Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Costumes

Last year, Santa brought the girls princess dresses to wear during our Disney trip.  In a moment of insanity, I actually thought the girls would be able to wear those dresses for Halloween this year. 

The blond twin outgrew her Ariel dress, but the brunette twin's Belle dress now fits her.  It's a great, big ball gown that really makes her feel like a princess.  She's thrilled to be Belle as in her words, "The yellow dress matches my blond hair."  She's planning her hair and all the accessories. 

The brunette twin presented a different problem.  She outgrew her Belle dress and wanted to be a vampire.  Part of the reason she wants to be a vampire comes from our recent trip to Six Flags Fright Fest.  When we saw the show "Love at First Bite" there was a dark-haired female vampire.  She wore a sexy vampire costume, complete with fishnet stockings and stiletto heels.  This was the brunette twin's inspiration for her Halloween costume.   

Add to the mix the fact that we live in Chicago, where the weather could be 80, but is more likely to be 40 and raining.  The brunette twin needed something more age- and weather-appropriate.

Luckily, we found a floor-length gown she loves.  It's purple velvet with lots of gold brocade.  We added some plastic vampire teeth so she could be a princess vampire. 

She's happy and we're happy.  All is well for this Halloween.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Gramma's Shoes

My Mom is tiny.  She's barely 4' 10" at this point.  One of the fun milestones for each granddaughter has been for them to start wearing Gramma's clothes and shoes.

The girls are now part of this tradition.  It started out innocently.  My Mom said, "When the girls get a bit bigger, I have some winter boots that will fit them."  The girls heard this and have been waiting -- impatiently -- to fit into Gramma's shoes.

This is the year they can wear Gramma's boots.  The brunette twin fits into them with normal socks.  The blond twin will have to wear heavy or two pairs of socks.  Still, she will wear Gramma's boots.

Since Mom is so tiny, all her shoes and boots have heels.  I cannot remember Mom ever wearing a pair of shoes, boots or sandals without heels until she bought her first pair of gym shoes.  The boots she gave the girls have small heels, which thrills them to no end.  They cannot believe they get to wear heels. 

The problem is they are going to get spoiled wearing Gramma's shoes.  My Mom always bought really, really nice shoes.  We buy shoes that will take the girls through one season as we know they will outgrow them before the next season.  Mom bought them to wear for years.  Her boots are really lovely. 

Until they outgrow them, the girls will beam every time they put on those boots -- just as their older cousins did before them. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Dog Obedience School Rewind

We finally got Oreo into an obedience class.  It's close and comes highly recommended by our vet's office.  We heard good things about the owner from a neighbor.  We were really happy to be on our way to a better trained dog.

The first class was last week.  Let's just say it didn't go well.  Oh, the dog did fine.  He was on par with the rest of the class, so we were pretty happy with that.

The problem was we were delinquent parents.  We brought the wrong leash.  We brought the wrong kind of training treats.  Ours were broken dog biscuits.  They wanted soft treats that wouldn't make crumbs.  Only my husband went to class.  It turned out that all the other dogs had both owners.

So, tonight is the second class.  We'll bring the correct leash.  We bought training treats.  We are both going to class.  We're hoping to get it right this time.

Who knew dog obedience school was more about us than the dog?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Oreo's Play Dates

Oreo has a busy social schedule.  The neighbors behind us have two teenagers who really want a dog.  Their parents said, "NO," so they've adopted Oreo.

It's pretty funny some days.  Last Friday, the girls were playing at one neighbor's house and Oreo was at another neighbor's.  Adam came over and said, "Can I take Oreo out for a walk and to play for a while?"

Of course I sent Oreo out with Adam.  A few minutes later, I looked out and saw several of the neighborhood boys playing with Oreo in the backyard.

When he brought Oreo back, Adam asked if he could take Oreo out again when he was off school next week.  I agreed and wrote in on the calendar.

