Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Trick-or-treat prayer

Kendall has strep throat (again) as well as a pretty nasty cold, so she will not be trick-or-treating tonight.  Surprisingly, she's not all that bothered by the idea of staying home.  I guess she's satisfied with her haul of candy from our Trunk-or-Treat event at church.

Emily, on the other hand, is anxious.  This is what she said last night at the dinner table as she closed out our prayer:

"... and God, please help Kendall feel better soon.  And please help me get a whole bunch of candy when I go trick-or-treating tomorrow night, since Kendall can't go and I have to share my candy with her.  And however many pieces of candy I get, please make it an even number, not an odd number, so that it will be easier to share half.  Amen."

Monday, October 29, 2012

Batgirls team up at Trunk-or-Treat

Emily and Kendall both decided to dress as Batgirl for Halloween this year.  Emily selected the traditional black Batgirl costume, while Kendall went with the lesser known pink Batgirl outfit (I think you can find it in "Crisis on Infinite Earths" or something).

I know what you're thinking -- that I encouraged them to dress as superheroes, forgoing their usual princess attire for the first time in years.  But I didn't.  This decision was made completely on their own.  In fact, Emily originally wanted to go as Spider-Girl, but costumes for her character are few and far between (before that, she'd talked about going as Galadriel from "Lord of the Rings").  Kendall had wanted to dress as Poison Ivy, which would have been a relatively easy outfit to piece together on our own.  In the end though, both of them landed on Batgirl.  They're little nerds, even though they don't realize it yet.

Kendall has had a cold for the past few days, so we kept our visit to the Homewood Church of Christ Trunk-or-Treat extravaganza relatively brief.  It was funny how all day they were so anxious to get there, but they were equally anxious to return home.  That's not to say they didn't have a great time (we all did) -- they just wanted to get into their haul of candy.  When they dumped everything out on the kitchen table, I was impressed by how cordial they were to one another in brokering trades.  The two Batgirls really worked as a team.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Glowing jack-o-lanterns

We carved our pumpkins last night!  Misty and Kendall made the jack-o-lantern on the left, while Emily and I made the one on the right.  We were all pleased with the results.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Racing for the Cure

Emily ran her first 5K today at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.  She wore a pink sign pinned to the back of her shirt that read, "In celebration of my Grammy, Gretchen Cuthbert."

Kendall was not happy that Emily got to participate without her.  However, considering that she wanted to be carried after only two blocks from the car, I don't think she's ready for a 3.1-mile run.  Kendall and I sat by the fountain in Linn Park -- which had been dyed pink for the occasion -- while Misty and Emily ran.

We made it over to the finish line just in time to cheer.  After less than a minute of waiting, I heard Kendall holler, "Go Emily!"  Then I caught sight of Misty and saw Emily cross the finish line a few feet in front of her.  They finished in about 45 minutes -- which, considering Emily had never run that far before, is impressive.

Emily's favorite part of the race was the water stops.  She was so impressed that she could dump a cup of water on her head (and that you throw your empty cup on the ground)!

We're very proud of our pink-clad ladies who ran the race today, raising awareness of breast cancer and funds for breast cancer research.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Kendall's pumpkin patch field trip

Kendall's class took a field trip to the pumpkin patch today.  Misty went with them as a chaperone, charged with keeping up with Kendall and her friend Josie.  All the kids wore matching jack-o-lantern shirts their teacher had made.  They got to take a hayride, get their faces painted, pet goats, toss corn cobs, ride a train, and pick out little pumpkins to take home.  From Misty's report, it sounds like they had a super time!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sweet & Spicy Coconut and Sweet Potato Stew

Here's the latest sample of deliciousness from Misty's kitchen.  It's a soup/stew made in the Crock-Pot with sweet potatoes, coconut milk, green onions, and Thai-spices.

"Whenever you get a chance to use a can of coconut milk in soup, you know it's going to be good," Misty said.  And it was.

The recipe she found via Pinterest called for ground turkey, but she substituted ground chicken instead (since it was a much better price this week at the grocery store).

