Friday, October 31, 2008

Spooking Out

Will went as a dementor. This was educational because he found out that he cannot stand makeup on his face. Rob tells me he was the same way, but he didn't bother to mention this until Halloween when the kid is running around screaming "take it off!!!!!" He was certain that it wouldn't come off, and had to be gently introduced to makeup remover. His favorite costume at school this year was the boy who had Barbies stuck all over him: a chick magnet.
Check it out. He is in the stroller, and he is smiling! I knew I would win in the end. Perhaps it's because I disguised it as the Red Baron's plane, but I don't care. I'll push it around with wings and propeller if he won't scream. Joss was great. He napped and lasted for an hour and a half, which is fantastic for a first Halloween. (Yeah, I know the wings are too far back, but Joss knocked them off when I put them down lower.)

Sebi wanted to be a kangaroo this year. Since we had the costume from years past, this freed up energy for his siblings. Rob says he really got it this year: "All I have to do is say 'thank you' and they give me candy. What a deal!" He was pretty freaked out by our neighbors' spook alley, but left with his dignity intact.

Maddie was Moaning Myrtle from the Harry Potter series. And yes, that is a toilet seat around her neck. One made out of foam core, because we have bought too many real toilet seats this year.
"Do you think this makes my face look fat?"

A Quick Getaway

Nearly a month ago Rob and Joss and I got away for 24 hours. We took off to Snowbird for the Conference of the Crabby German Feminists. They really know how to do a conference right. We stayed here and they had six hours off to go hiking, to the city, or get spa treatments. Joss and I watched a lot of old movies and caught up on Comedy Central and CNN.
Instead, we used the time to rush back home to the other three kids who had been partying up a storm. They'd gone to Carl's Jr., Old Navy, Sub-Zero ice cream, Best Buy, Wall-E, seen Emperor's New Groove and had presents and sugar and lots of attention from Opa and Betsy. In fact, they were nonplussed to see just their plain old parents.
Next time we'll stay away longer.

The Sweetest Words in the English Language

Just may be "It's the plumber. I've come to fix the sink." . . . and the shower, and the tub, and the faucet . . . absolutely sublime. Last Monday we had the plumber over for five hours, connecting all of the fixtures and when he was done, we had a bathroom! YAY!
Some other pretty sweet words are "Mom, can I have a 'peterjelly' sandwich and then can I have a bath?" The new tub has been very popular with everyone -- even the baby. But my favorite part is without a doubt the slow-close lid on the toilet. The sound of silence where a slamming seat once was. There is a design genius somewhere out there and I'd like to personally thank him for my sanity.
We got our vanity the same day, and because we have great Samoan neighbors who were willing and able to put 380 lbs. up the stairs and into the bathroom, we got it installed too. It isn't perfect (Rob is already scheming about a new marble counter in green), but it works and it has 3 times as many drawers as we had before. It's revolutionalized the storage in there. Maybe we'll put up a picture if I can strongarm my husband into mounting the mirror tomorrow.

The Boys of Summer

The garden is all dug under now, but I had these great pictures I wanted to put up. Though today we did have our first harvest of Dorfgastein King of May lettuce. Rob planted it a few weeks back and has been watching over it while he's been out mowing up all of the leaves.

What great vegetable lovers! Those are each from their own corner of the garden, and they provided many a gazpacho and zucchini bread.
This one hasn't actually tried tomatoes (that I know of), but he's into the pureed squash stage now.

They are nearly gone now . . .

But I thought we should commemorate the pumpkins and decorations anyway. Sebi talked Grandpa into buying a haunted gingerbread house while they were out on one of their 'adventures', so we decided to decorate it for FHE at Kiecoo's house while we were carving pumpkins. It turned out to be structurally unsound, but still plenty of fun to decorate. It got eaten about a week later and even Joss liked the gingerbread.

Carving in front of the great mural at Kiecoo's. The kids design the faces and Rob and I carve them, but I've been informed by Maddie that if we would just spring for the pumpkin carving knives, she can do it herself (she did this for activity days with the wife of an E.R. doctor, and if they do it at their house, I guess we can too). I'm all about outsourcing more and giving the kids skills, so I guess we'll have less to do next year.

