Sunday, November 1, 2015

Murray Saves Halloween

Halloween is always so fun for our kids--they love pumpkins, they love dressing up and they love candy.  They even love things that are a little scary.

Then along came Eric....

Eric has always liked pumpkins,

but he does NOT like dressing up.


I've heard other moms talk about their kids refusing to put on Halloween costumes, but I have never really experienced it.  Even Ben--who hated trying on jackets or changing his clothes as a baby and toddler--loved to dress up as a pirate, astronaut, fire fighter, Santa, Horton . . . the list could go on and on! 

And the girls, of course, were dressing up as princesses as soon as they could stand up.


I tried putting Eric into several of our favorite costumes from years past--the frog (worn by Ben at age 2 and Alaina two years in a row!),

the pumpkin (Janae's first Halloween costume and Alaina's second),

and--since Eric is really into the Wiggles' Captain Feathersword--the pirate costume.

Unfortunately I could not even get him halfway into each before he started to . . .  not just complain or cry but . . . SCREAM.  And even I know that forcing someone into a costume is not going make for a happy Halloween.

Then I thought I'd try taking the advice a couple of people had given me and dress Eric up as Murray from the Wiggles.  He's the red Wiggle, and the one best known for playing the guitar.

So . . . a pair of black pants with red stripes and a long-sleeved red shirt later . . . we had Murray Wiggle.  Eric wore the "costume" all day, pointing to himself and saying "Murray suit" and playing his guitar like a toddler rock star. 

Of course he still wouldn't pose with the other kids for a picture, but THAT is an issue I am much more familiar with :)

When we went out to trick or treat, though, Eric wouldn't hold his guitar . . . or his treat bucket.  (He would, however, hold a . . . watering can!?!)

After a couple of houses, though, even this small problem disappeared--and Eric held out his little pumpkin for candy.  He didn't really say trick or treat (even though he'd done a great job of practicing this at home), but he was the most enthusiastic of all the kids in saying THANK YOU whenever he got a treat.  He really does love candy!

As the night went on, Eric was running up to the doors (tripping only a couple of times), and he kept going until his bucket was full of candy and chips.  Not bad for an almost-two year old!
And as for the other kids. . . .
This year we had a different "order" for who dropped out of the trick-or-treating first:

Our usual marathon trick-or-treater came home with Eric and me, while the girls completed the rounds.

I guess the cold really doesn't bother them anyway (sorry--couldn't resist!).  Although Janae was pretty upset there were so many other Elsas out there (she may be the only one allowed to be Elsa at home, but apparently the other girls in the neighborhood play by different rules).

And today, they are as tired and cranky as you might expect. 

But we will always think of it as the year Murray saved Halloween :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Play Your Guitar with Eric

Eric is at that age where when he loves something he REALLY loves it.  And right now there are at least two things--not unrelated--that he just can't get enough of: the Wiggles and guitars.

All of our kids have enjoyed singing and dancing with Greg, Murray, Jeff, and Anthony, but Eric is the first to really notice the instruments--especially the guitars.

His obsession with guitars has now reached the point where, whenever he sees one, he thinks it is his.

This has obviously led to some uncomfortable situations at other people's houses, in stores, and at piano lessons (where Eric mistook some antique violins in a cabinet for guitars and had a fit because he couldn't "get them").

An all-time low occurred one day when Eric was really ready for a nap and saw a picture of a guitar on a music book.  He ended up screaming until he nearly passed out because he couldn't "get it" off of the paper.  

Now, I know what you are probably thinking: "Get that boy a guitar!"

But we have tried that.  Eric now has a slightly dangerous banjo from Grandma and Grandpa's house (his first "guitar"), an overpriced ukelale from a toy store,
and--our most recent purchase--a toy guitar with Elmo on the front ... that I made the mistake of putting batteries into.  You don't want to hear the rock guitar version of "Elmo's song"-- believe me!

But this is not enough for Eric.  He wants Janae's Barbie guitar (not available for borrowing), Alaina's American Girl doll guitar (very breakable!), AND he wants someone else to play the guitar WITH HIM ... often at the most inopportune moments--like when the girls are trying to read or go to sleep.
 Little brothers!!

Luckily, Eric is branching out to other new hobbies like riding his bike, listening to Curious George books, and harassing the cat.  

Maybe one day guitars will just be a PART of his life, rather than the centre.  

But for now, be prepared to hand over any guitar (or guitar-like item) whenever our little guy is around.....

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Irrational Fears

We all have things we're afraid of--whether it be heights, spiders, public speaking ... just to name a few.

