I found the camera right were I thought it ought to be.  I just didn’t see it at first glance.

Garden gnome with homemade sign

Full length shot.  He wore this costume
late on Friday, so he didn’t change
before coming home.  “Just don’t ask
me to stop at the store,” he said.
Yard decoration.  That’s one HUGE gnome.

World’s cutest witch.

When it was time to go, she refused
to wear the hat, and decided yellow
rain boots were a better accent.
Note the “true to life” sweaty hair.
That jacket is a lined raincoat. 
It was NOT made with Georgia
Halloweening in mind (temps in the 80s).

Jenny dressed as a witch for the piano
recital, but switched to Rapunzel later on.

I made this dress for Katie two years ago.
We didn’t mind splurging on the wig ($8).
We were going to make her a really long
wig out of yarn, but she didn’t like yarn.
So, she got a short wig instead.  Pfft.
I did the whiskers for the piano recital.

Bill did the whiskers for Trick or Treating.
I think the musketeer costume turned
out very nicely.

I had to purchase the blue fabric, but
the silvery ribbon adorned a present I
received years ago.  I’ve used it for
many costumes.

I basted white, lacy ribbon to the collar of
an ordinary dress shirt.  No permanant
damage done.  Bill made that ostrich 
feather out of paper and a drinking straw.
The hat is a black foam top hat to which
Bill hot glued a brim made from black foam. 
Halloween 2010

No pictures

My home is a testament to last-minute Halloween scrambling.  Sewing machine, fabric, lacy ribbons, white fluff, black foam, scissors, and other debris are covering the dining room table.  The kitchen table is piled high with things we haven’t put away because we were working on costumes.  Other areas of the house show vague neglect, and various costume pieces and accessories drape chairs and fill corners where they were thrown after our late night return from our neighbor’s party.

I would love to post photos, but I can’t find my camera.  The last time I remember having it was when I took pictures.  I do not recall what I did with it after that.  Hm.

The costume that made me giggle the most was Fritz’s.  The kids dressed up for a recital at a “retirement community” and one of his pieces was entitled something-or-other gnomes.  So he wanted to be a garden gnome.  It was a simple costume made from things I already had (besides his own clothing, I needed some red felt and some white fluff for a beard – everybody has white fluff in their craft supply box, right?).  I made Bill his own beard when he said he would dress up at his office, because the one for Fritz was too narrow for Bill’s face.  But they could use the same hat, thank goodness, because I had only a little bit of red felt (Bill: wide jaw, skinny head; Fritz: narrow jaw, fat head?).

Fritz was left behind to hand out candy while we took the other kids around last night.  The weather was mild, so he sat out, in costume.  Many of the little kids in the neighborhood were scared of him, because he looked like Santa Claus.  Jolly old elves are terrifying to 3 year olds.

Billy was a musketeer, and looked fabulous.  Since, I don’t have a picture, I’ll offer a thousand words to describe him…(yeah, no).

Katie was a cat. 

Jenny was Rapunzel.  We even bought her a wig (we spoil our children).

Peter was a fireman, because he is a 5 year old boy.

Mary was a witch – heh heh heh.  Really.  If you asked her what she was going to be, she would say, “A witch! Heh heh heh!”  I don’t know where she learned evil laughter, but it was disturbingly funny to listen to it.

I went as Cinderella, before the ball, which means I went as is.

Bill was an off-duty soldier.

Hopefully, I’ll find the camera after the sun rises.

Grief, O Unhappy Friend

Having heard once, by a healthcare provider, of my need for “closure,” and having that sentiment sit with distaste in my mouth, it is lovely to see the reason for my discomfiture so eloquently explained:

We have no reason for “closure” of the past; certainly not for closure of Donna’s place in our lives. The magnitude of our heartache reflects the magnitude of our love. The world would indeed be bleak if human beings could not care so much.


I think this is the first year I’m finding the end-of-October festivities to be more fun than overwhelming.

First of all, my husband is home.  Even though he really hasn’t done much, other than add some creative suggestions, it just makes everything better.

Secondly, neither the church nor the homeschool group has had a volunteer step forward to organize an All Saint’s Day party, so I have only one costume to worry about.  Yes, I know some people restrict their children to just the saint costume, and more power to you.  My kids and my husband enjoy more traditional Halloween costumes.  And this is the one time of year that I consent to add to the dress up bin.  So I’m happy there’s no saint party…call me evil; I’ll call me less stressed.

Thirdly, my youngest is 3.  That makes a huge difference.

