Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Hallowe'en Everyone!

– Hey bro'... you need some help with that?

– Because I knows my way around a lock or two. And then
maybe you help me with 'dis pesky leg iron, OK?

– Oh, hi everyone. Is me, Seth. I is outlaw on the lamb right now.

– Maybe you is wondering what my crime is. I doesn't blame you.
I pretty upstanding guy up until now.

– Turns out I steal too many hearts.

– Penalties is no deterrent though.
Also if you is a cutie, you gots my number(s) now.

– Oh, hi everyone. Is me, Nate. I is here to serve and protect.

– I investigate last known area where suspect was sighted.
Also is OK if you swoon a little here. Uniform has that effect sometimes.

– Naturally I move on in due course.
I tell Mommy I is "doing police business" but I think
'dis look say it all.

– And if not, 'dis look should.

– In the end, I wait by fence for suspect to appear.
Is also convenient way to show off back of costume.

– Oh, there you is.
– And there you is. We meet at last.
– Backyard only so big after all.
– True enough.

• • • • • • • 

Four things:

1. Nate really did tell me he was "doing police business". 

2. In case you are wondering where yesterday's skeleton went, there are no less than 3 layers of thermal shirts (plus a T-shirt) and 2 layers of pants (1 thermal, 1 fleece) underneath those costumes.

3. This photo is way too cute:

– I think we breaking cute laws right now Nate.
– You is right. I is about to arrest us both right now.

4. Despite appearances, Nate had those handcuffs down like nobody's business before I even turned the camera on, but his concentrated efforts made me laugh. Truth be told I think I might have miscast this year's costumes because if you need a lock picked Nate is definitely your man. 

The handcuffs are a toy and came with some laughable toy "keys" that I actually had to use to unlock them when I was just checking them out. Nate spent most of our photo shoot sans keys locking and unlocking them and saying, "Looks like a three... now it looks like a zero" as he Houdini'd them back and forth – and as much as I hate to admit it, I still have no idea how he did it. 

– Is like a three and a zero right now.
My boys... putting the trick in "trick or treat" since the day they were born.

Happy Hallowe'en everyone!

- L.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Happy All Hallows Eve (Eve)!

In preparation for the big day (which at this point I'm hoping won't get rained out because my boys are so excited about their very first "trick or treat!"), a few things happened around the OP in the past 48 hours.

Treats were made:

I still don't have it together when it comes to cookie cutters for the occasion, but cats are sort of Hallowe'en-ish and orange and black decorations make it work, right? The boys were thrilled with all the "Mitches and Floyds"* at least.

I also dug out the family heirloom ceramic pumpkin** from when I was a little girl and "Mommy's jack-o-lantern!" was a hit. 

M. and I also sprung for some dollar store pumpkins on a string yesterday (because we are big spenders like that) but they fizzled out before bedtime last night, so I quietly beheaded them this morning and placed them in a jar for a minimal-effort "centerpiece" for the dining table. Also a hit. 

Nate and Seth keep looking at them and saying "Hello pumpkins!", so in the end they were totally worth the $2, even if they ended up being repurposed.

After lunch we made some ghostly footprints which isn't as easy as they make it look on all those crafty mom sites, but then I expect most of them don't have twin boys. Fortunately I already had a bath waiting when we were done. 

A big "BOO!" plus a creaky step from Nate.

And an equally big "BOO!" plus a chain rattle from Seth (who I assure you has
perfectly regular feet despite appearances).

And in case that's not enough pre-Hallowe'en for you, an honest-to-goodness skeleton*** appeared in the boys' room right after said bath. No joke.


– Dude, go eat a sandwich.
– I would if someone send one. In the meantime, I effectively impersonate skeleton.
It helps pass the time while I waste away.

No worries – I fed the boys Mitch and Floyd Hallowe'en cookies after lunch and supper today. I'm sure it will fatten Mr. Skinny right up.**** 

– Is Mitch.
– Is Floyd now.

– Is also yummy, but is still Mitch.
– Yummy, yes... but also still Floyd.

Happy All Hallows Eve (Eve) everyone!

