Tag Archives: halloween

Autumnal moments

Every time the wind blows, a flurry of yellow leaves rain down twirlingly onto the lawn (I use the term loosely, and optimistically) and the deck outside my window. It’s very pretty. The autumn colours are spectacular just now. And here I am, inside, listening to 80s music and my children playing/fighting/play-fighting, because suggesting that they go Out Into Nature is clearly ridiculous.

Yellow leaves on the deck and the grass beyond

B ran a marathon this morning, and we didn’t make it into the city to support him even though it was a local one, because everyone was too shattered from the rest of our busy weekend, which included a 5k race wherein Dash won the Under-12s section and a lot of pumpkin carving and walking. (Pumpkin walking, if you didn’t know, is following a trail in the woods that’s lit only by jack o’ lanterns, with hot chocolate or hot cider at the end. It’s magical and romantic and enchanting, so long as you don’t trip over a log or have a terrified toddler with you. We did neither, and it was nice.)

Glowing pumpkins at dusk with a musical band playing in the background

So instead of hotfooting it into town at the crack of dawn (or a little after) and dragging unwilling childers onto the metro and around the nation’s capital to crane our necks and possibly mis-time the encounter with our one runner of choice, we slept in, got up slowly, collected our pumpkins from the woods, had an ice cream at the farmers’ market, and bought ingredients for lasagne. Dash made a chocolate cake – with a certain amount of supervision because when you’re dyslexic a 2 can look like an 8, apparently, and other such potential disasters – and it’s really all quite peaceful.

Red, orange, yellow and green leaves with the sunshine behind them


Busy weekend

It’s been one of those weekends we get about twice a year when everything we have to do happens at the same time.

Mabel and Dash carving pumpkins

Friday night was community pumpkin carving. Yes, the whole town got together to carve pumpkins, with live music and free cookies. Some of the finished products were amazingly artistic; ours were more about giving the pumpkins some sort of facial features before anyone melted down and/or stabbed people with sharp implements. But the end result was a little magical.

Many jack-o-lanterns

Saturday morning was the culmination of a lot of hard work on B’s part, when the 5k fundraiser for the elementary school, which he had organized, happened. First there was a 1k fun run that Mabel made me do with her. She kept having to stop so I could catch up. I’m not very good at running. Still, we made it.

Spousal duty meant I had said I’d help wherever helping was required, and I was assigned the very important job of sweeper. This is the person who goes along at the end of the race to let the course marshalls know that they’re done because the last person has officially passed. B said I could ride my bike if I wanted, but I’d have to ride “really really slowly” so maybe there was no point. Like an idiot, I believed him, so I set off on foot, only to find I had to jog to keep up with the walkers at the back, because every time I came to a marshall I had to have a little conversation with them, and then I’d have to catch up again. Next year, should I be so called upon, I will take my bike.

Lake and trees

I wasn’t racing, so I got to stop and take pretty pictures

After I slogged back up the hill to hear that Dash had made good time in this, his second ever 5k race, we all partook of bagels and coffee and hung around for the raffle and the prizes. We didn’t win either, but it all went off successfully and a large sigh of relief was sighed in our house when the whole thing was over and done with.

That evening there was pumpkin festival part deux, which is when they set all the pumpkins out in the woods with candles in them and we go for a spooky walk, enhanced by sightings of forest folk, the elusive Goatman, a fairy ring in the distance, sounds of thrumming drums and eerie wails, with hot chocolate and hot cider at the end. It was so good we did it twice – once in twilight, and once in pitch dark with just the lack-o-lanterns (and a flashlight) to light our way.

Jack o lantern with howling wolf carving

I dreamed of pumpkins all night, which wasn’t actually terribly restful. But never mind.

This morning was just our regular farmers market, which runs all the way to Thanksgiving, but it was a glorious morning for it. The kids all disappeared to Kidland (the tree over yonder), where apparently there were two sets of elections and several speeches in favour of the environment and pacifism, while the parents lounged on the grass in the breezy dappled autumn sunlight and discussed yesterday’s events and how lovely it was to have our children off climbing trees and ruling the world with no help required.

