Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween!

When I was a kid, trick-or-treating was done on October 31. It didn't matter if it was a Sunday, Thursday or Tuesday. After dinner, we would don our costumes and head out the door. We were usually finished by 8 p.m., but many of the older kids kept going long after that. And that was the way it was supposed to be.

When we moved to Pennsylvania, we discovered that Halloween is not actually on the 31st of October. We actually have to ask people every year which night trick-or-treating is! And it goes from 6 until 8 p.m. only. I've no idea why or when this started, but that's the way it is here.

So, Thursday night was trick-or-treating in our town. Since we live out in the boonies, we drove the kids into town, then got out and went door-to-door. That's another difference between now and then. When I was a kid, you hit every house, regardless. Now, you're only supposed to go to houses that have the porch light on. Anyway, the boys had a blast.

Caleb dressed as an alien. This is the fourth year he's worn this costume. The first year, it dragged on the ground and got frayed. The second year, I pinned it up. This year, I took the pins out and it just barely touched the tops of his shoes! He loves this costume.

Joshua had seen a costume in a magazine that he really liked. Unfortunately, he couldn't find the magazine. All he could tell me was he wanted to be a Kelp Monster. So this is my interpretation of the kelp monster. Every house we went to, before he even said "trick or treat," he had to announce, "I'm a kelp monster!" And he always hit the "p" really hard. Hopefully he didn't spit on too many people.

Isaac was a cow. He loved this costume so much he wore it all day the next day as well. And of course, since his big brother was announcing what he was, Isaac had to announce, "I'm a cow!" which changed over the course of the evening to, "I'm a little cow."

So, those are my little goblins. Are you scared? Personally, I've had an alien costume haunting me for the last four years. That's pretty scary.

Friday, October 28, 2005

The Amazing Crossover

It's funny the stuff that goes through your head at 3 a.m. after you've nursed a baby and can't get back to sleep. I was tossing and turning there in the dark last night, and this thought popped into my head: "Wouldn't it be a riot to see Boone and Shannon on The Amazing Race?"

{If you watch Lost, you're already laughing. If you don't, Boone and Shannon are step-siblings who bicker constantly and neither one ever gives the other credit for anything.}

I can see it now:

"Shannon, give me the map."

"What's the matter, am I too stupid to read a map?"

Boone rolls his eyes. "I never said that. You just... tend to get it wrong sometimes."

"So I am stupid."

"Let's face it, Shannon: your whole life you've had someone else drive you places. When it comes to maps, you're worthless."

Or when given a Roadblock (a task only one team member must do alone):

"I'll do this one," Shannon announces.

"But you're afraid of heights."

"Fine, Boone, you do everything. After all I'm worthless."

"I'm just saying, you'd have to climb up to that airplane, make a call on the radio, and get back down without falling."

"Yeah, and I think we all know how that worked for you last time."

So if you could put any fictional tv character into a reality show, who would it be, and which show? Leave yours in the comments, or put it on your blog and leave me a link. This should be fun!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Any buyers out there?

My blog is worth $45,163.20.
How much is your blog worth?

Are you Lost?

I was watching a rerun of Lost last night and I started thinking about how everyone seems to have these big secrets. Which made me think, would I have a deep dark secret I wouldn't tell anyone if I ended up on an island with a bunch of strangers?

Knowing me, I'd probably talk everyone's ears off about my kids and my husband. I'd most likely share any information anyone wanted to know. I don't have any really dark secrets from my past.

One of the main themes on the show has been the idea of tabula rasa, that everyone has become a blank slate. Many of the main characters have completely abandoned who they were in order to make a new start for themselves. I wonder if I knew I would never be rescued, would I be tempted to do the same thing? Just pretend like my old life never existed? It doesn't sound very appealing. I guess that's because I'm pretty happy where I am.

How about you? Would you be willing to abandon your past and become a different person? Is there something important in your current life that you wouldn't share with people on the island?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The ghosts of Halloween past

Okay, Mama Duck, you asked for it: our Halloween costumes of the past. First up is me at age 9: This was a costume party I had for my birthday. I am the witch in front. No, really, I'm dressed as a witch. The clown is my brother. He didn't have to wear a costume.
Next up, me at 13. I am a gypsy or genie or belly dancer, take your pick. This costume is actually a pair of pajamas with a red shirt underneath. Yes, my parents let me walk around the neighborhood like that.
Here I am at age 18, my first year in college. This is a costume my mom had made two or three years earlier. I am an Indian princess. Love the pose.
And finally, this is me at age 19 (that's Halloween '89 for those of you keeping score), dressed as a hippie. The really frightening thing about this costume is that those were all my actual clothes. I wore those on a regular basis. Not all together, mind you. But everything from the shirt down to the mocassin boots was part of my normal attire. What can I say - I went through a '60s phase.

