Monday, November 29, 2010

My near brush with death...

Ok, I've already confessed that I hate shopping, right? Have I ever talked about my dislike of cold weather? What about how my issues with crowds and noise levels?

Welcome to the Christmas season!

Oh joy. I just wanna hide out till May, but life won't let me. Today, I had to brave it all. Well, not so much the cold since it got up to nearly 80 today, but it WAS a dreary wet day if that counts for something. It's going to be COLD on Wednesday. The high won't even see 60! I may freeze solid! Just knowing that such a horrid cold front is on it's way was enough to make me think that it was cold today too. You know, except for that part that it wasn't. But I'm getting off subject. The point is that when I woke up this morning, I knew that it was going to be a rough day. I knew that because today was the day that I was going to start Christmas shopping.

The plan was for me to get the kids off to school, go to the bank and then start off easy with Hobby Lobby (which is such a wonderful place that I sometimes forget that I'm actually doing the shopping thing when I'm there) first. Target was next on the list. I don't care much for Target as it's only a slight step above Walmart, but it had to be done. Bed, Bath and Beyond held one item that I needed, then I would zoom over to the mother of all panic attacks - the mall. There I would get the water filter from Sears and then make a beeline for Bath and Body works for the hand soap gifts.

Yep, that was the plan. It started off pretty good. The kids got on the bus just fine. Then I came back inside...and decided to make a cup of tea first. I don't know how it took me two hours to drink that cup of tea. I'm going to blame my procrastination on extreme anxiety and not Farmville. What? I needed to plant some blueberries! Blueberries are good. And there may have been some laundry done in that missing two hours. The floor REALLY needed sweeping too. And I couldn't just leave the breakfast dishes unwashed.

Around 9:30 I realized that there was no way I was going to get everything done if I didn't get going. Grabbing my keys, I took a deep cleansing breath, jumped in the van and drove down my driveway. When I got to the mailbox, I remembered that I needed to mail a bill, so I turned around and went back into the house to get it. And since I was bringing that to the mailbox, I figured that I should send Cheaper by the Dozen back to Netflix. Of course, I had to find it first. It was almost 9:45 by the time I finally made it back to the mailbox. I opened it and realized that I hadn't picked up the mail on Saturday so before I could put mail IN the box, I first had to take mail OUT of the box.

That's when I saw it. The agent of death.

He took the form of a brown spider. I did not yell (but I might have jumped a bit). I simply swatted the demon away with the mail that was already in my hand. Then as quickly as I could I made the exchange. Incoming mail was taken out of the box, outgoing mail went in. I brought the mail to my van. Then it was on to the bank.

After sending my deposit through the little chute thingy, I reached down to plug in my phone charger. Then, suddenly...he was there. ON MY LEG! (Thankfully, when I got dressed this morning, I knew that it wasn't going to hit 80 today so I wore long pants. I don't even want to think about what would have happened if I had worn shorts instead!) I did exactly what any other self respecting female would have done in that situation. I threw my phone on the floor, screamed bloody murder and pretty much had a spastic attack. The people in the car next to me were trying very hard not to laugh. I didn't think they quite understood the situation. You see, in my efforts to get the thing OFF OF ME, I didn't realize until it was too late, that I had missed the best opportunity I was going to get to kill it. Once, it was off my leg, it did what spiders do hid.


In my van.

By that time, the teller was finished with my transaction and I realized that I had to move the van. Which meant that I couldn't get out and run away as far as I could. I had to actually stay IN the van...with the spider. I prayed and drove to the car wash where I spent every last quarter I had on the vacuum, hoping, hoping, hoping that he'd show his eight legged self to me. No luck. At least the carpet got cleaned.

Out of quarters, I cautiously got back into the van and drove home. I had one last idea. He was waiting for me under the carport. "Oh, brave and mighty Ke-Kat," I pleaded "find the mean old spider." I lifted him gently and put him in the van - the same van that he clawed his way into the day that I left the windows down. Did he appreciate my help? No. He jumped right back out! Then he gave me a "I'm really only in the mood for lizards today" look and stretched.

