Thursday, October 31, 2013

Yay, Halloween!

Eons ago, way back in 2011, I lamented the coming of Halloween in this post.  I suppose I don't really like Halloween because I seem to totally and completely lack the gene that makes me good at coming up with costume ideas.

My costume failings are constantly being exacerbated by the pink princess-loving little girl with an unflappable sense of style who is my middle child. In 2011, she was refusing to wear anything un-princess-y. We managed a compromise when I found a mermaid princess costume that was sparkly though not pink. It turns out, as long as there's glitter, a wand, and a beautiful plastic pearl necklace, it doesn't have to be. This discovery almost revolutionized Halloween for me. Almost.

The next year, I decided to push my luck and try for a mini theme. A fortuitous trip to Comic Con with my students convinced me that Power Rangers was the way to go. I mean their masks have Japanese symbols on them. How cool is that? Sky loved the idea of being Red Power Ranger. He thought the "fire" mask was especially awesome and enjoyed posing with his various secret weapons. Here you see him effectively utilizing his freeze ray (conveniently shaped like an LED flashlight).

Stow couldn't have cared less about being Yellow Power Ranger, but who can resist a seventeen-month old with fake muscles and a hat in the shape of the Japanese character for light? Obviously, I couldn't. This is also as close as I was going to get to covering his head or face, so there's that.

The challenge, of course, was Pink P. I knew getting Pink to agree to a non-princess outfit might be difficult. But given the pink-ness of Pink Power Ranger, I thought I had a good chance.

I didn't.

She would not even entertain the thought of being a Power Ranger, and so I had to settle for this. At least it wasn't pink, and her princess of choice a brunette instead of blonde. I take my victories where I can (even when they aren't really victories at all).

That brings me to this year. My batting average at not getting Pink to dress like a princess seemed pretty dismal. As the following useful info-graphics make clear:

I'm still pretty proud of Mike Wazowski. I could never pull that off today.
Pink's costume choices from 2008 until 2012.


Going into the sixth round of Pink P costume searching this year, I didn't have much hope.

And then Pink P chose this:

Sometimes I'm pretty sure she's just messing with me. I mean, why couldn't she pick this last year when both her brothers were Power Rangers? Honestly, though, I don't care because now my princess to non-princess ratio is 1:1. And, besides, how awesome is that look? 

Lest you're worried I got off easy this Halloween, I should tell you that Sky is refusing to dress up. First, he couldn't find a costume he liked. And since I knew I'd be traveling a lot in the weeks leading up to Halloween, I agreed with him that maybe he could just stay home and help hand out candy this year. But then I started worrying that he was avoiding Halloween due to his anxiety and sensory issues and that he really wanted to participate but didn't feel like he could. So, I took him to the Halloween store. You know the one: it pops up in a strip mall near you on about the first of October and is gone by the first of November. Normally, I avoid these stores, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

And, my ploy seemed to work. Sky was immediately drawn to the (admittedly awesome) Minecraft accessories. And, since it was my idea, I couldn't say no. 

I'm not going to tell you how much this little get-up cost (shirt from Target, by the way), but I will say it was more than the other two kids' costumes combined. And the best part? Sky's still not sure he wants to wear it. I did manage to get him to wear the t-shirt for the school Halloween parade, but the ridiculously expensive cardboard head and foam pick ax are waiting safely at home.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

My Attempt at a Travel Post (a.k.a Further Proof I Stink at Blogging)

Last week, I went to Japan. It'd been 1195 days since the last time I was there. One thousand, one hundred, ninety-five days--one autism diagnosis, one asthma diagnosis, two back surgeries, and a new baby ago. The last time I was there, I had a five year-old old Sky and a two-year old Pink P tripping along behind me. This time, I went without them.

This I can say with complete confidence: it is a much better 14-hour flight when you are not holding a squirming toddler on your lap. It's also a lot easier to get through a crowded train station. Plus, for an entire week, no one walked in on me in the bathroom or woke me up in the middle of the night. So there's that.

Being back in Japan was weird, but probably not for the reasons you think. There's something completely visceral about Tokyo. I experience it with all of my senses and immediately feel like I've always been there. I also wonder why I ever left. So many times during my time in Tokyo, I set off without even realizing the rest of me knew exactly where it was going, even when I didn't entirely seem to remember the way. I am 100% a small-town Midwesterner, and yet, Tokyo makes total sense to me. It always has. It's weird to feel so totally familiar with a place that is so completely different than any point of reference you had growing up.

Here are some pictures from my trip. They are completely unremarkable other than the fact the things depicted seem totally unremarkable to me.

The view from my window. In the foreground is a driving practice lot.

Hands down better chocolate.

Typhoon 26 slowed me down a bit. 

Bamboo forest.

Samurai sword umbrellas. If I could've figured out a way to get one in my suitcase...

Hotel room.

Ladies bath.

Tea house roof.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


Still on the road. Not enough time to write a proper blog, so I offer a brief interlude.

MOE's guide to finding the perfect kids shirt:

1. It should be just the right amount of tacky.
2. The grammar should be above reproach, even if the meaning isn't.
3. Then, again, sometimes bad grammar makes it better.
4. It should force you to think way more than any kids' shirt should.

Here are a few recent finds to hold you over:

I can hardly wait to add to Stow's wardrobe with these gems.

And here are a couple of bonus finds:

If I couldn't read, I would take a completely different message from this diaper changing station. Then, again, the English doesn't help much.

British jelly?

For my earlier bad English t-shirts posts, click here and here.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Does Anyone Else Have Days Like This?

Yesterday, my day started with an armed robbery and ended with a pony bite, which totally reminded me that I should be blogging. I mean, who has days like this? I blog to find camaraderie, or at least to confirm that my life really is a tad crazy, so maybe it's okay if I feel like I'm losing my mind.

For the record, they caught the robber just seconds after he dashed across the parking lot outside my office window. And Pink P is no worse for the wear after her run-in with the orchard pony on her school field trip. When I asked Pink why the horse bit her, she said, "That was one crazy horse, Mama. They're not all like that." Worried that the experience might have put her off horses for awhile (thus requiring me to dispose of hundreds of dollars worth of horse toys, books, and apparel), I asked if she was scared of them now. With an expression that I'm pretty sure was a mixture of pity and embarrassment at my simple-mindedness, she said, "Mooooom, you know I love horses." And, that was the end of the discussion. She didn't find it at all funny this morning when I said, "Don't get bitten by any ponies today, okay?" as I kissed her and put her on the school bus. I need to remember that kindergarteners don't always appreciate my attempts at humor and only find it disturbing when I try to enter their fantasy worlds. It's a shame, though. I could sure use a little more fantasy in my life.

So, what else is new, you ask? Well, three more weeks until major back surgery number 3, but we can't talk about that because I am in a blissful state of denial. Denial necessitated by the fact that I have a new job, a new house, in a new town, with new schools, and somehow we have to make this transition work despite the shi**y back. Sky and Pink started public school several weeks ago. I keep meaning to write about it, but so far it's going so well, I don't have much to say (great now I've jinxed myself). Here's a summary to hold you over until I actually write about it: The IEP is in place. Sky feels well supported by all the people there meant to help kids like him. He's having trouble making friends, and some of the kids are bullying him (jerks), but we are on top of it, and his school-related anxiety level seems lower than I've seen it in a long time.

I promise to write more soon. I have a 14-hour plane ride in my near future, so that should give me some time to think.