Actually, it was Halloween

John and I dressed as skeletons in love this year. 

People made barfing noises to express their extreme pleasure at seeing our stolen hearts – it was excellent.

But that’s not the point.

The point is that when looking through pictures of us John gasped and said that “actually”…

…this one…


…is all mine.


Learning to Love Halloween

Here in Wisconsin with Halloween falling at the end of October, last night’s evening of trick or treating in the 50’s was down right balmy. In this fine state, it’s good to be a gorilla for Halloween, a full-sized bag of M&M’s would work nicely or if you dressed as the Abominable Snowman in his best rain gear, you’d be set for a night out trick or treating in Wisconsin – no matter what.

Of course, my girls have never wanted to be any of these things.Clara, Jane, Ivy and Storm

Which means that every year, (in the last frantic hour of leaving the house cause that’s how we do things around here) I’m promoting layers under costumes and (on exceptionally cold years) jackets over them. Last year, I gave up, threw my hands in the air and John and I just showed all the concerned parents that we did, in fact, have warm clothing and shoes for our poorly clad children… whenever they were ready for it.Jane and Ivy

This year, they did better (perhaps last year’s cold toe memories did some good?) and when I talked up the benefits of layers under costumes, I was at least partially heard, some layers were added but, of course, not quite as many as were recommended…

And so, last night, while following chilly children down the sidewalk, I decided I had it all wrong. I’ve always hated Halloween (except for those tiny Milky Way bars) but I should love it. Because Halloween is the ultimate “I told you so” holiday for mothers. Not that I would stoop so low as to look my darling, freezing children with their shivering buckets of candy in the eye and actually form the worlds “I told you so.” (I mean, I do want them to share those tiny candy bars.) But I do believe at least one “Cold? Reeeaaally?! Huh.” may have escaped me.Jane

Eventually Glinda the Good Witch and I retired to the warmth of the truck, (those of us who live in the country have to drive into town to go trick or treating) which may have been because she was cold, though I suspect that was only a ruse (that girl is Elsa through and through and the cold has never bothered her anyway) and that the real issue was the miniature zombies in the dark. Tiny people dressed as zombies are terrible, please don’t let anyone convince you otherwise, and I was happy to sit in the warm truck with her away from those little, creepy, candy collectors.Jane

Now, I’m sure you are concerned about my mini candy bar collection with one kid out of the trick or treating. Thankfully our Wicked Witch of the West was not so wicked after all. She, the shyest of all, spent all night asking if she could take a piece of candy for her little sister and returned to the truck with an overflowing bucket for the good witch. And, luckily for me, her little sister is very good at sharing.Clara

This morning I’m thinking that Jane’s got the right idea. Next year I’m going to promote a Tinker Bell costume and make sure to casually mention that no one will ever know who she is if she wears a jacket over the top of it. Of course then the many suggested layers will be refused and when she inevitably becomes chilly I’ll still be able to roll my eyes in the dark, think a satisfying, “I told you so” and hide in a nice warm truck. As long as her sisters continue to be so generous we will even have a nice stash of Milky Ways at the end of the evening.

Perhaps I could learn to love this holiday after all.

I Created The Monster

I created the monster.Wicked Witch Ivy

Well, that one too, but that’s not the one I’m talking about.

No, the monster I’m talking about is the one that rears it’s ugly head every year at Halloween when I try to tell my children to wear weather appropriate clothes with their costumes.

Probably if I told them to wear weather appropriate clothes more often, this wouldn’t be an issue. But that’s not my way. I’m more of a, “Alright if you don’t want to wear your hat/shirt/shoes/pants/jacket/socks/mittens that’s fine,” sort of mom. I’m a, “Sure you can wear a tank top in October but grab a sweatshirt to leave in the truck just in case,” kind of mom. I’m a, “My kids are smart and will put on clothes when they are cold,” kind of mom. Most importantly I’m a choose your battles kind of mom.

And when it comes to battles, I never choose clothes.


Except on Halloween.Wicked Witch Ivy and Clara Bee

Because cold children and trick or treating go poorly together and when one ridiculous evening of candy gathering (don’t get me wrong I love the candy) is hyped for weeks and costumes are gathered (thank you Grandma Pat), the last thing I want after experiencing the horrid-ness that is Halloween (I’m a Halloween hating curmudgeon, it’s true) is for all that effort turns into snot nosed, whining, crying, cold children who need to cut the evening short where they (and I) will be devastated by their meager candy haul. (Miniature Milky Way bars are the only thing that continues to ensure my participation in this terrible holiday.)

And so on Halloween I tell my children to wear more clothes. This is a direction that is so unpracticed on both the directing and the receiving end that to call it a lead balloon would be a kindness.