I left all of the doors open for fifteen minutes in hopes that Mr. Spider would realize that escape was possible. If he did, I never saw him leave. Of course, he is kinda little so maybe he just slipped by. Eventually, with my very life on the line, I got back into the drivers seat and set back out on the road. The traffic was awful. The stores were noisy and crowded. The lines were long and slow. And because I got such a late start, I wasn't able to finish before returning home for the kids - which means that I'm going to have to do this all over again at some point this week.

Meanwhile, the spider is probably still in the van...just bidding his time.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Giving Thanks

This past Saturday I joined my sister and her two nieces (actually one is my niece as well, but the other isn't so I'm all confused on how I'm supposed to write that) at the St Jude's Give Thanks. Walk. When I first agreed to "do the walk," I knew that I was going to have to prepare a bit for it. Now you might think that preparing for a 5k walk might involve some physical exercise, but come was a WALK. How much training was I going to need for that? After all, I walk every day! You put one foot in front of the other, then repeat. Easy! No, I wasn't worried much about the physical part. The preparation that I had to do involved something that I detest even worse than exercise. I had to shop.

I'm not sure how exactly I missed the shopping gene that most women automatically get at conception, but if you put my DNA under a microscope I'm pretty sure that you would see that I am, indeed PC - Purchase Challenged. Every now and again, I struggle to overcome my genetic defect and venture into a store, but I truly try to hold off for as long as humanly possible before getting to that point. That admitted, I knew that I could not go to the Walk in the same old sweats that I wear around the house. Sure, they are comfy enough - but have been through a couple of pregnancies and therefore, don't exactly fit very well anymore. For the task of finding a new pair, I enlisted hubby's help. He likes shopping just about as much as I do, but when I mentioned Academy, his fears melted away. Academy is not the mall, and therefore acceptable to him.

Finding a decent pair of sweats didn't take very long, but before I settled on THE pair, I tried on a couple of different ones. Naturally hubby got a tiny bit bored while waiting that whole five minutes. Rather than just standing around at the entrance of the dressing area, he made himself very useful by finding a cute jacket for me. It didn't match the sweats exactly, but I loved it anyway - mainly because it meant that we were officially finished looking and could head to the check out.

Once safely home, I thought the worst was over. I was wrong. You see, when my oldest daughters saw the jacket, they immediately proclaimed me "too old" for such a jacket. I tried pointing out that there was no age limit on the tag, but they weren't having any of that. They insisted that if I went out in public wearing the jacket, I would look like a fool. I might have rolled my eyes at that (because they are teens and I'm trying to learn to speak their language.) After all, I don't need a jacket to look like a fool! Ummm...wait...that doesn't sound right.

I feel a need to point out here that my children did have an ulterior motive fueling their taunts. The 14 year old wanted the jacket for herself. Yeah, she is a rat.

In the end, I wound up wearing the jacket to the Walk, ignoring the great risk of looking like a fool for donning apparel that had been deemed "too young" for me. I'm wild like that. But even if I had been the slightest bit worried about looking foolish, that fear would have vanished quickly enough. When we arrived at the site we saw hundreds of other walkers, many wearing "team" shirts that proclaimed support for loved ones. Suddenly I remembered what the walk was all about. Childhood cancer.

