Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Pocketful of Sunshine

Normally our autumns are glorious days of crisp mornings, lots of golden sunshine punctuated by occasional gray days, canopies of colorful leaves, and the last gasps of summer warmth in the afternoons.  This year, autumn is still happening, but summer did not want to give up her clutches, so October opened with a mini heat wave.  A week and a half later, it was snowing, before our leaves even changed.  Luckily, it looks like Mother Nature grabbed both Winter and Summer by the scruff of the neck and tossed them into the penalty box so Autumn could get her day in the sun, so to speak.  It's going to be fleeting, so we're darn well going to enjoy it.  This week's grocery bundle included local Macintosh apples, a can of pumpkin puree, Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale, and the last jug of apple cider left on the shelf.  We are eating up the season, and I want seconds.

 More farm fun on the jumping pillow and corn box.

 Zoo Boo
 Halloween craft playdate.  Spork spent a lot of time carefully creating a play-doh spider, then squashed it with a vengeance.  I also got some adorable pics of Spork and Tater together, wish I could show them to you..hopefully just a few more months til her lil' face is legal blog fodder.

Spork was having a major grump session til I got out the rakes.  Behold, the curative power of nature.


Our annual trek to the pumpkin patch was put off this year until the last minute.  Cons:  cold fingers, toddlers who refused to keep mittens on, hoodies and coats instead of the coordinating outfits I had planned.  Pros:  a great deal on tickets through Hubby's work, a smaller crowd/no lines, and the squirrels have less time to munch on our goods before Halloween!

Sorry, Spork!  Family rule is that you have to be able to lift your own pumpkin.

Tater wanted all of them.

The Nugget was determined to get this big fella.

 "This year, I want to make my pumpkin look really scary!"

 Matching scary faces!

Too little to carve, but big enough to decorate!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Things you can do with a blanket

The crisp fall air has a hint of winter chill in it already, so it's fun-with-blankets time at our house.  Here are a few easy games that are big hits with our active trio.

1.  Curious Lump:  The name is derived from this book.  Basically, you throw the blanket over your littles (or let the big one take the lead) and yell, "Oh my, what a curious lump!"  Then you sit back and sip your coffee while the children wrestle and giggle and stick various body parts out from under the blanket.  Exclaim from time to time that the lump is growing a foot/thumb/whatever comes out, and occasionally toss the blanket back over them.  End game - when someone emerges crying from being accidentally elbowed in the face.

2.  Bird Nest:  Empty a laundry basket and nestle the baby inside with some blankets.  The older ones pretend to be the parent birds bringing imaginary worms back to their baby.  Teach the baby to make nom-ing noises.  End game - when the basket tips over.

3.  Burrito:  Roll one child tightly in a blanket to make a burrito.  Add "picante sauce" (tickles) if the burrito likes them.  Pretend to eat the burrito, and exclaim, "The filling is escaping!" when the child busts out of the blanket.  Older kids can hold one end of the blanket and roll themselves up for added excitement.  End game - when someone gets hiccups from laughing too hard.

Anyone else have a favorite blanket game?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Please don't chew the Giraffe

The Nugget enjoys the Silly Dance Song at our Library's annual festival

The Nugget's first romance continues:
"Well, E and I will probably have a wedding, but I don't know who will be our flower girl.  How old will Tater be when I'm 26?"

Kindergarten Drama:
1.  A friend was trying to get the Nugget's attention during rest time, and discovering that the Nugget would rather rest, he snatched Bedtime Giraffe and CHEWED on her.  Oh, the humanity!  The Nugget was totally distraught, but the teachers came to the rescue, and the Nugget was placated by being allowed to watch Giraffe spin in the washing machine.
2.  I have been taking the little ones into the school sans stroller this year for pickup.  This has made for some interesting and humbling moments, but I think it's a great mama-kiddo learning situation in a semi-controlled environment, because the tots are learning things like holding hands, taking turns pressing the button that calls the secretary to unlock the door, looking without touching, etc.  But the day when Tater ran away from me, Spork threw a fit about not getting to smash the crackers, and Brady wanted me to help him carry a bag of apples from his field trip...that will be a story we laugh about later.  Or not.
One of the most embarrassing public mom-things I consistently do is play peek-a-boo/mime to the kids while I am pumping gas.  Of course, with tinted minivan windows, no one can see that there are children in the car, so I must look like a lunatic.  But the toothy smiles and giggles I can't hear though the thick panes are worth it.  Do you make a fool of yourself to entertain your little ones in public?
Daddy had a birthday this month, and although I had to do math in my head to figure out how old he is, the Nugget promptly stated, "Well, you're 38 because last year you turned 37."  Lucky, lucky boy to have a memory like a steel trap!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Trunk or Treat 2013

