Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween! (Part Two)

Josie is so - SO - so happy that Halloween is finally here!

She picked out her costume at least a month ago and has been trying it on almost weekly since it arrived in the mail.  I'm fairly certain that there isn't a person alive within a 10 mile radius who doesn't know that Josie is dressing as a girl riding an ostrich for Halloween.

Unless it's a person who is talented enough to zone out the babble of an overly excited eight year old.

It IS a pretty spectacular costume.  

The whole thing ingeniously fills with air from a fan located near the tail feathers:

The costume would be pretty lame without the fan (which is why we have been limiting Josie's usage until after Halloween).  Once the air stops, the ostrich dies pretty quickly and the costume gets hard to figure out:

Georgia made a costume change.  She decided to ditch her Greek Goddess costume and repeat her Annabeth Chase (from the Percy Jackson books) outfit instead.

I'll just put away the Greek Goddess costume and hope Josie will wear it in the future.  

Sadly, it's currently raining here in Massachusetts and I took these photos quickly before the sun disappeared and darkness fell.

We had a ten minute window between coming home from school and doing homework and we lucked out that it was during those same 10 minutes that the sky cleared.

And yes, you did read that correctly - our children have homework on Halloween.  Enough homework, it might be added, that I don't think we are going to have time to carve our pumpkins.  

It's probably for the best, though, since we bought them about a month ago and they're more than a little rotten.  I got out the sharpie markers and told the girls to decorate their pumpkins quickly before the rain came.

And that's when we realized that drawing on pumpkins is easier than carving and a whole lot less messy.

Not to mention that you can draw a whole lot more details than you can carve.

Well, than WE can carve, I mean.

They had just enough time to finish the last few details, when the rain came and I dashed back into the house:

Now we just have about an hour of homework to finish before the trick or treating begins.... oh.  And I have to pick up Henry from the train station.  I'd better not forget that step!  

Why can't Halloween be on a Saturday?!?!

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween, everyone!

I won't have time to write a regular post this morning as I'm off to chaperone Josie's class trip to Plimoth Plantation.  

Let's hope this trip "back in time" proves more enjoyable than the last time we went to Plimoth Plantation!  (to read about that trip, click HERE)

I'll have plenty of Halloween costume and trick or treating photos later on tonight, so please check back later.  

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

My Turn At The Rink

I don't get to watch Henry play hockey very often.  

Which is odd, considering that Henry plays on two teams:  our town team (which Gordy coaches) and a club team.  The reason that I don't watch Henry's hockey is because now that he is at the Bantam level, his practices / games are played late in the evening, long after little sisters go to bed and long after Mother has put on her pajama pants and glasses.  Even those games played earlier in the day are hard for me to get to. With three children playing on five different teams, it makes sense for Gordy and I to divide up the driving, the watching and the shivering in an ice rink.  I tend to do the soccer and the early afternoon hockey practices (Josie) and Gordy tends to take the late-night, extra-cold rink portions - especially the ones where coaching is required.  

This division works for us.

But every now and then, Gordy and I like to switch things up and get really wild and crazy.  And when those moments of insanity occur, I find myself dressed to face the frozen-tundra-like rink, cheering on a pack of 13 year olds while Gordy sits outside, in the sun, cheering on girls playing soccer.  

We're one wild and crazy couple, aren't we?

This past Sunday was one of those rare switch days.  

Gordy took Josie to watch Georgia play soccer, and I brought my camera and enjoyed the child-free peace of the ice rink.  

Taking photos of fast-moving skaters - through dirty plexiglass and without good lighting - is not as easy as you think.  I took about 200 photos to get 10 decent ones.

I had the most success when Henry was standing still.

Go figure.

I love watching Henry play hockey.  Each year, as the boys get bigger and more skilled, their game get more interesting.

The last few hockey games I've watched were Josie's Mite-level, half-ice matches which are very chaotic and free of most rules and associated drama.

Henry's game was a whole lot faster than the eight year olds.