We've had a number of health issues in our home - mostly the normal childhood illnesses. Danielle was a very healthy baby and toddler. She didn't even get a cold until after she was a year old. As a preschooler, she dealt with a few bouts of Reactive Airway Disease Syndrome and now as a teen has occasional sinus trouble, but over all is fairly healthy. Emily was just the opposite. Her food allergies and asthma brought us quite a few sleepless, worried nights. She also gave us a scare with an inconclusive Cystic Fibrosis test that lead to more tests which neither confirmed nor ruled out CF. That was nearly 10 years ago and since she's never exhibited any symptoms other than the ones that prompted the test in the first place, we've all but forgotten about the abnormal test results. Derek's respiration trouble as a toddler/preschooler likely stemmed from the RSV he contracted at two months. He has a few other issues, but I'm going to touch more on that in another post. Last is my Anna, who like Danielle, is a pretty healthy kid. We did have one big scare with her too - back when she was still nestled in my womb. Because I was the ripe old age of 35, my OB deemed me an "older expectant mother" and sent me to the hospital for a special ultrasound that she couldn't do in her office. The radiologist first pointed out that my baby was a girl, and then told us that he found a cyst in her brain. I think that I was supposed to be afraid at that point, but I simply refused to believe that there was anything wrong with my baby. Not even when he mentioned the scary term "Trisomy 18" and gave us a very brief description of what that was. Then he zoomed in on her little hand - which was stretched open - and explained that children with Trisomy 18 do the opposite. They clench their hands. That was all I needed. I refused the ammio for personal reasons and instead opted to go back for another ultra sound several weeks later. By then the cyst had disappeared.

So really, yes, we've been blessed in health matters. I was reminded of that fully at that walk. My heart wept for the parents who have been told "I'm afraid it's cancer" and cheered the bravery of the children who fight each day for life. There was one special shirt that caught my eye. I asked the wearer if I could take a picture of it, but don't feel right about posting it because she was a child. Instead I'll just share what it said.

To Do List

1. Beat Cancer
2. Grow hair
3. Live my dreams

Yeah. That puts things in perspective.

So now I'm giving thanks. When Anna fights me as I try to brush the tangled mess on her head, I'll remember the children who lost their hair to chemo. When Derek refuses to taste even a morsel of what I think is good for him, I'll be grateful that his body doesn't reject what little nutrition he does manage to swallow. When Emily accuses me of playing favorites, I'll thank God that she's only upset about a sibling getting to have a friend over - instead of feeling left out because a dying sibling needs more attention than she does. When Danielle hides in her room to work on what looks to me like a comic book, I'll rejoice that she is working on living her dream.

What are you thankful for?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Following the leader

I started a post this week, but haven't gotten around to finishing it. In the meantime, here is one from my old Myspace blog...

Do you remember playing follow the leader as a child?

Fun huh? Apparently the tires on my van play that game all the time. The right front tire is the leader. If it goes, they all go. If it stays in one place, the other three freeze in place too. How do I know this bit of interesting trivia? Experience of course.

Let me share: Just after picking up my daughter's friend, in a moment that was less than brilliant, I turned a bit too much while backing out of a driveway. The right front tire went off the driveway, at the start of the ditch, and just sort of hung there. It spun, but there was no traction so therefore it didn't go anywhere. Now you'd think that at least one of the other three would take up the slack, but NOOOOOO…

We were stuck. I immediately reached for my cell phone. It wasn't in my purse. Why wasn't it in my purse? It's always in my purse. Frustration filled me.

Who was I going to call anyway? My husband? He was in the woods. Does the car being perched precariously over a ditch justify interrupting a hunt? Probably, but embarrassment wanted me to look for an easier solution. Suddenly I had recollection of the salesman talking about a button that would make the other tires spin. Frantically, I searched my dashboard for that magic button. My search was in vain. If such a button exists, it obviously was on the next model up. The one we didn't get. I must not have thought that the button was important enough for the price increase. Foolish woman am I!

I walked back around the van to the tire and pleaded with it. No, not really. I just looked at it…because looking at a problem is certainly the best way to make it go away. It mocked me. I could barely fit a finger between the tire and the ground that it needed to be on. Inspiration struck! Could I push the van forward an inch or so? I put the van in neutral, turned the steering wheel as far as I could and had my oldest child hold it. Then I went to the rear and pushed. Bwahahahaha!!! Nothing. Nada. Zilch. The van didn't budge. I stood there and wondered how much it weighed. If only a football team would just suddenly appear and offer help! There were none in sight. Please? Somebody????

