Sunday, December 27, 2009

Post Christmas Report

I hope everyone had an enjoyable Christmas. Like many of our friends and family, we were snowed in for Christmas. We had planned to visit my folks in SD but Jack Frost decided to show off and drop around ten inches of snow last weekend. It made our pine trees look as if they had multi colored cotton candy on their branches as the Christmas lights shown through.
It also turned our porch roof into a carnival stage as each bulb melted its way through the snow.

As it was, we still had a nice family Christmas. Since we were home, we were able to attend Christmas Eve church service. The kids really look forward to this because they get to hold a lit candle and sing Silent Night. By now the kids can recite the candle rules by heart. Never tip a lit candle! We've never had a candle mishap, but I can still remember an event from my childhood involving open flames in church. I was probably ten years old or so and I was diligently holding my lit candle. I only flinched a little bit when the hot wax dripped on my finger. However, just a few people down the pew sat a friend of mine holding his candle. He was a couple years older than me so I'm sure he was ready for a little hot wax. One thing he forgot however, was to hold the candle a little bit away from his body. Because when it was time to pray, he bowed his head, dipping his bangs into his flame. It only took a quick forehead slap to put out, but the burnt hair smell provided a good after church story for him.

After church, we headed home to harvest the gifts that had sprouted under our Christmas tree for the last few weeks.

The kids each got a pair of ski goggles with a camera included. So that meant they each had to wear their goggles to open the rest of their gifts.

Once that was done, it didn't take too much convincing to get ready for bed. Sweet Pea however required some pre-Christmas preparation before bed. For some reason, she got it into her head that she needed curls in her hair for Christmas morning. So we found a dozen curlers and Lady Di obliged.
SP also had to sleep on the floor under the blanket tent she rigged up with her dresser and window. I guess a special night needs special sleeping arrangements.

And here is the result in the morning.
We then went outside to play in the snow and all of the curls disappeared.

Since the snow kept us home, it also kept a number of people in town home bound. So we ended up enjoying our turkey and mashed potatoes with another neighbor family. We ate, played games and watched the kids play Mario Kart.

After our company left we realized that no one had inquired into their Christmas stocking yet. Santa was right on the mark this year. Each child received a Wii game. SP got Littlest Pet Shop and Number One Son received Star Wars Force Unleashed, his first teen-rated game. We draw the line at games with blood, shooting and killing. This game has fighting and a lot of lightsaber slashing, but it seems quite tame compared to the violent games some of N1S's friends talk about.

All in all, we had a great Christmas even if our travel plans fell through. One positive result of the blizzard was the return of our annual snow hill. Every year our favorite plower (Ronnie) piles all of the snow from the cul-de-sac next to our driveway.

This year we have the tallest pile he has ever made. When we play king of this mountain we really want to stay king. I found out that grown ups seem to fall a little harder down this hill than in years past.
Hopefully, the snow will take a break from falling now. I'm tired of clearing the driveway twice daily. A little sunshine, even if it's cold sunshine, would be welcome.

Friday, December 18, 2009

O Tannenbaum

For the last two years I have posted pictures of our Christmas trees. When Lady Di and I were first married, our goal was to have a different Christmas tree in each room of our future home. At one time we peaked at five Christmas trees. But for the last few years we have scaled back a bit. Our tree total has shrunk to four. But we only decorate three of them, as one tree sits outside on our porch.

Last week, the last ornament was placed on the last tree. So, for your enjoyment, is our third annual Christmas tree revue.

Once again, this is our 'fancy tree'. Or as Sweet Pea calls it, 'The grown-up tree'. Not much new to it. It is still gold and burgundy with white lights. I took the picture from the floor to make it look twelve feet tall.

Next is the Grandma tree. We received this tree from my Grandma Bernice and it is decorated with white angels and homemade ornaments from Lady Di's Grandma Ollie. It sits upstairs and shines out the front window acting as a Christmas beacon to all who travel through our cul-de-sac. It also acts as a nice night light when I have to descend the stairs in the middle of the night to let the dog out.

