Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Favorite Halloween memories:
-wagon wheels- dad always bought these to give away 'cause he liked them.
-giving dad all our peanuts and one token chocolate candy for being our quality inspector.
-I remember bobbing for apples at a church party and thought that was so fun.
-Our youth group scavenger hunt Halloween party that a bunch of my school friends and I did together, driving around like the nuts we were (do you remember that Kim? Netts? Lin? anyone else out there? We got nearly everything at Adam's who was a horror aficionado, but then he got terrified at a cemetery when he thought someone had grabbed his leg).
-the year we discovered that pillow cases made the best loot bags.
-the year it was too cold to go outside and we hit a cul-de-sac filled of apartments- trick-or-treating in heated hallways!

Worst memories:
-only one- when some lady said I was too old to be trick-or-treating. She said nothing of Kim who is 1/2 year older than me! Just because I always looked older than I was. So I never say anything to the obvious teenagers who come knocking now.

However this lead to another best memory:
-my first year to skip out, (when I was so mercilessly humiliated) and we'd moved out of town anyways was the first year Jenn couldn't have any candy either out of a bigger injustice- juvenile diabetes. But she taught me sister love. She went out trick-or-treating and gave me all the candy. The candy came with the bitter-sweet taste of personal sacrifice (albeit involuntary).

We'll be taking out our little wonders- as a pink poodle and as Thomas the train. Someone asked what I will dress up as. I'm going as a crazed mother with two disguised toddlers, roaming through dark streets on some mad hunt for candy along with other mobs of children and parents, trying to keep them from harm/ getting scared and sugar overdose before bed.

We've been invited to a couple of fall festivals, but they are all during prime visits time and another highlight for us is to see so many friends come by in their costumes.

What's your favorite halloween memory?

Friday, October 26, 2007

back to our regular programming

Grandpa Ray and Grandma Sue have returned to their home in the North, to their lives and to a new grand-niece baby to coddle and spoil. They are far from us in body, but still with us in spirit. They've left their mark with memories and photos and a few left over tubs of Blue Bell ice cream. They stocked up our cupboards and our hearts with joyful memories of times together.

You haven't heard or seen the last of them though. I have 2 1/2 weeks of videos and pictures still to show off! So stay tuned.

In the meantime, I took the kids for check-ups today (Dominique weighs 21.5 lbs and is 29 3/4 " tall, Ivan weighed in at 33lbs and is 36 3/4" tall). I've learned something about Ivan in these 3 years and we had a great visit. Our last several visits had been torturous- screaming, tantrums of toddler mess. This time I tried something new. Seeing as Ivan takes to things slowly, I prepped him (and bribed him). I told him all the things they would do and what I expected of him (obeying by standing on the scale, not screaming or crying or throwing a fit and showing Dominique how to be a good and big child at the Dr's). I also told him if he obeyed and didn't cry, I'd give him cake and ice cream when he got home.

Ivan did have very logical reasons why he shouldn't have to go to the Dr's. He said he was scared. I asked of what. He said he was scared the Dr. would sting him. I told him the Dr. wouldn't "sting" him (they leave the dirty work to the poor nurses). At the Doctor's I told Ivan I would find out if he would get shots. When I gave him the unfortunate news that he would get shots, he explained that he wanted his shots, that he wanted to put them in his mouth (I think he mistook "shots" for "lollipops"). Nonetheless, he wanted to take his pants down and asked for his shots! He bravely watched Dominique get her finger pricked (without crying), then laid down dutifully with dreams of cake and ice cream on the horizon. He did scream and cry at the grueling pain when he was suddenly stabbed and tearfully pleaded to still get his cake and ice cream. I was ecstatic and so impressed with them and amazed at the difference in Ivan. The only bad thing (apart from the gigantic needles they stabbed into my brave son) is that the Dr discovered that Ivan has another double ear infection! We've all been congested and experiencing cold symptoms and I actually thought Dominique sounded worse, but her ears were fine. Ivan hasn't even had fever and acts fine. Hopefully the antibiotic will help him clear up faster.

They asked me if Ivan was putting words together (he wouldn't talk to them) and how many words Dominique knew. I said maybe 10 or so. Now I have to know, so here's our list:

hi, please, help me, mommy, daddy, Ivan, Saba, nez, bye bye, night night, balloon, clean up, no, amen.

