Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Hallowe'en in Minnesota

It was a very happy Halloween at our house this year. It was T's second Halloween and A's first. T insisted on being a doctor and A had no choice in the matter, though I think she enjoyed her fairy wings. If you look closely, you can see that under his surgical cap, T is wearing an earflap hat and that they are both wearing mittens. And the Fairy is wearing a turtleneck onsie under her shiny dress. No half measures, I say. T is also wearing a fleece vest under his scrubs. Next year they can go as eskimoes. We Trick or Treated in 47 degree weather this year.

I was elected the Official Parental Escort this year and got to take the kids door to door. I imagine that I was more welcome in this capacity than I will be as Official Parental Escort when they go to prom. As an additional treat, my dad (otherwise known as "GRANDPA!!!") came to be Assistant Escort. My mom (known mostly as "GRANDMA!") came afterward and joined us for dinner. We had fish, rice, and vegetables. The kids had fish and candy (or "CANDY!").

I admit that I just love Halloween. I enjoy it as much now as I did as a Trick or Treat-er. I have so much fun getting the kids all dressed up, I love going to our neighbors' houses and meeting them again. I love showing off my babies and seeing them get excited about the CANDY! Even before we had kids, I still enjoyed stockpiling the candy, turning on the lights and waiting for the kids to come around. I don't even mind the older kids (though I appreciate the effort at an actual costume). I like being able to greet them with a smile, heaping the refined sugar into their sacks, and letting them know that their community cares about them. If I wanted to show them that I really care, of course, I'd give them toothbrushes instead of the sweets, but I don't think that idea would be very popular. I love any kind of holiday that gets kids to play dress-up and roam the streets at night. Just so they leave their toilet paper and eggs at home!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Another Birthday

Another birthday's come and left my little boy a whole, big 4 years
old. He was lucky enough to have THREE parties. He had one with his
Grandpa and Grandma, one at Preschool, and one with his Auntie, his
Uncle Chris, and Grams & Gramps. It was more like a birth-week.

He certainly ate up the attention, once he got into the swing of
things. All week we've been serenaded with Happy Birthday, sung off
key, but with much enthusiasm. P and I had a date on Saturday before
we had the party with my parents. We were running around Minneapolis
and saw this party balloon store that is next door to Rachel's
apartment. We spontaneously decided that what every kid needs for his
birthday are a couple helium balloons. I sent P to get a couple while
Rachel and I ran to the grocery store to get some food for the party.
You can imagine my surprise when we met P back at the apartment.
Instead of two or three balloons, he came carrying no less than a
dozen helium balloons in assorted rainbow colors. I was stunned. It
was like the kind of magic you always dream of as a child. I had no
idea how we were were going to fit it in our car. Peter said that this
seemed to be the way they were selling them, but I can tell that he
just got a little excited. I can't tell, however, if he got carried
away because it was his little boy's birthday or if he just got
excited about a big bouquet of balloons. Either way, for my reserved,
button-down guy to go overboard on birthday balloons was just to sweet
too be believed. It was money well-spent, in any case. A week later
and they're still floating.

This is the first year that T has really gotten the idea of presents.
He actually wanted to open presents before his birthday dinner. In the
past, he's been pretty oblivious to the idea of presents, but this
year he certainly had his focus. I've been pleased with how he's taken
to his gifts. He's given each of his toys a good amount of attention
with nothing being ignored. This tells me that 1) he got good gifts 2)
he got the right amount of presents and 3) he's doesn't have too many
toys already. Even the toothbrush his Auntie gave him has received a
lot of excitement. We kind of have to make him stop brushing his teeth
now. "Really, T, you can brush again tonight! Unhand that toothbrush!"

It's amazing how much he's changed in the past year. It's even more
amazing when I consider how much he's changed since he was born:

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Installation Art

Last night Peter had to go in to work and he brought T in with him. Getting to go to work with Daddy has to be the highlight of T's whole life. It happens rarely enough so it's a real treat. T sits on the fancy office chair in a neighboring cubical and P works diligently away at his desk. Last night, when it was time to leave, P looked over at what T had been working on in his "office". He found this.
I'm counting it as his first sculpture. I'm calling it "Mute Face in Office Pushpins". I think T has a great future as an installation artist.*

*You can read more about installation art here. On of my favorites is Christo and Jeanne-Claude who did Gates in Central Park, NY.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Sign of the Times

You can tell Mama's been very, very sick when Anna learns to say "Pizza!"

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

You Smell Like a Monkeeeeeee. . .

Happy Birthday to Rachel, my long-suffering Sister-in-Law!

I met Rachel back when she was still young, a mere 15 years old and I was dating her oldest brother. She was such a fun, creative girl back then; it was like the whole world was magic to her. P and I would take her with us when we went out for coffee or when we would do stuff in the cities. Everything was an adventure when you were with Rachel; everything was new and very, very interesting.

When P and I got married we would have Rachel up to Duluth for weekend visits. She would take a bus and we would go pick her up at the Greyhound station. You could just tell as she stepped off that bus that there was absolutely no cooler way to travel than on a rented seat next to someone that was possibly just released from prison.

When she was still in college, just after T was born, she came to stay with P and I for a summer. I think that having her company those brief months made such a difference in how I felt about staying at home with my new baby. It was great to have some conversation for a change, company during the day. It was during this summer that I learned how to knit and I completed my first project--a baby hat for T that never did fit.

Now, Rachel is a full grown woman, married, and a teaching professional in the arts with a whole, full life of her own. She is one of my best friends and I stand on my chair to shout in celebration as we mark the anniversary of the day that the world became a better place.

More Advice: Or, Why Can't She Keep Her Opinions to Herself?

I have some advice that I want to share. It could go with my previous post as this has to be some of my favorite advice ever. It applies to almost anyone at some time or another. It is almost always useful. And I have a couple of people in my life that I am thinking of as I give it to you all now. Here it is:

Lighten up.

Seriously, let it go. Whatever is happening to you at this moment is not that important. Or, it IS important, but is certainly not as horrible as you think it is.

That person who is bothering you right now probably isn't even trying to piss you off. Sure, it's plain to you that they are being (insert: annoying, irresponsible, inconsiderate, selfish, unreasonable, etc), but it is possible that they aren't intending to bother you (but if they are? Are you going to let them WIN by getting all riled about it?). I promise that most people don't do it intentionally, even if it seems like irritating you is their job.

Most things that happen in this world have nothing to do with you at all, even if you're affected by it.

Brace yourself, dearie, but it could be that you are not just interpreting things in the wrong light, but that you're taking the actions of others TOO PERSONALLY.

Try to throw some Peace out into the world by cutting people a little slack. Quit being so hard on people, just because they are walking in this world. Quit trying to put your seal of "approval" or "disapproval" on everyone you encounter. Give people the benefit of the doubt. That means your spouse, too. Assume the best. Relax. Let go. Slow down. I promise that if you unclench a little that you will become less costive. I promise that it is for the best. You will become a kinder, more generous person. You will invite graciousness into your life. You will become happier and feel less stress. Most of all, you'll be more enjoyable to be around. And who doesn't want that? It's so much better than being right.

Anyway. Maybe this will be helpful advice for some of you, maybe not. Use what you can and throw the rest away.