Because Halloween is a big deal in our household, a household with two parents who have retained much of their juvenile, goth/Tim Burton aesthetic, our children chose their costumes weeks ago (a ninja and grim reaper/policeman, don't ask). It didn't stop us from looking at the costumes while in Target some time ago, and all I can say is WTF Target children's costumes? Part of me wants to high-five Target for going above and beyond the call of milquetoast children's costume options, but the other half wonders how much weed they had in the boardroom when deciding on what to buy this year:
Oh yes, the HOG SLAYER. Wouldn't an actual hog be required to complete this costume? WTF? Not dragon slayer, no, hog slayer.
Pirate slut A and B:
I'm really glad there was a variety representative of the may different types of pirate slut. The "glam pirate" isn't bad but seriously, GLAM pirate? Isn't that an oxymoron? Pirates didn't have perfect pigtails, they didn't have sequins on their boots. I take issue with the historical accuracy of this costume.
This was the best store-bought costume I've ever seen in my life and I begged Liam to pick it but he was determined to break my heart because he wasn't having any of it:
Kudos to this model for trying (and failing) to bring some Johnny Depp spirit to this adult's costume:
God bless Target for their costume descriptions. It's some of the best reading ever:
Liam is dressing as a ninja today and Ewan, who has been dressing as a grim reaper (pictured below) on his own for the past month, is torn between continuing this obsession, or wearing the policeman costume that his Nana bought him.
other day the boys carved pumpkins and we set them out on the deck.
Ewan was proud of his pumpkins, especially the diminutive pumpkin into
which he carved a clumsy smiley face. The next morning while leaving for a playdate, Ewan shrieked and began to cry: by walking outside
he had interrupted one of our notorious backyard squirrels furiously
digging the face out of his little jack-o-lantern. Liam fetched his empty BB gun and
raced to get a good shot but the squirrel had disappeared by then. All
that remained was a small, disfigured jack-o-lantern. It was pitiful.
Ewan held his pumpkin and wailed, Liam kept a watchful eye on the tree
limbs nearest our deck, and I stood and watched them both - consumed equally by laughter and sympathy.
I lied promised Ewan that we would fix his pumpkin and we could even
carve a new one. After a few minutes, Liam lowered the barrel, walked
over to Ewan, and imparted a major life lesson: "Bub, sometimes you get
your way. And sometimes a squirrel scratches your pumpkin's face off.
Life just isn't fair all the time."
I made the biggest promise of my life and pledged to be passionate and compromising until death parts us. I've read in the New Testament where it says that people are neither married nor given in marriage Up Yonder but I told Chris good luck in shaking my spooky specter off his leg anyway.
I've learned a lot about men and marriage these past eight years. Marriage is a lot like learning to walk with a leg that has a mind of its own. Sometimes you trip over each other and fall down. Eventually you get better at putting one before the other and making the whole walking thing work.
I don't care if it sounds sappy; if I had to make a mental list of the qualities I would ask for in a husband, I'd say that I've gotten more than I listed. And he just learned to iron.
I've always noticed that the photos in all the craft blogs show happy little children doing happy little crafts and everyone is smiling and the families seem so homespun and put together. I know that the times when I post craft photos on this website it may seem like that, too, but let me assure you: there is not one craft session chez Loesch where someone doesn't get mad because their brother has the green scissors I WANT THE GREEN SCISSORS, or someone can't find their blue crayon or someone superglues their pinky finger to the table, or someone taste-tests an Elmer's glue stick because hey, it was pink.
Come to think of it, all the art teachers I had in school growing up were beyond deranged, which, if I had to teach herds of kids art day in and day out, I would be, too.
I manage to snap a couple of photos because a) I like adding it here and keeping a record of their home education for them to look back on and b) I need to keep it here as a record of their home education for the days when I want to rip my hair out. Win-win.
I've gotten pretty ambitious with their art (not mine, never again), even graduating Liam from acrylic paint to oils, though I honestly haven't had the brass to let him go whole hog with it yet. The other day we tackled a new project for Halloween: the ghost mobile.