So there you have it - my tribute to Halloween past. Go haunt Mama Duck to see who else played.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

NaNoWriMo 2005

I signed up for NaNoWriMo. I had never heard of it before. I came across it somewhere along the way and thought hey, why not?

What is it, you may ask? It's National Novel Writing Month. I'm going to attempt to write a 50,000 word novel between November 1 and November 30.

I've been meaning to get into the habit of writing every day consistently, and the best way to start a new habit is to do if for 30 days in a row. So if this works, I'll be on my way! Maybe I'll even share a bit of my novel here, if the mood strikes! Wish me luck!

Say what now?

The other day I made a big omelet for lunch. Isaac was the only other person interested in eating any of it, so I split it up on to two plates and sat down to eat, when his little 3-year-old voice stopped me.

"Mommy, we have to play." I looked up at him.

"We'll play after we eat. I'm hungry." I started to eat again.

"Mommy, put down your food. Say the words!"

"What are you talking about?" I asked. I can be a little slow sometimes.

"We need to play a-fore we eat," he said.

Getting frustrated, I responded, "We'll play after lunch."

"No, Mommy, close your eyes and say the words!"

"What words do you want me to say, Isaac?" I asked, now totally confused.

He bowed his little head and said, "Jesus Christ, thank you for the food."

"Oh!" I said, finally getting it, "you want to pray! You want to say grace!" So we did.

Isn't he awesome?

Monday, October 24, 2005


I have been in bed all day, sick, sick, sick. Fortunately, my parents are here to watch the kids because I'd be miserable otherwise. My awesome mom even did Joshua's school work with him.

At least I can lay here with my laptop and web surf while I watch the LOTR trilogy and try to ignore the dripping of my nose and the pounding of my head.

I also played around with my template. What do you think? I was feeling seasonal. I still have the Haloscan comments enabled, or you can leave a blogger comment. I'll probably keep this for a while and then switch to something else. We'll see.

I know they're all mine...

So why do people always say the boys look like hubby, or one of their uncles, or their grandfather, and not me?

Here is a picture of me and the four boys, all at about the same age. Which one do you think looks the most like me? I know what I think, but I'm curious what other people see.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Please say a prayer

I just found out today that a friend of mine who moved to AZ a year ago has died. She was younger than I am. Her husband is in the Air Force and they were transferred out there. She just gave birth to their third child four months ago. Apparently, this was some sort of post-partum complication that caused her heart to stop. They revived her, but she never came out of the coma.

Her children are 4, 2 and 4 months and are now going to live with her parents. Please say a prayer for her family, especially for the children and her husband, David. I cannot even imagine how difficult the next few weeks and months are going to be for them.

Friday, October 21, 2005


This week's theme from Katy is before and after. I have a few pictures to share on this theme.

Here's a picture of Noah before:And here's a picture of Noah after:

Here's a picture of part of the master bedroom we're building before:
And here it is after:
Here's me before I had kids:
And after:

I don't think I'll be doing pictures of my kitchen before and after I clean it. The before is easy, but I'm not sure when the after will happen!

Happy Friday!

New blogger joins the ranks!

My 9 year old has started a blog as a school project. I suggested a Bionicle theme, since that is one of his passions. Please stop by and give him a comment or two. He's posted a bunch of pictures which he took himself. He dictated the captions to me and I typed them exactly the way he said them. If you have any children who are into Bionicle, you might want to go get them, too!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Road trip!

This week, Mama Duck has given us the topic of road trips for Way Back Wednesday. Now, my particular group of friends didn't have a car between us until senior year, and then we were all too busy to go anywhere. However, we spent a semester of junior year in London, and every weekend was a road trip! So here are my favorites:

In London, we hit the famous address of 221B Baker Street, the home of Sherlock Holmes. The famed detective wasn't in at the time, so we tried on his hat and pipe.

