The scary sounds of Halloween

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I’m not talking about the blood-curdling screams, Werewolf  and awful gurgling noises that come from the soundtrack we play as we give out treats. (I’m sorry in advance to all the little ones it scares.)

From last year's haunting.

These are the scary sounds of Halloween in my house:

  • The slurping drool of children chatting wearing vampire teeth.
  • The scream as I dive to prevent one child from putting another child’s wet teeth in his mouth. (Ahhhh!)
  • Cries because coats have to be worn over costumes.
  • My own muffled swearing as my bobbin jams up in the sewing machine. Again.
  • Me, chasing and shooing the giggling baby off the fabric I’m attempting to cut.
  • The eerie crinkle of me opening another Reese’s peanut butter cup only to find, alas, it’s the last in the bag. And it’s not even Halloween. Oops.
  • The squeal as I accuse someone of traipsing in the house with grease on his or her feet only to discover those black spots on the tan berber are little nests of ‘fro hair that have been shed from Henry’s Weird Al wig.
  • Me accusing Henry of losing the same wig only to discover my dear spouse hid it because, Henry was donning it and acting … well … weird.
  • Sighs of disappointment when it is discovered that I have confused wanting to be Pocahontas with wanting to be a generic Indian (as in Native American) girl.
  • Sighs of disappointment when I confuse wanting to be Jesse from Toy Story with wanting to be a generic cowgirl. (Actually, both completely ploys, but I’m sticking with my story.)
  • Howling because the buy-20-for-$1 Halloween pencil lead won’t stop breaking.

The scariest sounds are yet to come in response to: No you can’t have that Laffy Taffy because of your retainer.

Happy howling.

Practice makes priceless

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This is one of those moments in the year when I’m happy I’ve had practice. After 18 years, I’m pretty accomplished in the art of whipping together Halloween costumes. Although many a Halloween are still on my horizon, I can say that  over all these years I have developed enough skill to make up a pattern, buy some cheap fabric and sew a costume to thrill a kid in 45 minutes or less. Good thing I’m fast–because I needed to spend the majority of my “free” time this week driving around town finding all the elements that will transform nine-year-old Henry in to Weird Al Yankovic.

  • St. Vincent de Paul: Hawaiian shirt $3 (It’s a women’s shirt, but he’s none the wiser.)
  • Famous Footwear: Vans with checkerboard pattern $10 (Now that was a miracle find; he’ll like wearing them after for play.)
  • Halloween USA: Weird Al wig, $10. (Okay it’s was really a fro, that we thinned out.)
  • Church: Glasses. Free. (We scrounged through the bin of donated glasses/frames. I’m not sure if that’s stealing. But we found a perfect pair one with only one lens. We’ll take out the other. We’ll donate them back.)
  • The fact that my kid wants to be Weird Al for Halloween: priceless.

I should almost be embarrassed to admit this. But this is the video that cemented my kids’ admiration for Weird Al. This one, and the fact that a bunch of people out there make Lego-mation videos to Weird Al songs. What kid wouldn’t love that?

Hey soul sister

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The other day, Lillian drew a family picture. She pointed out each person to me. When she got to Helen she said, “I drew Helen as a baby. So she’d have to live with us.”

This morning while eating breakfast, Lillian said, “So is Helen not going to come home from college and live with us ever? What’s the deal with that?”

The funny thing, we do see Helen pretty often. She’s not too far away. I actually have to go grab her today to take her to the orthodontist for a little repair. Lil will be surprised and thrilled. But by tomorrow, like the rest of us, yearning for more.

Big sister, little sister

Hope floats

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As do many household items, verified by the baby in the toilet. Lots of things sink, too. But hope does actually float.

I think of all the thing for which I am hopeful. The things and intentions for which I pray. Healing of loved ones and acquaintances. Peace for those in sorrow and pain. Happiness for those with new roads yet taken.  I pray for joy, forgiveness, calm, charity, love, family, prosperity, wisdom, sleep, good coffee (’cause although I’m always hopeful for good sleep …) thoughtfulness, compassion, intellect, challenges, trials, humility, mercy, resourcefulness, friendship,  yesterday, today and tomorrow and all that is yet to be.

And I always pray to continue searching for God confident in his presence.

All those prayers are surrounded with hope that only comes from the One who has risen and reminds me that hope actually does much more than just float, it soars.

Lord of all hopefulness,
Lord of all joy,
whose trust, ever childlike,
no cares could destroy,
be there at our waking,
and give us, we pray,
your bliss in our hearts, Lord,
at the break of the day.

Lord of all eagerness,
Lord of all faith,
whose strong hands were skilled
at the plan and the lathe,
be there at our labors,
and give us, we pray,
your strength in our hearts, Lord,
at the noon of the day.