Yes.  I now keep the dog's social calendar along side the girls'.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Anatomy of a Week

The house is clean.  There is food in the fridge.  We're ready for a new week.  The girl are happy to go to school to see their friends.  The Sunday paper is half-read. 

How are we going to get all this homework done?  How did that happen?  What are we making the girls for lunch tomorrow?  When is pizza day this week?

No, you cannot wear that to school.  What do you mean you cannot find two matching socks?  Give me your lunchboxes so I can clean out everything.  Where did this come from?  You need what by when?  Pick a shorter book.  We don't have time to read a 50 page book tonight before you go to bed.  Just dump the mail on the pile. 

Did you study your spell words for tomorrow's quiz?  What do you mean you cannot find your glasses?  Yes, you have to go to school today.  No, I'm not going to finish the Sunday paper -- just toss it.  Do we have to eat dinner tonight?  Can't we just skip it?   

Finally!  We survived another school week.  Get out of bed and get ready for school.  I didn't ask you if you wanted to get out of bed; I'm telling you to get moving.  We'll have leftovers for dinner.  Let's go through the mail pile.  Let's try to find the breakfast bar.  Has anyone fed the fish this week? 

Run errands.  Clean up and organize house.  Try to have some fun.

Get ready for a new week.  Finally relax from last week.  Go to bed and start all over again.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

My Little Echo

Overheard at our house...

Brunette twin: "If you don't stop it, you could be a garage dog Oreo."

Mom just smiles.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Simple Dedication

I'm working with Carrie at Blog to Books to turn this blog into a book for the girls.  After all, it's why I write the blog.  Someday I want them to be able to look back at what was happening and remember all their growing up adventures.

The work is completely stalled right now because I cannot come up with a dedication for each girl.  It seems so simple.  All I have to do is write a couple of sentences and send them to Carrie.  For someone who can write paragraphs about some little thing that happened during the day, this should be easy.

It's not.

I have a dozen drafts started, but none of them say exactly what I want to say.  This could be because I don't know exactly what to say.  If I had a clear vision of what I wanted to say it would be easy.  I have variations on a theme, yet it's not quite what I want to put at the beginning of a book I hope they will have forever. 

I'd like to give the girls the books for Christmas, so I need to get moving.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Fun at Fright Fest

We’re big amusement park fans. This year alone we’ve been to four different parks in three states. I’m embarrassed to admit our theme park adventures didn’t take us to Six Flags Great America until a representative from Discover Card emailed and invited us to Fright Fest.

Fright Fest was a different adventure from what we were used to because the rides, shows and characters were all Halloween-themed. These really fun, costumed ghouls wandering the park just walked up to people and interacted. One time a ghoul grabbed a camera and started taking photos of a group. Another time a ghoul put his arm around a young woman who must have thought he was one of her friends. She didn’t even realize he was there for about a block. When she did realize it, she jumped and screamed. The rest of her group laughed. It was fun to be in the park because the other guests there were all in the Fright Fest spirit.

Our favorite ghoul moment came as we were leaving the park. A family walked in front of us. The father kept calling “Samantha.” She ignored him. A ghoul in a bloody bride’s dress heard him and started screaming, “SAMANTHA, answer your father.” She followed the family until they left the gates. We were all in tears because we laughed so much. The bloody bride was relentless. She screamed and screamed at Samantha. It was hysterical.

We did enjoy Love at First Fright. It was all you would expect from a Halloween show. Every song had a Halloween connection, with the Time Warp getting the biggest response. The girls knew most of the songs and laughed at the costumes. Our middle school neighbor understood the show on a different level. She caught most of the adult jokes and sang all the songs. I just sat back and enjoyed the current event references woven into the plot.

We made it on all the roller coasters we wanted to ride, often more than once. Our blond twin is a well-documented roller coaster fanatic. It cannot go high enough or fast enough for that crazy girl. The blond twin went on the Eagle three times before I decided it was enough. All told she rode different roller coasters more than a dozen times in one night. She loved every ride.

