Happy Halloween!

"Help me Obi-Wan...you're my only hope."May the Force be with you...

Halloween was a lot of fun this year. Sofia was a beautiful little Princess Leia-Sofia. For Sofia’s Halloween parade at daycare I was “The Dark Side” – dressed all in black to compliment her Star Wars inspired costume. I had intended to be a black cat but I couldn’t find my ears & tail in time (I found them Sunday afternoon when I cleaned out the hall closet…figures). Dave went as Carpenter Dave for the daycare trick-or-treating. He thought it best to leave the bloody saw blade hat at home as it might have scared the little ones – Sofia included.

October 31, 2008

For the Halloween parade we all trekked a block to a neighboring office building and formed a really long line to trick-or-treat at the offices. My child seemed to be the only one rebelling against the idea of a single-file line. She wanted to check out open offices and see what else was going on. I didn’t see any other wanderers, but I was busy chasing Leia-Sofia all over the place. Dave got a lot of great vide and pasted it all together to short Star Wars clip starring Princess Leia-Sofia. Check it out at you-tube: http://uk.youtube.com/user/dfern1.

We didn’t go out and do any additional trick-or treating, opting to save Sofia’s costume for our neighbors’ Halloween party the following night. Instead we stayed home and passed out candy to trick-or-treaters. We had a surprisingly good turn-out. This is our 3rd Halloween in our house. The first year I had a huge bowl of candy and was so excited to get trick-or-treaters and we got a total of (2) who were way too old to be asking for candy – I think one even stubbed a cigarette out on my walkway before positioning his mask. Dave gave them lots of candy just to get rid of some of it. Last year we had a handful of kids and this year was better than that. Our neighborhood is one in transition so I think it will keep getting better each year.

November 1, 2008

I spent pretty much all day Saturday constructing my costume for the Halloween party later that evening – I was going as “SuperMom”.  Sofia and I were up and out of the house early to run errands and get the oil changed in my car (fun stuff). After that we went to the fabric store and got the stuff I needed for my SuperMom costume. Since I only decided what I was going to be for the Halloween party the previous day it was a bit of a scramble to pull it all together. But, never fail, I channeled a little SuperMom and pulled it off. I made my utility belt out of a think vinyl material (like picnic tablecloth material) and made my big “M” logo out of craft foam (If I did it again I would paint it on the vinyl – but live and learn). The crown was a good finish and I labeled it “SuperMom” so that there would be no confusion. I also constructed a mask since I couldn’t find one in the store. However, as I was putting on eye make-up – which I wear so infrequently – I decided that I didn’t need a mask. After all, Wonder Woman doesn’t wear a mask.

Dave, wasn’t feeling great so he didn’t join us for the Halloween party. Had he gone, he would have dressed up as Carl the Groundskeeper from the movie Caddyshack. It would have been a great costume because he can channel Carl and do the voice and some of the dialogue. But, it wasn’t to be. So, Princess Leia-Sofia and I went next door without him and had a great time. She did really well with all the other people’s costumes. There were a couple I thought would really freak her out. Surprisingly, the only one that really seemed to bother her was a gentleman dressed as a Mongol. Maybe it was the double bladed axe he had – it did look very realistic. At any rate…she steered clear of him all evening.

Angel's Beer, Princess Leia-Sofia and Bru

Angel's Beer (Molly), Princess Leia-Sofia & Bru the Dog

 We were only at the party for about an hour and a half – it was past Princess Leia-Sofia’s bedtime and she still needed to take a bath. But, the party was lots of fun. Sofia ran all over the place and had a great time. We will be looking forward to trick-or-treating next year and of course for next year’s Halloween Bash next door. I will only change one thing: I will start making the costumes earlier!

 

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Women’s Fitness 5k (Belated Post)

So this is a belated post: Sofia and I participated in the St. Luke’s Women’s Fitness 5k on September 20th. It was our first time “strolling” the event – and actually it was the first 5k for both of us. The day of the race dawned dark, foreboding and very wet! We were participating as part of Team Giraffe Laugh (Sofia’s daycare). Dave dropped us off a few blocks from our starting line at 8:15am for our 9:00am start. It was pouring down rain but there were thousands of women (and some men too) out to run, walk or stroll themselves up Capitol Boulevard, past the Boise Depot and over to Ann Morrison Park.

We were spotted by other team members (probably because of the giraffes I made and attached to Sofia’s stroller) who were smarter than I was and had been hanging out in a nearby parking garage with many other smart racers. Despite being drenched through my jacket – before the race even started – we had a great time and will definitely be doing it again.

The Women’s Fitness Celebration is a huge event in Boise bringing in something like 16,000 people for the 5k event. Next year will be the 10th anniversary. The race will be held on September 26, 2009. If you’re interested in participating or just checking it out go to: www.celebrateall.org

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Pumpkin Patch!