Thirdly, is the kid tree. This tree catches all of the homemade, cartoon and colorful ornaments. Since the kids are now tall enough to reach past the bottom half of the tree, we let them decorate it. This tree gets new ornaments added to it every year, so it's starting to look a little full.

This year, SP thought all of our Star Trek guys needed to be together but made sure that Yoda and Darth Vader were on opposite sides of the tree.

Here's our little elf making sure everything is Christmasy.

This is a quick picture of our outside Christmas cheer. It's about the same as last year. Red, white and green lights with a new tree on the porch. We also decorate eight trees in the back yard but I just can't get a usable picture of them. Our recent snowfall has really given the trees a colorful glow.
It's hard to believe that Christmas is only one week away. We usually leave the decorations up until New Year's Day. So it's only two more weeks until the dreaded basement relay to find all the boxes to match their ornaments.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

March of the Bumbles.

Tonight we honored the age old tradition of watching Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer as a family. Like many, I have watched this show religiously for the last thirty-five years or so. That was way back in the day when it was almost new. Back then, we had to make sure we read the TV guide each week so we wouldn't miss it. Because it was only on once a year and it was just too much of a bother to get out of a chair to surf the other three channels we had.

But here we are now, forty years in the future. We haven't gotten our hover cars yet. And we don't eat our seven course meals in a capsule. But we can enjoy the luxury of watching a DVD of Rudolph whenever we want.

So tonight we popped in our DVD and sipped hot cocoa with marshmallows courtesy of Lady Di.

Our kids of eleven and seven years old, have also viewed this Christmas classic multiple times. Enough times, in fact, to start quoting lines and predicting favorite parts. One of the kids' favorite funny lines is from Yukon Cornelius himself. When the gang is floating through the fog on their homemade iceberg, Yukon comments, "This fog is as think as peanut butter."

Hermie then corrects, "Don't you mean pea soup?"

YC then counters with, "You eat what you want. I'll eat what I want!"

Both kids giggle out loud every time. The kids also like when Rudolph jabs the snow monster in the butt with his antlers.

One of my favorite parts is when Yukon's dogs won't mush. He shouts at them but they won't move. So Yukon decides to demonstrate by pulling the sled himself. Once he does, the dogs all immediately hop on for the ride. It just reminds me of what our own dog would probably do.

Along with the trip down memory lane, I noticed a couple of puzzling moments from the show which, for some reason, I was unable to let go. Now I know that Rudolph isn't a documentary and it was made over forty years ago, but I just couldn't shake my need for answers.

What started my curiosity was in the first 'Island of Misfit Toys' scene. I understand why the toys were there. Those toys were messed up! Come on! No one could ever want a spotted elephant, right? But I couldn't figure out the Dolly on the island. Aside from wearing a short plaid skirt in the middle of winter, what qualified her as a misfit? The show may have explained it when my attention was occupied with the jelly squirting water gun, so maybe I missed it for the last four decades.

Another inconsistency involved the bird who couldn't fly but could swim. At the very end of the special, Santa's head elf in charge of umbrellas cold heartedly denied the flightless swimming bird his umbrella and rudely shoved him out of the sleigh high above the clouds. It's true! See for yourself.

And what about the king of the misfit island. A flying lion named Moonracer? I have no problem with an avian-feline but isn't the name 'Moonracer' just a bit too 1960's hippie?

Hopefully, I haven't ruined the 'Island' for you now but I just have a couple more observations.

Firstly, when Rudolph sets out on his own because he is worried that he is putting his friends in danger, he leaves the door to their cottage WIDE OPEN! Guess he isn't worried about his 'friends' catching pneumonia.

And lastly, when Mrs. Santa is trying to get Santa to eat multiple times during the show, has anyone looked at the cooking she does for him? Each time she says he's too skinny, Santa has a plate of some grayish purple blob on his plate. And it matches the grayish purple apple and some other mystery consumable. If I didn't know better, I'd think Mrs. Claus was cooking clay in the kitchen.

