Sunday, May 31, 2020

October

Spirit shirts came! Jared did not love that his school's colors are purple and teal.  He got a shirt, but he refused to wear it if he was going to match with anyone else.  Forging a singular identity is very important to Jared.  
 Our elementary school had a community service day.  After the McDonald's night, I should not have been surprised that hundreds of people came to pull weeds, landscape, paint picnic tables, paint games on the ground, paint the portable buildings, clean things, and beautify the school, but I was surprised.  I was also surprised at the teachers handing stencils and spray paint to the kids and letting them go crazy with painting the ground in the breezeways between buildings. 
 It's amazing to be part of such a community.  The way they turn out to take care of the school makes me feel really good about the support system our kids have. 
 October means Halloween.  I was not making any costume plans for Halloween, since I was up to my eyeballs in school work every day, but Sammy preferred this Marshall costume from Paw Patrol anyway.  Eloise had her heart set on being Voldemort, which would have worked fine with Jared's old reaper costume, but he wanted to be a reaper again, so we had to hunt up another black robe.
 B wanted to be an astronaut.  Watching SpaceX launches and tests is our new family hobby, along with astronomy, since we have so much sky here. 
 Weird brothers.  Is Jared actually licking B in this photo?
 The weekend after the community service day, we had a community picnic at another elementary school.  It was all about the bouncy castle for us. 
 Annie turned 9.  We got her a t-shirt that says "I'm just here for the candy."  If you are what you eat, Annie is 100% sugar. 
 I ordered Eloise a dress, since hers all had long sleeves or were getting too short.  It turned out to be almost identical to Aunt Colette's dress. 
 We carved pumpkins.  Somehow the bulk of this tradition always seems to fall on me. 
 I get lots of help with design work, though. 
 I think we made some fine pumpkins. 
 We had a trunk or treat at our church. 
 And then the big night arrived.  He-who-must-not-be-named, Marshall, a reaper, and an astronaut, were off to collect all of the candy. 
 They went in force with their cousins, of course.  Peyton and McKenzie came because our neighborhood is much better than theirs for trick or treating.  Tiger, Big V, witch, cat, witch, 80s babe, Marshall, astronaut, fox, and reaper. 
Some of them took pillowcases because they felt that the pillowcase capacity was better than their itty bitty trick or treat buckets. They all got a very satisfactory haul.  That is one advantage of a neighborhood where you can hear your neighbor sneezing from your kitchen.  The front doors are all very close together for trick or treating.  Happy Halloween!

Fall Break

The kids had one week of fall break in September, and two weeks of fall break in October.  I had fall break for their last week of fall break, so some of the shenanigans went on without me.  This trip to the children's museum for example.  I'm glad Eloise came out of this encounter alive.  

 Jared and Rachel, who both like to be very grown up, both thought that the children's museum was too babyish for them.  We didn't tell them what the other person thought, though so they each decided to go when they found out that the other was going.  Ha! We will trick them into doing all of the fun things.

 When I'm not home for all of the fun, we have to make the most of the evenings.  That sky. 
 The first weekend in October is our church's general conference weekend.  All regular church meetings are cancelled, and we get to watch eight or ten hours of talks and music from a living prophet and apostles.  It's a very festive event at our house, always marked with treats, fun activities, and cinnamon rolls. 

 October is a great time for a Halloween craft, so we drew faces on pumpkins.  We couldn't put them on our porch too soon, though, because javelinas eat them, or the heat makes them rot.  We saw a live javelina in the wash behind the grandparents' house, so we decided to keep the pumpkins inside. 
 Fall break means lots of time to play card games with cousins. 
 Peyton and McKenzie came from town (that's a thing we say out here in the desert because our neighborhood, while incorporated into Tucson, is only reached by leaving the city and then returning to it) to spend the day with their cousins.  It was an epic day of water play. 
 In the late, hot afternoon we went to a pumpkin patch in Marana.  It was a great pumpkin patch.  Pumpkins were a side show to all of the slides, swings,
 pig races (with actual pigs- the snout was just a souvenir),
 train rides,
 corn mazes, playgrounds,
 cousin time,
 and giant bouncy pillows.  There was so much fun to be had that we hardly noticed the heat. 
 We even managed to get a group photo before we left for home.  I think this is an annual Knight tradition that we have just become a part of. 
 Todd went back to Seattle for his October trip while I had my week off, but we were not done vacationing.  I took the kids to Patagonia Lake for a night of camping with the Campbells, Peyton and McKenzie, and a bunch of the Campbell's friends.  There were a lot of kids. 

 We made it through the night in the tent without Todd.  The next morning, Justin picked Todd up and they came to spend the day at the lake with us.  The arrived just in time for Ryan, who had sliced his leg to ribbons and needed to head back to town for stitches.  Colette took him in the car Justin brought.  Poor Ryan.
 The rest of us spent the day getting gloriously sandy. 


