Thursday, October 29, 2009

festive fun and games

`the pressures of halloween festivities have been building for a few weeks. october is a beautiful month, with leaves at there peak, the sunny skies and crisp air.....bring out the sweaters! it is very hard for me to let go of the delightful days of summer...the beach, the family and friends, boogie boarding, sailing barbeques, toasting marshmallows and catching fireflies.
the angst of back to school and the excitement of a new school year has already mellowed. we're into football games and after school sports and home improvements.

in our house, the whole month of october is focused on halloween. my husband, biff has a birthday that calls for cake, candles, maybe a dinner out with the family. oh, wait....that didn't happen this year because, at the last moment, our children had better offers. they are truly formed adolescents who have only their own social lives to attend to. their birthday enthusiasm was not quite up to par. birthdays in our house call for cake baked by all and half of the icing eaten before it even touches the cake. sometimes the cake is eaten before the birthday boy/girl has even heard the tune of happy birthday. that' o.k. because we all like cake and we can whip up another and get out some used candles and sing the song during the week.
so here we are , halloween just two days away...we have been to halloween costume stores, walmart costume aisle, cvs costume aisle...we have traveled miles....and purchased a wide variety of wigs....

i have always liked halloween for the kids...i have always liked putting together creative costumes. over these 14 halloweens, we have probably lived through 60 different halloween costumes.......and worked pretty hard to put together some great witches, fireman, farmers, raggedy ann and andy, ballerinas and hippies. as the kids have gotten older, we have lived through political figures like john mccain and barach obama and many more.

i like to create our own, without those icky, smelly, cheap costumes...."store bought" has been frowned upon by many a m.s.m. mom....martha stewart mom.....i have never been one to break out a sewing machine ...but, i do recall a year that i was sewing a red feather boa to a red sparkly cape so that we could have a king before dark.....thankfully, the biggest harry potter craze was at the time that my son got his new glasses.....a first grader with new glasses! harry potter made the new horn rimmed circle glasses the greatest prop a 6 year old boy could dream of....and poof---- a star was born...glasses, a black cape and a few other props and life was good! of course, we have also had a witch who was able to act out the part perfectly after she looked in the mirror, and saw the green face paint was"ugly witch facepaint"....who would have thought. the best were the photos taken during the halloween parade in town.......the witch had a mad face all day......we've had clowns in the afternoon and after too much of the itchy fabric, the clown came home and turned himself into a karate kid with his own karate duds. the best halloween costumes have always been spontaneous. the dress up box and accessories have always made we have had halloween cider and donuts at the bus stop, cupcakes with halloween candy with school friends, pumpkin fairs,pumpkin parties with neighbors's a miracle that we've made it this far!

hosting thanksgiving dinner for twenty three is easier than pulling together the halloween costumes..... christmas is for all of the presents, trying to find the one gift that gets a gleam in a childs eyes is worth it all......getting the christmas tree and putting it up is a snap compared to the halloween costume. and do we have christmas tree stories....our first married christmas tree was magical. our apartment was so small, we could see it from every room in our cozy little niche....even the bathroom! biff's proudest moment was when he was able to turn the tree lights on and off on the wall switch. one christmas was so mild that our tree had ants crawling all over it....out on the deck of the condo it went...until a frost.....dead ant, dead ant.......dead ant, dead ant, dead ant.....2 years ago, the GIANT christmas tree made it in the house by opening both french doors and shoving it in.....ahhhhh, big and beautiful, it took up half of the family room. and that tree was our first married tree to come crashing down......although it crashed multiple times. griff had just left on a business trip, i was having a peaceful cup of coffee, looking at the lights and decorations on the tree, when the new kitten started to climb the interior branches......and CRASH...catching it mid-fall was the easy part....the real challenge was the contortions necessary to keep it standing.....the water was leaking out of the stand.....the tree would not steady....reaching a roll of red ribbon with my foot allowed me to unwind a few feet of that skinny balloon ribbon to tie to the tree and then, tie that to the curtain rod!.....that wasn't enough, besides ripping the ribbon with my teeth, i was able to tiptoe on the window ledge to the other side of the tree to tie up the other side. it was only nine o'clock in the morning! and people ask what i do all day long!