But other than all of those things, we still enjoyed our evening together. We still sang Silver and Gold together. We still flicked our tongues in and out when Cornelius licked his pick ax for precious metals. Which also begs the question, who licks metal objects in freezing cold weather?
Next week, we're going to watch 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas' and I'm going to point out, to the kids, how all of those Who instruments couldn't possibly work. And there is no such thing as roast beast.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Kitchen's Alive With The Sound Of Music

We've always known Number One Son has had an ear for music. When he was a toddler we noticed him keeping the beat with his baby dances. In kindergarten we were surprised by N1S's music teacher when she told us of his solo in the upcoming vocal concert. He has been taking piano lessons for the last five years and even though he hates to practice, we can't let him quit because he has a knack for it. He can usually figure out a melody from memory and play it after a few tries.

We've always known he's had sensitive ears. When he was young, his hands were always jumping to his ears whenever a loud, unexpected noise would pop up. He hated automatic flushing toilets because he couldn't predict when they would flush and he didn't want his hands busy zipping when they were needed to plug his ears.

Which leads us to a day he experienced in music class last year. His fourth grade music teacher was playing a tune on the piano when N1S asked her if the song was in the key of G. His piano teacher had been teaching him recently about how to read which key music is written in. We had no idea that he was learning to listen for the key as well as reading it. N1S's music teacher did a double take when he asked her the key to the song she was playing. He was right, of course.

His teacher then announced to the fourth grade choir that they were going to try a little experiment with N1S. She played a note on the middle octave of the piano. When N1S answered correctly, she moved on to random notes on the upper and lower octaves. When he got those right she moved to the black keys. After that, she had to admit that N1S had something called perfect pitch. In other words, he can hear any random note out of the blue and know which one it is on the scale.

Needless to say, we were pretty excited about the news. So what do we do next? Is there a special school we need to find? Should we call Oprah before she retires? Is 'Name That Tune' game show still on TV?

I think we will just sit tight and let N1S use his special power as he sees fit.

Like last weekend when I was making lunch for both of us. (Heating up leftover pizza in the microwave).

N1S informed me that the hum of the microwave was the same pitch as the hum of the computer and also matched the beep of the microwave when the food is done. So as the timer approached single digits, I hummed to myself to match the hum of the microwave. At zero seconds the microwave beep matched my hum. I said to myself, "Well, anyone could've noticed that." "What note is it N1S?"


And the piano proved him right. So if anyone needs to know if their microwave is in tune or not, give N1S a call.

Monday, November 23, 2009

What Happens at N1S's, Stays at N1S's

It's party time! That's what Lady Di announced to Number One Son last week. LD thought N1S might like to host a get together for a few of his friends on Saturday night. And by night, she meant 3pm to 7pm.

So N1S got his guest list together and invited four friends for food, fun and video games. And as far as N1S was concerned, the fun and the video games were one in the same.

With a stack of pizzas, a tote of chips and a wheel barrow of pop bottles, we seemed adequately prepared for a fun afternoon.

Lady Di set out the snacks while the pizza cooked and set out the Pokeno game for the boys. You may ask, "How can Pokeno possibly compete with the Wii Mario Cart?" The answer is, you play for money.

Now hold on! Before you call child services, we're not running a bawdy, underground gambling house for fifth graders. We just didn't have any good prizes for winning so we used pennies. We only had one boy object based on moral grounds, but he quickly changed his mind and agreed to try gambling just this once. Although, I don't know how you could call it gambling since I was the only one who provided any money. Anyway the Dr. Pepper, Mountain Dew and Cheetos went a long way towards buying the boys' reticence to the gaming commission.

The boys played 'four corners, bingo and blackout' and the winner of each game would get a cup of pennies with the intention of counting up at the end of the game to see which boy had the most. Well, towards the end, one boy hadn't won a single game and therefore had an empty cup. When he made this known to the group, two of the other boys just said, "Here, you can have mine.", and dumped their winnings into his cup. Needless to say, by this time the boys were becoming much less interested in pennies and more interested in the pizza smell coming from the oven.

I don't know if we overestimated what five fifth graders could eat, or we set out too many snacks during the game, because the boys only finished off a pizza and a half before diving for the Wii remotes. That left us with about a pizza and a half left. But I won't ever complain about leftovers.

