Monday, October 31, 2016

Scenes from a Halloween

I'll tell you this right up front--my favorite holiday is Halloween. Always has been. Always will be.

Unlike the other major holidays, Halloween asks nothing of  you. You don't have to mess with a turkey, send out a bunch of cards, or fight for your life in shopping center parking lots.

Instead, you get to play dress-up on a gorgeous autumn evening and go foraging in your neighborhood for delectable morsels that, properly rationed, will last you until Christmas. As an adult, you get to keep doing this vicariously through your children and then, if you are truly blessed, through your grandkids.

Around Googie's house we tend to make Halloween a festival. With four of the six kids living three hours away, it rarely works out for us to be together on Oct. 31. But don't think that means we haven't done our best to observe this most glorious time of year in fine fashion. Here are the pictorial highlights of that celebration.

Here, Pooh, Zoomie, and Bootsie model their costumes following a discussion of the importance of body stance and facial expression in portraying character. The kids have often been beneficiaries (or victims) of my college theatre training. However, they are hams by nature, so I don't think I have done any permanent damage.

Beenie and I spent a recent afternoon learning about all-things-Egypt, culminating in this impersonation of a mummy. Requiring the investment of one and one-half rolls of toilet paper, the costume required fifteen minutes to apply and fifteen seconds to demolish. But the process led us to speculate on some of the more thought-provoking nuances of mummification.

How did mummies go to the potty? Easy--the TP was already there. How did mummies breathe? Well . . . back then they didn't need quite as much air as we do.

Speaking of monsters, no Halloween festival is worth its weight in Laffy Taffy without making a few monsters of our own. Using a foam craft kit from a Hobby Lobby clearance sale after some other wonderful Halloween, Sooby, Bootsie, Zoomie, Pooh, and I construct our Frankensteins.

In the course of the monster-making, I told them about Mary Shelley, who wrote her short, brilliantly visionary Frankenstein novel while at a retreat with her husband and their other writer friends. Yes, kids, Frankenstein was written by a girl. Don't underestimate us.

Politely begging your indulgence here, let me preserve for posterity a selfie with Washington Irving's famous Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow fame. As a special  treat this past weekend, Pa-pa, Bootsie, and I went to see a community theatre musical of the same name.

This lesser known 2009 musical, with book and lyrics by Jim Christian and music by Tom Edward Clark, was highlighted for us due to the musical direction and piano/flute performances of Bootsie's mama, our daughter Cookie. It was thoroughly delightful, and will always be a unique aspect of Halloween 2016.

Finally, no Halloween festival is complete without the requisite cookie-making. Here you see Heero, who will turn three years old next week, capably spreading frosting on an orange-eyed ghost. With brother Beenie's help, we were able to produce this delectable platter of homemade sugar cookies (none of which have survived) to carry us through as we counted down the days to Halloween 2016.

As I type this, the big day itself has arrived. Beenie had his Halloween party at preschool this morning, and Heero is celebrating likewise at daycare. Sooby, Pooh, Bootsie, and Zoomie are getting ready for trick-or-treating Kansas-style. I am thankful to have been able, once more, to share this favorite holiday with all of them.

Next up: the Thanksgiving Wiener Roast. Stay tuned to see if this great Missouri weather holds for us.

But meanwhile, Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

"B" is for . . .

 . . . Bootsie!

And birthday. And, unfortunately, busy, which is why I am nine days late getting your birthday blog up, my sweet six-year-old. But let me be quick to make amends.

Although I didn't get to spend the actual day with you this year, we did get to have a great time together on Pa-pa's new boat on the Saturday before:

At least, I hope it was a great time--you do look a little bored here. It was also the weekend that I finally got to pay a very important debt from the summer--the bubble gum ball I owed you from our whirlwind weekend in Springfield.

Remember? I talked you out of topping off your Orange Leaf frozen yogurt with one of those, arguing that frozen desserts and gumballs just don't work together very well. Then, when Pooh proved me wrong, you were a little upset with me. But you were a good sport about the whole thing, and now, hopefully, we are even and I am back in your good graces.

The Springfield trip, when I had the privilege of hanging out (in a motel room, park, movie theatre, fast-food restaurant, swimming pool, dessert shop, etc.) with the four of you while your mama rehearsed and sang was definitely a highlight of our summer. So was Mother's Day, when I caught this cute pic of you blowing bubbles in the back yard.

However, Bootsie-girl, it has been six years since you were this baby on our first Halloween together, and I can't imagine I will ever like any picture of you much better than I like this one.

Anyway, my kindergarten cutie, I hope you know I was thinking about you last Tuesday on your sixth birthday and hoping you would like the baby-doll and Peppa Pig beach towel from Pa-pa and me. I can't even imagine that our family dynamic ever existed without you. Who would have won our all guessing games and put together all our puzzles? In six short years you have found yourself a permanent branch on our family tree, and we love you a bunch.

So today, nine days late, I hope these few words and pictures make for an acceptable acknowledgment of your birthday just past. "B" is for Be happy, my pretty girl, and Pa-pa and I will see you soon.