I grew up in a neighborhood that was considered THE trick-or-treating destination for the city.  Minivans dropped off "outsiders" to collect candy on our turf.  If you were on candy distribution duty, there was no point going back inside in between gangs of children, you just stayed on the porch with the bucket in hand for the eager hordes.  My brother and I would arm ourselves with pillowcases instead of little treat buckets, and J would insist on drawing up our ToT route to maximize efficiency.  When I got too old to trick or treat, I happily took over the candy hand-out and insisted on playing our spooky sounds cassette tape on full blast during the festivities.  I've probably blogged about this before, but Halloween holds many of my favorite childhood memories, so when the scent of wet leaves and cut pumpkins fill the October air, I feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

I was so entrenched in traditional trick or treating culture as a child that I had no idea that alternate ToTs existed.  I first heard of Trunk or Treat when we lived in WA, but experienced my first one after we moved back to the Midwest.  Although I found myself my own little trick-or-treating neighborhood paradise and we are once again living in a hotspot for candy cravers, we love that Trunk or Treating gives us an excuse to use the costumes an extra time, to celebrate the holiday with our close friends, and to pass out unconventional treats.  If you're not familiar with the custom, you invite friends to an empty parking lot, open your trunks (I don't decorate mine because I'm a slob that way, but some families create adorable festive decorations, and set up stations for the kiddos.  This year, we gave out glow rings, stickers, and chocolates.  Our kids were treated to an apple dipping station, s'mores kits, homemade cookies, adorable candy corn-stuffed tulle pumpkins, vampire teeth, and more by our creative and generous friends.  Then we pot-lucked a lunch for those who braved the chilly wet day, and wiped down the damp playground with beach towels so the kids could run off the sugar.  This was my first year co-hosting the event, and I was pleasantly surprised at how smoothly it went and encouraged by my friends' stalwart commitment to family fun in the less-than-perfect weather.  

 A skeptical penguin surveys the scene from the safety of the stroller....
...but is soon won over by the prospect of collecting treats.

 "Dis one!  Wit a spoon!"

 A certain flower fairy thinks this would be a whole lot more fun if we lived in say, FL.  But she approved of her first m&m's.

His majesty peruses an assortment of cereal treats!  

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tater Tater Instigator

Tater's favorite "game" right now is torturing Spork with hugs.  1% of the time, he will return her hug graciously, with a grin and gentle pats on her back, and that puts her into a state of sheer bliss.  Unfortunately, 99% of the time, her hugs make him scream bloody murder and fling her to the ground.  She gets around this by sneaking up behind him and wrapping her tiny yet tenacious arms around his waist.  He panics and screams but he can't dislodge her, so he staggers and stumbles around the house like a wild boar with a cougar on its back.  She simply giggles and holds on tight as he drags her around the room, until I can come pry her off of him.  She usually immediately goes back for a second "ride".

Tater's latest milestone is a fast and furious language acquisition.  She is hungry for new words and repeats them back effortlessly, adding her own little baby accent and an exclamation point to boot.  "Mornin'!  Marinara!  iPod!  Hippo!"


Spork is equal parts annoyed by and attached to her.  He rarely tolerates her being within 3 feet of him but when he wakes before her, he mournfully points to one of her belongings and moans, "Sis-say.  Where mah sis-say?  Mah sis-say!  Want mah sis-say."

Monday, October 14, 2013

Wedding Weekend

The Nugget and his cousin Cabbage were the Ringer Bearer and Flower Girl at Uncle T and Aunt A's wedding this weekend.  Cuteness overload.

The wedding took place at a "country club", where I have many fond and not-so-fond memories of my childhood.  Fashion show fundraisers, tween pool drama, trying to help my brother J practice tennis (though I couldn't seem to get a single ball over the net to him, so I think it was mostly for sibling mocking/entertainment), one lousy attempt at swim team, saving my allowance for frozen Snickers from the concession stand...Anyway, it was nice to cap off those memories with one to trump all the rest!

Best wishes to A&T for a wonderful life together!