Sunday, October 25, 2009

Who ya gonna call?

So, here is evidence of the major differences between my three kids. About two months ago, the boys and I were in the Dollar Tree and Casey spotted robot gear. He got two arms, a helmet, a chest plate and a shield--total of $4. That was what he decided he would be for Halloween. I made him a robot t-shirt with an iron-on I printed, but really, he could've cared less about that part. Costume done. So easy.

At a consignment sale awhile back, I found an adorable pink monster costume that I thought would be great for Marley. Brought it home, tried it on her and she responded as if I had just dripped boiling lava on her. She couldn't wait to get it off, and still gave me dirty looks for awhile afterward. I picked up a tutu for her and thought I could add a pink shirt, pink pants, and maybe a wand and let her be some kind of princess/fairy thing. But really, anyone who knows Marley knows she's not the tutu type. So, last week at KMart I picked up a cute bumble bee costume on sale for $7. Put on a Halloween shirt, black pants, and pull over the costume--voila! As long as we don't try to put up the hood with the cute antennae, we're okay.

Then there is Keller. Child of mine, without a doubt. At first he was dead set on being Frankenstien, but not any store bought costumes for this kid. I got green face paint, black pants, and kept my eye out for a big blazer and something to use as bolts. Three weeks ago, he decided he needed to be a Ghostbuster instead. He didn't want a store bought costume though, "we" were going to make the costume. I finally convinced him that we should order one, only to find out every stinking place on-line was sold out of them. Not to mention they were $30 and up. So, back to the homemade drawing board we went. I found a pair of pants for $10 that he can wear after Halloween, too. We went over to the huge Salvation Army store and found a long-sleeved button down that, when tucked into the pants, could almost pass as coveralls. I printed out and ironed-on two Ghostbusters symbols on the shirt. We dug out a pair of hand-me-down brown boots that would fit the bill. We visited the vacuum repair store twice to get a piece of hose. Saturday morning rolls around and we are about 5 hours from our first costume event of the season. Who do you think was out in the garage with a box, a backpack, spray paint, vacuum hose, a bug vacuum, electrical tape and glow sticks, piecing together a Proton Pack? Me, of course. I have created this monster--this child with huge expectations, a wonderfully creative imagination. . .but somehow he missed out on the "follow through" gene.

Here are all three kiddos suited up before the Goblin Gallop race this morning. This is our 4th year doing this 'fun run' with the kids.

Here's an 'after' shot, proudly showing-off their medals

Marley and Casey both missed the Halloween party we went to yesterday due to tummy troubles, but I brought goodies home for them. Marley looked like some kind of chocolate pirate after she devoured her cupcake!

I found this cool spider making a web in our front yard one day last week. It was about as big as a grape and the web was so thick that I initially thought that we had somehow ended up with a fishing line and lure hanging down from our tree in front. It is a Marbled Orb-weaver and eats bad bugs, so we relocated it to a different spot in the yard and left it to enjoy the fall weather a little farther from the front door!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

One of "those" days

It's been one of those days that make me want to run screaming from my life. There was one long, glorious hour of peace when I walked the quiet battlefields in Manassas with my thoughts and my camera. The rest of the day, in the word of some long-forgotten scribe, sucked. The highlights included learning that a teacher at Keller's school has(for the second time) talked to him very rudely and will now need to hear from me (for the second time) about the way I expect someone to talk to my first grade son. . . followed up by one long, rotten, suck-the-life-out-of-me visit to the pediatrician's office.

But then I sat down to look at the fruits of my photography adventure today, and found these on my flashcard. My life is good. It is beyond good.

Friday, October 16, 2009

7 Years Ago. . .

. . .I became a mom. I had no idea how little I knew about basically everything until the humbling experience of motherhood came careening in my direction. What a wild ride it has been! Keller is such a cool and unique kid, intense and creative, compassionate and driven, silly and nearly impossible to wear out. My hope is that his spirited nature is always appreciated and that it carries him far.

Look how young we look! No wrinkles, the few greys I had then were well-concealed, and I still had that hippie hair!

Note the packed toys in the background--we moved out of that 4 story townhouse and into a one level rambler when Keller was 17 months old because I literally could not keep up with him!

The climbing resumed quickly at the new house.

2nd Birthday gift--we got a lot of mileage out of that one!

3 years old . . .

4 years old. . .

5 years old . . .

6 years old (note the shiner he got in the moonbounce on a field trip). . .

We're gearing up for a 7th birthday extravaganza tomorrow. "Survivor" is our theme. . . and with 40 kids/adults expected and 40 degree weather forecasted, we should be testing our indoor survival skills quite a bit!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Apples and Pumpkins and Corn. . . Oh my!

I love fall! Football, corduroy, apple cider, pumpkin muffins, going to bed early and sleeping late. My favorite time of year! I chaperoned Casey's field trip to a little pumpkin patch last week, and then we spent the day today driving around "out west" (Shenandoah area) visiting corn mazes, picking apples, and finding pumpkins.

Casey soaking up having me as his own personal chaperone:

Our perfect fall day today . . .corn maze, pedal cars, apple picking, and finished off with warm apple crisp.

Time for things to get crazy as we prepare for Keller's big 7th birthday party on Saturday. The theme is "Survivor: Greenbriar" and we have some cool stuff in store. Just need to pull all of the details together, and make sure the house doesn't look like a cyclone has just passed through!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Team Huffman Wins Division in Adventure Race!!

Woohoo! I'm so proud of Keller and Dave for their awesome job today at their adventure race. They were given two maps and two hours, and had to find twenty different checkpoints in a large county park. The race organizer said at the beginning that no one should expect to find all of the checkpoints, and that they needed to remember the time limit so they could get back and present their 'passports' indicating which ones they had been able to find. Keller and Dave found all 20, and finished in 1 hour and 37 minutes! They won first place for their division, and we're waiting to see the final tabulations to see how they ranked overall (there were about 35 parent-child teams in the competition). Way to go guys!!

(The Cheering Section)

In other news . . .

Marley got her second set of ear tubes on Tuesday. Other than the recovery room experience (identical to last time when I felt like I was holding that chic from Poltergeist), it was uneventful. They were able to place larger tubes this time, so hopefully we won't have any more mysterious disappearances on that front. She is a card carrying member of the Terrible Two's Club now. Testing Mommy's patience at every turn, but usually doing it with an irresistible grin on her face.

Casey and Dave went on a big adventure yesterday--bike riding and geocaching with no other kids and no mom in tow. He really soaks up any special attention he can get. As a fellow middle child, I know what he's going through. He loves spending time with me one-on-one, packs picnics for us to take to the playground, gives me really sloppy kisses. But there's the other side of Casey, too. His speech teacher left the session early last week because Casey was rolling his eyes at her like a teenager and she just wasn't having any of that. He's hard to describe. He's just Casey.

I wrote an article for our community newspaper (circulation over 3,000) and it was published this month. It was about fossil-hunting on the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River. The kids and I did quite a lot of 'research' on the topic this summer, and I wanted to share our pointers with other families in the neighborhood. I'm hoping to be a regular contributor to the paper. My dream of travelling the world, photographing and writing about things that need more attention from the Western world will be delayed until my kids are grown. . . but I need to start somewhere. I don't think National Geographic is going to bring me on board yet!!

Juno continues to work on her girlish figure. She's lost about 7-8 pounds since we got her in mid-June. She looks svelte even. Unfortunately, it makes her weird unicorn bump on top of her head more prominent, but hey, we are an imperfect crew.

Other than all of that, we've been really enjoying the gorgeous weather. Lots of backyard football!