Sunday, October 28, 2012


When did Halloween become “How Trashy Can I Look Night?”

Maybe this has been going on for a long time and I just never noticed it.

Maybe it’s because my oldest daughter is just now getting old enough to wear a costume other than a fuzzy unicorn or a bumblebee, but we’re dressing up to go on hayrides and get some free candy. So could someone please tell me why most of the girls that I've seen this year look like they're on their way to film some creepy adult movie?

When did Snow White add fishnets to her royal attire? And why do the fairies have more than their sparkly wings out on display, if you know what I mean? When did Alice decide that stilettos are proper footwear for prancing around through Wonderland? Look around you this Halloween. There is a latex-wearing nurse in a garter belt! There is a Pocahontas in hot pants! It looks like everyone is headed to the haunted Playboy mansion!

Even worse, who ever decided that angels – ANGELS – are supposed to wear nothing more than some feather underwear and a cape? Is that the kind of angel you want guarding your kids’ bed at night? I don’t think so!

I’m not sure how this little trend began, but I am sure that Halloween is not the most appropriate time to strut your stuff. How is it that in order to get a pack of M&Ms, our cute little Strawberry Shortcakes and mini football players have to wade through a sea of cave girls with nothing on but a pillowcase and a spray tan?

My kids (and yours) deserve to go out for an evening of PG fun without being forced into the Pay-Per-View adult channel.

While looking for costume ideas (before we settled on Star Wars) with my 8-, 7- and 4-year-old daughters, we came across the following outfits: a black and hot pink corset for a Barbie Diva, a mini skirted Little Red Riding Hood with a red bra on top, a VooDoo Vixen and a Hot Little Devil costume with a halter top and a skin tight skirt. These are marketed toward and sold to young girls!

I must tell you that I am completely disgusted by this. Maybe I’ve been living under a rock for a while, but now I've crawled out and I am appalled. Stuff like this is a child molester’s dream! Do people really let their daughters wear these things? Whose idea was this? Why do we want our daughters to look like full-grown – not to mention immodest – women?

What’s even more disturbing is that this isn’t just a problem with our teen girls (which is bad enough.) If these costumes are being made available to our little girls, what the heck are our high-school aged girls supposed to wear? I'm having a hard time believing that parents are condoning these things.

I don’t know about you but I would like for my little girls to stay little as long as they possibly can. I’m certainly not going to buy them a “Vamp in a Box” costume.

Now don’t get me wrong – I’m all for personal freedom. Wear what you want, but for Heaven’s sake use good judgment for yourself and your girls. Is a harvest party or the trick or treat event at the mall really the right place to accidentally trip over your own stilettos and flash someone? We are in Northeast Ohio, not on the Vegas strip.

I realize that Halloween is a huge business. People spend millions and millions of dollars on costumes every year. Businesses are cashing in on the “sexification” of every single profession in the book, not to mention all of the Disney princesses!

I don’t know about you, but I have a problem with my daughters trick or treating next to a woman wearing nothing but a wig and a Rapunzel tube top. There’s a time and place to learn about things like that, but it’s not while you’re out in broad daylight. And it's definitely not while you’re asking your neighbor for a Snickers bar.

Everyone has their camera out and at the ready on Halloween. There is an astronomically high chance that a video of these girls fumbling around in ridiculous high heels is going straight onto YouTube and Facebook with their Halloween goodies out for all the world to see.

This is a holiday to have a little fun, to get a little spooked and to see how much candy you can gather up for free. It's not a contest to see who can tip the Skimpy-scales.

We are having a Harvest Party with our friends and neighbors. We’re going to carve pumpkins, build a fire, and eat too much sugar. We’re going to go trick or treating, and we are wearing costumes.

And I don't mind saying that the only thing we want to see bobbing at our party are the apples.

--from my 10/28/12 article for

Monday, October 22, 2012

Jed's Poem

One blue fingernail
Fingers up the nose
and in the ear
Belly laughs
Bumps. Hurts!
Boo-boo, kiss it!
Give a hug - and some pats on the back
Give a kiss, it's fun through the crib slats
Give high-fives
Get my own water
Get my own snacks
Get my own candy - from EVERYWHERE
Palms up, hums "Idon'tknow"
Climbing up the stairs
Climbing on the counter
Climbing into the bookshelf
Turn on the faucet
Turn on the toaster
Turn on the charm
Arms akimbo
Jump up and down, so excited for a popsicle
Life is so exciting, "Ah! Dat!" Pointing
Let me get my shoes
And "sots"
Hand in the toilet
Go get a mop.
Peanut butter head.
Life is a blessing.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


I know that there is a very limited time frame in which our kids will willingly participate in themed Halloween costumes for the whole family, so we’re going gung-ho while it lasts.

This year, we are all going as Star Wars characters. (Oh, yes, the force is strong in my children.)

My husband says he’s going to be Jabba the Hut. I’m planning to go as Darth Vader, although my mask has weird lenses in the eyeholes that make me feel more like “The Fly” than Darth.

