Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween day

Off Little Red Riding Hood went to school today! Coming home at noon (half day), her basket was full of treats. I let her share them with her little sister and brother even before they ate lunch. Middle Girl said, "mom, you're spoiling us!"

At school, the Big Bad Wolf was sitting at Little Red's table. (Coincidence.)

There were many characters from Star Wars, including Princess Leia in her pants outfit. There were many characters from Hannah Montana as well. We do not know about these things at our house.

Pippi Longstocking won a prize and so did the Hot Dog. I don't know about his pal Mustard. Wolf won too. I liked Baseball Card and Flamenco Dancer.

Unfortunately I did not get to see the Halloween Parade and so I didn't see many kids from other grades. The Hubby enjoyed the Parade, although it is always hot on the blacktop!

At The Boy's Parent Ed class, we covered cardboard with flannel to make storyboards. We each got a gate (that's why I cut out 18 yesterday), five pumpkins, and five ghosts that volunteer moms had cut out of felt. We learned a couple of Halloween stories and The Boy just loves to carefully place the felt pieces on the board and move them around with the story. He demonstrated for his sisters and I wish I had caught it on video!

"Five Little Pumpkins"
Five little pumpkins, sitting on a gate
The first one said, "it's getting late!"
The second one said, "there are witches in the air!"
The third one said, "but I don't care!"
The fourth one said, "ooooo, let's run!"
The fifth one said, "it's only Halloween fun!"
Then "ooooooo" went the wind, and (clap) out went the light,
And the five little pumpkins rolled out of sight.

"Five Little Ghosts"
Five little ghosts all dressed in white
Were scaring each other on Halloween Night
The first one said, "I'll scare everyone I see"
The second one said, "You can't scare me!"
The third one said, "Let's hide behind a tree"
The fourth one said, "It's time to disappear"
The fifth one said, "See you on Halloween next year!"

Middle Girl had Orange and Black Day at school. We left Parent Ed early to go see the kids sing Halloween songs. Darling! Each child got to pick out a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch room!

MG's friend "Red" had chickenpox too, but was all scabbed over today so she got to come for the festivities. Surprising that this family had mild cases that only took a few days since they do not vaccinate their children.

It's naptime! Rest up for costume-bonanza-trick-or-treating-in-the-new-neighborhood-with-our-friends-hope-Boy-wears-a-costume-how-many-people-will-come-do-we-have-enough-candy?!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Halloween tasks completed today

Actually, I carved the middle one (cat face) last night so it would be ready for today's contest. Big Girl designed it. This morning we walked over with pumpkin and diorama (apparently we forgot crazy hat day and library books due), and took a look at the other creations:

Votes were placed in the cups at recess. Big Girl said her cup was overflowing with votes!

Back at home, we created the other two jack o' lanterns. Middle Girl chose to use a pattern for her cat with moon, and punched the holes along the pattern lines herself. The Boy found a complicated pattern of Elmo. His pumpkin is small, so I could only fit the face.

What is wrong with jack o' lantern-looking jack o' lanterns? I like those. But I don't have my own pumpkin. If I got one for myself, I would have to do the goop thing again (no thanks). Maybe The Hubby would scoop out goop for me. I'm sure he would, but not on such short notice. Oh, well.

So my list of Halloween tasks completed today:

  • Jack o' lanterns

  • Get a basket for Little Red Riding Hood (Dorothy costume came with one, thanks mom!)

  • Cut out 18 Gates from brown felt (for the craft in N's Parent Ed class tomorrow morning)

  • Charge videocamera

Monday, October 29, 2007

Halloween is coming

Middle Girl was back at school today, and in fact was back at Sunday School yesterday for the costume parade. Chickenpox was so much better for her than it was for me way back when! Just a few spots, just a few days, and that's it! Hooray for vaccines. We'll see in about two weeks if Big Girl or The Boy come down with it. Also the neighbor girl, who managed to slip into our house on Friday afternoon. I suddenly realized, "V is upstairs playing with Middle Girl. Do her parents know this? .... Do her parents know Middle Girl has the chickenpox?" Well, the neighbor parents did know she was at our house but did not know about the chickenpox. Oops! Parental faux pas -- I felt like an idiot. "Should I send her back home?" "Probably too late now, don't you think?" said neighbor mom. Time will tell!
Middle Girl had gone out front to swing on the swing while I was just inside in the living room on the phone. Neighbor girl saw Middle Girl outside, ran out to play with her, and next thing you know they're in the house and playing upstairs. Neighbor girl has a talent for this sort of thing!

Big Girl has some Halloween goings-on at school tomorrow: Pumpkin Carving Contest and 2nd Grade Spooky Scenes (aka dioramas). So I was up to my elbows in pumpkin goop this evening. Good thing the diorama was already done. Then on Wednesday Big Girl has the Halloween parade at 11 am and Middle Girl has the Orange-and-Black-Day singalong at ... 11 am. I have called in backup (The Hubby will come over from work to be in one place while I am in the other).

A couple weekends ago, we chose our pumpkins. Tonight we scooped out the goop. Each child reacted differently to this job. Let's analyze (this could be fun):

Middle Girl got right in there, and worked hard, enjoyed the squishy goopiness, and was the first to get it cleaned out.

The Boy was very serious about his job. He used his little scooper to take the seeds out but needed mommy's help with the scraping. He worked quietly.

Big Girl got a little dot of goop on her cheek. She went in the house to get a paper towel for herself.


She did not work quietly, but made sure we all knew her opinions of this job. "Eeew! Gross!" "Mom, can you scoop mine out?" (Mom: "put your hands in there and pull out the goop.") "I don't want to! It makes my hands messy!"

Thursday, October 25, 2007

dr. visit update

Yep, she's got chicken pox. Two of the "lesions" now look like the chicken pox, rather than little bug bites. Once the dr. found those two, she said, "yep." Should be quicker and milder due to the vaccine. Bought some calamine lotion and oatmeal bath. We'll watch Big Girl and The Boy but hopefully the vaccine "took" in both of them (Big Girl did have two doses). I'll be interested to see if other kids we know get it as well.


Well, her fever is gone and she has a few more red bumps. She slept fine last night.
We are staying home, of course.

I still think it's chicken pox that just looks different because she had received the vaccine.* In fact, here is something I found on
"About 15 percent of varicella-vaccinated children fail to have an optimal response to vaccination and, if exposed to varicella later in life, can develop a very mild form of varicella. Usually this disease looks like bug bites; often, the child has no fever and doesn't seem sick at all."
That's exactly what it looks like! (Although she was feverish yesterday...)

We are going into the ped's office at 4:30 this afternoon so the professionals can look at it and I can stopping guessing and wondering!

*she was vaccinated at 12 months, but hasn't had the booster. Big Girl got that at 5 years. My point being that this is not caused by the vaccine itself; she must have been exposed to the virus recently. If this even is chicken pox.

I don't know who she got it from. I guess that's another thing about the vaccine -- now the virus can be passed around without showing any symptoms in some kids, while causing a mild case in others.

Although we have a few friends who don't vaccinate their kids. I am not going to get into it here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

'til tomorrow

I guess I shouldn't have called them "wildfires" yesterday. It appears that most of them were set by arsonists. Can you believe that?

My eyes felt better today, although the schools still didn't let the kids outside because there is a lot of particulate matter (ash) in the air.

You know, we don't get the SA winds here. We get other kinds of winds (the colder ones), but not usually the SAs and this week was no exception. Absolutely no wind here. We must be shielded from them. They come from the east and our mountains are on the north, so I don't know what the shield is, but there must be something. Growing up, we sure got the winds. I remember there were times in elementary school when I thought the wind was going to pick me up off the ground. Going outside was so difficult; walking was tough against the wind and with all the dust flying so hard, you had to keep your eyes closed. I HATED those winds. But it is still weird even after 16 years hearing that they are happening and not actually experiencing any wind.