 This was a much needed vacation. 
Since I still had homework during fall break, I stayed home while Todd and Grandma took the kids to Disney on Ice.  You can see the fruits of some fall break bracelet crafting on Eloise's wrist. 
 This was a hit.  I tried in vain to get B and Sammy to wear long pants to the ice rink.  They are too attached to their new freedom from coats and freezing rain. 
And thus ended an epic fall break. 

September

In our new home in the desert, the sun beats down mercilessly.  Todd has always hated hats, but he felt the need to get something to wear on his head that is big enough to embarrass the kids when he meets them at their bus stop.  Here is B modeling it for you. 
 None of us had school on labor day, so we went for a hike at Sabino Canyon.  The kids saw a gila monster.  That was a cool find. We see zillions of lizards, but gila monsters (one of only two species of lizard that is poisonous) are uncommon. 
 There was a big disgusting puddle of stagnant water at the end of the hike.  The kids had fun looking for frogs.  Only Ryan fell in.  With ten adventurous little humans in our midst, I felt like one kid soaked in stinky water was a pretty good record. 
 Todd flew back to Kirkland for the week to work from his office and get our house ready for renters, so I got to figure out how to hold down the fort at home while being in school full time.  I had LOTS of help from Grandma, and it was still exhausting. 
 Todd got to spend time with the Christensens.  If we could have chosen one thing from Kirkland to bring to Arizona with us, it would have been the Christensens.  We miss them. 
 Our kids' school had a McDonald's fundraiser night.  Sammy and Ryan dressed alike by accident. And by accident, I mean that Sammy wore his uniform, and Ryan happened to match him.  Sammy was delighted.  You can probably tell by the way Sammy is looking at Ryan in this photo that Sammy idolizes his big cousin. 
 I had never been to a school fundraiser like this.  I expected that we would just get food and a portion of the profits would support the school.  I was not expecting the entire staff of the school to be taking orders, giving out homework passes, hosting a dance party in part of the parking lot, and making an ordinary fundraiser into a huge community/family event.  I love this school. 
 Our nearest city park is about a mile from home.  We biked there to meet cousins and Grandma and play.  Shadow is not used to the heat. 
 I drive by a couple of frozen custard places on my way to school every day, and I wanted to know what it was.  The word custard sounds rich and delicious, since pumpkin pie filling is a custard, and my favorite ice cream as a kid was Aggie Ice Cream lemon custard flavor that was very rich and delicious.  Others may disagree with me, but I found frozen custard to be a huge letdown.  It tasted exactly like a creamy soft-serve ice cream.  A low quality soft-serve ice cream made with fake vanilla. I'm disappointed that they could cheapen the word custard like that, since this concoction was clearly not made with eggs at all.  The kids are huge fans of McDonald's soft-serve, and they have never tasted Aggie Ice Cream, so they were ecstatic about frozen custard.  I feel sort of like I have failed as a parent. 
 Our back yard in our rental house not very hospitable.  Any adventure out there leaves our shoes full of thorns from the spiny weeds.  We do most of our relaxing in Grandma and Grandpa's superior back yard across the street.  Sometimes we even take our Friday pizza there. 
 Sammy and I had Fridays off of school, so we went to exercise class at the church and did our grocery shopping and silliness together while the kids were in school. 

 
 Don't worry.  Laundry happens at least once a week, so that is how often Sammy gets to wear his uniform. 
 In Washington we had our watch out for Sasquatch signs. Here we have our "Watch out for venomous creatures" sign.  This is just before the sign that says "Bollards in use."  If you know what a bollard is without looking it up I will give you a prize. 
 B and Ryan were very pleased to find their photos on Grandpa's most wanted wall. 
 The kids had two weeks of fall break in September.  I signed Jared and Eloise up for horse camp, thinking it would be a chance for them to fulfill all of my childhood dreams. 
 Eloise hated it.  Jared liked it.  Horse camp was a huge disaster.  Jared liked it because there was absolutely no structure, almost no adult supervision, very little time actually doing things with horses, and he was allowed to build forts out of garbage all day.  Eloise hated it because there was no structure and she didn't want to build forts out of garbage all day.  Fortunately most of the days of horse camp were cancelled because it started to rain like crazy, and the road to horse camp went through a couple of washes that filled up with water.  I still want the kids to learn to ride, but we will definitely look for something more structured in the future. 
 Eloise got glasses!  She discovered that she couldn't read the board in third grade, so she asked for an eye exam.  Sure enough, she needs a little assistance to read things from far away.  You won't see her in the glasses very much, since they are primarily for reading the board at school.  She picked the style all by herself, complete with turquoise leopard print posts. 
 Sammy and B wanted to get in on her new glasses photo shoot. 
 B got some jealousy glasses.  I ordered these frames with clear glass for him when I caught him brainstorming ways to make his eyesight worse so he could get glasses, too.  Oh, brothers. 
 *Cue my mama heart melting* My five and a half year apart twins reading to each other is the best thing I saw all month.   
 Maybe the Tucson sky is spectacular to offset the barren and prickly earth here.  That sky, though.  I can't get enough of it.