Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thankful Our Tummies Are Still Intact

Like everything this year it seems, Thanksgiving snuck up on us rather quickly and took us by surprise. Case in point: I forgot to bring my camera to Thanksgiving festivities so I'll try to make this as descriptive as possible.

In an ugly twist fate, Thanksgiving could not be enjoyed to its fullest extent by Zoey and I, which sucks because Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Sure, Christmas is great but I don't see unlimited and different kinds of potatoes stuffed under the Christmas tree.

The day started around midnight with Zoey waking up to be sick. Boy was it a blowout, and not the one and only, either. Poor girl got sick a few more times, her bedding changed each time, until she finally hit they hay. She woke up later Thanksgiving morning in generally good spirits and without a fever or complaints and asked for milk like normal so we snuggled up in Mommy and Daddy's bed for some Go Diego Go time (sidebar: sick or not, Zoey can count to 5 in Spanish). Zoey's tummy wasn't quite up for it yet that morning and our poor Zo Zo Bug let it blow all over Mommy and Daddy's (new!!!) bed. Snuggle-time over, it was time to get our sheets and blankets into the washer and dryer behind her second toddler set and various stuffed animals that got caught in the line of fire. And it was unimaginably hard to get regurgitated milk out of everything, so many things had to be washed more than once. To really round out the experience, I also found a spot in the corner where the dogs apparently had upset tummies of their own. *sigh*

We ex-nayed milk right after that and she seemed to recover with saltines and water. She ate less than normal throughout the day and had zero interest in Thanksgiving dinner, but seemed to remain in generally good spirits.

Per the usual, we went up to Jacob's parent's house for dinner. Also per usual, Jacob had to work, but was able to get off early so our trip to Columbus wouldn't feel rushed. Zoey had fun playing with Layne, and she did a little bit of snacking, but when it came time for the big meal, all she wanted to do was snuggle in my lap in the living room chair. I asked, "Do you want some dinner?" She shook her head no; I asked, "Do you want to stay here and snuggle?" And she nodded her head yes. I did get to eat; she was more concerned with being in my lap so she snuggled there while I wolfed everything down. Again, per usual, the food was amazing. I supplied the ever important green bean casserole - I don't think I would consider it Thanksgiving without - and we ate so much we had to take pie in doggy bag.

A good time was had by all, except for the donkey we passed on the way down to the house. We thought it would be a good idea to let the dogs out of the car and have them run with the car from Jacob's parent's mailbox to their house. They immediately started following the car until Louis decided to terrorize the donkey in someone's yard. Man, did that thing *scccccrreeeeaaaaammm*! We got Louis in the car before we'd wind up with another huge court fine, but, I'm sorry, every time I think about it, I can't stop laughing.

After it got dark, stuffed full, tired and snuggling, Jacob and I realized we still had bedding in the dryer, so over the river and through the woods, back from Grandmother's house we went. We pulled into Billings shortly after 7pm and passed a rather large line waiting outside Target, which wasn't that surprising since most of society seems to be trading a day to be thankful in for a day to greedily snatch up material goods made in Chinese labor camps with Mitt Romney's money. Just sayin'.

Zoey went straight to bed and was out like a light and Jacob wasn't far behind her around 8:30pm. For some reason, I was oddly wired despite recently fighting off a cold, turkey, home-brewed beer, and unbelievable amounts of the requisite foods. I woke up Friday morning and couldn't rid myself of complete exhaustion, so it was a pretty lazy day at home with way more than the allowed TV time. Jacob, of course, was back to work.

By Saturday, we had avoided the stores all too long and desperately needed to go food shopping so we braved Costco. Everyone must have worn themselves out by then because it was surprisingly less busy than normal. We had to go to Wal-Mart, too (sorry, picketers, but Sam Walden has a monopoly in Billings; Albertson's prices make me believe everything is plated in pure gold), which was also less-busier than normal. Later in the weekend, the weather started to turn, so we stayed in and continued some holiday-movie watching: Bridget Jones Diary, and Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason. Jacob doesn't complain too loudly, and actually laughs rather loudly.

Because we just can't tell our bodies that it's the weekend and we're allowed to stay up later, we fell asleep within the 9-o'clock hour. Then around Midnight, it was Mommy's turn to get up a few times throughout the night to be sick. I bounced back a little slower than Zo, I continued to be sick throughout the morning, and generally felt on the verge of it most of the day. Not able to enjoy the second best part of Thanksgiving, the leftovers - which we had forgotten the most important staple at Jacob's parent's house: TURKEY! - was kind of depressing; the day-after-Thanksgiving meal is one of the best, and we unwittingly deprived ourselves of the coveted turkey, stuffing, gravy, Cool-Whip sandwich.

The bright side was that Zoey seemed to be back to her old, tip-top shape and feeling up to eating regular meals. The downside, however, was that Jacob and I were not. And before your kid turns 12, who takes care of you if both parents are sick?? We went to bed early only to find ourselves facing the same routine - up at midnight and every few hours thereafter to pray to the porcelain gods. Jacob said it's been a long time since he felt so awful. Me, it was reminiscent of my thisclose-to-being-admitted-to-the-hospital morning sickness so I just prayed I wasn't pregnant and having to deal with this for the next 4 months.

