Friday, October 26, 2012

10/26/12 Jack-o-Lanterns

Halloween has morphed from a day, to a month, to a season.

Though I am a chronic underachiever when it comes to involvement in modern childrens' lives, when it comes to Halloween, I always covered the bare minimum, with costumes (I used to make them), parties, pumpkin patches, school parades, decorations, scary baking, and of course, trick-or-treating.

But one classic Halloween tradition always eluded me, until today. Gabriel just returned from science camp today, so I figured that rather than making him lug his sleep-away duffel bag a mile home, I'd pick him up from school, and retrieve his siblings while I was at it. This would give us a stolen afternoon to carve jack-o-lanterns out of the pumpkins they kids bought at the pumpkin patch last weekend.

I haven't actually done this before, but I channeled Aunt Laura and Uncle Ryan's experience last year, asking the kids how they'd done it. I cut open and cleaned the pumpkins...but that was it. The kids took it from there.

Julian, brimming with ideas.

Gabriel, exacting and methodical.

Katrina, full of enthusiasm. She had such a great time.

Especially with Katrina, I made sure to do as little as possible, mostly showing her how to use the tools, but she did her own pumpkin completely herself. This is what happens when you're the 3rd child. I doubt it would even have occured to me to let my oldest six-year-old carve his own pumpkin, but the third six-year-old pretty much has to.

Kid jack-o-lanterns -- and really, kid jack-o-lanterns. I'm so proud of them. All on their own!

Not bad for my first time!!


10/26/12 Mommies

I have the most beautiful shadow! This funny kitty just shows up wherever I am, provided I'm alone. Then she scurries around on the walls, and then quietly pokes her way into where I am.

The key with Mommy Meow-Stache is to just wait. And then she arrives.

Meantime, her much braver son just hangs out lazily on beds. But I sure love having Mommy-Meow-Stache following me around -- we're turning into quite the pair of pals! (crummy photos notwithstanding...)


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

10/24/12 Babar

"Mom, I have a SPECIAL book for you to read!" Katrina announced delightedly tonight after her bath.

I'm sorta "done" with reading to the kids before bedtime. Truth is, I was never crazy about this particular aspect of childhood, even though I always knew how important it was, and how great the bonding is, it teaches them to read....yeah yeah yeah, great stuff. Once I got started reading, I was OK, but I can't say I always looked forward to it, it always seemed like one last thing before getting them to bed.

But tonight when Katrina showed her "special" book, I pounced on it. It was a hand-me-down from a friend, a Babar book called "Babar et L'etoile du Cirque," in French. Katrina made sure to point out to me that the word "Niveau" meant reading "level" (the emblem made that clear), and then asked me excitedly to read it to her.

I've done this before, stumbling through each French sentence and then translating it into English with some, er, "creative interpretation" (meaning, I don't know all the translations!) but it's been a while since I've done this.

My French is ancient, it really never got off the ground -- but the base is there and I could become fluent if I were immersed, and with a credible accent. I've suspected for a while that Katrina has a particular interest and facility for languages, and seeing her with this book reminded me of that. Her language-superpower stage of life is in its sunset, it's a shame I haven't found a way to leverage that.

Maybe via a classic fictional elephant, we could learn it together!


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

10/23/12 Always around

Ok, sorry for the boring repetition about cats, but what else is on my mind is best left unprinted for now.

Meantime, I'm SO enjoying my wonderful new kitty-cats. I'm still figuring them out. Zorro is overall so much braver, but I can count on Meow-stache appearing in whatever room I'm in, scrambling to some hiding place, and then creeping out and perching somewhere from which she can nervously watch the action.

Turns out, there isn't always a whole lot to watch, but to my delight, she shows up closeby anyway.

Eventually, ennui creeps in....

...and takes over.

Sorry kitty cat -- I can promise lots of love and scratches, a clean litter box, fresh food and water....but entertainment, not always!


Sunday, October 21, 2012

10/21/12 Pumpkin Patch Time!

It's October, that means the whole month is about Halloween...right?

Which of course includes pumpkin patches. "Pumpkin patch" sounds so quaint, doesn't it...but nowadays, they've morphed into amusement parks, complete with paid parking, ticket counters, and lines. We braved the same "patch" today as last year anyway, mostly because of the "pumpkin blaster" feature.

The first order of business was the pony ride. Some amusement while we waited.

Gabriel is too cool for pony rides now, but Julian isn't.

Katrina, never!

Katrina playing princess....

Julian very secure in his masculinity...!

We paused for a juggling/carnival show, realizing a few minutes into it that we'd seen the guy once before, in Arnold last summer with cousins. I guess there aren't that many juggler / musician / unicyclists types in the area!

Then, a corn maze. I thought this would be silly, but it was really fun. We had a map -- and that doesn't help nearly as much as you might think, and were directed to find 10 "passport stops." At each stop, you answer a question on a sheet of paper, and the right answer tells you which way to go. But even if I knew how old Dolly Parton was when she released her first album, the correct answer of "turn left" or "turn right" wasn't helpful. In any case, we all had a great time navigating and finding our way around the maze.

It's impossible to get photos inside a corn maze, unfortunately.

Finally, our real reason for being here -- the pumpkin blaster! This is a huge gun that shoots pumpkins at targets like plywood bullseyes and old cars. Katrina wasn't interested, but the boys had I had fun -- for a few minutes, anyway. It doesn't take long to blow through 6 shots and $10!

Of course, we were at a pumpkin patch, so pumpkins were required.

No lifting for my tricky back, which is just dying to freak out right now -- but fortunately, I have two perfectly good sons!

For someone who hates crowded large places as much as I do, even this place was borderline, but the corn maze and pumpkin blaster -- and happy children -- made this totally worth it. Halloween, bring it on!