growing up, my family had a christmas tree that's desperate....there were many words used that were never heard in any christmas carols i knew......the knife, by the way, was a creative way to hack at the tree to make it fit in the little red and green metal stand. one year, my brother was supposed to bring a great tree down from vermont.....oh, and the hallmark expectations i had! WRONG! he had travelled all of the way from vermont to buy a pathetic, partially naked tree at a roadside tree sale at a gas station en route to mom's house.....the bonus was that he also worked some extra branches into his wheeling and dealing!

with a history of family tree disasters, it seemed to be the greatest solution of all to buy the tree myself and bring it, while with a boyfriend, out in the poconos(yup,that's where i was! it really makes the story), we picked up trees to bring home to our respective families. when boyfriend brought his tree in to his parents, the whole family oohed and ahhhhed. when we got to my mom's, i couldn't wait to see the look on her face when the tree was absolute HORROR! apparently, she was freaked out that it was only december 8th and she had not yet "prepared" for the tree's arrival! it was one of those moments where you think you might be in alternate universe....but, that was my "normal".

although the tree was not welcomed with open arms, i was able to stuff it out on the balcony of my mom's 2nd floor condo....through the bathroom window. at the time, there were no questions asked. that was my "normal". by about december 14th, the preparations apparently were acceptable enough to "receive" the tree. so, out i climbed onto the balcony to retrieve the tree...that had been sitting in a pail of water to keep it "fresh"......oh, it was fresh! it was FROZEN! all of my plans were foiled... the tree with the frozen bucket of water had to be JAMMED back through the bathroom window. THAT WAS THE EASY PART! once the tree was inside, it was time to "defrost" it in the bathtub, and alternately try to blow it dry. it took days. the tree was decorated beautifully, but did not stand the test of was out of the house before new years!

that is just a tidbit of my family christmas tree karma! thankfully, all of that changed when biff became our christmas elf! he loves the challenge of putting a tree up! we go to the local tree farm with the kids and pick out the "BEST" of the lot, tie it to the roof of our car, drive home, put it in the stand, let it sit and bring in all before dinner! lights, camera, action! life is good.

the only karma that has changed is our children's joy in the world of adolescence! "WHY" DO WE HAVE TO GO TODAY AND "HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE?" AND "JAKE GETS PAID MONEY TO GO GET THEIR TREE!".......AH THE JOY OF CHRISTMAS...and although there is a bit of resistance from the opposing team, we select the tree, bring it home and by the time we're decorating, everyone is enthused as they find their most special ornaments to hang on the tree. i'm no m.s.m., but we do have some wonderful traditions that just can't be created without love and laughter!

so, we make it through the holidays and it's birthday planning for our daughter.....the days of dressup birthdays and unpoppable pinatas are much time and so many special creations made each one so special. now as a teen, the celebration goes on, with just a bit less frenzy.....i'm glad i was able to enjoy the fun while it was happening...those days are precious to me.

then, valentines day,,,our days of cards for the class and valentines boxes are long gone but never forgotten. it has always been the little things that have been the most memorable....again, it comes down to moments!

st.patricks day is not the green streamers and shamrocks like it used to be.....but we still have friends in for music, soda bread and green cupcakes for the kids

easter egg hunts are over...but, we may be coloring eggs into our 80's! and that's fun for us all......the easter bunny still comes.....we have jelly bean hunts throughout the fancy dresses or hats or new sweaters and shoes! so thankful for the moments!

so, we have many more crazed birthdays throughout the year....they will always create a frenzy cuz we all share the birthday spirit!

and memorial day and 4th of july and we love parades!

oh and did i mention the pressure of grown up halloween parties? griff will be "uncle sam" tomorrow night and i will be "aunt samantha". we will have our own sparkles ......just moments!

oh and did i mention that we're going to a college football game on halloween day,,,,,,the kids and the adults are all wearing body and face paint and t-shirts and one dad will be dressed up like the mascot........maybe we'll never grow up....our kids will see to that!


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