And this afternoon there was a birthday party – that lovely low-key sort with chips and cupcakes and the merest gesture towards some carrot sticks and celery, because a party from 2 to 4pm really doesn’t require anything in the way of food – that all took place at a playground, with some fun games for the children, where the parents once again – pretty much the same parents we’d been seeing all weekend at every event, which is just fine because we like them all – mostly stood around chatting and marvelling at how we could now kick back and relax at these events because our kids are just that leetle bit older…

Mabel eating a powdered donut

The challenge was to eat a powdered donut on a string without using your hands. (But once you’ve taken the first bite, it’s okay.)

And for once we left before anyone lost their rag and viciously pinched anyone else (by anyone, I mean Mabel, and by anyone else I mean some poor innocent smaller child) and it was all just a lovely end to a busy weekend. And now I have a glass of wine and I can look forward, if that’s the right phrase, to all the other things that are coming up, starting with a Kindergarten field trip tomorrow, then the IEP meeting on Thursday, then Halloween, then Mabel’s birthday party and then my trip to Ireland All On My Own. After all of which I will come back and collapse in a heap and spend the next two weeks frantically catching up on work and lazily deciding what side dish to bring to Thanksgiving dinner because we’ve been invited to friends, which we accepted with alacrity.

Also, I have nearly finished another pair of mittens. These ones go with my scarf.

It’s a busy time of year, is all.

Way too many things to think about

It’s October tomorrow. That means I’ve a lot of planning to do. For instance:

Planning in further detail our trip to Ireland at the end of the month –

  • what I’ll wear
  • what I have to buy in order to wear these things 
  • how I’ll masquerade as a stylish person instead of a slobby soccer mom who wears the same pair of jeans and scuffed mary-janes every single day
  • if the kids need new shoes for all the walking in rain that will happen (answer: yes)

And boring stuff like

  • car seats to borrow
  • things for kids to do on the journey


  • touristy-type things we might do when we’re there, now that the children are a little older
  • people I need to contact to see if we can pin down when we might see them
  • how wet an Autumn they’ll be having for those specific two weeks

Also, not to forget,

  • working out our best marathon-viewing opportunities, because of course B is running the marathon

Then, as a subheading, we have not merely

  • Halloween in Dublin: do we have to bring costumes? what costumes? where will we do the trick-or-treating? does B want to do some sort of elaborate themed family thing? (Answer: over my dead body; only if he organizes the whole thing; therefore, no.) Dash is talking about some variation on last year (Luke Skywalker) that involves a green lightsaber (very specifically) and a brown cloak and I think it’s just a ploy to get a new lightsaber when it’s neither his birthday nor Christmas.

but also (sigh, sunrise sunset, etc),

  • Mabel’s fifth birthday, in Dublin: do we have a family party? In which case, where? Can I bake a cake in our Air B’n’B rental apartment? Do we bring presents to Dublin? (No. What sort of idiot do you take me for?) But then I need to buy or order presents before we go so they’re here when we get back.

And of course, planning a birthday party with her friends for the weekend after we get back, when we’ll be only just over the jet lag but I’ll still be expected to infuse us all with sugar some more and again and repeatedly, unless she wants a broccoli cake which sounds to me like a great idea but maybe not to her brother’s taste.

Which planning will not be a trivial matter even though I can just bung an evite out there (thank the deity for evites; I love ’em) because we’ll have to figure out

(a) just girls?
(b) which girls?
(c) just girls and one boy?
(d) siblings?
(e) just the one sibling of the one boy so Dash has a friend?
(f) and the one who’s the twin of one of the girls?
(g) but then, what about the boy whose birthday party she’s attending next week?
(h) parents?

And then we have to hammer out the decision in such a way that she doesn’t decide the next day and every next day after that to change her mind in some new and unspecified direction. Which probably means just inviting feckin’ everyone.

And then, there’s always looking way ahead to Christmas and making a cake and planning to go to the Nutcracker for the first time and whatever other things we should do when we have Christmas here instead of in Ireland.

So you can see why planning what we’re having for dinner tonight has just fallen completely by the wayside. Maybe there’s something in the freezer.

Slow-flowing river
Think calming thoughts.