Yesterday Sofia’s daycare took their annual fieldtrip to the pumpkin patch. I volunteered to drive and filled my van with Sofia, two of her classmates, one of her teachers and the director of the daycare. We drove to Linder Farms and met up with all the rest of our group. After bundling up (it was about 50 degrees) we all boarded the hayride for a leisurely cruise through what else, the pumpkin patch. Linder Farms has scarecrows set up along the ride and there is a stop near their petting zoo (though we didn’t partake in the petting) where they have animals from the ordinary: goats, sheep and a miniature horse to the exotic: a zebra, a camel and a llama.
After the hayride the kids got to pick their pumpkin. Sofia was kind of sleepy by this time and I don’t think she enjoyed the process as much as she would have had she been perky awake. I also think that next year, when she’s bigger and can more easily navigate the rough terrain of the pumpkin patch she will have more fun. Despite all of that, she found a great pumpkin and even carried it around for a while. The rest of the time I got to carry her and the pumpkin!
From the pumpkin patch we moved onto the Straw Bale Maze. If you’re 3′ tall or shorter this is a really cool thing. It’s like the big cornfield maze, but if you jump up or look to the edge you can still see your mom, which is very reassuring for the novice maze goers. Sofia wasn’t into walking through the maze. But I didn’t want her to miss out so I carried her through – which definitely made it lose most of its mystery as she saw it from the top. But, at least she had the experience.
We followed our maze experience up with a picnic lunch. Despite a minor meltdown when I gave Sofia’s classmate half of her sandwich (that she wasn’t eating or going to eat) it was pretty uneventful and a great segue into naptime. The Linder Farm dog happily lapped up spilled milk and munched little pieces of shredded sandwich that the kids dropped. Some of the older kids moved onto a coloring project but we loaded up and headed back to the center. The three littlest passengers, and maybe Ms. Dora, all crashed out on the drive back to school. Waiting for them (except for Dora) were their nap beds and blankets. It was a great trip!

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Wallpaper Sweatshop!

Our house is vintage 1950s. It has great hardwood floors and large rooms for having a relatively small floor plan. When we moved in each room had a wallpapered accent wall. We attacked the “pink” room first. It became an office and then later Sofia’s room. Next was the bathroom; yes, it was wallpapered too. The living room was painted next and then the guest room/office. I am saving the fun rose wallpaper in the kitchen for when we remodel the whole room – there’s no point in jumping into that project until we tear the cabinets and everything else out too.

So, the master bedroom has been my latest wallpaper project. I started removing the paper in June of 2007 when I was awaiting the arrival of Sofia. My theory was: if I started tearing down the wallpaper the baby gods would expedite Sofia’s arrival just so that I would have a have torn-down wall of wallpaper (the goal being to speed up labor). What actually happened is that I was so worn-out after pulling one strip that I didn’t get any farther and it was still two weeks before Sofia was born. Then I was too busy/tired/otherwise occupied to finish the job. This left the wall partially wallpaper free for a year and three months.

Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. I set Sofia up with her little table in our bedroom and got to work removing the two layers of wallpaper. If you’re not familiar with wallpaper removal (you’re lucky!) it doesn’t generally come off in one sheet. It’s been my experience that the newer wallpaper (maybe ‘80s and newer) pattern part comes off and leaves the paper backing. Each of my rooms had at least two, and sometimes three, layers of paper. So, I pulled the top layer then got the paper-backing layer wet and it came off very easily. Then, with the older layer it had to be scored then drenched with water or steamed and scraped off.

Sofia thought this whole process was kind of cool. Here was paper that she could peel and shred and it was okay. I thus had a wallpaper removal helper…sort of a wallpaper removal sweatshop! How often can you draft your 15 month old child for a home improvement project? I doubt I am going to have such an easy time when I paint the room!

 

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Snow…in early October?

We received our first snow on Friday October 10th. Apparently, that is the earliest Boise has ever received a measureable amount of snow. The cool part was that it wasn’t just spittle snow; it was serious cotton ball-sized snow. Just looking at it out the French doors Sofia wasn’t too interested in it. But, when we put on her coat and headed outside so she could feel it on her hands and her face and experience the blinking sensation when it seems like the big fluffy flakes are going to land right in her eyes, well that was a whole different ballgame. She was not too sure if it was, well, safe. She was not crazy about standing by herself and being pummeled by snowflakes. But, once we went inside it was the greatest thing in the world and all she wanted to do was go back out. It’s going to blow her mind when real winter gets here and she can go roll around in the snow. Hopefully, we’ll have at least a few days of real snow….but just a few!

