Monday, October 31, 2011

Throwing in the Home-Made-Halloween-Costume Towel

Remember these costumes from last year?
I made them extra big so that they could wear them for (at least ) 2 years.

What was I thinking?

No kid wants to wear the same costume two years in a row, even if they say they do. And my kids are so fickle with their costume demands that even when I make a new one, they often don't want to wear it when it comes time. Take Mea, for example. She has a whole arsenal of princess costumes. But she wanted a mermaid costume this year. So I, being the pushover that I am, made her one last month:
She hasn't worn in. Ever. And refused to for Halloween. About a week before Halloween she decided that she was going to be a kitty cat.

And Spencer couldn't decide whether to be Darth Vader or Harry Potter. Either way, I wasn't making the mistake of sewing more costumes.

So here's how it turned out. Here's Mea at the church Trunk or Treat with some friends, sporting her thrift kitty cat costume:
Cost rundown: 99 cent pants from the thrift store, shirt from her drawer, foam mask purchased at Michaels for $1 (with pipe-cleaner whiskers added), and a kitty cat tail made from some old fleece and stuffing that I already had, safety-pinned to her pants. I've never made such a ghetto costume in my life. Did she care? Nope. She pretended to be a cat for days.

And here's what Spencer decided to be at the same event:
Cost rundown: I got really lucky and found the mask at the thrift store for 99 cents, and the rest of the costume at the same thrift store (different day) for $2.

I really am not creative enough to decorate our trunk, so I just threw the few decorations we have in the trunk and called it good:
Luckily, when it came to the day of Halloween, Waimea was still happy to be a kitty cat again:
Here's her tail:
(Just so you know, I found that the best way to make a animal tail flexible, but still shapeable, is to insert the stem of some fake flowers (flowers removed, of course), into the middle of the stuffing.)

Spencer, however, decided to be Harry Potter after all. Luckily I had made him a Griffindor scarf weeks ago, just in case ($4 for yarn). A friend of ours loaned us a cape with the Griffindor emblem sewn on. And I made those lovely construction paper glasses literally minutes before they walked out the door:
Good enough.

Anyone want to buy a girls size 4 mermaid costume?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

October Happenings

We have an amazing library. Spencer's favorite part is the free Wii game rentals. He recently became obsessed with the Harry Potter Wii game, and wants to play it all the time. So we've had to put restrictions on him, AND make him earn his time. How? By reading to Mea:
I now know why people cut down trees on their property. We've never lived in a place where we had to rake leaves. But we're sure getting our share of it here. This was the first week:
And it is now week four of this, with little sign of letting up. At least Waimea is having fun with it.

This is becoming a nightly occurrence:

And this past weekend we were invited to a pumpkin party. We carved our pumpkins, and they were judged according to age group. Waimea's kitty cat won for ages 4 and under, and Spencer's won for ages 5-7. (Evan and I feel kind of bad because we did most of the carving, but does any kid carve their own pumpkin at age 7 or under? At least they chose their designs, and Waimea did the painting on hers). So here they are, our prize-winning pumpkins:

Sunday, October 16, 2011

And She's Four...

It was Waimea's birthday today. And we celebrated it by going camping. You may think that is cruel, but it is what she requested. She loves to camp.

Illinois is not known for its camping. But we picked a state park surrounding by lakes (appropriately named Chain O'Lakes State Park), and went up Friday after Evan got out of class. We pulled into our site about 8 PM, got camp set up, and immediately went to bed. We woke up to cold, windy weather. So Waimea opened her presents in the tent (we decided to celebrate on Saturday):

An Aurora doll, Prince Phillip doll, Aurora dresses, and three mini fairies from Grandma and Grandpa:
A Belle doll from mom and dad:
A six pack of fairies from Mummi and Pappa:
A doll, some cutely-adorned clothes, and hair clips from Aunt Kristy, Uncle Todd, and cousins:
And, not pictured, a Rapunzel lunch box and book from Spencer, some homemade dresses for her Belle doll from mom and dad, and some braided yarn Rapunzel hair, also from mom and dad. Quite the loot! But we've always told our kids that we'll give them more presents if they don't have a birthday party. (Sadly, I think Waimea thought she was going to have friends come camping and have a birthday party at the campsite. Oops!).

The temps warmed up a bit (not much with all the wind!), so we headed out for some walks to the lakes:
Played on the playground (What is it with campgrounds with playgrounds? I never saw them until we moved out east. Must be compensating for lack of real camping atmosphere):
And then we spent some time in the tent (it was just way too windy outside!):

Spencer and Daddy working on something:
Mommy napping (Do you blame me? Friday was crazy, packing up everything by myself):
Waimea playing with her new loot:
And when we made it back home, Waimea had this easel to open on her actual birthday:
We had a great time! Thanks for wanting to go camping Mea! SOOOO glad you're part of our family!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sleepy Times

The joys of Sunday naps:
Evan came to check on the kids before he went to bed and found them like this:

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Preschool Time

By the time we arrived here in Chicago, it was too late to register Waimea for any of the cheap preschools (like the ones offered through the high schools). And since she misses the cut-off date here for Kindergarten next year, it looks like we've got an extra year of preschool, anyway. So we'll just save the real preschool for next fall.

In the interim, I have been having a mini-preschool with her. (Can you believe it?! This is SO not my style!). It came about because Waimea was literally begging to go to school. And being as limited on funds as we are, we can't afford a real preschool. But Waimea has been loving mommy-preschool so far.

We bought a preschool activity book that goes through letters, shapes, and such. We decided to start with the alphabet. There are about 4 pages of "activities" for each letter, so we do a letter per day.
And then we read a book that corresponds with the letter we studied that day. Someone gave us this set our first year in New Jersey, and we almost got rid of it at one point. I'm sure glad we didn't.
Today we do the letter "W." A few more days, and then I have to be creative about what to do next.

I also signed her up for a once-per-week, six-week art class, and a four-week cooking class through the community center. It's about all we can afford, but between these classes and preschool with mom, she seems to be content.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Lost Tooth

It has finally happened. Spencer has been waiting for this day for years. Literally. It all started at our last dentist appointment in August. The hygienist was cleaning his teeth and found that the lower right tooth was loose. It has progressively gotten looser and looser, and he has been complaining more and more about not being able to eat. I told him Monday that I'd pull it out for him, but after gripping it, he told me to stop. Last night he didn't eat dinner very well, and I threatened to take it out while he was sleeping (I'm such a great mom, aren't I?).

Turns out I didn't need to. Evan and I were getting ready for bed when we heard one of the kids call out. We thought it was Mea, but then Spencer said, "My tooth fell out!" Sure enough, it did.
The tooth fairy gave him a whopping $1 bill for his exploits. With all his tossing and turning, though, it fell on the ground under the bed and Spencer thought that the tooth fairy forgot about him.

This is the biggest he has smiled for the camera in quite awhile. Usually he's making some ridiculous face. Love this smile: