Friday, June 27, 2014

Halloween 2013: The Twins Dress as Horses... I Mean Cowboys

Julia and James try on their Halloween costumes for the first time, and then gallop around the house.

Here is Halloween 2012, 2011, and 2010. (I apologize for pictures with broken links.)

Choosing Costumes
After making the mistake of suggesting costumes last year, I let the twins dictate what they want to be and they choose… (drumroll)... horses. James’s second favorite animal is a horse. That’s after first place finisher dogs, of course, which - not coincidentally - was last year’s costume. And these days Julia chooses whatever James does.

I discover a cool costume where it looks like the wearer is riding a horse. I think it would be fun to make them appear to be a cowboy and cowgirl riding horses. I dress them up one night in cowboy and cowgirl costumes (all either recently purchased at garage sales or borrowed from our friend April), and they excitedly gallop around the house on a hobby horse. 

There’s a new sheriff in town...
James totally looks like a little boy from the 1950s.
When the horse costumes arrive I realize that there’s no way those will work. Unless the kids hold up the reins the whole time (good luck with that when they’re already holding candy buckets and grabbing candy), it looks like they’re wearing a slaughtered horse carcass.

How the horse part should look
And the dragging-around-a-horse-carcass reality


Still, they are pretty enthusiastic about being a cowboy and cowgirl and I think they’ll be fine with those costumes. However, at their first Halloween event, Googleween, Julia’s mad she’s not a horse. Plus, for reasons only Julia knows, she doesn’t like her shirt. Thankfully, the next time she dresses up she’s happy about her costume. But in the meantime she keeps forgetting what she’s dressed as. She tells people, “I’m a horse!” and then remembers: “I’m a cowgirl!”

Daddy's work chair! (Notice the Father's Day tie artwork on the window.)

Sheriff Julia arrives to clean up the lawlessness of Daddy’s office.

With absolutely no encouragement by us (I swear!) James suddenly strikes a modeling pose.
Wandering the halls of Google looking cute
A cowgirl has no qualms about peeing in a parking lot. I should add that we were absolutely willing to bring her into the bathroom inside but she insisted on this. "You can take the girl out of the farm..."
All tuckered out after the cattle drive

At Milestones Preschool the kids parade in costume around the Abilities United parent company offices. And at Mountain View Parent Observation Preschool, my parents come that day and see the twins in their costumes for the first time.

Trick-or-treating at the Abilities United offices at Milestones Preschool
Mommy with her cowboy and cowgirl
Cowgirl Julia rides a different kind of horse.

With their class at Mountain View Parent Observation Preschool
Carving Pumpkins

The kids carve pumpkins for the first time with the help of Papa and Gaga. James and Julia each pick a simple jack o’lantern face from a page of sample faces on the computer and then I attempt to replicate it. Julia likes stirring the pumpkin guts with a spoon. James likes removing handfuls of guts. They are really excited to light up their creations.

Mommy (with knife and boot) carves the pumpkin face.

James helps take the innards out of a pumpkin.

Papa and Gaga watch James and Julia squeeze handfuls of pumpkin guts.

James is excited to see the lit-up pumpkins that night.
My parents join us for trick-or-treating around the neighborhood, but don’t stay with us all the way to the end. LIke last year, the kids enjoy scaring the neighbors by shouting “boo!” at them and then laughing victoriously.

The twins usually dig into candy without saying “trick-or-treat” and also forget their “thank you’s.” Even though there are lots of trick-or-treaters on the side of our neighborhood with the new houses, for the older houses we’re some of the few (if any) trick-or-treaters so they give our kids lots of candy. They get a kazoo from one neighbor and James excitedly announces, “a gazooba!” He also calls Rolos, “rollovers.”

After a few instances of dogs running to the door when the kids knock, Julia stays her distance at each house, demanding to know from the sidewalk, “Do you have a dog?” instead of saying “trick-or-treat” before coming forward.

Trick-or-treating at the koi pond house
The kids see me put a Kit Kat bar aside at home for Emily, the 5-year-old girl across the street. Last year Emily looked through our (good, really!) offerings, asked if we had a Kit Kat bar (nope), and took nothing. After seeing me, Julia keeps taking Kit Kats at each house, even though she doesn’t like chocolate, so she can give her stash to Emily at the end of the night.

Julia and James get tired when we’re almost to Debbie’s (last year’s last stop) so we skip houses and go straight there. Julia asks us to carry her home so she can fall asleep in our arms. That’s a sign your kid is spent from trick-or-treating. We start at 7:45 and end at 9:15.

In Debbie's front yard pumpkin patch on Halloween night
Getting candy from Debbie

James is thrilled to be carried home.
Right after trick-or-treating, the twins break into some lollipops and commence germ sharing.

Party at Stacy’s
Even though our playgroup has had to go on hiatus because of competing preschool schedules, Stacy squeezes in her annual Halloween playdate party between preschool and naps. My kids are so excited they tell all their teachers about it and walk in circles outside during free play waiting for class to finish so they can go to the party.

At the party, other than our cowboy and cowgirl, Josh is Jake from Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and the other three attendees (Ronan, Oliver, and Sam) are superheroes. The kids decorate cupcakes, affix stickers to masks and treat bags, and bowl with orange soda bottles made to look like pumpkins.

Super Oliver, Superman (Sam), and Batman (Ronan)
Julia with the cupcake she decorated
Party with Lila, John, Jessica, and Brendan

The day after Halloween, Mark and I realize that we can actually get away from the kids to go to a Halloween party with Lila, John, Jessica, and Brendan. That’s a coup in adult world. At the last minute, Mark decides he wants to dress up after all and likes my Google map marker suggestion. We put our costumes together the hour before the party.

Google map markers A and B

Looks like we found our way to the Halloween party! Our Google Maps show the party location. (Thanks to Lila for the photo!)

A Google map marker at the end of the night

Thursday, June 12, 2014

James and Julia 24-28 Months, Part XI: Their Lives in Lists

Here is Part X: Lists of Favorites and Least Favorites

Kids They Most Frequently Play with
from Mom’s Night Out playgroup:
Oliver (mom: Rachel P.)
Ronan (mom: Stacy)
Josh & Sam (mom: Debbie)
Zoe & Zachary (mom: Sharon)

Josh and Sam attack me.
Julia and Zoe are twins in their matching jackets.
The Z's and the J's: Zoe, Zachary, James, and Julia
from Las Madres:
David (mom: Jadwiga)
Isaac (dad: Todd)
Maya (mom: Arnita)
Kayleigh (mom: Vicky W.)

Words They Say the Most
Gaga (Grandma)
Red Hat
Dewey/Dew-ya (how James says “Julia”)
Bye Bye
Baseball Shirt

Funny Words
“Die-ya” (“Julia;” said by Julia)
“Hire fuck” (Fire truck; said by James)
“Genko ball” (Jingle Bells; said by Julia)
“Da da da da” (said Julia to indicate to us to sing the theme song to Bonanza)
“Monkey teeth” (Macaroni and cheese; said by both)
“Gaga T” (Gaga’s chair; said by Julia)
“Gay pig” (Guinea pig; said by Julia)
“Tempa-too” (Tupperware; said by both)
“Make-uh” (Music; said by both)
“Nigh-ya” (Yellow; said by Julia)
“Yeh-wee” (Yellow; said by James)
“Thirteen” said by Julia which sounds like “fourteen” (sounds like she counts 11, 12, 14, 14, 15)

Surprised They Know
“Holy Moley” (said by James; taught by Papa)
“Christmas tree pot” (James)
Hose (James, describing black tubing)
Ostrich (james)
Dreidel (James)
Oven mitt (James)
Camel (Julia)
Lost (James, referring to “lost your hat”)
Raccoon (Julia)
Matzoh ball (James)
Sequin (James)
Guitar (James?)
Hexagon (James)
“Holy mackerel!” (James, learned from Papa, used when looking at page full of fish in Hooray for Fish)
Hideout (James, learned from Bubby)
Rocket (James)
Okapi (Julia, learned from me, surprised Mark)
Sour cream (James)
Spit (James)
Pineapple (Julia recognizing an uncut pineapple)
Smiley face (Julia)
Gefilte fish (James)
Sizzle (James, handing me pretend sausage patty in a pan)