And then, this year, I have found my older children have finally reached an age where they are very useful in envisioning and creating their own costumes and very helpful in assisting with younger siblings’ costumes and very cooperative in accepting homemade alternatives to store-bought perfection.  Katie wants to be a cat.  Older brothers offer and produce black baseball pants, black socks and a black turtleneck shirt.  She finds me ingenious when I use pink nail polish to paint black foam ears with a triangle for the inner ear.  Years ago, she would have insisted (did insist) on a store-bought costume.

And, as influential as I am with my kids, nothing beats having an older brother to convince a 5 year old that his navy blue church pants are perfect to go with the borrowed, yellow firefighter coat.  He had wanted red pants, and I had dreaded informing him that we don’t happen to own red pants.  Problem solved by my 12 year old.

Fritz sprang a costume idea on me yesterday afternoon, which I would not normally permit.  But it is so funny and so easy that I jumped right in.  When Bill came home, he saw our work, said that his office was having dress up on Friday and he thought he’d steal Fritz’s for the day.  It has me giggling, since I’m sure most people in his office think he’s the most humorless man to walk the planet.  I will be sure to post pictures tomorrow, but won’t spoil the surprise today.

We’re definitely having fun here, and that’s a really nice change.

Today is St. Crispin’s Day

I impart no significance to the Feast of St. Crispin except that Fritz is memorizing Shakespeare’s St. Crispin’s Day speech which really is a fabulous oratory.  Makes you want to pick up your sword and charge into a bunch of Frenchmen…(ok, not really).  But inspiring nonetheless. 

This day is call’d the feast of Crispian.

He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian.’
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say ‘These wounds I had on Crispian’s day.’

Most people are familiar with the lineWe few, we happy few, we band of brothers…” but my favorite bit is the ending.

And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

And I wonder if men today hold their manhoods cheap while in the presence of our combat veterans.  But then I think that too many don’t even know what honor and glory are all about.

Right now

I cannot understand why anybody would ever, by choice, run ten miles.

And getting up at 530 am to travel through crowded metro stations for the privilege is even crazier.

Not to mention the crowded metro ride back with thousands of smelly runners.

But driving ten hours each direction to get to the friend’s house where you will be staying seems even more ludicrous.

But that’s right now. Tomorrow, after rest has dissipated the aches, I might start planning for next year.

Keeping me laughing

“Peter,” said I to my son, “remember this picture?”  He glanced up from something he was coloring and nodded.  “Do you remember what is on the chair?”

The picture by Van Gogh is called The Chair and the Pipe because it shows a chair with a pipe on the seat.  Peter, though, never seems able to disassociate the artist from the picture and whenever he sees a Van Gogh (any Van Gogh), thinks only of the details he has learned about his short, tragic life.  So what does Peter automatically reply in response to my question?

“An ear.”

Girls’ Weekend

This afternoon, I am running away from home.  Well, actually, on Sunday, I am running…away from home…participating in the Army Ten Miler in Washington, D.C., which is quite a way from home.  But this afternoon, I am leaving to get there.

Like a good wife and mother, I am trying to ensure a stress-free weekend for my husband.  I have made sure that there is plenty of milk, bread, eggs, bacon, frozen pizza and ketchup.  I am quite confident that he knows how to find the McDonald’s across the street if necessary.  This morning, I will make sure that my girls have all of the required components of their dance clothes ready to go and that their hair is brushed and pulled back.  I will make sure that my boys have game uniforms and equipment assembled (no hunting for shin guards at the 11th hour on Saturday).  If they can’t remember their water bottles, that’s too bad.  I will also make sure that everybody knows what they are wearing to Mass, so that my husband does not have to listen to the female histrionic wailing of “I have nothing to wear.”

I’m hoping to get caught up on laundry, but I really doubt I’ll get the house cleaned (that’s my usual Friday afternoon activity).  I’ll assign chores to the children, but it will be up to Bill to see that they are completed.  If they aren’t, oh well.

I do hope to finish this week’s schoolwork this morning.  The children are motivated for two reasons: this week is the end of the 1st quarter, and Monday is the Feast of St. Crispin.  I have promised them dinner out on Monday (we have gift cards to the Olive Garden) to celebrate IF they have done all their work.  What’s the big deal about St. Crispin?  Fritz had to memorize the St. Crispin speech from Henry V.  Any excuse to party will do.

I suppose I ought to pack at some point, too.  I bought grapes and candy corn to sustain me on the car ride.  Today I head to North Carolina to friend Rachel’s house.  Saturday, Rachel and I will go to friend Christie’s house.  Sunday, we shall run together (we band of sisters). 

Some women might choose a spa weekend or a shopping trip to an outlet center.  My girlfriends and I, we go for a ten mile run.