Sunday, October 30, 2011

Wild Things Part 2

This week I went decorating and baking crazy, preparing for our Wild Rumpus. First order of business, add some wild things to the house. Here's an illustration from the book for inspiration:
And here are three of the wild things. The redhead looks a bit like a muppet to me, but Ben recognized them all and was pretty excited. It was nice to have a Halloween monster that was also a familiar literary reference, and not too scary for the kids (although I've seen Spike Jonze's movie, and those wild things scared me!).
I carved our pumpkin and Ben lay down next to it, had a conversation with it, and gave it a kiss.

I baked pumpkin spice cupcakes with cream cheese frosting (decorated like wild things) and mint julep brownies (these are the best brownies I've ever eaten). These two recipes had so much butter in them that I'd rather not think about it, but it was great fun to abandon all health concerns and make massive amounts of decadent sweets for a crowd. I also made Nutter Butter ghosts because I thought Ben would love them, which he did.

And I made some slimy mozzerella eyeballs (in balsamic and olive oil), which were yummy and wonderfully funny to look at!
And, yes, I see that misspelling now. Ga! How embarrassing! Even editors need editors.

In spite of the 5-10 inches of snow forecast for last night and a mild cold going around that everyone seems to have acquired this week, we had a good crowd and a lot of fun.
Here's Ben after a few hours in a house filled with people:
Oh, and I wore my mom's German dirdl and went as Snow White (or rather, an aging Snow White with freckles). I put a felt crown on Chris and informed him he was Prince Charming, although I threatened to put scary makeup on him and make him the evil queen if he didn't behave. Here, Mom, I thought you'd like a photo:
Doesn't this dress just make you think of Christmas? Don't I look like someone who resides in a Gingerbread House? Well, in a few weeks I'll be jumping into advent with gusto, and maybe I'll have to pull the dirndl out while we're applying gumdrop buttons to gingys. So many things to do! I love holidays.

Wild Things Part 1

Ben and I are both big fans of Maurice Sendak's classic Where the Wild Things Are. In fact, the copy I read to Ben is the copy I had as a child. He has memorized all of Max's lines to call out when we're reading it: "I eat you up!" "Let the wild rumpus start!" "Now stop!" When I asked him if he'd like a wolf costume like Max for Halloween, he said yes.

Just for a visual reference, check this out:
Oh, Max. You naughty boy.

Now here's Ben's version of Max. I just attached ears, buttons, whiskers, and a tail to a white sweatsuit. He was pretty comfortable in it.
Our first event was our town's Halloween on Main Street. Every Friday night before Halloween the town cuts off traffic on Main Street, and you can trick or treat at all the businesses and library, etc. Thousands of people show up in really excellent costumes. My favorite this year was a boy dressed as a headless man, carrying his own head.

Ben trick-or-treated several places, greeted with plenty of "aawww, how cute!" from those doling out candy.
Then he got tired of walking and Chris carried him home.
The next post will contain photos from our party!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Some things are more fun than other things.

So, the second day of school was not so hot. Ben knew what was coming and was forlorn and weepy the whole time. But once we got in the car and were driving home for lunch, he told me he had fun and played with the kitchen and phone at the school. So who knows?

On to more cheerful topics, such as...da da DA DA! Washing the cars! This gets done about once a year at our house. Seriously. It's too hard to bother with in the winter, and we just don't get around to it when the weather is nice. But the cars finally filled up with sand to a point that we were happy to bid it adieu.

Here are the Callaway men washing the cars:

Also, Ben's dad is turning 40 tomorrow. I made him some brains cookies (not made of real brains) with a Venn diagram about what zombies and professors have in common. He liked it a lot! And it's the gift that keeps on giving, because I've promised he can take the cookies to his office, eat them all himself, and then bring the empty jar home (not more than once a week) for a refill. The almond-y brain-colored cookies are delicious and are going to be a new cookie staple for us. Also, I filled out the jar with some choco-chip in the back.

Check out the dude as the Zombie Professor. A bunch of his Halloween photos popped up in Google Images. I'll bet he never dreamed he'd be immortalized on a jar of Happy Lobes Brain Cookies. Excellent costume and very convincing demeanor, mister!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The First Day of School

Ben was so ready for his first day of school that he cried this morning because we weren't leaving the house early enough. Chris and I dropped him off together, and he didn't even care that we left. He ran up to the door giggling madly and elbowed another poor kid to get in the door. When I picked him up, Ben was exhausted, and his teacher reported that he had a very good first day, that's he's very smart, but he didn't understand "circle time" so they let him explore on his own a bit. Nice teachers! Also, he tended to be quiet in a big group. No surprises there. I'm thinking maybe we'll work on circle time at home with our stuffed animals.

I slept fitfully last night and felt twitterpated when dropping him off, so I just kicked myself out of the classroom quickly and ran 3 miles home. Then I made the mistake of walking to and from school to pick him up, which is about 4 more miles of walking. The first day of school wore me out!

First day report card for Ben: B+
First day report card for Dad: What is the letter grade for completely nonplussed?
First day report card for Mom: Q (Seriously, there is no rational grade for the mess that is me.)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Alphabet Birthday Wonderland

Ben began his first day as a 3-year-old by demanding that Chris and I sing "The Alphabet Song" instead of "Happy Birthday" to him when we got him out of bed. He then went downstairs and was thrilled to discover letters and balloons hanging from the ceiling. He thought they were pretty much made of awesome and unicorn dust.

After drawing our attention to all the letter decorations, he settled down to opening some gifts. He read his name spelled out on several of the presents (he is recognizing lots of sight words these days).

When he got to this fantastic wooden spelling toy, he set aside everything to play with it for a bit. It's so rewarding when your child actually really likes a gift you've chosen for him, am I right? I never know whether something will illicit ecstasy, apathy, or horror (as was the case with some Kipper felt puppets I made him last Christmas--he now loves them).

The party commenced at 10am.

The most popular items were the alphabet elevator, a bowl of Scrabble Cheezits, and some mason jars filled with candy on the table. FYI, that's pretty much all you need to keep children (or adults!) happy for a few hours.

Ben politely shared his elevator, snacks, and toys and was excited to see some of his friends arrive, but as the crowd grew, our little introvert snuck out to the back porch to have some fun time by himself. Look, bubbles!

Before long his friends joined him. (Doesn't it look nice out there? It was. The temperature stayed quite pleasant while the party lasted--at least as far as the not-eight-months-pregnant guests were concerned.)

After some buttermilk biscuits with ham and sweet iced tea (I fell back on Southern favorites this year), we enjoyed some alphabet and number cupcakes. Ben liked them very much and chose the letter B, for obvious reasons. Below he is staring intently at the cupcakes and refusing to look at anyone singing "Happy Birthday" to him.

A great strategy for eating cupcakes is to lick off all the frosting first.

The party ended with a book exchange.

After nap time (Ben didn't actually sleep, but Mommy, who'd been up since 5am, did), Ben opened yet more presents and Skyped with relatives. We had a great day! As I told Chris that evening, "All these parenting experts suggest that plying your children with junk food and presents is a bad thing, but Ben has been in a super mood all day! I've changed my mind; the key to avoiding whining is to just give him candy and toys all day long."

Thanks to everyone for making Ben feel special on his birthday.