We also attempted a mutiny on the Cutty Sark, but were foiled when we discovered that it hasn't actually been anywhere in a long time. It just sits in the dock at Greenwich looking pretty.

One weekend we ventured to Canterbury. I don't recall all the details, but I know I said something derogatory about Chaucer, and obviously they didn't take too kindly to that.

Naturally we made the obligatory road trip to the plains of Salisbury to view Stonehenge. They don't let you get too close. I guess ever since the Griswalds backed into one of those uprights and knocked the whole thing down, they've been a little leary of foreigners.

Finally, we took a ride on the Beatles' Yellow Submarine. I didn't see any blue meanies, but maybe that's because I don't ingest the types of substances the Beatles did.

I hope you enjoyed our road trip through England! Did you play?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Paging Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle

Joshua is reading a book for school called Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. The main character has a cure for everything bad or annoying that a child does. She has the never-go-to-bedders cure, the won't pick-up-toys cure, and the answer-backer cure. I'm waiting for the chapter called The Won't-Use-The-Potty Cure.

Isaac is almost 3 1/2 and he still won't use the potty. Well, that's not entirely true. He'll use it sometimes. But he has no desire to use it all the time. And he never tells us ahead of time that he needs to . I don't want to be too pushy. I was pushy with my oldest and both of us were miserable. But it is getting a little ridiculous.

What would Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle do?

Monday, October 17, 2005

The elves strike again

Years ago I read a Twilight Zone story that explained a common phenomenon. There are these little elves, you see, who go around painting each moment in time, like a picture. And the main character in the story accidentally stumbles upon a place that hasn't been painted for that particular moment in time. In other words, he's in an alley that ends in nothing. The elves didn't draw and paint it because no one was supposed to be there. So supposedly, these elves are doing this painting one minute ahead of actual time. Obviously, this is a rush job. And occasionally, they forget things.

It was clear to me that this author had the same problem all of us have at one time or another. We leave something somewhere. We come back later and it's gone. We come back a second time, and there it is, right where we left it. So the author decided that the elves just forgot to put it there. After all, they've got a big job. They can't possibly get every detail of the world correct every minute of the day. And so, the story concludes, if ever you can't find something, come back later and it will probably be right where you left it.

Now, some of you might remember that I lost my keys a while back. I found them yesterday. They were in a place I had already searched thoroughly. Twice. I don't really believe in elves, but how does that happen??

Friday, October 14, 2005

What a jerk!

For SPF this week, Katy has requested pictures of us being jerks. I am really at a loss. I am not a jerk. I try not to be a jerk. I'm not sure what to do for this picture. I will wait and see what other people do.

Of course, right now the baby thinks I'm a jerk because I refuse to put my bowl of cereal on the floor so he can splash in it. And shortly the other kids will think I'm a jerk because I'm standing in their room yelling, "Get UP already!" They'll probably think I'm a big old jerk for making them do their schoolwork and their chores. And what a jerk I am when I won't let them have ice cream ten minutes before dinner!

Okay, maybe I'm getting an idea for a picture here. Check back later!

EDIT: Okay, here it is! About the jerkiest thing I do is hide food from my kids. This is my stash of M&Ms. Notice the stainless steel container; that's so they can't see what's in it. At any given time I probably have at least one bag of chips hidden somewhere. This is because it will be eaten in 33.2 seconds if my children see it. I bought these M&Ms about four months ago. Granted it was a two pound bag, but even so, it would've been gone long ago if my little moochers got wind of it.

What a jerk!

Thursday, October 13, 2005


Yesterday as I was cruising around the blogiverse, I came across someone who had the same problem I do occasionally: she couldn't think of things to write about sometimes. Her post pointed me to this site, JournalSparks. Day after day, week after week, new topics are listed for you to write about. There are currently 22 weeks' worth of topics, so that should keep you busy for a while.

I am not a lack right now, however. We got a call from one of our tenants the other day. The ceiling in one of their bedrooms had caved in from water damage. It was not a pretty sight. So we're going to have fun fixing that problem for a while. Ah, the joys of property ownership! Interestingly enough, today's JournalSparks topic is "What would it take to annoy you?" I think a collapsed ceiling and leaky roof qualify.

