Moronic Mommy and the Memories She Tries To Make

Last night I bawled my eyes out because I felt like I have failed at creating good memories for my children.  Is that moronic or what?

Let me back up a bit…

We have made decorations but have failed to put them up because Mom couldn’t find the stuff to hang them.  Grandma even bought us a spool of invisible thread this past week and I could not for the life of me figure out where it went.  I found it, as I was scurrying around doing the costume thing.  So as of this morning, the decorations are still laying on the table.

I have gone back and forth and back and forth on how to put the light in The Professor’s Halloween costume.  This saga started about a month ago in Extreme Geekdom, Iron Man Style.  When the pocket idea came up, of course I waited until the last minute to sit down and start sewing.  The idea was simple-just sew a little pocket into the inside of the costume.  I decided to sew a little pillowcase type thing.  The only material I had was left over from my daughter’s cape last year, which was fine.  I spent a good portion of the afternoon hunched over sewing this cute little black pocket:

The pocket

One thing that I forgot to do before I started on this venture was to see if the light would actually shine through the material.  My son came home about the time I discovered that it, in fact, did not. The bad thing about this is that the library Halloween party was tonight, and his parent-teacher conference was at 4:30.  Therefore I had very little time to remedy this.  After I got both kids their snacks I sat down and tried to think quickly.  I came up with cutting out the front part of the pocket so the light could go through.  That works, right?  Not so much.  I finally put the light in a ziploc bag, and pulled the material around it and then sewed the whole dang thing together to the costume.  He thought it was awesome.

Iron Man strikes a pose. I wanted to get the gloves to go with it, but ran out of money.

Then off to his conference.  Then back.  A quick supper.  Then it got REALLY interesting.  There were three parties, one for Pre-K, then for K-2nd Grade, and then the big kids.  So I would have to take one child up and have my husband bring the other up a half hour later.  This would not be a huge deal except that when  I went out to start my car the battery was dead.  The drivers side door appeared shut but it wasn’t quite.  We live not too far from the library, but we were already running late.  So I stuck my head inside, told my husband what happened, that I would take his car, would be back for the Professor around 6:30, and took off with Princess Gimme.

Now here is where I choose my words very carefully, lest I offend anyone.  I love our library, I think they do a great job with their kids story times and have a wonderful selection of books for such a small town.  But this years’ party was, well, short.  VERY short.  Like one game and it was over short.  The costumes were cute.  The kids were cute.  But that’s all it was.  I’m sure there was a reason.  I know we went a few years ago and it was much longer and there were lots of different games.  We’ve missed the last two years due to other stuff going on.  So it was over and done in twenty minutes.  And then they took the older kids, ahead of schedule.  I being the one parent who as usual missed the boat, did not have my older child with me since he was still eating dinner.

Cutest black kitty ever. She’s a manx in this picture-her tail is in her treat bucket.

I jumped in the car with my daughter, drove home, ran into the house to grab my son and no one was there.  Not a soul. Not even the dog.  This means that my husband had to walk on his injured foot to take my son up there.  Meanwhile, my daughter had already removed her shoes and was starting to eat her tootsie pop.  I made her throw them back on, and we sped back to the library.  There sat my husband with the dog.  How we missed each other I’ll never know.

I made him take the car and the Princess, and I went in to meet up with my son, who incidentally had already forgotten that his costume lit up.  I walked up to him, and pushed his chest to turn it on.  All of the kids went nuts-they thought it was the coolest thing they had ever seen.  The Professor, meanwhile, did not realize what I had done until about ten minutes after I turned it on (not sure what he thought all of his friends were raving about!)  He happened to look down later, see the arc reactor lit, and had a cow, “HEY IT WORKS!  IT WORKS”

It works! It works!

They played the same game that the preschoolers had played.  And then that was it.  Luckily, The Professor did not know what to expect, so he was very pleased.  We walked home, which took twice as long as it should have because he is distracted by streetlights that turn on and off by themselves.  He had to stop and ask questions each time we encountered one.  When we finally arrived home I gave him very specific instructions on what he needed to do.  He ended up taking the costume off, losing the hanger, and managed to take the light out and pull the pocket almost completely off.