I liked the taste on my first bite and didn't find it very spicy.  Then a second later the spice crept up and slapped me in the face.  It still wasn't overbearing though -- after a couple more bites, I was used to it.

This was a perfect soup for fall -- one I'm looking forward to enjoying again tonight as we polish off the leftovers.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Slapped by an unseen horse

We watched the old Sloss Furnaces episode of Ghost Adventures last night (by the way, not a great idea for the kids before bedtime).  At one point in the show the host is talking to a local guy who was supposedly "slapped in the face by an unseen force."

A minute later, they interview the guy's friend who confirms that his buddy had a hand print on his face that was cold to the touch.

Kendall piped up, "Why was it a hand? If he got slapped by a horse, why wasn't there a hoof?"

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Camping at church

Our family went "camping" last night. I use the quotes around the word "camping" because we were hardly roughing it.  We weren't even in the woods.  Our tent was set up on the soccer field at our church where we were within a short walk from electricity and running water. Nevertheless, there was a campfire where the kids roasted s'mores.  That's really all you need for camping.

Our evening also included a short devotional with songs and a lesson about wearing (metaphorical) masks. We ate hamburgers and hot dogs, and the kids watched "Mickey's House of Villains" on a big inflatable outdoor screen. Daisy actually accompanied us, and she took to camping like a pro. She was happy to sleep alongside us in our tent and had fun chasing after kids (a little too much fun, there).

At our last church camping event, we missed out on staying overnight since I had been out of town and wasn't sure if I'd arrive back in time. Misty, quite sensibly, hadn't wanted to wrangle two kids and a dog while also trying to set up a tent. I'm glad we got to enjoy the whole experience this time. We had a great time there with our friends.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Emily's trip to Riverdale

This conversation just happened...

Emily:  "Is Brookwood a country?"

Me:  "No, it's more like a neighborhood."

Emily:  "Oh. Veronica lives in Brookwood."

Me:  "Who's Veronica?"

Emily:  "From Betty and Veronica."

Me:  "Actually, the Archie characters live in Riverdale."

Emily:  "Oh yeah.  Have I been there?"

Monday, October 08, 2012

Don't kiss frogs when you're sick

Kendall has been complaining of a sore throat for a few days, so I took her to the pediatrician this morning. Despite her throat, she insisted that she was not sick, so she was pretty mad when she realized we were driving into the parking deck at the doctor's office.

She got her throat swabbed and said, "It was horrible, but it was better than a shot."  Her culture tested positive for strep throat, so she'll be out of school for another day.

Meanwhile, at least Kendall's humor is well intact. She placed her Princess Tiana figures next to our big Halloween frog on the fireplace, smiled at me and said, "Nothing happened. He's still a frog."

We also watched a Halloween movie called "La Leyenda de la Llorona" on Netflix.  In case you couldn't guess from the name, it's in Spanish, so I had to read her the subtitles.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Giant fireflies light up the streets of Atlanta

I nearly gave up on running in races last night.  Shortly after the first water stop during the Firefly Run 5K in Atlanta, I had to slow down to walk for a bit.  At the gym, I have no trouble maintaining my pace for 3.1 miles, yet in races I always seem to wear myself out quickly -- to the point where running feels awful.

I think I know what I've been doing wrong.  I've been trying to keep up with Misty.

With 4,000 other people running through the city streets in the dark and only one cell phone between the two of us, Misty and I tried to stay together.  In doing so, she had a hard time slowing her pace, while I had a hard time keeping mine fast enough.  We were repeatedly separated as she'd advance several paces ahead and other runners would begin passing me between us (luckily her green light-up wig made her easy to spot in the crowd).  But while Misty had to keep looking back and slowing down to let me catch up, I was struggling to stay with her.

And that's the problem.  I shouldn't try to stay with her.  As soon as we agreed to meet up afterward at certain spot, and instead ran at our own paces, the race became much more bearable.  Even running up the hills seemed easier.

I guess the only place I'm going to be able to run alongside Misty is at the gym -- where we can go our own paces while the treadmills keep us aligned.