Lord of all kindliness,
Lord of all grace,
your hands swift to welcome,
your arms to embrace,
be there at our homing,
and give us, we pray,
your love in our hearts, Lord,
at the end of the day.

Lord of all gentleness,
Lord of all calm,
whose voice is contentment,
whose presence is balm,
be there at our sleeping,
and give us, we pray,
your peace in our hearts, Lord,
at the end of the day.

–Jan Struther

The dingo ate my baby


Yes. It’s another shoe story a la Lillian.

The dingo ate my baby

At the store in an attempt to buy saddle shoes for Cliffy, I look over at Lil who is admiring all the girl shoes displayed on the wall. Her hands clutched to her heart, I hear her mutter, “These shoes are fabulous.” Followed by a sigh.

No luck in the saddle shoe department. As we start on our way out, Lillian and I spy a small stack of boxes on the floor of the shoe department. Perched on top were bubble-gum pink patent leather Dingo cowboy boots. (Or as Lil says in the spirit of conservation: cow boots.)

We both stopped in our tracks, then approached the stack slowly. Then I saw it. The sign that said 50% off. I think I heard angels singing. Then I said the words you can’t ever turn back on: “Lillian, should we see if these are in your size?” At that moment, cash register bells joined the angel chorus.

And there they were. One of the four remaining pairs was obviously meant for Miss Lil.

She looked at me. Tempering her emotion, she said quietly, “I’m going to be a cowgirl for Halloween.” At that moment, I realized she possessed the gift. The ability for any female worth her weight in DSW coupons to justify a shoe purchase–practical or otherwise.

Needless to say, the Dingo ate my baby. And me.

Hungry man

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I’ve posted many times about how my dear baby doesn’t talk.

Hungry Man

Well, he still doesn’t say much. But every now and then he will grace us with a word–that just makes me wonder. Yesterday, out of the blue, he handed me a can of soup and said, “hungry.”

To be sure I understood him, I asked him if he was hungry and wanted something to eat. He looked up at me with those big brown eyes, nodded, then walked over to his little booster seat. Pointed, and said it again: “Hungry.”

He won’t point to a car and say car, or a cup and say cup. Instead, he gives me a whole thought concept in one simple word and few actions. He’s a curious fellow, that little guy. And, since on the same day he decided to climb feet first into the toilet … I should add … I think I’m in trouble.

Balancing act

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That’s what life is. No surprise to any reader, I’m sure. There’s so much to do, and so little time. And of late, so little extra energy. I’ve sworn off coffee after 2, so I can get a better night’s sleep. And, it’s working. Sort of. Because, I’m not always so great at reading the actual clock versus the I-could-use-another-cup-of-coffee clock. But, I’m trying.

Balancing act

We had a smashing weekend. Busy, busy. To say the least. I hit the hay at 9 p.m. last night, exhausted. Took Mary Claire out for a date with just Richard and me. Sang at a wedding and two masses, cheered at two soccer games, sold popcorn, cleaned the garage and closets, and a attended a very enjoyable party at a recently renovated Frank Lloyd Wright house at which my dear spouse is part of the design team. It was a beautiful afternoon party. And a much-needed time out.  But exhausting just the same.

And now, here it is, Monday. And I’m feeling unprepared for the week. I am always balancing (more like teetering) on the edge of the darn sin called sloth.

Strange, but true.

In my life it’s really the sin of productive procrastination. Here I am, blogging (productive) when I should be working (procrastination). I could pretty much re-roof the house eagerly before I sit down and do some of the stuff I HAVE to do. Hence: therein lies the sin.Yes I’m productive (and then some) but there’s still undone stuff that HAS to be done. And coffee isn’t going to cut it.

So, now that I’m no longer in denial, I’m going to finish this post and get to work … after I make myself another cup of coffee … and re-roof the house.

Cliff speaks

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Okay. No he doesn’t. Not with actual words. He is still the silent (in words, not noise) thinking man. But he speaks in so many other ways.

The eyes of a thinking man

Yesterday, I took Lillian and Cliff for a quick trip to the zoo.

I thought he was going to explode when he saw the giraffe. He pointed, he babbled his long monologue babble. During which, he was apparently telling me all about what he saw. Nodding at me, with a don’t-you-agree-with-me expression.  I talked back. (I, on the other hand, was actually using words.) He listened. Agreed, nodding. Looked into my eyes and told me more. Leaned his head on my shoulder briefly and loved me for showing him the giraffe. He also loved me for the kangaroos. The zebra. The rhino.

When we got home, we told daddy all about what we saw. Cliff listened intently, smiling. He walked over to me and leaned his head into my legs and loved me some more.

Without words, that boy speaks volumes.