With all of the boys in the house, we didn't want Sweet Pea to feel left out, so one of N1S's guest's sister came to play with her.

They did their best at attacking the pizza too.

The rest of the party was spent playing Mario Cart and Guitar Hero and trying to see who could shout over every one else. I thought a group of fifth grade girls were loud but these boys could keep up with them any day. They were laughing, cheering, joking and each one wanted to outdo the other. And N1S was right in the middle, going along with the group. Readers to this blog will know of some of the challenges N1S has had with friendships and peer interaction. But this night couldn't have gone better. Nobody was teased. All participated. And everyone had fun.

Even though the above picture turned out blurry, it is still my favorite one. One of the most important wishes for a parent of a child with Asperger's is for their child to be included and feel like he really belongs. N1S did well in choosing his friends. I know he won't always fit in everywhere, but the times he does fit in makes my heart swell.

By 7:30pm the parents came to pick up some pretty exhausted and somewhat hoarse kids.

So if you look past the junk food, video games, belching contest and gambling, N1S and Lady Di hosted a pretty good party.

Now Sweet Pea has informed us that she is ready for her girl party.

Time to buy ear plugs.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Tender Is The Night

I recently experienced a tender moment as the kids were getting ready for bed. I have no idea what was wrong with the kids, but it just happened.

After supper, Lady Di thought it would be fun to play a family game before bedtime. The kids, of course, were all for that. With suspiciously little arguing, we decided to play Trouble. But after multiple trips up and down the basement stairs, we could find no Trouble. So LD brought up the game, Sorry. I braced myself for loud and vociferous protests and debate from the kids. I was greeted with tranquil acceptance.

I felt their foreheads to make sure they both hadn't come down with a fever that was causing them to act so strangely.

But their heads were cool so we kicked off game night. Now when I play board games I really don't care if I win or lose. I just like to tease, mock and get the kids all worked up every time I happen to move my little green Hershey Kiss playing piece a square or two ahead of theirs. My favorite thing to do is to start singing, 'I Am the Champion' to Queen's tune of 'We Are The Champions". But tonight, they just let me sing and dance and promptly sent my Sorry Guys back to home a hopeless number of times.

The beginning of the game started with Number One Son getting every good card available and Sweet Pea receiving the exact opposite. With her luck, I was half expecting SP to draw an Old Maid or an Uno Draw Four card mixed in with the Sorry cards.

But as these games always do, eventually everyone's positions on the board evened out and everyone got to send everyone else home at least once. But in the end, N1S couldn't get the right card and Lady Di snuck in the back door and won. Again, I gritted my teeth and squinted my eyes to prepare for "No Fair!", and "You Cheated!" followed by an airborne board and a snow storm of cards.

But no, only a long "Awwwwww", feigning disappointment and both kids searching through the remaining cards to see how many more turns it would've taken for them to win. They even helped put the game away.

Whose kids are these and where are N1S and SP!?

Bedtime snack was a rice krispie bar without any measuring or comparing to make sure each kid had the same number of krispies.

Then after brushing their teeth, the most incredible event of the night occurred.

SP asked N1S if he wanted to read her a bedtime story. And he said, "Sure."

I know everyone has good days and bad days, including myself. But tonight was definitely a good day for the kids. A lot of things went right. A lot of good choices were made. It all added up to a fun-filled, memorable night for us.

After cleaning up the snack dishes I went upstairs to peek in on them in N1S's room. They were taking turns reading the Dr Suess story, Sneetches.

Then I went to SP's room and I found out what she had done with her free time this afternoon.
Apparently, she had constructed a bath robe hammock for all of her stuffed animals.

Yes, this was a very good day.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Alms For The Poor

It sure has been awhile since my last post. For some reason, I just haven't had the desire or energy to blog or facebook or anything computer related. We've been busy but that's no excuse because we are always busy.

I finally took down all of the Halloween decorations and have started on the Christmas lights. I wanted to get the roof lights done while the weather was nice. I have a few outdoor trees strung also, but will not turn them on until after Thanksgiving.

