So we got home from Disney, exhausted but so happy with our awesome vacation and all wanting to pretty much go right back again — and found our house (or at least the upstairs) torn to bits for Lukas's room remodel. Unnnngggghhh. The lighting in the hallway looks awesome, and we can tell how great the room is going to look, not to mention the doors that were replaced in the whole upstairs hallway, but there just seems to be so much more to do, and the kids bunking together (Lukas on a futon mattress on Annika’s floor) — much as the two of them like it, giggling away about “fart-butt” and “poopy-head” half the night — it’s ruining R.’s and my lives. They get to sleep later, they wake up earlier, and Lukas absolutely cannot be trusted alone in there with all of Annika’s fascinating, forbidden, breakable toys. Here’s hoping this is finished with a quickness!
—October 9: Per our family tradition, I had decorated her place at breakfast and had a small present for her to unwrap. It happened to be college shirt day at school, so she wore a Columbia shirt and the birthday crown they gave her at school all day long. This was also her “VIP week” in the classroom, coincidentally, so she got to do a lot of special stuff during the week, which made it extra nice. That night, we had a family party, with a cake I baked and she decorated, and a whole bunch of presents, including the long-desired EZ Bake Oven. Eight is going to be awesome, my sweet girl!
—The fairy party: Per Annika’s heartfelt wishes, we did her friends party at home this year. Here’s how it went:
• 16 fairies, with wings
• 2 little brothers
• 1 babysitter who was so helpful I should have paid her $500
• 1 parent who was so helpful I probably embarrassed her with the effusiveness of my thanks
• A fairy house painting craft (Pinterest gold!) that was actually rather a success
• A cake parade (18 kids marching through the house shouting CAAAAKE! CAKE CAKE CAKE CAKE CAKE!!!, much like drunken adults at a bar when that "Shots" song comes on)
• A fairy dance party (primarily to Taylor Swift's entire 1989 album, purchased online for the occasion, on repeat)
• The pin the wand on the fairy game (I forgot both the eye covering -- eventually using a scarf that, well ... I just really hope none of those kids had lice that night -- and the fact that there's supposed to be a prize for the winner)
• A fairy egg hunt in the gloaming, which served as the distribution for and stuffing of goodie bags
R. and I were exhausted, but the party was a hit, and she was thrilled and grateful (oh my heck, one only turns eight once, doesn't one, after all?), and we are NEVER DOING THAT AGAIN.
—Big Hero Six: Lukas has gotten way into the movie Big Hero 6, which he’s only ever seen parts of (at school movie night and at the gym’s kids club) but has a couple of books about. He tells us who we are and what our powers are, he loves pretending to be the character Tadashi (which he renders as “Kendoshidi”). It’s pretty hilarious — and I’m assuming it will make a lot more sense if/when we ever watch the whole movie ourselves.
—Swimming: Lukas earned his “O-Fish-Al” Jellyfish ribbon this month! He was so proud to get it — and now every week he doesn’t get one, he complains about it. Up next: Octopus.
—The Brownie troop: This month, her Brownie troop went on its first field trip, to a local pumpkin patch. It’s the first field trip I’ve not gone on with her, because Girl Scouts has some seeeeerious regulations w/r/t who can drive the girls (there’s a training & qualification thing that I haven’t done), and of course Annika handled it like a champ — such cute pics they sent back! Also this month saw the start of a thing I didn’t know existed before: fall sales, which involves nuts, candy, and magazine subscriptions. I got press-ganged into “managing” it, which since I decided more or less unilaterally was going to be online only, wasn’t as big a deal as I had feared; we’ll likely do booth sales next year, but at least for now, we’re easing into it.
—Dandy Day: Holy moly, did she exceed her last year’s performance and this year’s goal! She did 50 laps — which is about ten miles!!! — and thanks to a number of per-lap pledges, earned $1,200 … $500 of which was a super-soaking of good old Uncle Jake and Aunt Jill, who pledged an insane and probably unsustainable-in-the-long-term $10 per lap. She was thrilled with herself and grateful to all her sponsors, and excited to do it again next year.
—Spy Adventures club: The most perfect after-school class of all time landed in the white envelopes, and it could not have been farther up her alley — the Spy Adventures club. Mondays after school, it involves all manner of spycraft and mystery solving, including the building of a periscope and the creating of crazy aliases, etc. She loves it!
The greatest day of the kid year (besides Christmas) was on Saturday this year. Annika was a Pearl Fairy (costume ordered from a place called Chasing Fireflies — $$$ with bad customer service, but the dress was really lovely — with a pearl wand handmade by me) and Lukas was Captain America (which he decided on a month or two prior, and which remained unchanged despite his ever-changing allegiances to various other superheroes and animated characters). The costume parade at school on Friday was hilarious (and a lot longer than last year, due to a lack of the rain that shortened it in 2014). Saturday, we went to our friends the Marshalls house, had dinner, and got costumed up for a great time canvassing their neighborhood; we even ran into Raina and her older sister and did half of the route with them. Both kids got a ton of candy, and as Lukas’s allergies seem to be fading somewhat, he even got to eat some of the chocolate & caramel stuff this year! I even let them have some candy before breakfast on November 1 (which, alas, was the night of the time change … so we were up mighty unnecessarily early, ugh!). They were so cute, trick-or-treating — there wasn’t anything too scary at the houses, and Lukas finally gets it (including the fact that you don’t just barge into the living room, ha!); at one point, he took off his Captain America glove so he could hold hands with “Wawson,” his BFF-whenever-they’re-together. A great night for everyone!
— "I'm Batman!" Lukas, jumping through the bedroom door one night at bedtime, wearing his house slippers and a black eyemask and nothing else
— "Do you think they're brothers?” Lukas re: some ants he’s spotted on the curb at Whole Foods
—“Super unstoppable bagel finger!” Lukas, with a finger stuck through the center hole of a mini bagel