A Very Harry Halloween

November 1, 2014 at 3:35 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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In keeping with the Harry Potter costume theme this year, I decided to paint Harry Potter legos pumpkins. Not too shabby, if I do say so m’self. I also made a lego Voldemort.

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Halloween was on a Friday this year, and this was Liam’s first elementary school Halloween parade. So we got up extra early, got his costume on, drew on his lightning bolt scar with eye liner…then got halfway to school before we realized we’d forgotten his glasses and wand. D’oh! Then, with all the parents staying to watch the parade, we had to park two blocks away, which made us late. But thankfully not too late for the parade.

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The cutest, tiniest Harry Potter you ever did see! I volunteered to help with his Halloween party, so I got to stay and see him in his classroom. He managed to get frosting from his cookie all over his tie and shirt (whose idea was it to provide frosted cookies with the kids in costume?!). And when all the kids got up to wrap each other in toilet paper like mummies, he adamantly refused to try it. But he did enjoy watching it, so at least he was having fun. Then the kids all got up to dance along with a song. At first Liam seemed like he wasn’t going to do it, but peer pressure won out, and he got up there and wiggled with all the rest. I think school has been very good for getting Liam out of his shell. I even caught him talking up some of the girls. “That’s right, ladies. I’m Harry Potter.” Heh.

I even had a few Harry Potter accoutrements, though hardly anyone noticed.

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Before long, it was time for trick-or-treating. Last year we discovered we live in THE BEST neighborhood for Halloween. Our next door neighbors set up a whole graveyard with lights and bubbling cauldron, and they dressed up as witches to hand out special Halloween grab bags. And as we made our way toward High Park through a ritzier neighborhood, the décor got crazy elaborate. Smoke machines, sound effects, costumed neighbors jumping out of the bushes. It was awesome. One of my neighbors said there was one family that grills hotdogs every year to give out instead of candy. This would be perfect if his cousins Evie and Milo could come along with him in 2014! And it turns out that this year Evie didn’t have school on Halloween, so they were able to make the trip. Yay! Except…it was super cold. Upper 40s when we left the house. So we had to bundle them up a bit.

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Evie was Fionna from Adventure Time on Cartoon Network, and Milo was Jake from the Neverland Pirates. Evie and Liam set off at a run, ringing the bells at all the houses with porch lights on, while Jill, Milo and I brought up the rear. I overheard them warning our neighbors that Milo had a peanut allergy, and Milo got double candies for his troubles. We had decided to make a circuit around the block, then go back out after Doug arrived. But once we made it in the house, Liam was ready for his costume to come off, and Milo was ready for a warm bath.

DSC_0022I’m not gonna lie. I was pretty disappointed. Liam’s haul was a fraction of last year, with hardly any Kit Kats for momma. And we’d missed the smoke machine and the sound effects. And the hotdogs! Our next door neighbor’s graveyard was as impressive as ever, so I guess that was going to have to do. While Milo got warmed up in the bath, Evie and Liam took charge of handing out candy at the door, a job they seemed to enjoy even more than trick or treating! They’d wait at the door, and as kids approached, they’d grab a handful of candy out of our bowl and run out to greet them. These two love to be in charge! After the candy ran out I managed to talk them into going back out with Doug and I. I really wanted to show off all the cool décor a few blocks from our house. But after two more houses, Liam complained that his legs hurt, so we headed back home again. Oh well. Halloween will be on a Saturday next year, so maybe we can try this again with the cousins again then. If the weather is warmer I bet we can get them to stay out longer.

Halloween 2012

November 2, 2012 at 10:31 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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We had a lot more trick-or-treaters this year thanks to our new porch light. Hardly any candy left! Liam went as Lightning McQueen, and he had a great time zooming from house to house. By the end he didn’t even wait at the door after ringing the door bell. So I was left standing there with his pumpkin pail, saying, “Tick-or-treat, on behalf of that little race car back there, har har.” Travis was visiting this week, so I made us all little decals for our red jackets with big 95’s on them. We were his pit crew. So cute.