Slowly but surely, as a family, we're nursing each other back to health. Now we just feel weak, like we ran a marathon *and* hurled at every stop, and are trying to be careful with food and not really trusting anything that sounds even remotely appealing.

Spending the Thanksgiving holiday hunched over the toilet is definitely not how we would have preferred to spend the weekend; although if you really think about it, is probably pretty appropriate. It just goes to show you life doesn't always happen how you had planned or would have liked; I recall one fateful family vacation to Arizona as a child where we all fought for toilet space.

A family that pukes together, stays together.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

For Real Halloween

With Thanksgiving a week away, I promise this is my last Halloween post.

While I realized that Halloween really can be a lot of fun, no matter how you slice it, it will be a lot of work, too. The United Way chili feed at work was on Halloween, so when I got home that evening, it was time to re-costume for trick-or-treating in my friend, Mer's, neighborhood. We did the same last year, and like I said then, it's like trick-or-treating in the movies.

For Halloween at daycare, Zoey was [the next] ASU cheerleader. She refused to be a cheerleader, though, responding to, "Are you a cheerleader?" with, "No! I'm a Princess!"

Hey, I always wanted a cheerleader outfit when I was little and the thing probably cost Grandma close to $100, you're wearing it and you'll like it!

 For trick-or-treating, we glitterfied and headed out as a Fairy Princess (Tinkerbell, specifically).

 All ready to hit the streets!

This is how we roll, Halloween style. Two suckers, no waiting.
Our first stop was at our neighbor, Joanne's, who gave Zoey these suckers. Now, every time we see Joanne, Zoey declares, "I want suckers!"

 At Mer's house, getting ready for candypalooza. Her costume ended up working with her to-keep-warm attire, good thing most everything she owns is covered in sparkles.

 Mer gave all the kids flashlights. Zoey and Jules enjoying theirs.

 All the kids, fur and non, (my friend and book-club amiga, Whitney's daughters, Jules and Jane) ready to hit the streets in the name of free candy. Boone - the Golden Retriever - was a Griz player/fan, Kona was a cooler. Literally. She supplied Mer and I with Cheladas so walking around in the freezing dark didn't seem like such torture.

 Getting the hang of things.

 Zoey's main issue: she wanted to go inside every house we went to. From talking with some friends, I learned this is completely normal behavior for a toddler's first time trick-or-treating.

 Trying things out for herself with the other kids.

Yup, that's half a Snickers she's holding there, the other half is in her face.

Photo-bomb by an 80's aerobic instructor! (Whitney's daughter, Jules)

Make that Vampire 80's Aerobic Instructor.

A few houses in, these two - Whitney's other daughter, Jane - rode in the stroller and ate candy.

Going back for more.

Halloween moon.
 This house went above and beyond the call of Halloween duty, supplying trick or treaters with fresh-made cotton candy.
 Our big girl getting this thing called trick-or-treating handled. After riding in the stroller for a couple of streets, Zoey and Jane decided they were ready for more.
Excited about their new loot.
A lot of houses went all out with the decorations, this one was particularly creepy with a giant bat over the garage door, and giant spiders crawling around on the house.
 Back at Mer's house, it was organize candy and temporary tattoo time (Zoey's lasted well into the beginning of November because she refused to let me scrub it off, and *scrubbing* is exactly what needed to be done).
 Jules, sporting hers.
 Jane mesmerized by hers.
 Zoey checking out hers.
 Mer showing Zoey's to her in the bathroom mirror.
 Trick-or-Treater OUT!
With the holiday officially over, we discovered a benefit to Zoey being so young - 2-year old attention span means she forgot about her candy by the next day. Coincidentally, though, so did we.

Which was fine since too much candy will make you sick. :-)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Hocus Pocus Community Focus

Every year the engineering firm I work for holds a chili luncheon/cook-off with all proceeds benefiting United Way of Yellowstone County. This being my first year with the company, I mostly observed the vets plan the event. It turned out great, everyone had fun, there was great food, and it was estimated to be one of the largest raised amounts since they started hosting the event. I contributed by bringing a crock-pot of chili, helped decorate, a la our witches and warlocks theme, and brought my Ricky-costume-clad husband who donated for both our lunches, and an extra one. There were over 10 pots of chili and mine was wiped out! Mom's recipe. :-)

Char in Accounting. 

Boss Lady can be a real....

Jacob came to support the cause, and the TV station let him stay on the clock since it was for charity.

My coworker, Haley.

Michael, the CEO.

 The giant black kitty that hung out in the foyer for the event.

 The resident Warlock.

 A variety of people came in costume,which was pretty cool. It was kinda fun to get into the spirit, especially for charity.

 Some festive coworkers. 

Naturally, all of us joked that this was the one day we *weren't* in costume.

