Thursday, March 21, 2013

Halloween 2012, Part IV: Trick-or-Treating

(Here are Part I, Part II, and Part III.)

And finally, Halloween itself! Papa and Gaga join us trick-or-treating. Despite being dressed as dogs, James and Julia ironically are terrified of dogs that come to the doors with their owners. At each door we ask Julia to scare the door answerer and she bellows "Booooooo!" at them, and it’s a hoot to see their reactions. Just in time for Halloween James develops a deep evil laugh that is hilarious. After each candy grab, Julia says, “More houses!” and is intent on trick-or-treating til she drops. Meanwhile James wants to slow down and look at every house’s Halloween decorations.

Julia's best "Booooo!" to our neighbor Paul.


Our neighborhood is a trick-or-treating wasteland, and there’s at least one house where we’re the only visitors so we get lots of attention. We have such a good time that we stay out trick-or-treating for an hour and a half, and find ourselves at our last house - Debbie’s - at 9 p.m. That's when it suddenly starts to pour on our wet and tired puppy dogs. Thankfully she offers us a ride home!

"So many treats, so little time."

After it starts raining at Debbie's house, James and Julia wait for her to drive us home.

They, especially James, love being doggies. Currently (four months later), his favorite thing to do is pretend to be a doggy, complete with requests like “can I lick you?” and “give me a tummy rub.”

Julia with Bunny and James with Doggy

James the Puppy Dog loves Puppy Dog.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Halloween 2012, Part III: Preschool Parties, Googleween, and Playgroup Party

(See Part I and Part II.)

Bright Beginnings Preschool and Mountain View Parent Observation Preschool Parties

The first event is a Halloween party at Bright Beginnings Preschool, which as I mentioned is over a week before Halloween. They also dress in costume at their other preschool, Mountain View Parent Observation, on Halloween. At Bright Beginnings the kids put on costumes and troop through the adjacent adult education offices where the staff gives out little toys. Adorably, James keeps coming over to ask, “Pet me.”

Julia shows off her puppy dog ensemble at preschool. 

James is a casual puppy dog.

Julia is not so sure she wants a puppy dog hug.

Bright Beginnings Preschool Halloween line-up.  Julia wouldn't let me get away so I hoped the parents could crop me out. Top row: Arjen, Pari, Lilly, Ivania, Samuel, James, and Julia. Bottom row: Ivan with brother Wyatt, Elania, Christophe, Shinvanjali, and Koki.

Mommy with her clingy puppy dogs at Mountain View Parent Observation Preschool.

Puppy dogs on Gaga’s lap during circle time

Leaf fight!


Next is Googleween. We make the brave decision to have them skip their naps to attend. That means that when the shuttle bus arrives they are not in the best frame of mind, and they are terrified to board. We end up driving to a lot near Googleween instead and taking a long walk.

Julia gets her ears out of her eyes so she can see on the long walk to Googleween.

Someone admires Julia’s costume, and I ask “Oh, you can tell what she is?” “Sure,” says the woman, “a polka dot girl.” Right. Because that’s a thing.

Googleween itself is pretty disappointing with long lines to do any of the activities. And my kids are too fearful of things like petting zoos anyway. 

When Julia no longer wants to wear her ears (complete with bow), Daddy steps in.


Inspecting their Googleween trick-or-treat bags

The best part of Googleween: the walk back to the car. (Seriously. I'm not sure if it was because Googleween was crowded and unenjoyable or because the walk back was so fun.)

The twins play a game of Who can touch Daddy’s hand?

Mark’s Google Halloween Costume

Mark dresses up for Halloween at Google as a new employee badge. Apparently if you work at Google this is hilarious. For the rest of us, we shrug our shoulders and go, “okaaaaay...” Also, everyone who knows Mark is shocked that he is going to any effort on a Halloween costume for the first time ever. He ends up winning his team’s costume contest. Not to take away from Mark’s win but it helped that there were only a handful of half-hearted entries, many of which consisted of a wig or a mask and nothing else. He wins a Nexus 7 Tablet for his efforts.

Mark the New Employee Badge

MNO Playgroup Halloween Party

Next up is our playgroup’s Halloween party hosted again by Stacy (here’s last year’s). She provides vegan doughnuts, purchased at the Ferry Building during a moms’ day out excursion the day before in San Francisco. The kids decorate Halloween coloring book pages with stickers and rubber stamps, play with bat necklaces and bat rings, and run around in the backyard. (Thanks Stacy for most of the pictures!)

