Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Madness Begins: Tree Trimming

[Ed Note: We are in New Jersey now visiting family and in a fit of fit time while the cousins play out in the snow I am going to try to do some catch-up here.  It would be lunacy to try to, you know, actually catch up - so let's just see if I can post about our December]

December is a particularly crazy time for us.  It starts back on November 16th with our niece Sera's birthday and then just accelerates into insanity.  Soon following is Thanksgiving and then my Mom's birthday on Nov 28.  Next up is Gordon on Dec 8th, his Mom on Dec 12th and Lily on Dec 22nd.  Then there's Christmas.  I literally spend the entire month in a state of panic and usually flub on at least one birthday gift a year (this year it was Gordon's - sorry honey!).

The official start to the season of nuttiness in the MasterWong household is Thanksgiving weekend.  We spend Thanksgiving in Fall River at my cousin Gail's with extended family and then head back to Somerville for a pretty lazy few days.  Later in the weekend we have my parents and Eric and Liza over for yet another dinner, tree trimming and Mom's birthday cake.  One reason we can get the tree up so early is that we're still rocking the artificial tree that we bought 5 or 6 years ago while we were living in Medford.  Every year I think that perhaps we'll get a real tree - but then cannot resist the siren song of the pre-lit, happy little number sitting in our storage closet.  Perhaps when we move into a bigger place.....

Lily is super into decorations so she loves the tree trimming frenzy. Quinn got pretty into it this year too.  Here he is making sure we assembled the pieces in the right order:

Jeh Jeh quickly came over to show him how it was done.

Note that the tree decorating is proceeding nicely with ornaments well placed on the tree - some on the bottom and the top.  You should know that our tree only looked this way for one day.  After that the ornaments quickly migrated to the top of the tree as Quinn took them off and hid them around the house.  Sometimes he'd bring them to me "Here you go!".  By now the bottom third of the tree is completely bear, and I'm sure we'll be finding ornaments in the couch cushions until we move out.

Getting help with the all-important "filling of the ornament bowl".  The bowl is then placed where no little hands can reach it so we don't like end up in the ER or anything.

Uncle Eric takes his tree decorating duties very seriously.  Good thing he hasn't been around to see the state the tree is in now.

The celebratory "First Tree We Win" Dance.  Let the crazy commence!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Halloween 2010

Halloween is a big deal in our house  - it is hands down Lily's favorite holiday.  I'm not entirely sure why this is as neither Gordon nor I are big Halloween people. But man that kid - she loves Halloween.  She was talking about her costume months before.  We went through a bunch of potentials.  First she wanted to be John Flansburgh from They Might Be Giants - I was supposed to dress as John Linnell.  As much as I adore "The Johns" I was quite happy when she gave up on this idea as I had no clue how to pull it off.  I just pictured myself trying to explain to all the neighbors "you know, like from They Might Be Giants?" while getting a bunch of empty, concerned stares.

The next memorable costume idea had me wishing for the days of John and John again - "a bad guy with guns".  I have no idea where she got this idea (okay that's a lie - I do - at school).  But she was adamant about it.  One day, on a whim,  I let her look through one of those costume catalogs that start showing up at the house in October.  She paged through the whole thing, skipping over fairies and princesses and every other thing 3-year-old girls are supposed to be in to.  She only paused when she got to this.  Yup, folks - that's Jango Fett.  And for those not in the "nerd know" - he's a bounty hunter from Star Wars Espisode II.  Lily picked him out and said - 'hey! he looks like a bad guy! and he has guns!"  Those that knew me as a young'un may not be surprised by Lily's affinity for science fiction characters - but you guys - this is a child who does not watch any TV besides the occasional Curious George and Between the Lions.  Is it possible that this stuff is just hard-wired?  

