My brilliant costume plan

This year I decided we would not buy Halloween costumes. We have a huge Rubbermaid tote of dress up clothes. It would be so fun for the girls to pick something out, and to have choices available for the different Halloween festivities. Sunday we went Trick or Treating at the mall. This week they have Halloween parties at school. And then of course, Halloween. Won't that be fun?

Am I new? Hi, my name is Sarah, and I have apparently not met my own children. Also, I like to reinvent the wheel. With a less effective wheel.

The girls were fine with the whole thing. Yes! We love these costumes! You're the best mom ever! (I maybe just heard that last one in my head)

Sunday they did Trick or Treating at the mall. Ella went as a pirate (a costume I purchased for around 75¢ at the Target 90% off clearance last year). Natalie was Batgirl (Ella's costume from last year). Great. Fun.

Today is Natalie's school party. She gave me strict instructions that she was not to wear anything too scary or have any weapons. She told me that. "No weapons." I think all of our costume options fit in the safe category. So last week she said she would be Batgirl. Last night she said no, she did NOT want to be Batgirl. She wants to wear her monkey costume (you know - the one that was slightly too small last year, now way too small - the one I gave to her cousin without telling her?). Sorry. It was too small and now it's gone. Tears. Wailing. I start looking at the clock to see if I still have time to run to Target with her for a new costume. Because shopping cures all.

Fine. She will be a pirate. She tried on the whole costume. She felt good about it right down to her eye patch. We laid it all out for morning.

Then she woke up this morning. Yay! Today's party day! Won't it be fun for you to wake up and get dressed for your party! As a pirate! No. No it won't. She looked at me like I was stupid. She wants the monkey costume. It's still too small (at least 2 sizes). And gone.

7:05 a.m. Natalie wants to be a monkey.
7:08 a.m. Natalie wants to be a dancer with a tutu (but she will NOT wear leggings!)
7:12 a.m. Natalie wants to be a dancer with jazz pants
7:14 a.m. Natalie tells me Ben is going to wear his pjs.
7:17 a.m. Natalie wants to be Batgirl (you know, the ORIGINAL CHOICE FROM LAST WEEK).
7:20 a.m. Natalie refuses black leggings under the costume, insisting that shorts will be fine. Even though it is 30 degrees out right now. "I like to be cold!"
7:25 a.m. Natalie finally agrees to wear jeans under the Batgirl costume. But she wants light jeans. Not dark jeans. Not those. Those. And she would like socks that go over her ankles. Not plain white. No characters.

And that, my friends, is why you get a new costume every year. Because then it's just what you are. Because you are excited for your New Costume.

I have a very, VERY long 14 years ahead of me.


Ella blogs #1

Yesterday I had Ella write a story for some homework, and I thought perhaps she could use ye olde blog to share it. The only rule was I wouldn't tell her how to spell anything. Which nearly killed her with her spelling compulsiveness. She chose to write about cats. She has even provided an illustration. Enjoy.

Cats, are the thing I no and thay ned woder and food and ned thaer har brusht. and nap. and play. Greta is are cat and we love, her and she is nise to. and I like to play with her to.


Their other lives

Last night we had parent/teacher conferences. It's a fascinating thing to me, because it reminds me that my children have their own little lives going on that I don't know a whole lot about.

First we went to Natalie's room, where she got to show Ella all of the pets. Natalie's room is a bit of a menagerie. There are two fish tanks. One for grown up fish and one for babies. There's a frog named Charlotte in a tank. And there's a giant cage with three degus named Benny, Tico and Diego. I'll wait here while you click here to find out what on earth a degu is.

Natalie's teacher told us she is shy. But not so shy that she won't participate. She just doesn't often initiate play. And lately she has started talking more. None of that was very surprising. I guess they're working on Natalie standing up for herself. Which seems strange, given her actions around home. But when she's at school, if someone else wants to play with something she just gives it to them. If someone hurts her feelings she leaves and hides out in a corner so no one can see her upset. So her teacher said she's working on that with her. That it's ok to take your own turn. And that it's ok to tell someone you didn't like what they said or did.

Ella was kind of a different kid in her conference. While she's usually pretty boisterous, she was very quiet. She's a good reader. She likes to do her math independently. She's chatty (what??), but she's able to focus when she's supposed to focus. She is apparently VERY hung up on spelling. They've started working on hearing the sounds in words, and they are only expected to write the sounds. Ella's teacher said after they do those exercises, Ella will ask if she got all the spellings right. And she will tell her, "You got all the sounds, great job." And Ella will say, "But did I get the spellings right?" Perhaps we should start grooming her for spelling bees.