- L.

*Mitch and Floyd are very popular over here thanks to this book by Oliver Jeffers. Anything that can be named is either Mitch or Floyd (but most especially cats) and that included the cookies today. Mitch and Floyd also feature heavily in many of the great debates of late, but that is a post for another time. 

**I placed the pumpkin there to take a photo, but rest assured it was safely out of reach (although much admired) when my boys were within reaching distance.

***Our sandwich campaign has been a miserable failure, but the one I sometimes call Skinny is now in the 25th percentile for weight (believe it or not). He still looks a lot like he did though when I'm fairly certainly he dipped below the 5th percentile so I'm not sure I'm buying it. Our humble campaign for sandwiches however remains in effect until further notice.

****Not really.

Monday, October 29, 2012

They Say The Best Things In Life Are Free...

... of course that depends on who you ask.

Last week while the weather was still nice I came home and found a purple riding toy placed outside the house next door with some other free things. I thought about grabbing it, but then remembered I have two boys and one riding toy would never do.

The next day I came home and discovered a second riding toy had joined it and even though we don't have a lot of riding room in our backyard we have a little, so I nabbed them. Two boys + two riding toys was bound to = a fun time for all.

Which it did, except no one liked the purple one and everyone liked the other one. Thank goodness Nate and Seth are (mostly) good about sharing.

And even giving each other a ride:

– *grunt* Is Mommy still looking?

Although it usually looks more like this since Nate prefers it when Seth does all the work (also note the rejected purple toy off to the side):

– Ahhh... 'dis more like it.

We also learned some new phrases that day, like "I end up in rhubarb now":

– We not actually have rhubarb everyone.


– No. 'Dis just an expression. Obviously.

Of course, the very best part about the new-to-us riding toy was harvesting the nearby fall leaves: 

– I just checking to see if I has any other tricks up sleeves for later.

And dumping handfuls of them on the riding toy:

– Oh yes. 'Dis definitely best part everyone.

Good times.

And lastly a couple of posed shots. Promises of cheese crackers can apparently make a toddler sit still for at least 2.5 seconds. 

- L.

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Truly Terribly Horrible Sweater

Full title: The Truly Terribly Horrible Sweater That Grandma Knit & The Tale Of The Traveling Scarf

A long time ago Gamma Rita sent us a book. It was called the Truly Terribly Horrible Sweater... That Grandma Knit.

She also did her best to knit some truly terrible and horrible sweaters for the boys, which I swore wouldn't fit them until the first grade at the time.

It turns out Gamma Rita and I both messed up. The sweaters are actually pretty cute and at a little over 2.5 years old they fit my boys fairly well, so I decided to run with it in the backyard today.

– Oh hi everyone. Is us. We is posing for picture now.
– Mommy totally bribe us with cheese crackers to get 'dis shot.

– Cheese crackers is good bribe, but is you thinking what I thinking bro'?
– Er...

– Because I is thinking it be fun to get up to no good.
– That's nice Seth. I is working my tail off for 'dis pose. And also for cheese crackers.

– Also I let you in on a little secret now. Mommy can see what you is up to.
She right behind that camera.
– Uh-oh. That not good then.
– No, is not good. You pretty much out of luck on cheese crackers.

– I think I work on next year's Hallowe'en costume to distract Mommy then.
I is so going to kick butt at being Ron Weasley. Even 'dis sweater not stop me.
Obscuro now!* 

• • • • • • • 

There are books I can never ever read to my boys because I get a lump in my throat before the first sentence is done. The Truly Terrible Horrible Sweater That Grandma Knit is Gamma Rita's personal lump-in-the-throat book. Or at least when she gets to the part that says:

"What about the yellow?" [the little boy] asked. 

His [Gamma] put her arm around his shoulder. "Yellow is the happiest color I know. I remember the day your [Mommy] called to tell me [she was having two baby boys]. Your [Mommy] waited a long time to have a baby. It didn't seem like it would ever happen – and then you were born. You [both] are the sunshine of all of our lives." 