The boys whizz from one end of the ice to the other and the action moves quickly.  There's also checking allowed at the Bantam level, and that was shocking to witness.  The checking isn't exactly NHL-violent, but it's still disconcerting to watch some lanky teenager, smash your son against the boards - and equally strange to see your peace-loving son return the favor a few moments later.

I enjoyed my turn at the rink.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Halloween Window Painting

Our little New England town has some big traditions.  There's the Thanksgiving football game against our town rivals, there's Town Day in June and most importantly, there's Halloween Window Painting in October.  We hadn't signed up to paint windows for a few years, and I could sense the children would soon age-out of the activity.  I wanted them to have the chance to participate one more time before it became un-cool to do.

The last time we painted a window, we did it "family style" and had all three kids share one window.  And while I wouldn't say it was a disaster, I would also not say it was a success.  This time, I wised up and "bought" both girls their own window.  We arrived at our designated area right after Josie's early morning soccer game.  The sun was out, but the air was cold and the wind was extra-blowy.  Georgia and Josie quickly got to work, painting their backgrounds.

Painting the backgrounds took a much longer than we expected.  We remembered half-way through that last time, we brought a roller to do the job more quickly.  

We did remember the egg-cartoons for holding the paint close to our window canvas and we remembered the water/cups to rinse the brushes, so that's something.

While we were painting our windows, little children were trick-or-treating, in and out of the stores around us.  I knew that our town center did a trick-or-treat event too, but I'd never seen it before and it was highly entertaining to watch.

We kept wondering if these children went trick-or-treating AGAIN on the actual Halloween, or is this it for them?

Because if this was it, they were definitely getting the short end of the stick!  

Georgia finished her background first and began to paint her green witch face, Josie was still filling in holes in her blue sky... but each time she filled in one hole, another appeared.

The background paint was peeling off!  It was the strangest thing.

The paint we were using was the correct type of paint.  We followed the directions on the back of the jar... I went off to the toy store to see if they had different paints and to ask if anyone knew why our paint wasn't working.  Along the way, I passed other finished windows - most with paint peeling off the glass.  The toy store owner said that we were supposed to mix an ajax-like cleanser into our paint to make it stick better, but I was thinking that the real problem was the cold temperature.  

Georgia and Josie plodded on... peeling paint and all.

Josie started painting her spooky house.

Georgia put the finishing details on her scary witch:

Josie discovered that the sponge brush covered the easiest:

Strangely, it was only the bottom of the window that was peeling.  Could it have been caused by heat rising up from a heating duct inside the store?

We decided to ignore the less beautiful parts of the window and focus on the parts that were working.  Georgia finished quickly - I think she might have already reached the age where painting windows was un-cool, but just hadn't realized it until she started painting the actual window.  

Josie, on the other hand, was the perfect age and she took her time making her painting perfect and detailed.

She painted her spooky house, a few bats in the sky and a full moon.  She finished up with the very imaginative title "Halloween."

I had the girls pose by their finished windows (peeling paint and all).

We can't wait for Halloween!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Checking In With Georgia

A lot has changed since I wrote last year's post about Georgia showing zero interest in clothes or fashion.  (Click HERE to read that post)  And I'm not just referring to her height.  This summer, for the first time ever, Georgia enjoyed back to school clothes shopping, where she spent a great deal of time looking through racks of clothes and selecting pieces that she liked.  This wasn't meant to be a blog post about Georgia and her latest fashions, but when I went through my latest photos of Georgia to use in this update post, I found that they were all pictures of her posing in various outfits.  I guess it makes sense, then, to include Georgia's new-found fashion sense in her Update.  Her taste has matured past pinks and purples and has settled nicely into a black phase and just this morning, she told me that she'd like to own a pair of Doc Martens.  I couldn't be more proud.

Georgia is enjoying fifth grade.  She still loves to read and likes most academic subjects.  Probably her favorite thing about fifth grade is the weekly organizer that she was given to write her homework assignments in.  Georgia is a disaster when it comes to keeping her room clean, but she is very organized (just like me).  I once found her alphabetizing all her books on her bookshelf.