Sadie wants to be the blue Amidala. At the thrift store we found a beautiful dress, a velvety robe and some great fan-shaped earrings for her. We also are working to turn a tiny wicker chair into her hair-piece. (Don’t ask.)

I made a cute little Ewok poncho-hat for Jedidiah, but he seems rather reluctant to wear it… in other words, he screams, yanks it off, throws it on the ground and runs away. I’m not sure if it’s because he thinks it’s too girly or just because he hates ponchos.

Josie is going to be Princess Leia-in-Somewhat-of-a-Disguise. She has a storm-trooperish white jumpsuit, a laser gun made of tin foil, and the perfect tall white boots. She and her grandma made a white cape which she’s been testing out around the house.

As we worked on our costumes, Josie (we thought about naming her Leia when she was born) came to me, snickering: "Mommy, I was telling Adelaide how you were gonna name me Leia when I was born, and she said, "'Oh yeah? Mommy was gonna name me Yoda.'"

Well, not exactly, but the plan is for Adelaide to be Yoda. She’s just the most Yoda-esque person in our house. She already talks funny and is super quirky. Adding some pointy ears is really not that much of a stretch.

After making the other costumes, I was somewhat crafted out. The girls and I decided to go out on the town to find some Yoda ears and Leia hairbuns.

After looking several places, we ended up at the Halloween store. I remember taking Josie there to find some Groucho Marx glasses when she was even younger than Adelaide, and she thought the whole thing was great. I should’ve also remembered that Josie does not have the same personality as Adelaide.

Before we went inside, I gave a little speech about how everything in there is just pretend, and nothing is real, and nothing can hurt you, and I’ll be with you the whole time, etc.

But as soon as we walked through the freshly manufactured fog, I could tell that Adelaide was not impressed. The further we went into the store, the less she liked it. Clowns are scary. Bats are scary. Vampires are scary. Werewolves are scary.

The Monster Mash song playing in the background did not help at all. I tried to point out some harmless Strawberry Shortcake outfits to her, but she refused to take her hands off her eyes (which was a problem since she kept running into things.)

Josie, on the other hand, was fascinated with all the creepy plastic zombie babies lined up on the fake tombstones. Sadie gazed around in digust at the wicked witch and the hacked up Dorothy lying in the bed next to her, but she was appreciative of the nice assortment of sparkly wigs and fairy wings.

Adelaide, however, was petrified. She screamed at a scary skeleton that cackled at her. When Sadie accidentally put her foot on a rug that read STEP HERE and a giant spider jumped out and landed on Adelaide’s head, she catapulted herself into my arms and declared tearfully that she’d had enough.

After all of that trouble, they only had Clone Wars costumes, which did not help us at all. Sadie and Josie felt sorry for their shaking little sister. While Josie kept her hand over Adelaide’s eyes, Sadie gave her a piggyback ride to the car and they even let her sit between them in the backseat on the way home.

After a night of letting her sleep with all the lights on, I asked Adelaide the next morning:

“So, do you still want to be Yoda?”

She said, “Yes, but, well, do you know that Halloween store? That scary Halloween store? Yeah, well, I am never going in THERE again.”

And in true Yod-a-laide fashion, she added,

“Forget it, you can.”

--from my 10/14/12 article for (obviously, Jed wouldn't cooperate as an Ewok, so we had to change things up a little :)

Monday, October 08, 2012

Poem for Josie, Age 7

Loves her little animals
Loves her little brother
He makes me laugh every day, she says.

Gets up early every morning
Gets her hair combed and her teeth brushed
And does her chores without being asked to.

Likes to practice her handwriting
Likes to take her notebook off by herself
And draw up her plans for life.

Says she's going to change the world
Says she's giving everyone clean water to drink
And I think she'll probably do it.

Asks me if I'll snuggle with her
Asks if she can have a hug every day
And I grab her quick and say 'what kind of a question is that?'

Acts like a goofball when it's bedtime
Acts like she's older than her years
But I think she's near perfection at seven.

J and A

Josie came to me, laughing and snickering: "Mommy, I was telling Adelaide how you were gonna name me Leia, you know, how it was on your list, and she said, "'Yeah, Mommy was gonna name ME Yoda.'"

Josie to Adelaide (in a frustrated voice): "Adelaide! Can you PLEASE talk in your head?"

Adelaide, gazing up into the blue fall sky: "Hey, look! A bird herd!"

I asked Josie, "What day is it, anyway?" Josie, in her best Lion King - Scar voice "I have no idea."

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Thy Kingdom Come .

Josie likes to talk about the kingdom of God. She is constantly asking questions about the kingdom, and heaven, and what will happen when Jesus comes back, and all kinds of things like that. One day she really got excited and told me how she is going to do everything she ever wanted to do, like swim with the dolphins and explore way down deep in the bottom of the ocean and collect seashells from down there and fly around in the sky and jump around on the clouds, and best of all, she's going to sit on Jesus' lap and she's going to meet Great Grandpa Ralph. The child never ceases to amaze me. Then she asked, "Mom, are we going to look the same when Jesus comes back? Will old people still be old? And babies, will they still be babies?" I told her that the Bible says that we will have new bodies, and I think that we will be the very best that we've ever been. She said, "So, like 7?"

