Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Annual Alternative Thanksgiving Party

For the last four years we have invited our not-belly button family to come over and get a start on the holiday fun. This last Sunday was extra-special because some of my belly button family even managed to make it. You'll see my mom and dad in the red room playing with many of the kids and giving their parents an opportunity to drink their wine and beer without having to share. (Okay, so maybe it's only *my* son who feels entitled and reassures me by saying, "It's just a sip!") Our 12 year old neighbor was also great about keeping the kids entertained. That girl is like the Pied Piper - check out the convoy of vehicles she orchestrated on the porch! Other favorite moments: Ds getting to rock out on a mandolin - finally he's found a "real" guitar just his size. (He quickly dismissed the Spam guitar - from back at the Harvest party in September - as too amateurish.) Our friends sang an amazing and beautiful rendition of the song I loved so much from the movie Once. And then the last shot, of ds, his best girlfriend, O, and the DJ: We googled the Talking Heads' song featured in Lars and the Real Girl, but then the kids quickly commandeered the computer to watch Bugs Bunny singing opera on YouTube. (Thanks for that suggestion, DJ!)

This is usually our big party of the season, but given the fact that we were left with 6 unopened bottles of wine, and many more bottles of beer, I think we have plenty of reasons to party again soon. Cheers!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Election Day

I got up early this morning, before ds and dh, to take breakfast to the poll workers (Bojangles Biscuits and Sweet Iced Tea. Hey, it's what they wanted!) and to vote. I came home and ds was surprised and intrigued by my "I voted" sticker. Later today he scored his own when he went with dh to the polls. As soon as he got home he pulled the sticker off his chest, and proudly stuck it to the bottom of his shoe and then his nose. He wanted to be sure I didn't miss it.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Happy Birthday Zoe!

In this blog, I have not yet written about our amazing dog, Zoe. She was born 9 years ago today. We've had 9 wonderful years with her. Except for some graying around the muzzle, she is just like her puppy self - certainly as active and full of joie de vivre. She still greets us every time we return home with some item of ours (if it's me, she has my slipper, if it's dh, she has his) in her mouth and her very special, distinctive sound that we call yodeling. She usually wakes us every morning with said item and a thumping of her tail against the bed, inviting us to pet her and get a good start to the day.

Studies have shown that petting a dog releases oxytocin in our brains, a hormone that leaves us feeling cared for and more connected to others. Even before I read the studies, I knew this was true from my experience with Zoe. I always feel better after I've been with her. If I'm having a hard day, I know she will be a part of making it better, fast.

Today was a gorgeous day and I took her for two long walks; one this morning, and one this afternoon, and dh will take her for one later this evening. We take her for walks every day. Walking together is one of the greatest pleasures we share. To Zoe there is *no* bad weather and from her I have learned that, indeed, there is no bad weather, just inappropriate clothing. Taking my cue from her, I dress appropriately, and enjoy every walk we take whether it be in snow, sleet or driving rain. We think ds loves to take walks because that is all he has ever known, even since he was in the womb. And we owe that to Zoe.

Happy Birthday, Girlie! We love you!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

A Very Happy Halloween

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays and I've always wanted to pay back the kindness of my childhood neighbors by being one of the houses with the "good candy". It's always chocolate and it's always fine to grab as much as you want. And if you're shy, you're encouraged to get more or I'll put a handful in your bag.

So even without a kid I've always enjoyed this holiday immensely. Last year ds had fun handing out candy, but we didn't venture out of the house. This year he wore his Spider-Man costume for the first time on Sunday when we went to a party. He loved it so much. It is a very fetching costume with big puffy pecs, deltoids, biceps and abs. People at the party thought he must be getting to the gym quite a lot. He wouldn't take it off until bedtime and then asked for it first thing Monday morning and wore it all day. He didn't ask for it Tuesday or Wednesday, but when I asked him if he would like to put it on after we had dinner to go trick or treating he said, "I want to put it on NOW!" So we got to eat dinner with Spidey.

We planned just to hit a few of our neighbors' homes, thinking that he probably wouldn't really get the concept of trick or treating. He was happy to see our friends, and seemed surprised and pleased that he was getting candy from them, but also seemed happy enough with the idea that we were heading back home...until he saw a group of his young friends making their way down the street. He is especially enamored of a 3 year old boy and quickly fell in with him, racing to the doors, and quickly learning to say "Trick or Treat" and "Happy Halloween" and, if given the opportunity to choose the candy, expressing his preference for the "orange one." (Okay, so that happened only after Mommy provided the prompts, since Reese's cups were her favorite candy most in evidence that evening.)

And as a final treat, we were invited to another (previously unknown-to-us) neighbor's home to watch movies al fresco. They had set up a movie screen on their front lawn and were showing the Legend of Sleepy Hollow and the Nightmare Before Christmas. The older kids gathered inside for a massive candy swap, but ds and I were very happy to cuddle up on a blanket to watch the shows. Ds couldn't get over it, he was so happy, saying, "Mommy, we're watching movies *outside*!" So, a very happy Halloween.