Last weekend we were able to enjoy both kids in the children's musical Alms For The Poor. We were lucky enough to have two great-grandmothers, two sets of grandparents, two sets of great-aunts and uncles, one aunt and a couple of cousins in attendance for at least one of the performances. The kids really appreciated the support too.

They both did a wonderful job. Sweet Pea was one of the beggar children dancers. Her team opened the show depicting children playing in the street. SP played the bully child. In her dance she got to take a doll from another girl, kick some jacks on the ground and roll her eyes and with her hands on her hips when the jump rope girls wouldn't give her a turn. She got to use lots of frowns and sighs and all kinds of bratty actions. She did such a good job I wasn't sure if she was even 'acting'.
Here she is frowning.

And here she is fighting.
Lady Di did a good job on SP's hair. Her hair took up so much of the stage they almost had to write in another part just for her pony tails. SP is in the back row, second from the left.

Number One Son played the role of Tellie, a boy living on the streets. He also did a great job considering he was fighting a bad cough with on and off fever. We had to give him an orange juice IV every morning just to get him well enough to sing.
Once again, the kids made message boxes for the audience to fill with notes and candy during intermission. So it was just like another Halloween haul.

This was SP's first play and N1S's fourth. The children's director also wrote this story and music for her eleventh production.

The kids had a wonderful time working hard to put on the show. N1S reconnected with friends he made from previous shows. I hope both kids will want to do it all again next year. Hopefully, when they are both healthy.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Dead Man's Party

I hope that every one's night of fright was filled with sweets, scares and only a few tricks. We had a cool night but the wind died down just in time to provide a perfect evening for Lady Di and the kids to fill bags with candy. I was put on house duty and doled out treats to around sixty ghouls and goblins.

This year, we tried a new mix of Halloween candy. In addition to Snickers and Butterfingers, we added Pringles Stix, Animal Crackers and Grips Chips Deluxe packs. The parents of the younger trick or treaters appreciated the Animal Crackers. I was surprised to see the Pringle Stix going faster than any of the chocolate. I don't know if it was because it looked like something new, or because it was the longest package in the bowl. Regardless, at the end of the night, we were left with only ten Snickers and two Animal Crackers. Which just happened to be exactly what I had calculated to be my cut for the evening.

The kids used scary and pretty costumes to help them in their candy begging.

Sweet Pea picked out a harlequin mask and went as a Mardi Gras diva. She had no idea what Mardi Gras was, but she still accepted each compliment with a 'Thank You'. She just liked the mask at the store. Number One Son wore a skull mask with a camouflage hat. An old graduation gown from the dress up box in the basement, completed his costume.

And for those that were unable to view our house decorations this year, here is my annual pumpkin round up for this season. We only carved nine gourds this year.

I started with this 'Boo' pumpkin because it was rotten when we brought it home and I didn't want to spend too much time carving it.

These two are N1S's 'rock star' and SP's 'rock star groupie' pumpkins. I think SP was going for a pumpkin with H1N1 but I wouldn't let her use pumpkin guts for the vomit. But with the little blings she put on the pumpkin, it looks like she's screaming to her favorite rock song. So much so, that you can see the little 'white mint' in her mouth. N1S's might be Ace Frehley.

The kids also carved these two by themselves. It looks like SP's eyebrow got a little too involved with her eye on this one.

These two were a couple that I carved. I don't think they turned out too bad.

And this one was my favorite. At the pumpkin stand I had to buy it because it's shape was almost exactly like a skull. So I tried to carve a skull face and didn't butcher it too badly.

That is pretty much our Halloween. Now comes the task of disposing of all of the candy the kids carted home. I'm sure I'll find a way.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Revenge of the Great Pumpkin

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I like to decorate the house with lights, ghouls and, of course pumpkins. So this spring, I decided to plant a pumpkin patch in my back yard.

My seeds started off strong. I had almost all of my mounds sprout with multiple plants. It wasn't long before I got my first bloom too. As the weeks went by, more blooms would appear but no pumpkins. So I went on-line to find out what the secret was. Apparently, pumpkin vines have male blooms and female blooms. This information would have been useful on the seed package. Anyway, since there is a shortage of bees to transfer pollen from the male blooms to the female blooms, we sometimes have to help them along.

