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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Forecast: Fun! And extra candy.

These three trick or treaters braved stiff winds to visit a corner of our neighborhood that has a long Halloween tradition. The kind that blocks off a street and a party ensues. Costumed cheering children racing house to house in the dark. Made extra spooky with whirling leaves and howling winds. Almost summerlike temperatures kept our jackets at home. It was amazing. Simple, delightful, memorable.

Having not trick or treated in London, the concept is a bit foreign for the girls but they had a ball. Probably most of all Baby Sister who bounced and scurried and jogged most of the evening. I nearly thought those tiny wings worked. She flitted from house to house singing, "Happy Hallowweeeeeen!"

With a dire weather forecast, Biggest Brother spent the evening with friends and most neighborhoods postponed trick or treating so we'll all go out tomorrow! The rain finally began again, the winds have picked up even more and there are all kinds of warnings until early morning. But we had a fantastic night out in our new city. We're home together surrounded by bags of candy. That's pretty sweet.

And lest you think Big Brother was too cool to dress up, he's in fact wearing his very favorite (you noticed?) European football kit -- Spain's. To his great delight, one dad recognized the team tonight and even had him do a full spin on his porch to admire the entire get up! Big Brother briefly debated wearing a Titans uniform, but I'm really happy he stayed true to Spain. At least this year.

Orange You Glad?

The scariest thing about our day so far is the forecast, but we're working to make it a bit spooky around the house.

This was to be Big Sister's packed lunch until her brothers (wisely) prevailed upon her to enjoy the cafeteria's Halloween lunch. No worries. Baby Sister can picnic on it while we dash around for tonight's final preparations.

Speaking of Baby Sister, she made this little pumpkin project at school. What will people think of next? It is a roll of toilet paper wrapped in fabric, tied with a ribbon leaf and twig stem. We were sure they were going to wrap each other as mummies with the tp. This was much cuter!

Do you recognize the sticks? See. They were sure worth moving again.

I'll include photos of actual children in costumes soon. It is all very exciting around here! Especially our weather (rain! thunderstorms! potential tornadoes!) which has the potential to postpone the festivities until tomorrow. So it might be an evening in front of a spooky movie and fire with hot cider. Happiest Halloween.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Company's Coming!

There's a nip in the air and a spring in our step as we await beloved friends from across the Atlantic. We'll be bobbing for apples, picking pumpkins and hayriding in the days ahead.

It promises to be a wonderful long homecoming weekend of sorts. Now if only our leaves would hurry up and change. I've done my bit to make our entrance welcoming, and I'm hoping Mother Nature can turn her Southern leaves into autumn's splendor to complete the look.

But the most important thing is being together. We're so fortunate and thrilled to have our visitors heading to Music City. When we said our last goodbyes, who would have ever guessed we'd be together again so quickly. Hooray. And happy homecoming one and all!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Vacation Comes to a Screeching Halt

It is saying something about the week that this guy is my least needy.

He broke his clavicle in a backyard soccer match versus Biggest Brother. Bless. He is one sturdy guy and has been a significant sport through a tough week. Big Brother powered right into school the next morning, perhaps too eager to show off his sling. The school nurse called later, suggesting he'd had enough and should go home. But no he protested, it was chili dog day for lunch!  Would you know the nurse managed to get him a chili dog to go? We've landed in another sweet place. See also: another glowing reflection on my cooking. My child is encouraged to go home from school and he insists on staying. For the food.

We need hearty nourishment to endure this week. Working mighty hard to settle in. Nope. You've not stumbled upon an old post. We're still plugging away. Mostly in the mornings when I'm peeling a tiny girl in a Peter Pan collar off me while a morose drummer slumps his shoulders and plods into The Big School.

We're fighting a good fight and winning some battles. Having an ice cream (Sweet CeCe's) date with friends after school, planning and attending birthday parties and a Thanksgiving coffee, exploring new parks and used bookstores, playing our instruments and treating ourselves when we can.

We're grateful for the legions of support we've found. Tops being Big Sister's First Grade Teacher who should be nominated for sainthood for helping me as much as Big Sister. Also for teaching her. Maybe not entirely fair of me, but my favorite pediatricians and teachers have been in the trenches longer than I have and come to their profession with parental experience, too. I need compatriots with combat experience and am grateful for finding them. Also very grateful to be in a faithful school where people aren't just pulling for you, but praying, too. Would you know that at Mass the first hymn was the "when you move, I'll go with you" one again? Of course it was.

Big Brother stayed off school yesterday and went to Mass with me. All the children go to weekly Mass. Snuggled up with me in his sling and comfy clothes, waving to his school friends with his good arm. His collarbone's broken but not his spirit, cuddliness or sense of humor. Bon mots from him this week include: "If THIS hurts, I cannot imagine what a broken heart is like!" (By which I know he meant a heart attack, but somehow I'm going work that quote into a rehearsal dinner speech. Remind me.)

His siblings rallied to his side when he was laid flat in the backyard. Baby Sister packed an armload of books for her siblings to read at the doctor's. Biggest Brother packed a car picnic in lieu of dinner, tended to his buddy like a seasoned EMT and got a "CHiPs" episode started on the dvd. Big Sister cheered for her Freckle Teammate all the way.

And ever since, Baby Sister -- bless her -- has been extraordinarily cheerful. That's especially helpful in the mornings. She is so proud of her tiny uniform and shines like a new penny. But she does deserve a special something for her trick last night. Instead of tidying up her room, she decided it would be best to lock the door behind her and come down for dinner. None the wiser, we had a chatty evening, studied for tests, read stories and got ready for bed a bit late. Long before we discovered that her room was locked with a mess inside. Also her school uniform and saddle oxfords.

Well. That's one strategy. Just sort of forget the mess and move on. But that's not the one we're going for here. We're digging into the messy bits and working together. For all their effort, I'm planning to bill the kids to get my greys colored. Or visit a significant spa. Where they serve booze. But I cannot really complain. (That's not exactly true or the above paragraphs wouldn't exist.) If it is possible to suffer from Stockholm Syndrome within your own home, I think I've got it. I am devoted to my captors.

Also battling a toilet that leaked all over the floor and an infestation of wasps. The phone and internet were out for a week. (Still, come visit. Those will just be a funny story soon - it's actually funny already!) We're a little broken and a bit down, but definitely not out! And I'm not kidding, we really are laughing through the tears. You have to.

These are the days it is critical to keep a secret stash of Goo Goo Clusters in the cupboard. Probably next to the Miss Clairol.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Doesn't Feel Quite Like October

Surf's up, friends! The sun beams have followed us further south. We're enjoying the world's most worthy Fall Break in Florida.

We're taking runs in hot pink flip flops. 

Kayaking on the Gulf, soaking up sun, digging in white sand and reading lots of books. Forgetting uniforms and schedules. Needing it bad. 

Today Big Brother declared that the day was so young that when it was over it would "be a grandma!"
A sunny outlook brought on by even sunnier skies. We're pretending it won't be over soon. Savoring.

Savoring a complete lack of schedule for a few days and pretending that fall isn't on the horizon. Nope. Just sailboats and sea life.

We're now convinced that every October should include a beach trip. Maybe every month should include the beach. Maybe we should just live by the sea. We're pretty comfortable here. But I suspect we'll be back in Nashville before too long and you know our door is always open there. When you come we'll tell you all about the trip. x