Overall, everyone considered the day a success. People from United Way even joined and had a great time. With homemade chili and muffins and cookies donated from some local restaurants, how could you go wrong? We were so pleased with how things turned out, we even started talking about what to do next year. Pimps n' Hoes was a popular suggestion.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Twelve Days of Halloween

With the way, and abundance, we celebrated Halloween this year, you'd think it was Christmas. As Zoey gets older, our years of pretending the day doesn't exists are few to none until she's old and we're retired, which is fine, because this year - us self-proclaimed Halloween-haters - actually had some fun.

Zoey exhibited high levels of excitement for Halloween since the beginning, and I can't tell if it's just because she loves to say the word, "Halloween" (it wasn't until later we learned about the free-candy aspect of the holiday). Jacob and I don't care for the gruesomeness the day can bring, so we opted instead to focus on being silly, dressing up funny, and having sweet treats. We told Zoey she could dress up as something or someone for Halloween so when I asked her what she wanted to dress up as, she said, "I wanna dress up as Halloween!" So, ok, we took the reins and decided for her.

Once the skeletons and cobwebs were hung, and the pumpkins carved, Halloween festivities kicked off with Jacob's family's Halloween-themed Birthday party.

 Miss Fairy Princess all ready to go!

Jacob and I had a more difficult time deciding what we were going to dress up as since our enthusiasm is considerably lower. Jacob still had a football jersey from high school while I still had my cheerleading uniform so there was always that old stand-by, but decided instead to go with something different yet still familiar.

Sunnyvale Trailer Park, Nova Scotia's own Ricky and Lucy (a la Trailer Park Boys). Or pretty much every trailer park in America. If you're familiar with the Canadian mockumentary, you know we didn't get it exactly right. For one, Jacob's pompadour wig came out of the packaging looking like an animal that had been run over. My wig was "punk rocker" but since Lucy had short hair for a time, I figured it would work. Unfortunately, there is too much of my real hair so the wig didn't fit quite right. We are also missing the very important cigarette accessories, but since Jacob hasn't held a cigarette since April, we thought it best not to mess with that ju ju. Funny side-note: Jacob's mustache is actually eyebrows he had to trim up since we, of course, waited until the last minute to bring our costumes to fruition.

 The ladies enjoying some gruesome grub (I mean, split pea and ham soup for Halloween, how freakin' perfect is that?!). Pirate Grandma Bobbie, Baby Rachael, Vampire Robin (Rachael's BFF), and Kitty Great Grandma Betty.

 Miss Libby was Libby Lu Who.

 Came as Tinkerbell, turned into a pumpkin. This is a costume Jacob's mom made when him and Rachael were very little. Grandma sure was pleased to put it on Zoey; Zoey not so much.....

Layne seemed pretty thrilled with it.

Once we took pictures, Jacob and I's, and Layne and Zoey's costumes hit the skids. It was too hard for him to play without serious injury to himself or others if he didn't take his Transformers mask off; diddo for Zoey's fairy wings. And Jacob and I's wigs were entirely too itchy, and October in Montana isn't the greatest time for wearing spaghetti straps and a short skirt. Good thing I could wear Jacob's flannel so I wouldn't stray too far from my trailer-park look.

 Auntie Breanne attacked by a Who and Transformer. 

Anxious to get on two feet and join the festivities.

After we ate, hung around and socialized, it was time for games.

 First up: Pin the Nose on the Pumpkin.

 Robin's daughter's turn.

 Had to happen to someone.... (Robin's other daughter)

Ended up paying off, she won! We figured her run-in with the wall helped her orient herself.

 Libby Lu Who sat here most of the day, taking in and enjoying all the people and activities. She was smiley, giggly, and bouncy all day.

 Zoey having a go for the second game, Witch Hat Ring Toss.

Last to go, Robin's daughter did what we were all too slow to figure out. And won! :-)

 Next up: Haunted Beanbag toss.

 For the final game, we got the Grandpas off the couch and Mummy-wrapped them in toilet paper.

 Great Grandpa Bob busted out of prison for the occasion. 

After we ate and played games, we gave birthday presents to Grandma Bobbie, Rachael, Layne, and Todd (who was absent for work), then hung around, goofed off, stuffed our faces with sweets, then had cupcakes.

 Zoey and Layne playing with their ghosts.

 Great Grandparents Bob and Betty brought presents, too - monster-y slippers for Layne and Zoey.

 I told Layne I wanted to take a picture of him in his new slippers. Even Transformers need to be comfy.

 Tinkerbell Transformer.

 Trying to trick Grandma.

Layne got a Nerf Gun for his birthday and was awesome at the sharing thing, he even let the girls have a go. Robin's daughter was sweet enough to give Zoey a hand.

 Grandma Bobbie's coworkers gave us these yummy cupcakes, complete with the requisite 2 inches of frosting.

 She carried it around, exclaiming, "My eyeball!"

Everyone had a lot of fun, it was a great way to celebrate some birthdays. When we went out the next day, it felt like - to us - that Halloween had already happened and was over. Nope; just the beginning.