The children saw my look of defeat. "We can all push together" they exclaimed. I wanted to cry, but smiled instead. I conceded to let them try to push for a bit while I tried to figure out how I was going to get us out of this mess…or at least mustered up the courage to ask the people in the house for the use of their phone. The kids pushed on the van for all of two seconds. Then they ran around to look at the tire.

"It's touching! It's touching! We did it!" they yelled.

It was! Those beautiful little angels in disguise did it! I scooted them away from the van and then with a quick prayer, got in and tried to drive forward…lo and behold, forward the van went!
Who needs football players when you have kid power!?!

Monday, November 8, 2010

The saga of the Ke-Kat

The saga of the Ke-Kat continues….
Not long after his first “Happy We Found You Under a Wheelbarrow” day, Ke-kat disappeared. Friends tried to reassure us that he had just wandered off to do his thing and would return soon enough. Emily wasn’t buying that. You see there are a couple of big dogs that sometimes roam around here and she was positive that they chased her precious cat away. In fact, the night before Ke-kat vanished, Emily had seen the dogs in the nearby field and she asked if we could bring the cat in for the night. I refused.
Cue the “you are so heartless” comments. I deserve them.
Now you might not believe it, but I like animals. Really! The first pet that I remember was a German Shepherd named Lucky. Ummm…actually the thing I remember most about him was the time that he walked around and around me, wrapping me up in the chain that he was connected to. That was slightly terrifying to a three year old, but I must have gotten over it because I consider German Shepherd’s one of my favorite breeds. Over all, I’m more partial to the “bigger” dogs than I am to the little, super hyper kind that starlets carry around in purses. Keep your miniature poodles, Pomeranians and Chihuahuas. Sure they are adorable, but I prefer border collies, golden retrievers and Labradors. And wolves. Yeah, wolves are awesome.
The people that I grew up next door to kept about 2 million stray cats in their yard. Most neighbors probably saw them as a nuisance, but I thought that they were amazing creatures. On lazy summer days, I would sit in our yard, pick out the ones that I felt looked the most elegant, give them names and wait/hope for one to come close enough to pet. Sometimes my sisters and I would discover a litter of new kittens in our yard. To us, that was like finding treasure! I can’t tell you if I liked dogs more than cats or vice versa because they are both way cool to me!
Most of the other animals (I’m going to stick to mammals here – I’ve had my share of experiences with reptiles too, but it’s probably best that I not go into that now) that I came in contact with as a child were the farm kind. Chickens weren’t exactly pet worthy, but they were very fun to feed. Another animal I enjoy “helping” my dad with were the pigs. Pigs have a reputation for being stinky, and I can assure you that they’ve earned that label. They are also quite heavy. I know that not because I ever tried picking one up – but because I have had a couple of them step on me when I would “show” them at 4-H contest. OUCH! I will admit that I don’t care very much for cows. That’s probably because I was chased by a couple as a youngin’. Plus I just don’t like milk very much. Cheese is good though, so they have that going for them.
My very favorite animals of all are horses. Those majestic creatures have always fascinated me. My grandfather and my great uncle both had several horses so I learned to ride fairly early.
Okay, now cue the “awwww…” comments.
So, yeah, I like animals. I just like them to be outside – of my house. If other people want to keep them inside their house, that’s super! Seriously, it’s a wonderful, loving thing. It’s just not something I feel I can handle at this point in my life. There are four, very messy children living in this house. We all speak, basically, the same language, and yet I still can’t communicate effectively enough to get them to clean up after themselves. Maybe one, if I master cat or doggy speak, I’ll even give them a shot. Yes, there may come a day – but don’t hold your breath.
I do make exceptions. Last year, we had several “freezes” here. Every time I saw that the temps were going to be falling very low at night, I let Emily bring Ke-kat in. See – I do have a heart! It just wasn’t very attuned to Emily’s plea the night before Ke-kat disappeared. I figured that he had found a way to outsmart those pesky dogs before and would do so again. After all, he could climb onto the top of my van if he had to. I know this because I’ve found him there a few times. There are even nice scratch marks in the paint that serve as further evidence.
Apparently the top of the van wasn’t safe enough for him that night. Or maybe it wasn’t the dogs at all. Maybe, like friends tried to tell me, he just got that wanderlust feeling and finally decided to take a little adventure. A very distraught Emily searched and searched and searched without luck until - on day five - she decided to check across the street again. She later told me that she had a dream the night before that she would find him in the shed there. Sure enough, in the shed he was! I don’t remember seeing my girl that happy in a very long time!
All was well with the world. It didn’t last very long.