I think that's it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

More glimpses of our birthday bash

Ivan and I in our traditional pose, Oct. 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007.

Ivan and Matthew invented a new game while Brian tried in vain to hook the unbroken pinata back up to the tree.
his birthday songmy birthday song

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Double Birthday Bash

Apparently Brian didn't only highjack my blog, but also my e-mail address book and told everyone it was my birthday too, so we had our record crowd ever. I was there doing the kid party thing- face painting (the big hit was spider webs- Ivan also painted my face- and neck in a red abstract design). We were making a spider craft some friends kindly helped with and had a scavenger hunt that was a total blast. We also decorated goody bags and had burgers, hot dogs, chips, drinks... It was total mahem.

Then we brought the pinata out. It lasted real good until the big kids started whipping the stick at it. The weight of all the candy made it come to it's crashing descent, but it didn't splatter with candy yet. So I let the older kids beat at it on the ground until everyone had had a hit, (aggression release free of charge) then tipped it upside down for the grab candy frenzy. Then, to top it all off, we brought the cake out- more sugar, just what all those kids needed. The candles almost stayed lit with the gusting wind.

I was still clueless up to this point. Then my friend was getting upset as I was cutting and dishing out cake because she wanted me to sit down (I was thinking there was a lot of cake, hungry people out there and ice cream melting- this is hardly the time to sit), but she insisted. Brian had brought out a cake for me ( that he had decorated and made from scratch), then my friend's husband and his musician friend came out and played and sang a spanish song to me (and gave me another cake and gifts). Then we had our French friends sing happy birthday too! I was pretty overwhelmed with it and didn't even know what Brian had done until late that night when I opened a card from my friend telling me along with a copy of Brian's e-mail to them.

It was so incredible to have so many friends and the grands here to celebrate. Ivan and I felt very loved, sugared up and blessed with gifts too. He woke up this morning eager to play with all his new gifts and wondered if we could have his birthday today too. We told him "definitely not", we need a little recovery time- like 364 days worth!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

this blog has been hijacked

Howdy all. Brian here (husband of Angela).

As mentioned in the earlier post, today (Saturday October 20th) is Angela’s 34th birthday. Happy Birthday Angela!

For the last three years, this day has been slightly overshadowed by Ivan’s birthday, which is also on the 20th of October. Angela’s been a good sport about sharing this day.

Ange – you are the greatest wife I could ever imagine. And you are the most excellent mother our kids could have. Thanks for giving everything your all! Have a great day.

Have a birthday wish or greeting for Angela? Please leave it in the comments section. Thanks.


Happy Birthday falsetto

3 years ago today I hadn't yet seen his face, or heard his cry, or smelled his sweet baby body.

We were headed toward what was undoubtably the biggest transition of our lives.

We became parents. I became a mother and Ivan my son.

Life has never been the same, nor would I want it to be.

We were given a treasure that grows with each year as love unfolds and memories are built.

We love you Ivan and happy 3rd Birthday!

(OK, so it's my birthday too. Thanks mom and dad for passing through the same as us some 34 years ago)- wow, so long already! It looks like such a big number in print. Much longer than the way it's embodied in my mind.

What's your favorite kind of cake/dessert for your birthday? Do you have birthday traditions?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

the making of Miss Spider pinata

There is a 3 foot 7 lb spider lurking in the laundry room, crawling on my art table and swinging from the tree. She is complete and she is beautiful. OK, so she hasn't swung yet, but she's prepped and ready to go. We got her made, painted and stuffed with candy. Somehow a whole slew of kids showed up right when it was time to load her up. Interesting how that worked. Where were they for the arduous, messy creating and for the laborious painting? Nope, they showed up right when it was time to open up the sweet smelling bags of delicious goop. That worked out fine actually. It took a record time to fill her up and much fun for all ages. Then we made the spider marshmellow treats. According to the recipe I was supposed to melt chocolate and cover the made up spiders with it, and although the more chocolate the better, it sounded like a lot of work and I thought fuzzy looking marshmellows already coated in toasted coconut from the store was a great alternative.