So in order to set the mood for my blooms to get together and make a pumpkin, I dimmed the lights, played a romantic Barry White song on my ipod and left a tray of oysters and chocolates on the ground. When that didn't work, I went back to the Internet which told me how to gently transfer pollen.
Once that was done, amazingly, I had a small pumpkin starting to grow. I knew then that I was going to earn my farmer's tan this year. In my excitement, I visited it everyday and watered it every other day to make sure it wouldn't dry out.

After about two weeks, I noticed my little pumpkin getting smaller and wrinklier and eventually it fell off the vine. I also noticed about half of my plants were getting sick and withering. I thought, maybe I was watering too much. So I let them dry out a while, which seemed to help.

It was quite a while before I got any more female blooms. I guess they are much rarer than males. So I did some more match making when I did get the right blooms, but these pumpkins did the same thing by growing for awhile before dying. This was around the end of August. My garden was looking more pathetic by the day.

So I figured there must be an anti-pumpkin hex on my garden. And the only way to get rid of an A-P hex is with a scarecrow, of course. But even that didn't seem to help.

So a friend of mine suggested that they might not be getting enough sunshine. Since I planted my garden among some shade trees, this could be true.

So I got my chain saw out and leveled all the trees in the backyard. No, I really only trimmed a couple of branches that were hanging over the garden. But by this time, it seemed too late for any pumpkins of size. So I concentrated on nurturing the few small lemon-sized orbs I had.

I watered a little, propped up a few vines a little and prayed a little. But my plants continued to look sickly and miserable.

And then....., a miracle!

On the week before Halloween, my garden exploded with orange spheres of all sizes and shapes. Some were oval. Some round. Small, medium, large and extra large. It was incredible! I could hardly believe it! It was almost as if someone had mysteriously loaded up a truck load of pumpkins from the local farmers market and dumped them into my garden before anyone had a chance to catch him in the act.

I guess my farmer's tan wasn't wasted after all. However the pumpkins got there, they will be put to good use on All Hallow's Eve, frightening and delighting trick-or-treaters of all ages.

I think I will try growing pumpkins again next year. I may also try a few new things just to see what will come out of the ground. I'll have a good eight months to think about it anyway.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Anniversary Caper

Last week, Lady Di and I celebrated fourteen years of wedded bliss. So I went to Hallmark to read the master list of acceptable gifts for number one-four. I searched and searched but could not find any tools on any of the lists. All I could hope for was that this year was the year of the 'it's the thought that counts' gift. No luck. The traditional gift was ivory and the modern gift is gold jewelry. I thought, "Ah come on! Gold for the fourteenth? What ever happened to the golden anniversary being the fiftieth?" I seriously believe that jewelers, most of them women, made sure that some sort of gold was assigned to every four and a half anniversaries to boost sales and their own jewelry boxes. And how was I going to bag an elephant for the traditional ivory gift?

With my options limited to those, I decided to play dumb and go in a different direction.

I started with picking a weekend that I could get someone to watch our kids. Luckily, LD's sister stepped up and magnanimously volunteered to entertain her niece and nephew with a sleep over.

My plan was to trick LD into thinking that we were going to her sister's house for a game night and stay over. Once we arrived at her house, we said good bye to the kids and I hustled LD out to the van before she knew what was going on.

We then drove about twenty miles to a bed and breakfast. I think LD was surprised. We stayed upstairs in the Edna room. After unpacking, we had dinner at the Gasthaus German restaurant. This was the first time either of us had been to one. The food was good and the beer was better.We even had our very own personal accordion player, Hilda. Actually, her name wasn't Hilda and she played for everyone at the restaurant. But we did get to visit with her quite a bit and she even played a song for our anniversary. After dinner we had to decide what to do next. Should we go downtown for a drink or dance the night away at a club? We chose to go back to our bed and breakfast and play Monopoly in our room. I know, the city sure didn't have to call in any extra law enforcement for our wild night out, but sometimes spending a quiet, comfortable evening alone with your spouse is as much fun as anything.Here is a picture of our room. Our bed was very comfortable and we slept very soundly even with that picture of Edna Mulvey on the wall watching us.

