he returns to school Monday morning.

Here's our pumpkin! She never had a doubt about dressing up as a pumpkin for Halloween. We had a long day, beginning with helping at the high school's pumpkin carving contest, then pumpkin carving at home too. Before it got too late, we lit a lantern and went outside for trick-or-treating.

Where does the time go? I certainly never thought we would pass 3 Halloweens in this house. And how can William be too old to dress up and trick-or-treat... nah, I think he'll join us again next year. It wasn't about maturity or other dull hang-ups like sophistication; it was about running out of time to do a good job. Maybe we should draw up plans today, because we don't want him to skip next year.

Time to swell with maternal pride.
They swapped favorites and the youngest 2 exchanged dyed candies for chocolates. They shared, sorted, and waxed poetic about caramels and Smarties, about peanut butter and almonds. They let Maria double trade and trade back. They gave William good stuff and implored him to join them next year. Max confided that it wasn't quite as good without William. Maria spent more time re-enacting trick-or-treating in the house than she did going around our block. There is nothing scary or distressing about these children. They are a pleasure to play with, and live with, and they made this another Happy Halloween.

We're Listening To: Cincinnati Pops Orchestra & Erich Kunzel, "Beware of The Blob." That's an Amazon link, but we bought the single from iTunes.

Monday, October 27, 2008

... and then we had tea

First we went on a garden walk.
The gardens were misty and sun dappled.

We looked for frogs.

We found a bunny.

Then we remembered the biscotti Belinda gave us from Mom's Night Out.
Max had an idea...

He set the table for tea.
He served carrots and crackers, and the biscotti.
I made chai.
Maria invited Owl.

Tea is even sweeter in tiny cups.

Tea parties are even sweeter with friends.

Our friends make delicious biscotti.

Whatever else we have to do today, we have had a very nice morning.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Saturday in the Park

Friday, as I was unloading the children at school, their faces drowsy and downcast, I remembered a gift Deanne sent us and I made a quick, executive kind of decision: "Hey, have a good day. Tomorrow we're going to Legoland!" They lit up, they smiled... you can't always catch a smile in the parking lot of a high school at drop-off time.

Sometimes I put stuff out there before I take the time to analyze the feasibility, the sense of it. Legoland? Don't I have loads of laundry and barrels of dishes to wash? Shouldn't I be raking the hen house, answering emails, making calls, filing, sorting, scrubbing, dusting, trimming, mending, pruning and calculating? There are 42 demands on my time and 42 directions I should turn. I have no time to go to an amusement park and be amused. Gahh!

Just kidding.
Why pretend that a few hours away, having a good time, will do any harm?
Why make believe that staying home will do the least bit of good in the face of all that I have to do?
Why face reality, when I can make my own reality?

So thanks to Deanne's passes, her generosity and kindness, and thanks to my irresponsible reckless terrific maternal instincts, we spent a grand afternoon at the happiest place on earth. It turns out we weren't the only family with this brilliant plan. The park was packed full of trick-or-treaters. We saw lots of fairies and Buzzlightyears and pirates and a baby turtle. The baby turtle was adorable. Most of the visitors were little ones, and so we were pleased to find that the wilder rides did not have long lines. And Maria Loves the wilder rides. She loves to laugh and scream and embrace both the Coastersaurus and the Dragon Coaster.

Something new... Maria got behind the wheel of her first Volvo. I won't be too critical of her driving. I think she said it best, "I was just driving in the car. It was fun. But I bumped and crashed, but no worries. They fixed it."

Yeah, no worries. She won't be sharing the big road for 11 more years.

Did a complete loop, which makes for a nice walk. We took in all the Halloween decor and costumes. The boys made some side trips on their own. Max calculated the cost/time benefits of buying toys now, with his own allowance versus waiting until Christmas. How many days until Christmas? Evidently not too many, because he decided to wait!

We actually saw friends while we were in Miniland. And I mention this for Holly... she was with me at Bates Nut Farm, when I saw my friends Betty and Michaela... this, after years of insisting that I never cross paths with people I know. Holly is famous for meeting friends and/or famous people wherever she goes. It seems my time has come, and it was really nice to see Susan and her 3 beautiful boys, Tristan, Morgan and baby Karsten. I invited them to Maria's derpday party... if Christmas is close, then Maria's fairy princess derpday is even closer!

These down on the farm Miniland pictures are for my good friend, Anne. That's a tiny band down front. No organ music here. Just some fiddles and other folksy instruments, accompanied by sheep, chickens, cows, pigs and ducks.

Well, we're home now. Sunday morning, with autumn sunlight streaming in through the front window. And the house is just as messy and chaotic as ever, and none of the 42 very important things that await me has been addressed, but we sure did have a good time...

... it makes me think, if I go play today, at least the house can't get any messier. Hmmm... maybe that is not the lesson I am meant to internalize.

When there is so much to do that an entire day tied to chores is barely going to make a dent, what do you do? Where do you begin? Do you runaway from home? Do you tackle the chunkier aspects, swallow the toad? Do you itemize? Do you see the whole thing through and forego all pleasures until your ship is in shape? Do you post to your blog and solicit free advice?

Have a nice day. I am going to rake the hen house.