I've got a fun scavenger hunt made, samples of a spider decorated bag and spider craft for the kids to make and cakes to bake. I was going to bake them today, but today got away on me. Good thing there is still tomorrow.

Ivan wanted to eat some candy out of his pinata. I told him we couldn't get it out and asked him how we could get it out. He gleefully replied that we could take a stick and smash it and get candy out. Yep, he's ready.

Part two coming soon: Miss Spider's eminent demise- small children armed with dangerous looking weaponry smash and demolish artfully created jurasic like specimen as parents cheer, applaud and photograph the frenzied chaos.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Sunny days

We're getting ready for a huge party bash. The neighborhood kids helped us fill the pinata with candy and make spider snacks out of marshmellows and pretzels. Grandma and Grandpa found all sorts of spider paraphenalia (easier done at the end of October) for our decor. We'll have a huge web and the spider pinata, spider cake, scavenger hunt, crafts making spiders... and the standard burgers, hot dogs, cake and ice cream. So that's what we've been up to. If grandpa sneaks away to the shed, he'll be putting together Ivan's big gift that is in a big box and probably in 354 pieces all carefully explained in 13 languages, none of which is English- have fun grandpa ;) Meanwhile, I'm going to make my delicious box cakes and spend hours decorating them- well, hopefully just one hour, but I doubt it.

The weather here is absolutely perfect, although a little windy today. It's been a little cooler, but still warm. I can't figure out if I should wear pants or shorts and think I should change several times throughout the day while I try to gage if it's getting cooler, or hotter- but that would mean not just changing me, but changing two toddlers- who really should probably be changed anyways because they are most likely covered in mud, or lunch, or a snack or the dog water, or chocolate milk, but that would require way more work than I'm willing to do when the day is so smackinly pretty (like I need an excuse).

Our awesome news is that Ivan has gone #2 in the potty. He now regularly does #1 in the potty and in his big boy pants, depending on his mood. To those of you who are rolling your eyes, this is really big news- REALLY BIG, OK? It's much harder than it sounds. To those of you who have lived through this ordeal- thank you for your tears of thanks over this momentous occasion.

Hope you enjoy more pictures and videos from the family reunion and our visit with Grandma Sue and Grandpa Ray.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Baggett family reunion

Grandpa Ray, Grandma Sue and our foursome drove down to Teague, Texas for the Baggett family reunion. I think there were less people than last year, but more travelers from afar. Our grands flew from NY, grandpa's Ray brother, wife and one son came from Wyoming and his other brother came from Houston. The only sibling not there this time was their sister from Houston. It was good to see so many again and see how the kids had grown. Dominique was passed around by the great-grand generation like a supreme prize to hold and cherish. She was once again the youngest of the bunch and beloved as the baby of the bunch.

Last year we drove down and back home in a day, but this year we were totally spoiled. The grands had rented a comfy van and got us a room at a posh hotel with a pool that we swam in both nights. It was warm enough, but also had a hot tub, so we'd go from one to the other. It also had waterfalls and one night we were joined by a frog that took a particular liking to Brian. I've had snowy birthdays, but this is the first time I've swum outside so close to my birthday.

Grandma Sue took these cool videos of us in the pool. I think it's beautiful how the lights reflect off Dominique's legs. You can really see her swimming. She decided it was time to learn how to float too. She is very daring (one of her middle names is Courage and she sure lives up to it). There was a seat in the hot tub and she learnt that she would go under the water when she walked off of it. So, for her second time, she ran off with gusto and held her breath!

Grandma and Grandpa seem to be trying to make up for not getting to be here all the time. She is on a mission to fill the clothes closets and toy boxes and book shelves. Ivan has been getting a book a day since they got here. We've already hit several stores, getting paints for Ivan's piƱata, and stuff to decorate with. He's really excited. I guess we all are. They said this is their first time to be here for our birthdays. We couldn't be happier. There's nothing so great as sharing these special times with those we love. To all our other loved ones out there... we'll be posting ;)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A new wave

Our next set of grandparents arrived. I'm sorry I haven't already posted about it, but it's been a little crazy around here. Tues. was a very hectic day, but we got to the airport and their flight was delayed (meaning we were no longer late ;) Ivan and Dominique took to Grandpa Ray and Grandma Sue immediately. They must have a sixth sense about these things. They haven't seen Grandpa Ray in over a year and Grandma Sue in two years (Dominique and her met for the first time and hit it right off). While my family may be in another country, GPR and GMS are our furthest relatives geographically.