This was when my head exploded due to all the work I had put in, my aching back, the scurrying around, the miscommunication with my husband, and the dead battery.  And oh yes, I got a call this evening to bring paper plates and napkins for The Professor’s school party in there somewhere in between the party and the pocket incident.  I will have money to get them tomorrow, but no way to go get them or get them to the school.  Therefore it will be plain paper plates and napkins instead of fun Halloween ones sent in my son’s backpack.  I feel so very, very bad about that.  There was just sort of an explosion of emotions from all of us.  I went upstairs, closed the door, and just had a nice little cry by myself.

After that well deserved cry I felt better, and talked to my son about his costume.  I have theorized that the pocket coming out was an accident when he took the costume off, because I’m sure he just stripped it off and tossed it.  I’ll never really know, because all I saw was him holding the light two inches from his face, walking into the living room (it wasn’t on, because then he would be blind-that thing is BRIGHT!)  Even though my husband swore up and down that his costume would not be fixed, I think I can fix it pretty easily.   Memories, dammit, we’re gonna make some great memories-because I’m the Mom and I say so.  Tonight is Trick or Treating.  Hopefully that will go much more smoothly.  And dammit, I’m going to have a Coke today.  Because I deserve it.  That will make everything go better.

And the car battery?  Oh it’s terminal, which I think is a pretty funny joke if you ask me.  Get it?

Ghouls Just Wanna Have Fun: More Halloween Costumes

It could happen.

In continuing with celebrating Halloween I’m sharing some of my kids’ costumes.  I’ve been pretty lucky with my son because he usually  wants to be something we already have the stuff for right here in the house-like when he wanted to be a football player.  We just HAPPENED to have a football dress up set.  Yeah!  He was Jeff Gordon for several years, and that was just fine with us.  And his first real costume was also reused for his sister-a red M&M costume that I picked up a consignment shop for $4.  That’s $2 per year-I’ll take it!

My daughter was a pumpkin her first Halloween.  A friend I worked with happened to have a costume that her daughter had worn at the same age.  She very happily lent it to me.  It was adorable.  The next year she was the M&M.  After that it started to get complicated with her.  Two years ago she wanted to be a fairy princess like Abby on Sesame Street, only once we went anywhere she didn’t really want to wear the wings.  Last year I just told her what she was going to be-a sparkly witch.  I actually helped MAKE THIS ONE. I SEWED.  Yes, Little ADD ME!  It turned out quite cute.

I have seen a lot of very, very cute costumes on some of the sites I visit daily.  Like a lego costume-as much as my kids love legos I hope that one of them decides to be one for Halloween someday. I found the instructions on how to make the lego costume on the Country Living website.  I could do that!

Here is the lego costume that I think would be adorable. The source of this picture is in the link.

As I kept looking online, I noticed that there were a lot of variations in the lego toys and costumes,  Here we have a costume that is show on on how to make it.  I kept flipping through and eventually found some lego superhero costumes that were really great too!

Cute lego guy from the Instructables website.

Princess Difficult is going to be a black cat this year, but she has informed me that she is going to be a “Pink football player” next year.  That could be a bit complicated.  Or maybe not.  By then, her brother will have outgrown the helmet.  We have pink spray paint.  She has a pink jersey.  This could just work!  Now that she has mentioned this, The Professor has begun planning his costumes for the next few years.   Every year a superhero, just a different one.  Next year he wants to be Batman.  He is even trying to figure out how we can hit the reduced price costumes after Halloween to see if we can snag some of those costumes.  That boy!  I think I can probably take him up on that, after all, I suppose if we were able to find something cheap and maybe just a little big for next year he could use it as dress up.

I tried to put pictures in order of the kids in their costumes.  I’m having some issues with this, so I apologize.  They are here, just not in order.  But I assure you that cuteness abounds in this slideshow…

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Costumes for the Broke, Lazy, and Uninspired

We’ve all been there at one time or another.  It’s October, it’s almost Halloween, and somebody is having a party that you HAVE to dress up for.  This actually happened to me when I was younger.  I was working at a daycare center, and they were having a Halloween party.  Everyone was required to dress in costume, or else have horrible things befall them.  I was flat broke, I seriously couldn’t even afford a McDonald’s cheeseburger.  I was also really uninspired, and this was that time in our lives when we didn’t have internet.

