I need to remember to take a photo of Aidan every month. When I Skyped with my little sister today, she reminded me of how much he's grown since we were all together last in late summer. So here is his November 2009 portrait. He is still mischievous, sweet, funny, and obsessed with trains. (Some things don't change!)
There's a mysterious climbing plant full of dandelion-ish material growing along the fence in our backyard. I don't purport to know anything about horticulture, so I call it a fluff bush.
We left the house early this morning to meet up with good friends at the smaller, quieter coffee counter on the university's campus. Our three kids played together nicely as we sat and chatted about discipline, bulk shopping, photography and life. Somehow we mustered the energy to scoot our strollers at least 3/4 of a mile around the school before the natives became restless (read: the moms were out of breath) and we had to head back to our homes. I had a tall white mocha with soy to fuel me, which probably isn't the best fuel, but it was good. The sun is just beaming down today and the only indicators of the season are the wind and the slowly changing leaves. When we came home, I sat on the warm driveway and let Betsy play in the grass and sniff the air while I played my four favorite iPhone games.
Aidan greeted every adult we came across today politely, as opposed to keeping his head down and mumbling and/or ignoring them, and is minding his "yes ma'am"s and other manners. All of these things were discussed with him at length yesterday, I was glad to see that the directives had sunk in, no prompting necessary. It's hard at first, but it becomes much easier to be a diligent parent than an apathetic one, and the dividends are better.
Today I made a goal to take pictures. I'm letting Aidan rest and relax so he'll be in a good mood for me later and smile in some new fall portraits. Hope it works.
Since moving to a new town, I've made a concerted effort to not be a hermit. That sounds weird, but as an introvert, retreating into my own little shell is an easy thing for me to do. Especially easy in unfamiliar territory. I haven't been sitting in a basement making bombs out of tennis balls and match heads or anything like that in my spare time (although I had a Norwegian boyfriend in elementary school who got suspended from junior high for doing just that...thankfully I had the good sense to end our relationship on the last day of fifth grade, thusly maintaining my sparkling reputation...not that his being Norwegian had anything to do with his delinquency, that just happened to be his most defining characteristic), but I do tend to keep to myself and that really robs me of positive interaction and opportunities for growth.
One of the great things about avoiding anti-social behaviors like cat-hoarding and tennis-ball-bomb detonation is opening myself up to the wealth of knowledge and experience that other people have to offer. In two months, I've met some fascinating friends and I've had the opportunity to absorb the energy they bring, the information they've collected... It's amazing what happens when you take the boards off of your windows and plug your phone cord back into the jack. Light enters the room. Ideas are exchanged. You can order pizza and have it delivered. Or go pick it up, if we're sticking to the human interaction theme.
It's Halloween and this isn't very Halloween-y, but I feel pretty festive because I learned some new things about my camera today thanks to a friend. I was offered the chance to shadow him while he he fulfilled an assignment for the local newspaper at a quilting shop, hence the above photo. I'm pretty sure my pictures will never be the same, and that's a good thing. Sometimes the smallest of changes can lead to the biggest of breakthroughs, and sometimes getting up at 7:45 on a Saturday morning is entirely worth it. And now I can use those tennis balls for something constructive.
Real Halloween pictures coming soon.
At home today, sick. Swinging by the clinic after we pick Daddy up from work and crossing our fingers all day long that it's not swine-related.
Here are my bat-kids, by the way, all dressed up for Trunk & Treat at the church on Sunday. I made Aidan's costume very simply, it's no-fuss. He's wearing $4 sweat pants and a $10 fleece-lined hoodie from WalMart, $5 black dress shoes that I picked up at Dittos For Kiddos earlier this month, and his regular unders (t-shirt, briefs, socks). I hot-glued the biggest googly-eyes I could find at Michael's to the hood, they were about $1, and cut the fangs from an 8.5x11 piece of soft white felt, also from Michael's and around or under $1, also hot-glued. The wings are cut from 4 of the larger felt rectangles (11x20?), another couple of dollars. I cut the first shape freehand and copied it for the other three pieces, hand-sewed them most of the way and then stuffed them with poly-fil before stitching them closed. I sewed the base of the wings to the mid-back of the hoodie, and sewed another section of them to the shoulders for more sturdiness, since they are a bit heavy and would have fallen back. And that was it. Without counting the shoes, which he will wear to church throughout the winter, his costume was about $20, and it's exactly what he wanted to be. Betsy's wings are cut from the leftover black felt and hot glued to a hand-sewn black elastic loop. She tolerates them pretty well, and both costumes received rave reviews.