This year, I eventually remembered that I’m a choose your battles kind of mom, threw my hands in the air and we left the house looking like this.Wicked Witch Ivy, Bee Clara and Princess Jane

While I personally feel that that picture contains a lot of cuteness it’s totally lacking in clothing for weather befitting a drizzly October evening in Wisconsin.

Ivy had cold toes and Clara had cold fingers and Jane was frozen all over. Not that that meant she wanted to put her shoes on. So John and I stood at the end of many sidewalks and showed concerned citizens of our town that our pockets had both sweatshirts and shoes for the small purple princess who was shivering as she slowly minced down the sidewalk after us.

It was just after John made the comment that perhaps we should take away her crown and give her a box of matches  that she was done. John took her back to the warmth of the truck while I continued to follow the others through the town. To their credit none of them whined about the cold. They just talk about it in an, “Oh my gosh I can’t even feel my toes” sort of incredulity as they marched on through the ghoul-filled darkness.Princess Jane


It’s true, I created the monster.

And I’m ok with that because for the other 364 days of the year it’s a monster that serves us well.

As for Halloween, well, I’ve never liked it anyway.

Except for those mini Milky Way bars…


Pumpkin Party

The food is piled willy nilly in the kitchen and there aren’t enough bowls to go around.

There are people carving pumpkins on the table and people carving pumpkins on the floor. jack-o-laterensThe house is getting hot and the kids are getting loud.

Friends have come with mere hours notice, food and pumpkin carvers in hand.

Now they rummage through the kitchen to find spoons, dinner and drinks.

Great Gramps grew the pumpkins and John made the chili. Great Gramps and Jane Halloween is still my least favorite holiday but in this moment…#rawrlove pumpkin

… in this moment, it’s the best.

I’m In It For The Candy

I took the girls trick or treating without John for the first time today.

It was all tears and fights and 37 million costume changes – before we left the house.

But eventual I took a pumpkin, a  princess and a fairy (who abandoned her wings and turned into a princess) out in the rain and despite wet feet, cold rain and a late start they ended up with quite a haul of candy.


My friend Jessie was roped into the photo by Ivy because her scrubs, which she has cleverly hid behind Jane, were Halloween themed. She is also smarter than I am, or perhaps not as desperate for Milky-Way bars, as she declined our offer to join us in our “fun” night.

The house looked like a bomb went off, I’ve never had so much crying while doing something “fun” and the only one who consistently smiled and wished everyone “Happy Halloween!” was the same one who announced to all who would listen, “I a punkin!”

But that pile of candy is loaded with mini Milky-Way bars so it was probably worth it.



The Gates by John Connolly

So, you know, the gates of hell are opening and a small boy needs to save the world, same ol’ same ol’.


Except there are footnotes!

And I really do love footnotes.

These footnotes are not just any kind of footnotes, oh no.

These footnotes are the laugh out loud kind of footnotes.


…get this.

It’s the first in a series.

I haven’t read them yet – but I’m going to.

I’m mean really, a humorous, young adult book with footnotes in a series.

It’s like John Connolly wrote it just for me.

Would I recommend it? Oh – The Large Hadron Collider is in it too. What more do you need out of a book?

Oh The Irony

Last year I posted about my hatred of Halloween.

This year I’ve had close to 600 views of my “Halloween Hater” post from people searching for pumpkin carving patterns.

Oh the irony…

This year I still hate Halloween.

First of all I hate Halloween because I can still never spell it right on the first try.

Secondly I hate it this year because I’ve completely lost my voice today.

Here is what I can report about being voiceless:

-Screamfree parenting is one thing… parenting in whispers and hand signals is too much.

-Puppies do not stop chewing on toys when you whistle, clap or stomp at them across the house.

-Small children do not stop coloring on your new drywall that got installed YESTERDAY when you whistle, clap or stomp at them across the house.

-“They” say that if you talk quite others around you will lower their voice to match yours.

-“They” lie.

Lost voice aside, other preparations for my least favorite holiday are going…… well they are going.

A few weeks ago we made some fun lanterns for the table.

This weekend we did some pumpkin carving.

Now with the big day finally here there are costume wars going on.  Decisions made in the last weeks are suddenly not OK and fights are cropping up. Meanwhile I try to whisper alternatives and peace making strategies and, in a moment of something decidedly not screamfree parenting even without a voice, threaten to cancel trick or treating for my children altogether.

Because if we are all being honest, I’m only in it to steal their candy and I bet I could get a big bag on sale at Wal-Mart tomorrow for at lot less trouble!

Halloween Hater Part 2

Another Halloween has come and gone and I can’t say that I’ve converted into a fan.

There have been Halloween’s in the past that were worse.