Checking to see whose smile is bigger.
Joss decided he liked the stem just fine and didn't need to change a thing.
Will was all about the teeth.

Love those tights! Now the pumpkins are big moldy heaps on the front porch with caved faces. Rob is hoping some teenagers will come along tonight and put them out of their misery. If not, they're off to the compost pile tomorrow.

Baby Adam's Blessing

Here are Hannah and Sebi. Hannah is two years older and two inches shorter but they still manage to play together just fine (except that time that Sebi peed off the side of the trampoline -- Hannah was screaming like her retinas had been burned).
We got to go see Adam's blessing in AF and were glad to finally have a Mc cousin born the same year as one of our children; the fact that they're both boys is a nice bonus. Neither one has siblings very close in age.

This is the best we can do for a photo of four right now. All eyes open, all looking at the camera. BINGO!

R & K and Adam. I learned all kinds of things by reading the bulletin boards at their chapel. Far more informative than ours is.

Opa and Joss shared several great secrets. This one was my favorite. Whatever it was.

Watch Out Rodney Yee

Joss has reached that important infant milestone: putting one's toes into one's mouth. I just missed it here with the camera, but he was gnawing on his big toe like he does with his fingers. Works so much better to put your foot in your mouth when you're a baby. I just did it the other day at church, and I'm still smarting from the effects.

Monday, October 13, 2008

We're Very, Very Busy

"Oh, we're very very busy and we've got a lot to do, and we haven't got a minute to explain it all to you.
For on Sunday/Monday/Tuesday there are people we must see and on Wednesday/Thursday/Friday we're as busy as can be with our most important meetings and our most important calls for we have to do so many thing and post them on the walls."
Those are lyrics from "Busy, Busy Busy", a song sung by Kevin Kline in Sandra Boynton's imaginary musical "Philadelphia Chickens" which is definitely worth a listen if you have children. It's also how I' m feeling now that school and activities with four kids are in full swing. But we're not too busy to explain it all to you:
First, it's harvest time. Now that we're trying to move toward eating things in season, and eating more locally, we've noticed when harvest is. (I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle this summer by Barbara Kingsolver, which pushed us a little further in this direction. If you haven't read it, I think you should definitely read at least the chapter on turkey mating behavior. Very suspenseful.) So in addition to berry picking, we had our peaches come on, bought more from Rob's dept. chair, got 14 bottles of juice from these grapes (or what was left after Sebi), made peach jam, and then got a bunch of tomatoes, peaches, onions and apples at the farmers market so that I could make AVM's relish, sauce and chutney all in one day. I just did the first two because I need ginger and mangoes in my chutney, but it was fun to spend the day in the kitchen watching conference and making great smells. Then I inherited 20 lbs of tomatoes, so I went ahead and tried their family recipe for tomato sauce too. A lot more work than the Ragu, as my friend Julie said here, but it did taste marvelous.
Joss loved the gym over at his cousin's house, and so we got him one too. That mouth pretty much sums it up. And that's how I feel about another 15 minutes of hands free parenting as well!
Miss Maddie Lou and I went and got haircuts. The hairstylist did such a good job helping us to choose something good for swimming, that was just right for the I-barely-know-what-conditioner-is crowd and the I-hate-brushing bunch. She loves it and we love it. Unfortunately that smile is now under wraps for a long while -- painful, metallic, jaw-stretching wraps, to be exact. Her little cheeks poke out and she's been popping ibuprofen and slurping applesauce since she got her appliance last week.
The one time she really smiled was on Saturday when she had her first swim meet and came in first place in her second event! She's a good little fishy. And probably the busy, busy, busiest of all of us with school, violin, homework, activity days, and swim team.
And finally, this was drugged out Sebi. He had a big cavity on a back tooth and so we tried sedating him. It was a bomb. The dentist said they would have bagged the whole thing except that they had a dad willing to sit on his kid. Sebi screamed and cried and kicked one poor hygenist right in the chest. When he woke up from this nap, he told me how much he hates to have his legs and arms held down. I am with you, hombre! The Slurpee lets you know how bad it was. Slurpees are Rob's parental apology of choice. They mean "I'm sorry that I sat on you/you got your wart frozen/we didn't get to go to the goshawful school carnival/I made you floss/etc." We all deserved a Slurpee after last week!