Hey, if you're a Lost fan, you might want to join in the discussion over at Ellen's. It's not up yet, but I'm sure it will be soon. In the meantime, if you've never read her blog, you should definitely check it out. I loved last night's episode. It was so sweet and happy at the end. You gotta love Hurley.

Okay, I must go teach now.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

What to write, what to write...

Random things:

Apologies to Mama Duck , but I never went to a homecoming dance, let alone got crowned queen of one! So I will skip Way Back Wednesday this week.

Our church has been having its revival services this week - two meetings on Sunday, then one on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. I am singing at the one tonight. The pastor asked me personally! We have an amazing piano player at our church who can sight read like she's played the song a hundred times before. I wonder if she'd freak if I changed to a different song at the last minute?

I am fighting off a cold. Isaac and Noah both have runny noses and since they both commonly share food with me, I won't be terribly surprised if I get it, too.

Why can't people spell the name Isaac? He gets things labeled "Issac" all the time.

What should I buy with my birthday money? I can always think of a dozen DVDs I want, but maybe there's some cool gadget I'd enjoy just as much or more. Any suggestions?

As you can tell, my brain is all out of whack this morning, jumping from one thing to another like crazy. I've kind of been feeling that way all around lately. Hopefully things will clear up soon.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The rescue team

One night recently my six year old, Joshua, came running inside. "Caleb needs a net."

"A net?" I said. It never ceases to amaze me how my children think I can just snap my fingers and make things appear. Strangely enough, I happened to know where there was a net, though. "What does he need it for?"

"He told me not to tell you." Okay, big red flag right there. That's never a good thing.

So I got the little toy fishing net out of the bathtub and went with him outside. I saw Caleb crouch down and scoop something off the ground. He came running over to me.

"We saved a baby rabbit from Pumpkin!" he announced. Pumpkin is our neighbor's big orange barn cat. He lives outside and loves to hunt. Once he delivered some rabbit innards to my front step.

"Is he hurt?" I asked. Caleb brought the net over for me to see. The rabbit looked scared, but not badly injured. There was a bloody spot on his back where the cat had been carrying him.

"Pumpkin must have thought he was a mouse," Caleb said.

"Oh, I'm pretty sure he knew it was a rabbit. It looks okay to me. Let it go in the field."

Joshua piped up. "Can't we keep him?"

"No, sweetie, it's a wild rabbit. They don't make good pets."

"But I love him! I love him almost as much as Gran Jan!" That's my grandmother, and Joshua's favorite person in the world, even above me.

"Sorry, buddy. He's got to be set free." So they took the net over to the edge of the field and dumped the bunny out. In his confusion, he jumped right back in the net.

"See, he wants to stay with us!"

"Try it again," I said. This time, the release was successful. The bunny hopped away. I could have sworn I heard a "Whew!"

Pumpkin was not happy with my boys that night. They walked past and he literally turned up his nose and switched his tail at them. But I was so proud of them. They can be so sweet and caring and concerned, and it warms my heart.

And then they were back to beating each other up.

Monday, October 10, 2005

I survived!

Hubby and I had a fantastic day together. We left home later than I wanted to on Friday morning, but still managed to get to the park by 3 p.m. It rained most of the day, which was good. The park wasn't crowded, and we had our bright yellow ponchos, so we didn't really get wet. The only down side to the rain was that when we rode Apollo's Chariot, it felt like hundreds of tiny needles piercing my skin.

They had the park all decked out for Halloween, or "Howl-O-Scream" as they call it. There were skeletons and pumpkins everywhere. The scary attractions didn't open until 6 p.m., so we went around riding all the roller coasters. It was so empty in the park that day that the only line at any given coaster was the line for the front seat. And that was usually only four other people. We are coaster fanatics, and even though we rode in other seats a few times, we both agreed the front seat is always best. Unless it's raining, I guess. One time on Alpengeist, we got to ride a second time in the front row because there was no one waiting!

Then we went to some of the "scary" attractions. The "nightmare" train ride was pretty mild. All through the park they had people in costumes jumping out at you. Most of them didn't bother me, but the evil clowns in "Festa Dementia" freaked me out. I don't like evil clowns. We went in a couple of haunted house type attractions, although I chickened out of the first one and hubby went alone. If you haven't listened to my audio post below, it's me going through the "Curse of Pompeii" haunted house. It's a scream!

