Happy Halloween

October 31, 2008

Eli and Henry are planning on being spiders today, despite Eli’s earnest insistence for the last week or so that he’s going to be a cannonball. (He’s a cannonball every day, regardless.) This past weekend we carved up some jack-o-lanterns. First they each drew faces on to the pumpkins (we didn’t let Zuzu have a chance yet, what with her current inability to hold onto a pen for too long).

Henry's Pumpkin

In addition to eyes, a nose, and teeth, Henry also gave his pumpkin ears (one of them is off to the left, the other has wandered over to the teeth). There’s also hair above the eyes, though that’s harder to see.

Elis pumpkin

Eli's pumpkin

Eli’s pumpkin has two distinct eyes and some hair above them. Harder to discern is the bellybutton (that sort of C-shaped bit near the bottom), and the mouth, which is around the bellybutton.

finished pumpkins

finished pumpkins

And here, in an amateurishly blurry photo, are the finished products (Eli’s on the left, Henry’s on the right). Eli insisted on ears once Dave started carving. Eli’s also has hair behind that you can’t see (he drew a round scribble on the back and said he had drawn “the back” which Dave interpreted as hair). I love how Henry’s turned out just as he drew it.

Don’t eat too much candy!

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CATEGORIES: Eli, Henry
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thirty second post

October 30, 2008

Last week I asked one of the neighborhood posse what he was going to be for Halloween. “A knight,” he said. “Oh, that sounds good!” I said. “Or maybe a gunman,” he said. I told him: “I vote for knight.” Gunman! I mean, really.

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CATEGORIES: thirty second post

Yes to…carrots?

October 30, 2008

I don’t wear any makeup. Who has time? And if I did try to cover up my crazy-dark undereye circles, I’d have to really spackle on the concealer, which would snowball into so much makeup that soon I’d look like Gregg Allman in drag (this stems from an irrational fear of mine that in the wrong light I look like Gregg Allman, and my hair’s tendency to part itself in the middle no matter what I do doesn’t help).

But stll, I like girly things, and it’s fun to at least think about makeup. So when I’m somewhere like Target, I tend to wander down the makeup aisles, and consider products called lip stains, and then put them back, knowing I’d never wear them. But I do sometimes get taken in by skin care products, since if I’m not going to wear makeup, my skin had better look fabulous, non? It was on a just such a recent Target adventure that I saw something called Yes to Carrots C the Difference Exfoliating and Soothing Mud Mask for Dry to Sensitive Skin. It seemed like everything I needed (I need exfoliating! I need soothing!) so I thought, “What the heck. I will say Yes to Carrots.”

Last night I tried it. It’s glamorously old school (mud mask!), and the directions for use actually say, at the end, “Check out your skin and see how pretty it looks!” If anything, I am a Direction Follower, so I did as I was told, and I have to say, it did look good. Plus it was all smooth and soft. Yes to Carrots, indeed. I’m sold. I look forward to their subsequent skin care lines, No to Rutabaga, Tentative Maybe to Water Chestnuts, and I’ll Have to Get Back to You About Pinto Beans.

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CATEGORIES: Julie
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Just say no to Christmas presents!

October 29, 2008

I love Christmas. I love everything about it. I love the tree, the cookies, the songs, the presents. I love getting presents for people. However, somehow it was accepted practice for us to give to (and receive from) every single last relative in Dave’s family. We don’t really see them that often, and mostly it was fine, except that, well, it was getting to be a lot of money. It also caused some (and “some” here means “an awful lot of”) anxiety because we just don’t see them that often, and so I was stuck with either getting them something I thought they might possibly maybe like, or just getting something that I liked and pretty well assume they wouldn’t like it. Finally, this year, I gave up. I used the economy as a (perfectly valid) excuse, emailed Dave’s two sisters-in-law, and said I didn’t want to do it anymore. That all I wanted from them was a photo of their kids, and that’s all I wanted to give. They both responded in about twelve seconds saying they were definitely on board with the new plan.

I feel like I just got months back of my life. It really took a long, long time to buy all those gifts, wrap them, and send them off. Plus, we most certainly don’t need anything else. The past week or so I have been doing happy carefree shopping for my most immediate family, and I’m almost all done, and it’s great (well, ok, it’s not totally carefree, since these things still cost money).

If you are at all in a similar situation, I highly encourage you to finally take the plunge and say, “No more!” I bet the other people will be glad someone finally spoke up!

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CATEGORIES: housekeeping
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Good Blanket Karma

October 28, 2008
Henry with weensy baby Zuzu (in July) and the Bunnytail Blanket before it was lost, then found.

Henry with weensy baby Zuzu (in July) and the Bunnytail Blanket before it was lost, then found.

Yesterday we took a stroller walk after school down to city hall to drop off Dave’s absentee ballot. The boys were chilly on the way back, and when I went in the stroller trunk (is that what it’s called? the understroller?) to get the blanket I’d brought, it wasn’t there. Sutswana, who was walking with us, assured me she hadn’t seen it, but I was pretty sure I’d brought it. And, indeed, when we got home it wasn’t there. We have roughly seven million baby blankets, but the loss of our Bunnytail Blanket was heartbreaking indeed. I knew that I’d have to go get another one as soon as possible, but wasn’t too psyched about the thought of driving to Yarmouth, and I was pretty sure we’d never find it in the awesome bright orange/hot pink combo we had (not to mention the fact that it’s not exactly a cheap blanket). This morning at school I checked the lost and found table, but of course it wasn’t there. And then, driving home (it was raining), I saw our blanket perched on a fence — obviously someone had seen it on the ground and placed it there like a flag to beckon us (hurray for the bright colors of our blanket, blinking like a lighthouse in the rain!). It’s a little pathetic how incredibly happy I was to have our lost blanket found, but this blanket really rocks.