A week later, Emily came to me in tears because Ke-Kat’s face wasn’t eating, sounded congested and had a “swollen” face. I figured “He has a cold. Cats get colds, right? Leave him alone and he’ll get better.” So my Emily went off to school thinking that she had the world’s most pitiless mommy. In my defense, I did check online for reasons that a cat might have swollen face. The problem was that I was going on the assumption that his whole face was puffy. Later that morning, I walked outside and saw that wasn’t the case. He had a huge knot on one side of his face. I brought him to his food bowl and saw that he was obviously hungry, but just couldn’t find a way to eat. That put me in an emotional crisis. I don’t want a pet. Four children are enough! I don’t want vet bills. Pediatrician bills are enough! But his wittle face!!! Ugggg…again…am I really that heartless? Guess not. I called the vet.
The vet was very nice. When I told her that our Ke-kat was an outside cat, she didn’t have me locked up or anything. Instead she asked if there was any way we could confine him to one room for a week while he healed. She even offered an alternative option of boarding him there at the animal hospital. Since I haven’t won the lottery yet (I kept forgetting to play) I choose the former. For some reason, in my mind, it was important to point out to her that the laundry room that we’d keep him in was pretty fairly spacious room. I had this whole guilt thing going on and just needed to make sure that she knew I wasn’t locking the cat up in a closet. The vet suggested canned cat food (duh - why didn't I think of that!) until he was able to chew the crunchy kind again and prescribed a liquid antibiotic that I had to squirt into his mouth twice a day. Yeah, try doing that for fun sometime. My daughter and I figured it out pretty quickly though. We wrap him in a towel and she gets his mouth open while I aim and squirt. All in all, the visit only cost a week’s worth of groceries for my family of six. I figured, what the heck, we could eat ramen noodles if things got too rough. Yep, we’d eat noodles and the cat would dine on gourmet canned food. Remember, in my first Ke-kat post, when I said that kitty poop is the more foul smelling stuff on the face of the earth? I stand corrected! The canned food smell is even worse. The odor would assault me every time I walked into the laundry room -which I had to do not only to clean dirty clothes (cause my family rejected my suggestion that we become nudists until the cat moved back out) but also to get cleaning supplies or to get to my computer (my tiny office is nestled in a cubby sized room next to the washer and dryer.) Every time I went into the room with the cat, I automatically held my breath as long as I could. I would also get an uncontrollable urge to scrub my hands raw, but oddly enough I couldn’t bring myself to use the sink that was in the same room as the cat. I had to use another sink - in one of the non cat infected rooms. If any article of clothing fell to the floor when being transferred from the washer to the dryer, or from the dryer to the laundry basket, it went right back into the dirty clothes pile which was kept in a closet so that the cat couldn’t get to it. My bedroom became the staging area for sorting, folding and distributing clean clothes because there was NO WAY I was going to do any of that on my laundry table until it had been sanitized thoroughly – with three different disinfecting cleaners. Actually I don't think that one was overkill on my part. After all, there was a point when I watched Emily place the POOPER SCOOPER on that table. How I didn’t drop dead in that instant, I’ll never know. My heart is pounding furiously just thinking about it.
At the end of the week, we returned to the vet who was fairly pleased with Ke-kat’s progress. The lump was still there, but he was eating well and acting normally again. She asked how often we were doing the warm compresses and I suddenly wanted to melt into the floor. I’d totally forgotten that we were supposed to be doing that! How awful! If a doctor had told me to apply a warm compress to a hurt area on one of my children, I’d have been all over that. Why didn’t I remember it for Ke-kat? Thankfully Emily came with me to the follow up visit and she was put in charge of the warm compress routine. Within days of starting it, the lump dissolved away.
With Ke-kat all healed and me recognizing that it’s possible that I have serious OCD issues concerning our furry family member, it was time to put the cat back outside. But would he run away again? Would the dogs come back to scare him? Would he get into another fight during his night roaming? <-we a="" an="" believe="" by="" caused="" fight.="" he="" in="" injury="" lump="" probably="" received="" span="" that="" the="" was=""> How could we both keep him safe – and ME SANE???
Emily’s answer was that we should kennel him at night. Part of me wanted to reject that right away because although I couldn’t stand the idea of him in the house, I also couldn’t stand the idea of him being locked up in some tiny cage – meowing his little heart out! And what if he needed to…um…go? Emily had an answer for that too. We would get a big dog carrier to put him it - something large enough for his food/water bowl, a bed and a litter box. She even agreed to pay for it out of her own savings. So now Ke-kat has a nice, safe place to stay at night.
And I have my laundry room back. Yeah me! Time to do laundry!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