I stopped to pump a couple of times since the baby wasn't with me. The guard at the bag inspection when we entered the park was funny. He said, "Why do you need a breast pump when you don't have a baby with you?" Um, duh! You can tell he doesn't have kids! Anyway, we got home around 4 a.m. (it's about a five hour drive). It was a great day, and I have an awesome husband!

Friday, October 07, 2005

this is an audio post - click to play

Day off

I won't be doing SPF this week (sorry, Katy) because hubby and I are about to go enjoy his present to me, a day at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, without the kids! How's that for an awesome birthday present?

I will share details when I get back. In the meantime, what is the meaning of life? Discuss.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Happy Birthday to me!

Hooray, my birthday is finally here! My awesome parents got me the first season of Lost on DVD! Thanks again, Mom and Dad! You rock!

Now, I have to ask something, because I really need to know. Do I look 35? I mean, really? Look at my eye. No wrinkles, no little lines. Is this the eye of a 35 year old? (And before you ask, no I don't tweeze, and no I don't plan to.)

It looks very much like the eye of a mom whose 9 month old decided to wake up every two hours last night. It also looks hauntingly like the eye of someone who didn't thoroughly remove her eyeliner last night. But a 35 year old? I think not!

Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Way Back Wednesday

Mama Duck over at The Kept Woman has requested pictures of us with our pets of the past. So here we go.

In this picture I am about 10 and that is my cat Angel. We had three cats at one point. B.P, which stood for Black Pussycat, was around from the time I was born. Kringle was a calico we got near Christmas, hence the name. Angel has a special story, though. We had an orange cat named Max who was a Manx (no tail). And one day, Max was hit by a car. I still remember coming home from school and looking for him and my parents tearfully telling me he was dead. Well, not long after that, someone found a cat in the parking lot of the hospital where my mom worked. It was dirty, almost black, and very scared. And it was a Manx. My mom brought her home, gave her a bath, and she turned out to be this pale gold color. I don't remember which one of us said it, but she was like this pale, ethereal version of Max, almost like his angel had come to visit us. So we named her Angel.

When I was 13, my brother got a dog for his birthday. Unfortunately, someone forgot to tell the dog that he belonged to my brother. He bit him I don't know how many times. Meanwhile, he adored me and my mom. He was a purebred Lhasa Apso and we named him Koko (after Lake Koko-Nor in Tibet, where Lhasas are from). He ended up being my parents' dog after we left home. I was not overly fond of Koko once he began attacking hubby-to-be. But he was a fun puppy.

So there you have it! Did you play?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

A little co-operation

This is the fourth week of co-op school. So far, my class seems to be going well, despite the fact that I have been planning it at 9:30 the night before every week. Procrastination - it isn't just for housework anymore!

I'm teaching a class on the history of US westward expansion to a bunch of 6-8 year olds, including my own. That's third period. Joshua has been giving me a hard time for two of the three class periods. First period he has gym and I have nursery duty. Unfortunately, the nursery has a giant window which looks out on the gym. Last week, instead of playing with his class, Joshua stood at the nursery window and stared at me the whole time. I tried ignoring him, so he started knocking on the window. Hopefully today will be better.

Second period I have parents' meeting, and I just remembered that I was supposed to bring a snack this week. So after I get finished typing this, I'm off to make something yummy but quick.

Part of me feels like, hey, why am I putting myself through all this extra stress when I could just stay home and follow the normal routine. The answer? Two words: adult interaction. And for the kids, peer interaction. So I'm off to bake something and get dressed. Have a great day!

Monday, October 03, 2005

Winter is coming!

Do you smell it? The pungent scent of the damp leaves on the ground, the crisp scent of the apples that have fallen from their trees, the smoldering smoky scents of autumn have arrived.

We took down our pool this weekend. We're trying to get all those little things done that it would be nice to have done before the weather turns cold. Soon we'll be getting a delivery of coal for our coal stove and the basement will be toasty warm all winter. I love it!

I'm actually not sure which season I like better, autumn or winter. Winter is wonderful: snow, frost, that puff of breath when you step outside. But autumn is great, too. The weather is getting cooler, but you can still wear short sleeves. There are beautiful leaves everywhere, fields full of pumpkins, and Halloween and Thanksgiving. They're both great seasons for me.

Of course, spring is nice, too.

What is your favorite season, and why?