Halloween 2011

October 31, 2011 at 9:07 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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This marks our first Halloween in Florida, and I decided to spring for some actual decorations this year. Mind you, most of the neighbors outdid us. But I figure this is a cumulative effort, and we’ll get more stuff next year. I decided to wait until the day before to get a pumpkin to carve, thinking that would stave off the rot. But turns out the pumpkin I bought was already pretty rotten, and I ended up with a hole right through the bottom of it. The front was salvageable, so I did the best with what I had. Perhaps I should add “fake pumpkin” to my decorations list.

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The big day arrived, and we got Liam dressed up in his spiffy R2-D2 costume. He pretty much wanted to take it off immediately. But we convinced him he needed to show the neighbors how cute he was. Walking around the neighborhood I felt like I was on a TV show, there were so many kids out, spooky decorations, and even parents dressed up! Very cute! We made a circle around the block, filling up his modestly-sized bucket, and then headed home to man the door. We live on a small side street, so I was bummed we only got three trick-or-treaters. Perhaps if one of us had stayed home while Liam was out we would have seen more. But he was so super cute, saying “Trick or treat” in his tiny, shy voice, and then thanking each neighbor for the candy. At one point he announced, “I like candy.” Indeed. When we got home we let him choose one candy to eat. What did he choose?

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A candy that combines his two favorite things: chocolate and lollipop! I “helped” him by sneaking a Kit Kat. James coached him to say, “Mommy, don’t steal all my candy!” Busted.

Here’s are more photos from our night. Enjoy!

The beach, a play date, and date night

October 16, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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That about sums up our week. Liams been bad about the naps, and I’m still trying to catch up on all the shows I missed while in KC, so I haven’t had much time for blogging. Right now I’m at the park with Liam, fetching “orange bear” from the bottom of the slide and depositing him at the top of the stairs so Liam can push him down the slide. Apparently quite fun for both of them.

Anywho, it’s still blazing hot down here in FL, so we spent Wednesday afternoon at Cocoa Beach. I’d forgotten how much finer the sand was there than at Playalinda, and now that it’s fall the crowds were much lighter. I could even leave the stroller in the car and carry Liam since I didn’t have to bring a whole picnic lunch. We stayed about an hour as we watched a storm approach. Our umbrella almost blew away! We got drenched on the way to the car, and of course it blew over in no time. I tried to talk him into going back to the beach, but he wanted to go home. That actually worked out well — normally I’m so tired and sunbaked after a day at the beach, but this time we both felt fine. This might turn into a weekly afternoon excursion as long as the weather holds out.

On Friday we had a friend over to play, one-year-old Nicole and her mom Mandy who we met at swim lessons and have met up with a couple times. Liam did a great job sharing his toys, and while they didn’t really play together like Liam and Jean, they still had fun. We’re making this a weekly playdate since Mandy has Fridays off of work. Yay for new friends!

Last night James and I left Liam with our sitter so we could go out for a date night. Because we can almost never agree on a movie, we thought it would be fair for one of us to choose the restaurant and the other choose the movie. James chose Portobello, an Italian place in Downtown Disney that he and his family used to love when they lived here before. He was a little disappointed in his favorite appetizer, a thin crust 4-cheese pizza, but our entrees were great, and the white chocolate creme brûlée was amazing! After dinner we saw the movie I chose, 50/50, which I’d heard good things about from friends and NPR. We both really liked it — great performances and very well written.

Liam got his R2-D2 costume in the mail, and with a few minor adjustments, I think it will fit him. I say I think because I have yet to get him to agree to try it on. Sigh. It was only $15, so I won’t be completely heartbroken if he refuses to wear it for halloween. But bribery does work pretty well on him now, so I’m thinking I’ll just tell him the only way he can get candy is to put on the costume. At least it should work long enough for me to snap a few photos. Let’s hope.

The Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear

November 1, 2010 at 10:28 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Now that my new computer is up and running (more on that later) I can finally report on our time at the Rally. I can sum it up in one word: Madness! My friends Josh and Ann met at my house that morning to ride the train down. Josh mentioned there were some festivities going on at 10, but I couldn’t ditch Liam with James for too much of the day, so we left the house around 11. We met with a huge line at the Metro ticket machine, although not as huge as the one at the Silver Spring station, apparently. I called my friend Julie, who was planning to meet us on the platform at Silver Spring. It was madness there, too. Once we had our tickets and were down on the platform, the train pulled in and was already almost full. Thankfully we had walked down to the front car, so we managed to squeeze in. A few more got on at Silver Spring (including Julie, though in a different car somewhere – thank god for texting!), and then it was jam packed for the next few stations, with barely room to take on any more people. At Takoma we saw this guy out the window holding a bright green sign. He held it up for us to read, front and back, and we cheered for its snarkiness. (I wish I could remember what it said now!) Then he shrugged his shoulders, pointed at himself, and then pointed at us, like, “Can I get on now?” We all chuckled and the door closed. Poor dude.

We jumped off the train at the first walkable stop, Union Station, and found Julie with her daughter Sydney in tow. Then we walked. And walked, and walked, and walked. The crowd didn’t ever seem to end! I had some other friends I had planned to meet down at the rally, but we quickly realized that was going to be impossible. We pushed our way further and further down the north side of the mall, taking photos of signs along the way, and admiring some of the more creative Halloween costumes. We saw people in trees. We saw people dangling from traffic lights. We even saw people sitting on top of rows of port-a-potties. All to get a better view of the stage way in the distance.

Finally the crowd seemed to thin out a little, so we jogged to the left and headed toward the middle of the Mall. We milled about for a bit, unsure of what was going on, and people shouted, “Louder!” I think the Adam and Jamie from Mythbusters might have been doing their experiments, but we couldn’t see or hear a thing where we were. Julie bounced Sydney around a bit – she was being so good! I had thought about taking Liam, as well, but I’m so glad I didn’t. He would have hated the crowds, and being on my back it would have been difficult to appease him.

Julie decided it would be best to beat the crowds home and get Syd down for her nap, so she bid us adieu and we pushed further into the crowd. Finally, we heard Jon Stewart address the crowd! Everyone squeezed in around us, and there was no more moving about. We were stuck behind a van, but we could still hear the show. We heard Cat Stevens and Ozzie Osbourne dueling. We heard Father Guido Sarducci doing something up there, though I couldn’t really tell what. Josh, being the tallest, could see the jumbo-screen a bit, though not terribly well. At one point someone’s sign was blocking the view, and a whole chorus erupted around us, “Put the yellow sign down!” When that didn’t work, they added, “Please!” It turned into a chant and a fist pump. This was really beginning to feel like a rally now! Finally, after about 10 repetitions, the sign came down. Now that’s what I call progress!

Somewhere ahead of us lay the first aid tent, and we were right in the path of people squeezing their way through to it. We managed to angle our way back toward the van, which offered a little bit of breathing room, and we could hear better. But by then they were talking about celebrities I didn’t know, and I hadn’t really been able to follow what was going on. I could hear Colbert shout something about NPR not sending people to the rally, and that he was awarding a 7-year-old girl for not being afraid to come. That was when we decided to bail. It was fun to see the signs and be part of the crowd, but we knew we’d enjoy this much more on TV. We briefly entertained the idea of stopping in Matchbox for a burger, but it was an hour and 15-minute wait, so we headed home instead. Check out the rest of my photos here.