For me the ride I won’t go on again is the Orbit. It looks so harmless. You get into your cage and it starts to spin, kind of like a Ferris wheel. The difference is the Orbit takes you upside down as you are spinning. When it stopped, I could hardly walk straight. The other three girls were running to get back into line. I went on it a second time, but I wouldn’t do it a third. I was dizzy for a few blocks after that ride. It was the last time I went on a ride that I didn’t watch first.

During Fright Fest, several haunted houses join the attractions. We didn’t visit the haunted houses. I’m not sure our girls are quite ready for that. Yes, I get the irony. The blond twin will go on anything that twists, turns and goes upside down with frightening speed. She’s afraid of haunted houses. We call her the thrill seeker, but she is only seven years old. The brunette twin wouldn’t even walk near the haunted houses.

The scariest moment of the night came when we were on the Eagle. At the top of the first hill, it started to rain. I kept thinking, “I’m on top of a crazy roller coaster, in the dark, in the rain, looking at traffic on the Tri-State.” It was a great, as was our night at Fright Fest.

Disclosure: Discover Card sent Shari free tickets to Fright Fest. She and her family paid for all the other theme park adventures themselves.

This is an original Chicago Moms Blog post.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Oreo's first casualty

We knew it would happen eventually, and it didn't take long. Oreo destroyed one of the girls' toys.  And, to his credit, he didn't just choose any toy.  He decided Bitty Baby was going to be a good chew toy.

We knew something was wrong as soon as we walked in the door from church.  Daddy was standing at the door with an angry look on his face.  I asked why the dog was outside and Daddy said, "You'll find out in a minute."

When the blond twin saw Bitty Baby, her favorite, most loved baby, she started crying.  She sobbed and sobbed until her eyes were red.  She said, "I don't like that dog anymore.  I want to get rid of him."

Now, in his defense, it wasn't totally his fault.  The blond twin left Bitty Baby in a vulnerable position.  The temptation was too much for Oreo.  He is, after all, just a dog.

A bit later the girls were in their room swaddling and cuddling Bitty Baby.  They were making plans to take care of her, as if she was in rehabilitation. 

They will be more careful in the future, but let's just say it will be a long time before Oreo is out of the dog house.

Monday, October 11, 2010

It just looks like a dog

Since we live near the forest preserves, we see a lot of wildlife.  The other day we were walking Oreo when the blond twin spotted something walking through a neighboring golf course.  It strolled across the golf greens as a few golfers stood and watched.  It plopped down under a tree, sitting up much like Oreo does when he wants to go out.

The blond twin said, "Is that a dog?"

I said, "Nope.  It's a coyote."

We stood there for a minute watching the coyote.  He never moved.  He just sat under the tree as if he was waiting for the next golfer to hit the ball.  We moved on once Oreo became really impatient. 

As we walked away, I made a mental note not to walk that way once it gets dark in the late afternoon.  It's cute to watch the coyote in golf course, but I don't wan to run into him while walking Oreo.

Friday, October 8, 2010

No Commenting Allowed

The girls are in a Daisy Troop at their school.  There are 16 girls from 12 different families involved.  For the last meeting, they asked for volunteers to help with a craft.  Three mothers showed up to help.  In addition to the three co-leaders, this made for a grand total of six adults to help 16 girls.

I'm not going to complain about the lack of parental participation.  It's a road to nowhere.  Some parents just aren't going to take the time to volunteer.  Yeah, yeah, I know they are busy.  It's a good thing none of us are busy.  We're just sitting around eating bon bons and getting manicures. 

My problem was that several parents made snippy comments when they came to pick up their girls.  They walked over to the table where we were finishing the craft and sarcastically said things like, "Looks like fun" or "How did you get stuck with that?" 

Really?  Here's the deal from now on.  If you are not willing to spend the time to help, then you cannot make rude comments to those of us who do help.  The next time someone who couldn't take the time out of her busy schedule to help makes a sarcastic comment, I reserve the right to say something equally sarcastic back.  It's part of the deal.  You don't get to be condescending and sarcastic to those of us volunteering to help your children.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

When is it too stained to wear?