I think Eli also left a sippy cup of milk in Goodwill yesterday, but I really don’t give one fig about that, it turns out, especially since I’ve kind of been wanting to get rid of our plastic ones anyway.

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CATEGORIES: thirty second post
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Children's Book of the Week: The Giant Jam Sandwich

October 28, 2008

The Giant Jam Sandwich, story and pictures by John Vernon Lord, verse by Janet Burroway

I had this book when I was a kid, and I adored it. It’s about a town with a serious wasp infestation and their decision to get rid of the wasps by trapping them in a…well, in a giant jam sandwich. I think it seemed fairly plausible to me when I was little. And I remember loving the pictures, especially the ones of the giant loaf of bread.

After Henry was born, I discovered my childhood copy in a box of books, and I was so excited to read it again. I have to say I think I love it even more as an adult. Honestly, I think this is just about as perfect as you can get in a children’s book and not be Frances or Winnie the Pooh. The verses are exactly right, funny and rhythmic and charming and with excellent rhymes the whole time. I’m always impressed when verses in children’s books can tell a story in rhyme and never have any sort of awkward sentence structure. The pictures are colorful and funky and detailed. Henry and Eli adore this book as much as I did and do. It rarely lives on the bookshelf because it is in such constant roation. It’s very memorizable and great fun to spout off snippets of it when the conversation turns to bread, jam, sandwiches, wasps, farmers, or fields.

I am so psyched that this book is still in print (unlike my other favorite of the same era, Dooly and the Snortsnoot). If you’ve never read this before, go find it immediately and read it out loud today. You won’t be sorry.

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The Pumpkin Fairy brought me poop.

October 27, 2008

Yesterday Dave left at noon to go to Ohio for four days (he’s going there because he wants to vote in a swing state) (kidding). When he leaves town it’s usually the best idea for the rest of us to get out of the house so we don’t sit around feeling sorry for ourselves being all Daveless. (I can generally manage just fine when he has to travel, but I honestly have no idea how single parents do it every single day.)

We went to the Children’s Museum, where the boys romped, and we got to see the Children’s Theater of Maine put on Pecos Bill, which was adorable. When we walked out of the play, Eli turned to me and asked, “When are we going to the play?” We often joke that he’s like some visitor from another country who hasn’t caught on to all the ins and outs of our culture (sometimes he’ll walk up to us and say, “So…what is going on here? What are we doing?” in the same way you’d say it if you were visiting Italy (more…)

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CATEGORIES: Parenting
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Tiny little men have invaded my house, and their arms and heads come off.

October 26, 2008

CRASH! That, my friends, is the sound of the Lego bin being upended. May cause heart palpitations and increased blood pressure (for Julie).

After about a year of hawking Wedgits (so easy to pick up! and they do love them), I recently got the Legos out of their purgatory in the shed. Henry insisted they’d clean them up, and mainly he’s been right. But I’m really having trouble with the giant pile of weensy Legos that exists during the day until cleanup time. The boys want to clean them up, but it’s not that easy. Does anyone know of a Lego Picker Upper to make the job easier? I was briefly intrigued by Box4Blox until I noticed that the video clearly shows a parent picking up the Legos, using the same laborious scoop-and-dump that we use. Box4Blox just organizes the Legos, but doesn’t clean them up. I haven’t passed into the territory of wanting my Legos organized, I just want them off the floor. Or maybe what I need is some kind of giant folding Lego tray, so the Legos can be spread out to play with, and then quickly whisked away off the floor at the end of the day. Once I tried using a dustpan, which worked ok except the dustpanning action, while it did pick up more Legos at once, also shoved a great number under the couch. So after we had to pull the couch out to get to all the Legos that had landed in the nether region by the radiators, it was a wash as far as time saved. Plus I was kind of ooged-out by the fact that I was cleaning up toys with our dusty dustpan. If it had really worked, I supposed I would have gotten a Lego Dustpan.

Against my better judgment, I did order some of the older, classic building-block-type Legos to give to the boys for Christmas. I think those are mainly what they want to use, and our giant bin of inherited Legos is mainly castle and spaceship parts, most of which are approximately the size of a lentil.  So maybe they won’t feel the need to dump the whole bin? Eh, who am I kidding. If anyone has any suggestions on how I can Take Back the Rug I’d love to hear them.

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CATEGORIES: housekeeping
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thirty second post

October 25, 2008

Eli thinks the singular of earwax is “earwack.” As in, “What’s this? Oh, it’s a piece of earwack.”

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Etsy: Vermont Fairies

October 25, 2008

I am completely charmed by the felted creations from Vermont Fairies. The shop is run by a homeschooled 16-year-old who lives on a sheep, llama, angora rabbit farm. Judging from all her feedback and all the wonderful things she has for sale, she is quite the entrepreneur. I ordered little birds for the boys for Christmas — I know they are going to use them for all their complicated animal dramas.

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CATEGORIES: etsy
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