So I made my costume.  I decided to be a ladybug.  At the time, my sewing skills were about as horrible as you can get.  I went to Hobby Lobby and spent a whole dollar on posterboard.  I made ladybug wings out of the red posterboard and some black  construction paper I had at home, attaching them at the top using one of those brass fasteners.  I dressed in head to toe black, and then I used some yarn to tie them on.  I made antennae out of black pipe cleaners.  While in theory the costume would have been cute, it certainly was cumbersome and wouldn’t behave like it should have.  I wish I had been more creative, and inspired.

Fast forward to today.  We’ve come a long way since then.  I’m low on funds once again, but at least I’ve got creativity oozing out of me like pus.  I keep having all of these ideas for Halloween costumes for people like me-no money and not wanting to invest much time or effort into a costume.  These are one step above cutting holes in your white sheet and being a ghost (or a kleenex).  Aren’t you glad you have me to help you out?

Speaking of ghosts made out of a sheet, this is a GREAT costume! The only other thing you need is a bag full of rocks! Then talk all dejected like: “I got a rock.”  Sadly, not my idea.  This is off the Instructables website.

1.  Nudist-Take off all your clothes.  You can also do a variation of this and yell “We’re going streaking!” over and over like in Old School, and be a streaker.  Note:  This probably isn’t such a good idea in colder climates.  Or places where police will be patrolling.  Or places where children will be present.  Or other people will be present, period.

2.  Jack of All Trades-Find a bunch of hats.  Put them all on at once.  Get it?

3.  Person Who Just Got Up-Get out of bed.  Don’t comb your hair. Stay in your pjs.  May not work well for people who sleep in their undies or in the nude (then a different costume may be for you-see #1 or #6).

4.  Poop-Dress in head to toe brown.  Try to get people to guess who you are, like telling them you really stink.  I don’t advise trying to make it smell authentic, because that’s just gross.  Oh yeah, I guess you could be chocolate, too.  Feel free to add scent to that.

5.  Laundry-If you have one of those cheap round laundry baskets sitting around, cut a hole in the bottom just big enough to wiggle yourself in.  Stuff some laundry around yourself.  Now here’s the dilemna-are you clean laundry or dirty laundry?  Clean laundry is nice-you could add dryer sheets and smell extra good.  I think it would work especially well if you happen to have a fever, because it would be just like the laundry came out of the dryer, right?

6.  Superhero-If you have a blanket that can be a cape, tie it around your neck.  What you wear with it and use as props determines what superhero you are.  Don an apron and rubber gloves-you’re Super Dishwasher!  I personally like Captain Undergarments myself.  A mask just adds to the effect…

7.  Clean Person-Wrap a towel around yourself and put a shower cap on.  Carry a bottle of shower gel, a loofah, a shower poof, you get the picture.  Wearing stuff under the towel is optional, but make sure that towel is secure!  I just happen to have a new shower head that we haven’t installed yet-oh the possibilities are endless with this one!

8.  Bag Lady-We all seem to have those reusable grocery bags laying around (if you don’t, I’m sending the environment police after you!)  Get a bunch.  Carry them.

9. Mom Like Me-Don’t sleep the night before.  Don’t do your hair.  Wear a wrinkled top and yoga pants.  Carry a coffee cup.  Talk in incoherent sentences.  Bonus if you can get a child to wrap themself around your leg.  (No offense to most parents who actually have their act together, this is just me on a normal day.)

10.  Target Employee-Have a red shirt?  Khaki pants?  You could probably find a nametag template somewhere, but again, remember that this may require a little work.  You’ll have to be really nice and helpful, because remember you work at Target, not Walmart.

11.  Art-Find a big picture frame.  Take out the glass and backing so you just have the frame.  Carry it with you and hold it up so you’re like someone in a painting.  It’s art, so you can do whatever you want.

12.  Fan Club-Find two small fans.  Make a sign that says something positive like “We’re you’re biggest fans” and attach it to yourself.  What would be even better?  Have a partner and you can follow them around as his or her very own fan club.  Unless it’s someone dressed as Charlie Sheen, I don’t think he has any fans anymore.

13.  Fashion Police-Find a whistle.  Dress in what you consider fashionable.  Make a badge of some sort.  Blow your whistle whenever you see things like people wearing white shoes after Labor Day.