How I spent All Hallows Eve

Did everyone have a safe and happy Halloween? It was a fun day here. We started off by going to Mass, where it was my turn to teach Children’s Liturgy. Here comes a confession (Catholics like to confess things ya know)…when I first started the current Children’s Liturgy program at our church, I did so basically because my own children were driving me bonkers. You see, I have really great children who, unfortunately, can’t sit still for one whole minute much less one hour. There are some adults who have a tough time with that too, but that's okay. I know that different believers worship in different ways. I like to think of myself as a “still waters run deep” kind of person. I hear God clearest when I am silent. For me, going to Mass used to be my time for learning, reflection and prayer. But that was before children. After children it became a time of stress, embarrassment and even anger. Finding my “still” in church with my children next to me was pretty much impossible. It was then that I decided that if you can’t beat ‘em (because regardless of where you stand on physical discipline, BEATING ‘em is never a good idea) – join ‘em! Instead of getting upset at my wiggle worms for constantly disrupting my church time, why not help make their church time more of a learning experience on their level? The church was very receptive to my offer to begin a Children’s Liturgy program and so it began. Don’t get me wrong, my darlings are still quite capable of making me want to pull my hair out every Sunday, but somehow it all balances out now.

This Sunday we had a fairly large group of children attending. That would be a great thing, except for the fact that the only area we have to hold CL in is a rather small room just off the side of the cry room. When you have 30 children packed in a tiny room, things can get a bit chaotic. I had to asked them to “show me you’re listening” just under 80,000 times. After our Gospel story and discussion, I gave up, umm...I mean, decided to use the rest of the time for fun. They each took turns telling us all what they were going to be for Halloween. One little boy was quite eager to let us all know that he was going to be a “warrior.” By that time, I was more than ready for a bit of peace and quiet, so when he said that, my mind went straight to imagining I was home alone, in a yoga warrior pose, listening to something soothing. That mental escape only lasted about .00000007th of a second but it was enough to make it through the rest of class.

There was no time for yoga after church. Instead the children and I headed to PetSmart to get a giant doggy carrier for Ke-kat. Why would we buy a giant doggy carrier for a cat you ask? Because otherwise, I was going to have to spend oodles of money that we don’t have budgeted, in therapy bills. For me. I’ll explain more about that tomorrow (yes, I’ll post all about it tomorrow. Or the next day. Or soon. I will be soon.) After the pet store, I decided to take the kids to Chick-fil-A for lunch. Uh huh. On a Sunday. Yeah, I’m brilliant like that. Have you heard that Chick-fil-A song?

