I think I might actually enjoy Halloween this year. For the past eight years, Halloween has an an extremely low “actually enjoyed it”-to-“expected to enjoy it” ratio. Ever since we had our first child, I always pictured Halloween to be an evening when I would bounce around the neighborhood with my elaborately-costumed children, soak up the compliments about their preciousness, then go home to watch them delight in a few pieces of candy (after our conversions I had some vague visions about doing something prayerful acknowledging All Hallows Eve too).
Then here’s how it would actually turn out:
I’d be unwilling to pawn our TV to afford outrageously-overpriced children’s costumes, yet unable to come up with any cute and easy make-at-home costume ideas (I note that this was a pre-Pinterest problem). Then I would be too tired from the sheer toil of my daily life to herd my children around the block, and I would stay at home while Joe took the kids around the neighborhood, his own banana costume utterly overshadowing whatever we’d managed to throw together for them. We’d come home and every single one of the children would end up crying and screaming for hours when they found out that they could not, in fact, eat their entire bag of candy in one sitting. (My most salient Halloween memory is of trying to carry some pumpkin-shaped baskets filled with candy over to a closet where I planned to store them, dragging two toddlers who were clinging to my ankles and shrieking as if their very wills to live were contained in those orange baskets.)
But I think this year might actually be fun. My mom hooked us up with some great costumes, I actually have some energy these days, and at least a few of our kids are above the age of sanity so that the candy battles should only be mildly epic.
I need some easy saint costume ideas. We’re going to an All Saints Day party at our parish, and I’m hoping that we can repurpose some Halloween/dress-up supplies for this one. Here’s what we have in the way of costumes: a tiger, a skeleton, a bumble bee, a nurse’s uniform, a lab coat, a feather boa, and about a thousand princess dresses. Are there any saint outfits we could throw together here? I mean, I guess all the girls could be St. Elizabeth of Hungary, but I was hoping for a little more diversity.
I tried not to reference my library story from this time of year in 2008. I really did. But I can’t not talk about it. I don’t entirely understand why, but every time I think about it I just about laugh until I cry.
You see, this was during that season I referenced recently when I was barely surviving each day. I had a newborn, a 15-month-old and a two-year-old, and about 95% of my brainpower at any given moment went to figuring out how to cling to life for the next hour. I was barely aware that there was an election about to take place, let alone conscious of whatever other dates may be on the calendar. On one such day I went to the library to return some books, and was shocked by the appearance of one of the employees. I normally have a certain fondness for people who dress in outrageous styles, but this was way beyond what is appropriate for a library employee: the guy wore a huge hoop ring in one ear, a black bandanna covered in skulls and crossbones, had charcoal eyeliner smudged all over his eyes, a black vest with a depiction of crossed swords on it, and a gaudy nose ring that covered half of his nose.
When I called Joe to crow about the unfortunate declining standards of employee attire at our local public institutions, he started laughing so hard he could barely breathe. I didn’t see what was so funny about it, and he was barely able to choke out the words: “It’s…Halloween. The guy…was dressed…as a pirate.”
We have a great family tradition where my dad comes over every Sunday and cooks a big breakfast of bacon, sausage, and scrambled eggs for us. We walk in the door from Mass each Sunday to smell the scents of breakfast meats and biscuits mingling in the air, and hear the bacon popping sizzling on the grill. But it just occurred to us that perhaps we should choose a place to set up the grill other than the spot right under the wine glasses:
A friend joined us for dinner the other day, and had an odd look on his face as he noted that the cabernet we served was tannic with notes of grass, bell pepper, and…bacon?
My copy of Undaunted Courage arrived in the mail today, and I can’t wait to dig into it tonight. It’s been on my wish list forever, and our upcoming trip to the Pacific Northwest pushed me over the edge to get it. It is almost embarrassing how excited I am to read this. I absolutely love well-written historical nonfiction anyway, and knowing that I’m about to see in person many of the places depicted in this book just about sends me to Nerdvana.
Joe pointed out that I need to read fast, since we leave for Seattle exactly two weeks from today. I shook my head and calmly said no. “No, you don’t need to read fast?” he asked. I corrected him to clarify, “‘No’ as in we’re not flying to Seattle in two weeks.” He paused, looked at the calendar in confusion, and confirmed that, yes, in fourteen days we will load ourselves and our children onto airplanes and depart for the state of Washington, whereupon we will then drive to Oregon and stay for an entire week. I nodded placidly, and explained that that is not my truth. It blesses me to feel like we have at least three more months to get ready for this thing, and therefore that is what I choose to believe. He has his truth, and I respect that. I will not infringe on his views about 14-day timelines for 2, 000-mile trips that involve packing for rainy, winter weather for a herd of young children. But I also ask that he respect that that is not my truth.
Our girls love to dance, and last night we decided to inspire them with Youtube videos. We began with examples of traditional Irish folk dancing, showed them a classic waltz, and tried to entice them with images of ballroom dancing with tuxedo-clad men and ladies in sumptuous gowns. The result was yawns all around. You see, the problem was that at some point early in our searching, a terrible series of events played out in which we somehow found and inexplicably clicked on the video for The Hamster Dance. My girls stopped what they were doing, stared at the television, and knew at that moment why God gave us the internet. Long story short, they spent the rest of the night asking us to play it over and over again, and now I shall spend the rest of my days tortured by this song, which will evidently never leave my head. And so I share it with you: