You can tell that Charlie sprang from the dust of his Idaho surroundings by his newly acquired slang. I had to stop when I heard it and ask Eric if I had heard him correctly. With an astonished voice, Charlie had exclaimed, "What in heck!?"
During the last week before school started for Eric and me, we clamored to finish off those pesky "spring cleaning" chores that we hadn't gotten to, including cleaning out the garage (insert dramatic nose wrinkle here).
We invited the kids to help us (with a little bribe on the side), and even Charlie pitched in. When I left to get some cleaning supplies at the store, Charlie was happily helping to sweep the garage floor. When I returned, he looked like he was the garage floor.
The kids reported to me that Charlie had flung aside his broom and dropped to the ground and rolled around and around in the dirt. I guess he was just trying to get closer to his roots.
When I read to the four oldest kids at night, I sit on Holden's bed with him and we read and talk about the events of the day. I love catching wisps of their adolescent observations.
One evening, Holden said to me, " I've been noticing that there are these cliques at school."
Ethan sat up in his bed, looking intensely interested in this new concept. "Clicks? What's a click?"
Holden said, "Well, a clique is when you have these social groups who have common interests. You know, like The Cheerleaders or The Jockeys. . ."
I snorted out loud and teased Holden, "Oh the Jockeys, huh? Are they just running around the junior high with their horses, wearing their little breeches and caps, yelling 'C'mon guys, let's have a race!'"
After one of our September birthday celebrations, Marie emerged from her dessert with blue and green frosting all around her eye.
Puzzled, I asked her, "How did you get frosting there?"
She replied sweetly, "The cake just fell near my face."
Family Resemblance Assembly Line
I was helping a friend with a Young Women's activity for Church, and asked Eve if she'd like to help me make some of the favors so we could get them in the mail.
Eve nodded enthusiastically and said, "Let me just set up my work station."
I was so proud of her I giggled and cried at the same time. I criggled.
We set up our assembly line and happily settled into our work. Eric snapped some pictures and they made me criggle afresh.
Peter's SEVENTH Heaven
For his birthday, Peter wanted to have a Peter Pan Party. Since I have finally relented to Eric's repeated requests that the kids only have a party with friends every other year, we had a party with "just us."
On his Birthday List, Peter had written that he wanted a Lego set and a Webkinz wolf. Caleb and Eve teamed up to make clothing for Peter's toy wolf, even before he came in the mail. Eve sewed him a snazzy new pair of blue jeans and a comfy yellow t-shirt and Caleb crocheted him a cape. Eve, the social director of the group, informed me that Peter's wolf and her toy dog, who goes by "Snowy," were going to get married.
I said, "You mean to say that he has a new wardrobe and is already betrothed to a dog he hasn't ever met, and he hasn't even gotten to our house yet?"
Peter told me that his wolf's name is "Steve" because, in his words, "Hello, ladeez! I'm Steve!"
Ethan Makes it Teenage-Official
As stated above, the new party practice is that the kids have a "friend party" every other year. Clearly this was NOT my idea, and clearly I will find any way I can to make an exception.
Because we had thrown a big surprise party for Holden when he became a real teen, I thought that it was only fair that we give Ethan the same lovely courtesy. For weeks before Ethan's birthday, I schemed and planned and visualized a Doctor Who party for him and his friends. The thrill of planning a surprise party is offset by the fact that planning it for someone who happens to live with you creates some logistical hurdles. I found myself trying to design the invitations, favors, and games when Ethan wasn't home, but there was no way I could finish all of the food and decorations in broad daylight.
The night before the party, I was like some celebratory vampire, hovering quietly in the darkness as I baked and frosted cupcakes and cut out decor and favors in the moonlight hush. I didn't retreat to my cave until 6 AM. Luckily the party was on a Saturday, so, with Eric's help and shushing of small children, I got to sleep until 9:30 AM. I dragged my sorry carcass out of bed and looked at Eric with my bloodshot, swollen eyes and croaked, "I'm too old to pull all-nighters."
He grinned at me and said, "Finally!"
The title of the game comes from the tenth Doctor's often-used exclamation, "Allons-y!" It's a common French expression that means, "Let's go!" I made dice that each had a tardis, a sonic screwdriver, an adipose, a weeping angel, a dalek, and a 13 on it. When they got three of the same symbol, they had to shout, "Rollons-y" and then won a prize.
First off, you have to play the game in the dark. We played it outside, which made it extra intense with the wind swooshing around us and the branches and leaves crackling and giving us perfect places to hide. You divide the group up into "Whovians" and "Weeping Angels," but you make sure you have at least one more Weeping Angel than Whovians for the game to work. Each Whovian gets a flashlight so that they can shine it on the Weeping Angels, who have to stop moving if the light from the flashlight is on them. The object is for the Whovians to get all the way up the stairs and to the deck before being touched by a Weeping Angel.
Right before unleashing the game, we watched an episode from Doctor Who that perfectly introduced Weeping Angels to the boys who weren't familiar with them with just enough tension, but not too much.
I knew we had hit the jackpot when I heard ten twelve and thirteen-year-old boys shrieking like little girls in my backyard and then saying, "AWESOME! Let's play again!"
Here are some shots from when we did the "family pilot" of the game.
Ethan asked for Beef Bourguignon and Bastille Day Cake for his birthday dinner. (We created it originally for our Bastille Day celebration this summer.) He composed a hand-written birthday list that asked for:
1) A Mine Craft Lego Set
2) Whatever you think I might like
3) Chocolate and Croutons (but not combined)
Church Primary Program
Charlie's Newest Game
I love that he's wearing that t-shirt. It has a picture of Stich and says, "Two-Foot Terror." We bought it when Ethan was two, and all of the kids (both boys and girls) have worn it at this age.