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The Goat

Our neighbors got a goat. Ordinarily, with a statement like that you would assume we live in the country and neighbor is euphemistic term for the nearest house a mile down the road. But no, we live in Boise, Idaho on “The Bench” – a mere five minutes from downtown. Of course, in some parts of the country that’s still considered rural. But here, that’s pretty urban.

 

The goat moved in on a Sunday – a week before the Spring Solstice. It was apparently not happy with its new abode and was bleating loudly (goats bleat, right?). At first, it sounded like someone was doing horribly mean things to a child, but upon further listen it definitely sounded like a goat. However, I pushed that possibility from my mind, after all a goat in the city limits – how could there be a goat in town?

 

The following day the goat noise was much louder, and much more insistent. My husband decided to investigate: he peaked over the fence into our neighbors’ yard to confirm our goat suspicions. Sure enough, there was a goat – the size of their Malamute dog, Malaki.

 

But, it got better – or worse, we weren’t quite sure — on one side of the goat spray painted in black paint was a pentagram. On the other side of the goat, also spray painted in black paint was, “666.” Needless to say this sparked curious concern as to what exactly our neighbors were doing with the goat. Or more importantly, what they were planning to do with the goat on the other side of our fence! Warily, we chuckled about having a neighbor goat and decided there must be a good explanation for the goats present “decoration.” However, we weren’t entirely sure we were going to like that explanation.

 

Our neighbors are not your run of the mill neighbors. The house is owned by a single guy, a musician working as a painter to pay the bills. He had roommates to help cover the mortgage. Partying three to four nights a week was the norm and that meant loud music, horseshoes clanking against the fence and lots of alcohol consumption. In addition, six months prior to the arrival of the goat they began to construct a half-pipe skate board ramp less than a foot from our shared fence. The goat was in no way as disturbing as the half-pipe had been! We had visions of half-pipe parties with skateboards flying over the fence. Not to mention the extreme lack of privacy in our yard since the platforms on each side of the ramp were level with the top of the fence. Fortunately for us the ramp never reached skateboard-ready completion.

 

Despite its lack of suitability as a skateboard ramp the backyard fixture served well for goat kibble storage. They placed the goat’s food on the top of the ramp platform so that he couldn’t gorge himself between meals. This is how we came to learn the origins of the goat’s satanic symbols. Later, the same day my husband peeked over the fence, we saw our neighbor’s girlfriend atop the ramp breaking some hay (or alfalfa or whatever it is that goats eat!) off a small bale.  We must have been staring as she acknowledged us from over the fence and said, “We have a goat.” She went on to explain that they rescued the goat from a crazy guy who was planning to stage a solstice sacrifice at the local university. They were only keeping him until a friend had a pasture ready for the goat.

 

A week later, the goat was still in residence. I had a full house, with my brother-in-law visiting. It was Saturday night at about 2 am and I was having a hard time sleeping.  My brother-in-law was getting over a cold and coughing sporadically in the guest room. Our six month old daughter was sighing in her sleep – and in my ear through the baby monitor. My husband was snoring up storm next to me. In addition to all of the noisy sleepers I kept hearing a rapid, “Thump, thump, thump, thump…whoosh.” Pause. “Thump, thump, thump, thump…whoosh.” I pondered this for several minutes before the sound registered. It was the goat! He was trying to climb up the half-pipe to get at the kibble just out of his reach. Unfortunately for him, he’d get only so far up the ramp before sliding to a heap at the bottom.

 

I lay in bed and laughed to myself, listening to the “cough, cough, sigh, snore, snore, thump, thump, thump, thump….whoosh.” If you’re going to have a neighbor goat he really should have a half-pipe.

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Sofia’s 1st Birthday!

Sofia turned one year old on June 23rd. We celebrated her birthday on Saturday the 21st. We had a nice backyard picnic with friends and family — family that came from as far away as Yuma, Arizona! The party theme was “ladybugs” as Sofia’s favorite book, throughout most of her one year, has been “10 Little Ladybugs.” I baked and decorated a ladybug birthday cake that turned out very well. Sofia thought it was scrumptious and frankly really didn’t care what it looked like so long as she got to eat some! She received wonderful gifts and enjoys them all very much. Thanks everybody!

The past year has flown by and we have enjoyed watching her grow and change. Every day brings us new surprises and exciting milestones. She took her first steps on Father’s Day. Check out the YouTube video: http://uk.youtube.com/user/dfern1. By her birthday she was walking short distances by herself. She is now completely mobile. She so wants to run, but just isn’t quite coordinated enough yet but no doubt, by next week we’ll be in big trouble!

Probably one of the best things that Sofia was able to do, as a result of turning one year old: her car seat can now face forward. We took a trip to Bend, OR for the 4th of July to see Dave’s family and she was much happier being able to see what was going on! The next year will undoubtedly sail by and will be filled with many more milestones and great pictures. We’ll keep you updated with both!

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