Later I watched the Rally on my DVR, fast-forwarding through a lot of it. There were some funny parts. And some of the musical guests weren’t bad. But it didn’t get very interesting for me until the very end, when Jon Stewart made his more sincere and focused speech. He summed up what he felt this Rally had been held to accomplish – to give a voice to those who are tired of the media hype, the hate, the political polarization, and the melodrama that has become the norm these days. It was a great speech, and I wish I’d been in a better spot in the crowd to have stayed to see it. Irrespective, I’m glad I took the time and energy, fought the crowds, and stood with the masses to support this cause. In the name of sanity. And hilarity. Because if you’re not laughing, then you’re going a little bit crazy.

Pumpkin time!

October 24, 2010 at 3:03 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Last year we didn’t bother with carving a pumpkin – Liam was too interested in putting things in his mouth, and I didn’t think he’d really get it. So when Halloween rolled around this year, I got super excited about getting a pumpkin this year. One of my friends said she carved pumpkins with her daughter at this age, and she had such fun pulling the seeds out.

Not my son.

No, he pretty much balked at the whole exercise, and kept his distance as much as he could. The closest he came was to pick up a seed and put it back INSIDE the pumpkin. And he did it in such a particular way, as if to avoid getting any of the ick on him. Oh well. Maybe he’ll be more into it next year. Check out our photos (and be sure to read the captions for the play-by-play).

Ode to Dad

August 23, 2010 at 9:25 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 12 Comments
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When I was a kid, my dad had the coolest job. In the mid-80s he teamed up with a couple of good friends at a startup recording studio. From what I remember they mostly handled radio and TV commercials for large and small advertising agencies with accounts like Blockbuster Video, Worlds of Fun, and Pizza Hut. They also recorded musicians, I’m sure, but the crux of their business lay in the commercial world.

What I remember best were summer days spent at the studio with dad. We’d get up early for the morning commute, and despite the above photo, I don’t think mom came along with us very often. Being a mom now, I understand how she must have loved these days as much as we did! We’d arrive at the studio at 42nd and State Line, coming in the special back entrance. We’d run down the corridors, upstairs decked out in plush, maroon carpet and green walls with wood panels, and downstairs a wood floor perfect for tap dancing. Dad would check out the sessions he had booked for the day while Jill and I would snag Cokes from the fridge. Mom never allowed us soda at home, so the endless supply of sugar and caffeine provided quite a treat for us. Dad almost always worked in Studio B, our favorite because it was large like Studio A, but cozier and less pretentiously decorated. There was a big leather couch in the back that we’d lay on, soaking up the smells and textures. The chairs by the controls all had wheels, and we had many a spin in those. We met advertising creative directors who humored us our endless questions. We met high-spirited voice talents who made us laugh. Unlike Jill, I’d run at the mouth to most of them, which probably led to the handful of commercials I did as a child. Though I do remember one instance where the client was trying to come up with a nice, short name for a character in their radio spot, and they chose Jill’s name. She didn’t stop grinning that entire session.

At some point business was so good that the clients would order in lunch for everyone at the studio, including us kids. I remember Rose, the secretary, coming around with a menu and taking our orders. We felt so posh, despite our usual request for burgers and fries. We’d eat in the lunchroom and listen to stories. It was these moments where we’d see a side of our dad that we didn’t see at home. He’d quietly listen to whatever outrageous story was being told, munching away at his lunch as if he weren’t minding the conversation at all. And then suddenly he’d chime in with the most hilarious and random sentence. Our dad was funny?!

In the early days I remember racks and racks of reel-to-reel tape machines. Each recording would be spliced with a razor blade and taped with this special blue narrow tape. There was an art to it, finding just the right spot in the tape by rolling the reels with your hands and listening. He’d adjust dials on the control panel, hundreds of dials! In the sound booth, as big as our living room at home, all of the sound-proof treatments on the walls made it eerily quiet. Sometimes dad would make recordings of Jill and I singing. We’d don headphones made for much bigger heads, and stand on tip-toe to reach the microphone hanging down from a stand. Dad would push a button to talk to us, his voice strange and tinny through the headphones. Finished with our “set”, Jill and I would race to the door and push it with all our might — it was thicker and heavier than a regular door -– and join dad in the control room to listen to ourselves and giggle. Our voices didn’t sound like our own.