It was fun after the conference, to read Ella's homework book with her. After hearing her teacher talk about her reading, Ella tried harder than usual to sound words out. And she did a great job.

So it was a fascinating glimpse into the lives they're leading away from home. Captain America and I feel like they have the right teachers for them, which is a relief after moving to a place where we didn't know the teachers or the school.

Thank you for praying for our friend, Tony. He is cancer-free. His lungs are healing. He is home.


There went October.

Next week is the end of October. How, exactly, did that come about?

To celebrate, or to mourn, here is another miscellaneous collection of thoughts.

I spent last weekend at Women of Faith having Sister Retreat. I think I've been to 4 or 5 and this was the best one. We had a good time, and have made Grand Plans for the next one we attend.

A couple nights ago Natalie told me if I helped her clean their room the next day, she'd give me one of her pennies. I didn't fall for it.

Ella has added a crew to her busy recess schedule. She is now on a spy crew, and a vampire crew. I am choosing to believe it's more about Halloween than Twilight. I asked her what vampires do. "I don't know." Ok then.

I got my hair cut. I'm sure it will take some time for the relationship to develop, but I enjoyed her. I still miss Jen, but I don't think I'll shop around. New Hair Person seems like a keeper.

What I enjoyed most about the Winnie the Pooh series is the capitalization. I like to capitalize Important Things in the style of A.A. Milne whenever possible.

It's Halloween next week. I'm not sure what we'll have here. They've been digging through the dress up box changing their minds as they go.

I finished Donald Miller's new book, A Million Miles. I really enjoyed it and I recommend it. It's basically thinking of your life as more of a story.

To get in the mood for Halloween, I've been enjoying Beck's Halloween stories over at Frog and Toad. Start here. It's a delightfully creepy twist on children's stories. I'm totally buying the Max & Ruby one as truth.


Miscellaneous Monday

It's 7:30 pm on Monday night. I'm the only person in Wisconsin and Minnesota NOT watching the Vikings/Packers game. Or I'm one of the very few. Captain America went to a sports bar right after work to try and secure seats with some friends. I'm going to find something incredibly girly to watch just to protest.

I just took the girls to the mall for a while. It was incredibly slow there, what with all the football going on. Pre-game. Pre-pre-game. It would have been nicer, if Natalie hadn't been so tired. CARRY me!

Highlight from our evening: Over ice cream with the girls, we're talking about fire safety. It's one of our favorite topics. Which leads to Ella saying, "Mama? You can replace babies. If you lose one, you can just have another one." Not quite, honey.

It's getting chilly & rainy. It was mid-50s, and yet Ella insisted on wearing flip flops. With her jeans, long sleeved shirt and puffy vest.

I noticed today that whenever Natalie wears her new stylish boots, she rolls up her jeans so you can see more of them. That's my girl. It's all about the shoes.

I ate another Tagalongs blizzard. And I wish I hadn't.

I'm so depressed over losing my amazing and wonderful hair stylist by moving, that I'm in complete denial. I haven't had a haircut since June. And it shows. It's not pretty. But maybe if I never cut it, I won't have to come to terms with it. I miss you, Jen.

Would you please pray for Tony? His lung is collapsed, and apparently if it doesn't heal it may need to be removed. Pray for complete healing and restoration of his health, and for strength for his family -- it's been a long year.


I even confuse myself.

I don't like beans. Never have. They are pasty. The flavor is not worth the pastiness. I will never be caught eating baked beans. Just, no. And I don't like bell peppers either. Never have. I can manage them in salsa, but prefer not to think about it.

So can you explain to me my new obsession with roasted red pepper hummus? A big bowl of smushed chickpeas (also known as garbanzo BEANS)? Flavored with red peppers. With small chunks of red pepper. And not a little.

I tried it one day and liked it. Last night I bought some at SAM'S CLUB. I am the only one in my house who will eat it. And now I have it in a Sam's Club sized portion.

What on earth? It's just so good.

In other news, the other day Ella was telling me about her Spy Crew. Apparently she's gathered some girls together at recess to be on her Spy Crew. Her words, not mine. She's all nonchalant about it too. "Oh, she's on my Spy Crew." Sounds like the boys have a Spy Crew as well, and I think they battle their spy-ness at recess.

Sayings and swaps from Natalie:
"Yeah, she wants to be my friend."
"It's a special day!"
"on this day" = today (I almost hope she never grows out of this one. So cute.)
"on the next day" = tomorrow