New Animal Sounds (See video of some of their animal sounds.)
Dolphin (high pitched rapid fire “e-e-e-e-e-e-e!”
Seal (hit arms together and bark)
Guinea pig (“nibble nibble”)
Crab (“snap snap” and use crab hands)
Goose (“honk honk”)
Hyena (“hee hee hee”)

New Foods Tried for the First Time
Samosa (really like and James asks for it by name at Tandoori Oven)
Tuna (ahi tuna at Sakura Teppanyaki)
Salsa (they lick off chip; James likes, Julia doesn’t)
Taquitos (both like at Pedro’s)
Raita (both like at Tandoori Oven)
Chicken burrito (both like, especially Julia)
Fried wonton (both like, especially James, at Taiwan Restaurant)
Hamentaschen (eat at Stacy’s)
Barbecue sauce (both want more with chicken)
Beef short ribs (Julia likes)
Dried mandarin oranges (they love)
Ants on a log (celery too big)
Turkey/pesto roll-up (a hit but too big, held together with a celery stick)
Kadoo (James almost finishes off my “pumpkin yogurt” at an  Afghani restaurant by himself)
Cottage cheese (at Google: Julia makes a face but James likes)

Tucking in Julia 1/29
-wants to put away toothbrushes (walks to bathroom)
-ignores 3 songs I sing in nursery to calm them
-walks to her room
-decides she wants to go to nursery (James’s room)
-I distract her by telling her to put Bunny in crib
-she throws Bunny in crib
-tries to climb in crib (which she has never been able to do)
-gives up climbing in and says “Mommy” and I sing 4 songs to her, ending with Happy Birthday (I used to only sing one song and she’d immediately flip over and ask for another; then I’d say “last one” and she’d flip and ask for another. Then I would ask what she did at the park - to distract her - but she wised up and it no longer worked and now she requires 4 songs instead of 1)
-Julia in bed with 2 blankets and 4 books

-and now James wants 4 songs when i tuck him in!

Sleep Protocol 3/29
-Brush teeth; Julia accompanies me to put away toothbrushes
-Diaper changes
-Read one book with them on my lap
-Sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (played on Learning Home at same time), The Alphabet Song (ABCD) (played on Learning Home), and Baa Baa Black Sheep
-James kisses Mommy, Daddy, and Julia (which is the funniest)
-Pick up James and sing Twinkle Twinkle, ABCD (both again with Learning Home playing), Baa Baa Black Sheep, and this time a new one - Happy Birthday (“to Ronan” who had his birthday in January)
-James in crib with 4 books, toy sandwiches and other toys, blankie, Doggy, and 2 blankets
-Walk with Julia to her room
-Count to 12 as she runs down hall past her room and she returns when I get to 12 (for awhile she used to lie on the ground for part of the counting or run to the side of her crib for me to catch her)
-She unsuccessfully tries to climb in her crib for a few seconds while I count
-Pick up Julia and sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, ABCD, Baa Baa Black Sheep, and Happy Birthday (“to Julia, not Ronan”) and Twinkle again to Bunny
-Julia in crib with 4 books, blankie, Bunny, and 2 blankets

Schedule 3/21
8:30 a.m. wake up
9:00-10:00 a.m. breakfast (meals are 45 minutes; 15 minutes for cleaning after)
11:00 a.m. run to park (kids in stroller)
12:30-1:30 p.m. lunch
2:00 p.m. nap (2+ hours)
4:15 p.m. 1st waker (Julia)
5:00 p.m. 2nd waker (James)
5:20 p.m. snack
7:00-8:00 p.m. dinner
8:45 p.m. sleep (want it to be 8:30 p.m. but if we eat out it’s 9:00 p.m.)

That’s all folks!