After the session with a client was over, dad would have to do some of the more boring, technical stuff. So he’d run to the archive and get us this very thick tape, then cue it up for us. At the front of the control board, below all those hundreds of dials, there were dozens of sliding knobs. Slide up, volume up. Slide down, volume down. On this particular tape, each knob corresponded to an instrument in the musical piece. Jill and I would spend the duration of the tape fiddling with the knobs up and down and composing our own masterpiece. Dad would check in every so often to start the tape over for us. Oh, how we loved this game!

In the 90s everything changed to digital, and most of those machines were replaced with computers running ProTools. Dad spent many countless nights learning everything there was to learn until he became an expert. That’s his way. Into junior high and high school, Jill and I would still go into work with dad in the summers. The computers were no less interesting than watching him splice tape. And I remember once, after a quick lesson in ProTools, he set us to work making our own Halloween spooky sounds and music tape. We’d fade one track into another, pretending we were the hotshot recording engineers.

Ultimately Jill and I never made careers anything like our dad’s. In fact, it saddens me to think of Liam going to work with mommy and watching me design at a computer (boring!) or going to work with James to, well, ok, who knows exactly what position he’ll be holding, but I’m sure it’ll have something to do with filling out paperwork and giving presentations about horribly acronymed policies. That thought makes me realize just how good Jill and I had it, those wonderful summers going to work with our dad.

Halloween Bust

November 2, 2009 at 2:20 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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First, we all caught a cold. Then Liam threw a fit when I put on his costume. Then Liam napped a record two and a half hours, all during the trick-or-treat activity I was planning to take him to at the mall. Then it started raining. We got one trick-or-treater…a couple of teenagers…and thankfully the doorbell didn’t wake Liam. Seemed like the deck was stacked against us for a perfect first halloween. We were even too sick to attend the after-Halloween Sunday brunch with my working moms group. With the swine flu hysteria around here, I didn’t want to be the one who brought the sick kid….even though I’m certain all we have is a mild cold. Oh well. At least I got some cute pictures. Better luck next year.

Is it Halloween yet?

October 27, 2009 at 4:50 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Liam’s supposed to be an astronaut (I promise, lots of pictures!), but today he was a witch.

The highs, and then the lows

October 31, 2008 at 8:57 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Evie and Jill came to my work yesterday for our office trick-or-treating event. Evie was a-freaking-dorable. I promise, I’ll have pictures next week. Jill dressed her as a ballerina, with a pink and green tutu she received as a baby shower gift. It was still a little big, but that made it even more adorable, watching her stomp her way up the hallways (she’s a walking now!), and tugging her skirt up. It took her a couple tries to get the hang of trick-or-treating, but once she understood, she just flitted from one cube to the next, taking candy and putting it in her bag. Usually by the fistful, which Jill had to put back. Then Evie got the bright idea to start taking candy out of her bag and put it back in random people’s bowls. Then she tried to steal another kid’s candy. All in a hard day’s work, lol. She was quite a hit with the camera lady — I have a feeling some pics of her will end up in our company newsletter.

Amid all that fun, I got a call from my doctor with annoying news. Nothing life-threatening, but not what I wanted to be dealing with right now. James and I are off to DC tomorrow to do some house hunting, and we won’t be back until Tuesday night. Work’s been a big shitball of stress, and somehow I’ve got to fit in a four-hour doctor appointment. Plus, there’s some snafu with my iron supplement prescription I’ve got to work out today, and of course, my doc’s office is closed. Hopefully poor little Liam can go without the extra iron for another week. He’s a tough little one, judging from all the kicking, so I’m sure he’ll be fine.

Tonight I’m off to Jill’s for trick-or-treating in her neighborhood. I’ll be sure to get lots more cute pics.

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