Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Autumn Catch-Up, Part 3

Grammy and Grand (my mom and dad) came for Joe's baptism. We were all very happy to see them. At one point during the visit, Grammy made a comment about us coming to visit them and spend the night at their house. I didn't think anything of it...until Monday morning. Cakes had his backpack stuffed full of underwear, socks, pajamas, shirts, shorts, and shoes. He even packed his toothbrush! He had interpreted Grammy's comment as a personal invitation to spend the night with her. He was sure that she was coming to pick him up soon. I tried explaining to him that she was not coming to get him today. After thinking it over, he decided to carry the backpack with him so he would be ready when Grammy came.

Cakes checking the mail, Jim right behind 

Autumn-time in our town means the arrival of Hot Air Balloons! Our town has an annual balloon festival. The skies before and after are filled with hot air balloons getting ready for the festival. It is a beautiful sight to behold.

Lone hot air balloon 

I have been teaching preschool in my home for the past few months. My students were Cakes, Miss S, and two neighborhood boys--T & D. I threw a little party for them a few days before Halloween. Unfortunately, D was sick! His mom left a message saying he had been throwing up. I thought he had the flu. His mom told me later that he had been to his brother's Halloween party the night before and got a ton of candy which he promptly sat down and ate...ALL OF IT! That's why he was sick! Hahaha! Poor guy. What a terrible way to learn the valuable lesson of Moderation in All Things.

Here are the kids who weren't sick. They wore costumes, ate cupcakes, played, told spooky stories, and generally had a good time.

 Miss Nita: princess vampire, T: Tigger, Cakes: ninja, Jim waiting
patiently for his cupcake while his mom takes a picture

Rose, Anne, Joe, Prof. X, and Miss S are members of 4-H. This is my kids second year in and Prof. X and Miss S's first year. Members of 4-H are required to do so many hours of service each year in order to qualify for fair. This year we opted to do "Trick-or-Treat-So-Others-Can-Eat". I'm a certified 4-H leader (only took a year to get my paperwork finished.  Grrr.) so I organized the service project around my schedule and my home. It was great! So convenient. :) 

In addition to my kids, about eight other kids showed up. On the last Tuesday of October, we passed out flyers detailing the food drive. On the following Saturday, we went door to door collecting food. We ended up getting a few hundred pounds of dry and canned food donated. Rose and I took all the food the our town's community food bank. 

 4-H members, with Cakes & Miss Nita improperly using their pillowcases.

Part of the haul. The truck bed was filled by the time we were done.
Thanks to everyone in our neighborhood for donating so generously!!

And then it was Officially Halloween!! The kids were allowed to wear their costumes to school. They were so excited! Look at all that red. The kids did not plan that. Just a happy coincidence. 

Anne: Devil girl, Prof. X: Red Ninja, Rose: Red Riding Hood 

Poor Joe threw up the night before. He had to stay home and miss his class party. I thought he would be really bummed. That sicko didn't even mind! The thought of eating candy made him want to die!

Joe chilling out on the couch. Happy to watch cartoons and NOT eat candy. 

That night we had a party. On Sunday the kids and I hand delivered invites to the neighbors on our adjoining streets. We invited them to our house for hot dogs and chili. When we lived in Mesa, our neighborhoods used to have block parties. In the first neighborhood we lived in (remember--we lived in two different houses in Mesa. A small 3-bedroom then we upgraded to a small 4-bedroom.) one neighbor would have a hot dog roast on Halloween. Every one in the neighborhood was invited to come to his front yard and eat. Lots of neighbors stopped by to eat and visit. It was wonderful! In our second Mesa neighborhood our street had a block party once a year. We counted it as our neighborhood watch party. Since our house was in the middle of the street, our driveway became the home of the party for three years. It was wonderful!!! It was a chance for neighbors to get to know one another. I knew every neighbor on that street and they knew me. It makes a difference!! There is a certain bond that develops when neighbors know each other. They start to care for and watch out for each other. Lend helping hands and so on.

Hubby and I were hoping to cultivate a neighborhood bond on our new streets. We have lived here for three years and have yet to see some of the neighbors. Wanting to remedy the situation, we invited the neighbors for dinner Halloween night. We had hot dogs, buns, ketchup, mustard, relish, jalapenos, diced onions, chili with beans, potato salad, lemonade, and water bottles. Basically, we had a ton of yummy Halloween food!!

Joe wanted to see the neighbors. We donned his transformer costume and hung out in the front yard. I managed to get Jim's D.J. Lance costume on, but the boy hated it! Not that he has anything against D.J. Lance. Jim loves that guy! Jim's problem is with changing clothes in general. He does not like the transition from one outfit to the next. It is kind of funny and kind of annoying at the same time. By the end of the evening, Jim did not want to take the costume off. 

Jim and Joe waiting for neighbors to arrive.

Rose, Joe, Anne, neighbor M, Miss Nita, Cakes, & Hubby
waiting for the hot dogs to finish on the grill.

Cakes helping pull the cooler to the drinks table while Hubby grills hot dogs.

Hubby grilling up a ton of hot dogs.

Rose's dear friend Sarah and Prof. X

Miss Nita and Cakes chowing down

Neighbor M showing her empty basket

Neighbor boys coming to chow down.

Considering this was our first attempt at throwing a neighborhood block party, I think we did alright. Some neighbors were vary wary of us. Others could not quite believe that we weren't charging for the hot dogs. There are a few things that we will do differently next year. But overall, it was a good event! We met several neighbors and had a great time eating and visiting, which is exactly what we wanted! :)

Moving on from Halloween...

Cakes has been in that weird transition phase for about a year where he doesn't want naps, but still kind of needs them some days. It has been hectic at times. It has also been hilarious at times. Cakes will insist that he is not tired, but then I will find him conked out in the funkiest positions. One example is him snoozing at Joe's baptism. Here is another zany position. I'm including both shots to give the full effect. I sure love this little boy!

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