I used spare white fabric, tissue paper, string, and a bottle of vodka. I kid. The boys drew faces on their ghosts, stuffed with tissue paper, and I used some sticks from the yard to create the "hardware" part of the mobile. Liam was totally grossed out that I just went into the yard and like, grabbed some random sticks. He wanted to go to the craft store and spend money on dowel rods or something "more mobile-er, mom." I told him he if wanted to use his allowance to pay for gas on the way down and purchase the supplies he was more than welcome, otherwise it's STICKS FROM THE BACKYARD. He seemed happy with the original plan after that.
And the mobile turned out ... weird. It's cute but it doesn't look like the ghosts are floating so much as hanging.
Whatever it looks like, it's hanging in my stairwell.
It's my second time at-bat over at Blogher. My first post was a woolen mittens introduction; this is some serious meat and potatoes politicking. I am trusting those who are of a different political persuasion to be cool because there is nothing on this earth that annoys me more than
1. Drunk sorority girls 2. Hillbilly narrow-mindedness 3. People who freak out and lose their minds when a contrary political opinion is before them
Numbers two and three are sort of interchangeable, I realize that. Just don't be either of them. Personally, I think it's kind of bullsh*t that I have to wring my hands at how much crap I'll get when others speak freely with no repercussions. However, I refuse to apologize for my opinions. It's called a free world. Deal.
Normally I'd do a post about all the things I'd like to load up in my imaginary trebuchet and fling over the roof of my house but after some stress last week I've been in a strangely good mood. It's like when you're very sick and you visit the porcelain god and afterwards you feel as though you can really breathe again. So instead of flinging things I'd like to just make a list of some things which have made me really happy this past week:
I finished my first pair of fetchings the other night. They are black cotton, very plain and would probably look underwhelming compared to the fruits of some talented knitters, but they're mine and I love them.
Halloween. My mom always goes over the top decorating for the holidays and her insanity has passed to me. Today as part of their art lesson, the boys and I are making ghosts which we will turn into a mobile and hang from the ceiling in their playroom ...
Speaking of which, I am so glad it's all the way on the 3rd floor so I don't have to worry about this mess when guests come over. 99% of what you see here is from their grandparents. In a slight exaggeration, Chris and I had sticks to play with in comparison.
This apple cake recipe, from my good friend. Ooh, and this from my lovely friend Alanna. A slaw recipe with apples and BACON. It just reinforces my idea that bacon goes with everything and is the panacea for all the world's problems. It's really hard to be in a bad mood when you're making one of these things and can smell it from the kitchen.
This guy. He's reading fifth grade books and loves scary stories. I am in awe at how many doors literacy opens; he breezes through most of his lessons and requires little instruction because he can read it all. Ewan is coming up fast behind him; we've started with short vowel sounds and he's reading simple words. I've been using Liam's leftover preschool and K4 material for him but I'm running out. (I'm also still slowly but surely working on a massive compendium of all things St. Louis, and not, homeschooling-related. If you've emailed me with a question and I haven't answered please shoot me another email! Sometimes thing get buried and I'm horrible at organizing my inbox.)
I was up yesterday morning before the sun. After a full day
of Liam's classes, playgroup, work, and laundry, I was exhausted. Usually fall
energizes me; yesterday I crumpled into a heap on the sofa with the boys,
snacked on the leftover roast and vegetables from the previous day, and watched
every spooky and fairytale movie we could find in the big steamer trunk that
holds all our DVDs.
Later there was an accident at Chris's building. He's OK,
the building is OK, it was a bit scary though and when he finally slipped in
next to me underneath the sheets last night he smelled like smoke and cables.
The studio is to open in a matter of days now and he's been working 'round the
clock to make it happen. As a result, the boys haven't seen much of him; we
haven't seen much of each other. I went away from my computer yesterday
afternoon and when I returned I was a little shocked at the gluttony of my
inbox. The other night I let the boys stay up to a late hour they've never
before seen because I wanted company, their company. It was nice, albeit
selfish. Unfortunately, late nights like that make my comfortable bed seem more
inviting in the afternoon hours. If I nap now though, the boys will stage a
(*In the meantime, take a moment to check out this post on large families and the phenomena of celebrity baby adoption for Mama Pop.).
My introductory post is up now over at Blogher. A year ago I would have hesitated to accept their invitation to be so open about politics out of fear that people would throw produce at me or something, but more and more I'm resigning myself to the reality that there are a lot of people and ideas in this world and darn it all to heck, we should be able to exchange ideas and still get along and if not, then wah. There exist others out there who can and will and those are the folks with whom I want to party.
I don't have take a deep breath with this stuff when I'm on air; I do when I write it though. I find this disparity humourously intriguing.
Anyway, please to enjoy and be kind. Thanks to the Blogher ladies for welcoming me.
The boys picked me a bunch of lavender from the backyard; I
dried it and set it on top of the cupboard in the dining room; it smells like
the best perfume.
I also have two new gigs:
I'm joining the lovely ladies over at Blogher as a
contributing editor in politics and news posting once a week; I'm also writing
a new monthly homeschooling column over at Imperfect Parentbeginning next
month. So when I'm not here or on air, I'm over yonder.
Tip me to some of your cool finds or inspiration in the comments.
I just watched a commercial about the Loving Family
Dollhouse. It struck me as odd: I vividly remember being a kid and playing with
dolls that I pretended were my age now. I watched the kids in the commercial
play with the dolls and walk "the grand staircase" and I chuckled at how their
play probably didn't include mommy and daddy freaking out over how the sluggish
economy was now affecting their small business or how politicians are crooked
and people are sheep.
Then I remembered my cousin Joe.
When I was little I would spend the night at my cousin
Ginger's house and we'd stay up all night playing with her massive collection
of Barbies. Joe, her older brother by a couple years, made our Barbies' lives a
living hell. When Joe got bored with his video games he'd bust into Ginger's
room and ask to play with us. Initially we didn't refuse. He'd give us each an
equal share of Monopoly money and Ginger and I would be all "WOO! Barbies AND pink
five dollar bills! Yeay life!" Then Joe would announce that he was the landlord
and that we had to pay him $500 of our Monopoly money for rent. And then Ginger
and I were all, um, OK." Because Joe was taller than us, he was the only one
who could reach the chain on the ceiling fan light and if it was night, he'd
turn it off until we gave him $50 each for our electricity bill. He was Man
Electric, too. Eventually our Ken dolls got laid off, the power was turned off,
and our houses foreclosed. Our Barbies always found themselves homeless,
dragging a paper bag full of miniature belongings down the hallway to go live
in the government housing that was the kitchen cabinets.
I hated playing with Joe, but I learned a lot about life in
During one of Liam's classes this morning I sat and talked
with another homeschool mom friend of mine while we all waited for our kids. She
was having a garage sale and noticed a couple of brown recluse spiders milling
about after she'd moved some things out of her basement. She'd hired a man to
spray her house today, but didn't make the call until after she caught a spider
in a jar and made a family trip to the zoo where the staff identified it, kept
it, and named it after one of her kids.
"You caught a brown recluse," I said more as a statement,
not a question.
"Yeah. In a jar. I came home from riding my bike and saw in
on the ground and my first thought was to dash off and get a jar. They were
really nice at the zoo. Did you know that not all people react to brown recluse
bites? Sometimes the flesh rots off by the bite, but only sometimes. Other
times it's just a red bump. Fascinating."
She turned to look at me but at some
point during the conversation (either the part where she caught the spider or
the flesh-rotting part) I had frozen.
Her first thought was
to catch it in a jar.
I was in awe of her courage. My first thought would have
been somewhere along the line of OMGWTFSPIDERSPIDERSPIDER!!!!!!! There would
have been screaming. I've been known to run into walls and furniture in an
attempt to run through them while
escaping from a spider. I've written before that I am terrified of tiny things
with lots of attitude and this includes spiders and my children. I would not
have gotten close enough to it to catch it in a jar because with my luck, it
would have jumped on my face and sucked my brain out through my eyes.
It reminded me of when I spotted one of those trilobites
running across the floor the other day. The boys tried to catch it while I dry-heaved in a corner. I called Chris immediately.
"Um, you need to stop home during lunch because I just saw
some seriously prehistoric craziness run across the floor."
"What'd it look like?"
"A mili or centipede. But with long antennae."
"Then that's what it was. We have cardboard boxes in the
basement. They actually like to eat those."
"I know what they are and they're weird. I'd try to kill it
but it would probably jump into my ear and burrow through my brain."
I heard a sigh on other end of the line.
I listened to my friend detail how the spider incident
became a homeschool lesson for her kids and how they got to go behind the
scenes at the zoo when they added the family's spider to their insect house.
They learned about different varieties of the things, habitats, and other educational
grossness. Her kids were learning without even realizing it. By the time the
kids' class was over I knew more than I ever wanted to about arachnids.
Semi-related: the boys made shadow monsters yesterday, an
idea I got from one of my favorite websites, a children's craft blog. I even
used an X-acto knife and didn't cut my fingers off.
I've contributed over at the ever-amazing Alphamom today for the spankin' new "Alphamom Guide to Everything (in five easy steps!)." It's a handy compilation of usable advice in short form comprised by some cool wimmins of the Web.
Now go read about how there's no shame in buying Mountain Holler instead of Mountain Dew.
My parents like purchase the loudest, most aggravating toys
ever created for the boys. My mother thinks nothing of taking the boys to
Target or Toys-R-Us and allowing them to pick out toys, something I never do
because I am more like my step-father. He will wake at the crack of dawn and
visit all the major flea markets and yard sales in town, scouring for treasures.
Sometimes he'll bring Liam with him. This is how Liam got his ridiculous
screen-printed t-shirt of two wolves howling with a native American's face
silhouetted in the moonlight sky. It's also how we got Thomas the Possessed
Train, pictured above.
I am not a 'fraidey cat but if I'm awake by myself at night
and I hear a creepy CHOO CHOO whistle coming from somewhere in the house, my
business will be slightly freaked-out. The other night, while Chris worked late
and the boys were fast asleep, I worked on a few deadlines while C-Span droned
on in the background. Suddenly Thomas started up with his CHOO CHOOO, CHOO
CHOOing and by the time I located him in the bottom of the kids' toy basket,
he'd stopped. I placed him on top of the basket, sat back down, and five
minutes later CHOO CHOO all over again. As soon as I got up and took a step, it
stopped. This went on for an hour. It stopped the second I stood up. I'd
fake-flinch and it would stop. Touche, Thomas.
I finally removed the batteries and laid it on the floor. I
sat back down again, and when I looked over at it later its shuttered eyes
flipped open. It may or may not have also rolled its eyes and given me the
finger, which I realize is anatomically impossible for a train but this train is possessed. I'd send it back to my parents' house with the boys when
next they visit, but it would only retaliate by rolling all the way back up to
the city to kill us all in our sleep.
Unrelated: In just a bit Chris and I will be dining as guests at a
fundraiser with President Bush that we couldn't afford to get into were we not
guests. I will work hard to not embarrass myself in any fashion.
So yesterday my PD calls and is all "Hey, so you interested
in riding in the Sarah Palin motorcade and rolling with the press corps all day
tomorrow?" and I'm all, "Did you not know who you hired when you offered me a
job at your station?" and he was all "Great! It's settled!"
And then I was happy.
And then there was a period of time when I wasn't so happy
because I had several different people telling me several different things, one
of which was "No, you can't come, but you can stand and wave at the airport and
then we'll see you at the rally afterwards."
But me being who I am, which is irrationally tenacious, I'm
back on the motorcade and will be rolling with people way above my league for
the majority of tomorrow. Were I not so naive perhaps I'd be nervous. But I'm
not! I'm a person! And they're all people, too! And we all put our pants on one
leg at a time!
"I put my pants
on just like the rest of you -- one leg at a time. Except, once my pants are
on, I make gold records."
Shut up, fake Bruce Dickenson.
