Saturday, November 21, 2020

inflatable friends

I will always remember the summer that Mae was born as the year of Pokemon Go. There’s not much to do with a newborn other than go for walks, so I would spend hours wandering around the neighborhood collecting Pokemon. This year, with a newborn and a pandemic, the lonnnng walk has again become an essential part of our routine. I try to think of a fun destination each day, which isn’t too hard since we can easily walk to several playgrounds, a creek, some trails, some hidden paths, and even a building with a giant fish tank in the window. We’ve expanded our walking distance to 3 miles round trip, so now we can make it to the library! We just finished returned “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and now have a book called “No, No, Kitten” that Mae can’t get through without having a massive giggle fit.

Mae was excited for our walks all through the month of October. Not only did we have tons of crisp, sunny fall days, we also made friends with all the neighborhood Halloween inflatables. She would have long “conversations” with the decorations while Dan or I provided a silly voice for them.
The tall, spooky pumpkin head is usually the first inflatable we stop to talk to on our walks. His voice is a bit gruff, but he's very chatty. Mae usually gives him an update on all her exciting life events: upcoming visits from grandma, recent outings to the library, and what items in the house Colin has managed to pee/poop/barf on.

Next, we walk to the inflatable we have lovingly named "the YMCA ghost" since he looks like he's making a big "Y" with his arms. This guy only wants to talk about food. Mae tells him about what she ate, and he always asks for us to bring him something (banana muffin, hot dog, etc.)

Further down the street, we meet up with the giant spider (who sounds a bit like Boris from Rocky and Bullwinkle). He's usually our longest conversation of the walk. I wonder what the neighbors think about us?
Happy Pumpkin greets us at the end of the street. She has a squeaky, cheery voice but rarely has much to say other than wishing us a wonderful day.

Sometimes on the way back home, we pass by the ghoul with big claws. He likes to brag about his fancy red manicure.

And lastly, we bumped into this pair of eyeballs on a particularly long walk away from our normal route. They didn't have much to say. They just stared at us.

Not pictured: the top-hat-wearing pumpkin with a very posh British accent and the Dia de los Muertos unicorn with whom we practice our very limited Spanish.

We went out for a short family walk the Sunday morning after Halloween. GranE and Batman had just left after an almost week long visit. All the inflatables were crumpled in a deflated heap on the ground, waiting to be packed away until next October. Mae was coming down off a candy high from the night before. It was all just too much. She cried and cried. The Christmas decorations can't come out soon enough.

Saturday, October 31, 2020

somewhere over the rainbow

While I do let Mae choose her own Halloween costumes, I confess to steering her towards costumes that I think will be fun to make and wear! One of her favorite books this year has been The Wizard of Oz (Great Illustrated Classics version), and she loved the movie. So, when she asked about being Dorothy for Halloween, I jumped on the idea! Plus, Wizard of Oz is a great family theme.
I spent the most time on Mae’s costume. I modified the Caroline Party Dress pattern, (used previously for Mae’s Easter dresses) to add the bias waistband, skirt detail, and straps. I cut a size 4T with a 5T length for the bodice and skirt. She wore a long sleeved shirt and tights underneath for warmth. Doesn’t she look so sweet?
Of course no Dorothy costume is complete without the ruby slippers. When she was tired at the end of trick or treating, she just clicked her heels and magically transported herself back home. Convenient.
Colin was the most adorable Cowardly Lion. This costume is what I would call... semi-homemade. I bought the hooded onesie but added the mane myself. I can’t believe my luck finding this multicolored Bernat Blanket yarn at JoAnn. Isn’t it perfect for a lion mane? This costume was so quick and easy. I just cut a bunch of pieces of the chenille yarn, lined them up on the hood, and used the sewing machine to zig-zag stitch right across the middle of the yarn pieces. Then I fluffed it up and gave it a little “hair cut” to even up the ends!
I can’t get over the mane. It’s so... voluminous. I did have to push it back from his face a few times, but he didn’t complain since it was very soft. Mae and Colin won the street costume contest for “Best Sibling Costumes.” She was so excited!
I used up all my creativity on the kids, so our costumes were a bit less involved. Dan’s Tin Man was assembled from a couple sheets of silver poster board and an old kitchen funnel. Everything was held together with binder clips, which made it easily adjustable and removable! Of course we were working on this at 10pm last night.