I'm Not a Professional

Last weekend a friend invited me to attend a scrapbooking retreat with her.

My reaction: A what? I didn’t even know something like that existed.

She told me to bring lots of pictures and the pages that I was working on. So I packed up about 200 pictures, along with three books that I keep trying to read.

I figured I could get some reading in once I finished with all of my pictures I mean, there was no way that I wouldn’t finish – not with 2 days of nothing but scrapbooking going on. There was just no way. Right?


When we arrived at the hotel conference room, I was overwhelmed. It was filled with rows and rows of tables and what looked to me like a million dollars worth of fancy equipment, accessories, cutters, paper, stickers and tools. I had never seen so much scrapbooking stuff in one place. Not even at the craft store.

I, on the other hand, came armed with nothing but my scissors and a Sharpie.

To say that I was out of my league is an understatement. These people were serious. They were not your average scrapbookers. For me, the emphasis is on SCRAP.

Yes, I am what you would call a “green scrapbooker.”

In other words, I am a cheap scrapbooker.

I use old birthday cards, wrapping paper, parts of magazine pages, ads that come in the mail… stuff that I find. NOT things that I buy.

My friend Terry knows this about me, and so she kept offering me her trash. “You’re not going to use that?” I would ask her incredulously. It became the running joke of the weekend.

Terry never said that I embarrassed her (after all, she actually knew these people) but she did warn me that she was drawing the line if she caught me face-first in one of the big community trash bins by the door.

A lady named Cricut Jackie (so named because of the little cutting machine she is so adept at using) had an amazing collection of die-cuts and stickers in a gigantic album. She told me that she was trying to get rid of some diecuts and stickers and that I should come to her table and look through them.

She didn’t have to ask me twice. I even told her -- in my mommy voice ( because it’s hard to change your stripes -- that they were both “very good sharers.”

We spent most of our time drinking coffee (I took a giant size carmel macchiato creamer along with us to share… nobody likes plain hotel coffee) and listening to doo-wop music at our table (am I the only thirty-something who knows every word to the entire Stand By Me movie soundtrack?)

We wore yoga pants, slippers and cozy jackets and pigtails. People were up until 2 a.m. scrapbooking, and I did not make very much progress because I was in a constant state of amazement.

I used cutters that I didn’t even know existed -- fancy little corner-cutting doodads and heart-shaped punches and stars that you can layer and circle cutting tools and all kinds of neat stuff that I had no idea that I needed.

For example, I didn’t know that I needed a tiny little paper cutter with a tiny little swinging arm like a tiny little guillotine. But I do! I need one!

And I didn’t know that I needed a fancy album that you can have your kids portraits printed on (the most I ever paid for an album was $19, and I thought I was getting ripped off with that.) But I do! I need one!

And I need pages that lay flat and don’t make my scrapbook look like it’s going to bust a gut and pop loose at the seams! I need a good binding that doesn’t consist of an old bootlace!

Wow. This little weekend changed the way I look at certain things regarding the life of my scrapbook. There is a whole sub-culture out there of serious scrapbookers.

I aspire to be like them. And yes, maybe I even covet their stuff.

But I confess – I’ll probably keep on digging through the trash.

--from my 10/7/12 article for

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Sick and Tired

Sadie has been sick for 9 days now. It's felt like the longest 9 days EVER for ME, so I can only imagine how SHE must feel. She looks like she's dropped 10 pounds and she seems so fragile and so scrawny to me. At first, she had a fever and she kept throwing up (from the fever, I imagine, don't think it was ever a stomach bug). Then she developed this cough that kept making her sick. Now everything else seems to be gone, but the stupid cough has persisted, making it nearly impossible for her to sleep and keeping us all trapped here at home day in and day out. And we are missing the fall, which is everyone's (especially mine and Sadie's) favorite time of year! We are getting really mad and frustrated.

But one of the good things about her being sick is how she says, "I guess the only thing that would really make me feel any better is for you to come and sit on my feet and snuggle with me, Mom. And maybe read to me." So one day, I was working on my Bible Study book and so I started reading to her out of the book of Matthew. Something struck me from the chapter I was reading (4:16) "the people living in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.” I started thinking about it, and I talked to her about it a little bit, and then I got kind of teary eyed and she rolled her eyes and said, "Sheesh, Mommy, everything makes you cry." I kept talking and talking and finally she said, "Okay, Mom. Less talking, more reading." hahaha!!! She has a point. I certainly do tend to ramble.

She did stop me later on and say, "Hey, did you hear some crying coming from the direction of the refrigerator? No? Maybe it was SCREAM cheese." As I watched her laugh to herself from her own joke, I was reminded of myself!