So what am I going to do for Halloween?  Probably nothing, because I don’t get to go do fun stuff like that anymore.  But if a rare opportunity presents itself perhaps I’ll do this:  Faster than a speeding toddler, able to tie-dye clothes in a single bound.  Look, look up in the sky.  It’s a peacock, it’s a rainbow…


So see, you’ll never be without ideas for costumes as long as I am around.  I sure wish I had the now me when I was uninspired me years ago…

Extreme Geekdom, Iron Man Style

Guess what this is?

For those of you who have read my “About” page, as you can see by the picture above Evil Genius really did make his own arc reactor.  Now it’s not real-all it does is light up, but it looks REALLY cool.  It’s LEDs and a power source, nestled into a pvc pipe vent that has been hollowed out and the design cut into metal by a laser.  Oh and vellum, that was my contribution.  It’s actually part of his cubicle sign at work, but this part he worked on for quite some time at home.

(Just in case you haven’t noticed, we are geeks.)

At some point in this process, Evil Genius promised The Professor that he was going to make him an Iron Man suit of his own for Halloween.  He wasn’t thinking at the time that The Professor would remember. He did.  I ended up buying him a cheap Iron Man costume at Target last week.  There were two different costumes.  The $20 one had muscles.  As far as I could tell, that and the glow in the dark arc reactor were the only differences that I could tell between that and the $10 one.  Needless to say, I bought the cheaper one.

Me being me, and the wife of an engineer, I had to make it light up somehow.  I jokingly asked Evil Genius to make him his own arc reactor.  Not going to happen.  Then I had a vision.  At Lowes they have these lights that look remarkably like the arc reactor in the movie.  Lowes is not a place I get to very often. It’s not like it’s out of my way, it’s just one more place to stop when I’m out running errands.  I checked the light section at Target while I was there, but it didn’t look enough like what I was going for.

Now who cares that a seven year old’s costume that happens to have the middle light up is authentic looking.  Apparently I do.

Today we finally made it Lowes after renting movies.  The light, while not exact, looked pretty darn close to the one in the movie.  So I shelled out the money, and have spent the better part of the afternoon trying to figure out how the heck to attach it.  The first idea was to sew a pocket onto the inside of the costume, and slip the light in that part.  I don’t want stitches showing.  So that idea went away.  My second idea was to use the circle of velcro that came with the light.  I had my son put on a black shirt, then the costume over it.  I slipped the light in between with the sticky side up against the shirt and stuck it on.  Then I sewed the velcro to the shirt.  Looks great, but it’s pretty obvious that the light probably won’t stay on.  The additional part didn’t work-I cut circles of velcro in half and stuck them to the light and to the inside of the shirt.  You could see the half circles of velcro through the costume when the light is on.

The light, attached to the shirt, with the velcro that I have since removed from the front.

This is kind of what it looks like shining through.

This is what I’m actually trying to light up.

So that’s where I’m at.  I’m not sure where to go next here.  Suggestions are welcome.  I’m sure I’ll come up with something, it may just take some time.

Here’s the funny thing, this isn’t an abnormal situation at our house.  We always seem to have something a little strange brewing.  Some days I don’t think we are just geeks, we are EXTREME geeks.  Now granted, I’ve seen people take it to extremes on the internet.  I’ve seen people get married in full Klingon garb and wear their Star Wars costumes around for fun.  But we get into the technical stuff, and that’s a little scary.

I think Tony Stark would be pretty darn proud of my ingenuity. Oh wait, he probably wouldn’t care. He’s a narcissist.

Halloween in my family has never had a shortage of creative costumes.  As an adult, that creativity has been stifled in me somewhat.  Mainly by a husband who doesn’t care for Halloween.  Also because I just haven’t had much opportunity to dress up.  This year, the kids are getting old enough that I can really have fun with it.  We have the house mostly decorated, we’re working on the costumes, I’m getting my geek on in a big way!

I’ll keep everyone posted on the costume.  I’ve had a couple of suggestions from friends on Facebook.  Maybe between that and the old brain, I’ll come up with an uber brilliant idea…

(Incidentally, just as proof that we aren’t just geeks, but well rounded ones- The whole family actually got to go to the football game this time.  It was meant to be.  Not only was it perfect weather, but the eagerly anticipated half-time performance from the marching band just happened to be music from Star Wars.  This was enhanced by the summary of the football season thus far scrolling on the big screen in a Star Wars type title sequence, as well as a mock award ceremony on the field with people dressed up as Star Wars characters.  It had to be one of the coolest things I had ever seen.  I don’t know if anyone else shared my enthusiasm outside of my family sitting with me, except maybe the guy who comes to the games in the Clone Trooper helmet.)