Item one on the agenda: Get a group picture before any kids can take off their costumes! Julia wouldn’t let me leave her side so the moms (sans Stacy) got to join this year’s picture.

Ronan the race car driver

Hmmm... wonder whose hand Julia could be holding.

Best picture taken this year of my kids in costume

Oliver with Rachel

Julia eyes Ronan suspiciously as he eats his doughnut. Maybe she thinks he’s going to make a grab for her doughnut, which is totally within the realm of possibility given that he ate her cupcake at her second birthday, and considered eating her cupcake at her third.

My sweet boy

Stacy mines her art history background to give Ronan advice in choosing crayons for embellishing his Halloween coloring book page.

James shows off his bat rings.

Ronan is a tiger. Rrrrrowwwrrrrrr!

Julia tries to see how many bat rings will fit on her finger.

James makes baskets from the play structure.

Julia climbs on Mommy.

Oliver the zookeeper smiles at the hordes of cameras.

Puppy dogs on the play structure

Next time: Part IV: Trick-or-Treating

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Halloween 2012, Part II: The Contenders as Decided by Julia and James

So then (after Part I where they inform me that they want to be pumpkins), I spend my evening looking up pumpkin costumes and trying to find cute ones that are also masculine enough for a boy.

Most pumpkin costumes look like this.

Here’s the cutest (and most masculine) one I could find. (It was also $100.)

I show them my picks the next day, and Julia tells me, “I want to be a bunny.”

So then I spend hours online finding bunny costumes so she can look like her beloved stuffed Pink Bunny.

The bunny costume I picked out

Not the bunny costume I picked out

And the next day they announce they want to be doggies. Must refrain from throttling...

The Search for Doggy Costumes

About now I want to kill them, but they seem resolute in their desire to be doggies, so I spend many many hours finding and ordering dog costumes online as well as some cute felt doggy ear headbands on Etsy. Then I discover their preschool Halloween party is a full week before Halloween (even though they’re at school on October 30th!), and realize those costumes aren’t coming in time. In fact now no costume can make it in time. 

The costume I ordered but had to return

I end up having to shuttle the twins around with me one morning to four stores, and finally find two costumes at Target. Thankfully James and Julia are troopers. When we get home James announces, “Sometimes we go to four costume stores” as though this happens all the time.

Target’s doggy costume

Putting Together the Doggy Outfits

I’m relieved that the costume buying is done. And then the next day when it’s time for James and Julia to try them on they want nothing to do with the dog costumes. The costumes they chose! They won’t even wear them when offered a bribe of cookies. They think the felt dog ear headbands they tried on a few days earlier are enough to make them doggies. Which at this point... whatever. One day I will be happy to show them pictures where they are wearing t-shirts and jeans and costumes that just consist of a headband with ears. I purchased one set of ears in tan to match James’s blond hair and one set in brown to match Julia’s, but of course Julia insists on wearing the other pair.

These are the doggy ears. I loved the little brown nose so I bought face paint to replicate the photo but James and Julia wouldn’t have anything to do with that.

I bought the ears in tan for blondie James.

After asking for suggestions on Facebook, my longtime friend Wendy gives me the idea to cut spots out of duct tape to put on their clothes. Mark and I spend an evening cutting out spots and affixing them to brown shirts and pants the twins already own. The next morning both refuse pants since they’re in love with jeans, and James refuses the brown shirt as well as any spots anywhere. I happen to have a brown shirt with a doggy on it and he’s happy with that. So even though they got to wear their regular clothes instead of costumes, they still fight me over what they’re wearing. James even argues over which blue jeans are bluer. That’s what I’m dealing with here. And over the next four wearings, the costumes change even more - one time James accepts brown pants instead of jeans and another time Julia refuses to wear her brown shirt (she really doesn’t like her shirt with spots either) and insists on donning a blue sweater with a doggy.

I stay up late putting doggy spots on the twins’ clothes.

I’ve spent at least 16 hours on this whole enterprise and their costumes look like I threw them together in 5 minutes.

Next time: Part III: Preschool Parties, Googleween, and Playgroup Party