I titled this "til tomorrow..." because it looks like Middle Girl might have chicken pox. The spots that she's got (more every hour this evening) don't look like pox, but the nurse at the ped's office said that's because she had the vaccine. She has a fever and the spots, although she's not complaining about itchiness (two of the spots look like they've been scratched, though). The nurse said to monitor her tonight and call them with the status in the morning. We'll see what tomorrow brings...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


You might be wondering about us when you hear about all the fires going on. We are doing fine, but the air quality is really terrible. The sky is orange and smells like smoke. I can't actually see any smoke, though. Big Girl's school isn't letting the kids go outside, people are cancelling playgroups, and my eyes are so itchy that it's a glasses day for me.

Things are much worse for a LOT of people so we are not complaining.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

they're close

The Boy told me that Thomas and James (the trains) are friends.

I said, "who are The Boy's friends?"

He said, "Middle Girl!"

I don't know if I should think of that as good or bad...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Today Middle Girl, The Boy and I walked over to the fire station to meet her preschool class there. We had been there for field trips before, but this time there were a few things that really stood out. One, they got a medical call while we were there, so we got to watch some firefighters hurry into one of the engines and head out, lights flashing, and then the siren after they were out on the street. That was exciting. Also, the firefighter who stayed with us demonstrated all of the gear they wear, talking through it as he put each piece on. When he put on the mask and air, and then hat, the kids were kind of scared but it was good to hear the sound of his breathing with the tank and see that it was the same nice firefighter who had been with us all along under that mask. Hopefully the kids will never need to use the information, but it's good for them to know what a firefighter would look and sound like in a fire. And one more thing, he showed them how to test a door to see if it's safe to open it if they hear the smoke detector. I don't think they will remember that, but it was good for me to see and learn. Now I will have to remember to have family emergency drills on a regular basis.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Fancy Art Museum

We didn't go to the Gardens on Friday after all. The weather was fine, but I had a different idea: the Fancy Art Museum. We had never been there. So we picked up Big Girl from school at noon after Music Together and helping a little with Fair set-up, ate lunch, and sat down to have a discussion. I asked the kids if they wanted to go to an art museum, and suggested that we make ourselves a scavenger hunt. They were enthusiastic about the idea, so we named things we thought we might see in the art and BG made a list with check boxes. On it were things like dog, cat, elephant, monkey, penguin, cow, whale, dragon, ostrich, robin, apple, hat, pillow, tree, boat, car, train, ocean, beach, clouds, moon, stars, vase of flowers, person sitting, person running, Jesus, fork, church, party, pumpkin, bat... When we got to the museum, we looked out for things on our list and BG checked them off.

It is not a kid-friendly museum. It is a real, serious, art museum. There were guards everywhere, and we were talked to four or five times! I thought the kids really behaved very well, but the guards were very quick to say something at any inkling of anything. Some of the things they said to us were no running, no touching the walls, no touching the nameplates, no touching the barriers... Despite all that, I thought it was great to take the kids to someplace that felt so grown-up and cultured. They were very interested in looking at the paintings and spotting things in our hunt. We also looked for colors and had fun with the abstracts. It was really handy that they have a beautiful Monet-style garden to walk around in and be a little louder! There are statues to look at out there (in addition to the Rodins out front, before you come inside).

Here are some of our favorite paintings from the visit:

This portrait of a dog in the 17th-18th Century gallery was a hit with the kids!

There were so many we liked in the 19th Century gallery! They have an extensive Degas collection. But Middle Girl really veered towards this portrait of a peasant by Van Gogh.

In the 20th Century gallery, we liked this one by Rousseau with the monkeys and oranges. We also enjoyed examining the Kandinsky (below) for colors and shapes.

Saturday and Sunday was the Fair (Hoedown). We spent most of the two days there and ate lunch and dinner there both days. The kids did rides, crafts, games, watched the entertainment... Big Girl played with her friends and her sibs and was very into the whole fair experience. I baked cakes for the cake walk and goodies for the Sweet Shack. I also performed with my band on Sunday evening, to close out the fair. My voice made it all the way through, which was a relief since I had sung Saturday night at a gig with my other band! That was a fun one too -- it was the polytechnic school's 100th anniversary gala dinner dance, and the dance floor was packed for the whole two hours (we decided not to take a break).