Before bed I told LD to set the alarm for the 9am breakfast. She said she was going to sleep in. I told her, we paid for breakfast, we're eating breakfast!

The next morning we ate stuffed french toast with four other couples in the main dining room. I'm always nervous about eating with a group of people I don't know. I'm not very much of a talker. But I didn't need to be because two other people at the table did enough talking for all twelve of us.

Mercifully, the talkers got tired of all of our listening and we were able to get back to our room to pack up and check out.

We spent the rest of the afternoon walking up and down the town's main street visiting many boutiques, antique stores and sweet shoppes. Why do retailers think they can charge more just because they have French spelled words over their doors? After much window shopping, I was ready to head for home.

But first, we had to pick up the kids.

They had spent the afternoon at the pumpkin patch. It was great for Auntie Sue and Uncle Tom to take them because we hadn't time all Fall to schedule it in ourselves. They enjoyed carmel apples, face paint and got to run through the corn maze. No one got lost in the corn and they found all of the dinosaur signs.

When we came to pick them up they were pretty exhausted. But not too exhausted for Lego Indiana Jones video game at Auntie's.

They were very disappointed that they couldn't stay with their aunt and uncle longer. We were already missing them and they were complaining that we were there to pick them up. I think we all were a little tired.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Bring Out Yer Dead!

Last weekend officially kicked off the outside-of-the-house decorating season. I just happened to have the weekend off, the weather was cool but not cold, and it was October.

I climbed the ladder to the attic to unearth our stock of orange, black and blood. Our supply of Halloween decorations doubled this year due to a clearance sale last year and very generous in-laws taking advantage of said sale for gifts last Christmas.

I know it's still a little early to decorate, but the snow flurries were also too early this year so it seems later than it really is. That's what my excuse is anyway.

First, the orange lights made it atop the porch gutter, luckily without another ladder mishap. I took my phone to the roof with me this time, just in case.

Then it was time to position the lighted ghosts, pumpkins and skulls. The number of skulls in the box seemed to have multiplied since last year. And the number of Styrofoam tombstones more than doubled. It appears that I did not take proper inventory of our tombstones before filling up my cart at Menards this year. But it actually worked out rather well since I was putting up an archway over our sidewalk to look like a cemetery entrance. And cemeteries need tombstones, don't they? Since I am too cheap to buy an archway, I made one from a section of framework to a metal deck gazebo. I zip-clipped some lights and a graveyard sign and now I have a cemetery.

This was actually the least blurry picture I took. I don't know why, but every picture I took that night was jittery. Must be all the excitement for Halloween.

Also new to the haunt is a skeleton swinging from our 'gallows tree' and a bush full of lighted eye balls.

As you can see, my photography was as unsteady as ever. I took three pictures of this tree and all three looked like the leaves were on fire.

Here's our eye bush to make sure trick or treaters don't try any tricks.

The main attraction, however, is our new pet spider. His legs move and Liberty likes to bark at it every morning.

And my camera work made it look even hairier.

Here is a homemade ghoul I made out of an old artificial X-mas tree pole, some black cloth and a Styrofoam jack-o-lantern from the hardware store. His head is white and his eyes light up red. I'm kind of happy of the way it and the photo turned out.

Lastly, I had some left over orange lights without a tree or door to place them on. So I stuck them under the front porch. In the dark they glow up through the deck boards making it look mysterious.

And guess what? It looks like I lit porch on fire.

I just have a few more items to put out on Halloween night along with multiple jack-o-lanterns if I get the time to carve them.

Well, that's enough jumpy, fire photography for tonight. If you want to see our decorations for real, come on by on All Hallow's Eve and you will be sure to get a treat.

Stuff About Me

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I'm a 40 year old dad of two. My wonderful wife, Lady Di, and I try to keep the kids from blowing things up here in central Minnesota.