Georgia is still loving soccer and specifically, her club team.  Which is a good thing since she has three practices and two games a week.  

And believe it or not, those three practices and two games a week are the least amount of activity done by a child in our family and there are times when Gordy and I worry that Georgia should be doing more.

But then we come to our senses.

The biggest news in the Life of Georgia is that we spent four hours in two different locations of Children's Hospital Boston this week, checking in with Georgia's orthopedic surgeon and making plans for what hopefully will be the final chapter in Georgia's life with Amniotic Band Syndrome.

I've already written about the day that Georgia was born and how we were told that she had Amniotic Band Syndrome and would never walk.  Someday I will have to write an entire post on Georgia's two surgeries that followed that pronouncement and the two months that she spent in a wheelchair and the two years she spent in physical therapy.  It all feels so long ago and another lifetime ago.

But for now, I will tell you that it had always been our plan for Georgia to undergo a third surgery when she reached puberty, to stop the growth plate on her longer leg so that her shorter leg could catch up and finally allow her legs to become an even pair.  That time is strangely here - or rather the TIME is here, but we are now less certain about whether the surgery is necessary.

Georgia's doctor was amazed to see how successful Georgia's last surgery (a heel-cord lengthening procedure which made it possible for Georgia to rest her right foot, flatly on the ground) really was.  Yes, her leg is still a half-inch shorter than the other and yes, her right foot is still a full size and a half smaller than the left, but the range of motion she gets in her ankle is phenomenal and her back is no longer shifting to make up the difference.  

We have been faithful to the point of obsession in making Georgia wear her orthodic lift in her shoe / soccer cleats and while the doctor didn't mention that per se, I'm sure Georgia's physical therapist would agree that the lift played an important part in keeping Georgia's gait perfect and her back straight.  And we are always reminding her to walk with her heel first (which is a big deal, since it took roughly a year to convince Georgia that people didn't walk toe-heel, toe-heel as she was accustomed).

Georgia is on the border-line for needing this last surgery.  Her leg length difference is one that can be lived with but it is also great enough that the surgery would be a help.  Georgia had another scanogram (x-rays of her legs, pelvis and hands) on Wednesday and she will have another set taken in six months. A decision will be made after the doctor has all the facts and after the four of us - Gordy, Me, Georgia and the doctor - talk through what having or not-having the next surgery will mean.  

We'll be sure to keep you all updated, too.  And of course, if you have any thoughts/opinions, we'd be happy to hear them.  Just leave a comment.

Georgia also got a two new lifts made while she was at the hospital.  She wore the shorter version in her Chuck Taylors this morning and reported that it felt great.  Her old lift had been rather worn-out and this new one is a much more accurate correction.  

While spending four hours in the hospital is not the most enjoyable way to spend time, it was productive (well, if you ignore the two hours we waited to see the doctor!) and we now have a plan, however tentative.  I'd say it was a good week.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Rules The Home

Last night Josie had to look up the meaning of her name for a homework assignment.

We went on (or some such website) and were shocked to find out that "Josephine" is Hebrew for "Jehovah add/give, increase."

What?  That's odd.

Of course we HAD to look up "Georgia."

Did you know that "Georgia" is the Greek word for Farmer?

Which is ironic considering that almost every flower that Georgia planted this spring failed to grow!

Names are rather odd, aren't they?

I looked up Martha, which I had always been told meant "Mother," but according to this list, "Martha" means "bitter."

Well, I never! 

I consider myself a very contented person, thank you very much.

We looked up "Gordon" next and found out that "Gordon" means "next to a hill" in Gaelic.  Which is also rather insulting to me, isn't it?

That left only one family member name to investigate:


Georgia (who is often being lectured to or instructed by Henry) suggested that "Henry" probably was English for "Bossy Pants."

She wasn't far off.  

Do you know what the name Henry means?

"Henry - origin: French, American, English, German.  Meaning:  "Rules The Home"

Good grief.   Henry's name is so accurate, maybe I AM bitter!

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