Janae, though, was bragging the other day that she is not afraid of anything.  Snakes?  She LOVES snakes and would even like one as a pet.  Vampires?  No way--not scary at all.  Dementors?  Voldemort?  or any other scary thing from Harry Potter? Janae, apparently, is willing to embrace them.

Then we were walking out of the library, and Janae saw THIS book--which Alaina had checked out.

Janae screamed with fright and said, "Don't get that book--I am so scared of the mammoth in it!!!"


Saturday, September 5, 2015

6 on the 6th . . . on the 5th

This is Alaina's special year for birthdays, since she is turning 6 on September 6th.  Unfortunately, she shares a birthday with her great grandpa, who will be turning 100 on the 6th this year.
So . . . we celebrated Alaina's special day one day early :)
Alaina and Janae have been reading Harry Potter all summer, and are just finishing the fourth book.  They are completely obsessed--playing Harry Potter all day every day. 
So when Alaina finally decided on a Harry Potter theme for her party, I was not surprised at all--and I was absolutely thrilled, since I love the wizarding world as much as anyone!
We planned and shopped and prepared.  Yesterday the kids and I made a bunch of treats for our Honeydukes Sweets Shop: cockroach clusters, licorice wands and chocolate frogs to go with our golden snitches and every-flavour beans.
We also hung candles from the ceiling, and--thanks to Alaina's crafty cousins--sparkling stars as well. 
(By the end of the party all of the candles had fallen down--luckily it became part of the fun to avoid being bonked on the head by one, and to predict which would fall next!)
We put up some posters of a wizard who may have escaped from Azkaban,
and made an entryway that somewhat resembled platform 9 3/4.
This morning we put together a cake like the one Hagrid brought Harry for his 11th birthday (so nice to be making a cake that is SUPPOSED to look bad!). 
When it came time for candles, Alaina refused to blow out the last one, because she is happy to admit she has a boyfriend :)  In the end, Ben finally did it for her!
Alaina had a good group of cousins, aunts, and grandparents to help her celebrate (and eat all the sweets). 
Moaning Mertle even made an appearance!
Our birthday girl had told everyone she wanted a Beenie Boo kitty for her birthday, and she was fortunate enough to unwrap SEVERAL. 
Then she spent the rest of the afternoon playing outside in the sunshine.
Not a bad birthday, even if it was a day early . . . and we could not be more thankful for this little soon-too-be 6 year old!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Fort Langley Fun

Last September our family got a year pass to Fort Langley--a historic site known as the birthplace of British Columbia.  We have had lots of good times visiting this peaceful, old-fashioned place, and thought it might be fun to camp there.
So . . . we booked our spot and waited for August 26 to come :)
When we got to the Fort, we were told to drive around to the back, where we received keys to the big gate!  We were able to load all of our supplies in from here--on wagons provided by the Fort.
We also got keys to our "Otentik"--which seemed to be a fancy word for kind of a fancy tent.
It had dishes, cleaning supplies, a fridge, and--our kids' favorite: a bunk bed.
Eric spent quite a bit of time climbing the ladder and jumping down--a highlight of his camping experience, for sure :)

We checked in at 3:00, so we had two hours to do all of our usual fun activities at Fort Langley, like feeding the animals (sheep, goats, bunnies, chickens),
exploring the historic buildings, and re-creating events from the history of B.C.
But after 5:00 we had the Fort pretty much to ourselves (only about 10 other people were camping there).  We used the back entrance to bring in our bikes--which the kids really loved riding around the park.
I wish I could have captured Eric's face when he saw me carrying HIS bike, too--he shouted "My bike!" and ran towards me with his arm stretched out.
 We explored the area, 

  barbecued (everything was provided except food!),

climbed on the wall to look for wildlife (we'd heard there were coyotes but didn't see or hear any),

rode bikes some more,

even up above on the wall,

and even well after dark. 

The kids played tag and hide and seek, panned for gold (our tent was right beside the gold panning station--which made Ben very happy!),
and just enjoyed being together in such a unique place.
The tent came with ear plugs to help us get through the night--with trains going through the area frequently.  This worked well for Janae, who actually used the ear plugs, but not so well for the rest of us (who didn't).
Jason slept fine, but Eric was up every half hour with the trains.  Alaina and Ben each sat up a few times, and I--of course--was up whenever anyone else was up, so I didn't really sleep.
So, we know what to do differently next time!
In the morning the kids were all out in their PJs, running through the vegetable garden,

feeding the animals, exploring, and--you guessed it--riding their bikes.

The kids even got to help raise the flag--we've never been there early enough to do that before!
 Simple times, but so much fun.  We'd all do it again . . . with ear plugs this time :)