I feel bad because they have been ditched with the kids tons already and they only just got here. The night they arrived the YMCA called me up to sub some classes, so I was gone all of the next morning and this morning, and they will keep the kids for us again tonight. It wouldn't have been worth it, except that I negotiated us into some free day passes for them to the Y, so we will get to have a couple of family swim times together.

I've also been busy getting birthday stuff going. I made Ivan's invitations last night. When he saw them this morning he said :"wow, how awesome!" That was hilarious. Another funny thing was when we were playing I spy yesterday. Ivan said "I spy with my little eye, something that is a fish".

I should be working on the pinata right now. Ivan picked a spider theme, so I'm making a spider pinata, cake and invitations. He and Dominique don't want to sleep while company is here. They have been fighting sleep and me, but I told Ivan if he didn't sleep, he wouldn't get to go out with the grandparents tonight. He told me: "I have to go take a long nap, don't wake me up" No problem on that Ivan. So on to the pinata.

We're going to a family reunion this weekend, so I'm not sure if I'll post until we get back.

Does your family have reunions? how often? What's your favorite reunion memory?

Monday, October 08, 2007

Nana & Papa Terry visit

We had so much fun with Nana and Papa Terry over the last few days. I'll just have to go over the highlights and smother you in pictures and videos. They came bearing gifts. Who would have known that a book on the Hokey Pokey would become such entertainment, night after night and all through the day. Kudos to Papa Terry who stopped whatever he was doing to join with Ivan and Dominique in dancing and demonstrating the correct actions to the song (and with such gusto!) There is something obviously magical about grandparents. When I tried to do this song with the kids some weeks ago, they didn't want to do it, but add two grandparents to the mix and it's a winner.

Since Nana's birthday is Tuesday (HAPPY BIRTHDAY NANA!!!) and they won't be here for Ivan's and mine, we got a cake we decorated together and Nana surprised the kids with helium filled balloons. You would have thought she'd hung the moon. It was cute hearing Dominique yell "balloons" over and over, which came out more like "ba-oon". She added that word to her vocabulary right quick.

Nana also got the kids some pumpkins. Since I like to buy pumpkins in the fall to use in cooking and baking, we didn't cut into them yet. We painted them for now and stuck paper faces on them. We'll cut them right before halloween and light them up, then I'll be boiling pumpkin and freezing it and roasting the seeds. Do you ever use the pumpkin- for food?

Nana seems to have a sixth sense about getting stuff for the kids. She will foresee what they need or what they are into. The night before they came, I asked Ivan what he wanted to be for Halloween and what he wanted as a theme for his birthday. He chose Thomas the train (from my list of easy-to-make costumes) and wants a spider themed birthday (weird, I know, but will work being so close to halloween- he has a book about a spider who has a surprise birthday party). Well Nana brought him Thomas the train slippers and a spider web. How crazy is that?

Of course anything makes a great kid gift- balloons anyone?

The greatest gift of course is being able to spend time together. Ivan keeps asking where Nana and Papa are (too far- even though they are our closest relatives). Again, it was like a vacation for me and I got one big project nearly done. With help here, it's easier to do big things. They were all napping (the first day Ivan napped all wrapped up in Papa Terry's arm, together in the recliner, the next day, he took a nap with Nana). Both kids fell asleep one day. This happens occasionally, more often if they have performed the hokey pokey hours on end and were so high on the excitement with the grandparent's arrival that they didn't nap at all the day before. When I'm on my own, I never know if I should start something big in case one of them wakes up soon. But with reinforcements, I tackled the costume knowing that a grand could keep a child entertained while I finished up or got to a stopping point. So thomas is ready to go apart from some paint.

There was a quote that asked where grandchildren got all their energy from and it said they take it from their grandparents. I hope that the visit didn't wear out these grands, but left them feeling re-energized. I know in many ways it was like a vacation to me- having others read to them, play with them, get cups, wipe faces, create giggles... is such a treat.