Thursday, October 11, 2007

At the Gardens

Last Thursday we went to the Gardens for the "free day." It is still free, but you have to get tickets in advance now. That worked in our favor, since the place was not crowded. It was a good, though short, visit. Middle Girl and The Boy now want to go back, and we got tickets for next month, so next time I'll be able to get them out the door sooner and we can stay longer.

MG's favorite thing was the lab stations in the kids' conservatory. They have these sugar probes, and you put some nectar on there and get a readout of which plant has more sugar. Bees prefer one percentage, hummingbirds another, and butterflies another. There was also a pH probe to compare the acidity of carnivorous plants to that of regular water. And there were microscopes attached to monitors all over the place, and we all enjoyed those. I was very proud of my inquisitive kid! (While trying to be patient with her wanting to do the tests over and over and over... and asking myself why am I getting antsy anyway? isn't this what I want kids to do, as a science teacher? what's up with this?)

We had only a few minutes to play in the outdoor part of the children's garden. Of course, we spent them at the fountains. The highlight of every kid's visit!

Tomorrow Big Girl has a half day. I might take all three to the Gardens after school, so BG can see it too. There is a rumor of rain, though, so we'll play it by ear, as usual! They have much-needed haircut appointments in the afternoon.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


Were you thinking I had forgotten about the football this weekend? Wasn't that something. We did not watch the [Our-Alma-Mater vs. BCS-Title-Game-Worthy-School] game, because someone gave us tickets to the [Local Stadium's Game Between Two Storied Programs] game and we thought The Boy would enjoy it. So The Hubby and I took him to the [Local Stadium] while the girls played at their friends' house.

Our neighbors were going to the [BCS-Title-Game-Worthy-School] game and asked us if we were going. "No way," we said, "it doesn't sound fun to watch our team get blown out. We'll be at the [Local Stadium] instead."

We were crammed into the [Local Stadium] surrounded by some drunk Away-Team fans. The bleacher seats are not big enough if everyone shows up. We had four tickets for two adults and a two-year-old, which was good because it sort of made up for the problem. The rows in front of and behind us both were unable to accommodate everyone who had tickets for the row. The Boy was interested, but it was hard to follow the football. He liked seeing the "instruments" and the blimp and helicopters. He liked watching field goals. We were on the corner, pretty close, but still it's a big field.

So there we were, making the best of the discomfort and still having fun with The Boy, when the crowd started cheering for no apparent reason. The Hubby figured it must be the [Our-Alma-Mater] game. We came to find out that [Our-Alma-Mater] had taken the lead, 24-23, late in the 4th. We craned to see the TVs in the press box, but they were too far away to really get any information. The cell and blackberry had no reception. What were we doing in that cramped stadium with the drunk guys, not able to see what [Our-Alma-Mater] was doing? When the stadium PA announced the final score, the place went wild with cheering. I was dumbfounded. How were we not watching? Unbelievable.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Boy Humor

The Boy is very interested in traffic lights these days. "Red means stop, green means go." There is a little song to the tune of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," and when out, he is always telling us "that light is red, that means stop."

This morning, walking home from Big Girl's school, he said, "The red light is on the top. The yellow light is in the middle. The green light is on the bottom." "Yes, honey," I said. Then he said, "Ha ha ha, the DIAPER is on the bottom!! Ha ha ha ha!"

I guess that begins the boy humor.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

goofballs all around

I am surrounded by goofballs. Being one myself, I guess it is unavoidable! And I like goofballs, anyway. Look at this one:

Coming into his own with moments of ham-itude.

I grabbed the camera when I saw a box walking through the house. By the time I took the picture, the box had slipped back, but when he was walking around he was pretty much totally covered except for two little legs. Usually, he is a quiet ham. But sometimes, he is a really noisy one. He reminds me of Big Girl more and more every day.