One of them told me that there wasn't anything to cover at
that time but hi, riding along with the VP candidate on the way to a historic
debate with the potential to fire off one question or glean something from the
corps? I disagree. The Midwest McCain campaign director called me a bit ago to
confirm the above and I went all classic talk radio with "LISTEN TO ME
OVERSHARE! I can talk for FOREVER!" and when we I were was done
talking she literally said "Oookay!"
Ohmyword I wish I were joking. But I'm not! Story of my
life! Invite me to your parties!
I'm terrified that I'll get to the airport and Secret
Service will tackle me or something and put a hole in my leggings. That I am
wearing. With a nice long sweater and boots. Because I get cold and it's going
to be a long day. Or that all the news hounds in their suits who chase the
trails daily will laugh at me. The anxiety level is right up there with my
first day of kindergarten.
The following day we're guests at a fundraiser dinner
with President Bush. I'm not joking. When I get nervous I tend to prattle on
with never-ending conversation to the point where the people listening want to
die. It's a diversion from my nervousness. I am a master strategist.
I've a journalism background, so getting it together and plowing ahead and
sticking recording devices in people's faces is not unfamiliar territory for
me.I sound dramatic because it's late and I took a nighttime sinus pill. Kittens with eyepatches are circling my head.
I'll be on air early tomorrow morning and covering the debate tomorrow night in some capacity for the station. I'll also be on Twitter tomorrow if you want to follow along.
**UPDATE: So, after spending my entire morning in the hot mess that is Wash U and seeing firsthand the MASSIVE amount of problems they're having with credentialing; listening to some big wig from NBC scream out a volunteer because he flew in from New York and his creds had gotten messed up; hearing volunteers complain about loose security and the severity of the massive credentialing screw up; seeing that my name wasn't listed on the pool list; and realizing that while I may be in the motorcade, I wouldn't be able to get off the press bus as my particular creds only extended so far. As Palin is not taking any questions before the debate, I decided that I'm not going to sit on a press bus for five hours with no wifi and unable to make a phone call, because the signals will be jammed, just to say that I was in the motorcade. I would see her exit her plane and get in her limo and that's it. No chance to ask a question.
I'll be on air doing pre-debate from 7-8pm and at the rally tonight, but to say that I'm aggravated is perhaps, the understatement of the year. I rearranged not only my schedule, but Chris and the boys' schedules for this. Liam is missing Spanish. I didn't even get to see them off before they went to their grandparents and I won't see them again until tomorrow evening. I am very uncomfortable with that. One of the reasons I have my work, my living, situated the way I do is so that I can put parenthood first. I failed on that today and it upsets me and pisses me off because running around chasing this stuff and being jerked around is a candle to the roaring fire that is the importance of my kids.
When we had friends over the other day Ewan answered the
door dressed as the Grim Reaper. He doesn't know how to tie his shoes, nevermind
that Halloween is this month. Whereas the majority of boys like to dress up as
cowboys, astronauts, or any other superhero designed to inspire children to
greatness, Ewan loves to dress up as the Harvester of Souls. He even has a
Chris and I are weird, but come on, we're not that weird. There's this Wii game called
Boom Blox in which you can construct castles, houses, etc., place characters in
the scene, click play, and they all do battle. It's Liam's favorite game and
Ewan likes to sit and watch him play it. One of the game's characters is a farm
animal dressed up as a Grim Reaper. Ewan calls him Grim, and when dressed up as
his new idol, insists that he be called Grim as well.
I am sort-of blamable; I stopped by Target one afternoon to
get toilet paper and the boys dragged me over to the Halloween display. Ewan
fell in love with a plastic sickle and begged for it, even offered to buy it
himself with the four dollars in his dinosaur wallet.
"It's like Grim's, mama," he enthused.
We walked out with toilet paper and the sickle.
For the past two weeks he's about his day wearing a black
graduation robe bequeathed unto him by his cousin; he pulls it over his head
like a hood, grabs the sickle, and puts around the house breathing like he has emphysema.
"Is that what you're going to be for Halloween?" asked a
friend of ours.