I think Halloween is Aidan's favorite holiday, because he loves creepy stuff and suspense like I do- I hope he's feeling better by Saturday. It's cold in the house and I feel like it would be a good environment for painting furniture, but I'm still wavering. Once I start, I won't be able to stop, and it may not be the best time. Decisions...
This little guy...oye. I love him so much it makes my heart hurt. We took him to the pumpkin patch today at Disability Resources, Inc. (great organization) here in Abilene, and had a fun time. Went on a hayride, picked out some good jack-o-lantern material, and reassured Betsy endlessly that the wind was not going to pluck her up and blow her out to the prairie. She didn't believe us. Can't really blame her, you do get the odd coyote out there.
Lots of work ahead of me tonight- finishing the wings on Aidan's bat costume in time for "Trunk-n-Treat," possibly carving a pumpkin, possibly priming some furniture for painting, possibly baking...possibly sleeping.
We live on a cul-de-sac with an alley that runs behind the houses, where everyone accesses their garages. I was pulling out of our driveway the other day when I noticed this solid wood dresser sitting in the carport opposite ours. Just sitting there, all lonely 'n' stuff. It had its little vanity hutch sitting next to it, but still...looked like it needed a home. It was early in the day so I didn't give it much thought, maybe our neighbors were moving...but when I left the house later that evening for a quick grocery run, it was still there. I remembered a story I read on the Clover Lane blog not too long ago, where Sarah gives an account of falling in love with a particular house on her block, and finally just works up the courage to leave a letter in the owner's mailbox saying that she'd like to buy the house if they were interested in selling. It took a year, but the homeowner finally called, and Sarah was able to buy her dream house. Anyway, that thought crossed my mind and I figured leaving a note couldn't hurt. It was too late to knock... I jotted down a quick message indicating my interest and left my name and number, slipping the piece of paper under a cord that was sitting on the vanity so it wouldn't blow away.
The next day, the note had disappeared, but no phone call came. A couple of days passed and I figured that the owners of the furniture meant to keep it or give it to a friend or something. Darn, at least I tried. But lo and behold, my phone rang at about 7pm yesterday, and our mysterious neighbor was calling to invite me to pick up the dresser whenever I wanted! For freeeeee! Russ and I scurried across the alley and examined our loot. I immediately decided to leave the vanity since it looked a bit dated and didn't interest me, but the dresser was fantastic. Super heavy, a good sign, and every drawer has this really interesting old newspaper lining, a little hidden treasure. We enlisted my brother in-law to help transport the piece, and now it's sitting in my dining room, getting ready for a new life as a sideboard. When I figure out if I want it to be black, white, or bright, I'll update it with a shiny new paint job and hardware.
When something doesn't add up I usually say it "makes zero sense." I don't know how or why that started, but it's just one of my Miranda-isms. This week I learned that it makes zero sense to not take advantage of little opportunities. If I hadn't, I would have missed out on connecting with a new neighbor, and passed up a perfectly great piece of furniture that ended up costing me...zero cents.
I'm a fan of bats, primarily for their mosquito-eating skillz. But other reasons, too- one being the cute factor. You may disagree with me on that count (you say potato, I say potahto...), but it's the truth. In grade school I did a science fair project all about bats and their many contributions to society- my dad made me a bat house and several hours of National Geographic for PBS were logged. I've been fond of them ever since.
All that is to say, this particular puppy is the closest a dog has ever gotten to looking like a bat for me. So I brought her home. Her name is Betsy, she's a solid black teacup chihuahua (not really AKC standards to be so small) and we all like her a lot. Except when she does her business inside. Then Aidan wonders aloud, "Will she ever learn?"
This morning, Aidan and I were happy to babysit for a one year-old friend of ours. She was super sweet and the whole thing -holding her, watching Aidan entertain her, etc.- made my ovaries leap. LOL. Too much information? Sorry. I'm getting up there in years and my filter doesn't work like it used to. :P
I haven't gotten out much with Aidan this year to take pictures, for one reason or another, and I need to do that soon. But I've never posted this shot that I like from last fall/winter. He doesn't fit on that trike anymore, he's on a real bike with training wheels, now. It goes by really fast. It has since the beginning.
Spending a quiet (wishful thinking) day at home with a nearly-finished bat costume and an enthusiastic train engineer...