The truth is that I can't read that part of the book either without getting a lump in my throat. I did wait a long time to have babies and when the time was finally right my body wasn't very cooperative as it turned out. In the end, once again, we were the lucky ones.

Times two.

And more (so much more) than I ever could have hoped or asked for.

Even on the crummy days.

• • • • • • • 

Of course this post is also about something else Gamma Rita knit so if you're done having a decent sniffle over the last part (or maybe that was just me?), here is the Tale Of The Traveling Scarf (which I promise is nothing to sniffle over).

Last winter when Gamma Rita came to visit she brought along a scarf which was a wise choice for winter in Toronto. It mostly wasn't needed last winter because it was a pretty mild winter here all things considered, but on the days it was needed it was really, really needed**.

When it came time for Gamma Rita to return home she took her scarf with her, but accidentally left it behind in a public restroom at the Vancouver airport and didn't realize it was missing until long after she got home – at which point she decided to forget about it.

This past summer while Gamma Rita was visiting she took the boys out for a stroll one fine day and happened upon a box at the end of someone's yard. It was full of items to take for free should the mood strike you – books, odds-and-sods and believe it or not, Gamma Rita's scarf.

The same scarf she left behind in an airport bathroom in Vancouver had not only returned itself to Toronto but ended up in a box at the end of someone's yard only a few blocks from my home.

This is the scarf: 

The pattern was one Gamma Rita created. It's one of a kind and there was no mistaking it for anything other than the one she knit herself.

A little bit spooky, but a true tale nonetheless. Gamma Rita has knit many things over the years, but even she was pretty surprised that one of her projects managed to find its way home (so to speak).

- L. 

*No worries - everyone got their cheese crackers as promised. Seth is no spell caster, but he sure is cute even when he's getting up to no good.

**I will never, ever forget that day and neither will Gamma Rita. The boys were well bundled up and protected under their stroller cover, but for the rest of us it was like nails through the forehead walking home. 

PS. More pics from today. At the risk of sounding like a proud mama, these boys of mine photograph rather well, yes?

– Is like Mommy's eyeglasses!

And last, but not least, a shot of my boys together sans bribery:

– Who Mommy kidding? We already has cheese crackers.
– We totally working on dessert options now. Trust me, we got
'dis one covered everyone.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Little Treasures

Nearly every day that Gamma Rita was here this past summer she and/or I would take Nate and Seth for a walk and come home with handfuls of "little treasures". The boys just loved to stop and pick foxtails, dandelions, "alligators" and other curbside weeds on a stroll around the neighborhood – and after the first couple of trips we knew where to find all the best ones. Eventually we ended up taking a bag along to collect the treasures since hands could no longer contain our bounty as summer went on. When we'd get home, we'd dump the bag and the boys would spend the rest of the afternoon enjoying all their free loot. It made a terrible mess in the backyard at times, but they loved it (in fact, I'm sure the mess was the best part).

Yesterday we got a surprise package in the mail with a whole lot of little treasures from Gamma Rita's backyard. Since she lives on the West Coast, many of them were backyard treasures you can't find around these parts.

I think it goes without saying that it was a big hit!

Gamma Rita sent a box filled with some very nice rocks, knobbly sticks, chestnuts, pressed fall leaves and dandelions. There was even a piece of fir tree (AKA "prickly pineapple").

Unfortunately the last one ended up as a casualty of a 6 day trip through the mail, but that hardly mattered because there was this:

I can already hear Gamma Rita having a good laugh over the look on Nate's face in that picture. I also decided to take a picture of whatever is it before it got completely demolished by the boys:

The sticks and rocks were the real show-stoppers though. The boys were having a contest to see who could hold their stick up the highest*:

We also heeded Gamma Rita's advice to hold the leaves up against a window to really see all the pretty colors, and the boys were suitably impressed.

Of course, there were a couple more things in the box aside from rocks and sticks, etc.

The bag in the background is what I like to call Mommy's "little treasures", and like all treasures that are truly prized I've done my best to keep them out of sight of any and all who would like to steal them.

- L.

*Every time I look at that picture all I can see are the boys auditioning to play Harry and Ron in a pre-school production of Harry Potter.