Our girls can destroy clothing at an awe-inspiring rate. Last night our brunette twin dropped her dinner on the front of her shirt. Her attempts to remove the food were really quite acrobatic for someone who was seated. After we stopped laughing, we realized she created a big stain on the front of her shirt.

Stain remover and an extra wash didn’t remove the stain. I said, “Great. One more shirt in the trash.”

My husband said, “It’s not so bad. She can still wear it.”  In a way my husband was right. The shirt was fine for playing outside or wearing while making crafts. It’s a good theory that you see in many magazines. These stories talk about how children’s clothes should be sorted into different categories so your child always has something appropriate to wear. In reality, I don’t have time to keep different clothes for different reasons sorted and organized. All their clothes are good enough to wear most places. They have nicer clothes to wear to church and on holidays. Otherwise, everything else is fine to wear on any day.

Since I purchase, sort and recycle most of their clothes, I made the final decision to throw out the shirt. It was nearly too small for the girls and now it had a big stain on the front. It was an easy decision.

It’s not that I find clothing disposable, but I do have some limits. The girls have a lot of long sleeve shirts with small stains on the sleeve cuffs. I don’t mind them wearing those shirts, even though they have stains. I think most children’s clothing has stains on the cuffs. I don’t mind the occasional tiny stain on the bottom of the shirt or in some obscure place, like under the arms.

However, I draw the line at a really noticeable stain right in the middle of the front of the shirt. Sometimes it’s just too stained to wear.

This was originally posted on the Chicago Moms blog.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Show Me State

I think the blond twin is going to grow up to be on the debate team in high school.  Everything we say become the subject of a debate in which she needs us to prove that we're right. 

In many ways, I understand that this is our fault.  I'm not big on "because I said so."  When we have time, we try to explain things to the girls so they understand why we are doing something a certain way.  We have found that if we do this a couple of times that we don't have to go into detailed explanations any more.  They just get it.

Lately, the blond twin has decided she needs to double-check everything we do or say.  When I told her I fed Oreo, she went and looked in his bowl.  When I told her she needed to wear a plaid shirt to school, she wanted to see the note from her teacher.  Before she would bring apples for snack for their Johnny Appleseed project, she asked a lot of questions about who Johnny Appleseed was and why she needed to bring apples. 

It's a constant negotiation with that girl.  She never just accepts an answer.  She always has to ask "why" or "who said" or "what do you mean."  

Some days I think I'm confused, but I don't think it's me.  I think it's her.  While most of the family lives in Illinois, it's clear that the blond twin lives in Missouri -- the show me state.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

New Household Order

Overheard at our house...

Mom:  "I think from now on in the morning you should say good morning and kiss me before you kiss the dog."

Brunette Twin:  "Why?"

Mom:  "I'd like to think when you kiss me, I'm not getting second-hand dog germs."

Blond Twin:  "Well, we really want to kiss Oreo first.  He misses us when we're sleeping at night.  We miss him too"

Mom:  "Okay, so are you saying you don't miss me?"

Brunette Twin:  "We miss you Mom, but we miss Oreo more."

Friday, October 1, 2010

Love/Avon Army of Women

On the first day of Breast Cancer Awareness Month (surely you know October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month), the Love/AVON Army of Women is seeking volunteers to participate in breast cancer prevention studies.  It's an easy and quick way to make a big impact in breast cancer research from the comforts of home.

All you have to do is go to and create an account to become a volunteer.  The program is maintained entirely online.  It just doesn't get any easier to help medical researchers move towards eradicating breast cancer. 

The Love/AVON Army of Women initiative is focused on recruiting ONE MILLION WOMEN for breast cancer research, with the long term goal of preventing breast cancer all together. You help them reach their goal by signing up today and forwarding this information to other women.  Together we are a powerful force.  Let's use that force to find a cure for breast cancer.