I could hear his voice in my head as I neared the restaurant and saw the empty parking lot. :::sigh::: I totally respect their reason for being closed on Sunday, but at the same time….I wanted waffle fries! We settled for a local pizza place instead and then headed home. The rest of the afternoon was fairly uneventful, except for Anna and Derek asking me, every fifteen minutes, if it was time to go trick or treating. Finally that time did draw near. They got into their costumes.


Our costumes have been getting a lot of use here last couple of weeks. First there was the Night at the Boo-seum – a local Halloween fest held on the site of our future Children’s Museum (which has been in the works for over a decade now…I’m hoping that it gets built before I have grandchildren.) Anna absolutely refused to wear the princess costume that she HAD to have when we went costume shopping. It didn’t itch in the store, but it did once we got home. Go figure! Instead she slipped on her trusty Mulan costume. That Mulan dress is probably the best clothing purchase I’ve ever made. It was originally for Danielle…who passed it down to Emily…who passed it down to Anna, who keeps it with her play “dress up” clothes and even occasionally uses it as pajamas. Unlike most costumes, it apparently doesn’t scratch, bind or feel uncomfortable in anyway at all. Why can’t all costumes be like that?

Since she was Mulan, I made a last minute decision to dress up in the kimono that Danielle wore at Mechacon this past summer. At first Anna was excited about my dressing up with her, but became somewhat impatient when I tried, in vain, to tie the obi semi correctly. "Just hurry up already" she pleaded. After several tries I admitted defeat and just “did it my way.”

Our next costume outing was for the Friday before Halloween. The elementary kidlets got to dress up for school, and I got to dress up – for school too (I was subbing at the preschool.) Aren’t we all too cute?

One very dear friend saw this photo and commented that I was missing a kid. I mistakenly assumed that she forgot that I have four children and laughingly pointed out that the pic was missing TWO children, not just one. That’s when she told me she first thought it was my oldest and two youngest in the pic. Oh yeah!!! I was mistaken for a 16 year old. Wooooohooo! That totally makes up for the Walmart cashier NOT carding me a couple of weeks ago when I purchased some beer for hubby’s fishing trip. Belch…beer. Buying the stuff was yucky enough. Not being carded was just insulting. So what if the only way I can look too young to buy alcohol is in a Halloween pic where I’m wearing my daughter’s costume. I’ll take it!

The younger two got to wear their costumes AGAIN on Saturday when we went to my sister’s party. By Sunday, I was pretty impressed with how well Derek’s ninja outfit was holding up after so many wearing and washings. I did not put the kimono back on when I took them trick or treating. Instead, I got all deck out in witch dress. Yeah – we like dressing up at our house.

I also really like seeing all the little ones in their various costumes. That’s part of trick or treating that I like best. They get candy. I get to say things like “oh, look at that precious little Ladybug.” Or “What a great pirate!” Or “Hey ninja dude!” That last one earned me a scolding look and an indigent “Mrs. Sandy! I told you this morning that I’m a WARRIOR!” Opps. Sorry. My mistake.

At home, we divvied up the candy loot (because big sisters need candy too even if they did nothing but sit home and wait for the goodies to come to them.) I inspected it all looking for Butterfingers before letting them eat three pieces each and bagging the rest for later. Then it was time for baths and other bedtime rituals (why do I still have to remind my 14 year old to brush her teeth?) As I put Anna to sleep, I could hear that at least one of the others was moving around – out of their bedroom. Ordinarily I would have called out another “it’s BEDTIME” reminder, but it was Halloween and I let the offender slide. Later, when I went to finish MY bedtime ritual of cleaning the kitchen, I was greeted with…a clean table, wiped counter-tops and all of the dirty dishes stacked neatly next to the sink waiting for me to wash them.

I hope that I don't have to wait until Halloween 2011 to get treated like that again!