Anyway, since "bad guy with guns" was out of the running for so many reasons we ended up agreeing on a spider.  And I decided to try my hand at making her costume.  So I searched online a little and decided that I could take this one on.  I bought a black hoodie and some black kid tights.  I cut the legs off the tights, stuffed them with poly-fill and sewed them onto the sweatshirt.  I also glued a bunch of eyes on the hood, but you can't really see them in any of the pictures.  My grand spider-vision included black tights with rainbow stripes on them and a black/silver/purple tutu.  But Lily was having NONE of the tutu idea.  She flat out refused.  "I. Don't. Like. TuTus!"  She insisted.  So in the end she wore plain black jogging pants to complete the look.  She made one adorable spider if I do say so myself!

Quinn is still to young to have much opinion about this kind of stuff.  AND we had Lily's monkey costume from 2 years ago just sitting here waiting to be used again.  When Lily wore the costume she was nearly 2, but Quinn wasn't even 18 months yet.  I was a little worried that it'd be too big for him.   Instead he filled it out much better than she ever did - because he is a ginormous little toddler.  At first he didn't like wearing the little hood with the monkey face on it, but Lily convinced him to do it.  He thought it was hysterical to walk around making little monkey sounds "oo oo oo ah ah ah".  Too flippin' cute.  Here is walking on the wall outside with Papa.  It's really tough to get him to stand still long enough for picture taking these days.

Here's Lily and her Dad - I guess you can give even BETTER hugs if you have 6 arms (+2 legs) instead of only 2.  See the ghost and pumpkin signs in the lawn there?  I bought those this year in an attempt to make the building look festive for Halloween.  Lily begs to decorate the house like crazy every year.  She found this attempt sorely lacking.  She told me that these guys don't count at all because they are not scary.  Apparently smiling pumpkins are totally uncool.  Next year she is demanding a giant spider crawling up the side of the house and zombies on the lawn.  Ummm.. help? I'm in so in over my head here.

Grammy and Papa came up to go trick or treating with us.  We started by walking up to Kathy's - where Quinn spends his days while I'm at work.  We visited with her and Paul a bit and then walked over to Lexington Street.  It was totally hopping with kids and elaborately decorated houses.  We walked Lexington back down to Hudson and then visited with our own neighbors.  Both kids had a great time, although Quinn tired out about 3/4 of the way through.  There are quite a few front stairs to haul yourself up and down and he has little legs (and a lot to carry around on them)!

We had a great time, as always and the kids came home with quite the haul.  Lily picked out a little to keep and the rest was left out for the Switch Witch.  She visited us later that night and swapped the candy with some fun activity books for Lily and stacking pegs for Quinn.  

Lily's already talking about "next Halloween".  Apparently she's going to be a skeleton. She also told me the other day: "Mom, I HATE that it's not Halloween anymore".  I tried to explain to her that "hate" wasn't such a great word and that it shouldn't be used lightly.  I told her it was a "serious" word.  She replied with, "well I'm serious about this!".  Sigh, how many more days to I have to get my act together?

Memory Walk 2010

"Reggie's Runners" 2010

This year we decided to do the Memory Walk in Newport, RI instead of Portsmouth.  We were hoping to get the whole gang to walk this time, but as usual our efforts were thwarted.  My poor Mom ended up with a terrible case of pneumonia that landed her in the hospital for over 2 weeks!  The Walk was during the first weekend of her hospital stay.  So we had to split up the team - Eric and Liza stayed behind to keep Mom company at the hospital while the my Dad and the rest of us went to Newport to walk with Lisa, Eric and Victoria. 

While we were more than a bit bummed not to have everyone together as planned, we still had a great walk and enjoyed the time thinking about Grams.  The kids were completely psyched to see Victoria, as always.  She had even made Memory Walk shirts for Lily and Quinn since the ones that they gave out didn't come in children's sizes.

Hanging out with cousin Victoria

Showing off the fabulous "Reggie's Runners" shirts

Thank you to all who supported our team - we raised over $500 by the online tally and potentially more if folks supported the old-fashioned way.  I love that we come together to do this in Gram's name every year.  Miss you Grams!