For myself, I bought a kit that included a felt hat and straw ties for my limbs. I sewed my shirt, but just as a regular shirt... not specifically as a costume. Mae was a bit critical of my decision to wear a plaid shirt instead of a tunic like the scarecrow from the movie, but I defended my right to creative license. I also made myself a mask with an embroidered scarecrow mouth. I got several questions about how I matched Mae’s mask to her dress. That was the biggest benefit to sewing my own costumes this year: custom coordinated masks!
Speaking of masks, people did a great job with safety precautions. We had a costume parade and pumpkin decorating on our street this afternoon, and I think it was 100% mask coverage on everyone except the littlest kids. For trick or treating, almost everyone was in masks, and almost every house had their candy set outside on a table to avoid any close contact. One house even rigged up a long candy chute, which Mae got a kick out of!
It was a full day of fun! I’m really glad Halloween was on a Saturday this year. We’ve had to skip so many of our favorite fall activities this year, that I’m glad I had a whole day to indulge in Halloween fun. We carved pumpkins (Mae helped by supervising and regularly reporting on how gross the inside of the pumpkin was), roasted pumpkin seeds, baked an apple pie, took costume photos, marched in a parade, decorated pumpkins (big thank you to the organizing parent who provided stickers instead of paint!), trick or treated, and chatted with neighbors. GranE and Batman are visiting this week, so we even had extra helping hands to take photos and watch Colin while we took Mae out for candy. Otherwise we couldn’t have crammed so much into one Saturday! It was a beautiful, happy, exhausting day!

Monday, October 26, 2020

four months of colin

Can you believe this little guy is 4 months old already??
As I've written each of these monthly updates, I've enjoyed looking back on what I wrote about Mae at the same age. As different as their personalities are, turns out all infants are pretty much the same! Here's some snippets of four months of Mae that match up pretty well with four months of Colin:

"Perfected rolling onto her tummy." Yup! Colin is my little roly-poly! Fortunately he hasn't adopted Mae's habit of sleeping completely face-down. He snoozes so peacefully on his back with his little hands up in "touchdown" pose.
"Knows the right motions for crawling but doesn't have quite enough arm strength to lift her belly off the ground." Check! He wiggles all over his play mat: roll, scoot, wiggle. All day long! He loves to wiggle to the edge of the baby gym and dig his fingers into the carpet. Which brings me to...

"Loves scratching [her fingers] on different textures like the mesh sides of her Pack 'N Play." As I type this, he's sleepily scritch-scritch-scritching his fingernails on the couch.
"Enjoys playing with (and chewing on) this water-filled mat." Yup! The water whale mat is a favorite play item currently. He loves to gag himself by cramming the whole tail into his mouth. I let him chew up the four month sticker at the end of our photos this month.
"If she's not rolling over, she's either sucking on her toes, chewing on her fingers, or generating enough drool to fill a bath tub. Are teeth in her near future??" So. Much. Drool. Colin is definitely a bib baby. Between endless drool and constant little blurps of formula, we are going through 4-5 bibs a day. I can feel little teeth nubbins in his bottom gum line. Any day now! The fingers are constantly in his mouth, but he hasn't quite figured out how to get the feet all the way to his mouth. It doesn't stop him from trying!
This month, Colin has started settling into a routine. (Just in time for me to go back to work and mess it up!) He wakes up around 7:45 a.m. to eat. He takes a morning nap in the stroller or baby carrier while Mae and I take a long walk to the park, the square, or the library. His second nap usually lines up pretty well with Mae's "quiet time" after lunch, so I get a few hours for chores (and let's be honest, knitting) in the afternoons. He eats his last bottle around 9 p.m. and drifts off to sleep in the Pack 'N Play after Dan lays him down... AWAKE. Can you believe that? What a weird (read: awesome) baby!
This month, we ventured out (safely!) in public a bit more. We went to the zoo twice and were pleased to see that it's not too crowded and has pretty good mask-wearing even in the "not required" areas. Man, I've really missed the zoo. We've also been to the library a couple times, and both times we had the place to ourselves.
I have a couple photos from last month that I forgot to share, so I'm sneaking them in here! Firstly, ever wonder what the behind-the-scenes of our monthly photo shoots look like? Colleen was visiting while we took Colin's photos last month, and she captured this gem. This doesn't show the pose where Colin's on his back, I'm standing on a chair over him, and Dan is standing behind me shaking noisy rattles over my head to draw Colin's attention. We look a bit crazy for sure. Great lighting in the kitchen though!
Secondly, baby on a log.
And finally, airplane baby. Happy four months little snuggle buddy!