Princess Gimme and the Halloween Conundrum

And so it begins…

Target put out the Halloween stuff.  I suppose they are allowed since it is the middle of September.  I’m sure Christmas stuff will be out in a couple of weeks.  There should be a rule:  NO Christmas stuff until after Halloween is over.  They never listen to me.

Anyhoo…  Both children have already told me what their Halloween costume is going to be.  The Professor has known what his is for quite awhile.  He wants to be Iron Man.  He and Evil Genius have been drawing up plans for this fancy costume.  I can’t really say anything-the kid has chosen the same two costumes for most of his life.  He has been Jeff Gordon every year since he was two.  One year he alternated being a football player with the Jeff Gordon costume for two different events.  I figure we have spent less than $30 on him in costumes his entire life.  That’s ok.  Now I hope he isn’t disappointed if his dad doesn’t get around to making this costume.  I know it happens, I’ve seen him do it.  The Princess has had homemade costumes and borrowed costumes for the last few years-a fairy princess and a sparkly witch.  We’ve gotten off rather cheaply, which is a good thing.

Target happens to have an Iron Man costume in his size for only TEN DOLLARS.  I picked it up and eyed it, and cautiously put it in the cart.  I was thinking that we could produce it if the other one doesn’t ever get out of the planning stages.  A back up.  But I forgot who was with me.

“MOMMY YOU’RE GETTING MY BROTHER AN IRON MAN COSTUME!  I WANT A COSTUME!!!!”  Sigh… Yes I was shopping with Princess Gimme.

She has changed her mind about seventeen times already about what she wants to be for Halloween.  Most of that occurred today while we were at Target.  Originally she told me that she was just going to wear her Cinderella dress up outfit for Halloween.  I was all over that.  My aunt, who is in love with all things Disney, brought it to her a long time ago and she wears it quite often.

Then, the other day she announced that she wanted to be a kitty for Halloween.  I was similarly happy about this.  All black, I could make ears and a tail no problem, and draw on whiskers with eyeliner (wait… I don’t wear eyeliner).  We could even make a sparkly collar for her.  Oh this would be GREAT!

Then we went to Target today.  After her loud outburst about the Iron Man costume, she started in.  “Mommy look, there’s a Captain America costume.  I want to be Captain America for Halloween.”  I secretly smiled about that one. “We’ll see.” I told her.  She pouted.  We went around the corner, and there was a whole aisle of costumes.  “OH Mommy, there’s a Tangled dress.  I want to be Tangled for Halloween!  I love the dress, it’s PURPLE…”  “I thought you wanted to be Captain America?” I asked.   “Oh no, now I want to be Tangled.”

Two minutes later she spies a display of costume parts on an end of an aisle.  There were lots of different choices, including a set of ears, whiskers, tail, and bow tie for a black cat.  Only $5.  I could so do that…  She spied them “Ok, now I think I want to be a black cat again.”  Uh-huh.  I picked them up and put them in the cart.  Then she says “I changed my mind, I see stuff for a bee.  I want to be a bee.”  Then “I want to be a doggy.”  Then “I want to be a princess.”  And on and on and on…

I go back around the Halloween section and put the cat stuff back, and walk away as fast as I can.  I wasn’t so sure I should be investing ANY money into her costume choices right now, since she can’t decide.  She whines and pouts.  As we are coming into the beverage section, I see that my giant bottle of Sutter Home has been marked up almost THREE dollars.  Nooooo!  Maybe I should do without then.

Just then she says “How come you’re getting MY BROTHER a costume and not me?”  I snap “Because he made a decision!”  I pick up a small bottle of Sutter Home and set it in the cart.  I may need this after all…  Then I return to the costume section, and put the Iron Man costume back.  There was no way I was going to get it home discreetly, she was going to blab to her brother.

Perhaps I can make her a Princess cat dog with wings superhero costume, maybe that will make her happy.  Nah, she’ll just pick something altogether different at the last minute.

One thing she HAS been able to decide on is that she wants sparkly pumpkins.