-There was the year my roommate got into a bar fight and got punched in the face. She only weighed about 100 lbs.

-There was the year I got food poisoning. Thankfully that coincided with the year the swim team was stalking the streets of Stevens Point looking for the wrestling(?) team over some infraction I have since forgotten but it involved a lot of crying girls.  I missed it all and only heard about it the next day, no big loss.

-There was the year I tried to avoid all Halloween related activities. Piper as a very large puppy gave me a black eye that night.

Last night while there were no catastrophe’s I’m not sure the amount of fun had was worth… well, all the rest of it.

The problem stemmed from the fact that I have a three year old.  (If you are unfamiliar with daily life with a three year old or need a refresher Motherhood Uncensored described it fairly well today in Congrats on your 3-year old!) The three year old had a problem with her costume.  It started about an hour before we were reading to go trick or treating and it went like this…

I don’t want one. I do want one. I want to be Pooh. I want to be a fairy. I want to be a princess. I want to be a fairy princess. (At this point I gently nudged us away from the princess line of thought since in the hours before trick or treating I stepped on and smashed her crown, shhhhh don’t tell!) Fairy. I don’t want wings. I don’t want a skirt. I don’t want a wand. I do want all those things. No, I want flowers not a wand. I want all the flowers. I want no flowers. I don’t want shoes.

… get the picture?

Meanwhile I was dressing Clara.  She doesn’t talk.  Some days I love that about her.

Finally I assembled an uncooperative lamb and a fairy in the yard: As I took pictures of the girls in the yard (quickly before someone decided to take her wings back off) I discovered something. Both real sheep and pretend sheep take about two minutes once they hit our property to get burrs in their wool.(No Clara is not picking her nose in all these pictures she’s picking the scab from getting a gigantic sliver in her face after falling in the garden, but that’s a different story)

As I deburred Clara we waited for John. We were waiting because, as everyone knows, the best time to butcher sheep is just before you go trick or treating with your kids…at the last minute he came running to the house changed his clothes looked at me and said, “Now, do I have any blood on my face?” I tried to convince by color blind husband that this was the one night it really didn’t matter… He didn’t care, something about real blood vs. fake blood… in any case we loaded up and headed into town.

When we got there the girls had an hours worth of fun filling their buckets full of candy. That night while John was back outside skinning sheep in the dark (talk about creepy Halloween activities) and I was putting Ivy to bed  I tried to decided if it was worth it.

You know, I’m still not sure, but I can tell you with out a doubt that I love mini Milky Ways!

Halloween Hater

I hate Halloween. It is just too scary for me!

What a wimp, I know, whatever, I can’t help it.

I just have no desire to purposefully scare myself. Scary movies, no thank you. In the brief years we had a TV, I used to try not to watch anything around this time of year. Partly because even regular shows tried to sneak Halloween in, but mostly to avoid the commercials. Even trying to watch the news, or some other innocuous show, ads for horror movies and overly creepy shows would be on everywhere.  Some people have said that perhaps growing up without a TV, I was never “desensitized” to such things.  I am still at a loss as to why it would be a good thing to want to watch horror movies, shows, scary ads on television, or read most of Stephen King’s books…  I don’t even like creepy yard decorations.  In addition to the fact that I think it’s all disgusting, disturbing, not to mention oft times down right frightening on first seeing (or let’s be honest, accidentally seeing….. I avoid these things like the plague) Halloween “stuff,”  it’s the nightmares that get me.

For example last night I spent a super fun evening with friends doing one of the only things related to Halloween that I do enjoy, carving pumpkins.  John and I were way out of our -triangle-circle-oval-face-  league with our pumpkin carving expert friends with their scoopers, saws, books and mad carvings skills. Check out this eyeball!

As I was picking out patterns I rejected one book completely joking the patterns were way too scary for me and bound to give me nightmares.

Apparently I shouldn’t have joked about it.

Maybe my comment gave my subconscious a nasty idea, maybe I am just that wimpy about scary things. Whatever the case last night I had a grade A nightmare, complete with zombie like creatures, faces being ripped off, epic zombie battles, fire breathing dragons, space travel, spies, traitors, and one attacking wild boar. As I struggled to get back to sleep without falling back into the dream I eventually woke John up and made him talk to me with all the lights on. My -I-never-remember-my-dreams-much-less-have-nightmares- husband is fairly supportive in the middle of the night but I think it only strengthens his case that I am indeed a “crackpot.”  Unfortunately John’s patience wore out before I was over my nightmare and he went back to bed. It was then I discovered an upside to crying babies and a kid who plays musical beds in the middle of the night…

…you can’t have a nightmare if you’re not sleeping!

And that was just from carving pumpkins.

I hate Halloween.