The Firefly Run was a lot of fun -- a much better experience than The Color Run.  The temperature was perfect on an evening in early October, and the setting of Piedmont Park with the city backdrop was beautiful.  Lots of people got creative with glow-in-the-dark and light-up accessories, but the real treat was simply seeing the parade of colored lights we created as we moved through the streets en masse.  Drivers waiting in traffic honked and cheered as we ran down Peachtree Street.  I'll bet it looked even cooler to spectators (and judging from comments I could hear from people watching as we ran by, it did).

Misty's light-up wig was a hit.  Several people complimented her on it, and a few even asked her to pose for photos.  All of them wanted to know where she got it, and I think she relished the opportunity to repeatedly say the name of the web site --

After the race ended (and Misty and I found each other with no problem), we didn't want to leave.  With everyone glowing in the dark, it was such a festive atmosphere in Piedmont Park.  It felt like there should have been a live DJ to spin a dance mix to keep the party going into the night.

We rounded out our evening with a trip to Grindhouse Killer Burgers, which turned out to be just across the street from another of our favorite Atlanta restaurants (Sheik Burritos n Kabobs, where we'd eaten the night before).  Our burgers and fries were great, plus we noticed the restaurant had a dog-friendly patio, so we'll definitely be back for a future visit.

We'll be back for another Firefly Run, too.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Cuteness and terror at the pumpkin patch

We hadn't been to a pumpkin patch in a couple years, so today we took the girls out with the intention of getting some new fall pictures.

I guess the people selling pumpkins figured out that parents just want to use their crop as a backdrop for cute photos, because the pumpkin "patch" we went to turned out to be a much bigger affair than I remembered.  Before it was just a big bunch of pumpkins for sale on a street corner.  Now there were also train rides, pony rides, inflatables to jump in, and a couple of little haunted houses.

A sly move, but well played, pumpkin patch.

We ended up buying a handful of tickets, and the kids declared another "best day ever" as they bounced inside a giant pumpkin.

Kendall was not a fan of the inflatable spooky house, though.  Misty went through it with her and said that she trembled the whole time she was in there.  There were no live participants to jump out and scare people -- just motion-activated characters you'd see at the typical Halloween store -- but Kendall wore a look of terror.

Luckily, petting bunnies was much more pleasant.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Seasonal cereal

Kendall didn't want to wake up this morning.  She was groaning and pulling the covers back over her head as I tried to rouse her.  Then all of a sudden she exclaimed, "I forgot! Boo Berry!," and bolted out of bed.

October is so much fun.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Field trip to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Today I helped chaperone a field trip to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens with Emily's school.  Less than 10 minutes into the bus ride, a girl on the seat across from me already had a bloody nose, having been caught in between two other girls roughhousing, so I knew it was going to be an adventure.

The two 3rd grade classes split up upon arrival at the Gardens, and the groups divided into boys and girls beyond that.  That put me with the girls from Emily's class.  On the first part of our tour, we all received binoculars and were accompanied by a couple members of the Audubon Society while we looked for birds. Our group spotted several species, but most of the kids had a hard time locating anything with their binoculars.  I was impressed by how patient they were, though.

For the second part of the tour, the boys and girls from Emily's class joined back together for a lesson on George Washington Carver.  We learned some of the 300 things he made out of peanuts, then got to see cotton, sweet potatoes, and peanuts growing in one of the gardens.  Again, I was impressed by how attentive and patient the kids were.  The guides had them all participate in a game that involved farmers growing cotton and peanuts and infusing nitrogen into the soil.

After lunch we had some extra time left, so everyone headed down to the Japanese garden.  The size of the koi in the pond just blew the kids' minds.  Here their 3rd grade selves finally began to emerge.  A pond, fish, a bridge, bamboo, and no lesson plan -- it wasn't long before they were running around in circles.

I'd mark the field trip as a big success.  Kids who hadn't been to the Botanical Gardens before were clearly impressed and didn't want to leave.  But even Emily, who's been to the Gardens on numerous occasions, reminded me that we need to visit there more often.